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Nolan's Story // Project Legacy

Foreword

Nolan's Story along with other stories archived under Project Legacy scripts were originally for use in the Western Visual Novel, Project Legacy. Since the game's development was halted, the echoes of what might have been live on here.


Nolan Everett was born to Steve and Emma Everett in Portland, Maine. His parents worked at the Portland Shipyards facility, one of several starship manufacturing plants which had taken over old port buildings now defunct from the dying off of maritime activities worldwide. They both worked intense shifts at the plant, so once Emma was off maternity leave, Nolan never got many chances to spend time with both of his parents at once. They still managed to provide for him quite well, so his childhood was not exactly a sad one; but there were times when he wished the three of them could spend time together. His parents would have liked to be there for him more often themselves, but their work was vital to the North American Space Expansion program (NASE for short, a nod to a previous space program) and though they took what time off they could, Nolan was for the most part only being raised by one parent at a time.

Most other aspects of his childhood, however, were fairly normal considering his status as a child of two upper-middle class citizens: he went to a well-funded public school, got pretty good grades, played the hell out of all the sports. As he grew, the possibilities available to him showed themselves to be quite vast, but the one thing that really grabbed his attention was the same thing which kept his parents busy so many hours of the day— space. Most of Nolan's free time was spent learning about all the stuff that wasn't in the history books; he read up on the constantly advancing progress of space faring technology, he pored over declassified mission reports to far-off galaxies, and although a lot of it went over his head, he never lost interest in the vastness out there that seemed to be just waiting for him to reach out and touch the stars. None of his friends at school seemed to share the same kind of ambition for any subject, so while he usually got picked early during team sports, he never really found himself a part of any particular clique.

Just as Nolan finished elementary school, his mother received a promotion: her skills as a systems analyst were in greater demand than ever before with the constant advances in technology, and she was offered an overseer position at a government testing shipyard in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Though Steve could not be guaranteed a position at this new facility, Emma's new wages would be more than enough to cover expenses while her husband got re-situated. Some concern was brought up about bringing upheaval into young Nolan's life at such a critical time in his development, but when asked about it himself, Nolan expressed excitement about meeting and making new friends, about having a new town to explore and learn about. He never voiced his own concerns about leaving his old friends behind, but seeing as how he'd never forged any true friendships like he always saw in the movies, he didn't think it was worth bringing up. Over the course of the summer, they shipped all of their important belongings south, and they found themselves settling into an interesting new way of life.

Emma finally had regular hours, though they were still quite long; still, she managed to spend at least a good half hour with the family in the morning before she hustled out the door. Steve wasn't able to find work on another manufacturing crew, as his kind of skills were much more common, but he eventually landed a part-time job at a garage, helping to service older cars which still used outdated materials like metal and fossil fuels. It wasn't ideal, but it was better than nothing, and it meant he finally got to spend some quality time with his son. Nolan, however, was of an entirely different mindset. High school opened the floodgates of his mind, metaphorically speaking; he was able to learn much more about the current state of space-faring technology, and teachers encouraged him to explore certain post-secondary programs which would allow him to make his life's dream come true. He spent a lot of time after school reading up on his options, researching what kinds of career paths would allow him to step foot among the stars; consequently, he spent less and less time at home, and the fact that his parents were now much more physically and emotionally available to him diminished in significance.

One day after school, when Nolan was sixteen years old, this situation reached a peak. Steve was growing concerned about how Nolan was doing in school: his grades weren't suffering, but when he came home he never wanted to talk about how his day had gone, or about any of his friends, or anything. Steve confronted his son about the issue, and though Nolan was not generally one for rash words, he stared down his father and told him that the time to be interested in what he was doing was when he was six, not sixteen. Steve sat there for a moment, then asked very calmly if Nolan understood just how much had been sacrificed so that he could go to a school in a nice neighbourhood and not have to worry about whether or not the family was going to be able to make ends meet. After another long moment, Nolan said that he understood that his parents had done everything they could to give him the best opportunities in life, and that he did appreciate it. He turned away at that point, and added that the simple fact remained; for all their effort in providing for him, they'd pretty much missed the boat on really being there for him. No more words were said between Steve and Nolan for another week, but eventually Steve tentatively tried to get Nolan to open up again, and though it felt a bit forced, Nolan went along with it, because he could appreciate the fact that his father was at least trying, and better late than never.

During the course of his senior year of high school, Nolan got lucky in love; he met a young woman named Wendy Andrews who had moved to the city under very similar circumstances as Nolan's family. At first she was just an unfamiliar face in a couple of his classes, but Nolan found something about her that was attractive in a way he'd never experienced before. As he got to know her through the course of the year, he found her to be the most intelligent girl he'd ever met, or at least the only girl he'd ever managed to realize was more than just a pretty face. The two slowly grew closer, telling each other about their past, their thoughts and opinions about current events, and eventually the relationship blossomed into more than just friendship. Like a cheesy romance straight out of popular media, Nolan and Wendy fell in love. Wendy was actually the first person Nolan told about his plan for what he would do once he graduated high school. Wendy worried about what his parents would think about it, and it was only on her insistence that Nolan actually informed them as to what he was going to do for the next ten years of his life.

