Trope-a-Day: Empty Shell

Empty Shell: A ‘shell running the Minimal Maintenance Architecture, as they do when no-one’s currently occupying them. It provides for maintaining autonomous functions, interfacing with the systems of a body hotel, diagnostics, and teleoperation, but little more.

Also, of course, createable in all the traditional and several non-traditional nasty ways by bad people.

(That Power, for example, that conducts research into the nondeterministic, paracausal aspects of the logos by running millions of simulations of the same events on captured mind-states, looking for variations, slowly stripping away fragments to find what makes the difference, until there’s not much more than one of these left. They may call its simulation spaces “death cubes”, but they’re really “helplessly wishing for death cubes”…

…fortunately, it’s an urban legend.

Right?

Right?)

5 thoughts on “Trope-a-Day: Empty Shell

  1. That Power, for example, that conducts research into the nondeterministic, paracausal aspects of the logos by running millions of simulations of the same events on captured mind-states, looking for variations, slowly stripping away fragments to find what makes the difference, until there’s not much more than one of these left.

    It strikes me that a variation of this would make for a means to conduct virtual-reality “interrogations” by tricking your prisoner into thinking he’s escaped. If he notices any discrepancies, reset the simulation, figure out what you missed, and roll on.

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    • It’s a standard practice for hard interrogations – although not usually in just that form, since everyone knows that that’s standard practice for hard interrogations.

      (The really paranoid, of course, are aware that not only can they block your memories of going under the scanner, but they can also block your memories of being captured and drop you into a simulation set previous to that point, so not only refuse to discuss their mission while on their mission, but do their best to not know why or in many cases even what they’re doing. This, of course, tends to ruin mission effectiveness all by itself, but what are you going to do?)

      The gold standard for these, though, is fork interrogation. Spawn a few thousand copies of your target, run them through a variety of different scenarios and interrogation techniques – monitoring their detailed reactions all the while – then use the gathered data to refine the interrogation of the next batch of fresh forks. A few iterations and some statistical analysis later, you have the statistically-most-probable truth.

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      • A thought occurs to me for a particularly devious technique: Once you’ve gotten enough to get a “foot in the door,” run a few simulations where they’re running an interrogation on (perhaps a carefully trimmed version of) you after inventing a scenario where they’ve managed to “capture” you unsuccessfully breaching their OpSec. Not only would their approach possibly reveal useful information about what they know (and what they might expect you to know), but you might also learn a little bit about their agency’s operational procedures as well.

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        • Known to Marvell Cinematic Universe fans as “a Black Widow interrogation”. That whole scene got better and better and funnier and funnier every time I watched it. The scriptwritters, the director, and Ms Johansson were at the top of their game, there.

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