In the Trenches with the Dead
rating: +89+x

If you can read this, you are already dead.

2.10 — Five Dogmas of Defense: The Identity Warrior must depend on five key elements of identity for defense in IWT, as well as for long-term survival. We call these five elements "dogmas" because you must believe them if you are going to survive.
2.10.1 — NAMES: Use the mnemonic "NAMES" to remember your five dogmas: Narrative, Anchor, Mission, Emotion and Society.

Identity Warfare Training Field Manual-01: Basic Techniques

Ω—Ω

Item #: SCP-3125 (Mobile Task Force Omega-Zero Iteration)

Object Class: Keter

Special Containment Procedures: The ongoing incursion by SCP-3125 is to be monitored, and opposed by Mobile Task Force Omega-Zero ("Ará Orún") wherever possible. Foundation antimemetics researchers are to be protected while alive, and in the event of their deaths, their nascent info-streams are to be defended against SCP-3125 predation in order to facilitate MTF ω-0 recruitment. Survivors are to be infected with a Type X targeted retro-grade amnestic antimeme and all SCP-3125 information is to be erased.

The SCP-3125 containment unit at Site-41, designed by Dr. Bart Hughes, is theorized to be inverted containment and represents a memetically-insulated space in which informational construct entities cannot enter; this includes both SCP-3125 and MTF ω-0 operatives.

A senior Antimemetics Division staff member must visit SCP-3125 every six weeks (42 days). During this visit, an MTF ω-0 Revenant Team is to manifest in the SCP-3125 containment antechamber and standby to provide support and defense, if needed, to the staff member upon exit.

Description: SCP-3125 is an invasive memetic ecology or possibly a single large self-organized informational construct, originating in an informational system or alien noosphere with much higher complexity than that of humanity. As such these incursions are naturally adept at Identity Warfare, and are to be considered extremely dangerous.

This system is able to detect and perceive unsecured info-streams that include information about itself1. Whenever (and wherever) this information is detected an incursion occurs, resulting in a manifestation of anti-memetically cloaked arachnoid organisms supported by sustained infolaser assault. This incursion attacks any person who hosts information pertaining to SCP-3125, as well as individuals with close association (based on similarity of memeome), killing them and erasing them from the noosphere.

The result of this is that of the over 400 groups once known to MTF ω-0 that were engaged in antimemetic research, only two remain: the Foundation's Antimemetics and Counterconceptual Divisions. The other groups were not only eliminated, but forgotten and unremarked; their very existence is buried under sophisticated feedback-reinforced antimemetic structures.

To date, 36 incursions have been successfully defeated by MTF ω-0 Revenant teams, but at significant casualties, resulting in the unrecoverable zeroing of 13 operatives, and significant permanent identity damage to 17 more. Once a researcher is targeted, these attacks will continue until they either are killed, or suffer retrograde amnesia such that they no longer possess relevant information.

In the event that this is the precursor to an attack, humanity's defenses are now largely eliminated. Counterconceptual Division's superior antimemetic defenses appear to have cloaked it from SCP-3125, but at the cost of their own ignorance. They appear to have deliberately rendered themselves incapable of conceptualizing SCP-3125, as a countermeasure, making them unable to mount a response. Antimemetics Division is theorized to be working on a containment strategy within the SCP-3125 containment chamber, but as a result the Division is under constant and undetected assault. Over 3500 Division personnel have been killed since 2012, and only 27% have retained coherent enough info-streams for successful recruitment to MTF ω-0.

Ω—Ω

2.10.1.1 — Narrative: We are only the stories we tell about ourselves. Identity Warriors must have a clear and self-consistent narrative of self. All attacks against your identity fundamentally target this narrative, and either attempt to edit it or cause it to be forgotten. Your narrative is you, if you lose control of it, then you are lost.
2.10.1.1-A — CIB: You will maintain a Core Identity Biography (CIB) according to the standards given in Section 3 at all times. This document is subject to inspection by your superiors.

