Personable and popular, Sheppard has a way of disarming difficult situations and making everyone around him feel comfortable and appreciated. His strength as a doctor is his bedside manner, and he is adept at general medicine, having gone through a prestigious residency at Starfleet Medical. A former nurse himself, he has a greater appreciation for nurses and medical techs serving under him than many physicians do.
At 195 centimeters tall and weighing 95 kilograms, Sheppard could be an imposing figure if he could ever manage a proper scowl. When he’s not on duty or spending time with his husband, he’s in the gym. Working out is his religion, and he holds himself to extremely high standards of physical fitness, not for aesthetic reasons–at least not that he’d admit–but to prove to himself that he’s still at the top of his game. The incidental aesthetic benefits of his predilection towards physical fitness are not insignificant, however. With his olive-toned skin, jet-black hair, square jaw, and hazel eyes, he is classically handsome beyond just his physique.
Empathetic and genuine, Luca Sheppard’s greatest strength as a physician is his ability to put his patients at ease, both by being proactive asking them about their feelings and by being an active, attentive listener. While not bubbly, he is friendly and comfortable making small-talk to ease uncomfortable silences. Now that he’s married, he’s become especially adroit at turning down romantic advances subtly and without hurting anyone’s feelings. Like his husband, he is a perfectionist, but one of a very different sort: he’s never satisfied with anything other than his own personal best performance, while Lancaster extends his perfectionism to high expectations for everyone around him as well. Sheppard is seen by his crewmates as being either a natural counterbalance to his more high-strung partner or a confusing mismatch, but Sheppard’s loyalty and protectiveness towards his husband his extremely strong. In fact, it’s rare for him to be negative towards anyone except those who make the mistake of badmouthing Lancaster in his presence. He extends that loyalty to his friends as well, but even a casual observer can see that Luca Sheppard’s entire universe revolves around his devotion to Michael Lancaster.
Early Life (2366-2384)
Luca Sheppard was born in the Italian province of Verona in 2367, the first child of a family that would soon expand to include six siblings. He was always an athletic and outgoing child, choosing to participate in every sports team, athletic competition, or adventure that was put before him. For a hundred generations, his family had been adherents of the Catholic church, and so his upbringing largely consisted of traditional farm chores and religious catechism alongside his education at the Federation-sponsored school in the city of Verona.
In 2375, an eight-year-old Sheppard was herded into an emergency shelter with his parents, but not before he saw the brilliant golden beams of light lancing out from the Federation defense vessels in close orbit of the planet’s surface to defend it against the Breen attack. As Italy was not a primary target, his own homeland had little damage, but the memory of Starfleet vessels defending Earth from foreign invaders was seared into his mind, much like it was for many people his age.
By age 16, Sheppard was already 1.8 meters tall, and was always the most muscular, the fastest, and the most talented member of any sports team he found himself on. By 18, he was a full 2 meters tall. As natural and automatic fitness gains started to slow as he left his teenage years, he began to develop a serious and regimented exercise program, reveling in what he could push his body to do even more than in the results he saw on the field. It was from exercise that he developed his interest in physiology and medicine, resolving that he wanted to work in some field that would allow him to help others. He had never forgotten what he’d seen during the Breen attack on Earth and resolved to seek admittance to Starfleet Academy.
Starfleet Academy (2384-2388)
At Starfleet Academy, Sheppard was identified as being a good fit for the medical track, but he was put off by the idea of studying for a full six or eight years before going to space. He wanted to go out into the universe and see all of the things his conservative upbringing had not afforded him, and so he instead opted for the four-year nursing program instead. At the academy, he kept up his physical fitness regime and was a member of the European football, American football, and basketball teams during his time there.
At the end of his freshman year at the Academy, Sheppard was drafted as an orderly at Starfleet Medical to help treat patients brought to Earth following the disastrous attack on Mars by the Synths. This took up the entirety of the gap between his freshman and sophomore years, which was both exhausting and confirmatory of his desire in life to help others.
Sheppard was involved in multiple romantic entanglements during his academy years with individuals of many species and genders, with the cause for the relationship fizzling out usually being his own uncertainty of what the other party wanted from him. He was told often that he didn’t fit the long-held stereotype about what nurses should be, let alone what male nurses should be, and quickly found that observation to be annoying, especially when he started to realize that more people found him attractive for his looks than his brain.
His frustration at being underestimated pushed Sheppard to achieve even more at the academy, and in his junior year he was assigned to White Squadron, the specialized training unit for nursing, counseling, and medical cadets, through which he earned six commendations for skill, efficiency, and compassion. During his cadet cruise, he was assigned to a medical vessel along with the rest of White Squadron.
Early Starfleet Career (2388-2391)
Upon graduation as an ensign and a registered nurse in 2388, Sheppard was assigned to the starship Vancouver, a Parliament-class utility cruiser that mostly saw service in the sectors along the former Demilitarized Zone along the Cardassian border, assisting in logistical support and construction projects. Starship service was just as exciting as he imagined it, and he threw himself into his new role with relish and enthusiasm, especially in the first year of the assignment, but as communicated with members of his class assigned to exploratory ships, he began to wonder what it would take to make it to the next step–a capital ship.
After strategizing with his peers and the Chief Medical Officer, he realized that he needed more qualifications, more experience, and steely-eyed focus to get to a more important ship. He took all of the holodeck training and optional qualifications he could, earning credentials in everything from dermatological nursing to basic surgery assistance. There was a limit to how many opportunities he had on a utility cruiser, though, as things like trauma, surgery, and obstetrics were rarely seen there.
