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Tahlin Aiolande Alse was born on the Federation Colony of Maravel in the Aguda Township in the Aixa Autonomous Banner of the Sarhu League to Ambassador Atria Mors and Jhellion Suraan, El-Aurian career diplomats in the service of the Federation. As aliens on the Human colony largely populated by peoples from Manchuria, Tahlin’s family was adopted into the Bordered Blue Banner and as such Tahlin speaks Manchu and Chakhar Mongolian as his first languages. Other than his birth on Maravel, his early childhood is unrecorded in his Starfleet file before his parents were assigned to Cardassia Prime in mid 2376 in the aftermath of the Dominion War as part of the occupation and reconstruction forces. It was here that Tahlin would spend the rest of his childhood, coming to consider Cardassia ‘home’ for him and by the time he joined Starfleet he would become a dual citizen of the Cardassian Union and the United Federation of Planets.
Growing up, Tahlin mixed in elite social and political circles befitting his parents’ assignment and would become familiar with nearly everyone important in the new post-war Cardassian government and still counts their children as among his closest friends. As an alien and a symbol of the Federation occupation of Cardassia, Tahlin was sometimes made to feel unwelcome but his youth, coupled with his people’s unique ability to ‘listen’ and assimilate comfortably into other cultures eventually made him in many ways just as Cardassian as his peers. However, Tahlin attended a Federation-style school that was fashionable among the elite of the new democratic government so his indoctrination and ‘Cardassianization’ are woefully incomplete by Cardassian standards and most would only recognize him as El-Aurian with Cardassian trappings. He has an immense appreciation for their arts and literature and his sense of duty is closer to what one might expect of a Cardassian instead of a child of career diplomats in the foreign service. While his childhood was a tug between Federation and Cardassian civilizations, Tahlin did grow up with some uniquely El-Aurian cultural touchstones like the famous El-Aurian fencing/martial art Tworin and collects his people's poetry.
Starfleet was not an obvious choice for Tahlin. Upon his graduation from preparatory school the only viable path on Cardassia for him was the Central University, where he began attending some lectures as a high school student. Initially not considering himself a math or science oriented person, the lectures and professors at the Central University changed his mind towards the sciences and encouraged his exploration of theory and gathering of scientific knowledge while tutoring him in the more ‘hard’, mathematics based portions. It was only on the advice of the wife of one of his mother’s colleagues whose son Tahlin had grown up with, that he applied to Starfleet Academy to study Astrophysics and the Philosophy and History of Science. To his surprise Tahlin was admitted and to the surprise of all he accepted the offer to join Starfleet, leaving the politics of Cardassia for the rigorous training Starfleet Academy had in store for him.