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Annual Award Heroic This article, Aleksandra Zaytseva, was voted as the Heroic Article of 2016 in the 2016 Annual Halo Fanon Wikia Awards.


Annual Award Best UNSC Personnel This article, Aleksandra Zaytseva, written by Timothy Emeigh, was voted as the Best UNSC Personnel of 2016 in the Ninth Annual Halo Fanon Wikia Awards.


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"Why fear the inevitable? When it's time for the people you love to move on, the last thing you should do is hold them closer."
―Zhuang Zhou
Sasha Circa 2526
Aleksandra Dmitrievna Zaytseva
Biographical information
Homeworld

Biko

Date of birth

January 7, 2507

Civilian ID Number
  • Service Number: 10826-59214-AZ
  • UNSCMID: 7634490
Physical description
Rank

UNSC-N CommanderCommander (October 10, 2558)

Gender

Female

Height

170.9 cm (5'7")

Vehicles
Hair color

Blonde

Eye color

Blue

Cybernetics
Chronological and political information
Era(s)
Affiliation

United Earth Government

  [Source]

Lieutenant Commander Aleksandra Dmitrievna Zaytseva, also known as Sasha to her friends and holding the callsign Robot following her commission as a pilot, is a UNSC Naval aviator and former Marine. Born to a Russian family on Biko, Sasha grew up immersed in the culture of the region, learning Russian alongside the more common English. This lead to her possessing a heavy Russian accent in whichever language she is speaking.

One of the few humans to survive through the entire Human-Covenant War, Sasha was first deployed to fight the Insurrection, rather than the Covenant, as the alien hegemony had not yet made contact with Humanity. Originally quite outgoing and friendly, her time in the war has hardened Sasha. While still showing excellent teamwork, it is rare to find her enjoying conversation with anyone outside of her closest comrades in arms. While this has led to her having trouble getting to know any new team members, years of fighting aliens rather than other humans still allows for her to trust any other members of the UNSC Armed Forces as well as general UEG civilians, though the latter less so than the former.

Biography

Childhood (2507-2525)

Born just outside the capital city of Biko on January 7, 2507, to a Russian family, Sasha grew up immersed in the Russian culture of the farming community surrounding her family home. As such, her childhood saw many influences of Russian culture, such as learning Russian alongside English, growing up with Russian foods, and growing up under the care of her grandmother while her mother and father both worked.

However, after only a decade of her life, her father and older sister both grew to support the Insurrection on Biko. After Sasha's father's loyalties were discovered, he left Sasha and her mother, taking Sasha's older sister with him, leaving her mother to raise Sasha. Even though her mother was a SWAT officer, her love for her husband prevented her from reporting him, and, in her grief, she told Sasha that her father and sister had been killed by the Insurrectionists, rather than have her face the truth that they had betrayed the family, attempting to preserve their image in Aleksandra's mind.

Following this, Sasha lived the next eight years of her life growing up with a hatred of the Insurrection, and trained herself to be the best she could be so when she turned 18, she could enlist in the UNSC Marine Corps. Additionally, during this time, she learned how to pilot several air vehicles in order to help out with crop dusting and transportation of goods around the farming community, a skill set which would eventually contribute to her transferring to the Navy in the form of a Naval Aviator. Additionally, she spent plenty of time in the wilderness hunting and surviving during the colder months of the year when the farm wasn't producing food for the family, her mother being the type to save the money she earned in as many ways as possible. These skills also proved useful through Sasha's career in the military, including her time in SERE training and beyond.

Marine Corps Basic Training (2525)

As soon as she turned 18, Sasha aimed to enlist with the UNSC Marine Corps, doing so as soon as she finished her final year of secondary education, shipping out to Unified Combined Military Boot Camp soon after. During this 13 week period, Sasha quickly learned that, even with her training over the past eight years of her life, which certainly left her better off to face the harsh conditions and drill instructors, this official training was still a large challenge to overcome, with the instructors seeking to not only physically and intellectually prepare the recruits for the duties of a UNSC Marine, but also strip independence and selfish thought from the recruits, training them to think of their friends and fellow soldiers around them first, rather than themselves.

Receiving Week

The harsh training began as soon as the recruits, including Aleksandra, arrived at the training depo on Biko, with the group facing receiving week, including in-processing, haircuts, uniform and gear issuance, and medical evaluations, as well as undergoing the initial strength test and meeting the drill instructors. From the moment she stepped off the Pelican, she was running, double-timing it to the first formation of the recruits, learning to stand at attention. Following this, the recruits filed into the training facility to begin their transformation into UNSC Marines. The rest of the week presented Sasha with finishing off the other administrative tasks, including the initial fitness test, which Sasha easily passed, even surpassing the requirements for the maximum score in the pull-ups and three-mile run, before being separated into her platoon and meeting her three drill instructors.

Phase One

After the conclusion of the receiving week, Aleksandra and the other recruits entered phase one of the recruit training. For the first three weeks of this phase, the second to fourth week total, Sasha received the most basic skills of a UNSC Marine, including classroom style instructions on military history, customs and courtesies, basic first aid, uniforms, leadership and the core values of the UNSC Marine Corps. Additionally, she trained extensively throughout the day to practice with both close order drill and marine martial arts, made up of moves from various martial arts styles known to humanity. All of this was done with the other recruits in her platoon, instilling within Sasha certain ideas, such as putting the team, rather than herself, first, reinforced by the removal of "I", "me", and "my" from her vocabulary for the duration of the training.

By the fifth and six of the training, the recruits were ready to begin training for swimming, micro-gravity, and vacuum training. For the first week of this section, the recruits started off every day with swimming physical training, rather than the morning PT of the other weeks. Sasha excelled at this section, having frequently visited the beach during her time off over the summers on Biko. As such, she was an excellent swimmer, and her strength allowed her to quickly adjust to swimming in full gear and quickly stripping excess weight.

By the end of week five, the recruits in Sasha's platoon were all ready to move on to micro-gravity and vacuum training. As a group, they were each fitted for Vacuum suits, and then shuttled up to one of Biko's orbital stations for this week of training. For the rest of the week, they were living in zero-g conditions, having to work out a lot more than normal to get used to keeping up body mass. Additionally, vacuum exercises were carried out every day in their vacuum suits to prep them for potential combat in EVA conditions. Following the end of this week, the recruits returned to the planet's surface to continue training, entering phase two.

