|Delft, the Netherlands, Earth, Alpha Quadrant|
||Reading, Music (Classical, Jazz, Blues), Hiking, Golf, Chess, and 20th century science|
|2373: Academy Graduate|
|2375: Medal of Honor|
|2375: Medal of Valor|
|2383: Combat Action|
|2383: Combat Readiness|
|2383: Dedicated Service Ribbon, 10 Years|
|2384: Combat Action|
|2384: Battle for Deep Space Five|
|None on Record.|
|2365 - 2368: University of Delft, Earth, Engineering degree|
|2368: Institute for Advanced Physics, Antwerp, Earth|
|2369: Starfleet Academy, San Francisco, Earth, First Year Cadet|
|2370: Starfleet Academy, San Francisco, Earth, Second Year Cadet|
|2371: Starfleet Academy, San Francisco, Earth, Third Year Cadet|
|2372: Starfleet Academy, San Francisco, Earth, Fourth Year Cadet|
|2373: Ensign, Engineering officer - USS Galaxy|
|2373: Promoted, Lieutenant, j.g., USS Galaxy|
|2375: Promoted, Lieutenant, j.g., Asst. Chief Engineer, USS Galaxy|
|2375: Promoted, Lieutenant, Asst. Chief Engineer, USS Galaxy|
|2376: Promoted, Lt. Commander, Asst. Chief Engineer, USS Galaxy|
|2376: Demoted to Lieutenant (voluntarily), Asst. Chief Engineer, USS Galaxy|
|2377: Transferred, Lieutenant, Asst. Chief Engineer, USS Windsor|
|2377: Demoted to Lieutenant j.g., USS Windsor|
|2377: Assigned, Lieutenant, j.g., Theoretical Propulsion Group [Engineering Department] Utopia Planitia, Mars|
|2379: Transferred, Lieutenant, j.g., Engineering Officer, USS Galaxy|
|2380: Resigned commission.|
|2382: Transferred, Lieutenant, j.g., Engineering Officer, USS Galaxy|
Michael McDowell was born on the 18th of July 2347 in Delft, the Netherlands. His parents, both civilians, are Judith and Ian McDowell. They were born in Ireland but moved moved to the Netherlands in 2339. His father, a professor at the University of Delft, is a specialist in applied Mathematics and cooperates with scientists from Starfleet Research at Galor IV.
In his youth Michael spent many hours at the University when his father was doing his research. Since his father was too busy the students took care of him, taking him from one laboratory to another while following their lessons. This went on for years and Michael enjoyed every hour of it. It was during those years that he heard about theory's such as Quantum mechanics, theory of Relativity and String theory.
At the age of nine, while joining his father on a trip to Galor IV, Michael saw for the first time in his life a Federation starship from close by. It was the USS Hood, the ship that would take them to their destination. Although Michael was only nine years old, his father tried to explain how its warp engine worked. At that time he didn't understand all of it, he only knew that he wanted to be a Starfleet officer someday.
From 2365 to 2368 Michael McDowell attended the University of Delft. He excelled in Physics and Mathematics and that proved to be very useful in his study. After three years of hard work Michael earned an Engineering degree in Quantum mechanics.
Michael had not forgotten his wish to be an Starfleet officer, although he was only a child when he made that decision. He immediately applied to Starfleet Academy, but was rejected. However, his admission test score was sufficient to allow him to resubmit his application the following year. Michael was deeply disappointed by the rejection and the only way he could deal with that was to throw himself at work. The Institute for Advanced Physics in Antwerp offered him the chance to participate in a challenging research project and Michael accepted it. The following year he worked on a theory that would prove that starships could travel with warp speed if they had a Z-axis warp field compression of 24 degrees and less. To achieve this he used the latest theoretical models of warp field geometry.
Michael McDowell entered Starfleet Academy in 2369 on his second application. The four year course was difficult but by now Michael was used to that. He even found time to study the Topological Quantum field theory, a theory developed in the 20th century. At the beginning of 2373 Michael graduated from Starfleet Academy with a major in Engineering. That same year he was assigned to the USS Galaxy.
After the battle for Cardassia Prime, while the Galaxy participated in a relieve mission on the planet, Michael, along with five other officers, was captured by rogue Jem'Hadar soldiers who didn't accept the war was at an end. The hostage situation lasted for several days until they were freed by a Security Taskforce from the Galaxy. Not much is known what has happened during that time, only that the higher ranking officers were tortured to acquire information on issues deemed important by the Jem'Hadar leader. Michael still held the rank of Ensign at that time and was spared torture. More detailed information can be accessed at Starfleet Security [voice authorization required].
