GACA in Reborn in fifteen characters

gaca

#1

I kind of want to chat a little bit about GACA in Reborn. I don’t want to go full-on political deep dive, but maybe a few things may be useful to sketch out, as long as everyone agrees:

-GACA still exists. I thought about leaving its continuance after the White Cell War open-ended, but on further reflection, it’s such an integral part of the story it would feel strange to not have it.
-The Grand Army still exists, but it’s much smaller, given how half of it just had a major, web-spanning war with the other half. One suspects that after White Cell, the various nations of the Web are a lot more nervous about having a giant standing army just waiting around on the off-chance time-traveling space mollusks show up.
-The House of Lords still exists, as does the Alliance Congress. However, the old Great Powers no longer dominate - people don’t even call them “Great Powers” anymore. The big political power blocs are mostly gone, with countries more aligned on their local/dimensional interests.
-I’m not revealing anything about the non-Celiose GA characters at this time. (Except Praxer. Praxer can show up when we need a literal deus ex machina, but he’s not Celpo Director…he has become something else, now.)
-There is a Soldierly Council, but no Generalissimo. Symbolically, Soldierly Council meetings are conducted with an empty chair at the head.
-There’s a couple familiar faces and maybe some new characters on the Soldierly Council.
-A note on ranks: in the past, Big Name GA officers had a rank of Sub-General, with a few guys (Burzmale, Torstensson) being Lieutenant General. MAYBE there’s a new rank created for the new Council, to be like, “you’re a little bit higher than a Sub-General, there’s no No.1 guy so it feels weird to call you a Lt. General, but no one is Generalissimo.”
-Maybe the top people on the Soldierly Council rotate on a yearly (or monthly?) basis as to who is in charge, for administrative reasons. (A system everyone is aware won’t work in a war, but is temporary.)
-The position of Sovereign Executive has been open since Rhodes Palmerston died. I had a loose idea in for e a minor plot point in White Cell that Tally Quorsen kind of wanted the job, and maybe a few other people put forward, but no one could unite behind a candidate. (…the failure of Rhodes’s political maneuverings to prevent another war after his death is part of what marks him as the Bismarck of Kupopolis. Also, it’s a pity that all these useful characters who could’ve credibly done the job like TO Halberg and original flavor Doan were dead!)


#2

My next post is the GACA side of the space race prologue, so I have some skin in the game!

I pretty much agree with the outline. We used to say GACA was the UN with guns, now I think of it more like the actual UN in reborn. A lot of civic actions for diplomacy sake and less standing armies.

Question for Trav, as far as CELPO stands, what did you think about my ideas for them behaving more like an interpol/fbi moving forward? I was thinking of introducing them as that for the hiest subplot.


#3

I like that! That sounds cool.

I think the EU probably doesn’t have a seat on the Soldierly Council. I might say that the People’s Republic of Greater Tzen (Communist Esperian territory, which became its own country) does and this has been a sticking point for the EU and a sense of national shame?


#4

-Historically, the Soldierly Council was just by expertise, not by nation, representing the GA’s tradition of professionalism and technocratic independence. That said, Celiose is gone, so it’s possible there could be more political meddling.
-PROBABLY most of the Reborn-era members are a mix of GA lifers and new talent. I think a Tzenian (Tzener?) could easily fit into either category.
-A few big posts to potentially fill: Chief of Space Operations, Chief of Naval Operations, Chief of Air Operations, and Director of Celpo. (…we don’t have to fill them all RIGHT THIS MINUTE. I’m much more of the “keep things open-ended so we can be flexible if we have an awesome idea” mindset.)
-In the past, I considered Halder Skalice and Admiral Thames as likely members, given their storied Kupopolis histories (and we had also planned for them to win big victories over White Cell in the war, so there was that.) (Also, the new Scandian government views it as a convenient way to get rid of Halder.) I like the idea of putting clashing personalities in charge, so we can have arguments where it’s not clear who is right. (I suspect the political leaders of the Web also want to take the military leadership of the GA down a peg or two, too.)
-So let’s talk about Celpo – it’s clear that without Praxer, it’s no longer what it used to be, and the fact that White Cell existed is a pretty damning indictment of what was once the most feared intelligence service in the Web. Perhaps after the war they are restructured and even renamed, perhaps broken up into two organizations: an intelligence gathering branch, and a police/law enforcement branch.
(of course, maybe the TRUE Celpo is still around. But best not to speak too loudly of such things!)
-Maybe the interpol/FBI-type people are called Alliance Rangers? Or maybe we need some fancy acronym? I dunno, I kind like Rangers because I randomly watched some Babylon 5 clips the other day.
-…it’s funny, because a law enforcement mission for the GA is the kind of thing Celiose would never have stood for – he was adamantly focused on the GA’s mission of winning wars. But times change.
-I do like the idea of focusing more on GACA’s diplomatic and cultural functions. (ACESCO Web Heritage Sites!).
-At some point Tex had an idea for Alice Halberg to launch the Web’s version of the Peace Corps. I like the idea of this happening through GACA.
-WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY back when, Matt proposed the Millenial Games. Maybe this idea is worth a second look. (…though, it’s sad Rhodes is dead. I like the idea that Rhodes, a noted sports fan, organized international support for the Games as a tribute to the late King Doan. I mean, he could’ve done it before White Cell happened…we are dealing with a span of time, here…)


