The famous thinker Philos-I-FER1 has suggested that, in an ideal Complex, everyone would always speak the truth. But this is clearly nonsense, for does not untruth exist within Alpha Complex? And is not Alpha Complex the ideal Complex? Its clear to anyone with half a brain that untruth, when properly applied for the benefit of all, does indeed serve to maintain the perfect order established by Friend Computer.
Of course, Friend Computer generally frowns upon lying2. But untruth takes subtler and more pleasant forms, as exemplified by the practice of Information Distortion, otherwise known as ID. ID gets a lot of attention from the cretins in HPD&MC. If you want more information on the subject, you can go to HPD&MCs Information Distortion Archive (Historical / Operational), but its hardly worth the effort; you can explore IDA(H/O) for days on end without seeing anything of real interest. So Ill provide you with a bare-bones summary of the relevant data.
Multiple Forms of ID
The IDA(H/O) categorizes several hundred distinct varieties of ID. These are, of course, only of any real relevance to the data-tweaking dittoheads in HPD&MC. When you take away all of the meaningless ivory tower technobabble, ID boils down into two distinct flavors: Positive ID and False ID.
The good kind of ID, as administered by Friend Computers loyal Service Groups and Firms, involves the modification of information transmitted down to lower-clearance citizens. Sometimes the truth would increase unhappiness or spur lesser, flawed minds to treason; sometimes withholding information entirely would have similar negative effects. So we must misinform the citizenry for their own good, or at least for the good of other citizens whose greater numbers or higher security clearance gives them precedence.
Positive ID distribution generally passes through IntSec-approved Service Firms, such as FOX Sector News Network and the COL Gate Journal. Hand-picked VIOLET_Supervisors co-ordinate the work of many talented subordinates, ranging from RED to INDIGO clearance, in massaging the data until it fits our needs. Such gifted clones as Condoleeza-R-ICE-9 and Loose-I-FER-13 have dedicated their lives to this great task, using such incredible tools as MindRoom and the Verbiage_Transmogrifier. As the best of the best, they are often referred to as the Wizards_of_ID.
The bad kind of ID bubbles up from below. Lower-clearance citizens have a disturbing tendency to place their own needs and desires ahead of their fellows, or indeed of Friend Computer. So, when telling the truth would endanger their petty little lives, they pass false information up the chain of command. Their lies, gossip, rumors and other Viral_Thought_Patterns cause immeasurable damage to Alpha Complex every daycycle. I dont think it will come as a surprise to anyone that this false ID was at work during the Toothpaste Disaster.
Higher-clearance clones occasionally misuse ID. This false ID is, of course, an aberration, and is strictly forbidden by the Laws_of_Alpha_Complex_ed._39/B.3.9. Violators are posthumously demoted to a lower security clearance, thus maintaining the pattern of false ID use by low-clearance citizens.
In order to maintain Positive ID, its critical to keep track of all information related to the subject at hand, to ensure that alterations to the information feeds remain consistent and on-message. For this purpose, HPD&MC devised the Situationally Progressive Information protocol, otherwise known as SPIn. When used properly, SPIn makes sure that lower-clearance clones only learn the things we want them to know, and moreover, ensures that they give the proper interpretation to the information that they do receive. This is generally considered to be at least as effective as (and far less expensive than) broad distribution of Rose-Tinted_Macro-Goggles or SmileTime_Mood_Enhancement_Serum_(with_Tartar_Control) when it comes to maintaining a cheerful and optimistic attitude among the citizenry.
For instance, the following message was broadcast during the Four_Reactor_Foam_Flood:
To: INFRARED Barracks 29d-RON From: OPAQUE Channel News Network Good daycycle, clones of RON sector! Some of you may have noticed the foam flowing through your sectors corridors. Please remain calm. This foam is absolutely safe when handled with the proper safety measures, and it has a clean, fresh scent! Do not allow this to interfere with your normal workcycle. Any screaming you may hear is just the work of Commie terrorists, as are any dead, partially liquefied clones that you may encounter. To interpret matters otherwise is treason. Have a great daycycle!
In fact, the chemically altered foam is absolutely safe when the proper safety measures are taken, although the proper safety measure would have been to wear GREEN clearance Ceramo-Tungsten body armor with LeadLike coating, or better still, to be in a completely different sector. But revealing the danger posed by the foam would have lowered productivity as a result of clones rioting or fleeing the area, so we applied a little SPIn. As a result, productivity in RON sector only dropped by 79.4% rather than a projected 98.1%, a marked success! And the clones liquefied in the Four_Reactor_Foam_Flood would surely have suffered more if theyd had advance warning.
