Jump to content

Every Oak Tree, a Acorn Once Was...


seekeronos

Recommended Posts

EAST LIFTING STATION, Kuala Lumpur, Oceanic Confederation, Eastern Alliance, 2102

Young Aoko Yasuragi sulked moodily in her chair while her annoying brother Satoshi scamped about the gate lobby with the other kids his age, basically making a nuisance of himself along with them. All she wanted was to get back to her real home, which was a pleasant little orbiting station that spun at a rate that provided an artificial gravity about half that of this tired, polluted world they had been forced to visit.

Aoko never much followed Terran politics, something her father constantly complained about. As far as she was concerned, the eternal struggles between the Eastern Alliance and the various western supranational blocs was about one greedy group of small minded hyper-wealthy people against another. All Aoko wanted to do was to see what was "out there", and while rumours abounded about her family's involvement in the nascent Jupiter Colonisation Project, she didn't care. Anything to get away from the cramping conditions of Earth and to see what lay beyond.

In orbit, not very far (Aoko had a somewhat peculiar notion of distance, as many Spaceborn children did) their home station, a massive passenger liner was being constructed. This passenger liner was called an "ark" by some of the English-speakers that lived with her on Tienanmen Station. She didn't know what that funny-sounding word meant, but she did know that when the liner finally arrived in Jovian orbit, it would be converted into a large, orbiting city. Far from Earth and its pollution, and perpetual squabbling.

As could be expected, the vessel had inherited a compound Chinese-Japanese name, the Jin'Qi-Maru. The "-maru" part of the name was a grudging concession to Japanese co-funding of the project, as the various Japanese shipbuilders who contributed to the work effort were superstitiously traditionalist in any craft venturing on the high seas (or deep space, in this case) should be given the "divine protection of Hakudo-maru, the ancient sea goddess who first taught men how to build ships".

Utter hogwash, that's what that was, thought Aoko. When she had mentioned her thoughts on this to her mother, she was gently reminded that some people prefer to embrace tradition as a way of facing the unknown. Yet, she countered that the Unknown should be sought ought and understood on the terms of facts, and by way of research - governed by the scientific method. Seeking knowledge - as her father does, and her grandparents before him - would be what paved Man's path to the stars.

Father fussed over his identicard, which contained the ticketing information for the family to board the lift. "Damned InfinitiSoft crap..." as he brought up the e-boarding passes and showed them to the bored security agent, who had doubtless seen this same scenario play out countless times. After the required pass and ID information was confirmed at the gate, the Yasuragi family gathered up their goods and boarded the Sundari LiftPlat that would spin them back upwards to the peaceful calm and inky, but bejeweled blackness that was their home.

Aoko beamed with excitement that soon, she would see much more than the smudgy brown-blue world called Earth, and see King Jupiter with her own eyes.

PROGIENE CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS, Mumbai, India

Arjuna Khan looked with grim satisfaction on his work; Marc De Winter and his Infiniti Corporation patent lawyers would not be getting much out of his legal victory over ProGiene's research. At least not here on earth, where nearly anything that wasn't part of the Eastern Alliance, or the Atlantic Union was concerned.

India had been one of a small handful of sovereign states with the population and the power to remain free of entanglements to either superpower blocs, the others being Brazil and a collection of African nations that had recently gained stability. Yet even in India, which had recently accepted the World Justice Court's verdict in favour of "blocking any further tampering with the human genome, for the sake of human purity".

For the sake of "human purity", indeed.... thought Arjuna Khan, as he inserted the viral code into the remaining parts of the Progiene data network that had been awarded to Infiniti Renetic Research Laboratories, Inc. All that Lord De Winter and his pack of vultures were interested in was asserting patent rights to prevent anyone from developing the genetic technology that would grant true immortality to the human race. After all... as long as people got sick and died... there would always be a need for doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and the tort lawyers that fed off of them. Well, too bad for them. Unexpected data errors.... were often a problem in the data management business.

Arjuna looked over at his son Teodoro, whom he had co-fathered with Vittorio - one of a first series of steps in Progiene technology: the ability to construct a human from a genome that could perfectly combine the best attributes of his parents by choice, not chance. The Terran News Network (of course, another Infiniti-owned organ) had done its damage in maligning Teodoro's construction as a freak of science, something immoral, something even ... monstrous.

