USS Vesta

A Play-by-Nova roleplay game.


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Thu Sep 14th, 2023 @ 3:31pm

Commander Jonathan Mantell

Name Jonathan "Jack" Mantell

Position Chief Engineering Officer

Rank Commander

Character Information

Gender Male
Species Miran
Age 435

Physical Appearance

Height 4'7"
Weight 71 lbs
Hair Color Dirty Blond
Eye Color Blue
Physical Description Standing at a little over four and a half feet and weighing in slightly over seventy pounds, Jack appears to be a normal ten-year-old Human boy. He has a fair complexion, a scattering of freckles on his face, and dirty blond hair, which he wears in gelled-up spikes on most days. His body betrays the appearance of an active child, Jack is limber and solidly build for his slender frame.


Father Kent Mantell (34, Deceased)
Mother Susan Mantell (33, Deceased)
Sister(s) Catherine (16, Deceased)
Other Family Adoptive Father: Franklin Gault (107, Deceased)
Adoptive Mother: Marissa Gault (92, Deceased)

Personality & Traits

General Overview Jack is not typical officer material. In fact, his dossier is stamped with several instances of "not command material" and "do not promote" from the various bosses and COs that he has served under in his career. Jack often behaves in a childish, immature manner, owing to the unique properties of his race. His mind is often more focused on his next pet project, or mastering a particular maneuver than an issue within his department. Nevertheless, his mind is sharp, and he can respond to situations in uncannily short order. He does seem to understand the deep responsibilities that underlie his leadership positions, for he feels regretful when he fails to accomplish them. The few ship captains that have recognized his potential and understanding took the time to nurture Jack's growth. Perhaps another such captain can help Jack to grow as an officer as well as a person.
Strengths & Weaknesses Strengths:
Jack has the learning capability of a child, he picks up new ideas and methods quickly and readily absorbs and adapts to different environments. He is resilient and thick-skinned, enough to brush off a hurtful remark or an insult, or to weather through an unsympathetic superior. Jack does understand responsibility, and that he has it. Jack is quick to think on his feet, and responds well under pressure.

Jack struggles in adhering to the responsibilities and duties that he has. His first priority in the morning would be play, while for others it would be work. While Jack tries his best to maintain professionalism on the job, when off-duty he lets his childish tendencies run rampant, eschewing the responsibility of performing as a role model while off-duty. Jack is reluctant to assume leadership, he's more comfortable in choosing a follower position than one of a leader, despite his capability to be one. This lack of self-esteem is played off as humility, but Jack would definitely be excited if someone went out of their way to recognize his accomplishments.

-Jack is a sucker for sweets, anything from chocolate cake to marshmallows will delight this Miran.
-Jack is just at the age where he is beginning to find a fondness for girls, and though he would never consider even holding hands with one, he might enjoy the company of female coworkers a bit too much.
-Jack loves singing, it's one way that he maintains concentration when he's deep in thought or work. He especially enjoys show tunes, but just about any song that floats into his head will do.

-Jack hates most condiments, he'll never ask for mustard or ketchup on his hotdog. Plain, please!
-Jack hates reading, unless he's reading a technical manual. Anything else will just collect dust, real or digital.
-Jack just can't sit still. If someone sits him down, they should expect his head, feet or hands to keep moving somehow.
Ambitions Jack's ambitions are mainly short-term goals. He hasn't planned out his entire Starfleet career, he doesn't aspire to be the next great politician, thinker, inventor or anything like that. Many of his ambitions include getting a certain computer program he may be developing to work properly, or finding a way to beat a particularly difficult opponent at Kadis-Kot.
Hobbies & Interests Of Jack's many hobbies, some he finds more exciting are tinkering with computer programs and systems,

Personal History The boy known as Jack was once named Jonathan Mantell. It's unknown whether he existed for a time as Jonathan, or perhaps John or Johnny. For the entirety of his memory, his name has been Jack. According to records recovered from the collapsed rubble that was the hall of government in Jack's region, his parents were Susan and Kent Mantell. They had an older daughter, Catherine, who was six years Jack's senior. All three of them were presumed dead in the wake of the Life Prolongation Virus that swept across another earth, a doppelganger nestled lightyears from its living, breathing cousin in the Alpha Quadrant. Whether the original name of the planet was also Earth, or something else, has been lost to time and decay. The centuries that decayed the records of the world also obscured the minds of those survivors, those who called themselves the Onlies. For whatever classification reasons, the Federation now refers to this race as the Mirans, and their world as Miri's Planet. (See TOS Episode 8 "Miri")

