Item #: SCP-2498
Object Class: Neutralised (formerly Keter)
Special Containment Procedures: The former Parapsychology Wing of Andhra Pradesh University has been designated Adjunct Site-2498 for monitoring and communications purposes. In accordance with Foundation radiation exposure safety guidelines, on-site staff are not to be stationed within Adjunct Site-2498 for more than 240 hours a year.
The room containing the remains of SCP-2498 is to remain sealed. It has been lined with lead plates to a thickness of at least 20 cm to minimise the risk of radiation exposure.
Communication with SCP-2498 is to take place from within observational room #B2-04a of the Parapsychology Wing. Due to the potentially sensitive nature of information provided by SCP-2498, communication is only to be attempted by personnel with Level 3-2498 clearance.
Update: As of 1988/08/17, SCP-2498 is currently neutralised. Due to the levels of gamma radiation that continue to be emitted by room #B2-04b, the basement levels of Adjunct Site-2498 have been filled with concrete.
Description: SCP-2498 is former E-class personnel Arjun Ramakrishna Rao, located in experimentation room #B2-04b of Adjunct Site-2498. Rao was classified as SCP-2498 following complications during the course of his participation as a subject of Project RAINBOW BODY. Despite the cessation of most of his biological functions on 1988/02/12, Rao continues to remain responsive and alert. SCP-2498 is believed to be capable of long-distance extrasensory perception and matter manipulation as a result of this event. The limits of its abilities are currently unknown.
Update: As of 1988/08/17, SCP-2498 is currently neutralised. However, the room it was formerly contained in continues to emit gamma radiation at a rate of 90 mSv/h. Containment procedures have been updated accordingly.
Project RAINBOW BODY - Clearance 3 Brief:
RAINBOW BODY was a psychological regimen jointly developed by Foundation researchers and the Department of Parapsychology of Andra Pradesh University in 1975 as part of the RAINBOW ASTRA programme. The purpose of the regimen was to develop remote viewing abilities in psychonautically adept individuals for intelligence-gathering purposes, as part of the Foundation's contractual obligations with the Indian government during the Cold War. In its final development stage, it comprised administering a subject with a controlled dosage of scopolamine and a synthetic mescaline derivative under a combination of sensory deprivation, electroconvulsive therapy, and background exposure to Class-1 aural cognitohazards. Due to its mentally demanding nature, it was performed only after a total of 40 hours of gradual acclimatisation to its various components, conducted no more than 1 month prior to the regimen itself.
Successful execution of the RAINBOW BODY regimen causes subjects to experience extreme disorientation and vertigo to the point of physical and mental discomfort. Improperly conditioned subjects display signs of overwhelming psychological distress within 30-40 seconds. Prolonged exposure beyond this point risks lasting neurological damage.
Less than one in ten subjects eventually attain an anomalous psychological state, hereafter referred to as the viewing state. During the viewing state, movement of most of the subject's voluntary muscles will be inhibited and their senses will be greatly dulled. Their heart rate drastically increases, while their breathing becomes quicker and shallower. Electroencephalogram (EEG) readings taken of the subject at this stage show increased theta wave activity and decreased alpha and beta waves. Despite this, subjects in this state remain fully conscious, being able to respond to verbal cues, as well as perform slight physical movements like twitching their fingers or toes.
Throughout this state, subjects are able to decouple their field of vision from their physical location. They gain the ability to perceive objects beyond their supposed point of view, as well as access information previously unknown to them. Experimentation has proven that the range and strength of this ability correlates with the following factors:
- The subject having had prior training in forms of meditation, in particular traditional Hindu meditation
- The subject's ability to voluntarily enter a state of lucid dreaming
- The subject's resistance to hallucinogenic drugs
- The number of times the subject has previously undergone the regimen
Approximately two in five participants failed to survive more than three executions of the regimen, expiring from various neurochemical complications or organ failure. The relatively high mortality rate led to the project being temporarily suspended in February 1985 under the investigations of the Ethics Committee. It was only restored following talks with the Overseer Council, who informed the Committee of RAINBOW ASTRA's importance to negotiations with the Indian government. By May 1985, research had continued according to schedule, on the condition of minimising subject mortality and prioritising wider subject recruitment from voluntary sources.
In the beginning, RAINBOW BODY subjects were primarily D-class personnel from the South Asian experimental subject intake who had displayed high psychonautical aptitude and psychological resilience during intake tests. Following the successful infitration of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in 1980 by Foundation operatives, voluntary subjects under GONDOLA WISH1 were incorporated into the programme as well. After the 1985 investigation, the project began to recruit subjects from Foundation personnel with extensive experience in psychological phenomena, prioritising those nearing the end of their employment term.
Personal File of Arjun Ramakrishna Rao:
Subject designation: RB-S003
Name: Arjun Ramakrishna Rao
Year of birth: 1928-04-19
Participation status: Voluntary
Originally posted as an esoteric containment specialist in MTF Theta-77, Rao was hastily transferred to the Foundation's South Asian operations following the total withdrawal of Foundation assets from the United Kingdom in 1965. After a period of time as Site-36's psychological training specialist, he was recruited into Project RAINBOW BODY in 1985 following the recommendations of his former colleagues. By then, he had amassed considerable experience in the fields of psychic research and mind-affecting phenomena, as well as a reputation for extraordinary mental fortitude. Rao immediately took a liking to the project upon his arrival and was dismayed at its sluggish rate of progress, going as far as to volunteer himself for accelerated acclimatisation under guided supervision. He successfully entered the viewing state on his first attempt after a record 40 hours of acclimatisation over the course of only a week. Surpassing his peers, Rao was able to provide concise descriptions of objects up to 100 metres away, as well as identify voices and general mental states of individuals within that range. His proficiency in undergoing the procedure was highlighted and brought to the attention of Regional Command, who gave permission to train and deploy Rao under Project RAINBOW BODY as a remote intelligence-gathering operative.
