Sawyer West was a seasoned officer and respected astrophysicist. He began his career with the United Earth Space Probe Agency, joining Starfleet when the organisations merged, and advanced through the ranks until he was selected to be first officer on the latest NX-class, the Phoenix. A devoted family man from a long line of explorers, West was well-connected in the upper echelons of Starfleet and the United Earth Government.
West was killed in the line of duty in March 2157 during a failed raid in the Vega Sector against a Romulan arms depot.
Sawyer West is tall, well-built, classically handsome, and worst of all, he clearly knows it. An obvious amount of work has gone into cultivating good looks and a figure that suggest he’s just stepped off a Starfleet recruitment poster. Light brown hair is kept fastidiously tidy, and he prefers to be clean-shaven if he’s expected to make professional appearances. He speaks with a cultivated Mid-Atlantic accent, though traces of his Boston heritage are audible in times of stress.
A Boston native, Sawyer West is from a large family with a long history of involvement in space industry, his grandmother and parents having long careers in the United Earth Space Probe Agency. Dutiful, dedicated, and bright, there was no question that young Sawyer would follow in their footsteps. When he was twelve, an accident during construction work at the Calder Observatory claimed the life of his father. The fallout for his family meant Sawyer was forced to grow up quicker than he perhaps should, shouldering the emotional burdens of his younger siblings and his increasingly distant mother, who threw herself into her work.
Despite this reminder of the perils of space exploration, Sawyer attended the University of Princeton to study astrophysics, and immersed himself heavily in the culture and community he found there. He competed in college baseball and held a position on the student council, all while making close friends among some of the brightest scientific minds of his generation. It was in student politics that he met his future wife, Jennifer Gibson, though the two would not begin a relationship until some years later; in hindsight, Sawyer recognised they were both too busy and too driven to really notice each other and connect.
West joined the UESPA directly after finishing his Masters degree, and was brought aboard for one the organisation’s most cutting-edge research: the analysis of the findings of the Ferris Deep Space Probe, which at that point had travelled further than any man-made object. But while West did excellent work, he found large portions of the probe’s findings were already being outstripped or equalled by the manned deep space missions of Earth Starfleet, as the two organisations increasingly integrated and Starfleet ships ventured on further and further exploratory operations. West began to feel the UESPA was increasingly a research organisation tethered to laboratories and analysing the findings of probes and deep-space observatories, rather than leading or crewing such missions of exploration.
It was around this time he again crossed paths with Jennifer, a newly-qualified lawyer working out of Washington as a legislative aide. This time they hit it off at once, forging a swift but deep connection, and they were married in late 2142. It was at her urging that he consider his professional position, West so committed to his family traditions that he found the idea of ‘abandoning’ UESPA hard to contemplate. Jennifer encouraged him to embrace change, and so in 2143 he was one of the many UESPA researchers who applied to Starfleet and continued the integration of the two services.
The first seven years of his Starfleet career were spent close to home, on Warp 2 ships that left Earth for only weeks at a time, West balancing his scientific and professional ambitions with the need to be closer to his family. His daughter Penny was born in 2144; his son Bruce in 2148. But for this time he proved himself as a steady officer, leading multiple scientific surveys and proving he was adapting well to Starfleet life, with its emphasis on more immediate decisions and hands-on research.
West’s real achievement, however, came in 2150 when he was offered the post of first officer and chief science officer on the Daedalus-class Opportunity, which had one of the most significant deep-space exploration missions until the advent of the NX-class. Jumping at this chance, for five years he committed to the starship life, engaging in research operations in the vicinity of Denobulan territory and forging closer connections with some of Earth’s newest friends. The Opportunity was recalled in 2153 with the Xindi attack, one of its class to be refitted to have better defences as Starfleet and Earth alike considered the increasing dangers of the galaxy.
Despite his background as a scientist, West was among the voices supporting this shift. While his family had been untouched by the Xindi attack, there had been a long period of uncertainty as Opportunity raced back to Earth, and he asserted to colleagues that natural dangers or accidents in deep space were a very different risk than alien threats close to home. He had embraced the same lifestyle that had cost his father his life, but could not stomach such dangers landing on Earth.
The Rising Crisis
Opportunity conducted defensive patrols across Earth territory throughout the Xindi crisis and the rising tensions with the Romulan Empire. But West’s exceptional networking and political skills, which he harnessed to put pressure through his contacts to rally further support for the militarisation of Starfleet, caught the eye of Command. In early 2155, Fleet Admiral Hathaway offered him a position on her staff as a liaison to the Earth Global Defence Force, a role which suited West’s strengths eminently, and kept him closer to his family while he could make a difference.
But it was not the last time he would set foot upon the Opportunity. Starfleet forces rallied in late 2155 at the Battle of Sol, and he was one of the officers mobilised in the emergency, stepping in as acting first officer on his old posting through the battle. The Opportunity was one of many ships heavily damaged as a result, dry-docked and condemned to significant refits, a process West rejected an offer to oversee even though it was expected to end with him being given command. His ambitions were deeper, West confident that his time at Starfleet Command would result in a posting on a more prestigious ship.
When the Phoenix NX-08’s construction was planned, Starfleet earmarked West as her future first officer, one of the only senior staff members who would not be brought over from the veteran crew of the Pioneer. But the Pioneer was lost with all hands only weeks before the Phoenix’s completion. Soon after, there were some whispers that Admiral Hathaway would arrange for command to go to West, only for Admiral Gardner to first formally assign somewhat-disgraced Captain Natalia Lopez, citing her greater command experience.
West reportedly balked at the change of circumstances, but after meeting with Captain Lopez agreed to stay on as her first officer and Chief Science Officer. The Phoenix was launched a short time later, with many in Starfleet Command expecting West to curb Lopez’s worse tendencies, and provide the ship with a more reputable face.
For the better part of a year, West and Lopez had a turbulent relationship. They would in time grow to hold a grudging respect and understanding for one another. But this relationship, and West’s service, were cut short when the Phoenix conducted a raid against a Romulan arms depot in the Vega Sector in March of 2157. The raid was botched, with Romulan forces lying in wait, and before the Phoenix was rescued she suffered multiple casualties. Commander West was killed during the battle, his body returned to Earth when the Phoenix was at once recalled.
|2135 - 2139||Undergraduate||Princeton University||
|2139 - 2140||Masters Student||Princeton University||
|2140 - 2143||Researcher||United Earth Space Probe Agency||
|2143 - 2146||Second Science Officer||Gemini NR-11||
Lieutenant Junior Grade
|2146 - 2150||Chief Science Officer||Gemini NR-11||
|2150 - 2155||Chief Science Officer / First Officer||Opportunity NCC-19||
|2155 - 2156||GDF Liaison||Office of Fleet Admiral Hathaway, Starfleet Command Headquarters||
|2156||Chief Science Officer / First Officer||Phoenix NX-08||