Priority Gordian Interrupt - Authorise
The Interrupt is an ability that Auditors have, to render State-born (and otherwise State-associated, including Assets) individuals incapacitated. The exact effect varies by person to person – ranging from temporary paralysis to something close to a short seizure – and lasts for 10-20 seconds if unresisted. It can be reapplied or extended (“Extend Gordian Interrupt.”). If it is resisted, and the affected individual attempts to fight back / overcome the effects, it will get progressively worse, often leading to unconsciousness.
When the effect ends, if unresisted, most people are drained but unharmed, except for any injuries they may have sustained during the Interrupt. Biting tongues, bits of cheek, damage from falling etc are common; although some people have much more severe reactions. Side effects worsen progressively the more resistance there was to the Interrupt.
Installing the InterruptEdit
I am in your head, Facilitator –
Exactly how the Gordian works is not widely known, and the Audit Office expends considerable effort to ensure this. But for those of us outside the fourth wall:
Mental conditioning is an important component. Those who have been severely Corrected tend to have an additional reaction to the Gordian, which is more of an extreme Trigger effect. But in terms of the physical, there are actually several ways of ensuring someone will be affected by the Interrupt:
1) State-borns. Wards and Citizens alike who were born in the last 40 years (after the early, so-called ‘Golden Age’ of the new State). These individuals will have had a tiny ‘chip’ (a small bioelectronic device) inserted into their brains, close to the areas that deal with language / voice identification. This is done as early as possible – for younger State-born, this was likely done before the skull plates entirely fused; for older individuals the process would have been more traumatic.
Once inserted and active, the chip will have been ‘calibrated’, set to activate when certain voice patterns and phrases were heard. These will have been: a) Voices of all currently living / in-post Auditors, and b) one artificial ‘override’ frequency. Which means that while technically people are only actually susceptible to the voice of Auditors who were in post at the time, all Auditors also carry a device (possibly internal) that can emit that override frequency. Otherwise the theatre of it would be rather dispelled!
These chips are not a particularly advanced piece of technology, in comparison to later brain/machine interface sets (such as the Quartermaster System, or some personal-database augmentations). They react to the nerve impulses of the brain when the corresponding sound is heard, and then create a fairly small electronic disturbance which produces the Interrupt effect.
The chips are very hard to remove, even if you are able to find them. The design includes long, inert fibres that – while relatively unlikely to damage the brain around them, get deeply integrated into the tissue, making removal a very complicated process with a very high risk of permanent damage.
2) Older State individuals; State immigrants; captured Assets. Sticking a chip into someone when they’re older is a much more difficult process, and it is difficult to get it as finely calibrated in a brain that has fully developed. The chips in these older individuals tend to be inserted more bluntly, tend to be less sensitive and are more likely to be activated only by the override frequency (unless they were considered a particularly valuable person, in which case more care will probably have been taken). They are also more likely to have the seizure-like side effects rather than just the paralysis.
It is important to remember that most people will be unaware of the ‘installed’ nature of the Interrupt. Memory-loss drugs and other techniques are employed to make sure that no one has a very concrete idea of what happened, and make any flashbacks particularly unpleasant.
Many of these ‘chips’ also contain identifying information about the person, and a small tracking component – so for the most part, this procedure is generally thought just to be about the State being able to track where you are / who you are. Chips are reclaimed when someone is Processed.
Breaking the InterruptEdit
It is possible that a State-aligned person will not react to the Interrupt. Observed reasons for this so far include:
1) The person has never had a chip installed. Newcomers, in particular, may have this excuse. But under normal circumstances this would be rectified fairly quickly.
2) The chip malfunctions. The technology is not very complicated, so this is unlikely as long as it was installed correctly. Being badly calibrated is another possibility, resulting in a response that is over- or –under sensitive.
It is also possible in some sorts of ‘Aberrant’ that this process just wouldn’t work, full stop.
3) The chip can overload. Repeated and prolonged Interrupt can cause the chip to overload, overheat or otherwise break. This is very unsafe, as the likelihood of causing serious brain damage due to all the misfiring signals is high; as is failing to actually disable the chip and just making your response into one with a very high rate of seizures. It might be possible under very controlled conditions to disable a chip this way, but it would have to be done by an expert.
4) Being an Auditor. Or, some high enough up in various chains of command that the Audit Office has officially had their Interrupt susceptibility removed (this is… quite rare). Anyone this has been done to is listed on a database somewhere / in their Official Files.
Note that not having an Interrupt response, and not being listed on that file – if identified – will lead very, very quickly to Remedial Measures being taken. Or being accused of Aberrancy.
Story-wise, while the Auditor is in play as a major antagonist, please consider carefully if you are thinking of having a State-aligned character who does not have a Gordian response, as it is a story-critical element for this arc.