Lieutenant Junior Grade Melani Reinoa
Lieutenant JG Melani Reinoa, despite her young age, has proved to be a brilliant tactician. After helping the colonists of her border world of Angara fend off an aggressive occupation by Jem'Hadar shock troopers, the Federation took her and her family away from the poverty of Angara and set them up with work on Earth. Melani's entire worldview changed when she was introduced to what she learned was normal on Federation worlds, and it was this privilege that eventually led to her joining Starfleet.
Melani Reinoa and her sister Devna were born on a Klingon colony world in 2373. The colony, on the border of Klingon and Orion space, was home to both species, and while there was quite a large population there, the planet was outside the heavy traffic lanes that ran between the two powers. As such, it was a poor world, with 96% of the population living in poverty; a world where refugees often fled when they had nowhere else to go.
Melani’s parents fled to the planet in late 2372 when the transport they were traveling on was attacked by Nausicaan raiders. They had been moving from their home on Rigel VII to the Orion homeworld, as Hiran Reinoa had taken a new job there as an operations director for the Orion patrol authorities. The attack on the transport stranded them on the refugee world, and the passengers of the ship were all believed to be killed. With no help or hope of rescue from the Orion authorities, they resigned themselves to their situation and began to make the best of what they could.
Melani and Devna were born months after their arrival on the planet; their mother Arial had been pregnant with them at the time of the transport incident. Their mother knew they could not be raised as normal Orions; here there would be no chances for them to take up the traditional Orion female role. However, she did not want her daughters to grow up without a future, so she instead began teaching them how to use other skills. Melani learned how to cook and take care of her home from her mother, and her father taught her how to be handy with tools. She often helped him fix up their rudimentary home or any systems that would go offline around town. She happily studied up on anything she could involving operation and maintenance of all kinds of equipment, as the refugee town was a ramshackle collection of whatever the occasional trader happened to bring along. Through her father’s tutelage, she became extremely adept at operating them, even learning how to connect two completely incompatible systems through cross-circuit shunting.
Melani began to find a love for reading through the technical manuals she would obtain, and began to branch out into more relaxation-based literature. Soon enough she would simply read anything that she saw, whether it was a sign in a store window or an old ad for the “latest” medical breakthrough (these ads tended to be several years old by the time they found their way to the colony). Her parents recognized her intelligence and capability, now seeing in their daughter a new future beyond the terrible conditions of the camp to which they were resigned. Knowing they could never get off the planet without help, however, often caused them to weep for her, something to which she slowly became aware as she grew older, although she didn’t know why; the colony was the only life she had ever known.
Her knowledge of the outside galaxy, however, came swiftly and violently when, in the end of 2384, nearly ten years after the Dominion War had ended, the planet was assaulted and captured by a rogue fleet of Jem’Hadar shock troops looking to establish a foothold in Klingon territory. Many of the refugees simply accepted the Jem’Hadar presence on the planet, as it was not much worse than the conditions to which they were already accustomed. Melani and her family, however, understood that the Jem’Hadar were not to be taken lightly. Through them, however, the colony began to receive news of the outside world. Melani would read all the information she could glean; she began to learn about the other powers of the quadrant: the Klingons, the Romulans, her own people, and the Federation. She read the war reports, she read casualty reports, and she watched front line movements by slicing Jem’Hadar control circuits. She was also able to begin watching communications and messages from all the different powers, and with her unbiased view, she saw how truly terrible the Jem’Hadar could be.
Knowing that if they were left unchecked the Jem’Hadar would take over the quadrant, Melani took what she knew to her parents, who knew their daughter could see things in what she learned that they would not be able to. They trusted that their daughter was right, and they began to form an underground resistance on the planet. At first, the refugees laughed at the idea of taking the word of a nine year old Orion girl, but when Melani successfully predicted the first assault on a refugee camp and showed the group the Jem’Hadar meeting involving the discussion and congratulations on the plot to stir fear into the Alpha Quadrant powers, they began taking her seriously. Suddenly, the colony began to see what Melani’s parents saw: this was no simple Orion girl, she was capable, and with her skills they could drive the Jem’Hadar off their planet.
