- "You may think they're the government's troops, Chairman, but on the battlefield, they are mine. They are my responsibility, my comrades, and my conscience."
- — Major Helena Stroud to Chairman Tomas Dalyell before Operation Leveler
Major Helena Stroud, ES, was a Gear officer in the Coalition of Ordered Governments army's 26th Royal Tyran infantry, and the mother of Anya Stroud. She was part of Howerd Company in 17 B.E., and the commanding officer of C Company in 4 B.E. Helena fought at the Battle of Shavad and the Battle of Ragani during the Invasion of Kashkur. She commanded C Company at the Acastu Imulsion Fields, and was killed during the Battle of Aspho Fields in 2 B.E., and was awarded the Embry Star posthumously for her actions during the battle.
Early Life and CareerEdit
Helena came from a rich background, and joined the Coalition of Ordered Governments army and became a Gear at some point in her life. She had one child, Anya Stroud, with an unidentified man, and raised her alone. She kept a small apartment in Jacinto City.
Invasion of KashkurEdit
Shutting Down Imulsion PipelinesEdit
- "I'd rather be brassing them up, but a girl can't always have it her own way. Maybe we'll get some decent contact later."
- — Helena, after Adam asked her what she thought of their orders to shut down the Imulsion pipelines to Vasgar
In 17 B.E., Helena was a Lieutenant in Howerd Company of the 26th Royal Tyran infantry, and was stationed at Forward Operating Base Tyro in Kashkur under the command of Captain Adam Fenix. After Col.James Choi briefed Adam on the company's mission and left the base, Helena asked him if she should gather the rest of the staff and NCO's so that they could be briefed on their mission. He told her that their orders had been changed, and that instead of joining the rest of the unit at Shavad to fight invading Union of Independent Republics forces, they were going to shut down three Imulsion pipelines leading into Vasgar and redirect the flow back into Kashkur. Helena was happy for a change of pace, but still hoped for some decent fighting later. She gathered the companies’ officers and the officers of the attached squad of engineers from the 2nd Battalion Royal Ephyran Engineers in the canteen for the briefing. Cpl.Collins threw her a pair of baby socks for Anya, who was now almost three. Helena thanked him for them, and told her she would keep them for Anya's daughter. Collins laughed, and told her that his wife was a slow knitter, and to do with them what she could. Adam then briefed the company on the mission, which caused some worry about the civilian population in Vasgar. Adam then told Helena and the others to be ready to deploy at sixteen-hundred, and that the first target was Borlaine.
Joining the Battle of ShavadEdit
- "I worry more about the orphans of Gears than a few old vases."
- — Helena, after Adam regrets having to order an artillery strike on a museum
After they shut down all of the pipelines, Helena and the rest of the company joined the ongoing Battle of Shavad. After arriving in the city, the company became pinned down along the riverfront by Indie artillery and sniper fire. They took heavy casualties and many Gears were injured, and Helena began looking for enemy spotters in the ruins of the city. She spotted one in a nearby museum, and reported it to Adam. He informed her that no casevac helicopters were able to get to them because of the artillery fire. Helena was angry that they spent so much money on air support that could never help them, and began forming a plan with Adam to relieve some of the attacks on their position. She suggested using a ladder to enter the museum on the third floor to find and a kill the observer, and Adam ordered her to continue working on that plan. She then informed him that Sgt.Teale had been killed. She then began working with Sgt.Fraisen on building the ladder for her plan, and when Adam arrived, she explained to him that she wanted to use the ladder as a bridge between the building they were in and the museum. Adam was skeptical that it would work, but told her he would consider it if the artillery barrage from the tanks of the Sherrith Cavalry did not work. They then took cover near a window to watch the artillery strike, and Adam voiced his regrets on having to attack a museum. Helena rebuked him for thinking more about history than the lives of Gears, and they watched as the shelling began.
Clearing the MuseumEdit
- "No, sir. Two-Six RTI didn't lose it. The Sherriths couldn't hold it. We remain the Unvanquished."
