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[Fanfic] Civilization: Beyond Earth leaders in Alpha Centauri

Discussion in 'CivBE - General Discussions' started by MysticWind, Mar 31, 2021.

  1. MysticWind

    MysticWind Chieftain

    Joined:
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    In this series of biographical profiles, I examine how the characters in Civilization: Beyond Earth, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, and Pandora: First Contact would fare in the others' respective universes.

    As reference, here's another similar work that attempt to combine the SMAC and C:BE universes.

    Notes:
    SMAC factions, C:BE sponsors and leaders, Pandora story and factions including the expansion. Also including the SMAC Fac Pack factions as a joke.

    Summary of the universes:

    Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri - the granddaddy of the genre (Sierra On-Line titles Alien Legacy and Outpost notwithstanding), the situation on Earth is dire with ecological devastation, war, economic chaos, and other disasters causing breakdown of human civilization. The UNS Unity is the last chance for the species to survive. The faction leaders were not chosen to be leaders, but were rather very competent, experienced people who took charge during the breakdown of Planetfall and started factions based on both charisma and ideological appeal. Tone: desperation, ideological struggle, promise of new Earth.

    Civilization: Beyond Earth - Earth experienced the unelaborated Great Mistake, which was a catastrophe several decades back. Chastened, humanity rebuilt and pursued collaboration instead of selfishness, establishing several supranational blocs that were able to reconstruct in a way that seems more civilized than in past generations. However, scientists have discovered the similarly-unexplained Inflection Point, which basically hints at irreversible future catastrophe. So, some of these blocs have sponsored the Great Seeding, each sending their own sleeper ships (except for one generational vessel) to an unnamed planet in an unspecified system. The expedition leaders were all appointed and chosen by these refined, polite, perfect future blocs, and so were groomed for leadership. Tone: cooperation, optimism, shiny clean future that is only upset by the discover of Affinities later on in the colonization process. Also continuity from Earth, expressed both as the sponsors representing nations and cultures (but done in a broadly bland future way), and the victories involving returning to the homeworld to set things right there.

    Pandora: First Contact - Earth is dominated by corporations (Noxium, Imperium) or private entities (Togra University, Divine Ascension, Ambassadors). The one national government mentioned is a clone dictatorship that took over China (Solar Dynasty). Despite the ecological destruction and economic inequality and general misanthropic tone of everything, the planet doesn’t seem to be facing imminent collapse, and has actually developed the outer Solar System for raw materials and some space colonization. A.I. is advanced and used in government- (“in most regions, primitive Civil Service Artificial Intelligences take over a larger and larger part of society’s operations, driven mainly by democratic populations determined to take power out of the hands of short-sighted, war-mongering governments”). Even as resource wars continue to be fought on Earth and in the Asteroid Belt, several sleeper ships and one generational ship crewed by ecological activists (Terra Salvum) are launched to Pandora in Tau Ceti. Tone: pulpy, parodic, colonization seen as an opportunity for existing factions to exploit a new planet away from Earth's watchful A.I. eye.

    SMAC Fac Pack: Pretty much SMAC except the ideologies and leaders are both goofier than the original, and probably have less ideological appeal.
     
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  2. MysticWind

    MysticWind Chieftain

    Joined:
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    UNS Unity timeline (SMAC)

    Susan Fielding: the United States was in a dwindling state by M.Y. 2060, having lost a substantial portion of the Bible Belt and beyond to the Christian States of America, much of the west was embroiled in urban chaos, and the Pax Decay wars had wrecked North America from Hudson’s Bay to the Caribbean. Despite this, the corporate powers still held sway over the nation’s bountiful natural resources and talented labor pool. And the U.S. government also continued to view itself as exceptional and permanent. Thus, Fielding, the U.S. Under-Secretary of Commerce, was appointed on this mission to ensure that American ingenuity survived the planet, and the American way of life as well, in preparation for a future unilateral colony mission to Chiron. A compromise candidate between the remnant government and the titans of industry, Fielding was selected for her experience overseeing the American Reclamation Corp’s attempts to salvage large parts of the countryside after various climate change storms and intermittent warfare had wrecked it.

    Fielding was appointed the position of Comptroller with the rank of Lt. Commander on Unity. She was tasked with the unenviable work of balancing the mission’s books, getting involved in some heavy auditing of suspicious contractor activity prior to Planetfall. Initially sided with Morgan Industries for the faction’s focus on economic development of Planet, but continued private investigations. After the initial colonization era, broke from Morgan and founded the New Columbia faction, an attempt to revitalize an old brand on a new planet, appealing to former U.S. and C.S. citizens alike to continue the American dream. CEO Nwabudike Morgan half-approves of the defection, reasoning that a little market competition never hurt any one, and views New Columbia a corporate spin-off to be used for R&D purposes and a destination for employees too free-spirited for Morgan company culture. The other half still engages in the occasional vendetta to preserve his holdings, and this escalated after Fielding published Morgan’s former dirty business on the datalinks. Fielding is also suspected of encouraging the Data Angels to form, possibly intending to use them as a New Columbian spy ring. Regardless of the veracity of those claims, Fielding views Datajack Sinder Roze as a useful proxy to keep Morgan occupied, and has often sponsored their antics.


    Daoming Sochua: the Crimson Succession regime that ruled Great China attempted to combine the best elements of the post-Deng PRC with the grandeur of the Golden Dynasty. After getting rid of all the neo-imperialist trappings in a less bloody and tumultuous Second Cultural Revolution, they kept the technocratic elites that the Golden Emperor had promoted as his new neo-neo-Confucian bureaucracy. Growing up as the daughter of science professors, Sochua quickly became part of the Crimson apparatus that attempted to project Chinese power throughout the region and in the world. Her innate intellectual talents were quickly recognized by the mandarins of the state, and her mixed heritage was a cherry on top to represent Great China’s transnational ambitions. And so, Sochua was became another part of the soft power push, devising life-saving engineering solutions to prevent nuclear meltdowns in tsunami and flood-battered Japan while the government marched its crisis troops into the Diet and forced the emperor to put on the saffron robes of a tributary. When the Unity project started, she was already on the Central Scientific Revolution Committee’s short list.

