Item #: RPC-184

Object Class: Gamma

Containment Protocols: RPC-184 is temporarily confined in the Site 31 Closed Authority Intranet Resource Observatory (CAIRO). To ensure maximum duration of containment, a software fail-safe has been enacted across the system, monitoring for any issues in the Trapper program. If the fail-safe activates, Authority software engineers are to begin installing a new CAIRO system for RPC-184 to enter. Upon completion of the replacement CAIRO system, the Trapper program is to be uploaded so that the item can return to containment naturally. This process is expected to occur every three weeks. Any deviations in the item's behavior or in this containment procedure are to be reported to Site 31 directors.

Description: RPC-184 is a nebulous force or entity that exists entirely on the Internet1. Due to the item's nature, it is unclear as to when it was first discovered, by which individual, or under what circumstances. Despite this the item manifested its most anomalous properties while already under Authority surveillance in May of 199█, warranting immediate containment protocol creation. Authority researchers have observed that the item shows no selectivity in which areas it manifests, only that it seeks for as many interactions as possible.

RPC-184 acts as a series of interconnected phenomenon appearing on websites worldwide, though most frequently appearing on American-based news platforms and journalism sites. The item appears as a piece of content designed to attract attention and encourage users to click on a link to a particular web page (otherwise known as "clickbait"). When users click on these links, their web browser will redirect them to the main page of the site they were already viewing with no anomalous properties manifesting. Observation of these events taking place has demonstrated a causal relationship between the number of clicks gathered and the amount of content generated. It is currently theorized that clicks sustain RPC-184 in its current form, allowing it to produce more content items to generate more clicks, which cyclically allow the item sustenance for an unknown duration.

Research into the item has yielded a reliable, if temporary, means of containment in the CAIRO system and Trapper program. Through use of a closed environment, RPC-184 is able to sustain itself artificially using software-generated clicks performed via an offline Authority terminal. Once the item comes into contact with an open installation of CAIRO, the system will enclose the item in the terminal and undergo the Trapper process, providing the item with clicks and preventing it from jumping to other platforms through local HTML files. However, after three weeks of containment (exactly 504 hours), the item will discover this entrapment and vanish from the host system. When this happens, the CAIRO system and Trapper program are decommissioned and new instances of both are prepared for use. Recontainment of the item occurs roughly one week after this event (exactly 168 hours). Until this time, RPC-184 returns to the Internet.

Below is a short list of ordinary content instances generated by RPC-184.

Study of the item has shown that, over time, and as more clicks are gathered, the titles of the content it has produced have gradually deviated from sensibility. This deviation causes a dip in natural clicks gathered, thus impacting the item's sustainability. This content production is eventually corrected when it accesses the latest Authority CAIRO installation, though the rate at which this process is completed and the means by which the corrections are made is currently unknown. Below is a selection of deviated content generated by RPC-184 while being monitored in CAIRO.

Certain patterns have emerged between clickbait items RPC-184 has manifested while in several different CAIRO installations, though the connection of these items are still under review. Common title terms and image themes often reference particular non-human entities and subjects that are not referenced in any other media in the Authority record. These items, though infrequent, often appear in the most deviated iterations of RPC-184's clickbait and generate very few (<50) natural clicks during its lifespan. These lower click counts often force the item to undergo a correction process. A sample of these items can be found below.

Addendum: On 12/██/201█, while in CAIRO-383, the item manifested a particular series of content items that, regardless of clicks, maintained its presence on the screen for 5 consecutive hours. Upon discovery, the Trapper program automatically alerted research staff to this deviation, but was able to maintain its click cycle without interruption. RPC-184 produced four distinct items that depicted a series of images with interrelated titles during this time. Each of these items appeared to be a warning message aimed at Authority staff regarding RPC-184's nature, specifically with regard to a malevolent force outside of current Authority understanding. This incident, logged as Incident 184-383, has had the corresponding content items imaged for posterity. No other deviations like these have occurred since this observation. The seriousness of this event is subject to debate, though no efforts to recreate it have taken place. Personnel with Level 3 Clearance are permitted to view the documented event below.

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