Chief Agricultural Engineer, Mark Dempsey and his wife, a scientist also employed by the System Alliance, manage to smuggle their infant daughter aboard a resource transporter to the newly colonized planet of Mindoir. Humanity's recent efforts at expanding their galactic presence has landed them in this garden-planet within the Attican Traverse and fueled by the promise of a carbon-based life sustaining atmosphere, expedient measures are taken to colonize the planet. Dr. Dempsey, considered by the Alliance to be on the forefront of some unprecedented agricultural developments, discovers that a treatment of pre-excited eezeo combined with low-frequency galvanization results in accelerated growth among plant-life on this planet. This discovery changes the directive of his operation and requires an extended oversight on the newly erected Artemis Project. Illyana, his wife, not at all content with the newly-started colony as a place to raise her daughter, elects to return to her home planet of Earth.
Prior to her birth, Tessal was exposed to treatments of prenatal biotics; a result of her mother's dedication to the Human cause as one of the geneticists employed by Conatix Industries. Up until this point, a majority of the biotic-humans analyzed had been those whom were exposed to it as children and teenagers, victims of the fortuitous diffusion of the element from a series of surveyor accidents occurring above multiple cities on the western-coast of the North American continent on Earth. Prompted by humanities' reputed loose stance in the arena of biotics and the unforeseen disadvantages propagated by this, Illyana committed herself--and her unborn child--to furthering the cause of the Alliance and its understanding of biotic capabilities. In fact, part of the reason why Illyana was so impassioned to return home, was because she had intended to carryout the research she was conducting; for obvious reasons her husband was never privy of the activities regarding his child. Initially, Tessal displayed no exceptional qualities; she was as normal as a human could be, and as time carried on and other experiments progressed, Illyana found herself relieved that her child was just that: normal. Especially considering the fact that other children, who underwent similar treatments, were displaying untoward side-effects from the application of in-utero element zero. Not only that, but the public had taken an unexpected stance against biotic humans; the Alliance's most fervent opposition was that of a group of Christian fanatics who saw the use of biotics as a transgression against their god. Media institutions were flooded with stories of harassment and--in some extreme cases--murder of these biotics; certainly not the social landscape Illyana thought suitable to raise her biotic daughter.
It wasn't until grade school that Tessal became aware of her biotic abilities; at this point in time humanity's regard for biotic humans wasn't nearly as lethal as it was when she was born, though even at that age, she was wise enough to appreciate the logic in keeping her newfound oddity a secret. Inevitably, her mother became privy of her powers, realizing that her mental maturity had to be attributed to something other than a precocity. Being the scientist she was, Illyana enrolled her daughter into a study she was conducting of biotics who had successfully taken to the treatments; as intelligent as she was, her exuberance of this discovery served as a blind-fold to the Alliance's true intentions concerning these potential weapons. Around the end of 2161, Illyana realized the limitations of her studies, that her field of expertise confined her to the observation of prepubescent biotics; her daughter was nearing the age where natural direction would soon run its course and already displaying signs of inappropriate and uncontrolled employment of her powers. Illyana committed her daughter to the highly elusive novelty of the Alliance, a program that held much potential for the front of human-biotics: BAaT.
Tessal's entrance into the BAaT program marked her first interaction with a lifestyle different from the one she was accustomed to. She wasn't the fortunate daughter of an Alliance soldier or a frequent denizen of one of the many frigates that populated the stellar-expanse; she had no experience with any environment even remotely spartan in design. With the personality she possessed and her inability to cope with new environments, she became introverted and extremely agitated with the many foreign stimuli. She had withdrawn from the girl she was, not a change entirely apparent to the observer, though internally she found herself at odds trying to familiarize herself with an environment bereft of any tangible comfort. Initially, the request to perform wasn't at all demanding; the general knowledge of biotics was still premature at best and any notion to explore its application hadn't yet developed. It was merely a "show me what you can do" program, where teachers observed and attempted to create bases of understanding without any real direction. The individual teenager might have been unsettled by the processes that went on, the ubiquitous and constant surveillance, but the similarly impressionable sense of misguidance perpetuated by the staff and administration was oddly comforting at least.
