A/N: The following chapters have been updated from the original. I have tried my best to make sure that there were no errors after I'd updated, however, if there are any, if you could politely point them out i'd appreciate it. Also, i have very little to say about the updates, apart from the tense, nothing has changed. If this is your first time reading, enjoy and tell me what you think in a review. Rhea

Disclaimer: I know this, you know this, but the lawyers have to be told, appartantly. I don't own it. Paramount does.

Chapter 1: Uniforms

Finally graduated, finally finished with the Academy. I was actually really excited about it; the future, not being held back by the past. Not having to worry if people were going to find out anything or watching what I said, because it wouldn't matter- I'd be out in space, back where I belonged, if I'm honest.

The atmosphere in Lecture Theatre One was electric. Everyone wanted to know where they'd been assigned. As the names were read out there were little whispers of, "Yes," when someone got the placement they'd been waiting for and small groans when someone found out they were not where they wanted to be. I was rather optimistic, most of those people groaning had applied to be on the Enterprise, yet in my asking criteria, I never mentioned it, knowing I'd get a good placement on another ship. However, as Commander Reed read out the assignments for those with surnames H-K, I got a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that this wasn't going to be good:

"Karev, the Enterprise." My heart dropped in my chest- the one place I didn't want to be. I couldn't do it, I was determined that there was a way around it.

After everyone was dismissed I walked over to Commander Reed in the vain hope that my placement could be changed, "Sir?"

He looked up from the P.A.D.D in his hands as I walked over and asked, "Yes Lieutenant?"

"Sir, I never mentioned the Enterprise in my criteria, but you and the rest of Starfleet have completely ignored this." I stated, getting straight to the point.

"Karev those criteria were only put there as guidelines. You're needed on the Enterprise, they only have one doctor on board for the whole crew and you're the best doctor in this graduating class." He replied, looking back at the P.A.D.D in his hands.

"Sir, is there nothing I can do to get moved?" I whined, practically begging to go somewhere else.

"No Karev, there isn't. The Enterprise is our flag ship, our best ship. It needs our best staff and as I said you're the best doctor we have to offer since…" He trailed off leaving the Narada incident unmentioned.

I sighed quietly knowing there really was no way to fight the system on this one. I was just going to have to grit my teeth and bear it.

"Okay, thank you for your time Commander." I whispered

"Don't worry about it Lieutenant." He answered, leaving me alone in the empty lecture theatre.

I sighed and sat down on one of the seats. All the other students were fighting over being on the Enterprise, working with the crew famous for saving the world, but I didn't want that. I never wanted that. I wanted nothing more than to be as far away from that ship as I possibly could…and now, I had to work there.

I didn't want to be there for a plethora of reasons. They're all geniuses and I figured I'd get left behind, and that was just reason one.

I pulled my long dark hair out of its ponytail, so that it fell around my face. Placing my head in my hands, I asked the empty room, "Why does this always happen to me?"

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

I stared from the uniform in my hands to the idiot who'd given it to me. He could not and was not being serious as far as I was concerned. Fuck Starfleet's new regulations, not even under pain of death am I wearing a dress that short. Everyone else has to but that's not the point.

"Erm... haven't you got any trousers?" I asked the rather beefy looking quartermaster, with a hopeful look in my eyes.

"Not for women." He grunted back and I rolled my eyes.

It was just my luck. As if working on the Enterprise wasn't bad enough, I'd then got to try and work in something that barely resembled a belt.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

It's my own fault I suppose. Starfleet offered me a way back into space. It was an opportunity I'd been waiting for and I was now suffering the consequences of their ridiculous uniforms. I'm a fully qualified doctor, but my file's always had a lot of gaps in it and no one wants you when it's like that.

I didn't really have that much schooling early on; I spent most of my life, after the age of eleven off-world. When I started in planning to go into Starfleet I was only nineteen but the kids in my class were a lot further ahead than me. I had a lot of catching up to do and with the help of a tutor I managed to catch up in a year due to a combination of my natural ability to pick up anything practical and anything to do with numbers and many nights sat working instead of drinking with my friends.

I mean it wasn't like I didn't know anything- I just missed being schooled from 11-17 and all right, I learned a lot of things living around like I did, but it was a real pain in the arse. I don't really talk about it that much; I just used to sit a corner on my own and work. I had to; I didn't want to be left behind even more.

I joined Starfleet when I was nineteen and a half because I had to do something with my life and I had few other options. I started my basic Starfleet training when I was twenty, since the applications, aptitude tests, interviews and physical fitness tests take about six months. They asked me what field I wanted to specialise in. This was such an opportunity for me- I could follow whatever I wanted; so I became a doctor.

