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Commandant Steele is an officer in the Crimson Lance and the main antagonist of Borderlands.


Commandant Steele is the leader of the Crimson Lance forces on Pandora. She is also a Siren[1], as hinted at by her tattoos and the demonstration of her ability to piece the Vault Key fragments together.


Commandant Steele leads the Crimson Lance army, the lawless fighters encountered in Old Haven and beyond. She claims the alien technology she believes to be hidden in the Vault as the property of the Atlas corporation and tries to take the vault keys by force after the last piece is collected.

The first time that she is seen is when she ECHOes shortly after Sledge has been killed and the first Vault key piece has been acquired. At this point she transmits a message commanding that the vault key piece be turned over to the Crimson Lance, although the message is ultimately ignored and the adventure continues. It is also possible to receive a transmission en route to Sledge's Safehouse, where Steele berates the Vault hunters for accepting a mission to assassinate a "local leader".

Steele and her forces soon capture Patricia Tannis and concoct a plan to lure the Vault Hunters into a trap by claiming that there is a fourth fragment being held by Baron Flynt. After obtaining the third piece upon defeating a Rakk Hive, Tannis contacts the Vault Hunters claiming that there was one more piece being held by Flynt, who was a former employee who stole the fragment when he was fired. The Vault Hunters head to The Salt Flats and kill Flynt, but do not find any key piece.

At this time, Steele contacts the Vault Hunters a third time, fed up with their constant fights and impending Atlas Corporation. Though the Vault Hunters have done numerous deeds that would warrant execution, Steele offers them one final chance to leave the planet just as numerous Lance pods crash around the Salt Flats. Upon finishing her conversation with them, Steele sends out a general announcement informing the inhabitants of Pandora that the ECHO network will be shut down, and any attempt to reactivate it will result in severe reprisals. During this time, she also sends the Crimson Lance to attack Sanctuary.

The Vault Hunters manage to locate Tannis, being held in the Crimson Fastness and free her. They soon reactivate the ECHO system and head off to find Steele before she can open the Vault.

When she is eventually encountered in person, the meeting is cut short; During the cut-scene, she announces that the Vault and its riches are the property of the Atlas corporation and that the Vault hunters belong to her. After connecting the Vault key fragments together and placing them in the keyhole, pieces of the surrounding ruins merge to form a portal to the Vault. Steele is under the belief she has won and begins to celebrate when a tentacle pierces her from behind and drags her screaming into the mouth of a huge beast known only as the Destroyer, who the Vault Hunters kill.

However, Steele would somehow be extracted from the Destroyer and be claptrapped into serving Claptrap's New Robot Revolution.



  • Sub-titles refer to her as "Commander" rather than "Commandant".
  • Though never mentioned in-game, a string that was ultimately dropped from the final release lists her given name as "Helga".[2]
  • She bears similar Siren tattoos to Lilith and Maya. When she activates the Vault Key, her hand produces blue mist not unlike the other Sirens. When reanimated as Commandant Steele-Trap, however, she demonstrates no obvious supernatural abilities.
  • She also bears an uncanny similarity to the original design of Lilith when the game was announced to GameInformer.
  • Despite being killed by the Destroyer, if Master McCloud is fought again later, she will be there yelling "Death to all who oppose us" due to the audio file being a script tied to the area. She also performs the same animation she does when she places the key in the Vault, right before she gets stabbed.
  • Tannis and General Knoxx refer to her as an "albino" due to her extremely white skin.
  • General Knoxx dislikes Steele because "she talks too much". Knoxx states this dislike right after accepting You've Got Moxxi: Moxxi's Red Light and thanks the Vault hunters for turning her into a "meat kebab".
    • Knoxx also calls Steele bulimic in the fifth ECHO recording of the Knoxxed Out mission.
  • Originally, it was possible to see what Steele would have finished saying in the Vault if she hadn't been interrupted by the Destroyer by watching the cutscene with subtitles enabled. It seems that she was planning to throw the Vault Hunters into Tannis' jail cell to keep her company. This has since been partially fixed, though the subtitles do still show a little of what she says after she is killed (as opposed to being cut off midway).
  • Commandant Steele may have been a Lance Assassin, as they are an all female unit of the Crimson Lance. When fought as Commandant Steele-Trap, she fights similar to a Lance Assassin and wields two plasma swords.

See Also

  2. q.v. game file WillowGame\Localization\INT\