Inevitably, BAaT was taken by a new form of measures enacted by Conatix, namely the substitution of human biotic teachers with turian mercenaries who made up for their public disdain of the human kind with a rather resourceful command of biotics. Their methods of teaching came across as remarkably harsh for the young teenagers and their modes of training were extremely taxing on the human body. No longer were they being asked to demonstrate, they were being pushed to perform; decrease the mass of objects that were exponentially heavier than themselves, generate disruptions in space that could tear entire vehicles into scraps of sheet-metal, and construct biotic membranes thick enough to negate the force of bullets without shattering. These things were accomplished in progression, though the regiments were still ruthless, and the reality that many students didn't possess the expected degree of biotic "competence" became perspicuous. The most skilled of the humans were able to stand up again after enduring crippling feats of biotic usage; the luckiest of them sustained injuries severe enough to be pulled from the program with their lives intact, though suffered irreversible mental and physical damage in the process; the unfortunate ones died by their own hand, usually from cerebral hemorrhaging as a result of excessive cranial pressure.
Sometime in the year 2167, an altercation between a former turian commander and one of his pupils resulted in the former meeting a particularly gruesome demise; this incident which effectively resulted in the termination of the BAaT program, also forced a precarious strain on human-turian relations. Though the program was officially disbanded a year later, it had yielded nearly a decade of biotic research, and had given humanity the resources necessary to evolve its application of biotics as a field.
Shortly after the deconstruction of the BAaT, Tess was more or less accosted by recruiters of the Alliance Navy to join, seeing her ability to wield biotics as an extremely promising asset. Reluctantly she agreed, it had been almost a decade since she had seen her mother, and the appeal of returning to the mundanity that civilian life fostered had faded sometime in her commitment to the program. Not only that, but the incentives being fronted by the Navy were extremely accommodating for her as a biotic and there had also been talk of letting her visit her father in Mindoir whom she had never met. Tessa viewed this opportunity as the next most reasonable step in her progression, it also served as a convenient excuse for her to expose herself to the galaxy at large. Several months after her departure from Jump Zero, Tessa wound up at the System Alliances' Ozersk training facility on Eden Prime, as a Naval Cadet. Her time at the academy wasn't marked with any notable feats or accomplishments, the fact that she was a biotic was sufficient enough at keeping her at odds with the rest of her peers; few others were on par with her academically and she found herself leagues ahead of anyone when it came to martial training. Despite this, records have reported a number of incidents in which Tessa found herself preoccupied with some physical altercation with another peer; nothing to unmanageable though frequent enough to mandate further analysis by the academy's IA, which revealed a rather peculiar presence of psychological abnormalities. These irregularities led one of the psychologists conducting the analysis to diagnose Tessa as suffering from a lesser form of psychosis propagated by her L2 implants, though such claims were never affirmed and oddly enough the aforementioned psychologist was asked to resign her position at the academy several weeks later.
Eventually, Tessa would go on to graduate from the program a full academic year earlier than she was intended to, earning not only a promotion to Ensign but the promised right to visit her father in Mindoir. In 2169, she was transferred to the SA Aegis frigate stationed in the Attican Traverse; upon which, she set out to meet her father but discovered that he was no longer stationed on the garden-planet. After addressing the Alliance's records on his activities on the planet, it was revealed that her father was among many people whose whereabouts could not be accounted for; rumor around the ship's staff painted the very plausible picture that her father's colony was among several who had been kidnapped by batarian slavers. A sparse amount of intel provided her with a potential identity of the batarian clan responsible, though it was far from anything she could exploit. She was extended an offer for a leave of absence to Earth, though decided against it and instead invested her interests into assisting some of the colonies on Mindoir with further development of their infrastructure. Often times, overextending herself and her rank to procure resources for the colonists that they would have to otherwise go without.
As a matter of good fortune, Tess was docked at the Aegis when the first wave of batarian mercenaries committed their assault on the humans of Mindoir. The batarians had tactfully commissioned several surveyor ships within the Traverse as a means of throwing the Alliance off to their true intentions and sure enough it was only after their frigates and transporters had penetrated Mindoir's orbit that the Aegis realized exactly what sort of situation they had on their hands. Worse enough, no counteractive measures could be enacted until the Alliance could send their reinforcement detail which meant untoward things for the hapless denizens of the planet below. By the time the first of the Alliance fighters could initiate a forward attack, the batarians had come to usurp much of the human colonies, and while some forces were successful in reclaiming a few of the establishments there was little left of humanity on the planet to collect. Interestingly, during one of her patrols, Tess came across a few teenagers who had managed to hold themselves up in a fortified building; records indicate that among them was a very young and wounded Commander Shepard, though she doesn't recall ever encountering him. The Alliance found itself overwhelmed by the batarian's defenses and soon withdrew its involvement on the planet, though would eventually return years later to mount a series of coordinated offensives allowing them to reclaim the planet as a whole and initiate reconstructing processes.
