Lieutenant Commander Reno “Reno-Gade” Van Straten
Reno Van Straten is six feet one inch tall, has fair hair and blue eyes. He is tanned, lean and athletic, with a well-defined face. He looks a couple of years younger than his age of twenty seven, a factor not countered by a narrow mustache and an occasional un-shaven stubble look. He has a ready smile and a relaxed manner.
Van Straten is positive, self-confident and very self-reliant. He has an upbeat, friendly manner and a ready sense of humor that he exercises frequently. He is able to communicate with officers, crew and personnel at all levels. Although not always in quite as an official manner as some of his supervisors would prefer.
He usually appears outwardly relaxed and gives a sense of never taking anything too seriously. He has little time for self-important, ridged, by-the-book, officers. This seemingly overly casual attitude has also drawn criticism from some quarters. This has been supported by a couple of reprimands for minor insubordination.
That said Van Straten is not above getting his hands dirty and he is willing and able to work alongside his team members when the need arises. He is also capable to of stepping up and demonstrating an assertive and a strong command presence if needed, although always with a touch of casualness.
Counselors Report extract: Reno was again late for his routine session. He acknowledged that he had made a commitment at our last meeting not to be late again and sincerely promised this was the last time it would happen. When reminded he had made the same commitment in the past, Reno was openly apologetic and did his best to be charming while consistently trying to avoid accepting responsibility for his tardiness.
During the session we again discussed his, somewhat strained, relationship with the Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Stolor. Reno was at first dismissive, when pushed he declared the XO to be “tediously boring stuffed- shirt, even for a Vulcan” as well as “a jumped up martinet, who probably wears ladies underwear under his uniform”. When asked if this was an appropriate way to describe a superior officer, Reno responded “Probably not, but then the guy is just such a pompous jerk” He then agreed that this also was inappropriate and undertook to make no further such comments. Reno’s sincerity in this will be reviewed in time.
We moved on to his evaluation reports and that the negative comments from Lieutenant Commander Stolor were adversely effecting his career. In particular a number of reprimands for failing to complete routine tasks on schedule. Reno appeared unconcerned and replied “Yeah sure but the Old Man; referring to Captain Jacobson; is the guy who counts, right?”
Indeed the Captain’s report does contain considerable praise for Reno’s job performance and abilities with regards to his flight control and piloting duties, which are undoubtedly well earned. However, the Captain also mentions that Reno could easily be well on the way to his own command, if he would only apply himself more. Reno responded to this by saying he was disappointed to have let Captain Jacobson down.
We then discussed his very positive relationship with the Captain and a number of other senior staff. Reno expressed his respect and admiration for those officers, while being ambiguous about his own career goals.
This Counselor believes Lieutenant Van Straten’s childhood, particularly the loss of his father, has a continuing impact on his relationships with his superiors. These being strong and positive with those whom he consciously, or subconsciously, associates with father-figures. While much less balanced with those he has little respect for. This disharmony will need to be addressed in future sessions.
Strengths & Weaknesses
Van Straten is resourceful, innovative and adaptable. When he chooses, he can show good strategic, tactical, organizational and logistical skills.
He is an excellent pilot and helmsman, probably one of the best in Starfleet. He has a deft hand on the controls and can fly most craft very well with just a few hours practice.
However, Van Stratenâ€™s casual attitude to other duties has led him to being branded an under-achiever and his evaluation reports frequently refer to him having much greater potential if he would only knuckle down and apply himself.
Reno Van Straten was born in 2365 at Starbase 467. His parents, Robert and Victoria, were both Starfleet Officers. He spent his first few years on board the Galaxy Class Leader USS Galaxy, where his father was a Flight Control officer and his mother an Engineer. With the outbreak of the Dominium War, in 2373, all families were removed from fleet vessels and he was sent to live with his paternal grandparents on the ocean world Helanica VII.