Phase Two

On the first day of week seven, the recruits complete their first written test and competed against the other platoons in drill exercises. While she wasn't the best in either category, Sasha still performed admirably in each, completing and passing the examination. For the rest of the week, the recruits faced rappelling and gas mask training, undergoing the often dreaded gas chamber exercise. However, Sasha once again made it through the challenges with minimal complications, not struggling any more than any other average recruit.

Entering into week eight, Sasha and the other recruits in her platoon faced weapons training, specifically marksmanship practice and qualifications. The first two days were spent laying, sitting, and standing at the firing range, hours at a time, learning the operation, sighting, and feel of their weapons, including both the prototype XBR55 and the MA5 rifles. From the third day on, the firing exercises began, giving the recruits four days to practice and requiring them to qualify by the fifth additional day, or the final, seventh day of the week. Having used weapons before, Sasha only had to get used to the slight variations in the military weapons from what she had used previously, and qualified in marksmanship proficiency by the third day of firing exercises, using the last two to get better and increasing her rating.

Using the next week to slow down the physical side of training and begin working on teamwork, the Drill Instructors introduced Sasha and her platoon to week nine, or team week. Throughout the week, the recruits took a break from the nonstop training and, instead, helped out around the training facility, giving them the recovery time their bodies needed to develop, as well as providing a way to keep the facilities clean and introduce lessons into teamwork. By giving the recruits tasks that they would be unable to complete by themselves as individuals, the DI's hoped to, once again, instill the importance of teamwork in the recruits, including Aleksandra. As the week progressed, the platoon saw themselves getting better at working together, more willing to do difficult and tedious tasks, and willing to work hard to get the job done. By the end of the week, the recruits had completed their tasks, from laundry to janitorial duties, and were ready to move onto the third and final phase of their training.

Phase Three

Week ten, the start of Phase Three, introduced Sasha and the rest of her platoon to the first real combat training they had to face during their time in basic training. Continuing from week eight, the marksmanship lessons they were taught on the range were transferred to the field, with the drill instructors focusing on marksmanship in a combat situation. Additionally, they faced land navigation and orienteering challenges and training in how to cope with the stress and move under enemy fire. During the next week, Sasha faced more practical examinations, completing another physical fitness examination, once again passing with a score close to the maximum. Following this, the recruits complete the obstacle course on the grounds of the training depot, designed to instill confidence in the recruits, one final time. By the end of the week, the recruits were in the toughest shape they had been since they got to the training site.

Week 12, the penultimate week, presented the Marines with yet another physical fitness test, though Sasha and the other members of her platoon also had to complete a written test on Marine Corps history, regulations, and spirit. Acing both of these, as well as completing the final drill inspection with her platoon, Sasha moved on with the rest of the passing recruits in her platoon to the final challenge they would face during their training, a 60 hour field event to fully exam everything they had learned and trained for during the weeks of basic training. Surviving the course and passing the Drill Instructors' expectations, Sasha and the other members of her platoon completed their final hike during the last few hours of the field event and were presented their Marine Corps insignia, signifying that they had completed their training and were now officially UNSC Marines.

The final week of the training served to give the new Marines a chance to complete administrative tasks, demonstrate what they had learned to the public through a close order drill activity, and face final inspection by their commanding officers. Additionally, the families of the recruits were allowed to visit the new Marines, an opportunity that Sasha's mother took up, congratulating her daughter on the day of graduation. Following her graduation on August 3rd, 2525, Sasha was given the rank of Private and given ten days of leave to gather her belongings and say her goodbyes to her mother, before being shipped to the military base in Durban to continue her training on the job for a few more weeks prior to being shipped out.

Durban Military Base (2525)

Arriving at the Durban Military base on August 13th, 2525, Private Zaytseva was assigned to the training platoon on the base, settling in to Barracks C. Over the next few weeks, Zaytseva participated with her new platoon in active combat training, a combination of daily PT and combat simulations using tactical training rounds, simulated battlefields, and simulated battlefield sounds. This training culminated in a mock deployment during the second week of September. However, two days into this mock deployment, the group received word that the military base was under attack by insurrectionist forces. Having used the decreased forces at the base to their advantage, the insurrectionist forces had managed to take over much of the base. Though left with limited live rounds, Zaytseva and the rest of her platoon and training instructors were forced to return to the base and attempt to retake it, as there weren't any other forces in range to respond quickly.

Gearing up in UNSC Body Armor, including a gas mask due to rumors of the insurrectionists using chemical weapons, an M6C, and an XBR55, having scored highest in the use of the battle rifle of the new Marines in her platoon. Approaching the base with the rest of her platoon, the group was forced to begin their assault without analyzing the situation very much due to instantly coming under heavy fire, including from a sniper. Rushing the base, approximately half of Zaytseva's platoon was killed, with the rest splitting up into fireteams to clear the base. Sasha's fireteam was tasked with exterminating the sniper and, as such, made their way through the base to the highest point, an overwatch bunker on the hill in the northwest corner of the base.

However, as the team advanced, a Scorpion commandeered by the insurrectionists managed to separate the team, leaving Sasha alone, closest to the overwatch bunker, and the rest of her fireteam pinned down. Ordered to continue on, Sasha managed to avoid the tank and make her way into the building leading up to the bunker, advancing slowly. Arriving at the sniper's location, out of ammo for her battle rifle, Sasha managed to get a shot off at the insurrectionist. However, just before shooting, she realized that the sniper was her sister and threw her aim off on purpose. Unfortunately, her shot didn't miss completely, clipping the side of her sister's head. Sasha called for a medic and, unable to stay with her sister due to the insurrectionists retreating to her position, Sasha fled out of the other side of the bunker, looping back around and rejoining the remaining dozen or so members of her platoon.

