anqxyr

ARTICLES


SCP-964 - Indescribable Polymorph

+89

Site personnel are no longer allowed access to documentation related to the object. Fabricated documents must classify SCP-964 as a Keter-level object and describe the properties most likely to cause a containment breach.

SCP-1600 - Philosopher's Cheese

+184

SCP-1600-2 is an edible product highly similar to cheese.

Samples of SCP-1600-2 do not warrant special containment and may be stored at the discretion of assigned researchers.

SCP-1797 - Kitten Flu

+116

Old and weak and tired. He could do so much more, but now those days are gone. Still, it is important to have a pet.

SCP-1511 - Mobile Paradise

+137

The ocean is so beautiful. I could never have imagined this shade of water before. Wait with me, the Sun will rise soon.

SCP-1540 - Metamorphic Identity

+94

SCP-1540 identities appear to be highly detailed fictional constructs: no records matching these identities have been found, and the individuals identified as friends or close relatives deny any knowledge of the organism.

SCP-1200 - A Little Taste Of Factory

+121

From your friends at The Factory !
Experience existence like never before!
Taste the world around you!!!


*side effects may include amnesia, hallucinations, temporal displacement, sneezing, godhood, and death.

SCP-2797 - Белки

+94

"It is my conviction that this technology will rid the world of illness and frailty and lead the humankind to a new future."


"On The Future of Bioengineering"
Dr. Arthur Yorke, Prometheus Labs.

Routine

+51

You say to yourself that this is just a quirk of your mind. You've been driving that same path for years now. Today your mind just shut itself off and let your body do the deed. The price of routine.


COMMENTARIES


964

This was my first contribution to the site. At the time, I've been reading the site for about two months, and have read about 80% of series one-and-only. The core idea came to me unexpectedly, and pretty much in its entirety. I did not yet consider contributing to the site then, but I liked the idea so much that I decided to apply. Four days after my application was accepted, I sat down and wrote the entire first draft in one sitting over maybe six hours. Then I excitedly posted it to the mainlist. That went about as well as can be expected, not in the least because I severely overestimated my knowledge of English.

It took me another four months to write the second version, this time using the feedback from both the chat and the critique forum. This version performed much better, though it still suffered from a lot of broken English. Photosynthetic liked the article enough to fix all the grammar errors, for which I'm forever grateful.

This skip was second-to-last skip to be posted to series 1 before it filled completely and series 2 had been opened for posting. This, of course, was some time after the SCP-1000 contest, whose entries were posted to series 2 before it was officially open.

I'm not entirely happy with the current version of this article. Although the ideas and structure are fine, the writing could used some improvements, and I'd like to change the timeline a bit and unredact the Prometheus Labs connection. A minor rewrite to these effects have been in my to-do pile for perhaps two years now, but I never get around to it. Perhaps one day.

Here's some interesting in-universe stuff, from my post in The Leak thread:

The PACS program (Polymorphic Active Concealment Systems, later Prometheus Active Concealment Systems) had begun in late 1970s. Initially a series of academic papers on super-plastic materials, the researcher behind them were quickly hired by PL, and the anticipated applications patented ahead of time. After several years of further research, PL was able to convince USDOD to fund the rest of the program in exchange for greater focus on military applications and exclusive use of any resulting devices. The PACS program was thus formally established.

PACS were intended to eventually supersede stealth and related technologies, allowing military vehicles and personnel to approach and even attack the enemy without being discovered. It would not only fool radars and similar devices, but also be resistant to direct visual observation. A total of nine prototypes were created before 1998.

PACS-1 through -3 were pretty much failures. The materials degraded quickly during the transformations, and the mimicry algorithms were far too primitive to fool anyone.

PACS-4 was the first semi-successful prototype. It was completely stationary, and required two thick cables attached to it in all of it forms - one for power, which was consumed in vast amounts, and another for transferring the mimicry matrix. It took weeks to create a new model that could be applied to the system, and hours to transfer it. PACS-4 had no internal storage. All models had to be of completely solid objects, and the mass of the system did not change during the transformation. Even so, PACS-4 could assume a handful of forms that could pass visual inspection, the attached cables notwithstanding, and even fool most cursory tool-assisted scans. More importantly, it could survive up to 400 transformations before its materials begun to degrade.