    Sochua was appointed Chief Engineer with a rank of Commander on Unity. While nominally subordinate to Chief Science Officer Prokhor Zakharov, the two had an excellent working relationship, coordinating their teams effortlessly in the futile repair attempts amidst Planetfall. Naturally joined the University of Planet, where she remains to this day. Though she has increasingly found Zakharov’s ethical blindspots to be- concerning, she regards the University’s mission as naturally the most logical and well-thought ideology on Chiron. In turn, the Academician counts Sochua as one of his right-hand men, leaning on her clear mathematical vision throughout the challenges faced by the University. As one of the earliest of Trustees selected to govern the University and one of the first few to receive the Longevity Vaccine after Zakharov himself, she is widely popular and regarded as a shoo-in as the new Academician should he ever step down- which the elder scientist shows no sign of doing.


    Samatar Jama Barre: the African continent never quite got out of the state as it was in the late 1990s- that is, a variegated, diverse place with both pockets of extreme destitution in failed societies all the way to pockets of extreme wealth from natural resources. Climate disasters and confused civil war involving mercenaries don’t help, either. As a former African Union commander from Somaliland, Barre saw firsthand the inability of international governance and peacekeeping to stop warfare in his home region. Turning from military career, he entered politics, advocating for a new Pan-Africanism to unite the continent under a single leadership that could face the increasing challenges of the 21st century. He campaigned in villages and coastal metropolises, dealt with foreign corpo representatives and NGOs alike, entreated with national leaders and warlords. However, as with so much else in the world, Africa never could quite manage to come together, and so Barre ended up as merely the Vice President of Somalia, trying in vain to get the Kenyans and Ethiopians on board to create a new East African federation. If he could not be the father to his plan, he reasoned, he would at least be its uncle. Despite his unrealized ambitions, Barre’s organizational talents and military experience were noticed by the Unity project, and he was selected as at least a symbolic representative of an undivided Africa.

    Barre was appointed Colonial Governor with a rank of Administrator on Unity. Though he was to serve as one of the initial base leaders on Chiron, on the ship he served as a section leader, responsible for an eighth of the passengers. During Planetfall he fought tooth and nail to keep the colonists under his command safe and calm, and indeed they were among the most disciplined of the ship, suffering low casualties as they made their way to the escape pod. Deciding that Comissioner Pravin Lal retained the most legitimacy and clear-minded vision of continuity, Barre joined the Peacekeeping Forces and did indeed become a governor of one of the earliest Peacekeeper bases. U.N. Spirit of Umoja is a well-run, peaceful base with a high standard of living and unity, its number of drones low and number of talents high even for the faction. Populated by many who came from African nations, the base has adopted Barre’s pan-African identity and even expanded it to be a pan-Humanist message, stressing the needs for mutual cooperation and respect in order to survive Planet. Lal finds Barre to be one of his ablest governors, having personally promoted the man into the upper echelons of Peacekeeper government with the title of U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, and sees him as a possible successor once elections for commissioner are held again- whenever that is.


    Élodie: the people of Europe have definitely seen better days, and by the time of the mid-21st century the former European project had long come undone, with member states going every which way, and sometimes themselves imploding. But growing up with undreamt luxurious wealth certainly insulated her from the ongoing slow collapse of the continent. Showered with family wealth and media attention from a young age, she would grow up to become a public intellectual, author, socialite, and cultural critic. Even as the remaining leading institutions of Europe slipped away, her head remained squarely in the past, reading and writing and reminiscing about its past glories, and the lessons that could be applied to the modern day. Even as the Ardennes burned from unnatural dryness sparked by global warming, rioters filled the streets of the capital protesting against the feckless Western European Union’s failures, and the whole enterprise dwindled into the Mediterranean States, Élodie’s dreams of past empire did resonate with those seeking the escapism of the past. The Canon by Élodie open-source archival project made her a household name among Europeans and the pretentious, seeking to build an immortal Library of Alexandria to preserve as much of what remained of the continent’s great works, both intellectual and physical, even establishing protective domes around historical sites and museums. At the end, her role as architect of the Canon and deep pockets secured her a place on Unity; she was in fact considered a civilian contractor.

    Élodie was appointed Chief Librarian with a rank of Curator on Unity. She oversaw the teams of archivists, anthropologists, sociologists, artists, musicians, writers, and talents of all kind who were to deliver Earth’s greatest works to the stars. And of course, Élodie’s single-minded approach immediately ran into issues with Captain Garland and others, spurring accusations of ethnocentrism for her regional focus. Her political aspirations were dismissed as neo-imperialism, her dreams of a revived Europe, “Nothing more than an Inter-National Rally.” As such, she was often at odds with her own team, and during the chaos of Planetfall, many of the technical librarians departed to follow others. Yet her personal charisma and vision always kept a core group of true believers.

    She rebuffed the Peacekeepers despite being offered the Director of UNESCO on Chiron, which was somewhat of a relief to the Commissioner, who found her to be a chauvinist and troublesome to work with. Surprisingly, she and her acolytes joined Sister Miriam Godwinson’s flock. Though not a dogmatic believer, Élodie believed that the Lord’s Believers’ emphasis on continuing Earth’s traditions was laudatory, and only they would clearly prioritize both preserving and celebrating the culture and religion. It was an- unusual time in her life. While the Believers are not as hidebound and medieval as their reputation suggests, their austere focus on metaphysics, cautious attitude towards scientific progress, and ultimately parochial perspective exhausted Élodie - she would later liken her time as spending an extended retreat in a nunnery. Indeed, during her time there, she and her followers were known as the “Secularist party” of the Believers, viewed as a bunch of know-it-all historians who wanted to throw hermeneutics into the wind and turn the faction into a more cultural-nationalist direction away from pure faith. Naturally, there was no end to squabbles between her and the reverend sister, who eventually found her gadfly obsessions tiresome even if it made for some great discourse. After the first few initial years, Élodie commandeered a colony pod during a base founding mission and founded her Europa Universalis, a faction devoted to the preservation, study, and practice of the Eurafrican cultures that were left back on Earth, and must be reborn on Planet.