Pushing back into the bunker, the survivors of Sasha's platoon found that the insurrectionists had fled with the chemical weapons, leaving the base back in UNSC hands. This left the base in the hands of the survivors of Sasha's training platoon, their surviving training instructors, and the portion of the Marines that were stationed at the base and recovered from the original battle. Leaving the training platoon, with the real battle being viewed as a substitute for finishing off her combat training, Sasha was stationed on the base permanently to replace the people lost during the fight.

Retrieving the Chemical Weapons (2525)

With the base retrieved for the UNSC, the commanding officers of the base began working on how to retrieve the stolen chemical weapons. Eventually, after a month, the weapons were located in a known insurrectionist stronghold in the plains outside of Durban. Now with reason to attack the base, battle plans were drawn up, and Sasha's new platoon was assigned to carry out the assault. Gearing up with a DMR and M6D for this battle, Sasha loaded into a Pelican with her fireteam and another, deploying to the savanna in late November.

Upon arrival at the facility, already under assault by UNSC aircraft, Sasha and the other marines were deployed to take the weakened base from the ground. Advancing on the facility, the platoon quickly managed to surround the building in which the chemical weapons were being held. Taking out the insurrectionist personnel defending the structure with minimal casualties, Sasha's fireteam, alongside two others, made their way into the structure while the rest of the platoon focused on securing and holding the insurrectionist compound. Managing to make their way through the storage facility, the three fireteams took out the remaining insurrectionist forces inside, arresting several members and securing the chemical weapons. Unlike the defense of the Durban Military Base, this assault saw very few UNSC casualties and no deaths, mainly due to the airstrikes weakening the base, the superior UNSC technology, and the element of surprise. Additionally, the insurrectionist forces at the base did not include Sasha's sister, who had been taken to another stronghold to recover from her wounds.

Additional Training (2525-2526)

Upon the arrival back at the Durban Military Base, Sasha was informed by her Commanding Officer that UNSC command wanted more Force Recon Marines developed. Due to her actions during the past two fights and lack of formal unit, the command staff wanted her to be one of the individuals to go through three rounds of training required to be a Recon Marine: the UNSC Army Airborne School; UNSC Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School, Level C; and the UNSC Marine Corps Combatant Diver Course. Accepting the offer and making sure the proper waivers were filled out to allow her to attend these schools prior to the basic recon training, Sasha was given until the following Sunday, the twenty-fifth of November, less than a week away, to prepare, after which she was shipped out to the UNSC Army Airborne School on Biko.

Airborne School

Arriving on the same day, she was checked in and assigned her training platoon, locker, and bunk. The next morning, the first week of Airborne school, known as "ground week" began. This first week is designed to prepare the students for proper landing techniques and general familiarization with the parachutes available to those who graduate from the Airborne school—round or square chutes with static line extraction and relatively slow descent. The familiarization aspect of this includes learning how to use the special training equipment and properly equip the parachute harnesses. The landing techniques portion, the majority of the time taken by this week, is spent jumping from towers of various heights into pits of sand or pebbles—simulating landing on various terrains at various speeds—and practicing the proper methods of transferring energy from the landing up the sides of the lower legs and knees up through the rest of the body. This phase is overseen by the instructors to correct the techniques of the students and make sure no one injures themselves. Week one culminates in practice from a zip-line-like assembly to practice these techniques with varying degrees of lateral movement. Sasha managed to pass all of these tests as well as the standard Army physical fitness exam and thus was approved to move on to week two of the jump training.

During the second week, also known as "tower week," Zaytseva and the rest of the trainees were drilled in the mechanics of the actual jump, including things such as emergency procedures, mass exit procedures, and the limited steering techniques available to these types of chutes. These skills were then put to test through mock door trainers, swing landing and suspended harness trainers, and finally the namesakes of the week—a series of towers of various heights, designed to train the usage of the parachute through actual drops. Successfully passing through the week, including a parachute failure and having to properly deploy the reserve chute using the emergency procedures drilled earlier, Sasha was cleared to move on to the final week of Airborne school with the majority of her training platoon, only a few trainees failing at this point.

Having completed the past two weeks, Aleksandra moved on to the third and final week: jump week. With the majority of the training out of the way, this week served as the final round of tests before graduation, taking the form of a series of five jumps, including one night jump, mixed between unloaded jumps for the first two and loaded "combat" jumps for the final three. Additionally, much like family day of basic training, family members were allowed to come to visit and observe the jumps, attend graduation, and finally spend a few minutes pinning the wings on their child's uniform, an opportunity that Sasha's mother took up, arriving for the fourth and fifth drops that Aleksandra completed to earn her graduation. At 0900 on Friday morning, the graduation ceremony commenced and Sasha spent a few minutes with her mother receiving her wings and simply talking with her. However, this was somewhat short-lived as she was scheduled to ship off to her SERE training later that day.

SERE Level-C School

Arriving late on Friday, the fourteenth of November, she was checked in much like with the Airborne school and given Saturday relatively free to rest and prepare for the start of the training over the next three weeks. Unlike Airborne school, however, the three phases of instruction weren't evenly suspended over the three weeks, with the first phase lasting ten days, the second five, and the final six.

Starting on Sunday, Sasha moved into the first phase of SERE Level-C training, consisting of academic instruction on the Code of Conduct and SERE techniques through both classroom lectures and hands-on experience in field craft. Sasha excelled in this section of the course, especially during the field craft sections, though she did pay particular attention in the classroom session that was taught by a former POW who had been taken prisoner and interrogated by insurrectionists during Operation: TREBUCHET. As was to be expected, she passed through this phase and into the second (and perhaps most exciting) phase of her training.

During the second week, Sasha was sent out with a few other Marines from her training platoon in a five-day field survival exercise. During this week of training, she and the others she was with were tasked with avoiding tracking dogs and hostile forces over a large distance in the wilderness, having to construct small evasion fires and survival structures as well as gather food and water. Making use of her time hunting and living off the land as a child, Sasha proved quite useful to her small group of trainees in regards to gathering food and constructing shelters, while the other members contributed in the form of various camouflages and methods of evading the pursuing dogs. Working together, the trainees managed to last through the five days without ever being caught by the dogs and reached their objective, allowing them to move on to the next phase of her training.