- — Helena, after Adam informed the company that the COG had lost the only remaining bridge in Shavad
As the shelling continued, Adam ordered Helena to contact the incoming Terns for the medevac and prepare the wounded Gears to be moved. Helena and the rest of the company kept watch on the museum as each Tern landed to take away the wounded, and Helena spotted an Indie in one of the windows fire a rocket at the Terns. She and the rest of the company opened fire, and luckily the rocket missed. The Indie escaped, and Helena told Adam that they needed to go in personally to find and kill him. Adam agreed, and selected Collins and Rawlin to come with them to clear the museum. As they worked their way across the square, Helena wished that they had borrowed Bernadette Mataki from Timgad Company, since her skills as a sniper would have come in handy. They entered the museum through a side entrance, and were shocked by the amount of damage the place had sustained. They moved as quietly as the could through the building, until they came to the staircase. Helena proceeded upstairs while the others guarded the stairs, and tracked the Indie observer through the building. She found the Indie, a female dressed in civilian clothing, and entered into a firefight with her, but Helena managed to corner her and shoot her in the head. Adam came up to assist her, but she told him it was all clear. She then inspected the equipment the Indie had been using, and found a semiautomatic sniper rifle. She took it in order to bribe Bernie into joining Howerd Company, and she and the other Gears left the museum. As they walked out, she saw Adam looking at a silver horse statue, and listened as he wondered what was going to happen to all of the artifacts and history in the museum. She told him that they could be remade and recovered, and that they should mourn burned books. After returning to the rest of the company, they learned that the last remaining bridge had been lost to the Indies, and that they needed to pull back. As they rest of the company felt dejected for losing so many comrades for nothing, Helena reminded them that they had not lost the bridge themselves, but the other units had, and that they remained undefeated. This improved the others morale, and they company fell back to rejoin the rest of the 26 RTI.
Burying the Dead and New OrdersEdit
- "Ah. But we're Royal Tyran Infantry. "The Unvanquished". We can do anything."
- — Helena being sarcastic, after Howerd Company was ordered into battle with only half the company already dead
After returning to Lakar, Helena was contacted by Choi, who ordered her to find Adam and give him the companies new orders, which were to intercept Indie armor moving towards Ragani, and keep the highway open for the Andius Fusiliers Regiment. She found him burying Pvt.Hanson, and asked him if he had told his wife about the job offer he got from the Defense Research Agency. He told her he had not, and asked for a few more minutes with Hanson. She informed him that Choi was trying to contact him, but Adam told her he had switched off the radio to give Hanson his full attention. Helena informed him of their orders, which angered Adam, since Ragani was twenty klicks back in the direction they had just retreated from, and half of the company was dead. Helena told him Choi had not seemed too happy with the situation either, and helped him bury Hanson. Adam wondered if his son would have to fight in the war as well, and Helena expressed her hope that he and her daughter would not have to.
Battle of RaganiEdit
- "A commander's got to accept losses. Adam never will. I bet this makes up his mind."
- — Helena, to several other Gears after the battle ends
After arriving at Ragani, the company set up fortifications in an old building next to the highway leading into town, and Adam tasked Helena with evacuating the remaining civilians before the Indies arrived. When they spotted them, they discovered that there were only four APC's, instead of the eight heavier vehicles they were told to expect. Collins thought that the Indies had changed their mind, but Helena suspected that Intel was wrong, as usual. However, she was worried about where the other vehicles might be if they did exist. Adam began wishing for an orbital defense platform that would be able to track and destroy things like that, and Helena suggested he make that his first research project. Adam gave the order to open fire on the Indie vehicles, but Collins missed his first shot, and the APC opened fire on the Gears position, wounding several of them. The next two RPGs took out two of them, and the others retreated. Helena listened in on the comms as Adam contacted Choi, and asked what was going on. Choi informed him that those were just scout vehicles, and that at least twenty more Indie vehicles were coming, including tanks. Helena informed Adam that they had enough armor-piercing rounds to take out the APC's, but they did not have the weapons to take out tanks. She began working making Molotov Cocktails that could be dropped into them at close range. As she worked, she spoke with Adam, encouraging him to take the job and watch Marcus grow up. He asked her if he would be letting the regiment down if he took it, but she encouraged him to follow his conscience. He then asked her who looked after Anya while she was deployed, and if her father was around. She informed him that Anya's dad was not around and never would be, and that his identity would remain her own personal business. The Indie armor then arrived, and Helena was worried to see a Pariah Tank leading them. Helena suggested somebody get in close and drop the Molotov's into the tanks vents, and Adam decided he would do it, along with Collins. He ordered Helena to keep the rest of the Indies busy, and she asked if he was trying to prove something by taking the risk. As Adam and Collins began making their way to the tank, Helena organized the defense, ordering several Gears to assist Pvt.Kinnear, the company medic, and took an RPG from another Gear. She used it to take out some of the Pariah's tracks, immobilizing it, so that Adam could get close finish it off. He succeeded, but was wounded when a machine gunner hit his knee. Helena sent Kinnear out to provide aid to him, and then watched as the Andius Fusiliers arrived and began taking out the rest of the Indie armor. She contacted Hoffman to inform him, but he was too distraught about the casualties they had suffered to care. As she helped tend to the wounded, Helena remarked to some of the other Gears how Adam would never be able to handle losing men, and that he would probably take the job at the DRA.