    The Lord’s Believers were glad to see the secularists go, their endlessly didactic behavior cancelling out the fun rhetorical challenges they posed in dissension. Godwinson herself likened them to Anne Hutchinson’s Antinomians who left Puritan Massachusetts Bay for the wild. Since then, Europa Universalis has found some limited appeal for the few nationalists and chauvinists throughout the factions, Morganites appreciating luxury but presuming to also care for cultural pretensions, Peacekeepers sick of the post-national status quo. But most unexpectedly, Élodie has found interest from a most unlikely fan- Lady Deidre Skye of the Stepdaughters of Gaia has provided some survival aid and protection to the newly-found faction. Though they have vastly different goals, the Gaians respect Europa’s democratic progressive values (a legacy of the latter-day French and Spanish republics, shortly before everything went Rally-shaped), and their instinct to preserve. And the Gaians aren’t completely devoid of culture beyond the veneration of biological life, after all. Élodie finds the neopagans puzzling, but are grateful for their aid; after all, the pre-Christian animist and druid traditions of Europe are still worth preserving, even if they are gauche by modern standards and come from the Boche. And the Gaians make some great wine…
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2021
  3. MysticWind

    MysticWind Chieftain

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    Kavitha Thakur: the Indian subcontinent was a place of tragedy in the dying days of Earth. From the Twelve Minute War to the India Border Conflict, war followed by the horrors of atomic war stretched from west to east. The Himalayas themselves were touched by human conflict, followed by mass suffering. And thus in this milieu of heroism in the face of suffering came many holy men and mystic sages, among them Raj Thakur, a guru from the north. Preaching yet another strain of syncretic faith that was not uncommon to the region, Thakur brought with him almost preternatural charisma and powerful vision that went beyond past revelations. But at the prime of his popularity, Raj Thakur was struck down as another martyr in a Khalistan terror attack.

    His daughter became the new shepherd of the flock. Kavitha Thakur was already a folk hero, perhaps destined to outshine her late father. Throughout South Asia it was said that she had survived one of the nuclear bombings of the Twelve Minute War. In fact, there was public footage of a figure who looked uncannily like her ministering at a frontier village moments before the region was vaporized by a twenty kiloton weapon. When asked of this account, she merely smiles and changes the subject. Kavitha's mission work aiding the worst victimized by the war, personally treating pariahs suffering from radiation poisoning that only medical workers dared to care for, made her a legend. She quickly became a prototype for the 'Prophet Phenomenon' associated with post-nuclear madness. Unlike others, she welcomed apotheosis. She was known to go into trance states in front of massive crowds, dispensing visions, wisdom, and tenets of a new scripture.

    Hoping to profit from the prophet, the U.N. reached out to Kavitha shortly after her completion of the Hindu Kush pilgrimage in honor of her father. Viewing the growing Thakurist cult as a potential means to expedite societal consolidation and reconstruction efforts in South Asia, they directly cooperated with the new religious movement, a unprecedented public-private partnership. Aid agencies and NGOs were ordered to directly work with Thakurists, peacekeepers were assigned as her personal security detail, and media agencies were directed to provide ample coverage of the religion. Fervor accelerated. Within half a decade, unity of a sort came under Thakurist banner as problematic extremists from Hindutva supremacists to Muslim separatists to Kavitha's personal enemies, Sikh militants, were swept aside by her mobs. Somewhere in Geneva, officials of the United Nations Global Defense Agency clinked glasses at the success of Operation Sepoy.

    Whatever the cost it took to bring peace and cooperation to the U.N. South Asian Protectorate, the subsequent humanitarian efforts there went well. And so Kavitha turned her attention from survival and salvation towards space. Perhaps to the relief of the Protectorate government, leery of her vast influence, she began speaking of a grand exodus, of the imperative for humanity to leave for better worlds in the stars. Earth was too fallen, Kali Yuga imminent. As reconstruction efforts stabilized, Kavitha directed her followers to wholeheartedly support global government initiatives towards space colonization. And so when the Unity project was unveiled, her application was fast-tracked.

    Kavitha was appointed Morale Counselor with a rank of Special Advisor on Unity. While Captain Garland and other mission commanders viewed the introduction of a religious figurehead into the crew with outright dismay, their concerns were somewhat allayed by her professional and nonsectarian conduct, offering non-clinical psychological care to the distressed. (Subsequent reports revealed that Garland, Executive Officer Sheng-Ji Yang, and Psych Chaplain Miriam Godwinson all independently dispatched personnel to surveil the celebrity Counselor. All of these agents were later absorbed into the Kavithan following or otherwise lost with the ship.) Thakurism being an universalist faith did help smooth some concerns with the mostly-secular command staff.

    During Planetfall, Kavitha was instrumental in negotiations between the Spartan Coalition and Psych Chaplain Miriam Godwinson's team, employing sophisticated tactics both psychological and seemingly mystical to convince lower-ranking unit leaders to relinquish sections of the ship to permit safe passage for the Unity crew. However, Colonel Corazon Santiago saw past the Counselor's designs, and ordered her elite Wolf unit to halt it. It was during the attempted kidnapping at negotiations in the aft secondary command lounge that an unforeseen Thakurist following among the Unity passengers manifested itself in defense of their deity. Scores of crew and colonists, both armed and bare-knuckled, South Asian and not, ferociously attacked the Spartan extraction team, leaving only the few survivors to retreat to the Colonel with tails between their legs. The Thakurites received immense casualties, yet the prophet remained unscathed. Experiencing another visionary episode, she bade her followers towards an escape pod, and they fled to the surface.

