Useful Technology

Protectors of the Plot Continuum
Canon Protection Initiative Headquarters
A Glossary of Gadgets, Gizmos, and Other Useful Technology
Version 2.2
January 26, 2007

Anachronism Detector - Scans for foreign material so that canon isn't violated on transdimensionally-snatched characters' return. Should always be used on characters and agents when moving between continua. Also called "Decontaminator." (PPC:Despatch)

Anachronistic Biochemical Substance Eliminator - "It's this thingy, you use it if the characters have eaten anything in another continuum they might not be able to handle." May not be its actual name. Primarily used in Implausible Crossovers and Despatch. (PPC:TOS, 17)

CAD - Stands for either Canon Analysis Device or Character Analysis Device. There are several varieties:

  • Canon Analysis Device: A hand-held gadget with a small screen, designed for taking a readout on the canon and canon characters. It is known for the loud, shrill whine it gives off when a rupture is detected. Fortunately, it comes with volume control. A typical readout might look something like this:
    [Arwen Evenstar. Elf female. Canon. Out of Character 49.72%.] Unfortunately, severe ruptures often cause the CAD to malfunction and melt down. (PPC:TOS, 1)

  • Character Analysis Device: Similar to the Canon Analysis Device, but designed for original characters. The letters flash red when a Mary Sue is detected. A typical reading might look something like this:
    [Laurel. Human female. Non-canon. Mary Sue.] (PPC:TOS, 1)

  • Heavy-duty CAD: A Canon Analysis Device equipped to detect characters up to two hundred percent OOC, such as "evil twin" types. Newer models list the length of the pole required for such a character to touch canon. A typical reading might look like this:

  • DOGA-modified CAD: A typical Character Analysis Device with a box welded to the side, thusfar found exclusively in the Department of Geographical Aberrations. This CAD has several functions aside from the normal. It detects a character's homeland, suggests a remedy for the presence of uncanonicals, reverts agents from present tense or script format to past tense prose, and acts as a two-way radio between agents and Headquarters. Typical readings might look like this:
    [Alumia the Woodsprite. Uncanon. Mary-Sue. Uncanonical species (Woodsprite). Uncanonical homeland (Location unknown). Suggested remedy: Burn Alumia. Burn Alumia's homeland. Burn all Woodsprites.]
    Or this: [Present tense detected. Revert agents to past tense? Y/N]
    Or this: [The Bonsai Mallorn wishes to speak with Agent Dafydd. Please find a secure location and press the CAD button.] (PPC:DOGA, 10)

  • Two-in-One CAD: "A new, experimental model created by Makes-Things specifically for PPC:SIELU, it analyzes both canon and original characters." Unlike its predecessors, this CAD does not have sounds. (PPC:SIELU, 1)

  • Mini-CAD: A Character Analysis Device designed for specialized use in the Deparment of Fictional Psychology, the mini-CAD takes a reading not only of character status, but also of morphic stability and personality saturation. The "mini" is something of a misnomer: certainly the bit that takes the reading is a slim, spindle-shaped implement (excellent for ocular examination), but it hooks up to a full-sized computer monitor. A reading might look something like this:
    [Ilraen-Aroline-Fothergill. Andalite male, adult. BitOrigiBBBitOriginal character. Morphogenic manifold 99.999% stable. 49.359% saturation and climbing.] (PPC:FicPsych, Case File 1)

Canon Cannon - A cannon that bombards the object with "canon" balls for large-scale exorcisms or de-Sueification. It can also be used to eject Sues into the atmosphere in a fantastic spray of glitter dust. Property of the Department of Technical Errors. Here's a picture. (PPC:DTE)

Canon Catapult - A relative of the Canon Cannon, this is a period-appropriate device for all of your LotR and medieval-based PPCing needs. It's covered with "runes of warding," a.k.a. the emblazoned logos of several departments. There's a control panel that allows you to program what continuum you're in, how far you want the Sue to be thrown, and even a specific location. For instance, if you're in Lothlorien and you don't feel like going all the way to Mount Doom to dump your Sue, you can punch in your current geographical location (preferably with latitude and longitude) and the location to which you want your Sue to fly, and then you press the lever and off she goes! It's much more entertaining than just portalling to the location, though it sometimes takes longer. New models can be rather testy if they haven't had their morning cup of coffee. Finally, it hooks up to a microphone, so that you can hear the end result of your catapulting.

