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Old 11-28-2016, 10:56 PM   #11
patchwork
 
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Default Re: Alternate Crosstime Organizations

All drawn from a source I'm sure people on this board can recognize, adapted for IW:

Daikoku
An early industrial revolution in Japan (and spreading from there) lead to a world-girdling economy and Asian-centered empires with no concept of environmentalism, so that present day Daikoku's 9 billion people live under domes, partially sheltered from a crashed biosphere in which nothing lives or grows, the air chokes and the ozone layer is so destroyed that several hours of direct sunlight can cause permanent damage. They have developed parachronics and have infiltrated several worlds where they offer the products of their manufacturing (TL9 in power generation and information technology and arguably transport, still TL8 in biological sciences and military technologies) in exchange for all the food they can buy, and some oil (they don't need it for power generation, as their fusion plants work just fine despite the waste heat, but it's handy for plastics).

Daikoku hasn't encountered an empty world yet; it would be an expensive and uncertain investment for them anyway, as the knowledge of farming outside of a few hydroponics plants is lost by them. On the one hand, it might give them something to do besides bleed early-industrial worlds dry of food and oil through dummy corporations; on the other, allowing its paranoid, selfishness-is-a-virtue hypercapitalist short-term-thinking culture to really take root in the multiverse is not something Infinity or Centrum would want. Not on a projection-capable worldline, so pick a Quantum of your choice to add them to.

Desolation Road
This artificial skerry has nineteen worlds in it. The newest is a parallel in which American colonization experienced a series of low-probability failures, with hostile locals, natural disasters and disease wiping out English and French colonial efforts and seriously hampering the Spanish, while on the other side of the globe the Ming dynasty is followed not by the mostly-sane Qing but by the mostly-insane Shun. Current year is 1893. One other world has a neo-primitive hunter cult; the other 17 have been nearly scoured free of sapient life. Nearly.

A malevolent godling made this skerry; its early efforts tended to involve straightforward attacks by many-tentacled horrors eating the human population. Then it creates massive, permanent gates to another world to do something similar. As it digests more and more of humanity, it is either becoming more like us, or at least becoming fascinated by us. It is taking its time, using humanoid monsters over the course of centuries, including things like vampires and werewolves, to disassemble human societies from within before administering the coup de grace. There are unconfirmed reports of it even assuming human identity itself. Its rift into the newest world opened on the Grand Canyon about the time Europeans were first colonizing North America, you do the math. It still likes its gooey tentacled pets, though.

The neo-primitive hunter cult was a world in which at some point, an industrial culture turned its back on all that, smashed the machines, declared survival of the fittest and started culling their neighbors. Generations later, its tribesmen receive a surprisingly complete education in science and economics, with the understanding that these are the ideas of the corrupt and weak who should be culled. They spotted the godling almost immediately when it arrived, but acknowledged it as a superior predator, and it was so bemused it passed on without exterminating them, allowing them to hunt throughout its skerry.

There are, of course, small relict populations in the other worlds, After the End style. Their ability to trust each other is poor, and they really don't like the hunters, but something might be made of them. So long as they don't draw the godling back to finish the job.

The worrying part is that the godling chooses its target worlds, and the location of its permanent rifts, with meticulous care, rejecting many easily-digested possibilities. It is not engaged in simple predation, or even self-advancement. It is building something, a multiversal structure that could seriously interfere with Centrum's efforts...
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Old 11-29-2016, 03:07 PM   #12
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I like Daikoku a lot, it has a legitimate reason to interact peacefully with both stock powers, and yet it's a major threat. I'd up the TL for robotics for the sole reason of giving them mechs, but that's a stylistic choice. I haven't heard of the source, actually.

Lee
Lee is a high-probability person. Virtually every inhabited worldline between Q2 and Q14 has or had a Lee. Lee usually lives in the most geopolitically powerful nation, has a conventional physical appearance, and is otherwise pretty ordinary. Perhaps the only reliably unusual thing about him is that he always has status 0, even when that's quite an achievement in a given timeline.

At present, all Lees are or would be 43 years old, with a few minor discrepancies due to differing time rates.

About twenty-five years ago, at least one Lee unlocked latent psionic world-jumping ability. That Lee soon met other Lees and taught them, in turn, the method. Soon, an organization of hundreds -- possibly thousands -- of Lees grew tenuously throughout the cosmos.