I was in the academy for about eight years in all. I mean I was always a little behind most of my class because most of them had some prior medical training and if I'm honest the medical department at Starfleet had reservations about taking me on. Yet, I had some basic knowledge and in some places it put me ahead of the others, particularly in trauma- where I could keep a cool head. There were very worried that I would get left behind but I really wanted this. That's why it's taken so long for me to fully graduate- eight years rather than the average 3-5 that it usually takes.

Although, despite how hard I worked I was a total bitch to teach. I used to argue with my instructors a lot; mostly my self-defence instructor because I can look after myself a lot better than he could ever have taught me to. I had the best teachers; Mercs, murderers, convicts and experience. Mind you, I argued with my flight instructor, my tactics instructor…

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

I've always been resilient, belligerent or as Riddick always put it: "fucking stubborn," which is why I find myself, yet again, walking down the familiar corridor that leads to Admiral Jonathan Archer's office. With the amount of times I'd been there because I've been in trouble, I knew my way up and down that corridor like no other.

I walked into the waiting-room where his secretary Annie smiles at me: "I thought you'd finished at the academy and were off into space. We thought we'd never see you in here again, Lieutenant Karev."

"Well, you know me Annie, I can't help it: this place is like a giant magnet to me…is the Admiral with somebody?" I asked, searching for any signs of other members of Starfleet's top brass.

"No, no. Only D'Artagnan." She replied with a smile.

I relaxed slightly and sent her a sad look: "Still no sign of Porthos?"

"No nothing. You know the bloke who made him disappear is working as the Chief Engineer on the Enterprise." She said, raising her eyebrow slightly.

I laughed, "I'll see if I can get an answer out of him."

I looked over to Admiral's door, "Can I go in and see him?"

"I'll ask him, wait a moment." She called through to his office and spoke to his picture on the monitor on her desk, "Lieutenant Karev wants to speak to you sir, can I send her in?"

A voice came from the monitor, with a certain amused tone to it, "Certainly, send her in."

There was a small beep from the monitor as the link closed and Annie looked up at me nodding towards the door. I smiled and walked into Admiral Archer's office, feeling rather pleased that I was not about to be yelled at for misconduct, insubordination or just being plain me.

The Admiral was sitting behind his desk with D'Artagnan, his second prized Beagle, on his knee. He looked the same as he always did, exactly like the pictures in the text books about him, except, the sparkle in his eyes isn't there anymore and his hair is greying. Our Weapons Instructor Commander Reed once told me that the sparkle left his eyes when Commander Tucker was killed. I wasn't surprised really.

I stand to attention, but only for a few seconds as he says: "At ease Lieutenant." I relax a little "What is it you're here for?"

"It's about my uniform, sir."

"What about it Lieutenant?" he said leaning forward

"Well sir, the dress is a little short sir, I mean most women wouldn't mind them sir and it's not that I do but the thing is sir-"

"Jack, would you please stop saying sir so much and get to the point."

I relaxed completely and said, "The scar on the back of my left leg isn't covered very well by tights so what I'm trying to ask is would it be possible for me to wear black skinny trousers underneath the dress?"

He surveyed me up and down for a moment and scratched D'Artagnan behind the ears, "I don't see why not, as long as it doesn't look that different to the other uniforms. So make sure they're black and that your boots will fit over the top of them."

I smiled and almost sighed with relief, "Thank you,"

I paused for a moment before continuing, "You called me Jack,"

"Well it is your name…"

I laughed, "You know what I mean."

"Mmmh, I do. However, since it wasn't in public, I don't really see a problem." He got up from behind his desk and walked around placing his hands on my arms, "Your mother would be proud of you Jack, I know she would…"

"I somehow doubt that, if I'm honest…" I stared at the floor, feeling like shit in the knowledge that he said that…because he felt guilty.

"Jack, she would be... I know I am."

I smiled and got reluctantly pulled into a hug. After he released me I grinned slightly and growled, "If you ever do that again, I will personally kill you"

He laughed and sat back down behind his desk. I smiled and replied "I'll see you around Jon, so don't keep tabs on me while I'm on the Enterprise...I'll be fine and I won't cause trouble."

"I'm not worried about you causing trouble; I'm more worried about trouble finding you, good luck Jack."

I smiled at him again and left. As I passed through the doors of the Admiral's office, I said bye to Annie, not knowing if I'd ever be here again.

There were two sides to that coin: sure I was going to serve on the Enterprise, but this was such a good thing for me. If I played my cards right I could find to opportunity to complete a few things I'd waited a decade to complete. It was the right thing for me.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Being a Lieutenant had its perks. First off I got my own quarters, all right they weren't exactly huge but they were big enough for just me. Second, I was actually going to be treated with a little respect and on some level I was very much in charge of some things.

