The year is 2220. For almost two hundred years, humanity has been slowly recovering from a staggering convergence of world-wide ecological, social, and political disasters collectively known as the Great Mistake. A chilling report has determined that, in a few short decades, we will pass the so-called Inflection Point, a time when mankind will no longer have the resources and political will to leave Earth in sufficient numbers before its extinction. In desperation, several prominent factions throughout what remains of the world have financed massive Seeding projects, last-ditch efforts to find and settle a habitable world before all is lost.
Collectively, we (this thread) will represent various private citizens, businesses, religious organizations, politicians, and so on who want to take part in one of these projects. The first thing we have to decide is which organization we will seek sponsorship from (or are already part of).
(The Civilopedia entries can make for pretty dry reading sometimes, but I highly recommend everyone read the ARTICLE section for each sponsor, at the very least. They'll be in the second post, since this one went way over the character limit.)
The Kavithan Protectorate, led by Kavitha Thakur:
--and laid the framework for the Protectorate to participate in the Seeding.
Thakurism not only brought an end to warfare on the Indian subcontinent, it also precipitated a cultural flourishing beyond anything that existed up to the Great Mistake. Given a renewed sense of purpose by the Prophet, a great wave of new art, music, cinema, and video gaming sprang up, beginning in Delhi but spreading as fast as Raj Thakur's message of improving the lot of humanity. The Prophet's Dream is the common euphemism for the Protectorate's space program, and songs and movies extol the moral value of educating oneself to work on the seeding.
Protecting the Future
The Protectorate still has decades of war and environmental damage to heal, and resources are scarce, but the people of the Protectorate are optimistic about the future ahead. Of all the nations of the world, the Protectorate probably has the broadest spectrum of support for the Seeding projects, and the Protectorate's methods for choosing Seeding candidates are broadly democratic. Kavitha Thakur, although holding no formal office and claiming no titles for herself, is unquestionably the leader of this political and religious movement, and she has made it clear that she will see her father's dreams realized in this generation.
The populous and pluralistic Kavithan Protectorate would allow us to expand rapidly.
Brasilia, led by Rejinaldo Bolivar de Alencar:
...the new Latin America.
Brasilia's strong aerospace industry and its veteran air force gave the country something of a leg up when the Seeding began. Brasila was the first nation-state whose ship left the confines of the solar systema feat of national pride that Brasilians are quick to boast on. This expedition, composed of many of Brasilia's best soldiers and airmen, represented the belief that a colony whose members had been tested in the fire of combat would bring lasting success to the conquest of a new world.
...world: The three-volume Principles of Modern Warfare, and the slimmer On the Training and Conduct of Soldiers (for enlisted soldiers and military cadets). A proponent of special forces, total victory, aerospatial power projection, and professional NCOs, these volumes have served as the blueprint for infantry doctrine around the world, its pithy maxims backed up by examples from history and Bolivar's own career. In anyone else, these books would be grandiose; in Bolivar's case they are statement of fact.
National hero for Brasilia, his name came quickly to the top of the list for commanders of the first Seeding projects. Despite a career in the mud, Bolivar was first endorsed by the Brasilian Air Force and the Space Department. Never one to decline a chance to serve his country, Bolivar honed the first Seeding to leave Earth's orbit into the professional, dedicated force that was the hallmark of his military career.
Brasilia has a combat bonus to all their units, as well as faster recovery/reinforcement.
The Pan-Asian Cooperative, led by Daoming Sochua:
...City Seoul became the standard for high-efficiency urban living with high quality of life, and the Great Heavenly Leap demonstrated that a space program could be mass-produced.
To the Stars
Over the years following the Great Mistake, PAC invested heavily in civil infrastructure, resource extraction, and heavy industry. Surviving corporations were given new, expansive charters and vast reaches of the Asian interior were opened up to development. In the cities, the academic establishment focused their best efforts and talents on applied sciences and trade skills, and within a generation PAC students were throwing back the boundaries of theoretical physics, chemical engineering, computer science, and advanced fabrication. Given its material advantages and the pressure from a large population with limited land, PAC took a leading role in the colonization effort, building a space station under the auspices of its Manned Space Engineering Office that would serve as the prototype for the first orbital colony ship spacedocks. Just one decade later, a Chinese crew made the first landing on Mars, following mapping the Yinghou satellite network. Although given urgency by the discovery of the Inflection Point, the establishment of viable and self-sufficient settlements on alien worlds had always been a goal of the PAC Space Agency. In the years following, multiple PAC missions scattered in various directions into the galaxy, with as yet unknown results.
...colony, driving her crew and staff unrelentingly. Although not beloved by the colonists on the one-way trip, she was highly respectedwhich was all that Daoming Sochua expected or demanded.
PAC builds stuff, and builds it fast.
Polystralia, led by Hutama:
Much of Polystralia's prosperity and progress was due to its lack of internal political discord. Unlike other areas, the relations between the nation-members of the Commonwealth were generally cordial and peaceful. Disputes were settled amicably in the Assembly. With the exception of a unified judiciary and military, and contributions to the operating cost of the Commonwealth government, local administration is left in the hands of the member states. For over a century this structure elevated Polystralia into the ranks of superpowers.
Far and Away
Although less active in the off-world colonization effort than other states, Polystralia also joined the race to spread humanity to other planets. With unpleasant memories of the penal colonies founded in many of its lands, the Commonwealth focused on the well-being and safety of its colonists before other concerns. Motivated by a historical sense of adventure and exploration, as well as a tradition of hard work and self-reliance, tens of thousands of Commonwealth citizens volunteered to relocate off-world.
Gadfly he might be on the screen, but this was motivated by a strong sense of public justice.
Mission to Space
Notably, Hutama seems to have misread public attitudes about the Seeding. After publicly calling into question the Commission Report on the Inflection Point, he resisted Polystralia's efforts to strengthen its space program and start Seeding construction. After a series of sharp political defeats (and a decline in his weekly show ratings) Hutama reversed his position, although his support carried something of a satirical edge. But when the time came to nominate leaders, Hutama's loyalists across the Commonwealth put his name forwardeven after Hutama devoted an entire program to reasons why he would be a bad expedition leader.
