Commander Noah Slater
Noah Slater is a brilliant engineer, but he's not really a people person. It's not that he doesn't like them, he's just not really aware of them most of the time. His primary function is to examine new technology encountered in the Delta Quadrant and to coordinate with the Starfleet Corps of Engineers to build anything that might be needed for the Delta Exploration Initiative.
Noah Slater was born into a single-parent home on the Luna Colony, in 2366 to Elizabeth Slater. His father was a musician, but his mother did not think that a mere pregnancy was reason enough to marry him; she made sure that Noah did not ever come to know him. As a child, Noah found himself spending much of his time in his mother’s office, as she worked on medical and biological research, so he was exposed to science from a very young age.
Even in primary school, he demonstrated an incredible capacity for knowledge, across most of the subjects that were taught in the Federation schooling system. By age 16, he had finished secondary school, a full two years ahead of schedule. After secondary school, he enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he obtained first Bachelor of Science degree in Physics, then a Master of Science, and then finally a Doctor of Philosophy during his ten years there. In that time, his academic skills flourished, but he never really branched out and socialized, and this was not helped by the fact that he stayed at the same institution for so long. While working on his dissertation on advanced warp physics, he worked on several projects for Starfleet Science, on deep space observation platforms in the Sol System, as a provisional Ensign.
When he finished his dissertation in Warp Physics in hand, he began to look for a suitable position, eventually settling on continued service with the fleet, after experiencing the vast scientific resources that it had to offer. He was admitted as an active-duty line officer after one year’s additional training in starship operations at Starfleet Academy.
His first posting, in perhaps an ironic move, he was made an Assistant Professor of Engineering at Starfleet Academy in 2380, never having attended the institution as an undergraduate cadet. Having been ensconced in academia all of his life, he thought it would be the perfect posting.
A personal lab with research assistants was perfect for him, but he found teaching to be very difficult, especially when trying to deal with students on a one-on-one basis. He began to realize that he could only explain things to people who were as smart as he was, and not all cadets were, so he tended to leave entire classes behind in the dust. Most of his contributions to the fleet at this point were to engine designs, which he reviewed and modeled with the Academy’s advanced computers. Specifically, he was responsible for the final audits on a number of engine systems and the design of a new warp reactor for Nova-class science vessels in their first-cycle refits.
Slater tended to get into disagreements with the Dean of the College of Engineering, who was one of the many people in the universe that Slater couldn’t talk down to his level. In 2384, the Van Buran, a Nova-clas ship recently refitted with Slater’s new engine was in orbit and in need of a Chief Engineer, so the dean arranged for Slater to be promoted and posted there Chief Engineering Officer, which was a complete culture shock to him. He was well-versed in the technical operation of starships, but being in charge of others and actually running one in theory rather than in practice was difficult for him. As little as he paid attention to other people and their motivations, he was well aware that it was an attempt to prove that he didn’t belong in the fleet, so he devoted himself to proving the dean incorrect.
Slater’s engine room was one of the most well-run (at least in terms of its mechanical efficiency, less so in terms of personnel efficiency) in the fleet, so after the conclusion of the ship’s three-year surveying mission, Slater was snatched up by the captain of the Galaxy-class USS Endeavour to command the engine room there. Slater enjoyed the posting to a larger ship, especially since he got to have his own development lab, but the addition of almost 400 people working under him was at best an inconvenience and at worst a major strain on his management capabilities. It took him several months to settle in to the Endeavour and almost two years before he felt fully comfortable there.
Just as he was feeling like he was fully in his stride, Starfleet transferred Slater to the USS Shanghai, given his expertise in advanced and experimental warp physics and training on slipstream drive systems.