THE LAUNDRY: Induction Day

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    "I’m no James Bond, with a sexy KGB minx trying to seduce me in every hotel room. That’s about the first thing they drum into you at Capital Laundry Services (‘Washes cleaner than clean!’): life is not a spy movie, work is not romantic, and there’s nothing particularly exciting about the job."
    - The Atrocity Archive

    • There are things out there, in the weirder reaches of space-time where reality is an optional extra. Horrible things, usually with tentacles. Al-Hazred glimpsed them, John Dee summoned them, HP Lovecraft wrote about them, and Alan Turing mapped the paths from our universe to theirs. The right calculation can call up entities from other, older universes, or invoke their powers. Invisibility? Easy! Animating the dead? Trivial! Binding lesser demons to your will? Easily doable!

      Opening up the way for the Great Old Ones to come through and eat our brains? Unfortunately, much too easy.

      That's where the Laundry comes in - a branch of the British secret service, tasked to prevent hideous alien gods from wiping out all life on Earth (and more particularly, the UK). You work for the Laundry. The hours are long, the pay is sub-par, the co-workers are... interesting (in the Chinese curse sense of the word), and the bureaucracy is stifling - but you do get to wave basilisk guns and bullet wards around, and to go on challenging and exciting missions to exotic locations like quaint, legend-haunted Wigan, cursed Slough and Wolverhampton where the walls are thin.

      You may even get to save the world.

      Just make sure you get a receipt.

    • * * *

      Congratulations on your acceptance into the Capital Laundry Services 'Intelligence Officer Fast-Track Programme'. By now you will have signed Section III of the Official Secrets Act (1916) and will have received your warrant card, employee badge as well as the time and date of your first Induction Training session, overseen by the Department of Human Resource's Training Division.

      You now work for a branch of Her Majesty’s civil service known as the Laundry – the name derives from our original offices during WWII – tasked with monitoring and containing entities and phenomena that would be termed 'supernatural' by the general population. This is a misnomer; all phenomena are natural to this or another universe. Reality is a considerably more porous medium than is commonly suspected.

      You are required to observe security and safety precautions at all times. Keep your warrant card and employee badge on your person at all times. Use of your legal or true name is to be kept to a minimum; use your assigned soubriquet for all non-essential forms, records, oaths and social interactions. Report all significant unusual phenomenon, blood spills or bleeding, unusual temperature shifts, electrical or computer faults to a supervisor immediately. Do not enter any secure areas without permission. Do not repeat any unusual phrases three times. Do not summon up anything you cannot put down. Review the Basic Health, Safety and Security Protocols document at least once per month.

      Secrecy is paramount in the field. Never discuss the nature of your work or the existence of the Laundry without permission. Your warrant card is enchanted to deflect suspicion and ensure your authority – use of the warrant card outside of official Laundry business is not permitted and suspected abuses will be Audited.
      [COLOR=white][FONT=Garamond][SIZE=5] [/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR]

      [COLOR=white][FONT=Garamond][SIZE=5]The Laundry is an [B]ISO9001-certified[/B] organisation, emphasising quality record keeping and formalised management and problem-solving procedures. [U]Maintaining this level of certification should be a high priority for every employee[/U].
      [COLOR=white][FONT=Garamond][SIZE=5] [/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR]
      [COLOR=grey][FONT=Courier][SIZE=4][COLOR=white][FONT=Garamond][SIZE=5]The near future promises exciting challenges for the Laundry. With hard work, diligence, attention to detail and a modicum of luck, we are confident that the majority of you may survive in some form.
      [COLOR=white][FONT=Garamond][SIZE=5] [/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR]
      [COLOR=grey][FONT=Courier][SIZE=4][COLOR=white][FONT=Garamond][SIZE=5]Welcome to the Laundry![/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR]
      [CENTER][COLOR=grey][FONT=Courier][SIZE=4]* * *[/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR][/CENTER]

      [COLOR=grey][FONT=Courier][SIZE=4][B]TO:[/B] @InductionGroup343
      [B]FROM:[/B] [EMAIL][email][/email][/EMAIL]
      [B]SUBJECT:[/B] Induction Session One

      Hey all,

      So congrats on making it this far. You've scribbled your name down in your own blood on the old Section III (that's a serious binding spell, just in case they didn't mention that) and are now officially recruits for the Laundry. Welcome to the strangest job assignment you're ever going to take. And also the last, in all likelihood. But never mind that bit.

