- EWU recruits & scrap of a tale
- the great escape
- captialism 3
- UAC draft
- chupassiah 2.0
- The Naturalist
- I am so sorry
- Missionary Balloons
- The Counselor
- 679 re-write
- Mars Truck
- Super-Sentai Whales
- 36 tale
A stuffed alligator with googly-eyes the size of golf balls sat perched atop the bookshelf of Colonel Manu Avninder. The bookshelf itself was hand-crafted out of fine mahogany and contained a hundred and thirty-three books on its shelves, all of which were blank. A tangle of vines and creepers hung from the ceiling, bedecked with tropical flowers and clusters of nuts. One particularly large bromeliad had taken up residence on the corner of the colonel’s desk. Brightly colored frogs hopped around the office, clustering around in the rock-lined pool in the corner.
The colonel himself was sitting at his desk, sipping at a cherry cream soda. His lieutenant, a man who seemed to be constructed purely out of right angles, mustache grooming supplies, and cowboy boots, sat down on the other side of the desk.
“So who do you have for me, Hubert?” Avinder said.
“Five candidates.” Hubert handed some manila folders over the table. “Three internal, two on the outside.”
“Any good ones?” Avinder flipped through the folders, bothered now by the thought that he would only be able to take one into the Unit, and let the rest go fallow in the great file cabinet of missed opportunities and crushed dreams.
“The usual, it seems. Some good scores on the tests, a few minor talents. Nothing spectacular. Got one kid in Kentucky who can make liches out of roadkill.”
Avinder nodded, and felt a twinge of disappointment as he passed over the file. Kid was the right of it: not even out of high school yet. Some redneck necromancy wasn’t worth the shitstorm that would erupt from come from that decision.
The other candidates included the typical field agent who showed some promise on the psychic sensitivity tests, a woman from the Antarctic branch that had picked up on some of the local shoulderwoman traditions, a crippled, cancer-ridden vat-agent who had managed to recover from getting his head smashed in, and someone who looked to have learned the secrets of meth-magic. Avinder hated the fact that meth-magic was a thing, but such were the cards before him.
Redneck was out, meth-magician was out if he could manage it. The rest were…well, they were. More disappointment on the plate. He’d probably get stuck with the white bread agent. Eh, couldn’t be too hard on him. Probably a decent guy.
“Mm. Well, we’ll see where it goes from here. You have any preferences?”
“Vat guy or the one from Antarctica.”
“Cancerous regeneration or mending old pots.”
“Take what we can get, I suppose.”
“You know how it is.” Avinder stacked the folders in the corner of his desk. “The line between ‘valued agent of the Esoteric Warfare Unit’ and ‘living out the next fifty years in a solitary cell’ all comes down to whether or not Eight can get to them first without someone playing the Bowe card.”
Avinder pinched the bridge of his nose. The very thought of moderating his opinions on “General” Bowe made his head start to throb. “No, can’t lay all the blame on him. It was the shrapnel that did it. Shrapnel and ‘Nam, and a whole lot of bad circumstances.
Hubert nodded, tapping the arm of his chair.
“I’ve heard a theory that Bowe created Omega Seven as voyeurism,” he said. “Like, he had a weird obsession with the girl…dammit what was her name…” Hubert snapped his thick, callused fingers a few times. “Irene. That was it. Irene. One-oh-Five. Put her on the same team as Seventy-Six.”
Avinder shook his head.
“Nah. That’s just people shitting on his reputation. Omega Seven was just a regular old Cold War power fantasy. You know how it goes.” He cleared his throat, and resumed in a voice somewhere in the general vicinity of Richard Nixon. “We’ve got to get Seventy-Six operational before the Russians do it! We cannot stand for communist superiority!”
“We cannot allow a war-god gap!” Hubert slammed his fist on the desk. He didn’t have to change his voice much to match.
Avinder jerked up out of his chair, stiff-limbed and glassy-eyed, one arm outstretched in a rigid salute.
“Mein Fuhrer! I can walk!”
The two looked at each other for a moment before breaking out in laughter. Avinder fell back into his chair and spun around once.
“Yeah, don’t get your hopes up,” Hubert said. “The fucks over in the Coalition would never take you.”
“Is it because I’m racially inferior?”
“No, it’s because you’re a fucking wizard.”
More laughter. When it subsided, Avinder leaned back in his chair and sighed.
“I mean, Bowe was probably the biggest fuckup we’ve had since, I don’t know, Carver shooting Deeds back in ’44, but after a while you just need to move on. He’s dead. Omega Seven lasted four months and six missions, and here we are, twenty years later, still worrying about it. You’d think we’d have learned by now.”
[DON'T KNOW WHERE TO GO FROM HERE, SO HAVE SOME SCRAPS FROM A TALE WHERE THE RECRUIT IS BEING SHOWED AROUND]
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were dead.
This was not altogether a surprising development: they died with a certain regularity, and the process had become to them, and to those around them, a matter of banality. The philosophical implications of their repeated deaths fell on uninterested ears.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern returned to life.
“There you go, everything’s all updated. Should be smooth sailing for a few months.” Kramer sipped from his mug of hot chocolate as he tapped a few chitinous keys on his laptop. It chirped and gurgled affectionately. “Took the liberty of deleting some junk files from both of you, too.”
The twins sat up nearly as one: Rosencrantz was a bit faster, and stood up. Guildenstern rubbed at her eyes and rolled her broad shoulders.
“Many thanks, friend Kramer,” Guildenstern said, yawning.
“Don’t mention it.” He closed his laptop.
[BARCODE COMES IN WITH RECRUIT, BLAH BLAH]
“I am Guildenstern, and this is Rosencrantz.” Rosencrantz motioned to himself and then to his sister. “The easiest way to tell us apart is to ask us what we think of our Mother. I wish to fuck her and then kill her. Guildenstern here wants to kill her first and then fuck her.”
Barcode took note of the recruit’s look of abject horror and stepped in to recover the conversation.
“They do this to everyone. Don’t pay it much mind. Also, they’re huge liars. Rosencrantz is the brother, Guildenstern is the sister,” she pointed to the correct twins. “They’re from the Personnel Acquisition Initiative.”
“Doctor Tabitha Foster…” they said at the same time, and paused. “Yes, I’m about to say that. Just wait, I’ll handle it.” Same time again. They paused, eyeing each other for an opening.
“Oh dear. It appears that we’re-” Rosencrantz began.
“Getting to the point in the conversation where we-”
“Start finishing each other’s sentences.”
“I think that-“
“We should keep going?”
“Of course. It is our opinion that-“
“Doctor Tabitha Foster is a pompous, arrogant windbag who is most likely going to get herself killed by doing something unimaginably stupid,” Guildenstern said, jabbing a finger.
“Her every act is little more than smug career masturbation.”
“If you were to replace every word out of her mouth with ‘Hello, I am a massive twat’, absolutely nothing about her would change.”
[AND SO ON AND SO FORTH]
Nanami set her fingers against the grand piano’s keys, and began to play. Hisaishi. One Summer’s Day. She was, for the first time in a long time, happy. The surf came in and went out across the white sand. The ocean glowed blue, and the breeze rustled against the palm trees. A few gulls circled above the little bay, calling out to each other. She was alone with the world, away from all the noise and bother, away from the plague of troubles that swirled around. She was where she belonged, and here all the pent-up anger and bitterness and rage could just flow out through her fingertips into the old piano, to create something beautiful.
After months of stewing in that cell, with the fluorescent lights and the bland white walls and the faceless men in lab coats, the moment was enough to bring tears to her eyes. She was alive. Right here, right at this point. She was alive, and so were her sisters, and so was Wizard, and they were all here together and all was well once again. Never again would she have to see those bland white walls.
Maybe the idiots would actually secure their network this time around, Nanami thought with wry amusement. She had torn a ragged hole in their computer network as if it were wet newspaper, and the half-dozen AI opposing her were sent back to their silicon caves to lick their wounds. The thugs in the halls found themselves collapsing in puddles of blood and feces as she taunted them in Russian and funneled Bach’s “Air on G-String” over the PA system. She didn’t think she’d ever get tired of that gag.
She tugged at her mind’s hem, bringing it back in. Gloating had its place, but that place was not here. Even that would sully the moment, and Nanami couldn’t allow that.
“Hey, can you play “Owen Was Her” next?”
Nanami slammed her hands down on the keys in a cacophonous peal and glared up her tabby-haired sister.
“Dammit, Hana! You know I can’t play that!”
Her sister giggled, and the momentary lapse of calm vanished. There wasn’t any real anger behind the outburst in the first place, of course; it was an automatic response, nothing more, and precisely what Hana was trying to elicit. A greeting long shared between the two.
“Boss should be getting back soon,” Hana continued, readjusting the basket of breadfruit she was carrying. “You might want to see if she or Momoko or Tomi need help with anything.”
“I’m providing moral support.”
“So you’re going to play until Boss yells at you.”
“More or less.”
“I’ll let you get to it, then,” Hana said, patting the top of the piano. “It’s really nice to hear you play again. I was worried that you might have given up on it.”
“Heh. Never count me out of anything.”
“Never do, sis.”
[AUGH DIALOGUE HOW THE FUCK DO YOU WORK.]
“Well, I’ve got to go drop these off. Talk to you later.” Hana wandered off towards the campsite and ship. Nanami sat still for a moment, before cracking her knuckles and moving her hands back to the keys. Land. Secret of Monkey Island Theme.
A gull pooped on the piano, but Nanami found that she was enjoying herself too much to care.
Boss emerged from the jungle with the freshly killed carcass of a wild pig slung over one shoulder. She was splattered with mud and blood, now drying and cracking in the heat. The bulbous red and white form of their stolen ship rose up ahead of her, half buried in the shallows. Not the best landing job, especially with the gaping hole that had been torn in the side and all the rest of the damage, but they’d all lived through worse. The campsite sprawled out beneath it: a haphazard dumping ground of cargo crates and boxes holding a collection of branch and canvas lean-tos and simple pavilion shelters. The central cooking pit sent up a coil of smoke, tended by Momoko and Hana. There was to be a feast tonight.
Off in the distance, Boss could hear Nanami at her piano. She still had no idea what had driven Nanami to steal a grand piano in the first place, or drag it out with them, but she had hauled the whole thing out herself and didn’t complain about it, so Boss was willing to let her have her fun.
“Oi, Momoko, got the main course for tonight.” Boss dumped the carcass on top of one of the crates, taking care not to do so on the space that had already been taken up by the other food
“Aw, you’re too good to me, Boss.” Momoko got up from where she had been sitting on and walked over to the pig, grinning. In one hand was a machete that had clearly been used as a cooking knife. She had, in a fit of inspired trophy manufacture, turned her now useless orange jumpsuit into an apron, which had in proper bad taste been emblazoned with “Don’t Call Me Late For Dinner” across the front.
“Don’t get used to it.”
“Hope you’re not trying to fool anyone with that act, Boss.”
“Not at all,” Hana said from her perch on top of a purloined vending machine. “You’re like marshmallow covered in chocolate.”
Momoko straightened, brushed her hands together.
“Pity I won’t be able to slow cook this. It would have been beautiful.”
“Could always use the leftovers,” Hana suggested.
“Since when have we ever had leftovers?” Boss said as she watched Momoko begin butchering the pig.
“Hm. Good point.”
Boss rolled her shoulders. It was a fantastic feeling, when everything was falling into place. All that really needed done now was the actual act of cooking, and Momoko could lead the charge there. All she really needed to do was check in on Nanami, Tomi, and Wizard
She pinged Nanami.
[Boss: Yo, Nanami.]
[DJ Tsarmina: What up, Boss?]
[Boss: You still have your nick changed.]
[DJ Tsarmina: Whoops, left that on.]
[DJ Tasrmina is now known as Commissar Soryu]
[Commissar Soryu: Done.]
[Commissar Soryu: (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ]
[Boss: ┬─┬ノ( º _ ºノ)]
[Boss: These tables, Nanami. Just flying all over the place.]
[Commissar Soryu: They want to be freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.]
[Commissar Soryu is now known as Nanami]
[Boss: you didn’t actually have to do that.]
[Nanami is now known as Commissar Soryu]
[Commissar Soryu: I know (^_^). Brain slipped.]
[Boss: Whatever. Miracle we can ever actually communicate with all the dancing in circles we do. Just wanted to say that we’re all good over here, Momoko’s cooking the pig.
[Commissar Soryu: Oh come the fuck on that’s it? Thought you were going to say something important.]
[Boss: Nope, that’s it. You see Wizard around?]
[Commissar Soryu: No. Haven’t seen much of him all day.]
[Commissar Soryu: He’s totally working on a surprise for us, calling it right now.]
[Boss: He is obvious like that. Well, play it again, Sam.]
“Hey, Boss!” Hana called out.
“I was meaning to ask you; did you really start the breakout by seducing one of the staff?”
[MORE TO COME]
A new toy rolled off the production line at the Wondertainment toy factory. It was a cube. The cube was grey, and consisted of six sides, none of which were in any way differentiated from any of the other five; All six sides were completely equal in their grayness and flatness. The edges and corners were rounded, so as to remove all threatening influences from the cube and to provide a safe, feelings-appropriate environment. In addition, the cube was designed so that it was incapable of interacting with any other cubes, so as not to form unbalanced societal hierarchies such as stacks, rows, or piles.
