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metaphysician

Aberrant RPG - A World Without DeVries

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Lets say that, a few days before she would have otherwise erupted, Anna DeVries gets killed in a mugging gone bad. Thus, no DeVries Agency, and none of the various things they did to underpin elite culture and business.

What effect does this have on the setting?

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Lets say that, a few days before she would have otherwise erupted, Anna DeVries gets killed in a mugging gone bad. Thus, no DeVries Agency, and none of the various things they did to underpin elite culture and business.

What effect does this have on the setting?

Off the cuff guesses, you mean? OK, I'll take a stab at it. ::smile

Assuming that the whole "Elite" phenomenon/culture gets nipped in the bud, potential Elite novas would likely find their ways into government service (not always in the military, mind you) or corporate employment, which would be good, bad or "so-so" for them depending on the gov't or corp involved.

With the mercenary angle removed conflicts like the Equatorial Wars would still happen, but they would do so for the benefit of the First World nations & major corporations. Also, the little countries which employ Elites in canon have their influence reduced - good in some ways, bad in others.

Proteus would find itself operating in more dangerous waters than is canon - interference with uber-valuable nova employees will be frowned upon by gov't.s & corps - which could lead to a gov't/corp alliance & global retaliatory strike, possibly becoming a witch hunt against Aeon/PU/Proteus.

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My thoughts:

DeVries is mostly known for their hiring out of combat elites. Hiring of other nova freelancers for power use will probably propel some different company to the forefront; otherwise novas with combat abilities will most likely end up greatly increasing the ranks of either Project Utopia, militaries (mostly US/China IMO), criminal organizations (triads/Zhukov/Medellin/etc) or city defenders (in US, Europe, Japan, Australia, and other wealthier nations). Possibly it will lower the amount of NPC novas who erupt with solely combat abilities, but I'm not sure how likely this is. If combat elites still becomes a major phenomenon, there will probably be more parity between company rankings instead of DeVries holding the several top spots.

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The way I see it, nova mercenaries are bound to happen. The Equatorial War is still mostly inevitable, Sango is still going to hire every nova whose willing to fight he can. However, without the public relations and social engineering work Anna did, mercenary work won't be as tightly linked to Teragen sympathies as it otherwise would.

Without Anna and DeVries and their early monopoly, there's a better chance of non-combatant nova employment agencies cropping up, like the Paranormal Professional Society of the Paragons setting ( basically a combination temp agency and union/advocacy group ).

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In a world wothout DeVries, Blue Thunder comes back and picks up Theomachy...er, wait, what were we talking about again? ::tongue

Seriously though, one thing that I alwasy found interesting was that Anna ends up with Teragen sympathies or even outright allediance towards the Abby War....and yet, the success of her company and it's strategic marketing and positioning of Elites for hire actually worked towards Proteus's ends by killing untold numbers of Novus. Hell, DeVries practically invented the industry singlehandedly...

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Interesting question.

Military use of Novas is just too obvious, I *think* the idea even predates Anna's eruption, so it's going to happen.

On the other hand without Anna it's *possible* that we'll have "US Army Novas" and not "Corporate Army Novas". Long term this is probably a good thing since elites tend to be more likely to buy into the Teragen mindset.

The big think I don't understand is why the US walked away from it's Army Novas thing. There's a blurb early in the core book and after that basically nothing. I see two possibilities, first, Project Pro did something (possible). Second, the Army couldn't or wouldn't pay 7 to 8 digit salaries so all their novas were hired away.

If that's what happened... then Anna was created, not born. I.e. *someone* was going to have this idea and get it started first, the economic forces behind it are just too strong.

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*cough* Actually, I think its Option 3: the writers aren't fond/knowledgeable about the military, and so choose to avoid the elephant in the living room. Specifically, that between the active duty, reserve, and retired population, there should have been quite a number of novas erupting with a background in the US military. It would stretch credibility for them *all* to hate it and want nothing to do with it anymore.

Anyway. *ahem* Of your two suggested in-story explanations, the former makes more sense. Seven digit salaries are a drop in the bucket by military budget standards, especially since a million spent on nova soldiers is probably ten million, at least, saved on salary, training, and hardware for the soldiers that aren't needed because of those novas.

