A Second Chance Pt. 2

Kane Thalek held the pool cue in his hand more like a club than an actual tool. “It just pisses me off,” he said. “I never asked my dad to pull any strings for me. In fact, I asked him not to after I got kicked out of here. It’s not my fault that he’s an Admiral.” Kane liked to think he got in and back into Starfleet Academy on his own merits. He might have gotten in the first time on his own but it was increasingly doubtful that he was readmitted legitimately. The thought made him feel kind of sick and not only because his instructors and fellow classmates were not being subtle about shoving it in his face.

“Could you not brandish that like a club?” Soske Treji said. “This is a classy game. I wanted to teach it to you to make you breathe and focus. Calm down.” Treji was pretty much the only instructor who seemed to empathize with Kane’s position. This was a typical after-hours one on one lesson. Treji liked to play games and knew that Kane liked competing.

“Sorry,” Kane said and took a deep breath. He rolled his neck to get the tension out and then leaned over the table to aim his shot. “They say it enough times and it drills into my skull.”

“Who cares how you got here,” Treji said. “We both know that you’re qualified. It’s what you do with it that matters. What do you want to do with it?”

Kane took his shot and barely managed to sink one of his balls into a corner pocket. “I want to get back out there,” he said. “When I was fighting on Coridan, I knew there were ships up there trying to protect us. I wanted to be on one of those ships. Badly. There will be other planets out there in the same spot. They need defending.” He missed his next shot.

“What would your ideal posting be?” Treji asked, starting to size up his next shot.

“Something in a Saber-class,” Kane said. “I don’t need or want anything cushy or comfortable.”

“You’re definitely not the normal Admiral’s kid,” Treji said. “Take a lesson from this.” He took his shot and sank three balls. “Take your time and wait for your shot. You’ll do great. You might not get what you want but you just have to make the most of what comes your way.”

“I guess,” Kane said. “I just want to serve. I don’t want a boring post on some big ship.”

“No Enterprise for you then?” Treji asked. “You don’t want to work your way up to senior staff on the ship of ships? Maybe some Galaxy-class ship?”

“I’d just keep hearing all of the stuff about my dad pulling strings,” Kane said. “I’ll pass. Send me to the front lines somewhere. Put me in the action.”

“For glory seeking?” Treji asked, goading the young man a little.

“No,” Kane said. “You know that’s not it.” He took a breath and smiled, realizing what his teacher was doing. Leaving to fight against the Dominion had been impulsive and he did not regret it. He had accepted the consequences even though it had led to years of punishment even with him returning to the Academy. He had started to learn to be less impulsive and he was going to have to follow the rules if he was going to get anywhere. This was his second and last chance.

“I think you’ve learned my lessons fairly well,” Treji said. “Do you want to play a round of Springball before calling it a night?”

“I’m tempted,” Kane said. “I still owe you from last time but I have to get some studying in tonight now that I’ve calmed down.”

“Tomorrow night maybe,” Treji said.

“Maybe,” Kane said with a smile.

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