Ensign Sarah Phillips was nervous. This wasn't uncommon for her, though. Most things made her nervous. Her shuttle had been disabled by an ion storm, so instead of being early, Phillips was actually a full week late. Her ensign placement officer assured her this was fine, but she knew she had already made a bad impression with her training program regardless.
She hiked her duffle strap up higher on her shoulders and stepped out of the shuttle and into the receiving bay of the Promenade. She would never get over how diverse and… futuristic the Federation was. Her ‘primitive’ upbringing forced a wide-eyed wonder to most things fed citizens would see as basic.
Growing up on a Luddite colony in the [...]-end of the Beta quadrant, Sarah’s colony had suppressed knowledge of the Federation after their arrival to remove temptation from future generations. She thought back to her time there, tending to the buffalo beetles and climbing trees to stargaze.
It’d been one of those nights in the trees when the probe had fallen. She mistook it for a falling star, but now knew it had been an ancient Terran satellite. She had checked every registry at the Academy, but had never been able to find any record of it, or how it had gotten to her little corner of the galaxy. Nonetheless, with help from an ancient technical manual she had discovered buried behind the community center, she had managed to jury rig a subspace SOS and hail a passing container ship that beamed her aboard. All she managed to take with her was the potted fungus her parents had planted when she was born. Its single stinkhorn stuck up from the potted soil, it’s dayglo green lattice shrouding a bright red stem.
Sarah decided to sit on a bench nearby and just people watch. It was one of her favorite things to do at The Academy. She always marveled at the vastly different species that moved quickly from place to place, the feet and tentacles and claws and grav-belts so exotic to her. She did her best to try and remember the species names as they walked by: Bajorans with their earrings, blue hued Andorians, Kazleti with their dorsal arms, and a Pahkwa-thanh and a Galadorian arguing about something. She chuckled to herself when she assumed it was the best way to wear their respective uniforms.
She glanced at the clock and realized it was almost time to meet her cadet group. She picked up her bag, cradled her mushroom, and hurried down the Promenade, following the arrows on the ground. She was already a week late.