Michael Zachary Stanton, BESc, MEng, was a Starfleet officer and the former First Officer & Chief Engineer of the starship Challenger (NX-03). Stanton died in the line of duty at the end of 2155 during the Earth-Romulan War.
Previously he had served as the ship’s second officer as well as being an instructor and professor at Starfleet Training Command. Michael was an experienced field officer and engineer.
Michael was slight of build, with the skinny physique of someone who didn’t eat or sleep enough but spent most of his time crawling through the ship’s various mechanical spaces. He had grey-blue eyes that lept out at you, pale skin, and curly brown hair that was perhaps slightly longer than most Starfleet captains liked.
He was handsome, but not necessarily in the classical sense; and this was certainly not something that he saw about himself.
- Height: 5′ 9″ (1.76 m)
- Weight: 140 Ilbs
- Hair: Brown
- Eyes: Blue-Grey
Michael was shy, self-deprecating, and incredibly intelligent. He preferred to be left to his own devices to solve a problem and did the same with his staff. He trusted them to get their jobs done and did not micromanage, sometimes to the point of over-estimating their abilities. He was shy around his peers and kept to himself just as much in his personal life as he did in his professional life. Eventually though, he started to display his confidence and his true self in front of Burton before he became first officer.
Strengths & Weaknesses
Michael’s main strength was his sheer intelligence; he recognized problems easily and could find solutions quickly. This could have been a weakness, though, as he didn’t always recognize that his staff members were not necessarily as intelligent as he was and may assign them tasks that were beyond their ability levels.
Another weakness was his incredible shyness, as it prevented him from making meaningful personal relationships. Though he could be friendly, he normally was just using his humour as a defence mechanism and preferred solitude.
Michael was not an ambitious person; he was satisfied with his current station in life. What he wanted though was to have a more stable personal life and to find some way just to be more normal or at least closer to what he thought was normal.
- Earth language of English
Hobbies & Interests
- Model ship building
- Affiliation: Starfleet, United Earth Commonwealth
- Mother: Doctor Elizabeth Stanton, MD
- Father: Professor John Stanton, PhD, Professor of Engineering at MIT
- Sister: Rachel Stanton, artist
- Husband: Commander Alex Rodham, First Officer & Chief Helm Officer, Discovery NX-04
Born in Boston, Michael was the elder of the two children born to John and Elizabeth Stanton, both doctors, though of different sorts. John Stanton was an eminent scholar in the field of engineering, serving on the faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, while Elizabeth was a physician at Boston General Hospital. Because of his parents’ careers and influence, Michael grew up in a life of relative comfort and privilege. From an early age, it was clear that he had inherited his parents’ intelligence and demonstrated genius-level aptitude for mathematics along with other left-brained activities.
His sister, on the other hand, did not seem to share his interests; where he was concerned with the inner workings of warp coils and anti-gravity units, she enjoyed painting, writing, and playing music. Despite their differing interests, Michael and his sister Rachel were close friends throughout childhood and well into their adult lives, but this was the only significant relationship that he developed as a child. Otherwise, he was painfully shy, socially awkward, and generally distrusting of other people.
Michael, though very intelligent, had difficulties applying himself in school, and his academic record was smattered with outliers on both sides of the bell curve from his lack of interest in certain subjects and enormous interest in others. At age 12, he disassembled and rebuilt both of the family’s hovercars, and rewired the entire household computer network, but could not get a passing grade in English. It was only after severe sanctions by his parents that he eventually left high school as valedictorian.Because he had been pushed so hard, he understood that he was also expected to follow in his father’s footsteps and attend MIT; he wasn’t necessarily opposed to it, but after working hard to turn his grades around, he did not want to attend somewhere where it would be known that his father’s connections granted him admission. Instead, he applied to Starfleet. He had always been fascinated by the stars and mechanical equipment, but it was the prospect of working on the most advanced technology that mankind had ever employed that made him decide to apply.
Michael scored very highly on the admissions exam, thanks to his intelligence, though he did score noticeably worse on the various physical endurance tests that the application involved. In 2131 he entered Starfleet as a cadet. It was immediate culture shock for the young man; used to being able to do things at his own pace and to investigate what he wanted, he found being in the strict disciplinary environment of Starfleet Training Command to be incredibly difficult.