Arguably, the earlier attempts at building Teodoro had met with less success. The first iteration had truly been a monster, and had used animal DNA in its first stages. A learning moment that was, never to meddle in what was referred to a Chimaerization. Some had raised moral concerns too, although legally, Teodoro had a mother - selected for her genetic compatibility with both Arjuna and Vittorio - but she was merely a host womb, and until artificial human ovum production technology was perfected, a necessary inconvenience. She had merely provided the necessary egg host, and the female X chromosome.

Arjuna's partner - and lover - Vittorio di'Sabino, had seen to the relocation of ProGiene's research databases to their compound in Mars orbit, Arx Progenesis. There, the untold countless hours of research into what become Homo sapiens superioris would be safe from the clutches of De Winter and his attorneys.

The intercom chimed, and announced the arrival of the Infiniti Corporation representatives.

"Send them in", he replied back to the intercom. "Pack of vultures. They'll get theirs, in due course."

GREAT AMERICAN TRADING COMPANY, Boston, North American Commercial District #2

Benjamin Bismarck was a very busy, but happy man: having won a contract to supply that Indian genetics research station in Mars orbit, and provide Hydroponics technology to the Martian settlers themselves was going to make him a very rich man indeed, even if it meant that those Europeans and that damned monopoly that practically owned everything on the east side of the Atlantic, if not most of everything on the west side.

GATCo was but a small fish in a big pond, with the leviathan named Infiniti Corporation ever lurking to swallow up smaller competitors ... ever dangerously close to getting its way, either by clearly legal means like patent enforcement, or less so, with its security section, EarthCorps exercising seemingly far more muscle than the Global Trade Charter allowed.

And the GATCo tradeships had one thing that De Winter and his "infinite solutions" had not been able to crack yet - the Graviton Coil. Until and unless Infiniti actually invented something (Infiniti was not going to steal Graviton technology, no, not on his watch!) that could move something faster than 535 kilometers per second while not expending a solar mass to do so for say, moving a gigatonne of supplies from Earth to Mars.

Of course, scientific discussions of hyper-dimensional travel abounded, especially since that one old deep space probe had found some odd fragments of an alien cube in the asteroid belt... that had some indecipherable, but clearly intelligently patterned code stored in it. Time would tell who would figure that thing out, and it looked to be safely in the hands of Sundari for now.

Bismarck wasn't counting on that to last for very long, though. Sundari never was as good as fighting industrial espionage as GATCo had been.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The above comments do not adequately qualify this great piece of origins fiction. As an avid science fiction reader (and fan of EnB's backstory), I give it thumbs up. Earth and Beyond is a story-driven game so it's good to see some original fiction pop up on the forums.

Irbis had a point about the lack of description (a last glimpse of Earth's murky rainwater beading up and streaming across the passenger window of the Sundari lift, for example), but on the other hand it's obvious (to me anyway) you were going for a brief political snapshot of the era.

I can tell you did your research and put some thought into character development. I could see this as a nice introduction to a series of longer stories detailing each of the three leads. (Hint, hint. :) )

EDIT: Descriptive writing, for me, often distracts me from getting the larger story down. It's normal for me to write something in the style you have here, and then go in later and add the descriptive prose.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice so far :( but minor correction. "GATCo" should just be GETCo. It was always just "Earth" not "American" since its founding as a sustainable enterprise & with a more environmentalist image. I love the USA, I'm patriotic, but it just doesn't agree with EnB backstory.

The following sentence/paragraph is not quite a complete thought, or perhaps is missing phrase. Please consider a revision?

"Arjuna Khan looked with grim satisfaction on his work; Marc De Winter and his Infiniti Corporation patent lawyers would not be getting much out of his legal victory over ProGiene's research. At least not here on earth, where nearly anything that wasn't part of the Eastern Alliance, or the Atlantic Union was concerned."

Another historical note is that each of the 3 factions grew out of certain old earth powers and collections of mega-corps. India was part of what would become the Terran Alliance & GETCo oriented. Europe, Russia, Africa, South America, India, Australia.