During the final six days, Sasha was taken with the rest of the trainees to the facility's mock prisoner of war camp. During the next six days, she was put through a regimen of interrogation, both individual and collective, to test her resolve and ability to resist such techniques through the application of the UNSC Armed Forces Code of Conduct in a realistic captivity simulation. Though her time during this week was tough, Sasha managed to apply what she had learned to that point to pass through successfully, albeit tired and hungry as hell by the end of the week. As such, she was given Sunday the twenty-third of December to decompress and recover before being briefed the next day and graduating with the other members of her training class that had passed. Unlike the short ceremony of Airborne school, this graduation saw Sasha and the other recruits being debriefed about their performance, receiving individual and group feedback to solidify the skills they had learned and constructive criticism to correct areas in which they had been lacking.

Given the rest of the week to spend back home with her mother, Sasha wasn't shipped out again until Saturday the twenty-ninth after four days at home. On this day, she was sent back out for more training, this time the eight week Marine Corps Combatant Diver course.

Combatant Diver Course

Sasha arrived at the Combatant Diver course later that evening, with the course beginning the next day, Sunday, December 30.

Battle of Biko (2526)

Early on March 26, 2526, the UNSC forces around the planet detected an incoming object in slipspace. However, by the time they realized what was happening, the Covenant had already arrived in the system, quickly move to engage the UNSC Navy forces in orbit. Landing forces at the same time, the Battle of Biko officially began, and Sasha was scrambled for the defense of Durban. Arriving in the city by midday, Sasha and the other forces in her platoon were immediately engaged by Banshee fire, stalling their warthogs and sending the troops to take cover in the buildings. Holding out against the Covenant forces until late at night, Sasha exemplified her resourcefulness at scouting, managing to call out several key targets for the snipers in her company as well as leading a flanking charge behind the alien ground forces, taking out her first Elite in the process. However, the aliens pushed back, and by dusk, the human forces were being forced further into the city, cutting off their escape.

However, shortly afterward, Insurrectionist forces from outside the city joined in the conflict, paving their way through a weaker portion of the Covenant lines from behind, joining with the Marine forces. After an initial portion of confusion, the UNSC and Insurrectionists managed to team out to push out of the city and reach a warthog deployment sent to provide evacuation. Among these forces was Sasha's sister, whom the young marine teamed up with, only barely managing to survive the assault of an energy sword-wielding Elite due to the sniper fire of her sister. Shortly after this, with the surviving civilians loaded up in the warthogs and heading for the evacuation vessels, Sasha retreated with the remaining marines and her sister, running to reach the warthogs herself. However, during this retreat, her sister was killed, and Sasha, already in a vehicle, was forced to leave her behind, with only a family necklace heirloom to keep her memory.

Dozing for much of the Warthog ride, having completely exhausted herself during the battle, Sasha slipped into a sleep-like state, with memories of her past flowing together into a dream combining her major interactions with her sister up to that point, most likely brought about by her sister's recent death. However, this period of rest was cut short when the Warthog was attacked upon nearing the evacuation zone. Thrust once more into combat, Sasha sprung into action against the Covenant cutting them off from their escape. Fighting bravely, down to her last bullet, Sasha even killed several Covenant with her combat knife before a hole in the enemy lines was created. Down most of their men, Sasha and her platoon were ordered to push through the gap and make a break for the evacuation vehicles. During this charge, Sasha proved herself quite useful by distracting the nearby Covenant forces with a few grenades and the Warthog's machine gun, allowing many of her fellow soldiers to escape through the gap.

Now out of ammo and one of the few remaining UNSC marines left cut off from escape, Sasha and the others who had volunteered to stay behind made their own break through the lines, relying on their speed and stealth to make it through the overwhelming Covenant forces to the last remaining Pelican, with all of them fully expecting to die. However, through a combination of skill and luck, Sasha and one other marine managed to break through the line and make it to the final dropship, boarding it just before it took off, though sustaining many injuries, mainly plasma burns, in the process. As the dropship left the surface and made it to the evacuating UNSC vessels in orbit, the planet was glassed below them. However, Sasha missed this glassing, as she was unconscious and being treated by a medic on the dropship by this point. Immediately following the Pelican's docking with a UNSC frigate, Sasha was placed in a cryo-tube to keep her alive until the vessel arrived at a medical facility which could adequately treat the injuries she had sustained.

Medical Treatment and Force Recon Training (2526)

Arriving at the UNSC Hopeful by late April 2526, Sasha was transferred from the frigate she was evacuated on to the hospital ship. Here she received extensive treatment for the next several months, recovering from the extensive wounds over a period of several months, large portions of which were spent in cryosleep due to overcrowded hospital wards requiring the patients to be shifted around, with those not able to be treated right away being stabilized in the cryo tubes. However, despite the slow healing process, Sasha fully recovered, regaining full authorization for combat by late June. However, at this time, a UNSC Marine Corps Force Recon recruiter contacted her, offering her a position in the upcoming training camp for the program due to the skills she had shown during the Battle of Biko and the training she had received prior. Accepting, Sasha was transferred to the Force Recon section of Reach's Military Wilderness Training Preserve. Arriving by the twenty-seventh of May, Sasha was thrust straight into the Basic Reconnaissance Primer Course, a five-week course preparing all new recon trainees for the physical and mental demands of the recon training. Completing this by the twenty-eight of June with passing marks, Sasha was given the weekend off to rest and prepare for the next portion of her training, the nine-week Basic Reconnaissance Course, which began the following Monday, the first day of July.

Phase One

This phase of the training, lasting for four weeks, focused on individual fitness skills, from running and high repetition PT to rucking and land navigation. Over the four weeks, the Marines selected for the Force Recon training were sent through a heavily demanding schedule of each of these factors, with PT in the morning every day, alternating muscle group focuses, followed by running or rucking, alternating by day with Sunday being reserved for the obstacle course. Land navigation courses during the weekdays and swimming exercises on the weekends took up the afternoons, being replaced with extravehicular exercises on the last week. Finally, the evenings were reserved for communication, supporting arms, and dropship deployment exercises. Breakfast was provided after PT, lunch after the morning running or rucking, and dinner just before the evening exercises. Overall, while the aim of these four weeks was to push the candidates harder than they had been before, giving them just a few hours of sleep each night, Sasha and the rest of her training platoon all did well, making it through the first few weeks with relatively few failures or incidents.

