Dana Sterling was a half-human, half-Zentraedi woman, the eldest child of Max Sterling and Miriya Sterling. Dana was left on Earth when her family traveled with the Robotech Expeditionary Force to Tirol. Unbeknownst to them, the Robotech Masters had actually left years before, and made the first attack on the Earth only 4 years later, in 2029. Dana graduated from the Robotech Military Academy in that year, and eventually became the commanding officer of the 15th Alpha Tactical Armored Corps.
During the war, Dana fell in love with an enemy spy sent to Earth by the Masters named Zor, who she tragically lost. She fought on Earth for the next several years afterward, only evacuating during the Invid Invasion in order to survive.
Dana's parents, Max Sterling and Miriya Parina met during the First Robotech War. Max was one of the top Veritech pilots of the Robotech Defense Force of Earth, and Miriya was similarly considered to be one of the best Zentraedi pilots. After Miriya was defeated by Max in combat and was forced to retreat, Miriya decided to become a spy in order to get revenge on him, however, she eventually fell for him after losing to him in a physical battle and they were married soon after. (Masters Saga: "Dana's Story")
Dana was born after the end of the war, in New Macross City in October 2012. (Macross Saga: Reconstruction Blues) Her childhood friend and life-long comrade Bowie Grant was born a few months later, in 2013. This was a period that would later be noted as a baby boom. (Robotech Masters 1: Dana's Story)
Shortly after her birth, Lisa Hayes would see the three walking down the street, and would silently be jealous of the happiness that Max and Miriya had found in each other. For a brief moment, she imagined Rick Hunter and herself holding Dana as they were, before moving on to other thoughts. (Macross Saga: "Reconstruction Blues")
Dana's parents were intent that she would not have to fight in a war as they had been forced to, and tried their best to keep her out of the path of conflict. Despite this, ironically, Dana got her first taste of military success less than a year later, when she was brought along on a mission to retake the Robotech Factory Satellite and was used as a (false) example of the power of Protoculture. This sent the Zentraedi into a frenzy, making sure that Breetai would win and take the Satellite. (Macross Saga: Viva Miriya) Dana would later look back on this as her first example of military victory. (Robotech: Love & War, Part 5)
On Christmas day, 25 December 2013, Dana and her family joined in the hopeful holiday by looking up at the SDF-1, which was decorated with large, colorful Christmas lights. Dana, in a moment of joy, grabbed her father's hair, which seemed to annoy him somewhat. (Macross Saga: "Season's Greetings")
One day, her mother went missing, having been contacted by an old Zentraedi and leaving with no trace. Her father meanwhile was captured by Zentraedi. She was put into the care of Vince Grant and his family, including Bowie Grant. She enjoyed herself. Her parents returning shortly afterward. (Robotech II: The Sentinels: The Malcontent Uprisings: Earthbound)
Dana had many toys as a child, including a Veritech, a Zentraedi battle pod, a Lynn Minmei toy, and a Khyron plush. (Robotech II: The Sentinels: The Malcontent Uprisings: Picking up the Pieces)
From a young age, she and Bowie Grant were close friends, often playing pranks on each other and joking around.
In the year 2022, both Dana and Bowie were separated from their parents when they left to join the Pioneer Expedition onboard the SDF-3. Their parents had decided to keep them on Earth to protect them from the Robotech Masters, an ironic decision. The pair stayed around long enough to go to Rick Hunter's and Lisa Hayes' wedding, then returned to Earth. (Robotech II: The Sentinels)
After her parents left, Dana was taken care of by Bron, Rico, and Konda: her godparents. The trio taught Dana to be proud of both sides of her heritage and to know that there was nothing wrong with being a Zentraedi or a human. She eventually started to fight back against those who were judgmental of her roots, often literally.
Dana was placed in the Robotech Academy, where she trained for military combat and leadership. There she because notorious for being a strong military leader and for causing significant trouble for those around her. She was often known to beat up and humiliate another student that bullied her, named Owens, who hated her because of her half-Zentraedi genes. Other notorious incidents known to be caused by her involved an incident where monkeys were released onto the base and an occurrence where a staff member was hanged from a flagpole.
