The Technocracy: the Nexus
- Prime: Home of the Technocracy
- Magic in the Technocracy
- The Nexus Power
Magic in the Technocracy
Like the rest of the Sable-Aurellis system, magic is available in the Technocracy. However, it is not the primary method of powering technology the way it is in Sable, for example. Technocracy magic is not as powerful as Sable/Aurellis magic, although it is related. To a visitor from either of the Poles, the worlds around Prime seem to have significantly weaker magical fields than they are used to. However, it is functional, and it is possible to go to college to study magic. Initiation to the Nexus is not obligatory for a graduate of the Prime Mage College.
Sensitives are those poeple who are only weakly Talented – i.e. their Talent isn’t strong enough to train at Bachelor level – or perhaps has a flawed Talent, which is strong but for some reason cannot be trained by normal means, but which manifests as some kind of unusual affinity or ability. This may be something they have from birth, or it may develop in later life due to specific stresses or experiences.
Sensitive abilities can take a number of different forms: examples include the ability to feel magical or other arcane emanations, to unerringly spot black magic and its practitioners, being particularly empathic as far as feeling strong emotions in others, an affinity for the psychic without actually being able to cast spells, being able to seek for something or attune to something and know where it is thereafter, or have what is known in common parlance as Second Sight. There are even some mages who demonstrate the characteristics of Sensitives, which has led to further debate on the nature of this particular ability.
Potential Magical Interface
To be a PMI, the candidate needs to have at least a Sensitive-equivalent level of Talent, and all Sensitives within the Technocracy are given the opportunity to study to be a Potential Magical Interface. They are taught the specific parts of Mech-Tech, Communications and Investigative magic that gives them the underlying grounding to take that a step further. As they aren’t Talented in the same way as a mage candidate, the methods taken to teach the PMI techniques vary, and it can take as much as a year to get them into the position where they could take the next step. This is the minimum required level of magic to become an Magical Interface.
This is pretty much the book version of sorcery, without the lynchpins but with the need to rack as spellcasting isn’t very fast. It is related to Sable magic in style and classification, although not all the spells and classes are available. About 70% of Technocracy mages are at this level, and this is the minimum magical ability required to become an Advanced Magical Interface
If a student wishes to become an Interface, then one of the disciplines they will have studied is the specific magics related to communications with the Nexus Core. This discipline allows them to establish a mental connection with the Nexus Core after about thirty-seconds’ thought. Once the connection is established, the link between Interface and Core is quite fast, although not instantaneous.
This is where 25% of the rest of the Technocracy mages are pitched. It cannot be reached without the candidate having a stronger-than-basic Talent. If a mage is to specialise in more than one or two areas of magic, they need to buy to at least this level of ability.
The major differences here are that spells only take four or five minutes to cast from scratch, and can be racked mentally – thus dispensing with the need for racking items – although about ten spells remains the upper limit of what can realistically be maintained. Development of new spells is faster, and the mages have a lot more flexibility in what they can do with them.
This is the highest level normally attainable for a normal, Shadow-blooded Technocracy mage. Only 5% or so of Talented individuals are good enough to reach this level of ability (or 1 in 20,000 of the Technocracy population).
Spells take just a couple of minutes to cast from scratch. Mental racking is again available, with maintenance taking slightly less time, and can be less frequent. The limit of the number of spells that can be held in mind is roughly doubled. Mages are also even quicker at working out new spells, or variations on old ones.
The “Nexus” is the name of the Power at the heart of the Technocracy, and is based around high-tech princples. The “Datastream” is the network of information compiled by the Nexus, its agents and equipment, and is gathered through both technological and magical means from the various worlds.
- On the Inside, more information is available on the Northern Hemisphere than the Southern, due to proximity, although its reach does extend towards the Empire and the Federation. Sysdaemon Lucy is also in (consensual) contact with the systems of the Elementis Worlds.
- On the Outside, information is collected at a number of Data Repositories across Shadow, located at significant points, and this information is transmitted via the External Datastream Network to Seconde. From there, it can be analysed, collated and transmitted Inside through the Nexus Communications Links established by Sysdaemon Lucy, with the assistance of the Aurellian God of Communications.
The lower levels of information within the Datastream can be retrieved by the people of Prime and its surrounding Shadows using dedicated terminals. To gain access to the middle and higher levels of data involves some degree of formal initiation to the Nexus.
The Nexus Power takes the form of a central computer-style Core, and it is the Nexus that reaches out into Shadow to discover the information that makes up the Datastream, and it also where the information is stored.
The Nexus Power
Open Initiation Levels
The lower levels of initiation to the Datastream/Nexus have no Bloodline requirement, although the personal assistance of Andrew, Helena-Maria or Lucy is required at the Technocrat Assisted level.
This is the lowest degree of direct initiation which can be undertaken to the Datastream. The candidate must have undertaken the magical training involved in communicating with the Core (equivalent to a 10pt Sensitive ability), and must be physically and mentally capable of assimilating the knowledge to be gained from the process (minimum Chaos in Psyche and Endurance). The actual initiation involves forming a link with a senior initiate of TA rank or higher, who will guide the candidate directly into the Datastream, rather than just using a terminal to access it.
