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: 2010

“The first thing we want to make clear is that new cadets are NOT chew-toys,” said Rear Admiral August Amouren, incoming Commandant of Starfleet Academy, addressing the crowd of mid- and senior-classmen crowded in the Khitomer Building auditorium.

Steven Veksai chuckled while next to him M’Kr’gr made a surprised little sound.

“NOT…chew toys…” the reptile muttered as he took notes, “I will never understand human customs,”

“If you really feel the urge for a nibble, I’m sure we can look the other way for five minutes,” Archie Bahred whispered from the row behind them.

“You represent the new pip panel of the Academy-“ the Commandant was going on, “And as such your fellow cadets, especially in those in second year-“

“Junior year, sir,” senior-classman Buche, the new Cadet Executive Officer, muttered urgently in his ear.

Amouren covered the microphone for a moment.

“That’s just confusing. What’s wrong with saying second year?”

“Trademarks, sir. Please just trust me,”

“What about something more interesting, like ‘yearling’?”1

“Please, sir,”

“Fine. Especially those in junior year. Remember, the most important goal while you are here at the Academy is to gain the education that you’re going to need for successful duty on a starship…”

As the Commandant went on, Veksai took a moment to look around the room. It was almost impossible to believe, but here he was. Part of the new SNAP staff, sitting in a briefing surrounded by pip-men. Even more disturbing, half of those pip-men were friends or classmates of his, either from summer training, classes, or because they were in his Sector. Marc Malespere was now the Deputy Cadet Executive Officer. Senior-classmen Dyrob, a good friend of his, was now the Cadet Instruction Officer for Sirius Sector. Hopstrop, a mid-classman with whom he’d been sworn into the Fleet, was sitting a few rows away as SNAP staff for Mutara Sector. And the list went on.

“That’s interesting,” Lucilee Verone muttered.

“Hmm?” Veksai was brought back to reality as the slightly haughty-looking colonial girl leaned forward in her seat.

“Look at the DirKat,” she said, motioning towards Captain Smitty, the current Director of Cadets, “He doesn’t look happy,”

“Why would he be?” muttered mid-classman Wayland, an Elaysian cadet with a look of perpetual smugness on his face (and a very high opinion of his own piloting abilities). “His best buddy isn’t running the place any more.”

One thing about summer training was that it brought together cadets from different Sectors that might not socialize much otherwise. This of course led to a rampant rumour exchange. One little tidbit that had been spilled in such a fashion was the theory that the DirKat’s friendship with the previous Commandant had landed him his position. Veksai didn’t know if it was true or not, but he had to admit that he couldn’t recall seeing the DirKat give the old Commandant the same look of disapproval that he was directing at the current Commandant.

“New Commandant, new Academy Chief,” Wayland was saying.

“New Quadrant Commander for Gamma Quadrant2,” Lucilee added.

“And a new Sector Commander for Antares after first semester,” Veksai groaned.

“Lots of changes this year, huh?” Bahred muttered.

“Enough talking in the back there,” called out Lieutenant Salen, the (surprise!) new Academy Senior Instruction Officer.

“Ohh, this guy,” Bahred sighed, “I remember him from last year. Made life hell for the swim team. Remind me, who’s responsible for running SNAP this year?”

“The Academy Senior Instructor usually plays a big role,” Wayland muttered.

“I was afraid of that.


Once the briefing had ended the pip-men started dispersing back to their buildings. Bahred and Verone turned down the walkway that would take them to Fort Hillier, the new home of Antares Sector.

“So, how was your summer?” Bahred asked.

“Um…we were attacked by a megalomaniac with aspirations of personal revenge and galactic domination. Kumari, Veksai and I died, then M’Kr’gr helped blow up the enemy ship.”

Archie Bahred stared at Lucilee Verone with an expression somewhere between shock and disbelief.

“Then we found out it was all fake,” Verone finished sheepishly.

“Man, we just spent two months flying around and learning how to work all those different consoles,” Bahred said, amazed, “You guys were actually in a fire-fight?”

“It sure felt like it!” Verone exclaimed, “Stuff was exploding everywhere, people were getting killed, it was nuts!”

“Wow…I wish we could have done something like that,” Bahred said, shaking his head.

“Don’t be so sure,” Verone warned him, thinking of Gallium’s face after he’d found Kumari’s ‘dead’ body.”

“So…time for SNAP now, huh? You know anything about our lowers yet?”

“Naw, LaFonge is sending me a list soon,” Verone replied, unconsciously rubbing the spot on her collar where her new Deputy Squad Leader pips gleamed in the sunlight.

Senior-classman LaFonge was the new Brute Squad Leader. With now-mid-classman Verone as his deputy and Bahred, Veksai and M’Kr’gr as his Team Leaders, the five of them made up the Antares Sector SNAP staff for the new year. Verone found it nearly impossible to believe that she and the Team Leaders were now mid-classmen…it felt like just last week they were stepping onto the Academy grounds as lower-classmen, under the firm grip of Buhras, Vexnar, Kenthor, Drain and Mecablox. Now, her old SNAP staff had graduated and moved on to their new postings in the fleet, leaving Antares Sector feeling strangely empty.

Bahred and Verone sat down on a bench outside of Fort Hillier, looking up at the gleaming new building.

“I’m really happy with the team we’ve got,” Verone said, her colonial accent giving her voice that extra little bit of dignity, “But it’s still going to be a tough month,”

“That depends on how you plan it,” a voice called.

Verone looked over to see Veksai and M’Kr’gr walking up to the building.

“I have mug-shots,” Veksai said, holding up a data chip, “All sixteen of our new little lowers. Also some bios. By the way, some of them still haven’t figured out how to use a spell-checker,”

“That is not a good sign,” M’Kr’gr clarified.

“S’okay,” Bahred said, “We’ve got a whole month to whip them into shape.”

M’Kr’gr looked almost gleeful.

“It’s an expression,” Verone clarified, “No actual whips.”

“Oh,”


Things had changed at the Academy over the summer.

Aside from the changes in leadership at the Academy, Antares had finally made the move into Fort Hillier, joining Veltran Sector in the brand new building. Antares took up the second and third floors while Veltran took up the fourth and fifth. The first floor of the H-shaped building contained lounges and other amenities, leaving the sixth floor for the lower-classmen of both Sectors.