Throughout his following tests, Rao continuously defied expectations. Within five executions of RAINBOW BODY, he was able to project his field of perception to an unprecedented distance of 12 kilometres. Rao was also able to remain in the viewing state for almost 2 hours at a time with negligible impact to his physical health, though he reported mild dissociative episodes occurring up to 15 hours later. At his peak, Rao was able to identify and provide descriptions of sights, sounds, and general mental states located up to 1,800 kilometres away, though he continued to claim that he could have gone further. Rao first entered active deployment in November 1987, where he provided remote intelligence support for MTF operations in Bengaluru during the containment of an SCP-584 outbreak. Rao continued to provide support for a variety of regional MTF operations until his classification as SCP-2498 in August 1988.
Archived Testimony from Franz Ziegler, RAINBOW BODY Head Researcher, dated 1989/02/01:
The call came around four in the morning. It was Jo from the lab. She said they'd found Rao unconscious in the basement. At first I was confused. We didn't have any tests scheduled - it had only been less than forty-eight hours after the AWACS sim op. Then it hit me. I pulled on a shirt and hurried down to the lab as soon as I could.
He had been strapped onto a cot when I arrived. From the adjacent room, I could see that he was wearing a hospital gown; Jo told me they'd found him naked. His skin, the gowns, and the sheets were drenched in sweat. His mouth opened and closed like that of a dead fish. Though his body was still, I could see a slight, constant tremor that shook through his meagre frame. The worst of it were his eyes. They were wide open, and swiveled wildly in his sockets. Jo assured me he was unconscious, but I saw nothing but the waking, shivering husk of a man with a mad prayer on his lips. If he was under, as Jo claimed to be, he would have to be more than awake - the sensation of raw, utter awareness that so gripped the subjects under the regimen is not something the official documentation mentions at any length.
I asked Jo how he was able to administer the procedure without any help. "He didn't," she said. Her voice was low and grave. "Divya and the night shift found him next to the machines, trembling like this. We think he's under, but we don't know how."
"Impossible. It's got to be something else. Catalepsy, seizure, something in the last dose we overlooked?" I scrambled for ideas, anything, a cause. "Subject 421. The one from the classified intake. She exhibited similar symptoms after her second run."
"It's not - EEG shows otherwise. Theta waves all the way through. He's gone under - further than the rest before." As she spoke, a sudden convulsion gripped Rao's body, and a sound escaped from his lips, a long, low moan like a cow's.
"We can still ease him out of it. Shock ejection, BZDs, LSPs, the works?" I asked, running down the list of contingencies in my mind. She shook her head. "No-go," she said. "His body's rejecting everything we're giving him. What goes in just comes out - there's nothing left in there to process it."
We snaked drips in and out of him, pumped him full of regulators and inhibitors, watched the drugs we gave him flow in and out of the tubes and his body shook and shook the whole time, while his mouth mumbled animal phrases. We cycled all his blood out at one point, or several. I tried to make some calls, to see if we could involve other - other items, anything to save him, but the lines were silent. At one point I could have sworn he smiled. And his eyes, the whole goddamned time, his eyes -
His body was going haywire, poisoning itself with its own chemicals. There was nothing we could do. Eventually, he stopped convulsing. His heart failed, then the EEG went silent. Inexplicably, his lungs continued to breathe for about five minutes after that - I remember his lifeless chest heaving dumbly under his shift, swelling and pulsing, sickeningly pulsing, continuing to pulse, imbibing and expelling dead air past his numbed lips against all reason. He was pronounced dead by nine.
By ten we were getting calls from above. Regional Directors, Ethics Comm, you name it. Playing with anomalous phenomena, we knew we'd be running the risk that the whole thing would come crashing about our heads. I'm surprised they let us keep going on for that long. But Rao had quite the reputation outside our circles, and after all we did - after all the risks we took - it only took his death for the hammer to come down on us.
There was one other call - from the Archival Department. For some reason, they seemed genuinely concerned about the future of our research. We briefed them over the phone, and they offered to schedule an appointment to take the project off our hands. With the amount of hot water we were in, we were more than eager to cooperate. Now, we didn't think much of it at the time, but we only found out much later that this missive had been relayed from a member of the Overseer Council himself. And once we had found that out, it had been too late for us.
Of course, all that only happened after Rao's corpse began to speak.
Archived Testimony from Jocasta Simos, Esoteric Containment Specialist, dated 1989/02/02:
Franz wasn't close to Rao - don't get me wrong, he wasn't like Dr. Rajaputram in the slightest - but I was a different story. I was stationed with him back in England, when the powers that be decided to leave the Brits to fend against Dark Peak and send us halfway around the world to the colonies. Rao wasn't opposed to the move - he was born near here, actually, not too far from our provisional research site at the University. He talked about it once or twice back then, in the lulls between the breaches. We were close back then, I'd like to think - or as close as anyone could ever be to Rao, really. I knew him, and he knew me. And back in England, I was the most senior of the crew. So when it came to sending someone to talk to his corpse, it stood to reason that I was the first - and most natural - choice.
