Full Name: Known only to Scorpio Caste
Stinger leaned casually against the burnt and crumbling walls of a primitive human structure, confident that the deep shadows and limited lighting would conceal him from casual observation. Somewhere ahead, Kitty Cheshire and the living hologram Vector would be opening the door to their goal. Stinger did not care for what it was, or why Mysterious Man wanted it; all that mattered for him was the fight ahead. That there would be a battle he had no doubt. Those human Supremes always showed up. That was fine with him – he was here only for the rapture of conflict.
Waiting in readiness, Stinger reflected how most of his life was a struggle to find combat. His Scorpio Caste had fallen from favor with the Ulthar Warlords, seen as little more than living decoration – fancy guards with flimsy weapons used to dress the Grand Halls, performing ceremonial salutes. Stinger was never content with such a fate. He knew in his hearts that the ancient Scorpio Caste could still serve the Empire, and that it could yet be a lethal force on the battlefield. All he had needed was a chance to prove it.
It was Ra’Leigh himself that saw Stinger’s worth and gave him the chance he wanted, but only after Stinger had tried to kill him. Stinger still did not know how Warlord Draznee had uncovered his primal desire for battle. Perhaps it was Stinger’s constant requests to be allowed to prove himself in the Great Arena. Perhaps it was the work of those twisted freaks from the Gemini Caste, sifting through his thoughts. However he did it, Draznee found Stinger and offered the Scorpio a chance to test his skill for real. All he had to do was eliminate an upstart young Aquarius to ensure that he never rose to the rank of Warlord. Stinger relished his challenge.
Opportunity came while Stinger was on guard in the Grand Hall. Seizing his moment he struck at Ra’Leigh from behind. The strike had been true but the Aquarius was fast and combat-honed reflexes turned fatal blow into a mere flesh wound. Skirmish commenced. Stinger’s sword was swift, but the young Aquarius was stronger and his spear had the greater range. Blades flashed and clashed in the Grand Hall. Passing Ulthar soon gathered to watch the spectacle, though none dared intervene. Stinger used every trick he knew, thrusting, feinting, dodging, and soon the young Ra’Leigh was off balance and gave ground. Ultimately though, Ra’Leigh was still Aquarius and he summoned his mastery of the prime element to end the encounter. A blast of water sent Stinger into a wall, dazed, his weapon lost.
It was Stinger’s first true fight, and although he lost, also his greatest victory. Ra’Leigh pulled Stinger from the floor, placed the Scorpio’s fallen sword in his hand and held it to his own bared neck.
“Kill me now and you can return to your master and stand guard in his hall; or take this blade and follow me onto every bloody field of battle across the universe.”
Warlord Ra’leigh stood by his word. Stinger became one of his greatest warriors and they traversed the universe, a relentless tide of conquest in the name of Ulthar. Every resistance was overcome, until Earth, the great failure, the ultimate challenge, the unconquered jewel.
Ra’Leigh’s loyal followers were now stranded on Earth, far from the heart of the Ulthar Empire. Here Stinger found a world full of cunning warriors, mighty beasts, and endless tests. Here he discovered, his skills were highly prized. He had also uncovered insight into what drove the Aquarius, pride in victory, and had through that gained his own sense of personal worth. Stinger would never go back to being an ornamental guard. His blade would carve out his own kingdom. Soon he too would be a master.
Stinger’s reverie was cut short by the approach of several figures. He smiled. Earth offered wonderful challenges. With that he drew his blade and dashed into the street. The fight was on again, and he reveled in every moment of it.