The class flooded into the examination room and clattered into their places. The green papers were already in place on the wide desks. Clearly the command classes were expected to take their examinations unwatched.
Jim Kirk squared his shoulders at this display of trust and picked up the paper. "Integrated organizational hardware as an overall reciprocal concept is as necessary to a balanced logistical timephase as is functional third-generation mobility. It is vital to the Starfleet synchronised transitional programming to maintain our parallel management options through a systemised incremental flexibility. All personnel must at all times be aware of the need for a responsive policy capability under an optimal monitored projection.' Consider this statement in the light of present-day knowledge, and comment upon the policy advocated as understood today."
Jim read the quotation and felt his heart sink to his highly polished boots. Surely even Professor Dawson could make no sense out of it? He stared out of the window hoping for inspiration - the clear sky stared pitilessly back, not even a cloud to set imagination rioting. The bent heads of his classmates did not inspire confidence; even Watkins, the class buffoon, was scribbling swiftly.
He studied the question again, praying for illumination. The words congealed in his mind, damming thought. Was it possible he was going to fail, to leave the Academy within the first month - branded for ever as a failure?
Abruptly he pulled himself together. One question was not a whole examination. He turned the paper over.
The back was blank.
Unbelieving, he looked up. Across the aisle Finnegan caught his eye and snickered. Jim felt his face flush scarlet and he crumpled the paper, not daring to look up and show his all too readable face to Finnegan.
Once the examination proper began, he would show that over-confident, bumptious Irishman just who was going to make the best Starship Captain Starfleet had ever known.
Copyright Meg Wright