Mackenzie Calhoun

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Mackenzie Calhoun
HouseOfCardsCover.jpg
Captain Mackenzie Calhoun, flanked by his mentor Jean-Luc Picard and Ambassador Spock, on the cover of the 1997 novel, Star Trek: New Frontier: House of Cards. Art by Keith Birdsong.
Species Xenexian
Affiliation United Federation of Planets
Starfleet
Posting USS Grissom, First Officer
USS Excalibur, Captain
Rank Captain

Mackenzie Calhoun (born M'k'n'zy of Calhoun) is a fictional character from the Star Trek universe. Created by Peter David, Calhoun is an extraterrestrial from the planet Xenex, and is captain of the Federation starship USS Excalibur.

Calhoun appears primarily in Star Trek: New Frontier, a series of spin-off novels and comic books set during the 24th century era of Star Trek: The Next Generation, in which he is the main character. He first appeared in the 1997 New Frontier debut novel, Star Trek: New Frontier: House of Cards.

Calhoun is the only Star Trek character that has not appeared in any of the Star Trek television series or movies to have an action figure.

Fictional character history[edit]

Calhoun is born M'k'n'zy of Calhoun on the planet Xenex, in the city of Calhoun. He grows up under the brutal rule of the Danteri, who occupied his world. As a child, M'k'n'zy witnesses the public execution of his father in a town square by Falkar of Danter, which spurs him to grow into a rebel warlord.[1] He kills his first person at age 14, and is given command of a strike vessel that marked the beginning of the Xenexian rebellion.[2] By the time M'k'n'zy is 20, he liberates Xenex.[1] Shortly after doing so, he fathers a son, Xyon, with Catrine, a woman from the Calhoun clan whose husband had died, as she requests as part of Xenexian culture.[3]

Calhoun encounters Jean-Luc Picard, who, while commanding the USS Stargazer, visits Xenex as a representative of the United Federation of Planets to assist in negotiations between Xenex and Danter. Picard convinced Calhoun to join Starfleet, the scientific and defensive arm of the Federation.[1] Calhoun leaves Xenex, a move which rouses the ire of many of his people, to enter Starfleet Academy, where he meets Elizabeth Shelby, who would become his lover, rival and, eventually, fiancée. Their engagement ends after Calhoun took the Kobayashi Maru test.[4]

As a Starfleet officer, Calhoun served aboard the USS Grissom,[1] where he meets Katarina "Kat" Mueller, who would become his lover.[2] It was on the Grissom that he learns to play poker, and establishes a reputation for being able to bluff his way through any hand, even evading an empath's attempt to get a bead on him.[5] Calhoun was present during a catastrophic event aboard the Grissom, which led to his apparent departure from Starfleet.[2] In reality, he becomes an undercover operative for head of Starfleet Intelligence Admiral Alynna Nechayev who, years afterward, fearing Calhoun was getting "too deep" into the lifestyle of the thugs and criminals he was associating with, pulled him out and gave him his own starship to command, the USS Excalibur. It was in taking this command that he is reunited with both Shelby, who was now his First Officer,[1] and Mueller, whom he picked as his Executive Officer (the terms are normally synonymous on the various television series, but in the New Frontier novels, a First Officer heads the ship's day shift, while the Executive Officer commands the night shift watch).[2] Calhoun is assigned to Sector 221-G, the area of space of the former Thallonian Empire, which has collapsed, resulting in destabilization of the region.[1]

Calhoun makes an appearance in the 2007 Star Trek: The Next Generation novel Before Dishonor by Peter David. In the novel, Calhoun encounters Picard en route to Sector 001 to defend Earth against a new Borg threat.

Calhoun's older brother, D’ndai, dies during an alien invasion of his homeworld, Xenex, in the 2011 novel Blind Man's Bluff.[6]

Mirror Universe[edit]

The Mirror Mac, from Star Trek: New Frontier: Turnaround #3 (April 2008); Page 22. Art by Stephen Thompson.

The Mirror Universe counterpart of Calhoun first appears in "Cutting Ties," a story in the 2007 anthology Star Trek Mirror Universe: Obsidian Alliances. In the Mirror universe, instead of witnessing his father's fatal beating at the hands of the Danteri, young M'k'n'zy begs for his father's life, insisting that he has no knowledge of D'ndai's rebellious activities. Humiliated by what he sees as his son's weakness, Gr'zy disowns the boy, who is treated as an outcast. When Praetor Hiren, the leader of the Danteri's allies, the Romulans, comes to Calhoun, he takes the boy, whom he renames "Muck", to live with him on Romulus, as assurance against further rebellion. The abusive Hiren gives Muck a scar on his face corresponding to the one possessed by Captain Calhoun in our universe. After a year in Hiren's residence, Hiren orders the boy to execute Gr'zy, who has continued his rebellion, but Gr'zy commits suicide before Muck can do this. The furious Hiren banishes Muck to the mines of Remus, where the young slave endures years of torment from other miners, until he kills his tormenters. He is eventually purchased by the Mirror Soleta and her father, Rojan, and becomes Soleta's lover. Muck and Soleta are present during a meeting arranged by Praetor Hiren between Rojan and the Mirror Lord Si Cwan of the Thallonian Empire and Falkar of Danter aboard Si Cwan's ship, the Stinger. There, Muck meets the Mirror Kalinda, Burgoyne 182, Zak Kebron, Robin Lefler and Elizabeth Shelby. Muck discovers that the Mirror Mark McHenry's god-like powers are used as the ship's intelligence and power source.

