The Technocracy Reformed

Abort, Retry, Fail?’ was the phrase some wormdog scrawled next to the door of the Edit Universe project room. And when the new dataspinners started working, fabricating their worlds on the huge organic comp systems, we’d remind them: if you see this message, always choose ‘Retry.’

-Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri

Adjustment

Do we shape our tools or to our tools shape us? The Technocratic Union was created to as a Utopian alternative to the  anachronistic or perhaps even dangerous Traditions. It was created to uplift humanity through reason and technology, but has this worked? The idea that convincing the Masses of the benevolence of science, the usefulness of commerce, and politics, the of the power of rationality has yet to produce a utopia. Not even close. The Masses have certainly accepted the technology, but what have they done with it? Reason, true reason still eludes them. Perhaps it was a fool’s errand. What seemed like a victory at the turn of the millennium was anything but. Smartphones are everywhere and super colliders produce wonders in labs, but what good are they if poverty, disease, violence, and war still plague humanity? The 21st century is here yet humanity is as irrational as ever. It would be easy enough to blame the myriad devils that thwarted this vision, the Traditions, the Nephandi, the Mad, but the sad truth is that the Technocracy has only itself to blame. Caught up in the Ascension War, the Technocracy allowed itself to become distracted. They chose the simple problem of the Reality Deviant, but failed to address the real problems which are far more complicated. In doing so, the Technocracy stooped, became like its enemies, and lost sight of its mission. The first act of the Ascension War ended and the Technocracy appeared the victor, but when the dust settled nothing could have been farther from the truth. The temptation to return to their old ways, to keep fall prey to the hubris of the past is a constant threat. The Technocracy must adjust, reflect on its previous actions, and course correct. If it doesn’t, it will loose what separates its enemies and become just another monster hunting in the shadow.

The Pogrom

With the Traditions reeling and disorganized the Technocracy launched the Pogrom. Not one of many, but a pogrom to end all pogroms. The Union threw everything they had at the remaining Crafts and Traditions.

Technocracy Structure

Unlike the  Traditions, the Technocratic Union replies on a designated chain of command. This precision and reliability creates a social structure where everyone has a place, and knows it, which ensures survival and prosperity of the Union. This hierarchy hasn’t softened in the 21st century, and the Union remains a collective society that demands nothing less than total obedience and cooperation. While a degrees of creativity, individuality, and personal initiative have been given space within the system, misconduct, subpar performance, sloppiness, rebelliousness, or insubordination are not tolerated. The system is perfect, so says the Union. So perfect that flaws are either smoothed away or or discarded. For Technocrats, the Union as a whole always matters more than the individual. After all, the future is at stake.

