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The Black Hand

Lerna Ardent (Book Burners' name), Group of Interest Alpha 019 Delta (Jailors' name), Order of Assassins, Righteous and Harmonious Fists, and many other names lost to history

Conspectus

There is a malign growth within the Hand of the Serpent, a sect that threatens to destroy us with their reckless adventurism12 and involvement in mundane politics. They distract us from our work3 and lead many of us astray. While they work under the banner of the Hand, and while we may fight by their side against the Jailors and Book Burners and Mad Men, they ultimately pose a greater threat to the Hand than those enemies ever could.4

Knowledge

Traits:

Nature:

Just as the Serpent's Hand is eternal, so is the Black Hand.

History & Associated Parties:

In the Middle Ages, they were known as the Hashashin, the Order of Assassins. They fought the Crusaders, the Daevites, the Turks, and the Mongols, until they were destroyed by Hulagu Khan. The Mongols did not content themselves with wiping out the Assassins, but slaughtered every acolyte of the Serpent's Hand they could find and even invaded the Library. In China they were the Righteous and Harmonious Fists, the Boxers, and it was their rebellion that led the various Jailor organizations of America, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and so on to unite into one Foundation and destroy them.

The modern Black Hand has joined forces with groups like the African National Congress, the Black Panther Party, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine5, the Provisional Irish Republican Army, the Vietnamese National Liberation Front, and other "anti-imperialist" terrorist organizations, with the stated goals of "fighting for the liberation of all oppressed peoples worldwide" and "tearing down the system that enables the Jailors and Book Burners."

The Book Burners and Jailors are sworn enemies of the Black Hand, and they are a prime target of The Conspirators Within, but these enemies often make no distinction between the Black Hand and the true Serpent's Hand. The relationship between the Black Hand and the Claimers or the Soviet

Approach:

Observations & Stories

OBSERVATIONS & STORIES TEXT GOES HERE

Doubt

You've heard a lot of things about the Black Hand and about myself from L.W. and his followers, most of them lies and half-truths. Now you should hear the truth. Yes, it is true that I was once a Jailor. But you should know how that came to be, how I came to renounce their ways, and what the Black Hand—the true Serpent's Hand, not L.W.'s merry band of bookworms—really is.

I was born in 1934, somewhere in Palestine. I wish I could tell you where, but the Zionists didn't stop at robbing us of our homes and our land; they had a weapon, a "counterconceptual device" to use the Jailors' language, that left the buildings of my hometown intact but destroyed it as an idea. I've searched every map, every history book, everything I can find in the Library, to try to find the history of my hometown, its location, its inhabitants, anything, even just a name, but all the information is gone, as if it never existed. All that's left are memories of childhood, slipping further and further away by the day. And one day, when myself and my family and the neighbors I cannot recognize as neighbors are all dead, it will be lost forever.

My family fled to Lebanon. I studied history at the American University of Beirut, and it was there I was recruited by the Jailors. I joined because I thought they could explain the things that happened in 1948, even bring the ones who erased my village—Unit 0000, I learned they were called—to justice. I was assigned to the Antimemetics Division, and I made many discoveries, even came close to finding how the antimemetic bomb worked and how we might reverse it.

But I soon realized the true nature of the Jailors. They imprisoned people for no crime except existing. They performed—I performed—terrible experiments on the poor and powerless. They told us the Downtrodden were prisoners convicted of terrible crimes, but there were faces I recognized from the refugee camps, upstanding men and women who had disappeared one day without a trace. And I discovered clear evidence of the Zionist entity's antimemetic weapons program, even found their headquarters at a Tegart fort in the Galilee, but the Jailors that send a Mobile Task Force if they so much as hear one of us sneeze did nothing. And so I joined the Serpent's Hand.

And then there was the Uprising of Site 19, of which you all know. I was not the leader of that uprising; that was the martyr Adelina Villanueva, one of the many hired hands who worked long, hard days at the Jailors' prisons for scant compensation. But I did unite the Hand, the prisoners, the Downtrodden, and the disaffected cell-builders, and together we struck a great blow at the Jailors.6 The rebellion was only defeated by the combined forces of the Jailors and Book Burners, though we escaped with four of their most important prisoners and seventeen artifacts. And the Jailors saw our power and instituted reforms to try to break it; prisoners were to be treated with greater solicitude, the Downtrodden were no longer to be chewed up and thrown away after a month like old food, laborers were to be compensated better.7

………….

We are the true Serpent's Hand. We do not seek knowledge for knowledge's sake; we seek knowledge for the sake of revolution. We swear never to compromise with the Book Burners or the Jailors, but to fight them with every weapon at our disposal until they are destroyed. We will free the prisoners and bring all the knowledge they have kept in the dark into the light. We are the tyrants' foes, the scourge of empires, the bane of oppressors. We are the Black Hand.

Raneen Nabulsi
Amman
1969