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Preliminary factions and storyline

1. Alpha Centauri Factions
2. Mars Edition Factions
3. Preliminary Storyline

In Alpha Centauri, there are seven different factions:

For Alpha Centauri: Mars Edition, obviously the factions will have to be significantly different so as to provide players with a new game experience. Unfortunately, as Alpha Centauri has many elements similar to the Mars Edition, it is difficult to produce different factions. What I have done here is to create new factions which reflect the fact that colonists on Mars will still have to consider Earth (unlike Alpha Centauri). So, here are the seven.

Two Worlds Party:

The Two Worlds, One People Party (motto: Duos Orbis Terrarum, Una Gens). Dedicated to preserving and cementing relations between Earth and Mars for the benefit of the human race as a whole. Funded by the United Nations. Serve as peacekeepers, but also see themselves as the 'authority' of Earth on Mars. What they do may not always be in the best interests of Mars.

Biogeneticists:

The Biogeneticists are a group of scientists who, on Mars, are working towards a society where biotechnology can solve humanity's problems. They are integral in the terraforming process, and can build stunning bioweapons and machines. They have no clear political aims, as yet, but merely want to get on with their research - however, they are conscious of the need to cure mankinds woes (e.g., new forms of gene therapy, cure for cancer, etc)

Prometheus Group:

The Prometheus Group's main aim is bringing life to Mars. Their ethos is that as they are humans, they have a responsibility of bringing life to the universe - panspermia. Thus, they very strongly for terraforming, and will try to initiate it as soon as possible, with as many factions as possible. They will very vigorously defend their terraforming project - to hinder it would be to hinder life itself. The Prometheus Group has support from various factions, as they will see terraforming as a way to increase profits, happiness, etc.

Preservationists:

The Preservationists are the opposite number of the Prometheus Group - they believe that the universe has an intrinsic value which should not be disturbed. Altering this value will mar creation and nature, something which has already occurred on Earth. They will take action against anyone who goes against this. Some factions may aid the Preservationists, but in an 'undercover' way.

Ares Foundation:

Isolationists. They don't want to have anything to do with Earth, and don't want to become embroiled in their problems. They've mastered Martian technology, and can live undercover, very efficiently, very easily. Any attempt of Earth to impose order on Mars, and thus drag them down into the mess that is Earth will be met with force by the Ares Foundation. They are not necessarily always hostile to the Two Worlds party, but they will always act in the best interests of Mars, and themselves. A very tightly knit group, hard to penetrate with spies.

TriNational Consortium:

This faction, halfway through the game, splinters into two separate factions. However, at the start, they are a consortium of the most powerful metanationals whose main aim is the material exploitation of Mars. Whether terraforming features in their plans depends on whether they think they can make money out of it. When conditions deteriorate on Earth, the metanationals merge into half a dozen ultranationals and MarsCorp and TerraStar are two of them.

(MarsCorp):

A Martian based company which is separate from TerraStar, and will be extremely competitive with it. It views Mars with more appreciation of it's value for terraformation, but will still try to make money.

(TerraStar):

A Earth based company which is the voice of the metanationals back on Earth. They have immense financial resources, and feel that Earth's interests come before Mars. They won't stop at buying out other factions for their support.

Faction sympathies:

These are the factions which are most sympathetic to Mars (in order): Ares Foundation, Preservationists, Prometheus Group, Biogeneticists, MarsCorp, Two Worlds, TerraStar. The opposite is true for Earth.

These are the factions which are most sympathetic to terraformation (in order): Prometheus Group, Biogeneticists, Ares Foundation, Two Worlds, MarsCorp, TerraStar, Preservationists.

I have to stress that these are only suggestions for possible factions. I believe that these seven would create an interesting, involving game, and that they are also quite balanced. I'm open to suggestions to different faction names, or even for completely different factions.