We took all precautions with Rao. Standard first-responder protocol, you know the drill as well as I do - the basement had been sealed off with plastic sheeting, and the ventilation recirculated with makeshift tubing. Pressing against my left thigh was an amnestic autoinjector, set to a remote trigger. Given our work - mine and Rao's, and a couple of others on the team - we had a few other goodies, too: I spotted control sigils around the door frames, pocket autocasters set to purge, duct-taped to the corners of the room - the back-room stuff, you understand. And just for good measure, our mutual friend Divya had slipped a Class-3 ward into my suit - don't run all these by Ziegler and the rest, by the way, they haven't been cleared for those. Anyway, they took all precautions, is what I'm saying.
He was on the cot with the equipment as we'd left it. The tech boys had reassembled the dissociater rig piece by piece in the hopes of performing some arcane reverse-engineering miracle, and all the medical gear that went with it had been brought in as well, along with a slew of other unfamiliarities. When I entered, I had to loosen my collar, as the sheer amount of equipment they'd dragged inside the room had turned it into small furnace. Rao himself appeared unaffected by all this, lying face up on that cot… his body did not sweat or move, though I could have sworn I saw his eyes track my every move as I entered the room.
To hear a corpse speak is a disconcerting experience. His words were… recirculated air. Before each sentence that he spoke, he would draw in a breath, swelling his chest like one of those hand-powered accordion bellows, and his words would escape his lips in a single, slow, breath. His entire being was like this - a single deliberation, a singular conscious effort on his part to even exist, much less speak to anyone at all. Singular - I think that's the right word, yes - it was that sheer singularity about him that made my every muscle tense in his presence. Never mind that I was his friend. In there he was singular, a singularity.
So Rao turned his head in my direction as I walked in and drew in a breath. "I did wrong," he wheezed. Then he took in another breath and said my name.
I asked him if he could hear me, or see me.
Another breath, rattling from his throat. He said that he could, but his sight was fading fast.
I asked him why.
He said that he moved upwards. Against instructions.
I asked him why he did that.
He said that he wanted to see.
See what? I asked.
"The sky," he said. "The shell of the world."
That was when you woke? You were unable to proceed?
Then what happened?
"I passed through. I thought I had woken up, but I was still inside. Don't you see? I kept on going up. And it was the same. Sky after sky. Shells and shells. Our world is wrong. We were wrong. There is no revelation, only introspection."
I asked him what the difference between the two was. There was a hacking, almost mechanical, cough. I think he was trying to laugh when I saw the muscles around his eyes twitch. He said: "You know, far as I've gone, I don't think there is any. Not in this life."
I asked him if he thought he was going to die.
"Certainly," he said, "but cogito ergo sum."
The timer on my wrist sounded. I turned to leave.
"Another thing," he said, as I reached for the door.
Rao turned his head towards the ceiling. We hadn't thought him capable of other movement save for speech, so his arms had not been secured; slowly, the left arm raised, until it pointed vertically upwards towards an unseen point above his head. And then he said eight words, the words you found plastered over Kurnool the day after, posted on every sign and every door. I remember them now, echoing in that empty voice of his behind my ears, exactly as I heard them that day:
"The skies are cold. I am not alone."
Back there, I didn't quite know what he had meant, but today, after what I've seen, they fill me with a certain kind of dread.
Incident Report 2498/19880212:
On February 12th, shortly following the cessation of Arjun Ramakrishna Rao's biological functions, strange lights were sighted in 15 towns and cities in Andhra Pradesh and neighbouring Karnataka state. Witnesses saw a chain of discs of white light descend from the sky and hover just below cloud level, "unfolding" itself from the inside-out in a counterclockwise direction. It is unknown if reports of nausea due to viewing the lights are a result of latent cognitohazardous effects or a natural consequence of perceiving three-dimensional projections of higher-dimensional phenomena.
"At first I saw the sun start to spin. It was pale, and did not hurt my eyes when I looked at it, though I felt my head spin as if it was part of the sun itself. Then it - the disc of the sun - itself it descended, from above the clouds, and it shimmered into thirteen pieces, still dull like the colour of the moon. Before our eyes, they spiralled down like a spear, twisting and turning, pushing the clouds aside in their wake, and I turned to my husband and whispered, 'My god, the sky is broken.' " - Witness statement reported in The New Bombay Times, dated February 13th, 1988.
At approximately 2300 hours, the last of the lights appeared above Hyderabad and struck the rooftop of the city hall, setting it ablaze. Despite Foundation information concealment efforts, the spreading of rumours of holy sightings drew an estimated 60,000 pilgrims from neighbouring states into Hyderabad over the following two weeks. News of the event soon spread overseas and was reported in several Western tabloids.
In the Adayah footage, one can clearly see three crowns, signifying the three magi before Jesus. The correspondent from which the photograph was sourced instead professes that the lights are in the shape of the seated Buddha. However, most of the witnesses, as our newspaper understands, saw in the lights the threefold faces of the Trimurti beset into visible form. Another interesting theory originates from one Catherine R. Ganzfeld, writing for the Californian Journal of Gnostic Truth: in her article, she put forth that the three lights in the Adayah footage resembled not divinity, but a wheel, and that the pattern between them formed the spokes of the world… - Excerpt from Californian esoteric publication A Discordian Directory, dated April 1st, 1988.
On the same day in Kurnool, raised letters were found appearing on 92 wall and door surfaces throughout the old city center. Text appeared as fragments in English of the phrases "The sky is cold" and "I am not alone", and is quickly concealed or removed by embedded Foundation cover-up crews. Rumours of the phenomenon nevertheless spread, and drew some amount of attention in connection with the holy sightings before being denounced by local authorities as simple acts of vandalism.
