Log Entry 130330.55

Today is my last day at the Academy, and there simply isn't enough time to do everything that I need to do! I walked in three months ago with a half-empty rucksack, but am leaving with four large holdalls. Where has it all come from? Books, datapads, so much 'stuff that might be useful'—and the uniforms! I've got a complete, brand new kit: standard issue and dress. I've never had so much stuff in my entire life! And then there was the party last night!
In all, there are about sixty of us on this first intake of the Professional Development Program and when we arrived, we felt a bit odd among these fresh-faced individuals; rather like mature students. Over the time that we have been here, we've had to suffer the odd dig or two from them as well. They've been light-hearted enough and generally, we've ignored them, but being called the 'old folks' when you've only got a handful of extra years under your belt is a bit annoying. Anyway, we got to show the 'babies' how to party last night and without a drop of alcohol or synthahol in sight, just enough adrenaline to put elephants on clouds.
We laughed and joked, danced and sang all evening and never got to see our beds. What we did get was told off. Apparently, we kept some of the 'babies' awake! Aw! Bless!
We finally broke up around 7 o'clock in the morning and headed back to our rooms still high on sheer exhilaration. I got first dibs on the shower because Bairn isn't leaving until the end of the month, but showered quickly nonetheless. By the time I got out, Bairn was crashed out on the bed in what I can only describe as an exhausted stupor. Lying on her stomach with her arms stretched out by her side, her face was twisted and squashed against the pillow. I've never seen Bairn look anything other than glamorous before but as she lay there, snoring loudly, she looked distinctly unsophisticated!
I woke her, of course, otherwise she would be late for her first lecture of the day, but then left her to it. I still had some of Tez's materials that he had kindly lent to me and I needed to return them. I dressed quickly and left with my hair still wet and limp about my shoulders.
As I crossed the gardens burdened with Tez's things, I nearly ran over Boothby—literally!
Everybody knows Boothby. He's legendary and I'd seen him tending the gardens many times before but never had the opportunity to say hello. As it was, I was scurrying through the rose gardens, so intent on not dropping any of Tez's things that I didn't see him crouched down, pruning one of the rose bushes until the last minute. I veritably skidded to a halt and then juggled with my possessions, apologising profusely.
"Slow down, Ms Terran!" he laughed in his low, soft voice. "The shuttle won't leave without you!"
I couldn't help but laugh back. He really is so good-natured.
"Sorry!" I said for the umpteenth time. "You'd have thought I would have learnt to look where I'm going by now!"
It was only after I had left that I wondered how come he knew who I was, but then, as I've discovered before, everybody seems to know who the legendary Jenny Terran is ... except maybe me.
I arrived at Tez and Rutter's room shortly afterwards and a little out of breath. Tez opened the door and welcomed me in. It's very similar to the one Bairn and I share, only a little bigger. Rutter wasn't there, which was probably just as well. They are constantly at each other's throats, bickering and bitching like a couple of old women. They remind me greatly of a very old play I saw some years ago.
Entitled 'The Odd Couple', it's a comedy about two chaps, Felix Unger and Oscar Madison, who are both divorcees. Due to finances, they end up sharing an apartment and while Felix is a real neat freak, Oscar is a bit of a slob. Their conflicts and clashes over everything from lifestyle to principles are very entertaining. Watching Tez and Rutter quarrel as they do is equally as amusing. Rutter is the neat freak (no surprises there) and Tez, the slob who takes great pride in winding Rutter up. The strange thing is that on the Drakonia, Tez's quarters were fastidiously tidy and indeed, as I walked in, they were again; Tez was dusting! I just had to ask, and he laughed.
"Oh Jen. Don't hate me, but I abhor mess probably more than Rutter does."
"You do?"
"But I've seen you. You're such a slob. You walk in the door, take your jacket off and throw it on the floor!"
"Yes, and who picks it up?"
"Well, Rutter—"
"Exactly. I've had an unpaid housekeeper for the past three months. I've not had to lift a finger!"
What a rotter! Rutter will murder him if he ever finds out!
Anyway, time was wearing on so I headed back to my room. I had to pick up my stuff and get it over to the shuttle pads before noon.
I walked into our hall of residence, hurtled up the stairs taking them two at a time and burst into our room where I tripped over my bags and fell flat on my face! Will I never learn?
As I picked myself up, I could hear Bairn scuttling about. I looked up and saw her, although fully dressed, lying on her bed again. She looked flushed and was fussing over the covers.
"Bairn!" I exclaimed. "Have you been there all morning? I thought you had a lecture!"
"Uhm. Yes. I know, but I ... uhm ... I didn't feel well. I'm too tired."
Bairn is good at many things, but not lying. My suspicions rose and that's when I noticed that she had grown an extra foot over the course of the morning. Either that or there was someone else hidden under the bedclothes because there were definitely three booted feet there. Suddenly embarrassed, I wondered if I had interrupted something, but there was no loose clothing lying around, and Bairn and I had always had an agreement about entertaining in our room. It was always by prior arrangement and she would never break that agreement.
It could only be that whoever it was, she didn't want me to know. So who was it? Wickedly, I grabbed the edge of the blanket and flipped it up into the air. I laughed loudly as it ballooned in front of me, but as it came to settle, my mouth dropped in awe.
Splayed across Bairn, fully clothed but nonetheless in a somewhat compromising position was Rutter!
Bairn tutted and rolled her eyes at me.
"Thank you, Jen!" she shouted angrily. Rutter, meanwhile, buried his face in her pillow.
"Oh! I see you've finally got on top of your xenophobia then?" The words just rolled out of my mouth.
I've never had to run so fast in my entire life! Bairn can really move. And Rutter, he just laughed!

