Foundation Unmasked: Lesser Known Foundation Divisions


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Excerpt from Chapter Five of Pari Suleiman's to-be-released book on the first ten years of the post-Veil Foundation, Foundation Unmasked.


O5-1 ADDRESSING THE U.N SUMMIT, 2063


"[…] For the better part of two-and-a-half centuries, the Foundation has been dedicated to preserving the human spirit in the hands of a hostile, illogical universe. We've strived to ensure humanity always has a future in this world. To ensure that our children can live in a world where they no longer have to fear the monsters under their bed. To ensure that the human race does not go back to huddling in caves. We've always felt that secrecy was the best way to protect the world, but the past 5 years have proven our mantra false. Events like those in Kabul have proven our mantra false. New strategies, new tactics are needed. It is now apparent that the future of the Foundation does not mean dying in the dark…"


FOUNDATION PR DIVISION HEAD JOSHUA KIRBY


You know the PR Department was a joke, right? I'm not exaggerating — it was literally an inside joke. Whenever management went on a recruiting drive, and we ended up having dozens of greenhorns running around, we'd always get some fun out of it, you know. "Hey, can you talk to Kelly in PR for me?" "Do me a favor and get me the phone extension for the PR Secretary?". That kind of shit. It was just a snipe hunt, no harm done. They'd run around for the better part of a morning before either giving up or realizing what they were doing. I don't even know who started it, but on my first day at 19, my supervisor asked me to run over to the PR office and schedule a meeting. Two hours of running around the Site until I came crawling back with my tail between my legs. And then when I earned my stripes, I did it to the new guys. That's all it was, a joke.

And then Kabul happened.

Right, then Kabul happened. Over-fucking-night, our little 'joke' became one of the biggest departments in the entire Foundation. And I was at the top of it. My job used to consist of making diplomatic meetings with the Gocks every month or so. Maybe acting as liaison every so often. And then the powers that be sought to bestow upon me the enviable task of being the one to break it to the world: "Hey, sorry, we've been suppressing physics-defying magic and controlling the world from the shadows for the better part of 200 years. Coffee?". What a fucking joke.

Why didn't you resign?

So some other fuckin' idiot could step up? I was the most qualified, make no mistake. In fact, I don't think I'm wrong when I say I'm, in no small part, the reason the Foundation is still holding at 56% approval. That doesn't sound like a lot, but can you imagine being told that your understanding of reality and the history of the world is all an illusion propped up by a secret world paramilitary…. and then only 5 years after learning that, half the planet is in our corner? That's insane. I'd love to tell you that I don't know how I did it, but I know perfectly well how I did it, and it wasn't pretty.

How was that?

Two words: shock and awe.

That's three words.

You're a terrible interviewer, you know that? Anyway, yes, shock and awe. Kabul was too much, I know we'd never be able to do this gradually. We couldn't ease people into the Veil, so I did the opposite. I came on every national television station in the world, live, at the Hague, and explained exactly who we are, what we're doing, and why the world needed us. There's still videos of that press release floating around on YouTube. 1.9 billion views. A good quarter of the world heard what I have to say. And when I brought out the anomalies? Insanity. This- I really have no earthly idea how I managed to get the Overseers on board. But I did, and now 1.9 billion people have seen our greatest hits. Videos of the lizard getting dumped in acid and shot at, videos of 096 outpacing an attack helicopter on the highway — and, of course, videos of 173 snapping away. Most of the dignitaries and asslickers there were thoroughly awed, though there were some skeptics. That's why I brought out the shock, the reason we're still here today. A 3199 instance, arms immobilized in resin and concrete, inside a six-inch-thick bulletproof plastic cell. We pulled the best-behaved one from their containment unit in 19, and flew it in the day before. We pulled the curtains back, it screeched at them and tried to break the glass, and that is the last time I have ever seen anyone with an ounce of sense question the necessity of our existence.

Many people since have asked why you didn't pick some of the safer anomalies to introduce to the public.

Because my job right there and then wasn't to get people to like the Foundation. Hell, it wasn't even to get them to tolerate it. It was to instill in their heads exactly why we need to exist, and what would suddenly be inhabiting their home countries if they tried to dismantle us. You get them to comprehend that, and the tolerance and the approval will come naturally. And, as you can see… I made the right call. That's PR for you.


FOUNDATION LEGAL COUNSEL SHELDON KATZ


People don't realize the enormous legal consequences of an organization like the Foundation. They think they do, but they don't. People realize the laws on unlawful detainment, kidnapping, et cetera. But they don't realize the grander legal implications. For example - we have a hundred-odd Sites across the planet. Most of the big, first-world countries — think the G8 plus two dozen or so others — know about us. They have deals with us, which mostly amount to "ask permission before doing something rash". Besides that, we mostly stayed out of each others way. But that still leaves the vast majority of countries on the planet that both had no idea we existed, and were sites of operation for us. Well, one less, nowadays.

Why was the initial decision made to keep these countries out of the veil?

Keeping them in would be a logistical nightmare. The turnover rates for high-ranking officials in these countries are sky-high, corruption is rampant, they have presidents-for-life tempered by military coups. They're completely unstable. A dictator of one gets overthrown by his military, and he bargains for his life with the knowledge of our existence. Even one such country knowing is a liability.

So how did you handle a hundred??

We didn't. They got the jump on us, and that's my fault.

What do you mean?