Titles and Status

  • Control – The existence of Control is theoretical at most or apocryphal at least. If such a thing did exist once it was cut off by the Storm. What became of such a being or entity, if it ever existed at all, would be classified at the highest level. Pursuing such a course of inquiry would not be funded. There are better things to spend our time on.
    • The Inner Circle – The Order of Reason knew them as Honori, but those of this rank came to be known as the  Old Masters or the Inner Circle. In the rarefied air of Horizon Constructs, untroubled by Paradox or worldly concerns, they debated the Time Table, solved cosmic enigmas, and the philosophized about the nature of the universe. And gave the orders. Then the Anomaly hit and there was silence. In a quiet manner, the Technocracy mourns their loss and honors their accomplishments, but the Anomaly changed everything, including the Union. What befell them is a mystery. Very likely they were trapped in their Horizon Constructs, cut off from Control, and fell to Madness or death. Whatever the case may be they lost reigns of the Union for good. If any of them survived they have not made themselves known. Technocrats who represent the pinnacle of Enlightenment rose to take their place, and now guide the Union’s Time Table keeping more Earthly concerns in mind. The Inner Circle remains veiled to all, but the Managers and even they only know them through their intermediaries.
    • Symposiums –  From the ranks of Managers and Supervisors come the members of the Symposium. Within any given city (or other large geographic area), these councils oversees Technocratic operations on a larger scale. The Symposium has at least one member of each of the five Conventions represented.
      • Managers/Masters – In the past, Managers guided the Union’s agenda on Earth from Realms where they were free from the boundaries on Earth. The Anomaly made this a deadly impracticality so the Managers of today keep their hands-on in day to day affairs. What few Realms the Union has reconnected to are reserved for research with access limited by merit or need (or the politically savvy). As appealing as these Realms are, the Anomaly depleted the Union’s resources. It would take decades to rebuild what they once had, and even if they could, the Union doesn’t have the resources or will to support them. Managers remain where they are needed most, on Earth, even if it means shouldering an increasingly heavy burden of Paradox.
        • Supervisors – Below the managers are the Supervisors, those who manage the teams of agents and operatives. Every team of agents reports to one assigned supervisor. That supervisor provides the team with missions and logistics support and then evaluates the aftermath. Within these ranks there is a strata with lower-level supervisors answering to their supervisors bosses. During the 20th century, the supervisors acted as proxies in the Ascension War who issued orders  from the safety of Realms, but the Anomaly placed even more burden on these Earthbound supervisors who work “close to the metal” as it were. The exist perilously at the enter of the pyramid. They risk being torn apart by the great Schism, that chasm that separates the two classes within the Union. Still, rank has its benefits. Senior members do their work from high rises offices, off-grid cabins, and private ocean liners.
          • Agents & Operatives – Soldiers, scientists, explorers, fixers, financiers, or young visionaries, these Technocrats are the heart of the Union. These Enlightened operates toil within the system executing and implementing the Technocracy’s grand agenda. It is not for this rank to know why, but simply to do. At this rank they are starting to understand the whys by literally being the hows.
            • Extraordinary Citizens & Initiated Operatives – While they have been  assimilated into the Technocracy itself, they are just beginning to understand their place within it. This rank is either specialists with elite training handling Devices or newly Enlightened recruits still learning to operate within the greater whole.
              • Unenlightened Citizens/Support Staff – Janitors, secretaries, technicians, security guards, soldiers, bureaucrats, and janitors, these rank and file members do the hard work of keeping the machine well oiled and running smoothly. Often made up of artificial creations or at least mostly clueless every men and women, they are unEnlightened, yet do important work for the Technocracy. The vast majority of Technocracts are of this rank, and don’t even know what they are a part of.

Precepts of Damien

These six precepts, created during the re-ordering under Queen Victoria, are the collective ideals of the Technocratic Union. A counterpoint to the Tradition’s Protocols, they summarize the foundation of the Technocratic ethic, and it is this agreement on first principals that has allowed the Union to dominate the Ascension War. These Precepts have changed little, even in the wake of the Anomaly, and while there is something to be said for holding to one’s convictions, these same Precepts are in no small part what lead the Union to act on its darker impulses.

