odds and ends
This is my sandbox. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

The data doesn't lie. Usually. But when the data lies, the metadata can shed some light on the truth.

Dr. Ericson liked taking the bus to work. Sure, it doubled his commute, but he could pay more attention to the patterns outside when he wasn't driving. The geese were migrating south a full two days earlier this year, another data point for global warming. The man in the red hat at this stop forgot his lunch box for the second time this week, he should be getting more sleep instead of sleeping around. Traffic had been slowly but steadily increasing for the last couple of years, but bus patrons had fallen, more rich people moving into this neighborhood. Dr. Ericson loved patterns.

He moved like clockwork through the secure data center, waving at Jerry behind the one-way mirror on his way through the security checkpoint, dropping his lunch in his usual spot in the break room fridge, and dropped into his chair at exactly 7:59. Dr. Erickson logged into his computer and pulled up his email, looking forward to finding out what his next project would be.

The site director had emailed him about a new block of data that had finished being sanitized. Memetics and infohazards were a concern in his line of work, but they had many filters, checks, and balances before it made it all the way out here to analytics. Over half a terabyte of sanitized and double blind metadata, exactly the kind of data he liked best. Dr. Erickson put on his headphones, started his music, pointed his workstation at this fresh new data, and got to work.

At exactly 11:59, Dr. Ericson stood up, stretched, and walked to the break room to grab his lunch. Stepping away from the problem can help solve the problem, more often than not. He knew he had geo-locations, times, and the results of some kind of scanner. What he needed was a 5d projection; a globe that he could spin forwards and backwards in time. along with a heat map, showing the change in values from the scan. With that thought in mind, he decided he'd eat at his desk today, as he did every day, to get a little bit more time in on this.

The scanning didn't cover the whole world, and the scanners weren't on all the time, but there was enough data that Dr. Ericson could extrapolate. He waited with anticipation as the graphical interface imported the data he had curated. And then, up popped a globe. It looked like a heat map of anomalies, based on the very red locations around known Foundation sites, and other hot spots might be other GOI sites or secret Foundation sites. This was really good data. Ericson frowned and leaned in closer, as the timer ticked up, there were little points of black slowly rolling around the globe. They disappeared when they moved into extrapolated areas, but reappeared when picked up by the next scanner. He counted a couple dozen of these points, and did a bit more extrapolation, and decided he had something to show to Harris.

Director Harris looked at the globe, frowning. "So, these little black points all over the globe are just… slowly rolling around in elliptical patterns, yelling 'nothing anomalous here, move along'? This seems… really obvious. Our guys at each point should have noticed something odd." "I know," said Dr. Erickson, "I normally sift through data for days before finding almost imperceptible blips, if anything. This one jumped right out at me." "So what is it?" "I'm not sure, I'm just the patterns guy. If I had less sanitized data, I might be able to work out more information, or possibly I could also be affected by the infohazard and work out less." Harris' frown deepened. "I'll put together a ground team and see what we can see, but we need to keep that on the other side of the double blind so this site isn't compromised." Dr. Ericson was a bit worried, this was a little too close to an info hazard for his liking, and he really didn't like the idea of things messing with his head. "You want me to keep digging on this data, see what else I can dredge up?" "Yeah, keep doing what you do best, and I recommend you get this dataset extra tidy, as I'll be requesting a follow up to this data once the team on the other side has done something, so we can make sure something has been done. Oh, and good work!" Dr. Ericson forced a smile, still uncomfortable with being this close to an infohazard. "Thanks boss. Good luck with your end!"

Two days later, Harris heard back through the double blind from the Task Force, they had gone to their assigned coordinates at their assigned time, and apparently just stood there as whatever it was rolled right by them. Apparently none of their recording equipment recorded anything of note, and no one on the task force had anything to report. Dr. Ericson had been given another day's worth of data, along with the coordinates of the task force, and watched with concern as the little black dot slid right through the task force's pin on his map. Sifting through the metadata, Dr. Ericson was pretty sure that the task force left the field with some missing time, but not one of them had reported as such.

Uncontained and unknown, Director Harris had only one option: escalate. So he arranged an unknown hazard meeting with the next "available" O5, this was critical enough that he got a meeting just later today. He hated meeting with 05s, they always…

Harris found himself back at his desk, staring vacantly at a note with an outline of a plan that apparently the 05 and himself had hashed out, after all it was in his handwriting. Apparently there was an Antimemetics Division, and they had some kinds of mnestic drugs that could help with bouts of forgetfulness. They've approved the use of some of these drugs on a gaggle of d-class, apparently most of these drugs aren't at all safe.

Sarah "Bumbles" McAlister was as used to infohazards as anyone could be, as the leader of Task Force Iota 9 "The invisibles", that was her job, but as far as she could remember, she hadn't heard of mnestics before. That was a part of why she loved her job, though, it was always something new.

"Alright team, our instructions are as clear as they are inscrutable, and our timer is counting down, so let's double check everything one more time. Everyone on my team already pop their little green pills?" There were nods and grunts of acknowledgement around the circle. "Our… contractors," she said, motioning to the half dozen d-class in the center of their circle, "you ready to pop your red and blue pills?" One of the d-class responded "Hey, sure, anything beats being locked up." Bumbles suppressed a grimace at that, she had been told that the red pills were the strongest, but fried your brain in a couple of hours, but she couldn't tell the d-class that. "Next point down the checklist, we have the faraday cage mobile containment unit prepared?" She motioned at the big box truck with the back open and the ramp down, the engine running. "So now the D-class pop their pills, and then we see if we can find something. If we find something, we load it into the truck and get it to Site 19 before our mnestics wear off. Everyone keep your mics and cameras rolling, snipers in position?" The radio chirped, "In position." "No matter what comes around next, keep your cool and carry out the plan as best as we can." The radio chirps again "I got… something." "Alright, here we go!"

Dr. Ericson reviewed the data the next day. The little black blip met the Task Force, and then the little black blip disappeared. He smiled "Looks like we got one."