Although away from his parents, the young Reno had a very happy two years living with his maternal grandparents who were oceanographers and spent much of their time on board a marine research vessel. Through this time he developed a life-long love for sailing, swimming and the oceans in general.
The happiness ended with an official Starfleet communication after the First Battle of Chin’ toka. The USS Galaxy had been badly damaged during the battle and both his parents were amongst the many casualties. Orphaned at seven years old, Reno’s life had changed forever. Even the love of caring grandparents could not replace lost parents. A short period of depression followed, the young boy somehow blamed himself for not being on board the ship with his parents. This passed but was replaced quickly by rebelliousness and misbehavior. His relationship with his grandparents deteriorated and he had problems at school. Educational reports commented that he was of above average intelligence, but lacked the commitment and self-discipline to apply himself.
After two years his grandparents could no longer cope and Reno was packed off to Uncle Frank, his father’s younger brother. Frank Van Straten was a commercial pilot, single and with a wanderlust that took the pair from job to job and ship to ship. Hauling supplies to a new colony one month; running convoys of ore another; then delivering new civilian runabouts or flying orbital shuttles.
It would be fair to say that not all of Frank’s employers were running entirely legal operations and the teenage Reno was exposed to a slice of the darker side of life in the Federation. This included smuggling and running the odd cargo that might not have been exactly legal.
That said, Uncle and Nephew formed a strong bond and Frank became the father figure Reno had lost. Taking his assumed fatherly duties seriously Frank decided to honor his late brother’s life and began to steer Reno towards joining Starfleet. Taking a steady job piloting in-system transports at Alpha Centuri he enrolled Reno in a local high school and hired a tutor to help the boy catch up for classes missed in the past.
For a time Reno applied himself, quickly equaling and then overtaking his classmates in a number of subjects. Frank pulled some strings with Starfleet officers who had served with the deceased Van Stratens and Renoâ€™s initial Academy application was accepted.
Reno undertook the Academy entrance competition exams on Relva VII. He scored high marks on hyperspace physics and dynamic relationships. The infamous psych test focused in on the loss of his parents and was a grueling experience for him, though he passed it well enough. He also excelled at two unannounced surprise tests focused on command and leadership skills. The examiners passed him on to the next stage but expressed concern that Reno did not always seem to put out one-hundred percent effort. Though he scored highly on some tests on others he appeared to do just the minimum required to pass.
Reno moved on to the Star Fleet Academy Preparatory Program after six weeks once again he passed but again with concerns about his level of total commitment. After a one week break spent back with Uncle Frank, including a couple of serious heart-to-heart talks, Reno returned to take the Academy Entrance Exam. Â He scored in the top seven percent of that year’s candidates and began his Freshman year in 2384.
Taking Majors in Advanced Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics, with secondary classes in Security, Command and Flight Control, His skill as a pilot was clear and he was selected for Nebula Squadron gaining high marks during exercises on the Academy Flight Range. During this times rumors surfaced that a group of cadets were running some kind of gambling syndicate based on the performance of unsanctioned high speed runs through Saturn’s Rings. There was never enough detail for Instructors to commence a formal investigation but Cadet Van Straten’s name cropped up on more than one occasion. Other than this one issue Reno scored highly in the majority of his training. Although it usually less than his instructors would have expected.
Van Straten also became a regular on the Academy social scene and generally had an all-round good time, burning the candle at both ends between course work, parties and a number of student outings to various exotic nightspots. As well as several more risky cadet junkets. Reno always seemed to be involved in the more extreme capers and around this time he received the nickname Gade; short for RenoGade. Handsome and popular with female classmates, a number of girlfriends and casual encounters ensued. None particularly long lived, usually but not always, ending on good terms, Reno was not one to be tied down.
In his third and fourth years, when the work load and studying became heavier his previous erratic performance returned. He felt hemmed in and bored. In certain classes he continued to excel, while in others he barely scrapped by with a minor passing grade. He was placed on mandatory extra study courses and was subject to two formal reviews of his progress by Instructors, threatened with being held back a year Reno finally knuckled down and his grade average improved.
