Lieutenant Commander Manaan
He is currently cheerleader in chief of the 'Long Jump' Project, a plan to not only pierce the galactic barrier but to provide for an ongoing research mission out into the local globular clusters of the Milky Way Galaxy. This project has been a fight that has seen his career prospects plummet, as a CO with his eyes on a prize, not his mission tends to be a bad commanding officer. Left on the bench as it were, he's become an avid and savvy negotiator amid Starfleet's many planning offices and working groups, seeking out strange new allies, and going where no paper pusher has gone before. This dogged refusal to let the dream die has earned him a reputation. For good or bad, who knows?
If someone was to make a Stock Photo version of a Starfleet Officer, Manaan would fit the bill a little too neatly.
He was average for his class at the Academy, and his service jacket reads like an exceedingly well-travelled catalogue of stations, starships, and outposts. He stood out just enough from his peer’s to gain promotions as time drew on, but he never seemed to grasp ahold of any particular interest. Commanding officers often tried to mentor him into more challenging roles, so that he might reach his full potential.
Until, one day, Luetenant Manaan was assigned to the Starfleet Mothball Fleet, a place where middling officers go to make room for the next generation of Picard’s and Janeways. Stationed around Mars, the Mothball Fleet was where Starfleet sent officers and ships to rust into retirement, and to keep a healthy surplus of steel and bodies in case another disaster arose from distant shores. It was here that Manaan brushed shoulders with the Ronin class refit project, and where the real danger entered his career.
He saw, for the first time, the potential of what had been thrown away. Small vessels, modern designs, outfitted for exploration in a way that no starship had been since the days of Kirk and Archer. The original draft of his proposal was laughed down, as the idea that such a mongrel class would be no good at anything other than draining resources from new shipbuilding. It was at that meeting where, well no one laughed at him, he bumped into another failed project leader going the opposite direction. This collision ended with drinks at a bar, because what goes better with shattered dreams than whisky for a light weight?
Manaan found a new friend in Maxamillion Stratz, and whilst his dreams of refitting forgotten hulls to go adventuring had seemed crazy to some, to Max they were perfect! Self-contained exploratory starships, able to sustain and maintain themselves beyond the lifeguard range of a Starbase or fleet tender. They sounded perfect for the Long Jump Project, which had all the mathematical proofs and paperwork to prove it would work to open a door through an unbreakable barrier.
Together a forgotten officer and a mad scientist convinced first a Commodores assistant, and then a Vice Admirals aide, and soon began a tag team effort to get someone to look at their idea as something other than a pitty request. The Ronin class were ideal long-range explorers, with large crew recreation facilities for psychological restoration and similarly large engineering workspaces for the fabrication of anything their mission would require. They represented a chance to expand the knowledge base of Starfleet with a minimum expenditure of cost in resources and manpower.
Manaan’s vision called for three ships to form a vanguard for a new wave of exploration.
Manaan settled for one ship, which took him nearly three years to wrangle out from Starfleet’s thumb.
A ship that, until it arrived at the jumping off point, was still being put together with many of its secondary mission systems still in boxes marked ‘Some Assembly Required’.
But Manaan finally had found his calling. A calling that would take him beyond the bounds of the Milky Way galaxy, leading a ship of fools who either had nowhere to go or were as idealistic as he was.
It was either the beginning of a legend or a really good ghost story Admirals tell around a burning Ensign on cold nights. Only time will tell.