Born in Schwartzgrad, the great capital of the East Europan Imperial Alliance as the sole son of Friedrich Fürst and Viktoria Hase Fürst. Due to complications on his birth, which further aggravated Viktoria's already fragile health, which forced her to quit her job as a physician and stay at home. Due to that, most of Emmerich's memories of his mother were of her sitting near the balcony of their two-story house, helping him with his studies, encouraging his curiosity by reading books and teaching him about the human anatomy and medicine or her daily morning strolls through the garden together with him. While Emmerich's relationship with his father was not a bad one, Friedrich was never the kind of man to show his feelings that much. Being a military man through and through, he preferred to show his love with his actions, by taking care of his family and being sure they were well than by personally telling them that he loved them or giving hugs. Due to that and the fact that on the time, Friedrich was active in the military, most affectionate memories of 'family' Emmerich had were from his mother.
Viktoria Hase Fürst passed away when Emmerich was still 15, which deeply impacted not his father, but Emmerich himself too. It was almost as a part of himself, a part of childhood died together with his mother. Being granted an leave due to his emotional state and the death of a member of his family, his father returned to the family house to grieve for his wife's death. During this time, where both father and son, despite being somewhat distant, grew closer, bonding due to the death of a person both of them loved deeply. Trying to make up for being absent on Emmerich's childhood, he became much more present on his life, even taking him into hunting trips when they had the chance, since he couldn't teach him like his mother did, nor he knew much about medicine, the career Emmerich wanted to follow, due to Viktoria's influence. While it was nowhere as close as the feelings of affection his mother gave him, it was undeniable that Friedrich cared about his son in his own way.
Even though life seemed to be going on decently well with his father, despite the death of his mother, Emmerich knew very well that his father would soon have to go back to the serve the Empire on the war. Despite living on Schwartzgrad, far away from the horrors of war, news still reached the capital and Emmerich, bright and mature for his age, knew the implications that came with war, despite having no love for the cause behind it nor feeling the same awe for the emperor as his father did. While he did like the city of Schwartzgrad, the rulers, the emperor and the other powerful people above were just images in a book, distant figures who had nothing to do with him or his life.
After his father returned to the frontlines, Emmerich had to live by himself while continuing his studies. Without his mother dead and with his father having left for the war, Emmerich became much more quiet and silent, dedicating himself fully to his studies. Receiving a few letters from his father per month, with him becoming once again the cold, distant father he once knew. Despite the silent house and monotonous life, he was still able to take care of the house and continue his studies, thanks to the money his father had. That was until he received a different kind of letter when he was 16. The one notifying about his father's death.
While the impact of his father's death wasn't as severe as his mother's, both due to their somewhat distant relationship and due to Emmerich have already experienced the death of a loved one before, the fact that he was now alone in the world did hit him hard. With a limited income due to the death of his father, not enough time to formally complete his studies in medicine and already reaching the age where he would need to undergo mandatory military training, followed by two years of service. Having to face the harsh reality, Emmerich saw himself forced to abandon his studies and go serve in the army.
The period of training was a grueling and exhaustive one for Emmerich. Being a boy from a relatively well off family, despite having a hobby of hunting, he was nowhere as athletic as a soldier should be and the officers in charge of training them, fueled by a fierce, burning patriotism for the Empire, demanded nothing short of perfection from them. Decided that complaining would lead him nowhere and not seeing any other path for him to follow in his life right now but to serve the two years of military service before being discharged and continuing his studies, Emmerich did the best he could in the training. Surprising and standing out among the other recruits first due to his determination and later, as he continued training his body and exercising himself, his performance. That, coupled with the fact that he already knew how to wield a gun rather well due to what his father had taught him ended up backfiring on Emmerich, being selected among the others to go to the frontlines. Having no other choice but to go, as he was still serving his two years, he steeled his resolve, seeing that as merely something that had to be done before he could try and go back to having a normal life.
Unfortunately, no amount of physical training could prepare him for the horror that he would face in the war. On the very first weeks of combat, Emmerich almost lost his mind. He had heard tales from soldiers of how horrible the war was, that if hell existed somewhere on earth, it would be on those damned trenches... It was all true... He watched friends who trained together with him as recruits being torn apart by machine-gun fire, he saw the bodies of allied and enemy soldiers being ripped apart by grenades, he saw people so mangled and disfigured by enemy fire or explosions that he knew, due to his knowledge in medicine, that the only thing he could do was relieve them of their suffering. He was forced to kill people he had never seen before, enemies and allies alike, with his own hands. Even in the short periods where explosions and gunfire weren't as loud and they had a brief moment of respite, the looming shadow of death was always present, slowly eating and corroding their minds.
