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Class Dismissed

Posted on Sat May 27th, 2023 @ 1:58pm by Lieutenant Commander Geneva Kysler & Captain Ben Michaelson

Mission: #1 Assignments
Location: Starfleet Academy, Presidio Campus
Summary: Professor Geneva Kysler learns that her classes at Starfleet Academy are coming to a close at the end of the semester, but instead of being let go, she's offered another position within Starfleet.
Timeline: Mission Day 1 at 1445

= Starfleet Academy, Lecture Hall 12-C =

As the clock ticked towards the end of her lecture, Professor Geneva Kysler stood before her class of second-year cadets at the Starfleet Academy campus. The spacious lecture hall appeared relatively empty, with only a handful of students seated near the front row. Geneva, sporting a stylish and polished look - a bob of brown hair accentuating her face, a petite figure, and a penchant for donning black and neutral hues - was renowned for her sharp wit, sarcasm and knack for injecting humour into complex topics.

"Now, my dear cadets, we find ourselves at the crux of our discussion on the delightful topic of subspace curvature and its impact on warp speed," Geneva announced dramatically, her voice tinged with amusement. "I trust you've all been riveted by the mysteries of space-time geometry, yes? No? Well, fear not, for we shall soldier on."

A few tired chuckles echoed in the classroom, and Geneva flashed a mischievous smile before continuing. "You see, just as the curvature of space-time can wrinkle and twist due to massive objects, so too does subspace curvature play its own little game of slip-and-slide with warp speed."

She strolled across the stage, her hands gesturing animatedly as she spoke. "Imagine you're taking a leisurely stroll in the park, enjoying the gravitational embrace of a cosy planetary body. Suddenly, a subspace anomaly decides to throw a surprise party, distorting the very fabric of space around you. Now, instead of that leisurely stroll, you're propelled forward at warp speed, clutching your tricorder for dear life. It's like being dragged into a turbo-charged merry-go-round, but with the added bonus of interstellar travel."

One student raised his hand, and Geneva pointed at him with a flourish. "John! You look like you have a burning question. Go on, share with the class."

The young cadet, his brow furrowed, spoke up. "Professor Kysler, if subspace curvature affects warp speed, how do we account for its impact on navigational accuracy? Could we potentially end up light-years off course if we encounter a particularly gnarly subspace distortion?"

Geneva's eyes sparkled with delight. "The perils of wayward warp trajectories… an excellent question, John. You see, while subspace curvature might give our warp engines an adrenaline rush, the guiding hand of our navigational algorithms keeps us on the straight and narrow. If we do encounter a particularly 'gnarly' distortion, such as a subspace eddy, navigational computers can meticulously recalculate our position and vector amidst the cosmic chaos. That is if you're on a ship with a duotronic computer system. I wouldn't recommend coming across one in a solar sail yacht."

Another cadet, emboldened by their classmate's question, raised their hand as well. Geneva nodded, encouraging their curiosity.

"Professor Kysler, is there a theoretical limit to the variations in subspace curvature that can be harnessed for warp propulsion? Could there be a point where the distortion becomes too severe, leading to catastrophic consequences?"

Geneva's lips curled into a sly grin. "In theory, there are indeed limits to how much subspace curvature we can exploit for warp propulsion. Should we venture too far into the realm of extreme distortions, we might find ourselves plunged into the abyss of subspace domains, where even the most skilled engineers would have a difficult time retrieving us. Imagine it - a Starfleet vessel stranded in the cosmic equivalent of a black hole's dysfunctional sibling. Now that would make for an intriguing holofilm, wouldn't it?"

"I think I've seen that one," one cadet said out loud to muted laughter from the rest that rippled through the classroom.

"Let's not dwell on nightmarish scenarios too long… even though it can be fun to do so," Geneva conceded. "Remember, we're Starfleet, and our ingenuity - supposedly - knows no bounds. Rest assured that our talented engineers and astrophysicists have diligently studied the thresholds of subspace curvature and devised safety protocols to keep us from slipping into the clutches of cosmic calamity."

A Bolian cadet at the back of the group raised their hand, and Geneva acknowledged them with a nod. "Yes, Kradin. What's on your mind?"

