Early Life (2367 – 2383)
Born on Ardana in 2367, Larus Alesser’s ancestry includes Humans, as his paternal third great grandfather was the Federation Ambassador to Ardana in the 2220s and 2230s, and his maternal great grandfather was a Starfleet captain assigned as a liaison to the Ardanan government at the end of the 23rd century. Technically speaking, this makes him five thirty-seconds (or around sixteen percent) Human, but he was taught as a child to withhold this information, due to lingering prejudices among the Ardanans against those of mixed species.
While Ardanan civilization had advanced significantly since the abolition of the caste system in the 2260s, it was still functionally less egalitarian than many other Federation worlds. As a descendent of the city-dwellers, Alesser benefited from his historical privilege, even on a world where things were nominally now equal across the board. After all, the planet’s most influential cultural and historical treasures were located in the old sky cities like Stratos, not in the newer aerostat installations created to elevate the Troglytes above the polluted surface of Ardana.
While Alesser grew up in one of the smaller sky cities, he attended secondary school at one of the oldest academies in Stratos itself. He took a rigorous course of study beyond the standard Federation curriculum to include linguistics and art into his coursework. Ardanans matured slightly more quickly than Humans, and also conceptualized maturity in a different fashion; one’s age of majority was dependent on the completion of certain educational milestones as well as demonstrations of creative achievement. This tradition pre-dated the formation of the sky cities and was one of the mechanisms used to label the Troglytes as inferior beings, but by the 24th century had been reformed to include a broader definition of academic progress and achievement to prevent those who were not scholastically-minded from advancing into adulthood.
Despite or perhaps because of bullying he experienced due to his heritage, which was limited to just a few incidents in his early education before his classmates could learn empathy and cultural competence, Alesser was determined to pursue the most traditional Ardanan path possible, as quickly as possible. He would succeed to be able to rub that success in his peers’ faces. While it was rare for Ardanans to leave their world, Alesser wanted to join Starfleet both because it was the ultimate academic and physical challenge available in the Federation but also because he couldn’t imagine a life on a world where there was any lingering suspicion of his inferiority just because of his DNA. With this in mind, he threw himself into athletics as well as academics to become a strong candidate for admission to Starfleet Academy on Earth. Alesser graduated from secondary school at age 16 in a very traditional fashion, with excellent grades and the composition of an opera as evidence of his maturity.
Alesser passed the Starfleet Academy Entrance examination in 2383 and joined the class of 2387 later that same year. His graduation and acceptance only strengthened his ambition: he would one day become a Starfleet captain, no matter what it took.
Starfleet Academy (2383 – 2387)
Cadet Alesser matriculated in the fall of 2383 at Starfleet Academy in San Francisco. Knowing that science and engineering were both useful skills for any bridge officer, and hence any captain, he decided from the outset to major in both astrophysics and engineering, opting for general aerospace engineering for the latter major. His secondary school experience had been very regimented, so he acclimated well to the discipline of the Academy, but he was unused to course work that slowed him down to the pace of his peers. He was used to being able to power through the material at his own speed, so the stricter demands of a term-based system stymied him at first. Eventually, he came to realize that being forced to spend more time on a project let him dive more deeply into the learning than he had before, but he still often found himself rolling his eyes when his peers were swamped by the workload.
Commended several times for academic achievements, Alesser’s confidence was bolstered and he began to develop the self-confidence that would follow him for the rest of his life. While he would never say it explicitly, he felt that the storied history of Ardana and his success in that traditional system had made him better prepared for the world than his peers from societies like Earth or Alpha Centauri which weren’t as rigid. This often manifested as smugness, which earned him a few enemies, but he could also channel his confidence into charm, which earned him many romantic conquests of many species and genders.
During the attack on Mars in 2385, Alesser was back on Ardana visiting his family, and so he was not drafted into service like some of his peers. Upon his return in the fall, he joined Gold Squadron, where his future captain, Michael Lancaster, was one year ahead of him. This elite training squadron for officers destined for engineering and operations careers was a good fit for Alesser’s blend between science and engineering and solidified his path as an operations officer. He was cadet chief operations officer aboard the training ship Republic during his cadet cruise between his junior and senior years at the academy.
USS Apollo (2387 – 2390)
Alesser graduated as an ensign in 2387, near the top of his class. He was selected as chief operations officer aboard the nearly brand-new USS Apollo, which had just finished eighteen months of light-duty and shakedown operations. Though fresh out of the academy, his scores and aptitude were a perfect match for the swift, smart vessel. The rest of the senior staff had been present during the shakedown process, but the operations officer had been promoted and reassigned to another vessel, so Alesser was faced with integrating himself into an already-established crew. He did cause some tension at first, by appearing both too eager to please and too sure of his own capabilities, and it took him several months to figure out the political landscape of the Apollo.
As the junior-most bridge officer, Alesser was often assigned to accompany away teams as the technical or scientific specialist, and he had the bridge for a few night shifts a week. He was able to grow tremendously as an officer in a short period of time, and his good performance (and improved attitude) earned him a promotion to lieutenant junior grade in 2388. During this period, the Apollo was assigned to several scouting missions near Breen, Kzinti, and Tzenkethi space nominally to help plan exploratory missions but in reality to ascertain the status of these long-time regional rivals to Federation colonial efforts in the deep Alpha Quadrant.
While the Apollo largely avoided conflict, Alesser’s first experience on the bridge in battle was with a skirmish against Kzinti raiders who were threatening an unarmed passenger ship. They were driven off after just a few shots, but he had never been so close to the action and he was both thrilled and terrified. As time went on, these engagements became less and less stressful, and he developed a reputation for being cool under fire.