The SNAP staff, along with Sector Leader T’Henki, Academy Executive Officer Buche and the rest of the pip-men for the semester had returned to the Academy early, intent on making sure everything was up and running when the remainder of the cadets arrived. Verone, Veksai, M’Kr’gr and Bahred had found themselves pulled into a seemingly endless week of meetings, briefings, and informational sessions, half of them focusing on just how SNAP should be run.

Complicating the matter was the fact that the new lower-classmen had already arrived.

Later that day, Verone and Veksai stood in the central stairwell of Fort Hillier looking out the glass wall that looked out over the small plaza in front of the building. There, a pair of mid-classmen from other Sectors were standing in front of a formation of thirty-two scared looking beings of various races.

“Remember when we first got here?” Veksai said, sounding annoyed, “The first thing we saw was Mecablox, right before he hauled us off to Fort Pike,”

“Yeah, this ‘Preperatory Week’3 is bull,” Verone agreed, “And we’re living in the same hallway as them right until SNAP starts!”

“They already know who we are,” Veksai mused, “I don’t know what the prep week staff have been telling them, but I had half a dozen of them almost begging to carry my luggage to my room when I arrived here,”

Verone giggled. “They getting the fear of SNAP drilled into them?”

“Apparently,”

Veksai had pulled out a padd and was paging through images.

“There’s one of ours,” he said, pointing at a slightly heavyset male. Neither of them recognized his species. He looked mostly human, except for a small pair of tusks.

“That’s Vosskal,” Veksai read out. He pointed at another one, a insectoid being that resembled a cross being a biped and a spider, “Um, it says here we can’t pronounce that one’s name without mandibles. We’re supposed to call him Dav, unless we grow a pair,”

“Right,” Verone snorted delicately, “I’m going to grow new body parts just for the sake of a lower-classman? Who else do we have?”

“Pantar,” Veksai said, pointing at a Bolian cadet, “Male, eighteen years of age. There really isn’t much else on here. There’s Palamo. Geez, what’s a Taparin anyway?”

“According to that thing, Palamo’s a Taparin.” Verone shrugged.

“I guess that’s why he’s got three legs and a tail,” Veksai mused.

“We’re assuming that’s a third leg. Maybe it’s something far more disturbing,” Verone suggested.

Veksai consulted his padd for a moment.

“No, it’s definitely a third leg. Taparin reproduce by injecting parasitic genetic material into the bloodstream of a host. See? That’s why they’ve got those sharp fingernails.”

“Oh geez,” Verone winced, looking at the picture, “Let’s make sure we get him a pair of gloves,”

“Noted,”

The prep week staff had apparently finished whatever it was they were doing, as the cadets were being dispersing towards the rear stairwell of the building. One of them, Verone noticed, was shouting a lot at his fellow cadets. The sound wasn’t carrying through the glass of the stairwell, but they could clearly see him.

“Who’s the Klingon?” Verone asked, “Is he ours? Oh, I hope he’s ours…he looks like he knows what he’s doing!”

“Ummm,” Veksai hunted for a bit, “Ah, that’s Suhvank. Klingon, obviously. Twenty…um, wow. He’s my age.”

“Another old man, huh?”

“Yeah, well, he looks like he could kick my ass,” Veksai frowned, “And yes, he’s assigned to Brute Squad.”

“Oh, this is so exciting!” Verone was practically bouncing, “I can hardly wait to get started!”


As the days progressed, the new staff scrambled to get all the pieces put together before the official start of SNAP.

Mostly.

Between SNAP meetings, Bahred was already getting involved in the Academy swim team. M’Kr’gr was hitting the gym with a vengeance and Veksai had two or three different projects on the run.

Living in the same hallway as the lowers was slightly awkward. Lowers were almost always underfoot as Prep Week wound down, and so the Team Leaders took to scowling and walking down the hall as quickly as possible. The lowers scrambled to stay out of the way of the SNAP staff, knowing that in a matter of days these surly looking mid-classmen would be in charge of their lives. One morning, as Veksai was leaving for yet another in the endless round of meetings, one of the soon-to-be-Veltran Sector lowers was sauntering down the hallway. Veksai, in a hurry, found himself growing very irritated as he walked behind the slower cadet. Something in his face must have been broadcasting his annoyance, as another lower suddenly shouted ‘Make a hole!” and yanked the offending cadet out of Veksai’s way with enough force to slam the boy into the brick wall. It took every ounce of willpower Veksai possessed to hold in his laughter until he was out of earshot.

He couldn’t stay annoyed with the boy. In another day or two, he’d be moving much, much faster, whether he liked it or not.

On his way down to the ground floor he passed by the Antares Sector floor. Senior-classmen T’Henki, the Vulcan Cadet Sector Leader for the new semester, was just stepping into the stairwell.

“Good day, Mr. Veksai,” she said politely.

“Hey T’Henki. How’s it going?”

With the typical Vulcan arched eyebrow that just screamed ‘Your vernacular is foolish, but I will indulge you’, she replied, “Quite well. Are you prepared for SNAP?”

“As prepared as we’re gonna be,” Veksai said, shrugging, “Hey, you did SNAP staff last year. How did you guys balance it out with all your school stuff?”

T’Henki thought for a moment.

“I, of course, had no problems.” She said, “However, I did observe that the others became somewhat…attached to our lowers.”

“They’re a good bunch,” Veksai said, “Well, I mean, they’re juniors now, which helps. But you know what I mean.”

“In any event,” T’Henki went on, “The problem was that the staff always wanted to be involved in SNAP. While this had its advantages, it also led to very rapid burn-out.”

“Ohhh,”

“I suggest then that when you have time off, you take it,” T’Henki said, “Otherwise, you will find yourselves extremely stressed.

“Take time off when needed,” Veksai nodded, “Got it.”


It was time.

