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((Timothy Peak Academy))

Roberts: Thank you, ahem, ::Gregor sifted through his notes:: Timothy Peak Academy, for the opportunity to speak with you today.

::The podium was a crutch that he hadn’t needed when he started this. He was younger then – fresh out of the Academy and wide-eyed about the world. He didn’t walk through an audience anymore. He didn’t jump around the stage. Now, his grip on the wood tightened; he planted his feet firmly behind the pillar. Roberts glanced over to the headmaster, who sat at the side of the auditorium in the front row, lips firmly together and staring over his pressed-together fingertips. ::

Roberts: There are a number of reasons ::the microphone screeched with feedback for a moment.:: reasons to join Starfleet. They’d take a while to list and I have only a few minutes, so let me give a few reasons not to apply. You want to coast through life? Don’t apply to Starfleet. Are you content to follow the standard roadmap to a successful career? The Academy doesn’t teach that. oO You don’t want to recruit teenagers your whole life? Don’t join. Oo To be honest, Starfleet isn’t right for most of us … um, isn’t right for most people.

::It occurred to Gregor that there was usually something that followed this. It was something he said that followed this. Something inspiring. He’d done this for a decade; why could he not remember that part? It’s the same every time.::

Roberts: But – maybe for a few of us, well, a few of you, I’ve already made this choice. For a few of you, maybe you want to see new places. A lot of them. Maybe you want to keep people safe. Or discover new worlds, or develop cutting edge technology. Or recruit – oO oh, no, did I just say that? Oo recruit alien worlds to our cause. Working for Starfleet will unleash your potential. Headmaster, ahem … your headmaster has allowed me to come here because this is an elite school, and Starfleet is a fitting next step for some of you. I’ll be outside the auditorium to answer any questions you may have. Please stop by to take some information.

::Not three minutes later Gregor was waiting outside the doors with pamphlets in one hand and his bag in the other. He had to hit another two schools today. Fortunately, this wouldn’t take long. It never did. High schools were a bust; few kids still wanted to join up.::

::Students filed out of the auditorium and the hallway exploded into life as packs of students passed him. By the looks of it, he’d be on his way in five minutes, so he’d have a chance to grab a coffee after all.::

Granger: I said I’d like one, please.

::Gregor hadn’t noticed the gangly kid come up to him.::

Roberts: You do? Sure, take one.

Granger: Why should I join up?

Roberts: What do you mean? ::He looked at the kid inquisitively.:: You were in the audience, right?

Granger: Yeah. You were pretty clear on why not to, but you were a bit vague on the reasons to apply.

Roberts: Was I? Well, Starfleet’s mission is peacekeeping and exploration. Starfleet Academy affords opportunities to hone your body and mind, to forge you into the best individual you can be, and put you in a position to make the Federation an even better place.

Granger: That’s pretty bad.

::He was arrogant, just like the rest of these students. He wouldn’t make it in the Academy anyway. But it was his job, so he indulged the kid for the moment.::

Roberts: Those sound like good things to me – what’s bad about becoming a better person and improving life for others?

Granger: Not what I mean. I know a thing or two about rhetoric, and that was written for you. Probably a while back – you should recommend they update their stuff.

::Now Gregor was sure the kid was just wasting his time. He watched the goofy-looking boy shift his weight, glance over the pamphlet, and look the uniformed man up and down. Gregor wasn’t one to put up with this.::

Roberts: Listen –

Granger: Let me ask a different way. Why did YOU join Starfleet?

Roberts: Why did I? ::He paused, thought about it. It wasn’t a question he usually got.:: oO It certainly wasn’t to do this. Oo I wanted to be a part of something – wanted there to be justice.

:: A moment in time flashed through his mind. He recalled Armand’s face. He’d mentored him all through school, tutored him, helped him achieve his potential. Gregor snapped out of it, but the world was clearer before his eyes.::

Roberts: No. It was to give other people the opportunities I had.

Granger: And ... ::he paused, waiting for a response :: did Starfleet help you do that?

::Roberts thought through it. In truth, he had been excited about recruiting at first. He wanted to do this. That first woman he signed up – she was going places. But, and he was proud of this, she hadn’t even considered Starfleet Academy before he’d spoken to her.::

Roberts: Yes. It did. ::He looked down at the boy and smiled.:: You like rhetoric, kid? There’s a place for you at the Academy. Diplomatic Corps. Counseling. Hey, maybe even recruitment. You’d be a good fit for Starfleet. And something tells me we’d be a good place for you, too.

-----

Ensign Ben Livingston

Science Officer

Starbase 118

Edited by Ben Livingston
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