The Technocratic Union, or the Technocracy (also called the Hidden Ones or the Five Metal Dragons) were initially portrayed as the typical black-hatted mustached antagonist of the earlier editions of Mage: The Ascension, but grew into a distinct type of Mage in their own right with the introduction of the Guide to the Technocracy sourcebook.
They were initially founded as the Order of Reason in 1325, a group dedicated to the protection of humanity from the depredations of the supernatural – specifically Mages, and more specifically the Order of Hermes.
To the Technocracy, they are not at all related to other magickal Traditions. Enlightened Science works because it is tested and proven, not because someone simply believes its working. As they spread their craft across the world, working out kinks, improving their models, etc. The result is that many of their devices can become consensual and usable by Sleepers. Hyperscience, also called vulgar Technomancy, is seen as beta testing before the device can be used by the public. The Technocracy uses the Sphere Model espoused by the Traditions, although they see them more akin to different disciplines than metaphysical forces.
The success of the Union, in comparison to that of the Council of Nine, is in its ability to share with the public and with each other. Their early technomancers could not summon storms by hand or perform similar grand feats, so they were forced to share their resources and work together. Their offerings to the Masses were those of free health, peace, security, entertainment, and wealth, contrasting to the abstract ideals of the Traditions, like "inner peace" or "freedom". In time the human frailties such as need or pain would have been eliminated, allowing for the Mass Ascension for all of mankind.
The slogan "One World, One Truth, One Order" has many critics. The first among them is the Rogue Council who accuse the Technocracy of espousing blind Dogma in order to further their control. There are many Technocratic masters pulling the strings who have their own petty agendas, who have lost sight of the everyday world and who follow the centuries-old protocols and procedures that have been handed down, all without questioning whether such actions are right or just. Rather than allowing Sleepers to choose for themselves, it crushes competing paradigms that grow too influential, including independent scientific discoveries, alternate versions of government and radical economic theories. Many of its social and economic technologies are not based on scientific principles at all but on premises it itself created to propagate its methods of control.
|Artificers||Founding member||Inventors and Tinkers|
|Celestial Masters||Founding member||Astronomy|
|Hippocratic Circle||Cosian Circle||Medicine|
|High Guild||Founding member||Economics|
|Void Seekers||Founding member||Geography|
|Voltarian Order||Natural Philosophers' Guild||Energy|
The Technocracy sprang from the medieval Order of Reason, a group of honorable scientists that sought to end the tyranny of the supernatural over the common man. However, over time, the Order lost its original vision, as internal corruption, greed and the lack of popular support from the Masses weakened their foundation. One of their founding members, the Solificati, betrayed them from the start and in 1670, the Order was forced to eliminate the Craftmasons from its ranks, as well as the Cabal of Pure Thought in the 1830s. Most Daedalans focused on their own projects, making the Order unable to advance their schedule.
Victorian Age Edit
Prince Albert, a strong proponent of science and progress, led the reorganization of the faltering Order of Reason at the Great Exposition in London, and the group finally became known as the Technocratic Union. From the ashes of the old Conventions were created the following:
|Æsculpian Order||Hippocratic Circle||Medicine|
|Analytical Reckoners||Difference Engineers||Analysis of Information|
|Electrodyne Engineers||Voltarian Order||Energy|
|Explorators||Celestial Masters and Void Seekers||Geography and Astronomy|
|International Brotherhood of Mechanicians||Artificers||Mechanics|
|Invisible Exchequers||High Guild||Economics|
|Lightkeepers||supporters of the Cabal of Pure Thought||Education|
Groups within a larger Convention are called Guilds at this point.
Immediately following the reorganization, the next several decades proceeded with the newfound Union acting with a renewed sense of purpose and a strict Time Table headed by the Invisible College. However, there was strife developing within the Union. Two factions were forming; a more Utopian faction who simply wanted to use science to help better humanity, and a more oppressive faction who felt that what is considered "safe" for humanity would be dictated to it. This latter faction approved of such techniques as thought control, elimination of creativity among the masses, and the like.
Sadly, ten years after the creation of the Union, Prince Albert died. Queen Victoria's grief was overwhelming, and she continued to mourn him until she died. Perhaps spurred by a belief that she was continuing his work or doing as he would have wanted, she began to dabble with the nascent Union.
