Profile Overview

Archer Kowalski

Human Male

Character Information

Rank & Address

Captain Kowalski




Archer Antoni Kowalski

2358 (Age 42)

Ajilon Prime


Captain Archer Kowalski is a seasoned engineer with a long history serving in the SCE and on frontier assignments, and has a reputation as one of Starfleet’s so-called ‘miracle workers.’ He made the move to starship command in 2398, only to find himself frustrated and dissatisfied, and thus jumped on the opportunity to return to an engine room aboard the USS Columbia, whose deep space assignment he hopes can help him reflect on his ambitions.


Kowalski is not hugely remarkable in appearance; tall but not obviously fit, good-looking but not striking, and his brown hair and the beard he grew over the last few years are now streaked with grey. But he has a presence pictures struggle to capture: an intensity to his bright eyes, a warmth to his smile and a clarity to his voice that can see him command a whole room, or captivate an individual.


Archer Kowalski comes across as charming, friendly, and professional. He has a good sense of humour and a love of people, and shows a great interest in anyone new he meets. For most of his professional life he has been part of the heart and soul of a ship, embedded in its social life and culture. As an engineer he is an intelligent problem-solver, but thrives most when he can be hands-on, and he likes to see the fruits of his labour first-hand to be satisfied in his work.

Throughout his life he’s struggled with his temper, however. It is usually joined by a strong sense of justice, but this can make him dogmatic and self-righteous. He has a soft spot for the underdog and something of a saviour complex, and can be intractable if he has decided on doing the right thing. It can be perilous to be principled and intelligent, as Kowalski is – he’s not accustomed to being wrong, and is thus very bad at recognising it when it happens.


Early Life

The Kowalski family were among the original settlers of the colony on Ajilon Prime along the Federation-Klingon border. It was this narrative of being pioneers on a dangerous frontier that inspired naming young Archer after the legendary Starfleet captain and Federation president. The middle of three children and the youngest son, Archer Kowalski grew up in a rugged environment that prized ingenuity as much as hard work.

Despite being academically talented, Archer looked up greatly to his older brother Tom, who was much more physical and gregarious and something of a troublemaker. The two were tearaways as children, birthing a distance between them and their parents, and their younger sister who tried to play peacemaker. Family and teachers feared the gifted Archer, in particular, would not live up to his potential.

The Federation-Klingon War of the 2370s changed everything. The Klingon Empire attacked the colony, occupying it for a time, and the comfortable if hard-earned life of the Kowalskis was devastated. Archer’s mother died in the bombardment, the family was relocated, and by the time Starfleet drove the Klingons back, it was clear nothing would ever be the same again.

The ebullient Tom enlisted in Starfleet soon after, and it became apparent that Archer would follow in his footsteps blindly if allowed. His father enrolled the teenager instead in an internship to assist with the rebuilding of Ajilon’s essential infrastructure. For long summer months over three years, Archer gained experience of both hands-on work and the design and development of the reconstruction. For the first time, he had an outlet for his talents, a means of putting them to use.

This was not the only reason he mellowed. It was on this project that he met Julia Nowak, a girl he first clashed with, but soon they bonded over shared loss and their experiences in the occupation. For a time he considered staying on Ajilon, but it was Julia who cemented his decision to leave when she committed to a university place in Alpha Centauri. When his brother returned on leave, speaking of his earliest service now his training was done, Archer realised what he wanted, and applied to Starfleet Academy.

Starfleet Academy

Academic talent was tainted by occasional spots in his record, but the Academy was keen to bring in an officer candidate with his potential and his experiences. For the first months, Archer Kowalski carried the smeared reputation – especially on the prestigious San Francisco campus – of being a ‘diversity’ candidate, the poor kid from the war-torn fringes. This saw him clash with some of the more assertive cadets, and Kowalski came to realise he didn’t need to be the tag-along he had been for his brother – that he had his own charm, wits, and confidence.

He made good friends soon after, and found he had more in common with cadets who had experienced adversity. For the first time, Kowalski was surrounded by affluence and privilege, and he spent four years challenging his peers and even sometimes his instructors if they lacked, in his eyes, an understanding of how difficult life could be outside of the Federation’s comfortable regions.

Throughout the Academy, Kowalski was always hungry for more and threw himself into as much as he could, including joining the Academy American football team, and made Cadet-Lieutenant in Gold Squadron, the training unit dedicated to technical skills. After his third year, rather than return to Ajilon during break he took an opportunity for secondment to a Starfleet Corps of Engineering unit, and spent two months in the Alpha Centauri system. Here he again crossed paths with Julia Nowak, the two forever failing to remain just friends if they were in each other’s orbit.

But his career was promising to take off. Kowalski’s training unit was commended for winning multiple war games, and proved himself cool and ingenious under pressure, never losing his nerve running an engine room. He graduated high in his class, and was offered a prestigious assignment aboard the Luna-class USS Ganymede. Much to the surprise of his superiors, he turned it down.

The Algiers

Kowalski instead spent four years aboard the USS Algiers, a Parliament-class ship considered somewhat beneath a young officer of his calibre expected to jump on a chance for deep space exploration. But the Algiers was posted to the Cardassian-Federation border, focused on colony support and establishment, and building up infrastructure in a region that had not fully recovered from the war.