Weeks passed in a blur while he was in the trenches. The fleeting moments of suffocating silence, interrupted by the maddening roar of the guns and machine-guns made everything look almost like a feverish dream. Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately... Emmerich was always, since he was a child, someone who adapted to circumstances very quickly. As months passed, Emmerich became more and more cold and distant. While he would get desperate when he wasn't able to save a life or in shock when he had to take one in the beginning, such situations became... common. Pulling the trigger as he carefully aimed towards an enemy became as natural as it was to breathe after doing it thousands of times, almost an automatic action. Sometimes, while looking down through the iron sights as he aligned it with an enemy, he could almost reflect and think how he had never seen the man on the other side, wonder how was his life before the war, if he had a family, or even if he liked to read and hunt as much as he did.
The almost feverish routine did change on a certain day, when one of the units that were on the same trench as Emmerich were ordered to make a push towards an enemy position. Some soldiers said their prayers, some quickly wrote a small letter for their loved ones, delivering it to one of the officers, while others drowned themselves in cheap alcohol, looking for the courage that they lacked before leaving the trenches. Such assaults were already a common occurrence, which didn't make them less feared by the soldiers.
Unfortunately, this time wouldn't be like the others. Staying behind since they did the last assault, Emmerich's unit would cover for the ongoing push. With most of the soldiers who remained assisting the assault, they weren't prepared for the attack launched by a small enemy unit. Using grenades and explosive charges, they shattered the back-line, stopping the support for the friendly unit's assault and forcing them to give up on the assault and return, despite the number of allied units already lost to heavy machine-gun fire. Despite the initial shock of the surprise attack, Emmerich still managed to turn back and fire a few shots on the small squad that was responsible. With the efficiency of someone who had done the same task thousands of times, Emmerich took aim and shot at the enemies, downing one with a shot on the chest and hitting one on the leg, making him fall to the ground as he ran towards them. The moment he was about to reload his gun though, he saw a grenade flying through the air, landing just a few meters away from him inside the trench they were taking cover at. Without time to think, he simply threw himself to the ground with the face on the mud and his head pointed towards the grenade, using his helmet as protection against shrapnel. Although he didn't suffer any wounds other than some cuts and lacerations, the impact of the explosion was too much for him, sending him unconscious.
Emmerich woke up hours later among the dead corpses of allies and enemies alike, feeling exhausted, weak and feverish. The cuts and lacerations from the explosion were in a pretty bad state due to the exposure to the elements and the foul mixture of fluids and mud that covered the ground. Crawling through the ground, he searched for any signal of life without success. Not knowing if the empire had successfully countered the Federation's offensive and proceeded with it's push or if they had suffered a brutal counter push, Emmerich kept crawling trying to situate himself until he heard a labored breath among the corpses, a clear signal of life in the midst of that sea of dead corpses. Upon approaching, he saw a soldier, desperately grasping a small locket against his chest while trying his best to press the large shrapnel wound on his abdomen. By the state he was, it was obvious that if he didn't receive immediate care, he wouldn't last long. His pale skin was a clear signal of the amount of blood he had already lost.
When Emmerich and that poor soldier's eyes met, they saw in each other not an enemy, but a fellow soldier, damned to this hellhole by a bastard that had probably never experienced the same hell they were right now. Emmerich could feel the silent plead on the enemy soldier's eyes to finish him, to release him from his suffering. Approaching the soldier and leaning in the same dirt wall he was leaning against, he could see the weak movement of his head, a weak nod as he pointed towards the pistol on Emmerich's waist. As he did so though, Emmerich caught a glimpse inside the locket he was grasping so desperately. Inside there was two photos, one of a beautiful, red haired woman and a small, little girl with the same fiery hair as her mother. Looking once again to the wounded soldier, he merely shook his head taking his knife from the sheath and showing it to him, with a determined expression.
