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[2005: APR-MAY] *WINNER* Graduation day

Ryan Horn

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As the door opened, admitting three cadets holding a golden idol in the rough male shape, the Commandant sat back and smiled.

It had taken many long years, and constant efforts to bring this class to its completion. They were now a force that would long be respected and would soon go out into the galaxy to make their legends out among the stars. All of them save one. That one would soon prove just how lucky he’d been up to now. His lack of respect, lack of protocol, and, though nothing he could officially take note of, the Commandant secretly added lack of parentage, all stood against him. And today, they would all prove out the truth, that this “Jim” was unworthy to graduate from the academy. As the cadets set it down on his desk, signifying both their success and his, he thought back to the recent discussion with the soon to be disgraced cadet.


The Commandant couldn’t believe how such a single word could be filled with so much disregard and sarcasm. But “Jim” knew just how far the rules could be twisted, and when to back off. This was still well within parameters for this meeting, and both of them knew it.

“Cadet Jim. As your final task prior to graduation, I want you to bring this idol to your father. On completion of this task, you will have completed the full course of work required for the academy.” He swallowed, disgusted by the thought that this snot nosed…monkey might soon hold such a position.

“What’s the catch? ...Sir.”

“Cadet, I do not appreciate the implication that this task is any more or less than what I suggested. If you do not feel competent to complete this simple delivery, then perhaps the review board will have to re-evaluate your progress. “He let the glee show on his face, the young pup couldn’t ask in case it wasn’t a trick, the cadet would be thrown out.

“Thank you SIR, for this opportunity.” The cadet gracefully pulled the idol out of the bag in the Commandant’s hands, examined it briefly then replaced it and walked out the door, back straight head held high.

“Oh no…thank you Jim. After all these years, I’ve got you right where I want you.” The commandant quietly said after the cadet had left. Normally for the last test, it was just as easy as he’d said. It was a mere formality, something to show that you still could deal with people outside of the military. Nothing his vaunted father could make the slightest complaint about. Although, allowing him to succeed…just to pull it out from him at the end…that might be worthwhile as well. “Either way, I win!” he cackled.

“Send in the next group of cadets, they have a task to complete for me”

On leaving the Commandant’s area, the three cadets split up. One took a casual watch on Jim’s room, making sure no one entered or left. The second used…unofficial…access to the academy computer, getting an image of where each cadet was based on the mandatory communicators. The third, the leader of the group, began planning what to do next.

After several hours, watching Jim apparently pacing in his room, they came up with a plan. Dale, the leader had already suggested she simply “stop by” and distract Jim with her feminine wiles. Sandra, having stopped watching Jim’s door for their planning, pointed out that even Jim would be suspicious if Dale suddenly took an interest in him at this time. Mike had suggested a bolder move. They’d start a fire, create an explosion, and open a gas main, something that would force all of them to evacuate the academy grounds. Then, in the confusion, he would ‘accidentally’ crash into Jim, stunning him or knocking him out. Then, either Dale or Sandra would grab the idol, and replace it with something else in a similar bag. As they were working out the details, the klaxon’s starting going off. They turned to each other and all said the same word “Jim”. Moving quickly, they rushed to his room. He looked stunned, too confused by the gasses quickly flooding the building to know up from down, much less notice a quickly done switch. They carried him out the door, and outside the campus. Once there, he quickly regained his senses in the fresh air, and immediately reached for the bag. Smiling they handed him the bag, and allowed him to wander off. They’d won…and the poor fool had thanked them for the assistance! How an idiot like Jim had even been allowed here showed exactly why politics should never mix with academy business.

The Commandant, Dale, Sandra, and Mike, all stood looking at the golden statue before them. The Commandant smiling took out a recording device, and began speaking.

“So cadets, would you mind repeating what you just told me for the record? “

Dale spoke up first, “Sir, while we were preparing for our final projects as per the manual, we noticed that one cadet had been very depressed and been spending a great deal of time alone.”

“And he had an almost obsessive need to be around this statue” Sandra piped up, ignoring the aggravated look from Dale.

“Well, we’d better find out what was so important to the young cadet you described.” The Commandant spoke for effect. He already knew exactly what this would do, and while it would be irritating…it would forever disgrace Jim, and the powers that put him into the Commandant’s academy. He pushed the button on the base of the sculpture.