#5

This sounds cool to me! I like the idea of the Alliance Rangers and Celpo being “gone.” For a given value of gone. I feel like the Rangers could also be useful for the story that we’re trying to tell, too? If we want an acronym, the Alliance Rangers could be a division within that agency; for example, the Texas Rangers are actually the Ranger Division of the Department of Public Safety (DPS).

And yeah, I like Tzener as the term. I think I could do one as a chief of naval operations; since the EU got the SRAN back, I think Tzen built a pretty serious navy as a means of having a counter to their air power if a war broke out. It makes sense they’d produce a high quality commander.


#6
  • I like the idea of Alliance rangers being a subdivision of a revamped celpo. I could see some of the more traditional over-the-top-not-so-secret Celpo characters turning to the fieldwork of being alliance rangers.
  • Grand Army Military Beau of Intelligence Tracking (GAMBIT) ?
  • Grand Army Intelligence Authority (GAIA)?
  • The Celiose Cole Public Intelligence Commission (CELPIC)?
  • The Celisoe Cole Trans-Dimensional Intelligence Commission (CELTIC)?
  • The Celiose Cole Intelligence Action Committee (CELIAC)?

#7

I like Grand Army Intelligence Authority best, I think. GAIA has a ring.


#8

Yeah, I like the ring of GAIA, too.

And maybe a Tzener as naval operations? The Communist nations do have a bit of a history of focusing on sea power. (http://wiki.kupopolis.club/index.php?title=SLCM-Sea and http://wiki.kupopolis.club/index.php?title=The_Waterguard). I have a few big sea battles in my White Cell note – this was going to be an important point because White Cell had command of space, and was blockading Tasnica, so there was a big struggle to open the sea routes around Tasnicaport so people don’t starve. (…and, as a side note, some Triangolon smugglers using the Sills to sneak food in.)


#9

All this does suggest a plot sometime in The Future where the post of Generalissimo must be filled, with some of the GACA nations being unhappy with whoever gets the job. (#NotMyGeneralissimo).


#10

See, my mind went to Judge Dred where they murder the council of judges. Oh noes! They murdered the Soldierly Council! Only one man can save us–the Generalissimo!


#11

HERE IS MY PILE OF 2¢ PIECES:

