John Leonidas Callahan is a Starfleet officer and currently a Professor at Starfleet Training Command. He was the Third Officer & Chief Armoury Officer of the starship Challenger (NX-03) when it first launched but decided to return to Earth during its second mission. John is an experienced law enforcer officer and tactician.
John Callahan is a tall man with an athlete’s build who clearly takes care of himself with some discipline. He cuts a fit, trim figure in a tidy uniform, comporting himself with professional tidiness. His face is a little narrow, his jaw a little square, and features rather sharply hewn. This makes his bright blue eyes stand out all the more, glimmering with inquisitive intelligence. Despite his professional appearance, he is a man who can grow facial hair at the drop of a hat, and even the briefest wavering of vigilance in his shaving will have him sprouting dark, highly visible stubble. The moment he opens his mouth, his accent betrays his origins.
- Height: 6′ 1″ (1.85 m)
- Weight: 192 Ilbs
- Hair: Brown
- Eyes: Blue
Callahan is a calm, professional man, dedicated to the job, who takes his responsibilities and the safety of the ship seriously. He is not, however, cold or detached, making a point of keeping a good relationship with his shipmates, both personally and professionally. An observant, astute man, he also has a rather wry sense of humour, and an occasionally suspicious mindset. When called on the latter, he simply claims that it is his job to be paranoid, and up to others if they listen.
He left Starfleet originally to be closer to his family, to whom he is deeply devoted, and he remains guilty about having left them, especially now the Xindi crisis has passed. But he believes very much that the galaxy will continue to be a dangerous place, and that it is up to good men and women to make sure no trouble comes to Earth’s door. Although he was staunchly opposed to the isolationist and xenophobic attitudes of Terra Prime, he can sympathise with those who distrust non-humans, and urges caution and care in interstellar diplomacy. Although he is hardly against Earth gathering allies, he worries that too much openness will be taken advantage of.
He writes to his family as often as he can, regaling them with whatever tales he can of his life on a starship. His wife and daughter have accepted much of his distance, but his son, Johnny, took his departure hard, and took that he stayed in Starfleet even after the crisis even harder. Callahan visits them on their farm in Texas as often as he can.
Callahan considers himself more of a cop than a soldier; although he is well-versed in small unit tactics and starship combat systems and strategies, he views himself as playing a defensive role. He is there to keep the ship and her crew safe, rather than bring violence to others. In addition to his martial skills, he is a talented investigator, something that has served him well in diplomatic engagements in the past.
A huge fan of music, John Callahan is an avid guitar player, and holds an especial interest in history, with a particular fascination with the American Civil War. He is also a former football player, but though he tries to secure what up to date matches he can, he tends to only watch them in company, as part of a social engagement. He also has a fondness for basketball and poker, two hobbies he only picked up on a starship – as they’re diversions which can be easily partaken of on board.
Strengths & Weaknesses
Callahan is a solid Armoury Officer, with a particular talent as a marksman with a range of weapons, and he takes great pains to familiarise himself with as much such new technology as possible. He is also a skilled hand-to-hand combatant, with a particular strength in kickboxing. He is well studied in starship tactical systems and tactics, and similarly tries to keep at least passingly familiar with the latest updates in technology – for humans, allies, and enemies. He’s an astute observer of people, with a keen eye for detail in general. His strengths in logical thinking have made him a successful investigator in the past.
But he can be paranoid and suspicious as an Armoury Officer, something that has made him jump at shadows in the past. An expectation of danger can, in itself, cause danger to happen. Although he tries to stay abreast of technology, he is not the greatest scientific mind, and the moment what he is up against moves beyond his remit of munitions, Callahan is promptly baffled. In his personal life, John can be occasionally caustic in his humour, and sometimes blunt to a fault, which has brought him dislike in the past. Additionally, his upbringing has been rather traditional, which can make him sometimes not as open-minded as perhaps Earth is trying to become, though it has also instilled in him his great sense of loyalty and dogged perseverance.
