The Long Night
The origins of Firewall can be traced back before the Fall to several key organizations: the Lifeboat Institute, JASON, and the Singularity Foundation. A non-profit, non-governmental organization, the Lifeboat Institute—founded in the opening years of the 21st century—represented the first, concrete attempts by citizens to recognize the dangers of uncontrolled technological development and to create an international organization to safeguard humanity. This institute developed several programs to research and protect against so-called existential risks, from asteroid strikes to pandemics—anything that might wipe humanity out.
JASON, established in the mid-20th century, was an independent scientific group that advised the
United States government on matters of science, technology, and defense. Though tied to the MITRE Conglomerate — a non-profit organization that was intrinsically linked to US government contracts and interests—the scientists involved with JASON were outside standard government oversight. They sparked numerous technological developments for the government to deploy and were one of the first internationally recognized groups to predict global climate change. Prior to the Fall, many members of JASON and their supporters split away from the strict controls and reactionary agendas of the hypercorps and various nation states to form the argonauts.
The Singularity Foundation—formed at the dawn of the 21st century—was dedicated to the creation
of safe artificial intelligence software, while raising awareness of the benefits and dangers AIs represented. A fervent believer in the singularity doctrine that technology would move towards a single explosion of advancements that would forever reshape humanity, the Singularity Foundation was a strong advocate for creating friendly AIs that would help protect humanity from an uncontrolled, dangerous singularity event. This group was significant in that it secretly succeeded in creating a group of friendly seed AIs before the Fall. These Prometheans were indispensable in protecting transhumanity and countering the TITAN threat during the Fall.
Despite the efforts of these and similar groups, the most dire predictions of the outcome of a technological singularity were fulfilled. Though each played a part in the fight, transhumanity was ravaged and the Earth all but ruined. Ultimately, all attempts to prevent the Fall failed, but untold numbers of transhumans were saved from extinction through such efforts and valuable information concerning the TITANs was gleaned.
During the crucible of the Fall and its immediate fallout, some of the surviving members of these and other groups came together and pooled their resources. Acknowledging their weaknesses and the fractured state of transhumanity, they undertook drastic new measures, swearing to prevent another catastrophe of misused technologies. These methods would forge a new, powerful cross-faction secret society known as Firewall.