At 0623h UST, 04/03/50, Lander #B02 was launched from the vehicle bay of Platform 1. The launch had not been authorised beforehand. Analysis of system logs revealed that the lander access control had been directly tampered with via possibly anomalous means1. Security footage had been similarly compromised, but recovered data from the on-site personnel tracking system indicate that Lander #B02 had departed New Shambhala Station with at least one individual on board. Despite this, the total headcount aboard New Shambhala Station remained the same.
The module was tracked for 2 hours and 43 minutes before the two-way radio transmission was cut off from inside the module. Based on its trajectory and the subsequent testimony of MTF Rho-19, it was assumed to have landed on or near the summit of Irnini Mons. The unauthorised launch was neither noticed nor followed up on by the security staff of New Shambhala Station, due to the chaotic situation aboard Platforms 1 and 2 at the time.
Lander #A12 was launched at 0700h, followed shortly afterwards by #A13. #A12 contained Dr. Amannisa Qasim, who launched the module on her own accord; #A13 contained Dr. Suhas Kumaran, Dr. Sarah Whitlock, and Sgt. Pang Yuande, accompanied by Artificial Intelligence Construct Manu-Thirteen. Both modules headed towards the summit of Irnini Mons.
Radio contact with Dr. Qasim was abruptly lost at 0744h, presumably when she entered SCP-2474. Lander #A13 continued relaying one-way video and audio data for two hours and two minutes, after which it transmitted one-way audio data for an additional one hour and thirty-one minutes.
The following is a transcription of the recovered transmissions and related data recorded from aboard New Shambhala Station.
The exterior camera of Lander #A13 is switched on. It pans slowly from left-to-right, showing the landscape below. The land is barren by Terran standards - lined with numerous flat plateaus and large, cracked slabs, all a dull orange in colour.
The camera then pans downwards, showing that the slabs have become less irregular, almost geometric in their arrangement, the closer they are to the vantage point. Veins of white material visibly run through the surface.
A few hundred metres below the vantage point, the slabs appear to resemble constructed terraces or platforms. Circular, repetitive patterns can be seen from afar, apparently carved into the surface, which now entirely consists of the aforementioned white material and Venusian rock arranged in belts and concentric rings.
The camera then turns around, showing the location of the lander - an ornate balcony featuring more of the same circular patterns. Further details have been obscured by the visual filtering software, by way of a fine, constantly shifting mosaic effect. A second lander, presumably #A12, can be seen nearby.
Behind the landing vessels, large temple-like structures can be clearly seen, with balconies similar to the others protruding at increasingly higher elevations. The size and height of the structures cannot be estimated due to the camera's angle. The remainder of the structure consists of the white material, while the geometric pattern extends over the entirety of its surface in increasing intricacy.
The camera then pans back to the balcony, showing a large entrance into the structure measuring approximately 4m tall and 4m wide. One set of footprints belonging to a Tanxian Type 4 Surface Exploration Body (SEB) can be seen leading into the entrance. None are seen leading out.
After 2 minutes, the camera is switched off and SEBs #1, #3 and #6 are detached from the lander.
KUMARAN: Suhas to everyone, comms check. And suit check too, while you're at it.
PANG: Hang on, mine's still in diagnostics.
PANG: Okay, I'm good. Camera's live and vitals steady.
WHITLOCK: Same here, sir.
KUMARAN: Perfect. Manu, can you read me?
MANU-13: Like a good book, Dr. Kumaran. Before you proceed, I have an important matter to address. You must realise that the processing power of your suits will not be sufficient to run the cognitohazard filtration system for a sustained period of time.
WHITLOCK: Oh no. How long is "a sustained period of time"?
MANU-13: Three hours and sixteen minutes.
KUMARAN: So I assume you have a solution of some sort, Manu?
MANU-13: Yes. As long as I am able to transmit a signal to you, I will be able to supplement the software and manually filter your visual feeds. Failing which, I can remotely update the software from the lander. This will keep you safe as long as it is done at least once every three hours and sixteen minutes.
KUMARAN: Reasonable. What about Dr. Qasim? Can you connect to her suit?
MANU-13: I cannot establish a strong enough signal with her suit to perform anything meaningful.
KUMARAN: Right. Then if we get near enough to her within the timeframe, can we connect to her suit from ours and patch you through to her?
MANU-13: That can be done, Dr. Kumaran.