On graduation day, Dana pulled her final prank on Owens by gluing his seat, so that when he stood up to receive his ranks and assignments, his pants would rip. Because of her famously strong military skills, Dana was assigned as a Lieutenant — and because of her notoriously poor behavior, she was assigned to the 15th Alpha Tactical Armored Corps: along with Bowie. (Robotech Masters 1: Dana's Story)
After the ceremony, Dana visited Bowie in his quarters, finding him to be depressed, doubting his qualifications for the military and wondering if he was really cut out for such a thing. She noted that all of them felt like that, and tried to find a way to cheer him up. She decided to tell him the story of how her parents met, which seemed to accomplish the task. As she neared the end of her story, the pair were sent into red-alert, as a group of mysterious aliens began attacking Moon Base Luna. (Masters Saga: "Dana's Story")
Second Robotech War
When Dana was placed in the 15th Squadron, it was under the command of notorious playboy Sean Phillips, who lost his high-ranking status when he flirted with the daughter of a commanding officer. He was placed in the brig, and Dana was chosen to be the temporary commanding officer of the squadron, despite her very recent graduation.
Her first order as the Squadron's commander was to send her men on a routine patrol of Monument City, which Angelo Dante objected to. Thusly, Dana ordered Angelo to stay behind at the base, while the others traveled into Monument City on their Hovercycles. The Squad eventually came into contact with Marie Crystal's squad, who openly mocked the 15th Squad and Dana's leadership. Angered, Bowie started a fight with the Squadron, ending with a Global Military Police Officer being called in. Dana called for the Squad to split up, as she drove in the opposite path of the Police Hover Car, accidentally knocking over their Golem robot in the process.
Dana spent her first night in command hidden in the dirtier sections of Monument City, eventually falling to sleep cuddling a Pollinator. As she slept, she was soon discovered by the Global Military Police, lead by Nova Satori, who arrested her on various charges, which ended with her in The Brig.
Dana's original sentencing was meant to last for much longer than it did in actuality, as she was reluctantly released that morning, after arguing to Alan Fredericks that her squadron needed her in order to stay together. She was sentenced to a week's probation. Outside the cell, she met Sean Phillips once again, who cheerfully informed her that he had one more night in the Brig before he would be returning to the squadron.
Shortly after this, the first battle of the Second Robotech War began, as many Bioroids began attacking after being provoked. Dana arrived at the scene in her VHT-1 Veritech Hover Tank and found the 15th Squadron being left out of the conflict. The entire Squadron joined in the fight, turning the tides of the conflict for a time until the Red Bioroid arrived to the battle. Dana personally fought off the Red Bioroid, while Louie gave cover fire. One of his shots hit the aircraft which had brought the Bioroids, and the aliens retreated, making the battle a victory for Earth and the 15th Squadron.
After the conflict, Nova Satori visited the 15th Squadron in their quarters, bringing some shocking news — for his recent actions, Sean Phillips had been demoted to Private, 2nd Class, with Dana becoming the Squadron's permanent commander. (Masters Saga: "False Start")
Shortly after this, it was reported to the public by the Macross Broadcasting Station that a war had started, and that aliens were known to be orbiting around the round of Earth. One particular flashship had lowered above the clouds near Monument City. During a meeting, a plan was announced wherein Marie's Squadron would lead an attack on the starship, with the 15th covering the rear.
Before the battle, new Hover Tanks were assigned, with Dana being assigned a brand-new model, and the recently-demoted Sean being assigned the oldest, which at the time was hanging from the ceiling — covered in rust. This greatly annoyed Sean and greatly amused Bowie Grant and Louie Nichols.
During the actual attack, Marie and Dana's squadrons were moved back, with a group of FA-109 Sylphid fighters leading the attack on the fortress — the Squadron being wiped out. A group of Bioroids were deployed and began attacking the launchpad where the fighters had been launched from. Marie's squadron attempted to defend the base, but took heavy casualties. Dana, seeing the great trouble that the base was in, moved into the battle against orders. She was briefly blocked by a persistent Angelo, but he soon joined in when Nova Satori arrived to charge Dana with deserting her post. Shortly afterward, Rolf Emerson ordered the 15th Squadron to join the fight, complete with the knowledge that it was too late for the order to be any use.