All those centuries ago, Jack was a normal ten-year-old boy living in a suburban community. He might have been rich or poor, or perhaps he was the popular or cool kid at school. None of that matters now. What matters was that in the middle of the 1960s, scientists on his world accidentally unleashed a product, a virus, that was designed to prolong the lifespan of the humanoid creatures. Fortunately, any crisis that would have surmounted following such a disaster was short-lived, as any sexually mature creature was corrupted with a terrible affliction, causing unavoidable death. The scientists who created the virus, the world leaders, schoolteachers, doctors, police, members of the military and even Jack's parents and older sister, all succumbed to the terrible and violent affects of the disease. Ironically, the virus did its job to perfection in the bodies of those children who had not yet begun the onset of puberty. It slowed their physical development to a rate of one month per century, virtually increasing their lifespan an infinite number of times. Barring injury or illness, Jack and the rest of the Mirans could live another 80,000 years or more, depending on the kindness of medicine.

During those centuries, Jack and the other Mirans struggled for survival. With a crumbling infrastructure and no sustainable food supply, the children were forced to scavenge for food or haphazardly attempt to grow it themselves. As they lived and played foolies, their name for games, their small numbers eventually dwindled even more. Death became a common phenomenon, there were at least a few every decade. The school-aged children soon became haughty survivors, desperately clinging to life. It was in that state they were found by the Federation relief workers, who came following the discovery of their world by Captain Kirk and the USS Enterprise, NCC-1701. The Federation teams quickly set up shop, establishing a group home, a teaching institution and a medical facility to treat the traumatized children for centuries of PTSD. Jack soon found himself living among the Federation establishments, attending school once more and shirking his counseling visits as much as possible.

Some of the Miran children found homes with researchers and doctors from the Federation who came to their world to assist. Jack, eager to fill the hole in his heart left by his parents' death, consented to adoption by an older couple, Franklin and Marissa Gault. The Gault's doted on their new son, for their family was small and Jack was now an only child with few 'aunts' or 'cousins' to speak of. Eventually, the enjoyment of his family waned, while his parents remained steadfast in their love, their relatives grew bored of hosting a young child annually as they continued to grow older with each passing year. His adoptive parents stayed fond of him, and for a while, Jack convinced himself that was enough.

While under the care of the Gaults, Jack discovered his interest in computer systems. He began to spend hours in front of his desk consoles, puttering away at different code combinations and programming mechanisms. Sometimes it was days between periods that he spent outside. The Gaults initially worried about Jack's newfound obsession, but as he exhibited a greater proficiency and, more importantly, pride regarding his work, they began to encourage him instead. Eventually, the Gaults encouraged Jack to enroll at MIT to study his passion academically. Yet Jack's organization skills and wandering attention span cost him in several terms of failed classes, and he dropped out, discouraged. For a time, he put away his computer programs and took up other hobbies.

Jack's timeless youth had been an advantage to him since the day he had come to live with the Gaults. There were times when it became hard for others to understand why he didn't always go to school --though he did attend a few times to be with neighborhood children he grew fond of-- or that he stayed as the same picture of youth as when the Gaults had first adopted him. Some responded warmly to his eternal childhood, and indeed Jack retained friendships with kids he had played with who had since grown into adults, even after they began to create their own families. Some were less receptive and grew cold to the Gaults, even to the point of moving from the neighborhood the Gaults lived in. Yet Jack's youth came with a perilous downside.

The Gaults were not a young couple when they adopted Jack, and their rate of aging did not slow, no matter how much Jack willed it. Over time, family friends and relatives were asked to come in to help care for Jack, younger individuals capable of keeping up with the centuries old ten-year-old. And though Jack wished as much as he could, he could not will youth back into his parents. For the Gaults had become like real parents to him, more than his biological ones had ever been to him. In 2325, Marissa Gault passed away while she slept. Jack took it badly, shuttering himself into his room and refusing to eat or let anyone in for a day. His caretakers were finally able to coax him out, to take part in life again, but for a few years Jack remained a hollow child. Try as he might, Franklin Gault could not always devote the amount of adoration that his child needed. He found it difficult to express his love to Jack, and their relationship grew apart. In 2331, Franklin finally passed away, leaving Jack an orphan once more.

