In the Beginning
Zechariah Huxley was the least likely alpha male progressing through the private education system. He was not athletic, wasn't involved in any of the sports programs, and wasn't even all that interested in girls and being popular, but somehow, he still was. ZEX was an outspoken progressive pacifist who was strongly opposed to the militarization of the police, inhumane border actions, and foreign adventurism. He was a leader in the Student Council, and inexplicably made things like the Science Club exciting.
The problem for ZEX was that the entire system wasn't made to advance humanity, or even something as small as the local school system, it was static. To the system, outliers were undesirable, and that meant those who excelled too much were just as bad as those who engaged in criminal behavior or lagged so far behind they damaged the aggregate scores of the school. He was politely rebuffed the first few times he hit this barrier, and more firmly the harder he pushed against it.
Psychotronics and Anthropotronics
ZEX decided that the problem was more than systematic, it was the people of the system who reinforced it, and refused to let it change, because change disrupts things. These administrators and local representatives and national organizations profited by refusing and fighting change. The answer to this was quite simple to him, he had to literally change minds, and not through simple charisma and persuasion, but through the application of technology.
Huxley entered Gagarin Orbital University, where he majored in applied arcanotechnology with an emphasis on psychotronic technologies and cognitive anthropotronics. This was a matter of concern to many of his associates, as Huxley immigrated to the Eurasian Alliance to enter their education system, rather than to follow a path of higher learning in his native Atlantic Federation. His reasons were simple, the AtFed universities largely followed a theoretical or rhetorical approach to cutting edge arcanotech, requiring years of undergrad work before even being allowed in the same facility as a teaching device. In contrast, Neo-Soviet schools threw first year students directly into hands on arcanotech work. Huxley wanted to be a pioneer in the field, not a student spending four years composing theses and working as an uncompensated intern for academcia or selling himself out to a private corp training facility.
The Nowak Incident
Huxley graduated from Gagarin Orbital in two years, a near unprecedented feat. After this, he continued his education at the Universitet Kulak Mozgov, near the Crimean Peninsula. This facility handled exotic tech, and had a regular influx of goods imported from the Silk Road, including Brotherhood tech and gear. While his peers were still in undergrad, writing papers about the works of dead arcanologists like Ashpool and Case, Huxley was designing tech and reverse engineering nearly alien devices.
The Nowak incident occurred after the independent freighter ISS Nowak de-orbited and crashed near the Moldovan border. Normally the wreck of a dilapidated independent junk guild ship would be of nothing more than local interest, higher ups in the Neo-Soviet intelligence community knew that the ship was a clandestine research and cargo ship operated by a shell corporation and that it likely belonged to the AtFed Black Science Division. This started a race to reach the hulk first, one the Neo-Soviets won handily, as the ship was in Eurasian territory.
The Battle of the ISS Nowak has been reported as a furious gun battle between survivors from the ship and ground level raiders looking to loot the wreckage, nothing more. This is a massively fabricated lie. There were no human survivors on the Nowak, just a handful of erupted parapsychics who were in full burn, completely out of control, and were the cause of the wreck. Neo-Soviet forces attempted to contain and suffered heavy loses. Additional forces advanced, including the Sevastopol Heavy Guard, elements of the Kremlin Battalion, an the widely feared Chernobyl Battalion were engaged. This escalation of force triggered a diplomatic incident as a pair of Atlantic Federation Reflex teams performed an orbital drop to the site with the intent of securing or destroying the data core of the Nowak. Both teams were quickly isolated and requested emergency reinforcements, triggering the activation of the Federation 1st Marine Striker Battalion as well as aerospace assets from orbit, and ships available in the area.
It was assumed by AtFed military planners that this show of aerospace force would cause the Neo-Soviets to take a knee and surrender the Nowak despite it being clearly in Eurasian territory. This was not the case, as the Neo-Soviets revealed their ace, the recently completed Drakonov anti-ship missile system. The twelve ton missiles had attributes in common with aerospace fighters, and over the course of the engagement, they fired nineteen of them. The Federation lost no ships, but two responding ships were scrapped after the event, and eleven others suffered damage ranging from cosmetic to crippling. The worst casualty of the event was the AFS Gascony, a medium aerospace carrier. It was the largest ship in the AtFed responder fleet, and suffered several hits, lost launch capability, and suffered serious casualties.
The ground situation worsened as the denizens of the Nowak managed to summon allies from the Silk Road, including Noddite and wastelanders with some 'interesting' weaponry. This was the turning point, as ZEX was present with the Sevastopol heavy guards, and was very close to the actual fighting, including seeing the rogue parapsychics dictating the pace of battle from within the hulk of the Nowak. ZEX had brought a psychotronic emitter, a functional mind scanner and potential mind control device. ZEX used it, fearing for the fate of humanity as the gathered forces were caught fighting along territorial alliances and not against the common threat of the rogue parapsychics. He did some dangerous and questionably things, the least of which was connecting the emitter console to the electronics system of a Chernobyl brigade support ship. It's power magnified by the carry-all ZEX was able to generate a emotional manipulation field large enough to overlap over half of the battlefield.
