DGML's recent "alternate histories" thread reminded of that red-headed stepchild of the Accord: the REPORT.
It never made sense to me how MAJESTIC-12 could fail to make better use of such a tool, and its description never made sense to me either. The COOKBOOK seemed neat, but of an obvious subject. With enough patient study the workings of terrestrial or xeno-biologies would surely reveal all. The REPORT had no such obvious source. How could the Mi-Go possibly acquire all that information and so compactly present it?1
Canon tells us only a few things about the REPORT.2
- The Greys deliver "a periodical document giving a complete breakdown of world military forces, inclusive" every two months.
- The document offers "detail impossible to achieve through conventional intelligence-gathering."
- The REPORT "would eventually become the U.S.'s key to winning the Cold War in the late 1980s."
- The first Gulf War "demonstrated the values of the Report's military intelligence, though for some reason the Greys would not update it quickly enough to provide reliable data as to the location of the always moving Saddam_Hussein".
- "MJ-12 Project DELPHI […] compiles the intelligence reports […] and produces an up-to-date picture of the current situation and projects estimates for the future."
Jay Dugger added: "… all the cognoscenti know the REPORT, like the COOKBOOK, was an intelligence test we failed. We once hid space-based weaponry inside NRO programs, but that stopped once the REPORT started to prove wrong more often than not. Then we had to start building real reconnaissance satellites again."3
The nature of the book
Within these boundaries, imagine the REPORT: a divination system like tarot cards, tea leaves, or entrails. Ask certain questions with the correct method, and get answers. Precedent for such a system exists in children's fiction.4 The documents comprising the REPORT provide a method best, but not exclusively, implemented as a computer program and data sets for that method to manipulate. Run the program and extract patterns from the data set.5 In the case of the Report, the divinations tell the users a complete and absolutely inclusive "breakdown of world military forces" in "detail impossible to achieve through conventional intelligence-gathering." The Greys' bi-monthly updates just bring updated source code and data sets.6
In short, the REPORT doesn't contain an inclusive breakdown of military forces. It lets users determine anything they want to know about military forces, which almost amounts to the same thing, but not quite. So what sort of computer program could reveal from any sort of data, alien or domestic, military intelligence of unparalleled accuracy? Periodic updates give us a hint, and so does the last constraint. The REPORT can't contain unlimited data of unlimited accuracy over an unlimited range in space-time. It makes some trade-offs. The REPORT limits the range of data to human military forces on Earth over a two-month span of time. Users can make divinations within those limits with accuracy and in great detail. Now we come to the first intelligence test in the REPORT. The more use a data set gets the less information it can provide. Imagine stirring the mud at the bottom of a still pool, or trying to add just one more transmitter to a given information channel. The REPORT provides less detail, or less accuracy, or both.7 As the data grows stale and useless, the Greys provide a fresh set. If the preceding data set saw extremely heavy use (such as those in 1991), the Greys might take longer to generate fresh starting material. If a set saw little use, it might remain viable longer.
Your campaign's dramatic needs should determine whether anyone, inside MAJESTIC or outside, knows this. The rest of this article assumes some of MAJESTIC, including the head of Project DELPHI, knows the foregoing.
The REPORT contains another intelligence test, one only some MAJESTIC members understand. The REPORT's method of divination involves pulling information through space-time. A very few researchers, less than a half-dozen at most, understand that having information about events distant in space-time makes those events more likely. These few understand that using the REPORT pulls information from a possible future to the present, strengthening that future. This very act of manipulation, this information transfer, degrades the carrying capacity of the channel, but it means the REPORT doesn't reveal information about the future—it evokes a particular future where the information holds true.
The REPORT contains yet another intelligence test. The present time also exists as a future of some previous time. The Now is the Future of the Past. The REPORT can work in reverse, sending information backwards from the present just as well as it can retrieve information from a possible future. No one at Project DELPHI yet realizes this. It will prove an almost irresistible temptation. Prevent September 11th, forewarn the Steering Committee about the Greys, win Vietnam8, save JFK, stop Pearl Harbor, the possibilities will appear endless. The potential dangers that Sub-Project RAINBOW struggles to contain might not ever reach the attention of Project DELPHI. Compartmentalization cuts both ways! For that matter, how does anyone know history hasn't already been changed?9
A fourth intelligence test follows closely from the previous one. Only a short step separates transferring information across time from doing so across space. The REPORT provides substantial clues to instantaneous communication. From information transfer, the Mi-Go could logically derive how to do the same for matter and energy. They wonder if humans, with their strange intuitive minds, might manage the same.
