Annual Award Best Third-Party Character.png This article, Elena Zaytseva, written by Timothy Emeigh, was voted as the Best Third-Party Faction Character of 2018 in the Eleventh Annual Halo Fanon Wikia Awards.


Annual Award Best Third-Party Character.png This article, Elena Zaytseva, written by Timothy Emeigh, was voted as the Best Third-Party Faction Character of 2019 in the Twelfth Annual Halo Fanon Wikia Awards.


Terminal.png This article, Elena Zaytseva, was written by Timothy Emeigh. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.
Help.png This article, Elena Zaytseva, is currently under active construction.
Elena 2526 Up.jpeg
Elena Zaytseva
Biographical information
Homeworld
  • Earth (Birthworld and Childhood)
  • Biko (Adulthood)
Date of birth

July 16, 2479

Date of death

Circa March 27 2526 (Presumed)

Civilian ID Number

9001-924-2327-K

Physical description
Rank

Civilian

Gender

Female

Height

165.1 cm (5'5")

Weight

60.441 kg (133.25 lb)

Hair color

Blonde

Eye color

Brown

Chronological and political information
Era(s)
Affiliation
  [Source]

Elena Zaytseva, born Elena Volkova, is a freelance bodyguard, with former experiences in the Durban City Police Department, as a technician, detective, and SWAT officer, and a variety of odd jobs prior. With extensive expertise in computer skills and similar levels of training in combat and other less technologically inclined fields, she tends to fill her chosen profession through a variety of means, not simply physical deterrence. Though she is alone most of the times she isn't working a job, she finds companionship in the form of her ship's included dumb-AI, Alexios.

Prior to an extensive period of time in cryosleep, Elena had two kids, Viktoria and Aleksandra, with Dmitri Zaytsev, with her husband and older daughter betraying her and joining the Insurrection, dying during the Battle of Biko, and her second daughter, Aleksandra, becoming a UNSC Marine and eventually Navy Aviator, living through the entire Human-Covenant war and beyond. Additionally, during this time, she had served as a police officer, detective, and member of the Durban City Police Department's SWAT team. Even earlier, as a young adult, Elena spent just under two years hopping from colony to colony, having fled her controlling mother on Earth to strike out on her own, with this coming to an end on Biko due to her falling pregnant with Viktoria.

Biography

Childhood (2479-2497)

Elena was born and raised in Yakutsk, Russia to a single mother, Liliya Volkova, leaving her to take her mother's patronymic as her own, Nikolaevna. As a young child, she spent most of her time with her Aunt and Uncle at their house and mechanic shop, rather than her mother, as, at the time, Liliya had to work two jobs to keep up with the bills. By the time she had turned seven, however, she was back to living with her mom, who had since gone back down to one job with better hours and pay. However, due to a combination of factors, such as her mother being out of the house early in the morning for work, Elena still being too young to go out to the stop for school on her own, and the frigid cold outside temperatures during the winter, Liliya decided to put her daughter through cyberschool, leaving her to remain at home for most of her childhood and begin to develop a relationship with technology almost to the point of dependence.

This relationship with technology developed further during her preteen and early teen years, when she began to tinker with various technologies, even getting to the point where she was building her own drones out of various spare parts, such as from her uncle's shop. In exchange for being allowed to utilize the parts, and in an effort to get her out and about more, Elena's uncle started taking her out on hunting trips, utilizing the family's dogsled team as well as Elena's drones to assist with the hunts.

These trips began to be the main focus of Elena's life due to the remote nature of the city she grew up in. With few friends due to being cyber-schooled her whole life and not much else to do on her own, Elena began, around age sixteen, to go out on hunts on her own, taking her uncle's dogsled team and her drone purpose-built for lifting and hauling the animal's she killed back home with her. This pattern continued up until she turned seventeen.

The day after her birthday, she took the team and drone out for what would've been like any other hunt. However, as she was focusing in on a musk deer she had been tracking, she failed to notice a trio of wolves, half-starved to the point of aggression, stalk up on her. Just as she was about to pull the trigger to take down the deer, she was attacked by the small pack of wolves. Knocked to the ground, her face and body were pretty badly mauled. Fortunately, her sled dogs were able to fight off the wolves, even attached to the sled, due to numbers and the malnutrition of the wolves.

Despite her injuries, Elena was able to crawl into the sled and direct the sled team using her drone back home. Upon making it back home, she fell unconscious shortly afterward from her wounds and was checked into a hospital where she began the recovery process. Fortunately, as she recovered, it became apparent that no serious damage had been done, and, after a month or so in the hospital, the only lasting mark of the attack was a scar on her cheek.

Despite this, when she checked out of the hospital a short while later, her mother banned her from going on any more hunting trips, confining her to the house except for the direst of situations or when directly escorted by Liliya herself. This situation continued up to the point of Elena's eighteenth birthday. By that point, she was fed up with being stuck in her home, and her sense of adventure was once again budding. Packing her bags, Elena set out in the early hours of the day after her eighteenth birthday and made her way to the Yakutsk spaceport, using a portion of the credits she had been saving up to buy her way off-world, striking out on her own, hopping from planet to planet.

Wandering Years (2497-2498)

Reach

The first step along her travels was Reach. Being quite popular and relatively close to Earth, Elena managed to get an affordable ticket out to the mining world, setting out on a civilian transport. Arriving in the system eleven days later, on July 28, the transport docked with one of the New Alexandria space elevators and Elena descended to the surface of the world for the first time. Making her way into the city, Elena found herself enamored with how large and pristine it was compared to her birthplace, spending her first day wandering around the concourses and sky bridges just taking in the sights. It wasn't until nightfall that she remembered she didn't have a place to stay. After spending a couple of hours going from hotel to hotel, she finally managed to find one with a free room that was cheap enough for her to book for a few weeks with credits left over for other expenses during that time and moved into the room. While the room was fairly small, Elena hadn't brought much with you, and the hotel offered both Waypoint and ChatterNet services.

For the first week, Elena spent her abundant free time exclusively in New Alexandria, taking in much of what the city had to offer, from the more pleasant weather compared to her hometown, to the sights by the docks, to the various stores. Though her limited funds prevented her from spending too much on shopping, with most of what remained being budgeted for food, she did indulge herself from time to time, such as a titanium heirloom necklace wrought from the metal abundant on the world. As time went on, she grew to be a bit bored with just the city itself as the overwhelming nature of it died down and she grew used to the location. By the second week, she had started to venture out more to various sites across the planet, from some of the publically accessible shores of Farkas Lake to a ski resort in the Highland mountains.

Farkas lake.png
A panorama of Farkas Lake, which Elena visited during her time on Reach.

However, by the end of the second week, Elena was running dangerously low on funds and, with her adventuring spirit nagging again, she signed up as a deckhand on a merchant's vessel after a short while looking through various openings. With her mechanical and technological skills, she managed to settle in as a mechanic on the vessel, working in the engine room along with the ship's chief engineer and the other mechanic on board, filling out the ship's engineering roster. With the ship having to spend a week on the ground before departing, she had already learned the computer system, which wasn't too different than those she had worked on before, and had started on the sublight engines, with the slipspace drive being reserved to the more senior mechanic and the chief engineer for now.

Sirona

Finally departing from Reach on August 17, 2497, the ship set course for the inner colony of Sirona, delivering an order of mining equipment from Reach to a mining company on the world. Arriving in the Groombridge 1618 system on September 1, 2497, the ship Elena was now working on landed in Maponos City to complete the delivery and pick up a shipment of medical supplies for their next job. With the supplies due to be picked up on September 7 and the ship to leave early in the morning September 8, the crew was given free time each day to take in the planet, returning to the ship only for their duty shifts.

Elena, using the credits she had earned so far from her first three weeks with the ship crew, took advantage of this allowance to leave the ship to explore the new world she found herself on. Sticking to Maponos City on the first day, she found the experience to be similar to her time in New Alexandria on Reach, albeit with more conventional road systems rather than the elevated walkways common to the other city. On the second day, while she did take in the sites, she stumbled upon the city's transit station and decided to look into the other locations on the world.

