Excerpts of 'Firecracker: A Psychological Biographical Evaluation of W.O. Nethali R. Aster

Firecracker: A Psychological Biographical Evaluation of Warrant Officer Nethali R. Aster

Compilations by C.V. Moore, with Doctors T'ma A'leel and Ilien Honeyworth of Three consulting

((Because sometimes my brain gets really weird. Presume this to be far distant future.))
Chapter 6: Life After Death wrote:
The period immediately following Nethali's retirement from Starfleet service was by far the most tumultuous in terms of her mental state. She had always been a part of a tightly knit group, joined against a common threat rather than social commonalities: from her childhood on Nimbus, where gang affiliation was necessary for survival, to her unit in OMEGA, to her flight squadron in Starfleet.

While she was still among that group communally in her subsequent placement, she was excluded from the blood bond created and maintained on the field. In hindsight given current research, allowing her to don a civilian mantle on the Starbase she had worked as both fighter pilot and security put her need for acknowledgment and mourning at odds with the station's need to move on. Serving as a bartender at the station's most popular civilian venue for meals and drinks- Ackbar's Bar and Grill- she interacted with her former coworkers so directly, so immediately, that she experienced first hand the mentality necessary for military personnel when it came to loss. She would have watched the process of her replacement and faced daily the near seamless continuation of her old flight squadron's cohesion without her, under the command of another.

She had not only fallen out of the 'inner circle' of fighter pilots and active duty combatants, but she was now a mere civilian, watching her impact seep away like so much sand in a sinkhole. It's unsurprising that the woman sought near immediate employment elsewhere, though it's doubtful that she herself was aware of the reasoning.

Nethali Aster next found herself in the employ of Sol Horizons as one of two freighter pilots for the S.S. Dragonfish, a repurposed Suliban cell ship specialized in transporting perishable trade goods. Her choice had not been randomized- Sol Horizons was one of a few companies that dealt regularly in the Eta Eridani sector, and thereby one of the fewer still that made routine stops at now what is called Deep Space Thirteen. It has been stated by Nethali Aster herself that she received recommendations from one Captain Coby Morton and even Captain Razor (of ex-commodore fame)- indeed, she claimed to have once been walked out of the brig by Razor in person.

Her employ at Sol Horizons lasted notably longer than that of her bartending. No longer was she facing the seemingly heartless transition to a Starfleet without her in it, but neither were her existing bonds- bonds she had been building for nearly four years- completely severed as the Dragonfish made frequent overnight stops at Deep Space Thirteen.

However, the returned career path to navigation did not spare her the consequences of an abrupt shift in lifestyle- both in activity and in sense of worth. From daily reminders of her own mortality tied to a noble cause to aid the Federation, she entered a sedentary- nearly automated- job where the most excitement was liable to be a blown coolant valve or a delay in the schedule for mere commodity delivery.

It's little wonder that around this point Aster became heavily involved with various psychotropic substances. While she had previously been recognized as an amateur user (even alleged dealer) of mild relaxants and stress suppressants, her repertoire now expanded to include much 'heavier' drugs-- and her usage became clinically abusive. Speculation in hindsight suggests that she was compensating for what had, for the previous six years, been a near constant flood of her orthosympathetic nervous system. In short, she had become an 'adrenaline junky'.

It's unknown whether the substance abuse is correlated with or causal to Nethali's increase in erratic and risky behavior. It is also unknown whether she had begun her descent into substance abuse prior to her meeting one Dawsons McCarthy or if he himself was her introductory dealer. Regardless, it's been determined that the Auroboran was a major contributor to her accessibility to such substances. McCarthy- a trader with a self-sufficient militant ship- and Davin T'Varros, subcommander at the time, of the Romulan Republic assigned as a diplomatic entity to Deep Space Thirteen, soon became looming influences in Aster's new life- or perhaps it was the reverse, with Aster as an influence in their own.
Chapter 7: Aihsa Aefnumn, page 1 wrote:
Following the harrowing events of the Undine assault on stardate 90318, Sol Horizons issued a corporation wide mandate, putting all of its vessels at Starfleet's disposal for recovery efforts. This included the S.S. Dragonfish. Once docked at Jupiter to take on supplies, Nethali quit Sol Horizons then attempted reenlistment with Starfleet. It's notable here that she quit her civilian job prior to securing alternative employment- when asked about it later, she responded as if it was the only choice going forward.

