Author Topic: Techno Heresy through data manipulation.  (Read 2663 times)

Offline Hadriel Caine

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Techno Heresy through data manipulation.
« on: December 11, 2009, 07:18:57 PM »
I've been thinking today about a new protagonist/ nemesis faction.
I'm a bit bored of Chaos and Xenos threats in Inquisitor.

I was watching Brasseye the other day and it stuck in my mind how easy it is to convince people that you are right about something through use of familiar set ups and video's/ fake testimonies etc.

I have been working in video and image manipulation during my drama degree and know well how easy it is to put across a poorly conceived idea or flat out lie as the truth- people buy it.

In the grim darkness of the far future I think the manipulation of data, records and attack plans could be incredibly dangerous and potentially profitable for those willing to exploit the constant state of unrest.

Imagine, if you will, if a character or group of characters were to manipulate military intel about a planet/ sector etc in order to gain access to something valuable or for terrorist reasons.
I'm fairly sure that an Imperial Cruiser could be made to believe it was under orders to orbital strike the wrong place or have an EMP dropped on the defences for an archeotech horde or somesuch.

What am I asking then?

I am thinking along the lines that the Inquisition could be very interested in capturing/ working with somebody with the necessary skills to pull off stunts supported by manipultaion of the military/ local government.

what kind of person would do this? why? are they necessarily a heretic?

In a modern era film I'm thinking they'd be the kind of character born in Russia, trained by MI5/ SAS and then gone rogue. an outsider with no loyalties. a mercenary able to bring a sector to its knees for personal gain etc.

thoughts?

Adam

p.s. hope thats vaguely cohesive
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Offline phil-o-mat

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Re: Techno Heresy through data manipulation.
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2009, 07:56:52 PM »
sounds definetly GOOD!
i like that idea very much!
the "dark heresy" campaign that i`m running is a "war" between two inquisitors and the players have a hard time to decide which side is "good" or "evil". so this could be a really good background. i would have fun to be one of your players!

and i`m bored of chaos and xenos too, so i decided to run a campaign filled with human abysses. (was that right? my english is not the best)
bye, phil
« Last Edit: December 11, 2009, 07:59:19 PM by phil-o-mat »

Offline N01H3r3

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Re: Techno Heresy through data manipulation.
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2009, 08:20:07 PM »
There's a fair bit of Dark Heresy material on Hereteks (the collective term for Techno-Heretics), primarily because it's a relatively untapped well compared to the familiar daemon, mutant, witch and alien (I leave heretics out, because there's a lot that can be done with heretics that rarely is - secularists who deny the Emperor's divinity, and actual divergences from the standard Creed so the enemy are as devoted to the Emperor as the ones decrying them as Heretics, to name but two examples) and partially because there's a lot of cool ideas for it floating around.#

Data manipulation in its own right doesn't have to be a sin against the machine in order for there to be Techno-heresy involved, though it could well be (the notion of - and I'm just making this up - dataclasm, or the destruction/defamation of sacred knowledge, much as Iconoclasm is the destruction of sacred symbols; someone who wilfully destroys sacred knowledge could then be known as a Dataclast). It might be that there is a heretek or group of hereteks (who are hereteks for other reasons, perhaps pursuit of forbidden knowledge, or perhaps refusal to honour the Omnissiah, or even the sin of progress) who make use of data manipulation as a means to some other end...

Such talented and illegal individuals may be highly sought after by Radical Inquisitors seeking a way to make use of technology without dealing with the Mechanicus directly.
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Offline Ynek

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Re: Techno Heresy through data manipulation.
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2009, 12:07:21 AM »
I also tend to play down chaos/aliens in games that I GM, mainly because I think that inquisition (or other imperial body) vs. chaos/aliens is a very overdone concept.

Most of my campaigns these days revolve around the darkness and brutality of the Imperium, and the sorts of human monsters that it can create. Those of you familiar with the Hive Maiden might remember the character "General Magellan", a monster of a man who, whilst still free of xenos or chaos taint, has become something really quite foul and horrifying. He was an Imperial Guard general whose mental state had deteriorated through decades of war, and every time he butchered a child  or murdered a colleague for his own perverse pleasures, the Imperial government covered it up, since he was still a very good military leader.

That sort of coverup/conspiracy is the sort of thing that I normally have players poking around in. It's dark, it's gribbly, and it's a far cry from the cliched: "You are inquisitors. This is a demon/alien. Kill it."

So, in that vein, I applaud you for your very understandable and unique "human" enemy. He's powerful, he's scary, he's a threat to everything that the Imperium holds dear, and he's definitely not cliched.
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Offline Myriad

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Re: Techno Heresy through data manipulation.
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2009, 12:10:57 AM »
This is a pretty good idea with lots of potential.  The sheer size of the imperium makes facts quite easy to manipulate in some cases, especially if you have a backdoor into various archive systems.  Conversely it may be quite difficult to get to *all* the sources of data, especially if an inquisitor is using unofficial channels.

While such an individual would be dangerous and criminal, I don't think there's necessarily anything heretical about it.  Even from a mechanicus viewpoint, you could probably manipulate the data using otherwise legitimate rituals.
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Offline Shard

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Re: Techno Heresy through data manipulation.
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2009, 02:49:34 PM »
Although not entirely what you're talking about, when I read through your idea I could not get the film 'Valkyrie' out of my head. It's all about the manipulation of ideas (well, orders), and I'm sure something like that could be used to overthrow some corrupt governor with his own forces!