Per her outstanding performance in the battle and a decorative commendation from her commanding officer, Tess was awarded the Navy Cross and promoted to 1st Lieutenant. She was later procured by the 63rd Scout Flotilla of the Fifth Fleet where she headed a number of reconnaissance operations for the Alliance; during this time she received extensive training in piloting and frigate operations. While she commanded a veritable skill for fighter-piloting, her superiors recognized that she had a true precocity as a tactician, as an individual who reliably and effectively utilized a big-picture paradigm and coordinated accordingly. Leadership of the Alliance Navy--and particularly that of the Fifth Fleet-- were understandably still embittered by their inability to demonstrate Naval prowess in the battle for Mindoir, this combined with an increasingly disappointing record of poor performance among Naval officers and an account of felled pilots during the First Contact War that would force any Admiral to hold their breath, led to the installment of programs across the Alliance to hone the skills of their pilot combatants. Tessal, having been recommended by her Fifth Fleet commander, along with a cadre of other decorated pilots helmed the newly constructed Red Rock Training Facility located in the Skyllian Verge.
Initially, the program was much like BAaT in its inception, directives were dictated by the Alliance though it was left to the devices of the instructors to find the most effective way of carrying them out. Being that humanity had only barely breached its precipice of spacefaring, the staff found themselves hard-pressed to commit the program to any one direction. However, having already been a part of one largely inefficient program meant to progress a front of humanity, Tessa took the initiative to ensure the success of this one; namely the reputedly meticulous screening process and rigorous qualifications for prospective cadets. Two years after its formation, the RR facility had command of the Alliances most promising students and sought to utilize their apparent competence by allowing them to participate intimately in several campaigns meant to suppress pirate activity throughout the Verge. Admittedly, Tessal was the youngest instructor recruited by the Alliance, though what she lacked in youth she more than made up for in skill and oversight. And while the program did sustain casualties--and a degree of political whiplash because of it--the success it yielded was far beyond the expectations of Fifth Fleet brass, with pilots whose skill was simply unparalleled as evidenced by the display of prowess from RR's students and staff in the Skyllian Blitz.
In 2176, Tessal was once again thrown into the torrents of war in the Skyllian Blitz. The opposition was an impressively large and brutal coalition of batarian pirates, slavers, mercenaries and warlords though their aspirations this time were overwhelmingly more lethal. Confident of their Naval command, the RR training facility was commissioned to initiate offensive measures against the horde of spacefaring marauders who had already made quick-work of Elysium's defense forces and unsurprisingly succeeded in thwarting the brunt of their aerial assault. Tessal helmed a detail of fighters focusing on enemies positioned in Elysium's lower-atmosphere, in an attempt to mitigate the strain being placed on ground troops. For all their numbers, the batarian forces were ill-suited at individual, close-counter aerial combat, finding themselves unprepared for the agile and highly-evasive maneuverings fronted by Alliance fighters. It was only a matter of hours before the Alliance had established aerial dominion and proceeded to focus their efforts on buffering their ground forces.
Not much can be officially confirmed by the Alliance of the following events, as most of the pilots in Tess' company that day refuse to comment on the incident, but sometime within the course of her flight, Tessal's ship was grounded. Orders had been transmitted to the bulk of the Naval Alliance's pilots to return to their respective docks save for a few who had been tasked with launching a controversial offense against ground troops, though none were provided sanction to touch down. She had rightfully demanded her group to return back to base though proceeded to continue on towards a hot-zone on the ground. Further attention to the matter, revealed that prior to the Skyllian Blitz, Tessal had committed herself to an exhaustive investigation of the batarian clans known to traffic the space near Mindoir before it was assaulted. Years worth of compiled data revealed that she had discovered the identity of the slaver whom she believed to be responsible for her father's disappearance and it is believed by Alliance officials that Tessal had recognized them on Elysium and provoked a course of action to avenge her father's death which ultimately led to her supposed death. All of which is very much accurate, save for the last bit regarding her dying. She didn't.
Soon after issuing her detail to return, Tessal followed the coordinates of a small batarian transport ship to a location just beyond an active skirmish between ground forces. The congregate of batarian fighters she encountered on the ground were quickly decimated with her fighter's weapons and the few that were either late to the fight or lucky enough to escape her attack, found themselves overwhelmed by her biotics. After she had quelled the pitiful attempt at defense, a pliable and unsettled ship-crew were all that remained, they more or less welcomed her aboard. At this point in time, the batarian forces had been crippled, any of which that remained had redirected themselves to desperately seeking some means of fleeing the planet, most were unsuccessful but a few ships managed to escape. Among them was the ship Tessal had commandeered.
