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Item ID: AEP-004

Enclosure Designation: Noctis

Threat Classification: DIM-05

Adaptive Enclosure Protocols: At present, there is no way to anticipate when or where AEP-004 can be accessed. There is no consistent pattern associated with where access to its location (AEP-004-1) will open, with the only commonality being some level of privacy or seclusion at the location. Association assets, including ADF forces are to be on passive watch for and continue to actively seek out new AEP-004-1 instances and deploy coverups as necessary. Most elements of the anomalous terrorist group 'Wild Circle' remain at large. Manhunts are ongoing.

Description: AEP-004 is a spherical pocket dimension several hundred meters in diameter. Its internal space is bisected by ground and centers on a large, ornate fountain 3m tall by 9m wide, surrounded by a circular plaza laid with intricately-carved flagstone and decorated with a handful of benches. The floorspace is split by six paths1 into six sectors of coniferous and deciduous forest, each resembling a forest biome present in each of Earth's six inhabited continents.2 The trees appear to be old-growth: tree ring analysis of stumps suggests an age of several centuries at a minimum. Conditions are always highly-foggy within the dimension, but there appears to be similar lighting to sunny days, and attempts at quadcopter survey [EXPUNGED].

The fountain itself is a two-tier design. Carvings along its outer rim depict vast amounts of mammalian life of seemingly every order, phylum, and family in an arboreal scene.3 Its first tier is similarly highly-carved, and the spout heads above it are designed after major families of herbivorous megafauna. The four spouts at the top are intricately-carved frontal views of major carnivorous megafauna. All have their mouths open and water flowing in spite of there being no visible tube mechanism.

The main anomalous quality of AEP-004 manifests when a human individual enters the one-meter deep base fountain pool and bathes in it for a prolonged period. The feeling of being in the water is reported to be very blissful and pleasant, not unlike the effects of certain hallucinogenic drugs. Subjects tend to lose time perception for a period lasting several minutes. Those consciously intending to keep track of their time spent find it extremely difficult due to an effect described as a mental 'clouding'. In general, a subject must bathe in the waters for at least 5 consecutive minutes before AEP-004's process begins. This is regarded as cognitohazardous by AEP-004 researchers, but reclassification of its Threat Level has been denied so far.

Once the process has commenced, there is no way to reverse it even by evacuating the fountain pool. The subject will immediately report a tingling sensation around the extremities, and starting from there their body will slowly begin to reshape itself into a form mixed between that of their original and the land mammal they most recently came into physical contact with. This involves the hands and feet changing shape, musculature density adjustments, bone length changes, skin follicles multiplying, etc. The most dramatic adjustments are usually to the head: the shape of the skull will rearrange to the target mammal's as much as possible without affecting the subject's brain, leaving the eyes mostly intact but significantly deforming the maxillofacial region and ears. The posture of the legs and other qualities may also change depending on the target mammal's anatomical details.

The mental effects of the fountain water tend to grow in intensity to the point that most introduced to it do not notice these changes until they finally exit the pool. Testing has revealed that the cognitohazard tends to cause unconsciousness, then wear off. This incentivizes subjects to evacuate the pool in most cases. Prolonged stays have no additional effect: up to 3 days have been attempted with Class-O subjects with no apparent effects. Transformed subjects' DNA is not heavily affected, but can easily be falsified as either animal or human with the right expertise.

Addendum: The flagstone carvings have been measured as being elaborate down to the millimeter level and contain numerous writings in Ancient Sumerian, Old Greek, as well as certain dialects of Egyptian. Only a very small fraction of this text has been deciphered. Excerpts are available on request from Association Archeological Research departments. In general, most of it provides little insight as to AEP-004's nature and speak vaguely about the unity in nature, and the 'artificiality' of the divide between the animal kingdom and human beings. Some of the information seems to anticipate scientific findings regarding the intelligence of mammalian species.

From 199█ to 201█, AEP-004 was the home base of a large terrorist organization/Group of Interest known as the 'Wild Circle', who used AEP-004 as the center for what seemed to be a ritualized quasi-religious practice based on deliberately subjecting their members to a select animal, then having them undergo the fountain's properties. They had significant links to the [EXPUNGED] of the normal world, which caused civilian law enforcement to carry out extensive investigations, especially during their most active phase in the 2000's.

They repeatedly committed a wide variety of subversive and ecoterrorist actions, racking up a total body count of ████ and were publicly considered a threat equal to Al-Qaeda by the US government. They were especially notorious for always leaving only traces of animal DNA, making their crimes nearly untraceable. After Association investigation and a campaign of ART-Bravo-7 ("Animal Control") raids, including on AEP-004 itself, the group dispersed and has not engaged in terrorist attacks as vehemently as before. Public memory of their existence has been removed or edited via use of amnestics and censorship.

Value assessment: The existence of this item has significant implications for Association research and practical uses. It suggests dimensional manipulation capacity may have existed centuries or perhaps millennia ago, or that the collective unconscious may affect the universe in some fashion unheard of previously. As a practical instrument, it may be used as a transmogrification mechanism of dubious effectiveness. Studying the capacities and anatomy of changed individuals may have some scientific return as well.

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