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Although actually of mixed human and Betazoid heritage, Troi is one of many from her planet active in the Starfleet counselor corps and is ship's counselor for the U.S.S. Enterprise. Betazoids are known for their inter-species telepathy and their emotional empathy with most other species whether on board the ship, in a ship at close proximity or on the planet below. While such a capacity has heightened her counseling skills, they have also aided her captain's command mission decisions on several occasions, including hostile encounters, negotiations, and first-contact missions.

At a young age, Troi had been "genetically bonded" according to Betazoid custom to Dr. Wyatt Miller, the son of her late father's best friend. The Millers expected to carry out the arranged marriage in 2364, but Wyatt realized the woman he'd been imagining was a Tarellian plague victim and he left to help her people instead. Currently, Troi's closest family is her eccentric mother, Lwaxana Troi.

Following Starfleet Academy graduation she returned to her homeworld for advanced psychology studies at the University there, where she befriended the troubled Tam Elbrun during his treatments for stress.

It was also during this period when she met and enjoyed a deep romance with her "imzadi," Starfleet Lieutenant William Riker. Aside from her intended mate Wyatt Miller, Riker is the only other person she felt had the capacity to share full telepathic contact. They had planned to reunite six months after he left Betazed for the U.S.S. Potemkin in 2362, but his rapid career rise negated that and she eventually cooled to him. Despite latent feelings and her occasional use of the "imzadi" endearment, their professional life has remained largely platonic yet warm since their surprise reunion on the U.S.S. Enterprise two years later. Though the romance ended, the two have remained the closest of friends and occassionally their feelings for each other are rekindled.

Romantic attractions of her own have included genetically bred Genome Colony leader Aaron Conner, the deaf mediator Riva, a brief dating relationship with fellow officer Worf, and an intense fling with negotiator Devinoni Ral.

Owing to concern about her lack of command expertise during a crisis stint as senior bridge officer on the U.S.S. Enterprise, she successfully completed the Starfleet bridge command exam in 2370. She is also trained in languages and linguistics, often making her a valued first contact team member. During her early day Enterprise posting she had preferred wearing non-regulation clothing as a calming influence on those about her, but following temporary commander Jellico's order to don a uniform in 2369, she began to make it habit.

Troi has been pregnant once, though the 2365 incident involved a speeded-up cycle brought on by an alien wishing merely to live the experience. The boy, whom she named Ian after her father, resumed its normal noncorporeal form when his presence proved harmful to unstable cargo aboard and Troi felt the loss deeply.

Her career and Betazoid empathy have put Troi at risk during her career many times. She was abducted in a forced shuttlecraft crash in 2364 by the malevolent entity Armus on Vagra II, then barely survived abduction and surgical alteration in 2369 to pass as a Romulan Tal Shiar agent named Major Rakal aboard a warship to help that Empire's underground smuggle out two high-ranking defectors. And a year later she nearly committed suicide in the nacelle plasma stream when reacting to an empathic echo left by a murderous original builder of the Enterprise. Troi has also been telepathically assaulted by a troubled Ullian archivist, Jev, and later nearly died from hyperaging as the emotional dumping ground of the Lumerian envoy Ves Alkar.

Dessert is her favorite part of a meal, and one of her greatest favorites and weaknesses is chocolate. Paraphrasing Terran philosopher-humorist Will Rogers, she says "she never met a chocolate she didn't like" unless it might be the replicated variety; a Ktarian chocolate puff is her very favorite. She's also part of the officers' poker circle, and once beat Data at tri-dimensional chess.

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