      From the list HR has sent to me I can see that you're all going to be assigned to various different departments throughout the Laundry, but since you're also part of the Fast-Track Programme you are required to complete the mandatory Laundry Induction Course (LIC101). Below you should find an outline of our first session, the date of which your personnel supervisor will have sent to you already (or should have, never can tell with that lot):
      [*]Welcome and Introductions
      [*]A Brief History of the Laundry
      [*]An Overview of Departmental Structure
      [*]Expectations of Every Laundry Employee
      [*]Health and Safety in the Workplace
      [*]Emergency Procedures
      [*]'CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN' and What It Means To You
      [COLOR=grey][FONT=Courier][SIZE=4]If you should have any questions or queries, please direct them to your personnel supervisor (it's what they're paid for). Failing that (even though its what they're paid for), you can contact me at this address.

      Looking forward to meeting all of you,
      - Paul
      PS: HR has asked me to stress that you should not refer to the Re-purposed Human Entities (RHEs) that you may see staffing some positions at head office as “zombies”. And that you should take care not to stare at them excessively.
      This can... upset the entities powering them.

      Which would be bad.[/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR]

      The spy life isn't all its cracked up to be, it turns out.
      Long hours, copious amounts of red tape, bureaucratic strangleholds and the knowledge that if you mess things up bad things are going to happen and it will be all your fault. Not to mention the fact that if everything goes right, no-one will ever know all the overtime you put in, all the sacrifices you made to ensure things didn't ever get out of hand.

      'The Laundry Files' is a series by Sci-Fi and Horror author Charles Stross, focusing on the exploits of a few employees of the Laundry, an intelligence service for the United Kingdom with a slightly unorthodox purview. See, the Laundry doesn't tackle domestic threats. It exists to contain and conceal the supernatural forces of the universe, employing everything from surveillance, sabotage to computational thaumaturgy (what the public might call 'magic') to keep gribbly horrors from beyond space and time from tearing through the streets of Britain. The stories blend comedy, bureaucratic despair and a large helping of Lovecraftian horror to create a uniquely amusing (and sometimes terrifying) take on the espionage genre.

      In 'Induction Day', you take the role of a newly “acquired” agent of the Laundry taking their first steps into agency life. Summoned to the Laundry branch office in Croydon for the first of their induction seminars, things will quickly take a turn for the strange around the office and the new recruits will find themselves working together to stay in one piece. Sanity is a secondary concern.[/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR]

    [tab=STUFF TO BEAR IN MIND][/tab][/tabs][/SIZE][tabs][tab=STUFF TO BEAR IN MIND][/tab][/tabs][/FONT][tabs][tab=STUFF TO BEAR IN MIND][/tab][/tabs][/COLOR][tabs][tab=STUFF TO BEAR IN MIND]
    [COLOR=grey][FONT=Courier][SIZE=4]With that established, here are a couple of ground-rules:
    [*]Have fun. That is the golden rule.
    [*]Post [I]short[/I] and [I]fast[/I]. Chat RPs have a very quick pace and can contain a lot of players. These players can't wait 20 minutes for you to write a wall of text. If it takes you longer than two minutes to type your post, you're probably taking too long and might get lost in the action/kill the pacing whilst people wait on you. This is an exercise in quick and concise writing.
    [*]'Induction Day' aims to combine comedy and horror with equal measure. Amusing characters, possibly hopelessly out of their depth, trapped in terrifying situations. Keep this in mind.
    [*]Bad shit can and will happen to your character.
    [COLOR=grey][FONT=Courier][SIZE=4]How a character came to be recruited to the Laundry can vary quite immensely from person to person. Some might be former military figures recruited for their unique skill-sets. Others might be established members of the British civil service brought in to fill administrative jobs. Many new arrivals might also be “recruits” in name only. These are people who independently stumbled across aspects of the bigger picture of the cosmos and who the Laundry discovered before they could wreck any serious havoc. Naturally the agency isn't keen on letting people who can tear holes in the fabric of reality through the power of applied mathematics just wander about without supervision, so they're not really given much of a choice about joining.