Nethali's consistent return to a militaristic path may have been behaviorally ingrained – Sergei Oleander, her maternal grandfather and undisputed father figure, was an outspoken ex patriot of Border enforcement on the Huinarro-Geflion divide of the rim colony Niuyune 45. Sergei had been relocated to Numbus III as a disciplinary action for a dishonorable discharge following use of excessive force leading to manslaughter. On Nimbus he readily fell in line with the Paradise City Peace Keepers, and by the time of his granddaughter's birth, he was an established enforcer. While one may contribute the woman's more courageous aspects to Sergei, it has been speculated that the nurture- rather than the nature- aspect of their relationship was a founding factor of her daredevil demeanor; at the time, the Paradise City Peace Keepers was simply the best equipped city gang.

Nethali Aster's re-enlistment submission was denied. She had been one or two infractions away from a dishonorable discharge herself, which undoubtedly gave the recruitment officer little cause to push past the grounding medical discharge and assign her to something unaffected by her deteriorated motor skills.

Stymied by Starfleet regulation and a marred record, Nethali sought out alternatives- first with OMEGA, then lastly the Romulan Republic. The Romulan Republic- perhaps unwittingly- accepted her services via an offer by Subcommander Davin T'Varros, who brought her on board his vessel, the D'Ishae, as flight deck ops.

As recounted by Devoras I'rese, among the first pilots Nethali oversaw in her new position, she took to the task with abrasive enthusiasm:

“'I know you all already,' She said, having called us all up on the deck. She had this strange religious notion that people were all..built from the same prototype, like individual ships of the same design.

'So don't bother trying to impress or intimidate or, eheh, get friendly with me.'

She kept intermingling her sentences with words in our language- poorly enunciated, but grammatically correct. That, with her accent...it threw us off balance. We didn't know what to make of her.

'I can already tell who's going to hate me and how that will become grudging respect because I actually know what I am talking about, or because I can keep up in drinking with you,'

The truth of this became apparent quite quickly; she was a very good drinker.

'So,' She said, 'Let's skip the catty deception and cut to fact. I know more than you, but you're the ones flying. If neither of us forget that, we're golden.'

It was not inspiring, but it was unexpectedly honest. It made me want to give the human woman a chance, like the Subcommander, and I did.”
Miscellanea: Talking with Jairo Alders wrote:
The first interview of Jairo Alders in regards to Nethali Aster was conducted by C.V. Moore, and it yielded nothing- not even confirmation that he had known her beyond name recognition. Despite promises of detail in exchange for a status update on the other two remaining Black Goat Stropper members, also incarcerated, he provided nothing substantial during the interview. It was Doctor T'ma A'leel's interview, two years later, that yielded results. When asked why he chose to speak to her, rather than Moore, he flippantly replied that Moore was 'too pretty'.

For most of Nethali's career, Jairo Alders had been serving a life sentence in the Paradise City Detention Hold- at age seventeen, he was tried as an adult for his part in the brutal gang conflict lumped under the casefile name of the 'Three Ring Murders'-- the same case that spurred the then fourteen-year-old Nethali Aster to leave Nimbus's surface. As told by Jairo, it was this inter-gang conflict that destroyed the Black Goat Stroppers. Jaimin Alders, Jairo's older brother and leader of the gang, was killed, alongside 'Wynne', his second in command. The three remaining known members- Jairo, Thray and Arav, were caught and tried for their part in the violence that claimed nine lives total. Nethali's involvement with that bloody string of events, if any, remains undisclosed. Of the three, Jairo was the only inmate who voluntarily returned to Nimbus III after the Orion Syndicate's occupation released (and, in many cases, hired) all of its detention hold inmates. Arav and Thray's whereabouts following this impromptu release are unknown.

Notes from Doctor A'leel describe a gregarious man without remorse or regret for his choices and their consequences. When told of Nethali's path after she parted ways with the Stroppers, the unshaven man seemed unsurprised. The following is a transliteration of the man's interview. Following that is a comprehensive translation, as the Nimbus dialect, with its pidgin Romulan, Klingon, English and Federation Standard, is unintelligible to many.