Seven hours following the events of February 12th, the body of Rao began to emit hazardous levels of radiation at up to 120 mSv/h, more than 80,000 times the recommended safe level. Personnel were hastily evacuated from the premises and lead shielding was installed around the experimentation room. Inexplicably, all equipment inside the room remained operational throughout, showing no signs of being affected by the radiation. On February 14th, the decision was officially made by Dr. Rajaputram to seal off the remains of Rao inside experimentation room #B2-04b.
Shortly after the room was sealed, Rao's voice began to play on the speakers of the monitoring equipment in neighbouring observation room #B2-04a. It was quickly established that Rao was able to communicate with personnel through the equipment, and that he still maintained a degree of sentience. The decision was made shortly afterwards to classify Rao as SCP-2498.
Transcript of SCP-2498 Communication Log, dated 1988/02/14:
LENGTH: 2 minutes, 5 seconds
<START OF TRANSCRIPT>
Simos: Arjun, you still there? It's me. It's Jo Simos.
There is the sound of static.
SCP-2498: I know.
Simos: You said that you weren't alone.
SCP-2498: Stars. Mountains. Things move in the deep.
Simos: Are they the reason for the anomalous phenomena?
SCP-2498: As an anchor stirs the seafloor sands.
Simos: And you are the anchor?
SCP-2498: I think I am the ship in the storm. There are other ships here. They feel my breath upon the waters, and they wake. They are curious.
Simos: So will you - are these entities a threat to humanity or consensus normalcy?
SCP-2498: I cannot tell. They have always been here.
Simos: If they are a threat, will you help us?
SCP-2498: Your question hides another.
Simos: The Foundation strongly believes you to be capable of large-scale changes in the physical world, and our specialists - our colleagues - are inclined to believe that you've somehow achieved a certain - esoteric significance.
SCP-2498: Jo, you are reticent. Speak plainly, I can see.
Simos: Arjun. You know as well as I do. Many of us here don't feel - well, I don't feel - that you are yourself anymore.
SCP-2498: I know. I understand. I am sorry, but there is just too much here to take in. One cannot do but change.
Simos: Well, you must know exactly what I think of you.
SCP-2498: You do not need to apologise for it.
Simos: I hope not.
SCP-2498: In any case, you have my word that I am not a threat. I answer to the sky and the wheel. And, as the wheel spins, I answer to the Foundation still. But it will not be for long.
Simos: What proof do you have of this continued allegiance?
SCP-2498: Again, you speak from the script. I have only my word to give. Our Foundation will just have to believe. Just as it believes that the words of a friend can sway the mind of a god. Just as you believe that the world can keep on spinning even as we've seen reality bend ten hundred different ways in front of our eyes.
Simos: I know you believe it, too, and I wish you well.
SCP-2498: You would do best continuing to wish that. A bigger storm approaches.
Simos: When? How?
SCP-2498: I will need you to do me a favour, Jocasta Simos.
Simos: What kind of favour do I owe a god?
SCP-2498: Jocasta, my friend, I will need you to be strong.
<END OF TRANSCRIPT>
Testimony from [REDACTED], Archival Department Manager, Liaison to the Office of O5-5, dated 1991/02/15:
No, we weren't planning to utilise the RAINBOW BODY project for anything beyond passive surveillance. The project team actually did write to us with those concerns at some point in the 70s - Dr. Rajaputram at one point did fear some kind of takeover from us, when the war with Pakistan began - but we had to make that choice in Woodvale more than twenty years ago. He didn't know that, of course, but we did so then. At the time, we ended up pushing the button - painfully and out of necessity. And we vowed never to do it again.
Of course we had to pack it up. There was too much at stake. We'd agreed that we would only assist the war effort so far, in exchange for our safety, but the nature of the deal changed when the nature of our asset changed. We didn't think that our involvement in India would be ending anytime soon. We trusted the IAF in the way that we thought they trusted us. But the proposal had already been submitted by the project head, and our contacts would come calling at any moment to take it over - what would they have done if they had discovered their key asset dead, or transcended, or - whatever you want to call 2498? If we had let another party within the Foundation get their hands on the project before we did, suffice to say that things would have escalated a lot sooner. So in lieu of letting our own Foundation gut itself over an ethical mishap, O5-5 made his decision, and we backed him up on that.
The concern of your Committee is warranted. The situation, if I may say so myself, was completely ripe back then. By '83, the Americans were flying into Peshawar every week. Reports were coming in from the Afghan front: soldiers charging through minefields on wings of air, bombs that ate gunmetal and left nothing else untouched. You've read the docs, seen the photos. We suspected salvaged Soviet paratech, but then the spears of light rained down on Zhawar in '85 and it became clear to us that action had to be taken, lest the world ended up with a second Iran. But there was nothing we had left to bargain with - nothing we had dared to use. "Lest we end up like them," O5-5 had said, I remember. We turtled inwards, and kept our eyes open. Though we could do nothing to prevent the horrors from unfolding, we could at least ensure our safety. And as long as we were safe, we would abide to our ethics and abide to our rules, and wait out the storm around us.
So believe me when I say that everything we did was in the interest of containment, and nothing more. While there certainly were reasons to do so, we at the office of O5-5 had absolutely nothing to do with the armed takeover of Adjunct Site-2498 on the 17th of August, 1988.
Incident Report 2498/19880817 - Clearance 3 Brief:
At 1247 hours, surveillance footage of Andhra Pradesh University showed an unmarked white lorry pulling into the university's compound. Its truck bed was covered with black tarpaulin. In the footage, it parks out of sight behind the Department of Architecture before the tarpaulin slips off the truck bed and the footage flares to white. This anomaly affected both the university's and Foundation's closed-circuit camera systems for the following three hours.
