Trinity Storytellers Handbook/Chapter One: The Æon Trinity

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Trinity Storytellers Handbook/Chapter One: The Æon Trinity is currently in its First Draft. Large sections may yet have to be filled in, and the developer needs to look the page over. Aside from the general suggested structure, nearly everything on this page is in flux.

Chapter 1: The Æon Trinity Edit

15,000 words

It is the most important organization in the 22nd century. In fact, it may be the most important organization of Earth's last 200 years. But the Æon Trinity is also the most secretive organization in the world of the 2120s, wielding influence over people in direct proportion to how little they know about it.

There isn't room here to reveal all of Æon's secrets. But it's time to reveal enough of them that you, the Storyteller, will feel able to wield power over Æon, rather than the reverse.

This is going to be the Storyteller version of the chapter of the same name from the TPG. The main issues I want to cover in here are Project Rewrite, the Babel Dossier, and the history of the Trinity. Be fairly general from its foundation in Adventure to the Aberrant Era. Not much more complicated than what's in the core book and the TPG already. I want some more detail on what happened after the Aberrant Era to turn the Æon Society into the Æon Trinity. The core book mentions that after the War, the Society underwent reorganization to form the Æon Covenant, and then at some undefined point afterwards became the Trinity. I want that covered. I want to know what happened to all the old Projects (Utopia, Pandora, Tantalus), as mentioned in the Aberrant Players Guide. I want to know why Proteus Division's using the Triton Foundation's old logo, and why Triton [he means Neptune] Division needed a brand new logo. Explain to me what happened to turn Aberrant into Trinity as far as Æon itself was concerned. Give us something that the Storyteller wants to use, that's too cool not to use. I don't mean "kewl," as in "the Trinity has secret access to laser-guided attack penguins from the Asteroid Belt," but "cool" as in "stuff that would be either useful or even downright necessary for most Storytellers running a Trinity game."
We'll be going into more detail on the Æon Covenant era when we do our book(s) on the Aberrant War. That's going to build off the material you write here. No pressure.
This is also where we put more of the little email interchanges between Max and Whitley.
25,000 words is a lot. If you don't feel you can fill this up, I'll move some of the wordcount over to other chapters, like Noetics or Aberrants.]

I just put this in blue so it’s easier to see visually. It’s fine if you keep it to make it easier to know what you’re going for, but it really shouldn’t be sent back to me in the final draft. (: talk

Æon's History Edit

The real story of Æon has remained little-known for so long in large part because so much of it would never be believed.

This comes off a little short. Could you pad it out a bit before getting into the first hundred years? talk

The First Hundred Years Edit

On July 19, 1923, the Æon Society for Gentlemen convened its first meeting in the Chicago mansion of two-fisted millionaire Maxwell Anderson Mercer. Contrary to current rumors that its founders wielded the same mental powers as today's psions, only one of the original seven Society members was a psychomorph, or "mesmerist" in the terms of the day. Two were quantum-powered — one, in fact, became the most feared Aberrant of all — Mercer himself had powers that fit no known category, and the rest were simply phenomenally lucky.

Mercer disappeared in 1950, and Æon's members were left to interpret his hopes for the future as best they could. A conflict with another Æon founder — one who'd turned against the Society — gave them a reason to want to disappear from the public eye, and take all knowledge of "the Inspired" with them.

Another upsurge of paranormal events, in the early 1970s, gave Æon cause for concern, but they managed to keep the more outrageous manifestations out of the public eye. Many were still amazed by these phenomena, or aghast at the actions of unusual individuals, but most people just treated it as the news media trying to drum up interest — just as many had dismissed the weirdness of the 1920s. The most important thing that happened to Æon was not a result of this second wave of Inspired emanations, but of more mundane social upheavals. In 1973, in the face of the burgeoning women's liberation movement, the Æon Society dropped the prepositional phrase "for Gentlemen" from their name.

The mass manifestation of Aberrants

I know this is a very brief history of Aeon, but can you add a short bit about how the Aberrants began manifesting (the Galatea explosion, don’t get into Mal at this point)? talk

beginning in March of 1998 was not something Æon could hide. Instead, they opted to work with the "new humans" and persuade them that Æon's goals and their own were the same — a better world.

