Log Entry 141025.121

Just a few hours later and it was time to get up. Not a problem for me, having had such an early night, but Lizzy was dead to the world!
I gave her a nudge when I first rose and was greeted with a sleepy grunt. I noticed, to my disgust, that she looked as perfect as she did before she went to bed. Her long, dark hair was draped elegantly over the pillow, every strand laid perfectly next to its neighbour in a smooth sheet of velvet, and her central parting still as straight as a die. Why can I never wake up like that? Why do I always look like I've been dragged through a hedge backwards?
Anyway, I showered and cleaned my teeth before the second nudge, which got no better response, so I dried my hair and donned a uniform before the third and final nudge. By this time, I'd left it as long as I could. If I delayed any longer, I was going to be late too and I wasn't prepared to risk that; not on my first day back at the Academy.
Lizzy groaned loudly.
"Leave me alone," she grumbled.
"You're going to be late."
"I'm always late because I don't do morning lessons."
"Don't be daft. We all do morning lessons, and you'll never graduate if you skip them."
"I don't care. Leave me alone," and she turned over, burying her head deep under the bedclothes.
"No, Lizzy! Come on!" and I pulled the covers back.
She sat up rudely and growled at me, "And this is just what they want! Just go away and leave me alone," she said, snatching the covers back from me and throwing herself back under the covers.
"They? Who are they?" I asked, but Lizzy’s response was to bury her head further under the pillow, finally ruffling her silky hair.
"I said, who are they?" more loudly.
"Argh!" she bellowed angrily and sat up again to glare at me. "Later! I'll tell you later! But you need to sort yourself out and get out of here. Forget about me!" and with that she tunnelled back, ever deeper, under the bedclothes. I stared at the bump buried deep in the warmth and comfort of the blankets for a moment and then resolved that I had done all that I could. Lizzy was not my responsibility so I collected my things for the morning's lessons and left.
I was doing well for time though, so could afford to grab a coffee in the cafeteria before my first lesson. I headed for the lift, organising my stuff on the way. The lift doors opened and I stepped in, but immediately, a feeling of déjà vue swept over me. I was staring at the chest of a huge Klingon warrior. I grinned.
"Let's be perfectly clear about this, Urtok. I am NOT challenging you to anything."
The Klingon let out a raucous laugh that filled the elevator.
"It is good to see you again, Jenny Terran!" he boomed.
I looked up into his warm, dark eyes, smiling back at him.
"It's good to see you too," and I genuinely was pleased to see him.
"Excellent! Then you'll be delighted to hear that I've saved you a place on my callisthenics class this evening!"
I screwed my face up. An extra class was the last thing I needed. One where I’d get beaten up, even less so.
"Aw! Thank you but—"
"No buts. It's not an option," he boomed, grinning from ear to ear.
I grinned back, pulled out my datapad and began to cheerily explain.
"On the contrary, it's clearly marked as an optional class on my timetable.”
His big hands reached over and pulled the pad from my hands. He bent down to me so that our noses nearly touched and whispered.
"My dear, it is NOT an option. If ever you were to combat a Klingon without the aid of Bairn's potions, you'd lose at the first blow. Now, what would that say about me, the great Urtok, who fell at your hand. You must learn to defend yourself if only to save my honour."
Urtok was smiling, but behind that smile I could see that he was deadly serious. Klingon honour had taken many a Klingon to an early grave. Maybe I should have been intimidated, but I knew Urtok so despite his tone, I merely smiled.
"Okay," I conceded, "but go easy on me. I'm just a flimsy Human after all."
A broad, satisfied smile spread across his face again that reached into his eyes.
"Excellent. I will make a warrior of you yet!"

