Heroic Beginnings? Accidental Hero by on

Road To Recovery

14 July 2013

Dear Diary:

I woke in a dumpster in Westside today. Thankfully, my armor protects me from the filth. One of those ruffian gang members shoved me off the roof while I was giving chase. FINE! I failed my jump to the next rooftop, bounced off the fire escape, and knocked my head against the edge of the dumpster that caught me. Are you happy to know the embarrassing truth, Diary?

Shamefully, my combat prowess is lacking as the peons bested me. There was a time when I could easily dispatch my opponents even when greatly outnumbered. Damn that woman and her shoddy maintenance crew! I still don’t remember how I came to be back on Earth. Or a lot of other things for that matter.

A nice, relaxing message sounds amazing right now. Not one of the services this seedy hotel offers, sadly. Falling from a rooftop, even only a few stories, is quite painful. I had to limp here after rolling out of the trash. Humiliating. One of the idiots donated his wallet for me to pay for this room. Very kind of him. Even left his identification so that I may thank him with my sword later. It pleases me that these ruffians never bother to cancel their credit cards; else I’d never have funds. Of course, if they had even a speck of intelligence, they would not choose Westside as their home.

Well, Diary, It is time for me to rest. We’ll chat tomorrow.

Safer Streets Thanks To New Hero

WestSide crime rates have fallen since the appearance of a new hero called Lady Blades. Some are saying the woman is far too violent, but many are hailing her as exactly the kind of hero WestSide needs. This new hero clad in red armor wielding a sword and hand blades normally leaves criminals dead where she cuts them down. City officials estimate that the cost of cleaning up the bodies is less than a tenth of the cost used for prosecution and imprisonment. And that’s before factoring in that most criminals are repeat offenders.

“Thanks to the revolving door those ass hats installed, criminals are back on the streets in no time. Dead criminals can’t do that, so this chick is just what we need.”

26 July 2013

It’s been a while since we spoke, Diary. Those filthy gang members aren’t as brain damaged as I thought. They barged into my room while I rested and made sure to beat me into a deeper sleep. Not before I kicked one out the window. I believe I broke a few things on some of the others as well.

When I awoke, I was fastened to a chair in only my undergarments. Criminals these days have no manners! They were smart, or perhaps poor, enough to use duct tape. I find it so much more difficult to break out of such restraints compared to traditional ones. I wasn’t exactly alert when I woke up, but several slaps and some ice water fixed that.

One of them, a leader I presume, started droning on about all of the new supers causing havoc for his business. The simpleton was trying to bore me to death, I’m sure of it. It almost worked. Just when I was about to ask if they would kindly shoot me in the head, the leader ceased his monologue. Clearly, no one told him that those are reserved for real villains, not pitiful gang members. He didn’t like how I mentioned being grateful for his silence. I lost a few teeth for that.

They asked an endless barrage of question I couldn’t answer and smacked me around for a bit. Eventually, they became bored and decided just to shoot me and be done. One of the many times I am glad to have replaced the metal plate in my head with materials I used in my armor. No mere handgun could even scratch such a surface. It was an expensive and painful procedure, but more than worth it considering how often I am shot at. Especially then, as they shot me in the head. It was still messy enough for them to think me dead.

I couldn’t say how much time passed before I found myself taking a dirt nap. Literally. They didn’t put much effort into the shallow grave. Lazy, good for nothing peons. Not that I should complain. Being buried properly would mean suffocating while unconscious. They were thoughtful enough to leave all of my things, including the credit cards I’d pilfered. I must make my way to City Center at some point. Surely, their hotels have better security so that I may rest peacefully.

A random passer-by saw me stumbling about and took me to a nearby clinic. I have no idea how I managed to get my armor on and things together. I barely remember crawling out of the grave as it is. I spent a few days recovering enough that I could walk on my own, paying for my stay with the generous donations of lesser criminals. If you were wondering, Diary, yes, it was Asrea who took me to the clinic. I simply cannot get away from that woman.

Unfortunately, the doctor had to shave my head so that he could piece the skin together. At least it won’t scar thanks to my improved healing. I have enough of those. Apparently, I have a great deal of possible brain damage that may or may not be permanent. I’m hardly concerned as I had heavy damage before that hasn’t fully healed. It all will eventually. I didn’t steal technological advancements from other villains for nothing. As long as I’m not dead I should be able to heal from anything sooner or later. Although, I have not yet tested this theory on limb regeneration nor am I eager to.

Back to the story, I left the hospital after only a few days, much to my doctor’s dismay. I have no interest in being prodded and studied. That and hospitals bother me. I was able to hobble elsewhere and did so. Thankfully, my armor includes a helmet that I’ve been using frequently. I look frightening with my injuries. It also made it easy to check into the hotel. In fact, I seem to have made a name for myself and the staff recognized me from the news as a new hero. They insisted I stay freely. Ha! If only they knew that these lesser criminals a perfect targets to regain my skills and for easy funds. It’s not as if they will report crimes to the police.

I will likely stay her for a few more days. The staff seems overjoyed at my presence here and have encouraged me to stay as long as I like. SNN has decided to call me Lady Blades. Such a silly name.

I must turn in early tonight, Diary. I have an autograph signing tomorrow.

Heroic Beginnings? Perks of the Job

Road To Recovery by on

Damaged Goods

05 June 2013

We shared on of Sterga’s nightmares last night. It has been a long time since this occurred. I tried my best to change the dream, but was unable. It was about one of the missions she was sent on as an assassin.

We watched as Sterga used a machete to dismember a man in front of his family. As he laid bleed out, whimpering, begging to spare the children, she hacked them all to bits. She tried desperately to stop herself, but failed just as she had before. Walking out, she saw a glimpse in a mirror. The woman looking back was covered in gore, devoid of emotion. I don’t know how she copes with the things she was forced to do; this isn’t even the worst nightmare we’ve shared.

