|Chronological and political information|
|“||It was a 'hare'-raising experience, folks. But fortunately we were able to pull a victory out of our hats!||”|
—Dana Sterling, 15th Squad
Dana Sterling was a half-human, half-Zentraedi woman and the eldest child of Max Sterling and Miriya Parina Sterling, and was the protagonist of Robotech: The Masters, where she was voiced by Melissa Newman. Dana was left on Earth when her family traveled with the Robotech Expeditionary Force to search for the homeworld of the Robotech Masters. She was one of the first graduates of the United Earth Forces Military Academy, and later commanded the 15th ATAC Squad. During the Second Robotech War, Dana fell in love with an alien clone named Zor Prime. Dana would follow in her parent's footsteps and take leading role in the defence of Earth from alien forces that seek its destruction. She had two siblings, Ben Sterling and Aurora Sterling. She was originally called Jeanne Fránçaix, of the anime Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross.
Daughter of Max Sterling and Miriya Parina Sterling, Dana was not only the first child born from a union between the two races, but she was also the first child born from the womb of a clone. Dana was among the first graduates of the United Earth Forces Military Academy founded in the aftermath of the First Robotech War.
Her child-like curiosity combined with her natural intelligence, compassion and curiosity seem odd combinations to make a successful soldier, but somehow it worked. Some have gone so far as to call her a 'tactical genius'. Her mixed heritage gave her the added dimension of precognition concerning the Robotech Masters and their schemes. She also shared an unusual bond with the renegade clone, Zor Prime. Dana was the catalyst for much of the action that takes place in the Second Robotech War.
|“||Look at that. She's just like her mother.||”|
Lisa Hayes, while contemplating the love triangle between Lynn Minmei, Rick Hunter and herself, looked across the street and takes a sharp breath as she spotted Max and Miriya walking together, pushing a baby carriage. The Sterlings stopped for a moment and Max proudly smiles as he reached into the carriage and lifted little Dana into his arms while Miriya watches with joy. Max then made a funny face and Dana smilied in response. Lisa thought to herself "they look so happy, I could just imagine how it must be" and momentarily, in Lisa's mind, Max wore Rick's face and Miriya wore Lisa's. Lisa envied Max and Miriya for their happy marriage and for having such a beautiful daughter. Claudia Grant, whose lover Roy Fokker was killed in the war, also envied them, as she never got the chance to have a child of her own with Roy. Dana was considered a symbol of new life on Earth that slowly emerged following the massive devastation of the First Robotech War.
|“||By the foul moons, that thing is deformed!||”|
—Zentraedi Soldier, after seeing baby Dana Sterling
Dana played an important role when Max and Miriya were asked by Admiral Gloval to bring Dana along on a mission into deep space to capture one of the last remaining Robotech Factory Satellite in June 2013. As Dana was only eight months old, a specially designed "cradle pod", with a heavily-padded interior, was installed on the bottom of Miriya's veritech fighter in order to safely transport Dana into space. For the mission, Dana was also given her own tiny white and pink Dr. Denton's spacesuit with a white helmet and tinted face shield. Although Dana traveled the long distance from Earth to Breetai's ship alone in the cradle pod, she proved that she has already inherited her parents' strength and resilience. As Max lifted her out of the pod following their arrival on Breetai's ship, Dana, looked like "a tiny wiggling astronaut" in her spacesuit, smiled and cooed as she playfully wiggled in his arms. Max smiled and hugged her to himself before saying to Miriya "Safe and sound!" while assisting Dana with a wave. Later, as Dana calmly sleeps in Miriya's arms, Miriya smiled and said to her husband: "Oh Max, look. She's so peaceful."Initially, the Sterlings were unclear as to why Admiral Henry Gloval wanted them to bring Dana along on such a dangerous mission. However, the strategy soon became clear and, despite the danger to themselves and their child, Max and Miriya agreed to go ahead with the plan. After arriving in space near the factory, Max and Miriya took off in their veritech fighters and blasted their way into the enemy command bridge. Zentraedi soldiers surrounded the fighter and Commander Reno, the leader of the hostile Zentraedi forces, ordered them to surrender. However, Miriya, after identifying herself as a former Zentraedi warrior, calmly reached down into her cockpit and proudly lifts little Dana, cradled in her arms and wearing the same Dr. Dentons spacesuit, into view. The enemy Zentraedi, who had had no exposure to human culture and had never seen a baby before, recoiled in shock and fear.
