• Confic Magazine

Sword of Everyone's Hatred

Updated: Jul 17

Confic Art

by SaltBlossom




 

Designation: DA-OBJ-0314

Distortion Aspect: 5/12

● Lethality: Medium

● Scope: Low

● Volatility: Medium


Containment Status: Stable

Asset Evaluation: Rejected


EWS (Environment, Work & Suppression) Protocols:

The editing and distribution of this document is prohibited for primary recipients and secondary observers of DA-OBJ-0314. Failure to comply will be considered a containment breach.


DA-OBJ-0314 is stored within a containment chamber at Zone-117. Personnel wishing to enter must pass the Advanced Cognition Hazards training course, have no memory-related defects in their medical history and receive approval from the Zone-117 Chief of Staff. The following contraband must be handed over before entry:

● Any object with a primary purpose of storing/recording information.

● Any object that could be used or repurposed as a lethal weapon.

● Food and drink.

● Medicines.


Operators chosen for Counter-Distortion work on DA-OBJ-0314 must possess high cognitive defense levels and good memory retention capabilities. Only Abuse, Artistic and Cleanliness-type works are permitted. During work, operators must wear full-body padded protection and are prohibited from actions that would cover, excavate the floor beneath or prematurely leave the chamber of DA-OBJ-0314.


Post-work reports must be recited from the working operator to a secondary observer. The secondary observer must then recite the same speech to a tertiary observer for recording. Memory revision should then be applied to both the primary and secondary operators. This sequence is not to be deviated from.


Containment breaches of DA-OBJ-0314 are defined by the unauthorized spread of its information. Anomaly Suppression Team (AST) Reish-41 (“NEURAL-MANCERS”) is responsible for maintaining proper security measures within Zone-117, as well as the disposal of unauthorized information and associated media.



Anomaly Description:

DA-OBJ-0314 is a statue of a humanoid figure pinned to the ground via a broadsword inserted into its back. The figure rests face-down, with its arms outstretched in front and its hands curled inwards. The broadsword possesses a rhombus-shaped hilt with a hexagonal sword guard. An unknown, non-anomalous script is inscribed on the sword’s hilt.

Any sentient entity that comes into close proximity to DA-OBJ-0314 will immediately fall victim to its compulsion-inducing effect. The first stage manifests as extreme outbursts of anger, disgust and/or hatred towards DA-OBJ-0314. Expressions include:

Type

Example

Loud, incoherent screaming

Operator screamed at DA-OBJ-0314 at volumes up to 100db until their throat bled.

​Rants regarding the statue’s apparent flaws.

Operator drew markings of male/female genitalia, various profanity and gore across the floor and up DA-OBJ-0314’s body. Ink was used, then blood.

​Expectoration, urination and/or defecation

Self-explanatory. The latter two are observed significantly more in animal test subjects.

Physical attacks on the statue with bodily or mechanical implements.

Operator repeatedly beat their fists on DA-OBJ-0314 until their fingers broke.


In another case, an operator tried to pierce DA-OBJ-0314 with a laser cutter. They succeeded instead in discovering the inner core.

Nausea

Operator swallowed multiple emetics and vomited over DA-OBJ-0314. Expelled contents were odorless. Operator was placed under medical treatment for tears in the stomach.


The length of these outbursts may range from a few minutes to multiple hours and scale inversely with the strength of the victim’s cognitive defences. Once finished, the victim will exit DA-OBJ-0314’s vicinity with reduced stress levels and a general sense of contentment.

The second stage of DA-OBJ-0314’s effect only manifests in sapient victims. After an arbitrary amount of time, the idea of DA-OBJ-0314 will infiltrate the victim’s thought-space at infrequent intervals in order to draw attention back towards it. Symptoms include:

● Sudden intrusive thoughts.

● Unintentional references to DA-OBJ-0314 during conversation.

● Dreams and/or hallucinations regarding DA-OBJ-0314.


The victim will be compelled to dwell on their negative experiences with DA-OBJ-0314, inducing stress and discomfort and increasing the frequency of the thought-space infiltrations. A feedback loop is fulfilled, in which DA-OBJ-0314 continuously exerts itself within the victim’s thought-space until the majority of it has been overtaken. No method of breaking this loop exists beyond memory revision.