Phase Two

The next phase of the training, lasting three weeks, split the platoon down into smaller teams, six marines in each. Over the first week and a half, these teams were pushed through various small unit tactics exercises and mission planning, all building up to the final nine-day full mission profile exercise. It was during this phase that Sasha found the most difficult, having to adapt from exclusively taking orders and shooting at the targets to learning how to assist in the mission planning as well as when it was appropriate to not shoot and remain hidden, with the focus on gathering intel. Despite her initial struggles, by the end of the training portion of Phase Two, Sasha had caught up with the rest of her team, reaching a level of competence required for her to maintain her position in the program. It was now when she and her team faced their nine-day mission exercise.

On the sixth day of the second week, Sasha's team was brought into the mock command center set up for this exercise and was given their mission. They were to deploy into the wilderness of the preserve "behind enemy lines" (in reality, this was a mock insurrectionist compound set up and staffed by trainers), remain there for seven days, gathering intelligence on the operations of the "enemy" while avoiding detection and interfering with any significant threats posed by the "enemy", and return to the compound for a debriefing on the final day. They were given the rest of this first day to plan and supply themselves for the deployment before gathering at one of the Pelican dropships at 2200 hours and taking off for a night drop.

Meeting at the Pelican at the designated time, Sasha boarded the dropship with the rest of her team, strapping into their Falcon Wing parachutes and checking each other to make sure their pack was secure. Lining up at the back of the Pelican, the door opened over the drop zone and the squad jumped out from a high altitude, descending most of the way towards the surface before pulling their chutes, navigating just over the trees to land on the beach of a lake. Removing and gathering their chutes, stashing them under the brush along the edge of the forest, the Sasha and her team gathered up about a kilometer into the woods to provide them with some cover as they went over their plan and consolidated their gear.

Following these plans, the team headed out towards the edge of the "insurrectionist" patrolled area, staying hidden within the forest. Spending a few hours scouting around the perimeter, the team regrouped a kilometer away from the edge of the patrolled area at 0200 hours to set up a campsite to operate out of and settle in for the night, with each member taking an hour of watch until 0700 hours, at which point the squad awoke once more and returned back to the border of the "insurrectionist" area, taking the day to keep watch over the actions of the camp and gathering intel on any potential "missions" that may be in the works. Once nighttime fell again, they returned to their campsite and spent the night, waking up at 0500 hours the next morning. This continued for a large part of the week-long deployment, not changing until the second to last day.

While the morning routine started out similarly to the rest of the week, things changed about halfway through the afternoon. While scouting the road leading out of the "insurrectionist" compound, Sasha's equipment detected radioactive material just inside the gate. Moving to get a closer look, she managed to get a video of several nukes being loaded onto a transporter Warthog. Calling in the rest of her team, Sasha explained the situation to them alongside the road a few hundred meters down from the compound, and the six developed a plan to take out the Warthog, deeming the threat of nukes too great to simply report back at the conclusion of their missions.

Setting up alongside either side of the road, the team prepared for an ambush of the Warthog as it went past. Well away from the compound, in order to prevent being detected, the trainees kept the sights of their rifles, MA5K's with tactical training rounds, on the road, where they had deployed a few training mines, specifically designed to interface with the specific Warthog's engine and disable it. As the Warthog went past with the nukes, it ended up disabled from the mines. At this point in time, Sasha and the rest of her team cleared the vehicle and its escort of targets. Moving in, the more technically inclined members of her team disabled the nukes, which were revealed to simply be training models of real nukes, designed to give off a misleading radioactive signal, and "repaired" the Warthog, disabling the GPS on it and returning with it to their campsite. Spending the night at the campsite, the team returned to the compound for one final round of scouting and intel gathering, before returning to the campsite, packing their gear into the Warthog, and using it to return to the training complex the next morning, reporting in. Following a debrief in the command center, the team was dismissed for dinner that night and approved to move on to phase three.

Phase Three

The final phase of the training, lasting for two weeks, focused on training in space and air navigation (utilizing Pelican dropships), deployment methods, and reconnaissance upon landing. Utilizing the techniques that had been learned over the past seven weeks and developing new skills, Sasha's team was once more put to the test in Phase Three. However, by this point, the training was less intensive than previous phases and the team had developed teamwork skills and individual abilities over the course of the training. As such, each mission progressed rather smoothly and, by the end of the second week, Sasha and her team were all approved for graduation from the training, gaining their certifications as Force Recon operatives. This graduation occurred on September 1, 2526.

Harvest Campaign (2526-2528)

Following the completion of her training, Sasha, assigned as a slack man on a more experienced team, was sent to Harvest to reinforce the ground assets on the planet. Arriving in the system on September 20, 2526, and breaking through the Covenant ships in orbit to land, Sasha and her team were immediately thrust into battle, deploying into the ruins of Tigard along with several other Force Recon teams to reconnoiter the area and determine Covenant strength. Spending about a week in the glassed rubble of the city, the teams were able to report the locations and activities of a the remaining Covenant forces, which seemed to be searching for something, providing the intelligence needed for the other Marine Corps forces on the surface to retake the area and establish a forward operating base.

After the establishment of the base, on September 23, 2526, Sasha was promoted to Lance Corporal, remaining with the rest of her team. While the Marines that had established the base outside of Tigard were permanently stationed at the facility, Sasha, and her team, being Force Recon, were immediately deployed to scout out other areas which the UNSC were attempting to retake, with the strikes slowly working their way in towards the glassed ruins of the capital city of Utgard. They were able to do so for several more settlements, such as Gladsheim, over the next few months, allowing the UNSC to retake much of the planet from the Covenant ground forces. However, on May 30th, 2527, Covenant ships showed up in orbit around Harvest once more. Quickly gaining control of the space around Harvest, the ships began glassing even more of the planet's surface and pushing back UNSC forces. The Covenant deployed more ground forces to the surface of the planet which began scouring the world for Forerunner artifacts and assaulting the retreating UNSC troops.