While a green dot had been included on one of the sides in the prototype, this was found to be offensive to minority groups. The replacement of a red square was considered threatening to the majority’s continued cultural hegemony and family values, and was subsequently removed due to the oppressive and aggressive nature of the rubernormative ciscolored bourgeoisie.1
The following yellow triangle idea was decried by those who did not fit the majority-minority binary to the point of a focus tester hanging him/her/eir/xir/it/shlowahrk/vort/mugwump/goff/zo/qinself with his/her/eir/hir/their/shlowikk/vurt/mugwuff/got/zon/qun belt out of protest.
Colored shapes were written off entirely after this point, and there was success. The ultimate in inoffensive floof2 objects had been created. It was immediately hailed as a work of absolute genius.
The Executive Board nodded in approval of the focus group results, in one slow, knowing movement.
A tide of rotting flesh swept up around Emma Aislethorp-Brown, throwing itself at the leviathan in an orgy of scrabbling fingers, and gnashing jaws. She was ignored. The Rotting Ones found their prey by the sound of its heartbeat, by the heat in its blood, by the stench of the slow decay of life.
Emma had a heart, but it was purely decorative. Instead, she watched the Rotting Ones gorge themselves. A few more had crawled out of the Leviathan’s burst stomach.
The rushing sound of contracting time-space rose to a deafening cacophony midway between silence and absence that overpowered the snarling, slobbering horde. It all fell in upon itself at once
And then Nothing.
Emma remained. She floated in the space between. Somewhere around her3, the collapsed Way existed in something of a negative state. Leading nowhere, arriving nowhere. The Rotting Ones would still be feasting, but they could not emerge, lest someone else flipped the negative space inside out and stabilized it. Emma had no inclination to do this, and with the map gone no ability to do it either. The Way was, in the grand scheme, a distraction. A lure.
Who answered the lure was irrelevant at this point; the plan allowed for a great deal of working on one’s feet, as any good plan did, and so long as the lure of the collapsed Way kept attention away from Isabel, the plan was working. Gods enjoyed squabbling, and there was no better lure of their attention than a vacuum that could be squabbled over.
As for Isabel…she was on her own, for the time being. Emma had shaped events as best she could, and now had to let that part of the plan run its own course. She was not inclined to worry at the blank spots in her knowledge or the ever-shifting outcome of future events, but there was nonetheless a slight sour flavor in her gut from the turn of events. However necessary it might be, it was not right for an assistant to be separated from her employer. It was her duty to protect the Doctor, but here that involved sending her away.
She very much wanted Isabel to do all right without her.
Eventually, after a certain amount of un-time had passed, reality reasserted itself, rolling back into existence in waves of static coalescing into coherent vision.
A throne, and a throne room. A room with no architect, no pattern, cobbled together with a sloppy, careless hand: marble, basalt, granite, polished steel, jade, painted eggshells, orphan’s bones, fungal latticework, a long-dead Jupiter brain. A throne of scavenged plastic and old frying oil, surrounded by a lead and electrum moat. From within the moat came the sounds of sluggish limbs stirring stagnant water, and the clinking of cold iron chains.
A god sat on the throne: lean and bronzed, with a cloak of ratty feathers hanging from narrow shoulders. A jagged and chipped beak poked out from underneath a mane of dirty, off-gold hair, spilling out from under a braided bronze crown.
“I’m afraid I just pawned off my last tea set, dear, so I’m afraid you’ll have to forgive the lack of hospitality.”
“I don’t plan on staying long, Svraka, but thank you for the offer.”
“Ah, we come up even. Excellent” The god stood up and began stepping down from his throne. “So what brings you to this corner of the Nowhere, Miss Emma Aislethorp-Brown?”
“I would ask you the same, but that would just be an annoying rhetorical question. A Way collapsed, you were in the area, and you decided to scavenge the remains and turn a profit.”
Svraka reached the bottom of the stairs, paused, and shrugged.
“Guilty on all accounts, though I’m afraid I don’t share the same certainty about you. A Way collapsed, and I find you right there. Clearly connected, and I have no doubt that the collapse was within your capabilities, but I’m baffled as to the why.”
“And so you’ll remain.”
“Even I have standards, Aislethorp. Do you honestly think I would sell that information to the Scarlet King?”
“No. He would find out in his own way.”
“Ah.” Svraka took pause for a moment “Yes. That is not a particularly pleasant method. Fair enough. Might I ask what was inside that way?”
“One Leviathan corpse, A’zieb, and several hundred Rotting Ones for your collection.”
“Oh? I do hope the skull remains intact. Curious, though. A forward scout? Curious.” He stroked his beak with a slender finger. “Yes, yes, there are things that I can do with this.” An eyebrow rose. “You were planning on that, weren’t you?”
“You’re claiming that, not me.”
Another stoke of the beak.
“What’s your record, again?”
“Ye God, woman.” The scavenger god rocked back and forth on the balls of his scaled feet, a look of consternation on his face. “Tell you what. I know a few buyers who might be interested in this Way, and I can conveniently remember that I found it in someone else’s stash. In exchange, you conveniently stow away here in my worldship, without my knowledge, mind, in order to watch how things develop. That work for you?”
The Workshops of Wonder
Mister Merit was rather troubled. He had looked all over the Workshops of Wonder, and all through the toy factory, and all through the offices, even those blocky grey buildings at the edge of the grounds, and he couldn’t find the Doctor anywhere. He had asked a great many other Misters and Misses, and even the Workbots, but none of them had seen the Doctor or her new assistant either. She had gone out, people had said, and she had not returned yet.
He tugged at his red ascot, as he did when he was nervous. Normally, the Doctor’s absence would not be an issue; The Doctor often went out on adventures, and the Doctor’s adventures were often lengthy, but the toy factory was never this busy when the Doctor was gone. Now, misters and misses and workbots and roving hordes of Jeremies scurried about, as if the Doctor was sitting down to churn out blueprints until the pen caught on fire.4 But the Doctor wasn’t there…
The halls were clouded with swarms of Memobots, all carrying messages from the Executive Board. More messages than ever before, and Mister Merit had no idea what any of them meant. The print was too small and the words were too big, and they all looked incredibly important, but none of them mentioned where the Doctor had gone. Or the Doctor at all.
Atop of all this, what worried Mr. Merit was the little old lady getting shown around by Mister Tour. She had little round glasses, and a pink shawl over her shoulders, and blueish-grey hair pulled up in a bun, and a warm, friendly smile. Standing to either side of her were two tall robots with gleaming chassis and rubber faces to make them look like people. They looked…wrong, to Mister Merit. He was used to Wondertainment robots, which had all sorts of knobs and dials and doodly-doos and thingamawhatzits and doohickeys and various other choking hazards. These looked they were just popped out of the mold and fit together, without so much as a kung-fu action grip.
Mister Merit kept a brave face as the woman and her aides passed by, as he always did. If anything, he was trustworthy, loyal to the Doctor, helpful to all, knowledgeable on a wide variety of sources, clean-cut, bold in the face of adversity, and smart enough to know that little old ladies were one of the most incredibly intimidating things in existence.
They could smell fear. And secrets. Mister Merit had both in great quantities.
According to one of the Misses, the little old lady was there at the request of the Executive Board.
Mister Merit checked over his shoulder. No one. The Doctor’s tower was empty, but he had no idea how empty. The Executive Board had a tendency of placing ears and eyes in
When the Doctor was preparing to leave, he was given a hand-written note by Miss Emma, which read:
My quarters. 1650.
It was four-forty-six right now. Mister Merit didn’t question the directive: he had no reason to distrust the Doctor’s assistant. One didn’t doubt assistants like Miss Emma.
Four-forty-nine. He had reached the room, just down the hall from the Doctor’s office. He opened the door.
Miss Emma’s room was empty. A blank white room. No bed, no chair, no desk, no papers, no windows, no carpet, no vents, nothing but a tile floor and whitewashed walls and a vague, diffused light.
That, and a single, lavender note was stuck to the far wall, artistically out of place. Mister Merit went over and read it. The handwriting was painfully neat.
Go into the center of the room and say ‘Hello, are you there? I need help’ in a loud, clear voice.
Mister Merit pulled the note off the wall and walked into the center of the room. He had no idea what to expect from it. He hoped some sort of help, to set things straight. That’s what Miss Emma was there for, right? To put things in order.
“Hello, are you there? I need help,” said Mister Merit in a loud, clear voice.
A nothing sound whispered down the back of Mister Merit’s neck, as if someone was standing in the room behind him. That, of course, was ridiculous, as there was no one in the room, and he had closed the door behind him.
He turned around, and saw that he was not actually alone in the room.
The stranger standing there looked to either be a miss with very short brown hair, or a very slim mister, wearing a ratty blue t-shirt, jeans with frayed hems and a jacket that had faded from black to grey. They smelled of smoke, the old, stale kind that soaked into clothes.
The stranger had their head tilted to the right.
“You called?” The voice was bright and cheery, a bubblegum and lollipops voice.
“I did.” Mister Merit tugged at his ascot. He had had enough of strange people today. “Who are you?”
The stranger tilted their head to the left.
“Who’s the one person you can always find in an empty room?” The voice was rough and gravelly now; a two packs a day voice.
“No one, I suppose,” Mister Merit said.
Tilt to the right.
“No one important, at least! Though since I introduced myself, I should be asking you who you are, because you don’t look much like Em.”
“I’m Mister Merit. Miss Aislethorp-Brown is not here at the moment.”
Tilt to the left.
“I can see that.”
“She left a note.” Mister Merit handed it to the stranger.
Tilt to the right.
“Oh Em, what have you gotten yourself into now?”
Isabel Wondertainment looked out over the cliff’s craggy edge, at the valley choked with ancient pines. Two moons, too big, hung in the deepening blue sky above the young, bladed mountains. One was grey and plain. One was made of clockwork.
“Jeremy, I don’t think we’re in the workshop any more."
In the temple of Ana, there were a thousand mirrors. They covered the walls, the columns, the arched and vaulted ceiling, scales of silver lit by rows of lanterns. One could stand anywhere, and see themselves a thousand times. See every flaw a thousand times. Every fold of meat, every bulge of thick and sagging flesh. One could stand anywhere, and see themselves as they were: Unworthy. Unneeded. Unlovely.
There was no idol in the temple of Ana, for the Goddess Who Does Not Hunger could only be seen in the self, and her judgment was the same seen in the mirror’s truth.
The altar sat in the center of the temple: a long stone table with blue tiled benches, bordered by deep troughs in the floor for the prescribed purging. At its head, a paving stone had been removed from the floor, revealing the space underneath. Next to the new hole, inside a series of binding circles, sat what had once been within: a massive, brutish skull. It was bigger than a man’s, closer to size of a man’s torso, with cheekbones too wide and sockets too sunken, a fanged, underslung jaw and thick horns coiling out from the forehead. Bands of magecrafted metal circled the cranium. Black bone, rather than white. At the crown of the head was a metal plate, engraved with the symbol of the goddess, a single, vertical line.
Sitting next to the skull, surrounded by parchment scrolls, was a dark, lanky man with a wild mane of black hair, who was having a very bad day.
“King’s Seven Spears! I just did that!” He read over the lines of blood text again, a third time. “I already defragged the tenet stabilizer, I already input my admin privileges, and I already ran a junk purge.”
The scrolls continued to write themselves, filling up with error after error.
These accursed Marked Ones. King’s bleeding spears on the Deepest Throne they were more unreliable than a whore’s claim of virginity. Could barely keep themselves running, and all the patches had to be installed manually. This particular Marked One had decided to suffer a crippling series of errors when he had rebooted it.
That was four hours ago, and fourteen reboots later the system had neither recovered nor actually installed the patch. At this point, it wasn’t even recognizing the patch. Minimum of three weeks to ship a replacement from the capital, that is if it didn’t run afoul of the Guild of Highwaymen, then setting that one up, transferring over any memories that survived from this one…
It was times like this that Tokos could understand the appeal of upgrading to purely magecraft operating systems. DemonOS had a tendency towards actively plotting the demise of those who worked in it. The sign of any good programmer was a tally of failed assassination attempts. Tokos kept his marks in his braid: two attempted exsanguinations and a near impalement.
At the very least, the priesthood of Ana was not very inclined towards floggings for failure. Granted, that was generally the case in most of the outlying provinces: King deliver a swift and merciful end to any mechanic who got a supervisor from the capital.
Tokos pressed his fingers against his forehead, ran through the steps of the process once again. The skull was not outwardly attempting to strike back at him, which indicated that it truly was an error, rather than some plot of the operating system to kill him. Marked Ones were notoriously unsubtle.
This musing was interrupted by the low, sepulchral groan of the temple doors opening.
“We’re closed!” he shouted, standing up sharply. “Services are to be carried out in the home until further notice!” He strode towards the figure standing in the doors, fists clenched in frustration that had to go somewhere. “There was a sign! I put a sign right on the door!”
