1893, one week after the Charles Button incident.
The nation of Antiford was in a horrible frenzy. The newspapers were plastered with the image of the martyred leader, Charles Button. A man of industry, covertly protecting and nurturing the fledgling administration to greatness, it read.
The elderly and the subversive knew better, but so many of the average citizen bought right into this nonsense.
The truth was that power corrupts thoroughly. The leaders of the nation were kept anonymous for their protection and to control the population better. With none to challenge them, the Technocratic Council was a juggernaut of corruption and hypocrisy unrivaled in all of Orrian history. They got what they wanted and threw the people a bone now and again to keep them happy enough to avoid revolution.
The previous administration, the monarchy, was seen as setting a low bar to beat. Many aren't sure how much of that is truth, and how much is propaganda and control. History is written by the winners.
The other victim of power was young Lucas Buford. Growing up abused by those in power, he was unable to see when he himself abused power. Fear, panic, and a little hubris fueled him to misuse the power he'd attained being part of the Order of the Badger.
The other members is this powerful triumvirate were swept up by the momentum of action born out of all these power abuses. Their role had mostly been that of surveillance and knowledge until now. Never before had they truly called to action. It was always too risky. So many good people go missing when they get too close to the hidden truths of Antiford.
But, life continues onward, never backward, so the Order needed to act quickly to regain control over the situation they found themselves. In a small office, in the back corner of a factory, in the Barret district of the capital city of a disturbed nation of the thirsty, stood the Order of the Badger, fighting amongst themselves.
"Lucas, I cannot stand for you to remain in this organization any longer!" Phinneus shouted.
"Knock it off, commodore!" Lucas blasted, "I sat there taking your crap in my office already."
"Well I am not sure it sunk in, since you have the gall to come to this meeting!"
"I'm sick of your pompous attitude. This meeting place is my property, or haven't you forgotten."
"We did not need to meet here," Phinneus closed his eyes and gritted his teeth, "I'm going to punch your lights out!"
"Bring it old man, have you seen this right hook?"
Abigail had been walking over to the other two; they were too heated to notice. She threw her parasol between them and subsequently knocked each on the head with an authoritative swiftness.
"Stop acting like children," she scolded, "We have work to do."
The men were still reeling from the uncomfortable smacking.
"Tell that to commodore smug."
She glared at Lucas. "You made a terrific mistake."
Lucas defended, "You were there!"
"Don't think I'm not upset about having my cover blown for a common bounty hunter."
Lucas looked down.
Phin had a scowl upon his face, "You have jeopardized everything!"
"Smashing in doors, threatening violence? Are we the mob now?" Abigail shot back at Phin, "So, what are we doing about all of it?"
Neither sir spoke a word. After a minute, Abigail turned and started walking away.
"Wait," Lucas halted her, "I apologize for my actions. I was being-"
Abigail spun around, "I'm glad you're sorry, but I'm neither ready nor interested in hearing it."
Phin collected himself, "There's a power vacuum."
"Yes, quite right," Abigail concurred.
"And generally, we've seen them promote from the inside so that the power gaps are at the bottom of the hierarchy," Phinneus thought aloud, "So, they're going to be pulling into the public-facing organizations."
Lucas sat. "Which means we have a chance to get one of our own into the technocracy."
"Anyone know which sector they're due to pull from next?" Abigail asked.
"Textiles, mills. They've not pulled from them since the first few years of the administration." Lucas answered.
"I'll get confirmation on that from my sources," Phinneus said to Abigail, "That means we've got three candidates."
Abigail finished the thought, "one of which is our trusted Mr. Bartlett. Lucas, you focus on helping him raise money and favor. We'll take care of the competition."
"I don't have a lot of capital to throw around, Ms. Cormac," Lucas explained.
"Well I'm certainly not trusting you to covertly remove someone right now, so dig deep Mr. Buford!" she said frustratedly, "Anything else, Phin?"
"I've started looking into the late technocrat, and a lot of his life is obviously fabricated. I'm sure whatever is hidden is important, so I have to follow up on that."
"Okay, after you finish with that I want you to intercept one of our competition on his return from Claurusia, a Mr. Cadwell."
"It'd be a shame if they got caught up in a devastating storm," Phin slyly implied.
They went their separate ways to work trying to recover the future of their nation from the jaws of the paranoid technocracy. It was a desperate time for the Order, but one that would push them to be more actively involved with their mission.