“I point out to you, Marcus Claire Luyseyal, a lesson from past over-machined societies which you appear not to have learned. The devices themselves condition the users to employ each other the way they employ machines.”
-Frank Herbert, God-Emperor of Dune
The Difference Engine showed us the way, the Telephone created the initiate possibility, and then Turning turned the light on. We raced towards a better future until it all came crashing down. White Wednesday. November 10th, 1997. The Crash. All those doors swing both ways, and the ensuing surge like no other that came from the Vadum of Forces brought everyone’s carefully laid plans down. Hundreds died with many Adepts among them. The Adepts were too focused on what was inside the computer to see that the data center was ready to burn. The Tradition was crippled by the White. The Storm was a bug in the system that needed to be purged.
It is the best of time, it is the worst of times. On one hand, the influence of the Elite can be seen in the hands of virtually every industrialized society on the globe. Smartphones, computers, tablets, and wifi have all grown extremely common. Software runs everything from our cars to our homes to our watches. Cryptocurrency can be used to pay for coffee at Starbucks. For many its strange not to be available connected all the time. The Information Age, Reality 2.0. whatever you want to call it, the Virtual Adepts predicted it and it has arrived, but it isn’t quite what they expected. Adepts make navigating this modern world easy, but that doesn’t mean it is. As more Sleepers have come online the Elite must now have to learn to share. Furthermore, the Technocracy has taken full advantage of the Web 2.0. shaping what was once a digital Wild West into platform for monetization, surveillance, and control. Use of the net is easier than ever, but with convenience comes a sacrifice in privacy. While this benefits the Elite as much as the Technocracy, they now must redouble their efforts to convince Sleepers that privacy actually matters. The Storm showed the Elite that Reality 2.0 was more complicated than they thought, but sometimes a truly wicked bug can help you see the source code in a new way. The Information Age is about to peak, and the Adepts are ready ride it towards Ascension.
Chaotician Pr0fessor 3B0d`/ (3body) (pronouns she/they) represents the Elite on the New Horizon Council. Little is known outside Adept circles about them, but those who know her see her as a haunted figure with deep ties to the Web. In 1993, they founded one of the earliest Internet service providers, The Link, in New York City. It was the first ISP to offer a graphical user interface, incorporating e-mail, chat, Usenet, and the World Wide Web, through software for Windows and Mac operating systems. The software, coded by 3Body, was licensed to other Internet service providers in the United States and overseas, and pieces of it are rumored to have made their way into the Technocracy. In 1997, she was attempting to land an experimental plane with a built in virtual navigation system in New Jersey when the aircraft engine mysteriously lost power and the plane landed short of the runway into rising terrain. The impact killed 3Body’s eight-year-old son and left 3Body in a coma. When she awoke days later she realized that she had also Awoken, and significantly changed. The visions of chaos, code, and data she had witnessed in her coma unnerved her, and she posted online looking for solace. She was contacted by the Chaoticians. She came up through the ranks of the Adepts publishing several influential books on Chaos Theory, and Information Theory which have gotten a second wind thanks to the Reality Coders. She was chosen to represent the Adepts because of her compassion. The death of her son still haunts her, and she’s been a vocal advocate for the Adepts to be a little less Elite sometimes and more vigilant in addressing Sleeper concerns.
3Body may be the primus, and that counts for something, but the Elite are still the Elite. Internally, the Adepts have changed little. The Elite have had something of a bumper crop of apprentices, a lucky twist of fate as their numbers were significantly diminished after White Wednesday. The Adepts that survived have been training a generation of Adepts who got their first cell phone at 10, and don’t remember a time before the Internet. These “digital natives” are even more anti-authoritarian than their mentors, and have an inborn understanding of the information power poses.
The Mercurial Elite formed in the early 2000s from younger members who thought we couldn’t win the Ascension War by just having better computers. The Elites pushed against the rest of the Virtual Adepts, known as the Old Guard, and moved to make the Tradition more inclusive. The Mercurial Elite uses the tools of rigorous analysis, simplification, and abstraction to find new magickal truth in other practices. The uninitiated may compare Mercurials to Hermetics but there is a key difference. Where a Hermetic would appropriate the magick of others, an Elite provides the Virtual Adept toolbox to help the other practitioner, maybe accompanied by a petition to join the Adepts. The Hermetic seizes the True Name of an obscure god to command it. A Mercurial uses machine learning on hundreds of interactions with the god to find out how to best to address
Elites also dismissed the race for the best deck. Instead of spending years tinkering and overclocking custom hardware, an Elite rents cloud resources as needed. Even better if paid for with a Union Black Card stolen from the Financiers of the Syndicate. The Old Guard treated improving their computers as something akin to an alchemist’s search for the Philosopher’s Stone albeit with more Flame Wars and less enlightenment.