At 1249 hours, five men entered the Department of Parapsychology with a pushcart and requested access to the basement level to perform plumbing maintenance. The duty receptionist Saanvi Gupta confirmed that there had been a pipe leakage in the women's bathroom in the first basement and that repairs had been scheduled for that day.
Once the men had gained access to the first basement, they immediately proceeded to the women's bathroom with Gupta. They requested her to enter the bathroom first to make sure it was empty before they commenced repairs. When her back was turned, one of the men rendered Gupta unconscious with an electronic stun gun. Two of the five men then entered the bathroom and similarly subdued Foundation nurse Siti Agarwal. They removed her access card as well as the tip of her left pointer finger. Gupta and Agarwal were then tied up and gagged before being placed in the janitor's storage cubicle.
The men then entered the second basement level via the concealed doorway in the basement lobby using Agarwal's access card and severed fingertip. They were confronted by the four on-site security staff in the main hallway before the site compound. In the ensuing firefight, the men incapacitated three of the security staff and killed Agent Richard Parsons as he activated the on-site distress signal. Meanwhile, Site-36 received Parson's distress signal and immediately moved to respond.
Once inside Adjunct Site-2498, the men conducted a sweep of the offices, staff quarters, and experimental subject quarters, overpowering and restraining non-key personnel as they went. Key personnel - Dr. Govind Rajaputram, Dr. Vignes Ganeshan, and Researcher Priyanka Acharya - were brought to the site's meeting room instead. Franz Ziegler and Specialist Jocasta Simos were not among them, having initially evaded capture.
Voice recorders in observation room #B2-04a were still functioning when two of the men entered at 1336 hours. They appeared to be under the belief that SCP-2498 was some form of voice-controlled remote weapon, and attempted unsuccessfully to activate it. At 1341 hours, Dr. Rajaputram was brought into the observation room and was ordered to activate SCP-2498 at gunpoint. He refused.
At that point, SCP-2498 complied to the men's demands. After communicating with their leader, the men restrained Dr. Rajaputram and left the premises on their vehicle. MTF Kappa-17 soon arrived on the scene under the cover of local law enforcement and took over the situation.
The men were known to have dispersed into three groups of two following the attack, abandoning the lorry approximately 2 kilometres from the university. The first group was apprehended at 1356 hours by members of MTF Kappa-16 and avoided capture by committing suicide with cyanide capsules. The second group was tracked to an apartment in the port district, which was stormed by Kappa-16 operatives at 1358 hours. The attackers were shot and killed in the resultant shootout. Foundation intelligence later tracked the last group traveling to a remote location outside Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. Anomalous assets were deployed from Site-36 and destruction of the getaway vehicle was confirmed by 1401 hours. However, the bodies of the two men were not found among the recovered wreckage.
Head Researcher Ziegler and Specialist Simos later sent a distress signal at 1458 hours from a site evacuation safehouse a short distance away from Adjunct Site-2498. Ziegler surrendered himself to Foundation security forces and requested immediate medical assistance for Simos. Simos was airlifted to Site-36 and hospitalised, while Ziegler was brought into custody under suspicion of aiding the attack.
SCP-2498 remained unresponsive following the incident. The Foundation recovery team that broke the seal on room #B2-04b reported that it was devoid of both the RAINBOW BODY equipment and the body of Arjun Rao. Despite this, gamma radiation continued to be detected emanating from within the room at 100 mSv/h. Following revision of existing documentation, SCP-2498 was reclassified as Neutralised.
Standard Dream Report 66-Y/2498 (reconstructed):
FORM 66-Y - STANDARD DREAM REPORT
Personnel: Specialist Jocasta Simos
Estimated Degree of Recall: 90%
Likelihood of Actionable Intelligence: HIGH Unknown. God, I don't know.
I would like to report a series of dreams that I believe I received from SCP-2498. Altogether, I cannot remember the number of them, but I'm sure that the last of them came last night.
They came in three forms. The first happened around the beginning of July, and continued for roughly two weeks. In those dreams, I was alone in a large gray space, with lights set into the ceiling, just like in the office. I had those dreams even at home, when I was on rest. There was a murky quality to the dream, and a vast, faint sound from a distance, like the chanting of a prayer. Whenever I tried to move towards it, however, I found myself blocked by a shadow. There was a kind of great distance between me and everything else, stopping me from breaking through, like I had myself receded into a point inside my chest. When I awoke, I had the faint memory of an old friend calling, and a kind of ringing in my ears.
I did not report these dreams due to their highly indefinite nature. Instead, I started visiting SCP-2498 on a regular basis, under the suspicion that it was responsible for them. But he grew gradually incoherent and I could not talk to him at all without breaking down into tears. I stopped visiting SCP-2498 after a while, when Ziegler persuaded me not to. I went with it, because to me it was clear that SCP-2498 could not provide any more answers in person.
Instead I tried to pay more attention to the dreams. In mid-July, they began to change into something with a more recognisable shape. My vision in the dreams began to clear, and it felt to me that I was actually on the inside of some kind of bell, looking outwards. I began to understand why I had difficulty moving in any direction, because the dream only had two: outside and in. One night I finally worked up the courage to look away from the outside, and found myself gazing at SCP-2498. He was the shadow that had blocked me from within, and I was inside his mind, looking out.
SCP-2498 did not look like he was in real life. While he still bore the shape of a man in the dream-bell, it was not the intubated wasted figure that I last saw on the bed in the room. He was a whole man again, and his body was covered with eyes. As new senses awoke within me, I perceived that his body also shimmered like the evening sky - I use the word "perceive" here, deliberately, because it was only then, when my senses fully came into being, that I began to have an understanding of what it had meant for the Project's participants to "see". I understood then as well what SCP-2498 had meant back then, when I was first sent to talk with his corpse. One did not see, in the eyes of the rainbow body - one merely understood.