As the majority of the returning cadets were preparing for their last leisurely weekend before the start of classes, the lower-classmen seemed to be surrounded by such a fog of gloom that even the bright, sunny end-of-summer weather couldn’t penetrate it. Preparatory week had ended and now the new lower-classmen found themselves marching past the Federation Emblem and onto the Parade Ring. The SNAP staff was nowhere to be seen, with the exception of the Squad Leaders standing next to their respective Sectors. Instead, the junior-, mid- and senior- classmen of the Academy were standing in formation along the inner circumference. They watched coldly as the lowers were marched along the outer circumference, halting when they were in position across from their soon-to-be Sectors.

No sooner had they halted than the Preparatory Week staff marched away, to be replaced with the SNAP Squad Leaders. Senior-classman Lafonge came to a halt directly in front of the new Brute Squad.

“Sector Leaders, carry on!” Cadet Executive Officer Buche called out.

As one, the senior classmen turned away from the lower-classmen and marched off the Parade Ring. Lafonge didn’t know if this particular method of starting SNAP had its roots in Earth culture or if it was something added in by the Andorians or Rigillians. Still, by all but abandoning the lower-classmen on the Ring with the squad leaders the other cadets were sending a very clear message:

You aren’t one of us.

Yet.


As Lafonge took over the new lowers, the rest of the SNAP staff was in the Brute Squad hallway, doing a bit of redecorating.

“If they keep adding Sectors to this place, we’re going to need bigger walls,” Verone said, hanging a large poster listing the Sectors of the Academy on the wall between two sets of lower-classmen quarters.

“Not to mention more colours,” Veksai agreed, “Look at this: Pleiades Sector. Lower-classmen squad is Harriman Squad and their Sector Colours are puce and goldenrod,”

He turned and gave her an annoyed look.

“How am I supposed to make our lowers memorize this stuff if I can’t?”

“Come now, you did it when you were a lower. You can do it now,” M’kr’gr said.

“They’ve added like five new Sectors since then!”

“Shut up and hang this listing of Sector Leaders,”

Bahred looked at the poster as Veksai hung it, looking at the names and mug-shots of the various Sector Leaders.

“Well, they’ll memorize T’Henki easily enough,” he said, “But can we really expect them to memorize names that can’t be pronounced with humanoid mouths?”

“Sure we can. Besides, that spider-looking boy can handle anything that needs mandibles,”

“Yeah, but you need an exoskeleton and rasped limbs to pronounce the name of the Demetrios Sector Leader.”

“Then they will have the opportunity to earn plenty of push-ups, won’t they?” M’kr’gr said, looking pleased.

“Ohhh…” Verone sighed, “It’s almost time to be the bad guys. I don’t know if I can be a bad guy. Well, girl. But you know what I mean.”

“Just think of things that make you angry,” Veksai said, “Like milk. Or kittens,”

M’kr’gr growled and bared his teeth.

“Kittens?” Verone looked at Veksai like he was crazy.

“Yes,” Veksai said, perfectly straight-faced, “Kittens with sharp spikes,”4

“You’re weird.”

“I am. And you’re right, by the way,” Veksai agreed, “We’ve totally got to become the bad guys. And with less giggling than Buhras.

“LaFonge to Verone,” Verone’s comm-badge chirped, “I am ready for you guys now,”

Verone looked around.

“Game time, boys!”


Veksai, Verone, M’kr’gr and Bahred walked around Fort Hillier until they found Brute Squad. LaFonge had the lowers standing rigidly at attention, facing the building. The Team Leaders quietly took up position behind the squad. All sixteen cadets were either sweating or doing their species equivalent. LaFonge paced next to the squad, scowling.

“Ready to look bad-ass?” Bahred muttered quietly.

“Brute Squad, about TURN!” LaFonge called out.

The lowers turned clumsily, suddenly finding themselves face to face with the mid-classmen. M’kr’gr bared his fangs slightly, causing at least four of the lowers to cringe back.

“Let me introduce your SNAP staff,” LaFonge said loudly. He had a habit of turning off his Universal Translater and speaking in rough English, which usually made him sound more aggressive than he really was, “Team 3, you are with mid-classman Veksai,”

“SIR!” Veksai shouted, coming to attention, “Cadet Veksai, Alpha, 3294-758-434, Antares Sector, Brute Squad, Team 3 Leader, reporting, SIR!”

“Team 2, mid-classman M’kr’gr,”

“Cadet M’kr’gr, Epsilon, 293-021-294, Antares Sector, Brute Squad, Team 2 Leader, reporting, SIR!” M’kr gr snarled.

As Bahred and Verone were introduced, Veksai and M’kr’gr each watched their teams carefully. In Team Three, Veksai couldn’t help but notice that Dav, the insectoid male, was cringing more than anybody. The wobbly antennae sprouting from his head curled back in what really looked like terror. Lekitte, a Caithan5 cadet in the rear row looked uncomfortable, but there was a certain…something in her expression that was bothering him. Boredom? No. He’d figure it out later. There was also Zett, a de-assimilated Borg. Veksai could only see a few signs that the youth had been assimilated and later freed from the Collective; a few plugs on his arms and a strange metal shape on one side of his skull. Vosskal was scratching at one of his tusks when he noticed Veksai giving him a dark look. He jerked the offending arm back down. Mitchel, the final member of Team 3, was working hard to keep his expression completely flat.

While Veksai was eyeing his team, M’kr’gr considered his own. Cadets Octavia, Tik, Palamo, Lucy and Suhvank were standing carefully at attention. He was slightly surprised to see that Lucy was in fact male. He didn’t know what to make of the tiny Octavia, but he was pleased to see a look of defiant anger in Suhvank’s eyes. (And relieved to see that Palamo’s parasite-injecting fingernails had been covered with sturdy-looking gloves.) What he couldn’t figure out was why one of his team members, Ves 23, was in a wheelchair and missing an entire leg.

The final team, Bahred’s team, consisted of cadets Kansel, Pantar, Lathe, Simth and Lempt. Pantar almost looked like a carbon-copy of Gallium, although to other Bolians the two probably looked very different. Kansel, Lathe and Simth didn’t appear to be anything out of the ordinary, but Lempt’s firely red hair looked like it could be a problem. Mostly because it was literally on fire. At least now the SNAP staff understood why the Prep week staff had insisted on fireproof bedding for her room.

