|Affiliation:||Starfleet (Starfleet Medical)|
Aliyah Carey was born the first and only child of Daniel and Laura Carey, surrounded by the serene beauty of Elva II, the second of three tiny farming colonies established by James Elva after the Borg attacked earth. Aliyah's memories of her earliest years are of sensations. The feeling of chilly pond water in early summer, swirling around her body as her father taught her to swim. The smell of warm, wet earth in her mother's garden. The wonder and delight of watching tiny green shoots grow into a riot of colorful flowers as she knelt beside her mother day after day, learning to tend them. The warm bulk of the gentle cows and her father's hand on her back, his low voice guiding her through learning to milk. The comfortable chatter and laughter of neighbors over delicious potluck dinners on special occasions. When Aliyah was six, her parents joyfully informed her that she would have a little brother or sister soon. Aliyah was excited. She imagined that a baby would be like one of her beloved dolls, but warm and alive and cooing. But not long after receiving this thrilling news, she came upon her mother in the bathroom, tears running silently down her face. The long, light skirt she wore that day was stained with blood. Aliyah was frightened, but Laura would not explain. She just held her small daughter and cried.
Aliyah never saw such a thing again, but her mother lost two more babies in the following year. At night, when Daniel and Laura believed Aliyah was asleep, their arguments shook their little house. Aliyah shivered under the quilt her mother and the neighbor women had made by hand for her before her birth, listening to her mother sobbing and pleading with her father to let them leave this miserable rock and go back to civilization. She had no way of knowing that elsewhere, the technology existed that would have saved the lives of her unborn siblings and that the great price of coming to any of the Elva colonies was to reject such technology. She would learn later, when she was much older, that James Elva had been fiercely xenophobic and believed that the Borg war was a direct result of Terrans mingling with other races and adopting their new technology.
When Aliyah was eight, a trader came in a small ship, bringing good things Aliyah and her friends had never seen before. Mr. Bailey was the only name he ever gave, but he was warm and charming, and during his stay, he entertained the children every day with juggling and slight of hand tricks. One night, Aliyah's mother came into her room and woke her up while it was still pitch dark outside the window. She handed her a backpack, told her to get her coat and her favorite doll, and come quickly and quietly. She wouldn't say where they were going. Excited by the prospect of an adventure, Aliyah followed her mother outside and down the path that led away from their small farm. Mr. Bailey was waiting at the end of it. He smiled at her, kissed her mother, then picked Aliyah up in his arms and told her not to worry. Aliyah didn't worry until Mr. Bailey took her and her mother aboard his ship and her mother said happily that they were finally going to get off this rock. Feeling that this wasn't right somehow, Aliyah asked why her father hadn't come with them. Her mother's only answer was to say, "He just didn't want to, sweetie."
Although the lingering worry about her father remained in the back of Aliyah's mind, the next few weeks were fun. Mr. Bailey taught her how to do some of his magic tricks and gave her mother small, pretty gifts which he bought whenever they made a stop. But a day came when Laura stopped smiling and laughing and when her eyes no longer shone when Mr. Bailey talked. Soon after that, she began to cough. Her forehead felt hot when Aliyah kissed her, and she weakened rapidly. Aliyah asked Mr. Bailey when they would find a doctor for her. In response, he asked her how much money they had brought. Aliyah didn't know, and nothing else was said about it. As her mother grew weaker, fear closed its fist around Aliyah's heart. Mr. Bailey had become strange and distant toward her, and all his smiles had turned to looks of irritation. Not wanting to be in his way, she sat beside her mother in their cramped quarters, holding her hand while an illness Aliyah had no name for burned Laura's life away. When she died, Mr. Bailey wrapped her in a sheet and cast her unceremoniously into space, then patted Aliyah on the back and told her to tell him if she began to feel sick, too.
For days Aliyah lay on her bunk, wondering what to do. She wanted her father. She wanted all this to be a bad dream. But she knew she could never dream something like this. Mr. Bailey brought her food three times a day, and each time he asked her how she felt. She wondered if he hoped she would get sick, too, and shuddered at the thought of being pitched out of the airlock into all that freezing emptiness. But she didn't get sick, and in spite of herself, she cried less and began to want more to do over time.
When she finally came out of her quarters, Mr. Bailey greeted her with a casual air and said since it looked like she'd make it, it would be best if she learned to start helping out. Aliyah jumped at this new task. Although she was still only eight and a half, she felt she had grown up by years as she lay alone, grieving for her mother and learning to understand some of the uncaring nature of the man who now had her in his charge. She'd always been a quick student in school and now put all her mental energy into learning anything Mr. Bailey taught her, mostly small tasks related to maintaining the ship and more clever entertainment tricks. At every place they stopped, he told a different story about her. At one place she was his orphaned niece left in his care. In another, she was his own daughter. She wanted to ask him why he didn't simply tell the truth about where she had come from, but remembering how he had totally ignored her pleas to be returned to Elva II after her mother's death, she guessed rightly that it would do no good and kept the question to herself.