At the conclusion of the War, Michael was awarded the Starfleet Medal of Honor Citation. This in respect for serving Starfleet throughout the War but mostly for the few gruesome days he had to live through on Cardassia Prime.
Shortly after the war, while the crew of the USS Galaxy enjoyed a well-deserved shore leave, Michael volunteered for a mission with Admiral Thomas Casey to serve on board the USS Odyssey on a mission into the Romulan Neutral Zone. The mission was a success, in large part due to the Engineering efforts Michael provided in keeping the Admiral's ship functioning against incredible odds. Michael received the Starfleet Medal of Valor citation as well as a promotion to Lieutenant junior grade for his efforts.
At the tail end of 2374 the Galaxy's Chief Engineer, Lt. Commander Samara, left the ship for medical reasons. Due to this the, at that moment, Assistant Chief Engineer - Lt. Commander Ethan Suder - was promoted and took over the position. By now Michael had proven himself to be an exemplary officer and talented Engineer. After a month of evaluation, where Michael temporary fulfilled the role of Acting Chief Engineer, this finally resulted in his promotion to Assistant Chief of Engineering.
One month after the regular crew evaluations held in October 2375, Michael was promoted to full Lieutenant. In his report Lieutenant Commander Suder wrote that he "...found his performance to be well above standard..." and that "...Michael McDowell earned the respect of all in the Engineering Department for his technical expertise.".
In the first quarter of 2376, while on an Away Team mission on Grainus VI, Michael was injured by accidental contact with an indigenous poisonous plant form. The strong toxic initially caused Michael to lose consciousness and paralyzed him. Later Dr. Sonja Jaheel and Dr. Nathel Kelean of the Medical Center on Grainus VI discovered that the poison had a more destructive effect on Human nervous system than to that of the local population. It also affected Michael's brain as it attacked the synapses and suppressed the release of chemical messages. Eventually Michael slipped into a coma.
The doctors on Grainus VI were able to treat his paralysis but they did not know how to bring him out of the coma and reverse any brain damage done by the venom. Therefore they strongly advised to transport Michael back aboard the Galaxy ASAP. For two months the Medical Staff worked feverishly to find a cure to stop the poison from damaging the brain any further. They finally succeeded but it took another two months until Michael got out of the coma. Almost directly after that it became apparent that he suffered an extensive memory loss and at the time it was unclear if this was only a temporary side effect or something he had to live with for the rest of his life. Later, it was discovered that Michael lost all knowledge from the year before, including his relationship with the Galaxy's Chief Counselor, Karyn Elizabeth Dallas.
The next five months Michael had to follow physical therapy. That went so well that after three months he was able to do light duties. However, there was no to little progress on the psychological side of his recovery; the amnesia appeared to be permanent, despite the ongoing counseling sessions.
In September 2376, Michael was promoted to Lieutenant Commander. Nevertheless, the promotion was more one of a procedural nature. In normal circumstances Starfleet Command would not have considered him for promotion so soon but the Federation had paid a high price in the Dominion War and experienced officers to fill in key positions aboard newly commissioned starships were hard to come by. Other arguments Starfleet Command gave were his vital assistance in the mission on Ursid where the Galaxy assisted in helping the native people survive a periodic meteor storm called the Rain of Fire, and his commendable performance in the last two years.
Ten weeks later Michael turned down his promotion to Lieutenant Commander. When Captain Price asked for the reason behind his unusual decision his answer was that he still struggled with the (social) consequences of the memory loss two years ago. More important was that Michael was convinced that he had not only lost personal memories but also specific technical knowledge. These personal problems interfered with his duties and the promotion increased the risk that his actions in crisis situations would cost lives. Michael found this to be unacceptable. Reluctantly the Captain agreed with Michael's request, and informed Starfleet not to change the rank status on his records.
Seeing that Michael's mental health did not improve and had become even worse than before, his Counselor, Lieutenant Shinta Navarre-Maxwell, decided to go with a more radical approach to retrieve his memories. At that time there were several known cases where a Vulcan mindmeld was successful in treating extensive amnesia and she had reason to believe it could also work with Michael. She could only consult the Vulcans that served on the ship since at that time the Galaxy was in the Gamma Quadrant. The Vulcan Chief Operations Officer on board, Lieutenant Commander Surok, was the only one willing to perform the mindmeld, but only after a lengthy debate with the Counselor. The mindmeld, performed under close supervision of the Chief Medical Officer, was a success. Michael could recall events in his life and answer questions related to his past that he couldn't before.
