Robert West was born in Denver, Colorado one month premature after his father beat his mother, prompting doctors to induce labour. His mother died in childbirth and his father rotted away in a Federation prison camp until his death 8 years later during a prison riot. With no other living family, Robert became the legal ward of the Federation, growing up in San Francisco at Federation HQ. There, he was more or less taken care of by the whole home base staff, who looked upon him as a sort of mascot. This bizzar arrangement set the tone for his life, which would turn out to be unlike most others. Since he never knew his parents, it did not both him that they weren't around. He was well taken care of and provided the best in education.
Robert learned to read at an amazingly young age and from that moment on, he was never found without a book. He read constantly on any and all subjects. But it was not until he was 12 years old that the staff made a startling discovery. Robert was found reading a book of Vulcan parables one day. Not only reading them, but speaking them in the native tongue and conversing in perfect Vulcan to a young child. It was through this that the staff discovered Robert's gifts: he was brilliant. A memory beyond photographic, Robert was able to not only recall everything he had ever read, but could recite it word for word. He had a knack for observation, able to see things differently than others and gain a better understanding of his surroundings. His mind was a steel trap: Calculating and Logical with room for spontaneous ingenuity. His problem solving skills were unmatched.
But so were his problems.
Robert entered the Academy with the intent of becomming an Investigator for Starfleet. At school he was not any definition of the word "social", prefering his work to friends, and he coasted through 4 years without breaking a sweat (and, indeed, without making a single friend or going on a single date). He spent the next two years in the advanced program and immediately was assigned to Starfleet HQ. Starfleet knew his talents and wanted him close to home, where they could put his annalytical powers to use.
Robert's talent produces and interesting effect. Normally, Robert is a very shy, very nervous individual who does not communicate very well and tends to fear others...until he's on the job. When he notices something, picks up the trail so-to-speak, he goes through a rapid and extraordinary personality shift. He suddenly becomes very confident, brash, sarcastic to those he has no patience for, and borders on arrogance. His superior, Commander Trammel, reffered to this change as Robert being "In the Zone". Once the task at hand is complete, the high he experiences as a result of doing what he loves most subsides, and he reverts back to his old self. This also occurs if he comes into contact with his greatest fear: space. While not schizophrenia, this odd condition has prompted Starfleet counsellors over the years to try and find some middle ground for him, personality-wise, that would make him easier to work with, and less unstable. The subdued side of Robert is clearly the dominant side.
Robert was very, very good at his job. He excelled at criminal investigations, he closed every case he was given, an unheard of feat, prompting the nickname "Kojak" to be bestowed upon him by his enthusiastic mentor/superior, Commander John Trammel. He was promoted twice for his good work, up to the rank of Lieutenant. But it was more out of nessessity than anything else. The sheer number of cases he closed warranted faster promotion. Indeed, he should have been a Commander by the time he was 30, but Robert's superiors found that they simply couldn't stand him. He had worn out his welcome after such a long time. His many quirks and irregularities grated on those he worked with, and it eventually landed him a "lateral shift" to the Miranda's security department as Head of Investigations. This change struck many as odd...considering Lt. West has a pathologically fear of space.
Robert likes his work and he likes books. That about covers it. He has a pathological fear of outer space and as such, is required to have no windows in his quarters and avoid windows whenever possible. He is painfully shy and is hard to talk to. He generally does not trust people, and is particularly shy and fearful around women. He has odd personality habbits that keep him inside a "bubble" of sorts. Getting to know him is a chore, and befriending him might just be impossible. No one has ever been able to stand him long enough. They are either too frustrated by his subdued side, or get turned off by his aggressive "in the zone" side.
When Robert is "in the zone", he is almost equally impossible to communicate with...let alone work with. He becomes brash and arrogant, and has no time or patience for those who don't see what he finds clearly obvious. While this side of his personality is the less dominant one, people get put off by it and tend to judge him for it. It is worth noting that Robert regrets every time it happens once the "high" wears off.