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[2373] Starfleet Academy - More Precious Than Gemstones

[ Krystal Tancredi | Registration Foyer | Administration Centre | Starfleet Academy | San Fransisco | Earth ] Attn: @Fife
From the city transit, to the Recruitment office in Texas, to the main transport to the Academy, Krystal felt like a nervous wreck. She'd learned to be better than this. Old Man Jed would be shaking his head if he saw the way she trembled now. He'd ask her where was that Klingon spirit he saw in her. She'd banter jokingly that humans were better, only to fall into agreement that at least Klingons didn't deny if they were jerks. After what her parents and siblings did to her, the greatest torments and humiliations they could possibly inflict, the petite redhead had snapped. She hadn't slept the whole night. She crept, silent as death through the Tancredi homestead. They thought she wouldn't be able to move after how exhausted she was. All the years of torment came out in the form of her chosen vengeance before she fled for the city, and to Starfleet.

She nailed every one of them down to their beds by the blankets. It wasn't the most creative or foolproof prank, but she nailed it particularly hard. They would be lucky to get out within the day. And considering how some of them ate the night before...

Her body was a mass of bruises and lacerations as well as deep red markings that she refused to talk about if questioned. She was given a standard issue travel bag for her personal belongings, which weren't much. The journey was short, and she got to see San Francisco for the first time outside of a holovid, and it was so amazing, that she couldn't help exclaiming every now and then. One or two fellow recruits had seen this and laughed, not certain if she was joking or she really was that much of a hillbilly. When she'd gotten to the Administration Center for registration, the girl stared open mouthed. She could not believe how vast...and how wonderful it all was. It was better than her imaginations. Better than her dreams, better than all previous expectations.

Without looking, she'd stopped next to a man, and planted her bag down for a moment, just so she could stop and stare some more. She didn't want to ever get tired of this sight. With a small sigh, she bent, again without looking down, to pick up her bag, and headed to the Applicant's Station, and spoke to a Caitian officer, “Howdy suh!” said Krystal, “Ah'm 'ere t'start mah journey t' th' stars!”

The Caitian's eyes widened for a moment, then he smiled and handed a PADD to her, with instructions. Soon, she would be headed to her assigned quarters, completely unaware that she'd taken the man's bag by accident, and he'd taken hers.

Map of Starfleet Academy Grounds

Re: [2373] Starfleet Academy - More Precious Than Gemstones

Reply #1
[ Cadet Cross | Registration Foyer | Administration Center | Starfleet Academy | San Francisco | Earth ] Attn: @Triage
[Show/Hide]Cross had placed his bag on the ground next to him as he stood with his arms crossed over his chest, waiting for his chance to speak with someone about his new room assignment. Following an unfortunate mishap, his last two years at the Academy had been spent rooming with a half-Cardassian with whom Cross’ relationship had been rocky, to say the least. There had been times when it had almost been amicable, while on other occasions it had progressed well into the realm of outright assault. As luck would have it, Bila had graduated from the Academy the year before, and so Cross found himself looking forward to having a new, hopefully much more tolerable roommate.

As he stood in line, his face wearing it’s usual stern expression, Cross’ mind wandered back over his break, which he had spent visiting his mentor at the man’s research posting in Scotland. It had been good to see Lieutenant MacDonald again, even if much of the break was spent with the poor man attempting to correct the Federation Standard “lessons” that Bila had given him. As it turned out, most of the lessons the half-Cardassian had given him had been wrong. Cross had little doubt that the Cardie had taught him incorrect words on purpose, an elaborate prank, no doubt in retaliation for the rather forceful introduction Cross had made between the spoonhead’s face and a wall. Even as Cross scowled at the memory, a part of him couldn’t help but smile in appreciation of the scaled man’s prank.

Cross found himself distracted from his thoughts as a girl who had been standing next to him stepped forward to the Applicant’s Station, the flash of vibrant orange which had drawn his attention apparently having been her hair. Cross watched her as she approached the Caitian behind the counter, but quickly looked elsewhere. He had long since learned that staring at people in public places could get him into trouble. Several minutes later Cross picked up his bag from the floor next to him and approached another counter to explain that he needed his new room assignment, after which he was on his way, slinging what he thought was his standard issue travel bag over his shoulder as he went.

A half-hour later Cross strode into his new quarters. He had been told he would be sharing the room with a Trill this year, though they were not expected to arrive until later in the week. Cross was glad for the period of quiet, often preferring to be alone. Many of the hybrid’s attempts at socializing over the past two years had not gone well, the experiences leading Cross to develop a preference for solitude. If people weren’t around, then they couldn’t ask stupid questions. If they couldn’t ask stupid questions, then they couldn’t become upset when they didn’t like his answer, or when he pointed out that they’d asked a stupid question.

Cross strode to one of the beds in the shared quarters, depositing the travel bag on the bare mattress before striding to the window to glance outside to see what sort of view he had. As luck would have it, the view was a vast improvement on his old room, with clear lines of sight across the campus grounds. The rose bushes that lines the myriad of paths which zigzagged across the campus were in plain view, much to Cross’ delight. After taking a moment to soak in the view of the grounds, bathed as they were in the mid-afternoon sun, Cross reluctantly turned away and set himself to the task of unpacking.

It had taken only a moment for that task to go awry.

As Cross had unzipped his travel bag, he knew immediately that something was wrong. The bag had felt just like his, having contained little in the way of personal possessions. And yet as Cross reached a hand into the bag and withdrew a handful of clothing, he was fairly certain that the tank top and what appeared to be women’s underwear he found himself holding weren’t his.

At that moment, while Cross stood there puzzled, the door chime sounded. ”Come.” Cross called instinctively, turning to face the sound. As he turned, his mind didn’t register the fact that his new roommate wasn’t expected for several days, nor the fact that he was standing there holding a handful of women’s clothing, unmentionables included. And so it was that the Vulcan/Bajoran hybrid found himself standing there, bewildered, as the doors hissed open.

Re: [2373] Starfleet Academy - More Precious Than Gemstones

Reply #2
[ Krystal Tancredi | Cross' Quarters | Academy Campus | Starfleet Academy | San Fransisco | Earth ] Attn: @Fife
It was too much to hope that the day would go by without mishap, without some fuck-up. Krystal knew that her lot in life was to be in the universe of suck. It was too much to hope that nothing could go wrong. She'd all but bounced into her new quarters, and to her absolute awe, it was better than anything she could have imagined. The quarters was huge! At least to her it was. She had so much space! There was a nice bed and her feet wouldn't hang over the edge of it like her old bed. It was bigger than Old Man Jed's too! Then she had a panoramic view of the harbour...there was so much water!

