It is hard to notice the Abnegators, unless someone shows you want to look for, because they are by design and intention, easily overlooked. There are no fancy stealth or counter-surveillance systems, they are just incredibly average, exceedingly dull, and obsequious almost to a fault. The vast majority are male, of average height, slightly to moderately overweight, with dull eyes, placid smiles, and soft hands. They are never frightening, never threatening, they're usually fairly helpful so long as the task isn't demanding or taxing mentally. Polite to a fault, never a piece of jewelry, no makeup, and they dress in an ad hoc manner, and typically appear harmlessly disheveled.
A lost person who is helpful but looking for directions.
A vacantly happy man loitering for no reason.
A polite wave from a man who is just walking laps around the same block for hours at a time.
They can't walk in front of you, go through a doorway. It's an easy tell to exploit.
The first Abnegators were created in the Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere and were part of the Chinese Pan-Cultural Advancement Plan. The prototypes were political and criminal prisoners, and their prisons were the test grounds. Each human test subject was modified into becoming a cyborg. There were two modifications, the implantation of a emotion radiator, and a control link. This implant was somewhat large and unpleasant, and facilitated bulky clothing, and a passive nature. With the large object implanted in the torso, most early abnegators were forced to sacrifice a lung, feet of intestines, and other non-essential organs to make room. This left them weak and non-aggressive.
But the experiment worked. The abnegator prisoners went about their business, having been made pariahs in the compounds they were placed in. Those who clustered around them found their emotions dampened, less afraid, less aggressive, more docile, more servile. Those who would be aggressive and violent towards them found their ire reduced near them, and either avoided the strange gray suit prisoners or tried to have others kill them.
Eventually the prisons with abnegators were posting superior results, with their inmates being much more tractable to background psychotronic and basic intimation and rehabilitation. They were less useful as workers, but the amount of labor lost was easily covered by the reduction in violence, breakdown of some more aggressive prison gangs, and a stark decrease in escape attempts.
The second gen abnegators were synthetics, mabu-ren, who were modified to carry newer versions of the emotion radiator. These were deployed through various parts of the ACPS empire, especially in areas of poverty, social unrest, and among ethnic populations resistant to Chinese hegemony. The synth abnegators were less effective than the prisoner engineered cyborgs, but they were not isolated into a single structure. Large numbers of the synth abnegators were produced, and used for the Emperor's Personal Projects, things like maintaining infrastructure, cleaning public spaces, and working in the Emperor's charity. Not all mabu-ren were modified so, most were not. Enough were so that their overlapping emotional suppression fields would work in a complementary fashion.
The synth abnegators were the first discovered, as the suppression of emotion didnt undermine basic human thought, and Asian clocksmiths recovered or poached some of these synths and discovered the emotion radiators by accident. The passionless collection of synths for parts was not hindered by the function of the radiators. This became something of an open secret in the ACPS and fueled resentment in the anti-Chinese segments of the empire.
It is worth noting that those were tumultuous times, when the ACPS was still struggling, and hadn't secured the solid victories of retaking Chaoxian (Korea) from the Pacific Rim Coalition, or the massive upset of Huo Hsing, the great conquest of the 4th planet, formerly Mars. The Emperor had previously employed a corps of Loyalty Enforcement officers, and a Propaganda Division that engaged in regular and aggressive media psi-ops to control the population, in a very totalitarian dystopian fashion. Propaganda wagons and armor clad Hero troops were common in the streets, suppressing riots and revolts across Asia.
The 3rd Gen Abnegators used a smaller emotion radiator, and were given common and mundane guises. They were civic employees, law enforcement, bureaucrats, and just part of the human tide. A few were synths, some were volunteers, some didn't even know that they had been implanted; A routine surgery, a basic medical procedure, in triage after an accident or natural disaster. The radiators used kinetic recharging devices, so just going about normal life was enough to keep them running.
