Death may Die
The Arcane Age
Revisions to the History Books
There are a few events prior to the so-called “Arcane Age” that need some renewed attention given the modern world.
SFS Action (~500 CE)
Around this time, SFS interdicted on humanity, and they discovered that not only hadn’t their prehistoric pogrom eradicated arcane biology from humanity, arcane capability was now the prevailing feature of humanity. According to SFS, at this time rather than being rare or nonexistent, “sorcerous talent” (as the kitsch term goes) was present in 10% to 20% of humanity, and growing faster than evolutionary biology could explain.
They attempted to rekindle the pogrom, but unknown forces moved with transcendental intelligence to interfere with them. Current SFS understanding indicates that no excession was involved in this. Still, it was abnormally intelligent, capable of spontaneous operational planning, and could practically predict the movements of SFS.
SFS decided they were utterly outmatched, and instead decided to watch nervously. Humanity, for all of its arcane potential, had never developed that potential. Instead, they were venturing into areas of science and engineering that so often gets overlooked by SFS in favor of arcane solutions. They hoped to gain benefit from human scientific advancements.
Possible Rise of Rali (1908 CE)
Unconfirmed reports indicate that an unknown land mass with unknown structures, looking like a titanic city formed of un-worked irregular stones rudely placed together to form solid walls and coherent structures, appeared in the Pacific Ocean. According to these reports, one of the titanic ancestors of the modern Raliites awoke and perished. If these reports are accurate, then this could have been a sighting of the city of Rali.
The Rise of Arcane Science (2034 CE and on)
Exedyne releases procedural training in a new “existential field theory”. This development is unprecedented, and contemporary science and engineering laughs at the concepts presented. What they cannot do is explain the results. Nobody can understand how the Batman-like intuitive leaps required to go from nothing to arcane procedural science occurred so rapidly.
The developments hit like wildfire, and many people begin the training. Over the next several years, the arcane sciences go from laughable sideline to the subject of serious academic discipline.
The Threat of APF (2035 CE)
Nothing is without consequences, however. Serious health concerns, in particular mental health concerns, arise around the arcane sciences. The principle syndrome associated with arcanist education and practice is arcane perspective fault. This syndrome causes some people to want to ban the practice entirely, but it endures in many of the countries of the world. Psychiatric and psychosocial medicine both gain great traction in the weight of this pressure.
Arcane Drafting Software (2036 CE)
Macroware, operating in conjunction with Exedyne, develops a piece of software called ArCAD. ArCAD is the first arcane development software suite, greatly shortening the time required to develop new arcane procedures. This sudden development causes an explosion in the already rapidly-growing arcane sciences.
The Renewed Transhumanist Movement (2038 CE and on)
H+ factions within humanity had already founded as early as the late 1800’s, but the existential field theory and its subsequent developments spur a renewed transhumanist movement. The push for noninstrumental technology and transhuman growth gains strong push, and Transhumanity, along with several other transhumanist groups, arises within the human sphere.
At this point it isn’t focused or heavily driven, but many people cite the obvious dangers.
The Religious Conflict over Arcane Science (2039-2041 CE)
Existential field theory doesn’t originally get the name of “arcane science.” However, it gets the title initially thanks to several media figures describing it as the “magic science.” As people begin to recognize the “magic-y” nature of the arcane sciences, there’s significant reaction. Many religious groups, especially the Christian and Muslim, begin to react harshly to it, citing it as aspects specifically condemned by their religious doctrines. Others within those groups take the opposite camp, that it isn’t explicitly condemned, and only in its application is it good or bad.
It doesn’t help that non-Abrahamic faiths start embracing it as a religious endeavor, in particular a few segments of the neo-Pagan sects. The result becomes severe religious strife. In a few areas, including the United States west coast and several Islamic nations, the strife turns to outbreaks of violence. In many cases, this violence is misplaced. The condemning practitioners attack “pagans” who aren’t practicing arcane science, and the religious arcanists attack monotheists who don’t condemn their practice.
