I love when Adam puts in the parties!
Look, building Starfleet and the Federation wasn’t easy. It was a helluva hard job for many more years than I want to admit, but it wasn’t all hard work. There were good times, too, people being people.
This is one of those times.
I know Adam already shared the story which was a direct result of this little encounter a couple weeks ago, but maybe you should check it out. It was a Sunday WildCard post.
Did you know you can now get all five of the current Cassidy Chronicles novels in a single volume? Yup, Adam went and put them all together. And he added a novelette, The Martian Gambit, about the TFS Nike and what happened under Captain Rene Mikall, a story you can’t get anywhere else. And it’s all just $9.99 for the ebook! Go ahead, check it out. And if you want to put some artwork of Yours Truly up on your walls, click the other button and see what’s out there!
CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR
The post-ceremony reception was in full swing in the observation lounge of the Enterprise, nearly fifty people filling the space and chatting. Promotions weren’t uncommon in the rapidly-expanding Starfleet, but multiple promotions were, and hence the reception.
“Thank you, Admiral.”
Kendra laughed and shook her head. “No rank in the mess. That’s what Alley taught me, and the way I apply it is once I address you by name you can address me by name. Let’s try that again. Congratulations, Shannon.”
Kendra looked expectantly at her.
“Thank you, Kendra. I’ll do my best to live up to your trust.”
“I know you will, Shannon. You’ve done nothing but exceed my expectations since you were a CM under Mia. Your leadership of the Wolfpack and the Flying Tigers has been exemplary, and I know that your junior officers all look to you not just as a leader and a mentor but as a friend.”
Shannon cocked her head sideways. “Not bad, Kendra. Didn’t bobble a single word. You really were an actress, weren’t you?”
Kendra laughed brightly again, adjusting her collar at the same time. “And here I thought I did so well.”
“Oh, you did, you did, but I’ve been around you just enough to know that you don’t talk like that.”
“You caught me. Fine. You know your shit, your people love you, and the people you teach stay taught.”
“That’s more what I expected.”
“It’s a pity that your protégé couldn’t be here. I wanted to get this ceremony done before Enterprise went out-system. I did see Double Dip lurking near the bar.”
“Ashlyn? Yeah, but I’m sure she’s excited to be off in the black, exploring a new star system.”
Kendra tugged at her collar again. “I envy her right now. One of these days I’ll get out to a new system and not just follow in someone else’s footsteps.”
“And that’s something I wanted to talk to you about, Admiral.”
“This sounds official.”
“Sort of. You let me keep Alexander.”
It wasn’t a question, but Kendra answered as if it were. “Yes. I don’t think becoming the CAG means you have to give up the stick. In fact, I think it would be a disservice to the CAG to take it away.”
“And I’m grateful. My point, though, is it takes me out of the rotation for exploration missions. I missed out on the Enterprise’s first mission, and the mission to Lemnos. Dammit, Admiral, when is it my turn?”
“I never thought of it like that, Shannon. You’re absolutely right, circumstances have kept you from getting out on an exploration mission.” Kendra fidgeted, trying to think, then gave up.
Seeing she’d captured her flag captain’s attention, she waved an arm in summons.
“You shouted, Admiral?”
“What do we do about Shannon?”
She briefly explained the issue.
“Simple, she needs a deputy who can take over for her when she’s out-system.”
Kendra faced Shannon again, a finger under the collar.
“Any ideas? I know who I’d pick, but it’s not my job.”
“Double Dip, of course,” Shannon said instantly. “And she makes perfect sense, because she knows the Direwolves better than I do.”
“That means another promotion for her,” Alley added. “More responsibility means more benefits, too.”
“No point in wasting time,” said Kendra, eyes seeking Double Dip’s distinctive features. “Where did she go?”
“Why are you fiddling with your uniform, Kendra?” Shannon asked.
“Because our Admiral didn’t realize how uncomfortable a collared dress uniform would be to wear for any extended period of time, and she was so enamored of her historical fiction that she didn’t stop to consider practicalities,” Alley provided.
“Is that why we look like this?” Shannon gestured to her own uniform. It was vaguely similar to her comfortable, familiar, issue uniform, but it was loaded with braid and other decorative elements. It was also topped by a stiff-collared coat.
“Yeah, so maybe I got carried away,” said Kendra, still seeking. “I can always change it to something more comfortable.”
“Or just do away with dress uniforms,” suggested Alley. “You don’t particularly stand on ceremony, so why have these?”
“You make good sense. Damn, where did she go? Minna.”
“Where’s Double Dip?”