As it turns out, there's only really room for one balding, slightly overweight middle-manager named Lee per world, so nearly all of them maintain their position at home. Nonetheless, the Lees occasionally meet to share messages, trade (often swapping clothes, which are sometimes difficult for Lees to find given their awkward body shape), and party.

It's really just an especially large social club. Nonetheless, the Lees help each other out ("Be your own best friend") and can be friendly to outsides provided that a Lee vouches for them ("Any friend of Lee's is a friend of mine").
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Old 11-29-2016, 04:51 PM   #13
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Except for Mr. Rogers.
He did win The Ultimate Showdown. ;)
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Old 11-29-2016, 06:26 PM   #14
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The Transcendent

The Transcendent is a war schooner of unidentifiable make and no noticable national markings. It opperates partially by unknown magic or psionic acitivty (even works in magic or psi blocked worlds), and needs a crew of only a few to be fully manned (a helmsman, a cannon-man, a cartographer, and a mechanic)

The cartographer, once out in open water, will find that the maps all change, and can select another world to visit.

The entire process is somewhat confusing, and using the Transcendent is nothing like any other vehicle, however it comes 'naturally' and time spent doing the job while learning counts as working with a gifted tutor.

Each crew member when entering through the 'captains door' instead finds themselves in there own room, unfurnished, 100m^3 in size times the SM of the individual. The cargo hold has a size dependant on the number of crew- about 300m^3 per crew member. Items in teh cargo hold never spoil or go bad. Depending on the skills of the individual they will find doors on there room that lead to a forge, woodshop, kitchen, magical circle, psionic meditation chaimber, and library. Even if the tools in the various chaimbers seem anacronistic they count as very fine for whatever TL they are employed at.

There is also a brig that spans on seemingly forever, just a forever long hallway of.

Once someone has been accepted as crew of the ship they 'know' somewhow, and the ship only selects individuals with compatible skillsets and world outlooks.

The ships hull and weapons operate by unknown magic that causes them to do period damage regardless of the local technology. The hull likewise suffers only 'period' damage for a top of the line warship. Further, only those with very strong willpower will find it weird that a war schooner has docked in port, even if boats no longer exist, nor do ports.

The crew are all 'evil' for most definitions of the word, and they were all 'saved' by the transcendent- it showed up just as they were going to be killed for there deeds and they suddenly became aware of it and there acceptance among the crew.

No one knows if its sheer luck, the selection process in the first place, or some action of the ship, but crew members all seem immune to supernatural or technological coercion.

Scholars who are aware of the ship are not sure if some poor choices in crew selection slowly shifted the ship to take 'evil' individuals, or if that is the in the ships original design. They also argue over wither the ship is sentient or not.

Regardless, whever the ship docks you can expect the motley crew to engage in abuse of the local populace and move on before they get lynched. Attrition is pretty high among the crew, petty fights among the crew often result in bloodshed, but the 'everyone gets there own' nature of the cabins prevents the most territorial behavior.

Depending on who the crew currently are they can be dealt with, and the ship is a very reliable way to get to virtually any Quanta.

Conflict with other factions:
Cabal- The cabal would very much like to HAVE the ship in there own service, but so far none of its selected crew have been cabal members, and any action to coerce existing crew have instead seen it fail.

Infinity- No one likes to talk about the Coventry breakout, but the Transcendent is now very high on there radar. Documents detailing who is at coventry vs other detainment facilities is now highly classified.

Centrum- Centrum attributes stories about the transcendent as naught more then ghost tales told by unenlightened offworlders.

Reich - The Reich is aware of the ship, and despite it being a schooner they are convinced it must be norse in origin.
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Old 11-30-2016, 03:19 PM   #15
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Owl's Nest Elves
(Nyth y Dylluan)

A nation of Elves (Homo Sapiens Eldar, or Forest Elves) once entered into an enduring feud with a local demigod, the Dark Owl. The Dark Owl oppressed the people of several worldlines -- a kind of informal skerry, if you will -- from its nocturnal, forested realm. The elves saw the injustice and sought to aid the humans who lived under the dark god's deprivations. The fighting raged for a century, but the elves were eventually able to slay the powerful being by sending a massive force of mages, warrior guards, and followers to the demigod's home plane. What they did not anticipate was that the demigod itself was the source of the mana that flowed into the world. Without it, the Elves were trapped in the now magicless worldline.