She had a work desk, a replicator, and she had a roommate too, though she wasn't going to see her for a while yet. Unable to help herself, she'd thrown herself onto her bed and let out a high-pitched squeal of excitement, kicking her legs in the air for sheer joy.

After a while, she sat up, and opened her bag...

“What da fu-?” said Meony as she pulled out men's clothing. She grabbed around the bag and pulled out more and more articles of clothing, none of which were hers. It wasn't her brother's clothes, or her fathers, so there was no way she could have made a mistake. Well, she had double-checked her bags before she left the house, so the mistake had to have happened after she'd left. She pulled out a pair of boxers, and it had some Cardassian's face right where the crotch would be. “Dafuq is all this?!?”

Throwing everything back in she stormed out of the quarters, still holding the joke boxers in her hands, and she lodged her complaint at the counter, and it didn't take long for them to find the problem. She saw the man she'd been briefly standing beside, and she saw herself grab his bag, while he took hers. She requested his location and went racing off. When she'd chimed on his door, he invited her in, and she saw him holding her clothes, her underwear...

...and her hat!

“OY!” she shouted, “Hands off mah hat!”

She all but threw herself at him to seize the hat. It was her own hat, the only thing that she treasured from her family. The hat she wore at present belonged to Old Man Jed, and was a little big for her, but she wore it nonetheless, like having a piece of the old man with her. Still, her own hat was sacred to her. A piece of her soul. In the process, she'd pressed what had to be Cross' boxers onto his chest. Clutching her hat to herself, she glared up at him. She did so because she only just realized he was some sort of Vulcan/Bajoran hybrid, which made him virtually superhuman in strength compared to her. She kept up a fierce appearance to hide how intimidated she actually was. “Ya happy?!? Riflin' through mah stuff?!?”

Map of Starfleet Academy Grounds

Re: [2373] Starfleet Academy - More Precious Than Gemstones

Reply #3
[ Cadet Cross | Personal Quarters | Starfleet Academy | San Francisco | Earth ] Attn: @Triage
[Show/Hide]”OY! Hands off mah hat!”

The loud outburst was swiftly followed by the tiny woman with hair like fire lunging at him, seizing that hat he had been holding and tearing it from his grasp while simultaneously shoving something else against him. Cross felt bewildered throughout the rapid exchange as he struggled to figure out what the yelling person had said. She looked Human, though she spoke with a heavy accent that he wasn’t familiar with. Cross’ grasp of Federation Standard was anything but firm, and the accent added into the mix made his piecing together of her hollering a slow process.

”Ya happy?!? Riflin’ through mah stuff?!?”

”You’re… what? Who are you? And what is…” Cross raised the article of clothing she had thrust against his chest up for inspection, finding it to be a pair of boxers. The Cardassian face sported on the crotch of the boxers made Cross growl, his upper lip curling back in an almost feral snarl.

”<Fucking> Izar!!” He growled as he realized what they were. His slimy half-Cardie bastard roommate from the previous year at the Academy had hinted he’d left Cross a surprise, though Cross hadn’t figure out what that surprise was. Now the situation seemed to become clear to him. The tiny yet brightly coloured girl must have ended up with his bag, and he with hers. That would explain the feminine clothing he had found. And she, upon inspecting the bag which he had hardly opened during his time away from the Academy, had discovered Izar’s little surprise. It suddenly dawned on Cross that, if the bag he had taken was hers, then he still held a pair of the female Human’s underwear. The realization promptly caused colour to rise in Cross’ face and neck, his features taking on a furious green colouring as he cleared his throat and gingerly held out the item of clothing. ”Erm… I…” Cross cleared his throat again, and found himself growing more uncomfortable by the minute. ”I think… these... are… yours…” Cross held the underwear at arms length, as far from himself as he could. The Vulcan/Bajoran hybrid wanted to hurl them at the cadet who had come barging into his quarters, though he feared that might just cause a fresh round of unintelligible yelling. Cross took a deep breath, inhaling through his nose and holding it for a moment before letting it out. Calmer, though still uncomfortable at the fact that there was a small furious female in his room, Cross forged on.

”<Am I right in assuming that our bags were somehow switched?>” He asked, studying the other cadet as he waited for the universal translator to do it’s work. He suspected that speaking in his broken Fed Standard might make the situation worse should he choose the wrong word, and so opted for his native Cardassian instead. The redhead stood almost a foot shorter than him, though what she lacked in height she made up for in intensity. The fact that Cross was intimidated by women didn’t help matters in that regard. She stared at him with fierce hazel eyes, and clutched the hat she had taken from him as though it were something precious. ”<I had no intention of stealing your hat, miss.>” Cross insisted, then waved the panties he still held out between them. ”<Uh… would you mind taking these?” His face flushed with a fresh wave of green as he asked the question, and wore an expression of obvious discomfort. "<Please?>"

Re: [2373] Starfleet Academy - More Precious Than Gemstones

Reply #4
[ Krystal Tancredi | Cross' Quarters | Academy Campus | Starfleet Academy | San Fransisco | Earth ] Attn: @Fife
Krystal's eyes only widened when she saw that he was holding one of her undergarments. It was the only emotion she showed and it helped to make her look angrier or more offended rather than embarrassed or mortified. Though he seemed to be feeling that way himself, if the colour on his cheeks were anything to go by, but he wasn't speaking the native language. His lips were moving in a different way from the words she heard. Universal translator! The technology here was mind-blowing. While she felt upset that there had been a mix-up, at least she got her stuff back. She was more glad however, that it hadn't been Old Man Jed's hat that had been taken.

She blinked when she realized that she'd just been staring (glaring) at the man this whole time while lost in thought, and he was really trying to return her panties to her. Swiping it out of his hand quickly, she made a noise in her throat. “Rrrrrrrr....!”

It definitely sounded like growling. Yes, a puppy that was growling, but it was a growl no less. She felt defensive, and irrationally paranoid, given the man's size and bulk, in light of what she'd just experienced at the hands of her family, and her state of malnourishment, a ferocious mask was all she knew how to put up. Everything about her poise and demeanour said, "Don't come near me, I'm dangerous!"

Locks of fiery-gold hair fell across the right side of her face, but she didn't bother brushing it back as she bared her teeth, never taking her eyes off the man, even as she packed up her back and slung it over her shoulder, “Were our bags switched?!?” she asked, her voice shrill, “Golly, whaddaya think, Einstein? Of course it was! Now if ya don't mahnd, Ah've had a fuckin' long day, an' Ah'm tahrd an' Ah need a good. Long. Bath!” She enunciated the last three words by rising bit-by-bit to her tip toes as she stood near enough to look like she was about to bite his neck.

