Star Trek is the property of Paramount, and was created by Gene Roddenberry. Star Traks is the property and creation of Alan Decker. The number of Star Traks spin-offs is growing rapidly, so if I try to list them all here, the disclaimer will be longer than the actual story. Star Traks: Crash Course is the demented creation of Brendan Chris. The events and characters depicted in this story are completely fictional. Any resemblance to real people or events is intended as humorous flattery. However, if there isn't a character that resembles you, try not to take it personally. Or maybe you should. Maybe I just don't like you. (But that's probably not the case.) (But maybe it is.)

Author: Brendan Chris
Copyright: 2008

Cadet Lower-Classman Dylan Baxter was being chased by the devil.

The strange thing was, the devil was wearing a cadet mid-classman’s uniform. The devil was also a she, with Bajoran ridges across her nose, curly, dark hair and a curved pair of horns protruding from her forehead.


“I don’t date chicks who can hurt me!” Baxter cried, turning to run. The road he was on was paved with padds, each one displaying a big, red ‘FAIL!’ icon on its screen.

“YOU’RE LATE!” the Buhras-Devil shrieked, “PUSHUPS! PUSHUPS!”

Baxter found himself chained to the ground by his wrists, doing pushups as Buhras sat on his back, holding a whip in one hand as she shouted “LOWER! LOWER!!” The stench of filth filled his nostrils as his face was ground into the dirt.


A what?

Baxter shot up in his bunk, nearly hitting his head on his roommate Igor’s bunk. The dream was dissipating rapidly, though the stench of filth wasn’t. It didn’t take long for Baxter to find the source; Igor’s large, smelly feet were dangling over the side of the bunk right into his face. Outside his small room in Fort Pike, loud music was playing.

Good morning, Good morning!

We’ve talked the whole night through!

Good morning, good morning, to you!

Good morning, good morning!

It’s great to stay up late!

Good morning, good morning, to you!

“That’s not the Klingon thing,” Igor said, rubbing the sleep from his eyes as he moved quickly to the sink to start shaving.

“Wha?” Baxter said dumbly.

“They’re, like, playing different music,” Igor insisted.

“Dude, your feet stink,” Baxter said, his brain still moving the speed of frozen molasses.

Dylan Baxter wasn’t exactly a morning person.

“They have got to be kidding,” Veksai groaned as he dragged himself out of bed, “It’s frickin’ Sunday, for crying out loud!”

“Whatamafuha?” Nuhvel groaned from under his grey, standard-issue blanket.

“Out of bed, lazy humans!” Kethnor’s calm but firm voice came from the corridor, “We have let you sleep in an entire hour, now it is time for breakfast!”

“Ohhh, I really want to hurt somebody right now,” Veksai fumed as Nuhvel dragged himself to the sink to brush his teeth.

As their first week of SNAP had drawn to a close and as the SNAP Countdown display counted down the days remaining, the Brute Squad cadets had learned another unfortunate truth: SNAP didn’t take the weekend off. They’d been woken at the same early hour Saturday1 morning, taken to breakfast, and informed that it was an Academy-wide sports day. (They’d also noticed that some ambitious pranksters had moved the Cochran Memorial onto the roof of the Bimm Planetarium.) It had been a nice change from their regular SNAP routine, but they’d still been kept segregated from most of the senior students, been marched to and from meals by their SNAP staff and, in general, treated like a pack of lowly SNAP cadets. The only difference had been the junior-classmen, who had prompted them into acts of mischief against the other Sectors. They’d been given a few Antares Sector ‘mascots’ to safeguard, including a stuffed targ, a street sign that read ‘Antares Avenue’ and a flag with the Antares star system stitched on. With the prompting of the Antares Sector junior classmen, Kodene had ‘skillfully acquired’ the dedication plaque from the USS Constellation from a group of Rigel Sector cadets and was now hiding it under Gallium’s bed. Val’gural had managed to wrestle a model of a Miranda-class starship away from the Mutara Sector cadets and Nuhvill had snatched a weird, glowing orb from Vulcan Sector. They’d taken part in games of Earth basketball, Andorian Venxixxix (using training phasers instead of Andorian disintegration cannons) and a very boring (yet confusing) round of some strange Vulcan game that seemed to involve balancing the mysteries of the universe on a spinning plate.

Lt. Wellington (the officer in charge of Antares Sector) had also made his first appearance, though most of the lower-classmen only recognized him because his face had been posted on a wall for them to memorize, along with that of the rest of the Sector Staff. His photo depicting a calm, slightly pale, early-middle-aged man was a strong contrast from the reality, as Lt. Wellington had a habit of cheering on his cadets until he was sweating and red in the face.

Still, it was better than the week had been. And so, naturally, they’d assumed that Sunday would be different.

Assumption wrong!

And yet the day turned out to be fairly painless. After breakfast they were given a few hours to themselves. Then it was back to the regular drudgery of fitness training, briefings, ironing and boot polishing, all with the ‘gentle’ prodding of their SNAP staff.

What seemed strange, however, was that despite Buhras’ promise that the nice girl was gone and that it was time to meet ‘the bitch’, as she put it, the Brute Squad cadets hadn’t noticed any real change in her behaviour. During a discussion on this topic over lunch, Guthar had suggested that it was because all Bajoran women were naturally bitches. Malespere, however, had suggested that it had more to do with the fact that their inspection really hadn’t been that bad.

“We did OK,” he’d insisted, “I mean, sure. They found stuff wrong. But we’re brand new at this stuff! There’s no way they expected everything to be perfect!”

“Then why the yelling?” Bizkit had wondered, a ‘WTF’ look on her face.

“They can’t tell us we did good at this point,” Malespere had said, “We’d get lazy,”

“How do you know so much about this?” Veksai had asked, a sceptical look on his face.

“It, like, makes sense, dude!” Malespere replied.

“Oh, it does?” Baxter had said, shoving a forkful of bacon into his mouth, “Seems like a load of crap to me,”

As they bedded down Sunday night, only Vexnar was patrolling the Brute Squad hallway.

“Goodnight, pathetic humanoids,” he hissed, his voice dry and disdainful “Tomorrow is a big day!”

Vexnar hadn’t been kidding.

