|Assignment(s):||Executive officer, Deep Space 3, Former Commanding officer, USS Chimera|
As late as 2364, Lieutenant Gregory Torkelson was serving as second officer aboard the converted Miranda-class light cruiser USS Remington. He was quite content with his assignment and had made friends. While he was not a fire-chasing go-getter, he had potential and was being guided and nurtured by his commanding officer, Captain Russell Steele. Lieutenant Torkelson was also a by-the-book officer, able to quote the regs, chapter and verse. At the Academy, Cadet Torkelson was so focused on the regs that during the Kobayashi Maru scenario, He refused to enter the Neutral Zone, preferring instead to wait inside Federation Space, awaiting instructions, watching as the ship was lost. He feared inciting an interstellar conflict for the sake of a few hundred souls.
It was these attributes that brought Torkelson to the attention of Admiral Bartholomew Thomas. The Admiral marked Torkelson as a "model officer" and arranged for his reassignment to Deep Space Station Three. Torkelson was approved for promotion to lieutenant commander, and reassigned as DS3's executive officer, as well as captain of the Oberth-class starship USS Chimera. Tork initially lamented his new assignment, quietly complaining to himself, "I'm the captain of a tug." (Star Trek: Outpost: "What Could Be So Bad?")
Gregory Torkelson's introduction to DS3 occurred even before he arrived while he was on approach to the station aboard the Mediterranean-class light transport USS Gorgon. Having been given the conn, the Gorgon was towing a decommissioned Oberth-class ship, the USS Leone, to the station for salvage and disposal. The Gorgon was met by an auxiliary craft from the station. It was then that Lieutenant Commander Torkelson had his first encounter with Chimera's chief of engineering, Master Chief Burt "Hard" Knox. After verifying that the ship was indeed the Leone, Knox tersely told him, "I'll take it." When Torkelson replied that the ship was to be delivered to the station's chief of engineering, a Lieutenant Jennifer Forrestal, Knox replied that he was working for her. After releasing the Leone to Knox and reporting to the station, he was met by an agitated Lieutenant Forrestal, who wanted to know why her instructions had been ignored. When Torkelson told her what happened, Forrestal retorted, "Master Chief Petty Officer Burt 'Hard' Knox works only for Master Chief Petty Officer Burt 'Hard' Knox!!" When Torkelson reported to the station commander, Captain Montaine Buchanan, and reported the incident, and informing him he was initiating an investigation, Buchanan ordered him to "Let it go." The Captain gave Torkelson a sternly worded caution; Buchanan was up for a position in the Starfleet Logistical Offices and "would not want anything to interfere with that."
A few days following Torkelson reporting for duty, DS3 was visited by Task Force 51, under the command of Admiral Bartholomew Thomas. Ostensibly, the Admiral was there for repair of an engineering problem aboard his flagship, the Excelsior-class starship USS Joseph Kittinger. His real intent was revealed at the reception later that evening, when he asked for a private word with Lieutenant Commander Torkelson. Admiral Thomas told Torkelson that protecting the Thomas family name was extremely important to him and that he had a nephew graduating shortly from Starfleet Academy ("The idiot son of my idiot brother.") The Admiral had identified Torkelson as a "model officer." Though he had ambition, Torkelson lacked the sense of urgency that drove others to greatness and was at home spending his days grounded in rules and procedures. The Admiral needed Torkelson's help in mentoring his nephew. After hand-picking Torkelson, the Admiral stated it was a simple matter to reassign him to the station to await the arrival of the Admiral's nephew. Incensed, Torkelson replied, "I may not be a Tyrellian, or a Kirk, or a Thomas, but I am a good officer, and I have dedicated my career and my life to Starfleet, and I do not deserve to have you or anyone else manipulate me in this manner!"
