Anse Daems (born January 18th 2008) is a Belgian former investigative journalist, author, screenwriter, and activist. Born in Brussels, she studied at the SOAS University in London City before joining the Belgian newsdesk of World News Wire (WNW) in 2035, where she pitched and contributed to numerous documentaries.
In 2039, Daems spearheaded a series of WNW reports detailing the role of Lassgard Bioteknik in the CMD pandemic, based on an anonymous source inside the company. Daems left WNW in 2040 and retired from public commentary in 2043. She currently lives in Costa Rica.
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Early life and education
Anse Daems was born on January 18th 2008 in Brussels, Belgium. Her father is Jacob Daems, a former science journalist, and her mother is Gertrude Daems (née Samson), a tour organiser. In 2015, Daems’ mother fell into a coma after a car accident and unexpectedly awoke in 2019, when Daems was eleven years old. During that time, she was able to communicate with her mother using rudimentary yes-no responses, and Daems assisted her afterwards with her convalescence and physical therapy.
In 2030, Daems graduated with a degree in Persian Studies from the SOAS University in London City and returned to Belgium, where she took on various jobs in the cultural and social sectors. She also travelled to Turkey, Iran, and Central Asia, which inspired her to become a journalist.
World News Wire
In 2035, Daems joined World News Wire (WNW) as an investigative reporter for its Belgian news desk, with her work focused on international politics and the Middle East, specifically immigration in the European Union (EU). She pitched and contributed to numerous WNW news articles and documentaries, eventually taking the lead on a long-form documentary in 2037 about far-right governments in Greece and their legacy of anti-refugee policies.
In 2039, Daems was approached by WNW’s Canadian news desk for a personal contribution to an article about Zhupao’s trial of medical colloids in Canada. The colloids were being applied to established neurostimulation treatments, including a method that allowed comatose patients to communicate with their loved ones through a brain-computer interface (BCI) and artificial intelligence (AI) thought-to-speech parsers. 
While reviewing the materials for the article in Pipeline, WNW’s internal tool for constructing knowledge graphs to connect disparate pieces of information, Daems discovered a reference to a dismissed topic match between multiple participants in the Canadian colloid trials and a reported rise in cases of neuroglycopenia. After mining this connection, Daems attributed the cases of neuroglycopenia to the prolonged continuous use of colloids, which are powered by biobatteries that oxidise glucose in the brain. This indicated that the colloids in the Canadian trials were being pinged for live montages for periods that far exceeded the requirements of medical neurostimulation.
When Daems reported her discovery to her Canadian WNW colleagues, they concluded that Zhupao was using the colloid trials to mine neural data for the purpose of training the company’s AIs, a charge that had been previously levelled against Neuralink and other neurotechnology companies. Daems also argued that Zhupao’s failure to disclose the neural mining constituted a breach of Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), given that the development of neurometrics could turn the acquired neural data into personally identifiable information. In response, WNW editor-in-chief Nader Khamair refocused the article on the allegations against Zhupao and brought Daems in as co-lead. When the article was published in April 2039, Zhupao issued a disclaimer and sued WNW for libel, which was settled out of court.  In May 2039, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) suspended the colloid trials.
Lassgard Bioteknik revelations
After the declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) over the outbreak of Cariappa-Muren disease (CMD) in July 2039, Daems took the lead on a WNW investigative series that would detail Lassgard Bioteknik’s use of misinformation. On October 1st 2039, Daems was contacted by an anonymous source inside Lassgard Bioteknik, who asked to leak sensitive information about the company and its involvement in causing the outbreak of CMD.
After verifying the source, Daems took receipt of a data cache of internal Lassgard Bioteknik documents and correspondence dating back to 2030, constituting 18.9 million files. Khamair decided to involve the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in sorting the files as fast as possible, since the Lassgard Bioteknik source had warned Daems that the company was taking steps to conceal the origin of the CMD outbreak in its farmed tuna, which presented a serious biorisk if left unchecked.
Alongside over 400 journalists and researchers, Daems reviewed the files and established a timeline of Lassgard Bioteknik’s malfeasance, leading to the publication of a series of WNW articles, starting on October 23rd 2039, in which Daems accused Big Fish as a whole of orchestrating “the most heinous misinformation campaign since climate change denial.” When the revelations prompted the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare the CMD outbreak a pandemic on October 25th 2039, Daems’ profile was greatly amplified, winning her work several awards.
In July 2040, Daems left WNW, which was attributed to her stance on WNW’s adoption of Vessel. In 2041, Daems delivered the opening keynote of the annual Democracy in Europe Movement (DiEM) conference in Berlin, Germany, during which Daems advocated against G6 and its use of colloids. Citing Cory Doctorow‘s essay The Neurometric Panopticon, she announced that she would refuse a colloid implant following Belgium’s vote in favour of Resolution ES-13/6.  In 2043, Daems retired from public commentary and joined an urban farming community in Brussels. She also began to write short stories in the magic realism genre, which she publishes under a pen name. In 2046, Daems moved to Costa Rica, where she currently lives in Palenque, an ecovillage outside Quepos.
On October 10th 2049, Daems revealed that William Lassgard had been the source inside Lassgard Bioteknik, explaining that he had reached out to her personally and offered the files in exchange for anonymity. Daems did not comment on Lassgard’s motivation for orchestrating the data leak, stating only that it was “perhaps an effort to stop carrying it around.”
Refusing to Fold
While researching the leaked Lassgard Bioteknik data at WNW, Daems had reached out to Connie Muren to make sure her team at the WHO was given access to the files, which enabled Muren to conclusively identify the origins of CMD. Daems also interviewed Muren and Sunil Cariappa as part of the WNW investigation.
In November 2039, Daems approached Muren with the idea to expand the interviews they had conducted into a book. Muren agreed because, while she was not interested in her story being told by the WHO to rehabilitate the organisation’s image, she did trust Daems to be truthful in providing a counternarrative to the misinformation that persisted around her role in identifying the CMD pandemic. The book, which details Muren’s life as seen through a frame story of her work on CMD, was completed two months later and published in February 2040 under the title Refusing to Fold. It became an unexpected bestseller after Muren went missing on March 4th 2040.
In April 2040, Daems expressed her dissatisfaction with the official Interpol investigation into Muren’s disappearance, which had ruled it as either an accident or a voluntary disappearance, including a possible suicide. Daems maintains that Muren’s disappearance had been maliciously orchestrated as a result of her continued activism. In 2042, Daems was asked to adapt Refusing to Fold into a screenplay for a biopic about Muren’s life. The film, titled Muren and released in 2043, was a success, with audiences expressing “surprise” at learning the specifics of Muren’s role and actions during the CMD pandemic, which had been obscured by Lassgard Bioteknik’s misinformation campaign.
In 2044, Daems met Atakan Selvi at an urban farm in Brussels. Although he was there under an assumed name, she recognised him from a WNW profile on Five of Swords (FoS). They developed a relationship and moved to Costa Rica in 2046 after a mutual commitment proposal.
- Anbarasu, O. (November 2038). “Neural colloid implants greatly improve speed and accuracy of thought-to-speech technology.” Wired. ↩
- Khamair, N; Daems, A; Ariyawansa, P. (April 2039). “Gathering your thoughts: a new frontier of extractive capitalism.” World News Wire. ↩
- Doctorow, C. (September 2040). “The Neurometric Panopticon.” Locus Magazine. ↩