Maximillian Sterling was one of the first of the many young men from Macross City to enlist in the Robotech Defense Force after the Zentraedi attack on Earth. Max was preternaturally talented with near-perfect fighting judgment. When the war-lord Khyron told the pilot Miriya that there was one pilot on the Earth forces who could beat even her, Miriya interpreted his meaning to be towards Max, going as far as to become a spy on the SDF-1 so to finally best him in a competition. Miriya soon feel in love with the pilot and they were soon wed on the ship -- a notable point in the history of Human-Zentraedi relations.
When Max was young, he lost both of his parents due to an unknown cause. They were buried together. (Love & War: Part 4) Max held an interested in aviation and techniques therein, knowing well of Rick Hunter and Roy Fokker from flight competitions. (Love & War: Part 1) Max had a masterpiece model of the experimental Veritech Jet, which was broken by Max's friend Ben Dixon, who refused having done so for many years. (Robotech/Voltron: 1)
In 2009, Max visited with his friend Ben Dixon, who lived on Macross Island to see the lift-off of the SDF-1. (Love & War: Part 1) While there, he suggested that he and Ben go to check-out the air-show which was occurring below the fortress. (Robotech/Voltron: 1) There, they witnessed the arrival of the Mockingbird to the island, with Rick Hunter on-board.
While checking out the fighters on the base, Max and Ben talked about what life would be like after the ship left. Max worried that since most of the economy on the island was dependent on the military that there would be great troubles after the ship left. Their conversation was interrupted by the SDF-1's main canons, which opened up and fired at the sky. Moments later, a red alert was announced as an unknown threat began attacking the aliens. All citizens were called to retreat to the shelters. Ben believed that the enemy were Anti-Unification Terrorists, but Max didn't agree, as the attacks were coming from above. (Love & War: Part 1)
A Timeline Reversed
Max and Ben ran to the shelters as fast as they could, still in the way of enemy fire and explosions when the SDF-1 had taken off from the Island. The pair took cover next to a tank, as an item from above crashed into the ground next to them. Max, highly curious, took a peek at the crater that had been created by the object, which held a large Lion mecha. As the pair looked on in awe at the giant beast, a series of helicopters surrounded the area. A man stepped out of one of them, exclaiming himself to be Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Riley Edwards, and took them into custody as witnesses of a site of military importance. (Robotech/Voltron: 1)
While being kept in military confinement, Max met the pilots of the other Lion Mech which had crash-landed on the Island; Lance, Pidge, and Hunk. The pilot of the Black mecha which Max and Ben had seen was comatose at the time and would be for five years. After being let out, Max kept in contact with the team and updated them on findings and events.
Max and Ben learned that the Lion which had appeared on Macross Island had come from a mysterious Omega Comet. After appearing from the Comet, the Mecha had destroyed the alien fleet which had approached Earth: but as the SDF-1 had also disappeared during the threat the Earth was left defenseless at the hands of any more aliens which might come to the Earth.
After being released, Max and Ben joined the Robotech Defense Force, training to be pilots of the few remaining Veritech fighters left on the planet. The pair officially joined Skull Squadron, Max becoming Skull Two and Ben taking the title of Skull Three. In 2014, Zentraedi Mecha returned to the planet, and Captain Roy Fokker returned to the island to help defend it. The trio were able to fight off many of the Battlepods, but Ben was shot down and had to leave the conflict. (Robotech/Voltron: 2)
The Voltron team, alongside Roy, was able to find the Omega comet and disrupt its outer rings. Doing so reverted the Force back to their universe and the SDF-1 back to it's universe. It also set time and events back to 2009, changing history slightly enough to cause completely different events. (Robotech/Voltron: 5) While Ben was placed at the back under the SDF-1 before it launched, Max was placed deep within the Veritech-Battlepod conflict. Neither had memories of the reverted timeline. (Love & War: Part 1)
Back on Script
Exploring the city being attacked by the enemy, Max came under direct danger when an enemy Fighter Pod crashed near him a 50-foot Zentraedi emerged. Max was saved by a Veritech fighter piloted by Jonathan Wolfe, which shot down the giant. Wolfe picked Sterling up and placed him in the back of his fighter. After seeing that the SDF-1 was taking off, Wolfe insisted on returning to the ship in time for the "countdown." After successfully making it to the space fortress, a Space Fold was started by the ship. (Love & War: Part 1) The fold was meant to take the ship to the Earth's moon, but ended up expanding to also take Macross Island as far as the Planet Pluto. (Macross Saga: "Space Fold")
With the citizens of Macross Island stranded in space, the city was reconstructed onboard the SDF-1, where Max and Ben attempted to continue their lives. The pair would often visit the Game Center in the city. Max was highly skilled at the games available there, and would often grow a crowd during his performances. On one occasion, the tried to the Center was interrupted when a Zentraedi attack broke out outside the ship. Instead of going to the shelters, the pair instead went to view the battle from within the ship. Both Max and Ben agreed that, despite being on a city reconstructed in space, they had been experiencing an extraordinarily boring lifestyle after the fold to Pluto -- envying those who were in the battle. The pair decided to enlist in the RDF, meeting with an official shortly after the discussion. (Love & War: Part 2)
Several months after their training, Max made a promise to Ben's mother to ensure his safety.
First Robotech War
He was assigned to Rick Hunter's Vermillion attack squad and quickly distinguishes himself in battle. Unfortunately, he distinguished himself a bit too well. He defeated Miriya, a Zentraedi combat ace. Revenge became her obsession. Max, unaware of who Miriya is, ran into her in a video arcade challenge. Once again, Max beat her and because of his skills, Miriya assumed that he was the pilot. As she stormed off in anger, Max grabbed her wrist and asked her on a date. She accepted and plotted to kill him. But she failed the assassination and begged Max to kill her. Max couldn't and put his finger under her chin. He then said he couldn't harm her because she is "so beautiful." Miriya suddenly falls in love with Max, and they passionately kissed. Max asked her to marry him, and she accepted.
They used the same knives they used to try to kill each other with for cutting the Cake at the ceremony attended by all their friends and was broadcasted on tv across the SDF-1. The wedding is the first symbol of peace and understanding between the two races.
Later, he was put in various commands under Rick Hunter (Black Group, Vermillion Team, and Skull Squadron).
After the First Robotech War
Soon after the end of the war, Max and Miriya had a daughter, Dana Sterling. He, alongside his wife, continued to work for the RDF; protecting towns and cities from the Malcontent Zentraedi and participating in the Battle of New Macross City.
Pioneer ExpeditionHe was Rick Hunter's top advisor and friend on the SDF-3 before it departed from Earth, leaving Dana, his daughter, in the care of his friend and Southern Cross chief-of-staff, Rolf Emerson, on Earth alongside Bowie Grant.
The Third Robotech War
Behind the scenes