Item #: SCP-232
Object Class: Safe
Special Containment Procedures: SCP-232 is to be kept in a locked safe in the Cognitohazard wing of Site 73. When not in use for testing, its batteries are to be removed. When batteries are not installed, SCP-232 may be handled safely by any authorized staff member. The Foundation is to monitor online auction houses and dealers of vintage toys, and acquire any products of the same model as SCP-232 for testing and disposal. Any other instances of SCP-232 discovered are to be archived appropriately.
When batteries are installed, personnel other than D-Class are not to handle SCP-232 for any period longer than necessary to install and remove batteries. Staff members who have been exposed to works in the Jack Proton franchise, in any format, are not to handle SCP-232 for any period of time while batteries are installed. D-Class carrying SCP-232 for testing purposes are to be monitored at all times and terminated if SCP-232-related behavior should pose a security risk.
The copyright, publication, and merchandising rights of the Jack Proton novels and all spinoff media are to be held by Springfield Crown Publishing, a Foundation front company, for the purpose of keeping the works out of print, thereby preventing activation of anomalous properties in any SCP-232 instances that may exist outside containment. In the event of any public occurrences of SCP-232 behavior, the Foundation shall liaise with local law enforcement authorities to recover the artifact and issue Class-A amnesiacs to affected parties as appropriate. The Foundation shall encourage world governments to enact extensions to international copyright law as necessary to prevent the Jack Proton franchise from lapsing into the public domain; in the event that any Jack Proton franchise material becomes public domain, DDoS techniques and/or mass deployment of Class-E amnesiacs is authorized as appropriate.
Description: SCP-232 is a mass-produced children's toy of early 1950s manufacture, composed primarily of tin and a battery-powered electric light apparatus, with an exterior painted to resemble a laser gun of the type featured in popular science fiction of the early 20th century. A hinged section at the base of SCP-232's handle opens to accept two standard AA alkaline batteries. When batteries have been installed correctly and the trigger is pulled, a small red electric light in the barrel lights up. SCP-232's cognition-affecting properties become active whenever SCP-232 is picked up and held or carried by a human being while it has working batteries installed.
Within 5-30 seconds of picking up SCP-232, the person handling it will begin speaking in English, regardless of any previous fluency with the language or lack thereof, in a manner resembling the speech patterns of pre-teen and/or adolescent American youth culture circa 1920-1960. Persons so affected will deny that anything is unusual about their manner of speech and will insist that they have always spoken thusly. This behavior continues until approximately 15-20 seconds after the test subject is induced to relinquish possession of SCP-232, after which speech patterns return to normal. In test subjects that have had no exposure to any works from the Jack Proton franchise, SCP-232's effects do not continue past this stage and the subject retains no memory of their behavior while under its influence.
Patent information embossed on the handle of SCP-232, and historical analysis of non-anomalous artifacts identical in appearance, indicate that SCP-232 is a mass-produced "Atomic Zapper" toy, produced by the [REDACTED] corporation from 1953 to 1958 as a licensed merchandising tie-in to "Jack Proton - Space Cop", a series of young adult science fiction novels by American author M.K. Snyder. Approximately █████ units were manufactured and sold during the toy's production run, of which an unknown quantity remain in existence today. The Foundation has acquired 138 units since containment of SCP-232 began, all but three of which have shown no anomalous properties under testing. Thorough examination has indicated no discernable differences between anomalous and non-anomalous units.
The Jack Proton series, consisting primarily of fifteen novels and several dozen short stories written between 1940 and Snyder's death in 1973, revolve around the eponymous Major John Patrick "Jack" Proton, an officer of the "Galactic Police Department" in a 27th century setting where the human race has colonized the entirety of the Earth's solar system. The setting is typical of early 20th century juvenile science fiction and relies heavily on soft sci-fi depictions of space travel common in literature of the time, including the existence of intelligent life on planets within the solar system, a breathable atmosphere on the Moon and other heavenly bodies, faster-than-light travel without relativistic complications, and sapient artificial intelligence in computers based on vacuum tube technology. The novels were additionally adapted into a nationally syndicated radio program from 1947-1952, a television series aired by the NBC network from 1953-1954, and a black-and-white movie released to theaters in 1956. The Jack Proton franchise bears no demonstrable anomalous properties itself, and may be read, viewed, or listened to safely provided that the person doing so does not come into contact with SCP-232.
In subjects who have previously read, watched, or listened to any installments of the Jack Proton franchise, SCP-232's secondary effect begins to manifest after approximately 90-120 seconds of physical contact with the toy. During this stage, the test subject's memories and personality are radically altered, to the extent that the subject believes him/herself to be a resident of the fictional 27th century setting of the Jack Proton novels. Test subjects in this stage refuse to answer to their given names, and will, during interviews, describe life stories and career experiences of life in the 27th century which are internally consistent with themselves and with canonical details about the setting, often describing themselves as close associates of Jack Proton or other major characters featured in the franchise. Polygraph examinations given to test subjects in this state have consistently indicated that the test subjects believe these accounts to be true.
In the third and final stage of SCP-232 exposure, occurring approximately 30-45 minutes after first contact, test subjects begin to experience severe sensory hallucinations, to the effect that they now perceive the world around them to be the fictional setting of the Jack Proton franchise. In this state, test subjects almost invariably believe that they are members of Jack Proton's "Junior Action Squad" and have been assigned a mission of utmost interplanetary security, which researchers and security personnel of the Foundation are involved in or are attempting to prevent them from completing. Though attempts to neutralize Foundation personnel with SCP-232 have invariably proven futile, test subjects have been noted to resort to physical violence on occasion.
Persons afflicted by the later stages of SCP-232 exposure will resist any attempts to remove SCP-232 from their person, and, if separated from it, will attempt to recover it by any means available to them. Effects of the later stages of exposure wear off gradually over a period of approximately 3-6 hours after SCP-232 is removed from the subject's person; in approximately ██% of tests involving long-term exposure, test subjects have retained memories of their artificial persona after dissipation of the effect, resulting in cognitive dissonance and associated psychological impairments.
SCP-232 came to the Foundation's attention on ██/██/████, following the arrest of Martin ██████, a retired steel worker living in [REDACTED], PA, for disorderly conduct following an affray at a shopping mall. ██████, who insisted on referring to himself as "Space Cadet Max Mars", was taken into custody after confronting several mall patrons and brandishing SCP-232, demanding to know the location of "the Phobos Ruby", an artifact the theft of which from the Martian Museum of History drives the plot of the novella Murder on the Io Express. During debriefing prior to amnesiac therapy, ██████ stated that he had owned one of the toys as a child and had been a fan of the series, and purchased SCP-232 from an online auction site for nostalgic value because he had "had so much fun playing cops & aliens with it" in his youth.