Once the ship had broken orbit and committed itself to its FTL jump out of the system, Tessal systematically destroyed its communication-relay network and several of the nonessential crew. Using her biotics and fueled by a newfound disdain for this particular sort, Tessal managed to ascertain the identity of the batarian warlord, Gorelovo, and his location on the planet of Anhur from the crew members. Tessal left the transporter vessel just beyond Anhur's orbit in one of the ship's disengaged escape-pods, unaware that the ship's discovery several weeks later by batarian officials and the corpses of the crew she had left behind would find itself in many of the planet's media institutions. Surprisingly, Gorelovo wasn't at all that hard to find; in fact, among the planet's denizens he was something of a household name. As an extremely affluent political identity of his society and one of the planet's most fervent advocates of the highly controversial pro-slavery human movement, he had already acquired a rather impressive sized group of incensed and impassioned enemies. There was simply no way that Tessal would be able to touch the man if she were functioning on her own devices.
There was a certain temptation to return to the Alliance as they had formed a loose interest in the activities occurring on Anhur, though Tess reasoned that they'd be unwilling to initiate any sort of offense on her behalf or that of the humans being enslaved planet-side. Tessal installed herself into the planet's mercenary milieu, performing small security tasks for some of the human's corporations being threatened by proponents of the batarian cause; the work was comparatively easier than some of the tasks asked of her by the Alliance, though the environments she found herself in were always rife with conflict and hostile discourse. At one point, she ran into a former subordinate of hers from the Red Rock academy and was initially inclined to kill her under the belief that she was being pursued; though as it would turn out the pupil was merely visiting relatives she had on the planet. Incredulous of the circumstances surrounding her disappearance, the student was curious to know what actually befell Tess, who, in admission, felt obligated to tell her the truth. Over a period of months, their relationship developed into a romance of mutual attraction and respect, though Tess couldn't deny that on some guilty plane of consciousness she was exploiting the woman's status as one of the daughters of the galaxy's most influential corporations, one that also happened to be a great entity of support for the humans on Anhur.
Utilizing her reputation as an accomplished mercenary and a petition from Catherine Hahne, Tess was able to convince the committee at the helm of Hahne-Kedar to invest several thousand credits and mod equipment into her and a hired group of mercenaries for a mission that would prove critical to the absolutionist's strategic movements. Reluctantly, her proposition was met with the board's acceptance and she was granted enough credits to outfit herself in a collection of state-of-the-art apparatus as well as a small detail of mercenaries and assassins she had chosen herself. Progress in the war between the two species had forcibly met a standstill, the report of casualties was unimaginably high, but neither forces could confidently establish dominion over each other. Entire cities were decimated by the struggle, others were transformed into large battle-zones where forces tore each other to shreds; many politicians fled the planet as the populace met a gruesome demise. Despite the austerity of the environment Tess had preserved her connections to the warlord, Gorelovo, keeping detailed accounts of his movements and readying herself to make an assault on an escaping cruiser if necessary. However, Gorelovo was an extremely proud and overconfident batarian; somehow always certain that his people would come out of this as victor and as such never saw it necessary to flee his home.
By the time he started experiencing realities of doubt and denial, Tessal had already established a strategic perimeter around the compound he occupied. Gorelovo and his men held out for days, possessing an extremely capable defense that was nearly impossible to compromise and an unhindered transmission that alerted batarian forces nearby. For the better part of a week, Tessal found herself and her detail on their heels, thwarting batarian floods from surrounding areas. The turning point of this skirmish arose when a quarian working for a separate group of mercenaries managed to hack into the compounds communication network and scatter the bulk of the batarian forces to other zones of combat. Finally, alleviated from the strain of outlying antagonists, Tess made a full on assault of the compound; several of the mercenaries were mowed down by the batarian firepower,though because of it, Tessal was able to successfully infiltrate the establishment and secure Gorelovo. After promising the batarian warlord political immunity and a subsequent interrogation of his activities in Mindoir around the time of her father's reported disappearance, Tessal discovered that he was responsible for his death. Most of the mercenaries wanted to kill him simply because of the perilous battle they were thrown in, though Tessal prohibited such an action; instead she shattered most of his vertebrae and invoked pressurization in his brain so precise that it inhibited his ability to speak or see.
Thereafter the Anhur Rebellion, Tessal was faced with two distinctly separate options: she could either return to the Systems Alliance and face its judicial processes, with the likely result of her being demoted and stuck behind some computer aboard a rarely employed frigate in some forlorn corner of the galaxy, or she could eke out her reputation as a mercenary and see what pursuits it awarded her. The structured-lifestyle allowed by the Navy was something truly sought after and perhaps this was all something she could come back from; though no matter how much she tried to reason it (for both herself and her developed romance with Lieutenant Hahne) there was simply no longer a source of reason for her travel that path. She cut the seams binding her to the SA, and used connections with the Hahne-Kedar corporation to bolster her reputation in the arena of freelance employment. This would eventually put her in the path of Thane Krios who had similarly been on the planet to conduct some personal business of his own; the two would find themselves in a seedy bar in one of the city's lower wards, and within a conversation information of the Black Omens would surface. Tessal had encountered other agencies before, most of them shoddy little organizations local to specific planets, though nothing that spanned the galaxy and boasted a network of information as expansive as theirs.
