Xam Ra-Ti was born and raised in the harsh polar conditions of Efros Delta until his father, a trader and merchant by profession, was offered employment in a Ferengi firm specializing in the “interplanetary transfer of rare and hard-to-acquire items and substances”… i.e. a smuggling operation. Xam and his mother were unaware of the unsavory nature of the new employer, that is until Xam’s mother became ill and had to return to Efros for treatment. Xam’s father took the young Efrosian boy with him and, over the next five years, Xam learned a great deal about star ships, star ship operations, and smuggling. His father was very hesitant to introduce his son to this aspect of his life, but when Xam saw him talk his way past a Federation check point with obviously false documentation, Xam’s questions afterward gave him little choice. So, from the time he was eleven until he was sixteen, Xam assisted his father with his various tasks and errands given to him by his father’s Ferengi employers.
It was on a trip to Deltan IV that everything changed. Unbeknownst to the Ra-Ti’s, the Ferengi cartel that employed them had been raided by Starfleet Intelligence for smuggling weapons and illicit drugs (which the Ferengi vehemently denied even when they were arrested inventorying said weapons and illicit drugs in a warehouse owned in their names). In order to lessen their punishment, the Ferengi said that the Ra-Ti’s were the real culprits and had staged this run as a sting. When their ship landed, they were immediately arrested. In order to save his son from prison, Xam’s father agreed to testify against the Ferengi and supply the Federation with all of the ship’s logs going back to when he started as long as his son was not charged and had a clean criminal record. The Federation agreed, and Xam was sent back to Efros Delta while his father was tried and sentenced to ten years in prison. Xam was on a sort of unofficial parole, and not to leave Efros for the same ten years.
Arriving back on Efros, Xam had a difficult time adjusting. He wanted to be back in space, but couldn’t. And in pursuit of regular work he found himself somewhat of a pariah. It seemed word had spread of his previous endeavors, and he was refused employment with all of the jobs he applied for. Left with little choice, he manufactured a false identity and borrowed fare for a berth on a passenger ship headed out of system from his uncle, and left his family and his now-recovered mother in order to not bring any more shame on them.
Two weeks into the month long trip, the ship was attacked by hijackers. During the fight, Xam ushered passengers into safe sections away from the hull, and then made his way to the bridge. He was greeted by smoke and sparks from shorted power panels. The Captain was wounded and the bridge crew was in disarray. They were civilians and not geared for stellar combat. Xam had had some experience in situations like this, and leapt into action. Acting not out of any sense of heroism but simply not wanting to die, he picked up the ship’s Captain and put him by the command chair. Xam then took control of the bridge and began shouting orders. His confident voice cut through the chaos and the crew began to respond. Power was diverted to critical systems, and the ship escaped with significant damage but minimal casualties.
Xam took the ship to the nearest star base, which happened to be a Federation facility. When the ship had been secured and the injured addressed, Xam was asked by Starfleet Security to make a statement. Not wanting to draw attention to himself, he significantly understated his involvement in the hopes of simply blending into the crowd and continuing on his way. Unfortunately, his statement greatly contradicted the statements of the passengers and crew and drew attention to him even more. Security wanted to know why he had left out key parts from his statement, and his reticence to speak made them wary. They ran a full background check and discovered the falsified identity, who he was, and that he was in violation of his parole. They informed the Admiral in charge of the station, Adm. Jayce Wainwright, about the Efrosian. The Admiral gave orders to hold him in detention while he looked into what was going on. It took a few days, but Wainwright eventually found the plea agreement concerning Xam and his father. He called the young man in to his office. He was direct and tolerated no alterations to the events that had led Xam to his post. The Admiral grilled Xam for several hours, asking about his father, the Ferengi, his home world, smuggling, and the passenger liner attack. Xam was tired of lying and hiding, so he answered with complete honesty. Yes, he had been a smuggler. Yes, he had knowingly broke the law. Yes, he broke the terms of his parole. Yes, he had taken over the bridge and got the ship to safety. No, he had no where to go and no plans. When they finished, the Admiral sent him back to the detention bloc.
Xam sat in detention for two weeks. He wasn’t told anything, nor did he have any visitors. He resigned himself to his fate that he was going to prison and that the sacrifice his father had made for him was for nothing. As he laid on the bunk one day, wondering when the prison ship would arrive, he heard the Admiral’s voice. Xam sat up and watched as two Starfleet Security crew approached and the force field to his cell was deactivated. “The Admiral wants to see you.” one said. Xam was placed in restraints. There was no other talking as he was lead not to the Admiral’s office, but to the docking section of the base. Docked in front of him were two ships: a prison transport ship, and a Starfleet vessel. The Admiral looked at him. When he spoke, his face was serious and his tone intensified that seriousness. “Young man, I have thought long and hard about you over the past few weeks. One the one hand, your criminal predisposition gives me pause, and I think that this -” he said with a sweeping gesture to the prison transport ” - would be the most fitting solution as to what to do with you.” Xam lowered his gaze to the floor. He expected this, but that didn’t make it any easier to swallow. The Admiral continued “But yet here you stand, on board my space station, having saved the lives of dozens of individuals and rescuing an entire star ship. And that deserves no small amount of gratitude, no matter the self-preservation that motivated your actions. So you can understand my dilemma in making the appropriate decision here.” The Admiral stared hard at Xam for several minutes. As he looked at Xam, a single figure walked down the docking ramp from each ship. From the prison transport, a large Klingon with multiple facial scars; and from the Starfleet vessel a Trill wearing the pips of a Commander. Both individuals came to attention just behind the Admiral. “What you see before you is something few ever get to see, young man. You get to see your future.” Xam stood and looked confused. His future? What in the he- The Admiral’s voice cut through his confusion.