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I concur that just because not alot was written on it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Do you really think with China putting so many resources into the Exploding Heavenly Mandate, that the U.S. would sit idly by and not create a powerful force of it's own? Actually that could be a fun idear for a campaign, with each player assuming the role of a Captain America or Flagg esq type complete with Flag-based costumes. A similar team was created for Heroes Unlimited back in the day that had a lot of flavor, if a bit generic in powers/theme...

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This is starting to sound like the U.S. Military is keeping all their novas in a covert unit. Just the thing for black ops, complete with "plausible deniability" & scapegoats on hand (posing as Terats, perhaps?).

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That said, even if novas are being preferentially shunted off to covert operations, you'd think they could still put together at least half a dozen novas for a public US official super team. Whether from people who are not suited for covert operations, or people who have abilities much more suited for public work ( like mega charisma ).

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That said, even if novas are being preferentially shunted off to covert operations, you'd think they could still put together at least half a dozen novas for a public US official super team. Whether from people who are not suited for covert operations, or people who have abilities much more suited for public work ( like mega charisma ).
Perhaps there was a problem with the U.S having a "nova bikini team"? AFAICT from the canon materials, public perception of the Nova Age U.S. by many of its own informed citizens is markedly cynical. That presupposition of sleaziness/untrustworthiness on the part of the U.S. gov't. could have easily doomed the prospects of a public nova team like you're talking about before the idea got off the drawing table.

OTOH, the covert ops team could be seen as being more cost-effective than a public nova team. The U.S. gov't in the Nova Age does not seem to be especially prosperous, & would have had the same infrastructure/health care woes it does in RL.

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I second Meta. Novas are PR gold in the world they inhabit. I think the "absence" of a U.S. Nova team has more to do with a lack of interest ot time on the devloper's part and less with non-existence. It's just one of the many apsects of the world left for us to fill out.

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Anyway. *ahem* Of your two suggested in-story explanations, the former makes more sense. Seven digit salaries are a drop in the bucket by military budget standards, especially since a million spent on nova soldiers is probably ten million, at least, saved on salary, training, and hardware for the soldiers that aren't needed because of those novas.
You'd *think* so... but look at the Wall Street Bonus situation. Does anyone think we'd be paying 7-8 digit bonuses if these banks were being run directly from the gov? The answer is clearly *no*, gov salaries are by definition much smaller... which implies that a gov bank would quickly have all of their high level talent leaving.

This thread http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/archive/ind...p/t-156815.html claims the highest paid person in the entire US gov is some coach, but we clearly have people who would be paid a lot more by private enterprise.

I suspect it'd be very difficult for any US employee to get paid 8 digits, even if they were 'worth' it in some abstract sense. This *doesn't* prevent the US from forming a team of elites, but it's pretty easy to imagine some Congressman arguing that no one is worth 8 digits.

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Sure Alex, your logic makes sense for government jobs like clerks and administrative types. What Meta is saying is more like military spending and C.I.A. jobs. The military pays millions of dolars for hardware, jet planes, missles etc. At least according to the fluff, a Nova is worth many baseline soldiers. And then of course there is the C.I.A. type ops who don't have to go through congress or appropriation commitees to get the funding they need. $10 mil for a new toilet plunger?

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Not that I don't see such arguments, I just see them being much easier to shut down when one can counter with "And here's the cost of the tanks, planes, ships, and soldiers we don't have to pay for, because of this nova." After all, being able to forgo purchasing even a couple aircraft would probably pay a million dollar salary to a nova til his retirement.

That said, I could see this being unpopular with senators and congressmen from states with big defense contractor elements. . .

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I'm not denying the economic sense, or even the military sense, but IMHO we pay the current set of people what we do because of politics, and that's not going to change.

It's not just "clerks and administrative types". We underpay judges/lawyers what the free market says they're worth by about 10x, and probably more. The *best* paid guy by the gov currently makes about $400k, and he's an anomaly.

If we pay novas like we would a missile, then $10mil is easy. But what I think would happen is we'd get this "I don't want to pay him more than we do me" reasoning, or more likely, "why should he make more money than the president".

The bottom line is it's seriously hard to justify to someone making $40k a year why his taxes should be spent to give someone $40 million. Worse, we don't take the army out for a spin every year. He might make that 40 mill for doing literally nothing. Worse on top of that we also get racism.

A simple way to deal with *all* of that is to use subcontractors (i.e. DVNTS). You don't pay a specific nova 40 mill, you pay DeVries 50 mill and let them deal with it. Of course they turn around and hire Totentanz and pay him what he should be paid.

