Jennys Tactical Officer

Hi, Megan. Do you remember the summer before I went into the Academy? I took that physical training course, fashioned after a 20th century boot camp. Well I never told you where I went the week before I entered the Academy. But.... since we're talking about the men that we have influenced or been influenced by I thought I should tell you about the missing week.

He was 6'2", 185 pounds of Starfleet Ranger. Not an ounce of fat on his body except for the high cal rations he might have had for lunch. Shoulders broad enough that I could not wrap my arms around them, and a musculature that a sculpture would die to copy. Blond buzz cut and eyes as blue as the sky on a June day.

We were at odds from day one. I wasn't some teenager looking for the easy points for the Academy entrance exam. I had already been accepted and was wanting to be physically ready for my first year. At 22, I had my degree and had been living on my own for a few years.

When I got off the transport I had one small bag and my purse. Ok, I'll admit that the linen suit and the four inch heels were a bit much, but... that man looked me up and down shook his head and said that in all his years in Starfleet he had never had royalty in one of his courses. I asked him what he was implying and with an arched eyebrow and a smirk he said, "Well you must be royalty, no regular trainee ever showed up looking ready for a weekend on Risa."

He circled me to take in the view. He reminded me of one of daddy's setters circling in on a lure. Then he stared to get verbal with me. "I hope that you don't expect room service, maid service and valet parking because it isn't going to happen. You carry your own bags, clean your own quarters and eat in the mess with everyone else." I think he was trying to make me cry. You know as well as I do that I don't cry unless I'm mad as hell or hurt. It was all I could do not to laugh. He stopped right in front of me and finished his tirade. I looked up at him and in my coolest southern tones said " Thank you for the information, but as you can see, I'm carrying my own bag. As for the room service and maid service I guess I'll just have to make do until I can find someone suitable to fill those positions. Would you care to apply for either position?"

Honestly, I thought that man would have a stroke! His face got red and his jaw dropped open. He just stood there for a few, then with a precise about face he marched off. It was one of the sweetest comebacks I'd ever done and I couldn't help but giggle as he turned around. I figured that I wouldn't see him again. Boy was I wrong.

The next morning at 0430 we were up and moving. They divided us up into squads and sent us to our new companies. My heart started to pound, as I'm standing there and that man sauntered out of the quarters and ended up in front of my squad. He was our Tactical Officer. It took all my control not to grin as he read my name and assigned me as a squad leader. He hadn't looked at me until he had made the assignment. He walked up to me handed me my temporary rank and said in a low voice, "I read your file and know that this could have been a vacation for you. As my squad leader you will be responible for those under you. I guess that makes you room service and maid service. Oh, and I see that you have your shuttle license. I guess that makes you in charge of valet parking too."

Thank heavens for mama's training! I managed to neither blush or snap back a smart retort. Infact all I said was. "Thank you for the opportunity, Sir." (Ok, I drawled it.... but it was still the correct response.) Well... I had read about eyes that could shoot right through you like lightening but had never seen it until then. His eyes went from sky blue to cobalt in a heartbeat. I though I was going to be thrown out of the course, then he just smiled and told me that it was his pleasure and stepping back he dismissed us.

The people on either side of me had heard the whole thing, plus seen what had happened the night before. They both seemed to think that I was in trouble. That was a man with spirit, looks and wit. I knew that one of us was in trouble and I suspected that it might be me.

For the six weeks I was there, we challanged each other. Never as man and woman but as one intelligent person to another. He about busted my butt with the physical training and I saved a trainee's life. We worked to keep our squad together and motivated, then he pulled me of the line during one of the exercises to see if they would funcion without a squad leader. They did great, I was so proud!

He almost breeched protocol one day. We were in the field and on break. All we had to eat were those nasty feeze dried rations. I had kept a pack of strawberries and was eating them as we stood around talking. Those berries and a few other things were and are the only thing I can stomach out of those rations. The group got quiet and I felt someone take a bite out of my strawberries! I whirled around and there he was big as life eating my berries! He just smiled and reminded me that I shouldn't have them. Then he walked off.

Needless to say, I passed the course and figured that I would never see him again. Imagine my surprise when I got a call from him and shuttle tickets. We spent the week before I went to the Academy in a small resort in New England.

My shuttle had been delayed with mechanical problems. In fact they cancelled the flight once. We finally got airborne and one of the flight crew came back and asked if I was Ms. Delaney. I told her I was and she just smiled and welcomed me aboard.

When we landed almost six hours late, he was there and looked as though he hadn't slept in days. Later I found out that he had been told that the flight had, had mechanical problems and had gone down. I guess he went over the counter after the clerk and made the poor man verify it. When he learned that the shuttle was ok but running late he made the clerk radio the shuttle and make sure I was on it and safe.

Those were six of the best days that I have ever had. We talked, played and learned each other. The last night we made love until the early hours of the morning. By that time we had learned each others bodies and minds. I haven't felt that needed and cared for in a long time.

We kept in touch and saw each other on and off during my first two years at the Academy. We were getting close enough to each other, that there might have been something in the future for us, when he was killed during a confrontation with the Cardassians. His roommate sent me a disk with his last message to me. His last words were, "Jenny, you can cry for me just this once. I have never done anything until now that could make you angry or hurt enough to cry. Gods, I'm sorry that I found a way."

He is the man that I use as a standard for who I want in a relationship with. That's why I dated so many and never kept one. I have yet to find someone that even comes close. I think Commander Chakotay could fit the pattern but unless he gives up on the Captain or she lets him go, I'm destined to travel home alone.

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