Commander Black has established her reputation with long years as a strategic advisor to command staff at Starfleet Headquarters. Despite a wish to return to starship service, her work in that position was deemed too valuable for her to be spared, until she was hand-picked as Phoenix NX-08’s Chief Armoury Officer and second officer by Captain Lopez. This has only added to Phoenix’s reputation for taking on unorthodox officers; Commander Black is eminently qualified, but some have suspected she was kept shoreside for so long due to the influence of her father, Admiral Gregory Black.
Helena Black was born to a family with a long history of military service. With an ambitious and successful US Army officer for a father, her childhood was spent being dragged to live in a variety of military bases, never settling in one place for more than a couple of years. While this made her more reliant on her family, and especially her brother, for company and friendship, it also strained relations between her and her father. He instilled in her a sense of duty and commitment to service, but as she grew older she became increasingly resentful of the upheaval his ambition had put the family through.
Her teenaged years were pockmarked with minor acts of rebellion, culminating in her rejection of her father’s ultimate wish: to take the place he had secured for her at West Point Military Academy, the institution at which her brother had also trained. Against her parents’ desires, Helena took an offer to study Political Science at Columbia University, and throughout her student life became embroiled in the blossoming activist movement supporting the United States’ membership of the United Earth Commonwealth.
Joining Earth Starfleet proved Helena Black’s best chance to thread the needle of her conflicting desires: there she could respect the commitment to duty and service her parents had taught her, but support the brightest aspirations of cooperation and peace now driving humanity. Despite the coolness of her connection to her family, it spoke of her father’s influence that she trained as an Armoury Officer and tactician.
Black served first on the Yorktown, before transferring to the Constellation and eventually serving as its Chief Armoury Officer. It was here that she met Chief Helm Officer and later XO, Commander Nat Lopez, and the Communications Officer Takahashi Riku. The Constellation operated mostly within United Earth Commonwealth territory, to which Black adapted as an opportunity to become intensely familiar with Earth’s colony worlds, shipping routes, and fringe elements.
Her career took multiple, subtle setbacks in the following years. The first came with her father’s invitation to join Starfleet, General Black inducted as an Admiral and Director of Starfleet Security to buoy up the organisation’s strategic integrity. At every step, now-Admiral Black encouraged his daughter to take a more auspicious position, though his treatment of Starfleet as a political body meant he wanted her to take a staff, rather than front-line role.
The second came with the disastrous mission of the Constellation in 2151 that ended with Lieutenant Takahashi leaving Starfleet in disgrace after the attempted resolution of a private Earth shipping company’s violation of trading regulations turned violent. While the incident was hushed up and had limited fallout, with Takahashi too long-gone to be blamed, there was a sense that Black, as Chief Armoury Officer, failed in her duty to avert the incident.
Commander Lopez attempted to secure Black for her senior staff when she was given command of the Sojourner, but her father interceded at this transfer opportunity. With the recent Xindi attack, he paved the way for her to take a staff role as a strategic advisor at Starfleet Headquarters. Expecting to spend only a little time back on Earth to rally her career and establish her own reputation, Black found herself trapped in the role for several years. The rising tensions and subsequent outbreak of war with the Romulans saw her deemed too valuable to move – or, at least, no officer wanted to thwart the will of Admiral Black and pull his daughter to a front-line role.
The only officer who dared, predictably, was Nat Lopez. In 2156, she was granted command of the latest NX-class, the Phoenix, and requested Lieutenant Commander Black to come aboard as Chief Armoury Officer and Second Officer. As this was the only transfer request upon which she and her XO, Commander Sawyer West, were in complete agreement, Starfleet Operations saw fit to grant the request. What impact this has had on Admiral Black’s opinion of the Phoenix remains undetermined.
|2140 - 2144||Undergraduate||Columbia University||
|2144 - 2145||Officer Candidate||Starfleet Training Command||
Cadet Senior Grade
|2145 - 2146||Armoury Officer||Yorktown NR-01||
|2146 - 2149||Second Armoury Officer||Constellation NCC-47||
Lieutenant Junior Grade
|2149 - 2153||Chief Armoury Officer||Constellation NCC-47||
|2153 - 2156||Strategic Advisor||Starfleet Command Headquarters||
|2156 - 2157||Chief Armoury Officer/Second Officer||Phoenix NX-08||
|2157 - 2157||Chief Armoury Officer/Executive Officer||Phoenix NX-08||