After eighteen months on the Vancouver in mid-2390, Sheppard earned a promotion to lieutenant junior grade and accepted a posting to Starbase 72, intending to spend at least a year boning up on his skills to get a real deep space assignment. While he liked having quarters of his own rather than living in a hallway, even a starbase that saw its fair share of Cardassian military traffic wasn’t all that exciting. He did become fully qualified as a surgical nurse, though, gaining not only valuable experience but the kudos of his superiors in the infirmary. After just three months, Sheppard learned that he had made the final round of selection for assignment to the Opportunity, an Obena-class explorer intended for first-contact service.
For all of his excitement and nerves waiting to hear back on that posting, the event that would end up impacting his life the most was meeting Lieutenant Michael Lancaster. Lancaster was awaiting the arrival of the Opportunity to join her as Chief Operations Officer when Sheppard handled the initial stages of his physical exam at Starbase 72. This was the first and only time that he’d experienced such an intense attraction to anyone, let alone someone he was seeing in a professional setting. They both hedged, but after seeing the doctor and on his way out of the infirmary, Lancaster asked Sheppard to dinner. They ended up spending the majority of the next week together, finding a connection that was more intense and more profound than either of them had ever experienced with anyone else.
USS Opportunity (2390-2397)
As luck would have it–though it wasn’t until years later that Dr. Alenis Anjar, Sheppard’s supervisor, admitted that he’d pulled a string or two to confirm Sheppard’s assignment after seeing how smitten the young officers were–Sheppard found out that he was assigned to the Opportunity along with Lancaster. While they told each other and themselves that they were going to try to play things casually, the genie was already out of the bottle, and within a month of serving together, they’d agreed that they were “dating.”
Service on a front-line explorer was exactly what Sheppard had been waiting for all his career and he quickly found himself to be a popular member of the crew. Learning more about the way Lancaster acted as an officer, demanding and perfectionist, contrary to the way he acted in private, caused him to raise his eyebrows at first, but he began to value even that side of the man he’d fallen in love with. After two years, both of them were promoted, Lancaster to lieutenant commander and second officer, and Sheppard to lieutenant and head nurse. For most of the 2390s, they’d be one rank apart from one another, but they kept such a strong firewall around their relationship from ship’s business that it hardly ever came up.
Still, Sheppard knew that he would never be able to advance as far as Lancaster would, and began to think about what the next step was for him. He enrolled in medical school courses that were taken over the holodeck and through other distance learning means, meant to help serving nurses advance to becoming physicians over several years of study. He didn’t regret skipping medical school the first time around, but he was ready for new challenges.
The same year, Lancaster managed to surprise him with a marriage proposal. They had been living together for a while and had been quite committed together, so the idea of moving to the next level felt very natural. They were married in a shipboard ceremony conducted by Fleet Captain Hayden, right before Lancaster was promoted to first officer. Following a brief honeymoon on Risa, Sheppard helped his new husband get accustomed to the duties of a first officer, which were a lot more connected to interpersonal skills than Lancaster realized.
Sheppard himself was promoted to lieutenant commander in 2395, as he continued to work towards his medical doctorate. Two years later, Lancaster was offered his own command on the same day that Sheppard found out that he had been admitted to a prestigious accelerated internal medicine residency at Starfleet Medical. Neither of them wanted to hold each other back, but they both found the idea of being separated to be completely unacceptable. In the end, Sheppard reluctantly agreed that Lancaster was right: they needed to go to Earth for Sheppard’s residency.
Starfleet Medical (2397-2399)
Though he had been a medical professional for over ten years at that point, the transition from nurse to doctor meant going from taking medical orders to giving them. The hours were long, but he and Lancaster enjoyed the time they had in San Francisco, developing a core group of friends and taking the time to travel around the planet. While they briefly considered staying permanently, Sheppard was just as eager as his partner to get back into space. Lancaster was once again offered a command, but he instead lobbied to join the Arcturus, which had a very large medical department, perfect for Sheppard to get his feet wet in. Sheppard became 2nd Assistant Chief Medical Officer, under Captain Alenis Anjar, whom he’d served with before.
USS Arcturus (2399-Present)
The Arcturus was an incredible ship, and Sheppard was excited for their long-range mission, as he and Lancaster settled in. As the result of losing a bet with his husband over who they’d be facing in a war game, Sheppard took and completed the bridge officer’s exam during their long warp journey past the wormhole into deep space, earning a promotion to commander in 2399.
|2384 - 2388||Nursing Student||Starfleet Academy||
|2388 - 2390||Nurse||USS Vancouver (NCC-70492)||
|2390 - 2390||Nurse||Starbase 72||
Lieutenant Junior Grade
|2390 - 2392||Nurse||USS Opportunity (NCC-83012)||
Lieutenant Junior Grade
|2392 - 2395||Head Nurse||USS Opportunity (NCC-83012)||
|2395 - 2397||Head Nurse||USS Opportunity (NCC-83012)||
|2397 - 2399||Resident Physician in Internal Medicine||Starfleet Medical||
|2399 - 2399||2nd Assistant Chief Medical Officer||USS Arcturus||
|2399 - Present||2nd Assistant Chief Medical Officer||USS Arcturus||