Rojan is murdered on the orders of Hiren, along with Falkar and Shelby, enraging the heartbroken Muck. Si Cwan, Kebron and Burgoyne are also killed, and Muck and Soleta take control of the Stinger, with Muck intending to destroy the surface of Danter, Romulus, Xenex, and every planet he can find, arguing that the universe deserves to die. McHenry shows Muck the Mackenzie Calhoun of our universe, and the life he has led. Inspired by the possibilities he can fight for, Muck destroys only Danter's military infrastructure and uninhabited areas of its surface, liberating Xenex. Inspired by his counterpart, he takes the name "Mac", and begins his life anew as a freedom fighter.[7]

Mac and his crew next appear in the 2008 comic book miniseries Star Trek: New Frontier: Turnaround. It is revealed that they embarked on a series of successful strikes against the Alliance, during which the mirror Edward Jellico joined Mac's crew. During one such engagement, Soleta is killed, and the Stinger finds itself transported through a portal in space into our universe. Mac's crew spends the next several weeks making allies,[8] before stealing the Paradox, an experimental timeship created by Starfleet and the Daystrom Institute,[9] which Mac intends to use to re-write the Mirror Universe's history to prevent the Alliance from taking over his galaxy. His plan is foiled by the crews of the Excalibur, the Trident and Bravo Station, and his counterpart from our universe, Captain Calhoun, who cautions him not to try to reshape an entire universe, lest catastrophic results occur. When Calhoun tells him that Admiral Shelby is aboard Bravo Station, which is being pummeled by the Paradox, Mac surrenders, and the Paradox is destroyed. Mac takes his crew back to the Mirror Universe, where the mirror McHenry reveals that he arranged the confrontation between the two Calhouns so that Mac would reach the right conclusion himself, and call off the plan.[8]

Mac next appears in "Homecoming", a short story in the 2009 anthology Star Trek Mirror Universe: Shards and Shadows. The Stinger has now been renamed the Excalibur, and has embarked on a campaign against the Alliance, gathering a small army as it attacks Alliance colonies, becoming a symbol of the rebellion. The Excalibur rescues the Mirror Selar from an escape pod. Selar, a scientist and spy disguised as a Romulan named Thue, was part of a team en route to Romulus to assemble a thalaron bomb in order to establish weapons parity with the Alliance. Her cargo vessel, which carried the bomb's final component, C-170, was attacked by the Alliance to prevent the Romulans from using the bomb against them. The Excalibur crew track down the hijacked supply ship and retake it, before journeying to Romulus with the C-170. As they assemble the bomb, they are confronted by Praetor Hiren, meeting Mac for the first time since his childhood. Hiren is forced into an allegiance with Mac against the Alliance, who arrive to take possession of the thalaron bomb, which they intend to test detonate on Romulus. During the ensuing melee, Hiren, who had tried to prevent an open confrontation with the Alliance, orders his forces in orbit to attack the Alliance ship battling the Excalibur, and the bomb is accidentally detonated. Mac and his crew, along with Hiren, are transported to the Excalibur. Romulus is rendered uninhabitable for a millennium, with only 50,000 Romulans surviving among their fleet - which, on Hiren's orders, proceeds to join Mac's rebel forces.[10]

Personality and appearance[edit]

Calhoun is depicted as intelligent, cunning, canny,[11] resourceful and sneaky.[12] His success as a tactician is due in part to his ability to sense imminent danger, and anticipate his enemies' moves.[13][14] As a young rebel, he trained himself to control his respiration, heartbeat and pulse in order to make himself a more efficient killer, though Peter David has explicitly made it unclear whether this ability is common to Xenexians or unique to Calhoun.[15]

Edward Jellico sees Calhoun as an unpredictable maverick[16] and a cowboy,[17] and Jean-Luc Picard has observed that reverence was never one of Calhoun's strong suits.[18] Calhoun feels that, deep down, he is a savage, and that any appearance of civilization on his part is a façade that he wears like a cloak, though he keeps the scar Falkar gave him as a reminder of his roots.[19] Calhoun has commented on his personality thus: "I’m an officer. I’m just not a gentleman."[20]

Like all Xenexians, Calhoun resembles a human almost entirely, with the exception of his purple eyes. His skin has a leathery, burnished texture, the years of hardship he endured early in life having given him a weathered look, with several deep creases already lining his forehead by the time he was 19. Calhoun has a scar down the right side of his face from his right temple down across his cheek, left by the wound Falkar inflicted on him with his short sword in 2373.[21] He is a head shorter than his older brother, D'ndai.[22] The renditions of Calhoun on the New Frontier novel covers, and in the comic book Double Time, consistently depict him as resembling a Caucasian human male with dark brown hair, though it appears as black in Turnaround.