On Aliyah's thirteenth birthday, Mr. Bailey visited her in her quarters one evening. She wished he would leave her. Lately he had become more and more demanding and given her more and more duties aboard his ship, and she was almost past exhaustion. But he gave her what she believed was welcome news. He was taking her to a colony world to receive a better education than she could get aboard his trade vessel. Having always loved to learn and study, Aliyah's heart leapt. She also hoped for a reprieve from the unrelenting demands of the man she had long since begun to think of as more a master than a host. But the reprieve did not come. She was not told the name of the colony to which Mr. Bailey took her, but was handed over to the most exotic woman she had ever seen who gave her name as Katriona. She looked Terran, except for her eyes.
They appeared too large for her face and were almost purple, flecked with specks of green and gold. But like Mr. Bailey, she refused to answer Aliyah's questions. Other than her reticence, she was kind to the girl, however. She taught Aliyah grace and poise, how to play a small lap harp, and sing in many languages. She had three dresses made for Aliyah of the softest, smoothest silk Aliyah had ever touched that swathed her from her neck to her knees, and taught her the traditional dances of many worlds and peoples, both for a single dancer and for a couple. Aliyah realized vaguely that she was being prepared for something, but did not know what. Mr. Bailey returned for her at the end of eight weeks and took her away with him again, not telling her where they were going. A part of her was sorry to put the dresses away and return to her normal drudging duties, but another part was relieved. An unease had been growing in her about them, although she'd dreamed of such finery since she was a child. Sometime later, Aliyah woke in the middle of the night to hear Bailey's voice, faint but excited, from above. "She's ready, Brelig," he was saying. Cold chills ran down Aliyah's spine. Ready for what, she wondered? She crept from her quarters and stole nearer to listen. From the conversation that followed, she gathered that Mr. Bailey had finally decided that she cost him too much and that her sleight of hand and balancing tricks were no longer enough to earn her keep. He intended to sell her as a slave to this Brelig. Is that what she was being prepared for? Some kind of multicultural display of talents that could also be made to work herself to the bone? The last thing she heard before she slipped back to her quarters to contemplate her fate was Mr. Bailey saying, "I'll bring her to you after my stop on Betazed."
By the time they arrived at Betazed, Aliyah was not resigned to her fate, but no idea for avoiding it had come to her. Mr. Bailey instructed her to remain hidden on the ship during their stay. It wasn't the first time she'd been given such instructions, and she knew they meant he would say nothing about her and no one would ever know she was aboard. The creeping feelings of dread had been growing in her ever since the night she had overheard that cold conversation. As she lay in her quarters while he was on the planet below, she dared to contemplate a way out of her situation. Mr. Bailey had once told her that when she turned eighteen, he would set her down anywhere she chose. But clearly that wasn't to be, and she didn't think she could survive yet another loss of her personhood. For the first time, thoughts of escape came into her mind. Maybe she would fail, she thought, but if she did, whatever happened then could be no worse than what had already happened. She took her childhood favorite doll from the place where it had been hidden under her bunk for years now and tucked it inside her clothes for courage and luck. Only later did she think of the irony of carrying such a reminder of so many misadventures for luck. Unknown to herself, Aliyah had managed to learn a rudimentary form of mental shielding as she worked until she thought she would collapse to try to please Mr. Bailey, turning off her emotions and convincing herself she felt nothing, could be hurt by nothing. This discipline served her well now. With all the stealth she had and more born of desperation, she crept from Mr. Bailey's ship, slipped into the back of a crowded passenger shuttle in the bay of the docking station above Betazed, and kept herself as still as possible during the journey to the planet's surface. Maybe some Betazoids sensed her presence, but in the unusual crowd aboard the shuttle, none picked her out. When the shuttle landed, she slipped out before anyone else and started to run. All that day she ran or crept, ducking between buildings or behind statues or beneath outdoor tables whenever she thought someone might see her. By the middle of the night, she was wild with fear. She began to run again, not caring who might see, until she collapsed in a closed doorway and lay there, exhausted.
A touch on her shoulder roused her. She sprang up, sure that Mr. Bailey had found her. But an elderly Betazoid woman was kneeling beside her, looking at her with eyes full of gentle concern. No one had looked at her like that for longer than she could remember. Her terror melted, and she cried like the child she was. The woman, who told her that her name was Elana, took her inside the little tea shop Aliyah had collapsed outside, fed her, and comforted her. At Elana's gentle coaxing, Aliyah's natural desire for secrecy crumbled, and she poured out her story. Elana looked grim but comforted Aliyah with promises of help and safety. She never opened the shop that day, but urged Aliyah to lie down on one of the soft couches that lined the walls of the little room. Aliyah slept, still exhausted. Sometimes, half waking, she heard Elana talking to someone who wasn't present, over a com, maybe. When she woke fully as the daylight was fading, Elana told her that Mr. Bailey was being dealt with and would never be able to come and find her, then took her home to her comfortable little house for more food and rest.
