Allegiance: The Transcendent Alliance [Trinity Continuum]
Hey, Continuum fans! Assignments have been made and due dates drawn up, so now it’s mostly a waiting game on my part as first drafts are completed and turned in. There’ve been a few hiccups, but I’ve been assured that this sort of thing happens on every project.
For the moment, here’s another Allegiance from John Snead.
Become Like Unto A God
The Transcendent Alliance is a group of researchers and wealthy backers who are dedicated to the enhancement of individual human potential. Their primary interests are the harnessing of psychic and other paranormal powers as well as human life extension and intelligence enhancement.
The early history of this organization is unclear, in large part because it is an exceedingly hierarchical group and the individuals at the top have little interest in explaining its origins to the lower ranking members. However, all of the members below the leaders were recruited after 1950. Since then, members of the Transcendent Alliance have been exploring a wide range of technologies designed to enhance human capabilities.
Although the Transcendent Alliance had no connection to Nazi Germany, after World War II ended, the mysterious leaders recruited a pair of German medical researchers who were rumored to have performed human experimentation, and more than a dozen members used data derived from Nazi human experiments. When these facts came to light in the 1960s & 70s, the two ex-Nazis and the scientists who used their work were all widely condemned by the international scientific community. All of them who wished to continue their research were forced to move to nations in the developing world and to depend primarily upon funding that came directly from the Transcendent Alliance.
Until the dissolution of the USSR, the Transcendent Alliance had two branches, since it existed in both the West and the USSR. These two sections were largely independent, and members in one branch only had very limited access to uncensored communication with members in the other one. The Soviet division specialized in psychic research and physical enhancement using various powerful drugs. The Western section focused more on mental enhancement drugs, artificial intelligence, and interfacing humans with electronics.
Since the fall of the USSR, the two halves of the organization have unified. However, several of the older members who worked in the USSR reported that KGB and other Soviet security agents took charge of some of their most promising psychic and physical enhancement research and transferred these projects and all equipment and records associated with them to high security installations in Siberia. No one who was not a politically approved scientist could work in or have any contact with these installations. According to these members, several of the Siberian research facilities achieved wonders that were either lost or deliberately hidden after the fall of the USSR. Members have organized several expeditions to attempt to locate these Soviet-era facilities or to track down the current state of this research, but so far have found only a few disturbing rumors of mind control drugs being used by the Bratva and Ukrainian security agencies combining remote viewing with psychic assassination.
Activities & Methods
Many members of the Transcendent Alliance value ends far more than means. If the ends are sufficiently impressive, most don’t mind if the means are somewhat unpleasant. However, while the organization encourages research that is unorthodox and often morally questionable, it does not tolerate heinous behavior by its members. A member who attempts to obtain a steady supply of fresh human organs by abducting and murdering people will be swiftly and finally dealt with. However, someone with identical needs who purchases such organs from a Chinese prison that does a brisk business selling the organs of its many executed prisoners can perform their experiments with the full knowledge and blessing of the Transcendent Alliance. All that matters to the leaders is that the members avoid committing atrocities. Making use of atrocities committed by others is never a problem.
In addition, the alliance expects all members to engage in at least a modicum of safety when performing their research. Any member experimenting with technologies that could cause mass death, collapse civilization, or otherwise have a severe negative impact on anything larger than a few city blocks is expected to do so with the utmost caution. Despite a moderate number of members being amoral sociopaths, everyone who performs research on self-replicating nanotechnology, synthetic biology, antimatter production and other dangerous fields.
Although members of the Transcendent Alliance learned of the Lightkeepers because Lightkeeper teams have put a stop to several of the most extreme Transcendent Alliance projects, members of the Transcendent Alliance now occasionally bring potential large-scale threats to the attention of any Lightkeepers they know of. Many members take an active interest in preventing any sort of large-scale catastrophes. To prevent disasters, members are frequently willing to work with Lightkeepers as well as any other groups that seem competent.
The members of the Transcendent Alliance understand that their research and their hopes for radical life extension all depend upon them inhabiting a relatively peaceful world with advanced technology. As a result, they see anyone or anything that threatens the world as a direct threat to both their projects and their hopefully very long lives. They do not hesitate to deal with serious threats in an extremely final manner. Between 1960 and 2000, the Transcendent Alliance prevented three nuclear incidents, including one attempt at nuclear terrorism. Members often begrudge taking time away from their research, but understand that being able to live in a civilized world with advanced technology is at least as important to their success as any of their own projects.
