Super Secret Apop Stuff

These stories concern the Foundation, a shadowy, extra-governmental agency, dedicated to keeping humanity the same as we understand it now. There are monsters that don't die, viruses that turn dead bodies into zombies, a pill that cures all illnesses, ideas that are alive and control the mind of the people having them. Crazy shit, and so much more, but they're all being (or trying to be) contained by the Foundation.

So my anomaly is an idea, a memetic hazard, able to spread from person to person by sharing the idea. It's also an infohazard, meaning that knowing it exists is enough to fuck with you, or in my case, give you the idea. Lastly, it's a cognitohazard, because it changes your outlook/perception/personality/something intrinsic to you without you being aware of it.

What it actually does, which is typically the focus of these articles, is completely irrelevant to what you and I are doing with this. They call it a "format screw." Our article is all about the unique way these people have contained the idea. Lida's (name's flexible, I picked something Iranian because Gilgamesh) triumph of humanity over this thing that would tear it apart. Fuck the anomaly itself.

Now, if you've read the samples, you'll see that there's a typical way of telling these stories:

1) What the thing actually is. The author knows (most of the time), but the fictional Foundation does not, at least at the onset and sometimes never really at all.

2) How the information is given. By rule, these are designed as scientific documentation. Authors have to find a way to tell a story within the strictures of this system. But sometimes, if the idea is good enough, you can get by shirking the system, which is what we're doing.

3) The Prestige, because that's a great movie. The notable pieces leave you wondering at the end, and almost certainly cast doubt on the entire article; it's entirely possible that the scientists don't really understand what they've got on their hands.

For us, we aren't afforded these luxuries; we have to tie our information into a true narrative, which is really more difficult than a clinical "it's 5m x 7m x 9m and 1182kg." To compound this, we're never going to actually be talking about the thing; we have to use colorful imagery to describe an object without giving any frame of reference that would lead people to understand the object. In other words, we have to Darmok this story.

Fortunately for the authors, we know it all. Here's what happens in the "real world:"

  • Some kind of large disaster draws the attention of the Foundation, and the find the meme, which is doing crazy shit to people and is obviously dangerous.
  • They quarantine the area, start their protocols for dealing with this shit, and then a group of researchers gets the unfortunate duty of containing it.
  • They try a bunch of shit, and absolutely nothing works. This idea is sentient, and is actively resisting their efforts, and they're kind of fucked.
  • Lida, somehow, realizes that the idea is also being changed by the people it infests; it's not completely sentient, or at least not an independent consciousness.
  • She writes this epic, describing her and the team's struggle to contain the thing. Then she kills everyone else and infects herself.
  • The idea believes it is this beast of the story.
  • Lida's set up a backup team to come in. She dictates the epic, and says nothing else. They become infected, and believe the new story to be a true account; the anomaly is now "trapped" into believing itself to have been something that happened in the past.
  • A third team comes in, sees the tale as a myth, gets infected, and boom, the idea is now the story. It believed itself into fiction.

The only way this works without being shunned is thus; if researchers saw the standard documentation for one of these anomalies, they would begin to imagine it as something other than a piece of fiction. No one can know that the anomaly we're dealing with is the original sort of meme; it has to just be this story, and as such can only be presented as this story.

And we have to convey all of that in metaphorical verse.

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