Gradually, the shapes outside became more definite and more chaotic, as the gray turned into a blur of movement, in freeze-frames or lightning speed, like a film gone mad. Lights turned into dark turned into shapes, and the shapes spun and the gray spun with all colours at once, and I wanted to scream with terror. Even worse were the moments of silence when long shadows would cross the cornucopia, swimming through the deep, surfacing and unsurfacing from the world at will. It connotated to me the sudden fearful notion that this was not all - that there were other realms, other seas, like Rao had said of the skies beyond skies, and the shells beyond shells… I was looking at the mountains that he spoke of. I was seeing what SCP-2498 was seeing, held his complete knowledge of all things. But I did not hold his comprehension, the peace he seemed to hold within the bell, and I think I would have gone mad if it were not for the filter of the dream upon my rational mind.
I experienced that type of dream - that nightmare - for a long, long time, sitting within his mind for what felt like weeks, watching and watching and unable to look away. Sometimes I woke in tears. Slowly, I learned to accept the chaos and subsume part of it as my own. The shadow no longer prevented me from moving out: all I needed was to focus inwards and search his mind, and I could attempt remotely the art of seeing as he saw, knowing as he knew. Steeling my mind, I managed to recognise, or thought I did, familiar faces and histories, most of them my own. I perceived my many possible futures, and an even greater multitude of pasts - though I couldn't read them, for they were so fast. Growingly, I also felt something in the space reaching out towards me, as I reached towards my visions. It was like a smell of something long forgotten, tinged with the smell of death. I recognised that sensation in full only in the third and final dream sequence, which happened last night.
Here is the dream:
I opened my eyes to find that I was myself, and I was also SCP-2498. I no longer looked through his eyes, for they were mine as well. In his voice, I asked SCP-2498 if he had a message to give. In my voice, SCP-2498 answered. He spoke to me in words that came all at once, in one sound like rolling waves or unfurling cloth, whose meaning I only grasped when I awoke. In total, he said four words to me that night.
The first word that he said had the meaning of, "Listen very carefully. In the best of all worlds, I am twice-dead."
The second word that he said was a series of signs, or signals, through which I would know that he would die that day. They were the knocks on the door, the kiss on the cheek, and the silence of the birds.
The third word that he said had the meaning of, "It is by your hand that I will die a second death."
The last word that he said contained the instructions as to how. Through his body, I protested, thrashing against the dream's veil. Through his mouth I questioned, why me? Why this? I think I wept through his eyes, too.
Then I awoke, and immediately understood.
Thus concludes the report of my dreams.
Note: The document above is transcribed from an unsubmitted 66-Y form found in a drawer of Specialist Simos's desk. The document was handwritten and the ink was heavily smeared with numerous corrections. In her subsequent testimony, Specialist Simos claimed that she had intended to submit the document to Dr. Rajaputram. However, she later admitted she did not believe that relaying the contents of her dreams to her superiors would have changed the outcome of future events. - Dr. [REDACTED], Archival Department
Archived Testimony from Franz Ziegler, RAINBOW BODY Head Researcher, dated 1989/02/01:
Yes, it was Jocasta that started having the dreams first. For her they'd started in July, though she did not report it to anybody at the time. I think she was worried about being separated from Rao. Rao had taken up too much of her energy, too much of her time - she must have spent whole days in the observation room, even as the rest of us scrambled to have the place prepped for the handover to the brass. The experiments had stopped, and all but three of the subjects had been cleared and returned to general circulation. Yet she still talked to Rao. She was growing tired, and afraid. Afraid they'd write her up for excessive cognitohazard exposure or somesuch, and send her away. All she wanted was to be here with him, to get answers from him. Eventually, it was too much, and she stopped - at my behest. It clearly was too much on her.
I went in there once or twice, and talked with him, for a given measure of talk. It's all on the record. I remember leaving from those sessions feeling greatly unsettled, as if I had glimpsed the scene of a great tragedy. I do not know what Jo saw in her interactions with him that made her go back again and again. I tried listening to the tapes, once - as head researcher, I had the authority to do so - but as soon as I played them, it felt like I was on the cusp of committing something profane. Like eavesdropping on a confessional.
Then I started having the dreams too, long, plunging nightmares of light and sound, sending me awake with the faint aftertaste of sweetness on my lips - awake with the feeling of the familiar beside the divine. That morning, I moved to my office and dug out two copies of the standard dream report. On the first I found my pen trembling above the third blank, paralysed with forgetfulness; the second I tore and shred. I was convinced the dream was a message, an omen of things to come - but it was not one that was meant for me. I believed its intention though I did not understand its contents. I believed it, without seeking further verification. On this point I admit my lack of discernment. But belief is a stronger force than any of us realise, sir. You've been here long enough to know that as well as I do. We are who we are because we believe.
When Jo told me about her dreams, and that it was of utmost importance that we leave the site before noon, I did not disbelieve her. After breakfast we left on foot without telling anyone. I asked her if we were escaping some terrible catastrophe. She said that Rao had promised her nobody would be hurt. She also asked if there was a safe place that we could hide in until the events foretold in her dreams had come to pass.
I told her about the safehouse down at [REDACTED]. I remembered the place from the initial briefing for the project - they stored backup equipment and supplies here in the eventuality of the site being compromised. We went in one at a time, she first, and I second. Inside, she went straight for the equipment closet and strung out a set of electrodes. She turned to me and said, "Hook me up. There's no more time to waste."