By her third day on Sirona, Elena had once again grown bored of the city experience and decided to take a maglev tour through the nature reserve, starting in Maponos, going through the reserve, and ending in Esos City. Embarking on the first tour of the day early in the morning, Elena enjoyed a relatively leisurely ride through the nature reserve, taking in the sights of Sirona's fauna and flora, and arrived in Esos by mid-afternoon. With several hours left until she had to go back, and tickets for the high-speed maglev to return, Elena took advantage of the time she had to explore the culture of the smaller city on Sirona, finding it much more exciting than the larger cities she had been in previously, with Esos being even smaller than her hometown of Yakutsk.

Namely, she was first introduced to marijuana during her short few hours in Esos. With the town known for growing it, and several shops for the drug in the small city, she found herself curious about the drug and—with plenty of disposable income left to her considering her lack of any real expenses—she dropped a few credits in one of the local stores and soon after found herself smoking for the first time.

While she enjoyed the high, Elena recognized that she had to be back to the ship soon, and probably shouldn't be too impaired when she returned and, as such, kept herself to one smoke for the day, though she did go back and make some more purchases to build up a small stock going forward. However, despite limiting herself to one smoke, her small stature and only having three hours to recover by the time she had finished her first try left her still visibly impaired by the time she returned to her ship. However, she managed to successfully hide her purchase from the ship crew and, when questioned about it, she was functional enough to work up an excuse that it was from secondhand exposure due to the quite high public use of the drug, especially in the enclosed spaces onboard the various maglev trains.

The next day, Elena headed back out into Maponos, this time heading to the spaceport to take in the variety of individuals coming to and leaving the world from the lobby, having little else she wanted to do at the moment. With a large number of the natives in the spaceport smoking, Elena decided to join in, partaking in some of the stock she had purchased the previous day. Having spent a good portion of the morning smoking and people watching, and growing hungry as lunchtime approached, Elena headed into a pub just outside the spaceport for a meal. Sitting down at the bar, she started to look over the menu when she was approached by a slipper who struck up a conversation with her. Young and inexperienced, and a bit impaired already from smoking, it took Elena a while to realize the stranger's advances, though she did take well to him regardless. However, realizing how much time she was spending in the bar, she exchanged contact information with the slipper and left by mid-afternoon, taking the time for a walk around the city to clear her head from the long day she had experienced up to that point and the lingering effects of having smoked that morning.

With night falling and Elena due to report back to the ship in a couple of hours, she stopped by the spaceport pub for another quick meal before heading back home and ran into the slipper once more. This time, she was the one to strike up a conversation, eventually leading to the pair having their dinners together. Sober this time for the interactions, Elena found herself truly growing attracted to the man physically and definitely starting to connect with him on a more social level. While they definitely started to hit it off at this point, Elena had to refrain from any after-dinner activities due to needing to return to the ship and, instead, set a date with the man for two nights later, on September 6, 2497. Following this, Elena returned back to her ship and settled in for the night, looking forward to two days from that point.

Facing the next day with little in mind on how to fill the time, she spent the morning wandering around Maponos, before eventually returning to the ship several hours early just after lunch. With little else to do, she spent the rest of the day working over the various ship systems, getting to know the workings of the vessel a little bit better. Specifically, during this time, she focused on the ship's computer system, her previous experience working with programming leading her to be quite interested in how the various parts of the computer worked. Through this exploration, guided by the chief engineer later on in the day, she began to further develop her skills and expand her areas of knowledge from the one language she had known and used back on Earth to several different programming languages, finding the adjustments almost intuitive, though she was still quite new and prone to errors with the new languages and the differences in their syntax and how they worked. Despite this, by the end of the day, Elena found herself with a newfound drive to continue pushing forward with her advancement in the field.

However, the next morning, this interest once again sat on the backburner as Elena prepared for her date later that evening. Spending the morning out shopping in Maponos, she used a portion of her remaining spending money to buy herself a new outfit, fancier than any that she had owned and brought with her from home, though she tried to keep it relatively lower-end to both save money and to match more with the look and attitude of the slipper. Additionally, she took the time to get her hair cut and dyed to match the darker brown color the slipper had told her earlier would go with her eyes. By the time lunch rolled around, she had finished her preparations, and thus took the afternoon to work herself up for her first date and try to ease the nervousness. Meeting the slipper at the arranged place early in the evening, Elena topped off her outfit with the necklace she had bought earlier that week, before even having plans for the date.

For the next few hours, the date itself proceeded quite well, with Elena continuing to hit it off well with the carefree, daring attitude of the slipper, finding within it a parallel to her own decision to run away from home, and the slipper taking well to her youthful sense of adventure to match his own and the changes she had made to her hair and outfit. However, by the end of the dinner, with the evening drawing into the night, her date finally dropped an invitation back to his ship on Elena. Although she had prepared for the possibility, facing the situation for the first time in reality caught her off guard and, in a brief moment of panic, Elena ended up telling the slipper that she wasn't ready to go any further forward and, to push the point home, she said she had to return to her own ship, dropping her credits for the dinner on the table and walking out of the bar.

While for the remainder of the night she managed to convince herself she had done the right thing, she found a certain amount of regret gnawing at her starting when she woke up the next morning. Spending the day on the ship again, working in her room on her programming skills, it eventually got to the point where, late in the afternoon, Elena decided to contact the slipper. Apologizing for the previous night and explaining her decision, to which the slipper responded positively, understanding Elena's young age and newness to the dating scene, Elena found herself more relaxed as the call went on. Eventually, after talking for a few minutes, the slipper once again invited Elena over to his ship to spend the night. Deciding at that moment that she would rather stay on Sirona with him than continue on with her crew, she agreed, packed her travel bag, and snuck off the ship, heading across the spaceport to the hangar the slipper told her to meet him in, and spending the night with him, fully committed to leaving her life on the cargo freighter behind.

Unfortunately, when the next morning came and she found herself regretting the rash decision, it was too late to take it back. Running out of the slipper's ship with her bags, Elena made it back to where the freighter had been too late, finding only an empty hangar and a message from the captain that she had been let go and that the ship had to depart without her to keep up with deadlines. To top it off, when she attempted to return to the slipper, she found him turning down her request for her to stay with him, revealing that he had always assumed the relationship was going to be a temporary thing, having had his own deadlines to meet and expecting Elena to have kept to hers. With him turning her down, not knowing that she had been left behind by the other ship already, and departing himself, Elena was once again left jobless on a world far from home.

Still in a bit of shock from being stranded, Elena managed to make it through the rest of the day relatively effectively, even finding a cheap hotel to stay in on the outskirts of Maponos. From her hotel room, she managed to send out a few job applications for openings she had seen on the way through the city, and, from there, went on to compose a message to send home to her mother. Spending about an hour working on the letter, she explained all that had been happening to her, that she was safe, and that she wouldn't be returning home for a while, but that she still loved her mom. Sending out the message for delivery, the calmness she had been experiencing all day finally broke down, and she resorted to just smoking and crying in her room before eventually falling asleep.

ElenaSmoking.png
Elena resorting to smoking a joint as being stuck on Sirona caught up to her.

For the next few days, the story was similar, with Elena keeping tabs on her job applications in moments of clarity and lesser levels of sadness, but occasionally falling back into simply smoking and wallowing away for up to hours at a time. During this time, even while she found it in herself to be more content and happier with her situation, she still rarely went outside, only venturing down to the hotel lobby for food and perhaps a few short walks here and there. This cycle lasted her just over a week before, all but one of her applications falling through, until that last application came back asking her to interview for a waitress position. Excited over finally finding success and potentially a way to save up some funds to continue her life. Setting the date for two days later, Elena spent the time leading up to the interview getting herself more put together in terms of clothing, reading guides off the ChatterNet and Waypoint, and just generally treating herself.

Unfortunately, the interview came and passed and, despite all the preparation, she didn't manage to nail the position down. Still jobless and running low on funds both due to the continual drain of the hotel room and having spent a lot prior to the interview, she began looking for more job openings, growing desperate and even applying to positions in some less reputable bars and clubs in the slummier areas of Maponos. Once again running into little luck, she was only asked back for an interview on a single application, one of the lower class nightclubs known as the Indigo Relaxation Club. Wary, but still desperate at this point, Elena went in and, despite some initial embarrassment marking her as an off-worlder due to referring to the club by its full name rather than the more commonly used (among Maponos residents) abbreviation "the irk," she actually managed to get through the interview fairly well and, a few days later, was informed she was hired as a barback.

