|Rebecca Abrabanel Stearns|
| 1632 series |
POD: May, 1631
1634: The Baltic War
1635: The Eastern Front
1636: The Saxon Uprising
|Type of Appearance:||Direct|
|Nationality:||United States of Europe (born in England)|
|Occupation:||Politician, Diplomat, Broadcaster|
|Parents:||Balthazar Abrabanel (father)|
|Children:|| Sepharad Stearns (daughter)|
Baruch Spinoza (adopted son)
|Relatives:|| Don Francisco Nasi (cousin)|
Uriel Abrabanel (uncle)
|Created by:||Eric Flint|
Rebecca "Becky" Stearns, née Abrabanel, was the daughter of the influential and respected Doctor Balthazar Abrabanel, and one of the most prominent political figures of the United States of Europe during the Thirty Years' War. Part of a Sephardic Jewish family of some note, Rebecca was born in England and raised in Amsterdam. Like her father, she was highly educated, well-read, and fluent in many languages of Northern Europe. These skills helped her assimilate into the time-displaced town of Grantville, where she quickly became an indispensable politician, diplomat, and adviser of the town's head of state, Mike Stearns. She later became his wife.
She and her father first encountered Grantville a matter of hours after its arrival in 1631 Thuringia. Balthazar Abrabanel had been expelled by the Jews of Amsterdam for heresy. Rebecca and her father were on their way to Badenburg, and were being pursued by mercenaries in the employ of Count Tilly. The carriage had four guards. However, when the carriage arrived at a farm house shortly after members of the UMWA dispatched six mercenaries that had been torturing its occupants, the frightened guards fled. Adding to the tension, Balthazar Abrabanel began to have a heart attack.
The carriage was approached by Mike Stearns himself. Rebecca was taken with the level-headed and unpretentious Stearn, whom she was convinced as an hidalgo. While initially puzzled by his accent, she communicated their dire situation. Stearns had Dr. James Nichols (whom Rebecca incorrectly believed was a Moor) tend to her father. Then he led an ambush on Tilly's mercenaries. Rebecca was completely confused by Dr. Nichols' analysis (the late 20th century vocabulary meant nothing to her), could not understand how Stearns had not heard of Count Tilly, and was astonished by the rapid rate of firepower Stearns and his men employed
The battle was short. Those mercenaries who survived fled. Stearns exchanged more words with Rebecca about their respective situations. Stearns informed Rebecca that she and her father were under the protection of the United Mine Workers of America. Rebecca informed Stearns that they were in Germany. Both were baffled by what the other had to say. Rebecca and her father were taken to Grantville.
Rebecca was astonished by everything she saw that day. Her father was stablized by Dr. Nichols. After the town's power grid and phone system were up and running again, Stearns and Rebecca spoke for two hours. In that time, Stearns was able to confirm that the town had been sent to the past. Rebecca easily grasped this possibility. Then Stearns arranged for lodging for Rebecca and her father with Morris and Judith Roth, Grantville's only Jewish couple. When she learned that the Roths were in fact Jewish, and that they did not live in secret, Rebecca was filled with relief.
After Mike Stearns was elected chairman of the Grantville Emergency Committee, he named Rebecca his National Security Advisor, and then in turn explained just what that position entailed. Rebecca provided the Stearns cabinet with valuable 17th century perspectives, explanations, and background politics while performing the occasional delicate task of translating during crucial negotiations.
She also hesitantly realized that she'd fallen in love with Stearns, and after a period of uncertainty, finally committed herself to a relationship with him after the Battle of the Crapper. Thus, she was privy to Stearns's early plans to make Grantville a more open entity. When Jeff Higgins announced to the committee that he'd just proposed to refugee Gretchen Richter, Stearns had Rebecca explain the Spanish concept of limpieza, and how Grantville could opt for that model, or a model much closer to the original USA. Realizing what they preferred, the committee gave its blessing to the marriage, and even teased Higgins on his using a dictionary to propose.
Hours later, Mike asked Rebecca to marry him, and she accepted. Her star was already on the rise, and she came to be "Becky" to the larger population of Grantville.
On September 10, 1631, Rebecca began a series of television shows. In her first broadcast, she made little use of the script, finally doing away with pretence altogether, and officially supported Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden on the eve of the Battle of Breitenfeld.
In October, Rebecca participated in what turned out to be the Emergency Committee's last meeting before the constitutional convention. Her rather level-headed (if surprisingly profane) assessment of several issues helped break one or two impasses, bringing the convention to a successful conclusion.
Rebecca also granted Stearns and the town access to her extended family, many whom were powerful financiers in various places throughout Europe. From this, Grantville gained another ally, Don Francisco Nasi, a man with some pull in the Ottoman Empire, who brought the full weight of the Turkish branch of the Abrabanels to Grantville's aid, and even decided to stay in Grantville himself. His only condition for all of this was that Stearns and Rebecca set a wedding date.
The couple ultimately agreed, although Stearns mandated the wedding come after the elections, to allow Rebecca an opportunity to attain office under her own name.
Rebecca became the first Senator of the New United States in 1631. For a time, she was the only senator, as the NUS's Constitution called for one senator from every state, but at the time of the election, Grantville was the only state.
Rebecca and Mike married in January, 1632. Rebecca was pregnant by April.
Envoy to Gustavus AdolphusEdit
In April, 1632, Gustavus Adolphus requested a meeting with these fabled Americans. Rebecca agreed to lead an embassy consisting of herself, Tom and Rita Simpson, Ed Piazza, and Julie Sims (who'd just agreed to marry Alexander Mackay). Part of the mission was to assure Gustavus the reports he'd heard were true. The other part was to show that the Americans were not witches, or any other sort of threat. Despite some uneasiness, Mike Stearns agreed to the mission.
Gustavus was impressed by the general sharp wits of those present, particularly Stearns, and was even more impressed when he learned that she was part of the Abrabanel family.
The meeting essentially produced the first formal alliance between Sweden and the NUS. Rebecca addressed Gustavus's concerns about a state without a formal church by opening the doors to all troublesome minorities.
Next, Wilhelm of Saxe-Weimar joined the meeting. Wilhelm opted to side-step the issue of the NUS taking possession of his territory in Thuringia for the time being, as it would cause conflict among the allies. He was pleased to learn that none of his people starved, and in fact appeared to have thrived. So long as the NUS refused to do anything that would call for Wilhelm to defend his rights, the matter could bide.
Finally, after artillery commander Lennart Torstensson inspected a shipment of firearms the Americans had brought, the delegation explained that they could supply firearms that, while not exactly like those of the world they'd left, were still quite a bit better than anything produced in the present. They agreed to become Gustavus's arsenal. They also offered loans to finance Gustavus's war.
With that, Gustavus began a move against Count Tilly, who'd made camp two miles away.
The alliance made, Stearns and the embassy returned home.
Rebecca was in Grantville when Croat raiders in the pay of Albrecht von Wallenstein attacked. The bulk of the NUS military had been called to Suhl and Eisenach. Rebecca herself nearly became the first victim of the Croats, but for the shotgun she carried and the timely arrival of Jeff Higgins. They then regrouped at Grantville High School, where Rebecca helped coordinate the defense of the town with Police Chief Dan Frost.
For the most part, Rebecca stayed out of the way of the defenders during the actual battle, and was surprised to see that Gustavus Adolphus, in his guise of "Captain Gars", had come to the town's rescue.