  • Order, Stasis, and Consensus- Bring Stasis and order to the Universe. Predictability brings safety. Once all is discovered and all is known, Unity will be won
    • Many Technocrats believe that the Union made an error during the 20th century, and allowed the Ascension War to taint their mission. Run in the abstract, the Union leaders issued orders from Otherworld Constructs that ultimately went counter to this precepts. While the Union can claim many victories along the way, the ultimate victory of Unity eluded them. The Technocracy now cleaves much closer to this precept simply by staying grounded. Literally. Managers and Supervisors, even the Inner Circle, were largely trained Earth, and even if they do spend time in Colonies still have very human ties that directly inform how the Time Table is implemented.  This precept is often invoked successfully against factions within the Union who wish to return to the excesses of the 1990s.
  • Technology and Training – Convince the Masses of the benevolence of science, commerce, and politics and of the power of Rationality. Conflict and suffering will be eliminated in our Utopia
    • This Precept remains largely unchanged. The Technocracy remains hidden letting science and technology take the credit for the prosperity the Union quietly cultivates.
  • Safety and Security – Preserve the Gauntlet and the Horizon. Chaotic individuals who open gateways with impunity threaten the stability of our world. Uncontrolled portals also allow outside forces, such as Nephandi, access to our world. This must never happen.
    • The Anomaly undid a century’s careful work strengthening the Gauntlet, slaying monsters, and forcing Deviants into the Otherworlds. The skin of Reason and disbelief  the Union placed over the Earth has been tattered in some places or entirely torn away in others allowing all manner of gods and monsters back into the world. Wards and bans that once kept horrors imprisoned have been weakened unleashing them upon humanity. To make matters worse, some believe humanity might welcome these creatures in. The Technocracy has its work cut out for them restoring Earth’s boundaries.
  • Knowledge and Surveillance Define the nature of the universe. Knowledge must be absolute, or chaos will envelop all. The elemental forces of the universe must not be left to the caprices of the unknown. 
    • Like the above precept, the Anomaly presents both challenges and opportunities. Challenges because the Anomaly was predicted by few and understood even less. It was a caustic lesson of what happens when the Union is distracted. If the Technocracy is to succeed in its mission it must understand the Anomaly, what lead to it, and its impact.  The Anomaly demonstrated that there are still unknown forces within the universe which must be discovered, monitored, understood, and controlled. Haunting to some, inspirational to others.
  • Progress and the Pogrom – Destroy Reality Deviants. Their recklessness threatens our security and our progress toward Unity.
    • No other precept divides the Technocracy as this one does. Those who wish to renew the Pogroms rally around a broad understanding of what should be done with Reality Deviants, but the opposition takes a much more narrow view of things. The Storm disrupted supply chains, destroyed the ranks of Masters, and broke contact with off-world Constructs. As a result, the Technocracy, while still powerful, doesn’t have the resources that it once did. Most Technocrats leading the Union these days don’t remember what, exactly, the 1990s Ascension War was all about anyway. There simply isn’t the will for such Pogroms. The Technocracy engages in targeted strikes of troublesome RDs, but as a whole, it is more interested in the other precepts…at least for now. There are still factions of the Union that would like to finish what they started during the Reckoning, and this underlying tensions threatens the Union’s cohesion.
  • Enlightenment and the Empowered Elite – Shepherd the Masses; protect them from themselves and from others.
    • Humanity is defenseless against Reality Deviants so the Technocracy must be prepared to defend and protect them, even from themselves. To do so, the Technocracy must train its members to use their power responsibly. This is another precept where the Technocracy has attempted reforms that are controversial to some. All agree that shepherding the Masses is of the utmost importance, but differ about the means. Reformers would prefer to focus on ethics, education, and technical and leadership training, but others still believe they know better. The Technocracy now weighs whether to use the carrot or the crook as the primary means of tending the flock.

Current Status

The Ascension War ended. The Traditions scattered, largely due to self-inflicted wounds, and the Crafts were hunted into obscurity. The Technocracy seemed to have emerged the victor at the end of the 1990s, but sometimes getting what you want isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. They might have won the war, but Ascension slipped from their grasp. Humanity slumped away from it, apathetic from the state of the world and anesthetized by the very technology that was supposed to liberate them.

Humanity’s seeming refusal to be inspired forced the Union to ask a question it hadn’t asked in a long time: why? The time was right for the question to be asked. Cut off from Control and the Inner Circle, the Technocracy could finally begin to answer it. This questioning and the arrival of the Dimensional Anomaly opened past tensions that had been previously papered over, and a civil war ensued. The hypereconomic crash caused the rivalry with between the Syndicate and the NWO to slowly escalate from a war of ideas, to cloak and dagger intrigue, to finger pointing and blaming, to all out fighting. Meanwhile, the Iteration X split down the middle over the end of the Pogrom, the Progenitors turned inward, and the Void Engineers disappeared into the Storm. Everything changed in 2007 when the  Perseids appeared, the first and only Void Engineer ship to return from the Deep. As its log’s were passed from Symposium to Symposium a cease fire spread across the Union. What these logs contained were clearly important or grave enough to bring the Syndicate and the NWO to the table at the Reykjavik Accords. A tense peace spread across the Technocracy. Today, no one would openly admit that the Technocratic  Union was anything but unified. Everyone knows there is still work to be done.