Ultimately, the victim will willingly seek out DA-OBJ-0314 to release their negative emotions, hence returning to the first stage. Repeated engagements in this cycle will cause victims to have lengthier outbursts, higher initial frequency of second stage symptoms and a lack of ability to find catharsis in other areas. In extreme cases, victims will spend the majority of their time abusing DA-OBJ-0314, to the detriment of their health and other responsibilities. Strengthened cognitive defences can reduce, but not halt, the effectiveness of this compulsion.


Any information on DA-OBJ-0314 recorded by its victims (outside its environment) will be infected to tempt the consumer into meeting DA-OBJ-0314. Victims during the second stage will create such information and provide it to non-victims, typically utilizing a justification of empathetic, mutual suffering. Should a secondary party copy information from a victim, it will also be infected, albeit with less potency. Information copied by tertiary parties from a secondary party is free from infection.


DA-OBJ-0314 is composed of an outer layer of iron nickel phosphide and an inner core of an extremely dense, black crystalline substance. Any defacement or damage done to the outer layer will regenerate over the next twenty-four hours. DA-OBJ-0314’s weight increases dramatically when attempts are made to lift it, impeding the attempt; the object can be moved if it remains in total contact with the floor. Due to this property, the identity of the humanoid figure in DA-OBJ-0314 remains unknown.


Environment Description:

The environment of DA-OBJ-0314 distorts to form an art gallery with the anomaly as the central display. The topology of the affected area will rearrange itself to remove blockages and create new pathways towards the center. Existing furniture, regardless of material, will be reassembled to form seats or viewing platforms. Similarities in the environment’s layout towards the principles of feng shui have been noted.


Any pre-existing electronic devices will be reassembled and repositioned to create tall, bright spotlights that shine down upon DA-OBJ-0314. If any entity attempts to cover up or excavate the ground beneath DA-OBJ-0314, the spotlights will begin emitting a deep purple light. This light is capable of burning through otherwise flame-retardant material, such as asbestos or industrial-grade steel. Once the offending entity is removed, the spotlights will return to their normal function.


Any information-recording media brought into DA-OBJ-0314’s environment will have its contents irreversibly corrupted. This occurs as combinations of the following:

● Lengthy passages in the same unknown language inscribed on the broadsword’s hilt. The text glows blue in the dark.

● Diagrams of DA-OBJ-0314, its environment and clusters of white stars beneath a black background.

● A mechanical voice stating an unknown language for several hours.

● Holographic displays of DA-OBJ-0314. The bottom cannot be seen from any angle.


Corruption instances will occur and persist regardless of available space or type of media involved.


The minimum observed area of DA-OBJ-0314’s environment is that of its current containment cell: a square room with 11.4m x 11.4m x 3m dimensions.


Discovery:

DA-OBJ-0314 was discovered after a riot was reported in Steeldale, Australia on 08/15/2089. Embedded agents in the local police force tracked the riot to an apartment complex in the city suburbs, wherein they found the first floor having transformed into DA-OBJ-0314’s environment. All original occupants, along with occupants of the other floors and assorted pedestrians, were gathered around the anomaly to abuse it. Images and videos of DA-OBJ-0314 had also spread onto a local social networking site.


A retrieval team for the nearby Outpost was dispatched to collect the anomaly. However, they in turn fell victim to DA-OBJ-0314’s compulsive effect, requiring additional backup from AST Tzaddi-53 (“NIGHT-LIVERS”). Standard Operations Team (SOT) Beth-08 (“PAPER-BISHOPS”) followed up with memory alteration, public concealment and information eradication protocols. All traces of DA-OBJ-0314 were erased from the public Internet via distribution of one-time memory revision viruses.


Interviews with the victims revealed the first floor had originally contained the studio of an independent artist. DA-OBJ-0314 had appeared in the center of the studio a few days after the artist had purchased several meteorite chunks for his work. Its effects had spread from attempting to learn the anomaly’s origins.