Log Entry 130323.54

Bairn and I had always known that her experiments would be controversial, and doubly so with this final one. But the opportunity to undertake this last ambitious test was simply one not to be missed. Seeing as I had to face Urtok anyway, it might as well have served a purpose; no point getting beaten to a pulp for nothing.
It was no surprise therefore that I was summoned to the Dean's Office after the contest. After all, I had effectively cheated, but I wasn't going alone. Bairn, Dr Morris and, most surprising of all, Rutter were coming along too.
Freshly showered and bathed in the scent of fresh lavender (Bairn had discovered this helped to counteract the effects of her pheromone technology), we arrived at his office and entered. I was feeling a little sick and muggy-headed from Bairn's concoctions but was adamant that I wasn't going to let it show.
Inside were the Dean, seven other senior staff members including Professor Jarrod, and Urtok. A tenth chair next to the Dean remained empty. As we filed in and stood before the board, the Dean looked up and scowled, a little confused as to why there were so many of us. We lined up and stood to attention, except for Dr Morris. She smiled at us: a small, soft, reassuring smile, and then claimed her place in the tenth chair. It piqued my curiosity.
"You're late, Philippa," mumbled the Dean.
"On the contrary, Charles. I was exactly where I needed to be."
Suddenly, I was getting the feeling there was more going on here than I knew about.
"This meeting is in session," declared the Dean. "Cadet Terran—" but he didn't get to finish.
"Oh now, Charles. I really don't think we should make this official," said Dr Morris softly. It was a statement rather than a suggestion, at which the Dean gawped at her. He too was beginning to suspect there was more to this than met the eye.
"I take it you have an explanation then," said the Dean dryly, and Dr Morris beamed him an all-knowing smile before turning to Urtok.
"How are you feeling?" she asked.
To be frank, he didn't look that good. Like myself, he was nursing a headache and was rather pale. Urtok growled quietly at Dr Morris and then turned to me.
"What did you do to me?" he demanded, his voice surprisingly frail.
I threw him one of my humble, 'sorry' smiles.
"She beat you, Urtok!" declared Dr Morris triumphantly.
"Yes, I know that, but how? What weapon did she use?"
"Precisely!" said the Dean. "T'Ker Chan does not permit the use of weapons—"
"But the rules of T'Ker Chan do state that 'with both parties evenly matched through handicapping, the use of guile, cunning and expertise will be the winner's road to victory'. Those are the weapons that Terran used."
Urtok sighed deeply. I got the impression he was eager to be away so that he could nurse his head. He turned to me and motioned with his hand that I should explain.
"This is a very long story, so I beg your indulgence." It was my subtle way of saying 'please keep it shut until I'm done', and seeing as my future at Starfleet could depend upon the outcome of this, I thought it best to be polite.
"It all started when Bairn and I realised that as an Orion, she could never have a proper career with Starfleet. She would be too distracting to her comrades and thus a severe liability. The question then arose as to whether she could become as mundane as a Human to males, and thus have the career she so desperately seeks. She was already taking pheromone suppressants, but they have a limited effect and can induce nausea, so we experimented with mannerisms and appearance. Shortly after our experiments began, we had to confide in Dr Morris."
All eyes turned to her and Dr Morris smiled at me again, encouraging me to continue.
"Dr Morris was kept abreast of our work and could have vetoed the project at any time. Everything was fully documented and as a result of our tests we were able to prove that yes, males can function normally in the presence of an Orion female. Full details regarding this will be in Bairn's end of year paper, but as a result of this experimentation, we wondered if the reverse was also possible. Could a Human become as alluring as an Orion?
"Further research by Bairn indicated yes, but we couldn't prove it without one final experiment. We devised a suitable test but Dr Morris forbade it. She said it pushed the boundaries too far so that was that ... until Urtok challenged me."
"Yes, he was the one that challenged you," interrupted Bairn.
"Does it matter who challenged who?" snapped the Dean.
A little alarm bell began to ring inside my head.
"Anyway, with the challenge, which I couldn't possibly hope to win, it changed things. We spoke again with Dr Morris who then approved our final experiment. This would prove that by tweaking Human pheromones, you can reproduce the Orion effect. Not that I recommend it. I don't feel too good myself," I added, looking sympathetically at Urtok.
"Without going into the technical data, the doctored Human pheromones are released through sweat. It was thus essential that I perspired heavily; the heavier the better; so I had taken something to encourage that too. The result, as you know, was that Urtok succumbed to those pheromones and that I did indeed win."
"But you cheated," said the Dean sternly.
"Uhm, yes and no." I sounded uncertain. "It depends how you view it."
I could tell they weren't impressed by that statement so I continued.
"Captain James T Kirk cheated at the Kobayashi Maru test. He reprogrammed the scenario to turn his no-win situation into one that he could win. What we did was no different. We used the tools we had available to us to turn, what was undoubtedly an event I could never have won, into one that I could. Our only weapon was our guile: a weapon allowed under the rules of T'Ker Chan."
