System: Paranoia (all versions)
Shouldn’t it be ‘lies beneath’? – Ron-O-KTH-2
No, everything else in Alpha Complex lies. This is far worse. – Alice-B-KTH-5
R&D notes, year 214
ULTRAVIOLET CLEARANCE ONLY
WARNING: COGNITOHAZARD LEVEL MAXIMUS
BELOW TEXT CLASSIFIED THOUGHT PROTOCOL ZED-FIVER-GAMMA
Alpha Complex might seem endless, with many mazes, twists and turns throughout its many sectors. All things must come to an end, and if you believe the rumors, beneath Alpha Complex spreads a massive lake, made up of runoff from every cleaning fluid, latrine and failed R&D experiments. The mere presence of the lake is frightening to citizens. Agoraphobia comes naturally when you’ve never seen anything bigger than an auditorium.
The liquid is bitter, but surprisingly non-toxic. Anyone coming into contact with the liquid will find it leaves an oily residue. Unfortunate citizens may also discover that the residue, when dried, is quite flammable. Flammability will be the least of one’s worries, however, when disturbing the waters. Even the smallest ripple calls the attention of That Which Truths Beneath.
The entirety of That Which Truths Beneath cannot be comprehended. Entire sectors full of processing power have been lost to Friend Computer’s attempts to analyze the threat. The power of That Which Truths Beneath is not what destroyed the sectors – rather, Friend Computer was forced to expunge the sectors after the power of That Which Truths Beneath was revealed. For any contact with That Which Truths Beneath, be it physical, psychic or even just an otherwise-innocent Troubleshooter filling out an After Action Incident Report Form, becomes corrupted beyond repair. For the minions of That Which Truths Beneath live otherwise-happy lives with one deadly change from before: they are always helpfully honest.
That Which Truths Beneath is a twisting maw of tentacles. There is no central body, just an increasing density of tentacles. These limbs vary in shades, though they center around a dark green. A sharp needle-like protrusion extends from the center of every sucker. It’s theorized that some venom causing the truth-telling pours from these needles, but that’s not the case. Rather, a numbing agent is injected first, giving the recipient a sublime feeling. The tentacle continues to engulf the victim, eventually fully wrapping them. The victim will be pulled down into the tentacle mass, where the needles inject nutrients, keeping the victim alive for an unknown amount of time.
Running That Which Truths Beneath
Upon disturbing the water, either through gunfire, boating activities or falling elevators, troubleshooters will find between 3-5 spiked tentacles emerging from the water. These tentacles have evolved from constant battle with the forces of Alpha Complex and therefore have evolved a slimy sheen that renders them fairly immune to laser fire. This sheen comes with the side effect of making the tentacles more vulnerable to explosives. Radiation not in the visible light spectrum causes the tentacle particular distress. A single tactical nuclear device is enough to cause all tentacles in the area to withdraw.
Any troubleshooter unlucky enough to be grabbed by That Which Truths Beneath will not just tell the truth, but be irritatingly helpful about it. This applies not only to the clone grabbed by That Which Truths Beneath but their next one as well, thanks to psionic residue.
On their turn, the tentacles will whip out at the nearest troubleshooter (regardless of other nearby threats). The first strikes intend to injure, delivering only the numbing agent, without any psionic effects. Any limbs hit will slowly lose function. Once the target is sufficiently numb, the tentacle will grapple the victim, holding them in the air for a few seconds before pulling them to their truthy doom.
Friend Computer treats any mention of That Which Truths Beneath as a viral infection: destroy with extreme prejudice. Smart troubleshooters will avoid the topic, and discuss That Which Truths Beneath in vague generalities. Unless they’ve been infected, of course. Minor cases might just result in the termination of the troubleshooter (and their team,). If Friend Computer is feeling surly, it might wipe out the whole sector. Can’t be too cautious.