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Yeah but you are trying to apply real worl logic to a the logic of a world with Novas in it. The U.S. can;t *not* afford to have Novas on the payroll, and the Novas *will* command that high of a salary. Sure we underpay judges etc. but all of your examples are still civilian and if there is one thing I know from my tax returns is how much money we spend on the military (and that is just what the government *admits* to spending...).

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...we underpay judges etc. but all of your examples are still civilian...

Fine. In Iraq we've had problems with civilian contractors (i.e. Blackwater) hiring away soldiers with expensive skill sets and then contracting them back to the US for more money.

The U.S. can't *not* afford to have Novas on the payroll, and the Novas *will* command that high of a salary.

If novas appeared right now, today... business would figure out what to pay them in a year or two. The US gov literally *couldn't* without changes in important laws. If the US gov has no way to pay them what they're worth without subcontracting, then they'd probably subcontract them. And having done that there'd be less need to change the law.

Having said that, imho it was mostly a developer issue. If Blackwater started hiring out novas to the French or countries being run by people like Saddam, the US military would do *something*. Maybe find a different subcontractor, or maybe even change the law.

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You are operating under the assumption that our government obeys it's own laws. The C.I.A. spends taxpayer's money every day on black ops for which they have little or no oversight.

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You are operating under the assumption that our government obeys it's own laws. The C.I.A. spends taxpayer's money every day on black ops for which they have little or no oversight.
The CIA does obey this country's laws (although not other countries). That's why we have good records for the entire torture mess, they wanted everyone to know that they wouldn't step over the line and they wanted to know where the line was.

Further there's a fundamental conflict between the whole concept of "black ops" and "the media follows around all novas". Sure, it's possible to partly get around that with dorm, cipher, and low quantum/taint novas, but that's the exception, not the rule.

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The CIA does obey this country's laws (although not other countries). That's why we have good records for the entire torture mess, they wanted everyone to know that they wouldn't step over the line and they wanted to know where the line was.

Further there's a fundamental conflict between the whole concept of "black ops" and "the media follows around all novas". Sure, it's possible to partly get around that with dorm, cipher, and low quantum/taint novas, but that's the exception, not the rule.

That's what they want you to think... ::sly Sure some stuff comes to light, but alot of it does NOT come to light for quite some time if ever, and if you knew anything about the CIA's connection to the illegal drug trade in this country you would know that they will very much voiolate our own laws. Plausible deniability dude...

Furthermore the media doesn't follow around ALL novas. If that was the case then Chiraben would be public knowledge and Proteus wouldn't be able to exist.

Really the question is up to the individual game, whether the U.S. employs novas and in what capacity, whether as a flag-wearing patriotic PR anwer to Team Tomorrow or as an ultra-top secret wetworks op. Either way would make for a rousing game methinks, especially if one or more menbers of the PR team did black ops wetwork too...

That's the kind of twisted shit that makes me love Aberrant!

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There is a simple two-word solution to the problem of nova military salaries.

Bonus pay.

We've got jump pay, flight pay, hazardous duty pay, special operations pay, foreign language profiency pay, etc, etc, etc. Extra pay in return for unusual skills or service is written into the law.

And while the amounts are also set by law, all that means is that they have to pass a new law -- 'United States Code Title blah-blah-blah, clause et cetera, is hereby modified so that 'maximum allowable bonus is X thousand dollars' to 'maximum allowable bonus is X thousand dollars, save for "nova proficiency bonus", which has an allowable max of X million dollars per year.'' And in order to get a law through Congress, especially if its buried as an amendment to the latest flood-control bill, all that is required is that a majority of Congressmen be convinced that their constituents won't raise a big stink about them voting for it, and that the President will sign it. Given that 'everybody wants novas', this is not gonna be a problem.

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So maybe Project Pro pays Congressmen to not pass that law? ::rolleyes ::ohmy

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At this point, the Directive squees happily that they can catch Utopia-affiliated individuals(*) trying to bribe US Congressmen en masse, and not trying to bribe them to do anything, but trying to bribe them to cripple US military readiness. (Goodness knows that the US having a viable (and controllable!) military nova project is great from the Directive's POV -- the Directive has no room in its own organization for obvious, high-power novas, but its always handy to have some working for friends of friends that you can steer towards your more obvious, high-powered problems that you couldn't directly confront yourself.)

