SCP-001 is an O5's tale
Good evening Doctor.
No, no, don't stand up. And, yes, I am who you think I am. Let's not make any more of this than it is. You know my number, and I know enough about you to make a duplicate that even your mother wouldn't be able to tell apart from the real you. No, that's not a threat, just a fact.
Now, as to my business here, it seems you have stumbled upon something above your clearance. Well, no, stumbled is not the right word. Dug up? Perhaps. And you are getting to the point where further digging would end in some fairly lethal gunshot wounds. This would be a sad state of affairs, as you are otherwise quite a good researcher. Therefore, you are getting something very few people in the Foundation ever get… an explanation.
Yes, we were alerted when you first started digging into SCP-001. Every researcher who's been around for a while looks into it. Most are satisfied when they uncover the angel with the flaming sword, it's buried under enough levels. But then you started looking into The Factory, and that is when I knew you wouldn't stop. So, here it is, plain and simple.
The Factory is SCP-001.
But it will never be written up. It was a choice I made early on in the creation of the Foundation, and a choice I still stand by. You researchers are far too curious. I'm not sure which scares me worse. That we'll never understand the Factory… or that we one day will. Ah well, I'm sure you're eager to learn more.
The Factory was built in 1835. Back then it was known as The Anderson Factory, named after James Anderson, a rather well-to-do industrialist. It was built in, well, we'll just say America, and was the largest factory yet designed, a good mile across at its widest, three stories tall throughout, with a special seven story tower by the front gate that Anderson lived in. It was designed to be the ultimate factory, capable of taking care of everything, including the housing of workers. People could be born, work, live, and die, without ever leaving the confines of the Factory. And work they did, on everything from cattle raising and slaughtering, to textiles, to everything else under the sun.
Now, no one knows whether James Anderson was actually a Satan worshiper. It's just as likely that he followed some kind of Pagan gods. What is known is that he was VERY exact in the building of his factory, and in the placement of his machinery within it. Survivors claim the floor was engraved with arcane symbols, that were only visible when blood flowed across them… But then the survivors claimed a lot of things. What is known is that Anderson made his money on the blood and sweat, and sometimes body parts of the lower class. His journals indicate he thought of them as less then human, being put on this Earth only to serve his will.
Of course, at that time, no one knew about his predilections, and so people flocked to the Factory. A place to both work and live at the same time? Well, of course people wanted in! Never mind the harsh hours, working conditions, sadistic security force, and all the rest. Factory workers were forced to work 16 hour days, work only shutting down on Sundays, between sunrise and sunset. Workers were not given individual rooms, instead sharing rooms with eight other people, sleeping in shifts of three. Medical attention was unheard of. If you were injured in the course of your duties, which most people were, you were expected to just keep working. Anyone too injured to work was dragged off by the security, never to be heard from again.
For forty years, the Anderson Factory cranked out all sorts of things for people. Meat, clothes, weapons. Never mind that the beef might be mixed with human. Don't care that the weapons were forged in blood. No attention need be paid that the clothes were dyed with…well, you get the idea. Rumors leaked out, but the products were so good, why bother? Until someone got out.
I never met the brave soul who managed to escape, but she managed to meet with President Grant, and, in 1875, he enlisted my aid. At the time I was… well, it doesn't matter. We'll say I was military, kind of, and that my people were the same. A hundred and fifty good men and some few women, who were often given jobs that weren't supposed to be common knowledge. We'd been cleaning out some Confederate hold outs, and some of the worse things we found down South. So, we did some research, didn't like what we saw, and went in, loaded for bear.
I don't actually remember much about the night it all went down. Most of it blends together in my head. I get flashes, sometimes, of the people chained to the line, living next to dead, and damned hard to tell which was which. Children working underneath machines, the majority of the flesh scoured from their bones by the great wheels and cogs. And the other things…
No, I'm all right. I haven't thought about that night for a very long time. The security force wasn't much of a problem. But then Anderson's creations showed up. He'd been taking the injured workers and, well, experimenting on them. Men, if you could call them men, with multiple arms, sewn together, some of them combined with animals, horrible monstrosities out of mankind's worst nightmares. They kept coming, wave after wave of not quite living creatures. I lost a lot of good people that night. And then we found Anderson's breeding pits, girls as young as eight, chained to the walls, forced to be nothing more than-
I'm sorry. Even today, more then a century later, the memory makes me see red. When we finally found Anderson cowering in his office, we hung him from his tower window, with his own entrails. As he died, he laughed, saying it didn't matter, we could kill him, but his factory, The Factory, would go on. He was still laughing 24 hours later when we finally cut him down, had him drawn and quartered, and then burned the remains. The entire time he uttered blasphemies that I don't like to think about.
