The place for humanity is the stars. Not only is the Earth too small by far, but it is dying, just look around, and you can see that. Pollution, crime, war: society is tearing itself apart, and it is taking our world with it. No matter, for we have seen the glory of the universe. Humanity (or the better parts of it, anyway) can settle where we have explored. We have already released primitive rocket-technology to the Masses; soon we will begin to encourage mundane versions of our Deep Universe vessels. When humans have settled on a dozen worlds, the problems of Earth will no longer seem so important. As for us, what will we do then? We have always been explorers. Even before our work settling the near worlds is done, we will be gone again, pushing the frontiers of knowledge. We hope some of the Masses will come with us, for Unity lies in seeking.
Wanderlust is as old as humanity itself, and the Void Engineers trace their roots to the earliest explorers who went looking over the next hill or crossed into the spirit realm. They like to point out that millennia before the rise of cities or the mastery of metal, enterprising humans had spread from their African cradle to every continent of earth, a mighty testament to their curiosity and foresight. Wanderlust did not end with the creation of city-states and empires; in every land, explorers hungered for unknown sights, and what was old territory to one civilization was terra incognita to another. The circulation of explorers and knowledge from one land to another led to trade, profit, war – and Enlightenment.
By the time of the Roman Empire, organized guilds of explorers had formed in the port cities of the Mediterranean. They preserved and codified the arts of their forerunners, expressed in symbols of power drawn from their profession: the rope, the sail, the wave, the wind, the map and the naming of the unknown. The fall of the western Empire crippled their vitality for a time, as even the Byzantine provinces suffered from a decline of sea trade. During the later Middle Ages, however, the guilds began to grow again, aided by the mercantile culture of Italy and the cosmopolitan markets of the Islamic city-states. Increasingly, these guilds worked together to strengthen their mutual interests, in time becoming known as the Void Seekers.
In 1851, the Celestial Masters, the Void Seekers, and the larger Order, underwent reorganization and emerged as the Technocratic Union. The Masters and Seekers were combined and re-christened as the Explorators. This lasted until the later years of the 19th century, when the Union overhauled itself yet again. The Explorators became the Void Engineers.
Of the entire Technocracy, the Void Engineers are one of the few groups not depicted as being entirely villainous. This in part stems from their relatively tolerant views. For example, they view the digital conflicts with the Sons of Ether in a very sporting manner, much to the annoyance of their colleagues in the Technocracy. Most depictions of the Engineers paint them as being free spirited and as the only Technocrats who place more faith in the Technocracy's initial noble goals than in the oppressive policies of some of their colleagues.
The Void Engineers pursue a special brand of science they call Technology (with a capital "T"). Unlike earthly technology, Technology is suffused with a sense of wonder and possibility. This is not to say that all Technology is shiny and covered in blinking lights; scuffed paint, worn cables and patched hulls are just as common, but all Engineer equipment is fantastic, even if it looks more like Star Wars than Star Trek. On their ships and in their Realms, Technology blends into a seamless whole of mundane technology, apparatuses and devices, many of which do not require an Enlightened user to operate. Most Technology is extremely vulgar on Earth, and when visiting the "mudball," many Engineers use the subdued, hidden equipment common to other Conventions. Void Engineers who have lived too long in space often forget what is and is not acceptable to static reality, and for that reason, they carry small devices that warn them if they are about to overstep reality's safe limits.
The hallmarks of Void Engineer Technology are their command of Correspondence and Dimensional Science (or DS). Void Engineer DS differs greatly from the Traditions' Spirit Sphere. Void Engineers find it easiest to access alternate dimensions in high-technology areas such as Constructs and laboratories. Conversely, they find it almost impossible to use DS in natural areas such as Caerns and primal Nodes. DS holds that the atmosphere of the Near Universe (or Near Umbra) is poisonous, and when travelling beyond the Penumbra, Void Engineers must carry their own supply of atmosphere. If the Near Umbra is poisonous, the Deep Umbra is a vacuum. Once past the Horizon, most Engineers find it necessary to use sealed suits or ships to breathe and avoid explosive decompression, even if Tradition mages do not. When different travellers meet, the result is often incongruities, as when an armored and suited space marine crosses the "cold and lifeless" surface of Europa, only to find a naked Dreamspeaker sitting by a fire. The Engineers also have a small number of Prime specialists who sanitize nodes and create Horizon Realms, a feat many other Conventions still cannot match.
The Void Engineers are a loosely structured Convention. For the most part, they make no distinction between un-Enlightened and Enlightened personnel – although only the latter assume positions of leadership regularly. The lower-ranking Engineers are the Technicians and the enlisted Marines, who are rarely, if ever, Enlightened. The higher ranks are a mixture of Enlightened and un-Enlightened personnel.
Engineer recruits not destined to become Technicians or Marines begin as Cadets (also called Students), before graduating to one of four specialties: Enforcers (who defend the Convention on missions and the Union on Earth and who often lead Marines into combat), Explorers (who chart new territory), Investigators (who pursue scientific interests), and Researchers (who develop new Technology). Most Engineers never achieve or even desire for rank beyond these titles, but those who do become Coordinators, overseers of Void Engineer co-ops, Constructs, and/or ships. Coordinating is often a thankless office with administrative responsibility but little actual power – the Engineers are a fractious lot, and most of their co-ops operate by vote and consensus, whatever the rules say.
The Convention as a whole bows only to the Dimensional Science Evaluation, Administration and Training Committee (or DSEATC), a group of ancient Engineers based in the Cop. The DSEATC maintains regular communications with the rest of the Convention, despite recent difficulties in sending hyperspatial messages to Earth from the deep reaches.
- Border Corps Division
- Earth Frontier Division
- Aquatic Exploration Teams
- Cryoregional Specialists
- Hydrothermal Botanical Mosaic Analysts
- Inaccessible High Elevation Exploration Teams
- Subterranean Exploration Corps
- Neutralization Specialist Corps
- Neutralization Specialists
- Enforcement Training and Conditioning Agency
- Department of Psychological Evaluation and Maintenance
- Pan-Dimensional Corps
- Deep Exploration Teams
- Solar Exploration Teams
- Research & Execution
- Terrell Kree, who rediscovered Qian-Chengshi orbiting the sun opposite Earth and named the inhabitants "Autochthonians", from which the realm's new nickname, Autochthonia, is derived
- Captain Carey Bassette, from the Anastasia Umbral dreadnought ship
- Xerxes Jones, whose experiment with nuclear relics helped cause the Sixth Great Maelstrom
In Revised Edition the DSEATC has been replaced by the ETD or Existential Threats Division; the Engineers have also become far more militant as a Convention, have ceased notions of leaving the Technocracy, and are feeling the pressures of the war against Threat Null.
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|Conventions of the Technocratic Union|
|Iteration X · New World Order · Progenitors · Syndicate · Void Engineers|