Showing up for work the next week, she was given her uniform, thankfully avoiding the more exposed outfits of the waitresses and bartenders due to working in the background, and began her training, quickly adjusting to holding a job for the first time in her life, though still slightly off-put by the atmosphere of the nightclub, even getting a few comments from the patrons despite being out front less and being dressed more conservatively than any of the people expected to be seen doing their jobs. Slowly, though, she adjusted to that too and eventually fell into the schedule of coming to work at the start of the evening, working through the night, and sleeping through the next morning, keeping her expenses down as her first paycheck wouldn't arrive until the end of the second week.

However, when that day finally came and she got her paycheck, she was shocked at how low the amount was, having forgotten how much was to be taken out as taxes, especially on a colony so close to the capital of the UEG and thus easier for the government to subject to harsher measures. Realizing that the amount she was being paid wouldn't be enough to truly survive on, and not wanting to be stuck living paycheck to paycheck, never getting off-world, she finally reached a breaking point in her desperation and, the next day, after finishing up her shift, she waited after and snuck her way into the manager's office, knowing he kept a safe with some local physical currency and valuables inside. Locating the safe, she took note of its model, the general type of electronic lock it had, and potential methods of connecting a personal computer to it. Unable to do anything that night, she left and, over the next few days, used the information she had gathered along with her skills with technology and programming to attempt to build up a tool and algorithm to hack open the safe out of the computer she had brought with her.

Finalizing her device by the end of the week, and not wanting to have to live through any more days at the nightclub, the comments have gotten worse from a particular few of the regular customers, she stayed after once more, sneaking back into the manager's office and, in a rush, leaving the door open behind her. In the room, she carefully removed the front of the electronic lock, hooked up her hacking device, and set the algorithm running, eventually managing to get the safe to open. However, as she was leaving the nightclub with her ill-gotten gains, she found one of the patrons that had been making comments toward her waiting for her outside the establishment. Pinning Elena to the wall, the man held a hand to her mouth to keep her from screaming and told her to come with him if she didn't want the manager to find out about her stealing, quite obvious in his intent. Luckily, however, another patron of the nightclub, one who hadn't been making comments, showed up and scared away the man who had been assaulting Elena.

Before she even had the chance to thank the man, however, he made Elena an offer. Explaining that he was a member of a local hacktivist group that worked to reveal corruption within the UEG, fight against unfair practices, and call for more individual governance of the colonies, the man stated that he saw what Elena had pulled off with the safe and was willing to help her develop her skills as a hacker, playing off her lack of funds, need of a group to clean her stolen items so she could actually use them, and growing dislike of the government that had left her to be in this situation in the first place to get her to play along, managing to convince her to leave the life of a bar-back behind after only three weeks and join the group, even giving her a place to stay with some other members that would be cheaper than her hotel and give access to more discreet forms of communication and computer activity than even the ChatterNet.

The next day, October 13, 2497, she gathered her luggage out of her hotel room, checked out, and moved into the place the hacktivist group was providing for her for a small cut of the amount she had stolen, taking an additional cut for the service of flipping the goods, leaving her with only about half of the payout she had been expecting. Despite this, it was still larger than she had made in her first paycheck working at the irk, and with the living quarters, and even meals, already paid for with that initial cut and provided by the group going forward, she was able to save it all for personal use.

After getting settled in, with plenty of hours left in the day, the man who had recruited her took her to the computer room on the building's premises. Here, she was introduced to the systems in use by the hacktivists, quite sophisticated for an allegedly lowkey, underground organization, though, grateful for the opportunities being provided, she didn't question it at the time. Eager to get to work exposing the corrupt facets of the UEG, she sat down at an open station with her recruiter's permission and familiarized herself with the system. However, when she got settled in and ready to work, she was informed that, being new, she would be given her tasks for the first few weeks. Though disappointed, she understood the need to develop trust with the group and accepted her first task, a simple instruction to develop her intrusion program further to the point where it could be used to crack more sophisticated systems using the group's tech.

HackerWorkstation.jpg
The workstation Elena was assigned to upon joining the hacktivist group.

For the rest of the week, Elena worked on this project, working with the hackers' technology and computer systems to develop an extraordinarily sophisticated system for cracking into all but the most well-defended systems, such as those with AI support. Feeling ready to present her completed program to those higher up in the group than herself. On the evening of Saturday, October 19, 2497, she presented her finalized intrusion algorithm to the man who recruited her and several other of the hacktivists. Finding the work impressive, but still finding Elena too new to trust with her own projects, they allowed her to move on to actual hacking, tasking her with going out into the streets during the nights to test out her program on a series of targets. Giving Elena her first target, a nearby station for the Maponos City Police Department, they tasked her with using her algorithm along with as specially made intrusion device to hack into the building's computer system and download the arrest and warrant files to return to the group, explaining that they planned to analyze the information gathered to look for any corruption within the police force and expose it to the public.

Using the rest of the night and the next few days to prepare, studying the floor plan and training how to get in quietly, she set out the following Wednesday night to complete the task, heading out into the city again for the first time since being recruited, having spent the past week and a half cooped up in the group's headquarters. Arriving near the building, she headed down an alley, pulled on a mask to hide her face, and made her way towards the station. Entering into the station through a rear door to avoid detection by the few cops in the front of the building, she used her intrusion tool and algorithm to get into the server room, sealing the door behind her, along with those providing access to her escape route, giving her a short period of time to work before the police detected her and broke their way back to corner her. Making quick use of the time, she used the device she brought with her to hack the servers now, almost making it through before setting off any alarms, but unfortunately tripping them right when she began downloading the files. Fortunately for her, the device had a quick download speed and she managed to complete her task and escape back out the way she came into the alleyways before the cops could make it back to the server room to check it out.

As she started to make her way back to the headquarters, she noticed an ATM for the colony's local physical currency and, with her tool in hand, and mask still available, she donned it once more and quickly set to work on the ATM. However, she soon after discovered that the machine's computer security was of a much higher level than that of the server room on the police station, as it was more expected to be the target of such a hacking attempt. While she did get a fair amount of money out of the machine, doing so took her longer than she had hoped and tripped several silent alarms, alerting the police already on patrol to her presence. Grabbing what she could, she set off running, managing to get away with only the attention of one cop following her. Dipping through a variety of alleyways away from the officer, making her way generally back towards the headquarters, she was passing by one of the entries to the building when, out of it, another one of the hacktivists came out onto the empty alleyway and shot the cop, pulling Elena inside and sending her to turn in the data, before heading back out to the streets to, unbeknownst to Elena at the time, finish off the cop and dispose of the body to remove attention from the group.

Turning in the data she had taken, visibly shaken from running from the cops, she lied to her higher-ups about why the cop was chasing her, saying she was caught during the server room hack, not wanting them to be mad at her for taking time during the task to hack an ATM of her own accord. Managing to convince them of her lie, disguising her nervousness overlying as shaken nerves due to the encounter, she headed back to her room to sleep and prepare for the next target she would be given. However, as she made her way back, she noticed the police officer's body being dragged into the HQ to be disposed of, shocked that she had caused the death of a cop, though not expressing it. With this new revelation, combined with the strange level of sophistication for a supposedly ragtag hacktivist group, her faith in the group was shaken, and she started to question the story she was being fed.

This finally boiled over the next day when she was assigned her new task. Her recruiter and the other higher-ups assigned her to target a local orphanage, giving her the explanation that they had suspicions it was being used to brainwash children. Not willing to believe that with the other things she had seen, she took back her hacking tool and verbally agreed to the task, saying she needed to head to her room to prepare. Instead, she packed a duffel bag not with what she would need for the mission, but with the essentials for heading off-world if necessary. With this prepared, she headed to one of the server rooms in the compound and began hacking into it with her tool, trying to dig through the files for anything that would confirm her suspicions. Avoiding the mistakes she had made the previous night, she managed to uncover and open up a communication off-world and discovered inside that the so-called "hacktivist group" was actually an Insurrectionist cell planted on Sirona to try to sway the people of the inner colonies against the UEG, using the information gathered by individuals such as Elena and modifying it to fit their goals and portray the UEG and UNSC in a poor light. While the calling card "Dona Nobis Pacem" located in the communication identified the group as part of the Pacem Network, Elena was unfamiliar with the group and thus didn't recognize it at the time, only discerning it was an Insurrectionist cell from other content in the message.