As per the now-standard SNAP routine, the Brute Squad cadets had been dragged out of their beds by the now-hated strains of whatever the hell that Klingon opera was, pushed into a run around the campus complete with stops for push-ups, sit-ups and even a few chin-ups, given a scant eight minutes to shower and dress, marched to breakfast, then finally marched to a drab-looking building near the center of campus.

The interior of the building, a huge, grey auditorium, was quickly filling up with lower-classmen cadets from all the Sectors of the Academy. They were quickly directed by uniformed staff into a series of lines, where they were given their class timetables.

“What the…” Veksai trailed off as he stared at his timetable, “Non-Einsteinian Physics? Introduction to Isolinear Circuits? Introduction to Xeno-Literature? What the hell is this stuff?”2

“I have the same classes as you,” Kumari said, looking under his shoulder at Veksai’s timetable. (She was much shorter than the hybrid.) “Didn’t you study this stuff in school?”

Veksai gave her a look.

“It’s been years since I’ve been in school,” he said dryly.

“Do either of you know where room KTMR-11-3 is?” Maelspere asked, noticing that they had the same schedule as he and Bahred.

“No clue,” Veksai shrugged.

After much wandering around, they finally found an information terminal that informed them that KTMR-11-3 was a lecture hall in Khitomer building, the towering spire that dominated the center of the Academy grounds.

There had been some initial confusion when the Brute Squad cadets (along with all the other lower-classmen squads) realized that their respective SNAP staffs had left them at the auditorium after the timetables had been handed out. Apparently, SNAP cadets were given the freedom to get themselves from one class to other. Although they were of course expected to march everywhere, even to and from class.

“Does anybody else find this really strange?” Veksai asked softly as they marched out of the auditoriam, trying not to move his lips. (And thus catching the attention and ire of the senior classmen around them.)

“How so?” Malespere asked.

“Hail, senior!” Kumari said loudly, greeting a mid-classman as he walked past them.

“Greetings, lower-classmen,” the cadet said, a smirk on his face.

“I mean, marching somewhere without the rest of the Squad,” Veksai went on, once the mid-classman was out of earshot, “Without the staff here to chew us out,”

“It totally does,” Bahred said loudly. Malespere gave him a poke in the back, and he lowered his voice, “

“Sorry, man,” Bahred said, lowing his voice, “But yeah, you’re like, totally right. It’s like we’re doing something wrong,”

“According to our SNAP staff, we’re always doing something wrong,” Veksai said, rolling his eyes.

“EYES TO THE FRONT, LOWERS!” somebody shouted from the distance.

“Yes, senior!” they all replied.

After their first Astrophysics class, the four students spent a good ten minutes hunting for KTMR-13-1, the lecture hall in which their Federation History class was due to be held. They’d come to the conclusion that either A) the designers of Khitomer building had been on drugs when they’d designed the place, B) the designers of Khitomer building had been insane or C) some inconsiderate ass had gone through the building and randomly changed all the room signs around. Whichever the case, finding a specific room in Khitomer building was a task unto itself. As Malespere led them through the maze of corridors and stairwells (SNAP students weren’t allowed to use the turbolifts), Veksai hung at the back of the group, wondering just what he’d gotten himself into. The Astrophysics class had been…interesting. Sure, it was just an introduction, a description of what would be covered during the semester, and yeah, he recognized a lot of terms like ‘black hole’, G-type star’ and ‘wormhole’. But when the professor had gone on to discuss the interaction of verteron particles in the Bajoran Wormhole3 and the effects they had on the subspace strata of normal space-time, his eyes had promptly crossed and his brain had promptly gone on vacation.

Federation History was better…except that half the class had fallen asleep within fifteen minutes. Two periods of Xeno-Liturature had nearly put all of them into a coma…at least until the professor had thrown a temper-tantrum (along with several pieces of stationary) at the front of the lecture hall. A period of Non-Einsteinian Physics later and Veksai was pretty sure his head was going to explode.

Lunch however, yielded a pleasant surprise: They were eating on their own instead of as a Squad. Yes, they had to march to the dining hall and yes, they still had to keep their arms at their sides and their eyes to the front…but they could sit as soon as they had their meals, and they had an entire half hour to eat.

“Man, what a morning,” Dylan Baxter said, placing his overloaded tray on the table, “What a rough morning!”

“Oh yeah?” Igor asked, “What classes did you have?”

“I had two periods of Cultural Studies,” Baxter said, “It was rough,”

“And after that?” Igor asked.

“After what?” Baxter asked, looking back dumbly.

“After Cultural Studies!”

“Oh. Nothing. I went back to my room and took a nap.”


There was a sudden commotion as Veksai, Kumari, Malespere, Bahred, Quaterman, Bizkit, Fastocheni, M’kr’gr and several others slammed their utensils down onto the table and stared in shock at Baxter.

“That’s all I had,” Wind, an Asian-looking Trill4, said. “Why? Do they offer more classes here?”

“You mean more than just Cultural Studies?” Quarterman asked, cocking her head and giving Wind an odd look.

“Yeah…” Wind trailed off, smiling shyly.

“How did you guys get off so easy?” Veksai demanded, ignoring the conversation between Wind and Quarterman, “Our morning was packed!”

“Oh, you guys must be in the EngOps program,” Gallium said. The cheerful, innocent look on his face seemed to indicate that he was unaware of the sudden tension at the table.

“That’s not a real word,” Wind said, going back to her meal, neatly ducking as one of Kodene’s tentacles swished over her head.

“Well, no, it’s short for Engineering and Operations,” Gallium said, looking pleased with himself.

“You can either explain that, or I can rip your spleen out through your eye-sockets,” M’Kr’gr growled.

“Didn’t you notice that all the non-SNAP cadets have different colours on their uniforms? Yellow, blue and red?” Gallium asked, cringing just a bit.

“We’ve had a lot of stuff on our minds,” Bahred said.

“Yes,” Veksai grimaced, “Like push-ups. And inspections. And other stupid, childish mind-games like playing ‘How-Can-We-Change-Things-Today?’.”

