born on scheria to a young couple of hard working technicians, raena was marked for the neurogene at birth, though her parents prayed nothing would come of it. and for the first few years, they got what they wanted - until one day they were called in to meet with her teacher after rae had an 'incident' with another student. manifesting telekinesis to grab a toy another child had taken from her, raena was five years old when she was reported to the alliance and the feds came to their doorstep. supposedly for her own safety, her parents were compelled to send her away to the academy. they were allowed to visit her while she settled in, but the expense of travel made it difficult, and placed a strain on their relationship, eventually divorcing. she was seven the last time they visited.
despite having a rough start and desperately wanting to be home with her parents, rae eventually adapted to her new environment at the facility on babylon. the harder she threw herself into studies, the less she missed home. she was a dedicated student, always at the top of her class, and excelled in both physical and mental training. a know-it-all and eager teacher's pet, raena developed an especially close relationship with her mentor, warwic strand, who became something of a surrogate father figure.
after graduating from the academy, raena was immediately recruited into the elite adf neuro special operations unit, under the supervision of her mentor, strand. her combat prowess made her an invaluable asset on the front lines of the battlefield, and her telempathy made her useful in intelligence collection.
by 2646, she was heavily involved in the expansion war against the glf, rooting out insurgent cells and protecting the alliance. an undercover assignment in 2648 sent her to nibiru to work with hotshot pilot vash keler, a former academy classmate who'd washed out, and her guide to the criminal underworld of belos. tension turned into romance, one that allowed rae to envision a life away from the alliance for the first time. near the war's end, she decided to resign her post when her tour of duty finished, hoping to start fresh with vash. unfortunately, he vanished and left her hanging.
despite her heartbreak, rae knew she couldn't go back to the adf. she reunited with her father on scheria after years of estrangement, and found out she had a maternal half-sister somewhere out there, though her mother had been missing for years. with her specific skill set and militant training, raena quickly transitioned from soldier to mercenary, taking various freelance jobs as a hired gun, private investigator, and bounty hunter.
by 2650, raena began renting an apartment on terminus station at the edge of penglai, but spent most of her time traveling around the system, wherever work took her. one job reunited her with vash in 2655, and after an explosive and tumultuous start, they managed to reconcile and began working together. a professional partnership evolved into a second chance at a deep romantic connection. eventually, vash asked her to join his crew aboard his stolen ship, the sparrowhawk.