Due to her dealings on Anhur, Tessal found the organization to be exceedingly willing to accept her as one of their own, and in a lot of ways both parties stood to profit from her induction. It may have been on the extreme opposite end of the spectrum from the Systems Alliance, but she operated herself within its inner workings based on the same tactful approach; she accepted only the most impossible directives, those seen as having an unattractively small likelihood of success and thus an extremely appealing payout both in the way of credits and repute. She conducted herself expertly, culminating years of formal martial training, to exceed her fellow agents and witness a level of success none had the capacity to appreciate. However, her success became a thing of wide renown, it was proving detrimental to the recruiting capabilities of the agency, and her recklessness on some of the operations were amounting to dire costliness. Members of the Black Omens' head orchestrated a fixed operation for her to command in which she'd be eliminated in the process of conducting; though they hadn't been nearly as discreet with their intentions as they probably should have. Tessal began to foster a distrust for the agency when the nature of her operations turned from impossible to suicidal and because of measures she had taken to infiltrate the Black Omens' corporation she was already privy of their plan to off her even as it was developing.
In spite of this, she agreed to carry out the directive of infiltrating a turian space-station outfitted with a devastating system of defense. Before the actual mission was initiated, however, she sold the information to a turian ambassador and conducted a little mission of her own. Kidel Vale, the head of the Black Omens at the time of her entrance, was a man who was aware of almost everything in his grasp; his hand was plunged into nearly every aspect of his organization in his attempt to manage it like a marionette puppeteer. Ironically enough, it was he who was most enthusiastic about hiring Tessal as mercenary despite her prior record of being a decorated officer of the SA, as well as the man who deemed her a liability and issued the command to have her terminated. He was mightily surprised when he walked into his office that morning of his death and witnessed the several bloodied bodies lying randomly on the ground and even more distressed when he finally composed himself long enough to meet the gaze of the woman occupying his throne of power. Though he was a former turian commando himself, the defense he provided in response to her attack was pitiful at best and while authorities couldn't make head nor tail of the mess they discovered on the pavement several hundred stories bellow his office, Tessal knew she was right to depose him.
After his death, the Black Omens fell into disarray, some of the committee closest to Vale attempted to usurp control though all had the odd tendency of dying. Tessal figured they all had a corrupted foresight and would inevitably bring about the organization's ruin, instead of seeing the Black Omens potential be wasted, she took the reigns herself and began a period of reconstruction. The first step was marked with destroying their headquarters and transferring all information on coordinated networks and operations to a quarian specialist who managed the information and constructed an AI with Tessal's directive at its core. Tess then proceeded to shed the organization of all its dead weight by eliminating its constituents who had expressed any degree of distrust or dubiousness in the face of her direction, thus effectively establishing herself as its undisputed leader. She maintained the sense of division from those who had made it their life's work of killing and fighting for hire and those others had the ability and trust to orchestrate the organization remotely. Thus if any large portion of one part of the organization were to be compromised the whole would not be dismantled and divisions could be reclaimed and repaired. For years, the Black Omens roved the galaxy securing connections with major corporations and organizations; chief among them was their involvement with the Shadow Broker.
In 2185, Tessal had witnessed the full reconstruction of the Black Omens and united its members to an extent never seen in the organization's history. Shortly after the events surrounding the invasion of the reapers, Tessal saw some opportunity in staking a claim on the morally derelict station of Omega. Her arrival was marked with an almost incessant activity of skirmishes initiated by the station's incumbent gangs, though this wasn't her force large-scale conflict, and she certainly had the tactility and combat prowess to make quick work of her opposition. After a matter of months and several successful operations, she had carved out a comfortable little niche for herself on Omega, even succeeded in establishing the Black Omens as a formidable entity within Aria T'Loak's highly illicit milieu. The queen, for whatever reason, sanctioned the Black Omens arrival which was more than enough for her to be content with. Recently, however, the queen has disappeared from the station; and while her rule is still something to contend with, several of Omega's gangs have become exceedingly confident in their ability to exploit the serendipity behind her disappearance. Unfortunately for them, they haven't quite settled with the idea that perhaps Aria isn't the worst enemy to contend with.