The violence doesn’t escalate greatly, but it sets a bad foundation. Eventually, major religious leaders all demand an end to the violence, all while moving politically towards their agendas. By 2041, the religious violence is below the point where most people notice it.
Exploration of the Solar System (2044-2050 CE)
Arcane science leads to the first direct human explorations and later colonization of extraterrestrial worlds. See the history of space exploration for more information.
H+ and the Religious Arcanists (2049 CE)
With the transhumanist and the religious arcanist movements sitting side by side for so long, it’s only natural they’d meet and share notes. A few people merge the two movements. In most cases, this isn’t significant, other than the fact that many religious arcanists suffer serious medical and psychiatric problems.
Unfortunately, there are some who just take things too far. A number of the H+ arcanist faiths lead down bad roads, and eventually develop into the posthumanist echelon of the transhumanist movement (see 2055 CE, below).
The Sverodvinsk Event (2050 CE)
Under the surface, for over a decade to this point, some rather dangerous cults had been simmering. Most of them were the basic “join our commune and give me all your money because I’m a miracle worker” jazz, but some of them were truly something else. It appears that excessions still outside our frame of reference started moving pieces with the advent of the arcane sciences.
In 2050, in Sverodvinsk in the Arkhangeisk Oblast of Russia, a sizable catastrophic event happened. This is the first incident of excessive intelligence having direct impact on the human world, at least as recorded in human history. In this case, excessionists implement a bizarre and perverse arcane procedure to cause the world to distort horribly. Near to the center of Sverodvinsk, matter simply began to pull apart and stretch like taffy, becoming a whorl.
The surrounds suffered severe radiation exposure. Some people claimed to receive some form of communication from some unknown force. None of those responsible appear to have survived. However, other excessionists claimed this as a “great step forward.” Although the excessionist cults didn’t work together, they certainly saw each others’ actions.
This was the first notice of the existence of excessionists, and the discovery of associates of the original cult responsible for the Sverodvinsk incident demonstrated some of their tenants and principles. This escalated global security on the matter and caused greater restrictions on the legal uses for arcane sciences in many nations.
Kadeth (2052 CE)
A discovery far southeast of Dome Argus leads to one of the most pivotal and startling revelations of human and pre-human history imaginable. It’s announced in 2052, but the full scope develops over the next few years. In the wake of the early discovery of the SFS and the advent of their aggression, as well as the early actions of the Raliites, the discoveries at Kadeth become pivotal.
There is great secrecy around the actual operations, but the discoveries make the news and academics worldwide become shocked at some of the revelations. The pictorial histories, so well preserved at the supremely ancient ruin, lead to great insights into the ancient prehistory of the Earth. This leads to renewed investigation into the esoteric human history and cross-referencing of already-discovered information, along with the newly-discovered facts.
The Heavy Cult Conflict (2053-2058 CE)
A group of cults, including one Rali cult and a few excessionists, organize to perform a coordinated action. These are a series of arcane terrorist acts, attempting to reproduce the Sverodvinsk incident in smaller doses on a larger scale. Global military forces reacted rapidly, and it appeared that yet another war was forming, but this one ended quickly.
At least, it did so officially. Intelligence and law enforcement quietly went into overdrive, downshifting to accelerate their actions against these cultic forces. The silent war with excession begins at this time. It becomes somewhat noticeable around 2056, but the individual incidents are dismissed as “disconnected.” By 2058, all of the very noticeable cultic forces, including a number of cults of the classic “give me all your money and worship” cults type, are rounded up and “handled.”
Unfortunately, this leaves the intelligent cults with motivation, competence, and resources. These cults remain in the background, and the intelligence communities of the world sit back and wait for some sign of their movements.
Posthumanity (2055 CE)
Posthumanist ideology develops over time, but here is where it first makes a major move. A posthumanist group suffers raids and arrests for multiple illegal activities, including narcotics, soliciting prostitution, and multiple flavors of assault. They declare themselves “beyond human” and “beyond human law.” Seven people are arrested, the eldest one being 28 and the youngest 14. All of them have biomedical modifications, in some cases to significant degrees.
