Anax tailors her backstory depending on who she's talking to. None are completely true, although there are common elements that may have some shade of it. Her parents succumbed to Kepral's Syndrome when she was six, their last words bidding her to find a way offworld to a place with no oceans. Anax had a rough childhood on Kahje before entering the world of data-dealing and espionage.
According to the story she tells former crimelord Borbala Ferank, Anax became one of the drala'fa under the dome of Cnidaria City, stealing and begging for food and brawling with other beggars and dogs for a place to sleep. When she was 11 years old she staked out a rich arms dealer for months, learned his assets and dirty secrets, then sold him some valuable intelligence for a pittance: his wife had been philandering behind his back once a week with his business partner. The hanar Oleon witnessed the deal, and seeing her potential it offered to take her into the Compact.
Anax spent a decade in the service of the most powerful member of the Illuminated Primacy as a multilingual diplomatic agent in upper-class settings, wielding her intellect in one hand and an M-6 Carnifex in another. She was the first drell to win a hanar poetry duel during Nyahir and her name was inscribed in fire on Mount Vassla in honor.
One day Oleon sent her to Talis Fia to find blackmail material on Pinda Kem, a volus who had stolen from Oleon. Anax was successful and it ruined Kem's life, though to her knowledge his Yoqtan-afflicted favorite son survived both ordeals.
When Oleon was assassinated, Anax became a freelancer once more, eventually finding long-term employ under the Shadow Broker, the only client whose face and voice she never saw nor even heard.
According to the story she tells fashion designer with daddy issues Irit Non, Anax's father sold her to Oleon when she was a child. Oleon, a weapons smuggler wanted in 21 systems, personally performed on her the eye surgery needed to understand hanar bioluminescence while on a ship going out of the Skyllian Verge being chased by a batarian cruiser. She made Oleon rich through her service, and even received a hanar soul name of her own in return. One of the bits of wisdom she learned from Oleon was, "One misfortune may be chance; two might be divine punishment. Three is a plan."
One day Oleon sent her to Earth to assassinate a competitor, a diplomat named Laslow Marston. Anax took a year to get close to Laslow, though during that time she began to question her allegiances and abandoned the mission straight into signing up with the Andromeda Initiative. As far as she knew Oleon was still rich and possibly trained another enforcer to replace her.
According to the story she tells lovelorn Malak'Rafa vas Keelah Si'yah, Anax was involved in a forbidden love with Oleon. It was forbidden not because drell subcutaneous oils would wreak havoc on hanar immune systems, but because the soul bond was never meant to be a physical one. Oleon bought her from a cruel hanar master who nearly worked her to death proselytizing about the Enkindlers while doing little of its own. Anax and Oleon were happy for a time until they were discovered.
According to the final story she tells Borbala, Anax had been alone all her life. Other drell got chosen over her for the Compact and she had to carve her own way until she went to work for the Shadow Broker. The stories were true, but the names weren't.
During her time on Earth Anax took more than a passing interest on some of the things there. She developed a taste for ataulfo mangoes, heard the "folktale" regarding Schrödinger's cat, saw a bright orange koi fish on the day she heard about the tale.
When she joined the Initiative, Anax spent her time reading personnel files instead of mingling with the others. Despite being normally aloof, she managed to have some flings in the meantime. During the pre-launch festivities, she observed the other crewmembers dance away at Aphrodite bar, wandered through Hephaestus Station, and witnessed a murder, but chose to put the latter event out of her mind as an insignificant fact 600 years removed in the past.