For The Thrill Of It
Chapter One: Grand Theft Auto
Disclaimer: I do not own anything mentioned in the following fanfiction, except for the character of Kristen Shaw. She is of my own design.
She shifted the car effortlessly into third, her foot pressing hard down on the accelerator as she weaved in an out of traffic with ease. The California sun was beaming down on her brightly as she whizzed in an out of traffic like Jeff Gordon, her aggressive driving the result of growing up without parents and never really being taught how to drive. The top of candy apple red 1963 Mercury Comet she was driving was down, allowing the air to come rushing at her and play with her hair as she sped about, finally deciding to get off the freeway at the next exit. She'd been waiting for a car like this; they didn't make cars like the Comet anymore, not in the twenty third century. She'd found this car on some poor smuck's driveway underneath a tarp, her brain almost exploding with joy when she saw that it was a Comet. They hadn't made this car in almost three hundred years, even though it was said to have been one of the greatest cars ever to be made. She'd been waiting for a car like this.
She'd just pulled onto a local road when she passed a cop car, knowing that if her speed didn't alert them, the license plate would. Sure enough, seconds later the blare of the police alarm sounded out and in her rear view mirror she saw the squad car light up like the fourth of July and begin to give chance.
This was the part she loved. People always asked her why she stole cars and went on joy rides and every time, she gave them the same response. For the thrill of it. There's nothing like the feeling of trying to out drive the cops in a classic car on the streets of California. It's the ultimate thrill. Despite the fact that she thought the ecstasy given to her by joyriding cars was unparalleled by any drug, the majority of people, including the police, thought otherwise. At the ripe old age of 23, Kristen Shaw had been arrested and incarcerated a grand total of 5 times with another total of approximately 1 year of jail time served. She'd been in an out of foster homes since she was a baby and the second she turned 16, her life became less about school and boys and more about rebelling in the best ways possible which to her meant joyriding. By the time she'd turned 18 she'd already had her license revoked twice, the second time with the potential of only getting it reinstated when she completed a series of workshops and training sessions.
She never went to the workshops and training sessions.
With the lights of the squad car on and the siren blaring, she felt her heart begin to race and her mind begin to churn. It was all just a game from here on in; nothing more than a series of moves in an attempt to out manoeuvre her opponents. It was all just anticipating and moving in turn; anticipating weather conditions, traffic conditions, where she was, what kind of car she was driving, how fast the car chasing her was. It was a multidimensional game she played, however detrimental to society she could be deemed to be.
This time, the chase lasted a record time of forty three minutes and twenty three seconds. It came to an end when she'd turned down an alley and right in front of her was another squad car. Damn. She hadn't anticipated that.
She came to a screeching halt and waited, cool and collected as one of the cops from the squad car that just pulled up behind her got out of the car and came striding over. He hadn't even gotten a word out when already, she spoke.
"What seems to be the problem, officer?"
She sat in the local precinct's holding cell, waiting until the cops who pulled her over ID her and realize she's a bonafide criminal. She knew her odds; she'd be sentenced for grand theft auto and given time. Last time she'd been sentenced six months but only served three because of good behaviour. This time, with her record and her age, she'd be lucky to get a year, if not more. This was the part she hated about stealing cars; the jail part.
"Kristen Shaw" an officer barked, bringing her to attention. She looked up from the floor, her green eyes directed towards the officer who was standing by the cell door with keys in his hand, poised to unlock it. She watched as he unlocked the door and slid it open, waiting for get up and leave by giving her a pointed look.
"You are free to go"
She got up slowly, brushing some of her long, wavy brown hair out of her face in order to see him correctly. She'd just cleared the doorway when she half expected the cop to grab her by the arm and yank her back into the cell, as if this were all some kind of joke. But instead, he slid the cell door shut with a metal clang and locked it behind her, leading her out into the lobby of the precinct where she was to collect her things. She had just stepped out onto the street outside of the precinct when she heard a voice, asking a question, she assumed, could only be directed towards her.
"Wondering why you didn't get charged?"