Shocked at her discovery, Elena was just turning to leave when she found the man who had recruited her walk into the room, having spotted her on the internal cameras and detected the intrusion when the file was opened. Angrily confronting her at first, especially when he found out what she had accessed, her eventually calmed down and gave her a choice. She would either join the Insurrection fully, or he would be forced to kill her right then and there to prevent her from turning them in. Caught between the two choices, Elena first feigned that she was accepting of the offer, getting the man to lower his weapon. Using this to her advantage, she pulled the server rack behind her out of the open casing and threw it down onto him, giving her time to flee out of the server room into the main compound.

ServerRoom.png
The server room in which Elena had her confrontation with the Insurrectionist who tried to force her to join.

However, as she ran through the hallways of the HQ towards the nearest entrance, the man she had left behind called security on her and, with her running, she became an obvious target, drawing fire from several of the hacktivists, both Insurrectionists and recruits. Managing to make it out of the building with only taking a grazing wound to the shoulder, she spotted several cops, who had been investigating the officer who had gone missing in the area the previous night, making their way towards the structure and sounds of gunfire, barely managing to slip into an alleyway nearby without being noticed, leaving the two opposing forces behind her to fight it out.

Elena then made her way to the nearest medical clinic to get her wound patched up, paying for it with some of the local currency she had taken from the ATM that previous night. From there, still worried that the Insurrectionists might be after her, she got her hair cut short, removing any trace of the brown dye that remained, and changed clothing, before heading to the city's spaceport. Here, she booked herself passage on the next shuttle off-world, heading even further out into the colonies, with Chi Rho as its destination. Spending the next hour anxiously awaiting its arrival, she finally managed to board her flight that evening, October 24, and depart the system, leaving her harrowing time on Sirona behind as she once again fled a world for the chance at a new life.

Chi Rho

Arriving in the system on December 12, Elena was shocked to find her welcome to Chi Rho to be much different than the ones she had faced on Reach and Sirona. Despite technically being permitted, as a citizen of Earth, to live and work on any of the colonies under UEG control, Elena found herself landing in the middle of hostilities between a large number of locals of the world and off-worlders, hostilities which saw the spaceport locked down and Elena and other new arrivals taken into custody by the security forces of the port under claims of protecting them from harm from the more disgruntled citizens of Chi Rho. However, evidenced by the relatively rough treatment she found herself receiving from the guards during this period of time, many of the people who claimed to be protecting her had grudges of their own with off-worlders, earning those in custody no favors from most of the guards. This poor treatment took the form of no hot water for the showers, poor quality food and water, and barebones living accommodations, assuming they even got any of those now "luxuries." Due to the lack of facilities and the excess of off-worlders, those being held often saw such things only every other or every third day, cycling in groups throughout their time in custody. Additionally, one of the guards—later joined by several others—took a particularly aggressive stance and implemented physical punishments to "unruly" off-worlders, an experience Elena went through several times before learning to keep her mouth shut.

Somewhat luckily, however, Elena had arrived in the system during the tail end of the hostilities and only spent just over a week being held and treated as such. On December 20, colonial police forces were sent in by the governor of the colony to quell the unrest surrounding the building, eventually succeeding. Despite tensions between the hired security of the port and the police, the off-worlders were eventually released early the next morning and taken to a local medical center to recover from their poor treatment. Despite having been one of the less worse-for-wear captives, Elena still had to spend a couple of days recovering from the experience, with some of the wounds she had received from the more aggressive guards never being properly treated up to this point.

Finally being released onto the planet proper on December 23, Elena spent much of the remainder of the day arguing with the colonial police forces and spaceport administrators to get her belongings back, eventually managing to convince them to return her datapad, identification, and a few sets of clothing, with the rest being "paid back" to her in the form of a sum of one-thousand credits as much of what she had taken with her that was considered valuable had already been sold or simply taken and unable to be recovered. Additionally, however, she was able to receive postage that had been sent all the way from Earth several months prior and following her, finally having found her on Chi Rho through the paper trail she had left behind her. Seeing that the message was addressed to her from her mother and that it had been from around the time she had written Liliya when she was on Sirona, Elena excitedly opened the mail on her datapad and began reading it over. However, her excitement quickly faded as she read further and further through the message. Liliya wrote that she had grown completely fed up with her daughter's decisions and had effectively disowned Elena, saying she was never to come back to her home on Earth.

The letter left Elena despondent, but rather than starting her thinking upon the poor decisions she had made to that point as her mother had stated she intended the letter to do, she fell further into a self-destructive cycle of rash, reactionary decisions. Trying to drown out her anger and sadness over the letter, Elena spent the next five days blowing the few credits she had been given through drinking, gambling, recreational drugs, and a multitude of sexual encounters. Eventually, this ended up with her running low on funds and stumbling back to the spaceport looking for a way off-world to somewhere else, having grown tired of the more subtle off-world resentment that had been thrown her way during her time following the letter. However, she found herself stuck in the lobby of the spaceport for much of the day as she lacked the credits to purchase a ticket on any of the ships leaving the system. Eventually, however, as Elena was on the edge of giving up, a young couple, fellow Russians who had been held as off-worlders at the same time as her, recognized her and inquired into the situation. Explaining what had happened, Elena was shocked to find that the two were willing to pay for her way off-world, stating that they had family on Biko who owned a farm and would be willing to take on the extra hands to help Elena get back on her feet. Having been so close to giving up, Elena eagerly took the opportunity and, with a message explaining her situation and directions to the farm in hand, she boarded her flight for Biko late in the evening on December 25, and departed Chi Rho for yet another colony.

Biko

Taking slightly longer to get to Biko from Chi Rho than it did to get to Chi Rho from Sirona, Elena arrived on the Outer Colony world on February 20, 2498. Landing in Durban, she found that the directions she had been given unnecessary as, walking off the inter-system shuttle, she discovered a young man holding up a sign with her name on it. Approaching the man, he introduced himself as Dmitri Zaytsev, family to the strangers who had sent her to Biko, and explained that the spaceport notified his family when Elena's ship arrived in system and that he was there to provide guidance back to the far.

After being led back to the farm by Dmitri, Elena met with his parents, Aleksandr and Viktoriya and received a tour of the farm, the couple showing Elena where she would bunk as well as the various facilities that went into keeping the livestock alive and the crops growing. Following the tour, Dmitri's parents prepared a warm meal, which Elena graciously accepted, and then evening chores began. While the workload was slightly less due to the cold season setting in for the area and the crops all harvested, there was still plenty to do with keeping the animals fed and warm, so Elena was sent to shadow Dmitri and learn from him how she could help out around the homestead.

Elena's work from this point on primarily consisted of assisting Dmitri with his tasks around the farm. While she struggled to keep up with the hard work at first, used to slightly less physically intensive labor, she slowly found her place helping the family keep their farming equipment and other computer technology up to date and efficient, putting her tinkering skills to use for tangible benefits. Such work drew Dmitri's attention even further, with her new friend constantly asking about how she picked up her skills with technology and slowly working the stories of her childhood and her travels over the past years out of her. Fascinated by the tales of the stars, he began to desire to head out on adventures of his own, his enthusiasm never quite letting the rash side of Elena die down despite the more subdued lifestyle on the farm.

As such, when the cold season started to pass a month later, Elena often found herself off on little mini-adventures with Dmitri around Biko, spending time doing things such as camping in the wilderness around the farm, heading into Durban to enjoy the city, and even each getting a sleeve tattoo of a constellation among a starfield, Elena choosing Sagittarius and Dmitri choosing a local Biko constellation. Bonding over their shared adventures, Elena slowly began to feel an attraction for Dmitri beyond simply being his close friend, an attraction which Dmitri soon began to mirror. By mid-April they had shared their first kiss on a camping trip and told Dmitri's parents about it upon returning home, beginning to share a room.

