William "Junior" Hof
|Born:||July 28, 2351|
|Affiliation:||Starfleet Marine Corps|
|Assignment(s):|| First Officer - USS Black Hawk (NCC-75004-A)
Commanding Officer - 263rd Marine Strike Group
|Stationed:||USS Black Hawk-A|
|Siblings:|| George (Half-Brother)
Michael (Brother) Susanne (Sister)
William Hof (pilot call sign "Junior") was the First Officer of the USS Black Hawk-A starting in 2390 and has served as the Officer-in-Charge of the 263rd Marine Strike Group since 2382. Starting with the Star Trek: Black Hawk episode "Swansong" he began voicing doubts about remaining in Starfleet, despite a distinguished career.
Personnel Information Edit
William is a truly unique individual able to not only carry contradictory ideas in his head, but also to act in contradictory ways based completely on the situation. This comes from the fact that he is constantly striving for information and knowledge on any subject that may interest him at the moment. He has attained a mastery of many varied subjects but doesn’t flaunt this knowledge; instead he uses it when the time is right. He is always willing to offer his expertise when needed, but will also always make it known when he is unsure or doesn’t know the answer.
What has made him a good Marine Officer and, more importantly, an exceptional fighter pilot is that William is independent, decisive, original, and insightful. He can see the logic in any situation or the reasoning behind any event. This knowledge is used to plan for contingencies and reactions long before they are needed if they ever are. However, his independent nature does tend to interfere with normal operations of a military unit though his actions do tend to be beneficial to all involved – even if superiors are hesitant to admit it.
The reason that William has never been seen as a threat to the more controlling of his commanders is that he wilts in the spotlight of command. Never seeking it out and even actively avoiding it when necessary, he is more comfortable acting under the umbrella of another officer than being the man who makes the decisions. This does not mean he is incapable or ill-prepared for command should it be thrust upon him, in fact his command presence is exceptional, but he treats it as a simple extension of his own abilities rather than a goal to which to strive.
When in command of others he tends to lead through self-confidence and sheer willpower about the mission at hand. But that does not mean that he is in any way overbearing or authoritarian with those under his command, in fact, he tends to treat them more as equals than subordinates. The units that William has commanded have been known to shirk the most formal regulations about fraternization and military bearing; this is because he feels that these rules should not be adhered to at all times simply because they are the “Rules”. Subordinates under his command experience a hands-off type of leadership, with William letting them pursue their own courses and ideas. This should not be confused as absenteeism on William’s part; he will never fear correcting or condemning the subordinate should they make a mistake, or even inserting himself into a situation that he feels needs his guidance. It is this second part of William’s command style that demonstrates his perfectionism and desire to make every work perfectly.
William is a perfectionist in the most positive connotations of the word. He strives for the best and most perfect solution to every problem, but always remembers that everyone is human and human perfection is an oxymoron. He also trains himself and his subordinates to question everything in order to achieve the desired outcome and anticipate problems. These qualities of leadership have lead William to forge exceptional units out of the most average of material; usually by acting as a mentor and guide to those under his command so that they can always improve.
Family Life Edit
The Hof family is almost bland in its formulaic nature: a mother, father, two big brothers, and a younger sister. While close with his older half-brother George, William never had too much contact with him while growing up. As a result, George and William tend to act more like good friends than brothers.
William’s father, Henry, is a stoic individual within the family setting but can be extremely expressive when in social situations that include others. As he was growing up Henry always seemed standoffish with his children, almost acting as a counterweight to his more affectionate and personable wife, Louise. However, none of Henry’s children ever doubted his undying love for them, and willingness to do anything for their benefit. When William joined Starfleet Henry was the most supportive and proud of his son, even to the point of indulging in a rare fatherly hug upon William’s departure.
William’s Mother, Louise, is the emotional center of the family. Coming from a family that included eleven children, Louise always felt the need to be involved in ever part of her children’s lives; probably because she always needed to compete with her siblings for the attentions of her parents. More emotional by far than her husband, Henry, she is more likely to take every setback and problem that her children have as a personal challenge. When William joined Starfleet, Louise was nervous for her son but fully supported him.
William’s younger brother Michael is a sarcastic, jovial, and serious individual. When these brothers are together they can shift effortlessly from vulgar jokes to intellectual debate to sardonic observations with ease and very few clear transitions. However this quality time is often short in duration and space far apart, as both have differing interests and social activities. Michael would become a Parrises squares Coach at the University of Buenos Aries, and eventually would become its Dean of Athletics.
