Author Topic: Racing the Darkness - An Alpha Centauri Photologue  (Read 6197 times)

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Offline Trenacker

Racing the Darkness - An Alpha Centauri Photologue
« on: March 13, 2022, 06:28:53 PM »
Overview
This is a fictional account of the Unity expedition featured in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri.

I am presenting material in pseudo-"photo" essay form.

Introduction
This is the story of an expedition into the unknown. It was an act of desperation, undertaken not in optimism or from a place of pride, but because our species, and the civilization it created, had run out of time. And so we fled the world we had seemingly destroyed for one that might yet destroy us.


Sid Meier, et al. Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. Firaxis Games. 1999.

I'm going to try to post about three updates a day.

Source Material

The primary source for this timeline is, quite naturally, the eponymous computer game and its 1999 sequel, Alpha Centauri: Alien Crossfire, for which Brian Reynolds was lead designer. You will see additional traces and head nods to the late Michael Crichton, author of Jurassic Park; the late James Clavell, author of the The Asian Saga, the most famous installment of which was probably Shōgun; author David Brinn, who penned The Postman in 1985; the present-day TNT television series The Last Ship; Ridley Scott's Blade Runner and its sequel; the book Cold War Hot, ed. Peter G. Tsouras; Jon F. Zeigler's GURPS Alpha Centauri book; the 1998 Blizzard computer game StarCraft and its many derivative and companion works; the Fallout series of computer games; the short-lived NBC drama Kings; Christopher Nolen's 2010 movie, Inception; and many others.

The Tribe faction, along with the characters of "Pete" Landers and John Baptist Keller (here, Jean-Baptiste Keller) are the original creations of an individual with the screen name "Thorn" on another forum.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2022, 01:34:02 AM by Trenacker »

Offline Trenacker

Re: Racing the Darkness - An Alpha Centauri
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2022, 06:51:36 PM »

Soviet physicist Prokhor Zakharov, celebrated designer of the Unity stardrive. The second-eldest of the nearly half-million passengers, Zakharov was 73 years old at mission launch and in declining physical health. United Nations medical staff estimated his odds of surviving cold sleep at only 62%.

Brusque and arrogant, Zakharov was widely disliked by his peers on the ship's command crew. During the Unity Crisis, Captain Jonathan Garland found that Zakharov was unwilling to place the interests of the survivors and their mission ahead of his personal ambitions. Hunted by the Spartans, frustrated by Kellerite interlopers, and working at cross-purposes to the general evacuation ordered by Francisco d'Almeida, Zakharov's engineers proved unable to save the ship.

The doomed attempt to save the ship's reactors poisoned hundreds of engineers. The burden of providing lifelong care for so many casualties, many of them permanently incapacitated and sterile, had dramatic implications for the community that would eventually become The University of Planet. Robotic servitors of Zakharov's own design outnumbered living colonists by an order of five-to-one as many as three decades after Planetfall.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2022, 03:10:04 AM by Trenacker »

Offline Trenacker

Re: Racing the Darkness - An Alpha Centauri
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2022, 07:17:36 PM »

The Kokirri Armored Personnel Carrier was a favorite among Unity's pioneers because its thickly-armored cab was proof against the psychic attack of native Mindworms.

J.T. Marsh's Forward Contact Team departed Unity more than an Earth-standard month before the micrometeorite collision that proved its undoing. Among other load-hauling and terraforming equipment, they brought with them twenty-six of these "tactical heavy tractors," refurbished after thirty-six years of service in the Republic of Korea Army. They spent the pre-Crisis period performing supply runs between the main landing site and outlying sensor towers.

Once Marsh released his subordinates to enlist with factions of their choice, most of the Kokirris and their crews apparently remained under his authority. In this capacity, they continued to be used on convoy duty through hostile territory.

Crews often replaced the smoke cartridges in the countermeasures launchers with incendiaries to help suppress fungal blooms. Jury-rigged flamethrowers were a not-uncommon addition to the dorsal turret ring.

Note the red jerrycans stored on the external rack. The diesel-powered Kokirri was one of only a handful of conventionally-fueled vehicles in the Unity motor pool.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2022, 03:19:42 AM by Trenacker »

Offline Trenacker

Re: Racing the Darkness - An Alpha Centauri
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2022, 07:42:13 PM »

Staging at a disused quarry in Atalissa, Iowa, Holnist paramilitaries receive final instructions before the Battle of Davenport.