I mean, its a win-win. The Congressmen agree to cooperate in the investigation against the "Utopia-backed" bribe attempts, Utopia looks awful... hell, Utopia looks like a flat-out enemy of the United States. The Congressmen try to take the money and vote against anyway, Directive-backed law enforcement investigations rack them up as bribe-takers and they get booted out of office and replaced by non-Utopia-sympathetic replacements.(**) The Directive and the US government would require Bond villain stupidity to lose this round. (Remember that in order for things to have gotten this far, the DoD -- meaning the Executive Branch -- wants military novas in the first place, and they're the people with direct operational control of the DoJ and the CIA, not Congress.)

Seriously. Thetis might just be stupid enough to think this is a good idea (seeing all the other dumb shit she thought was good ideas), but this is the point at which Ozeki leaps over the desk screaming "ARE YOU HIGH?!?"

(*) It must be remembered that from the outside, Proteus (to anyone who trips across one of its operations) is presumed to be Utopia's own dirty tricks department, as opposed to a... well, it is Utopia's dirty tricks compartment, its just, it isn't generally assumed to be the tail wagging the dog.

(**) Before bringing in comparision to real-world US politics, remember that we're talking about Congressmen being bribed by foreign special interests into gimping the US national security budget. That is an entirely different order of magnitude of scandal around here.

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In practice, I think the writers just ignored the issue.

Realistically, I would like to think that even if someone in the conspiracy wanted to move to keep the US from establishing major national superteams, it wouldn't be via Proteus. Instead, the Aeon Society itself would handle the matter.

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AFA Proteus' efforts to derail the U.S. military's nova-based efforts (or similar threats to Utopian hegemony), they seem to prefer more direct & deniable action. Remember General Endicott from pp. 83-84 of the Aberrant core book? Proteus had him assassinated simply because he was trying to develop powered armor (what might have become proto-VARG technology?) to make baseline soldiers more viable against nova combatants. No one ever twigged to that being an assassination instead of a natural death or accident, AFAIK.

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Actually, no, General Endicott died because he was one of the recipients of Iktome's disk of info about Proteus... and there's strong hints that Sophia Rousseau had him killed, not Proteus. (And with her entropy powers, its a lot more plausible that she could tracelessly shut down the vital functions of a baseline than it would be for, oh, Chiraben. Who is not exactly Mr. Subtle.)

Edit: Ah, my bad, I was remembering two separate datadisks and conflating the memories. Revised timeline:

Director Iktome, a Proteus member who grew a conscience, prepared a datadisk detailing some of Proteus' secrets and tried to smuggle it out. (Page 118 of the Utopia sourcebook, and others). Iktome had eventually intended to send five copies to General Endicott, Count Orzaiz, Slider, Corbin, and Rousseau. He had only had time to make four by the time he was captured, and two disks were still on him. Proteus could confirm that Corbin & Landers did not successfully get their copies. Orzaiz never showed any signs of receiving the information included. That narrows it down to two people... and one of those people dropped dead immediately after getting his disk, and his disk was not found anywhere among his personal effects. Leaving Sophia Rousseau in sole possession of about 75% of Proteus' secrets, before Slider died and the Aberrant faction was founded.

Funny how that works out for her.

Also, your theory contains another logical flaw: for obvious reasons, the US military is already familiar with the concept of taking casualties. The usual response is to appoint their replacement and continue onward with the operation, not to cancel the whole damn plan because they lost a senior officer. And since your theory postulates that the US government was unaware General Endicott's death was anything other than natural causes, the presumption 'They were intimidated into backing off' is non-operative as well, by your own reasoning.

Not to mention that IIRC, General Endicott was also a member of the Directive...

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Re: Endicott-

Just reviewed the PU & Directive sourcebooks, & agreed that receiving one of Iktome's disks could've been one reason he was killed. Whether his death was at the hands of Rousseau or a Proteus agent was intentionally left unclear AFAICT.

That said, there's no reason to think that the powered armor project had any supporters in the U.S. military other than Endicott. The Pentagon is full of development projects that are in stiff competition for funding, and there's no evidence that Endicott's proto-VARGs project was any different. With Endicott taken out of the picture, the project was most likely put on ice & some other project got their funding.

So my argument that Endicott's death could have been done to thwart the development of powered armor is still a possibility. Thetis would definitely see that as a threat to Utopia's supremacy.