William’s sister, Susanne, is similar to her brothers in seriousness but is much more emotional than the others. Although she has a good relationship with the other members of the family, especially well with George’s wife Amy Joe who she referrers to as sister never sister-in-law, Susanne has always been standoffish with William. While they love each other as siblings should, Susanne never has really trusted William with details about her life or her affection, much to William’s sorrow. After college Susanne pursued a career in the musical theater; and though she would never make it as a female lead, she would eventually garner great success as director and orchestra conductor.
Psychological Profile Edit
William is a repressed individual that has a difficult time expressing emotions outside of situations that he feels that he can control. This repression is not chronic or debilitating but does prevent him from forming long-lasting bonds with others, especially deep bonds. He treats all those that come into and out of his life as momentary emotional respites, never becoming overly attached or obsessive about a relationship. This lends itself well to a military environment where he must bond with others in order to form a cohesive unit, but does not prevent him from acting in the best interests of the mission.
William finds solace in solitude and finds interpersonal interactions without a clearly defined purpose to be agonizing and intimidating – e.g. small talk. Therefore, he tends to be quite and contemplative within a group, no matter the size, only interacting with others when he has something to offer or when approached directly. This has led to many to find him aloof and standoffish, although those who have interacted with him would strongly disagree. Extremely sociable when coaxed, he can be a wonderful conversationalist and attentive listener.
Before the Dominion War William never felt the need to deal with his lack of emotionality as he was able to keep his emotions in check, but after seeing more than his share of death and destruction he was forced to seek professional help. Various counselors and psychologists have been able to help William deal with his strong emotions in a healthy manner, especially despair, and grief, but he has never sought a continuous relationship with mental health professionals. This is because he feels that emotions are best suppressed most of the time and conquered when the break through his mental discipline.
William has only had a single long-term relationship that included a deep emotional bond, that being with Zacharias Edwards. Zacharias was the primary reason William even considered a career in Starfleet and was the motivator behind his entry. As a result, they were close friends during both secondary school and into the Academy since Zacharias joined Starfleet as well. They socialized constantly and even had plans of eventually serving as the Captain and Executive Officer of their own ship. However, these dreams were cut short when Zacharias was killed during the Battle of Betazed. He was a Damage Control Officer on one of the few ships of the Tenth Fleet that were defending the planet at the time and died while trying to stabilize the containment field of an anti-matter storage pod.
The only other long-term relationship William ever had was with a woman named Stephanie McAllen. She was originally a friend of Zacharias Edwards, but eventually became the third member of a trio that included both Zacharias and William. Over the course of their friendship, William tried to begin a romantic relationship with Stephanie, but she had always politely rebuffed his advances. Stephanie still cares deeply for William, but it has always been platonic; she had always described William as the big brother she never had. The culmination of their relationship was when William very publically asked Stephanie to marry him and she refused.
After that event, Stephanie and William intentionally lost contact with each other, even though they had communicated regularly before – especially after Zacharias was killed in action. As of the Star Trek: Black Hawk episode, “Adonis and Aphrodite” they had not spoken in nearly a decade. It was also revealed in that episode that they still maintained deep feelings for each other, although William still wanted to make it a romantic relationship. After the events of “Adonis and Aphrodite,” William and Stephanie resumed their correspondence, with Stephanie more open to the idea of a romantic involvement.
Historical Record Edit
Early Life (2351-2369) Edit
William was born to a working-class family in the Chicago Metro region of the United States on the planet Earth in 2352. He was the second child of his father Henry and the first child of mother Louise. Because of the situation revolving around his parents’ nuptials and his conception, William has often been accused of being impulsive, listless, and a little too dependent on luck to get through life. While displaying exceptional scholastic ability in a generalized way, it was unfocused.
A voracious reader, he could devour a book or text in hours. However, these books rarely had anything to do with his current studies; leading to constantly poor grades throughout primary and into secondary school. It wasn’t until his tenth-grade year that he found any focus whatsoever. This focus stemmed from a close personal friendship with an upperclassman named Zacharias Edwards. Zacharias had always known that he was going to apply to Starfleet and somehow sensed that William would like to do the same thing. William, originally unconvinced that he could make it into Starfleet, followed Zacharias’s lead for no better reason then it was something to do.
As his secondary school career progressed, the influence of Zacharias became more and more prevalent in William’s everyday life. He began studying on a consistent basis, and the books he was devouring were school texts and study material. By the end of eleventh grade, William had become a nearly model student. However, William never achieved scholastic success due to his propensity for procrastination and listlessness. When the time came to apply to Starfleet Academy, Zacharias forced William to sit in front of a terminal to fill it out.