Leave it to the Chinese to create cybernetic energy vampires. These guys, when they show up, they seem nice enough but they just drain the life out of a room. It affects them too, but the more people they are around, the less it bothers them, so they like being around people. Most find staying out in public is enough, walking the streets, lounging in popular commerce areas, that sort of thing. Any organization that they manage to get into... its doomed. A book circle, done. A sports club, no chance. A band of political dissidents, that's their favorite. They love passion and strong emotion, they think it makes them feel better, whens it really just dampening out the side effects of the misery engine they're carrying.
Thats why when I find them, I put them out of my misery.
Abnegators are the tool of a totalitarian dictatorship, and are used to keep the emotions of the people around them tamped down. When celebrations or politically joyous occasions are recognized, the Abnegators are put on leave, or their radiators receive time out signals. People feel happier, stronger emotions, and since it coincides with something auspicious like the Emperor's birthday, well, that's just more justification for his wise and august rule.
The AFIA has a number of its own 4th gen abnegator profile operatives, which they prefer to call Quellers. These operatives tend to accompany sensitive ops to keep tempers under control, and have also done duty as bodyguards and entourages to important people.
Silk Road Operations
Some cyborgs have voluntarily had controllable emotion radiators, and they operate as 'Bogart's. These individuals are keepers of neutral grounds and also work as intermediaries or negotiators for parties on the Silk Road.
Author's Note: The Abnegators grew from a pair of points of inspiration, the Soothers from Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series of books, and the Abnegation faction from the Divergent series. I have been mulling over how to use Abnegation into something useful. I debated a sort of personality engram or a personality control system, but that seemed mundane. The Soothers from mistborn have the ability to control the emotions of others, and this seemed intriguing. Thus the Abnegators came to life, people who are themselves emotional suppressors. They sooth the irate, quell the rebellious, calm the angered, and just make things go down a few notches. The ACPS use them in an oppressive fashion, keeping large populations depleted and docile. The AtFed uses them like scalpels, precision instruments of control. Other nation and rogue groups use them for the exact same reasons.
The Devastator series of human augments came about at the same time as the ACPS Abnegator program and was a similar strain of human experimentation. The Devastator series made minor changes to the host to make them a much more effective but still completely expendable combatant. Devastators are subjected to a modified version of nerve stapling that increases aggression and removes the ability to feel fear. This alone made the victims of the process better and more aggressive fighters but harder to control.
The rest of the augment is a series of hormone modifications that increase their adrenal output and accelerated metabolism. There is also a fair bit of behavior modification to make the men into controllable attack dogs. The Devastator series wasn't a success, and there were huge numbers of prisoners and volunteer soldiers who died in the process. It was shelved.
As things are wont to do, the schematics and plans of the series were stolen and leaked into the black market, and periodically Devastators show up as middle level muscle, human attack dogs, vicious and single minded, sociopathic.
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? Responses (2)
It is an irony that the expanding use of Abnegators - who are so very useful at keeping a population docile - is also reducing productivity and any enthusiasm for the system the average person might feel during the ordinary day. People increasingly just... persist, and especially under the influence of the emotional radiators, come to care little beyond the basics in their lives. As obedient worker drones, they do the basics of what is necessary but tend to be flakey at best and criminally neglectful at worst.
Under the surface, not living out the occasional negative or even positive thoughts results in feelings of resentment and anger which are rarely directed at anything specific but often manifest as vandalism and predilection for petty conflicts, even among those not aware of Abnegators. The Empire might just kill itself with a death of a million papercuts - or it might slow itself enough for its enemies to catch up. Some of the more perceptive middle management people have noticed this. But of course, questioning the efficiency of the Empire puts you on a fast track into the prison at best.
Wow. Geesh. Not sure I want in your head. Was happy to see the author note at the end because it firmed up the ideas a bit. Also thought of the show "What we do in the Shadows" which is a parody but has energy and emotional vampires.
Pretty twisted stuff and I like it!!