Kanti MacTavish, callsign "Gun-Shy"
From Star Trek: Theurgy Wiki
Kanti MacTavish was a shuttle pilot who served aboard the USS Theurgy during the battles against the corrupted Starfleet Command before she was killed in action in 2381. Before her death in the Battle of Starbase 84, she had become a fighter pilot in the Lone Wolves Squadron.
Born and raised into a major shipbuilding city on the surface of Mars, Kanti was immersed in Starfleet culture from her earliest memories. Her mother, a proud native of the Scottish Highlands, had married her father, a joined Trill, while they were both working as engineers at the Utopia Planitia Shipyards. Easily half of her childhood was spent on orbital facilities where her parents were on assignment, crammed into Starbase quarters where her friends were other children of Starfleet personnel assigned to the construction facilities in orbit around the Red Planet.
In such an environment, it was natural that she was expected to carry on the family tradition, enlisting herself when she came of age. In private, Kanti wanted nothing to do with Starfleet, having grown sick of living in space stations and missing her parents as they worked long hours on a constant basis, but everyone she knew planned to enter the Academy or at least enlist as a non-com when they were old enough. Going with her desire to do literally anything else would’ve meant going against every friend and family member who fully expected that little Kanti would be a part of Starfleet, just like mom and dad.
That wasn’t a battle she was willing to wage, so with her resentment buried deep as she could manage, Kanti enrolled in the Academy just after graduating high school. Engineering and sciences had never been her strong suits, and god knows she had no interest in security, which meant that she instead opted to pursue a career in piloting. If she was going to be in this organization against her true wishes, it seemed that flying around shuttlecraft would at least be something she might be capable at. Indeed, she demonstrated a natural aptitude for flying small craft; nothing to mark her as a prodigy helmsman, but it made her parents feel like she was on the track to great things in the future.
During her sophomore year in the Academy, Kanti’s entire class was given an opportunity by their flight instructor to participate in the Niagara Exam. This simulation-based test was the Tactical CONN equivalent of the Kobayashi Maru; the student was expected to lose in a massive simulated battle where their Valkyrie squad was outnumbered 50 to 1, trying to defend an overwhelmed Starfleet medical vessel from enemy attack. Like the ever-unbeatable Maru test, it was an examination of character as much as a test of skill, where instructors would study how a cadet behaved leading a squadron of attack fighters into what was sure to be their deaths.
Knowing the incredible challenge that lay before any cadet taking the test, Kanti opted out of taking it, having long settled on the easier path of just specializing in non-combat craft. Or at least, she tried to - the instructor had set up two lists, one for participants and one for non-participants, with each student putting their name on the list for their choice. Kanti, distracted on the day she put her name down to the point not paying attention, accidentally put her name in for the participants, a fact she was entirely unaware of until testing day. On what was supposed to be a half-day for the students who opted out, the cadet found herself first in line to take the test without a single prior moment of preparation.
To hear Kanti describe it, the exam was an unmitigated disaster, even by the standards of the Niagara. The medical vessel was destroyed in minutes, her own simulated squad lasting mere seconds longer. Kanti’s heart was pounding so hard afterwards that she thought cardiac arrest might suddenly occur. Though she avoided heart failure, the next day her instructor confirmed that she had indeed failed the test. She declined his insistent pleas that she give it one more go, having never intended to take the exam in the first place. Ignoring his persistent request that she retake the exam was a feat in and of itself, given that he continued asking her about it for another six months before resigning to the fact that Kanti no desire whatsoever to take on a tactical flight role.
After graduating and getting her commission, Kanti was given her first assignment, flying shuttles on board the USS Lakota. Service aboard her first posting was the exact opposite of notable; she did her job, piloting her craft well enough not to crash them, earning neither any disciplinary marks nor a single distinction or commendation for her actions while on duty. Her reassignment to the USS Theurgy, coming after a year of being an absolute nobody, was something that she expected to be quite similar, the most excitement perhaps coming from flying a runabout every now and then instead of a standard Type-9 and Type-11 shuttles.
This expectation was not met in any way, shape, or form.
The USS Theurgy’s running firefight across the Alpha quadrant would've been quite enough excitement for her lifetime on its own. Two months of living aboard a ship branded as crewed by traitors, outrunning Starfleet pursuers ordered to hunt them down by a group of infiltrators equal parts nebulous and nefarious, was an endeavor well outside the realm of her experience. Kanti was a shuttle pilot who ran low-risk milk runs by choice, yet now her job suddenly involved keeping the ship supplied and intact as best she could while being shot at by former comrades. Stress surmounted on a daily basis, driven by the combination of their life and death situation, along with her long-held conviction that she wasn't capable of handling anything dangerous without mucking everything up beyond repair.
Her thoughts going to some... dark places even before the horrific incident at Niga occurred. Kanti remembers very few details of the whole ordeal, one of the few facts of those few days that she can be thankful for. There are scattered memories of someone forcing their way onto her one night, causing intense pain, followed by endless hours crying alone in the shuttlecraft she had locked herself into. With a bit more clarity, she can recall having been found alone, seemingly without having had anything to eat or drink for some time. She refuses to make any attempts at unburying the bits and pieces that she can otherwise recall, having decided that absolutely nothing from that incident is worth a trip down memory lane.