In the days that followed, Aliyah learned that the Elva colonies had been abandoned due to famine and flooding. Efforts were made to find her father, but it was as if Daniel Carey had simply ceased to be. Aliyah felt that she should feel sad about this, but her memories of her early life were like a distant dream to her now. She stayed on Betazed, and Elana took her under her wing, showering her with the kinds of love and attention she hadn't had since her mother's death and letting her help in the tea shop. For her part, Aliyah adored Elana as a beloved grandmother. Aliyah began receiving psychotherapy as well as regular education very soon after her arrival on Betazed. As she began to heal and to become used to the telepathic abilities of everyone around her, her warm, bubbly personality reemerged from the shell she had become during her time with Mr. Bailey. Some of the reserve she had learned with him lingered, however, simply because she found she no longer needed to speak her thoughts for them to be known and understood. As she caught up to her Betazoid agemates at school, her confidence and love of learning also returned.
When Aliyah was seventeen, she began to notice subtle changes in Elana's behavior. Her movements became slower and stiffer, and she showed signs of memory lapses and occasional outbursts of irritability that had no obvious reason. At first Aliyah was tempted to believe that these changes were somehow her fault. When Elana sensed that thought in her, however, she gently explained to Aliyah that she suffered from Zaiani's Disease, a rare terminal condition that affects some elderly Betazoids. Aliyah was saddened to learn that Elana had known of her diagnosis for some time, but that the treatments were becoming less effective now, which meant that her remaining time was short. From that time on, Aliyah was never far from Elana's side. She was always ready, at any time of the day or night, to do anything Elana needed, whether it was to fetch and carry or to lie next to her with her arms around her and try to calm the wildly racing thoughts brought on by the disease. It was while Elana was in the arms of the Terran girl she had come to call 'granddaughter' that she quietly passed away, a year and a half after Aliyah learned of her illness.
Before Elana died, Aliyah had imagined her life going on as it had been for many years. But although Elana had left the tea shop in her care, she found that working there left her feeling restless, as if she should be doing something else. In spite of Elana's loss being in some ways harder for her to bear than the loss of her biological family, Aliyah had felt fulfilled while caring for her adopted grandmother. Now that she was gone, she felt overburdened with love with no one to lavish it on, like a mother cat deprived of her kittens and yet still longing to feed them. Aliyah sank into depression, but with the encouragement of her friends, she returned to therapy and gradually recovered and decided to pursue a medical career. Elana's illness had taught her that she loved to help make others feel better, even if their healing was beyond her. At age nineteen, she began her nursing studies on Betazed. While she learned concrete ways to help others, she continued to receive therapy, wishing to be absolutely sure that she was able to cope with the dark memories from her past, and considered what she would do with her future. Now that Elana was gone, Betazed no longer felt as much like home as it had. Nowhere felt like home, in fact. She knew that even if Elva II hadn't fallen victim to famine and natural disaster, she would have no desire to return there. Despite the loneliness and dullness of her years with Mr. Bailey, she missed being on the move and often found herself walking alone at night for no other purpose than to spend restless energy. Having no connections and longing to be part of something bigger than herself and to see more of the galaxy, she decided to enlist in Starfleet as a nurse after graduating from the University of Betazed with honor at age twenty-three. Having fully recovered psychologically by this time, she had no problem with the entrance exam and enjoyed the challenge of her two years of officer's training that followed.
Now Aliyah is warm and friendly and has a reputation among those who know her well of being easy to talk to about any problem, although she doesn't always remember to give voice to her thoughts when she is among non-telepaths and can seem quiet and reserved because of it. She has days when she is introspective and pensive and when the losses she has suffered weigh heavily on her, but she also has the ability to pour her whole heart into helping anyone who may need her in any way she can. Because of her extraordinary upbringing, she often feels more at home with Betazoids and other telepaths than most Terrans might, and also finds Betazoid music more calming than anything else. She has never used the things Katriona taught her since she learned why she was taught them, but she secretly misses the arts of music and dancing themselves and hopes one day to feel free enough to enjoy them again as they are meant to be enjoyed. During her time at the university, she developed a love for interactive holofiction and a strange way of coping with her lack of a family. She programmed one for herself, and during her spare time when she had nothing else to do, she slipped into the holosuite to spend time with the family of her imagination. She hopes to have a real family of her own someday. But although her work ethic is excellent, she struggles with feelings of personal insecurity and has never been able to maintain a serious long-term relationship, so believes in her heart that her wish for family is one unlikely to come true.
- Medical Equipment Certification
- Medical Triage Certificate
- Staff Corps Officer