The resulting Nowak Incident saw the ground forces of the three formerly hostile factions ally with each other, and gather their collected might against the parapsychics. The bombardment lasted 90 seconds, a wave of Drakanov missiles, Federation naval artillery, and ground force indirect fire reduced the Nowak to shattered pieces, and then the surviving Federation Reflex team lead the charge taking the fight to the rogues. Backed by wastelander exotic weaponry, Neo-Soviet armor and determination, and the guidance of ZEX as the controlled, two of the three parapsychics were slain. The third managed to survive and to escape. The being managed to levitate and fled to a waiting Federation frigate, which boosted into orbit, out of the range and jurisdiction of the Alliance.
The Cost of Nowak
The first price Huxley faced was a long period of medical recuperation from injuries and radiation exposure. His hair fell out, and he was in a period of psychological trauma. As a lifelong pacifist, he had been abhorrent of violence, and while connected to the psycho emitter, he had been immersed in and fully aware of the emotional and psychic soup of adrenaline, fear, and other emotions of sentient beings involved in life and death struggle. It had contaminated him, corrupted his psyche, and caused him to erupt as a latent parapsychic himself, one with a strong affinity for technopathy and technomancy.
ZEX struggled after the Nowak incident, and was decorated by the Eurasian Premier, the EuroZone President, and the leaders of three wasteland countries that had been involved in the event in his role for preventing a category five dimensional fatigue event, stopping two rogue units, and ending the fighting between the rival factions. Without his intervention, most leaders knew that diplomatically actions would have to have reprisals and repercussions, which would include what would be tantamount to World War V.
After Huxley recovered, he left the Eurasian Alliance, but retained his citizenship. The repatriation process was difficult as there were serious concerns about his loyalties and lingering effects from the incident. Federation black ops were also concerned because Huxley very likely scanned the third escaping parapsychic and has classified level information from him. This said, they were not able to justify the effort to block him.
Huxley called in favors and leveraged his acumen in arcanotech to set up his own corporation, ZexTech. This company was built to produce and distribute psychotronic communication technology, anthropotronics peripheral devices, and backing a large number of dream tanks and research accelerators to farm out lots of his tech inspirations. This quickly grew into a major corp, on the verge of making the leap from regular corp to a megacorp, a dangerous period when such companies frequently fall prey to being devoured by the existing mega and hypercorps.
ZexTech and the Presidency
ZexTech survived and rose to megacorp level by consolidating daughter companies grown from Huxley's side projects including cutting edge energy interests, media interests, and the surprise private military contractor Alpha Complex. While interested eyes were following Huxley and his personal ventures, he had spun off L/AI personality clones and proxies carry out a massive covert military industrial build up, with Alpha Complex being a large shipyard, and a subsidiary producer of mecha and aerospace components, specializing in powerplants, energy weapons, and L/AI combat computers.
During this period, a span of just over a decade, Huxley consolidated his social influence, and started using anthropotronics to sway people to side with him, garnering him quiet support. This allowed him to get the critical control and votes he needed and managed to claw his way from obscurity to a chancellor in the Atlantic Federation, gaining a populist seat in the EuroZone. A term mediating disputes and bringing peace and stability to the region made him popular among the influential megacorps and the military, leaving both to profit without any sort of heavy handedness from his office. When after four years he made a move for the Presidency of the entire Atlantic Federation, he won handily.
Major Apocalypse and ZEX
Early in President Huxley's term he learned about the cognocracy that governed the Federation, and the various super intelligences that actually made the serious decisions. This was something he suspected and he managed quite well considering his proficiency with technomancy. The real shock came when Huxley discovered the truth about the Nowak and the rogue parapsychic. He was a Federation elite asset and while he had been building a corporation and a career, the rogue had returned to base, surrendered, and was reinstated to the Federation's Office of Clandestine Operations, more commonly known in inner circles as the Pit.
Major Apocalypse is a mandarin class parapsychic, and is technically in permanent burn, but this state is controlled through a combination of routine injections of parapsychic inhibitors, mood altering drugs, and sedatives. Even in this reduced state, Maj. Apocalypse is a powerful and dangerous agent, and one considered a barely controlled waiting liability to the Federation, and is being held in reserve until something horrible enough appears for him to be unleashed on. Huxley felt the buried fury, the psychic echoes of the men and women who died facing Apocalypse and his siblings. He decided it was his personal duty to see that the Major was destroyed and the programs that created him and the others were taken offline.