“Good naht!” she spun abruptly and left in a huff. She'd all but bolted back to her quarters, and no, she didn't bring his bag with her. It was still sitting on her bed in her quarters, where she settled down next to it, completely forgetting who it belonged to.

Map of Starfleet Academy Grounds

Re: [2373] Starfleet Academy - More Precious Than Gemstones

Reply #5
[ Cadet Cross | Personal Quarters | Starfleet Academy | San Francisco | Earth ] Attn: @Triage
[Show/Hide]Cross watching with an ever-growing sense of bewilderment as the tiny redhead barked one final word at him and stormed out of the room. The hybrid was still staring after her as the doors hissed closed behind her, leaving him alone in his quarters once more. Cross found himself shaking his head as he turned to go back to unpacking.

It was at that point that it occurred to him that he now had nothing to unpack. The bag he had ended up with hadn’t been his, and the tempestuous girl who had barged in and berated him as claimed that one, but he still didn’t have his own. With a sigh, Cross altered course and made for the replicator. He’d need to replicate bedsheets and a spare uniform. He’d try and track the short girl down tomorrow to reclaim his own bag.

[ Cadet Cross | Grounds | Starfleet Academy | San Francisco | Earth ]
The next morning found Cross sitting on a bench in the middle of the Academy grounds, a PADD held in his lap but no longer looked at. He had settled there after breakfast planning on doing some reading in preparation for the semester to come, but had stopped reading some time ago to watch the cadets that move about on the paths that criss-crossed the Academy. He was hoping to catch sight of the short girl from the day before, and in doing so to have an opportunity to get his bag back. Cross had little in the way of personal possessions, and those few he did have were mostly clothing, but he would still like to have them back.

Cross had all but given up on the hope that he would spot the girl, who hadn’t even said her name that he had caught during her angry tirade, and so he had no way of asking about her at the registry office. Cross sighed as his pale eyes made one more pass over the grounds, but straightened up as he caught sight of a flash of brilliant red, just barely seen over a distant hedge.

Cross was on his feet in an instant, his hand gripping the PADD tightly as he set off down the path to intercept her. His eyes scanned the hedge where he had seen her, following the flashed of colourful hair he caught here and there through the leaves. The hybrid quickened his pace, turning down the path that would meet up with the one she was moving along. As he neared the corner he steeled himself, unsure if he would get another angry outburst from the diminutive Human with the strange accent. Finally, he rounded the corner, unable to see around the hedge, and opened his mouth to speak.

”<Excuse me…>” Cross began and he stepped around the hedge, only to feel something run into him. He glanced down, his words cutting off mid-sentence as he found himself looking down into those same Hazel eyes as the day before. They were staring up at him, and while they didn’t yet hold the feisty anger of the day before, Cross could see surprise in them as he realized he had stepped out right in front of her and she had walked right into him.

”Uh… Hi…” Cross said, choosing to use Standard for the greeting in the hopes of seeming more approachable. Some people didn’t take kindly to outsiders, even at the Academy, and even less so to ones who spoke Cardassian. ”We met… uh… <fuck>” Cross cursed himself for not trying harder to learn Standard. ”<We met yesterday. I had your bag.>” Cross coloured slightly as he remembered trying to hand the girl a pair of her underwear, ”<I think you had my bag as well, but I never got it back…”

Re: [2373] Starfleet Academy - More Precious Than Gemstones

Reply #6
[ Krystal Tancredi | Cross' Quarters | Academy Campus | Starfleet Academy | San Fransisco | Earth ] Attn: @Fife
INDUCTION WAS A BITCH AND HER NAME WAS KARMA! That was as far as Krystal got with rational thought before she was little more than a black stormcloud given human form. Clutching a PADD against her chest, she had all but darted out from her class to head for the next one. It was only day one, and she was already prepared to commit murder. Who in the world crammed this much into just the first day? If the first day was like this? What was the second one gonna be like?!? Well, the redhead wasn't ready to quit just yet. No sir. Her family was still out there, maybe right at the doorsteps, waiting...waiting for her to fail, waiting, to take her back, to hurt her again.

Never again will she be hurt like that. Never!

She was moving so fast she was almost running, and her hair was bouncing up and down behind her like a trail of literal fire. Her mind was so distracted and thus she didn't see this great wall of funky Bajocan pouncing out at her from the bush, but her nose introduced itself violently to his frame, and it was fuckin' solid! Like "Red alert, shields up!" solid!

MO-BERFAHBKER! she exclaimed right as she hit him, and bounced backwards, looking up at him with eyes wide, either in fear or just shock. Once he started talking in his funky language again, she tilted her head to study the movement of his lips which clearly spoke something else, but her PADD's translator turned it into English for her. The weird part was how it was in his own voice and it somehow drowned out the foreign words effortlessly. Modern technology was so fuckin' amazing! Now she became embarrassed, because she did indeed forget to bring his bag with her, so it was still in her quarters, and she didn't even have the courtesy to go back to him in the morning if nothing else, to at least return the rest of his belongings. After all, surely he'd want all of his underwear with the Cardassian's open-mouthed smiling face set right on the crotch. Some weird-ass fetish he's got going, but eh...

She covered up the embarrassment however with as fierce a scowl as she could manage, and glared down at him even though she was way shorter than he was. “Yeah, Ah've gotcher bag'n mah place. Ah'll pass it on back after mah next class.”

She flicked her hair back with a firm action, all the cool kids did that.

“Now if ya don't mahnd, Ah'm about'a run late, an' if you mess this up for me, Ah'ma gunna make yer lahf a livin' hell, y'hear?”

She sniffed airily, sidestepped him, and was on her way. Except, even with the PADD's map of the campus, the girl got turned around and lost, and she snuck in through the back door to find the first empty seat (since by a stroke of luck, the attending instructor was not yet present). She all but popped into the last remaining seat before turning to see who her class partner was, and to her great surprise, or dismay, or's him.

“' da good times jus' keep rollin'...” said Krystal, in disbelief.

The instructor was actually taking an attendance and called out the names of the cadets in order, and Krystal acknowledged when her name was called.

Map of Starfleet Academy Grounds

Re: [2373] Starfleet Academy - More Precious Than Gemstones

Reply #7
[ Cadet Cross | Personal Quarters | Starfleet Academy | San Francisco | Earth ] Attn: @Triage
[Show/Hide]Cross watched, puzzled, as the red-haired cadet forcefully flicked back her hair, wondering if the gesture meant something in Human culture. The hybrid found himself wondering if perhaps it was a warning meant to deter threats, similar to the Earth skunk fluffing it’s tail before spraying vile-smelling fluid or a bird puffing up it’s feathers. Cross was still mulling over this thought as the girl continued to throw words at him, stating that she was going to be late for class and threatening to make his life a living hell. Those last words nearly brought a smile to Cross’ features, and he had to catch himself before he let out a chuckle.

