Mage 2069: No Strings Attached

2025: After a quarter-century in hiding, the Traditions launch a new phase in the Ascension War (which never truly ended) - or a desperate last roll of the dice, depending who you ask. Riding Etherite spacecraft, an army of (mostly) Hermetics strikes at Autochthonia. The Machine World is blown apart, and The Computer is destroyed. Meanwhile, a concerted Virtual Adept effort ("Yeah, and a herd of cats" says one Hermetic) rips ultimate control of the Digital Web and the mundane Internet from the hands of the greyfaces. Oh, and a bunch of new TV series are announced - all of them heavily influenced by the Ecstatics and Akashics, and full of mockery and propaganda against the very ideas of cyborgs and Men in Black.

In the party that follows, a bunch of stoned Ecstatics work up a ritual designed to obliterate Autochthonia from the very past of the Tellurian.

2030: The Ascension War is over, and the Technocracy won. Paradox took the Ecstatics to pieces, obliterating their paradigm as they obliterated Autochthonia. Faced with the loss of the 'net, the Technocracy - which had never liked its decentralised anarchy anyway - simply downgraded its importance and pushed it aside. (By 2040, it was all but forgotten - a poor-quality communications medium for a few computer buffs - while most sleepers had reverted to the slicker, more hierarchical and unidirectional medium of television.) As for the image problem - a bunch of Syndicate marketing consultants handled that. Black suits had been looking passé for years, anyway. Nifty stylised uniforms in primary colours are now the order of the day, while cyborgs - always horribly expensive and paradox-prone - were quietly dumped.

2050: The Traditions admit defeat, withdrawing to horizon realms and the deep umbra to die out. The only exception are some of the Sons of the Ether, who find that they quite like the new world that a more relaxed, Computer-free Technocracy is building, and arrange a truce which will bring them back into the mainstream within a generation.

The only snag is that a few minor Umbrood have slipped through the Gauntlet while the Technocracy were distracted, settling certain worlds near to Earth in the Deep Umbra and even building cities in the depths of Earth's own oceans. Well, the Void Engineers' increasingly public front organisations can deal with them.

2069: The Technocracy are pretty happy; tomorrow belongs to them, and it's a pretty nice place. Sure, the Etherite influence is a pain at times; it seems that every new engineering megaproject has a stupid flaw (like the aircraft that always crash on their maiden flights, and the giant skyscrapers that catch fire and burn down after 10 mph fender-benders in the basement), but an elite team of freelance Iteration X agents (based on an island in the South Pacific) somehow manages to nail those problems every time. High-powered combat vehicles (built by the Iterators, crewed by Void elite) deal with most of the renegade Umbrood, no sweat.

Then comes a serious incursion. Mars is about to be fully incorporated into the Consensus, and the Technocracy sends the last and greatest Man in Black to oversee the process. However, just as he arrives, some really weird and deadly beings also show up there. Beings from a realm in which Entropy itself - behaves differently. Beings whose effective powers over the spheres leave the run of technocratic agents trailing, and who prove able to subvert that human agent in place by main force. Fortunately, these beings often seem as nonplussed by the human realm as humans are by them, and launch a "War of Nerves", a series of experiments to determine the true scope and nature of humanity. A hastily-organised technocratic response, a team of men and women definitely not in black, run from a flying base above the clouds, just about holds its own. But the Mysteron War is perhaps the first true test for the victorious Technocracy...

Copyright (c) Phil Masters, 2001. Mage: the Ascension and a lot of the stuff mentioned in this little joke is copyright White Wolf Game Studio. No intent to infringe on their rights is intended. Go buy the game.

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