One could argue the world in which Starseeking takes place is our own future. One could just as easily argue it’s an alternate timeline. Both are equally true.
The Republic of California was founded in 2051, born from the Second Civil War, a conflict which began in 2039 and would rage through the 40s. Debate still echoes as to whether the secession of California, and perhaps even the war itself, was a “long con” by certain world powers, or simply the culmination of generations of hostility – a nation divided against itself so many times that a fall was the only solution. Perhaps the answers will never be known. The war was bitter, and long, and when a resolution was finally reached those who fought it found the world around them was no longer as they remembered. A treaty was signed, and the United States became three separate nations – one of them California.
A war slows some technological developments. It advances others. Biometric engineering was one field in particular which found fertile ground on the fields of combat, and implant devices took off like wildfire. Robotics was another, and as peace flourished, firms which once built devices to aid in defense now created them for restaurants, manufacturing, law enforcement. A world began to rise from the ashes – one in which humanity was beholden to and inexorably intertwined with the machine.
As California found its footing as a nation, a massive reconstruction effort was launched, and from it, leaders would be forged. The corporations stepped in almost instantly. San Francisco, having taken on heavy damage both from the war and rising ocean levels, was to see the most dramatic change. A man-made plateau, filling in most of the central bay and colloquially dubbed “Upstairs,” laid the foundation for high-end real estate to flourish. The older neighborhoods, most of them in the Oakland/Richmond area and severely lacking in the funds and improvements allocated to their neighbors, became known simply as “The Basement.”
The fledgling nation, while progressive and ambitious, would come out of its infancy deeply and permanently flawed. The corporations were in charge now. And they quietly began to take hold and hold tight. For it would not be long before they owned everything, and everyone.
Celeste Sinclair is good at what she does, and she knows it. Growing up in a wealthy family meant that Celeste has pretty much always gotten what she wants–or at least, knows how to get it. As a result, she’s charming, but can also be self-absorbed and childish. For Celeste, working on Nebula means praise, recognition, and success. She’s not in it to help people, and she considers herself smart enough to see past unfounded rumors – like the one that whispers Nebula is a government-sanctioned mind-control device. In reality, she’s much more sheltered and naive than she realizes. Despite her intelligence and outward confidence, there’s a lot Celeste doesn’t know.
Keller Sinclair, Celeste’s husband, also knows how to charm his way anywhere. A successful PR chief for Minister Juna Harding, Keller has his eye on climbing the political ladder despite coming to the rather unpleasant realization that he’s no longer the 21-year-old wunderkind. He’s a little pudgier than he used to be. The new kids in the capitol building are beginning to outclass him. And Celeste, his wife, who once relied on him for everything, is rapidly advancing in her own career and spending more and more time away from home. What was once a world shared by both of them is now morphing into two separate universes spiraling away from each other and Keller, despite his charisma and thousand-watt smile, doesn’t know how to fix it.
Myra Bikram is Celeste’s best friend and partner in crime. When they’re not wandering the halls of Gromes gossiping their way to a meeting, or giggling through lunch, they’re out making trouble on the weekend at the hottest clubs they can get into. Although the two women share nearly everything with each other – much to the chagrin of Celeste’s husband Keller – their friendship has always been based firmly in good times, gossip, and cocktails. Perhaps there’s a part of Myra that has never really opened up to Celeste. Perhaps she has never felt completely comfortable. But who has time to think about it- Paul just came over and OH MY GOD did you hear what Brian said??
Samuel Gromes, CEO of bioengineering firm Gromes Enterprises, takes great pride in his company and the legacy left by his grandfather, its founder. He’s a quiet, intelligent man, whose calm demeanor often leads outsiders to assume, falsely, that he’s a pushover. In addition to a firey temper when provoked, Gromes also has an incredible passion for science and learning. Intrigued by the technological advances the Nebula Project could mean for the world at large, Gromes is eager to be a part of something he sees as the future. However, he has lingering doubts about its secretive sources of funding. Though he would never admit it to anyone, Gromes carries, unspoken, his worst fear – he has sold his company out to a group of backers whose intentions are anything but benevolent.
Noho (known to police records as Ignacio Hernandez) didn’t set out to lead an underground resistance movement, but what started as a ragged group of street kids staging peaceful protests has suddenly turned into a massive family who look to him for leadership. The system once worked for Noho, and his unwavering faith that it can be fixed with non-violent methods is beginning to put him at odds with his friends, particularly Gemini. As rumors grow of a large-scale conspiracy he finds himself faced with an increasingly frightened group of desperate, angry people, and a growing doubt that he can accomplish anything without resorting to all-out war.
James Park, alias Gemini, has been Noho’s friend since Polaris’s inception, but lately its peaceful stance has been rubbing him the wrong way. Gem’s had a tough life, and he’s used to fighting. Frustrated with what he perceives as Noho’s refusal to act, Gemini more and more often butts heads with his friend, and despite the longevity of their friendship a distance is growing between them. In Gemini’s mind, if Polaris wants to defeat the upper corporate echelon that holds them down, blood must be spilled – and despite Noho’s attempts at peace, some of it is going to be their own.
Val (Valerie Harris) has always drifted through life. A semester of film school until she couldn’t afford it. A fast-food job until she got replaced by an automated tablet. Living on the street for a while, she found a home in Polaris, a friend in Noho, and a partner in Gemini. The group is her life and it troubles her to see the unrest brewing; she’s constantly trying to smooth over the little squabbles that arise daily. She admires Noho’s commitment to non-violence but at her core she’s with Gemini. Something drastic has to happen, and soon, or the only family she’s ever known – and Val herself- may not survive.