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Cathy German


November 6th 2267

Dear Mom,

Yikes! I can’t believe it’s been eight weeks already! Gosh, I’m sorry. I know I promised to write to you as soon as I settled in. I guess I just now feel settled in! And to tell you the truth, I was incredibly homesick for the first three weeks or so. Honest to God, I was such a baby. I’d look out those portholes and see nothing but black and realize just how far away you all are, and it made me want to cry. And I did. A lot.

But please don’t tell Dad that.

I’m not the only one. I mean the only rookie, the only one who cried in her pillow at night. This isn’t just a ship full of lifers and veterans. There’s a lot of other rookies here too, so I’m not alone. And I’m not being hazed! Don’t worry about that. I know that you were concerned, and I know what Nathaniel had heard about hazing from his friends, but I’ve got to truthfully tell you that it just hasn’t happened on the Enterprise.

Not if you don’t count them cross-wiring the food processors when we had our rookie welcoming dinner. I don’t know what it was that ended up on my plate, but I’ll guarantee you that it wasn’t edible. At least not by me.

And the only other thing, I guess, would be that when a junior officer, like Lieutenant Farrell or Ensign Nored, stops you in the corridor and asks you what Rule Number One is, you’re supposed to say, very seriously: "Never fart in a turbolift." Like I could say that with a straight face! Honestly. Some people are such goons.

So my roommate is okay. Not great, but it could be worse. She’s about seven years older than I am, and she’s in security, and she scared the bejeezus out of me at first. I slept with one eye open at night. She’s from Xartheb – tough, all muscle, doesn’t crack a smile, haven’t heard her laugh, doesn’t wear make-up, stays in the room all the time except when she’s down in the gym beating up guys. She makes me feel like Tinkerbell.

I’d like her on my side in a fight, though! She wouldn’t even have to raise a hand. She could just look at ‘em. I think she’d even make a Klingon weak in the knees.

But back to the food. Hmmm. How can I describe it? It looks good, and I know I’m getting the necessary vitamins and nutrients, and it smells like it’s supposed to ... But it’s been deep frozen, probably years in advance, and it just doesn’t taste the same. Every once in a while, we’ll run short of something like turkey for Thanksgiving, and Captain Kirk will order the chief to fashion meatloaf into the shape of turkeys. Yuck. Long story short: Mom, I’d kill for some of your peach cobbler. I’d eat through a titanium wall for it. I mean I’d take on my roommate in a fifteen-round fight just to get a bite of some. With vanilla ice cream on it.

I’ve lost seven pounds.

And the air. I knew that recirculated air on a starship might not be as fresh as a breeze off the Pacific, but what I didn’t expect was how incredibly dry it is! I don’t think there’s enough skin lotion in the galaxy to get me to stop itching. That’s what I deserve for being from the Pacific Northwest. I had the webbed feet clipped, but this air thing....

I went to Doctor McCoy about it. Well, not Doctor McCoy, really. I went to Sickbay, and he just happened to be there. He’s our CMO (Chief Medical Officer), and I sure wouldn’t bother him with my itchy skin, being a nobody rookie ensign, when he’s got everybody else on the ship to worry about. But he was the one who was there went I went in the door, so he’s the one who checked me out.

So as he looked at the rash on my arm, he told me that he wasn’t surprised that I was having problems because the ambient humidity had been set to Vulcan standards by Mister Spock as a way to get back at all the emotional Humans on the ship. I believed him, and I just sat there with my mouth open. He looked up and saw my face and said, "You’re new."

I admitted that I was, and teared up for no good reason at all. Well, I guess I had reasons. I itched, I was hungry, I was afraid of my roommate, and I missed you all. The last thing I needed to know was that some alien was messing with the environmental controls just to make me miserable.

He patted me on the arm, told me that things would probably get better no matter how bad they seemed at the time, gave me some strong lotion and some pills, told me to set the individual humidity in my cabin as high as I could, and sent me on my way.

He was right. It got better.

And you were right about Vulcans, Nathaniel! About how women go ga-ga. No wonder you were jealous at the academy. I bet that one-quarter of the women on this ship have a major crush on Mister Spock. And maybe one-eighth of the men. As if he pays attention.

Me? He scares me almost as much as my roommate did, but I have a new friend, and he reports to him, and he says he’s a great boss. He’s not afraid of Mister Spock at all. Not that I have to worry about working with him or being around him. I don’t expect I’ll have a whole lot of interaction with the bridge crew, being at the bottom of the food chain here.

Oh. They do make hooch in engineering, just like Nate said they would. I haven’t had any. I just know that they do it.

My roommate got sick on it one night. Somebody dared her to drink some, so she did (of course), and she spent the next four shifts in our cabin, crying like a baby and throwing up everything I brought her from the mess. I felt so sorry for her! I found out later that Xartheb is a ‘dry’ planet.

She confessed that she envied me. My God! She envied me? She said she’d never been good with men and had a tendency to scare them away (oh really?), and that she envied me because I was cute (gag) and clingy (I protested that one!), and guys liked that.

I told her that looks weren’t everything, and that her strength was something that I really admired. And I do. I could never do what she can, I could never face bad things and danger without cringing. I know that much about myself. Maybe she’ll rub off on me. Maybe she can help me get better about that.

Now my reason for writing.....I’m so excited! I’m going planetside! I can’t believe how lucky I am! My name got pulled from the pool, and I’m going down at the very next opportunity. I just can’t get over it! My roommate has never been planetside, and she’s been on board for over two years. (I got her to promise that she’d teach me some fancy defensive moves, just in case I need them!)

I’ll be going down with Griffin Shea, and that’s great. He’s a redshirt, and he’s big and strong and a nice guy to boot. I don’t know if I’ll be there with any of the bridge crew, but I really don’t care. I’m just eager for the experience. I’ll admit that it scares me a little. Okay.... It scares me a lot, but that’s what I’m out here for, right? I’m ready! Bring on new life and new civilizations!

Nate, I’ll write right after I get back on board. I know that you’ll be dying to hear how it went!

How’s Angel? Please don’t do anything drastic or put her to sleep or anything until I have another chance to see her! I’ll have leave in another three months or so, and I’m convinced that she’s gone downhill because she thinks I’ve abandoned her. Pet her on the head for me, please.

Tell Grandma Thompson "hello" for me, and kiss Dad.


Your Little Girl Leslie,

Getting Smarter and Stronger All The Time!


U.S.S. Enterprise, NCC-1701
Medical Log, Stardate 4658.9
Chief Medical Officer Leonard H. McCoy, M.D., Ph.D.

Subject: Remains of Ensign Leslie Thompson

Remains of Leslie Thompson studied in depth by medical and science labs. Kelvan ability to transform human beings is not reversible in instance of Leslie Thompson, due to damage done while in non-human form.

No Human DNA found in remaining materials. It is the opinion of this office that Ensign Thompson be declared deceased.


Kirk looked at the note on the yellow diskette McCoy had left him.

Jim, I’m sorry.

This has been a tough one.

And he knew that truer words had rarely been spoken.

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