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VIOLET Supervisors

Ah, yes. VIOLET supervisors. They are, in their way, all things to all clones. The INFRARED worker will be lucky to encounter one in her lifetime; they see the VIOLETs as mysterious elder presences, as oligarchs of unthinkable power and authority. To the ULTRAVIOLETs, such as my fellow committee members, VIOLETs are ever-present aides, escorts and minions, scarcely competent to organize one’s paperwork. So: who are these magenta magnates, these lackeys in lavender? What function do they serve in Alpha Complex?

This is, of course, a rhetorical question.1 They are the chief administrators of the highest-level discrete elements of Alpha: the CEOs of Service Firms, IntSec branch chiefs, the generals of Armed Forces battalions. Likewise, they comprise the chiefs of staff of the Armed Forces and the executive boards of the other Service Groups. And, of course, VIOLET supervisors serve directly under the High Programmers, compiling our instructions and seeing that they are carried out. They have their hands on the levers of power, waiting only for the word from on high to set our plans in motion on our behalf.

We define the policies. We give the orders. The VIOLETs obey.

Or do they?

Think, fellow High Programmers. How much of your information is filtered through your “trustworthy” VIOLET supervisors? How often do you turn over assignments to VIOLETs and trust that the work will be done? How much access do your VIOLET supervisors have to your records? Your command codes? The food you eat?

Reflection makes it clear: we cannot be certain that our VIOLET supervisors are doing their jobs. At least, not without investing so much time and effort that we are unable to fulfill our own responsibilities. So we do what we can to minimize the risks, and we hope for the best.

All of us learn to deal with the most obvious of VIOLET machinations. After all, we know that they have their ambitions, and that we can play ambitious underlings off of one another. And it works… or at least it seems to. But this strategy has a flaw. It assumes that we can play them off against one another. But what if the VIOLETs are working together?

They know our strategies. They’ve used them, just as we have. Think: Machia-V-ELI was a VIOLET!

I can tell what you’re thinking. “There can’t be a VIOLET conspiracy,” run the words through your little cranium-enclosed brain. “I was a VIOLET, and I never saw any sign of a conspiracy. And anyway, if there were such a group, surely they would have invited me to join!” But they didn’t, did they?

(Well, that’s what most of you are thinking. I’ll get to the rest of you in due course.)

In the old days, a VIOLET supervisor might spend years, even decades, at her post before being considered for promotion into the ranks of the High Programmers. But todaycycle, promotions come at a lightning-swift pace. Circ-U, Enkid-U and Paul-U each spent less than two years as VIOLETs. Drake-U and Cee-U rocketed up through the ranks, spending less than six monthcycles each in their VIOLET posts. And Servs-U went from INDIGO to ULTRAVIOLET within the space of a single monthcycle!

How could they have gone up in rank so fast? Was it talent? Loyalty? Treason?2 No… it came through the collusion of their fellow VIOLET supervisors. You see, so many High Programmers these days allow themselves to be isolated by their dependence on their subordinates. The VIOLETs don’t need to be promoted to get the power they crave; they need only manipulate the data they present to us, and then alter the orders we give them, in order to get almost anything they might want. So they avoid promotion. They pull strings to make sure that VIOLETs who do not belong to their conspiracy get promoted over their heads. And so they remain at the levers of power, unopposed by those whose loyalty and talent might uncover their insidious schemes.

“That’s a lot of talk,” you’re saying, “and not a shred of evidence to back it up.” Ah, but I have evidence, my colleagues!

Servs-U, you might really want to have a chat with Und-V regarding the “mysterious” power drains in RIT sector. On the other hand, your instincts served you well in regard to Evere-V-ENS-6, who has been manipulating Costin-U’s output projections for some years now. Screwz-U should have interrogated Q-V-CEE-6 a bit more thoroughly; she was involved up to her eyeballs in the conspiracy. And Drake-U? Your “trusted supervisor” Ner-V-ANA isn’t quite as trustworthy as your predecessor seemed to believe.

It’s unfortunate that I had to liquidate my entire VIOLET staff to ensure my own safety while researching this entry. Fortunately, the interrogation of the VIOLETs bore fruit.3 Knok-U-OUT-5 was absolutely right about Hippy-V-GAN-4. After the IntSec squad and the TruthBot got through with him, Hippy-V told all.

