In the weeks just prior to the outbreak, Zelda Conway had been sent from the United States on a mission of diplomacy. As a veteran of the Peace Corps and known for her work in war-stricken regions she had been chosen to help reestablish diplomatic relations between Chernarus and their neighbors. She was failing in that attempt when the outbreak began. When it became clear they would remain grounded at the Miroslavl International Airport, another one of her group, a member of the US national guard, escorted her and four other members of their group to relative safety in the countryside nearby, where they lived off the land until the initial outbreak subsided. With no way to return home to the US, and no certainty of any home to return to, they remained.
Over time, illness and injury pared their group down until it was only her and Dante Connors, one of the national guard escorts. A run-in with a group of bandits eventually led to their separation after about a year, leaving Zelda to fend for herself. To this day she is unsure what happened to her friend. She gave him a year to return. When he did not she emerged from the woods, discovering groups amassing and coming together. She has begun to look ahead to the rebuilding of society, wherein arbiters of peace will surely be needed to smooth over the transition from absolute survival to a peaceful common society.