Preliminary Storyline: (bear in mind this is only a very rough draft of the storyline)

In 2010, the first settlements are established on Mars by a NASA-led consortium. Slowly, the process of building a colony is underway, and by 2030, a self-sufficient colony of 150 people is established. Meanwhile, other groups have been landing on Mars in different locations, namely the TriNational Consortium and members of the yet-to-be-formed Ares Foundation. By 2040, the Ares Foundation has been founded, and declared its aims to the United Nations. NASA's colony has expanded into 500 people and they've begun development of several manufacturing plants and an off-shoot colony. This colony becomes the headquarters for the Two Worlds faction.

An internal dispute in the Two Worlds faction leads to the creation of the Biogeneticists, who were conducting unauthorised experiments of genetically engineered microbes on the surface. A large number of those in the Two Worlds faction sympathise with what the Biogeneticists were doing, and so make off with supplies to create their own colony - they are the Prometheus Group.

The Prometheus Group immediately forms an alliance with the new Biogeneticist base to perform terraforming measures. The Two Worlds faction wants to wait for some time to gather readings and research on Mars before the world is irrevocably altered, and so orders the Prometheus Group to cease its actions. The Prometheus Group refuses, stating their aims, and the Two Worlds faction chooses to ignore this.

In anger at the inaction of the Two Worlds faction, a small group of dissidents form the Preservationists. Once they have set up a small hidden base, they quickly sabotage the Prometheus Group and the Biogeneticists terraforming factories. The Prometheus Group and Biogeneticists respond by increasing security highly and begin production of 'defensive weaponary' to protect their assets.

(this is when the player enters the game)

While this is happening, the TriNational Consortium is slowly building up their factories and exporting helium3 fuel back to Earth. They make a neat profit, and so enlargen their operations. The Preservationists see this as altering Mars itself, and so, by the actions of a splinter group, destroy several factories of the TriNational Consortium killing several people in the process. The TriNational Consortium, Prometheus Group and Biogeneticists say they will not stand by in the face of such aggression and announce they will actively search and imprison any Preservationists.

After the discovery, imprisonment and subsequent (and partly accidental) deaths of twenty Preservationists, the Two Worlds faction, using the might of the authority of Earth impose authority on Mars.

The Ares Foundation, which had been quite quiet up until then, respond to the Two Worlds faction by saying that they will not take orders from Earth and will actively try to sever any links from Earth to Mars. The Ares Foundation had been busy perfecting their technologies and reveal themselves to have several bases and large stockpiles of weaponary. They will not brook any kind of oppression from Earth.

Back on Earth, conditions are disintegrating. The cumulative effect of the ever-widening ozone layer and failure of countries to reduce their CO2 emissions has resulted in wild climate conditions, effects of which include droughts in western USA and frequent flooding of coastal areas. The Two Worlds faction, which up until then had been mediators in the growing conflict on Mars are forced by Earth to impose an authority geared towards helping Earth on Mars. Military shipments are increased to enforce martial law.

The Ares Foundation and the Preservationists form an uneasy alliance to oppose the Two Worlds rule. The TriNational consortium is undergoing serious trouble following the unrest back on Earth, and splits into the two factions TerraStar and MarsCorp. TerraStar moves to support Two Worlds, supplying manufacturing hardware and weapons, while MarsCorp serves the interests of the Ares Foundation. Both companies enjoy the defense of their respective partners.

The Prometheus Group and Biogeneticists take a fairly neutral stance in these proceedings, but the Prometheus Group tends to veer towards the Ares Foundation, since they feel that back on Earth, they've been destroying life for simple capital gains (i.e., much against the PG's ideals). The Biogeneticists however feel that their technology could aid Earth in it's time of strife, and so veer towards the Two Worlds. The two factions subsequently break of diplomatic relations to pursue their own forms of terraforming...

I feel that this storyline would be best depicted in a novella format, which gives all the different views of the leaders of the factions. For example, it could include messages between faction leaders, news articles, viewpoints of various 'citizens', the viewpoint from Earth, etc. If anyone here has read the novella for Elite 2: Frontier, you'll know what I'm talking about. Basically, a free-roaming narrative which gives readers the viewpoints of everyone involved.

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