Protocol Sommelier (bonus PILL story idea)

Here’s a bonus story idea I just had. If follow-on funding is available for new stories, I’d definitely apply with this.

The story would be about a boutique protocol shop called “Protocol Me Maybe” or maybe “Metaprotocol” which is run by a quirky archivist with an encyclopedic knowledge of different protocols – they call themselves a protocol sommelier. Clients come to the shop looking for protocol recommendations to their specific problems. The archivist has helped people pick a protocol across a huge variety of situations: roommate chore negotiations; court etiquette for a Hollywood fantasy kingdom; the legislative process for a new microstate. The archivist charges on a sliding scale, there’s a protocol for determining how much.

Some other details:

  • There’s a silly protocol for entering the shop perhaps involving a hand clap and a spin. If patrons don’t follow the protocol then they’re kicked out.
  • There’s an aside about upset clients who want a perfect voting protocol and don’t want to accept Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem
  • The archivist belongs to a “Protocolics Anonymous” online group of likeminded protocol enthusiats
  • The shop is mostly unprofitable but occasionally the archivist will advise a startup in exchange for equity and that covers the costs many times over
  • “Never meta-protocol I didn’t like”

I haven’t figured out the main narrative arc but it’d likely be a newcomer to the shop who is brought there by their friend who is a loyal patron. They’d need a protocol for some key problem in their life and the archivist would walk them through a meta-protocol until they found the perfect protocol to solve their problem.


Twist – the sommelier actually offers services to hack or subvert all the protocols he knows about. He sells not compliance expertise but hacking/exploit expertise, protocol darkweb style. Kinda like the john wick sommelier who runs the armory for the assassins network.

Or he does both, the subversion services being on the dl under the official compliance services biz.


Oh that’s excellent! I could also see the exploit expert being a frenemy of the sommelier, leading to a Homes / Moriarty dynamic.