This particular troop is noteworthy for its use of a uniform, lending it an air of unity and professionalism often lacking in such outfits. (The effect was probably achieved by looting a sporting goods store.)

As a rule, Holnists were heavily armed. Most came to the movement after having already amassed large personal arsenals. Machine guns and grenades of recent surplus vintage were not uncommon. The capitulation or capture of local National Guard armories gave Holnists access to advanced anti-armor capability.

Holnists often fancied themselves proficient survivalists, but this was rarely the case. Firearms enthusiasm and hoarding of non-perishable food and obscure medicines were distinct from practical fieldcraft.

Holnists made poor soldiers. Their motivation was usually simple plunder; as such, few had strong incentive to remain in the field if the picking was poor or the fighting hot. Most were captive to friendly propaganda, which made it difficult for their leaders to explain the extent of popular resistance. As a homegrown army, the Holnists struggled to create a proper a logistical basis for large-scale military action. Wounded fighters knew they would receive neither care from their own nor quarter from the enemy.

Considering the angle and distance of the shot, this image was probably created by the Holnists themselves for use as propaganda.

The mounted Holnist was such an ubiquitous figure in the wartime Midwest that the U.S. Army issued General Order 116 in Occupied Areas, which directed that any person on horseback within 300 yards of a federal facility be considered hostile and engaged with deadly force.​
« Last Edit: May 31, 2022, 03:21:58 AM by Trenacker »

Offline Trenacker

Re: Racing the Darkness - An Alpha Centauri Photologue
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2022, 02:01:45 AM »

Two Dreamers of Chiron Overseers prepare to administer nerve staples during a period of unrest at White Rabbit's Refuge.

Involuntary labor was a crucial feature of the faction economy: Talents might spend up to sixteen hours a day in a state of shared, lucid dreaming. The recorded brain activity of persons engaged in this practice could be mined and the component synaptic activity reconstructed to provide a high-fidelity facsimile of each sleeper's experiences. In this manner, the Dreamers were able to harness the analytical potential of the so-called Naïve Mind to achieve breakthroughs in their understanding of both human psychology and Centauri bio-dynamics.

To run their bases, the Dreamers used a combination of re-socialized convicts "rescued" from the Unity and enslaved prisoners captured during raids on neighboring settlements. In theory, the standard of medical care available to faction members should have exceeded that of most other colonies. Cobb's personal retinue included numerous practicing physicians and the faction was well-provisioned with medical devices and pharmaceuticals of every type. Cynically, these were hoarded for trade, sale, or recreational abuse by faction elites.

The standard of living for low-ranking laborers was execrable. Despite his impressive reputation as a Singapore "fixer," Roshann Cobb evinced little interest in base administration. Most decisions of any importance were taken by a "middle caste" of unsupervised technicians and mercenaries who lacked either the moral or titular authority to attempt meaningful problem-solving but were equipped with the latest in "compliance technology."

In the Hive, it was said, one died because, after much consideration, the Chairman thought that the colony would be better off without them, while in the Refuge, one died simply because no thought had been given at all.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2022, 06:48:11 PM by Trenacker »

Offline Trenacker

Re: Racing the Darkness - An Alpha Centauri Photologue
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2022, 02:15:41 AM »

Unity crew members practice fire response under the supervision of a Morgan Emergency Services contract instructor.

This picture was taken by an Associated Press reporter inside the Emergency Action Simulator aboard Honua Station above Mars.

With limited exceptions for department heads and senior officers, all colonists were single, able-bodied persons of sound mind and body between the ages of twenty-two and twenty-six. They received four years of intensive training, more than half of which was in extra-terrestrial and zero- or low-gravity environments. A standard program incorporated multiple high-intensity evolutions of wilderness survival, heavy rescue, structural and wild land firefighting, emergency medicine, agronomy, civics, electrical and mechanical engineering, and firearms training. Every crew member had both a standard and emergency billet.

Fewer than one in twenty-three of those recruited by the United Nations completed the classroom phase of instruction, and tens of thousands of those went on to suffer catastrophic (often fatal) accidents during practical drills.

Mission planners had expected that even the most basic shipboard emergency would include halon flooding, radiation, and loss of atmosphere, but they had not thought to practice response operations under fire. Even the U.N. Security and Marine Security Forces contingents had contemplated mutiny as a "land-side" problem.

