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Charn: for the want of a risk assessment

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In an courtyard, dusty and empty, something rather extraordinary was about to happen. The courtyard itself was unremarkable, squarish and flagged with empty stone buildings on each side, and a couple of arched exits to neighbouring streets. Nothing moved. Nothing much had moved there for a long time. Sometimes the wind messed about with some dust, but that was about it.

Two children, a boy and a girl, tumbled out of the air, appearing about a foot off the ground. The girl fell awkwardly, then got up again. The boy, who was impeccably dressed, bounced on the balls of his feet. They were roughly ten or twelve or maybe eight and seven.

They looked around.
'This is worse than the last 'Take your child to work day' said the boy, who's name was Susan.
'urrrrrr...' agreed his sister, who was called Zombina.
The city they were in was quiet and empty-feeling, and very dusty, and stained by the light of the large red sun high overhead. Its small white companion did little to alter the quality of the light.

'urrrrr.....' said Zombina, pointing to one of the archways. Susan, who had read "At the mountains of madness" as an instructional guide, was quick to follow her lead.

The children explored the city, but found only more of the same. More unremarkable buildings, more dust, several collapsed houses. No people, no animals.

'No plants, either' said Susan. 'Quite a bit of wood in doors and things. No rot' He fiddled with the settings of his magic thinky box. No reason to transmit, plenty of data to record. They found some dusty rolled-up looking things in one of the buildings, and unrolled them as carefully as Zombina's lurching fingers would permit. The parts which did not crumble into pieces were covered in a lattice of overlapping symbols, which conveyed only the sense of meaning.

Susan led them onwards towards the largest buildings, looking for a convenient pictographic record of the place's history. They passed a couple of statues, showing human-shaped people with stiff patterned robes and elaborate multi-tiered headgear.

The children, who had been subjected to Father's rants about the under-representation of people who had done anything worthwhile in public statuary, liked the statues' proud, smug expressions instantly.

Evidently, they found a hall filled with something like waxworks, and these were even better than the statues, partly because they were in colour and partly because they were seated and at ground level, putting them at the same height as the children, so Susan could practice haughty, contemptuous expressions (his magic thinky box was set up to be a mirror) and then compare against them.

He also scanned along the line, snapping memories on the 'box, which was why he noticed that they were arranged in order of disdain.

After a bit, Zombina got bored of Susan playing with the statues and explored a bit more, staying within earshot of her brother. She found the bell, and read the warning.

Make your choice, adventurous Stranger;
Strike the bell and bide the danger,
Or wonder, till it drives you mad,
What would have followed if you had.

Zombina knew about unsatisfied curiosity: it lead to things like 'not suffering through Take your Children to Work Day 2020'. Unsatisfied curiosity was pretty ace in her book, although '2020 had resulted in her getting a wicked-awesome venomous bite.

People often thought that Zombina was mentally deficient. It was the lurching and the low, wheezing, moaning speech. In reality, these thing were due to the very peculiar approach to parenting that had happened to the siblings. She spoke three languages natively, all of them in a wheezing groan.

"There's a warning," She thought, "That means that, somewhere, there is a risk assessment. Since someone's provided me with a Rosetta stone, I should be able to read it." She went to look for it.

The risk assessment was everything she was hoping for. With her 'thinky box and the magically legible warning, she was able to decipher it.

CHN00574/14: Risks and control measures related to bad language. This document replaces and modifies CHN00574/13

Risk: That the Charnal civil war will have a clear "winner". this will place the loser in a position where the costs associated with Assured Destruction will fall entirely on the opposing side, resulting in Use.
Maximum injury: 6 (Catastrophic)
Chance: 4 (high)
Risk factor: 24
Control measures: Development of a doctrine of guerilla warfare will allow the weaker side to spin out the war indefinitely.
Chance: 4 (high)
Maximum injury: 6 (Catastrophic)
Modified risk factor: 24 Neither royal sister has the patience to pursue a guerilla war; risk is unmodified

 

CHN00574/13: Risks and control measures related to the Deplorable Word bad language. This document replaces and modifies CHN00574/12

Risk: That this document will be used as evidence when I am denounced. Risk arises from previous modification of this document.
Maximum injury: 5 (Severe)
Chance: 2 (low)
Risk factor: 10
Control measures: This document is to be made to look more like a work-a-day risk assessment than it actually is. The Empress and her court are executive-grade, and never read risk assessments. Risk assessment can't be anonymised as this would break the chain of responsibility, resulting in inferior risk assessments.
Chance: 1 (never/very rare)
Maximum injury: 5 (Severe)
Modified risk factor: 5

CHN00574/12: Risks and control measures related to the Deplorable Word. This document replaces and modifies CHN00574/11

Risk: The Charnal succession is unclear, both possible-successors are convinced of their right to rule, and they're both mad.
Maximum injury: 6 (Catastrophic)
Chance: 5 (certainty/near-certainty)
Risk factor: 30
Control measures: Hide the books. Introduce errors to the code. Obfuscate the theoretical underpinnings to make it harder to recreate. You can't destroy knowledge, but maybe we can keep it away from them for a while. Just until one of them is dead.
Chance: 4 (high)
Maximum injury: 6 (Severe)
Modified risk factor: 30.

