Captain Zack Marshall-Bennet
Zachary Alexander Jonas Marshall-Bennet (also known as Zack) has been one of the rising stars within Starfleet for some time now. Commanding a number of ships that have worked within Federation territory and along its frontier borders, Marshall-Bennet has built a popular reputation for himself as a can-do sort of captain that existed in Starfleet back in the 2360s. Known publicly on many Federation worlds for his extraordinary diplomatic skill and tactical guile which has resulted in many giving him the nickname of being the Jean-Luc Picard of his generation. Being one of the first captains on the scene after the Synth Attack on Mars, Zack is no stranger to helping those in need. Thanks to the efforts of his crew and leadership they were able to save over twenty thousand souls.
Zack was born on 21st March 2350 to Judith Marshall-Bennet, an accomplished Starfleet captain and Nicholas Marshall-Bennet a renowned diplomat. Zack’s early life was exciting as he grew up on the Excelsior-class starship USS Britannia with his mother and younger brother, Johnathan Marshall-Bennet. Due to the nature of his father’s work, the Marshall-Bennet brothers had barely any interaction with him. That said the love their father had for them was huge and he would always call or send a daily message to them.
Eventually in 2362, Zack’s parents decided they required a change of scenery to allow their sons time to grow up on Earth and have a normal childhood on the home planet. In the following year they welcomed the arrival of their third child, a sister called Hannah. While his mother taught at Starfleet Academy and Nicholas worked with the Federation diplomatic corps in Paris, Zack attended secondary school in San Francisco, California.
When he was fifteen Zack was known as the sporty one out of his family, he was the captain of the football squad and captain of the school basketball team. At this age his parents called it his maturing stage, he became very protective of his younger brother, Jonathan. At one time he stood up for his brother in getting into a fight with two older teenager boys at his school. His brother never found out but Zack had suffered from several bruises, a broken jaw and a torn ligament in his knee (when he had jumped kicked one of the bullies and landed awkwardly). Before his parents arrived at the school he had already been treated for most of his injuries though he was able to harm the older boys and made them think twice from harassing Jonathan again.
For his sixteenth birthday his mother took him on his first trip outside of Earth and, took him to Mars to see the Utopia Planitia Shipyards. Zack had always believed that day was his most memorable. When he was preparing to leave high school he was offered positions at a number of sporting colleges on Earth. He attended one in the south of France for several months before deciding to quit at the horror of his parents who both thought it would be the greatest experience for their keen sportsman of a son. When he told his parents what he wanted to do, it split them both up on the choice of his new career. He wanted to join Starfleet Academy. His mother already a long serving Starfleet Officer encouraged it however his father was not best pleased. This led to several arguments between father and son, ending with Zack not talking to his father for over five years.
Entering Starfleet Academy in 2368 was a great time for the new cadet as the Federation was in a stage of exploration and continued peace. At the academy he became interested in his science lessons, mainly cultural anthropology, languages and an interest in Starfleet History. He remained active with his sports by becoming the captain of the velocity team and he even resurrected basketball as a league sport to be played at the academy. Cadet Zack Marshall-Bennet led many of the groups he was part of for his various subjects, which impressed his instructors and professors. He was persuaded in to taking his command lessons at a more advanced and intense level. After the Academy he was sent straight to Starfleet Command School for one year.
After being assigned to the USS Farragut (NCC-60597) in 2373, as the new cultural anthropologist specialist, Zack had not expected that his service to the Nebula-class ship would be short-lived. As war had erupted between the Federation and Klingon Empire the year before, Zack had not expected to participate in the brutality of conflict due to his position. Sadly his hopes had been crushed when he led an away mission away from the Farragut to assist researchers on duck blind mission. His team were sent to deliver supplies and assist them with cataloguing their data collected so far on a pre-warp civilisation in the Lembatta Cluster. However when his captain informed him that the Farragut was going to pick them up earlier than planned to assist Starfleet forces at Ajilon Prime, Zack was in mid-conversation when contact with the ship was lost. Worried about what happened to the Farragut, Zack decided to pack up the duck blind mission and use the runabout they had to investigate. A few days later they found the remains of the Farragut. After rescuing a few survivors from the ship, as the ranking officer Zack decided they would head to Ajilon Prime as it was the nearest planet they could reach before their own supplies ran out. They arrived in time to provide assistance to the Starfleet contingent that were trying to push the Klingons off the world. Zack was commended for his decision and for ensuring that his team did not lose a single soul. After the ceasefire with the Klingon Empire was reinstated, Zack and the remaining Farragut survivors were debriefed at the Starfleet base at Tanandra Bay.