"That's a test set. You haven't been conditioned. It's not going to work," I told her.
She pushed the set into my hands. "Then we improvise. Besides, I've read the papers. This is all we need - the rest is just supplementary."
My rational mind believed what she was intending to be impossible. I knew from my early days at the project that the procedure would just as likely fail as it was to kill her entirely. But we'd both seen the dreams, and in the light and heat of the dream that I remembered something had reached out then and touched my conscious mind as if to say, "This is the only way." I looked into her eyes and saw that she believed that too. We went ahead.
In the cupboard, I found a dripfeed, a waterproof cassette player with the bright yellow cognitohazard triangle emblazoned on it, and an early version of the electrotherapy machine we'd used for the first tests. Inside the ice compartment of the freezer were five bags of the serum. There was an untouched tank in the bathroom with the packets of salt still sealed. Jo set it up while I went to work programming the machines from memory. It wasn't hard working from the presets, and I found myself recreating almost precisely the very pattern on the oscilloscopes that had surely been burnt into my eyes from the long nights of lab work. Any further adjustments would have to be impromptu. But that something stirred again, and reassured me of my path. From the bathroom, I heard the sound of the tank's filtration system running. There was the sound of splashing as Jo tested the waters. "It's good to go," she called.
We had to patch the trodes and drip system through some extension cables so that they could reach the bathroom. I had experience only with the bioelectrical part of the procedure; Jo intubated herself, wincing as the warm saline entered her veins. "Just one more thing," she said, producing a marker from her pocket. On the hatch of the tank, she inscribed a twirling, eight-sided pictogram in a single careful motion that ended with both ends entwined in its center. "Now we begin."
I looked away as she stripped and placed the electrode helmet on her head. The tank was custom-made, with speakers embedded in the sides; all I needed to do was to play from the cassette, cue the drip, and regulate the pattern. She entered the tank and carefully shut the hatch. I turned the switch on the drip machine and it emitted a beep, signalling the switch from saline to serum. I knocked twice on the tank, signalling that it had begun. "Godspeed," came her muffled voice from beneath the hatch.
There was no more fear. When the thrashing began I found myself stroking the tank and whispering the words I did back then: simple words of soothing and encouragement. "You're strong. You'll hang in there. You're the best of the best. You'll handle this, I believe … " The splashing subsided. Her vitals remained strong. I attenuated the pattern, adjusted the last of the dripfeed, and sent her under.
In reality, we were two rogue employees swept under the dream-fervour of an anomaly. But in that moment, surrounded by the hum of the machinery, I felt every bit in control of my rational thoughts. Before my eyes, theta waves began to dance on the oscilloscope screen. Against all odds, I had succeeded - though Jo still had a long way to go.
Archived Testimony from Jocasta Simos, Esoteric Containment Specialist, dated 1989/08/02:
I wasn't prepared to tell this part of my story before today. Now, it's almost been a year. I think it's about time the truth came to light.
In the tub, I went under, just like Rao had shown me. I'd never been subjected to the procedure before, but I recognised its sensations from the reactions of those that had gone before me. In the tank, it was like my entire body had dissipated into a million pieces, floating further and further apart from each other until the feeling of the drips and attachments had faded into the background of the tape track with its ambient binaurals around my ears. Eventually the binaurals themselves ceased to be audible to me. I began to panic when I could not feel my heart beating. The sensation of death encroached all around me. I was alone in the universe. I was me. I was no longer me. Then panic turned into clarity: this was exactly how it had felt to dream those dreams back in July.
Just thinking about it now makes me shiver. Now I understood how those first subjects felt when they went under, before the conditioning process had been refined. I had the familiarity of my dreams and my experiences with near-ego death to prepare me for what I saw. But they - they hadn't. God, it must have driven them mad.
I suppose it was at this point of the procedure that the subjects were introduced to the instructions. I was aware of the idea of sounds from outside, but I did not hear them with my ears. I knew there would be a tap dripping behind me, or the hum of the dripfeed on my two o'clock, but the thought just didn't occur to me to see them. Left unprimed, my mind wandered in a faint copy of my dreamscape, where dim shadows danced amidst vague memories of places that I knew.
I drifted for what felt like eternity until I became aware of a hive of shadows, a mass of swirling shapes that I soon recognised as the shadows that had terrified me in the dream. Somehow they were not as terrifying as the dreams themselves - maybe because I was only here as a guest, and not its resident and their prime target. They had congregated around a gate of sorts, looking like the arched iris of a massive eye. Inside that gate, there was another space, a space of something as clear and lucid as plain water, where I felt no secrets could lie. I approached, and it let me pass through. Then I saw it - in the stillness, the shadow-bell, framed in the vague memories of the site's fluorescents, and containing within it, his body. Rao's body, towering before my vision like an ocean. He was so much more massive in person. As I stared, a portion of his eyes swiveled and regarded me, fixing me in their blinding glare. I screamed so loud then that I thought I would wake from the trance. But something had held me within the bell. I did not wake. After a while, I felt no fear, only the recognisable dream-sensation of familiarity mixed with death.
Seeing him in full from the outside, I now truly knew that it was him. There was no question about it. We'd been on missions in England before, runs with the paranormal that left us half-mad with fear - we'd all been forged in fire, and we knew the shapes of each other's souls. This was him. He'd formed the clearness and the bell, to keep himself safe, but it was him, alright.
The moment I understood that, my vision morphed. I was now standing at his height, looking into his eyes, the eyes that he had had as a man. There were no secrets here. When he spoke, he spoke in a language that he and I immediately understood, unencumbered by the distance of the dream. It sounded like a thousand silk sheets being unfurled. He said, smiling, happy as a lark and plain as day: "Jo, Jo, I'm so glad you finally came."
