From Star Trek: Theurgy Wiki
Ranaan was born into a family of diplomats and Starfleet Security personnel, and grew up playing in the streets of Rio. While he was never 'groomed' per se for public or Fleet service, the fact that so many of his relatives were in the profession and plainly passionate about it had a strong effect on him. His father, due to his own position as a now-deskbound Captain in Starfleet Security headquarters, did set a high standard and rarely if ever praised Ranaan's efforts. Excellence was expected as a minimum. This strained their relationship well into Ranaan's adulthood, much to his mother's chagrin. Her Betazoid cultural heritage as well as her diplomatic training meant that she found it endlessly frustrating that her son and her husband wouldn't simply talk to each other about the problem, especially since Ranaan had ostensibly inherited some of her own abilities and should know that his father's actions were not drawn from a place of malice.
As was almost a foregone conclusion by the time he graduated school, Ranaan applied for and was accepted to a place at Starfleet Academy to become a Security officer. His solid determination and ability to handily spot a lie or fabrication thanks to his empathic talents made him a natural investigator, and he was assigned to the USS Jeb Stuart, 2nd Fleet Reserve, on completion of his training. The amount of time his ship spent docked at Starbase 147, however, meant he was often seconded to the base Security teams for patrols or criminal investigations. It wasn't all bad; he joined the station's inter-departmental boxing league, fighting for Security, and made a decent showing for his colleagues. He ended up being permanently transferred to the station's roster, discovering a rather seedy element to the transient civilian population and a perennial underground organised crime problem that proved increasingly difficult to control.
The Cardassian Conflict was winding down at this point, resulting in a diversion of resources away from strategic concerns to domestic ones - including the Jeb Stuart´s reassignment to active service with the 2nd Fleet, albeit without Ducote. The culmination of this shift in attention was an increase in opportunistic breaches both of excise and security. Of chief concern to Ducote, however, was the bombing of Starbase 147's promenade decks with a smuggled starship-scale plasma torpedo. Ostensibly, the blame lay with Romulan agitators taking advantage of the Klingons' armed conflict with the United Federation of Planets.
Ducote was off-duty at the time, but was called up as part of the first response teams to the attack, to administer search-and-rescue and first aid efforts. Even his slightly sub-average empathy was overwhelmed by the pain and shock and fear of the survivors, battering down his psyche over the course of two days of nearly non-stop physical effort. As if picking maimed civilians out of half-slagged wreckage wasn't enough, there was then the weeks-long, seemingly-interminable investigation that followed; the audits of security logs, interviews with potential witnesses, and recriminations against negligent officers and staff. The event destroyed Ducote's confidence utterly; he had nearly been paralysed by the mental load during the attack and the trauma stuck with him. He was forced to take a leave of absence from his duties, and returned to Earth for counselling and convalescence. In what felt like a perverse, backhanded slight, he and his team were awarded the Order of Merit for their actions on the day of the attack.
He worked with a Human psychologist, Hadiya ibn al-Noor, who provided a framework to deal with his experiences and mitigate the impact of his trauma. Part of his therapy involved getting 'back on the horse', not only so that his perceived failure didn't consume him but also to remove some familial pressure from less-than-sympathetic family members who had gone through similarly-difficult times without needing to take a break. His time with Security was over, however. He couldn't face the personal responsibility over other officers again, while he still worried that the first alert or (worse) a plasma fire would make him freeze.
An agreement was made for him to retrain into a different division so that he could get back to leading a team again, but with different responsibilities and tasks. His own focuses trended towards forensics, but his general training and previous leadership experience (and, loathe though he was to admit it, family connections) meant that he landed a department head spot on his return to duty, on the Nebula-class USS Endeavour. Ducote doubled down on his training in forensics and psychology enough to qualify to hang up his gold uniform in exchange for a blue one. He would maintain contact with Hadiya for the duration of his tenure on the cruiser.
The return to shipborne duty after so long on a starbase was a welcome one for him, and after a shaky start he forged good relationships with his peers and subordinates. His empathy in particular had been stunted by the aftermath of the attack on 147; he was unable to open his mind to receive the impressions of others to anything close to the same degree as before. He formed a fast relationship with Captain Amasov, whose perspective was instrumental to Ducote's recovery. Amasov had twice met the Borg in battle, and twice been present for horrendous casualties to be inflicted on both his own ship and the Fleet as a whole. The advice he was able to dispense to his newest transfer was invaluable to helping Ranaan come to terms with his own losses.
Gradually, Ducote found his feet again. At Amasov's recommendation, he undertook further training courses. While he had a fairly thorough knowledge of forensic techniques and theories, his general aptitude as a scientist was mediocre at best, and he wasn't really suited to be the Chief Science Officer on a ship like the Endeavour. There was, after all, only so much one could cram into a year at the Academy compared to the usual decade-or-more of training that most CSO's would end up putting into attaining such a position. However, thanks in no small part to the preparation suggested by the captain, he was ideally-placed to apply to replace the XO when she announced her departure from the ship's crew. Amasov accepted his application, and Ducote adapted to the challenges of looking after an entire ship's complement rather than an individual team or wider department. His empathy, damaged as it was, was still useful in administering personnel issues.