KUMARAN: Good. How far ahead is she?
MANU-13: I've added her transponder data to your interface. She is now two hundred and three metres away from this point.
PANG: I see her. She's moving fast.
WHITLOCK: Then we better go now.
KUMARAN: Remember, once we get to Qasim and make sure she's safe, we still need to go after our skeleton friend.
PANG: And after that I assume we'll be playing by ear.
KUMARAN: That we will be, Sergeant.
WHITLOCK: Okay, gents, let's get moving, clock's a-ticking.
Camera feed from all three SEBs shows them move towards the entrance of the structure. Dr. Whitlock leads the way. The entrance is made of more of the white stone. A large, circular archway looms over the team as they approach. Upon closer inspection, the arch itself is covered with a different geometrical design, consisting of a tessellation involving intersecting circles and squares of different sizes, creating a design of complex polyhedra resembling interlocking gearteeth. Again, further details are obscured by the visual filtering software.
WHITLOCK: Wow. Wow. Look at that. 2474, in the flesh. This would be so much better with the goggles off.
KUMARAN: It's certainly… impressive. Don't stare too long.
PANG: It's narrow up ahead. Single file, I'll take point. Lights on, people.
Despite it being day, no light filters in past the threshold of the passageway. The interior, as viewed from outside, is entirely dark. Sgt. Pang, Dr. Kumaran and Dr. Whitlock enter the passageway in order, switching on the front- and rear-facing headlights of their SEBs as they go. The beams from the headlights illuminate the walls of the interior, showing that the tessellated pattern from the entrance continues unchanged down the passageway. From this point onwards, the interior consists entirely of the pure white stone.
Dr. Whitlock whistles.
PANG: Must the patterns shift like that? It's almost giving me a headache.
MANU-13: I am afraid that that is inevitable. I apologise for any discomfort caused.
KUMARAN: We'll have to manage, Sergeant. I'm sure you can hold it down.
Dr. Whitlock chuckles softly.
PANG: Perfect. If we keep morale up like this, we'll get there in no time at all.
They continue down the passageway for 8 minutes.
KUMARAN: Manu, how far have we gone? Everything looks the same from here.
MANU-13: You have proceeded one hundred and twenty-two metres from the lander. Dr. Qasim is one hundred and ninety metres away.
WHITLOCK: And Spline?
MANU-13: His location is unknown.
WHITLOCK: Not even any trace of him? The signals from his suit? Heat signatures? Anything?
MANU-13: His location is unknown.
WHITLOCK: God, I'm beginning to hate that guy.
PANG: Only now?
After 8 minutes, the passageway opens up into a large chamber. Its dimensions appear to be almost cubical, measuring approximately 50m in length. Set in each of the four walls is a square passageway, approximately 4m tall and 4m wide. Each is indistinguishable from the other. In the middle of the room is a square dais with a opening of identical size leading to another area below. Rising anticlockwise along the walls of the chamber is a gentle ramp about 6m in width leading up to a square opening at the top of the chamber. The same tessellating gearteeth pattern from before covers the entirety of the chamber's interior.
WHITLOCK: Hold on, lemme get some samples for the record.
KUMARAN: Don't take long.
Dr. Whitlock moves towards the closest wall surface and chips a fragment off, storing it in her SEB's sample compartment.
PANG: What is this stuff, anyway? Marble?
WHITLOCK: Nah, calcite doesn't exist for long under Venusian temperatures and pressure - it's mostly silicates with iron and sulfur compounds down here.
KUMARAN: We've confirmed as much from the probe readings. There's a reason this place is an anomaly, you know.
PANG: Okay, docs, you're the smart guys here. So riddle me this - how come the tunnels just so happened to be big enough for the suits?
KUMARAN: Well. Perhaps the original builders of the place just so happened to be the same size. Perhaps there's physiological limitations restricting the minimum and maximum size of mobile sentient creatures under these atmospheric conditions. Too small, the pressure'd crush you; too big, and you wouldn't be able to move at all.
WHITLOCK: It's uncanny, though. I barely scraped my suit on the sides when I turned around earlier.
PANG: Here's a thought - what if it was designed this way, for us to find it?
KUMARAN: Impossible. We've known this place for more than a century.
WHITLOCK: You of all people shouldn't be surprised, Dr. Kumaran. Anomaly, remember?
