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Jim had rushed up to Lacey moments after she exited the old admirals office. Once she saw his blue eyes, alight with excitement and mischief, she thought back to her meeting with the old admiral. She remembered him telling her that what he told her about the Kobayashi Maru test was not to be shared with Jim or any other cadet going the commander way at the Academy. Also, she realized that she still didn't ask what the old admiral's name was.
"So Lace, what's the verdict," Jim said eagerly, "I heard from one of the members from your mock crew that you abandoned the Kobayashi Maru."
"The verdict is true, though I bet it was said scathingly or mockingly, like I had done something bad," Lacey said with a slight scoff, "I failed the test like the numerous other cadets before me. I stand by my decision nonetheless."
Jim shook his head, "Why?"
"Why I decided not to use guerilla warfare and play the role of overzealous hero?" Lacey asked. Jim nodded and Lacey continued, "Because I'm not you, Jim, I don't have the balls."
Jim gave her an amused look. Lacey stuck her tongue out at him.
"And that's why," Lacey started with a deep sigh, "That's why I am fully behind you retaking the simulation, if you decide you want to."
Jim's aloof cheerfulness faded and he gave her a serious look he didn't normally see, "What do you mean Lacey?"
"What I mean is," Lacey said trying to formulate her words clearly, "Jim, the admiral told me something that made me realize: you are a born leader."
"Yes I know thank you," Jim said with a cocky smirk.
"Your cute but shut up, I'm trying to be nice," Lacey said with an eye roll, "No I mean Jim, you are a leader. When you talk people listen. And you've been down in the dump, don't deny it, because you can't pass this damn simulation. The stupid Kobayashi Maru test, that no one else can. I know why it means so much to you. I understand. It's one part arrogance two parts living up to some imagined expectations from a dead parent."
"I tried to be commander, but I'm not selfless," Lacey said with a small smile, "If that simulation was real life, I would probably have a panic attack and puke on the floor of the ship. The only reason I did well was because I was purely and utterly annoyed."
"But Jim, you took the damn thing two times, people stop at the first time. You want to prove something and even though I think it's not logical, to hell with logic. I think it's admirable."
Jim just stared at Lacey. This girl was five foot two inches, had curly blonde hair and was the epitome of fragile and there she was standing there in front of him, slightly pink in the face and bright eyed. Even Bones said he shouldn't take the test and that it didn't matter. But Lacey got it and that made Jim smile. He never really cared if he passed or failed, he just wanted to make his name known. And if it had to be as the person who took the Kobayashi Maru until he knew that test inside and out, so be it. But now Jim was going to pass that damn simulation.
Lacey sat on Jim's bed in his dorm room. She was reclining on Jim's back reading her PADD, as he laid on his stomach reading some reviews, from his own PADD resting on his pillow, from other Kobayashi Maru simulations cadet graduates trying to eliminate different scenarios so that he could succeed in the end.
Lacey looked away from the PADD that she held above her head putting it on her stomach to give her arms a break. She stared at the back of Jim's head as he poured through old reports. She smiled slightly, he was going to do what no other cadet had done. She knew he'd find a way to pass. Eliminating variables was a way to do it.
Lacey turned back to her PADD touching the screen so that she was reading the medical reports her father had taken while on the USS Kelvin.
It was a kind of nostalgia for her.
She read it when she wanted to talk with her father and now after taking the Kobayashi Maru test and being told she had potential to be a captain, she would have wanted to talk to someone about it. For a moment she thought about calling her mom to ask her about it but she was probably busy off planet somewhere. Or off with a new boyfriend.
Her mother had become quite the player, having an almost Jim-like reputation, after her father died. Merriam Archer left her only daughter with a nanny for her formative and teenage years until she decided to go the way of her father and join Star Fleet. Lacey stared up at her PADD seeing the words she had already memorized.
She sat up and moved her body so her head was lying next to Jim's PADD so that her head and the inanimate object were sharing his pillow.
