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The Tragic Tale of Sue-R-RAT

There are no more loyal citizens. We smile every daycycle and lie through our teeth. "Of course there are loyal citizens! Look at how many of them there are! After all, if they weren't loyal, they'd be executed." Only through yearcycles of experience can we say that with a straight face. But deep down, we know they all have secret agendas. Secret affiliations. Just look the text of Knok-U's report on Secret_Societies_Involved_In_the_Toothpaste_Disaster.

You think that I enjoy my hobby for reasons of sadism. While you may be half-right, there is another reason. I know that none of them are actually loyal citizens. There are no loyal citizens. You can always find something against them if you dig deep enough.

I never thought I'd meet a loyal citizen.

It was nearing the end of the daycycle. I was putting away the paperwork and cleaning up the mess when the friendly local IntSec troopers deposited a package at my door.

{{{To: Drake-U-LAH-2 the Feared

This one's been deemed a Class CCC traitor. Tried to flood 10 sectors in Bile Suppressant. Give 'er the works, but keep 'er alive for the televised execution.


P.S. We could use some more security footage to dissipate among the traitors. Keep this up and we'll break the Sector Interrogation Record in no time!}}}

The package looked like she had already been through me. She was a psychiatrist's wet dream of neurotic phobias. Her teeth rattled like a broken flywheel, her jaw frozen in a smile that made your stomach turn. Her red straitjacket looked like the only part of her washed in daycycles. The deep blue pools of her pupils were fed with streams of bloodshot. My heart fell; there's no joy in breaking a shattered vase.

Most of my meetings begin with the victim begging for his life. It was easy to despise them; their whiny nasal squeaks begged to turn into full-blown screams. She was different. She was beyond begging. She was beyond comprehension. She was beyond my methods. Anything I did would be a mere footnote to the story of her torment. For the first time in forever, I felt pity. So I was friendly in the best way I knew how.

I put away the machinery and struck up a conversation. "So, how was your daycycle? Working hard, or hardly working?"

Luckily, her bad condition kept her from chiding my jokes.

"Now, I know this looks bad, but I'm sure this is all a big misunderstanding. You know that, don't you? I'll just have a polite talk with Mr. IntSec Officer and you'll be a loyal citizen again in no time."

"NO!" Her sharp command was like a knife in the gut. I blinked in astonishment and waited, as she gathered her next few words like drops of leaking BBB.

"Make it quick. Please."

My heart melted and my mind set. I would take care of this fragile citizen, nurse her back to health, and investigate her case. My Programmer's intuition told me that she was being set up. Why settle for one used victim when you can get a dozen?

I filled out the proper temporary clearance forms and transported her to my private residence. I washed her and fed her and drugged her. Three doses of Sleepytyme later, she was sleeping like the dead. Lacking anything else to go on, I took a snapshot of her and ran it through the HPD&MC clone registry. A half-dozen matches came up. The first two didn't fit. The third stopped me dead.


She had been mentioned on the report earlier. She had an entry on it that was to be filled soon. Now. I looked up the reference in an article on one Ging-I-VTS-5, another clone my brother was... involved with.

Just a few weeks ago, she was referred to as "Sue-R-RAT-1". The fingerprints of treason were smeared all over it. I investigated further.

Sue-R-RAT was that rare citizen, devoid of all treason. There were no indications which Secret Society she might belong to, if any. No signs of mutation. No reports of laziness or unhappiness. She had made her way to Red through ol' elbow grease, which she had continued applying for the past 8 yearcycles. No recorded complaints about work, no recorded complaints about her. The only marks on her record were a couple "Too Good to Be True" treason tags. Even those didn't pan out.

She had proven her devotion in the aftermath of the Toothpaste_Disaster. Due to a screwup in HPD&MC, she was the only one assigned to "Waste Infrastructure Unclogging". Most citizens would've griped or shot themselves at that point. Not Sue-R-RAT. She rolled up her sleeves and got to work. She had been working for monthcycles.