Chronologically Correct Time Device - An ultra-precise atomic clock (caesium-based). Carried mainly by Untanglers; can be borrowed by Despatch staff from main equipment pool for high-precision operations.

Console - Every response center has one. It's basically a specialized computer built into the wall, consisting of a display screen, a series of flashing lights and corresponding buttons, a keyboard, and separate panel for setting disguises. The console always seems to go off ([BEEEP!]) just when you're about to nod off. The buttons (including but not limited to red, blue, and green) bring the incoming mission or message up on the display screen and conveniently signal Upstairs that you acknowledge. The red button is for Mary Sues. The green button is for Crossovers. The blue button is for coordination link-ups. Consoles are replaced almost as often as CADs due to the inexplicable amount of bludgeoning damage they take.

Crash dummy - An inflatable dummy that channels the Sueish spirit of first- or second-person fan fictions. With a dummy, PPC agents can enter such fics without being Sued. Each dummy starts off as a soft yellow cube bearing the instructions "Do not pull cord until in fic." The dummies come in "Me" and "You" varieties, one for first-person and the other for second-person. They are not very durable, so treat them with care. (PPC:DTE, 7)

Decontaminator - See Anachronism Detector

Despatch kit - Includes the following:

  • Anachronism Detector/Decontaminator
  • CAD, Heavy-duty
  • Memory Implant Device
  • Neuralyzer
  • Reality Checker
  • Universal Translator
  • Whatsit (Anachronistic Biochemical Substance Eliminator)

  • Non-technological items:
    • Ipecac syrup: To induce vomiting. NOTE: Use ONLY if the Whatsit doesn't have a character's particular metabolism in its databank.
    • Knock-out drops: To knock out the author long enough to return the characters to what they should be doing.
    • Mace: If the author is a Mary Sue/Marty Sam of a most blatant type, they may wind up warping things enough that the characters try to defend them against their removal. Mace can't hurt them, but it will knock them out.
    • Senna pods: To hurry uncanonical food through a character's system. NOTE: Use ONLY if the Whatsit doesn't have a character's particular metabolism in its databank. (PPC:Despatch)

Disguise-Outfitting Ryticular Kostume System - Despite rumors to the contrary, the D.O.R.K.S. was not named just to make a spiffy acronym. In fact, there was a slight typo or two on the patent form. No one actually knows what "ryticular" means (best guess is "'reticular,' only more technical"), so don't ask. The D.O.R.K.S. was created by Makes-Things to solve the problem of disguise-changes during a mission. Formerly, Agents were obliged to go back to their RCs to do this. Now they can switch from Orc to Elf with the touch of a few buttons (and also a flash of light and futuristic sci-fi-ey sounds). Of course, this has to be done by feel alone and takes some practice. The D.O.R.K.S. is actually a small metal cube with lots of buttons, but its self-disguise program doesn't work very well and as a result the thing takes on a different form every few minutes (accompanied by a distinctive "prrrrp" sound). Attempts to fix this have resulted poorly, but at least it doesn't explode. (Suedom, 6)

Embryo Extraction Kit - Used by the Department of Improbabilities to correct male pregnancies (MPregs). This is a rather unwieldy affair consisting of two needles, resembling the bug removal devices in The Matrix, each on one end of a long, clear tube. One end goes into the navel of the pregnant male, the other goes into the navel of the (more) natural mother. There is a "large, blue, candy-like button" at the mother's end. This is pressed to initiate the matter transfer, which looks like glitter flying through the tube accompanied by a squelching sound. It is perfectly painless and efficient. (PPC:DBS, 3)

Fangirl Fanfiction Translator (tm) - A handheld gadget that resembles a large calculator from the 70's. This is a special translator that converts, to the best of its ability, teen, teeny-bopper, and generally misspelt words into real English with proper spelling and grammar. Example:

Fic: & she sed ‘i cant take the baby to valinor shell have 2stay here in middle earth’

FFT: And she send. "I can't take the baby to Valinor Shell. I have to stay in Middle-earth."

Caution: Excessive punctuation, including question marks, exclamation points, and any other abused punctuation can be harmful to the FFT(tm). It might cause the end of the translator. Proper upgrades might solve this problem. (Al's Waiter, MST of "Dauter of an ent")

Flash patch - Each and every PPC uniform displays a flash patch somewhere. In addition to identifying the department for which a particular agent works, all flash patches have two basic functions. One, each patch contains a small chip that identifies the wearer as an Agent of the PPC, provides the Console something to act upon when setting disguises, and, barring technical difficulties, allows Upstairs to keep track of the agents. (The alternative would be to have this chip implanted into the agents' skin, and while some might like the idea, most are suspicious and paranoid enough that the Flowers don't want to risk driving them further insane than they already are.) Each chip is unique to its owner.