Once the SNAP staff had been introduced, LaFonge stepped in front of the Squad.

“Get up by your rooms,” he said, “MOVE!”

The lowers bolted.


“Man,” Bahred said as they quickly moved up the stairs to their floor, ‘We’re really back in Brute Squad again, hey?”

“Yeah,” Veksai started, “I haven’t been in Brute Squad since I was a lower. Wow.”

“Listen,” LaFonge said, “I spoke to T’Henkie the other day. She’s convinced we know what we’re doing, and so she and Lieutenant Wellington are going to be leaving everything to us. You know what’s expected, and what you can and can’t do. She’s not worried. Neither am I,”

“Good to know,” Veksai said. They’d reached the door to the Brute Squad hallway. Through the window, they could see the lowers lined up next to their rooms.

“Let’s do this,”


“The next few weeks,” LaFonge was saying, “Are going to be hard. We are going to teach you what you need to be a cadet here. We….”

And so on, and so forth. As he delivered his speech to the lowers, the Team Leaders started pacing up and down the hall, eyeing each lower with a critical eye.

“So, we need to know that you actually want to be here. Because if you don’t you’re wasting our time.” LaFonge finished, then nodded at Veksai.

“Get your stuff out of your rooms,” Veksai ordered, “All of it. Pack it up, get it into the hallways. You have five minutes.”

The lowers looked at him in confusion.

“MOVE!” Veksai screamed.

It was immediate pandemonium. Each lower bolted to their rooms and starting grabbing everything in sight. Dav and Vosskal, his roommate, started yanking uniforms out of the closets and stuffing them into bags. Lekkitte was scambling to pull issued equipment out of a drawer while Lempt, in the process of pulling underwear and socks out of another drawer accidentally set a bra on fire.

“YOU’VE GOTTA MOVE FASTER THAN THAT, BRUTE SQUAD!” Bahrad shouted.

All five SNAP staff members kept glancing at their wrist chronos. The instant the five minutes had counted down, M’kr’gr bared his fangs and roared.

“YOU ARE LATE!”

“IN THE HALLS! NOW!” Verone shouted.

The hallway was a shambles. Bits and pieces of uniforms were scattered everywhere. Half-stuffed luggage was still open and some cloths had just been tossed on top of bags rather than inside.

“Here you go,” Veksai said, gesturing at the mess, “Your stuff is out of your rooms. If you don’t want to be here, pick it up and get out. If this isn’t what you want to be doing, leave.”

He waited a moment.

“Who wants to be here?” LaFonge abruptly shouted.

“I DO, MR. LAFONGE!”

“Good,” LaFonge nodded. He looked at his watch, “You have ten minutes to be ready for inspection.”

Bahred noticed a look of panic on the lowers closest to him.

“MOVE!”


The next morning, the entire SNAP staff was up and waiting in the hall before 0600h. The previous night had been a marathon of inspections, push-ups and shouting. Down the hall, in the other side of the H shaped building, they had heard Veltran Sector’s lower-classman squad receiving the same treatment. Now it was time for Brute Squad’s first morning as official Academy lower-classmen.

“So tomorrow it’s going to be Veksai and I with them all day,” Verone said quietly, “Then Bahred and M’kr’gr, you have them the next day. The Veksai and I again Monday.”

“Sounds good,” Bahred agreed.

“Almost time,” Lafonge said, looking at his chrono.

“Ohhh, I wanna do it!” Veksai said gleefully, grabbing a small music player and plugging it into a large sound system they’d setup in the hallway. He plugged the device in, then paused.

“I don’t know if I can do it,” he said.

“Just press the stupid ‘play’ button,” M’kr’gr growled.

“But these kids are gonna be totally scarred!” Veksai grinned, “I mean, were YOU able to hear this song without wanting to bolt for a good year after SNAP ended?”

“No, but it’s tradition,” Verone said, “Now just play the song!”

“I’m bad,” Veksai muttered to himself as he pressed ‘play’, “I’m a bad, bad man…”


‘ooooooooooooom Do’! paaaaarHaaaaaaaa’ ech maaS! SoooooooooooooH choooooooH laaaaaaH!!


All five members of the SNAP staff couldn’t help but wince as the Klingon rendition of O’Fortuna blasted into the hallway. They quickly started moving up and down the hall, banging on doors and shouting.

“EVERYBODY UP! GET INTO WORKOUT GEAR!” Bahred shouted.

“OUT OF BED!” cried M’kr’gr.

And so on, and so forth. I mean, really. I did four stories on this stuff for year one, you don’t really need yet another rehash of everything they’re going to make the lower-classmen do, do you? No, I didn’t really think so.

In any event, after an hour of running and circuit training, Verone gave the lowers ten minutes to shower. Fifteen minutes (and a lot of yelling about being late) later, they were being marched to breakfast.

After the lowers had all arrived at the table, Verone gave them permission to start eating. The staff moved off to a nearby table where they could keep an eye on the lowers without being overheard.

“That,” M’kr’gr said, “Was pathetic,”

“The workout?” Bahred asked.

“If you call THAT a workout,” M’kr’gr nearly spat, “A diseased snail could run faster than that,”

“We can’t just leave the slower ones completely behind,” Verone pointed out.

“Besides, it’s the first day,” Veksai added.

“Hmmm.” Verone sighed.

All around them, lower-classman squads and their staffs were eating. Every few minutes another lower-classman ‘Squad Senior’ would approach their staff, come to attention and loudly report themselves and request permission to eat. In any other school dining hall, or any public place for that matter, such a thing would be highly distracting, even annoying. At the Academy, it was a sign that the new school year was underway. As lowers marched into the dining hall, those junior-classmen present would rubberneck, checking out the new recruits. The mid and senior-classmem, having their own dining hall, weren’t present.

“So what’s on the schedule today?” Veksai asked.

“Hmmm…Saturday,” Verone pulled out a padd, “Sports this afternoon, briefings all morning, then we’ve got them in the evening. Classes don’t start until Tuesday, as you already know, so we’ve got them pretty much full time until then.”

“Sounds like we have our work cut out for us.”


The rest of the day went by quickly, and for Veksai and Verone. Sunday went by uneventfully as well. Monday, however, was a different story.