    One thing that I need to stress: your character [B]MUST[/B] be a British citizen. The Laundry doesn't recruit foreign nationals; they have their own paranormal intelligence services, after all, and the Laundry usually doesn't get along with them (especially the Americans).

    CRAFT NAME:[/B] ((Laundry agents never use their birth names: what is the craft name your character has chosen?))
    [B]GENDER:[/B] ((Male/Female/Potato/Etc.?))
    [B]DEPARTMENT/SECTION:[/B] ((What department has your character been assigned to at the Laundry, and what section do they work in within that?))
    [B]OVERVIEW:[/B] ((Give a brief, two/three sentence summary of who your character is and what they're about. Keep it short, snappy and concise, compiling important details the GM might need to know but leaving the rest to be explored in-game.))

    [B]IMAGE:[/B] ((Please provide an image of what your character looks like.))[/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR][/tab][COLOR=grey][FONT=Courier][SIZE=4]
    On paper, the Auditing Department is here to ensure transparency. In practice, it's here to make your life hell. They're in place to make sure protocols are followed, paperwork is being filed and everyone's doing their jobs.
    [*]Auditors: The Auditors are the departmental enforcers, and ranking up their amongst some of the most terrifying people in the agency (which is no small feat at the Laundry). High-level mages specialising in truth compulsions, they are dispatched to interrogate wrong-doers and sweep through any clusterfucks that might ensue in the line of duty.
    [*]Financial Control: Money is tight when you're an obscure, esoteric operation like the Laundry. Financial Control is in place to see that nothing goes overboard, assigning departmental budgets and making sure that no-one's trying to spend more than they ought to be.
    [*]Quality Assurance: The Laundry is big on quality assurance (ISO9001 Certified, and all that). This is essentially a fancy way of saying the Laundry loves itself some protocols and paperwork. The QA bods are lords and masters of the paperwork. Everyone hates them for it.
    Ancient enemy of the Ops Division and inter-office boogeymen, controlling the day-to-day running of Laundry business. Everyone needs them. Nobody likes them. Which is fine, though, because they don't like you either.
    [*]Health & Safety: In addition to the standard dangers of espionage work, the Laundry comes with its own "unique" risks (like deadly arcane artefacts and on-site shoggoths). The health and safety guys are the unfortunate souls tasked with trying to make sure everyone is following the procedures for these sorts of affairs; everything from your number of cigarette breaks to ensuring you're following correct summoning procedures is their domain.
    [*]Housing: Security concerns (and also the price of London property) mean that Laundry employees can only live in houses vetted by Internal Security and the Housing Section. They manage the property that the Laundry owns in and around London, and are the folks who assign your flatmates. So treat them nicely, lest their ruin your home life.
    [*]Inhuman Resources: Not all Laundry employees can be called human. Some do [I]look[/I] vaguely human, like those fishy types up at Dunwich, but plenty more are far stranger and come with their own special... needs. Inhuman Resources co-ordinates and oversees the welfare of such... individuals.
    [*]Medical & Psychological: The job can take a toll. This is a fact the employees of the Laundry know all too well, and though Med & Psych's bedside manner might not have changed since 1941 they still provide some of the best health care on the NHS.
    [*]Payroll: Possibly the one ordinary section amidst a sea of increasing weirdness, Payroll handles employee finances. They've not quite caught up with this newfangled electronic banking business; you get paid by cheque every month, and should probably be grateful they're not still trying to pay you in shillings.
    [*]Personnel: Managers of new staff, co-ordinators of old staff, assigners of training and task-masters of holidays and sick-leave.
    [*]Residual Human Resources: Bodies tend to rack up at the Laundry, and for reasons of operational security not all of them can be released to the normal authorities. That was when some bright spark thought of a use for them, and the RHR section was born. RHR looks after the Re-Purposed Human Entities (don't call them zombies) employed throughout the Laundry.
    [*]Training: The folks tasked with making sure everyone knows what they're doing in this place. A mission only slightly less impossible than the fate of Sisyphus.
