[USS Vanguard] OoC: My Friend, Christopher "Spooner" Jackson, "Commander Soman Drath"

  • From: Andy <andywoho@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: ncv80221@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 17 Jul 2010 04:05:50 -0500

I first "met" Christopher Jackson (if you can call encountering anyone on
the Internet a "meeting," although these days, I suppose you can) in a
Yahoo! Sci-fi chat room. Heady stuff, in those days.
In an environment with so much noise, crudeness, and everyone clamoring for
attention, I was struck almost immediately by Chris' calmness, intelligence,
wit, and, most of all, kindness.

He was a sharp contrast to some of the worst insults and juvenile behavior I
have ever seen online, with one simple and courageous act: he was himself.
What a novel idea. We could all learn something from that.

When we first started the Astoria (later to become the Vanguard), I
recruited Chris. He signed on reluctantly, but I was blown away by his
contributions, his insight and of course, his writing ability: filled with
not only an easy command of Star Trek lore but also the fundamentals of good
storytelling, characterization, mood, etc. Needed action? Chris could do
that. Dialogue? Crisp and realistic. Done. Star Trek technobabble? Chris
knew the score. You get the idea. He was the perfect right hand to Lee and
later Santos--he complimented their strengths and made up for their
weaknesses. He knew what I would write almost before I wrote it. And I told
him that! In his customary, modest way, Chris just chuckled. When I took a
break either pre-announced or unexpected--and admittedly, I had many--Chris
picked up the slack efficiently, cheerfully, without missing a beat. Then
when I was back, Chris flowed right back into his role of first officer so
gracefully, it was hardly noticed.

Chris wasn't the first XO. That honor belonged to Natasha. But when she
finally stepped aside, and we had a minor crisis about what to do, Chris was
the natural first choice. And he did it so well, I often asked myself, "What
was I worried about?"

About ten years ago, I moved to the American Southeast, near Chris' neck of
the woods, where he was born and raised. I let him know I would be his "next
door neighbor," for all intents and purposes, and I asked if he wanted to
get together for a drink and a meal. He kindly said yes, but I never heard
back from him.

I sent Christmas cards for three years in a row, offering my telephone
number and address, but they went unanswered. I finally admitted that Chris,
for whatever reason, was no longer communicating with me, and I respected
his wishes. I realized then as I do now that it is easy--much too easy--to
make friends "online," and it is just as easy to lose track of them.

I silently wished him well and sought a new XO for the Vanguard. Once again,
I was very fortunate, and Mel was the natural choice. She, too, embodied
all--each and every one--of the qualities that I had admired in Chris--his
kindness, his wit, his natural way of writing with the other players and of
playing off me (and Santos), as well as a love for the material and a strong
command of Star Trek lore and, more importantly, Vanguard history.
Everything I wrote about Chris above I could apply to Mel then and now. Life
was good. Life went on.

Last week, I received an unexpected and unpleasant bit of news. Chris
Jackson went in for surgery to clear up a blood clot in his leg. Apparently,
it's a condition that runs in his family. He died on the operating room

I am of course shocked and saddened, and I don't know if this was the best
way to deliver this news. If so, good for Chris. If not, blame me.

What I do know is this: Chris Jackson was brilliant, he was kind in a world
that often doesn't reward kindness, and most of all, he was my friend, even
if we eventually lost touch in the last years of his life.

I will miss him very much and mourn his memory.

This next post is the only way I know how to express some of my grief and to
honor that memory. It is the story (untold in Vanguard canon, until now) of
how Chris' character, Commander Soman Drath, the executive officer of the
Vanguard, left the Vanguard.

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