Dr. Skylar Raisch
Skylar looks taller than she is (about 5’ 8") due to her lanky build. She is a blue-eyed Caucasian with light blond hair. She typically wears a top hat, regardless of whatever else she is wearing.
As a human, Skylar picked up degrees in physics. She vacationed in Anchorage, liked it, and became an assistant professor and UAA before being Embraced by Preston Loeb a little over a year ago. She regards the paranormal as a legitimate focus of scientific inquiry and believes in The Singularity if she believes in anything.
Details (not player knowledge)
Skylar’s parents, Susan Taylor Lanz-Derderian and Dr. Timothy Barton Derderian were rebels, each in their own way. The Lanzes (Pennsylvania) were impoverished artistes, while in New York the Derderian men all did “something in finance” and their wives volunteered with all the right charities. Taylor (she didn’t like her first name) met Tim after she won a scholarship to the same university he attended as a legacy student. (This may not have been an Ivy League school but was probably no more than one tier down from the Ivy League). Taylor went into law and married Tim in defiance of her family’s belief that wealth = moral bankruptcy. Tim went into the study of ecology (later eco-anthropology) and married Taylor in defiance of his family’s similar belief about the middle and lower classes. They ended up living in Baltimore, MD.
When it seemed Taylor and Tim couldn’t have kids, they entered into a private adoption agreement with a pregnant undergraduate and her fiance. That baby, Skylar’s sister Sloane Angela Lanz, was born 28Jan86—and then Skylar was born 19Aug86. Finally, Shannon Gerard Derderian was born 07Jul87. Sloane’s bio-parents live somewhere in the American South. As per the original agreement, Sloane always knew she was adopted but didn’t meet her bio-family until after she turned 18.
Skylar and Sloane started school together, in late Aug ‘91. However, during their school careers Skyler eventually skipped 2 whole grades, while the more socially-active Sloane skipped 1. Skylar graduated HS with the Class of ’02, while Sloane was Class of ’03. Significantly, Skylar did not experience the death of anyone close during childhood: grandparents plus any aunts, uncles, cousins, friends all stayed alive. Skylar experienced the deaths of pets, but could talk to either the religious or the spiritual grandparents if Mom & Dad’s platitudes about “Well, Skipper is part of the great cycle of life on Earth, and you can always remember her” were not sufficiently consoling.
As an undergrad, Skylar moved away from the rather gentle, vaguely spiritual agnosticism of her parents to a nearly militant atheism, becoming involved with a parapsychology nonprofit that actually existed to debunk all claims of the paranormal while appearing to investigate them. Skylar was not aware of the actual agenda and actually tried to conduct such examinations without bias. This led to the first radical change in her beliefs. In charge of a crew that comprised volunteers less experienced than herself, Skylar did the advance work to check out a claim of paranormal activity. Despite her strict controls on any possible mundane influences, the phenomenon occurred just as claimed. Repeatedly. Skylar expected a revolution in science, press releases, etc. Instead, James Randi showed up, and the phenomenon didn’t occur.
When the nonprofit’s higher-ups showed less than no interest in examining The Mystery of the Disappearing Phenomenon, Skylar was stunned. She left the organization upon graduating. She backpacked in Europe & then began grad school. While in Europe, she talked to people in skeptical, analytical, and gullible paranormal-investigation groups, as well as some individuals. She began to at least get the idea that the so-called skeptics were just as self-deluded as the gullible.
Upon getting her PhD, she began looking for a permanent position, somewhat hampered by her enthusiasm for connecting ideas to other ideas (life-after-death as a proper research subject for physics, etc.). She spent a year giving guest lectures anywhere they’d have her, trying to get to know people who could help her career, trying to conduct analytical experiments at Burning Man, etc.
She went to Alaska with the vague idea of combining a vacation with finding out more about ancestor Georg Derderian (idle curiosity). Sloane hijacked her research and sent her to talk to mushers, historians, old people, etc., about Togo & Balto (Sloane wanted to write a book about them). Skylar decided she wanted to stay and found a job at UAA as an assistant prof.