“Yellow is for Engineering and Operations. Y’know, people who work with technology, or resource management. Engineers, shipboard security, that kinda thing,” Gallium explained, looking even more pleased with himself, “Blue is for Medical and Sciences. Doctors and scientists. Red is for Command, the people in charge,”

“Uh, we’re going to be officers,” Quarterman pointed out, “Shouldn’t we all wear red?”

“Nope,” Gallium replied, “Only pilots and command officers wear red. If you’re a science officer, you’ll be commanding a science team, but you’ll still wear blue. You’d only switch to red if you became like a first officer or something.”5

“They why are some of the cadets here wearing red?”

“Because some officers, like pilots, don’t fit into the other two,”

“OK, nobody cares about that right now!” Malespere interrupted.

“It’s kinda interesting,” Wind said.

“No, it isn’t,” Veksai muttered softly.

“But what does it do with you guys getting half the morning off while we were stuck in class?” Malespere continued.

“This is still a university,” Gallium said, “You picked a major and a trade when you applied, right?”


“So your classes and schedule are determined by that,” Gallium said, “If you’re trying to become a warp field specialist, you need a different education than somebody who’s gonna be a phaser control officer,”

“So in other words,” Veksai said, “Those of us who slaved away all morning are going to be running science teams, engineering teams and commanding starships, while the rest of you are going to be commanding a waste extraction6 team?”

“Or commanding security teams, being sent down to some god-forsaken rock to die honourably?” M’Kr’gr added.

“Well, no,” Gallium said, looking annoyed, “I mean, we’re all going to be command officers, and it’s not like we’re any less capable than you are,”

“Uh-huh,” Kumari said, “You’re just taking the easy classes,”

“Well, it’s not like Cultural Studies is any tougher than, say, Intro to Isolinear Circuits,” Derok said.


The EngOps and Sciences cadets around the table exchanced superior glances.

“Hey, don’t go thinking you’re better than us or something!” Baxter snapped.

“Oh, never,” Quarterman grinned.

“Of course not,” Fastocheni added.

The EngOps and MedSci cadets exchanged another glance, then broke out in giggles.

That night they were given mandatory study time. The ‘study time’ was appreciated. The ‘mandatory’ wasn’t. Vexnar was patrolling the corridor like a centurion, a nasty-looking Andorian blade of some kind in hand. Derok had tried to leave his room for a bathroom break, only to have Vexnar execute an impressive series of acrobatics that ended with the blade held firmly against the Tellarite’s neck.

“And where,” Vexnar hissed, “Do you think you are going?”

“B-b-bathroom?” Derok stuttered, pointing at the doors to the Brute corridor bathroom. (The cadets had spent an entire evening scraping the mildew off the door panels.)

“Did you ask permission?” Vexnar snapped.


“Then return to your Cultural Studies homework. If you ask permission in an hour or so, I may permit it,”



With a pig-like squeal, Derok back-pedalled into his room.

As the week progressed, the Brute Squad cadets settled into their class routine. The classes and mandatory study time became a mixed blessing. A blessing, because they freed them from the ravages of their SNAP staff and the possibilities of extra physical training, boring briefings or idiotic nonsense such as change parades7 or extra cleaning duties. A curse because of the extra workload. Even though it was just the first week of class, assignments and readings were being handed out like Halloween candy. Even the arts majors were finding that half of their spare periods were needed just to wade through the list of reading assignments. Nuhvill in particular was very annoyed at the extra sleep he was losing. Veksai was almost ready to pull his hair out…of all the Brute Squad cadets, he had been out of the Federation Education System the longest, and he was positive that he’d either missed another technology Renaissance, the discovery of some really advanced alien computers, or possibly the second coming of Computer Jesus. Regardless, he was struggling. Surprisingly, a lot of help had come from mid-classman Buhras. She was SNAP staff, but she was also an EngOps student and was apparently willing to help out the lower-classmen…when she wasn’t screaming at them. Anybody wanting help had to go through the rather annoying introduction that was required anytime they spoke one-on-one with their SNAP staff, but at that point Veksai was willing to do almost anything. Even if it involved standing outside her door, reciting his name, service number, Sector and Squad at the top of his lungs.

Another unexpected development was the firm reminder that Brute Squad was NOT the only group of lower-classmen on the campus. For the first week, they’d been permitted to speak to nobody except other members of Brute Squad. Suddenly they found their classes filled with cadets from all the various Sectors of the Academy. Terran Sector, Vulcan Sector, Rigel Sector, Bolian Sector, Andorian Sector and even the highly controversial Quo’nos Sector. (Despite the name, there were no actual Klingons in Quo’nos Sector.) And more. Granted there wasn’t exactly a lot of time to socialize during class, but it was nice to realize that they weren’t the only ones going through SNAP.

Their after-class athletic periods had started to include intra-Sector sports as well. Brute Squad’s first match was a game of hover-hockey against Archer Squad. Their SNAP staff had ‘cheered’ from the sidelines, though to Malespere phrases like ‘If you don’t win, you’re getting extra PT tonight!’ or ‘Win, or we shall slice through your limbs like xivvix cheese!’ didn’t exactly sound like cheers.

As the Friday of their second week of SNAP approached, the Brute Squad cadets were hoping against hope that maybe, this weekend, things would be a bit easier.

Instead, they found themselves marched around the campus, memorizing names of buildings, dates, events and other incredibly useful trivia.

“Exactly why are we doing this?” Wind, a cadet of Asian background, asked after being told that they were expected to remember the gamma-wielder frequency used by the construction workers that had constructed Spire.

“DON’T TALK IN RANK!” Vexnar snarled. Then, calmly, “This is to increase your Academy knowledge. You must understand the history and heritage of this place if you are to become a full student,”

“Why?” Wind asked, a blank look in her eyes.

“Because it is essential!”


“It’s…it’s Academy knowledge!” mid-classman Buhras added, “It’s important!”


“BECAUSE IF YOU DO NOT LEARN IT, I WILL GUT YOU LIKE A FISH!” Vexnar screamed. Kodene unobtrusively wrapped a tentacle around Wind’s mouth before she could ask just why Vexnar would do such a thing.

After what seemed like hours of walking they were finally marched to dinner, then returned to Fort Pike. They’d just nicely returned to their rooms when Mecablox strode through the doors into the Brute Squad corridor, deftly skirting the gaping hole still in the floor.