    The spine of the Laundry (hunched and twisted as it is), and second only to HR in terms of size.
    [*]Armoury: The taskmasters and managers of the Laundry's eclectic weapon supply, managing everything from your standard pistols and shotguns to heavy ordnance like Javelin Anti-Tank missile systems and 50-cal rifles. Not to mention the downright strange, like the Basilisk Guns and the HOGs (Hand of Glory's).
    [*]Catering: The suppliers of the endless cups of tea and inedible sandwiches that keep the Laundry running. The long-running dispute about who is responsible for procuring souls has finally been resolved in Catering’s favour (you cannot stick a fork in a soul, so it is not their problem).
    [*]Enchantment & Production: What Q Division dreams up for mass-use, E&P makes a reality. They're the folks churning out the wards, warrant cards, banishment rounds and other supplies the Laundry needs in bulk.
    [*]Facilities: Someone's got to have the unenviable task of mainting the Laundry's physical structures, ensuring their stability and that nothing too weird is bleeding through. Facilities are those unfortunate somebodies.
    [*]Information Technology: You'd think that the agency carrying on the legacy of Alan Turing's greatest computing discoveries would have decent tech support. Instead the IT bods are stuck in a civil service dungeon maintaining ancient rigs that probably still run Windows XP. Further confirmation that life isn't fair.
    [*]Purchasing: The guys who have to take the Laundry's pitiful budget and try and ensure that the entire agency has enough supplies to keep running semi-efficiently. Don't ever try to use mind-warping spells to make them tamper with budgetary decisions. You wouldn't believe what happened to the last guy.
    [*]Maintenance & Janitorial: Though mostly dominated by RHE's (don't call them zombies), Maintenance still has a few living bodies in charge of keeping the Laundry's facilities clean and tidy. Not an easy task, when you consider the sort of fluids that can get into the carpets round here.
    [*]Switchboard: Don't ask how it works. No-one's really sure. All anyone knows is these guys are inhumanly efficient at putting you in touch with the people you need to speak to (if you ask them nicely). They handle phone monitoring across the UK as well, which is nice of them. Just don't hold the phone to close to your ear when you're talking to them. Trust me. You won't like what you hear in the background.
    [*]Transport: On most occasions agents are expected to make use of their own vehicles or public transport, but the Laundry does have a small, specialised motor pool. Warded Bentleys and cars equipped with invisibility spells number amongst them.
    Even if you're part of a clandestine agency tasked with safeguarding the nation from supernatural threats, you cannot escape the lawyers.
    [*]Black Assizes: A court dating back to the time of King James VI & I, and the only court in the country legally allowed to convict a mage. It's not a court you ever want to find yourself being tried before, given that they can literally condemn you to Hell.
    [*]Contracts & Bindings: You know how some people joke about lawyers making deals with the Devil? Yeah. These guys basically do that. Someone's got to wrangle the various alien powers of the universe into binding deals, after all.
    [*]Legal Affairs: The guys who will let you know when you've done something extremely fucking illegal and what to do now that you've done something extremely fucking illegal.
    [*]Internal Affairs: The mundane counterpart to Contracts & Bindings, handling any legal issues and strife within the Laundry.
    IS has been getting shuffled back and forth between Admin and Ops divisions every few years since time immemorial; both sides want the power, but neither wants the headaches that come with it.
    [*]Counter-subversion: The division where the Cold War never ended. Counter-subversion is in place to ensure no leaks, moles or double agents are at work in the Laundry. And given some of the agency's rivals, it's a good thing they're about too.
    [*]Media Relations: Because "cover up" is such a dirty word these days. The folks tasked with keeping the weird things that go gribble in the night from reaching the headlines.
    [*]Operational Oversight: Operational Oversight exists to ensure that field ops are carried out properly and correctly... and their committees exist to make your life hell if you fuck up on such a mission.
    A small department-level group within the Laundry, created in early 2002 to consolidate the organisation’s links with other security and law enforcement bodies. They work with everyone from the Home Office to the police, the army and the air force.

