Lieutenant Commander Jenni Matthews
Jenni Matthews is currently serving as the Chief Engineer of the USS Unification, attached to Task Force 9.
Jennifer (Jenni) Matthews was the third child (and only girl) born to Leonard and Cassandra Matthews. She was well received by her brothers Jameson and Charles, who weren’t very happy to have a sister, but soon learned to live with it. Leonard was employed by Grayson Fusion Industries as a high-level technician. In 2372, GFI had promoted Leonard to Manager of the plant at the New Aries Colony on Earth’s moon. It was good news, yes, but Leonard wasn’t home as often.
Two months later, on her weekly visit to see her husband at work, Cassandra and Leonard were caught in the middle of a catastrophe. The primary generator overloaded, prompting a reactor core breach. Cassandra was in the middle of the plant searching for Leonard when the explosion occurred. She was killed instantly. Leonard was in the restroom when it happened and was knocked unconscious. Starfleet Rescue Teams were sent in, and Leonard was one of the lucky few to be dragged out before the other generators started to overload. Half of New Aries Colony was forced to evacuate before Starfleet and Civilian engineers were able to shut down the plant.
While the citizens of the colony were shipped elsewhere until the plant could be rebuilt, months passed before the Matthews children were reunited with their father who was hospitalized with radiation poisoning. The children were sent to live with their aunt and were later joined by their father. Leonard was off his feet for three years and trapped in his bed due to the extreme exposure to the radiation. Leonard never regained use of his legs and was confined to a motorized wheelchair for everyday life.
Eventually, Leonard returned to work, but not as manager. He became a safety inspector for the same plant. The family, however, never overcame the loss of Cassandra. They did learn to cope with it. Both of Jenni’s brothers went on to medical school to become research scientists, in hope of finding a way to restore their father’s legs. Jenni almost took the same route, but her father encouraged her to not worry about him and find something she was good at. She had a habit with tinkering with things, so she entered Starfleet to become an engineer, and see the galaxy. Four years later, upon her graduation, she was assigned to the USS Chimera as an Engineer’s mate.
Her service aboard the Chimera was exemplary, though her crewmates dubbed her a threat to their careers. The Chief Engineer found Jenni to be one of the most reliable and trustworthy of his crew, and even tried to get her to become his Assistant Chief. Jenni refused, knowing it would worsen the already troublesome relationships with her fellow engineers.
After a year of service on the Chimera, Jenni transferred to the Galaxy-class USS Polaris. There she spent two years, working her way up a competitive ladder to the Assistant Chief Engineer position. Eventually, as she grew older, her age combined with her engineering prowess began to diffuse the issues with her crewmates and respect was earned. Nevertheless, she sought opportunities elsewhere within Starfleet… a chance to establish herself among a new crew as a department head, hoping to forever rid herself of these unfortunate issues.
When the opportunity came to become the Chief Engineer of the Gamma Quadrant-bound USS Katana, Jenni jumped at the chance. Her first assignment was to supervise the tail end of the lengthy and problematic refit of the vessel. It took most of the first mission to do so, but it was her talent and collaboration with the engineering crew that made it possible. Once that was completed, she was instrumental in a few discoveries in the Gamma Quadrant, including the wreck of a long-dead Borg sphere on an inhabited world.
Her accomplishments and talents made their way up the Task Force’s command chain and soon Jenni had her pick of offers from among the fleet. As much as she enjoyed the Katana, the chance to serve on a larger ship enticed her to accept a different assignment, the USS Unification.