Phenomenon-25

Ambrosia

Esteemed members of the board,

Thank you, director, for answering the questions we raised in our previous letter. The Chair of the Association of Ishtar has considered your request for cooperation in the matter surrounding P-25 and has come to the following verdict.
Would any Associate discover a P-25 production facility, they have the Chair’s blessing to blast it straight into the Void! Should any employees resist, they will be treated as any other threat to the world, as is the Association’s raison d’être.

Let us be very clear.

The Association of Ishtar does not serve the board nor takes its orders. The Association cooperates with the board of directors because it is in the spirit of the oath that every Associate has taken. Regarding the board’s latest project, however, we cannot yield our position. Would the board insist on doing otherwise, this is nothing short of hubris, and the Chair would have no choice but to reevaluate this alliance.
That is our position. Ignore this letter at your own risk.

Yours truly,

The First Chairman of the Association of Ishtar

Description

P-25 is a medicine concocted from a collection of otherworldly flora that is believed to cure various medical afflictions such as Carcinoma, Sarcoma, Leukemia, Lymphoma, and various blood-related conditions.
The substances that comprise P-25 are poorly understood and can only be made from various fungi and corals native to the environment of C-08. At the request of the board, the Association investigated the possibility of turning these organisms into a crop for domestic production.

What follows is a synopsis from ‘the Advisory Rapport on the Introduction of P-25 to Atlas’.

 

Esteemed members of the board,

Special Committee Clusius was asked to study and evaluate the possibility of growing plants and fungi for the domestic production of P-25. For this purpose, a number of dignitaries went on an excursion to C-08 in order to study these organisms inside their natural habitat and observed how the local population interacts with these plants. The species in question have been designated the following.

5-1: Diploastrea heliopora Arkologea

A coral-like species that can form orange dome-shaped colonies of great size. A colonial species, D. heliopora grows into domes of about 1,5 to 3 meters. The corallites are round and closely packed, about 6 cm in diameter, and formed by extra-tentacular budding, which are not connected to each other. ‘Forests’ of these colonies are known to clog tunnels, and their stems require power tools to be cleared away. Although it has little nutritional value, the corallites are believed to grant a burst of energy when consumed. We might be looking at a type of amphetamine, but this requires further research.

P25-2: Cordyceps Arkologia

A simple mushroom-like organism that grows on dead tissue into white bioluminescent tubular stems. There is a taboo on consuming it due to it growing on cadavers, but it's a known pain reliever with mild psychedelic properties. Recommended to be used in small doses only, and when not operating heavy machinery.

P25-3: Ganoderma Arkologia

A fungus that grows on any organic surface, living or dead, into a purple-varnished kidney-shaped cap, with luminescent trim. Its peripherally inserted stem gives it a distinct fan-like appearance. Despite its low nutritional value, scavengers enjoy chewing like jerky because it suppresses the appetite. It's an acquired taste like Escargot. (The French will love it)

P25-4: Singeria Arkologia
Small parasitic fungi whose mycelium is embedded inside existing fungal colonies and coral reefs, and grow into thin stems with luminous bulbs at the end. It’s very common in C-08 and some of Arkology's residents use it to decorate and illuminate their dens. It has the potential to be an anti-inflammatory and is claimed to possess other properties as well. But this would require more research.

P25-5: Phallacae Arkologia

Reminiscent of some members of the earthly Stinkhorn family, these fungi nest in warm places, including machines. Its outside appearance is blue purplish while fleshy pink on the inside. From its stem grow aloe vera-shaped tendrils that smell of sulfur, attracting insects and small animals that stick to the insides like on glue. From its ‘mouth’ between the tendrils drip frog-spawn-like seed clusters that have various health benefits, and are used in many salves and elixirs.

 

To summarize, these plants, fungi, and corals are native to C-08, but likely originated from different Planes, and cannot be classified through known Linnaean classifications. On top of that, they are highly resilient and spread through most of C-08’s known structures. Attempts to exterminate this flora in the vicinity of the settlements are ongoing, and infected areas need to be cleared on a weekly basis with fire, and in some cases chemicals, to prevent further contamination.
It is in the opinion of Special Committee Clusius, after comparing the benefits to the risks, that the import of any P-25 related species for cultivation is irresponsible. Although the diseases these medicines might cure are a blight on humanity, we risk introducing a possible plague onto the world we cannot contain.
The board will have to decide if producing a preventive medicine is worth risking the safety of our world’s entire ecosystem.

