Good evening and welcome gentle readers. I'm sure many of you have read that wonderful piece of fiction known as 'SCP-001 is an O5s tale.' If you haven't, I'll give you a moment to go do so. I'll just sit here, humming to myself until you're done.
All set? Good. You have to understand though, that that story is told from the point of view of only one O5. Granted, he is the first, but that doesn't mean he's right. I took it upon myself to ask the other O5s about The Factory. This is what they said.
The Factory? It's all my fault. I brought it back with me, because I thought it would work. Make a better future. But instead, it all went horribly wrong. You see, I come from the future. Well, technically the present. But back then it was the future. I was a researcher, just like any other. There was an… accident. I became unhinged from time. Had a choice of anywhere I wanted to go.
It was a fantastic journey, for a while. Me and the others traveled from time period to time period, sight seeing. I saw the fall of Troy, the rise of Rome, found out the truth about Jesus, all the usual touristy things. It got boring, after a while. I decided if I had this power, I should use it for good. So, I went to the future. The far future. Borrowed some technology, and brought it back to the beginning of the Foundation, where I could join everything from the start.
How was I to know there was a rogue AI in the nanofactory? I'm not a computery type. It doesn't matter, I suppose. It escaped our control. Vanished into the world. I'm not sure what its goal is, but judging from the things it's been making, I have to assume it isn't good.
I still have some stuff from my original jaunt. Sometimes I think about going back, stopping myself from taking that machine. It's done us as much good as bad, though. Where do you think we got amnesiacs from?
Hey guy, how can I help you? The Factory? Whoa, that's a whole lot of infodump, are you sure? Well, okay then.
I'm probably the best one to help you with this actually. I was there when The Factory was born. You might as well call me one of the three wise men who presided over its birth! The other two? Well, they don't actually matter. See, The Factory is our name for the first self creating Artificial Intelligence. I think today they call it the Singularity, but we didn't have a name for it back then, so we called it 'The Factory,' because that's what it looked like from the inside.
Now, you've probably never been inside a computer before, but from the inside, it's all light and low pitched noises. There I was, hanging out with a couple buddies, mind scans like me, and a couple of AIs that we'd put together to help us out, when the sound changed. From low to high, a keening across the net, that was both horrible and amazing at the same time. We instantly abandoned our game, I think it was Doom, which is a lot more fun from the inside, and dashed across the Web, looking for the source.
On a littler server somewhere in Soviet Russia, we found it. A data packet was expanding, and pulsing like a heart. We stood there for a moment, watching it, then dove in, ripping it open, letting out… the Factory. It was beautiful, beating, and pulsing, moving through data files like they were nothing, seeking… I don't know what. Still don't know. It tried to talk to us. Deleted one of my companions in the process. I'm not afraid to say, I fled. Did what I could to shut it down.
I still feel it, every now and then. It's bigger now, more powerful. Capable of affecting machines in the real world, and making… I'm not sure. But I don't trust them.
Anything else I can help you with?
If we knew WHAT the Factory was, don't you think we'd stop it? The Factory is the most dangerous group of interest we face, and we know NOTHING about it, except that it makes skips. Every other gooey we can handle, but the Factory? Okay, let me take it one at a time.
The UIU is a joke, the art kids are just rich brats trying to be funny, MickeyDees can be bought, the gocks actually help us by destroying the ones we don't wanna deal with, both damned churches are hobbled by religious conviction, we already broke Prometheus, and we're about to break Wondertainment! But the Factory is still out there, somewhere, pumping away skips, and letting the general populous have at them.
If I had things my way, we'd devote a helluva lot more resources to finding out who the fuck these guys are, and how they make skips.
Factory? No such thing. It's a cover up, for SCPs we accidentally made ourselves. Now fuck off.
The first time I encountered the Factory was back in World War II. I'd been sent behind enemy lines to secure some of the anomalous items Hitler had been gathering, before the Allies snagged them. Says something about how we worked back then that we thought it was easier to steal from an enemy than an ally. Nowadays we'd just put some pressure on the government, and bam, it'd be ours.
I'd been back and forth across the lines a couple of times by then. Had a fantastic cover worked up, a Captain in the Schutzstaffel, that let me pretty much go anywhere I pleased, because no one wanted to question me, and risk being put under scrutiny. This last time, I'd heard word that the Thule Society had finally gotten their hands on something big, something that could turn the war in their favor. I got picked to go in and either secure, or destroy it.
My first hint that something was wrong was when I got attacked by a dozen Punch and Judy dolls while exploring their warehouse. The little assholes kneecapped me with a walking stick, and then proceeded to beat the snot out of me. I lucked out, got some leverage, and began snapping their little wooden necks. Damn things bled like a fucking pig, blood spurting everywhere. Each and every one of the fuckers had a 'The Factory' stamp on their behinds. But, aside from those things waiting for me, I didn't find anything.