PACS-5 was a vast improvement over the previous prototype. While not yet ambulatory, it could be moved to within 20 kilometers from its power source. It could quickly assume any of the dozens pre-programmed models, and the physical limitations on the models themselves were less strict. It could also change its mass during the transformation. This was achieved by storing a large quantity of spare materials near its power source, and creating a sub-dimensional link between them and the PACS, through which it could draw required materials, or store those not currently in use. Additionally, the fact that the constituting materials were no longer constantly in the state of mimicry pretty much solved the problem of degradation.

PACS-6 marked the shift from polymorphic to metamorphic paradigm. Instead of storing a limited number of models, 6 used an array of sensors and a number of complex heuristics to construct and apply new models on-the-fly based on its surroundings. PACS-6 was fully mobile, with its power source, sensors, computational hardware, and raw material cache all stored in a pocket dimension inside itself. Its default mode was to remain stationary and evade detection, by analyzing external references to itself and assume a different form, in order to deny a persistent target to enemy sensors. It could also assume a number ambulatory forms; however, those had to be remotely-controlled by a human operator. Additionally, PACS-6 finally solved the massive power requirements of the previous prototypes. Now, power was only consumed during the transformations, and was no longer required to sustain the resulting form.

The creation of PACS-6 caused the name of the program to be changed, from Polymorphic to Prometheus, to avoid a legacy title.

PACS-7 was never finished. An incident during its construction has caused an uncontrollable chain metamorphic reaction, leading to random transformation, and effective destruction, of the housing PL facility and a nearby town.

Little information is available about PACS-8. Most of the original PL documentation has been destroyed or lost, and the Foundation research into the object is classified under infohazard protocols.

PACS-9 was the first attempt to apply the principles of the program to human subjects. The military had provided a volunteer, and the PL had grafted the metamorphic technology into her body. The physical results were exemplary, with the subject being able to change her appearance at will, able to mimic others based on only a couple photos, and change the composition of her body to improve damage resistance, mend wounds, or merge with the surrounding terrain. However, the mental effects were disastrous. Memories, preferences, personality traits would all change sporadically, without warning or external provocation. The subject's reasoning skills were likewise severely impaired, with the subject arriving to absurd conclusions based on non-factual prior beliefs, or assuming different context in different parts of a single argument. For practical purposes, PACS-9 was insane. The subject was put in isolation, and would remain under observation of the Prometheus Labs for another two years, until 1998.

In 1998, the Chaos Insurgency performed a coordinated attack on the central and several of the secondary Prometheus Labs facilities. Their goal was twofold: to create enough general mayhem to draw away the Foundation forces and allow CI operations in other regions to proceed unimpeded; and to acquire PL technologies and certain researchers, who became discontent by the perceived limitations imposed on them by the PL, and had been in communication with the Insurgency for some time. As it happened, those researchers included many of the ones behind the PACS program.

The attack on the Prometheus Labs was highly successful, and its aftershocks lead to the dissolution of the corporation. The Foundation managed to pick up many of the left over pieces. In particular, PACS-6 and PACS-8 were classified as SCP objects and put in containment. PACS-9 had managed to escape during the post-attack chaos.

The PACS program would continue under the guidance of the Insurgency. As of today, PACS-12 serves as the largest permanent Insurgency facility, while PACS-13 were mass-produced for use in the field by high-ranking Insurgency agents.

I am rather pleased with the final addendum in this article. Conceptually, it uses the same fake-description idea that would later become somewhat common during series 2, but doesn't try to present it as a twist, or fool the reader. At the time of writing, I didn't give it that much thought, but after seeing a large number of article trying to do the same thing poorly and to their own detriment, I'm retroactively quite happy wit the way I wrote it.


1600

I noticed once that there weren't any skips on the site about cheese. After that, the rest pretty much wrote itself.

