A Question of Legality
By Emily Dresner-Thornber
The Game specializes in a certain type of Lilim. Occasionally,
Balseraphs and Habbalah also get the training, but for the most part,
the role lies with the Lilim. On Earth, these demons use different names
and titles, but in the United States, they're called Congressional
Lobbyists. They're the grease in the Game, the invisible engine that
keeps politics in motion. They hold the ears of the important humans (and
AIs disguised as humans) who make the laws and spend the money. It's
amazing what they can get after they sleep with a Senator or three.
They smile. They smarm. They're farmed out to almost every Principality
in Hell to burrow into other Prince's confidences, because after all,
they have the ear of humans who can "make things happen." They're
indespensible for getting things done. They're a necessary evil -- no
pun intended. And paired with a Malphasean Balseraph lawyer, they're
Sometimes they win. Sometimes they lose. And sometimes, Judgment guns a
few down in anonymous warehouses with submachine guns.
One of the great victories in the last ten years for the Game was the
passing of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act in 1998 in the United
States. Pressured by Game-controlled lobbyists both inside the USA
and out, it was adopted to move copyright law into a new millenium. It's
outward appearance was benign. It looked like it was bringing the United
States law in compliance with the treaty mandated by the World
Intellectual Property Organization.
It seems like a good idea. Protect the rights of creators online. It
made it right past Trade, and the Dominican lawyers. The lobbyists won,
and Asmodeus scored a point. Who knew?
Vapulans occasionally see the light and "go good." No one is entirely
clear why they spontaniously decide, as a team, that they no longer want
to build devices of mass destruction and would rather grow herb gardens
instead. Possibly, it is because someone explains to them that they
could be doing the exact same research for Heaven, and this argument
sounds good enough to just do it.
It's amazing how convincing this argument sounds when it's being explained
by a Malakite with a pointy object.
By and large, these Vapulans join Lightning. Jean is of two minds
about splitting the teams. If there is a hole that fits for one of the
redeemed Vapulans, he'll place them there. However, the redeemed
Vapulans are more "avant garde" than their Heaven-born counterparts, and
their contraversial research interests don't always match up with those
of the angels. Sometimes, the most objective thing to do is to give
these new angels some pure Jeanite management to reign them in, give them
their equipment, and let them go. It's amazing what these guys come up
with -- in the bounds of helping the cause for Heaven.
Creation loves these teams because they come up with the "wiggiest stuff."
War loves these teams because they come up with new and interesting ways
to kill demons.
However, this practice, started back in the time of Tesla, annoys the Game
to no end.
One of the main focuses these days of the ex-Vapulan researchers is
Internet security. After all, they were busy breaking into Heaven's
computers no more than five or six years ago, and most of the old tricks
apply. It's a big field -- billions of dollars in intellectual property
are lost every year to some malicious little Impudite with a connection, a
subscription to 2600, and a copy of smurf.c. These researchers put a stop
to this activity quickly. Worse, they tend to track down the perpetrator,
call the nearest tether, and have it taken care of permenantly.
Trade finds this fine and good. Judgment sees justice being done. War
and Fire get to go smite a few demons. Everyone is happy.
Except for Hell.
Section 1201 of the DMCA makes it clear that hacking is quite illegal, and
subject to all kinds of nasty things, the least of which will be the FBI
banging down the door. However, it makes almost all private cryptography
illegal, all security research illegal, and worst of all, the sharing of
possible exploits with peers illegal.
The Game can shut down the ex-Vapulans and get into your email, too.
No one noticed that a few ex-Vapulan turncoats were being picked
off in secret by Game controlled FBI agents under the power of the DMCA.
They're kind of weaselly, secretive guys. It wasn't big news, not even in
However, you can't just pick off agents of Heaven, even if they are
ex-demons, and kill them without getting noticed eventually. Sure, using
the human organization of the FBI as cover kept the angels off their tail
for quite a long time, but after a while, too many little researchers
And finally, with all the setup, an adventure:
An entire team of Jeanite researchers disappeared. One night, they were
chatting away with human researchers on their mailing lists, submitting
papers for review, and talking about holding a hacking conference in
Heaven. The next minute, they were pulling their papers from their web
sites and shutting down their network. One day, the lead researcher, a
Jeanite by birth and a Jeanite by nature, returns back to Heaven,
battered, beaten, and telling a tale of the raid on his laboratory.
A bit of inquiry turns up a few salient facts:
- The researchers were all ex-Vapulans who had all redeemed sometime
during the 90's.
- The research was into cracking SSL (secure socket layer) using a few
arcane timing methods. This is a very popular secure method of
communications used by corporations
- Under the DMCA, the FBI raided their lab, took their computers, and
locked up the researchers.
The researchers are held in a Game-run FBI facility in Arizona, pending
arraignment, trial, and the highly-likely possibility of deportation to
This seems like a straight forward "rescue the hostages" situation, except
for a few snags.
- The researchers are being held in a facility that is owned and
populated by human beings. Although the heads of the facility may be Game
(and possibly the War and Factions), this does not mean that going in
their guns blazing isn't going to have major reprocussions.
- The Dominicans want to put a hold on rescue missions until they
deliberate some of the points. Cracking SSL and publishing the results in
a journal, or worse, on the net, basically gives everyone the information.
This includes Hell based Vapulan hackers who are more than interesting to
break into the computers used by Heaven, causing a security risk.
- Trade wants to put a hold on rescue missions until they discuss some of
the points. Cracking SSL and publishing the results may allow Hell to
cause billions of dollars in property damage to law-abiding corporations,
both human and Heaven held.
- This arrest has had the unfortunately reprocussions of being noticed by
part of the human computing community, and there is a movement to "Free
the SSL Hackers." Any active movement on this front may cause humans to
learn exactly what is going on with the War between Heaven and Hell if
caution is not taken.
However, War is very gung-ho about freeing captives of Hell, Jean is
uninterested in leaving his recent redemption cases to rot, and any
Creationers hanging around fear that this is the beginning of a way for
the Game to get at them as well.
PCs must navigate some of the choppy political waters, gain the support
of, at least, Trade or Judgment, put together a team, and rescue the
researchers before they are shipped off to Hell.
Back to the INC Mainpage.
Back to the Adventures page.
Send mail to the Curator