 

Discovery

The existence of P-25 was brought to the attention of ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ Associate 244 when she went looking for medical treatment on C-08. What follows is an excerpt from her report.

“I was first told of the medicine by a doctor in Arkology. After she investigated me in a way a mortician would, she concluded I suffered from afflictions caused by P-05, which I experienced the year before. She gave me a drug that would keep the malignant neoplasm at bay. In other words, Cancer.
In no uncertain terms, it was explained to me I should take the substance bi-daily. Now, I am required to return to Arkology on a regular basis to retrieve my medicine…
[…]
Would I have the ingredients on hand, I could produce these in a simple laboratory. Not very different for distilling spirits. Growing the ingredients, however, is a whole different challenge. The procreation of most C-08’s flora is very efficient and highly competitive. Not to mention their parasitic qualities, nesting themselves on other lifeforms with ease. I would require a fortified shelter if I wanted to do so responsibly.”

Letters from the Board of Directors on the reevaluation of P-25: 187▓ ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓

 

Esteemed members of the Chair,

In advance of the upcoming board meeting, I would like the Chair to consider the following.
In the aftermath of incident 1878-17, in the vicinity of ▓▓▓▓▓, The Regulatory Board for Rift Related Activity has been requested by various governments to reassess the construction of a P-25 production facility for the wellbeing of the general population.
To summarize, during the aforementioned incident, a Type-IV Outsider appeared inside a densely populated area. A local containment unit managed to control the situation and dispatched the creature. But did so under the assumption that it was a Type-II incursion. Unfortunately, the creature might have been radioactive and contaminated both the environment and the population. Now, leukemia and related diseases are frequent and doctors are unable to help patients and their families.
The situation in the community is dire. People demand to know what caused the epidemic, and the authorities are desperate. Rumors about the radiation incited an attack on a local radiologist, the only one in the country at this time. People believe that his X-ray machine is the cause of the contamination. He and his wife were attacked by an angry mob and had to seek refuge in a nearby hotel. This happened despite his X-ray having been vital in diagnosing the patients in the first place.
We included this event to illustrate the severity of the situation. Broadcasting masts and power lines have also been targeted by neo-Luddites; people who blame science for this epidemic.
Currently, the government has issued martial law, claiming the disease might be contagious, so they can prevent people from fleeing the city and spreading further panic. The attacks on the mast had been beneficial in that regard.
Production and distribution of P-25 could drastically reduce leukemia and similar diseases. We could contain one of the major scourges that plagued mankind for longer than history. Therefore, we request the Association’s cooperation in this effort.

The Chair of the Association responded to the request with the following letter

Esteemed members of the Board of Directors,

 

Considering all directors seem to be intending on commissioning the P-25 laboratories, it falls on the shoulders of the Association to object to this proposition. Allow me to elaborate with an example.
In the 1770’s, a shipment of rabbits had been imported into Australia’s colonies. In 1827, newspapers reported rabbits were roaming Australian estates by the thousands, destroying crops and the environment. Ask any Australian farmer about the efforts they have to go through to contain the vermin population that is not just threatening their livelihoods but all of Australia’s fertile lands. At least they can control these with walls and fences. The animals can be hunted for food, their borrows be collapsed.
The plants required for the production of P-25, however. Not even the hostile environment of C-08 can destroy them. Up there, special units have to clear out the tunnels on a daily basis, despite there being no soil nor sunlight.
Has the board made any plans on what to do when these life forms are released into the world? Has anyone proposed the creation of any containment units, or reserved any resources in preparation for the inevitable plague?
In short, the Association will not change its position. We implore the board not to endorse this project or to risk replacing one type of plague for another.
That being said, allow us to state a number of observations the Association has made over the past few years.
To begin, we are well aware certain member states have the intention to force the board’s decision on this matter by threatening to slash funding. We are also aware of some of these politician’s family tragedies. However, it is the Chair’s opinion that personal dilemmas should not be turned into global policy.
Isn’t it also true that only the Association can provide the ingredients required in the production process of P-25? The Chair would like an elaboration on how the board intends to acquire these resources without their aid.

 

Yours truly,

The First Chairman of the Association of Ishtar

 

 

Addendum P25-3: Internal missive

Fellow chairmen. It has come to our attention that the Board of Directors acquired samples of P25-1 through P25-5 from the Cyprians. It confirms a suspicion we had for a long time. The Cyprians have access to C-08.
This compromises our standing with the directors greatly, and measures must be taken so we don’t lose any further advantages. As for P-25, I suggest we create a task force to investigate this matter further and act appropriately.
- 5

Addendum P25-4: Telephone call between a board member and member of the chair

After a short exchange through telegrams, the Board of Directors requested an audio conversation through a newly established telephone line to discuss P-25 production.