Polystralia's bonus to trade gives them a lot of edges depending on where you direct the routes, but primarily in accumulating hella Energy(money) and hella Science. Incidentally, Hutama is also my personal favorite character among the leaders, primarily for the article below.
The Slavic Federation, led by General Vadim Kozlov:
...engineers are in high demand around the world, and if their projects lack elegance of design, they more than make up for it in robustness.
Pioneers on New Frontiers
Of all the post-Mistake nations, the Slavic Federation has emerged as most active in space. The Mir 2 space station, the Zvezdagrad orbital factory, and the Nova Luna installation are rightfully regarded as some of the finest feats of spaceflight up to the Seeding itself. Furthermore, there are multiple overlapping programs in the Federation, mainly military, civilian, private, and academic ones. Roscosmosnow supplied with top academic minds from all the Federation memberstook a leading role in scientific advancement and the development of spacefaring technology.
Up until the Seeding, the Federation took a matter-of-fact attitude towards its terrestrial engineering and space program. They were seen as tools that were needed to improve the lives of its citizens, but increasingly the Federation has cast its work as being for the continuation of humanity. Federation technology can overcame any challenge, and Federation know-how can find a solution to any problem. That philosophy motivated its herculean efforts in the colonization movement over the years leading to the Inflection Point.
...reticent in pitching in personally to do manual labor during inspections of construction sites on Earth, elevating his reputation even more as a self-effacing, self-made, successful servant of the people. Both professionally and personally, Vadim Kozlov appeared content.
Return to Space
Yet Vadim made no effort to disguise his desire to return to space. In his early 40s, when the Slavic colonization was launched, Kozlov volunteered to head one of the missions. He was promptly accepted, and threw himself into the role of mission commander with the vigor and consummate professionalism for which he was famed. It has been surmised that he was urged to volunteer by his beloved wife, who hoped to give their children opportunities on a new world not available in the overcrowded and calcifying Slavic Federation. Whatever the truth of such rumors, in the colony mission, colony was able to combine all the loves of his life: space travel, exploration, engineering, family, and Federation.
Satellites. The Slavic Federation is all about satellites. While their bonus is no longer as powerful as it once was (a free tech from your first satellite launch), they are still able to control more of the planet's orbital layer than anyone else, which can be a phenomenal boon to both the military and the economy if played well.
The People's African Union, led by Samatar Jama Barre:
...African unionsmoved to bring economic stability and prosperity to the continent. Instituting a unified currency was the first step; demolishing the tariff and taxation schemes of the various member states as they were added was another. COMESA involvement in the new Africa eventually turned to tapping its prodigious natural and agricultural resources, while attempting to maintain its ecological diversity and heritage through extensive wildlife parks and natural wonders. Funded projects included dams, new energy sources such as wind farms, and coastal and Congolese reclamation efforts. The African Common Market also invested heavily in education for the post-Mistake generations and in humanitarian projects, notably in the realms of health care and human rights. New industries were pursued, and the Union became one of the major players in international trade. But problems remain, although the People's African Union continues to implement policies to address these. Notable are the remnants of nepotism and corruption that plague some of the member nations, and the occasional flare-ups of tribal and/or religious conflict.
As with many things in the Union, the merchants and traders took the leading role when the Seeding began. Most of the missions launched were led and populated by prominent regional businessmen and respected civil servants. Although the governance and characteristics of the dozens of colonies would take many forms, all had their roots deep in African history and culture. While it may be facile to claim that it takes a village to raise a child, it may be said with certainty that it takes a village to survive as a colony on a distant world. The attitude of the African colonial administration is best summed up by the unofficial motto of the People's African Union, an ancient Bondei proverb that says, Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable.
...were extremely loyal to their great uncle and fought with abandon for his approval. Samatar Barre never lost a battle, although he took no credit for his victories and views them as lamentable necessities.
The African Union is good at growing city population and developing Virtues, Beyond Earth's equivalent of Civilization 5's Social Policies.
The American Reclamation Corporation, led by CEO Suzanne Fielding:
With access to nearly unlimited funds and resources, the ARC interstellar ships were high-tech, large, and luxurious compared to those launched by other governments. Staffed by the best and brightest that the corporation could recruit, the ARC colonial missions set a new standard for success and expectations. Those undersigning with an ARC expedition are well advised to read the contract closely. The ARC wishes them well, and looks forward to a return on their investment as soon as possible.
financial weight of ARC as a massive lever, engineering a series of shifts on Old Wall Street to unseat banks and exchanges. As ARC's capital reserves blossomed, many wondered what Fielding would do next. Few expected that she would announce ARC pursuing its own private Seeding venture, drawing on its vast engineering and manufacturing resources, and gaining a waiver from the government to conduct private space operations. The biggest surprise was when Fielding announced she would personally lead the first such expedition. With enough money to buy the world, the woman who led ARC found more meaning in starting over with a new planet.
ARC has the most effective spies.
Franco-Iberia, led by Élodie:
Directorate-General for Education and Culture was aggressive in promoting and exporting European cultural worksespecially through the mediato the rest of the world. For Franco-Iberians, their shared cultural history and cultural infusion from North Africa has become a source of unifying pride. With such initiatives and stability, it is unsurprising that others sought to join Franco-Iberia in the face of a confusing and threatening world. Tresors de l'esprit is the byword; a citizen's riches should be carried in her mind and shared, not hidden away in a bank.