Word began to spread among the lower-clearanced about the lone janitor restoring their bathrooms. Record Happiness Level jumps followed in her wake. Eventually her fame reached the highest echelons of Alpha Complex. Shortly after Ken-U-RON lauded her devotion to cleaning up the aftermath of the Toothpaste Disaster, she was featured on the cover of The Complex Cycleweekly. She gained thousands of fans. There was talk about a Motivational Vidprogram based on her. However, there was one fan that wanted her to have something more.

His name was Death, and he lavished her with gifts. Too bad she didn't take them well.

Number One drowned in a freak flood of sewage. The only clue to Number Two's demise was her gnawed bones stacked beside a filth-encrusted pipe. Her first daycycle on the job, Number Three got sucked into a ventilation fan that was supposed to be inactive and turned into a thick spray. Number Four had just left the cloning tanks when she was sandwiched between two oncoming autotrucks, leaving a buttery mess of gore. Number Five learned fast; she took a one-way ticket to her room and swallowed the key. It didn't help. The building had been converted into a Troubleshooter apartment the daycycle before; after the first three firefights it collapsed like a house of picks. She was dug out of the rubble seven daycycles later, still breathing even though half her body resembled an accordian. The world flipped her one last bird when the docbot assigned to her switched her IV with hydrochloric acid.

Someone wanted this clone dead. It didn't make sense, though. Reds were easy to kill, a slug between the eyes, no mess, no fuss. These were elaborate, the kinds of tricks you'd use to catch an UV. It wasn't efficient. It was cruel and sadistic.

My thoughts drifted to my clone brother.

I looked up the treason report on her latest clone. Over three dozen violations and transgressions were filed on her. Sabotage. Failure to be happy. Theft of BBB. Theft of TacNukes. Removing Asimov circuits from robots. Conspiring with Commies. Conspiring with FCCCP members. Conspiring with Romantics. Failure to register four different mutations. Driving a cranebot without a license. Attempts on the life of Kill-U-DED. Attempts to flood 10 Sectors with Bile Suppressant.

All of the evidence on them was CLASSIFIED [CLASSIFIED] CLEARANCE. I attempted to access it. Friend Computer told me that that information was not available at the time.

"Friend Computer, state the reason it is not available."

"I'm sorry, citizen. You're not cleared for that information."

My blood chilled. I shut down the database and wiped my path clean just to make sure. I would have to use reliable, old-fashioned methods.

One request from IntSec later, I got a pack of traitors. There were 37 in all. They were all caught tailing Sue-R-RAT-6 when a firefight broke out among them.

"Yeah, one of the strangest bunches we've ever seen," the nightcycle IntSec chief told me. "PURGErs, FCCCPers, Romantics, Anti-Mutants, Free Enterprisers... a regular motley crew. Ten groups in all. As far as we can tell, they were all tailing Sue-R-RAT, though we don't know why. They were busy fighting amongst each other when we caught her. Darndest thing, eh? So what are you doing, a little follow-up investigating?"

"You could say that."

I was getting impatient and eager to return to the warm confines of my villa, so I instituted a little "group therapy". Between my reputation and the example of the first victim, they were all spilling their guts out within 14 minutecycles. A new record, even by my standards.

"We weren't tryin' ta kill her! We was tryin' ta protect her!" "Liars! WE were trying to protect her from the likes of you!" "You guys just wanted to watch her die! WE were the ones keeping her safe!" "Someone was after her, I swear! We couldn't just let her die! THEY got in the way!"

Love of loyal citizens, it seems, crosses citizen and traitor alike, at least when it comes to making sure the facilities work. All of the assembled traitors said they wanted to protect her. From what, though? None of them could say, although the typical vague accusations against opposing societies flew like lasers.

One of PURGErs piped up. "I may be a traitor, but whoever could do such a thing to Sue-R-RAT must be a Commie of unspeakable evil! Blowing up citizens is one thing, but assassinating the sole citizen that lets us piss again in peace... that's LOW..."

His words rung a bell. My brother had told me about something similar. I gave them a quick once-through and set them up to be returned to IntSec in the morning.

