Allegiance: Neptune Foundation [Trinity Continuum]
Production update: Given it’s been a couple of years since this party got started, inevitably there’ll be some hiccups in the availability of originally-assigned authors. I smoothed some of those over this past week, but otherwise things seem to be going well. It’s really great to see this lumbering monstrosity moving forward, let me tell you. I’m sure I’ve said that a lot, and I’m sure I’ll be saying it more yet.
I was going to post Jack Norris’ Triton Foundation writeup as this week’s teaser, but I posted part of that section as a small teaser back in October. And we’ve been seeing a lot of Jack’s material lately (excellent though it is), which isn’t fair to everyone else. So let’s show you something related from Craig Oxbrow, which you haven’t seen before…
The Neptune Foundation
“There is always hope. We have to share it.” — Dr. Susan Rothstein, speaking at a press conference in 1968
The Neptune Foundation is a global charity dedicated to providing aid in emergency situations, working directly with those in need as well as sharing its support and expertise with fellow disaster relief organizations. It provides frontline medical care and logistical support, emergency rescue support and relief.
An independent offshoot of the Æon Society, the Foundation’s prominent international profile derives from its groups of specialists going into danger to rescue victims of disasters, broker peace in conflicts and deliver medical assistance in health crises.
The Neptune Foundation launched on July 18th 1968, the forty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the Æon Society. Before this, Æon responded to humanitarian crises on a case-by-case basis, while many of its prominent members focused more on scientific research and investigation.
Whitley Styles, then leader of the Æon Council which oversees all of the Society’s projects, and last active member of the original founders, first suggested a separate organisation dedicated to immediate response to developing crises a year earlier, following discussions with Æon founder Max Mercer during one of his infrequent visits to the Society’s home in Chicago.
Following months of preparation, recruiting and networking with other charitable and government bodies, Styles announced the formation of the Neptune Foundation and appointed its first director, Dr. Susan Rothstein, an American trauma surgeon formerly a volunteer and then a regional director of the Peace Corps. Years working on the frontline of conflicts around the world, and in an emergency room at home in New York, gave her firsthand knowledge of what aid could do in a crisis. She had previously approached the Æon Society for aid in funding free clinics in impoverished areas of American cities and worked to develop projects in this area, and Styles knew she would fight her corner and make the Foundation a success.
The Foundation quickly gained prominence for its variety of philanthropic projects, but became world famous with members helping people in need around the world, often in the most extreme and dangerous conditions. Just a few months after the Foundation launched, a team of Neptune engineers and firefighters worked with a drilling team to rescue fifteen workers trapped more than a mile underground in one of the world’s deepest mines following an earthquake.
Since then, members have delivered medical supplies to outbreak zones, rescued crews from burning oil platforms and passengers from sinking ships, negotiated the release of hostages during revolutions, provided logistical support to public works and defused explosives in war zones. By the time Dr. Rothstein retired in 1985, the Neptune Foundation had already become a household name.
The next director, Dr. Adane Tegene, was head of a Neptune clinic in his native Addis Ababa before injuries sustained destroying a landmine lead him to take a desk job with the Long Term Development division, taking over Rothstein’s role after four years in charge there. He stepped down in 2001, to be replaced by his former deputy Lauren Devereaux, previously director of a homeless charity in Montreal. Like her predecessor, she focuses mostly on the less glamorous projects, largely leaving First Response teams to work independently. Today, many hold the Neptune Foundation in high esteem, governments listen to its representatives, and thousands owe its members their lives.
Goals and Methods
The Neptune Foundation’s goal is simply to help, to save and improve lives in any and every way possible. It focuses on developing crises as well as ongoing situations, providing immediate assistance as well as long-term aid. Highly skilled experts in a variety of fields stand ready to mobilize immediately in an emergency.
Based in Chicago, the Foundation maintains centres across the world. Major facilities are based in Washington, New York, San Francisco, Austin, Toronto, Mexico City, Rio, London, Paris, Oslo, Tangiers, Cairo, Johannesburg, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Sydney. Smaller centers can also be found, charity shops and sponsored projects and permanent installations such as clinics, hospital wings, schools and education centers around the world.
Fundraising is a constant concern, as the Æon Society cannot afford to pay for every worthy project Neptune’s members would want to support, so the Foundation relies on donations from the public and funds provided by a chain of charity shops around the developed world. Foundation members have access to the best equipment available, including some advanced technologies beyond the budget of governmental emergency services, as well as rescue vehicles equipped for rapid mobilization and communication gear built for extreme conditions. Standard First Response field kit includes a ruggedized smartphone with GPS tracking, a first aid kit, and all-weather clothing with reinforced joints. All teams have access to off-road vehicles, and a variety of other craft depending on their location.
The Foundation provides access to private jets and expedites international border crossing, so First Response can send specialist help anywhere in the world within twenty-four hours. World leaders in a wide variety of fields will respond to the Foundation’s calls for aid, joining missions or providing support from home online, by telephone or video conference. Recently a group of Neptune engineers began limited field trials of telepresence systems developed from systems currently used in hospitals and in bomb disposal, allowing experts to take part in missions by remote control. Last year, a structural engineer in Chicago repaired a crane in Dallas using a telepresence arm carried by a rock climber hanging two hundred feet above the ground.
