((Okay, I’m sorry about this little note, but I was reading some of the content in the forum before mine, and it seems that there was another “Cadet Collins” that was posted Nov. 30. My character is not supposed to be related to Quentin Collins III, thought I should mention that. Just a coincidence that the last names are the same!))
Jo hated shuttle rides in space.
Sure, the likelihood of actually crashing or something going wrong was almost zip, but that didn’t stop Dr. Arika Jojovich-Collins from almost bolting off of the transport craft. Solid ground is a blessing, she reminded herself as she straightened her uniform and retrieved her bag from storage outside of the shuttle. Her coppery-blonde hair had been twisted into two Dutch braids and pinned into a bun at the nape of her neck by her Academy roommate before she left Earth, but a few unruly wisps still hung in front of her face as she bent down to get her stuff.
Intelligent green eyes searched the bustle of people at the dock of StarBase 118. Other uniform-clad cadets of every shape, size, and color bustled through the crowded space, and Jo took comfort in the fact that it was very unlikely that anyone would pay special attention to a 1.73 meter, average cadet like herself. She felt a little old for the crowd, though she was only 27, but reminded herself again that the 5 years of university and earning her medical license set her apart from the other cadets in field experience too, not just in age. She knew what being the “odd one out” felt like: graduating from high school at 15 left her feeling alienated and skittish (because she was a pretty girl, and pretty girls still had to be pretty careful when alone on college campuses and in big cities) during her time alone at Harvard and Harvard Medical. She had good childhood friends that she kept in contact with while she was away, though, so she didn’t feel as lonely as she could have felt.
Jo was able to admit to herself that she wasn’t like most of the cadets shuffling through the base. She hadn’t dreamed of the stars when she was young. If she was really honest, her father Dr. Jojovich had scared it out of her. His years in the Fleet found him in bed with someone who was definitely not her mother, Jean Collins, a xenobiologist in Seattle where she’d grown up. Jo’s birth certificate read both of their last names, and her first name Arika, which had been chosen by her father. Her friends had called her Jo or Jojo since she was young, seldom did anyone use her real first name. She’d also asked that she be referred to as Dr. Collins or Cadet Collins when it came to formalities.
So why did she join the Fleet, if she had never envisioned herself doing so? As it were, Jo was incredibly lucky. Through her connections at Harvard Medical, her father’s and her own alma mater, and her mother, she landed an internship with a “galaxy-renowned” xenoanatomical researcher through whom she received her license to practice on both the people of Earth and a plethora of other humanoid species. Her mentor pushed her to join Star Fleet to exercise her expertise, and though she was wary of the idea, she enlisted.
But none of that mattered, really, when she was surrounded by people that she didn’t know, and she settled to walk out into the main part of the base alone, awaiting in both excitement and trepidation for the adventures that were sure to come.