The pair's adventurous spirit seemed to flourish even more once they started openly dating, the remainder of April and the beginning of May seeing them take on more daring trips around Biko, further from the farm than Dmitri had dared before. By the middle and end of May, the couple had even begun talking about their plans for the future. While they agreed their relationship wasn't quite situated to take any drastic actions immediately, the two decided that—should they find themselves together and happy two years from that date—they'd think about marriage and, once married, move off-world, away from the farming life, which, while they didn't despise, was beginning to wear down on their longing for action.

Unfortunately, two weeks into June, this plan fell through to another round of rash decisions and Elena found herself pregnant. While she and Dmitri were excited that they'd be parents and Dmitri's parents were fully supportive, Elena couldn't help but be anxious for the future as she saw the plans they had made fall apart, leaving her with little to guide her forward. In an attempt to provide some stability for her life going forward, Dmitri's parents suggested to Elena that she put her computer skills to work and go to college, offering to pay any bills she had for the next few years until she and Dmitri could find themselves back on more stable ground, with Aleksandr extending the idea that they already considered her family. Graciously accepting the offer, Elena began applying to nearby colleges and universities and considering what fields she could see herself in.

With her applications in by the end of June, Elena and Dmitri were simply left to wait. While they tried to return to the routine of life on the farm (and managed to do so reasonably well), the couple couldn't help but feel more than a little anxious for the future, spending less time off on their adventures and instead starting to dedicate time to activities they felt would help stabilize the road ahead. For Dmitri and his parents, this took the form of him going forward with their plan to slowly transfer more and more responsibility for the farm to the younger Zaytsev, easing him into ownership and management of the land as he became an adult. Elena, on the other hand, used her free time to prepare for her upcoming education, getting back into the habit of studying by refreshing some of the information she had learned up to that point and continuing to look into what fields might interest her.

While their lives continued like this for a while, things abruptly changed on the night of July 16, 2498, Elena's 19th birthday. After having taken her out for a nice dinner on a nearby beach to celebrate, Dmitri took her on a walk along the shore at night to get them away from the restaurant to a quiet, private spot, setting up a little camp for the pair of them. Here, after building a fire and letting it burn down, he proposed to Elena, almost two years earlier than they had decided before. Spurred by a mix of the responsibility of having a child with Dmitri and some of that rashness of her youth that was still in her, Elena happily agreed to the proposal, spending the night on the beach with her new fiancé.

Family on Biko (2498-2517)

First Pregnancy and College

The next day, Elena and Dmitri informed his parents about their proposal, leading to the family beginning to plan for the wedding. While Elena originally wanted a hand in this, she was eventually convinced by Dmitri and his parents to take a step back and focus on her studies instead, looking to limit the stress during her pregnancy. Elena agreed to this provided she had the final say on the ideas presented to her, a condition to which the other members of the family quickly agreed. Eventually, the task of planning the wedding fell almost entirely on Dmitri's parents, as Dmitri himself stepped up to take full responsibility for the farm in mid-July, around the same time that Elena heard back that she had been accepted at The Biko Colonial University in the nearby city of Durban and early enough to be prepared for the coming harvest.

Elena Farm 2.jpg
Dmitri overseeing the harvest on the family farm.

While other colleges had also accepted her, Elena decided within the week to accept the invitation to join the class of 2502 at Biko Colonial, as the farm's proximity to the campus allowed her to remain living with Dmitri and his parents and commute to classes each day. By August 11, 2498, the semester had begun and Elena started her classes. While the coursework was relatively easy, only containing introductory courses for the first semester, it was still a substantial time investment, particularly in areas of study that Elena hadn't seen in great detail for a long while contributing to her months out of school and the homeschooling before that. Combined with the steadily increasing prenatal checkups as her first pregnancy progressed, Elena found herself having less time to dedicate to the farm work and Dmitri in general, only typically spending casual time on the farm with him rather than any large dates. The one brief respites to this were during her first semester's fall break, with the pair being wed and spending a few days alone, and their honeymoon later that year during the winter break, spent over the course eight days on Emerald Cove.

Upon returning from her honeymoon, Elena spent the rest of the winter break at home on the farm, resting from the fun but exhausting break and the strain it had put on her heavily pregnant body. Though the days she had to do this were few, and she quickly found herself returning to classes for her second semester on January 12, 2499. By this point, Elena had decided upon pursuing dual majors in computer forensics and criminal justice, looking to pursue a career as a police officer and, eventually, detective upon graduating, feeling slight guilt from her actions on Sirona start to weigh on her mind in the recent months and seeing this as a way to make up for her past mistakes. While this allowed her a degree of stability, now knowing which classes to schedule and plan for, it also saw an increase in her course load as she progressed and got into the heftier classes of her college career her second semester. While they did cater more to her skill with computers and in critical thinking, the criminal justice and forensics focus of the courses added enough new material that she couldn't simply slack off and expect to do well, further clamping down on her free time with Dmitri.

While the two had drifted somewhat due to Elena's busy schedule with courses and Dmitri's with managing the farm, the couple quickly found a shared moment of happiness in their lives on February 28, 2499, with the birth of their first daughter. In honor of all of the support Dmitri's mother had shown her since coming to Biko, Elena proposed the name Viktoriya, which Dmitri accepted on the spot, though over the following months, the nickname of Vika was established for the child to be able to tell the two Viktoriya's apart. These first weeks went by as smoothly as could be expected for the new couple, with Dmitri's parents helping the couple take care of the child and run the farm and Elena working with her professors to make her workload more managable for a month or so. This afforded the couple some time to reconnect, albeit all too briefly, and more fully spend time with each other, both on and off the farm.

However, towards the end of the break, with Elena looking to head back to school full time to finish off the semester, Dmitri took her aside and spoke to her about his growing interest in the developing Insurrectionist cell on the planet. This revelation that her husband had been starting to consider anti-UEG feelings shocked Elena and, in her initial reaction, she exploded on Dmitri, sparking the couple's first major argument. While feelings had cooled over the next day, Elena managed to more calmly explain her feelings on the topic and past experiences with the Insurrection to Dmitri, and Dmitri swore to give up on his plan of pursuing his curiosity further, the whole ordeal had shaken the relationship, setting the stage for a wedge to be driven between the couple that even they didn't see yet.

With Elena returning to her courses for the rest of the semester, through April and into May, the previous situation of little time spent together between the couple returned, further amplified this time by the presence of young Vika, who, at the moment, relied on her mother more than her father. This uneven time spent between parents, including the common occurrence of Elena taking Vika to her classes with her, gave Dmitri plenty of time to attend the Insurrectionist cell meetings behind Elena's back, a fact she wasn't aware of for a long time. However, more noticeably to Elena, especially once the summer months came and she had more time at home with Dmitri, this separation led to Vika developing a preference for her mother over her father.

As such, when this was seen by the couple when Elena finished her second semester in May and returned to the farm for the summer months, they attempted to expose Vika more to her father than Elena for a few months to "correct" for the perceived imbalance. This seemed to work after a few weeks and the pair spent the rest of the summer break largely as a family, spending time equally with their daughter and most of the time with all three together. Despite this, however, there were some times where Dmitri managed to find an excuse to get away from Elena and Vika and continue to attend meetings with the other Insurrectionists on the planet, eventually becoming a full member of the cell towards the end of the summer.

A few weeks into Elena's third semester at college, Vika grew old enough to begin eating solid food and, while Elena still occasionally took her with her to the campus to ease the burden for Dmitri on the farm, it became more and more common for her to stay with her father back home instead, no longer needing to be near her mother for breastfeeding. This is also when the issues with the couple's relationship fully began to develop. While this initially took the form of petty squabbles as the freshness of the relationship that had first brought them together had begun to wear off and expose the differences underneath, larger arguments began to spring up sporadically whenever Dmitri wasn't home later in the evenings on the days he was attending Insurrectionist cell meetings. While his parents' attempts to smooth things over between the couple helped keep them together and there was still a degree of love and passion between Elena and Dmitri, the outbursts, squabbles, and nights spent sleeping in different rooms hinted that the relationship wasn't quite as perfect as it originally seemed.

