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- There are in fact two things, science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance - Hippocrates
The Progenitors are one of the Technocracy's Conventions. Within the Technocracy, they represent the scientific fields of medicine, genetics, chemistry and biotechnology. As such, their primary Sphere is Life, but Mind and Prime are also widely studied. While mostly an academically minded Convention, the Progenitors also contribute substantially to external intelligence operations and enforcement activities.
At first glance, the Progenitors are mostly researchers, medics and academics. Most of their Constructs are laboratories and medical facilities, and their organisational structure suggests an academic framework more than anything else. This is mostly due to their historical roots as doctors, alchemists and herbalists; fields which later changed into the sciences of medicine, biology, genetics and pharmacy.
In recent times, however, the Progenitors have become more involved in active and proactive external operations. This orientation can be attributed to the expectation, during the height of the Ascension War, that all Technocratic Conventions would contribute to the war effort. Also, during the history of that conflict, the Progenitors exposed themselves to a degree which engendered active opposition against them. Those circumstances forced the Progenitors to defend themselves and venture further afield in an effort to control their environment, so they could identify and neutralize external threats quickly.
The Progenitors are also vying with the other Conventions for influence and control over the masses. In particular, the Pharmacopeist Methodology actively works on schemes of large-scale influence through medical and pharmaceutical facilities, the pharmaceutical and chemical industry and its markets, while the FACADE Engineers and Genegineers conduct intelligence operations — both without and within the Union — by means of Intrusion Clones and other biotechnological methods.
The vision of the Progenitors is a world where life is cultivated and optimized. Crops and livestock are abundant, medical care is ubiquitous, and race and gender are meaningless in the face of the genetic equality and flawlessness of all humanity. While Iteration X might seek to overcome biological deficiencies by means of integrated circuitry and machine parts, the Progenitors seek to improve on life itself as much as possible, even create new life to suit their purposes.
Critical voices accuse them of suffering from a God Complex and conducting inhuman practices. Only Iteration X surpasses the Progenitors' attitude that the end justifies the means. The detachment of Progenitor scientists often goes so far that they will consider the most outrageous experiments as justifiable in the name of science.
The Progenitors conduct most of their work within laboratories and through scientific research and development. Whenever methods become tried and true, they are employed on a general scale and spread throughout the medical and pharmaceutical communities around the world to promote the Progenitors' paradigm and the Union as a whole. The majority of their work is directed at improving on life through genetic engineering, pharmacy, medicine and the mastery of all biological aspects of nature. Progenitor Procedures are therefore also placed in two categories: Laboratory Procedures, and Field Applications. These categories not only reflect the boundary between coincidental and vulgar magic in game terms, but are also a description of the complexity of the Procedure. Procedures which require laboratories are long-winded and complex, involving many steps of chemical and biological synthesis and recombination, and require a lot of equipment. Field Applications tend to be simpler, quicker and less refined, on the other hand they are usually based on sound principle and are known to work, even under adverse conditions.
Internally, the scientists of the Progenitors are highly competitive and the Convention is rife with politics and intrigue among the rivalling scientists and lab-groups. This rivalry and competitiveness also provides them with a constant drive for innovation, though, where each lab-group tries to outdo the others. Scientists of this Convention regularly tend to be highly protective of their research and achievements, lest a competing researcher might get an advantage over them and threaten access to coveted lab-space and funding. This attitude also extends to their relation with the rest of the Union. They often loathe to submit all data about their research to the New World Order databases and generally try to avoid the meddling administrators of this Convention. Based on their indisposable position as suppliers of medical care and biological enhancements for other technocrats, they always manage to keep a trump up the sleeve when it comes to manipulating internal relations and dodging regulations.
When faced with opposition, the Progenitors can be sinister and insidious antagonists. They abduct key enemy figures and replace them with specially conditioned Intrusion Clones which report back to them and can be triggered to commit sabotage and murder at the appropriate time. Through drugs, chemicals, food additives, diseases and influence on medical-care facilities they can also strike at their opponents in hidden ways when they least expect it or when they are weak. For this purpose, the Pharmacopeists maintain a cadre of Street Operatives who operate within the black market for drugs, medical facilities, the food additives- and pharmaceutical industry and even in administrative positions of the respective controlling organs on national levels. When faced with aggressive or particularly dangerous opponents, the FACADE Engineers and Genegineers supply the teams of Damage Control with specially bred and engineered attack organisms and bioweapons to strike quickly and decisively at their enemies. Damage Control is mostly used against supernatural opponents like Tradition mages, vampires or werewolves. In serious cases the Progenitors will often employ a multi-pronged approach of Intrusion Clones, biological and chemical weapons and direct application of force.