Many of Sterga’s memories have returned, except those of the last few years. She has hazy recollection of people she knew in Millennium City, but not enough to contact any of them. In fact, she doesn’t want anyone to know of her return yet.

13 June 2013

It seems her immune system was damage. Sterga finally remembered its presence and ran a diagnostic. The combat drug she added years ago has flooded her system. That explains the battle lust and probably contributes to the increase in nightmares. She isn’t sure how to make repairs or even certain how it works. We think she may have research notes, but have no idea where they are located.

The MCPD has made Sterga’s apartment a crime scene. She raged when we tried to enter only to find it sealed. I could barely keep up as she took her fury to the streets, viciously putting down criminals in her path. Controlling the rage she shared was nearly impossible and I could not stop her from adding fire to her blade. In the end, we both were drained.

By the time I woke, Sterga was attempting repairs on her system. She had been up half the night, working, making theories. She apologized for hurting me and feeding her anger, now determined to control the combat drug. While I appreciate the effort, I questioned whether it was a good idea to fix something she didn’t entirely grasp. I worry she may hurt herself.

The progress is going slow. Her left hand and arm are in terrible condition; the worst burns yet. She tried to hide it, but her skin cracked and bleed onto the floor. When she realized I would not leave her be until attending to the wounds, she reluctantly let me treat them. The burns were to the bone in some areas and the skin on her fingers had melted together. Sterga nearly passed out several times as I tended to the injuries. Infection was starting to set in as well.

I don’t know why she is so stubborn at times.

19 June 2013

I woke yesterday morning to find Sterga seizing in the kitchen. The upgrade she attempted went badly. She did have the foresight to leave me a note on how to revert to the previous system build. It worked, but she did not wake until night. I stayed in bed with her, hoping the damage had not undone the progress we’ve made these months. And that she would wake soon.

I had to force her to rest once she did wake. It wasn’t hard to keep her in bed, honestly. She was still a bit tired, but there did not seem to be any damage or lingering effects. The evening turned to be pleasant with no further incidents and no nightmares. I even woke first for once.

25 July 2013

These days have been very slow in passing. Nothing much of note has happened. We continued to train and explore the depths of the link. Sterga’s memory is still chaotic, things coming and going. She remembered the details of her immune system long enough to repair the damage. I think she left the drugs in her system, but at much lower levels. She still seems edgy, ready for combat.

I still worry about Sterga. While she is mostly her old self, the addiction to this drug and the damage it causes could end up killing her. I can feel the stress her body is under to keep repairing damage. She told me about this drug once.

It is one of the few things left of her parents, so I understand her desire to keep the drug. Several people died during the trials, all from heart failure due to massive strain on the muscle. Two of those people died after one dose. Sterga has been using a steady supply in serum form and those that perished has a set amount in pill form.

It is only a matter of time before her heart fails.

02 July 2013

As much as I adore Sterga, she has become a hindrance to my work. She is far too violent and impossible to control even with less of the combat drug in her system. She also stopped wearing the armor we made, opting for her normal suit. When questioned about how she came to possess this new armor, Sterga simply said she retrieved it from one of her safe houses. Later, she asked me where I had found a set of her old armor. She had no idea that she was the one to fetch it.

She is still very unstable and far more violent than ever before. Even worse than her heavy drinking days. It does not help that she now has access to old toys. And I thought the sword was bad.

07 July 2013

Today was a peculiar day. Sterga expressed interest in leaving even though she has no money, her home sealed, and is still thought dead by all. I suppose it is only a matter of time before she runs into an old acquaintance.

She is doing a bit better, choosing to be less brutal in doling out justice. Her memories are still questionable, but her personality is mostly in tact including some bad habits. We ended up fighting when I came home to find Sterga intoxicated and trying to clean her gun. I’m glad it is normally on a low power setting as I was the one to be shot with it. Several times. Luckily, I subdued her before she got a hold of any other weapons.

10 July 2013

And she finally left. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but she said she would keep in touch. Which is a great improvement if she does. Our link is strong again, so I can keep watch on her that way. She does not seem to be able to find me in this way.

Heroic Beginnings? Accidental Hero

Damaged Goods by on

The Mars Incident: After Death

18 May 2013

The call from Sterga was nothing less than a shock. She has always refused my help, despite needing it. I suppose this was different as she was critically injured. How she still lived, I doubt I will ever know. She was in no condition to explain, barely conscious, passing out shortly after my arrival. Even her suit was heavily damaged, now useless. More the surprise, she not once protested the medical attention I sought for her; a specialist in treating augmented humans who knows the value of silence.

She is still unconscious after several days. I hope she wakes soon.

20 May 2013

As I feared, there is something wrong with Sterga beyond the physical injuries. She woke yesterday, but has been devoid of her usual charm. Never would I have thought to miss it, but that is the case. Sadly, there is little to be done other than hope her mind can heal. My aura was not strong enough to heal her physical injuries without aid, but I hope it can mend her mind. It feels like our time in the desert.

She insists on helping me with my mission as well. Whether this turns out to be a blessing or curse will only be answered by time. Despite that she is supposed to listen to my commands, she stubbornly refuses to rest at the apartment while I am out. But she also makes no effort to hide the fact that she is shadowing me. At least if I agree, I can keep watch on her. And it shames me to admit that I do need help in my work.

Even though she is a flawed human, Sterga is a formidable opponent. I have seen what she has done to people who threaten her well-being. We will need to update her old armor from when we worked together in the Mojave. Not surprising, she still has the blade she created. In fact, she strongly rejected the idea of using one of my weapons. It gives me hope that the Sterga I know is still inside. Sometime, she seems to struggle with herself to break the programming that makes her such a machine.

