She was born in Moscow to a spy for the KGB. Unfortunately, she was the product of a rape that was swept under the rug because her mother had been a student and the perpetrator an instructor. Because of that her mother did not want her and gave her up. There was a program within the Main Intelligence Directorate aka GRU which was the foreign military intelligence agency of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union that was training and placing spies in America, having them pose as native born citizens and perform various acts of spying, sabotage, and anything else they may be able to. A couple was close to being set up and sent over and the baby, given the name Anastasia, was given to them in addition to another young girl named Elena, to help solidify their cover as a small family just moving to Washington DC.

Anastasia was Americanized into Stacy, Elena into Helen, and the Campbell family was set. Rather than raise the girls into thinking they were American all along, their fake parents informed them they were Soviet Spies and groomed them to become operatives as well.

Because of the girls' young ages they didn't really get details of what their "parents" did, mostly to help ensure secrecy, though they began bringing Helen/Elena and then Stacy/Anastasia on "softer" missions (recon and the like) at the age of nine. Training in how to fight and defend themselves began at an even younger age. Both girls were also enrolled into as many extracurricular activities as they could be to help enhance their athleticism and nurture their intelligence.

When Stacy/Anastasia was ten, the Campbell family was pulled back to the Soviet Union when the Soviet Union and the United States signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty so that the GRU could reassess the Illegals program as relations began shifting between the Soviets and the West. The family was split up, the "parents" moving on to new assignments and the two girls into other programs to continue to mold them into spies and potential assassins.

Whatever feelings Anastasia had about leaving the only family she knew were effectively trained out of her and she was raised in a variety of programs as the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union dissolved back into the Russian Federation and other various countries. Because she knew effectively no other life, she excelled at basically everything they had her do and was sent out in her late teens on her first mission.

Many missions continued after that with the only constant in her life being a rolling list of contacts with the home country that assigned missions and monitored her. It was a lonely life but she knew no other way and couldn't really understand why she should question it. What else could she do? She'd been raised to be a spy and killer.

In mid to late June of 2002 she was back stateside, ironically in the Washington DC area, on a mission to investigate rumors of a weaponized virus escaping containment. It didn't take too long for her to learn the horrifying truth from a USAMRIID doctor who was AWOL from Fort Detrick in Maryland. The US had cooked up a lethal and highly virulent strain of the flu and somehow it had gotten loose. The bigger problem was there was no antidote. Once you got it, and it was easy to get, you would die.

Stunned, and not entirely certain what to do, she let the man go. This was beyond the scope of her assignment - the information she'd been going on was just that it had been a potential weaponized virus of some sort. Nothing had been said about how communicable it was. Or that fatality was all but guaranteed. Anastasia knew she should report to her superiors but faltered at first, wondering how the news will be taken. Would they believe her? And if they did, would they try to destroy the United States with nuclear bombs in an effort to stop the virus from heading overseas to them?

Ultimately she decided to sit on the information for a day, putting out feelers and doing additional groundwork to see what the situation was in the States. Perhaps things could be contained. She quickly learned things were beginning to spiral out of control and after a night of broken and troubled sleep filled with strangely vivid dreams she mostly forgot upon waking she called in what she knew. And then she waited, still gathering information and becoming more and more distressed at what she was learning. The virus was out of control, the Army was attempting to contain things by any means necessary, and the government was denying everything. It was, in short, what Americans said Russia would have done in a similar situation.

Finally the GRU got back to her - with orders to kill the president. Anastasia wondered what the point was to that, it sounded as if he would likely contract and die from the virus without any intervention save perhaps living in a secluded bunker (which, in her opinion, was delaying the inevitable as someone would have to go out for additional supplies anyway and thus become exposed to the virus and bring it back.) Plus he was likely to already be in some sort of protected area even beyond the security of the White House. So even if she could get to him, she would likely be killed after killing him. Though, it was likely she would die from the flu as well.

And what would they do to her if she didn't follow the order? Kill her? It seemed her death was inevitable no matter what she did, which was perhaps what allowed her to even think of not following the order unquestioningly as she always had. So what way did she want to go out?

She actually made it to the tunnel beneath and between the Executive Office Building and the White House, intent on getting into the latter's subterranean levels, before she decided that wasn't the way she wanted to die and she made her way back out. Travel was heavily restricted in the District so she was making her way on foot back to the safe house to figure out what to do next when she ran into someone familiar. It was her "sister" Elena, come to try and convince her to not go through with the assassination.

Elena took Anastasia to her own safe house where they caught up on what had happened during the years apart, each admitting that they had truly loved the other like family, and waited for the end.

Despite their best efforts to not expose themselves to anyone Elena got sick on the 26th, coughing right along with the President who was giving a speech from whatever bunker he'd holed up in, continuing to lie to the public about what was happening. She lasted for three days before succumbing to the virus despite Anastasia's best efforts to care for her. She fully expected to become sick herself, but she hadn't the entire time she'd been exposed to Elena. She buried her sister the following day in the green space in Dupont Circle where they had played chess when they were young.

By July 2nd she figure she wasn't actually going to contract the flu, and thus not die immediately. Even if someone within GRU remained alive she didn't think they would be able to contact her at all. So here she was, in America, with no orders and no mission, likely for the rest of her life. It was, essentially, a new beginning for her. She decided at that point that perhaps it was time for a new identity. She'd been so many people over the years that even her given name, Anastasia Anatolyevna Artyomov, didn't feel like her own. Choosing a new name felt like a big responsibility, and it took her the better part of the day to decide on one.

"Alyona" became her first name, a diminutive of Elena in honor of her sister. "Ivanovna" her patronymic in honor of the kind librarian that had taught both she and Elena how to play chess and spent time with two lonely kids left in the library for hours at a time when their 'parents' had been 'working.' His name technically had been Jack, but, Jack was short for John which had the same meaning as Ivan. "Portnova" in honor of Zinaida Portnova a resistance fighter against the Nazis during the Great Patriotic War (or as the Americans called it, World War Two).

She has no illusions about being a sole survivor as the AWOL doctor had mentioned a 99.9% fatality rate - which meant a .1% survival rate. Low, until one realized that a population like Washington DC's that meant around 600 people were potentially alive (out of rough total of 600,000 she thought) in the District, give or take by her math. Plus, she'd heard sounds of other people at night. She wasn't sure yet if she wanted to find any of those other survivors, or remain on her own for a while. And if she found others, what she would say about herself.

And then there were the strange dreams she was having...