During the Unity Crisis, responders were confronted by unprecedented conditions. Responders were shot dead by unknown assailants while still en route to their muster stations. The Holnists in particular were determined that the ship be destroyed with heavy loss of life and were not above executing those who saved them from fire or asphyxiation.

Offline Trenacker

Re: Racing the Darkness - An Alpha Centauri Photologue
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2022, 02:24:45 AM »

More than 450,000 colonists and crew were entombed in Unity's seventeen-mile-long hull for the silent crossing to Chiron. The selection process was a monument to bureaucratic rationalism. Each individual was first nominated by a national commission, then processed by a panel operating under the auspices of the U.N. Security Council. Virtually no trade or calling was excluded. Our species's future was to be secured not only by astronauts and botanists, physicists and physicians, but judges and civil servants, poets and preachers, lawyers and musicians. Most had advanced degrees prior to selection. Specialized education came from Morgan Adaptive Learning Associates in cooperation with the University of Tokyo and the Indian Institute of Technology.

Senior command staff were appointed directly by the U.N. Security Council. Ship's crew were usually seconded from the uniformed services of various donor nations and corporations. As expected, space agency alumni predominated, but some countries also used the project as a way to sideline politically unreliable military personnel. The quality of the more than 80,000 charter colonists varied even more widely: while Oscar van de Graaf's people were almost all leaders in their fields, Struan's Pacific Trading Company provided their man, Cobb, with less salubrious characters. The so-called Factors were even permitted to board their own private military service providers for future settlement defense.

United Nations selection protocols relaxed measurably over time. The U.N. made numerous high-level political appointments in exchange for funding and access to required infrastructure such as space elevators, orbital factories, and space construction vehicles. Inclusion of re-socialized prisoners, a Warsaw Pact innovation, represented the most controversial change, and prompted the United Nations to furnish Captain Garland and his officers with a complement of marines to ensure their safety. Robotic servitors were introduced in the 2050s after spectrographic analysis of Chiron indicated that planetary conditions would be considerably more hostile than initially projected.

Because of the very large number of personnel moved through the program, the first “sleepers” were placed in suspended animation in October 2061, and the last immediately before departure in February 2110. After March 2065, cryogenic stasis was achieved only according to the Wespe-Quinn-Vagner Process, selected for its comparatively high rate of patient survival. The U.N. settled on Wespe-Quinn-Vagner after a thorough investigation of more than two dozen alternatives. On this, the mission's ranking medical personnel achieved a rare full consensus. Chief Medical Officer Pravin Lal's official memorandum of recommendation to the United Nations Medical College, now housed in the archives of his alma mater, The Aga Khan University, is counter-signed by Unity's Director of Neurosurgery, Dr. Aleigha Cohen; its director of Genetic Medicine, Dr. Tamineh Pahlavi; and Psych-Chaplain Miriam Godwinson, who attended to the ethical implications associated with artificially extending human life. Himself a recognized expert in geriatric therapies, Chief Engineer Prokhor Zakharov took the unusual step of appending an amicus note.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2022, 03:28:20 AM by Trenacker »

Offline Trenacker

Re: Racing the Darkness - An Alpha Centauri Photologue
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2022, 02:49:23 AM »

Miriam Godwinson became a mainstay of conservative media during the Second American Civil War, and afterward replaced a line-up of network commentators tainted by their enthusiasm or tolerance for Holnism.

Godwinson proved an eloquent spokesperson for both Christian ecumenicism and interfaith dialogue. A large body of postwar scholarship suggested that she may have caused, and not merely benefited from, conservative abandonment of Protestant Dominionism after 2015. Both Jewish and Muslim leaders also hailed the Harvard-educated scholar of divinity for her deep familiarity with, and consistent respect for, their own foundational texts.

Godwinson received an appointment to the Unity Mission in 2017 but in fact spent much of that year as the United States Government's Special Envoy to Insurrectionists, negotiating the disarmament of militia units throughout the Upper Mississippi River Basin.

The precise story of Godwinson's survival remains in doubt. According to ship's records, the person occupying her cryopod died only nine minutes after departure from the Lunar Cradle, more than a century before before Unity entered the Alpha Centauri star system. Nevertheless, multiple people personally acquainted with Godwinson prior to the expedition have attested to reuniting with her after Planetfall, and Dr. Tamineh Pahlavi, the mission's foremost genetic expert, famously confirmed the identity of the Conclave faction leader before the Planetary Council based on genetic testing.

