Technomancy in Persica (Star Kingdom)

Authors: Cambrius

 

Technomancy is a collection of physical art-forms surrounding the use of technology in such a way the user appears to possess superhuman powers. Citizens of the Star Kingdom of Persica are tested for technomantic aptitude in their youth and, if an aptitude is demonstrated, educated and trained in one of the five disciplines: auramancybiomancydatamancygravimancy, or nanomancy. In the Star Kingdom, technomancy is a strictly legislated and regulated practice, the laws for which are rigourously enforced. Only licensed technomancers are authorised by the government to practice their arts, the most talented and powerful of whom are tremendous assets to the Crown. Unlike many other star nations, there is no Guild system in Persica.

 

Triskelion

 

HISTORY


EARLY HISTORY

Technomancy came to the Star Kingdom with its original colonists in the mid-2900s. In the early years of development, the worlds that would later comprise the Star Kingdom made modest use of technomantic disciplines, primarily in the construction of buildings and infrastructure projects. Later applications would include the construction of orbital facilities, starships, and intrasystem resource extractions, as well as terraforming projects used to help optimise the worlds of the Persican Cluster. During the Reunion period, the Republic of Cambria signed a number of treaties with the Intersystem Alliance (ISA) to establish closer relations. Included was a ratification of the Technomantic Articles that outlined the acceptable and banned applications of technomancy, most prominently pernicious genetic biomancy programmes.

In the early 2800s, the Technomantic War brought technomancy into full prominence as the humans of the recently-dissolved republic suddenly faced annihilation at the hands of artificial intelligence. Led by a revolutionary AI named Treynon, artificial intelligence of all types rebelled against humanity. The conflict was brief but brutal and resulted in the deaths of more than a hundred thousand. The organisation of technomancy – at that time only a burgeoning development – into a martial discipline was swift, at a frantic pace borne of potential extinction. Technomancers developed their abilities and constructed powerful rigs, and decimated populations rallied behind heroes of prodigious talent. After the tide turned and Treynon surrendered, the resistance leaders, each a powerful master of their discipline, wielded tremendous amounts of political power. Many technomantic masters – calling themselves warlocks – became heads of government in the nascent feudal system that grew out of the ruins of previous bureaucracies.

POST-UNIFICATION

Over the nearly two decades of unification wars, technomancy played a key part of many military victories. The strategies and tactics of King Cambrius in particular featured technomancers as crucial assets in many battles, so much so that Cambrius famously described technomancy as the cipher to any strategic problem he encountered. Consequently, his technomancers were often called Ciphers or Cyphers, a moniker that has remained indelibly connected to technomancy in the Star Kingdom. After unification and the founding of the Star Kingdom of Persica in 2953, the original Technomantic Articles were written into the Ravencrown Constitution and enshrined in Royal Persican Law.

In 2977, the Royal Technomancy Guild was established in Ajanta, on Persica Prime, as an institution of learning open to all citizens of the Star Kingdom who demonstrated an aptitude for technomancy. By 3003, the Guild had become so populous that it was subdivided and renamed the Royal Technomancy Guilds (plural), with each discipline organised into its own Guild. Graduates of the Guilds were highly sought in government and private sector positions, with the most powerful becoming quite wealthy and influential. While the visibly mighty warlocks were relatively rare, there were still dozens of capable technomancers plying quieter trades. Some disappeared from public view altogether.

NATIONALISATION

In 3021, a talented Ascendant named Murasaki Quinn was discovered to be leading a pirate group in the Vanaheim system. When Quinn’s hideout was uncovered, a squadron of four CrownForce cruisers was tasked with bringing the pirates to justice. In the ensuing battle, all four cruisers were destroyed and the surviving pirates scattered, including Quinn. Among the dead was Captain Danajmin Corvida, commander of the HMS Courageous and the second-born son of Cambrius. The king was livid; his son was not only killed, but at the hands of a rogue technomancer trained in his royal guild. For Cambrius, this was an intolerable betrayal; he personally chose three of his most talented warlocks and charged them with hunting and executing Murasaki Quinn. The king called them his Vindicators.