The cadet cleared their throat before posing their question. "Professor Kysler, if subspace curvature affects warp speed, could we manipulate it deliberately to achieve even faster warp travel? Like, perhaps, bending it to our will and skipping across the galaxy in the blink of an eye?"

"A tantalising thought, indeed," Geneva replied. "But, while subspace curvature does hold the key to enhancing our warp capabilities, bending it to such an extreme degree requires mastery beyond our current reach. It's like trying to tickle a particularly grumpy Denobulan vardvark - delicate, elusive, and prone to making a mess. But hey, who knows what the future holds? Perhaps one day, some enterprising cadet will crack the code and gift us all with the convenience of instant cosmic travel."

The classroom erupted in laughter once again, and as the lecture drew to a close, Geneva offered a final remark. "Remember, our understanding of subspace curvature and its interplay with warp speed is but a tiny fraction of the vast cosmic tapestry. So, keep your minds open, your tricorders handy, and may the spirit of curiosity guide you on your adventures. Until next week… class dismissed!"

As the last of the cadets filed out of the classroom, their footsteps echoing softly against the floor, one Captain Ben Michaelson emerged from the shadows at the back. Tall, handsome, with light-brown hair and piercing blue eyes, he approached the stage with a bashful smile. Geneva, noticing his presence, couldn't help but raise an eyebrow inquisitively.

"Well, well, well, Captain Michaelson," she quipped, her tone laced with dry humour. "To what do I owe the pleasure of your unexpected appearance? Did you come to see the grand finale of my lecture, or were you simply drawn in by my magnetic charisma?"

Ben chuckled, his affable demeanour shining through. "Oh, always the modest one. I must admit, your charisma is positively magnetic." He paused for a moment and looked at her sheepishly. "I tried to make a magnetic pole joke there, but let's try and forget that. I, unfortunately, bring news… not just to admire your stellar teaching skills."

Geneva, finding his attempted joke amusing, crossed her arms, but a tinge of apprehension blended with her curiosity. "Alright, enlighten me. What brings you to darken my classroom at this hour?"

Ben's smile faltered slightly, his casual demeanour giving way to a touch of concern. "The Academy board has made a decision. They've decided to discontinue your classes at the end of this semester and fold the subject matter into the astrophysics curriculum."

Disappointment cast a fleeting shadow across Geneva's face. Teaching at the Academy hadn't been her top priority initially, but as the years went by, she had grown fond of it. She had developed a soft spot for her motley crew of cadets, small and diverse as they were. And now, it appeared that her time at the Academy was abruptly drawing to a close. A wave of frustration and resentment welled up within her, not directed at Ben, but at the circumstances that had snatched away something she had unexpectedly come to cherish.

"You've got to be kidding me, Ben," she sighed. "You were the one who convinced me to teach at the Academy instead of sailing off into the sunset of retirement. And now they're pulling the rug out from under me?"

Ben's eyes softened, empathy shining through his gaze. "I know, and I'm really sorry. The decision came as a surprise to me too. For what it's worth, I argued in your favour, but you have to understand, it wasn't personal. They believe folding your expertise into the astrophysics curriculum will provide a more comprehensive education for the cadets."

Geneva sighed again, her disappointment mingling with resignation. "I understand. It was a long shot to start with since my expertise is a little, well, niche. It's just... I've come to enjoy teaching. To see those eager faces light up with curiosity, to witness the spark of understanding in their eyes. It gave me purpose, you know? Especially after the war."

Ben nodded, a hint of regret shadowing his features. "I know. And you make a really good teacher. But perhaps this is an opportunity for a new chapter," he added, leaving the sentence hanging in the air.

When Geneva just gave him a flat look, Ben cleared his throat and a glimmer of possibility danced in his blue eyes. "Well, I have another offer for you. Starfleet Command has been impressed with your teaching skills, and they want to give you command of the U.S.S. Jupiter."

Geneva's confusion deepened. "The U.S.S. Jupiter? Isn't that the oldest relic in the Academy training fleet? I'm surprised it hasn't retired to some celestial junkyard by now. Can it still achieve warp, or has it decided to settle for a leisurely stroll through the cosmos?"

