The Society and The “Hyperconsciousness” Agenda
An alternative title for this chapter could be The Society and The Book, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s first step back and talk about what the Hyperconsciousness Agenda is and why is significant to our Sisters | Society narrative.
The Society’s collusion with Sansha’s Nation was the crux of their fall from favor in the Jove Empire (it was the unnamed event I alluded to in Part 3) and with the Jove Empire joining CONCORD and the rest of the imperial forces in an all-out assault on the Nation, the SoCT clearly could not remain in it’s place of prominence. Perhaps the Jove truly abhorred what the SoCT was up to with Sansha’s Nation, perhaps they simply saw it as a convenient way to curb the Society’s power, or perhaps it was just a political move designed to show the other Empires that the Jove also wanted to distance themselves from the Nation’s dreadful undertakings. Regardless, the Society was obligated to lie in the bed it had made when it came to Sansha and the resulting ideological and operational shift put them on the path to controversy once again. The Society was still the Society after all and what would the Society be without its shadows?
In its persistent quest to ‘improve’ the human condition, the Society became focused on discerning certain patterns in the thought processes of its students. They began using a variety of proprietary psychological techniques and devices to map-out their talents and tendencies with greater and greater accuracy. The goal at this point was to create more effective means of structuring curricula to fit the idiosyncrasies of each student. This quickly shifted, however, to a desire to not only capitalize on the positive aspects of a student’s psyche, but to actively suppress or all-together incapacitate the negative aspects. At first, that suppression came in the form of behavioral techniques and manipulation. Eventually, however, the SoCT turned its attention to modifying the behavior at its physiological source. Quietly combining their established data and methodology with mood enhancing technologies, the SoCT set about a secret project termed the Hyperconsciousness Agenda.
The available information suggests that this covert Agenda was very successful in many ways. It managed to produce several highly successful students whose illustrious achievements framed the SoCT in an increasingly positive light that attracted valuable benefactors. In a profound display of confidence in the Society, one of these Jove benefactors entrusted the SoCT with destroying the remnants of a hazardous device referred to as The Book of Emptiness.
The name was a reference to a theo-technological relic described in Amarr scriptures which would grant ascension to anyone who read it. Similarly, the Jove ‘Book’ was a small device which would remove all negative emotions from those in range of its effects. The field generated by this device appears to have a variable effect that could be modulated by the operator. At low settings, the subject would experience a transient negation of negative emotions at the apparent expense of logical thought. At higher settings, however, the subject would be rendered irreversibly catatonic; having essentially been electronically lobotomized. Given the severity of the Jove Disease, any device that could counter extreme melancholy and psychological negativity was obviously worthy of attention, yet the danger of the device ostensibly exceeded the benefits and the Jove decided to have ‘The Book’ dismantled. The pieces of that original device were given to the Society by the aforementioned unnamed benefactor who believed they could be entrusted to study the technology a bit and then destroy it.
But the Society, being the Society, had other ideas. They meticulously studied the dismantled machine in secret, all while reassuring the rest of Jove society that ‘The Book’ had been obliterated. Though they were unable to re-assemble the original, they developed a functional new version of unit with similar effects; the majority of which were most effective on non-Jove subjects. It did not, however, work on the students of the Hyperconsciousness program and the device was relegated to storage. It is important to the note that some useful technologies did emerge from the ‘The Book’ program. One was the Oblivion Cocktail, an collection of nanobots which, when ingested, made the subject particularly vulnerable to ‘The Book’s’ effects. The other was a potent amnesiac agent which altered a subject’s short term memory; replacing the actual events with a hazier alternative.
So ‘The Book’ sat in storage, forgotten, until disappearing from Society vaults at some point in recent times. To retrieve it, the Society set about training a ruthless and highly-effective group of operatives with the task of retrieving the device at all costs and even though word had not reached the general public about the missing Book, there were several entities in New Eden that had taken notice.
One of which was The Sanctuary within The Sisters of Eve.
It is not explicitly stated whether or not the high leadership of the SOE organization on the whole was aware of the Sanctuary’s efforts to secure ‘The Book’, but it is clear that it became a high priority for this one division. The Sanctuary’s exact motives were for retrieving the device are are also unclear. Those who feel that the SOE is fundamentally benevolent will likely cite some rationale consistent with the one provided to the Sanctuary’s own operatives: ‘The Book’ was in danger of falling into the hands of Sansha’s Nation. Alternative, more nefarious, potential motivations, such as a desire to develop a weapon to brainwash capsuleers, have also been suggested in Eve’s forums given the Sanctuary’s secretive nature. In any case, the Sanctuary secretly trained its own group of highly-capable operatives in preparation for a potential engagement over the device and put their network of informants, sensors, and spies to work scanning the Cluster for clues as to ‘The Book’s’ whereabouts.
Eventually, the Sanctuary got a break with the appearance of a device associated with ‘The Book’ called a Catalyst. The Catalyst functioned as a sort of control module for the ‘The Book’; a device which an operator could use to remotely initiate the machine, presumably from a safe distance. For whatever reason, these Catalysts appeared more numerous than ‘The Book’s’ themselves suggesting either that multiple Books and Catalysts were produced in a 1:1 ratio (which would also suggest the existence of multiple Books out in the Cluster) or there were multiple Catalysts for a each Book. Regardless of the specifics, at least one Catalyst found its way to The Sanctuary along with information which suggested that the Angel Cartel may be in possession of ‘The Book’ itself.
A team of Sanctuary operatives, under the command of an individual named Nale, was dispatched to an Angel Cartel stronghold where they were permitted to examine an artifact consistent with a Catalyst. There is a whole multi-part Chronicle dedicated to what happens next entitled The Black Mountain, so I won’t go into every little detail. The short story goes something like this…
The Sanctuary operatives and their Angel Cartel escort are ambushed while learning that the Cartel is in possession of a Book device and is in the process of moving it via spacecraft to a remote station. The SoCT learns the same information and a race is on to get to device. On one side, you have the Sanctuary operatives and a contingent of Angel Cartel soldiers and on the other, you operatives from the SoCT.
The ship carrying The Book is boarded by the SoCT team who is subsequently attacked by the Sanctuary/Angel Cartel team. In the ensuing struggle, the leader of the SoCT unit (who is named Draea) activates the device and renders most members of both opposing teams comatose. While under the influence of the device, Nale and Draea both experience visions of a “black mountain” surrounded by “spirits”. For Nale, the event results in a form of acute psychosis in which he becomes obsessed with retrieving the device and using it on all mankind to help them all achieve a blissful state. Draea apparently experienced a similar psychosis, yet her condition is characterized more by an amplification of aggressive behavior.
The subsequent battle for control of the device culminates on a remote space station. The SoCT seems to have pre-wired the station to explode once their operative delivered and activated ‘The Book’ and Draea used that system to vaporize the device, herself, and all the surviving combatants. That is the last mention of ‘The Book’ as we know it, though it remains to be seen whether or not there are functional copies making their way around the black markets of New Eden.
This event would not be the last time that the Sanctuary and SoCT would find themselves at odds, or by involving other extra-imperial factions in their work. While this engagement came with a considerable loss of human life, their next struggle would prove unimaginably destructive.
This series continues with Part 6 – Thinker, Raider, Sister, Tribe