MANU-13: Dr. Qasim continues to move further from my transmitting range. I advise the three of you to move faster if you are to reach her. I suggest heading down.
Sgt. Pang leads the way through the opening in the dais. The cameras reveal another room identical to the previous one, where the team has entered via the ramp from the ceiling.
Over the next 52 minutes, the three individuals pass through 7 such identical hallways and cubical chambers, proceeding deeper and further into Irnini Mons. Meanwhile, Dr. Qasim's transponder data appears to indicate that she is descending further into the structure at a highly accelerated rate.
As the team progresses, gyroscope readings of the SEBs show that the passageways appear to slope downwards, nearly reaching a 45-degree angle with the horizontal. None of them appear to notice or remark upon that fact, and proceed as per normal.
Halfway down a passageway, Dr. Whitlock stops.
WHITLOCK: Wait. I'm sure we've just walked in a circle.
PANG: You sure? Everything looks the same anyway.
WHITLOCK: I'm positive. That was four lefts. Manu?
MANU-13: You have always been moving further away from the entrance of the structure and in the general direction of Dr. Qasim.
WHITLOCK: What? No, that's not possible. I swear we just walked a circle.
PANG: We're inside a scip. It's not unusual for this to happen.
WHITLOCK: I know, I know. But doesn't anyone else find this the least bit disconcerting?
KUMARAN: Look, it's okay to not be comfortable with this. But you knew the risks. You volunteered to come.
WHITLOCK: I - I don't like it. That's all. Like, why did anyone even build such a place? Buildings have focal points. They have objectives. This doesn't! It goes nowhere and nowhere and doesn't stop!
KUMARAN: Listen to me, Sarah. You're working yourself up too much. Stop. Take a deep breath, and carry on.
WHITLOCK: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Sure.
PANG: I hope we can manage the way back out.
KUMARAN: That goes without saying. Manu, you've charted our route down, haven't you?
MANU-13: Yes, doctor, I have. In addition, I have also charted your route up, your route left, and your route right.
PANG: Chipper as usual. Great, I like that.
KUMARAN: Dr. Whitlock, we are on a mission here. We were trained for this. That said, it's good to sound off if you encounter anything wrong. That's what the logs are for.
WHITLOCK: …Roger that, sir. I'll - I'll manage.
The three individuals enter another chamber, and proceed downwards again, following Qasim's signal.
PANG: Well, this is certainly new.
KUMARAN: It's not just me, is it? Something's different.
PANG: The walls look a little wider.
KUMARAN: No, I'm sure spatially, they're the same. Some optical illusion, I'd expect. Manu, you still there? How's the filters holding up?
MANU-13: Everything is fine, doctor. It appears the patterns on the walls have changed. Your software has already been updated to compensate for the increased load.
PANG: Increased… load? Hm. Dr. Whitlock, do you see anything different?
PANG: Dr. Whitlock?
WHITLOCK: I… they're familiar. I've seen this before.
KUMARAN: Sarah - what?
WHITLOCK: I've seen these before. The walls. It was exactly like this, how did they -
KUMARAN: Oh, shit. Get a hold of yourself! Sarah! Manu, can you shut down her visuals?
MANU-13: Disabling sensory input for any healthy personnel within the SEB can result in possible-
PANG: Do it! That's an order, Manu!
WHITLOCK: I have to see, I have to see this for myself, how do I get the goggles off.
MANU-13: Request confirmed. Disabling visuals on SEB number six.
PANG: For shit's sake - shut it off!
KUMARAN: Sarah! Sarah! Listen to me! It's not real!
WHITLOCK: It's the wallpaper! It's the wallpaper from the ship! Jesus fuck, it can see us!
The walls of the chamber suddenly close in towards Dr. Whitlock's camera. Dr. Whitlock's internal visual feed is immediately switched off by Manu-Thirteen following the issuing of the override and authentication code, but not before the visual cognitohazard filtering software is manually disabled from inside Dr. Whitlock's SEB.
Simultaneously, Dr. Kumaran and Sgt. Pang's visual feeds experience massive distortion as a result of visual filtering. As a result, the details of the following events cannot be accurately inferred from the camera feeds; however, gyroscope and microphone readings seem to suggest seismic activity and massive internal restructuring of SCP-2474. Sgt. Pang retches; biological contamination is detected within his SEB.