I convinced her to rest for a few more days before working with me.

26 May 2013

It seems as if our link has weakened. Sterga does not gain increased healing from my aura nor does she seem to be able to add my flame to her sword. It may be only temporary, but with how brutal she is, not unwelcome. We have also started training again. Her combat abilities are very poor, almost a detriment. I doubt she has fully healed physically, despite her claim otherwise.

Each time we patrol, Sterga is injured, but she will not take time to rest. I suspect something else is wrong; she has never been so aggressive. It is as if she desperately needs to be in constant combat. I can feel that it is the only thing on her mind most times. Something must have been damaged in her systems. It would not surprise me with the condition of her suit.

With Sterga living with me once more, I suspect our link will repair in time. The healing ability should manifest first, not that she appears to need it. The most recent upgrades are quite impressive in terms of physical repairs. She never mastered using my flame to augment her sword, so I must prepare for the serious injuries she will likely sustain. Fortunately, her off-hand writing is in need of little improvement to be legible.

I have tried to ask about her immune system upgrades, but she always looks at me as if confused. Sterga does not seem to remember much of her life at present. I suspect she may only trust me due to our link, weak as it is. Sadly, she does remember the more troubling parts and has frequent nightmares once more.

01 June 2013

Our training has been successful in refreshing Sterga’s combat abilities. It is still lacking, but she can hold her own at my side. The blood lust she has while in combat is still hard for me to control. Because our link has strengthened, it also has a small effect on me. Keeping us both level headed in combat is a challenge.

Sterga remains unable to utilize my flame. It manifested once, but quickly flickered out. Soon, she will be able to summon it, which worries me. Her powerful emotions are something that has never affected me before. I do not think I am prepared for an increase in her deadliness.

She has started gaining the increased benefit from my healing aura. We ended up in a precarious situation, heavily out matched. Sterga took a blow that should have crippled, if not killed her. I had thought her dead, as I could not sense her presence for a moment. Instead, she regained her stance, fully healed. After the fight, I was drained, barely capable of walking. She can tap into my power, drawing great strength if in need. Another new effect. We have been together for many years and new abilities are coming through our link. I had not anticipated this. We will need more experience working together. Fortunately, Westside has no shortage of weaker criminals posing minimal threat.

Road To Recovery

The Mars Incident: After Death by on

The Mars Incident: Head Hunted

Lost Diary of Sterga Lawbringer

13 May 2013

Sterga, helm donned, pokes around a space ship in the Mars base hanger.Dear Diary:

Having successfully infiltrated the Mars base of Acyth’s operation, I must say that I could do a much better job. Not that I have any interest in destroying my home planet as I’ve grown quite fond of it. But, just in case she isn’t as incompetent as I believe her to be, I might as well ensure my survival. Even if that means letting her think I’d be a happy drone on her base. Like someone of my intellect would appreciate wasting it on such menial tasks. Ah well, at least there is an abundance of interesting tech to pilfer.

This base is not what I was hoping for. I don’t even have private quarters! Not that I really expected to, but it would have been a nice gesture on Acyth’s part. She might suspect that I have other goals for this little trip, so I must be careful where I explore and what information I ask for. Although, she has foolishly allowed me limited access to a few Internet sites. It was much easier than I thought it would be to gain this privilege.

Today, I will be inspecting the ships in hopes of securing one for my escape. I managed to send off a message to the Anti-Acyth Force. If I should be so lucky, they will figure out the code using the key I previously set up for them. I still can’t believe how easy it was to convince Acyth to allow me access to YouTube. The sooner this facility is raided, the better. I just need to make sure I’m not discovered. The last think I need is another death penalty conviction that treason would surely buy me. I will be sad to leave all of this interesting technology behind.

The Fatal Accident: 13 May 2013

She entered the hanger bay, fully armored and ready for the raid that was sure to happen sooner or later. Walking from ship to ship, Sterga made notes on which crafts would be best suited for escape. A new security system was being implemented to prevent unauthorized persons from taking command of the vehicles and she was sure her name had been left off that list.

Lost in thought, she didn’t notice the accident in the making. The mechanics were clearly incompetent, letting explosive gases leak out near a heat source. The massive explosion that resulted triggered the emergency shield and cloak in Sterga’s suit. But it didn’t prevent her from being thrown violently away from the blast. Darkness was creeping in. She struggled to stay conscious, standing, not knowing she was still cloaked. Chaos had taken over the bay, but all she wanted to do was close her eyes, just for a moment. Needed to make way to the infirmary. She managed to make it to the cargo by the wall and collapsed behind it.

Local Teacher Casualty of Chaos

In the aftermath of the plot to destroy Earth, one local area teacher is thought to have been killed. Sterga Lawbringer, head of science at the upscale East Briar Institute, was believed to have been kidnapped and held on the Mars base that was to be the front lines of the assault. Officials believe she was a target due to her achievements in technology she developed for the school and the lack of protection provided for her.

“All those important people that were supposed to be protected and they just left one of our own to the wolves. That’s pretty screwed up,” one of the missing woman’s colleagues informed us.


Back On Earth: 20 May 2013

When she opened her eyes, she saw the familiar ceiling of an apartment. But it was not her own.

“I was worried you would never wake.”

Sterga turned her head to the figure sitting on the other half of the bed. Asrea, wearing her combat robes, as always. The woman looked her guest over before continuing, “Are you feeling well, Sterga?”

“I don’t feel anything,” she replied in a flat, mechanical voice and turned her head back to the ceiling.

“Your armor was badly damaged and I do not have the ability to repair it on my own. Everyone thinks you dead and I have let them do so.”

Sterga remained silent. She gave away nothing that would indicate what she might be thinking or feeling.

“Do you want me to let anyone know of your survival?”

“I don’t want anything.”