He came to a stop.
A woman stood in the doorway, her head shaved, her skin pallid and yellowing, stretched too tight over bird-thin bones and bulging blue veins. Hollow eyes deep in their sockets. Lips and eyelids pulled back, desiccated. Age uncertain. A bowed stance from brittle bones. A pale silk dress, embroidered with verses of self-recrimination. An unassailable aura of devotion, paired with the creeping image of approaching death.
From where she stood, a thousand copies stared back at her, and a thousand and one Tokoses.
The thaumechanic cleared his throat, and reigned his frustration back in. He did not like trouble. He hated trouble. The skull was causing enough trouble, he had no need to spread it and cause himself more trouble. The demon skull was his issue, not this woman.
“The temple is closed for maintenance until further notice,” he said again.
The woman ignored him and walked past, as if he was not even there. Tokos watched dumbly as she approached the altar.
Item #: SCP-1759
Threat Level: Black
Containment Class: Keter
Special Containment Procedures: Revised as of ██/██/2013, in response to Incident 1759-Aleph-Exarch.
SCP-1759 is to be contained within a Type-45 Isolation Chamber within Site-151. All anomalous objects previously stored at Site-151 have been relocated to other sites: those objects that cannot be moved have been placed under increased security as outlined in Document S151-RE-5-D. SCP-1759 is to be provided with half a liter of goat, sheep, pig, or cow blood per day for sustenance. SCP-1759’s respiratory sphincters have been surgically modified to prevent vocalization.
All procedures involving SCP-1759 are to be carried out through remote automation. All items coming into contact with SCP-1759 are to be sterilized upon removal from the containment chamber.
The security perimeter around SCP-1759-1 is to be monitored by armed patrol and night-vision security cameras. Entry to SCP-1759-1 is reserved for the research team.
Any wild specimens of Potrix caprarum sapiens are to be captured for further study.
██/██/2013: SCP-1759a was successfully excised from SCP-1759. The remains are currently stored within a Type-101 Stasis Chamber within Site-151. Administration of class O3 amnestics to SCP-1759 has been authorized.
SCP-1759 is to be contained within a Type-05-M humanoid containment module within Site-151, with soundproofing modifications and extensions to accommodate SCP-1759’s size. SCP-1759 is to be supplied with one liter of goat, sheep, pig, or cow blood per day for sustenance. No other items of food or drink are to be provided to SCP-1759.
All items coming into contact with SCP-1759 are to be sterilized upon removal from the containment chamber. All personnel entering the containment chamber are to wear Level B haz-mat suits. Any individuals found to have come in direct physical contact with SCP-1759 or any material resultant of its anomalous properties are to be quarantined until the extent of infection has been determined and treatment has been assigned.
Description: SCP-1759 is a female bipedal mammal-like reptile of an unknown species (henceforth referred to as Potrix caprarum sapiens), measuring 3.4 meters in height and 135 kilograms in weight. Subject’s skin is smooth and hairless, and is dark red in coloration with a pale grey underbelly. SCP-1759’s primary senses are sight and hearing: the specimen possesses large eyes and ears, with the ears serving the secondary function of removing moving waste heat from the body. All scent organs are effectively vestigial. SCP-1759’s legs are semi-digitigrade, with three toes and a fleshy foot pad to distribute weight, and the hands are four-fingered with one thumb. The head and back bear flexible spines measuring 5-20 cm in length.
SCP-1759’s digestive system is specialized for a liquid diet, primarily blood, though it is capable of digesting vegetable and fungal matter. As such, the mouth structure of SCP-1759 lacks teeth and a functioning mandible, instead consisting of a muscular, bone-tipped proboscis. Venom sacks are located in the upper chest, directly below the collarbone. This venom is a powerful hemorrhagic toxin, capable of liquefying the internal organs of the prey creature. SCP-1759’s respiratory system consists of a series of eight sphincters located in the upper chest and back.
SCP-1759 is believed to be sapient, due to demonstration of self-recognition, mathematical ability, and artistic expression. However, no successful communication with SCP-1759 beyond simple pantomime and pictograms has been accomplished: SCP-1759 is incapable of speaking human languages, and has made no progress in learning written languages. SCP-1759 native form of communication is not yet understood.
SCP-1759 is highly sensitive to sound, experiencing pain at noises higher than 70 dB and ear damage at 100 dB. This applies solely to man-made sounds: that is, any noise generated by man-made items or human speech. Exposure to man-made sounds in excess of 100 dB for periods of fifteen minutes or more will result in hemolacria, otorrhagia, and hematidrosis.
SCP-1759’s blood and other body fluids contain a variant of the Mycobacterium leprae bacterium, termed Mycobacterium leprae potrix. The symptoms of Mycobacterium leprae potrix are both accelerated in progression and more severe than those of Mycobacterium leprae, and the bacteria have proven resistant to leprostatic agents.
SCP-1759-1 is a pre-Colombian temple complex located in [REDACTED], Mexico. The architecture of SCP-1759-1 does not match that of any indigenous peoples in the region: the scale of the complex and artistic depictions within indicate that it was constructed by SCP-1759’s species. The oldest segments of SCP-1759-15 have been dated to approximately 12,000 BCE: the most recent constructions6 have been dated to approximately 7500 BCE.
The central chamber SCP-1759-1 was built with a significant knowledge of acoustics. An individual standing on the central dais is capable of being heard throughout the central chamber without difficulty. Speaking in a raised voice will allow the individual to be heard outside SCP-1759-1 by means of structures funneling sound through the roof of SCP-1759-1.
This central chamber of is built above a natural cave formation, later expanded by the builders of SCP-1759-1. Chambers within the cave were apparently used for storage, residence, and internment of the dead. A total of 3409 skulls belonging to potrix caprarum sapiens specimens have been found within the cave system, dated between c. 12,000 BCE and c. 2000 CE.
Entry to the central chamber is made only by passing through two antechambers. A one-room stone structure, referred to as the Small Temple, is located outside the primary structure. The purpose of this structure is unknown.
SCP-1759-2 is a mass of mummified animal parts bound together with hide strips, measuring 4.7 meters in height and weighing approximately 300 kilograms. SCP-1759-2 is pyramidal in shape and consists primarily of bones, organs, and limbs, with six goat heads forming the top of the pyramid. The age of SCP-1759-2 is unknown, but the animals used in its construction indicate that it was built after European settlement. It is unknown how SCP-1759-2 has maintained a state of preservation in a tropical environment.
██/██/2013: SCP-1759a is a deceased fetal female of the same species as SCP-1759. SCP-1759a is genetically identical to SCP-1759, indicating that the pregnancy was the result of parthenogenesis. Events surrounding the initial development of SCP-1759a are designated as Incident 1759-Aleph-Exarch.
Addendum-01: Certain carvings and paintings within SCP-1759-1 have been deemed to provide further context regarding the nature of SCP-1759, and have been arranged in presumed chronological order, as follows.
- Potrix caprarum sapiens in pastoral scenes. Imagery indicates a nocturnal hunter-gatherer lifestyle, with some rudimentary form of fungal agriculture.7
- Potrix caprarum sapiens cut down by humans on horseback. Human figures are portrayed as squat, grotesque figures, with exaggerated mouths and disproportionately small eyes.
- Retreat of Potrix caprarum sapiens below ground and into the remote jungle. Humans displayed as desecrating Potrix caprarum sapiens bodies on the surface.
- Construction of SCP-1759-1 and SCP-1759-2 by Potrix caprarum sapiens.
- The passing of the lunar cycle, with attendant symbolism to indicate repetition. A procession of female Potrix caprarum sapiens stands in from of a dormant SCP-1759-2: all are pregnant, and making gestures of supplication towards SCP-1759-2.
- SCP-1759 positioned in front of SCP-1759-2, hands folded in front of its abdomen. Cutaway view of the abdomen shows developing fetus. SCP-1759-2 has extended an arm to touch SCP-1759’s abdomen. SCP-1759-2 is depicted with a song-halo motif for the first time.
- SCP-1759 giving birth to SCP-1759a. Musical motif is a combination of symbols from the depictions of both the pre-human state and the human conflict. Divine motif depicted for the first time.
- SCP-1759a presented before SCP-1759-2. SCP-1759-2 is once again portrayed with song-halo motif. In addition, SCP-1759-2 is portrayed in an unmummified state, and as animate.
- SCP-1759a riding SCP-1759-2, driving forth humans on horses, surrounded by a crowd of Potrix caprarum sapiens. Divine motif shared by all individuals.
Addendum-02: Initial recovery of SCP-1759 occurred on ██/██/2013, after an extensive hunt. The complexity of traps used against recovery agents indicated that SCP-1759 worked with the aid of at least one other individual. This individual or individuals have eluded follow up searches of the region, and no further activity has been noted.
Incident Report 1759-Aleph-Exarch [BLAH BLAH STUFF HERE]
Addendum-03: Analysis of the remains of SCP-1759a indicate that the fetus bore significant physical deformities, and estimated to have survived no longer than two months after birth. This, combined with SCP-1759a’s method of conception, and the continued mummified and inanimate state of SCP-1759-2, indicates a significant deviation from the events depicted within SCP-1759-1. The consequences, if any, of this deviation are unknown at this time.
Addendum-04: ██/██/2014 – Further study of SCP-1759 has indicated that SCP-1759a was not the subject’s first pregnancy.
Object Class: Euclid
Special Containment Procedures: SCP-XXXX, SCP-XXXX-A, and SCP-XXXX-B, are to be stored in a Type-01 Secure Storage Locker. No further physical security is necessary outside of testing.
Activation of any instance of SCP-XXXX is to be carried out in an appropriately treated testing chamber. The walls, ceiling, and floors of this chamber are to be inlaid with Crowley-Pattern iron and salt seals (See Document THAU-459-SD for further information). Staff assigned to SCP-XXXX for testing are to receive training in the creation and maintenance of thaumaturgical circles. In addition, personnel are to be supplied with digital copies of SCP-XXXX-B for reference puerposes.
Description: SCP-XXXX is a series of 44 iron spheres designated as SCP-XXXX-1 through SCP-XXXX-44. SCP-XXXX instances measure 11cm in diameter and weigh 5.5 kilograms. Bands of copper encircle the equator and meridian of each sphere, measuring 1 cm across. Copper circles, measuring 2.5 cm in diameter, are located on each of the six poles: each circle is embossed with a ritual seal, with the seals used varying among individual instances (See Document XXXX-EXP-A for further information on the 76 known seals). Regardless of seal variations, all instances display an example of Seal 1, which is used to designate the north pole of SCP-XXXX instances.
Each instance of SCP-XXXX houses a unique entity, designated as SCP-XXXX-Xa, according to the specific instance of SCP-XXXX the entity is bound to. SCP-XXXX-Xa specimens vary significantly in their physical appearance, behavior, and individual anomalous properties. Specimens are generally hostile or indifferent to human presence, and display a similar level of intelligence8, being capable of understanding and carrying out commands given by the possessor of SCP-XXXX-A.
See Addendum-01 for a list of all known SCP-XXXX-Xa specimens.
SCP-XXXX-A is an iron signet ring bearing an engraving of Seal 1, used in the activation of SCP-XXXX. Specimens of SCP-XXXX-Xa will obey commands given by the possessor of SCP-XXXX-1, but will generally display hostility towards their wielder. This hostility often manifests in sloppy or untimely completion of tasks, procrastination, outright ignoring of commands, acts of insult, and minor non-lethal afflictions against the wielder of SCP-XXXX-A9.
SCP-XXXX-B is a collection of 655 stone tablets, written in a modified Hebrew shorthand. These tablets contain detailed descriptions of 920 SCP-XXXX-Xa species, anatomic and observational engravings, expedition records and maps10, and personal log entries. The level of detail in the inscription of SCP-XXXX-B tablets is beyond what was possible during the time period: the method used to inscribe SCP-XXXX-B is not stated in the tablets, and is currently unknown.
The activation process for SCP-XXXX instances is as follows: SCP-XXXX-A is applied to Seal A on the instance of SCP-XXXX to be activated, accompanied by an appropriate ritual recitation, as explained on Tablets 24 and 62 of SCP-XXXX-B. Dismissal of SCP-XXXX-Xa specimens follows the same procedure, with dismissal commands found on Tablets 25 and 63.
This method of activation does not apply any additional safeguards, leaving observers and the wielder open to harm.
|SCP-XXXX-1a||.74m||30kg||Bipedal, red scales, obsidian horns, lamprey-like mouth taking up the majority of the head.||First specimen captured by author of SCP-XXXX-B, served as close lifelong companion.|
|SCP-XXXX-34a||5.1 m||2200kg||Selachian with six sets of pectoral fins. White marks on skin. Mouth filled with miniature version of Earth’s moon.||Capable of flight through unknown means.|
Selected excerpt from SCP-XXXX-B, Tablet 655:
Today marks fifty years since I began my study. Ah, if only I had fifty more to spend! But a man is given his allotted time, and no more: He lives out his days and dies, and one generation replaces the other as sons replace their fathers. My time is drawing to a close.