Identity Warfare Training Field Manual-01: Basic Techniques

Manifestation Log — Operation Cold City

Team: Revenant-3

Roster: Lyn Marness (Leader/Field Memeticist), Santosh Desai (Identity Defense), Zoe Smith (Identity Offense), Riley Cooper (Quick-Space Manipulation)

Briefing: Today at 1030 Director Wheeler is scheduled for her visit to the SCP-3125 chamber. I don't need to remind you of the significant threat that SCP-3125 represents and that our primary hope in mounting an effective defense is whatever Director Wheeler has been doing in that chamber.

Revenant-3, you are directed to manifest at Site-41 near the SCP-3125 containment airlock, and await the return of Director Wheeler. You are to render whatever aid she appears to need, and defend against any assault by SCP-3125 entities.

Your manifestation, code-named "Operation Cold City", has been inserted into the relevant systems and is standing by for activation.

Remember: We are the Saints who guard,

— Amos Sanchez, Operations Director, MTF ω-0

BEGIN MANIFESTATION LOG

<manifesting: Marness L; Desai S; Smith Z; Cooper R>

Marness: Alright ghosties, we are logged in. Let's get video up.

Video Feed shows the SCP-3125 containment antechamber. Researcher Paul Kim is sitting at a terminal. The airlock occupation indicator is lit.

Marness: Linebacker, defensive status?

Desai: Situation is nominal. There's still that pressure that's been in Site-41 for at least a year, but other than that we are secure.

Marness: Roger that. Stay alert, Saints, and let's hope Marion comes out of there with something this time.

Ω—Ω

2.10.1.2 — Anchor Your anchors are those among the quick who remember you. Strong anchors knew you well, grieved for your loss, and have taken mnestics at some point in their careers. Initially you'll need your anchor to survive but you can, and will, learn to do without. A strong anchor can be a powerful asset to the Identity Warrior. You can learn to use your anchor to sustain your narrative, learn to sense your anchor's location and emotional state, and even manifest at your anchor's location.
2.10.1.2-A — CS Rating: By utilizing exercises in Section 3 you will be able to quantify the strength of your anchors. This is the CS (Chain Strength) scale. To qualify for field operations, you'll need at least one anchor with a CS of 4.5 or higher.

Identity Warfare Training Field Manual-01: Basic Techniques

Smith: Hey, Riley, did you know our boy Santosh has the strongest recorded anchor in the Task Force? CS 7.8.

Cooper: Really? I didn't even know that was possible, that's a logarithmic scale, right? Who's your anchor Santosh?

Desai: My dad. I really don't like talking about it.

Marness: No secrets between the dead, son.

Desai: Yeah, yeah … okay. I've been dead for nearly a decade now. He keeps sending me emails, blames himself and can't move on, deliberately makes sure he is mnestic qualified so he never forgets a thing. It sucks for him, it's uncomfortable for me, and a significant asset for Omega Zulu.

Cooper: Jesus, that sucks.

Smith: Uh, what's he looking at.

Smith: We've got a hostile vector here. Boss, you want to Casper this?

Marness: Desai and Cooper, keep an eye on Kim here, he's compromised. Yeah, this is definitely 3125 stuff, like we fought in '76. Injecting countermeme.

Marness: C'mon Paul, think!

On the video feed, the airlock starts to cycle. Kim gets up, startled, and goes to the door. It cycles open. Marion Wheeler is lying on the bottom of the chamber.

Desai: Do you feel that? She's under an infolaser assault. I'm blocking it, but I don't know for how long.

Marness: Cooper, start composing a message for Wheeler, try to warn her.

Cooper: On it.

On the video feed, Wheeler is still huddled at the bottom of the airlock. Kim is talking to her. He unfolds a pocket-knife and leans down towards Wheeler.

Smith: I'm dethreading him. Or whatever it is that's puppeting him. … His entire memeome has been overwritten, and what's in there now is tightly bound, I've never seen anything like this.

Desai: It's trying to overwrite her too. I'm shielding, for now.

Wheeler and Kim are struggling, Wheeler parries a thrust and kicks Kim hard. He flies through and is flung against the wall.

Cooper: Fuck you!

Blood streams out of Kim's nose and flows into words on the wall behind him, "Wheeler, Site-41 under siege. Compromised". Wheeler surges up, and glances at the message. She then looks directly into the camera and clearly enunciates "I'm okay. I remember the plan", then sprints out of the containment chamber.

