AUTHORIZATION:OUT:KNOK:A1:70:C8:B0 PROXYBOT PP.680 ENGAGED
Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! If I could hyperventilate, I surely would be! I'm in! I'm in! This is it! I'm right here in the report on the Toothpaste_Disaster with my very own entry! Oh, I hope nobody disconnects me for this! Mi dios, where do I start?
Zero Tolerance Mouthwash Accident
In the wake of the dogmatic wars regarding Whole_Oral_Experience two yearcycles ago, the so-called "Snack-Schoolers" were originally believed to have been entirely eradicated by, well, just about everyone. However, a handful of them were apparently protected by a certain High Programmer1 who kept them on staff under assumed identities. Whether by his later instruction, or on an agenda of their own, these rogues attempted to revive their agenda about six months later, under the motto "There's no such thing as too much work on your teeth". Like most groups which obsess over extremes of dental hygiene, these Snack School survivors were almost certainly repugnante unregistered mutants, hoping to cover their mutant nature by disguising their Mutant_Plaque_Residuals.
However, they realized that they would be quickly found out if they returned to their old methodology, which depended on forcing brushing on clones after every meal. They instead struck up a short-term deal with various Computer Phreaks and drafted up a "suggestion" to Friend Computer that was, shall way say, very convincing at the assembly-code level.
The suggestion was that fluids should have an antiseptic added to them that would reduce plaque and gingivitis-causing bacteria. Initially, this was just human-consumable mixed fluids-- such as B3-- but eventually, it was expanded to include all human-consumable fluids. For a period, there was no such thing as pure water, even-- all water had antiseptic added to it. The antiseptic in question, unfortunately, was Thylacine. Even attempts to disguise its bitterness with the Thirty-one_Official_Flavors were not enough. The stuff is (I am told) simply nasty.
So Citizens eventually began trying to drink other things instead, such as brake cleaner, Transbot rail lubricant, ScrubBot squirt-bottle contents, and the like. Anything seemed like a delicious beverage compared to Thylacine-laden liquids.
Naturalamente, the smart solution would have been to back Thylacine out of the mix and find a different antiseptic-- or abandon the plan altogether. But instead, shortly after the termination of the B4 project-- someone (perhaps the same High Programmer who was protecting the Snack Schoolers all along) expanded the mouthwash directive:
No fluid in Alpha Complex was to lack antiseptic capabilities.
Aye yai yai! Soon, Thylacine was being added to everything. It would not be possible to intake a fluid of any sort in Alpha Complex without getting one's mouth washed: that was the plan. Loco, no?
As it turns out, a great many fluids that Alpha Complex relies on do not work so reliably when Thylacine is added to them. This was apparent almost immediately, but was not heralded as a seriously problem for the first couple of months, because the decreasing Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) in many Alphan systems was a financial boon to Technical Services.
It wasn't until the annual Vat Blossom Festival that the trouble struck. As you know, every year there is a fungal bloom cycle that occurs in all the VatSlime in Alpha Complex. The Vats come alive with a cascade of encantador colors and the air is filled with delicioso scents that hint at all the many official flavors. Truly, it is a glorious time to be a Citizen...
...unless it turns out that VatSlime in bloom goes hyper-active in contact with Thylacine-laden liquids. Which, obviamente in hindsight, is a fact.
I don't think actual fatalities from slime-attack were so high, as the hyper-active slime was only capable of movement up to about 6 to 8 kilometers per hour, with a maximum extension of about 200 to 300 meters. But the fact that Alpha's entire food supply was now being held hostage by writhing masses of hungry fungus was a serious problem. Fortunately, the annual bloom only lasts a week or so, and once the bloom was off the Thylacine reaction died down-- and with it, the hyperactive fungus, allowing access back to the food Vats before starvation and cannibalism had become too widespread.
The reek of hyper-extended VatSlime tentacles decaying everywhere they'd tried to reach was, I am told, pure miseria all the way up until the Disaster, at which point I guess many Citizens would have begged to have had nothing worse to complain about than "those rotting fungus-limbs sure stink" and "damn, we're out of Omega-Hybrizine already and we've only dissolved half this crap".
Frankly, I'm glad I was still on the design board at that point!
Tolerant to a fault,
1 I am not allowed to name the HP involved. No, really, if I even say so much as, "it's someone from TTH Sector", I could get in real trouble for it!
PROXYBOT PP.680 DISENGAGED