"Lizzy?" I asked.
She looked up, startled.
"Oh, hi!" she beamed merrily. "Sorry, world of my own," and she shuffled along the bench making room for me, but her eyes immediately returned to the building.
I, too, looked, but couldn't work out what the fascination was.
"I give up," I finally said. "What's got your attention?"
Her eyes narrowed as she peered harder towards the building.
"Who's he talking to?"
"Over there ... talking to the Klingon."
"Who's he then?"
So I told her.
"And who's Steven Firth?" I asked.
"He lectures in cybernetics. Fancies himself a bit of a Noonian Soong. About as pleasant to spend time with as a Jem'Hadar with a hangover and no ketracel-white."
"You really like him then?" I asked sarcastically.
"No. Horrible man. Can't stand him."
My sarcasm obviously went over her head.
"Why's he of interest to you then?"
"He's my ... uhm ... guardian you could say."
Ah-ha! So she was connected to someone at the Academy after all! Now why couldn't Urtok have just said as much?
"But you don't get on?"
"And why are you dressed up."
"Because I've been summonsed."
It didn't add up. Lizzy didn't care what people thought. Why would she don a uniform for Steven Firth when he was probably the last person she'd be out to impress?
"Are you scared of him?" I teased.
"Too damned right, I am!" and her eyes abandoned him to glare at me.
She really was frightened of him. I could see it in her eyes. For the first time, I could sense her vulnerability. She shuffled uncomfortably and looked away.
"I've got to go," she said.
"What about this long chat we need?"
"Tonight. I promise. Tonight."
"Aren't you performing tonight?"
"No. I've finished at Bejazzled for now. My next gig isn't for three weeks at The Byzantium," but she was distracted again. Her eyes had returned to Steven Firth and Urtok, who had now finished their conversation and were parting company.
"Okay," I said. "I'll catch you later."
I sat and watched as she crossed the emerald green lawns, climbed the steps and disappeared in through the doors of the Academy. Something wasn't right.