A Second Chance

Kane Thalek paced the waiting room outside of Superintendant Josephine Schweitzer’s office. He paused to look out over the San Francisco skyline and found himself balling his fists just a little too hard. He looked down at the little half moons his nails had made on his palms. He tried to take a deep breath to center himself. He tried to slow his heart rate but it was so hard. It was so damn hard. This was probably his last shot at getting back into the academy and it would be a miracle if this worked.

His father had been furious when Kane had been forced to return home from the Academy. Kane’s mother had been understanding about the whole thing. However, his father was Commander Thalek and could not and would not be so forgiving. He had communicated his displeasure at length and repeatedly from the USS Requin. At that point, Kane had been glad to be far away from him back on Coridan although he had found himself restless. After tasting the Academy, he had no passion for a normal life on Coridan. He wanted back in.

The problem was that he had absolutely blown his chance but he would not have changed a thing even if he could have gone back and done things differently. Everything had been going well until word had gone out that the Dominion was going to attack Coridan. He walked out of his next class and packed his bags. He and two other students, Tracy and Bastian, had hopped on the first shuttle to head out to defend Coridan. The other two had no connection to Kane’s home planet but they did want to fight the Dominion.

All three of them had ignored an order to return to the Academy and had joined the crew of an unauthorized ship in the defense of one of Starfleet’s largest sources of dilithium. He had served well and had personally operated weapons that had fired on Dominion forces. When the dust settled, Coridan was still free but, unfortunately, so was Kane. Instead of heading back to the Academy to petition for some sort of forgiveness, he had been informed that he would no longer be welcome at the Academy.

He had resigned himself to a relatively quiet life back home but it had been tough. He knew that it was only fair but it did not take away the sting of having lost his chance at service. It had been a whole year now. A whole year passed before he had received a communique from the Academy summoning him for a conversation. He had tried not to get his hopes up but he had been elated and extremely curious. Why the sudden change? It had been a surprise to Kane’s father as well so it was not his doing. It was strange.

The door opened and Mr. Gerrold, Ms. Schweitzer’s secretary stepped out of the office and sat at his own exterior desk. “The superintendent will see you now,” he said. “Good luck.”

“Thank you,” Kane said with a small smile and then took a deep breath and headed through the door and into the superintendent’s office.

The superintendent was seated and looked up without smiling. “Please sit down Mr. Thalek,” she said. “I’ll keep this brief.”

Kane sat down across from her and kept his mouth shut. No pleasantries would break the tension in the room. It was best to just let her speak her mind.

“It has been a year since you left this Academy,” she said. “Unfortunately, do the chaos during the time of your departure, the Review Board was unable to accurately review and process your expulsion.”

Kane looked confused. “Excuse me, Ms. Schweitzer, but what does that mean?” he asked.

“It means that you did not receive the due process that others get following disciplinary measures,” she said. “I apologize for that. Normally, you would be allowed to plead your case but you were denied that opportunity.”

“So we have a trial now?” Kane asked. “I get to ‘plead my case’?”

“The Academy has decided to forgo any trial,” Ms. Schweitzer said. “I have personally spoken to your teachers and they all spoke at length on your behalf. You were a second-generation student and your father’s service record shows that, if you were to follow in his footsteps, you would make a fine officer. The reason for your departure, while insubordinate, was noble and somewhat understandable. I had the same impulse during the Battle of Wolf 359. In short, we are prepared to accept you back into the Academy on a probationary basis.”

Kane fought not to let out a cheer and somehow kept a straight face. “What does that mean?” he asked.

“Even one minor slip up and you will be in front of the Review Board again,” Ms. Schweitzer said. “Reports from Coridan said that you acquitted yourself well in battle.”

“I suppose I did alright,” Kane said with a smile.

“We all expect even better things from you in the future,” Ms. Schweitzer said. “And no more insubordination, please.”

“Of course not,” Kane said. “I wouldn’t dream of it, ma’am.”

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