2013-06-13: [CT] Just Following My Orders

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2013-06-13: [CT] Just Following My Orders

Postby The Comment Golem » June 13th, 2013, 12:00 am

Discussion thread for [CT] Just Following My Orders
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Re: 2013-06-13: [CT] Just Following My Orders

Postby mindstalk » June 13th, 2013, 6:24 am

So was soldier guy telling the truth about not knowing? I always felt like he was lying.

Between Meji and Sarine, you really liked big leather straps, huh.
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Re: 2013-06-13: [CT] Just Following My Orders

Postby Graybeard » June 13th, 2013, 8:05 am

I always thought Toren (the guy in the fancy armor, or so Sarna later tells us) was telling the truth about not knowing. For one thing, the elves do play some secrecy games, and for another, he seemed like a mensch, if one inclined to gloat over wiping out Errants -- in which he surely had plenty of elven company.

The secrecy games bear further examination, though. In a society as small as Praenubilus Astu's, how long would it take before everybody knows every secret nominally restricted to the council representatives or the military, at least potentially? Membership on the elven council isn't a lifetime proposition; Skena (the cadaverous-looking Cimmerii on the council) told us as much, even as she was also saying that knowledge of the Giant Magical Potato was closely held. Maybe not every elf would know literally every secret, but with people rotating into and off the secret-concealing jobs for literally thousands of years, the ship of state would be reasonably expected to leak a bit. And why, at least, don't the Peregins know some of this stuff? They're the ones who have to know what to look for when they're out being the elven eyes and ears among the humans. I can understand why Sarine personally hasn't booked up on the big secrets, but she's probably not a very typical ranger in that regard.

As for Toren not knowing, I guess it's no more inconsistent for him not to know than for Sarine not to; it's the overall elven posture toward secrecy that puzzles me, not the fact that these two conform to it whether it's a good idea or not.
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Re: 2013-06-13: [CT] Just Following My Orders

Postby Alberich » June 13th, 2013, 8:26 am

Maybe their race is simply not so gossipy as our own. Goes along with the whole "we think mourning a dead lover is the ultimate pleasure" as a bit of elf psychology.

On t'other hand, maybe they worry more about their long-term social status and career prospects if they tell the wrong secrets. You can't screw up at work and ask "In a hundred years, who's gonna know?" because the answer is "Everyone who knew it today and they will still be holding a grudge."
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Re: 2013-06-13: [CT] Just Following My Orders

Postby BloodHenge » June 13th, 2013, 10:15 am

Also, a lot of secrets could be "need to know", and if something isn't relevant at the moment (like the magic potato), only one person on the Council needs to know. If it becomes an issue during his term, he tells everyone. Otherwise, he tells his replacement when she takes office.
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Re: 2013-06-13: [CT] Just Following My Orders

Postby Graybeard » June 13th, 2013, 10:41 am

BloodHenge wrote:Also, a lot of secrets could be "need to know", and if something isn't relevant at the moment (like the magic potato), only one person on the Council needs to know. If it becomes an issue during his term, he tells everyone. Otherwise, he tells his replacement when she takes office.

Yeah, but the point is, you may stop needing to know when you leave office, but you don't stop knowing. There is no brain bleach that removes the memory of the thing you needed to know on assuming the position. And that only gets more vexing when the "he tells everyone" moment arrives, because the ones he tells don't get brain bleach either.

This is actually a real-world problem of some significance that is going to be getting worse now that a lot of Baby Boomers who had security clearances are starting to retire. I had a job that definitely involved a fair bit of "need to know" stuff, and when I retired, the "outbrief" included a promise not to talk to the press or anyone else about that NTK material. Needless to say, I have complied with that outbrief, but it's awfully easy to screw up, particularly since the rules as to what material is need-to-know are cast in jello and may change at any time. So a situation is starting to develop where lots of old goats like me do know some of the NTK stuff, but aren't in a position to talk about it, while their younger replacements are coming in and following NTK. This becomes a real problem when those with NTK start having to reach outside their immediate community, analogous to the "he tells everyone" scenario above. The newcomers don't know who else knows about related subjects that are also NTK, where years of dealing with each other have helped the retirees with that problem -- but we can't tell them, since we're retired and don't have the NTK any more. It's a real problem in the national-security world, and it could only be worse for the elves, unless one's term on the council lasts for thousands of years -- which Skena has implied is not the case.
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Re: 2013-06-13: [CT] Just Following My Orders

Postby Bytemite » June 13th, 2013, 11:26 am

Yeah, but the point is, you may stop needing to know when you leave office, but you don't stop knowing. There is no brain bleach that removes the memory of the thing you needed to know on assuming the position.


At the risk of introducing a horrible angle to the already somewhat autocratic Elven government... Yes, actually, there is something that they could potentially use to force people to forget forbidden information. Assuming that it works on elves as well as humans - the suggestion spell only seems to work on humans, and unless mind-wipe specialists for other elves are very rare, you'd think that Sarine would've been mind wiped catatonic by now.

Still, that's one possible resolution.

Or maybe the new council member traditionally challenges the former council member they're replacing to a duel, and trained human stand-ins aren't allowed.

Elves are terrible.

Also, I liked the crinkles on this page. Made her cloak and armor look beaten up and worn.
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Re: 2013-06-13: [CT] Just Following My Orders

Postby Graybeard » June 13th, 2013, 11:40 am

Sarine actually said, when she was chasing away the little old lady in Saus after her flashback to her husband's death, that she "wished" her mind magic worked on elves. It doesn't.
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Re: 2013-06-13: [CT] Just Following My Orders

Postby 5Cats » June 13th, 2013, 3:51 pm

Graybeard wrote:Sarine actually said, when she was chasing away the little old lady in Saus after her flashback to her husband's death, that she "wished" her mind magic worked on elves. It doesn't.


True that! The half-elves get their "resistance" from their Elf-side. Elves seem to have much stronger resistance to long-lasting spells.

I love internal consistency!

And buckles... on overcoats...
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Re: 2013-06-13: [CT] Just Following My Orders

Postby Anthony » June 13th, 2013, 7:07 pm

Graybeard wrote:Membership on the elven council isn't a lifetime proposition; Skena (the cadaverous-looking Cimmerii on the council) told us as much, even as she was also saying that knowledge of the Giant Magical Potato was closely held.

Not being lifetime doesn't necessarily mean terms aren't extremely long by human standards. The fact that she even addressed the question of whether she'd been on the council at the time suggests it's a reasonable question. Council terms are almost certainly in centuries and possibly millennia.
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