|Cmdr. Lily Ventu
Starbase 118 Operations
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A Childhood of Imbalance & Indecision
Aresee Lily Ventu was born to Jarin Ventu and Matilda Tayler in 2352. Matilda had been warned earlier in her life that she carried a genetic marker that made a neurochemical imbalance almost certain in any children she might have, and so the couple decided, early on in their marriage, not to have children. Lily's was an accidental pregnancy but, even knowing the risks, Jarin and Matilda went ahead with the birth.
- Although Lily's condition is a unique, familial genetic condition, similar to 5-alpha reductase deficiency. Its closest analogue in current medicine is bipolar disorder.
At age five, Aresee is first diagnosed after rapidly cycling through multiple moods, leaving her extremely hyper one moment and nearly catatonic the next. She is misdiagnosed as depressed and begins seeing her first counselor, by whom she is labeled bipolar. However, further genetic tests reveal that she (and her family) carry a unique genetic marker for the disorder. She is put on a daily regimen of meds and begins her "normal" childhood.
When she's ten, Aresee experiences her first violent mood swing at school, destroying some property and breaking a boy's arm. She flees the scene and is found a mile away, curled and apologetic, having drawn so far into herself that all she can say is, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry." She undergoes a three-week intense session of counseling, during which she's withdrawn from school at put on even more medications. She refuses, following the incident, to return to school, and is home-schooled until high school, sometimes staying at home with her father, and sometimes traveling with her mother aboard her ship.
When she enters high school, Aresee eschews her first name, citing an inborn hatred for its forced ostentatiousness, and chooses to go by her middle name, Lily.
High school is mostly uneventful - Lily stays under the radar for the most part, achieving good marks but really living for after school, when she's left to herself. She doesn't make many friends, though this frustrates her - her operant thinking is not that she wants to be alone, but rather that she hasn't/can't meet anyone worth inviting into her life.
As graduation nears, Lily is pressured to choose what to do after high school. Her mother, who is nearly retirement, wants Lily to take over her merchant vessel, but Lily doesn't have much interest in doing that. Throughout her life, the only people who have been omnipresent, besides her family, are various counselors, and she decides in her senior year that she'd like to pursue a degree in counseling psychology.
Attending the Academy For the First Time
A perfect marriage of both the careers suggested to her and the ones she's considering presents itself in the form of Abby Roberts, a senior at Starfleet Academy who contacts Lily when she expresses interest in the Academy. The whole affair is very congenial - Roberts answers all of Lily's questions, up to and including her sitting the entrance exam. However, a few weeks later, her failing results are returned.
Instead of turning Lily inward again, the failing score strengthens Lily's desire to leave her home town and make her own life, and she whirlwinds about, applying to over a dozen schools. She's accepted at four, and is making her final decision following her senior year when she's contacted again by Abby Roberts.
The now-Ensign Roberts urges Lily to re-take the exam, as her scores were a single point below the acceptance cutoff. Lily allows Roberts to sign her up, but she doesn't intend to sit the test. Instead, she turns to selecting one of the Earth-bound universities. Increasingly, though, she finds her mind wandering to the stars, first to her mother's offer, and then to Roberts's suggestion. The day of the test comes, and Lily's among those taking it.
This time, she passes with good scores, and as soon as the acceptance comes, she turns down the other schools and marks the move-in date on her calendar.
Lily's first days and weeks at the para-military Academy are very different than anything she's used to. However, Ensign Roberts is a cadet liaison, and she serves in a further capacity as Lily's don. Lily continues to see a campus counselor, and gets to know the Medical Services staff very well, as she's in at least once a week for prescription refills and general check-ups.
Perhaps the most exciting think to happen to Lily during her first trimester was meeting Nick Parks.
His background of being a loner was similar to hers, though he came with an indecisive air rather than a genetic disorder. However, the two became friends and, by the end of November, more than. At eighteen, Nick is Lily's first boyfriend, but - free of the strict roles of her high school and expectations of what she knows - the relationship blossoms.