One of the Zentraedi soldiers, with a look of terror on his face, shouted "By the foul moons, that thing is deformed!" Dana cooed as she brings her tiny gloved hands to her helmet's face shield in an effort to rub her eyes, prompting another Zentraedi to shout "It moves!" Miriya, smiling, explained that "In the micronian [human] language, this is what is called an infant; actually created inside my own body. But by both of us", and indicated towards Max. Mirya declared that Dana was a symbol of protoculture and love and lifted Dana above her head in full view of all the Zentraedi in the area. The Zentraedi, especially Commander Reno, became terrified of Dana as they concluded that she was a mutation who was contagious. Filled with fear, the Zentraedi soldiers dropped their weapons and abandoned their posts, throwing the command ship into chaos and causing disorder throughout the enemy fleet. The Sterlings' diversion gave the United Earth Forces (UEF) and the Zentraedi that had allied with them under Breetai time to cripple the enemy fleet and seize the factory. In the subsequent battle, Miriya piloted her veritech while holding Dana in her lap. Dana, unaware of any of the danger, waved her arms joyously at the fiery explosions going off around her, while Miriya clutched her tightly to herself.
Dana was seen briefly again prior to Khyron's final attack on New Macross City, when she was approximately 14 months old. As Max and Miriya stood on their balcony watching the SDF-1 light up with Christmas lights, Max lifted Dana, who was initially startled, onto his shoulder. Max subsequently grumbled after Dana starts pulling on his hair while giggling.
|“||Accommodations to your liking, Miss Sterling? You act as if you're in girl's school dormitory! your first day in the charge was a disgrace to the service. First you go on a joy ride during a red alert, then you willfully damage police property. and the complaints are still coming in from the private sector! you have anything to say to yourself in defense?||”|
—Col. Alan Fredericks to Dana Sterling
Initially, Dana and Bowie were under the command of Sean Phillips. However, after Sean was demoted for "flirting" with an admiral's daughter, Dana was promoted to Second Lieutenant and takes command of the 15th. The most notable among those under Dana's command, in addition to Bowie, were Louie Nichols and Angelo Dante. Nichols proved himself as expert with tech gadgets and computers. Dante viewed Dana as an overconfident teenager and Dana must repeatedly prove to him that she was a competent leader. Dana also struggled to prove that her promotion was not given to her simply because her parents were war heroes. In addition, the fact that Dana was half-Zentraedi was not held in high regard by many humans who still harbored grudges due to the Zentraedi Holocaust and Malcontent Uprisings. Dana clashed with Marie Crystal, a squadron leader within the Tactical Armored Space Corps and came head to head against Nova Satori, an officer in the military police.Gregarious and outgoing, Dana proved to be a brilliant tactical leader during the Second Robotech War against the Robotech Masters but she was troubled, because she was half alien, over the fact that the enemy she was killing could be her own relatives (even though it was soon established that the forces of the Masters were not Zentraedi). Because of this, she had several clashes with supreme commander Anatole Leonard over his treatment of captured bioroid pilots. Leonard seemed to tolerate her insubordination because of her relationship to Chief of Staff Rolf Emerson. Dana repeatedly demonstrated her skill as a pilot and leader throughout the Second Robotech War and never turned down an opportunity to prove herself and she eventually earned the respect of her squad as well as Nova and Marie. When Bowie was captured by the Masters, Dana lead her squad in an unauthorized mission to rescue him. The mission proved successful and although Dana feared she would be thrown in the prison, she was instead praised by her superiors who marveled at the fact that she was able to rescue Bowie with such a small force against the Masters' superior technology and numbers. In only a short time, Dana, in recognition of her military prowess, was promoted to First Lieutenant. As the war raged on and the Southern Cross and UEF took greater and greater casualties, Dana continued to lead her squadron into battle with incredible skill, even as the situation grew more and more dire.
|“||There’s something about people happily in love that just makes me want to scream sometimes.||”|
The Final NightmareEdit
During the final battle with the Robotech Masters, Dana accidentally touched the terminals of a protoculture chamber and the surge awakened racial memories inside her. Through a waking dream, she met a young girl, presumably Aurora Sterling, the younger sister she had yet to meet but had been born in deep space during the Pioneer Mission. During the vision, Dana briefly sees her parents for the first time in several years. Dana begged for them not to leave her again, but all they could say was warn her of the "spores". She was pulled back to reality, and the war that was still ongoing.
After killing the last member of the Masters' Command Triumvirate, Zor kissed Dana (for the first time) before pushing her into an escape pod and jettisoning her back to Earth. Zor then sacrificed himself by piloting the Masters' command ship in a suicide run to destroy the Earth mounds where the ruins of the SDF-1's Protoculture Matrix were located as they had mutated and began to attract the Invid Sensor Nebula. Unfortunately, the explosion he created only spread the spores throughout the planet causing Earth to become a fertile greenhouse for the Invid Flower of Life. Dana, and the survivors of the 15th Squadron, could only watch helplessly as the spores were spread by the wind across the planet. The arrival of the Invid was a certainty now and their chances of winning were stacked heavily against them as the United Earth Forces and the Robotech Masters had exhausted themselves.
