Linnéa Sterling (You will refer to her as Frau Doctor or Dr. Sterling) appears to be in her late 20s and stands 5’4" tall. She wears a tight, bony frame beneath an ill-fitting lab coat, usually too absorbed in her work to remember to eat or sleep regularly. She wears her dark hair pulled back in a multitude of thick braids, usually gathered into a bun or ponytail atop her head to keep it out of her work. The ends of her hair have recently developed streaks of bright green, which she’s tried to cover up with dye to no avail. Her skin bears the tell-tale pallor of a researcher who prefers the cool interior of a controlled laboratory environment to the harsh rays of the sun, but nearly every visible inch is covered in light brown freckles. She wears narrow, rectangular glasses made from clear plastic that frequently slide down the bridge of her nose and do little to hide the bright yellow hue of her eyes.
Under Headmaster Warner Erden, she works in a lab devoted to the study and classification of the kaiju threat. Rumor has it that she arrived in Lyndon from a city on the European Mainland with highly secretive research on the creatures, and as such has been given a good deal of control over her experimentation and research subjects. She’s shown no interest in fraternising with the other cadets, but can occasionally be seen in the company of two of the Academy’s top pilots, Staff Seargent Calhoun and Airman First Class Bex.
Personal History (OOC):
Doctor Sterling was born in the mobile city of Neu Braunschweig, the ninth surviving member of Satz 342-B. Long a haven for intellectuals and free-thinkers, Neu Braunschweig also pioneered a successful eugenics program beginning in the year 2085 to raise declining population levels after the Great Collapse. Each small batch, colloquially known as ‘clutches,’ was overseen in a Gruppehaus by two or more caretakers. Sterling, originally named Ennia, was raised by Elma Gaertner and Inga Önnudóttir, an Icelandic refugee whose family settled in the city several generations before. (After floods decimated Iceland in 2046, many families relocated cities in Great Britain and the European Continent, but had difficulty finding acceptance in the already overcrowded domes.)
Sterling grew up happy, the second-youngest member of her Satzfamilie, and showed an early aptitude for the biological and medical sciences, as well as advanced mathematics. She became fluent in German and English, picking up a good deal of Icelandic from Inge. Her younger sister, Theka, studied correlations between music and mathematics, and left the Gruppehaus early to join an artistic collective on the edge of the city. Before her leavetaking, the two were very close, having shared a room all their lives, and Ennia missed her sister dearly.
Sterling attended Technische Universität beginning at age 13, and left at 19 with dual Ph.D’s in Mathematik and Chemische Biologie. She worked for a time as a trauma surgeon in the city’s largest hospital, tending primarily to injuries sustained by members of das Militärisch while out on Patrouillierst das Ungeheuer. As Neu Braunschweig diverted a great deal of its annual budget to furthering the arts and sciences, the das Korps Militärisch suffered with poor equipment and little training. She was later recruited by a Government funded laboratory which specialised in analysing recovered Ungeheuer (or kaiju) samples from the field. Most of her notable work took place here; with ample funding, she was able to sequence the DNA of each new kaiju, which bore striking similarities to one another in form if not function. She concluded that while they were not cloned, the current population may have arisen from a singular source. Her work was lauded until she began to track patterns of kaiju attacks on Neu Braunschweig and surrounding cities, and argued that their movements and attack patterns were not random, but could be modeled mathematically, increating in frequecy and destructive capability over time. Ennia maintained that the kaiju were testing their defences, and presented a paper on the subject to the Wissenschaft Dienst. She was ridiculed, and all but laughed off the stage. The government far preferred to think of the creatures at their door as animalistic, driven by instinctive and evolutionary drives to populate and protect their progeny rather than risk attacking their stronghold directly. Even if such an event were to come to pass, they were quite confident in their standing Landstreitkryfte and long-range weaponry to hold off any foreign attack.
After her disasterous presentation to the Commission, Ennia was warned to restrict her research to the genetic structure of the kaiju and learn how to best destroy them with minimal injury and loss of life to the Korps. Despite this, she persisted in modeling her data and found a disturbing trend of increased kaiju activity, both in number, size and destructive capability. Convinced that it was only a matter of time before the Korps encountered a beast capable of decimating a squad and moving on to attack the city itself, she brought her research to her superior. Again, she was denied, with a severe warning to follow the narrow focus of her work or risk termination.
Years passed, and her predictive models changed accordingly to reflect the changing behaviour of the kaiju. They seemed to be growing larger and more aggressive with time, but the Dienst remained unconvinced in the face of her carefully documented research. She kept most of her work to herself, the data secured on a small memory device hidden in the base of a vintage cigarette lighter. Ennia tried to maintain a life outside of the laboratory, but it became more difficult as time went by. She still visited her former Gruppehaus when she could to chat with Elma and Inge, and bring candy to each new clutch. On attended Theka’s wedding, Ennia discovered she’d changed her name to Liesl and was marring Anselm Karsten, the head of an anti-eugenics movement. Their demonstrations began peacefully, but as they were met with repeated resistence from the city government, they soon evolved into full scale riots. Ennia lost all contact with Liesl and her naturally born child when the group moved underground.
