Robert Tagrith was a long-serving Starfleet officer and starship captain, one of the most illustrious and decorated officers in the Fleet's glorious history, as well as one of the most controversial. During his lengthy and distinguished career (punctuated by the occaisonal retirement), Tagrith was beloved by his comrades within Starfleet but absolutely loathed by everybody outside of its borders, possibly because he killed so many of them.
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Born Robert Abraham Tagrith, the future Starfleet hero was born in the Kaiser Hospital in San Francisco, Earth, within walking distance of Starfleet Academy. His parents were also Fleeties, Margaret and Johnathan, and as such he spent most of his childhood being brought up by his grandparents. While living in their household, the young Tagrith spent much of his youth staring up at the sky, enamoured with the vast galaxy his parents worked in every day.
Despite their extended absenses, Tagrith got along quite well with his parents, a rarity in many Starfleet nuclear families. He spent much of his time watching the goings-on at Starfleet Command (at least, as much as a civilian child could), and his future career path could hardly be motivated by any desire to spite his Starfleeting parents.
At the age of 17 (then the minimum age required for entry into the Academy), fresh out of his secondary schooling, Tagrith made an application for Starfleet Academy. He was young for a Cadet, and there was considerable pressure on the Academy to increase the age to 18 (which they later did). However, Tagrith was more than ready, and breezed through both his application and his freshman year with considerable aptitude. Tagrith's good example did not save the 17-year old policy, however, and he was the last person so young to be admitted.
Tagrith was immediately extremely impressive. The essential grasp of three-dimensional tactics and movement which eluded more experienced and highly lauded officers for decades came naturally to Tagrith, and on top of his considerable natural gifts he added a flair for learning and for Starfleet discipline. The then-Commandant, Admiral Galinda Myron, made a special impression on Tagrith. Tagrith was by no means the only Cadet the beloved Myron touched, but he was one of those destined to become most famous. Tagrith would later relate spending hours in the Commandant's office listening to what a Starfleet officer should and shouldn't do, a description that is easy to believe considering the characters of both Tagrith and Myron.
Like many Cadets, though, even the dependable and disciplined Tagrith chafed at the boring, well-grounded world of Starfleet Academy. Luckily for him, though, he was impressive enough to receive a quick internship, to the venerable flagship USS Federation, then under the command of captain Deanna Kalouri.
During the Cadet's flight test, Tagrith carved his first anecdote into the Starfleet books. Kalouri was commanding while Tagrith was at navigation in the Sol system, and, in the absent-minded way that commanders of cadet cruises are prone to, idly asked the Cadet to "impress me." Tagrith then took the Captain at her word, revving the behemoth up to its top speed of Warp 8 and looping it between Earth and Luna, an inconsiderable distance at maximum warp and a dangerous trip for even an experienced navigator when flying the unmaneuverable Federation. Tagrith's witty repartée, "Impressed?", earned the cadet a stern rebuke but an excellent grade, an altogether acceptable tradeoff. Kalouri was evidentally impressed enough to request that Tagrith serve out the rest of his internship onboard her new command, the factory-fresh USS Excalibur. It was a ship that Tagrith would later make famous.
Tagrith graduated from Starfleet Academy magna cum laude at the age of twenty-one, the last Cadet to receive the rank of ensign from the storied Admiral Myron before her retirement. The newly minted Ensign remained onboard the Excalibur under Kalouri, and with her cooperation and that of his superior, Tagrith got more practice on the navigation console than most young officers in his position.
After three distinguished years onboard Excalibur, the now-Lieutenant Junior Grade Tagrith moved to that inevitable stage of every young officer's career: Starbase One. Tagrith's commanding officer of the day was the famed Ikaran War hero Commodore Thomas Lynx, one of a handful of those officers who managed to get the respect and admiration of every officer who served under him. Tagrith took an immediate liking to his new CO, a man who would have a profound influence on his career.
At the time, the scout USS Banneker was assigned to the starbase's use, and Commodore Lynx was a spirited commander who sought a fight if one was there to seek. This led to Tagrith getting more combat experience than might be expected of a mere scout navigator, and in one notable message, severe damage knocked Commodore Lynx out of commission. Tagrith, at the rank of a mere Lieutenant Junior Grade, was the ranking officer on the bridge and successfully got the Banneker out of its situtaion, sparking a fire for command in his heart that would never be satisfied.
Before long, Tagrith was one of the Fleet's navigational experts. At the absurdly young age of twenty-five, Tagrith was writing manuals on navigation's finer points, and even more extraordinarily, these manuals were highly regarded and recommended by many starship commanders. Tagrith soon made Lieutenant and was placed onto the Starfleet Special Operations team run by Admiral Bruce Ingram that never saw the light of day. However, the training and the experience would provide yet another twist to his career.
