((Federation Transport Bohr))
After nine years, the day when he would receive his first posting had finally come. While hardly fond of superstition, Akeen couldn't help but recall several old Guardsmen emphatically stating that the first ship they served on had defined them in more ways than they were willing to name back when they had been his teachers at the Academy on Andor. Even though he had left his homeworld behind to start anew on Earth, for the full eight semesters, he still carried a great deal of his old life with him - including one peculiar bit of wisdom from the man he had been honoured to call a mentor:
Ithevar: There are plenty of different types of ice in San Francisco, young fade. Don't slip and keep your antennae sharp.
oO As if I could file them down. Oo
Yes, he knew that the advice was sound and the old soldier meant well, but the archaic japes still cut as deep as the ushaan-tor that had marked his cheek for life. To any other sentient from his species, he was a 'fade', one who just wasn't Andorian enough, twice over: once for the Aenar heritage he showed in the V-shaped tips of his antennae and his lighter skin and once more for ultimately choosing Starfleet over the Andorian Defense Force. Oh, they were all enlightened citizens of the Federation alright, on the surface, but strip that little layer of protective lies away and rampant prejudice was still there to be found more often than one might have liked. Some of his fellow blue-skins even avoided him, something he attributed to the powerful telepathy he could have inherited from his zhen mother; he didn't, his genes settling on even more acute senses and what Humans called 'perfect pitch' instead, but he wasn't going to dispel their worries either, particularly since they never spoke to him about them.
::While he maintained the same air of severity that some of his alien classmates had often mentioned throughout his reminiscing, the more observant cadets could, probably, notice that he was looking *through* them, instead of *at* them. He was among the last to rise from their seats as the familiar sounds of the docking clamps stopped echoing through his head and the hatch opened, releasing a gregarious stream of fresh young faces into the starbase proper; PADD in hand and standard-issue duffel bag casually hoisted across his left shoulder, Akeen followed suit when there was plenty of space for him not to have to elbow his way through a mass of Starfleet Academy's best-and-brightest who had stopped, for some reason, in the most impractical of places.::
The flurry of stimuli that assaulted his receptors could almost be described as a true-blue, pun intended, cacophony, but the cadet knew that there was a meaning behind every little thing that had set his antennae aquiver, uncomfortable as it might have made him at first; there was a group of officers deeply involved in the what seemed to be the latest gossip, over there a handful of Rigelians were preparing for one of their daily rituals, his former travel companions were dispersing mostly toward his two and, of course, competing even with the PA system and the klaxon when commerce prevailed over civility, the sometimes-false cheer in the voices of the merchants tasted like a stale tuber root in his mouth.
oO It wasn't even a very hearty root to begin with. Oo
Things were becoming serious: his stomach had graduated from 'aaith' to full 'baktag', given the insistence with which it rumbled. Of all the uses he could have found for his knack for languages, Akeen had, according to his teachers, chosen to waste it on developing an impressive lexicon of insulting, obscene, blasphemous and overall salty terminology that some insisted would have served him better on a Klingon raider than a Starfleet vessel (and no, he wasn't going to explain why even he blushed when he heard what Andorian blues songs one of his teachers enjoyed, thank you very much; even a budding engineer like himself could appreciate the value of a good metaphor). Thankfully, he kept that particular talent well under wraps most of the time, as his clean enough record could show, but several people could give full answers when presented with the old 'What does an Andorian say when he drops a hypospanner on his foot?' joke. At any rate, words didn't fill one's belly; in spite of his slender-looking build, with compact muscles seemingly-designed to haul weight and perform feats of contortionism in the cramped space of the Jefferies tubes, Akeen needed a sturdy few meals per day to stay in shape and he was going to address the issue with great haste, taking advantage of the time their superiors allowed them before calling them to their new posts.
::Giving the area a quick once-over, the thaan moved through the flow of the crowd toward a small queue that had formed in front of a replimat, placing his PADD well within reach in one of his pockets before reaching for a nearby tray and adjusting his luggage across his back a little more, making sure that it wouldn't bother him or end up knocking over the tray of whoever was going to get behind him, just in case. While he only had a handful of people between his person and the source of whichever nutrients he was going to opt for, a full minute passed without any progress, so, in order to distract himself a little, he decided to strike up a conversation with the back of the person right in front of him.
Akeen: I heard that one of the replicators here adds Idanian spices to the Plomeek soup by default. Can you believe it?
It was probably just one of the many tall tales roaming about the place, but, to his defense, it was still better than what Chief Mathijsen used as an opener when she tried to chat up the broody young assistant from Astrometrics. Now, that was precisely the sort of thing he would have talked about with his male classmates who were struggling with the thought of talking to their own crushes if he didn't value people's privacy as much as he did - besides, she must have been really smitten to forget about the flabbergasted 6'5" Andorian still waiting on one of her transporter pads when her would-be paramour had sauntered in.