Lieutenant Zen Mesper

Zen, in many respects, is a strange Starfleet officer to serve on a starship as famous as the Venture. He is not bold or assertive, nor is he reputed as a great leader. He rarely catches the eye of his superior officers, and with the exception of his service in the Dominion War, Zen's service record is undistinguished. The vast majority of Zen's achievements have been academic, and he has gained fame as an anthropologist as well as a scientific polymath in general. By all rights, Zen should be on a starbase or an outpost, or be a professor at a distinguished university on one of the Federation's core worlds. However, Zen has Capellan blood in his veins and Capellan culture in his heart...and he has the soul of an adventurer.

History

Zen Mesper was born in 2355 to Rene Mesper, a human architect, and Cassadi Mesper, a Capellan doctor on Alpha Centauri. In many respects, his childhood was quite ordinary. Zen was a shy child, favouring his own company and only one or two friends. It was only at the age of 11 that Zen’s mother told him about her homeworld and the barbaric practices that were common among the planet’s tribes, as well as how she was rescued from the world by a Starfleet vessel following a brutal raid by Orion slavers.
Entranced by the stories of Capella, a savage but beautiful world, Zen devoted himself to learning about the planet, and in so doing soon discovered a love of anthropology. Eager to learn about other civilisations, he enlisted in Starfleet, determined to be among a new drive of exploration that the Federation had recently embarked on.

The stark reality of Starfleet, however, hit Zen like a ton of bricks. The devastating Battle of Wolf 359, which took place shortly before he enlisted, heralded a new era of militarisation for Starfleet. Entire fleets of starships were recalled from deep space to protect the Federation’s borders, and many exploratory ventures were cancelled in light of the deadly threat posed by the Borg. The Academy followed suit, as the curriculum was modified to place more emphasis on tactical training than pure scientific pursuit. While loving the latter, Zen despised the former, having no desire to fight anyone.
In this respect, Zen did at least achieve his desire. Zen’s considerable skill at anthropology, often deriving conclusions about a species’ rate of development far quicker and more accurately than most, drew the attention of many. In his final year at the Academy Zen spent two months with a science team on the world of Honorious Gamma, studying the local pre-warp civilisation in the middle of an industrial revolution, where his work received an official commendation from the head of Starfleet Anthropology himself.
Upon graduating, Zen put in a request to be assigned to Capella and finally learn about his mother’s people, despite his parents objections at the inherent danger. Starfleet nevertheless approved the request, and Zen’s work on the planet contributed substantially to the Federation’s ability to peacefully co-exist with the world’s native inhabitants. Zen did receive a tentative reprimand for a Prime Directive violation after he was voluntarily taken captive by a tribe, but the reprimand was rescinded in light of his injuries and at the direct request at the Teer.
The rest of Zen’s career proved similar, mixing starship duty with expeditions to various worlds, resulting in slow advancement despite scientific acclaim. Ultimately, the only dark spot ofZen’s career was between the years 2373 and 2375. The horrific losses sustained by the Federation and the Klingons during the Battle of Sector 001 and the onset of the Dominion War meant that all Starfleet officers, even ones such as Zen, were required for service. In that time Zen, like millions of others, did his duty, first as the pilot of a high-warp transport running supplies to and from the front lines, and eventually on the Combat Support Tender USS Apollo. Zen’s actions were for the most part not noteworthy, although he was among the two thousand officers in the Fifth Auxiliary Squadron that received a collective commendation for their efforts to re-supply Starbase 204 during its siege by the Dominion. Zen eventually served as temporary Chief Science Officer on the USS Pax, promoted through the simple fact that many Starfleet vessels were horrendously undercrewed near the end of the war, and participated in the final assault on Cardassia.
Following the Dominion War, Zen was permitted to return to what he loved best. His most noteworthy accomplishment in this time was the discovery that a species of space-faring lifeforms were sentient. In 2388 Zen then found himself assigned to the USS Venture, where his expertise relating to Vulcan and Romulan civilisations was considered a possible benefit to the Venture’s mission in the Raeyan Corridor.

Service Record

Start End Rank Role Assignment
23682372
Cadet Senior Grade
Starfleet CadetStarfleet Academy
23722373
Ensign
AnthropologistGrant Orbital Station
23732373
Ensign
Science OfficerUSS Aristotle
23732374
Ensign
Operations OfficerUSS Apollo
23752376
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Acting Chief Science OfficerUSS Pax
23762378
Lieutenant Junior Grade
AnthropologistGemworld Expedition
23782382
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Science OfficerUSS Bretagne
23822382
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Expedition LeaderHonorious Gamma Expedition
23822385
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Science OfficerUSS Aspiration
23852386
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Science OfficerUSS Kelkin
23862387
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Director of AnthropologyChiunli Orbital Station
23872388
Lieutenant
Science OfficerUSS Venture
2388
Lieutenant
Chief Science OfficerUSS Venture