Captain Genevieve Sparling
Genevieve Sparling

Born: 12 May, 1869
Occupation: Airship Captain
Nationality: England
Height: 5' 9"
Hair Color: Brunette
Eye Color: Brown

Player: Hannah
Issue: Independent businesswoman in a time of war
Edge: Business Sense
Connection: Pavel Baronov, a provisioner
Season 1 Screen Presence: 1 2 1 1 2 3 1 1 2
Season 2 Screen Presence: 1 1 1 1 2 2 3 2 2

Captain Genevieve Sparling makes her living (or tries to, at any rate) by transporting cargo in the Aether, an airship she inherited from her father. This occupation is rendered more difficult thanks to her intense aversion to the Enlightenment and her history with the Russian resistance movement known as Gorlovich's Ring.

The Air Commodore's Daughter

Genevieve was the only child of Air Commodore Frederick Sparling and his wife Madeleine. Commodore Sparling demonstrated remarkable skill during the early stages of the war, and upon his retirement the European Enlightenment Aerosphere Armada presented him with the airship that had served him so well in battle.

By this time, however, Sparling's views on the war had changed; he no longer supported the desperate measures the Enlightenment took to insure superiority, particularly its new mandatory procreation and surgical augmentation programs, which he viewed as "meddling." Sparling spent a small fortune to refit the airship until it could no longer be recognized as a tool of war, and changed its designation from an identification number back to the rather more romantic Aether, the ship's original name before it was commandeered from civilian Wilson Snyder. He then set about recovering his investment by carrying shipments throughout Europe, returning home to Brighton only rarely.

Sparling took several months off when he found that his young wife Madeleine was with child. Madeleine died in childbirth, and even as he mourned her, Sparling devoted himself fully to his daughter. He sold the Brighton estate and invested the money in Genevieve's name, then hired a nursemaid to serve on the Aether. After three years he replaced the nursemaid with a tutor, and his daughter's aerial education began.

Life on the Aether

Throughout her formative years, Genevieve lived a life that was paradoxically both sheltered and nomadic. While she had seen more of the world before the age of ten than most people glimpsed in a lifetime, she rarely left her airborne home due to her father's fierce protectiveness.

As a child Genevieve was quiet and withdrawn, but when pressed she displayed strong opinions (often inherited from her father) and adamantine will. She spent much of her time on the Aether's observation deck, bundled in the oversized military coat and pashmina her father had acquired for her on one of his journeys.

By the time she was twelve, Genevieve had exhausted the patience of three different tutors. Each of them informed the captain that Genevieve was a most intractable pupil, particularly when it came to matters of geography. She relentlessly insisted that their lessons were outdated, that she had seen the places they tried to describe firsthand, and they were nothing like the pedagogues' account. When the third and final instructor left in a state of distress after Genevieve attempted to correct his textbooks, Captain Sparling decided it was time to make his daughter a full crewmember.

For the next six years, Genevieve was in charge of cataloging the ship's cargo on every consignment. She developed quite the knack for it, and was soon itemizing large amounts of merchandise entirely by memory. In addition, she became quite proficient with triangulating the Aether's courses, a task the captain usually performed himself. Frederick Sparling was well pleased to see his daughter so thoroughly preparing herself to run the business he had started. However, Sparling and his daughter were to part ways shortly after her eighteenth birthday, and she would not see her father alive again.

In Gorlovich's Ring

While taking an account of the ship's inventory in St. Petersburg, Genevieve unexpectedly met Pavel Baronov, an insurrectionist to whom she took an immediate liking… though the feeling was far from mutual. Baronov had no choice but to bring her to the hidden command post of Gorlovich's Ring, where Genevieve offered the services of the Aether to Sergei Gorlovich. Upon returning to the airship, she told Captain Sparling that the resistance needed their help. Her father would hear none of it - he reminded Genevieve that he was no friend to the Enlightenment, but there were ways to dissent without putting oneself in mortal danger. The argument drove a wedge between them, and on the night the airship was to leave the city Genevieve gathered up a few possessions and left the Aether.

To Genevieve's relief, Gorlovich did not turn her away after she failed to deliver on her commitment. Instead - and this delighted her to no end - the resistance leader assigned her to be trained by Baronov (who was a staunch opponent of the idea) as a dispatch courier. From Pavel, Genevieve learned tactics of subversion and stealth that would serve her well later. As her position in the Ring grew more integral, she helped devise several plans to chip away at the foundation of the Enlightenment's control. In the Ring Genevieve found a kinship she had never before experienced, the kind of bond that can only come from implicit trust. Before long these severe, vodka-swilling rebels came to accept her as one of their own.

But the lifespan of a freedom fighter is short, and within eighteen months Genevieve had come into possession of a dispatch which attracted the attention of some very powerful and dangerous people, among them a Gentleman in Black who nearly apprehended her. The envelope she would carry for the next decade was a harbinger of doom, and the same day Genevieve was to carry the dispatch with Pavel to Vladivostok, a traitor led the Enlightenment to the command post. Gorlovich's Ring was scattered, Sergei was killed while helping his comrades escape, and the surviving members were predictably distrustful of each other.

Becoming the Captain

Genevieve found herself alone for the first time, and she took refuge in a safehouse while she tried to determine how to proceed. The envelope with the ominous document inside stayed with her at all times, usually in an inner pocket of her waistcoat, just as Pavel had taught her.

As if losing her surrogate family was not enough, she soon received word that her father had died of heart failure in Prague. She slipped out of the city and went to meet the Aether there. Upon arriving she dismissed all but one of the crew, as she was disinclined to take over the job of captain when she knew her father's employees would compare her (consciously or not) to Frederick Sparling. She was compelled, however, to retain Felix Cleary, a young man her father had hired as navigator in her absence. Genevieve felt something of a rapport with Felix, and apart from the Aether itself, he was her last link to her father.

The Aether's first shipment under its new captain was an urn carrying Air Commodore Frederick Sparling's ashes, which were scattered over the North Sea. Then, determined to maintain her father's legacy, Captain Genevieve Sparling began to assemble her new crew. She knew that as long as the envelope and its cyphered contents remained in her possession, the Enlightenment would keep hunting her, and the sky would be her only refuge.

While this hindrance would rattle many entrepreneurs, Captain Sparling saw it as an opportunity. By traveling outside of the Enlightenment's sphere of influence with regard to aerial transportation, she could seek crewmembers others would consider dodgy (but who showed prowess beyond that of the usual applicants who would respond to posted employment bulletins) and more profitable cargo. At last she could combine her two worlds: the constant peregrination she'd known from birth with the rush of open dissent against the Enlightenment. This was the life for which she was born, and she loved every minute of it.

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