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Setting: EARTH, San Francisco, Starfleet Academy, Boarding Dock 4
Stardate: 63071.1100

Hex felt jagged spikes of unease running through her very core as she thought of the LANCELOT. The ship was huge, much bigger than any she had seen, though, in truth, she hadn't seen many. Refusing to allow such emotions to cause her grief, the new Ensign swallowed her emotions and contained them within herself as she had been taught to do. Fearing the inevitable was natural, the young Kzinti knew as much, but it was hard to resist. She was entering unknown territory (or so she hoped), this wasn't a simulation, this was real. Her growing unease suddenly dissipated as she realized that this meant she'd get the chance to go on a real adventure.

Exploration was just as important as anything else she could have done. Discovering new areas and verifying the conditions of old ones was very important. The now hyper-excited Kzinti waited somewhat impatiently as each Ensign took their turn going onto the runabout heading to the Orbital Maintenance Array to go up to the LANCELOT via transporter. Why wait? Why couldn't they all go at once, the anticipation was choking her almost literally. Others around her were talking in hushed whispers about how foolish a trip on the runabout was when one could merely be transported directly to the LANCELOT. She heard things like, "...while in an Orbital Maintenance Array a ship cannot be the target of long-range transporter beams and that it would take too long for all of the runabouts to actually dock with the LANCELOT, I read all about it in the..." and the more frequent, "This is going to take so long" spoken in often whining tones. Though also impatient, Mrs. Fanggot wanted desperately to ride in the runabout, for the pure reason that it looked enjoyable, at least to her. Hex watched as the others went ahead, climbing onto the runabout heading to their newest home away from home.

Setting: EARTH's orbit, Runabout
Stardate: 63071.1120

The runabout was small to most, but not for the fun-sized Kzinti, besides in a shuttle that could hold twenty, eight was very comfortable. Hex made it to her seat in one piece, glancing in no direction in particular, but noticing some things. Most of those in the lower ranks (Ensigns) sat away from those of higher ranks (the Commander and Captain). Making what she considered to be a step in the right direction, the young Kzinti went and sat nearer to the top ranks. She wasn't trying to look snobbish, but she saw it as the youngsters avoiding those elders out of fear. As a new ensign, she felt the need to be with the higher ups to prove her loyalty or respect...or something...maybe she just wanted to sit there...who knew. Tuning out all the chatter from the other Ensigns, the Kzinti dazed out through the entire journey, with the Captain and Commander making no effort to include her in their conversation. Soon, they were all aboard the Orbital Maintenance Array and preparing to be transported to their true destination, the LANCELOT.

Not even a second seemed to go by from the time on the transporter platform to the ship. Following her commands, *Ensign* Hex Fanggot walked briskly to her first destination, the station for tactical/security. Going by most of the others unnoticed, as per usual, the stealthy fuzzball heard all sorts of conversations. Other Ensigns were worried about the mission. Suppressing the urge to giggle, she continued walking smoothly.

Arriving at last to her station, she was finally able to look over her new Starfleet officer uniform. Not as dazzling as she would have made them, but fair enough to keep everyone in their place. Hex wished more than anything to go to her quarters, to decorate at the very least, but she also desperately wanted to see her station *and* allow others to see her in action, if there was any action to be had. All business, the Starfleet's newest officer stood and waited, alertly, for something to happen...anything that would give her something to do. Everything seemed to be going right. Alas, time went on and her mind started drifting to the past...to a darker time, when everything seemed to go wrong...

{= = = FLASHBACK = = =}

Running as fast as she could, blinded by tears of rage and frustration, the young Kzinti fell into a ditch near the edge of the woods.

"Hex..." the voice sounded distant, but the Kzinti pushed herself up against the rock anyway, to keep from being seen.

The youth wiped at her tears and sank deeper into the muddy ditch as her sorrow overwhelmed her mind. Her body had already been pushed too far today on the rocks, and now she was feeling the sting of her aching muscles.

"Why...why can't I be an officer mother?" the Kzinti youth whispered to herself, "It isn't *fair*..."

She heard voices coming closer, screaming her name, but didn't answer. Curling into a fetal position, with her hands covering her ears in a futile attempt to block out the sound, the Kzinti female began to doze off in the mud.

"Why...why mother? Why..."

{= = = END FLASHBACK = = =}

Hex jolted out of her day*mare* with a start. Something was wrong, she sensed it. [[First day jitters...I'll get over that soon enough,]] she thought to herself as her relaxed back into a more comfortable position. That day... it was the only thing on her mind recently, the Kzinti thought of why, but came up empty. Nothing was special about that day, just another day in life for those of Kzinti Prime... wasn't it?

With her mind too numb from being sucked from reality so long, the Ensign stood stiffly and stretched. Today was different, it had to be. Today would change everything, her life, her outlook, everything... if she could just stay focused.

Ashley Shane (crazyoneofthenight@hotmail.com)
Ensign Hex Fanggot
Security / Tactical Officer

"If you try to hard, you'll lose sight of what you're trying for..."