This time, Jack went into a total relapse of his first days after his homeworld had withered and died. His parents were dead, and he refused to recognize any of his caretakers or other family members. The visits of old friends, those who he had played with when they were children, brought him to the surface for a brief time, until he realized that they, too, were old men and women and not their youthful selves. Jack withdrew, giving his caretakers great concern. They brought him to see several doctors and psychologists, even a few Starfleet Counselors, until one recommended sending him back to Miri's Planet for treatment. His caretakers agreed, and Jack was returned to Miri's Planet, to the Miran Institute to get treatment. There, the Federation's Miran specialists addressed Jack's case as an acute resurgence of the Post-LPV Traumatic Stress, and ordered a contingency of medications and therapy for the boy.

The counselors on Miri's Planet were troubled by Jack's state. His situation called adoptions to a halt, believing that more Mirans might end up like he did. Their best Betazoid minds tackled his case, only to find themselves rebuffed. Even the Vulcan counselor could not break Jack's anxiety. After repeated attempts at therapy and medications, the puzzled administrators of Miri's Planet called out for help from across the Federation. Their call was answered by a most unusual individual, a Tellarite. Out of all the therapy approaches that the counselors had attempted, none were as radical as this Tellarite Counselor's. Yet somehow, when he talked, Jack listened. The Tellarite, Skrav, turned his culture's penchant for insults into a means of therapy, to which the closest analogy to conventional Federation therapeutic techniques would be playing the Devil's Advocate. For whatever reason, where others failed, Skrav got through. Within a few months, Jack was responding again and even playing with other Mirans for short periods.

At Skrav's advice, Jack returned to his hobby of programming computers and making complex systems. His room was soon littered with memory chips containing dozens of programs. After a while, his skills transformed beyond the level of a hobby, and Jack found himself making improvements to the Institute's systems, often without the approval of the administration. Yet when Jack's tweaks and improvements led to the facilities saving a significant percentage of their energy outputs, Jack's case was once again reviewed. It was suggested that Jack take up a career, perhaps Starfleet, where his skills could be put to good use. When Jack rejected the suggestion, his case workers found new projects for him to work on, even transporting him off Miri's Planet a few times to assist with improving systems on other worlds. Every once in a while, someone would make an off-hand remark about joining Starfleet or someplace where his skills would be highly valued. Though he rejected the idea every time, the seed was planted in Jack's mind. After that, sometimes he would daydream about being in Starfleet, and some of his games with other Mirans revolved around this. His case workers took note, but did nothing to further pressure the boy.

In 2348, the Federation was shocked by the massacre at Setlik III. There had been crises during Jack's time in the Federation, certainly, but never had a foreign body so violently struck out against the Federation. War drums pounded across the quadrant, and Starfleet ships were readied for the conflict they had unwillingly been dragged into. The news was sparse on Miri's Planet, for the administrators were unsure how the children would react to the war. Those small snippets that escaped lead Jack to do his own research. He was shocked by the violence of their Cardassian attackers, and found himself displaying a patriotism he had never before known. The seed of suggestion planted by his case workers grew and flowered, and Jack decided he wanted to join Starfleet. With a few rounds of discussion and a flurry of signed papers, Jack's legal status was transferred to Starfleet pending his completion of the Academy, which he would enter that fall.

Service Record 2348 - [CDT] - Joined Starfleet, enrolled in Starfleet Academy
2352 - [ENS] - Graduated Academy, posted to USS Excalibur, Communications Officer
2354 - [ENS] - Promoted to Assistant Chief of Communications
2356 - [ENS] - Transferred to USS Richmond, Transporter Manager
2358 - [LTJG] - Promoted, Transferred to Computer Systems Manager
2361 - [LTJG] - Promoted to Assistant Chief Engineer
2365 - [LTJG] - Transferred to USS Gettysburg, Assistant Chief Flight Controller
2369 - [LTJG] - Promoted to Chief Flight Controller
2372 - [LT] - Promoted to Lieutenant
2373 - [LT] - Transferred to USS Charlemagne, Assistant Chief Engineer
2374 - [LT] - Promoted to Chief Engineer
2375 - [LT] - Stepped down to Assistant Chief Engineer
2376 - [LT] - Transferred to Jupiter Station, Research Engineer
2381 - [LT] - Transferred to USS Seleya, Chief Engineer
2383 - [LT] - Second Officer duties added
2387 - [LT] - Second Officer duties removed
2388 - [LT] - Transferred to USS Kendall, Chief Engineer
2391 - [LCDR] - Promoted, Transferred to USS Vesta, Chief Engineer

