Dans mon RIFTS à moi, les survivants d'un complexe souterrain iranien ont ressuscité l'ancien Ordre des Hashâshīns, les Assassins (l'article wikipédia en français est anémique au jour où j'écris, n'hésitez pas à aller voir ceux en allemand ou en anglais). Depuis leur forteresse d'Alamut, ils mènent leur petite guerre sainte à eux pour "libérer" le Moyen-orient de l'envahisseur démoniaque (comprendre les entités surnaturelles: divinités, démons, génies...). Ça me permet de mélanger les concepts et remettre à la sauce futuriste l'ancien Ordre médiéval, un Ordre qui a déjà connu quelques incarnations rôlistiques (Assassins, Assassin Mountain...) et vidéoludiques (Assassin's Creed bien sûr).
Ce post fait partie d'une série où j'illustre des factions de mon univers de RIFTS avec des figurines du jeu d'escarmouche Infinity. Présentement, ce sont les Hassassin Bahram haqqislamites (haqqislaméens?) qui vont me permettre de représenter les Assassins de RIFTS. Je cite:
"The mysterious Hassassin Society watches for the appearance of new threats against Haqqislam and human knowledge, in the name of the Old Man of the Mountain and in the service of Faith and the Hachib, the Haqqislamite President.
To do so, the Hassassin Society has established a branch dedicated exclusively to Military Intelligence, working directly with the Haqqislamite Army. The work of this section, known as the Hassassin Bahram or just Bahram (in Farsi, Persian, بهرام meaning “victory” or “victor”) is to apply the abilities of the sect in support of the Sword of Allah, the Army of Haqqislam.
The function of the Hassassin Bahram could be summarized as handling all the dirty jobs, the secret missions the army doesn’t want anyone to know about, and doing everything that is necessary to be able to win. Nevertheless, its specialty and preference are operations requiring direct enemy contact, those in which its true nature is revealed, clearly stamping the unmistakable seal of maximum lethality so characteristic of the Hassassin Society.
The Hassassin field operatives, the true Assassins, are terrible and precise specialists in several combat techniques. Each unit has a different initiation level inside the Society, but they are all lethal demons who think of themselves as angels. As Hassassins, they hold to their own excellence and justify the most horrible acts as a superior need, dictated by the Heavens, of which they are no more than mere instruments." [fin de la citation]
Les Assassins de mon RIFTS à moi ont un background 100% technologique. Ils n'utilisent pas la magie ni les pouvoirs de l'esprit. Ce sont des Juicers. Peut-être pas des Juicers en tous points identiques au Juicers américains (Rifts Ultimate Edition et Rifts World Book 10: Juicer Uprising), allemands (Rifts World Book 5: TRIAX & The NGR) et nippons (Rifts World Book 8: Japan) mais des Juicers quand-même.
Pour chacune des unités représentées ci-dessous, je vous cite Human Sphere, le wiki dédié aux figurines d'Infinity. Je cite à titre informatif seulement: il ne s'agit pas de récupérer tel quel le background des Hassassin Bahram pour les Assassins de RIFTS, juste de s'en inspirer pour partie et de piquer quelques idées.
La grande diversité des figurines des Hassassin Bahram va nous permettre de diversifier, en représentants métalliques comme en background et en règles, les Assassins de RIFTS. Pour ces derniers, en plus de varier les bonus physiques (FOR, CON, PRO, CDg, Vitesse...) comme dans Rifts World Book 10: Juicer Uprising, je suggère de varier les packs de compétences de classe, ceci afin de refléter les spécialisations des différentes unités d'Assassins: infanterie légère, lourde, snipers, démolisseurs, éclaireurs... Car tous sont des militaires, des combattants au service du Vieux de la montagne.
Fiday (“they who are willing to sacrifice”) are the angels of destruction, the most fearsome among the Hassassin. Killing the powerful is easy, the difficulty strives in doing it without getting yourself killed. The threat of retribution, the inevitable death of the assassin, is what really protects the rich and influential. But what if the assassin was willing to die? Then, no man would be safe. Herein resides the true power of the Hassassin. Fiday are chosen from amongst those zealots of the Hassassin Society who display the most impressive faith, skill and steadfastness, but who lack the talent for teaching others. A Hassassin capable of becoming an instructor, a Ragik, would never be asked to make this sacrifice. Training a Fiday is a delicate endeavor, for ending the life of an enemy will not suffice. A Fiday is not a mere assassin, but an executioner: he acts in public and sends a public message. A man is killed, thousands are terrorized and, if the Fiday is apprehended, he will die a courageous death. The Fiday strives to earn the admiration of any who witness the act, thus winning more supporters and followers for the Secret Society of Assassins. Fiday are experts in the use and concealment of weapons, in secure forward communication systems, in deep infiltration into enemy territory, in disguise, in impersonation, in tracking and in many other secret techniques. Their uniforms are furnished with real-time holographic mimicry-masking systems, including a computer that generates environmental-immersion effects to enhance the verisimilitude of their appearance, thus facilitating their mission. Fiday are exceptional men in that their faith in a paradise earned by fulfilling their mission makes them willing to face certain death.