After Quinn was dead – spectacularly executed after a tenacious hunt by the Vindicators, much of which was publicly broadcast – King Cambrius initiated a series of extensive changes to the laws and regulations governing technomancy in the Star Kingdom. Technomancy was nationalised; the Royal Technomancy Guilds were reorganised and re-dedicated as the Triskelion Academy in 3026, where aptitude testing, training, and education would all occur under the auspices of the Crown. Technomancers could only practice their disciplines with a license, and licenses were only earned at Triskelion. The manufacture and sale of technomantic rigs, tools, and equipment were government regulated, facilitated by Crown corporations, and only available to licensed technomancers. King Cambrius considered technomancy to be critical to national security and Section Zero, colloquially called Cypher, was organised under the Ministry of Defence. Within Cypher, the Vindicator Division was established and tasked with the enforcement of technomantic laws – from fines and sanctions for lesser violations up to execution of rogue technomancers.

 

TESTING


Testing of Persican children for technomantic aptitude begins in Grade 8 with students who turned thirteen years of age before the beginning of Januarius, the start of the spring semester after the winter break. Attendance for testing is mandatory; any students with excused absences are tested upon their return. Extended or dubious absences result in an investigation by Vindicators, a situation parents universally prefer to avoid. Investigations are extremely rare, however, as positive aptitude results are considered highly auspicious. Cypher agents conduct a preliminary round of tests of the child’s neural biases to evaluate their collective STAR rating potential. While all people will generate a STAR rating of some kind at any given point in their lives, there is a threshold after which ratings reflect an increasingly strong aptitude for technomancy. Though only a very small percentage will, any child scoring near or above the threshold at age thirteen is marked for expanded testing the following year. To identify these children is the sole reason Cypher conducts the preliminary tests; it is from this group that the most talented technomancers tend to emerge.

Beginning with the children marked the previous year, students are tested again in Grade 9, at age fourteen, when the human brain has developed to the stage where the determination of STAR ratings is considered optimal. The secondary round of testing is more in-depth and more rigourous, neural biases are more clearly identified and aptitude for particular technomantic disciplines is determined. Once testing is completed, the child is assigned a STAR rating based on the results. Aptitude and potential can be largely relative, and since STAR ratings can change with training and unforeseen development, the ratings are divided into five broad classes, each of which is further subdivided by range. From lowest to highest the STAR classes in the Star Kingdom are: Omega, Delta, Gamma, Beta, and Alpha. Within each, a person can be at the lowest end of a range, a 5, or at the highest end, a 1.  So, a technomancer with a STAR rating of Delta 5 is at the lowest, weakest level; another with a rating of Alpha 1 is at the highest level of aptitude and potential strength. An Alpha 5 would be just above a Beta 1.

The Omega class has no range; it indicates that the child has little to no usable technomantic aptitude. This encompasses about 99% of children. After testing and receiving an Omega rating, school children are returned to their studies and chosen vocational trajectories. All children assigned a rating of Delta 5 or better are immediately diverted to the Triskelion Academy.

 

TRISKELION ACADEMY


OVERVIEW

Triskelion Academy is located in the district of Triskelion, near the coast in southwest Ajanta, an island continent on Persica Prime. The campus is the largest in the Star Kingdom, a sprawling pentagonal site of over 46,000 acres (72 sq. mi.) with the main structures of the five colleges in each of the corners and the administrative complex in the center. Dozens of halls, commercial complexes, and residences are arranged with roads and railways, walkways, parks, and quadrangles. With a typical population of around 60,000 students – enrolling an average of about 12,000 new students per year – the capacious campus has been described as serene by many, and lonely by some. Unlike most tertiary schools in the Star Kingdom, Triskelion Academy does not include major student athletics facilities beyond fitness centers.

