Bourgatov Alliance, The

Bourgatov 4
Image from Steve Bowers
The densely populated world of Bourgatov, capital of the Bourgatov Alliance

The Bourgatov Alliance was a megacorporate house/empire/polity that reached its peak during the Integration. The roots of the Alliance were formed in the asteroid colony Bourgatow, back in the Old Solar System, settled in the 390's AT by a Russian-Taiwanese space mining consortium. During the chaos of the nanotech window it was used by a network of nanotech think-tanks as a remote research station.

Bourgatow survived the Technocalypse largely through local defencetech expertise and physical isolation: it was already in a high inclination orbit and the inhabitants used the old mining mass driver to push it farther from the Sun. For the next millennium the Bourgatow culture remained static, a small clannish group of superiors with their own culture, nanotech and data purity rituals and aging AI guardians.

During the Middle Federation era Bourgatow traders began to make a name for themselves by acting as intermediaries between the Federation and haloist cultures. In a relatively short span the trading companies grew into interplanetary concerns, investing in long-term terraforming and research. Over time Bourgatow changed from a minor habitat complex to the ascetic but powerful seat of finance.

Bourgatow culture was always based on the idea of long-term planning and investment. It was a "deep time" culture where individuals existed as part of the clan history, where extreme life extension, cryonic suspension and relativistic travel were regarded as reasonable. The goal was always to keep the clan safe and prosperous indefinitely.

During the 2000's AT the terraforming investments began to truly pay off, and the Bourgatows used their vast wealth to relocate their headquarters to the newly terraformed Theta Persei III, which they renamed Bourgatov. The system soon became a centre for interstellar transport and trade, growing rich and populous. Over the next 2000 years it became a popular transit point for Inner Sphere traffic. Ringing the system was a band of wormholes rivalling Fons Luminis and Merrion, and vast swarms of orbital habitats encircled the sun in the early stages of a Dyson Swarm. Here the transapient members of the Bourgatov clan were located.

Instead of claiming the world as their own polity, the clan sold shares or leased out nations for other interests, making it truly multicultural. The Bourgatov finance and trade empire owned or held shares in a sizable fraction of interstellar exploration in the Inner Sphere, dominating many transport and communications industries.

Politically Bourgatov, still owned and run by the Bourgatov clan transaps, carefully weathered all political upheavals. They aligned themselves with the Taurus Nexus as a balance between the NoCoZo and Conver Ambi. As the Nexus broke up the Bourgatovs refused to support any military solutions; had they been more aggressive it is likely that the First Consolidation War would have been far more deadly. Instead they absorbed a number of worlds into the Bourgatov Alliance while cleverly playing the NoCoZo, Conver Ambi, Metasoft and Dominion against each other. Studiously neutral in the Second Consolidation War the Alliance gained even more power and prestige, especially after the fall of Klarus.

During the Integration the Alliance was a major power, controlling only a handful of planets but with a total wealth nearly equal to the major empires. The diplomatic deals, trade and cultural exchanges made in the Bourgatov system were enormously influential. With wormhole links directly to all major worlds and many remote colonies, it was the point where all information quickly ended up.

The Alliance was strongly in favour of continued peace and cooperation, supporting the Ontology as it increased their reach and wealth tremendously. The leading strategists realised that this was compromising their neutrality relative to the Solar Dominion, but reasoned that the Dominion would not attack them. They were partially right: the Dominion had no intentions to attack the Bourgatov Alliance - but it would not allow it to support its enemies. Long before the war agents and memeticists were smuggled in-system, to prepare for the eventuality other sides planned to make use of the system. Others did the same.

When the Version War broke out in 4476, the many nations of Bourgatov found themselves on opposing sides. The Alliance declared itself aligned with the Ontology but not willing to take military action. However, as reports of atrocities began to pour in many local nations began to take sides - violently. Agents from different sides began to use them against each other and the System Peace Maintenance Organisation had to use increasing amounts of force against them. More advanced weapons were smuggled in to the proxy war.

In 4482 AT the first wormhole gate was destroyed by transapientech metric weapons, although it was not clear who was responsible at that time. Most historical analysts in the Current era suspect that this was the work of a Metasoft seraphim.

After that the situation quickly got out of hand as every conceivable weapon was used by different fractions to gain an upper hand in the strategically vital system; it was clear that whoever got hold of the system would control a key point in the war, and if one could not control it it was better that nobody did. As the advanced infrastructure broke down in the assaults of AI viruses, nanoswarms and economic chaos scenes similar to the horror of Conver Ky occurred. The biospheres were infiltrated with nanoweapons, forcing people into space. As wormholes were detonated unshielded and makeshift habitats were irradiated, and in their wake the weakened nanoimmune systems could not stop the nanoswarms. By 4490 AT the initial population of 34 billion had been reduced to a mere 490 million, many of them refugees in habitats orbiting the nearby gas giant Magnitogorsk.

The other Bourgatov Alliance worlds fared better, but were all absorbed by various empires. Of the Bourgatov clan, only a handful on relativistic journeyers survived. They later congregated on Corona during the ComEmp period where they remain in cryonic suspension to this day.

An interesting enigma is the fate of the asteroid Bourgatow; it was towed to Bourgatov in the 3700's AT, but later apparently moved to a secret location. In popular myth it has become a hidden treasure trove somewhere in interstellar space or a forgotten system, containing all the power and secrets of the legendary Bourgatov Alliance.

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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg
additional material by Steve Bowers
Initially published on 19 August 2008.