When Jim boarded that shuttle in Riverside, the first thing he noticed were the people from the bar last night, including the stunning xenolinguist without a first name. The second was the man occupying the seat next to him. He was old. Like at least 50 kind of old. Jim thought he might have been an instructor or officer , but the lack of uniform and a beard that couldn’t possibly be regulation made him a little suspicious of his presence on the shuttle.
Turns out Jim was right to questions who the man was. The old man was David McCoy, he was 54 and recently lost his wife to cancer and his son to his final year of med school. Like Jim, he was looking for a change. Unlike Jim, he wasn’t dared into it.
But despite their differences, Jim liked McCoy. He shared his booze and had a quiet, steady presence. Besides, as the only 2 late enrollments at the academy, they were roomed together despite McCoy having the credentials for a single room. The man patched him up after nights out, proofread assignments Jim wasn’t sure about and would let Jim rant and ramble about his three year master plan for graduation. Between Pike and McCoy, Jim figured he now knew what having a father was like.
So when David asked Jim to come with him to his son’s graduation, Jim couldn’t say no even if he wanted to. He’d heard David talk to (and about) his son many times in the 10 or so months he’d known him, but hadn’t actually seen a picture of “Leo” yet. He wondered how much like David he would be but figured that anyone raised by him would have to be a quality human being.
When the hottie valedictorian walked on stage to give his speech, Jim nudged David, prepared to ask him if he could get his son to introduce them, when David leaned over and proudly whispered, “He didn’t tell me he got valedictorian!”
Jim wasn’t sure if things just got more complicated or a lot easier for him.