I rushed back to the villa, double-checking for infiltrators. I turned on all of my protective traps, though I doubted they'd help. Under the dim light of a lone florescent bulb, I booted up the secret database my brother had set up away from prying eyes. I had ignored most of the message the first time, attributing it to mad rambling, but as I examined it my hair stood on end. Sue-R-RAT was merely the latest in a long line of "coincidences", stretching from the Waxy_Disaster all the way to the Four_Reactor_Foam_Flood and beyond.

I had to pop a few Nowserene pills when I finished, to keep my hands from shaking. I had finally found the citizen in my life, and she was under attack by a source of Unspeakable_Treason. My thoughts careened like scrubots on a waxed floor as I braced myself for one last, desperate solution. An escape from Alpha Complex.

I entered my room. "Listen, Sue-R-RAT, it seems you've been falsely accused and-" I stopped dead. She was shrieking and melting like a Happiness Energy Bar left out in front of the reactor. I had seen Molecular_Dissolution_Reactions before, but never like this. I stood helpless as she screamed for mercy.

Then she exploded. I saw her shattered bones and tattered guts flying everywhere. Flying for me.

Things went black.

I woke up a few minutecycles later laying on the floor. I felt like a well-processed algaechip. Pieces of her ribs were impaled in my torso. I was covered in intestine. Her ear fell out of my hair.

An organic self-destruct mechanism. The dissolution reaction would've been enough. The explosion at the end was just an exclamation point to the carnage and torment. Ending things with a bang.

Once I recovered from the shock, I realized that I was bleeding heavily. Every breath felt like Acidophizz in my lungs. Death wouldn't be long. I felt oddly satisfied knowing that. Relieved, even. But there was something left to do.

So here I am, hunched over my keyboard, staining my favorite chair with blood, dedicating my last ounce of strength to finishing this report before I go to that great clonebank in the sky. I could pull the alarm and call the emergency teams here, save the tattered rags of my life, but they could only heal the physical wounds. It would only prolong the inevitable. He would come after me next.

So instead I will tell you. About the tragic tale of Sue-R-RAT, the most loyal citizen in the complex. About the secret file my brother left for me, which may either be doom or salvation. And one more thing.

It's for you, Ken. I know how you felt now, about Ging-I-VTS-5. She's alive, Ken. My brother lied to keep her from harm. She's attttttttttttttttttttttttt {{{**INPUT ERROR** --Letter character "t" pressed 25+ times in a row.-- -Uncommon Word Processing tag not appended.- -VIOLET IntSec team sent to investigate Drake-U-LAH-2 for potential assassination/narcolepsy.- -Have a nice daycycle!-}}}

Refs: Four_Reactor_Foam_Flood, Ging-I-VTS-5, Molecular_Dissolution_Reactions, Secret_Societies_Involved_In_the_Toothpaste_Disaster, Unspeakable_Treason, Waxy_Disaster


This and the Unspeakable_Treason entry provide much insight into Drake-U's thinking. I never thought of him as an idealist, but surprisingly, it seems he was. There are, indeed, no perfectly loyal citizens - we are all flawed in some way or another.

But there are loyal citizens, if a reasonable standard of loyalty is used. In the end, it's for Friend Computer to decide.

It seems to me that Drake's personality template suffers from a certain tendency towards monomania. Perhaps clone #3 ought to undergo Voluntary Medication Therapy.

(And once again, we see a High Programmer who baldly asserts the existence of GAMMA_Clearance dies shortly thereafter.)

-- Err-U-DYT-9


LOGFILE #20439.05.05.214

+Precis of IntSec report on Drake-U-LAH-2 incident:
++No signs of forced entry.
++Remnants of organic material cannot be identified.  Transferring to MAD sector R&D.
++Classified files transferred to GNA sector IntSec branch.



LOGFILE #39770.05.05.214

+Precis of R&D report on debris from Drake-U-LAH-2 incident:
++GeneScan verifies that 99.45% clone debris comes from Sue-R-RAT clone line.
++Remaining 0.55% of clone debris consists of blood from Drake-U-LAH clone line.
++Signs of Class 104 Molecular Dissolution Reaction (Acidophizz).
++Bite marks in carcass indicate that something chewed its way out of victim's torso.
++Bite marks unidentifiable.  Trace genetic material unidentifiable.



2013-06-13 14:00