A memetic infection is a contagious infection of the mind rather than the body. There is no one specific type or strain. These are incredibly dangerous.
The infection of the mind can be as scary, or scarier, than the infection of the body. Whereas the worst of physical ailments result in the withering and eventual death of the body, a memetic often ends in simple madness. For the purposes of this report we will define madness not as the colloquial use as a cruel short-hand for people with neurodivergencies, but instead we mean a mental ailment that infects and causes a person to act in ways entirely outside of their own control. This is their mind being quite literally hijacked by an outside force and thus forcing them to do things they would not otherwise do in any capacity.
I urge, and insist, any who read this report: do not consider or compare this to a worldly mental illness. It is to that what a cold is to being poisoned. While both may be described as "physically unwell" the differences are astronomical.
Whereas this can create tools for malevolent beings on a mass scale if gone unchecked, the scope can go further than that. It is possible for a memetic infection to lead to Apocalypse Event Envy without further action but the infection of a substantial number of a population.
The true terror of these infections how easy it is to be infected. The infection vector is a thought. A simple idea that roots a seed in one's mind that spreads like a virus infecting the whole of their person. These can delivered through speech, as an image, or sent through dreams. All it requires is this thought to cross one's mind.
The greatest example is this: banana. Upon reading the word banana you've thought about it. Were I to show an image of a banana the same would happen. These thoughts aren't identical but their root is. The concept, the abstract form of a banana has been planted in your mind and now rests there. As this is a common, regular thought there is no harm. A memetic infection, however, uses this planting of an idea to take over a host. Worse, still, is that they can be veiled in millions of abstractions, metaphors, and degrees of removal to the same effect.
Using the same example, were I to present you an image (attached) what do you think of? Perhaps nothing at first. Perhaps the meaning is lost to you, but over time your subconscious might slowly connect the dots. By 'fridge logic' you may later realize that it was the representation of a banana.
Hours, days, weeks, months, even years later this idea has taken root and you've been infected. Now you can do the same to people around you until it causes a pandemic. Silently, with none the wiser.
As all memetic infections are entirely unique and symptoms can vary wildly. There are some common factors between them. In general the symptoms grow more prominent and severe as the infection progresses. Please note that as stated above, in early stages these could be mistaken for common mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or personality disorders. It is important we reiterate: they are not comparable and it is harmful to do so.
- Sudden change in personality
- Loss of interest in most things
- Sudden intense interest in something heretofore unmentioned
- Heightened irritability and aggression
- Sudden decrease in personal hygiene and grooming
- Erratic behavior
- Talking to themselves
- Sudden change in thought processes; can manifest physically such as changing directions without warning, or in conversation stopping mid-sentence and starting an unrelated one
- Speaking in a 'nonsense' language
- "Tics" or repeated actions that they previously did not have. Examples include:
- Obsessive scratching
- A 'chittering' noise made in throat
- Tearing off nails from the bed
- Eating hair
- Rewiring of neural paths
- Pain receptors cross with pleasure
- Increased and inhumane libido, often to objects or concepts typically unassociated with arousal
- Reduction of morality
- Loss of empathy and sympathy
- Unusual physical changes (only in later stages)
- Appearance may begin to resemble a fish, or another animal
- May appear physically sick
- Loss of hair
- Greying or rotting skin
- Pungent odours
- Uncanny expressions such as grinning too widely and at inappropriate times
- Begins regarding humans as a 'lesser'
- From interviews they have likened humans to insects beneath a boot.
These infections are more often than not caused by the influence of a powerful Outsider, or similarly malicious being. Whereas these are referred to with the common term 'brainwashing' it's not the same. To brainwash someone is to overwrite someone, bypass who they are or suppress it entirely. A memetic infection fundamentally rewires and irreversibly changes someone's personality, values, and who they are as a person. It is the most vile and inhumane thing that can be done to someone.
One of the most common symptom that can't be denied nor easily put into a bullet point: their behaviour is changed in such a way as to further the goal of whatever the root of the infection is. Often this can be in the form of joining a cult performing rituals to weaken the veil between realities, to commit acts of terror in order to break a being out of containment, or even just the act of sowing fear in the populace. These infections, more often than not, can be considered pathologic warfare. Rare is a memetic infection its own without a purpose - though this has happened. Ultimately they are a way to further an agenda we often cannot and will not understand.
