Star Trek

USS Amandora

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Alia Year 5 - Promotion

Posted on Fri Nov 20th, 2020 @ 1:35am by Lieutenant JG Alia Fitzgerald

Alia Year Five: Promotion

[[ These events happen just a day before boarding the Amandora]]

Alia was sitting across from her adviser as she had many times before. The young cadet, at first, had simply followed Dr. Saavarong's suggestions, offering little input of her own. As she had gotten older, however, these sessions had gotten more contentious. Alia was always pushing for more varied and harder courses but the good doctor, perhaps recognizing that not all lessons were learned in the classroom had gently guided (and sometimes pushed) the student into unexpected areas.
“Doctor, with all due respect, I can easily handle the courseload I've put together. And the classes fit nicely together, you'll note. There's real synergy between the molecular biology and xenometabolism courses. And Professor Amistrad's radiation lab dovetails nicely with the mutation lecture series.”
Saavarong tried not to sigh... the damnable thing was the girl was exactly right. She could handle the work and, mostly likely, excel at it. “I cannot fault your logic, Miss Fitzgerald. You have both the aptitude and passion for such work. Someday, you might even be a fine doctor and lecturer... perhaps even here.”
Alia tried to ignore the praise, though she flushed a bit. “But...”
“Have you ever heard the parable of the little norska? I'm afraid I don't remember what world it's from, or even if I'm pronouncing it properly.”
“I'm afraid not, Doctor.”
“Well the norska have a fluid storage bladder... very useful on the world that they evolved on as the water there is quite foul and tends to be toxic in one way or another. They drink the poisoned water, filter it and store clean water inside themselves. Lovely adaptation, really.”
“I'm sure,” Alia agreed with patience. She was used to her adviser's personality and sometimes meandering stories.
“Ahem, yes. Well, the practice of the farmers was to catch young norska, get them to drink the water and then herd them to their fields and then force them to regurgitate clean water to irrigate their crops. Unfortunately, this causes toxins to build up in the norska, eventually killing them.
“One very poor farmer could only afford a single beast and so, after some thought, decided to treat it with much more care. He let it only drink as much as it wanted and only took what the norska could expel safely. He fed it some of the precious food from his own table, took care of it when it was sick, and even brought it into his own house when the weather was bad.
“Through all of this, his neighbors laughed at his odd behavior, mocked the tiny size of his fields and commented on the odd smell from his house and how hungry he looked always.
“After several seasons, the poor farmer brought his norska to the river with the other farmers and their laughter stopped abruptly.
“The poor farmer's beast was easily twice the size of their largest norskas in all dimensions and lacked the particular pallor of their half-poisoned herds. The huge beast drank its fill and, together, they made the farm a success.”
“So... I'm the poor farmer and I have to try something different to be a success?”
Saavarong laughed, kindly and without malice. “No, cadet, you are the norska. Right now, where you are in life, you are perfectly capable of absorbing the work of other people. You need to go out, explore, experience the universe! Fill yourself with new ideas and knowledge... grow large and then, if you choose, you can come back to our little field and share some of that with us.”
“Is the Academy truly that toxic? Surely not.”
“The analogy, it is not perfect. We encourage our cadets to grow, of course, and we give them the tools they will need. Right now, in my opinion, these structures are holding you back more than helping you.”
Alia gave a helpless shrug, “If so, then what are my options? I'm years from my doctorate, not to mention that I don't have enough credits.”
The Doctor gave a dismissive wave, “The credit system is a guideline, not binding ropes. You may be surprised to know that your independent work counts as much, or more, than your official classes. As to your options... an interesting opportunity has arisen.” He touched a computer panel and the image of a Explorer class cruiser appeared obediently on a viewscreen. “This ship has come into port a bit off schedule and could use new blood. As per protocol, she has a healthy mix of experienced and novice crew. As is somewhat common in these situations, some people find they are unsuited for the assignment and are allowed to transfer without penalty. The opportunity lies in those vacancies.”
“All accreditation aside, there's no way I could fulfill the duties as a full medical officer, not yet!”
“No, that is true. But the vacancy I had in mind was as assistant Medical Officer or assistant Science Officer. You are a touch more experienced than others fresh from the Academy, frankly, but I'm sure you'll progress nicely in your medical studies and with diligence you can complete your requirements mid-mission. Do not think that such a thing would hamper your degree... practical experience is looked upon kindly especially after the War.” He gave her another one of his gentle smiles. “And though you care less about such thing than some, you could get a bump in rank a half year early.”
“So I'd be brevetted to Lt. j.g. ... just on your say-so? Doctor, that's rather hard to take in.”
He shook his head, “Not brevetted, the rank would be permanent based on your performance. And, trust me, more people than just myself concur with the recommendation. Your graduation exams from last semester function quite nicely to show your qualifications and the necessary paperwork has been taken care of. But please, I don't mean to pressure you. This is my opinion, but your choice. The only issue is that this window is very narrow. The ship will be near Earth in only three days and its full complement will necessarily have to be chosen before it arrives.”
Alia sat back further in her chair, trying to absorb it all. Her plan had been to complete a full eight years at the Academy and emerge a young (and to be perfectly honest, talented) doctor. But her adviser was correct, such opportunities were exceedingly rare and it would serve both her career... and herself? She closed her eyes and imagined herself in a Starfleet uniform... not four years from now, but right now.
She liked it.
“Doctor Saavarong, I think I want... no, I know I want to try this out. What do I have to do?”
“Stand please.” She complied and he rose creakily as well. “Computer record this. Ahem. On this stardate, it is my pleasure to confirm the promotion with honors of Alia Fitzgerald and, with special authority invested onto me by the United Federation of Planets, raise her to the rank of Lieutenant, Junior Grade in Federation Starfleet. Serve well and with honor!” He saluted and she barely was able to respond but managed somehow.
“You mean, that's it?”
He nodded and sat back down with her help. “Just so, just so. If I'm not mistaken, the replicators are most likely making your new uniforms even now and various computers across the globe are noting your promotion. That was, mostly likely, not the graduation ceremony you were expecting some years form now but I think more to your taste?”
“Yes!” she said fervently.
“Ah, that is good, then.” He smiled widely, his wrinkles deepening pleasantly. “I'm sure you'll do fine on the Lionheart. Captain Song is very good and will take care of you as she ought. Now go then... I have it on reliable authority that your friends have heard of this, somehow, and are planning a surprise party for you.”
“Thank you, Doctor!” She impulsively gave the old man a hug and almost ran from the room... or was it toward her future?
Saavarong smiled and started composing a message to an old friend, “My dear Commander Song, That child I told you about has accepted...”


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