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2372; Starfleet Academy, "John's Romance"

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Nov. 23rd, 2005 | 04:22 pm
posted by: johnwendell in en_fanfic

This is a fanfic about John's first true romance. It takes place in their third year at the Academy.

Quick bios:

Colleen, Rick, and Kate have the same bios as las time.

John is very hopeful for the future. He jumps to conclusions, and is optimistic. He is still very outgoing and a great friend to have. He and Colleen continue to play intramural hockey for the Academy.

Jolene Kalee is the girl John falls in love with. She's perfect for him. Intelligent, outgoing, 'classy' as he states it, and simply *different* from Colleen and Kate, neither of which were interested in him romantically. She's a fourth year cadet, and she and John spend the four months before graduation together. She is unofficially 'initiated' into the Quatro Squadron for those four months, and becomes an honorary member of their group. She's a good enough pilot to be in the group, anyway.

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johnwendell

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from: johnwendell
date: Nov. 23rd, 2005 09:31 pm (UTC)
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John was never really one for romance. In secondary school, he and a girl named Kirsten had a relationship for three weeks. John was fourteen at the time, and they had met at a holodeck program designed for teenagers to teach them the importance of fire safety on board a ship. Kirsten’s parents, of course, also worked on the USS Sovereign with John’s parents, and both sets of parents were pleased with their children’s choice in friends.

Their breakup occurred on the third week of their relationship, when John suggested that they go to an excavation holodeck program and dig fossils. When Kirsten became tired under the hot holographic sun, John laughed at her and suggested that she get more exercise. Kirsten wasn’t pleased. And that was it.

John went on a few dates after that, most of which lasted one or two nights. John would say something that would insult the girl, such as ‘come on, is that *all* you’re having to eat? No matter what people say, I don’t think you’re too fat to eat more than that’. The girl would take it the wrong way. ‘People think I’m fat?!’ she would exclaim. The rest of the dinner would involve John scrambling to try to make up for his comment.

In another instance, John told a girl in his Quantum Mechanics class aboard the USS Sovereign that he would love to take her out and watch a holo-movie with her. She consented to this, and John picked her up, and took her to ‘Attack of the Giant Ants’, a 1950’s sci-fi film he always thought was hilarious. She didn’t think so.

So when John entered the Academy, he wasn’t expecting much romance. Colleen wasn’t interested in romance *at all*, and Kate met a guy their second year and had romances on and off, but not with him. His closest friends were just that—his closest friends, not his lovers by far. But one day, in their third year, John was in a flight simulation with a girl named Jolene, who liked to be called ‘Jo’ by her friends.
Jo and John were both flying standard runabouts, and firing on a Romulan attack cruiser, protecting a Galaxy Class Starship that had been severely damaged in another previous battle. Once the Romulan attack cruiser was destroyed, an urgent message came through on their screens that it had been discovered that John was a mole, and had offered the Romulans the information regarding the damaged starship’s whereabouts.
Shocked, John turned his runabout completely around and sped off at warp speed, aware that Jo and the other students would be following right after him, chasing his ion trail. Jo was right behind him in moments, since she had upgraded her engines while she was at warp so they would go a speed faster. John’s partially damaged runabout couldn’t keep up, and though he performed all the evasive maneuvers he could think of, Jo easily beat him.

When they stepped out of the simulators, John had to congratulate her. She was an amazing pilot. Good enough to be in the Quatro Squadron (the name everyone called Colleen, John, Rick, and Kate because they were the best pilots and best friends on campus). Jo introduced herself, and before John could say anything, she jumped in and said,
“Wanna go out tonight? Watch a holo-movie?”

“Sure,” John answered. He and his friends had nothing planned. That night, she walked up to his dorm and rang the chime. John came out, dressed in his best dress clothes. He had learned how to dress on a previous date, when he had worn the same work clothes he had on the entire day, and had picked up his date who was wearing the most elegant dress he thought he had ever seen.
But when he opened his door, and looked at his date, he realized she was still in her cadet uniform.
“I’m sorry,” John said, and went to go change.
Jo didn’t give him the chance.
“You look fine. We’re gonna be late. Come on.”

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johnwendell

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from: johnwendell
date: Nov. 23rd, 2005 09:32 pm (UTC)
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They went straight to the holodeck, since the plan was to get dinner later. They grabbed a seat in the crowded room, and characters shimmered into existence. They were in black and white for the effect, and in old US Army uniforms from the 1940’s or so. Three dimensional letters popped above their heads, reading, ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’. John stared at Jo, and suddenly felt something. It wasn’t just attraction, it was…something else. “I didn’t know you liked these movies.”