I arrived on the Enterprise a day earlier than everyone else and since I pretty much had the whole ship to myself, except for the engineers, who were trying to fix it after the battle with the Narada, and the senior members of staff, such as the Chief Medical Officer, Captain and Second in Command. It was kind of cool.

I only spent enough time in my quarters to dump my stuff there before walking to the Sickbay, to see exactly where I'd be working, and as I walked down the corridor, I started to find that the white walls and silver floors are amazingly shiny, but also very boring.

The Sickbay doors opened with their usual "swish" and I walked in to find that it isn't as deserted as the rest of the ship. There are three men and a woman all in red uniforms sat or laid on beds waiting to be treated by a rather flustered looking Dr McCoy. Without even turning around he shouts to me: "Just take a seat on a bed I'll be with you when I can."

"Sir?" I ask curiously, expecting an explanation

"Take a seat on a bed I'll be with you when I can." He snapped sounding impatient.

Realising what he was on about I said, "Sir, my name is Lieutenant Karev and I'm the second doctor assigned to the Enterprise."

He turned around with a look of relief on his face, but before he could speak I continued, "If you don't mind I'd rather like to start treating the rather pale looking Ensign with a head wound."

"Well it'd be a start." He snapped in a sarcastic tone and waved me on, leaving me to treat what turned out to only be a small cut above the Ensign's left eye – small, but it bled like a bitch.

After that I treated some small chemical burns and a broken finger before Sickbay was empty apart from me, Dr McCoy and another Ensign with a rather severe chemical burn on his left arm and torso. Dr McCoy placed him under sedation and we could do nothing more than leave the dermabrasion field to do its work.

After I cleaned away some of the equipment, I looked around with a sigh. For what only turned out to be two hours of work, I'd started to get a headache and really didn't want to do the necessary paperwork. However, I went ask Dr McCoy - who was in his office - if he wanted any help filling out the paperwork on the patients he didn't treat.

I carefully walked over to the open door and, leaning against the frame, asked: "Sir would you like me to file the paperwork on the patients I treated?"

He looked up from his desk and smiled for the first time that afternoon, "Actually, yes. That'd help…believe it or not."

I scowled and shot back with, "Sarcasm will only get you a dirty look and something thrown at you in future, even if you are the CMO."

I thought I'd be reprimanded for that but he just laughed and stated: "You're fiery, kid. I like that, what did you say your name was?"

"Lieutenant Karev, sir. Lieutenant Jack Karev." I replied nonchalantly, reaching for three of the five P.A. in front of him.

"Jack?" he asked raising an eyebrow quizzically.

"Yeah, Jack." I answered simply, sitting down in the chair opposite him. He raised his eyebrow again. I just shrugged in reply. He laughed again and this time it was my turn to raise an eyebrow:

"Sorry," he said "It's just we don't get many girls around here called Jack."

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

About halfway through the last one, an argument happening down the corridor caused Dr McCoy to look up from his reports looking irritated. I was, inevitably, curious so I got up and checked out exactly what was making all the noise; only to find the one thing I didn't want to. Walking towards me in an all black uniform was the Captain of the Enterprise, the infamous, James. T. Kirk. With him were a slightly disgruntled looking Vulcan- if Vulcans can look disgruntled- and another engineer who spoke in a very fast Scottish accent.

Luckily, they didn't notice me so I slipped back inside the Sickbay in the hope they weren't coming to talk to Dr McCoy. As the Sickbay doors closed behind me, he shouted from his office: "Something wrong Lieutenant?"

"No, sir I just thought I heard something from Ensign Peterson." I replied, taking my seat and restarting on the report. I thought I'd gotten away with my little excursion without any questions when, Sickbay doors open and the three arguing men walk in.

"Captain, to leave Space-dock before all the repairs are completely would be illogical."

"Cap'n I never thought ad say this but I agree with Mr Spock, we cannea leave before thev finished."

"Scotty, you said that we could complete the remaining repairs while out of Space-dock."

"I did Cap'n but it doesnae mean it's a good idea."

"Bones," the Captain walked into the office followed by the other two, "Do you have all the supplies and equipment you need on board?"

"Well, yes Jim, apart from all but one of my staff," he answered nodding to me. He leaned back on his chair, placing his final report on the desk with a flourish. I'd been sat there unsure what to do but now I do what is expected and stand up to a rather lax attention for the Captain.

All he said was "You can sit down Ensign."