The second function of the flash patch is to generate a weak Somebody Else's Problem field around the wearer. This enables agents to walk through a word world unseen by the canons, yet leaves them susceptible to being spotted by Sues should they draw attention to themselves. The reason for this is simple: the agents are there to help the canon, therefore they are not the canon's problem—the canon ignores them. However, they are there to kill the Sue—they are the Sue's problem, so the SEP field is less effective. See also: Uniform.

Flashy-thing - See neuralyzer

Glopsnerch - A goo that can be placed in the ears (or whatever your auditory receptors are) to protect them from fangirl squeals, Sue singing, CAD shrieking, etc. See also: snerchmuffs.

Inter-continua Communciations Device - Looks and acts like a mobile phone, and is effectively a way for Untanglers to communicate across continua. (PPC:Despatch 2)

Memory Implant Device - There are two versions of this device: a portable version for use in the Despatch Department and a larger version in the Department of Fictional Psychology. The hand-held is to be used in conjunction with a neuralyzer in the event that a character's entire history has been erased by the fic. Similar in design and operation to a View-Master®, but black and with insertable miniature data discs; instead of showing still frames, it flashes memories directly into the character's brain. (PPC:Despatch)

FicPsych's version resembles nothing so much as the conditioning room in A Clockwork Orange. However, the bonds on the chair are only used on the more uncooperative/homicidal characters. Generally, this MID is used to the same purpose as the hand-held one with the exception that FicPsych patients tend to be in more severe condition, often needing full Personality Implants. FicPsych's MID may also be calibrated more precicely to deal with characters/species the smaller version can't handle. Once the character is hooked up, the FicPsych Agent (usually Dr. Freedenberg himself) removes to a small projection booth at the back, in which is the computer controlling the process. (PPC:FicPsych, Case File 1)

Mini-replicator - It works just like the replicator in the Star Trek continuum, but it's portable. The Department of Author Correnspondence seems to have a monopoly on it, but seeing as it makes chocolate they might soon find it in high demand. (PPC:DAC)

Musictionary - A device that consists of a medium-sized black blob with a long rod sticking out of the top right. When the rod is aimed at a singing Sue, the Musictionary tells you what the song is, where it is from, and how out of tune it is. It plays a rendition of said song for you while spitting out a lot of lime ticker-tape. The Musicionary works even if the song is only included as a passing mention.

Neuralyzer - A handy gizmo about the size and shape of a nice silver pen. The neuralyzer comes from the Men in Black continuum and is used to wipe people's memories. Makes-Things has successfully modified it to erase skill sets and languages, as well, and to work on the undead. (It still might not work on aliens, however.) It is held upright, has three dials (one each for days, months, and years), and a red or blue diode on the top end. Primarily used by field Agents, but also by the Departments of Fictional Psychology and Intelligence. ALWAYS point the diode away from yourself, and don't forget to wear your sunglasses when activating!

No-Drool videos - A set of educational films that all PPC agents watch early in their training to break them of the habit of drooling over lust objects (or to prevent such a habit from forming). The actual content of these videos is unknown, but they are very effective. It is rumored that one contains graphic scenes of Maeluiwen, a not-so-reformed Sue, and another is of the Librarian of Discworld's Unseen University. The Librarian is a 300-lb. orangutan. Enough said.

Password Bleeper - A black, raindrop-shaped object with a large, yellow, shiny button on top. Helps Harry Potter agents to enter the various common rooms. Explanation: "... when Hogwarts is in a Mary Sue shape, the passwords are basically a bunch of b.s.—anything that relates even remotely to the house in question. That's where the Bleeper comes in. It spews forth a ton of those words—there's up to a thousand for each house. The password is bound to be one of them." (PPC:DMS:HP, Melissa and BriRi, 2)

Portal thingie - See remote activator

Reality Checker - Our own reality around a Transdimensional Snatch is always weaker (it has to be, simply because a lot of the laws of causality and common sense are being told to look elsewhere). The Reality Checker measures the degree of weakness in the fabric of space-time. While the noise it emits is annoyingly similar to that of a Geiger counter, it is generally agreed that this is better than carrying around a large urn with four pellet-shooting elephants on it. (If you don't get it, read Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett and come back.) (PPC:Despatch)

Remote activator - Yet another handheld device. This one acts on the console from within the fic to call up a portal.