Asrea leaned close to the woman and added, “Not even money?”


Damaged Goods

The Mars Incident: Head Hunted by on

Alien Threatens Earth Survival

Officials confirmed today that Earth is being targeted by yet another hostile alien force. The world’s greatest leaders and minds are in the process of being secured in undisclosed locations. Citizens have shown outrage at what many claim to be a sign of failure on the part of the world’s governments to protect their people. “I bet most of those guys being protected haven’t done a single day of honest work in their lives. If they’re the only ones left, we’re all screwed anyway,” one area man claimed.

A fully armored woman in blue power armor stands around, doing nothing in particular.She heard the heavy hammering of an armored fist on the door. Sighing, she pushed a button to open the it, glancing up to see a power armored figure filling the door. Acyth was covered head-to-toe in gleaming, blue armor. It was different than Sterga remembered, bulkier, with a new hand cannon attached. Fancy.

“What do you want?”

“You. Working for me.”

Sterga rolled her eyes and continued to with the work she was doing. She had been warned that Acyth was planning some sort of foolish world destruction project. But she asked the question regardless, “Why would I want to do that? And what could you possibly want from me?”

“You’re good with Tech. I can use that. And I can offer you access to stuff the likes of which you’ve never seen.” Acyth pulls out a device and tosses it onto the desk. “Case in point.”

Sterga stopped her work and looked at the device. It was small and rectangular, similar in size to a typical smart phone. On one side there was a pair of contacts, the other a small display with controls. The writing was in a strange language she didn’t recognize.

“And what does this little thing do?” The desk started analyzing the object, bringing up the results in a small window.

“Nothing much. It’s an energy cell, basically a small generator. Variable output voltage, from about a hundredth of a volt up to about fifty thousand. Maximum output’s a little under 55 terawatts an hour. Lasts about 50 years. Though that one’s…7 or 8 years old, looks like.”

Picking up the object, she studied it while continuing to fish for information, “What is your game anyway? I’m rather fond of this planet after all.

“Waving a hand dismissively, “It’s nothing special. A junk world that’s only survived this long through luck and the protection of its betters. You, I think, are one of those betters. Even if you are a bitch.” Nodding to the device she added, “You could run every electrical device on the planet off that, and it wouldn’t even be straining it.”

Setting the object down, Sterga leaned back in her chair, crossing her arms at the other woman. “So why bother? You could just leave.”

“Frankly, I hate this place. It’s annoyed me for long enough.”

“So much effort for such an insignificant planet. What did it ever do to you?”

Sterga stands in slim armor that protects the vital areas along with a utility belt fitted with pouches and grenades.The other woman placed an armored fist on her hip, “Mmm. Well it forced me to be here, for one thing. And annoyed the crap out of me the entire time I was here.”

“So, this planet annoys you and your response is to drop rocks on it? What would you do if someone pissed you off?”

“Instead of helping a bunch of people get off world to safety, and ignoring the ones that don’t resist… I’d make SURE they all died. Not that it’s going to be all that habitable anyway, a thousand asteroids hitting a planet makes ‘nuclear winter’ look like a brief squall.”

“So, what exactly does helping you entail?”

“In your case? I got ships, weapons, and other bits of tech. Thousands upon thousands of them. They break. They get lost. It takes a lot of people to take care of that stuff. To make more. To scrounge up the bits to keep it all working.”

“So, what? I’d just be some lowly minion?” Her brows knitted together, her voice became harsh, and she couldn’t keep the annoyance out.”

Only until you learned the tech. Then, research, design, whatever you were up to. I reward people based on ability, Ms. Sterga. But I WOULD have people teach you our tech. Hell of an opportunity for someone from this backwater. Oh, and you’d get passage off the planet before the asteroids hit. Which, frankly, I don’t like you enough to give you unless you’re useful to me.”

“If you don’t like me, why are you wasting my time here?”

“Because, you could be useful, and I’m willing to set aside the fact you’re a bitch because of it. On the other hand, I don’t dislike you enough to bother killing you, so you could just make sure to stay out of my way. But you’d be on your own then.”

“This coming from the woman who wants to destroy the planet because she’s having a PMS moment.”

An audible snort could be heard through the voice amplifier in Acyth’s helm. Sterga ignored it and continued, “When does this little party of yours start? And, if I should accept your offer, when would I leave?”

“The strikes start on the 17th. You could leave as late as the 17th itself, if you like. Millennium City isn’t on the initial target list, but it’ll be dust by the 18th. It’s up to you. Take your chances alone, or come with me, have a job working with the best tech you’ve ever seen. Food, clothing, a place to live…” She paused, letting the benefits of not being left to die sink in. “And the chance to rise as high as your potential allows.”

Sterga paused for a moment, considering her options. Having access to technology so much more advanced held great appeal. She didn’t believe Acyth would succeed, even for an instant. But it was possible that she could. The best thing to do is to go along for the ride and make my exit once the fighting breaks out.

“What if I wanted to leave tomorrow? Would that be possible? And how long before I could start working on this tech of yours?”

The power armored woman cocked her head, simply standing for a moment. Impatient, Sterga shifted in her chair, resting her chin on a fist and drumming the fingers of her free hand on the arm rest.”

Well unfortunately, none of my forces have arrived in system yet, except for a single fast-courier. I could get a transport in here for you on the 12th, and you could start immediately. Barring transit time, which is… about 12 hours.”

“Then I will see you on the 12th. Now, get out of my office. I have things to take care of.”

Acyth nodded and threw another device on the desk. “You can keep the energy cell. And that’s in case you need to contact me.”

Turning on her heel, she strode out of the office, bodyguards snapping in formation. The door silently slid shut behind Acyth. Preparations needed to be made and Sterga fully intended to end up in a better position than she held now.