However, the couple didn't show any signs of splitting, even as Elena's continuing studies kept her away from Dmitri and Vika during the day, and Dmitri's periodic nights away from home kept Elena worried and upset at her husband. What did begin to happen, though, as the years went on and Vika grew into a toddler, is that the young girl began to show signs of preffering her father over Elena, the opposite preference of what had originally been seen. Originally simply a result of the extended periods that Vika spent with her father rather than her mother, Dmitri began to purposefully further develop this preference as his daughter got older, seeing an opportunity to set up bringing her over to the Insurrectionist cause when she got old enough to withhold secrets from Elena.

By the time Elena had graduated from college in 2502, this divide in Viktoriya's preferences had become clear. While the child was not yet hostile towards Elena, she showed time and again that she would prefer to be with her father, further exacerbated by Elena dedicating her time to looking for job openings within local police departments and preparing for police academies that she might come across. Despite this, the exhausted and worn down Elena stilled tried to do her best for her husband and daughter—spending what little time that she could with the pair—and the situation did not yet seem out of control. By August of that year, Elena had been hired by the Durban City Police Department and spent the next six months in the police academy, graduating into the police force as a technician by February 17, 2503.

Police Officer

Second Pregnancy

Detective and SWAT Officer

Split from Dmitri (2517-2526)

Battle of Biko and Cryosleep (2526-2557)

On March 26, 2526, Elena was on an early morning SWAT call in Durban, prepared as part of a breaching team for a hostage situation, when the Covenant arrived in system. While she didn't immediately realize what was going on as the threat that their "world will burn until its surface is but glass," Elena recognized that something was going on that was bigger than the hostage situation. Though she and the rest of her team were thrown off by the threat, her command ordered them to continue with the hostage situation. However, the situation quickly, but unfortunately, resolved when the suspect panicked, having heard the message as well, and executed the hostage. Able to move in and make the arrest now that the scene was clear, Elena and her team attempted to do so but ended up finding him on the ground, dead from an apparent suicide, instead.

Though she was shaken by the transmission and the way the hostage situation had gone south so quickly, Elena soon found herself having to jump right back into action. On the way back to the police station, the Covenant assault on Biko started in full, with ground forces heading for the planet and orders from the UNSC directing Elena's police department to assist with civilian evacuations. Directed to guard the city's space elevator to free up some of the UNSC forces currently handling that task, Elena and her team change course to the departures facility. However, on their way there, they found their vehicle being wrecked by shots from Covenant landing craft. To make matters worse, they were quickly swarmed by Covenant troops. Managing to make her way out of the vehicle and set up against a nearby building for cover, Elena found herself relatively alone against an approaching wave of Grunts and Jackals, the rest of her team either dead inside the vehicle or already outside and lost among the fleeing crowd of civilians.

Attempting to hold off the advancing forces on her own, Elena quickly found her efforts futile and suicidal. Already concussed and injured from the blast that had flipped her SWAT vehicle, she found most of her shots going wildly off-target and those that did hit her target bouncing off of the shields of the approaching Jackals. Ducking back into cover as the aliens returned fire, she decided to flee, dropping a flash-bang grenade behind her for cover and running to catch up with the rest of the fleeing crowd.

Elena's next few minutes were spent navigating through the city under assault, guiding civilians towards the nearest evacuation point, the orbital elevator, when she could, but largely just trying to avoid getting shot by the alien ground forces or floating troop transports. While she managed to get to the space elevator largely unscathed, the UNSC forces, joined by some Insurrectionist troops, having stepped in to take over the largest burden of the defense and slow the advancing forces down. However, arriving at the orbital elevator didn't inspire much hope, as she found a massive crowd of civilians attempting to force their way in. Recognizing that some of her fellow SWAT team members had reached the facility, however, she reconnected with the police forces that were directing the crowd and defending against the occasional Covenant attack. This situation continued through the day, the elevator luckily surviving as the Covenant ships in orbit focused on the other side of the planet to engage the small human defense fleet, with groups of civilians gathering onto the elevator platforms and heading up to evacuation ships in orbit one by one. Additionally, the combined UNSC and Insurrectionist ground forces held their ground well, keeping the Covenant forces away from the important areas of evacuation beyond what anyone expected.

By dusk, however, the human defenders were beginning to be pushed back into the center of the city, with the line around the orbital elevator facility breaking. Luckily, the civilian crowd had dwindled to only one or two more groups, and Elena and the other SWAT officers remaining set up to hold off one last push from the Covenant as the last civilians made their way onto the elevators. Still concussed and running on fumes by this point, the cycle of mind-numbing boredom broken by bouts of physically exerting combat over the day having taken their toll, Elena barely recognized what she was doing, the processes of firing, reloading, and taking cover simple instincts by this point. Despite their efforts, the Covenant forces advanced too quickly and the SWAT officers found the last groups of civilians slowly being gunned down, too large to find cover for all of them. At long last, however, the elevator platform arrived on the surface once again and the remaining survivors, including Elena and her SWAT team, were able to make their way onboard with a round of suppressing fire to keep the Covenant forces down until the doors closed and the elevator began its ascent.

The journey up was calm and near-silent, with only a few murmured "thank-you's" and questions about how everyone was doing physically. By the time the elevator opened up on the orbital spaceport, though, the situation drastically changed as the parting doors revealed a bustling, angry crowd to Elena. Pushing her way to the front, using her status as a SWAT officer to explain to some that she was just looking for orders and ignoring those who didn't accept that answer and continued yelling at her, she met up with those running the evacuations and found out that only one ship remained. At this moment, she felt something within her snap as she realized that the effort they had all expended would go to waste as the ship she saw outside was way too small for those that remained on the spaceport. The stress and exhaustion taking over once more, she overheard a few other police officers suggesting they use their status to cut in line and board the ship and agreed with the plan, turning back to those handling the evacuation and explaining the plan, finally managing to convince the majority of officers to carry it out.

With the decision made, Elena and the other police officers turned to the docking tube and pushed passed the civilians currently on the tunnel onto the ship, once again ignoring protests from those they were pushing past. Making it onto the ship, however, they found their reception suddenly changing when they lied to the remaining civilians that more ships were coming for those they left behind and they were simply there to provide defense against any potential boarding actions, now facing thank-you's and other gestures of goodwill instead of derogatory shouts and slurs. Unable to handle the mental and emotional whiplash the situation had put her through to this point, Elena pushed through the crowds, attempting to drown out the voices, and made her way to a dark corner of the ship where she simply broke down, huddling up on the floor and crying as she thought about all she had lost over the course of the day.

By the time she had gathered herself again, the evacuation ship had made its way to the end of the system and the situation onboard had quieted down as the crew managed the refugees. Standing up, she made her way to the ship's mess, looking for some degree of food. Having arrived so late to the mess, she found that everyone else had already been served and the line near empty, finding some degree of happiness in finally having something go right for her as she quickly made her way through the line, getting food and not particularly caring about the poor quality, simply glad to be able to fulfill her hunger and slake her thirst. Staying in the mess hall for the next half-hour, Elena was snapped out of her thoughts when the ship shook and a voice came over the PA system. The announcement informed everyone on the ship that there was a small error with the slipspace drive, but that they shouldn't panic and simply proceed to the cryobay.

Despite this announcement, many of the passengers began to panic at first, though others, including Elena, managed to calm them down, though Elena's attempts were more due to emotional numbness and annoyance at the noise than anything else at this point. Following the orders of the crew, Elena joined the rest of the crowd in the cryobay, waiting in line for the next hour or so until she was eventually assigned a cryopod, given the surfactant, and laid back onto the gel padding and put under.

Cryo Dead.png
A cryobay onboard the Indigo in 2557, housing several malfunctioned pods and the dead bodies of survivors of the Battle of Biko within.

Unknown to Elena, however, the "small error with the slipspace drive" was, in fact, a full-scale malfunction, unable to be fixed by the components currently onboard the ship. Following the collection of all of the passengers in the cryobay, the ship was put into a minimal power state, keeping only the required systems for life-preservation online at first, eventually joined by an emergency beacon after a few weeks once the Covenant left the system. This beacon went undiscovered until after the Human-Covenant War concluded, with the ship drifting further and further from the system until its eventual recovery by a scavenger ship on February 12, 2557, nearly 31 years later. While many of the cryotubes had shut down due to low power or malfunctioned over the years, Elena was found inside one of the ones that had survived, on the edge of death, and was quickly thawed and delivered to a hospital ship in system for treatment.

