Lieutenant Jennifer Matthews
Chief Engineering Officer
Jenni heeds little caution with her words and has no problem making her opinion known. She is very self-aware and assertive, eager mainly to do her job to the best of her ability. Her patience is far beyond most of those she knows, mainly from having to put up with trying individuals for most of her career. She’ll fight for anyone who deserves a chance. Aside from possessing strong engineering prowess, Jenni often keeps a smile on her face. She’s friendly to all, despite how they treat her, but generally keeps to herself. Jenni also possesses a curious mind. If her Away Team discovered something unusual, she’d be the first one to approach and poke it with a stick, just to see how it reacts.
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 doctors, 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 she was not liked by all. Aside from her bubbly personality, Jenni became well known for her tinkering. Many times, she would tinker with shipboard equipment, trying to find new ways to improve performance and efficiency. Often times, these would be in defiance of protocol and safety procedures.
After a year of service on the Chimera, Jenni transferred to the namesake of the Galaxy-class line. There she spent two years, working her way up a competitive ladder to the Assistant Chief Engineer position. Her love for tinkering never subsided, but she did start respecting some protocols as one incident nearly claimed the lives of five crewmembers. The episode prompted harsh flashbacks of her father’s accident and it was enough to scare her somewhat straight. Thankfully, there were other circumstances connected to the accident (other than her tinkering) and responsibility for the event was never attributed to her. 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 the memory of this incident.
The aging USS Katana (Intrepid-class) was her chance, a ship with a proud history that had been forced to linger longer than most in a refit cycle. After spending two long years in drydock, Jenni came on board the overdue refit and managed to do months of work in mere weeks. This impressed the ship’s command staff, and the Starfleet Corps of Engineers as well. Her methods were far from orthodox, but so was keeping a starship in drydock for several years. She remained aboard the ship for another year as the ship returned to active service. Jenni, however, found the Katana to be boring. Regular maintenance was not exciting, and the ship was kept well within Starfleet’s borders, unable to see any missions that would push the ship and its crew. Quietly, she began to seek another assignment, one that would not only be challenging, but would keep her hands from being idle.