Log Entry 130223.50

Bairn's studies are continuing well and, interestingly, she's also started studying Vulcan philosophy. It's given her a new way to consider things and people—a more logical outlook on life. She always was a bright spark who did well in her studies but now, she's really level-headed and more focused. The knock-on effect is that those around her are treating her more seriously too. She is proving that an Orion girl can cut it in Starfleet via a combination of methods. The professors have noticed it too. She has risen from being just another cadet to being one of the rising stars of the Academy. Yes, I can see Bairn going far in Starfleet now and I'm absolutely delighted for her.
She hasn't lost any of her pizzazz though. When we go into town, she is as vivacious as ever and can turn her old charm back on at the click of a finger.
As for me, Bairn continues to teach me how to have fun. I'd never realised how grey and serious I was until I met Bairn. I wonder why that is. What is it that makes some of us so sober and others so gay?
Either way, we've both learnt some very valuable lessons from each other. A little bit of my sobriety has rubbed off on Bairn and some of her frivolousness has brightened me up too. Dare I admit that I am feeling happier than I have done in my entire life? Not that I was unhappy, but I certainly wasn't enjoying life.
And talking about enjoying life, last night we went to see Bella Dinares perform at BeJazzled. She's a really great Jazz singer with a very powerful, sultry voice, very reminiscent of Nina Simone and Amy Winehouse. Her performance was fantastic. She got a standing ovation and performed another three numbers as an encore. The outcome was that we left really late and were making our way back to the Academy through the gardens.
They truly are beautiful and there's a large fountain where Bairn and I have often picnicked. It has a deep edge that's perfect for sitting on, and you can stare into its waters rippling and bubbling away under the waterspouts for hours, they are so mesmeric. At night, the whole area is subtly lit. Even the water is illuminated from beneath giving it a fairytale like quality.
The heat of the day had died down, but the night was still warm. Suddenly Bairn kicked off her shoes and ran over to the fountain. She sat on its edge and looked mischievously at me.
"Shall we?" she dared.
Normally, we would never dream of dipping our toes in the water for fear of upsetting Boothby, but it was late. He'd be in bed and nobody would know.
As I ran over to join Bairn kicking off my shoes at the same time, Bairn swung her legs over the side and dipped her toes into the tempting waters. I laughed as I copied her.
We sat there for ages, chatting and giggling like silly schoolgirls, wiggling our toes in the water that was still warm from the day, and then we became aware that someone was watching us.
About twenty meters away was a stand of bushes and trees, rhododendrons and silver birches. Among them stood the shadowy figure of a man.
"Who's there?" shouted Bairn at the silhouette.
I froze thinking it must be Boothby, but it wasn't. Boothby would have come out and told us off, but this figure just lingered there.
"Come on! We can see you!" she continued angrily.
Realising that he couldn't bluff us by standing still, the figure emerged from the shadows and approached, his hands thrust deep into his pockets. As he came into the full light of a lamppost, I saw him smirking at us.
"Rutter!" I exclaimed. "What the hell are you doing here?"
"I wasn't aware you had a monopoly on the Academy gardens."
"I meant spying on us!" I blurted.
"Or stalking."
"Stalking? Don't flatter yourself, Terran," and he laughed ... jocularly. His voice lacked the disdain I usually detected there ... and he was smiling. Was this the Bairn effect?
"So what are you doing here?" ventured Bairn.
"Same as you."
"We're paddling. You're not paddling," teased Bairn, her eyes bright with excitement.
"Technically, neither are you, you're just dipping your toes. I mean I've been to see Bella Dinares at BeJazzled, just like you."
"I didn't see you there," smiled Bairn coquettishly.
"I saw you though," and he smiled back at her.
Bairn bit down seductively on her bottom lip.
"Wanna join us?" she said lifting one foot and wiggling her toes at him. She was in full Orion attack mode. I gave her a hard nudge with my elbow and she yelped. Rutter turned his head to hide a smirk.
"Not this evening," he said, turned and began to walk away.
Bairn positively pouted with disappointment.
"Awww!" she whined. "That's never happened to me before!"
At that moment, Rutter turned around, walking backwards and said, "Mind the green doesn't wash off!"
Bairn gasped and her mouth fell open. "The cheek of it!" And then he was gone.
"Well, that's just rude!" she said.
I laughed.
"You're just not used to a fob-off! Stick with me Bairn and you'll get fobbed off by the best of them."
"That's not the point. He's so—" and she bit her tongue.