Special Projects Edit

During the era of the Aberrants, Æon had several special projects running, devoted to the study of these "new humans" and other extraordinary individuals and phenomena. Project Utopia attempted to harness the gifts of the "novas" (as Aberrants were then called, and as the Aberrant rulers of Eden still call themselves)

This is a bit of a tangent. It’s handy information, but sort of detracts from the subject at hand. The part about Edenites should be in the main text with the mention of new humans, in case readers skip the sidebars talk

to further Æon's goals of human progress. Margaret Mercer, Max Mercer’s granddaughter and the head of Æon’s Special Projects Division, supported the spinning off of Utopia into a separate, public entity, which soon led to most of the other special projects being given their independence. As more and more Aberrants turned against humanity from 2020 onward, Utopia fell into disfavor and disuse. About the only Utopia-related program still an active part of Æon is the Aberrant Tracking System, in Triton division.

Within Project Utopia was Project Proteus, a unit of Proteus division that did what was deemed necessary to advance Æon's larger goals. In 2004, Project Proteus moved its headquarters (including the Babel Dossier — see p.XX) to the Arabian island of Bahrain; the Dossier was among the Proteus assets extracted hours ahead of the 2046 takeover by the Aberrants of "Allah's Legion." By the time the Chinese destroyed Bahrain in 2061, all those reclaimed assets had been redistributed between Proteus' Athena section and Triton's Incursion and Surveillance division; for those that weren’t extracted in '46, the island's destruction was considered "cutting our losses."

So did Proteus Division exist beforehand? Did Project Proteus become Proteus Division? talk

Project Utopia often worked hand-in-hand with the Triton Foundation, an Æon-sponsored consortium of medical firms. Many of the “miracle cures” they produced were derived from Æon’s studies of particularly tainted Aberrants. Elements of the Foundation are now directed by Neptune’s Asset Management division, which uses them as a point of interface with the Æsculapian Order.

Might want to have a bit on how the Triton Foundation’s focus on research expanded to become a generic research and espionage mandate in Triton Division, or something. talk

As a weapon against the Aberrants, Æon turned to another of its special creations, Project Pandora, which worked with psychomorphs, also called "psiads" or, more often, "psychs." There were more psiads in the Aberrant Era than there had been at any time since the 1940s, but they were still rarer than Aberrants. Project Pandora is noteworthy (a)

(a) and (b) aren’t really necessary. (a) could be replaced by “both” and the (b) can be removed entirely. talk

as one of two projects that Margaret Mercer managed to keep under her personal control, and (b) as the predecessor of Æon’s current psychomorph studies project.

A note about how Pandora was a backup in case something went wrong with Aberrants, as was the case in the Aberrant War. Maybe a mention on how they distinguished themselves then. talk

Kept in reserve, in case all else failed, was Project Tantalus, devoted to study of the time-bending, probability-warping individuals known formally as paramorphs. In the "Adventure Era" of the 1920s and '30s, paramorphs (known then as "daredevils") had been the dominant force of "Inspired" (posthuman) society in general and Æon in particular, but by the 1990s, only a handful were still around. Most Tantalus files have been undisturbed since the end of the Aberrant War, but the project may be reopened in the wake of the Venezuelan Phenomenon.

Æon also had two

Aberrant d20 mentions these two projects, but intimates that there may be more. Let’s change this “two” to “other,” to leave it open for Storytellers. talk

special projects that didn't deal with Inspired people at all. One was Project Argonaut, journeying into the hidden places of the world. Some of these places — such as the Louisiana Dinosaur Swamp, and the Inner Earth, in the Adventure Era — almost literally could not have existed without the energies of "Inspiration" (the same energies that empowered the Inspired). The 1970s saw a similar burst of Inspired locales — Æon has files on nine separate places that match legendary descriptions of Atlantis, but none of these are still around in the 2120s. Triton's Data Analysis (Space) section still carries on much of the same work.

