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 deadly.

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 Heaven.

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 disappeared.

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 are held in a Game-run FBI facility in Arizona, pending arraignment, trial, and the highly-likely possibility of deportation to Hell.

This seems like a straight forward "rescue the hostages" situation, except for a few snags.

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