[ussbansheec] Scholarly Ambitions
- From: Andy Maluhia <CaptainAndy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- To: ussbansheec@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2006 20:22:11 -0400
_by JT, Ellison, & Kawee Swiftwind; Andy Maluhia, Gunny Jervis and one
really crusty sergeant major
***takes place about sixteen years before current time
JT had never made it a habit to label his children like he'd seen so
many others do. There was no 'this is the smart one', that one's the
quiet one', or anything similar. That aside, he knew each of the six
well enough to know when something was wrong. His middle son was
generally a very upbeat young man, occasionally to the point that it
annoyed his siblings. It was very unlike him to sulk or even be in a
bad mood unless, of course, it had to do with school. So he had a
fairly good idea of what was on the boy's mind when he walked into the
living room to find him slumped back on the sofa.
"What's with the thundercloud face, Elli?" he asked casually as he
settled a hand on the boy's shoulder.
"I'm havin' trouble with this assignment from school." Ellison's face
warmed with embarrassment as he admitted, "I've been trying to read the
background stuff so I can get what I'm supposed to do but you know how
that usually goes."
JT eased himself into the spot next to his son as he picked up the study
PADD. He read that over quickly then nodded to himself. He understood
why it was giving the boy trouble. He and Kawee knew he had a small
learning problem but he usually overcame it with a little help from them
or his younger brother. This assignment, though, was a bit more than
geometry or history. The frown on JT's face about matched Ellison's
until an idea occurred to him. "I have an idea for you, son," he began.
"What's that?" Ellison asked, not quite lightening his expression or
"Now, it'd still involve research but I know you'd have an easier time
of it if it was verbal and if you took notes," JT told him.
Ellison bit back the unusually tart response of 'no kidding'. He was
rarely disrespectful and Pap was only trying to help the slow one.
"What do you mean?" he asked, straightening up just slightly.
"The assignment's to do an overview of a different culture, right?
History, religion, and all that and compared to your own, right?"
"So, it'd be easier for you to ask somebody the questions rather that
read about it, wouldn't it? Then you could write up your report
afterwards from what you recall and from notes you take. You have no
problem writing things down," JT told him.
Ellison thought it over. That was true. He had no problem assimilating
information he heard nor did he have a problem writing anything.
Research like that was no problem. It was just the intake from reading
that never got through very quickly. "Well, yeah, sure but I can't do
that here on the res. That's too easy. It's not right."
"Of course not," JT chuckled. "It isn't playing fair but it so happens
that I know where there's a treasure trove of different cultures to be
had. What do you say I take you to the base with me and you can try to
interview one of the Marines? On your own that is because I'm not
askin' anyone for you."
A slow smile spread across the younger Swiftwind's face. Not only were
there Human Marines there from different cultures, there were different
species Marines, too! Ha! "That'd be perfect, Papa! Thanks!" he
exclaimed as he gave his father a one armed hug.
"No problem, Elli, but go get dressed and ready while I tell your
mother." He had to laugh out loud as his son fairly shot off the sofa
and bounded toward the stairs. He'd long ago given up about running in
the house. It was useless to complain about loud footsteps when there
were six children and three of them were particularly big boys.
<>His father set him loose on the base with the precaution of 'don't
bust your head or your mother will kill me', which made Ellison
chuckle. If only these Marines knew just who really ran the house.
He'd been around Marines all his life and, as he walked around the
non-secure areas of the base, quite a few of them stopped to wave or
chat. One of those was a particularly grizzled looking drill sergeant
with a deceptively kind smile.
"You're one of the colonel's boy's, aren't ya?" the man asked, his eyes
narrowing in speculation as he peered up at Ellison. "The middle
one...Ellman or Ellton or something?"
"Yes, Sergeant Major, but it's Ellison."
