It will be fun, they said.
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Fragment of InComm bulletin suspected to be distributed by GOC Internal Communication division, confiscated from captured sleeper agents in Site-229

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Modern Thaumaturge: A Perspective
by Field Agent "Bluesocks" (44667218/722)


It is often said that modern mages have it far easier than older generations, that they know no hardship nor the struggle of becoming true mages that was the norm until as recent as last century—and as result, they have become far weaker, dependent on modern convenience. While this stereotype is misleading at best, and outright discriminatory at worst, it might be worth examining how much of it is true.

Imagine hypothetical scenario of facing an angry dragon, or to be specific, a winged, massive reptilian entity with innate thaumatological capability and affinity to a certain Platonic elements. A hundred years ago, if one was to face a dragon in their natural habitat in Iceland, their best course of action was to hide and pray, as the closest capable mage would be thousands of miles away playing cat and mouse against the prevalent, albeit less public, mage-hunting organization.

Today? You could connect to closest UNGOC hotline, who would then dispatch a team of mages through either a supersonic transport or an apportation circle, and then pommel the dragon with their enchanted bullets. Easy, right?

Well, reality has a special way to twist your expectation.

To begin with, dragons are protected Fiji-Goodrick Threat Entities with their proper environmental sanctuary. To meet one, you would have to trespass into top secret GOC facility with their security. No way they would dispatch a team of mages to rescue you—higher chance they're the ones throwing you to the dragon's maw.

If you've cleared the proper paperwork and we could ignore why they're leaving you alone with the dragon in the first place, there's still the problem of how expensive it is to deploy a battle mage capable of handling a dragon. Not because of the high per hour rates of such specialist—rather, the logistical cost of their equipment. Such limitations that wasn't observed by previous centuries mages makes most specialist barely scraping by even with their outrageous hourly rates the GOC happily paid. Add to that most of the works that wasn't covered by Ptolemy supply: runic bullets that must be ordered from specialists, symbolic weapon that needs to be made and bonded specifically by the mage, training fees, the list goes on.

Speaking of training, I have observed that most people who claimed "modern mages have it easier" never actually bothered to see just how much effort does one need to graduate from ICSUT, much less to be employed as a certified GOC Field Ops. Applied Thaumatology requires not only physical and psychological compatibility, but also massive amount of efforts to convert one's innate talent into an actual, practical capability. It's an answer to why, even in the ages of Unified Thaumatology, the amount of mages we could deploy still far below our "normal" paramilitary forces. Becoming a mage is still as difficult as it is as the last century—if not more, due to the stricter control under ICSUT and by extension, GOC.

I cannot deny that modern conveniences have lessened mages' struggle in some aspect. Unified form of Thaumatology results in more standardized equipment and even interchangeability of items such as generic wards or grimoire. Advance in imaging, detection, and containment of thaumic workings has lessened the burden in mages who could focus more in handling actual threats. Well, at least for those under GOC's wings. But we cannot judge current generation of mages by the lenses of ages long past. Similar to regular branch of military, current technological advance might conveniences the personnel, but the threat they faced on regular basis also evolve, and it is a matter of whether you are fighting an actual dragon, or bureaucratical one. []

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