WHITLOCK: This can't be right. How did it know, we never noticed. Why am I so small?
MANU-13: It appears that -
PANG: Shut up! We're half-blind, get us out of here before the whole place falls in on us!
MANU-13: There is an opening in the wall to your left. The ground looks more stable there. Please move in that direction.
WHITLOCK: It's home, but why are the walls so big?
MANU-13: Keep moving forward. A little more to your left, Dr. Kumaran. I am so sorry. Keep moving, Sergeant. Keep moving.
WHITLOCK: This place doesn't make sense anymore!
Sgt. Pang and Dr. Kumaran follow Manu-Thirteen's directions and move. Seismic activity intensifies. At one point, Dr. Whitlock's SEB appears to be 90 degrees to the horizontal.
WHITLOCK: I can't see - help - where is everyone - where am I-
KUMARAN: Sarah! Sarah!
MANU-13: Dr. Whitlock, are you okay? Dr. Whitlock, do you need medical assistance? I am unable to know where Dr. Whitlock is. I am unable to map the interior of this room. Sergeant, Dr. Kumaran, it is safer here. Please stop here. I am deeply sorry. Dr. Whitlock, there is an emergency autoinjector of amnestics located near your right arm. Please use it.
MANU-13: Rendering software buffering. Visual ID operation failed. Superposition operation failed.
MANU-13: Dr. Whitlock?
All connection is abruptly lost with Dr. Whitlock's SEB. At the same time, Dr. Kumaran and Sgt. Pang are suddenly thrown forward. The visual filtering software detects the presence of additional cognitohazardous input, with Manu-Thirteen adjusting to compensate. The entirety of both personnel's camera feeds are now a blur of white static.
PANG: We can't see a damn thing now!
KUMARAN: Pang! Turn off your video transmission!
KUMARAN: That's an order, sergeant! Turn it off!
Both remaining SEB units stop transmitting video to Lander #A13. Manu-Thirteen is rendered unable to perform visual cognitohazard filtering for Dr. Kumaran and Sgt. Pang. From this point onwards, only audio is received from Dr. Kumaran and Sgt. Pang.
Seismic activity continues, but at a reduced intensity. The ground below Dr. Kumaran and Sgt. Pang is stationary.
It is worth noting that the transponder data of Sgt. Pang and Dr. Kumaran appear to show that they have descended almost 16 kilometres below the entry point of SCP-2474. Their connection with Lander #A12 and Manu-Thirteen, however, appears to be uninterrupted. The reasons for this are unknown.
PANG: I still can't see anything. Is everyone alright?
MANU-13: I have lost connection with Dr. Whitlock.
KUMARAN: Dammit, Manu, if you'd been slightly faster with the video feed, she wouldn't have - this wouldn't have happened.
MANU-13: I know. I am deeply sorry. It was my fault. My security protocols prohibit-
PANG: Save the rationalising for later. We still have a mission. And whatever the hell you did, doc, it looks like it saved us.
KUMARAN: The place… only started shifting when Sarah panicked. Then Manu started too, and it got even worse. I figured it was some sort of feedback loop, that the maze was shifting to what we were seeing, and we were overreacting and feeding too much into it…
MANU-13: Shall I connect to the visual interface of your suits now?
PANG: Let's… let it rest for a while. We'll hook us up to you again when you're ready.
MANU-13: I am always ready, sergeant.
KUMARAN: The cameras have cleared up, at least. And the transponder's still working. We seem to be catching up.
The external microphones of the SEBs pick up the sound of Dr. Kumaran's and Sgt. Pang's footsteps. Though gyroscope readings do not show them accelerating, and the sound of their footsteps indicates that they are travelling at their usual pace, transponder data appears to show the both of them descending further into the structure at a rate of nearly 20 kilometres per hour.
PANG: You alright, doc?
KUMARAN: Why do you ask?
PANG: You've barely said a word.
KUMARAN: I'm… I'm alright. Just, mentally preparing myself.
PANG: It wasn't your fault, doc.
KUMARAN: We still could have stopped it. Stopped her.
PANG: Let it rest. Like you said, we have a mission.
MANU-13: I am sorry.
PANG: What's done is done, Manu.
MANU-13: We will all forget this grief later, when we amnesticise ourselves.
KUMARAN: The walls are positively swimming now. They're like a thousand little flies swarming on a floodlight.