    Her wanderings were not over on Chiron. While the Kavithan Dharmic Ikhwan was not a nomadic society, the prophet directed her people to build bases a good distance apart from each other, following the great natural landmarks, and not towards isolation in the wastes but towards the other survivors' factions. Kavitha herself led pilgrimages to the other societies, preaching the faith she had from Earth, seeking a great unity of the peoples of Planet. She found a kindred spirit in Lady Deidre Skye, both viewing this virgin world as one to be safeguarded in peace, and left her with a smattering of Thakurist converts who would over time cause friction with the various sub-factions of orthodox Gaians, biological rationalists, Greens, and neopagans. Even to the Spartan Federation she paid a brief visit, conducting a ceremonial mourning of those lost in Planetfall that was received stiffly by Corazon Santiago and the Wolf survivors. The Human Hive, an avowed atheistic security state, limited the Ikhwan's embassy to above ground where Chairman Sheng-Ji Yang politely declined her blessings but accepted her gifts of fungal-frankincense and space-myrrh. Curiously, she both requested a tour of the Hive labyrinths and was granted one, and lingered there a while, studying the ascetic practices of the Hiverians with a faint look of approval.

    CEO Nwabudike Morgan chuckled at the Thakurist entreaties, and following a Treaty of Friendship, allowed free passage between the two factions. While his gambit was to convert the dour spiritualists to the glories of consumer capitalism it resulted in a Thakurist community of believers in Morganite territory as well, whose loyalty was quickly bought off with a new product line of shiny home devotee products, glossy holofilms depicting the creation myths and epic events of Thakurist lore, and gleaming Morgan-manufactured shrines available for rent. The Academician Prokhor Zakharov greeted Kavitha with a jaundiced eye and flat affect at the pristine campus gardens of the University of Planet, muttering something about how academic inquiry freethinking allowed the study of religious faith as an anthropological curiosity- but more importantly, the debunking of the same with Logic and Reason. Few Thakurists were born there, but interest in the geological and natural sciences spiked as a minor craze among the student body afterwards, while the behavioral sciences and mass communications departments received a surprise grant from Zakharov himself.

    The Lord's Believers welcomed the Dharmic Ikhwan with courtesy. Sister Miriam Godwinson hosted Kavitha with a cool respect, both saying a few words about their working relationship during Planetfall and awkwardly reflecting on their very different spiritual societies. The Thakurists who remained were introduced to the Conclave's colloquies and doctrinal debate halls, where the free practice of Believer religion was hammered out in godly detail- and invited them to interfaith discussions. Predictably, this led to nothing of note, as the Believers remained stolid followers of the late Christian States' creed, while the Kavithans' ecumenism like that so many syncretic traditions couldn't really deal with more exclusionary interpretations of divinity. But adherents of both faiths were allowed free worship in both factions, at least for a time, and a Pact was quietly formed that outsiders dubbed the "Christian-Karmic alliance".

    Finally, the Peacekeeping Forces quickly signed a Treaty of Friendship with the Ikhwan. Commissioner Pravin Lal lauded them publicly for their commitment to peace, unity, and humanitarianism, shared values between the two societies. But privately, he was glad to keep them at arms' length, as he was troubled to see yet another faction ruled by a charismatic fanatic. While he was unaware of Operation Sepoy, having worked for WHO and not UNGDA, Lal had mixed feelings about Thakurism's effects on his motherland, seeing it as an unholy marriage between state power and a useful post-apocalyptic religious movement. Interestingly, while all religions were freely worshipped among the Peacekeepers, Thakurism didn't get very far. Some said it was because the lofty principles of the U.N. Charter was already enough for Lal's followers; others said it was because bureaucrats were immune to the passions of faith and Kavithan charisma.

    The Dharmic Ikhwan, like the Europa Universalis that came later, is dwarfed by the Big Seven. But by freely working with the others when it can, spreading its faith where it can, Kavitha's followers continue to pursue her spiritual vision, finding their own way.

    Endnote: I was originally going to write a much shorter bio for Kavitha, but because such an interesting sponsor actually doesn't have a lot of specifics in the Civilopedia bio, I went in different directions. I also tried to justify the whole "all of South Asia becomes dominated by a religious cult" premise by introducing outside actors.
     
  4. MysticWind

    MysticWind Chieftain

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    Rejinaldo Leonardo Pedro Bolivar de Alencar-Araripe: the relatively stable states of South America viewed the dissolution of the North with horror, and a little gleeful opportunity. As cities from New Los Angeles to BosWash burned from terrorist attacks, the resurgent nation of Hy-Brasil leveraged its swelling population to fill the global power void. Cutting its teeth on dozens of little brushfire conflicts in the Amazon, alternatively fighting tribal separatists, drug cartels, eco-terrorists, illegal poachers and loggers, and regular ecologists alike, and then innumerable favelas and prison riots, the High Brazilian armed forces and militarized police became one of the most experienced and well-organized militaries in the hemisphere. There was no shortage of ex-American ex-military officers and servicemen left behind in Colombia or the Andes who were looking for a new employer- or a new country. Seeking a chunk of the United Nations budget and international prestige, the High Brazilian military was deployed to countless conflict zones of the latter-day Earth, ostensibly as peacekeepers but often bound with loose to none rules of engagement. It was a savage time, and sometimes men must be monsters to defeat monsters. And the man who oversaw all this was Rejinaldo Leonardo Pedro Bolivar de Alencar-Araripe, military commander the country's expeditionary peacekeeping forces, career soldier, and tactics-strategy-logistics extraordinaire. Writer of military tomes, he was renowned for his magnum opus Battle Meditations, written from the pampas of Patagonia amidst the third and final pacification campaign that saw the Lusophones finally establish dominion over the ailing nations of the Southern Cone. During the apogee of High Brazil's nationalist glory and military splendor, there was talk of marching north to secure the Panama Canal while simultaneously landing in the Estados Unidos to bring peace the Hy-Brasilian way. But surprisingly, the government decided to play at peace, and so demanded a place in the Unity mission for services rendered. And so when the project approved the inclusion of a battalion of peacekeepers, there was no substitute but Bolivar.

