Captain Jay Lovato
Jay Lovato is a big old Navajo Indian, and I do mean way older than me. He remembers when the Peloran made Contact. Never did fight much until Yosemite plastered the Navajo Nation. His people called him Running Bull on account of his hulking size, and we…ran with it. He’s a lot faster than he looks let me tell you, and the Peloran actually agreed on the name, just shortening it to Bull. He’s one of six of us originals that survived The War, and he is Cowboy Nine.
Most of you have heard of Jay Lovato. Founding member of Cowboy squadron. Descendent of an original Navajo Code Talker. Son of the president of the Navajo Nation. Hero of a hundred worlds. A giant among men. Played by that Oscar-award winning actor whose name I can never remember. Smith. Lance. Something like that. Whatever. He’s a good guy. Jay. I owe my life to him more often than I care to admit. I figure I’ve saved his once or twice in return. He’s a good guy to have in your corner when the fighting gets ugly. Well, the fighting got real ugly a lot more than I care to remember, so I’m happy to say he was at my side a lot. Thank God.
Jay Lovato and all his fellows who volunteered to serve America never served in a single Navajo military unit. The Navajo Nation doesn’t have a military. The council claims it is for cultural and religious reasons. I think they just don’t want to spend the money on it. Whatever the reasons, Jay and friends became heroes of America. I remember hearing them grumble about their council, Jay’s dad always the exception of course. Believe it or not I figured out that was a good thing. There’s a lot of places where you can’t grumble about the government without getting you and your family disappeared or worse. So that’s good at least.
Jay Lovato is a mountain of a man all on his own. And his family is largely responsible for the Navajo Nation’s growth into the major economic power it is today. They’ve served as Presidents or represented the nation in the American Congress numerous times. Jay was a actually a hand-picked Senator before The War came upon us all. He resigned his seat and volunteered to serve, but the Navajo didn’t have a military. That’s why he joined the American military, and his position in an influential family is why he was guided into a small reserve squadron in Texas full of other influential young men and women. America never planned on deploying these valuable people in combat, but history did not cooperate with America. And that changed everything.
Jay Lovato grew up knowing he would lead men in his future. His family had for generations, and they trained him to be ready for it. The War made that leading role entirely different than anybody expected back then, but he had the training and the character to do it. I don’t say this lightly, you understand. He was a big, gentle, giant from a Navajo Nation that didn’t even have a military. But he fought the Shang when they came for us. He fought them and he survived everything they and their allies threw at us. I remember he always used to say that The War was not everything. It was just one of many things we had to do. And he always planned to go back home when those things were done. That’s one reason so many Cowboys followed him both during and after The War. He was the part of us that never stopped defending his home and his people.
All of us Cowboys had different motivations for joining The War. Charles wanted to tear down and rebuild his home. I wanted vengeance on the Shang for destroying my home. Jay Lovato volunteered to defend his home. He was the best of us in many ways. He certainly had healthier reasons to fight than some of us did. And the Cowboys he commanded in battle tended to reflect similar reasons. We all had exceptions to the rule, you understand, but his people generally shared his view. They were there to defend Earth, and when everything was done, they intended to go back home. And he and most of his people did exactly that after War’s End. Jay went home, but did not resign as a Cowboy. He maintained his command, and made it a welcome place for any Cowboy that wanted to come home. That made a huge difference for all of us.
Jay is one of the biggest reasons Cowboys are still welcome on Earth and her oldest colonies. He brought many of her richest sons and daughters home. He built some of the best Cowboy Country’s in known space. I kid you not. I’ve visited most of them, and they’re impressive monuments to the greatness of Earth and her very best champions. Open to the public for all to remember us, while also a home for any of us to stretch out and relax in. One of his missions was to make the Cowboys a simple part of life for everybody, so he volunteers us to march in county parades, show up on talk and game shows, and all the little things that most of us don’t think about. He does. He is a politician’s son, and he’s always looking for another way to show us off as normal people who bleed and die like anyone else born on Earth and beyond. He is a master at it, and we’re all better for it.