The force consisted of some twenty thousand elves and a few hundred human companions. Lacking for magic, they set about establishing a means of living in this new world while they sought a means to escape. The only consolation is that the Dark Owl's enchantment that brought permanent night to the plane was lifted, leaving their new home mostly normal.

Though they were successful in establishing a new home, rescue never came. The realm was entirely cut off from magic and psionic access. As the decades passed, the elves discovered that even they themselves were weakening and growing older -- albiet slowly. Though they still lived for between two and three hundred years, these elves were not immortal. In fairly short order, the original force had died, leaving only native-born elves who had never known magic, but did know the story of how they came to be stranded without their birthright. few humans in the group were soon married into the Elven families until the distinction all but faded away.

The centuries were long and full of hardship. Perhaps the lingering malice of the Dark Owl still tainted the plane; perhaps there is something about great challenges that divide people. Perhaps it was simply a feeling that humans were ultimately responsible for the conflict that eventually cost the elves their magical birthright. Regardless of the cause, the Elves eventually came to disdain human heritage, and attempt to cull it from their society. Those descended from Humans were considered lesser elves, and in the darkness of the centuries, the Elves came to understand why the Dark Owl preyed on humans, and why its destruction ended the flow of mana in the realm.

The Dark Owl used the sacrifice of men and mer as a source of mana, and the rituals still functioned. Without a massive supply of daily sacrifices, mana could not be restored to the world, but individual acts of sacrifice could be used to rejuvenate a small class of Elves at the cost of the lives of the "lesser elves."

And so the system continued. It ultimately fossilized into a fixed order of the highest elves living long lives far superior to the low elves below them.

Technology marched forward. About a 17 hundred years after they were first trapped in Nyth y Dylluan, the Elves finally succeeded in creating a technomagical portal, powered partly by the soul of "lesser elf," and partly by a 200 MW nuclear reactor. They have TL 8^ with a small assortment of magical gadgets.

Now, the leading elves have finally achieved their goal. But if they leave, they will no longer be the only immortals, gods over the gods. And so, they now simply seek to bring more power to themselves. More sacrifices.
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Old 11-30-2016, 04:14 PM   #16
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[QUOTE=PTTG;2061367]I like Daikoku a lot, it has a legitimate reason to interact peacefully with both stock powers, and yet it's a major threat. I'd up the TL for robotics for the sole reason of giving them mechs, but that's a stylistic choice. I haven't heard of the source, actually.

Well, one of the original setting cute bits is how much the inhabitants of Daikoku trust their machines despite not trusting each other, to the point of building nonsapient autonomous killing machines without much in the way of user interrupts. Foresight is just not a major part of their culture. They don't have mechs, but they do have some pretty scary drones.

Here's three more that are a little more obvious:

Sutenhotep

Sutenhotep is Pharaoh of nine worlds so far. He is at least 130 years old, he's been Pharaoh for 85 years, but he's not from around here; he seems to be a classic super-villain, perhaps even from the IST worlds, who got tired of getting beaten up by the heroes and having to break out of prison twice a year so buggered off to a bronze age world where his powers made him worshiped as a living god. And by this point, he may as well be. He avoids high-tech worlds, sticking to Egypt and Mesopotamia where Bronze Age cultures are likely to arise, wows them, and then brings them up to TL6 (although his empire has no scientific tradition; internal combustion, firearms and radio are gifts from the divine mind, not truly the work of men). He knows how to give his lieutenants superpowers, although the process is...unreliable and not without side effects. Megalomania is probably too mild a word for his current mental state, but his response to other outtime powers seems schizophrenic - on one level he knows it's wise to avoid contact with high-tech powers that could defeat him or destabilize his empire, on the other he really holds grudges and likes to prove his superiority over individuals...his parachronics are TL6^ and as such are almost completely incompatible with the major powers'.

