Part of USS Solstice: Academy Life – Jackson Porter’s Starfleet Academy Story

Chapter 4 – A Formal Proposal

Starfleet Academy
Year 1, Second Semester
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Jackson sat at his desk studying up on Xenobiology. Though it was only the beginning of February and they had been back for a couple weeks, some of the professors were giving out pop quizzes and sciences like Xenobiology were Jackson’s weaker subjects. Behind him, Jeremy was reviewing Astrophysics when the message notification popped up on their screens.

**Spring Formal Dance**

The advertisement for the yearly dance flashed up on the computer consoles on Jackson and Jeremy’s desks.

“A dance?” Jeremy said out loud.

Jackson sighed. “Yeah, my parents told me about it. It’s where they first met.”

“Oh, nice! Maybe we’ll find love at the dance.”

Jackson rocked his head back and forth slowly. “Eh, I’m not sure if I’m going to go.”

“What?” Jeremy replied. “Why not? Dude, have you already forgotten how much fun the dances in high school were?”

“No,” Jackson answered. “It’s just…I don’t know, I’m just not feeling it.”

Jeremy stood up and walked over to sit on Jackson’s bed, which was right next to his desk. “Alright, want to tell me what’s wrong?”

“What? What do you mean?”

“C’mon, bud, I know you pretty well. Why don’t you want to go to the Formal?” Jeremy shifted himself on the bed. “Are you afraid you won’t find someone to go with? The dance isn’t until the end of April, so you have two months!”

Porter swung around in his chair to face Jeremy. “I know, I know…over the break, my parents told me about how they met. Well, I already knew that they met here at the Academy, but I didn’t know that my dad basically stole my mom from the person she went to the formal with during his sophomore year. Oh, and by the way, her date was Vice Admiral Derek Marmillo!”

Jeremy’s jaw dropped. “What!? The same Admiral Marmillo that led the Third Fleet to victory against the mass Breen fleet a decade ago?”

Jackson nodded. “Yup, same admiral.”

“Wow, crazy…but what does that have to do with you?

“Well…I guess nothing…but…” Jackson tried to think of a reason to get out of going to the dance, but he realized that he was going to have to go. “Fine, I’ll go! I just hope I can find someone to go with.”

“Awesome!” Jeremy exclaimed as he got off Jackson’s bed and went back to his desk. “You’ve got plenty of time to find someone.”

Jackson had turned back to his computer but paused and turned back to face Jeremy. “Actually, there is someone I could ask.”

==========

A few days after deciding to attend the Spring Formal, Jackson and Jeremy were heading to the mess hall after class. As they were rounding the corner to enter the dining hall, Jackson bumped into another cadet, sending him falling to the side and sending her and her open backpack of PADDs scattering across the ground.

Jackson picked himself up and went to help the cadet. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to bump into you.”

“No, it was my fault,” the cadet replied in a thick Scottish accent, “I was reading a PADD and not watching where I was going.” She reached down to take the stack of PADDs from Jackson’s hands and the two caught each other’s eyes. “I, uh…I’m Kayla. I mean, Cadet MacIntyre, from Echo Company.”

Jackson smiled. “Nice to meet you. Cadet Porter, er, Jackson Porter, Bravo Company.” The two looked at each other like embarrassed school kids for a moment before Jackson cleared his throat. “So, uhhh, what are you reading up on?”

Kayla finished throwing them back in her bag and pulled the bag back over her shoulder. “A little bit of everything. I seem to be good at remembering the right amount of everything to pass my exams, but not enough to get better grades. At this rate, I’ll end up being assigned to Ops on a cargo ship somewhere in the Gamma Quadrant.”

“Oh, I doubt that,” Jackson replied. He glanced over his shoulder and nodded to Jeremy to let him know to go on without him, then faced back at Kayla. “Is there something I might be able to help you with?”

“Besides everything?” Kayla chuckled.

“Oh, come on, everyone’s got some things they’re good at and some things they need some help with.” Jackson thought for a second. “How about a favorite class?”

Kayla gave a small nod. “I actually really like Starship Design. Like, I think I might end up making Engineering my division of choice.”

“And how are you doing in that class?”

“I, uh…well, it’s actually my best class. I have a nearly perfect grade in it.”

Jackson smiled. “Well there you go! See? It’s not all bad. You just need some help in some of the other subjects, and I’d be happy to help…I mean, if you’d like.”

Kayla smiled and blushed a little bit. “Sure, it’s a date! I mean, a study date…well, not a date, but…you know what I mean.”

“Sure, sounds good. Let me know when you want to meet up and we’ll figure out a time.” Jackson glanced over to Jeremy and saw that he was standing at the tray dispenser with a smile a mile wide. “I, uh, better get some dinner before chow time is over.

“Ok.”

“Ok.”

Awkward pause…

“Yo, let’s get in line, bud!” Jeremy’s voice snapped Jackson and Kayla out of their staring trances.

“Ok, see ya!” Kayla adjusted her bag and left the mess hall as Jackson turned and headed over to meet Jeremy. With a smile bigger than one any Denobulan could wear, he picked up a tray and got in line ahead of Jeremy. “Shut up, don’t say a thing,” he said before Jeremy could say anything.

==========

Jackson and Kayla sat outside in the freshman quad looking over study guides. It turns out that Kayla wasn’t kidding when she said that she was struggling in several classes, but she was making progress overall.

Kayla put her hands on her temples and rubbed them. “Oy, I need a break. We’ve been at this for a couple hours now.”

Jackson glanced at his chrono and put down the PADD he was holding. “Wow, so we have! A break sounds good.” He stretched his arms upward and took in a big breath. Kayla took a deep breath and tossed her PADD to the side.

“So, tell me, Mister Porter, what’s it like having a full-bird colonel for a father?” she randomly asked.

As many times as he had been asked that, it was a bit of a surprise coming from Kayla. Nevertheless, he chuckled. “Honestly, it wasn’t what most people think it was. He had a steady position at Earth, so we never had to move. There definitely was a Starfleet feel to home life, but he knew how to differentiate between the two. I mean, I definitely had to have my bed made to specs, but it’s not like he made me do pushups when it wasn’t made right.”

“Ha,” Kayla exclaimed, “my folks were the opposite. Not that they didn’t care about things like that, but more that they knew that my free-spirit life was what made me happy. I didn’t have many friends, so I usually just did my own thing.”

“Really? You’re a really cheery and friendly person, I doubt you had NO friends,” Jackson replied in slight surprise.

Kayla shrugged and smiled. “I guess it’s just my cheerful smile that gives off that vibe.”

“It’s a very good vibe,” Jackson replied.

Kayla smiled and the two caught themselves staring at each other for a few moments before she picked up a PADD. “You know, I think we’ve studied long enough for today. Any longer and my brain will probably turn into a PADD.” Kayla picked up the other PADDs, put them in her bag, and stood up. “Thank you so much for helping me out, JP.”

Jackson stood up and smiled. He hadn’t been called that nickname in a while. “Anytime. I’m glad we got to spend some time together…to study, I mean…”

Kayla blushed a little bit, and without thinking about it, she reached out and hugged Jackson. “I hope to see you again soon.”

As Kayla started to slowly walk away, Jackson took a deep breath. “Kayla.”

Kayla stopped and turned around. “Yes?”

“Would you…I was wondering if you would like to go to the spring formal with me.”

The question took Kayla by surprise, but it was a good surprise. “I would love that.” Kayla smiled again and headed back in the direction she was originally going. “I’ll see you later, JP.”

Jackson picked up his PADD and headed back to his dorm, suddenly excited for the formal.