Dr. Nicole Vittoria Zoellner-McCoy was a renowned Starfleet physician and scientist in the 23rd and 24th centuries. She was the second wife of Dr. Leonard McCoy, twin sister of Captain Mark Zoellner, and adoptive mother of Sophia McCoy. Often restless, Nicole chose to spend much of her early Starfleet career serving on ships rather than in Starfleet Teaching Hospital. Her first role as a senior medical officer was as Assistant Chief Medical Officer of the USS Enterprise during its first five-year mission. It was at this time that she would meet her future husband, and she continued to serve aboard the Enterprise thoroughout much of the rest of her career.
Nicole Zoellner was born on October 13, 2232 in Pittsburgh, Pennslyvania to Tamara and Nick Zoellner, shortly followed by her twin brother, Mark. She spend the first few years of her life living in an apartment near the hospital where her father worked as a surgeon, and later chief of of medicine. The family later moved to a house in the Shady Side Neighborhood of Pittsgurgh. Her mother, Tamara, was an attorney, who had met her father while he had been working at a hospital in Florida. Nick Zoellner had once been a doctor in Starfleet, but the tragic death of his former fiance and many other crewwmembers on his ship from a disease he had been unable to cure had caused him to retire from the fleet. Despite this, Nicole held her father in the highest regard and considered him to be her biggest role model, claiming that she wanted to be a doctor just like him and join Starfleet.
Her first step in acheiving that goal was her education at Duquesne University, where she studied pre-med. She later went on to medical shool at Johns Hopkins before enrolling at Starfleet Academy. During her final year of medical shool, Nicole met Brian Marchinski, an antropology student three years her junior who also had plans to enlist in Starfleet. the Two dated for a little less than a year, and became engaged in 2259, during their first year at the Academy.
Academy Days and Early Starfleet Career
While at the Academy, Zoellner conducted her internship at the Starfleet Training Hospital, as well as earning a degree in space phsycology and xenobiology. In early 2261, Zoellner and sevearal other interns at the Training Hospital took part in the highly-classified development of an experimental treatment for an drug-resistant extraterrestrial virus that was believed to have been the result of earlier experiments in biological warfare. A plausible treatment was developed, but the Starfleet Science division threatened to cut the project's funding before it could be completed. With little time left to further study the virus and no chance at being able to conduct a clincal trial of the treatment, Zoellner and a few others volunteered to test it on themsleves.
The experiment backfired horribly, and Nicole found herself the victim of several life-threatening and unexpected symptoms. Unsure of what effect these symptoms would have on Zoellner's future health, the doctor in charge of the project cautiously released her from the hospital. But Nicole was back again in less than two months, and was discovered to have had an ectopic pregnancy. Zoellner deduced for herself that the sysptoms caused by the treatment were the cause, and she was later informed that she was infertile, unlikely to ever have children.
Nicole and Brian, who had been engaged for over two years by this point, had been having some relationship problems to begin with, but everything started to go downhill at this point. Following her ectopic pregnancy, Zoellner was diagnosed with mild post-traumatic stress disorder and a form of post-parnum depression, and was assigned to see a phsychiatrist. However, she didn't trust her phsychiatrist enough to tell him all about the events of the past months - the only people besides her fiance who knew the whole story were her brother Mark and her friend, Dr. Paul Benke, who had treated her while she was a patient - and soon ended her sessions. The sessions also did little to save her relationship with her fiance; in 2262, the day before the wedding, Brian never showed up for the rehersal, and left it up to his best man to deliver the message to the bride. Angry and heartbroken,Nicole would not see her ex-fiance again for nearly seven years.
Zoellner graduated from the Academy with honors in 2263, at a time when Starfleet was experiencing a severe lack of medical personel. She soon found herself frequently serving on starships when and wherever she was needed. Her dedication to her work and talent as a surgeon were soon recognized and she quickly moved up in rank, becoming a Lieutenant within a year of graduating. Despite having little time spent on Earth during her first two years, Nicole still managed to finish her research and earn her Ph.D. in Xenobiology in early 2264.
Near the end of that same year, Zoellner would serve a six-month mission - her longest mission until that time - as a junior medical officer aboard the USS Harcourt under Captain Aubrey Huxley. Although it was a small science vessel and the sickbay lacked an Assistant Chief Medical Officer, Nicole was forced to take up the mantle of Acting Chief Medical Officer when the ship's CMO was severely injured in action. Feeling empowered at her increased responsibility, Zoellner began to gain confidence in the role of a senior officer. She recieved an acomodation for her actions during the mission.
En route back to Earth at the end of the mission in 2265, Nicole recieved a personal request from Dr. Egglton, the Surgeon General of Starfleet, to discuss her placement upon her return. Egglton mentioned the USS Enterprise, which had just returned from a short mission and was being reoutfittede for its upcomming five-year mission. The ship's former CMO, Dr. Leonard McCoy, was to return for this mission, but it lacked an ACMO. Interested, Nicole met with McCoy, and was imediately intrieged by him. He showed interest in her work and in herself, but gave no imediate decision. Several weeks later, in July of that year, Zoellner recieved an official invitation from Dr. McCoy to join his medical team as Assistant Chief Medical Officer.