Farzan, Persian word for “Wise Man”, is the title for the Hassassin masters and instructors. Experienced and veteran combatants, their role is to guide and train the sect’s young novices in martial techniques as well as in the philosophy of the Hassassin path. As masters, the Farzan conduct general classes, called Subhas, a hybrid mixing of special forces training sessions and theology classes of a religious nature. But they also act as spiritual advisors, becoming the personal guide for each one of their disciples, following the tradition of the mystical educators of Sufism. One of a Farzan’s duties is to follow the career of his disciples, looking for those who eventually prove to have the necessary qualities to receive the title of “Wise Man”. Only those who have proven to have the greatest tactical skills, as well as a deep knowledge of Haqqislamite teachings, can aspire to become masters. The only way in which a Hassassin can reach the title of Farzan is through the rite of the Khilafah. In this ceremony, whose name means “Succession”, the instructor names a disciple as his successor, granting him the official authorization of the sect to become master of those Elham (Paths of Knowledge) in which he has excelled, and to continue the work of the one who was his guide. To be able to follow the evolution of their disciples, the Farzan act as supervisors of field operations, providing intelligence reports throughout the development of a mission. However, those who have already designated a successor can return to active service and directly participate in combat operations. In the situation where mission is compromised and threatens to go straight to hell, a Farzan will abandon his observational position to become proactive. He will assume command and take control of the situation, resolving the crisis with the true confidence and calm of the ‘wise man’, fighting until the last drop of his blood and acting as an example to all members of the sect until the very end.
The Hassassin Society draws its power from the indisputable and proven fact that no one can be safe from them. No defense strategy is really effective, because the Hassassin have no need for an escape route: for these expert killers their own deaths are a possibility assumed from the get-go. There is no safe place to hide, because for the Hassassin there are no insurmountable obstacles or barriers. The Hassassin lurk among us freely, and can approach their victims unnoticed wherever they have sought refuge. In today’s world, where society moves more often through information networks than physically, the Hassassin need to have cyber-action capacity. It is therefore little wonder that some of the sect acolytes are specialized in data sphere operations. The designation of these Hassassin is Barid, “messenger”, for they must deliver the message that any threat to the Search for Knowledge is paid for dearly. The task of the Barid is to trace the movements of their objectives through the data sphere, mapping their activity in the network as reference documentation and intelligence data for all other Hassassin operatives. But the real work of the Barid, what they excel at, is cyber-combat: neutralizing cyber-threats and hostile elements which operate via networks. In the style of the society, the Barid are cyber-assassins capable of eliminating their targets with gleaming cyber-attacks that fry brains and systems in a flash of destruction. A sudden and spectacular death is the signature of the Hassassin Society as much in the virtual world as in the real world.
Ragiks are member of the Hassassin, the Secret Society of Assassins. Their mission is to topple corrupted powers, by force and with Allah’s help. Ragiks are hardened assault troops in the upper ranks of the Hassassin hierarchy. They are also called simply The Companions, and serve as instructors to others. If they survive long enough, they are often promoted to section chiefs. By virtue of their association with the Haqqislamite Government, Ragiks form the Immediate Reaction teams of the army. Their training takes place in secret camps in the Moons of the Seven Imams around Bourak. Their main operational purpose is to deploy into the area of operations with celerity, make airborne attacks, carry out combat operations and, above anything, triumph against all odds. Ragiks are blitzkrieg specialists, and they are prepared to assault, seize and defend a position as a single combat action without relying on external support. They need nothing but themselves to unleash holy hell upon their enemies.
In the first days of the Hassassin Society, the Old Man of the Mountain personally created a covert ops group whose mission was to investigate and uncover potential threats to the newly-founded Haqqislamite nation. This team, classified as Alpha Level Top Secret, operating strictly off the grid. Their actions went entirely unnoticed by the intelligence community up until less than a decade ago. Completely unbeknownst even to other Hassassins, Govads were in operation well before the first public appearance of a Fiday, doing the dirty work of the Hachib as commanded by the Old Man of the Mountain. Until they were given their final orders. Govad inquiries pointed to a surge in activity by Equinox, a scientific terrorist organization with the goal of provoking a violent technological revolution from which they expected to benefit. At the time, Hassassin Govads had free rein. Unencumbered by the need to gather evidence for an international court, they were both hunters and executioners. Due to their particular operational profile, this unit worked alone, entirely unassisted and unacknowledged by the government. Abiding by their modus operandi, Govads located and exterminated active Equinox cells from one corner of the Sphere to the other, giving them no mercy and no respite. However, once the advantage of surprise faded away, each skirmish became more violent and costly than the last. Equinox, allegedly funded by the MagnaObra Corporation, had almost limitless resources, while Govads, due to their clandestine nature, had none. The Hassassin unit accrued casualties at an increasing rate, until all its teams were eliminated. Only one of its members, Dawud Al-Dafani, was able to narrowly avoid the fate of his comrades. The Govad sacrifice had not been in vain: they had wounded Equinox, delayed its plans and obtained intelligence on the organization’s intentions. The Equinox plan was very long-term, which gave the last of the Govads time to plan his counterstrike. With the consent of the Old Man of the Mountain, he recruited and trained a new team, a group of hardened fighters who had no qualms about being officially disavowed or making indiscriminate use of violent methods. After resuscitating the few members of the original team whose Cubes could be recovered, the Govads went on the hunt for the organization that had nearly wiped them out. In a haze of bloody vengeance, they traveled the Human Sphere and eradicated key Equinox cells, thwarting their nefarious plans. Once their goal was completed, the Govads returned to the operational structure of the Hassassin Society as a covert tracking and elimination unit. This did not mean the Govads had lost their original spirit or their vigilance. They know that, as long as MagnaObra exists, Equinox will remain a threat to the Search for Knowledge, and that a day will come when the Human Sphere needs saving. And on that day, things will get really ugly.
