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Quentin Collins - A Living Armour of Truest Blue

Kirsty L. Carpenter

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The Before. Stardate: 239507.19. 

Quentin Collins didn’t even need to see the postman coming up the drive to know what he carried.


It was as if he…sensed it. Was drawing it closer with his excitement. In return, the parcel seemed to pulse. With a clean bluish light, even through the canvas rolling cart and thin morning fog of the harbor below. 


Quentin watched the bored looking, but sure footed postman trudging up the drive and he willing him silently on from the foyer window where he had kept his diligent watch over the last few days (and scattering of nights). He kept plodding and plodding up the drive. Quentin started to bounce slightly on the balls of his feet. How could a single human being move THIS slowly?


If only they could have transported the parcel directly to the entryway chamber, like every other sane person did. But oh, no, oh, sunny, not in Professor Bouchard-Collins’ house. A house that must always stay clear and tidy and free of wild energies and photonic spectrums that would harm The Professor’s precious “auras” and “ sensory channels”. It was painfully stupid to Quentin when he had first heard it and it was double the amount now. 


But none of that did little to settle the buzz in Quentin’s heart and brains as he all but screamed the postman onward from his bedroom window. He distracted himself by sneaking another look at the PADD, itself also clandestinely ferreted into Quentin’s hands by a timely summons to the town Post Office in Collinsport below. A summons he obfuscated as a trip to the local library to his Mother. It was his Starfleet Academy acceptance letter and Call to Orders. Even as Quentin held it in his trembling hands, he couldn’t believe it was finally real. 


And now the second piece of that acceptance into something greater than himself approached. A higher, truer existence than the doldrive and arcane life he would have stayed here. Quentin whipped his head back to the window. The postman was almost out of sight now. That meant he was almost at the door. Quentin moved so quickly he didn’t even remember crossing the length of his bedroom, didn’t remember throwing open his door with a resounding, sonically shot thump. His footfalls outran their own noise. It was HERE. RIGHT in front of him. All he had to do was get to it. 


He passed a face rounding the hall. Another bounding down the Foyer steps, three at a time. Those were problems and questions for another time. After, much after. He was too focused now. And going too fast. The marble of the Foyer started to glide the heels of Quentin’s loafers. His direction was set, but his speed was now completely out of his hands. And feet, apparently. Only interruption could halt him now. Which he found. In the form of his right hip pranging deeply across the side of the walnut finished oval table that had been freshened and placed in the middle of the chamber. By some unspoken whim of Mother. 


Even the pain didn’t dull his excitement. He grasped both of the cast-iron handles of the ancient and too-large double-doors. And flung them open to the waning sunlight. Just as the bewildered postman was about to knock. Moving like a badly timed wind-up toy, he started to reach for his own large-font PADD, muttering something about needing a signature for the package. Which Quentin provided almost gleefully, divesting the postman from his charge with uncanny haste. 


Turning and closing both doors, seemingly with one motion, Quentin turned back into the Foyer. Transfixed on the medium-sized box he now couldn’t take his eyes from. He all but floated back to the table, setting the box reverently down on the walnut. He ran his hand carefully across the gilded embossment of the textured Blue box. The United Federation of Planets, Starfleet Academy. He started to unclasp the box, but stopped himself momentarily…As if he questioned his own worth now. He had taken his entry exam. He had passed his physical and psychological questionnaire. They had accepted him. They wouldn’t have sent this if they hadn’t.


But still part of him wondered if he had what it took to open this box. To put on what it contained. To carry those colors. Like the man said, there was only really one way to find out. And that started with opening the bloody box. He ran his thumbs up under the careful seal of the package, carefully separating the flaps of the box. Carefully folded in a square, was his Cadet uniform. Patterned dark maroon with Blue inlays about the collar and shoulders. A gleaming, freshly shined Cadet pip and matching rank-appropriate Starfleet badge set neatly beside. 


Quentin didn’t hesitate this time. He folded his hand softly into the fabric of the uniform. Running his opposite thumb over the smooth brass of the badge and single pip. Now it was VERY real. More real than ever before. Literally, the entire cosmos now stood at his fingertips. His mind and heart reeled with the possibility. 


One of those faces from before appeared at the top of the stairs. Father. He caught his eye from across the hall and rose the badge up into the light of the dawning night. They shared a silent, but powerful smile across the quiet. Father knew how much it meant to Quentin. But the other face, now coming into focus. Mother. Didn’t. Or wouldn’t, more likely. Her cold, and solidly focused eyes took in the scene. Her derision broke the silence. Sending it as shards across the sparkling table and flooring.


“Colors of his new colonial masters, I see…,” Her voice shot daggers through Quentin’s calm. What followed was not their first argument. Nor was it their last. But it was one that would hang like a grim guidepost of their relationship forever. Quentin’s newly arrived window to everything that wasn’t his Mother bearing silent witness to it all. Staying clutched in Quentin’s hand through it all, acting a ghoulish prop for his exultations until they halted some time later.


The Now. Stardate: 239901.19. 

Quentin Collins pushed the heavy, heady memories away and focused on the bright ones. The light that was clear and strong then pulsed just as strongly now. As he wore a brand new uniform and ran a reverently loving thumb down the lapels of his Cadet uniform. Hanging securely in the closet of his Arrow quarters. Quentin couldn’t actually recall the exact last moment he last wore it, but the feeling it produced within him would never fade from his memory.

The feeling that it was all ahead of him now. That discovery and connection were now limitless. And how the answers he so craved about reality’s biggest questions were just to the right of the farthest star and straight on till morning. That feeling and expectation, that excitement…it simply multiplied. Grew. Cascaded warmly across his life and experiences. It was important to him to remember that from time to time. To remind himself. To ground himself with totems important only to him.

That first uniform…it had started a whole new phase of his life. It was only right that he should honor it from time to time. In his own way.

Behind him, a chime called him back to his work. Back to the galaxy he had made home, literal worlds away from his actual home. Something he wouldn’t have if it weren’t for that uniform. 

“Not bad for a little swatch of Blue cloth, huh?”, he thought happily.

Edited by Quentin Collins III
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