I know that everything I told them can be verified by my care records, but it still left me feeling a little uncomfortable, and it didn't finish there. After five hours with them, I had to go and see Mr Dreganan. Oh, why didn't I keep my mouth shut?
Anyway, he was actually rather nice. He apologised to me for the intervention of Starfleet Intelligence (I hadn't realised that it was Intelligence up until that point), but my knowledge of an incident that was not public knowledge had brought me to their attention. Having realised what was happening, he had decided that it was probably best to talk to me personally, as it was no doubt a somewhat daunting experience for me. I thought that was quite considerate, and then we chatted for the best part of an hour about my upbringing.
Why do people find me so fascinating? It's a sad but true fact, children are abandoned all the time. What makes me so special?
Anyway, by that time, I was tired and irritable, which meant I wasn't at my best so yes, you guessed it, I asked him.
"You're not special as such, but ... have you ever heard of Moab IV?"
"Er, yes. Isn't that a gated Human colony?"
"Gated? Yes, that's quite a good description for it, but it's more than that. It's not just a self-contained biosphere located on a harsh, otherwise uninhabitable world. The Humans there have genetically engineered themselves over seven generations in pursuit of perfection. What it means is that when a child is born, they know what its strengths will be. Children are designed and born to be what they become, be it engineers, physicists, musicians or diplomats. They grow up knowing exactly what their society needs from them, what is expected from them and fully equipped to be able to fulfil that expectation.
"In our society, we have to find this out for ourselves, but think on this. How do we know that somewhere out there," he stood by the window and gazed out across the plush green lawns, "there isn't another Beethoven or Mozart that remains undiscovered, that will always be undiscovered because he, or she, has never picked up a musical instrument? Wouldn't that be a tragedy?"
He came and sat opposite me.
"Just, I suppose?"
"I don't know what else you want me to say? I don't know what you're getting at?"
"Okay," he said. "How do you know that you're not the next Mozart?"
"Because I can't read music and trust me, I have tried. I also couldn't carry a tune if it came in its own hand-stitched and especially designed carry case—I even whistle out of tune. In singing lessons, my music tutor used to ask me to mime rather than make a noise. I may have many hidden talents but music isn't one of them. Oh!" The penny had dropped. Dreganan smiled at me.
"You know what I should be good at."
"Why do you think we picked your courses for you?"
I burst out laughing.
"Are you seriously telling me that I'm going to get my head around things like AXE Biology?"
"Yes. We've studied your psych evaluation and test results from your initial interviews to join Starfleet, your education and care records. T'Roc is right to want you as a Cultural Officer. You have an aptitude for—" and he laughed. "—believe it or not, diplomacy. You have a knack for being able to assess people and their cultural expectations as well as being able to identify their heritage almost at a glance, like T'Roc. You knew her racial heritage."
"Well, there aren't that many Klingons with pointy ears."
"Romulans have pointy ears."
I shook my head.
"Not like Vulcans. There are subtle differences between Vulcan and Romulan facial structures."
"Which most people don't spot."
"That's just being observant. That's nothing special."
"And then you surmised which parent was Vulcan and which was Klingon."
"That was pure logic."
"If it's so easy, how come most people don't pick up on those subtleties? The only reason you find it easy, is because that is what comes naturally to you. Remember, Mozart found music easy."
"Why do I feel like everybody's pet project?"
"Because, little Miss Jenny Terran, in a way you are. You were found abandoned on an alien spacecraft and then we abandoned you too, to your own devices. If you hadn't applied to Starfleet, you'd never have caught anybody's attention. You'd still be a waitress in a bar somewhere. Fortunately, you did. Your talents, un-honed as they are, still shine through and we know that if you had been given the right guidance early on, you'd be doing more than just laying carpets in turbolifts."
"People keep saying that to me."
"Because it's true. If you had been born on Moab IV, you would be an accomplished Cultural Advisor by now. You would never have been a general maintenance worker. As it is, there is some speculation as to whether someone like yourself can still achieve their full potential so late in the day. You are set in your ways and have much to learn. More importantly, can you embrace the disciplines necessary to be a Starfleet officer?
"There is a very old expression we have here on Earth. You can't teach an old dog new tricks. With this new program, we are all asking ourselves if perhaps we can."
Dreganan suddenly looked at his watch.
"I have a lecture now, and you, young lady, have missed most of the days' already. I suggest you catch up with the relevant tutors and find out what you have missed. In the meantime, if you need anything else, just let me know."
"Thank you, sir," and I left his office.
So many people seem to be depending upon me now. The burden of responsibility to do well is getting heavier with each day.