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Task Group Belvedere Commanding Officer
Admiral Zachary O'Connell currently commands all Starfleet assets in the Gamma Quadrant as the seniormost officer of Gamma Command. Prior to this assignment, he commanded Task Force 72, led special Services for Task Force 9 in the Gamma Quadrant, and served as the Executive Officer of Task Force 9 operating in the Gamma Quadrant. He is the former commander of the USS O'Carroll.
The O’Connell family was a wealthy and prominent business family that had thrived for four generations in the heart of New York City. Four years after Zachary’s birth, his parents were killed in a hovercraft accident outside of Pensacola, Florida during a business trip. Custody of Zachary was granted to his only living relative, his mother’s brother, Richard Noble.
Being an only child, young Zachary had a difficult time transitioning to a new world—and new parents. Richard owned a farm in the heart of Kansas, where Zachary spent the next fourteen years of his life. Knowing his parents were dead and never coming back made the time difficult, yet somewhat bearable. Most people that knew Zach would testify that he was a good kid, dedicated to perform whatever task set before him. Having grown up on a farm with daily chores to perform, Zach grew an appreciation for hard work, and would never do anything without putting a little sweat into it.
Zach graduated from high school a year early, and turned down many offers for prestigious colleges. Instead, he took a year to travel Earth and nearby star systems to soak in knowledge and do a little soul searching.
Ultimately, Zach decided to join Starfleet, mainly to continue his passion for exploring. Years of working on a farm enabled him to quickly pick up Engineering. Technical skills came quite naturally to him, and he excelled in every engineering class he took. During his first two years at the Academy, he roomed with medical researcher named Harvey Geisler, who was only two years older than he. Though their paths rarely crossed, Zach was well aware of Harvey’s brash demeanor. Harvey and Zach both were consumed with their lab work and only used their room to sleep.
It was also at the Academy that Jillian Cook, a fellow Engineering cadet, first caught Zach’s eye. The two shared an on again, off again romance for the next four years. Upon graduation, the two decided to not pursue the relationship any further as she was assigned to an outpost near the Romulan Neutral Zone and he the USS Logos as a Warp Drive Specialist.
Starting a Career
As luck would have it, he was reunited with one Ensign Harvey Geisler. Both immediately clashed as their duty shifts were on different rotations and were sleeping at different hours. Once a quarantine was placed on the Lypha system, their problems were quickly resolved as Harvey spent every waking hour with the medical team. And before long, Harvey was promoted and transferred away, leaving Zachary a rare chance to keep a set of junior quarters to himself, which he was able to do for the remainder of his service aboard the Logos for the next three years.
When the Logos was put into drydock for an extended refit, the now Lieutenant O’Connell was transferred to the Miranda-class USS Achilles. Not thrilled that the assignment was a major step back in terms of engineering, Zach felt he couldn’t say no an Assistant Chief Engineer position. After several months, Zach was instrumental in securing an agreement with Starfleet R&D which allowed the Achilles to be a testbed for experimental technologies, including new weapons platforms, deflector grids, and Bussard collectors. He was even able to test out a few of his theories developed back at Starfleet Academy. Before long, he was promoted to full Lieutenant and awarded the position of Chief Engineer.
When the Dominion War officially began in 2373, the crew of the Achilles wasn’t surprised when they were reassigned to the front lines, starting in the Tyra system. Unlike the rest of the fleet, the Achilles suffered little damage at the battle, left to her own devices once the bridge and the rest of Decks Two and Three were obliterated by a torpedo blast. While the rest of the attack failed, Zach and the engineering team was able to reroute command control to Engineering and flee the battle. As the sensor pod was also damaged in the attack, Zach had no way of knowing he was piloting the Achilles deeper into Cardassian territory, eventually taking refuge in a nebula. The moment enough repairs were affected, the acting science officer discovered the early stages of a ketracel white manufacturing facility also within the nebula. Within hours, the crew unanimously agreed to strike the facility even if it meant losing the ship and their lives in the process.
Not only was the strike successful, the Achilles was able to take minor damage and still make it back to the Federation border. Despite her damage, the Achilles was marked for scrap and the crew reassigned. In recognition of his actions aboard the Achilles, Zach received an early promotion to Lieutenant Commander and was reassigned to the USS Saber as the Executive Officer.
Zach’s next two battles were nothing but terrible failures, with each ship, the USS Saber and USS Typhon, being quickly destroyed in the opening salvos. Embarrassed, Zach is recovered along with twelve others from escape pods by the Sovereign-class USS Delphinus. The Delphinus had suffered massive casualties of her own, including the ship’s executive officer. As he was the highest-ranked individual among those rescued (more than a hundred others had also been recovered from various other pods), Zach immediately assumed the role of Executive Officer.
The next several engagements were successful, leading to the Delphinus becoming the lead vessel for its task group. The Delphinus was engaged in the battle to retake Kalendra when she suffered a massive blow to the secondary hull. Coolant leaks spread throughout the section, killing or crippling most of the Engineering crew. Though the battle was successful, the fleet suffered massive damage, leaving few engineers to spare for the Delphinus. Zach immediately moved back to the engine room and made quick work of repairs, spending the remainder of the war in the engine room and back in the gold collar.
When the war ended, Zach did what he could to remain in the engine room, and was grateful once Starfleet finally was able to restaff the Delphinus. To his surprise, the leading engineer among the replacements was one Jillian Cook. Their romance was instantly rekindled, and the two were married a year later.