Live Well, Leave Well
With its progressive attitudes, high standard of living, and thriving culture, Franco-Iberia has become a beacon for immigration. Highly-educated immigrants have flocked into its borders, not only to work in cultural fields, but on the massive infrastructure projects, such as Seventh Republic Paris and the Andalusian Solar Field Energy Project. The twin capitals of Paris and Madrid gleam with new buildings. The restored Rome is a pilgrimage hub and world museum. Algiers' new port bustles day and night with a new class of low-energy cargo ships. Tunis is a shimmering resort city to the world, whose nightclubs and cafes thrum with the sound of a new generation of musicians. With such advantages, Franco-Iberia was a leading member in the race for off-world colonies. Colonial governors were appointed after a vetting process by the Union's new colonial administration, and admonished to conduct themselves in the best traditions of civilization and morality no matter the circumstances. After all, the guardians of Western Civilization could hardly do less.
When Franco-Iberia announced its plans to launch a Seeding, Élodie used her considerable influence and family connections to get her name on the short list for command. Using her media savvy, she managed to get the mass media's backing, making her a popular choice among the citizenry of the Union despite her age. Beyond the operational matters (and Élodie had a knack for choosing able lieutenants), she also personally oversaw the construction of the Canon, the definitive collection of Western art, letters, and music, which became the template for inclusion in the cultural banks of other Seeding projects. Hence, when the colony ship set out, it not only carried people and technology from Franco-Iberia, but some of old Europe's greatest artworks and schematics for duplicating many of Europe's great architectural wonders. Élodie's new colony was not only to prosper, but look good doing so.
Acquiring Virtues can provide great bonuses to our entire civilization, and an extra one every once in a while is nice, but usually, this will only translate to two or three free Virtues in an average game.
The next question is, what kinds of people will the majority of our colonists be? I assume the colony ship includes plenty of all types, but the one we choose will be the dominant force, numerically and/or socially.
What is the most useful feature of the spacecraft we want to push for?
And finally, what cargo should we bring with us?
I encourage people to respond in
Wait, aren't you running another LP already?
Are you insane?
Absolutely. Also a goon on vacation, in an area that is currently being snowed in. Let's do this.
These are part of a series of articles posted on the Civilization website in the weeks leading up to its release about each sponsor leader. Ironically, they display some of the best writing for Beyond Earth, but are not actually in the game.
ARTICLE for The Kavithan Protectorate:
In this column, Dear Readers, I have enjoyed pillorying the so-called great figures of the day. The fatuous and frequently hypocritical sots who set themselves up as emissaries of god (or just cut out the spiritual middlemen and claim divinity for themselves) have been my favorite targets. By far the boldest claims I had ever planned to debunk were waiting for me in New Delhi: The mystic Kavitha Thakur, daughter of self-described syncretic guru Raj Thakur. Born supposedly 17 years prior to The Great Mistake and yet here she stands today 200 years later looking like shes in the prime of life. I either needed her youthful secrets or to tear down the Kavithan façade. Or both.
Stepping out of a cab, I witnessed firsthand what the people of her Protectorate refer to as The Prophets Work.
It began in the cab in New Delhi, when my driver asked the purpose of my visit. I explained I had come to unmask Kavitha Thakur as a fraud. He spun around to face me (exponentially increasing my terror of the traffic) and said: Oh, but you cannot unmask her, you must see the truth of the Prophets Work for yourself.
The Prophets Work. Everywhere it is the Prophets Work, this space program created on the doorstep of the worst violence and tragedy of the Great Mistake. Children run through the streets, kicking footballs and holding homemade model rockets. Songs on the radio extol how love can transcend the unimaginable distances between the stars. I sat through a movie about two young engineers, each giving up their seat on the Seeding flight to be with the others and to stay on Earth. It ended with a dance number after the engineers had figured out a way to send a million more people out to distant worlds. A group of young men attempted to have me arbitrate a dispute about the best way for a pilot to slow his spacecraft, atmospheric braking versus low-angle insertion. I declined the honor, explained my ignorance of their conflict, and earned a dozen withering looks of contempt. I tell you that the Pope has not given me a look with a quarter of the venom these teens did; I was embarrassed for myself. A troupe of young ladies performed a dance to me, choreographed around the slingshot orbits that our Seeding ships use to depart the solar system. Northern India is manic about spaceflight and the Seeding and the Thakurs.
Nobody can tell me whether the Protectorates space program is government-sponsored or private. Nobody knows, or possibly nobody cares. Rockets go up, are tracked, the construction is going apace in orbit, and nobody seems to be in charge of it. A child of eight can tell you how many days it is before the next Heavy Lift, and when the next Colonial Lottery is being held. Old women argue about whether hydroponic saffron would taste the same as soil-grown. Kavitha and Raj Thakurs faces stare at you from posters on buildings and holo-ads, painted simacrula of these adorn lesser structures, buses, and car roofs. Flimsy paper pamphlets filled with their sermons are stuffed in racks and grabbed up just as quickly. The illustrations within them are of starfields and domed cities on impossible landscapes.
I ask: How many people are going on the Protectorates Seeding expeditions? Many! But not enough, I am told. But there will be more soon. It is the Prophets Work, I am told. I ask: Where does the money come from? Everyone pays what they can, it is the Prophets Work, I am told.
I pass a single-room school bearing Raj Thakurs name, and inside is an earnest teacher waxing rhapsodic about what life will be like on the new world to attentive students.
I have decried religion and its adherents because I feel they subvert the society. But the Thakurite vision of the Seeding is part and parcel of India these days. Its optimism infuses every part of the culture, from top to bottom. And indeed there is something (I dare say something holy) about the way it works, despite the manic, decentralized, massively disorganized process, despite the clear ruin left over from the Mistake, despite the poverty and a thousand other factors that tell me I should expect a populace on the verge of riot, a simmering keg of resentment and malice. Instead there is joy, endless joy, and I cannot see any way for this to exist without Kavitha Thakurs weekly sermons, or her fathers ubiquitous books and videos filled with the dense, mystic vision which somehow fuses the old gods with rocketry.
