What is a Demon?
A demon is a sentient (and in some cases sapient) entity capable of interacting with the natural world through manipulations of electrostatic and electromagnetic forces. While modern pop culture portrays demons as red horned muscled monsters, in fact demons usually do not have any visible appearance.
A demon may be brought into existence by creating certain spatiotemporal patterns. Once extant, a demon may be constrained to perform a specific task in exchange for some type of payment, such that the total sum of entropy changes between the task and payment respects thermodynamic law.
Historically, individuals in varying civilizations and eras have used demons for various things, ranging from manual labor to military purposes. In most cases, the typical method used to create the spatiotemporal pattern was to draw symbols on a surface with chalk, and perform various incantations and hand gestures. Payment for tasks came in the form of blood sacrifices, usually of animals, but sometimes humans as well. These methods were typically fairly risky, as small inaccuracies in the summoning patterns or rituals could result in the demon discharging into the area where it was summoned, rather than stably manifesting.
However, around the end of the 19th century, recent advances in demonology research began to uncover new possible uses for demons as part of modern technological devices, with a very wide range of potential applications.
A History of Demonics
The first indicators that demons might have possible applications in technology were first discovered by Nikola Tesla in 1879, when he developed a mechanical device capable of emulating the rituals historically used in summoning demons. Further work developed a crude method for the device to specify the demon's task, and offer payment in the form of heat dissipation across a resistor. He was able to further refine the device, but later abandoned that line of research in favor of studying electromagnetic effects.
It is believed that Prometheus Labs acquired this technology in 1904, and was the major driving force behind its research and development.
In 1927, Prometheus Labs discovered a way to produce an entirely solid-state demon summoning device, using electrical currents to produce the spatiotemporal patterns needed. Further research led to miniaturization, such that a demon summoner could be constructed to function as part of an integrated circuit. By the 1950s, demonics was a fully-developed technology, and Prometheus Labs released the 6900 series of integrated circuits incorporating demonics in 1953.
The Golden Age of Demonics
The 1960s and 70s are sometimes referred to as the 'golden age of demonics' due to the massive availability and affordability of the technology during this period. Most major semiconductor companies in this era had at least some level of investment in demonics. These divisions were often referred to by humorous nicknames, such as "Hell Labs" or "National Demiconductor".
During these two decades, hundreds of different consumer goods were produced, ranging from toasters to refrigerators to audio equipment to mainframe supercomputers, as well as several microcomputers, including the Exidy Sorcerer, the IBN 5100, and the Triumph Adler line.
Probably the most famous of the integrated circuits during this period was the 666 timer, which became a fairly ubiquitous electronic component used in hundreds of devices. Demonics also allowed the development of a number of things that were previously believed to be impossible, including an ideal op amp, DM741. Numerous microprocessors were developed, most notably the 80313 'Demons Inside' from Intel. There was even an FPGA device developed, the Xylinx XC2066, although only a few were ever produced.
However, due to the nature of the technology, and fears of public rejection, much of this technology remained hidden from the public eye, even as devices using it became more prominent and public integration progressed. Additionally, a number of governments also engaged in efforts to hinder and keep advances from other groups, especially in light of the then-ongoing Cold War.
While the Foundation was aware of all of this during this period, demonics was not considered to be anomalous, for the same reason electricity wasn't considered anomalous when it was first invented - it was seen as just the next great step in technological development.
Components and devices from this era still surface occasionally in the hands of collectors and hobbyists, most notably Marshall, Carter, & Dark and Are We Cool Yet?, and a few of the Foundation's currently contained anomalies trace their origin to this period.
The Fall of a Golden Age
Throughout most of the Golden Age of Demonics, there were a number of groups, including the Horizon Initiative and the Vatican, who objected to the use of demonics, prophesying dire consequences, and warning of as-yet-unrevealed dangers of adopting this technology. Most dismissed this, believing this to be simple, unsubstantiated fear-mongering.
Then, in the late 1970s, a number of anomalous effects started manifesting in many of the earlier devices that incorporated demonics. The effects varied, but as things progressed, many of these devices developed unusually disastrous failure modes, frequently causing very unusual injuries and driving some individuals to insanity and suicide. As time went on, most demonic devices eventually manifested these effects.
As soon as it became apparent that demonics devices were unsafe, and after numerous lawsuits regarding these devices, many of the technology companies who had invested in demonics rapidly shut down the divisions associated with the devices, and attempted to conceal the nature of their involvement. The Foundation became involved in efforts to recall and eliminate the demonics technology, along with other GOIs and national governments.
This led to the formation of the Multilateral Agreement for Reality Preservation (MARP), and resulted in the creation of the EXORCIST task force to aid in inter-agency cooperation in this effort.
At the same time, the Demonics Nonproliferation Agreement was enacted in 1981, to prevent other nations from developing demonics technology, as an additional normalcy-preservation measure.
By the end of 1985, most civilian demonics technology had been successfully destroyed (with the exception of a few items seized for experimental purposes) and replaced by non-demonic equivalents, and those pieces of tech that couldn't be replicated were eliminated from the public eye through memetically-engineered propaganda and mass amnestization.
Even after the realization of the dangers associated with demonics, there were still a number of important applications in which demonics remained the only viable solution, and so continued to be used. The Foundation still makes use of this technology in containing worse anomalies, as does the GOC in pursuing their goals. Other examples include the RTG units used on spacecraft and in the Mars rovers, advanced cryptanalytic devices used by various intelligence agencies, and components of weapon systems owned by various national governments (in much the same way that they continue to maintain nuclear arsenals).
Because of this, there was still a demand for demonics, and this market was filled by the few anomalous-specific technology companies that managed to survive after the collapse. As the demand continued to die out (due to the discovery of non-demonics based technology accomplishing the same goal) though, one by one these companies either died out or were acquired by other companies, until only Prometheus Labs and Wondertainment Industries were left.
Thus, in the aftermath of [DATA EXPUNGED] in 1998, much of the expertise and knowledge about demonics was lost, and although the Foundation was able to acquire some of their research and scientists, this set demonics research back by over a decade.
Even now it is still not completely understood why demonics devices fail in the way they do, but the Foundation's researchers believe that understanding this, and eventually finding ways around it, are goals that may be accomplished within another decade or two, and demonics can rejoin other technology.