Ensign William Bearclaw, an Apache, was a Starfleet officer who served aboard the USS Enterprise, the USS Excelsior, and the USS Enterprise-A, in the years 2285, 2286, and 2287. His father was Captain John Bearclaw of the USS Gallant.
When Bearclaw attended Starfleet Academy, the results of his psychological tests kept him from commander training. The Starfleet Academy Command School's administrator, Admiral Stephen Turner noted Bearclaw's unfortunate tendency to mistrust non-human species, a trait that followed him well into his Starfleet career. Bearclaw was more than capable, with above average test scores, but behavioral problems in the cadet dormitories and stubborn xenophobia characterized his career. (ST comic: "Who's Who in Star Trek, Issue 1")
Bearclaw was one of the Academy trainees aboard the Enterprise, training under Captain Spock, when the vessel had her fateful encounter with Khan Noonien Singh at the Mutara Nebula in 2285. Following the incident, Bearclaw remained a part of the Enterprise crew serving under Admiral James T. Kirk. (ST comic: "Who's Who in Star Trek, Issue 1")
When the Gallant was destroyed with all hands in 2285 while patrolling the Klingon Neutral Zone, Bearclaw blamed his father's death on the perceived incompetence of the Gallant's science officer, Andre Bryce, father of Nancy Bryce. Bearclaw attempted to avenge his father's death by attacking Bryce, only to be stopped in mid-combat by Captain Kirk.
Despite his difficulties with his shipmates, Bearclaw worked hard to become an essential member of the Enterprise crew. Admiral Kirk noted in Bearclaw's file that he "...acquits himself quite well. He is skilled with any number of terrains and can spot details many of us miss." (TOS comic: "The Wormhole Connection", TOS reference: Who's Who in Star Trek)
Bearclaw had a short temper and continued to display an unfortunate tendency towards xenophobic attitudes. This brought him to odds with several of his ship-mates, including the Klingon defector and honorary ensign on board the Enterprise, Konom, and Andorian Commander Thimon. (TOS comic: "Errand of War", TOS comic: "The Trouble with Bearclaw")
Bearclaw was determined to prove to Kirk that he was as capable as any officer in the fleet, and better than most. When Kirk received command of the USS Enterprise-A in 2286, he requested a posting on board so he could prove just that. (TOS comic: "Choices!")
In that year, the Enterprise-A held a shipboard Olympics for crewmembers, with Captain Kirk's senior staff serving as the qualifying committee. Commander Chekov disqualified Bearclaw from the Olympics for unsportsmanlike behavior during a wrestling match, when he offered a defeated Konom a hand up, and then kicked him down to the mat. Before the captain intervened, Chekov and Bearclaw almost came to blows over the issue.
As an attempt at mediation, Kirk transferred Bearclaw to Chekov's command as a security and weapons officer trainee, in order to force the two to overcome their differences. The move almost had disastrous effect, as Chekov assigned Bearclaw to the bridge tactical station during a confrontation with the Orion pirate Makon. Disobeying a direct order not to fire, Bearclaw fired phasers, shorting our the ship's power. The day was saved by the quick action of Chekov and Chief Engineer Scott, and Kirk left Bearclaw's punishment to Chekov. Chekov demoted Bearclaw to guard duty in sickbay, where Scott was recovering from burns caused by Bearclaw's phaser action. As soon as he recovered, Captain Scott soundly sucker-punched Bearclaw. (TOS comic: "What Goes Around...")
Attempted murder suspect
Unfortunately, Bearclaw was unable to control his bigotry. When Bearclaw drunkenly started a fight with Konom at the latter's bachelor party, Kirk finally decided that he'd had enough, and put in the paperwork for Bearclaw's transfer.
Bearclaw became desperate to convince Kirk to change his mind. To this end, Bearclaw made his way onto a dangerous landing party assignment to Omicron Ceti IV in hopes of impressing Kirk, to no avail.
Soon after, a Mentite crewman named Castille came down with an extremely rare Mentite disease called Le Guin's Syndrome, and telepathically transformed the Enterprise into an approximation of Hell from Dante's poem "Inferno". During this time, the whole crew viewed the darkest parts of their souls, with all but the bridge crew having subconsciously 'judged' themselves and assigned themselves to a section of Hell.
After this experience, Kirk was a little more willing to re-consider Bearclaw's transfer after seeing Bearclaw's genuine torment over his actions when he witnessed Bearclaw in Hell, trapped in Styx with the rest of those who had succumbed to Wrath. However, later on, Bearclaw seemingly stabbed Kirk in the heart.
Kirk was saved by Spock and Chief Medical Officer Leonard McCoy, and Kirk identified Bearclaw as his attacker after regaining consciousness. Bearclaw, protesting that he was innocent, was immediately taken into custody and thrown in the brig. Although the case appeared clear-cut, Spock in particular noted that such a carefully-planned crime was at odds with Bearclaw's usual direct approach.
While incarcerated, Bearclaw was befriended by the half-Klingon/Half Human-hybrid that would become known as The Honorable Kobry, who at that time, was simply known as "Bernie"; having heard that Bearclaw now had no friends on the ship, 'Bernie', inspired by Konom and Nancy's advice that nobody should be without friends, offered to be Bearclaw's friend, Bearclaw admitting – without knowing that Kirk was watching him – that the two outcasts becoming friends made sense.
After Kirk's real attacker was identified as the shape-shifting Garth of Izar – who had assumed Bearclaw's identity to attack Kirk – Bearclaw was released from custody. Kirk then decided to forgive Bearclaw's transgressions, and restore him as a member of the ship's crew, deflecting Bearclaw's confusion about their seemingly forgotten troubles by claiming that he had 'selective amnesia' after his attack, and suggesting that Bearclaw avoid anything to bring those topics to his mind again. (DC Comics 48-55, "Who Killed Captain Kirk?")
|location||assignment||dates||rank or rate||assignment insignia||rank insignia|
|Starfleet Academy Command School||student officer||until 2285||cadet|
|Security officer/relief tactical officer||ensign|
|Starbase 13||junior officer|
|USS Enterprise-A||from 2286|
|USS Enterprise-A personnel|
|Arex • Allocca • Arons • Banks • Barnes • Bearclaw • Benson • Bloemker • Borkowski • Boyajian • Bryce • Bob • Bull • Burke • Cassano • Castille • Chapel • Chekov • Clev • Codobach • Coletti • Connors • Darwa • Davis • Dax • del Gaizo • Delaney • Delaney • Dietrich • J. Finney • Fisher • Flaherty • Fouton • Fucci • Galaym • Hazzard • Hernandez • Hicks • Hunter • Isenberg • Jackson • Kaminsky • Kirk • Kitty • Konom • Laria • Lawlor • Lee • Kathy Li • Ludlo • McCoy • McIntyre • McMurphy • Meyer • M'Ress • M'yra • Naraht • Newman • Palamas • Paul • Popov • Rasche • Romaine • Ryder • Saavik • Samno • Scott • Sherwood • Spock • Staci • Sterno • Sulu • T'Rin • Tooch • Tuchinsky • Uhura • Valeris • Wetherell • Yost • unnamed USS Enterprise-A personnel|