During the first few drafts, the skip itself was a factory, which had chambers you could place stuff it, and it would get converted into cheese. Eventually I changed it into a liquid. The factory still remains as part of my head-canon, as the place where the liquid is produced. It's still under the control of MC&D, and the Foundation doesn't know about it, so it isn't mentioned in the article. Out of character, that's the reason the liquid is designated 1600-1: 1600 is the factory itself. Of course, that doesn't make much sense in-character, with Foundation not knowing about the factory and all, so take it as you will.

1600 was built during the great depression, in an attempt to create a more traditional philosopher's stone. The creator of the factory saw it as the only way to preserve the dwindling wealth he inherited, and when he saw the results, he didn't take it very well. After that, the factory was abandoned and forgotten for a long time. In early 1990, a descendant of 1600's creator found it again, realized its nature, and quickly sold it to MC&D for a nice lump of money and a membership card.

Chemical analysis have shown it to be a compound of sulfur, mercury and several unidentified elements.

This is a reference to Jabir's elemental system that was used in medieval alchemy. Philosopher's Stone was believed to be connected to the classical elements from which all matter was made, which, under Jabir's system, consist of sulfur, mercury, air, earth, fire, and water. The unidentified elements are thus supposed to be some representations of the last four.

In the core of this article is the idea of it being benign and safe. No matter what inedible or poisonous stuff you transform, the results are always safe to eat. This is why in the last test the cheese describes how tasty it is and tries to persuade the test subject to eat it. It's trying to be as helpful as it possibly can be. This property is also why MC&D are interested in the stuff, since it lets them market to their clients the idea of consuming and experiencing things they never could have otherwise.

The redacted skip is not any of the existing skips. It is perhaps most similar to the Telekill alloy, in that it's a psychically active inanimate material. But it differs from it quite a lot in finer details. I really like the idea of it being Mr. Deeds that was brought up in the comments, but it would go against how 1600-1 works in my head, since it only converts physical matter, and Mr. Deeds is physically human.


1797

This was inspired by a throwaway joke from Warehouse 13. The joke was something along the lines of

"Why does it always have to be locusts and plagues? Why can't it ever be kittens or bunnies?"

"Those happen too, and they are worse."

I filed it in my head as something that could be worked into something, but it was only two months later that I realized what the twist should be to make the idea work. After that, I wrote the whole thing over two days, with very few differences between the first draft and the final version.

While writing this skip, my video card died, and I had to finish writing on a borrowed laptop, and use mibbit to get into chat to get feedback, while I waited for the replacement card to arrive. So that was fun.

Once I decided that the outbreak happened in Russia, the city and the name of patient zero were picked to be as difficult as possible for an english reader to pronounce. It amused me at the time. It still does. Taken literally, the name of the cat-breeder can be translated into "Lord of All, son of Nicholas, Of Black Oak". It's a badass name.

I wrote most of my headcanon on this skip already in the comments, but I'll copy it here for completeness sake:

The article states that Chernodubov has been breeding cats for 7 years. Being continuously sick with flu for so long, as well as 1797 going around without anyone noticing, may seem like a plot hole; it isn't. The virus is a recent thing, and Chernodubov was never sick. Growing organisms from himself is something that he can do intrinsically. He used to be able to do more, but he is old and weak and tired now. He could grow rabbits or something else instead, even weak as he is, but he chose cats because he likes cats. He could not grow anything, but he never lead what could be called a normal life, always relied on his miracles, and doesn't know how to survive without them.

For the past 7 years, maybe longer, he's been living in this apartment that isn't even his, but the owner is gone and no one else cares enough about that hole to come and evict him. There is no water or electricity. Money is scarce, gained by selling scavenged scrap-metal and kittens. He doesn't get any pension, because while he was born in Nizhnevartovsk, he spent most of his life far away, and there is no documents anywhere in the city to even prove his existence. When someone doesn't want to buy a kitten, Vsevolod may give it away for free; he thinks that it is important to have a pet, and enjoys seeing other people leave with his spawn. The scrap is hard to gather and doesn't sell that well, so for the past few years Vsevolod has being staying in the apartment, going out only infrequently, once in two or three or four months perhaps. As time goes on, he stays in his little corner of the world for longer and longer, going out less and less.