- Common Focus
- A Mechanistic Cosmos, All The World’s a Stage, Consciousness is the One True Reality, Everything is Data, Everything has Source Code, Hacker Analysis, Holographic Reality, Mathematicism, Might is Right, Platonism, Postmodernism
- Art of Desire/Hypereconomics, Chaos Magick, Crazy Wisdom, Hypertech, Reality Hacking
- Brain/Computer Interface, Celestial Alignments, Computer Gear, Drugs and Poisons, Formulae and Math, Group Rites, Internet Activity, Languages, Management & HR, Mass Media, Meditation, Money and Wealth, Music, Nanontech, Numbers and Numerology, Sex and Sensuality, Social Domination, Symbols, Thought-Forms, True Names
See Lore of the Traditions.
These factions used to mean something, but these days compared to the gulf of difference between them and the Mercurial Elite, the various older factions form an Old Guard.
- Cyberpunks – Cyberpunk is dead! The Cyberpunks their live fast, die young and leave a cool corpse approach to Ascension was founded in the stylish nihilism of the 1980. While they went out in a pixelated blaze of glory fighting in Concordia and on other fronts, between their take no prisoners philosophy and White Wednesday there weren’t enough survivors to keep up the right. What few made it out of the alleged End of Time (which even that turned out to be a joke) found Sleepers who were deaf to their particular brand of anti-authoritarianism. The half-life of punk and New Wave had given way to insipid reality TV and mind numbing video poker. The remaining Cyberpunks took to their dive bars and virtual haunts to nurse their wounds, and tell stories about the past. Then the messages started to come in. Encrypted missives from the Sphinx. A call to train the next generation. One that had had been crushed beneath the wheels of broken promises, mountains of student debts, dead end jobs, and seemingly hopeless futures. Having been weened on a steady diet of junk food, cable news, social media flame wars, video games, dystopian fiction, and an inborn desire for the latest smartphone, the 80s were back and all this generation needed was a little prompting to start hitting back. Anyone who counted the Cyberpunks out were wrong. Their numbers have swelled once again. Rebooted with smart drugs and boosted with designer speed, they are hitting the streets and the Web, angrier then ever, give even less fucks, and are ready to throw a homemade grenades at the man. This new generation has everything it needs to start a revolution (or at least fuck shit up) at their finger tips. Between Wikipedia, the Dark Web, or private Facebook groups, the Information Age contains a multitude of ways to fight back. When they go low, you go lower. When they think you’re crude, go technical, and when they think you’ll go technical, go crude. Most importantly, when they think you’ll go vulgar…go even more vulgar. That is the ethos of the Cyberpunks in the 21st century. Past and present, man and machine, as the world rushes towards the next big thing, but the Cyberpunks look to their hybrid nature and devil may care attitude for a way forward. Most assume the Cyberpunks are Futurists, but the truth is that they are Nihilists. Edge is all that keeps you from the void. The next big thing only gives you an edge if your enemy isn’t also using it. Which isn’t to say they aren’t interested in your bleeding edge wares…so long as they have style. Long live Cyberpunk!