Dana arrived and saved Marie from a near-death experience with the Red Bioroid, and the Squadrons worked together to fight off the Bioroids. Dana again wrestled with the Red Bioroid for a time, before shooting at their carrier vessel, making them retreat. This weakness was recounted to headquarters.
That evening, Dana took a shower, and found Nova outside, waiting for her. Dana presumed that she had come to take her to the brig for insubordination, but Nova accidentally let it slip that she was actually going to be receiving a promotion. Dana arrived at the ceremony, but left to get her Hover Tank, which he insisted on driving into the room. She transferred it into its robot mode and revealed a pair of holographic bunny ears, much to the amusement of those in the room. (Masters Saga: "Southern Cross")
After experiencing further troubles reconnecting with Space Station Liberty, Dana volunteered her squadron for a mission to reconnect radio contact with the base (after hearing that Marie had done the same), ordering Bowie and Angelo to join her on the mission. On the day of the mission, Dana angered Marie by being very late — having gone to the Hover Tank bay to collect their vehicles when they were already on the ship. Further troubles were caused when Dana attempted to read a magazine as the ship took off, apparently trying to hide her reaction to the G-Forces of the breakthrough Earth's atmosphere.
Tragically, their sister shuttle was destroyed when it lost control of its engines, shooting directly into the enemy ships and exposing. Dana found her self completely in shock, unable to move for much of the operation. Bioroids attacked the remaining shuttle and Dana, unable to pilot her turret, left part of the ship defenseless. After being knocked into her controls, Dana reflexively began firing at the Bioroids.
After sneaking past the enemy fire by through a gap of the enemy ship, Marie suited up and began fighting off the enemy Bioroids. As Bowie raised the antenna to attempt and reach the Space Station, the Red Bioroid began attempting to destroy it and caused much trouble for Marie. Dana decided to suit up, joining Marie in fighting off the Bioroid. The shuttle soon gained a reply from the space station. The link was reconnected, and the shuttle returned home. (Masters Saga: "Volunteers")
During a routine Hovercycle night patrol near the ruins of what once was New Macross City, Dana noticed a series of lights in the restricted zone. Curious, the pair found a group of Master's Bioroids excavating the area. There Dana saw the Red Bioroid pilot for the first time, who saw the two. In their attempted escape, both of their Hovercycles were destroyed, and Bowie was captured by the enemy. Dana was unable to do anything and had to watch helplessly as this occurred.
Later that night, Dana reported the occurrence to Rolf Emerson, but was denied the chance of a rescue mission. Despite this, when Dana returned to the headquarters of the 15th Squadron, she ordered the others to get to their Hovertanks, for a surprise midnight patrol. The patrol hid in greenery near the Master's ship, and they soon began an attack. The other Tanks kept the Bioroids busy as Dana attempted to find an entrance to save Bowie from. Dana soon found the Red Bioroid, pilot out of the shuttle, looking over an area. The two once again fought, with one attack slamming Dana into the shuttle, ripping it open. This hole just happened to lead to where Bowie was kept, and after knocking the Bioroid out, Dana was able to widen the gap and retrieve her comrade. Reinforcements from the GMP soon arrived, helping to fight off the Bioroids until an enemy flagship arrived, destroying the reinforcements and collecting the Bioroids. (Masters Saga: "Half Moon")
Dana took the Squadron on a patrol of Monument City's most social sector — essentially giving the crew a night on the town. This again annoyed Angelo, who saw through the ruse completely.
The next day, an air attack (without the Squadron) was sent against the Tirolian Mothership above the city. Those sent received heavy casualties, with many Squads entirely wiped out. In the rut of the failure, Dana, Bowie, Angelo, Sean, and Louie Nichols gathered in the Squadron's squatters, where they discussed the mission. Louie was able to piece together many of the ways in which the ship functioned, and was also able to find a possible way to disrupt the power systems.