The other was Project Cyclops, a search for non-human intelligence. The Babel Dossier contained mentions of a nonhuman race native to Earth, but that race had departed at the end of the Inspiration Age. Whenever Utopia (or another Æon operation) investigated reports of a particularly tainted Aberrant, Cyclops personnel came along to determine whether the subject of the investigation was originally human or not. Aspects of Cyclops survive today in Triton's Alien Species Database, studying creatures like the Qin, the Chromatics, and the zeps of Mgitu.

The Downhill Slide Edit

In the early 2020s, it all started to fall apart. Æon's relationship with the novas had been crumbling for over a decade, though the reasons why are now locked in the Babel Dossier. As novas' numbers increased, along with their powers and aberrations, their relationship with "baseline" humanity crumbled as well.

By the 2040s, everyone knew it would come to war, and probably sooner rather than later.

A New Covenant Edit

Nothing on the Æon Covenant yet? Pity, I was really looking forward to reading this. (: talk

Rethinking History Edit

In the wake of the original OpNet’s destruction, Æon took it upon themselves to rebuild the collective memory of man. They called it "Project Rewrite," but it didn't actually involve much revision of history. All it took was emphasizing some facts, minimizing (or losing) others, and relying on the ignorance and apathy

Thematic WoD-ism. Humanity is apathetic in the WoD, but in the Trinity Universe, they’re ignorant at worst. talk

of the average man to keep the blanks from being filled in.

Anyone who reads enough history knows about some of the good things Aberrants did for the world, such as Soguk Birlesme's perfection of hyperfusion. Joe Hologram, however, does not read much history. All he really remembers is the Aberrant War. Any good done by Aberrants, he is taught, was done despite their Mazarin-Rashoud nodes, not because of them. Any good that seemed to come from Aberrant powers actually came from Æon's harnessing of those powers to the purpose of human advancement.

Æon knew that Nippon's Aberrants had not all died or departed, but agreed to keep the secret as long as Nippon in general, and the Nihonjin novas in particular, kept to themselves and didn't trouble the world. Turning the masses against a nation once more isolated would have sown unnecessary division.

Trinity Edit

On July 19, 2073, the sesquicentennial of the Æon Society for Gentlemen, Æon renamed itself again, as the "Æon Trinity" name was extended to cover Æon's entire organizational structure.

More to do here as well, no? Covering the period between ’73 and the 2100s? talk

The Structure of Æon Edit

Joe Hologram, seeing Æon from the outside, isn't particularly aware of its inner workings and doesn't usually see any need to be. If you told him he was probably interacting with Neptune or Triton division personnel, he'd nod and smile and shrug, then forget it as soon as something more obviously relevant to his existence came along. As far as he's concerned, Æon is just Æon; how it's organized is none of his business.

Some people at higher levels of society — corporate heads, politicians, crime bosses, even psi order managers — are more aware of Æon's three divisions (as noted in the Trinity core rulebook and the Trinity Players Guide). At the very least, they're aware that the divisions exist and have different functions. They have, however, a rather simplified idea of those functions: Neptune division handles the paperwork, Triton division offers expert testimony and consultation, and those guys in Proteus division are Æon's private security force.

Neptune Division Edit

This is the brain of Æon, making the day-to-day decisions that keep the Trinity and the world running smoothly. In theory, the Æon Council can overrule any decision Neptune's director makes, but in practice, they almost never actually have to — Neville Archer came up through the ranks of Æon, and he knows what is expected of him.

Trinity Administration (Carter Yun) Edit

Diplomatic Corps (Michael Demetrius) Edit

Asset Management (Fulya Ertegun) Edit

Triton Division Edit

This is Æon's sensory apparatus, collecting the data Neptune needs to make its decisions.

Incursions and Surveillance (Barney Ziegler) Edit

Data Analysis: Earth (Jose Miguel Valdez) Edit

Data Analysis: Space (Otto Von Ohlen) Edit

Simulations and Forecasting (Randall Dellinger) Edit

Logistical Support (Celia Murtaugh) Edit

Aberrant Tracking System (Nala Mbenge) Edit

Alien Species Database (Wolf Jensen) Edit

Proteus Division Edit

This division serves as Æon's hands, acting on the decisions Neptune makes — and Æon is not at all afraid to get its hands dirty. More than a private security force, Proteus is a private army and private spy service, ultimately answerable only to its director, William Renton — and, through him, to the Æon Council.

