“Get in line! Move it!”
The Andorian officer yelled out orders as Jackson and Jeremy rushed to toss their duffle bags onto the pile with all the others. After doing so, they took their places in the formation among the other incoming cadets. There were cadets from countless different species amongst the formation of approximately 160 cadets.
“Man, this is so exciting!” Jackson whispered to Jeremy.
“I know, dude…we’re really here!”
“LOCK IT UP!”
Jackson and Jeremy straightened up a little bit as the officer focused his order at them. He stopped at the end of the row to glare at them, then continued to walk around the formation as the last cadets arrived.
“Welcome to San Francisco, new cadets. I am Lieutenant Solen, Alpha Company Commander for Freshman Class. From now on, you will respond only when given orders to speak, and your responses will always end with ‘sir’, do you understand?”
“Yes, sir!” the cadets answered.
“Please tell me that isn’t as loud as you can get. I said, DO YOU UNDERSTAND?”
Jackson took a big breath and yelled along with the others. “YES, SIR!”
Solen shook his head. “Dear me, I thought last year’s freshman class was weak, but you all make that class look like the Order of Kahless. Why don’t you all get on the ground and start doing some pushups while you think about how to sound off properly.” Most from the class took a second too long to process the order. “I SAID START PUSHING!” The cadets all started doing pushups, or the best that some of the species were able to do.
“You have all made the brave decision to join Starfleet, and for that I compliment you…but you have not joined a glee club, you have joined the military. You will all learn to follow orders and work together as a team.” Solen paused as he walked to the front of the formation. “If you can’t learn to work together, you will learn to love this position. On your feet!” Everyone snapped back to the position of attention, most of them breathing heavily. “Do you get me?”
Solen smiled. “Ahh, that’s more like it! Alpha Company has won the distinction of Top Freshman Company. Each of the four platoons in this company will also be competing for the distinctions of Company Top Platoon and Class Top Platoon.” Solen looked back and forth between the platoons from his spot in front of the whole company. “Last year, Third Platoon won for both the Company and Class. Needless to say, you have a lot to live up to.” He paused again. “Orders from your enlisted platoon leaders WILL be obeyed as if they came straight from me, because they do. Do you all understand me?”
“I SAID DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?”
Solen smiled. “Good. The shuttles to Starfleet Academy will be her momentarily. They will drop you off at the Entry Station on the campus grounds. Once you get there, you will grab your duffle bag and report directly to your rooms. You will have the rest of today to get to know your roommates and prepare for your first full day tomorrow. Your weekly schedule will be sent to your desk computers by dinnertime. Any questions?”
“Very well then.” Shadows flowed over them as the Academy transport shuttles arrived. “Get into the shuttles in platoon order. That is all.” Solen stepped back and walked away from the group.
“Alright, kids,” the platoon leader said, “I am Senior Chief Petty Officer Amanda Kim, your platoon leader. You will refer to me as Chief, and only as Chief, do you understand?”
“Good! Up and into the shuttles. Your bags will be waiting for you at your room when we get to the barracks.” Behind her, two shuttles landed in front of the platoon. “First and Second Squads in the first shuttle, Third and Fourth in the other. Move!”
The two groups of cadets each went to their respective shuttles and got seated for takeoff. The ride from the reception field to Starfleet Academy was short in one direction, but since they were first-year cadets, the pilots took their time flying over the entirety of the bay area and the whole of the Starfleet Academy campus. Some of the cadets leaned close to the windows to get a better look.
Jackson was stuck in the middle seat between Jeremy and a Vulcan who didn’t seem to care about anything going on around her. He leaned over in front of Jeremy to look out the window just in time to see a squad of training fighters fly by the shuttles. “Oh man, I can’t wait for that to be me!” he exclaimed.
“I hope you’re ready for them,” Jeremy replied. “You’ve definitely got some big shoes to fill.”
“Yeah, I do, but I know I won’t fail.”
Jeremy sat back in his seat and turned his head back to Jackson. “How can you be so sure?”
“Because I want it more than anyone else. Plus, my dad gave me this.” Jackson pulled out a large coin from his pocket and showed it to Jeremy.
“Woah, is that a challenge coin?”
Jackson handed it to Jeremy to let him look it over. “Yup, it’s the coin from General T’Ko, the former Commander of the Starfleet Starfighter Corps. My dad flew under him for a number of years, and the general coined him for doing an exceptional job flying shuttles on evacuation missions during the Andorian flu outbreak on a colony in the Hermes Sector.”
“Hermes Three, to be exact.”
The two looked over at the Vulcan woman who, until then, hadn’t said a word. “Yes, that’s correct, cadet?” Jackson led on to try and get her name.
“Doctor T’Shaar,” she replied. “I was a nurse aboard a medical ship that was part of the joint Vulcan-Starfleet task force that aided the people of Hermes Three.”
“Vulcan Medical is a really good place to be a part of, what made you join Starfleet?” Jeremy asked.
“I saw how well the Starfleet personnel did in their medical research and evacuation missions and decided that I wanted to be a part of something much bigger than just the Vulcan fleet.” T’Shaar gestured at the coin. “Besides, there are many Vulcans such as General T’Ko that I aspire to be like.”
Jackson smiled. “Having a role model definitely helps out. By the way, I’m Jackson Porter and this is Jeremy Ortiz. Looks like we’ll be seeing more of each other for the foreseeable future.”
As they exchanged greetings, the pilot’s voice came over the comm. “Prepare for landing.” The shuttle slowly came to a soft landing. The doors on both sides of the shuttle opened and SCPO Kim came in through the starboard one.
“Everyone on your feet.” All the cadets stood up. “On my command, exit the shuttle, head into the barracks on the right, and up to the rooms you’ve been assigned to. If you forgot what room it is, it’s on the main page of your reception orders. You have the rest of the night to get your rooms in proper order. Since we haven’t taught you how to eat like a cadet, you will make a meal choice that will be delivered to you, as a ‘welcome to the Academy’ meal, so to speak. This can all be done through your desk computer. Selections must be made by 1600 hours. Any questions? None? Good…MOVE IT!”
The cadets all jogged out of the shuttle and towards the barracks building marked with the company insignias of Alpha and Bravo companies. Jackson looked down at the mini PADD bracelet on his wrist and saw that his room was 2-05, meaning second floor, room 5. As the cadets split off between the different floors, Jackson and Jeremy made it to their room. Jackson noticed that T’Shaar and another Human female cadet entered the room right next to theirs. When they got inside, their bags were already placed next to the two beds.
Jackson threw himself on his bed and caught his breath. “Whew, we made it! I wonder what’s on the menu.”
Jeremy chuckled while also catching his breath. “Less than a minute in our room and you’re already thinking about food?”
“Hey,” Jackson replied, “might as well get the order in before everyone else.” He glanced over at the clock on the wall which read 1341 hours. Something told him that he would be looking at that clock a whole lot for the next few years.