When Yekaterina was four years old, her parents (Nonna and Arseny Nikoleav) immigrated to America in 1992 from Sinistok, Charnassus. This was part of an attempt to live a more peaceful life in America, due to the ongoing Charnassian/Russian tensions in Chernarus at the time— Yekaterina's mother was Chernarussian and her father, Russian. Her mother was a primary school teacher. Her father, a notable organic chemist who worked at the research center located in the nearby Tisy Medical Center. Aresny was able to find work at a scientific research company in California, which prompted their emigration from Chernarus in 1992.
After arriving in America, the Nikoleav family settled with relative ease, and shortly after, a few close family members followed Nonna and Arseny to America. Yekaterina went to school, was a good student through her adolescence and attended a nearby university to study chemistry, following her father's footsteps. In 2009, prompted by a devastating wildfire near the city, she quit university and joined the Fire Academy. There was no shortage for the need of firefighters in California, and she was gratified by the ability to provide immediate relief to those in need.
In the Summer of 2017, Yekaterina—now, a seasoned Fire Investigator with eight years of experience—dealt with the passing of her grandmother, Masha. She booked a flight to the Chernarus International Airfield and made her way to Sinistok, her old hometown, to visit relatives who still lived there. She wanted to learn more about her grandmother, her heritage, and would also enjoy a few toursity days in the coastal city of Chernogorsk nearing the end of her stay in South Zagoria.
As Yekaterina packed her bags to return home by a transatlantic cruise to America, the ensuing fires, riots, and general infernal commotion wrought Chernogorsk and the cruise was inevitably delayed and eventually, never arrived.
When she made it out on the other side of the adrenaline-fueled panic and confusion of the multiple tragedies that hit Chernogorsk during her ill-timed excursion, she was surprised to have lived through it all...though, in hindsight she attributes her continued survival to her several years of firefighting and emergency response training.
With her immediate world in shambles, she stayed for a time to help search for survivors and supplies in the wreckage. She met a medic named Matfey during this time, and together they made their way out of the city, in search of a way to send word to their families...