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Lt. Cmdr Townson - Skill Testing

Sedrin Belasi

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((USS Tiger-A - Bridge))

::As Tracey sat at her post at Ops, with the red alert lights flashing all around her, creating an eerie glow upon the armor she still wore, she thought of the situation and realized the necessity of some of the tests she was placed under in this universe's rendition of the Academy. Being holed up at StarFleet medical for almost a year, undergoing psychological analysis by Doctor Samuel Huff, Tracey spent most of her free time studying manuals and performing tests. Some were to assess her skills as a StarFleet officer, and some were to assess if she could actually be able to return to service. Either way, Tracey was happy at the time, for it allowed her to take her mind off of the situation she found herself in.::

::Tracey recalled that day, as she shuffled down the corridors of the psychological ward of StarFleet medical, holding her patients robe closed and her slippers glided along the floor. She recalled almost crashing into the StarFleet officer standing at the nurses station, where Tracey was heading to receive her dose of medication. Tracey looked up with a surprised, but sad face, at the man standing in front of her. He smiled awkwardly. Tracey didn't smile back.::

((Time Warp - Two and a half years ago - Starfleet Medical - Psychological Ward))

Townson: You are...?

Officer: Lieutenant Dolovitch, Ms. Townson. We met...

Townson: ::waving him off:: Yes, yes. Yesterday at lunch. ::to a nurse on the other side of the nurses station:: Nurse! Its time! ::pointing to an overhead chronometer then looking back up towards the Lieutenant:: What's on your mind, soldier?

Dolovitch: Well, Ms. Townson, ::lifting his PADD slightly:: according to the information that I have here, you are performing well on your Starfleet tests.

::The nurse approached the counter and placed medication on a small napkin with a small white paper cup filled with water. Tracey's attention turned from the officer in front of her, towards that of her medication. She looked at the pills and nodded a curt thank you towards the nurse and then palmed her pills before popping them in her mouth, and washed them down with the water. She then looked up at the Lieutenant before fully swallowing.::

Townson: ::gulp:: And that surprises you, soldier? I've been a member of Starfleet for many years before coming to this universe.

Dolovitch: We know that, Ms. Townson. Its your level of knowledge that surprises us.

Townson: Does it now.

::Tracey didn't know if what he was referring to was the fact her level of skill was surprisingly poor or good. In fact, she didn't quite care. She felt relaxed and wondered if the medication was assisting with her state.::

Dolovitch: We would like you to take a special test.

Townson: Special? ::looking up at the Lieutenant with a sly smile:: Special in what way?

Dolovitch: ::returning the smile:: Its a...oh you'll see.

::Tracey didn't speak for a moment as she looked for clues as to what this test could be about, in the Lieutenant's facial gestures. Not being anything close to an empath nor very good at reading facial features, it was not surprising Tracey failed miserably to try to get more information from the man in this way. However, she herself was intrigued.::

Townson: You're on, soldier. I'll take the test. As you can see, my schedule is pretty much clear.

Dolovitch: Very good, Ms. Townson. I have scheduled you for the test tomorrow afternoon.

Townson: I'll need a pass to get out of here.

Dolovitch: Well ahead of you. Consider it done. I have already spoken with Doctor Huff.

Townson: Then I'll see you tomorrow, then?

Dolovitch: ::nodding:: Tomorrow it is, Ms. Townson.

::And with that, the Lieutenant tapped a few keys on his PADD and turned to leave, leaving Tracey standing alone at the nurses station. Just then, the clouds outside the complex, moved off and a ray of sunshine beamed in through the window of the complex, and Tracey found herself gazing at a floating piece of dust in the sunbeam. Once it disappeared past the beam, and into the rest of the sterile hallway of the hospital, Tracey brought her thoughts back to the present. Looking at her outfit she was wearing, she knew she could not stay here forever. It would not only lead to her own depression, but to an early death as well. This was not who she was. She was an Officer of Starfleet, not an inpatient at a mental institution and she knew she had to pass that test.::

::Lifting her head, Tracey spun in her slippered feet and headed back to her room. There she sat and studied and read everything she thought might be on that test the next day, for she did care. For her own life, she had to go back to the only occupation she has known since she was drafted at 15, for there was no other reason to continue should she not, for she knew she had no other skills to offer.::

::The next day began like every other in this strange, peaceful, universe. She showered and ate breakfast with the other patients, assisting the nurses and doctors when needed and then retreating either for therapy or back to her room. This morning was different, as after breakfast she was guided by a nurse to a room which housed uniforms. Cadet uniforms. Tracey tried them on until she found the correct fit, as the nurse looked on. It was for protection, she was told. All patients on this ward were never left unattended. And even though Tracey felt uneasy about it, she understood the reasoning.::

Townson: ::posing in her uniform:: How do I look?

