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Once Upon a Time

Posted on Tue Sep 3rd, 2019 @ 6:17pm by Lieutenant Lilith Sullivan

Mission: For Whom The Bell Tolls
Location: Earth
Timeline: 2381

Stanford University
Palo Alto, California, Earth
September 2381

A cool breeze drifted across the campus of Stanford University on a picturesque late afternoon. The sun was just beginning to descend towards the horizon; the light twirled and danced through the canopies of the surrounding trees as another block of classes came to an end. Conversation and laughter soon filled the air as the students and faculty alike began to filter out of the lecture halls and out onto the main quad. Fall semester was just a few weeks old, but the newly introduced undergraduate students were already settling into a routine.

"Hey Sullivan, wait up for a second!"

Walking in a group of first year students, Lilith Sullivan turned in search of the voice that had called out her name. She peeked out from under the hood of her jacket, taking one ear bud out and allowing it to dangle casually by its wire.

"Lilith! Over here!"

"Oh, hey Luke!" Sullivan waved at the approaching figure. "Sorry, I was listening to a little bit of music - I couldn't figure out who was yelling at me. I'm having the worst time remembering names."

"Yeah, you're preaching to the choir on that one."

"I know, right? Seems like the default greeting these days is 'hello person with the face that I've seen in class somewhere, nice to meet you again'," Lilith cracked a smile. "How have classes been going for you?"

"Fine," he shrugged. "Like, it's too easy right now. I think they're lulling us into a false sense of security and starting next year it's gonna be like BAM! Here's the real s---."

"Oh god, you're probably right but hey, just enjoy the moment will ya? It's beautiful outside today! No homework, no worries," she reached up and gave ruffled her much taller friend's hair.

"Knock it off!"

"You're my best friend, so make me!" Lily nudged her friend in the side before taking off at a full sprint across the quad. A friendly chase ensued, but her long, graceful stride seemed to always keep her one step ahead in the pursuit. Mid sprint, she spotted a familiar face seated on a bench so she ran over to him and plopped herself down next to him.

"Oh god," the figure rolled his eyes, "Lilith, what sort of trouble are you getting yourself into now?"

"Hey now Jon, that's no way to talk to your sister - I missed you too," she hugged her older brother, laughing as Luke finally caught up to her, clearly out of breath.

"And who is this?" The elder Sullivan sibling looked over the approaching figure with an arched eyebrow.

"Oh, that's my best friend Luke. You'll have to forgive him for being out of breath - he just got his ass dusted in a race," Lily giggled. "Luke, this is Jon. He's a senior in business management, and my favorite older brother to annoy."

"Nice to meet you, Luke," Jon rolled his eyes at his sister.


The trio exchanged a few pleasantries in the mid-afternoon sun. Slowly, Luke caught his breath while Lilith impatiently drummed her fingers against her arm. Her eyes were darting around, taking in her surroundings.

"Alright big bro, gotta run," Lilith sprang to her feet. "Lots of parties to attend, beers to drink, questionable substances to inhale - you know the drill. It's Friday!"

"Lilith Evelyn!" a chastising tone called out as both freshmen began to walk away. "Don't be dumb. And call your mom, she wants to talk to you about your birthday."

"Yeah, yeah, got it. See you around brotato chip," Lily waved before turning around. "Love you."

For the youngest Sullivan, classes for the day were over. It was shaping up to be a homework free weekend, and the night was just getting started.

"What are your plans tonight Luke? Going to the game? Got a hot date?" Lily queried.

"No, nothing like that. I think me and some of the boys are going to get together, hang out, and play some games. Maybe order a pizza or something, you know, just keep it low key."

"Oh man, pizza? Games? Can I come?"

"Uh what?" Luke stuttered. "I thought you mentioned at lunch that you were going to go to that party down on the beach."

"Yeah, I probably did, but I went to Jen's last party at her parent's beach house. You know all the hypotheticals that your parents tell you about growing up? Avoid this and that - do this, not that - blah, blah, blah... well, most of the stuff on the avoid list is found in copious amounts at her parties," Sullivan pursed her lips and shook her head. "I think I'd better skip it. Plus, I can meet some of your engineering friends. I'm thinking about majoring in mechanical or electrical, you know."

