Breathing heavily, Aiden lurched to the right, stretching himself as far as he could. With as much force as he could muster, he swung his right arm. His padded glove connected firmly with the ball, sending it hurtling back towards the wall. He watched as it bounced off the second, dark grey oval, and flew back in the direction of his springball opponent.
Callahan had been light on his feet, quick and fit and moving into each swing of the glove. But his last swing had been a belter he’d not expected Aiden to get, and his own lurch to return it was too slow, the ball flying past him. With a huff he slowed, bending to catch his breath back. “Good one,” he allowed, chest heaving. Then, almost without missing a beat, he straightened and resumed the complaining that had peppered most of the match so far. “…so these damn cadets. They think they know everything just from a classroom. And I’ve got to babysit them?” A charitable mind might think this single-minded annoyance was throwing Callahan off his game. “We’ve got to babysit them?”
“Baby sitting random cadets is bad enough.” Connolly agreed, wiping the sweat from his brow with the back of his hand. “But baby sitting a cadet who also happens to be your bosses son is a whole new level of bad.” He picked the ball off the ground where it had come to rest and bounced it a few times. “I’m still hoping they’ll disqualify me because of my academy record, but I’ve kept my nose clean ever since so who knows.”
“God, he’s not one of those real Starfleet brats, is he?” Callahan pushed his hair, normally so perfectly coiffured but long enough to misbehave, out of his face. “He’s not going to go crying to Daddy if you actually hold him to a standard? I’ve just got this sea of faceless Security cadets who think they’re all about to become Philip Marlowe, or something.”
Connolly nodded, tossing the ball at the wall and catching it when it returned. “Oh yeah. He’s the quintessential Starfleet brat.” Connolly threw the ball again. “Followed his dad into Starfleet,” he caught it again. “And somehow managed to end up on the very starbase where daddy’s serving in a high ranking position.” Aiden sighed. “No doubt he’s looking for me to give him an easy time and, once he graduates, he’ll he’ll end up in a plum assignment just because he’s the son of Captain Horin.”
“Betazoids, man,” Callahan sighed. “Get one of the Great Houses and they take nepotism to a whole other level. All about advancing the family. Must be nice.” He shifted on his feet, adjusting his weight, getting ready to spring back into action. “Think you can screw up just enough to get the kid taken off you, but not so badly it messes anything else up?” He gave a wide, crooked grin.
Connolly’s head snapped round and he started at the security officer with his incredulity written across his features. “Lieutenant Callahan, I am shocked.” A smile tugged at his lips. “Who knew you were so devious.” He rolled the idea around for a moment. “The trick will be screwing up just enough while at the same time not so badly that I spend yet another year as an Ensign. That’s gonna be a tight rope to walk.”
Callahan’s grin broadened. “Or,” he allowed, “you make sure that damn kid has only glowing things to say about you to papa and you cruise your way to that next pip.” He waved a quick hand. “C’mon, your serve.”
“That might be the more career friendly option.” Connolly mused as he bounced the ball several times on the ground. He threw it into the air and swung his arm hard, connecting with the ball and setting their next round in motion.