Early Years

While Rachel’s grandparents were caring people, they were poor and elderly, and unable to properly supervise the growing girl. Because she inherited the characteristic Deltan baldness from her father, Rachel was often the object of ridicule in school and in her grandparents’ ghetto neighborhood. Rather than hiding, or turning her humiliation inward, she learned at a young age to fight back. On the streets, she learned a bastardized version of karate, as well as how to wield a knife.

The neighborhood gangs were constantly harassing her, as well. The gang leaders, with their unconscious grasp of human psychology, pegged her as one of the many kids from the ghetto who would have a difficult time dealing with authority. And she was a natural fighter. A week didn’t go by when one or the other of the rival gangs didn’t put pressure on her to join. But Rachel was a loner. She didn’t want to have anything to do with the gangs, the police, her classmates, or even her grandparents. Despite this, she was almost pleased to discover she was gaining a reputation as someone who would stick up for the underdogs, someone who would help out people who were weaker.

One particular incident, when she was ten years old, drove this point home quite forcefully for her. In spite of her preference to be alone, she had a natural friendliness and charm that most people found hard to resist. Many of the older women in the neighborhood made a point of talking to her, making sure she had enough to eat, enough clothes to wear. No one had much to spare, but they liked sharing what little they had with the odd young child.

On her way home from school one day, she came across a couple of gang members – tough teenage boys – threatening one of the old grannies for her groceries and what little pocket change she had. Without thinking, she flew at them, screaming and fists flying, one hand curled aggressively around a tiny switchblade knife. At first the boys were surprised. Surprise turned quickly to laughter when they saw the lanky ten year old girl flying at them. But her rage swiftly convinced them of their error. They fled, but not before they realized Rachel meant business. The larger of the two boys required eighteen stitches to repair the gash she had left in his arm. Word spread quickly, and the gangs henceforth left the elderly of the neighborhood alone. They did not, however, let up on their efforts to recruit Rachel.

When she reached puberty, her Deltan heritage began causing even more trouble. Attracting a different kind of attention with her Deltan pheromones and her charm, she found she enjoyed the attention of the young men. That is, until one of her classmates tried to rape her when she told him she wasn’t interested. In her anger, she nearly killed him on the spot. It was fortunate for both her and her attacker that the school’s doctor happened to be walking across the parking lot at the time. Dr. Casteel was, at first, caught by Rachel’s pheromones and charm, but looked past these to the isolated child within. He and his wife took an interest in her, helping her to focus her energy in more constructive ways. With Dan’s assistance, Rachel’s family sought medical assistance to control her pheromones, and in the process learned that she was allergic to the Deltan pheromone-suppressing medication. Dan and Judy then worked with Rachel to help her learn various biofeedback techniques to control her pheromone levels.

Barely able to control her pheromones, she next discovered she had also inherited fairly strong telepathy reception skills from her father. During a final exam in her junior year of high school, she was convinced the boy behind her was talking about her out loud. She tried to ignore his comments, but they became more and more derogatory. Without warning, she turned around and had nearly choked him to unconsciousness before the instructor and other classmates could pull her off him. Dr. Casteel tried to intervene on her behalf, but she was expelled from the school. Fortunately, the boy’s family elected not to press charges against her.

Dan and Judy took Rachel in when it became clear that her grandparents were overwhelmed by the challenges of raising their half-Deltan granddaughter.

After being expelled from her high school, Rachel spent all of her time at the local library. Within a couple of months, she had passed the high school equivalency exam, and enrolled as a probationary student at the University of Illinois. To her astonishment and delight, when relieved of the pressures of gangs and violence in her own neighborhood, she discovered school was easy. After her first year of general classes, with a 4.0 average, her probationary status was lifted. She completed her remaining course work in another two years. Like her mother, she graduated first in her class with a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry.

© Kelly Naylor