CHN00574/11: Risks and control measures related to the Deplorable Word. This document replaces and modifies CHN00574/10

Risk: Development of stasis magic means that a User of the Word could conceivably wait out the centuries in the hope of extra-dimensional rescue, or the development of a new civilization. The chances of success are low, but they lower the perceived costs of Use to the User.
Maximum injury: 6 (Catastrophic)
Chance: 5 (certainty/near-certainty)
Risk factor: 30
Control measures: disseminate information regarding the low probability of rescue.
Chance: 4 (moderate)
Maximum injury: 6 (Catastrophic)
Modified risk factor: 24

...

CHN00574/7: Risks and control measures related to the Deplorable Word. This document replaces and modifies CHN00574/6

Risk: The state of Felinda has "finalised development of the Deplorable Word in order to secure its borders". Deployment would result in an omni-extinction event.
Maximum injury: 6 (Catastrophic)
Chance: 4 (high)
Risk factor: 24
Control measures: Charnal development of Deplorable Word capability. Development of mutually assured destruction doctrine.
Chance: 3 (moderate)
Maximum injury: 6 (Catastrophic)
Modified risk factor: 18 This is a great day in risk management. Hopefully the new balance will allow peace-building activities to continue.

CHN00574/6: Risks and control measures related to the Deplorable Word. This document replaces and modifies CHN00574/5

Risk: The state of Felinda has "finalised development of the Deplorable Word in order to secure its borders". Deployment would result in an omni-extinction event.
Maximum injury: 6 (Catastrophic)
Chance: 4 (high)
Risk factor: 24
Control measures: International condemnation
Chance: 4 (high)
Maximum injury: 6 (Catastrophic)
Modified risk factor: 24 It has not yet been possible to modify the risk factor, but peace-building activities should continue.

CHN00574/5: Risks and control measures related to the Deplorable Word. This document replaces and modifies CHN00574/4

Risk: The state of Felinda has "committed to the development of the Deplorable Word in order to secure its borders". Further development and eventual deployment would result in an omni-extinction event.
Maximum injury: 6 (Catastrophic)
Chance: 3 (moderate)
Risk factor: 18
Control measures: International condemnation, sanctions.
Chance: 3 (high)
Maximum injury: 6 (Catastrophic)
Modified risk factor: 18 It has not yet been possible to modify the risk factor, but peace-building activities should continue.

...

CHN00574/2: Risks and control measures related to the Deplorable Word. This document replaces and modifies CHN00574

Risk: Independent, apparently unrelated research has brought the Deplorable Word a step closer to a usable state. Further development and eventual deployment would result in an omni-extinction event.
Maximum injury: 6 (Catastrophic)
Chance: 1 (low)
Risk factor: 6
Control measures: Most civilized nation have condemned this development, all have forsworn use in public and apparently take every reasonable measure to impede independent development, although these last measures have been shown to fail.
Chance: 1 (never/very rare)
Maximum injury: 6 (Catastrophic)
Modified risk factor: 6 It was not possible to modify the risk factor, but peace-building activities should continue.

CHN00574: Risks and control measures related to the Deplorable Word

Risk: The Deplorable Word has recently been theoretically proven. Development and deployment would result in an omni-extinction event.
Maximum injury: 6 (Catastrophic)
Chance: 1 (low)
Risk factor: 6
Control measures: Every civilized nation has condemned development, forsworn use and taken every reasonable measure to impede independent development of the deplorable Word
Chance: 1 (never/very rare)
Maximum injury: 6 (Catastrophic)
Modified risk factor: 6 It was not possible to modify the risk factor, but peace-building activities should continue.

When the guy in the cubical next to Father's finally got his jump-point generator aligned propperly and took them back to airshipless Nazi-free Earth, they had juice. Zombina did some colouring.

Omake

When she got back, Susan was about to hit the bell wth the hammer. Zombina lurched rapidly across the room with a cry, but it was too late. The errire echos had barely died away when one of the figures, shockingly not a waxwork, stood and began speaking with a high imperious voice.

And that was how DARPA project 000395#J/B16, "kiss good night", a heavilly bioengineered virus which modifys the human host's salivary glands to produce a keyed neurotoxin received its first battlefield test against a daughter of Lilith. Zombina had been infected during a disasterious Take your Children to Work Day in 2020. The toxicology data for Humans v0.5 was not avalible during the virus's development, but apprently v1 was backwards compatable, and Jadis slumped back into her chair.