Assigned to the Excelsior-class USS Tucker (NCC-44277) shortly after leaving Ajilon Prime, Lieutenant junior grade Zack Marshall-Bennet was assigned as chief science officer. His time on the Tucker would be one where he enjoyed the most amount of his freedom in pursuing a range of projects. He developed a strong bond with his commanding officer, Captain Ronald Hoffman, who was a former scientist himself. Hoffman became a somewhat of a mentor to Zack. During a mapping mission in the Typhon Expanse, the Tucker was ordered to join the Starfleet battle fleet being assigned under the command of Vice Admiral Hayes to fight an incoming Borg Cube.
The Tucker sustained heavy damage during the opening moments of the engagement with the Borg Cube. Hoffman and a majority of the senior staff had been killed or were injured. The ship was barely holding it together. As it was now defenceless (it’s weapon arrays were destroyed), Bennet was forced to take command. Unable to pursue the Cube like others in the fleet, Bennet took the decision to use the Tucker to save those ship that had been left damaged and disabled in the wake of the Borg Cube. Leading a number of the rescue missions himself, Bennet once again found himself in the middle of helping his fellow comrades who had fallen and needed saving. Without its warp core (it had been ejected and used as a weapon against the Borg), the Tucker remained with the broken remains of the fleet until other ships arrived. The nightmare of seeing the Borg rip through the fleet so carefree haunted his dreams for several months.
Seeing the need to join a ship that can make a difference to the people of the Federation, instead of one that was out in deep space, Zack made the request to transfer from the Tucker and to one of the utility cruisers that were often seen within Federation territory. He was placed as second officer and chief diplomatic and protocol officer on board the California-class USS Clayton (NCC- 75569). The Clayton’s primary missions were second contact and diplomatic support.
Under the command of Commander Jennifer Clements, the Clayton was engaged in numerous missions that had political ramifications for the internal workings of the Federation and its member worlds. With the Borg invasion dealt with and the rising tension of the Dominion on the horizon, the Clayton was used a lot to assist in calming numerous governments. It was also instrumental in deploying improved planetary defence networks on many Federation worlds.
When war seemed inevitable, Clements lost her first officer as they took up command of their own ship as well as a number of others on her senior staff. Making Bennet her first officer and putting him through the advanced bridge exam, she showed Bennet everything she knew as a leader. At the tender age of 24, he was still quite young and when war was declared against the Dominion the nature of the ship’s mission changed dramatically.
Starfleet ordered the Clayton to return to dry-dock for some changes and a small refit. The refit included an improved shielding system along with more systems to allow the ship to become one of the first in its class to perform not only diplomatic support but engineering too. It, along with others in the class, would be modified to deal with undertaking missions within the Federation and near to the frontlines that would relieve other ships to form a bulk of Starfleet’s battle fleet.
The Clayton continued its mission of preparing member worlds in case they were attacked by the Dominion. This continued well into 2374 and the Clayton was assigned to help with defensives on Kaelon II. Being a non-member world the need to develop a strong diplomatic repertoire was important for the ship’s success in its mission. This was something that Zack was heavily involved with alongside Captain Clements. During this mission, one where they had made big inroads with the Kaelon government something that had not been achieved for almost five years now, the crew were informed of the Dominion invasion of Betazed. Commander Clements was devastated at the news as Betazed was the next system the Clayton was meant to visit. She had delayed their departure due to the developments they had made with the Kaelons. Clements blamed herself for the Dominion victory over one of the Federation’s oldest members, this resulted in Zack having to step up again in commanding the ship while its skipper distanced herself from the rest of the crew.
Before the end of the war, the ship was on a re-supply mission in orbit of Earth when the Breen launched their daring raid against Earth. Being one of the few ships available to assist in defending the Federation’s capital, the Clayton stepped up to the mark. The ship did take heavy damage but it was Lieutenant Zack Marshall-Bennet who noticed a weakness in the Breen’s shielding system that allowed for Starfleet ships to quickly cripple their cruiser with a full spread of quantum torpedoes. After taking control of the ship’s tactical systems, he had brief noticed the weakness after mistakenly running a full spectral analysis on their deflector dish. The feedback showed how their shields were not as strong in a particular area of the ventral side. After requesting permission from the newly promoted Captain Clements to see if he was right, Zack had programmed the Clayton’s targeting scanners onto the weak spot and launched its remaining quantum torpedoes. The attack was a success and after relying the information to the rest of the fleet, they were able to remove the Breen task force within moments. Sadly though the attack had devastated Starfleet Command. Again stepping up to the mark, the crew of the Clayton would be the first one to respond to the scene with its first officer leading the first few teams to head down to Earth.
