"Lacquer Head" - A report on the Dimensional Wanderers Syndrome phenomenon

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Abstract

"Dimensional Wanderers Syndrome", also known as "Waterfall Syndrome", refers to a series of supposed phenomena that occur within humans who've spent extended periods of time within alternate realities. Humans who are affected by the phenomena experience a variety of symptoms; these can range from minor insomnia, impulsive behaviors, and body aches to hallucinations, delusions, violent outbursts, and major bodily health issues. In rare, extreme cases, the supposed phenomena has been reported to cause fluxes within a persons Anderson Coherency, and cause them to experience minor anomalies that exist within alternate dimensions that the person has visited.

The phenomena have not been proven to definitively exist, however a sizeable portion of researchers and doctors continue to study the phenomena in the hopes of having it be an officially recognized danger in interdimensional travel.

Introduction

The prospect of life in dimensions beyond our own has intrigued both the worlds of pop culture and academia. As our world becomes more anomalous with each passing year, our understanding of what lies beyond the boundaries of the universe expand before becoming irrelevant at the next discovery. Despite the Authority having knowledge of the methods used to travel between dimensions for hundreds of years, interdimensional travel is still an extremely misunderstood and experimental practice that is only used for the direst of scenarios.

The situation is not bleak however, as the knowledge of interdimensional travel grows daily and each generation of researchers begins to fair better with the challenges present. With this, a recent discovery has slowly come to light. While insight into the phenomena is shaky at best, it is of common belief that said phenomena are likely to exist in some form or another. No official name has been granted to it yet, but it has come to be known among researchers and soldiers as "Dimensional Wanderers Syndrome".

Symptoms

A difficulty in identifying "Dimensional Wanderers Syndrome" is the reported symptoms of individuals afflicted by it. The light and mild symptoms often overlap with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and relatively common conditions that are caused by anomalies such as hallucinations and delusions. The symptoms of "Dimensional Wanderers Syndrome" are classified into 3 different tiers depending on severity:

  • Light symptoms: Minor insomnia, impulsive behavior, occasional distraction from current subject, dreams involving the dimension the individual had returned from, body aches.
  • Mild symptoms: A more intense form of insomnia, increasingly vivid dreams of the dimension, hallucinations, delusions, violent outbursts, health issues; such as chronic migraines, slow weight gain, acid reflux, reduced fertility, and low blood pressure.
  • Extreme symptoms: Extreme symptoms are rare and vary from individual to individual, but the most common symptom between the few cases that have been recorded is the fluctuation in a persons ACS.

Methods of treating "Dimensional Wanderers Syndrome" have varied, but the general consensus among medical personnel is standard trauma treatment practices and necessary medicinals for light and mild symptoms. For extreme symptoms, no one treatment has been proven to aid the patient in recovery. Amnestics have shown not to be effective in treating "Dimensional Wanderers Syndrome", suggesting that the phenomena may not solely be based on remembering events within alternate realities.

Origins

AgentWaterfall.png

Agent Waterfall (depicted on the right) the day before his disappearance

The Authority has the means to travel dimensions since 1███, but the phenomena known as "Dimensional Wanderers Syndrome" has only had reports within the Authority dating back to 1951 following the accidental displacement of Agent Waterfall within ALTR-C2Q4.1 Agent Waterfall had been assisting the researchers in charge of studying ALTR-C2Q4 when a sudden and as of yet unexplained flux in ACS caused a Reznor Reality Observation Engine[1] to open a rift to said reality, displacing Agent Waterfall. After being considered Killed In Action, Agent Waterfall reappeared 9 weeks following the incident. Following his return, Agent Waterfall began to experience mild symptoms of Dimensional Wanderers Syndrome, which contemporary doctors believed to be "shell shock" despite ALTR-C2Q4 being considered a relatively peaceful alternate reality. Several similar cases were described throughout the 1950s and 1960s but it was not until 1973 when a formal investigation into the phenomenon started.

Following a year and a half long investigation, in 1975 it was decided that while the syndrome was likely to exist, there was not enough information and consistency within the experiences of personnel that have traveled dimensions to make an objective verdict on the matter. The Authority's official investigation ceased that same year, but several researchers and medical personnel have made unofficial groups dedicated to continuing research on the phenomena, some of which include personnel who were part of the original investigation.

Evidence

Numerous reports of the phenomena have been filed and many more existing files have been revisited to explore the prospect of them being victims of the phenomena. What follows is a cultivated selection of what is commonly agreed upon to be the best examples of the "Dimensional Wanderers Syndrome" phenomena.

Dr. Shawn Nero's September Report

In 1967, Dr. Shawn Nero was working with several personnel who had recently returned from a month-long expedition to ALTR-████. At the end of the month, Dr. Nero wrote his monthly medical report in which he examined the conditions of the personnel, when he noticed that 4 of 12 personnel who went to ALTR-████ were experiencing odd symptoms that were not expected to occur. Of note, Dr. Nero claims to have no prior knowledge of the phenomena and did not express any interest in it prior to his retirement in 1991.

