Formal - The Navarch Sterngood appears as a fresh faced young teen girl with blonde hair that is done up in an intricate double braid, and an antique naval parade uniform that would seem very much proper for a mid 17th century Admiral commanding a squadron of European flag and sail ships of the line. She has a high pitched voice, frequently speaks in colloquialisms related to modern teen interests and hacker cyber ops jargon. (The Navarch Sterngood is an archandroid and is remote piloted by Ariana)
Casual - Ariana Sterngood looks the part of the typical pubescent teen, wearing trendy clothing with popular bands and other memetic influences. She favors the somewhat retro-punk look that mixes hacker chic with sport grunge. (Casual Ariana is her common form when encountered in the CogNet, or in her real world (analog) gynoid body.)
Actual - Ariana Sterngood is actually approximately 27 pounds of brain, spinal column, assorted vestigial glands, and viscera suspended in a nutrient and life support tank.
Ariana Sterngood technically died as a child, having barely reached the tender age of 5. Rather than being written off, her organs were harvested as per her parent's wish, so that their daughter's death wouldn't be in vain. A private interest acquired her brain, central nervous system, and a portion of remaining viscera that wasn't deemed valuable or important, such as the liver, kidneys, eyes, pancreas or heart. This mass of still warm material was taken from it's cold storage and moved to a high end experimental medical facility and the remaining biomass was subjected to nano-repair and placed in an amniotic support tank, functionally becoming nothing more than a brain in a jar.
After several years of re-education and assimilation, Ariana made a surprising and secret recovery. She was for many years confined to the virtual space of the CogNet, and that environment was much more real to her than what she later termed 'Analog Space' or the world where she was nothing more than a large jar of as she called herself, a large jar of brains and snot. Having spent by that point, the majority of her life as a virtual being, it was discovered that her neurokinetics had drastically changed compared to a normal human's and she had a very strong aptitude for mathematics, spatial awareness, and a fairly strong parapsychic ability that manifested as precognizance, clairsentience, and clairvoyance.
This ability wasn't initially discovered by her handlers until she was observed 'playing' in a popular MMO domain devoted to space warfare, colonization and resource exploitation. Functioning as a freemium user, she had risen into the top 1% of players and could only be beaten by either large coalitions or super premium players who were sinking thousands of credits into the game. The organization that had used her as nothing more than a prototype for their preservation program decided to see what this savant of space warfare could do with a few real ships. The answer was rack up an unmatched record of being unstoppable and undefeated in action.
Sterngood was eventually promoted, and gained enough cohesive ability to remote control robotic bodies, provided they were designed to be remote controlled. She was given two robotic shells to use, a casual use machine that had no special abilities or other advantages, and a very high grade archandroid that was mechanically sufficient to function as a remote node for the savant to work through. After four years of being undefeated, Sterngood petitioned for, and won the title of Navarch and assumed the command of tactical and strategic operations of military fleet assets.
Sterngood had a long and established record of victory, but she also had an equally frightening record of casualties. To the Navarch, a ship was a piece in a game, nothing more. So long as it could still follow commands and shoot, a ship was a functional piece. She gave no thought to the crews of said ships, and while executing stunning victories, the cost in damaged ships was high, even though few of those ships were lost.
Having spent the majority of her life in a virtual reality environment, Sterngood has a different set of ethics and morals, and this is part of what makes her a very powerful and effective commander, but also alienates her from those she commands. To most of the men and women of the fleet, the Navarch is a figure of dread, because there is no doubt they will win through the day, but they don't know how many of them will survive to see it.
When not involved in training operations, staging fleet maneuvers, or other official business, Ariana behaves as most 14 year olds would, listening to popular music, immersing herself in pop culture, and spending a large amount of time in virtual realms and games. She retains the use of a basic model gynoid for her use in 'analog space' but she seldom uses this body as she claims that it feels very unnatural, awkward, and she dislikes it.
Therapy and Personal Demons
The sad truth of the matter is that Ariana is not a happy or healthy girl. Considering the amount of biological material that composes her actual body, any attempts at going through puberty or physical maturing are entirely artificial in nature. It is also worth considering that Sterngood has functional long term CogNet addiction issues, borderline personality disorder, and several other deep seated psychoses that stem from having been a brain in a jar for 2/3rds of her life.
Known issues - No concept of death, for herself or for others, as in the virtual world death results in a respawn, or the end of game, but retreated to a buffer to restart the mission/game over. The crewmen of a ship in combat are nothing to her, they are numbers, attributes of game piece.
Dislocation - Sterngood has periods where she is uncertain over what is real/analog, and what is a virtual setting. Most people don't have a large issue with that, but Sterngood has both long term CogNet use, and her only analog world experience is through remote android bodies.
Sexual Disassociation - Sterngood's viscera retained no sexual organs or glands, and the only reason she retains a gender is because everyone consistently refers to her through gender based terms. In the hypersexual Cosmic Era, an entity that is asexual and functionally genderless (for non-ironic reasons, or other social based reasons) are anomalous to the point of being shocking.
Isolation - Sterngood has no peers that she knows of and can communicate with, and on a personal level this has moved her to having stronger relationships with virtual characters and program constructs in CogNet games and programming.
Role and Purpose
Ariana Sterngood is a demonstration of what the technology and mentality of the Cosmic Era can do. She is a savant in terms of leading and directing one of the most brutal forms of combat, ship to ship at high relative velocity, but this is in opposition to the fact that she is underage and female. In game terms, the Navarch is the video game player who knows all the pieces, all the stats, and all the moves, and can order entire fleets to change directions, or focus their guns on specific targets as she picks them out.
But it's just a game being played by a deeply disturbed child.
The Navarch appears in the novel I am writing, but nowhere near the level of detail listed above. I had the idea for her more than a year ago, but it was the basic premise of what if the best soldier in the world was a teenager remote controlling a robot body? Ala the recipient of the Medal of Killing All Enemies and Extreme Valor and Awesomeness was a fat screaming 14 year old psychopath Battlefield/Call of Duty/HALO gamer. Throw in some gender issues, add contrast and dump the image of the foul mouthed control smasher, and the Navarch Appears.
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? Responses (4)
I like this character - can serve as an antagonistic patron or enemy easily enough.
Interesting. Kind of an Ender Wiggin in a jar.
I think they don't even want to restore her, or to substitute the hormones. Why deal with puberty when you can have a perfectly stable kid general?
Possibly, I'd revisit what kind of body she chooses for herself; it might not be girlish teen androids. The gamer in her might choose a body that appears imposing, epic and still cool, an iconic over-the top sculpt that has nothing to do with how she might have looked if not for her sickness.
Can I say, I feel bad for her? Which is a good thing. A somewhat tragic powerful presence, messed up in head, and a damn interesting character for a novel. I imagine you can go many ways with her...good, bad, other. The 27 pounds of brain and suspended viscera is a jolting image.
I'm going to have to look up what the heck an Ender Wiggin is now.