Commander Francheszka “Frankenstein” Braxton
A grizzled and scarred old Veteran, who became an officer the "long way around", enlisting in Starfleet as an engineering specialist, climbing to Non-Comm Chief, and then receiving a field commission thanks to the horrendous attrition rate during the Dominion War. Some of her original body even made it through all that with her!
Franceszka Mackelsen was born on the Federation colony world of Forlorn Hope, to a colonial sheriff (her mother) and the resident doctor (her father). During her early teens, Frankie acquired a love of computers and also of how technical and mechanical systems functioned. After she was caught taking apart the Colony’s primary geo-thermal capacitor, “just to see how it worked” (and causing the third worse blackout in the Colony’s short history in the process), Frankie was: A. severely grounded, B. given a lot of community service time, and C. apprenticed to the Colony’s lead engineer.
When she turned 17, she applied for Starfleet Academy but was beat out during the entrance exams, coming up just shy of the last acceptance slot. Though she was offered another shot in the following year, Frankie instead signed up as an Engineer’s Mate on a civilian Merchantman-vessel, registered out of Tellar. She would go on to serve on 3 other vessels operated by the same company, including a civilian retrofitted decomissioned Miranda class, the SS Royal Fortune.
She worked her way up the ranks, and by the age of 20, was made Boatswain. By 23, she was Quartermaster (and acting Chief Engineer for a month, while the previous Chief Engineer recovered from a bout of Rigellian Flu.).
A year later, the SS Royal Fortune was attacked by Pirates (somewhat ironic, given the history behind the name, Royal Fortune) and was dead in space until the USS Dunkirk responded to the incident and drove off the pirates. It was during this fight that Frankie suffered the first serious injury of her career, loosing two finger and breaking the remaining bones in her left hand, wrist, and forearm, after a catwalk in the Fortune’s environmental control room, collasped and fell on her, crushing her arm and pinning her for almost 3 minutes to the control console she was working at.
After the fight, the Dunkirk then helped with what repairs it could, sending over an engineering team while the Fortune was towed back to port via tractor beam).
It was among this engineering team, that the young Francheszka would find her future husband, (then) Petty Officer and Engineer’s Mate-2nd-class, Gregory Braxton. The two bonded over fried circuits and blown EPS conduits while trying to bring life back into the Fortune’s damaged systems.
Despite several initial heated arguments and debates over how to proceed over the repairs, both engineers were getting quite serious in the relationship by the end of the two weeks it took to return to port.
With her repair work noted as exemplary (if a bit unconventional), the Dunkirk’s Chief Engineer and Captain both accepted her request to stay with the starfleet vessel, granting her the provisional rank of Acting Petty Officer and joining the Dunkirk’s Engineering team as a provisional engineer while undergoing basic enlistee training through a correspondence course with Starfleet.
After two years (the training was somewhat delayed by the Dunkirk’s return to deep space assignment), Frankie completed the course and was made full Petty Officer, 3rd class and assigned as a Damage Control Specialist.
A year later, she rocketed up to 2nd class and was engaged to Gregory. By the time of their wedding, both engineers had made Petty Officer 1st class.
Frankie took Gregory’s family name, Braxton, at this moment. Their marriage was one of passion, shared interest, but also one of contention. Arguments would often break out, mostly over technical matters and Veruka’s need for exacting precision for all things in her life and Gregory’s habit of just “winging it”.
Then Frankie became pregnant…and 10 months later, the Braxton’s welcomed a healthy baby daughter, Henriette Walperga Mackelsen-Braxton. In an effort to be more supportive for the baby, both parents agreed to tone down their arguments and sought relationship counseling from the Dunkirk’s Chief Counselor.
The end of the fighting though was also a death-knell to the passion in their relationship, and though both were supporting, loving parents, their love-live was effectively over.
A few years later, Francheszka suffered her first ship loss, when the Dunkirk was severely damaged at the battle against the Borg at Wolf 359. She also suffered damage to her heart and lungs after a cooling duct exploded, sending a shard of shrapnel through her back and some of the coolant was inhaled before she was evacuated.
She was kept alive long enough to undergo surgery at a Starfleet Medical Facility in orbit of Earth and recieved a prosthetic heart and artificial left lung (the right lung was able to respond to regenerative therapies).
Both Gregory and Henriette were able to make it out safetly as well, with Gregory suffering only a minor concussion and minor burns from an exploding console, and Henriette acquiring a twisted ankle after a power surge caused the Dunkirk’s artificial gravity to briefly, and sharply, triple in intensity.
In the aftermath, Gregory and Francheszka both agreed that a starship was no place for their daughter, and since neither was willing to give up their career, nor leave space for a planetary job, Henriette was sent to live with Francheszka’s younger brother, who at the time, worked as a Astrophysics Researcher at the Science Academy on Vulcan. Bernard had already been looking after Henriette during both her parents recoveries and physio-therapies (especially Francheszka’s).