The Neptune Foundation seeks to recruit capable, determined people for each of its wings, with particular groups favouring particular strengths and aptitudes. It actively recruits in colleges and universities, draws from emergency services, and approaches individuals with particular skill sets that could prove vital in a crisis.
First Response is the most prominent wing of the Foundation, reacting to emergencies as they happen, always ready to go into action. It includes rescue workers for a wide variety of environments, medical personnel, essential service engineers and support staff such as pilots and interpreters. Every major Neptune facility has a First Response team, a number of skilled rescue and aid workers with access to the best equipment the Foundation and other Æon Society affiliates can provide, and can also call on individual members and contacts with a wide variety of specialist skills based around the world. Anyone could provide the skills or knowledge the Foundation needs. First Response teams save lives in danger around the world, from mountain rescue after avalanches to putting out wildfires, from a Neptune-trained astronaut based on the International Space Station recovering a damaged communication satellite to a team repairing a listing nuclear submarine in the Atlantic Ocean towards the end of the Cold War. This is the division most likely to include people identified as Talents by the Triton Foundation, many of whom are referred over from Triton as Neptune’s more direct approach to solving problems will suit them better.
Long Term Development focuses on infrastructure such as providing seeds for crops in regions affected by famine, constructing wells and irrigation after droughts, safe housing and facilities for medical care and education following natural disasters and conflicts, working with local groups and other aid organizations.
Logistical Support covers the day-to-day practicalities of maintaining the Foundation’s ongoing projects. It contains administrative staff, fundraisers and charity shop staff, volunteer coordinators and liaisons with official bodies. Many of these roles are filled by volunteers and interns.
The Foundation encourages voluntary work and community outreach, and many full-time staff also support other good causes, and receive support in return. You might find Neptune volunteers at soup kitchens, first aiding for charity sports events, or running with sponsorship in a marathon.
Example Characters: Search and rescue worker, paramedic, surgeon, firefighter, engineer, pilot, security advisor, interpreter, negotiator.
Allies and Enemies
The Foundation’s primary allies come from the parent Æon Society and other offshoots such as the Triton Foundation. Neptune and Triton both contain medical personnel, with Neptune typically more focused on immediate aid and Triton on long term treatment. For example, a Triton epidemiologist needing to enter a hot zone might call on Neptune support staff to get her there and back safely, while a Neptune paramedic might work to deliver the cure Triton’s scientists developed. There is some mostly good-natured rivalry between the Foundations in areas where they overlap. For example, a city with facilities for more than one group will often see a regular sporting contest between them, the largest being Chicago’s Æon Baseball League where teams from Neptune, Triton and half a dozen other branches compete every summer.
Other prominent allies include other global aid groups such as the Red Cross, Amnesty International, the World Health Organization and Médecins Sans Frontières. On a local level, people and groups around the world will help the Foundation out of gratitude for aid in the past or admiration of their goals. The Foundation can point teams to potential allies in a variety of places, and the Neptune name carries a lot of weight.
However, even the most well regarded organization can still make powerful enemies. Companies and criminal conspiracies who want to sell what the Foundation gives away, or local regimes profiting from crises, will not welcome their interference. For example, Neptune teams have been forced to flee attacks from a mercenary unit known as the Black Eagles in multiple conflict zones in recent years, and found themselves racing against sales teams from pharmaceutical companies to provide aid during outbreaks.
Members of the Neptune Foundation willingly risk their own lives to save others, going into danger and thinking their way out of it. They find solutions for a variety of pressing issues, work around dangerous hazards, and outwit, evade or parley with hostile forces to save lives. Series featuring the Foundation draw from the subgenre of adventure stories that focus on rescue and aid for those in need, ranging from Thunderbirds to M.A.S.H. to Global Frequency, as well as individual stories of missions to save lives such as Armageddon and Sunshine. “Rescue fiction” series focus on human ingenuity, courage and kindness in the face of adversity as their heroes save people in danger and prevent catastrophes, the qualities the Æon Society encourages.
Neptune members often encounter environmental hazards in their missions, from fire to flood, earthquake to epidemic, so the Storyteller can challenge them in any number of ways. These dangers can be extreme and wild — while a Long Term Development mission helps refugees from an earthquake, a First Response team might have to repair a hydroelectric dam cracked by the tremor and in danger of bursting and flooding the entire region.
Human factors often complicate the Foundation’s missions as well — members might be called on to evacuate civilians from a conflict zone, have to fend off armed looters during a mission to supply aid after a natural disaster, or deal with local corruption to secure aid deliveries. In a series featuring a mixed group of characters, the Neptune Foundation could take the lead in emergency response and bring together experts from various allegiances, or provide aid and support for a philanthropic action organized by another party. Likewise, Neptune members could call on or work with any other allegiance if a crisis demanded it.