Born at New Transvaal Colony in 2058 Van Der Luan grew up in a rural farming community. The youngest of three sons, his family homesteaded a ranch and farm. His father was keen to expand the family holding and both his brothers were happy to become farmers. Van Der Luan was not so inclined.
Luckily for him, his uncle ran a crop-spraying business. He taught young Alake to fly and maintain the ancient battered crop-duster aero-shuttle that was the firm’s backup craft and by the time he was fifteen Van Der Luan was working for his uncle every weekend and during school vacations. This early introduction to flying and back-woods engineering swiftly dampened the little enthusiasm Alake had to become a rancher or farmer, much to his father’s disapproval.
On leaving school, at 18, Van Der Luan left the family farm, moved to Kruger City and, through a friend of his uncle, he landed a job working for an inter-orbital shuttle company. Although the capital of the colony, Kruger City, was still a rural settlement on a frontier world and it operated a Volunteer Emergency and Rescue Team. Van Der Luan signed up and after training as a para-medic and firefighter he was soon piloting the service’s emergency response craft on call-outs. This led him into contact with the local law enforcement agencies and Starfleet and he began to think of a career beyond New Transvaal.
A chance stop-over at the colony by a Starfleet Cadet training ship led Van Der Luan into a conversation with a Recruiter and at twenty he decided to enlist and was sent to the Starfleet Technical Services Academy on Mars for training. Already a skilled small craft pilot, he resisted the instructors plans to stream him into a flight control career and instead opted for Security.
It was during his two years at the Academy that Alake was able to visit Earth for the first time in his life. Even finding time for a short trip to South Africa and the land his family had once farmed, several generations earlier.
He enjoyed the training, earning high marks in most classes and practical exercises. His size, strength and fitness served him well in combat and security drills. His natural leadership abilities developed and he was frequently selected as a team leader for training evolutions. He eventually graduated fifth in his Security Class of eighty five cadets.
Post-graduation saw him assigned to the Security division of the Saber Class USS Spatha. His initial cruise was border defense and interdiction patrols along the Federation boundary with the Gorn Hegemony. Van Der Luan had his first taste of action just a couple of months later, when the Spatha crew tangled with a Gorn raider ground party at a remote mining facility. They caught the Gorn red-handed attempting to steal containers of valuable ore, but instead of giving in, the Gorn attacked and a vicious firefight erupted, leaving several dead on both sides before the Gorn escaped back to their ship.
The battle continued as the Spatha chased the Gorn raider from orbit, but although ultimately victorious, the Spatha was badly battered and had to return to a Starbase for repairs.
With the Spatha in space-dock Alake was temporarily transferred to the base’s security detachment. Here he was assigned as a member of the Dock Security Patrol, dealing with customs inspections, interacting with all manner of civilian merchant ships and crews.
Two months later, with the Spatha repaired and fully operational, Van Der Luan was back aboard as the ship set off for convoy escort duties. A year later came a promotion to Petty Officer Third Class and more action as the ship had several encounters with Breen slaving ships.
Transferred to the Nebula Class USS Los Alamos in 2386, with a promotion to Petty Officer Second Class. Here he continued to gain skill and experience during a series of missions the ship undertook into Romulan space to assist with disaster relief, following the Hobus Supernova.
When the ship was rotated out of operational service for scheduled overhaul Van Der Luan was assigned to Security Dock Patrol at Starbase 19 a large Federation trading and supply station. His earlier experience stood him in good stead, and he was quickly assigned as a Team leader.
In 2388 he returned to Earth for a twelve month Advanced Tactical Course at the Security Division Training Facility.
Returning to active duty and a promotion to Chief Petty Officer Van Der Luan was assigned to a junior Tactical officer position on the Sovereign Class USS Elizabeth V. and spent two years as a member of the ship’s Tactical division, becoming fully conversant with starship offensive and defensive systems, including a stint as a team leader on the torpedo magazine crew. The ship was assigned to patrol the border with the Tholians and there were a number of skirmishes dealing with cross-border incursions.
Promoted to Senior Chief Petty Officer he moved on to become Master At Arms on the Intrepid Class USS Antilles. Transiting the Bajoran Wormhole for a two year mission in the Gamma Quadrant.
The new position led Van Der Luan into a management role, with a number of subordinate security personnel. He worked hard and the ship’s Chief of Security arranged additional training for the promising young supervisor, providing him with both technical and managerial skills.
It was also aboard the Antilles that Van Der Luan began his first long term relationship, with one of the ship’s shuttle pilots, a female Bajoran, Petty Officer Jandar Leval. The couple were well suited, and their romance flourished.
On return from the Gamma Quadrant, during shore-leave she took him to visit her family on Bajor. The trip was a success, he got on exceptionally well with Leval’s family and the couple began to talk of marriage. But tragedy struck on the return journey to Deep Space Nine, when their transport shuttle suffered a major malfunction shortly after take off.
