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How to exploit advanced technology

****Study the history of one empire succeeding another over the ages and you will find, more often than not, the story of those who can apply a disruptive new technology supplanting those who came just a little too late to the party. Note that we do not emphasize those which were the originators of the technology, for these are often not the ones which benefit chiefly from their wide application. The problem is that these paradigm-changers are not the kind of thing one is likely to stumble across in the normal course of things but usually need to be sought out through a great expenditure of resources and time. If you keep your wits about you, however, this simply levels the playing field between you and your chief rivals who might be larger and better funded, but possibly not nearly as lucky.

Note that in the discussion which follows, the terms advanced technology can be exchanged for magic according to the conventional formulation (external link).

*Evil plotpoints

  1. Acquiring. When it comes to getting your hands on slick new technology, you can build it, find it, buy it, or steal it. Some of these means are more attractive than others, depending on the way your organization is set up. Do not discount any leads you might find: it is possible to obtain technology trading with representatives of civilizations both above and below your own as long as there is a trading interest on the part of the other side.
  2. Identifying. Oftentimes you will come up with an obviously significant artifact of unknown function, and you cannot go by what it looks like. An apparatus of untold power may be disguised as a simple oil lamp or a sports car — check the reference books for anything that looks familiar, or post a picture to the Internet (anonymously) in hopes that someone might be able to help.
  3. Operation. Odds are that if you have not arranged to procure instructions for your technological baubles along with the artifact itself, you will have a hard time learning how to use it. Worse yet, it is not unknown for alien devices to incorporate booby traps for the unwary. Proceed with care, therefore, and subject the mystery object to every form of analysis you can think about.
  4. Publicity. Leverage This is the name for the maneuver where you take advantage of the reputation of your piece of advanced technology without actually having to use it. Not only does this conserve any hard-to-obtain consumables necessary for operation, it also disguises any hazy details that might remain. For instance, if you have an alien plague of 100% lethality and no known antidote, it is much better to threaten to unleash it than to actually do so and perish yourself.

! Strokes of genius

Rats Nest
  • Alien junk. Even when the McGuffin? you have obtained is broken beyond repair, there are still lots of ways you can use it to your advantage. If the thing looks reasonably intact from the outside, you could use it as a decoy to mislead potential onlookers or thieves. If you or someone who's not your enemy has another one, you can chop the busted one up for parts. Cut into pieces and embed little chunks into products to appeal to alien fanatics (amulets, vibrators, appliances).
  • Controlled release. Until you are ready to unveil your prize, everything needs to be shrouded in deep secrecy: where you got it, what it looks like, what it does, and when it will be ready to go. Of course in any sizable operation a few leaks will occur, so be prepared to either quash them or blow the rumors up to ridiculous proportions to discredit them.

!! Traps for mere fools

  • Fakes. It looks like a genuine artifact, perhaps, but how do you know for sure? If you are buying the thing from someone, you might be able to get a live demonstration, if it is not a one-shot kind of operation. If you are digging it up out of the ground or if you are stealing it, you will need to authenticate it yourself somehow. There are no simple shortcuts to this, unfortunately, and the annals of villainy are replete with tales of arcane machinery which were lost or destroyed before anyone was able to determine quite what they did.
  • The tail wagging the dog. When you come into possession of some ultra-powerful device, it is easy to let control slip away inadvertently. Be particularly careful when it comes to self-replicating nanotechnology, intelligent machines (including those of the oversized sort), and intoxicating spirits.
  • Boxed in the corner. Rapt though you may be at the first unveiling of your new toy, do not forget the lessons of making an intelligent getaway and thus staying alive, just in case thing do not go according to plan catastrophically.

+ Precious and needful

iScream iNano - ipod series
  • Safety goggles. These make your henchmen feel better around the device.
  • Concrete bunker.
  • Videographer. To record what might be the one and only time your gadget goes live.


Further plotting



Created by: GrinningSkull. Last Modification: Friday 24 of July, 2009 16:05:00 EDT by GrinningSkull.

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