“I can’t believe how much energy these guys take!” Veksai gasped, plopping down on his chair. The lowers were polishing their footwear under Verone’s supervision, giving him a half-hour or so to escape.

“You guys are only on, like, the third day,” Igor, his roommate, pointed out.

“I know!” Veksai said, “I’ll be glad when classes start, so at least we don’t have to watch them the entire day! Briefings, and trips to supply, and more briefings, and class enrolments, and…” he frowned, “Do you have any idea how much energy it takes, being the bad guy?”

“The bad guy?”

“All the shouting, the yelling, the discipline…and they’re terrified of us already! The Prep-Week staff saw to that! The insect kid, Dav, I swear he nearly fainted when I told him his uniform wasn’t up to par this morning! And M’gr’kr was ready to kill the lot of them the other day!”

“Why?”

“He caught Zett and Mitchel practicing push-ups during their free period,” Veksai explained.

“So?”

“So, M’kr’gr had run their PT session that morning! He took it as a personal insult that they still had enough energy to do more push-ups later in the day!”

“I’m glad I don’t have to worry about any of that stuff,” Igor shrugged, turning back to his monitor.

“Yeah, well. I’m sure it’ll be worth it,” Veksai hoped. He looked at his chrono, then sighed.

“I’ve got to inspect them again in three minutes. See ya.”

Veksai straightened up, double-checked his uniform in the mirror, forced a grim expression onto his face and stepped out into the hall. He had to admit, the lowers did seem to be learning. They were scrambling about, making sure that every item in their rooms was ‘just so’. Of course, it wouldn’t be good enough. That was the secret of SNAP…it didn’t matter how well they did, it wasn’t going to be good enough. At least, not until the third or forth week.

That’s not to say that the SNAP staff invented problems with the lower-classmen rooms, or that they went out of their way to sabotage their lowers. The truth was, there was always something that could be done better. Or, most of the time, dumb mistakes that had to be corrected.

Case in point…

As the seconds remaining counted down, the Brute Squad lowers scrambled to stand at attention (or their species equivalent) next to their rooms. Veksai and Verone said nothing, merely pacing up and down the corridor. Veksai noticed that Dav was still trembling every time he walked by.

“Time’s up!” Verone shouted, “Why are you still moving??”

She marched right towards the room that Suhvank and Kansel shared. Suhvank immediately gave the Klingon salute and shouted: “Cadet Suhvank, 874-321-321, Antares Sector, Brute Squad, Team Two, reporting Ms. Verone!”

Veksai stopped in front of Vosskal, who reported somewhat less enthusiastically. After looking over the cadet’s uniform (which was wrinkled) he stepped into the room he shared with Dav. Something was…wrong. Vosskal’s bed was made, though not that well, and his text-padds were neatly arranged on his desk. His uniforms hung neatly in the closet, On the other side of the room, the strange net that Dav used as a bed matched the diagram Veksai had studied. But something was…off.

Veksai sniffed the air carefully.

“Ms. Verone,” he said, carefully keeping his voice formal in front of the lowers, “Would you please join me?”

“Of course, Mr. Veksai,” she answered, using the exact same tone.

“Something’s off in here,” he said quietly, just loud enough for Dav and Vosskal to know that he was saying something about their room.

Verone stood for a moment, then sniffed the air. Her nose wrinkled.

“I thought so,” Veksai said.

They quickly started looking through drawers and cabinets. Finally, under the small sink in the corner of the room, they hit the smelly jackpot.

“WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?” Veksai bellowed, causing half the lower classmen to jump slightly, “VOSSKAL! DAV! GET IN HERE!”

“That’s DISGUSTING!” Verone snapped, storming out of the room and resuming her own inspections.

Veksai pointed under the sink, where a disgusting mess of sweaty laundry along with what looked like strands of webbing was in the process of congealing into a stinky blob.

“You call that hygienic?” Veksai demanded, his face starting to turn red.

Dav clenched its mandibles, trying hard not to chitter as the Team Leader proceeded to angrily blow his top.


As the first week drew to a close and the second week began, the SNAP staff fell into a routine. Verone’s wizardry with the time-table along with T’Henki’s warning about getting out now and then had so far allowed them get through SNAP with less trouble than they had expected.

That should have been the first warning that everything was going to go to shit.

“They’re getting better, at least,” Veksai commented as the SNAP staff, minus LaFonge, sat at breakfast.

“They are,” Bahred nodded, “A lot,”

“Hopefully they do well today,” Verone said, “Academy Fitness Day,”

“Yeah,” Veksai sighed, “I’m SOO looking forward to the race around the Academy perimeter.”

“Five-k run buddy!” Bahred said happily, “That’s nothing! We can do that in our sleep!”

“Some of us aren’t as young as we used to be,” Veksai grumbled, “And some of us aren’t on the Academy Running Team either,”

“It’ll be fun!” Bahred insisted.

“Yeah, you’re probably right,” Veksai agreed. He looked at his watch. “It’s almost time. Can I bang the cup this time?”

“Go for it, dude,”

“Does enjoying this part make me evil?” Veksai joked as he grabbed one of his empty glasses. He banged it sharply against the table, electing a loud CRACK! as the nearly indestructible polymer glass struck wood.

The effect was immediate. Every lower-classman in the dining hall shot up, their eyes (or other sense organs) darting around the cavernous room to see who had made the noise. When they saw Bahred, Veksai, Verone and M’Kr’gr were standing, most of them returned to their meals. The Brute Squad cadets, however, jumped to their feet and started rushing to the tray return and matter reclamators.

“I’m SO turning to the Dark Side,” Veksai giggled.

M’Kr’gr just grunted. Veksai realized that the reptile really didn’t look very good. They’d all known that he’d been feeling off the last couple of days, but being the macho type he was, he hadn’t drawn any attention to it.

“Hey, are you OK?” Veksai asked, the grin vanishing from his face.

“I am in excruciating pain,” M’Kr’gr admitted, very quietly.

“Shit. C’mon, we’ll let Verone and Bahred handle the kids. You need to have somebody look at that!”

“The Academy infirmary is closed for the weekend,” M’Kr’gr reminded him.

