The rules of fair play do not apply in love and
~’Euphues’ John Lyly
One Forty-Five turned the monitor on her table away from the bed where Nine was napping. She had gone to sleep as she usually did, right after eating lunch. As spontaneous and impulsive as she could be, some things Nine did were just like clockwork.
An ‘Establishing Connection’ message came on the screen as One Forty-Five waited. Though she’d not been informed where the subspace transmission came from, she was fairly certain she knew who it was.
The smiling man now on the screen was indeed the doctor, though dressed down considerably.
“Hey, One Forty-Five! How are you?”
“I am fine, and you?”
He pointed at her.
“Small talk, down. Personal pronouns, down. You’ll be out of there in no time. And I’m doing alright, thank you.”
He readjusted his shirt and leaned forward, into the camera. It was hard to move out of pleasantries when they both knew their communication was being monitored.
“So, just thought I’d check in and see how you were doing. We’re on a bit of shore-leave here while we acquire some more personnel. I swear, it’s like we’re a new ship. Been flying around the past four months picking up crew all over the place.”
He stopped, and his face became solemn for an instant before he continued.
“But enough about my escapades, what are you guys doing there? Found any cute Liberated boys?”
One Forty-Five gave a quick glance to Nine and then back to the screen.
“Something like that, yes.”
Ti clapped his hands once while letting out a short laugh.
“Ah, I knew you would. A pretty woman like you, absolutely.”
He leaned back on the desk, looking off to the side.
“Speaking of girls and boys, Jameson says that he has stopped receiving correspondence from Three-Twelve. I talked to Dr. Rich and she said that she had been detained.”
One Forty-Five nodded.
“Yes, Three-Twelve got into an altercation with another drone.”
“Sounds like her, doesn’t it?”
One Forty-Five silently gritted her teeth.
“Have you decided what you’re going to do when you get out?”
She shook her head no, but then changed her mind about the response.
Ti got a look of surprise on his face.
“Really? You are aware that it’s on Earth, right?”
“Yes, I believe that my skills would be best suited for that environment.”
The doctor bobbed his head back and forth for a bit, thinking.
“Well, there’s admission. Then you have to pass the entrance exam. Then there’s preparatory classes and such.”
He reached over and picked up a pad from the table and began selecting things from it.
“And we have to get you a decent datapad. They give you a basic one at the Academy, but unless you have to, you want to pick up your own. There was a trader here the other day that had some top of the line stuff…”
Ti trailed off, typing away excitedly.
Realizing that he was ignoring his guest, he stopped abruptly and addressed her.
“Sorry. Got kind of caught up in the moment. I’m going to do some work to see what we have to do to get you in. You’re kind of a special case. I don’t know whether they’d classify you as Borg or Human, and the rules are different for non-Federation applications.”
He shook his head.
“Listen, this is a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. I’ll take a look into it and try to pick up a nice pad for you.”
One Forty-Five protested.
“That is not necessary.”
The doctor shook his hand.
“No, it may be necessary. We need to get the ball rolling on this as soon as possible. Especially considering that you’re former Borg, Natal even, and the Academy is on Earth.”
That was the second time he’d mentioned that the Academy was on Earth. She started to question the relevance, but he cut her off before she could even open her mouth.
“I’m going to let you go, then. You’ve given me a lot to do.”
“That was not this one’s intention.”
Ti smiled again.
“I’ll worry about how much work I want to do, you worry about using ‘my’ in the proper places.”
He was correct; she had slipped again. However, his argument was sound.
“Very well. I will talk to you later then.”
“Stay safe, One Forty-Five.”
He winked slyly and leaned forward to press a button just off the screen, leaving her with “Transmission Terminated” flashing in blue.
“Who was that?”
Nine had just woken up and propped herself up on her arm. There was the outline of an implant on her face where she had lain on her hand.
One Forty-Five turned in the chair towards her.
“That is Dr. Ti. He is a friend of mine.”
She turned back to the flashing screen.
“A very good friend.”