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Urtok beginning to grin. He raised a hand to cover his mouth but it was too late. I had seen it.
"As far as I can see, all I did was comply with precedent and the only party that suffered from this was Urtok to whom I would apologise if he weren't a Klingon. As it is, it would be inappropriate."
Urtok huffed in agreement.
"A Klingon would never apologise for a win," he said. The rest of the board sat silently.
"Of course," began Dr Morris. "There is the other side to this."
The Dean cleared his throat noisily and shuffled uncomfortably in his chair.
"Yes, well. I don't think we need to go into that here," he mumbled.
"I think we do."
"But not in front of the cadets."
"Why not? Ensign Rutter knows all about it. What makes you think the cadets aren't going to find out about it sooner or later?"
There was some more shuffling in seats and whispering in hushed tones. After a few minutes, the board recomposed itself. The Dean wiped his brow and leaned forward over the desk. He rested his head on his chin and stared at us for several minutes as he considered. Then he sat up.
"Yes, this is a bit of a cock-up, isn't it?" and he smiled.
I gasped at his new cavalier attitude. He seemed both amused and annoyed at the same time.
"Ms Terran, you are a bane! You have an uncanny knack for fouling up people's plans."
Confused, Bairn and I glanced at each other, but neither of us had an answer.
The Dean sighed deeply and continued.
"There has been much debate as to whether Development Program students should undergo the infamous psych test. The argument against it was that many of our DP students will have already faced great fears and adversarial situations that would have tested their mettle. Making them face their own so-called 'greatest fear' seemed a little melodramatic as our greatest fears are often the smallest of things. In support of the argument was the premise that it seemed unfair for DP students to forgo that dreaded test. We decided, not unanimously I might add, that DP students should face the test, so we set one up for you.
"Our evaluation told us that you fear situations where violence threatens you. You have a very small stature and are unlikely to win any fight with your complete lack of combat skills. You also have issues respecting people that you consider contemptuous."
He wasn't wrong there, but I could have told him that.
"So we set up a little sting for you. Ensign Rutter here, whom you quite openly despise, was going to become involved in an altercation with some other cadets over his xenophobic tendencies. It was to become a physical altercation, only lightly so but physical nonetheless, and he was to be on the losing end. You were supposed to witness this whole fracas and intervene, thus coming face to face with the threat of violence as well as having to stick up for someone you despise. It would have been interesting to see just how deep your morals ran. Would you stick up for him—the underdog in this scenario—and risk harm to yourself, or would you turn your back?"
Boy! Their evaluation was good! Spot on, in fact.
"And it should have gone very nicely ... but you decided differently, didn't you?"
"I did?" I exclaimed, screwing up my nose in confusion.
"Yes, cadet. Because when you entered the Mess Hall and found him sitting alone, you walked up to Ensign Rutter and apologised! You weren't supposed to do that. Weeks of rehearsals and planning flushed down the toilet because of that."
He shook his head again.
"So then we had to think again. We wanted to know how you would react when faced with violence ..."
"Oh!" I exclaimed. Suddenly I got it. "The incident in the lift! It was a set-up!"
"Yes, and you were supposed to worm, or squirm, or whatever, your way out of the situation. Every indication stated that is what you would do. The last thing that was supposed to happen was for the challenge of T'Ker Chan to actually take place."
The Dean buried his head in his hands, and as I looked along the row of faces that made up the committee, I could see a mixture of amusement and ... was that shame I could detect?
"So it seems we have all learned some lessons here today. At least I hope so. I certainly have, but what about you Ms Terran. What have you learned from this?"
"That the best laid plans of mice and men ...?"
Urtok burst into deep, raucous laughter and a number of the other professors showed amusement too.
"Indeed, Cadet Terran, indeed," mused the Dean. "And as the custodians of the Academy, we must be more thorough in our planning and perhaps a little more moral.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I fear some of us may have become so obsessed in testing Ms Terran that we lost sight of the objective. We pushed aside our responsibility for her welfare just to prove a point. We should not have let the match take place but unfortunately, by that time, Urtok was also committed. For him to have backed down would have meant a loss of face for him. We placed both of these people in an impossible position. We manufactured this situation and this problem and thus, I for one would suggest that we learn from this, put the matter aside and move on. Do I hear any objections?"
I was dumbfounded by that speech. It was so magnanimous and suddenly, I held the Dean in very high regard. The Academy had made a blunder and as the head of the Academy, he took responsibility for that error. That is a man to admire: Charles Lorian Tucker.
As for objections, there were none.