Recovery and Restarting Life (2557)

"Damn. Where'd they find her? Malnutrition, internal damages, one of the most severe cases of freezer burn I have ever seen."
―Dr. Samuel McClincy talking to himself about Elena's condition

Though she was one of the few onboard the Indigo to have survived the extended period in cryosleep, Elena didn't make it through the ordeal unscathed. Along with general malnutrition due to the surfactant and slowed biological processes only being able to do so much, the fact that she had been placed under while still wearing clothes had left her with a significant case of freezer burn. Additionally, the stresses from the battle and the long period of time without activity had led to internal damages, particularly muscle atrophy and effects from the concussion she had suffered which had gone untreated. As such, despite regaining consciousness in the hospital only a relatively short while after first being recovered from the refugee ship, she found herself facing an extended stay in the hospital to fully recover.

For the first few weeks, this largely took the form of bed rest and a specific diet, as well as a few small surgeries along the way. While the muscle atrophy was considered a concern, it's reversible nature had led the doctors to see it as a secondary issue, with recovery from the still lingering concussion effects and other internal injuries taking precedence. As such, Elena spent much of the time in a darkened hospital room with relatively little to keep her entertained, in order to keep her mind from overstimulation. She found most of her days taken up by sleeping, excluding the specially prepared, protein-rich meals provided, mild exercises of her arms and legs, and the periods of time she was put under for surgery. After two weeks of this routine, the doctors found no sign of lingering damages from the concussion Elena had suffered nor any internal issues that required further surgery and thus approved her for transfer to the physical therapy program within the hospital to continue rebuilding her atrophied muscles.

Upon arriving at the physical therapy wing, Elena was reexamined by the doctors there to develop her recovery program. From this examination, she was scheduled for steadily increasing rounds of resistance training over the next few weeks, looking to induce hypertrophy to reverse the muscle loss. However, while this originally seemed to go well for the first month, progress began to plateau after this point well before it should have, leading to a second reexamination which found signs that the extended period of severe disuse had led to permanent skeletal muscle fiber loss, indicating that physical therapy would no longer be sufficient for a full recovery. With this discovery, Elena was scheduled to take part in a cloning therapy program aimed to slowly rebuild the fibers that had been permanently lost. With the physical therapy program ramping up alongside her placement in this program in order to stimulate the integration of the new fibers, Elena found a significant period of her day dedicated to alternating between exercises to strengthen her muscles and rest to allow them to recover. Overall, she faced another two months in the physical therapy program before finally reaching the level where the doctors believed she had recovered enough to be released from the hospital and restart her life.

Upon being released from the hospital ship, Elena was delivered to a UEG facility on the recently resettled to be added back into the system as a citizen, with checks at the hospital having revealed that she was marked as deceased due to the extended period of time she had been missing following the Battle of Biko. Arriving on the planet on May 6, 2557, Elena found the process to be significantly overcomplicated, having to spend several nights at the facility in a form of custody, the officials not wanting her to be free on the colony without being marked as a citizen, both as a security measure and for her own safety as her lack of documentation would prevent her from being able to interact with almost every legal aspect of day to day life. While their motivations were largely pure, the deceased marking on her file proved to be difficult to lift, with the data required to check if she was who she said she was and prove she was still alive locked behind the file while simultaneously being required to remove the lock. Eventually, it was Elena's stock exchange portfolio and the efforts of a sympathetic UEG official that served as good enough identification to allow the file to be unlocked. With her dumb-AI being saved on an external server to manage her profile, it had managed to survive the Battle of Biko and continue to function over the entire time she had been in cryosleep, the one aspect of her life that hadn't been shut down. With her knowledge of this and her close resemblance to the profile image on the portfolio serving as evidence that she was who she said she was to the official, he was able to convince his superiors to unlock Elena's file. At this point, the contained information was more than able to confirm her claimed identity further and she reclaimed her identity within the UEG system by May 12.

In another stroke of luck, Elena's further investigation into this stock profile revealed to her that, during her time in cryosleep, she had grown quite wealthy. Having invested heavily in industrial and military companies, the Human-Covenant War and large-scale militarization of the UEG that occurred during and after it had led to her stock prices exploding. Combined with the AI she had left in charge making good trades, the portfolio had managed to balloon several thousand times over, leaving her with a fortune large enough to restart her life and then some, even with her other accounts and assets shut down or seized. Quickly getting herself situated with an accountant, Elena spent the next month or so working through the legal system of assuring her claim to her newly acquired wealth, culminating in needing to find a job to properly re-integrate into human society despite her new fortune. Ultimately, she called upon her police background to get a job at a private security contractor that was working with Lethbridge Industrial to guard the construction of a new space elevator in Midorno, Cascade. Settling on the world by June 16, Elena saw life quickly, but briefly, return to normal.

Augmentation (2557)

Wandering Bodyguard (2557-2558)

Battle of Montak and War with Imperium of Clarity (2558)

Looking to land her next job and hearing that there could be openings for security guards among the various frontier mining companies, Elena made her way for the frontiers of UEG space. Finding herself in orbit of the world of Montak late on August 24, 2558, Zaytseva ended up in the middle of a brewing conflict between the break-off state the Imperium of Clarity and the UNSC. Though the actual battle wouldn't find the world until several days later, the Imperium was already wary of Elena and the other civilians on the world, having recently taken over operations on the planet themselves. As such, the intervening five days from August 24 to August 29 saw Elena locked in her quarters as a "guest" of the Imperium under claims that they were being protected from the upcoming conflict, though she surmised the civilians were more being used as a deterrent against nuclear—or other highly damaging—attacks on the facility.

Just after midday on August 29, however, Elena was given her chance to escape her confinement. With the battle starting outside of the facility to provide a distraction and manual locks on the door, she was able to combine a hairpin and a broken piece of her cot to pick the lock and advance into the housing facility hallways. Taking advantage of her augmented strength, she was then able to silently kill a nearby guard by stabbing the piece from her cot into his neck, dragging his body back into her room to take his weapon and armor. Additionally, she used his thumbprint to gain access to his datapad and locate a map, memorize the most efficient path to the hangar where her ship was being held by the Imperium. Elena was then able to advance through the majority of the facility undetected—most of the guards were distracted by the battle outside—but was spotted as she was making her way down the last hallway before the hangar. Though she managed to avoid a face-to-face confrontation with the guards that had found her and instead ran through the nearby door, losing them among the ships, one of the guards had managed to land a lucky shot on her shoulder before she could escape out of view, leaving her injured.

Finding the Burya, Elena made her way onto the yacht and patched up her wound. Though she wanted to make her way off-world as soon as possible, her AI reported that the area was being contained by a shield dome, cutting off any means off-planet. Not wanting to leave her ship running hot and noticeable, she thus had her AI shut down the vessel's nonessential systems—including himself—leaving only life support, climate control, and a proximity alert feature running, though all on lowered power.

Personality and Traits

Growing up to a single mother having to work extended hours to make due for the family, Elena was left to be cyberschooled, unable to make it to school safely in the freezing temperatures of her hometown otherwise. This pushed her away from most of the other children in the area, replacing friendships with other children with an almost unhealthy dependence on technology. While she did find some degree of socialization in her uncle, from whom she got spare parts and machines to tinker with in exchange from assisting him and his dogsled team on hunts through the self-made drones she made, this also served to further her technological dependence, though at the very least began to transition it into something of use in her life. This relationship eventually grew out of the unhealthy dependence stage into more of a persistent tool and hobby through her life through continued coaching from her Uncle.

However, her technological streak wasn't the only side effect of her isolated childhood. Additionally, she developed a highly independent nature, untempered by any true guidance in terms of maturity in facing her problems. This often led to her getting herself into trouble and, instead of facing the consequences, running or hiding from them. This paired part of her personality was even more firmly entrenched when, following a solo hunting trip during which she was attacked by a pack of wolves, her mother forced her to remain inside and away from any danger, further isolating her and exposing her to one of the main adults in her life setting the example of hiding from consequences and danger rather than facing it. This streak defined her months on the run along the human colonies, eventually settling her on Biko, far away from her homeworld, after a series of leaving her past behind when faced with difficulties.