By using a few strips of cloth, ripped from his uniform and the cheap alcohol that he had in a small canteen inside his clothes, he began disinfecting the wound and cleaning the best he could. After he was finished, he gave an encouraging tap on the man's shoulder, before slowly digging the tip of his knife on his abdomen, despite the man's grunts of pain while blindly feeling for the shrapnel that should be lodged inside his abdomen. After finding, he carefully pulled it out by using the tip of his knife. While the precarious circumstances meant that further damage was unavoidable, he did try as much as he could to steer away of any possible vital organ. It was slow, but after a while he finally took it out. The next part would be easy for Emmerich... Unfortunately, it was going to be by far the worst part for the enemy soldier. Grabbing a small lighter from a nearby body, he began heating the tip of his knife, until it was almost red hot before looking to the enemy soldier, waiting for a signal that he could proceed. After a bit of mental preparation, when the enemy soldier nodded, Emmerich pressed the red hot knife against the man's wound. The terrible smell and sound of his skin being burnt were almost completely masked by the man's loud grunts and screams of pain. After he was finished, the soldier finally fell unconscious, due to both the pain and the exhaustion. Laying against the dirt wall, almost as exhausted as the man next to him, Emmerich gave a small chuckle, laughing at himself. He lost the count of how many enemy soldiers he shot at, how many died by his actions either directly or indirectly and despite all that, he had just saved one of them. And act of foolish sentimentalism? Pity or compassion? Not even himself knew the reason behind his actions, nor he cared about it to be honest. He had used the last of his strength doing what he did. With the exhaustion and his weakened body finally taking a toll on him, he fell unconscious once again, slowly closing his eyes while looking up to the sky, away from the hellish landscape around him and hoping he could somehow survive or that the enemy soldier wouldn't repay him with a knife between the ribs...
Emmerich woke up days later in a hospital ward, not remembering a single thing after falling unconscious. It didn't take much time for Emmerich to realize that he was handcuffed. Taking a quick glance around he could see armed soldiers standing in guard in the only exit from that particular ward and most of the other patients were also handcuffed, saving those that couldn't move at all. While Emmerich could thank the heavens... or maybe the same soldier he had saved back in the battlefield, he knew he was now a prisoner of war. As the days passed though, he quickly realized that being a prisoner of war, at least until his body was still healing wasn't bad at all. In fact, it almost felt like a sweet, albeit momentary release from the hell that the trenches were.
After a few weeks, talking with the nurses and some doctors, who were initially surprised of how he could speak the Federation language, thanks to his studies, they told him that he was receiving special treatment, despite being a prisoner of war due to the request of a certain officer called Cale Bennett. After a month, when Emmerich had made a full recovery, he was escorted by some armed guards to a closed room, apparently used to interrogate prisoners of war. There, they proceeded to make him many questions, which he replied with honesty, since he saw no reason to lie. After verifying that he was but a low ranking soldier, the officer that was making the questions exited the room just as another man wearing a military uniform entered. Much to his surprise, when Emmerich looked at his uniform, he could see that the man was no one other than Sergeant First Class Cale Bennett.
Looking at Cale with a confused expression, almost if silently asking why did he give him preferential treatment, the moment their eyes met, Emmerich could feel that somehow he had already seen that man before. When Cale lifted his uniform and the shirt beneath, showing a big scar on his abdomen, Emmerich couldn't help but to let out a discreet smile, giving a sigh of relief. Both of them had a long talk, knowing better the man who had saved him. Interestingly enough, neither Emmerich nor Cale asked the reason why one saved the other. Cale told him about his family, about his life and how his daughter had the beautiful red hair his wife had. In exchange, Emmerich told Cale his own story. In that small room, the two men saw each other as comrades, they didn't see an enemy soldier in front of them, but someone that saved their own life, a friend.
No matter what relationship Cale and Emmerich had though, there was no running from the war. One way or another, Emmerich was still a prisoner of war, and would be very likely to be used to labor in the frontlines, digging trenches under heavy shellfire or other life threatening jobs. Still, Cale wanted to do something for the man who saved his life, even if he was an imperial. Knowing how Emmerich didn't had much love for the Emperor nor supported the reasoning behind the war, Cale made him a proposal with a very serious tone. He gave him an opportunity to defect to the Federation instead of being treated like a prisoner of war. Since it was a difficult decision to make, Cale didn't demand an answer right away and instead gave Emmerich time to think. While still loved the city he was raised in, he didn't believed in the Emperor's cause behind the war. Besides, not only he had nobody to return to in Schwartzgrad, but it was very likely that the family mansion had already been seized by the government after his father died. But perhaps what was most important to his decision was that he knew that deep down inside, things wouldn't change. He was still a soldier, just a pawn fighting a war that was not his. The superiors might change, but until that damned war ended, his life wouldn't. After enough consideration, Emmerich ended up agreeing to join the Federation. Even though he would be given a private rank despite his abilities, training and skills, it was the best that could've been done since he was a defector.