Mars (Vinus "Redeye" McKenzie) Edit

Apollo (Beth Haudin) Edit

[aerospace support]

Titan ("Black" Jack Wolstren) Edit

[heavy armor]

Athena (Saul Ku Lun) [espionage, counter-espionage] Edit

[The Players Guide has a lot on Æon's procedures from a character level. You're already covering this stuff for the PG, so expand into Storyteller-relevant stuff here. (…) Use this as a lead-in to the central motivating force of Æon: the Council.
(Remember, it's not an evil organization, certainly, but the stuff you put down here should make it clear that the Æon Trinity is not some kind of cuddly group here to hold characters' hands. And make sure the main narrative is in Rules-speak!)]

The Æon Council Edit

As mentioned in the Trinity Players Guide, most Æon Trinity personnel below Omega clearance (Æon Status •••••) know only that the Trinity is led by a council, of which the three divisions' directors (Neptune's Neville Archer, Proteus' William Renton, and Triton's Maria Pappagallos) are members. Employees at Theta clearance

What Æon Status rating is this? talk

or lower believe there to be somewhere between three and 12 other council members, and speculate wildly as to the identities of those councilors.

It is not the place of this book to rehash those guesses in detail. Suffice it to say that they include a veritable laundry list of 22nd-century public figures — politicians, metanat CEOs, media commentators. The proxies of the psi orders (even Saraswati K. Bhurano herself) are also believed to hold seats on the council. The Trinity Players Guide mentioned the rumor that Maxwell Anderson Mercer still runs Æon nearly two centuries after founding it, but there are rumors more outrageous than that. Some say that Divis Mal, still the most feared of all Aberrants, returned to Earth after the Vesta attack and took over the Æon Council; others even claim that Mercer and Mal are old friends who still control Æon together.

From: Whit
To: Max
Date: 2122-09-03 19:40:59
Subject: On Our Side

As I see it, we can definitely count on support from Herzog and Larssen. Atwan and Cassel I'm less certain of, but still hopeful. So that's four out of the seven right there. (Seven. Weren't things easier at the start, when there were just the seven of us?)

Zweidler's a good man, but I think he's too willing to turn a blind eye to what people do in his name — rumor has it that he covered for some of Huang-Marr's leading lights. You might be able to get through his willful blindness, but I doubt I could.

Bue Li and del Fuego are write-offs as far as I'm concerned. The late Minister is just the sort of manipulator we're fighting against, the embodiment of everything we never wanted Æon to become. And the last time we cut a deal with a crime lord, the price we paid was too damn high.

There's an element of truth to the rumors, even the most seemingly ludicrous ones. When Mal was a human named Michael Daemon Donighal, he was a founding member of the Æon Society for Gentlemen and one of Max Mercer's two closest friends in the world. That, however, was long ago; the man who became Dr. Primoris is almost two centuries lost, and one of his first acts as Divis Mal was to cut his ties to Æon. In any case, Mal itself hasn't actually returned to Earth and isn't going to do so any time soon.

Mercer hasn't been in charge of Æon since 1950, and his unique gifts have hindered his ability to maintain great influence on the Trinity's direction, even as they've empowered him to help guide its course in many eras. The last time he played a significant role in its activities was in the late stages of the Aberrant War.

The proxies have never been Council members, though they are honored guests who can attend Council meetings if they wish to do so or are summoned before the Council. Since the return of the Upeo, this privilege has been re-extended to Bolade Atwan.

From: Max
To: Whit
Date: 2122-09-04 00:59:13
Subject: Many Hands…

Criminality is a relative term, Whit. I remember a youth I rescued from the Thuggee cultists he'd been raised by, and I remember how he turned out in the end. Many's the time I'd have been lost if he hadn't been there to lend me a hand.

