- Southern England, late autumn, 2040
The library filled with a smell of freshly baked pastry as Clayburn’s maids scurried in to replace the now cold tea with some more refreshments. The cold autumn sun was now high in the sky, lighting up the dusty interior of the room through its massive windows, but there was no warmth in its rays. Only now did Strom realize that they’ve been talking for more than two hours already, but he still felt that something was missing from the story.
“Sir, a question if I may.”
Clayburn nodded without saying anything.
“Who was Joshua Seagrove?
When his question didn’t evoke a response, he continued.
“I’ve read his files. He was a corporate man. Good, but not brilliant. What made him so special to be included in the Task Force Seahawk?”
At the last sentence, Clayburn nodded again.
“Not what, Strom. Who.”
Major Joshua Seagrove was born in London on August 30, 2010, in a military family as an only child. His father John Seagrove, a Colonel in the British Army, retired after the massive military budget cuts of the late 2000s and joined the newly founded Clayburn Industries, starting as a civilian marketing expert – not from a desire to become a part of corporate life, but seeing this step as the best opportunity to provide for his family.
Too young to remember the free, unbroken world of the 1990s and 2000s, Joshua Seagrove lived his whole life in the shadow of Clayburn Industries, attending private corporate schools that emphasized multi-cultural environment and fostered the sense of pride in the corporation instead of his own nationality or religion.
Nationalism or religiosity is frowned upon in the corporate world, as is critical thinking, the sense of belonging to the corporation is the foundation of the entire corporate educational system. This often did not sit well with Joshua’s father, who valued honor and loyalty above all else and often publicly criticized a number of corporate policies. While this criticism was not enough to get him fired due to his exemplary results, John Seagrove quickly found his career to be on permanent hold. This embittered him even further but seeing no alternative to staying a corporate salaryman while the world outside around him crumbled, he turned to his family instead, imprinting his values and critical thinking onto Joshua.
The corporate environment left Joshua, like many others, without any sense of purpose beyond the life within the enclosed corporation compound near Manchester with the prospect of living his entire life working for one the most powerful figures, the enigmatic Andrew Clayburn.
That was why, when choosing his career path at the age of 17, he, influenced by his father’s education as well as his stories from the “good old days”, chose to become a security officer. This decision was also influenced by his innate need to protect the weak (as determined by the aptitude psychological evaluations) as well as the corporate propaganda, depicting the security forces as a glamorous military-style service.
Two years later, with the Bordeaux Treaty in effect, the Clayburn Industries security forces partially transformed into a private military army. With his excellent results in school, Joshua, now 19 years old and a security officer-in-training, was offered a military training and preparation course, destined to become an officer – refusing such an offer was, as he was made known very clearly, frowned upon in the corporate world and would have consequences for him and his family. Terrified of this prospect, Joshua saw no other options but to join.
His unusual mechanical and command aptitude, discovered during the early months, quickly landed him in the nascent corporate armored corps. The training took place far from the Manchester compound and from his family – for the first time in his life, Joshua truly abandoned the assigned flat he lived in and in Tidworth, Wiltshire, he found a new family, a band of brothers, young men and women like him he’d serve with.
The Clayburn armored forces were located in a former British Army military installation. By 2030, Clayburn Industries was practically buying military units wholesale with entire armored brigades both in Britain and across the Channel joining, exchanging the service to the countries that discarded them for large corporate paychecks. To command these forces, a capable, but most importantly loyal cadre of officers was required and that’s where Joshua and his peers came in.
By the age of 21, Joshua was commanding a platoon of Abrams tanks, salvaged from the abandoned American military bases all over Europe and the Middle East or purchased from third parties during the years of efforts to amass as much military power and as many assets as possible. While maintenance-costly, the reliable Abrams tanks became, along with the Leopard 2 variants, the backbone of the Clayburn armored might.
During the years that followed, Joshua Seagrove rose through the ranks. His superiors cited him several times as a courageous soldier if sometimes a bit reluctant to fully accept the corporate narrative of various events where Clayburn Industries was involved. He had been issued a formal warning several times for accessing unapproved media, most notably several pirate web sites that sprung up within the Clayburn intranet after the Great Internet Collapse of 2031.
Between 2031 and 2038, Joshua Seagrove participated in several small-scale counter-insurgency operations, including a series of raids against nationalists in Britain. Thought to have received only verbal support from the rest of the world and considered a mere nuisance, the separatists turned out to be more than what the Clayburn security forces could handle.
Instead of running into a rabble armed with small arms, the light Clayburn infantry clashed with well-trained troops armed with cutting-edge weaponry that included several armored vehicles, believed to have been provided by a rival corporation. The planned police action escalated into a full-scale battle and only the arrival of Seagrove’s tank platoon turned the tide, but not before the Clayburn forces taking massive casualties. For his role in the battle, Joshua Seagrove was awarded a First Class Commendation. Apart from a significant bonus, invited to spend an hour with the “old man”, Andrew Clayburn, an event that was widely used by the Clayburn News Network for propaganda purposes and led to several embarrassing situations as Seagrove’s “relation” to Clayburn turned into a running joke in his unit with his friends frequently mockingly asking for favors, since he knew the “old man”.
However, where his career was a success, Joshua Seagrove’s relationship with his family became strained. Over the years, his father turned into a staunch and vocal Clayburn opponent, frequently arguing with his son over the corporate way of life that, while stable, was so much different from the free world John Seagrove had known. Their relationship suffered even further when his father had been briefly arrested in 2038 for being a part of an anti-Clayburn protest and it was only Joshua’s influence and exemplary record that kept him away from a detention cell.
He soon learned that in the corporate world, the sins of the father did pass onto the son – his frequent “random” evaluations and the non-essential tasks he had started to receive instead of his previous duties attested to that. It came therefore as a surprise to him and his family both that he was put in command of a large portion of Task Force Seahawk, an expeditionary unit assembled with the purpose of pacifying the Balkans.
Joshua Seagrove is highly intelligent, a capable commander with a natural aptitude towards both engineering and leadership, making him uniquely qualified to command an armored unit. He has an optimistic, outgoing personality and loves to joke with his peers and troopers under his command. When others panic or succumb to despair, Joshua’s positive outlook often saves the day. Joshua Seagrove also has a deep-rooted sense of honor, imparted by his father.
Despite his intelligence, the years of corporate education left him susceptible to corporate propaganda. Joshua Seagrove sees the corporations as the saviors of mankind, the next evolution over national states and federations. While able to think critically and sometimes questioning the official corporate doctrine, he believes that to a large degree, corporate actions and the loss of freedom for a majority of corporate subjects ultimately improved their lives due to the collapse of the outside world. For him, the loss of the freedom of speech and the freedom of assembly is an acceptable price to pay for corporate resources and protection. He considers dissent to be dangerous, an opinion somewhat mitigated by the discussions with his father, but ultimately prevalent. However, for him, there are lines that nobody should cross – lines that were crossed when the order was given to slaughter civilians at the end of the Balkan Intervention. With a heavy heart, Joshua Seagrove accepted the rebellion, hoping his family would be left out of the worst should he fail. This belief reflects a certain degree of his naivety as well as the downside of his optimism – a penchant for self-delusion.
- Defensive (prefers to meet the enemy on his own turf)
- Adaptive Tactics (instead of stubborn, static defense, he prefers mobility and flanking maneuvers)
- Long-range (prefers long-range engagements to short-range firefights)
- Natural Leader (when in charge, his troops take him as “one of them” and trust him implicitly)
Joshua Seagrove will return in the Storyline Campaign Episode 2, launching in the near future!