Doctor Responsible: Shawn Nero

Patient(s): Agent Thomas James, Researcher Luigi Torino, Researcher Ryuji Nakamoto, CSD-92233

Date: 30/09/1967

Diagnosis: While the rest of the personnel returning from ALTR-████ were facing standard PARR[2], on the 22nd, Researcher Torino approached me notifying that he was experiencing hallucinations and outbursts that he never experienced prior to the expedition. When Torino was discussing it with me, he told me that Agent James and Researcher Nakamoto were experiencing similar symptoms too. CSD-92233 spoke up and told me he was experiencing hallucinations too and also suffered from acid reflux following the trip too. On instinct, I began the process to isolate them further in the event that they were carrying some unknown anomaly with them.

A day after the initial symptoms started to show, interviews were held with the 4 who were experiencing them. Nakamoto told me he believed to have encountered one of the anomalies within ALTR-████2 and it tried to suffocate him. We believed this to be a hallucination caused by the anomaly, but the researchers assigned to it stated that within the 20 years that it had been contained, it showed no signs of having psychological properties on subjects. Near the end of the interview, Nakamoto began to cry before losing consciousness entirely. 2 hours following the interview, he regained consciousness and is currently being held in intensive care.

While James and Torino were experiencing less severe forms of Nakamoto's symptoms, CSD-92233 had begun to experience something completely different. On the 24th, we began to interview 92233 after he told us he began to have what he called "Live Flashbacks" where he would be in various locations that he explored in ALTR-████. While none of them could be considered violent or disturbing, he noted that he felt like he was experiencing being within ALTR-████ again despite the fact he was in baseline reality. When I questioned him how he felt while inside the flashbacks, his body began to distort in a fashion that I can only compare to "Television Static". When I attempted to speak to him, he would not respond. He would make small movements of his hands and feet, but was otherwise catatonic. This continued for 10 minutes until he began to move again. He then began to tell me that he just experienced another one of the "Live flashbacks." 92233 told me about how he was walking through a field with mountains nearby during the early morning and noticed several large, purple cube-shaped winged creatures above his head. According to researchers studying ALTR-████, these do not match any descriptions of anomalies within the alternate reality. 92233 told me that a photo matching said location was taken by him. I have attached the photo below;

coolfield.jpg

An image from ALTR-████ which matches the location described by CSD-92233

Recommended Treatment: Extended PARR for Torino, James, and Nakamoto. For 92233, he will be sent to Research Wing for extended study whilst under medical supervision of myself and Dr. Roland Miller.

Agent Arnold Strong's journal page 24

On 04/04/1997, Agent Arnold Strong reported to the Site-062 medical bay due to a variety of health issues he was having at the time following a return from ALTR-XB02.3 Medical personnel could not determine what Agent Strong was exactly suffering from, but believed it to be stress-related due to his line of work. While he was in recovery, a colleague told him about the "Dimensional Wanderers Syndrome" phenomena which he believed Agent Strong to be suffering from. Once he was nursed back to full health, Agent Strong joined a group dedicated to raising awareness for the disorder, which he is still a member of to this day.

I have not written in this thing since I joined the big A, but I feel as if this is needed to clarify what is happening to me before something happens. I don't know if I am going to be the victim of some freaky anomaly or end up hospitalized.

Let me keep this short and simple for anyone reading this; My name is Arnold Strong, I am 26 years old, a part of the Protection Division, and am currently stationed at Site-062 in Africa. 2 weeks ago, I was a part of an experiment to explore an alternate reality where there are almost non-stop storms. Me and the 5 other men who were sent there went in, recovered some artifacts for the four-eyes back home, and returned. Simple grab'n'go operation,4 right?

That's what I thought. A week goes by and I'm back to standing guard for these guys as they study shiny rocks, suddenly I hear something like the tornado sirens I heard back home in Oklahoma. I expect everyone to start running to shelter, but nothing happens. I figured maybe it was just the Air Condition or some other big machine they'd get an engi to fix later. Then I hear thunderstorms and start feeling concerned. Boom! Next thing I know we lost power but thankfully just in the room I'm in and the 2 next to it. Site-Com comes on and let's[sic] us know it'll be fine and the storms will clear up.

2 days pass and I think I'm fine, but then when I'm test-driving a new jeep for the boys in Protection, I see a tornado start approaching me whenever I try to steer away from it, it just goes in front of me again. A part of my brain just starts saying "FLOOR IT ARNIE, FLOOR IT!" So I say fuck it and hit the gas. I blackout for a second and when I wake up, the jeep is flipped over and my buddies are trying to pull me out. I was fine, only a few bruises, but I got a scolding that night! I tried to tell them I thought I saw a tornado but they didn't buy my story.