Wheeler sprints down the corridor, heading to the pharmacy. Around her Site-41 begins to suffer structural failure. A section of ceiling tile collapses behind her and a dog-sized arachnoid organism drops out, and begins to skitter after Wheeler. Suddenly it staggers and blunders into the wall. Behind it another spider drops out of the ceiling.

Smith: These things. All right, I've got the first one's threads. Got it pretty confused about what it is right now.

The second spider spontaneously crumples into to a ball and stops moving.

Cooper: Guh. I don't like spiders.

A third one drops down and slowly staggers after Wheeler.

Marness: Got this one. They're fighting back.

Cooper: Something bit me. Hang on. I am Riley Cooper. I broke my brother's tooth with a basketball when I was 12. I'm Riley Cooper. Good to go.

Desai: Yeah, they're feeling for your threads. I'm on it.

The two remaining spiders fold suddenly in on themselves and are crushed into balls. A dozen more spiders fall from the ceiling in quick succession followed by a shower of debris from the weakened floor above.

Cooper: Got 'em all.

Desai: Whoa, that's some hardcore poltergeist stuff, rookie.

Cooper: Yeah, I'm REALLY pissed off.

The video feed switches rapidly and Revenant-3 catches up with Wheeler as she reaches the pharmacy. Writhing tendrils of dark static are slowly growing in from the edges of the frame.

Desai: The informational environment is becoming corrosive to coherent data. We are going to lose the cameras. I'll hold them as long as I can.

As Wheeler enters the pharmacy, a woman lurking behind the door lunges for her with an injector, mouthing something incoherent. Wheeler quickly backpedals and parries the arm away from her neck.

Cooper: NO!

A heavy medical cabinet shakes loose from its bolts and hurls across the room and into the pharmacist's skull, shattering it and grinding into the floor. Wheeler falls backwards and lands hard. Then glances at the remains of the pharmacist with a visible shudder and pulls herself up, moving into the most secure part of the vault.

Marness: She's going to need to need three factor identification to get what she needs, if she's doing what I think she's doing.

Smith: This thing is chewing up information all over, it's definitely playing havoc with the security systems. I'm not sure the scanner even can recognize bio-metrics anymore.

Marness: Good thing my team was the one that designed these systems in the first place… and, I'm in. Marion's my anchor, these systems can't forget her now, so long as she can't forget me.

Desai: No promises there, boss.

Marness: With what's in there, she won't live to forget anything ever again.

Ω—Ω

Wheeler moves past catatonic personnel laying in fetal curls among the dead and dying. On other feeds living personnel are mouthing incomprehensible guttural chants as they carve strange glyphs into themselves and each other. Wheeler is following arrows drawn on the walls in blood, a path that avoids contact with the infected.

Smith: And then a right towards block C.

Cooper: Roger that.

Smith: Shit! Collapse. There goes Area 11. It's completely impassable.

Desai: No way for her to get the armory now.

Marness: We can work with this. Coop, tear that wall open to the North. She can cut through there to the elevators.

Marness: Come to think of it, there's probably something in there she can use.

As Wheeler approaches the intersection, the opposite wall peels open revealing an unlit containment vault. Rows of standard containment lockers loom silently in the darkness.

Marness: Zoe, she'll need light.

Smith: Yes, she does. I'll need music:

Motes of dust floating in the new entrance are visibly gathering together and coalescing. After a few seconds a glowing ectoplasmic curve takes form, then another, and then dozens. They resolve into a recognizable pattern, a swarm of softly glowing spectral moths that swirl around Wheeler as she steps over the shredded steel wall into the vault.

Desai: No surveillance in there. We're blind. That vault isn't on the plans either? What is it doing there?

Marness: Safe-Class containment inherited from the Unthinkables, long lost and forgotten by everyone. Well, everyone except me.

Marness: Cooper, can you reach in there?

Cooper: Probably, a little, yeah.

Marness: Three rows in, second locker from the right. Combination is 23-19-32. Only one lock, those were simpler times.

Cooper: Got it! What's in there?

Marness: We confiscated it from High-Energy when it turned out their alien "disintegrator" was actually just turning targets into antimemetic worms that the rest of the Foundation couldn't see. Then we made sure they forgot they ever had a SCP-7381.

