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Mulder: They're here, aren't they?

Deep Throat: Mr. Mulder, "they" have been here for a long, long time.

The Hero encounters some weird shit. Really weird shit. However, just as he is about to say bye-bye to his sanity, some impeccably dressed gentlemen take him into a sciencey lab where The Professor explains that what the hero saw was a perfectly scientific phenomenon they've studied for years, and really, just another kind of Applied Phlebotinum that The World Is Not Ready for yet...

This trope is a form of Exposition that would have become an Info Dump, if it wasn't so long overdue, since it comes after the protagonist (and the audience) is thrust right into the middle of a situation he cannot even begin to understand. It doesn't have to be Phlebotinum per se: any kind of Masquerade will do, as long as the hero stumbles into a life-threatening situation before people who know what's going on show up. The inverse of this is Theory Before Phenomenon.

Examples of We Have Been Researching Phlebotinum for Years include:

Anime and Manga


 Dr. Scott: This sonic is, I suppose, some kind of audio-vibratory-physio-molecular transport device?

Brad: You mean...?!

Dr. Scott: Yes, Brad, it's something we ourselves have been working on for quite some time. But it seems our friend here has found a means of perfecting it. A device which is capable of breaking down solid matter and projecting it through space...and who knows, perhaps even time itself!

Live Action TV

Video Games

  • Max Payne: "We were all involved in the early stages of the Project during the Gulf War..." This refers to Project Valhalla, the origin of the mysterious drug Valkyr that has caused Max so much trouble, to put it mildly.
  • In Half Life, it's revealed in Opposing Force that the scientists have been experimenting with Xen life for long enough to have a terrarium and have modified as Barnacle to use as a weapon.


  • Weregeek begins with Mark drooling at a look on dice and being chased by The Hunters. He is saved by Joel and the others, who explain to him that he is a weregeek, just like themselves, which is why he was being hunted. It is much later explained that Joel, in fact, is the leader of La Résistance hunting the Hunters and he knows much more about them than he tells anyone.
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