Kindhearted to a fault, Tonya sees a world all around her in need of healing. She grew up in Wutai, but her parents were killed when Avalanche forces invaded the town to counter a Shinra attack. Her family was caught up in the fighting, her parents killed, and she became an orphan less than an hour from when the fighting started. When the dust settled, many homes were in ruins and families torn apart. She was sent to live with her uncle who lived in Coral and raised by him. But he also raised her to fight and she took to throwing knives for their speed. If she could immobilize her opponents, perhaps she could change their mind about carrying on the fight and it could be resolved peacefully.

That was her hope at least. She didn’t wish to see anymore orphans made through pointless wars. An accident occurred when she was about fifteen. A neighbor boy found his parent’s gun and took it out to the woods to shoot soda cans. Tonya was out practicing when she heard the gun shots. Curious, she went towards the sound and was accidentally hit when a bullet ricocheted off a metal sign near the makeshift shooting rage. The boys ran to get Tonya’s uncle who got her back to town to the doctor. The wound wasn’t serious, having hit her in the right side, but would likely be difficult to heal.

The boys were scolded and made Tonya get well cards and brought flowers to her home as a means of apology. She didn’t blame them, but would always carry the reminder of what being too curious could do. She was back to her usual self in no time and when she was old enough, left Coral to seek employment with Shinra in Midgar. She applied for a secretary position and worked the front desk of the Shinra Headquarters for a few years. Life was good but boring. She wished for more excitement and got her wish one day when a crazed man entered the lobby with a makeshift explosive.

Panic ensued. Tonya hid behind the front desk, looking around for anything she could use as a weapon. She spied a tray of letter openers and jumped to action. The man was completely caught off guard as a lone secretary began whipping letter openers at him. She landed one it each of this thighs, bringing him down to the ground as the Turks arrived on the scene. The man was hauled away, the bomb being only scrap junk wires. Tonya went back to her desk and resumed her work as everyone else still recovered from the chaos. She was sent a message later that day to go to the 42nd floor of the building; the offices of the Turks.

There she was met by Veld and Tseng who offered her a position. They were stepping up their recruitment and needed able bodied people such as her. If she accepted, she would start the next Monday. Tonya readily accepted, enjoying them saying that she was needed. She was partnered with Max, a new recruit himself.