Tuula Voutilainen

Gender: Female
Place of Origin: Tampere, Finland, Earth
Played by: Alenis Meru

Physical Appearance

The first thing one notices about Tuula is her chair. Typically, she uses a lightweight non-folding manual wheelchair, but has or can replicate other models for specific tasks.

The second is her style. Influenced by goth and punk subcultures, her hair is often dyed black with various highlights, and is cut and styled into funky styles. She often wears dark makeup, and has a large collection of boots and torn fishnets.

Tuula is thin but athletic, with fairly well-toned arms.

Tuula has several tattoos, including:

Rod of Asclepius on right forearm
A harp in the centre of her chest, with wavy ribbons of music in the background, being held aloft by two hummingbirds on the front of her shoulders.
A phoenix running up the right side of her torso
A koi fish on the right side of her stomach
Flowers on her left ankle
A number of five-pointed stars in the pattern of the Earth constellations of Ursa Major and Ursa minor on her back, placed such that Polaris is centered on the back of her neck.
A dagger on the inside of her left forearm, placed so that the tip ends on her wrist. A drop of blood drips from the tip, and there is a flower in the background.
Four butterflies in silhouette on her shoulder.
Due to the placement, all are covered up underneath long sleeves while on duty, with the exception of the star representing Polaris, which may be visible depending on her hairstyle. Most of her tattoos are less than five years old, and with some exceptions, are done mostly in black ink.

Additionally, she had glistening metal flakes implanted underneath her skin while on Akkadia, to complement the stars on her back.

Personality

There's something not quite right about Tuula. She's a happy goth, with a light undertone of sarcasm when dealing with her frustrations. She often has difficulty relating to others, due to both her medical condition and her "unique" interests such as collecting antique medical equipment. Some have speculated that the goth persona is a defense mechanism to keep people at bay, but the truth may simply be that she legitimately likes dark things.

In addition, she enjoys musical and dramatic performances; while it sometimes takes a certain amount of cajoling to get Tuula to get up on stage, she thoroughly enjoys performing. She tries to be a big sister to Jaana, even though she is only older by about seven minutes. Tuula has exotic tastes in food and décor, and is always willing to try new things.

Strengths

Tuula is remarkably intelligent and has an excellent memory, which served her well in her medical training. Dedicated to the practice of medicine, she takes her profession very seriously - particularly the Hippocratic Oath - and is usually up to date on new medical research and best practices for treating patients, though as a recently qualified doctor, she doesn't have the same level of experience as her older colleagues. She is an excellent surgeon, qualified to perform both routine and emergency surgeries.

Weaknesses

Aside from her physical disabilities, Tuula sometimes tends to scare people off with her looks and her attitude. Her bedside manner has been described as alternately "playful" and "disturbing," depending on whether the patient has a sense of humour about amputation jokes. Also, she occasionally gets a little too excited about her work and tells patients perhaps more than they need to know about procedures they are about to undergo. As a result of all these odd behaviours, she tends to be unlucky with romance.

Tuula was also a very poor marksman at the academy, and hasn't touched a phaser since second year, managing to evade mandatory range qualifications due to her disability.

Current Goals & Ambitions

Since she was a small child trying to nurse sick animals back to health, Tuula had always wanted to become a doctor. Now, as Chief Medical Officer of the USS Shanghai, she has accomplished that goal, and has her sights set on bigger challenges -- running a sickbay on an Olympic-class or a Starbase, or even teaching at the Academy.

Hobbies & Interests

Tuula is quite musically talented, and is proficient at both vocals and stringed instruments, particularly the harp. In 2390, after a significant amount of cajoling, Tuula agreed to play the part of Mabel in the Starbase 173 Amateur Theatre Society’s production of “The Pirates of Penzance.” While it received positive reviews from the crew and her performance in was praised, some felt that the character of Major-General Stanley bore too much of a resemblance to the station commander.

Tuula enjoys swimming and kayaking, and generally tries to go swimming or kayaking on the holodeck at least once a week to stay in shape. Like many Finns, one of her favourite activities is sitting in a sauna, and she has a special holodeck program in her personal files which is the closest thing she can get to an authentic Finnish sauna and has been known to prescribe it to her patients for various illnesses.

Tuula collects antique medical instruments, and her most prized posession is a US Civil War era bone saw gifted to her by her parents upon her graduation from Starfleet Medical. Her chosen style of dress and the uncanny resemblance of her collection to implements of torture earned her the nickname "Liz" at the academy -- a reference to Elizabeth Bathory.

Though pets aren’t a very practical option for a medical officer on a starship, she hasn’t yet met an animal she didn’t like, and if not a doctor, she would have become a veterinarian.

