Gorev's family was stranded in Emerald Chain territory after the Burn. When he was ten, an Emerald Chain raiding party commandeered their food replicators simply because they could. Gorev witnessed his grandmother starve to death, and was forced to bury her himself since his parents were too weak after giving him their food. (DIS: "All Is Possible")
In 3190, Gorev was among the first cohort of cadets to attend the newly reopened Starfleet Academy. He was present at the opening ceremony and listened to speeches by Captain Michael Burnham and Federation President Laira Rillak. (DIS: "Kobayashi Maru")
Two months after starting at the Academy, he was selected by Doctor Kovich to participate in a team-building exercise led by Lieutenant Sylvia Tilly, along with Cadets Harral and Val Sasha, and Ensign Adira Tal. Their mission was to conduct a full planetary analysis of Geryon, with Gorev assigned to the atmospheric component. Gorev treated Harral with hostility because he was an Orion.
En route to Geryon, their shuttlecraft UFP-11 was disabled by a rogue gamma-ray burst and crashed on Kokytos. Gorev was argumentative and pessimistic about their chances of survival, but was able to work better with the others after learning that Harral was the son of Bashorat Harral, an activist who had died opposing the Emerald Chain. Together, they were able to save Tal from parasitic ice, evade a Tuscadian pyrosome, and successfully contact the USS Armstrong for rescue. (DIS: "All Is Possible")
The cadets later took part in the evacuation of Earth via Federation Headquarters and its ships when the planet was threatened by the DMA. Gorev and Harral remained on the bridge with Tilly and Admiral Charles Vance, helping to coordinate the evacuation. On Vance's orders, the two abandoned ship on the USS Mitchell along with the rest of Federation Headquarters' personnel. (DIS: "Coming Home")