    Bolivar was appointed Force Commander with a rank of Commander on Unity. His role was to maintain the absolute physical security of the colonists on Chiron, while the ship's "civilian" security team would handle any situation onboard. Bolivar and the battalion awoke after Planetfall was already in motion. Mobilizing to take arms and to make preparations against the Spartan mutineers, he discovered that many of the armories had already been ransacked, not only by the Spartans but by the remaining loyalists of the security team, panicking civilians, Kavithan sectarians, and still others. As he improvised weapons and devised battle plans on the fly, Bolivar quickly saw that the situation was unsalvageable, choosing to protect what was left. The U.N. peacekeepers kept the command staff safe (though Garland was a lost cause, and a failure that Bolivar rues to this day) and launched several valiant incursions against the Spartans, managing to secure storerooms and laboratories for the crew. Regrettable actions had to be taken to ensure calmness was preserved, but Bolivar did what he had to do. At one point during the days-long crisis Bolivar met Santiago face-to-face under parley. The erstwhile colonel mocked his loyalty to a mission that no longer existed, and offered him a place as a generalissimo of the Spartans. But steadfast to the end, Bolivar simply asked her to lay down her weapons and accept detention by the rightful authorities, and order her rebels to do the same. The negotiations broke down and the battles continued. In the end, the peacekeepers could not be everywhere at once, and after an unknown group of saboteurs breached the generator room and the ship was doomed to die, Bolivar oversaw the orderly evacuation of the remaining civilians, being among the last to leave.

    He serves the Peacekeeping Forces still. Comissioner Pravin Lal is fortunate that the man who commands his peacekeepers is neither mercenary nor zealot, but a poor bluff soldier with a simple conception of loyalty. As his country's government had ordered him to carry out this mission and defend the Unity project, he will continue onwards until those orders are fulfilled or countermanded. There are some who long for their commander to go caudillo and raise the flag of Hy-Brasil, and others descended from other Latin American states who bristle at his authority and conspire of alliances with Santiago to be rid of High Brazil's legacy of internationally-sanctioned imperialism once and all. But the iron will of Bolivar keeps them in line, and ironically the warrior who fought for nationalists is now one of the greatest defenders of the internationalists. While he finds Lal to be often naive and too wrapped up in procedural fine points, he defers to the commissioner's overall plan and finds him to be sufficiently not-pacifist. While Spartan commandoes have approached him before bearing more invitations to join their cause, Bolivar bristles at the insult- he is no mercenary or pirate, and will not band himself with survivalist rabble squatting in frontier fortresses. Besides, even he has dreams of a future peacetime when the mission is complete. The Peacekeepers themselves, outside of his own peacekeeping forces (this confusing redundancy is yet another consequence of Peacekeeper red tape), are largely soft, but Bolivar believes their goals could be accelerated with a firmer hand on the wheel. If Lal was to ever step down, preferably legitimately... well, perhaps then it would be the time for a new jefe to uphold the U.N. Charter.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2021
  5. MysticWind

    MysticWind Chieftain

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    Hutama: the nations of Southeast Asia and the South Pacific were insulated from the constant warfare and economic despair that had wrecked much of the world. While it had its fair share of ecological disaster as the Outback burned and the fully-industrialized nations of Maphilindo choked in endless smog. The wealthier city-states of Singapore and Penang built vast prototype Buckminster Fuller bubbles, covering their entire metropolises. As China seethed and the Americas shattered, the countries of this calmer part of the world banded together in mutual defense, trade, and enforcement of strict bio-containment protocols to prevent myriad new diseases- pathogens both of novel mutations and laboratories- from spreading to their shores.

    It was in this newly-founded Oceanian Alliance that Hutama made his mark. A student activist turned populist MP of the Lifeboat Party, he was known for his crusades against government corruption and for harping on the inequalities between the former ASEAN north and the Australasian south. Hutama built his political career on the platform of "Tucker, Tidak Ada Lagi Korupsi, and Trade Justice." Food for the people, no more corruption, and radical new agreements to redistribute wealth in Oceania. The hoi polloi of the north loved it. While his office never seemed to suffer for want of funding and his posh lifestyle was ogled at by tabloids, Hutama pushed for "ice box" cold shelters for his constituents to survive the increasing temperatures, evacuation efforts for ignored lesser islands affected by rising tides, and amending the Alliance's electoral system to be population-based, unless the less-populated south gave more damn doku to the less-wealthy north.

    Despite senatorial censure and even a supposed poisoning attempt- his critics claim that he had simply drank some bad beer- Hutama's political star grew to the dismay of the elites in Canberra, Wellington, and Nouméa. And as his reforms passed at the barrel of internal tariffs, his attention turned outwards as he finagled a foreign ministry role. Despite being renowned as a bulldog at home, Hutama was genteel abroad, securing favorable deals for Chinese technology in exchange for Australian ore and Indonesian timber. To regions with excess suffering, he accepted slightly greater numbers of refugees- properly screened for biological and ideological hazards, of course- in exchange for greater access to their markets under favorable terms. He became an international figure with his peace settlement between Great China and the United States Western Command. Forging a landmark compromise, disputed territory was acceded to neutral Oceanian trusteeship for 99-years, and so the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi became the newest member of Oceania. For this innovative diplomacy, the U.N. took interest in his rising figure. Hutama's political opponents were happy to appeal to his ego and extrasolar avarice by wholeheartedly recommending him for the Unity project. Despite knowing that it was a ploy, he accepted the offer. Hutama believed that trip would not be one-way and that he would return his homeland again bearing gifts, after all his rivals were gone.

    Hutama was appointed Public Affairs Officer with a rank of Lt. Commander on Unity. His duties were to convey command orders to the various ship's departments, manage relations between these teams, and manage relations between the command staff and the colonists once hibernation had been lifted. While it was ostensibly an over-glorified spokesperson gig, it did place Hutama in the vicinity of Captain Garland himself, and was intended as a humbling role during the voyage that would prepare the young politician towards greater leadership roles on Chiron itself. Far from shrinking from the task, Hutama launched into action, delivering word from on high with his charismatic personality and sense of levity. As among the last to go into cryosleep, he spent much the early voyage building strategic social relationships with members of the crew, including the quartermaster, who allowed him greater freedom in accessing Unity's stores. It is likely that the development of an informal black market for rationed goods was facilitated by Hutama.