To survive, Vsevolod grows cats. It costs him strength and flesh, but once they are complete, they can leave the apartment, find some food, rats maybe or some passer-by will throw them something; and then they return to him. His diet is monotonous and unhealthy, but he survives. The cycle continues for years: cats are born, they spread and scavenge for food, and then they return to provide him with nourishment and matter to create more of them. Even so, the cats mostly catch little, and something always left in bones and hides. Vsevolod is always hungry, and always weak.

One day, one of the cats gets sick. Cats are not supposed to catch flu, but these are closer to a human than most. From the first kitten, the rest are soon infected. In cats-that-aren't-cats, the virus changes and mutates, and eventually learns to do what Vsevolod does. Soon there are kittens growing from everyone and people running in circles in panic. The Foundation swoops in, exterminates stray cats, administers amnestics, and everything is orderly once again.

Vsevolod is weak and ill and undernourished, but not enough to kill him. But the Foundation took away his pets, took away his knives and forks and his favorite chair. He created them, he invested himself in them, in spirit and power more than in body. They are a part of him. With so much of him destroyed or taken away, there isn't enough left to will him to live. And so he dies. The Foundation is left thinking that he was nothing more than a crazy old man who caught the virus from no one knows where.


1511

This one is a good example of how I tend to write in general. I write down the core idea, and then, if the result isn't interesting enough, I start adding more and more details to it and exploring various possible consequences of the concept. Eventually, I end up with too many secondary parts, they interfere with each other and clog up the central idea. Then I go through everything again and cut away the boring parts. After several iterations of this, I may end up with something that no longer resembles the thing I started from in any meaningful way.

It begun with the idea of a moving stone. I liked the imagery of a piece of rock slowly traveling across the desert to an unknown goal. At first, the idea was that the stone would compel anyone it came across to follow it. The Foundation was attempting to establish a mobile containment site around it, and evacuate anything in its path. Later on, I made the stone and its followers disappear, and reappear 70 years later, followed by the same people who were affected by it the first time, who for some reason hadn't aged in those 70 years they were gone.

None of that quite worked.

I began to think about the parallels between what I was writing and the story of Moses, wandering the desert for 40 years. Not necessary as something to explicitly connect to within the article, but as something to give me an inspiration to move forward. I wrote this idea of one of the followers, after years of following the skip, becoming disillusioned and loosing the hope that they will ever reach their destination, rebelling against the crystal and throwing it into a chasm.

A few days later, I had a moment of clarity, and shifted the entire article pretty much instantly around that final event. I got rid of all the compulsion/religious connotations, and made the crystal a prison transport instead. After that the final version was written pretty soon. In the course of writing one of the final iterations, I replaced a singular crystal with hundreds of similar ones, because it allowed me to simplify the mechanics of their travel and thus provide fewer distractions from the core idea.

All these transformations took about 6 months, from the first draft to posting. Twice during that time I deleted everything I wrote and rewrote my current version of the idea using all new words.

The wails of the trapped souls were the final touch, and one I am most pleased with. They are trapped inside their crystal shells, unaware of the world around them, confined to an illusionary heaven, one suited specifically to their desires. All this just because content prisoners are so much easier to keep in prison. And yet, their paradise is never complete, always frozen in that last moment before happiness, repeating it forever.

Some time after posting, I changed the method by which the distress signal is sent, from a radio transmission, to a bunch of glass tablets. This version I like much better. The idea here is that, under normal circumstances, the vessel would have engraved a message on a tablet, and then teleported it to the home base, because tablets are small enough that they don't require a stationary portal like the vessel itself. But in its fall, many of its systems were damaged, and so it tries to send a tablet, fails, realizes it failed, and tries again, and again and again, until the entire vessel dies completely.

The thing that escaped the prison is bad. The crystal shells around the prisoners are meant to confine them, limit their powers. Yet even in its weakened state, it was able to reject the illusionary world around it, attack and severely damage its prison. And after that, it slaughtered all the other prisoners, even though they were helpless and wouldn't have opposed it even if they weren't. And as the distress transmission warns, very soon (0.019 Local Solar Cycles, about a week), it will shed the last remains of its shell and regain its full strength, and will be able to blend in easily.