“Jim” smiled. It had all been worth it. That he had been able to get Dale and her “gang” to help him complete the job icing on the cake. He typed a few commands into the transporter in front of him, and suddenly felt a lot less bloated, as a golden statue, covered in bloody plastic, appeared in front of him. Cleaning it up, he brought it to his father, Ambassador Scott Walker.

His father, on receiving it, pushed the small button on the base of the statue. A hiss of escaping gas was heard as the soft scent of roses and wildflowers filled the room. An image of “Jim” standing there said. “Father, with the completion of this task, I have graduated from the Tal’Shiar academy. I now choose to follow my Federation ties and join the Starfleet academy that I might continue to join our two races.” The image winked out, as Ben Walker, recent graduate of the Tal’Shiar, and soon to be Cadet Walker again, smiled thinking of recent events…and what was transpiring at the academy right now.

The press of the button brought forth the hissing that the Commandant had expected, but instead of the nearly lethal gas, a foul smell emanated from the idol causing everyone in the room to cough and gag. Again as expected, an image of “Jim” appeared, but the words were not at all expected.

“Greetings Commandant and I can only expect S’anra, Dhael, and Maiek. As you no doubt have guessed, by your words and deeds...I have graduated your precious Tal’Shiar academy. And, as any good host, I’ll explain how I did it.”

The image sat down, smirking at them. “I’d love to be there to see the expressions on your faces; although I’m told Terran skunk smell doesn’t go away easily.” He chuckled “especially because someone recently bought out the local stores of tomato juice.” But I digress. You are all wondering how your jihmn managed to defeat you. It wasn’t easy, but knowing the rest of you helped immensely.”

The image began pacing “I knew there was a trap when the Commandant gave me the idol, but I wasn’t certain what it was. A message that would humiliate me? Possible. Ordering others to stop me? Almost certain. Something else? Definitely.”

“So the first thing to do was, make a duplicate, and examine it. So, I quickly setup a large pendulum in my room, and attached my comm. Badge to it. “He waggled his fingers at the four of them. “Recon 101 people, someone isn’t there until you know he’s there, not just because a comm. badge says he is. Knowing I was now “invisible” I duplicated the device, and examined the duplicate. Imagine my surprise to find out how far you were willing to go Commandant. A gas poisonous enough to nearly instantly kill humans, but not quite enough to kill Romulans? And a message from me saying ‘With this act I remove the stain to the Rihannsu’, killing both myself and the Ambassador from the Federation, my father? Bravo Commandant, bravo.”

Maiek had moved to the door, trying to open it, as he approached he bounced off the force field surrounding the room.

“By now one or more of you have tried to leave, open a window, or whatever. I simply can’t stand rudeness, and I wouldn’t want you to dishonor yourselves by leaving before your host is finished, so I have convinced the computer that there is a raging fire outside. Now where was I? Ah yes, the ‘tricky part’”

“You see, I knew someone would be trying to prevent me from reaching my goal. If it was too easy, I or Federation inspectors after the ‘accident’ would be suspicious. So, I had to be able to sneak it past all of you. So, after preparing both of these, and “he paused” I really enjoyed preparing yours” I entered into a holo-deck, and had holo medical personnel put it inside me.” He winced. “Of course I hadn’t counted on the lack of pain suppressants, which was why I was so “stunned” when you found me. From there, it was an easy fix to reverse the flow of the fans, pulling all the stray smoke from the furnaces into the area.”

The image stood up at attention, saluting the Commandant. “I hope you fully appreciate sir, that I could not have done any of this without the training I received here. Oh, and in case you thought I didn’t plan this through…Excalibur!”

At the completion of the word, the idol sent out a brilliant flash of light, dimming the lights in the room, and visibly shorting out several items in the room.

Not to mention a small golden idol, who didn’t respond further, no matter how many times the button was pressed, or a small recording device that only played back static.

Note to the reader: Yup…I intentionally was being tricky.

Jihmn: is Romulan for Adversary or enemy…just really easy to switch those

And as told in the story above, Dale, Mike, and Sandra are all approximations for their Romulan counterparts…

Hope you enjoyed the trick…I’m all out of treats…

Edited by Ben Walker
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