The Mars Incident: After Death

The Chamber of the King of Lost Hope by on

Sterga leaps up under the blade of the much larger mockery of an angelic creature, preparing her own sword for the cut.This is an excerpt from the Demonflame story. The rest can be found on Caliga’s page.

Finally separated from the noisy, brute force ways of her companions, Sterga turned to stealth. She came upon a large room filled with the twisted forms of what were once members of DEMON. They held hostages, which were of no interest since that isn’t what she was paid for.

“You must save them to break the barrier.”

Sterga turned her attention to the Demon Key and glared.

“You must be joking.”



She let out a heavy sigh. So much for stealth. The key, of course, vanished from sight.

Sword in one hand, pistol in the other, her attacks were quick and brutal. She danced across the room in one fluid motion, going from target to target, leaving little opportunity for retaliation. After purging the room of DEMON filth, she moved to one of the hostages and tried to break him from his stupor. Patience was never Sterga’s strong point as she simply back-handed the man. But it did the trick and he looked around, unsure of where he was. Sterga simply pointed past the bodies that littered the floor, toward the exit.

“Everything is dead, I made sure of that. Get out. Take these other idiots with you.”

The man hesitated and Sterga thought she might have to hurt him again. Sadly, the opportunity passed as he hurried around, collecting the others.

Once again turning to stealth, Sterga made her way through the hallways finding a second large room. Scanning the area, she saw more of the poor bastards that had been affected by Qliphoth as well as … a pentagram? Oh wow, bonus points on originality there. Morons. Sterga took care of the trash before investigating the pentagram. Hmm, it appears that I can shut these things down. I hope there isn’t some sort of pattern to this. The barriers fell easily, but weren’t without surprise. The first one was mostly human in appearance. It had tattered robes and vicious blades attached to forearms and shoulders. The second was a grotesque, winged creature standing more than twice Sterga’s height. Her blades made quick work of them. Amateurs. Once the final barrier was down, The Left Hand himself appeared. He hovered, looking down on the intruder, radiating a dark aura.

“What pitiful creature is this? Kneel before me, whelp, and perhaps I will be merciful in killing you.”

“Not impressed,” Sterga replied dryly, tightening the grip on her weapons.

Without warning, the creature slammed his massive sword down then quickly to the side in a wide sweep. Sterga side stepped the first, but was hit by the arc and knocked back. Using her jet pack to recover, she charged forward, under her opponent’s sword arm raking her own into exposed flesh. The demon let loose a roar, leapt back and flicked his sword forward, hurling a mass of dark energy. The impact missed as Sterga strafed, taking the opportunity to fire off a few shots of her own. Then, she found herself frozen in place, unable to move, as The Left Hand dashed forward. She managed to bring up an emergency shield, hoping it held, as blows rained down. As the assault slowed, she dropped the shield and redirected the power to her jet pack, breaking free. She holstered her gun, gripping her sword with both hands as she rocketed up, cutting deep. The force took her up, over the creature’s head. Adjusting her course, she positioned herself at his back and let loose devastating attacks of her own.

The fight went on, each side trading blows. Ultimately, Sterga was victorious but the battle left her drained and badly injured. She dosed herself with pain meds and pushed on to meet up with the others.

Pieces of a New Life by on

Rescue and Rehabilitation of Sterga

Week 21

Two women clad in similar white armor and black tights, stand back to back, ready for combat.Sterga finally asked me about her parents. I sensed she wanted to ask. She knows I was there, demanding to know why I let them be killed. I am ashamed for the part I played in their deaths.

I found out where the couple was and chose to assist the authorities in their capture. I sought a peaceful end to the standoff, but was very inexperience at my role as a savior. Not that it is an excuse for my part. Sterga was the first criminal outside of street thugs I apprehended and only due to a tip; her parents would have been my second and third. One of the novice officers fired off a shot, unintentionally. I was not prepared to react and two people died for it.

She did not speak to me for several days after nor did she come to bed. When she finally spoke to me, Sterga said she understood my feelings and did not blame me. She is still angry, but has forgiven me for my part. I have not even forgiven myself.

Week 25

I have been traveling to Las Vegas more frequently in recent days. It may be time to relocate north, but I worry about leaving Sterga by herself. She approached me with an idea: we could move into a nice neighborhood with a library. There seems to be an opening she has already been hired for. The link seems to be much more than just one of giving orders. I did not realize she could sense my feelings as well. It was something I had not considered; one of my abilities is to feel emotion of those around me. Sterga’s are more powerful than normal, but I attribute that to our constant close proximity. It is instead part of our link.

Tomorrow, we move into a new home in the neighborhood suggested. Sterga having found that as well. The new place is larger than this one with an extra room for us to use as training. Yes, she has extensive training as an assassin and in self-defense, but insisted I teach more. Her swordsmanship is impressive. She also expressed interest in helping with my work. I will need to bring her along at some point, as it is my duty. I suspect she may go out on her own if I do not indulge her soon.

Week 27

Since we have been in Las Vegas, Sterga decided to pursue a degree. I am very pleased by this progress, although her choice is an odd one. She studies the immune system and plans to get a degree in nanoengineering. I knew she was highly intelligent, but with how quickly she advanced through the material, she will have a bachelor’s in less than a year. Absolutely amazing. Sterga never ceases to surprise me.

Week 31

We have been going on patrols and providing the authorities aid together. It has gone very well as Sterga is an excellent partner. Something new to this link developed yesterday. We were grossly outnumbered by thugs. Somehow, Sterga was able to use my divine flame on her sword. Unfortunately, the sword was destroyed and her hand badly damaged. I insisted she stay home to recover for a few days. We argued about it until I convinced her she would be helping no one at sub-optimal performance.

