Mindfall
rating: +22+x

Description: SCP-3848 is the designation for a collective memory loss phenomenon affecting all residents of any one specific region at any given time. Manifestations of SCP-3848's effects are referred to as ED-K Lethe Events, and occur at random with no historical correlation to each other.

Now it was dusk.

Fierce wind swept the clouds in the grey, wan sky. The sun almost dived beneath horizon, into the stars. The world was like the river of Hades pulled up from hell and poured down to the ground. Between the dilapidated buildings, she stood straight, closing her eyes, with her golden hair waving in the wind.

Researcher Phate, of Site-133, coined this behavior "pause." It used to be "meditation," but since some unknown time this word became really hard to conceptualize. When the idea of "I'm thinking of something" came to her mind, a strange headache would pierce through the eyes, torturing her mind. So she had come up with a way to meditate without thinking about "thinking". To do this, she wrote a note to herself, "go to the periphery of the site, close my eyes, sense the wind, and do whatever I want to." Since ED-K Lethe event could only wipe out the CONCEPT of thinking, but not the PROCESS, she would keep herself from turning into a zombie, controlled merely by animals' basic desire of survival.

How many different memories were ruled out from her mind? She didn't want to know. There were methods to retrieve forgotten things: one of which was Mk. III Amnesia Resistance Targeted Mnestic Exposure Training, or ARTMET. However, it was not reliable. Phate did this several times, but she still wasn't even able to recognize "paper" stacking on her desk. In consequence, she preferred to contact electronic materials more, away from paper. Phate decided to dive into the Internet, focusing on Maxwellism - which built an immersive network called the basic layer, in deep virtuality. Good.


The veil broke, and the first change people felt was the annoying headache. "Holy crap! My head's killing me." Some people complained. However, a few unlucky ones could not even utter this whole sentence. For instance, Phate could still remember her neighbor giggling weirdly at his balcony, "Holy…holy what…my…my top…not good…HAHAHA…" Since "head" became unfathomable to him, he did not even know what he was describing. Poor him.

Compared to Mc&D products and ARTMET, what normal citizens used to fight headaches was completely useless. Aching badly? Use painkillers. Pills don't help? Shout aloud. Still doesn't help? Try opening the tap and hearing water flow. What if "water" became a forgotten concept? People may then regard water as poison. Uh-oh.

No solutions? Of course not. Maxwellism accidentally gave everyone an answer: if we delve inside the basic layer, immersing the mind into virtuality, couldn't we control the extent of painfulness by ourselves?

Hah! Good idea.

More and more people got connected.

They stood still in data flows, with their mind voyaging through different concepts. Think. Just think. Anything thinkable.

Then, a mild but exciting itch echoed inside their heads. The fierce tingle produced by ED-K Lethe events changed form. If the previous headache was like a pin thrusting into the brain through the eyes, this substituted feeling was more like a marshmallow gently rubbing the skull. Thinking of specific concepts was painless but thrilling and addictive, just like what the notorious drugs could bring about. But recalling things was unlike taking drugs, as it took effect anywhere, anytime, and free of charge. No one could reject such easy means for achieving happiness.

Consequently, people in the basic layer began to search for objects that could reactivate their forgotten memories. Once an object triggered concepts affected by ED-K Lethe events, they would save it in electronic files. They would stare at them countless times, letting the exhilarating tremor conduct through neurons. People even coined a term for this behavior, "Hah."

"How often do you 'hah,' dude?"

"Ten times a day, I suppose… I wanna 'hah' right away, so wait a second. "

"Alright. I wanna 'hah,' too. "

That was a typical conversation that happened among Maxwellists. Social activities? Recreation? Sports? Fuck off. "Hah" outweighed anything.


The wind stopped. Phate went back to the Site-133 Maxwellism research sector. She was ready to commence a new round of investigation inside the basic layer. After the Foundation-made information extraction module loaded, Phate closed her eyes. The vision turned from black to white, and colorful data flow went past. Minutes later, the derelict cipher city came into view.

Phate spawned beside a mad man, holding a light bulb. When she looked at him, he was playing with it excitedly. His eyes were half-open, and he smiled awkwardly, uttering irregular syllables. Undoubtedly, he lost the perception of the light bulb, and he "hah" -ed.

