A Protracted Game
A Protracted Game
In the near future, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, and the definition of human are being stretched to their very limits. Humanity has spread out amongst the planets, moons, asteroids, and comets of the solar system, fashioning together new societies and new opportunities, but the stars beyond are still outside of our reach. Old and new geopolitical blocs are seeking to dominate the new order beyond Earth and Luna. One such bloc, codenamed the Alliance, recruits Yang Ru to destabilize Mars, in hopes of securing a political and economic foothold on that planet. Yang Ru's work stokes the flames of civil war on Mars. Two factions emerge, Colonel Valesquez's 508th Vanguard and Zeyk Duval's Concerned Citizenry, claiming ownership over the direction of Mars' uncertain future. As Mars burns, the violence begins rippling outward. The Alliance and the Alliance's adversaries begin posturing and readying for bloody and protracted shadow wars throughout the Verse. To make matters worse, an emerging (and sentient) artificial intelligence, named Osmanthus, is on the rise, infecting computer systems and infrastructure, making her presence known and felt. The warring factions see Osmanthus as a potential ally and weapon in their war for dominance, and they attempt to recruit her for their respective causes. Others, such as the mega church known as the Brethren and Sistren of the Abrahamic Faiths, hope to convert, destroy, or help Osma, as she grows and blossoms into something either uniquely human or something else altogether. A Protracted Game, a space opera/sci-fi Web serial, is an account of the next steps in humanity's evolution, as witnessed by Osmanthus, those who built her, those who wish to control her, those who wish to escape her ominous presence, and those caught in the crossfire.