While trying to find survivors, Zack lead a team towards the offices he knew his mother worked in and he was grateful to find her alive and well. Being one of the few admirals who had survived, she took Zack and his team towards the command bunker under headquarters to begin coordinating relief efforts at once. For his work as her ‘acting adjutant’, he was offered to join her team on a fulltime basis. She needed a new chief of staff and felt he would be a great choice. Not wanting to upset his mother, he politely turned down her offer to return to the Clayton.
When the war did end, the Clayton was tasked with the job in assisting with the rebuilding efforts of Betazed. This was a mission that Captain Clements was quick to accept. For the next nine months, the ship and its small task group of utility ships supported the Betazoid government with rebuilding efforts. By the end of 2375, the Clayton’s crew were recognised by the people of Betazed for their efforts in helping treat the scars of the Dominion occupation. However it was soon discovered by the Betazed government that if Captain Clements hadn’t delayed her mission at Kaelon II than they would have been in orbit of Betazed prior to the Dominion invasion. When the truth got out that the ship could have assisted in the upgrading of Betazed’s planetary defence network it caused uproar and during an event Captain Clements was attending, she was arrested by local law enforcement. The entire situation became extremely messy from a political and diplomatic point of view. Having to step up as acting captain, Zack was forced to deal with the Betazed government alongside the Federation ambassador to the planet. The fine balance of wanting to break his commanding officer free from prison to dealing with the matter through official channels was one of the most frustrating times in the young lieutenant’s career. Eventually, after days of talk and negotiations, Zack felt like he was not getting anyway fast. Instead he lent on his parents to assist him and as his father was serving in the executive branch of the Federation government, he was able to lean on the Federation President to get involved. To keep all in favour, Zack suggested to the president that a fair hearing was taken under Starfleet regulations and protocols so that the Betazoid government could hear all of the facts and reasons why the Clayton had been delayed. Becoming the advocate for his captain and the case, Zack laid out to the hearing panel (which included Betazoid observers) all that had happened on Kaelon II and why Captain Clement had felt in her judgement remaining there to deepen the ties with the Kaelon government was important to defer their mission on Betazed for a bit. The hearing was a success and Zackw as able to also explain through a tactical analysis that even if the Clayton had assisted with the upgrade to the planetary defence network, it still would not have been enough to slow or stop the Dominion from occupying Betazed. Forced to accept the outcome of the hearing, Clements was released from custody and returned to the Clayton.
On their way to Starbase 375, Captain Clements decided she would take a long vacation. It was one she certainly needed to reflect on what had happened and if she truly made the right decision. Promoting Zack to Lieutenant Commander, she ordered him to take temporary command of the ship as it started its mission in helping out with relief efforts in the Cardassian Union.
Two years into their mission in helping the Cardassians recover, Zack had spent six months commanding the Clayton. From Adarak Prime, to Chin’toka and Kelvas IV all the way to Ventani, the Clayton visited a number of worlds in need of help. His time assisting the Cardassians made Zack realise how much he enjoyed his job but by the end of 2376, he felt he needed to spread his wings further.
After completing its tour within the Cardassian Union and heading back to Earth for a major refit and overhaul, Zack decided he would leave the ship. Captain Clements was gutted to lose a fine officer and friend but highly recommended he spread his wings on to new pastures.
Joining the newly built Defiant-class starship, USS Brewster (NCC-79217) as first officer, Zack was keen to impress his new skipper. In their first few days, Zack did not meld well with Captain Reittan Grex. The Betazoid captain was against Starfleet assigning him as his first officer due to Zack’s involvement in Captain Clements’ hearing at Betazed several year prior. It took an away mission where their shuttle had crash landed for them to resolve their differences.
By 2379 and after receiving a well-deserved promotion to commander, Zack found himself enjoying life of the smaller ship. Everything went like clockwork until the ship was caught in an ion storm which forced it to crash land on an icy L-class world along the Romulan border. Captain Grex was killed during the crash and Zack was forced to take command of what was left of his crew and ship. The ship were rescued by the USS Intrepid several days later. It was towed back to Starbase 23 for repairs. It was there were Starfleet decided to make Zack the commanding officer of the Brewster.
