Life at the Interstellar Academy was everything Jim thought it would be. Their technology was so much more advanced than anything he had on Montressor. Because it was a learning academy they seemed to have an endless supply of new, top of the line parts and tools. The classes were taught by the foremost minds in the field. Interstellar travel, military operations, politics, the mysteries of the universe - there was a class on anything and everything Jim could ever imagine. But for everything he wanted to do there were at least five rules that forbid it. He needed permission to get parts. There was a limit on how long he could keep tools. Every class that sounded remotely interesting he had to wait a year to take it or take the exceedingly boring introductory course, pass four tests and get permission again before he could do anything.
Everything he had taught himself was thought of to be incredibly dangerous. Making his own engines, making his own fuel, making his own solar sails without a conduit machine. Nobody believed in taking risks. And in turn they wouldn't let him take risks. There were just so many rules and Jim was not used to it. He never realized how lenient his mother was. She let him get away with everything compared to how closely he was watched at the academy. That's not to say nobody liked him.
Everyone loved him. He was 'the boy who found Treasure Planet'. Even though it had been destroyed the story spread across the known universe so far that nearly everyone knew his name. Apparently he was so popular there was a group of girls that started a fan club at school. But for how many people loved him there were just as many that hated him - boys and girls alike that thought his celebrity was undeserved. He knew he didn't make the whole thing up so he paid very little attention to their condescension.
Jim was having enough trouble keeping up without having to worry about cliquish hatred. He had been the smartest mechanic back home. At the academy he wasn't even the smartest human. He basically had to unlearn everything he had taught himself and learn the right way to do things but the 'right' way clashed with what he felt. And he hated that he was failing at the one thing he was good at. It made him feel stupid which made him angry and when he was angry he would either build something or destroy something.
"Damn it..." Jim sighed as he pulled at the collar of his uniform. He wanted to run. He wanted to surf. He want to throw everything to wind and soar off into the sky with wild abandon. But he couldn't. He'd be letting everyone down. His mother, Amelia, Dilbert - their kids looked up to him. The people back home were rooting for him. And if he dropped out now he'd just be proving all his nay-sayers right.
He stopped at a nearby mirror to straighten his clothes. He smoothed back his hair and practiced a less distressed expression. One of the head honchos had called Jim into his office; Grand Admiral Augustine Jane. Jim was nervous, the only thing bigger than the man himself was his reputation. He had made Captain at 25 and commanded an 'unsinkable' crew. He obliterated hundreds of pirate crews, discovered worlds, practically wrote the book on laser pistols and plasma canons. If Jim pissed him off he'd be on a one way trip back to Montressor.
He knocked on the door and waited to be invited in. "Enter." Came a call from the other side. Augustine's office was bathed in bright orange sunlight. The huge picture window behind his desk had a perfect view of the west port. Ships coming in for the evening, satalites and stars twinkling in the distant sky. He quickly signed something on his desk before he stood up to greet Jim. He saluted right away when Augustine approached him.
"Cadet James P. Hawkins at your behest sir!" He barked obediently. He tried to keep from staring as Augustine towered over him - the man was at least six and a half feet tall. Even assisted by his cane he had an impressive stride.
"Yes, yes cadet - I know who you are. At ease." He waved off the formalities. Jim folded his arms behind his back and paced his legs. "I've been observing you for some time now Mr. Hawkins. Everyone here knew you'd be great, they all had such high hopes for the boy who found Flint's trove and lived to tell the tale."
YOU ARE READING
Jim was used to being smarter than everyone else but at the Interstellar Academy he has a lot to learn. About himself and about how the universe actually works. When he starts to struggle with both he is given a tutor who is less than thrilled to b...