Free Post Friday, Again

Here’s another post about that comic story I never wrote.

Name: Elena Kalas
Age: 27 (Earth Years)
Species: Human
Occupation: Field Reporter
Born: Seattle, Washington
Home: Gerod City, American Protectorate

Elena Kalas is a field reporter for the Genesis News Service. Her day to day task at her former employer, the Assembly Aggregate, was to get ratings – by any means necessary. Early in her career, Elena was more than willing to go along – after all, she didn’t know better. It wasn’t until her first partner and mentor, Bruce, disappeared in pursuing a story that she started questioning what exactly it was she was looking for.

Now, working with the closely knit band of rogues at the Genesis News Service, she has status as a crack reporter – and complete editorial freedom. Elena continues to unravel the mystery of Bruce’s disappearance and expose the corruption and incompetence infecting the solar system.

Elena is the youngest of three children from August and Sonya Kalas of Seattle, Washington. Her parents were accomplished musicians and performed frequently in the Seattle area. Her eldest sibling is her brother Mark, while her sister Eva falls in the middle. When Elena was the age of fourteen, the Kalas clan moved from Seattle to Gerod City, where she still resides to this day.

Elena wanted nothing more than to be a chef. However, this dream was not to be, as she flunked out of several culinary schools after finishing her primary education. Sullen, Elena decided to move on to her “plan B” – becoming a journalist. At Gibbons University in Gerod, Elena completed a four year program of communications and journalism. When her final semester wrapped up, she was placed as an intern in the Assembly Aggregate, under the tutelage and watchful eye of Bruce Daltrey. Bruce was the chief editor of the Mars News Bureau of the AA, working in tandem with men on the ground at Mars to keep both planets linked.

After a few years on the linkups, Bruce had taught Elena much – how to interview, how to pursue a story, and how to write far more effectively than she had learned in college. Then the day came when Bruce was transferred to on-the-ground operations at Mars. He would not leave without a team to join him, and one of the lucky ones to join him was his star pupil, Elena. She soon found herself on a gateway ship to Mars, and started to come into her own on the goings on of Mars’ capital city of New Rome. Having never been away from Earth before, interplanetary travel (which was now routine at this time) was a new experience for Elena. She spent three years, until the age of 25, working the floor at the office of the Mars Bureau. It was there where she met an expert engineer and video editor, Erik Lundgren, and the two forged a lasting working relationship.

It all came to a halt one day when Bruce received a tip about a potential big story relating to the main employer of Mars residents, the Beniot Corporation, a leader in mining and manufacturing. It was something so big, that it could bring them down, as Beniot was well known for abusing its workers and exploiting the Martian landscape. He immediately went to his supervisors for clearance to go on site, as he usually does – only this time he was denied. As it turns out, the Assembly Aggregate had just sold its interests to the largest news bureau in the system – the Janus Syndication System. They told Bruce to back down. He did not, and left the building ranting and raving about “the maniacal bastards.”

He was never seen again.

In the wake of Bruce’s disappearance, things began to change with the swift takeover by Janus. Many staffers were let go, and a skeleton crew operated the Mars branch. Quality of work suffered, and directives from on high made the work more and more unappealing, skipping hard investigative journalism for easy viewers. This was not unlike Janus’ Earth operation, which was the leading news provider even before purchasing AA. With the impressive AA network under its control, Janus became more than just a news service. It controlled many segments of media and entertainment, and with an army of lobbyists, also gained a significant foothold in the governments of the system.

Elena found herself back on Earth shortly after Bruce’s disappearance, and started work at the main bureau for Janus. Without the assistance of Erik, who was still on Mars, she found her job both boring and taxing. This did not last long, however, as her former style reminiscent of Bruce was not welcome. When she refused to cover Kitten Escapades IV in lieu of exposing a major case of incompetence by a zoo tycoon’s failed attempt at genetic engineering, the hammer came down hard and Elena found herself on the street without a job.

This state didn’t last for long, though, as she was contacted very quickly by Oscar Spencer of the Genesis News Service. Spencer, a former friend and compatriot of Bruce, had formed his own competing news service in the wake of Janus’ consolidation within the industry. Elena took him up on this invitation and ventured to his hidden compound on the outskirts of Gerod. After entering, Oscar was waiting right there for her – and by his side was Erik. He had put in a good word for her, and Oscar sought her out immediately to join their team.

Now that Erik is reunited with Elena, the two are now back to what they do best – ferreting out the truth, and now taking Janus down a peg. They continue Bruce’s legacy while trying to find him and complete their team of crack reporters. It’s more than just the news, now – it’s a philosophy that their competitors lack. Instead of manipulating the populace, they report the truth, and only the truth, and look good doing it.

Elena’s personality is a bit reserved – dry wit, book smarts, and resilience. Though she has outgrown most of the naivete she displayed as a youth, the disappearance of Bruce served only to harden her investigative resolve. Her straightforward, smooth-talking conversation can sometimes be interpreted as being an ass, other times it’s cutting through bullshit. It depends on who’s on the other side!

Elena’s job fills two roles – both a writer and field reporter, and she will go on location to delve into a story. She relies on her agility and senses in action, and is not very physically gifted. She makes up for this with some gadgets supplied by her engineering contacts. Her segments are recorded by an airborne robotic camera, or ARC unit. It can record both three-dimensional video and take high quality stills. She is equipped with high heeled rocket boots, which grant her a limited ability to fly, or jump very high. Lastly, she is equipped with prototype nanomachine-bonded clothing, which allows it to change shape and allow a full environmental seal, permitting operations underwater or in hostile environments. With the addition of an oxygen tank, she can venture into pure vacuum, though this is used only in emergencies.

Technology skills are not Elena’s forte, and she often relies on the help of others, particularly her “home base” partner Erik Lundgren. She knows enough to navigate Starnet, the system’s internet of the future, but for any heavy lifting (e.g. hacking, information gathering, etc) she is dependent on Erik’s talents. She remains in constant communication with him via wireless connection.

In her off-time, Elena enjoys dead-tree books, trying (and failing) to cook, and the antique harpsichord left to her by her parents.

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