Turtledove
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Sterba
Fictional Character
Chicxulub Asteroid Missed
POD: 66 million years ago
Appearance(s): "Bonehunters"
Type of Appearance: Direct
Nationality: Unnamed
Species: Greenskin
Religion: Polytheist
Occupation: Paleontologist

Sterba worked for Trinka, a paleontologist from back East.[1] As paleontology was a new field, Trinka was in competition with another scientist named Ontinil. Both scientists hated each other; Ontinil delighted in telling people about how Trinka once place an ancient plessy skull on the tail of the skeleton, rather than on its neck.[2] However, Trinka's greatest sin was to route a shipment of Ontinil's fossils to Trinka's college.[3]

Sterba was part of Trinka's dig in the Badlands at the same time Ontinil began his own expedition. While Trinka had secured permission to dig from Jawj, commander of Fort Ironclaw. However, he did not secure permission from Red Cloud, the native king of the region, whereas Ontinil had.[4] One day while Sterba was digging, he encountered Rekek, one of Ontinil's guides. Sterba confirmed that Trinka did not have Red Cloud's permission to be there. When Sterba protested that they had permission from Fort Ironclaw, Rekek reminded Sterba how little that mattered, and that without Red Cloud's permission, Trinka's presence might start a war. Sterba said he'd share this with Trinka.[5] Red Cloud already knew about Trinka's expedition.

The next day Red Cloud and his fighters confronted Trinka and Sterba. Red Cloud's fighters seized the bones Trinka had recovered, and gave them to Ontinil, and most of their firearms and ammunition. When Trinka protested, Red Cloud informed Trinka that if they protested, his men would kill the intruders. Trinka, Sterba, and their people returned to Fort Iron Claw before the day was over.[6]

Literary comment[]

Sterba is based on paleontologist Charles Hazelius Sternberg (1850-1943) and his similar role in Edward Drinker Cope's expeditions.

References[]

  1. Analog, May/June 2019, Vol. CXXXIX, nos. 5 & 6, pg. 13.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid. pg. 21.
  4. Ibid., pgs. 20-21.
  5. Ibid., pgs. 20-21.
  6. Ibid., pgs. 24-25.
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