I have derided religion as backwards and anti-human, and yet the Protectorate is beyond brilliant with the light of culture, full of hope and eschewing the inherent violence of the world we live in now. I have seen the Protectorate, and I tell you that Thakurs writings and homiletics no longer inspire scorn within me; they inspire thoughts of divinity and space travel. Dear reader, these words will not sway you, unless you have seen the Protectorate, that strange autonomous region devoted to the words of the Prophet who preached both an end to religious strife and a concrete vision of travel to distant worlds. When I dream at night, I see Kavitha Thakur beckoning to me, I hear the sound of lathes spinning aluminium billets, I hear children chanting Newtonian orbital formulations interspersed with Thakurite prayers.
As I left the Protectorate, I discovered to my astonishment that I no longer cared about Kavitha Thakurs actual age. I was willing to accept that she was 200 years old, because I wanted the Prophets Work to continue. I wanted more than anything for the Protectorate to hum and bustle with life, its head in the stars already as its feet dance in the toxic dust of this world. I did not expect to love Kavitha Thakur. Dear reader: I am shaken, I am shaken, I am shaken.
ARTICLE for Franco-Iberia:
From the Preface of the Canon, first printing, Franco-Iberian Department of Culture
Index record 0.003.1
The great and unifying theme which underlies all of Western arts and letters has the question: What does it mean to be human? The greatest minds of each age, over millennia, have brought particular clarity and insight into this question by refracting the universal truths of humanity through the prism of the events of their day. Taken as a whole, this Canon represents deep wisdom and insight, and thus is inherently good in its own right. What distinguishes human from animal is this ability to build a cultural legacy and transmit this to future generations.
In a real sense, however, this wonderful collection of thought is limited by one fact: All of these writers and artists, poets and painters were inhabitants of the same planet. Of the common threads of philosophy that run through the Canon, are they truly universal, and indicative of the human condition? Or are they conditional on this one world? We believe that some of them must be universal. Love, for instance, should be agnostic of the color of the sky. But what of the basic nature of humanity? Do we become base and feral when placed on a different world? Are we ennobled by distance? If alienated from our place of birth, do we persist in wisdom, or do we repeat the many mistakes of history? Perhaps we shall find that the truths of the Canon hold independent of any world, and thus we may learn that human beings have long since distilled the essence of meaning in ages long past.
This question must be addressed, not for scientific reasons nor for political reasons, but because our entire cultural treasury demands that we ask and answer. This is the great contribution that this age can make to all previous ages, and to fail to answer this question would be to shirk a great moral responsibility.
It may be that our failure to live up to our moral obligations over the past three centuries have irrevocably harmed this world. A failure of political morality legitimated atrocity as tools of the state. A failure of ecological morality compounded the suffering and exacerbated the ill effects of these political failures. It has been shown empirically that we stand at a threshold where soon we will no longer possess the means to sustain neither our accustomed standard of living, nor a program of viable extrasolar colonization. Thus we must not fail this final moral test for humanity, or we shall have entirely squandered our potential as a species, and wasted the inheritance we have received from previous generations.
Our common humanity is revealed rarely, often only in the face of the most dire exigencies. And so while we are in a perilous state of affairs in this age (rarely has humanity as a whole stood at such crisis), so also do we find one of those rare historical moments whereby we may set aside that which is petty and banal and find great strength, meaning, and purpose within these times. Thus renewed morally and rededicated to the good of all, we may continue forward both physically and culturally.
If you have embraced the wisdom within this Canon and the traditions that spring from it, you may in fairness ask with appropriate skepticism whether it is truly representative of all great philosophies. I assure you it is not. I have left works out and make no apology for such. It is the prerogative of the curator to make these decisions. If you, in future generations, wonder if the libraries and databases of Earth hold treasures not listed here, I assure you that from the perspective of one who has spent her life in the service of culture: They do not.
I do not subscribe to the notion that all ideas are worthy of preservation. Some are reprehensible, and through diligent study you may detect the shadow of these ideas before they reform within the zeitgeist, and choose a different path for yourself before they infect minds again. Some are banal, and have been culled because the ideas within them, although perhaps worthy, were expressed with considerable crudity. Some are preserved as historical curiosities, fashionable nonsense which you may examine and mock for their shortcomings. I have labelled these latter ones as such, lest there be confusion on the point. You will no doubt replicate much of old Earths folly in your own time; I will not enshrine this folly lest it be mistaken for wisdom.
While I readily accept the blame and condemnation of possible futures, I will also claim a measure of credit for this work. This is the culmination of years spent in service to the muses, to the liberal education, to the cultural history of civilizations, and to ancient wisdom which has stood the test of time.
What the Canon cannot do is set the actions of you people of the future on many worlds. But I feel strongly, on the weight of history and the actions of the wise, that those who study it and reflect thoughtfully on its contents will be able to draw upon the best of humanity, distilled over many ages.
ARTICLE for ARC:
"Fielding Aims toward the Skies as ARC Skyrockets"
Interview with "The Journal", August 23, 2216
One would think that there are no new worlds for the CEO / CFO of American Reclamation Corporation (NASDAQ: ARCZ) to conquer, but Suzanne Marjorie Fielding would tell you otherwise. I was recently granted a brief interview with arguably one of the most powerful people in the world after the latest earnings call. Everything was fair game including "Operation Riverboat," the Seeding venture and what everyone is talking about these days: deep space travel. This is our conversation in its entirety.
The Journal: Todays message to the shareholders was long on ARCs current practices here on Earth and broadly talked about a vision for the future beyond Earth. How do you see things going based on your time with ARC so far?
Fielding: When I started at American Reclamation Corporation, it was to help reclaim coastal lands as part of the ARCs Trans-Mississippi Recovery Initiative. My family was a big factor in that. I grew up on the Texas side of the Gulf coast. My father was a small business owner he owned three hardware stores - and he taught me that diligence, hard work and attention to detail are what matter most. ARC has always stood for those values, as we have pulled ourselves past the Great Mistake. Knowing that ARC creates real solutions to global problems has been a major motivating force in my time here.
