You say Utopia, I say Dystopia, Utopia, Dystopia, let’s call the whole thing oooooff.
Unity’s main opposition is Temple, but there are plenty more which will be covered in next week’s post.
The AGs opposing the CU have their work cut out for them. Humanity’s most powerful society already controls over 70% of the sapient population and this number is growing. Unlike many of the counter-memes, the CU has ability to rapidly scale its infrastructure to its population, moving much of it to exo-global locations even after its colonization initiatives in the inner solar system failed. Habitats mimicking perfect environments of different types are scattered throughout the lagrange points, with more being constructed as well an ambitious project to finish building a habitable ring around Earth’s equator.
It would seem that any AG opposing the CU would be doomed to failure. It’s certainly what the CU leadership thinks, but this hubris could prove to be its undoing. The AGs opposing it run the gamut of low tech/religious fundamentalist to high tech/posthuman libertarian. While these groups often despise each other just as much as they oppose Unity, they realize that only by defeating the globalist super-state can any of them hope to survive – this causes some very unlikely (and sometimes very temporary) alliances to occur, all with the object of destroying Unity and exposing the monstrosities of its inner workings.
This list of counter AGs is not exhaustive, but does contain the ones that are at present the most effective at capturing the loyalty and aid of capable, numerous and determined sapients.
Church of Azrael
“We are standing over the Abyss, and you fools are ripping up the floor so you can strengthen the walls!” Ezra Bane, heretic of Temple
“You still have a choice – the conditioning just makes it easier to make the correct one.” Simon Magus, chief elder and statesman of Temple.
The CU’s chief rival is Temple, a well-organized alliance of different faiths and techno and bio-conservatives. Founded by the charismatic Simon Magus, Temple was founded when many of the world’s faiths were facing extinction due to increasingly effective secular memetic campaigns. By emphasizing their common traits, Magus was able to unite many of the world’s faithful under a philosophy called ‘The Many Names of God’. This philosophy focused on the religions’ commonalities and taught that each faith should maintain its own unique character, but all should demonstrate their belief by lending their fellow spiritualists mutual tolerance and aid.
While Temple doesn’t fully prohibit advanced technologies like 3D printing and genefixing, such tools are used sparingly and are tightly controlled by its leaders. The real draw of the AG, though, is that all members are guaranteed free food, education, housing, medical care and meaningful work – the last being both a privilege and a requirement. Religious life and spirituality are encouraged, but not officially required (although people who do not follow the faith of their communities are sometimes viewed with suspicion and often face discrimination). Sectarianism is discouraged and any inter-faith violence is swiftly dealt with.
Higher education in Temple focuses on knowledge of practical value, emphasizing advanced infrastructure creation, agriculture and bio-engineering. Each faith is allowed religious schools, but these are kept separate from the secular universities.
Temple knows of the Outsiders and is responding to their presence in the only way they’ve found to be effective given their limited technical resources – knowledge gleaned from ancient texts is inserted into media feeds, resulting in aural/visual neurolinguistic programming. Continual exposure makes it nearly impossible for an individual to live or think outside the dictates of the religion in which they were raised. This regimented thinking makes it extremely difficult for Outsiders to gain access to a sentient consciousness while leaving much of the person’s intelligence and creativity intact. The changes in individual behavior were gradual and nearly universal – to this day, most people think the utopian perfection of Temple is solely due to the spiritual discipline of its followers.
Physical manifestations of outsiders are dealt with using a ritual found in a text unearthed in Pergamum titled Al Kitab Malaika. The ritual fuses the physical form and psyche of a volunteer with that of an Outsider. If successful, the merged entity gains extraordinary abilities while keeping the personality of the one who offered themselves up for the honor of being one of the elite defenders of Temple.
The entities, called Mala, can usually pass as a typical person, albeit one of unusual size, grace and/or intensity. They also generate a subtle aura of fear that most creatures can gradually sense, even if they can’t locate the particular cause. If a Mala enters a coffee shop it will be empty in a few minutes, the people there suddenly having thought of other places they needed to be.
Mala also have a monstrous form which they can change into at will. It increases their abilities while also making them extremely difficult to kill, at the cost of turning them into something so loathsome that the uninitiated would think they were witnessing a living nightmare. MJ-12 has managed to acquire a copy of the Al Kitab Malaika via covert means, using it to enhance the abilities of several of their own agents.
For even greater threats, another, more powerful ritual from this ancient work is used to summon a being tremendous size and hideous aspect. Called Children of Lilith, these creatures are kept in a dormant state, awakening only when a human pilot is absorbed like a key into a cavity in their central nervous system. The two form a symbiotic relationship, with the Child becoming an extension of the pilot’s thoughts and reflexes.
To cover their appearance as well as extend their combat abilities, the Children are covered in armor and conventional weaponry that enhances their own considerable natural protective capabilities and arsenal.
The CU sees many of Temple’s methods of confronting the Outsiders as being extraordinarily dangerous, but is many times at a loss as to how to effectively respond. The current nightmare scenario is an Outsider of sufficient power gaining simultaneous control of the entire AG, possible due to the similar nature of the individual members’ synaptic maps caused by the neurolinguistic programming.