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I'm Strong Enough, I'm Smart Enough

Posted on May 26, 2014 @ 9:09pm by Captain Kassandra Thytos
Edited on on Jun 05, 2014 @ 8:49am

Mission: All Our Yesterdays
Tags: Kassandra, Kane, Edgerton

"I'm good enough, I'm smart enough"
(Cont. "Skitter skitter")

Location: TERRA
Stardate: 2.140514.2052
Scene: Seattle, WA

Time Index: 5 months ago

Kassandra wearily walked up to the front door of her tiny apartment.
It had been a long day, but then again, it was always a long day since
she'd found herself tossed out in the cold by Starfleet five years
ago. She sagged against the side of her door as she fumbled with the
door lock.

Kassandra had never wanted much in life- so it wasn't the spartan
simplicity of her current existence that bothered her. No, it was the
sudden loss of purpose when she found herself out on her ass in her
moment of need that sapped her strength.

Life in the Federation may not have required she work in order to
support her existence like the brutal capitalist societies of the 20th
century but work filled an important niche in the human psyche. Work,
and a sense of purpose are what allows a person to live life to the

She'd kept herself busy after the first two years. With the help of
her niece and nephew he'd dragged herself out of the depths of
depression, the addiction she could no longer feed, and the
aftereffects of the alcohol and drugs of all descriptions she'd taken
to fill the void.

But some things would never come back. She no longer respected
herself, no longer felt like she made any difference in the world.
She'd die, and her presence would have changed absolutely nothing.
Only a handful of far flung friends and her niece and nephew would
remember her.

A young man in Starfleet uniform was approaching from behind her. 40
meters and closing. Tall (6'2.666”), male, young, and dressed as an
aide. A nice face, or at least that's how Kassandra's mind interpreted
it. It was impossible for her to know how much disconnect there was
between what she would have seen, and how her brain processed the
information her sensor nets fed her. It was more accurate to be sure,
she could tell to the millimeter how tall he was, and how long his
nose was, but it was left up to her to build a picture from that
information. Her mind had gotten much better at this over the nearly
16 years she'd had her sensor nets and she usually got an 'impression'
of what faces looked like nearly instantaneously. Give her a while,
and she could compile what she thought was a pretty accurate picture.

“What do you want, Lieutenant?” Kassandra said without turning around.
It was her best party trick. Well, to be fair, her only party trick.
Only appropriate party trick, at any rate. His heart rate spiked.

“Uh, Ma'am, I'm Admiral Richard Edgerton's personal aide, and I've
been instructed to bring you in to his office to visit him.” The young
man tugged at his collar uneasily.

“Why. And why should I jump to attention when he calls? I'm not
Starfleet anymore.” She swung around to face him and pinned him with
what she knew was a disconcerting stare.

“With all due respect, Ma'am, I think that's what he wants to talk to
you about.”

Kassandra's jaw dropped, and she felt a flicker of hope begin to well
up in her chest. She didn't know whether to encourage the flame, or
dampen it. She'd wanted back in ever since she'd been kicked out five
years ago, wanted it even more than the addiction that had cost her
the job.

“Fine, I'll come with you. Let me put my stuff down and change. Won't
take a minute. Wait there.” She slipped into her apartment and left
him standing on the step.

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

Scene: Starfleet HQ, Admiral Edgerton's office.

“Sit down, Miss Thytos.” Edgerton gestured to the chair in front of
his desk and studied the petite woman. No one would ever have called
her beautiful, her chin jutted in a slight under bite like a bulldog,
and her jaw was just a hair too masculine. Her nose looked like it had
been broken several times. Her deep blue eyes would have been striking
and might have lent her face a quirky charm but for their glassy
vacancy. Overall it was a determined, no nonsense face.

She sat, looking slightly awkward on the too big chair.

“Miss Thytos, I've asked you here today in because it has recently
come to my attention that you've been on the receiving end of some, to
my mind, unconscionable treatment at the hands of Starfleet, something
which I intend to fix.”

“Sir?” Her betrayed deep suspicion, but there was a tinge of hope.
Christ she was easy to read. Edgerton smirked inwardly, she was

“I was doing an internal audit of discharges in the last five years,
trying to see why officers and skilled personnel were leaving
Starfleet, and determine if there were ways for us to increase our
retention. Yours happened to be one of the crossections that I pulled,
and I was quite frankly disgusted.” He sat down across from her and
gave her an earnest look “We broke you, and throwing you out on the
trash heap instead of fixing you, and moreover ruining your prospects
for a decent life, well, that was a gross miscarriage of justice.”

He saw her relax a bit. Evidently she had been more suspicious of him
using her as a PR stunt, rather than being suspicious of the situation
and the sudden bout of good luck. Marines were like dogs, he mused, no
matter how much you kick them around and abused them, they always came
running when you called, tails wagging.

“Not to be indelicate, Kassandra, but you have... turned over a new
leaf and taken care of your... problem, haven't you?”