John Callahan has no desire to rise up the ranks of Starfleet. He is content with as far as he has got in his career. To an extent, he is not sure why he remains in the service other than wishing to further do his part to help keep Earth safe. He intends, at some point as soon as he feels ready, to retire and return to his wife’s horse farm on Earth to help raise his children, perhaps write a book of his experiences, maybe return to the police force, but ultimately lead a quiet life with his family.
- Earth language of English
- Earth language of Spanish
Hobbies & Interests
- Music (Country, Western, Roots, Folk)
- American Football
- History (Confederate)
- Horse Riding
- Affiliation: Starfleet, United Earth Commonwealth
- Mother: Abigail Callahan
- Father: Jeremy Callahan
- Brother: LJonas Callahan
- Sister: Kathleen Callahan
- Spouse: Laura Callahan
- Son: John ‘Johnny’ Callahan Junior
- Daughter: Elizabeth Callahan
John Callahan was born on a cattle ranch, the middle of three children, in Texas, Earth. With his brother set to inherit the farm and his sister a darling of local society, John struggled to find his role in his family and in his life. The relationship with his father, who more or less ignored him in favour of his brother Jonas, was particularly tense, and nothing John could do could win Jeremy Callahan’s approval. This would lead to a troubled few teenaged years, childish rebellion getting him in difficulty with the local law.
Unsurprisingly, this did not get young John the positive attention of his family that he craved. It was only when a delinquent turn with friends about a local horse farm had him caught by the owner that matters would turn around. The owner, Anthony Turner, was a keen-eyed man who decided to give John a chance, and instead of reporting him, forced the youth to take on a job at the farm to repair the damage he’d done. At first, this simply kept John busy enough to keep him out of trouble, but as he worked hard, Anthony gave him more responsibilities and took him under his wing. The job and attention gave John a stronger sense of self-worth, and a better work ethos, and gradually he began to change his wayward ways. It didn’t hurt that he met Anthony’s daughter, Laura, who was about his age. Quickly infatuated, John inevitably concluded he wasn’t good enough for her – and, in a surprising show of his growth, set out to become good enough.
His last few years of childhood were considerably more positive. He had never been more than a passing student, but now he buckled down and showed himself to have a broad interest in history and a natural talent in physics, and for a time he considered becoming a lawyer. Equally he was talented at sports, and harnessed his energy there to eventually become captain of his high school football team. But, above all, whether alone or in the company of friends – and eventually in the company of Laura Turner – he would enjoy nothing more than hiking or riding out into the wilderness, and immersing himself in the unknown. From a young age he had held a fascination for space, and out there all he needed to do was glance up at night to be granted a magnificent view of the stars.
It was Anthony who described this trait as ‘wanderlust’ and, aware that Earth had much less on it to wander, he suggested first the Earth Cargo Service and then Starfleet as career options, citing that a few years out and around the galaxy could be no bad thing to have under his belt. John broadened his reading quickly to strengthen his application to Starfleet, and to his surprise, was accepted.
>His family, inevitably, disapproved, his father having hoped he might stay at the farm and help out his brother – or, as John saw it, play second-fiddle to Jonas for his entire life. Never having fit in with his family, and having a strong stubborn streak, he was simply all the more determined to go. Even more against their advice, and taking even Anthony a little aback, he proposed to Laura Turner before he left for Training Command.
Callahan found himself a little out of place amongst the many scientifically-minded candidates at Starfleet Training Command, but quickly established himself as a level-headed student, down to earth and reasonable-minded. He was helped by his roommate, a young cadet with an interest in engineering named Khaled Hassan, and though the two were very different this would play to their advantages. Hassan was a little socially awkward and struggled with the physical requirements; Callahan was no expert outside of his established fields. The two helped each other, finding most of their limitations overcome by aid and a positive attitude.