Facing her Demons
Not long afterwards, she again found herself in several sexually-charged situations thanks to the interference of the Ishtar entity. Kanti hadn’t so much as dated since her third year at the Academy; the omnipotent creature that started causing havoc on the Theurgy reawakened a litany of desires she had chosen to ignore or suppress during the past few years. Though the actions she engaged in were undone thanks to some temporal trickery, the memory of what occurred during that time remained. In the end, she supposed that it had a far more agreeable outcome than the incident at Niga; the three women she had dragged herself into bed with during that time even commented afterwards that her fidgeting during sexual encounters could be awfully cute, providing a rare ego boost for the often self-doubting ensign.
More importantly, these escapades made her nostalgic for some of the encounters she had in the Academy. It now seemed like a lifetime since she had been a simple cadet trying to shuffle her way through life, never expecting to accomplish anything notable, using the directionless nature of her life as an occasional excuse for having a one-night stand. That sense of nostalgia drove her to dig up copies her old Academy records in the Theurgy’s personnel database, where she made a shocking discovery: a copy of her test results from the Niagara Exam, including the score Kanti had never bothered to look at half a decade prior. Her final result had been one point from passing, with a note from her instructor indicating that her talent for functioning in a sudden emergency was considerable enough that, if her own difficulties with facing a challenge could be overcome, she had vast potential as a Tactical CONN officer.
It was a discovery that built upon her own recent realizations that, as much as the pilot tried to avoid any dispute for fear of failure, she could still rise to a challenge when one was presented. The fact that she was even alive at this point, Kanti realized, was proof of that fact. Stewing discontent that had been building over years as a no-name shuttlecraft pilot inspired a sleepless night of deliberation, ending with an important decision: she was going to strive for something much greater than what she had, for the first time in her life. Though she wasn't one hundred percent certain of how, Kanti swore that she was going to join the Lone-Wolves.
The week of repairs on Theta Eridani IV presented an excellent opportunity to start in on this pursuit. While the main obstacle to a transfer would be her lack of training in the operation of fighters, the Theurgy possessed the best training simulators for the Mk III Valkyrie Strike Fighter available in Starfleet. In between aiding with repairs to the ship as well as duty in the triage area, she began slinking off to use the simulators for as long as the deck crew would allow her to. After every round of simulated operations, she was careful to make backups of her test results as well as any simulation recordings, just to make sure that the aptitude she started to demonstrate was well-documented.
During the flight from Theta Eridani, her leg was mangled amidst the orbital bombardment from the Calamity. While not career-ending, the injury kept her in Sickbay for some time. It was a stroke of luck, the pilot supposed, that she didn’t have to be on any front-lines during the mutiny; Kanti wasn’t declared fit for duty until just after that particular crisis was resolved. At the same time, she filed her first application for a transfer to the Lone-Wolves, expecting that it would be gently (or perhaps not so gently, depending on the SCO's mood) shot down. Her surprise was palpable when she received a notification that Lieutenant-Commander Renard, noting the combination of her Academy test results, performance in the simulator, and existing experience as a pilot, had approved the application.
The fact that she had not only striven for something, but managed to achieve, was without a doubt the most shocking thing Kanti had experienced in months. Sadly her accomplishment was fleeting. Less than a week after joining the Lone Wolves Squadron, she was killed in action during the Battle of Starbase 84.
The desire to avoid needless conflict is something upheld as a virtue in Starfleet, but Kanti has managed in the past to take that value to heart in the worst way possible. Throughout her life, she has striven only to avoid any sort of challenge or potential hardship, to the point of having once accepted a dead-end career and a life devoid of any achievement if it mean there was no difficulty to surmount. It’s a lifestyle that’s been driven mostly by fear - fear of failure, fear of disappointing those she looks up to, fear or being remembered as a screw-up and nothing more.
Living aboard the Theurgy has forced a certain level of change on her part, with the hazards faced by the crew forcing her to realize that not all challenges can be avoided. Her struggle to overcome decades of being dreadfully boring and unmotivated is a slow one, marked by several false starts and back-steps at times, but there has at least been some amount of progress. The fact that she's pursued a posting as a Valkyrie pilot – successfully no less - shows that Kanti is not quite so meek as she used to be. In fact, she's started to think she might actually be able to accomplish something with her life, if she puts forth the effort required.
Still, Kanti has a long way to go, and her middling self-confidence isn’t accelerating any improvement efforts on her part. Part of her still would prefer to keep her head down, avoid getting into anything dangerous over riding into firefights aboard an attack fighter, and return to the boring life of a shuttle pilot. The sole driving force propelling her to strive for anything greater than putting about in a shuttlecraft is the realization that several months on the Theurgy has forced her to come to: as much as she’s scared of failing whatever she sets out to do, failure is merely a possibility, not a guarantee.
Despite being of an above-average height, Kanti has a small frame that could scarcely be described as imposing. The pilot has no tattoos, scars, or distinguishing marks besides the distinctive Trill spotting running the length of her body. In the past few months, she’s made a small effort to work out more often and try to eliminate what bits of fat cling to her body, an effort that has paid off with a more slender frame than she once possessed. Her auburn-colored hair is cut short, though it isn’t always what one could call neat.