Once the process is complete, the initiate can access the lower levels of information within the Datastream almost at will (albeit with a thirty-second delay to connect), wherever they are. It also instils an affinity with operating non-Nexus computer systems, such that the MI has an instinct about where to find non-restricted information in those systems and has a decent chance of locating it.
Advanced Magical Interface
This requires a more detailed understanding of magic (Bachelor of Magic level), and a higher physical capacity for assimilating the knowledge (minimum Chaos+5 in Psyche and Endurance). Access to information in the Core is quicker (the connection delay is merely a couple of seconds), and an AMI can process and analyse that information, rather than just retrieve it. They can also access the next-higher levels of information.
The affinity with operating non-Nexus computer systems improves, such that the AMI has a good chance of locating restricted information within those systems. AMIs are also able to operate the Nexus-powered vehicles which can travel between Shadows on either the Inside or the Outside (although they cannot transit between the two).
It is possible for those who are not Talented to interface directly with the Datastream by means of technology, should they choose to. The process includes the implantation of a small device within the back of the skull, attached to the spinal column. Candidates are not accepted for the procedure unless they’ve undergone considerable physical testing and training (minimum Chaos + 5 in Psyche, Strength and Endurance) to judge their chances of surviving the procedure, which inevitably carries some risk. The procedure itself is undertaken by specialist doctors on Prime, all of whom are, themselves, either Magical or Mecanical Interfaces.
Once the implant is successfully installed, it gives the wearer instant data access at the equivalent level of an Advanced Magical Interface. It also gives them the ability to operate the Nexus-powered vehicles which can travel between Shadows.
Technocrat Assisted (TA)
For TA initiation, magical training is unnecessary (although that doesn’t preclude magically trained interfaces from becoming TAs), as the initiation process forces the specific knowledge of magical communications with the Core (but not a full magical education) into the mind of the candidate. It is a risky process, however, and is therefore undertaken rarely. If the candidate’s mind or body are not strong enough to assimilate the information and knowledge received (minimum Amber in Psyche and C+5 Endurance), the candidate will either die, or go hopelessly and incurably insane.
The initiation involves a direct mental link with Andrew, Helena-Maria or Lucy, which temporarily transfers elements of their physical nature to the candidate (à la assisted Pattern walking in the ADRPG). This enables them to guide the candidate through the Nexus Power itself, rather than the Datastream around it, with a good chance of survival.
Successful initiation gives the TA the equivalent of AMI abilities wtih instantaneous access to the Datastream, as well as additional control over Nexus-based systems and access to further levels of information. It also instils the ability to “edge walk” through Shadow without a vehicle: a transport method akin to using the Broken Pattern. Moreover, the TA will know instinctively if they come into contact with an area or item influenced by the Machine, although they won’t necessarily be able to tell when the Machine was there. TAs can also initiate others at the Magical Interface level.
Restricted Initiation Levels
Basic initiation is the next step up from TA initiation, and is only available to TA initiates or direct descendents of the Prime Technocrat. As well as incorporating TA abilities and giving the initiate access to all the information within the Datastream (unless specifically restricted by Andrew, Helena-Maria or Lucy), Basic initiation gives certain abilities comparable to Pattern or Logrus:
- Defence against other Powers.
- An improved ability to move through Shadow via ‘edge walking’, without the need for a vehicle.
- Calculating and potentially affecting the probabilities of certain things occurring.
- Locating generic items in Shadow (although not specific items and people, i.e. you can find an army, but you can’t find the Duke of Wellington and the Peninsula Army).
- Permanent access to the Datastream for data retrieval and processing, etc.
- An inherent knowledge of where and when the Machine may have affected (and infected!) a location or item.
- An inherent knowledge of temporal inconsistencies (but not the ability to affect or travel in time) in close proximity, and the ability to find them.
As well as incorporating all the Basic abilities, Advanced initiation adds the following:
- Communicating with and guiding others within the Datastream, including direct conversations with Lucy.
- Hellriding (travelling to a specific location very quickly).
- Seeking for specific people or items in Shadow (but not items of Power).
- Remote scanning/far seeing – i.e. the initiate can look for something from a distance, although the range is restricted to within fifteen Shadow Veils of the initiate.
- Instantaneous transport within fifteen Shadow Veils.
- The ability to hold spells within the Nexus matrix to speed up the casting of them.
- Advanced initiates also have sensitivity to the use of other Powers (e.g. Pattern, Logrus), as well as the Machine.
- An inherent knowledge of temporal inconsistencies (but not the ability to affect or travel in time) within fifteen Veils, and the ability to walk to them.
Corrupted Data Sites
Given that Powers have a tendency to generate a certain number of inferior copies, the existence has been mooted of so-called ‘Corrupted Data Sites’, as potentially inferior versions of the Nexus and the Datastream. It is unclear how many of these there may be, if they exist at all. Suggestions of their nature include an incomplete or corrupted copy of the Core Datastream, which can be accessed by suitable initiates but with sometimes unusual results; and the possibility that initiates may be able to ‘edge walk’, although the co-ordinates calculated for their destinations may not be entirely accurate. It is also unknown whether magical ability is needed to access the CDS datastreams.