Madonna and Child

CSIRA Executive Summary


"Madonnas", aka "Shredders", aka "Lenies", aka "Goldfish", aka "Mermaids" (other names used locally)


Virtual Wildlife (predatory)


Unrelentingly hostile. Indiscriminately attacks wildlife and vulnerable datascapes; targeted files are sometimes copied for random dissemination prior to destruction.


Apocalypse Meme/Chernoff Variant child hybrid. Probable directed evolution.


N'AmNet. Recently confirmed in S'Am and EastHem Maelstrom partitions.


A virulent software entity whose ancestry traces back to the Apocalypse Meme Complex (AMC) of 2051. The ACM originally comprised a symbiotic assemblage of virtual species which spread a messianic Doomsday myth as a reproductive strategy; the meme altered human behavior to increase the inclusive fitness of the ACM itself. Realtime interaction between the ACM and its human facilitators occured through a variety of interfaces, including humanoid facial icons. While the original iconographic code appears to have been cannibalised from the "Chernoff Face" subroutines of public-domain statistical software, the interfaces themselves each involved at least seven hundred related species with lateral-transfer coefficients ranging from 0.08 to 0.20.

Four manifestions of the Madonna/Shredder visual interface. Note the corneal overlays and female aspect common to all variants.

Madonnas contain ancestral code from several of the ACM's facial-interface lineages. Capped eyes, female gender, and belligerent affect—characteristics of the mythical "Meltdown Madonna" who set ßehemoth loose in the world—are common to all observed variants, even though other features vary (see figure). However, while the ACM evolved naturally—and while this may also be true of ancestral Madonnas—it is virtually certain that later generations have been subject to directed and selective breeding. The following facts point strongly to Human intervention in the lineage:

  1. We can ascertain no selection pressure that would allow a face-based interface to persist in isolation from the species assemblage in which it evolved (and which has long been extinct). While present-day iterations do sometimes converse with Humans in realtime, these exchanges do not promote fitness in any discernible way.

  2. The behavior of these agents has not mitigated, in violation of the evolutionary principle of declining virulence over time. In purely Darwinian systems, such extreme antagonism occurs only among novice species which have not had time to adapt to their environment; were it to persist the organism would destroy its own resource base, leading to extinction. Observed mortality rates in the wild are consistent with an imploding population, yet Madonnas persist in an unsustainably virulent state. We believe that they are being deliberately restocked to offset natural losses.

  3. While the graphic-interface elements of Madonnas can be traced back to the ACM, the indiscriminate data-shredding subroutines likely derive from more primitive wildlife associated with Maelstrom's climax era. Lateral gene transfer between such widely divergent taxa is theoretically possible, but Human intervention would be a more parsimonious explanation for such massive and unprecedented hybridization.


We conclude that Madonnas represent a natural evolutionary lineage that has been deliberately weaponised. While the agency or agencies responsible have yet to be determined, the most likely suspects would be those affiliated with the "M&M" regimes currently prevalent in North and Central Africa (see Geopolitics); the rampant destruction caused by these entities would certainly further the M&M agenda, and the persistent iconic similarity to the seminally-mythic "Meltdown Madonna" can hardly be coincidental.