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Raphael Cortes Background

Page history last edited by Michael 1 year, 5 months ago

back to the Index, or to Engineer Team E-4, or to Raphael Cortes


Early Life


    Born in Cuba in 1961, his prosperous family fled that same year -- their property was confiscated by the revolutionary government. They settled in Miami, where his father became politically influential. He and his family all became naturalized American citizens in 1966. He was raised as a Roman Catholic.


College Years


     Rafi was admitted to West Point, beginning in the fall of 1979 (as part of what would be the class of 1983). He followed the required coursework (heavy on sciences and civil engineering), with a "concentration" (sort of like a minor) in philosophy.

     There were three big military training episodes during Rafi's college career. Airborne or Ranger school were not available for cadets, though they were a common (becoming very common) option for newly-commissioned combat-arms officers.

  • Cadet basic training (first summer):  a lot like regular-old boot camp

  • Cadet field training (second summer):  advanced stuff from basic; plus:  patrolling, fundamentals of indirect fire (mortars, calling for arty), water confidence, big "FTX" 4 day field training exercise

  • Cadet leader development (third summer):  platoon operations focus (offence, defense, and movement to contact), lots of simulated missions; it's a "tactical problem-solving and leadership under stress" goal.


     In the Fall of 1982, both of his parents were killed during a shoot-out in Miami -- "caught in the crossfire" is the conventional statement of what occurred. Rafi blames the "criminal element" among the refugees of the Mariel boatlift for his parents' deaths.



It's up to Nathan whether or not his character's parents' deaths were entirely unintended by their killers.


      Then, in the Spring of 1983, he was injured in a serious automobile accident -- he was a passenger in a friend's car when it was struck by a truck. His friend (another cadet) was killed, as was the drunken truck driver; Rafi was in a hospital for a few months with spinal injuries.


Separation and Recruitment


     Once the military hospital decided that Rafi's injuries would prohibit him from serving in the Army, and would not improve with treatment, he was separated from the military, and his medical care ended. His fellow cadets had already graduated ... fortunately, the Morrow Project watches for military academy graduates to recruit.

      He was approached in late 1983 by recruiters from the Morrow Project. He put his affairs in order, and officially joined the Morrow Project in January of 1984, as a member of the team constructing the bunker for Engineer team E-4.


Bunker Construction Team


     The bunker at the Aiken cinder mine, in California's Mojave Desert, was under construction from January of 1984 to May of 1985 (in terms of activity on-site; planning had begun years earlier). Rafi, along with Porter Colton, Max Gornhoffer, and JR Riley, were assigned as engineering staff for five months at the start of construction, before they were sent to Project "field" training in June of 1984.


Just to emphasize:  the player-characters were "only" there for the first five months of construction, over a 16 month long construction project.


     At the end of May, 1984, tunneling into the cinder cone had been completed, but the interior was still a maze of rebar, temporary reinforcing, scaffolding, and dangling work lamps. His three team-mates were making arrangements to conceal or add "personal" stashes in the landscape near the bunker -- the security staff were skeptical but not entirely opposed to the idea.


"Nothing large, and you're not here to bury your pirate treasure for your enjoyment after a nuclear war.

Also, nothing that will draw the attention of the press, treasure hunters, or the government if it's found."




     The members of team E-4 began their Project "field" training in June of 1984, as part of training cohort 19. There were about 50 members of their training cohort -- a mix of Project trainees for all the Project's branches. All of the future members of team E-4 were part of this cohort.

     At the end of the training with cohort 19, the members of team E-4 spent another three months training for their Engineer specialty -- learning to operate and maintain the Overland Train and other large vehicles, for example. They built a Project training camp in northern Nevada, and constructed an "expedient steel bridge" about 30 meters long.


Keep in mind that the housing at the camp they built was all double-wide mobile homes -- not exactly the Ritz.


     After a week of rest, the team was brought to a Project hospital for a week of final tests, uncomfortable purgatives and flushings, and preparation for cryosleep. They were frozen over a couple of days in late July.

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