Disclaimer: Star Trek belongs to Paramount/CBS. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: I hadn't heard of such a thing as a '5+1' until I read one of Alpha Flyer's Avengers fics. So, that's where the idea for this initially came from. Thanks AF.
This was a really fun format to write in.
Many thanks to Delwin for the beta reading and constant encouragement that helped me get this done in record (for me) time.
Daniel Byrd was a stupid little petaQ.
Miss Malvin said not to use that word, but it was true, and telling lies was bad, too. That's what the stupid teacher had said when B'Elanna told her it was somebody else who'd smashed Daniel Byrd's clay model of Zefram Cochrane's Phoenix by throwing it out of the art room window after Daniel dropped red paint on B'Elanna's shoes and said it was bloodwine. She must always tell the truth.
Well, the truth was, Daniel Byrd was brainless. He copied all B'Elanna's answers in math class, but Miss Malvin was never looking when he did it, and when B'Elanna had tried to stop him by grabbing his PADD and deleting his entries, who had got in trouble for 'disturbing the lesson'? Not Daniel Byrd.
He looked … picture-perfect. He had bright blue eyes and shiny blond hair and a totally smooth forehead. The teachers all loved him because he sucked up to them (though he still called Miss Malvin a fat cow behind her back). Daniel Byrd was the captain of the junior soccer team, the winner of the class all-round achievement prize, and the kid that always made his parents proud.
Someone drew a targ on the playground in white chalk during recess. Except it wasn't really a targ because targs didn't have giant ridges on their foreheads. But this one did. It also had a "B" and a "T" scrawled on its back. Then it rained and the chalk washed away before any of the teachers could notice it. The next day when Miss Malvin started talking about Terran marine life and showed a picture of a sea turtle, Daniel Byrd started giggling and poked B'Elanna in the back with a ruler, whispering "Miss Turtlehead". Miss Malvin didn't hear him. But she heard all right when B'Elanna's chair scraped back on the floor as she turned around to thump him on the shoulder. Hard. The little petaQ cried until his face was red and his nose was snotty, and all the girls fussed over him because they all wanted him to pick them to go with to the end of year party.
B'Elanna got sent down to the Principal's office. Principal Brott – an unusually miserable Bolian - asked why B'Elanna was always picking on Daniel Byrd. B'Elanna said nothing. What was the point? Either Brott wouldn't believe her, or he would believe her and Daniel Byrd would get told off and then be even more horrible. Or Brott would tell her to just ignore the name calling, which she tried to do, but sometimes she got so mad she wanted to punch Daniel in the face and break his perfect nose and put black rings around those bright blue eyes. The Principal said if it happened again he was going to have to speak to her parents. Parents. B'Elanna didn't bother to tell him that he should be so lucky. She did wonder what her mother would do if she found out about the trouble.
As the only Klingon on Kessik IV, her mother didn't like to be the centre of any fuss. When she wasn't at work, she mostly stayed away from the other residents of the colony. She might be pleased that B'Elanna had stood up for herself. But, for that, B'Elanna would have to tell her mother the names that Daniel Byrd had been saying and about the rude pictures he'd been drawing. B'Elanna didn't want to repeat those words or think about the pictures. Her mother wouldn't understand anyway. She didn't know what it was like to be the only kid in the school who was different. The only kid who wasn't normal. At least winter was coming and B'Elanna would soon be able to wear her warm wool hat, which covered her forehead. Maybe she could ask to keep it on indoors. The heating in school was never turned up quite high enough and B'Elanna was always a little cold.
"Miss Turtlehead" was a name that stuck. B'Elanna had hoped that, after a weekend away from the school, Daniel might forget about it. But, no. It even caught on with some of the other kids, and those that didn't say it wouldn't do anything to stop the rest. The whispering and giggling was even worse than the outright shouting. "We're not talking about you," some of the less brazen kids would insist when B'Elanna looked as if she was going to turn on them, staring fiercely with her fists clenched.
Miss Malvin was thrilled when Daniel kept putting his hand up to ask more questions about turtles. He was keen to know everything about them: what they ate, what ate them, and if there were turtles anywhere apart from on Earth. Like Vulcan. Or Qo'noS, maybe? Miss Malvin was clueless to the laughing that followed. B'Elanna wanted to shrink to the size of a Rafalian mouse and run out of the door. Or turn invisible. Perhaps she could build a personal cloaking device to hide while she plotted to get her revenge.
Daniel Byrd always got first chance on the gyro-swing at recess. B'Elanna didn't care about that. Swings were for babies, not nine year olds. But she did find it interesting to watch how the swing worked. How the parts fitted together, and how, with a few stem bolts removed, the swing could be taken apart. The centrifugal governor was the most important piece of the mechanism. Without it, the swing would rotate too fast and cause serious injuries. The forces would put so much strain on the body that muscles and joints would tear apart. Daniel Byrd wouldn't know that. He wouldn't even notice if the governor was disengaged. The little taHqeq probably couldn't even spell the words.
B'Elanna could get to the swing first when the bell rang to let the kids out to play. Daniel Byrd was fast, but B'Elanna was even faster – when she wanted to be. And, with a few quick adjustments with the hydrospanner she'd pocketed from the workshop, the centrifugal governor would be uncoupled before Daniel could get near enough to see what she was up to. When he got to the swing, she would jump off without a word, letting him think he'd got his way. As usual.
And she would stand off to the side.