Meanwhile, Ennia’s superiors at the laboratory inducted her into a highly secretive programme studying the effects of kaiju biology on living test subjects. She was both horrified and fascinated by turns, and made great strides toward the integration of kaiju DNA to promote strength, flexibility, and size in domesticated animals. Human trials had yet to begin when her comfortable world suddenly came to an abrupt and violent end.
It was 17 March, 2179 when the largest kaiju on record slaughtered three regiments out on patrol around the city. Nearly two-thirds of the hastily mobilised Landstreitkryfte fell before its crushing blows and giganic, gaping maw. Nicknamed Grendel, the kaiju next made a direct, calculated strike on the city itself. It seemed to know the weakest points in the dome’s defenses and exploited them in its attack. Smaller, though no less ferocious waves of creatures fell from its back like living scales to divide and conquer. The city burned; panic filled the crowded streets. No one had ever seen or even heard of the creature’s like except in faery tales, stories told to children who misbehaved.
Grendel rampaged through the city for a day and a night, shrugging off artilery fire and aerial bombs. Ennia herded the laboratory staff down into the lower levels where she worked beneath the large glass and steel facility. When the building came crushing down around them, death was instantaneous for the lucky, and painfully slow for the rest. Trapped beneath a great slab of concrete, Ennia felt her spine snap and lost all feeling in her lower extremeties. Sealed containers of kaiju samples shattered across the floor from above, leaking a wash of toxic chemicals down through the cracks. Whether by chance or fate, a large vial of cerebro spinal fluid spilled down to form a puddle around her prone form. She awoke, hours or mere minutes later, and forced her way out from beneath the rubble using only her arms to reach a sealed a rack of syringes pre-loaded for the next round of testing.
The kaiju had moved on; below her lay the crushed and mangled bodies of her colleages. The decision to remove and prime a syrine seemed less like a choice and more of an inevitability. She tied off a length of rubber hosing with her teeth and injected the serum into her arm before darkness and exhaustion overwhelmed her.
She awoke to a ghost town. It was a struggle to regain her footing, but astonishingly, the damage she’d sustained from falling rubble had nearly healed. Stealing a hazmat suit, she made her way out into the streets with only fragmentary memories of the cataclysmic event. She gravitated toward’s Liesl’s last known hideout without consciously understanding the impulse driving her steps, but found only a broken pile of brick and rusted steel. Bodies littered the ground, staining the stones with red. She called out to possible survivors for over an hour, but never received even the slightest hint of a response.
Six months later, a standard two-mech team spotted a small transport vehicle shuddering and wheezing to a stop a few kilometres outside Lyndon. A beta class kaiju had been stalking it from a distance, all legs and claws with a long, needle like snout. Pilots Bex and Calhoun easily dispatched the beast and descended to the ground to investigate the vehicle with redundant hazard protocols. Inside, they found a semi-conscious woman in a patched containment suit, muttering senselessly in German. Upon questioning, she could give them no name, no nationality, and no reason for piloting a craft outside the Safe Zone. Calhoun radioed in the incident while Bex began to set up containment and administer anti-toxicity medicine. The woman regained consciousness almost immediately, and as if suddenly remembering she could speak English, refused in no uncertain terms to be taken to the nearest Med Center for testing. She calmly assured her rescuers that she would be fine, she just needed a little rest. When they refused to honor her request, she informed the pilots that she carried with her years worth of data on the fluxuating kaiju population and would happily share it with Warner Erden – and no one else.
Further field testing confirmed that the woman carried high levels of kaiju-specific toxicity in her blood, but showed no signs of decay or illness. Against her better judgement, and mocked ruthlessly by her team-mate for ‘going soft,’ Bex agreed to take the young woman into the city and allow her to rest at her flat for the night, on the condition that she report to Headmaster Erden immediately the next morning. They shook on the arrangement, and Bex smuggled her into the Academy. Calhoun, for his part in the plot, pulled out a cask of his homemade and highly illicit moonshine in the mech repair bay and caused a suitable enough distraction.
After ushering the mysterious woman into her small but respectable quarters and insisting that she take a shower to remove several layers of grime and a rank stench, Bex handed over a a spare set of standard-issue work out clothing. She had to cuff the pants nearly in half to be able to walk, but the woman seemed profoundly grateful nonetheless. A small light from the kitchen flashed off a silver medallion still hanging around her neck, and Bex lifted it up for a better examination. The woman jerked back reflexively, affronted at being touched, but the chain proved sturdy. Bex could make out the image of a six-winged angel embossed on the front, surrounded by the letters Ρ α φ α η λ . Turning it over, the world ‘sterling’ had been embossed at a crosswise angle, indicating the material’s quality.
Tired of calling out ‘hey you,’ Bex dubbed her strange charge ‘Sterling’ and was met with only a humorous glance in return. Without any memories of her former life, she supposed it was as good a name as any.