In the Academy, Jack's organizational skills once again became his greatest weakness, but his mind was tempered by years of projects of his own. It was difficult, at first, for him to adapt to the many small pieces of classwork, most of which had no bearing in the grand scheme of things, but Jack was spurred on by his newfound patriotism. Finding Engineering too meticulous for his liking, Jack chose a path in Communications. His technical skills in computers greatly aided him, for learning spoken language was not too diverse from computer languages, if only less structured. In the spring of 2352, Jack graduated from the Academy. In the stands at the ceremony were his caseworkers, Skrav, and the children of several of his neighborhood friends.

Jack's entrance into the full realm of Starfleet launched a whirlwind of events. He was assigned to the USS Excalibur, an Ambassador-class ship only recently out of her first refit. Upgraded and reinforced, the cruiser was often employed against Cardassian warships. Jack got his first taste of battle only weeks after his arrival on the Excalibur. From then on, during his time on the Excalibur, his life was a see-saw between wartime battles and resting periods. The Excalibur was battered, scarred, rattled and shaken, but she remained in one piece for his time on the ship. The young Communications officer didn't have much to do when it came time for ship-to-ship encounters, but his skills were put to work intercepting and deciphering Cardassian communiques on the field. His efforts caught the attention of the ships' Chief of Communications, Lieutenant Matthews, who promoted Jack to his assistant after only two years.

Though their relationship started out well, Jack and Matthews never found a good working dynamic. Their relationship devolved into a facade, and then a struggle. Prior to becoming an open wound, in 2356, the Excalibur's Executive Officer offered Jack a transfer. Believing his best interests were being looked out for, Jack accepted and was transferred to the USS Richmond. The Richmond was a newer starship, already implementing Starfleet's restructured department scheme. This unfortunately meant that the duties of Communications had been folded into Operations and Engineering. His orders becoming somehow mangled along the way, Jack wound up being assigned as the Richmond's Transporter Manager in the Engineering department, bringing with it a promotion to Lieutenant Junior Grade.

Despite not knowing much about Transporters, Jack learned quickly. He found the experience radically diverse from the meticulous and monotonous work that the Academy had made Engineering out to be. And, to his surprise, Jack found he liked working with his hands. The war with the Cardassians continued, though the Richmond was far from its front, being a smaller ship designed to support cruisers like the Excalibur in large engagements, not take on warships by itself. By this point, Jack didn't seem to mind, he had found war not particularly to his liking. The childhood games and foolies he had played were unrealistic in comparison to the perils and terrors of war. After a single away mission against Cardassian forces, Jack begged, pleaded and tricked his way out of further ground engagements with their forces. The Richmond's duties were usually behind the lines, still carrying the Federation banner and principles to worlds that requested aid.

After a couple years as the Transporter Manager, Jack was able to request a reassignment as the Computer Systems Manager. Building on his earlier love of computers, a passion that had brought him into Starfleet in the first place, Jack approached his role with renewed excitement. His managerial style began to take shape then, Jack began to focus more of his time on pet projects than on leading his team. Nevertheless, when the role of Assistant Chief Engineer opened, the Richmond's Chief Engineer suggested Jack for the position. Jack readily accepted, eager for a new challenge. Jack was full of ideas, some more extreme than others, but far less concerned with the drama and politics that seemed to converge on the engine room. He was well liked by the Chief Engineer, and given enough room to manage a team of his own within Engineering, but his mannerisms were despised and his position was hotly coveted.