“Hello, Hello?”
‘You are coming through just fine, sir.’
“So, ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓, old boy. Have you-”
‘Shall we keep this short? The answer is No. And yes.’
“Excuse me?”
‘No. The decision has been made and we will not change our minds. And, Yes. We will go to war over this.’
“Now, OK. Let’s at least have a conversation first.”
‘We have.’
“Have we? Do you comprehend what we are trying to accomplish here?”
‘We do, director.’
“We are talking about eradication of a disease that has plagued humanity for millennia.”
‘Please, stop treating P-25 as if it is a miracle drug sent down by God, director. This could cause nine types of hell, and the board brushes it off as a mild inconvenience.’
“We have done no such thing. We have shown the designs for the production facilities and they are foolproof.”
‘You think you can stop what Arkology failed to contain inside of C-08 itself?’
“Those are just savages.”
‘You are missing the point. Once you fail to contain it once, you won’t get a chance to contain it again.’
“These are just hypotheticals! Think about the lives we can save. The suffering…”
‘Whose suffering, may I ask?’
“Oh, please!”
‘Answer me, director! There are about 1.5 billion people in the world today. Are you really intent on giving them all your wonder drugs? And who are going to be the first beneficiaries of this product, exactly?’
“Oh, I see where this is going.”
‘Do you? That foresight would have been useful when you were answering our previous letters.’
“We will assure the drug will be made valuable to everyone in due time.”
‘Due time, director?’
“Yes, due time! Despite what your accusations might imply, we will take every precaution…”
[The Chairman start laughing]
“What's so funny?”
‘People are dying this very minute, director. You think they’ll wait for you? Speaking of which, this has taken long enough. If you think the Association will be mere observers while the board dots the globe with these magnetic time bombs, you are sorely mistaken, director.’
“Is that a threat, chairman?”
‘I wouldn’t think of it, director. A warning of what will happen if you insist on forcing this issue. That being said, I am truly sorry about your niece.’
“How dare you! That is none of your concern!”
‘You are a member of the board, director. That makes it our concern… Good day.’

[The connection gets terminated]

 

 

Addendum P25-5

On 1st March, 18▓▓ , the Association received an emergency telegram from the Board of Directors.

Esteemed chairmen,

I regret to inform you there has been a security breach inside our Leiden laboratory where experiments were being conducted with P-25 related flora. Various specimens have been stolen and we request the Association’s aid in retrieving them.
Due to the nature of the project, we count on your discretion in this matter. I’m sure you are aware of the importance of these items being returned as quickly as possible.
A special courier is en-route with all available information at our disposal.

Addendum P25-6a

The following segment is an excerpt from Associate 244’s personal log regarding the retrieval of the stolen P-25 ingredients.

[…]The Badlands were unlike anything I had seen before. Dunes of sand rock reduced to stony mushrooms with a cap of harder stone. At night, it felt like I was back on ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ [C-08] because of Hudoo’s silhouettes. Just without the glowy bits. At night it is just darkness. It’s never dark on ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ [C-08].
To think our journey to this desolate place started in Amsterdam. There we used some of our underworld connections to track down a middleman of the Cyprians and captured him for interrogation. He claimed not to know how the Cyprians managed to acquire the ingredients for P-25. He did confess selling it to a bureaucrat from Brussels who then left Rotterdam for New York using the Holland-America Line. Apparently, he was of East-Asian descent.
We managed to find the aliases of the suspect and his fellow travelers. In New York, we picked up the trail and followed their movements. Good thing we traveled by air, for we followed them all the way to ▓▓▓▓▓▓.

About a half-day’s travel away from the city, hidden inside a narrow canyon, we found their compound: a small fortress with just one entryway. Walls, overseen by two watchtowers, barred our way. The surrounding cliffs were covered by two pile boxes inside the south and north rock formations. It would have required a regiment to take to this place. However, due to the remoteness of the location, the Dragoons are able to deploy some of their more ‘advanced’ hardware.
But Associate 165 told me not to trust the Dragoons, as he suspected some of the Dragoons might be compromised. Even if not by an outside force, they might be in it for personal reasons.
I was struck by the realization of how privileged I am for being the only one with access to this medicine… Then again. I don’t get it for free. It scares me that I need to chase after this stuff like an opium fiend in the hope it will protect me… Yes, instead of a euphoric high it gives me an injection of hope I might not be afflicted.