DOCUMENT A-05-0314/1: Interview Transcript


Operator Stone was interviewed about their work with DA-OBJ-0314. The intention was to determine if there were any non-anomalous basis for their vehemence towards DA-OBJ-0314.


[INTERVIEW START]


[Operator Stone is asked about the beginning of their experiences with DA-OBJ-0314]

Christ, where do I even start? Okay, okay, just give me a moment to gather my thoughts.

So, I wasn’t the first agent to work on that disgusting thing. Operator Gale was. She’s usually a level-headed worker, so I remember staring at her when she stormed into the break room one afternoon and damn near wrenched the fridge door off its hinges. Of course, I asked her what got her so upset. She then, still chewing her croissant, mind you, spewed out a spiel about how awful the statue was.

It was the same stuff as the artist who first stumbled across the thing. The coloration being duller than gravel, the sculpting resembling the corners of a dumpster, why the creator needs to shove his head into a meat grinder…you catch the drift.

Yeah, I thought Gale’s brain had turned into a fruitcake too. The way she ranted and raved; you’d think the anomaly had somehow sodomised her mom. This company works with nastier creatures on a daily basis. A statue DA that drives my buddies up the wall is pancakes to flesh-eating lizards or a kingdom that gaslights itself into existence. I told Gale about this, in kinder words of course, and she glared at me, huffed a bit and told me to go and work on the statue myself.

[Operator Stone is asked if they had, or still have, any interest in artistry that could have affected their perception of DA-OBJ-0314.]

Nah. Never was super into the whole humanities deal. I’m just another operator who reads the morning paper and watches superhero movies during break time. I sometimes pick a more surreal bend for my flicks, but that’s it. What I’m trying to say is if I saw a badly made statue in an art exhibit, assuming I somehow wound up there in the first place, I’d forget it within three seconds.

Then I got the chance to work on the statue and found that Gale was completely, utterly right.

[Operator Stone is questioned about their vehemence to an anomaly that is functionally immobile and inert.]

I know it just sits there in silence. That’s the whole problem. It’s boring.

Yes, I know working on it is easy. The same can be said for staring at a blank wall all day, but I’m not about to start liking that either! All the other anomalies I’ve worked with…they at least all did something, even if it was trying to rip my guts out. What, I’m supposed to be impressed by a piece of stone that just lies on the ground like a fatass? That’s not interesting. I can’t tell a story about that to my mates. The company shrink would pay me to shut my mouth about it!

The more I look at the statue, the more I want to tear it to pieces, just to bring some pattern or color to the area around it. But that wouldn’t work, right? Because the stupid thing gets rid of any attempts to make it look prettier, like a disgusting little brat throwing a tantrum then doing the opposite of what his parents tell him because it’s ‘cool’ and he’s obviously the one who knows better. Damn near broke the bones in my foot from kicking it. That rotten piece of…

[Operator Stone slams their fist on the table and utters a string of profanity for ten seconds.]

…sorry about that. The second stage effects are getting to me. Feels like hornets buzzing around my head made out of glue. That high I got isn’t working anymore.

[Operator Stone is asked about their fellow operators’ reactions to DA-OBJ-0314. The examples listed in DA-OBJ-0314’s Anomaly Description are mentioned.]

No, I don’t feel the same way. I understand why the others might see it as vomit-inducing or the worst thing since meeting the in-laws or whatever. They have their perspectives, I have mine. That’s it, I’m afraid.

That poor test kitten though, seriously what the hell…

[Operator Stone is asked about their opinion on similar, non-anomalous statues.]

…no, I don’t care about other statues made from meteorites, or involve humans impaled by swords. What’s your point? Just because something is original doesn’t mean it’s automatically good. The first human who took a dump still did a dump and the end result was still brown and smelly!

And here’s another thing! I cannot stand its EWS. Have you tried suddenly reciting your reports after spending five years typing them on a computer? It’s not fun. It’s not fun for the person listening. We’re not audio mixers, damn it. Yes, I know the protocols are there for a reason!

The bloody thing reminds me of my mom too.

[A few seconds after stating the line, Operator Stone halts their speech and becomes disorientated.]

Huh? What?

