Given A Little Latitude

With the likes of Google Earth, Google Street View and Google Latitude, you might be thankful that Alpha Complex doesn’t have the same kind of coverage. The average Troubleshooter carries a PDC with all kinds of widgets and doodads built in, but the hotch-potch construction of Alpha Complex combined with freak energy spikes, radiation, experimental shielding, and a lack of 100% efficiency in any surveillance systems means The Computer cannot ever be really certain where you are at any given time.

However, it might be tempting to allow R&D the occasional flash of brilliance, jury-rigging ancient technology and software to restore some level of this location-obsessed madness. Bringing Street View to Alpha Complex might manifest as hovering cambots making kamikaze dashes around fixed corridors, generating a 3-dimensional environmental feed that complicates the lives of an average traitor. How can you make contact with a Secret Society informant when the chosen destination lies at a crossroads monitored by a higher than average number of CompCam hoverbots. When an error in patrol pattern uploads means a technican has set a dozen bots circling the same stretch of corridors at slightly different intervals, how can you make a vital drop without looking incredibly suspicious. On the other hand, Troubleshooters might ponder how they can put the cambot corridor survey to their advantage in framing and screwing over their colleagues…

Latitude could provide an interesting take on Aliens-style motion sensors, allowing you to know the location and movements of almost any citizen – but also allowing them to see where you are. Briefing officers might hack the software to record them as present in the briefing room, despite their staying in bed halfway across the sector, a sub-routine shifting the locator dot every now and again to keep the Troubleshooters guessing before they finally reach an empty room. Records will show the briefing officer was there, while the Troubleshooters face the wrath of IntSec or The Computer because they utterly failed to achieve their objective (due to complete ignorance of whatever they were supposed to be doing!).

Perhaps stealth technology intended to drop Troubleshooters off the network might fail just when they’ve located the Commie Traitors, spoiling the element of surprise and allowing the enemy to make plans for an ambush or a clean getaway. Or, The Computer might send the team in hot pursuit of a rogue group of Troubleshooters across the opposite side of the sector, only for them to discover that the markers on their map are in fact their own – but someone uploaded the sector map upsidedown…

Google grows ever closer, it would seem, to some kind of subliminal Big Brother, mapping our every movement and checking out how well we tend our back gardens under a guise of innocent progress. Seems a shame not to take advantage of the same kind of breakthroughs in Alpha Complex too…

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