See-Through - A square-shaped, remote-like device with at least two colorful buttons on it. As its name implies, the See-Through is used to make walls and other opaque obstacles become transparent. This way, PPC agents can discreetly keep track of a Mary Sue even when she's in a tight space like a compartment on the Hogwarts Express. Please note that the obstacles do not actually vanish. (PPC:DMS:HP, 1-2)

Simulation Generator - A small, usually black box which opens to reveal a mirror and a panel with two buttons. You flash the mirror at the character—it must catch their reflection—and press in the sequence of buttons that will allow it to project an exact seeming of him or her. Get the canon character to safety and command the simulation to take its place. Whatever bad thing was to happen to the character will appear to happen to the simulation. When the scene is over, merely command the SimGen to recall the simulation.

The SimGen is used only as a last resort because, like all of PPC's technology, it tends to develop sentience after a while, making things rather less than pleasant for the simulations it produces. Once, the simulation of an often-abused character escaped and tried to take the canon's place in the continuum, causing a lot of hassle. Since that time, the Flowers have created severe rules regarding the use of this device. Agents are allowed to use SimGens only with the express permission of the Flowers. They are kept in the DoSAT while not in use, and subject to thorough examination by the technicians there after every use.

Snerchmuffs - Earmuffs with glopsnerch built in. These are much less messy than the original glopsnerch and quite handy when it's cold outside, too.

Somebody Else's Problem field - Ford Prefect said it best:

"An S.E.P. ... is something that we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem. That's what S.E.P. means. Somebody Else's Problem. The brain just edits it out; it's like a blind spot. If you look at it directly you won't see it unless you know precisely what it is. Your only hope is to catch it by surprise out of the corner of your eye." (Douglas Adams, The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. New York: Del Rey, 2002: 334)

The PPC uses S.E.P. fields to hide agents in the field (see flash patch) and to disguise pieces of technology so that they work in magical places such as Hogwarts. The canon decides that the technology is somebody else's problem, thus allowing it to function properly.

Spork - Essentially a spoon with short tines at the end. Its original function was as a two-in-one utensil, but it is more widely used to relieve the suffering incurred by bad mental images. Whether this is achieved by "sporking" the offender or gouging one's own eyes out depends upon the circumstances and the agent in question.

Subconscious Suvian-Soundproofing System - A tall, black-chromed machine so useful that it's installed in every room in Headquarters. The "Four-S" muffles the grating noise of the psychic projections of obsessed fanwriters, which otherwise would be overwhelming due to the close ties of HQ with the Word Worlds. In times of particularly active fangirling, such as those immediately following the release of the Lord of the Rings movies, the machines may short out. (They are, after all, a Makes-Things creation.) Failing actual repairs, frequently replacing the cotton batting insulation seems to work as a stop-gap. (JAAKSONS 3)

Tricorder - This gadget comes from the Star Trek continuum. It is used to diagnose a person's medical condition, operated by waving it over the area you wish to analyze. May be used in conjunction with the whatsit.

Uniform - Along with looking really spiffy (black always looks spiffy), the PPC uniform has a few special abilities. For one, it acts as a miniature Reality Field Generator, shielding the wearer from Suvian influence. It's not perfect, but it comes close. Related to that system is the Canonical Isolation Subsystem. While this is used only very rarely, it helps to keep agents from slipping back into the canon in the event that they return to their home continuum. The uniforms also (thanks to some borrowed Borg technology) have the ability to assimilate other, frequently worn bits of clothing. If, say, an agent has a favorite scarf, the scarf will slowly gain the special abilities of the uniform. Thus, while the PPC uniform is always black, the form it takes varies greatly from agent to agent. The only other constant is the presence of a flash patch.

Universal Translator - "While the shows and books are written and directed in English, in CANON language is not so forgiving. Westron, Greek, Interworld, and the ever-vague 'Federation Standard' are merely some of the languages an agent could encounter. This has been solved with pirated translating spells, and the perfect Deus ex Machina device—the Universal Translator." (PPC:TOS, 17)

Whatsit - See Anachronistic Biochemical Substance Eliminator

Whatsitcalled - See Remote Activator