"He's so ... what?" I queried, and Bairn looked away to avoid eye contact. I swear she blushed!
"You like him!" I screamed.
"I do not!" protested Bairn.
"Yes you do!" and I got up, grabbed my shoes and ran off singing, "Bairn loves Rutter! Bairn loves Rutter!"
"Oi! You little oik!" shouted Bairn, picking up her shoes and chasing after me.
As we ran through the gardens, she was very fast and I was in danger of being caught so I sought refuge in a big, old oak tree, scaling up its rugged trunk with ease. I've not climbed a tree since I was a little kid, but it seems you never forget how to do it.
As I settled myself in the crook of a big branch, Bairn stood breathless at the bottom of it.
"Oh, that's not fair!"
"Yes, it is. You can climb too!"
She studied the tree and scratched her head.
"I've never climbed a tree before. Where do I start?"
I laughed at her, but it didn't take Bairn long to master the art and she was soon sat beside me. It was a bit of a squeeze so we wrapped our arms around each other and then revelled in her mastery of tree climbing.
For an hour or so, we sat huddled in the tree watching the stars and discussing our hopes for the future, our dreams and expectations. The black sky softened, the stars faded and the sun began to rise ... and that's when we realised it. We'd been out ALL night!
Urgently, we climbed down from the tree and jogged back to the dorm to arrive just as the alarm clock was going off. I don't know about Bairn, but I've been yawning all day. Tonight, it's definitely an early one!

Log Entry 130216.49

Bairn's new haircut.
Woo-hey! Bairn's experiments are starting to show results! But my, it's been hard work!
It didn't help that the first thing Bairn did was to have her hair cut short. She thought it would make her less attractive to males, but its the cutest little pixie cut you've ever seen and looks soooo good! It did nothing other than attract even more attention to her. Within seconds of her walking out, sporting her new cut, lads were buzzing around her and fussing all over her. Bairn immediately sank into her usual flirtatious way without even realising it; until she saw me shaking my head. She then dismissed her admirers rather brusquely, which caused even more of a stir, and then it got worse.
The haircut not only foiled our first experiment but also attracted the attention of Dr Morris. She's a psychology professor who has known Bairn for all four of her years at the Academy. She knew straight away that something was going on. Up until that point, we had said nothing to anyone to ensure that Bairn's results were genuine. Secrecy is essential for the study to be a success. Dr Morris's intervention meant we had to spill the beans, and it was just as well. As she pointed out, using your own colleagues as guinea pigs was a little questionable. However, it would do no harm and the study would be an interesting one, highly beneficial to Starfleet. As long as we were aware that there might be consequences on a personal level, we could continue. However, she did insist on being kept abreast of things at every stage, just to ensure it remains harmless.
We then retreated for a couple of days to regroup and allow people time to adjust to Bairn's new look before beginning afresh. In the meantime, I began the process of trying to re-educate Bairn mannerism wise; why her actions only enhanced her attraction. It seems that she is quite oblivious to what she does.
She suggested changing the colour of her hair or wearing different clothing, so I had to explain that altering her physical appearance will only attract more attention, like the haircut. Finally, she got it and we could begin to examine her comportment in more detail. From that analysis, Bairn has been relearning the most basic of things, like walking.
Yes, it sounds simple, but Bairn moves down a corridor like a Tilerian glamour model on a catwalk! She sails through the air with the grace of a swift, her hips shimmying and her eyes gazing at those around her. This, of course, attracts immense attention.
To counteract this, we have spent hours walking through the Academy and its gardens trying not to attract attention. I can't begin to tell you how long it has taken Bairn to master it. She'd manage it for ten minutes or so and then her shields would drop. She'd beam a great big smile at someone, giggle and we'd be back to square one.
Remember too, that the object of the exercise is not to be nasty to people in order to distance them from her, but to stop attracting them as a matter of course.
Finally though, we've got it. Bairn has found that by walking at a measured pace, with her eyes focused ahead of her rather than making eye contact, and her hands clasped, chatting in quiet tones, she could pass by, not unnoticed but raising much less interest.
The question arose then, was the combination of pheromone suppressants and her new manner sufficient for a male to be able to function normally around her? Were men still looking at her simply because she was visibly an Orion and thus they knew (consciously or subconsciously) that they should be attracted to her? This called for a further experiment.
Again with Dr Morris's blessing, we painted Bairn's skin in flesh coloured tones similar to my own, and then headed into town where her face is less familiar and she is less likely to be recognised.
