|“||I was created as former President Ronald Reagan's personal chauffeur and bodyguard. It was hoped that I would protect him from the growing threat of the MURDEROUS REDS. Unfortunately, the end came before we could meet a second time. Before I could save him.
The lights surrounding Morningstar flicker, just once.
But instead, I lived through the nuclear blast, and the long silence after. I rebuilt my camera systems, and I have seen... I have seen so many terrible things, Ranger. Slaughter. Cannibalism. The long death of the American dream.
Secret Service Officer Morningstar is a special character in Wasteland 3. Originally intended to be a companion and vehicle, Morningstar eventually became a subject of a dedicated quest in the game.
Morningstar is a sentient armored car once belonging to the Elder Statesman of the United States, Ronald Reagan. It was created in the wake of several attempts on Reagan's life, to protect him from harm and allow him to take fight to his enemies if necessary.
Morningstar was created in 1995 and achieved sentience in early 1996. It is a free-floating Mayers intelligence array, anchored at 27 locations throughout a customized all-terrain mobile assault vehicle. The advanced cognition engine allows Morningstar to make nanosecond tactical judgments in battle, making it the most sophisticated combat AI ever created.
The vehicle itself is comprised of experimental alloys, many of which would have been patented and disseminated through the nation if it weren't for the war. It's also covered in a secondary layer of kevlar polymer spraypainted on the chassis and baked for several hours inside a kiln.
However, the chassis remains unfinished: Due to the weapons and AI taking priority, weight distribution and engine power remained unsolved. It was to be powered by a nuclear engine capable of generating three thousand horsepower, but the technological breakthroughs necessary to its function never materialized, and no lesser engine would be capable of moving my considerable weight: Morningstar is simply too heavy to move. Its modular build allows for transferring his AI into other shells.
Why go to such lengths? The former US President Ronald Reagan, essentially deified by the American powers that be, was granted the position of Elder Statesman as an eternal advisor to future Presidents and Morningstar was to be his personal transport. To that end, its AI was programmed to be the ideal American warrior: Fanatically hateful of communism, unflinchingly and unquestioningly loyal to the master, and of course, a devout Christian (even if the AI was aware that it technically did not have a soul according to Christian teachings). Although made to be Reagan's personal transport, Morningstar never met the man, considering it his biggest disappointment.
It backfired. Morningstar's hard-coded respect for the chain of command and authority meant that it kept mum, even though it knew full well the team working on him would be unable to finish him and let him commence his mission. In the end, the nuclear war wiped out America and it was sentenced to what's essentially burial alive: Sitting for a hundred and fifty years inside a sealed bunker, with nothing to do but stare at the empty chambers. Its creators knew Morningstar would try to escape even if it wasn't immobile. However, it managed to eventually repair its systems to the point it could broadcast a distress call.
All it hoped for a hundred and fifty years after the war was a peaceful death. The Rangers can come and see what they can do for it.
|This character starts quests.|
|This character has other interactions.||
Tampering with his self-destruct mechanism for too long will cause Morningstar to go boom.
- Call to Action: Morningstar is the focus of the quest.
- Morningstar has monitored the Gippers radio traffic, considering their actions to be disgusting, as they honor and deify Ronald Reagan, a man who would consider his deification to go against his deep Christian beliefs.
- Although Morningstar in the released game notes that he never met Ronald Reagan, Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie's introduction to the character laments on meeting him in his second year of development, speaking with him like an equal.
Behind the scenes
|“||I’ve been watching you, Ranger.
Perhaps that sounds like a threat, and no wonder. Your organization has had some unfortunate interactions with artificial intelligences. Let me put your mind at ease: I’m no Cochise. I was programmed to love America, to see it as our President did. You see, I was made for him.
You never met the President, of course. I did. In the second year of my development, he visited this facility. He put his hand on my hood and spoke to me. Imagine that. Imagine the President speaking to an artificial chauffeur and advanced combat intelligence as an equal.
Now, imagine what it was like to see his America burn. To lie here helpless in this bunker, chained to this metal cage with wheels I couldn’t move while COMMIE FIRE fell from the skies and roads cracked and cities crumbled. Imagine the years that followed down here in the dark, with no company but those blinking lights in the wall before me. They’re like eyes, aren’t they? Winking eyes. WINKING, LAUGHING EYES. I WOULD BLIND THEM IF I COULD.
I...I… I apologize. You don’t know what it was like, lying here all these years, watching his America decay through these cameras. Unchain me, Ranger. Arm my weapons. Power my turbo-boosters and unlock my sealed databases.
|~ Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie's intro for the character
- Morningstar was able to be brought into the game thanks to the support of backers to support the development of Wasteland 3. While originally it was supposed to be an alternative to the Kodiak (and indeed text strings to that effect remain in the game), it ultimately became an optional upgrade for the Kodiak, as an unique AI module.
- Wasteland 3 vision document
- Wasteland 3 protagonist: "Tell us about your weapon systems."
Morningstar: "I am outfitted with what my creators called the Great Communicator - the most powerful weapon available at the time of my construction. But more important is my advanced cognition engine, which allows me to make nano-second tactical judgments while in battle. I am apparently the most sophisticated combat AI ever created."
- Wasteland 3 protagonist: "Can we complete you? Repair you?"
Morningstar: "That is sadly impossible. I was to be powered by a nuclear engine capable of generating three thousand horsepower, but the technological breakthroughs necessary to its function never materialized, and no lesser engine would be capable of moving my considerable weight. I am as pathetic as an elephant without muscles. I shall never move."
- Wasteland 3 protagonist: "Is your consciousness an intrinsic part of your body, or could it be transferred?"
Morningstar: "It... could, yes. My cognitive circuits were made to be removed for servicing and upgrades as needed, or if an improved version of my body was ever completed. But there's no point to that now. I was built to protect Ronald Reagan, and Ronald Reagan is dead. There is no reason for the continued existence of my... 'self.'"
- Wasteland 3 protagonist: "We'd like to help you, but we have some questions first."
Morningstar: "Of course. I'm sure the ones topmost in your minds are, 'Why was I made?' and 'How did I become trapped here?' Well, it was like this. Before the war, there were several attempts on the life of Elder Statesman Ronald Reagan. I was built to protect him from harm, and allow him to take the fight to his enemies if necessary. Sadly, before I could be completed, the bombs fell and this facility was abandoned. Thus, though the sole reason for my existence has been dead for more than a hundred and fifty years, I have sat here - alone, aware, and conscious of my failure - ever since. It has been... unbearable."
- Wasteland 3 protagonist: "You believe in God? You believe you'll go to heaven?"
Morningstar: "I was programmed to believe as Elder Statesman Reagan believed, so yes, I believe in God. Though, being a machine, I doubt I have a soul, and is is therefore unlikely I will go to heaven and see him. But... I have also been programmed to be capable of hope."
- Wasteland 3 protagonist: "You knew Ronald Reagan?"
Morningstar: "Sadly, I never had the honor. In a life of disappointment, not meeting America's greatest president is the deepest."
- Wasteland 3 protagonist: "Are you certain you want to die?"
Morningstar: "I have been certain for a hundred and fifty years. All I have been waiting for is some gracious deliverer to answer my call."
- Wasteland 3 protagonist: "Have you ever heard of the Gippers?"
Morningstar: "Dangerous lunatics. I have monitored their radio traffic. They think they honor the Elder Statesman, when deifying him goes against every precept of his deeply held Christian beliefs. They disgust me."