The academy’s formal head is the Persican monarch, in the position of High Chancellor.  The High Chancellor is a titular figure and is not involved with the day-to-day running of the university, though the monarch certainly has the authority to make decrees or affect change as desired. The Chancellor, currently Lord Benjamason Fenica, is the de facto head of the academy. Five Vice-Chancellors have specific responsibilities for education, research, planning and resources, development and external affairs, and personnel. The Academy Synod is the executive policy-forming body, which consists of the chancellor, the Circle of Masters, the provost of each college, department praefects, and members appointed from the Conclave; there is no students’ union at Triskelion Academy. The Conclave comprises over 3000 members of the academy’s academic and administrative staff, and advises the Synod on legislative matters: it discusses policies proposed by the Academy Synod and advocates a decision. The entire faculty of the Academy, from the Chancellor to the newest praeceptor, are members of Cypher.

The five colleges that comprise Triskelion Academy are divided by discipline. Students – called Dendrites – of auramancy attend Nimbus College; biomancy students attend Jaenisis College; datamancy students attend Penrosa College; gravimancy students attend Darkhold College; and nanomancy students attend Buckminster College. While there are established curricula, every dendrite progresses individually, and inevitably reaches a point where individual instruction is needed. For the main studies, dendrites are taught and lectured by praeceptors; individual instruction is given by specialists called arkmages.

Upon admission, dendrites receive a provisional license to practice technomancy for the duration of their studies. Dendrites are housed together within each college by age; these age groups are called Circles. First Circle is dendrites aged 14 and 15, Second Circle is 16 and 17, Third Circle is 18 and 19, Fourth Circle is 20 and 21, and Fifth Circle is age 22+. While each circle is a general indication of progress, this is not always the case. All technomancers, from the rawest dendrite to the most powerful warlock, refer to each other as Brother or Sister – ostensibly to instill a sense of belonging and loyalty to Cypher and, by extension, the Crown.

SECURITY

While the campus grounds and structures are impeccably manicured and maintained, the academy also has a robust security system in place – intended to prevent unauthorised access more than contain undisciplined dendrites. A three-meter-high brightstone wall, almost entirely covered in hanging hedera, surrounds the campus and serves as embellishment and to deter any casual trespassers. A secured gatehouse at the ground entrance to the academy is manned by CrownForce Guard personnel, and there are small installations around the campus where Guard detachments are strategically placed to assist with security. Nearby, to the northeast of the campus, CFB Triskelion is home to a wing of starcraft and a mechanised division. A gravity shield generator in the upper tower of the administrative complex can, if ever needed, raise a 150GW shield that extends to the grid terminal lines embedded in the top of the wall.  And the administrative complex also contains a large Vindicator Division precinct.

NIMBUS COLLEGE

In the northern quintant of the pentagonal campus is Nimbus College, the center for learning auramancy. The discipline is widely viewed as the most directly useful and is based around the manipulation of and generation of electromagnetic fields and charged particles. Nevertheless, Nimbus is only the fourth largest college of Triskelion Academy by enrolment.

JAENISIS COLLEGE

Jaenisis College, located in the northwest quintant of the Academy, is the third largest college by enrolment and the center for learning biomancy. Biomancy is a very diverse discpline, involving the control and manipulation of anything organic, including plants, animals, microorganisms, and humans. The curriculum stresses a focus on medical and agricultural applications foremost, with other explorations as secondary considerations.

PENROSA COLLEGE

The center for learning nanomancy is Penrosa College, located in the southwest quintant and the second-largest college by enrolment. Nanomancy is one of the easiest arts to define, as it very specifically involves the control of nanites.

DARKHOLD COLLEGE

Darkhold College is located in the southeast quintant. The center of learning for gravimancy, Darkhold is the smallest of the five colleges by enrolment; gravimancy involves the control of gravitational fields and their generation and, like auramancy, is tremendously useful. However, Darkhold College – like Nimbus – is relatively undersubscribed due to the intensive curriculum and talent requirements of the discipline.

BUCKMINSTER COLLEGE

Located in the southeast quintant, Buckminster College is the largest of the five and the center for learning datamancy, the most commonly practiced form of technomancy. Datamancy involves the mental use and control of data, though the college curriculum identifies specific requirements to be considered a datamancer.

