The Psychic Network
The Psychic Network is a group devoted, not strictly to traditional magic, but psychic and psionic powers. Their members spend their time learning to develop their abilities, and shy from using their powers to manipulate or control others. They also seek out others like them who need help or learning. Their name was chosen before a company existed with the same name and they decided having a mundane group with the same name would make a good cover for their activities. That it ironically is full of pretenders to being pyschic would normally be something they would stop, but it makes such a great cover when someone does find out their name that they haven’t done anything about it.
Some cultures have made a distinction between magical powers, which require both the ability to work magic and a great deal of training and teaching to develop that potential, and innate powers that require no study to surface. The latter set of powers is commonly known as the Second Sight, and involves a number of abilities with which the mind can affect and perceive the world. In recent years, the Second Sight (known in the scientific community as Extrasensory Perception or Psionics) has become gradually accepted as real, or at least possible.
Most members of the Network were contacted during their childhood or teenage years, when most psychic and psionic powers start to manifest themselves. The network typically enrolls the psychic in one of the many schools and institutes the organization secretly controls. The young psychics are given a formal education along with training in their unique abilities and powers. The typical “graduate” has the equivalent of four years of college and a good grasp of their psychic abilities.
Any psychic contacted by the Network is offered membership into its ranks. The Network usually does not force people to join them, although there are stories that a few leaders of the Network have been more than a little forceful in trying to persuade psychics to join. For the most part, however,most people approached by the group agree to either become full-time members or at least remain in contact with the group. Many are tearfully thankful for the chance to be able to learn how to control their often erratic abilities. On the other hand, those who seek to abuse their powers are also found and dealt with.
Although the Network has access to the largest number of psychics in the world, it is far from being a sinister “mind control” organization. First, most of the psychics in the Network are relatively weak, barely able to move a small object for short distances, or pick up another person’s thought-images. More importantly, the founders of the Network saw their organization as a place of learning, not a subversive band of would-be kings. In fact, the Network often sends its members after psychics who use their abilities to exploit or harm others. This is the right thing to do both in terms of morality and self-interest: a major public incident involving psychic abilities might trigger a period of persecution that would destroy everything the Network has been working to build.
It developed during the late 19th and early 20th century as a scientific take ‘magic’ became a thing. More modern takes on it developed from research centers that sought to study people who could do mostly minor, but impossible, things. When the government started to take an interest, a group of scientists and their ‘patients’ decided to move things ‘off the grid’ to escape government interests. Over time this has expanded into a network of hidden research centers across the globe which shelter, nurture, and train psychics and those with other psionic powers. They also study such powers trying to understand how they exist and what they can do.
The Network believes that psionic powers are an extension of the human soul, although some of the most modern-thinking researchers in the Network scoff at the idea of the “soul.” All psionic powers are known to be related in some way. A psychic with one of these powers can, in theory, develop all other abilities. In practice, just like athletes specialize in one type of sport, so must psychics concentrate on a few powers if they hope to master any of them.
Some of the original founders of the Network believed that the psychics had a place in humankind’s affairs as advisors and guides, helping the “Blind” in a paternalistic, but not tyrannical, way. The networks goal is to build a utopian society where the psychics will assume responsibility over the security and happiness of the rest of the world. Early attempts to create this Utopia resulted in fearful and violent reactions on the part of the Blind, who had no desire to surrender their freedom to anybody. The Networks leaders realized that unless they could force their rule on the Blind, their only recourse was to operate in hiding. The revised philosophy of the Network calls for waiting until the people of the world are ready to accept psychics as their saviors.
As a result of their early experience, the leaders of the Network have decided that any attempt to impose psychic rule on humankind is morally wrong, and the Network must stop any other psychics who seek to subvert or conquer the mundanes. This policy also serves the Networks interests, for should a psychic conqueror be discovered, the backlash would affect all psychics. It is in the best interest of the Network that any psychics trying to abuse their powers be quietly disposed of.
The Cabal works under the cover of a number of schools and research institutes. Over time the organization has amassed a small fortune, much of which is spent in grants to universities and private schools. Members are enrolled in those schools, or become their employees after they complete their studies. Regrettably, many of these institutions are plagued by strange incidents, murders and accidents, often caused by psychics running amuck, or supernatural beings who were attracted by the greater concentration of Essence in such places. A side effect of the Networks concentration of psychics in a relatively low number of places is that a number of entities, including ghosts, are drawn to them.
The Network is controlled by the Council of Elders, a large assembly of some thirty members who meet once every month to discuss new developments and formulate policy. These meetings are held in the strictest secrecy, and change locations every time. The rest of the members are divided into three ranks. Students are the youngest and most inexperienced members. Assistants are the average, rank-and-file members who have learned to control their powers and who are expected to help teach the Students and perform a number of missions for the Network. Finally, Teachers are in charge of educating and organizing the Students and Assistants, and enforcing the rules imposed by the Council of Elders.
The Network has long kept itself removed from the affairs of the world, and as a result has avoided conflicts.
The Network most often comes into contact with the Wicce when both groups discover a person with the Gift, or when psychic Wicce display their powers in public or at least in an indiscreet manner. The Cabal believes the Wicce rely too much on mystic “mumbo jumbo” that actually diminishes their true powers.
The Mediums of the Twilight Order are considered to be fellow psychics. Communication with the spirits of the dead has long been considered part and parcel of the Second Sight. Often, the Order has been contacted to help the Network deal with ghosts and phantasms that seek to prey on the psychics.
On the one hand, the Network feels a duty not to exploit normal humans. On the other, it fears the reaction of the mundane masses should their existence be revealed. Because of this and the nature of the group The Hellfire Club is possibly their worst enemy, though the club isn’t aware of the depth of their organization.
Abilities and skills
Due to their training, network members have a good assortment of scholastic skills, including knowledge of psychic and psionic abilities.
Most of their members are psychics or psionics of some type. Mundane members are for the most part researchers, bodyguards and troubleshooters, and hold few important positions in the organization.