Fall of the Southern CrossEdit
The war was far from over, and the Robotech Masters Remnant remained a significant threat to the stability of Earth, and the reorganization of the United Earth Forces. Dana and the 15th Squad are assigned to hunt down these resistance forces in a number of campaigns.
- In the decanonized novel Force of Arms (Book 5 of the series) by Jack McKinney, Miriya giving birth to Dana was all the more extraordinary because nobody could quite figure out how Max and Miriya had been able to conceive a child since no Zentraedi male-female reproduction had ever been recorded, (or that Zentraedi females' biological reproductive apparatus has been genetically preserved, fully developed and functional ; even after 500,000 years of non-use since the race of Zentraedi warriors was created?). Explanations that scientists provided were that Miriya's consumption of human-style food (as opposed to antiseptic rations of the Zentraedi) and her exposure to human emotions had caused subtle biochemical changes. Some even wondered if Dana was actually Max and Miriya's child but, as proved by exhaustive tests, Dana was indisputably their child. To Lisa Hayes, the only explanation that made sense (or mattered) was that Dana was the result of the love that Max and Miriya had for one another.
- In the decanonized novel Southern Cross (book 7 of the series) by Jack McKinney, Dana's childhood is depicted as being very difficult after her parents left with the REF mission in 2022. The Zentraedi holocaust of 2011 resulted in a deep hatred by humans that is still evident years later and as the only child of a Human-Zentraedi union, Dana was often teased and ridiculed by other children who called her "half-breed" (due to her mixed heritage), to which she would often respond verbally or with physical violence. All of the Zentraedi on Earth had left with the Robotech Expeditionary Force (REF), meaning that Dana was the only remaining person on Earth with any Zentraedi blood, and consequently, Dana felt very alone as she was often used as a scapegoat for those wishing to express their hatred of the Zentraedi. The only Zentraedi who had not left on the REF mission were former Zentraedi spies Rico, Konda, and Bron, who briefly cared for Dana, until all three died only a short time after her parents left. The book states that the three had "shown [Dana] such a happy family life, at least for a little while."
- After Bron, Konda and Rico died, Dana's childhood became even more difficult. She and Bowie Grant (who also stayed behind while his parents left with the REF) spent considerable amounts of time in government youth shelters and schools since their godfather, General Emerson, was unable to have children with him due to his duties. Emerson had also divorced from his wife, and Dana often feels that both her parents and godparents had abandoned her - although Bowie Grant remained much closer to Emerson than Dana. When Dana eventually entered the academy, she was still taunted and rejected by many others due to her Zentraedi heritage, and she took revenge, often passive-aggressively, whenever she could to prove she was as strong as any of her adversaries.
- The Robotech novels depicted Dana as being very sad and somber, which is in sharp contrast to her happy, carefree and outgoing nature that is depicted in the television series. At one point in the novels, Dana felt so alone and sad that she wondered if her parents would have ever had her if they knew the pain and sadness that she was to endure.
- The Eternity/Malibu Comic miniseries Cyberpirates depicted a 14-year old Dana as being a student at the Giles Academy, an allegedly exclusive school for the children of VIPs. In reality, Headmaster Dr. Henry Giles along with his assistant Dr. Joseph Petrie, were pawns of Commander Anatole Leonard and the school was set up to spy on influetial people who might be political enemies of Leonard, who was determined to consolidate his control over Earth. While investigating the death of a pilot flying an experimental Veritech, General Emerson investigates the Giles Academy and discovers an undercover project that was using the schools' children to telepathically hijack Veritechs. Emerson arranged for his agent Terry Weston (whose fiancée was the pilot killed) to be hired as an instructor at the academy, during which Weston becomes close to Dana, and she helps him investigate the school. It was suggested in the comic book art (but not explicitly mentioned) that Dana lost her virginity to Weston (who is age 25 at the time). Their friendship continued following the exposure of the Academy and they met again soon after the end of the Second Robotech War.
- The Robotech novel Before the Invid Storm (Book 21 of the series) confirms that Weston and Dana did sleep together during the Giles Academy case, but it was due to Dana's wish that they do so. This caused a rift between Weston and Emerson due to Dana's youth, although it's not clear how Emerson found out. There was eventually reconciliation between the two men before their deaths.