“This-” the Admiral said with an indication to the Klingon,”- is Warden Koltak. He runs a prison ship. And he is not someone to be trifled with.” The Klingon sneered at the young Efrosian and Xam’s blood ran cold. “This other is Commander Tess, Executive Officer of the USS John T. Hall. His ship is heading to Earth. Young man, this is where your future gets decided. And due to your past actions, it will be decided by the three of us, since you seem incapable of making sound decisions regarding your own well-being. We will decide your future. Right now. On this spot. Take heed, because so very few get to actually see their future unfold in front of their very eyes.” And with that the Admiral turned and walked away with the two star ship officers.
Xam watched them as they walked out of ear shot and began talking. After a few minutes he stopped staring and looked at the ships.It was the first time looking at a star ship didn’t bring him any joy. Now, he just felt unhappiness. Klingon penal ship or Federation prison? He didn’t which was worse, but he leaned in the direction of the Klingon. At least it would over faster, most people didn’t last long in that environment. After many minutes, the group returned. The Kilingon warden approached Xam and his heart sank. The Klingon stared at him for several moments. Xam returned the stare without blinking, now was NOT the time to show weakness. The Warden smiled and looked past Xam. “Aye, Admiral, I can see it now. Its small, but it’s definitely there. He may break before it can be brought out, but if he doesn’t break, it will most impressive.” the Klingon said with a hearty laugh. Xam was very confused. What was small? What did he see? What was going on?
The Admiral walked around and stood in front of Xam, Commander Tess next to him. “Security, release him.” Wainwright said. The guards released Xam’s restraints and they fell to the floor. The Admiral’s eyes bored into Xam. “Do not make me regret this moment going forward. Do you understand me?” Xam was almost shaking, but stammered out a “Y-y-y-yes.” “Yes, what?” the Admiral growled through clenched teeth, his face only a few centimeters away from Xam’s. “Y-y-yes, Sir, Admiral.” Xam sputtered. The Admiral’s face relaxed and wry smile appeared. “Good. Do not disappoint me. I will be watching.” And with that the Admiral spun around and walked off, Security following him, leaving Xam with just the Klingon and the Trill.
The Klingon was the first to speak. “Efrosian, know this. The moment you fail, and I expect you to fail quite spectacularly, I will be there. And you will belong to me.” he said with a smile that chilled Xam to the bone. He then turned and headed to his ship, closing the hatch to the docking gantry behind him. Xam was more confused now than he had ever been. He looked at Commander Tess, whose face up until this moment had been completely passive and unreadable. “Questions… Xam, is it?” he said in a flat and monotone voice. Xam struggled to organize his thoughts, but eventually calmed himself down enough to not stutter as he spoke. “Um, Commander? What is going on?” Xam asked. “Well, young Xam Ra-Ti, it appears you have just been selected to join Starfleet. I am to convey you personally to Earth and to Starfleet Academy. I hope you are up to the task, young one. The Admiral has put a great deal of personal investment into making something of you.” Xam stood there stunned. Starfleet? Academy? “Commander, how… what… why?” Xam finally blurted out. Tess looked at Xam for a long moment and then said “Because the Old Man sees something in you. So did Koltak. And if those two can see it, I believe them.” Tess replied. “See what?” Xam asked, looking at the prison ship and then the hatch back into the base. “Potential, Ra-Ti. They see potential and a fighting spirit. Again, if they say it is so, then I believe it to be as well.” “Why dwould you do that, Commander? You don’t know me anymore than they do.” Xam asked. “Because…” Tess replied, and his gaze looked off into the distance “… There was a time when they saw the same thing in me. I was in a similar position to your current state. And they offered me this same opportunity. So I will tell you, from first hand experience, do not waste this. The repercussions for doing so would be… most unpleasant.” The Commander straightened himself up and looked at Xam. “Come on. We have a bit of a journey ahead of us. And you have a lot of work to do prior to our arrival.”
Xam spent the next six months on the the John T. Hall, training every day with Commander and the ship’s civilian teachers. He was an apt pupil, diligent in his studies, and covered a significant back log of educational requirements in a very short period of time. By the time the Hall had arrived at Earth, he had completed all of his perquisites for the Academy. Commander Tess escorted him to the Academy and wished him luck as he finished the intake process. “I will follow your career with interest, Xam. You have grown much in the past few months. I still wonder if the Admiral’s assessment of you is accurate, but I am less concerned now than when we first met. Do not let us down.” Xam stood straight and came to attention. “No Sir, Commander. I will not.” he said, with a resolution in his voice that the Commander had not heard before. “Very, well, Cadet. Dismissed.” And with that, the Commander turned and walked away.
Xam was a great student. His two-year generalized studies flew by, and he finished first in his class; quite the accomplishment for someone who had had only six months of formal training in the past ten years. Xam chose to go the Security Section when the choice was put before him. The irony of enforcing rules to someone with his background was not lost upon him. In his specialization training, he also excelled. Graduating second in his class, he received glowing reports from his Cadet cruise Commanding Officer, who made special note of his aptitude for ships defensive systems and weaponry. In several war games exercises, his ship was able to last and even claim victory over multiple opponents simultaneously, and his abilities were cited more than once as the deciding factor. He was promoted to Ensign following the completion of his cruise, and stayed on to train some of the incoming Cadets in the Tactical Officer’s role and duties. He remained in this position for six months and, after receiving another positive evaluation, was transferred to the USS Viking as a Tactical Officer.
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