- "Being afraid of a disease is sometimes worse than the disease itself. There is no cure for fear, so either you surrender to it or you fight it until one of you wins."
Lera was born in the irradiated city of Gomel, Byelorussian SSR, three years after the Chernobyl disaster. Lera and her two younger siblings grew up around children already suffering from birth defects as a result of the disaster. At age nine, Lera was diagnosed with a neuropathy that included the slow degeneration of muscles and the loss of sensation in the limbs and extremities. Her diagnosis was the realization of her fears, so when her parents encouraged her and her siblings to be physically active, she pushed herself even harder, determined to keep her body in peak condition to weather the neuropathy. Her young mind reasoned that she couldn't be sick if she stayed healthy.
All three Melnikova children grew up playing sports, with Lera excelling at those requiring agility and finesse but there was always the knowledge that the neuropathy would worsen unless someone found a more permanent solution. She decided that someone was herself.
Lera moved to Novosibirsk to study Cytology and Genetics at Novosibirsk State University and graduated with a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology. She remained at NSU in the Biotechnology and Virology Laboratory, her research uncovering treatments for a variety of pathogens and neuropathies including her own through drugs and self-dissolving nanites. While she hadn’t found a cure, she had found remission.
Lera might have stayed in the academia had she not received a visit from the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB). Russian Spetsnaz operators and special agents faced the ever-growing danger of exposure to hazardous materials including organophosphorus agents like VX gas. For the first time in her life, Lera began thinking outside of her own concerns. Her research had saved the lives of perfect strangers, and now they were reaching out to her, sending grateful postcards and photos and letters. She could have a greater impact still. Lera jumped at the chance to work with Spetsnaz volunteers in a variety of conditions as she adapted the nanobots to their high-performance physiologies. Quickly, she came to enjoy the sense of competition, camaraderie, and the mental toughness of the Russian Special Forces members. She joined the Army with an eye on becoming a Red Beret herself, on the front lines of saving lives as a Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear (CBRN) specialist.
Serving in the Russian Army, Lera rapidly proved herself physically and mentally tough enough to try out for the Spetsnaz. It was a brutal course, culminating in Close Quarter Battle (CQB) knife training with Kapkan. A misstep and a flourish from Kapkan, however, opened her face from brow to cheek, but Lera went for a series of bone-breaking punches to his nose and ribs before the pain overwhelmed her. They spent the night in the med tent, neither of them speaking, but enjoying a new, unspoken respect between them. From that day forward, she'd earned her moniker, Finka or "Knife."
Lera became the Spetsnaz CBRN Specialist, joining the Vympel Unit under the FSB and using her nanobots to help her unit survive hot zones; she was one of the only people capable of tailoring the nanobots to specific operators. Her work in restructuring Russian battlefield protocols in the handling and neutralization of dangerous payloads earned her notice, and she became the go-to expert when it came to joint exercises with other CTUs. In 2018, Aurelia Arnot invited Lera to join Rainbow to help form their own CBRN Threat Unit. Following her recruitment, Lera recommended that Olivier "Lion" Flament join her on the unit for his leadership during the 2015 Nigeria ebola epidemic, to which Arnot agreed.
In September 2020, an old acquaintance of her father, Sam Fisher, joined Rainbow as the first instructor for the Rainbow Operation Staff. During training sessions, Lera allowed Fisher to use the nanobots she used to treat her neuropathy for his arthritis. A few months later, Lera was placed on Team Ash for the upcoming Six Invitational. In early 2021, Team Ash faced off against Team Mira as the attacking team in the first match of the Six Invitational. With time running out, Eliza "Ash" Cohen and Jaimini "Kali" Shah argued about sending Lera to either flank the other team or go in for a direct assault to distract them. Lera proceeded to flank but was downed by a nitro cell, resulting in Team Ash losing the match.
In 2025, Rainbow learned that the private military company Sentinel was mass producing a nerve gas agent called "Amber Ruin" on the remote island of Auroa with the intention of selling it overseas to foreign militaries and terrorist groups. Seeking to stop all Amber Ruin production, identify potential buyers, and create an antidote, Liu Tze "Lesion" Long coordinated with Scott Mitchell to conduct a joint operation with Ghost Recon called Operation Amber Sky. With Lesion acting as mission control under the callsign "R6 Actual", Lera was deployed alongside Eliza "Ash" Cohen and Mike "Thatcher" Baker. The trio managed to reach the island by replacing a major buyer who was coming to purchase Amber Ruin and met up with Ghost Team Leader Anthony "Nomad" Perryman. Through their efforts, they successfully managed to complete all mission objectives.