As the so-called winners of the Ascension War, the Technocracy was in the best position to regroup, rebuild, and reestablish itself as a formidable organization it once was.  The Union’s new configuration still reflects that tremendous losses of life, leadership, and other resources during the Anomaly.  Technocracy  of today is leaner, fresher,  younger, and more bound to Earth’s material reality. A handful of Otherworldly headquarters exist, but they’re rare, expensive, and used only for the most pressing  emergencies and the most important experiments.

The Technocracy In Los Angeles

The railroads and the telegraph connected the United States coast to coast, and the Technocracy road rails and wires to Los Angeles. The Explorators who arrived first quickly sent word back East of what they found. A cluster of powerful leylines blanketed the region making it an ideal power center. The Olvera Construct was founded in the 1880s in order to bend the region’s rich Primal Energy stores. The six founders, all great Technocrats, set down the the Master Plan of Metropolitan Los Angeles (MP-MLA). It was in their tiny Construct, a Victorian on Olvera Street, that the founders put original MP-MLA to paper. While the Founders of the Olvera Construct were lost during the Storm their names live on in the memories of all Enlightened Agents in L.A.

  • Antonia Rodriquez – Progenitors
  • James Voight – Iteration X
  • Ellen di Sophia – Void Engineers
  • Harold Carmichael -New World Order
  • Charlemagne Southworth – Syndicate

There are two other well known names that bear mentioning in the history of the Technocracy in Los Angeles as well: Harold Montague was a founding member of the Olvera Construct who betrayed his fellows along with the other Electrodyne Engineers. There is also Koss Hamilton (Virtual Adepts) who also betrayed the Construct in the 1960s, and while she wasn’t one of the Founders, her name burns in infamy among Los Angeles Technocrats.

The Master Plan

It has been amended argued over, adored, revised, and venerated. The grand vision outlined in the Master Plan functions as a blueprint for Union activities in Los Angeles. The exact details are known only to the Symposium representatives, and for good reason. When both Montague and Hamilton betrayed the Construct they took with them a copy of the Plan. While these versions are now depreciated they contained enough information to give the Traditions and edge in the Ascension War.

The MP-MLA outlines a many staged plan wherein Los Angeles is slowly transformed into a utopian city of the future under the Enligthened guidance of Technocrats. The position of the L.A. basin’s Primal Energy conduits are such that it makes Los Angeles an ideal test laboratory for Mass Ascension. It was this vision that was communicated back to constructs in Boston by Void Engineer Ellen di Sophia, and is by this vision set forth in the MPM-LA that the Technocracy sets its agenda to this day. All of the Union’s goals are wrapped up in the the MPM-LA, and it is the measure by which all lesser plans are judged. Step by step, day by day, Los Angeles moves towards becoming the City of the Future!

One Wilshire

In the 1960s, the Technocracy of Los Angeles consolidated its sprawling system of constructs into the monolith known today as One Wilshire. A love letter to its dominance of the Primal Energy currents of the Los Angeles Basin, One Wilshire extends high into the sky. It stands within the confines of the 110 and the 10, and even Tradition mage that ventures downtown Los Angles sees it standing there like Barad-Dur at the center of Mordor. Within this fortress of reason and technology the Union’s brightest coordinate its man layered activities. Other bureaus exist, of course, throughout the city, but all roads, data or pavement, lead to One Wilshire.

Important Events

The Technocracy has a great deal of history despite being in the area for such a short time, but several events have had the most lasting impact on the Union:

