Machen (Quantum 7)

machenThis world has been formally part of Centrum’s Green Zone for the last decade, and under effective Centran control for about a decade before that.  It has never been considered to be particularly fertile ground for Homeline interference, both because of its location on Quantum 7 and the overwhelming presence of Interworld; Infinity is reassessing this conclusion in the wake of reports that the timeline is now undergoing a surprisingly successful set of rebellions against their outtime masters.  Whether Infinity reassesses the assessment once it becomes clear that this is due to a third party’s interference is not yet known.

Machen, 1904 AD

Current Affairs

The somewhat monotonous peace of a Green Zone Centran satrapy is in the process of being wrecked by various rebels with mystical outtime backing.

Divergence Point

1856 AD: William Walker’s Republic of Nicaragua survives.

Major Civilizations

Western (diffuse)

Great Powers (all meritocracies unless noted otherwise)

United States of North America (representative democracy with meritocratic overtones, CR 4), Republic of Venezuela (dictatorship, CR 6), South American Direct Control Zone (CR 5), South American Union (representative democracy, CR 3), Scandinavian Union (CR 5), British Empire (representative democracy with meritocratic overtones, CR 4), French Imperial Republic (dictatorship with meritocratic overtones, CR 5), German-Hungarian Confederation (CR 5), Slavic Union (CR 5), Special Unaligned Confederation (CR 3-4), Siberian Direct Control Zone (CR 5), Japanese-Chinese Union (dictatorship with meritocratic overtones, CR 2-4), South Chinese Republic (oligarchy with meritocratic overtones, CR 5), Southeast Asian Direct Control Zone (CR 5), Middle Eastern Confederation (feudal, CR 1-6), African Direct Control Zone (CR 5)

Worldline Data

TL: 8/6

Quantum: 7

Mana Level: low to normal

Centrum Zone: Green

Infinity Level: Z10

It appears that the fairly dramatic consequences of William Walker’s success in setting up a Republic of Venezuela on Dixie-1 were also somewhat low-probability; on Machen the filibusterer merely ruled over a portion of Central America until his quiet deposing in 1884 by Centran-backed forces consolidating their hold on the timeline.  During that time, Venezuela had developed a somewhat interesting hybrid Latin-Anglo culture, with the latter being heavily influenced by diehards from the doomed Confederacy: while Walker never interfered in the American Civil War, he was happy to use its existence to acquire both the Caribbean and the portions of Mexico that the USA did not get around to occupying in 1876.

Of course, at that point Centrum had already thoroughly infiltrated the governments of both the British Empire and the United States.  Interworld’s discovery of the timeline in Machen’s 1866 led to a surprisingly well-supported subversion effort, even for Centrum.  The conquest of the timeline followed a standard Centran pattern: Interworld first took control of the indigenous English-speaking nations, causing the formation of a Consolidated League that incorporated The United States of America (plus Canada), the British Empire, the Republic of Nicaragua – and after what was essentially a “practice” campaign of conquest, the Empire of Japan.  From there it was a fairly straightforward matter of conquering mainland Europe; as usual, the combination of superior weapons and effective teleportation doomed Centrum’s opposition.  The last formal articles of surrender were signed in 1893, at Rio de Janeiro.

The first decade of Centrum’s rule was reasonably conflict-free: Machen is one of those worlds where the Uplift Service experimented with alternate governing methods, and for a while the experiment appeared successful.  A three tier system was set up: at one end of the scale, the various English-speaking countries were officially “allied” with Centrum in the Consolidated League, and possess genuine political autonomy from (but not full equality with) Centrum.  At the other end, Centrum took direct control of various resource-rich territories.  In between were a variety of puppet nations, which were generally allowed to run their own affairs… as long as their doing so did not inconvenience Interworld.  The system did not always work perfectly, but between the dutiful collaboration of the League nations and the enthusiastic support of the inhabitants of the Direct Zones (who generally – and usually accurately – saw their new Centran masters as vast improvements on either their old foreign or domestic ones), it did at least work.