I had to respond to an emergency call today on my own. While I was gone, Sterga had a nightmare, an exceptionally horrific one. She was passes out from binge drinking by the time I returned. This is what I feared. I know I will need to let her be on her own at some point, but I was hoping it would be after she became strong enough to avoid this scenario.

Week 38

These weeks have been trying. Sterga continues to drink heavily, so much so that she cannot help with my work and is slipping in her studies. She was arrested twice for making a fool of herself in public. The judge ordered her to go through AA classes or go to jail for a year. Thankfully, Sterga has chosen the classes. I know she struggles with her alcoholism and does desire to recover. We will see how the classes help. Perhaps she will be able to continue as normal before reaching the bottom.

Week 42

Sterga stands with her arms crossed outside a nightclub. Her leather jacket has spikes attached at the right shoulder and forearm.The classes, with my support, have helped turn Sterga around. She has not completely stopped drinking, but it is far less than before. We have decided not to work together for now, as not to be overwhelming. She has returned to University, easily catching up and excelling once more. Sterga is taking advantage of the free time not patrolling gives her, burring herself in research instead of bottles.

For some reason, Sterga wishes to pursue a career as a bouncer at one of the nightclubs. Her idea is to confront her alcoholism by surrounding herself with drink and resisting, it will help her recovery. I managed to convince her that it was too early in treatment for her to risk relapse. I’m sure we will revisit this issue in a few weeks.

Our training at home has continued. We are exploring the limits of this link. It seems Sterga can borrow my powers to enhance her own abilities. Using my flame is not without consequence. She injures herself when using it. Her left hand and arm had severe burns. They are healing well, but it leaves her unable to write. She is relearning to use her off-hand in case such a problem occurs again.

Week 44

Sterga went ahead and sought work as a nightclub door guard. She hadn’t bothered to inform me of her decision, waiting until I was patrolling. Why must she be so stubborn? The extra income will be welcome, I suppose. My duties are needed less and less as another hero has started work here. With the added nights free, I can stay home with Sterga.

I have been thinking of relocating to Millennium City where heroes are needed far more. Many terrible attacks have occurred since its rebuilding and gangs have set up within the walls. The opportunity to expand my skills by training with others also has appeal. I have not brought this up with Sterga yet.

At the very least, I will wait for her to finish obtaining her bachelor’s in immunology and pharmacology, which should be shortly. “Sin City” is not a fitting place for her to recover. Sterga has not gotten into much trouble, but has two arrests. It hasn’t been a year since our move!

Before making a decision, we should visit the city. Sterga has next weekend off, so is a perfect time for a vacation. I’m sure she’ll figure my intention out even if I don’t share.

Rescue and Rehabilitation of Sterga by on

One Year To Live: The Plan To Escape

Week 1

The black robed, white armored Asrea kneels in debris, hoping to find survivors.I found someone I never thought to see, Sterga Lawless. It may be a mistake, but I have declined to inform officials of her continued existence. Perhaps I feel sorry for all that has happened to her. The trial was inadequate and unjust, her prison stay brutal, and now victim of cultist experiments. She looks very different from when I last saw her. Despite how badly scared her face is, I have no doubt this is the same woman.

It is my duty to try helping this woman change her ways and heal from her wounds. Even a villain such as this deserves a second chance.

Week 2

I talked with Sterga today despite her unconsciousness. One of the nurses heard me call the woman by name. I informed staff that I only knew of her first name, not her last. If authorities have not made the connection now, I will not aid them in doing so. Far too much corruption exists there. I can help Sterga; I owe her as much. It is my fault she was captured, subjected to a mockery of the justice system, and all that happened after. I suspect she will need all the help I can give once she wakes. Soon she will have surgery to heal her face. I can only hope my aura expedites her recovery.

Week 6

It has been many weeks since I found Sterga. Physically, she is healing well and my aura should prevent any further scaring. She has so many. I feel that Sterga desperately needs someone to be near her, why I have not left, and continuing to speak to her. She is lost and will need my guidance to become more than the villain she once was.

Several of the others rescued have died and one of them ended his own life. He had minor physical injuries, but was plagued by nightmares. It seems he was only reported missing a few months before the compound raid. That would mean his programming had only just begun. I don’t think most of those rescued will live long and it saddens me. We came far too late to help them. I can only take comfort no one else will suffer this fate.

The authorities did manage to salvage some research information that they shared with me. Thankfully, none of it betrays Sterga’s true identity. She was the alpha test subject, being subjected to testing before the others. There were notes on her successful assassinations, but she was never assigned a handler. The authorities are unsure what this means, but the current theory is that each individual is assigned a handler to dole out missions and provide field support. It seems only a handler can give orders to their unwilling slave. What this means for Sterga, I will not know until she wakes. One of the last entries expresses the need to find someone for her to test a new procedure.

I fear for her mental state. She must stay alive. I know she is important for the future.

Week 10

Sterga finally awoke! But she is very disconnected as if in a trance. Oddly, she did not answer any of the doctor’s questions. When I asked the same ones, she answered everything. It is a good sign that she responds, even if only to me. She does not remember much, which is common among the survivors. I will need to press for her new identification. None of the others have regained their memories, so it is unlikely that Sterga will either.

During the brief encounter of her arrest, Sterga was quiet a fiery woman. Less after the death of her family, but still a spark. All of that is gone. I have no idea if this will be permanent. I’ve never stayed close to someone for so long and cannot know if my aura will heal the damage.

Once alone, she asked me who she really had been. She realizes I know, so there is hope for her recovery. But I informed her that I could not answer her questions in this place. After recovering sufficiently to be discharged, I will tell her what she wishes to know.

She did not object to the name I chose for her new identity: Sterga Lawbringer. I want it to be a reminder of the person she should become. Few remember the Lawless family. She was never a high profile criminal, overshadowed by super villains and their grandiose schemes.