As an engineer, Kowalski was integral to the Algiers’s work. He was always eager for landing parties to help colony development, and was commended for going above and beyond in not just the work, but establishing relationships and supporting local communities. Merely days after his advancement to lieutenant junior grade, he volunteered for a three-month runabout mission to maintain and repair a network of communication and security warning beacons and missed the promotion party for his cohort of young officers. He was always involved in the ship’s community and life, gregarious and well-liked by his colleagues personally as well as respected professionally.

Again he was offered assignment to a more prestigious ship of exploration once his tour on the Algiers was done, and again Kowalski turned it down for a different opportunity.

Starbase 25

Serving on Starbase 25, Kowalski’s professional challenges were less varied than on the Algiers. But the station lay in the Archanis Sector along the Federation-Klingon border, and from here he could bring his experience and training to where he’d grown up. It was more rooted work than on the Algiers, less transient, and again Kowalski showed himself embedded in communities as much as he was a hard worker.

It was also where Julia Nowak came back into his life. She herself was a civic architect who had returned to the area she’d grown up, and while their paths crossed only a little professionally, her work brought her more and more to SB25. Eventually she admitted she was picking jobs that required being at Starfleet’s beating heart of the sector so she could be close to him. Their lives had never aligned for more than fleeting moments, but at last they took the plunge into a serious relationship, and were married in 2387. They had two children over the next five years.

Chief Engineer

From 2388 to 2398, Archer Kowalski was Chief Engineer of a starship – first the Luna-class USS Kumari, then the Manticore-class USS Scylla. The Kumari was his first taste of true exploration, driving into regions of space only opened up with the collapse of the Romulan Star Empire. While relatively close to home, the crew explored regions the Federation had never seen before, and Kowalski thrived under the challenges of not just managing resources without immediate support, but running an engine room of a ship encountering stellar phenomena and new threats. It was, perhaps, his first time using technology to support new experiences, instead of staving off difficulty.

But the Kumari still kept him regularly away from his family, and in 2393 he took a promotion to full commander and was made Chief Engineer aboard the USS Scylla. The Manticore-class remained embedded for years on the border with the collapsed Romulan Star Empire. Again Kowalski rose to the forefront with humanitarian missions, particularly thriving in developing long-term solutions with limited resources for refugee and strung-out colony worlds.

He was commended for bravery in 2391, when the Scylla was building a new power station for a frontier colony. A raiding band of a local warlord drove the ship away, leaving a team of engineers led by Kowalski on the surface. For three days, Commander Kowalski rallied both Starfleet and the locals to defend themselves against the Romulan warlord until the Scylla could return with reinforcements.

Achievements like this were used by Kowalski as leverage for his next ambition. While he thrived in work that helped most beleaguered parts of the Federation, he longed for more freedom.


In 2398, at last he made the move to starship command. The Parliament-class Tshwane was not the most prestigious of ships, but as a utility cruiser, Kowalski thought it the best assignment for an engineer captain. The Tshwane was dispatched to the Breen border on colony support, and for long months Captain Kowalski delighted in directing missions and taking a bigger picture view of the ways he and his ship could help.

But in mid-2399, the Breen launched a new offensive against the Federation. While the bulk of the attack was directed at the Barzan system, other assaults were launched to divert Starfleet attention, and the Tshwane responded to a distress call to join a border skirmish. Breen ships were driven off, but the Tshwane and other Starfleet ships were badly damaged, while on long-range sensors further Breen assault craft were detected heading for a nearby Federation colony.

With the Tshwane the least-damaged, it fell to her to conduct repairs on herself and the other ships, and rally a defence force to intercept the Breen. Over and over Kowalski strained at the bit, desperate to get down to the engine room, to get his hands dirty, and to take control of the myriad of engineering challenges while his crew needed him to be a leader on the bridge. The Tshwane won the race against the clock, ultimately driving off the enemy ships, but the losses were high.

Moving On

The Tshwane was so badly damaged she was recalled to drydock in San Francisco, and Kowalski was grounded on Earth for an inquiry. With his family beside him, for the better part of a year he consulted with the Starfleet Corps of Engineering and taught a selection of courses at the Academy, and all the while received counselling.

But it wasn’t guilt that weighed heavily on him, and the inquiry exonerated him of professional failures. At a time when a ship had needed its captain the most, he’d wanted to be anywhere but the bridge. Friends and colleagues assured him that this was a natural part of adjustment, but that didn’t quite ring true. It was his wife in the end who reminded him that he’d become an engineer because he wanted to be involved, wanted to do things himself, and that he’d perhaps fallen in the trap of Starfleet culture that said excellence led only to a captain’s chair.

With this fresh perspective, Archer Kowalski sought new opportunities. He considered pursuing leadership of an SCE team, but in 2400 a new chance crossed his desk: serving as Captain of Engineering aboard the Galaxy-class USS Columbia, on assignment deep in the Delta Quadrant. Being so far from home, despite the difficulties it would bring, had one great draw for him: there would be no distractions. No politics, no Starfleet culture dictating how he should be living his life. Only the work, and the clarity that came with it.

Service Record

Date Position Posting Rank
2380 - 2382 Engineering Officer USS Algiers
2382 - 2384 Power Systems Officer USS Algiers
Lieutenant Junior Grade
2384 - 2388 Head of Power Grid Operations Starbase 25
2388 - 2393 Chief Engineer USS Kumari
Lieutenant Commander
2393 - 2398 Chief Engineer USS Scylla
2398 - 2399 Commanding Officer USS Tshwane
2399 - 2400 Visiting Lecturer Starfleet Academy
2400 - Present Captain of Engineering USS Columbia