We spent a week cleaning that place out, freeing the workers, putting down the things we found in the basements and many lightless rooms. We pulled out things that were useful, stocked them in a house near the gate, tried to make sense of everything. A hundred and fifty of us went into that hell pit that night, and only ninety-three came out. By the end of that week, we were down to seventy-one.
But the things we found in there, my god. Well, you've been with the Foundation a while, they wouldn't seem as amazing to you, but we found toy guns that shot real bullets. A yo-yo that would flay the skin from anyone it touched, hammers that only worked on human flesh. A breed of skeletal horse that ran faster then anything we'd ever seen. Cloaks that seemed woven from the night itself, and let men access a shadowy dimension that… I get away from myself. We found tools, both wonderous and horrible. And we were faced with a choice.
I gathered my highest ranking, well, we'll call them officers, to me, and we tried to figure out what we would do. They all had opinions. The Chaplain, he had gone a little crazed. Thought all these objects must be miracles sent from god, holy relics to be worshipped. Marshall and his little toady Dawkins thought there was a fortune to be made here, making and selling these things to the highest bidder. The Injun we all called Bass, due to his deep speaking voice, he called these things an abomination, and declared that we should hunt down and destroy everything we could find. And Smith thought we should take this stuff back to the president. We argued for hours, days, trying to work it out. Me, I thought we were sitting on a gold mine, all right. But that we could use these things, these objects, to hunt down some of the scary things we'd run into down South, the other monsters this world had to offer, and use this factory for good, as a place to contain these things, find a way to make them work for our fellow man, or at least protect our fellow man from having to deal with them.
I'm sure you can figure out what happened. The Chaplain snuck away in the night with his devotees, taking a couple of small items with him. Marshall we kicked out when we found him… abusing his authority. He promised he'd get revenge, and that little Dawkins shit led the rest of their group off with some of the juicier items. Bass and his people tried to light the whole damn thing on fire, then just left when it didn't work. And Smith left, to report back to the president. I did manage to get him to promise me he'd tell Grant the Factory had been destroyed. I had big plans for that place.
A'course, it was kinda hard to follow through on big plans when you only have 12 other people to work with. But it was a start.
And it worked, for a while. We had these amazing toys, and finding people to work with us was easy. Back then, going off the grid was as simple as leaving town. We knew what we wanted, we knew what we could be.
Leventhal set out getting us backing. A simple invention here, some well invested money there, it all worked out. White and Jones set out getting us… other backing. In our previous work we'd found out some interesting things about people. Some secrets that powerful men didn't want getting out. And, with our new position helping keep secrets, we got more people asking us to deal with their secrets. Blackmail is a dirty word, but it works. Bright, Argent and Lumineux got to work cataloging the items. Light and Brights' wife, the nurse, they made sure we kept ourselves healthy. Heh. No, it's just, remembering Light. She had such unusual ideas about hygiene, for the time. Brilliant woman. Czov, Fleischer and Carnoff dealt with training the troops. Tesla and Tamlin were in charge of figuring out how to take advantage of the items, without making it obvious.
We were amazing. The city we built around the Factory, which we took to calling Site Alpha, was self supporting. Agents, researchers, operatives of all sorts… not by those names, of course, but those positions. We expanded.
I'm sorry, I am an old man. I know I do not look it, but the body lies. The mind… doesn't always remember right. And sometimes I get lost in my memories. Things get confused. But, the long and simple of it is this: We used the Factory. It always seemed to have more empty rooms to store things in. Back then, that was the word for them, things. No Skips then, no. We thought we had the Factory tamed. That's one of the reasons I refuse to quit this job. If there's anything I can do here, it's remind people that we will NEVER tame these things. Contain them, yes, but as we saw with Able, tame them? Never.
After a decade or so, we were pretty organized. The 13 original of us were being called by numbers, not names. We knew how to make things work. And, if a thing or two vanished inside of the Factory, still? And the occasional D-class? What? Yes, we had D-class back then. Disposables. That's where the D comes from. Had to have someone to test things on, Tesla and Tamlin were both very firm about that. But, yes, sometimes we lost people who didn't matter. Adam… sorry, Dr. Bright, was fond of saying it was the Factory taking its toll. You can't get something for nothing.
