Holding On
rating: +47+x

In a small room, a man who sometimes exists greets a man who should no longer be.

The first man enters the room with purpose, with pride. His clothes are neither grand nor humble; a light grey greatcoat and mundane jeans, with a pair of boots bought from a shoe store. He grins as he enters the room, seeing the other.

The second man is his antithesis in almost every way; he has no purpose, slouching in his seat like the small and powerless being he has become. His clothes have become ragged and patched over the countless years, scourged by moths and use alike. He looks up at the other man, smiling meekly.

"Hey," he says.

"Good morning," the first replies.

"'Nother match?"

"If you wish. Black or white?"

"I'll go white."

The chessboard had been prepared for the occasion. Pulling out a seat, the first man sat down and began planning his counter-attacks. The ragged man took no time to think, moving his king's pawn ahead two spaces. It was then met by its mirror opposite.

"You’re copying me again, eh?"

"Good strategies are worth reusing."

The white queen was next to move, gliding across the board as far as it could go. The black pawn was in its sights; a Parham Attack. Knowing the quickest and easiest way to protect it, the first man moved one of his knights to do so. White's response was to shift his available bishop so that it was able to attack one of the pawns at risk of the white queen. As soon as the bishop's location was confirmed, Black moved his remaining knight directly in front of the white queen - but not in the way of its target.

Grinning, the poorly-clothed man moved his white queen, knocking over a black pawn and placing it directly next to the black king. "Scholar's mate."

"A quick and effective move, like our rivalry. The first few times you pulled that, you caught me off-guard."

The black knight that had just moved to the edge of the board toppled the white queen, destroying the supposed checkmate. The grin faded from White's face.

"But repetition has become your undoing. You always open with that move - why?"

"Old habits die hard."

An attempt to renew the check was made, the white bishop claiming the black knight so it could threaten the king; but the bishop was far too close. The king itself stepped forward, slaying the bishop threatening it.

"You have made these mistakes before."

"Sorry. I just… default to what I know best."

"What is bothering you?"

White looked up at his opponent, having moved a knight to fill the gap between his pawns. The gaze of Black met him.

"… I'm dying."

"Impossible. You cannot die."

"Oh yes I can, and I am. I'm being forgotten; anyone who remembers me doesn't want to survey my stories anymore. I'm being lost."

"You have the site. All your-"

"It's down."

The words were akin to a death sentence. Plans for the incomplete chess match were forgotten in favour of the more serious matter.

"… It will go back up, surely."

"No, it won’t. Nobody devoted enough is left - it's down, and it's down for good."

"You cannot know that."

"Adm, nothing had been posted since 2013. The site was rife with flaws an’ errors, if someone was still around, they would've been fixed."

Adm didn't try to argue that point - the logic was sound. "You will not be forgotten."

"Yes I will. My stories are spread all over the internet, but nobody points to them anymore. There's no new content to bring in new readers."

"That is your own fault and you know it, En. You were too restrictive with your format."

"You've got a format too. Why did yours do better?"

"My format functions differently to your own. Mine is simply a method of organising information into a set order. Yours outright determined the majority of its content."

"What do you mean?"

"Repetition. You put very little variation into your stories - it was always the same thing, repeated over and over again."

"That's not true. They were all different."

"At their core, no. It was always 'Go to place X. Do a list of things precisely as said. If you fail or are unlucky, you will die. If you succeed, you get Y.' You changed places, names and numbers, but the story was always the same."

"… You always were better at explaining than I was. You were always better in everything."

Leaning forward over the table, Adm slapped En across the face before sitting down again. "Do not be stupid. Comparing yourself to me is like comparing an apple to an orange. You have succeeded in places where I will forever fail."

"Bullshit. Give me an example."

"You have cohesion. Your stories all functioned together to tell a consistent, greater story. They all functioned together flawlessly - I will never have that."

"Your stories tell a bigger one too."

"But it is vague and random. Some stories work together to tell a greater one, but these greater stories usually clash. I cannot be the sum of my parts; I am only fragments of them."

En leaned back in his seat. "But that's what makes you great. The inconsistencies bring more to you, each with their own ideas, prompting further growth. You can't die."

"Yes, I can. Everything will die in time - immortality is impossible for us, though we may seem that way. The very ideas I attract will one day be my undoing.”

En scoffed. "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard you say. Ideas are what fuel you, how could it possibly kill you?”

“By incorporating too much. I cannot prevent myself from bringing ideas to me; the more I assimilate, the more that come. With each, a little part of me becomes more unstable, a boundary is pushed. I will slowly lose what I am, until I am only a specter of my prime. I will dissolve.”

"But you can die in style, at least. You'll go out with some grand finale-"

"I cannot."