The old man gave a satisfied grin. Polite for a civvie kid. The
colonel raised his kids right. They knew enough to address a DI by his
proper title and not 'sir'. That was for them that didn't work for a
living. "I knew it! You look a lot like him and he's always going on
about you kids, always saying how proud he is. Feel like I know you all
Before Ellison could even think about broaching the subject of his
research, the sergeant major shouted toward a platoon trotting by. "You
call that double time?! I'm an old fart and I can move faster than
that. Let's see ya beat an old man," he shouted as he ran after them.
Ellison let out a sigh as he kept walking. "Yeah, proud of Noni and
Mahkah because they're going places and doing things. Hell, Yaya's even
on the police academy top ten..." he muttered aloud, scuffing the ground
with the tips of his shoes as he walked. "Just not the dimwit of the
bunch. Too much effort involved to be proud of me."
"I don't know about that, kiddo," came a somewhat familiar voice as a
large hand settled onto his shoulder.
Ellison nearly jumped out of his skin but bit back the remark he was
going to make when he realized who the speaker was. "Hey, Lieutenant
Maluhia, how are you, sir? Papa didn't say you were on base."
"He didn't know til just now. I had to check in before I take my few
days leave," Andy explained.
"That's cool. Papa's always saying how leave at home's the best kind,"
the young man said with a shrug.
"Especially on Kauai," Andy agreed. He nudged the younger man with an
elbow. "So what's with the doom and gloom, Elli? I don't recall you as
that sort. Then again, I also don't recall you being taller than me
Ellison opened his mouth to answer then snapped it shut. "Ah, it's
nothing," he finally admitted. He liked the lieutenant. The man was
outrageously friendly and never treated any of them like they were
satellites of their father that needed to be sucked up to. "The
sergeant major back there was saying how my papa goes on about us kids,
how proud he is of us..."
"What's the problem with that? My father does the same thing," Andy
chuckled. "You're a good kid--polite, respectful. What's not to be
"You left out the thicker than mud bit and that I cause more effort than
the other five put together," Ellison said with a snort as he tapped his
temple with one finger. "A genius I am not."
"So what? So you're not a book learner. There's other ways to be
bright, kid," Andy said with a touch more sobriety. "Wasn't it you that
got Major Franklin all in a twist by saying he had the mortar angle
wrong? Just by looking at the thing for a few seconds?"
"But that was just common sense and good eyesight. Nothing special."
"Are you kidding?" Andy laughed. "Most Marines need the computers to
aim those things accurately yet you did it just through simple
observation. Franklin made you do it against one of the corporals and
you hit the target every time. Oh yeah, your dad told me the whole
thing." The large hand clapped Ellison on the shoulder as Andy laughed
yet again. "I forget why I called but he was still snorting over the
whole thing and saying how you could outdo the whole civil engineering
division with your hands tied behind your back."
Ellison felt his face flush with pleasure and humility. Papa had been
pretty impressed that day. He even told Nameseme about it and the old
man practically beamed saying 'Now I got another hand to bring into the
company'. "You think so? Even if I don't do so hot in school?" He
didn't wait for Andy to answer as an idea came to his mind. Well,
alright he's Human but he's definitely a different culture...
"Lieutenant, I know you're going home and all but do you mind me being a
pest and getting you to help with why I'm here?"
"Talk to me, Elli. What have you got?" Andy asked. By the time Ellison
was doe explaining, the smile was in full gear. "Oh, I have a /great/
idea, kid, but it requires permission from your parents."
"What's that?" Ellison asked, finally thinking that the project had some
hope after all.
"I taker you home with me and you'll get more information than you could
ever want. Maluhias love talking about home and family," Andy said
"I can't do that to you," Ellison protested. "You're supposed to be on
leave and not worrying about things like my school assignments. I'll
figure it out."
"Nonsense. It's all in good fun, Ellison. You'll see. C'mon, let's go
ask your dad," Andy replied.
"You're sure?" Ellison asked skeptically.
"Very. If I can get away with it, the cousins and I will teach you
Even if his parents said 'no', Ellison wasn't about to waste a decent
opportunity. As they walked back to his father's office, he peppered
Andy with questions, all of which the big man answered and answered
Gunny Jervis almost smiled when she saw the colonel's son walk in. Nice
kid, even if he was a bit more hyper than any decent Marine should be.
