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Demons use these Embeds to exert influence over people and other thinking beings. Conceptually, they relate to communication, revelation and realization. Messengers make easiest use of Vocal Embeds. Vocal Embeds allow a demon to exert influence over thinking beings. Cognition level is fluid; some Messengers report that, in their angelic lives, they were instructed to give realizations to dogs or cats that their masters needed immediate assistance (or distraction). For demons, then, Vocal Embeds provide a way to make contact and change the tenor of an interaction. To understand this, a demonic mentor usually points out that the Embed enables influence over the interaction, not the target.
These Embeds allow influence of the concept of communication. In some ways this makes them the most powerful Embeds, because the whole of human civilization is based upon communication. Angelic missions must come from the God-Machine, meaning some kind of communication takes place — and though no demon has, of yet, figured out how to disrupt this, it is theoretically possible. Could a demon, then, trick an angel into Falling? Vocal Embeds also encompass the concepts of revelation and realization, which are two sides of a coin. The demon reveals and the target realizes, but either of those occurrences is subject to manipulation … which means enemies of a demon who studies these Embeds can’t trust what they see or what they learn.
- Across a Crowded Room: Remove volume and background noise from the equation and a whisper is just one more way to communicate. That means that a demon can use the same principles on such communication as he uses with any Vocal Embed. The demon whispers and any target or targets within his line of sight can hear it. This Embed is a useful way to communicate with allies without relying on technology, but it’s also possible to drive someone insane by constantly whispering their sins.
- Animal Communication: Animals are obviously capable of communication, but are they capable of language? Linguists and animal behaviorists have struggled with the question (and how to define language) for years, but demons know the truth — animals can, at the very least, understand language if it’s presented in a pure enough form. Demons, of course, can use that form.
- Animal Messenger: The demon can send an animal to a specified person with a message. The animal doesn’t speak and cannot produce writing, but even by barking, chirping or yowling, the animal communicates what the demon needs it to say. Once the animal has delivered the message, it reverts to its usual behaviors (meaning it probably runs off). The animal has to be able to reach the target within a day; if it takes longer than that, the effect of the Embed wears off and animal reverts to normal behavior. The demon is therefore advised to choose fast, mobile, and socially acceptable animals. Collies are a popular choice.
- Borrowed Expertise: Granting information is just a short step from granting knowledge and skill. From a biological perspective, it’s all a matter of activating neurons anyway. So what’s to stop a demon from activating the neurons that would allow a person to perform surgery rather than the neurons that cause him to see a vision of the future? Nothing, as it happens, provided the demon recalls this Embed.
- Common Misconception: The hive-mind is wrong about almost everything. Human beings, for example, do not use only 10% of their brains. Bumblebee flight is not aerodynamically impossible, and cell phones stand virtually no chance of igniting gasoline fumes. The demon can bring “factual” information to bear (though it doesn’t have to be true in the slightest) and undercut a target’s actual knowledge or ability.
- Eavesdrop: Communication isn’t just spoken language. Body language, inflection, and facial expression can all carry meaning; a demon with the right knowledge can glean just as much information from these facets of language as with speech. The demon can eavesdrop on a conversation from anywhere in his line of sight, provided he can clearly see the faces of at least half the participants.
- Everybody Knows: Rumors take on their own lives, and a demon can spread rumor like a disease. The demon creates the rumor, the more general and destructive the better, and places it on a target. From then on, anyone the target speaks with “contracts” the rumor and starts acting on it — even if the character has never actually heard the rumor or even met the target. This Embed allows a demon to drive a target to ruin and loneliness, because by reaching out for help, the target just makes things worse.
- Find the Leak: Benjamin Franklin said that three can keep a secret if two of them are dead. Put another way, someone always wants to talk. This Embed facilitates communication by revealing the person with the greatest desire to communicate about a given matter. The demon then needs to make sure the communication goes well, of course.
- Freudian Slip: A Freudian slip is, of course, an unintentional moment of honesty when a person says exactly what they really feel — sometimes what they don’t even realize they feel. This Embed forces the issue, causing a target to blurt out their truest, most honest response to the situation at hand. While this can, in extreme situations, cause a fight to start, it’s much more likely to result in damaged relationship and breaches of the social contract. A clever demon can also use it to ask a sensitive question and then be assured of an impulsive, honest answer. This Embed doesn’t work on topics that don’t affect the target emotionally, though (asking “what’s your computer password?” and then using the power is likely to get the emotional response to that question, which is probably “None of your damn business”).
- Heart’s Desire: Demons are capable of granting people wishes via Pacts. Before they can do that, though, they have to know what their targets want. This is a matter of revelation, which is a concept that a demon can manipulate. This Embed allows a demon to know, quite simply, what a target wants.
- Imagine: The demon can make her target a temporary Stigmatic, allowing him to perceive the gears of the God-Machine.
- Marco Polo: Many cultures make use of a “call and response” arrangement. Religious services, songs, children’s games — all have sections predicated on the simple notion of, “When I say something, you say something back.” That concept is ingrained deeply enough in humanity’s communication apparatus that a demon can force a response even when it would be the target’s best interest to stay quiet.
- Mercury Retrograde: In astrology, when “mercury is in retrograde,” communication supposedly goes awry. While this is generally used as an explanation (or excuse) for a spate of misunderstandings or bad attempts at communication, a demon can alter the ability of people to communicate, leading to misunderstandings that she can exploit. This Embed only works on real-time communication between people. As such, it functions on phone conversations and even instant messenger chats, but not on written letters.