Torkelson tried to improve the quality of life at the station. When he and Lieutenant Forrestal presented a proposal to Captain Buchanan regarding repairs and upgrades to the station facilities, Buchanan balked, saying, "They are functional, they are adequate, and they will have to do!" He also threatened to shut down the station's sole antiquated holodeck, along with the recreation module and recycle and repurpose the components. The situation took a turn when Captain Buchanan was injured and incapacitated following a turbolift accident.
After the accident, Torkelson took temporary command of the station, initially deciding to maintain the status quo. "This is Captain Buchanan's command, and I cannot take action I know or believe he would disapprove of," he said. After much soul-searching, as well as talking to Captain Steele, Torkelson seized the initiative and requested the assistance of the 214th Construction Battalion in restoring the station to Starfleet standards. He also wanted to reopen the plaza, and show the locals "a friendlier face, not just a pair of eyes peering over the fence." He also recommended promotions for Lieutenant Forrestal, Ensign Kyle, and Yeoman Tovar-Smith. When Captain Buchanan regained consciousness and was briefed by the Commander, he was beside himself, demanding that Torkelson withdraw the promotion recommendations. Torkelson refused, stating that since the Captain had not been returned to duty, Buchanan couldn't order him to do anything. Torkelson stood by his recommendations and the plans to repair the station. Buchanan also forbade Torkelson from completing what the captain believe was an unnecessary engineering assessment.
Commander Torkelson was seriously injured when the station was infested with metal-eating insect-like arthropods. He was securing primary life support when he and two security officers were attacked by a swarm. He and his team managed to secure life support with a force field and eradicate the ones that made it inside, but they all suffered serious injuries. During his recovery, Captain Buchanan decided to reassign him to the Executive Officer post fulltime and relieve him as Captain of the Chimera. Buchanan's justification was that he needed Tork's focus to be on the repairs and upgrades the 214th would be making. With the substantial damage to the station, he would need someone 25/7 to supervise.
With his subordinatesEdit
Lieutenant Commander Renova ExlerEdit
Miscommunications with Lieutenant Forrestal aside, then Lieutenant Renova Exler was the first friendly face Gregory Torkelson met after reporting to the station. She proved to be dependable and reliable in the first few days, giving him the quick and dirty on the ways and means of DS3 operations. As time progressed, she and Doctor Rachel Winston became Torkelson's closest confidants. She takes sinister pleasure in using some of her home planet's idioms in casual conversation. Following the death of her mentor, Captain Sayzar Tyrellian, Torkelson was concerned for her, as a friend, though not in any official capacity. Despite his concerns, he trusted her with command of the USS Chimera to transport Ambassador Briz Nemon to and from Melnora.
Their friendship took a hit with the return of the Chimera to DS3 following its mission to the planet Melnora. Exler saw the Kish-Tek class Klingon shuttlecraft docked as Chimera was beginning mooring procedures. Believing it to be Jenneth's she left docking to Ensign Kyle and charged off to the transporter room. Upon locating the actual owners, the Ferengis Vurk and Tirgil, she demanded they answer questions. When they refused, she grabbed Vurk's collar, starting a scuffle. No one was injured, though Torkelson placed her on two days of restricted duty, ordering her off Chimera. His attempts to ease the growing rift between them were rebuffed. Despite this, she still was concerned for him after she found Tork and his team incapacitated in life support. Her command of the Chimera during the bug crisis reaffirmed his trust in her. Renova replaced Torkelson as Captain of the Chimera, with a subsequent promotion to Lieutenant Commander in 2365
Lieutenant Karen DenaliEdit
Karen Denali was Greg Torkelson's closest friend and confidante while he was serving aboard the USS Remington. When Torkelson got his orders to report to DS3 and the Chimera, he offered to see if he could arrange for Denali to come with him. In no uncertain terms, she told him she had her own career and research to think about.
