Sunday, June 20, 2010

Some Things That Terrify The Inner Elite

The Inner Elite of the Coalition States, the invisible ruling caste, stays to the shadows out of fear. This fear, in all its manifestations and regardless of the validity of specific forms, builds itself from an essential, fundamental belief in a scarcity of things that the Elite desires above all others. Combined with that fear is another belief, one that they received as an inheritance from their pre-Rifts predecessors, that they are fundamentally superior to and therefore better than the majority of Humanity- essentially a Divine Right conception, one validated in their eyes by their strong post-Rifts emergence as a proven line of powerful psychics. They are the North American oligarchy, changed by their environment early on and stabilized after a considerable period of internal strife into a small group of 100-150 individuals united into a single clan with a small handful of family dynasties within it- the Prosek family is one of them, and the most visible of them.

The Elite believes that there is a severe deficiency of useful resources, and far too many threats to their autonomy--which they believe can only be kept by maintaining dominance and hegemony over all within their reach--so they must work to secure their control over those resources. One of these useful resources are the common people, which they view as things and treat such, which is part of the reason for why their hypocrisy and fraud doesn't bother them: they don't see the common people of the Coalition as "one of us", but instead as Others that they can use and discard as one would robots. (This is, by the way, one explanation for why the Coalition doesn't make greater use of robots than is already in use; there is another, which I get into below.)

The Inner Elite sees everything through the lens of a world where there is no abundance of anything other than threats to their power and tools for their use. Even other human-supremacist states are seen as threats, just a lower-priority one that can be dealt with by stealth and fraud instead of war and slaughter. (See my take on the Coalition-Quebec conflict above.) Thus I see that the Elite, acting on their bone-deep existential terror, will enact a suite of policies meant to destroy those fears.

  • Psi Stalkers & Dog Boys: The Inner Elite did not create Stalkers. There is no reliable intelligence on who or what did. Inner Elite consensus is that the Stalker mutant variant is, as is claimed by the oral tradition of the wild tribes, in fact the reaction of one or more individuals that mutated into one at the Coming of the Rifts. (Note: Yes, I have a legendary creation myth for Psi Stalkers, as the tribes of North America call themselves "The Sons of Ken"- named for a mythical Father of Stalkers named "Ken", aka "He Who Hunts The Damned".) However, most Stalkers are no better educated than most Coalition subjects and thus had their DNA repeatedly sampled since the founding of the States.

    The Dog Boys of recent generations were meant to be wholly-owned and easily-controlled alternatives based on what the Elite believed to be in the works just before the Coming of the Rifts- the creation of psuedo-men based upon animals. All the Elite did was splice in Stalker DNA and their new anti-supernatural hunter-killers would be complete, or so they believed. This did not work as planned, so instead the Army recruited certain Stalkers to be Pack Masters; the synergy of Stalker and Hound proved very potent, so the Inner Elite signed off on it.

    However, the threat that the Stalkers present--Stalkers detect Elites just as they do other psychics--makes for a most spirited discussion within their own ranks. Aside from a handful capable of reliably masking themselves, the Elite hide themselves from the Stalkers; the Dog Boys, however, are easily controlled due to a combination of genetic tendency and early indoctrination to obedience and acculturation to the specific psychic presence that these psychics emanate. (This is why you'll see Dog Boy bodyguards, but never a Stalker.) There is currently two proposals meant to deal with this fear of the Stalkers; the first is to encourage the tribes into Coalition orbit, continually bring them into Army service and covertly sterilize them so that they slowly dwindle and die off and the second is to continue DNA sampling to decode in full their genetics so that a truly loyal version can be synthesized and put into production.

  • Magic: The Inner Elite, as confirmed by the Vanguard, knows that magic--unlike psychic power--is not truly linked to one's quality of blood. For a ruling oligarchy, which--being the heirs of pre-Rifts elites--are sincere and total believers in the validity of eugenics, the threat that magic poses to them is that anyone can learn to use magic. Sure, some specific types are more or less common, but to date they've not yet found anyone unable to master the ways of Witches, Warlocks, Priests, Ley Line Walkers and Shifters. (i.e. the magical practices most commonly encountered) Techno-Wizardry utterly terrifies the Inner Elite in that it simultaneously neutralizes their best strength and turns it against them in ways they can't resist; a captured Coalition robot can be re-purposed using Techno-Wizardry, and all they can do in turn is destroy the Magic Robot.

    This hits them two-fold. First, they fear that they really aren't better than other people; second, they fear anything that empowers common people to become better than they are- for wielders of magic are often able to escape or otherwise not be dependent upon them for protection against the world, and if not dealt with swiftly they can act against mundane targets without fear of reprisal. (This fact, by the way, justifies the Vanguard to the Elite.) Finally, they fear anything that attacks their belief in scarcity, and magic's power seems to be without true limit- just momentary interruptions of flow. (This, by the way, is also why they fear Atlantis and all other magic-based states and peoples.)

  • The World Beyond: The Elite fears all beyond the Rifts because, aside from the very real threats that monsters and other malevolent entities that come across, the Elite correctly perceive that the many worlds beyond will include things--people, places, things, and most importantly ideas--that can upset their base of power and threaten their existence. Just like the people that owned the plantations of any slave-holding society, a persistent fear of their privilege and prestige (let alone power) being lost in a revolt by common folks--by their slaves, their serfs, etc.--is as alive in the Inner Elite as in all previous societies of this sort.

    This is why the Coalition maintains deliberate ignorance in the people, thinking Free Quebec to be foolish to allow any form of education to the masses, has such a densely-repeated pattern of Divide & Conquer going on that you have to be telepathic to keep track of it (or be a computer), and deliberately restricts or retards technology that can pose a threat of this sort. (e.g. artificial intelligence; all Coalition robots are drones monitored by human operators because the Elite fears Skynet.)

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