Lily continued at the Academy for another two years. Classes grew harder and her amount of free time decreased. Ensign Roberts received a promotion and an offer to serve as a tactical officer aboard the Starship Martel. Nick and Lily stayed together, but both were feeling the happy pressure of still loving each other but having settled down with their first.
When Nick breaks up with Lily between the first and second trimesters of their junior year, she goes off many of her meds, ends up depressed, and misses at least a week of classes. Her mid-trimester marks reflect the absence, and they show she's failing nearly everything. Veering to the extreme, Lily applies immediately for a medical leave of absence, and though it's granted, she leaves the campus ten minutes after submitting the paperwork.
Lily returns home, but at the last moment, as she's walking up her drive, she pictures her mother and father and all the people she went to school with. Still not completely re-adapted to her meds, she panics and nearly hyperventilates. She runs the other way, towards the hangar for her mother's ship. Completely confident with the controls, she activates the newly-retired ship, disables the transponder, and heads to the stars.
Alone in the Borderlands
The next year or two pass in a haze of emotional memory: Lily can remember journeying, exploring, and visiting whatever struck her fancy, but few specifics. She was never taken home, either, and whether that was because of her parents' reluctance to force her back or her own luck in avoiding whoever was looking for her, she was never sure. All she really knows of that time is that she was running - every day, she set a course that led away from Earth and the galactic center, out towards where the arms of the Milky Way grew sparse.
Two years after setting out, Lily's adapted to her new life of living fat off the benevolence of Federation citizens and colonies. However, she finds herself at the edge of the Federation sphere of influence and the beginning of the Borderlands, territory which is claimed by no race or power other than the pirate cartels and sects that form, change, and fall apart daily. The previous years have given Lily a twisted view of her own independence, and she continues on.
All the while, she has been weaning herself off her medications, since they become increasingly difficult to replace. By the time she enters the Borderlands, she's almost completely med-free, thanks to various on-the-fly treatment programs and a strong mix of daily meditation and tea.
Her one concession to the possible dangers of the reason is the possible trace of her name, and so she begins re-using Aresee as her first name.
For the next two years, Aresee explores the borderlands, moving on her regular path for the first and meandering more during the second. Towards the end of the second year, she makes the largest discovery of the whole trip:
On a seedy station, she discovers a group of drunken aliens accosting a young girl, and she steps in. She rescues the girl, but incurs the wrath of a new cartel. She's chased from the Borderlands for good, and finds herself back in Federation space.
The girl - Alexa - had no family and no last name, though she wouldn't elaborate much on either, or how she ended up in the bar. Aresee, hardened by her stay in the Borderlands and her long time alone, nearly leaves the girl as she found her. It's the girl's lack of pleading that convinces her, in the end: She sees that the girl's been taught not to value her life, and so she's ready to fall wherever Aresee dumps her. In that moment of clarity and humanity, Aresee decides she's run far enough, and reverses her course.
It takes many months to return to the heart of Federation space, but her parents are, understandably, more relieved to see her than they are angry, and things are happy for a while. Her parents, acting on their own inscrutable motives, adopt Alexa themselves rather than offering her to an orphanage or other foster parents.
Returning to the Academy
Following her return, Aresee spent several months at home. She went back on some of her medications, but she'd adapted to life without most. Her decision to return to Starfleet Academy was difficult, but her leave of absence was still in place, and so she returned in 2380, ready to re-do her junior year.
Actual attendance was both difficult and not so very. As an older returning student, she was offered better, single housing, but the fact remained that none of her friends or acquaintances remained - both Abby Roberts and Nick Parks were cruising around the stars as a commander and an ensign, respectively.
Aresee kept using her original name for the sake of anonymity - she didn't want to be connected with the happier young woman who'd attended the Academy years ago. This time around was very much like high school: She kept her head down and didn't speak unless spoken to. She certainly didn't engage in any more relationships, though she did deign to go on a few dates. However, she wouldn't allow anything to come of it, and most men didn't get a second date out of her.
In the spring of 2382, Aresee Ventu graduated from Starfleet Academy with a degree in Counseling Psychology.