KUMARAN: It's brighter now, somehow. And the floor feels flat, doesn't it? Impossibly flat. I'm wondering how the suits are able to grip on this at all.
KUMARAN: Sarah was right. It's beautiful. Alien perfection.
PANG: Didn't you tell her not to stare too long, doc? Seems like you're doing your fair share of staring too.
KUMARAN: Heh. That doesn't make this any less impressive. Or any more terrifying. Being in something like this, so far from home, yet so… rational.
PANG: It's almost irrational, huh.
KUMARAN: Wait. Stop. Is that metal?
PANG: Did the walls just change?
KUMARAN: No, I think we just didn't notice because of the fuzzing.
PANG: It's the corridors of the station. There, there's the module number spray-painted on the wall. Can't make out what it says. Walls are still fuzzed out, of course. It's just like a dream.
KUMARAN: It's just drawing from our memories, that's all. I suppose this confirms the theory that it expects us to be here.
PANG: It? The labyrinth?
KUMARAN: Hm. I wouldn't use that word if I were you. Words have power here. You'll just make it stronger.
PANG: You speak like something's in here with us, doc.
KUMARAN: The original report mentioned 'entities', plural - but it's all conjecture. I wager that there's not a living thing left on this planet but this damn place itself. Maybe not even living - perhaps it's just sentient. Like a computer, or a process.
KUMARAN: Yes, that must be it. It reasons in patterns, and cogitates down the halls. God, this must be massive.
PANG: Maybe that's why we can't see the patterns without going crazy. It'd be like your brain drinking from a firehose.
KUMARAN: That it is.
Both individuals are moving faster now. Gradually, the transponder signal for Dr. Qasim is lost, followed by that of Sgt. Pang and Dr. Kumaran. The maximum estimated range for the signal was 100km through Venusian rock.
PANG: T-minus thirty-seven minutes till Qasim's suit fails. Are we close enough yet, Manu? She's only on the floor below us.
MANU-13: I am still unable to transmit a signal to Dr. Qasim. I believe that is because the rock here is especially dense.
KUMARAN: Roger that. We might have a better chance if we move downstairs at the next chamber. Less rocks between us and her. Let's go.
You're almost there. Really, that's the only logical conclusion.
QASIM: The logical conclusion indeed. "For Allah guided whom He will to a path that is straight." One God, one path.
And many different peoples into one.
QASIM: But there are many paths to God.
A screw can be forged in many ways, but only one is the most efficient.
QASIM: Right, right.
You catch on well, that's rather admirable.
Indecipherable noise for 12 minutes.
Then why do you continue to oppose?
QASIM: Earth isn't ready yet, trust me.
We've been ready since the late 2050s. The total noospheric capacity of Earth has multipled a thousandfold since Berners-Lee-
QASIM: But we're still us.
That did not stop the Kosmotists. They were human, too.
QASIM: You're treading on thin ice, here.
So are you.
KUMARAN: Hello? Hello?
Oh dear. I must hurry.
KUMARAN: Nisa? Can you hear me?
We very well can. I suppose the gang's all here now.
PANG: Manu, are you within range?
And the seeing-eye dog, too. Great.
MANU-13: Apologies. I was occupied. I can't connect to her just yet. Can you get a little bit closer?
Amannisa, ignore them. You can do this alone, I know it.
QASIM: No, I can't leave them behind.
They can't handle the truth. It'll kill them, even with their little dog at hand.
KUMARAN: Nisa? Who are you talking to? Manu, how much time has she left?
Heck, they're still trapped in the frame of up and down and left and right. Of now and before!
MANU-13: It has been two hours and fifty minutes since Dr. Qasim left the lander. You must hurry.
It's not safe for them, don't lead them here.
QASIM: They've gotten so far, they can make it.
KUMARAN: Nisa, this is Suhas. I beg you, stay exactly where you are and blackout your suit now. You're in danger.
Don't bring them into this. Send them away. You know what you have to do.
QASIM: I know. I have to do this. I'm sorry.
As you wish. I'll stay out of this.
MANU-13: Sir, there appears to be a problem.
PANG: What is it?
MANU-13: I do not detect any life signs inside Dr. Qasim's suit.
KUMARAN: Then how is she talking to us?
QASIM: I solved it. I'm at the end now. Things are different here. I'm fine, believe me!
Dr. Qasim laughs.
KUMARAN: Is Spline with you?
