Think Tanks

The megacorporations understand the value of intelligence.

The standard “researcher package” of a level 4 Encephalon, a level 4 math SPU, a cerebral booster, and as much mnemonic enhancement that the bio boys can pack into someone’s skull is well-known among the megacorps by 2054. Scientists can tack on up to nine extra dice onto their mathematically oriented knowledge skills through this sort of enhancement. This drastically increases productivity, and makes it well worth the corps’ while to pump this cyberware into their smarter employees. Orks and Trolls can even get in on this action, since their resilient bodies can handle more in the way of bioware than a human, and a Troll can wind up getting eleven dice of enhancement, making up for only raising Intelligence from 4 to 8 instead of from 6 to 10. (The occasional spell lock of Increase Cybered Intelligence, while hard to arrange, can make things even more terrifying.)

(Executives are known to take advantage of such packages as well. After all, having a fantastic memory can make your much more able to micromanage the portions of your business empire that need it, as Lofwyr regularly demonstrates. A new breed of executives is just arriving in the boardroom, having taken the necessary hit to their careers of spending a few months recovering from cybersurgery. They aren’t ready to compete with Great Dragons, but their mental enhancements are powerful... and it’s much harder to bullshit the boss when he can slot a skillsoft for your profession.)

Naturally, the megacorps are fascinated by the possibility of enhancing human minds for superior intelligence and the consequent superior ability in design. Like most beings involved in promoting someone else’s evolution, they aren’t concerned enough with what their creation will think of them...

Yamatetsu Advanced Cognition Project

Yamatetsu has a research group that is working with networking human minds, rather than enhancing a single one. They’re working mostly with off-the-shelf components, and are trying to use a synthesis of magic and technology. They operate using a huge-bandwidth wireless LAN in their research facility, combination encephalon/simrigs that the runners may be familiar with from Imago, and brain-boosters ranging from bioware to spell locks. Their encephalons network with a dedicated mainframe that shares their accumulated short-term and long-term memories with each other, and they can easily tune in to each other’s senses. Their manager, who is not part of the enhancement team but has spent a lot of time working with engineers, has figured out that the obvious thing to do is let these people who are a great deal smarter than he is come up with ways to make money for the corporation and keep the budget boys happy. As long as they keep churning out a decent monetary surplus, they get as many toys as they want.

Nora Davies is a Trollish psychologist with an Encephalon-4, Cerebral Booster-2, and Mnemonic Enhancer-10; she got into the corporate world on a cyberware scholarship for promising Trolls. She has done a lot of work on the filters for passing information back and forth among the group, and is an expert on group dynamics. Nora has published several papers on efficient and unusual models of project team organization, and has a book in the works.

Fred Rifkin is a dwarf Hermetic mage with 2E worth of cyber and an Increase Cybered Intelligence +4 spell lock. He is a spell researcher who specializes in crossing the line between magic and technology; he has published a number of spells that perform industrial processes.

Fidel Mirabella is a human decker with Encephalon-4, Math SPU-4, Cerebral Booster-2, and Mnemonic Enhancer-4. He does the majority of programming for the project, maintaining the mainframe and exploring new concepts in algorithm design and pseudo-AI techniques inspired by understanding the problem-solving techniques of the rest of the group.

Nathaniel Phelps is a human Air Adept with 2E worth of cyber and an Increase Cybered Intelligence +4 spell lock. He has a wide variety of detection and analysis spells, and assists Nora with mind probes and other such spells to investigate aspects of human consciousness, looking for further areas of enhancement.

Tinuviel Shadowbrook is an elven technician with Encephalon-4, Math SPU-4, Cerebral Booster-2, Mnemonic Enhancer-4, and a Vehicle Control Rig-1; she is an expert in producing prototypes using rigged manufacturing equipment.

Anton Muir is a human scientist with lots of perceptory ’ware, Encephalon-4, Mnemonic Enhancer-4, Cerebral Booster-2, and Math SPU-4, and a good skillsoft system. He is a specialist in brain-interface cyberware design, and knows plenty about cybertechnology and cerebral physiology.

All of them have a fair amount of knowledge in each other’s fields; they can work together to solve problems, and are trained in synthesizing insights from their multiple perspectives.

Y Corporation

Y Corporation is a think-tank, founded in 2049, that is mostly composed of magicians and adepts capable of locking or Quickening telepathy spells on themselves. They make a fair amount of money in thaumaturgical services— setting wards, truthtelling, and so on— but their primary work is in pushing the envelope of intelligence amplification and human networking. They have a company initiatory group, and they are publishing and patenting a series of papers and spells on various aspects of telepathy, empathy, and psychology. The second most common spell after telepathy is Increase Intelligence +4.