Other posthuman groups come out speaking in their defense or outright demanding their release. What follows is a series of violent acts, some of them completely random and others directed at specific targets. This eventually peters out. However, humanity is already seeing the start of two wars, and this threat doesn’t go over well.
The successors to Anonymous face something of a split, but it appears that the majority of members (or at least the majority of the vocal members) go on to found the Gray Faces at around this time. The Gray Faces show clear posthumanist leanings, and certainly any of its members who stick around are transhumanists.
The Cultic Movement (2059 CE to present)
The cultic movement began unexpectedly. Several cults seemed to find connection with each other where once there were none. They compared notes, found points of commonality, and began to converge. This happened very quietly. Most people attribute this to online criminal syndicates. Excessionist cults, Rali cults, and a few of the particularly degenerate posthuman groups found common ground, and started to move in unison.
The objective isn’t clear, and might not be clear even to those overseeing the operation. However, the effect is to weaken human infrastructure. A new run of particularly ostentatious and dramatic terrorist attacks kicked off in 2059, including the Gray Faces making a direct (if impotent) attack on several major government buildings (the White House, Buckingham Palace, the Kremlin, and the Bellevue Palace). Although this amounted to firing a number of submachine guns into the buildings and then fleeing, the attack was intended as a psychological one.
Following this, several business and government buildings faced an insidious form of suicide bomb, as kidnapped people with explosives strapped to their body entered the buildings and started chanting, “We are the dead.” They continued for some time as people attempted to disarm the bombs, but in many cases timers appeared counting down from 44 seconds. At zero, predictably, they exploded.
In hindsight, these more visible attacks were independent actions of the Gray Faces (who likely learned or figured out the cult movements and decided to upstage them). The lesser actions included sabotage, theft, and kidnappings. Most of those kidnapped weren’t held for ransom – these were academics likely used to educate the cults further in matters of engineering and science.
The Intelligence War Blossoms (2060-2067 CE)
Intelligence agencies began to act against the various forces. Although the coordinated actors were still small, they represented a much more sophisticated threat than the independent and isolated groups. However, those isolated groups gained considerable traction in the wake of their fellows, and along the way.
However, this was one of dozens of threats from posthumans, excessionists, Rali cults, SFS actions, and Raliites. The incredible growth of intelligence activities during this time came because of the growth of intelligence threats. However, its great escalation would come in 2067.
The Chill War (2067 CE to present)
When the Raliites began their military campaign in 2067, cults seized the opportunity and renewed their efforts. The intelligence community faced a serious burden as infrastructure devoted to military asset turned its attention to the seas and away from land. It became that much worse in 2069, when the first wave of the Neo-SFS fleet spurred renewed terrorist actions by SFS. Then, in 2070, a true intelligence threat from the Raliites came forward as their hybrids began their own operations in the human world.
Bleak House Event (2075 CE)
As the Oceanic War made it to dry land, a Jupiter Trojan colony suddenly went offline. Investigations showed that the Trojan station had broken apart. The wreckage had “spindled” and “bled,” and analysis concluded that a similar event to the Sverodvinsk event had happened in Trojan facility Albion. There were survivors who managed their way into spacesuits and didn’t get torn apart. They were incoherent for some time, and most of them lost their memories of the event, but in their incoherence they called it the “bleak house.” That name remains.
The rescue workers, for once, weren’t intercepted by the SFS teams who were also investigating, and indeed they shared information. Both sides seemed to want to get to the bottom of the incident. This cooperation was extremely limited, but it reinforced the realization that SFS don’t make attacks because they hate us – they do it because they feel they need to. Unfortunately, the Bleak House event also reinforced the SFS urge to eliminate us as a threat.
The Present State of Affairs (2076 CE to present)
With humanity now fighting in two species-wide wars, the cult actions have become more vindictive. It would appear that many of the cult groups don’t particularly care about the cost to humanity for their actions, so they are encouraging human defeat (and perhaps human extinction). They don’t even need to coordinate with the other forces – the actions of the others feed theirs, and vice versa.