The Mirror Universe Mac has been described as having black hair,[7] and appears thus in Turnaround. Whereas our universe's Calhoun has a scar down the right side of his face, the mirror Calhoun has one down the left side of his.[23] Mac spent a year on Romulus educating himself in areas such as philosophy, war strategy, and chess. He learned to defend himself during his many years in the Reman mines.[7]

Influences[edit]

Fans have noted the similarity between Calhoun and another of Peter David's Star Trek characters, Commander Quintin Stone from David's 1991 TNG novel, A Rock and a Hard Place.[24] David has explained that Calhoun was not intentionally a remodeled Stone, but that interestingly, both were based to some extent by characters portrayed by film actor Mel Gibson: the apparently unstable "cowboy diplomat" Stone was based on Martin Riggs from the Lethal Weapon films, and Calhoun, who was a rebel leader at 20, was inspired by the Scottish rebel leader William Wallace from Braveheart. David has added that Calhoun is closer to the historical Wallace, in that like Calhoun, Wallace was much younger than the real-life Gibson was when he portrayed Wallace in the movie.[25]

In addition, Calhoun, who is depicted as something of a cowboy, has been compared by other characters in the stories to James T. Kirk, as in a conversation with Edward Jellico in the novel Martyr. David has stated that on his blog that Calhoun indeed looks up to and identifies with Kirk, seeing himself very much in the cowboy mold that Kirk personified.[26]

In other media[edit]

Playmates Toys produced a limited edition Captain Calhoun 4.5 inch action figure which was available only via mail order through the Star Trek Communicator fan club magazine, and began shipping in September 1998. There were approximately 10,000 of these figures produced.[27]

In September 2005, Calhoun made a cameo appearance in "Vigil", a sixth season episode of the Star Trek fan film series Star Trek: Hidden Frontier, in which he meets his old lover, Elizabeth Shelby, now commanding the Excelsior, in the Briar Patch. Calhoun was played by James Cawley, producer and star of Star Trek: New Voyages, in which he plays James T. Kirk. Peter David stated on his blog that although the creators of the episode did not check with him beforehand, he thought it was very entertaining.[28]

In the online game Star Trek Online, Calhoun is a Starfleet mission contact based on Starbase K-7. He issues PvP missions to Federation players so they can fight other STO players playing the Klingon faction.[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Peter David. Star Trek: New Frontier: House of Cards; 1997
  2. ^ a b c d Peter David. Star Trek New Frontier: The Captain's Table, Book 5: Once Burned
  3. ^ Peter David. Star Trek: New Frontier: Martyr
  4. ^ Peter David. Star Trek: New Frontier: Stone and Anvil
  5. ^ Peter David. Star Trek: New Frontier: Into the Void
  6. ^ David, Peter (2011). Blind Man's BLuff. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4515-1169-4 Check |isbn= value (help). 
  7. ^ a b c Peter David. 2007; Star Trek: Mirror Universe: Obsidian Alliances; "Cutting Ties"; Page 199
  8. ^ a b Peter David. Star Trek: New Frontier: Turnaround #5; July 2008; IDW Publishing
  9. ^ Peter David. Star Trek: New Frontier: Turnaround #1, March 2008, IDW Publishing
  10. ^ Peter David. "Homecoming"; Star Trek Mirror Universe: Shards and Shadows 2009; Pocket Books; Pages 271-310.
  11. ^ House of Cards, page 7
  12. ^ David, Peter. Star Trek: New Frontier: Into the Void, 1997, Page 17.
  13. ^ House of Cards page 12
  14. ^ David, Peter. Star Trek: New Frontier: Blind Man's Bluff, 2011, Pocket Books, page 2
  15. ^ Blind Man's Bluff, pages 2 and 81
  16. ^ House of Cards page 139
  17. ^ House of Cards page 140
  18. ^ House of Cards page 154
  19. ^ House of Cards pages 155-156
  20. ^ Into the Void, Page 36
  21. ^ House of Cards page 24
  22. ^ House of Cards page 36
  23. ^ Peter David. Star Trek: New Frontier: Turnaround #4 (April 2008) IDW Publishing, Page 22.
  24. ^ Peter David. "What'cha wanna know?"; June 20, 2006 entry on Peter David's blog; June 20, 6:25pm post.
  25. ^ Peter David."WHAT'CHA WANNA KNOW?"; October 21, 2003 entry on Peter David's blog; October 21, 2:06am post.
  26. ^ Peter David. "WHAT'CHA WANNA KNOW?"; November 26, 2003 entry on Peter David's blog; November 26, 11:43am post.
  27. ^ Advertisement printed on the inside back cover of multiple Star Trek novels published in 1998 and 1999.
  28. ^ Peter David. "Q&A"; April 14, 2007 entry on Peter David's blog; April 16, 2007 12:42am post.
  29. ^ "Star Trek: Online Preview", Strategy Core, February 1, 2010

External links[edit]