|Brian Andrew Ratchford|
|[ Source ]|
Brian has a strong, firm jaw – square, but not overly so. Standing at around 6’2”, he is a tall man by human standards, and often makes other people, though average sized, appear much smaller. His size can sometimes become a tool in his duties, as when one is up close, and looking up at him, Brian can look very intimidating. His gene pool has proven in the past that he is likely to retain the brown colour in his hair for many years yet, and his equally brown eyes have a calm essence about them, while at the same time carrying that little bit of boyish recklessness about them. Normally cleanly shaved, he has been known to occasionally go for up for four weeks in the past allowing his facial hair to grow.
Brian Ratchford was born in 2350 to Neil and Sara Ratchford in Alaska on Earth. His mother died when Brian was only 8 years old, which left a mental scar on both him and his father for many years to come, and the two became gradually more distant with each other. When Brian started secondary school, shortly after the two moved away from their initial home in order to get away from the painful memories of Brian’s mother, he initially shied away from telling the truth about Sara, on one occasion even lying to a fellow school-mate that his mother was still alive. Eventually though, Brian couldn’t keep up the illusion, and admitted to his friends about his mother’s death. This helped in a large way in Brian overcoming the death of his mother, and accepting it.
Brian entered Starfleet Academy in 2368. During his time at the Academy, he made only a few really close friends; Vorn Krace, Alvrita Maluum, T’Shar and Jessica Rowly. Each would go on to excel at their own profession, and Vorn would progress to gain a Command in 2383, being promoted to Captain the year after.
During his time at the Academy, Brian’s key subjects were CONN, Security and Tactical. He graduated tenth in his class, and settled into the months-long wait for his first assignment.
His first assignment came in the October of his graduation year, and Ensign Ratchford was assigned to the USS Caesar as a helm officer. As a fresh Academy graduate, Ratchford was still very serious about his work, and loyalty and obedience to his superiors was his top priority. This is put to the test, however when he is given two conflicting sets of orders one year after graduation, the Battle of Sector 001.
The Caesar was a part of the Task Force which attempted and, with the USS Enterprise’s involvement succeeded in protecting Earth from a Borg Cube. However, while Admiral Hayes’ orders were for all starships to engage the Cube in the Typhon sector, Captain Michaels of the Caesar ordered the ship proceed in the opposite direction, away from the conflict in an attempt to save his own life and his ship. Faced with a difficult decision, Ensign Ratchford finally chose to follow the orders of the First Officer, who relieved the Captain of command for desertion, and ordered the ship proceed to the Typhon sector.
The battle did not go well, but the Caesar managed to survive the initial Borg attack, and followed the Cube with the remainders of the fleet all the way back to the Sol system, where the battle lasted for over three hours. Eventually, the Borg Cube was destroyed, and the Enterprise managed to catch and destroy the Borg Sphere launched towards Earth. The Caesar however was irreparably damaged in the final stages of the conflict, and drifted in space, devoid of any engine power.
For his service during the battle, Ratchford was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade, and offered a position as helm officer of the USS Tokyo, out near the Romulan Neutral Zone. Their assignment there did not last long, however as that was the same year in which the Dominion War broke out, and the Tokyo was re-directed to better assist in the defence of the Federation. Throughout the course of the war, Brian’s experience grew, and he began to learn skills of command off of the officers around him. He also transferred at some point during the conflict to the position of Chief Tactical Officer onboard the Tokyo – it is unclear even to Brian when this occurred officially, as he took the console during a set of battles after the serving Tactical officer was killed by an exploding console while the First Officer took the helm. By 2376 however, one year after the war ended, Ratchford was back in the helm seat, the Tokyo having successfully made it through the war mostly intact. For his initiative shown during the war, Ratchford was awarded with commendations and a promotion to full Lieutenant. Later on this year, Ratchford transferred to the USS Yorktown.
Ratchford’s service aboard the Yorktown followed a different pattern to his career thus far; he saw less overall combat, but showed no less initiative and ability. In 2381, he was assigned as the ship’s First Officer. Three years later, with an exemplary service record – though with a note that he refused to allow the Captain to accompany an away team in any potentially hostile situation – he was offered a new posting as a First Officer on the USS Carpathia; a starship which was regularly sent on more critical and dangerous missions, and required a reliable crew.
The Carpathia was only a small ship, but Brian's skills blossomed well there. The main of his four-year assignment to the Carpathia was one which lasted over a year; the ship had been sent on a deep space run to prevent a league of rogue Jem'Hadar Alphas from attempting to construct manufacturing facilities with which they could restart the Dominion War, and free the female founder from her captivity. Though the mission was successful, the Carpathia was involved in a running battle back towards Federation space and, whilst prevailing, was seriously damaged. With no nearby Federation facilities for repair, and many systems off-line, with crewmen dead, the ship had to limp home.
Brian spent much of that year learning how the engines and ships systems worked from the vessel's remaining engineering staff, and helping out where he could. He often jokes that the journey back was a year-long crash-course in engineering for him. His service record notes him as very adept at improvising with failing or damaged engines.
Upon the Carpathia's return to Federation space - via a distant outpost, which they had managed to limp to in order to contact the Federation, Brian was removed from the Missing In Action list, and sent back to Earth to await reassignment. When the feelers were out amongst Starfleet Command for a command crew for the new prototype of the Vesta-class starship, still under construction, Brian was one of the first candidates to jump for the chance. He was the only individual who sought the first officer's posting to be successful.
Over the following months, as the Vesta neared completion, Brian assisted the ship's commanding officer, Commander Palmer, in the selection of her crew, and the work required on their part in preparation for the ship's eventual launch. The ship's trial of the slipstream drive designed by Starfleet ended in failure, as the drive overloaded the quantum matrix after the first attempted course change, and the project - along with the Vesta - were taken back to the drawing board. Brian was sent on a temporary reassignment to Starbase 332 to assist in a tactical scenario between the USS Carthage and USS Jackal to help prepare the crews for potential Sojourner operations. Brian took command of the Jackal during the exercises.
Brian is headstrong, and on his way up the promotion ladder rapidly. He has worked hard to gain a position as First Officer, with the intention of moving on and getting a command of his own. However, his headstrong attitude gives him both a flaw and an advantage; at times he can be reckless. His desire to show initiative over the years has helped him to rise the ranks as quickly as he has, but at times he will take unnecessary risks, or ‘bend’ orders if he thinks he can do something better, or faster.
As a first officer, and a department head formerly however, he is a very strong leader. He has the natural ability to inspire his crewmates into action, and has a very quick-thinking mind, taking into account all alternatives in and out of the box. He will never overstep the bounds of his position, and will always leave the decisions which belong to the Captain firmly in his or her own hands.
Both on- and off-duty Brian displays a boyish charm which makes him easily likeable.
Strengths & Weaknesses
Strengths: Shows initiative, strong leader, a quick thinker.
Weaknesses: Reckless, sometimes over-eager to impress, sometimes will ‘bend’ the definition of orders
Hobbies & Interests
Brian enjoys jazz music, and is a proficient saxophone player. He can also play the piano to some degree, but again the tunes he knows are dedicated to jazz music. He has been known occasionally to play poker, but so infrequently as so he apparently keeps forgetting how to play. He is also a fan of theatre and enjoys cooking.