For years, Nolan had been researching what would be the fast track into space, but very few of the paths available to him were very appealing. The only reasonably quick way for him was very difficult, but should he succeed, he would likely be posted on one of the North American military's top of the line starships, and sent on patrol all over the universe: therefore, he had decided that he would enroll in The Academy, as it was known. The Academy was the top military officer training facility in the United States, and if he studied hard and showed himself to have the right character for the job, he might even be assigned as a captain less than a year after graduation. When he told his parents, they were understandably somewhat distraught. The thought of their son in the military was not one they had really considered, and they worried (as all parents would) about just how safe he would be out there. Nolan patiently explained to them that he was dead set on going into space, and although they could not help but be anxious about this choice, they could see just how much this meant to him, and if his grades were any indication, he actually had a good shot at this.

Nolan applied for enrollment at The Academy as soon as his final high school class ended, and the reply was not overly long in coming; a week later he had been accepted into the prestigious Star Command program, and so the few months of summer he'd normally spend however he damn well pleased were suddenly being filled with packing and goodbyes and all sorts of preparations he couldn't have imagined until now. Despite all this, there were really only two things on his mind: the excitement of finally being literally on his way up, and his relationship with Wendy. For a solid month, after all the foreseeable preparations had been made, the two just spent time together, talking about what the future held for them. Wendy's parents ran a shop in the city, so she wasn't likely to be moving away any time soon. Weighing all the pros and cons of a long-distance relationship, Nolan wasn't sure if there was much good that could come of such a thing, but when he asked Wendy about it directly, she told him with a soft smile that she was willing to wait for him to come back, willing to wait as long as it took. The ensuing romanticism was [REDACTED] until it was time for Nolan to leave for The Academy.

Nolan spent four years training at The Academy, with two month long breaks each year for winter and summer holidays. These breaks, precious few and much too short to be satisfying, were mostly spent back home with Wendy in Pittsburgh; the rest of the year was non-stop studying and training at the main facility in Philadelphia. The subjects and regimens were varied and thorough, all designed to put these bright young men and women through the wringer, and once the weak got weeded out, the rest could then be groomed for active duty. Among other things, Nolan learned about navigation systems, small and large craft piloting, sociology and psychology, military history, ship safety drills, and much more. He was trained in the command of crews varying in size from a half dozen to almost two hundred; he was strengthened through a fitness regimen and physical development programs to make sure he was fit as could be; he was briefed on hypothetical first contact protocols; in those four years, Nolan was shaped into the kind of captain that America could be proud of.

Graduating near the top of his class, Nolan was granted an almost immediate tour of duty on the U.S.S. Incontrovertible for a full year. The Board of Admirals gave him enough time to go home and celebrate with his family and, more importantly, Wendy, before he had to ship off to the far reaches of known space; there was a quaint little celebration in honour of the big important captain about to make his name in history, and some fond memories were made that night. Steve and Nolan had a real heart to heart the day before he shipped off once more, and some closure was finally had on the secret scars the father and son had borne for the last several years. With that taken care of, Nolan was gone, patrolling a galaxy most people had never heard of, and escorting freight ships carrying vital resources back to Earth to help with the ever-expanding space race. While Nolan was finally out living the dream, he came to a realization a couple months into his tour: space is just another place. There's a lot of it, and lots that still hasn't been discovered, but… it's lonely out there, even with a large crew following your every command. He had quite a while to think about this, and when he came home from his first tour, he went straight to the Andrews' shop (Wendy was indeed helping to run it now), went down on one knee and asked for Wendy's hand in marriage. She said yes, of course, but was still surprised about it afterward, so Nolan explained to her how he'd come to the realization that he could sail the stars until they all went dark and still not grow tired of it, but he'd rather spend a lifetime standing next to the brightest star in his life. [REDACTED]

With the American military's tour rotation set up as a one year sortie followed by a year's shore leave, Nolan and Wendy slipped into an unorthodox familial situation. During his first year of leave, he conceived a child with Wendy, and the child was born three months before he had to ship out again. This would continue for year after year, with Nolan not even being in contact with his new family for long stretches of time, and then suddenly a whole year for him to spend time with his new son, Simon. The situation echoed that of his own father's in the past, and Nolan gained a bit of insight into Steve's mind during these years; however, while Nolan was home, he was completely devoted to Simon, as he wanted to make sure that as long as it was physically possible for him to be there for his son, he would be. It almost seemed an idyllic life, shunting about the cosmos and then returning home to his cozy little family; but before it could become anything more than just a routine, things took a turn for the worse— The War started.