    The Department of Records is a musty maze of files staffed by equally-musty clerks. Asking for one of their beloved files is like asking for their first-born; woe betide you if you get coffee stains on anything.
    [*]Acquisitions: You know that massive warehouse at the end of 'Raiders Of The Lost Ark'? Acquisitions is basically that. Only creepier.
    [*]Archives: Known around the Laundry as "the Stacks", the Archives section is hidden deep underground in a forgotten tube station: fifty kilometres of of gloomy, claustrophobic shelf space, staffed mostly by RHE's (don't call them zombies). Try not to get lost.
    [*]Document Restriction Magic: All Laundry documents are warded with DRM to ensure that only the right eyes are allowed to read them. The DRM office is in charge of making sure these documents are warded properly.
    [*]Monitoring: Keeping an eye for occult activity across Britain is no easy task, but the Monitoring section has to do it. They employ copious amounts of data-trawling demons and have access to the ECHELON database to see this task through, but that doesn't stop them from trying to foist their work off on other departments when they can get away with it.
    [*]Translation & Analysis: Most of the old (pre-Turing) occultists were grade-A nutcases and their writings are one part genuinely useful information to six parts paranoid ranting. Still, the Laundry needs that one part of genuinely useful information, so T&A section gets to track down obscure occult tomes, scan them in, translate them and then work out what the hell the writer was on about.

    The Department of Ways and Means is simply in charge of allocating the black budget to other Ops projects, sharing this funding with MI5 and MI6. Any rumours that claim Ways and Means is the new home of the Laundry's ultra deniable black bag jobs are most certainly unfounded, and should be ignored.