A moment passed in silence as the two friends continued to walk towards their dormitory. Lilith pulled her hood down and shook her hair out in the breeze, taking a moment to casually tie it back in a messy bun. Despite the scatterbrained appearance and mannerisms, her abilities as a student had earned her a place at a prestigious university close to home.

Recently, there had been a new development in the form of repeated calls from a rather persistent Starfleet recruiter.

She still sent those to voicemail.



"Are you going to invite me to hang out? Or am I going to sit in my room alone tonight and read by myself?"

"Oh, sorry, Lily. I thought you were joking," Luke shrugged. "Yeah, we could use an extra player for some of our games. And I know you'll help with the pizza."

"Hell yeah I will!" Sullivan pumped her fist in celebration. "I'm a good friend to have, you know. My parents have a house on the coast in Half Moon Bay. It's next to an old airfield that they used to fly airplanes out of a few centuries ago. A lot of the stuff is preserved in museums there, it's an interesting place to visit."

"I've heard about that, yeah! Well, maybe we can go visit sometime."

"Well, about that, my birthday is next weekend, you should come. If your friends are chill, bring them too. Jon's bark is way worse than his bite, I promise - and my parents are over the moon anytime I bring friends to visit. I think they think I'm a loner or something."

"Well, are you?"

"Maybe, I don't know," Lily shrugged, mulling over the question. "Maybe I am. Or maybe I'm just picky about who I associate with. I do think I'd be really cute as a cat lady living in the woods in a cabin with like thirty cats though. I could totally rock that look, don't cha think?"

"My cat allergies are acting up from here."

The two freshman shared a laugh as they entered through the doors of their dormitory. As usual, the common room was a hub of activity. There was a group of students gathered on the couch watching a movie while others had drawn up a full, elimination-style bracket for a tri-dimensional chess tournament. A low groan involuntary bridged the gap between Lily's thought and reality as she watched another freshman heat up a frozen meal in a microwave.

"I swear Luke, if I ever catch you reheating something frozen, I will find you. I know where you live. You know where I live. If it gets that desperate, I will cook for you, I promise. Remember, friends don't let friends..."

"...microwave or replicate, yeah, yeah, I got it Lilith. Trust me, I even think twice about microwaving popcorn if I know you're around."

"Smart boy," Lily smiled as she began to clamber up the stairs. "I'm just going to drop my stuff off in my room, then I'll be by, okay?"

"Alright Lil', see ya in a bit."

Sullivan hugged him before walking down the hallway to her room. The biometric security measures confirmed her identity, and the door cracked open as she approached. Oh good, at least the roomie doesn't have any company over, she thought to herself. Her backpack made a lazy thump as she tossed it on her bed before she fell backwards onto her comforter herself. A few minutes ticked by before she gathered the energy to hop back to her feet and make her way slowly to Luke's room.

In a burst of old world sensibility, she skipped the biometrics and simply knocked on Luke's door to signal her presence. He seemed confused when the door opened, but it quickly gave way to a smile.

"Sup nerds, I heard a rumor that there was pizza and games," Lily deadpanned before taking a few steps in the door. She looked around the room over the edge of a pair of cheap, plastic sunglasses before reaching into her inside jacket pocket. Luke's friends stared slack-jawed, clearly not expecting another visitor.

"Alright, who's got next?" she questioned with a grin, withdrawing her personal game controller from her jacket as she reached over and synced to Luke's console. Her profile name flashed on the screen, sending a look of realization echoing through the room.

"No f---ing s---," one of Luke's friends broke the silence. "You're telling me that you're BeanieWeenees? Dude, I've been trying to beat your high scores for months."

"Step your s--- up son, this is the big leagues now," Lily grinned from behind her sunglasses. "Let's go. Loser buys pizza."

Lilith Sullivan


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Comments (2)

By Lieutenant Commander Angus Murphy on Thu Sep 5th, 2019 @ 9:05am

Great challenge post, I enjoyed reading it!

Only part is that I wonder if they will actually still have wired headphones in the 2300's! I hope not....


By Lieutenant Lilith Sullivan on Thu Sep 5th, 2019 @ 2:51pm

I bet they will! In a similar vein to how vinyl is back in style. Plus, wired earbuds are harder to lose than wireless, ask me how I know.