However, this didn't mean all his problems were over - there was still the relationship between him and Karyn. Though he very much loved her, Michael was hesitant to continue their relationship like nothing had happened. Before the mindmeld all Michael knew was that there was nothing going on between him and Karyn (despite his strong feelings for her), and after the mindmeld he suddenly found the opposite was true. Karyn, being a Counselor herself, knew how confusing it all had to be for Michael and tried to help him deal with the situation. Finally they agreed to stay together and to give their relation a second chance. They would take it step by step and see where it would lead to. Sadly, two months later they parted. The strain had become too much for both, and Michael decided to return to earth on medical leave without Karyn.
For six weeks Michael stayed on Earth with his parents to adjust to his "new" life, doing nothing more then thinking about his life, Karyn, and his career in Starfleet. He gave seriously thought of leaving Starfleet altogether and to pursue a career in Science, either in Physics or Mathematics. But, in the end, Michael decided to stay in the Fleet and reported for duty again. At the same time he requested a transfer from the USS Galaxy to another ship because of 'personal reasons', as it is officially stated. Michael thought it was unwise to continue to serve on the same ship as Karyn did. It would only complicate things and could eventually interfere with their duties. That was something he wanted to avoid.
Starfleet Command offered Michael several positions, ranging from a position at Starfleet Academy as teacher to a position on the USS Cherenkov, an Oberth Class science ship, as Chief Engineer. Although Michael always aspired the position of Chief Engineer, he chose a position as Assistant Chief Engineer on the USS Windsor, an Intrepid class starship. The assignment on the Windsor simply offered far more interesting challenges and adventures for him. The request for a transfer to the USS Windsor was accepted. Three weeks later - after an intense training on the improved computer systems used on Intrepid class starships, advanced communication protocols, and new pattern recognition techniques - Michael was informed to report to the USS Achilles at Earth Station McKinley. The Achilles would bring him to Starbase 86, at the outer edge of Federation space, where the Windsor was expected to dock in six days.
Two days before its arrival at Starbase 86, the USS Achilles received a subspace message from Starfleet Command in which it was explained that their mission parameters had changed. Because of this the Achilles had to change course. To ensure that Michael would arrive on Starbase 86 a passage on a nearby civilian freighter was arranged. It would take the freighter four days instead of the projected two to reach the Starbase. This was kind of a setback for Michael for he had hoped to spend a few days on the USS Windsor getting to know the ship and its systems in more detail. Now it appeared that he would have to do that on the job since the Windsor would depart for its next mission as soon as he would be on board.
While on the freighter Michael, partly on request of Captain Elena Varrel, made himself useful by helping the engineering crew with repairs and maintenance. With Michael's help the engineers repaired both the sensor for the upper-subspace band and the internal communication system in less than two days. After that Michael went on with upgrading the outdated Deflector Array. Elena was impressed by the quality of Michael's work and his efficiency and she felt comfortable having him around. Having someone like him among her crew was a rare opportunity and so she asked Michael if he would be willing to stay with her.
Michael didn't get the chance to give Elena an answer because right at that moment the ship was attacked by Orion pirates. After the pirates disabled the shields and propulsion system they only transported the cargo of the freighter to their own ship. The transporter itself was left adrift. Because they were still in Federation space there was no time for the pirates to salvage the ship. In the end only Elena, Master Chief Julian (who was badly wounded), and Michael survived the attack and narrowly escaped with an escape pod before the ship exploded. Unfortunately the escape pod was damaged during the attack. The subsystem responsible for generating the distress signal had been completely destroyed. With no distress call going out from the pod there was a risk that Starfleet, after the debris of the civilian transporter were found and doing a routine scan, would conclude that there were no survivors. However, nothing could be done. There were no alternatives for generating a distress call. The only thing what they could do was to stay close to the debris field and wait.
The Commander of Starbase 86 only ordered a search-and-resque mission after sixteen hours since their last contact with the civilian freighter. Captain Varrel was known for not keeping regular contact. Four hours later the escape pod was found with all three occupants still alive. Once they were all at Starbase 86 an investigation was started to find out what exactly had happened. It quickly became known that Michael had been working on the Deflector Array. During that time the freighter was forced to travel at low impulse speed, which made it an easy target for the Orion pirates. Since the Captain is responsible for his or her ship, the people who lead the investigation asked Elena why she had authorized the freighter to drop out of warp. Elena answered she never gave permission to go to impulse and that no one had informed her about the action. Elena also pointed out that in the still disputed region of space, where Starbase 86 was located, she would never allow her ship to drop out of warp before she had reached her destination. Michael was shocked when he heard about Elena's statement, even more when Master Chief Julian supported her story by saying that it was around 23:00 hours and Captain Varrel had been asleep in her quarters when Michael entered the nearly deserted Bridge and personally let the freighter drop out of warp without even consulting the Captain. About an hour later, when they were still traveling at low impulse speed, the ship was attacked.