A section of wall in Area 09 suddenly flashes into a shower of tiny white worms and Wheeler steps through the hole. Over a quarter of the image is now obscured by the roiling tentacles of static at any time.

Marness: Right on schedule.

Desai: Looks like they are getting coherent. There's four, no, six, massing near the elevators and they've stopped cutting on each other. They're just waiting.

Smith: No getting around them. She's going to have to go through.

Smith: Ugh, it's getting worse than before. It's like a hand has reached into them and is now wearing the thinnest notion of people as finger puppets. I'm trying to dethread them. All of this connects, but none of it makes sense. There's no semantic content … it's like it's all just structure … but there's no pattern … no meaning.

Cooper: Fuck 'em. Still made of meat.

The feed switches to a view of the the front of the elevators barely visible behind the static. One of the six people waiting bursts into flames. He runs screaming into the woman in front of him who also ignites. One by one, three more collapse from internal bleeding and organ failure. When Wheeler appears around the corner all but one are down. She aims the red two pronged mass of pipes at the remaining man, converting a quarter of his body mass into worms, then ducks into the elevator

The interior of the elevator is barely visible behind the static. An old corpse slumps under the words "Grey is here", scrawled on the wall. Wheeler is visible briefly speaking apparently to herself. The elevator begins to descend.

Desai: Boss … it's getting a lot worse. I'm not…

Smith: I remember I took some personal time when I got the diagnosis. Richards knew, of course, but I didn't tell anybody else in Eta-11 yet, I couldn't even tell Helen. I uh, I think that I went to Portland and met with Charlie. I told him over coffee, we were crying, but I don't understand. Why him? Didn't we need to stop him? I don't remember grgkkjkldsfkj

Smith: Oh. I think I can hear the signal now.

Smith: Hey Santosh, look at this thread that winds through your whole self worth, through all your relationships, all throughout your sense of duty and back again. Some pathetic little childhood trauma, that you've painfully nursed through life and death. Didn't your mother ever tell you not to pick at your boo-boos? It would be so easy to loop it this around until the feedback just tears you wide open.

Desai: Dad! Dad! You remember that placement test? I got a 95 on it!

Cooper: What the hell, Zoe?

Marness: Damnit Smith, you are an MTF Omega-Zero Operative. Even death could not release you from duty and you sure as hell aren't relieved now.

Smith: Zoe Smith died a long time ago, I am just a biography who once played at being the woman it described. You are way too old to still be playing pretend, Lyn, grow-up.

Desai: Negative, just try to get your people out of here. I'm going to activate the failsafe before he can finish killing us all.

Smith: Santosh is coming apart. This shade will fall to the same flaws that destroyed the man and then we'll be left defenseless. Won't that be awesome?

Marness: Specialist Smith: reset CIB to protected state: three-heirophant, two-moon, one-magician, zero-reset-zero.

Smith: Lyn, what part of "higher complexity memetic ecology" don't you get? The first thing it did was lock all your crude backdoors behind it.

Desai: I died letting you think I hated you. How could I do that?

Smith: See his whole sad meaningless life spilling out of this one tiny hole. Watch out, don't get any protracted adolescence on you! :p

Cooper: Injecting pacificati—urk.

Smith: Nice try Riley, but you should leave editing to the pros. Have a flashback while I deal with the real threats.

Cooper: It's smiling at me. Why is it smiling at me?

Desai: I… died… I died… I died for a reason. For duty. I had, no, I have a duty. I am Santosh Desai, Keter Containment Specia… no, Identity Defense Specialist, Mobile Task Force Omega-Zero and I will not falter, not even in death. … Threads go both ways, Smith.

Smith: What? You can't … I think when I was sick I tried to make up songs to the beat of the hospital machines. Why can't I remember the words?

Marness: Welcome back Desai, good job. How are you holding up?

Desai: More-or-less together now, sir. I'm not coming apart anymore, anyway. I don't know if I can survive another dethreading like that. What can we do for Smith?

Marness: Nothing, son, Zoe's gone. Just take Cooper and get the hell out of here.

Cooper: No way. No. NOBODY IS LEFT BEHIND. NOT EVER AGAIN.

Smith 55: I can see you.

Desai: Sir?

Marness: It's over, son. Marion's got the plan, but she's not coming out of here alive, and I am going to stay to see her end this. You know how it is, you made that call yourself once.