Though William thought he lacked the school record to pass the first rounds of screening, he nevertheless completed the application. Much to his surprise, the Academy accepted his application. Though Zacharias was at the Academy himself during most of the acceptance process, William had been energized by his application even being considered. Working hard throughout his twelfth-grade year, he had managed to raise his scholastic record to the level required by the Academy. When taking the entrance exams, however, he stumbled at the pressure of the applied science and scholastic portions. Being on the cusp of failing; he managed to excel enough in the personality portions of the exam to raise his grade to pass.
Starfleet Academy (2369-2373)Edit
Early on William Hof understood that he would never pass if he joined the theoretical science track or the technical operations track, he instead played to his strengths by joining the leadership oriented command track. Since this track incorporated scientific fields such as stellar cartography and astral physics, William still found himself at a disadvantage most of the time. Even though he studied constantly and read nearly all the time, he found exams daunting and term papers nearly impossible.
What William lacked in academic knowledge he more than made up in leadership and flying ability. He was constantly impressing upperclassmen and officers with his ability to adapt to changing situations and challenges. It was during these years that William developed his unique and highly unorthodox leadership style that blended crude humor, strict discipline, personal familiarity, unwavering standards, individual accountability, and joyful actions in nearly equal measures. While he constantly clashed with his cadet superiors, and even Company Officers, his subordinates and peers found him loyal and capable. During his second class year, William had even managed to earn the lifelong friendship of a plebe that had become his “whipping boy” while in Beast Barracks.
The one academic subject that William did excel in was Flight Dynamics. While he lacked the scholastic skill to be highly ranked in the class, he constantly bested his fellow midshipmen while on maneuvers. Described by Training Officers as unorthodox and displaying a tendency to bend regulations to the absolute maximum, he nevertheless aced every flight exam.Because of his midrange academic record he had been denied entrance into the Academy’s elite flight team - Nova Squadron. However in 2368, after the entire team was removed because of the Lacarno Conspiracy, William was chosen as the Number Four pilot. This was due to the Academy’s desire to re-staff the Squadron with those cadets with outstanding personal integrity and leadership rather than pure academic achievement as had been the previous standard.
The Nova Squadron that William joined was in disarray - one cadet dead, one expelled from the academy, and three sentenced to repeat their academic years - the new members distressed at their duty. Because of the scandal, the governing body of competitive flight events had banned Nova Squadron for five years. Since they could not officially compete, the Squadron was regulated to non-competitive air shows and inter-collegiate duals. Duels are essentially showy dogfights between single fighters staged for the benefit of civilian audiences held at air shows. While not the Nova Squadron the five new members had dreamed of joining, they took their duty seriously and constantly impressed crowds with their flying ability.
The Dominion War (2373-2375)Edit
Upon graduation, William was ranked in the middle of the class and achieved the rank of Midshipmen Lieutenant Junior Grade. While his grades were middle of the road, his flight tests and service on Nova Squadron was enough to earn him a place in Advanced Flight School. This school was dedicated to training officers in small craft and starship piloting. While the emphasis was on producing helmsmen for the newest line of escorts and light cruisers, every student was given training in the Peregrine class fighter as part of the curriculum. Halfway through training, however, the Dominion War exploded and Starfleet found itself woefully unprepared.
Battle of the Tyra System EditEven though the abilities of the Jem'Hadar attack ships were well known by the outbreak of war, Starfleet was still woefully unprepared to field similar forces. As a result, Starfleet hastily rushed Peregrine class fighters into accelerated production and began to snatch any officer capable of piloting these craft into training. Within four months of graduation from the Academy, Ensign William Hof found himself in a squadron of Peregrines flying in support of the Seventh Fleet’s attack on the Tyra System.
Flying off the USS Gorkon- an Excelsior class ship retrofitted to carry 18 Peregrine fighters - Ensign Hof had little time to meet his squadron mates or practice flying with them before the attack. Although these factors, which were duplicated throughout the entire Seventh Fleet, were not the deciding factor in Starfleet’s loss in the Tyra system, they obviously didn’t help the situation. Of his 36 man squadron only William and his Electronic Systems Operator (ESO) survived.
The fighter pilots, while being exceptional in individual combat similar to Klingons, lacked many of the combat maneuvering skills that would be hard won by the end of the war. Within the first minutes of the battle, the concepts of squadron attack and wingmen had been abandoned, mainly because of extreme losses, and the capital ships fared no better. Many of the senior officers, those surviving at least, felt themselves participating in a second Wolf 359. Fleet level strategy was lost as fast as the fighter doctrine was, and the battle degraded into despite the fight for survival for every ship of the Seventh Fleet.