Offline Hadriel Caine

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Re: Techno Heresy through data manipulation.
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2009, 06:19:07 PM »
Urgh... Valkyrie. One of the worst realised and acted films I've seen in a long time. So much potential...

I'm glad you guys think this idea has legs. I'll have a think about bulking the character out a bit and maybe coming up with a backstory or two in a week or so (big week at uni prior to Xmas).

cheers

Adam

p.s. Shard I know what you mean about the film, its a great idea for Inquisitor I just hated the film.
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Offline Molotov

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Re: Techno Heresy through data manipulation.
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2009, 09:51:48 PM »
In the old Index Astartes: Alpha Legion there was a small text box featuring a message sent to an Imperial Battlegroup to go to a particular area - an order that was falsified. The Alpha Legion maintain many operatives throughout the Imperium, enhanced humans with various objectives, and one of those could perhaps have the skills/backing/wherewithal to cause a great deal of trouble to the Imperial war machine without ever actually firing a shot.
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Offline Nash

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Re: Techno Heresy through data manipulation.
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2009, 06:14:06 PM »
No need to be an heretic to cause such troubles... The premices of the BL novel Fifteen Hours is that by typing a dash instead of a slash (or something in the same trivial vein) a simple Administratum "paper pusher" causes a regiment to be dropped on the wrong front...

If such a mistake can happen at regiment scale without anyone thinking to question the orders (but then the Munitorum Manual and the Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer are clear on the consequences of such questions) then it can happen on a larger scale quite easily. And with errors on the scale of whole sector battle fronts, it can mean death for dozens of world because of a misplaced dash...

Now, would the Inquisition get their hands in such matters? I doubt it. Or at least not officialy...

The Administratum would most likely deal with the culprit(s) itself (he'd likely end up servitor-ized to keep him from making such a mistake ever again). If several such incidents happened in the same "section" of the Administratum over a somewhat short period of time, someone might get the idea that those mistakes aren't really accidental and something "darker" might be at play. Still I doubt the Inquisition would get involved, the Administratum would try to deal with this internally... And if any outsider started to get nosey, he'd better have some serious leverage --even if he's an Inquisitor-- to get over the jurisdiction disputes.

IMO, the only body that could officially sanction an Inquisitorial cell/sub-ordo who'd deal with potential heretics infiltrating the bureaucracy of the Imperium would be the High Lords and it seems quite unlikely to happen... Because none of the respective the High Lords (except for the representant of the Inquisition of course) would agree to grant the rights to the Inquisition to look too much into their own part of the institutions... Even if the Inquisition petitionned the High Lords for the right to investigate into such matters, most of the High Lords, thinking about the potential precedent it would represent, would claim that the suspicions of the Inquisition aren't sufficiently supported by fact, and that the Imperial body in question should be more than capable of dealing with infiltrators itself...

Thus, if such an Inquisitorial cell/sub-ordo was to exist it would be an unofficial body, and a potentially deniable one...

Offline N01H3r3

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Re: Techno Heresy through data manipulation.
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2009, 06:27:01 PM »
The Administratum would most likely deal with the culprit(s) itself (he'd likely end up servitor-ized to keep him from making such a mistake ever again).
Assuming, of course, that anyone actually notices. A few thousand Guardsman get sent to the wrong planet? Big deal, especially when you consider that the difference from an Administratum perspective is a single character or digit wrong.

Whole worlds have been lost because of accounting errors, billions may starve because tithes were miscalculated... and so forth. Another day in the Administratum, where the tiniest, most easily overlooked error can cause untold damage on a planetary scale, yet still be utterly insignificant on a galactic scale.

Quote
he'd better have some serious leverage --even if he's an Inquisitor-- to get over the jurisdiction disputes.
The jurisdiction of the Inquisition is the Imperium of Man and all its people. I think they're covered. In theory, not even the High Lords of Terra are beyond the judgement of the Inquisition.
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Offline Nash

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Re: Techno Heresy through data manipulation.
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2009, 08:21:52 PM »
Assuming, of course, that anyone actually notices. A few thousand Guardsman get sent to the wrong planet? Big deal, especially when you consider that the difference from an Administratum perspective is a single character or digit wrong.
That's more or less what I was implying, but my apologies if I didn't make myself clear enough... What I meant was it'd require errors on quite a big scale (probably having an impact at least at sub-sector level) for any such mistake to be considered big enough to require action from anyone... (Even if the action is merely to chasticize the culprit(s).)

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The jurisdiction of the Inquisition is the Imperium of Man and all its people. I think they're covered. In theory, not even the High Lords of Terra are beyond the judgement of the Inquisition.
True...

Yet, in my "own private vision of the Imperium of Man", even if on paper the Inquisition has the power to do whatever the heck it wants, in reality they have to rely upon the help of the other bodies of the Imperium in order to be able to do so. And stepping on the wrong toes may mean that this help may start to be misplaced/delayed/etc...

Thus, only the more hardcore/fanatical Inquisitors would tend to bully their way through the Imperial Bureaucracy without very good reasons and risk to cause diplomatic incidents which could make them be deemed "pains in the southern region" by those in the Bureaucracy with the power and means to limit their ability to get the help they may need later.

And those who don't mind the bullying can find themselves in quite annoying positions when they loose the full support of their (more influencable) superiors who "received an astropathic call from an old Schola acquaintance who was not very happy about the way Inquistor X delt with this matter"...

IMHO, most people tend to underplay the political aspects of the Imperium while they are an endless source of "fun"...
« Last Edit: December 14, 2009, 03:04:19 PM by Nash »