The Progen Faction arises from the Mars mission by the North American Bloc nations: Mexico, USA, Canada. Westwood envisioned an alternate future that wasn't very rosy for the USA and freedom, one where apathy and luxury weakened men's spirits and allowed dictatorships to usurp democracy. (I doubt any future Progen would be from India :/ ) Also, and this will piss off some people I'm sure, but listen) the budding Progen, whether citizens of the North American Bloc or officers of the ProGiene corporation, would never tolerate homosexuality, which it seems you have inserted into your story, not even for purposes of recombination. With strictly controlled societies, aberrations such as that are quickly weeded out by dictators. Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, etc. There is zero tolerance. Essentially, Progen worship the biological, DNA, and thus whether sociologically or scientifically nothing but XX+XY, male + female, will make sense to them. There is little room for "love" in Progen society. They are supremely utilitarian.

Japan, China, Korea, Phillipines, etc all joined together (IIRC also with a team from Cal-Tech) for some space missions to the outer solar systems to explore and set up outposts. You did perfect on that one for the future Jenquai :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

oops, saw 1 more thing, pardon the double post, but this is a totally seperate idea:

Misplaced modifier:

Of course, scientific discussions of hyper-dimensional travel abounded, especially since that one old deep space probe had found some odd fragments of an alien cube that had some indecipherable, but clearly intelligently patterned code in the asteroid belt.

Was the code in the asteroid belt, or was the cube in the asteroid belt :(

Keep in mind I'm not trying to be overly critical, but constructive. I have an eye for editing and interest in fiction writing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice so far :) but minor correction. "GATCo" should just be GETCo. It was always just "Earth" not "American" since its founding as a sustainable enterprise & with a more environmentalist image. I love the USA, I'm patriotic, but it just doesn't agree with EnB backstory.

The following sentence/paragraph is not quite a complete thought, or perhaps is missing phrase. Please consider a revision?

Another historical note is that each of the 3 factions grew out of certain old earth powers and collections of mega-corps. India was part of what would become the Terran Alliance & GETCo oriented. Europe, Russia, Africa, South America, India, Australia.

The Progen Faction arises from the Mars mission by the North American Bloc nations: Mexico, USA, Canada. Westwood envisioned an alternate future that wasn't very rosy for the USA and freedom, one where apathy and luxury weakened men's spirits and allowed dictatorships to usurp democracy. (I doubt any future Progen would be from India :/ ) Also, and this will piss off some people I'm sure, but listen) the budding Progen, whether citizens of the North American Bloc or officers of the ProGiene corporation, would never tolerate homosexuality, which it seems you have inserted into your story, not even for purposes of recombination. With strictly controlled societies, aberrations such as that are quickly weeded out by dictators. Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, etc. There is zero tolerance. Essentially, Progen worship the biological, DNA, and thus whether sociologically or scientifically nothing but XX+XY, male + female, will make sense to them. There is little room for "love" in Progen society. They are supremely utilitarian.

Japan, China, Korea, Phillipines, etc all joined together (IIRC also with a team from Cal-Tech) for some space missions to the outer solar systems to explore and set up outposts. You did perfect on that one for the future Jenquai :)

For now, I'm taking some creative liberties, not having an exact memory of Westwood's backstory (been more than 7 years since I've seen those mission lines that detail some of that backstory) and hoping that where there are some irreconcilable bits, that the idea of EnB Emulator is something of a reboot of the EnB universe.

But if you know of any documented stuff Westwood put out and where I might be able to take a look at it, I'll be greatly appreciative :)

With my interpretation of the backstory, here is my reasoning for what I wrote:

On GATCo (future GETCo) --

As with a great many things, ideas tend to trade on namesakes and perhaps the memory of greater things done in the past. And GATCo, much like Google, or Microsoft, is very likely a multinational corporation. America (and along with it, Canada, Mexico, and the states in their sphere of influence) of the early 22nd Century has started to revive somewhat as a multinational bloc after nearly a century of decline. The resultant union is likely markedly different from the USA/Canada we may know today, just as we are likely a very different nation in terms of our cultures than the USA and the Dominion of Canada were in the early 1900s.