And no, m'boy, it wasn't easier in the old days — just simpler.

In point of fact, there are about twenty people on the Æon Council. Some are former directors of the Trinity's divisions. Others are just the sort of people the lower ranks would expect to find on the Council — businessmen, diplomats, generals and scientists — although not necessarily the exact individuals those subordinates think would be likely to lead them.

The Councilors’ identities are kept secret for good and sufficient reasons. If people knew who was on the Æon Council, they’d be continually pestering the councilors for personal favors. The councilors would be hopelessly tangled up in the desires of the organizations from which they came.

This way, the Council can maintain some impartiality, vital to achieving actual progress on the betterment of humanity as a whole. If the lower ranks need to complain to someone, they can complain to the division heads, and the division heads can either handle it themselves or pass it on to the Council.

The exact roster of the Æon Council changes from time to time, as members die or retire and their replacements are recruited. This means that, ultimately, who serves on the Council in your chronicle should depend on your chronicle's needs. But here, as a design aid, are some typical Council members — “typical” in that they each typify one of the main motivations of Councilors. You can blend these motives in Councilors of your own creation, but having them presented here in an undiluted form will hopefully make that easier.

The Archivist Edit

Desma Sychar [is motivated by the desire for knowledge.]

The Insider Edit

[A corporate shark who pays lip service to Æon’s ideals, but considers that what’s good for the metanats is good for humanity. He steers Æon policy in metanat-friendly directions as much as he can without arousing other Councilors’ suspicions.]

Beautiful! Exactly the sort of character that makes the Council “good,” but still in need of Max’s impending overhaul. talk

The Sentimental Agent Edit

Ian Liu Ngombo's great-grandfather, Ian McAusland, came to Africa with a wife and a baby daughter in the early 21st century, drawn by Æon's efforts to revitalize the then-dark continent using the gifts of the Aberrants. McAusland’s grandson, Ewan Ngombo, was an Æon liaison in China in the aftermath of the Earth Strike Ultimatum, where he met Sandra Liu.

[He realizes that today’s Æon is not that of Ian McAusland’s day, or even Heather McAusland’s, but he still considers it much better than the alternatives.]

The True Believer Edit

[Considers that anything Æon does is justified by virtue of it being Æon that does it.]

Ditto! talk

These are the Good Guys? Edit

Incredible as it may sound at times, yes, the Æon Council members are, at heart, good guys. They are genuinely dedicated to protecting, preserving and promoting the best present and future interests of the human race. As a Storyteller, you should keep this in mind at all times.

However, you also need to keep in mind that their definition of "humanity's best interest" does not include humanity at large knowing the whole truth about what Æon has done, and is still doing, to keep them safe. In particular, it does not include general knowledge of the full scope of some of the threats Æon has fought over the years.

That definition is also not constrained by everyday notions of morality. The Council's goal is the greatest good for the greatest number, and if that means some seemingly good people have to die untraceable deaths because of what they would do with the best of intentions, so be it. If it means some very bad people have to be allowed to live because their deaths would destabilize the world, that's also a choice Æon is willing to make.

As well, being individuals, the members of the Council don't always agree on what exactly is in humanity's best interest, or on how to attain whatever they deem to be in that interest. Being (moreover) only human for the most part, some of them have trouble differentiating between humanity's best interest and Æon's, or between either of these and their own self-interest.

Æon's Influence Edit

Joe Hologram thinks of Æon as purely a charitable and social club. Conspiracy theorists think of the Trinity as a secret government, personally pulling the strings of every major organization in the world. The truth lies somewhere in between, and is at once more complex and a lot simpler than either of these notions.

The secret of Æon's success can be summed up in one word: networking. Almost from the moment of the Society’s founding, Æon members have been making friends in all walks of life.


Æon and the Orders Edit

As mentioned in the Trinity Players Guide, Æon knew about the psi orders well before the Battle of Sydney Spaceport. The Council are still rankled by Solveig Larssen's decision to circumvent Æon's 20-year plan for easing human society's acceptance of the orders, but not so much so that they’ve refused to give the orders positive publicity. The human race needs psions to fight the Aberrants, and Æon needs those psions to have a public image opposite to that of humanity’s tainted enemy.