Having lost contact with or seen all his squadron mates destroyed, and unable to establish contact with any level of command, Ensign Hof fought desperately to survive. He didn’t even think of escape or breaking contact with the enemy. Instead, he emptied his torpedo magazines at every capital ship he could find and engaged enemy fighters with his phasers. While William didn’t keep track of his effectiveness during the battle, he did keep a tally of how many different wingmen he paired with – a total of 8 – none of whom survived. It didn’t even occur to him that what remained of the Seventh Fleet had begun to retreat until he made contact with the USS T’Kumbra.
The T’Kumbra was a Nebula-class Medium Cruiser that’s warp drive had been severely damaged in the battle and was trying to fall back the best it could at impulse speed. When Ensign Hof learned of the T’Kumbra’s situation and the fact that the Seventh Fleet was in retreat, he leaped to the starship’s defense. While the battle had lasted for less than an hour, William flew escort for the T’Kumbra for nearly twelve while her warp drive was being repaired. During that time, he didn’t sleep and was continuously maneuvering to intercept Dominion or Cardassian patrols sent to destroy Starfleet stragglers.
When the USS T’Kumbra and Ensign Hof’s fighter finally made it back to what remained of the Seventh Fleet, the Captain of the T’Kumbra insisted that that the ship’s guardian angel dock and be treated to the grateful thanks of her crew. While William did indeed dock with the T’Kumbra, he and his ESO instead insisted on only a dark corner in which to pass out. As he slept, the records of the battle were compiled and Ensign Hof’s accomplishments were realized. During the battle itself, he had destroyed three enemy fighters and crippled a single Jem’Hadar Fast Attack Ship. However, during his defense of the USS T’Kumbra he had destroyed eight additional fighters, and drove off another twenty fighters and three capital ships including a Cardassian medium cruiser. In effect Ensign Hof had become a double ace-in-a-day with 11 confirmed kills; this accomplishment also put him on the shortlist for the title of Starfleet’s “Ace of Aces”.
The Heart of War Edit
While many congratulated the young Ensign for his accomplishments, William found himself conflicted and withdrawn after Tyra. His flying changed from the hard charging acrobatic style that had lead him to his 11 kills to a defensive and conservative style that resulted in only 4 kills in the following few months. His apparent regression in ability, and his steadfast insistence on being isolated from others when not on duty lead his new unit to dub him “Monk”, William’s first long-term call sign.
The reason for Ensign Hof’s change in style wasn’t readily apparent, however, many of his squadron mates did recall him making frequent trips to the ship’s counselor during this time. Although no official report was ever filed, many of his superiors felt that the Ensign was suffering from a mild form of combat stress reaction or shell-shock. His change to a defensive flying style actually benefited his new ship – the Ambassador class USS Gandhi– due to her lack of maneuverability; however his non-flying personality wasn’t as helpful and was much more noticeable. When William eventually did start to make forays into public during non-duty hours his comrades were just as nervous as he was. The feeling amongst the squadron was to, half-jokingly, not to spook the Ace or he might run away again.
Operation Return EditWhen it became obvious to everyone on the USS Gandhi that they would be participating in another major push into Dominion controlled space, Ensign Hof’s personality began to resurface from the shadow of Tyra. He began to socialize more with his squadron and the ship’s company at large. Also, his flying style began to revert to the more acrobatic which had originally made him a double ace. While it never returned to the carefree style that described his early fighting, it instead gained an almost wizened approach. He was mechanical yet fluidic in his technique, adhering to solid principles yet showing a flair for improvisation and feel for the stick that made him nearly unstoppable. While off-duty he was just as methodical with social interactions, cold but good company and a solid compatriot.
When Captain Sisko’s armada set out for Deep Space Nine and its wormhole, Ensign Hof was given the honor of being the leading craft of his squadron departing Starbase 375. The trip towards Deep Space Nine was uneventful yet filled with dread for the young, battle-hardened fighter pilot. As was his way, William talked to himself (with his communications system muted, of course). When they armada spotted the enemy fleet, all the horrible feelings that had haunted him since Tyra came back and in spades. The combined Cardassian and Dominion fleet numbered 1254 - or over twice the size of the Federation force.
When the order came for the fighters to engage the enemy’s capital ships, Ensign Hof expected the worst. But he was a soldier with orders, so he followed his leader into the fire. For three hours, Ensign Hof’s squadron tried to goad the Cardassians into battle but to no avail. In the process, he had destroyed four more fighters and participated in the destruction of one or two enemy cruisers. Not without losses, however; his squadron had lost four of their eighteen fighters. During this time, Ensign Hof actually had an increase in confidence despite the lack of movement and the loss of comrades. He had finally realized that the enemy was not invincible.
