Over the next few weeks, Lanie tried to call Cody several times, and even left a message but received no reply.  Finally putting him behind her, she concentrated solely on her academics.  The roommate situation didn't improve either.  Spending as little time in her room as possible, she had searched for a quite spot to be alone elsewhere.  She found one the hologram buildings had small rooms that simulated places on Earth.  If she found one empty, she locked the door behind her.  At first, she took advantage of the privacy to cry.  She mourned for her life on earth, and Cody, she felt quite alone.  Alone, it was something she was familiar with, and now she realized just why she preferred it.  She didn't have to feel anything.  Lanie became the Ice Queen again, blocking out all that was in the way of her goal.  At least, there would be no more crying.

Taking no one as a close friend, she mechanically went to her classes and studied hard to be the best.  Wanting to be sure she was offered a Captain's position, she did what ever it took to be top of her class.  The professors loved her as a student, and her thirst for knowledge knew no bounds.  When she wasn't in class, she was either studying, reading a book for pleasure, or at the gym, keeping in top condition. 

Her roommate JackASS received a Captain's commendation at the end of the year and rubbed Lanie's nose in it.  He waved his orders in front of her face, "This is as close as you will ever get to one."  He smirked.

Glad to find out budding Captain's were roomed in another building, she was happy to see him go.  After he tortured her with his orders, she was sure there was a good possibility of him being strangled in his sleep.

The luxury of having no roommate was short lived.  A mousey little girl stumbled into the room about a week after JackASS left, spilling the contents of her arms all over the floor.  Lanie was on her bed reading, looking up long enough to see who it was, she went back to her book. 

The girl mumbled a quiet, "Sorry." and picked up her things.

Lanie closed her book with a sigh.  "Hey."  She held out her hand.

The girl instantly smiled, taking Lanie's hand, "Hi!  My name's Cleo."

"Hi Cleo, my name's Lanie."

"The Ice Queen?"  The girl's hand covered her mouth, "Oh gosh I'm sorry."

Lanie gave her a tired look, and then started to help her pick up her things, "Great."

"Really, I'm sorry, that was rude of me."

"No it's all right.  It's kinda true.  If you stay outta my way, I'll stay outta yours."

"It's just that...even on Earth; well...people talk about the girl who wants to be a Starship captain.  You're kinda famous."

Lanie stopped and studied the girl, not sure if she was teasing her or not.  "Really?"

Cleo nodded.

"Well then, there's no way they can refuse me a commendation at the end of this year!"  Lanie said smiling.

"I hope you make it.  I wanna be an instrument tech and be on the bridge, maybe I'll be on your ship in the future, that'd be cool!"

Cleo was a definite improvement over JackASS.  Although they didn't become best friends, Lanie was friendly to Cleo to a point.  Cleo loved the social aspect of being at the academy, and was always going to one function or another, and always tried to persuade Lanie to go with her.  Lanie continued to refuse, time after time.

"You know, there is a saying about all work and no play..."  Cleo teased her, when Lanie refused yet again to go out to a social function.

"Well let me ask you this.  Would you rather be on a ship with a Captain who studied hard and was the best Captain ever, or one who partied all the time?"

Cleo sighed, "Fine.  I'll have enough fun for both of us!"  She giggled and left the room.

Lanie smiled at the door Cleo had closed, what a difference a few months made.  Cleo had certainly come out of her shell.

The next few months passed pleasantly.  The time was drawing near that the ten Captain commendations would be awarded.  All the others would receive their job assignments at the same time.  It was like a graduation ceremony.  Lanie had spoke to her parents several times since she had been there, but they never made the trip for a visit.  They promised to be at the ceremony.

On the day they were to arrive, Lanie waited at the spaceport.  It had been years since she had seen them in person.  If it hadn't been for video phones, she wasn't sure she would have recognized them.  She saw her mother first, still quite beautiful for her age, her bottle blonde hair flowing around her face, and her slightly plump figure, Lanie waved.  Her father appeared from behind her mother, a small thin man, who doted on his wife.

After a few hugs and cheek kisses, Lanie helped her parents get to their temporary lodgings.  After settling them in, they had a relaxed dinner, and then she bid them a good night until the ceremony the following day.

Lanie woke the next morning with the excitement of a child on Christmas.  She could hardly contain herself feeling giddy, her cheeks were flushed.  Cleo wished her luck as she left their room and headed for the auditorium.  Everything she ever wanted, and worked hard for was going to come to fruition today.  Her class of over one hundred people stood waiting for the ceremony to start and she took her place among them, waiting.  She caught sight of her parents in the audience and smiled, they looked like proud parents, yet they hardly knew her.

They began with a speech, which seemed to last forever.  Next, they would announce the ten Captains, and then the other less important assignments.  Lanie was trembling with excitement, the next year it would be hard not to aim her Starship towards the end of the universe and start her search for Azano.  She was so close to realizing her dream.

Her attention was drawn back to the podium as they started to announce the names.  She counted down as they were announced, all males, and they had called nine, she would be next.  Preparing to relish the moment, she closed her eyes.


12/01/2012 4:37pm

Nice cliff hanger.


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