Associate 165, 391, and I joined three platoons of Dragoons. At the initiation of the operation, sharpshooters managed to take down a number of the guards before the second platoon descended down the cliffs. The first and third platoon pinned the guards. At first, I feared we had too few troops to take the fort, but once the assault had started, the fight seemed awfully one-sided. Only their Gatling guns were a real threat, but once one of the pile boxes was blown up with a grenade, the enemy surrendered.

We - 165, 391, and I - quickly moved in to get to our targets before the Dragoons could. Unfortunately, our intelligence failed to inform us of an escape route. An old mineshaft. I uncovered the hidden exit easily enough but, down in the tunnels, we nearly lost their trail. Instead, we come upon a storage room ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓ ▓▓▓ ▓▓ ▓▓ ▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓ ▓ ▓ ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ ▓▓▓ ▓▓ ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓
Finally, we caught up, but one suspect got away in an electric carriage, leaving the other suspects behind. Fortunately, we contacted our allies. 165 was hesitant about the decision, but I ignored him. Swiftly, the Nimrod-gunboat gave chase.
Near the mine’s exit, we were left with four suspects, including an older gentleman of Asian descent and his sick granddaughter.
All of this. It was all for her. A lot of people died, so she could live. But she won’t. I considered telling him. Just to rub in all that he has done was for nothing… Maybe it was too cruel.

Addendum P25-6b

Esteemed members of the board,

I’m pleased to inform you, the fugitives have been located in the Eastern Badlands. Assisted by Special Committee Dragoons, the compound had been seized and the culprits, including their employers, and have been apprehended.
As for what has been ascertained, their employer sought to use P-25 for himself and his family. He justified his actions by claiming the board intended to distribute the first batches only to high-ranking families of “European descent”.
Unfortunately, one suspect attempted to escape and our Associates gave chase. The culprit escaped the facility in an unknown model electric vehicle that needed to be chased down by the Dragoon’s support aircraft. The chase ended when the culprit drove down a 50-foot cliff together with his cargo.
The crew recovered the ruptured container. Its contents however scattered across a rock face and an estimated 200 feet wide area, taking the air currents into account.
Fortunately, a containment unit was already being prepared but wasn’t ready for deployment at the time. I promise to keep a keen eye on the cleaning operation.

Associate 244 and 361 have delivered the suspects to our lodge in New York and the interrogation should be forthcoming.

 

The prying prevail,
 

Associate 165

TOP SECRET

For the eyes of Members of the Chair only

 

Esteemed members of the Chair,

 

We, of Special Committee Hortus in collaboration with some of our colleagues in Leiden, have investigated the documentation recovered from the ‘Directorate Greenhouse’. As we suspected, they were indeed experimenting with various alien flora. It does appear the initial intent of the facility was to study plant reproduction and the development of measures to contain such threats. However, within years, the teams started to explore the possibility of weaponization and medical applications.
P-25 was part of their projects. Quite frankly, we were horrified by the discovery that there were two objectives. The first is ‘Project Ambrosia’. The development of medicine. Plans include mass production, testing, and distribution to unspecified groups of people including a rough outline of a timetable regarding the prior.
The second, more puzzling one, is ‘Project Eden’. Documentation on the project includes prospects on global dispersion, reproduction, effects on ecologies, and test results regarding the optimal environmental conditions for the expansion of various alien flora, some of which are unknown to us.

Esteemed members of the Chair. We suspect a third-party influence in this matter. A group dedicated to physically transforming the world, and possibly humanity itself. Based on the documentation recovered on Project Ambrosia, P-25 doesn’t just drastically reduce the development of cancer in individuals. It has the potential to prolong human life. To what extent, only time will tell.
If we are correct, we might be dealing with a secret society. Unfortunately, the project’s leads have fled. I also heard that Mr. ▓▓▓▓▓▓ met an unfortunate end en route to New York. Maybe it’s all a coincidence, and these documents are but the flight of fancy by naive ideologues. However, I have one final announcement.

On the 7th of April, 18▓▓ a bird carcass was discovered in Fort Collins, Colorado, with a fungal infection identified as P25-2. This information has been passed on to RA, who declared this to be a native threat and is no longer the Association’s concern.

P-25-annotated-2.png
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