Backstory

May. 26th, 2010 02:47 pm
takemebacktothestart: (pulling the puzzles apart)
[personal profile] takemebacktothestart
Personal History:

Camilla Erato Ostermeyer was born to Dorian Ostermeyer and Magdalene "Maggie" Ostermeyer (nee Smythe-Craighton) at a private clinic in the Hamptons, New York. Her birthdate is July 14, making her a Cancer in traditonal Western astrology. She was raised in suburban Massachusetts. She is an only child.

Dorian Ostermeyer was a withdrawn, pensive and often moody poet. He was considered moderately successful and accomplished; though not world famous he would be well-known in poetic circles. Maggie Ostermeyer had a background in physics and mathematics and in graduate school had done what was considered some brilliant work, but she was less interested in a serious career in research and more interested in "cashing in" on her education by becoming a "pop scientist" - doing book tours and becoming a high-profile television "expert", attending parties and living a glamorous, public life. She was constantly in the eye of the media during her life but in the years following her death memory of her has faded completely. As a couple Dorian and Maggie were never very stable - they lived seperate lives and openly sneered at each others' interests, and while Camilla herself is unsure if her mother was ever actually unfaithful Maggie certainly acted in a promiscious manner in public. The Ostermeyers were considered nouveau riche; while not fabulously wealthy Camilla had a well-off childhood and never wanted for anything.

She attended private Catholic school until she was 11. In 5th grade, her parents divorced and as part of their joint custody agreement her father insisted she be transferred to a secular private school. Dorian was an atheist, Maggie considered herself religious because she believed atheism to be "unfashionable"; Camilla herself believes strongly in God and tenatively in some form of afterlife but does not subscribe to any organized religion. She is not an official member of the Catholic Church, as she was baptized and recieved First Communion but has never participated in the sacrament of Confirmation. She makes it a habit to visit church once or twice a year and has been known to pray for strength in times of crisis.

Camilla never had a very close relationship with either of her parents. Her mother died of alcohol-related liver disease when she was in high school. In the years following his ex-wife's death Dorian became increasingly detached from his daughter; by the time she completed her graduate degree it was to the point where he did not attend the ceremony. They are currently estranged. Camilla never knew any of her grandparents, as Dorian was orphaned and raised a ward of the state and Maggie's parents were both dead by the time Camilla was born.

Camilla gets her quiet, more serious nature from her father and her interest in the sciences from her mother. While always a studious somewhat closed-off individual, she was never particularly shy or antisocial. She has a deep-seated compassion for others balanced by a reasoned and orderly mind. Most of her life she enjoyed several passive hobbies such as reading and ballroom dancing, was very active in the scientific field and did some world traveling related to her research. She likes slower more melodic music, preferably without lyrics - her favorite type is jazz, which she often has playing in her laboratory when she's trying to concentrate on her work. She prefers a healthy balanced diet of mostly light organic foods, and she almost never drank although she could be convinced into enjoying champagne or a cocktail at parties, and occasionally took a glass of red wine with her dinner; after her diagnosis she now never drinks at all.

In her private life Camilla tends more towards small intimate circles of friends and long term, slow paced relationships. She briefly dated a member of the Deaf community in the years immediately following her doctoral graduation. Some time after that she was engaged to another man, a reporter, for about a year but the relationship was eventually broken off when they decided they weren't compatible in the long-term. Intially Camilla and her former fiance maintained a friendship, but Camilla drifted apart from him and just about all of her other friends following her diagnosis when she became solely fixated on her work.

She identifies as heterosexual and is attracted solely to men, but she has no bias or stigma against homosexuality. The closest she ever came to a same-sex relationship personally was during her time as an undergraduate, when the female graduate student acting as her supervisor on an internship position clearly was attracted to her and often acted in a flirtacious manner. Since it was harmless and never effected their work, Camilla never actively discouraged or encouraged the other woman and saw no need to report it.

Camilla's relationships tend to follow the theory of opposites attracting - she tends to be drawn to people who are outgoing, active and lively in contradiction to her more quiet nature. She appreciates humor and intelligence, but as a habit rarely dates other members of the scientific community.

In regards to her terminal status Camilla quickly came to accept it and is now mainly focused on completing as much of her work as possible in the limited amount of time she has. She is not secretive about her condition, partially because it affects so much of her life and would be difficult to hide. Although she does not mention it right away upon meeting a person once it comes up she is very calm and straightforward about it, having no problem sharing the information. She is estimated to have about five years left to live but typically she tells people she has three (closer to two and a half now), because the limited quality of life she'll likely have in the last one or two years causes her to discount them mentally.

Her phobia of germs is not necessary to the point where it impacts her daily life, though she prefers to keep things sterile and ordered especially in her work environment. The most notable symptom of her fear occurs if she finds herself around someone who is actively ill, such as someone with a cold - she will put space between and avoid them instantly, expressing an obvious panic at the thought of catching their sickness.