“So what? I’ll call us a transporter over to one of the city hospitals. No big deal.”

“It is nothing,” M’Kr’gr said firmly, “I will take my shuttle over myself and have it checked out.”

“Bullshit,” Veksai said firmly, “I’ll fly you over. You’re not piloting anything in this kind of shape.


After several minutes of bickering, M’Kr’gr finally agreed. It was a quick flight over to Mercy Hospital and a mere half-hour before the doctor on duty was able to examine him.

And another half-hour of Veksai waiting in the…well, in the waiting room.

And another half-hour.

And another.

Finanlly, Veksai was called in by the nurse.

“It doesn’t usually take this long,” the nurse said as she led him out of the waiting area and into the hospital proper, “But your friend has a very unusual physiology, and it took some time to contact somebody on his home world,”

“Oh,” was all Veksai could say.

After a moment, she led him into a small hospital room. Veksai’s jaw dropped.

M’Kr’gr was stretched out on a bio-bed, his tail protruding through a strategically-placed hole. The reptile cadet was dressed in a blue hospital smock and had a number of sensory and drug-delivery devices connected to him.

Veksai had seen sick people in the hospital before, been one himself on a few occasions, so he figured he was pretty prepared for whatever he was going to see. What he wasn’t prepared for was just how…how…small his friend looked. M’kr’gr was a big guy, and serious dedication to his gym schedule had been making him bigger. On top of that, the reptilian cadet always carried himself with an aggressive, hunter-type air. Now, seeing the same being collapsed on a bio-bed, barely able to move was like a slap in the face.

“I will need you to take my shuttle and my personal effects back to the Academy,” M’kr’gr said stiffly.

“Yeah, sure. Whatever. Are you OK?” Veksai asked, rather dumbly.

“It is…appendicitis,” M’kr’gr said.

“Oh,” Veksai breathed a sigh of relief, “That’s it? Thank God! The thing must have already burst though, you look pretty rough. They’ll probably have it out in another five minutes, I can wait around for you,”

“No, you can’t,” the nurse cut in.

“C’mon…appendicitis?”

“It’s far more serious in his species,” she said primly.

“What do you mean?’

M’kr’gr gasped in pain, and the nurse pointed at his abdoment. Veksai jumped as he realized that something was moving under M’kr’gr’s scaled hide.

“HOLY CRAP!”

“It’s already tearing up his insides,” the nurse said, “Another few hours and it’ll grow it’s own claws and rip it’s way out,

Veksai turned even greener than usual.

“They why haven’t they taken it out?”

“Well, the doctor’s never done a Parian appendectomy. Your friend is fine for a while as long as he rests. Gives the doctor time to practice a few times in the holo-simulator.” She looked at a clock, “In any event, you need to leave now. We’ll handle it.”

Veksai nodded.

“Veksai,” M’kr’gr called quietly.

“Yeah, buddy?”

“Do not tell the lowers,” he said firmly, “I do not want them to think of me like this,”

Veksai nodded.


M’kr’gr as it turned out was declared ‘off-duty’ for over a week. The lowers of course asked questions, which the SNAP staff tried to deflect as much as they could, but they’d lost one quarter of their manpower. More than a quarter, considering M’kr’gr’s dedication to his team.

“Let me know if you need me, I’ll come in extra,” LaFonge said. He was the Squad Leader after all, but he’d left most of the day-to-day running of SNAP to Verone and the Team Leaders. T’Henki had also stopped by, promising that the Antares Sector pipmen were ready and willing to help out as needed.

“I’m going to get Gallium to help with PT tomorrow morning,” Verone said at the nightly SNAP staff meeting, “But I want one of us with the lowers at all times,”

“I can’t do PT tomorrow or Thursday,” Bahred said, “I have running team practice. Oh, and swimming is Wednesday evenings. And we have a meet this weekend,

Veksai shot Bahred a dirty look. `

“No problem,” Verone said, not noticing, “Veksai and I can handle those days. We’ll put you…Wednesday morning, and all day Friday.”

“K,”

They were quiet for a moment.

“The extraction went just fine,” Verone said quietly, “He’s recovering well. Malespere went to see him today.”

“Good,” Bahred said.

“He’s going to be on limited duties for several weeks though,”

“No biggie,” Veksai said, “We’ll handle the PT stuff, he can take some evening shifts.”

“He won’t like that,” Bahred warned.

“He’d like it even less if they decided to replace him,” Verone said sharply.

None of them liked that idea.


“Keep those arms high! Dav, stop slouching!” Verone snapped, walking briskly next to Brute Squad as they marched to dinner. The last few days had been relatively uneventful. The lower classmen were slowly getting better, with inspections, uniform standard and overall behaviour showing something of an improvement. SNAP had been running for a couple of weeks, long enough for them to start getting acclimatized to the Academy.

“Eyes forward!” Bahred added, “Lekitte, stop looking around!”

It was Ves-23 who heard the sound first. It had only taken a quick glance at her file for the SNAP staff to realize she was a member of an obscure, little-know cyborg race, with a number of implants in various places. She’d been waiting for a replacement leg for nearly three weeks, after her old one was mistaken for Borg technology and vaporized.

Anyway, she heard the sound of footfalls first. Many footfalls.

“PHSAAAAZZZZIXXXXNIH”

The entire squad flinched as they were suddenly overtaken by a horde of rampaging blue bodies. The snarling aliens circled the squad like wolves circling an injured moose, snapping an hissing.

“Hi, L’hasha,” Verone waved.

“I am L’hasha of the 4th Hive, Warrior Princess of Andor!” one of the Andorians shouted, her leather and spike outfit barely concealing her many appealing attributes, “Tremble in fear before the unholy might of my wrath!”

Verone looked back at Brute Squad. Every cadet, with the exception of Suhvank, was now cowering on the ground. The Klingon cadet was snarling right back at the Andorians, hands up in a defensive staff.

“I think we’ve got the trembling covered,” Bahred said dryly.

“Your lowers are pathetic,” L’hasha smirked, “As they should be! VAAASHNIXX!”

Letting out a war cry, she spun and sent a bladed morning-star like weapon zipping past Suhvank’s head. It buried itself in a nearby wall, along with nearly a dozen others. The Andorians ran off, whooping and shouting.