After four hours of the fighters’ constant hit-and-run attacks against the Cardassian cruisers, the lines finally broke. When the squadron began their return leg, Cardassian fighters began to give chase. Shortly after that, the Federation Fleet charged into the mouth of the enemy. Without realizing it, Ensign Hof succumbed to emotion with his communications system transmitting. William yelled, “This is for Tyra you sons of b**ches!” While Ensign Hof barely registered the loud and affirmative responses of his squadron mates, he did realize that they all formed on him and his squadron leader saying, “Everyone form on 'Monk'; he’s going for their heart. Help him rip it out.”
After eight hours of vicious fighting, Ensign Hof found himself as one of the six members of his squadron to finally break through the enemy fleet. While they had lost two-thirds of their numbers, the spirits of the squadron and the young Ensign ace were never higher. The surprise attack of the Klingons had turned the tables of a well fought but desperate battle. When the joint Klingon-Federation fleet reached Deep Space Nine, they found the Cardassian evacuation all but complete and no mission but to secure the immediate region. Although the Klingons and certain Federation ships began to harass the evacuation on its way towards Cardassian territory, there were no major engagements for the fighter corps.
During the battle, Ensign Hof had again distinguished himself. The final tally included 18 enemy fighters destroyed and another 28 possible. This brought his total to 33 kills, and again put the young Ensign on the short list for the title of “Ace of Aces”.
First Battle of Chin'toka EditAfter Operation Return, the war resembled trench warfare. Fighting and skirmishes were constant all along the front lines, but territorial gains and large scale battles were uncommon. The USS Gandhi and her fighters had been made whole after the retaking of Deep Space Nine and settled into the near reality of the war. Engagement with the Dominion and the Cardassians was common, and Ensign Hof continued with his new style of precise and fluid style of flying; racking up another 10 kills in the next few months. When the Romulans finally joined the war, the USS Gandhi, and her fighters had become a finely tuned fighting team.
Once the Romulans had been convinced to join the Federation and Klingons in an attack into Cardassian territory, the course towards the Chin'toka system was set. The Chin’toka system was largely undefended because of recent Cardassian losses and lack of Dominion reinforcements from the Gamma Quadrant; however the battle would be fierce. Expecting to rely heavily on fighter forces, due to the Dominion defense being centered on Jem'Hadar attack ships, the entire fighter corps trained constantly.
The attack was immediately launched when Starfleet Intelligence detected that the Cardassian’s had deployed a large contingent of Orbital weapon platforms within the system and that they would become operational within days. While on route, the battle plan was altered so that the armada’s fighters would be responsible for diverting the Dominion Attack Ships while the capital ships engaged the weapons platforms. This was a simple alteration to the original battle plan, but would require the fighter forces of the three allies to be separated into two different groups. Since the Klingons and the Romulans only cooperated with Federation supervision, it was decided to allow each group to be either Romulan or Klingon with Starfleet fighters split between the two.
Scheduled to fly with the Romulans, the squadron off the USS Gandhi was faced with an interesting dilemma. They were to fly the wing of a group that they had trained to attack for most of their careers. It wasn’t until a Tactics and Intelligence briefing that Ensign Hof lived up to his “Monk” callsign. When discussing how to fight with the Romulans instead of against them, William observed that their training was a two-sided coin; one side was against the Romulans and the other with them. By explaining that the squadron already knew how the Romulans fight, so instead of using that knowledge to kill them they should use it to compliment them.
As the allied armada approached the Chin’toka system, the fighters moved to engage the Dominion Attack Ships. For the fighter groups, the battle plan stayed intact, with a few of the Attack Ships ever being able to engage the larger fleet. Few Dominion fighters were present, but Ensign Hof still managed to destroy 3. As for the Attack Ships, William’s squadron either destroyed or crippled 8. As many would remark, William’s observation about flying with the Romulans was unbelievably accurate. Unfortunately, the battle was not as smooth for the main battle fleet. The USS Gandhi succumbed to the fully operational orbital weapon platforms and was lost with all hands.
Partly due to the loss of the USS Gandhi and partly due to the constant Dominion and Cardassian attacks on the Chin’toka system, William’s squadron spent the next few months as orphans within the system. Migrating from ship to ship to ground-based aerodromes they flew numerous and fluctuating missions. Acting as firemen – so to speak – they responded to any request for assistance; they even flew a few ground support missions for the Starfleet Marine Corps. Eventually, the Squadron was rotated back to Earth for a rest, refit, and reorganization with eventual assignment to another starship.
The Coming of the Breen EditWhen the Breen launched their surprise attack on Starfleet Headquarters and Starfleet Academy to announce their entrance into the Dominion War, William was again in the middle of the action. Having recently returned from two weeks furlough and enjoying his recent promotion to Lieutenant, Junior Grade; the new Lieutenant sprang into action. Having no battle station on the grounds and unwilling to retreat to a bunker, he instead ran for the Headquarters’ aerospace field.