Log Entry 130316.53

I still couldn't believe that the Academy was going to allow this, but they were. In fact, they had organised it as a bona-fide sporting event.
As I walked into the arena, the crowds, although small, roared. I still wasn't sure I wanted to do this, but this wasn't just about me any more. It was about Bairn too.
My heart was beating loudly in my ears, so loud I swear Rutter, Bairn and Dr Morris who were walking behind me could have heard it too.
The crowd hollered again and I turned to see Urtok enter the arena. I swallowed hard. He looked as intimidating as ever.
Dressed in the garb of T'Ker Chan, his black jumpsuit was subtly equipped to handicap him in the competition. It fit him snugly, covering him from head to toe and leaving only his hands and face exposed. It emphasised his incredible physique with its black sheen, and was not only reminiscent of a Borg but equally as chilling.
As for myself, not needing any handicapping, my suit consisted of formal exercise wear: a light, v-necked jumpsuit with short-sleeves. This was just as well because, for this to work, I needed as much of my flesh exposed as possible.
I turned to Bairn and saw her bite her lip anxiously. None of us knew if this would work.
The horn sounded to summon the competitors to the centre of the ring. Ten metres across, it is marked like a target with a centre spot and two rings. One marks the ten-meter boundary, the 'fight zone', and all combat must stay within this area. The inner circle, the 'greet zone', is where the competitors meet and stare-down before the bout begins. In addition to that, a line runs from one side to the other. Called the Chan, this is the line upon which the competitors start each bout ensuring they are on opposite sides of the ring.
I didn't really hear the referee as he reminded us of the rules: one round only, one pinfall to win.
We stood in the greet zone and stared-down ... or in my case, stared-up. Urtok towered above me, glaring with his huge, black Klingon eyes. It was hard to resist the urge to blink.
The bell sounded and we backed off along the Chan to the outer ring. At the second bell, we stepped forward into the fight zone and began to circle. The battle had begun.
Despite his handicapping, the speed at which Urtok moved took me by surprise. He flew across the zone and punched out, smacking me hard in the face. It felt like I'd been hit with a baseball bat, and the force sent me sprawling onto my back. Quickly I swivelled onto my feet, but my senses were reeling and the room spinning before my eyes. I had already vowed that with my inexperience and lack of expertise in hand-to-hand combat, I'd take no more than five blows and then, if I hadn't achieved my objective, I would throw the match, feigning delirium if necessary. After that first blow though, I doubted I'd have to feign anything.
Back on my feet, we circled again. I could feel something wet trickling down the side of my face. Blood no doubt, but I ignored it. As he lashed out again, thanks to Rutter's tutoring, I was able to dodge, throwing myself onto the floor and rolling, but this was not what I needed. I had to avoid the blows, yes, but more importantly, I needed close physical contact.
I stepped closer, looking for an opening. Urtok struck out again, with his foot this time but I dodged it, feeling only the draught as it sailed through the air above my head. Twice more he aimed blows at me, and both times I dodged them. Sweat was beginning to form on my back. I could feel it moistening my clothes, dampening my skin.
He lunged forward, grabbed my arm, swung me around and picked me up by the waist, lifting me high like a puling child. He laughed heartily and then released me just enough to allow me to slip through his hands so that he could grab me around the waist and squeeze the life out of me.