AFA Endicott being part of the Directive, I saw no evidence that he was a member. The main U.S. member is Arnold Harris, with Eliot Stinson being involved in getting the U.S. into the Directive at it's founding.

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I don't buy the powered armor programming vanishing because one man died. The appearance of novas changes warfare, and the need for some kind of organizational and procurement response is obvious. If powered armor was a one man program, its because some other program had the stronger political and bureaucratic support. This is *theoretically* possible, but the only one I could conceive as filling such a role is "nova recruitment."

The thing is, powered armor is a fairly major cutting edge research topic in real life. Given the advances in materials and power technology in the Aberrant setting, powered armor would be the most logical way to even the odds in nova warfare, or just improve war fighting capacity, period. This is not even mentioning how, given that it enhances the existing soldier, and more importantly, requires notable manufacturing, it would be easier to sell to many of the existing defense department and congressional procurement establishments than nova recruitment ( even if novas are more effective, powered armor creates more jobs in electoral districts ).

Absent explicit evidence to the contrary, powered armor being abandoned because its only backer died doesn't pass the credibility test.

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I don't buy the powered armor programming vanishing because one man died. The appearance of novas changes warfare, and the need for some kind of organizational and procurement response is obvious. If powered armor was a one man program, its because some other program had the stronger political and bureaucratic support. This is *theoretically* possible, but the only one I could conceive as filling such a role is "nova recruitment."

The thing is, powered armor is a fairly major cutting edge research topic in real life. Given the advances in materials and power technology in the Aberrant setting, powered armor would be the most logical way to even the odds in nova warfare, or just improve war fighting capacity, period. This is not even mentioning how, given that it enhances the existing soldier, and more importantly, requires notable manufacturing, it would be easier to sell to many of the existing defense department and congressional procurement establishments than nova recruitment ( even if novas are more effective, powered armor creates more jobs in electoral districts ).

Absent explicit evidence to the contrary, powered armor being abandoned because its only backer died doesn't pass the credibility test.

I never said that it would have been abandoned, the project simply wouldn't've received the level of funding it did when Endicott was alive. According to p. 84 of the core book, they still hadn't perfected the power systems, meaning that they were still a good ways off from producing a workable prototype. Endicott might've been prescient enough to realize the project's value, but you can bet that many other generals with whom he was competing for funding had their own ideas for anti-nova countermeasures. Unless I'm very mistaken, even in the Nova Age the Pentagon is full of high-level officers who perpetuated fiascos such as the First Earth Battalion (as depicted in The Men Who Stare At Goats and the clowns who developed the Bradley combat vehicle (which is a deathtrap on wheels).

IIRC, the initial writeup for the VARGs of Trinity - which is what developed from Endicott's project - stated that their development was too slowed down to have been of any use during the Aberrant War. I'm just trying to figure an "in-the-box' reason for that, given that info & that about Endicott.

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It still doesn't pass the smell test -- important funding decisions are not made unilaterally by single generals.(*) Someone else important in the US government, whether it be the rest of the Pentagon brass, the Secretary of Defense, the head of DARPA, the relevant Congressional subcommittee, etc., agreed with Endicott that the armor project was a good idea, or else he'd never have gotten his funding request passed in the first place. That someone would still be alive and able to lobby.

There's also what meta pointed out -- whether it be power armor or else their own novas, some kind of a viable counter-program to other peoples' military novas is necessary. Not just Utopia, but also the elites. And yet, in canon, the US government is shown as effectively ignoring all options -- the power armor program stalls out the gate, and the military nova program isn't given any development in the setting material whatsoever. Its like the US military noticed it was becoming significantly inferior to rivals all over the world and some mercenaries as well, in an important category of warfighting capability, and then just stood back and let that happen rather than make any serious R&D or deployment efforts to counter that. And that shit just don't happen. If there's one thing the US Department of Defense can be relied upon to do, its be willing to spend billions of dollars rather than let someone else build a bigger or better weapon. Given that "technological superiority, we got it and they don't" is a basic key assumption in like, oh, all of US defense planning...

Edit: Re: "The Men Who Stare At Goats" -- nothing in that applies to power armor. Its not wildly speculative research like psychic powers, its engineering using actual known scientific principles. And as pointed out, its entirely possible even in the Trinity era. The only reason for the research taking over 100 friggin' years to finally work is pure writer's fiat. I mean, its ridiculous. We went from the Wright Flyer to the goddamn F-22 Raptor in a century.