Godwinson had a controversial Planetfall. Followers hail her as a hero who worked to evacuate the sick and the dying as well as the able-bodied. Detractors complain that she failed to compel scared crew members to do their duty and undertake crucial repairs, work that would surely have meant fatal doses of radiation for some. The embarkation deck on which the faction staged for departure was half open-air surgery, half feeding trough. The terms of service were so liberal that frightened crew members had merely to abandon their posts elsewhere in the ship and present for receipt of water, rations, and bedroll.

The Conclave arrived on Chiron with a host of more than one thousand eight hundred. After the University, they were also in the worst condition. Loyalty and need were their bond, not talent. The need for food and shelter was soon urgent. Whether Godwinson personally commissioned the violent pillaging of other camps is beside the point. She certainly knew what to do with the resources her people brought back inside the wire.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2022, 05:05:10 PM by Buster's Uncle »

Offline Trenacker

Re: Racing the Darkness - An Alpha Centauri Photologue
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2022, 12:09:37 AM »

Prokhor Zakharov performed his three-year military service obligation in the Soviet Navy's Red Banner Pacific Fleet as head of the Reactor Laboratory Division aboard 85,000-ton fleet carrier Ulyanovsk.

Launched in 1996 at the height of the Soviet Union's economic and military resurgence, Ulyanovsk operated the air group of MiG-29 aircraft that famously sank the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong following the Chinese invasion of Arunachal Pradesh in 2019. (A second Chinese carrier, Liaoning, was sent to the bottom by the Indian carrier Vishal during the same engagement.)

Noted for his ability to keep the ship's quartet of KN-3 300MW pressurized water reactors operational with a very limited logistical tail, Zakharov ultimately made Captain, 2nd rank, equivalent to a NATO Lieutenant Commander.

Subordinates despised the hard-driving genius: his achievements were made possible only by deep reductions in safety margins. More than 40 personnel under his command suffered acute radiation poisoning in 2017 and 2018.

Zakharov's reward for a job well done was appointment as Deputy Administrator of Experimental Design Bureau-1 (OBK-1), largest and most-prestigious of the multiple design bureaus in the Soviet Space Program, beginning 2019. There, the physicist presided over the successful design and testing of the second-generation Tifon spaceplane, which was based on designs stolen from the United States. Meanwhile, OKB-1 experienced the largest relative increase in cosmonaut deaths since the earliest days of manned spaceflight.

In 2040, Zakharov was approached by the Soviet Institute for Problems of Cryobiology and Cryomedicine to develop and execute new program of geriatric medicine. His team achieved major advances in anti-aging and preservational medicine, enabling the “Long Politburo” of 2031-2065, and laying theoretical groundwork for use of cryogenic stasis aboard U.N.S. Unity.

Zakharov was reassigned as head of the Soviet delegation to the U.N. Alpha Centauri Mission in 2052 and recommended unconditionally by the U.N. Security Council for the position of Unity Chief Science Officer. On that occasion, he also received the awarded title Hero of the Soviet Union.

Offline Trenacker

Re: Racing the Darkness - An Alpha Centauri Photologue
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2022, 12:28:27 AM »

A Hive gunner sights his PKM as The People's Teeming burns in the background.

Chairman Sheng-ji Yang made a habit of sending his militia against virtually any outsider who dared across the Uranium Flats, but the poorly-equipped and worse-led Hivemen rarely came away with an unspoiled victory. Historians have assessed that the Hive's emphasis on hierarchy and procedure were to blame for the very low frequency of tactical innovation by their units. Matters were not helped by the faction's isolation and relative backwardness: for more than a century, the Hive fought with the same weapons once stacked in the Unity's rather unimpressive armory.

Military service was a fundamental duty of all members of the Hive. Reticence to endure the attendant hardships of a militia posting was disqualifying for Hive Initiates. Yang expressed rare and genuine anger when one of his direct subordinates showed a lack of personal or civic courage. The Hermit King was fond of reminding his Talents that, for all their inferiority in other respects, no Drone had ever refused to take up arms in defense of the colony. Neither high marks on one's examinations nor prowess in philosophical debate could excuse such an offense. Those who didn't rise to meet Yang's expectations in this regard were expelled at once from his presence and permanently reassigned to a subordinate caste. They usually became technicians and data librarians--lesser cogs in the great machine.

