Graduation at the Naval Academy of Interstellar Peace is always an exiting thing. Each person is assigned a rank and a ship for the first time, awards are given, and there is a dramatic reversal of funds. Instead of pouring money into the university, I would now be getting paid for going to the university. Granted, a certain percent would be taken out of my pay for the first year or so, but it was worth it.
To make things go faster, the people who were getting different ranks got different ceremonies. I, somehow, had made it into the “main bridge crew” group. I scanned the group for familiar faces, but didn’t see any. In a way, I was glad. Considering only five people in this group went to the same ship, chances of my being assigned to the same ship as my friends were better if they weren’t here. At the back of the group were family and close friends; no familiar faces there, either. I was very glad about that. My parents had died long ago, and the only family I had was one brother. His reputation wasn’t the greatest, to say the least.
Suddenly I heard my name.
“Mary-Ann Velose and Ariyah Rimana have been assigned to the ship Golden Algae,” the man announced. There was the usual clapping as I stepped forward along with another woman. She looked at me, smiling in a disturbing way. “Congratulations to you both. Now, hold out your hands.” We held out our hands and shaped them into fists. “Now, you know the rules, whoever wins becomes captain.”
Oh, joy, I thought. I could become captain of a ship named Golden Algae. I was planning on loosing to Rimana on purpose when her eyes locked onto mine. There was a determination to win there like I had never seen before. Her green eyes glowed. Suddenly I decided not to loose.
“Rock. Paper. Scissors. Shoot.”
We both landed on rock. Her eyes narrowed; so did mine.
“Rock, paper, scissors, shoot.”
We both landed on scissors. After eight more ties the man stopped.
“Ladies, you have set a new record. Never before has anyone tied so long at this game. I will give you three more tries, and if it is still a tie you will be given a written test. Do you understand?” We both nodded. “Rock. Paper. Scissors. Shoot.”
Rimana landed on rock. I landed on paper. I grinned at her. She tilted her head, dropping her hands to her side.
“Congratulations, Captain,” she said softly, her voice as smooth as silk. It made me want to shiver.
“Congratulations, Captain Velose,” the man announced to the world in general. He handed me a diploma, Rimana a diploma, and sent us back to our seats. The other three people in the room assigned to the Golden Algae were announced; Commander Luke Carter, Commander Kirotha’atay Mahershalalhashbaz, and Commander Paulo Batnter.