“God, I’m not gonna bore you, am I?” She asked, genuinely concerned.

“No—these are my favorite holo-movies! I’ve never met anyone else who liked them, except my friends, I mean, not to say you aren’t my friend, but my other friends—”

“Shh, the movie’s starting,” She interrupted.

After the movie, they got dinner and began talking about themselves. Jo was a violinist, but also played the guitar and the drums. She was a fourth year cadet, as was obvious from the four pips on her uniform collar, and studying to become an engineer. She wanted to command some day, but most cadets did, she said.

John told her about himself, and she seemed interested. When they were finished, John was about to walk her back to her quarters, since he had learned that it was the ‘gentlemanly’ thing to do. But she turned toward *his* quarters, and he asked,
“What are you doing?”

“Walking you back to your quarters,” she said, and raised an eyebrow. “Unless you’d rather spend the night in mine.”

John looked positively horrified, and she laughed. “I was *kidding*.”

He relaxed and began to laugh with her. They went back to his quarters, and once she was gone, he lightheartedly flung himself onto his bed and said, “Rick, you’re not gonna believe it.”

“You blew it again,” Rick said, not looking up from the PADD he was reading.

“Nope. She likes me. At least I *think* she likes me. But man, do I like her! She’s…a lot like Colleen and Kate. Only not. She’s more…I don’t know.”

“She wears her hair longer,” Rick offered.

“She’s slightly taller,” John suggested. Then shook his head. “That’s not it. I don’t care how she looks. I mean, I’m not complaining, not by a long shot, but she’s just so…I don’t know. *Different*.”

Rick looked over at his friend and smirked. “My friend, I believe you’re in love.”

“No! It’s the first date!”

“I know that look. My mom had it when she got re-married. My sister had it when she met her future husband. My brother had it when he met his lover. You’re in love, man.”

John looked over at his friend, picked up his pillow, and threw it at him. Then he said with a smile, “Am not.”

The next few days, though, John couldn’t think. Colleen and he were scheduled to play in the next hockey game together, and he didn’t have one single goal or assist.

“What the hell are you *doing*?” She asked back in the locker room at half-time.

“I…don’t know. I’m sorry, I just can’t think about the game.”

“Well you better start. We’re losing 4-2. Come on, John.” She punched his padded shoulder with her glove. “You can do better than this!”

“I’m just thinking about something, that’s all,” he said.

“What could be more important than hockey?” She asked him in disbelief.

“I…” he blushed. “I went on a date—”

“Oh, God!” Colleen immediately exclaimed, and said, “You’re thinking about a *girl* when you should be thinking about *hockey*?”

“*This* is why I didn’t want to tell you!” He said a bit louder than he needed to. Teammates turned their heads and listened to their argument.

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johnwendell

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from: johnwendell
date: Nov. 23rd, 2005 09:32 pm (UTC)
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“John, put her out of your head for the rest of the game and I *promise* I’ll hold off on the jokes until tomorrow,” Colleen offered.

“Some offer,” he said with a bit of contempt, and then said, “Fine, I’ll try.” But he couldn’t. It was impossible. Every time he looked over in the stands, he saw her sitting there, cheering him on. Every time he saw the puck, he thought of her and not his strategy on how to handle it. They lost 7-2, and Colleen didn’t speak to John for a full two hours.

For the next three days, John’s grades were less than admirable. He could only think of Jo, and their impending time together each night. They had taken to flying in the holodecks after class, and Colleen wasn’t happy about this arrangement since it was usually the Quatro Squadron that flew together after class. Rick, Colleen, and Kate took another holodeck for their recreational flight, and missed John.

After those three days were up, and the novelty had sufficiently worn off, John’s grades improved and his hockey was better, but he continued to see Jo. Colleen confronted him about this problem outside the locker room right after another game.
“Listen,” she said. “I have no right to tell you who you can go out with. And I’m not objecting to Jo, not at all. But Rick and Kate and I don’t appreciate it when you blow us off for her. At least *tell* us when you can’t make it to something.”

“I’m sorry,” John apologized, and promised that he would tell them when he couldn’t make it to something. The romance continued through their final four months before graduation for fourth years. Four months was the longest time John had ever gone out with a girl. He took Jo to movies, they hung out together after classes, and she became an unofficial member of the Quatro Squadron. They continued to do things together, and Colleen and Rick and Kate just accepted the fact that Jo was there too. Everything was perfect.

