Welcome to Part 2! In addition to written content, I’ll also sometimes include some original artwork that I think complements the narrative – hope you enjoy!
Fortunately for the embattled corporation, the memetic warfare (marketing) and bio-sciences divisions already had a breakthrough concept in the works. After a close vote by the upper echelon of leadership, the decision was made. Adaptive Inc. was no more. It was to be replaced by a global and exo-global techno-socialist super-state with the goal of uniting all of humanity under its banner. Anyone could become a member, and anyone who joined would receive a gift that was also the price of admission: immortality – and not just immortality – eternal youth, beauty and health. A new medium for human intelligence, digitized consciousness, and a vehicle for that medium, the biomorph, had been invented. Digitized consciousness not only meant that people now had complete control over their cognitive processes, but a person who had died from any cause could be restored – they only had to be uploaded into a new biomorph. Many of the remaining nation-states disintegrated as people who had never known anything but sickness, hunger and despair left their bodies behind and uploaded their consciousness into a digital matrix, joining the brave new experiment in human existence.* Adaptive Inc. was dead, re-invented as the Corporate Unity.
With newfound confidence, the CU began the construction of a space elevator and expeditions were launched as point groups for colonization efforts to Luna, Mars, the asteroid belt and the moons of Jupiter. It looked as if the dream of techno-socialism could be achieved.
Sadly, this is where things began to go wrong. The Helio Array, a vast collection of solar panels and transmitting power stations placed in distant orbit around the sun proved to be something of a technological overreach. The project was first envisioned as being the only solution to the CU’s massive appetite for energy. Unforeseen complications with construction in such a hazardous environment lead to delays and tremendous loss of life among the construction crews. Even after it was completed, maintenance of such a complex and remote mechanism proved to be nearly impossible. Until these difficulties are resolved, the CU will not be fully energy independent and will rely on Deep Green Inc. and other toxic sources to meet any shortfalls.
Acquisition of rare elements (particularly of the type that can’t be created in this universe) has also proven elusive. Expeditions and probes have been sent through gates to investigate possible sources but have rarely survived more than a few seconds after returning, or most often, simply could not be recovered at all. Many of these elements are needed for the creation of higher end base blocks for Makers needed for the creation of some of the CU’s more exotic technologies.
These two realities led to the creation of a strong memetic campaign in the CU for simplicity and conservation. While this is mostly expressed through minimalism on the part of the population at large, it also affects the CUs many bureaucracies, including MJ-12. This leads to competition for resources and to something of a siege mentality when it comes to issuing anything from housing to suits of powered armor. In order to justify larger allocations, many civil service agencies have resorted to everything from making themselves as large as possible to launching memetic campaigns to increase people’s perception that the service they provide is vital to their continued happiness and safety.
While these problems were perilous enough, they were just the beginning. With the collapse of so many governments, massive amounts of classified data were left unguarded, most of which was gathered and studied by CU AI researchers who passed on what was deemed valuable information for further analysis. Intrigued by a growing body of data cataloged as ‘vital’, ‘unintelligible’ and ‘potentially hazardous’, followed by a couple of AIs going permanently offline, a team of researchers compiled a complete overview of all information gathered with at least two of the three markers.
Disbelief set in as pieces of a bizarre puzzle began falling into place. The most logical explanation seemed to be that the governments of the world had been infected by a collective psychosis. Not only were dozens of alien species cataloged, many of them were claimed to cohabit Earth with humanity. Deep Ones, Dholes, Cthonians, Mi-Go, Star Spawn and an alternate dimension that sometimes overlapped the Earth physically in some locations called The Dreamlands.
It seemed like nonsense that could be dismissed as fantasy except for its ubiquity – every nation had some sort of record of this phenomenon – even artifacts in deep storage. As research continued, several members of the team suffered from complete breakdowns and had to be eliminated and restored from back-up copies. The information was sealed in a secure file, with physical artifacts tracked down and seized – many, however, had already gone missing.
It also surfaced that many countries had organizations specifically created to deal with this phenomenon. The members of these organizations were now unemployed, but many of them were still trying to continue their work. These people were approached by the CU and offered any resources they required to keep these threats from harming humanity with the eventual goal of eliminating them altogether.
Most agreed, forming the organization now called MJ-12. Unfortunately, the one thing all them agreed on was that it was already too late. The stars were almost right again, and soon humanity would be faced with a fate worse than extinction.
Unity didn’t agree – having access to the digitized consciousness of most of humanity gave it the potential ability to control how that consciousness was shaped by an outside force – it just needed to figure out which levers to pull. It also began devoting a considerable part of its vast collective intelligence to figuring out how to destroy these alien intellects, or find a way to destroy the very dimensions in which they lived. Unity just needed time – and MJ-12 could be used – sacrificed, if need be – to purchase that time. Until then, the existence of these horrors needed to be kept a closely guarded secret. While the CU couldn’t hide secrets of this magnitude with complete certainty, control of its population’s memories and emotional state came close.
Since these discoveries were made all of the CU’s interplanetary colonization initiatives have failed, seemingly due to the ancient horrors Earth’s newest government is just beginning to understand. There are fears that certain prominent AI and perhaps even The Law itself have been corrupted by Outsider influence. Investigating these possibilities make up some of MJ-12’s most dangerous missions. So far no evidence has been found for corruption – even if it hasn’t happened yet (and many of MJ-12’s finest are convinced that it has), it’s probably only a matter of time before the unthinkable occurs.
To maintain secrecy and maximize its operational flexibility, MJ-12 exists embedded in a larger bureaucracy called The Inspectorate, an organization created to ensure that all of the many aspects of the CU’s society function at maximum efficiency and in harmony with one another. This allows MJ-12’s agents to move about freely anywhere and engage in enigmatic behavior without raising suspicion. In addition to The Inspectorate, MJ-12 has infiltrated all of the CU’s other government branches and many of the larger and more popular (along with some of the smaller and more dangerous) AGs both foreign and domestic. This gives them the ability to have knowledgeable agents on-call for nearly any situation that might arise.
* An unintended side-effect of this was that people were no longer allowed to die when they wished. Requests to die are handled on a case-by-case basis by The Law, and can be granted or denied depending on the individual’s worth to the CU. It is a long, arduous process with many interviews and uncomfortable invasive scans that many feel isn’t worth the effort. For those whose applications are denied or simply don’t want to wait, a simulated death is available on most major entertainment channels.