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Christoph Black was a 24th century human Starfleet officer. He is remembered mostly for his 25(plus) year career as a communications Officer aboard USS Stargazer and for his Captaincy of the starship USS Bonestell. (TNG novel: The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard)
Christoph Black was born in the early-2300s and attended Starfleet Academy from 2320-2324. During his Senior year (2323-2324), he participated in the Academy Marathon where, despite being one of the top five finalists, he lost to Freshman Cadet Jean-Luc Picard.
At some point prior to 2329, Black was assigned to the Stargazer and promoted to Lieutenant. He served as the Second-Shift Communications Officer under Captain Humphrey Laughton and First officer Cmdr. Frank Mazzara. By 2333, Black was the Stargazer's Chief Communications Officer and had been promoted to Lt. Commander. He was present on the Stargazer's bridge when Captain Laughton was accidentally killed by shrapnel and when both Cmdr. Mazzara and Lt. Cmdr. Picard took over command of the ship. During Mazzara's tenure as Captain, Black participated in disparaging gossip with other members of the crew about the captain due to his actions immediately after Capt. Laughton's death, which irked Cmdr. Picard, the new first officer.
One month after Capt. Laughton's death, Capt. Mazzara decided (after conferring with Starfleet Command) to relinquish command to First Officer Jean-Luc Picard. Upon Picard's promotion to Captain, Black petitioned him to become First Officer; Picard was unaware that Black had wanted the position, or even wanted to stay on the Stargazer, and had already offered the position to Walker Keel. During Picard's tenure as Captain, Black became a dedicated member of the crew. In 2342, Walker Keel was posted to the USS Horatio as it's Captain, and Black was a candidate for the position of First officer. Picard felt that Jack Crusher, the Conn officer would make a better XO, but despite that, he felt Black was deserving of a promotion and thus promoted him to the rank of Commander. He continued to serve aboard the Stargazer, throughout the 2340s, during the Cardassian and Tzenkethi Wars, and into the 2350s. After Crusher's death during an away mission, Black was promoted to First officer.
In 2355, the Stargazer was attacked by an unknown alien vessel. He participated in the incident at Maxia, after which he, along with the surviving members of the crew, abandoned the Stargazer. He was part of the Stargazer Survivors' Caravan, the group of Shuttles and escape pods that evacuated the Stargazer, when they were picked up by the USS Caine. When the Caine reached Earth, Cmdr. Black led a procession that bid thanks and farewell to Captain Picard and cheers and applause to the memory of the Stargazer.
After Captain Picard's court martial for the loss of the Stargazer was dismissed, Picard used his influence with Admiral Quinn to get "prominent" positions for his former crew. Black, whom Picard thought was deserving of a command, managed to become Captain of the science-vessel Bonestell, through the "prodding" efforts of Picard and Quinn.
For nearly twelve years, Black remained Captain of the Bonestell, however it was cut short in 2367. Admiral J. P. Hanson ordered a fleet of 40 starships to engage the Borg at Wolf 359, Sector 001, USS Bonestell was assigned to this fleet. When the Borg Cube arrived, it hailed the fleet and ordered it to surrender and prepare for assimilation, Captain Black was visibly shocked and confused when the Borg's spokesperson happened to be Jean-Luc Picard. Picard would later recall in his autobiography: "Chris Black [...] looked confused, far from certain he was doing the right thing" when he began his assault on Picard's Borg Cube.
Christoph Black's dynamic with Jean-Luc Picard had evolved over the years: from rivals, to colleagues; and his death, along with the 11,000 other deaths, greatly saddened Picard for years to come. (TNG novel: The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard)
Appearances and references
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