The underground movement grew larger until it had cells spread across the whole planet. As the Jem’Hadar began to feel the pressure of the Federation and Klingons attacking their outlying patrols, they began to attempt to force the Klingon Empire’s hand by staging assaults on the Klingon-Orion trade lanes, using the planet as their base of operations. This resulted in a Federation-Klingon task force being dispatched to the system, and that’s when everything changed for Melani.
The task force engaged the Jem’Hadar in orbit of the planet, initially fighting evenly. As the battle progressed, the Jem’Hadar kamikaze attacks began to take their toll on the Allied forces, until only a few Federation and two Klingon ships remained to battle the Jem’Hadar fleet, and knowing more Jem’Hadar were on their way to defend the core fleet’s hold on the planet, they frenzied a final assault in the hopes of breaking the enemy lines. However, just as the last conflict began, a Romulan fleet decloaked on the Jem’Hadar flank and opened fire, ripping a hole through their lines and allowing the Federation to break through, who immediately began deploying forces to the surface. The Klingons broke through minutes later, deploying shock troops to the planet. The Jem’Hadar reinforcements never arrived; as it turned out, the Romulan fleet had ambushed them en route and annihilated the fleet, arriving at the battle in their stead to turn the tide in favor of the Alliance. With the Jem’Hadar ships in orbit destroyed and the Allied ships beaming troops down in droves, the Jem’Hadar on the planet were quickly dispatched, with help from the refugee underground, who sabotaged the Jem’Hadar systems during the battle, leaving them completely unaware to the Allied planetary landings.
When the Federation troops met the refugee resistance, they were introduced to Melani, who the resistance spoke of as their figurehead. Her parents explained how she had been able to break into the Jem’Hadar’s communications systems and was the first to discover what they were capable of. As with the refugees who had doubted her at first, the Starfleet officers were skeptical of Melani’s talents. However, because the resistance had been vital in the defeat of the Jem’Hadar on the planet, the Federation took as many of the underground as they could off-world, taking them to Earth to be properly cared for.
Melani and her family suddenly found themselves worlds away from the dingy refugee world they had become so used to: on Earth they received medical attention for any conditions they might have picked up from the less-than-hygienic colony, and they were given proper shelter, clothing and food. Melani, who had never known life outside the colony, was amazed at all the things she could learn on Earth. She had easy access to news, reading material, and best of all, learning material. She blazed through everything she could find, as if she were making up for lost time. She and her family spent the next ten years living on Earth, with her father using his operations skills to take a position as a civilian systems contractor in San Francisco to support Melani and her mother and sister. Melani, meanwhile, continued her personal studies as her knowledge grew, and with easy access to Starfleet reading material, she focused intently on learning everything she could about Starfleet’s operational systems. By the time she was 18, she could practically build her own miniature warp core.
As she grew older, Melani began to visit Starfleet Academy, watching all the cadets sifting through on their way to becoming Starfleet officers. She began to consider the possibility of joining Starfleet herself, as she was already immersed in everything she could find about it. On her 18th birthday, she ultimately decided to make that possibility a reality and took the Academy entrance exam. She passed it with near perfect scores, unsurprising considering her intensive studying, and was initiated as a Starfleet cadet. Those she took the test with, however, suspected her of cheating; an Orion, rare as they were to apply to the Academy, had never had such good results on the exam. Collectively they submitted a complaint, hoping to get her status revoked.
This complaint was intercepted by an Academy senior, about to graduate herself. This Engineering student overheard the discussion between her professor, the Engineering school department head, and the Academy headmaster, as she was on her way to meet them for a special discussion regarding her status as the top student in her class. Boisterous as she was, Cadet 1st Class Samantha Rosso burst into the headmaster’s office and quite nearly demanded to see the report against this Orion cadet. Surprised by the outburst, her professor began to tell her it was not a matter that concerned her, but the headmaster, knowing that Samantha would be in a better position to understand the young Orion’s predicament better than her professor, authorized Samantha to look over it.
