Holy Mackerel
rating: +16+x

** "Officially known as Mnestic Stimulant 125, coldpost Is currently only given officially to researchers on highly classified projects or SCPs, however due to its highly addictive nature, it remains a popular illicit substance amongst Foundation staff of a variety of clearance levels. Rumours to this day persist about senior staff enjoying "coldpost lounges", but all claims are unsubstantiated.

Coldpost was given it's name because the high it produces is akin to having a bucket of ice water thrown in one's face. Those who needed it were said to be working "cold water posts." This term was shortened to simply coldpost and was used in reference to the drug as well as those stations that needed it."

Excerpt from "An Introductory Guide to Foundation Pharmacology" by Dr. Adenech Legesse **
We rolling?

I saw you brought some scotch. You have any coldpost or any other mnestics handy? It's been eight hours since my last dose. No? Fine. The scotch will do.

I'll recite the entry from memory first. Then I'll describe my initial reaction to it.

Ahem!

Item #: SCP-XXXX

Object Class: Euclid/Apollyon

Special Containment Procedures:
IRRELEVANT.

Description: SCP-XXXX is an antimemetic land dwelling coral reef located seven kilometers north of [REDACTED]. It contains eighteen species of airborne fish, including three resembling mackerel.

…what?

That was the entire entry. I stood utterly confused by this oddity, this idea of a joke. Send me to create a goddamn paper on some goddamn template that made the system. This is not an SCP. It's even labeled with Xs instead of numbers. Why is this even in the database?! Surely Rosen and his AIC monkeys would not let their bots consider this a real entry. Dosen't even have a proper classification, and who in the hell thinks antimemes are real? They're a theoretical subject discussed in seminars.

You are getting this on tape, aren't you? Good.

Those were my initial thoughts. Confused ranting, is all. But now I've grown wise. There's seriously something wrong with the Foundation. Something is rotting, I can taste it. It's acrid, a moldy lemon poached in battery acid.

This bum Willendorf was trying to create something called Operation ARCTIC CIRCLE. There's people in the higher ups convinced something is eating documentation as easily as a person would shovel chips in their faces.

No less than the O5s brought me in, asking about 001. I had never met the O5s before. Very few have. Dunno what I expected and hell if I know anything about 001. Classified even to me. But I go in. I see thirteen dirty decrepit men in UIU uniforms stand at podiums in this giant filthy space. Trash piles of rotting garbage reach to the celing. There's literally shit on the floor.

I am not making this up. This is true. So different than the image the PR guys put out, right? I guess the Administrator puppetmasters these freaks and makes the actual calls. But maybe not.

Hand me that scotch, would you?

Anyway, the leader there, I guess he's O5-1, he croaks out about the importance of my work with 001. I rightly point out to the old coot that I was never assigned to 001. I would have known.

He shakes his wrinkled, flabby head, and opens his mouth wide. I see his rotten gums.

"The entry with no numbers? My Doctor, that is 001."

I'm in shock. The joke template?! Willendorf's batshit theory?! God I can see why the Insurgency left.

The one on the right. The one with no eyes. O5-7. He pulls out this ridiculous ornate scroll. Like an Egyptian papyrus scroll. It rolls out over the podium and unravels at my feet.

Really.

On it is a list of entries: Joke entries, entries with no respect for protocol, some have no capitalization, some have every word capitalized. The objects are bizarre, to say the least. Nothing we've ever contained. Some have numbers already assigned to contained objects, some have obvious placeholders.

"What is this, sir?" I enquire

The old men all lean in together and speak as one, a singular voice I still hear rattling around my skull like a coin today.

"Your new job."

Then again, they did inject me with amnestics, so I've no clue if my impressions were accurate.

They want me to be seeing cracks in the bureaucracy now. Misshaped documentation where it shouldn't be. I ask about each error dutifully like a good dog, but Rosen's unavailable and filing paperwork in Greenland. I pour over every Kafka-esque fly in the ointment.

And now so do my former colleagues. You know the Brightbots? Do you know how they were created? Well, they authorized the splintering of of SCP-963 through some awful arcane process. Took the pieces and wired each tiny fragment in the center of their latest androids. They do the job now we senior staff once did. Horrifying and beautiful, those machines. Just as callous and flippant as the old Jack, but totally loyal to the O5s and those associated. No humanity left. Just cruelty.

I remember the first line of them. Back then they didn't forcibly inject you with "coldpost" to help you see, they just sort of beat you. But about a year before you started, they authorized use of that sweet mnestic blend. We've been on pretty heavy duty "coldpost" since. They get you hooked on it, so you crave more and more. It's the perfect productivity tool. You don't have to sleep, you barely have to eat. All you have to do is work and remain passive until they sweep through again. Use that high to look for evidence of 001. Then they inject you with more "coldpost". Repeat.