I think that this will be my final journey to that place. I wish to walk amongst the God’s hidden creation one last time, to be joyful as a child one last time. Those alien hills and ancient paths are to me closer than this palace men deem to call my home. No, this is mere stone, filled with scribes and their squabbles, sycophants and their plotting, treasures and their vanity. I would trade it all for a fly, for a fly is more glorious than all the creations of man, but things are expected of the King.
I shall release my assistants when I arrive in that place. They have served me beyond what I could have possibly imagined, as my closest friends and companions across the years. Where men have failed, they have been faithful.
I will miss them, but there are times when goodbyes must be said, and now is the time.
Ah, the years go ever on. What profit does a man gain from the labor of his life? Time passes, and he fades, and all his works are as nothing to the world. Yet now, as I near the end of my life, I am comforted by this: I know that I have spent my years well. Power and wealth are mere vanities: better then, to spend my years surrounded by God’s gifts in all that He has created.
After I return, I will set aside my work, and pass it to the hands of other men. In time, they will pass it to others, and on and on. A river returns to where it begins, and yet the sea is never full. The work is never done, and always begins anew.
The lack of further notes, and the continued binded state of SCP-XXXX-Xa specimens, indicates that this expedition either did not occur or was not recorded, and that some unknown event prevented the release of SCP-XXXX-Xa.
“Hey, Salah-sempai, I have a question.”
“What’s that, Mary-Ann-chan, waifu dearest and light of my life?”
“Have you ever gotten the feeling that something, somewhere, has gone terribly wrong?”
“No, I can’t say that I have, sweetest cherry blossom.”
“They’re the best option we have at the moment. More experience in this sort of thing than anyone else we could reasonably reach. Collateral damage really isn’t an issue at this point.”
Rachel wiped viscera off of her hand-axe. The carcass of a meter-long bee lay mangled on the mossy root bed. There would be more of them crawling around nearby. Hopefully it was just a wandering pack of them, and not a nest. Rachel had neither the patience nor the equipment for dealing with a nest.
She did have the time, in a general sense, but she always had time.
She shifted her backpack strap from where it had been digging into her shoulder. The backpack itself was a big black brick of complicated-looking mechanical components and switches and knobs and wire, giving off a constant low thrumming. Portable scrantron reality anchor, just enough for a few cubic meters of normality. Of course, running the thing in power-saver mode in an environment this far gone didn’t do much more than keep Rachel herself stabilized.
With the axe wiped clean, Rachel walked back onto the overgrown cobblestone path, grabbed at the luggage dolly that was sitting there, and continued pushing it down the path. What a sight. She looked like a homeless person, what with all the extra bags and packs she was carrying. A very well armed homeless person.
The forest that surrounded her was an ancient thing, misty and mossy and deep emerald green, with gnarled trees that had never seen an axe, and mossy roots that only rarely saw sunlight. The path occasionally wound past a crumbling shrine or mile marker, signs of long-lost habitation. The world was quiet, the birds and insects were muted in the vastness of the surrounding nature.
It was beautiful, and obnoxiously fake. No older than last week, and no more real than a photoshop brushstroke. Rachel really wanted nothing more than to burn the entire place to the ground.
Some time passed, or it at least felt like it passed. Rachel pulled out the folded piece of paper from her pocket, glanced over the map and the photograph paperclipped to it one last time. Should be close. Should be able to find them by sunset, though with the unreliability of time’s relative passage and the thick canopy she couldn’t be certain when sunset would be. The forest was a perpetual state of twilight, save the occasional beam that peaked through the leaves. Map back in pocket, keep pushing the dolly, keep pushing the dolly.
The isolation, coupled with the stress of the current predicament, would be enough to drive anyone mad. Rachel wasn’t too worried about that, because she considered herself half-mad anyway.
The twilight had taken a deeper shade of green when she finally saw the inn. It was a nice enough place: two stories, tin roof, big red paper lantern out front, cloth sign out front, far more well-kept than the road, though it was dwarfed by the trees that surrounded it and looked to barely have enough room for even a handful of guests. Not a lot of business, this deep in the woods
But it was the place.
Rachel brushed aside the half-curtain and pushed the dolly into the cramped common room. She took a seat at one of the benches, trying to make herself as comfortable as she could with the scrantron pack on her back.
“Hello? Anyone here?”
“Konichiwa!” A smiling woman walked out of the kitchen in the back, carrying a tray with a teapot and cups. Her blonde hair was pulled back in a pony-tail that reached her thighs, and her blue kimono provided a gratuitous shot of her already gratuitous cleavage. “You look like you’ve come a long way.”
“I have. Room and a meal, if you would, please.”
As she turned to go back to the kitchen, Rachel stood up and stabbed a needle into Mary-Ann Lewitt’s neck.
Item #: SCP-XXXX
Object Class: Keter
Special Containment Procedures: SCP-XXXX is currently contained within a Type-07 armored containment chamber with isolation and emergency immolation modules installed. SCP-XXXX is currently engaged within the Mk3 Adaptive Virtual Reality System (ARVS), augmented with the full sensory feedback suite. The simulation is to be recorded and analyzed for further study of SCP-XXXX and the extent of its properties. Access to the containment chamber for equipment maintenance is not permitted without escort by at least three members of the Esoteric Warfare Unit.
If at any point SCP-XXXX is disengaged from the simulation program, containment failsafes are to be put into effect: SCP-XXXX is to be immediately incinerated, with the remains disposed of according to protocol outlined in Document XXXX-D. In the case of failure of destruction protocols, SCP-XXXX is to be engaged by the Esoteric Warfare Unit until subdued and terminated.
Description: SCP-XXXX is a human male of Kurdish descent, approximately 40 years of age, measuring 165 cm in height and 155 kilograms in weight. SCP-XXXX is in poor health, displaying signs of repeated drug overdose, heavy metal poisoning, vitamin D deficiency and severe genital warts, in addition to segments of necrotized flesh in the torso and lower left leg. SCP-XXXX is fluent in Turkish and Russian, and has some basic knowledge of English. SCP-XXXX and has been generally uncooperative in periods of communication with staff.
Item #: SCP-XXXX
Threat Level: Orange
Object Class: Euclid
Special Containment Procedures: Site-200 has been specifically constructed for the storage and testing of SCP-XXXX and SCP-XXXX-1.
SCP-XXXX is to be stored in a 20 x 20 x 5 m chamber, plated with 50 cm of iron so as to protect against its latent cognitohazardous effects.
The specimen of SCP-XXXX-1 maintained for testing is to be contained within a separate 5 m3 containment chamber, also constructed of iron, housed in the center of the primary testing area. SCP-XXXX-1 is to be released into the testing area during the entirety of testing. The central testing area is to contain living space for 30 D-class test subjects. Test groups are to consist of two rotating groups of D-class subjects. Test subjects will be reprocessed at the end of each month. All personnel entering the containment chamber of SCP-XXXX or the testing area are to carry on their person at least 1 kilogram of iron. Vests and helmets containing the appropriate amount have been created for this purpose.
As of ██/██/2013, 78 instances of SCP-XXXX-1 have been produced. One specimen of SCP-XXXX-1 is currently contained: All additional specimens of SCP-XXXX-1 are to be disposed of after budding.
Any accounts of SCP-XXXX-2 practiced outside of containment are to be investigated immediately with the destruction of the accompanying SCP-XXXX-1 instance.
Description: SCP-XXXX is a fleshy mass weighing approximately 10 tonnes and measuring approximately 18 meters in diameter. SCP-XXXX is a marbled white in coloration, with wrinkled, hairless skin. Biopsy of SCP-XXXX reveals that it has no internal organs or other structures: the interior consists entirely of orange-tinted cytosol gel, with ion content similar in chemical composition to that of other Earth organisms and a consistent temperature of 37.4° C. SCP-XXXX has not been observed to move the entirety of its mass under its own power, but will react to stimuli such as touch and temperature. SCP-XXXX will occasionally form buds from its body mass, which over the course of 4-8 days will separate from the primary body, forming SCP-XXXX-1.
SCP-XXXX-1 are spherical airborne organisms measuring between three and five meters in diameter, consisting of a thin organic membrane surrounding a pocket of hydrogen gas. The cytosol interior of SCP-XXXX-1 buds will drain back into the main body of SCP-XXXX during the budding process. SCP-XXXX-1 have no notable external features, save a cluster of short tendrils measuring between 10 and 40 cm extending from the organism’s bottom pole. SCP-XXXX-1 instances are similar in coloration to SCP-XXXX, though in some cases have developed variant colorations and patterns after the completion of budding. SCP-XXXX instances are capable of self-propelled flight through unknown means, with a maximum recorded speed of 40 kph.
SCP-XXXX and SCP-XXXX-1 exert a mental influence over human beings within 100 meters that are aware of their presence. Individuals influenced by SCP-XXXX-1 will, over the course of several days, adopt a new belief system, henceforth referred to as SCP-XXXX-2, regardless of the individuals’ previous religious beliefs or lack thereof. Affected individuals will generally remain close to SCP-XXXX-1 after this conversion event, holding the entity in high regard and claiming to hear telepathic directives directly from SCP-XXXX-1. The influence of SCP-XXXX-1 specimens may be impeded by various minerals: iron, lead, and gold are the most effective and are capable of blocking the influence entirely in sufficient quantities, though large quantities of soil may serve as a temporary stopgap. One D-class test subject has been recorded as resisting direct exposure to SCP-XXXX-1. The subject was found upon biopsy to suffer from hereditary hemochromatosis.
SCP-XXXX-2 consists of highly ritualized and esoteric worship of SCP-XXXX, with SCP-XXXX-1 filling the role of revelators of a divine message and adherents forming a complex hierarchy. The basic tenets of SCP-XXXX-2 remain constant and consistent regardless of the particular instance of SCP-XXXX-1, though there have been some variances in interpretation of questionable phrases by test subjects. (See Document XXXX-EXP for further details.) The four primary tenets are the worship of SCP-XXXX, the eventual retrieval of SCP-XXXX, a strict code of non-violence, and an event referred to either as “completion of the circle” or “completion of the chain.” This last point is in reference to a task assigned by SCP-XXXX, though the specifics of the task are known only by high-ranking members of the SCP-XXXX-2 hierarchy.
The majority of rituals within SCP-XXXX-2 consist of the construction of various, similar to those of other hermetic occult traditions, using whatever medium is available. These designs display a high degree of complexity and accuracy of construction, but have not been observed to generate any sort of anomalous effect. Test subjects have claimed that this lack of effect is due to “an abundance of grounding materials” in the area.11
In the case of the destruction of SCP-XXXX-1 without replacement, practice of SCP-XXXX-2 will fragment and schism, with adherents forming rival sects, often over the course of days. Test subjects will continue to report direct correspondence from SCP-XXXX-1
See Document XXXX-T/10 for further details of breakdown events.
Addendum-01: The following note was recovered from D-XXXX-021-A/02. The subject had assumed a leadership role within the testing populace, serving as an interpreter of SCP-XXXX-2.
It is the greatest of joys in life to contemplate the mysteries of The High Holiness, though It remains far from us. Its Holy Messenger therefore has been sent to guide and oversee our work.
Look to the outside, beyond these walls. Look to your own pasts, before Its Holy Messenger revealed itself to us. We had long forgotten everything, forgotten it all! But The High Holiness has opened our eyes again, so that we may resume the work set out for us so long ago.
Do not fear and do not worry of the trials that oppose us now. Just as The High Holiness freed you from your past ignorance and unbelief, so shall The High Holiness free us from this prison. Though the seals rest powerless now, do not fear that they shall remain so. In peace and patience we shall endure.
But it is not enough of us to simply endure. It is not enough to observe the prayers, or to observe the washings, or to inscribe the hundred-and-four-fold seals, or to the recite the mantras. No, true following of The High Holiness is taking part in Its creation. We are not to sit idly by while The High Holiness’ purpose remains unfulfilled. So long has the circle remained unfinished, so long has the chain been left to rust. Wait only a little longer, and in that time before our freedom we are to become like The High Holiness by becoming holy ourselves: in this way, we will be worthy to aid The High Holiness in completion of the Circle. It is this task that we have been chosen for, to carry out the same task that The High Holiness did so long ago, and set for us to continue. This is our purpose, the end goal, the true and right nature of our being?
Just as no act is more godlike than the creation of man, no act is more human than the creation of gods.
Lastly, I give you my oft-repeated injunction: harbor no ill will towards our wardens. They are ignorant as you were once ignorant. Be patient, in the name of The High Holiness, I implore you: In time they will come to know the truth, just as you did.
Item #: SCP-XXXX
Object Class: Neutralized
Special Containment Procedures: The remains of SCP-XXXX are currently kept within Site-87 in long-term biological storage. All items related to SCP-XXXX are kept in Locker 145 of Vault-02.
Description: SCP-XXXX is the animated corpse of a Caucasian male, identified as ██████ ███████, standing 1.7 meters in height and weighing 68 kilograms. SCP-XXXX displays numerous bone fractures in the neck, spine, pelvis, right arm, right leg, and ribs, as well as significant damage to most major internal organs. SCP-XXXX is capable of movement despite these injuries, but has not been observed to move at more than a walking pace.
