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|Erica Pang Qiao|
|Date of birth:||2229|
|Date of death:||N/A|
|Occupation:||Farmer and Rancher|
|Status:||Residing in La Crosse, Wisconsin|
A slave who has come to own a plantation complete with slaves of its own, Erica won't let a little thing like the apocalypse get in the way of her American Dream.
Erica's father was a raider in the "Hong Feng Army," who dragged her mother around as a spoil of war. When Erica was born, he opted to sell the both of them rather than allow the care of a child to slow him down or present a weakness to his comrades. He made it east of the Mississippi River and sold her to Herb and Joanne Sandusky; the owners of a pistachio plantation.
Erica was made to do household chores while her mother worked grueling, fourteen hour shifts in the orchards with the other slaves. The Sandusky's were rather pleasant, as far as slave-owners went: their captive employees were properly fed, hydrated, given adequate shelter from the elements, and whipped only if they were intentionally defiant. Additionally the Sandusky's entertained the notion of teaching their slaves to read so as to include them in their religious services; a bizarre faith cobbled together from the works of Thomas Hobbes, Ayn Rand, and Friedrich Nietzsche welded together with the figure of Jesus Christ serving as a messianic being that had little in common with any typical Pre-War understanding of the figure.
Despite her youth, Erica took to the faith with zeal. It's conflicting messages of suborning one's will to a supreme master, while simultaneously rejecting morality, and acting in one's own self interest; seemed like a more fulfilling than her mother's resigned attitude towards her own lot in life. Erica decided that she wanted to be the supreme master in her own life, and started her route to power by attempting to assert dominance over the other slave children. Early on these efforts failed because she was smaller than the others; but they were just playing (albeit very roughly) and she learned from each encounter.
Early in her adolescence, some of the Sandusky's free hands and guards took to forming a fight club, for fun as much as anything. Betting quickly became a facet of this club's activities, and eventually someone had the brainwave of pitting interested slave kids against each other, persuading them to get involved with treats and privileges. Erica became involved, but took the extra step of persuading one of the regular fight club members to teach her some moves and toughen her up. She chose wisely, and her mentor proved to be a curmudgeonly but reliable teacher. She was soon engaging in such time-honored montage filler such as beating up sides of Brahmin hanging from hooks, doing push-ups on her fists, dodging thrown wrenches, and running triumphantly up flights of stairs.
One day, a trio of disgruntled slaves decided to jump the Sandusky's son, Jericho, and hold him hostage in exchange for supplies they'd need to make their bid for freedom. The lad was separated from his bodyguard and hauled into a barn, where Erica happened to be doing some calisthenics. Ignorant of the nature of the slave's plot, and worried that she'd be seen as a collaborator; she attacked them using nothing but her fists. Though she took several knocks herself, Erica managed to beat the other three slaves and ushered their hostage back to the plantation's main house. Jericho shared the story with his parents, identifying Erica as his liberator. In gratitude, the Sandusky family had Erica seen by the local doctor to treat her injuries before she was made into a house servant.
Despite her new position, Erica would continue to involve herself with the fights until she brought the Sandusky family their dinner with an impressive black eye. They discovered the fighting circuit and whipped everyone involved, Erica included, though she kept her house servant job. Although she could no longer fight, Erica's much simpler responsibilities as a house servant left her with energy and time to continue her physical conditioning. It was during a session of night training when she had her next run-in with Jericho. While the household was sleeping, she was in the hallway outside the servants bunk practicing her side plank. She saw the young heir to the plantation peeping at her from around a corner. When their eyes met, he became flustered and he scrambled off. Erica could only smirk, if the boy was both timid and interested in her, she figured it wouldn't be too long before she had run of the place, for she was bold.
Erica is a hale, sturdy woman of mixed Chinese and Caucasian heritage, favoring her father's side more: hence her black hair, brown eyes, and broad face. Her hands are rough from labor and fist-fights and faded stretch marks on her abdomen speak to several difficult pregnancies, but she is unashamed of either of these traits; it's the faded whip-scars on her back that she hides under clothing that annoy her.
Abilities & Skills
Erica has always been prepared to defend herself and anything she considers hers with tremendous zeal. Even as a child she threw herself into fist-fights, only giving up when she literally couldn't stand. She lost most of those early brawls, but the experience eventually turned her into the hardened woman she is today and she learned that some knuckledusters can make up for a lack of upper body strength. Her other great talents manifested after she became a free woman, her previously dormant intelligence manifested itself as cunning, mercantile talent.
Erica is never without her .357 magnum revolver or brass knuckles; keeping the former for self-defense and the latter for extreme disciplinary action. On those rare instances where rustlers or predators endanger her holdings, she might join her guards in defense of her home with her custom trail carbine. She tends to "doll up," for family functions or when receiving important guests, but otherwise dresses in sturdy work clothes. Ever since her first grandchild was born, she has taken to keeping a first-aid kit in a roughsack with her when she's out of the house; complete with some Med-X and stimpaks.
Life has made Erica a hard woman, one who has little sense of charity or kindness. She is courteous to those she considers her peers, her superiors (which she hasn't encountered since coming to power), or their representatives, and curt with most others. She does have genuine warmth for her grandchildren and her dogs, and can convincingly fake it for her adult children. Though Erica is far from merciful, she does not indulge in cruelty for cruelty's sake and has little patience for petty sadism.
- "You enjoy those pistachios? I'll be charging you in hard labor, charging for the trespassing too. Alternate form of payment? I can have you shot and hung from the side of my property you entered from, might keep the next thief out."