The Simurgh first appeared in the Swiss city of Lausanne in December of 2002. Within six months, many of the residents who'd been around her became violent and antagonistic. This included a promising scientist who committed suicide, a man attempting to blow up a TV station to get back at his girlfriend, an unnamed superhero assassinating a Prime Minister of an unidentified country with the politicians successor causing a war. These were just a few among the thousands who attempted to commit mass murder and disrupt global resistance against the Endbringers.
Over the course of roughly two years, when it was found that the brainwashing was irreversible, the entire city of Lausanne was quarantined and most of the population either killed or incarcerated. One of the people involved in this campaign was James Tagg, who considered the residents to all be victims of the Simurgh.
↑“It’s what happened in… what was that place called? Lausanne? Switzerland. She showed up, and nobody wanted to pick a fight with her, and they were curious, so they studied her, and tried to communicate with her. Tons of people gathered. Then she… sang? Screamed? Whatever this is. There was chaos, people didn’t know what was happening, so they weren’t able to evacuate that well. Roads clogged. And then they started flipping out. Emotions ramped up, inhibitions lowered, flashbacks to old traumas. And a lot of the emotion that got juiced up was fear. People can do pretty stupid, dangerous things when afraid.” - Excerpt from Migration 17.3
↑“No,” Jess cut him off. Her eyes were wide. “Listen to me! She showed up in this city in Switzerland. First time. Then after a while, she sings. Starts throwing buildings around, puts a nuclear power plant in critical condition, spreads winds contaminated with radioactive dust, kills some heroes, drives people to riot and panic with her song. Like, okay, that’s Endbringer standard, right?”
Krouse stayed still, waiting. He could see Marissa and Oliver nodding.
“Six months later? A promising scientist commits suicide. Another person tries to blow up a TV station to get back at his girlfriend. Superhero assassinates a prime minister and the next guy to be in charge of that country starts a war. They were all there, when the Simurgh showed up. The superhero’s friends said there was no sign, before his encounter with the Simurgh. He just went downhill, after. There was other stuff, stuff I don’t remember. But it’s all bad.” - Excerpt from Migration 17.5
↑I was in Lausanne in two-thousand two through oh-three. Fought a whole mess of ugly. People that couldn’t be reasoned with, people who were hopeless, in the grand scheme of it. Victims, as much as anyone else.”
I found myself listening, despite myself.
“We shot them, the people who heard too much of the Simurgh’s song, who weren’t just walking disaster areas, but who’d listened long enough that they lost something. Men, women and children missing that moral center that people like Miss Militia and I have. Hell, even you’ve got morals. They didn’t. I’m sure you heard about it, you’re not that young. Suicide bombers, dirty bombs. Terrorism, if you will. Eleven year olds and old men making their way to Amsterdam or London and opening fire in a crowded area. Just like that.”
Tagg slammed his hand down on the metal table, coinciding with the ‘that’. I jumped a little, despite myself.
He’s just trying to rattle me.
“Once we realized what was happening, we had to act, contain the damage. Contain families. Had to act against people who went home from a day of trying to kill the rest of us and cooked a nice dinner, oblivious to just how fucked they were in the head. People who were otherwise good, who got warped on a fundamental level, left open to the preaching and the incitement of their angrier neighbors. Two years of fighting before we got the word down from on high, that they couldn’t rehabilitate the ones they’d captured, the ones who’d listened too long. The poor assholes would play nice until they saw an opportunity, then they’d take it, do as much damage as they could. Two years fighting good people who’d been convinced they had to throw their lives away fighting an enemy that didn’t exist. So we closed the perimeter, bombed them out, herded them and gunned them down.” - Excerpt from Cell 22.2
↑The world waited to see if Brockton Bay would become another Switzerland, another Japan, another region that simply couldn’t recover. Ground lost to the Endbringers in their relentless campaign of attrition against humanity. - Excerpt from Interlude 13