“Everybody out in the corridor!” he called out loudly.

Groaning, annoyed by the bad timing and still feeling worn out from the week’s exertions, the cadets quickly obeyed. Well, they were slowly obeying, up until Vexnar threatened to put Andorian xlarvia8 beasts in the air ducts. Then they obeyed quickly.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Mecablox said, his voice returning to its calm monotone, “Oh, and of course our hermaphroditic cadets,”

Kodene’s tentacles flicked in acknowledgement. Gallium flinched back in disgust as droplets of slime9 landed on his cheek.

“Tonight, you will have an inspection,” Mecablox continued. The cadets immediately groaned. So much for a quiet evening…now there was going to be ironing…and polishing…and dusting. Never mind the fact that nobody on Earth had had to do either since replicators were invented!

“What’s more, you will be inspected by the Antares Sector Commander, Lieutenant Wellington. He is expecting a very high standard. So am I. If we are disappointed there will be…consequences.”

He turned and left. Barely three seconds passed before the hallway burst into a frenzy of movement.

“Team 2!” Malespere called out, “You’ve got the common areas! Sweep the floor! Mop! Dust off the signs around that hole!”

“Team 1, we’ve got the bathrooms,” Veksai sighed, “Get the oxygen tanks and the decontamination gear!”

“Team 3, we’re on laundry!” Gallium cried out.

Having inspections almost every morning for the past two weeks had, if nothing else, taught the cadets how to prepare for an inspection. Ironing boards were up in seconds. Some cadets, such as Veksai and Guthar were immediately tasks with ironing shirts. Derok and Gallium, set to polishing boots. Still, some preferred to take idiotic shortcuts. Rather than handing them over to Gallium, Igor was running an auto-polisher over his boots. (What he didn’t realize was that Starfleet cadet-issue boots were specially designed so that the auto-polish would flake off in about an hour.)

“So, we get to formally meet our Sector Commander,” Veksai mused as he ran his iron over Nuhvel’s uniform.

“Yeah, so?” Nuhvill shrugged, wishing he’d been issued the self-polishing boots that real officers had, “Big deal.”

“Oh,” Veksai shrugged, “I dunno. I just thought…y’know, he’s in charge of us, and all that,”

“Yeah, we’ve been here all of two weeks as we haven’t seen much of the guy!”

“Sure we have,” Veksai frowned, “He was at the sports day thing. And we’ve seen him around. He’s the guy who was cheering us on during our morning runs,”

“Really?” Nuhvill considered for a minute. “Maybe. I wasn’t really paying attention.”

“Obviously,” Veksai grumbled. Lt. Willington had made a point of running with their squad every once in a while, shouting encouragement to the lower-classmen. Their discussion was interrupted as Fastocheni stuck his head in the door.

“Have either of you seen my optronic calibrator?” he asked.

“OK, first, what the hell is an optronic calibrator,” Nuhvel asked, giving a sort of amused laugh, “And second, what the hell does it look like?”

“Uh, one, I don’t know. They just gave us each one,” Fastocheni shrugged, “And second, it looks sort of like a slice of metal pie on a stick. And third, it’s supposed to be in the third desk drawer, next to the engineering tricorder and the phaser rifle targeting scope,”

“Oh, that thing,” Veksai nodded knowingly, “Nope, I haven’t seen yours.”

“Shit,” The gangly Italian pulled his head out of the room to continue searching.

Veksai dug around in his drawers for a moment, double checking that his optronic calibrator was in the correct place, according to that stupid room standard.

“I wonder what the f**k that thing does,” Nuhvill wondered.

“I wonder why the f**k they think we all need one,” Veksai wondered, placing the confusing object back in its drawer.

An hour later, the cadets were standing outside their rooms. They were wearing their regular coverall-type cadet uniforms, complete with blank grey SNAP shoulders. Their rooms were laid out according to the much-hated rooms standards. Finally, at 1900H, the doors to the Brute Squad corridor swished open, displacing an ambitious web-building spider and revealing Lieutenant Wellington. Wellington looked to be in his early thirties with a slightly heavy build, a broad, cheerful face and brown, slightly thinning hair. (None of his cadets dared mention that to him.)10 As he entered, Mecablox brought himself to attention and saluted11.

“Brute Squad awaiting your inspection, sir!” he called out.

“Very good, mid-classman,” Wellington said. He walked casually to where Kethnor was waiting, then allowed the Klingon to escort him into the first Team 1 room.

“Dust,” Wellington commented blandly before moving on to the next room.

“This floor hasn’t been mopped,” he said. Veksai worked to control the smouldering glare he was just dying to send Wellington’s way. He’d mopped that damned floor, there was nothing wrong with it!

“These beds are not properly made,” he said of Wind’s room.

“This sword doesn’t belong behind the desk,” he said, tossing a fencing epee out of Fastocheni and M’Kr’gr’s room.

When he came to Igor and Baxter’s room, his nose immediately wrinkled.

“What is that?” he demanded, “What the hell IS that?”

Craning his neck slightly and trying not to be noticed, Veksai looked down the hall. Igor’s uniform was looking a little wrinkled, and for some reason his boots had started flaking bits of polish all over the floor. Next to him, Baxter was wearing a goofy grin, and didn’t seem to realize that he had his shirt on backwards.

“This, this is just disgusting!” Wellington’s voice came from the room, “Did you even clean this pit?”

He came out.

“Gentlemen, you will have to do better. Much better. Or I will simply kick you out of the Academy. Your careers will be over before they even begin,”

Igor swallowed. Baxter blinked, reminding Veksai of a deer caught in shuttlecraft headlights.

“Ladies and gentlemen!” Wellington said loudly. Kodene twisted it’s tentacles in irritation.

“And other genders or non-genders,” Wellington added with a sigh, mentally cursing modern-day political correctness. He turned and started pacing up and down the hall.

“This is unacceptable!” he said, unaware that a few doors down Quarterman was mouthing the words with him, already knowing what he was going to say.

“Your SNAP staff has been working non-stop to try to teach you the discipline and attention to detail you need to become members of this Sector!” Wellington said, “I can only conclude then that you need a little extra instruction. Therefore, I have given your SNAP staff the night off.”