- "Nobody could accuse you of being a coward, sir. Not now."
- — Helena, to Adam after the battle at Ragani, and his decision to take the job at the DRA
Helena joined the rest of the surviving members of the company in returning to Lakar, and asked Adam if he was going to take the job, and how no one could call him a coward after what he had done at Ragani. He told her that he had to take the job, in order to find a way to end the war once and for all. After the invasion of Kashkur ended, Helena was promoted to Captain for her actions during the campaign, and was given command of Howerd Company because Adam did retire and took the job at the DRA. Helena also lured Bernie into joining her company by giving her the UIR sniper rifle she had captured in Shavad.
Acastu Imulsion FieldsEdit
Arrival at AcastuEdit
- "Okay, Gears-- boot camp's over. It's bad guy's and live rounds now. Stay sharp. I don't want to have to write to anyone's mom."
- — Helena, speaking to C Company as they landed at the Acastu Imulsion Fields
Fourteen years later, Helena had been promoted again to Major and was in command of C Company of the 26th Royal Tyran infantry, and Anya had joined the army as an officer cadet. Most of C Company was made up of new recruits, and were flown to the Acastu Imulsion Fields in Dushin aboard two Corva helicopters. Helena flew aboard CC-4005, and noticed that Pvt.Marcus Fenix was reading a letter from home. She asked him how Adam was doing, and if he still work all day long. Marcus told her he did, and she told him to tell Adam that his old Lieutenant said hi, and that he needed to take a day off from the lab. As the Corva prepared to land, Helena told the Gears that boot camp was over, and they would be dealing with real bad guys and live rounds now. She ordered that they stay sharp, and that she did not want to have to write anyone's mom that they had been killed. As the Gears exited the helicopters, Helena found her platoon sergeants, Sgt.Bernadette Mataki and Sgt.Daniel Kennen, and warned them that most of them had never been under fire, and the Lieutenants were not experienced either. She told them that she would be counting on them to keep the troops ready, and that since the Indies had not raided in a while, they should expect an attack soon. Bernie hoped that a bigger troop presence would scare the Indies off, but Helena told her that they were currently disputing ownership of the wells in the fields, and were accusing Dushin of drilling under their borders. She then saw a leaking Imulsion pipe, and bent down to look at it. She showed the Imulsion to a squad of Gears, telling them that this is what they were fighting for. Pvt.Quinn said he thought they were fighting for democracy, but Helena told him that she was positive it was Imulsion, and that cars did not run on freedom.
Dealing With CasualtiesEdit
- "Never leave things unsaid, Fenix. You never know if you'll get another chance to say them."
- — Helena, ordering Marcus to contact his dad
Nine days into the deployment, Helena had lost two Gears to Indie raids: Cpl.Maxon was killed in a nighttime firefight, and Quinn was shot in the head by a sniper. Helena began writing a letter to Quinn's parents, and called Marcus in to see her. Both Maxon and Quinn had been in his squad, and she was worried he would beat himself up over their deaths like his father did. She asked him if he was okay, and he said he was not sure how anybody could be okay after seeing one of their friends dying in their first week of deployment. Helena told him not to beat himself up over their deaths, and Marcus said he would get used to it. She told him he would not and should not, and that they all had to learn their own way to deal with death. She remarked that Adam had decided to leave and build weapons to try and end the war as his way, and Marcus remarked that he understood that a lot better now. Helena ordered him to call Adam, telling him that it was not good to leave things unsaid, because you never knew if you would get another chance to say them.
Preparing for Operation: LevelerEdit
- "Fenix! Fenix! Did I tell you to damn well stop and have a damn picnic? Did I?"
- — Helena, chewing out Marcus Fenix for stopping during an exercise
One year later, Helena oversaw an amphibious landing training exercise for C Company at Merrenat Naval Base in preparation for Operation: Leveler. She chewed out Pvt.Carlos Santiago for falling into the water and nearly drowning during the landing, and Marcus for stopping on the beach after pulling Carlos out from under the water. She told Carlos that if this had been a real battle, he would be lying dead with a hundred rounds in him, and ordered them to get their asses moving with the rest of the unit. Once everyone had assembled along the beachfront, Helena ordered them to begin advancing into the forest. When Carlos continued to cough up water during the exercise, Helena ordered him to fall out and see the company doctor to prevent secondary drowning after he continued spitting up sea water during the exercise. After the exercise, Helena conducted a debriefing of the company with two cadets at her side, one of whom was her daughter, Anya. She said that she had always felt that the COG needed to take amphibious operations more seriously, and that that oversight was about to work in their favor because the Indies would never expect an assault from the coast. Helena then answered what questions she could about the operation, but did not know much herself. After the company returned to the base, she lectured the two cadets on the virtues of leaving the CIC to see what it was like for Gears on the ground.
