AN: Hi all, this is my first fanfic, so hope you like it. R&R please, 'cause I can use all the help I can get.

Disclaimer: I don't own Star Trek or any of its characters. (only this poxy laptop, a decent camera and some funky boots, yay.)

Prejudice is a funny thing.

Now, you'd think it would mostly apply to other people's ignorance, to the way they misunderstand or are too limited in their own worldview to comprehend anything beyond it, but the real problem with prejudice is when you turn it on yourself.

It's a sure sign of growing up when you realise that your parents have given you more than a funny quirk of your lips or the colour of your eyes; they have in fact passed on their own misconceptions to you, and merely realising that they are misconceptions does not always solve the problem.

Aureya knew that she was smart. Hell, her IQ and technical aptitude were practically off the charts; she could fix just about anything around the house and had no problems with theoretical mathematics or quantum physics; but then there was still prejudice.

Being half and half of anything was probably a though thing at all times, but being half human and half Orion had to be near the top of that list.

Aureya had never really met her mother- Orions were not known for their parental instincts, and a little green bundle was easily abandoned- but she knew that her father's opinion smacked too much of hurt and bitter disappointment to be anything to go by. That, however, did not stop her from believing that some of her mother's alleged qualities had to be true of herself as well.

Unreliable, manipulative, driven entirely by wanton emotions, calculating, and sensually gluttonous were only a few of the attributes she had vowed to free herself from, whether they were actually true or merely because the world around her assumed that they had to be.

And then there was Starfleet; all she could ever wish for for herself, open-minded, brave endeavour of uniting the races of this galaxy and beyond, overlooking the small differences and striving towards a greater good; no more prejudice, no more sense of inferiority, just the pursuit of peace and knowledge…. and lots of toys, big shiny toys.

Getting accepted into Starfleet's engineering programme just about managed to rank on the top ten list of best things to have ever happened to her, mild understatement that. This was her chance to prove herself, not only to her father but more importantly to herself.

"Some of you might have heard that Subspace physics was eeeeasy, that the whole engineering business is simply a matter of tightening a few screws here and amplifying a few proton fields there …" Commander Lennox gave a derisive laugh, holding his substantial beer belly like a trophy and giving them all a patronising smirk "Bollocks, complete and utter wank" no trace of a smile remained, instead he glared menacingly at the students in the front row of the lecture theatre. "Now those little pussies in their prissy little yellow shirts might tell you that engineers are the underlying structure of a star ship, that none of them could do their important work without you, but all that means is that they think they're the dog's bollocks and you are their skiffy. Want to know how this really works? – They are fuck all without us, fuck all. My meaning- there is no ships, no interstellar travel, no bloody Starfleet without us."

Aureya gleefully noted the scandalised expressions of some of her fellow freshmen. Oh this was just sooo going to be up her alley; engineering and cursing like a sailor; fuck yea!

"… in conclusion, any nominal difference, and bare in mind that nominal in the context of this particular equation may be as negligible as .0000001 of a decimal, should indicate to you that there has been a gross error in the formula applied to solve the afore mentioned equation. Any queries?"

Stunned, perplexed and utterly incredulous would have been a few of the words to describe the students' reaction to Commander Spock's introductory lecture on applied mathematics. No "hello, my name is…", no "this term you will be expected to…", no "applied mathematics is important because…", just wham, solve this, do that, homework is thirty pages of your core text and don't even think about uttering so much as a groan. "Fascinating" was all that Aureya managed to think.

Potluck would have it that Aureya's roommate was a compulsive obsessive human with a clear inclination towards over-complicated syntax and unnecessary prepositions, which made light conversation something of a challenge. Who, in their right mind still used "whom"? By Darwin, the girl was positively incapable of small talk; however, Cadet Uhura, first name as yet a bizarrely guarded secret, was friendly, smart and possessed- and here her genetic value system kicked in unrequested – a lovely singing voice, so all things considered, things could have been worse. Not only that, but Uhura proved to be an invaluable study buddy, her thirst for knowledge and her frantic need for achievement matching Aureya's own perfectly, which on more than one occasion lead to all-nighters fuelled by coffee, chocolate and no small amount of faculty gossip, which Uhura, as a second year, was happy to provide.

"Ooooo, Lennox, well there's an antithesis and a half for you, IQ of 176 and no inclination to behave accordingly. "Used to be quite docile and presentable until his wife died four years ago, hasn't really censured himself since then, sad thing that."

"I don't know, I like him. Ballsy. Speaks his mind." Aureya felt like she was called to defend her engineering professor, even though there had been no real slight to him.

"Ballsy, perhaps, professionally inept, definitely" was all Uhura had to say in reply.

"What about Commander Spock, he seems….um…interesting?"

"You can say that again, total oddity, half human and still acts, like the entire human race is a bunch of wayward toddlers, quite brilliant though."

"You don't like him then?" Aureya surmised. "I wouldn't say that, what do you think? I, for one, think that his sheer genius excuses a lot, but I suppose he's still weird."