Malespere frowned as Mecablox, Drain, Buhras, Kethnor and Vexnar turned and walked smartly out of the corridor. Was Wellington planning on teaching them by himself? What the hell was going on?

“Brute Squad,” Welling said as the doors again hissed open, “Allow me to introduce you to the junior-classmen of Antares Sector!”

“Uh-oh,” Veksai muttered softly as at almost two dozen hard-faced cadets marched into the corridor, fire burning in their eyes. The halted together in the center of the hallway, then turned outward in unison.

“I leave you now in their tender care,” Wellington said, turning on a heel and departing.

The newly arrived cadets stood stiffly at attention in the center of the hallway, facing out and looking at the Brute Squad cadets as they stood, shock-still next to their doorways.

Malespere briefly considered the challenges they’d faced with only four SNAP staff members, then considered what it would be like to have that sort of instruction on a one-to-one basis.

“This can’t be good,” Bahred muttered next to him.

Malespere was inclined to agree.

For a moment, they just stood there, unmoving. An unpractised observer may not have noticed any difference between the two groups. Both stood at attention: arms straight at their sides, heels together, chins up and shoulders back. Both groups wore the uniforms of Academy cadets. Neither group smiled, or otherwise acknowledged the other. In two short weeks, Brute Squad had already learned a great deal about the behaviour and comportment that was expected of Academy cadets. (They still had a long way to go, of course.)

To somebody with a bit more experience, a number of differences immediately presented themselves. The junior classmen each wore an ‘Antares Sector’ patch on one shoulder, while the lower classmen in Brute Squad had yet to earn their patches. The junior classmen uniforms sported the red, blue and yellow shoulders denoting their department, while Brute Squad had only the SNAP grey. And, most telling, each junior classmen had a calm, cool and in-control cast to his or face, while the Brute Squad cadets were a mix of fear (Kumari and Bahred), resignation (Veksai and Fastocheni), annoyance (M’Kr’gr and Quaterman) and panic (Derok). As they stood waiting, one could also see that the lower-classmen were looking around, their eyes darting from side to side. A couple even moved their heads briefly, before a glare from a junior-classman reminded him/her to straighten up.

One junior classman, a tall, very slim human, stepped out of the line. His hair was extremely short and his face was pale and sharply featured. He swaggered slightly as he started to walk up and down the hallway.

“So, Brute Squad. You’re the new members of Antares Sector, huh?” he asked.

There was assorted mumblings from the cadets. The tall cadet looked like he was about to say something else when another junior classman stepped out. This one was almost the total opposite of the first: short, muscular and tanned. Fastocheni, the closest lower-classmen, was pretty sure he wasn’t human. The tail was a dead giveaway.

“A junior-classman just asked you a question!” the short cadet shouted, the volume of his voice totally out of proportion with his size.

“Yes, junior-classman!” the Brute Squad cadets replied, somewhat unsteadily.

“I’m junior-classman Lafonge,” the tall cadet shouted, “And, from what I can tell, you’re all pieces of s**t!”

“S**t!” the shorter cadet echoed.

“I don’t know what they were thinking when they let you in here,” Lafonge went on, passing by Kodene and Gallium and giving Gallium a look of loathing, “But my guess would be that somebody f**ked up! Big time!”

“Bags, every one of you!” the shortie shouted, “S**t-pumps! Soup sandwiches!”

As the two went through the somewhat humiliating (and completely unsurprising) insult routine, most of the Brute Squad cadets allowed their minds to wander. Kodene considered the best way to ship its egg-nodules back home before they hatched. M’Kr’gr wondered whether or not his race’s culture would include such ridiculous military rituals, assuming the artificially created species lasted long enough to develop any rituals. Veksai wondered why, oh why, did Lafonge even bother with this speech when many of the Brute Squad cadets were tuning it out. And, presumably, Lafonge knew they were tuning it out, or at least that they knew what he was going to say. Did Lafonge know that some of them knew that he knew that they knew?

Everybody’s musings were cut short when the topic of Lafonge’s rant suddenly shifted.

“Right then,” he said, “I think it’s time for us to get started. Junior-classmen!” he looked around briefly, “Begin!”

It was as if somebody had fired a gunshot. The junior-classmen broke formation instantly, several of them heading straight for the dorm rooms, the rest starting to patrol the corridor.

“WHAT THE F**K IS THIS????” the shout came from Derok’s and Guthar’s room.

“It’s a dead mouse!” Derok shouted, standing stiffly at attention. Standing at the opposite side of the door, Guthar rolled his eyes. Derok was quickly building a reputation for saying things that were…less than intelligent.

The junior-classman poked her head out of the door. Derok was too busy panicking to notice much of anything, but Guthar noticed that instead of hair, she appeared to have porcupine-like quills coming out of her head.

“What? How the hell can you know what I’m talking about if you’re standing out here?”

“I guessed?”

“Well,” she said, glaring at him, “Maybe you wouldn’t have to guess if you’d GET YOUR ASS IN HERE!”

“Yes, junior-classman!” Derok shouted.

She disappeared back into the room and started rummaging through Derok’s closet.

“This shirt? NOT IRONED!” she tossed the offending garment onto the bed, “These pants? DIRTY! These shoes….hey? WHERE THE F**K ARE YOU???”

“Out here, junior-classman!” Derok called, still standing in the hall.

The quilled girl’s face started to turn red.

Down the hall, Fastocheni and M’Kr’gr were receiving similar treatment from a well-built male. His skin was lime green and almost appeared to be scaled…though it in no way approached the M’Kr’gr’s heavy hide. He also had bright red hair, which seemed very strange on an apparently reptilian species.

“Dust, everywhere!” he snapped, “And what is this?” he pointed down.

M’Kr’gr and Fastocheni stared for a moment.

“The floor,” M’Kr’gr growled.

“The floor,” the alien said flatly, “So you are, what do the humans say? A smart-ass!”

He continued poking around the room.

“This is not supposed to be here!” he snapped, grabbing a scale-polisher out of a desk drawer and tossing it into the hall, “Neither is this!” a replicator program chip followed the scale-polisher.