  • Re: Soldierly Council memberships: At its peak membership, the Soldierly Council had seven members. It was a BIG deal when they added in a Chief of Space Operations (and an even bigger deal among the GA rank-and-file that the new guy wasn’t a Great War vet), and an equally Big Deal when Gage Rizett left (and was never replaced). This, I think, has been part of an argument that has always existed at the core of the GACA: the political vs. the practical, civilian vs. military. The idea that each nation should be allowed to have its own military representative on the Soldierly Council is almost as ridiculous as the idea that every state should have its own National Guard officer in the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Which, of course, means it’s probably a perfect point of plot contention, as what’s left of the Old Guard (Gage is still around, but attached to Medina; Howe is protecting the timestream; Praxer is REDACTED, and everyone else is dead, so “Old Guard” really just applies to what’s left of the GA brass [Naten Schleiffen???]) resists the efforts of the civilian leadership to turn the Council into a venue for national showmanship (case in point: EU upset that Tzen has a General on the Council, and Tzen [probably?] rubbing the EU’s nose in it).
  • That said, in the end, my in-story preference is for the Council to be made up of venerable military characters who have “earned” their place at the table. Which might be hard to do, because a lot of those characters are being killed off in White Cell (or have already been killed off previously), so it might be inevitable that a few characters get their debut as Soldierly Council members.
  • Re: Celpo: I guess I’m the minority here, but I think the Celpo should stay as it is. Even if they didn’t see White Cell coming, the organization is still the gold standard where it comes to Web intelligence services, and their intercession has made the difference in the past between victory and defeat for the Grand Army (cf. OmniSent, New Wraith, White Cell [?] – oh and a little thing you might have heard of called THE GREAT WAR). Plus, as much as much as everything else GACA, this is such a central story asset that to either take it away or change it from being the shadowy spy org… I dunno, I think the story loses something integral if this happens.
  • The in-story challenge, if Celpo stays in place, is finding a new director. Hmm… Who could we find who has intimate knowledge of Celpo operations, demonstrated loyalty (mostly) to Celpo and GACA, is popular with the ladies and is knowledgable in all the most effective methods of enhanced interrogations?.. (hint: his name rhymes with Fanta)
  • Now, all of that said (VOTE MANTA FOR DIRECTOR OF CELPO), let’s talk about the idea of having some kind of international investigative/policing organization. On principle, I should think that the generally liberal-leaning democratic nations that make up GACA (Tasnica, Guardia, Esper, and a number of other countries) would not be cool with the idea of a military intel organization taking on the role of investigative law enforcement. This is part of the debate we have been having in this country for the last two decades, because one of our core principles has it that our intel services are not, traditionally, allowed to operate domestically in a law-enforcement capacity. This is not to say that GACA doesn’t have an interest in establishing an Interpol-like agency, but it bears mentioning that for these nations who just survived having the Grand Army rip itself apart all over the Web, I don’t think the trust would be there for them to allow these institutions to expand into gaining international policing powers. WITH THAT IN MIND, there is absolutely nothing stopping GACA from adopting new post-White Cell reforms and expanding the role that the Alliance Congress takes in actually serving as an international government with some power behind it. Establishing a new agency for international policing is, IMO, a better way to handle this, because it keeps clear the distinction between the military and civilian sides of GACA, segregates GACA’s military intel from its law enforcement arm.
  • Re: Rangers: If there are going to be GA Rangers, there must also be GA Space Rangers DIBS I CALLED IT FIRST.
  • Re: Doan: You know, Doan may be dead, but AU Doan is around! Perhaps the immediate aftermath of White Cell is where AU Doan can show his quality.
  • Millennial Games can be a thing. But the name is silly because we’re not going to wait 1000 years to have them again if we do them. I am going to figure out exactly how I want to do it, but I’m inclined to run it as an event ala the Space Race.

#12

Well, the rather long-running debate of law-enforcement vs. intelligence gathering is something I very much had in mind when I originally suggested that the Celpo be split. Way back in undergrad, I wrote a whole paper about why the FBI and CIA hated each other’s guts and had clashing cultures, and I have a very tough time imagining the Celpo -who, in addition to being a gold standard intelligence service, also were the gold standard for sketchy behavior – all of a sudden turning into interdimensional cops who cared about things like law enforcement and due process. (…and of course this whole concept of international law-enforcement relies on the cooperation of member countries, as none of them would presumably surrender their sovereign rights.)

Perhaps part of the push to add some law-enforcement aspects to GACA (and, generally, to emphasize GACA’s non-military functions) was that for decades GACA centered around a military mindset – indeed, Celiose refused to countenance anything else. White Cell is the bloody culmination of this as they sought to establish a military solution for peace in the Web. Implicit in the GA (and Celiose’s) mindset is that the political leaders of the Web are a bunch of idiots who should just pay the bills and get out of the way. With White Cell taking that thinking to its logical conclusion, one might understand why the Alliance wants to exert a little more political control, and perhaps even taking away some of the GA’s scary stuff like the Celpo.

I’m trying to think where you get this seven number for the Soldierly Council, Matt – off the top of my head, the notable named members are Torstensson, Rimmel, Model, Praxer, Gage, Howe, Velasco, and, of course, Celiose himself. (Maybe you forgot the Big C?) Rimmel and Model had some special posts to give them the extra jam to be on the Council, but I always had the feeling that it included some additional theater commanders (…none of whom were worth naming or mentioning, because the already existing GA commanders had very little to do and I had no reason to add more.) Like, for example, Hannibal should logically have been on the Council, given that he had the rank of Rear General and commanded an elite force of Seraphim, even though I don’t know if that was ever established. In my mind, it was just “important named high-level GA commanders.”