A living hell? Cross mused, still suppressing the urge to smile, I’ve already been there.

No sooner had the thought crossed his mind than the diminutive woman had sniffed at him, moved around him and stomped off down the pathway. Cross watched her go for a moment, wondering if there was something different about Human women that he hadn’t been told of yet. He dismissed the thought and turned away, pushing to girl from his mind as he headed off to his own class.

[ Cadet Cross | Elective Federation Standard Languages Class | Starfleet Academy | Earth ]

Several minutes later found the hybrid sitting in class, the seat beside him remaining empty as the other students made efforts to avoid their Cardassian-speaking classmate. Cross was well aware of the fact that his hybrid status and the language he spoke tended to cause people to distance themselves, and he was more than happy to be left to himself. Years of seclusion had left him a social creature, and while he made the occasional attempts to interact with others, he was more than content with his solitude.

That solitude was shattered when movement in his peripheral vision alerted him to the fact that a late comer had just slid into the seat next to him. Cross didn’t look over right away, instead taking a moment to steel himself for the forced social niceties that so many at the Academy to be incessantly forcing upon him.

”…an’ da good times keep rollin’…” came the newcomer’s voice, startling and jarring in it’s familiarity. Cross instantly knew who it belonged to, having twice been berated by it’s wielder in the past 24 hours. The hybrid was scowling before he had even begun to turn his head to face her. He regarded the cadet with pale blue eyes which shone with a mixture of frustration and a disbelief that mirrored her own.


What did I do to deserve this… Cross thought to himself, giving his head a slight shake as the instructor strode through the doors and promptly began taking roll call. When his name was called, Cross acknowledge the man briefly before going back to glaring at his new classmate. A minute later, he had a name to put to her face.

Krystal Tancredi…

This was bad. Not only had Cross decided to take this damned course after struggling all through his first year with people sneering at his native language, but now he was stuck in class with her? The only way he could imagine the situation being any worse was if she’d been a Cardassian, and even then he found himself wondering if that might not be preferable to the Human woman with the fiery hair and an incendiary temper to match.

”<Tell me, Tancredi…>” Cross hissed to the girl once the instructor turned away and begun his lecture, ”<are all Humans as rude and obnoxious as you? Or just the brightly coloured ones?>”

Re: [2373] Starfleet Academy - More Precious Than Gemstones

Reply #8
[ Krystal Tancredi | Elective Federation Standard Languages Class | Starfleet Academy | San Fransisco | Earth ] Attn: @Fife
“Me,” said Krystal, resisting the urge to swoon, and not in a good way. The wave of dizziness had come over her quite suddenly, and she did her best not to blink or look away from the man. The last thing she needed was to show weakness. She could just imagine Old Man Jed shaking his head at her and telling her what a weakling she was. She would not yield! Not an inch. So, his name was Cross. Well, he sure looked cross all right! But then, so was she. PRESENT! She said unnecessarily louder than needed when she was called by name.

Well, that was an indirect way of making introductions.

Her stomach chose right then to growl like some kind of monster, and it was loud enough in the lull of silence in the room for people three desks over to hear. She saw people looking towards her and she absently pointed at Cross, mouthing that it was him that made the noise.

When he asked if her temperament was common to all humans and she stared at him with an unreadable expression, her lips working up and down as if she couldn't decide to laugh or scowl. “Ah wouldn't know,” she snapped softly, “Ah don' meet people. An' if ya wan' ru...” her head tipped down, then up, in a unusual way, as if she was about to fall asleep right there, but her eyes snapped wide open and she stared evenly at him, “...if you wan' rude...Ah'll show...Ah'll show...” her eyes rolled upwards, as the pain in her stomach and the lightheadedness turned to full blown dizziness that insistently spun the world around her.

She collapsed against him, abruptly going completely limp and unresponsive. All those years of malnourishment and abuse, especially the one she'd had just three days ago, finally caught up to her, and missing breakfast and any solid food for two whole days was not the smartest of decisions on her part. She briefly recovered to find herself lying on her back, and she uttered only one word before slipping into unconsciousness, “...Jed?”

[ Krystal Tancredi | Sickbay | Starfleet Academy | San Fransisco | Earth ]

The next time she woke up, she was not in her room, and turned her head weakly to see a pointy-eared Bajoran looking at her, and her first reaction was novel. AAAAHHH!!!

She jumped about the same time as she screamed and fell off the medical bed, away from Cross.

Map of Starfleet Academy Grounds

Re: [2373] Starfleet Academy - More Precious Than Gemstones

Reply #9
[ Cadet Cross | Personal Quarters | Starfleet Academy | San Francisco | Earth ] Attn: @Triage
[Show/Hide]Cross looked on a Tancredi seemed to act erratically, acknowledging in an overly loud manner when the instructor called upon her, though Cross didn’t initially see anything out of the ordinary with that. All of his previous interactions with the diminutive human had been conducted in a loud manner on her part. When a rather loud grumbling noise emanated from the human Cross glanced at her, wondering what it was all about. He saw her gesture at some other cadet who were also looking at her, implying that the noise had come from him. Cross’ eyes narrowed, his pale blue eyes boring into the girl.

It was only when she began another of her perpetually irate retorts to his question that he realized something was wrong. He watched her head move as she spoke, bobbing forward as though she were unable to hold it stead. Cross had seen cadets at some of the Academy bars bob their head like that when severely inebriated, though he didn’t smell any hint of alcohol on the woman. She’d stopped speaking mid-sentence, but seemed to recover herself and continued, her eyes wide. She struggled to speak, however, only managing a few words at a time. Then her eyes rolled upwards and slumped forward against him.

Cross instinctively moved to support her. Tancredi’s tiny frame felt light as he took hold of her with one hand and wrapping his free arm across her back. Her whole body seemed to have gone limp, and she almost spilled out of her chair, though Cross managed to support her and ease her to the floor. ”Sir!” He called out, glancing up at the instructor, who upon seeing what was happening immediately called for medical assistance. Cross, who knelt on the floor next to Tancredi, glanced back down at the girl. She seemed to come around for a moment, muttering something weakly before falling back into unconsciousness. Cross stayed with her until the instructor told him to step back, and the transporter beam enveloped her still form, transporting her to the Academy’s medical facilities.

As he watched her disappear, Cross couldn’t help but wonder if he had done something to cause the girl’s collapse. Had he said something that had upset her too much? He doubted his question had been that insulting. He knew humans could be a sensitive species, though he had yet to meet any that were that unstable.