As the air was pressed out of my lungs, I chopped down with both hands into the sides of his neck, but he just laughed at the effort. It should have made contact with a nerve and prompted my release, but either I missed or his neck was so thickly muscled that my blows failed to strike deep enough, so I grabbed his ears and twisted. I knew it would cause little damage, but I also knew how annoying it would be. Sure enough, he released his grip, eager to be free of the silly nuisance and we scuffled like a couple of daft schoolboys on the floor, neither able to get a firm grip on the other.
An iron fist struck out and smacked me in the upper chest. A shaft of sheer pain shot through my body and a further blow knocked me clean off my feet.
Gasping for breath, I clambered from my knees, shakily rising to my feet. My sweaty palms slipped on the floor and sent me sprawling again. And then, as I looked up, I saw it! My opportunity!
I shot forward, leapt up, grabbed Urtok around the neck and wrapped my legs around his waist. As I locked my ankles behind his back, surprise registered on his face; it was such a peculiar tactic.
I felt Urtok's cool hands upon my hot, sweaty shoulders. He guffawed and threw me off with ease, hurling me across the arena.
Exhausted, I lifted my head, uncertain if I could continue ... but then I saw Urtok and knew I could.
He stood with his head held high, his mouth slightly open, tasting the air like a cat.
That's it, Urtok. Breathe it in, breathe it in deep, I thought.
After a few moments, Urtok dropped his head, lifted his hands and looked at them, confused. He was floundering. His mental processes were becoming fuddled and distracted. He stared at his hands for a few moments and then cupped them around his nose to savour the scent fully. And then he slowly and meticulously licked my sweat off his palms.
Gotcha! I thought, and hurled myself at him.
As I hit him, he offered no resistance. Under my body slam, he toppled like a caber, landing with me on his chest, and as we hit the deck, the whole world seemed to slow down.
I saw the dust bounce off the floor, rising into the air and then slowly settling again. As I lifted my head and looked down at Urtok, I saw total bewilderment on his face and a glazed look in his eyes.
I felt his strong hands, slide up my back and take hold of my hair. His fingers knitted themselves into it. His eyes were dilated and his mouth ajar. Deftly, he slid me higher up his body and pulled my face down, closer towards his before burying his face into the nape of my neck. There, he noisily took in deep gasps of air. Suddenly I was wondering if this was such a good idea ...
Like a huge wake-up call, the horn sounded blasting away any illusion of slow time. Whoops and hollers bellowed around the arena also breaking the moment, but I was almost as confused as Urtok ... and then I realised. It was one pinfall to win ... and I had it!
In my distraction, I hadn't realised just how long I'd had Urtok pinned to the floor. Delight filled me, but I had just one problem: an oversized Klingon nuzzling at my neck.
Clumsily, I managed to pull myself free from Urtok who remained stupefied on the floor. His eyes were foggy and half closed as he rolled over and struggled onto his hands and knees. That's where I left him.
I climbed down from the ring and fell into Bairn's arms, exhausted. She was ecstatic with joy and hugged me warmly.
"You did it, Jen! You did it!" she cried.
But I hadn't done it at all. Bairn had, with her pheromone technology. She had already proven that an Orion could become as mundane as a Human. This final test proved that by tweaking Human pheromones, the reverse could also be applied. A Terran could become as intoxicating as an Orion slave girl.
But now we have to face the consequences ... and so does the Academy ...

