EMPIRE OF LIES

Running SLA Industries without 'the Truth'
by Chris Cotgrove

As the tagline goes, 'guns kill, but so does the truth'...or does it?

Is it the truth itself that presents a danger to SLA Operatives, or searching too much for it?

What if, under all of the lies and deceptions that SLA places in the way of someone discovering the Truth, there is...nothing? That the existence of a single, all-encompassing Truth behind everything is simply, the greatest lie in the World of Progress? If so, perhaps it is one that has been told and reinforced over hundreds of years with a singular purpose...

Consider the traditional approach to the Truth: that those who are somehow exposed to it before they reach a certain SCL (thereby proving an acceptable amount of loyalty to Slayer and to the Company) are almost always executed by Cloak Division, or Stigmartyr.

Does Stigmartyr operate by killing those who are directly exposed to 'the truth' or are they pre-emptively culling SLA Operatives who have proved themselves to be too inquisitive, too capable of freedom of thought, of being willing and able to move outside of the boundaries laid down by Head Office? In other words, the people who would, under the right conditions, make the perfect traitor?

The SCL ladder is a continual litmus test of loyalty and obedience, but is still a fixed path to advancement...monitored by many departments. The 'spooks' of SLA Industries are there to deal with Operatives who start to fall off this path.

Indeed, does there have to be a singular truth behind the scenes of the World of Progress?

I would say no. In fact, it's my opinion that the setting works really well when this is left entirely ambiguous. The truth does not need to be defined, and it steers the setting away from supernatural horror into the realms of cosmic horror, of a universe that refuses to explain itself, or one that constantly remains just outside the understanding of mortal minds.

White Earth remains just off the edge of the map...if such a planet truly exists, and SLA hasn't created it as propaganda; a convenient catchall to explain all the weirdness it does not have the time to investigate. Mysteries stay mysterious, and the unknown continues to inspire fear and caution.

Handling it this way presents the GM with the ability to insert all kinds of paranormal and strange phenomena into a game, then vague hints given at their  nature will leave players unsettled.

The GM is then free to place any number of layered conspiracies to cover up these phenomena; but ultimately, on investigation, the Operatives may discover that Head Office doesn't know what they are either...and that Head Office ultimately does not need to know. They only have to ruthlessly cull whatever or whomever presents itself as competition. They do not need to understand everything; they only need to have the capacity to quarantine or destroy, to maintain control. And that, in this context, is what Internal Affairs, Cloak Division, Stigmartyr and Naga7 are there for. They all act in the same way at different stages of an Op's career, monitoring, steering and if need be, executing  those who stray too far outside the rigid boundaries set by the Company.

At the end of the day, the real truth is: obey, or die.