Ive come a long way from that idealistic intern fresh out of LSU. Not only does ARC have the technical knowhow, production and infrastructure to work on the biggest global issues challenging everyone, we are now more financially sound than ever before. Ask any CIO that Ive talked to today go on, theres about 190 of them to choose from all agree that our direction is clear. We are leveraging our capital reserves to participate in Seeding ventures. And while we still hold a firm belief for everything ARC can accomplish here on Earth, we also have our eye on the stars.
Clearly, creating a financial arm for the Seeding venture has been a huge win for ARC so far. As you just alluded to, though, deep space travel is now a reality. Will that take your company's mission into space?
Everything ARC has done is consistent with its mission: To provide global solutions for complex global problems. ARC can move mountains and hold back the ocean, and we have built the physical and financial tools we need to serve our mission and our customers. Our recent developments on the finance side are an investment in the tools to continue this mission.
That isn't really answering the question. Will ARC refocus on space travel versus continuing to develop technologies here on Earth?
With deep space travel now a practical reality, keeping an eye on new markets both on Earth and light years away is obvious. Were just following in the footsteps of the visionaries and business pioneers that have come before us like Musk, Branson and Cochrane who established the first private footholds in space 200 years ago. Here at ARC, we intend to build and execute our own Seeding ventures, from launch to landing. The Seeding represents a huge number of open markets and unmet needs in services and products, and I intend ARC to be in on the ground floor. If that means terraforming worlds to fit our needs, ARC is uniquely qualified to lead the human race into the future.
To that point, do you feel that ARC's primary mission is unsustainable here on earth?
Absolutely not. This is perfectly consistent with our overall, global mission. We are unique in that ARC can do things to make peoples lives better that no entity, private or public, can do. ARC will be in space, and ARC will be on Earth, and in both places well be at the cutting edge.
Our readers are curious - ARC is doing well now, no doubt, but there was obviously a rough period not so long ago. Are you able to elaborate on your role in the FBIs "Operation Riverboat"?
Ive never withheld anything about my involvement with the FBIs investigations, but youre focusing on the actions of a few bad apples over a decade ago. A few staff in one regional office were found accountable and were punished, and I dont need to point out to you that neither ARCs directorial team nor its board were ever found to be involved or even liable for what occurred there. The system worked in this case, and ARCs cooperation with the FBI was praised by the Attorney Generals office.
Ill also remind you that any discussion into the exact nature of what happened touches on proprietary information and practices of the ARC and you would be found liable for discussing them without our explicit permission.
Fine, I understand. Are there any limitations or provisos on the space rights that the US government gave you?
There are some token limitations which really have no concrete effect on our plans or capabilities. I think these represent empty gestures from a government that fails to understand the value of what private enterprise can do in the colonization industry. If Congress says we cant use the American flag on our spacecraft, I can assure you that a few grams of paint will not affect ARCs success.
Who do you think is fit to lead a deep space mission on behalf of ARC? Would you want to be involved?
Leadership in this new era is going to be defined by an ability to maintain a clear vision of the larger goals of an organization while still focusing on the details of making the specific mission a success. Our Human Resource division, in conjunction with myself, our board, and our executives, will be creating a system for identifying those leaders of tomorrow. Personally speaking, I value people who can pull their weight. There's no room for playwrights or pedagogues in my world. I've never been the religious sort, so I'm not looking to convert the locals, either.
Are you at all concerned about the trip?
No. There are risks, but we at ARC are very good at risk mitigation.
Youve spoken publicly about a day when we could harvest and properly colonize the surface of planets light years away. Now that the time is upon us...are we ready?
We have to be ready. The American story has been one of the success of our private enterprises, and ARC is the foremost among these. We are the inheritors of a four-century tradition of liberty and property, and the legacy of Western civilizations prosperity. ARC will do its part to bring that tradition.
ARTICLE for African Union:
One of the last times we spoke, you asked me why I permitted so many powers from outside of Africa to gain access to our resources, when we both knew the great cost of the colonial legacy on our people. I can remember now, that evening in Tripoli, you said: "What difference is there between Cecil Rhodes and an ARC contract?" I asked you to trust me in the trade deals, and you never opposed me in public, but I know that you never agreed with me.
Walaalkaa, I saw no other way forward for our people. We had titanium, but no machinists. We had petroleum, but not enough modern chemical processing plants. We never had enough money, and our people never had the resources for education or training. We didn't have time to build these things up, either.
It was like that time that the Union sent us to put down the Glorious Resistance Force in the Congo. Remember how they sent us out to die with whatever small arms ammo we could carry? We had to trade resources and lease launch facilities, because we had too much of the one thing and the Seeding requires a thousand different things.
I hated it, brother. I hated signing those deals because I knew that you were right, that we were signing over the richness of Africa again, maybe for the last time. I hated how I had to smile and thank those ministers of trade, with their suits made from the wool of village goats of Africa, over cups of our coffee, playing the part of the big chief man, and they smiled and congratulated themselves on pulling another one over on our people. They came to Africa to make a fortune, and they left with a fortune, and I let them do it because I didn't see any other way for our people's future.
You're in Tripoli now, and you have to live with the choices that I made. I know the oil fields off Nigeria are going dry. I know that the neodynium prospecting in Kenya failed to find new formations. I know you tried to hide these from me, and I forgive you for that. I don't know how the Union is going to meet the contract quotas for the PAC this quarter, much less next year, but I know you and Bugansowa are clever and live for a chance to pull off one of your little political stunts. I wish I were there to see whatever you cook up for Wu.
We are going to make this new world. We are not going to repeat what happened to Africa on a new planet. We are going to raise our children to remember what happened here on Earth, telling them every night before they go to bed: Remember Africa - remember that men with guns will try to take your birthright away from you. We will teach them about elephants and lions and Mt. Kilmanjaro and how the Nile floods made Egypt the first great civilization in the world.
They tell me it is likely that other Seeding expeditions will settle our world. When they do, and when their heads of state come and ask me for titanium or oil or land, I will smile and nod and play the part of the nice, simple old village chief. But Africa will be in my heart, Walaalkaa, and history will not be repeated.