Great Housecleaning Edit
The first stirrings of change came in 1885 when Exchequer Reginald Proctor convinced her to set up a body called the Grand Council of World Government, with the goal of forming a single world government. Undoubtedly this body had an influence on the Union, but was not directly involved in its structure. The Inner Council expressed an interest in the ideals, but their enthusiasm is crushed with the death of the ancient Artisan Wolfgang von Reismann in the same year.
Around the same time (circa 1897), Basil Rathbone's Skeleton Keys came to the Queen's attention. The Keys were a secret society of law-enforcement officers who investigated supernatural events and eliminated the perpetrators when possible. By order of the Queen, the Skeleton Keys, and the Lightkeepers were united into a single entity, with a name hearkening back to the foundations of the Order of Reason: The Ivory Tower.
It is unknown at this time if the change in membership resulted in a coup of the oppressive faction within the Union, or if the Queen continued influencing the Union personally. Regardless, a dramatic shift Union-wide toward the oppressive faction was seen, and in a second reorganization called the Great Housecleaning the majority of the Conventions once again took new names.
|Electrodyne Engineers||Voltarian Order||Energy|
|Iteration X||International Brotherhood of Mechanicians||Mechanics|
|Ivory Tower||Lightkeepers||Education, Law Enforcement|
|Progenitors||Æsculpian Order||Organic sciences|
|Virtual Adepts||Analytical Reckoners||Information|
In 1904, the Technocracy voted to eliminate the concept of luminiferous ether from the Consensus, a message to the Electrodyne Engineers to stay in line. Although the ether was not central to their methods, it was an important part of the ideology of the Engineers. They rebelled and defected to the Traditions, taking a number of Technocratic secrets with them. Most of the remaining Utopians throughout the Technocracy joined them.
Throughout the Great War, especially whilst combating the depredations of former Electrodyne Engineer Czar Vargo, the Ivory Tower realized the need for subterfuge and guile, and thus created a sister-Methodology called the Operatives (picking up the Lightkeepers' Lantern). By the end of the War, the two groups combined became known as the New World Order.
During World War II, the Union largely supported the Axis powers. The idea of a regimented society appealed to many. The free flow of information the Adepts relied on, however, was mostly within the UK and North America. Thus the Virtual Adepts wanted to support the Allies while the Union as a whole supported the Axis – until the evidence of Nephandic influence became clear.
The Adepts were responsible for much of the communication with the Sons of Ether that led to the alliance between the Traditions and the Technocracy during WWII. Afterwards, many of the Adepts planned on leaving. This was further encouraged as Iteration X tried to prevent Adept Alan Turing from creating Virtual Reality. They parted with the Union in 1956, went into hiding for several years, and then formally joined the Traditions in 1961.
The Union was understandably upset. The Ascension War had begun.
Following the internal strife of World War II and the betrayal of Turing, Control streamlined the Union as intense as they could, enforcing the hierarchy of their creation with might on any possible dissenters. During the Ascension War, the Union focused on the assimilation and streamlining of Sleeper culture according to their designs, leading to the advent of fabrication realms like MECHA, that abused humans (Orphans in the case of MECHA) en masse for experiments and cheap labour force. HIT-Marks and genetically engineered beasts were formed to enforce the Pogrom, while the Union focused on the domination and destruction of the pesky Traditionalists.
The modern union is comprised of:
|Iteration X||International Brotherhood of Mechanicians||Mechanics, Engineering|
|New World Order||Ivory Tower||Information, Psychology|
|Progenitors||Æsculpian Order||Organic sciences|
Thanks to the discontent within the Traditions, the Union was able to launch an attack against Horizon itself with the aid of a renegade Hollow One. Their victory, however, was short-lived, as the Avatar Storm cut them off from their mundane posts. The Union declared the Ascension War won and refocused on recuperating its losses, leaving the Traditionalists scattered and (seemingly) broken. Many of the Conventions, Iteration X the first among them, experienced the heavy costs of the war and voted to redirect resources.
