Daniel Noah Shays is a human, born on Earth to a hard-working agriculturalist couple in the South Carolina back-country. Dan’s father was a farmer, as was his father’s father, going back hundreds of years. The world had moved past agriculture a long time ago. Having eliminated food shortages and hunger with the onset of replication technology, food growers on Earth were no longer necessary. This fact did not diminish the demand for fresh, organic vegetables, eggs, dairy, and meat, however.
Dan’s parents were very simple people in a very complex world. They attended church, they stayed out of trouble, and they worked hard. The work was sometimes physically demanding, difficult, and not always clean. It was these formative values helped to shape the man Dan would eventually become. Sure, there were troubles. Dan’s older brother, Blake was a rare breed of genius. But he had wasted his potential on petty scheming and self-enrichment. His younger brothers, twins, were bullying behemoths with little proclivity for anything besides working on the family farm.
It was well known that Dan’s maternal grandfather was a decorated starship captain, who had served onboard the legendary U.S.S Enterprise under command of the likewise legendary Captain James T. Kirk. Of the four grandsons, Captain Wade Boatwright favored Dan the best. Before his death, “Gran-daddy” Wade would take a young Daniel fishing, and tell him stories about his adventures in Star Fleet, both as the commander of his own starship, the U.S.S Lincoln, and as a crewman on board the Enterprise. Because of these stories, Dan would eventually break the family tradition and enlist in Star Fleet, leaving the farm to his quarrelling brothers.
He is taller than most humans, typically towering a full head and shoulders over other human males. He is lean and athletic, and uncommonly strong. His arms and legs seem too long and lanky for his body. Not overly attractive, Dan projects a “rugged handsome” complete with a wide, straight-toothed grin affixed to a sturdy jaw line. His face is perpetually adorned with stubble and his unkempt, straw-colored hair is cut close to reduce the need for “unnecessary” grooming.
If not for his piercing ice-blue eyes, which some have described as the color of the winter sky’s reflection on a frozen lake’s surface, Dan’s appearance would be completely forgettable.
Growing up with a pair of giants for brothers, who also doubled as relentless bullies, had taught Dan to hit hard and fast with a combination jab-haymaker that has left many men unconscious. He is unrefined, oftentimes callous, loud, boisterous, and speaks with a thick regional dialect that becomes more pronounced when he’s either under duress or happily relaxed. Subtle social cues are usually wasted on Dan, who responds better to a more direct approach. He is a diplomat’s worst nightmare. What he lacks in the social graces, however, he makes up for by possessing an intangible sensory instinct. While demonstratively successful, his unnerving tendency to follow his gut-feeling about a situation, rather than logically follow the trail of empirical evidence, has put him at odds with many of his collogues.
While keeping his beliefs private at all times, his continued, albeit loose, association and observance of the Christian faith has also caused Dan’s detractors to question his emotional and mental fitness for duty.