Where attitudes toward homosexuality today tend to be very polarized, this is not likely to be true in the early 2100s, just as we have been slowly evolving out of other older habits of prejudice (consider that as you read this, we have an African-American President, where in 1910, such an idea would have certainly been laughed at, or worse).

ProGiene (Progens) --

ProGiene Corporation is also likely an American start-up, but is also a multinational corporation, recruiting talent from around the world. 2100s India probably has a legacy of looking both East and West -- East, due to its longer history and geographic proximity to China and particularly its ancient sphere of influence stretching toward (the aptly named) Indo-China region, and West due to its centuries-long interaction with the UK, and later, the USA. But politics may have induced it, as a nuclear power as well, to steer clear of the growing superpower blocs (centering on the EU and the resurgent North American Union for one group, and the Pacific Asian powers on the other side). For now, it has done business with both blocs, and turned a blind eyes to the "repugnant trade" in genes - done also by both blocs, through third parties like ProGiene.

India's neutrality (relative to the other 2100s superpowers) will likely change, leading it to side with the Asian power bloc in the following century, until of course, the Jen'Qui Maru and the few hundred millions on board it, with much of the political and academic leadership of East Asia with them, it is a safe bet that the remaining Asian populations on Earth may eventually find themselves governed by leaders who will grudgingly choose to work with the West, under the guidance of InfinitiCorp's shadow of control.

The 2100s are effectively a third stage of the Industrial Revolution, much as the late 1900s-mid 2000s were the second stage with computers and the information systems we have today forming its backbone. As with any cultural/technological revolution, it fuels change politically. Things like the Graviton Coil (admittedly a Level 1 gizmo in EnB) and warp drives (not FTLs, using warp in reference to the game of speeds greater than 1000 kps) will do much to change the political environment which gave rise to super corporations like Infiniti, Progiene, and the eventual GETCo.

The vision I have for ProGiene will come upon the talents of Arjuna Khan and his lover/business partner, an American with a decidedly deep interest and pride in his Italian (and therefore Roman) roots. In their time, genetic experimentation and modification of plant life is a commonly accepted thing, and even in animal feedstocks. It is still quite taboo among humans, and these two extremely rich men (think of Arjuna in the same vein as Lakshmi Mittal in terms of wealth) have extremely pragmatic visions for advancing humanity - by any means possible.In fact, Arjuna himself might well have citizenship in the political entity that the USA becomes.

And the hungry, teeming masses of the Americas - and later, India - will just happen to have many willing persons who would trade their genetic information and even their bodies for experimentation, if it will keep their families fed. These folks need not be (the future Progens) people who move to Mars... but their literal genetic offspring will be created there.

Vittorio di Sabino has his motives for joining and funding the ProGiene project as well - not the least of which is connected to bringing back his twin sister, Vita Theodora (something of a legendary mother figure to 26th century Progens) - and there is a reason for why their son has her namesake-after-a-fashion.

Of course, many of the other "Founders" will already have the necessarily high-quality (in the eyes of Arjuna & Vittorio's selection) genomes to be preserved, and thus they form the backbone of more prominent Progen families, aside from the folks who get cloned from the DNA collected prior to ProGiene relocating to Mars. "Plebeians" who form much of the (eventual) Progen working class and lower ranks of the Centuriata.

These two leaders are very, very "American" in their culture and outlook, and were likely educated and met in some high-level American school. Some other "Founding Fathers" of the Progen also come together in this timeframe, that is, they can be other recruits from superior academic institutions, or other corporations with a very similar vision for human perfection. The fact of Vittorio's and Arjuna's sexual orientation would actually jibe very well with a notion of very pragmatic, religion-free outlook on the future of human genetics: they have never even had to deal with that particular burden. Their relationship, however, is just something added for interest, and in the greater scale of things, has little or no adverse impact on the eventual Progen society, most of whom are kept rather clueless about the history of the DNA which made them. In the same manner, homo- or hetero- sexuality is more of a thing that nobody has much to think about; love for most, is very fleeting, and emotional attraction is something that will probably be programmed out of the "Plebeians", if not most everyone.

For that matter, the notion of reproduction in the classic sense, is tightly controlled, for the obvious reason: he who controls the genes, controls the fate of the Republic.

EDIT: Also updated the modifier about the data cube. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 10 years later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...