Jim looked away from his own PADD to look at Lacey. Her eyebrows were furrowed and her face was scrunched in concentration.
"What's up Lace?" Jim asked.
"That old fart of an admiral told me I had potential to be captain," Lacey said, "Or at least part of the command."
"Really?" Jim said, "Good or bad?"
"That's the thing, Jim," Lacey sighed, "I don't know. I mean, I signed up to be part of medical, to be a nurse and I don't mind it. I mean I've been doing it for two years and it's starting to grow on me but what if I'm not reaching my potential?"
"What do you mean?" Jim asked his own eyebrows furrowing in confusion.
"I mean I signed up for Star Fleet to be a nurse," Lacey said with a pause, "To be a nurse, for my father. I mean everyone always tells me my father could save any life in front of him, and I just wish I could be that good. At least give him something to be proud of. But now I'm being told, I'm a good captain. And I'm just wondering if maybe in some other alternate universe I was a captain, and a damn good one, but I'll never know unless I take the plunge."
Jim looked at her, "Once a wise person told me that I was a natural born leader. Now my question to you is: do you think you are?"
"Um, maybe?' Lacey said uncertainly.
"And that's exactly how I know you aren't," Jim said, "Not to be an ass or anything, but you would know if that was what you want."
"But Jim, I don't know what I want," Lacey said sitting up and putting her head in her hands, "I told the man I'm not selfless, I have a lot of fears and I can't just go into things on instinct."
Jim just nodded.
"I'm not good at giving people orders, I take them, I like helping people and I mean I follow you with every stupid thing you do," Lacey said.
"I take offense to that, nothing I do is ever stupid," Jim started but Lacey didn't notice.
"Oh my gosh," Lacey said, "I am so over thinking this, I can't be a captain. It's like I said before, panic attack and puke."
She started poking Jim on the shoulder excitedly, "You helped me."
"Helped you figure out what you already knew," Jim muttered.
"But you helped me anyway," Lacey said.
She clapped excitedly, "I must be getting my period soon, I'm over analyzing everything, this is not okay."
Jim looked scandalized but then smiled slightly when Lacey attacked him with a hug, "Thank you Jim."
"For helping you figure out what you already knew?" Jim asked.
"No, well yes, thank you for helping me, talking with me and just being my best friend," Lacey said squeezing him.
Leonard walked into their dorm looked at Lacey hugging Jim and scowled, "No fornicating, I'm here now."
Jim let go of Lacey and went back to his PADD.
"Hey Leonard," Lacey said with a wave from her spot next to Jim.
"Hey," Leonard greeted looking at Lacey and Jim's position.
He smirked slightly. It was probably the first time Jim had ever been on a bed with a girl without making a move, but then again it was Lacey. Jim's biggest secret. The smirk on Leonard's face grew, this would be fun.
"So, Lace," Leonard said raising an eyebrow, "How are you?"
"Oh I'm great," Lacey said excitedly, "I don't want to be a captain."
Leonard just stared at her then recovered quickly, "That's great, if your ever in doubt again I can have you as my assistant again, you looked like you were having fun with that."
"Yeah, it was great," Lacey said with a smile standing up.
"It was definitely the best surgery," Leonard said with a snort, "You're probably the only competent nurse, but I could be biased. And probably the prettiest."
Lacey froze and blushed a soft pink. Jim's head perked up and he glared at Leonard.
"If you ever need any help, or someone to talk to, I'm here," Leonard said raising his eyebrows to send her a message that he was teasing.
Lacey relaxed with a smile while Jim tensed, "Well thanks Leo. I have to go Jim, I'm meeting Annie to study."
"Bye Lace," Jim said still glaring at Leonard.
"See ya," Leonard said meeting Jim's gaze.
As soon as Lacey closed the dorm door behind her Jim said in outrage, "What the hell Bones?"