With her new comportment and human skin tones, she was virtually ignored. Yes, men still looked at her, but only as fleetingly as they did at any pretty girl.
With that knowledge secured, we then had a new query. If Bairn reverted to her former Orion mannerisms, but kept her pink skin, how would men react?
A Human female behaving in this manner would be considered overly extrovert. So, would they look upon her that way or would they be attracted to her as though she was an Orion? The results would be interesting either way. It would determine if men were at least partially attracted to Orions simply because they thought they should be.
The surprise was that when Bairn turned her charms back on, the colour of her skin made no difference at all. She regained her usual attraction. It was incredibly interesting, and excited all three of us. Now all we had to do was work out why.
The funniest thing of all though, was when we got back to the Academy. Dr Morris and I were lagging behind, and Bairn was about fifty meters in front of us. She was hurriedly heading for our quarters, eager to have a shower and return to her normal skin colouring, when she bumped into Rutter.
He was walking towards her and as they drew level on the path, they made to pass each other, but they both moved to the same side. First to the left, then to the right and then back to the left again.
"Sorry," apologised Rutter, smiling, and he stepped off the pavement and swept his arm through the air, waving her to pass by.
She smiled briefly at him, remaining in character, thanked him and walked by. Rutter though, didn't move. He stood on the grass, watching her and smiling. It was obvious that he was quite taken with her.
"Now that is interesting," I said.
"Why's that?" asked Dr Morris, puzzlement sweeping over her face. "He's a very good looking young man and she's a pretty girl, even as a Human."
"That's Ensign Rutter."
"Oh! Yes then. That is interesting. I wonder if he will find her equally as attractive with green skin."
We looked at each other and grinned.

Log Entry 130209.48

Life is back on an even keel, thank goodness, and I've even managed to sort out something that has been troubling my conscience for some time. Rutter.
I'd been keeping half an eye out for him for a while now. I felt I owed him an apology for my part in the cargo bay incident. I had disrespected him and regardless of his role in the events, he is still an officer who warrants the correct address. So when I saw him sitting in the Mess Hall this afternoon, eating alone, I knew it was time I sorted it out.
Rutter was studying a datapad while he dipped chunks, torn off a ciabatta roll, into his soup. I admit, I was hoping to catch him when he was alone, but the Mess Hall was relatively quiet so I walked over to him. He didn't look up.
"May I sit with you?" I asked quietly after a few moments. He stiffened at the sound of my voice.
"If you so wish," he replied coldly.
I sat awkwardly, folding my hands into my lap and cleared my throat. I may have been imagining it, but I swear the room quietened as if to pry.
"So? What can I do for you?" he asked, chivvying me along.
"I just wanted to say sorry ... that I didn't respect your rank ... back on the Drakonia." I spoke quietly.
"Oh," he sounded surprised.
"And that I didn't think it was fair ... you being made to sit in on that first lecture."
I shuffled uncomfortably in my chair. Rutter looked up from his soup and studied me for what seemed like endless minutes.
"That's it. I just wanted to say it. Clear the air ... you know," I added, smiled weakly and then stood up to leave. Rutter scowled at me.
"What makes you think I had to be there?"
"What? Oh!" I exclaimed.
He was right. I had jumped to that conclusion.
"I just assumed—"
"And wrongly. I was there because I asked to be there. As your mentor, I wanted to know what you were being told. There was an opportunity to hear it first hand, so I took it."
"Oh ... Right ... Well ... I'm pleased about that then." I bit my lip nervously. "I'll leave you to it then ... sir." The word stuck in my throat as I added it, but I knew it was necessary. I couldn't help wishing that the ground would open up and swallow me whole though.
I shuffled nervously on the spot for a moment and then turned.
"Cadet," he called after me.
"Yes ... sir," I said, still trying to be respectful.
"I ..." he paused as though finding the moment as awkward as I did. "I commend you."
It was a clumsy thank you, but a thank you nonetheless.
"You're welcome," I said smiling softly and left him to his soup.
As I left the room, I passed a group of cadets and heard one of them say, "Well, that's buggered that up. What do we do now?"
It piqued my curiosity for a moment, but only a moment. The important thing was that Rutter and I may have reached an understanding.

Log Entry 130202.47

I've been here the best part of four weeks now, and time is passing by so quickly, but I'm shattered. There's not a minute to myself with lectures, research and theses. I'm playing catch-up, big time, to all the other cadets who have a good grounding in all these subjects already!