I love you, my brother. Know that I leave the Earth with a heavy heart connected by many years in the struggle together, but so far apart that we havent spoken in what feels like years.
Please forgive me.
PS: I hear you have been going to the mosque again. Walaalkaa, you know what I think about imams and priests but I wish you nothing but peace, whatever you choose.
ARTICLE for the Slavic Federation:
Citizens of the Slavic Federation!
Fearless pioneers of the Outer Space! Hard-working settlers and scientists who have devoted their lives to the genetics, engineering or cybernetics!
This is the final day of the last year we entirely spend on our home planet. In a few months we shall leave and venture on a quest for happiness for all nations of Mother-Earth.
For many years unnumbered we have been torturing our planet, thoughtlessly plundering its wealths. How many animals and plants have been erased from the face of Earth forever? The IUCN Red List comprises more pages than all issues of Encyclopaedia Britannica & Great Soviet Encyclopedia combined together, and we are the only species bearing the blame.
Do you remember the day when the last drop of gas was devoured by the last car in the Russian Federation? So many people have died since then. Yes, this has been the last drop, because only then did the Eurasian nations regain their senses and form a union, which later became the Slavic Federation.
We have survived countless woes. Is there any nation on the planet who had to face such trials? No. Three revolutions in one century, four world wars raging across our lands and still we survived. We stayed afloat, when the water levels rose higher than the stock market, and the rest of the world sank. Nobody but Slavs could do it. Nobody.
Let us remember the legacy of the Golden Age. We were the first ones to launch a satellite, to send a man into space, to establish an extraterrestrial colony, to cross the Kuiper belt. Our history is one of the triumph of reason over ignorance, malice and greed. Since the very moment of birth our nation has been destined to go forward. And further up!
Many hardships lie ahead. We know little about the planet we have chosen as our home. What secrets does it hold? Never fear! We are ready to face anything. Our microbiologists can overcome any extraterrestrial viruses, our ecologists can build any number of prosperous colonies, and our astrophysicists will conquer the alien planet and present it to the mankind. Other expeditions will fail in the struggle with the hostile world, but we will prevail, and we will save their lives, and we will give them shelter.
The time has come to forget past grievances. We know the power of the Slavic Federation. Our orbital stations surpass those of other nations, our machines produce equipment of unrivaled quality. But can we survive without the help of our fellow earthlings? Are we to forget the past without the knowledge of the Franco-Iberian historians? Are our defenses to succumb to the alien wildlife without the support of the hardened soldiers of Buenos Aires? Are we to wallow in vice without the wise guidance of Kavithan Protectorate preachers? No, we should unite our efforts for the sake of the future.
They have been comparing me to the great Yuri Gagarin, the most courageous space pioneer in the history of Earth. I am honored, and yet I must acknowledge the truth of these words. Yes, I am a working class guy, who grew up dreaming of the distant stars and galaxies. Like the Soviet Union, we are about to enter the new, truly cosmic era. Yuri Alekseevich has made the first step towards the space travel. But we must make the last.
This is a solemn moment. A beginning of the first year of the new era. I wish you all a happy New Year 2210!
ARTICLE for Polystralia:
Hutama: The Cad's Alliance Interview
At 20 years old, a brash Hutama first grabbed the publics imagination in his home nation of Polystralia. Within one year, he went from drinking tinnies with classmates to staging sit-ins his longest being 200 days while happily charming the press and savvy social media types. To the amused annoyance of entrenched politicos, this college student at the Universitas Sumatera Utara did the impossible. He led grass-roots campaigns against corruption and cronyism in reclamation projects only to become the dynamic face for a new generation of the Commonwealth.
Then, he graduated.
A little over a decade later, Hutama is at the center of a much bigger stage and now with a much bigger stake in the future of humanity as we look to move beyond Earth. This is a big switch for the populist leader who famously tried debunking the Commission Report on the Inflection Point. Hes still trying in vain to convince his constituency (and his viewers) that hes a horrible choice to lead a seeding expedition. Even now, hes cracking jokes about it on his weekly Internet broadcast, Question, Minister. All while hes putting in his training time with the rest of the Freeland offworld expedition.
Todays meeting was originally planned for last summer. That day consisted of us sitting in the green room during his weekly talk show, punctuated with an emergency meeting with some celebrity that pulled him away. This time around, a much different man makes his way into the room. Still charming, just a little less cocksure since he had to reverse course on this whole view of the Inflection Point, carrying a little less political clout and looking at ratings that may or may not indicate an end to his broadcasting days.
But thats not going to stop Hutama. His tone was still more playful than most politicians. His mood, peppered with equal parts sarcasm and sincerity. Before starting the interview, he insisted that we sit down for a minute and have a couple stubbies.
Hutama: The first and most moral responsibility of Freeland will be establishing a decent brewery on the new planet. Yeast should be going through the same vetting process as the colonists. Maybe a more rigorous one.
Cads: I cant imagine thats an opinion shared by the rest of Freeland team.
Hutama: I have the votes from the microbiology bloc and the hydroponics bloc, and Im convinced health sciences will come onboard. Once we have completed a demonstration project, the benefits will be self-evident to the entire colony.
Cads: If this is part of your campaign to convince the Commonwealth to pick a new leader for the Freeland expedition, I dont think you are succeeding. [Note: The beer was very cool and very good, and the day was hot.]
Hutama: (laughs) No, certainly not! I hired the oppo firm to do some polling in the hope theyd come up with a different picture, and they said: As much as we hate to admit it, youre a popular man. Im putting my time in at Melbourne in the hopes that a darkhorse candidate shows up and replaces me. I keep pinging Sumatera Utara and asking if they have any irritating Poli Sci majors who remind them of me at that age, who theyd like to nominate to Freeland, but the Uni doesnt even hit me up for alum donations anymore. Im pretty sure Im a comms blacklist database entry.
Cads: Your campaign spokespeople have suggested youre the ideal candidate, that youd be the guy to make sure Freeland is run above-board and free from insider deals. But you keep waving your hands and yelling: No no!
