First Appearance: September, 1991
Mindy Westerberg is a humanoid female 6'1" tall and weighing approximately 160 pounds. She has naturally curly auburn hair, and brown eyes. She somewhat resembles actress Geena Davis, though she is somewhat younger and taller. She has noticeable scars on her throat, right knee, and left forearm, as well as one on her scalp generally hidden by her hair, all from childhood injuries.
Mindy usually wears a white lab coat when working, but otherwise has no standard uniform. She favors very casual clothing, with little regard for style, though she owns and wears dressier professional suits and dresses for special occasions justifying them.
Mindy was born November 6, 1963, in Ojai, CA. An identical twin was stillborn, and Mindy remained the only child of parents Stewart and Sharon. She grew up in what was considered a "bohemian" household, and attended Montessori schools through the middle school level. Her father worked various craftsman and "handyman" jobs. Her mother, unusually tall, thrice previously married, and a locally known artist and poet, tended to evoke strong responses in acquaintances, ranging from "charismatic" to "exasperating".
Mindy experienced numerous accidents and illnesses in her childhood, to which her own inquisitiveness and some measure of parental neglect contributed. Most notably, a throat injury sustained in a fall from an upper story window as a toddler was a factor in her not speaking until age 5, and repeated bouts with chronic spinal meningitis had her in and out of the hospital from age 4 to 9. It has been speculated that one or more of these traumas may have in some way triggered her startling intellectual development. True or not, by age 10, Mindy had begun keeping extensive, if not especially orderly, journals of her studies and experiences. At age 14 her parents, though non-observant Jews, enrolled her in a Catholic high school for reasons not entirely known. Mindy herself feels that her mother viewed it as a sort of test, which she "passed" when repeated arguments over doctrinal matters resulted in her expulsion. Her remaining pre-collegiate education was mostly self-directed.
Enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, Mindy at first felt comfortable in "counterculture" social circles similar to those her mother frequented. Soon, however, she became disillusioned with what she saw as a stifling environment of what would come to be known as Political Correctness. Within a year she had obtained a scholarship and transferred to Caltech. Four years later she graduated as Caltech's first sextuple major, and received a substantial DARPA graduate research grant. This and subsequent defense work have been a source of enormous friction between Mindy and her mother. On her infrequent visits home, Mindy has adopted a policy of not discussing her work at all, but any conversation with her mother still tends to involve unpleasant episodes of political sniping.
While Mindy found her post-graduate professional life to be fulfilling, its unconventional course eventually posed difficulties. While ravenously inquisitive and an aggressive problem-solver, she seldom shows much enthusiasm for reporting her findings in a useful form -- she continues to this day to produce voluminous journals incoherent to anyone but herself, and is "ABT" or "ABD" (All But Thesis or All But Dissertation) on over a dozen Master's Degrees and four Doctorates at several universities. Her lack of formal credentials came to pose an obstacle to acquiring further research funding, and while various companies would likely have offered her research positions, they would also have restricted the focus of her work to areas they considered profitable.
In 1991, as the ending of the Cold War shrank the funding and authority of the FSAB, System Four recognized a need for dedicated in-house research staff to develop needed equipment. The mad scramble to produce a particle beam weapon to use against the Algolian Space Vampires in in that year especially drove this point home. Answering an ad in an academic periodical, Mindy interviewed for the position, and System Four quickly recognized that her unconventional talents and personality would be a good fit for their unconventional needs.
Mindy worked with System Four for only a few months before the group departed on their extended mission to the Space Opera Universe to stop a series of trans-dimensional invasions by the Dark Fold, leaving behind a particularly bitter Anastasia Doom. Mindy, who tends to self-identify as an "outsider" despite being quite effectively, if quirkily, socially adept, reached out in friendship to Ms. Doom.
Events soon required the two to work together. System Four had planned poorly (that is, not at all) for their extended absence, which was complicated by the complete disbanding of the FSAB and a halt in installment payments by Kuwait for the group's work in extinguishing oil field fires after Operation: Desert Storm. Mindy and Anastasia worked together to maintain a presence for System Four, managing the moving of vital equipment and records, including the PsiPlane, to temporary warehousing at the Philadelphia Navy Yard when the group was evicted from its headquarters in Liberty One. They further assembled a group of superheroines (Shockwave, Athena, and Doppleganger) who began operating in the Philadelphia area. Along with Russian superheroine Plamya, they took over defending the city and the world under the no longer technically accurate name of System Four. Using funds acquired from the sale of advanced technologies to public companies under plans originally developed with Psion, Mindy acquired a lease on a number of penthouses in Philadelphia's Drake Building to establish a new headquarters. She then supervised the necessary renovations to the facility, and developed security systems for it.
After an attack on the Drake Building headquarters and reorganization of the System Fours into System 4ce, Mindy worked with Psion on projects vital to establishing XTS Firehawk as the new group's new headquarters. This included reverse engineering components from the wrecked Adventurer III Warp Shuttle and developing means to employ them sometimes far removed from their original purpose. She continues to work on a dizzying variety of personal and group projects from the advanced lab facilities on the Firehawk, while always remaining ready to drop everything for the next urgent project vital to the fate of mankind.
Mindy's intelligence is classed as unmeasureable by conventional testing systems, which are not considered to produce meaningful scores above a 200 IQ. No associated genetic markers/mutations have been identified, though a brain scan has indicated highly elevated cerebral activity. Mindy shows uncharacteristically little interest in investigating the processes underlying her intellectual prowess, citing how "Wile E. Coyote only falls after he looks down".
Mindy reads Spanish, Portugese, French, Italian, Romanian, German, Dutch, Polish, and Russian fluently, though she speaks all with a heavy American accent and numerous idiosyncratic pronunciations which, coupled with her habit of speaking very quickly in any language, make her intelligibility spotty at best. She has some facility with written Hindi, Japanese, and Pinyin, but can rarely be understood when speaking them.
Mindy is an advanced practitioner of Tai Chi and associated self-defense techniques.
Inventions and Discoveries
Gravitic Tunnel Drives
Hydrodynamic Performance Enhancement (HYPE)