    A combination of in-house Laundry talent and friendly resources, such as the Territorial SAS, support teams are the folks you call when the shit hits the fan. Of course, support teams are also damnable expensive and their costs come out of your department's budget. No-one is saying that you should sacrifice your own life instead of calling in the occult cavalry, mind. But think twice before calling.
    [*]'Baggers': Occult support and control, specialising in securing dangerous substances and creatures. Also known as the guys you ring when you want some stuffed into a black bag and taken somewhere far, far away.
    [*]'Cleaners': When your cover is blown and you need help, you call the Cleaners. Most of the time they're around to remove unwanted bodies and bloodstains, but they can also make living people vanish, erase official records and even wipe memories if needed.
    [*]'Plumbers': The Laundry's field sorcery unit, specialising in exorcism, memory suppression, counter-possession and banishings. When you need to convince a bunch of people that they most certainly did not just see what they thought they saw, you call these guys.
    [*]'Toshers': The underwater support unit, Toshers are the men and women boldly going where no man wanted to go before.
    [*]OCCULUS: When things are spiralling out of control fast and need to be contained rapidly, OCCULUS are the guys brought in. Their deployments consist of a control vehicle, a bunch of extremely scary soldiers, sorcerers, enough armaments to start World War Three and the authority to do whatever it takes to prevent the apocalypse.
    One of the few departments that has survived, unaltered, since the first days of the Laundry back in World War Two. Only the name has changed.
    [*]Counterpossession: The occult counterpart of Counter-Subversion, put in place to ensure that no Laundry personnel are being ridden as meat puppets by alien beings or else are secretly worshipping Elder Gods on their off hours.
    [*]Diplomatic Office (Unconventional): The Laundry has all manner of treaties and deals, both with national authorities and foreign powers, that the DO(U) is tasked with overseeing. Pray we're never called to use them.
    [*]Special Projects: Special Projects, also known as the Laundry Basket, is a catch-all section for various projects that do not fit neatly into the current organisational chart or who no-one wants to touch without the safety precaution of an intervening layer of non-accountability.
    The Department of Research is the one place where you are allowed to play with tentacles and higher mathematics without finding yourself in a lot of trouble.
    [*]Computational Demonology: CompDem specialises in developing and expanding magical theory, which amounts to sticking your head into the depths of the dark anthropic zone (that hoary region of the multiverse where the Old Ones dwell) and shouting "hello! Anybody home?"
    [*]Mathematical Modelling: The Mathematical Modelling section is staffed by a bunch of very smart boffins who use maths to explore strange new universes. Their calculations are carried out in shielded conditions or the shadows they throw on the platonic realm of pure mathematics might grow tentacles and ooze back into our little cave.
    [*]Occult Forensics: Essentially the magical CSI department. They handle everything from discovering the murderer by raising the corpse of the victim and asking him some pointed questions to comparing the dental patterns of Shoggoths.
    [*]Predictive Branch: Also known as the Weather Service, Predictive Branch uses a variety of divination methods to foresee the future. They're one of the oldest Laundry sections still in existence, spending their early years trying to determine the movements of German tanks through the entrails of seagulls. Their predictions are notoriously vague... except when they are absolutely specific.
    [*]Q Division: Where the Laundry gets all of its wonderful toys. The boffins and mad scientists down there have been making weapons since 1941 – they started with containment grids disguised as handkerchiefs and fire-and-forget demon summoning, but they have graduated to basilisk guns, Ibn-Ghazi aerosols and are working on pin-point polarised gateways to higher-energy zones and auto necromantic talismans for field agents.

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  2. OI @THE_USUAL_CROWD (ie. @Diana @Tegan @Asmodeus @Astaroth).

    And oi at you, person looking at this shit right now.

    I made a thing. Let's do the thing.
  3. Why, why do you do this to me. O___O

    I shooooould be able to swing it, so long as nothing goes horribly wrong. 8D I'll have a character up later.
  4. I apologise for nothing.

    Monday isn't exactly set in stone: we can always re-schedule if another date works better for folks.
  5. Errrm. I'll have to check my schedule and see if I work Monday.
  6. I work Monday. :[
  7. Ooh, this looks interesting! I will try and make it. Working on a CS now~

  8. Any days work better for you?
  9. I'm off Tuesday and Wednesday.
  10. Tuesday and wednesday does yes!
  11. I'll try to make this and if I do make it, I'll be jumping in late.
  13. Tuesday works for me!

    CRAFT NAME: Penny Thistlewhitt
    GENDER: Female
    OVERVIEW: One does not usually see a Caterer out in the field, but with recent budget cuts, several departments are working together on ways to kill two (or more) birds with one stone. Feed, enchant, and heal operatives all in one go? Yes please! Hopefully during this round of tests with a live group won't end as terribly as the first few did...

  15. Soooooooooooo... bad news, chums.

    Muh internet service provider has managed to land itself with heavy downtimes all across the UK today, and unfortunately I'm one of the guys who's been hit by it.

    Not sure when its coming back up, but we may need to re-schedule for next week if it stays down much longer.
  16. @Grumpy

    Dammit. And I had just figured out my character. D:<

    Keep us posted, dude. Meanwhile I'll just plug in this bio real fast.
  17. Demons have hijacked Grumpy's internet!
  18. Some get tech support up here.
  19. CRAFT NAME: Frank Fry
    GENDER: Male
    OVERVIEW: Frank seems unassuming and has the face of a baby angel, but he's that special kind of asshole that can get you to cough up your firstborn child by poking in just the right places. Around the office and amongst those certain he's not listening, his un-Christian name is "Fucking Frank". The only reason no one has tried to feed him to an inter-dimensional being yet is probably that he brings donuts to every audit. That bastard.
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