Becoming an Armoury Officer quickly proved to be Callahan’s goal at Training Command. Nobody was surprised at how well he took to the physical world of combat training, or the teamwork elements of small-unit tactics and defensive operations. He had always been fit, and his easy manner and attentive nature made him both a good follower and a natural leader. But he found within himself further talents. A keen tactical mind, both in personal combat and in starship operations. A capacity for strong strategic analysis and tactical assessment.
And even, to the surprise of nobody more than himself, a natural affinity when it came to weapon and armoury systems on a starship, a trait which Hassan was eager and keen to help him develop. He excelled at wargames, proving himself particularly adept at anticipating enemy moves and then effectively countering them, and breaking from established tactics and methods for unconventional but successful techniques which usually resulted in victory.More satisfied with himself, and his way of life, than he ever had been, Callahan graduated with a degree in Starship Tactical Operations and was commissioned as a Starfleet Officer at the rank of ensign. He had devotedly maintained a long-distance relationship with Laura throughout his time at Training Command, and the two were married almost immediately after his graduation, and directly before his first assignment.
The Apollo was a coup of an assignment for a young Armoury Officer. A small ship, Callahan was posted as the Deputy Head of the department, expected to benefit from the experience of both the Chief and the seasoned NCOs. The Apollo spent most of its time devoted to cargo escort, travelling between Earth, its colonies, and their various trading partners. Training Command had already proven something of a culture shock to a farmboy from Texas – now Ensign Callahan was repeatedly confronted with different worlds, different species, and even colonial humans and their different ways.
He was taken under the wing of Commander Proulx, the Chief Armoury Officer and XO. It was from her he learnt the most on his first two years on the Apollo, from her he learnt about the knacks and techniques for dealing with different races and cultures, and from her he learnt the ropes of starship operations. She was a straightforward sort of woman, and Callahan was surprised to find himself adopting the role of the more thoughtful and cautious of the two, which proved to be a positive new experience.
The Apollo, being a well-designed Earth starship, was only posted to cargo escort duties where there was an element of risk. It was here that Callahan would get his first tastes of combat as the ship had multiple run-ins with alien pirates over the years. Considering most of these groups salvaged and stole what technical parts they needed, a particular challenge proved to be accurately assessing these ill-defined classes of ship, which on the surface could look identical but could prove to be radically different. Proulx quickly set Callahan’s primary responsibility as the tactical analysis of these enemies and to continuously feed her what results he had reached throughout a combat scenario.
It was in one of these conflicts that the Apollo’s Captain was killed, and far from Earth, Proulx assumed command of the ship, and Callahan was advanced to acting Chief Armoury Officer. The resulting shake-up and damage, and the need to still complete their cargo run, meant that the Apollo was a full month late back to Earth. Much to his guilt, John consequently missed the birth of his son, and in a vengeful act of love his wife named the boy after him.
Proulx’s position as the commander of the Apollo was confirmed, and Callahan was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade and kept on as the permanent Chief Armoury Officer. Apollo spent many weeks undergoing repairs, time which he could spend with his young family, and despite his satisfaction with his work, Callahan felt the first twinge of real guilt at leaving them behind.
But soon enough the Apollo was back underway, and Callahan consumed by his new responsibilities. Apollo had proven perfectly adept at cargo escort, and so would sometimes be ushered in to aid on escort groups for diplomatic envoys. These were first seen to be ‘soft’ assignments, for rarely did they result in combat, though Callahan would quickly learn to curse them. As a senior staff member he had much more involvement with the individuals the Apollo encountered, amongst the traders and diplomats, and he was forced to quickly expand his horizons with his familiarity with alien cultures.
