As the asari military is a decentralised organisation, with units formed by each community according to their needs and resources, there is no single model for warship operations; while some aspects of the Nova Spirit's design, mission parameters, and operating doctrine are drawn from the collective experience of Matriarchs across the Republics, and therefore shared to a greater or lesser extent across many vessels, others are specific to Atolia or the Benazi region within it, and there is even broad latitude for individual crews to formulate their own practices.
The Nova Spirit was crewed by a mixed group of Benazi huntresses and commandos, with the commandos - those who showed exceptional promise during their huntress training, and were personally mentored by Benazi's Matriarchs - serving as a "senior staff" of sorts. Since Benazi huntress doctrine, in common with that of most Republican worlds, emphasises individual or paired operations, it is the commandos - trained to operate in larger squads - who allow the vessel's crew to function as a cohesive whole, acting as mentors and guides to the huntresses during their time aboard. Huntresses typically serve short terms on single vessels, in the region of a decade or less, while the commando portion of the crew typically remain on board for several decades, each dedicating themselves wholly to a specific aspect of their vessel.
- The speaker is the closest equivalent to a hierarchical military's commanding officer. Whenever possible command decisions on the Nova Spirit are reached by discussion and agreement among the entire crew. However, since tactical realities do not always allow the luxury of time, the speaker has the duty of embodying the will of her crew with a single voice. The role of speaker is regarded as the most demanding of all specialisations, requiring the deepest possible understanding of the personal nature of every member of the crew, and how those natures interact with one another.
- The strategian fulfils many of the roles of an executive officer, and is trusted to assume the role of speaker should its incumbent be killed or injured. The role is typically filled by older asari, and although they are still centuries from their Matriarch stage, they are regarded by the crew in much the same way; it is not uncommon for surviving strategians to become Matriarchs involved in training furture huntresses following their active service.
- The tactical specialist is charged with the direct command of the vessel's weapons and defenses during battle. She has much greater freedom of action in doing so than would be the case on other species' vessels.
- The intelligence specialist evaluates the vessel's situation and actions in light of the broader social and political context of her operating area, and provides that perspective to the crew. She is also the one specialist whose role frequently involves detached service, whether gathering information or undertaking individual operations in concert with those of her ship.
- The engine'er is the specialist most similar to her equivalent in other services, tasked with the mechanical wellbeing of the vessel.
- The senior healer, along with her acolytes, fulfils the role of ship's physician. She is by tradition also a priestess, whether of the dominant siari faith or one of the other asari beliefs.
- The communications specialist is tasked with facilitating consensus among the crew, and in many ways is the heart of the communal command structure. Her role is closely tied to the strategian's place as mentor to the crew, and she also serves as a counselor should any of her crew require one.
- The astrogator (navigator) and helmswoman are responsible for course formulation and execution respectively, and function together very much in the manner of a veteran huntress pair. Their stations are in close physical proximity, and their decisions and actions are coordinated on an instinctive level fostered by extensive training and shared meditation.
- The logistics coordinator is generally similar to her equivalent in other services, although her role of seeing to the provisioning of ship and crew encompasses a broader scope. She often operates in tandem with the intelligence specialist.
- Speaker: Aliza T'Vedri
- Strategian: Noekam Saburo
- Tactical specialist: Anaia Ledavius
- Intelligence specialist: Inea T'Nara
- Engine'er: Chanta T'Kejin
- Senior healer: Leta T'Sofi
- Communications specialist: Argaux D'Avo
- Astrogator: Ela'Ravi T'Har
- Helmswoman: Valyris Matora
- Logistics coordinator: Arysa Gaderos
In addition to these, the Nova Spirit carried 18 huntress crew members.
After the Reaper assault on the Sol System, when the galaxy at large became aware of its enemy, the Nova Spirit and her crew were tasked with the defence of the Antumbra Reach against Reaper incursions. Her duties during this stage of the war were a mix of hit-and-run attacks against Reaper light scouting and raiding units, and covert surveillance of the movements of larger forces, allowing the evacuation of outposts and settlements in their path.
When the Reaper strategy against Thessia changed from probing attacks, which the asari home fleet had managed to keep at bay, to all-out onslaught, all available vessels in other clusters were recalled to aid in the last-ditch defence. Nova Spirit, along with many other ships from remote regions, arrived too late to participate in the effort to stop the Reapers before they reached the homeworld; as a result, this wave of defenders engaged the Reapers in Thessia's atmosphere, in a desperate attempt to prevent them landing.
The attempt failed, with the majority of asari vessels destroyed. Nova Spirit was severely damaged in an engagement with multiple Reaper dreadnoughts descending towards Serrice. A handful of the crew, including the speaker (who was badly wounded and unconscious by then), were evacuated in lifepods, before the ship's astrogator and helmswoman managed to guide the virtually wrecked warship on a final ramming attack on a Reaper. Although their target was not destroyed, it suffered damage in a subsequent crash landing, and its failure to land in coordination with the other Reapers assaulting Serrice afforded the city's defenders a greater window of opportunity to evacuate civilians than would otherwise have been the case.
The image of the Nova Spirit is taken, with modifications, from Star Trek: Voyager, in which the vessel was a Voth city ship.