Patrolling the Romulan border for the next three years, ultimately led to his promotion to captain in 2382. Zack was involved in leading efforts to help the Romulans that wanted to escape from the impending Hobus collapse. While rescuing trapped refugees from an old freighter, the Brewster was attacked by elements later to be associated to the Romulan Tal Shiar. Once again the Brewster was heavily damaged but victorious in rescuing the survivors. The ship was taken to Earth for extensive repairs.
While on Earth, he was informed that he would be given command of USS Oberon (NCC-80103). It’s captain was retiring and Starfleet felt it would be a good place for Zack to flex his experiences further out in deep space.
For three glorious years, Zack commanded the Luna-class ship as it explored parts of the Alpha Quadrant, previously unexplored on the other side of Cardassian space. Making first contact with three new species and exploring a vast amount of space, made Zack feel alive again. He enjoyed leading such a diverse crew that came from so many planets across the Federation.
When the Oberon returned to Earth in 2385 for a computer upgrade at Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards, Zack had decided to take the opportunity to visit his brother on his new ship where he served as first officer, the USS Westminster. The Parliament-class ship was just about to be launched from the San Francisco shipyards when he visited. While on the bridge with Jonathan news of the Mars attack reached them. Without even thinking about it, the two brothers leapt into action and with a skeleton crew onboard launched the ship to find out what was happening.
Arriving in orbit of Mars, Zack was horrified to find the burning hulk of the Oberon among the wreckage that had been left. Being the first ship to arrive at the scene after the attack, Zack took command of the initial efforts from the bridge of the Westminster.
Using the emergency fleet access codes only privy to Starfleet captains, Zack spent the next few days commanding the ship (as its captain had been on Mars when the attacked had occurred) and helping out with relief efforts. The small crew he had on board were able to rescue twenty thousand people. Through the use of the ship, its shuttlecraft and runabout payload they were able to free those who were trapped in burning or fallen down buildings in Ares city. As more and more Starfleet ships arrived to assist, Zack handed over command to more experienced hands (his mother had taken command of the fleet)
After days of non-stop work, the relief task force could no longer find anyone else on the surface of Mars. From their bridges, they watched as the Martian skyline continued to burn.
Not expecting to find himself back in command of another utility ship so soon, Starfleet asked him if he would remain on the Westminster. He had no alternative as the Oberon was towed to Earth Station McKinley for repairs. None of his crew had survived the attack, instead he found himself with his brother and a small rag-tag of a crew that had been pushed together in last minute effort. Deciding to stay, Zack made the Westminster his and enjoyed working with his brother for the next eight years. Their primary mission had been to work in and around Federation territory dealing with a vast number of missions that were suited for their ship.
In 2393, he made the request to Starfleet to leave Westminster and to take command of the USS Vesta (NCC-82617). His application was granted and he left the Westminster under the command of its new captain…his brother.
The Vesta was one of the most advanced ships at the time, the prototype of its own namesake, Zack would be one of the first captains to play with some of Starfleet’s most advanced technologies as the ship was sent on a deep space mission after a successful shakedown year. Exploring areas of the Beta Quadrant, close to Federation space, wasn’t exactly how he saw his first years of commanding the Vesta going down. By 2396, the ship had returned to Federation space countless times when ordered to do so. Starting to become a critic of Starfleet’s policy of reducing its deep space exploration programme to a bare minimum, Zack would later regret his disapproval of what Starfleet was doing when he was sent on a ‘goodwill tour’ of the Federation. For the next two years, due to how fast the ship was he and his crew had visited a majority of colonies along the former Romulan neutral zone and those in the Beta Quadrant. Unhappy with what he was seeing along the Federation-Romulan border, there had been many times when he would use the ship’s advanced engines to help those in need, especially those escaping tyranny from what was left of the fallen Romulan Star Empire.
In 2398, Starfleet (hoping that a new assignment would keep Zack quiet) assigned him to work on a joint exploration mission with the Romulan Republic. Together the two ships completed a one-year mission and the Vesta was reassigned elsewhere.
When Starfleet decided to move resources to kick-start its exploration program in 2399, Zack was eager to be a part of this and applied for the Vesta and he to be assigned to the fourth fleet to be part of this new venture. Starfleet was just as keen as they believed his rhetoric against their lack of effort on exploration and humanitarian aide would go away if he was giving a proper deep space exploration programme to be involved with.