Once the lecture ended, Cross decided to forgo his next class and visit Tancredi in sickbay. If he was responsible for whatever had happened to her, he wanted to opportunity to apologize.

[ Cadet Cross | Sickbay  | Starfleet Academy | San Francisco | Earth ]
Cross stood in sickbay, feeling uncomfortable. He hated medical facilities, having spent far too many unpleasant years of his youth in one type of medical lab or another, though those years had hardly been for the benefit of his health. He was also reminded of the events of the previous year, when he had been stuck rooming with Izar for the year after having to drag the insufferable half-Cardie to sickbay. Admittedly, it had been Cross himself who had caused the injuries which necessitated the trip, though Cross felt the torture of having to put up with Izar for the remainder of his first year at the Academy was hardly fitting punishment. A few punches hardly warranted having to listen to the know-it-all scientist for 10 months. A firing squad would have been a more agreeable punishment. Perhaps that was too harsh. Cross had to admit that he had grown to be friendly with Izar by the end of his first year, though the friendship had certainly gotten off to an extremely rocky start.

Cross glanced down at the still form of Tancredi lying on the bed nearby and reflected on the fact that he had to find a different way of interacting with new people. Preferably one that didn’t involve having to get his new acquaintances to sickbay.

Cross heard the doctor moving somewhere behind him. The man had been in assessing Tancredi, and had made note of numerous injuries on the woman’s body. The doctor had asked Cross how he knew Tancredi, to which Cross had replied they had just met the day before when there was a mix up of their belongings. The doctor had given Cross a dubious look, but had said nothing as he retreated back into his office. A nurse was working at a station nearby, and periodically cast glances in Cross’ direction. Cross was used to people staring at him, knowing he seemed odd to many people. Cross put the man out of his mind and took a seat in the chair beside Tancredi’s bed, looking at the bright-haired girl just as she stirred. Cross leaned forward as her eyes fluttered open, brows furrowed in concern, causing wrinkles on his brow to make it appear that his nasal ridges were multiplying upwards. He had heard the doctor talking to the nurses about the various injuries she had, as well as being exhausted and malnourished. Cross wasn’t sure he should have stayed in sickbay, but thus far no one else had shown up to check on her.

And so he had stayed.

As Tancredi’s eyes opened properly and seemed to come into focus, she looked over at him. Then she screamed, jumping so that she tumbled off the bed on the far side from where he was sitting. Cross winced as she screamed, the sudden noise feeling like an assault on his ears. Cross’ eyes widened again as he saw her about to topple, and he lunged forward in an attempt to catch her as she began to disappear over the side of the bed. He managed to grab hold of her arm as she topped off the bed, holding it firm in an attempt to keep her upright. He pulled, perhaps harder than he should have, in the hopes of keeping her from tumbling to the floor, hitting her head and potentially making things much worse. He was once again surprised by how light she was as she was heaved easily towards him, ending up leaning against him much as she had in class when this whole ordeal had started.

”<Easy, Tancredi…>” Cross cautioned her in a quiet tone. He supported her weight, trying to be as gentle as possible. ”<You’re in sickbay. You passed out in class.>” Looking down at her he suddenly felt a stab of panic as he realized he was cradling a strange woman on a bed. Cross quickly let go and threw himself backwards off the bed, almost tripping on the chair he had previously been sitting in in his haste. His face coloured a furious green and he cleared his throat awkwardly. ”I’m sorry… I…”

“Ah, you’re awake!” Came a voice form behind him, cutting him off and sparing him from what was sure to be a great deal of stammering and stuttering. Cross turned to see the doctor approaching and casting an amused glance in Cross’ direction. “And you’re still here. I must admit that when you showed up I thought you were the cause of miss Tancredi’s injuries!” The doctor chuckled, obviously thinking himself funny. Cross was stunned, looking back and forth between Tancredi and the doctor with a bewildered expression. The doctor seemed to see Cross’ discomfort and took mercy on the hybrid. “At ease, cadet. Once I looked into it further, I realized there was no way you could have been the cause. You’re no longer a suspect.”

Cross relaxed a bit at those words, glancing back at Tancredi and studying her with eyes that held a certain level of understanding. He could see the injuries on her arms where they weren’t covered by the medical gown, and while he felt he ought to say something, he didn’t know what that something was. Instead, he opted for a way out of the awkward situation.

”I’ll… uh… leave you with the doctor…” He finally told Tancredi, turning to leave. He doubted the irate human would want him around for her discussion with the doctor.

Re: [2373] Starfleet Academy - More Precious Than Gemstones

Reply #10
[ Krystal Tancredi | Elective Federation Standard Languages Class | Starfleet Academy | San Fransisco | Earth ] Attn: @Fife
“OW! FUCK! WHOA!” The words came out in turns as Krystal was first grabbed hard by Cross, and then the grip caused her to flop her other hand harder against the nearby surface, and finally she was yanked back onto the bed by the hybrid's raw strength. Before she knew it, she was practically cuddling the fellow, and she stayed in that position, more out of shock than anything, plus there was something oddly comforting about this. It reminded her of the rare tender times she had with Old Man Jed, when she came to him particularly injured or too badly hurt from the abuse at the hands of her family, and he'd just hold her until she stopped crying or fell asleep. She realized with embarrassment that she had passed out. Why did she have to be so weak and helpless?!?

It made her feel like crying again, when she had to quickly catch herself, Cross had tossed her aside out of panic. When he apologized, she finally caught on to something about the Bajocan (was that what you call a Bajoran Vulcan hybrid?) was that he didn't have much interaction with girls. Was he awkward with just her? Or with all girls? It felt a little empowering really, and the tiniest hints of a smile appeared on her lips as she studied him with new interest.

She jumped once more when the doctor spoke, and she was harshly reminded that they weren't alone or had any real privacy as this was a sickbay. And then her eyes widened when she realized the doctor thought Cross was a suspect that had wounded her. Her hand moved over her abdomen unconsciously, where clusters of new and old bruises, lacerations and terrifying marks were hidden by her hospital gown, all gifts from her parents or siblings. It made it hard for her to eat sometimes, which was why, despite her intense hunger, she had pointedly chosen to forego meals for the last few days. The doctor, a complete stranger, for all intents and purposes, whether he seemed nice or not, made Krystal nervous, and when Cross made to leave, offering awkward murmurs, but his movements told her enough and her head whipped around to look at him with eyes wide with fear and also indignation.

“SIT YER BUTT DOWN, MISTAH!” said the tiny redhead, not willing to be alone with the doctor, and Cross was literally the only acquaintance she knew right then, and she wouldn't take her eyes off him until he complied.

