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In my mind, I was coming up with new and inventive ways to exact my revenge on the instructors and those who had the glorious idea that cadets should be trained together, to foster cohesion between Navy, Starfighter-Command and the Marines. I was supposed to do violence from the cockpit of a starfighter, racing at hundreds of meters per second through the void, why, by the endless universe, did I have to run laps with the marines who were supposed to breach airlocks and take enemy ships and orbital installations, maybe even planets?! Did they think that, if my Starfighter was shot down, I’d jump into the nearest enemy ship to get revenge with a sidearm?

Sadly, physical training had been the first thing in the morning, ever since I had started at the Academy and, while I had gotten better trained, my physique was simply not suited to run laps or lift weights. The physical training aspect was the worst of my grades and the part of training I enjoyed the least. I was better when it came to shooting, especially with hand-weapons, but even with those, I was merely average.

 

“Come on, just one more lap.” Hootch tried to motivate me, running next to me. I would have felt a lot better about it, if he hadn’t been breathing without any trouble, while I had to focus on my breathing and certainly not enough breath to waste it on encouraging anyone else. Still, he was right, so I mentally grit my teeth, no way I was doing it physically, I needed the breathe, and pushed on.

Once again, I managed to complete the constantly increasing training regime, designed to push us each and every day, and joined Hootch and the rest of my squadron as we trooped to the necessary shower. Physical Training was one of the few times during which we weren’t obligated to wear a ship-suit, even if there had been training-days during which we had.

Those had been rather unpleasant, while the innermost layer of the suits was designed to whisk away sweat, there was a limit to its effectiveness, especially given that no liquid could leave the sealed environment of the suit, so after some time spent exercising and sweating, I had literally been swimming in sweat, which was rather gross. Not as gross as the fact that we had to wear them for the rest of a twenty-four hour period, with all the biological functions that occured during that time, but it had been an unpleasant start. What those experiences had managed to do was to make me much more appreciative of the showers we were allowed to take, undoubtedly an instance of not knowing how good something is, until you had to go without.

Once I was showered, the squad met up again, heading over to breakfast. By now, moving in the training-squad was done by habit, another thing we had been conditioned to do. It was a little awkward at times, especially when some of the others had hooked up and subsequently broken up, with all the drama that entailed. It was curious, I had looked up the exact regulations regarding intimate relationships afterwards and they were surprisingly open, mostly concerned with making sure that there was no abuse of power to coerce with safeguards to keep that from happening, in both directions. Not just to shield superiours from using their power to coerce someone into an intimate relationship, but also to shield them from false accusations and potential blackmail.

Breakfast was as awful as always, but in that regard I was still spoiled. I had grown up on a large farm, producing a large variety of foodstuff, so we had fresh, unprocessed food every day. Normally, that was something only the top ten percenters could afford, if they lived in an agricultural system and only the top one percenters if they didn’t. Such luxury, interstellar delivered food was one of the biggest earners for my father, so I had never expected that the food had the quality I was used to. The others thought it was good, some even called it great, which made me wonder what culinary tortures had been visited upon them growing up. The only thing that I found adequate when it came to our food was the coffee, even if I caught quite a bit of flak from my squadmates for preferring it with sweetener.

 

After breakfast, we had a classroom-day, just as yesterday had been a simulator-day. We were switching off on alternate days, one day, we were learning theoretical subjects, the other day, we were in simulators, doing the closest thing to flying Starfighter we would get, until we were actually trusted to take a multi-million mark Starfighter out, into the void.

 

A quick glance on my tablet told me that the first subject of the day would be Recent History, not my favourite but I could understand why it was important, even if part of me wondered how accurate the history we were taught actually was. It was a little strange, to sit in an actual classroom, with a lecturer and classmates. Before coming to Starfleet Academy, I had gotten my education in the privacy of my room, using a net-link to a school hundreds of kilometers away. There had been a few children my age on the farm, from employees, but simply not enough to warrant a school, not if you could simply link into another.

The lecturer entered and silence instantly settled over the room. It was a reasonably small class, just about fifty people, and after a moment of settling in, she started to speak. Behind her, a screen was showing additional information, which we would be able to review on our own, so everyone was listening. The topic of the day was the last, big war, now almost twenty-five years past. It had been the second time that the Federation, the large Government that had unified Mankind for hundreds of years, had come up against the Tellurians, one of the races we had met as we pushed deeper into space.

I had learned that humanities expansion had been mostly peaceful, that we had negotiated multiple treaties with different races, to respect their region of space as they would respect ours. I wasn’t sure how accurate that information was, at the end of the day, the Federation hadn’t kept, and even expanded, the Starfleet if everyone was so peaceful, but the official version was what it was.

That peaceful expansion had lasted until we ran into the Tellurians the first time, now almost sixty years back. Their reaction to humanities expansion had been swift and violent, with clashes over key systems, killing hundreds of ships and tens of thousand people. It hadn’t taken long for both sides to gear up and fight and the resulting conflict had been brutal and bloody, until, during one particularly bloody battle, the planet both sides had been fighting over was destroyed by wrecked ships.

The wrecks had crashed into the atmosphere, their impact on the ecosphere about the same as a multitude of meteors, crashing into a planet at the same time. It wasn’t just the armour-grade material that managed to make planet-fall, but also the reactors and weapons aboard the ships, all of which caused what could only be described as a cataclysm.

 

After that, both sides took a step back and negotiated a treaty. It was mostly about respecting the others borders with a few more things thrown in and just like that, peace was established. At least for a time.

Sadly, the peace didn’t last and thirty years ago, the flames of war started smoldering again. Again, the Tellurians had pushed against humanities borders, pirating human shipping and destroying peaceful ships, or so the story went. It resulted in the Second Tellurian War, playing out very similar to the first one, with battles fought over the control of vital hyperspace-lanes, allowing to easily navigate the void between the stars. Just from looking at the data, I felt a little sad, it looked as if both conflicts had occurred almost over the same planets, causing many more Federation spacers to die, until, once again, the death-toll on both sides was high enough to force both sides into peace-talks.

The lecture of the day was about one of the last battles of the war, when Daramiah Kezost, the youngest Federation Admiral at the time, and one of the youngest Admirals ever, managed to punch through the Tellurian lines and force them to retreat by attacking their shipping and civilians. Personally, I was conflicted, the tactic seemed to have been effective, the Tellurians had been forced to dedicate forces to defend their territory, but at the same time, killing civilians, simply because it was possible and forced the enemy to react, wasn’t sitting right with me. But I couldn’t deny that, looking at the time-line, it had worked. Only months after the Breakthrough, as the battle was now called, both sides agreed to talk peace again, this time with a large section of neutral space, a volume where neither side would patrol, between them.

And Admiral Kezost? She was to be put on trial for her war-crimes, even if those actions had forced the peace-talks. But instead of submitting to lawful authority, her whole fleet had mutinied, setting off into the darkness of space, without re-appearing to this day.

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Tsaimath

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