Cooper: YOU NEED ME HERE!

Marness: Our fight's over, Riley, now it's all up to Bart Hughes and Marion Wheeler, one way or the other. If this fails, it's going to be a tough fight up there, it's going to be a resistance, they'll need you in it. I need to stick with my anchor. Santosh, go to yours.

Desai: Understood. Riley, listen to me, we are going to snap back to my Dad. You heard your orders.

Cooper: What? But … yeah okay.

Marness: Fight another day, Saints.

<demanifesting: Desai S; Cooper R>

Marness: Marion's got you now, you spidery son of a bitch.

55: No, no she doesn't.

Marness: So you communicate after all.

55: Of course I do

Marness: You really shouldn't be able to. You are a fifth dimensional pile of rotten ideas. An incomprehensibly complex set of symbols devoid of meaning. Coherent dialog is pretty much the opposite of what you are made of. Yet, you are apparently engaging in it. What does that tell us? Is contamination both ways? Swallowed something too coherent once, I think. You've got a little human-shaped lump inside you now and you can't digest it. It's a memeome, an adaptable system of aggressively self-organizing information. It's spreading, simplifying and ordering wherever there is contact, and when you try to stop it it just spreads faster, doesn't it?

55: You know, I almost feel sorry for you, Lyn? You're consistently, eternally too late… I killed you twice, and you keep turning up at here at the end anyway. All those lost battles, you almost won, three entire lost wars that you managed to come up with something that just might have worked if you only had more time, and then I get to watch you have to make yourself forget about it and start all over again. The eternal loser. You don't deserve that kind of luck. Nobody does.

Marness: Someone has to try. We only needed to get it right once.

55: I killed your whole team. I did it twice! I ate your life, left you to rot, and then eventually I killed you anyway. I'll hunt your new team down and I'm going to eat them, bring them up here with me, make them a part of the whole. After you watch, I'll just erase you, there's nothing in you that I need. You are out of last chances, old man! The war is over! Finally! All that's left is Marion, a division of one! Dying from mnestic overdose, two hundred metres underground, cared for by no one known to exist to no one. No one except a handful of meaningless leftovers soon to be part of an immortal, unkillable idea.

The elevator stops, and the feed switches to an airlock. This camera is better shielded and the picture clears. Wheeler opens the door and steps into the airlock.

Marness: Even if this doesn't kill you, I know we've hurt you.

(Audio feed) Wheeler: Ideas can be killed.

55: How?

Wheeler: With better ideas.

Marness: It goes both ways. We've infected you, too.

The airlock's complex outer door folds closed.

<signal lost>

Ω—Ω

TO: ALL HANDS
From: Director Sanchez
Subject: Loss of Site-41

Saints,

I regret to inform you that Site-41 was erased by an Antimemetic device this morning, taking with it the rest of Antimemetics Division, as well as MTF ω-0 agents Lyn Marness and Zoe Smith. No information can survive there now. All knowledge of Antimemetics Division and its people is gone from the quick, only we, the dead, remember them.

For many of you this means you've lost anchors. This is regrettable, but does not have to be catastrophic. Remember, without anchors you must rely even more upon the remaining four Dogmas of Defense, but they will sustain you.

Furthermore we are now very clearly at war, and it is just as clear that we are certainly losing it. SCP-3125 was never contained at Site-41, but rather the containment chamber may have been the only place it isn't, designed to develop a plan to combat the invasion without detection. We have no idea if there ever was such a plan, and currently have no way to retrieve it, if there was.

It's unclear how long we have before it targets us directly, but recent developments indicate that it is capable of doing so. All MTF ω-0 operatives should exercise extreme caution, and be prepared to defend yourselves.

It is now clear that Dr. Bart Hughes was aware of the threat, before he disappeared, long before the rest of us knew. If he had anticipated this, it's possible Dr. Hughes had a plan to win this war.

Hughes' whereabouts are unknown among the quick, nor is he among us. It is imperative that we find him, wherever he is, alive or dead.

Remember: We are the saints who guard,
— Amos Sanchez, Operations Director, MTF ω-0

« SCP-2111 | In the Trenches with the Dead| A Thin Dangerous Line»

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