Good thing, she told herself, he isn't a Marine. She nodded to the
lieutenant with him, too. Maluhia was one of the colonel's favorites
but she was somewhat curious what the man was doing back there when he'd
just left. After the lieutenant dismissed her salute, she asked, "Was
there a problem with the leave slip, sir?"
"No, Gunny, not at all. I'm here with my young friend here," Andy said
"Is my dad busy, Gunny?" Ellison asked.
"There's nobody in there with him but that doesn't mean anything. Hold
on a second and I'll check," Jervis told him as warmly as she could as
she began tapping in a text message.
A few seconds later, the door to the inner office opened and JT stuck
his head out. "Hey, come on in, Elli. You, too, Andy." He retreated
to sit on the edge of the desk, breathing deeply to pull in the scent of
sage and sweet grass that burned on the other edge."What brings you back
"Well..." Ellison began. He hesitated for a moment then went forward,
being as detailed and calm as possible with his request. Andy filled in
certain spots when it was necessary and Ellison ended with, "So what do
you think, Papa? Can I?"
"If I say yes without telling your mother, she'll kill me, Elli," JT
said with a snort.
"Can you ask her, sir? Please?" Ellison asked again. He adored his
mother but she was, in his opinion, just a bit too cautious sometimes.
"I'll even talk to her if you want, Colonel," Andy offered. "You've got
every guarantee I can make that you'll get him back in one piece."
He moved to sit behind his desk, bringing up the comm screen. "If she
says no, I'm not arguing, alright?" Ellison nodded but JT could tell how
hopeful the boy was. He didn't blame him one bit. He smiled brightly
when Kawee came up on the screen. "Hey, beautiful swan lady, miss me?"
"Every moment," Kawee said with a bright smile.
"I'll be home in a bit but Elli's got a possibility of finishing a
school assignment. You know, the research one?" he asked carefully.
Kawee beamed even brighter as she nodded. "You found someone to help him!"
JT beckoned his son over and gave the chair over to him. "No, he found
the help himself because I told I wouldn't do it for 'im."
"The thing is, Mama, part of the help includes a stay over on Kauai,
where Lieutenant Maluhia lives. He said he'd teach me all about
Hawaiians." Ellison was half holding his breath, waiting to hear what
she'd say. Except for staying over at their grandparents' or cousins'
homes, he'd never stayed overnight anywhere.
Tilting her head to the side, Kawee nodded slowly. "Alright but there's
"What's that?" JT and Ellison asked at the same time.
"He comes here for a night, so I can meet him," Kawee told them both
firmly. "I want to make sure the man taking care of my boy is sound."
"Andy?" JT asked as he looked over at the other Marine.
Andy shrugged. It was only one night and he had ten days. "Yeah, sure,
why not? Don't think I've ever been out that part of the continent."
"Good," Kawee nodded again. "So long as you are trustworthy enough,
Ellison can stay with you."
He'd been in charge of training hundreds, if not thousands, of Marines
and sent them off to the wide galaxy. It was quite an honor and
responsibility yet living up to the expectation of his colonel's wife
seemed to be on an equal footing. "I have more cousins than you can
shake a stick and I'm the oldest of them but I understand, Mrs.
Swiftwind. I'm looking forward to this."
"Thanks, Mama," Ellison said happily, grinning his father's grin.
"As if I could say no to that smile," Kawee chuckled. "Now, since we
have company, I have to make up the guest room and make sure we have
enough for dinner. Is there anything you don't eat, Andy?"
"No, ma'am. I'll eat anything that's dead," he chuckled. "I tried
Klingon food once but that's just wrong."
"No Klingon here," Kawee said with a wink. "Though, our youngest might
bag us something from the hunt."
JT nodded. Hakan had gone off hunting with his brother and cousins
earlier in the day. "That ought to be interesting. Alright then, let's
get going, gentleman. Oklahoma awaits."
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