Rather than trying to impose himself on an existing squadron, he headed for the repair and maintenance area. Finding a Senior Chief Petty Officer, he declared himself a pilot and demanded a craft. With a quick reference check, the besieged Senior Chief was glad to assist the young officer. Offering up a Peregrine fighter lacking warp coils, Lieutenant Hof sprinted to get her pre-flighted while the Chief rounded up a scratch ground crew. Within ten minutes of the attack, ‘Monk’ was announcing his presence with Space Defense Command.
Even before the controllers with Space Defense could even find Lieutenant Hof a unit to join, he began to engage Breen fighters. Lacking torpedo ordnance and even a wingman, William stayed in Earth’s atmosphere engaging stray fighters and attack ships. He left the heavy lifting of engaging the Breen capital ships to the alert squadrons and instead protected the civilian population. Eventually, William linked up with a squadron of SFMC A-20 Harriers that had been given a similar mission.
Once these Marine pilots saw "Monk’s" skill they willingly let him take the lead in most engagements. Having been trained for mostly ground support, they lacked the experienced touch in air combat maneuvering that William had. Originally thinking the Marines were flying Peregrines, William was rather shocked to see that they had projectile weapons; which were used with surprising effectiveness. All of which William shared with them once the battle ended.
In the two hours that the attack lasted Lieutenant Hof managed to score 4 kills. One of these came while trying to escort a civilian shuttle through the thick of the battle. Once the battle had ended and the aerospace declared clear, he took leave of his adopted squadron and returned to the maintenance and repair yard from which he took the fighter. Needless to say, the Senior Chief that had allowed the “theft” was relieved that the Peregrine had been returned, but she was even more ecstatic that the Lieutenant had managed to do some good.
While the Senior Chief and Lieutenant Hof faced the seemingly irate grilling of the Officer-in-Charge of the Maintenance and Repair Yard, a quick review of the fighter’s sensor logs resulted in an unrecorded verbal reprimand for both. What surprised the Lieutenant the most, was when the Marine squadron that he flown with tracked him down to express their good opinion of his flying.
It was a mixed blessing in many ways that Lieutenant Hof’s next assignment was with a squadron defending the Sol system. It caused him to miss the Second Battle of Chin’toka, during which every fighter in attendance was destroyed, but it also gave him a much-needed break. William had been on the front lines since the beginning of the War and was well aware that this made him part a true minority segment of Starfleet. However, even this assignment wouldn’t last too long, as the need for his type of experience and skill was needed more than ever.
When the Federation needed to withdraw from the front lines because of the Breen’s energy-draining weaponry, Starfleet Command was far from idol. They pulled experienced fighter pilots and starship crews like Lieutenant Hof from their assignments and placed them in training billets. With the Klingons trying to defend the all three Allied powers, the Romulans and Federation put all their efforts into building up their fleets and the training the personnel to use them.
Lieutenant Hof found himself as the Chief Instructor at a hastily established advanced training center for fighter pilots. It was here that Starfleet expected William to impart his knowledge and skill to rookie pilots so that they could stand a greater chance of surviving battle. Knowing that the Fighter Corps was a meat grinder for both pilots and craft, the Lieutenant never let his charges relax. Alerts came at all times of the day and night. Training rotations in flight basics and formation flying were routinely interrupted by “enemy” attacks. Despite his demand for perfection and insistence on nearly constant combat drills, William also pioneered a unique training aid.
Whenever a student was administratively killed in training, that student would be unable to interact with any of the other students until the he was able to survive a combat training exercise. According to records there were a record number of protests filed about this treatment, but the training center’s commanding officer, a combat fighter veteran herself, allowed the practice continue.
When an entire student squadron filed a protest about this treatment Lieutenant Hof delivered an impassioned explanation:
“You think this a game? That somehow because you’re just in training there should be no consequences for failure? Listen to me very carefully, whenever you go into battle you will lose people. Friends and comrades will be blown out of the out of the sky meters from you; with a mild and temporary sensor echo the only thing to mark their passing.
“You won’t be able to talk to them ever again, never see them again, and certainly never have the opportunity to have them come back to life because they tried harder on the next mission. Get used to that. The price of failure in war isn’t being isolated from everyone, its death, and every last one of you needs to get used to that.
“What you are training for suffers about 50-80% casualty rates every time we’re in a fleet engagement. And it doesn’t matter how good you think you are or whether you aced training when fate decides that you’re dead, you’re dead. No second chances, no tomorrow, no take backs. So get used to it. And when this war is over and the worst thing you have ever experienced is being isolated from everyone because you ‘died’ on a training mission, count yourself lucky.”