Phate walked away; soon, she saw a giant and noisy crowd gathered in front of her. She was unclear about what people were talking about, but she was sure there were hundreds of different topics. Think about it. Everyone was different from each other for their impaired cognition. If they kept talking to others, they would sooner or later find their own erased thoughts. Their partners could help record them, turning them into tools for the "hah." As Phate just came up with this idea, two devilish whispers came from behind.

"Car, cars, car… car!!!"

"Pig pig pig, pig pig pig. Ah, soooooo sweet! Small pig big pig fat pig… pig good, pig, pig pig pig…"

"CAR! Car car carrrrrrrrr! Ahahahahahahahaha…"

"HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…wait what did you say?"

"Cars."

"Oh yes, car. WHAT IS 'CAR'? HAHAHAHAHAHA…"

Phate felt nauseous. She covered her ears and shunned to the side, shrugging off the nonsense.

She felt something was in her pocket. Curious about what it was, she took it out.

"What is this? It is…" Her mind searched for a proper word.

"Paper! That's a fuckin' piece of paper!" a vagrant pointed and laughed at her.

"P-paper? Wait, what did you say? Ah, it is… this feeling, oh gosh, it is WONDERFUL. "

She did a "hah", and a giant grin attached to her face.


The mind stimulation finally eased after minutes. Phate opened the info panel and received her mission.

Investigate the corpses on the east boundary of cipher city.

It was not unusual for people to die these days. Only the Foundation liked to search dead bodies, finding hints for retaining normalcy. Each ordinary person, on the contrary, lived in their own spiritual world. Phate asked passers-by what happened to the dead, but what she received was just, "They died. That's all." Citizens in basic layers were busy "hah" -ing with corpses' remains. For example, a man in front of her knelt before a female corpse, seeming to commemorate his wife. However, he was pressing her to the ground, grabbing her necklace and watching it with full attention. "Nice, NICE! What is this… it is… superb…SUPERB! Hah, hah, hah, … uhhhhhhh…" The man's heavy gasps were injected into the dead body.

Phate walked away.

Corpses. More corpses. All lay sprawled across nearby areas. Most of them put hands on their skull and seemed to breathe hard before death. What happened to them, honestly?

Phate extracted records of the camera head next to her. A video piece played in front of her.

Cropped Video Recording of Sector E03-C, Cipher City

[Start Log]

[00:00-00:30] A male around 20 years old landed on spawn area E03-C.

[00:30-02:12] The subject stood still for about 10 seconds, walked for 30 meters, and stopped in a puzzled state.

[02:12-05:30] The subject's body began to tremble and sweat in extreme fear. At the same time, he closed his eyes and began to pant heavily.

[05:30-07:03] The subject's fear disappeared, lying flat on the ground with a maniacal laugh. His muscles twitched violently.

[07:03-09:58] The subject stopped twitching muscles, with his vital signs disappeared.

[End Log]

Phate took some notes, slowly nodding her head. "A scheme of Maxwellism?" She said in a low voice.

Probably.

The presence of countless dead bodies began to discomfort her… as if they would climb up and grab her body.

She logged out.


Phate's mind started to ascend, and the vision turned pure white. However, this time seemed to be different from previous logouts. Ominous feelings were on their parties.

Black dots, tiny black dots fled from her brain as if charcoal burnt on her head. Something important was missing in her memories. But why?

"White" left her memories. The soothing background suddenly became hostile and horrible.

"Teeth" left her memories. Dozens of hard white parasites ground each other with noise.

"Hand" left her memories. The limb extended five long, thin, and twisted branches.

Colorful data flow went past, like river water of Lethe brushing her delicate body. After those colors faded, Phate saw herself through ugly voidness.

Her soul was climbing along the chasm between virtuality and reality.

All she thought of became forbidden now. Her mind was like an eagle in a small cage, stimulating herself each time she attempted to fetch a concept.

"Hah," this feeling was the only thing she did not forget. Good. Very good. AWESOME. Endless "hah"s overlapped at the back of her eyes, on a communal singularity. The product of "hah" turned out to be untold suffering. Phate's smile distorted, and her body inflated unnaturally. She began to shriek, obeying her intuition. But it was useless. Ache intensified.

When Phate finally went back to the real world, the critical hurt sprayed to the fourth dimension from a single point in her head. She could feel her memories flowing back gradually. Incidents happened in cipher city formed a complete picture in her mind at last. It was time to write a new report.

Tomorrow, such investigation would continue.

As long as the fucking Foundation was still kept in mind, such tantalizing but torturing investigation shall continue.

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