The turnaround came during his time aboard one of the Academy Training vessels, USS Armstrong. Hands-on active duty was more to his taste than theoretical study and he passed the program with distinction. Receiving extra credits for his flight control, navigation and piloting. Returning to his last semester and with the end now in sight, Reno eventually graduated in the top fifteen percent of his Class.
His first assignment as a newly commission Ensign was to the Flight Control division of the Akira Class USS Bushido and Reno spent a year aboard patrolling the Breen border. The ship was involved in a number of minor skirmishes with Breen raiders and he received a Captain’s commendation for his handling of the ship during one incident.
Promotion to Lieutenant Junior Grade, a new department â€“ Tactical – and a new ship followed, the Prometheus Class USS Sundance. Van Straten again did well, rising to be Alpha Shift Tactical Officer on one of the ship’s three Vector-Sections during multi-vector attack mode. His ability to link tactical and flight control into smooth and efficient harmony impressed his seniors.
Eighteen months later he was promoted to Lieutenant and became Delta shift Assistant Chief Tactical officer, as well as a senior helmsman. He seemed to have grown out of his previous mixed performance, his dedication and professionalism impressed the Executive Officer and Captain and he was recommended for the Advanced Tactical Training course back at the Academy.
Two months later he rotated back to Earth and commenced the course. He did well and was amongst the top six in the class, noteworthy in a training program where the wash-out rate was over fifty percent. The last two weeks consisted of a series of evermore difficult tactical simulations. Van Straten passed the first batch of scenarios and was running forth in test scores.Â
The training finished for the weekend and a group of the students, including Reno, headed to a bar. A few hours and a number of drinks later a fellow student, who had been a fellow Cadet with Reno some three years earlier, happened to bring up the prohibited shuttle races through Staturn’s Rings and Reno admitted he had been a regular participant and turned a few credits profit on side bets at the same time. While the group was laughing over Cadet high-jinx they were overhead by an Academy Flight Instructor who had tried to investigate the races and gambling at the time.
Early Saturday morning a badly hung-over Reno found himself summoned to the office of the Dean of Advanced Training. He was confronted by the Instructor who had overheard him admit his involvement in the races, the night before. He was carefully reminded that as a serving officer and temporary student he was still bound by the Academy honor code and under questioning admitted his involvement.
After a long interview he was instructed to wait outside the Dean’s Office. Some thirty minutes later he was back in. The Dean informed him that he would not face a disciplinary hearing, due to the time interval since the transgression. However, an official reprimand was placed on his file; he was summarily removed from the Advanced Tactical Training course and sent to the personnel section for immediate reassignment.
Ten days later a shocked and disgruntled Reno found himself transferred to the Nebula Class <i>USS Brunel</i> as a member of the Flight Control department. While the Brunel’s Captain, Andre Jacobson, was welcoming enough, Van Straten instantly clashed with the Vulcan Executive Officer, Stolor.
Van Straten considered Stolor to be pompous, ineffective and overly officious. While Stolor regarded Van Straten as reckless, arrogant and worthy of the nickname Reno-Gade. His relationship with the Captain and other senior staff was positive but being removed from the Advanced Tactical Course and the issues with the XO led to deterioration in his motivation and performance.
In an effort to get the young officer back on track Jacobson moved Van Straten to Delta shift as Assistant Chief of Flight Control and after a while as acting Bridge Officer. He was also sent to a series of sessions with the ship’s Counselor. Reno’s job performance improved and he was started on the Bridge Officer examination series to make the transition towards a future Command.
This was followed by a transfer to Executive Officer on the Marine Transport ship USS Hornet, attacked to StarBase Wake Island.
Shortly after arrival in the Gamma Quadrant Van Straten was promoted to Command the USS Hornet.
|Commanding Officer||USS Hornet|
|Executive Officer||USS Hornet; Starbase Wake Island|