  • Olvera Construct – In the 1880s, the six founders sign the Olvera Compact in a Victorian office building in the Old Pueblo. Though the construct’s location would move several times the name has sentimental value. There are rumors among the old timers that pieces of the old construct still exist below the city.
  • Etherite Defection  – Harold Montague was an Electrodyne Engineer, and Founder of the Olvera Construct. To the Masses, he is the unseen architect behind the hydroelectric power that brought electricity to much of Los Angeles, but his defection in 1901 put his entire legacy in question. In a cloud fire and ether he took with him his entire amalgam and a version of the MP-MLA, and has been a thorn in the lion’s paw ever since. He was quite influential in several industries for a time, but his peak deviancy was in the 1940s when one of his aircraft prototypes was mistaken by Sleepers for a UFO. Montague remains at-large to this day despite Technocracy efforts to the contrary. Montague is designated MBDTK (Mad, Bad, And Dangerous To Know) by the Union. New agents are trained to not engage directly, and to call a supervisor if they encounter him.
  • The Los Angeles Aqueduct Project – Stage 1 of the MP-MLA was to tame and harness the wild Primal Energy conduits of the LA basin. Using the California Water Wars as a cover, the Technocracy insinuated itself into the plans to build the Los Angeles Aqueduct in order to drain the Little Rain Node in the Owens Valley. The Primal Energy siphons were put in place in 1907, but operations were delayed due to resistance by deviants lead by Montague. Attempts by the Traditions to discredit the project lead to litigation and critical press coverage, but public sentiment was not on the side of the Traditions. The thirsty people of Los Angeles demanded the water flow, and Los Angeles grew by leaps and bounds.
  • The St. Francis Dam Collapse – Two and a half minutes before midnight on March 12, 1928, the St. Francis Dam catastrophically failed. The St. Francis dam was an important keystone in the Technocracy’s Master Plan, and its collapse set the plan back decades. The matter of the St. Francis Dam collapse remains unresolved, and rumors of a curse on the site abound. Anyone who visits the site notes there is a strange dimensional anomaly that damn odd. Agents say they can just feel it in their gut that something just isn’t right. Of course no one actually believes in curses, but speculation of Tradition or Nephandi sabotage remain an open question.
  • The Magic Motorways Project – As the Masses embrace the automobile the Technocracy begins to implement the next phase of the Master Plan of Metropolitan Los Angeles. In the 1930s, the Technocracy supported Sleeper construction of a network of highways the Sleepers call “Magic Motorways”. The name stuck and the Union adopted it as the code name for the project. These highways serve as the backbone of suburban development as Los Angeles moves the city towards a decentralized, automobile-oriented culture. What does that mean? Massive growth. For the Masses, this relieves urban overcrowding and declining rates of home ownership, certainly a boon for the Union, but to the Technocracy it is so much more. The Magic Motorways Project reshaped the spatial dimensions of  L.A.’s Primal Energy conduits allowing them to finally harness them in ways previously unheard of ways. Not only that, the Technocracy was able to create a secret, ever expanding surveillance network to monitor for deviancy called the Cryptopticon.
  • The Di Sophia Research Construct – Flush with Primal Energy from the Magic Motorways Project, the five remaining Founders created the a Horizon Construct in 1948. It is named after its chief architect, Olvera Construct founder and Void Engineer Ellen di Sophia. The Union refers to it as either the DSRC or simply Di Sophia. The founders withdrew to Di Sophia not long after World War II in order to refine the Master Plan. There are only a few remaining Technocrats who witnessed the utopian splendor of this Di Sophia, but its central fountains, biospheres, and its artificial ocean are fables told and retold. Others say that it was a scale model of an Ascended Los Angeles, a shining example of what the city would when the Master Plan was complete. Being promoted to a position in the construct was called being “Sophiaed”, and even being allowed to visit the construct was a mark of prestige.. Most believe it was destroyed by the Storm, but there are rumors of a Tradition raid lead by Montague and Hamilton around the time of the Storm is what what caused its disapperance. Whatever the truth is, Di Sophia is a legend that continues to inspire.