By the time he was twenty-seven, Tagrith was a mature officer, more experienced than several of the same age and respected throughout the fleet. His old boss Commodore Lynx had been put in charge of the Excalibur, and when the opportunity arose he didn't hesitate to take Tagrith along with him. Tagrith was finally put into a situation to see regular combat and he proved worthy, earning a promotion to Lieutenant Commander, and soon after (with Lynx's departure to Starfleet Command) to first officer of the Excalibur under Garvin Warcylde.
After two unremarkable years under Captain Warcylde, Tagrith was made a full Commander. Things were settling into a sort of unimpressive stupor for Commander Tagrith, a state of affairs that for obvious reasons would not long last.
The Xeexin War
One day, on a seemingly routine patrol onboard Excalibur, a massive ship, larger than Starbase One, came up on sensors. Tagrith was the duty officer at the time, and naturally made contact with the awe-inspiring vessel. The starship belonged to a previously unknown race called the Xeexin, a people who at first seemed friendly enough. Cordial niceties were exchanged by both sides, and although the Xeexin seemed to have an unhealthy fixation with getting some of Commander Tagrith's DNA, things seemed to be going fine.
Then, things stopped being fine. The Xeexin became beligerent, then hostile. An attack on the Excalibur with Tagrith not at the helm saw the cruiser suffer severe damage, although it is debatable how much Tagrith's presence would have altered the ebb and flow of the battle. The Excalibur's damage required the ship to be out of service for some time, however, and during much of the brief Xeexin War Tagrith served onboard the USS Federation, which saw plenty of action.
A climactic battle took place with Tagrith back onboard the newly repaired Excalibur, and represented merely a fraction of the considerable front-line time Tagrith saw. Starfleet had the victory, but with severe losses and Captain Warcylde was missing and presumed killed. As a result, Tagrith saw his first starship command, taking over the Excalibur in Warcylde's place.
The Commanding Officer
Tagrith's service as a starship commander had an inauspicious beginning, although it was not connected to Tagrith or the Excalibur. The Commander's mentor and good friend, Commodore Thomas Lynx, was killed in a bizarre transporter accident shortly after Tagrith took command. The loss was just one of those freak things, but it hit Tagrith hard, and he buried himself in his work.
In one of his first acts as a commanding officer, however, Tagrith gained great acclaim. The Orion pirate Gregger had been a thorn in the side of the Federation for a few months, but had been too much of a small fry for Starfleet to care too much until, in a daring raid, he seized Port Alamo and a large store of commodities. Tagrith leapt into immediate action, scrambling the Excalibur and, despite being heavily outgunned, crippling the outpost. Gregger tried to make his escape, but the damaged Excalibur managed to force his surrender while leaving the commodities he carried intact. This perfectly executed retrieval mission gained him considerable praise from all corners.
Tagrith was also involved in an unfortunate incident involving a group of Klingon "defectors" onboard the outpost IKO minJev. The Klingons claimed that the minJev's crew, who had seized the outpost, were criminals, but Starfleet Command was understandably interested in them. Tagrith onboard the Excalibur flew to minJev to speak with the Klingons, however, he discovered that the Romulan cruiser ChR Valoth was already in the area, attempting to speak with the now-deceased legitimate station commander. The minJev was, however, suspicious, and opened fire upon the unshielded Valoth. The battle was one-sided, but Tagrith was appalled and attempted to rescue the crew of the Valoth. However, all of the Romulans were soon pulled onboard the Klingon outpost, where they endured fatal tortures too horrific to mention in a family wiki.
Tagrith was appalled. Later anecdotes would suggest that the Excalibur's crew heard the screaming of the former residents of the Valoth echoing over comms throughout the halls, but it is doubtful that Tagrith would have had Romulan death screams piped to the starship's announcement system. Tagrith decided to try and save the Romulans, but that would involve bringing down the defectors on minJev. The Excalibur opened fire on the outpost, and after the shields went down, they tried to beam the Romulan survivors away. But too late they were all killed: Within a few days the outpost went out in a firey blast and all hands were lost when the Romulans sent another ship to get revenge for the Valoth. Tagrith would never totally get over losing the Romulans. It should be noted here that the Excalibur never crossed into Klingon space, although it did fire into Klingon space.
Despite his personal regret, Tagrith had served well, and received a hero's welcome. Tagrith would go on to make the Excalibur Starfleet's model ship: literally, it was the ship new commanders were told to emulate. Tagrith was legendarily ferocious in his demand for frequent and detailed reports, and a major mission with the accompanying major business meant a major upswing in business for Norm's bar on Starbase One. However, there was no denying his effectiveness, and several officers of future fame, along with at least two future Fleet Admirals, passed through his command.
The Klingon vendetta
As time went on, Tagrith's legendary mutual hate for the Klingons developed. The government of the Klingon Empire, perhaps desiring something to motivate their people to proper Federation-hating, changed their position on the minJev to state that the crew of the outpost were in fact Klingon officers. They called for Tagrith's head, and when it was refused they took to simply jumping the Excalibur every chance it got. They never succeeded, and in an amusing sidebar, it was in one such battle that Tagrith commanded possible Starfleet's greatest officer, Admiral John Falkenberg, in his last whirl at ship combat just before the elderly but still respected hero retired.