At first it wasn't too big of a deal, since the United States were not part of the initial hostilities, and Nolan was in the middle of an off-duty period anyway. A few months in, that changed: the call went out for all officers to stand ready, and Nolan was put into service on a newer and much larger ship— the U.S.S. Ticonderoga— with a less experienced crew than he was used to… and he almost never went off-duty after that for the entire duration of the war, aside from a month's rest here and there, wherever the military could afford to let him take one. For several years, Nolan did nothing but show a brave front for other countries, trying to get his new crew up to speed and trying to keep in contact with his family whenever it was safe to do so. He forged a few new friendships through these trying times, some of which (like Leon) became family friends.

Ten years into the war, everything escalated. Just about every country in the world was fighting now, and sometimes there was confusion as to who was fighting who. One of the defining moments of the war came when Nolan's current orders were to patrol around a small cluster of warring countries where a major ship from another major world superpower had been recently sighted in the area. While they were in the middle of crossing airspace from one of these small countries to another, they suddenly received orders to fall back. Upon inquiring as to the reason for these orders, Nolan was informed that a nuclear weapon had been launched from somewhere nearby, and was about to impact on the capital of the country they were currently crossing into. Nolan pulled up a view of the city ahead on the main screen, and estimated by the size of it that there must be several million people living in or around it. His thoughts a blur, he opened up the comms to the entire ship, and warned everyone to prepare for a collision with a nuclear weapon. His helmsman looked at Nolan as if he'd just grown wings and a tail. He reminded Nolan that they had just received orders to pull out: Nolan reminded the helmsman that there were millions of people that were going to die if drastic measures were not taken. The helmsman argued that this particular country was currently opposed to the alliance the United States were a part of: Nolan in turn argued that if the helmsman wasn't willing to save the lives of innocents just because they happened to be on the wrong side at the wrong time, then he could damn well get off the bridge and let someone more human take his place.

No further disagreements were voiced, and Nolan directed his ship to physically intercept the nuclear weapon currently only minutes away from its destination. The ship and its interior were, like all modern spacecraft, impervious to the radiation even the brute force of the actual explosion that would result from such a collision, but insulating an entire ship from an EMP shock wave is not something which has been perfected even to this day, so when the Ticonderoga intercepted the missile (thankfully several miles from dense habitation by now) the force of the blast knocked the ship almost straight down, and knocked out most of the critical ship systems including those governing the engines. They still managed to use their vernier thrusters to keep from crashing headlong into the ground, but there was no way they were going to get the ship going again without major repairs, or at least not until they could get the full computer system running again: on top of that, the nuclear fallout from the weapon and the threat of unknown enemies in hostile territory meant that the crew essentially had to batten down the hatches and hope for the best.

A few days later, just as morale was starting to dip, someone knocked on the airlock doors, so they cycled whoever it was inside, and found that the cavalry was here, not only to jump start their ship but also to help clean up the radiation from the atmosphere all around. Everyone was happy, everyone was going home, they had all tested 99.9% free of radiation poisoning, and just as they got back, the admiralty clapped cuffs on Nolan and sequestered him for a court marshal. The crew was outraged, and the media, which had already been telling crazy tales about this American ship which had gone out of its way to save an enemy city full of civilians from being nuked, suddenly had a much more interesting story on their hands: the man who had decided to save millions of lives was now being court marshaled for putting the property of the U.S. Military into danger and disregarding orders. Nolan did not step foot on a spaceship again for the rest of the war, as hearings went on and philosophical debates raged. The shame of the media frenzy, added to the little-known fact that some adultery had taken place somewhere behind the scenes, caused Wendy to take her life. Simon and Nolan were both devastated by this, but life was moving too fast to let them stop and grieve. The war was coming to a close, Simon was busy with high school, and all of a sudden, with almost no warning, peace came to the world just like that.

By the time the Laurete Agreement was being signed, Nolan had already been dishonourably discharged, yet he was still invited to the grand signing by just about every other international presence in attendance. The world had watched as he was stripped of his rank and his dignity: now they watched as it was returned to him, albeit in a way few could have expected. The global community considered Nolan a true hero, perhaps one of the only ones to have surfaced in the entire fifteen years which had just come to a close. Thus they give him a medal, honorary citizenship in thirty countries across the world, and an old warship which one of the other major world powers could no longer find a use for in its modern fleet. They named him Privateer for a new age, and asked that he do as he see fit with the freedom of the open skies. With tears in his eyes but his voice unbroken, Nolan promised the world he would do just that.

Project Legacy

- Written by TheAngryBeard, Mid 2012.


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