Hutama: Lets be clear, Freeland has to be the most transparent project the Commonwealths ever put together, because not everyone is benefiting from it equally. Some people are being given an amazing opportunity to go and develop a new planet, while the rest of the punters have to sit at home and muddle along. The common man and woman in Jakarta and Sydney must understand whos going, and why they were chosen, and moreover they have to feel like the right decision has been made.
Too much of our history has been someone in power dictating the terms to the rest of the population. Too much power blinds you, which is what motivated me to get into politics and what keeps me staying in touch with the public voice. Because I want to know what Jane Jakarta and Sam Sydney are thinking and how they feel, because we all have a right to decide how were going to live our lives.
Cads: That may be, but you were stridently opposed to Seeding right up to the point where you switched opinions on it.
Hutama: I was the champion for those voices who werent being made part of the process. The Commission might have been right about the Inflection Point, but they were wrong about the way they handed down their report. It got my jimmies rustled. Was I wrong about Inflection? Yes. Was I wrong about questioning the entire Seeding initiative? No way. Too many assumptions, too little buy-in from the citizens, too much of the old guard saying: thou shalt.
Cads: So then what changed your mind?
Hutama: [pauses] It was the least-bad deal.
Cads: The least-bad deal?
Hutama: Look, the Inflection Points a thing, right? Its going to happen. Or is happening. Whatever. In fifty or a hundred years, Freeland will not be a viable project. There are going to be a lot of people on this planet and some hard decisions are going to have to be made. But you have a chance, an outside chance, of taking a small number of those people a number so small that taking them off this planet is a rounding error and you can put those people on a new planet where they can do I dont know. Everything. Anything. Live like kings. Burn hydrocarbons. Smelt aluminum from ore. Eat beef three times a day. Just not suffer.
Cads: That seems to fly in the face of giving everyone a fair deal.
Hutama: But its not, dont you see? On one hand you dont send Freeland; five billion citizens of the Commonwealth suffer privation. On the other hand you send Freeland; four billion, nine hundred ninety-nine million, nine hundred ninety thousand citizens of the Commonwealth suffer privation. But ten thousand live free and well. Maybe those ten thousand figure out how to fix Earth. Maybe they dont. Maybe they all decide to drink alien kava and play house music. It doesnt matter.
As long as every citizen of the Commonwealth has a crack at one of those ten thousand seats, then this is the least-bad deal. If every citizen understands how those ten thousand are being allocated, then this is the least-bad deal. Anything else, Im going to lead the citizens to the barricades myself.
Cads: How is it fair for ten thousand Freelanders to live better than the rest of humanity on Earth?
Hutama: I thought you were smart! I thought you kids at Cads were supposed to be the sharp ones! Living well is their only obligation! Living well is the meaning of life, right? Every philosophy boils down to that, and most religions too. Youve got an entire planet in front of you. Sitting in a bubble dome and eating Spam and wearing a hairshirt makes no sense. Thats the worst kind of miserliness to live meanly when youre sitting on riches. No, Freelands first obligation is to live well. After that? Well, well figure it out. Right now my planning just goes as far as getting a brewery up and running. Or getting out of leading the damn thing.
ARTICLE for PAC:
Transcript from the Plenary Session for Colonization Issues
3rd Annual PAC Spaceflight Conference
Daoming Sochua, Administrator for the Institute for High Energy Research
Wu An, Undersecretary for Aerospace Projects
Liang Fang-Kar, Undersecretary for Civil Defense
Wu: (concluding remarks)...This demonstrates that deep space extraterrestrial settlement, while physically feasible, could only be accomplished through an unwise overinvestment of critical strategic materials. Materials, might I add, that are better utilized in mining nearby interstellar bodies.
Liang: This is to say nothing of the social costs of the project. It would be nearly impossible to maintain a proper social cohesion with the Cooperative given the delays of communication over the distances and without military oversight. Any colony that disconnected from Earth would easily slip into anarchy. I move that the recommendation of this panel be that all extrasolar colonization projects be frozen and a new committee be appointed to -
Sochua: Gentlemen, I must dissent.
Liang: Dissent? You would condone a breakdown in social order?
Wu: (Cutting off Liang) What dissent can you possibly raise? I have shown -
Sochua: You have shown that there is not enough titanium in our geographical reserves given a set of a priori assumptions about spaceflight, which I cannot help but describe as willfully conservative. By your calculations, each spacecraft would consume more materials in its construction than the PAC has used in its entire aerospace industry in the past three years. Beginning with bad assumptions you have gone on to draw specious conclusions.
Wu: I wouldn't expect some physicist to understand the complex logistical -
Sochua: I have four PhDs, and can handle some simple algebra. Let me show you.... here. (Pulling out a projection data pad) This is your report to the Cooperative Liberation Air Forces from six weeks ago. Your production estimates for military spaceflight are half of what you show in the figures you just presented minutes ago. Can you explain the discrepancy?
Wu: Those figures are being taken out of context!
Sochua: Numbers never lie, Wu. People do.
Wu: I don't care much for your tone, Madame Administrator...
Liang: Now, now...we all understand that you are an enthusiast for the notion of a so-called Seeding project on behalf of PAC, but surely you see that -
Sochua: I don't care much for so-called scientists who dress up Lysenkoism and call it research. Or the paranoid that want to hide behind a banner of order and protectionism.
Liang: You still can't address the problem of social cohesion, though, can you? Can you really argue that an extrasolar settlement will retain stability in the face of the pressures of life on another world?
Sochua: No, stability would be impossible, but -
Liang: Ha! There you go then.
