21 December 2015

Envoy: The Guidance

When the Benefactors came to the Earth, they decided they need assistance of the local denizens while bringing Unity, Progress, and Expansion to humanity. Their handpicked agents were given biological, cybernetic, and psychological improvements pushing them far above the mundane specimens of homo sapiens. They became liaisons with governments of the world and corporations, speakers and public relation assistants, diplomatic attaches, and staff for the various installations and institutions raised by the Benefactors. Now they are fulfilling their tasks with loyalty and dedication... Usually.

Their proximity to the Benefactors gives them certain insight and knowledge denied to other humans, but they are still kept in the dark about many things concerning their patrons. In fact, they are aware that there are more things they don't know than those that were revealed to them, for the Benefactors are used to keeping mystique and only provide information they specifically deem to be needed by their agents to complete their orders. At times, it even seems that Benefactors are deliberately restricting information available... Do they hide some unspeakable secrets from their Envoys? Or maybe they want to motivate self-learning instead? Certainly they seem to cherish when Envoys discover things on their own but is that honest reaction or just concealment of their failure to keep secrets?

It is clear to any experienced Envoy that Benefactors are not single minded hive, for there are philosophically driven factions among them. Factions within factions in fact, and they seem to be fluid in their convictions and activities to muddy the waters even more. The main division seems to be the focus on one of the three great values (or at least goals they set for humankind): Unity, Progress, and Expansion. Unifiers favor the Unity, a hard to translate into human language sense of serenity, internal cooperation, psychological and social integrity. They want to engineer human culture and society into a smooth and harmonious composition, suffering from no dissent or dissonance. Evolvers want to accelerate humanity 's Progress, to push them beyond their current biological and psychological restrictions and make them so much more than they are now. Builders want to maintain and accelerate Expansion which is intended to bring prosperity and potential. Various Benefactors seem to assign differing priority and degree of support to each of this values, creating a bewildering array of subfactions and lodges... And yet, following the principles of Unity, they cooperate and present unified facade to the peoples of the Earth. Completing the missions and advancing the cause of each of this values brings each Envoy corresponding faction influence—ability to call upon extra resources, aid, and favors from supporters of each of the great values.

Even without tapping their accumulated faction influence Envoys have great resources at their hand: their personal augmentations, the Benefactors' information network, alien tech arms, tools, and vehicles, aid of Terran Assistance, international organization that includes but is not restricted to security and paramilitary forces, providing many vital services to the Benefactors and their Envoys. Envoys also enjoy special legal status, close to diplomatic immunity.

Personal augmentations that are available to Envoys vary between individual Envoys, but all are given neurocom, an internal alien computer and communicator connected directly to their neural system giving them access to the Benefactors' information network and allowing them to control various alien tech devices. Neurocoms are capable of running one or more Agents, digital protocols managing various digital and mental tasks for the Envoys, a necessary tool while using any complex alien tech devices or vehicles, but also a helpful aid while searching networks and analyzing data. Two more implants shared by all Envoys are personal force field, capable of absorbing staggering amount of damage, and an internal energy source to power the force field, the neurocom, and any other implants the Envoy might receive. In addition to listed implants, all the Envoys are augmented with genetic therapy and nanobots that make them immune to most diseases, reduce effects of many toxins, accelerate natural healing, and allows surviving any non-immediately lethal wounds. Depending upon their tasks Envoys might receive other augmentations, implants, genetic modifications, and psychological conditioning.

The Earth's internet is dwarfed by the Benefactors' information network by orders of magnitude, though most information brought from beyond Earth or concerning the Benefactors' activity is hidden behind various layers of clearances and almost total incomprehensibility of the alien language, which seems to resist most attempts of deciphering without using alien tech computers. While most humans can access the public areas of the network, Envoys have much higher clearances than other humans, including Terran Assistance. Still, they can view only an insignificant fraction of information available in the network, even while using their accumulated influence to temporarily extend their clearances.

Alien technology available to Envoys surpasses anything available on Earth, including hand weapons capable of vaporizing cars, drones and shuttles that can fly with unearthly grace of gravity-manipulating vehicles, machines that can regrow lost limbs... All of those devices, except for the few deemed suitable for public use, have to be controlled via neurocom connection and require focus of one or more Agents.

Terran Assistance is an international organization composed of men and women dedicated to promoting cooperation between humankind and the Benefactors, educating humans about the benefits of the Benefactors' presence, advising the Benefactors about dealing with humankind, and suggesting ways the Benefactors could help Earth, but also providing a number of services to the Benefactors, including the sadly necessary security to facilities and areas restricted for the Benefactors' use, to prevent attacks from xenophobes, and to protect xenophiles from their own enthusiasm.

The main problem with which Envoys have to deal is countering threat of various groups hostile to the Benefactors: xenophobes, religious fundamentalists, biological and cultural purists that reject prospect of human evolution, fringe political groups, and steady supply of mentally incompetent individuals. Many of those struggles are not of physical and violent nature, being fought on social, psychological, political and economic level. Occasionally they have to oversee certain scientific or sociological experiments or attempts of applied engineering involving alien technology. Some of the Envoys also have to deal with  doubts in the sincerity of the Benefactors, or try to reconcile certain discrepancies in their declarations and actions... A few Envoys already failed in those internal struggles going through psychotic breakdowns, turning into a bitter supporters of groups opposing the Benefactors... And there is the issue of something the Benefactors do not speak directly, something related to the stars and certain regions of the galaxy. Could it be some species or culture hostile to the Benefactors? Would those Externals be hostile to the Earth as well, or are they simply the competition to the Benefactors?

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