Magna Verita

A TL10 craft - possibly alien, more likely parachronic from yet somewhere else - blew the arrival in the early 14th century here and the crew all died. Naturally, the Holy Office of the Inquisition was called in to investigate this manifestation; the AI answered general questions of the inquisitors but did not immediately cooperate. Still, this was obviously a church matter, and eventually it concluded that ownership had been legally transferred to the Church via salvage laws or the equivalent. Once it acknowledged the Holy See (in Avignon; even its general advice had been enough to beat out the Romans) as its legitimate owner, it began honoring more requests, such as building TL10 autodocs to provide miracles of healing, powered armor and vibroswords ("I could have given them a laser cannon, but they asked for swords and armor - whatever, he's the boss") spawning new instances of itself. With such power, the Reformation was put down brutally, Meccah was conquered in the 17th century, and the conquest of the New World and Australia was astonishingly swift and brutal (the native cultures are entirely gone on MV). India and China persist as "heathen" states too big to easily conquer and assimilate. Tech is schizophrenic; there are no trains or satellites because the "angels" have never been asked to make them. But TL10 medicine is pretty firmly developed and widely spread, including surgical procedures to make the willful more obedient to God and less sinful. Other technologies are extremely hit and miss, as comfort has simply never been the driving force behind technology here. Like Sutenhotep, it doesn't really have a native scientific tradition, although the AI has tried to impart clear understanding of the laws of physics as it understands them (which included parachronics, eventually). MV's efforts outtime are furtive; the Holy See understands that its miracles are much less impressive to cultures steeped in sinful technology, but worries that mass invasion could have unfortunate consequences back home. Its preferred mode of converting others is thus to precipitate a major disaster - bioengineered plague or environmental cataclysm, say - and then appear from nowhere with the cure. It actually handles "honest heathens" much better than "heretics". MV is aware of Steel; it sees the Zoneminds as fallen angels, and what, if anything, to do about them is a matter of intense debate. (actually, it just occured to me - wouldn't it be kind of fun to make the MV "advent" a failed experiment of Brisbane's?)

Malgest

Call them demons; they might as well be. On Malgest, humans are kept as slaves and food animals by a winged hermaphroditic social predator. It is both a low-mana world and a technologically advanced one, TL10 in medicine and weaponry, 9 in most everything else. The Malgesti have a philosophical problem with the multiverse; they crumble to dust in no-mana worlds, and 90% of the multiverse is no-mana. Humans are everywhere, yet they have never found another world anywhere with them on it. It seems the cosmos was made for humans, and their supremacy, perhaps even their existence, is an aberration. They certainly didn't evolve, as they have no antecedents in the fossil record, and no archaeological records of their own existence prior to about 1200 BC. They have a religion and holy text (or two), but as scientific proof it is no more useful or valid than comparable human religious texts. They prefer to think they were made by a god, since the alternative - human magic gone awry - would be much more humiliating. If they were banestormed in, where is the world they evolved on? But they cannot seem to establish contact with their creator, whatever it is. And humans definitely came before them.

Outtime, the Malgesti are usually encountered only as their human slaves, with behavior-modifying spinal implants and deadman-switched cranial bombs, sent to gather information and report back to the Gate at x time and place. Such a slave can be very dangerous with TL10 weapons. Occasionally they will set up a front to lure outtime humans in to replenish their slave pens. On a world with mana or with a mana enhancer, an encounter with an actual malgesti should be terrifying. They have never used a currency-based system for allocating resources, so their complete lack of experience with the concept of "money" even if they grasp it intellectually often trips them up.

On Malgest, they proceed cautiously with parachronics. The discovery that humans are the "real" owners of the multiverse leads to paranoid reaction in some quarters and arguments for emancipation and a more equal (probably not fully equal) relationship with humans in others. Previous Dread Princes have allowed wild humans to persist in some preserves, primarily to enjoy more challenging hunts and test whelps; the idea that those wild humans have nearly limitless allies if they get their hands on a conveyor is starting to make that look like a bad, bad idea.

Last edited by patchwork; 11-30-2016 at 04:41 PM.
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Old 11-30-2016, 04:15 PM   #17
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Owl's Nest Elves
(Nyth y Dylluan)
Once the elves, already in 'exterminate' mode, realized they could get something useful from there hated 'lessers', they would likely have regretted that they had killed so many already 'needlessly'. A movement to contain, concentrate, and 'reseed the stock' would most likely follow. Likely resulting in something that looked like the nazi death camps, but with a higher focus on breeding; there desire to reclaim there lost power would likely have them doing forced breeding in the most inhuman conditions imaginable.