Before the OperationEdit
- "Weapons research. If I had to explain any more, I'd have to get a decent physics education."
- — Helena, after Bernie asks her about the significance of Aspho Point
Before the Operation began, Helena met with Chairman Tomas Dalyell, and talked with him about the mission. She told him that while he might think that her Gears were the governments troops, on the battlefield, they were her responsibility, comrades, and conscience. Two days before the Operation began, Helena boarded the CNV Kalona at Fesor Naval Base, along with Anya and several other CIC operators. She walked past C Company as she boarded, and returned the salute of her Gears. Two hours later, Helena, with Anya's help, gave a briefing to the company on what their task was: providing support to a commando team that would infiltrate Aspho Point and capture intel on a weapons project. C Company would be landing north of the facility at Aspho Fields to cut off any Indie reinforcements from reaching the facility. She also informed them that a diversionary raid would be taking place further up along the Ostri coast, and showed the company news footage of a large fleet massing north of their position. Sgt.Bernadette Mataki asked what was at the facility to be worth the risk of an assault, and Helena told her that it involved weapons research that went beyond her area of expertise. She showed them maps of the areas around Aspho Point and Aspho Fields, and if the Indies wanted to get reinforcements to the facility, they would have to cross a bridge C Company would be guarding. She informed them that it should be a quick operation, since speed was of the essence, and the longer they were there, the more likely the Indies would discover them and make extraction difficult. Helena believed that the Stomper machine gun would be a great help in the battle, and helped the rest of the company load supplies onto their landing craft. As they waited for a go order on the operation, which was in jeopardy because of the weather, Marcus asked her if they would have helicopter support during the battle. Helena said that they would be available if necessary, but they would only need them if things went badly. Before they boarded their landing craft, she gave the company one last briefing, reassuring them that it would be a simple op, and they would be in and out. After they boarded the landing craft, Helena waved goodbye to Anya, who gave her a thumbs up. They then launched the craft towards the Ostrini shore.
Battle of Aspho FieldsEdit
- "Shit. Shit. Mataki? You're senior NCO now."
- — Helena, after Kennen is killed and the Battle of Aspho Fields continues to get worse for the COG
Once they landed, Helena sent her company to secure the area around the bridge leading south to Aspho Point. Major Victor Hoffman, leading the commando team, contacted her and informed her they were in position, and she informed him her troops were still heading toward the bridge. After everyone was in position, she conferred with her platoon leaders, Bernie and Kennen. Anya, who was serving as a controller, told her that Hoffman reported an enemy contact in the water. Helena sent Bernie's platoon to see if they could get a line of sight on it, and told Anya to tell Hoffman that her unit was available to provide him support. Soon after Kennen and his men reported enemy contacts approaching on land, and she ordered Marcus to set up a Longspear to fire at the Indies, and told her men that the commandos had engaged an Indie squad. Marcus told her that he was locked onto the lead APV, and Helena told him to hold his fire, and had Bernie secure their exit route while the rest of the company engaged the Indie forces. She contacted control and told them they were preparing to engage the Indies, and gave the order for C Company to open fire. As the battle went on, several soldiers reported to Helena that they heard Asps approaching. After discovering their position, Helena realized that the enemy vehicles were getting in position to attack Aspho Point, because they had a backup of the information at Peraspha Military Base. When Marcus and Carlos began talking about ways to take out the enemy armor, Helena shouted at them for clogging up the comm channel, and ordered everybody to maintain radio discipline. Carlos then reported that anti-air armor was being brought up, making Helena remark that the Indie's must be psychic, since they were bringing Petrels in to assist the unit. Helena had them diverted to take out Peraspha first while she figured out a way to take out the anti-air units, and requested that Ravens stand by to evacuate wounded Gears as soon as possible. As a group of mortars hit the company’s position, Kennen was wounded, and Helena ordered a medic to his position. Marcus reported that eight Indie vehicles were heading to Aspho Point, and told Anya that they needed Peraspha taken out so the Indies would not attack Aspho Point. Bernie then reported that she had spotted a person on top of Aspho Point signaling the UIR forces, and Helena passed this information onto Hoffman. When she asked the medic for an update on Kennen, she was shocked to learn that he had died. She recovered quickly, and appointed Bernie to be the senior NCO and take over Kennen's platoon, and ordered her to take her two companies to flank the UIR armor. Pvt.Tai Kaliso then reported that he heard Khimeras approaching the area, and Marcus told her he had a lock on the lead Asp, but Helena ordered him to wait until it was closer in range.
