Torvig was a Choblik, a diminutive race resembling deer with ostrich-shaped bodies and long tails, and equipped with bionic enhancements. The origins of the Chobik's bionic enhancements is lost to time, but the Choblik believe that their world, Choblav, was visted in its ancient past by beings known as the Great Builders, who introduced the cybernetics that gave the otherwise sub-sentient and armless animals greater dexterity and language capabilities.
He was assigned to the USS Titan in his senior year in order to complete the Academy's work-study cirriculum. In the early days of Titan's voyage, he perceived what he believed to be a human-centric chauvinism on Titan, despite the vessels intended goal of having the most racially diverse crew in Starfleets history. Torvig even made a wager with Arkenite Lieutenant Eviku that Captain Riker would give the ship's dedication plaque a human motto. Torvig lost the wager when Riker chose the Vulcan phrase Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. (TTN novels: Taking Wing; The Red King)
On board the Titan, Torvig felt the his cybernetic nature, similar in appearance to Borg technology, made others, particularly security chief Ranul Keru, uneasy. However, he reacted to this more with curiosity than distress, since Choblik emotional states are comparatively subdued thanks to their cyborg brains. Pragmatic and rational by nature, Torvig was nonetheless driven by a great, perhaps excessive enthusiasm for learning and experimentation. Wishing to know his crew better, the ever-empirical Torvig initiated a series of experiments using nanoprobes in order to test the limits of his shipmate's discomfiture, in hopes of alleviating it or at least understanding it better.
At first Keru, who had personal issues with the Borg, was enraged at the Choblik's behavior and wanted him brought up on charges. However, after getting to know and understand the little Choblik better, Keru eventually accepted the cadet's offered friendship. (TTN novel: Orion's Hounds)