NC Polaris fun facts
How the Terran adventure started
In the mid-2150's, Earth starships boldly ventured past the boundaries of known space. This created many conflicts in local space, given that many feared the ambitious newcomers. Earth managed to settle interplanetary disputes which lingered on for centuries, signalling a nascent era of peace and prosperity.
Little did Earth know what lied beyond their horizons: an emerging interplanetary superpower, the Romulan Star Empire. The Romulans, enshrouded in mystery and a strong sense of militarism, had their own ideas of broadening their range of interest. At first, it seemed that the conflict will be resolved by the simple way of "finders keepers", that is, the first race to colonize an uninhabited planet has all the rights to claim it to their respective political body.
Unknown to all but only the uppermost level of Vulcan society was the origin of the Romulan people. Those who Terrans called Romulans were called Seheikk'he by the Vulcans, meaning "The Sundered". The departure of the Romulans in the ancient times was nothing more than a myth at the time the War started. Yet the Romulans remembered and were keen on reclaiming what they deemed to be their rightful heritage: Vulcan.
To sum up the origins of the War in a nutshell, we can state that the Romulans entered the war to destabilize the Vulcan region which now had Earth as the emerging superpower. In the early months of 2156, many Earth colonies and cargo ships fell prey to the Romulan onslaught. Thousands died, few survived. Seventeen of them, all captains of cargo ships lost in the early months of the war, decided to go against all odds and fight for Earth during the weeks the front line was nearing day by day to the Human homeworld. One of the seventeen cargo ships lost in the early attacks bore the name "Polaris".
Let's look at those who survived the fall of the ECS Polaris only to become the unlikely heroes of Humankind (their later ranks also indicated).
- Captain Linus Randolph (Michael Emerson)
Captain Randolph started his career at the Earth Colonial Defence Authority, years before Starfleet was charted. He attained the rank of 2nd Lieutenant but left the military after it was incorporated into the United Earth Starfleet. He set up his small cargo transport company, buying a J class cargo ship which he named Polaris after the direction of his first cargo route. Captain Randolph is a sarcastic, sometimes even cynical man who has seen too many bad things in the world. He might not look like a tough guy, but those who mess with him often wish they had left him alone.
- Commander Frank Clayton (Brian Austin Green)
Commander Clayton was the strong man of the cargo ship Polaris, being its tactical officer as well as the one Captain Randolph sent when dealing with rough customers. He is somewhat brash and crass, but is also capable of deep insight. He never served in any military but his father was a noncom at Colonial Defence.
- Lieutenant Commander Hyoni Chon (Sandra Oh)
Lieutenant Commander Chon was hired by Captain Randolph to boost the output of the old J class Warp reactor. At their first meeting, Chon simply stated that she can re-write the Cochrane equation, whilst blindfolded and her hands tied to her back. Chon is extremely maximalist and thus intolerant for any small blunder. She is also loud and verbally aggressive and thus isn't the most liked member of the crew. She is, however, irreplaceable due to her skills of tuning even military-grade shipboard systems.
- Lieutenant Dana "Call" Soboleski (Jewel Staite)
Lieutenant Soboleski earned her nickname as a communications officer, due to Captain Randolph always telling her to "make a call" whenever contacting other vessels or stations. She is the heart and soul of the crew, always fond of some new gossip but is the most trustworthy member of the crew. She has absolute hearing and can decipher encoded data simply by listening to them.
- Ensign Ekaterina "Katya" Korolyova (Tania Raymonde)
Katya was born on the cargo ship Polaris to pilot Vadim Korolyov and his wife, nurse Maria LaFleur and spent her whole life aboard the ship, receiving education via subspace radio. She has shown an uncanny knack for celestial navigation since early childhood so her father let her "drive" sometimes, with the consent of Captain Randolph. Her parents perished with the cargo ship, leaving her gloomy and distanced. Captain Randolph cares for her deeply, considering her a surrogate daughter.
- Dr. Ezekiel Aubrey (Ron Glass)
"Doc Zeke", as his patients call him, is a Colonial Defence veteran just like Captain Randolph. He's mostly self-trained as a physician, meeting medical conditions in space never appearing on Earth. He is an old softie, caring deeply for his crew, the only family he has left.
These people were the six of the senior crew of the trusty old cargo ship. The loss of their friends, their vessel and their job left deep scars in all of them. Not letting themselves submerging in sorrow, they met with the survivors of other sixteen lost cargo ships and decided to submit a petition to Starfleet Command for new ships, battle-worthy vessels to combat the Romulans.