    During Planetfall, PAO Hutama found his charisma in the company of dueling personalities and visions of the future, at times overshadowed. While he coordinated communications between the crisis teams with ease and made sure that the captain's word was law, he found that the mood of the ship was not receptive. While he cajoled and coaxed, threatened and jested, it was not because of a lack of personality that his messages were unheeded- it was because many of the crew had simply decided to choose new messengers. Dodging firefights between Spartans, peacekeepers, and the remnants of the ship's security team, Hutama decided it was all not worth dying for. After news of Garland's assassination broke, he instantly headed for the storerooms in a bid to secure crucial supplies for the inevitable landing. It was there that CEO Nwabudike Morgan personally approached Hutama. The stowaway offered the Oceanian a job at Morgan Industries as a trade representative. While the intention was that Morgan would seek a market monopoly, there was always room for commerce between the future civilizations of Planet. Besides, Morgan said slyly, would he rather prefer to work for ideological fanatics, bookworms, or paper-pushers?

    Hutama is still an employee of Morgan Industries. While his official role is as Senior Trade Representative at Morgan Trade Center, his real job is to wear many hats as the CEO's fixer, wheeler-dealer, and mouthpiece. One of the early celebrities within the faction known for his amusing holoshows (he cultivated ties with the execs at Morgan Entertainment even before the division was founded), Hutama's renown only grew after Planetary Networks brought Morgan content- and his image- to all of Chiron. Morgan was only too happy to accommodate such a worthy subordinate, tasking him with new challenges including hidden ones such as setting him up to compete with other ambitious underlings, or to secure deals with the likes of Yang or Élodie or Santiago. While Hutama has been content at present to be making deals trade and otherwise at Morgan, and ensuring that its citizens are pampered in luxury, a distant part of him does wonder if it's possible to bring that standard of living to the other colonies. Another part also wonders if his ambitions are cut short by not being his own boss. And so, after receiving his Longevity Vaccine among the first class of the Morgan Top 500, Hutama ponders on the market opportunities of breaking the monopoly with his own enterprise...
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2021
  6. MysticWind

    MysticWind Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2008
    Messages:
    46
    Vadim Kozlov: the latter-day Russian Republic was seen as a place of destiny by the time mankind first left the Solar System. Half a century after the tumultuous transitions away from the old Soviet Union, modern Russia again resembled an empire, a pluriethnic oligarchical federation that was neither fully Russian nor much of a Republic. Its integrity was maintained through nationalism- all of them. In the west, the elites of St. Petersburg appealed to their Slavic kindred from Central Europe to the Balkans. In Central Asia, the memory of Tamerlane was rehabilitated as a bid to unite the Turkic and Persianate peoples under Russian rule. Even in the Far East, the ancient relations between the Golden Horde and Alexander Nevsky were played up, and Mongolia was occupied during the chaotic start of the Crimson Secession. It became a flashpoint in the following years, and was eventually abolished, becoming a series of city-states split between the Russian Republic and Great China. In the Caucasus... let's move on.

    Vadim Kozlov went to space at the zenith of Russian power. The republic had empowered romanticist nationalism for all the Russias, establishing control over the vast lands and resources. As such, the east had the best public space program in the world. Kozlov, whose energy and patriotism matched the country that had challenged the pre-Pax Decay Americans off the Bering Strait and built immense numbers of new farms on melt permafrost, became a poster boy for the new generation of cosmonauts. His spacewalks, advocacy for a Russian O'Neill habitat, heroic rescue of the doomed Kolchak Mars mission, and support for public works project after the 2058 Russian economic crash turned him into an opportunity for the country to reclaim its glory, and a natural selection for the Unity mission.

    Kozlov was appointed Flight Commander with a rank of Commander on Unity. Because the massive colonization vessel resembled an ancient galleon or modern submarines than it did orbital shuttles or interplanetary exploration craft, his duties were mainly to be undertaken at arrival. Confirming the post-deceleration had no problems, overseeing the descent of colonist landers and supply pods, leading scouting missions onto an alien planet - Kozlov was to be an expedition leader. During the voyage, he used his prior experience to oversee astronautical operations, making him a visible member of the command staff. In Planetfall, he awoke to see the ship struck by sheer madness. Kozlov assisted Chief Engineer Sochua Daoming and Chief Science Officer Prokhor Zakharov with repair operations, leading his team of cosmonaut-engineers to mend the structural failures that had damaged the ship. At one point, he donned a spacesuit himself and went to the exterior to prevent irreversible electrical damage to the ship. However, their efforts eventually proved to be futile. While Zakharov and Daoming offered him a place on their escape pod, Kozlov accepted, deferring to the chain of command and recognizing the elder Russian.

    But that was not to be. After evacuating from a final hopeless attempt to preserve the forward astrophysics laboratory, managing only to rescue the staff but none of their equipment, his team of cosmonauts were ambushed by a gang of Spartans. Though without combat experience, Kozlov prepared to fight. But the survivalist mutineers stepped aside and made way for Colonel Corazon Santiago. Having heard of the hero cosmonaut of the Republic, she offered he and his team a place in the Coalition as the nucleus for a Spartan Space Force. Refuse and Santiago gestured at the dead peacekeepers, security members, and U.N. gendarmes that littered the hallway, even as more Spartans poured in. Outnumbered, Kozlov chose to save the lives of his fellow cosmonauts and the rescued physicists.

    True to her word, the Spartan Federation began a nascent space program soon after the establishment of their third base on Planet. While such a project was always seen as- blue sky- and very much a long-term play and near-term boondoggle, Santiago believed that it would yield middle-term improvements in manned flight and material sciences. Plenty of military applications for rocketry, after all. In exchange, Kozlov and his men were ordered to train the terrestrial survivalists to become cosmonauts equal to Respcosmos, the colonel having generously built facilities from neutral buoyancy pools to flight simulators. They did well. Despite being a hostage of the Federation, Kozlov gradually acknowledged some of the truth in their vision. While he was aghast at their choice of violent subjugation, their focus on surviving the harsh environment of Planet was a prudent one, in his judgment. And the Spartans' willingness to endure a minimalist lifestyle true to their namesake allowed their society to invest resources in the basic fundamentals- infrastructure! So he endured the humiliation of collaboration balanced by the drive of mission- and his former plans to escape were slowly chipped away.