1540

The idea was born in about 30 seconds, as a reply to this thread. However, it took me another year and a half to write down a version of it I was happy with.

The transformation itself was hard to write. I wanted it to be disturbing without falling into gore-for-the-sake-of-gore. Eventually I arrived to the full-dissolution-in-a-cocoon idea that is now in the article. I think it does a good job of walking the middle ground.

The idea that one of its iteration would think itself a researcher came fairly early, but for a long time I planned it to be a separate tale. Eventually I realized that the article itself needed something a little extra, and included it as an interview log.

While the idea of how the effects would work was there from the beginning, what would be the motivations and story behind its origin changed during the earlier drafts. The final version of some teens trying to turn themselves into werewolves to get cool and failing pathetically is something I'm very happy with.

Of course, that's only the surface explanation of the skip's origin. On a deeper level, its origin is tied to the PACS program (see 964's commentary). More copying from The Leak thread:

PACS-9 popped up again several years later, attempting to reproduce the process that was used to create it. Three procedures were performed, using slightly varying techniques. The first of those was soon contained by the Foundation and given an SCP designation. The other two had managed to escape wit the help of PACS-9.

The second turned out similar to the first, but was ectoentropic, and did not dissolve the previous bodies, instead growing newer and newer bodies on top of the old ones. He eventually grew to the point were it could no longer sustain its own mass, and died.

The third one managed to preserve his identity, but his body would deteriorate quickly and die after several weeks. He was able to infect others with a copy of its own consciousness, overwriting the mind of the host. The new body would then begin to deteriorate as well, necessitating him to infect others over and over again in order to survive.

All in all, PACS-9's attempts to replicate the PACS program were largely unsuccessful, and, given its mental state, short-lived. However, it continues to successfully evade capture or detection, with the few parties aware of its existence presuming it dead.

I thought for a long time about including the fate of 1540's "brothers" in an addendum after the interview, but finally decided against it.

Although it isn't mentioned in the article, 1540's transformations occur on full moons. Usually technicians get in there and clean things up while the new iteration is still unconscious after the change. The reason the iteration interviewed in the article awoke earlier and was able to see pieces of the cocoon, is because its transformation event corresponded to a lunar eclipse.

For a while, I toyed with the idea that wounds inflicted with silver weapons would persist between transformation, and heal at the normal human rate. It didn't make it into the final article, and I'm unsure if it's still part of my head-canon. Same goes to the idea that killing it without incineration would only be effective until the next transformation.

When I first joined the site, and haven't had any survived articles yet, and was generally very green, someone posted a werewolf skip on the site. It was bad. I don't remember any details, but it was something along the lines of an abusive boyfriend who was actually only abusive because he was a werewolf, and that's how his lycanthropy manifested itself. Yeah. So, it was quickly and massively downvoted, obviously. But a common criticism I saw in the discussion was that werewolves can never be made into a skip. Never. Never ever. Not in any possible way. That stuck with me, and for a few months after that I kept idly thinking of ways I could twist the werewolf concept to make it into a good skip. Some of those ideas were even good, and made it into my concept pile. This one is the only one so far to make it to the site, but I have at least another two waiting to be written. Meanwhile, there have been some successful werewolf skips by other writers since then, and I'm happy about that.


1200

I mentioned before that this was inspired by SCP-693, but the full story is a bit more convoluted.

This skip began as something that infected houses, and whenever someone came to live in a house, it would "kidnap" their friends and family members and place their bodies within the walls of the house. The idea of a person learning that their friend has disappeared, trying to find them, worrying about what might have happened to them, and all the while the friend's body is right next to them, decaying slowly inside the walls of their home, that is something I find very unsettling.

Eventually, after toy with and making modifications to the core concept, I arrived to the idea of the bodies being used as raw materials to create some other anomalous substances. Then that led to a connection to The Factory, and that's where 693 came in.