As of what would be there late TL6 the lesser elves, held in utter contempt by the 'true elves', had been moved to 'breeding camps'. Then as more time and psychiatric discoveries moved along the realization that happier 'cattle' breed more often and more readily moved from a force breeding/labor camp to one that keeps them in a constant state of drug and play enhanced haze, fed a constant diet of fertility increasing, libido-enhancing, and inhibition lowering 'kibble' in order to encourage faster production of 'feedstock'.

Once they had established an 'order of things' with the breeding camps, the elves should also have learned from there fallen master, turning the breeding camps into an elaborate and extensive entertainment network for the lesser elves, keeping them joyfully placated until 'harvest time' to prevent any uprisings, perhaps even having cast them as the 'chosen ones', and having most labour be performed by an array of technomagical golem/robots, that these golem/robots are created with the feedstocks own lives is a detail that they don't need to know, just eat more kibble, have fun, we'll take care of you- no need to read, we have lots of movies and TV for you to watch, why don't you play a game, or go talk to that opposite gender person.

Anyone arriving on the world might be inclined to believe that it is in fact a utopia run by 'generous overlords', perhaps by design to lure more 'guests'.

Last edited by starslayer; 11-30-2016 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 11-30-2016, 04:46 PM   #18
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The Unity

The Cabalists who found this world via astral travel believe that it's at the latest point in time, like Infinity and Centrum. They realised it was weird when somebody saw them while they were still astral and beckoned them to come "down" and talk. They were glad they took the polite invitation, and they don't intend to go back.

The world's history diverged in the 27th century BC, when Imhotep discovered psionics. The world is a prototype of the SF idea of an hyper-advanced world of skinny people with very large heads, wearing jumpsuits and living in pleasant dome houses in a completely un-industrialised world. They explored the Infinite Worlds millennia ago, but take little notice of them nowadays, having formed The Unity.

This seems to be some kind of group mind, whose interests and experiences its members find impossible to explain to normal people. "Think of one of the cells of a philosopher's brain trying to explain what the brain thinks about to an amoeba." They are quite happy to have visitors join the Unity, but warn that this will change you radically, to the point you definitely won't be the same person afterwards. Nobody who has undergone this has ever wanted to leave; no, they don't get many takers, but they typically only get visitors every decade or so.

It's quite unclear what they do apart from frighten visitors and think, but the Cabalists traded the information to Infinity, who decided to heave well alone.
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Old 12-03-2016, 01:14 AM   #19
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The Peoples' Cosmic Frontiersmen
Lenin-2

The American Communist Party came to power in the decades following the civil war. It attracted the intellectual elite and the industrial workers of the North, and the disenfranchised poor of the south. The Republicans and Democrats were too badly divided by the postwar hostility to form a coalition to overcome the ACP. The first communist president was marginally elected in 1892; it was the writing on the wall that forced the older parties to formally merge into the Republican-Democrat ticket, which moderated the Communists and prevented radical wealth redistribution.

Roosevelt was the second Communist President, elected in 1900 with a clear mandate to break the trusts and ensure socialism. His tenure characterized Communism as an American phenomenon, and the compromises he made with the Republican-Democrats ultimately produced a kind of communist/capitalist compromise that would continue to develop throughout the new century.

The European War was a bloody stalemate as in OTL, and the USA helped assure victory only late in the war. The war was presented as a way to prove the might of Communism and save the heart of civilization from itself. The USA interveined, too, in the Russian Civil War, providing guns (and political inspiration) to communist forces.

Stalin is butterflied away, and the USSR inherits much of the ACP's fairly enlightened communism.

The dust bowl is seen as a severe blow to the stability of ACP (it's actually less severe than OTL, but the philosophy of the time sees the situation as the responsibility of the government), and the global depression forces a reconsolidation of power in the world.

The forces that lead to the creation of Nazism in OTL are still present, and though it is a different man, Germany still falls under the sway of a demogogue. The war is different; the USA and USSR are closely associated from the start, although not allied into Comintern until partway through the war. The German leader generally doesn't interfere with his generals much, but takes an active interest in espionage (unlike in OTL, Germany has a moderately successful spy network,) and avoids pie-in-the-sky research like rocketry and jet engines and focuses on proven tech. These Nazis make even more successful initial forays, and run their war with greater efficiency.