“These boots are disgusting!” he snapped, the volume of his voice increasing as the offending boots were tossed onto the floor. He continued rummaging, this time looking under Fastocheni’s desk.

<Please don’t let him find my epee,> Fastocheni thought to himself.

Standing outside his room, Malespere witnessed two simultaneous events: A slim sword came flying out of Fastocheni’s room and impaled itself a good half-foot into the corridor wall, and there appeared to be some sort of explosion in Derok’s room. Malespere wasn’t sure exactly what happened, but there was a great deal of shouting involved. He flinched as a slim, sharp object abruptly whizzed through the air, narrowly missing one of the patrolling junior-classman before embedding itself in the ceiling.

“Dammit, Maretan!” the boy snapped, “Keep those things under control!”

“Holy crap!” somebody shouted, “Is this a bathroom, or a toxic waste dump?”

“It’s these fwarking lowers!” the first girl, Maretan, apparently, snapped back, “Look at this phaser rifle!”

“I do believe this collection of toxic mold has almost achieved sentience,” a Vulcan cadet observed, regarding a mold patch that Brute Squad had been trying to eradicate for the past two weeks.

A phaser rifle was abruptly thrown into the corridor, skittering across the floor until it came to rest at the first boy’s feet. He gave a low whistle.

“Wow. Look at the fingerprints on that sucker! Think he’s ever cleaned it?”

“No! And he still hasn’t figured out that I want him IN THE F**KING ROOM!”

“Dude!” Malespere whispered, trying to get Derok’s attention. The Tellarite was still standing next to his door, oblivious.

“Quiet, you!” somebody shouted, silencing Malespere.

Maretan came back out into the hall, stood in front of Derok and began speaking very slowly.

“You. Get in. The room!”

“Huh? Oh!” Finally, Derok stepped through the open door into his dorm room.

“Hey, why are there porcupine quills stuck to the wall?”

Malespere winced as a fresh round of curses (along with at least three more quills) exploded from Derok’s room.

Abruptly, there was commotion in his own room.

“UNACCEPTABLE!” Their junior-classman, a fairly unremarkable male, abruptly shouted.

Turning, Malespere and Bahred looked into their room. While they were distracted by the antics of the other junior-classmen, theirs had systematically (and silently) managed to trash every corner of their room. Uniform parts were scattered everywhere, Malespere’s training rifle had been dismantled and placed in the sink, Bahred’s tricorder was sitting on the window sill and a pair of dirty underwear was hanging off of Bahred’s computer monitor.

“This entire room, and everything in it, is totally unacceptable!’ he repeated.

“Uh, it wasn’t like this five minutes ago…” Bahred said.

“No, it wasn’t,” the boy aknowledged, “Although, if you’d actually ironed these shirts, they would have stayed on the hanger. If the floor had actually been clean, I wouldn’t have tossed anything else on it! Everything was filthy…disgusting. DO YOU ACTUALLY WANT TO BE HERE???” Bahred jumped as the boy suddenly shouted right into his face.

“Y-yes!” Bahred replied.

“We’ll see!” the junior-classman looked around again.

“Pack it up,” he said, then left.

The Brute Squad corridor had become a war zone.

Every room now contained at least one junior-classman, swearing, shouting and declaring that everything the lower-classmen had done was completely and totally inadequate. Possessions had been scattered around the rooms, and in many cases thrown out into the corridor. Gallium had had to go down into the basement twice to retrieve items that had fallen through the hole in the floor, and Fastocheni was having trouble prying his epee out of the wall.

“This pillow is illogical,” T’Henki, a cool Vulcan12 woman said calmly as she surveyed the luxurious satin pillow that Kumari had hidden behind her bed, “Do you perhaps think that you are a princess, worthy of extra luxury?”

“Actually-“ Kumari started. She was cut off as her roommate elbowed her in the side. (They’d learned that their SNAP staff didn’t care much for royal status, and doubted that the junior-classmen would be any more accommodating.)

Down the hall another Vulcan was stepping into Malespere and Bahred’s room. The two of them were rushing around frantically, trying to put all their possessions back in place.

“Why are you not following directions?” the Vulcan asked Bahred.

“Wha? He told us to pack it up!” Bahred said.

“Indeed.” The Vulcan nodded, “We are considering having you removed from the Academy. In preparation for this, you are to pack your possessions and prepare to leave.”

Bahred and Malespere stared at him, speechless.

“You may begin,” the Vulcan said, turning to leave.

The two boys looked at each other for a moment, swallowed, then started hunting around for their suitcases.

A few rooms down, Veksai and Nuvill were being terrorized by an absolutely enormous Lemnorian named Dril. The man was huge, easily 6’6 with shoulders that almost didn’t fit through the door. Veksai had been forced to pull out his ironing board, and was re-ironing shirts that had been thrown casually on his bed. Nuhvill was dusting surfaces that had already been dusted.

Veksai was bored.

OK, yes, initially the junior-classmen had surprised the heck out of him. But as the chaos continued, he’d started to feel that something about the junior-classmen was just a bit too…over the top. He followed whatever instructions the Lemnorian gave him, kept a blank expression on his face and tried to forget that he was years older than most, if not all of the cadets tormenting Brute Squad.

Regardless, none of them were willing to actually stand up to the junior-classmen.

Veksai finished his ironing and re-hung his shirts in his closet. Dril had left and was now roaming up and down the halls, shouting orders. Wind abruptly ran up to his door.

“Can you iron these?” she asked, breathless and holding up a pair of cadet shirts.

“OK,” Veksai shrugged.

Once the junior-classmen started moving out of the rooms and back into the hall, the Brute Squad cadets started falling into the habits they’d already established during the first two weeks of SNAP. Garments were passed around for ironing. Nuhvill moved to Igor & Baxter’s room to help them pack (they’d also been informed they were be considered for expulsion), while Quarterman and Bizkit aided Malespere and Bahred. Within fifteen minutes, the chaos created by the junior-classmen was coming back under control.

But the junior-classmen were starting to chang as well. They were still marching up and down the halls and popping in and out of rooms. However, their shouted commands and exclamations of incompetence had faded. It started with Dril, as he surveyed Veksai’s ironing.

