Doom, Idiocy, and Weirdness

“A few special adhocs aside, the Fifth Directorate is divided into three primary working groups: Existential Threats, Inadvisably Applied Technologies, and Exceptionary Circumstances.  Or, as they’re less formally known, the PWGs of Doom, Idiocy, and Weirdness.”

“Existential Threats handles exactly that; the end of everything, or at least everything local.  Some of their adhocs are as public as the Fifth ever gets, working on problems like why, exactly, we relative latecomers qualify as one of the eldest of the younger races and why no-one from the Precursor era or earlier seems to be around these days; or preparation for natural disasters like gamma-ray bursts or the upcoming galactic collision.  Most of them, though, concentrate on action against more direct threats, like Leviathan Consciousness intrusions, the ambitious that bypassed the Corícal Consensus and incautiously cooked up unstable gods, and any number of insufficiently careful archive-resurrectionists.”

“Inadvisably Applied Technologies is our benevolence PWG.  Their adhocs are responsible for intervening in places where we have no particular authority to do so because someone’s playing with fire in the explosives warehouse, and it’s not in anyone’s interest to see a repeat of the Ulijen Disaster.  More importantly, it’s especially not in our interest to have people become paranoid about advanced technologies just because someone didn’t read the documentation and flash-fried his entire planet, or worse.”

“Yes, it’s not normally considered appropriate to save people from themselves; but really, that’s just a side-effect of saving large chunks of the rest of the known galaxy from them.  Usually, useful ones.”

“Exceptionary Circumstances?  We can’t tell you about Exceptionary Circumstances.  If we knew what they were or had any idea what to do about them, they wouldn’t be Exceptionary Circumstances.  But when we don’t, or we haven’t – that’s what the adhocs of Exceptionary Circumstances do.”

– org briefing to new members of the Select Committee on Imperial State Security

4 thoughts on “Doom, Idiocy, and Weirdness

  1. This implies that whenever Exceptionary Circumstances encounters the same thing two or more times, and/or finally figures out WTF sort of thing it’s dealing with, future handing of said thing should be transferred over to the other WGs. I can see all sorts of amusing internal political wrangling inside the 5D when this comes up.

    • That’s true, and for that matter, a lot of them end up in the IES, or the private scientific or commercial community, or other such places external to the Fifth entirely – when they turn out to not, after all, demonstrate the heady mix of incomprehensibility and danger that EC thrives on.

      And indeed there sometimes is such wrangling, although it’s moderated by both the adhocratic way that they prefer to run things – which makes it easier for a project team attached to “their thing” to transfer right along with the responsibility for it – and the way that EC tends to attract a lot of those personality types that start getting bored as soon as they have a solved problem to deal with…

  2. And while I would not want to suggest anything that would slow down the production of these fics, I really would like to see more often what the Imperials call various things in their own language.

    • That’s something I would like to do more of, myself – and I have still got on file your comment on “Badass Creed” and do plan to do those translations; it’s just that doing the language-creation takes time and cogitation to avoid it turning into an English cipher, or even a Lojban cipher, so I hesitate to get too far into it while I’m still behind in the fics-a-day themselves. 

      But I’ll see what I can do!

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