TIMESTAMP: 2201.07.05.214

"We...  we came up with it all one tuesdaycycle afternoon...  about eight years back...  we had all
 the access...  the funds, the code...  the only limit...  our fellow VIOLETs..."

"Go on."

"We made plans...  changed the maps...  created Phantom Sectors.  Worked with...  the dadaists... 
 set up...  railway net.  Tapped power...  falsified... the readings.  No one... suspected."


"I’ll never -"  [SOUNDS OF AGONY]

"Try again."

"... we could have... it all...  no more... High Programmers.  They were... too stupid... to notice. 
 No more...  Computer.  Alpha Complex...  for humans!"

Clearly, the ambitions of the VIOLETs knew no bounds. They would destroy Friend Computer! They would send all of Alpha Complex into chaos to fulfill their treasonous scheme!

They had planned well. Through Ner-V-OUS-6, the VIOLET conspiracy pulled the strings of the OUS_Sector_Cabal, while they used Star-V-MPR-9 to manipulate their rivals in the League of Xtreme Communism.4 And Ging-I-VTS-5 was about to be promoted and inducted into the conspiracy, before her untimely demise at the hands of Drake-U-LAH-1. Hence the outrage from her superior… none other than Ken-U-RON-6.

Yes, Ken-U’s former clone belonged to the conspiracy. He “disappeared” during his report on the Phantom_Sectors because he knew that we were closing in on him; and ironically, he has fled into those self-same Phantom_Sectors, hidden zones established by the VIOLETs right under our very noses!

Even now, a Humanist cabal pervades the upper echelons of Alpha Complex. We must stamp it out.

But first, look around at all of those VIOLETs. The one on your left, organizing your papers the way you like best. The one on the right, serving you your noondaycycle meal. And the one in front of you, who always seems to know what you’re thinking. And then ask yourself: does he belong to the cabal? Does she?

Stay alert, friend High Programmer. Trust no one. Keep your laser handy.

-- Jan-U-ARY-31


  1. Asked in accordance with the Approved Rhetoric Transitional Sequence. See Laws of Alpha Complex ed. 39/B.3.9, section 5C, subsection 92, chapter 34. (1)

  2. Okay, maybe treason. (2)

  3. Naturally, all interrogation was performed by BLUEs. (3)

  4. Later to become the League of Extraordinary Dadaists. (4)

Cross-Refs: Evere-V-ENS-6, Ging-I-VTS-5, Laws_of_Alpha_Complex_ed._39/B.3.9, OUS_Sector_Cabal, League_of_Extraordinary_Dadaists, Phantom_Sectors, Secret_Societies_Involved_In_the_Toothpaste_Disaster, Tuesday_Afternoon_Conspiracy, XOR-I/Ent_X-Press


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-- Drake-U-LAH-4

This is chilling news indeed. Now that you've pointed it out, I do recall that shortly after being promoted to VIOLET, several other citizens of that clearance were asking me some slightly unusual questions - nothing treasonous, merely inquiries displaying more of an interest in my own philosophies than I had commonly encountered before. I've forwarded their names to you, Jan-U, if you'd care to interrogate them.

It seems fortunate now that I haven't made much use of VIOLET supervisors. I never saw the need to keep any on-staff, and none have ever actively sought a position with me.

Perhaps this explains my relative safety - aside from the incident with the Magic_Hate_Ball (quite possibly simply its random selection of an ULTRAVIOLET compound), I've suffered no attempts on my life. Nor have I been impersonated.

I'll see what I can uncover regarding guilty and innocent parties - there are almost certainly many VIOLETs who have no part in this, and one ought to reward the diligently loyal with the one hand while smiting the treasonous with the other.

PS: Jan-U - who takes care of your tank? Not Supervisors, I'm hoping?

-- Err-U-DYT-9

Bots, actually... they do pretty much all of the maintenance work on my tank. Occasionally I have some clone from Tech drop in to bring in new equipment, but that's rare.

In my experience, bots are more trustworthy than clones, and while they can be prone to breakdowns and the like, I keep my bots in pristine condition. Some of them are even old enough to use Yeoman_Service_software, though of course it's supplemented with Asimov backups. Obsolescent bot models and software have some hidden advantages; they're immune to many modern software viruses, and no one else knows the command overrides. Plus, they're exceptionally loyal on account of no one else wanting them; they know that if something happens to me, the new High Programmer for ARY sector is bound to consign them to the scrap heap.

-- Jan-U

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2013-06-13 14:00