"What do you mean you can't? You've already got a dozen or more endings-"

"But none of them is the ending. I can never have a set, specific ending for all my works. Some will accept it, others will not. That is one reason I envy you. Because, like any great story, you actually end. As I said, I will decay without grace or style. I will be viewed as formless refuse to those I attract. Those who try to help me rest will only destroy my form further."

Silence hung in the air between the two. They were bound to their fates; one was dying, the other was doomed to lose his identity, and nothing could be done to stop either. Adm rose from his seat, turning to the door.

"Wait," En spoke. Adm stopped and turned to face him, resting his hand on the doorknob.

"Yes?"

"Even if you die like you say, you will be remembered. You would be viewed as a pioneer, the one to step into the unknown and tread new ground where none had yet been. Even if your story never ends, you will pass knowing that you had a great one."

"And so will you. You may not have always led the charge, but you are the one who started it. It is because of you that I stepped forward into the unknown. It is because of you that I became what I am."

Another brief pause ensued.

“You have met Doc, have you not?”

“… I have.”

“He once stood in your position, on the brink of death. But his soul, his spirit, refused to perish. He held on, taking whatever ground he could earn… we both know how that ended up.”

“…”

"If you wish," Adm spoke, "I can house you until such a time, or at least ensure that you get the credit you deserve."

En's eyes lit up. "But aren't I too out of date? I would be shunned, viewed as garbage, wouldn't I?"

"Roots will survive. My own still thrive, even if its luster has faded. Despite its weaknesses, it is celebrated because of what it spawned; yours will be too. I will ensure it stands under my care, unopposed, for a very long time."

"I'll take it."


Item #: SCP-53801

Object Class: Keter

Special Containment Procedures: Foundation net crawlers are to locate and destroy any digital copies of Procedure SAVIOUR’S ARK posted onto the internet. Individuals possessing copies of Procedure SAVIOUR’S ARK are to be apprehended and amnesticised as necessary to suppress public knowledge of Procedure SAVIOUR’S ARK.

Foundation staff are prohibited from attempting or executing Procedure SAVIOUR’S ARK, with the exclusion of D-Class personnel during authorized testing. D-Class personnel fleeing from SCP-53801-A during the execution of Procedure SAVIOUR’S ARK are to be tracked and monitored, but not impeded to maximize their chances of survival.

A standard cognitohazardous containment unit is to be on-hand at all times during authorized testing, in the event that SCP-53801-2 is successfully retrieved.

Description: SCP-53801 consists of:

  • A topological anomaly, SCP-53801-A;
  • A humanoid entity, SCP-53801-1, found solely within SCP-53801-A;
  • An unidentified item, SCP-53801-2, in the possession of SCP-53801-1.

SCP-53801-A is a topologically anomalous extension of any building that it manifests at. The appearance and layout of SCP-53801-A varies in each manifestation, but uniformly appears as an unremarkable wing or section of whichever building it is attached to at the time. SCP-53801-A is only capable of manifesting within buildings that are intended solely for use in the rehabilitation of mentally or emotionally unstable members of society, and will only manifest during the execution of Procedure SAVIOUR’S ARK.

Any attempt for individuals other than those executing Procedure SAVIOUR’S ARK to access SCP-53801-A universally fail, with individuals arriving in, or becoming lost in other non-anomalous regions of the building. Because of this, information regarding SCP-53801-1 and SCP-53801-2 is retrieved solely from survivors of Procedure SAVIOUR’S ARK.

SCP-53801-1 is an elderly humanoid entity housed in a cell within SCP-53801-A. The entity is described to be constantly speaking in an unknown language, and can be heard from any location within SCP-53801-A. These vocalizations induce extreme terror in all subjects hearing it; whether this is an anomalous effect or a natural reaction has yet to be determined.

Periodically, individuals attempting to access SCP-53801-1 will report a sudden cessation of vocalizations; all such individuals who have failed to elicit a response from the entity by stating the phrase listed in Procedure SAVIOUR’S ARK have uniformly died within a six-hour time period from unknown causes. The majority of individuals who reach SCP-53801-1 are exposed to an infohazard that uniformly results in rapid mental degradation. The exact content of this information is unknown, but interviews with exposed individuals strongly suggest that it is a description of an XK-Class scenario related to SCP-53801-2.

SCP-53801-2 is an unidentified, possibly cognitohazardous object reported to be in the possession of SCP-53801-1, and serving as the intended target of Procedure SAVIOUR’S ARK. No information about the object has ever been recovered beyond what is detailed in Procedure SAVIOUR'S ARK, nor has it ever been retrieved from SCP-53801-1.

SCP-53801 was brought to the Foundation’s attention by the Administrator, who submitted the original documentation of Procedure SAVIOUR’S ARK to the Overseer council. Due to the Administrator’s status within the Foundation, he was/is not required to disclose any information about any relation to SCP-53801, how he became aware of the anomaly, and/or where he retrieved the documentation of Procedure SAVIOUR’S ARK from.
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