    As the mission years passed, Kozlov found himself in a tour of force around the colonies. At the University of Planet Santiago displayed her honor guard, her elite commandoes, her legions, the sailors of her newly-inaugurated navy, her Unity Chopper pilot corps, and finally her Space Force. It was there too that Koslov saw Zakharov, as crochety and impolite as ever. At the diplomatic reception afterwards, they exchanged a few words, Koslov inquiring the Academician when his pursuit of research would be revealed as being done in the service of their Russian Republic. In response, Zakharov guffawed, a rarity that silenced the entire faculty lounge. Moving to a less crowded space, the Academician told Koslov to awake to the fact that Unity was never to be a round-trip. His family was no more, and his country, most likely, as well. Not to mention, he concluded, he had left the Russian MOD all those years ago to join the U.N.'s mission for a reason, and that was not alliance to some hoary earthbound tribe.

    Crushed, Koslov returned to Citadel Station and threw himself into his work, training new recruits and overseeing Former crews in his spare time. When vendetta was declared against the University later, he volunteered for frontline service, the first military warfare he had ever participated in. The spaceman became a hero to this new faction again, employing his expert wilderness skills and recon abilities as a scout leader. But he never got a taste for bloodlust, and returned from the conflict still unfulfilled. Even as the Space Force swelled, the Spartans' tech levels were simply not there yet, and they were no more closer to heaven than a pigeon on a pogo stick.

    Koslov received a new lease on life on a dark and stormy night when his former Unity colleague and casual acquaintance Captain Ulrik Svensgaard bade him visit the docks of the base. The leader of the newly-minted Nautilus Pirates had previously made themselves known to Planet with a daring naval raid that had breached Port Yang, one of the most advanced sea bases in existence. Telling Koslov about a new frontier full of as many hidden dangers and wonders as space, the captain offers him a place onboard his flagship, and the chance to be a deep sea explorer.

    Even though the Spartans had treated him and his team as well as hostages could be treated, even gifting him a dose of the Longevity Vaccine seized from the University, Koslov immediately agrees. After all, the sea would be another place to build new worlds.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2021
  7. MysticWind

    MysticWind Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2008
    Messages:
    46
    Arshia Kishk: the Crusader Wars all but destroyed the Middle East, leaving vast stretches of the former Holy Lands as nuclear ash. The survivors who could flee the region did so, those left behind were care for by U.N. Re-integration Forces, and the final refugees who were intact and healthy fled for the remaining states of both coasts. While the House of Saud was gone with the fallout, the lesser monarchies surged, welcoming these new arrivals if they were deemed of use, and shutting the gates to those who weren't. But of course, even if refugees can't be picky houseguests, they take exception at being turned into a slave labor force. And so these megalopolises were soon dealing with integration issues and destabilization. When the Unity project appeared, they banded together and concocted a devious plan.

    The Rashidi Al Falah Group was the major civilian contractor for Unity based in the Middle East. It was also a front for dozens of shell-companies coordinated by regional intelligence services of the Hashemites, the Shammar, the Emiratis, the Aramcons, and others. Owing to their sizable contract and access to the ship, they were able to engage in an operation that would impress Nwabudike Morgan. Through clever architecture and advanced engineering, an entire subsection of the ship was walled off from the rest, housing hundreds of secondhand cryocells drawing from local power undetectable by the rest of the network. Project Al Falah was capped off by the disappearance of the same number of dissidents, those identified as persons of interest by these city-states' governments. Perhaps it would have been easy enough to leave them in the desert or in the Gulf, but the cataclysm of the Crusader Wars gave even the most heartless of tyrants a gram of compassion.

    So it was only a decade into the voyage that these hundreds of shanghaied refugees awoke. The power on many of the cryocells had already flickered out, stranding them in limbo. Without any idea of what happened, they found that they were trapped in an immense industrial prison. As nightmarish and hellish as it was, there was the silver-lining that Al Falah had been thorough with their purges, exiling entire families to the catacomb within Unity. So they were at least united with the loved ones. And perhaps due to the mercy of the most beneficent, or just the sympathy of the workers who had built their sarcophagus, they found that their subsection was disguised as an excess cargo bay. Thus the cryocell chambers were surrounded by store rooms bearing food, water, medical supplies, and most notably- seeds.

    And so, the Al Falah developed a mutualist society, distributing the supplies among them, creating divisions of labor based on those who would till the soil, others who would construct shelters and structures in the excess space, those who could heal the body and soul, and others who would perform maintenance on the electrical and water systems. Perhaps it was just as well that this society would be born of kidnapped clans of refugees and malcontents. Their number included former rebels and survivalists, intelligentsia and engineers, migrant foreign workers and indentured servants. All were united by their hatred of those who had exiled them from Earth. And who had persecuted them while they were there. The packed bay became a symphony of tongues, chattering, bartering, praying, singing, living. Élodie would later marvel at how their number included minority sects and cultures thought lost forever in the homeworld. Their number included Samaritans, Karaites, Alawites, Yarsanis, Yezidi, even a Shaykh al-'Aql of the Druze. Perhaps the megalopolis monarchs' loss would be Chiron's gain.

    Arshia Kishk was born in the second generation of the involuntary colony. It was in her youth that they would make their first great discovery- the cryocell could be re-powered, allowing those who chose to go back to sleep in bliss, lighting resource consumption. The community, one part Santa Cruz del Islote and one part Kowloon Walled City, had strained their space to the breaking point, and their supplies were slowly dwindling as material fabricators went out of service. So she had the luxury of living at a higher level of comfort of her exiled parents and grandparents.

    The second discovery she partook in her late teens. Since she was young, it was common for the children of Al Falah to crawl in the vents above and under the rooms, exploring the tunnels in the barrier between their world and whatever was out there. For decades they had searched, and just found more ducts, more service tunnels, more space. But on one fateful day, when she was already nearly too big to fit through some of the smaller tunnels, she came across one mysterious passageway that was marked by cryptic symbols, later revealed to be intermediary markings by Unity contractors. But as she turned back, the weight of her age led her to fall through the ceiling, landing in an entirely new room never before seen by her people.

