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Do not help a caller reporting an alternate encounter. No matter how frantic their screams are. Calmly reassure the caller that help is on the way. The call can be ended when they stop responding to your questions. Do not speak too much. You might accidentally reveal your fear. Nothing is worth the risk. Nothing is worth the risk. Nothing is worth the risk.
~ The Mandela County Police Department giving up on Alternate victims in "The Mandela Catalogue Volume 1".

The Alternates are the central antagonists of the 2021 horror analog web series Mandela Catalogue by Alex Kister.

They are demonic shapeshifters who drive their victims to suicide, which they do through a mental condition, Metaphysical Awareness Disorder, caused by exposure to "Verbal information that is not desired to be known". While their motivations for driving humanity insane, or even if they have one, are unknown, it is blatant that they are malevolent in nature.

History

Creation

Their first chronological appearance is in "Exhibition", where The Archangel Gabriel appears to Noah infuriated that he would ignore his demands, assumed to be related to the construction of the ark. He tells him that he would send a creature on the ark, one that he would not immediately notice at first, but before he could perceive what was to come, it would be too late: This description is highly reminiscent of the Alternates and their ability to drive their victims to suicide, heavily implying that this is the first appearance of an Alternate. The video cuts to the investigation of Mark Heathcliff's death but not before a quote from 2 Corinthians 11:14 visible in the closed captions appears reading "And no wonder! For Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.", confirming that the Alternate Gabriel is Satan in disguise.

As such, Satan is believed to be the progenitor of the Alternate species with the creature he intended on sending being an Alternate with the mission to kill Noah.

Sabotaging the Annunciation

The first video of the series, "Overthrone", depicts the story of the birth of Jesus, starting out normally with the annunciation to the shepherds, but as the choir of angels leaves, the video glitches and cuts to black. It is clear that something is wrong when the narrator is replaced by an unsettling text-to-speech voice and when Gabriel comes to bring Mary the news of Jesus' birth. The video glitches again when Gabriel introduces himself as an "Angel" and his face is shown to be heavily distorted before being censored by a black bar. Instead of telling Mary the news of Jesus' birth, he speaks in an unintelligible voice, represented as binary in the closed captions, translating to "I am the true savior. I must reverse the delusion. Joseph is next."

The video cuts to Joseph sleeping with "Gabriel" speaking to him through a window, "Gabriel" is infuriated that Joseph is deep asleep and attempts to get him to wake up. After another cut, the video returns to the beginning with "Gabriel" bringing news to the shepherds only this time, "Gabriel's" face is blacked out and proclaims himself as the "True Savior" telling the shepherds to not be afraid, that he knows what they love, dread and makes them human. The black bar censoring "Gabriel's" face disappears, revealing "Gabriel's" face but with slight differences in proportion to his face at the start of the video before it becomes distorted and a version of "Jesus Loves Me" is heard playing in the background. It is implied that Satan has disrupted the birth of Jesus and replaced him with an Alternate.

1980s

One could gather through subtle details scattered across multiple episodes that the Alternates did an invasion back in the early 80s, this is due to the fact that the United States Department of Temporal Phenomena, the department charged with deter them, was established in 1981.

According to the "Metaphysical Awareness Disorder" tape, in the third quarter of 1982, cases of the titular illness hit a noteworthy spike, that likely wouldn't be surpassed until 1992.

1992

In 1992, the main setting for Season 1, the Alternates made a return alongside cases of M.A.D. Because of this the USDTP issued multiple PSA tapes showing preventive measures against them, however as it turns out these tapes were victim to some sort of "malfunction" leading to them spreading false information. After the Department finds out what the culprit of these malfunctions was the hard way, they issued an order to destroy all televisions and mirrors.

2005

According to a community post, this is the year in which the USDTP found 2 new types of Alternates, the Tulpa and the Mimic. Not only that but it is revealed that they renamed the "Detectable" Alternate type to "Unspeakable".

Powers and Abilities

  • Shapeshifting: All types of Alternates seem to have some degree of shapeshifting, it is implied that this is a process that takes an unspecified amount of time and interrupting it would result in the Alternate becoming a Type 3 Alternate. the Type 5 Alternates have even found a way to shapeshift into objects, although with the drawback (or possibly a deliberate fear-inducing tactic) of having to heavily breathe. Alex stated in an interview that before shapeshifting, the Alternates are pitch black upon first entry to Earth, similar to the N Alternate.
  • Psychological Warfare: All of them have the ability to inflict Metaphysical Awareness Disorder to their victims, a mental illness characterized by paranoid behavior, sleepless nights, panic attacks, and a suicide rate of 97% as of 1992.
  • Intelligence: Alternates are shown to be quite intelligent they were shown planning before they attack, ambushing their victims, and with Type 3 Alternates using their deformities as advantages as shown at the end of "The THINK Principle".
  • Teamwork: Most of their appearances have them working collaborating with other Alternates in order to get to their victims. Cesar's Alternate was implied to have worked with The Intruder to get to Mark in Volume 333, as well as a sequence in Exhibition suggesting that various Alternates were going against Mark.

How to Avoid Them

Due to the police department opting to ignore calls about Alternate-related attacks, it is not recommended to converse with them or making contact with them, as it's implied any interaction with an Alternate will result in M.A.D.

Currently, there is no known way to kill an Alternate, despite the United States Department of Temporal Phenomena suggesting it and recommending to always keep a loaded firearm near in case of an Alternate sighting.

It is recommended to immediately run away if one sees someone that looks identical to oneself or presents biologically impossible features and all entrances to one's house should be kept locked.

Types of Alternates

  • Doppelgangers: They resemble their human counterparts and use that to psychologically assault their victims, drive them to suicide and then replace them. At most, they will have very minor, barely detectable differences in height or facial features compared to their imitated victim.
  • Unspeakable: Previously Classified as "Detectable". The name that shall not be named.
  • Flawed Impersonators: Doppelgangers that have not completed the process or had their process interrupted. As a result, they will be easily recognizable as Alternates, as they'll very often present features that are anatomically impossible for a human to possess, such as featureless faces or grossly disproportionate body parts.
  • Tulpas: These type of Alternates can move and attack through reflective surfaces like TVs and mirrors, they're beings created by children's imagination through a TV show named The Might of the Subconscious.
  • Mimics: They are presumed to be creatures that take the form of physical objects, they can be identified by their audible breathing.

Trivia

  • The Alternates are meant to be a representative of mental illness and the mental toll that these pay onto their patients. Likewise, it's assumed that M.A.D is an allegory for suicidal thoughts and intrusive thoughts.
  • The term "Tulpa" refers to imagined, willed beings that are considered sentient by the imaginator.
  • Due to the existence of Doppelganger Alternates, it's unknown how siblings who happen to be identical twins are dealt with in the universe of the Mandela Catalogue.
  • Funnily enough, before Alex Kister confirmed the existence of Mimics in the Mandela Catalogue universe, the concept of an object-shifting Alternate had already been presented in Alex Kister's self-parody series The Scrimblo Catalogue, where Mark Heathcliff is killed by an Alternate which shapeshifted into a car.

Navigation

           MClogo.jpeg Villains

Main
Satan | The Intruder

Alternates
Unnamed Alternate | N | The Preacher

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