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Earthrise080806-01a

After more than a century of exhausting Earth's natural resources and exploiting its ecosystem, the planet's nations had virtually depleted its wealth. The citizens began to rise up against their corrupt governments in order to take survival into their own hands. Once influential shareholders within the corporate world could only watch helplessly as their power dissipated before their eyes, and the regimes that had kept them in business crumbled.

To maintain control, the major corporations were forced to unite into conglomerates that came to be known as the Complex Markets, economic behemoths so powerful they could dictate the flow of government itself. These commercial unions essentially became countries of their own, where the human rights and basic liberties of billions were decided in boardrooms rather than parliaments.

Born of this was a society that measured every individual by his contribution to these complex markets. Unions formed in the hope of forcing loyalty among the populace, although their own sets of rules reserved social benefits for only those citizens who showed the greatest compliance and loyalty. A massive struggle for dominance began, with each mega-corporation believing itself to be the last hope for the continuation of mankind. Foreseeing the impending destruction of the planet, the groups began to research ways of ensuring the survival of their respective followers so they could ultimately inherit the future.

The largest and most influential of the complex markets, the Technological Block was the first to anticipate the rising conflict. As the construction of several large scientific institutes and organizations began, a new Board of Ministers was appointed, known as The Eight. Although resources and funding were scarce, each foundation worked feverishly to develop the means to preserve exemplars of humanity. Not long after, spy reports indicated to all the major corporations that the others were also hard at work to find their own "safeguard methods".

Of the Technological Block's research foundations, the Continoma Project proved to be the most successful. Staffed with brilliant scientists researching revolutionary methods, its efforts led the invention of the Crysto-matrix, a system allowing the storage and reconstruction of the human consciousness. This enabled clones to achieve full memory recovery and brain synchronization.

So impressed were The Eight with this technology that they withdrew support from all other sponsored research, putting their full trust in Continoma. The leaders of the Technological Block were to be the first to be perpetuated in the Crysto-matrix, followed by the project's own personnel and several thousand of the most loyal and "ideal" citizens. The only people with any chance of survival, they were the selected elite, charged with creating a new beginning for human civilization after the impending cataclysm.

In an effort to sabotage the Continoma Project, the rival complex markets sponsored terrorist attacks. These both destroyed a substantial portion of the Crysto-matrix and killed many of the chosen before their conscious qualities had even been recorded. With only a few hundred citizens remaining in storage, the Technological Block faced the choice of abandoning the endeavor or to ensure perpetuation of the race by including some less promising specimens in the database. It the decision was made to create a second one that would hold unproven individuals meeting the minimum intellectual levels, but with questionable loyalty. The scheme was now tainted, with the hope for humanity's survival depending on the ability to control these less gifted and dedicated subjects in the future.

As the Third World War became a reality, The Eight completed the Continoma Project and stored the vital components to its success in a guarded underground complex built on a private Pacific island known as Enterra. Just as the enterprise was being sealed off from the rest of the planet, even this remote location fell under attack, and an unexpected experimental weapon was introduced that would change Earth's fate forever.

Little is known of this weapon as any information and rumors were sealed within the vault gates. The true measure of its aftermath would only be revealed centuries later, when the first of the pioneers would rise and emerge from the chamber to claim what was once theirs.[1]

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