Following Torkelson and Admiral Thomas' falling out following the Admiral's disclosure of the true nature of Torkelson's reassignment, the Admiral decided to look for a "peace offering." After surreptitiously reviewing Torkelson's communications records, he found Torkelson was in frequent contact with Denali. It was a simple matter for the Admiral to arrange for her reassignment. After being informed by Captain Steele of her new assignment, Denali was furious. "I'm not going to follow him across the galaxy like some Meruvian puppy!" Captain Steele tried to calm her down, but she merely shot back, "I am calmly thinking of all the pain I'm going to inflict on my dear friend who can't live without me so much he's ruining my life!" (Star Trek: Outpost - Episode 7 - To Every Season)
When Lieutenant Exler referred to Commander Torkelson as Denali's 'boyfriend', she vehemently replied, "He's not my boyfriend! He's a nice guy, just a little awkward socially. He's someone who needs a big sister." (Star Trek: Outpost: "One Step Forward, Two Steps Back") When she first reported aboard Chimera, she was cold, bordering on disrespectful. Her animosity thawed after she discovered what really happened regarding her transfer she apologized at a party that evening, where she accidentally disclosed Torkelson's nickname of 'Tork' to the amusement of Lieutenant Exler and Dr. Winston.
Torkelson held himself responsible for Karen being assigned from the Remington to the Chimera, and had made awkward attempts to make amends, even to the point of trying to get her back to her old billet on the Remington. Denali has so far rebuffed his efforts, claiming it wouldn't be fair to her replacement LT Holt. His continued efforts have become unwelcome, even uncomfortable, and Denali considered taking action. For now she had only broached the subject with Chimera Chief medical officer Doctor Rachel Winston.
Ensign Randy ThomasEdit
As part of the agreement between LCDR Torkelson and Admiral Thomas, Torkelson agreed to take the Admiral's recently graduated nephew, Ensign Randy Thomas under his tutelage onboard the Chimera, and protect him from his own incompetence for as long as possible. From the beginning, Ensign Thomas' relationship with Chimera's CO was fraught with fireworks. Among Ensign Thomas' first words out his mouth after reporting aboard were, "I mean, look at this rust bucket! The manure truck my family's gardener drives around our estate in looks better than that!" Torkelson answered him, "Well, congratulations, Ensign Thomas. You are now my personal project!" Matters didn't improve during Thomas' first mission as navigator. The Chimera was on its way to rescue LT Exler, Dr. Winston, and Goshen aboard his ship Successful Negotiations. With time running out, and the pirate ship Solar Winds pressing its attack, Torkelson ordered Thomas to sound battle stations. Thomas panicked, forgetting his training, to the point Torkelson had Chief Knox take over at the navigator's station. Later, Torkelson admonished, "That's the problem! You weren't doing! I don't know what they taught you back at the Academy, but apparently you weren't paying attention! . . . . This isn't a discussion Ensign! Your indecision could've killed us all out there! This isn't a simulation! This isn't a pleasure cruise on Risa! This is as real as it gets! And the people all around you are relying on you to pull your own weight in a life or death situation! Here on the frontier, hesitation and foolish mistakes could kill someone or doom your entire ship!. . . . . I have seen your Academy record, and it isn't what I would call stellar. You should be thankful that you graduated! Look, I'll be frank. I don't give damn about your family name. I know it played a big part in getting you where are now, but what I do care about is the safety and well-being of this ship and its crew. On this ship, every crewmember is expected to go above and beyond what is expected of them, even at a moment's notice! Do I make myself clear, Ensign?"