The Final Drive EditWhen Starfleet finally managed to create a countermeasure to the Breen’s energy-draining weapons the time spent on training and construction proved well spent. All the temporary training facilities were immediately closed and their instructor staffs reassigned to battle-ready units. Lieutenant Hof, not exactly anxious to return to the line, was assigned to the Akira class Heavy Cruiser USS Thunderchild during the run-up to what would be known as the Battle of Cardassia.
Conflicted about his return to battle after so many months behind the lines, he fell back on the lessons he taught his students during the last lull in the war. Focusing on the fundamentals and instructing other he served as his squadron’s Training Officer and resident ace. His personality was guarded, but his flying was nothing but. Lieutenant Hof aerobatic style of flying infused with the mechanical precision, hard won after nearly three years of war, perfectly matched the Thunderchild and the way it fought.
As the Allied Fleet lead by Admiral Ross approached Cardassia Lieutenant Hof was inside the body of the fleet, his squadron being recently relieved of their forward scouting duties. Then the Dominion Fleet came into view, and consensus amongst his squadron was this was going to be the largest fleet engagement in recorded history.
Like all the fleet engagements before, this one degraded into a melee of close-quarters battles fought between individual ships or small groups. For hours Lieutenant Hof and his squadron fought as fiercely as any, racking up individual kills and participating in squadron attacks on capital ships. With neither side willing to retreat or making serious mistakes in strategy, the battle was quickly turning into the all too familiar meat grinder.
By the midpoint of the battle, Lieutenant Hof’s squadron had lost all but four of its fighters, but they stuck together all the more reliably because of it. Unlike the Battle of Tyra so many years ago, Lieutenant Hof kept his same wingman throughout the battle. And together they were able to eliminate nearly forty fighters and small ships, and even launch the death blows on a Galor class Cardassian Warship (which amazingly was credited to Lieutenant Hof as a full kill).
Near the end of the battle, Lieutenant Hof had a Cardassian Hideki class attack ship in his sights when the ship began to engage Breen and Jem’Hadar fighters. With his finger paused above the firing trigger for a moment, he called Fleet Command in order to figure out what was going on. But even as the controller explained that the Cardassians had inexplicably changed sides, William could see the Cardassian ships engaging their former allies and even coming to the aid of their former enemies. In fact, instead of destroying the Hideki he formed up on its wing and was lead through five attacks on Jem’Hadar capital ships before his attention was needed elsewhere. Lieutenant Hof would later observe that it was the strangest experience of his life.
The War's End Edit
With the Dominion War over, fantastically quick for some, Lieutenant, Junior Grade William Hof was left to count the cost along with the rest of the Federation. At final tally, William had been defeated only twice in combat, but he was able to survive each time since neither came during a major fleet engagement. Lieutenant Hof was ranked sixth in number of confirmed kills amongst Federation fighter pilots with 162 – although only three of the top ten were still alive. His victories included: 73 Cardassian, 54 Jem'Hadar, 27 Breen, and 3 Son'a small combat craft; 1 Galor class capital ship; and 4 pirate vessels. With this tally, Lieutenant Hof was the only fighter pilot to record multiple victories over every member of the Dominion Alliance.
No matter how impressive this tally is, William rarely makes reference to it. Going so far as to not even display his commemorative section of fighter hull plate that shows all of these victories, unless he is in direct command of a fighter squadron (Star Trek: Black Hawk "Swansong"). In fact, William is more likely to only remember the number 1861, which is the number of comrades that he lost during the war.
- In the episode "Adonis and Aphrodite" it is revealed that he keeps a collection of holoimages of all the people who died while serving with him. He displays these images on a small projector in an isolated corner of his desk so that they are out of the way but always present, just like the ghosts that he feels that they are. By the episode "Swansong" this number had increased to nearly 2000.
Picking Up the Pieces (2375) EditWhen the war came to an end Starfleet had been ravaged by nearly three years of constant and ferocious warfare. Thousands of ships and millions of people had been lost, planets stood devastated, and facilities throughout the Federation had been destroyed or cannibalized to feed the war effort. And though the Cardassians had been eliminated as major galactic power and relationships with the Klingons were at an all time high, the Breen and Romulans were still threats. Not to mention that scientific research, diplomacy, and exploration – which were supposed to be Starfleet’s primary missions – had been trivialized to the point of non-existence during the war.
It was in this environment that the battle-hardened Lieutenant William Hof now found himself. And as the Treaty of Bajor was being signed his fighter squadron was being rotated back to Earth so that it could be deactivated. The reasoning was that Starfleet needed the materials from the fighters to build new ships and the officers and crew from the squadron to man them. But even William’s near legendary status in the Fighter Corps wasn’t enough to save him a place amongst the few remaining Peregrine class fighter squadrons remaining in service. Especially with dozens of ship captains demanding experienced Flight Controllers; Defiant class Escorts and Sabre class Light Cruisers were popular destinations for the now-former fighter pilots.