They have a few non-spellcasters that have been brought into the fold with spell locks— some Physical Adepts who run security, and a decker/technician with a full load of headware.

Society in the corporation is very peculiar, since everyone can read everyone else’s mind. Everyone seems completely eccentric here, because there’s no need to hide differences— it just creates stress and everyone else would find out anyway. Personal foibles have to be forgiven, because grudges would fester.

The group is quite insular: once you’ve adapted to telepathic society, leaving it is unthinkable. The company is privately held; they’ve gotten past brewing up orichalcum for funding, and now do regular spellcasting work. The variety of work they perform increases as more mages are tempted into the lifestyle. Those in the company tend to seem very distant from those outside such society.

Among their research projects are creating a group Ally spirit that will link to all of them at once and can be fed karma by the entire group to make it bigger. This spirit would then be able to serve as a central embodiment of the group’s knowledge.

Chris Shelley is a human Catholic psychologist with an easygoing sense of humor who keeps pointing out that Teilhard de Chardin had a lot of these ideas before the Awakening. He was a founding member, and instrumental in getting the group over the early days of trying to adapt to telepathic society, by honestly forgiving everyone else their foibles and setting an example, as well as doing a lot of counseling as various people learned to cope with their own psychological dirty laundry as well as everyone else’s. He is a full Hermetic mage, from Boston.

Claudia Wong is a human Air Adept and Feng Shui expert who has done a lot of work to make the Y Corporation headquarters building a peaceful and pleasant place to work and live. The center of the building is a garden with fountains and a koi pond under a translucent geodesic dome. She is third-generation Chinese, and another founder of the Y Corporation.

Tim Connor is an Elven Magician of the psionic persuasion and Scottish ancestry. He has a dry sense of humor, and gets along well with magicians because he’s figured it all out: magicians are just psionics using psychological crutches of “spells” and “conjuring” and “fetishes” to access their own inner potential. He can’t do things quite the same as everyone else, but that’s because he harbors fewer illusions about the nature of the world. (Check on psionics and conjuration.) Spirits are self-sustaining thought forms built out of psionic energy, which disperse when they run out. Astral projection and psychometry fit into his worldview quite well, and astral quests are just shared hallucinations required for people to unlock their own inner potential, all part of the collective unconscious. He won’t impose his view on anyone else, but will talk about it happily given the opportunity. He was the third founder of the company.

Malika Echols is a black Dwarf shamaness following the call of Cat. She is a retired shadowrunner who got her start in Los Angeles, and has been all around the planet dealing with various contracts. She is an expert linguist, diplomat, and negotiator, as well as a talented combat mage with a specialty in Barrier spells and illusions— she prefers to use her tactical ability to get her opponents to take themselves out, rather than blowing them away directly. She helps run security for the group, and is highly devoted to them, since they have forgiven her a less than pleasant past with her own share of killings. She knew Chris Shelley from

Alain and Jeanette Aury are a married couple, a Shamanic Adept following Eagle and a Hermetic Sorcery Adept who met at an international conference on magic theory and fell in love; they had a long-distance relationship across the Atlantic for years, and became extremely good at navigating the metaplanes together as they used metaplanar projection to spend time together. They finally got together physically when Jeanette was tempted into leaving her job with Fuchi Medical Thaumaturgy for the Y Corporation in mid-2050; after he heard about the joys of life with these folks, Alain arranged his extraction from Shiawase France with Malika’s help. They have a daughter, Marie, who was born a little less than a year after Alain came over to the Y Corporation; they Quickened a mind link on her as well, to bring her into the group. Jeanette is an accomplished thaumaturgical surgeon, and has an operating theater in the company headquarters.

Y Family

The employees of the Y Corporation that founded the company initiatory group chose the name Y Family, because being in the group meant being at least as close to the other members as they could be to their own families.

Name: Y Family
Type: Idealistic
Members: 14
Limitations: Telepaths only.
Strictures: Oath. Belief. Fraternity. Material Link. Attendance.
Resources/Dues: High. The company provides a combination of corporate headquarters and living space.
Patron: Y Corporation.
Customs: Members of the Y Family live daily with telepathy; they seldom use their voices to communicate any more. They have developed a new skill, Etiquette (Telepaths), which new members pick up as they live among the group. Living among telepaths is just as addictive as intelligence amplification, and no one has been motivated to leave, though hostile extractions may be a problem.