Log Entry 141019.120

I hadn't realised I had dozed off until I awoke with a start. Disorientated and confused, it took me a moment to remember where I was, and it was late. I checked the time. It was 4:30am, so what had disturbed me?
"Sorry," someone whispered loudly. "I tried not to wake you."
I sat up and peered in the direction of the voice. The lights were off but moonlight flooded through the window above my bed and illuminated the shadowy figure that stood in the doorway to the bathroom. I turned the lights on, immediately recoiling under their brilliance. As my eyes adjusted, I was startled by what I saw.
I hadn't considered what Cadet Elizabeth Buffalo might look like, but I wasn't expecting this. Before me stood an incredibly beautiful, slender woman immaculately presented in a stunning, black, sequined cocktail dress. With its rag-line hem, soft chiffon and her bare feet, (she had kicked her shoes off) it gave her a gypsy air. She had perfect, ebony hair that cascaded over her shoulders like a curtain of soft, dark velvet, and caramel coloured skin so flawless it could have been formed from porcelain. Her eyebrows, no doubt plucked daily, were even and clearly defined—not too thin and not too thick, and her makeup, so light and perfectly applied that she could have been on her way out for the evening, not just returning. There was also something vaguely familiar about her. I knew her from somewhere, but I was damned if I could remember from where. Her speckled, hazelnut eyes sparkled with life and beamed at me warmly.
"Sorry," she repeated. "I did try not to make a noise."
"S'okay," I muttered. "I'm Jenny Terran by the way," as if she didn't already know that, and held out my hand.
She hurried over to me and shook it, seemingly relieved.
"Lizzy Buffalo," she beamed. "But you have lessons in the morning. You should go back to sleep," she advised, her eyes scanning my uniform.
Ah, yes. I had fallen asleep in my clothes. I laughed weakly.
"I think I need to get ready for bed first."
We both laughed politely at that and then got ready for bed. I couldn't help but notice that when Lizzy took off her dress, she didn't throw it onto the floor as I had supposed she would. No. She opened her wardrobe, took out a coat hanger and hung it up, fussing over the folds as she did so. I caught a glimpse of the rest of her attire. A long, neat row of gorgeous evening and cocktail dresses far outnumbered the three uniforms at the end. I didn't see much more as she closed the doors and disappeared into the bathroom, so I got into my own pyjamas and hung my uniform up, not that I'd be wearing that one tomorrow. It was far too creased.
I needed to clean my teeth next, but Lizzy was still in the bathroom. The door was open though and all was quiet. I approached the door.
Lizzy was standing over the sink, staring at it pensively. She looked sad, deeply sad.
"Is there something wrong?" I asked.
She looked up. Her brow was deeply furrowed with concern.
"I'm sorry that you've been dragged into this. It's not fair on you," and her gaze returned to the sink. I approached to see what she was looking at.
The sink—the one I had cleaned—was now freshly spattered with toothpaste, and Lizzy seemed mesmerised by it. Was I missing something? Or did she have a screw loose?
"Um," I finally ventured. "Is there something significant about the sink?"
"It's symbolic," she declared and pursed her lips.
"Yes. I'm debating if I should clean it. I don't want to—and I didn't have to when it was just me, but you're here now ... so it seems they have won this round."
She flicked the tap on high and water whooshed out violently. With a flick of her hand, she rinsed all the toothpaste away and then took a cloth and dried the sink and surrounding areas, leaving them pristinely clean. My mind boggled with confusion. I looked at Lizzy seeking answers, but all I could glean was that she was deeply troubled.
"As I say, I'm sorry. You shouldn't have been dragged into this. It's not your problem," and she turned and went to her bed. She climbed in and drew the covers tightly up to her chin.
"What's not my problem?" I asked, standing over her.
"It's late. You need your sleep and I need mine."
"What's not my problem?" I insisted.
"Tomorrow. We'll talk tomorrow," and with that, she turned over leaving me to stare at her back. But she was right. It was late and I did need my sleep, so I climbed into bed and turned the light out.