SCP-XXXX displays strict manifestation criteria, manifesting on Monday or Thursday nights between June 22nd and August 7th, between 6:30 and 7:30 PM. Manifestations originate in a drainage culvert located next to the local eatery “The Dinner Pit”. Upon reaching the road, SCP-XXXX will proceed to walk 4.3 kilometers west along Krakkow Road to the northern entrance of Camp Big Sloth, where SCP-XXXX will enter the premises and submerge itself in Lake Krakkow, where the manifestation will end. If restrained or otherwise prevented from halted, SCP-XXXX will remain manifest until submerged in Lake Krakkow.
SCP-XXXX is generally unresponsive to stimuli, and will not attempt to overcome impediments.
SCP-XXXX’s body deteriorates during the course of manifestations
Occasionally SCP-XXXX will pause during manifestations. Four conversations have been recorded, with a
SCP-XXXX was an employee at Camp Big Sloth during the summer seasons of 2002 and 2003, and had (Site-87-3, memetic department.) Camp Krakkow
Addendum-01: Items found on the person of SCP-XXXX at the time of containment include:
• Wallet containing driver’s license, debit card, $21.72 in cash, Adult/Pediatric First Aid / CPR / AED certification, and heavily damaged photograph of ████ ████████.
• Carabineer, with three unfinished string bracelets attached
• Water bottle
• Bug spray
• Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, bookmarked with a napkin at page 582.
• Manila folder containing schedules, paperwork, and two unfinished letters.
Addendum-02: A transcript of Conversation B is as follows.
Seek ye here this summer blest
And in endless days take up thy rest
In timeless song and timeless light
In dirt and sweat and pale moonlight
A place at table, a place by the fire
A place to sit still, when the feet tire
To tarry an hour, a day, a week
As the timeless sun sets, and the old trees creak
“The usual way of dealing with dangerous metas is just shooting them from a long way away when they don’t know you’re there. Usually works, but there’s always that one who is smart enough to think ahead and make themselves immune to headshots.”
A woman ran across the pavement, her elaborate sky-blue robes flowing behind her. Wings, one snow-white and feathered, one black and batlike, flapped, lending a flightiness to her steps. A wide-bladed sword (Key? Gun?) of ruby and obsidian and frozen quicksilver was held over her right shoulder, glimmering even in the sunlight. Her pace was relaxed, despite the expanse she covered with each stride and flap of her wings towards the massive white building at the end of the tree-lined road.
There was nothing but her light footsteps, the gentle sound of her wings and the breeze carrying the cherry blossoms.
Then, something in the distance behind her, growing louder. A buzz at first, then discernible notes. A song, growing louder and louder until a beaten yellow Volga M24 screamed and screeched and swerved around the corner, left wheels rising off the pavement, black smoke belching from the exhaust pipe, music blasting from the speakers, llamas bleating just under the roar of the engine. Inside, the driver, a heavily-built young man of African descent, argued over the cell phone with some unknown party in deep patois. In the passenger seat, Salah leaned out the window, trying to get a shot at the runner. On the roof, Mary-Ann clung like a mussel, rifle in one hand, wind roaring in her ears, and the sure and certain knowledge that everything had gone completely batshit bugfuck insane.
The following thoughts ran through Mary-Ann’s head.
1) Holy shit what is going on
2) Holy shit why am I doing this
3) Holy shit fuck
4) Holy shit holy shit holy shit
She grit her teeth and tried to aim at the running woman, bracing herself as best as she could against the cargo bars. A llama sat by her elbow. This was insanity. Normal people died doing this sort of shit. Granted, normal people didn’t ride with llama deliverymen and hunt down a meta-aware Japanophile who was planning on marching on middle America with an army of big-eyed minions at her heels.
The swerving lessened enough for Mary-Ann to let off a staccato burst of gunfire, accompanied by the sharp periods of Salah’s pistol. The woman danced out of the way, not even slowing her pace.
Come on, come on…stand still, you fucker…
The road opened into a wide courtyard, the far end taken up by the great white form of the convention center. The target was already approaching the wide glass doors.
More gunfire. Glass shattered, but the woman made it through the doors unharmed. Mary-Ann realized that the car hadn’t begun to slow yet.
“Hold on!” the driver shouted. Mary-Ann did so. The brakes screeched as the tires burned and the car slid across the pavement. Mary-Ann felt her heart and stomach move up to her throat. Probably her liver, too.
The car skidded, flipped, bounced off of the pavement, and smashed through the front doors in a hail of glass.
”Magic is narrative. That’s why it’s magic. It works because it does. Violates physical laws by overriding them with narrative laws. A meta can just do this on a major scale, without any of the ritual stopgaps and shortcuts most people need to do it. But, you give someone that much power, and it goes to their heads. They go crazy, most of them, and after a while everything they built up starts decaying. It’s why ritual is so important with this sort of thing: prevents everything from being spread too thin. Metas always end up spreading themselves too thin.”
If there had been a photographer at that moment the Dial-a-Llama car crashed through the front doors, this is what would have been seen.
Mary-Ann Lewitt in midair, knees tucked up to her chest. Hair bound back in an orange wool hair net. Blue arrows painted on her forehead and arms. Gold-and-orange robes, grey cape cut into dozens of thin strips billowing out behind her. Big blue ring on the middle finger of her right hand. Rifle slung over her back, sword at her hip. Shards of metal and glass spread outwards from the car, pushed by a sphere of disturbed air.
Salah was right beside his wife, his outline blurred with supernatural speed. Billowing dark blue longcoat with gold trim, big maroon bandanna around his neck, green hat with big red goggles around the brim and a blue tuft of hair. Leather backpack filled with rolls of parchment. Bamboo blowgun in one hand, jagged black brand on the back of the other.
Behind both of them was a black llama. It too was in midair, but with far less grace, because it was a llama.
The moment passed in smoke and screeching and clanging and Mary-Ann and Salah landed neatly on the ground, some distance away from where the smoking, creaking car had thrown itself into reverse just as soon as it had rocked to a halt. The llamas were unperturbed. The driver looked as if the fifty-dollar tip Salah had given him earlier was not nearly going to cover his therapist expenses slash bar tab.
The engine rumbling and music died in the distance. Mary-Ann and Salah had not moved from their spot. Moving would break the narrative flow. Always had to have the dramatic standoff before the action started. Move before it was ready, and you were dead. Move at the right time, and you could live.
Act like they do in movies, Mary-Ann reminded herself. Act like they do in movies.
Several dozen twelve year old girls in school uniforms looked down the barrels of their AK-47s.
“The costumes were a form of ritual, something to keep us focused. Put limits on us: this is what you can do, this is how it works, these are the rules. Keeps you anchored, prevents you from really losing it, turning your limbs to rubber and tying your brain in knots or something like that. Of course, it also meant that our briefing document was three hundred pages long and we had to memorize a bunch of stuff that we had never heard of before.”
The air grew increasingly grease-slick and filmy as the pause stretched on. Magical decay, things being stretched thin. Impossibility becoming possible. The Meta was playing her hand. As soon as things started moving, as soon as she moved from this spot, things would not stop moving until somebody was dead.
Mary-Ann burned steel, feeling the heat and nausea rise up in her stomach. Pale blue lines arced out from her chest, just like how the briefing described it. Of course the briefing said that within the field it would come naturally, that she would know how to do it all instinctively. She did, the briefing was correct, but that didn’t stop the process from feeling wrong.
She snapped back into focus, realizing that her body had been moving by itself for a few seconds, right as she punched a girl in the throat. Blood sprayed from the nose and mouth like a high-pressure water balloon. Normal human bodies didn’t do that. That was something of a relief.
She rolled backwards, back onto her feet, and blasted another girl in the face with a gust of wind, launching both parties in opposite directions across the hall. Out of the corner of her eye she could see Salah blinking and stuttering through space, a blur in the air punctuated by an occasional jab of a sword or pfft of a blowgun dart.
Can’t get distracted by the mooks, they bog you down, it’s a delaying tactic don’t fall for it…
The air rippled as a column of blinding light slammed into the center of the fracas, tearing a hole in the roof and growing a cross bar some mile above. Forty meters of floridly ornate white-and-pink cyborg descended from the heavens, a halo above its bellowing head, left arm solid orange hard light.
“I can’t believe you baka gaijin fell for that!” A cheerily mocking voice rang out from the monster’s haloed head. “Desu-desu, motherfuckers!”
6) Bloody fucking hell and all its shitting bees.
“Briefing said that she’d go god mode early, but there’s always something that you can’t prepare for. But, because a meta operates narratively, there is always a way to beat them within their own rules. They can set themselves up as invincible, and that’s a token in your favor. It just means that you have to get creative. We could have gone in with forty guys all stealthy like, could have skipped the costumes completely, but that would be operating by real-world rules. Can’t do that on a meta’s home turf. Reality’s playing by their rules, and so do we. The trick is using their rules to your advantage.”
Mary-Ann was dimly aware that the building was being torn apart around her, but the adrenaline drowned it all out. Flight instinct was running in full. She operated on instinct alone weaving through the chaos of strews bodies and crumbling building. A blast of air here, a steelpush there, ring if needed. Her vision swam with blue and purple and green, her ears rang.
One big push and Mary-Ann launched her out of the convention center ruins and off a cliff, just under what could only be called a “gigantic cyborg eye-laser that shot across the horizon”. Through her light-spotted vision she could make out a river valley that was most assuredly not there before, which was filled with a mix of ancient forests, bustling urban metropolises, quaint feudal-era towns and other randomized in-fill that was jumbled together like a patchwork quilt stuffed into too small of a space.
The ground was also a very long way away, and seemed to be inhabited by naked, fifty-foot tall salarymen.
Gigantic laser-shooting god cyborg on top of the cliff, naked fifty-foot salarymen at the bottom, ten seconds give or take to get down. Could be beaten. Not now though. Needed the Muffin. McMuffin. MacGuffin. Keep following arc: initial conflict, lesser conflict, fight mooks, get Guffin, final fight. Break.
“Split!” Mary-Ann bent her voice over to Salah. She could dimly see who gave a thumbs-up in agreement as he blinked away. Mary-Ann tilted down for a nose dive, pushed enough wind behind her to reach terminal velocity, drew Durandal from the scabbard at her waist, and sliced off the head of a naked fifty-foot salaryman in a single blow.
“The problem with that is that you have to be familiar with the rules. The briefing for this mission was over three hundred pages long. Absolute nightmare, keeping everything straight. Then on top of that, there was the whole ‘Here are some powers from something you’ve never heard of, and you can’t actually practice with them, so just read up and do what comes naturally, it should work’ thing.”
“Is this really genuine Alternian ivory?”
“Yeah. Genuine Albanian ivory or whatever. Just hurry up and buy something, you’re holding up the line.”
There wasn’t a line, but the man wearing a deer costume just wanted this chick away from his stall. She was fat, for one, and not the good kind where you were all “Hot DAMN, she’s got them fancy rubenesque curves” but the “holy shit she looks like a sack of skin filled with old gravy” kind. Second, she had con-stank. Three, she was fat and had con-stank and Saturn Motherfucking Deer, Esq. considered that sufficient reason to leave a vagina vacant. Two out of ten, would not bang.
“These ones are nice…but so are these ones…oh hmmm…which one do I want…”
“Look, I’ll give you both sets for half off. How about that?” They were just clay horns superglued to hairbands for heaven’s sake he didn’t even put any effort into the damn things and they’d been going like cocaine-laced pancakes…
The girl looked up with an expectant “OMG I think he likes me maybe he wants to come up to the room and hook up!” expression.
“No,” Deer said, flat-faced. Though, granted, there was that one chick with the purple hair and the yellow short shorts and the really great ass who had passed through earlier. Once Landwhale McDonald got out of here he’d have to go and track her down…
“So that’s twenty for both, right?”
“Yeah, yeah.” Corgi. She had a stuffed corgi with her. Look for the corgi. He took the money, put it in his box, reminded himself that in selling the landwhale this trinket, he had slashed her odds of successfully breeding by at least half.
His thoughts were disturbed by the sound of buildings being torn apart at the far end of the corwded downtown street by a half dozen naked, fifty foot salary men. They all seemed to be swatting at a little figure dodging around in the air like an over-caffeinated fly.
The landwhale screeched and waddled off, joining the screaming chorus as the marketplace exploded into chaos, glass and shards of buildings raining down from the Titan’s flailing, childish movements.
Ignore them and they’ll go away, Deer. Ignore them and you’ll go away.
A figure shot by in a blur of orange and yellow, balancing on a little whirlwind sphere, with a sword in one hand and a rifle in the other. The figure was followed by a horde of naked fifty-foot tall salarymen. A gigantic foot slammed down, crushing Deer’s stand and leaving about six inches of space between him and the thing’s ankle. The Titan kept lumbering along with all the rest, leaving Saturn Deer, snake-oil prophet, standing in the wreckage of his merchandise stall, wearing a deer costume. He blinked a few times.
“Was that…yeah…yeah. Probably was.”