Lera discovered that her neuropathy was slowly growing resistant to treatment. The old fears returned, every ache and pain analyzed and scrutinized as she pushed herself even harder to peak performance.
Now, she constantly tweaks and modifies her formula to stave off twinges and numbness that she imagines might be the onset of decline. She pushes herself to the point of throwing up after workouts with IQ and Valkyrie, though only Valkyrie understands that punishing limit of physical fitness. Lera unable to distinguish between the disease and normal fatigue and is driven by her fears and made excellent by them in the same maddening moment. She is not young anymore, though, but more desperate than ever to hold on to her life. She is trying to find a new treatment while keeping it a secret, but Doc knows and is closely monitoring her CMT in case it begins to affect her performance. She has not shared this with anyone else, not Kapkan who is her no-nonsense mentor, and not Tachanka with whom she drinks and flirts.
Lera has recently taken to creating a wall of letters and photos in her workspace, a reminder that her treatments are more than just about helping herself. But she’s still afraid that this might get ahead of her.
Specialist Lera Melnikova has a dynamic personality that often takes a backseat in past reports because of her chronic illness. It's a shame. From the moment she entered my office with fresh coffee and croissants for our meeting, her vibrant energy swirled around the room.
While Melnikova prefers not to discuss her illness, it's clear that it looms over her every thought. Her fitness tracker constantly sets off reminders. Her thermos of water must be kept constantly topped up. She doesn't like to sit for too long, nor stand. Every movement is a calculation. She isn't fidgety or impatient, but hyper aware of each moment and careful of the needs of her body. [...]
Managing her health grounds Melnikova in the here and now. Her process — her rituals — have enabled her to achieve a high level of fitness and mental balance. It's the right approach and it works for her. My concern is that she may not be prepared for upsets to her careful order. So, I suggested that while maintaining the concept of a ritual, I'd like her to apply some variations to them. [...]
Melnikova's close connection with illness provides her with unique insight into how disability or inability affects a person's identity. Her research is driven by her sense of determination, but also guilt. She knows she can't help everyone. And frankly, it's crucial for her state of mind that she not lose sight of this. We're only human, after all. [...]
Her deep bonds with the Russian Special Forces members and her Rainbow team push her to be better and to maintain her focus. They understand the extreme level of commitment this requires. Her dedication to them is unwavering even if they don't always agree on a surface level. [...]
What stands out to me is Melnikova's wonderful, full laugh. It's a laugh that gets set aside too often when she's focused on her illness. I encouraged her to seek out those unrestrained moments of delight. Because her every decision is so carefully constructed, what would benefit her most is the ability to surprise herself.
A Medium Armored Operator, Finka comes equipped with her specially-designed nanobots. Having them injected into each of her teammates prior to each mission, her Adrenal Surge allows affected allies to gain a permanent boost in health and a reduction in recoil, on top of other small benefits.
- Three times per round, Finka is able to activate "Adrenal Surge" for 10 seconds. Adrenal Surge has a 10 second cooldown once activated, effectively having no cooldown between activation.
- Finka cannot activate Adrenal Surge when she is within the range of Mute's Signal Disruptors.
- Teammates within Mute's Signal Disruptors will not receive a boost even if they move out of the effective range.
- Upon activation, Adrenal Surge grants all Attackers the following effects:
- A 20 health heal.
- The Adrenal Surge can Overheal Operators beyond their health capacity (normally 100 health), granting an additional temporary health buffer beyond a player's normal maximum health.
- An Operator can only have up to 40 extra health from overheals, even when stacked with heals from Thunderbird's Kóna Stations and Doc's Stim Pistol. Overhealed health decays at a rate of 1 health per second. 140 health is the maximum overheal health that can be obtained.
- Concussion effects (from Ela's Grzmot Mines and Zofia's Concussion Grenades) and disorientation effects from Echo's Yokai drone are overridden.
- Downed Attackers (excluding those downed by Frost's Welcome Mats) are revived with 30 health.
- The revival process takes the same duration as the revival by Doc's Stim Pistol, which is 2.75 seconds.
- Attackers being interrogated by Caveira will not be revived.
- Attackers will not lose any effects of the Adrenal Boost if they enter the DBNO state.