Log Entry 141012.119

We ended up having a really great afternoon. Elisha, Bobby, Farrah and Ingrid soon lost their awe of me, but only after I told them a few of my gaffs and they shared a few of theirs. Then they told me a bit more about Elizabeth Buffalo. I must admit, I was filled with dread as I approached my quarters. Were they exaggerating? They must be, surely. The door whooshed open and all was revealed.
The quarters were more than ample for two people and almost symmetrical in their design with a large open space in the middle where, if the carpet had been a little cleaner, one could happily have practised yoga or Klingon moQbara. It seemed relatively tidy, but my eye picked up on certain telltale signs that Elizabeth's reputation was earned.
For instance, both beds were made up, but badly. I pulled the covers gently back on each bed to confirm my suspicions and found the sheets were rumpled and creased. Both had definitely been slept in—and one was supposed to be mine, but which one? Whichever it was, I would be changing it before I slept in it.
To help me work out which side of the room I should take, I began to study the furniture. With two wardrobes, two chests of drawers and two study areas, one should have been free for me. One was certainly clear of personal items, but not quite what I'd call free.
The set on the right-hand side of the room, furthest from the window had every surface rammed with stuff onto it. It looked as though Bessy had hurriedly stacked everything onto the shelves in responses for my arrival, but there was no order to it. Data pads, old fashioned paper books, boxes and clothing were all intermingled.
The other set on the left-hand side of the room, which benefited from being nearest the window, was free from clutter, but as I ran my finger over the surface, it was sticky and dirty.
The conclusion was obvious. Bessy had taken full advantage of having the quarters to herself and filled every inch of it. My arrival had meant a hasty retreat to one side of the room and a tidy up.
Needing to clean the counter tops before I could do anything, I went into the bathroom to look for a cloth to discover that her tidying hadn't extended that far. Toothpaste smeared the sink and taps (had she actually spat on them?), shampoo and soap daubed the shower cubicle glass, towels lay in a heap in the corner, and the mirrors were splattered with water, soap stains and toothpaste too.
I grabbed a towel from the floor, rinsed it through and wrung it out before returning to the bedroom and wiping down my furniture. To my disgust, I even had to do the inside of the drawers and the wardrobe. The discarded pizza box with a slice of fossilised, mouldy pizza still in it on the top shelf of the wardrobe was vile but, thankfully, so aged, it was beyond smelling.
It took me over two hours to tidy the bathroom and my area. I remembered Tez and how messy he'd been when he'd shared a room with Rutter. Poor Rutter had spent so much time tidying up after Tez, but Tez had done it on purpose, to wind Rutter up. This, on the other hand, wasn't done maliciously. Bessy was just messy.
I changed the bed, which definitely needed it and cleaned a very strange, sticky mess off the carpet near my bed. Finally, I took the laundry down for recycling. Then and only then, could I unpack and settle in.
As I put my things away, I began to wonder why I had cleaned everything on my side of the room. I didn't need all that space. I only had three uniforms to fill my wardrobe, an equal amount of civive clothing and barely enough underwear to fill one drawer. I still travelled light.
My chores completed, I lay on the bed staring up into the dusky sky and pondered the next three months. I had a feeling this was going to be a long semester and not half as much fun as the last one.