A fifth intelligence test exists in the REPORT. The Mi-Go take advantage of certain properties of Yog-Sothoth in the REPORT's method. You can certainly inspect all existence by inspecting the All-In-One. It's a little like using a bazooka on a cockroach, but it works. Besides, the human race hasn't long until the stars come right and the Great Old Ones recover their own. If a particularly gifted human managed to learn the periodic updates serve mostly as checks to determine the probability of the current world-history, and managed to figure out how to "forge the signature" of any particular history, he or she would have recovered most of the Mi-Go method.10 Assuming all that happens, and the Hounds don't slobber blue goo all over your bloodless wounds, and the Yithians don't come kick your ass for being a pestilential threat to their Great Work, congratulations! You have just learned the spell Contact Yog-Sothoth. Been nice knowing you.
English, +5% Cthulhu Mythos, -1/1d6+1 Sanity if a Successful Mathematics or Physics roll is made, study time: 10 years; Skill Checks: History, Mathematics, and Physics; Spells: Create Gate, Create Scrying Window, Consciousness Expansion (trap), Contact Grey (Majestic-12 Variant), Contact Hound of Tindalos (trap), Contact Yithian (trap), Contact Yog-Sothoth (trap), Create Time Gate, Dream Vision (TRV Variant), Look to the Future, Reach, View Gate.
The report includes instructions for requesting an update from the Greys, and so it provides the Majestic-12 variant of the Contact Grey spell. As an alien document, it poses the same risk to human minds as other Mi-Go tainted material. Keepers can use the Consciousness Expansion rules from the Delta Green rulebook to game this risk.
The spells Create Scrying Window, Look to the Future, and View Gate appear in the Report's game statistics to represent its divinatory abilities, and not necessarily as ritual magic acts per se.
All use of the Report, especially with any data set other than the most current or any excessive use, runs the risk of attracting the attentions of the Hounds of Tindalos, Yithians, or even Yog-Sothoth. Report users might accidentally or ignorantly cast any of these contact spells.
Before the existence of Crystal AIs Project DELPHI passed small pieces of the data set to human clairvoyants. These documents, all marked TOP SECRET/ORCON STARGATE, gave enough help to the clairvoyants to get intelligence at low-cost and of good accuracy. Unfortunately, the intelligence proved completely impossible to confirm with conventional means. Although disused, the procedures still exist. Keepers can use the Dream Vision spell to simulate technical remote viewing in game.
The spell Create Time Gate depends on someone passing both the second and third intelligence tests in the Report. The spell Create Gate and Reach depend on someone passing the fourth such test. This should only happen according to the dramatic needs of your game, and so no rules for this are given.
MJ-12 collected the original REPORT and its various updates into a set of instructions that included raw data sets and source code for divinations. The media bears the label: TOP SECRET ORCON/MAJESTIC and additional key-words depending on the data set. Examples might include BOOJUM, DELPHI, FUKUYAMA, GLINDA, SNARK, STARGATE, or WHANGDOODLE.
Report breakdowns give inaccurate divinations, but otherwise act just as the current, complete version of the REPORT. If you like, these versions have seen too much use and the background noise permanently increased.
The Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC) allows projects such as SETI@Home, Nano@Home, and Spinhenge to exist across many inter-networked computers running their client software. A Project DELPHI researcher created and released a BOINC project ostensibly calculating optimal Go games (or what-have-you). In fact, it runs REPORT divinations derived from an increasingly out-of-date data set. Whatever the motive, the longer it runs, the more likely it becomes the clients will stop revealing the recent past, and instead begin triggering some of the Report's traps. If allowed to continue to long, some of the client software might experience Frag effects (see Aetherco's Continuum and Narcissist RPGs) as they begin evoking new histories. How do the Agents stop it, and what motive did the client's author really have?
When Crystal AIs began processing the REPORT data sets, human clairvoyants became obsolete. A few of them went public and joined conspiracy theories already in progress. One or two of them even started seminars offering to teach clairvoyance for cash. None of them enjoy much success—with one exception. That man has a copy of a recent REPORT breakdown. How did he get it? What does he intend? Can Delta Green stop him? Should they save him from the bronsons come to recover the REPORT? Or are the bronsons even the real concern?