  • Virtual Adept Defection – In 1962, Koss Hamilton followed her Convention in joining the Council of Nine. Like Montague, Hamilton took her fellow Adepts and a copy of the MP-MLA (smuggled out on a floppy disk hidden in her lunch pail days before) with her, but the Technocracy had taken steps to ensure the plan stayed secret this time. Most of the file was corrupt, but there was enough for the Traditions to it back hard against the Technocracy. Virtual Adepts, Montague Labs, and other technomancers infected the Magic Motorways surveillance network with a computer virus known simply as Oedipus. This quasi-living intelligence (for lack of a better word)  caused the Cryptopticon to selectively blind itself to Tradition’s activities. For a period of 8 years, the Cryptopicon unknowingly sees nothing resulting in the Tradition’s advantage during the counter-cultural years of the 1960s.  The Cryptopicon mysteriously comes back online in 1970, not long after ARPANET an LO-Sector also come online. The timing is too uncanny for them not to be related, but how they are related is a question Iteration X is still trying to answer. The patch also remains incomplete creating dead zones in Los Angeles that it simply cannot see. The Technocracy is still working to resolve this issue, and the virus is still out there, somewhere, doing who knows what.
  • One Wilshire Construct – The defection of the Virtual Adepts and the Oedipus Virus demonstrated to the Technocracy that more “coordination” (read: control) was needed. Word comes down from the Inner Circle that the Union was to centralize its operations under a single command center. Resources are poured into establishing the Foundadtion Construct of One Wilshire. Other amalgams may operate throughout the city, but all roads lead to “One Wilsh”, as it is affectionately known among the  younger agents.
  • The Storm – Los Angeles fared better than many construct with the loss of the Inner Circle, and other masters in Horizon Constructs. The centralization efforts of the 1960s and 1970s, while not perfect, allowed the Los Angeles constructs to retain its coherence while others fracture along Convention lines. Despite the set back of a cosmic scale, the Master Plan inched forward during this troubled time.
  • The Pogroms – Tradition mages would have you believe the Technocracy wages a relentless assault on deviancy, but this is far from the truth. The Ascension War was largely a cold one for most of the 19th and early 20th century that rarely rose to the level of open combat.
    • Pogroms intensified between 1940 and the 1959, a time mystic mages remember with resentment, but the blinding of the Cryptopicon plunged the Technocracy into a blind chaos. The decade of the 1960s saw unprecedented deviancy on the part of the Traditions as the Technocracy attempted to reestablish control.
    • Pogroms intensified once again in the 1980s now under the cover of Sleeper law enforcement efforts, but reached their peak in what is now known as the Pogrom at the end of the 1990s. With the Traditions and Crafts vulnerable, and the more aggressive elements of the Union freed from Control’s leash due to the Storm, the Technocracy launched the Pogrom to end all Pogroms. Iteration X lead mixed tactical teams of Technocrats and HIT MARKs to hunt down any and all Reality Deviant they could find. The Crafts were allegedly wiped out, Nephandi were obliterated, Marauders were sent back to the Umbra, and what few Tradition mages were left went underground. Union leadership eventually called an end to it, but there are many that feel the job was left incomplete. Another pogrom still simmers under the surface of the Union.
  • The Civil War –  The centralization efforts could only do so much to hold back the reckoning that was the Technocractic Civil War, and Los Angeles was an important battle ground in this conflict. Like much of the Civil War, the battles rarely escalated beyond posturing, mic drops at Symposium meetings, and flame wars on terminals. Facing a hypereconomic crash, the Syndicate began making very serious threats of calling in debts owed to them from the construction of One Wilshire and the consolidation in the 1960s. A shadow war played out for several years between the two Conventions which culminated in an NWO strike against the Syndicate’s headquarters in Farmers and Merchant’s in 2003. This resulted in a seven day stand off between the two Conventions. The high profile event was spun in the Sleeper media as a hostage situation, but nothing could be further from the truth. The two Conventions came to blows, and both Sleeper and Enligthened agents lives were lost in the conflict. Skirmishes and intrigues continued until the Reykjavik Accords in 2007, and things remain notably chilly at the Management level between the two Conventions.

Symposium of Los Angeles

The Symposium of Los Angeles meets quarterly in an undisclosed location. Rumors suggest there is a secret chamber within One Wilshire that houses their activities while others claim this chamber contains a portal into a Horizon Construct build expressly for that purpose. Each Convention is represented at the Symposium, but its current chair is Syndicate VPO Haywood. He has recently wrestled control from the New World Order during the Civil War. Though they are rarely seen their names are known by every Enligthened operative.

  • Comptroller Mason Hess – Iteration X
  • Chancellor Alia Atanasaoff – New World Order
  • Counselor Pan Liu – Progenitors
  • VPO Harlow Haywood – Syndicate (chair)
  • Admiral Sparhawk Strela – Void Engineers