And it’s true that the Soldierly Council has historically been resistant to playing politics – I mean, I’m sure when the GA was originally formed, people were not really thrilled when Celiose picked Burzmale, ANOTHER Tasnican, to be his number two. (I suspect that part of Velasco’s motivation for joining White Cell was that he was never part of the Great War Old Boys’ club.)

…all that said, I fundamentally agree with you that it doesn’t make sense for each nation to be represented. Each nation in GACA is represented on the political side, in the Alliance Congress and the House of Lords. The Soldierly Council is supposed to represent the GA’s body of military expertise. THAT SAID, one assumes that the political leadership of GACA has some say who gets promoted to the top ranks, especially without Celiose around. To break down the above list of commanders by nationality, we have:

Celiose: Albrooker, though a technical Tasnican, who rose through the Tasnican military
Torstensson: Ironically, another Esperian who served in the Tasnican military
Burzmale: A Tasnican, though by way of Ticonderan parentage
Howe: Figaro. Fun fact: He was loosely based on Chester Nimitz. I kind of want to revisit him in Leviathan, where he teams up with Mic to do a Doolittle-style raid by launching spitfires from his submarine.
Gage: Baron. Fun fact: Loosely based on Bomber Harris. Also, this is his theme song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOkGYTM6PwU
Praxer: ???
Rimmel: Tasnican.
Model: Model’s is actually kind of a man from nowhere; he’s the son of a prostitute and an unknown soldier, and bounced around various army camps before he was old enough to fight.
Velasco: The latecomer is Guardian.

…so, looking at the above list, it’s reasonable that the Alliance Congress might want some more equal representation. There was perhaps even pressure before, but it’s hard to argue against the team that repeatedly defended the Web on several occasions

I was chatting earlier, and I do regret kind of stalling on White Cell, because this MASSIVE INTERDIMENSIONAL WAR would’ve been a perfect place to develop a number of new characters who could’ve stepped up. (…although my intent for it to be a cast-of-thousands epic also made me feel quite exhausted just thinking about it…but I guess it’s still around, on the boards…) I mean, just checking my notes, I had sketches for three new Tasnican commanders, two or three new Scandian commanders, and an Eblanese commander, a smattering of white cell commanders, and a lot of mecha aces. (…BEE TEE DUBS, I’m started a mechawarrior mercenary group in reborn at some point!)

…case in point for the above, part of my plan for the Quadfront was that the supercomputer Angel would build another robot body for herself, and take on the role of Republic Intelligence. She would go by the name of Eva, because that’s a Command and Conquer reference, and she would serve to coordinate the disparate factions defending Tasnica by providing information and briefing people on their missions. (She would, naturally, also serve as quartermaster for those grinding reputation for the Defenders of Tasnica faction). At some point, she was going to realize she was in over her head because her program was designed to handle stock market trades rather than fight a war, and then Praxer provides her with the data core of the Tactician. The Tactician is the GA’s supercomputer, and it’s programmed with the knowledge and experience of all of the GA’s battles and best leaders. Angel merges with it, becomes Republic Command, and helps lead the Tasnicans to victory. After the war she convinces Kenny to “liberate” although those robot soldiers Tasnica built to win the war, rather than deactivate them. Now, it had occurred to me that Eva/Republic Command would be a neat choice for Celpo Director, but I had also heard a couple other pitches for other characters to take over the role so I wasn’t sold on it.

(…boy, it’s going to be tough to fill Air Operations, huh? Maybe Gage is still around and back in that job, as a link to the GA’s Great War past?)

ALL THAT SAID – because the GA was a central story asset, I really, really wanted to open up the Reborn incarnation up to more writers. Ditto for GACA. Even though it’s been a focal point of the story forever, it and it’s workings are still largely my creation and I wanted to give everyone in Reborn the chance to affect it.

…and I get the impulse to feel like it should mostly be stocked with well-established characters, but I also feel like it’s been ten years and people have different interests and character types they want to write about.

(…does anyone have any objections to Halder? I kind of want to do a post about him now, as his decision to join the Council rather than form a military government to overthrow the Party following Travin’s death reflects a bit of a Moral Choice…)


#13

I think that would be cool since all my Celpo agents are either androids or cyborgs. But you know what would be fun to do too to establish a new director since there are multiple candidates? A CELPO SECRET WAR. It could be like the Death of Superman meets Marvels’ secret war.