The Trinity attributes their awareness of the orders’ beginnings to their extensive information network. Certainly, that network has provided them with a great deal of inside information over the years, much of it information the orders would rather not see become public knowledge. The truth, however, isn’t nearly that simple.

In fact, Æon knew about the proxies even as they were being considered to receive the Doyen's benefaction. The truth about the Doyen role is, of course, buried deep in the Babel Dossier (see p.XX). Buried alongside it is the truth about how Æon came to be watching those specific people.

As mentioned on p.XX above, Æon knew that Nippon had the only sizeable population of “novas” still on Earth. They acted as if these Aberrants would not turn against the outside world, but planned for the possibility that they might. To this end, Æon was keeping an eye on all the latent psychomorphs it could find, with an eye to recruiting them as soon as possible after they underwent psychic Inspiration.

This is an awesome explanation. talk

The eight proxies were all being watched as part of this program, as were the dozens of other candidates the Doyen considered and tested. When eight of those psychomorphs dropped completely off Æon’s radar, Æon noticed.

They may also have noticed the weirdness happening to those candidates as well, as the Doyen tested people and eventually selected eight of them. talk

[Plenty of folks have asked how, exactly, the Æon Trinity exerts influence in the 22nd century. Simply put, it's had two centuries to create an extensive information network. The Trinity is not omniscient, but it does have a good idea of what's going on in the universe (the Babel Dossier and an ever-growing intelligence network are key to this).
I'll paraphrase someone else here: think of Æon as being a bit like the Masons — a well-established group that's been around for a long time, and has members in lots of important places. Simply put, Æon gained (primarily behind-the-scenes) political power by having powerful members. As such it doesn't have any "real" authority, but it does have plenty of influence — now more than ever, given its close ties to the psi orders.
If Æon is so self-sufficient, why does it approach the psi orders (and governments) for help? Because Æon operates through subtlety and influence. It knows it's more effective if it remains an enigma, so it uses others whenever it can. (This same thinking applies to using lower-ranking Æon cells, of course.) The orders are the best tool to date.
Plus, Æon really isn't as hideously wealthy and brute-force powerful as people think. Fully two-thirds of its members are those folks who think it's just some sort of social club or are in low-ranking cells — and that's the way that Æon likes it. If too many people know the full extent of its capabilities, the Trinity loses much of its power.
Throughout all this material, make sure to provide suggestions and plot hooks to the Storyteller on how to use the Æon Trinity as an engaging, challenging and otherwise useful tool in her series.]

The Babel Dossier Edit

When Max Mercer founded Æon, he didn't go around telling the world what the Society was up to, but he didn't make a serious effort to hide it, either. Anyone who could get past the security at stately Mercer Manor in Wicker Park, or at any of Æon's other chapterhouses, could look at the Society's files and find out what was really going on in the world.

In the 1940s, Whitley Styles, Mercer’s “kid sidekick” and one of Æon’s founders, took on the duty of supervising this storehouse of the eclectic and abstruse. He called it the Babel Dossier, in reference to Genesis 11:6: “…and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.”

Even after Dr. Primoris’ desertion, Styles promoted the policy of openness. Secrecy was one of the things Æon was fighting hardest against; one of the greatest obstacles to human potential was what people didn’t know. And if Æon started hiding from the average man, he reasoned, it would be easy for them to lose sight of the distinction between the good of humanity and the good of Æon.

That open-door policy was one of the first things that Æon's new guard abandoned after Mercer's disappearance in 1950. There were some things, they decided, that most people just didn't need to know, and in fact would probably sleep better at night if they didn't know.

Triton Archive: Absolute Secret Edit

"If the contents of the Babel Dossier were made public again, it would be the end of Æon, and possibly of the world, as we know it. History books would have to be rewritten. Governments would collapse. Worst of all, the man in the street would react poorly to knowing what has been hidden from him all this time. Rather than be grateful that we spared him the knowledge, he would take his anger out on us, probably in a violent way."