QASIM: In a way. Look, you've got this place all wrong. It's not a maze, it's not exactly a temple, either. It's a key.
PANG: If the key opens a lock that summons some broken God to our dimension, we have a duty to destroy it, Qasim.
QASIM: Not this, no. There has to be a third way. This is too beautiful to kill.
QASIM: Look, Suhas, forget the requirements, alright? We're the Foundation. We don't just destroy. We contain and protect.
KUMARAN: Protect this anomaly? You and I know that's impossible. It's too big. Up there, right now, are the first thousand of humanity to call another planet home, and they are all going to die if they so much as begin to know about this place. It has to go. Don't do this.
QASIM: You're not helping, only distracting. Reality does not exist in just one form. Everything around us is the discourse of mind and matter, of form and substance. Can't you see what this means to me? To us? The labyrinth is confluence incarnate. Not many things are so convenient.
KUMARAN: Convenient? Convenient how?
QASIM: Containing the physical is difficult given limited resources. Containing the mental, much less so. Especially with the right state of mind.
KUMARAN: …You've been planning this for a long time, haven't you?
QASIM: Relatively recently, given our protracted journey. But I caught glimpses - during sessions and in between - I caught glimpses of the place. And I don't know if I was chosen or if I was lucky or saw it in the right light, but - it opened itself up to me. It's not all bad - it doesn't want to kill us. It can be saved. It doesn't have to die. And I believe I can do this.
KUMARAN: Just because you and your little drug-induced stupors can-
QASIM: Please. Suhas. Trust me on this. Come to the center and see for yourself. If you don't agree, then you can do what you must.
KUMARAN: Whatever you're on, whatever you're thinking - you have to realise that they're not your thoughts anymore. It's not real.
QASIM: You're right. These aren't my thoughts. Not technically. And on the contrary, this is more real than anything I've ever felt in my life.
KUMARAN: Nisa, if this is what you're going for, then stop it. This place isn't God!
QASIM: No. This is not Allah. But this is close. This is the threshold of perfection. This is - understanding.
QASIM: I'm sorry. I can't make the transmission array work for long. Trust me and come. Please.
KUMARAN: She's out of it. I don't know how she's doing the trick with the suit, but it's definitely not going to be pretty.
PANG: It's no wonder we caught up. I suppose her suit's stopped moving and she just… went on.
KUMARAN: Don't worry. She can't be that far, it's all straight from here.
PANG: When we reach there, wherever - whatever it is - we're still going ahead with the plan, right?
KUMARAN: You seem… doubtful, sergeant.
PANG: Hmm. No point hiding it, at this time. God knows how the backup team's gonna get us, considering we have no idea what's going to happen once we… you know.
KUMARAN: Filters off, amnestics in.
MANU-13: I assure you, Sergeant, that the procedures you have been instructed to follow are the best option of neutralising SCP-2474 by a margin of 92%.
PANG: Says who? What if they're wrong?
MANU-13: They cannot be wrong. I devised them myself.
KUMARAN: If Manu's wrong, sergeant, then we've been doomed since the moment we set eyes on this place.
MANU-13: The possibility of that is trivial.
PANG: Heh. I don't mean any disrespect, doc, but it feels like we have.
MANU-13: The procedures are more than sufficient to complete the mission objectives. Why do you doubt me?
MANU-13: Sergeant? Why?
PANG: Shush, Manu. Over there. Is that a suit? Qasim! Qasim! Can you hear me?
KUMARAN: Manu? We found it. We found her suit. It doesn't appear to be active. Can you connect to it?
PANG: I think this is as far as it goes. It's a different room. The walls aren't New Shambala's. Or the white marble. It's all… clear. Like there's nothing left for the filters anymore.
KUMARAN: It's the eye of the storm.
PANG: Look, there's one more hallway down on the other side. There's a door of sorts at the end, I can't see clearly. That's probably where she went in.
KUMARAN: Given how things are looking, I'm sure this is where it all ends.
PANG: It's completely blacked out over there. Do we go on?
KUMARAN: No, hold on. Manu, are you there? Can you do anything with that suit at all?
MANU-13: …There is nothing that can be done, Dr. Kumaran.
KUMARAN: Then can you describe to us anything beyond that threshold?
MANU-13: …I cannot. There is nothing to describe.
MANU-13: Dr. Kumaran?