1911 was when it all went wrong. Things… we called them faeries. An entire race of things, living beside us. They could look the same as you or I. The only obvious difference was an allergy to Iron. Yes, that's why we called them faeries. No, you haven't heard of them. Why? Because it's the one time the Foundation wiped out an entire race of things. Root and branch. And I'm the one who did it.
We'd been hunting them for some time. We'd run into them a time or two before, come out on top. So, when a certain royal asked us for help, of course we were eager to get them in our debt. We've always loved having people in our debt. We sent a team to help out, take care of what we thought was a hunting party. The next time we saw them, their heads were on poles, attached to the saddles of the creatures the Faeries rode, when they attacked the Factory.
It was horrible.
Three words, but they convey so much. I have never… I'm sorry, please, give me a moment. I've never told this part to anyone. You should consider yourself lucky. And, if you ever tell anyone any of what I am about to impart on you, I will not just kill you, but everyone who shares your DNA, in the worst ways possible. You'll think procedure 110 Montauk is a walk in the park compared to what I do to you.
We lost. The things came, and they destroyed us. Rode over our emplacements, slaughtered our people, shrugged off our weapons like they were nothing. I watched my thirteen go down, left and right, just trying to hold the Factory. And I? I, their leader, their friend, their father figure? Godfather to the Brights four young children. Confidant, sometimes lover, always the confessor? I ran. I ran like a scared little school boy, deep into the dark guts of the Factory. I was chased by the things, always just one step ahead. I could hear them behind me, feel their breath upon my neck, and …
I came to a door I'd never seen before. A bronze door, covered in Arabic script of some sort. I've never been one for languages, especially not the curvy bullshit the musselmen use. But I didn't care. They were coming for me, and I threw the door open and dived through it. Everything inside…was different. There was a feeling of peace, that nothing could hurt me here. The light was this dark red, but still felt right. My ears were filled with the steady thrumming of a gigantic heartbeat. And, in front of me, were the remains of Anderson. It spoke to me then, but I'll be damned if I could tell you exactly what it said. What it told me was more meaning, than exact. It offered me hope. It told me… it told me that each of the things we had used from the Factory, no matter what we did with them, fed it. Helped it grow. But, if the Faeries took the Factory, they would destroy it, and we couldn't have that. It offered me… a deal. It could remove this event. Make it have never happened. All I needed to give it was… us.
I didn't want to. I knew it was a bad idea. But then, I saw them again, my family, my friends, dead. Dead by the hands of those bastards… I agreed. It smiled. And I found myself once more upon the ramparts, watching the horde of Faeries crest the hill. My Foundation alive once more. In my hands was a weapon. I won't bore you with the details, but we slaughtered them. And, with these new weapons, continued to slaughter them, everywhere they lived, everywhere they bred. My fellow O5s questioned my decision, thinking we should save some, in case we might ever need them… I overruled them.
We moved away from the Factory. Shut it down. Moved our things out of there. We changed the name from things to Special Containment Protocols, focusing on containing them, not … anything else. The others were curious, but understood I had my reasons. I boarded up the Factory. Locked it shut. Buried it under a ton of rubble, saying it was too dangerous. I thought… thought I'd gotten away with it. Until I found a thing on my desk. One of the old toy guns that shot real bullets. And it had the Factory label on it.
… I've sent people in, from time to time, to see what it might be doing. Last time I sent people in to look, there was nothing there. We keep finding Factory items out there. I can't help but think of how many more we don't find. The people who use them, and keep it hidden. I think back to the body telling me how each item used gave energy to the Factory. I never asked it 'energy for what?' I don't think I want to know.
What do we give it? D-class, mostly. Where DID you think all those bodies went? There's a place. Bodies are left, and they vanish. Everyone thinks I'm a genius for figuring it out. Sometimes… sometimes I have to feed it other things. Researchers. Agents. They never know it's coming. It just reaches out and takes them.
But, in the end, we're doing more good by being here. Whatever the Factory wants, whatever it IS… We're doing good here. I have to believe that.
And now you know. Are you happy? I didn't think so. Why tell you? I'm getting old, Everett. Should I die, someone will have to keep feeding it. Maybe you'll be different. Maybe you'll figure out how to stand up to it.
…But I doubt it.