Yang's mania for autarky meant that this defender was probably low on ammunition even before the shooting began. Nevertheless, Oscar van de Graaf's incoming Regulators ended up with few prisoners.​
« Last Edit: March 17, 2022, 02:01:43 AM by Trenacker »

Offline Trenacker

Re: Racing the Darkness - An Alpha Centauri Photologue
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2022, 12:39:10 AM »

Gaian agronimists inspect a tree farm at Muir's Ridge in preparation for Decennial celebrations.

Both colonists wear Hostile Environment Suits due to high ambient Nitrogen levels. The standing colonist rests a soil spectrometer on his right thigh. Note original mission markings on the left shoulder pauldrons as well as the absence of firearms, hallmarks of the Optimist's School, of which this rendering is the best-known example.

Early Gaian agricultural techniques of necessity involved the transplantation of Terran seeds and saplings in local soils. These specimens are white pines, a deciduous Terran tree valued for its lumber. Gaians used them frequently as wind brakes and soil anchors. The receding treeline behind the two figures and the stark color contrast in the soils seen foreground and middle-distance suggests that these plantings were performed with the goal of preventing wind erosion.

Today, the Gaians are known for their near-exclusive use of hybrid and native crops, but the transition away from Terran seed stock was slow and did not gain momentum until after the emergence of the Shaper Movement in MY12.​

The trans-atmospheric incursion in the background is almost certainly a Supply Pod making Planetfall. Unity dumped tens of thousands of autonomous, self-landing payloads in degrading orbit after its fatal collision. Such scenes were so ubiquitous in the experience of the earliest mission survivors that they became a commonplace in both popular and official compositions like this one.

Offline Trenacker

Re: Racing the Darkness - An Alpha Centauri Photologue
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2022, 01:22:03 AM »

Malakai Ro. Master Mariner assigned to Unity Mission Aquatic Operations Division (AOD).

Born 2054 in Sovereignty of Kä, Indian Ocean Exclusion Zone. Father, a ship-breaker, died of complications from prolonged exposure to asbestos. Selected for service with Kä naval militia by national lottery, 2070. Completed military education at Royal Australian Naval College, HMAS Creswell. Later commanded Pursuit Squadron Agate. Held over after privatization led to establishment of Kä Border Force. Voted permanent bonus by Comprehensive Transport Board of Directors.

During the Unity Crisis, Ro was one of approximately four hundred military personnel awakened on the initiative of Executive Officer Francisco d’Almeida. Ro was ordered to proceed to the nearest armory, take up weapons, and lead a scratch force to secure a gallery of Landing Pods. The decision was highly controversial. Although within d’Almeida’s authority, it cut against the spirit of directions from Garland, who had previously ordered his XO to prioritize the recovery of crew with expertise in reactor engineering and radiological emergency management. In any event, Ro kept Santiago’s forces out of her coverage area and stood by for fresh orders. They never came. Hope of Unity’s recovery dwindled and then was lost. By chance, Chief Engineer Prokhor Zakharov evacuated to Ro’s post. It never occurred to her to question a duly-appointed superior’s order to slave the controls of her Landing Pod to his own.

Among the University's cache of Unity vehicles was a rare frigate, U.N.S. Skagway, one of two such vessels shipped. Immediately, Ro undertook a lengthy and uneventual coastal survey to recover Landing and Colony Pods. When she returned, she found herself and her crew "underfoot." Commissioned personnel fit awkwardly into the faction's faculty structure, occupying an implicitly inferior rung in a social order that valued academic achievement in the "hard" sciences especially and which, to a certain extent, rewarded non-conformity and tolerated explicit political pacifism in ways at odds with military tradition.

Zakharov alternated between insisting that Skagway was of no importance to him and complaining that the ship consumed inordinate amounts of his time. Because of his own veterancy, Zakharov had held equivalent rank to Ro, but in a far larger navy, which he rarely failed to mention when the two spoke. Ro often disagreed with Zakharov’s assessments of the ship's operational requirements. Her crew brawled frequently with the student body, which often criticized Skagway as a relic of “uncivilized times.” An especially bad harvest in M.Y. 2 led Zakharov to bid them take their leave--complete with Skagway, which he had tired of supporting. Ro went in search of AOD Director, French Contra-amirale Raoul André St. Germaine, but found the Nautilus Pirates instead. At the Battle of the Long Neck, Skagway took on many times her own number of armed small craft. Acquitting herself well, the crippled frigate finally took refuge under the walls of Warm Welcome, governed by former Unity Chief Medical Officer, Pravin Lal. Thereafter, Ro has worked with both the Peacekeepers and the Tomorrow Institute to pump out and rebuild the battered Skagway. Though treated at first as an equal, Ro soon acknowledged Pravin Lal as a superior officer and, along with all her crew, pledged refreshed allegiance to the U.N. Charter.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2022, 02:02:06 AM by Trenacker »

Offline Trenacker

Re: Racing the Darkness - An Alpha Centauri Photologue
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2022, 01:48:24 AM »

New State aquanauts cross the bed of the River Slowwind in search of salvage following a fresh outbreak of hostilities between the Human Tribe and Spartan Federation.