In a joint venture between R&D and HPD&MC, HPD-MindLabz developed the Information Distortion Character Assassination / Reification Device for the use of Internal Security. The ID CA/RD allows an IntSec agent to quickly and easily take credit for real or imaginary treasons, to make it easier for them to infiltrate Secret Societies, while allowing the agent to remove those manufactured treasons from their records afterwards. Of course, given the past performance of R&D and HPD&MC, it should come as no surprise that a device worked on by both Service Groups would be horribly flawed. Prototype ID CA/RDs could be altered to remove records of actual treason, to add phantom commendations that could be used to ensure promotions, or even to credit other clones with treason. Fortunately, the current model ID CA/RD seems to be free of the prototypes problems, and by keeping it solely within the hands of trusted IntSec agents, we should be able to avoid similar concerns in the future.
There is some cause to believe that a prototype ID CA/RD fell into the hands of the nefarious Roy-G-BIV, who used it to precipitate the ULTRAVIOLET_Massacre. A thorough search of debriefing forms from the past three monthcycles suggests that the same CA/RD remains in circulation among the Secret_Societies_Involved_In_the_Toothpaste_Disaster; we know that it has been used recently, both in the Open_Sores_Community and by the members of the Tuesday_Afternoon_Conspiracy.
Lack of Proper ID
What happens when ID breaks down? During normal operations, this is scarcely a problem; after all, Alpha Complex is a utopia. But when Communists attack, standards can break down to the point where the proper ID protocols arent followed. This is generally the result of HPD&MC having too many irons in the fire, as it were; by dedicating critical resources to projects like the Complex_Youth_Guidance_Program and HUACAC, they leave themselves unable to prioritize important ID work over run-of-the-mill Service Firm competitive advertising. But we cant blame HPD&MC for their own incompetence.4 Friend Computer has to put the imbeciles somewhere, and HPD&MC is where they can do the least damage.
Sometimes things go wrong with ID. Obviously this is always HPD&MCs fault, since theyre responsible for overseeing ID in the first place. The worst ID disasters, the so-called Monsters from the ID, can lead to far more trouble than the problems they were meant to handle. Some of the most egregious are recorded at the CPU Hall of Blame in MAD_Sector. Others can be found in the Toothpaste Disaster report itself!
And now, the crux of the matter: in what ways did ID figure into the Toothpaste Disaster?
Weve already covered the role of the ID CA/RD in the ULTRAVIOLET_Massacre. Heres a brief list of some other relevant connections. This should not be taken as a comprehensive list; additional data will be included in an attached file, to be ZipPaqd according to the usual protocols.
In the COL_gate_incident, the snipers brought in to deal with Billy-BOB-3 came directly from a MindRoom training session entitled Shooting Range Scenario TT/7R: Traitors Are Everywhere, And They Have Sniper Rifles. The call for that particular sniper team was tailor-made for disaster, and was certainly engineered by Commie_Mutant_Traitors.
The ToothpasteRebellion could have been prevented with the proper application of ID in accordance with standard ID protocols. As it was, the INFRAREDS of CRY and BBY sectors were mentally unprepared for the loss of toothpaste rations, making them easy prey for charismatic traitors such as the infamous Batclone. Furthermore, the Exercise_Pills later distributed in the ToothpasteRebellion bore crude labels marking them as Toothpasty_Supplement_#5. Its no wonder that the clones in those sectors consumed the pills with such vigor. An excellent example of False ID in action.
As recorded in the Developing_A_Better_Complex documentary, the Tech Services team member frantically working to stop the overflow of the Xenoseptic_Fountain kept muttering that he should cut the red wire. This is one of the dangerous Viral_Thought_Patterns retrieved from the Gatzmann_Archives by R&D nutcases and injected into the mainstream by Mac-G-YVR of Action_Squad_Alpha fame. Red wires are everywhere in Alpha Complex, and cutting them willy-nilly can lead to bad things, like a face full of ChemiLuminoOxygrin, Diphenhydromegatoxine, Omega-Hybrizine, Triboromethyloxine and Whitener_Compounds.