The Hassassin Society is characterized by its surgical operations, precise and spectacular actions carried out by specialists who possess the best intelligence given to them by the higher wisdom of the Old Man of the Mountain, supported by a wide network of faithful agents and informers. Wherever a threat to the Search for Knowledge appears, a Hassassin will appear to eliminate it. But not everything is so simple because there are always places that are out of reach of their network of sympathizers. And those places tend to be the most dangerous in the Sphere. Lawless areas, border territories, unstable regions. However, this does not mean that the Hassassin Society will leave them aside. They simply need a different type of operative, an agent capable of undercover operations without an intelligence network, who collects its own information and is capable of mounting its own operation without support if necessary. A lone wolf, an Áyyār. The name means “vagabond” in Persian, a nickname that was also given to certain warriors who were involved in the most volatile periods of Persian history. But today this name has acquired new meaning. For the enemy, the Áyyārun are nothing more than a rumor. Stories circulate about a dark agent who has never been caught on any camera. A quantronic distorter guarantees that his presence is never recorded and that the only records that remain of his interventions are the stories told by the few survivors who were left to spread the legend. The Hassassin Áyyār know that it is easier to survive if you are not a person; it is simpler to stay alive when you become a myth, because myths are impossible to kill.
The Muyibs (Those who respond) are the demolition and explosives experts of the Hassassin sect. The Muyibs are trained in temporary encampments in the inhospitable lands of Alamut, where few survive. Capable in both large and small scale actions, as well as sabotage missions, they are experienced combatants who have demonstrated full dedication to the objectives of the Hassassin sect. Each one is an explosives expert and trained in numerous and varied combat techniques. Anything the Hassassin sect cannot achieve through the deceptions of the Fiday, the quickness of the Ragiks or the precision of the Lasiqs, the Muyibs achieve with raw combat. Hardened and dogged, they face the enemies of Haqqislam and defeat them using techniques learned on and off the battlefield. The Hassassin Muyibs know more than a hundred ways to win their battles, some honorable and some not, and have no hesitation applying them, even if it means simply blowing everything up.
The Lasiqs are specialists in death at extreme distances, the long arm of the Hassassin sect. Patience, acute eyesight, a firm pulse and an unbreakable faith in the objectives of the organization, are the qualities required to become a Lasiq. Designated specifically for selective elimination operations only when a Fiday can not be sent, they will seek out their target, determine his routine and cleanly carry out their neutralization from a long distance - instilling fear and a sense of impotence in the hearts of those nearby. However, Lasiqs are also the watchmen and observers of the organization. Their objective is to watch and oversee operations, and, if something goes wrong, to intervene with deadly precision. In supporting missions, their function is to secure the viability of an operation and the safe return of the agents involved, clearing their escape routes with precise and lethal firepower. Accustomed to operating in urban areas and facing tactical situations with multiple targets, they have developed a modus operandi which emphasizes mobility over concealment, changing position after firing a few shots and creating an atmosphere of chaos and confusion. The Lasiqs exemplify the old motto of the elite sniper: “One shot, one death” and they have the necessary armament for it. The Hassassin sect has put the whole Haqqislamite bio-medical machine at the service of their sinister purposes. No hit involving a Lasiq merely wounds. They only have one outcome – sudden death.
Quelques remarques pour finir. Les Assassins de RIFTS sont une secte chiite millénariste qui a mis la technologie au service de ses ambitions mystiques. Descendants des survivants du complexe militaire iranien installé sous Alamut, je les imaginais vivoter dans les couloirs obscurs de leur base souterraine. Que nenni! Au fil des décennies, les Assassins ont rebâti à la surface une cité digne des Mille et une nuits, peut-être la seule cité humaine dirigée par des humains de la Perse de RIFTS (l'influence pernicieuse de pernicieuse de Prince of Persia: les Sables du Temps, film moyen avec quelques belles fulgurances visuelles).