Alpha Complex- Land of Travisty
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Welcome to Paranoia. The following is security clearance infrared-cleared for all citizens.
May I be of assistance?
Sure. Why don’t you tell me how this game works?
I’m sorry, citizen. Than information is not available at this time.
What do you mean, it’s not available?
You are not yet a Troubleshooter. Therefore your security clearance is infrared. The rules are security clearance Red. You are not cleared to know the rules. At your service.
Huh? Most games are real eager to teach you the rules.
Not Paranoia. In Paranoia, you don’t know who your friends are. You don’t know who your enemies are. You don’t know how your equipment works. You don’t know the rules. One thing you know: everyone is out to get you. Stay alert! Trust no one! Keep your laser handy! Ignorance and fear; fear and ignorance. Those are out watchwords.
The back cover copy says something about a computer.
The Computer is your friend! Trust The Computer. In Paranoia, you play a Troubleshooter in service to The Computer. You are The Computer’s trusted agent.
How did I get to be a Troubleshooter?
You turned in a friend for treason. He was executed for betraying The Computer. The Computer rewarded you for you loyalty.
What is a Troubleshooter supposed to do?
Your job is to root out all traitors and execute them. I other words, to find trouble… and then to shoot it.
What’s a “traitor?”
A traitor is an evil and malevolent human who has betrayed his friend The Computer and seeks to destroy the The Computer, humanity, Alpha Complex and life as we know it. Traitors must be unmasked and destroyed.
All mutants are traitors. They are genetically imperfect. They have no place in utopia. They must be eliminated.
All members of secret societies are traitors. They belong to organizations not officially sanctioned by The Computer. They conspire against The Computer. They must be destroyed.
By the way… you are a mutant. And a member of a secret society.
I’m a… mutant?
That’s right. All Troubleshooters would be eager to unmask you as a traitor and execute you. You work with many Troubleshooters. All of them carry powerful weapons.
Let me get this straight. I’m a traitor. The punishment for treason is death. My job is to hunt down and kill traitors. I work with other people, who have the same orders. All of them want to kill me.
Not exactly. All of them want to kill traitors. They don’t know you’re a Commie mutant traitor… yet.
And if they find out that I’m a mutant, they’ll kill me?
They’ll try. Of course, if you convict them of treason first, then they will be executed and you may survive. Of course, false accusations of treason are themselves treason.
So I want to prove that they’re traitors before they can prove that I’m a traitor. And if I don’t… I die.
Precisely. Watch out! Traitors are everywhere! By the way: dead traitors cannot testify to their own innocence – or against you. It is best to shoot first and ask questions later. Stay alert! Trust no one! Keep your laser handy!
Are you sure this is going to be fun?
Certainly, citizen! Of course it will be fun. The Computer says so, and the Computer is your friend. Can you doubt the Computer? Doubting the Computer is treason.
No! No, certainly not. If the Computer says this will be fun, then this certainly will be fun. Only a Commie mutant traitor could believe otherwise.
Excellent, citizen! You’re getting the idea. You have just been promoted to security clearance Red. Welcome to Paranoia.
Life in Utopia
You are a citizen of the far future. Your home is Alpha Complex. Humanity has advanced greatly since the bad old days of the 20th Century. There is no war There is no famine. There is no disease. Alpha Complex is a utopia, run by a benevolent and omniscient computer. The Computer is your friend. The Computer provides for your needs. The Computer ensures that each and every citizen of Alpha Complex is happy.
Failure to be happy is treason. Treason is punishable by summary execution.
You are happy – aren’t you?
We thought so.
You are a clone. According to legend, humans once reproduced by rutting, like vile animals. This is no longer true. Humans are grown in clone banks by the Computer. There is no longer any need for messy randomness of love, romance and childbirth. The Computer makes certain that every human is genetically perfect in every respect.
See what love the Computer has for its citizens? the Computer is your friend. Trust the Computer.
Each human is part of a clone family of six genetically-identical siblings. This is so that no one is ever lonely. Also, the Computer is well aware of the importance of making back-ups, in case of accidental lost or erasure. The Computer is wise. The Computer is benevolent. The Computer is your friend.
The Computer provides everything for the happy citizens of Alpha Complex. It provides food. It provides shelter. It provides for the spiritual and psychological needs of each of its citizens. It exists to serve you.
But…Alpha Complex is at war. It has been at war for all of recorded history. There is constant danger of infiltration by the enemy. The enemy are the “Commies.” Traitorous elements within Alpha Complex, such as mutants and secret societies, assist the Commies. There dangerous elements must be rooted out and destroyed. Enemies are everywhere! Stay Alert! Trust no one! Keep your laser handy!
Every citizen of the Alpha Complex has a security clearance. Your clearance is Red. Security clearances correspond to the electromagnetic spectrum: Beneath you in status are the unwashed masses, the laborers and the drones of security clearance Infrared; above you in status are Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet and Ultraviolet is the highest status. It is whispered that there are clearances above Ultraviolet, but rumors are treason.
The Computer determines each citizen’s clearance with complete impartiality. Higher clearance means greater responsibility; it also brings benefits – larger quarters, more privacy, a greater choice of food. The needs of all citizens are cared for, but those who sacrifice the most for the sake of society and their fellow beings are rewarded most greatly. Citizens of higher clearance are more knowledgeable and more capable than you, and have advanced because they have selflessly served the greater good. You should defer to higher-clearance citizens at all times. Failure to do so is treason.
Citizens are expected to wear clothing of the same color as their security clearance. Infrared citizens wear black. It is said that Ultraviolet citizens (also known as High Programmers) wear white, but you have never seen anyone wearing white. Indeed, you have never seen a white wall or a white piece of equipment because of the security laws, you must wear red at all times. Failure to do so is treason. In order to make sure that the only citizens of requisite competence, judgement and reliability have access to restricted areas, Alpha Complex is divided into colored area. Citizens may only enter areas of their clearance or lower. You must stay within black (infrared) and Red areas at all times. Failure to do so is treason. The Computer is your friend.