THE EPILOGUE TRAILER & TIMELINE ARE HERE!!!
THE TRAILER: docs.google.com
and full text below. Overarching summary of the past ten years. Please do read, it's been a delight to create.
THE TIMELINE: docs.google.com
# A lot more little detailed stuff. PLEASE ADD YOUR OWN THINGS TO THIS! Did your character get married, have kids, expand their business, open a new mine, have any life changes at all that your nosy Touchstone neighbors might know about? ADD THEM! (See notes at beginning about preferred format.)
It’s been ten years since the end of the Second Automaton War.
The real turning point of the war, most everyone agrees, was just a few months before that official end, when the united forces of the entire planet held the line long enough for Touchstone, aided by the Mothership AI, to smash through Sister’s firewalls and rewrite her into an ally.
(It was a surprise to most of the planet when a small contingent of Touchstone-based Children of Mother, the very next day, removed that same AI from Mothership’s systems to a virtual prison. A contentious act, but once the dust settled, one that a slim majority of humanity supported.)
But what with riding herd on the Sister unit, taking back Gibson from the last few automated defenses, briefly losing the Sister unit before re-recapturing her (no few gray hairs there), sticking her in the same virtual prison as Mother, and making a few small but important tweaks to the Alliance of Humanity Resupply Agreement to account for the Mothership change... well, the date on treaty and the official all-clear crept into CY89:02:09, and the date stuck as the official war’s end.
And while there were some scuffles and disagreements, for the most part the world just... went on turning, the first true peacetime in living memory.
Touchstone particularly prospered, always managing to stay ahead of its resupply quota even as they weathered all the unexpected ups and downs of life. Its first Expansion Zone, Bridgeton, especially thrived, slowly gaining the reputation of a place where you could really get a second chance. Governor Stark Hasturi served a third term as Governor, then announced he would be retiring from politics to focus on the Mothership Project; multiple-time Councillor Blair Allen succeeded him as Governor through multiple years of prosperity.
The nation of 505 slowly rebuilt itself, finally shaking free of its militarism and embracing the leadership of Auxiliary Defense Force veteran Jelena Asco. One of his first major actions was to almost completely gut the production of its proprietary combat enhancements; it was not a popular move, but he managed – barely – to weather the political fallout and stay the course. And even the loudest critics had to admit that the budget went a lot further without that huge drain.
Ondrej went through a dramatic change as well with the ousting of Jack van Duran and the rise of Maria Carroll, who came to the power in the final months of the war and made very good use of the peacetime to enact systemic change. For the first time in Ondrej’s history, the colonial government was able to focus on internal infrastructure rather than war, and they used this breath of fresh air to finally come to accord on the presence of Coalitions within the colony and throughout the planet. Ondrej now enjoys the privilege of having the best research facilities on the rock, as well as a strong partnership with the Coalition College and Bridgeton Hospital. Culturally, they remain fairly austere and private, though the worst kept secret in the government is Maria Carrol’s relationship with her bodyguard and head of the Ondrej Security Force, Sam Archer. The two maintain the utmost professionalism in the spotlight, but are known to escape to Carrol’s cabin periodically to go fishing.
In CY 92, the Equal Governance Resolution and Extracolonial Treaty (EGRET) was drafted by the Ondrej Colonial (formerly War) Council and signed by all nations, except Rheovari. The Treaty outlined rules and regulations regarding Coalition presence within the colonies, guaranteeing equal rights and abolishing anti-Coalition discrimination in workplace, government, and healthcare facilities. Rheovari’s refusal to sign on the basis of “lack of similar provision for non-Coalitionists” almost sparked a resurgent scuffle, but Touchstone and the GDF were able to mediate the issue. The Holistic Equal Rights Oversight Negotiation (HERON) Act was completed in CY 94 and signed by all colonies.
The Gallerias rebuilt quickly under Proctor Flint Carlyle, and within two years the Fresh Air Caravan was grander than ever, much to the delight of just about everyone. Due to its rampant success, Serena Jones and Geoffrey Winters decided to “remerge holdings,” though it’s widely known that this was a way to save face as Winters Whimsies was bought out wholesale by the Fresh Air Caravan. With the Coalitions finally stepping out of the shadows and the establishment of the Gallerias College of Coalitions, impressive technological advances began to spread across the continent, notably improving quality of life for just about everyone. Agatha Thatcher remains the preeminent detective/mystery novelist in the nation, producing the Rosemary Sanders series featuring an always-right-but-just-so-abrasive protagonist who many in Touchstone feel to be “really familiar.”
The Network changed, too. Touchstone had worked hard to help stem the feedback loop of their paranoia and pain; and the emergence of the Touchstone relay, separate from the Network as a whole, went a long way in helping the rest of the world slowly set aside their mistrust (the recruitment of Touchstone Medtech Maribel Lucan into their ranks didn’t hurt either). To aid in everyone slowly learning to trust one another again, the Network proved to be the driving force behind the broad-scale application of the Touchstone-developed Cored-detection procedures. While some argued that the resources could have been better-applied (with Sister reprogrammed, the Cored were most likely no longer a threat) the discovery of a small but pervasive network of latent Cored throughout many colonial militaries left most feeling grateful for the peace of mind. Now, with 10 years behind them, the Network's walled city remains mostly closed to outside visitors, but new relays have sprung up in all the major nations of 504. These relays serve both as de-facto embassies and as a new form of fast (albeit not private) communication.
Rheovari went through some fairly significant changes. After the horrible surprise of an enormous sea monster showing up on their doorstep nearly destroyed a coastal town (and was foiled, again and again, by Touchstone colonists; after rebuilding, the town invited all involved to the grand opening of the Touchstone Memorial Park)... the nation began to think, very seriously, about their policy of maintaining extremely low CDF numbers. After years of debate, the nation decided to raise the imposed limits to support having an actual standing militia to respond to crises. While supported by the Labor and Trade Unions, the small (but historically influential) Border Union was not pleased with the sudden and drastic reduction in need for their services. (The Shipping Union remained neutral on the matter.) After no small amount of economic turbulence, Navarro Security Forces (the once-largest organization of the Border Union, much diminished in number after their heavy casualties in the War, and in reputation after outspoken locals decried Navarro for being away when the coastal tragedy hit) announced it would be turning over all its domestic contracts to its peer organizations and moving on to focus exclusively on international work.
...and then somehow, in the blink of an eye, ten years had passed, and the nations of the world had decided to gather in the Gallerias for a reunion of sorts: one part memorial to the past, and those lost along the way; one part celebration of the present, and peace and life and victory; and one part looking to the future.
For the final calculations were about to be reached, and Mothership’s algorithms were just about ready to declare CT-3-504/505 either a success or a failure. (All but the most pessimistic forecasts pointed towards a declaration of success, but still, it wasn’t official until it was official.)
In either case - success or failure - Boarding Day would no doubt follow shortly thereafter (Admin shared that “Day” was really a misnomer; in the case of a successful colony, Boarding would take place over a number of years), and within five to ten years Colonial Transport 3 would set off on its next great journey across the stars - a journey that had once been in danger of not being able to even happen. But what memories would CT-3 and its inhabitants carry to its countless colonies to follow: one of triumph, success, and prosperity; or one of struggle, hardship, and folly? What, in the end, would Touchstone (and the rest of the world of 504) pass on as a legacy?
JOIN US IN THE GALLERIAS ON CY:99:02:09 TO FIND OUT.