The next two years were uneventful when compared to the war, at least until the Delphinus was submitted to drydock for an extensive refit. Zach was approached by Starfleet regarding a new commission. He wrestled with the idea for several days before ultimately accepting Starfleet's offer. He hung up the gold uniform for the final time and again donned the red uniform, this time with the rank of Captain on his collar. Jillian joined him as Chief Engineer aboard the Akira-class USS O'Carroll and embarked for the Gamma Quadrant.
Captain O’Connell proudly served at the helm of the Akira-class ship for the next seven years. Though he saw plenty of the galaxy over the last seven years, he and Jillian were found unprepared for a new journey, though it was one they discussed for years. Zach was nervous, knowing the perils of space-faring journeys first hand, not to mention the traumatic experiences of his early childhood. He had a meeting scheduled with Admiral Adislo. Zach had prepared his resignation as well as a transition plan, but was caught off guard by the Admiral immediately starting the meeting with promoting Captain O’Connell to the rank of Commodore. Zach quickly discarded his plans, thinking that life as a flag officer would bring a certain amount of security to his future in Starfleet.
When The Consortium threat was unveiled, Zachary found himself reassigned to Starbase Unity as the Task Force Executive Officer. He was vital in keeping Starfleet assets moving throughout the quadrant, as well as consolidating elements that had been cut off by the Consortium. In August 2388, he and Jillian welcomed the arrival of their son, Scott.
Zachary knew just as well as anyone that Starfleet's time was limited, especially since the Consortium had higher numbers and stronger ships. This was evidenced by the Battle of Starbase Unity. Aboard the O'Carroll, the Commodore organized hit-and-run tactics to keep the Consortium forces divided and distracted until Dominion elements arrived to reinforce and defend Unity. Zachary was injured in the conflict, and the O'Carroll barely survived. As soon as enough repairs were affected, Commodore O'Connell led the joint Starfleet-Dominion Task Force in the Battle of Deep Space 11. Not long following the battle, Zachary found himself a Vice Admiral.
Task Force 72
Starfleet had little desire to allow Zachary's talents remain in the Gamma Quadrant. He was soon assigned to oversee the Fourth Fleet's Logistics Office. Shortly thereafter, at the conclusion of 2388, he was reassigned to Starbase 72 to oversee the Fourth Fleet's Task Force 72. His arrival could not have been more timely. Deep Space 7 had been recently destroyed by the mysterious Ravagers in the Inconnu Expanse. The Cardassian Union seized six systems from the Breen Confederacy and the Tzenkethi Coalition had just seen a brutal coup. While Starfleet had not yet been affected, Zachary knew they'd feel the impact of all of this on their borders.
In early 2389, Zachary had the honor of participating in negotiations between the Cardassian Union and the Romulan Star Empire. These quick discussions led to the signing of the Gavarian Exploration Agreement, bringing an end to armed conflict to the Gavarian Corridor and allowing the Federation to return to its mission of exploration. Later that year, shortly before the debut of the Alrakis Pact, Zachary was promoted to Admiral.
Zachary's success with Task Force 72 was short lived. While the Alpha Quadrant was thriving in turmoil, Starfleet's forces in the Gamma Quadrant lacked organization, respect, and fortitude. Efforts to rebuild the struggling Task Force 9 had met with failure. Many of the starship commanders in the Gamma Quadrant desired strong leadership, and only one name was suggested by all: Zachary O'Connell.
O'Connell agreed to accept a reassignment to the Gamma Quadrant. As much as he enjoyed his success with 72, he missed operating on the frontier and functioning with creativity. The Admiral's first task upon arriving in the Gamma Quadrant, aside from assuming command of all Starfleet assets, was to immediately reorganize Starfleet's presence in the quadrant. He kept what worked, and discarded what didn't. The name "Task Force 9" was the first to go, and replaced simply with "Starfleet". All assets were divided into five subdivisions, whether they were command or headquarters assets, and then into four different Task Groups, each with a different function.
Many challenges were now in front of O'Connell. Aside from rebuilding Starfleet's presence and reputation in the Gamma Quadrant, he also was placed toe-to-toe with the Dominion and various pirate groups that had risen up thanks to the Consortium.
|2368-2370||Warp Drive Specialist||USS Logos|
|2371||Assistant Chief Engineer||USS Achilles|
|2372||Chief Engineer||USS Achilles|
|2373||Acting Commanding Officer||USS Achilles|
|2373||Executive Officer||USS Saber|
|2374||Executive Officer||USS Typhon|
|2374||Executive Officer||USS Delphinus-C|
|2374-2376||Chief Engineer||USS Delphinus-C|
|2380||Commanding Officer||USS O'Carroll|
|2388||Task Force 9 Executive Officer||Starbase Unity|
|2388||Special Services, Task Force 9||Deep Space 11|
|2388-2389||Task Force 72 Commanding Officer, Fourth Fleet||Starbase 72|
|2390-Present||Task Group Belvedere Commanding Officer||Gamma Command|
|THE GAMMA QUADRANT|
|IMPORTANT ERRATA||Task Group Belvedere • Gamma Quadrant Map • Finnean Convergence Zone Map|
|NOTABLE POWERS||The Dominion • The Consortium • The Guardians • Gamma Quadrant Species|
|NOTABLE PLACES||Gamma Command • Gamma HQ • Deep Space 15 • Starbase Unity • Finnea Prime • Finnean Convergence Zone|
|NOTABLE STARSHIPS||USS Black Hawk|