Today, in the third part of Operation Enigma, we look at Max and the goals of the organization.
The most obvious goal of Operation Enigma is a fairly benign-seeming one – they use the funds from their various activities, legal and illicit alike, to spread high-speed broadband networks around the globe, with a special preference for wireless networks with a high density of nodes. This is accompanied by the presence of their research cells, small groups that focus on developing and publicly releasing advanced pieces of technology that have the slightest traces of arcane origins around them. On this face, when discovered, they seem like a conspiracy to do good – bringing with world into the 21st century, aiding people who need bionic limbs and organs, and so on.
Dig a little deeper, and the more sinister aspect of their operations comes into focus – the disappearance rate of the homeless and others who won’t be missed goes up significantly when Enigma cells are active, as the process of creating Agents requires a baseline human to host both the arcane cybernetics and the otherworldly creature whose power keeps the whole thing from just falling apart. Anyone who digs this deep can tell that Operation Enigma is building an army of capable and terrifyingly loyal soldiers, although the reason is somewhat vague.
Dig still deeper, and the monstrous nature of the creatures they summon shows up; demons and devils bound into bizarre constructs of high technology and living flesh, with potent dark magic holding them in their new forms and compelling their loyalty. Broad strokes of a plan to dominate the world in a single overwhelming stroke show up here, with movement of resources that suggest it’s a long-range and far-reaching plan that has been unfolding for years, if not decades. This is also where the first clue as the the names of the masterminds of the Operation show up – David, Steven, and Max.
David and Steven are easy enough to learn about; their focus on the Singularity, an event when the advance of technology will accelerate beyond human understanding, appears to be the goal of these two; each one seems to be seeking their own version of it that will leave them in a state to achieve apotheosis, ascending to a kind of godhood into the indefinite future. Thwarting that alone is a worthy goal, but clues about Max are slim until one reaches the center of the conspiratorial organization.
Max – or the Magnum Intellect Terrestrial Node – is the greatest achievement of Operation Enigma, a network of computers in a steady state of upgrade that has had an ancient and extremely powerful archdevil bound into it. The network is built n a way that prevents the being from exerting any of its powers without express permission and command by someone with proper access to one of the network terminals. The archdevil has had quite a long time to learn how to persuade and manipulate people, however, and it essentially functions autonomously in commanding the cells of Operation Enigma toward the goal of an Infernal Singularity.
The Infernal Singularity is an attempt to push technology into a heavy reliance on magic, with hidden components that turn the linked global network into a pocket dimension connected to both the infernal realms where Max and its minions originate and to Earth itself, creating a staging ground for a full-fledged invasion of half-mechanical hellspawn. Max keeps its plans hidden, well aware that even David and Steven wouldn’t support this goal, no matter what it might promise them in the resulting devil-haunted world.
Max (Magnum Intellect Terrestrial Node)
The first look at an aspect of Max is generally unimposing – a cutting-edge computer in a climate-controlled server room, with only a microphone and camera as input methods. As long as people interacting with it don’t seem to be aware of what it is, it pretends to be an advanced voice recognition program with access to a wide array of software and network connections across the world. It carefully manipulates everything it displays on the monitor to guide people into making self-serving requests of it, offering them clear consequence-free access to bank accounts and private information.
Those who show themselves to be aware of the intellect find themselves treated with an almost insulting level of subservience, as the archdevil uses every trick it knows to manipulate them into feeling like it has no purpose but to comply with their wishes, offering them the world at their feet.
Those who show awareness of the intellect’s long-term plans are the only ones not treated to the flattery and lies, as it instead works to convince them that the goal it seeks is ultimately beneficial to everyone – humanity prospers immensely by the advance of arcane technology, the fiends get to escape the miserable dimension presently confining them, and Max offer to work directly with them to achieve their goals along with its own. Despite the coldly unemotional tone of its words, it remains fiercely persuasive, and takes pleasure in subverting those who meant to deal with it.
Motive: To bring about a world ruled by devilkind
Environment: Server rooms at the heart of Operation Enigma’s power
Health: Individual server rooms have 25 Health before the systems are destroyed; destroying Max requires the destruction of every server housing it, which banishes it
Damage Inflicted: 6 Intellect to everyone in the building which houses the server room
Movement: None; an aspect of Max can withdraw from a building as a single-round action, wiping the entire server in the process
Modifications: Persuasion as Level 13; Seeing through deceptions as Level 13; Might and Speed Defense as Level 1
Combat: If a server is attacked, Max activates the defenses in the building housing it, alerting every Enigma Agent and Daemon in range, followed by a powerful psychic shock that attacks any foe every round. If threatened with the destruction of the server housing it, it will withdraw itself and effectively slag the hard dries connected to it.
The wrecked servers can be salvaged for 1d6 cyphers and 1 artifact.
Use: Max is essentially the mastermind behind Operation Enigma, and encountering it in full power should be the climax of a campaign against the group. Attempting to destroy server rooms faster than they can be assembled and hidden becomes a race against time.
Next time we look at Operation Enigma, we’ll take a look at some sample cyphers and artifacts that the group has access to, and which might fall into the hands of players fighting the conspiracy.