#14

I’m trying to think where you get this seven number for the Soldierly Council, Matt – off the top of my head, the notable named members are Torstensson, Rimmel, Model, Praxer, Gage, Howe, Velasco, and, of course, Celiose himself. (Maybe you forgot the Big C?)

Yeah, that’s exactly what I did… so the real number is actually seven + Celiose.
I think, again in the name of sentimentality (i.e. the empty chair), the number might stay at seven in Reborn.

Also, I can’t help but notice that nobody has said anything about the coming of the Grand Army Space Rangers.


#15

So sky marshals?

Maybe GAIA is Grand Army Investigative Authority, which translates more to a traditional FBI. Maybe it was created as a the GACA refocuses on law enforcement and due process over military power as backlash from the White Cell War. And the Space Rangers are apart of that.


#16

I dig it.

And Celpo’s the CIA-a-like?

Which is now ran by Manta. Oh god.


#17

Ok, let’s get on the same page about the Rangers/GAIA, as there are two options I think for them, because we’re dealing with a bunch of sovereign countries with wildly divergent attitudes towards individual rights and due process. What holds up in a Tasnican court (“You are innocent until proven beyond a reasonable doubt”) is different from a Scandian court (“You are guilty. The citizens will see the efficiency and rightness of the state’s justice.”)

As I see it, there are two options:

  1. The realistic option. The Rangers are more like interpol, and though they have inter dimensional (and, in the case of space rangers, interplanetary) jurisdiction, they must obey local laws and work with local law enforcement. (Of course, some hotshots may bend the rules now and then, but can get away with it if they’re a damned fine ranger that gets the bad guy.)
  2. The Rangers are a law unto themselves, like the Spectres from Mass Effect.

I think (1) is more like what the GACA nations would agree to.

…it also conveniently jibes with all these interdimensional crime syndicates we’re developing. (As an aside, I think Reborn has an uptick in Vory activity following the implosion of Scandian power, just as the real-life Russian mafia became much more prominent following the collapse of communism.)


#18

I like option 1. I think it’ll force us to write something a little different, and make the stories more personable.


#19

Ok, let’s get on the same page about the Rangers/GAIA, as there are two options I think for them, because we’re dealing with a bunch of sovereign countries with wildly divergent attitudes towards individual rights and due process. What holds up in a Tasnican court (“You are innocent until proven beyond a reasonable doubt”) is different from a Scandian court (“You are guilty. The citizens will see the efficiency and rightness of the state’s justice.”)

Well, I actually think that the preponderance of nations in the Web are fairly liberal where it comes to civil liberties and etc. The Scandian position is pretty abberant, so if we’re building a law enforcement branch with the idea that there was some form of concensus among all parties, (and with the knowledge that Scande gets pretty messed up in White Cell and the Protectorate is no longer ascendant) I would think that GAIA’s bias would lean more toward a liberal/democratic sense for what “justice” means.

As I see it, there are two options:

The realistic option. The Rangers are more like interpol, and though they have inter dimensional (and, in the case of space rangers, interplanetary) jurisdiction, they must obey local laws and work with local law enforcement. (Of course, some hotshots may bend the rules now and then, but can get away with it if they’re a damned fine ranger that gets the bad guy.)
The Rangers are a law unto themselves, like the Spectres from Mass Effect.

I think (1) is more like what the GACA nations would agree to.

…it also conveniently jibes with all these interdimensional crime syndicates we’re developing. (As an aside, I think Reborn has an uptick in Vory activity following the implosion of Scandian power, just as the real-life Russian mafia became much more prominent following the collapse of communism.)

I feel like:

  1. GAIA (the terrestrial law enforcement arm) would adhere to option 1, by necessity, because they have to operate within planet-bound jurisdictions that clearly belong to sovereign GACA member states, whatever their mandate and however we decide they define “justice” in the regions they work.
  2. The Space Rangers, however, I think are/should be more like Mass Effect’s Spectres, especially if their mandate has anything to do with combatting piracy. Even though the nations of the Web have been planting their flags in unclaimed planets for decades now, space is still by and large a pretty lawless sphere.
  3. The colony worlds would be a pretty interesting and fun area to write about, where jurisdictions blur and it’s not clear whether GAIA or the Rangers have superior jurisdiction. Inter-agency rivalry? Tension between local colonial marshals and “the feds”? Good times!

#20

I was hoping to make it more blurry by having corps have for-profit police groups for the space colonies.