Week 13

Her face turned away and with much shorter hair, Sterga sits on the edge of a hospital bed. Her feet hang over the side as she stares at nothing in particular.Sterga recovered enough to leave the hospital. She stayed distant and ridged until we arrived at my home. As soon as we walked in, she bombarded me with questions. Who was she? How did she arrive at the hospital? The cultist compound? Why I had taken such an interest in her well-being? I answered each question, even the part about my vision.

I told her the vision of a future where she never existed and I am to keep her protected, training her to be a savior. She asked why I had allowed her to be incarcerated, admitting I had not seen the vision until after her escape. Originally, I misinterpreted the message, but after I saw her with the cultist, I realized I was to prevent that future. My revelations about her past and future overwhelmed her and she asked permission to rest. Sterga has been this way since she woke; only speaking to me, asking permission to do things. It seems that I am her handler and must be careful of the orders I give.

When I told her she did not need my permission to do anything, Sterga looked distraught, but acknowledged the order. I informed her if she was unsure, to ask. This is the only emotion she has shown, but it is a good sign. She is mostly well, all of her physical injuries healed without scaring.

I hope she will fully recover.

Week 15

I went on patrol the other day, leaving Sterga alone. I told her to “wait here” foolishly not elaborating to mean the home and not an exact spot. She was standing were I left her. She looked guilty of something and informed me that she had moved to eat. I had to reassure her several times that I was not angry and she had not done anything wrong. Being her handler is a trying experience. Better me than someone who would exploit the link.

She will do things outside of specific orders. Perhaps the programming is not so strong that she can’t break it. In the meantime, I must remain diligent in wording orders.

Week 18

After several attempts, I believe I have found something that interests Sterga. She has read all books I own and is running through the library’s selection. In fact, she has spent much of her time there. It’s nice that she leaves the house, even if constantly asking permission. She surprised me by asking if it would be acceptable to work at the library, proceeding to inform me of her desire to purchase a vehicle so she would no longer need to take the bus.

Despite her daily nightmares, she is doing better. As long as I can be here to sooth her, I know she will overcome them. All of the others rescued have since taken their lives, save one in rehabilitation for severe drug addiction. They all had horrific nightmares and flashbacks, but did not have the support I have shown Sterga. I wish I could have helped them all, but one is such a handful that I would have failed. Sterga is too important to neglect. My aura has a very powerful effect on her, far more than normal. It may be due to our unusual link.

Pieces of a New Life

One Year To Live: The Plan To Escape by on

One Year To Live: Surviving

Week 27

A guard raises a nightstick to subdue the fighting Sterga.As expected, I was accosted by Hellen and her minions. Thankfully, they only inflicted minor injuries that I could hide. One of the guard teams made their rounds making my beating swift. They roughly returned us to our cells, which I was thankful. I really need to procure a map of the facilities so that I do not make such a mistake in direction again.

You’ll be happy to know that I have made great strides in my physical prowess, Diary. I can now lift weights nearly equivalent to my own. The increase in muscle should help to protect my bones from breaking as easily. I have not yet seen the woman who taught me self-defense and I fear that she has been killed. None of the other inmates seem to take kindly to my presence, so I have no one to ask.

I have taken the constant attacks as an opportunity to study fighting styles so that I may counter them in future matches. It is a very painful process, but I am improving each battle. Normally, I can hide my injuries and have been to the infirmary only twice.

Week 31

It pains me that we cannot speak more, Diary. Having the privacy needed to write is difficult to come by, but I’d hate to have someone find your hiding spot.

I have good news! During last week’s fight, I actually disabled one of Hellen’s thugs! Of course, the others savagely beat me for such action and I blacked out. In the infirmary again, but only for a few days. The recovery time was much needed as pain has kept me awake for several days. The attacks were particularly heinous that week.

One of the guards seems to have taking a liking to me. I have exploited this to gain access to various rooms during our escapades. One of the rooms had a map of the facilities that I memorized. Another thing I managed to acquire was guard rotation and schedules for the next several months. If I can manage to stay near patrol routes, attacks should decrease.

Despite my dislike of using physique as a ploy, I must admit that this affair is enjoyable and keeps me out of the general populace for a time. The less time I spend with the savages, the fewer attacks I must endure.

Week 37

“One-Eyed” Hellen almost became “Blind” Hellen today. After being menaced every other day for weeks and breaking my arm again, I have finally won a fight! Besting Hellen has earned me the title of “Top Bitch” and I now control her henchmen. A crude title, yes, but very few women have been threatening me lately. This comes as a great relief. The other prisoners still loath me, but they stay away.

Hellen will be in the infirmary for some time as she broke both of her legs falling down the stairwell. My right hand was shattered in the process, but it was worth it. Sadly, the guards came in to break up the fight. I do hate the spray. The batons bruised some of my ribs. But! I still won! This is a glorious moment, Diary. The rigorous exercise and constant attacks have paid off. I’m glad you’re happy for me, Diary. The painkillers are kicking in, so I must be off. The good ones, for once.

Week 41

Sterga stands in front of a fence, overlooking the artificial wasteland of the prison station.My plan to escape this nightmare is shaping up well. I managed to procure shuttle codes and key cards from my guard “lover”. A part of me is sad to know we will part ways, but I doubt she sees me as anything more than a distraction. Guards stay on station for six months at a time before returning to Earth. Some of them have been here as long as a year. A few stay on for several years at a time.

One of Hellen’s loyal minions handed me a note this week, asking to see me in the infirmary. Against my better judgment, I did so. It was an interesting exchange. She admitted that I was the better fighter and proposed an alliance to run the prison together. Despite her confinement to bed, she still knows far more about the station that I do, even with my generous access to restricted places. I suspect she would personally knife me in the back at first opportunity, but I should be gone before she recovers. In the meantime, I agreed to her proposal to access her knowledge.