- Common Focus:
- A World of Gods and Monsters, Everything Is Data, Everything Is Chaos, A Mechanistic Cosmos, Tech Holds All the Answer, Transcend Your Limits, Embrace The Threshold
- Art of Desire/Hypereconomics, Craftwork, Cybernetics, Hypertech, Medicine Work, Reality Hacking, Weird Science
- Armor, Weapons, Brain Computer Interface, Brews & Concoctions, Computer Gear, Drugs & Poisons, Fashion, Eye Contact, Gadgets & Inventions, Labs & Gear, Mass Media, Nanotech, Sex & Sensuality, Social Domination, Ordeals & Exertions, Tricks & Illusions, Vehicles, Music, Money & Wealth
- Common Focus:
- Cypherpunks – Always take advantage of a crisis, the old political wisdom goes. The more subtle (but no less vicious) siblings to the Cypherpunks, the Cypherpunks were always a cautious lot, and due to their powerful encryption fared better than the Cyberpunks when the Web went down. Outwardly, however, they used White Wednesday as an opportunity to disappear completely. It seemed the White had taken the Cypherpunks with it, and this is exactly what they wanted everyone to believe. While the Storm raged and the Web struggled back online, the Cypherpunks slowly put in place an emergency fail safe created in collaboration with the Chaoticians. Remaining Adept chantries. would suddenly vanishfaster than pogroms could find them. Crypt messages like “Your welcome” or “Support the cause, ride a Cypherpunk” would appear shortly, and then nothing. Sudden warnings that a channel was no longer secure would appear out of nowhere, and operations would be watched over by mysterious guardian angels. After the Storm, with globe basically being a surveillance state, the Cypherpunks, began to emerge a little from behind their heavy ciphers. Just enough for the Adepts to know they were there. Internally, they have doubled down on the paranoia and secrecy almost to the point of madness. If the Technocracy breaks wind they change the keys, scramble the routing codes, and vanish into the Web. This isn’t a matter of cowardice but camouflage. The Cypherpunks have always known that less is more, and true style doesn’t advertise itself; that kind of thinking is greatly needed in the 21st. In an age of Wikileaks and deep sources the Cypherpunks have quickly emerged as the Adept’s most competent and potent force. Behind walls of powerful encryption they leak the right information at the right time and scandals and violence follows. They place their Neurolinguisticly active videos in the right places on YouTube which counter the propaganda of the NWO, and lead would-be Cyberpunks to the right meetings. As much as the NWO would like to bury past transgressions and erase all the evidence the Cypherpunks somehow manage to ensure nothing stays buried. In the chaos of the Storm, the Cypherpunks went digging, and they have unearthed a number of skeletons they are using to their advantage. Rumors of something called Subroutine 2020 being behind the renewal of the Cyberpunks, and some even go so far as to claim they may even be issuing them targets. The usual Cyberpunk chaos has been replaced with more carefully chosen, targeted strikes that seem…just a little too tidy for them to have done alone. Rumors of the Cypherpunks being one of the main architects behind the Sphinx abound as well. The truth is out there, but the Cypherpunks are silent behind their impenetrable walls.
- Common Focus
- A World of Gods and Monsters, Everything Is Data, Everything Is Chaos, A Mechanistic Cosmos, Tech Holds All the Answers, A Holographic Reality, Embrace The Threshol
- Cybernetics, Hypertech, Reality Hacking, Hypereconomics
- Books and periodicals, Brain Computer Interface, Computer Gear, Devices & Machines, Drugs & Poisons, Energy, Gadgets & Inventions, Mass Media, Money & Wealth, Nanotech, Numbers & Numerology, Symbols, Toys, Voice & Vocalization, Writings, Inscriptions and Runes, Formulae & Math, Labs & Gear, Languages
- Common Focus
- Chaoticians – We warned you. The Chaoticians predicted the Storm, White Wednesday, and a whole host of other atrocities that could have been avoided, but no one listened. Well, now they are listening. As much as it can be said, the Arithmeticians were a unifying force within the Tradition who were able to guide the disparate currents into something of a cohesive whole. They reason they were able to do it is not because they imposed order from on high, but rather were able to organize the chaos. The Chaoticians’s star has risen not only among the Adepts, but from other Traditions as well. House Fortunae and the Chakravanti have sem-regular conferences with the Chaoticians to make sense of a world flipped upside down. To the Chaoticians the Storm and all the turmoil that came after were simply a surge of their beloved X-Factor which was previously suppressed, but can now be taken advantage of more fully.
- Common Focus
- Everything Is Data, Everything Is Chaos, A Mechanistic Cosmos, Tech Holds All the Answers, A Holographic Reality
- Hypereconomics, Crazy Wisdom, Hypertech, Weird Science, Reality Hacking
- Books & Periodicals, Brain/Computer Interface, Computer Gear, Devices & Machines, Elements, Energy, Formulae & Math, Labs & Gear, Nanotech, Management & HR, Meditation, Numbers & Numerology, Tricks & Illusions
- Reality Coders – The Reality Coders were once the smallest Alt, and while the rest of the Tradition scrambled to recover from the White, the Reality Coders were busy seeding R2.0. among the Sleepers. They have since grown into the largest Alt, and that should come as no surprise to anyone paying attention. While the Cyberunks captured the imaginations of those who were willing to take to the streets, the Reality Hackers believe that the Adobe Creative Suite is mightier than the gun. Whie Cyberpunks often joke about the Sphere of Gun, the Reality Coders have begun to joke about the Sphere of Content – and they might be right. The Ascension War, at its essence, is a war of ideas, say the Reality Coders. Web comics, video games, streaming television, and a love of nostalgia forms of mass media like arcades have allowed the Reality Hackers to directly engage Sleepers on the forfront of the Ascension War. Their approach has gained them many followers and the Alt has grown as a result. The Alt isn’t limited to humanities, however. Reality Coders can be found forming start-up biotech firms, digital journalism, podcasting, maker spaces, 3d printing shops, advising as policy wonks, venture capital firms, and making forays into hardware design. Virtually every aspect of Reality 2.0. is touched by the Reality Hackers, and with the T-Virus gone they are creating innovatinos on Adept Hypertech and Hypermath. So far, their experiments have been so successful that they have risen to eminance among the Elite, and work closely with the Nexplorers. Their haters whisper that they are dillitantes focused on clicks, likes, and containers over actual content. Some worry that their style isn’t radical enough, and might be a little too close to that of the Technocracy’s to be truly elite. The Reality Coders respond by pointing out you catch more likes with a stylish package than a plain brown box with the words “fuc|< th3 m@n” written on it.