— textfile excerpt from the "Thetis Proposal," January 1, 1999

When Margaret Mercer, the daughter of Max Mercer’s son Michael, took charge of Æon’s Special Projects Division in 1998, the Babel Dossier was one of two projects she managed to keep under her personal control (the other was Project Pandora, as noted on p.XX).

= World 1 vs. World 2

Maybe a snappy title? “The Double-Slit Max Experiment” or something? talk


We are about to reveal one of the biggest secrets of the Trinity Universe. Only one person in the Trinity Universe knows it, and as you'll see, he (a)

Again, (a) and (b) not really necessary. talk

has his own reasons for not revealing it and (b) doesn’t know all of it himself. But once you, as a Storyteller, know it, it may forever change the way you run your Trinity chronicle. At the very least, it should help you determine what sort of chronicle you've been running all this time.

Mercer's Journey Edit

In 1922, Maxwell Anderson Mercer was one of the people closest to Dr. Sir Calvin Hammersmith's Telluric Engine when Hammersmith activated it. In the ensuing explosive release of zero-point energy, Hammersmith's butler, Jackson Harley, became a psychomorphic "voodoo" master. Mercer's boon companion, Michael Donighal, began an eximorphic transformation that would lead inexorably to his departure from Earth's solar system in 2061. And Mercer himself, the prime paramorph, was launched on a voyage down the timestream.

I’m not sure, but I think this might be the first time within Trinity that it’s explained that Max Mercer can time-travel. So you may want to elaborate. talk

His first stop was in 1942, where an older version of himself taught him how to use the powers over time he had been granted — and informed him of his scheduled destiny to found the Æon Society for Gentlemen. What that Mercer did not say was why his younger self had been drawn there and then. A year after his arrival, and shortly before his departure

Shortly before he departed? Are both Maxes taking part in the fight against Mal? talk

, there would be another major release of "telluric energy" as Æon did battle with one of its own.

Once he had learned all his future self could teach him, the younger Mercer journeyed onward. His next stop would be the late 1990s, around the time Aberrants first began to proliferate. In fact, he arrived on November 10, 1997 — a little over four months before the burst of telluric energy that began the Aberrant Era. He remained in what was then called the "Nova Age" for about four years, then disappeared again in August of 2001. He made several return trips to that era after getting back to the 1920s; on one of these jaunts, he stopped in 2008 and tried to steer Æon closer to the course he’d originally wanted to set for it. In any event, there aren’t even rumors of his being sighted after about 2022 — right around the time things started really going downhill.

He reappeared in the 2050s, when the war between humanity and its mad children was about to reach its peak. In fact, he was drawn to the immediate aftermath of Calvert Wycoff's 2054 self-destruction. He helped Æon's efforts in that first Aberrant War, and Æon was glad of its founder's assistance. He left that era in September of 2061 — after the Earth Strike Ultimatum had been issued and Bahrain destroyed, but before the Speech of Divis Mal and the departure of most Aberrants from Earth.

Schrödinger's Max Edit

When Max attempted to proceed to the next telluric turning point, around the bicentennial of the Hammersmith Incident, something… unusual… happened. Just as the Venezuelan Phenomenon blocked (and still blocks) subquantum perceptions passing from one side of it to the other, it blocked Mercer's attempt to travel into the Unity Era. Since his powers over time are (apparently) not psi powers, it did not block them completely.

In some versions of the Schrödinger's Cat thought-experiment, the medium used to determine whether the cat will be spared or killed is a single photon launched at a half-silvered mirror, which it has a 50/50 chance of passing through. Some interpretations say that, until the photon's waveform is collapsed by observation, it both passes and does not pass — just as the cat is at once alive and dead until the box is opened.

