Commodore Kudred Valyn
A philosopher and tactician at heart, the reserved and polite Kudred embodies many of the traits common to his two progenitor races. Harbouring strongly-ingrained views on the conduct of law and order, he is a committed Starfleet officer with heartfelt beliefs and a deep-set dedication to the Federation's ideals and the belief in the rights of the individual. A contemplative character, Kudred is nevertheless fascinated by the anthropology of the galaxy's cultures and races, and his sense of exploration has been awoken by the opportunities afforded by the Delta Exploration Initiative.
Birth and Early Childhood
Born in 2354 on Bajor as Valyn Kudred to Bajoran and Cardassian parents (since his accession to Starfleet, he has taken to using the Bajoran naming convention), Kudred never had the opportunity to truly know who his mother was.
His father, Gul Krenn Kudred, was the overseer of one of the many mining outposts littering the subjugated world of Bajor within the Cardassian Union. A career soldier from a wealthy and ancient Cardassian family, Gul Kudred Gul Krenn Kudredruled his region strictly and without remorse. A firm believer in the racial superiority of his people and their right to rule over others, Gul Kudred did not balk at the notion of taking Valyn Karem, a young Bajoran woman, as one of his many comfort women during his tenure overseeing the region. An otherwise austere man, the gul was careful to be discrete in his dealings with the young Karem. Shortly after taking Karem as is favoured concubine, she fell pregnant, a fact she strove to keep hidden from the gul. When it became impossible to conceal the fact, Karem did all she could to escape Gul Kudred and moved around Bajor as much was possible during the Occupation.
Valyn has little to no recollection of his first three years of infancy on his mother’s homeworld, before Karem was sold out by collaborators to the Cardassian overseers. However, the Prefect of Bajor was a political rival of Gul Kudred’s, and so rather than hand over both the Bajoran woman and her hybrid child, he made public the knowledge of the gul‘s bastardborn son and permitted Karem to ‘escape’. With the political backlash of the incident, Gul Krenn Kudred was forced to relinquish his role on Bajor and return to Cardassia Prime.
However, Krenn was either unwilling or unable to bring himself to kill or abandon his son, his own flesh and blood, and so despite the taboo it represented, he brought young Valyn back to his estate on Cardassia with him in 2358, and resolved to raise him as his own.
Life on Cardassia
Although Gul Kudred had not killed or abandoned Valyn, even at the expense of his own career (he had been informed in no uncertain terms that he would never progress to Legate, as had been expected), he did not raise him with love. Whilst he had everything provided for him and was raised with the expectations of a Cardassian soldier, Valyn was reminded at every turn that he was impure – not a true Cardassian. His siblings, with the exception of his half-sister, largely ignored or bullied him in their younger years, and his step-mother had nothing but resentment for the bastard-born alien that brought such shame to the family. Even so, Gul Kudred managed to preserve as much of his reputation as was possible at the time, and continued to serve the government in advisory and tactical capacities.
Throughout his childhood, Valyn was kept mostly within the estate but away from main family events. He was expected to study and prepare for a life of military servitude (as a rank outsider, still) and he devoted himself to this wholly. Although largely accepting of his half-breed nature and therefore his limitations in Cardassian society, when he was able to glean information of the wider galaxy, he soaked up the information, particularly when it related to Bajor or the Federation. During all of this, his father only paid him a modicum of attention, but would always seek to challenge his knowledge, making it clear that there were expectations of a gul’s son, but also that as a bastard, Valyn would have to work harder. Through all of this, even when dismissive, Gul Kudred would offer the solace: “But you are still my son”, for whatever that may have counted.
His older brothers joined the military before he was of an age himself, and the eldest died during the shortlived Klingon-Cardassian War, which only served to incense Gul Kudred’s hatred of aliens further. When Cardassia joined the Dominion and the war against the Federation, he deemed it a positive thing and was hopeful for Cardassia’s ascendancy as the principle power of the quadrant. However, as the war turned sour and it became apparent the Dominion was due to lose and they turned their guns on the Cardassian people, it was Gul Kudred’s second son that died as the Jem’Hadar began marching through the streets and military installations, scouring them of any threats. Although it was the Dominion who killed his second son, Gul Kudred remained committed that the period of democratisation and UFP involvement that followed was anathema to the Cardassian way, and he largely blamed the Federation and Klingons for what became of his world.
Raised with the views of becoming a military man but tempered by his (taboo) studies of other worlds and beliefs, Valyn Kudred – who had been appalled by the state of affairs brought about by the Dominion War – was among those most pleased when the Federation came to his world and information from beyond the Union’s borders finally reached the ears of the common man.
Despite the protestations of his father, Valyn Kudred charted passage from Cardassia to the Bajor sector, freeing himself for the first time from the shackles of his father, who resigned himself to an advisory role to the new civilian government. Seeking information relating to his mother, Kudred made contact with his maternal aunt and her husband, who were surprisingly welcoming to their Cardassian nephew. Although distrusted by many around, the ridges of his nose helped temper many concerns he faced during his short stay at Bajor.