“And that,” Verone said, “Is the Andorian Chess Club. They meet once a week. Let’s go people, time for supper!”


Later that evening, the staff had gathered in Verone’s room.

“No shit!” she was telling Veksai, “It was awesome! Dav was curled into such a tight little ball we had to roll him the rest of the way to the dining hall!”

“Do you remember when the Andorians pulled that last year?” Veksai laughed, “I think B’kar almost spent the night in that tree when they couldn’t talk him down!”

“Andorians are harmless,” Bahred shook his head, “At least, they are if you’re on their side. The lowers need to learn how to deal with other cultures.”

“Yeah, we got that, thanks.”

There was a beep from Verone’s computer panel. She turned, paused, re-read the message, then frowned.

“What the f**k?”


MESSAGE:

From: Chief Buzner, Chief of Cadets

To: All Academy Cadets

Subject: Cultural Displays


Today’s behaviour by the Andorian Chess Club was dangerous and unacceptable. Going forward, in the best interest of the Academy, no cultural events will be tolerated on campus.


Grow the hell up, people!


MESSAGE ENDS


The next morning wasn’t pretty.

“Who the hell does he think he is?” LaFonge demanded, “The Andorians didn’t hurt anybody!”

“Complete load!” Bahred agreed, “I mean, I know the Andorian Chess Club is fairly new, but the Bolians have been streaking around campus for the past fifty years and nobody said anything about that!”

“Or the Vulcans-“

“Silence, please,” Sector Leader T’Henki said calmly, “I understand your concerns. But he is the senior enlisted member at the campus. His duty is to instill discipline, under the guidance of the DirKat.”

“Yeah, install discipline in the enlisted crewman!” Verone objected.

“Need I remind you that in the grand scheme of thing, an enlisted crewman outranks a cadet?” T’Henki said.

It was a vicious circle, one that had existed as long as the entire concept of officers and non-commissioned members had been around. A Chief or Petty Officer would find themselves under the command of a brand new Ensign or Lieutenant. Usually one that hated Chiefs and POs. Angry and hating officers, that Chief would inevitably be posted to a training center and be given the opportunity to make life hell for a new batch of cadets, who would become officers that hated chiefs, thus continuing the never-ended cycle.

“Unless he is overruled, we must submit to his authority,” T’Henki said.

There was grumbling, but really, there wasn’t anything anybody could do.


MESSAGE:

From: Senior Classman Buche, Academy Cadet Executive Officer

To: All Academy Cadets

Subject: Re: Cultural Displays


Please note that in accordance with Starfleet Regulation 3927.187 regarding rights and freedoms of members, and with the authorization of the DirKat and the Commandant, all cultural events and displays are reinstated.

Please join us all in exposing all Academy cadets to the many cultures and races they will be expected to work with during their careers.


MESSAGE ENDS


“Ok then, that settles that,” Veksai said, reading over Verone’s shoulder.

“I guess,” she shrugged.

Somehow, she didn’t think things would be cleared up so easily.


“Cadet Vosskal, Sierra-five-six-“

“WHAT IS GOING ON IN HERE!”

Vosskal flinched back from Bahred, cut off halfway through requesting permission to eat. Brute Squad and four other lower-classmen flights were standing around their tables, waiting for every member to be present before requesting permission from their respective staffs to sit and eat. But Chief Buzner was now storming through the dining hall to the lower-classmen section, fire in his eyes.

“SIT!” he snapped at the lowers, “EAT!” He turned his glare to the SNAP staff.

“All of you, outside!”

Uneasily, they followed.

“This is absolutely unacceptable!” he snarled, once everybody was outside, “Making cadets wait to eat? What possessed you to do something stupid like this?”

Nobody spoke. Then, one of the Mutara Sector staff raised his hand.

“Chief, it’s been like this for years. It’s sort of a tradition,”

There was rumbling agreement.

“Bull-shit!” Buzner snapped, shaking his swagger-stick in the cadet’s direction, “This isn’t a tradition! This is just idiocy!”

He turned to address the full gathering.

“I DO NOT WANT TO SEE ANOTHER LOWER-CLASSMAN ASKING PERMISSION TO EAT IN THIS DINING HALL! IS THAT CLEAR?”

“Clear, Chief,” the staff grumbled.


MESSAGE:

From: Senior Classman Buche, Academy Cadet Executive Officer

To: All Academy Cadets

Subject: Re: Dining Hall Protocols


Please note that in accordance with Academy Regulations pertaining to the conduct of the Starfleet New Arrivals Program (SNAP), all lower-classmen are required to eat as a squad and may do so only after receiving permission from their respective staffs.


SNAP staff are reminded that permission will always be given, provided all squad members are present. Adequate time to eat must be given.


MESSAGE ENDS


Two days later, Veksai, Bahred and Verone were inspecting the lowers following afternoon sports. M’kr’gr was expected back any day, and all were looking forward to the extra help.

“Unacceptable!” Veksai snapped, flipping the mattress on Vosskal’s bed and the strange arrangement of hooks and silk threads on Dav’s, “Did you two even MAKE your beds, or just roll around on them?”

“We made them, Mr. Veksai!” Vosskal cried. Dav just flinched. It would be a few more days until Veksai got around to reading the cultural report on Dav. Once he did, he’d realize that Dav’s insectoid race was heavily cannibalistic. In Dav’s eyes, Veksai was his superior officer and was thus entitled to dismember and eat him at the slightest sign of defiance.

“Doesn’t look like it,” Veksai said angrily, “And WHAT is that SMELL??”

Dav shrunk away.

“This room is a sty!” Bahred was shouted from further down the hall, flipping another bed.

And so on. Finally…

“OK, Brute Squad,” Verone shouted, “We’re not impressed! You’ve got ten minutes to clean this up, back to standard, or it’s going to be a very long night!”

The lowers began scrambling.

The staff, as had become habit, simply walked up and down the corridor, making their presence known. Everything seemed to be going well. Beds were being made, shelves were being arranged, Vosskal was helping Ves-23 and Octavia with a closet standard.

Waaaait a minute.

