- "Death... is the answer, Sam... you'll see... we can't... stop it..."
- —Sterling's last words
Sterling was called along with Sam Caldwell and Egan to aid in the excavation of Marker 3A. On the way to the site, Egan remarked that the newly-discovered Marker looked just like the Black Marker, and Sterling skeptically replied that the Black Marker and its being located on Earth was more of a fanciful claim made by the Unitologists, and that even if it was true, the presence of a Marker on Earth was more likely rather than on some remote place like Aegis VII.
When the team removed the Marker from its pedestal, it flashed brightly and emitted a powerful shock wave that destabilized Gravity Tether 16. Sterling, Sam and Egan were sent by Cooper to fix the tether in Megavent 24.
En route, the trio encountered several miners and engineers who were in a highly violent state of dementia and were forced to kill them. Upon reaching the desired level, Sterling heard someone who appeared to be trapped and left the crew to assist them. He later met back up with Sam who, due to his hallucinations, saw Sterling as a hostile and murdered him. Sterling appeared to be suffering from dementia as well, as with his dying breaths he told Sam that "death is the answer".