At this time, Kudred struggled deeply with his identity. Having been raised purely as a Cardassian gul‘s son, balanced as this was by his own studies of extraterrestrial books and data, he now found himself on Bajor, surrounded by a new, very different family and unable to decide what future should await him. At the suggestion of his aunt after many discussions where Kudred spoke of his admiration for Starfleet, he sought out support from a local officer and submitted his candidacy. Within a few months, Cadet Kudred attended Starfleet Academy on Earth, yet another planet so alien to him.
Early Starfleet Career (2375-2392)
Kudred undertook tactical analysis as his primary studies (under the infamous John McBride), whilst spending two semesters within the xeno-anthropology course (an indulgent course, he decided, before switching back) and quickly displayed a strong aptitude for leadership and strategic operations, eventually placing him on a command track whilst studying. When it came to his cadet cruise, he was assigned to the USS Sovereign, where he had the opportunity to make the most of some of Starfleet’s most state-of-the-art technology.
Upon completion of his studies, Kudred was given the rank of ensign and in light of his training and qualities, was assigned to the USS Prometheus as one of the tactical officers, a vessel that engaged heavily in covert and tactical operations in some of the least hospitable environments. Whilst strenuous, Kudred quickly developed skills that were incredibly useful to Starfleet and his colleagues, and earned him a reputation as a capable and diligent young officer. Within two years, he was promoted to lieutenant junior grade and assigned as the deputy head of department. His time on the Prometheus saw extensive engagements along the Romulan Neutral Zone following the Shinzon incident, and a tour of duty towards some of the less charted regions into the deeper Beta Quadrant.
By 2382, Lieutenant Kudred had developed his reputation further and was being considered to more appropriately be posted onto the command track within Starfleet. With this in mind, pressure was put on Kudred to transfer into a command division role. Still keen to learn more of his mother’s homeworld, he opted for a secondment to the Judge Advocate General‘s office in the Bajor system, which had since been admitted into the Federation as a full member state.
After a year learning more of Starfleet’s regulations, Bajor and developing his knowledge base, Kudred was posted to Starbase 514, near Cardassian space and within the Klingon theatre of operations, as the strategic operations officer and given a promotion to full lieutenant. Throughout the next four years, Kudred engaged in numerous Starfleet Intelligence deployments in Tholian, Breen, Cardassian and even Klingon territory. Given his Cardassian background, however, more often than not his assignments resulted in numerous objectives within Union space, typically seeking out old Dominion sympathisers and True Way radicals. At one point, Lieutenant Kudred spearheaded a project devoted to destabilising and crippling True Way supply lines throughout the Union.
During this time, he spent most of his shoreleaves visiting Bajor, Cardassia and even engaging in some archaeological digs, harbouring a growing curiosity about precursor races and their relationships with early humanoids. Of particular interest to him were some of the races that existed at the earliest stages of proto-Tholian society, although access to such data was limited and his understanding was always amateur at best. Even with his growing career within Starfleet, his father was reluctant to return messages or engage with his half-Bajoran son, only responding with short letters or basic assessments of what Kudred’s sister’s family were doing.
In the lead-up to the impending supernova of the Romulan sun, Kudred was amongst those drafted to assist in the logistic and tactical planning of the shortlived relief effort organised by Admiral Jean-Luc Picard, but the synthetic assault on Mars in 2385 halted this, and he was instead directed back to his usual assignment aboard SB514. By 2387, Kudred was promoted to lieutenant commander and was the station’s second officer. When the Romulan supernova finally occurred, as had been expected and planned for, he was among the officers deployed to maintain counter-intelligence operations near the Romulan/Klingon border, to best combat any opportunistic elements.
By 2388, Kudred was offered and accepted a position as the executive officer of the USS Xu Shan, an exploratory vessel that was struggling to see its mandate through, following the horrific Romulan and Mars incidents that the galaxy was still reeling from. It was a year into this role, serving with distinction as he acclimatised to starship life once more and directly managing a sizeable crew beneath him, that he was promoted to full commander. Whilst on this assignment, and given the exposure they had to various civilisations and technologies, Kudred began reading pertinent logs of the USS Voyager, first piquing his interested in their exploits and the Delta Quadrant. Unfortunately, the conclusion of his tenure on the Xu Shan was marred by a diplomatic catastrophe.
Far into the depths of the Beta Quadrant, the vessel came under attack from a mysterious race calling themselves the Fen Domar. The horrific and repeated assaults on the vessel killed dozens of crew members, left the captain dead, and resulted in Kudred taking command of the ship as it limped its way back to the Federation, all the while fending off decreasing attacks from their enigmatic foes. After a few months of suffering these assaults, the Xu Shan and her surviving crew were brought back to base, but Kudred actively avoided another starship assignment as his next posting, carrying painful scars from the terrible journey into deep space.
In 2390, his career took a peculiar turn as he was personally chosen to be seconded to the civilian starbase, Lacuna Station, in the Iadora System as Starfleet’s liaison officer, reporting directly to sector command but taking him away from his favoured role and vessel, where he had developed fond friendships. His reception to the former Cardassian base along the old DMZ with frosty at best, but he soon ingratiated himself within the peculiar assortment of figures that manned the station. Kudred became integral to the joint local-Starfleet response to the mysterious and sudden threat by an ancient precursor race that rose to prominence through the underhanded dealings of a local corporation.