Two years ago this state of affairs changed with a series of revolts in Venezuela, Chile, the Middle East, northern China, and various islands and isolated areas.  Centrum has always assumed offtime connivance in this, both because the rebellions were suspiciously synchronized and because something or someone is interfering with Interworld’s usual methods of handling civil unrest.  Conveyers sent to places in revolt arrive off-target, when they arrive at all; effective military leaders tend to end up mad or dead while campaigning; the usual net of collaborators and converts in select areas has been decimated by a ludicrously atypical number of strokes and heart attacks; and a hundred little inconveniences every day always seem to end up equaling a disaster.  The situation is not yet lost – whoever or whatever is behind the revolt seems to be operating under finite resources – but the Uplift Service personnel trying to quell the rebellion are aware that if the Affiliate nations join the revolt then Centran control of the timeline will become largely nonexistent.  Which means, in practical terms, that Uplift will lose control of Machen to either the rebels, or the Military Service; neither prospect is very appealing.

Outworld Involvement

Infinity is aware of the revolt on Machen, but is not involved in it directly.  They (correctly) suspect that the Cabal is responsible, and that (again, correctly) it’s because Machen is mystically important somehow.  Aside from that, the I-Cops have apparently decided that they have no real need to do anything except make the occasional data collection run to keep track of the revolt.  Tourism is completely contraindicated and Machen doesn’t have much in the way of interesting and unique trade goods, so letting events play out seems like the most sensible choice.

This may be an incorrect decision.  While one element of the Cabal is in fact behind the revolt on Machen, the society as a whole is not – and while this is true of most things involving the Cabal, in this case the situation is even more chaotic.  There is a group inside the Cabal known as the Brotherhood of Phlebas (see GURPS Cabal, page 32) that came into existence approximately eighty years ago; its self-appointed purpose was to investigate the possibility that the Grand Masters of the Cabal had in fact succumbed to the corruption and decadence symbolized by the qlippoth.  About a generation or so ago, they apparently came to a conclusion; their actions on Machen started soon afterward.  The mystical location of the timeline makes it apparently highly suitable for a base of operations, and there are enough normal mana locations to suit the Brotherhood’s needs.  At the current moment, the Brotherhood controls as much territory as it can, but not quite as much as it desires for its long-term goals; they are looking for reinforcements, both within and outside the Cabal.

It must be noted that while the Brotherhood is “good” by Cabalist standards, by more or less everyone else’s it is paranoid, callous, alarmingly indifferent to individual human life, and unabashedly ruthless.  The groups that it has encouraged into revolt were picked solely for their utility and proximity to usefully mystical sites; and once Centrum is removed from the timeline the Brotherhood has no intention of stamping out any merely mundane evils.  Their response to any objection along those lines would be that the larger goal requires no counterproductive sentimentality or weakness; the worrisome thing is that they might be correct…

Map Key


1). United States of North America (League Administrative Zone)

2). Republic of Venezuela (League Administrative Zone) (Rebellious)

3). South American Direct Control Zone

4). South American Union (Affiliated Administrative Zone) (Rebellious)

5). Scandinavian Union (Affiliated Administrative Zone)

6). British Empire (League Administrative Zone)

7). French Imperial Republic (Affiliated Administrative Zone)

8). German-Hungarian Confederation (Affiliated Administrative Zone)

9). Slavic Union (Affiliated Administrative Zone)

10). Special Unaligned Confederation (Affiliated Administrative Zone)

11). Siberian Direct Control Zone

12). Japanese-Chinese Union (League Administrative Zone) (Chinese portion Rebellious)

13). South Chinese Republic (Affiliated Administrative Zone)

14). Southeast Asian Direct Control Zone

15). Middle Eastern Confederation (Affiliated Administrative Zone) (Rebellious)

16). African Direct Control Zone (Madagascar portion Rebellious)

The material presented here is my original creation, intended for use with the In Nomine and GURPS systems from Steve Jackson Games. This material is not official and is not endorsed by Steve Jackson Games.

In Nomine and GURPS are registered trademarks of Steve Jackson Games, and the art here is copyrighted by Steve Jackson Games. All rights are reserved by SJ Games. This material is used here in accordance with the SJ Games online policy.

Written by on Jan 17,2009 in: |

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