Anastasia (ah-nah-STAH-ja) Vansen, or Anya, was born in Copenhagen. When she was two, her parents volunteered to be a part of the Amaris Prima project in the Gamma Quadrant.
Amaris Prima colony (Gamma Quadrant, Amaris Sector) had been flourishing for ten years when the Dominion forces finally came. Much of the colony was destroyed in the inevitable attack. The Starfleet Marine S&R team dispatched there found the twelve-year- old under a shelter of rubble, along with a handful of others.
Anastasia changed. The precociousness and outgoing personality with which she had been blessed disappeared with the colony. She refused to speak. They knew her identity from some record fragments they managed to salvage from the colony's database, as well as original documentation from the Department of Colonial Affairs. She did what she was told without so much as a word, but her eyes saw much, and many adults found her penetrating silence disturbing.
She did develop an attachment of sorts to one of the young Marines who rescued the survivors: twenty-seven-year-old Sergeant Marius Hennessey, 487th Recon Battalion, stationed at Fort Bragg. When the UFPHCR representative realized that she was going nowhere other than with the Sergeant, she released her to his custody.
Anya did quite well in school, although she never spoke up in class. She took up karate, then kickboxing, pouring much energy into practice. Time and again, she proved herself the champion of the underdog, always the first to break up a fight, protecting the weaker child from the schoolyard bullies.
A few weeks short of her sixteenth birthday, Anya gave Hennessey her Early Admittance Application to Starfleet Academy for him to sign -- and he refused to sign it. Her shock at his reaction made something click in her head.
After a few moments of stunned silence on both sides, they bearhugged eachother, celebrating her full return to her life. They still argued about her application. Sergeant Hennessey finally convinced her to stay in school until she finished her secondary education, then apply for the Academy.
When she was accepted by the Academy in 2398, Anya, now usually going by Tash, borrowed Hennessey's shuttlecraft, and snuck off to the Gamma Quadrant and Amaris Prima to visit the remains of her parents' house. When she finally returned home a day later, Marius was, of course, fit to be tied.
At the Academy, she showed exceptional promise as a small-craft pilot, as well as some talent in tactical analysis. Her hand-eye coordination scores, helped by her years of training in karate and kickboxing, were quite extraordinary. She graduated second in her class, and was immediately sent to "Red Flag", the special training course for combat pilots.
She started out as wingman in the 58th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The 58th's first combat mission was against the Jem'Hadar in the Gamma Quadrant. They were backup to the more experienced 109th Squadron, but when they were wiped out, it left the rather green 58th to hold back the Dominion offensive until help arrived in the form of two Starfleet battle cruisers. They barely managed to make it to the rendezvous point under cover of the cruisers.
The second time out against the Dominion, their carrier was attacked before they scrambled the fighters; her lead was injured on the way to the hangar deck by an exploding console. She flew lead to a brand new wingman to establish a record for the number of kills during a single sortie. She flew lead again for her third and last Jem'Hadar mission with the 58th in the Second Battle of Toralis.
She flew seventeen missions with the 58th, twelve of those classified as combat missions. And, perhaps because of the way her parents were killed, Tash still holds the 58th's record for number of Jem'Hadar kills.
Just a few weeks short of three full years with the 58th, she was transferred to the 127th Airborne -- "The Angry Angels," the elite Marine fighter wing. After a false start (a hangar accident which almost got her killed), her combat pilot career advanced quickly, becoming Bravo Squadron Leader at the end of her first year.
One month later, she was shot down in mid-combat. Although she made almost a one-hundred percent recovery, there were some medical complications, and, despite everything she and her superior officers did or threatened to do, the doctors removed her flight status.
She took a month-long Leave of Absence and took stock of her life. Flying was all she knew, but she was only twenty-six -- and she could not think of a life outside of the Marines. Upon returning to active duty, she requested enrollment in Advanced Tactical Training to prepare for a career in the ground combat forces.
Upon finishing Advanced Tactical Training, she was assigned to the USS ORLEANS as a Platoon Commander. A year later, she was promoted to Company CO. Her company was decorated for the action taken by the ORLEANS during the raising of the siege of New London, and she was promoted to Major and Battalion Executive Officer, to replace the former MXO who had been killed in action.
Her year as MXO was a learning experience, to say the least. Despite her successes after moving from airborne units to ground forces, a few of her fellow Marine officers still harbored prejudices against what they thought was the "all-flash, no dirty work" attitude of combat pilots. Worse, they thought Vansen a failed combat pilot -- someone who couldn't even measure up to that. Their treatment of her became worse when the ORLEANS' CO and the OPS officer (formerly Security Chief) left eight months into her tenure. There were some incidents which almost made her want to resign her commission, but with the support of the Marine CO, she gritted her teeth and endured.
She finally put an end to those doubts when she commanded the battalion to secure Zareth IV, a Federation outpost recently reclaimed from the Romulans. When they were ambushed by a battalion of Romulan ground troops who had been left behind, she could have lost her head, and her Marines. The ensuing battle was ferocious, but her quick reflexes saved her and the battalion, and the Marines came away victorious, with only two casualties.
Two months after Zareth IV, she was transferred to the USS CENTURION as her Marine Commanding Officer. Her eight months aboard the CENTURION were somewhat better than her year on the ORLEANS. She still fought some of the old prejudices, but by then, many had heard about Zareth IV and respected her experience both as a pilot and as a ground combat veteran.
When she was offered the MCO billet aboard the recommissioned USS CORONA, she jumped at the chance. She left the CENTURION with little regret... but not before the entire battalion managed to get her soaked with Terran beer to begin her surprise going away party.
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