However, following the crisis, the station was mothballed and Kudred was offered a promotion and command of Deep Space 10, on the Cardassian/Romulan borders. Whilst the offer was briefly tempting, the commander’s experiences on Lacuna, the fascination with archaeology that had been reinvigorated by the extraordinary experiences of the Iadora system, and his brief stint with death that led to a yearning for home and hearth, he requested an extended leave of absence, which was granted.
Leave of Absence (2392-2394)
Kudred’s first stop following his temporary departure from Starfleet was on Cardassia Prime. Whilst tensions had returned to a higher degree than they had been since the Dominion War, courtesy of the Cardassian-Romulan conflict in the 2380s, he was still keen to meet with his family, especially his niece and nephews, who had not inherited their grandfather’s arbitrary disdain for outsiders. Although Kudred’s father had also found some restoration of prestige during the war with the Romulans and a reignited passion for disdain towards the Federation, he did agree to meet his son on one occasion during his stay on Cardassia. For the first time in their relationship, Krenn Kudred engaged in a meal and conversation with his last remaining son in public, although he insisted on referring to Valyn as ‘commander’, and wore his Central Command uniform throughout. The discourse was focused almost entirely on political affairs and military developments, and there was not a hint of affection shown.
Following on from his time on the Cardassian homeworld, Kudred arranged to stay with his mother’s family on Bajor, but this was only brief, as he had made a decision: he wished to settle a home on the planet. With the aid of his Bajoran family, a surprising amount of engagement from the local vedek and religious community he had become close to, as well as his connections to the Bajoran UFP JAG office, he was able to procure a small settlement close to his aunt and uncle, modest but serviceable for his needs. One of the most joyous occasions he experienced was when his eldest nephew and niece came to visit and stay with him for half of a summer, bringing him a Hebitian mural as a gift. Whilst they did not admit to it, Valyn suspected his father had actually had some hand in the priceless present.
Kudred also managed to charter passage through the Bajoran wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant to join an archaeological survey as an amateur assistant, even though it was a brief excursion.
Recent Starfleet Career (2394-2399)
Having settled his home and enjoyed the recuperative experiences of family and personal interests, Kudred noted the absence of meaning without his career and continued active service in 2394. Given his experiences and interests, he accepted an offer to represent Starfleet and support Ambassador-at-Large Sennek, a Vissian diplomat that had been drafted to assist in the Federation’s response and approach to the Alrakis Pact and its constituent parties. Being both an illuminating and challenging situation, Kudred often found his uniform a barrier to some of the diplomatic situations, but his efforts did not go unrecognised in certain circles.
Whilst on deployment near the Breen borders, Kudred received a dossier regarding the nascent Delta Exploration Initiative spearheaded by Task Force 38. With the accesses provided alongside the dossier into the activities of Task Force 38 in recent years within the Delta Quadrant, Kudred found himself surprised by how enraptured he was by the prospect and the plans Starfleet was proposing for the Barzan Wormhole and the Initiative.
Much of the Initiative’s preliminary planning and staff had already been set in motion, with a starbase and verteron array entering the integral stages of construction to facilitate more stabilised Starfleet operations within the Delta Quadrant, but Kudred successfully applied for a role within the Initiative. By 2395, he had accepted a posting as a strategic consultant to the Initiative’s command, intelligence and diplomatic quarters, with a special focus on the preparation of Starfleet relations with Alpha/Beta Quadrant factions seeking to make use of the wormhole, as well as strategic data for the Delta Quadrant races ‘local’ to the wormhole’s apertures, and the possibility for diplomatic engagement. He had the fortune to be present for the accession of the Barzans into the Federation, and has tried to maintain close ties with their planetary government since his arrival.
For Commander Kudred, the Initiative offered the opportunity to sate numerous desires and interests within him; he would be afforded the opportunity to experience and study firsthand alien species and peoples, as well as the manner of their cultures and nations, and could play an active role in the Starfleet protocols towards engagement. Digesting the reports of TF38 and the USS Voyager, it became a personal ambition to spearhead a possible ‘outreach programme’ within the Initiative to facilitate harmonious and humanitarian efforts with possible Delta Quadrant allies. Because of this ambition, the offer of a captaincy of a ship was once again declined to focus on the efforts he could make with the Initiative and Starfleet’s plans for the potential therein, but he was formally promoted to the rank.
As Starbase 38‘s construction was concluded the Initiative’s initial arrangements formalised, Kudred found himself most frequently deployed, planning and consulting on the Alpha Quadrant’s ga
teway to the Delta Quadrant, awaiting the first responses to Starfleet’s renewed mission to the furthest reaches of the galaxy. To that end, he was formally appointed the executive officer of the task force’s Alpha Quadrant headquarters, a capacity he served in for a number of months before a restructuring took place, and he was promoted to commodore and executive officer of the overall task force, as part of the new flotilla establishing itself in the Delta Quadrant. During this time, he became close with the curmudgeonly El-Aurian, Doctor Nathan Cowell, who had led a storied career of his own.