The Progenitors claim to be one of the Conventions with the oldest roots. They identify as their forebears the first civilization's inventors of agriculture, as well as ancient masters of herbalism and medicine. As such they share common roots with the Verbena, a fact that is even acknowledged by many Progenitors. When the schism precisely occurred is unclear, but during the times of ancient Greece the first recorded predecessors of the Progenitors established themselves as The Hippocratic Circle around 370BC, also referred to as The Cosians. That point marks a clear departure from faith and witchcraft as a basis for healing, towards a scientific appreciation of the processes of life. The Cosians thrived in ancient times, but the middle ages dealt them a severe blow. Superstition and religion took hold in Europe, and in the conflict between faith and paganism, the Hippocratic Circle was declared an enemy by both sides. Many of their Covenants in Europe were routed, eradicated or had to go into hiding, only in China and the Muslim lands their science could endure in the open. It would take centuries until the Cosians could reach the same level of widespread integration they had started to achieve during the golden age of the ancient civilizations.
The re-emergence came with the formation of The Order of Reason at the Convention of the White Tower in 1325. By joining with the other Daedaleans, the beleaguered Cosians could regain a foothold in European lands, and re-establish contacts with Arabian and Chinese brethren. In 1376 they established the first open and public facility in Europe: The Brandenburg Krankenhaus in Germany. This idealistic centre of enlightened medicine and pharmacopeia - open to rich and poor, nobility and commoner alike - became a shining beacon to demonstrate the benefits which the Hippocratic Circle could bring to the people. Throughout the Renaissance and until the modern era, the Cosians mostly worked on pharmacy, medicine and crafting of the living flesh. The Cosian's science advanced throughout the centuries to the point of cellular biology and genetics. When the Order of Reason was reorganized into the Technocratic Union during the reign of Queen Victoria, the Hippocratic Circle renamed themselves into The Progenitors, pioneers of a new humanity. By then, the life-sciences were not restricted to improving, curing and modifying living things anymore, but could aspire to create new life. Hubris and sometimes outright megalomania was the adverse result of such lofty goals, and Progenitor scientists embraced the idea of eugenics. Their final fall from grace came with the Second World War, when many Progenitors joined the scientific community of Nazi Germany where they saw an opportunity to engage in eugenic practices on a large scale. Likewise their research made wide use of the medical facilities in Concentration Camps where experiments could be conducted on live humans, which had previously been impossible due to moral restrictions.
After the war, experiments continued to be conducted under less than ethical standards, and Progenitor science advanced in great leaps. Within half a century cloning could be perfected, the generation of artificial life became a staple of many laboratories, and bioengineering was spread throughout the Union as a commonplace method.
With the dawn of the new century, the Progenitors have established their methods as the mainstream goals of commonly practiced life-science. They have their hands in many medical and research facilities throughout the developed world, and have reached a level of control both within and without the Union that is previously unsurpassed. While the masses rely on pharmaceutics for nutritional, medical and recreational purposes, and depend on the extended medical care of their societies, high-ranking technocrats have become dependent on the Progenitors for life-extension treatments too.
Iteration-X and the NWO make wide use of Progenitor clones for their "foot soldiers", the Syndicate needs the revenue generated by the lucrative businesses thriving on Progenitor products, and even the Void Engineers could not take their most daring voyages without synthesized food and special medicines to help them endure the rigors of space-travel.
The nucleus of the Convention's structure is the laboratory. Laboratories are rarely isolated facilities, except in low-profile street operations. Usually they are clustered into a lab-group under the supervision of one or more Primary Investigators. The labs themselves are mostly staffed by Research Associates who form the bulk of the Progenitor Convention, and Students who form the lowest Enlightened echelon of the Convention. One or more lab-groups together with an educational institution comprise Constructs which are headed by Research Directors. The Progenitors also have un-Enlightened personnel enlisted, but they rarely play any significant role within Progenitor Constructs themselves. Rather, they work as Lab Technicians, Recruiters and Street Operatives among the masses and in smaller facilities in the field.
The Schism between field operatives and scientists working within Union facilities is most pronounced among the Progenitors. Field work means less time devoted on research and internal academic politics. That results in a clear disadvantage in an environment where promotion depends highly on how many research papers one has published and how many patrons are willing to provide support.
The whole Convention is guided by Administration, a secretive inner circle of the highest-ranking Research Directors. Administration has no direct role in the actual Constructs, but rather communicates with all of them through directives and notifications.
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