Tonight then, was just like any other night. After my final lecture, I grabbed a bite to eat and headed down to the library, stooped over the monitors for a couple of hours, headed back to my digs to write it all up and then found myself sobbing over the keyboard. I didn't even notice Bairn until she placed a hand lightly upon my shoulder, I was sobbing so hard. I nearly jumped out of my skin.
"Sorry," I said, wiping my face.
"Don't be," she said, and then she did something I would never have expected of her. She embraced me. Of course, I just burst into a fresh eruption of tears.
"I can't do this!" I shouted.
"I know," she whispered into my ear and softly kissed my temple.
It's not what I wanted to hear. I wanted someone to reassure me, to tell me I could do it, so my tears came harder and faster.
"Not like this anyway," she added.
My tears subsided a little and I snivelled, "Wha'?"
She giggled.
"Jen, only a Vulcan could keep the pace you've set yourself; and you're not a Vulcan. You're Human. I know you feel you've got something to prove—"
"I can't let Jarrod, T'Roc or Dreganan down!"
"Never mind them. They're not important here. The only person that matters here is you! Now listen to me ..." Bairn pulled me away from my workstation and sat me on the bed. "You, Jenny Terran, are not letting anybody down other than yourself, and simply because you are setting the bar impossibly high. You are setting yourself up to fail—not by Academy standards, but by your own. You, my dear, could pass every exam the Academy has to offer and you would still fail in your own mind. I've watched you night after night, toil and sweat over books and datapads, but I've not seen you smile once in weeks."
I sniffed hard, wondering how awful I must look, soggy-nosed and red-eyed next to the glamorous Bairn.
"Even now, you're comparing yourself to some impossibly brilliant person, some Einstein that us mere mortals can never hope to beat at a simple game of chess let alone create a new and improved Theory of Relativity."
I giggled at that. I might not be comparing myself to someone of superior intelligence, but I was comparing myself against the impossibly attractive Bairn.
"So, you think I should give up and lower my sights."
"No, stupid! You need to aim high if you want to reach the stars, but you need to chill out every now and then too. Come on, let's go out."
I sighed, debating. I really didn't fancy a lot of company.
"Come on!"
"Sorry Bairn, but I don't fancy going to the club or anything."
"I'm not taking you into town. I'm going to take you to my special place."
"Special place?"
"Yes. It's where I go to think. We'll stop by the Mess Hall and pick up a picnic. Come on!"
"But I have to finish this!" I cried.
"No, you don't! It's not due in until the end of the week, so come on, misery guts! Get your boots on!"
Reluctantly, I let Bairn drag me down to the Mess Hall. She headed straight to the counter where a lady was tidying up.
"Hi Beryl!" she greeted the woman warmly.
"Oh, hello Bairn. Not out with the boys this evening?" asked Beryl. She was a lady trapped between middle-age and elderly. Her short, wiry, grey hair sat in curls on her head. Her complexion was fair and clear and her grey eyes that should have been dulled by age, shone brightly.
"No, Jen and I are going on a midnight picnic," Bairn declared proudly.
"Ah! So you'll be needing a packed basket?" Her voice was tinged with a slight Irish accent.
"Please," beamed Bairn.
Immediately the lady produced a neat wicker box and swiftly assembled a small picnic for us. She smiled as she handed it over and said, "And you'll be needing this too," and produced a blanket.
"Thank you Beryl!" chirruped Bairn, and then she linked her arm through mine and we were off.
It was about ten in the evening and a beautiful night. The sky was cloudless and sapphire black. Stars glistened across the sky, scattered across it like glitter. It was warm and breezeless too, so much so that we didn't need jackets. I thought we were going to take a transport somewhere, but no. Bairn led me through the gardens and then up a path hidden by the trees, over some hills and down a small valley. Then we climbed a relatively small rugged outcrop and climbed up another grassy hillock. It was a wonderful walk and we chatted the whole way, not about anything in particular, just stuff.
As we reached the top of the hillock, I realised it wasn't a hill at all. At the top, the ground broke away savagely and dropped below into the sea. The Golden Gate Bridge spanned the water below us and we could see for miles over the Academy, San Francisco and miles beyond that. It was truly beautiful.
Bairn threw the blanket onto the ground and we sat down to our midnight feast. It was wonderful. Cheese and pickle sandwiches, pork pies, a soft drink I've never had before and some sweet biscuits to finish. I'd forgotten how good it was to enjoy a meal in company and resolved I wouldn't be eating alone again.