Log Entry 130309.52

I didn't sleep much at all last night. Not surprising really. The challenge is weighing heavily on my mind. How could I have let myself be drawn into a folly as grand as this? And what sort of handicap could possibly begin to even up the odds in a match between a fragile Human female and a robust, giant Klingon warrior?

In the end, I got up and researched it and what I found was quite interesting.

The challenge will follow the rules of T'Ker Chan. It sounds like a Klingon term but it's not. It actually comes from much further afield and refers to a sporting event where aliens of different species engage in combat. Due to their varying weights and sizes, each opponent is handicapped via a field (very much like the personal forcefields used by the Borg) so that they are equally matched with regard to weight and strength. The victor will thus be the competitor with the most ability.

Obviously, that is not going to save me. I have little expertise or experience in combat, so I needed to find out more about the challenge I had inadvertently made. For instance, who was my opponent?

It turns out his name is Urtok. He was a formidable Warrior with a long list of victories attached to his name, but is now a Master in hand-to-hand combat and teaches those arts at a Klingon training academy. His visit here is to exchange ideas and methods, and also to help expand the understanding between Humans and Klingons. I couldn't have picked a more formidable foe if I had tried.

As to the combat, there will be no weapons. It will be physical combat only by whatever means. All arts are legal: wrestling, kickboxing, martial arts. Teeth and claws, however, are banned.

Eventually, I crawled back into bed and finally nodded off about an hour before the alarm went off. I dressed, grabbed a bit of breakfast and then set off in search of Rutter. After all, he is my mentor.

I eventually found him in the library. I approached him quietly.

"Rutter, can I have a word please?" I whispered.

He looked up from his datapad and grinned wickedly at me.

"You've heard then," I said.

"Indeed, I have," he replied, relish rich in his voice.

I sat down opposite him.

"I need your help."

"You do?"

"Yes. I've checked your record and you are well skilled in hand-to-hand combat. Gold medallist three years running in jiu-jitsu and two silvers in judo."


"I need you to teach me some moves."

"What for?" he sounded sceptical.

"The challenge, of course!" I replied rather derisively.

His eyes boggled.

"You're not going to meet the challenge!" he exclaimed and was instantly hushed by the librarian. I leaned closer to him and whispered.

"I don't have a choice."

"You could decline to fight."

"Don't be stupid, Rutter. If I did that, I'd be a complete mockery. I'd be ridiculed by every Klingon alive and would be a liability on any mission involving Klingons. It would severely handicap my career."

He said nothing. He knew I was right, but he also knew what I was asking was completely irrational.

"Okay, so let's say I taught you a few moves. Do you really think you can learn enough about hand-to-hand combat in just a couple of days to beat this Urtok with his years of training and experience?"

I grinned triumphantly at him.

"Oh yes, because I have something he doesn't."

"Really? And what's that? Stupidity?"

"No. Guile."