Humans are, after all, engaged in a war with beings that have lived longer than we've existed, and may well outlast our entire species. Their moves span generations and it is not easy to piece the puzzle together. Perhaps outright impossible.
Determining if someone has a memetic infection is difficult. They are by nature mostly-invisible until late stages. Early on their markers are similar to regular mental health issues, and can often be mistaken for such. When someone is alerted to a potential memetic case the best course of action is to interview people around the individual carefully. Anyone up to two degrees of separation can be considered infected. Only specialized agents of the task force may deal or interact with this situation. As usual they are to report and undergo frequent brain-scrubbing on a weekly basis but should increase frequency when assigned to a probable case.
Observe the individual from a distance and follow the checklist provided. If they are determined to be suspicious enough for action the individual should be apprehended and put into isolation. If the subject is proven to be in a cult of some sort or performing rituals, regardless of all other evidence they are considered actionably infected along with anyone else within the sect. Upon capture they should be bound and made unable to speak. Any capturing operatives must wear protective gear and hearing protection to block all noises they may produce.
Observation should then be performed on anyone with one degree of separation of the subject. Though costly and lengthy this is a necessary step. Repeat this process as necessary.
The subject is to be kept in a cell that is entirely soundproofed. There should be no direct observation, and indirect observation be kept at a minimum. A captured subject who is infected in a later stage may be able to pass on the infection visually, auditorily or by other means. There have been infections of DNM analysts in the past including by sign language, spectrogram analysis, utensil arrangement, scent, blinking patterns, and other unconventional methods. When possible have all observations analyzed by an AI or algorithm with incredibly strict output reports. There should be no variables that can pass through, only pre-determined diagnostics.
The introduction of different concepts should be done. Some memetic infections have reacted poorly to things such as holy symbols, certain key phrases in Ngasa, Atlantic, Whichita, Va'thorr'nan, and Aka-Bo. Reactions may be an indication that we have introduced something that the infector finds distasteful. See attached report on confirmed determining stimuli and their associated being.
Beyond this, a final indicator - let the record show I find this problematic, but cannot provide an alternate solution - is simply a 'gut feeling'. It is unscientific, unfounded, but ultimately something that cannot be ignored. As one recoils from the sign of physical sickness, people do the same for these.
There is no treatment. Not entirely.
Sometimes, if caught early, we have seen promise with a brain-scrub. However for this to work to its full capacity it needs to be treated before any symptoms emerge. This is done with our agents who work with memetic diseases on a regular basis but is not something that can be done for the regular populace. If caught early the brain-scrub still leaves lasting effects and may even cause common mental health issues, such as symptoms of ADHD, depression, anxiety, or paranoia. It is regrettable, but sometimes the best we can do.
It is with a heavy heart that I must report: when an infection has progressed enough to the point where a brain-scrub is outright impossible the only thing we can do is purge the subject. In the historical cases of an endemic or epidemic our hand has been forced to scrub or purge whole communities.
By its very nature we cannot prevent this.
The best we can do is if, by some miracle, we discover a Vector employ machine learning to scrub these where they may appear. Applying these filters on all forms of broadcast, scrubbing and deleting any form of vectors that may go out en masse. It's estimated we have stopped up to 126 such Vectors this way, but this is wishful thinking. We may have simply removed an innocuous idea. Beyond that, the beings that create these Vectors are smart enough to hide them behind enough veils we cannot possibly scrub them all away.
All we can do is be thankful these are almost impossibly rare, and hope that fact does not change.
The concept of a memetic infection, frankly, scares me. What's to say we're not all infected with something that may activate years down the line? Or we've all been infected generations back and every action we commit has been in service of some unknown force?
With the blurred lines, with the uncertainty, there is no winning in this situation. I have no doubt there have been full epidemics in the past that slipped through the cracks, and worse: that we have taken drastic actions on a false positive. Yet the prospect of letting one go may be worse still.
I am not a religious person. Yet pray for all employees, current and future of the DNM, and for all of humanity. We are in a silent war with beings we cannot comprehend, and beings we cannot defeat. If there is a god, may they forgive us. May they protect us. And may they have mercy on our souls.