Log Entry 141005.118

As a child raised in care, you get moved around a lot. You don't establish ties or links to places or people because you're never anywhere long enough. You begin to avoid creating such bonds as they hurt too much every time you have to let go. That's why it surprised me so much when I saw the Academy and was filled with the warm glow of familiarity and fond memories.
It didn't take long to sign in and get my lesson plan and quarters assigned. I remembered some of the hoo-ha from last time so knew what to look out for, and then I made my way to my new quarters for the next three months. This time I would be sharing with a second year student called Elizabeth Buffalo. On the way, I passed the Academy cafeteria and heard my tummy growl. I had skipped breakfast so the last time I had eaten was the previous day; my stomach had every right to complain, it being well into mid-afternoon. I had just decided to indulge in a late lunch when a voice squealed in delight at me.
It was lovable Beryl, the 'dinner lady'. We greeted and hugged. I hadn't realised how much I'd missed Beryl either until that moment. She made the most wonderful cookies and cakes and always made sure one was set on one side for me and Bairn last time I was here.
"Why I swear you've grown up since I last saw you! Are you taller?"
"Don't be daft, Beryl. I'm twenty-four years old. I'm not getting any taller now."
"Just wiser, aye?" and she winked at me.
"Doubt it."
"Don't give me that. I've heard all about your little adventures. Quite the heroine, aren't we?"
I shuddered at the thought of notoriety.
"Awe! Don't look so down, Jen. A little bit of fame never did anyone any harm. I'm sure you'll turn it to your advantage at some time or another."
I scowled harder. I had no intention of using my reputation as leverage for anything.
I deposited my bags under a nearby table and we sat and chatted some more before I ordered the special: tagliatelle with chicken, asparagus and mushrooms served in a white wine sauce and sauté potatoes, followed by syrup sponge pudding loaded with custard. It was delish!
I sat alone as I ate, but I didn't mind. It gave me a chance to gather my thoughts. I smacked my lips with satisfied pleasure having downed the last of my pudding and dabbed my mouth on my napkin. My! What manners I have learned, and I smiled to myself.
My thoughts were interrupted by a couple of Academy students walking past. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw them point at me and laugh, hiding their mouths behind cupped hands. Instinctively, I looked down, thinking I must have spilt some sauce on my top, but no, I was quite clean.
Brushing the incident aside, I got up, collected my things together and made my way out of the cafeteria, passing the two students on the way, although now there were four of them. As I passed, my ears picked up on two words, Messy Bessy.
I disappeared behind a partition, but doubled back, my curiosity piqued. What bad habits I'd picked up too: listening in on conversations!
"You don't know, she might like sharing a room with her!" I heard one of them say.
"What! Messy Bessy! Get real! She lives like a pig!"
"Maybe Terran does too."
"No way! She's a serving Ensign on board a starship. She'll have things as neat and tidy as a new pin ..." but her words trailed off. I had crept out from behind the partition and they were now fully aware of my presence as I leaned over the first girl's shoulder.
"For the record, I'm not an Ensign. I'm just a Cadet, 3rd Class like yourselves," I said, indicating the pips on my collar. "Now," and I threw my arms around the shoulders of two of the girls, snaring them. "Let me get you a coffee and you can tell me all about it."
As I swept them back into the cafeteria, their two companions made a dash for it.
"Grab my bags for me will you?" I chirped merrily at them, but they knew it wasn't a request. I sounded just like T'Roc. Something else, it seems I have learned.
We all sat at a table, the four of them looking a little uncomfortable. The coffee came and Beryl winked at me.
"Would you like some cookies with that?" she asked.
"Thank you, Beryl. That would be lovely."
A few moments later, she returned with a plate of the biscuits and set them down. I picked up one of them and bit into it. It was delicious! With that perfect texture of crumbliness and chewiness, it melted in the mouth and the white chocolate only added to the pleasure.
"Help yourselves," I said.
With almost military precision each member grabbed a cookie and took a bite. They looked so guilt-ridden, I couldn't help but giggle.
"Honestly, if you could see your faces," I quipped.
The first girl looked up at me, bewilderment in her eyes.
"For goodness sake," I assured them. "I'm a 3rd Class cadet, just like you. The only difference is I'm physically a bit older than you. Inside though, I'm just the same. I'll make ... I do make the same sort of daft, stupid, adolescent mistakes that you do. The only difference is that I am making them a little later in life. Call me a late starter if you want. So chill, enjoy your coffee and cookie and tell me who you are. I'm Jenny Terran by the way, but you know that," and I cocked my head on one side expectedly.
"Elisha McFadden."
"Bobby Helmond."
"Farrah Bel-Williams."
"Ingrid Sellia."
That was it. Nothing more was volunteered.
"I take it you've not taken the Academy course on social situations yet then?"
"There's a course on socialising!" exclaimed Elisha.
I laughed.
"Not as such, but if this is the best you can muster, there should be. Come on ... where are you from? What courses are you doing? What's your life ambition?"
"Is it true you saved a planet?" butted in Elisha.
"Only by blundering my way through a very bad situation—and I didn't do it single-handedly. I had fellow cadets and ensigns to blunder through it with me."
"What? No officers?"
"At the time, no—"
"I'd like to go to Helvetia," said Farrah.
"Hell," I corrected.
"It's called Hell, not Helvetia."
"Then why are they called Helvetians?"
I shrugged.
"Because Hellians sounds daft," I offered.
"Is it as beautiful as they say?"
And so the ice was broken, but so much for not using my reputation to my advantage.

Log Entry 141001.117

With the mystery of Beastie's repeated escapes now solved, I can depart for the Academy with peace of mind. Beastie will be staying with Luke for most of the time, but he has a course of his own to attend, so she will also be staying with Rutter.
I've made a full report to the captain about her exploits and I've asked all crew members to report any further sightings of her ... just in case. I think Beastie's a bit miffed about that because she obviously enjoyed her little adventures, but they have to be stopped. Rosie insisted on giving her a medical in case she had been exposed to anything while out and about, and reported back that she was 'in fine health for a cat as heavily obese as she is'. Apparently, 7.5 kilos is not an ideal weight for a cat. She has to shed some of it so she's on a diet too. She's not going to like that at all.
Back to the Academy though, my placement is at San Francisco again, while Al is going to Marseille so I shall be alone this time. Rutter, having completed his penance, isn't going anywhere. I can't say I envy him. I had a fantastic time at the Academy last semester, met lots of new people and made some very good, new friends. I hope to do the same again this time. In the meantime, I'm packed up and ready to go!