Years ago, when I was still very new to the site, I've read 693, and one aspect of it stuck with me. The dolls were created by The Factory, but they were also self-replicating. That didn't make sense to me, based on how I understood The Factory at the time. So I asked TheDuckman about it, and his response was along the lines of "How do you know that's not how The Factory makes them in the first place?". That changed my view of The Factory, from a monolithic structure forging identical skips by hundreds on standardized equipment, to something more spread out and insidious, reaching into everything and using every means at its disposal to reach its goals.

Two of the flavors used in the article are based on existent skips, one my own and another excellent one by Pig_Catapult. I wanted to convey the idea that the flavors are created from a wide variety of unrelated anomalous sources. This is also largely the purpose of the second addendum, to show the reader an example of how a particular flavor is manufactured.

As mentioned in the call transcript, 1200-As are psychopomps. In their natural state, they care for the dead and help their souls to move on to the next world. Unfortunately, Davis and his people subverted the process, and now the psychopomps are working to make soul-goo for The Factory to use. This is what the entities created by 1200-30 are: trapped, broken souls, barred from the afterlife.

This articles uses both "humanoid" and "humaniform" to describe different entities. While, to my knowledge, those two terms are completely interchangeable everywhere they're used, and mean "possessing two legs, two arms, and a head", I arbitrary decided to start using "humaniform" to mean "visually indistinguishable from human", while retaining "humanoid" to its usual meaning. This is a situation that comes up often enough in scp articles that I thought it warranted a specific term.

The phantom sibling mentioned in 1200-58's effects is meant to show the fake and illusionary nature of the heavens created by SCP-1511. Usually they are created fine-tuned to each particular prisoner, but whatever process The Factory used to translate that effect into the gum, it interrupted it somehow and left it with an old imprint. Hence the brother who never was.

For a long time during drafting, the final entry in the flavor table was supposed to be "Tastes Like Paradox", but I was unable to write an effect that would do the title justice. For the last, perhaps, 3 months before posting, every other part of the article was completely finished, and all changes consisted of my trying to write the last flavor. Eventually I saw the 1200 open up, decided "fuck it", removed that flavor and posted everything else.

Davis is the leader of a group I call the Freelancers. They don't have an ideology or long-term goals, and will work for anyone willing and able to pay them. They specialize in location, retrieval, and minor modification of anomalous objects, but are willing to do different kinds of work if the payment is good enough. I will most probably write some more about them eventually.

Herrick is not an employee of The Factory, not in the traditional sense. In my head-canon, The Factory doesn't have those, not any human ones anyway. Rather, Herrick is a kind of intermediary, who was exposed to The Factory and changed by it, and now conducts business on its behalf.

The final test is what makes this article in my opinion. It's very direct for something as alien as The Factory, and while it can be interpreted as a threat, or as a mockery, ultimately there's no explanation of what message it was supposed to tell.


2797

This one is based on a true story that is somewhat well-known among the russian internet users. In 2010, Russian Academy of Sciences decided to create an english version of their website. They did it… poorly. In particular, the page about the Institute of Protein Research had its title translated as Squirrel Institute.

I had an idea to do something with this for awhile, more than a year perhaps. I didn't think that a straight adaptation would work, and so tried out different variations of the idea. The most developed of those was about raccoons that collected scrap and used it to create complex anomalous machines that performed trivial mundane tasks. Eventually, the short works contest came around, and I decided to go with a version much closer to the original inspiration, because it allowed me to get to the punchline much faster.

Both the skip's number and the city it was created in - Nizhnevartovsk - are references to 1797. In my mind, the unnamed company that made the squirrels had found one of the Chernodubov's cats, reverse-engineered it, and used that research to create the squirrels.

The abilities of the various squirrel-groups are meant to vaguely resemble various tasks that proteins perform in the human body.


Routine

This was written on a whim, in under 20 minutes, and posted almost immediately after.

As I mentioned in the comments, it was inspired by a much better tale, Encounter.

The thing I like about this is that structurally, it is nearly a straight creepypasta, a campfire story. The only reason it's tagged as a tale is that it's build around an element of the Foundation mythos.


The End


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License