Doctor Rachel WinstonEdit
Torkelson first met Dr Rachel Winston following the rescue of the Ferengi from the FMS Profitable Venture. She, along with Lieutenant Renova Exler are Commander Torkelson's closest confidantes after his reassignment. Their friendship was not without stumbling blocks, however. Dr. Winston had the persistent habit of finishing Torkelson's sentences for him. Torkelson and Winston also had a bit of a falling out following her introduction to Betazoid Ambassador Briz Nemon. In the words of Med Tech Giles, "I heard her, even through the bulkhead. Everyone in Sick Bay heard her. She practically chased Commander Torkelson all the way out of the burn unit. Then, he and the Doc retreated to her office, where they had a brief, but loud discussion." (Star Trek: Outpost: "One Step Forward, Two Steps Back")
With his peersEdit
Commander Olivia TwistEdit
Torkelson had a complicated relationship with Commander Olivia Twist of the 214th Construction Battalion, based out of Starbase 512. He applied for their assistance through channels, with the assistance of Admiral Thomas. Despite the urgent nature of the need of the station, Commander Twist made a few additional demands on Torkelson, as well as his staff before she would deploy her unit to the station. She insisted on a full engineering assessment of the station prior to their departure. She also demanded tribute in the form of two cases of Aldeberan whiskey as well. Torkelson kept this latter request to himself, out of concern that dissemination of this information would diminish what little command authority he had during Captain Buchanan's incapacity. Twist was incredulous when she found out that the Chief Engineer of the station was a mere Lieutenant, going so far as to consider filling the position herself. (Star Trek: Outpost: "The Gathering Storm")
Lieutenant Commander Larry PierceEdit
Lieutenant Commander Larry Pierce was the first officer of the Miranda-class science ship USS Remington as of 2364, a position he had held for a considerable length of time. When he found out that then-Lieutenant Torkelson had been selected for a command over him, Pierce had a falling out with Captain Steele. His outburst nearly cost him his position as First Officer.
Lieutenant Commander GantEdit
Though not friends, Torkelson's relationship with the USS Remington's chief engineer had become strained following the turbolift accident aboard DS3. Gant was drafted by acting-station commander Torkelson to spearhead the engineering assessment demanded by Commander Twist. Torkelson knew that Gant would be relentless in his attention to detail. Despite this, Gant was outraged when Torkelson forwarded what little he had completed to Twist without his approval. He protested to Captain Steele, to no avail. His frustration with the situation increased geometrically with Commander Twist's drafting of Gant to help oversee the repairs and upgrades. In his own words, "Tork has used up every ounce of good feelings he had when he was aboard."
With his superiorsEdit
Admiral Bartholmew ThomasEdit
After identifying Lieutenant Torkelson as the "model officer" to babysit his "idiot" nephew following his graduation from the Academy, Admiral Bartholomew Thomas promoted Torkelson and arranged for his reassignment. A few days following his reassignment, the Admiral arrived at the station, officially to repair his flagship, the USS Joseph Kittinger. It was at a reception later that day when the Admiral pulled Torkelson aside to discuss the true reason. He replied "Sir, you stand here and tell me that you pulled me away from an posting where I was fairly successful, and pulled me away from the people I care about, and sent me on what you consider to be a dead-end assignment, because, in your assessment, I'm not flashy enough to have a real career in Starfleet -- all to babysit your nephew, who is, by your own assessment, not high-quality Starfleet material, and probably shouldn't have graduated from the Academy in the first place. And apparently I'm supposed to be happy about this?" After the Admiral made a non-too-subtle threat regarding Torkelson's future in Starfleet, Torkelson stormed off. The animosity between the two officers began to ease slightly when Torkelson solicited the Admiral's help to stop the forensic examination of the Chimera, and to release Chief Knox from the brig, where Captain Buchanan had him detained following the discovery of unauthorized alien technology onboard Chimera. (Star Trek: Outpost - Episode 7 - To Every Season) Their relationship warmed to almost cordial following Captain Buchanan's turbolift accident, when the Admiral encouraged Torkelson to take the initiative and "fix up the place a bit."