On their way back to the FOB, Sasha and her team, along with two others, became the target of one such assault. Quickly surrounded by a group of Covenant forces, two-thirds of the platoon was wiped out before the six surviving members, including Sasha, were finally able to finish off the attacking aliens. Taking over the radio, as both the radio operator and assistant radio operator for her team had been killed, Sasha managed to call for reinforcements from the FOB. Upon their arrival, the reinforcements aided Sasha and the other remaining Recon Marines in fighting off the Covenant forces. Upon returning to the Forward Operating Base on June 2, 2527, Sasha was promoted to Corporal and assigned as the new radio operator for the new team formed from the surviving Recon Marines. She and her new team were then permanently stationed to the FOB as one of the three Force Recon Teams making up Third Force Reconnaissance Platoon, the other two teams coming in as reinforcements and the support staff remaining from the previous iteration of the platoon.

Over the next year, the Marines at the forward operating base managed to keep the Covenant from overrunning the position, but, despite the effort of Sasha and the rest of her platoon, were unable to effectively use the information gathered by the recon teams to gain much ground either. The result was a cycle of pushes into nearby cities followed by retreats due to either superior Covenant ground forces or strategic glassing by the Covenant ships in orbit. While the mainline Marines were slowly dropping in numbers, the Force Recon platoon stationed at the FOB was able to remain largely undetected and took no casualties for a full twelve months stationed at the FOB. However, this changed on July 14, 2528, when, on a recon mission into a nearby town, Sasha's team was spotted by a Covenant strike force. While Sasha and three other members of her team were able to survive and report back to the forward operating base, the Team Leader and Assistant Team Leader were killed during the firefight. As such, upon arrival back at the FOB the next day, Sasha was promoted to Sergeant and assigned as the Assistant Team Leader of her team, now behind the previous Point Man, who had been promoted to Staff Sergeant and Team Leader. The empty spots of Slack Man and Assistant Radio Operator went unfilled for a few weeks, and, as such, Third Force Reconnaissance Platoon was down to two teams rotating out members until they could be reinforced back up to full strength.

These reinforcements arrived in August in the form of relief units. Replaced with other Force Recon units on the ground, Sasha's team was reorganized and given a brief period of rest and recovery as they were transferred to Madrigal and reassigned to try to quell the lingering insurrectionist forces on the world before the Covenant attacks across the Outer Colonies inevitably reached the world.

Fall of Madrigal (2528)

Unfortunately, due to the unpredictable nature of slipspace travel times, the ship didn't arrive at Madrigal until early December 2528, leaving them little time to do anything else beyond deploying to the surface before the Covenant attacked the world. Before she even had the chance to face the Madrigal insurrectionists in combat, Sasha found herself and her team working alongside the rebel forces. During the fight, her team took up the task of scouting the various Covenant landing sites on the planet while the insurrectionists worked on evacuating the civilian population of the world. Unfortunately, unlike the lengthy campaign on Harvest, and despite the preparations made, by around Christmas, the Covenant had broken through most of the planetary defenses and had started glassing portions of the world while forces on the ground outside these sites finished off human resistance. Forced into conventional fighting, Sasha and her team were eventually pushed back into Nueva Lima and, by December 29, had been forced to evacuate from the world with the withdrawing UNSC forces. After breaking through the Covenant fleet glassing the world relatively easily, many individuals on the ship took the time to watch the world get glassed, though Zaytseva chose not to. Escaping the system, the ship carrying Sasha and her team was ordered to Arcadia and made the slipspace jump early in the morning on December 30. During this jump, Sasha and her team remained in cryosleep.

Arcadia (2529-2531)

Once again delayed during the slipspace jump, Zaytseva found herself awakening from cryosleep about six months later in mid-June 2529 to deploy to the surface of Arcadia with her team, transferred to one of the force recon platoons there during the jump. Arriving on the surface, they were given approximately half a month of rest and recuperation time before cycling back fully into the new platoon. However, upon arriving and checking in with her platoon CO, she was informed of a new mass-training cycle coming up on the planet for recon team leaders and potential team leaders who needed additional qualifications. Matching this description, she spent the last days of June and first days of July planning which qualifications she would need. Settling on free fall, static jumpmaster, recon team leader, pathfinder, JTAC, urban recon and surveillance, dynamic assault, boat raid, pelican rope suspension techniques, deep infiltration and extraction, and methods of entry/breacher. With this decision made, she packed up her gear again and shipped out for free fall training, arriving on July 3, 2529.

Military Corps Free-Fall Parachutist Course

Upon arrival at the four-week course, Sasha was cycled into the training group and completed all the administrative tasks required to progress through the weeks ahead. Besides this logistical work, the first week focused largely on preparing the students for the actual jumps that would take place during the last three weeks. This first week combined hands-on experiences with the parachute packs, classroom lectures about the various freefall operations the UNSC Armed Forces carried out, and time in the school's vertical wind tunnel, which was utilized to drill the students on how to properly stabilize their body in conditions similar to those that would be faced during freefall jumps. Still a quick learner, Sasha managed to learn these skills within the first few demonstrations along with several of the other students, allowing the group to advance through the first week relatively smoothly, wrapping up on July 7, ready to begin the actual jumps.

The next day, the first of ten cycles over the next two and a half weeks began. These cycles, consisting of three jumps each, focused on training various jump profiles in various conditions and equipment loads, starting with the simplest conditions and no loads beyond the uniform and parachute and extending further to inclement weather with full combat loads from higher altitudes. Additionally, these field exercises provided situational training for aircraft, exit, and emergency procedures in a live, practical situation rather than a classroom setting like the first week covered. By the end of the training cycle, Sasha had completed her thirty training jumps and had grown well-versed in these procedures as well as the execution of both High Altitude-High Opening (HAHO) and High Altitude-Low Opening (HALO) procedures. Receiving her Military Freefall Parachutist Badge on Saturday, July 30, 2529, Sasha spent a week handling on-base duties before moving on to the next training program in her scheduled cycle—the UNSC Army Jumpmaster School—on August 8. This time on base was also spent reviewing the nomenclature guide in preparation for the exams she would d face as well as completing the last of her required twelve static line jumps for the requirement to enter the Jumpmaster school, simultaneously ensuring she had completed a static line jump in the 180 days prior to the course.

