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Mnemonic Plague Aerosoluable, Easily Weaponized
November 2, 2027
ATLANTA--Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control reported Thursday that Mnemonic Plague--a mysterious and debilitating disorder affecting the brain--can be readily transformed into a highly-infectious weapon that could be easily spread using a crop duster, lawn sprinkler, or even a simple, everyday atomizer. "On its own, [Mnemonic Plague] is contagious and characterized by a long, pre-symptomatic incubation period," notes Dr. Hillary Jest, CDC Director of Emergent Disorders. "Recent research indicates that it can also quite easily be refined and deployed as an agent of bioterrorism."
The Plague, known among researchers as Memory-Acquisitive Ego-Occlusion Disorder ("MAEOD"), is characterized by a sudden, rapid derangement of the ability to form 'ego-related and ego-affective' memories, coupled with an increasing proclivity to appropriate 'ex-egoic' narratives, memes, and vignettes. "The symptomology is fairly clear," explains Professor Eugene Mash of the UCLA Medical Center. "Patients become incapable of remembering any of their own experience, or of retaining information about themselves. Instead, they transform tidbits of information about others--typically strangers, often celebrities and television personalities--into false memories about themselves."
"I remember so clearly the time I broke my sister Marsha's nose with a football," recalls one MAEOD patient. "It was just an accident really. They tell me that it never happened to me, that I don't even have a sister, but I just don't see how they could be right."
Though clinicians have yet to identify additional physical symptoms, specialists have recognized a number of disturbing collective or 'hive' symptoms: dysfunctional and afunctional social dynamics that develop in isolated populations of symptomatic patients.
"By far the most explosive of the group dynamics is the 'No, I'm Spartacus' syndrome," explains Professor Mash. "Because patients build memories out of what they hear from their peers, the endgame in a relatively closed group of MAEOD patients is a convergence on a single memory set, typically followed by aggressive contests over ownership of the memories."
Only recently linked to a little-understood viral agent affecting the brain's production and use of acetylcholine and other neurotransmitters, MAEOD is spread by water cooler chitchat, inappropriate touching, and NBC's Must See TV lineup, including first-run episodes, repeats, and syndicated reruns.
"The etiology is quite bizarre," notes Professor Mash. "It turns out that the virus fairly rapidly populates tissues of the brain and central nervous system, but appears otherwise inactive in the absence of a signature catalyst that just happens to consist of ratios of neurotransmitters typically present in certain regions of the brain during certain activities. In the presence of the catalyst, copies of the virus in local tissue become active and then, zip! in a chain reaction they start activating the virus throughout the frontal lobes."
Speaking for the CDC, Dr. Jest emphasizes that, though the recently isolated MAEOD virus is easy to produce and spread, members of the public "do not, at this time, need to take any precautionary measures" other than "reporting suspicious vapors to the appropriate authorities." Dr. Jest further suggests that the public should remain calm and should "continue watching television, chatting pointlessly around water coolers, and touching each other inappropriately."
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