(*) There is an obvious problem allowed in letting dozens or hundreds of millions of dollars to be spent freely by a single officer without any oversight or review, and the DoD is well aware of it.

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Agreed that the situation re: power armor/VARG development isn't logical from the viewpoint of the U.S. military, either in RL or the Aeoniverse. The problem is that logical consequences were shoved off into irrelevancy by the Aeoniverse gameline writers for the sake of the Aberrant War & pointing out baseline humanity's relative helplessness against the Taintmonkeys.

It's what we've been given to work with. It stinks - I happen to like the idea of mini-VARGs having at least some value against aberrant foes - but that's the metaplot for you. Of course, toss that out the window and this discussion becomes moot.

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The discussion is mostly moot, anyway, as I am a firm believer that it was Rousseau who killed Endicott, not Proteus. I'm just undecided on whether she killed him to cover up the fact that she grabbed the missing Slider disk, or if she killed him to keep the Slider disk info from uncontrolledly spreading. Depends mainly on whether she engineered the death of Slider, or if she just took advantage of the opportunity it presented.

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The discussion is mostly moot, anyway, as I am a firm believer that it was Rousseau who killed Endicott, not Proteus. I'm just undecided on whether she killed him to cover up the fact that she grabbed the missing Slider disk, or if she killed him to keep the Slider disk info from uncontrolledly spreading. Depends mainly on whether she engineered the death of Slider, or if she just took advantage of the opportunity it presented.
Even in the most optimistic portrayals of Mme. Rousseau, I can easily see her as being opportunistic enough to take advantage of Slider's death. Her past as a globetrotting thief does not make for good PR. Rousseau needed something big to grant her enough trustworthiness to be able to form the Aberrant faction.

Heck, with her Q6+ powers over entropy/chance/luck, who's to say that she didn't influence events just to make her own luck? It'd be ironic if the situation was "roll the dice to get your lucky break, which will be detailed by the ST" (cue sadistic chuckling from the ST ::devil ).

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That would be pretty horrible, yes. I don't tend to think Rousseau is nice, granted, but I admit that "I deliberated engineered Slider's death" is towards the far end of the interpretation spectrum.

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I'm actually in the camp that Rousseau engineered Slider's death, myself. Not only does it all work out too conveniently for her, but how did Slider find any of this stuff out in the first place? She wasn't a superbrain or an investigative prodigy... did someone else arrange for her to get handed an info packet of stuff? We know Iktome tried, but we also know he failed... so someone else was...

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QUOTE(Chuckg @ Apr 30 2010, 10:42 PM)
I'm actually in the camp that Rousseau engineered Slider's death, myself. Not only does it all work out too conveniently for her, but how did Slider find any of this stuff out in the first place? She wasn't a superbrain or an investigative prodigy... did someone else arrange for her to get handed an info packet of stuff? We know Iktome tried, but we also know he failed... so someone else was...

Sounds like we've got four options (if not more) as to Rousseau's level of culpability in Slider's death then, in increasing order of sleaziness.

1- Rousseau didn't cause the circumstances of Slider's death, but did take advantage of them.

2- Rousseau used her entropy powers to essentially grant herself a desired outcome, albeit with circumstances required for such being much like getting a wish from the Monkey's Paw.

3- Rousseau did the same as in #2, but chose to make someone convenient - not necessarily Slider, but that's how it turned out - into a stalking horse & convenient martyr for the nascent Aberrant faction.

4- Rousseau acted as in #3 but deliberately chose Slider to be the martyr. If I'm not mistaken, this is close to what ChuckG is proposing about Rousseau.

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To necro this topic some, on going and rereading Aberrant I realized that the dates actually provide a likely answer to the question.

,,

All references to the US military's Nova Development Program in the setting material predate mid-2008. What happened at the end of 2008 in canon? President Portman's election.

,,

And Portman was a very pro-Utopia sort of guy, who entirely put his faith in them.

And so the sudden nonexistence of the NDP and US military nova programs as of 2009 and up makes perfect sense -- Utopia lobbied President Portman to cancel them, and both out of trust for Utopia and his own politics, he did.

,,

Good job, Aberrant writing team. You actually did explain this one... or at least, you left room for it to be explained, in a way that doesn't hurt brains.

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