Veksai frowned. Vosskal never had time to help anybody. It took the slightly walrus-like cadet every minute he had to get his own room in order, and Veksai had personally flipped his bed. What the heck?

Walking back to Vosskal and Dav’s room, Veksai found the door closed and Dav standing next to it.

“What’s going on, Mr. Dav?” he asked.

“F-F-Finished, Mr. Veksai,” Dav rasped.

“Really? Open the door.”

He did.

The room was a disaster. The mattress and the hook thingy were back in place, but everything else had just been tossed on top.

Veksai started turning green.


A floor down, T’Henki was seated in a Vulcan meditation pose.

“Foundation. Structure. Logic. Control. Every structure requires a foundation -“

Faintly, she could hear shouting drifting down her air vent from the floors above.

“What the hell were you two thinking? That you could just lie to our faces and that we wouldn’t notice!?”

“Structure is necessary for logic,” she went on, trying to ignore the shouting.

“And you expect to be OFFICERS? You expect LEAD PEOPLE???”

“Logic is the essence of control,” T’Henki sighed, “I am in control,”

Her door swished open and Academy Chief Buzner and Quardrant Chief Heskpat walked in.

“Walkthrough inspection,” Buzner said loudly. He looked at T’Henki, seated on the floor, facing a candle and wearing a light, nearly see-through Vulcan meditation shift.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing, cadet?” Heskpat demanded, “Open flame in quarters?”

“And get some decent cloths on!” Buzner demanded.

“Chiefs, this is an invasion of privacy,” T’Henki said calmly, “I am behaving fully within the bounds of regulation,”

“We’ll decide that,” Buzner said, looking around the room, checking the bed and sliding open a closet, “Why are there more robes in here?”

“Mid and Senior classmen standards permit-“

“Get rid of them!” Buzner snapped, then left.


“This isn’t the first time they’ve done that!” said Quarterman angrily, “They’ve being doing random walkthroughs all week!”

“They gave me shit for being in my room in my underwear,” Dakar, an Antares Sector mid-classman complained.

“Maybe you shouldn’t have been sitting around in your underwear,” mid-classman Labal told her.

“I was shaving my legs!”

Following a numbers of complaints and her own experience, T’Henki had convened a Sector meeting. Several other Sector members were now waiting for her to arrive.

Finally, she did.

“You will be pleased to know that the Quadrant Commander has instructed the Chiefs to exercise greater delicacy in their duties,” she informed them.

“Really? You talked him into putting a leash on those two?” Labal asked happily.

“No. However, Cadet Dakar had filed an official grievance after her leg-shaving incident. After consulting regulations, it was found that the Chiefs were not following the regulations designed to protect our privacy.

“Of course not,” mid-classman Gallium spoke up, “We’re just cadets, right? We don’t HAVE any rights!”

“I might remind you that the Chief recently worked at the basic training center on Titan,” T’Henki said, “It may take time for him to adapt to the concept that the Academy is not basic training.”

“Well maybe if he’d actually bothered to LEARN something about this place before he started going ape-shit…oh, sorry B’kar,”

B’kar, the simian mid-classman just shrugged.

“Maybe things will go up from here,”


“Good news from below,” Bahred said to Verone and Veksai, “The Chiefs have been ordered to follow regs when they’re doing their walkthroughs.

“Good,” Verone said, “What they were doing downstairs was bullshit!”

“Not that it really impacted us,” Veksai shrugged. Since the lowers were on SNAP anyway and the since the staff had been too busy to really do anything out of the ordinary, the frequent walkthroughs by the Chiefs had been more of an annoyance than anything.

“So, we going to work on more Academy trivia tonight?” Verone asked.

“Yeah,” Bahred nodded, “They’re being tested on that this weekend. What do you think, ten push-ups for every wrong answer?”

“I think that’s how Vexnar and Buhras handled it when we were in SNAP,” Veksai agreed, “Ohh, or that ten centimeters thing, y’know, keeping your heels off the ground? I hated that one!”

“I didn’t mind it, actually,” Verone said.

“That’s because you’ve got short little legs. They’re easy to lift,”

Verone’s panel beeped.


MESSAGE:

From: Lieutenant Salen, Academy Senior Instruction Officer

To: All SNAP Staff

Subject: SNAP PT


Please note that going forward, all SNAP staff members are forbidden from using PT, inspections or drill as punishment for poor performance. Morning PT will be permitted, but only workouts pre-approved by the SIO Office will be used.

Furthermore, any cadet failing to follow this new directive will be immediately removed from SNAP, and will forfeit their pips.


MESSAGE ENDS


Verone, Veksai and Bahred exchanged looks.

“Well what the hell do we do NOW???” Bahred demanded.


Next: M’kr’gr is back, but finds the Acadmey isn’t the same as when he left it. Will SNAP last until the Survival Challenge, or is life at the Academy about to take a drastic change? Find out one of these days in the next instalment of Star Traks: Crash Course.


  1. Westpoint Academy numbers their classes backwards, from my perspective. First-year students are called ‘fourth class’. Their fourth class students are nicknamed Plebes, third class are Yearlings, second class are Cows and first class are Firsties. RMC Canada just calls first-years first years, second years are second years and so forth. 

  2. Quadrant - OK, I’m running out of terms here. In an effort to be science-fictiony, I replaced ‘Section, Flight and Squadron’ used in some of today’s military units with ‘Team, Squad and Sector.’ In the trekkie world, the galaxy is divided into four Quadrants, each of which contains various Sectors of space. So when I needed something to parallel a Division, guess what came up. I still haven’t figured out what I can use at the Academy to represent a Wing. I mean, there’s only one galaxy, right? 

  3. Prep Week - In my year, new cadets would take basic training before arriving at the college, and would thus be at least partially prepared for the rigorous first month. At the time this was written, new cadets have a brief ‘recruit camp’ first, then go for basic training after their first year at the college. I’d give my opinion of this new program, but the language used would be highly offensive. (2020 update: They went back to the old way of doing things, then COVID happened and they had to do recruit camp again.) 

  4. Red vs Blue reference. “My name is Michael J. Caboose…and I HATE BABIES!” 

  5. Caithan - Walking, talking cats. 


Tags: academy