She halted, knowing that everything was just too good to be true. She hadn't really thought about why she'd been released, she was too focused on thanking her lucky stars and getting the hell away from the cops. But now that someone had asked her, she had to admit she had no fucking clue as to why she wasn't still sitting in that cell, waiting to be officially charged.
A man stepped out in front of her, dressed in nondescript clothing, giving her an easy smile. He was middle aged, mid forties to early fifties at least, with friendly blue eyes, short brown hair greying at the temples, and a face etched with wrinkles that she suspected weren't caused by sun damage but instead, countless years of hard work.
"Now that you mention it, yeah, I'm a bit curious" she replied sarcastically, running a hand through her hair before pulling out her aviator sunglasses and propping them on the bridge of her nose, in front of her eyes.
"That was my car you stole" he said slowly, the smile on his face remaining on his face.
She analyzed him for a few seconds from behind the safety of her sunglasses' lenses, trying to figure him out. She couldn't tell if he was angry, pissed, or impressed, so she stuck to her sarcasm since she didn't really know much else.
"You have good taste in cars" she commented, giving him a smile to return the one that still hadn't been wiped off his face.
"They told me you've had 5 prior arrests, is that correct?" he asked.
"You know it is, so why bother ask" she sniped back, her patience beginning to wear thin.
"Why do you do it?"
She paused for a second, then asked him to clarify.
"Why do you steal cars?"
It was a question she'd been asked over a thousand times before; a question she had a scripted answer to.
"For the thrill of it. There's nothing like the feeling of trying to out drive the cops in a classic car on the streets of California. It's the ultimate thrill" she replied, giving him another smile, but this one out of spite.
His smile seemed to broaden at this, and he moved to remove something from his jacket pocket.
"I won't press charges for you committing grand theft auto if you agree to take a test for me" he said, handing over the card.
She recognized the emblem on the side of the card immediately, scoffing a laugh as she stood there reading the card.
"You want me to take a test for Starfleet, Admiral Christopher Pike, sir" she asked incredulously with mock respect, laughing again.
The man remained steady, even as she made fun of his rank. He waited till she was finish to respond.
"I'm curious, how does a woman who bounced through over forty foster homes as a child gather enough money to put her through college and graduate by the time she was eighteen?" he asked, turning his head to the other side.
She didn't laugh this time.
"Well, as for the money part I guess you could say someone's always made sure I'm taken care of. The college part, graduating by eighteen? I did an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering in two years, starting when I was 16. Stealing cars doesn't mean I'm a stupid, just means I'm smarter than the idiots who leave their vintage cars unattended, which, since you're an Admiral, I guess makes me really, really smart" she replied back, outstretching her hand to return the card.
"I'd like you to take an aptitude test, Ms. Shaw. It shouldn't take long, approximately two hours at most. Give me a call sometime later today so we can set up a time for you to come by the Academy tomorrow to write it" the Admiral said with definitive finality as he turned to leave, Kristen's eyes following his direction to where the beautiful red Comet was waiting.
"What if I don't want to take the test?" she barked at his retreating form.
He stopped in his tracks, turned around slowly, and then looked up at the precinct.
"It's either take the test, or get charged and sent to jail Ms. Shaw. Your decision" he said, turning back around and finishing the distance to his car.
"Ah, Ms. Shaw. Glad you made the right decision" he said in greeting as he entered the dark yet bright room, today changed from the civilian clothes he was wearing yesterday to a neat black uniform with the Starfleet symbol over his heart.
She'd gotten to the Academy and had immediately be lead to the room she was sitting in now. The room's dimensions were about 13 feet by 13 feet and the room full of chrome and stainless steel, even down to the door. There was one single light, a light bulb hanging right above the table in front of her, that due to the reflective nature of both stainless steel and chrome, seemed to light up the room.
"Well, it was either here or prison so" she said, clicking the pen that had been waiting for her on the table when she'd arrived ten minutes ago.
She really had no choice. She did not want to go to prison again and another offence would mean serious time. She'd decided to suck it up, take his damn test, and then be gone.
"Would you like to know what kind of test you'll be taking today?" he asked pleasantly before placing a stapled stack of paper in front of her, along with another pen.