- Muse: Where do ideas come from? Angelic visitations feature prominently in stories about inspiration, and Messengers remember orders to plant an idea or a vision or a dream in a person’s mind. After the fall, the ability to inspire is comparatively limited but a demon can still manage it.
- The Look: As long as the demon stares into the subject's eyes, the subject cannot move, cannot react, cannot breathe. His body slowly shuts down, and eventually falls unconscious from deprivation. Any sort of outside harm ends the effect, but otherwise, this look can kill.
- Loose Lips: By following local customs, like sharing a drink, the demon can cause a target to become increasingly open to speaking of matters better kept secret so long as he is either alone with the demon or everyone else present is also under the Embed's effects.
- The Only Word that Matters: This Embed causes a person to only say what the demon wants them to say. She delivers a message to the target through a whisper, an email, or any other medium that the target can understand.
- Recurring Hallucinations: An angelic visitation can be terrifying or maddening, but it is usually dramatic. While the God-Machine does sometimes require that a person be driven insane, it has faster methods at its disposal than the slow torture of hallucinations. Demons, however, sometimes find it useful to drive a victim to the edge of sanity, especially if the ultimate goal is to take the victim’s life as a Cover.
- Remote Link-Up:A demon with this Embed realizes that the hardware is merely a prop and electronic transmissions are only one of many possible channels of communication. She needs neither to remain in contact with her allies. Their eyes are her cameras and their ears her microphones.
- Rhetoric: The other person in the debate spouts off his best possible argument for the demon's point, supporting it.
- Social Dynamics: People communicate in a thousand nonverbal ways. Body positioning, tone of voice, head inclination, and so on all provide clues as to what the social hierarchy of a group is. A demon with an intuitive understanding of the concept of communication can read these clues instantly, determining a social “map” of a group of people. While this Embed does allow the demon to determine the social dynamics of a group of supernatural beings, it has no effect on other demons.
- Social Engineering: Social engineering is the psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. It relies on flaws in human decision-making, known as cognitive biases, that make people vulnerable to messages delivered under the right circumstances. A demon with this Embed can cook up such a convincing pretext for asking a question that people forget to follow basic authentication procedures and give away information they shouldn't. This Embed works over the phone or internet just as it does in person, although that carries risks.
- Special Message: A song, a painting, a novel even a bit of graffiti can have layers of meaning. One viewer might experience only the literal one, but someone with the right appreciation can get a great deal more out of the work. A demon manipulating the concept of revelation can encode a message in a piece of art, even one he did not create himself. When the target sees the art, she receives the message as though the demon was speaking to her directly. Some Messengers claim that they were sent to encode messages in centuries-old pieces of art whose recipients have not yet been born.
- Strength Through Adversity: Demons with this Embed may wield it as a curse on their enemies, a test of their servants' loyalty, or a means of securing a signature on a Pact. The demon must whisper in the target's ear from no more than a foot away, although he need not touch her. At first, nothing happens; the next time the victim sleeps, however, she wakes to a new hardship. It could be the illness of a loved one, the loss of a job, or something as immediately personal as blindness or madness.
- Sum of All Fears: Some demons induce people to sign pacts by offering them their heart's desire. Not all mortals are so easily tempted, however. Some respond more to what they might lose or how they will suffer. This Embed reveals the target's greatest fears.
- Tower of Babel: This Embed can make a chaotic situation worse, which means it is superb for creating a diversion or cover a demon to get away. Demons understand all human languages; with a little manipulation of the concept of “language” in a given area, they can prevent a group from finding a common tongue. This results in a mass of people who can’t understand one another. Used in calm circumstances, this can create anxiety and some loud misunderstandings, but used in a crisis (such as, for example, the aftermath of a demon going loud), it can escalate things into a full riot. This Embed does not affect other demons.
- Trick of the Light: The human brain wants patterns. It wants to resolve random noise into voices, shadows into humanoid figures, burnt toast into the Virgin Mary. A number of biological and evolutionary reasons exist for this phenomenon, but these are incidental. The fact is that the human brain is hard-wired to interpret data in a way that makes sense, and a demon can easily take advantage of this. This Embed allows a demon to create a small, subtle visual illusion. It works best on a single target, but the demon can affect more than one person if he keeps things simple.
- Trust No One: Someone with a strong social support system is less likely to believe an angelic vision or prophecy. This is why Messengers understand how to cut those support systems, removing important or useful people from a target’s life, at least for a short time. The demon must touch the target in order to activate this Embed, but using it doesn’t require that the demon know the particulars of the social circle he is disrupting.
- Voice of the Machine: This is a dangerous Embed, but demons find it useful. All machinery carries with it the reflection of the God-Machine. This is why demons feel the strange attraction to mechanical apparatus that they do. The hum of motors and the grind of gears is the voice of the God-Machine and carries hints of the Machine’s plans. A demon can listen to this voice and gain some insight into what is going on around him, but he must be careful that the machinery does not betray him.
- Vox: Demons have a great deal of control over their voices. Their voices don't quaver in fear or become strident out of anger, and of course a demon speaks all terrestrial languages. But a demon with this Embed exerts even greater control over his vocal apparatus. He can alter pitch, timbre, quality, and tone, perfectly impersonate another person, or even impersonate
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 , p. 148
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 , p. 149
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 , p. 150
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 , p. 151
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 , p. 105
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 , p. 152
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 , p. 106
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 , p. 107
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 , p. 153
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 , p. 108
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 , p. 154
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 , p. 155
- ↑ , p. 109