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Quotes / Outside-Context Problem

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"You judge yourselves against the pitiful adversaries you've encountered so far: the Romulans, the Klingons... They're nothing compared to what's waiting."

"The Borg is the ultimate user. They're unlike any threat your Federation has ever faced. They're not interested in political conquest, wealth, or power as you know it. They're simply interested in your ship, its technology. They've identified it as something they can consume."

"I prepared for muggers, killers, thieves. Criminals, increasingly extreme in their methods and personality. But I never imagined someone like the Joker. There is no information on him in any criminal database. As far as records go, it's as if he stepped out of thin air. He appears to be a highly resourceful psychopath with a sadistic intelligence, who delights in causing chaos, destruction and human suffering. Skilled with explosives and firearms. He displays personality traits consistent with criminal insanity, though his mental instability did not hinder his ability to infiltrate and take over Black Mask's criminal organization. His capacity for wanton destruction makes him a threat to the entire city. He must be stopped."

"Their forces are unknown to us. The Moriok or the nim that emerge from the necrogen bogs—those we understand. These horrors which pour out of the canyons use weapons, tactics and magic that are alien to even our most capable generals and seasoned warriors. Our armies are scattered. We have no choice but to hide and survive."
Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer, "A Planeswalker's Guide to New Phyrexia"

"Don't know what they are, what they want, or where they came from.."
Major Coats (on the Reapers), Mass Effect 3 trailer

The usual example given to illustrate an Outside Context Problem was imagining you were a tribe on a largish, fertile island; you'd tamed the land, invented the wheel or writing or whatever, the neighbours were cooperative or enslaved but at any rate peaceful and you were busy raising temples to yourself with all the excess productive capacity you had, you were in a position of near-absolute power and control which your hallowed ancestors could hardly have dreamed of and the whole situation was just running along nicely like a canoe on wet grass... when suddenly this bristling lump of iron appears sailless and trailing steam in the bay and these guys carrying long funny-looking sticks come ashore and announce you've just been discovered, you're all subjects of the Emperor now, he's keen on presents called tax and these bright-eyed holy men would like a word with your priests.

You don't know what you're messin' with,
You got no idea,
You don't know what you're lookin' at,
When you're lookin' here,
You don't know what you're up against,
No, no way, no how,
You don't know what you're messin' with, but I'm gonna tell you now...

No... During this mission, we... No, even after all of our missions, we still haven't made any progress! I'm a failure. I've just gotten soldiers killed left and right! And we haven't learned anything useful about the Titans!!
— A captain of the Recon Corps, Attack on Titan

It came from beyond the extreme reaches of our reality,
It came to laugh at our naive existences.
Chiaki Ishikawa, Uninstall (Bokurano opening)

"The biggest problem with Judas Traveler was that he was just too much of an enigma. What were the scope and nature of his powers? No one seemed to have an answer. What was his primary motivation? The answer from the Spider-Man writers was always, "Well, he's trying to understand the true nature of evil." Uhhhm, okay, but that's a bit... vague, you know? What does Traveller hope to gain from understanding evil? What's his ultimate goal? That always remained shrouded in mystery — even to us!...This kind of thing was going on in the X-Men books all the time back then — these new villains would show up with a lot of flash and hype, with a lot of mystery and veiled references surrounding them. And in the end, nothing would come of it. None of them ended up having any real staying power, because they were so half-baked, ill-defined, and poorly developed. As a budding writer at the time, I learned a very important lesson from watching this happen at Marvel: try to know who your characters are before you introduce them."
Editor/Writer Glenn Greenberg on The Clone Saga

Chris: The endgame here? Money. He wants to legally sell land to people. That’s it.
David: Money in a currency that will be worthless because the country that issued it will be underwater. This honestly makes even less sense than his plot in Superman I, because at least then theoretically nobody would know who launched the nuke. Or he could deny it. It’s kind of obvious here. The rest of the world is playing Risk and he’s playing Monopoly.
Chris Sims and David Uzumeri on Superman Returns

This is monsters and magic and nothing we were ever trained for.
Natasha Romanoff, The Avengers (2012)

As powerful as the likes of the Master are, or were, a being from another planet is outside of our experience. But not outside hers. However, we have shown ourselves adaptable to many sorts of dangers, not a few of which, though you know it not, have threatened our very world.
Rupert Giles, The Vampire of Steel

"Where do you want to go, Major? You can't run from them, you can't stop them. Your weapons are useless! We have no idea what they are!"
General Orland, Spectral

Everyone's familiar with most of the players: Nephandi, Marauders, non-human entities like "demons" and "ghosts" and so-on. But there's a new one on the horizon, which we call Threat Null. Sometimes they seem human, or possibly post-human. Other times, completely alien. They attack with a sense of coordination and force that's almost Borg-like. And they want only one thing: to get to Earth.
For those wondering why we keep a military leadership in power, that's why.
Mage: The Ascension - Convention Book: Void Engineeers (revised)

"Man and woman, boy and girl, the survivors prepared to defend their homeland, to drive the invaders back into the sea with wooden rifles, bows and arrows, bamboo spears. But the end, when it came, was to be from the sky. Irresistible... unimaginable... mushroom-shaped."
The World At War

"O great servants of Big Rock Who Watches... Cragnons having trouble down here... Serious. Bad. Big, big danger... One day...freak plant-people came... Nerd Cragnon named them Floro Sapiens. They kidnap many Cragnons... We were peaceful brahs... They give peace no chance... Rescue team of Cragnons... now need to BE rescued... We at end of our crag... How do we save Cragnons? No idea come to Marbald... and we keep losing Cragnons... This bad, brahs... Cragnons must work this out, or Cragnons go ex... EXTINCT, BRAH!"
Marbald, Super Paper Mario


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