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The Rise of
Arika of Helena

When the sky ripped open, and the warring angels descended, young Arika and her parents watched their friends and neighbors lose their bodies to possession, get mauled to death by 8-balls, and get crushed in the general chaos that ensued. Instead of hiding from the rampant violence, Arika’s family traveled the streets of La Jolla, San Diego, aiding the city’s injured survivors, and gathering doctors to join their group.

As its former Chief of Surgery, Arika’s mother, Kali, had access to the University Hospital, where their family set up a clinic and established their new home. Kali, a masterful leader, took charge of the crowds who flocked to the hospital for medical care and shelter, training them in first aid, and delegating tasks to ensure their collective survival. As a protective measure, Kali recruited a group of soldiers who tirelessly defended the medical facility against 8-ball attacks, but as the turmoil persisted, their enclave became plagued with maladies and theft. Their medical supplies rapidly dwindled until Arika’s father, Rohit, a tenured professor in Plant Biology, used his expertise to create and sustain stockpiles of medicine from the local plants, getting their group back on its feet.

La Jolla grew to be a hub for medical care, and when Arika’s family gained access to a surviving cargo plane, they decided to take their resources beyond San Diego. They enlisted a group of pilots and medical professionals and set out on missions of mercy throughout the country. As they ventured to foreign terrain, they faced brutal attacks by 8-balls and humans alike, but ultimately helped several groups of survivors—tending to their wounds, stocking them with supplies, and teaching them how to use plants for both nutritional and medicinal purposes.

On a mission in San Francisco, Kali suffered a manic episode that pulled the rescue crew into a precarious situation. To quell a flu outbreak, she forced the team to stay up several nights in a row to distribute as many vaccines, and treat as many patients as possible. As a result, several of their crewmembers fell ill themselves, and they had to spend a few days recovering at a clinic in an unprotected zone. When a horde of 8-balls raged towards the clinic, Kali, realizing her culpability, baited the monsters away from Arika, Rohit and the healthy crew, towards the sick, sacrificing their lives and her own in the process.

Within a year’s time, another rescue mission led to the death of Arika’s father. When their cargo plane, Helena, crashed in East San Diego, the surviving crew struggled to repair the plane while 8-balls surrounded them, trapping them inside. With some of their team too injured to escape on foot, Rohit insisted that they stay to fix the plane so they could all fly home. But when Marcus, a cowardly member of their group, fled to save himself, he allowed 8-balls through the door. Rohit rose in their defense, but was quickly eviscerated.

With her father dying in her arms, Arika realized that she could no longer maintain his altruistic world-view. Like her mother, she would strive to protect her own, even at the expense of others. When it became clear that only three people from their crew could escape the plane alive, Arika made a tough call like Kali would. She took charge, manipulating their seemingly fair process of drawing straws, to preserve those closest to her: Daria and Dr. Brent.

Incensed by the loss of her parents, Arika resolved to create a new family in La Jolla, a new home that she would defend at all costs. As Arika led Daria and Dr. Brent on a thirty-five mile trek back to La Jolla, they came across people in need, but Arika demanded they power forth. When rogue survivors confronted them, they shot the men down. And when they needed food and water, they raided the nearest community. Arika insisted they stop at nothing to ensure
their own survival.

When the women returned home, Arika immediately seized power. The Warrior Queen declared that there would be no more missions of mercy. Their settlement would no longer be dedicated to aid and philanthropy — but they would be a city of powerful women, equipped to survive, and devoted to protecting their own. This new society would be named Helena, after the plane that crashed but from which Arika rose to become the commanding leader we know today.

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Chapter X