With the Reckoning and disruption in communications between Control and the lower ranks, the Utopian contingent has quietly been gaining more ground. It must remain stealthy and unobtrusive if it is to have a chance of succeeding. Control has also reacted to the formation of the Rogue Council by forming Panopticon, a cross-Convention Amalgam, to observe and hunt down the resistance against them. All Technocrats, however, feel that the current Consensus stifles even them. Mankind's dreams and aspirations are exhausted and Reason begins to falter, as scientific efforts abandon pure discovery to search for the next marketable novelty or managerial tool, putting them at risk of Paradox.
The Dimensional Anomaly severed the Union from many of its outer posts, further weakening Control. Most Conventions work separated from each other on their own projects, with some seeking to retake their umbral strongholds, while others try to enforce Control's mandates. Conflict between the N.W.O and the Syndicate brews, while the Void Engineers have discovered another dangerous threat that could destroy the Union from within.
To outsiders, the Union seems to be a vast monolith, while insiders see how fractured the Union really is, especially in the Final Nights. On the base of the Union are regular Sleepers that work for the Union as paid workers, but have no real knowledge of Hyperscience. Permanent employees are called Extraordinary Citizens, who are effectively technomantic hedge mages. These two groups work all across the Union and are part of every Convention.
After that, each Technocrat is assigned to an Amalgam, a work team similar to a Cabal. Every team of agents has a Supervisor who sends it into the field to act on the Union's behalf. A Supervisor can come from any one of the five Conventions, but one is usually chosen for his expertise in a specific field. NWO reps coordinate espionage, Progenitors supervise missions in which dangerous life forms threaten the world, Void Engineers dominate missions involving the Gauntlet, Syndicate reps manage the most profitable front operations and Iteration X officers excel at planning surgical strikes. Each amalgam may also enlist a coordinator, an agent who uses advanced Correspondence Procedures to maintain surveillance and communication within the team.
Protocol dictates what a Technocratic amalgam can and cannot do in the field. All agents should remember that the Technocracy is not a recognized legal enforcement agency. Although there are cells of citizens in the FBI, the CIA, and other similar societies, most Technocrats do not flash badges, acquire search warrants, or enforce mundane law (despite insistences from the Traditions). The Union follows its own code of behavior, the Precepts of Damian, although enforcement tends to vary on the dominant Convention and their overall loyalty to the Inner Circle.
Beyond that are the Symposia, groups that oversee geographical areas and oversee the procedures of the Time Table. They report to masters in Horizon Construct, who in turn answer to Control, the invisible Inner Circle of the Technocratic Union.
The hidden masters of the Technocracy are not named "Control" for nothing. If the loyalty of a Technocrat is wavering, he can expect some very pointed questions from his superior and – in the most extreme case – brainwashing. The Union has learned from the betrayal of the Electrodyne Engineers and the Virtual Adepts, as well as the internal chaos of the Union during the Second World War. Each Operative of the Union is classified according to Six Degrees of Separation, which codify the loyalty of the individual to the "One World, One Truth, One Order" goal of the Union.
The degrees are observed by Psych Ops, psychologists and doctors that offer succor to Technocrats who waver in their dedication to the technocratic goal after exposure to deviant behavior.
- Stage One: Indoctrination - mild fanaticism, fervor for the work
- Stage Two: Submission - submission to most minor Technocratic Procedures without resistance if they are administered by Control
- Stage Three: Suspicion - Distrust of anything outside the Technocratic paradigm, observance of one's allies of any sign of disloyalty
- Stage Four: Ostracism - total rejection of an individual based upon Control's orders
- Stage Five: Pacifism - ceasing of any aggression after Control's orders
- Stage Six: Conspiracy - Betrayal of even close friends to the Technocracy
There are four other Degrees applied only to especially notorious troublemakers
- Stage Seven: Alliance - Complete trust in a Technocratic superior
- Stage Eight: Rejection - Forgetting of any person, even including close family members
- Stage Nine: Devotion - Betrayal an object of his love or adoration, if necessary.
- Stage Ten: Reverence - complete submission to Control
Within the Union, there are two sentiments: The Utopians, who cling to the original vision of the Order of Reason, and the Loyalists, who submit themselves to Control.
Others are organizations of technomancers that were allies of the original Order of Reason and where not part of the various reorganizations. The Mokteshaf Al Nour and the Dalou'laoshi are two such groups who operate in the Middle East and East Asia, respectively. Most of these operate hidden and few members are even aware that these differing sects exist within the Union.