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An alternative history of Earth in which the United States' intelligence communities become one massive intelligence organization, the Firm. The Firm is founded in 1993. Upon its creation, the former CIA and NSA are tasked with the infiltration of various terrorist organizations within the Middle East. Firm agents Michael Turrin and Harold Agnew find and neutralize Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, leading to infighting amongst bin Laden's top lieutenants. By 1995, all traces of the Al Qaeda organization, including a resurgence group "The Army of Ally," have been expunged. Without major support from Al Qaeda, the Taliban forces located in northern Afghanistan cannot control local tribal leaders. In 1997, the Firm sends dozens of agents into the Middle East to increase destabilization in the region. Saddam Hussein is eliminated in April 1999, while peace keeping actions in Somalia end as a success with the death of Somali warlord Adid. US special forces, in conjunction with Firm agents, destroy the last Talibani stronghold in the Afghan mountains. With United States friendly Grand President Ashmed Karim as the new leader of Afghanistan, and oil deposits being found in southern Afghanistan, the United States receives cheap gas and goes into an economic boom. The Perg Mersha of the Kurds defeats the last of the Iraqi National Army, and Kurdistan becomes a newly formed republic in the Middle East. The Pakistani government is assassinated by Firm agent Colin Michaels, and agents Turrin and Agnew poison Boris Yeltsen, leading to the special election of Vladimir Putin. Putin, as former KGB director, is aware of the creation of the Firm, and quietly thanks the US for its help. In 2000, the Firm begins the development of