A guerilla campaign of graffiti advertising blasted DYT sector just before the Toothpaste Disaster, as Commies splashed the sectors residential areas with messages like Borscht: The RED Food, Borscht: It Does a Bod-Y Good, and Got Borscht? Not only did the resulting increase in borscht intake lead to a mass of terminations and other fatalities, but the resulting reddening of the consumers teeth led to a wild upsurge in dentifrice consumption in DYT sector. This triggered the dispatch of Whitener_Compounds to adjoining TTT sector, and forced the accelerated research schedule for Megadent and Toothpasty Supplement #6.
Halle-B-RTN-4s injection of treasonous subliminal messages into the databanks of Special_Brain_Freshening_Unit_K seem likely to have induced the creation of several new secret societies by recipients of Unit Ks attentions. These include the Arm & Hammer Group (referenced in the Arm_&_Hammer_Infiltration_Report), the Kaleidoscope_Conspiracy, the Loll-I-POP Guild, and the Pearly_Whites_Tea_Club.
It is the recommendation of this member of the committee that authority over ID be transferred to Internal Security. HPD&MC simply cant deal with the pressure of operations that actually have some importance to the security and continued functioning of Alpha Complex.
Cross Refs: Action_Squad_Alpha, Arm_&_Hammer_Infiltration_Report, Batclone, ChemiLuminoOxygrin, COL_gate_incident, Commie_Mutant_Traitors, Complex_Youth_Guidance_Program, Developing_A_Better_Complex, Diphenhydromegatoxine, Exercise_Pills, Four_Reactor_Foam_Flood, Gatzmann_Archives, HUACAC, Kaleidoscope_Conspiracy, Laws_of_Alpha_Complex_ed._39/B.3.9, LeadLike, Loose-I-FER-1, MAD_Sector, Megadent, MindRoom, Omega-Hybrizine, Open_Sores_Community, Pearly_Whites_Tea_Club, Rose-Tinted_Macro-Goggles, Roy-G-BIV, Secret_Societies_Involved_In_the_Toothpaste_Disaster, SmileTime_Mood_Enhancement_Serum_(with_Tartar_Control), ToothpasteRebellion, Toothpasty_Supplement_#5, Tuesday_Afternoon_Conspiracy, ULTRAVIOLET_Massacre, VIOLET_Supervisors, Viral_Thought_Patterns, Whitener_Compounds, Xenoseptic_Fountain, ZipPaq
Bravo! A truly definitive analysis of this crucial Alpha tool-- like all tools, one which can be either a benefit or a hazard. The thoroughness of your commentary is matched only by the concise brevity of your footnotes. I have to admit, grandma-- for a cranky old brain in a jar, you sure know your stuff. I apologize for the "shake it" commentary I made yesterday; I got a little carried away there. (As you are no doubt aware, there's a great deal of "hip-hop" content to the Gatzmann_Archives and, well, you know how it is, homes. When you're O.G. like I am-- or was, yesterday-- you gotta keep it real.)
I also admire your willingness to clearly point out HPD&MC's culpability in mis-use of ID and I agree with your recommendation. Regardless of who perpetrates the abuse, HPD&MC really ought to be handling it better, or relinquishing authority to IntSec-- even in this report. Especially in this report! How many HPD&MC Top Dogs do we have on this panel, anyway? Don-U for sure-- shame on you! The curiously-absent Brush-U? For shame! I, for one, would feel a lot better if our HPD&MC members humbly admitted their responsibility for the many no-doubt-deliberate False IDs that will be planted in this report by the villains who were behind the very Disaster we're investigating. Then, once we've gotten that out on the table and we all know where we stand with it, we can move beyond petty accusations and work more directly on the big ones.
As a side note, I do think you sell the Information Distortion Archive (Historical/Operational) a little bit short. There's actually a lot of great old paperwork to be found in its banks. I had a microdotted copy made (with Friend Computer's permission, of course) to review whenever I feel a little nostalgic-- my own private IDA(H/O).
Thank you for the compliments, Knok-U! I hope that I will get along much better with you than I did your predecessor.
As to the Information Distortion Archive (Historical/Operational), I'm glad that you've gotten such good use out of it. Personally, though, I've roamed through far bigger and better archives in the depths of PLC Central. When it comes to old paperwork, IDA(H/O) is small potatoes.
Excellent entry, Jan-U.
Nostalgic paperwork can also be found in the Main CPU archival facility, branch E; Main(E) is no small potatoes, either. They do keep the ambient temperature a bit chilly for my tastes, though, so I tend to access the archives electronically when possible.