I have an idea that's bouncing around my head, but I can't quite lock it down, I want to combine the following 2 concepts somehow:
1) A group of seemingly ordinary "generic" products that insert themselves onto store shelves. Every store in America has a few of these, with very little to explain just where they came from. (I know in reality they're pumped out by the big Chinese factories right alongside the brand-name products, sometimes on the same production line, but there's still something alien about a lot of them.) So a pack of cigarettes, a bottle of cola, a box of dishwashing liquid. There's never any invoice for them, and no one can figure out how or when they were stocked on the shelves. They're just there.
2) An entity or force that exists in the backs of people's minds and communicates with itself through slight hand gestures or verbal ticks. Think of all the times you've accidentally said the wrong word for no reason whatsoever, that was actually this "thing" talking to another one (or another part of itself!) residing in another person. It's actions would be slow because it/they can't communicate telapathically, only by hiding in the standard communication of everyday speech.
Essentially anyone who uses one of the aforementioned products (smokes a cig, drinks the soda, inhales the cleaning fumes, etc) becomes a part of this. They don't turn into zombies or start killing people, that's boring. Instead, they remain perfectly normal but occasionally perform actions that simply don't make any sense. Like, one "infected" person gives a book of stamps to a stranger on the street (actually another "infected"), that person in turn uses the stamp to mail a sum of money to an address they've never heard of before. The recipient of that mail is confused but somehow knows to deposit that money in an account that they opened for reasons they can't quite explain.
I also want to incorporate the idea that some tv news personalities are part of this network as well. Unkowingly and subliminally sending out instructions to the other infected people. I'll assume the Foundation monitors broadcasts using pattern-recognition software and discovered this.
Ok, so containment, they gather the items from store shelves and study them for unusual chemicals or trans-dimensional quantum fluctuations (you know, the usual). Maybe snag infected people off the street as well, but I'm thinking they'd probably just monitor them.
But then what… I need a hook of course. I don't want to come right out and say what this thing's agenda is because the reader's imagination is scarier (plus, I'm not really sure myself) but I want to hint at… something. What's it all building to?
So, thoughts? Do I have something here, or is it too big and too nebulous for an SCP and might work better as a story?