Crisis on Infinite Æons, or "But I don't want to use this!" Edit

Then don't. This isn't a mandatory element of Trinity Universe canon, and we're not authorized to call White Wolf's canon police on you anyway. (Besides, they're busy right now tracking down all the people who cross the original World of Darkness too much with the new one.) It exists as one possible way of explaining the differences in Æon's methodology over the course of the Trinity Universe's history — whether you're running a World 1 or a World 2 campaign will affect how Æon interacts with the world. It might also be used to explain some discrepancies in that history. For instance, the timeline in the Trinity core rules says that a "dramatic increase in super-normal events" happened in 1970. However, the Aberrant core rules show no sign that most people in the Nova Age were even aware of those events, let alone "amazed by" or "aghast at" them as the timeline says.

Obviously, however, it's not the only explanation for either of these phenomena. If it opens up more cans of teleological worms than you're comfortable with, or if it just seems like an unnecessary and irrelevant complication, ignore it by all means.

When Maxwell Anderson Mercer struck Process 418, his lifestream bifurcated, like the uncollapsed waveform of a photon hitting a mirror. One version of him passed through; the other was deflected. The two histories that resulted were different in subtle — but important — ways. Where the future goes from here may depend on which past it came from.

The Donut Edit

The Max Mercer who made it to the other side of the Process saw the Unity Era, its suffering and its splendor. He saw that, despite the dark hours of the Aberrant War, the human race had survived — and, two generations later, was not merely enduring, but prevailing. Æon was going off-course, but he considered that he could set that right easily enough.

When this Optimist Max returned to the 1920s, the Æon Society for Gentlemen he founded was suffused with the hope he drew from the future he'd seen. He knew that a lot of people would have to sacrifice a lot to make his dream a reality, but he was willing to sacrifice as much as they for the goal — true unity for the human race. The world his vision shaped is known as World 1.

Note here about how Adventure!, Trinity and (possibly) the more optimistic presentation of Aberrant d20 are World 1. talk

[Note on Æon’s methodology in this world.]

The Hole Edit

The other Max hit the Venezuelan Phenomenon and bounced, but not the way a photon hits a mirror and bounces. In fact, he hit Process 418 much the same way a superball hits a sidewalk

Let’s say brick wall. Sidewalk makes me think “boing,” and it’s just gravity doing the work. Brick wall makes me think “whack!” and someone really has to whip it at the wall. talk

, and bounced off it just as hard. The physical pain of being knocked back from the 2060s to the 1920s was beyond what neutrals can understand. Compared to the intellectual agony of what he thought had knocked him back, however, it was nothing. He saw humanity on the edge of destruction, but didn't see it pull back. He reached the only conclusion that seemed logical to him from what he had seen — Earth had been destroyed in the Aberrant War, either by mutated monster-gods or by desperate humans. He hadn't gotten any further into the future because, he had to assume, there was no future after 2061.

The "hope" of this Mercer's Æon Society for Gentlemen was a hope that the worst disasters could be ameliorated, that something could be spared from the wreckage. He was willing to sacrifice nearly anything — or anyone — to save the world, though he still preferred to avoid the taking of life if he could find any other way. He favored unity, because only a united world could hope to rebuild fully. This Pessimist Max — the Max Mercer of World 2 — does not exactly approve of some of the things Æon has done over the years in furtherance of his goals, but he understands their actions.

Note here about how Aberrant ST is World 2. Maybe a bit of elaboration… how would a World 2 Trinity Era look? talk

[Note on Æon’s methodology in this world.]

As things currently stand, word tells me you’ve got about 5,800 words, including all notes. Without notes, it’s probably closer to 5,500. That means you’ve got a shade under 10,000 to go to meet the wordcount. If you go under wordcount, that’s fine, but I’d prefer that margin to be as small as possible.
Keep up the good work! Lots of points in here that make me go “cooool!” I even pasted some of the stuff from this and your other draft to Bruce, Elizabeth Brooks, and a few others. They’re liking it. (:

Trinity Storytellers Handbook: Outline

Prologue FictionIntroductionChapter One: The Æon TrinityChapter Two: NoeticsChapter Three: Aberrant SocietyChapter Four: Creating a StoryChapter Five: The Trinity UniverseChapter Six: Above and BeyondChapter Seven: Option: Alternate Character CreationAppendix I: AnimalsAppendix II: Aptitude ChartAppendix III: The Story To ComeIndex

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