[YES THERE IS MORE COMING]
Item #: SCP-1935
Object Class: Euclid
Special Containment Procedures: SCP-1935 is currently in the possession of Agent ████ at Site-81. Agent ████ has been granted special license for the usage of anomalous objects recovered through interaction with SCP-1935, for the purposes of completing assigned challenges to further study the anomalous effects of SCP-1935, as authorized by Director Kirkwood. All usage of anomalous items will be logged. Further supplies may be granted to Agent ████ as necessary.
All information and items gathered during challenges assigned by SCP-1935 are to be stored in the Site-81 Special Archive.
If the possessor of SCP-1935 is killed during the course of task completion or is otherwise found unfit to continue testing, the next Agent on the list of potential subjects is to be granted access to the Site-81 Special Archive.
Description: SCP-1935 is the engraved skull of a human male weighing approximately 285 grams. Engravings on the item are similar in design to those found on traditional Tibetan kapala, with the exception of the word “Tükörsima”12,” carved in the center of the occipital bone. No signs of outside damage or medical anomalies are present. SCP-1935 is capable of limited movement by levitation, with a top speed of 15 kph and a maximum height of 10 meters.
SCP-1935 is sapient and capable of speech, speaking with the voice of an adult female13. Item is fluent in English (American, Nadsat, and Newspeak dialects), French, Cantonese, Standard Tibetan, tlhIngan Hol, and Quenya. SCP-1935’s personality is argumentative and demanding, often berating the possessor for mistakes and missteps. However, SCP-1935 will provide aid or information to the possessor during challenges.
SCP-1935 will mark certain individuals as its possessor. Possession of SCP-1935 may only be changed through two methods: the possessor must either perform a ritual dictated by SCP-1935 and hand over possession to another individual, or die while in possession of the object. Repossession rituals vary with each instance, and will generally involve obscure, esoteric, or otherwise difficult actions. In the case of death, the first individual to touch SCP-1935 after the possessor’s death will become possessor of the object.
SCP-1935 will assign tasks for its possessor to undertake, with these edicts manifesting as a strip of paper originating in the cranial cavity, extending through the foramen magnum and out through the mouth. The goal and any additional rules will be typed on this paper in dot-matrix print. SCP-1935 will make noises appropriate to a dot-matrix printer during mission assignment.
Recorded challenge types are as follows:
- Acquire / Get - Subject must acquire a certain object, generally located in an abandoned structures or remote rural areas and guarded by SCP-1935-1 entities.
- Hunt – Subject must eliminate a specific SCP-1935-1 entity or entities.
- Investigate / Solve – Subject must acquire a particular piece of knowledge, generally involving mysterious or unexplained events, and often involving information acquired in previous challenges.
- Quest – Subject must find and travel to a particular location.
- Survive – Subject must fend off hostile SCP-1935-1 entities until all have been killed, or an undisclosed time limit has been reached.
- Unclassified – All challenges that do not fall under the above categories.
There is no time limit for the competition of most tasks, though there are exceptions to this. New missions will not be assigned until the current mission is completed. Upon completion of a task, SCP-1935 will assign a subsequent mission in 3-7 days. Failure to complete a challenge successfully will result in penalties distributed by SCP-1935, which may range from the loss of assisting items to minor physical or mental handicaps including near-sightedness, synesthesia, loss of balance, short-term memory loss, muteness, and muscle cramps. In these instances, SCP-1935 will assign a more difficult side-challenge to undo the penalty. Challenges will only count as successes if performed by solely the possessor: succeeding at a challenge while accompanied by other individuals offering direct assistance will still count as a failure.
SCP-1935-1 is the designation for all entities generated during challenges. These entities encompass a wide range of organisms and animate objects, all of which display some minor anomalous properties. SCP-1935-1 entities will focus all efforts on attacking or avoiding the possessor of SCP-1935, and will only interact with outside individuals in the case of outside interference.
Challenges issued by SCP-1935 will often involve contact and acquisition with other anomalous objects outside of SCP-1935-1. However, these items have not been observed to demonstrate any anomalous properties when used outside of activities pertinent to the completion of challenges, and all such artifacts have been classified as AO-class items. Additional non-anomalous items belonging to possessors of SCP-1935 prior to Foundation containment have also been archived.
Addendum-01 Missions completed by Agent 1935-31 as of ██/██/2013 are as follows:
- Acquire flask.
- Acquire Ben Rah’s tools.
- Acquire the Lodestone Staff of G’rught a’Hrn.
- Solve the Riddle of Ten Peaks.
- Hunt Aqaugeous Bolotaine,
- Dance on the table and drink mustard from the tap.
- Investigate the disappearance of Dr. Edward H. Juvian.
- Protect the migrating Toolies from the Things That Watch.
- Acquire the Obsidian Atlatl of Jhared
- Get laid.
- Hunt the margrawn (Failed)
- Quest to the birthplace of Hope (Ongoing)
Addendum-02: The following excerpt of dialogue between SCP-1935 and Agent ████ was recorded in-mission on ██/██/2013, during the hunting of the Aqaugeous Bolotaine, and is typical of exchanges between SCP-1935 and its possessors.
Agent ████: So that’s it…it’s gigantic.
SCP-1935: They don’t call it aqaugeous for nothing.
Agent ████: Does that even mean anything?
SCP-1935: Probably, I don’t know.
Agent ████: Fat load of help you are.
SCP-1935: No, the fat one is like, four hundred pounds. Just sorta rolls around being squishy. I’m a rather slim and svelte load of help.
Agent ████: [Pause].
SCP-1935: I’m serious. I’ve been working out.
Agent ████: I don’t doubt it. I stopped questioning anything you say a few months ago anyway.
SCP-1935: There you go, you aren’t nearly as dumb as you look. Next thing you’ll be telling me that you can write your name all by yourself.
Agent ████: [Sigh] Whatever. What can you tell me about this thing?
SCP-1935: It weighs twenty tons, its coral armor is three feet thick, and the spines are venomous. You’re probably going to die in horrible excruciating pain as your blood turns to jelly and your bone marrow starts oozing out of every orifice in your body. I’ll make sure they carve something nice in your tombstone: Here lies Neanderthal “Please Pee On Everything I Love” McThug – He Liked Wearing Women’s Underwear.
Agent ████: [With irritation] I mean in terms of weaknesses, can you give me any help with that?
Agent ████: Okay, tell me what to do.
Agent ████: No?
SCP-1935: Yes, no. This is the part where I tell you that I can tell you an easy way to kill it, but I won’t, because that’s no fun at all.
Agent ████: Really? You’re really pulling that bullshit on me?
SCP-1935: Yes. Tough if you don’t like it, figure it out yourself. You gotta kill it, not me.
Agent ████: Fuck you.
SCP-1935: I’d love to have you, let me work you into my schedule. Ooh, sorry, I’m booked with “Not giving a fuck” for the next six months.
Agent ████: Ha-ha, I am so amused.
SCP-1935: Just look at all these fucks I don’t give! They’re simply everywhere! I need a warehouse to store all of these fucks I am not giving to you!
Agent ████: Will you just shut up and let me think?
SCP-1935: Hab SoSlI' Quch.14 [Pause] [Raspberry noise]
Agent ████: [Pause] I don’t need to deal with this. [Footsteps]
SCP-1935: [From behind] Really? Really? Come on man, it isn’t…Ah, shit. It’s the neck, the big asshole’s weak spot is the underside of his neck! You gotta shove…Hey! Hey! Listen! You DENSE motherfucker!”
Addendum-03: SCP-1935 was initially recovered in [REDACTED] on ██/██/2012 from ██████ █████, who had been using the item as a prop within a live-action roleplay campaign. Possession was transferred to Agent Friar during interrogation. Subject was administered amnestic and released without incident. Notes relating to SCP-1935 were also recovered from the subject's home.
Addendum-04: ██/██/2013 – Agent ████ encountered an individual suspected to be connected to SCP-1935 during the challenge to hunt and kill the magrawn. Individual was male, approximately 25 years of age, and in possession of at least two suspected anomalous artifacts (according to Agent ████ these included “a sword with a chainsaw blade” and an “Alice in Wonderland towel”, in addition to an item identical to SCP-1935. This individual fled immediately upon observing Agent ████, and neither the individual nor the second instance of SCP-1935 were able to be recovered. The corpse of the magrawn was found three hours later, indicating that the individual had been assigned the same challenge.
Item #: SCP-XXXX
Object Class: Keter
Special Containment Procedures: All websites containing information related to SCP-XXXX are to be taken down after archival as according to standard Internet Information Suppression Protocols. SCP-XXXX-Prime is to be isolated from web crawling programs. Any traffic to SCP-XXXX-Prime is to be monitored and tracked. Any individuals found accessing SCP-XXXX-Prime or taking part in SCP-XXXX are to be detained for questioning and administration of amnestics. Any information related to the identity of the entity or group operating under the pseudonym “noospher” is to be handled by Special Intelligence Team 05.
Agents participating in SCP-XXXX for observational purposes are permitted full access to Special Archive XXXX and use of recovered AO-class objects to aid in participation in SCP-XXXX, as outlined in Document XXXX-TP-6.
Artifacts related to SCP-XXXX are currently stored within Anomalous Objects Vault 5 within Site 16.
Description: SCP-XXXX is an alternate reality game entitled “Tükörsima”15, operated by an unknown entity or group. SCP-XXXX consists of six interconnected plotlines existing in some form since at least 1999.
Artifacts related to SCP-XXXX are designated SCP-XXXX-1 to SCP-XXXX-578, and consist of various items and entities encountered during the process of SCP-XXXX as clues, aids, or antagonists. 345 recovered items display minor anomalous properties and are classified as AO-class objects. A full listing of all AO-class objects related to SCP-XXXX may be found in Document XXXX-AV-4.
SCP-XXXX-Prime is a webpage displaying a black field bearing the text “Tükörsima by noospher. Do you accept?” and two buttons labeled “Yes” and “No”. Attempts to trace ownership and origin of SCP-XXXX-Prime have failed. In the case of the takedown of SCP-XXXX-Prime, a new instance of SCP-XXXX-Prime will manifest within 72 hours.
Entry to SCP-XXXX begins with access of SCP-XXXX-Prime by an individual, henceforth referred to as the Player. Upon selecting the “Yes” option, the Player will receive an assignment to one of six game paths (SCP-XXXX-A through SCP-XXXX-F) and a starting mission. This assignment will be generally be delivered within thirty seconds in the form of a text message or e-mail, but in eleven recorded cases has been recorded as delivered through traditional mail accompanied by the delivery of an artifact. No attempts to trace the origin of assignment messages have been successful.
Missions assigned as part of SCP-XXXX will cover a wide range of subjects, with variances depending on game path. Mission types include acquiring artifacts, solving puzzles, various interactions with selected individuals, surviving encounters with hostile entities, and so on. Players will generally operate by themselves, but will on occasion be assigned to work with or against other Players, or interact with other game paths.
The game paths of SCP-XXXX and notable artifacts connected to each are as follows:
SCP-XXXX-A “JOVE” – Focused on the life of Dr. Edward H. Juvian, 19th century South African occultist. Path is primarily puzzle-based, with Players investigating the works and estate of Dr. Juvian, with a stated final goal of determining the reason behind his mysterious disappearance in 1893. Artifacts recovered from SCP-XXXX-A are generally the notes and possessions of Dr. Juvian, or items created by other players based on principles discovered by the doctor.
Agents currently assigned to SCP-XXXX-A: Caldwin, Friar, Zanzibaar
Notable artifacts connected with SCP-XXXX-A:
• SCP-XXXX-014 – Circular handheld device constructed primarily out of brass, steel and glass. When activated, the item will generate a green glow, an electric current of 500 volts, and the sound of an adult woman screaming.
• SCP-XXXX-064 – A set of twelve iron keys that, when unfolded in the correct order and fit together in the correct pattern, will form a box containing a small butterscotch cookie. This cookie contains large amounts of powdered human bone and has a marzipan pentagram drawn on the surface.
• SCP-XXXX-491 – Non-functioning device labeled as the “B.T. Moth Orgone Oscillator”.
• SCP-XXXX-567 -
SCP-XXXX-B“RAZOR” – Focused primarily on competition between Players within the context of “The Razor Game”, a competition to collect Tokens, concave obsidian discs 20 cm in diameter. SCP-XXXX-B will rarely integrate artifacts into missions, instead using them as rewards for collecting Tokens, in random drops during missions, or in exchange for Tokens. SCP-XXXX-B is the only path to show a definite end goal, being the acquisition of 100 Tokens. No individual is known to have achieved this, due to death, expenditure of Tokens, or inter-Player conflict. The result of completion of SCP-XXXX-B is not known.
Agents currently assigned to SCP-XXXX-B: Kirkwood, Tung
Notable artifacts connected with SCP-XXXX-B:
• SCP-XXXX-104 - Hand-stitched blanket bearing images related to the novel Alice in Wonderland. Wrapping the item around an individual’s shoulders will induce slight transparency and intense synesthesia.
• SCP-XXXX-285 – Gas-powered claymore sword, with motorized cutting chain along the edge of the blade and internal MP3 player.