USS Arcturus (2390 – 2396)
With a promotion to lieutenant, Alesser transferred to the USS Arcuturs in 2390, this time part of a crew that was entirely brand-new to working with one another, even though the Arcturus herself was an aging Ambassador-class heavy cruiser entering its final tour of duty. Unlike the Apollo, the Arcturus was not assigned to actions along the frontier, but to diplomatic missions within the Federation. With his newfound rank, Alesser’s self-confidence was approaching its zenith on the eve of boarding the vessel at Starbase 72. After one too many cocktails, he responded to a request from a party of Cardassian visitors to be quieter with a line something like ‘Do you know who I am?’. This lack of deference resulted in him ending up spending the night in the infirmary with a deviated septum and his new Cardassian friends in the stockade after the timely intervention of station security.
A bar fight was an inauspicious start to his time on the Arcturus, but he managed to spin it as his defending the ship’s honor and that he’d defeated five large Cardassians, even though the reality of the situation had borne little resemblance to his version of the events. Most beings would have developed a little humility from needing the cartilage in their noses repaired, but it did little to hamper Alesser’s cockiness. Aboard the Arcturus, he developed several friendly rivalries with other department heads, as well as a less friendly one with the chief science officer, Lieutenant Commander Noah Armstrong, who disliked his arrogance. Alesser interpreted that as jealousy of his talents and good looks, though.
Armstrong was promoted to commander and first officer in 2393. While accompanying him on an away team to a newly-discovered M-class planet a few weeks after this, Alesser and Armstrong were forced to take shelter in a cave when they were unable to make it back to the beam-out point before a major thunderstorm. During this encounter, what had been largely a sniping and snide rivalry turned into a full exposé into each other’s flaws as they established a makeshift camp with the supplies they had available. This nearly devolved into a fistfight, before the interaction instead took a sexual turn. Both men were shocked at how pleasant it was, which perhaps could have resolved their differences, but instead just created an on-again, off-again love-hate relationship.
After returning to the Arcturus, Alesser was promoted to lieutenant commander and took Armstrong’s place as second officer, meaning that he would now accompany him on every away mission per standard protocols. While the majority of these missions were tamer than their first, working together with him tended to amplify both sides of their feelings towards and about one another. They concealed the physical aspect of their relationship entirely from the rest of the crew, but once they were no longer serving together it became a regret for both of them that they’d never managed to figure out how to move from a mix of passion, jealousy, love, and disdain into something that was solely positive.
USS Triumph (2397 – 2399)
Alesser left the Arcturus a year before she was decommissioned, earning a promotion to commander upon his posting to the Triumph. In an effort to diversify the experiences he had as a bridge officer, he also transferred to the science division and served as chief science officer during the Triumph‘s mission charting worlds that were now available to Federation scientists in the former Romulan Neutral Zone. Though not a science ship by any means, this Inquiry-class heavy cruiser still had a sizeable science department and his position as second officer meant that he had substantial shipboard responsibilities.
While Alesser was in command of the bridge, the Triumph was attacked by rogue Romulan forces using small raiders hidden within the asteroid field the ship was studying. Thanks to his quick action in raising the shields and implementing defensive countermeasures before the captain and first officer could arrive on the bridge, he received a commendation for valor. At this point, he became a serious contender for potential command positions in the fleet, but it attracted the attention of the Delta Exploration Initiative and he was given another offer to join the crew of the new Odyssey-class successor to his prior command, the Arcturus.
USS Arcturus (2399 – Present)
Upon accepting the role of chief operations officer and moving back into operations gold, Alesser became the only person to have served on both the second and third starships to bear the name Arcturus. With a crew over three times the size of the older ship, Alesser’s senior rank and department head role gave him less influence than he’d had before. Not only was he no longer second officer, but there were two other officers ahead of him in the chain of command. The chance of serving on a brand-new ship on an important mission was enough to allow him to see past what was functionally a demotion. Commodore Elizabeth Hayden’s reputation was superb, as well, and he was sure that a few years under her command would allow him to move on to a command of his own, likely a more prestigious one than if he’d gone that route before.
Alesser’s intermediary to impress the commodore was Captain Michael Lancaster, who served as first officer for the first three months of the ship’s journey into the Delta Quadrant, before he was promoted to command the ship itself. The two of them didn’t get along, even as Alesser tried to defer to the other man’s own impressive service record, which mirrored his in several places. While he was three years younger than Lancaster, he’d only been one year behind him in the academy, but neither of them had any recollection of any interactions they may have had on gold squadron.
Following Lancaster’s advancement in position, Alesser refocused his efforts to the new first officer, Captain Iro Rakan, who served out the remainder of 2399. While she was friendlier than her Human predecessor, the Cardassian’s mind was a maze that Alesser failed to navigate. While his personal and departmental efficiency reports continued to be stellar, he felt as though he was not receiving enough attention for his service; for many years, he had been a big fish in relatively small ponds, but that was no longer the case on the Arcturus where there were a dozen other commanders and four captains.
The Arcturus returned to the Alpha Quadrant unexpectedly in early 2400, thanks to contact with a Nacene intelligence. On this unexpected layover, Alesser was summoned alongside Captain Lancaster to Starbase 4. While Starfleet’s intentions weren’t transparent, he hoped this meant he was now in line for a command of his own, as had been the case for several other officers on the ship’s senior staff.