Nurse: ::smiling:: Very professional, Ms. Townson.

Townson: ::smiling back:: Now I'm Cadet Townson.

::The two left the room together and Tracey picked up her pass from the nurses station as Lieutenant Dolovitch rounded a corner. He joined Tracey and the nurse at the nurses station. Tracey looked up at the man.::

Dolovitch: You appear to be ready, Cadet.

Townson: ::moving to an attention stance:: Yes, sir! I am, sir!

Dolovitch: ::nodding to the nurse then speaking to Tracey:: Very good. Follow me, Cadet.

::Starfleet Headquarters was not a small complex. Moving from the medical complex, which consisted mostly of research facilities due to the fact that most of those within were healthy individuals in this universe, to that of the training center, was not a quick process. Tracey was given the choice of walking or using transport. Tracey chose the former. She wanted to see the complex, not as military barracks and a place of death and sadness and despair, but one of happiness and joy and choice. It was odd to see this place not covered with security, and checkpoints at every corner. It was odd to see the lack of crying parents grieving for their children drafted into a war without knowing whether they would ever see them alive again. It was odd to not see the stream of dead and dying soldiers being taken to Stafleet medical for autopsies and emergency surgeries. The lack of the constant blood tests to make certain one is not a Changeling.::

::Tracey took in the sunshine of the west coast spring afternoon with awe in her yellow eyes as she looked around at the apparent freedom and peace around her. But although her heart was filled with joy, she did not believe she deserved it. She was a child of a different universe. A place of war and disease and desparation wherever she went, and if asked, she could list off many others other than herself, who deserved to come to this place of peace ahead of her. Why was she chosen? Why was it she who came to this place? She was just a soldier. She didn't deserve it.::

::Walking through the front doors of the testing facility, Tracey noticed all the Cadets moving everywhere. They looked young, for the most part, but not like children. Tracey was older than most, but there were others who were older as well, so Tracey didn't feel too out of place. This was not the first time Tracey had entered this complex. She had taken a few tests here already as well as some in her room at the medical complex. But this was her first time here dressed as a Cadet, and she felt almost oddly comfortable. Almost like she was halfway home, even though the design of the uniform was very different.::

::Tracey and Lieutenant Dolovitch walked into a room and a Lieutenant Commander was standing there. The Lieutenant told Tracey to wait, and he went to speak to his suprior officer. Within moments, the grey haired Lieutenant Commander approached Tracey and extended his arm. Tracey took it and shook it quickly before letting go and coming to attention.::

Townson: Cadet Tracey Townson reporting for testing, Commander.

Lt. Cmdr: As ease, Cadet. My name is Lieutenant Commander Richard Gard. I will be assessing your skills on this test. Are you ready, Cadet?

Townson: Yes, sir, Commander! I am ready!

Gard: Very good, Cadet. Lieutenant Dolovitch will bring you to a room with a mock bridge. Inside you will have all the tools at your discretion to perform your assigned task. You will also be given a crew made up of other Cadets. You are to perform a simple rescue operation. Do you have any questions, Cadet?

Townson: ::looking straight ahead:: No, sir, Commander! Rescue operations are not something I am not familiar with!

Gard: I'm glad to hear, Cadet. With your backgound, this should be straightforward. ::turning and giving a knowing smile to Lieutenant Dolovitch:: Lieutenant...lead the Cadet to the testing area. Dismissed.

::And with that, Tracey and Lieutenant Dolovitch left the room and moved towards another area of the testing area. Tracey and the Lieutenant entered what appeared to be a bridge of an older starship design. Looking around, Tracey noticed the other Cadets already at their assigned posts. As soon as one of them noticed Lieutenant Dolovitch, they all turned to look his way.::

Dolovitch: Cadets, this is Cadet Tracey Townson.

Townson: Hi.

::The Cadets just looked at Tracey without responding. The Lieutenant continued.::

Dolovitch: Cadet Townson will be taking this test to test her reaction to particular stimuli. Some of you may be familiar with it. Its called the Kobyashi Maru test.

::There was a slight gasp from some of the Cadets on the bridge.::

Dolovitch: ::turning to Townson:: As the Commander stated, it is a rescue operation. When you are ready, we will begin the simulation.

Townson: ::nodding:: Understood, Lieutenant.