• SCP-XXXX-433 -
SCP-XXXX-C “AWE” –
Agents currently assigned to SCP-XXXX-C: Gadman, West, Logan
Notable artifacts connected with SCP-XXXX-C:
SCP-XXXX-D “BLACK” – Missions will be based around acquiring artifacts found in various locations, generally abandoned structures or remote rural areas. Designated areas will contain various puzzles, traps, and anomalous entities to test Players’ abilities. SCP-XXXX-D produces the majority of anomalous artifacts out of all game paths, with items distributed as rewards for accomplishing tasks or defeating hostile entities.
Agents currently assigned to SCP-XXXX-D: Sachdeva, Brown
Notable artifacts connected with SCP-XXXX-D:
• SCP-XXXX-189 – Tin flask containing approximately 300 regenerating L of chicken broth.
• SCP-XXXX-234 – An engraved human skull capable of speech and flight, speaking with the voice of an adult female16. Item serves as a guide to SCP-XXXX-D, providing Players with pertinent information and beratement.
• SCP-XXXX-333 -
• SCP-XXXX-500 -
SCP-XXXX-E “NSIL” –
Agents currently assigned to SCP-XXXX-E: Reeves, Walter, Yu
Notable artifacts connected with SCP-XXXX-E:
• SCP-XXXX-085 -
• SCP-XXXX-093 -
• SCP-XXXX-277 – White plastic canister labeled as property of the National Seafood Inspection Laboratory, containing an orange gel, 1.4 kilograms of mola mola meat, and a severed human forearm.
SCP-XXXX-F “FEAR” – Path consists of a single assigned mission, being survival against an unnamed entity. No other artifacts have been recovered from this path, indicating that the entity is to be avoided and defeated using mundane means.
Agents currently assigned to SCP-XXXX-F: None
Notable artifacts connected with SCP-XXXX-F:
• SCP-XXXX-028 – A journal containing the personal notes of at least fourteen individuals, recording sightings of the entity, details of its abilities, and theories regarding it.
Item #: SCP-679
Object Class: Euclid
Special Containment Procedures: All samples of SCP-679 are to be kept in the cold storage wing of Biological Storage Unit 70. Subjects infected by SCP-679 are to be kept in quarantine for further study. All personnel interacting with samples or infected persons are to wear Level A hazardous material suits. All items carrying SCP-679 spores are to be incinerated.
Any reports of uncontained SCP-679 infections are to be investigated and contained by the nearest Biological Hazard Containment Team.
Description: SCP-679 is an infectious species of fungi from Aspergillus genus, designated as Aspergillus anomalus. The stages of an SCP-679 infection are as follows.
Stage 1 (0-7 days): Infected subjects will report seeing small, rapidly-moving dots within their field of vision. These entopic phenomena are especially prevalent when sneezing or looking into intense blue light.
Stage 2 (7-10 days): The sclera of the eye will turn black, accompanied by total blindness of the infected subject. Ulcerations will develop on the eye, causing leaking of the vitreous humor. In addition, the mycelia of SCP-679 will first be seen emerging through ulcerations at this stage.
Stage 3 (10-15 days): Mycelia will multiply and lengthen, reaching up to twenty-five centimeters in length. Eyes will begin to decay during this stage, though the presence of SCP-679 prevents outside infection from other pathogens.
Stage 4 (15-21 days): The subject’s eyes have decayed completely by this stage. SCP-679 mycelium will enter the sinus cavities, triggering increased mucus production. Excess mucus will be used as additional nutrients.
Stage 5 (21 + days): Mycelia will become motile and respond to outside stimuli. Subjects will report a limited return of sight due to the development of photosensitive cells on the mycelium, which by the stage have connected to the remains of the optic nerves. 70% of Stage 5 subjects are still considered legally blind. Gasteroid basidiomata17 will form within the eye sockets of the subject, and will release spores every 10 to 15 days. SCP-679 spores are transmissible by air or water, and may remain viable up to five days after release.
Anti-fungal medication treatments are only consistently effective in Stage 1 of the infection, with success rates dropping to zero during late Stage 2. At this point, surgical intervention is required.
Addendum-01: The last recorded uncontained outbreak of SCP-679 occurred in June of 2003, amongst segments of the homeless population of Tampa, Florida. Outbreak was successfully contained within thirty-six hours of discovery.
Item #: SCP-400
Object Class: Euclid
Special Containment Procedures: SCP-400 is to be contained within a Type-28 containment unit, stored within Garage 02 of Site-77. The air within the containment unit is to be kept at a pressure of .65 atmospheres, consisting of 75% carbon dioxide, 10% nitrogen, 8.5% oxygen, and trace amounts of other elements and compounds (See Document 400-EXP). Repairs to the ablative plating on the interior of the containment unit are to be carried out on the first day of each month, or at any time that SCP-400 has caused significant damage to the containment unit.
SCP-400’s diet consists of a special nutrient mix (See Document 400-EXP), administered every twice per day. SCP-400’s dietary filters are to be replaced every two weeks. SCP-400’s supply of algal oil is to be replaced every six months or 5000 kilometers.
Description: SCP-400 is a vehicle consisting of both mechanical and biological components, measuring 10.4 meters in length. SCP-400 consists of two conjoined compartments, separated by a retractable membrane: The forward compartment consists of a driving bench, steering instruments18, and a radio. The rear compartment makes up the majority of the item, and contains various objects presumably shipped by SCP-400 before recovery. These items are restrained by adhesive organic fibers extruded by the walls of the compartment. SCP-400’s form of locomotion consists of eighteen wheels, one-hundred-and-eight legs, and a large, muscular foot located in the rear of the vehicle. Four large grasping claws are located at the front of the vehicle, along with various light-producing and sight organs. The majority of organs are located in or around the front compartment. The biological components are carbon based, but are not consistent with Earth-based life.
SCP-400 has not been seen to move its entire mass under its own initiative, but will react to physical contact by outside forces. Attempts to drive SCP-400 have failed, with the item attacking those attempting by means of bladed appendages and sprayed digestive acid. Operating the radio or sitting in the cabin without touching the steering instruments does not trigger this reaction.
SCP-400-1 is the skeleton of an unknown organism located in the front compartment of SCP-400. SCP-400-1 measures 2.6 meters in height, and is that of a bipedal, two-armed creature. No mandible is present. Bones consist primarily of iron, cobalt, and silicon.
Addendum-01: Contents of the front compartment include:
- 78 octagonal data storage devices. Devices will play music when inserted into a corresponding slot above the radio. Recording and analysis is underway.
- 34 assorted bags and wrappers made of an unknown plant-based material, with labeling in undeciphered hieroglyphics. Contain trace amounts of exotic organic compounds.
- 16 empty iron bottles.
- 3 iron bottles containing a mixture of water and ethylene glycol. (Total: 1.3 L)
- 5 erotic magazines, featuring what is presumed to be SCP-400-1’s species. In poor condition due to age and use.
- Various small plastic ornaments.
Addendum-02: Contents of the rear compartment include:
- 400 crates of freeze-dried organs of unknown purpose, containing several species of grubs and worms not native to Earth.
- 200 units of ground keratin. Labeling shows a green, antlered creature superimposed upon a picture of the planet Saturn.
- 90 undecorated aluminum hexagons, measuring .7 meters across. Purpose unknown.
- 40 storage crates containing assorted projectile and energy-based weaponry, ammunition, and explosives.
- 3 sealed freezer units. Contents unknown.
Addendum-03: On ██/██/20██, SCP-400’s radio activated and played the following message.
[Static for 2:04]
[Male Voice 1] “Yo, this is Cloud Buck and you’re listening to Dust Pirate Radio. Tonight’s guest, Gable, the One True King of Mars, Lord of all the Realms of Barsoom and the Rust-Red Deserts, Peace Be Upon the Dust of His House and His Ancestors. Did I get that all right?”
[Male Voice 2]: Ya.
[Male Voice 1]: “And Renmar, Duke of the Fiery Wastes. [Shuffling of papers.] So then, Gable. What the fuck, man? What the fuck is up with those corprocrats and oligarchs out in Tharsis, fuckin’ up lands that, by ancient tradition, belong to you?
[Male Voice 2] It bad shit, Buck. Bad bad shit. These guys, people think they work for the people. Give dem schools, give dem jobs, give dem food. It all a scam, Buck, all a scam. Just deir way of takin’ land from us real Martians, just deir way of controlling deh population. We can’t have dat shit. The people gotta know their king.
[Male Voice 1]: Mm-hmm I agree, I agree.
[Male Voice 2]: Renmar also agrees.
[Male Voice 1]: And what do you suppose we, the good, honest citizens of Mars, do? What does the man on the street do? The miner, the trucker, the mechanic, the dirt farmer, what do they do?
[Male Voice 2]: We fight, Buck! We kill deh fuckin’ water-pissers, take our land back! We beat deir heads in with rocks! With rocks!
[Crashing and shouting heard fading into the background. the microphone is hit several times.]
[Male Voice 1]: Huh. Didn’t think he’d get that excited. Well then. While King Gable is off having an episode, I’d like to take this time to tell all you at home, underground, or on the road about my new book, The Big Flop: Why You’re an Asshole Failure and How I Can Help, available wherever fine books are-[Speech cut out by static].
[Static for 0:23]
Editor’s note: The majority of the document is written in Salah’s handwriting. Commentary from Mary-Ann will be bolded.
Bad hangover – The result of drinking too much alcohol. Alternatively, being possessed by spirit which has drunk too much alchohol.
Neither are fun.
The Kirkheart Devil -
The Beast of Fucking – Fungoid entity located in Fucking, Austria. Does not actually have anything to do with sex, but attracted a small sex cult in 2005-2006.
A list of found Arks
• Noah’s Ark -
• Noah’s Second Ark -
• Noah II’s Ark – The mobile home of one Noah Laperty II. Contains
• Utnapishtim’s Ark -
• Atrahasis’ Ark -
• Ziusurda’s Ark -
• Ark of the Covenant v. 1-5 -
• The Copper Ark of Catacatan -
• The Daevon Ark – A large underground structure located near Lake Baikal in southern Siberia. Surrounding area is contained by the Foundation.
Lonely Bachelor Gallowghoul – Manifestation-capable spirit which haunts locations of executions. Generally considered to be the imprint of individuals executed in that area. Physical form stands two-point-five meters tall and weighs approx. 600 kilograms. Capable of using simple tools. Seem to prefer using nooses or electrified wires.
Mating Gallowghouls - The process takes about four months. They are literally joined at the hip. Do not engage. They are not having fun.
Hinterlands of Warm Fuzzy Death –
The Tembo Document – Prophesies that God will be born as an elephant.
If Satan can be a whale, this really isn’t very far-fetched.
Ghlorturghulon, God of Awkward Fetishes -
Gable, the Neanderthal King of Mars – Current ruler and lone sapient inhabitant of the planet Mars.
Screaming Engine of Eternal Pain – A large Daevite artifact, consisting of a multi-lobed machine made of barbed iron tendrils. Emits large quantities of liquid sulfur. Incorporates human corpses into the primary structure.
It was made of cosplayers. I shot some fat chick with grey skin paint in the face. She had an eyepatch.
The Shit that Lives Beneath – Mass of sapient feces measuring approx. 100 cubic yards. Attempted hostile takeover of Pittsburgh in 1993. Currently inhabiting the sewers underneath Altoona, with bi-monthly appeasement ritual of three goats and a crate of tangelos.
The Pun Fragment – Fragment of a transcript of a conversation with Jesus of Nazareth c. 31 CE. Contains no doctrinal statements: instead contains three puns and the beginning of a fourth. Legitimacy and content of fourth punchline heavily debated.
Saturn Deer – Current incarnation of [INSERT NAME]. A pest, capable of some minor remote text alteration19. Not to be confused with a Deer from Saturn.
The Deer from Saturn – An antlered creature native to the planet Saturn. Appears somewhat similar to Earth deer, and absolutely nothing like Uranian deer. Green in coloration, capable of shooting lasers out of its eyes. Not to be confused with Saturn Deer.
Deathwhale – A servant of the Scarlet King. Reptilian body structure with cetacean traits, including smooth hairless skin, insulating blubber, and baleen. Measures six to eight meters in length: weighs approximately 1800 kilograms. Sapient and incredibly violent. Has adaptive defense against any force used against it.
NOTE: Will eventually forget adaptations. Use complex means to soften it up, and then just shoot it in the head.
Doublehorse - Doublehorse
Item #: SCP-XXXX-N
Object Class:Euclid Neutralized
Special Containment Procedures: Revised ██/██/2011: Containment protocols for SCP-XXXX have been ended, due to the deaths of all members of SCP-XXXX. The bodies of SCP-XXXX-1 through SCP-XXXX-6 have been subjected to autopsy and disposed of as according to organic entity disposal protocols.
All materials related to SCP-XXXX are contained within Archive 17.
Description:SCP-XXXX is a pod of six cetacean entities, SCP-XXXX consists of one blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus), one humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), one sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), one grey whale (Eschrichtius robustus), one north Pacific wright whale (Eubalaena japonica), and one whale shark (Rhincodon typus), respectively designated SCP-XXXX-1 through SCP-XXXX-6.