Okay — imagine you're the Prime Minister of a small third-world country. You're in the bottom third of global GDPs, your government is wracked with corruption, and your people are poor and starving. And then, one day, you learn, along with the rest of the world, that what is undoubtedly one of, if not the best supplied, financed, and supported paramilitaries in the world has been using your country as a staging point for combat operations, constructing what are essentially underground military bases in the region, and ferrying personnel and materials across your borders without so much as a note. Think about the decades of tariffs and taxes you've lost out on. You wouldn't be very happy, would you?

I suppose not.

Yeah, they weren't either. Before we knew it, we were set upon by a coalition of countries, mostly the ones we had Sites in. We were being sued in an international court of law for damages in the neighborhood of the low point trillions. I'm not proud of how we handled it.

And how was that?

You have to understand, we were under siege. The entire world was still reeling from Kabul, from Adiyat, and they didn't trust us. They had good reason not to. We might have gotten the governments in line at the Hague Conference, but you can't do that to the entire planet. The citizens still didn't trust that all the crazy conspiracy nutjobs raving about a shadow government pulling the strings had been right. You couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting an armchair analyst on Fox or CNN or NBC, talking about how the Foundation should be "dismembered and disassembled, like Standard Oil". [Laughter.] Can you imagine? Foundation of China getting into slapfights with Foundation of India. MTFs being drafted into military service. Large-scale nationalist weaponization of anomalies. What a dead duck.

How did you handle it, Mr. Katz?

In short? We offered them a deal. We could turn our coffers inside out, and maybe have a chance at paying off two-thirds of them. But of course… if we did that, we'd never be able to maintain containment of two-and-a-half-thousand anomalies across the globe. We'd never be able to support our MTFs and Sites. So we wouldn't. We'd have to stop supporting our installations… starting with the low-priority ones in the third-world.

You extorted them.

No. I'm never going to say that, because we never did. We gave them a choice. They could take their reparations and backpay, or we could put that money to good use and make sure the monsters locked up in their backyards stayed that way - locked up.


FOUNDATION HUMAN RESOURCES DIVISION OFFICER AMMON THOMPSON


We were extremely lucky, relative to the other departments and divisions. Some were lucky enough to have their duties stay mostly the same — Containment Department and the R&D Division come to mind. Most had their job descriptions wildly change, like RAISA having to beef up system protections and the Security Department's manpower increasing twofold. The simple truth of it was that nobody knowing you exist is an exponentially more powerful protection than any firewall or armed guard. Hell, the Misinformation Division was gutted almost overnight. But we were of the few that had our jobs become easier.

How's that?

For basically our entire existence, our M.O for finding new blood has been to scrape from the cream of the crop. We had embedded agents at major universities and educational institutions around the globe. Research establishments, high-level government projects, anywhere you could find people at the top of their field. We used to joke that if you removed all our people, academia would become a much more desirable career choice.

Those are just researchers, though. How did you handle other positions?

The same basic philosophy - get people who are the best at what they do. For MTFs, that meant nabbing discharged soldiers and intelligence agents. That got a little harder when every Veiled country and their mother decided to start national anomalous organizations during the Cold War. You've no idea how many potential candidates we lost to ORIA and PENTAGRAM. We would always haunt engineering departments at universities for containment specialists. Hell, we even tried to get janitors with experience working in government facilities.

But not anymore?

Not anymore. Now it's easier. We don't need to hide agents in university departments - we show up to job fairs promising full benefits and the line of graduate students stretches down the block. We have an active program that recruits military vets for MTFs instead of leaving them homeless. We don't even need to offer the obscene contracts we used to — no hush money to pay out. Plus we don't have to worry about whistleblowers — well, that's not true. We always have to worry about whistleblowers, but now the stakes are lower. But now we have more manpower at a fraction of the cost and effort. We can recruit like a government instead of a secret society. The Veil falling has been good to us.

That's very fortunate.

It is. Of course, it brings its own set of problems — security leaks comes to mind, especially with regards to classified technology. A decade ago, even if a researcher did manage to steal plans for a Scranton Reality Anchor or a House-Nicholas Theoplanar-Whatever, it wouldn't matter. It's not like you could walk into any Silicon Valley startup and slap the blueprints for a magic-machine. You'd be laughed out of the building. There were only half a dozen organizations on the planet with both the ability and drive to build one, and most had their own equivalents.

But that's not the case anymore.

Right. And the SRA is just a dated, declassified example. Our R&D Division is still churning out experimental tech. We have to vet our people thoroughly and security systems need to constantly be updated. There are consequences now, and we'd rather not deal with them. The playing field might be a little easier, but the layout has changed. And I think that for an organization as firmly rooted as the Foundation, it's gonna take more than a few years to adapt to that.


O5-1 ADDRESSING THE U.N SUMMIT, 2063


"… but living in the light. These next few years will define the future of the human race as we spread out into the stars, as we master artificial intelligence, as we continue to discover new and strange things that threaten us. The Foundation will be at the forefront of this new age; a vanguard for our species and our societies. It takes courage to die for a cause, but it takes strength to live for it. Our job description has changed, but our dedication to it hasn't. No matter where humanity's future takes it — from the cold vacuum of space to the crushing depths of our own oceans — we will be there: a spearhead for the rest of the world. The universe is cold, and hostile; it will bat us around, throw punches, and make it quite clear that we are out of our depths. That it is in our best interests to lay down our arms and accept the inevitability of our inferiority. The Foundation exists as a rebuttal. Someone to marshal all our strength and demand "Why?"


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