The Braxton’s, sans their young daughter, returned to work a few months later, this time on the USS Sarpedon. Despite their daughter’s abscence, they continued to avoid their fighting, seeing each other as somehow much more fragile then before.
Their relationship and marriage continued to languish.
Finding that she still needed passion in her life, Francheszka at first threw herself farther into her work, barely noticing her husband’s existence. He seemed content enough to follow suit as well. Soon though, Francheszka found this to provide an inadequate stimulus and started having an affair, finding what she had been missing in the arms of another.
As it turned out, Gregory had again, followed Francheszka’s suit…which was made clear to them by the crewmate they were both having their separate affairs with (the crewmate herself, only just piecing it together a few days prior).
Needless to say, at this point, both of the Braxtons realized that their marriage was officially over. There was nothing left to salvage, nothing left to solder back together. They divorced and after feeling somewhat lost with himself, Gregory Braxton resigned from Starfleet as a Chief Petty Officer, and found a new cause in fighting for the new Maquis.
Francheszka kept the Braxton surname as a memory of what she saw as her own failure, and returned to her work.
As time moved on, Francheszka suffered more on the job injuries, including having her heart replaced after it was overloaded by the magnetic-based weaponry of an alien race she encountered during an away team assignment. She later got exposed to a dose of radiation during a technical investigation into the hazard materials dumping practices of a civilian starbase near the Triangle area of space. Though a prompt decontamination process managed to prevent any major cellular damage in her organs, she did under go a few skin grafts and her hair lost pigment, becoming ghost white.
During her convalescence, she began investigating the subsequent reports on the Starbase’s practicies, and also the incident in which she was dosed. Francheszka then wrote a holodeck program from her ICU biobed, and when she was cleared to walk around again, used the program to forensically recreate the incident in exacting detail and run several scenarios of how it occurred.
With the help of the Sarpedon’s Chief Engineer and Security Chief, Francheszka was able to prove that while the incident itself was accidental, the nature of how hazardous materials were handled on the station were grossly negligent, resulting in charges being leveled against the Station’s Administrator and Operations Chief.
Francheszka gained her Chief Petty Officer pip for this, and after her recovery period was official over, she returned to duty as Chief Computer Systems Analyst.
From there on, Francheszka’s career was pretty average…right until the Klingon War started during the Dominion Crisis, and Francheszka suffered the loss of her eyes.
The Sarpedon was in the process of evacuating a freighter of Cardassian Refugees, which was suffering from a destablization of their warp core systems. To counter, or at least, stall this destablization, the Sarpedon was doing a power transfer to the damaged vessel when an unexpected feedback surge in the transfer beam caused a massive overload in the Sarpedon’s engineroom, blowing out several ODN and EPS conduits…including the one behind Francheszka’s workstation, sending debris and energy discharges straight into her face and destroying her eyes amongst other serious injuries.
With the help of her fellow crew, Francheszka was evacuated along with all other surviving members of the Sarpedon and the freighter’s crew and passengers, to lifeboats and shuttles, as the feedback turned into a full cascade failure that consumed both ships in a warp core breach.
Francheszka spent the rest of the Klingon War and the early months of the Dominion War, on Earth at Starfleet Medical, recovering and relearning how to see through an installed neural-interface and VISR prostethic…and part way through that, switched to the new cybernetic replacement eyes, after agreeing to be part of the beta-test sample.
During this time, Francheszka recieved permission to assist on several R&D projects, working as a program debugger for Projects Hypathia, Somme, Changdao, and Anwar. She also worked on the development of new holodeck training programs for Starfleet personnel engaged in tactical operations, a much needed resource given the sharp increase in hostilities.
A year into the Dominion war, Francheszka suffered the severing of her left leg by a Jem’hadar poleblade and recieved a bio-enhanced prosthetic. How this occured was a mystery, as Jem’hadar had not reached Earth, where (officially) Francheszka was still stationed for recovery and light desk duty.
7 Months later, Francheszka was hospitalized for the loss of most of her teeth and a portion of her jaw, wounds consistant with recieving a klingon bat’leth strike to the face. Again, this incident was mysterious, as Francheszka was still supposed to be in convolescence.
In both these cases, the exact details remain classified by Starfleet Intelligence.
When Francheszka finally (officially) returned to duty, almost 3 years into the war, She was assigned to work an Starfleet Corps of Engineers (SCE) combat team, setting up defenses, recovering enemy materiel, and salvaging what could be salvaged from destroyed/disabled ships along the frontlines.