During this time, Jack began taking shifts as a relief pilot. He'd excelled in his flight lessons at the Academy, but since that time he'd found little opportunity to put the skills to good use. While the Richmond was present at the battle for a Federation outpost in late 2362, many officers were pressed into bridge duties. Jack volunteered as a pilot during this conflict, and afterwards continued serving occasionally. He quickly learned that piloting a starship is vastly different than the smaller shuttles, but Jack's quick learning abilities dissolved this obstacle in a few weeks. During a Cardassian engagement in 2365, the Richmond was heavily damaged and the crew was forced to abandon ship. With Starfleet's focus shifting away from the Cardassian front, which had largely stagnated in the past half-decade, the crew was left fragmented, broken up as no dedicated ship was available to reassign all of them to. Jack was assigned to the USS Gettysburg as their Assistant Chief Flight Controller.

It was a position Jack served in with some disdain. Though flight itself was exhilarating, the job of Assistant Chief Flight Controller didn't entirely capture his attention nor challenge his skills. Regardless, the Gettysburg was a ship with a well-seasoned crew, and there was little lateral movement, to Engineering or anywhere. So Jack persevered and stuck out the role, serving with distinction for four years. To his surprise, when the Chief Flight Controller retired in 2369, Jack was offered the position. His role as a leader during this period became well-liked, in contrast to his tenure as Assistant Chief Engineer on the Richmond, the pilots in his department preferred his laid back style. Often, Jack served on the Beta or Gamma shifts as opposed to the Alpha shift, and would ferry out away team assignments to others while he focused instead on his own pet projects.

By 2373, Jack had been promoted again, to Lieutenant, and was faced with another transfer. With tensions mounting in the Bajoran sector and once again on the Cardassian border, this time with the help of the Gamma Quadrant natives, the Dominion, Starfleet was eager to refit older frames to newer designs, incorporate weapons with a bigger punch, and improve defenses. The Gettysburg was one such ship, and rather than reassigning the crew to desk jobs and near-Earth opportunities while the ship underwent its refit, they pressed them back out into the fleet. Jack opted for a transfer to the USS Charlemagne as its Assistant Chief Engineer, eager once more to get his hands dirty. He quickly formed a fast friendship with the Chief Engineer, Lieutenant Commander Tevis ch'Nalen.

The war went badly for the Federation. The Charlemagne was on the front lines more than once, and in one of those encounters, Jack lost his friend, the Chief Engineer. Saddened, he stepped up to the role of Chief Engineer for the duration of the conflict. With the war over, and personnel returning from the front lines, Starfleet recommended that another officer be assigned as the Charlemagne Chief Engineer. Still unsavvy in the world of politics, Jack agreed, and was returned to his former position of Assistant Chief Engineer. The new Chief Engineer, Commander Holstein, was a tyrant. He preferred to run his department with an iron fist, and Jack along with it. The boy found himself working long hours for little gratification, and no time at all to work on any projects of his own. A year later, he transferred to the Jupiter Station as a Research Engineer.

If work under Commander Holstein had been like living under a tyranny, working at Jupiter Station was the exact opposite. Though Jack had deadlines, he was free to work on whatever passed his fancy, whether or not it related to the current project of the facility. Jack's creativity went rampant, and he enjoyed creating all sorts of computer programs, gadgets and designs for devices that would likely never be greenlit or even built. That didn't seem to matter to him. Jack enjoyed plenty of free time on Jupiter Station, and its proximity to Earth allowed him plenty of vacations on warm beaches or in little parks where children play. It was almost the perfect balance of fun and work for Jack, and for a time it suited him well.

Like many things with Jack, he began to grow bored of Jupiter Station and its unstructured work. He missed the adventures, exploration and, yes, even the danger on starships. Pining for a new chapter, Jack put in for a transfer as a Chief Engineer again, unconcerned with the exact ship Starfleet would post him to. In 2381, his request was finally able to be put in motion, and Jack was assigned to the USS Seleya, under the command of Captain T'Prev. The Seleya, a Norway-class ship, was one of few vessels crewed almost entirely by Vulcan crewmembers.

At first, the contrast between Vulcan and Miran was great and difficult for many to get accustomed to. Indeed, some of Jack's subordinates immediately put in for a transfer when they learned how Jack conducted his department. Over time, T'Prev grew to like Jack's unpredictable style and spontaneity. It may have clashed directly with her logical style of command, but T'Prev herself once conceded that logic alone could not always anticipate every solution to every problem. It was for this reason that, in 2383, Jack was given the duties of the ship's Second Officer.