Each member of SCP-XXXX is physically normal for its species, with the exception of a complex pattern of barnacle growths, parasites and scars found on the flanks, unique to each individual. Of note are patterns on the lateral flanks, which resemble symbols of Japanese kanji. These designs correlate with no existent words.
Pod members (excepting SCP-XXXX-6, which lacks the proper organs) will communicate with each other using vocal patterns unique to the group, bearing no resemblance to other cetacean species.
SCP-XXXX will approach ocean-going vessels under distress, generally those endangered by severe weather, mechanical failures, or medical emergencies. How these states are detected is unknown. When the pod is within approximately 150 meters of the vessel, it will begin a period of synchronized breaches and swimming patterns, lasting between five and ten minutes. This display is accompanied by a structured vocalization resembling a song of human composition, rather than one of cetacean origin. SCP-XXXX will remain near the vessel until the emergency has ceased, attempting to guide the vessel or provide safety to overboard individuals if the situation
Five such incidents were recorded between 2002 and 2011.
Evidence of SCP-XXXX’s behavior Kujira Sentai Umiranger
Addendum-01: All members of SCP-XXXX were recovered on the coastline of the Futaba District, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan on March 12th, 2011. Eyewitness accounts indicate that all members of SCP-XXXX beached simultaneously within six hours of the initial earthquake, and proceeded to attempt to move inland over the next sixteen hours. Vocalizations continued throughout this period: analysis of recovered footage indicates that these vocalizations did not indicate distress, but instead resembled those of adult whales calling to calves.
Class A amnestics were administered to all eyewitnesses and all civilian recordings of SCP-XXXX were recovered. The bodies of SCP-XXXX were recovered without incident.
He dreamed of hollow, dead eyes, looking out upon a bleak grey world, broken by the trees beyond the barbed wire. He dreamed of a stomach so empty that it had forgotten fullness. He dreamed of cold mud, and he had no shoes.
He dreamed of the numbers. His numbers.
He dreamed of when he had been broken, and when he had been remade.
He dreamed, and he remembered.
He was cleaning up shit today. He cleaned up shit every day. He enjoyed cleaning up shit, actually. He whistled as he did it.
They knew him. The matriarch of the little herd had claimed him as her own. Perhaps not as a child, but at least as a friend. He was the small, stringy monkey that would bring them sweet fruits from time to time, who would sing his monkey-songs to them and dance about chattering.
On the other side of the wall were a group of children, pointing and chattering. He waved at them and smiled as he pushed his wheelbarrow to the next pile of shit.
Her red scarf flapped in the crystal wind. She was a speck on top of the world, with nothing but the thin fabric of air between her and the sun above. She stood where clouds could not go, where trees could not grow, where so few men did know. The snow was blinding, but she could not feel the cold.
There was nothing else. She stood alone, alone with the mountain, looking out on the creation that lay jagged before her. For a single, eternal moment, she could feel her pulse beat in time with that of her mother Chomolungma, deep in the stone.
He curled up next to his mother in the bunk, listening to her soft breathing. She had been sick for days, but at least she had stopped vomiting now. The ship swayed. Up…down. Up…down… It was cold, even under the thick blanket.
He didn’t know why she had done it, why they had run away in the middle of the night, or who they were running from. She said that there were bad people after them.
He scrunched his eyes and tried to sleep.
He kept watch.
He had a cot in the corner, and a lamp, and a crate, and a kerosene stove, and beans. It was enough, a little home in the concrete caves.
He watched the needles, made sure they stayed where they were. Sometimes he would pull a lever, or turn a key, or twist a knob.
Sometimes, there would be rumblings from the deep, and the needles would jump about, and he would have to press the special buttons
He kept watch, to make sure that the needles were where they should be, just as he had since the curtain came down.
When she closed her eyes, she looked into the abyss, and the abyss stared back with burning eyes, hungering, clawing up through the darkness, reaching for her. An abyss that sought only to consume, throw themselves upon the defenseless world and tear it asunder. She was afraid, and she watched in spite of it, because she was the only one to keep watch over it.
The abyss vanished as her eyes opened. In its place was the bazaar: grocers and carpetmakers and spicesellers, the chatter of barter and the squawks and squeals of livestock and the blue sky and the hot yellow sun.
She walked faster, trying to keep pace with the Americans around her without stumbling over the hem of her white dress.
They said they were here to protect her. She believed them.
His shelves were lined with plastic robots, neatly dusted. A cup of instant ramen sat next to his computer, alongside books and notepads and scraps of paper. The whole of his life was contained in one room.
When had he last been outside? Three days, four days, five days…it’d be time to go shopping soon. But he couldn’t afford to spend the time out there. He had things to do, no time to put them off. He’d have to have it delivered.
There was a list of screennames tacked to his corkboard, scrawled in shorthand. Some had question marks next to them, others smiley faces, others frowny faces. His computer screen was filled up with chat tabs.
Somewhere, in another city, someone went outside for the first time in three years.
“Waltzing Matilda” was stuck in her head. The churchman she had shared the back of a pickup truck with had been singing it the entire way here, plucking away at his guitar the whole time.
It wasn’t that his voice was bad, or that she hated the song. It was just frustrating that it wouldn’t stop playing in the back part of her mind.
She walked over to the ecalpytus tree, resting a hand against the trunk and looking up at the rustling leaves. Her hair was tied back in a bun, held in place with two forks, and she had vegemite smeared behind her ears. The two chruchmen were off to the side, each with a net and a cudgel.
A shadow amongst the leaves, moving about, falling from a branch.
Huh. So that was what a drop bear looked like.
He chewed on a pretzel rod like it was a cigar. The wind blew in his face as it swept up past the windshield of his cherry-red convertible. Punjabi dance music blasted out of his speakers.
With his right hand, he scratched the Rottweiler in the passenger seat behind the ears. They were on a pilgrimage together: the next stop, the Angel Stadium of Anaheim.
The highway blew past, with the smell of dusty grape fields and the Pacific Ocean.
She shook her thumb down the road as the sun set, sherbet orange. She looked the part: ratty jeans, ratty hair tied back with a bandana, overstuffed backpack, good hiking boots, and generally pungent odor.
It had been something of a shame to have left them, with all that going on. She was sure they had been lovely people, but the road called, and there was no reason to be a burden on them. They had troubles aplenty, what with the building falling down around them. It wasn’t right to be in the same place for so long, anyway. She’d be back, eventually.
He tugged at his tie: it was uncomfortable, too tight around his neck. The suit was unfitting too: too thick and heavy for the heat. The interview had gone south anyway. Now it was only a long ride home in his beaten pick-up truck, a long ride home to the mocking of his father, the usual sermon of how he had no place in the white man’s world. His brother’s auto shop was becoming more and more appealing of a future.
The growling in his stomach shook away thoughts of home. He opened the diner door.
He sat at the base of the obelisk in St. Peter’s square, with his ratty t-shirt and paint-splattered cargo shorts and worn-smooth sandals and socks with holes in the toes.
They asked him if he was Catholic. He said no. They asked him if he was Christian. He said no. They asked him if he believed in God at all. He said no. They asked him why he was sitting there, with his grey hair and cracked glasses, talking with anyone who spared him a glance.
He said because he was a philosopher, and that he loved the company.
She sat down with her flimsy plastic tray. Some chicken. Some potatoes. Some mushy peas. The same as it had been for a long, long time.
The others kept their space. She was invisible, alone in the sea of orange and grey. A long time ago, they had tried to break her. She would not be broken, and when they found that she would not break, they left her to be forgotten. Sometimes they would whisper about her, wondering what this woman had done to earn her orange.
The answer was that she had killed her three children. She let the words echo around her: those words were good enough for them.
She had not spoken in a very long time. There was no reason to.
She crawled, dragging herself through the rubble, blood smearing on the floor tiles. Screams and shots in the distance. Her skin burning and cracked,
A drink to quench a thirst.
A drink to fill a hole.
A drink to blind the eye.
A drink to blind the soul.
They laughed as she slurred and wallowed in filth. She wept for them. When the eyes were dead, and the soul cloaked over, one could peer inward through the haze, to see everything in the heart. Tomorrow, she would be sober, painfully. Tomorrow, they would still be ugly inside.
A drink, a drink, a toast to them, who bore the weight of the blackness on their souls unaware.
He wore his best for the danse macabre, the suit he wore on his wedding day. Crisp and black, with the coattails and the hat and the spotless shoes.
The bow danced in his hand, the strings sung. The music glowed in the night, crawling through the mud, skimming across the water, weaving through the half-sunken crypts and swelling up to the hanging moss. His feet moved gracefully: he was a part of the dance, as much as the violin and the twirling couples around him with the mossy cobweb clothes and empty eyes and grinning green teeth.
As a girl, she had been teased for being fat.
The worms squirmed in his swollen stomach. They were all that filled it. The baking dust burned his bony feet, burned his bare head. His steps were shaking, unsteady, but purposeful.
On his skeletal shoulders he carried a stick, and from that stick hung clusters of plastic bottles, tied together with twine. Water sloshed inside, clean water.
He had deliveries to make.
She hung snail shells from the ceiling fan, watching them spin around lazily. It was a good day, an off day, a lazy day, a day to keep the windows open and the fan on and the breeze coming in. The cat, fat and white, slept on her stomach. Her arms and shoulders ached from the tattoos, the blue whorls and spirals running from her neck to her fingers.
She smiled at her own silliness. As if the hair and the freckles weren’t enough, she went and got the tattoos.
If it was worth doing, if it was good, it was worth overdoing, just to say that she could, and that she did. Today, she was going to do nothing, and she was going to do the most nothing she could do.
Bare concrete became the womb of the creation, the lotus-laden vines curling out around the cold corners and impassionate eaves. Ganesha sat on the back of a brown-spotted rat, his hand raised in blessing. Shadows and light clashed with the fluorescent coloring of the Lord of Obstacles.
He put the empty can of spray paint can in his messenger bag and ran off into the night, dirty tennis shoes slapping against the sidewalk.
She had tea with her daughter. Her smile was tinged with melancholy: the baby she had held in her arms was old and tired and creased.
He did what he had to do. It wasn't about glory, or honor, or bloodlust, or even victory, if there even was such a thing. He wasn't quite sure why he fought, or who to ask. In the mud, there was no place for fancy words, or high ideals, or grand thoughts. Down there was only his muddy uniform, and his muddy rifle, and his muddy faith. He didn't remember the last time he was clean.
He wasn't sure he would ever be again.
The tears started as the heat shield dropped away towards the rust-dust below.
But that was the point? The act of going out, of reaching beyond the shell of oneself into the unknown, that was love. The entre point was love.
Four quotes were placed on her walls, one to the north, one to the south, one to the east, and one to the west.
“For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.”
All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.
There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.
AD STELLAS SUSPICE DUM OMNES NOMINAVERANT
He woke to find blood on his pillow case. His nose had been bleeding again. He took it with him as he walked to the bathroom.
The chains around the tree clinked to the rhythm of the rolling bulldozers, but she would not move. Not to shouting, or to threats, or to teargas, or to rubber bullets. She stood her ground, until she could stand no more. Even as she woke much later, and found herself cuffed to her hospital bed, with a frowning guard at her side, she knew it would not be the last time.
Lick. Thumb. Flip. Lick. Thump. Adjust. Flip.
This was what he always wanted to do, and could never find the time to. Was there anything in the world as wholesome as a new book? He certainly didn't think so. The walls of the library-his library-enveloped him like a warm embrace, and he sank into his reading, relishing every moment. This was bliss, no doubt about it.
Outside, a young child began to cry for her father, searching for a lost stuffed rabbit. He smiled to himself, and got up.
There will always be more time later, wouldn't there?
In her mind's eye, she was flying. It was a foolish notion, she knew, but she couldn't help herself. As the dying sun's last rays touched her scarred face, she imagined them to be the fingers of the one she lost, so long ago. A soft eastern breeze, an ocean wind, made the frail hairs of her head float around her, like the seeds of a salsify at the first touch of spring. Like a halo, shining around the head of an angel.
But she had no wings. Not anymore.
Ask him, and he'll say it's all about control. Superiority is nothing but making others believe your were in it, and they weren't. Leather chairs showed control, and silk Italian suits, and shiny shoes, and a nice, big, white grin. Ask him, and he'll tell you that if you wanted to get anything done, you had to be in control, because if you weren't, that meant someone was in control of you, and you didn't want that, you just trust him on that. And you should trust him, of course you should. After all, he has those nice leather chairs, and that slick Italian suit, and shiny shoes. And a big, white grin.
She walked up behind the boy who stood on the other side of the yellow steel railing. The river below ran thick and blue-brown.
She said good morning, and asked him how his day was.
He didn’t respond.
She asked him if his family wouldn’t be sad if he went.
He said that they wouldn’t.
She said that she would be.
He asked her why she even cared.
She said because he was himself, and that that was enough reason for her.
Some time passed, and with a great deal of trembling and sniffing he climbed back over the railing. He hugged her, tears streaming down his face and onto her blue cardigan.
He ran off, without another word. She waited a bit before continuing on her own course, a soft hum on her lips, an old neighborhood song.
It was a beautiful day.