From the desk of Admiral Kendra Cassidy
She came to us – and by us I mean Starfleet and the Federation – because she was one of the lead engineers on the Direwolf project when it was with HLC.
Oddly enough, Cass actually was aware of her from a prior project. Something to do with, oh, hold on. I’ll have to ask.
Cass says it was the variable modular cargo system, and it’s been incorporated into just about every spaceship design we’ve come out with since, well, pretty much forever.
I still say that jargon gives me a headache.
Anyways, LJ. Her specialty was ensuring that the various parts of the Direwolf would be able to be pulled and replaced easily. Makes sense, right?
So she was there at the first proper demonstration flight of the fighter, when Double Dip cleaned Flashdance’s clock.
Sorry, it’s true! Compared to the Direwolf, the Wolf is a space truck!
But LJ was there, and I had the bright idea to bring her aboard Endeavour as a shuttlebay specialist. I figured that she would be best suited to handle the new ships, since she’d been part of the design. The only problem was she didn’t want to join Starfleet.
So I bent the rules.
Hell, at that point, there weren’t many rules to bend, or break, in the first place. I was still in the ‘make it up as I go along’ stage, despite Alley’s best efforts, and so when I said the Endeavour’s small craft specialist would be a civilian, Kiri just said, “Yes, Admiral.” Then she went about figuring out how to make it work.
Of course, there were other things going on behind the scenes I wasn’t aware of…
As the meal wrapped up, Kendra asked LJ, “How are your quarters?”
It was an innocent question, but LJ froze in mid-drink.
“Did I say something wrong?” said Kendra, looking to Alley.
“No,” Alley replied. “You didn’t.” She nudged LJ.
“No, Admiral,” LJ parroted.
“’Admiral’? What’s going on here?” Kendra was suddenly more alert.
“Well,” began LJ, then stopped. She looked to Alley, who nodded her head very slightly. LJ took a deep breath and then started again.
“I’ve pretty much moved into Alley’s quarters. The only reason we had to transport over was that Alley was helping me finish cleaning on Endeavour.”
“That was nice of her,” said Kendra neutrally, not letting LJ off the hook.
“Yes, it was. Um. We’ve been talking,” she said, then rested her hand on Alley’s on the table, interlacing her fingers. “And I’d like to transfer over to the same position on the Enterprise. I’ve already cleared it with Captain Stewart, and found my replacement.”
“Very proactive. Who?”
“Ashley Jadwinski. She was one of my crew from HLC and knows the Direwolves almost as well as me.”
“She willing to sign on to Starfleet?”
Alley answered. “Yes. Kiri wants to bring her in as an Ensign; that’ll keep her senior to most of Double Dip’s pilots.”
“And what about you, LJ?”
“If I’m with Alley, I’ll take your shilling.” She smiled. “Alley even likes my cats.”
“Cats? Oh, I remember. What were their names?”
“There’s Theo; he’s the grey one, and Luciferous Dimples.”
Cass chuckled. “Quite a name.”
“She’s quite the cat,” agreed LJ. “We call her Luci for short. She can be a handful.”
“Hold on, before you start calling up holos, let’s get this settled. Alley, you on board with this?”
“Absolutely. Even with my experience with the Daleys.”
Kendra nodded slowly. Alley’s Navy command had been taken away because she’d tangled with the ruling family of the Northern Imperium. Unsurprisingly, she’d been left extremely averse to anything that smacked of nepotism. If she was willing to put that aside for LJ, it was love mixed with a heavy dose of competence on LJ’s part.
“Done. We’ll make it official tomorrow. We’ve been treating you as a Lieutenant, right LJ?”
“Well, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s what we’ll bring you in as. Although I’m curious, LJ. Why the change of heart? I mean, you didn’t want to join; I remember that from our first meeting.”
“No, I didn’t. But I’ve had long enough to see what you’re doing, what you’re trying to do, and I’m with that. And,” she suddenly stopped, tongue-tied. She looked at Alley, flushed slightly, and then turned back to Kendra. “Things change,” she finished.
“That they do,” she agreed, and a concurring rumble rolled around the table. “That they do.”
It was a little bit odd, of course, but Cass and I had been doing it for months at that point, and hopefully we gave Alley and LJ a good example. Then again, Kiri and Lorelei are married, too, and they serve together. Then there’s Ted and Mac. I guess they had lots of examples.
I’d say more, but I’ve been advised that the rest of LJ’s story hasn’t been cleared for release yet, so I guess I’ll have to stop there.
Kendra Cassidy, Admiral (ret)