Lieutenant Commander Zharra Neerassi
Zhara is very much an Orion, despite having been raised in a pro-Federation, pro-democratic family. She is fiercely intelligent and cunning, and learns easily. As such she has picked up the art of trade from her mother and her father’s investigative skill with ease, adapting the art to suit her own needs and desires. As such her morals are fluid, but so far she has kept her loyalty to Starfleet and whatever crew she served with above her personal goals and motivations. While she disagrees wholeheartedly with the slave trade her people still so readily engage in, she does understand the underlying desires and motivations behind it. Just as much as she has learned to understand war and the way of the Federation and most importantly Starfleet.
Zharra was born as the older of two children of the one of the more law abiding, influential families on Driaan V. Granted the influence only gained traction following the fall of the Orion Syndicate cime boss, Reetorg at the hands of the Lashmore family.
Her father Viguv had been part of the Driaan Federal police for long years and a secret supporter of the resistance as was her mother Vasha, who taught history at the University at the Capital.
Zharra showed interest in her father’s work from an early age, but it was the influence of her mother that broadened her horizons to other things that were out there, away from Driaan. Secretly, her parents had hoped that this would steer Zharra away from the tumultuous state of the planet, even get her somewhere safe. Through her father’s stories she had learned much of the effect the Syndicate had on her home world and its people, and built within herself a desire to see what’s out there in order to see if she can help apply it to Driaan and her people.
The famed Federation hailed as a utopia, a place of diversity and equality, a place that could help Driaan be great again, like it had been, before the days of Reetorg.
So, she trained, she studied and focused on subjects that she knew would be tested on Starfleet Entrance Exams, held each year at the nearby Starbase 285. In 2370, the opportunity and motivation came, following exodus of several Driaan individuals seeking to escape the clutches of the Syndicate on Driaan.
While she had the backing of her parents, and some monetary support to get herself on a transport to Starbase 285, Zharra still signed on as a deck hand on the transport ship S.S. Sharra’s Gift for the short trip, for the experience as much as for keeping a low profile until she stood on Federation soil. It was certainly an interesting experience, as she learned to interact with the lower echelons of the Federation people. She welcomed some experiences and had to fend off others, who were only interested in the fact she was Orion.
She managed to pass the first sitting of the exam, but just barely, by the skin of her teeth. There was so much to see and experience on the big station that she almost got too distracted. Almost. As the Federation was on a recruiting drive, and Driaan had been slated as interesting to the Federation in lieu of joining it, she managed to secure a sponsor quite easily and was finally accepted into Starfleet Academy.
She chose the Security/Tactical track, with specialization in investigations and close protection. She also excelled in Tactical and Analytical classes as well as Engineering classes. A whole new world opened at the Academy for her, which, she would conclude later, was heightened by the fact that a war was looming on the horizon. Zharra got her first nanite tattoo at the Academy, indulged her hedonistical tendencies, both physical and cultural.
All too soon, focus needed to be brought back to graduation and the inevitable deployment to the front lines, so Zharra buckled down and focused on her grades and studies.
It paid off as she graduated at the top twenty percent of her class and was assigned to the Nebula Class, USS Al-Haytham as Brig Officer first, and later Investigations Officer, working closely with the ship’s Intelligence Officer, Lieutenant Commander Xanthe Rahal.
She would get her fill of combat operations in the next year and a half, whether it was manning tactical on the Bridge, ground operations or fighter escorts. In 2375, following the Battle of Cardassia, which left the Al-Haytham severely crippled, and under the command of Commander Rahal, one of the few surviving senior officers, Zharra was manning the tactical station and decided she wanted to qualify as a Bridge Officer at the first opportunity and she wanted to perfect her skills further.
With the Al-Haytham in dock for repairs, Zharra recuperated from the Dominion War and underwent Bridge Officer Training. She took two passes to finally succeed, as she needed to learn to send people into dangerous situations rather than running head first into them first, as was her original training. She also got her second tattoo, as a memento of her service.
Her next posting took her to Starbase 165 which lay on a trade intersection of the bustling worlds of Nausicaa and Rigel, where she quickly excelled from Close Protection Squad Leader to Assistant Chief of Security and Tactical. She got exposed to the underworld again, this time having to navigate it from the side of interstellar law, where the fear for one’s family’s life if you took the wrong step was not present and she found that distance help her evolve as a person and as a leader. She also got her third tattoo while serving there.
In 2380 she got a recommendation from one Captain Xanthe Rahal, now in command of the USS Taniwha for Advanced Tactical Training. Her Chief of Security and Tactical, Lieutenant Soros at Starbase 165 seconded the recommendation and Zharra was off to the Mars Training Campus of Starfleet Academy where she undertook the training. Another tattoo was also added to her portfolio.
After she successfully finished her course, she was assigned to the USS Sun Yat Sen, an old Akira class starship as her Assistant Chief of Security and Tactical. The Sun Yat Sen had been assigned to patrol the Romulan Neutral Zone. Zharra took time to study all she could on romulans, acquiring a small tattoo of a Romulan Phoenix in the process, her life story echoed in her nanite tattoos.
When the new Ambassador was assigned to the Embassy on Qo’nos, Zharra was vetted and assigned as the leader of the Ambassador’s close protection detail. Learning Klingon, trying their food and drink and experiencing Klingon passions, as well as the culture, broadened her horizon’s further. The tenure on Qo’nos was as exciting as it was tiring, as something new was happening every day – the klingons not being a calm people.
With the end of the Ambassador’s tenure, so came an end for their protection detail. Neerassi didn’t have to travel far however. In the nearby neutral space, a new starbase had been built, to serve as a beacon of protection and peace in the unstable region known as The Borderland. The Ashland Initiative was formed as a sign of Federation outreach. Until recently the Ashland System had been a fully independent system of mixed species. With both dueterium and dilithium mining facilities, the M-Class planet of Ashland Prime has been the victims of random raiding parties for over a hundred years on and off.
With her experiences in fringe, violent, crime laden areas, Zharra was the ideal choice to serve as Starbase 471’s Chief of Security and Tactical.