Location: ICARUS VII

Scene: Top Secret Propulsion Laboratory Shuttlebay

Time Index: 5 years ago

“You let me know if you feel anything, anything at all that makes you
uncomfortable, and we'll unplug you right away.” The technician said
as he prepared to hook up the experimental craft's systems to her
sensor net processor. His name was Yoseph Josephson, and he was
favorite of the ship's designers. Gawky like a puppy he was the
epitome of an engineering nerd. Straw hair, a beaklike nose,
unfortunate buck teeth, and a face that just screamed to be shoved in
a locker.

He was a good guy, sincere and eager, and his prototype crafts were
solid, although he had a tendency to sacrifice performance for

He was also one of the few scientists who treated her like a human
being, and didn't look down on her because she didn't understand
phrases like 'combustion to propulsion output ratios' or exactly HOW
warp speed worked. Because he actually took time to get to know here
and get her feedback on his designs he'd become fascinated with her
sensor nets, and their possibilities for integration with his ships,
and had designed a ship specifically for her.

Kassandra gave him the thumbs up and an impish grin. “Ready. If this
thing works half as good as it looks, it'll be a joy to fly. Please
tell me you put in those extra heat dampeners even though they spoil
the wingline?”

“Only for you.” He joked. “Okay, get to the first buoy, and then I'll
complete the integration process.”

She nodded and powered it up.

“Little sluggish on the lift up.” She told him. She maneuvered the
ship to the first buoy of the testing obstacle course. She knew it
like the back of her hand, but that hadn't stopped her from some near
misses. “Alright YoJo, it's go time!”

[[Ok. Three. Two. One. Go.]]

And suddenly she was everything and nothing at once, she was finite,
tiny in the sea of stars, but seemingly infinite in reach and power.
For a pilot, the feeling was what they dreamed about, soaring in the
blackness of space, nothing in between them and the void. It was
intoxicating, exhilarating. It was even better when she took the ship
through it's paces. She felt invincible. When she got to the end of
the course, she didn't want to go back. She wanted to stay, wanted the
power, wanted the rush.

She landed the ship and let Yoseph unhook her, missing the feeling of
flying through the stars already.

“Kassanda, Kassandra, KASS!” Yoseph bellowed in her ear.

“What? What!” She jumped.

“I asked if you were OK. You didn't say a word the whole time you were
on the run, and then you were just zoned out there for a minute.
Usually I can't get you to shut up about how the damn prototype

“I'm fine. It's amazing.” She took his proffered hand and hopped out
of the cockpit. “How were the readouts?”

“Sensational.” He handed her the padd. “I think we've got a real winner.”

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

Time Index: 4 years, 3 months ago.

“Where is it?” Kassandra tore futilely at canvases covering bits of
engines and fuselages that dotted the shuttlebay, as though one of
those could have be hiding the prototype.

“It's gone, Kass.” Yoseph tried to stop her from digging through a
large box of parts. “Kass, it's no good. Kass, don't you see what it's
done to you? You need help.”

“I don't need help!” She screamed at him. “We need to finish testing
it. I'm fine! You said it yourself Yoseph, the results are

“Kass, what's not phenomenal is what it's doing to you. You're acting
like a drug addict. You're coming undone. No, wait, leave her alone, I
can calm her down!” The last part was said to the pair of Marines that
came in the door.

“It's too late for that.” The first of the two said. “She's getting
sent back to EARTH. Reeve, take her comm badge and insignias. She's a
disgrace to Starfleet.”

“You're throwing her out?” Yoseph's jaw dropped. “You can't just ship
her back home. We did this to her. **I** did this to her.”

“Orders are orders. Kassandra Thytos, you are hereby relieved of duty
for conduct unbecoming of a Starfleet officer, dereliction of duty,
and use of controlled substances. Come with us quietly.”

Go she did, but not quietly. Kicking and screaming and begging and
pleading with them to let her fly, and begging them not to throw her
out in turns.

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

Location: EARTH

Scene: A disreputable bar.

Time Index: three years ago.

“Auntie Kass.” The young man nudged her shoulder with his hand.

“G'way.” Kassandra's head felt heavy, and she felt the languorous
rapture of Rhuludian crystals numbing her limbs. She wondered what
else she'd taken. Something was making her feel happy. She didn't want
to move.

“Look at yourself. You have to have more respect for yourself than
that.” The tall redheaded Ensign looked worriedly at the woman who had
raised him. It had taken him the better part of a year for him and his
twin sister Cassie to find her, and they'd begun to fear that she was
dead. “You're coming home with me.”

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

Scene: Admiral Edgerton's office.

Time Index: Present day

“Yes. My problem, as you so delicately put it, is in my past.” He
could see the hunger in her eyes when she thought about it, and knew
that the desire still lurked deep inside. Another way to control her.

