Place of Origin: Bajor
Played by: rottenemu
Santu is by no means a large woman. She has a long neck and pronounced jawline that attracts as much attention as her clear and outspoken nasal ridges. Her time in the resistance has left many visible scars, just none that show if she wears a normal uniform. She always makes sure that her uniform is always meticulously pressed and proper when she starts her day. She thinks this important as for most of her time she wasn't a professionally licensed doctor, and now that she has attained official standing she wants to show it off. She is, however, not too fussed about her outfit throughout the day. She has done away with wearing any accessories, including the earring mostly associated with her species.
Santu is what people would describe as a bubbly personality. She's optimistic and trusts her gut instincts when it comes to good medical care. This has resulted in some miracle diagnosis, but most of the time it results in her having to go back on earlier decisions. During her academy days, and residency, she was praised for her bedside manner (and little else). She will remain optimistic even in the worst of circumstances, and some might see that as being unrealistic. Due to her short stint in the resistance and the subsequent time in the Cardassian labour camp she still suffers from bouts of depression (combined with her bubbly personality it might make her come off as bipolar). She was declared mentally healthy in regards to her PTSD but some things may still trigger that. She does not believe in holding grudges or holding on to anger and will tell anyone that it severely harms your physical wellbeing.
Being born into what later turned out to be the waning years of the Cardassian Occupation of Bajor Santu was the firstborn child in the happy union of Tira and Kinsho. Living the Shakaar province wasn’t easy for them during the occupation. When Santu was growing up they often had days or weeks with little to no food. Resentment grew in Santu and she started to rebel against her parents, who wanted nothing more than to keep their head down and survive another day. Even in the face of the worsening Cardassian oppression as they felt they were losing their grip on the restless Bajoran population. This eventually led her to align herself with one of the Bajoran resistance cells at the age of 12, leaving behind her home, both her parents and two siblings.
She was allowed to help the resistance inside the confines of their caves. She helped cook, clean and tend to the wounded. This last bit she did under the guidance of Kayim Larin, a lifelong resistance fighter that had developed his medical skills after a botched bombing killed his best friend and resulted in the amputation of his right leg. No longer fit for the field he specialised in medical aide. Their equipment was outdated, their medical knowledge learned by trial and error and from old info-vids on scratched PADDs. A good portion of what they did would better be classified as shamanism.
For two years they were working in tandem and kept the resistance cell up and running, by now she was the assistant medic and mostly independent in medical treatments. Then came the night that they required a medic to come along on a raid. They were going to break into a labour camp and free the prisoners there. Since there would be many sick and wounded they needed someone with medical training to help them. Santu volunteered and was able to persuade the cell’s leadership that she was the better choice over Larin. That night they infiltrated the compound and found themselves surrounded and ambushed. The intel that was fed to them came from the Obsidian Order. They were arrested and immediately put on a transport vessel heading further into Cardassian territory.
The liberation of Bajor came the next year. For Santu and the people in the mining camp on Arawath, their oppression had only just started. They were deep in Cardassian territory and cut off from any form of information. The camp’s Cardassian overseers went through great pains to prevent any of the occupants of the camp to know that the Bajorans were no longer being controlled by the Cardassians and that the Detapi Council had officially released all Bajoran prisoners of war.
Even in this new, harsh, environment, Santu came into her own in the role of caretaker. Together with two others from her previous resistance cell she kept Cardassian voles and bred them to be eaten in addition to the meagre rations they were given by the prison. She also gathered herbs and plants to be able to supplement the appalling medical care the workers got. They all knew that if a worker was no longer able to toe the line they would be taken beyond the walls and never returned. She always worked hard to prevent this from happening. Her talent was actually recognised by the camp’s warden and she was given more freedom to help out in the medical bay, next to her regular work in the mine. Overall it was a horrible place to live, but they had managed to carve a living out of it with each other.
That all changed when after a couple of years the Cardassian Union joined the Dominion. They posted a Vorta to oversee the camp, the mining targets went up, the lashings increased and any personal freedom was stomped out. It wasn’t long before Santu and her two compatriots were uncovered for their undermining of their keepers. All three of them with put on the rack and whipped to the edge of their life as an example of those who would oppose the will of the Founders. For three days they were left in the burning sun of Arawath, bloodied and beaten. After which they got two days to recover before they were forced back into the mines. One of her close friends, Yojod Kram, did not live to see the end of that week.
Santu persevered, kept her head down, didn’t stop undermining the camp’s administrator, she just got better at concealing it. It resulted in more beatings, but she was always able to tell herself that she was doing more good than harm by being able to give the people around her more sustenance, better healing, and something to keep living for. She knew that they were going to be freed. And when the Federation, Klingon, Romulan alliances started to push into Cardassian territory it was all over. From one day to the next. They were free people. She was nearly twenty-one and this was the first time she could step foot in a world that wasn’t being controlled by an occupying force.
A Federation convoy brought them back to Bajor, she immediately returned to Shakaar province, returning to her parents home. The occupation had left Shakaar province a shadow of its former self and the reclamation efforts were stunted due to the Dominion War that followed. Now they could finally start building. Santu realised that there wasn’t much for her to build. She was alienated from her parents and most of her resistance cell friends were now dead or wanted nothing more to do with anyone that reminded them of those times. Suicides had been on the rise after the occupation and sickness took more of the impoverished population.
After several years of trying and drifting between odd jobs and bouts of lethargy, Santu came back into touch with Larin, the medical man for their cell. He had become a fully licensed medical doctor after the occupation and practised medicine in a local town. He offered to train Santu, properly this time, as his assistant and nurse. This gave her a new purpose in life and for some time she thrived in his medical practice. Until that was no longer enough in the early 80's.
StarFleet Service History
Gathering together what little she had in the form of personal possessions she made her way over to Earth, the plan was to enrol in Starfleet Academy and train for a position as medical officer in a Starfleet installation or on a starship. Earth was about the farthest away from the memory of the occupation and labour camp that she could get. During the time after the war admittance into the Academy was lowered to allow Starfleet to replenish their ranks. Even so, Santu had to retake the admittance test twice before she was accepted in. With the help of some local tutors, she was able to pass by the skin of her teeth. She continued to struggle badly in the Academy and had to redo the second year. Throughout her entire career, she had to do twice as much effort to half as much results. But after four years she was done with the Academy. She had chosen the medical track and that meant that after the Academy she was finally allowed to start her residencies, and as her tutor had jokingly remarked; now the real learning could begin.
Santu did a lot better now that she had to interact with actual patients, that not all of the knowledge was theoretical. She was lauded for her bedside manner and for her intuitive grasp of diagnosing and administering treatments. It still required her to do a ton of extra work to be able to pass the evaluations. After eight years of extensive training and studying she was able to call herself a doctor, her parents travelled all the way from Bajor to celebrate (and embarrass her in public).
After her residencies, Santu was assigned to a small nova class vessel, the USS Piet Heijn, and started her work as the Assistant Chief Medical on the ship. She got along well with the crew, she went around on relatively safe missions within the borders of the Federation and had enough leave time to actually see places she never could have dreamed of while spending 16 hours a day underground.
By the time 2394 rolled around Santu felt that she needed to spread her wings beyond the medical bays. Her natural leadership had given her a role a Chief Medical Officer after her former chief left from the Piet Heijn. She enrolled in a command course at the Academy and was reminded once more that her strengths were not in books and tests. With a lot of extra help from friends and colleagues, she had made during her time in the fleet she was able to push through and by 2396 she applied for a transfer into a command track role, aiming to become an Executive Officer and for the first time in her life actually get to decide on things for herself, the final freedom that she had left to attain in her life.