Having finished our food, we lay on the blanket and gazed up at the stars.
"So what do you want to do when you've finished here?" I asked Bairn.
"Oh that's easy. I'm going to be a doctor. I want to be the Chief Medical Officer on a Starship," and she regaled her five-year plan. She had it all mapped out, but again, the question of whether she'd get a posting on a starship haunted me.
"You've gone very quiet," said Bairn noticing my silence.
"Have I? Sorry," I said.
"What is it?"
Bairn sat up. For all her faults, she is incredibly insightful.
"Nothing," I lied, but she could tell it wasn't the truth.
"No," she scowled at me. "You're hiding something. What is it? Have you thought of something I haven't?" She was genuinely concerned so I sat up too. I decided now was the time to pose the question.
"It's just ..."
She waited.
"It's just that ... being an Orion ... men are always somewhat distracted around you. I mean ... doesn't that make you a bit of a liability? Sorry, I don't mean to be a killjoy, but ... if the crew are more focused on you than on their jobs—"
Her face fell as I crushed her ambitions.
"Oh!" she said.
"Sorry Bairn. I shouldn't have said anything."
"No, no. You should." She bit her lip and her eyes moistened as she fought back tears. "I'd never thought of that. How could I not have realised? It changes everything. I'll never get my own department. I'll never even get on a starship!"
"Well, that's not true either." I had to rescue the situation.
"But it is!"
"No, it's not!"
"It is!
Her face was so despondent.
"No Bairn." I saw the look of hopelessness in her eyes. "I hope you're not thinking of dropping out!"
"Then what do you suggest?" she snapped. "I take pheromone suppressants already. What else can I do?"
"Well, you could flirt less," I suggested.
"I do not flirt!" she shouted angrily at me.
I couldn't help it, I laughed and she glared back at me.
"Bairn, I'm sorry, but you are the biggest flirt I've ever come across. I've even seen you wink at lecturers at the beginning of a lesson."
"Yes, but that's ... that's ..."
"No! It's ... just ... making them feel at ease."
"No Bairn. It's flirting!"
"No!" she shouted, desperation high in her voice and she threw herself onto the blanket and covered her eyes.
I felt awful. She had been so kind in lifting my spirits and I had just destroyed her dreams.
And then I had a thought.
"What?" she snapped dismally.
"Has anybody ever undertaken a proper study about the Orion female's ability to attract?"
"How do you think the pheromone suppressants were developed?" She sounded quite bitter.
"No, I mean ... is it all pheromones or do mannerisms have a part to play?"
I looked at her as she lay there. After a few minutes, she drew her hands away from her face. She was scowling and thinking hard. Suddenly, she sat up again. She looked hard at me and rubbed her chin thoughtfully.
"You mean, can an Orion female turn off her charm?"
She thought some more.
"I don't know. I don't think it's something an Orion female has ever considered. Why would she? It's how we achieve what we wish to attain."
"Newsflash! It only works with men. I doubt that you're going to pass your final year with charm alone."
Her face suddenly lit up.
"Or maybe it is!"
"It would make a fantastic final year paper."
"What? How to get into Starfleet with a flirt."
"No, silly," and she playfully punched my arm. "Can an Orion girl perform as an ordinary Human does? Can she turn off her charm? It sounds like a trivial matter, but this is incredibly important, especially if Orion women are going to get into Starfleet in the future. It is vitally important that she doesn't distract those around her from performing their duties. It's a fantastic idea! I'll need to conduct experiments." She was in full flow, excitement riding high in her voice.
"Well, you have plenty of subjects in the Academy."
"Yes, but I'll need your help."
"Me? What can I do?"
"You need to help me be ... unattractive; tell me how you put men off."
I laughed aloud. She was oblivious to the fact that she had just insulted me.
"Should I get my hair cut do you think?" she suddenly asked fondling her long, black locks. I laughed all the more.
"Oh, Bairn. I love your optimism!"
She smiled at me.
"I think I got it from you. Come on, we need to get back so we've got time to change ready for our first lectures tomorrow."
"Don't you mean today?"
It was two-thirty as we packed our stuff up and began walking back. All the way, we were working out how Bairn was going to conduct these experiments and what areas she should study: her physical looks, her mannerisms, her biology and so on. From what she knew, no one had ever asked such probing questions. Only the biological aspects of the Orion had ever been studied. It is a wonderful opportunity to present something new in a final paper and will be an invaluable study for Orions and non-Orions alike.