John had turned twenty one, and Jo had replicated a hockey puck with the number ‘21’ on it, and given it to him for his birthday. It wasn’t a huge gift, but it meant a lot to him. He kept it on his desk all the time as he studied. And as finals approached, Jo and John saw less and less of each other as Colleen, Rick, Kate and he all studied together. Jo had different finals, and John explained her lack of wanting to spend time with him by saying she was probably studying.

As they were in the library one day, John said,
“I saw her replicating a ring the other day. We’re getting pretty serious, you know.”

“You want to *marry* her?”

“We have a date tomorrow. She’s gonna propose, I just know it.”

“I thought human males proposed to females,” Kate said.

“That’s an old tradition,” Colleen explained. “No one really cares anymore.”

“I don’t know, John,” Rick told his friend. “Don’t get your hopes up.”

“I’m not,” John said. “I just *know* she’s gonna propose. I’m not *hoping* anything.”

Rick looked warningly at him, but didn’t say anything. Colleen was oblivious. She figured, if Jo was going to propose to John, and Jo and John became husband and wife, it might distract him from his studies but they wouldn’t have any problem doing so.

John got up, and said,
“I’m gonna go replicate something nice for her. Flowers or something. And I need a new sweater for tomorrow.”

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johnwendell

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from: johnwendell
date: Nov. 23rd, 2005 09:32 pm (UTC)
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“What’s wrong with the sweaters you have?” Colleen asked.

“She’s got *class*, Colleen. I can’t just wear any old thing to this date. It’s gonna be big.”

“Why would she propose this close to graduation? She’s gonna get assigned somewhere kilometers and kilometers away,” Rick said, waving his hand to indicate the distance.

“Because she’s willing to keep the engagement for a year until *I* graduate,” John said, smiling as though it were obvious. “If you guys will excuse me…”

He walked out of the library, and Rick raised an eyebrow. “He doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into. Marriage is a huge responsibility.”

“John doesn’t often know what he’s getting himself into,” Kate said with a smirk. “But he tends to pull it off.”

“Got that right,” Colleen said with a smile. “Like last week’s hockey game. He went up against *Sergei*” she said, referring to the fourth year, Sergei Holomov, who John fought on the ice during their last game. It was just because Sergei had said something about Jo’s mother, simply to distract John during the face-off. They didn’t get as far as the face-off before the biggest cadet in the school was face-down on the ice, one hand secure behind his back and the other held down to the ice, and John’s knee digging into his spine.

“That was insane. He secured an enemy there that he didn’t want to have,” Kate said.

“Oh, Sergei will graduate, go into security, and never see John again,” Colleen said, brushing it off like an insignificant bug. “And it was worth it to see that jerk on his face.”

“*That’s* for sure,” Rick said. Sergei had tampered with Rick’s exobiology experiment only a month before, and though no one could prove anything, Rick wanted vengeance. John had gotten it for him, and the whole school had been watching.

The three continued their studies for another hour before they ate dinner and went back to their respective dorms. Once there, Rick sat down on his bed and asked John what he was doing.


“Researching Talarian wedding rituals.”

“Why? Jo’s human.”

“Because her grandmother’s Talarian, and that means she’s got 1/4 Talarian blood, and she *likes* Talarian customs.”

“You should be studying for Quantum Phasing,” he told his friend, referring to their course, Advanced Quantum Phasing and Space-Time Distortion, which was supposed to be the hardest exam that year.

“This has a bit more future in it than Quantum Phasing,” John said with a smile. “Besides, I know that stuff.”

“How many hours will it take for the gravitational impact to reach Pluto if Alpha Centauri decided to implode on itself?” When John hesitated, Rick said, “What’s the spatial distortion that causes ships to loop in time?” When John hesitated again, Rick stated, “You definitely know this stuff.”

He threw a PADD at his friend, and John caught it mid-air. Rick ordered, “Study before you fail and we’re in different classes next year.”

John complied, but reluctantly. And as soon as Rick fell asleep, John went back to studying Talarian customs. The next day, he put on his uniform and went to class, but as soon as class was over, he went back to his dorm and changed into his new sweater, combed his hair for a straight fifteen minutes, and put as much cologne on as he thought was tolerable. Then he began practicing saying ‘yes’ in front of the mirror until Rick walked in and heard the ‘yes’, ‘yes’, ‘yes, I will’, ‘yes, I love you’, ‘yes, definitely’, ‘yes, we’ll make it work’. Rick couldn’t help himself. He burst out laughing. “You’re a piece of work, my friend. And you’re gonna be late. You should pick her up now.”