Pre-Service Biography

In the 2350s, Aksel met Anya and they soon fell in love. Love turned to marriage, and eventually they decided to have children. For two years, they tried without success, until the autumn of 2361 when they discovered that a little bundle of joy would be on the way.

Upon closer examination, that one little bundle of joy was actually two little bundles of joy.

Tuula was born and raised in Tampere, Finland, Earth, one of a set of identical twins. Her parents both worked in education – her father a grade school teacher, and her mother a professor at the University of Tampere. Her parents imparted both of their children with a love for the sciences, and since a young age, Tuula aspired to be a doctor.

Tuula and her sister were inseparable up until high school. They went to the same school, took the same classes, and participated in the same extra-curricular activities. Upon entering high school, the admissions computer randomly assigned them to different math classes. Despite their protestations, the school administrators didn’t budge, reasoning it would be good for the girls to make some new friends.

Separated from each other for second period, the girls soon all fell in with new crowds. Soon they were all dressing differently, talking differently, and taking on new personalities. While they hung out with different groups at school, they would usually walk home together.

Tuula’s new friends had a slightly edgier style, and soon Tuula was taking drama and music classes as electives with her new friends. Tuula did well academically, though she was disciplined on occasion for pulling pranks on, and once fighting with, girls who made fun of her sister.

The two girls went their separate ways after high school. Jaana left for Starfleet Academy, while Tuula stayed in Finland, doing a pre-med degree in biology at Helsinki University. She didn’t initially intend to join Starfleet, initially planning on having a civilian career, but Jaana had convinced her of the merits of becoming a Starfleet doctor. In 2384, shortly after Jaana graduated from Starfleet Academy, Tuula began Starfleet Medical Academy using her civilian B.Sc as a pre-med degree.

In the early 2380s, Tuula dated a Bolian named Ardon Zuwtt. They broke up in 2384, shortly before Tuula left for Starfleet Medical Academy. Tuula hates Zuwtt with a passion, and the last time they had interacted, one of Tuula's colleagues' family arranged for Zuwtt to be brutally beaten and shipped out to a distant corner of Federation space.

Starfleet History:

Tuula did well academically in her first year of Starfleet Medical Academy.

While on a long-weekend pass from the Academy in 2385, Tuula decided to take a transport back home to give her parents a surprise visit. Unfortunately, the transport crashed shortly after takeoff and she woke up in a hospital bed a week later, her last memory being looking out the window as the transport left the gate. Though everyone said she was lucky to be alive after the accident, it left her paralyzed from the waist down.

She spent several weeks in the hospital and in rehab, recovering from the accident and learning to use a wheelchair. During this time, she considered dropping out of the academy, but it was a visit from her sister Jaana, a Starfleet officer that convinced her to continue. However, when she attempted to return, she was initially turned away by the Academy on the grounds that she was not physically capable of serving in Starfleet.

Tuula was crushed and returned home to Tampere, refusing leave her room for two whole weeks. Her solitude was interrupted by a surprise visit from her sister, who, unbeknownst to Tuula, had heard about her situation and spent the last two weeks working on an appeal and filing it on her behalf.

With Jaana by her side, Tuula won her appeal, and was re-accepted into the academy, with a standing exemption to various fitness and marksmanship requirements (which was probably for the best, as she wasn’t nearly a competent marksman to begin with).

She re-entered Starfleet Medical, graduating a year late with honours. Her specialties were in surgery and anatomy, and she excelled in both. Immediately, she took up a one year internship at Starbase 173, before being reassigned to the USS Galileo for her residency. It was a fairly dull assignment (not necessarily a bad thing for an intern), though Tuula did appreciate having access to some of the creature comforts on the station not available on a ship. But she wanted to see the galaxy, so when an opportunity to continue her residency on the USS Galileo came up, she jumped at the chance.

On the USS Galileo, she was subjected to several traumatic experiences. During a training exercise, the USS Galileo was transported to the mirror universe, where she met her mirror counterpart. Said mirror counterpart was obsessed with finding a cure for spinal injuries, and had no qualms about performing human experimentation. Tuula was forced to watch as one of her colleagues because her test subject and was brutally tortured, as her mirror counterpart investigated her species' innate regenerative abilities. Later, she was captured by Klingons operating outside the authority of the Empire in the Paulson Nebula and subjected to harsh interrogation methods, which left her in a state of complete mental breakdown.

She eventually made a full recovery, and took a transfer to the USS Shanghai when an opportunity for a Chief Medical Officer position came up.

Author Alenis Meru
Published
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