- Finka cannot self-revive, as she cannot activate Adrenal Surge while downed.
- While active, Adrenal Surge grants all Attackers the following effects:
- Recoil while Aiming Down Sights is reduced by 50%.
- Aim Down Sights speed is increased by 25%.
- Reload time for weapons and gadgets is decreased by 15%.
- Movement speed in Barbed Wire is increased by 40%, effectively reducing the Barbed Wire's slowing effect to ~10%.
- The effects of gadgets like Stun Grenades and Ying's Candelas are reduced by 50%, letting Attackers recover from these effects twice as fast.
- Concussion effects received are reduced by 75%. Double vision, shaking, and sound distortion are all reduced by a great amount.
- Tinnitus from explosions are instantly removed.
- The Attacker can now be detected by Pulse's Cardiac Sensor from up to 14 meters away (compared to the usual 9 meters).
- Damage received from Smoke's Remote Gas Grenades are increased by 50%.
- Performing gamemode interactions, such as planting the Defuser in the Bomb gamemode or picking up the Hostage in the Hostage gamemode, with the Adrenal Boost active won't decrease the time it takes to perform the action.
- The effects of Adrenal Surge are overridden for an Attacker when:
- Finka's Adrenal Surge works well with Attackers who work best in active gunfights, allowing someone like Blackbeard or Glaz to prevail due to the Adrenal Surge's ability to increase recoil control and reduce ADS time.
- Because Adrenal Surge is also able to grant an increased resistance to Blinding effects, Ying works well with Finka.
- While Ying is already immune to her own Candelas, allied Attackers can make use of Adrenal Surge to recover faster from the Blinding effect as well.
- "The nanobots give the team a brief gain in HP and revives allies in a DBNO state."
— Adrenal Surge Description
Finka delivers a nanobot shot to each operator before an operation. The nanites are made of zinc with the pharmacological cocktail laced into the nanobot’s construction. When she activates her signal, the nanobots disintegrate with the zinc being treated as a nutrient by the body and facilitating the absorption of the drugs. The operators receive a short boost of health to get them back on their feet, to give them an extra push, and to steady their aim.
Many studies on epinephrine (adrenaline) and other hormones/neurotransmitters are giving us a clearer picture of how our minds and bodies function under extreme stress. Along with advancements in nanomedicine this field of health research is really at its most exciting.
I read Lera's PhD: her extrapolation of unproven theories about self-propelled fluids and what is now called "active" matter was far ahead of its time. I suspect she had to pull back into more respected (older) fields of study to ensure her dissertation would be accepted. Here, she has no such constraints, so I will expect full and correct terminology from now on.
(Comment_L. Melnikova: Academia is a hard habit to break! I'll try.)
As for Lera's neuropathy and her continued research, these results and the attached test plan will certainly provide her with the data she needs for future enhancements. Harry, Elena, Lera and I have all agreed to have regular discussions to keep up to date on this fast-changing field.
(Comment_L. Melnikova: I'm grateful to Doc, Mira and Harry for being good sounding boards. My research is for all of us!)
- - Doc
- The term Finka (Russian: Финка) refers to a type of knife, specifically Finnish ones.
- Finka and Lion's codenames were first revealed on February 1st, 2018.
- Finka has recently taken to creating a wall of letters and photos in her workspace as a reminder that her treatments are more than just about helping herself. She still fears that the wall might get ahead of her.
- Finka's Operator card shows her Spear .308 equipped with a Laser Sight, no muzzle attachments, and the NATO Holographic Sight model despite only having access to the Russian Holographic in-game.
- As a child, she met Sam Fisher who was an acquaintance of her father.
- Fisher also self-administers himself with her nanobots to combat his arthritis.
- Finka's date of birth was originally stated in-game as 1989, however this has since been removed.
- Finka was the second Rainbow operator to have a physical disability, after Capitão.
- Finka appears as an available teammate in Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint in the Operation Amber Sky live event. She is also available as a costume which can be obtained from completing missions for the event.
- Finka's In-game BIO (Pre-Patch 3.1.2)
- Finka's In-game BIO
- Operation Chimera: Finka's Story
- Finka's In-game BIO > BACKGROUND Section
- Finka's In-game BIO > PSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILE Section
- Rainbow Six Siege: Operation Chimera, Outbreak Co-Op Event Coming in March
- Finka's In-game BIO > NOTES Section
- Finka's In-game BIO (Pre-Patch 3.1.2)