“Perfection can never truly be reached but to journey endlessly closer is a reward in itself.”
Doctor Tellason stood back and admired her work, her legs shaking slightly as the adrenaline started to wane and the tiredness began to wash over her. On the operating table was the unconscious body of perhaps the most important figure on the continent: Aurora.
This was the seventeenth time that Tellason, the most gifted surgeon among the Humanist Rebellion ranks, had operated on Aurora and each successful procedure pushed her to the edge of her technical abilities. She stepped out of the theatre to rest for a few minutes before Aurora would wake and require debriefing. Usually, she would have hours between finishing surgery and the patient being conscious and coherent but Aurora was no ordinary human.
As she opened her eyes, they darted straight for Dr Tellason. “Status?” she demanded, her tone cool and precise. “The procedure was a complete success” replied the surgeon, “The neural lash now has increased efficacy at longer distances”. “Clear the range so I can confirm for myself”.
As Aurora strode into the basement weaponry facility, the few HR soldiers engaged in target practice stopped and stared at their most famous example, keen to witness the fruit of Doctor Tellason’s most recent labours. Aurora paused briefly at the first free space and focused briefly on the target, 30 meters to her left, before her arm sprang out and the strands of pure Etheric energy whipped towards and around the solid metal figure, instantly ripping the head from its body. The nearest soldier thought he saw the glimmer of a smile in her pale, crystalline eyes but, as she lowered her arm and the lash retracted, she left the range looking as cold and expressionless as usual, a striking juxtaposition of human and machine.
Concept art by Klaus Wittmann
Until the siege of Omsk in 12 A.E., Aurora was Najia Sahiri, a dedicated and valuable front line soldier for the European Socialist Collective (ESC) and then the Humanist Rebellion (HR). In that fateful battle, Najia lost her right arm and was subsequently offered an honourable discharge from the army. Rather than accepting this, she volunteered to be the first human subject to have a bio-mech limb replacement. Unlike the crude butchery of the Cult of the Dragon’s modifications, the HR had carefully developed advanced neural receiver hardware that enabled users to control bionic limbs as though they were their own.
Over the following years, the HR used Najia to perfect the blossoming scientific discipline of cybernetics, testing each new advancement for effectiveness on the battlefield and, as she gradually became less human and more machine, she took the name Aurora. She is now the most advanced being on earth that is still ostensibly ‘human’. The questions around her powers and intelligence and whether she has become a mere human skin wrapped around an advanced Artificial Intelligence give her an air of mystery. She is aware of her own legend and does nothing to dispel the many stories she hears about herself – whether true or fantasy – to better keep her enemies guessing.
Among the stories of her ‘magical’ powers whispered by her enemies there is a kernel of truth. Her Light Frame armour is connected directly to her brain via a neural interface and on top of the standard HR loadout, contains the addition of two powered glide unit ‘wings’ that she can extend from the back of her Frame and travel short distances through the air, swooping in on her enemies before tearing them down with the graphene shard projectors embedded in her wrists. These short range, rapid-firing weapons use mono-filament ammunition to shred anything close to her. To complement this she has an Etherically-powered neural lash which unleashes tendrils of incandescent energy, tearing apart heavy armour and organics with ease.