For several years, Jack served T'Prev happily. She was forgiving of his childish nature and his difficulty with attention, though that didn't exempt him from a stern warning once or twice about "realigning his priorities to better anneal his duties as a Starfleet Officer, Chief Engineer and Second Officer." By that time, Jack knew enough not to laugh, endeavoring himself to improve his focus instead. He even asked T'Prev to teach him how to meditate, something counselors on Miri's Planet had once tried as a therapeutic technique.

In time, the relationship between Jack and T'Prev grew quite close. Though only her Second Officer, sometimes she would seek his advice before the advice of her Exec, to the Vulcan officer's comical frustration. This move, however, would be Jack's undoing. In late 2387, Captain T'Prev took an opportunity at the Vulcan Science Ministry, effectively retiring from Starfleet, leaving the Seleya to the former Executive Officer, Commander Surrel. The new commander was not a fan of the Miran's mannerisms or what Surrel perceived as a lack of professionalism. Another officer was promoted ahead of Jack to Executive Officer, and in only a few short weeks, the Miran Lieutenant found himself replaced as Second Officer as well.

While Jack struggled to meet the strict demands of his new commander, he began to seek opportunities elsewhere. Yet Surrel was well-connected, and used his network to block Jack's attempt to move to a more preferable assignment. With a dearth of opportunities afforded him, Jack took a miserably position onboard an old border patrol boat named the Kendall. He kept busy at least, mopping up and jury-rigging the ship's worn-down components, keeping it running for another month, another week, another day at times. It was thankless work.

Finally, a few years later, a remarkable thing happened. Surrel had fallen out of favor in some circles, allowing the Miran a reprieve from the silent blacklisting he had fallen victim to. The door was wide open, and Jack found a position that was simply calling to him from halfway across the galaxy. A new ship, a new experiment, a new adventure.

The year was 2391. The name of the place was the USS Vesta.

Reprimands: (Sealed Records)

May 3, 2268 - Miran Institute - Altercation with Miran Patient #472, both removed from play area for three days.

May 7, 2268 - Miran Institute - Altercation with Miran Patients #472, 129 and 47. All participants restricted to quarters for two weeks.

Nov 17, 2270 - Miran Institute - Inappropriate writing on classmate's desk. Assigned essay on the proper entomology of horoscope.

April 2, 2273 - Miran Institute - Making prank subspace transmissions. Removed access to subspace array.

Jan 24, 2274 - Miran Institute - Making prank subspace transmissions using credentials of Miran Patient #64. Future computer use will be monitored.

June 19, 2333 - Miran Institute - Filled classmates' shoes with replicated cement. Portable replicator confiscated.

Feb, 11, 2335 - Miran Institute - Re-programmed Headmaster's computer to send messages with inappropriate signature. Computer access severely restricted.

Aug 27, 2339 - Miran Institute - Infected network computers with virus, shutting down 39 Federation Installations temporarily. No charges filed but computer access completely removed. Computer access re-instated on request of Counselor Skrav on Oct11, 2339.

April 6, 2342 - Miran Institute - Reprogrammed First Contact Day fireworks to spell out inflammatory message against Vulcans. Firework displays suspended until further notice.

June 6, 2345 - Miran Institute - Renegade robot set loose on other Miran patients. Robot confiscated.

Oct 22, 2349 - Starfleet Academy - Citation issued for disorderly conduct at a Gamma Theta Theta function.

Jan 9, 2353 - USS Excalibur - Lt. Matthews - Refusal to follow orders, insisted on using different method. Reprimanded.

April 12, 2355 - USS Excalibur - Lt. Matthew - Insubordination. Ship sustained critical damage due to lack of working communications subsystem. Reprimanded.

Dec 12, 2356 - USS Richmond - Lt. Carroway - Conduct unbecoming of an officer. Reprimanded. (Informal note attached: Do not promote.)

June 23, 2363 - USS Richmond - LCdr. Carroway - Conduct unbecoming of an officer. Reprimanded.

March 3, 2387 - USS Seleya - Cdr. Surrel - Conduct unbecoming of an officer. Demoted from Second Officer.

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