After some time of this relentless pounding, Tagrith finally did what many had been urging him to do for years and, holding the rank of Fleet Captain, went into Starfleet Command at the age of 45. He served behind a desk for several miserable years, including declining a promotion to Admiral at 52, while a younger generation strove for but invariably failed to reach Tagrith's sterling reputation.
After several years of this, Tagrith moved on to Starfleet Academy as Commandant, trying to train up that younger generation. The post gave him a chance to shape the Fleet's new minds and bodies, but just as importantly, it gave him another field command in the form of the training ship USS Exeter. His tenure at SFA was mostly unremarkable, although he did get a bit of combat action, and after only a short time, a vacancy allowed him to return to his true love commanding the Excalibur.
Before long, the Excalibur's new crew was up to the high specifications Tagrith had always demanded. And it was a good thing, too, as upon hearing that the Captain had returned to space the Klingons redoubled their efforts to shoot him down. It was said that the Excalibur faced nightly attacks from at least one destroyer, and though this may have been an exaggeration it can't have been by much. Still, the Excalibur proved to be an excellent match against the combined vengeance of the entire Klingon Empire. He was proud to say that the Klingons had placed a 5,000 megacredit bounty on his head, one that seemingly would never be collected.
The final years
At the age of 63, Captain Robert Tagrith retired from Starfleet. His departure was accompanied by a suiting rainfall of honours and prestige upon the great commander, and his retirement saw an effusion of support and respect from Starfleet matched only by such greats as Falkenberg and Gavelin Brody. After his departure, the Excalibur was given to his former apprentice Suvin Grey.
Retirement did not sit well with the Captain. Things were quiet on the Klingon front, but debates over Tholian space had recently been settled entirely in the favour of Romulus. Orion raids were picking up in activity, and the OSV Marauder was a particularly dangerous thorn. Most galling of all to the captain was the loss of his beloved Excalibur, an ignomious defeat in battle to the aforementioned Marauder as the Orion commander simply outmatched Commander Grey in every possible sense. It was a devestating loss to Starfleet as a whole but especially to Tagrith, who had served onboard the Excalibur for three decades and gotten out of more than a few close shaves at her controls.
Three years later, though, Tagrith was put back in a position to do something about it. The USS Kiev was the most hyped-up Starfleet ship in a generation, and Fleet Admiral Neil Shukla could think of nobody better to command her than his old friend. Tagrith returned to Starfleet to command the noble Kiev, a ship that the engineers loved on paper but which Tagrith never really got along with. Certainly, at least in his eyes, it was no Excalibur.
The Kiev's crew was, by the sheer necessity of the time, largely skeletal. Largely untrained and entirely inexperienced, Tagrith had quite a job ahead of him but he had worked such miracles before. However, he would not quite have the chance this time. Not long after his 66th birthday, a Klingon vessel assaulted and took the Kiev while it was cruising around Klingon space. The exact details of the battle were never really known, but one thing that is clear is that Tagrith was not fighting the battle like the illustrious commander of old. Maybe it was rust, maybe it was age, maybe the ship and its crew were really twin pieces of shit. But the battle was not Tagrith's finest, and it would prove fatal.
After some action, the Kiev was overcome and disabled. In a last gesture, Tagrith offered to turn both himself and his starship over to the Klingons in exchange for sparing his crew, rather than self-destructing. It was a controversial act, much like everything Tagrith had ever done, but though one could doubt the wisdom nobody could question the heroism of the gesture. It was accepted and the Klingons lived up to their end of the bargain. Tagrith was never seen again in Federation space, but there is no doubt in anybody's mind that Tagrith met his end with the enemies who made his reputation, at the age of sixty-six years old one of Starfleet's most decorated commanders.
Bizarrely, Tagrith never received the Starfleet Medal of Honor. This is likely a statement to the nature of his career: although they respected him and many of them liked him personally, Tagrith always sat somewhat uneasily with the Starfleet Command brass. He was aggressive, skilled, and in battle a dedicated non-delegater, which made him an atypical Starfleet commander for the era.
However, in 31 years as a starship captain, his impact on the Fleet cannot possibly be overstated. For most of those three decades he was the Fleet's most respected commander, the one who the big prospects all went through, and almost every officer of note in the Fleet for a generation went through Tagrith's command at some point. It took the loss of several starships and the ravages of time to erase a considerable number of Tagrith's pupils and admirers from the Fleet, and even as of the present day, a number of officers who served under Tagrith remain in high Starfleet office and endlessly speak well of him.
Tagrith practically wrote the modern Starfleet book on ship-to-ship combat, and is still a euphemism for a report-taking maniac. His legacy lives on in Starfleet to the present day, and even those who did not like him usually cannot help but respect him. Not even the ignomious loss of the highly touted Kiev crippled his legacy, a sign that cannot be ignored.
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