Jay Lovato walks a tightrope every day of his life. He’s a leader of the Navajo Nation. He’s a leader of the Cowboys. He’s the son of a rich and powerful family, with political influence throughout America and beyond. He lives and breathes Earth in all her flavors, and yet has to deal with all of us crazy yahoos who almost never come home. He stands between us and all the politicians and newsies on Earth who don’t trust us because we aren’t under their thumbs. I don't always agree with everything he does or says we have to do, but sometimes his hands are just tied. Earthlings don’t understand what we deal with on the edges of civilization. They’ve forgotten what frontier justice is, and sometimes I think he has too. But he always has good reasons for what he asks of us. Never forget that.
Jay Lovato’s battles are waged in marble buildings, in front of men in black suits and power ties. That doesn’t make them any less deadly than the battles we fight out on the edge of known space. Most of us could never fight his battles. There are powerful people on Earth who want us disavowed entirely, and he fights them every day. On the networks. In the halls of Congress. On the streets of small towns all over America. Jay has adapted to his battlefield, and his calm smile and ability to put even the smallest children at ease has kept all of us in the game far longer than. He works every day to be the gentle giant of Earth, the example people to think of when they hear the word Cowboy. He’s fought that battle for decades, and he’s fought it well. We all owe him for that.
Jay Lovato fights the Battle of Earth every day. He wakes up, he pulls his suit on, and he goes out to do battle with politicians and newsies who want to see the Cowboys cut out. He makes himself a living, breathing example of the Cowboys for the common Earthling. He reminds them all of the heroic actions we take every day to save worlds on the edge of civilization. Because of him, the politicians have never been able to disband us. We are still members of the American military, even if a step or three removed. Even my own crazy Cowboys are at least tolerated on Alliance worlds. And when people call for help, we can still fly in and help them without having to fight too many jurisdictional battles. Never forget the battle Jay Lovato fights every day to keep this true.
Jay Lovato is one of the most reliable men who ever served under me. He is a large man. A giant among men as some would say. A living wall as others joke. We named him Running Bull when he first came. It was a bad joke, but it was close enough to truth that it rang well. He is the son of a Navajo chief, trained from birth to take his father’s seat in time. And he acted as chief when his father fulfilled his term as President of the Navajo Nation. He knew how to lead his fellow man long before he volunteered to serve for The War. That made him a natural choice to help lead our Cowboys into the future. He commands Bull Squadron. Division. Wing. Fleet. We have reorganized numerous times over the years as our numbers have expanded, and Jay has always been there to take up his share of the burden. It is a burden he has shouldered well.
Jay Lovato returned home after The War, and though he enjoys his retirement from extra-solar activities, he continues to command his Bull Fleet with distinction. He and his people remain in Earth Space, where they fly the flag for everyone to see. When many of our other Cowboys are flying all over this arm of the galaxy in a perennial pursuit to find whatever they are missing, he shows the people of Earth that the Cowboys are always there. Always ready to act when an emergency occurs. Always trustworthy protectors of mankind. He guarantees that we are not forgotten by the world most of us left a century ago. That is an immensely valuable service to us all. Especially when there are those who would see us erased from history. Jay is an impressive bulwark against their efforts to vanquish us from all memory.
Jay Lovato commands those Cowboys who wished to return home after Wars End. Bull Fleet we call it now, and it represents those Cowboys who have most fully integrated back into Earth’s affairs. Jay has served as President of his Navajo Nation, and has represented his people in the United States Senate. He is a permanent advisor to the Western Alliance military, which keeps him in a position of influence on Earth. His people follow his example. They lead or influence business, family, and political empires on Earth and other major colony worlds. They are a living reminder of what we did in The War, and what we continue to do after it. And they are a recruiting tool. They live on the most populous worlds of Earthborn humanity, and they garner more volunteers than the rest of us combined. They are one of the greatest reasons our membership continues to grow as the decades go by, and that is all because of Jay Lovato’s calm and measured leadership.