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Watchdog, sometimes called WEDGDG, is a PRT sub-group focused primarily on preventing economic and political disruption by parahumans.[1]

Modus operandiEdit

Superpowers change the world overtly and covertly. The Protectorate and PRT deal with the capes who can level buildings but Watchdog deals with capes who can cause Global Depressions from a personal computer. Groups of Thinkers cooperate to sift through large quantities of data using their individual talents,[1] covering one another's weaknesses and expanding on their leads,[2] to route out such malfeasance. WEDGDG (Watchdog colloquially and everywhere else in this article) covers the political sphere, the financial market, international crime, parahuman science, and the PRT itself.[3][1][4]

Personnel are likely to be involved in covert and overt investigations,[5] fugitive manhunts, and anti-criminal mastermind/conspiracy operations.[6] Watchdog members commonly staff problem sites, such as the for the outtake process of the Madison quarantine zone(per D.D.I.D. law),[7] and providing consultations for the Ellisburg quarantine zone.[8]

That said, Watchdog apparently does not function optimally: In 2011 Watchdog was the subject of internal testing and investigation and the results suggested embezzlement, international spying and insider trading on the part of PRT employees. Many precognitives, clairvoyants and empaths fled the group or the country around the time there were any hints of an investigation.[9] Nevertheless they were seen as effective by the general populace.[10]

StructureEdit

Watchdog is based primarily in San Francisco with sub offices scattered throughout,[1] with dedicated offices at Quarantine zones. Like it's parent organization it employs a mix of staff; the non-parahuman members are stated to be tasked with gathering information for the Thinkers to analyze.[1] Unlike in the Protectorate, a Watchdog cape would likely work a simple nine-to-five job (adjusted for individuals needs), either performing detective work with a focus on financial, political, legal, international, and big-picture shenanigans, or work to back up the PRT and civilian law enforcement by resolving information requests by priority.[3]

Parahumans that are part of Watchdog include Thinkers, Tinkers, and possibly Strangers.

PRT ResponseEdit

As a sub organization of the PRT cooperation should be in built, but it is not always that clear. As mentioned above it is used as an ad hoc Internal Affairs branch for the PRT and Protectorate.[1] This works both ways of course with the PRT conducting its own investigations into Watchdog's finances whenever the political will crystallizes.[9]

HistoryEdit

BackgroundEdit

Formed after the massive interagency response to The Player yielded certifiable results.[11][12] As such it operated within the Protectorate since nearly the organizations inception,[13] possibly under a different name.[3]

Post-EchidnaEdit

At least one individual was known to have left following the incident,[14] there may have been more.

TimeskipEdit

An internal review caused many members to leave the organization.[9]

Gold MorningEdit

Presumably provided confirmation of the end of the world before it actually occurred.

Post-Gold MorningEdit

Dissolved as an organization.[10] Surviving human and parahuman employees were likely able to find a home in organizations like the Wardens or Foresight.

MembersEdit

Name Description
Accord Gets naturally smarter as the problems he is addressing get more complex. Gives him an intuitive understanding of groupthink, politics, and convoluted designs.[15] Worked for Watchdog[6][3] before being caught and jailed for embezzling money.[16]
Appraiser Rates situations for the PRT[3] using colors.[17] Purple and black seem to be negative, with yellow being less severe.[8]
Eleventh Hour Provides numerical threat ratings,[17] with higher numbers being worse.[8]
Hunch A humpbacked member of Boston's Wards and precognitive with somewhat iffy accuracy, although he possesses other powers.[18] Stayed with PRT after the Echidna incident, despite being a Case 53.[19][3] Friend of Weld.[18]
Nutcracker Husband to Snubnose. Left the group after the Echidna incident, while Snubnose stayed with the Protectorate. Remains active in Seattle.[14]
Optics Underage Tinker specializing in cameras and data collection.[4] Young age and personnel issues necessitated moving her around before the Youth Guard intervened and placed her in Baltimore.[4]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Watchdog - A group based primarily in San Francisco with offices elsewhere, Watchdog is focused primarily on preventing economic and political disruption by parahumans. Think tanks of thinkers are employed to sift through large quantities of data using their individual talents, while non-parahuman staff works on ways to gather the data in question. Watchdog regularly launches investigations or sends individuals as a sort of internal affairs within the PRT, sometimes overt, sometimes covert. - PRT Master Reference
  2. As there’s myriad types & conventions of, say, invincibility, there’s a number of subcategories and focuses of precognition or clairvoyance. Tattletale, for example, could theoretically be classified as a subtype of clairvoyance.

    So I’d recommend one not jump to any conclusions about what the thinkers out there could do to monitor the use of powers in relation to economic manipulation.