The doctor watched the interaction with a bemused smile, seemingly understanding the girl's mentality, and he sat on a second stool near the bed, looking between his PADD, Cross, and Krystal surreptitiously, and he began his inquiry, “So, Miss Tancredi, I'm not quite sure how you convinced the physician at the recruitment office to miss out on all your old internal and external injuries,” he glanced pointedly at the girl, then nodded when her face blanched. She looked over at Cross, her cheeks tinged with pink as she blushed, possibly regretting making him stay now. The doctor then made a small noise and her attention was returned to him. “Interesting, the report just came in about your injuries. Normally we wouldn't have allowed you to enlist until after you've been treated for the injuries, and your malnourishment is another seems like there was a delay in the system. That's never happened before. This sort of thing is always the first thing to come through.

He looked questioningly at the redhead, who was looking like pure chaos. On one hand she expressed relief, because she's already a cadet and throwing her out at this moment seemed dangerous until they knew more about the circumstances of her injuries. But the other expression she had was utter confusion. It seemed, by a stroke of odd fortune, Krystal's situation was not made clear until she was already through the door. But looking at her now, it's a wonder that the assignment officer hadn't questioned her state. She was scrawny by any standard, very obviously underfed, with visible signs of recent trauma and if he was to venture a guess, she'd probably not even be strong enough to lift a bottle of water at this point. But there was a fire in her eyes, a strength of defiance against her odds. It wasn't much to go by on a single observation, and Krystal was beginning to feel very uncomfortable.

I realize you might be uncomfortable talking about this, in front of a new...” he looked over at Cross, and her eyes followed his gaze, “...friend. Do you really want him to be here? This is quite personal and I can understa...

“He's stayin'.” said Krystal, brooking no alternative, and she reached out to weakly grip the hybrid's nearest hand. Cross would be able to feel just how little strength she really had, since she was definitely trying to grip him tightly, but her strength was not even close to its fullest.

Noting the action, the doctor nodded and said nothing else on it. Instead, he went ahead, questioning her about her home life before she came to Starfleet Academy. He asked about her parents, siblings, and whether they beat her. She mostly answered with “Yeah.” or “Uh uh.” accompanied with a nod or a shake of her head, but she almost looked numb, and very, very lost. She also looked like she was going to cry, but the rigid set of her jaw and the furious expression masked the scared little girl she really was. He then tried to pose the next set of questions more gently, but how gently could you imply or ask outright if she had been subjected to sexual abuse as well?

She finally lost control of her composure, and tears fell out, giving the doctor the answer. She was unable to speak any longer after that, and the doctor tried to apologize, “Miss Tancredi...given the...circumstances, I must order you to stay here until the more recent injuries can be treated, and we get some food in you. Why don't you two take some time to talk things over? I'll come back later. I'm sorry for what you've had to go through, but look on the bright side. It's over now.

With that, he nodded at Cross, seemingly leaving the redhead in his care for the time being. But the nurse at the nearby station was still about, and they had clear line of sight to the two cadets.

A much meeker Krystal Tancredi now sat on the bed, occasionally casting nervous glances at Cross, not sure how he saw her, and whether he would mock her for it.

“Ah'm sorry...” she offered lamely when she could stop her convulsive sobs and hiccups.

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Re: [2373] Starfleet Academy - More Precious Than Gemstones

Reply #11
[ Cadet Cross | Sickbay | Starfleet Academy | San Francisco | Earth ] Attn: @Triage

The outburst from the Human woman startled Cross, prompting him to spin on his heels and regard her with a somewhat bewildered expression. He ultimately obeyed the command, though was unsure what drove him to do so. It might have had something to do with the steady stare the redhead had given him until he moved to obey. In any event, Cross found himself once more seated on the chair at Tancredi’s bedside. He listened at the doctor spoke, and felt like an intruder as he learned of Tancredi’s past. At one point the doctor seemed to feel the same way, asking if she was sure she wanted to discuss such things in front of her new friend. The question caught Cross of guard, and led him to wonder if they were, indeed friends. He had only met the girl yesterday, and she had done little but yell at him through all his encounters with her, even when asking his to stay with her here in sickbay. As Tancredi insisted that Cross would, if fact, be staying with her during her conversion with the doctor, Cross supposed that it was possible that the yelling was just how she communicated. But then, she wasn’t yelling at the doctor…

Cross' thoughts were derailed as he felt a shock run through his system, Tancredi having reached out and took hold of his hand. She gripped it in a weak yet determined manner, and he was surprised again by how little strength was in that grip, though he could tell she was holding on as much as she was able. That, coupled with the surprise Cross had felt when heaving back from the brink of toppling off the bed, led Cross to glance at Tencredi with a look of deep concern. He knew Humans weren’t the strongest of creatures, and he was by no means an expert on the species, but her size and lack of strength was concerning even to him. At the same time, Cross felt another sensation growing alongside the concern he felt.

A feeling of barely contained panic.

Cross was not accustomed to being touched, indeed he had had little in the way of physical contact with anyone other than his former Cardassian keepers, and those had hardly been positive circumstances. What was more, he had never had a female hold on to him like that before, and the experience was hardly one he had been expecting. Cross felt uncomfortable around women at the best of times, and his previous encounters in dealing with Tancredi, which included her walking in on him inspecting a pair of her underwear, had hardly made theirs a comfortable or understanding relationship. All these thoughts raced through Cross’ mind as the doctor continued talking, the two humans thankfully looking at one another as Cross desperately fought off the colour which was trying to rise in his cheeks. Tancredi, for her part, was simply nodding or shaking her head, providing the doctor with monosyllabic responses as he questioned her about her medical history. Then the doctor raised a different line a medical questioning, and Cross saw Tancredi’s compose melt away. Cross watched for a moment as tears spilled down her pale cheeks before he dropped his eyes to the mattress, unsure of what to do or say in this sort of situation. The doctor made a final statement that she would have to be kept for treatment and observation, the nodded to Cross before making his exit, leaving the two of them alone.

Cross could not help but wonder what he was supposed to do in such a situation, the knowledge he had gained during his post-internment rehabilitation and his previous year at the Academy have failed to prepare him for such an event. He had no idea what he was supposed to do. Tancredi seemed equally unsure of the situation as she cast repeated glances in his direction, none of which looked comfortable or sure of herself.

At least she hadn’t started yelling at him again…

Cross had finally made up his mind to say something, and opened his mouth to do so, when she beat him to the punch.