Having absorbed a majority of the Unity Mission's aquatic operations personnel and their equipment, including state-of-the-art submersible hull forms, the New State was uniquely positioned to exploit Chiron's depths.

The faction's political architect and first leader, French admiral Raoul André St. Germaine, was a noted advocate of deep ocean exploration and settlement. The admiral's fear of continuing spoiler attacks by surviving saboteurs and belief that vendettas among the senior command staff would only worsen led him to found the first entirely underwater settlement on Planet at Rock Island Refuge.

St. Germaine was selected to the Unity Mission at a time when he, and it, were out of favor in Paris, but the United Nations had lacked the means to refuse. He was aloof, antisocial, and, according to his Psych-Profile and service jacket, impolitic bordering on insubordinate. Serious doubts about his political reliability came home to roost during the crisis of Planetfall. Lacking faith in both Garland and Zakharov, St. Germaine disobeyed orders to awaken more engineers and instead assembled hand-picked members of his own Aquatic Operations Section. This decision, which helped seal Unity's fate, left him with the makings of a viable colony and his people were among the first to make Planetfall after the Forward Landing Team. The faction organized itself in two so-called colones: an explicitly paramilitary structure for commissioned personnel and a hierarchy of job-related "estates" for civilians in which privileges and obligations varied according to their role in the effective functioning of the colony.

This image is instructive. Because of the risk posed by carnivorous marine life, safety protocol dictated that divers operate in groups of no fewer than four. Two of the individuals here are carrying pressure rifles, identifiable by their bright yellow color.​ The pressure suits themselves are incomplete, jury-rigged, and of obviously ancient vintage--most likely donations from the Warsaw Pact.

Offline Trenacker

Re: Racing the Darkness - An Alpha Centauri Photologue
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2022, 02:00:38 AM »

Though he later styled himself African royalty, Nwabudike Morgan was born into poverty in Damaraland, South West Africa, in 1998. His father, a diamond miner, was killed in an industrial accident when Morgan was three, and his mother relocated the family to Walvis Bai.

Morgan's first appearance in official records is at age sixteen. South African Bureau of State Security files identify him as a low-ranking member of a diamond smuggling ring. No additional details of Morgan's youth and early adulthood can be confirmed until his appearance in a declassified 2018 Central Intelligence Agency report. The anonymous author assesses with "high confidence" that Morgan was a weapons-broker working in support of Biafran rebels and discusses Morgan's ownership of a fleet of fishing trawlers operating out of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, where he was said to be dealing at huge markup.

Following Biafra's successful bid for independence, Morgan recruited dozens of Ibo veterans to staff a private military company, SafeHaven. With French connivance, Morgan then obtained a contract to protect dozens of Chadian oil wells from attack by local rebel and Sudanese government forces in 2021. This engagement provided the wherewithal for the aspiring mogul to purchase struggling American lobbying firm Wainwright-Balmoral, "Scourge of the Senate," after which SafeHaven cultivated an enormous portfolio of business with the American Reclamation Corporation.

Morgan withdrew from public life in 2056, the same year that a SafeHaven offshoot, Morgan Industries, was awarded a prime contract from the U.N. Mission to Alpha Centauri. He was last observed departing Earth on the Kuiper Shuttle four months prior to mission launch.​

United Nations intelligence analysts posit that Morgan's well-documented obsession with private wealth and personal branding--he is an unapologetic megalomaniac--reflects a psychological insecurity carried over from his youth, when he was a victim of both racism, both official and unofficial. His money provided first a bargaining chip with which to mitigate state control over his body, and later an escape from both poverty and subjugation.

Offline Trenacker

Re: Racing the Darkness - An Alpha Centauri Photologue
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2022, 02:02:54 AM »
I'll be away a few days until the weekend.

In the meantime, I welcome questions and comments!

 

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