Because he spent so much of his childhood tearing apart and rebuilding machines, he found personal relationships to be difficult, especially with other cadets who were generally better socially-adjusted and more athletic than he was. He proved to be very good in his coursework, but he hated the physical drills and combat training much more than the average cadet did. This was somewhat eased by the fact that his roommate, Alex Rodham, was almost completely opposite in terms of abilities, so they worked together to study and to train during their first year to get through their various exams.
This friendship continued throughout his time at the training program, and eventually built into a romantic relationship, which was another new concept for Michael. By having his horizons expanded and being drawn out of his shell, Michael’s sense of humour began to surface more readily in public, and he started to lose some of his social ineptitude. As this continued, he found that he did even better in his coursework, and professors began to really notice his potential.
By the time he actually declared his specialisation, it was a foregone conclusion that he would become an engineer. His childhood aptitude for modifying household appliances had turned into expertise with warp and impulse propulsion systems, structural integrity fields, and advanced computer systems. In addition, his self-deprecating humour and unassuming nature had led him to develop a unique leadership style in group activities, where he preferred a think-tank sort of structure to a strictly military command style, which suited him more to the engine room than to the bridge of a starship.When Michael finished his time at Starfleet Training Command, he finished with a first-class honours degree as a Bachelor of Engineering Science.
Upon graduation in 2145, he was posted to the cruiser Miranda as Second Engineer. Unfortunately, this posting meant the end of his relationship with Alex Rodham, who had been posted to another ship, and this caused his performance to suffer. After a few months, though, his natural talent resurfaced, and he proved to be an invaluable member of the crew for the ship’s two-year mission patrolling Earth colonies. While aboard, he continued his engineering studies and made progress towards a master’s degree in engineering.
In 2147, he was promoted to Lieutenant junior grade and posted to the Miranda’s older sister – Luna, again as Second Engineer. The Luna was almost identical to the Miranda except for the fact that her main engines were much more prone to mechanical faults, meaning that her engineers were busy constantly just keeping the ship intact. As Michael worked, he documented all of the design flaws and presented a plan to the Chief Engineer and Captain to fully refit and repair the ship, with a predicted manpower savings and detailed schedule. Unfortunately, the ship’s duties meant that it couldn’t be taken out of commission for long enough to complete the plan, but his superiors still appreciated the effort that he had made.
Starfleet Training Command
In 2151, he was offered the position of Assistant Professor of Engineering, when he completed his master’s dissertation on Warp Field Dynamics while serving aboard the Luna. Though he liked starship life, he knew that accepting a shore-bound position would give him the opportunity to have even more free time for his own projects, so he accepted the appointment.
He served in this capacity for four years as a Lieutenant Commander, instructing freshmen and sophomore cadets in basic engineering and upper-level cadets in the finer points of subspace mechanics. Teaching for him was somewhat interesting, but he found it hard to keep complete control of a classroom, due to his natural tendency towards avoiding conflict and promoting independent thought; it was not necessarily desirable to have a formula debated by a cadet. He also couldn’t help but miss the challenges that living in space presented.
Fortunately for him, Starfleet felt similarly towards his appointment; the newest NX-class starships had proved to be technological marvels but also needed the hands of skilled engineers to keep them functioning at peak efficiency. After four years as a professor, he accepted a transfer to Challenger as Chief Engineer and Second Officer, with a promotion to the rank of Commander.
During the ship’s first mission a number of the crew were kidnapped by the Orions, including Stanton. This happened while they were ferrying Earth diplomats to an important conference with the Denobulans. During his incarceration he was interrogated about the Challenger’s technical specifications. He was able to endure the torture, even though he was offered an easy life as a pleasure save instead of being beaten for the information. Fortunately, they were soon rescued by their crewmates and Michael recovered from his injuries. Michael became close with Captain Lloyd Burton and Commander Nicole Levesque. The three of them would share their meal times and engage in numerous social activities together. They would particularly visit the gym together and often held a morning jog around the ship. Michael found the captain’s daily workout routine to be a challenge but enjoyed it as it was the first time in many years, he began to take his fitness seriously. Not only did he develop working relationships with his superiors, but he also took a number of the junior officers under his wing, in particular Ensign Ezrah Alcott who was a former pupil of his. Alcott was another member who had been kidnapped and was severely tortured. Ezrah opened up to Michael and told him about being sexually assaulted by the Orions. Through their friendship Michael convinced the younger man to seek professional help from their Chief Medical Officer, Doctor Kefira Ben-Ami.