I will need you to protect the codes and key, Diary. Don’t let anyone ruin our escape plans. I trust you will not disappoint me.

Week 47

I found out Margaret is using MY funds and schematics to plan an attack with a death ray. It looks like I really have lost everything, including my meager private funds. This news pains me like a two-shiv hit to the kidneys. I really must get out of here to salvage what is left of my bank account and stop that woman from using MY design to murder people. I don’t even know how she gained access! Even the authorities didn’t have knowledge of that account. I am very disappointed in my bank.

In fact, I will be able to leave this place soon. My guard companion and I had one last fling before she rotated off. The experience left us both exhausted. I did enjoy her company and it was much more fun that I would have thought. In addition, I pilfered a taser and bread knife during that last encounter. I was so distracted that I almost missed the opportunity. I now have all I need to escape.

The next time we talk will be in a few weeks, back on Earth.

Rescue and Rehabilitation of Sterga

One Year To Live: Surviving by on

Murder And Treason: Media Circus

Prisoner Incident Report #251

New arrival Lawless, Sterga (#389734834) was attacked by Riverson, Hellen (#78876980); a.k.a “One-Eyed” Hellen. Lawless was rushed to the infirmary after clearing the grounds. Injuries include crushed skull, three broken ribs, compound fractures in both legs, left arm shattered, left hand broken, several missing teeth, broken jaw, collapsed right lung, and various internal injuries. Lawless is in serious condition, not expecting to survive.

OC spray and hoses were deployed to break up the fight. Three of Riverson’s people were taken and released for minor injuries. Four of the inmates, including Riverson, were placed in solitary confinement to be released after one week. No officers were injured in the process.

This is the second time Riverson and her gang has attacked new arrivals this month. Recommend placing in solitary until her sentence is carried out. Recommend denying her appeal. Inmate is violent and unstable, killing or maiming thirty-two prisoners since arriving. Rehabilitation is unlikely.

Week 13

Two beefy inmates punch the much weaker Sterga.Dear Diary:

It has been three months since I arrived. I would have written sooner, but I was “initiated” within an hour of my arrival. The beating was so severe that no one believed in my survival. I have gained a metal plate in my head as well. Damn my brittle bones. Some head trauma, but nothing permanent. And many scars. At least I’m safe in the infirmary until next month when I return to the general populous. Prison is no place for a lady.

I apologize for my terrible handwriting, Diary. My left hand is still sore and despite practice, it is taxing to use. I’ve gotten used to using my right hand for many things, but writing with it is far worse than this mess. The pain I am in would cripple a lesser person and it does a good job at nearly doing so to me. Medication barely works, but even the minor relief is welcome.

Physical therapy to regain use of my legs started yesterday. It is exhausting to perform such rigorous exercise after lying in bed for so long. But the sooner I am well, the sooner I can prepare for my escape. This place is already a nightmare. Never have I been in such fear for my life. I need to focus on the task at hand and not give into my fears.

The only good thing I can say is that the uniforms are far superior to the travesty that is the orange jumpsuit. These are a classic black and white stripped pattern, which is at least comprised of neutrals. I suppose there is no fear of my escape, so a glowing uniform is not needed.

Week 16

Therapy is going well and I can almost walk without the cane. Sadly, I cannot take it with me once I reintegrate. I’ve started lifting weights to build as much muscle as I can before being thrown to the savages. One of the inmates also in therapy has taken pity on me and is teaching some self-defense. I don’t think she expects it to do much good, but I must do all that I can to prevent a return trip to the infirmary. It is impossible to work my escape being bed bound.

My appeal was rejected and it was the only one I was allowed. That means I have less than a year before my sentence is carried out. It infuriates me that it was done while I was incapacitated. I had no opportunity to reply. Worthless excuse for a public defender. He will be the first one I “chat” with once I leave this hellish place.

I’ve already wasted so much time being incapacitated. Damn that wench and her filthy peons. I’ll have to take her out so that I may plot in peace. Well, I hope I can do so. She is in far better shape than I am and has more knowledge of the prison that I do. I must be very careful where I walk, lest I end up alone with no guards to help me. Not that they try very hard. I nearly died the first time I needed their aid.

I am not looking forward to next week.

Week 17

Hellen sent one of her goons to attack me in the infirmary. The ruffian broke two of my ribs and added a few more scars, which delayed my release by several more weeks. Dammit! I cannot afford these delays in plotting my escape! I’m coming exceedingly close to my six month point and I’ve accomplished naught. There are a few useful bits of information that I have gleaned while here, but it is no substitute for what I could do in the general populace. As much as it frightens me to be with the savages, that is where I can properly plot.

I suppose I should consider this an opportunity to hone my physical strengths. Working out with broken ribs is very painful, so I must be careful. My endurance is lacking as well. I do need more work before I can integrate and survive, but patience is not my strong point. Sadly, the woman teaching me self-defense has left.

One more day and I would have been out of the infirmary.

Week 23

Well, I wasn’t attacked on my first day with the savages. Some of them were surprised to see me alive. Tomorrow will be different, I’m sure. Hellen has been toying with me during the entire time I’ve been in this festering hole. I don’t understand why she has taken such an interest in me. Clearly, I am no physical threat and I failed as a villain with my family business completely dismantled. I barely have six months to live.

My cellmate has not made any advances at me either. I can only hope that it stays so. She doesn’t seem interested in my presence. However, she did inform me that she believes Hellen has never failed to kill any of the new initiates that she and her goons have attacked. I find myself in a position where my continued life is a reminder of her failures. She asked that I kindly not bleed all over the cell the next time Hellen attacks and to “please not die here” since she does not want to be moved.

I must survive until I can make my escape.

One Year To Live: The Plan To Escape