Still, I think it was worth it. There was one thing I picked up on in particular: the document relating to a certain Ensign Wesley Crusher.
Mr Crusher was commissioned by his Captain (Jean-Luc Picard) as an acting Ensign after his 'key role in returning the Enterprise D to Federation space after it was stranded'* where his work on the Enterprise gained academic credit in readiness for his admission to the Academy.
In other words, there are alternative ways to prove yourself to the Academy.
The downside was that by the time I returned to Jarrod's office, I looked pretty bloody awful. Even Jarrod noticed.
"Not slept well?" she asked, a note of sarcasm in her voice.
"No Commander. I was studying."
I noticed that once again, the lights were dim in her quarters.
"And?" she asked.
"There was a lot of it."
"But I got the message regarding Wesley Crusher."
"Good. So let's continue our conversation. You were telling me what you couldn't offer Starfleet. Now tell me what you can offer."
"I have no defined area of expertise and true, I'd never gain entry to the Academy via the Science Examination but that's not the only way in. I downloaded the complete list of fields and some test papers from the Cultural Department. It seems my time in care was not completely wasted. I have spent time with people from many different cultures: Humans, Vulcans, Klingons, Andorians and Dirrians to name but a few. From them, I have learnt much and some of it, you can't learn from books."
Jarrod was positively beaming.
"Like the Dirrians."
"Indeed, and it also goes to show that every experience, no matter how unwelcome, has something useful in it."
"Optimism. I like optimism. So where do you go from here?"
I smiled at Jarrod.
"And this is where I need to turn to my mentor—"
"Ah. Yes. About that."
Jarrod's face had stiffened and I felt uncomfortable.
"I'm not your mentor. As I have said before, I have never wanted the responsibility of children and I don't want the responsibility of you. Nothing personal. It's just the way I am."
"Oh!" My face registered my disappointment.
"But don't look so glum. I will give you one leg-up, but just one. From that point forward, you'll be on your own. Is that clear?"
My hopes lifted again.
"Yes Commander. Perfectly."
"Good. Then let me introduce you to my good friend T'Roc," and she waved her arm towards the back of the room behind me.
In the dim light, I had been oblivious to the company but there, sat quietly musing was a figure dressed in Starfleet uniform. She stood up, as did I, and she walked over to me. The shock I felt was almost overwhelming.
Captain T'Roc had the ears, mouth and facial features of a Vulcan, but the skin tone, brow ridges, height and stature of a Klingon!
My mouth gaped open a little in awe as she came and sat beside me. She said nothing but indicated that I should sit too. I did.
"So tell me Crewman, and speak freely, what can you deduce about me?"
I gaped at her for a moment and bit down softly upon my lip.
"Uhm. I'd suggest you were half Vulcan and half Klingon."
"No. Vulcans and Romulans share a common ancestry but there are certain subtle physiological differences, even in the facial features, and I see nothing Romulan in your face."
"Very good," and she smiled. It caught me off guard.
"It's an unusual cross to say the least. The cultural boundaries are..."
"Extreme! Yes, the circumstances of my conception are unusual. So which parent do you think was the Vulcan?"
"Your father," I said immediately.
"And what brings you to that conclusion?"
I hesitated because I knew what I needed to say would offend a Vulcan. T'Roc tipped her head urging me to speak. Her Klingon brow ridges were quite pronounced.
"A Vulcan would never choose a Klingon mate, so the only situation that would drive a Vulcan to mate with a Klingon would have to be a combination of the pon farr and that the Klingon was the only option available.
"A Klingon male would also be unlikely to mate with a Vulcan female, but a Klingon female. Well, as I understand it, they are a little more adventurous."
She positively beamed at me. It was strange because, despite the brow ridges, she looked so Vulcan, and Vulcans do not smile.
"Very good indeed, and you are absolutely right. And which do you think raised me?"
That was harder to deduce. She was too jovial to be a Vulcan and too sedate to be a Klingon.
"Well?" she hurried me.
"I'm not sure. Either neither or both."
She laughed again.
"Spot on again! Yes. My mother raised me as a Klingon up until her death and then I went to live with my father. It was the "logical" thing to do."
"But you seem so..."
"Composed. Half Klingons are often caught up in some internal conflict between their two halves. You seem so... serene with what and who you are," and indeed, she did. As she sat with her legs crossed and her arms resting on the arms of the chair, there was no tension or conflict within that I could detect. "You seem to be at peace with yourself."
"Thank you. I think I am. True I have the temper a Klingon would be proud of when I lose it, but I think I've managed to draw a truce between both sides of my temperament. I have come to terms with who and what I am. I give both sides of me enough room to manoeuvre without compromising the other."
"That's incredibly admirable. May I ask how?"
"You may. I joined Starfleet."
"Yes. When I went to live with my father, it soon became obvious that I had no idea how to control my emotions. I was sent to a Vulcan master to learn how to be a Vulcan. It taught me many things, but a conflict arose within me, just as it does many half-Vulcans. One half of me yearned to embrace the logic of the Vulcans while the other wanted the savagery of the Klingons. It became an impossible situation, but then I learnt about Starfleet.
"My logical side realised that I would never find inner-peace on Vulcan so I decided to join. My logic wasn't flawless by any means, but it served me well. Starfleet taught me discipline and acceptance, how to harness my two sides and how to wield them. Yes, I still have my conflicts but overall, I have found my inner peace. I will never be as serene as a Vulcan or as detached from my emotions, but I have mastered them. In the same breath, I still have the heart, strength and determination of a Klingon."
"It sounds like an idyllic mix."
"I'm not sure I'd say idyllic, but I am satisfied with it."
"And how do Vulcans and Klingons find you?"
"To a Vulcan, I'm a Klingon. To a Klingon, I'm a Vulcan."
"That must be hard."
"No. Because I know that I am neither. I am a Starfleet officer blessed with the traits of two races."
I smile and she smiled back at me.
"Which brings us to our point," she said.
"Which is?" I'd completely lost track of what we were talking about.
"Your path into Starfleet. You've recognised your strength, and Cultural Advisors are an important asset for any Captain. I have need of one. Will you consider the post?"
"Post?" All I had thought about was studying alien culture at the Academy. What post?
"As my Cultural Advisor."
"But I'm not qualified."
"Not yet, but your perception of other species is something that can not be learned. You have an instinct for these things."
"Oh. Thank you, but what about other candidates?"
She sighed sadly.
"Unfortunately I don't have other candidates. The posting I have taken is not a desirable one. Few wish to join me on my new ship."
That surprised me. She seemed like such a reasonable Captain and I said as much.
"Thank you for the compliment, but I am not the issue here. The ship, however, is."
"The ship? Oh!" I exclaimed as it suddenly dawned on me. "Not the Earhart!"
"Yes, the Earhart. Will you consider the post? You will have to work hard to gain your pips, but this is an excellent opportunity to become an Ensign. One that is unlikely ever to be repeated."
"You mean I get in because no one else wants the post?"
"Carpe diem," I said.
T'Roc looked to Jarrod for an explanation.
"It's Latin. It means 'seize the day'."
"Carpe diem," repeated T'Roc and smiled broadly. "I shall make the necessary arrangements for your transfer."
"And the cat," interrupted Jarrod.
"As you might have guessed, Crewman. Katherine's not that keen on pets either. Yes, and the cat."
* The Star Trek Encyclopaedia: Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda