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Site-48's Antimemetics Division is a tight-knit archipelago of offices, labs, and most importantly, archives that takes up a third of the Site's underground presence. Of these, Lyn Marness' office is the only one that every agent is guaranteed to know — the man makes a habit of keeping in touch with his staff, and despite his status as Division Head, more people come by for shop talk than for dressing-downs. The conversation going on right now is neither of these things, though; it's much worse than that.

"It isn't round," Lyn repeats, fixing the two researchers sitting opposite him with a flat look. "And that's all that you can tell me about it."

"We think so." Goldie Yarrow is the younger of the pair; her day job is cutting open brains and seeing how the things they work with wreak havoc on them. If you managed to wrangle all the Division's researchers for a photoshoot, she would stick out like a sore thumb, looking like a pudgy, freckled teenager with her coke-bottle glasses and her shaggy bob of dirty blonde hair. "Our, um- our source wasn't anticipating this kind of interference."

Lyn sighs and turns to face her neighbour. "Rose, anything to add?"

Dr. Rose Ojobiru shakes her head. She's a wiry black woman with close-cropped hair, and unlike Goldie, she wears the Foundation garb with an obvious ease and poise. She deals with the words that kill people. "We can tell there was contamination there, but we can't tell why there was. Like Yarrow said, we've got almost nothing to work off."

"Right." Lyn claps his hands together and gets up from his desk, moving to the blackboard that takes up one wall of the room. The other three are taken up by filing cabinets and bookshelves, every free space crammed with data like a safety blanket of paperwork. "We have," he says, "one fact about this thing. And that is that it isn't round."

As those last three words go onto the board in big block letters, the frankly humiliating nature of this whole affair starts to sink in for Goldie. This all started because she was chasing up a lead too tenuous to even earn the title of a long shot; this past half-hour has been nothing but one long reminder of that fact, with the additional bonus of dragging one of her few friends here into the whole debacle. It's all little much for her pride, so she decides to put up a little petty resistance. "Two facts, actually."

Lyn glances at her expectantly. "What's the second?"

"That it's an antimeme."