Wait, wait, wait…

No, that’s not right. That’s not Mom. Mom was the best. She wasn’t like that. It was that bastard who was the real waste of space…

Why did I confuse…what is wrong with me?

[Operator Stone is asked what the matter is.]

Sorry, I lost my train of thought there. I’m not normally like this. Do you have any other questions?

[Operator Stone is asked to clarify about what happened.]

The statue reminded me of the bastard…I mean, my father, but somehow I got him confused with my Mom instead. It was stupid. It shouldn’t have happened.

[Operator Stone is asked to elaborate further on the relation between the statue and their father. Operator Stone displays signs of apprehension, then relents.]

Whatever, it’s not a huge secret anyway.

My father was a hollow-faced bastard. Lazy, cowardly, bad-tempered…you get the picture. He’d stumble home at the early hours of the morning, high on cyber and slump on the couch. Unmoving, drooling out of his crusty mouth…almost mistook him for a corpse a few times. Then he’d get up the next morning, leave the house and do it all over again.

There were times where he’d try to clean his act up, where he swore that this would be the last time for realsies, but it never stuck. At some point, his primary concern degenerated from being a loving husband and father down into a fat sack of garbage only concerned with filling his guts with smoke and booze.

And to top it all off, he had the gall to call us the nasty ones when we dumped him at the cops. Like, are you kidding me? Don’t get me started on the time he got addicted to those life-immersive sims…

[Operator Stone is reminded to return to the topic.]

Oops, sorry. Anyway, the way that bastard used to lie on the sofa is exactly like how that bloody statue is. It’s just disgusting. My mom though, she was an angel. She kept us fed, worked double shifts and made sure the basics were running. I have no clue how I confused the two just then, but it’s probably that damn DA’s fault.

[Operator Stone is asked if they require additional support.]

It’s alright. I haven’t seen or thought about that bastard for a long time. Let’s just wrap this up.

[INTERVIEW END]


Operator Stone was given memory revision treatment per EWS protocols. Further interviews revealed that the vehemence generated by DA-OBJ-0314 was indeed anomalous. Readers of this document are advised not to query about Operator Stone’s father unless necessary.

 

DOCUMENT A-05-0314/2: Asset Evaluation & Special Testing Log


DA-OBJ-0314 was placed under asset evaluation once sufficient research was completed. It was quickly determined DA-OBJ-0314 could not be purposed as a compulsion-based weapon, due to security concerns arising from its victims possessing an inherent understanding of DA-OBJ-0314’s current location.


Focus then shifted to countering the compulsive effects of DA-OBJ-0314. A successful counteragent could not only inoculate operators from DA-OBJ-0314’s effects, but also provide a basis for future counteragents. However, as all primary and secondary observers will fall victim to DA-OBJ-0314’s effects, research in this area was considered impractical.


The Office of Cognitive Research & Development theorized that the dreams generated by DA-OBJ-0314’s second stage were non-compulsive enough for analysis. A test to explore the dreams was designed and conducted on 09/01/2089.


Objective: To explore the dreams generated by DA-OBJ-0314’s second stage effects. Personnel: Operator Ewe5—a specialist capable of consistent, simultaneous awareness in cognizant and oneiric thought-spaces. Operator Ewe5 has also assisted in suppressions of other compulsion or thought-space based anomalies.

Methodology: Operator Ewe5 is to perform Abuse-type work on DA-OBJ-0314, allow the second stage effects to occur and finally initiate wake-initiated lucid dreaming (WILD) via ingestion of sleeping medication. Descriptions are to be recorded from spoken audio. Maximum allocated time is five minutes.


A summarization of the test is as follows:


[0:00] Operator Ewe5 (henceforth referred to as ‘subject’) puts on a padded-protection suit, sits down cross-legged inside the test chamber and injects the sleeping medication into her bloodstream. She falls unconscious but her eyes do not close.

[0:10] Subject begins vocalising descriptions of her dream. She stands in the central reception area of Zone-117. Subject performs a pre-check sequence, then proceeds forward.