On one such assignment, Francheszka’s team was assigned to assist with the continuing siege-defense of outpost AR-558, countering Jem’hadar cloaked mines, building defensive positions, turrets. and forcefield barricades. While surveying out a position for a new sensor emplacement, Francheszka lost her right leg and right foot to a cloaked mine that the most recent scans had missed. Her partner for that job checked on her and cauterized the wounds, before leaving her to run back to the outpost and get help (communications were jammed at the time).
She then, while waiting for help, suffered a break to her ribcage, after recieving a shattering blow from the stock of a Jem’hadar scout’s rifle in an attempt at field interrogation. This Jem’hadar recon force was quickly killed off when the rescue team from the Outpost returned…and Francheszka was shipped off to Starbase 241 for surgery and recovery on the next resupply transport.
Fitted with a replacement leg and foot, Francheszka returned to the front and served as a member of the engineering team assigned to crew the Klingon Bird of Prey, IKS Bat’tagh, in a series of joint operations. She ended up as Acting Chief Engineer during one of these ops, after the actual Chief Engineer was slain while defending against a Jem’hadar boarding action. Francheszka managed to lead the surviving engineers in errecting a particle field that scattered the Dominion boarding transporter beams, buying time to get the shields back up. This was all without proper depth perception, as one of her own prosthetic eyes had been cut out by a thrown knife.
For her actions, the KDF gave her a field commission with the rank of Lieutenant and became the new Chief Engineer of the Bat’tagh.
Later, she would have to have all of her visual interface implants replaced, after a residual discharge from a Breen dampening weapon shorted the system out. She avoided assassination/mercy-killing by the klingons of her fellow crew, by still serving effectively as the primary engineer, using her klingon deputy as her eyes and hands.
She recieved a new interface after that mission and returned to duty after a week. Within a month though, she was back in surgery, this time recieving replacement vertebrae and a neuro-syncrinizer to bypass damaged tissue after being caught under debris from battle damage that left the Bat’tagh dead and adrift in space.
Despite being paralyzed below the waist, Francheszka continued doing her job, after verbally dressing down a klingon warrior into carrying her around so she could keep what remained of the Bat’tagh’s systems alive until they were rescued by the USS Archiemedes.
This time, her injuries would take Francheszka out of the war completely, placing her in heavy physio-therapy for a substantial time at the Queensland Medical Centre on the Australian continent on Earth.
A year after the Amristice, Francheszka returned to light duty as a computer systems analyst on the USS Diomedes. Within another year, the USS Diomedes’s Chief Engineer would retire, and the Assistant Chief Engineer would be killed by members of a Pro-Dominion Cardassian extremeist group, who managed to smuggle bombs into a relief site and refugee camp that the Diomedes was setting up.
In the search for a new CEO, the Diomedes’s captain found out about Francheszka’s war record on the Bat’tagh, and after talking with some of the Bat’tagh’s surviving crew, offered the position to Francheszka. She accepted hestinantly at first, and then accepted “under protest” after the Captain informed her that the position would come with a field promotion to “Acting Lieutenant”, followed by an Officer’s exam, and then a full commission as a Lieutenant Commander to reflect her experience and authority over the Diomedes’s sizeable engineering department and various technical projects it conducted.
Francheszka completed the exams and earned her promotion to Lt Commander, though again, “under protest”. An officer’s position offered her some more time for personal interests, and Francheszka began to take some sub-space courses from the Academy on subjects like bio-mechanics, cybernetic systems, and some minor medical and science courses. Since the Lieutenant Commander rank and the CEO position put her rather up high in the ship’s Chain of Command, she also underwent the Bridge Officer’s examination and brushed up on her tactics and strategies.
In 2380, the Diomedes was destroyed under circumstances that remain classified by Starfleet Intelligence, during which Francheszka had her right arm and most of her right shoulder, replaced with bionics. Once again, she remained busy during her convalescence, this time at Utopia Planitia, where she advised as a consultant on various projects: primarially, expanding the design ideas behind moduluar system vessels like the Nebula, Ronin, Luna, and the almost completed Insignia project.
After her completion of her therapy and healing, Francheszka returned to active duty, this time assigned to the SCE itself, moving from project to project where her expertise and experiance would be an asset.
In this time she was awared several merits for technical achivements and promoted to Commander, along with command of the SCE team that came with it.
Not much more would change for Frankie until she was called to head up the refit and module installation of the USS Devonshire, an Insignia-class starship at Providence Fleet Yards.
First she was “shanghai’d” when her assignment was done, to be the new First Officer for the USS Devonshire, an experienced veteran and old hand to help guide and advise the predominately very young and still pretty green, crew.
Only a few weeks after that, she was made Acting Commanding Officer when Captain Michael Wilcox took an extended leave of abscence to help his family through personal tragedies connected to the Gorn Attack on Xavier Fleet Yards.
To her new and future crew, be warned…this Commander comes with some assembly required.