This was not easy. Always polite, Callahan still chafed under what he saw as often ungrateful behaviour from those the Apollo was dedicated to protecting, and Proulx was not half the diplomat that her predecessor had been. Although the Apollo never failed to defend those they were set to escort, the glowing reports from the convoys lessened in number. This was likely more Proulx’s fault than Callahan’s, but he was often consequently at the receiving end of the bad moods this engendered, and it did not endear him to those the Apollo encountered.
After two years the Apollo was reassigned to the Sol System, likely intending to provide Proulx with a little more command experience before putting her out on delicate assignments. Her relationship with Callahan had not suffered from the tense period, for he had never blamed his mentor, and she took great pains to ensure he was not punished, securing for him a new assignment. Briefly, Callahan considered staying on the Apollo so he could be close to his family, which had expanded to include his daughter, Elizabeth, but the opportunity given him was too great for him to refuse.
The Pathfinder was a considerably larger ship than the Apollo, and a grand new opportunity for newly-minted full Lieutenant John Callahan. He relished his chance to get to grips with a whole new array of systems and a whole new way of doing things, and any of his guilt at staying away from home faded at the excitement of this new posting. Also helpful was that the Chief Engineer was his old friend Khaled Hassan, and the two set about again forming a strong team on the senior staff.
Callahan would here have his first experience of exploration. The Pathfinder was posted to expand Starfleet’s knowledge of space immediately beyond its colonies and trading routes, and cooperated heavily with the Denobulans to that end as the two peoples would share starmaps and developments. Callahan’s talent for adapting to quickly-changing scenarios became invaluable on landing parties where it was unknown if they would be greeted warmly or with hostility.
Although by no means a diplomat, Callahan’s straightforward nature occasionally proved helpful in first encounters with groups. Captain Hollander was a highly-educated and more traditional negotiator who usually produced excellent results – and then sometimes this resulted in him appearing false or overbearing. Callahan’s easy, blunt manner proved occasionally as effective at diffusing tensions as did a kind word, and that he sometimes did this with the aid of a phase-pistol never hurt. Hollander, an old and seasoned officer, referred to Callahan’s technique as ‘cowboy diplomacy’ with much amusement, and the two would become a good team, Callahan comfortable serving again as the more pragmatic in a partnership.
In 2147, the Pathfinder was unexpectedly struck by an electromagnetic storm which the Science Officer failed to anticipate due to a sensor glitch. Usually confronted with a threat that he could beat, Callahan found himself all but helpless to protect the crew as the ship was racked by the storm. There was only so much an extra pair of hands could provide, or relief work his Armoury Teams could offer. But the biggest blow came in an accident in engineering, which claimed the life of Lieutenant Hassan.
Callahan was deeply affected by the loss of his friend, and even more affected by that it had happened due to circumstances outside of his control. Hollander did his best to console the young officer, but he was inevitably changed by it, growing more serious and cold in his dedication to protect the crew, and a lot of his wide-eyed sense of wonder at their exploratory duties faded.
Within a year he received word from Earth that Anthony Turner, his father-in-law who had been closer to him than his own father, had died. This left his wife with the family farm, and, still reeling from the death of Hassan, Callahan finally decided that it was time to come home. Issuing his deepest regrets to Captain Hollander he tendered his resignation from Starfleet, and with a matter of months was back on Earth, at the Turner farm which Laura Callahan had just inherited.
Within a month on the family farm, Callahan concluded that the life of a rancher was not for him – nor was the life of just being a rancher’s husband. His wife, simply pleased to have him not away for months on end and perhaps keen to not have him being troublesome underfoot, reassured him that he was free to continue to pursue his own career and his own wants.
He looked to the local police force, though found the idea of patrolling quiet Texas a little demoralising. It was only when his wife pointed out that he would never be happy just stuck at home, and that almost anything would be a huge improvement on his presence around the ranch, that he made a decision to look around more ambitiously for a new avenue in life.
He joined the US Marshals Service, his Starfleet record easily getting him accepted into the training programme, where he excelled. The work was hard, but rewarding, and although the hours were long, he still saw his family a good deal more than he had when he was in Starfleet, and finally had the chance to actually get to know his children properly.