"Sure" she replied with obvious disinterest, leaning back in her seat in an attempt to convey the message that she really didn't give a shit about what kind of test she was about to take.
"It's one of the entrance exams applicants to the Academy have to take. It's a standardized test that gauges intelligence, emotional response, decision making abilities, and leadership qualities, to name a few. It tells us everything we here at the Academy need to know about incoming cadets, and I'd like to see how you score on it. That sound okay?" he asked, sitting back in his chair across the table from her with a pleasent smile on his face.
"If you continue talking to me as if I were a child, stealing a car is going to be the least of my worries" she threatened before flipping open the test booklet and getting down to work.
The test took her about an hour and a half to complete with no difficulty at all. There were math and science questions, either or questions, and multiple choice questions, but the bulk of the exam was situations where she'd have to describe what she'd do. What would she do if a train was coming and she could either save a baby or a group of people or what would she do if she was allowed to save a group of people but in turn would die.
As soon as she'd finished, he'd whisked away the test and told her to stay there, citing that he wanted to grade her paper personally so that they could talk about where to go from here. She didn't have time to retort however, as the door swung shut before she could ask him what he meant by 'go from here'.
It didn't take long for him to grade. He was back within a half hour with the same friendly smile she'd seen on his face yesterday.
"What" she asked, after two minutes of him just staring at her.
"You did better on this exam than 98% of the incoming recruits" he said as he continued staring at her.
The news shouldn't have affected her, but deep down inside, she grew proud upon hearing this. Starfleet Academy was the most prestigious education institute on the planet and if she did better than almost all the other people at the school, that made her feel pretty damn good.
"Wow. Sucks for you then doesn't it, if a repeat offender can not only steal your car but also outsmart almost everyone at your little school" she said with sarcasm as she got up to leave, pulling on her dark green military style jacket.
"Sit down" he said with such definitiveness that she actually sat back down. She was so astounded at her body's response to his tone that she didn't even offer any words.
"I want you to enlist in Starfleet, but not to attend the Academy. I want to put you on a ship, the best ship we have" he said, leaning forward in his chair and folding his hands together. This time, it was her chance to lean back in her chair and act as smugly as he did before. Despite her body language however, she was quite curious and eager to hear more.
"You want to put me on a ship. Like a space ship?" she asked in clarification, sitting back in her chair and crossing one leg over the other.
"Yes, a space ship. Our newest ship, actually. The Enterprise" he said, nodding his head once.
"And why do you want to do that" she asked slowly, this time addressing him as if he were a child. A smug smile came to her lips, but she kept quite.
"Because I see in you the same thing I saw in someone about four years ago. You're bored. You're bored of this life you've been living so you look for cheap thrills by stealing cars. You're not a criminal, because you never keep or damage the cars. You just drive them. You feel as if you were...meant for something better but because of your broken past, you don't deserve it. You think that since you didn't come from a normal home that your life can't be normal. But more than anything, you feel as if you were meant for something special. Something different. I can offer that to you" he said with such assurance that it startled her completely.
Although she'd never admit it out loud, he had somehow managed to summarize her entire outtake on life, down to the bit about not deserving a normal life. She didn't know where to go from here now. He'd just verbally stripped her of all the protective armour she'd put up during her past 23 years of living.
"The Captain of the Enterprise used to be someone a lot like you. Under appreciated, lack of challenge, settling for average when extraordinary was well within his potential. I think he could teach you a lot, a lot more than any professor here at the Academy could. It will take a few weeks to get you into the system and into mission shape but I can promise you that within three weeks we can have you on the Enterprise, finally living to your potential. So what do you say Ms. Shaw?" he asked.
She took about five minutes to think it over, but the truth was, she had her mind made up within five seconds of him offering. She'd always said she stole cars for the thrill, and she only imagine the thrill that came with working in space. She wanted a change of pace but more than anything, she wanted another chance to start over. He'd been right when he'd said she'd never been a criminal, she just wanted the feeling she got whenever she'd managed to outsmart the cops and get away. She was better than that, and it was about time she figured out just how much better she actually was.
((Author's Note: Please review! It's my first venture into Star Trek so...any criticism (except for flames) would be much appreciated!))