    It was an observation chamber, one of the many that dotted the length of the Unity, to be used both for astronomers and lounging crewmen. And as she dusted herself off and stood up, Arshia became the first of Al Falah to see what was beyond her world.

    Absolutely nothing. It was space. But there were stars. The ones her father would tell stories of in the cargo bay square, the ones she had seen in the few media devices that had been kept in storage. The little points of light shone, like inverted dust motes floating above a lit ventilator vent. And there she knew the extent of her world.

    She hurried back and reported her discovery. Subsequent teams of the young and the short followed, and they all gathered at the observatory. For the first time in their history, these exiles could see the extent of their prison, where they had been hidden away for so long.

    The exploration teams had scrounged up some fresh supplies from the areas outside of the Al Falah subsection. There was interest of moving out of the bay and into these new territories, but ultimately most chose to remain in the bay that was their home. Besides, more corridors dotted by some lounges, empty medical facilities, laboratories were none to attractive to settle in. So they took what they needed and left. But it soon became an initiation for all in that generation to find their way out of Al Falah to see the space they were suspended in.

    Planetfall came a decade later.

    The klaxons awoke the pioneers who had camped out in empty observatories. Pretty soon, the years-long hibernation chambers which was out of their access had come unsealed, and at last, the crew of their prison ship awoke. Most Al Falah natives ran away, but some remained. They were remembered as martyrs for suffering first contact with the Spartans. Throughout the days to come, brave scouts, Arshia being one of them, infiltrated into the main body of Unity as lockdowns that had been shut since the voyage began suddenly came loose and entire decks were now available for access. After their original disastrous meeting, the scouts would attempt to remain as hidden as possible, as tempting as it was to seek out these new humans. The temptations all went away when the people started killing each other. Never having see such violent death before, the scouts fled back to Al Falah. Arshia remained after she was separated from the group. Then, on the seventh day, she found her way to the Unity command staff.

    It was just shortly after a firefight where a Spartan hunting party and a squad of Bolivar's peacekeepers had decimated each other, after themselves finishing off a third pack of Anarchists that had stumbled upon them. As traumatizing as it was to see such barbarity, Arshia was curiously fixated by the killing, such horrors she had never seen before, and could not imagine. Clutching her pack of scavenged materials, she found her way to the lone peacekeeper survivor, bleeding out on the floor. Taught to heal from an early age, Arshia dressed his wounds and gave him water. Grateful, the peacekeeper asked for her help in returning to the bridge, and was surprised when she told him she didn't know what that was in broken English with an unplaceable accent.

    Along the way they dodged Spartans and Anarchists and still other agents of chaos. They assisted a team of loyal security guards in putting out a fire and repairing a length of wall to prevent a hull breach. They went through an arboretum and Arshia was instantly entranced, for she had never seen such large plants before. They saw other parts of the ship in worse condition, and it became clear to her that all was not well. And then they finally reached where the Unity command staff had set up their emergency strategy committee.

    Arshia could hardly communicate with this motley crew. She found Skye and Zakharov to both be cold, apathetic at her existence and in a hurry to get to elsewhere. Morgan smiled sinister smiles and Hutama was too unnervingly friendly, though she was able to return some words of Indonesian to him. Élodie treated her like a specimen or like a prized piece of fruit ready to be harvested from the hydroponic tanks, marveling as her unfamiliar clothing and tattoos. Lal spoke to her courteously but she could not follow. Finally, it was Godwinson who finally was able to break through. Speaking to Arshia in strangely accented Falahbic, she asked where she came from in soothing tones with understanding eyes, and the captive answered. The discovery of Al Falah would later be immortalized as a Paradise Lost-type fable in the midst of the Planetfall disaster, probably because of Believer hagiography of their leader.

    There was no time for formal diplomatic relations. Kozlov's team was too preoccupied with saving the ship to punch a hole in it to reach the subsection. So they would have to arrive through the tunnels. A small team of security and the young peacekeeper she had saved volunteered to go with Arshia, bringing with them communications tech to establish commlinks with Al Falah. The trip back was even more perilous. Du Lac's gendarmerie were now attacking anyone on sight as a mutineer, even the peacekeepers themselves were seen as potential traitors. So-called Admiral Heid's mercenaries had awoken and began to join in on what they considered fun. Sections of the vessel were beginning to fall apart. Hazardous chemicals began to leak and hiss out of broken pipes.

    But the team, minus a few red-jackets lost to a mysterious force of black-clad men identified only by a green symbol, reached the walls that had separated Al Falah with the ship at large. Crawling through the tubes they arrived to the other side, and for the first time, the exiles met Unity. They were saddened to hear of the calamities that gripped the outside world, and dismayed to hear of their impending doom. In another stroke of fortune, the peacekeeper discovered that the giant metal egg that had been in the center of Al Falah for decades and used as ceremonial decoration was actually a landing pod, and that while the subsection didn't directly connect to the ship at large, and one seemingly-solid wall was actually a cargo door.

    Loading as much as they could carry and the precious memories of their community, even remnants of their ancestry on Earth, the citizens of Al Falah entered the landing pod. Hours later, they would received the Abandon Ship signal from Acting-Captain Pravin Lal and the vessel, hastily dubbed the Golden Shah, took off for Planet, leaving behind their home for half a century.

    On the surface, Al Falah, with the help of the few Unity members, survived under incredibly harsh conditions. Arshia assumed their leadership thanks to her heroic acts, standing on solid ground for the first time in her life. They would later be reunited with the Peacekeeping Forces, who would sign a protective Pact over the wayward colony of untrained refugees. Finally learning the tongues of the U.N., Arshia finds Lal to be harmless enough, but disbelieves that he will be able to guarantee her people's safety. Even as they build bigger and bigger bases filled with both their people and those who have been otherwise exiled or become refugees from other factions, Al Falah seeks a homeland, truly free and able to plot its own journey.
     
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