Currently Camilla is unattached romantically and intends to remain that way. Her closest relationship is with Justin Hammer, a natural result of the amount of time they spend together as part of her research, but she also has strong ties to Tony Stark, Pepper Potts and Lt. Colonel James Rhodes. She also maintains a long distance friendship in which she frequently exchanges emails with Dr. Hank McCoy of the Xavier Institute, who she met when he was working as a consultant for the Avengers Initiative. She has a casual connection to Janet van Dyne who finds Camilla a good listener for occasional venting, and who makes attempts to draw Camilla out more socially with varied levels of success.

Work History:

Camilla exclusively attended co-ed private schools for her primary education. Because of her determined nature and eagerness to learn, especially with regards to the sciences, she was always near the top of her class; by junior high she was a straight A student, graduating salutatorian from high school and summa cum laude from college. She was an undergraduate at the Georgia Institute of Technology where she studied both biomedical and mechanical engineering. She recieved her PhD from Harvard. Her graduate work background is in engineering and medical anthropology.

During the length of her career Camilla has always been interested in prosthetics and the study of those with physical disabilities and other limiting medical conditions, most of her work involved with improving technologies and alleviating difficulty and suffering. She has always maintained a focus on scientific research, primarily in the lab but also in the field.

Her first job following the completion of her doctorate was at a non-profit organization interested in the development of more advanced cochlear implants for the deaf.

One of her more major research projects was a study on the prevelance and effects of physical disablities in impoverished societies, specifically polio and spina bifida. For this she spent a period of time traveling to observe and attempt to help native peoples in the Central and South Americas and also Africa.

Because of these experiences, in addition to English she speaks Spanish with moderate proficiency, and knows several basic phrases from a few different African dialects. She is also semi-fluent in American Sign Language.

Almost immediately following her terminal diagnosis, Camilla became focused on the idea of developing advanced cybernetic prosthesis as a replacement for people whose own bodies had failed them. Though she knew it would be unlikely at best she would come anywhere close to successfully achieving such a thing fully in her time, she was devoted to doing as much as she could to lay groundwork for the future.

In the first year of her work she was able to make leaps and bounds in the technology, as well as developing several theoretical prototypes. She was funded by a variety of biotech, medical and engineering companies, who were all taking the developments she made and reapplying them in other areas.

At this point she was approached by a small branch of the American military, who offered her a position as head scientist on a project to develop a living cybernetic weapon. Despite the vast difference in the project's goals and her own Camilla knew it was likely the only way to get access to funding and resources at such a level and so accepted the position.

The project was given the codename Deus Ex Machina, carried out in a secret underground facility in the Nevada desert. After a few months of prep work, she was given Justin Hammer as an involuntary test subject. Dr. Ostermeyer continued her work on Hammer's cybernetic body for about seven months, trying to improve both human-like appearance and sensation, even as she constantly came into conflict with the military's intentions.

Following the reveal of the project to SHIELD and the Avengers Initiative the military deemed Deus Ex Machina a failure and chose to dismantle it. Tony Stark purchased the "prototype" and hired Ostermeyer away from her government contract to continue her work, the project now tailored to her desired goals and renamed Second Life. She has currently been working for Stark Industries now for five months.

Dr. Camilla Ostermeyer is considered an expert at the top of the field of cybernetics and just about anything related to biomedics and biotechnical engineering. She is fundamentally familiar with the basics of all major sciences, enough to hold a serious conversation, but she rarely branches outside her portfolio in her actual work. She has some background in biology and computer programming and thus knows more than a layperson but her focus has always been more suited to robotics, mechanics and hardware.

Her belief has always been that the goal of science is to help and better mankind. Though she does take some pleasure in learning and developing for the sake of knowledge her eye is always to how that knowledge can be applied. Her moral code generally follows the idea of "doing no harm" as a medical professional would but she also believes in a greater good and end goals that can justify certain extremes, occasionally shocking her contemporaries with how far she's willing to go.

She believes in never becoming too involved with her work personally, as it would cross the line. Though obviously her intent on developing cybernetic replacements for terminal patients is important to her for more personal reasons, even if it were possible to transfer her own brain to a new body in this manner she would refuse, because she believes that would compromise her ethics.

She is opposed to the idea of creating artifical sentience. She would never work on anything involving AI and while she accepts "thinking" programs and machines that perform within set parameters (such as JARVIS) - as these technically do not have full autonomy but are still operating within a set of directives albeit advanced ones - she always makes the distinction of referring to them as "it". Her disapproval comes from both the belief that only God should be capable of bestowing free will and a reasoned assessment that the advent of machines capable of thought means nothing good for mankind.

Though she has no real opinions on war or politics she expresses a professional dislike of actual scientists who concern themselves with the development of weapons. This dislike has increased following her experiences with the military and project Deus Ex Machina. She only maintains this opinion with those who are actual members of the scientific field, however; she has no bias at all against members of the military or civilian/corporate inventors, as they're just following their occupations.

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Camilla Ostermeyer

July 2016

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