Trope-a-Day: Sociopathic Hero

Sociopathic Hero: The Fifth Directorate has special tools (ICE BLUESHIFT) to induce the capacity for this sort of behavior – albeit very high-functioning ones, who genuinely don’t have any desire for cruelty [1] – under special circumstances, because in the existential threats business, sometimes necessity really does mandate, and so forth.  (They are also responsible for performing the various feats of mental editing necessary to let the operatives in question not go crazy when their empathy and conscience get switched back on.)

[1] Because that requires empathy, don’ch’know. There’s no point in hurting someone if their pain would be as essentially irrelevant to you as everything else.

Colder Than Space




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[SSP image eluded from file]

ICE BLUESHIFT agents are specially developed units of the Fifth Directorate intended for deployment under exigent circumstances requiring extremal action.

An ICE BLUESHIFT agent is the product of extensive, specialized ethical training and testing, coupled with the focused pseudosociopathy induced by a [REDACTED] “SubHe” implant. The function of this implant is to disable the sympathetic faculties of the mind, while permitting the empathetic faculties to operate nominally. This strips the unit of all default-valued social restraints or ascriptions of value to other entities or entity-sets (although permitting the retention of specifically instanced ascriptions). This does not, however, impair the capacity for social operations. An enabled ICE BLUESHIFT agent remains fully capable of interpreting and reading social cues and performing associated social functions.

Thus, while retaining full sophont-interactive capability and the capacity for loyalty and other targeted attachments, an ICE BLUESHIFT agent is capable of whatever extremal actions are required for the completion of their assigned mission.

(It should be noted that, unlike crude forms of memetic pseudosociopathy used by various other agencies (see: REFULGENT LIAR; CINNAMON PONIARD; ICEBERG QUEEN), an ICE BLUESHIFT agent is not susceptible to malicious/sadistic deviance. To derive satisfaction from such requires an operative sympathetic faculty.)

A secondary function of the implants of ICE BLUESHIFT agents is automated psychedesign, performing self-justification narrative editing at the point at which the agent is disabled. This prevents mental stress and consequent breakdown of the agents upon the restoration of their sympathetic faculties.

The deployment of ICE BLUESHIFT agents requires the explicit authorization of the Imperial Security Executive.


Communicating ANY PART of this NTK-A document to ANY SOPHONT other than those with preexisting ISE internal systems clearance, INCLUDING ITS EXISTENCE, is considered an alpha-level security breach and will be met with the most severe sanctions available, up to and including permanent erasure.

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Among the most dangerous agents fielded by the Theomachy of Galia are the a’hugal (“soulless”), designated REFULGENT LIAR.

The a’hugal are operatives of the Theomachy’s highest-order intelligence agency, the Jeret-i-dín-Tanjgal (“Preservers of the Pure-Souled”), loosely analogous to the Fifth Directorate or to the Exception Management Group, and operate solely under its directives so far as is known. (While we have never observed a’hugal seconded to any other agency of the Theomachy, the possibility cannot be ruled out especially under exceptional circumstances.)

The a’hugal are created by the Jeret-i-dín-Tanjgal using off-the-shelf cerebral bridge technology to create a fork of a highly trained template agent; a technology, note, which is otherwise entirely proscribed within the Theomachy. The reason for the use of such technology in this case is identical with the reason for its general proscription: according to Galian doctrine, forks are mere soulless automata, and thus can commit any act without sin or spiritual penalty. Those who command the a’hugal refrain from instructing them in methodology; rather, they simply designate the problem to be solved, and in avoiding the knowledge of their methods, avoid the spiritual burden of ordering forbidden acts. The a’hugal acts on its own initiative thereafter.

Adhocs and overwatch of the Directorates SHOULD NOT underestimate the danger posed by REFULGENT LIAR units. While usually no better equipped than baseline Galians and possessing only baseline-equivalent mentality (although it should be noted that the “soulless” a’hugal are also exempt from the doctrine of spiritual corruption by augmentation found in Galian theology), the a’hugal are manufactured from templates that believe profoundly in their post-forking soulless state and the moral exemption that results therefrom. While this memetic indoctrination does not give them the long-term psychological stability enjoyed by the [REDACTED: ICE BLUESHIFT], in the short term they are capable of acting with the ruthlessness of ICE BLUESHIFT units in the field, and also retain the emotive capacity for the malice-sadism spectrum suppressed by ICE BLUESHIFT treatment.

Standing doctrine calls for the preemptive quieting of REFULGENT LIAR units in active operational areas.