    That said, it’s noted in this chapter that precogs tend to be somewhat unreliable. I don’t think it would be too ridiculous a notion to imagine them working in small groups, supporting one another’s weaknesses and expanding on one another’s leads. All it takes is for one to notice an anomaly and then the others can expand on that. - Interlude 14.5 (Bonus Interlude), comment by Wildbow.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 The thinkers referenced were members of Watchdog, the same PRT sub-organization that Accord was a part of before he went off the deep end. They essentially work a 9 to 5 (varying depending on needs, power, etc) doing various kinds of detective work and keeping an eye out for financial, political, legal, international, and big-picture shenanigans, or working to back up the PRT/Law by resolving tickets by priority. - Questions about Eleventh hour, Hunch, and Appraiser (Wildbow, Reddit.com, 2016-09-26)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 “I was with the PRT, but I wasn’t a Ward exactly,” she said. “They had trouble sticking me anywhere, and then I went into training, and got to do a lot of really neat camps and exercises and travel, because they had to wait until I was old enough before they could put me where they really wanted to put me.”

    “Which was?”

    “Watchdog, grrr,” she said. She’d made a pretty sad attempt at a growl, mischief in her eyes. “That other branch that worked under the PRT that you almost never hear about. Oversight and investigation, powers, money, and politics.”

    “I know of Watchdog.”

    “Cubicle superheroes.”

    “They’re actually pretty badass from what I heard, and they do- did a lot of fieldwork and investigations, raiding offices, interrogations, talking to politicians, uncovering conspiracies.”

    “That’s true.”

    “There’s something about getting organized and going after that thinker or that tinker who’s been working behind the scenes, the guy that’s been subverting society for their own gain, when they’ve probably spent months or years making contingency plans and anticipating the day their world and their plans come crashing down around them. I think that dynamic is pretty damn cool, the approach and the complexity of it.”

    “Hmm, that is cool,” she said. “Except there aren’t any awesome costumes or monster fighting.”

    “Less monster fighting, I’m sure. I’m not sure about the costumes. There are probably masks, I guess?” - Excerpt from Flare 2.5
  5. PRT taps New York and Watchdog, they have thinker resources to zero in on the snipers. You get a team of investigators backed by thinkers and other resources finding the sniper, and then tracing it back to the source.
    [...]
    To the PRT, on the surface, they've got a villain that's getting too big for their boots, who're eliminating competition, breaking the rules, and who could very easily be willing to escalate to start targeting heroes. A murder out in public is very visible and newsworthy, and people in the public get scared. It's controversial. They don't want things to escalate.

    To the PRT, more behind the scenes, they have a vested interest in the balance and the unwritten rules. They want to keep parahuman numbers up. So they have task forces who are exclusively trained to keep stuff like this from coming about. - Why are snipers not a thing? (Wildbow, Reddit.com, 2016-12-16)
  6. 6.0 6.1 themanwhowas:[...]:2.You mentioned PRT Watchdogs. Is that a group of PRT-specific capes? What are their responsibilities besides evaluating Simurgh victims?
    What measures does the PRT take to ensure that supplies aren't taken by normal/parahuman gangs or bandits? I imagine not too many guards would want to expose themselves to Simurgh Quarantine Zone threats just to make sure the supplies go where they're needed.
    [...]
    Wildbow:[...]:2.The Watchdog group is the group Accord belonged to. Parahuman thinkers and investigative bodies keeping an eye on economy, politics and other possible shenanigans behind the scenes. - Excerpt from a Reddit comment by Wildbow.
  7. Once an individual completes this regimen:
    • They are placed on a list for outtake. They may or may not be placed on a low-priority or high-priority list, allowing for needs and/or risks. Wait time may be two weeks to eight months, depending.
    • Staff in the PRT building conduct a thorough background check.
    • The subject is contacted and summoned.
    • The individual receives initial screening from a PRT-approved parahuman, provided by the Watchdog arm of the PRT or the Protectorate. - reddit comment by Wildbow.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 You know what happens if you nuke the site with bunker busters and try to quarantine the site after the fact?

    People start getting sick. You discover that there's a fuckton of airborne parasites that've been scattered by the bombs, waterborne parasites getting into nearby sites. Stuff that was contained in tougher creations with hard carbon shells, released during/after the fact. Conventional filtration doesn't necessarily work, because the parasites crawl over, through and around, negating the benefit of hazmat and masks and water filtration systems and all that. The people that get sick start changing. They develop into problems that could give many parahumans a run for their money.

    The PRT has a sense of this. They consider every threat, and they have thinkers and Dragon working to monitor major problem sites. They get a squad of thinkers to check on Nilbog every week or two, and they get responses like "Black!" "Nine!" "Trojan Horses, Director."

    They think about leaving him alone, and they get a response of "Yellow", "Three" "Poisoned apple trees, sir." from the same three thinkers.

