A Cross Between Dragonsinger, Fame, and Star Trek

Another scene for the Patreon story, which really needs a name at this point. I think it’s turning into sort of a cross between Dragonsinger, Fame, and Star Trek. I can live with that. 🙂

Now, more tea. Or maybe juice. So many good choices.


The rest of the class went by in a blur; Selah felt like she was only catching half of what the professor had said, unfamiliar technical vocabulary flying over her head. She’d set her tablet to record early on, and just hoped she’d have enough time to listen to the lecture again and look up all the words she didn’t know – but he’d already assigned thirty pages of reading and they were supposed to have an original composition ready for critique by the end of the week, and she still didn’t even know where her next class was, or what her next class was – everyone else was getting up and heading out the door, but Selah just sat in her seat and tried not to cry.

“Hey, old Marwenn was pretty rough on you, hitting you a question right when you walked in.” It was the young man sitting next to her, peering somewhat anxiously at her face through thick glasses. Selah couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen someone wearing glasses – why hadn’t he had his eyes corrected? It’d be rude to ask, though. “Marwenn’s old school, Earth-trained, and hates it when people are late – you really should try to get here on time.”

Selah said, shakily, “I got the day wrong – I thought classes didn’t start ‘til tomorrow. I don’t know where I’m supposed to go next.” Her lower lip was trembling, like a little kid’s, but Selah was not going to break down right now, she just wasn’t. She refused.

His face scrunched up in pity. It was a nice face – not exactly handsome, but with a kind look to it. And the thickest golden lashes she’d ever seen on a human. He took her tablet in his hand and tapped it confidently.

“Well, here, let me take a look. See – the schedule’s always up here, top right corner. Looks like you have a pretty full day, and tomorrow too; honestly, you’ve kind of overloaded your classes. You’ve got dance, voice, painting, sculpture, intro to fiction, Varisian literature, and a settlement history class? Are you trying to do all of college in one semester?”

Selah flushed. “I just didn’t want to miss anything…” Her parents had wanted to review her schedule, but she’d managed to dodge them; maybe that had been a mistake.

He raised a thick golden eyebrow. “Heh. Well, my advice is that you go to everything today and tomorrow, and then pick two of these to drop. You’ll never make it otherwise. And I’ll walk you over to the dance building; I’m going there next too.” He rose to his feet, and she followed.

“Thank you. I’m Selah, by the way.” She smiled – her first smile of the day, it felt like. “You’re really nice.”

“All part of the service, milady,” he said, sweeping her a grand bow that made her laugh in surprise. He straightened again, saying, “Joethe al Passat et Cairn clan Karid, etc. and so on, at your service, please just call me Joe. Hereditary royalty isn’t good for much, but it does mean we’re trained from birth to service. If I can make the life of a humble citizen a little brighter, I have justified a tiny portion of the ridiculous amount of funds my family levies in taxes. Really, you’re doing me a favor.”

Selah was bewildered. “You’re royalty? Kriti has royalty?” She didn’t remember that from any of the university materials she’d reviewed. Although now that she looked at him more closely, she realized that although he was dressed in student blue, the fabric was definitely not standard government-issue cotton; it had a subtle sheen and shimmer to it, and the cuffs and buttonholes were picked out in intricate silver thread.

Joe shook his head. “Oh, no. Kriti is strictly democratic, they have this whole representative zamindar system; it’s really quite interesting. No, my great-greats colonized a marginally habitable planet in the first wave out from Old Earth, and have ruled it with an iron fist ever since. It’s all terribly tedious, but if you really want to know, I’ll tell you all about it on the way to class – but we’d better get going, or you’re going to be late, again.”

He was smiling, and she had to smile with him, even though Selah’s heart seemed to be dropping into the bottom of her chest. Dance was next. Her nemesis. The question was, would she survive it, or would this be her last class, before being shipped back to her ship in disgrace?


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