“Ain' any kinda surprise tha' Nen ended up Starfleet, y'ken? Too sofh, 'er. She'en Wynne nItebHa always playin' raihiw'sheh whether the sods d'z'erved et or no, roigh'? Wynne was DevwI proper; thought a'fore she dih anythin', buh Nen jess ran 'roun' doon' wha' fel' righ' an' muckin' up shih fer e'erybody t' cuaire af'er. Din' mind too much though, us bein' cordais. Prolly th' only reason J-El pu' up wi' 'er.

Y'wanna strange mem'ry o' 'er? 'Ere's one fer yah, coupla boys from th' Domenic Consortium- 'igh an' migh'y name, Ah know- bu' they 'ad tops fiven'teen, an' mos' o' 'em kids- still, tha' day, s'was jess me'n Nen an' there were four o' these lhonae tha' jess caugh' a stray beas' thing, iunno wha' kind, eh 'ad fur an' a tail an' mean-ass claws, as Nen can tell yer, an' were brandin' eh through th' cage they'd rigged up- nasty smellin' business. Bu' eh weren' /our/ business, Ah figgured. Nen disagreed, right? Said we was gunna go save eh, yeah? Said,

“Iffin yer ain' gunna help meh, Ah'mma jess beat th' shih oudda yer roigh' now. See iffin Ah won'.”

“O'er a fuggen cridder?” Ah tol' 'er. “Baktag, girl, yer bloody in/sane/.” An' she jess grinned ah meh, bu' Ah knew she was whi'e bone serious.

“So's y' know Ah'm good fer eh.” She said. “Ah'm goin' in thar an' iffin y'dun back meh, wull, Wynne an' J-El both're gunna use yer corpse t'dig meh grave wi'.”

Wull, Ah wah'n gunna jess le' muh cordais llia alone, so Ah followed 'er in an' whuddja know if we din' send 'em squealin'? She was real, real pissed. Always did like cridders, e'en if they din' like 'er... so we set th' Domenic packin' an' she ge's in close t' see how bad this beast's 'urt, right? An' it's tucked up in th' corner o' th' cage growlin' an' starin', so wha' does th' Ha'DIbaH do? She fuggen opens th' cage an' sticks 'er face down an' 'er 'and in, sayin' he's gunna be okay an' alla tha'. Wull, it comes tearin' out yowlin' worsen' th' Domenic an' claws isself up an' off Nen, an' out int' th' alley. S'how's she's got them scars on 'er cheek, yeah? ...she got 'em still, those? Hid out fer a week so 'er grandaddy wouln't see 'er clawed up an' go hun' th' beastie- got infected like, so it scarred up. Ha'DIbaH. Still, we saw it a few weeks la'er, lurkin' in one o' th' back streets lookin' plump, offa larvae prolly, an' she grinned so big like sh' din' e'en care that it 'urt t' smile. Tha'ss th' crazy ass she was.”

Translation, as per Doctor A'leel.
You are welcome to see the Doctor's notes on why she chose the translation she did via the footnotes.

“It isn't any kind of surprise that Nethali [1] ended up in Starfleet, y'know? Too soft, her. She and Wynne together[2] were always playing advocate[3] whether the idiots[4] deserved it or not, right? Wynne was level headed[5], always thinking before she did anything, but Nethali just ran around doing what felt right and messing up[6] things for everyone else to smooth out[7]. [ I ] didn't mind too much, though, with us being a couple[8]. [That's] probably the only reason J-El put up with her.

You want a strange memory of her? Here's one for you, [a] couple of boys from the Domenic Consortium- arrogant[9] name, I know, but they had fifteen members maximum and most of them kids- still, that day it was just Nethali and I, and there were four of these cowards[10] that had just caught a stray beast thing, I don't know what kind- it had fur and a tail and intimidating[11] claws as Nethali can tell you, and [they] were branding it through the the cage they had rigged up- nasty smelling business. But it wasn't our business, I figured. Nen disagreed, though. [She] said we were going to go save it, said:

'If you're not going to help me, I'm just going to attack you right now. See if I won't.'

'Over a [derogatory] animal?' I told her. “Shit[13], girl, you're insane.' And she just grinned at me, but I knew she was serious[14].

'So you know I'm good for it,” She said. “I'm going in there, and if you don't back me, well, Wynne and J-El are going to get upset with you[15].