UNSC Army Jumpmaster School

While the course was not set to begin until August 8, Sasha arrived at the Jumpmaster School facility two days prior on the 6th in order to hand in her paperwork and receive her room assignment at the fort for the following three weeks. She spent the following Sunday studying further before reporting for her first day of classes. After the final in-processing on that first day, Sasha and the rest of the trainees were given their first examination, a nomenclature test in which they had to identify 25 pieces of equipment randomly selected from those expected to be utilized during a static-line jump. While a 70% was required to pass, Sasha managed to correctly identify 21 of the 25 items on her first run through the examination, thus scoring an 84% and receiving a "GO" for the nomenclature exam. Following the completion of the examination by all of the students and the re-tests for those who failed to meet the 70% threshold on their first attempt, the rest of the day was spent on a classroom talk-through of the various parachute equipment in use by the UNSC Armed Forces.

The following three days were also spent in the classroom, discussing UNSC aerial vehicles, drop zone procedures, parachute equipment, and, finally, reviewing Jumpmaster Personnel Inspections (JMPI) carried out by the instructors, with the third day introducing deficiencies to the individuals being inspected to train the students on improperly prepared gear instead of exclusively properly prepared jump gear. At the conclusion of the fourth day, Aleksandra and the other trainees faced their second examination, with each individual given 30 minutes to fully recite the Actions During Descent (pre-jump protocols) to one of the instructors, being graded on accuracy within that timeframe. Once again, a score of 70% or higher was required to pass, though Sasha received an 88% on this examination, having spent her past three nights studying beyond the classroom lectures to ensure she would succeed.

For the remaining two weeks, the course shifted from classroom instructions to field exercises. These largely consisted of further JMPI circles, though time was also spent in review for the upcoming written examination. Prior to this, however, on Tuesday of the second week, the trainees were tested on their knowledge of Practical Work inside the Aircraft (PWAC) procedures (once again with a 70% cutoff to receive a "GO") in which they had to demonstrate proper hand and arm signals and door checks. These were conducted using UNSC Army Pelicans flying patterns above the training facility. The written exam, carried out on the Friday of week two, consisted of 100 questions—either True or False, multiple-choice, or fill in the blank—that the students were given one hour to complete. This also had a 70% cutoff for the "GO" rating. For the PWAC examination, Sasha passed on her first attempt with another high score of 84%. However, the written exam gave her some troubles, barely missing the cutoff on her first attempt with a 68% and only just managing to pass it during the permitted retest with an exact 70%. While this meant that she had passed the four early examinations of the course, a feat all but eight of the initial 63 trainees had managed, the lack of an 80% or higher on the written exam precluded her from receiving re-entry status, meaning she would only have the standard three tries at the remaining JMPI examination to pass rather than five.

As such, Sasha spent the weekend studying heavily in JMPI procedures and possible deficiencies in gear she could potentially run into during the examination as well as the proper nomenclature to identify these deficiencies. Furthering her preparation, she paid close attention during the final field exercises and JMPI circles on Monday and Tuesday in preparation for the JMPI pre-test—the first of her three attempts—on Tuesday afternoon.

For this final examination, the remaining trainees were required to receive an 80% or higher in order to graduate the course. The examination itself would consist of performing JMPI duties on three separate jumpers, one with a full combat load and two without the extra equipment. These inspections were to be carried out in less than five minutes to receive full credit. On her first, pre-test attempt, Sasha ran out of time on her inspections, forfeiting her score for that attempt. The following day—after one more JMPI circle—she took the main JMPI test and managed to complete the inspection within the five-minute window. Additionally—scoring a 92% on the examination this time—she was given the "GO" for her final test and slotted to graduate the course. Regardless, the following day she still attended the required final JMPI circle and field exercise and, along with the others who had already secured graduation, stood by to watch the final JMPI re-tests in order to further solidify the procedures. The final hours of the Thursday of week three were spent by the remaining 37 trainees—now set to be graduates—cleaning up the training facility. The next day, August 26, 2529, saw Sasha and the rest of the remaining trainees graduating and receiving their Jumpmaster certifications.

Following the completion of the course, Aleksandra briefly found herself reporting back to her current base to finalize the paperwork following the Jumpmaster School, but had to quickly depart again to arrive at her next training course, the UNSC Marine Corps Reconnaissance Team Leader Course, by Sunday, August 28.

UNSC Army Pathfinder School

Expeditionary Warfare Training Group, Arcadia TACP Course

Special Operations Training Group Urban Recon and Surveillance Course

Special Operations Training Group Dynamic Assault Course

Special Operations Training Group Boat Raid Course

Special Operations Trainin Group Pelican Rope Suspension Techniques Masters Course

Special Operations Training Group Deep Infiltration and Extraction Course

Methods of Entry/Breacher Course

Battle of Arcadia (2531)

Extensive Medical Leave (2531-2532)

Battle of Drawn (2532)

Drill Instructor (2532-2535)

Training

Service

Mamore (2536-2537)

Peaceful Stationing

Insurrection

More Medical Leave (2538)

Naval OCS and Flight School (2538-2542)

Siege of the Atlas Moons (2542-2543)

Further Medical Leave (2543)

Sirona (2544-2548)

Peaceful Stationing

Siege of Sirona

Final Medical Leave (2548)

Siege of Paris IV (2549)

Battle of New Zanzibar (2550-2551)

Arrow's Flight Incident (2551)

Beta Eridani (2551-2552)

Flight Instructor

Battle of Beta Eridani

Battle of Sigma Octanus IV (2552)

Fall of Reach (2552)

Battle of Earth (2552)

Gilgamesh Incident (2553)

Flood Outbreak on Pharos II (2555)

War With Imperium of Clarity (2558)

ONI Mission and Created Conflict (2558 - 25..)

