Tatyana Lebedenko

Formative Years

The Centurion Tatyana “Tatter” Nikolayovna Lebedenko was, as you’d expect, born on the first of January, 1900, to Russian tank builder Nikolai Lebedenko and his wife, Anna. As the fifth child of a moneyed business family, the expectation upon Tatyana was to grow up as a beautiful and graceful woman of a biddable disposition, as befitted a good bride. Instead, Tatyana came to dismay her loving family by developing an independent mind, along with a penchant for gathering excessive amounts of local news and gossip, most of it awkward in some manner. Despite this, she and her mother were very close, often caring for her younger siblings while her father and brother were off working and her older twin sisters busy in their own world of manners, fashions and other aspects of courting. They would frequently attend the best balls and social events of the season, and occasionally take Tatyana with them to gather more information on their friends, enemies and suitors. By the time she was ten, Tatyana was the one that all her siblings asked for the gossip on their latest suitors, as well as excelling at the basic education offered by her tutor. In particular, Tatyana loved sketching and writing, and took every opportunity to chronicle her family’s privileged life.

The War Years

When Tatyana was fourteen, Nikolai died in a freak munitions accident, and her brother, Stanislav, at the age of twenty one, was forced to take over the family tank manufacturing business. In the meanwhile, Anna began to eye off potential suitors for Tatyana, a good match made all the more important by the family’s need for support. In early 1917, Stansilav began drinking heavily as a result of his company’s dreadful failure with the Tsar tank. Despite Tatyana being the only sibling who could pacify him whilst in a drunken rage, Stanislav sent her away as the bride of an old English widower, hoping that her bride price would save their family from complete destitution. After a tearful farewell to her family, Tatyana was shipped off to England, where she was swiftly wedded and put to work in her new home. This lasted for all of a week, before she ran away and bought a fake ID under her maiden name to enlist as a nurse. Finding that her diary of life at the front was very well received, she began sending them back to England for publication in the Times, as well as more conventional articles under the very contrived name of Winston Inksworthy-Hottentoff. In the spring of 1918, Tatyana is approached quietly by an older nurse by the name of Eliza Sonsmith, and together they dig a tunnel under the front where they are serving, using it for sorties into the enemy trenches where they raid tents, rescue prisoners and generally become a quiet thorn in the side of the enemy forces. This continues until the end of the war, although the devastating destruction of the tunnel, with Sonsmith inside, came at the hands of a stray shell just before peace was declared.

Guest Starring

In Francis Lightspeed Versus the Space Vixens…Again!

Lenore Meyers and the Catacombs of Doom

Tatyana Lebedenko and the Bride Train Conspiracy

In the course of investigating some odd shipments along the Trans-Continental Railway that seem to be connected with the Russian Mafia, Tatter comes across a receipt for the delivery of a package to one ‘Francis Lightspeed’. Knowing Lightspeed’s reputation, she suspects that there’s something dodgy up and shows up to demand some information from him. After a long bout of verbal sparring, Lightspeed revealed that he’d ‘procured’ a wife for some good friends of his, and Tatyana uses her multifarious charms to convince him to join her in searching for the origin of this dastardly trade.

The two of them get in touch with Mayakashi, a friend of Lightspeed’s, who has connections to the Yakuza, and may be able to help with the investigation. She reveals that the ‘bride trains’, as they’ve been nicknamed, are being used to spread brides with an implanted subconscious suggestion from the Russian Mafia’s headquarters to Britain and America. There they will lead normal lives until the Mafia spreads the trigger for the suggestion, when they will rise up and use the brides to take over the business centres of the West, allowing the Mafia to take over the WORLD!

The trio travel to Russia and sell Tatter to the Mafia, who load her, as well as her concealed knives, aboard a train to France. Mayakashi and Lightspeed come aboard as passengers, and the long and dangerous journey aboard a train filled with dangerous mob members begins.

As soon as the train is underway, Lightspeed and Mayakashi work their way up the train to where Tatter is imprisoned and subdue the guards, while Tatyana cuts herself and her fellow travellers free. While Mayakashi and the brides head towards the back of the train with Lightspeed eagerly in tow, Tatyana continues towards the engine to see if there are any other prisoners, and to deal with the nefarious villain that began this plot.

Mayakashi and Lightspeed work their way towards the back of the train, with Lightspeed leading the brides to what he hopes will be a safe escape route or hiding place. What they find is an experimental flying vehicle that Russia is sending to France for further scientific analysis.

Around the same time, Tatter finds another cage, and is horrified to discover her elder twin sisters, Natalya and Nadja, who have been held separately because of their higher value. Horrified, Tatyana starts to work the lock, and has just sprung the women free when they are discovered by Arkady Kronsteen, the brains behind the Mafia’s Bride Train plot. Natalya and Nadja manage to escape, and run for the door, while Tatters is intercepted by Kronsteen. Cut off, she yells to the twins to fight their way back until they find the Japanese woman, then turns to engage Kronsteen.

The twins stumble across Mayakashi just as she’s helping the last of the women on board the craft, while Lightspeed sits at the controls, muttering things like ‘perhaps if I pull this first’, and ‘if I just had spangled flange, I could…’ as he tries to understand the unusual system.

Meanwhile, Tatyana is embroiled in combat with Kronsteen, who is slowly but surely edging her away from her friends and sisters – her only hope for rescue – and on towards the engine. His assistants and thugs run in to help subdue Tatyana, but she dispatches everyone who attempts to distract her from Kronsteen with a swift kick, or a lightening blow from her weapons . Despite the lack of weapons around, Tatyana finds that many incidental objects – cushions, soup tureens, scarves, spoons and even a young boy’s precious stuffed elephant – serve just as well. Finally, Kronsteen corners Tatter in the engine, his henchmen crowding into the carriage behind. As he draws his pistol, Tatter, in a final act of desperation, snatches up the stoker’s spade and bashes at every part of the control panel she can reach, before throwing herself from the window as the crossed a bridge. As she falls through the air, she sees the engine fail to turn a corner, exploding in the attempt. Her heart rises, and then comes to a sudden stop, along with the rest of her body, atop the wings of the experimental aircraft, which Lightspeed had swooped down to catch her with.

Unfortunately, the craft came close enough to the engine to catch fire from a drifting ember, which then spread to the rest of the vehicle, despite the valiant efforts of fifty small hands to pat it out. The manage to glide a few miles, then crash land in a small nunnery. Once they work their way past the obscure dialect of French spoken in the area, the brides decide that the nunnery isn’t the worst place to stay for a while, and begin to settle in. Tatyana, Mayakashi, the twins and the other brides begin to make plans to head home.

Lightspeed is nowhere to be found.

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