Well, I wasn't going to just let my girlfriend[8] go [9] alone, so I followed her in and what do you know if we didn't win? She was really, really upset [about the animal cruelty]. [She] always did like animals, even if they didn't like her...so the Domenic Boys lost and she got close to the case to see how badly the animal was hurt, right? And it's tucked up in the corner of the cage growling and staring, so what does the idiot[17] do? She opens the cage and puts her face down and her hand in, saying the creature's going to be okay and all that. Well, it came tearing out [of the cage], yowling worse than the Domenic boys and clawed itself up and off Nethali and out into the alley. It's how she got the scars on her cheek, yeah? Does she still have those? She hid out for a week so her grandfather wouldn't see her injured and go hunt the animal, [so] it got infected, which caused it to scar. Idiot[17]. Still, we saw it a few weeks later, lurking in one of the back streets looking plump- probably from eating larvae- and she grinned to big, like she didn't care that it hurt to smile [because of her injuries]. That's the crazy ass[18] she was.”

Spoiler: FootnotesShow
[1] Nen - pet name for 'Nethali'
[2] nItebHa - adv. 'together', Klingonese
[3] raihiw'sheh - n. 'lawyer' or 'one who speaks for another', Romulan; Nimbus: slang adj. 'person who stands up for, argues on behalf of...'
[4] sod - n. 'a worthless person', Ancient English
[5] DevwI - n. Literally 'leader', Klingonese; Nimbus: slang adj. 'displayer of leader-like qualities'
[6] mucking – v. 'to make dirty', 'to put in a state of complete confusion', Ancient English
[7] cuaire – v. 'repair', 'fix'. Romulan.
[8] cordais – n. Literally 'faith', Romulan. Nimbus: slang n. 'lovers', 'non-vowed mates', 'girl/boyfriend'.
[9] 'high and mighty' – phrase, 'arrogant', 'presumptuous' or 'to denigrate others', Ancient English
[10] lhonae – adj. 'coward', Romulan
[11] mean-ass – slang adj. 'impressively mean looking', 'intimidating', Ancient English/Nimbus.
[12] 'beat the shit out of' – phrase, threat of physical assault. Ancient English
[13] baktag – n. 'Garbage' or 'Shit', Klingonese
[14] white bone serious – phrase, slang, Nimbus, as in 'as serious as a dead body/bones bleached in the Nimbus sun.'
[15] 'Use your corpse to dig my grave' – phrase, slang, Nimbus. To blame someone for causing the death or pain of another, and vent their frustration on the guilty party. A threat.
[16] llia - n. 'die', Romulan; Nimbus: slang, n. hyperbole of a losing situation.
[17] Ha'DIbaH - n. meat, animal, inferior person, Klingonese.
[18] crazy ass – adj. In this case, Jairo was using a typically derogatory term (Ancient English) in an affectionate matter, indicating that she, Nethali, was unusual but he could appreciate it.
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Spoiler: Chapter 8: Reincarnation? Page 3Show
Curiously, despite this unsurprising ultimatum of independence, her choice of naming was undeniably leveraged by spiritual belief.

That every fiber of her being, so impulsed to defy authority, would cow meekly to such an indeterminable notion is disappointingly typical of an uneducated population; Nimbus had very little science and technology knowledge, and what little there was found itself vastly outpooled by a hodgepodge of religious and cultural traditions from all three of the major racial populations: Romulan, Human, and Klingon. Despite the conspicious differences, one truth held across the board for all Nimbosians: in a setting where so little of their lives were truly in their own hands, the majority of the population turned to the comforting notion of something, or some being(s), having that control, usually in insurmountable amounts, beyond that of a normal being.

Yet, redeemingly true to the essence of Nethali Aster, she did not choose one such crutch religion. As far as we are aware, there were no authoritative figures, no deities. There was no church, no clergy, no tenets, just a very simple idea that people are 'templates' or 'cookie cutters' of one another.

The dissemination of this idea has been thus far unascertained. There is no such concept known on Nimbus, none from within OMEGA ranks, and if it exists, it certainly holds too small a percentage to be noted within the Federation. As such, it has been argued that her beliefs were mere miniscule scale superstition rather than a full religion.

In line with that, she was never documented espousing a 'moment of truth' or a 'turning point' in her life where she 'converted' to this template idea. The origin of these beliefs, and how she came to align with them, is a mystery.

Fortunately, Nethali Aster was not particularly reticent about her spirituality- while there are no known cases of evangelism on her part, there are enough incidents where she explained the uncomplicated idea to piece together a comprehensive pamphlet speech:

((To be continued...maybe.))