Technomancers are metahumans who have expressed the ability to affect computers directly, without terminals or intermediate devices of their own, as an act of will. There are many parallels between a Technomancer's ability and magical ability expressed by the Awakened; much as Awakened mages summon spirits and cast spells, Technomancers compile Sprites and execute Complex Forms. Despite these similarities, a Technomancer's ability is not compatible with other forms of Awakening, if it is indeed related to magic in any way (at current unknown).
Technomancers first appeared shortly after the Second Matrix Crash of 2064; most seem to be reborn Otaku or people who were 'trapped' in the VR Matrix during the Crash, though some seem to have no connection to either of these groups. They were unknown to the general public for many years, until a series of events forced them into the public eye.
AIPS (Artificially Induced Psychotropic Schizophrenia)
This mysterious ailment manifested after the Second Crash; sufferers reported schizophrenia-like symptoms caused, apparently, by the presence of wifi Matrix broadcasts. Many were institutionalized due to the severity of the symptoms; several corporations quietly took a special interest in this ailment, and some of the patients were moved into special corp-sponsored facilities and their datatrails altered or erased.
Strange events throughout the 2064-2070 period caused independent investigators to search for connections; children found operating hacked machines with no apparent commlink and no history of sufficient technical aptitude, 'techno-wizards' performing magic tricks on seedy night acts, and leaks of hacked data referring to test subjects with mysterious powers. These incidents might have been ignored as unrelated or frauds except for their strange similarity, albeit at greater intensity, to the powers of the otaku, "children of the Matrix" presumed killed or stripped of their powers during the Second Crash.
The Hong Kong Incident
Then in 2070, a Hong Kong research facility operated by Mitsuhama Computer Technologies exploded during the escape of a dozen "patients," actually forced experiment victims of a secret program of MCT's. Their combined powers were sufficient to massively disrupt the local Matrix, and the media pinned the blame for the explosion on them -- exacerbated by the release of a security video showing one of the patients brutally murdering a doctor at the facility. This event painted technomancers in a harshly negative light and brought about a massive witch-hunt... at least until the activities of Sojourner and Pulsar, the first digital intelligences to "go public."
Technomancers were persecuted all around the world for a time, a mini-version of what happened to orks and trolls decades earlier. Governments around the world publicly established research programs involving technomancers or "revealed" formerly secret programs to the public (hiding deeper the more darker projects).
The response of the megacorps varied, and three camps emerged. MCT led the anti-technomancer camp out of necessity as they posed a threat to its business model, unlike Renraku who because of it's history with AIs and the otaku prior to the Crash 2.0 saw them as an existential threat to be contained or if necessary exterminated. They were supported by NeoNET which was hoping to keep its involvement in the Hong Kong tragedy a secret.
The pro-technomancer camp was represented by Evo with the public support of Horizon and the quiet support of the Shiawase Corporation (due to Empress Hitomi. Evo embraced technomancers seeing them as the next stage of human (metahuman) evolution. They worked both publicly and behind the scenes to de-escalate the situation, offering technomancers who were in hiding legal aid and protection.
In the neutral camp were Aztechnology, Wuxing, and Ares Macrotechnology, which took a wait and see approach. None of them authorized the use of lethal force against technomancers, but they did take precautions by implementing proactive crisis management and tightening their security measures.
Technomancers retaliated against their abusers and persecutors. Among the megacorps the worst hit were about a dozen megacorps (AA or above), including MCT, Saeder-Krupp, Renraku, Aztechnology, and NeoNet. Also hit but not as severely were Ares, Wuing, and Shiawase. Only one megacorp was left alone, Evo.
Technomancers receive their powers from a mysterious source known as "Resonance." Given the recent public awareness of this group and their rarity, Resonance is even less well understood than magic. It's known that cyberware and similar intrusive practices degrade Resonance much like an Awakened character's magical aptitude; some information suggests that this is because Technomancers possess a mutant nervous system that acts much like a radio receiver/transmitter, and interfering with their bodies' holistic integrity fragments the necessary pathways.
Others suggest that the resonance is a form of "Evolved magic" That is that magic itself has changed to suit the needs of the sixth world and is thus bound by similar rules.
Submersion and Resonance Realms
Deep in the Matrix lie mysterious system realms apparently unattached to any real-world hosts. Only Technomancers who undergo a process known as Submersion -- and perhaps digital intelligences, though they are even more mysterious than technomancers -- have access to them... even the existence of such "places" defies imagination, much less whatever secrets or strange data comprises them.
Not much is known about these Resonance Realms.
- Emergence p.75