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The Civil War- When Conspiracies Fall

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  • #31
    The Merrick Institute

    usually, when explore a potential Civil War, it is done for the point of the ones in power- the conspiracy's well established and powerful leadership is seen as the original, true heart of the organization, where the rebels are usurpers who are usually touched by some sort of radicalism mixed in their realism. Most of the times, the older base of the conspiracy is "right", while the new branch is misguided at best or manipulated at worst. After all, conspiracies have became what they are only because of their willingness to make sacrifices for the greater good- they are not evil, by their core principle. Those who try to wage war against their values may act out of good intentions, but everyone know to where that road leads. Waging an internal war against your own people simply because you cant accept the harsh reality of the world only cause more damage than good. For that reason, the main characters on the stage are almost always the original, major players of the game.

    Well, usually.

    The Merrick Institute is, in many ways, the usurper branch of a much larger conspiracy. Their existence is the form of a Civil War they wage against the ones to torment them, the elusive organization which shifts names and forms as quickly as if it was mist. The organization's core ideals were to use those children in order to take over Beasts and turn them into weapons, all in the name of protecting the US and maintaining its supremacy. Sure, it had to do some horrible, horrible things in order to achieve that cause- but all conspiracies do. All in all, there is no real difference between the organization forcing children into soldiers, the Knights of St George sending witches to the Void or the Malleus's leader addicting other members to vampire blood. People are doing terrible things for the right reasons, there is no reason why you shouldn't take the organization's side, right?

    On the other hand, they do torment children.

    At any case, here we have a canon, all out Civil War waged between the children of Merrick and the organization itself. Everyone would naturally be on the side of the children- but lets explore the other side. What motivate someone to kidnap teens and conduct experiments upon them? Protecting their nation and taking over potential weapon of mass destruction for the use of your country. Who are you going to play in that situation? The scientists who preform those experiments? Most likely not- as they are more concerned at making better weapons in the hands of the US than actually going out and hunting monsters. Children devoted to Merrick's cause? Most who do are brainwashed and bound to the service of the conspiracy against their will, not something very playable. However, the Nameless Organization (was it would be called here) has more than just one project. Yes, for many years it dependent on the kids as a weapon- but with that weapon getting out of control and turning against them they are going to lose much power, if not face destruction. Yet, the Nameless are nothing but adaptable, and just as they know how to change their name and face, they have also learned how to change their methods. No, they are still going to need those children. Their research was long based around them, and starting from scratch would probably ruin the conspiracy- not to mention that those children still try to destroy them, out of their own idealistic dream and petty vengeance.

    No, their means are all the same. It is simply the method which is different. The kids are weapons no more.

    They are power sources.

    Using the same technology which they used to hack the minds of the teens, the Nameless's scientists have worked to create another application for them- instead of projecting their soul to the dreamworld, they would bind it to their body, turning it into a path for other to go through. That would allow other, specialized agents which were trained in advanced and are tough enough to handle the harsh truths of the world to project themselves to the Dream. Of course, they are not going to tell them the truth- they are wise enough to know that there aren't many people who are willing to abuse children in the same way they do. Instead, they use one of their many monikers to recruit new hunters to their service and give them access to A.I.P.I- Artificial Intelligence Projection Interface.

    Each agent gains his own device containing a certain AI which creates a bond between them and the Dream and serves as their guide in that otherworld. The AI is quit an advanced program, fully personalized for the hunter and if quit capable in terms of communication- many would even claim it is so real, it is almost like talking with a real person. Each of those AIs have a code-name, usually taken from a Greek letter- Alpha, Beta, Epsilon- but sometimes, the program malfunction a bit, demanding to be called by a different name- like Vicky, or Daniel. The hunters are encouraged to ignore that and just go along. After all, would they want to know that the voice they hear in their head belongs to another child, bound to constant suffering? No, I didn't thought they would.
    Those agents are quit focused around their work- they project themselves to the Dream, as their AI takes a form of glowing face or wisp of light, giving them general information and advice. They fight those terrors and track them down in the real world- as their goal is not to kill, but capture. Those titans of legend has great uses for the US alive more than dead, after all. Lately, some new agents have been granted a much more vicious A.I.P.I- although most o those prototypes eventually fail, leaving the hunter trapped in the Dream without the ability to go back.. or worse. More than once such A.I.P.I has taken over its hunter, going out to a murderous rage against its former operators and cellmates. The regular AI does not seem to suffer from such malfunction, however, and thanks to the fractured Organization's structure, very rarely such failures become well known enough to upset operators of other A.I.

    While the beasts take their main focus of attention, another unexpected threat seems to lurk for the unwary hunters. Children, roaming the Dream carelessly and attack any hunter they stumble upon in their wake. The Organization claim them to be children who, for one reason or another, were traumatized and got their souls projected to the Dream, and were driven mad because of it. That trauma has caused a certain constant paranoia, which out of the influence of the Dream took life of its own in the form of shared hallucination (or what the Organization calls the "Merrick Syndrome"). Worse, because of some resonance which is produced between the minds of those children and certain waves generated by the A.I.P.I, those under the Merrick Syndrome associate their paranoia with the Organization's agents, encouraging them to attack them at sight. Thankfully, it is not an irreversible process- and the conspiracy, with its technology and great understanding of the Dream, is able to remove that syndrome, return the minds of those children back to their bodies permanently and allow them to live normal, regular life. All you have to do is capture those teens and bring them to one of the conspiracy's laboratories. Sure, it takes a lot of efforts from the Organization's side, and it cost them a descent amount of resources without any payment- but they do it nevertheless.

    After all, who could be cold enough to turn a blind eye to suffering children?

    Now, Status wise, the Organization and Merrick are quit two different organizations- at first dot, hunters of the Nameless gain access to their Endowment, A.I.P.I. The 3 dot bonus grants 3 dots of Contacts among governmental facilities or other "off the grid" organization in the service of the government, representing the Organization's fractured nature and the many faces it takes. At 5 dots, the hunter gains the trust of the Organization enough to get a special upgrade to their AI- one which allows them to meld with its conscience in the real world. Hunters with that upgrade can now manifest uses of their Endowment in the real world, although each use causes one level of Bashing Damage (doubled for Failure, Lethal for Dramatic Failure, nothing for Exceptional Success).

    Now, for the Endowment itself- thanks for the use of A.I.P.I, the hunters may use Dreamscape with certain changes. First, they don't need any help in order to project themselves to the Dream. No lab, no outside supporter, not external equipment- the AI implanted in their skull is all they need to project themselves to the dreamworld. The roll itself is still needed, however. On the other hand, their abilities are not really their own to use- they are the abilities of their AI, which are simply channeled through their body and soul. A.I.P.I has a safety plug for the hunter's own protection from over-channeling, which makes sure that they won’t be harmed from it. Hunters can only have total of 5 dots at Dreamscape, no matter which sub-use of the Endowment it is. Hunters can, however, gain temporary access to higher dots, but they have to pay for this- with blood. They may self inflict themselves one level of Bashing damage (to their real body, not projected self) in order to rise their Endowment's rating by one dot for a Scene. That effect could be used a number of times in a Scene. On the other hand, There is an upside- A.I.P.I users do enjoy the 10- Again rule when suffering from Soul Shocked, as the A.I.P.I acts as a air bag to soften their "fall". While the A.I.P.I is manifested in the Dream and active at all time, in the real world the hunter has to expand a Willpower point in order to communicate with it for a Scene. A.I.P.I are usually friendly toward their hunter, yet they do not reveal any of the conspiracy's secrets to them.
    Last edited by LostLight; 02-17-2017, 08:38 AM.

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