Dana took Louie to Miles Cochrane, where he relayed these theories. The central power comes from pushing and pulling together Protoculture particles — an implosion and implosion occurring at the same time — canceling each other out and creating endless energy. By upsetting this process, a team could cause the ship to suffer an explosion and thus lose altitude to the Earth. Dana, eager to have the 15th Squadron complete the mission personally, used Bowie to get Rolf Emerson to grant them the mission.
The next day, during another attack on the flagship, the 15th Squadron was able to slip under the Barrier System, reaching the metallic hull of the ship. After searching, Dana and Louie were able to find a large chasm that revealed a connection to the Energy Channels, and by firing into the tunnel, Dana was able to disrupt it. As the Hover Tanks evacuated and returned to Transport 1, the flagship crash-landed near Monument city. (Masters Saga: "Danger Zone")
After the crash-landing of the Masters' ship near the city, the 15th Squadron and other groups were tasked with continuing to fight against the enemy at the fortress, but the Masters held an upper hand and held a tight defense against the forces. Realizing that they needed a battle strategy, Rolf recalled the forces to make a plan.
After being pulled back from the conflict, Dana met Marie Crystal for lunch, where the two discussed many topics. They were interrupted by a Global Military Police Officer, who had found Bowie playing Piano at a bar — a great offense as a member of the Southern Cross. Nova suggested punishment, but Dana asked to take Bowie as her own responsibility and to keep him out of trouble, an idea which Nova accepted.
Shortly afterwards, Dana was instructed of the battle plans for the following mission by Rudolph. The 15th Squadron was to infiltrate the ship and attempt to find out as much as possible about it while inside — an extremely dangerous mission. The other members of the Squadron were uneasy about the mission, but Dana reminded them that it was important, and promised that they could do it.
Bowie took Dana out and got her a fancy Sundae, as thanks for getting him off the hook before. Dana suggested that Bowie unwind and have some fun, and said that he should go to the bar which he had been playing music at before — and to make sure that he wasn't caught. As Bowie ran off to the bar, Dana returned to the 15th Squadron's HQ, where she met with Angelo in the darkened main room. While they were talking about the mission, they were interrupted by the entrance of Nova and Bowie. Bowie had been caught in a bar-fight after a man had said that he wasn't man enough for the mission if he played piano. Dana initially supported his actions, but went on to agree with Nova that time in the Brig was the only punishment that would satisfy his action, and he was taken there.
The next day, the 15th Squadron sped off into the battlefield. Much to the surprise and annoyance of Dana, Bowie followed shortly afterward: having been released by Rolf Emerson. Despite this, the team continued on, as air support blasted at the ship until an opening was eventually made. (Masters Saga: "Prelude to Battle") As they entered the ship, one of their pilots was shot out of his Hover Tank, a second having to stay behind with him in order to protect him from the enemy. As they went further into the ship, they found more and more crossed paths, each time splitting into smaller factions as they split up. Dana's group (consisting of her, Louie, and Bowie) was trapped into a small section of the hallway by trapped doors, with Louie's camera and radio no longer sending back information to command. They were able to blast a small passageway into the walls, stepping out on foot to see what they could find. The team heard strange music and followed it to a room full of android parts, where Bowie accidentally fell into a secret passage which took him to the source of the music. Dana and Louie, noting that he was missing and not knowing of the secret door, left the room to look for him elsewhere in the ship.
Dana and Louie were able to retrieve their Hovertanks and eventually found Bowie again, who had just had a run-in with a mysterious green-haired girl. They traveled further into the ship, where they found a small passage-way filled with roman-like architecture and a large group of people, which consisted of many who looked the same. Bowie saw who she thought was the girl, but was surprised to see two of them. At that time, The Masters's soldiers arrived to intercept the group, and Dana ordered them to take off in order to avoid harming innocent civilians.
As they ran, the group eventually met back up with Sean's group, who had not seen conflict or even a sign of the Masters since splitting up from the Squadron. They were also met Angelo's squadron, the final splinter, also arrived, as as they did, a trap was sprung under near them and they all fell far within the ship.
