Captain Ibrahim Tau
A well-decorated officer, Captain Tau is part of the new breed of commander who emerged in the shadows of the Dominion War. A hawkish and hard-nosed leader, he is more likely to secure Federation interests with gunboat diplomacy and firebrand conviction, and has been given assignments to reflect these talents. While this makes him incurious as a Starfleet captain, he has shaped himself as protector rather than explorer, and is uncompromising in ensuring the Federation's strength and principles are upheld.
Born on the colony world of Taurus IV, Ibrahim Tau had a difficult childhood on the fringes of Federation space, growing up near the borders of Orion territory. Of secondary importance to Starfleet’s strategic concerns, the region struggled with problems of smuggling, illicit trade, and criminal activities trying to seep into the Federation, and this coloured young Ibrahim’s life.
Enlistment in Starfleet was an escape from this. It took his own form of rebellion from his family and their ways, resisting by being a model student in a deviant world. For all of this, his mismatched education and naturally independent lifestyle saw him coast through his first three years at the Academy in the bottom quarter of his class. This changed only on his midshipman year, posted to a patrol boat on the Cardassian border during an unexpected spike in the conflict. Cadet Tau demonstrated an enormous aptitude under pressure, and the experience improved him all-round as an officer candidate. While it was too late for him to completely reverse his fortunes in the Academy, his final grades were considerably higher and he received an award in acknowledgement of his improvement and potential.
This continued throughout his first assignment, where he was soon promoted to Chief Helm Officer in light of his talents. But it was on the USS Merrimack where he proved himself as an officer, serving in the Klingon and Dominion Wars as senior staff. Decorated for bravery on multiple occasions, Tau acted both as helmsman and a regular, successful leader of dangerous away missions. At the final Battle of Cardassia, the Merrimack was struck by a Jem’hadar fighter and the crew forced to abandon ship, one of the very last casualties of the war. Tau was, by sheer chance, one of the very few survivors.
The toll the war had taken on experienced officers made Tau a strong candidate for advancement, and he was posted swiftly to the USS Athena as executive officer. The Athena’s captain was a mild-mannered diplomat, and the ship was sent first on recovery missions along the Cardassian border, then a deep-space exploration mission. Tau and his new CO clashed repeatedly, both on how to conduct missions of mercy and missions of discovery, with Tau proving himself part of the new breed of Starfleet: the aggressive, assertive officer forged in war. His approach seemed vindicated in 2382, when the Athena conducted a mission of first contact which ended in violence; Tau’s hawkish precautions meant the crew were not taken unawares, and while there was a loss of life on the other side, the Athena emerged relatively unscathed.
An investigation followed, the Athena’s CO claiming Tau’s militaristic preparations had provoked the attack, but no evidence for this was found from interviews with the grateful crew. Tau was instead lauded for his vigilance, promoted and given his own command; the Steamrunner-class USS Firebrand. Assigned primarily to internal peacekeeping, the Firebrand spent four long years hunting pirates and raiders from along Federation shipping lines and borders, including a prolonged period in the sectors where Tau had grown up. He cemented his reputation there as hawkish and uncompromising, but a man to get results to problems from which other Starfleet officers might shy.
His promotion to Captain was not uncontroversial, nor was his assignment to the Galaxy-class USS Endeavour. It was felt an officer of his material should be sent to a more martial ship, rather than one of the great staples of Starfleet’s exploration, and yet she was not the most advanced class; impressive, but some twenty years old by then. It was here that Tau, however, forged one of the more successful Starfleet crews of the decade. With some of the young senior staff of the Firebrand and fresh faces, Captain Tau and the USS Endeavour embarked upon prolonged operations in the aftermath of the Hobus disaster and then on the disrupted Klingon and Gorn borders.
Fresh from a highly-decorated campaign in the Gorn conflict, Starfleet’s concerns regarding colonies in the Gavarian Corridor saw them seeking to commit fresh resources. As a hard-nosed negotiator and one of Starfleet’s leading hawkish captains, Ibrahim Tau was seen as fine choice to protect Federation interests and keep the peace with the Cardassians – at the end of a phaser bank if necessary.