Name: Vladimir Arkadyevich Derzhavin
Affiliation: Systems Alliance Navy Marines, Spec Ops
Rank: 2nd Lieutenant, ICT N3 qualification
History: Born in 2157, Vladimir's father died during the First Contact war. As such, he never knew him. Growing up in Moscow was pleasant, and Vladimir's childhood was not terribly exceptional. He played sports, did reasonably well in school, dated girls, had awkward sexual encounters until he gained reasonable proficiency and confidence, made friends, lost friends, got into fights, and in general grew up. As soon as he graduated, Vladimir enlisted for service. He signed up for the marines, the same branch of service his father had served and died in. His mother was conflicted; she did not want to lose him too, but in the end she gave her blessing. Vladimir performed very well during basic training, and was stationed on Elysium. Garrison duty offered little in the way of stimulation or trial, but Vladimir did his duty.
There, he developed a relationship with a local girl about his age. She was the daughter of the owners of a cafe. Her name was Vesepia Jones. She was sweet, and kind. They dated, went to dances, but things never got serious. Both of them knew they were not life long mates, and as soon as Vladimir was posted somewhere else he would go with fond memories. But they were happy. And they were in love, even if it was not the kind that burned brightly or endured for decades. Vladimir was on a day leave pass with her when the Skylian Blitz happened; he tried to escort her to safety, but she was gunned down by a squad of batarians. She died in his arms. Vladimir managed to neutralize one of them, take his weapon, and then eliminate the rest of the enemy squad. Although he attempted to make his way back to base, the distance was too great for him to rendez-vous with the Alliance forces stationed there; he resolved to make as much of a nuisance of himself as he could to the invaders. Gravely wounded during the Blitz, Vladimir nevertheless managed to neutralize several shuttles by seizing and employing batarian heavy weapons. His final action before relief forces arrived was to disable two batarian shuttles before they could take off with human civilians intended to be sold as slaves.
His actions earned him a commendation and promotion. He attended Vesepia's funeral, with her parents' blessing. It was a closed casket affair, and very somber. Vesepia's parents said nothing, but there was some resentment that he was alive and their daughter was dead. That resentment was something that Vladimir shared with them, and he felt tremendous guilt that he had not been able to save Vesepia. Some physical rehabilitation and recovery followed, but he was soon cleared for active duty and returned to duty.
Vladimir went on to be part of the forces that engaged in the Theshaca Raids. Facing fierce fighting in several combat deployments, Vladimir gained a reputation in his squad first as someone who was tough as nails - he took hits that would put another man down for the count and kept on fighting. He performed admirably, taking charge of his squad after his CO fell to heavy point defenses and their senior non-com experienced a failure in morale, and lead a daring flanking attack against an entrenched enemy position that had three squads of marines hopelessly pinned down and ripe for out-maneuvering by inbound batarians. They seized the guns mostly intact, and an engineer with one of the now freed squads was able to help them redeploy the heavy guns to destroy the inbound batarians - eight full squads were cut to pieces with what had been their own defenses. Vladimir also managed to save the life of a marine officer, Captain Edward Raines, taking a rocket meant for the Captain by using his body as a shield. The young marine was stabilized and medi-evaced, but by that time that combat zone was mostly won - all that remained was to mop up a handful of stragglers.
The debriefing that Vladimir faced was made up of several senior officers. It deviated from previous debriefings. The questions were hard, and the attending officers tried to turn his words around to make it seem as though he had done something wrong. The young soldier held his ground and defended his actions, standing by all of the decisions he had made. Later, Vladimir learned that the examination was so thorough was because Captain Raines had recommended Vladimir as a candidate for the ICT program. The board apparently found Vladimir a suitable candidate, and the formal offer was made. The young marine accepted, and was sent for N1 training. The brutal twenty hours a day training almost broke him, and almost killed him, but Vladimir managed to pass. It took everything he had. He almost did not make it until one of the instructors let it slip - ostensibly by accident - that his father had been a candidate for the program and would have begun training had he survived the First Contact War. That kernel of knowledge allowed Vladimir to dig down deep and find the last reserves he needed to succeed. It was a proud day when he completed the first course of training.
After a week's leave to recover - spent visiting his mother, who had since remarried, and meeting her new husband - Vladimir went on to complete the N2 and N3 training courses. He would put that training to good use, assigned as part of a Spec Ops team employed on various missions the brass needed done. As before, he acquitted himself well in combat, displaying the individual initiative so prized by the Alliance military machine without getting cocky and disobeying orders. During his tour, he faced batarians, salarians, krogan, asari, humans, vorcha, and even the odd elcor. In one of those missions, he earned a commendation for carrying a wounded squad member twelve kilometers while under heavy enemy fire and while wounded to an extraction LZ when environmental conditions made shuttle retrieval anywhere else impossible. Another, where his squad was tasked with what should have been a simple intel retrieval meeting with an STG squad, saw Vladimir convince both his CO and the salarians to band together to take out a group of mercs that were going to massacre a group of quarian civilians. Although outnumbered 3 to 1, the superior tactics, training, and equipment of the Alliance Spec Ops soldiers and the STG soldiers allowed them achieve 98% destruction of enemy forces and matériel. In light of the near total destruction of the enemy forces, deniability was plausible and complete.