”Ah’m sorry…”

Cross sat for a long moment, his mouth hanging open in preparation for a sound which was not coming out. He wasn’t sure which surprised him more, the fact that Tancredi was apologizing to him, or the fact that she wasn’t yelling the words at him as she did so. After a long moment, he managed to find his voice.

”Sorry?” Cross echoed the word she had spoken, the sound feeling strange in his mouth as he used the still mostly unfamiliar Standard. His unblinking gaze studying her closely as he waited for her to continue, taking in her thin frame and the bruises visible on her arms. When she remained silent and failed to follow the apology with a scathing remark or any sort of explanation, Cross forged on.

”Tancredi,” he continued, his voice quiet and carrying with it a hint of discomfort, ”<what is it you think you have to be sorry for?>” His eyes met hers briefly, and he felt the colour continue to rise in his cheeks before looking back down at the mattress. ”<I don’t understand why you wanted me to be here for all that, but…>” Cross hesitated, wondering how much he should say, ”<well… uh… if what I heard the doctor say is true, then I…>” Cross forced his eyes upwards again, pale blue orbs meeting teary hazel. ”<I’m sorry. I know what it is to live in that sort of fear.>” Cross glanced down at her hand, still holding on to his, then back up with a look of confusion. ”<Why would you trust me to hear all this?>”

Re: [2373] Starfleet Academy - More Precious Than Gemstones

Reply #12
[ Krystal Tancredi | Sickbay  | Starfleet Academy | San Francisco | Earth ] Attn: @Fife
If she weren't processing or dealing with the emotional upheaval tearing through her right then, Krystal might have been amused by and even teased Cross about the way he was catching flies with his mouth at that moment. She was also busy feeling mortified with the fact Cross officially knew too much to be allowed to live. What was it Old Man Jedediah would say? A person with knowledge of your weakness was a liability. But he also said that nobody, especially humans, could go through life alone, without opening themselves up to at least one person.

Krystal was as impulsive as they came, and she decided right then that Cross might as well be it.

The poor man...

She eyed him expressionlessly as he tried to verbalize his way through all that he'd just learnt. It was a lot to dump on someone newly met, and even more to expect a continued willingness to put up with a potential lifetime of misery and pain. This wasn't something that was going to be swept under a rug anytime soon, and really, with the way she'd been behaving with him, it was a wonder he hadn't scoffed at her and abandoned her long since. Her eyes went to their connected hands at the same time that his did. How ironic was it that of all the hundreds...maybe thousands of individuals in Starfleet Academy, she would meet with the one most likely to know even a fraction of what she lived with? But if he knew what it was like, then...

Her eyes shot up to his, wide and surprised. Just what had Cross been through? And why did he have that nose ridge along with pointed ears? Questions for another time.

There was also the disconcerting effect of watching his mouth move but words came out that didn't match the movements of his lips, meaning he spoke a different language still. Sighing again, she figured it was time to start the question and answer session. “Ah dunno anyone else, Cross.” said Krystal, her voice soft and forlorn. She had dropped any and all pretenses, and Cross saw the real Krystal Tancredi in all her hideous glory. The girl suddenly became self-conscious and pulled her hand away, hugging her knees to herself with both arms, resting her chin on her knees. She felt the memories of her family weighing down on her, reminding her that she was worthless, a waste of space, and the ugliest thing since the word ugly had been invented. She bit back an angry sob and tried to be as strong as she could, failing utterly in the process.

“Figgered ya maht as well know everythin'...not lahk Ah'm worth anythin t' anybodeh.” the tears came unbidden again, damn her body, she couldn't even control her emotions any longer! She felt embarrassed now, and so turned to look away from Cross. She was also getting tired, and her grip on her knees was faltering. She still needed rest, and lots of food before she could begin her road to recovery. “Wh-what's th' food lahk 'ere?” she asked abruptly while trying to weakly wipe tears away and change the subject.

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Re: [2373] Starfleet Academy - More Precious Than Gemstones

Reply #13
[ Cadet Cross | Personal Quarters | Starfleet Academy | San Francisco | Earth ] Attn: @Triage
[Show/Hide]Cross was at a loss for works as Tancredi stated that she’d asked him to stay because she didn’t know anybody else, the honesty and vulnerability of her admission bearing a drastically different tone than the constant yelling he had encountered during his previous interactions with her. As she spoke, she withdrew her hand form his, hugged her knees to her chest and seemed to be trying to make herself into as small a ball as possible. Perhaps he had misjudged her, or rather perhaps he had judged only the Tancredi she had wanted everyone to see. Given what he had learned about his past, and being that he was someone who could relate to such a life, he could understand why she would want to hide herself behind a prickly exterior. Cross himself had taken years to adjust, along with countless hours of counselling and rehabilitation, and even so he was hardly what more would call a well-adjusted individual. Tancredi, it would seem, had slipped through the cracks, gaining entrance into the Academy without any form of support for what she had undergone and lacking and proper recognition for her plight.

Tancredi went on to state that she’d figured he might as well know everything, adding that she wasn’t worth anything to anyone. Cross could sympathize with her in that regard as well, having been worth nothing more than a scientific paper or two to some scientist for the majority of his life. Hell, he hadn’t even had a name until just two year ago. No name, no identity, just a number. Subject A17338961.

Tancredi asked how the food was here.

Cross had to fight to keep form laughing at her question, finding such a simple question after such an information dump to be almost comical. He managed to stop from outright laughter, though Cross found himself grinning despite his efforts. ”<Well, I’ve been told that the food is crap by some, though I think it’s pretty good.>” Cross gave her an apologetic look as he continued. ”<Though I’ve also been told that I have the palate of a junkyard dog, whatever that is...>” Cross shrugged, not really caring about the answer to what exactly that insult insinuated.

”<As for the rest of it…>” Cross reached out, having been planning on laying his hand on her shoulder in an attempt to be comforting, though he found his hand hovered just above her shoulder, as though he was hesitating before actually touching her. She looked so small curled up into a ball as she was, so thin, so frail. But he wasn’t out to hurt her. Nor was he out to create some deep connection, to initiate anything closer than a comforting acquaintance.

He just wanted her to know she wasn’t alone.

”<Look…>” Cross glanced over at the Sickbay staff within sight, making sure they were out of earshot. ”<You aren’t worthless, alright Tancredi? You’re a lot of things, but not that.>” Cross forced his hand forward the extra inch, his palm finally making contact with Tancredi, feeling the thin fabric of the medical gown which separated them. ”<You’re bold and you don't back down, judging by the way you barged into my quarters. You certainly weren’t afraid of me!>” Cross chuckled, shaking his head before directing a grin at her.

