Meet Lorelei Stewart

From the Desk of Admiral Kendra Cassidy

Lorelei is an amazing woman.

If I wasn’t married to Cass, I’d think that she’s the smartest person I know. I am, and Cass definitely is, but Lorelei is a close second. How Kiri ended up winning her is a story I’ve never gotten out of them, not completely, just bits and pieces. From what I’ve heard it was truly a comedy of errors. They were both interested but every time they tried to get together something intervened.

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Anyways, when I met her, Lorelei and Kiri had been married for eight years, engaged for six, together for sixteen total. Yeah, the long engagement was part two of the comedy of errors. Okay, this part I know.

They met in high school, towards the end of Kiri’s senior year. Lorelei was two years behind her, and it wasn’t love at first sight. In fact, it was very nearly loathe at first sight, because Kiri had already been accepted to the Northern Imperium Naval Academy and Lorelei was absolutely committed to peaceful coexistence. Then there was the fact, nearly insurmountable, that Kiri was two whole years older than Lorelei. Major not goodness for a couple high schoolers!

In any case, they didn’t actually connect in high school. Not romantically. Despite their differences, though, they stayed in touch. Lorelei opted to go to Northwestern for her college career, which put them in the same city. Eventually Kiri broke down Lorelei’s resistance and they went out for coffee. That would be, um. Let’s see if I can math. 2103? No, 2102.

Well, that was the start of their relationship. Like I said, it was a comedy of errors for a while, between Kiri’s commitments as a cadet at NINA – yeah, silly acronym, but I didn’t choose the country’s name – and Lorelei’s pursuit of her Bachelor’s. The schedules just didn’t match up at all, at all.

Graduation year arrives, and Kiri and Lorelei have finally been able to be with each other enough to know they wanted to stay with each other. Kiri goes and proposes to Lorelei, she says yes, and the wedding is planned for the day after graduation. See, NINA had, or maybe still has, a rule that cadets cannot marry. Seems silly to me, but what do I know?

Now this wasn’t much time for a wedding, so it was going to be a very small affair, just a few friends. Alley was one of them, and that was the first monkey wrench. Alley was already serving, and she received orders which cancelled her leave and forced her to back out of the role Kiri had planned for her. No major problem, the wedding was still on.

Then the NI got into one of their frequent ‘border disputes’ with Canada over transit rights down the St. Lawrence, and the graduating class of 2104 was awarded their commissions three weeks early…and dispatched to their assignments.

No wedding.

The border dispute dragged on…and on…and on. Seven months later, it was finally resolved, and leave requests started to be granted. By seniority. Being a new-commissioned Ensign, Kiri was at the bottom of the list, but she was promised leave. In September, 2105. They make plans, again, to have a wedding then.

In February, Lorelei gets offered a two-year internship with Blue Sky, Inc. In Huntsville, Alabama, in the New Confederacy. The opportunity of a lifetime; not only will it fulfill her requirements for her BS, but it will get her halfway through her MS. She can’t refuse. Only one catch: the internship starts at the end of the college year, in May, and, so sorry, no vacation for the first year. Weekends off, sure.

Now I have to get into politics. I hate politics, and have avoided it as much as I can. I know, ironic, right? The first leader of the Federation, the person who united the System, blah blah blah, yadda yadda. Just because I was good at it doesn’t mean I liked it.

So the Imperium and the New Confederacy have never been comfortable with each other. Ever. There’s a reason that the border between the two, the Ohio River between Illinois and Kentucky, has been closed forever. Technically, the two countries are still at war, just in an extended cease-fire, and so transit between the two is highly limited and regulated.

Kiri, as an active member of the NIN, couldn’t get in.

Lorelei, as an intern, couldn’t get out.

Wedding number two, scratched.

They wanted to have a wedding, dammit, not a quick courthouse job, so they didn’t even consider that option. Vegas was out, too, because of the travel problems. But they know when the internship ends, and Kiri requests time off in June, 2107.

Fast-forward to the end of the internship, and I’ll bet you can guess what happened. Kiri was on a deployment and unable to get leave.

Wedding number three, scratched. Lorelei returned to Northwestern, where she finished her MS and started on work for her PhD, and waited. Kiri’s mail went to Lorelei’s apartment, and so did Kiri on the rare occasions they were ashore. The problem for the submarine service was their durability; the subs could stay on patrol for months at a time with only occasional dockings for food resupply.

Two years go by.

By now Kiri’s been promoted, twice, and is a full Lieutenant, serving as Navigation officer on the Milwaukee. Lorelei finally has the pull to get a date set for time off, and does so, for May, 2110. Surprising everyone, she actually goes on leave and marries Lorelei.

From what I’ve heard, it was a beautiful wedding.

Three weeks later, after returning from her honeymoon to her post, the Milwaukee suffers an accident while at sea and Kiri is paralyzed.

That’s where Lorelei’s story could have taken a different path. She could have said that the marriage, the relationship, was obviously never meant to be. She could have walked away.

She didn’t.

Dr. Stewart tells her employer she’s taking a year off, but she would be back, and to hold her job for her.

They do.

She cares for Kiri, learns more than she ever thought she’d know about physical therapy and rehabilitation and spinal injuries. Single-handedly remodels their home to make it accessible for Kiri, including moving their bedroom from the second floor down to the first. All the while she reassures Kiri that no, she’s not leaving, no, she’s not changing her mind, no, she still loves her and stop with the dumb questions already.

At the end of a year she returns to her employer like nothing happened, catches herself up to speed, and promptly proves how smart her company was to keep her by finding an error which would have cost them a multi-million credit contract.

Eight years later, I get to meet her and she starts her second career, as a starship officer.

When she retired last year, she was an Admiral in charge of the entire Engineering side of Starfleet.

Yeah. An amazing woman.

Kiri’s lucky to have her. I’m honored to know her.

Kendra Cassidy, Adm (ret)

Published by gaffen620

Author of The Cassidy Chronicles. Lives in Colorado with many dogs, cats, and one very patient wife.

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