Lieutenant Commander Mulcahy stared at the final version of the report, struggling to figure out how to wrap his mind around the story. It shouldn't have been that hard—he'd written the damn thing. Sometimes the truth was stranger than fiction. He skimmed over each cadet's statement, unsure whether he should laugh or fear for the future of the Federation.
The twelve new recruits had only lived together for thirteen hours—how could it have gone so bad so fast? Three cadets were hospitalized—four, if he included Cadet Selak—and there was so much fire damage to the third floor of J dormitory that structural engineers had advised demolishing the entire building.
Starfleet Academy was due to begin a new session on Monday and Starfleet and Federation officials had spent the past few weeks boasting to any media outlet who would listen that it was the most diverse group of cadets in the institution's history. For the first time, the Academy was hosting a Klingon exchange student for one year and had also admitted its first cadets with Cardassian and Nausicaan heritage. A very diverse student body indeed. From what Commander Mulcahy was reading in his report, maximally integrated dormitories were great in theory but had the potential to go very wrong without taking the time to properly consider major differences in cultural practices and behaviors.
What had the billeting office been thinking, assigning these twelve cadets to live in such close proximity? Cultural sensitivity and awareness training was mandatory for all first year students, but classes hadn't started yet and even then, the classes could only do so much.
It was always a pretty steep learning curve for many of the new cadets. While some had grown up in ethnically diverse environments, most of them would meet more aliens on their first day at the Academy than they'd met in their entire lives. Usually by the end of the first term, the new cadets had either figured out a way to get along or they'd been weeded out for failure to adapt to Starfleet's inclusivity principles. But it almost seemed like these twelve misfits had been set up for failure. The billeting office had just tossed a dozen people from wildly different backgrounds onto the same dormitory floor and decided to hope for the best, apparently.
They may have hoped for the best, but what they'd gotten was the worst. No, maybe not the worst, Mulcahy decided. No one had died, so there was that. But as he skimmed his report, he couldn't help but wonder why anyone thought a first-year Klingon and Orion would make good roommates. Or a Vulcan and Caitain. Or a Tellarite and Nausicaan. Reading the final roster from the billeting office almost made him think someone was performing a social experiment. Maybe he should contact the psychology department and ask.
More than likely, the billeting office had put an incredible amount of thought into assigning rooms to the hundreds of other incoming cadets, but by the time they got to the hard-to-place and categorize students, they had gotten lazy and just lumped them together on the third floor of J dormitory. He knew the billeting office did their best for the most part—they had a special dormitory set aside for cadets who were under the age of consent for their respective species and other dormitories set aside for species with unusual sleeping habits or living conditions. But this… this was just a ticking time bomb.
He read the room assignment roster more carefully and started laughing. It was funny because it was so un-funny.
J Dormitory – 3rd Floor
Korla – Klingon female – age 23
Jila – Orion female – age 19
Dur Ah'jan – Xyrillian female – age 31
Ghemma Hahn – Betazoid female – age 18
Nelana Kim – Cardassian/human female – age 20
Nek'than Mila – Andorian female – age 22
Selak – Vulcan male – age 50
Garess – Caitain male – age 22
Raldon – Bolian male – age 29
Thomas Duncan – human male – age 22
Melas – Tellarite male – age 18
Naaro Jones – Nausicaan/human male – age 38
He carefully read the cadets' statements again, trying to pinpoint the exact moment things had gone south. From what he could gather, it had all started with Cadet Jila, the Orion. Her statement was short but informative.
"It was right after dinner and I saw a cute human boy leaving the cafeteria. I talked to him. That's not a crime, is it? Ok, so sometimes I have a hard time controlling certain aspects of my body. It's not my fault. How was I supposed to know my pheromones would make my Klingon roommate start throwing things at that Vulcan guy? Seriously, why would anyone think throwing a desk at someone would make them like you? My point is, I never meant for any of this to happen…"