- Common Focus
- Everything Is Data, A Mechanistic Cosmos, Tech Holds All the Answers,
- A Holographic Reality, Consciousness is the Only True Reality
- Art of Desire/Hypereconomics, Craftwork, Hypertech, Medicine-Work, Reality Hacking
- Artwork, Books & Periodicals, Brain/Computer Interface, Brews & Concoctions, Circles & Designs, Computer Gear, Devices & Machines, Drugs & Poisons, Eye Contact, Fashion, Food & Drink, Formulae & Math, Gadgets & Inventions, Group Rites, Labs & Gear, Languages, Mass Media, Money & Wealth, Music, Nanotech, Numbers & Numerology, Symbols, Tricks & Illusions, True Names, Voice & Vocalization, Writings, Inscriptions and Runes
- Common Focus
- Nexplorers – Were absolutely crippled by the White. Always online, the Runners are almost an entirely different species more comfortable in the Web than in the meatspace. Transhuman to a fault, they pushed for the Extropian idea of leaving the physical world behind to inhabit one that is self created and coded. In their hubris, ,they fled deeper into the Web then anyone else, and as a result, were nearly wiped out when it all came crashing down. The Web, while still glorious, isn’t what it used to be. The crash has left widespread damange to sectors that will take years to fix, and the increasingly volatile social media platforms are literally burning the Web. The Nexplorers believe in a dream of total freedon in the digital realm, but if they want to realize it they will have to fight for it. This means working with the other Alts and Traditions. While they have come to realize that their digial soul requires a body, but that doesn’t mean they want to be in it. They still spend most if not all their time in the Web, but are their explorations and discoveries are anchored by those of the Reality Coders, something some of them are growing resentful of. Still, they are the Council’s experts on the Digital Web, and the Web has changed a great deal after the Crash. The Nexplorers are, afterall, explorers at heart, and finding new sectors, discovering changes, and unearthing secrets exposed by the Crash has become their priority.
- Common Focus
- Bring Back The Golden Age, Everything Is Data, A Mechanistic Cosmos, Tech Holds All the Answers, Transcend Your Limits, Consciousness is the Only True Reality, Embrace The Threshold
- Craftwork, Cybernetics, Hypertech, Reality Hacking, Weird Science
- Artwork, Books & Periodicals, Brain/Computer Interface, Computer Gear, Devices & Machines, Drugs & Poisons, Energy, Fashion, Formulae & Math, Gadgets & Inventions, Group Rites, Labs & Gear, Meditation, Music, Nanotech, Thought-Forms, Toys, Tricks & Illusions, Vehicles, Voice & Vocalization,
- Common Focus
The Elite In Los Angeles
What makes LA so important to the Adepts is the ARPANET. Like Turing’s birthday, the invention of the ARPANET is the second most important date for the Tradition in LA. Every once and a while some Adept hatches some theory or even tries to take credit for the ARPANET. They say they knew Larry Kleinrock, or Dr. Licklider or the guys at MIT were Adepts. Another story you might here is that the ARPANET was an Iteration X or Void Engineer project that we heroically wrestled from the Technocracy as a coup de grace in the Ascension War. Some, Lamers or even Elite outside Los Angeles might believe, but anyone who’s actually been around LA for long enough knows this is bullshit. The Elite of LA do have something to be proud of, though. They can claim that we live in the place where the Internet and the Digital Web was born.
The Elite of LA don’t need bar or a park to meet in. If you are Elite enough to get into Teklon then that’s enough for them. Stelfox Mary of the Phantom Current usually takes care of orientations for those new LA.