|Rita Stearns Simpson|
| 1632 series |
POD: May, 1631
1634: The Baltic War
1635: The Cannon Law
Ring of Fire III
1635: The Papal Stakes'
|Type of Appearance:||Direct|
|Nationality:||United States of Europe ( in the United States of America)|
|Date of Birth:||1978|
|Spouse:||Tom Simpson (husband)|
|Relatives:||Mike Stearns (brother)|
|Created by:||Eric Flint|
Rita Simpson was Mike Stearns's younger sister, and Tom Simpson's wife. Although Mike and Tom were already good friends, Tom's parents John and Mary had made their disapproval of Rita clear. Additionally, the Ring of Fire came during their wedding reception in 2000, transferring the whole town of Grantville to 1631 Germany.
Envoy to Gustavus AdolphusEdit
In April, 1632, Gustavus Adolphus requested a meeting with these fabled Americans. Rebecca Abrabanel, now Rebecca Stearns, agreed to lead an embassy. Rita and Tom were also selected to go, as were 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 (Rebecca was pregnant), Mike Stearns agreed to the mission.
Tom and Rita were present for the actual diplomacy and establishment of an alliance between Gustavus and the NUS. The next day, the Simpsons acted as observers at the Battle of Rain, where Lennart Torstensson used American artillery to great effect.
Although Rita's primary focus early on was putting her far-more advanced medical training to good use in the past, her relationship to Mike Stearns, the president of the New United States, opened the door to a diplomatic position. At that time, the position of "professional diplomat" did not exist and such roles were generally filled by a relation of the "ruler". As Mike's sister, Rita became the obvious choice to act as an ambassador. In 1633, she agreed to be the figurehead of an embassy to the court of Charles I of England, with Melissa Mailey calling the political shots. Tom accompanied Rita on the mission to London.
Without even meeting them, Charles I placed them under house arrest, confining the party to the Tower of London. Trapped, Rita returned to her forte, providing medical care for the guards, prisoners and families in the tower, earning their loyalty in the process. After nine months in captivity, the group was rescued in 1634 Harry Lefferts' commando team. They traveled to the Netherlands alongside Prime Minister of the USE, Mike Stearns.