Now 3 days after that, I'm chilling in the break room with Researcher Goldchase when suddenly I feel like I'm teleported back to that damn Storm Dimension. I'm on top of a building in some city that's kinda flooded. A bunch of boats are[sic] going through the flooded streets below and I see helicopters close by. Some of them had the Authority logo on it too I think. I don't know. Then boom, I'm back in the real world. I try to tell Goldchase what happened and he is just as confused as I am. He's wondering what was going on, while I am trying to tell him what I just saw. According to Goldchase, my body began to quickly shift colors and I started to sweat profuzely[sic] while it happened. I don't know if that was true, but I know for a fact I was experiencing something strange. The next day, Goldchase was able to get his hands on the site's coherence scale index. And apparently while that was happening, the indexes were going fucking bananas.

I am seriously afraid of what's gonna happen next, I've locked myself in a small storage area in an older part of the facility.5 I think tomorrow I'm just gonna make a break for the medical bay and pray they can stitch me up however they can. God speed to myself I guess.

Commentaries

Medical Perspective

As of the writing of this essay, the "Dimensional Wanderers Syndrome" phenomena is not an officially recognized Anomalous Trauma Disorder. [3] However, in 1996, an unofficial survey was conducted by several researchers and doctors to gauge beliefs on the disorder. The survey showed that 42% of all Authority medical personnel believe that syndrome exists, and within that group, 7 out of 10 were open to treating the syndrome if confronted with a patient.

There are individual doctors who claim to have treated patients with the disorder, such as Doctor Richard Norton. Norton claims to have treated 2 security personnel6 with the disorder from 1998 to 2000. Investigation into Norton's claims do line up with actual records that reveal he was treating 2 security personnel in that time frame, but the medical records show that the patients were experiencing what appeared to be Port-Traumatic Stress Disorder, due to the intense nature of ALTR-B1Q47 which both patients had returned from following a 5-week-long expedition.

Combat Perspective

Members of the Protection Division and Mobile Specialized Teams have voiced their concerns over the existence of the "Dimensional Wanderers Syndrome" Phenomena. In 2004, a survey conducted by researchers and doctors revealed that out of 100 Soldiers within the Authority, 55 expressed their belief in the phenomena and 22 were concerned with the possibility of becoming a victim of said phenomena.

Counter Arguments

Doubts in the phenomena have existed since the formation of unofficial groups dedicated to it following the ending of the official 1975 investigation. Senior Researcher Zhang Paris has been considered the de-facto "leader" of those skeptical of the phenomena due to him being a part of the original investigation and him debating several personnel who are staunch believers in the phenomena such as Agent Arnold Strong.

Researcher Paris' main argument against the existence of such a phenomena is that it is rarely recorded and that ACS fluctuation following an expedition to an alternate reality is not "particularly uncommon" as he cites various instances where individuals returned and did not experience the phenomena. While he does not deny the existence of hazardous effects from exploring, and has on several occasions, aided those who have been harmed from interdimensional travel, he denies the existence of the phenomena as a "catch-all to write off all personnel who's health is jeopardized following interdimensional exploration". Another common position of deniers of the phenomena is the idea that variety in dimensions and their naturally unpredictable nature means that a single condition is not enough to describe the effects it has on humans.

Debates between skeptics and believers of the phenomena are relatively common and popular within Authority culture, such as the 1998 debate between Senior Researcher Yosef Shaah and Doctor Arthur Rushmore which, by 2002, had over 25,000 downloads from the Authority archives.

Bibliography
1. Reznor Reality Observation Engine: The earliest Authority-made machine dedicated to observing and studying alternate realities, created in 1904 by Senior Researcher Gene Longpark Reznor. Unstable and only useful for establish basic information about a reality, the technology is considered outdated and has been replaced by several other superior machines and techniques for observing alternate realities.
2. Post-Alternate Reality Recovery: A standard process that is followed for individuals returning from Alternate Realities regardless of time spent within them or the safety of each reality. Established in 1949, PARR constitutes several activities for the safe return of individuals from Alternate Realities and those around them. This includes processes such as isolation from non-medical personnel, thorough external and internal cleansing rituals, and use of amnestics. While not guaranteed to prevent incidents caused by return-trips from alternate realities, it has brought the injury and casualty rate down by 62%.
3. Anomalous Trauma Disorder: A term coined in 1981 to describe a spectrum of disorders related to interaction with anomalous objects that do not fit the definition for non-anomalous disorders such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. ATD does not refer to disorders and other health issues that are caused by anomalies themselves, but from working within anomalous environments. Several theories exist as to the cause of these disorders, but none have been confirmed. Treatment may include non-anomalous trauma treatment and monitored periods away from anomalous objects, and locations relating to the Authority or other anomalous groups.
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