Nipponese Augment Ranks
A leader in cybernetic and genetic augmentation, it is little surprise that most nations have adopted the Nipponese scale for grading the abilities of augmented human operatives.
Wan-Xian (WX-7 through WX-0)
The Wan Xian is the most common level of augmentation, and represents the basic level supersoldier, superspy, and so forth. Their abilities are magnified, but not beyond what is feasible on a human scale of ability. Wan Xian remain close to their base humanity, and retain their sanity well with only minimal therapy or medication. A WX-7 is slightly better than human normal, and is comparable to olympic level competence and ability. At WX-4 the operative is on par with a traditional action movie hero. A WX-0 is at the upper limit of human ability, and is as potent and dangerous as a B-movie action star, largely immune to injury and capable of cinematic feats.
The Chih-Mei is a thankfully uncommon rank given to augmented operatives. The Chih-Mei is an augment who has gone rogue or is operating in a contaminated or deviant state. The most common thing that causes an augment to go Chih-Mei is through contamination, usually through exposure to dimensional fatigue events, cosmic horror taint, or through contact with contaminated substances. In this condition, an operative might undergo physical mutation, have their abilities altered depending on the mode and level of contamination, and even manifest new powers. CM-0 Chih-Mei retain vestiges of themselves and can for short periods of time pass themselves off as human, or hide their contamination. At CM-5, the operative is barely sentient, and is more a reactive organism, venturing into the realm of cosmic horror, or close to dissolving into a puddle of more contaminant.
Jina (J-3 through J-0)
Jinas are rare operatives, and the majority are parapsychic in nature, pairing their erupted abilities with either genetic augmentation or cybernetic upgrade. Where Wan Xian are action movie heroes, Jina are anime heroes. There are a very small number of Jina in existence, and almost all of them know each other. In some countries, these legendary/mythic heroes are celebrities. They have fan bases, fan clubs, and all of the rest of the celebrity package.
Akuma are Jina who have fallen to corruption or contamination. Dealing with an akuma is typically considered a crisis, as it is not just a powerful enemy, it is also an enemy who has a social following, and can easily spawn a cult to worship it, and whatever dark force has motivated or otherwise compromised the agent. While dramas and action movies might indicate that the other jinas will attempt to subdue and either destroy or redeem the fallen akuma, this task actually falls on heavier guns, such as mecha strike teams, DFE rapid response units, assassin detachments, and such. The common fear is that anything strong enough to corrupt a jina is going to be able to corrupt other jina as well. Better not to feed the fire.
Mandarins are unranked, as each is unique. Mandarins are reaching levels of ability where they are potential threats to everyone, especially the organizations that created them. Mandarins are approaching cosmic levels of awareness and ability.
Desolate Ones are terrifying rare Mandarins who have fallen. Mandarins aren't contaminated by strange substances or chance encounters with eldritch energies. The only things powerful enough to tempt someone of Mandarin level ability are the alien intelligences and sentient demigod like cosmic horrors that are only very rarely encountered. The most common path to becoming a desolate one is to be infected by an abomination early in the augmentation process so that the corruption grows in power along with the augment. Less common methods include contact with alien gods, or reaching agreements with lesser abominations trading sanity and humanity for power and access to parapsychic abilities.
Arhats only exist in theoretical models and are functionally parapsychics who have transcended the need for a corporeal form and have turned themselves into energy beings, fractal lifeforms, or have basically elevated themselves to the position of gods. This remains theoretical as there are no beings who have reached this level and 'returned' to tell humans about it. Indian paramystics call this the Nirvana Dilemma. The only reason anyone knows that the Buddha reached Nirvana is that the Buddha gave up Nirvana and returned to the realm of humanity to spread the lessons he learned. Likewise, no one will know if a parapsychic reaches the theoretical level of Arhat unless they willingly release that ability to lower themselves to a mortal state and tell others.
Yama Kings are the theoretical counterpart to Arhats, but it is extrapolated that by the time a being reaches the power level of an arhat/yama king, they have transcended human and mortal morality, and can no longer be considered good or evil, and it could only be surmised by the observation of the actions or consequences of the actions of these beings if they would be considered one or the other.
A small group of elite among the international community have come together and created a number of protocols for dealing with Desolate Ones, and the inevitable manifestation of an Arhat or Yama King. The core of the contingency plans all revolve around destroying the nascent divinity before it has time to coalesce it's power, or if possible, taking said being into custody in a dormant or near dead state.
Apocalypse Protocol - destroy the arhat/yama king with high yield high end arcanotech weaponry. These weapons are the precursors to the Caldera Devices that slaughtered the Imbrian culture. On a power scale they are a stick of dynamite next to an atom bomb, but the core technologies are nearly the same.
Ragnarok Protocol - destroy the arhat/yama king by deliberately causing a dimensional fatigue event with the intent of summoning a teratomorph. The monster would be immediately drawn into conflict with the nascent being. The military moves in and destroys the victor.
Gotterdammerung Protocol - destroy the arhat/yama king with a strike force made of Mandarin level operatives backed up by the most powerful non-Apocalypse class weapons available.
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? Responses (2)
Lots of definitions that fit within the overarching Cosmic Era. Honestly, sounds kind of game breaking.
I do like the concept of the Nirvana dilemma. An entity with too much power could perceive the world and what is important in a very different manner than we do today. Its perspective could lead it to do things that we find completely irrational or mysterious, and it may be extremely difficult to relate. That concept is explored with Dr. Manhattan's character in Watchmen. Giving players that sort of power is tricky, and giving opponents that sort of power somewhat necessitates giving players that sort of power.
Would love to see a source book / Cosmic Era collection some time.