“Good, because I'd like you to return to active duty.” He pushed a
velvet box towards her. “As the Captain of a Special Ops Marine unit.”

Her hand trembled as she reached out to open the box.

“Sir, my sensor nets make-” She began.

“Nonsense. I've seen your test metrics. You're more than capable. And
there's another reason I want you back in the greens. I know your
loyalty to the Federation is unparalleled, and I also know that you
are willing to do what needs to be done in order to protect the

“Sir?” She withdrew her hand abruptly.

“Listen- The captain of the ship I'm assigning you to is a model
officer, but he, like many in Starfleet are unwilling to get their
hands dirty to accomplish what needs to be done to secure the future
of the Federation. Hell, sometimes they even harm the security of the
Federation with their unwillingness to interfere or start conflict.
That's why I need someone like you on board, someone willing to carry
out orders that may toe the line in order to do what is in the
Federation's best interests.”

“I see. I will not do anything that goes against the oath I took when
I entered service.” She warned. “Nor will I assassinate, contravene
direct orders from the CO, or do things that endanger civilians.”

“You won't have to. Now, take your rank pin, Kassandra. This padd
contains your orders and transfers, and this one contains your first
set of orders. And this-” His slid an isolinear chip across the table
“Is what you'll need to accomplish it.”

She took the proffered items.

“Rest assured, Captain, that I will always explain the reason behind
your orders. I don't expect blind obedience. Welcome back to the

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


Scene: Bridge->Captain's ready room

Kassandra walked onto the bridge, trying to look as casual as
possible. She wasn't sure if Kane's attitude towards marines was
shared by the rest of the ship, but she didn't want to ruffle any more
feathers than their surprise presence already had. She was dressed in
her off duty clothes- fatigues and a tank top- in hope of not so
subtly indicating to Kane that this was in informal meeting, and it
was in no way going to confrontational posturing, one commanding
officer to another, jockeying for position. She rang the door to
Kane's ready room and stood back. The door swung open.

“Sir, I'd like the opportunity to talk to you, one on one, away from
my soldiers.” She hung respectfully back at the door, waiting to be
invited in. He paused, letting her stand there dumbly for a moment or
two, before motioning her in. She walked in and stood in a relaxed
pose, arms behind her back, legs apart. Kane resumed his seat and
indicated that she should do the same. She sat.

“Go ahead Major.” His voice was businesslike, but Kass's sensor nets
caught the sudden tensing of his muscles. He was expecting an

“Sir.” She began. “Captain. I don't know what other Marines you've
dealt with, but they have clearly left a bad taste in your mouth. I
couldn't say this before in front of my men- I have to keep a certain
image, as I'm sure you understand- But I need you to understand that
we, and I certainly respect the chain of command, and intend to follow
it. You tell me what to do, I tell them what to do. The only time I'm
giving orders that don't go through you is when we are carrying out
your instructions, and in life fire combat situations. We are a tool,
sir, a damn good one at that, and we're here for you to use.”

“You're a tool I have no intention of using.” Kane cut her off,
watching with interest as the edges of her ears turned an odd shade of
crimson. “No, scratch that, you're a weapon. And I still have no
intention of using you.”

“Sir, with all due respect, you'd be an idiot not to.” Kassandra was
proud of herself for biting back her scathing retort and keeping her
somewhat legendary temper in check.

“Then call me an idiot. Dismissed.” He waved his hand. She bridled her
teeth gritting.

“Fine, Captain. But I really don't want to have an antagonistic
relationship with you. It's bad for morale, and it's unprofessional.
So expect me back here regularly until I at least earn your respect as
a fellow officer.” She stood and saluted him.

She spun on her heel her nose burning with annoyance. She couldn't
quite get the measure of the man. She'd read his file, what wasn't
classified anyway, and from what she'd seen he was he was a model, if
somewhat distant CO. Not exactly friendly, but his behavior and
attitude towards her bordered on downright rude. Was it the Marine
thing, or the Edgerton thing, she wondered.

“Dammit, I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people
like me!” Kass muttered as she exited the ready room to no one in
particular, letting out a defeated sigh. She would have to win him
over somehow, or this would be a very long assignment.

“He's like that.” The pilot turned around and gave her a sympathetic
smile. “Hard man to get to know, he keeps everyone at arms length.”

“There's a difference between taciturn and hostile, Lieutenant.” The
man jumped slightly, and Kassandra realized that she hadn't turned to
face him. She spun and gave him a thin smile. “Sorry, forgot my
manners. Kassandra Thytos. I understand not wanting to be best
buddies- I make it a point to remain separate from my men. I may
someday have to order one into a situation that has low survival
probabilities for the good of the rest of the group or the ship. I
don't want to run the risk that I might hesitate to do what needed to
be done just because I was fond of them. Price of the pips, it's
lonely at the top. But this isn't keeping me at arms length. This is
something else. I wish I knew what.”

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

Alix Fowler
Captain Kassandra Thytos
Marine CO


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