“Senior Lieutenant Garcia is with Lieutenant Orloff, Admiral.”
“Alley? Doesn’t Petra have the watch?”
“She goes on at twenty-three, Admiral, and it’s only twenty thirty six. Lieutenant Datu has the watch.”
“Minna, ask Double Dip to come back to the lounge, please.”
Kendra would have sworn that the AI hesitated before answering. “Yes, Admiral.”
“Draft a directive for distribution to all Starfleet personnel.”
“Discontinuation of the requirement for dress uniforms.”
“I will have that in your queue in the morning, Admiral.”
“Good. And in the meantime, I’m getting out of this monkey suit.”
Without another wasted word Kendra shimmied out of her dress coat. She looked about for a place to store it; finding none, she strode to the bar and dropped it on a chair. She returned with a relieved grin on her face.
Double Dip returned then, Petra following behind.
“Admiral. Minna said you wanted me?”
“Yes. Did I pull you away from something?” Kendra looked from one woman to the other, dismay plain on her face.
“Not what you’re thinking, Ma’am,” Orloff said, coloring slightly. “Girl talk. Nothing we can’t pick up again.”
“I won’t keep you long. Shannon?”
Shannon was calm under pressure and proved it again now.
“Daniela, I need someone to be my right arm as CAG, and I can’t think of anyone else I’d want on my wing. You in?”
“What do you need me to do?”
“You’d be my deputy, the DCAG. I want you to be the person deciding policy for Direwolves, since that’s your jam, give me feedback when I’m about to stick my foot in it, and act as CAG when I go out on a deployment aboard a starship.”
“Do I keep my squadron?”
Shannon looked to Kendra. “Admiral?”
“Let’s say yes for the immediate future and we can revisit if we need to.”
“And when I go on mission?”
“Then you go on mission,” said Shannon. “I don’t think either of us couldn’t handle the job solo. Geez, that sounded like I’ve had more to drink than I have.”
“Have you even had any?”
“Not yet; the Admiral cornered me before I made it to the bar. Anyways, Daniela. Are you in?”
“I’m in,” she said firmly. “Can’t expect you to fly solo, can I?”
“Good!” Kendra inserted herself back into the conversation.
“And a promotion comes with it. Congratulations, Commander Garcia. Diana.”
“Official log. Daniela Garcia promoted to full commander, and assumes the position of Deputy Commander Attack Group, effective this date and time. Make sure you get that time stamp right; Shannon has to have seniority by date of rank.”
“Naturally, Admiral. Congratulations, Double Dip.”
“Thank you, and thank you, Admiral. Now, if you’ll excuse us?”
“Of course, but I’m going to invoke Admiral’s privilege. What are you talking about?”
Petra and Daniela shared a look, then Petra spoke.
“Daniela heard I had proposed to my husband and was asking advice on how I did it.”
“Danni!” Shannon exclaimed. “You’re not serious!”
“He’s good for me, Shan. We click.”
“But it’s only been four months!”
“And where would I be if I didn’t grab every opportunity?”
“Time out!” said Kendra. “I think this needs more brains, and certainly more drinks. Alley, you find a quiet corner, but a big one. Cass. Cass! Where are you?” She disappeared in search of her wife.
“You realize he’s going to have to salute you?” said Alley, guiding them over to a sitting area far away from the bar and thus completely abandoned.
“He might be my Tac Officer, but he’s only a Lieutenant.”
Daniela giggled. “He already does; I don’t make him salute in bed, though.”
“Probably a good idea,” laughed Alley.
“I don’t think you’re going to need me,” said Orloff, starting to back away. Daniela grabbed her arm.
“Oh no you don’t! You introduced us, you’re the one who told me not to wait, so you’re not backing out now!”
Kendra returned then, Cass in tow and looking puzzled.
“Ha! Found her! Where are the drinks? Never mind, just tell Minna and we’ll get them brought over. Now, let us tell you all about the problems we had trying to get married!” She pointed back and forth between herself and Cass. “This was six years ago, and –”
“Seven,” corrected Cass. “When I proposed to you.”
“Seven. Wow. How can it have been that long? It was yesterday!”
“Longer, if you want to go back to when you and I bumped into each other.”
“At my last premiere,” Kendra reminisced.
“But that’s not what you dragged me over here to talk about, is it?”
“Right. No, it’s about proposals, and since you proposed to me, and I proposed to you, I figured we were just about experts on proposals.”
“I don’t know; it took two tries.”
“You want to tell this, or let me?”
“You tell your half. The first part is mine.” Cass leaned back, closed her eyes, and allowed a wistful smile to cross her face. “Shakesday, 2113…”