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There is little doubt that, on occasion, the pursuit of simplicity has led to results that fall little short of treasonous bungling. The InfoGlyph system was designed with simplicity in mind, and throughout trials it was massively successful in getting across information in the easiest and most efficient means possible. However, having been released to a wider audience, issues started to arise. This was categorically not down to problems with the SIMP itself, but the incompetent application of the system by Service Groups like PL & C and HPD & MC. The number of instances of mismatched sticker shapes with content arising in this Service Groups was unacceptable and showed a willful disregard for property of Friend Computer. Quite why HPD & MC would attempt to sabotage the use of its own system of labelling remains to be seen - but the recent disappearance of HPD & MC representatives Brush-U-TTH-33 and Don-U-DON-11 may well indicate in-fighting and oneupmanship at the highest level.

One catastrophic application of the InfoGlyph system resulted in the grotesque disaster that has been classified as the PopRox Massacre. It is certainly something that could have been avoided and is a lesson for all of us in adequate monitoring of the storage and handling of dangerous substances.

PopRox, as we know, were first discovered by R&D field scientist Williamm-I-CHL. While many R&D projects are spawned in the lab, this discovery was made during construction of a new sub-conclave of LIF sector 48 years ago. A solid lode of the pinkish, globular substance was located amidst Old Reckoning artifact debris, and chipping away at it showed that it could be broken down into small beads. The first indication of the materials true properties were discovered when caked soil was removed from the lode with a high pressure water cannon. Williamm-I-CHL-2 found the remains of his Prime in the still spitting and hissing remains of one chunk of the lode.

Intensive experimentation found that exposure to water made extremely small quantities of the PopRox material fizz, and that fizzing was caused by some kind of gas exuded from the reacting material. The gas was found to be fire retarding - and for a very short time the material was used by HPD & MC emergency fire crews. While the result with small fires was satisfactory - throwing PopRox into the fire and then spraying it with water was very efficient in extinguishing the blaze - the reaction on larger fires was usually to cause more structural damage to property than might be considered acceptable. HPD & MC realised that letting the fire run it's course was generally safer than involving PopRox and water.

Therefore, while various experimental uses were pursued over the years, mined PopRox were generally just dry-cleansed and placed in sealed barrels, then stored in PL & C warehouses with due warning:


This sufficed to keep the substance well out of harms way, even when PL & C shifted the storage location of the barrels on some twenty-three documented occasions. However, when the new SIMP was rolled out, the RED clearance operative working at HPD & MC took the information he felt was intended for his clearance - that printed in RED - and translated it into a new InfoGlyph label:


Reference to Old Reckoning records in the Gatzmann_Archives indicates use of this same symbol in OEHS Sector - a locale designation that seems to be corrupt and may possibly be one of the rumoured Phantom_Sectors. The fact that a RED clearance operative chose to use this symbol seems to suggest that the Citizen may have been one of the recipients of the buggy v.23.5 version of the Helmet_Of_Education, or was treasonously privy to high clearance information through one of the Secret_Societies_Involved_In_the_Toothpaste_Disaster (or, perhaps, a high clearance patron?).

Conjecture aside, the symbol was clearly inadequate to convey the message required and was applied to an instructional rather than a warning label. The result was that rather than conveying the importance of not exposing the stored material to liquid, it would appear the label was instead interpreted as meaning that the content of the barrel was without water, or dehydrated.

On what was becoming very nearly an annual outing, the barrels of PopRox were moved from SGR Sector to the primary PL & C warehousing in RON Sector the day before the Toothpaste_Disaster (conjecture that Committee_IC48934-Q23-HX45 may have ordered this movement has remained just that due to an inexplicable absence of any papertrail up to receipt of the barrels at RON Sector). Having been signed off as received at the drop off platform in RON Sector (accepted by Inco-G-NTO) the barrels were inspected and several opened. While thorough inspection of the delivery was admirable on the part of the Citizen involved, leaving the barrels open afterwards was certainly one of the many oversights that led to the activation of their next clone in the aftermath of the Massacre.

Following the COL_gate_incident, seepage into the Jelloidal_InterNode_Exchange_(JINx) support tubes resulted in a massive overflow of tainted Sea_Water that flooded multiple sub-divisions of both COL and RON Sector. The upsurge of murky liquid caused multiple transtube accidents, flooded seven Infrared barracks and interrupted the power supply to key systems across both sectors.

Flooding like this would have been bad enough, but RON Sector was hosting a massive launch event for The All-New Best_Good_Happy_Sector_Hour Revue that had drawn crowds from several neighbouring Sectors - including ROC, ROD, and ROM. The mile long parade centrepiece flotilla was just heading out after final inspection at the PL & C TransBot depot, to the cheers of the gathered Citizens, when the tidal wave of Bile_Suppressant-laced Sea_Water hit, soaking everything. The effect on the crowd was to render them too passive and indifferent to the disaster around them to do anything more than stand and carry on serenely applauding the bedraggled flotilla.

When the wave swept on over the drop off platform area the PopRox spontaneously reacted with the noxious liquid, causing barrels to detonate, or fire off through the air at considerable speed. The initial explosions split open the other sealed containers, leading to an effervescent blood bath as languishing Citizens were sprayed with fizzing PopRox, asphyxiated by a blanket of PopRox gas emissions, or struck by exploding barrel shrapnel.

In total the massacre resulted in the deactivation of two hunderd and eighty-seven RED Clearance Citizens and PL & C workers, and forty-two higher clearance team leaders and supervisors. The disaster also resulted in the suspicious non-arrival for work of 2,671 Infrared Citizens.

Several outgoing shipments were effected by explosive damage or PopRox contamination resulting from the Massacre, including the Infinitesimal_Mega-Hydraulic_Drive_Apparatus, a shipment of Denta-Bots and 2,000 gallons of Superconductive_Solution_SIGMA.

-- Costin-U-MOR-8

Refs: Best_Good_Happy_Sector_Hour, Bile_Suppressant, COL_gate_incident, Committee_IC48934-Q23-HX45, Denta-Bots, Gatzmann_Archives, Helmet_Of_Education, Infinitesimal_Mega-Hydraulic_Drive_Apparatus, InfoGlyph, Jelloidal_InterNode_Exchange_(JINx), Molecular_Dissolution_Reactions, Phantom_Sectors, Sea_Water, Secret_Societies_Involved_In_the_Toothpaste_Disaster, Inco-G-NTO, Superconductive_Solution_SIGMA, Toothpaste_Disaster


Ah, yes, the ever-moving PopRox supply. I remember, as a little clone, playing "Here, Have the PopRox" with my crechemates. "Who has, who has, who has the PopRox, you have the PopRox, BOOM!" It wasn't until years later that I realized there was really such a thing as the PopRox and they really did get quickly tossed from Sector to Sector just as fast as the relevant PLC transfer paperwork could be filled out (which is to say, between 9 and 18 months). I'm glad they never passed through OUT Sector.

-- Knok-U-OUT-6

I'm also a little baffled by the difficulty I'm having assessing the Incident_Terminology_Categorical_Hierarchy rating for the Massacre, as it doesn't really seem like a "minor" Equipment Malfunction. Still, that's the category into which the Four_Reactor_Foam_Flood appears to have been placed, and that was a pretty major incident.

-- Knok-U

Silly citizen, it wouldn't be under Equipment Malfunction since the direct cause wasn't active machinery. I did some looking for you, though, and the PopRox Massacre has been labeled a "Littering" incident.

-- Drake-U-LAH-2

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2013-06-13 14:00