The organization’s mysterious leaders also occasionally request members to perform various tasks. Although many resent these requests, this organization provides members with substantial benefits, and refusing such requests is grounds for immediate dismissal. Some of these requests require the individual to gain covert access to secret research performed by someone outside of the Transcendent Alliance. Other requests are for members with useful skills to help prevent disasters that might destabilize the world or lead to a widespread backlash against certain cutting edge technologies. Other than these requests, the senior members remain extremely mysterious. There are only two or three senior members, and on the few occasions that they appear in person rather than communicating via phone, email, or video conference, they all wear decorative masks and somewhat nondescript but obviously expensive clothing. The senior members know of the existence of the Lightkeepers and their requests are responsible for most occasions when members work with a Lightkeeper team.
Rumors about the Transcendent Alliance can be found among wealthy people who gained their money by developing new technologies and also among the most dedicated and obsessed transhumanists, artificial intelligence researchers, and a few people who are into radical body modification. However, finding more than hints and rumors about the Transcendent Alliance is exceedingly difficult. Members value their secrecy and they only accept new recruits who have proven their intelligence and dedication. Most would-be members find tantalizing hints about the organization online and then face the daunting task of tracking these rumors back to their source. Success requires a combination of excellent research skills and great dedication. Also, this success merely presents the individual with further questions and challenges. Some who seek to join this organization locate a website filled with increasingly difficult puzzles and tests, while others receive emails or chat requests from anonymous individuals, which ask the individual many questions about their interests, goals and morals. None of these websites, phone calls, emails or cryptic notes mention the Transcendent Alliance by name. The majority of prospective members either lose interest or fail to impress their recruiter, but a few are eventually asked to give their personal information. At this point, the recruiter performs a thorough background check, with special emphasis to making certain that the perspective member is not either a criminal wanted for serious crimes or anyone who works for any law enforcement agency.
The recruiter tells anyone who passes this process is told to arrange their affairs so they can be away for several days and then to wait. Within the next few days, a team of Transcendent Alliance members who are skilled at extraction effectively kidnaps the person and takes them to a remote location after taking the person’s cellphone and making certain they possess no transmitters of any sort. In person questioning follows, usually aided by advanced lie detector technology. Anyone who fails is returned unconscious to a location near their home. Those who pass this final test are welcomed into the Transcendent Alliance.
The Transcendent Alliance is an eccentric and highly dedicated group of researchers and wealthy people. As a result, they have access to large amounts of wealth, various forms of status (except those involving governments or criminal organizations), as well as excellent laboratories and various prototypes that are more or less safe to use. If a member can come up with a sufficiently good reason for needing a jet pack, a wireless taser pistol and three million dollars in small non-sequential bills, they’re almost certain to be able to borrow all of these.
The Transcendent Alliance also discretely provides excellent lawyers for any members who have legal troubles. In addition, members have access to excellent surveillance equipment and some of them attempt to acquire blackmail information on government officials and other important figures. The Transcendent Alliance makes certain not to overuse this last resource, but can sometimes convince politicians and law enforcement officials to ignore questionable research in return for the alliance keeping certain information secret.
Of course, self-reliance is part of the core belief structure of this organization. If someone needs to deal with legal pressure directed against one of their projects, they are most likely to be given advanced surveillance equipment and told to uncover blackmail information on their own. Members freely help one another on projects that immediately benefit the organization as a whole or to prevent large scale disasters. However, most others requests for assistance come with a price tag, which often consists of a sworn promise to do a favor of similar magnitude for the person providing assistance. Given the nature of many of these requests, members learn not to treat owed favors lightly.
Using The Transcendent Alliance In A Series
In addition to being an excellent choice for ambiguous allies or occasional opponents, the Transcendent Alliance is also a good choice for certain sorts of characters to belong to. While some members traffic in human organs and are involved in other equally dubious and distasteful activities, there’s no requirement that members perform immoral or illegal research. A character who was a millionaire inventor with an interest in creating powered armor, human enhancement drugs, or similar inventions would be a perfectly reasonable member of the Transcendent Alliance and could be an excellent character for the Trinity Continuum.
A member of the Transcendent Alliance could also be a good choice as the Mentor or employer for a group of characters. Perhaps they want individuals to field-test some of their equipment. Characters in this organization also have the chance to learn about unsavory experiments being funded or performed by some of the alliances less moral members. A group of character who secretly police the activities of other members of the Transcendent Alliance, while occasionally also preventing other disasters could be an excellent basis for a series.