When Challenger arrived at Denobula, he joined Lloyd and Nicole on many visits that received a lot of coverage from the Denobulan media. While in orbit of the Denobulan homeworld the ship received a distress call from Earth colony ships heading to the Archer system. Michael, with the rest of the crew, would engage the Romulans for the first time. During the battle Ensign Alcott was injured when the helm exploded from an overload. Michael sat next to the pilot’s bed while he recovered in sickbay. They saved the colonists and escorted them to the Archer system, but prior to their arrival they discovered the new Earth colony was about to come under Romulan siege. Again, they won the battle, but the ship was heavily damaged during the process. Michael’s leadership style was placed under test when he was under a deadline to get the ship back up and running in a shot amount of time. However, his ‘think-tank’ approached encouraged his engineering staff to deal with the technical problems in a creative and efficient manner. The ship was fixed before the deadline and was fully operational to help with the colonists settle on their new homeworld.
His friendship with Commander Levesque grew and the two became best friends in no time and were able to share with each other personnel matters. Challenger visited Andoria during this period. When Captain Burton and Commander Levesque where off the ship he assumed command of the ship. For the first time Nicole and he together questioned Lloyd’s decision to join an Andorian task force when one of their colonies was attacked. Both of them felt he should have waited to receive confirmation from Starfleet before giving the order. Nevertheless, they supported the Captain in his efforts when he had to assume command of the task force on the behest of the Andorian Chancellor. Michael led a team to disable and take control of a minefield that had been setup by the invaders (which was a combined military force of Malurian and Nausicaan ships). Michael’s team discovered that the mines were Romulan in origin. They were able to use the minefield against the Malurian-Nausicaan forces which contributed to the successful liberation of the colonists. However, during the incident Michael’s shuttlepod had to crash land on Docana, the planet they were attempting to save, due to being heavily damaged. After leaving their crash site, Michael’s team took refuge in caves under a large mountain range with other Andorian survivors. There he led efforts in developing a good relationship with the senior officer from the Andorian Imperial Guard: Commander Anthi. Eventually Challenger rescued them all once the external threat had been dealt with. During the middle of 2155 the ship was ordered to make official first contact with the Deltan species on behalf of the Earth Commonwealth and its allies in the Coalition of Planets. Initially the first contact went well with both side exchanging ideas peacefully, but the ship was dragged in to an ongoing conflict the Deltans were having with a neighbouring race known as the Carreons. Nicole, with members other crewmembers were stranded on the Deltan homeworld when the ship was forced to break orbit and leave the system when the Carreons attacked. Michael became acting first officer again and his engineering skills came in to full use when the Carreons began a campaign of attacking the ship on a regular basis. As their weapons weren’t as advanced compared to Starfleet’s the ship received little damaged until they persisted and repeated their attacks almost daily. It was during this period that Michael had to change his leadership style and became more authoritarian with his engineering staff so they would keep on top of their repairs. In their last battle they engaged a Romulan Bird-of-Prey which they discovered was using a telepresence capturing system to control Carreon vessels. They were able to avoid being captured themselves and disabled the craft; unfortunately, the Romulans were not prepared to be captured and destroyed their ship. The shockwave from the exploding ship severely damaged Challenger further. As Acting First Officer he counselled Burton with many decisions, including his decision to order the crew to abandon ship when it became heavily damaged and unable to sustain the entire crew. Michael, along with Sub Commander T’Plau, remained on board to help Burton with repairs and get the ship back to the Deltan home world. Fortunately, they were rescued by their Andorian allies on board the Avenkerev. Michael’s friendship with the CO, Commander Anthi and its chief engineer, Lieutenant Dreu helped them in securing much needed help to get the ship up and running to a decent level. When Challenger eventually returned to Delta, Michael handed over the responsibility of First Officer to Nicole. While at Delta he oversaw the repair teams from the Andorians and Deltans in their efforts to fix up Challenger. When the Carreons launched all-out final assault against the Deltans, Lloyd decided to intervene and attempt to open a dialogue with the Carreons for a ceasefire. Regrettably, the Deltan military attempted to use the ship in bold last ditched attempt to take out a Carreon armada by detonating its warp core through the use of a computer virus. The Starfleet crew were able to eject the warp core before it destroyed them. Michael returned to being Acting Officer again when Nicole assumed temporary command of the Challenger when Lloyd was injured during their attempt to stop the Deltan’s plans from happening. In due course the entire crew were retrieved, and Captain Burton was fit to resume command of the ship, Michael placed his focus on repairing as much of the ship that could possible take place. With the threat of being involved with the Carreon-Deltan conflict now over, he was able to return to his old style of leadership in fixing the ship. With limited supplies, he needed his staff to return to being creative in keeping the ship fully operational while it was towed back to Earth by the Avenkerev. Stanton’s engineers had been able to maintain the ship and repair a majority of the secondary systems before their arrival.