Nevertheless, he was not fully satisfied. At work he could be overly ambitious in a way suggesting he chafed a little under the comparatively limited challenges which faced him, and at home he did, over a few years, become a little remote and detached. Occasionally Laura would find him out of bed at night, and would always know where to find him – the back porch, where he’d be sat in a chair, all lights out, bundled under a blanket, looking up at the stars.
It was likely he would have stayed on Earth for the rest of his days, however, had it not been for the Xindi attack. Dragged to offer security for the relief efforts, Callahan saw the desolation first-hand, and was shocked to his core. Messages came flooding in to him, friends reporting they had lost family members, or even those friends themselves being killed. Everything he had experienced in Starfleet came back to him – the memories of the wide open, dangerous galaxy, with threats known and unknown just waiting to unleash chaos down on Earth. He met with Captain Proulx, recalled to Earth, and she urged him to return to the service.
He sought, and was granted, the reactivation of his commission – Starfleet keen for experienced officers in this time of crisis, and the Marshals Service in little position to argue – and bore his wife’s ire later.
Callahan served on the Gemini, which was assigned to the protection and defence of Earth colonies and territories. Under the command of Captain Rostami, the ship roamed the borders and frontiers, only exploring further to ensure that the immediate space beyond was known and secure. It became quickly apparent that Earth was turning its attention inwards, and decreasing resources were expended on the development and protection of colony worlds off the beaten track.
Humanity was seen as weak by those who would do Earth harm, and the Gemini saw a good deal more combat than any ship Callahan had served on yet. He worked hard with Captain Rostami to shape the ship up into being a finely-tuned weapon and the crew ready for all possible engagements, and the response time of the Gemini’s crew to a crisis quickly become amongst the top in Starfleet. To boot, the Gemini spent much time offering aid and support to border worlds, and Callahan found himself growing in appreciation for the hardships suffered by these colonists.
Even when Enterprise returned, John found himself still not submitting his resignation, still not returning to his home. There was too much to do, he said – the Xindi were just what had come first. All manner of threats could be next. And he could not sit idly at home when he could do more to keep that very home safe. To boot, he had become sympathetic to the needs of the colonists, whose suffering came second to those of inhabitants of Earth, and wished to do his part.
So he stayed on the Gemini, despite the tensions this caused with his family, especially his son, who had expected him home when Enterprise returned. Callahan worked hard to remain a diligent crewmember, though within the last six months of his assignment, the Gemini’s talents became, in his eyes, wasted. She had become a combat vessel, and Starfleet instead assigned her to patrol along well-established space lanes. As an officer he was familiar with dynamic and sudden combat situations against a wide variety of enemies, and more peaceful patrols had brought him into contact with plenty of Earth’s allies and potential friends, but he needed more, and felt that there was more, better work to be done.
As a compromise with his wife, he put in for a transfer. If no assignment was found for him where he could feel like he was making a difference, he would come home. John wasn’t sure which of the two results he wanted – but when the posting for the Challenger NX-03 came in, he realised this was an opportunity of a lifetime, and every chance to make the difference to his homeworld that he wanted. Regardless that the notice of his assignment was less than forty-eight hours, he was on Earth when he heard, and was satisfied to pack his bags and engage on this new undertaking.
Callahan was instrumental in supporting his new captain in ensuring their first mission was a success. Captain Burton became dependent on his counsel in their first few weeks in deep space and the two would regularly have meals together. However, in the end, John decided he needed to return home after he found it too hard to focus on his duties when he was worried about his wife and children. During the ship’s second mission, Admiral Gardner approved his request to return home.
Starfleet Training Command
Starfleet were keen to keep John and instead offered him a position teaching at STC while still being able to be at home. In mid-2155, he assisted Captain Burton in finding out a lead linked to Burton’s father’s death.