One Day, Three Autumns
International Geographic Union's Secret Action Commission
The International Geographical Union (IGU; French: Union Géographique Internationale, UGI) is an international geographical society. The first International Geographical Congress was held in Antwerp in 1871. Subsequent meetings led to the establishment of the permanent organization in Brussels, Belgium, in 1922. The Union has 34 Commissions and four task forces. The commissions range from Applied Geography, Gender Geography, Marine Geography, as well as Landscape Analysis and Water Sustainability.
The IGU has various commissions dedicated to pursuing research in various fields of geographic work, such a modeling geographic systems, population geography, etc. The Secret Action Committee is a bit different than these.
In the early ’70’s, the IGU was alarmed by the number of geographers, surveyors and anthropologists vanishing all over the world while performing field work. An informal network of action academics and intelligence agency geographers (the intelligence community is a traditional major employer of geographers) started investigating. Soon they realized that something was rotten in Denmark (and Zaire and Costa Rica and American Samoa and particularly in Hong Kong). Funding was arranged from half a dozen intelligence agencies around the world, and Maxwell Chen, geographer, retired spy and mystic was appointed as the first director. The headquarters of the IGU Secret Action Commission was originally on the campus of the University of Hong Kong, but later moved to an office building downtown for greater secrecy and independence. Since Maxwell Chen’s disappearance, the chairmanship has been held by a number of Southeast Asian academics.
The Secret Action Committee has two major purposes: to safeguard scientists in the field from extraordinary threats, and to fight the forces of evil. They are aware of the existence of magic and strange technology, and suspect the existence of time travel, but have no proof. They have a small, full time staff, but all actual field work is performed by academics and intelligence agency members.