"Lieutenant, sir." I mumbled in reply as I sit down, praying he wouldn't recognise my voice.

"Pardon?"

I swallowed and looked up into his face, "I'm a Lieutenant, sir."

"And a doctor, Jim." added Dr McCoy. I just put my head back down and tried to finish the report; however, no one seemed to want to let me do this.

"Lieutenant who?" I look up at the Captain again and silently curse Starfleet.

"Jack Karev sir," Luckily he didn't bat an eyelid, so if he had registered who I am he didn't let on.

"Stand up for me Lieutenant." I complied, mainly because I had no choice.

"Why is your uniform different to every other woman's on this ship?" he asked, making a scowl appear on my face.

"I've some severe scarring on the back of my legs from an incident a few years back. Admiral Archer said that as long as I stuck to the main dress code I could wear the trousers underneath the dress to cover them up. I think an attachment was sent to you today sir." I replied, using all my self-control to keep my voice level. I really wanted to tell him to fuck right off.

I turned to Dr McCoy, practically pleading with my eyes for him to give me an occupation that got me away from there.

Luckily he took the hint and said, "If you've finished the reports I'll check them over and if you'd be so kind as to go and check on Peterson…"

I nodded, "Not a problem sir,"

I turned back to the Captain and the two others, knowing what I was going to say next could have gotten me into a lot of trouble, "Does anyone here wish to sight any objections about me checking Ensigns Peterson's burns?"

The Captain stared at me for a moment and then frowned at my slight attitude but he let it slide since there was no one else there and it was my first day, "No, dismissed Lieutenant."

As I walked out of Dr McCoy's office, the door closed behind me but I could still hear their conversation: "That kid's got attitude."

"To be honest Jim, she could have all the attitude in the world, I don't care: she's a good doctor and to be honest she's not much of a kid, she's the same age as you are."

"Yes, Captain, what Dr McCoy says is true; the Lieutenant comes with the highest praise from most of her instructors."

"Yes, well that's not the point. That was insubordination and I can't allow that from anyone, even if they are a good doctor. There's something else as well, there's something about her that I don't like, I don't know what it is, why I don't; I just don't."

"Well Jim, that's pretty much what I expected from you," Doctor McCoy retorted, with a chuckles

"What does that mean?" the Captain asked sounding disgruntled.

"Well think about it, she talked back to you, that don't happen to you, from anybody except me and Spock."

"It's not just that Bones, I can't explain it, but there's something I don't like about that kid. I can say from experience that she's going to be trouble, and I don't like trouble unless I've caused it." I said exasperatedly.

"Well, Jim I like her. She's clever and she'll make my job a lot easier."

As I listened I check Peterson's arm and torso. Even though they seem to be healing with the demabration field there was some severe discolouration that Id never seen in a burns patient before. I grabbed a tricorder and see if there were any abnormal readings but nothing came up.

I turned around, walked over to the door and knocked and a shout of, "What is it kiddo?" greets me.

I walked in and handed him the tricorder saying: "Peterson's showing some severe discolouration, the tricorder's not showing any abnormal readings but it still doesn't look right to me sir, would you just take a look for me?"

"Yeah, sure." He got up and walked over to the bed, and looked closely at the discoloured skin on the Ensign. "It looks as if there is a small infection in the skin tissue which we'll need to treat, go and get a dermatology tricorder for me Lieutenant."

"Sir, I mean no disrespect in asking this," I started as I collected the tricorder "but for the love of God please don't keep calling me Lieutenant. I'm going to be here everyday and if you're going to call me by my rank for the next- however long I'm going to be here, I may lose my mind, so just call me Jack or Kiddo or whatever, just not Lieutenant."

"Lieutenant," a voice called from behind us, "Do you not think that, that is a little inappropriate?"

I turned around and met the Captain eyes defiantly, "Not really, we're doctors, since when have we ever followed the strict military rules?"

I shrugged, before continuing, "Plus, when we finally start working with full staff there'll be five Lieutenants working here, if he calls me Jack or Kiddo or his word of choice, that way he gets the doctor he wanted not four other nurses."

The Captain scowled at my logical argument, knowing full well I was right but not wanting to admit it. He could feel it too, I knew he could. That burning need to get everything out, he was fighting to understand why he felt like he knew me, why he felt uncomfortable around me, why he didn't like me- I suppose if I'm lucky he'll think I'm just another one night stand.

"All right kiddo," I turned back to face Dr McCoy, "But If I'm calling you that, you can call me Bones and we can say "fuck it" to regulations."

I sensed the Captain scowl even more and I grinned at Dr McCoy sheepishly. Okay, so maybe this might not be so bad…..