How I Flunked Out of Starfleet Academy: Part 3
"You're a nothing, you little weasel." Nicole's glare could strip paint from fifty paces. "What do you think you're playing at? We're not at summer camp. This is Starfleet." Her contingent of sycophants imitated her stance - crossed arms, tapping toe, and ferocious scowls.
"You shouldn't scowl like that. You'll end up with wrinkles." I deliberately baited them. We'd only been there five days and already they'd managed to make Christine cry eight times and racked up at least a dozen attacks against the two of us. We'd found our lockers messed up right before inspection, our underwear stolen and hung outside, our boots filled with mud. Nicole and her pack of five followers made rude remarks anytime we were out of earshot of the command staff. It wasn't a one-sided war, though. I'd done my share of evil pranks. Hotwiring the toilets to spray out instead of in had been a stroke of genius. I would never have been able to make it work without Christine's expertise at circuits, though. Sergeant Warner applauded our studiousness in the library. She had no idea what we applied our knowledge to.
"And you shouldn't be here." Nicole turned her back on me. "Stupid, useless backwards brats. You aren't good enough for Starfleet and you never will be."
Rachel, Nicole's most vicious henchwoman, worked a glob of saliva around her mouth. She deliberately spit it into Christine's face.
"That's pushing it too far." I swung my fist at Rachel's smug face. I wanted to smash her teeth out the back side of her head.
"Don't, Adrian. You'll get in trouble with Sergeant Warner. Fighting is forbidden in the barracks." Christine reached for my arm.
I wasn't going to let her grab it. I'd been itching to beat someone up ever since Nicole and her fan club started picking on us.
Rachel laughed as my fist missed her face. "You can't even throw a real punch."
"That's because that one was the sucker." I caught her on the side of her head with my left fist.
She sprawled on the floor, her mouth hanging open in astonishment.
"How dare you?" Nicole turned her glare back on.
"How dare you mock us all the time? We have as much right to be here as you do." I could fight verbally, too.
Rachel launched herself from the floor. Her fist caught me under the chin. I staggered backwards. My hands came up as fists, swinging hard. It was a reflex. It comes from being around too many boys for most of my life. Rachel fought back. We circled, swinging and punching. Her nose was bleeding. My eye was swelling shut. The other girls were shouting. Christine was crying, again. I got Rachel in a headlock, twisting her ears until she screamed.
"What in the name of all that's holy is going on in here?" Sergeant Warner's voice thundered from the doorway.
The shouting died immediately. Rachel quit squirming in my hold. I let her go. She wiped blood away from her nose with the back of her hand.
Sergeant Warner stalked through the cadets, who quickly scattered out of her way. She stopped right in front of me. If I thought Nicole's glare was harsh, Sergeant Warner's could melt plasma. I swallowed hard, staring past the Sergeant's ear. I didn't dare meet her gaze on a good day. She turned the incinerating glare on Rachel. I barely breathed. She could toss us both out of the Academy.
"What part of no fighting in the barracks did the two of you not understand?" Warner asked.
I bit my lip to keep the sarcastic comment inside.
"Vandenberger," Warner spoke to her assistant. "Since these two cadets seem to want to practice hand-to-hand combat, take them to the gym and let Lieutenant Hall teach them correct form. For twelve hours a day, every day, for the next week. I want them both so exhausted and bruised they can barely move. Is that understood?"
"Yes, sir," Vandenberger replied.
"Cadets?" Warner asked mildly. She still had steel in her eyes.
"Yes, sir," I answered, my voice squeaking.
Rachel wiped blood from her nose and nodded.
"Anyone else feel like practicing hand-to-hand skills? No? Then the rest of you may report to the field for an extra three mile run before dinner." Warner smiled, like a shark, as she left the barracks.
"Report to Lieutenant Hall immediately, cadets," Vandenberger said. She waited for us to start moving.
"Can I report to the infirmary first?" Rachel asked.
Vandenberger smiled, just as mean as Warner. "But the blood from your nose matches the red piping on your uniform. Move, cadet."
Personal Log 3-4: Aptitude and Attitude