Sochua: But stability would be a death sentence. Colonists would be galvanized by the immediate needs and tasks of survival on the planet, which would obviate the need for a military presence. Prioritizing social stability in the face of crisis is a maladaptive strategy. During the events of the previous century, the PAC was not stable -
Liang: This is seditious -
Sochua: Where Wu twists figures to his own ends, Liang, you are wringing your hands in fear of something that might happen. The PAC adapted socially because the times demanded it. The PAC itself is a political entity because it was necessary to for it exist in the wake of the Korean Crises and the South China Sea War. The old PRC could not remain stable in the face of these forces. Requiring a colony to maintain full social cohesion with the PAC would cripple them from responding to emergent situations. You're defining a failure as a breakdown in order. I'm telling you that if you demand conventional order, failure will consist of total human extinction.
Liang: I wouldn't expect an academic like yourself to grasp the nuances of -
Sochua: There are no nuances to grasp. The situation is clear: Humanity has to leave the planet, and it has to do it before the Inflection Point becomes a reality. You and Wu and the rest of your kind are looking at this future and it terrifies you. You are paralyzed with fear - fear of what this means for the PAC and your place within it. So you comfort yourself with denial.
You deny the evidence of more difficult resource extraction. You deny the potential expansion of humanity because you cannot guarantee your secure, comfortable position.
You do it in the name of the social good. "Oh, the costs are so great; oh, switching the central manufacturing region from electronics to aerospace would affect our GDP growth targets; oh, perhaps a token demonstration settlement on Mars for a year or two." Really, though, what will the point of our proud military be when there is no one on Earth left to fight?
Others are moving offworld and pushing the frontiers of science and progress, and you are content to be on top of what you see, failing to realize that every moment we are not part of the Seeding, we are moving towards our own extinction. A safe, socially stable extinction where you are on top.
Liang: This is slander!
Wu: I don't have to listen to some half- ...
Sochua: The people who will build these colonies on the new worlds, they are the future of the human race. The PAC has a choice to participate in the future. The emperors of China who banned their subjects from leaving the borders of the kingdom, they are dust in their lost tombs and we don't even bother learning their names. I will not allow you to damn humanity to dust. [At this point, she gets up and leaves the panel session.]
AUTHORS NOTE: It was soon after this conference that Daoming Sochua volunteered to head one of the missions to colonize other planets for the Pan-Asia Cooperative. Sochuas singleminded-ness drove her to outfit and launch her colony.
ARTICLE for Brasilia:
Commander Rejinaldo Leonardo Pedro Bolivar de Alencar-Araripe, addressing candidates for Brasilia's first Seeding mission.
0900 hours, 10 de junho de 2210
Everyone in this room has been chosen for Seeding One, as youve probably guessed. Everyone in this room knows whats at stake. If you accept, you are leaving Earth, your families, your homes, Brasilia, and you are not coming back. For the purposes of everyone on this planet, you will be dead the moment Aguia departs orbit. Your entire career, your entire life, it all ends. Your legacy on Earth will consist of a bronze plaque in Rio or at Agulhas Negras.
This is a suicide mission.
Contemplate that for a moment.
Ill only take those who go willingly. Only people who go willingly into certain danger and are willing to sacrifice what they know and love on this world will have the focus needed to create a new world for future generations.
You represent our most capable, flexible, and disciplined people. Brasilia is going to the stars before every other nation of the planet because of what you can do, together. In a very real sense, you are the most elite soldiers that humanity has ever developed. Now you are being asked to go on the most important mission ever assigned: Survive, grow and thrive on an alien world. Others may come after you, but if you accept, you are the immortal first.
Every one of you began with potential, and we refined you through training. No force in history has ever possessed the range of capabilities that you now have. Youve learned things about manufacturing and production that no military force ever needed to because if you go, you will be on your own. That last exercise, in Antarctica, you never hesitated, never balked, never despaired, and you crossed that continent without leaving anyone behind. You know what you are capable of doing now, and you will not falter, come planetfall.
Too many sacrifices have already been made for this mission. Every ounce of metal in our spacecraft is shelter not built for the people of Brasilia. Every gram of medicine for the stockpile is a child dead from a treatable disease. Every engineer, machinist, doctor, and soldier who worked on building Aguia or the probe fleet was a mind that was not focused on making life better for Brasilia. So why did Brasilia sponsor this mission? Because, once again, we put the needs of humanity ahead of ourselves. This is the one opportunity we have as humans to leave this planet. Brasilia knows this, and the nation has volunteered once more to be the strong arm protecting the helpless.
Brasilia was the guardian of the reconstruction during the Great Mistake. We stood guard over the UN camps in central Asia, our planes carried the relief supplies in and the refugees out of the fallout zones, and we took down the warlords and carved out a space where an effective government could be formed. We did what the Norteamericanos or Chinese would not do. We did what the Europeans could not do. We did it because Brasilia was young and strong, and because it is the responsibility of the strong to protect the helpless. We, Brasilia, acquitted ourselves with honor. We have earned the right to settle new worlds.
Your nation has put the needs of humanity ahead of itself. Your nation has selected you. I am asking you, as your commander, to come on one last mission with me.
The company will be dismissed and we will reconvene in one hour. Anyone absent for formation at that time will be reassigned to their primary service arm and will continue to serve with honor here on Earth. Those present for formation at that time are committed to Seeding One.
By popular decree, we shall be playing as Hutama of Polystralia, with a crew of engineers, a cargo of machinery, and a tectonic scanner.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Here's To New Beginnings
- Chapter 2: The Augmented
- Chapter 3: The Earth Drinker
- Chapter 4: Incoming Transmission
- Chapter 5: Skin and Chrome
- Chapter 6: Pies or Cider
- Chapter 7: Loads o' Money
- Chapter 8: Wake Up! With Hutama
- Chapter 9: Ding Dong, The Worm is Dead
- Chapter 10: Infiltration
- Chapter 11: Off and On Again
- Chapter 12: Master Control
- Chapter 13: Beyond the Flesh
- State of the World Update
- Chapter 14: The Stupa of the Stars
- Chapter 15: Don't Forget the Kids!
- Chapter 16: Unsleeping Cynosure
- Chapter 16.5
- Chapter 17: Meeting of the Minds
- Chapter 18: Livin' in a Robot Paradise