Chris has won the duel and Berela has been expelled from the Scout Academy.
After the former Cadet Berela and his father packed up and left the Scout Academy, I felt my insides relax for the first time since… God, since Chris and I agreed to come to the Scout Academy, I guess. Definitely, since we first arrived at the Academy and found ourselves ignored by the faculty and despised by Berela and his followers. The duel just made my already-knotted gut find new and inventive ways to twist and tighten.
With the duel behind us and the faculty treating the cadets from lost colonies as equals to the cadets from the Federation, things were definitely looking up. In an adventure novel, that would mean everything was about to go straight to hell. But, I’ve had my fill of adventure novel nonsense and made sure I mentioned that to God every time I spoke to Him.
He listened and made my life simpler after the duel. Don’t get me wrong, He still sent challenges my way, but they were challenges I could handle. Even when the other women in the Academy began subtly throwing themselves at Chris—just as Megan warned me they would.
It helped that Chris was oblivious to the whole thing. When female cadets began smiling at him and greeting him warmly, he thought the smiles and greetings were directed at us. He simply smiled in return and offered a friendly, “Hello!” The dear boy never realized the women neither looked at nor spoke to me. I never told him the truth, of course. Chris is so honest and honorable and kind that he’d have done something so completely foolish that only a man could think it was a good idea.
I could just imagine Chris responding to the next flirtatious “Hello” by earnestly telling the woman that he was flattered by her interest but blah blah blah. Sure, the ‘blah blah blah’ would be all about how much he loves me—I never once doubted that—but he would have made a complete mess of the whole thing. Better he remained politely oblivious than risk the emotional fallout that might come from rejection.
Megan warned me the women probably wouldn’t know why they were suddenly attracted to Chris, so you can imagine how poorly they’d react if Chris rejected them without them quite realizing they’d been throwing themselves at Chris. Joy and I shuddered every time we talked about it.
It took a couple of months for the behavior to fade away. My crazy roomie kept me sane during that time, muttering catty—and very obscene—observations about each of the women vying for the attention that Chris would never give them.
Only the most persistent cadets kept flirting for the entire two months but, finally, even they were distracted by Commander Mills’ big announcement halfway through the semester.
Standing before the entire body of cadets, he said, “I am pleased to announce that every one of you has mastered the basic knowledge all Scout Corps cadets must know. We insist on old fashioned teaching methods—instruction from a Master Scout, followed by problem-solving to reinforce the instruction—because it is vital that each of you develop an intuitive understanding of those subjects. Now that you have the foundational knowledge required to perform a Scout’s duties, we can introduce modern teaching techniques and let the faculty concentrate on honing your skills. All classes are canceled for the next week while we prepare you for this next step in your training.”
The susurration of quiet voices raced through the auditorium. Rather than command our silence, the Commander simply smiled and waited for it to die down.
Chris and I squeezed each other’s hands in excitement, certain we knew what was coming next. And, we did!
“Cadets, it’s time to get your implants.”
Cadet training moves into high gear with the installation of implants. Find out how Jade and Chris handle it in Chapter 33, coming Monday.