”<You’re a tough little flame-brained Human, you know that?>” He gave her shoulder a light squeeze as he spoke, careful not to press too hard. ”<As for all the other stuff… well…>” Cross let his hand fall from her shoulder then, resting his elbows on his knees. ”<I think I might understand it better than you might think.>” He could tell she was fading, could see the fatigue settling in. She’d had a hell of a time, had endured too much. She needed rest. Rest and food. ”<Do you want me to go? You look like you could sleep, and that would probably be a good idea, judging by what the doctor said.>”

Re: [2373] Starfleet Academy - More Precious Than Gemstones

Reply #14
[ Krystal Tancredi | Sickbay  | Starfleet Academy | San Francisco | Earth ] Attn: @Fife
When he said that someone told him he had the palate of a junkyard dog, Krystal's eyes narrowed, but she didn't say anything aboubt it. That was a subject to be broached and considered at a later date...assuming he'd still want to talk to a girl like her. She felt the shittyness coming back in already. All the insecurity, the criticism, all the names that she was called began to weigh on her mind. She was nothing, ugly, stupid, good-for-nothing. When his hand hovered over her shoulder, she tilted her head ever so slightly, her eyes studying his hand thoughtfully. She kind of wanted him to place it on her shoulder, but she was shivering, and still half expected that hand to slap her.

When it finally connected, she almost completely melted, a combination of relief, and tiredness forcing her to reduce the tension in her body. She took a breath and shared his smile with a tiny one of her own, through half-lidded eyes. She laughed lightly when he called her a tough little flame-brained human. That was quite original! “Ah was scared outta mah mahnd,” she admitted, “ya ain't 'xactly a li'l feller. T'me, ya maht as well be Mount Gibraltar. Ah...thank ya, Cross...”

She promptly flopped to one side, completely asleep. Like with everything else that concerned Krystal Tancredi, she never did anything half-assed, as Cross would eventually learn.

It was at least a week of intensive care and a concentrated diet regimen before Krystal was released to attend classes as normal once again. She now filled out her uniform slightly better than when she first appeared. She still had some ways to go before she would truly be considered out of the danger zone weight-wise, but she already looked less gaunt and haggard, and if anything, the fire in her hair was more intense. Clutching a PADD against her chest, she was speed-walking around the campus until she spotted the only bald pointy-eared cadet for miles, and all but popped into sight beside him.

“Howdy.” she said, shooting him a glance with big brown eyes studying him, before looking ahead. He was walking in a hurry, and so she had to double-time it to keep up, what with her barely reaching five feet in height. All that malnourishment meant she didn't do much growing at all, just the way her siblings and parents wanted to keep her, so that she could never fight back. But the doctors had given her some kind of treatment, so she'd actually shot up from her initial size by a few inches. But there was only so much even modern medicine could do for years of stunted development.

“Ah got all the assignments Ah missed ovah th' week...d'ya think...”

Oh my goodness,” said a female human cadet none-too-conspicuously, “is she talking to that...guy?

Yes, she most certainly is,” agreed her Vulcan companion, “most fascinating.

What is wrong with her?” the woman asked with a look of disgust.

They were almost in the middle of the campus open grounds, between the large ponds and the recreational park, and Krystal's face turned a shade of what would soon become the famous Tancredi Red. Her tiny body shook with unbridled fury and her free hand was clenched into a tight fist. YEAH AH'M TALKIN' TA HIM! AN' HE'S GOT A NAME! IT'S CROSS!!! C-R-O-S-S! she declared at the top of her lungs, which had amazing capacity, YA GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT? MAYBE HE AN' AH ARE FUCKING LAHK THERE'S NO TOMORROW TOO AN' IT'S NONE-A YA GAHD DAMN BUSINESS!!!

A cadet who had turned to watch Krystal's tirade continued walking, right into a tree.

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Re: [2373] Starfleet Academy - More Precious Than Gemstones

Reply #15
[ Cadet Cross | Academy Grounds | Starfleet Academy | San Francisco | Earth ] Attn: @Triage

The sudden voice from right beside him nearly made Cross jump with surprise, the hybrid turning a wide-eyed gaze to the tiny, brightly coloured head which glanced up at him with it’s brown gaze. The owner of that gaze looked significantly healthier than when last he’d seen her, her face not as gaunt, her eyes not as sunken. She also didn’t look quite as short, though that might have been Cross’ imagination.

”Tancredi.” Cross wore the hint of a smile as he acknowledged her, slowing his pace as he noticed her struggling to keep up with his much longer strides. He was about to ask how she was when she began to speak, saying something about her assignments that she’d missed before she abruptly stopped talking. Cross knew in a moment what had derailed the thought, both hearing the words said by the other cadets and seeing Tancredi whirling about to face them.

The violent change in the small Human’s colour was almost alarming, and Cross watched with a hint of amusement as Tancredi let loose with a fiery and furious tirade, the volume the tiny female was capable of surprising even Cross, who had himself been on the receiving end of one such diatribe. She berated the other cadets, yelling that yes she was talking to him, and informing them of his name before…

Wait.. what? Cross stared down at Tancredi as she continued with her fiery fusillade.

Maybe they were…!! Green colour surged into Cross’ cheeks as he registered exactly what Tencredi was saying. Cross reached out and caught hold of one of the redhead’s arms as one of the cadets ran into a tree, paying the unfortunate fellow no mind as the cadet toppled to the dirt, the PADD and various other belongings they had been holding spilling to the ground around them. Maintaining his grip on Krystal’s arm, and trying not to think about how skinny she still was, he forcibly dragged the girl away from the stunned cadets, even the Vulcan cadet wearing a stupefied expression at the sudden storm of Tancredi’s temper.

”<While I appreciate what you were trying to do back there…>” Cross said as he ushered Krytal around the corner of a nearby building, putting the shocked cadets out of sight, ”<I somehow get the feeling that that particular choice of words might not have been the wisest selection you could have made.>” Cross stopped, turning to face Tancredi with an embarrassed grin on his face, his pale blue eyes shining with amusement. ””Fucking like there’s no tomorrow”??” Cross chuckled, shaking his head. ”<Fuck, Krystal, where the hell did you come up with that?>” Cross realized he was still holding her arm and quickly let his hand fall away, choosing instead to cross his arms over his chest as he peered down at her with an amused expression. ”<Has anyone ever told you you’re a strange one, Tancredi?>” Cross asked the question with a chuckle. ”<Yelling at me for holding your hat but not your panties, threatening to make my life a living hell, refusing to let me leave you side in sickbay, and now screaming at other cadets that we might be…>” Cross trailed off, shaking his head again as both grin and blush spread over his features. ”<You’re a fucking maniac, you know that?>” Cross laughed as he finished the words, unsure what to make of the diminutive woman with the fiery hair.


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