    They leave him alone, they keep a close eye on him, they have research teams and tinkers work on developing ideas that might get a response from the thinkers that isn't quite so grave, and they keep things quiet, so the public doesn't realize how dangerous that particular situation really is. - Spacebattles comment by Wildbow.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 America News - Watchdogs biting the hands that feed

    Leaked reports suggest that PRT sub-organization WEDGDG, commonly referred to as ‘Watchdog’, was the subject of internal testing and investigation, and it came far from passing those checks. Two months ago, the President of the United States of America promised stricter checks and balances for the oversight committees, primarily for WEDGDG, the PRT-centered organization of capes and civilians charged with targeting and identifying economic and political malfeasance. No sooner were the first checks performed than red flags began popping up, suggesting embezzlement, international spying and insider trading on the part of PRT employees. It remains to be seen how the revelation will be handled, as well as the long-term, worldwide consequences that follow.

    Perhaps more interesting are the events that preceded the investigation. Many precognitives, clairvoyants and empaths fled the group and/or the country, around the time there were any hints of an investigation. Already, criticisms have been raised, suggesting that many of the individuals who left may find their way to villainous organizations… - Department Sixty Four, PRT Quest thread ii p21
  10. 10.0 10.1 Las Vegas had been damned effective, as had Watchdog. But where Las Vegas had been a subtle, careful player with a few questionable, mysterious individuals in their ranks making the most of their backgrounds and skills, much like this team in disposition and direction, they’d also been a team that had turned villain at a critical time. Watchdog had been careful and scrupulous, making measured moves with the best intel and agents had at their disposal, and Watchdog hadn’t survived Gold Morning as an organization. - Excerpt from Glare 3.4
    • Major financial malfeasance (ie. using Thinker powers to scam the system)
    - Wildbow on Reddit
  11. Case four was The Player, an early Thinker mastermind who had required some greater cooperation across multiple agencies to root out. Later on, The Player would be a case-in-point for the formation of Watchdog and its core purpose. - Excerpt from Shadow 5.10
  12. He’d taken the time one afternoon to solve world hunger. Six hours and twenty-six minutes with the internet and a phone on hand, and he’d been able to wrap his head around the key elements of the problem.

    His boss had barely looked at the binder before calling it impossible, then demanded Accord return to work. A mind like his, in an office handling economic oversight within the PRT, looking for the precogs and thinkers who were trying to manipulate the markets to their own ends.

    It was only one imbalance, one irregularity, but it had been an important one. It had nagged at him, demanded resolution. He had to prove it was possible.

    [...]

    Twenty-three years to see it all through. Twenty-three years to bring the world into order. Everything was a step towards those ends. - Excerpt from Interlude 20.y
  13. 14.0 14.1 Snubnose is best left to her own devices, in patrols and otherwise. Social with teammates, she prefers a light rivalry over cooperation and teamwork, and is liable to ignore orders if she views oversight as getting too strict. She has openly stated that she is a member of the PRT in name only, and has fought to reject

    Snubnose is married to Nutcracker, previously of the PRT Watchdog group. Contrary to all expectations, she remained with the PRT while Nutcracker left the group, after the Class-S incident in Brockton Bay. He remains active in Seattle. - Department Sixty Four, PRT Quest threat ii p47
  14. Accord was a thinker, and the running theory on his power was that he got naturally smarter as the problems he was addressing got more complex. It gave him an intuitive understanding of groupthink, politics, and convoluted designs. - Excerpt from Migration 17.8
  15. It was only one imbalance, one irregularity, but it had been an important one. It had nagged at him, demanded resolution. He had to prove it was possible.

    So he’d siphoned the very funds that his department was managing. It hadn’t been hard to redistribute some of the wealth that the villains and rogues were trying to manipulate. One ambiguous evil for the sake of an undeniable good. He covered his tracks flawlessly.

    In the process, he failed to account for the full breadth of his newest coworker’s talents. Thinker powers interfered with one another, and despite his ability to work with that particular drawback, even help them to work in concert, the clairvoyant had found him out. He’d been caught, jailed, and subsequently freed by the jailbreak specialist he’d contacted well in advance. - Excerpt from Interlude 20.y
  16. 17.0 17.1 “And you won’t have another,” Miss Militia cut in. She’d stepped out of the Director’s office next door and into the doorway. “We’re not here to socialize. We got in touch with some thinkers. Eleventh Hour says he gets an ‘eight’. Appraiser’s read says we’re ‘purple’. Rule for any pre-situ call is we get three points of reference, going by thinkers alone, that means a third thinker. The first they were able to get in touch with was Hunch. Your old teammate, Weld.” - Excerpt from Queen 18.4
  17. 18.0 18.1 Hunch – A humpbacked cape and friend of Weld, member of Boston’s Wards team. A precognitive with somewhat iffy accuracy, possessed of other powers not yet detailed in full. - Cast
  18. ► Mock Moniker
    Replied on July 6th, 2011:
    Not to mention that there’s rumors Alexandria or Eidolon might step down. There’s a lot of animosity being directed at them from certain groups. Look at this link and this one. The monsters in the Protectorate have almost all left. Only one who stayed, I think, are Hunch and Polish. I’ve been thinking it’s another Bastion incident. Someone higher-up says something racist or offensive, the Protectorate pulls strings to try and cover it up, but offended people are still offended. Run off to make their own team. - Excerpt from Interlude 19.y

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