Naturally, Michael protested saying that he requested Elena to let the ship drop to impulse speed for a only short time and explained why it was necessary. That she was on the Bridge and not asleep in her quarters. And that, instead of an hour, they were only out of warp for a few minutes before the freighter was attacked, like the Orion pirates had been waiting for just that opportunity. Besides, Michael was convinced that they could not prove anything of what they had said. But to his horror Elena told the investigators that she was able to safe two isolinear rods that contained information which clearly showed that her ship had been out of warp for an hour and that the systems responsible for powering the Deflector Array had been shut down several times during that time frame. Research of the Isolinear rods showed the data to be real and had not been tampered with. Michael didn't believe this and asked that the validity of the data rods be checked a second time. The request was denied. At the end of the investigation it was concluded that the evidence did not prove that Michael alone was directly responsible for the loss of the freighter.
Nonetheless, it did made a strong case for Elena and Master Chief Julian and that was enough to judge Michael at least partially guilty. Because of this outcome Michael was demoted to Lieutenant, Junior Grade and was suspended of active duty. According to various people who were involved in the investigation he should consider himself lucky for such a mild punishment.
The next five months Michael spend his days on Earth at his parents place, mainly helping his father with his work. He didn't say much and kept to himself most of the time. His parents firmly believed he was not guilty and supported him in any way they could. Michael finally learned to life with what had happened to him and put it behind him. But the anger and frustration, and his distrust of people stayed.
After six months of suspension Michael was contacted by Commander Jason Clark, Chief of the Engineering Department of the Theoretical Propulsion Group at Utopia Planitia, Mars. There was a vacancy for a talented Engineer and he asked if Michael was interested. The Commander knew about the freighter incident and Michael's demotion but he could not believe it was all true and so he had took upon himself to give Michael a second chance. Michael didn't have to think for long and he accepted the offer.
In the following two years Michael would work on different projects such as major overhauls and upgrades of starships, one of them being the Nova Enhancement Project where the goal was to improve the peak transitional efficiency of the Nova class starship. It was here that Michael met his old ship again, the USS Galaxy. She had been brought in for her second major refit. Only a select group of people knew the real reason, and that was that the USS Galaxy was the first ship to take part in a top secret program of the Advanced Starship Design Bureau to bring the Galaxy class starship into the modern age. Michael was one of the Engineers who was assigned to the project as part of the team that was responsible for the new propulsion suite. He considered himself lucky to be involved in such a ambitious and challenging project, but even more so because it gave him the chance to see his old ship again.
It had been quite some time since Michael left the USS Galaxy but he never realized how much he'd missed her. But the moment he was back on the ship he remembered how it was. All those missions, all those hours in Main Engineering, his friends. It all came back to him. As Michael walked through the corridors it felt like he relived parts of his life onboard the Galaxy, the best and the worst of times. But those times were long gone and so he forced himself to focus on the present and his work at Utopia Planitia.
Another year went by before Michael got orders for his transfer to the USS Galaxy.
At first he couldn't believe it was true, until Commander Clark confirmed the orders. He informed Michael that the reason that he was being transferred was mainly because of his knowledge of and first hand experience with the propulsion system of the Galaxy. Another reason was simply the need for good Engineers.
Michael officially reported for duty on the USS Galaxy on stardate 57197.9.
Michael was assigned to Delta shift as duty shift Officer and all went relatively well until the end of the mission at the Gryphon Asteroid Belt. There he was contacted by a few mysterious people who told him they had more information on what really happened on the Freighter which was to bring him to Starbase 86.
Michael couldn't ignore this opportunity. It had been about 5 years since the incident but to him it was like it happened only yesterday. He was blamed for it, lost a rank, and got suspended from duty, though he had not done anything wrong. He'd carried this emotional weight for all those years and it had left its 'scars' behind.
Now there was a chance to redeem himself, a chance to get his life back, and so Michael left the USS Galaxy and resigned from Starfleet altogether. It was not a decision taken lightly, because his quest for the truth would not be without danger and the outcome was unknown, but it was one he had to take.
|Michael is a somewhat introvert
person, except in the company of good friends. Then he changes from the
quiet person he normally is into a lively person who appreciates a good
joke every now and then.
Michael is a honorable person who can be trusted even in the worst situations. He has a gentle character, tries to get along with everyone and is always willing to play a game of chess when he is off duty.
Although Michael is in every aspect a normal person, making friends is not that easy for him. In the company of strangers Michael tends to keeps to himself, especially around women. But this doesn't mean he is uncertain at all times. If needed Michael will always do what must be done or state it's opinion when he thinks it's required.
Since the freighter incident Michael finds it difficult to trust people right from the start. He needs some time before he feels comfortable to let them into his life.
Owns a cat named 'Twister'.