John looked at the chronometer. “You’re right!” He said, as he grabbed his Vulcan violets and smoothed the front of his sweater. “Wish me luck!” He yelled as he ran out the door, but then slowed down because he didn’t want to start sweating.

John hadn’t seen Jo all day. He knew she must be preparing for her proposal. It had to be what she was doing. They didn’t have class with each other, but that didn’t matter. They saw each other during lunch, usually. Or during breaks, or sporting events. Not today. She was preparing. John was certain.

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johnwendell

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from: johnwendell
date: Nov. 23rd, 2005 09:34 pm (UTC)
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John rang the chime, and no one answered. He stared at the door, confused. He checked the chronometer in panic, thinking he might be late or early, but he had the right time. He rang the chime again. Still no answer.

Then a wave of nausea swept over him as he realized something might be wrong. She could be sick. She could be trapped in her quarters, unable to move. Someone might be in there, hurting her or—
“Computer locate Cadet Jolene Kalee.”

“Cadet Jolene Kalee is in her quarters,” The response came back. Something had to be wrong.
“Computer, override security lock on Cadet Jolene Kalee’s quarters, authorization Wendell-emergency code-313-A-45.”

The computer overrode the lock and the door swished open to reveal two people sitting on Jolene’s small bed, kissing passionately. John froze, then said, “LEAVE HER ALONE!” Thinking the other person was an attacker.

Jo and a fourth year looked up. It was some cadet John didn’t know. Jo had the unmistakable look of a person who had just committed a terrible crime. John dropped his Vulcan violets on the floor, and just stared.


“John, I can explain—” Jo started, but John just turned around and walked out hastily. In fact, he broke into a run once he was far enough away from Jolene’s quarters. He ran into the courtyard, and sat on a bench next to a statue. He put his face in his hands, and just stayed like that for what seemed like hours. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw someone approaching, and he quickly got up and left. He didn’t want anyone’s sympathy, if that was what they were coming to offer. And even less did he want anyone’s company.

“Cadet Wendell, halt where you are!” A professor’s voice said. John turned around to see Professor Kyle, one of Colleen’s and his closest friends, staring down at him from a towering six foot seven inches in the air. “What are you doing out here, John? You know curfew’s in a minute.”

It was only then that John realized that he was out past curfew, that it was dark outside. When had that happened? Professor Kyle just waited for his answer. “I…I’m sorry, Sir.”

“What’s happened, John? You look like you’ve seen a ghost. Are you not feeling well?”

“No. I’m fine, Sir,” John said simply.

“No, you’re not fine. Go back to your quarters and get some sleep. I won’t reprimand you for being out past curfew. Just go. And anyone who asks, you were with me. And if you don’t feel better by the morning, go to the infirmary, or I *will* reprimand you.”

“Yes, Sir,” John said, and left slowly. He didn’t want to go to his quarters. He didn’t want to hear Rick asking him what happened, or have to explain, or hear anyone’s sympathy.

But nonetheless, he entered. And Rick instantly turned his head toward his friend, and seeing his expression, turned back to his work. No questions asked. John inwardly smiled. He was forever grateful for that.

John went straight to bed, and heard Rick leave quietly, past curfew. He was going to give Colleen and Kate a heads-up, and didn’t want John to hear. When Rick broke rules, it was obviously important. John had never known how much Rick actually understood him until that moment.

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johnwendell

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from: johnwendell
date: Nov. 23rd, 2005 09:34 pm (UTC)
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The next few days, Colleen, Kate, and Rick treated John as if nothing had happened. No one asked a single question. And when he felt like telling them, John did. He told them all together, and beforehand asked them not to tell him how sorry they were, or preferably not to comment at all. He just wanted them to know. And once they did, he left.

John decided against a serious romance after that. It wasn’t worth the agony. It wasn’t worth the pressure of whether he was doing something right or wrong. Whether he was adequate or not. He still liked women. But not enough to commit himself. And his true friends understood. The Quatro Squadron would forever stay together. There were four of them, four who understood and were willing to not ask questions. Who were willing to stand up for John in public to avert others’ questions, and shoo people away who wanted to know ‘what happened’ with him and Jo. Colleen had wanted to do something back to Jo, but Kate and Rick talked her out of it.

Jo never tried to explain what had happened to John. She avoided him at every turn. She graduated and was stationed on a ship—John didn’t bother looking at which one. He was just glad she was gone. And sorry he wasted four months including such a person in the Quatro Squadron.

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