The shuttle crashed in the Janitza Mountains, killing twelve of the fifteen aboard, including Leval. Van Der Luan was badly injured, and his condition deteriorated further in the winter blizzard that raged through the mountains. The storm hampered rescue teams and it was over thirty hours before they could reach the wreck site. The combination of broken bones, tissue damage, blood loss and frost bite took his left arm below the elbow. He spent the next four months in hospital, undergoing numerous surgeries to be fitted with a bio-synthetic replacement forearm and hand.
The physical damage was repaired, and the scars slowly faded but he still suffered emotionally with survivor’s guilt and the deeply felt loss of his first real love. Leval’s family visited him often, a strong bond was formed between her parents and the man their daughter had loved and they insisted he stayed with them while waiting to be cleared for operational duty. It was a tough time for Van Der Luan, to be surrounded by Leval’s family and friends just made him miss her more.
The return to life aboard the Antilles was bitter-sweet. Alake was happy to be out of hospital and back at work but being on the ship brought back more memories of Leval and he struggled to find his focus again.
It was the Antilles’ Security Chief who prompted Van Der Luan to apply for the Hazard Team Squad Leader position at Starbase 724, hoping a new assignment and greater responsibility would provide Alake with fresh motivation and get him back of his career path.
Located near the Klingon Border the Starbase’s Garrison Vessels and the Hazard Team were frequently involved in combating an increasing number of raids and incursions by the Klingon insurgent groups the Sovereignty of Kahless and the House of Mo’Kai
The case Commander was impressed with Van Der Luan’s leadership and within a year had recommended him for a commission. Van Der Luan was initially not very taken with the idea of becoming an Officer, but after some persuasion agreed to take the exams and selection panel. Six months of study followed, with all his off-duty time being taken up in the base library. The hard work paid off and he passed the Academy entrance exam by a reasonable margin.
The selection Board was a different matter, being grilled for nearly two hours by a Rear Admiral, a Commodore and two Captains was one of the hardest interviews he had ever had, covering topics from inter-species relations; Federation law; diplomacy, Starfleet regulations and leadership. To his surprise the Board unanimously recommended him for a commission.
Two months later he entered Starfleet Academy at the age of thirty-eight. Due to his prior service and experience he was fast-tracked on to a thirty-month course. He through studying for the entrance exam had been hard, now he had four years of learning crammed into three. The course specialized in taking seasoned NCO’s and turning them into well rounded junior officers. Getting them to a level where they could bring their knowledge and experience back into the fleet in command support roles, a sounding board and solid reliable asset for their future Captains.
In 2398 Van Der Luan was commissioned as Lieutenant Junior Grade. Starfleet personnel recognized his skill set and he was assigned as the Chief of Security and Second Officer aboard the Diligent Class USS Sentry. Assigned to patrol duties along the Bad Lands Border between the Tzenkethi Coalition and the Cardassian Union.
While nominally both were at peace with the Federation the two powers both liked to push border issues and the USS Saracen was kept busy running from one incident to the next.
Van Der Luan quickly adapted to his new rank and position but frequently had to remind himself he could no longer lead very boarding party and raid and his responsibilities were to the ship as whole, not an individual operation. Still his Captain, T’Rinsha, indulged him on several occasions and he received a commendation for leading a rescue party to free a dozen hostages taken by a dissident group of Cardassians in the Bad Lands.
In 2400, it was she who submitted his name for the position of Executive Officer aboard the Altai.
2378 – 2380 Crewman Recruit: Starfleet Enlisted Academy
2380 – 2381 Crewman Apprentice: Security, USS Spatha
2381 – 2383 Crewman & Petty Officer 3: Security, USS USS Spatha
2383 – 2386 Petty Officer 2: Security USS Los Alamos
2386 – 2388 Petty Officer 1: Security Dock Patrol, Starbase 19
2388 – 2389 Petty Officer 1: Advanced Tactical Training, Starfleet Security Division
2389 – 2391 Chief Petty Officer: Junior Tactical Officer, USS Elizabeth V
2391 – 2393 Senior Chief Petty Officer, Master at Arms, USS Antilles
2393 – 2395 Master Chief Petty Officer: Hazard Team Squad Leader Starbase 724
2395 – 2398 Starfleet Academy – Fast Track Enlisted Commission course
Year I Cadet – Majors: Tactical & Security; Flight Control
Year II Cadet – Majors: Operations; Engineering & Warp Theory
Year III Cadet – Majors: Leadership & Diplomacy; Command & Control; Bridge Officer
2398 – 2400 Lieutenant Junior Grade: Chief of Security & Second Officer USS Saracen
2400 – Lieutenant Executive Officer USs Altai
Service Number: DZ-777-242
Van Der Luan is tall, broad and barrel chested. He appears big, heavy and intimidating, something like a cross between a Stardust City night club bouncer crossed with an organized crime enforcer. A first impression that is totally incorrect, since he is generally friendly, relaxed and pleasant with a ready smile. Fair hair, blue eyes, a soft accent and deep tan hint at his South African Boer heritage. His left hand and arm below the elbow is a bio-mechanical prosthetic. Van Der Luan is a hardworking professional, enjoying his work, career and being in Starfleet. On duty he is steady, reliable and a complete professional. Able to think quickly and logically he is calm and decisive under stress. Off duty he is relaxed and easy going with a liking for strong cigars and rough whiskey