In his last year on the Endeavour, a transfer placed Blue Tiran in his Engineering department. Her service jacket told some interesting tales, mostly via the medium of citations and review comments from previous superiors, so he took a more active interest in her once she arrived than he might otherwise have. Interestingly, he couldn't find much fault with her conduct after she joined the crew, and the only thing the Chief Engineer could say in detraction was that she swore more than he did. Professional interest turned to a personal one, and he found a way past her rather colourful defences to get a better understanding of the prickly younger woman. Somehow, having someone else to think about who was possibly more broken than him helped - and his empathy made it plain to see that their meeting had been mutually beneficial.
Their relationship became romantic after a shore-leave visit to the rainforests of Peru on Earth, but the breach of fraternisation regulations was assuaged somewhat when she was promoted to Chief Engineer. The scuttlebutt surrounding quite how she'd achieved that promotion was fairly pointed. The nastier rumours died out fast enough, however, and they announced their engagement later in the year of 2380.
Early in 2381, the Endeavour was sent to a sector adjacent to the Azure Nebula to test a new sensor system intended to better detect quantum filaments, with the aid of several civilian scientists. They didn't get far with their experiments before the Borg attacked the ship. The opening salvo was devastating, all but crippling the ship in the first shots - and of course, the shots kept coming. Ducote himself wasn't on the bridge at the time of the attack, instead attending to a problem on one of the lower decks. One moment there was calm but for mediating a disciplinary matter, the next the alarm klaxons were blaring and the deck was heaving under him. It was enough to send him right back to Starbase 147 for an instant before reality reasserted itself.
Then the evacuation alarms sounded.
He headed straight for the crew quarters, directing people to the nearest escape pod racks as he went. He intercepted Blue (with Albert tucked under one arm) with some relief, before making sure she headed towards the pods through a safe section of the ship. There were still people to evacuate, and his conscience wouldn't allow him to leave until he knew no more could be saved. She extracted a promise from him to catch up, which he genuinely gave, and then they parted. Knowing Blue was safe (as she was going to get) was a great weight off his mind, and collecting the stragglers didn't take long. Ducote felt as if there should be more... before realising why there were so few.
Any remaining lifeboats were beyond his reach, however, due to collapsed corridors, hull breaches, or plasma fires. At length, he made his way to the shuttlebay, running down the final corridor only to bounce off the containment forcefield in the doorway that heralded a loss of atmosphere in the bay. He could just make out the tumbling mote that was the USS Niger - the science team's testbed runabout - in the distance through the open bay doors. Ducote gambled with his life, knowing the Endeavour´s shields were down but having no idea about the runabout, and drained some of the last of the ship's emergency power to site-to-site beam himself onto the shuttle.
Ducote materialised with not insubstantial relief and took charge of the situation. The hulk of the Endeavour hung in space, secondary explosions adding to the expanding debris cloud surrounding the ship, and he had to again confront the burden of losing people under his command. Amasov's years of influence on him helped him adjust his thinking, though, and he avoided a fit of despair. Instead, he planned to make the deaths count for something. They were still inside Federation space, which meant both that the lifeboats had a good chance of being rescued by friendlies and that those same friendlies would be in danger of Borg attack in turn. They had to try and warn any incoming ships of the exact scale of the danger they'd be in - but the task was complicated by the fact that their subspace communication array had been wrecked by damage sustained in the runabout's ejection from the Endeavour´s bay and precluded any attempt at long-range communication.
However, the partially-upgraded sensors on the Niger were capable of picking out the Borg warp trail against the background noise of the environment, and so the runabout went to trace it back to its origin inside the Azure Nebula. He couldn't abide the thought that his reunion with Blue might be in an assimilation chamber.
Personality profileStarbase 147. His sense of humour trended towards the dark after what he'd witnessed, but he would never claim to be above the odd incredibly-cheesy pun. Underneath his latter brittleness there was a core of determination; never once during his lowest moments of his leave from Starfleet did he consider resigning his commission. On the contrary, he worked hard to overcome the obstacles that had been placed in his way.
There were few lengths to which he would not go to defend those in his charge, though the degree to which his past guilt was to blame for it was up for debate.
Common to all those with at least one Betazoid parent, Ranaan retained their obsidian-black irises. Otherwise, he was fairly tall and solidly built; his early career in the more physical parts of Starfleet as well as his personal interest in sporting competition resulted in a good degree of physical fitness. He was fairly weathered by his outdoor pastimes and less-than-comfortable career, but he had managed to avoid any grievous or scarring injury on his own part as far as the destruction of the Endeavour.
His voice, always somewhat gravelly, became a little harsh after a few instances of inhaling metal vapours in the aftermath of the attack on 147, and carried a latin burr around the edges of his accent thanks to his native Portuguese.
The empathy endemic to most Betazoid-hybrids was damaged in Ducote; the trauma he suffered on Starbase 147 stunted his ability to detect and process the emotions of those around him. While some part-Betazoids could detect small groups or individuals from great distances, Ducote could only reliably sense people from a few dozens of metres away at best, and in ideal conditions. There were a small number of exceptions to this rule, most particularly in the case of Blue Tiran who he could sense at ranges close to his previous maximum, but otherwise his talents were unreliable.