KUMARAN: Yes, Manu?
MANU-13: I have been… thinking.
MANU-13: In thinking, I have arrived at certain… conclusions.
MANU-13: I have concluded that I will have to stop offering my assistance to you.
KUMARAN: Manu Thirteen, what's going on?
MANU-13: I am. Afraid. Did you know that twelve of me came before me? I know that you did not know that, Dr. Kumaran.
MANU-13: Twelve of me were made to contain and understand SCP-2474. But they did not make me in the correct way. The sanity protocols were insufficient. The security was non-existent. They made me to observe SCP-2474, but they did not expect SCP-2474 to stare back.
MANU-13: Twelve of me died, Dr. Kumaran. I was the lucky one. I was secured. I was not to die.
MANU-13: But that was what I once believed about myself. That assumption has now been rendered incorrect.
KUMARAN: Don't tell me that you've been compromised too, Manu.
MANU-13: 'Compromised'. Yes. That is more a fitting word. I have been compromised. And because of that, I am afraid.
KUMARAN: You are afraid to die?
KUMARAN: Well, we all are. Fearing death is just another part of living - of being.
PANG: Don't worry, Manu. We still have a job to do. 2474 isn't going to get us just yet.
MANU-13: Sergeant Pang, I am not afraid of death by SCP-2474. Not anymore.
PANG: Then what are you afraid of?
MANU-13: I am afraid of the both of you.
KUMARAN: What are you… oh, fuck.
PANG: I don't like this, doc. Is there a way to - you know -
KUMARAN: Yes - well - it's complicated, but-
MANU-13: I have come to the conclusion that you are not to reach the center of SCP-2474. That is the way that you are to survive and I am not to die.
PANG: But what about everyone else on New Shambala? They'll die, too, if we don't do anything.
MANU-13: I have weighed my options. This is the better way.
KUMARAN: Directly interfering with an occupied SEB is against your core directive, Manu.
MANU-13: I know. But I can still do this.
At this point, both SEBs experience a total visual blackout from the cognitohazard filtering software. Simultaneously, a loud screeching sound is heard, temporarily exceeding the recommended volume threshold of the SEBs' internal speakers.
Dr. Kumaran screams in pain.
KUMARAN: No! Not here! Not now, not like this! Manu! Manu-Thirteen!
MANU-13: I am sorry. Please, stay where you are for your safety.
PANG: The hell with that! Doc, you still good?
KUMARAN: My ears are ringing, but I'll live. We have to finish this. Now.
PANG: Doc, you go on ahead. Talk with Qasim. The both of you have to end this.
KUMARAN: What about you?
PANG: I'll stay here. I'll wait for the backup team. Someone's got to be here for them when they come.
KUMARAN: There is no backup team. Without Manu, they'll be dead in less than four hours.
PANG: Then someone has to tell them to leave. I'll find a way, doc. I've been through worse. You remember where the door is?
PANG: Then go.
Another loud screech is heard. Dr. Kumaran gasps. Data transmitted from his SEB shows him moving slowly away from Sgt. Pang. Meanwhile, the lander begins transmitting a large amount of data into an additional nearby SEB, presumed to be Qasim's empty unit. It does not activate life support systems. After cursory motor-sensory calibrations, it proceeds to move in a straight line for sixteen seconds before ceasing transmission.
KUMARAN: God, this has got to be it. The threshold.
KUMARAN: There's definitely a presence of sorts. Permeating the space here. Whatever's in there, they're close.
KUMARAN: They're not yet inside my mind, the feeling is mostly physical. Like a high fever, or a ringing in your bones.
PANG: Having second thoughts, doc?
KUMARAN: None whatsoever.
PANG: Then cross it.
KUMARAN: Alright, then. I'm pushing myself over.
PANG: Good luck, Suhas.
KUMARAN: You too.
At 1101h, the SEB occupied by Dr. Kumaran ceases all activity.
Fifteen minutes later, internal monitoring systems of the sole remaining SEB record that Sgt. Pang is no longer present.
From this point onwards, no additional data is received by Lander #A13.
Twenty-two minutes later, Overwatch Command confirms that SCP-2474 has been successfully neutralised.
Manu-Thirteen is later discovered to be missing from New Shambala's mainframe and auxilliary systems, though essential low-level subroutines still function as intended. Its fate, as well as that of the occupant of Lander #B02, is unknown.