As Christianity took hold in Europe, a group of Mages known as the Cabal of Pure Thought arose and tried to enforce unity upon humanity through enforcement of Christian Orthodoxy, seeing in the Christian cosmology a way to tame the supernatural and bind it to the service of humanity (while binding humanity to the service of the Cabal of Pure Thought, of course). However, the overt religious nature of their operation led to schism and infighting along theological lines, as arguments and disagreements about doctrine and ceremony eventually led to the Protestant Reformation. As the Reformation tore the Cabal apart, one of the many factions that spun off from the Cabal became known as The Ivory Tower. Composed of academics, scholars, and the more logical-minded sort of theologians, this organization realized that, while the core idea of controlling reality by enforcing unity of belief upon the unawakened masses was a sound one, wrapping this cosmology in religious garb had been a mistake. Eschewing theological concepts, they instead created the Scientific Method and ushered in the Renaissance. What began as an effort to paper over theological differences between factions of mages ended up in something close to outright atheism. If the sort of magic practiced by the Ivory Tower and the larger Order of Reason could be sold to the unawakened masses as merely scientific and technological phenomena, while the sorts of magic practiced by their rivals in the Council of Nine Mystical Traditions could be labelled as mere superstition, the power of the belief of the unawakened majority could weaken the magic of the Traditions while strengthening the magic of the Order of Reason.
In 1851, the Order of Reason was reorganized into the Technocratic Union, and the Ivory Tower changd its name to The Lightkeepers. Still needing to wrap their increasingly atheistic worldview in polite religious language for the benefit of an outside world not yet fully liberated from superstition, they claimed to be "natural philosophers" seeking to better understand God's Creation through their scientific researches, while actually working to undermine the idea of creation at every turn. Starting with geology and the replacement of Catastrophism by Gradualism, their next big success was Charles Darwin's theory of Evolution, which went a very long way towards making it intellectually respectable to abandon belief in God and Christianity altogether. As the 19th century turned into the 20th, non-religious theories gained the upper hand in academia across all disciplines, from the physics of Einstein and Heisenberg, to the soul-ignoring psychological theories of Freud and Pavlov, even extending into Biblical scholarship with the "Higher Criticism" coming out of German academia.
With Academia well in hand, and rationalist beliefs slowly but surely percolating down to the elementary school level, the Lightkeepers were able to cast aside their natural-philosophy facade, as well as their academic focus, to enter the world of politics in a way not attempted since the days of Merlin and the other Wizard-advisors of Kings. In keeping with this new emphasis, they changed their name yet again, becoming the New World Order. Infiltrating or creating the great secret-police and internal-security apparatuses of national governments, from the Okhrana of Tsarist Russia to Scotland Yard and the FBI, they not only enforced law and order, but political, theological, and magickal conformity. Soon, "Men in Black" were part of every nation's security establishment, officially investigating major crimes, treason, or espionage, but in actuality focused on identifying, disposing of, and covering up magickal events and individuals before they became publically noticeable. Most branches of the Traditions were forced underground, as were vampires and werewolves, by this modern equivalent of the Inquisition. Other subsets of the New World Order cooperated with their Technocratic allies in The Syndicate to control the political and economic levers of power, from the halls of the United Nations to the floors of the great Stock Exchanges.
Gehenna and BeyondEdit
Gehenna came as a shock to the New World Order. Decades of careful manipulation of political, cultural, and economic development towards a rationalistic world, safe from the dangers of the supernatural, came to naught in 2001 when a hollowed-out asteroid full of ravenous insectoid aliens crash-landed in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. The only way to stop the invasion was for a brave mage named Bruce Von Eisenstein to purposefully create the largest paradox backlash in history, destroying himself and the invading alien horde in a titanic explosion. The nature of this event not only permanently damaged and weakened the membrane between reality and the Umbra, but it awakened the latent magickal abilities of millions of unawakened humans, woke up the slumbering Antediluvian vampires, and touched off the War of Gehenna. Scrambling to protect their positions of power, the New World Order convinced the governments of two thirds of the world (all except East Asia, basically) to disband the United Nations and form instead the Earth Federation, pooling their military resources to present a united front against the multitude of supernatural horrors that had been unleashed on mankind. These military resources were organized into the Tech Infantry, Light Infantry, and Earth Fleet. The New World Order and The Syndicate managed to stack the first Grand Council with their members and puppets, and the Men In Black became the core of the new Internal Security service.
But nearly two centuries of overt control over humanity led to strains in the alliance of mage factions that made up the Technocracy. It became impossible to maintain control over the military establishment when Earth Fleet and the Light Infantry alike were nearly devoid of awakened humans, and thus became breeding grounds for ambitious unawakened-human politicians with war-hero credentials. Drafting all awakened humans, mage and werecreature and ghoul alike, into the Tech Infantry meant that millions of resentful draftees were heavily armed, highly trained, and pissed off at the Technocracy establishment for being forced to fight endless hordes of Bugs. The division between the Awakened-only TI and the unawakened-only Fleet and LI drove a wedge between awakened and unawakened humans, leading to suspicion, paranoia, and resentment all around. Driving the Vampires and Traditions underground meant the surviving Antediluvians and draft-dodging mages represented an insanely powerful element with no love at all for the government or human society as a whole, who were almost by definition beyond the reach or control of the Technocracy and its apparatus of enforcement. These divisions between the military and political arms of the organization led to the First Civil War, as Tech Infantry forces broke up a corrupt Triumvirate of Technocrats which had come to dominate the Earth Federation and dabbled in one too many insanely risky and immoral secret projects.
When the New World Order and Syndicate fell to infighting over the increasing domination of the economy and even politics by the Megacorporations came to a head with the Second Civil War, the writing was on the wall for the Technocracy. The economic disruptions caused by the breakup of Harrington Industries and the political mess left by the unsatisfactory compromises that ended that conflict led to the far more devastating Third Civil War. At the height of that conflict, Rashid King tried to launch a coup to restore overt Technocracy control, but was thwarted and killed by Xavier Pollos (with a minor assisst from Erich Von Shrakenberg). A resulting counter-coup by Earth Fleet and Light Infantry forces installed into power Arthur Clarke, a weretiger implacably opposed to the Technoracy after years of conflict with them. Clarke ruthlessly crushed all opposition, especially the formal organizational apparatus of the Technocracy, but also that of their enemies in the Traditions, whose headquarters in the Earth System he sent Erich Von Shrakenberg to destroy. When the last stronghold of the Technocracy, the Internal Security service, attempted a counter-counter coup led by Herbert Gergenstein and Damien Richter, Clarke had the organization disbanded, and the Technocracy, and the New World Order, were no more.