The group found themselves in the garbage compactor of the ship, about to be crushed by the slowly descending ceiling. Despite Louie's insistence that the walls of the room were blast-proof, Dana fired her Hovertank's weapon — the blast bouncing all around the room until eventually hitting the ground below her, opening a hole to the room below and sending her through.
The Squadron continued to fight back to the passage they had come through into fighting off Bioroids and defense systems along the way. As they neared the entrance, they noticed the bodies of the two who they had left behind, killed by the Bioroids. As they left the ship, Dana grabbed a green Bioroid blocking their way, as the group finally reconnected with HQ and she brought the specimen hoe with her. (Masters Saga: "The Trap")
Some days later, Dana and Louie were called in to look at the enemy Mecha in a science ward. Louie was able to piece together some of the controls of the vessel, which reacted to living stimuli. Dana took this to mean that the pilots had to be living, and not android after all. After hearing this theory, Rolf Emerson took her to a debriefing wherein the autopsy of the pilot, who had passed away hours after being removed from his cockpit, was being discussed. The findings had enforced that the being were androids, adapting to environments with more sustainable tissue. Dana still did not believe this and caused a scene, for which she was escorted out of the room.
The Masters sent down a troupe of Bioroids to capture humans from Monument City to test if they were usable as pilots. The 15th Squadron was deployed to fight them off, with Louie and Dana ordering not to aim for the cockpits, but rather the legs, so that they could take another specimen back to HQ. Despite these actions, The Bioroids were able to keep the Squadron behind long enough to return to their shuttle, taking over 200 civilian captives with them. The civilians were listed as casualties in reports, instead of missing. (Masters Saga: "Metal Fire")
to be completed
Third Robotech War
Dana was on Space Station Liberty just prior to the launch of the REF force to take part in the Battle of Reflex Point. By this point, she had built up a reputation for "not talking," and had a hard time coping with others around her. It was on the station that she crossed paths with Rem, along with her sister Maia, just before the planned jump to Earth. When Rem asked if he knew her, Dana remarked "in another lifetime," before moving on. (Robotech: Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles: "The Children of the Shadows")
Behind the Scenes
Dana is the only character in the Robotech Saga to be developed from two separate characters from the original anime series': Komillia Maria Fallyna Jenius from Macross, and Jeanne Fránçaix from Southern Cross.
In the Secondary Canon, it was explained that Max and Miriya had Dana dyed her hair blond to look more human since (according to the novels) there was a lot of hate and distrust towards the Zentraedi after the destruction of the SDF-1 and SDF-2, for this reason several, if not all the Zentraedi joined the Robotech Expeditionary Force. However, in other sources it appears that Dana was born blonde, as seen in Robotech: Love & War.
Dana's hair saw another redesign for her appearance in the comic Robotech: Love & War, where director Tommy Yune decided to tone down her "80's Hair" to make it more feasible more a modern series. This redesign saw Dana have a much more adult look, which still stemmed from her original appearance in the series.
Robotech was her last role. In the article "Do You Remember Robotech", published in the magazine Animerica, series creator Carl Macek stated that he had no idea what had happened to the actress, saying that "she had completely disappeared from the acting community."
In episode 30 of the original Japanese, The Super Dimension Fortress Macross entitled Viva Maria, (or Viva Miriya in the English Robotech), a scene occurs onboard Breetai's ship in which Milia throws Misa a baby Komilla after Misa asks to hold her, Misa barely catching her in the process, to the shock of everyone (except for Max). Max, who is completely unfazed by what Milia has done, says not to worry since Komilia has "a strong skeleton." This scene was almost completely cut from the final release, except for a quick shot of Miriya holding Dana.
The original Japanese version of Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross features full-frontal and often nudity. In many episodes of the show, Jeanne Fránçaix is shown bathing or showering. Various other categories of fan service, such as skirt-shots, are also fairly common within the show. These usually had no bearing on scenes involving the plot, meaning that they could be removed seamlessly when transferred into Robotech. The Robotech Remastered cuts of these stories, however, added back in most the nudity and other questionable moments.