At this point, Vladimir was scheduled to take the N4 course, but was tapped instead to join an Alliance crew that would team with a SPECTRE to hunt down an Alliance Spec Op member turned terrorist. Although the recruitment for this mission was ostensibly voluntary, there was no way that Vladimir was going to turn it down. Taking down one of his own gone bad was a matter of pride.
Personality: Vladimir's chief strength as a soldier his ability to shut down emotionally and get things done. He can fight on through pain and injuries that would put another soldier out of the fight. It is something he cultivated and learned how to do, seizing every ounce of potential he has in him to make it happen. Because of the Skylian Blitz, Vladimir is a true believer in what he is doing, and it is in no small part why he has become the driven soldier he has become. Although it might seem like it, however, Vladimir is not ruthless or callous. He will not send men to die, and he will not fall in line without questioning what he sees as a bad call - although he really hates to do it when he can see himself there is no other way. Whenever it comes down to it, Vladimir will do whatever he can to get saddled with the roughest, most brutal part of the job. He can take it, and he knows it. Whenever someone needs to draw fire, Vladimir is the one to go do it. He is dedicated to his squadmates, although this can be as much a liability as an asset - it is very difficult to get Vladimir to leave someone behind, even if it means that the rest of the squad can escape.
Having a command of his own is not something that Vladimir wants. He is a capable leader, and he earns the respect of those he serves with by demonstrating competence and never asking a soldier to do something he would not do himself. Many think he is unable to make the hard decisions, and to commit to what it really takes to get the job done.
Out of combat, Vladimir's pleasant enough. He enjoys classical music, stuff with lots of strings. He does not gamble, after a particularly disastrous hustling he suffered that cost him two months' pay to an engineer. Vladimir learned he just does not have a poker face. While he can drink anyone else under the table, Vladimir does not really enjoy becoming intoxicated - after the Blitz, he just cannot shake the little nagging voice in the back of his head that says he needs to be ready, at all times, to fight. He will enjoy the odd round, of course - it is just excess that he avoids. He especially enjoys eating, and the cooks of ships he serves on quickly come to recognize him and his wheedling ways. Some kept a few extra sandwiches ready - others kept their heavy ladles ready to fend off a bold, impromptu pantry liberation.
The guilt he feels over Vesepia's death still haunts Vladimir. He cannot shake it. He still blames himself for it - if he had been faster, more aware, done this of that differently . . . he thinks he could have saved her. In his mind, he has played out the scenario hundreds of times and come with almost as many ways he could have acted differently and saved her life. In some ways, every time Vladimir does something to save someone, he is trying to save Vesepia. He still has nightmares about it, but they are increasingly infrequent - months apart, even. Although Vladimir likes to think he is not scared to love again or make strong friendships, this may not genuinely be the case. Thus far, however, he has never had occasion to test this belief.
Although not generally xenophobic, Vladimir has - what he believes is a reasonable - mistrust of batarians. On an intellectual level, he knows they are not all mercs and slavers, but he has never personally encountered a batarian that was not one or the other.
Appearance: Vladimir is a tall man. His body responded exceptionally well to the standard Marsgene gene therapy all Alliance soldiers receive upon enlistment, and he has undergone elective gene therapies to further enhance his physique. His muscle mass is very great, and Vladimir's dedication to maintaining fighting fitness shows as well in a bulky, powerful body that moves with a flexibility and smoothness that comes from training for speed and stretching as much as for sheer brute strength (although Vladimir will be the first to admit he goes for the latter probably more than he should). He has glossy black hair that curls slightly if grown out enough, but Vladimir maintains a military high and tight cut. He has pale blue eyes. A strong chin and jawline give his face a very masculine appearance.
Vladimir has several scars on his body as a result of combat. None are especially prominent or disfiguring. He has Vesepia's name tattooed on the inside of his left wrist.
An Alliance uniform is the typical mode of dress for Vladimir. He has a few pieces of civilian clothing, although they are now ill-fitting and several years out of style - it would be very gauche to wear them in public.
Powers: Adrenaline Rush, Fortification, Carnage, Armour-Piercing Ammunition, Cryo Ammunition, Fitness, Arms Master
Load Out: M-92 Mantis I Sniper Rifle; M-6 Carnifex II Pistol; M-12 Locust I Submachine Gun; M-99 Sabre V Assault Rifle; AT-12 Raider IV Shotgun; Heavy Armour (similar in appearance to N7 Defender Armour)