Ensign Taylitha Basil, a brown-furred Karaka'An, looked up from her data tablet and into the eyes of her agitated bunkmate as he skidded through the door. She didn't usually room with only one other person, but accommodations on the Quickwater Reserve were more spacious than their four-person suite on the UAV Nightslip.
"What's wrong?" she asked, felid ears perked. She set her tablet aside.
"It's Kairell. She's brawling again."
Taylitha covered her eyes with her hands. "Again? I thought she'd had the fear of the lieutenant drummed into her after yesterday's incident."
"Yeah, well, the lieutenant hasn't shown up yet and the new folk started it--"
"--started it, or inspired it?" Taylitha asked, sliding off her bunk and joining Johnnigan.
He blushed bright pink beneath red freckles. "You know how Kairell is."
"Yes, I do," Taylitha said, tail lashing. "Lead the way."
Johnnigan turned and scampered back the way he came with Taylitha on his heels. She wasn't sure why she was bothering to break up Kairell's fights on the reserve. On the ship it made sense: a scout wasn't very big, and one belligerent ensign made everyone's life a misery. But on the reserve they were only one group of many, with plenty of room to avoid the clamor of a fight. Maybe pride? Ensigns always got dropped for team-building exercises at the same time as their captains . . . though their captains would be gone for months and the ensigns only for a week before returning shipboard to help with the refits. Personnel thought mixing the ensigns together for exercises would help introduce them to their 'class,' the people who would share their ranks as the years wound on.
Or at least, that was how it was supposed to work, Taylitha thought with resignation as she stepped into the yard in front of their building. People like Kairell would probably not be accompanying her yearmates up the ladder.
"Who are the new drops?" Taylitha asked Johnnigan as they approached.