“What the hell?” Dril rumbled, his voice almost making the room shake, “Look, if you fold the shirt like this, it works a hell of a lot better and takes half the time!” he demonstrated, then abruptly left the room.

“Attempting to sweep the floor before you have dusted is not logical,” T’Henki informed Wind, “Work from the upper surfaces of your room to the bottom,”

“If you really need a place to keep your sword, put it in the storage room,” the reptilian boy told Fastocheni, helping the gangly cadet pull his epee out of the wall, “At least until SNAP is over.”

All over the corridor, the harsh criticism was fading, becoming increasingly constructive. Oh, the junior-classmen were still pointing out the many, many flaws of the lower-classmen…but at least now they were also telling them how to fix them, how to do things better, and how to ensure that the same problems wouldn’t be repeated.

“OK, EVERYBODY OUT IN THE HALL!” Lafonge shouted.

As the Brute Squad cadets rushed into the corridor, moving into place next to their rooms, they noticed that the other junior-classmen had left. Lefonge was still there, walking up and down the corridor. Malespere, Bahred, Igor and Baxter were standing next to their luggage, still looking somewhat nervous.

He looked inside each of their rooms. Their Academy-issued possessions had been moved back into place, as dictated by the room standard. Their civilian cloths and items were packed neatly into their suitcases.

“You four. Unpack,” Lafonge snapped, “The rest of you, help them out,”

There was a ten-minute flurry of movement as they complied.

“OK then.” Lafonge clapped his hands together, “How many of you have not yet gone swimming in the bay?”

Confused looks.

“Well grab your chairs and let’s go!”

“Our chairs?” somebody asked.

“Yup! They smell like ass! We’re gonna wash them off!”

Still looking confused, the cadets retrieved their rolling desk-style chairs from their rooms and began pushing them down the corridor, following Lafonge as he deftly skirted around the gaping hole in the floor.

He led them into the atrium of Fort Pike then proceeded right through, ignoring the exit, the dilapidated turbolift and the pile of broken furniture in the far corner. He led them through a doorway leading to a corridor opposite the Brute Squad living area. This hallway was in the same battered condition, but the floor was intact and the room doors were closed. Also, a wall panel that appeared to be dead in the Brute Squad corridor apparently had a live counterpart in this half of the building. (The cadets had no way of knowing it, but that panel controlled the replicators and computer access in that wing of the building.)

Leading them past the dorm rooms, he came to a wide set of double doors. On them was the blue & white, circular, wreathed Federation logo. However, instead of having the usual collection of stars in the center, this logo had the image of a planet. The word ANTARES was written beneath the logo in several languages. The doors slid open, revealing…

“What the…” Derok muttered, staring.

“Don’t just stand there,” Maretan called from inside, gesturing for them to hurry up, “pull your chair and get in here, the pizza’s getting cold!”

Bahred stared, somewhat dumbfounded as the junior-classmen moved around the lounge. The scent of food was overwhelming; several pizza boxed were piled up in one corner…delivery too, not replicated! The redheaded lizard-like boy was working the replicator in the room, producing beverages while the cadet who had tormented he and Malespere was tapping the controls next to the large viewer set into one wall.

The room was obviously a lounge of some kind. The rest of the junior-classmen were lounging (appropriately enough) on comfortable-looking sofas, waiting while the lower-classmen dragged their chairs into the room.

“So what do you guys wanna watch?” one of the older cadets asked, “I’ve got some ‘Days of Honour’13 chips here, and I think Dril brought some ‘Gateway’ chips. Oh, and ‘Terminator 6’ is playing on Krinokor14 tonight!”

“Enough with the frickin’ 21st Century movies, O’Denth!” Adeth, the lizard-boy shouted.

“You weren’t complaining when we watched ‘Attack of the Amazons’ last week!” O’Denth shot back.

“Uh, hello? Naked women?”

O’Denth stared at him for a moment.

“OK, that’s a good point,” he admitted.

“In actual fact,” T’Henki said crisply, “The ancient Amazon women would cut off their right breast, in order to better use a bow and arrow,”

The men in the room gave her assorted looks of disgust.

“Now that your libidos have been sufficiently restrained-“ the Vulcan women said calmly

“Try killed,”O’Denth muttered.

“-perhaps we can choose an entertainment?”

After some squabbling, they decided on ‘Crewmen Extreme’, a parody movie that featured a group of low-ranking Starfleet crewmen who was attempting to avoid being horribly killed by ravenous aliens. Veksai didn’t really see what was so funny, but he did notice that M’Kr’gr and Kodene seemed to laugh hysterically every time the human characters started screaming. Ah well, it was better than spending the entire night being shouted at. Which reminded him, just why exactly had they gone through that whole load of crap anyway? It had clearly been almost as much of an effort for the junior-classmen as it had been for the lower!

“So,” Lafonge said, once the credits started to roll, “You’re probably wondering what that whole thing was about, huh?”

Good timing, Veksai mused.

“See, there’s a few things you should learn about this place,” the shorter, muscular cadet (the one with the tail) jumped in, “First, the senior classmen don’t give a crap about any of you. They’re graduating this year, they have bigger things to worry about than a pack of lowers,”

“And the mid-classmen are out to get you,” O’Denth went on, “If they’re not SNAP staff, then they’re probably buddies with somebody who is. And they’re going to do everything they can to grind you down,”

“But the junior-classmen are the ones you want to pay attention to,” Lafonge continued, “See, we’re the only ones here who still really remember what it’s like to be where you are now. We were lowers last year. We’re the only ones here who will actually take the time to help you out, and to look out for you,” he gestured around the lounge.

“Plus, we’re going to be helping to run the place when you’re junior-classmen,” Maretan added.

“And running the place when you’re mid-classmen,” Dril rumbled.

“Unless you do something stupid, or pull a 10 Squadron and vanish!” Adeth laughed.

The junior-classmen laughed as well.

“What do you mean, ‘pull a 10 Squadron’?” Gallium asked after a few moments.

“You guys have never heard of 10 Squadron?” Lafonge asked, staring, “Montcalm Squadron? No?”

They shook their heads.

“It is an old, Earth military legend,” T’Henki started.

“More like urban legend,” Maretan corrected.

