|An Independent in 2000|
|Science & Technology|
PORTAL PAGE FOR An Independent in 2000
Point of Divergence 1963: An Young Boy is found in
By his senior year Edwards had constructed a combined cycle jet engine capable of transitioning from subsonic to hypersonic flight. That was when disaster struck. Edwards' mother died in December of that year. After returning home and postponing his finals, young Charles soon learned the sinister nature of how his mother died. She had been diagnosed with early stage ovarian cancer in 1973. While treatable even by 1970's standards, she was denied her claim to her insurer on the theory that her disease was related to a previous illness. Lisa hid the truth from her family and for six years fought with her insurer to grant her the treatment she needed to survive, and for six years she was denied. With this knowledge Charles returned to Berkley to change his major to political science, with a new goal in mind: ensuring that the kind of injustice that befell his mother would never happen to anyone again.
After graduating from Berkley with a Ph.D. in Political Science and Propulsion Engineering, Edwards spent the next year abroad and upon returning was hired by Boeing to lead the development of new aircraft and space technologies. His work at Boeing led to the development of the AGM-129 Stealth Cruise Missile. In 1989 he made several investments into then unknown tech startups, and was promoted to Vice President and general manager of Phantom Works. He is given a column at Newsweek's Politics section where he writes alongside George Will in his spare time, and even gets appointed as a space technology advisor to President Reagan's Star Wars program.
In 1992 Boeing produces the first hypersonic demonstrator for the X-30 NASP program. Several programs at Boeing are accelerated and Edwards becomes the face of the future of Aviation. Edwards doesn't make the transition to politics until after he mediates a compromise with the Washington State government that allows Boeing to remain in the State, making a hero to workers and business leaders alike. This was the moment that made Edwards a household name, and in 1993 he left Boeing to successfully run for Mayor of Seattle. His tenure as a technocratic Mayor led to the city becoming a hub for startups and his previous work at Boeing had positioned the company for growth that brought more jobs and wealth to the state.