Since its earliest days, the Laundry has been thinking about the possibility of the end of the world. This contemplation moved from the philosophical to the (more nearly) practical starting in the late 1970s, when several long-range projects conducted by Predictive Branch suggested that the possibility was more real than previously imagined.1. Each of the several types of events contemplated are, by definition, "extinction level events" - get it wrong, and the human race is toast.2 From its start as an off-shoot of the APACHE Committee forty years ago, the NIGHTMARE Committee has become the frantically-beating heart of the Laundry and, by extension, of Her Majesty's Government.

For ease of recognition, the various categories of extinction-level threats are colour-coded, and each of these cases have several sub-cases:

The NIGHTMARE committee oversees a solar system of sub-committees, including BUCKLER, DYNAMO, FOLIO, ORCHARD, SMOKE and VINEYARD. When someone mentions "The Committee" in hushed tones, know that NIGHTMARE is the committee they mean. It encompasses so much desperately important and terrifying work that even the committee's staff functions are presumably being performed by Senior Permanent Staff (IE, the denizens of Mahogany Row). Those consultations are being taken at the very highest levels of the Laundry, in circles so rarefied that it's doubtful even the Prime Minister has been briefed to more than a cursory degree.

Some of the NIGHTMARE cases will mean the certain end of our species. Others hold out a slim hope of the survival of a small fraction of the global population.

Being read in to NIGHTMARE is worth a SAN loss of 1d3/2d4. There is a reason that not everybody in the Laundry has been briefed on NIGHTMARE…

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