“It was way back in the early 21th-Century,” T’Henki continued, “Back at one of the old Earth military colleges. In Canadia, I believe,”

“Canada,” O’Denth corrected her, “And shut up! Vulcans make the worst storytellers,”

“That is a racist comment,”

“Yeah, and ‘Humans are not logical’ isn’t?”

“Anyway,” Adeth cut in, “10 Squadron was a group of cadets at the college in Canada. And they were like…well, they were sort of like Antares Sector, actually,”

“In what way?” Gallium asked.

The junior-classmen exchanged slightly embarrassed looks.

“You’ll find out,” Adeth continued, “So, like, they lived in this old building, Fort Champlain, and it was falling apart. Damaged furniture, damaged walls, toxic mold,”

“Sounds familiar,” Veksai muttered, eyeing a hole in the lounge ceiling that exposed a number of cables and conduits.

“Then one day, they all just vanished. Every one of them.”

“What happened?” Quarterman asked.

“Nobody knows,” T’Henki said, looking annoyed that her story had been hijacked. (Despite the whole ‘Vulcans have no emotions’ thing.)

“Some believe they were killed when Fort Champlain was gutted and renovated,” Maretan said.

“Others claim that they were simply absent at one too many sporting events and were dismissed from the college,” Meltan, the Vulcan male added.

“My father thinks they were disbanded and moved to the other twelve squadrons,” Lafonge said.

“My favourite is the one about how the Canadian government was conducting experiments, and purposefully exposing them to toxins and chemicals to see if they would evolve into some sort of super-soldiers,” O’Denth said.

“Would that work?” Baxter asked, his eyes wide.

“Well, the story goes that they actually evolved into a race of sentient mold, so no. I suppose not,”

“An any event, the point is that ‘to pull a 10 Squadron’15 means ‘to vanish’,” T’Henki summarized.

“Huh,” Bahred mused, “Interesting,”

A short time later, the Brute Squad cadets dragged their chairs back to their corridor and began getting ready for bed.

It had certainly been an interesting night. They had met their Sector Commander. They’d met (and been abused by) their junior-classmen. And most importantly, they’d reached the mid-point of SNAP. Soon, in only two weeks, it would all be over.

And, perhaps most encouragingly, the junior-classmen had taught them one very important lesson:

After SNAP, things would get better. Much better.

End Next: It’s a race to the finish line as SNAP finally draws to a close! But before Brute Squad is free from the clutches of their staff, they still have a few more obstacles to overcome. Not the least of which is a special guest star who has something…interesting in mind…

  1. Let’s assume for the time being that Earth still has a seven-day week. It just makes things easier for everybody, unless you want me to make up some stupid system like ‘Stardates ending in 12 and 13 are rest days. No? I didn’t think so. Enjoy your seven-day weeks in the story, and don’t bitch at me about details! 

  2. Non-Einsteinian refers to things beyond Einstein’s understanding of the universe. Topics with ‘Xeno’ in the title refer to the study of a topic on other planets and races. Xeno-Literature, therefore, refers to the study of literature of species other than humans. 

  3. Bajoran Wormhole: A tunnel through space connecting the Bajoran star system with a point in the Gamma Quadrant. Wormholes allow ships to traverse vast distances in minutes rather than years. The Bajoran Wormhole was created by strange alien beings and is the only stable wormhole known to exist. It played a key role in the storyline of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. 

  4. Trill - The Trill are a race characterized by lines of spots that run from their temples to their shoulders (and presumably, all the way down). Some Trill are ‘joined’, meaning that they have been implanted with a creature known as a symbiont. This results in a sort of shared consiousness between the two, in which the host has all the memories and experiences of the symbionts. As symbionts can live through hundreds of years and multiple hosts, this usually adds up to a lot of experience. Wind, however, is not joined. 

  5. Gallium’s Explanation - Keep in mind, he’s a lowly cadet, no matter how smart he thinks he is. He could be wrong (This is my clever way of avoiding having dozens of irate Trekkies shouting at me for missing something.) 

  6. Waste Extraction - Sewage processing. 

  7. Change Parades - Basically, ‘You have ten minutes to change into sports gear!’ Then, two minutes later, ‘You have four minutes to change into your dress uniform!’ Continuum, ad naseum. 

  8. Xlarvia beasts: I made them up. But as far as the Brute Squad cadets are concerned, they’re nasty little buggers that lay their eggs under your skin so their young can feast on your blood before bursting out, leaving ragged holes in your flesh. Charming, aren’t they? 

  9. Velvattian slime is harmless. It evaporates quickly and leaves a rather pleasant odor. At least one Ferengi company attempted to market a line of Velvattian air fresheners made with real Velvattian, at least until those Ferengi were horribly killed in some kind of manufacturing accident. Go fig. 

  10. Uh, just for the record, I made up the part with the receding hairline. And if the inspiration for Lt. Wellington ever reads this, I’m probably dead anyway. 

  11. Unlike today’s armed forces, hand salutes in Starfleet are very, very rare and are reserved for ceremonial purposes, or when one wishes to pay a great, great compliment. Of course, many of the races in the Federation do not have hands with which to salute… 

  12. Vulcans - They’re the race that supposedly have no emotions. They have them, they just try to hide them. 

  13. Days of Honor - A 24th Century Klingon soap-opera that exists only in the Traks universe. I just made up Gateway and Terminator 6 for the heck of it. 

  14. Krinokor - Klingon holovision satellite network. Lots of really violent shows. 

  15. 10 Squadron (Montcalm) is one of 13 squadrons at the Royal Military College of Canada. As this story was being written, plans are in place to move them out of Fort Champlain and into the brand new Fort Brant. As this story was being posted, those plans had been postponed, leaving Montcalm in Champlain for at least another semester. We didn’t really mind; we would have had to share a one-squadron building with 9 Squadron. At least until Champlain is renovated. The phrase ‘Pulling a 10 Squadron’ was actually coined during the 2007 end-of-year squadron photos. The 10 Squadron formal picture was taken properly. However, during the year, 10 Squadron picked up a bit of a reputation as the absentee ‘missing-in-action’ squadron, due to a couple of miscommunications. So for the informal photo we just sent one guy with a big sign that read ‘Pulling a 10 Squadron’. 

Tags: academy, SNAP