- "You're doing fine, darling. Really fine. I'm proud of you."
- — Helena, telling Anya how proud she is of her before Helena dies blowing up an enemy Asp
As two Petrels soared over the battlefield towards Peraspha, Helena and the rest of the company watched as they were taken out by the Asps. Helena told Marcus that they needed to take out the Asps or the whole operation was doomed. She ordered him to take the Asp on the left, and asked Pvt.Byran Jakovs how many missiles he had left. He told her he had two, and she told him to make them count by taking out the other Asp, and then the nearest AA vehicle. However, both attempts to take out the Asps ended in failure, taking out two APC's and a machine gun nest. Helena realized that somebody had to get close to the Asps and take them out with grenades. Helena asked Anya for an update on the rest of the operation, and was informed that the rest of the Petrels would not reach them for ten to fifteen minutes, and the commandos were preparing to extract. Helena asked about the medevac, since the anti-aircraft vehicles would take out any Ravens they sent in, and the company was down to only RPG's to suppress them with. Anya told her they were trying to figure out a solution to that. Helena stayed silent for a minute, and then reassured Anya that she was doing a great job and that she was proud of her. The company was silenced by Helena's display of sentimentality, and Anya told her that she was proud of her as well. Helena then ordered half the company to fall back to the extraction point, and the rest to fight a fighting retreat back towards it. She then told the unit that she would cross the battlefield and drop her grenades into an Asp. Bernie, Marcus, and Carlos tried to talk her out of doing it and let them try, but failed to do so, and told them to suppress the other Asp and vehicles while she crossed the battlefield. She then made Bernie promise to look after Anya and to make sure that she was ready for battle if she ever became a frontline Gear. Helena loaded as many grenades on to her armor as she could, and began working her way across the battlefield to one of the Asps. When she was ten meters from the Asp, she ran towards it and jumped on top of it, surprising the Indie in the top hatch, who dropped back into the vehicle for cover. Helena managed to drop three grenades into its hatch, but as she attempted to leap clear, the webbing on her armor became stuck on the vehicle. As she attempted to free herself with a knife, the grenades exploded, destroying the Asp and fragmenting her body.
Bernie took over command of the unit, and Anya continued to perform her duty in the CIC despite her mother's death. Helena's remains was unable to be recovered from the battlefield. She was awarded the Embry Star posthumously for her actions at Aspho Fields, which Anya accepted on her behalf. Anya kept her mom's Star instead of donating it to the regiment museum, and strived to live up to her mom's example fifteen years later, while serving in the Locust War. After Anya became a frontline soldier herself, she was said to be becoming more like her mother and after her first real battle, wished her mother was there to see her.
Personality and TraitsEdit
- "And now you can see what we are fighting for. Imulsion."
"I thought we were fighting for democracy."
"No, I'm pretty sure it's Imulsion, Quinn. Cars don't run on freedom. Whatever that is."
- — Helena speaking with Pvt.Quinn about the COG's motivation for fighting the Pendulum Wars
Helena had a "posh" voice that did not go with the color-full language that she was usually yelling at Gears. She was hyper-fit and had a wide smile. She inspired confidence into her unit, and made them want to fight for her. Even years after her death, the Gears who had served under Helena's command still had immense loyalty to her and remembered her fondly. Her relationship with Anya was distant and professional, but she managed to tell Anya that she was proud of her shortly before Helena died at Aspho Fields.
As a young officer, many higher ranking COG officers marked Helena for having lots of ambition, and expected her to rise quickly through the ranks. However, Helena was somewhat critical of the COG, believing the war was being fought for Imulsion, rather than the COG's stated reasons of fighting for democracy. She also considered the Gears under her command to be hers, not the governments, and thought of all of them as her responsibility and conscience, and believed it was her duty to keep as many of them alive as possible. Helena was not afraid to make this clear to her superior officers, even Chairman Tomas Dalyell.
- They Also Serve
- The Slab (Mentioned only)
- Aspho Fields (First appearance) (Appears in flashback(s))
- Dirty Little Secrets Part One (Mentioned only)
- Jacinto's Remnant (Mentioned only)
- Anvil Gate (Appears in flashback(s))
- Coalition's End (Mentioned only)
- Dirty Little Secrets: Diaspora (Mentioned only)