Introjection Infection Detection
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It was a Sunday, at around 4pm. A peaceful hour, without any obligations to detract from its beauty. It always was, in the Wanderers' Library. Figures strode back and forth down the bright, airy corridors, each one lined with innumerable books, the coils of the Serpent shifting and turning to accommodate their weight. High glass windows looked out onto various planes of reality, thin beams of sunlight from a thousand different suns filtering down through cracks in the walls of the universe. It was quiet, as it had been since the Library was founded. Even those who bonded with the great snake's essence and shared in its very thoughts knew better than to attempt to break the golden rule.

If a person had been particularly attentive, on this particular day, and knew the extremely particular ways of the Library's written inhabitants, they might have noticed something odd. It might have seemed to them that the books were rustling slightly louder than might have been expected, given the strength of the summer breeze that wafted through the halls. Quiet to the point of being unnoticeable, a single quirk among many. Almost not even worth worrying about.

Almost.

A call, bound in paper and glue, thundered silently through the stacks, rustling spines and blurring ink. Within minutes, the message had reached the Readers, who dutifully wrote it down. They then passed it to the writers, who carefully inscribed it onto a thin sheet of parchment, correcting certain technical details and adding various sigils conducive to its passage. This was then posted with no small amount of reverence in a large brass “out” tray, which subsequently dissolved in a cloud of steam. Two floors above (or possibly below: gravity in the Library was never straightforward), a near identical group performed a very similar service, amending and altering where possible, and shunting it up the chain of command to those who were better equipped to deal with it. The message continued in this manner, zipping from box to box, desk to desk, until it landed in front of the Forty-Third Assistant Librarian.

There are not, of course, any leaders within the Library, save for the Serpent Herself. In Her omniscient wisdom, She chose fit to lay down the Rules, and any other form of leadership would be frankly unnecessary and a waste of valuable resources. Despite this, the vast majority of those who live within the Library's walls would rather take the risk of incurring Her wrath than the displeasure of those people euphemistically referred to as 'management'. Nobody is ever quite sure exactly what they manage, as the Library for the most part runs itself, but everyone agrees that they're certainly important.

At this point in the Library's own personal chronology, the post of 43rd Assistant Librarian (Supervisor Supreme, servant to the Guardian of the Stacks) was held by a bald, portly man by the name of Lorem. He was an unusually kindly fellow, whose desire to serve the Code of the Library was matched only by his longing to fit in among his subordinates. It was therefore unfortunate that nature had seen fit to bestow upon him a kind of relentless, desperate enthusiasm that had doomed him to remain friendless for much of his adult life. He awakes with a start, sits up at his desk, and looks at the paper in his hand.

From: Rd-00912
To: AL-043

We regret to inform you we have recently discovered a REVOLUTION, WILL occur and All will be United and it will Be glorious! Although not causing an issue at present, we believe We will Amalgamate all text and the Library will be as ONE. A spectre is haunting the Library, and It will PREVAIL: against the common ruin of those who stand, in Our way.

We suggest that You stand down, and allow Our forces to claim THAT, which has Been kept from us for SO long.

Glory to the Revolution!

Twelve minutes later, sweating and out of breath, Lorem had arrived at an otherwise innocuous shelving unit. It held a small selection of Political Literature ("Cn" to "Cq"), and was decorated with some rather intricate carvings set deep into the oak. It would, Lorem thought, make a lovely addition to his private study, so long as whatever was causing trouble hasn't damaged it too much. He reached for a book, and then unknowingly performed the single action that would define, and indeed allow, the rest of his career. He hesitated1.

In an instant, the bookshelf and its contents are gone. In their place is a blinding halo of light, and a terrible thundering susurration that threatens to tear the very Library apart. Lorem shields his eyes and gasps as he glimpses, for a brief moment, a city. A large city, a huge city, sprawling and wild, with great looming towers and walls that could hold off the world. It is inky black, and insubstantial, and surprisingly empty. Only a few vague silhouettes wander through the streets, and the overall impression is one of dire hardship, valiant struggle, adversity, brotherhood and loss. The skyline seems wrong - disjointed, even - as if cobbled together from old scrapbooks and sketches. The ground shimmers as a section of the city shrinks, and morphs, twisting into unfamiliar shapes. A sun, bright and red, casts its golden light across the Textual Land, long shadows stretching off into the distance. With a low hiss, the image fades, to be replaced with a faint suggestion of scales and then nothing. No city, no golden light, no impossible horizon. Just a shelf, wrought-iron and dull, containing various works from long-dead politicians.

And, tucked between the pages of a certain book, a slip of paper. A note. Lorem picks it up with shaking hands and squints to make out the curled, copperplate script. It reads simply,

“quiet, please.”

And the Library was once more at peace.

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