Their request was met by an abrupt dismissal at first, but as the War became bloodier, Command realized that they had trained senior crews for their new line of medium-grade light cruisers of the NC class. The seventeen captains met in Leningrad, Russia to be given authority over Leningrad Dockyard's complete roster of ships. These ships later became known as the Semnadsat, meaning "Seventeen" in Russian. All ships received their names from the lost cargo ships. The eighth of them was assigned to Captain Randolph and named Polaris.
In the times of war, the crew of a cargo ship, however trained and experienced they were, was just not enough. Starfleet assigned an officer or two to all of them. The Polaris was given two new senior officers:
- Commander Samuel Madzikane (Lance Reddick)
Commander Madzikane is what Captain Randolph describes as an "interplanetary man of mystery". His past is unknown, sometimes it seems that he just appeared aboard the Polaris out of the blue. He is a military intelligence officer, a combination of a scientist and spy. He is considered amoral by many, although his actions are governed by his strong religious beliefs. He can be considered a religious fanatic and apocalyptic, claiming that the Romulan War is the onset of the End Days. He frequently carries a thick book called "The Book of Wrath", which is actually a bunch of empty pages and one single photograph of his dead wife and children.
- Sergeant Wolfgang "Sarge" Brandauer (Justin Bruening)
Sergeant Brandauer is the leader of the MACOs assigned to the Polaris. His handsome appearance hides deadly skills and precision. He compensates Commander Clayton's street-wise fighting style with formal military training. He has a habit of hitting on Katya Korolyova, something which Captain Randolph strictly disapproves.
All in all, it is a diverse crew of many differing backgrounds, bound by the common goal of not letting any other Terrans fall prey to the Romulans. Their ship, the Polaris was an NC class light cruiser, a weak, inexpensive variant of the well-known NX class. The ship had a peak performance of Warp 4 and was armed with ten fixed-arc plasma cannons and two launch tubes for atomic warheads. Defence is provided by polarized hull plating and internal chemically propelled bulkheads. While it may seem a weak ship, the Polaris was even more manoeuvrable than the NX class, thus capable of undertaking missions deemed fit for more powerful vessels.
During the height of the War, the Semnadsat, among them the Polaris, held the line when the Romulans reached Earth. Nine of the seventeen ships were destroyed but the remaining six managed to defeat the Romulans, who deliberately self-detonated their ships to avoid falling into enemy hands and thus exposing their identity. This was when the Polaris made unspoken history.
During the offensive stage of the War, the remaining six ships (now under the name of the United Earth First Fleet, no longer large in numbers to fulfil the name "Semnadsat"). joined the bulk of the Terran stellar navies to push toward the perceived location of the Romulan homeworld. During a reconnaissance mission to Thieurrull, the Polaris engaged a Romulan Bird of Prey and managed to capture one lone survivor, a man named Valas.
Captain Randolph and his crew thought he was a Vulcan, but Commander Madzikane found out the truth. Valas was taken as a Prisoner of War to the rallying point of Starfleet. Only two Admirals were told the truth who contacted the President of Earth and the Vulcan High Command. Vulcan denied everything and Earth decided to cover up the whole case so that it would not cross paths with the emerging United Federation of Planets, the planned successor of the Coalition of Planets. All who has ever seen Valas was forced to sign an oath never to speak of him or face dire consequences. Valas was released and was never heard of again.
The War was nearing its end and people started to notice that the Polaris crew has changed, the crewmembers becoming distrustful of the Terran military command. Although nobody revealed who the Romulans really were, the atmosphere of distrust spread to the other five First Fleet ships and eventually to all their successors to follow. They simply knew that something is not right in history, that the Federation and its unified Starfleet is based on, if not a lie, but some bending of the truth.
The Polaris was present at the Battle of Cheron, the battle that ended the Earth-Romulan War. The ship was lost with all hands, one of the many hundreds to share this fate in the War. Thus, this brave little ship and her crew of unlikely heroes ended up as nothing but an obscure footnote in historical archives. Later ships bearing the name most likely never even knew that this ship was the first in a long line, and not the more known NCC-782. But the Terran light cruiser started a tradition which sets the First Fleet apart from any military within the Federation.
Oh, the torment bred in the race,
the grinding scream of death
and the stroke that hits the vein,
the haemorrhage none can staunch, the grief,
the curse no man can bear.
But there is a cure in the house, and not outside it, no,
not from others but from them,
their bloody strife. We sing to you,
ship of stars, far from home shores.
Now hear, you blissful powers beyond the stars --
answer the call, send help.
Bless the children, give them triumph now.