ZEX, Apocalypse, and the Secret Schism War
The Secret Schism War is a clandestine shadow war that existed between the executive branch of the Federation government, the Pit and the Office of Clandestine Operations, and the forces arrayed between the two factions. This war was by default carried out in extreme secrecy, with the OCO working to discredit and see Huxley removed from office or disgraced, jailed, or outright assassinated. They could not unleash their full arsenal, because doing so would reveal them. Likewise, Huxley and his allies worked to slash the funding, disband OCO friendly departments, and ferret out OCO moles through the executive.
One of the tools in the war was the deliberate unleashing of dimensional fatigue events and a tactic called zooterrorism, the manifestation or release of non-terrestrial lifeforms for the purpose of inflicting damage. This is a dangerous game as manifested organisms are uncontrolled, for plausible deniability, and turn on any lifeforms around them. This came close to tipping things in the favor of Huxley as some of the manifestations and incidents stressed Major Apocalypse and the rest of his Reflex Team to the limit, killing a number of them and injuring the Major more than once. This war came to a head with the release of a category 2 magnagog code-named Magnacorn. This beast manifested as a highly mobile thirty ton armored meta-mammal with high destructive power and rapid regeneration. Major Apocalypse suffered severe injury in the process of killing the rhino like beast, and spent an extended period in recovery.
President Huxley barely won an unprecedented second term, and was able to claim a number of victories against foreign aggression, internal dissent, and following the near complete wipe of Reflex Team K, major advances in the Schism War. While the economy of the Federation prospered during this time, the increase of incidents, reckless use of arcanotech, and a number of foreign incidents demonstrated the reduced capacity of the OCO and its Reflex Teams. This allowed some international terrorist factions to gain power, but without the aegis of the Federation, many international powers for law and order also rose to the challenge, such as the outward push from New Themyscira, the reinforcement and growth of Sigma Blue, and similar local level operations.
President Huxley made a visit to the classified Verhoeven Planetary Observatory, a deep system telescope designed for scientific purposes but more commonly used to track pan-solar ship traffic. This proved to be a setup and a repaired Major Apocalypse and a team of miscreants were waiting for Huxley and Navy 1 to arrive. What occurred is a matter of conjecture but Navy 1 was destroyed, and both of her escorts were severely damaged. Verhoeven was deorbited and crashed to the surface of the Moon. Major Apocalypse met Huxley with the intent to kill him in hand to hand combat, but the presence of the Mandarin level Major caused Huxley's own parapsychic powers to flare as well. Demonstrating technokinesis, paramagnetism, and technomancy, Huxley assembled a mecha sized suit around himself, made from the wreckage of the station and the ships, and fought the Major in hard vacuum.
The death of Major Apocalypse and the elimination of Reflex Team K struck the OCO a decisive defeat, and several deadman contingencies were activated, triggering a scorched earth scourging of the Federation Intelligence branch and the castigation of dozens of individuals within those organizations. The Executive was also weakened, but to a lesser extent, especially once Huxley returned from orbit, and finished his recuperation. He resigned from the presidency, claiming the attempt on his life left him unable to carry out his duties, and taking into account the death of the next two members of the government in line for the presidency, he was allowed to name one of the Federation zone chancellors to stand in his stead. Quite to everyone's surprise, he selected an AfroZone pro-peace pro-globalist chancellor to finish the last seven months of his last term.
The ZEX suit that Huxley assembled he took to Alpha Complex, so that it could reverse engineered and whatever secrets were cold welded into its frame could be discovered. Huxley found himself more comfortable inside the suit, and spent resting time inside the frame, and retreated from the public eye like Howard Hughes. Tensions remain as there are still elements of the Schism War active in the Federation, some want to restore the OCO to it's Major Apocalypse levels, and others who want to see the Executive brought back to its pro-military isolationist stance.
Huxley is a combination of political statesman, mad scientist, and traumatized parapsychic. He has a powerful megacorp at his beck and call, large amounts of money, loyal men, and connections across the solar system. He can as easily be a patron, supporting clandestine work, or a morally gray antagonist the PCs have to slowly hunt down.
Huxley is a globalist, and seeks friendly terms and eventual alliances between the Federation and its nearest rivals, the Pacific Rim Coalition and the Eurasian Alliance, and is actively working towards improving the relations between the Federation and the ACPS. He is likewise anti-arcanotech and anti-parapsychic, and only continues working with these tools because one is the best weapon to face tech gone wrong, and he's contaminated by the other.
Finally, Huxley is a God-Killer, the sort of character waiting in the wings for when something comes along that the existing response system isn't able to handle. He has since rebuilt ZEX, refining it past being made of junk and into a fully functional combat system. He has integrated many of the psychtronicweapons he created into the frame and uses it as a way to route and control a warzone, and moving everything under his command.
Author's Note: this was intended to be a much shorter submission and it grew in the telling.
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? Responses (1)-1
Glad this grew in the telling. Sweeping historical context of his rise to power and the surrounding pieces that come together defining your world. I am not a huge SF type dude but your writing makes it easy and the scope of ideas are super entertaining!! Great NPC!!!