Dashenka Ivanov
Portrayed By Mina Libra
Gender Female
Date of Birth April 1
Age 17
Zodiac Sign Ares
Aliases Ursa Minor
Place of Birth Moscow, Russia
Current Location Barnes, New York
Occupation Student/Mechanic
Known Relatives Mother
Significant Other None
Identity Public
Known Abilities Shapeshifting into a polar bear
First Appearance ???


In 1992, Russia was still in economic and political turmoil from the fall of the Soviet Union, having just implemented a long term strategy to convert to a free market economy. Life was rough for just about everybody involved. Most people would have to stand long, long lines to even get the basic essentials. Valeriya Ivanov was a young single mother at eighteen, and never had a chance to finish her secondary education since she would have to raise the baby herself. She never told anybody who the father was, and if the father ever knew he had a daughter, he never spoke up about it.

So on April 1st, Dashenka was born and Valeriya had to scramble to keep things together. It was harsh for the first few years of Dashenka’s life, living in relative poverty. They had to scrape by to make ends meet, and her mother would often skip a meal so that her daughter could eat. As the years passed, Russia pulled itself out of the recession and managed to successfully integrate a free market into it’s economy, and Valeriya managed to pull herself and her daughter out of poverty like many other citizens in Moscow.

It was clear from the start that Dashenka was going to grow up to be taller and stockier than the other girls around her being born at nearly twelve pounds. It was hard for her to make friends during her early years, since the other kid’s reactions were usually one of two ways: relentless teasing, or deathly afraid she’d crush them. This is further from the truth, since, like most people who grew up larger than normal, she tended to be far gentler than most, always afraid that she really would hurt somebody. She’d slowed down some by the time she was a teenager, but it was clear that she’d never be slim. While she wasn’t overweight, her stocky frame would never let her be petite.

She did fairly well in school. She wasn’t great as far as grades were concerned, but she was able to absorb enough to pass all her courses. She also found Western culture, especially that of the decadent America, to be fascinating. Especially it’s cars. Especially muscle cars. While other girls were putting posters of the latest pop singer sensation up on the walls Dashenka would put pictures up of 70’s Barracudas, GTOs, and Torinos.

However, when she was around 14, she started having strange dreams. At first they were vague, and she would wake up with her heart pounding, and a sense of loss of freedom. As the year went on these dreams increased in clarity, where she would find herself running around in the arctic wilderness of Siberia, free and wild, and when she woke up, she would find herself growing thick white fur along her arms and legs, that would only recede as the dreams faded. It all came to a head when she woke up one time when she was fifteen, as a large, humanoid polar bear, and promptly broke her bed, which caused her mother to come investigate.

At first Valeriya was horrified to discover that Dashenka was a mutant since traditionally, mutants had never been fully accepted in Russia. Under the old Soviet Union regime, they were hunted down and killed as soon as they were detected with a few rare exceptions like Ursa Major. The 90s were a little bit better, since during the social and political reform, mutants were more tolerated, but, under Putin, mutants have had a habit of ‘disappearing.’ Valeriya recognized that if she tried to repress her daughter’s mutation she might not be able to control it in public, so her mother encouraged her to practice shifting in and out of her bear form in the safety and privacy of their home. Dashenka was excited and scared at the same time, since she knew what would happen if she was ever caught. But still, to be able to turn into a bear like the Russian hero, Ursa Major, was also a big thrill.

When she was fifteen, she had decided to enroll in vocational school instead pursuing a secondary education, and had decided that she was going to become a mechanic. It was an unusual choice for a girl, but not so unusual if one knew about Dashenka’s passion about cars. She did well enough in trade school, having a real knack with all things mechanical, but like all good things this had to end. It was towards the end of the second year of trade school when a rather nosey neighbor had caught a glimpse of her changing late at night. Being the good citizen, he immediately reported her to the authorities. It didn’t take long for the FSB (The successor to KGB) to set up surveillance on their apartment, and it wasn’t long after that they had all the evidence they needed.

The home invasion was well coordinated and quickly done while Dashenka’s mother was away at work. She barely had time to shift into a bear before she was pumped full of tranquilizers and hauled out to a waiting unmarked van. She was taken to a testing facility in the Tomosk Oblast of the Siberian Federal District, where the government could perform tests on her in secret and, perhaps, create another Ursa Major… only far more unquestioningly loyal to the state. She was only there for one long, gruelling hellish month before Siberforce got a whiff of what was going on, and Mikhail Ursus took a personal interest in the situation once he heard that they had a young mutant who was much like him.

The secret facility invasion was well coordinated and quickly done when most of the scientists were gone for the day. Casualties were kept at a minimum, and they were able to free Dashenka along with a few other mutants they had decided to keep alive so they could experiment on, instead of outright killing them. Dashenka was a little worse for the wear, but they hadn’t had enough time to do any permanent damage to her, but the sight of her idol was enough to keep her wits together throughout the raid and during the aftermath. Her fellow inmates didn’t fair so well,

Siberforce used what influence he had to contact SHIELD to see if they were willing to help them with deprogramming the prisoners and giving them safe haven in America. SHIELD agreed with the provision that since Dashenka was the only minor in the group, she would attend Barnes Academy during her stay there so they could keep an eye on her until she decided to either return to her home country or become a naturalized citizen of the United States. When asked about her mother, to see if she could come to America as well, SHIELD revealed that she had disappeared shortly after her daughter was kidnapped.

Still. Being in America and being trained by SHIELD would give her an opportunity to come back and look for her mother when she gets strong enough to search for her and, quite possibly, join Ursa Major in Siberforce.


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