How I Flunked Out of Starfleet Academy Part 13
I picked up two plates of spaghetti, moving slowly so I wouldn't drip or spill.
"Faster!" Miranda whispered. "You're falling behind."
I hurried into the dining room with the plates. I set them in front of two officers, then hurried back for more. Plate after plate of noodles and red sauce and not a drop on my white uniform.
"Head table, now," Miranda shoved a plate into each hand. "The Admiral still hasn't been served. Go!" She pushed me back into the dining room
I swallowed a huge lump stuck in my throat. Or tried to. My mouth dried out at the thought of approaching Stanbol. The captain was beyond intimidating. I'd faced Williamson before, several times. He didn't scare me quite so much. Until I caught sight of the gleaming rows of medals across his chest. I froze in place, spaghetti plates clutched in my hands.
"Move." One of the other servers nudged me from behind. "Captain and Admiral. Now."
I forced one foot to move, then the other. The quivering mound of spaghetti slipped to one side. I straightened the plate, centering the mass of food. I focused my attention on the noodles as I walked slowly across the room to the head table. I could do this. I would impress Stanbol with my grace and poise as I served him his spaghetti. He would grant my request to be transferred to engineering. I could do this.
"Faster," Miranda hissed behind me.
I jumped and increased my pace. I had a death grip on each plate, terrified that I would somehow dump spaghetti on the floor if I didn't hold onto it tight enough. I was paying more attention to the plates than to my feet.
Nicole stuck her foot out as I passed her. My foot connected with hers. I stumbled forwards. The spaghetti slipped across the plates. I scrambled to find my balance, focused on keeping dinner on the plates. Red sauce dribbled across the dark blue carpet. One foot snagged a chair. I staggered forwards. Spaghetti and sauce flew through the air. I landed on my belly on the floor. The plates bounced off the wall, leaving trails of noodles and sauce behind. The room went dead silent.
I slowly lifted my head.
Captain Stanbol rose to his feet. Spaghetti noodles draped over his head, hanging from his ears and cascading down his dress uniform. Admiral Williamson hadn't escaped, either. He was festooned with noodles and sauce. A single meatball balanced on top of his head.
I scrambled away on all fours, tears blurring my eyes. I dove through the service door, running through the ship to the tiny corner bunk I'd been assigned. I crawled into the darkest corner and curled up in a ball.
My career in Starfleet was over before it began.