Japan focuses the entirety of its efforts on China, while negotiating with the USA and the USSR. Japan sees the writing on the wall and ceases support to the Axis when it becomes clear that Cominter and the Allies will prevail.

The reconstruction following the war rebuilds Europe as a Communist establishment. Great Britain retains its monarchy, but is considered something of a fossil for its capitalist leanings. The states of Europe are broadly the same, but Comintern uses the opportunity to reshape the civil structure into a vision for the future. The Europe that emerges consists of many of the same states, but the ACP/CPR model takes hold in the west/east respectively.

The war in China drags on and on. Though the USA supports Mao, they are exhausted from the war and ambivalent about his "communism." He gets most of his support from the USSR, who see him as a useful tool to prop up against the Japanese.

The Japanese Empire uses the first atomic bomb in 1948, on what was believed to be Mao's location, but he survives the attack. The attack brings the danger of atom bombs to the public mind. Comintern starts a crash program to develop a nuclear weapon of its own as a means to deter attack by Japan, and they ultimately succeed with a test blast in Alaska.

Around this time, an anti-facist movement in the USA included a number of witch-hunts and show trials, some of them turning up real fascists. They reach a peak in 1954 with the public trial of disgraced senator Joe Mcarthy, who makes an impassioned televised plea for the rule of law; he is widely credited with ending the witch-hunts.

The next decades are ones of tension and healing for the West, constantly funneling guns to the communist revolutionaries of China. Japan dares not start a nuclear war with Comintern (now consisting of most of Europe, parts of South America thanks to American adventures, parts of the mideast thanks to Soviet ones), and after thirty years of occupation, finally agrees to a join government of the mainland.

The economic system is not true communism as we would know it, but perhaps related to modern China's compromise. Rural areas are highly socialist; through most of the world, farmland is seen as a public resource. Small towns are run by village cooperatives. Major industrial concerns are larger cooperatives overseen by appointed officials, as are research institutions. The largest cities, however, are almost full capitalism. New York, London, Berlin, and Los Angeles are free cities, and are notoriously dens of vice, but also major engines of commerce.

The USSR, USA, and Europe are friendly rivals in every field, but spaceflight is entirely undeveloped; neither a cold war nor a nazi rocket program existed. The idea of traveling between planets is seen as wild fantasy. But starting in the 1990s, theories of a travel through time was seen as a more and more realistic possibility.

Europe's return to the world stage started with a Danish research institution visiting an uninhabited parallel. The discovery was announced far and wide, and it caused an electric shock in the power structure of Imperial Japan. The leadership of the Empire was brittle with age, as there was little opportunity for advancement besides going to China to get shot at by rebels until you qualified for a promotion.

Even as Comintern founded The People's Cosmic Frontiersmen to go out and explore the cosmos, the Japanese Empire began to crumble from within.
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Old 12-03-2016, 11:15 AM   #20
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T.I.T.A.N., the Timeline Investigation and Temporal Anomaly Network (okay, I need to work on the acronymization).

T.I.T.A.N. was founded by a parachronic investigator from an out-time timeline who had discovered the Secret and spent years on Coventry before managing to escape to form his own "more benevolent" watchdog agency. T.I.T.A.N.'s own parachronic technology can only cross over one quantum level at a time, and because of the Cold War between Homeline and Centrum they tend to operate in the intervening quanta foiling operations by both sides, as they see the manipulation of other timelines toward an agenda not propagated by the natives of the timeline as undesirable.

T.I.T.A.N. agents (often just called "Titans") confound Infinity in that they don't obstruct crosstime trade, but have on occasion disrupted Time Tours operations by causing equipment failure prior to the tours' departures. Infinity teams and Titans have on occasion been found working together to return timelines shifted by Centrum to their proper locations, but such cooperation is viewed with distrust on both sides; T.I.T.A.N.'s superiors see it as a matter of pragmatism, while Infinity has been known to discipline or retire agents (sometimes to Coventry) who fail to apprehend Titans following the operation's conclusion.

Titans run the gamut of world jumpers and specialists with temporal technology. Most Titans are outtimers, though a few folks from Homeline (and even more rarely Centrum) have joined the organization.
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