Sunday WildCard – A Cassidy Chronicles Novel (WIP)

Well, your responses have been good so far, so I think I’ll keep going with the new novel. Whaddya think?

I’ll bet you’re wondering why I’m not putting the novel’s title up. Simple: I haven’t settled on it yet. So far it’s had three different potential titles; the first was Tilting at Windmills, when I was thinking it would be a more comedic effort and inspired by Don Quixote.

Maybe I should explain.

The Explorer-class ships are intended to be named after famous explorers; sensible, right? But the problem is most explorers were pretty brutal and bloodthirsty in their desire to get to where they wanted to go, not caring much about who or what they trampled on the way. As a result, even the most well-liked historical explorers have some taint to them.

So I settled on the ship being called the Don Quixote; a fictional adventurer being less problematic than a real one. But as I wrote the first few sections, it felt more and more forced and unnatural. So I dropped the name and changed it to the Christopher J. Pike, another fictional adventurer but one which Kendra would certainly know and gravitate to.

But when I changed the ship name, the title had to change.

And it might change again, which is why I haven’t put it out here. Once I settle on it – and I’ll know I’ve settled on it when I ask my designer to start creating – I’ll let people know!

Anyways, enough from me. Story time!

***********************

“Thank you, Admiral. I appreciate your kindness.”

“Chloe, knock it off! I was there at your swearing-in, right? I was there at your wedding and I was there when your wife gave birth to your son, standing next to your husband and keeping him from fainting, right? You’re family, Chloe, so drop the ‘Admiral’ already!”

Kendra’s tirade drew a grin from Resler.

“I’m maybe a little confused,” she admitted. “And when I’m confused I get formal.”

“Then I won’t keep you in suspense. I need you.”

“Anything.”

“Specifically, I need you to give up your command.”

The next response froze on Resler’s lips.

“My command? You want me to give up Defiant? Why? To whom?”

“Why, we’ll get to. To whom, well, I was thinking Bob Huff could take her over.”

Resler’s automatic objection died. Huff had served 17 years in the Artemis navy before being captured in the first clashes of the War. He’d eventually signed on to join Starfleet and had been appointed her Executive Officer at the same time she’d gotten Defiant. She appreciated his calm demeanor and his steady guidance, born of his years of experience. If anyone was going to get Defiant instead of her, well, she’d still hate it. But Huff was a good choice.

“And what about me?”

“I have plans for you. You agree, then? Huff?”

“If I’m losing Defiant, then my crew will need consistency. Yes. Bob should get her. He’s more than qualified.”

Kendra beamed.

“I knew you’d say something like that. Now, as for you. Hecate, show us Pike.”

The opposite wall disappeared, or at least seemed to, revealing the massive form of the Christopher J. Pike.

“Have you been keeping up with the Explorer project?”

Tearing her eyes away from the construction yard, Resler answered, “Only slightly. Colonization ships, right?”

“More or less. Long-endurance exploration and colonization. Deep, deep space, farther than anyone’s gone so far. And if you find a suitable planet, well, you stop and drop down some roots before moving on.”

“It’s sounds daunting.”

“It is. It’s the biggest endeavor I could dream up, and I might have bitten off more than anyone can chew. The crew’s going to be mixed; primarily Starfleet Science, but the usual ratings and officers to fill out the other departments. There’s also an oversized company of Marines, and a huge Small Craft component. All under one command. Yours.”

Resler whirled around. “Mine?”

“Yours.”

“I don’t know anything about deep exploration!”

“Who took off to Alpha Phoenicis in a ship designed for short-term deployment and not only brought everyone home but completed her mission?”

“That was three years ago and it wasn’t exactly planned! We were in hot pursuit of the al-Battani and had no idea they were going to stooge around for six weeks!”

“The point is you did it. Not many people could have. But let’s put that aside if you insist. You’ve also had the most success integrating personnel from Artemis into Starfleet; I don’t know any other ship with higher crew morale than yours.”

Resler thought about arguing the point but decided not.

“So what?” she said instead. “There’s more to command than morale. Why not tap one of your other Captains, one from a starship which already does this sort of mission? Alley, for example. Or Kiri? Van Leeuwen would do well, too. Her Pioneer has been out into the deeps plenty!”

“Because they’re already doing it,” Kendra replied. “You’re right, there is logic to choosing a Captain who’s been doing the mission already. But it’s a false logic, Chloe.”

“How?”

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