Deciding that his experience during the Carreon-Delta conflict had forced him to reconsider his choices in life, Michael went on to marry his partner in a quick ceremony shortly after his return to Earth. Their wedding was a brief affair on board the starship Discovery as the ship was quickly sent off to save the Gault colony. Michael, without consulting Alex, remained on the ship and stood in for their chief engineer (Commander Roman Burton – Captain Burton’s younger brother) who was on Earth dealing with his father’s death. Captain Müller, who was an old friendly rival of Captain Burton’s, agreed to the temporary assignment as he needed an experienced engineer running his engine room during a critical mission. Alex was partly upset with his husband, but once they had stopped the Romulans from destroying the colony – he eventually accepted the idea and both men enjoyed spending their time together. For a time Michael considered requesting to remain on Discovery, however he realised that he didn’t think that he and his husband could spend every day working together. Alongside that, Michael didn’t fancy having Alex senior to him in position. The two of them had a short honeymoon in Miami, Earth for five days before Alex left to return to Discovery. Days later, Michael would be asked by Captain Burton to replace Commander Levesque as his first officer. He accepted straight away and the two joined the rest of the Challenger crew to celebrate the wedding of two other crewmembers.
When the ship was re-launched after its extensive repairs, Stanton was horrified to hear that its first mission to aide in the war effort would be to track down his husband’s ship after it went missing.
His time as First Officer would be short, as shortly after the ship was repaired it went on to rescue both the crews of the Armstrong NCC-100 and Discovery NX-04. The former had captured a Romulan drone ship and the two crews planned an attack using it against a key Romulan base. Stanton volunteered to join the team to fly the drone ship and use it to destroy the base. Sadly though he died ensuring the rest of the team escaped. Before his death though, he held Lieutenant Conrad as the young pilot died after being injured from a fallen bulkhead.
Due to Michael’s death, his husband felt like he could not stay on board the Discovery anymore and requested to join Challenger as Michael’s successor as first officer. Alex went on to also be the ship’s chief pilot too. His death also greatly affected Fleet Captain Burton as he started to find the war was having a toll on how he led and made decisions. Stanton’s reputation in main engineering remained in the capable hands of Lieutenant Masuko. She honoured by maintaining his style of leadership and management of the department. Michael’s official portrait was hung in the mess hall of the Challenger as part of a wall of memorial for their fallen comrades. His picture was second in the row.
|2141 - 2142||First Year Cadet||Starfleet Training Command||
Cadet Freshman Grade
|2142 - 2143||Second Year Cadet||Starfleet Training Command||
Cadet Sophomore Grade
|2143 - 2144||Third Year Cadet||Starfleet Training Command||
Cadet Junior Grade
|2144 - 2145||Fourth Year Cadet||Starfleet Training Command||
Cadet Senior Grade
|2145 - 2147||Second Engineer||Miranda (NV-07)||
|2147 - 2149||Second Engineer||Luna (NV-05)||
Lieutenant Junior Grade
|2149 - 2151||Chief Engineer||Luna (NV-05)||
|2151 - 2155||Assistant Professor of Engineering||Starfleet Training Command||
|2155 - 2155||Second Officer & Chief Engineer||Challenger (NX-03)||
|2155 - 2155||First Officer & Chief Engineer||Challenger (NX-03)||