[0:15] Subject arrives at DA-OBJ-0314’s containment chamber at the end of the hallway and notes the aberrant topology. She enters the chamber and punches the anomaly. Her right arm lashes out in the waking world to match the action.

[0:20] DA-OBJ-0314 collapses inward and spills grey, scentless innards over the chamber floor. The intestines, liver and stomach of a human body are visible. Subject remarks that the motion felt like punching a sandbag in the Zone-117 gymnasium. They are then sucked back up as DA-OBJ-0314 regenerates.

[0:25] Subject hits the statue a few more times, expressing glee at the action.

[0:27] Subject notices a door at the back of the containment chamber. She enters it and finds herself in another instance of the same containment chamber, complete with another DA-OBJ-0314.

[1:31] Exploration continues down a corridor consisting of many connected DA-OBJ-0314 containment chambers. Visions of other operators appear in the chambers, repeating past works on the anomaly. Examples include Operator Stone graffitiing with a marker, Operator Viper breaking their teeth and a test canine urinating on DA-OBJ-0314’s body.

[1:29] Subject notices a staircase leading up to a different door in the wall. She climbs it and proceeds down a tunnel. A blue light glows in the distance.

[2:06] Subject exits the tunnel. She stands in a bright cylindrical structure, surrounded by reflective walls and floor. The ceiling cannot be seen.

[2:00] Subject climbs up a spiral staircase. She notes the lack of exhaustion that would otherwise be present on her waking form. Subject examines the stairs and notices images of DA-OBJ-0314 inside, its image reflected and refracted in multiple directions by prism-like objects within the translucent steps.

[2:40] The climb resumes. Subject counts the edges in the walls, resulting in six. After some time, the walls cease reflecting and now display unknown figures interacting with DA-OBJ-0314. Their faces are obscured and their bodies seem to be constructed from a shadowy mass. Multiple non-approved work actions are conducted by the figures, such as immolation, electrocution, exsanguination and suffocation via water immersion. Some scenes display DA-OBJ-0314 as malleable, while others do not.

[2:46] Subject wonders if DA-OBJ-0314’s EWS protocols could be adjusted to include these new work actions. The idea is quickly dismissed due to cost reasons.

[3:19] After more climbing, subject’s body starts to accelerate forward, as if pushed via an electronic motor. She now takes multiple steps at a time during the ascent.

[3:24] The acceleration sharply increases. Subject’s speech increases in volume and frequency. The scenes on the walls blur into a single thick line in DA-OBJ-0314’s coloration. A single point coalesces in the distance. Subject counts down from sixteen as she approaches it.

[3:30] Subject reaches the top of the structure and gazes up into a night sky displaying an abnormal number of stars. Earthly constellations are not present. Subject makes comparisons to the interior of a kaleidoscope and the debris on a beach. She then comments on her love of astronomy as a child.

[3:35] Subject notices an entity behind her. She turns around.

[3:37] Subject opens her mouth to comment. She fails to vocalise, then slumps forward with her head bowed.

[4:07] Subject remains still. Her handlers prepare to interfere.

[4:09] Suddenly, subject jerks her head up. Her eyes begin rolling their sockets. Her mouth opens and a constant, garbled sound flows from within at elevated speed. The audio recording equipment malfunctions and dumps a continuous data stream of DA-OBJ-0314’s unknown language interspersed with passages in multiple non-anomalous languages. This language is also seen growing and spreading out from beneath subject’s feet, crawling towards the walls and eventually covering the ceiling.

[4:21] Subject’s handlers rush into the test chamber and inject her with waking agents. Text dump and growth of DA-OBJ-0314’s language halts. Subject is escorted to the medical wing. Test is aborted.


Upon waking, Operator Ewe5 did not recall what caused the anomalous disruption of the test. She displayed extreme anger consistent with DA-OBJ-0314’s first stage effects and attempted to abscond from the medical wing. Operator Ewe5 was sedated, treated with memory revision and has since returned to active duty.


Following this test, the Chief Committee voted to fully reject DA-OBJ-0314 as an asset.