Samantha asked if she could see the Orion about whom the report was written, and she was introduced to Melani, who had only just heard about the report herself. She had been crying her eyes out because she thought that her dream was about to be crushed before it could even begin, but Samantha wrapped her arms around the girl and calmed her down, telling her it was all going to work out. She told Melani she had read the report and seen the test records, and there was no way she had cheated, and she and her professor were going to prove it. Melani thanked Samantha for her kind words, grateful that people she didn’t even know were fighting so hard to keep her in Starfleet.
It didn’t take long for Samantha and her professor to debunk the claims made by the other Academy hopefuls. The headmaster reviewed their evidence and the two cadets who had passed with Melani were immediately expelled, while the rest were barred from ever applying to the Academy again. When she was cleared of any wrongdoing, Melani cried so hard that she stained Samantha’s uniform. She was so happy to have met the young woman that she couldn’t imagine what would have happened had Samantha not overheard the debate that day.
However, the incident shed light on the fact that Melani was an outlier in the Academy statistics. Aside from those who had fought for her right to be in the Academy, everyone else simply saw her as another Orion female. As such, she became more careful about displaying her skills, intentionally lowering her grades to be more in line with her fellow classmates so as not to arouse suspicion. She also began to act unusual for an Orion; no longer did she carry herself gracefully or move with an air of sophistication. She began to purposefully act clumsy, attempting to guide first impressions away from her green skin and more toward other aspects of her personality. It became a trait she continues to this day, although she still must do it consciously as her natural demeanor remains the sultry Orion femme fatale.
Melani had more trouble keeping her classmates’ thoughts off her looks than she did actually passing her classes. After four short years at the Academy, she graduated as an Ensign, fifth in her class (she was aiming for seventh but did a little too well on the final). Her first posting was to the USS Cook, a Nova Class starship where, although she was brand new, she was forced into a high position in the department simply because there weren’t many engineers to go around. She gained a great amount of technical Engineering knowledge there due to her responsibilities on the ship.
Before her three years on the Cook were up, she was reassigned per the request of now-Lieutenant Commander Samantha Rosso, who was transferring to the USS Devon, based out of Bravo Fleet, and wanted a capable Assistant Chief to go with her. Samantha had been watching the Orion’s promising career and wanted to work together in a new frontier. Melani’s outstanding service aboard the Cook merited her a promotion to Lieutenant Junior Grade, and she accepted the transfer, excited to be able to work with the one who had made her dream possible.
Melani was with Sam when the attack on the Devon by the citizens of New Avia took place. As a result, she was kidnapped with the other survivors of the assault and taken under their grand palace to be stored as food for when their supply ran low.
Melani’s experience from her youth on the Klingon border colony were both beneficial and detrimental to her health during the months of the crew’s captivity under the Avians. While she was experienced in fighting for survival and was able to teach the remaining crew some of her skills, the harrowing experience of watching her friends taken away one by one to be consumed by the Avians nearly broke her mind. It was only through the support and compassion of Sam, her closest friend, that she was able to retain her sanity long enough for a rescue party from the USS North Star to arrive.
The rescuers, led by another survivalist, Lieutenant Commander Talisya Tyrani, took the crew away from New Avia and rehabilitated them aboard the North Star before the ship’s return to Starbase 219. Most of the crew departed, but when Sam decided to accept Captain Song’s proposal of Executive Officer, Sam requested that Melani remain aboard as well as a mission advisor, since her high intelligence and vital survival skills were the core of the Devon crew’s survival in the Avian prison. Melani agreed to remain onboard so that she could continue to work with Sam.
|Assistant Chief Engineer||USS Cook|
Lieutenant Junior Grade
|Assistant Chief Engineer||USS Devon|
Lieutenant Junior Grade
|Mission Advisor||USS North Star|