Full Name: Bethany Bates
The world first learned of Bethany Bates when the Pulp City Planet printed a front page story ‘Miss Frankenstein’ accompanied by a gruesome picture of a basement full of bodies and graphically-told revelations from the authorities who tried to stop a notorious serial killer.
But the story did not start there. Dr. Bethany Bates was a successful woman who managed to combine an academic career with a mission of helping others. Not many of her friends were aware that her twin sister had died aged eleven of an undiagnosed sickness that struck her neural system. Bethany’s pursuit of knowledge lead her to the best medical universities in America and Europe, but she was never satisfied with only academic routine and so kept working in St. Mary’s Hospital in Pulp City’s New Port district.
On her 31st birthday, while Dr. Bates was working the night shift, a girl named Dolores was checked in. The girl was in unimaginable pain and her whole body was shaking with erratic jolts. Bethany noticed the similarity with her sister’s suffering in their childhood, and knew that the pain would not pass and the torment would continue for many months, leading to agonizing decline, and eventually death.
Trembling with anxiety, she knew this was the moment to redeem all her years of hard study, all those years of nightmares following her sister’s demise while she had stood by helpless. For all those years, she had been working on a new auto-therapy method that could treat this rare condition with the patient’s own amplified brain waves.
The therapy would have been long and painful, as the patient’s brain needed to be forced to direct its power against the disease plaguing the neural system. Bethany Bates had built her brain wave amplifier prototype (named the ‘Caduceus’) a few years earlier, but had never tested it on a living person. With emotions fogging her usually rigid academic mind, she called her superior to ask for permission to proceed with the therapy. Sensing that it might be more of a personal obsession than Dr. Bates would admit, her superior denied the request and passed the case to Bethany’s arch-rival, Dr. Strapping.
Furious, Bates drowned her frustration in a sea of alcohol that night, and when a bar patron asked her about her plans for the night, sobriety returned as a devilish thought crossed her mind. Instead of an easy date, the poor soul found a painful death strapped to the Caduceus. The settings were not right, but it was just a matter of time when she would be ready to help Dolores. Bethany frequented Pulp City bars every night after that, and within a month, the settings were still not correct but much better.
The last ‘date’ she found was almost the last required stage of adjustment. The patient survived the treatment but was consumed with rage. Bethany had to use her scalpel to finish the frothing maniac and let him join the previous victims in her basement.
Absolutely convinced that she finally had the right calibrations, Beth invited Dr. Strapping to her house under the pretense of preparing for an upcoming conference. She was desperate to prove to him that the Caduceus was an absolute breakthrough in auto-therapy research. Since Strapping was very reluctant to try it out, sedating drugs came in handy. But Strapping was not alone, and he was the bait in a trap that the Police, after long weeks of investigation, had set up. The moment he fell to the floor, the door burst open and Police officers filled the room. Bethany grabbed the Caduceus, hastily hooked it up to her body and let her brain waves fly against the storming cops.
The massive ripple fried proteins in the brains of the assault team, but it also seriously damaged the brain of Bethany Bates, changing her mind forever.
From that night on, Bethany was transformed. She became better known in the time to come as Sister Bedlam. She wanted to heal and kill at the same time, to bring mercy and inflict pain, to crush and revive. Some say that under the metal helmet of the Caduceus, she still keeps talking to somebody named Dolores.