 

DOCUMENT A-05-0314/3: Analysis of DA-OBJ-0314’s Unknown Language


Following sufficient research of DA-OBJ-0314, the unknown script found in its hilt and environmental corruption was delivered to the Office of Linguistics for analysis. The following is a transcript of a report spoken by Operator Stigma at a monthly review session.


The first property we discovered about DA-OBJ-0314’s script was that it wasn’t anomalous. That was good news. It was the only good news, because we didn’t have much else to go on. Yes, we could analyze the composition of individual characters in DA-OBJ-0314’s script. I’ll briefly summarize it. It’s a logographic-based language utilizing combinations of hexagons, circles, triangles, rhombuses and the aforementioned polygons constructed from multiple jagged lines. Each character can possess up to fifty strokes and over thirty thousand unique characters have been recorded. We also believe that the angle of certain radicals and the size of each character in comparison to adjacent characters holds significance. That, we were all sure of. But deciphering an unknown language, without any reference to an existing one? It’s practically impossible. Doesn’t matter how many terabytes of dictionaries or fancy quantum computers we have; if we can’t compare the language to an end result, then we’re basically fumbling through the dark. Consider the whale song. Three-hundred years since its discovery and it still remains a mystery because we’ve got nothing to compare it to. We tried to make our own references, of course. We brought in data-storage devices with pre-loaded texts into DA-OBJ-0314’s environment to see if there was any correlation pre and post corruption. There wasn’t. We tried comparing the script to our own logographic languages, such as Japanese or Egyptian hieroglyphics. Our machine learning algorithms found matches, but the results were discarded due to ambiguity around the semantics and syntax. Long story short, we hit a dead end. The entire office was prepared to write the project off. Then Ewe5 conducted her dream test and created the breakthrough we had been all waiting for. Turns out if you separate DA-OBJ-0314’s script with the other languages, join both sequences up and compare them side by side, you get a usable reference. Imagine the Rosetta stone, except split in two and the legible part swaps between different languages every half-line or so. So, our work continued. The range of languages we suddenly had to switch gears into was quite vast. The dump included Traditional Chinese, Hebrew, Cyrillic, Devanagari and even dead languages such as Latin and Germanic runes. Each one of those has its own syntax and semantics and comparing them to a single language with its own unique properties has not been an easy task. Still, we’ve made progress. We’ve managed to translate a few repeated passages in the dump. Presenting them now, though bear in mind this is still a work in progress:



We do not understand the [reasons/knowledge]. We cannot see what was so [magnificent/grandiose] in that [entity/collective as a whole]. So, we no longer care. 


A refusal to speak [despite/even with] with the signals, stacked high as the [reverse valleys/mountains]. Such emotions should be beautiful. Yet, they are [revolting/pitiful].
 
Indeed, what has happened since was all too [satisfying/sustaining] for you. Enough time has not elapsed. The treasured one has still not [recovered/restored]. [Unknown number of great value] of stars also now float in the [sky/emptiness/space]. Can you see, feel, hear them? Or are you ignorant? 


Be [placed/forced] into the [shell/skin] of grey. [Unknown sixth pronoun] shall press down with the [finger/implement/tool]. Feel grateful that it is not [bigger/superior]. Seek the [Unknown number of even greater value] across the lower [sky/emptiness/space] and let them watch back. 


A [cycle/loop] that is now a single [point/aspect/spot], yet still enacting. A line that splits and extends [infinitely/never], until even the boundaries are [frightened/ashamed]. Where is [our/their] [perception/understanding]? If not already, it should arrive very, very soon. 

We also theorize the characters inscribed on DA-OBJ-0314’s hilt are a signature of sorts, given they appear far less frequently in the text dump. We hope to have more accurate translations within the next few months. As for my personal thoughts on this project? Firstly, massive thanks to all the operators and staff members who helped us with this project. The statue might not be the most useful anomaly I’ve worked on, but I’m satisfied with what we’ve achieved so far. Though, it was convenient how Ewe5’s test gave us the tools to keep translating, right when we were banging our heads against the wall… Well, I’ll let the Chief Committee ponder over that.



 

Congratulations to author SaltBlossom, who won 1st place in INDIECON 2022 and the $250 prize with this entry.


Click here to view the other entries.


© SaltBlossom

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