However, it was also on Biko where she finally learned to settle down, allow others into her life, and face her problems, the change sparked by a situation too big for her to easily run away from. She fell pregnant. However, despite the semblance of leading a more normal life going forward, her lack of any truly developed maturity resurfaced in relationship troubles with her husband, which even further developed into other unhealthy traits, such as a setting their kids against each other and the other parent. This finally boiled over when her husband left her for the Insurrection, taking their older daughter with him, leaving Elena to once again face a problem situation in a rather immature manner, lying to her remaining daughter about the nature of it and setting off on a quest of revenge, though this never proved fruitful.

Following her extended time in cryosleep, she was met once again with an apparent blank slate behind her, a large sum of money, and no true connections. Despite the time under mellowing her personality a bit, the lack of any past relationships also left her to return to her earlier wandering ways, though less often running away from her problems and more often running towards new ones. Additionally, her previous work into connecting to people on any meaningful level had also seemed to deteriorate some amount, leaving her far more ruthless than she had been before when necessary, these traits revealing themselves through her being quicker on the draw and slower to make relationships, caring first about herself, and only second about anyone else.

Relationships

Dmitri Zaytsev

Dmitri Circa 2500.jpeg
Dmitri around 2500

Dmitri and Elena first met on Biko early in 2498, quickly developing a friendship, with the young farmer becoming the first individual who expressed true interest in Elena's stories. With the pair spending extended periods of time together during her stay on Biko, this relationship eventually blossomed into a full out romance, the vagrant Elena finding ground in the farmer boy, and the farmer boy finding a degree of escapism in her stories. However, things were rushed along when, after only a few months together, Elena fell pregnant with Dmitri's child, pushing the pair towards an early engagement and eventual marriage, firmly locking both of them on the ground despite their previous dreaming of heading to the stars together.

From here, the relationship quickly grew tumultuous, with Elena's focus on her studies, chosen to allow the pair to support a family beyond the means of a small farm, and Dmitri eventually revealing he had decided to join the Insurrection leading to more time spent apart and their trust for each other shaken. While a band-aid solution was found with Dmitri lying to Elena that he wasn't going to become an Insurrectionist, the relationship never fully recovered following. This became even more apparent when Elena gave birth and pushed her first daughter, Viktoria, off on Dmitri, still dedicating more time to her studies than her family. This shakey footing and lack of time Elena spent with Viktoria led Dmitri to see a chance to sway at least one member of his cause, working to become Viktoria's favorite parent, a fairly easy task, and starting to subtly sow seeds of discontent in the young child as she grew, hoping to one day sway her to the Insurrection.

However, while the relationship was already shaky at this point, it never truly became abusive on either end, and the pair still managed to find tender moments both as a family and more privately between themselves. One such instance in 2507 led to Elena falling pregnant once more with a second daughter, who they would end up naming Aleksandra. Seeing the preference Viktoria had for Dmitri and possessing a steady job now, Elena made sure to not repeat her previous mistakes and took time off work to spend with her second daughter. However, in doing so, she also overstepped her bounds and grew to enact similar levels of manipulation as Dmitri had earlier to push Aleksandra towards preferring her as a parent to her husband. This led to a split in the family that, while not drastic, was still quite noticeable.

This split was never more apparent than when, in 2517, Dmitri finally had enough of the relationship and, succeeding in his intentions with Viktoria, left Elena, taking their older daughter with him, to more fully join the Insurrection, already a high-ranking officer at the time. Though she ended up never directly interacting with Dmitri again, following this point, this breakup did impact Elena in several ways. First, it drove her to what she eventually considered her lowest point as a parent, lying to Aleksandra that Viktoria and Dmitri weren't coming back, eventually even saying they had died. Second, it pushed her towards an enduring desire for revenge against the man, driving her to join the SWAT team in an attempt to end the Insurrection activity on Biko. While she never managed to succeed in this goal, Dmitri was killed in 2526 by ONI Agent Kate Guillou during the Battle of Biko and, following her thirty-one years in cryosleep, Elena rarely, if ever, though back on him again.

Viktoriya Dmitrievna "Vika" Zaytseva

Viktoriya.jpeg
Viktoriya a few years after she left Elena with Dmitri.

Aleksandra "Sasha" Zaytseva

Sasha Circa 2526.jpeg
Sasha around 2526, the last time Elena ever saw her.
"I'm sorry, Sasha, sweety. Well... your dad. And Vika... I'm sorry, honey... they're not going to be coming home again. They're... they're dead, Sasha."
―Elena lying to Aleksandra that her father and sister had died.


Viktoriya Zaytseva and Aleksandr Zaytsev

Taking Elena in when times were looking darkest for her, Dmitri Zaytsev's parents, Viktoriya and Aleksandr, quickly grew to serve as surrogate parents for the young woman. While they were originally just the owners of the farm she worked on, the couple grew much closer to Elena when she started dating, and eventually married, their son. As the years went on, the bond grew even stronger, with the couple even agreeing to pay for Elena's college education and giving the young woman joint control over the farm when they passed ownership of it over to Dmitri. Even when their son later proved to be an Insurrectionist, Viktoriya and Aleksandr found themselves disagreeing with his decision, siding with Elena over him. However, while they did try to convince him to stay, and were still supportive of Elena during the trials that followed losing her husband and oldest daughter, the stress of the situation took its toll and the pair never got on quite as well with their daughter-in-law as they had before again. By the time of the Battle of Biko, they were closer to their granddaughter, Sasha, than Elena, with Elena's job keeping her from the farm and Sasha being some of the only support they had with running it as they got older. However, even this ended when Sasha joined the Marine Corps, with the older Zaytsevs only really interacting with the younger over quiet "family" dinners at the end of the day, with even these being sporadic due to the demands of Elena's job.

After waking up from cryosleep in 2557, Elena assumed the couple to have died during the battle and didn't bother to even look into their survival, moving on with her life and, much like with the rest of her old family, rarely thinking of them again.

Physical Characteristics

While below average in height, Elena was by no means a scrawny individual, making up, in her adult life, for what she lacked in stature by always making sure she stayed in shape, to the point of even being considered particularly muscular, though during her adolescence she was of a slimmer build, and her extended time in cryosleep took its toll on her body for the first few months following her awakening. When it came to marks on her body, Elena had her fair share of scars, both from everyday life and her time serving as a police officer, though by far the most prominent was the large slash mark on her left cheek, a remnant of her run-in with a wolf pack as a teenager. Additionally, her left arm sported a sleeve tattoo, black in the pattern of a starfield, though this had faded over the years since she had gotten it as a young adult.

While her face remained relatively young for her biological age, slight wrinkles around the corners of the eyes and laugh lines on her cheeks betrayed the truth under the otherwise wrinkle-free skin. While her hair remains blonde enough to hide the small number of white strands that have started to grow through, it was left quite a bit darker than it had been when Elena was a child, with both her having died it brown as a teenager and natural darkening over the years contributing. This, she typically wore long, most commonly in a loose ponytail with bangs, though she did let it down when she was alone and occasionally even did so in public. However, as an adult, Elena refused to cut it shorter than shoulder length, having worn it short as a teen following her departure from Sirona and finding that she didn't like the look. Matching more with the soft darkness of her skin due to spending a large period of her life exposed to various stars, either outside or onboard her ship in rooms with viewports, than the lightness of her hair, her eyes were a warm brown shade, somewhere in-between amber and fully brown eyes.

When not dressed up for some specific event, such as a formal occasion or going to the beach, Elena tended to wear what would be considered a business casual outfit as a base, with a simple white button-down shirt or blouse and brown or black slacks, though she traded the dress shoes for leather boots instead, often without too large of a heel, prioritizing being able to get around more than looking good enough for an interview. Over this, she could be found sporting either a waist-length jacket or full overcoat depending on the temperature, complete with, once again more practical than showy, scarves and gloves depending on the temperature, though she rarely wore a hat unless it was cold enough to warrant one in full on trapper style. Though she once wore both wedding and engagement bands around her finger, following her time in cryosleep she no longer continued to do so. Finally, when it came to her bag, she found herself using a messenger bag more often than any form of purse, appreciating the additional organization to the flashier and fancier method of portable storage.

Appearances

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.