::Tracey was anxious but confident in her abilities. She recalled having to perform recue operations in her universe of origin on many different occasions, and she figured that this would be no different. Tracey surmised that speed would be necessary and that she would have to pinpoint her target, move in and conduct the rescue. It should be straightforward.::

::As she moved to the center seat, she overheard a couple of Cadets whispering to each other.::

Cadet 1: Thats the one from Starfleet Medical.

Cadet 2: You mean the crazy one?

::Tracey quickly glanced their way and realized at that moment that the stigma of mental illness was still something those in this universe had to deal with. She gave them a stern look then returned her attention to the matter at hand. But in the back of her mind, the "crazy one" statement still lingered. She knew she was different. It was time to show that she was not "crazy" too. She knew she had to pass this test.::

::Once Tracey was settled in, she took a deep breath, then let it out slowly.::

Townson: Begin simulation.

::The bridge came to life and the viewscreen showed a starfield.::

Townson: Report!

Cadet: All systems functioning...sir we're being hailed. Audio only.

Townson: On speakers.

Speakers: =/\= To any Federation vessel. This is Kobyashi Maru. We are losing power...=/\=

::Tracey looked at the Cadet questioningly. The Cadet shook his head. Another Cadet spoke up.::

Cadet 2: Kobyashi Maru is a Federation freighter operating at the edge of the Klingon neutral zone.

Townson: Operations. Try to reestablish communications. Tactical, get a fix on their location. Helm, lay in a course for the neutral zone, warp 5. Engage!

::The mock ship jumped to warp and within moments, the mock ship found the location of the distressed vessel. Thus far, Tracey found herself to be quite proud of herself. Things were moving quite smoothly.::

Cadet: Kobyashi Maru on screen, Captain. It appears to be just on the opposite side of the neutral zone. Vessel is without power and drifting. Sensors picking up numerous injured.

Townson: Anything else.

Cadet: Negative, sir.

Townson: Very well. Move us in closer. To transporter distance.

Computer: Warning. Crossing neutral zone is a violation...

Townson: Shut that off!

Cadet: Yes, sir.

::Tracey spun in her seat and looked at the Cadet at the rear of the bridge.::

Townson: Inform sickbay to prepare to receive...

::Suddenly the ship rocked from the telltale power of that emanating from disruptor fire. With the shields down for transport, the damage was extensive. Tracey, as well as others, were thrown to the ground. Tracey looked up at the screen in shock to see three Klingon war ships at close range.::

Townson: How!? How did they...!? SHIELDS! SHIELDS!

Cadet: Shields unresponsive, Captain!

Townson: NO! NO!...

::Another volley of torpedos and disruptors was all it took for the simulation to come to an end. Sitting on the floor in the middle of the smoke-filled bridge, Tracey heard the doors open behind her. As the other Cadets were dismissed, Tracey stood and looked at the silhouette of Lieutenant Commander Gard and stood at attention in her now dirty uniform.::

Townson: I...I realize I failed, Commander. I would like to retake the test.

Gard: ::shaking his head:: Your performance here will be placed on your permanent record, Cadet.

Townson: But, sir...I...

Gard: You will be assessed upon your performance here, today, Cadet Townson. Lieutenant Dolovitch will escort you back to the Medical complex where you will await final evaluation. Understood?

Townson: Yes, sir.

::Tracey and Lietenant Dolovitch left the training center and returned to the Medical complex without exchanging words. She knew she failed miserably. She should never have crossed the neutral zone. But how could she rescue survivors otherwise? She sighed trying to hold back her tears. She knew now that there was no way she would ever be able to return to service and found that test unfair. It wasn't as if she had not undergone unfair tests in her universe of origin, it was just that she had yet to encounter one in this universe, and therefore figured her failure would lead to not being able to return to Starfleet. The only thing she knew how to do was Starfleet, and she couldn't bear trying to think of what else she could do here in this strange, peaceful, and lonely universe.::

::Once again, at the nurses station, Tracey turned in her pass and thanked Lieutenant Dolovitch. Once the man left, Tracey went to her room, and changed back into her hospital clothes. She then sat on her bed, pulled her knees up to her chest and rocked herself back and forth trying to comfort herself from the memories of this day. As tears streamed down her face she watched the Starfleet Officers outside her window hoping that she didn't ruin her chances at her too becoming one of them some day..::


Lt. Commander Tracey Townson

Chief of Operations

USS Tiger-A

Edited by FltAdml. Wolf
Adding Round 2 prefix.
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