William had joined Starfleet because his best friend, Zacharias Edwards, had pushed him into it and together they had hoped for a career together; culminating as the Captain and Executive Officer of their own ship. But Zacharias had been killed in the Battle of Betazed, and now William was losing the only other thing he was passionate about, being a fighter pilot. So with his pre-war ambitions impossible without his friend at his side and the prospect of being a fighter pilot for the rest of career being eliminated, he seriously considered resigning his commission.
Having nearly six weeks of leave accrued, since it was impossible to take any during the war, he took a month of it to think about his options. William returned home to a grateful neighborhood and an ecstatically relieved family. Bashfully accepting the thanks and gratitude of his neighbors for his service he retreated into his family home, and his old room, to relax and think. What William most wanted was to be left alone and silently reflect on all he had done and all he had lost in the previous years. Sensing his emotional exhaustion, his family quietly let him initiate all the conversations or let him simply just absorb the atmosphere of love and normality.
The one person that William did insist on spending time with, besides his family, was the one other friend that meant as much to him as Zacharias did, Stephanie McAllen. Stephanie had been the third member of an inseparable trio including himself and Zacharias during secondary school. They had all corresponded regularly after first Zacharias then William joined Starfleet and tried to keep it up after the War started. Often times letters would travel a full circle around the group, almost as if they were having the conversation while sitting around a table. And when Zacharias died, William and Stephanie had kept up the same volume of correspondence, even though, there were only two of them instead of three. Almost as if they were trying subconsciously trying to keep Zacharias involved.
But even this wasn’t to last, much to William’s displeasure. After a five day stint of spending every waking moment together – including a few mornings when they woke up in the same bed after a platonic night together – William made of decision that could have drastically changed the course of his life. In a fit of joy, he announced to a crowded local pub that he wanted to marry Stephanie, feeling that he could live a full life so long as she was with him. But Stephanie did not have any real romantic feelings for William or ever really considered marrying him, even though they had dated for a year in secondary school. Shocked, Stephanie felt she had no other choice but to quietly refuse his proposal and quickly leave the pub. Equally shocked and devastated William stood stunned for several moments and then, as the crowd silently cleared in front of him, moved to the main bar and order ordered a bottle of strong alcohol.
For nearly five days after the failed proposal William lived in the bottle and stayed comfortably intoxicated the entire time, but he never truly got drunk. Neither one of them would try and contact the other for nearly a decade, and it would be eventually revealed that they had been actively avoiding each other the entire time (Star Trek: Black Hawk episode “Adonis and Aphrodite”).
|2370||Cadet Forth Class||Starfleet Academy||San Francisco, Earth||Midshipman|
|2371||Cadet Third Class||Nova Squadron (#4 Pilot)|
|2372||Cadet Second Class|
|2373||Cadet First Class||Nova Squadron (#2 Pilot)|
|2374||Ensign||Advanced Flight Control School||Hurutam, Tellar Prime||Student|
|Fighter Squadron 24351
|Fighter Squadron 90303
|Chin'toka System||Element Leader|
|2375||Lieutenant, Junior Grade||Fighter Squadron 61354
|Asteria Starfleet Spaceport, Titan|
|Training Squadron 41233
|Lor'Vela Starfleet Spaceport, Andor||Chief Instructor|
|Fighter Squadron 61354
|2376||First Lieutenant||Aerospace Combat College||Twentynine Palms Starfleet Marine Corps Base, Earth||Instructor|
|2377||Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 124
|2379||Captain||Marine Attack Squadron 168
|Weapons and Tactics Training Officer|
|Marine Special Operations Squadron 642
|Ishmael Starfleet Spaceport, Prophet's Landing||Assistant Maintenance Officer|
|2380||263rd Marine Strike Group||USS Black Hawk
|Deputy Officer in Charge|
|2385||Marine Special Duty Squadron 117
|Edwards Starfleet Spaceport, Earth||Test Pilot|
|2386||263rd Marine Strike Group||USS Black Hawk
|2387||Lieutenant Colonel||Aerospace Combat College||Twentynine Palms Starfleet Marine Corps Base, Earth||Chief Instructor|
|2389||Marine Fighter Squadron 254
|Cartwright Starfleet Marine Corps Aerospace Port, Hades IV||Commanding Officer|
|2390||Colonel||263rd Marine Strike Group||USS Black Hawk
|Items in Italics indicate a Temporary Duty Assignment for 6 months or less|