Ben chuckled. "The Jupiter has recently undergone a much-needed refit at Utopia Planitia. It's been given a new lease on life, and I assure you it can still put some of the younger vessels to shame. But that's not the point. Starfleet Command sees your command experience during the Klingon-Federation War and your scientific knowledge as a good combination for training the next generation of Starfleet officers."

A sly smile crept across Geneva's face. "Ah, I see. They want me to reactivate my Starfleet status, do they? They couldn't just offer me a cosy retirement package with a private holodeck and a lifetime supply of Chateau Picard?"

Ben let out a soft laugh, shaking his head. "Not this time. They're offering you a promotion to full Commander, recognizing your expertise and contributions. You'd have the chance to shape the minds and talents of future Starfleet officers, all while captaining a vessel with a storied past."

"'Storied'? Just say old," Geneva replied with exasperation.

"Alright, alright," Ben conceded, an amused smile playing on his lips. "It's old… but it still has an interesting history and I'm pretty sure one day it will end up in a museum. And your name could be on the list of people who captained it."

Geneva leaned back against the edge of the stage and eyed him intently. "Tell me, was I the first person they offered this dubious honour to?"

Ben's smile grew wider. "Ah… You got me there. You weren't the first, but you were the first person I wanted to offer this to. You're not a strictly by-the-book person, and that kind of thinking is needed sometimes. We've known each other a long time, and I know in my gut this would be a good fit. I believe you can do this."

"Are you hitting on me or trying to sell me a job," Geneva laughed.

"Definitely a job. We both know that other ship has sailed," he replied bashfully.

Geneva looked at him for a long moment and then sighed, turning away as her mind swirled with conflicting emotions. Part of her was thinking that maybe it was time to just walk away from Starfleet for good. But the other part was listening to what Ben was saying. He was someone she trusted, and on a few occasions in the past he managed to steer her in the right direction when she wasn't sure which way to go.

She turned to face him, her frustration at the situation coming through in her voice. "You remember how vehemently I wanted to retire from Starfleet after the war, don't you? It was you who convinced me to take up teaching at the Academy. And now, you're trying to reel me back in."

Ben's eyes softened. "I remember, Geneva. And I'm sorry for the change in plans. But I still believe you make an exceptional Starfleet officer. Good officers with command experience are in short supply these days."

Geneva took a few paces around the room as if searching for answers amidst the lingering echoes of her time as acting commanding officer on the U.S.S. Reykjavik during the war. They weren't pleasant and it had taken her a long time and enough therapy to come to terms with them. But a voice at the back of her mind reminded her that times were different now. The war was over. Exploration was back on the table again. That was what she was teaching cadets for, after all… to help them boldly go explore.

Finally, she stopped and faced Ben, a mischievous glint returning to her eyes. "Alright, I'll bite. Let's say I accept this offer. But on one condition: I get to choose my own first officer. I won't have some green ensign bumbling around the bridge like a seasick Octran in a game of Bango."

"I have no idea what Bango is, but we can make it happen," Ben replied with a broad smile, clasping his hands together. "You pick your XO, no problem."

Geneva crossed her arms as she eyed him. "Good. Now, let's talk about ranks. I've grown quite fond of my Lieutenant Commander stripes. I think it adds a certain je ne sais quoi to my uniform. I'll accept this position, but I want to keep my rank. If I decide to stick around after a few months, then, and only then, can they consider promoting me to Commander."

Ben shook his head in mock exasperation. "You drive a hard bargain. But if those are your only terms, then we have a deal?"

With a playful smirk, Geneva extended her hand toward Ben, their eyes locked in a moment of understanding. "Deal," she declared, her grip firm and resolute.

Ben's hand met hers, and their shake sealed the agreement. "Deal," he echoed, a sense of anticipation shimmering in his gaze.

Geneva took a step back, her mind already turning with plans and possibilities. "Alright, Captain. Let's see if this old professor has what it takes to command a starship. But don't think I won't hold you accountable if things go wrong," she added with a knowing look.

Captain Michaelson beamed, his affable demeanour undiminished. "Oh, I have no doubt, Commander Kysler. Of that I have no doubt."


LtCmdr Geneva Kysler
Commanding Officer
U.S.S. Jupiter NCC-1024
Capt Ben Michaelson (NPC)
Commanding Officer
U.S.S. Resolute NCC-1879


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