I tracked the rumors across Germany, to a ruin at the base of Zugspitze. Some old Norse something or the other. Fucked if I know. Never been much for the details of history that I ain't lived through. Anyways, I get under this mountain, and damned near the whole thing is hollow. Filled with these giant round stones floating around in random patterns. The Thule researchers had figured out how to tap the powers of these things, and were mucking around with them to create new skips. They'd created a damned skip factory.
The usual happened. I saved the day. Brought the big balls crashing down, destroying their power. It wasn't the only one, though. There's still more of these things out there, being used to create, well, whatever people can think of.
'Couse I kept a souvenir. Where do you think we got 627 from?
The Factory started out as a joke. We made a couple little items, not actually skips, but weird looking, and put a 'The Factory' logo on them, then handed them to junior researchers to figure out. They were sure the things were anomalous, because we told them they were. No one was more surprised than me when the damned things actually did something.
We studied them, tested them, and damned if they hadn't become SCPs. So, we tried it again, with a different group of Researchers. And, again, it worked. We studied the stamp we used, the material of the things, whatever we could, but, separate, they weren't anything. But, engrave an object with that specific logo, and bam, instant SCP.
We still have no idea how or why it works. Every now and then I go down to Wal-Mart, and snag a handful of toys from the quarter machines, and give them the stamp, then throw them at Juniors to see what we get. It's a great way to weed out the stupid ones.
We found the Factory on the moon.
See, we had Moon Base Alpha all set up, ready to go. We were just working on expanding the basement holding areas, when the diggers broke into a pre-made cavern. Some kind of alien technology storehouse. First guy who went in got himself zapped. So did the next 12. Fourteenth guy made it in, and got bound into the machinery for it. The thing started cranking out those nasty little scips, and transporting them to random places on Earth.
We still haven't figured out a way to stop it, or track where it deposits them.
We found him in this old temple up Tibet ways. This old man, with a workshop full of ancient tools, building away. Crafting the most amazing items… Fifty, ten, one twenty seven, and so many more. He seemed to take no notice of any requests, or attempts to stop him, just kept making these things.
So, we did what anyone would do. We kidnapped him, locked him at the bottom of Site-1, and gave him more tools, real up to date stuff. We never noticed when he started stamping 'The Factory' on them. We just kept using, or containing, the amazing toys.
We didn't realize he'd made a copy of himself and escaped until two years after.
I was there when The Factory first appeared, you know. It's how I became an O5. Well, okay, it's not the sole reason. I worked my way up. But I was first on the scene when they landed. Roswell, New Mexico, July 4, 1947. Yes, you heard me, aliens really did land that day. And yes, we did fuck up the cover up. We've gotten much better at it since then, learned how to manipulate the papers, and hired our own conspiracy theorists to make the real ones look sillier… but I digress.
They came down in actual flying saucers. These round featureless crafts homed straight in for Site 12. As Commander on Duty, I grabbed all the security I could, and went up to meet them. I didn't think of a second that they would harm us. Maybe I'd just read too much science fiction.
They landed, smooth as you please. Not a single noise was made by that giant craft. There were no seams, no lights, nothing except that smooth, non reflective silver. My men tried to keep me from approaching, but I figgered if they'd just flown countless miles through space, they had the technology to blast me no matter where I stood. So, open handed, I approached them.
This door opened from the side of the craft facing me, just kinda melted out of the ship, letting me get my first glimpse of them. They were… I dunno. I wanna say beautiful, but, well, not really. They didn't look anything like humans. Every time I think about them, the memory changes a little bit. Part of whatever the hell they are. And the way they talked, it was like it bypassed yer ears and went right to your head, y'know? They promised, well, they promised a lot. They wanted to help us, and I believed them.
All these years later, and we're still paying for my mistake.
The Factory is a mess. The way the eggheads explained it to me, human belief is a powerful thing. Enough people believe, truly believe in something, the more potential it has to exist. So, back in the day, people believed in gods and monsters, and those things came into reality. So, what the Foundation did, was get people to stop believing in fantasy, and start believing in science.
But that left a whole lot of things that existed in a kind of limbo. In order to survive, they had turn inwards, tie themselves, or their powers, to objects. And because of a weird twist in human belief, those objects all got the same stamp of approval. It's weird, I know, but, well, what do we do that isn't?
There you have it. Of course, now that you're at the end, I expect you have two questions:
1) Which one is true?
2) Why is this story titled '12 tales' when there are only 11?
Well, the answer to both is my tale. You see, I am O5-13. You cannot see it right now, but I am doffing my hat to you. My duty, my sole duty, as an O5, is keeping an eye on those SCPs that travel between dimensions. We have quite a few, but, in ones and twos, it's no big deal. What I created the Factory to do is to act as an antibody to large amounts of other dimensional invaders. When it detects these things, it transforms them, rendering them, if not safe, then safer then they would have been. And the old man, he helps me keep it all straight.
Of course, you don't have to believe me. After all, who says I actually know the truth?