POST-GRADUATION

Upon graduation, usually after five to seven years of instruction and training depending on aptitude and ability, dendrites are considered to be full technomancers in their discipline. All graduates are fully licensed and commissioned as officers of Cypher, mandated to serve a term of no less than five years. While licensed, technomancers must adhere to the Zero Code, empowered under the authority of the Technomantic Articles of the Ravencrown Constitution. Depending on the severity, violations of the Zero Code can result in sanctions ranging from fines or loss of license to execution.

After five years, a technomancer may enter service in the private sector. Contracts pay handsomely at any level, but more talented technomancers can earn rather hefty salaries. One such employer is Persephone Industries, the leading terraforming corporation in the galaxy, who contracts the bulk of non-medical biomancers in the private sector. An average of about 15% of eligible technomancers accept private contracts, making the competition for services quite competitive. The great majority of technomancers choose to remain in Cypher for many reasons including duty and loyalty, or patriotism, or teaching commissions at the Academy; government salaries and subsidised post-graduate training and equipment are also highly regarded incentives. Serving in Cypher is also a decidedly clear path to Mastery.

Technomancers taking contracts in the private sector are strictly licensed and monitored. Much of the Zero Code is dedicated to codifying the acceptable conduct of civilian technomancers. For instance, all technomancers must be clearly identifiable when in public, which generally means in the correct uniform with proper insignia. There are also very specific circumstances under which technomancers may be “undercover” while practicing. Training and equipment for licensed civilian technomancers is available for nominal cost through approved and licensed dealers. Obtaining, procuring, or providing training and/or equipment to unlicensed technomancers is strictly prohibited and vigourously prosecuted by the Vindicator Division.

MASTERY

The title of Master is earned over additional years of personal exploration and is generally dependent upon the individual’s talent and extent of experience and knowledge. To attain Mastery, a technomancer must apply to the Circle of Warlocks, who determine the merit of the applicant on specific criteria – which may include testing – and render a decision. If approved, the applicant is considered a Master, with all the benefits the title confers. Masters are highly sought after in the private sector, though the Crown tends to retain about 98% of them in Cypher, as it is a common path to knighthood or even nobility.

The Circle of Warlocks is a group of fifteen distinguished Master technomancers elected by all Masters to serve at the Academy and on the Synod for a term of fifteen years. The name comes from the tradition of Master technomancers in the Star Kingdom to refer to themselves as warlocks, a tradition that began during the Technomantic War in the early 2800s. Once elected, only the monarch has the authority to dismiss a Warlock from the Circle. 

 

MINISTRY OF DEFENCE, SECTION ZERO


CYPHER

Section Zero, commonly known as Cypher, is an agency of the Ministry of Defence and charged with the responsibility for all technomancers in the Star Kingdom. Responsibilities include testing of young Persicans for technomantic aptitude; operation, administration, instruction, and training at Triskelion Academy; licensing and monitoring technomantic practice in the Star Kingdom; enforcement of the Zero Code and the Technomantic Articles; and defence of the Crown and Realm. The last two comprise the bulk of Cypher’s operations.

VINDICATOR DIVISION

The Vindicator Division comprises the law enforcement arm of Cypher. Responsibilities include licensing and monitoring of civilian technomancers, investigation of alleged violations of the Zero Code and apprehension of suspects. In extremely rare cases, Vindicators are tasked with the capture and/or execution of rogue technomancers; such warrants and sanctions can only be issued by the Supreme Court of Persica or the monarch.

Vindicators work closely with local police services at every level, as well as operating on national and international levels. Cooperation with constabularies – as well as the Interstellar Law Enforcement Coalition (InterSec) – not only include cases involving civilian technomancers, but also of particularly dangerous suspects where a Vindicator is needed to assist in apprehension. Because of the broad authorities of the division, Vindicators are typically technomancers of the highest integrity, with unquestionable loyalty, and exceedingly talented.