Personality

While Sasha was light-hearted and jovial, even after signing up for the Marines, finding out her sister was an insurrectionist and ending up shooting her quieted her down a bit, and the early days of the Human-Covenant war stripped that personality from her almost entirely. With her sister dying in front of her and her mother presumed dead during the Battle of Biko, Zaytseva grew quieter and more reserved, focusing almost all her energy on her military service. Her original sense of humor dulled and, while she still interacted with the other marines, she didn't easily make friendships or form bonds outside her nearest comrades and, even then, tried not to get too attached. This remained relatively steady up until the Siege of Sirona, where she experienced the most dramatic personality shifts of her life. Entering into it a little more willing to make friends than at the start of the war, having gotten used to the loss and being able to bear it more than she had when she was younger, Sasha eventually even found herself in a romantic relationship. However, this proved to be the catalyst for an even darker and dramatic downturn in her personality as her lover was shot and killed midway through the siege.

Following his death, Sasha spent the rest of the siege struggling to get back to a point where she felt comfortable even socializing with her comrades beyond giving and receiving orders and any other talk necessary to operate, let alone form any truly meaningful relationships, friendships or otherwise. This, alongside her cybernetics, led to her being referred to as "Robot" by those who knew her from the siege, with the name eventually growing to be her callsign. By the end of the siege, while she wasn't quite as distraught anymore, she still carried on through much of the remainder of the war without forming relationships of any kind beyond professional.

By the end of the Human-Covenant war, Zaytseva had begun to seem more sociable again, even joking around with those around her rather than simply treating them as fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines. However, every once in a while, cracks revealed that this seemed to be somewhat of a facade and allowed her darker side to come out. For example, she still refused to truly form many major bonds and was abler than many to ignore the deaths of even her closest comrades while combat was still ongoing. While she participated in the rituals surrounding the deaths after the fact, she rarely truly seemed to mourn, and mostly faked her more jovial side, wishing to avoid a mental health discharge now that the war was over, as she felt she had nothing else in life but the military anymore. However, in the right circumstances, she was still capable of forming some close bonds, it was just a lot rarer than before the war.

Due to her extensive combat against the Covenant during the war, Sasha holds an intense distrust of former Covenant species, bordering on blind hatred. While she will work with groups such as the Swords of Sangheilos if ordered to, she loathed doing it and, had it not been for her determination to remain within the military being so strong, she would have rather refused the orders or even gone as far as to shoot the aliens she was working beside. Noticing this personality, many of her commanders tried to keep her away from assignments with alien species due to worry she might snap and do something to endanger the mission, though it never got to the point where they felt they needed to discharge her, especially since many felt the same way to mostly lesser extents.

Religion

Starting out without any true religion, it wasn't until halfway through the Siege of Sirona that she truly became religious. Through the first few years of the conflict and her relationship with Lieutenant Michael Waverly, a native of the world, she picked up the Celtic Neopaganism of the world, known as Sironan Neopaganism. Following her loss of Michael during the Siege, she became even more entrenched in this religion, using it as a coping mechanism alongside shutting people out. This habit of pushing people away from truly knowing her led to the only outside signs that she was religious and polytheistic being some of her weird speaking patterns, such as stating "swear to the gods" or "gods know" rather than "swear to God" and "God knows" respectively. As such, very few people truly know her beliefs beyond this limited outside view, a number which is further extended by the private nature of her practice, preferring to be individually religious, rather than going to any organized services, a method of practice common among Sironan Neopaganism due to the spread out nature of Sirona's colonists following the Siege and the lack of practicing members still alive.

Skills and Abilities

Growing up in a farming family, Sasha learned how to use a weapon at a young age to defend herself and her family's property. Additionally, she learned how to fly her family's aircraft in order to assist with crop dusting, giving her skills in flying. These skills were further refined later in her military career as a UNSC Naval Aviator, leading to her being well versed in the flight of a fair variety of the UNSC's available aircraft. Overall, her remaining skills cover survivalist tactics, from being able to construct a fire, to gathering resources, to building a temporary shelter. All of these were honed during her various times left to her own defenses during the war, such as when her Force Recon team was behind enemy lines or during the Siege of Sirona. Finally, Sasha is skilled at stealth, from quiet and inconspicuous movement to proper camouflage techniques. She picked up these skills during her time in Marine Force Recon following her transfer into the program after the Battle of Biko.

Appearance

Although temporally 51 years old, Aleksandra is significantly younger biologically due to years of time spent in slipspace and cryosleep. As such, she looks more like she is in her mid-to-late thirties or early forties. About average height, she weighs slightly above average due to increased muscle mass compared to the standard, developed during her time as a marine and continued physical training throughout her naval career. Her skin is lightly tanned but burns easily if exposed to the sun for too long without any protection. Additionally, a light row of freckles can be seen across her face, though they faded as she aged. Sasha has blonde hair and light blue eyes, her hair color coming from her mother, and her eye color from her father. However, her left eye has been replaced with an Ocular Implant as her original eye was lost in combat with an Elite. Finally, her left arm was also replaced with a cybernetic due to damages it took during the same fight. Both injuries were caused due to an energy dagger which the Elite stabbed through her hand, destroying the hand and upper portion of the affected limb, and near the eye, which melted the soft organ.

Career

Promotions

Marine Corps

 Rank   Date Earned 
UNSC-MC Private
Private August 3, 2525
UNSC-MC Private First Class
Private First Class January 16, 2526
UNSC-MC Lance Corporal
Lance Corporal September 23, 2526
UNSC-MC Corporal
Corporal June 2, 2527
UNSC-MC Sergeant
Sergeant July 15, 2528
UNSC-MC Staff Sergeant
Staff Sergeant July 17, 2530
UNSC-MC Gunnery Sergeant
Gunnery Sergeant August 7, 2533
UNSC-MC First Sergeant
First Sergeant August 3, 2537

Navy

 Rank   Date Earned 
Officer Candidate August 24, 2538
UNSC-N Ensign
Ensign May 29, 2542
UNSC-N Lieutenant Junior Grade
Lieutenant Junior Grade June 13, 2544
UNSC-N Lieutenant
Lieutenant July 14, 2546
UNSC-N Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander December 20, 2550
UNSC-N Commander
Commander October 10, 2558

Trivia

  • Sasha is the only member of her immediate family to join the UNSC Marine Corps. Her father and older sister were insurrectionists, and her mother was a Durban Police Department SWAT officer. All three of them were thought to have been killed during the Battle of Biko, but it was later discovered that her mother had survived the battle.

Appearances

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