Captain Montaine BuchananEdit
Deep Space 3 station commander Captain Montaine Buchanan appears to have a distrust, bordering on paranoia regarding his executive officer Gregory Torkelson. While he considers him "an undisciplined young slacker with delusions of adequacy," he was convinced that Torkelson was trying to undermine his authority, and steal his command out from under him. Buchanan's fears were intensified when he discovered that morale, as well as efficiency on the station, had increased under the temporary command of Torkelson. (Star Trek: Outpost: "The Tell-Tale Ferengi") Despite his initial attempts to show proper deference and respect, all the captain ever gave in return was contempt, disdain, and animosity. Torkelson came to realize what the DS3 crew had been dealing with. "If anyone deserves to be court-martialled, it's Ca-[word not completed]. (Star Trek: Outpost: "To Every Season")
Captain Russell SteeleEdit
Gregory Torkelson enjoyed a successful, as well as nurturing relationship with his Commanding Officer aboard the Remington, Russell 'Rusty' Steele. That relationship was tested following Captain Buchanan's turbolift accident. The Remington had been in the area, covering for the Chimera while it was laid up, in maintenance status. Following the Chimera's return to service, The Remington departed to conduct a survey of a nearby trinary star, but en route, the station received a distress call from a Betazoid shuttle under attack. The Remington rescued the shuttle and towed it back to the station. It was then that Commander Torkelson prevailed upon Captain Steele to stay and help fill in. When Captain Steele told him it was time for the Remington to return to its assigned mission, Torkelson asked him to stay for an indefinite time, under threat of involuntary reassignment under his authority as acting station commander. The strain increased when Torkelson drafted Remington's engineering and medical staffs to augment the station's personnel to prevent station staff from being overwhelmed.
Captain Taldeen did not solicit Lieutenant Commander Torkelson's input regarding his investigation into Deep Space 3 though Torkelson did solicit his following Chief Knox's incarceration courtesy of Captain Buchanan. Torkelson pressed the possibility that the chief had been locked up solely to impress Taldeen, as well as Admiral Thomas. Captain Taldeen conceded the possibility though he insisted he had nothing to do with arranging the Chief's imprisonment. Torkelson impressed Captain Taldeen who "applauded him for his loyalty to his crew, especially in light of his recent arrival to the station." Taldeen also believed Torkelson was "an officer of fine character and ethics."
"Sir, you stand here and tell me that you pulled me away from a posting where I was fairly successful, and pulled me away from the people I care about, and sent me on, what you consider to be a dead-end assignment, because, in your assessment, I'm not flashy enough to have a real career in Starfleet, all to babysit your nephew, who is, by your own assessment, not high-quality Starfleet material, and probably shouldn't have graduated from the Academy in the first place. And apparently I'm supposed to be happy about this?"
"I may not be a Tyrellian, or a Kirk, or a Thomas, but I am a good officer. And I have dedicated my career and my life to Starfleet! I do not deserve to have you or anyone else manipulate me in this manner!"
"That's the problem! You weren't doing! I don't know what they taught you back at the Academy, but apparently you weren't paying attention! . . . . This isn't a discussion Ensign! Your indecision could've killed us all out there! This isn't a simulation! This isn't a pleasure cruise on Risa! This is as real as it gets! And the people all around you are relying on you to pull your own weight in a life or death situation! Here on the frontier, hesitation and foolish mistakes could kill someone or doom your entire ship!. . . . . I have seen your Academy record, and it isn't what I would call stellar. You should be thankful that you graduated! Look, I'll be frank. I don't give damn about your family name. I know it played a big part in getting you where are now, but what I do care about is the safety and well-being of this ship and its crew. On this ship, every crewmember is expected to go above and beyond what is expected of them, even at a moment's notice! Do I make myself clear, Ensign?"
"I . . . um . . . I left them. Regulations were very clear that a Starfleet vessel was NOT to enter the Neutral Zone for any reason! . . . . . . I contacted the nearest starbase . . . relaying our position and circumstances and waited for a reply. We sat at the edge of the Neutral Zone per regulations . . . until the Kobayashi Maru exploded. I know it's horrible, but regulations are regulations! They're written by people who have more experience in these things than we do. They exist for the safety of your ship and crew!"
Gregory Torkelson is played by Robert Pepper in episodes 1 through 39, and by Jonathan Jackson episode 40 and onwards in Star Trek: Outpost.