Captain Nelson Harrison
Captain Nelson Archibald Harrison comes from a long line of distinguished Starfleet officers. Before Starfleet was formed – when humans were still Earth-bound – his forebears served in the British Navy; all except the black sheep of the family who joined the Special Air Service. He is not mentioned in polite company.
Harrison’s career path was therefore mapped for him before he was born – indeed, it could be said that it was all plotted centuries earlier.
Nelson Harrison learnt early in life that there was no point in arguing about any of this. His father would brook no dissent. The Harrison’s had always served and the Harrisons would always serve. As was repeatedly explained to him, the family motto said it all: Redibo cum honore (I will return with honour).
If all that that meant was him serving his time in Starfleet then getting own with his own life, things might have been easier. Nothing is ever so simple. There was another side to tradition in the Harrison family. Not only did you have to serve with honour, you had to be seen to serve with honour. It was not enough to merely serve – you had to do so with distinction. As the centuries passed the bar was set ever higher by idiots carrying out reckless, foolhardy missions just so that they could stand out from the common crowd of officers and especially so that they could stand proudly alongside those Harrisons who had gone before them.
Nelson Harrison did not feel at ease in that august company. He was not a flashy officer in the James T. Kirk mould, leading from the front and never flinching from danger. He was never the athletic, adventurous type. He was studious, achieving good academic grades but to the constant dismay of his father he did not perform well in field exercises. Time after time he trudged back to base camp well behind his classmates. Nor did he socialise easily, preferring the solitude of his own company to the boisterous <i>bon hommie</i> of the mess.
He graduated from Starfleet Academy with excellent results in tactics and advanced xenobiology but while tactics might be useful, the Harrisons did not sit behind a desk plotting how others would manoeuvre; they got out there and got the job done themselves. As for xenobiology, that was never mentioned in Harrison’s father’s presence. He considered it a disgrace; besmirching the proud name of Harrison.
To make matters worse, Harrison’s younger brother, Napier – two years his junior – had entered the Academy and was excelling at all the things Harrison had singularly failed at. He was the apple of his mother’s eye and, to their father, the true heir to all that was good about the Harrisons.
Napier’s success rankled with Harrison. All through his life he had stood in his younger brother’s shadow. Now it was happening yet again.
Harrison rose slowly through the ranks despite consistently good reports from his superior officers. Meanwhile, Napier – with their father’s influence firmly behind him – was jumping ahead in leaps and bounds. It seemed he could do no wrong, shining with daring exploits during the Dominion War. There were murmurs that he was too rash for his own good at times and placed the lives of those under him in needless jeopardy. Father quickly quashed any such talk.
Harrison finally got his own command yet even here he has been treated as second best. His father, unable to stand the disgrace of an underachieving son any longer, used his influence to secure it but, at one and the same time, made very sure it was on a ship where, as he put it, no-one will be around to watch when he stuffs up! Anyway, if he goes out in spectacular fashion it should be easy to spin some tale of epic bravery to regain family honour. If he was set far enough out in the boondocks, that was quite a possible scenario.
Harrison went out in spectacular fashion but regaining family honour proved difficult. He got caught up in a coup on Starbase 102 in a lawless area of space known as The Triangle. As a result, he was arraigned before a court martial tasked with enquiring into the circumstances of the coup.
The hearing dragged on interminably while his family sat watching – the blank visage on his father, his mother radiating disappointment and his brother with that smug look he always adopted towards his underachieving older sibling.
The outcome was as expected. What the hearing was looking for was not evidence or reasons but a scapegoat. To avoid political repercussions with the Romulans and Klingons, Starfleet Command made a scapegoat of him. He was demoted to Lieutenant Commander and put on the inactive list until a suitable post could be found.
He was eventually assigned to Deep Space 12 for want of anywhere better to send him. When the previous captain went missing in action, he was promoted to commander of the station in a purely acting capacity. It was only after the wheels of Starfleet bureaucracy failed to turn that someone noticed he was still there and made the promotion permanent with the accompanying rank of Commander.
Harrison has served Deep Space 12 well. He has done nothing spectacular and that suits him just fine. He fervently hopes that such will continue to be the case.