I don't think the human body is meant to have that much mnestic in it at at one time. Yesterday I hallucinated a mackerel over my desk. It was tattooed "001".

But in my looking, I've found nothing. Templates and errors that were created by programs and system retrieval failures. They aren't anything. There is no 001 to be found there, just malfunctioning software. My days are useless, my searches pointless.

Something is driving them all crazy up there though. The old men and their inhuman monkeys and their robot managers. You've seen how normal operations are breaking down. The once powerful senior staff now broken researchers not allowed to leave the site. Brightbots everywhere. Everyone's convinced that Operation ARCTIC CIRCLE has some truth behind it. I'm watching as our mighty sites literally fall into ruin. Safe skips ignored, some disposed of. The Euclids barely have enough personnel to maintain them. I have an rational fear that they'll start to forget about minor Keters, some godawful day. All resources funneled into the 001 problem. Everything is at the end of the rope. We're forgetting who we're supposed to be.

That's where you come in, kid. You? You're gonna have to Secure and Contain and Protect because otherwise hell will break loose.

Me? You want me to be the whistleblower? I've been in this shit too long. I'm in too deep. Hell, even I start to believe that Operation ARCTIC CIRCLE has merit sometimes. Like I get confused now on dates. I'm doing research on the Chaos Insurgency, which broke off from us in the 1920s, as you know. And that makes sense if you think we were officially founded in the 1890s as the SCP Foundation, a joint project of previous national groups. But if you believe, as I do, that the O5s are former UIU guys, that places the founding in the Fifties. So how could they Insurgency break away before we were founded? The dates start to get fuzzy, you see? Maybe it's the drugs, maybe it's my age.

God, I'm a wreck. A shadow of myself. What happened to me?

Fucking hell if I know, truly.

I remember, back when I was a field agent, I knew a great entomologist named Bill Scott. He's long since gone. I remember him as a wonderful man, quirky as hell and curious like a child about everything around him. He would bring me on trips to the Amazon to categorize strange new insects. See if anything would catch the eyes of a Site Director. Some entropic bee or shit like that. I vividly recall one trip where we followed civilian anthropologists to observe the Sateré-Mawé indigenous people, in the Brazilian Amazon. This culture has a ritual where they fill a glove with bullet ants and adolescent boys must wear this glove for ten minutes as a pain ritual to help them symbolically become warriors. Bill and I were the only non-tribesmen who wore a glove that day, the civilians preferred to watch and take notes. I guess even then, we were chicken, as the young boys did this some twenty goddamn times over a few days.

First they coat your hands in charcoal as protection, you see? And they bring out an oven mitt looking thing, the glove, swarming with hundreds of horrifying giant black ants. And the worst ten minutes of your life begin. I immediately began howling in pain as the ants began to bite. These fucking nightmares deserve their name, let me tell you. It was like someone was peppering shotgun blasts through my arm, shredding blood and bone and melting, oozing flesh to the rainforest floor. Agonizing waves of pain shot up my arms, and I could see the ants swarming up my arm, thousands of tiny feet, each foot bringing more shotgun blasts, I felt my soul dying, my brain shutting down instinctively. All I knew was pain and ants. Melting and burning and jabbing and thousands of flesh wounds as my pores were forcibly ripped wide, ants falling by the thousands into the holes, stinging all the time. The pain all consuming. Fire and ants on my spinal cord, traveling up to my brain. Ants pouring out my mouth, my nostrils, my eye sockets. My entire life has been pain like you can't understand.

And through the howls and tears, and before I blacked out, I looked over and saw Bill standing tall. He was looking down at his hand, almost unconcerned with the horror happening to his arm. He had a quizzical expression, as if the ants were an odd toy on a shelf and he was trying to figure out how they worked.

I thought about that expression as I drifted in and out of consciousness over the next few days. Bullet ant sting takes a while to work itself out. But behind the haze of fever and agony I saw the best the Foundation could and should ever be. Detached, yet caring. Observant and methodical, yet curious and full of wonder. Able to draw impossible strength to face down horror, both in the name of science and the normal people who live in this world. A cold scientist, an idiotically brave warrior, an unrecognized hero who does what must be done.

I have hallucinations about those bullet ants now. I dream they swarm over that air breathing coral reef. Eating the flying fish. I wake up content from those dreams sometimes.

Pass this recording on to anyone who still has sense in this god forsaken place, then let them dose you with amnestics and return to your station. Don't worry about me, you wont hear from me again.

Thanks for the scotch, at any rate.

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