Log Entry 130302.51

My time at the Academy is drawing to a close and while I'm looking forward to seeing Al, Luke and the others again, I know I shall miss Bairn dreadfully. Her spell here is also nearly over, and by the time I return for my second stint at the Academy, she will have graduated and been assigned to some wonderful new posting. We'll keep in touch, of course, and hopefully our paths will cross again from time to time.
I've learned so much since I have been here. I would never have guessed just how much. It's not all about academia though. Now I can see just how appallingly I behaved on the Drakonia at times and appreciate the importance of control and decorum. We are ambassadors for Starfleet and we have standards to set and maintain. It's not purely for etiquette either. Tackling things in a calm and composed manner avoids rash and unwise decisions. It averts disasters.
Shame I didn't heed my own advice earlier today then because this has got to be marked up as one of my biggest catastrophes ever. I let personal feelings get in the way of what should have been a non-event, and let my stupid, crazy side take over.
I had attended an evening lecture which was very worthwhile, but that meant I didn't leave the lecture hall until after ten o'clock. I was on my way back to my quarters, quite shattered and ready for bed. So, with the lecture hall being on the fifth floor and feeling a little idle, I decided to take the lift down to the ground floor. Usually, I avoid lifts on the premise that I have a perfectly good pair of legs, but I was exhausted so decided to spoil myself. I wish I hadn't.
As I got into the lift, I was still straightening my notes and things, so didn't really look where I was going. The result was that I walked straight into the one person that was already in the lift.
"Oops! Sorry!" I chirped cheerily, but as I looked up, I felt the colour drain from my face.
Level with my nose was a man's belt buckle, and as my eyes lifted higher and higher, they climbed the garb of a Klingon warrior. So high my eyes had to climb, I thought I was going to get a crick in my neck. This was no ordinary Klingon warrior! This chap towered—I mean towered, not like Captain Burrows who was a real bull of a man, but like a skyscraper above me! His head nearly touched the ceiling. I'm not kidding, he was over eight feet tall and as wide as two men put together!
So what's wrong with that, you're asking. Well, I'll admit this to you now in the firm knowledge that it can go no further, but I hate tall people—no, that's not right ... I hate the tallness of tall people. I'm a little bit Dirrian in that respect, but I tend to find them intimidating. They tower over me and look down on me even if they don't mean to. It probably doesn't help that whenever I was picked on as a child, it was always by taller and larger people who belittled my short stature with snide 'shortist' remarks.
Anyway, he looked down at me with menacing eyes so deep and dark, they were like chasms, and as I stood on the edge of them, I felt I was being swallowed up, their blackness enveloping me.
A lump rose in my throat. My mouth became dry and I tried to swallow but couldn't, and then he growled at me. Not a thundering roar, I'll grant you, but as it emanated from his belly, I felt his displeasure reverberate through me.
I felt nauseous and managed a ragged gulp.
"What are you looking at?" he growled, his tone menacing and challenging.
Without engaging my brain, I spoke just one word.
"You." It was said completely without expression but I might just have well have called him a Denebian slime devil.
He bent down to me, pushing his face into mine, his eyes goggling wide in rage.
"I find hu-mans," he stretched the work out like a Ferengi, "particularly feeble, but you have to be the most puny specimen I have ever come across."
Suddenly, that little monster inside of me, the one that refuses to be trodden on, reared its ugly head, splitting away from the sane part of me. Now there were two familiar little voices in my head, each one contradicting the other.
One is sane and sensible and keeps telling me to shut up and get out of there as quickly as possible. The other is like a rabid dog trying to savage his manly parts while hurling abuse, spitting and punching at him.
Guess which side won.
"Your stature is hardly normal, even for a Klingon, so I expect you'll find everybody puny, regardless of species."
As the words fell out of my mouth, my sane side wailed in horror and begged me to be silent. The crazy side, though, was having none of it.
The Klingon said nothing. His eyes narrowed as he glared at me.
"I wonder," I continued, my sane side screaming at me to shut up, but the crazy person egging me on. "If you ever met anybody your own size, would you be so brave and insulting?" and I cocked my head on one side and threw him one of my most demeaning scowls.
He burst out into a hard, forced laugh, throwing his head back as he did so. Suddenly, he lunged forward pushing his face into mine again.
"My size is only outweighed by my skill," he spat. "Even in a handicapped match, I'd still annihilate everyone and anything. I am, and will always, remain undefeated!"
"So you claim, but talk is cheap," I quipped.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! screamed the sane voice inside my head.
"Ha! So you're challenging me!" he boomed and laughed even harder. "So be it. A handicapped match it is. Unfortunately, I cannot oblige today. I have ... matters ... to attend to; but in three days time, I shall be returning and then ... the Academy has an excellent arena to host such a contest."
The doors slid open, the Klingon exited and my jaw fell slack as my belongings slipped from my hands and crashed to the floor.
Can someone please explain to me how I managed to challenge an eight-foot Klingon to a fight? Better still, can someone tell me how to get out of it?
Oh, what on Earth am I going to do?