I embraced him, overjoyed. In the same language as his, I said, "I've missed you so much. I don't want to see you go." Surprisingly, the words flowed as easily from my tongue as it did from his.
I asked him if he was in pain - if he had been in pain. He shook his head and told me that he was not in pain as I knew it, but that he felt himself growingly wrapped in both rapture and fear: the rapture of the knowledge and power he possessed, and the fear that this power had instilled in him. He gestured to the hive of shadows outside. They shifted, as if in response, and their flurry around the bell grew slightly quicker. I felt the sensation of what passed for eyes running over my skin: my presence in this realm had clearly not gone unnoticed.
He said, "I fear the fates, but I also fear the powers greater and more subtle than the fates. Every movement I make sends a ripple that draws both of them ever closer to me."
Rao withdrew from the embrace and produced a knife in his hand, which he pressed into mine. It was black as pitch, and its edge twinkled with what I thought were stars.
I told him that I couldn't do it. That knowing it had to be done would not make its doing any easier. I insisted that there had to be other ways, better ways, in which this could have ended. We were not subsumed to fate. He shook his head, and bade me to calm down. Slowly, Rao reached towards my eyes and pressed my lids shut with the fingers of his free hand. They burned, and in that moment I ceased to be blind, because I had seen the wheel of the world.
In one spoke, I saw men in black execute my superiors and colleagues one by one, as the disembodied voice in the basement pleaded with them to stop. In another mere steps in parallel with the first, a strange man is tied to a strange machine and made to bark into the darkness, wherein he begs for calamities to happen. In accordance, twenty-seven silos explode, taking with them a hundred thousand lives. A ray of light pierces the Siachen Glacier, vapourising all life within twenty kilometres. From their souls is forged a bloody peace.
In yet another spoke, this peace does not come. Panic gives rise not to surrender, but to steeled resolve. A missile is readied from a ship in the west, and is cleaved into two by an unseen hand minutes before launch. In the waves of escalation and retaliation that follow, vaults on both sides are opened. Horrors are unleashed. In the flames of what remain, slumbering giants rouse for war.
And in the darkest part of the wheel, shapes like castles appear in the sky. The god-man, unable to die, watches helplessly from his throne as the beasts he drew forth consume the collective sanity of humanity. There is a storm, and a great flood, and a rending of the earth. Soon, nothing else remains.
The world I had left behind was the axle. All I had to do was spin.
Rao opened my eyes, and the last thing he ever said to me was, "You see but a fragment of what I see, and now you know what must be done." And I, in my blindness, understood.
"I love you," I said, and drew the knife across his throat. He fell into my arms. I dropped the knife. I felt an immediate sensation in my heart, as if the knife had stabbed into my own chest - in reflex, I cradled him and knelt, begged for forgiveness, caressed his still features as if I could mold life back into his very muscles, his very bones, but there was no turning back. The deed had been done. It was a bloodless deed. He did not bleed, because there was no blood left to bleed - only the corpse of a god.
I killed him. The most beautiful soul I had ever known, and I had killed him with my own hands. God…
I returned to the world of the living in a half-dead state. Ziegler surrendered ourselves to the site, and I spent three days in a medically-assisted coma as the medical staff flushed my system clean. I woke up cuffed to my bed. I'm sure the rest is recent history.
Yes, I still have dreams. Other dreams. Dreams of me killing Rao. Dreams of Rao killing the world. Above all is the dream - no, the nightmare - of the wheel itself, turning, endlessly, with my life bound to its spokes, crucified and inseparable. We're all bound to the spokes, every single one of us. It's because we have to be. It's because there's no other way. Just thank whatever powers that remain that it is not our place to know the manner of our bindings, or the other bindings of our possible choosing - because Rao did, and we've paid the price for it.
I shall declare nothing further. If the committee finds me guilty, I welcome the verdict with open arms. Ziegler turned us in, because he knew we had done nothing wrong. And I assure you, sirs and madam, that I will continue believing in that until the day I die.
I hope this has been sufficient. I have nothing more to say.
Archived testimony from [REDACTED], Archival Department Manager, Liaison to the office of O5-5, dated 1991/02/15:
It was the Research and Analysis Wing. An armed takeover of that magnitude and severity - who else could it have been? While the contents and exact locations of our sites were only known to our contacts within the Indian administration, the fact that the sites existed at all would have been the equivalent of common knowledge to Indian intelligence. If they had wanted to find us, it would have been a simple matter of tracing logistics and extrapolating from maps. But we were assured that they were under direct orders from then-Director Saxena himself not to interfere with our operations. Until then, they had had no incentive to do so. Then after Saxena came S. E. Joshi and Anand Verma, and that's when our troubles started.
It was clear as day that we could not have kept SCP-2498 a secret from them forever. O5-5 promised delivery to the Indians in exchange for safe haven - but they must have known as well as he did that the project would not bear fruit beyond what he already suspected R&AW was capable of. Regardless, aiding parascientific research for non-destructive purposes fell well within the ethical guidelines of the Overseer Council. The creation of 2498 threw all of that out of the window. When it was obvious to us that the project could not continue as it did, we consolidated our records and fed our partners fabrications to keep them at bay. But Anand Verma was not a gullible man. He must have had known through other means, and that was when he decided to strike.
The attackers were far from incompetent. I must once again stress the level of preparation and covert knowledge it took to plan an act like this. Firstly, they had known the nature of the site's contents, if only vaguely. They had known of its location and the movements of its key personnel. They had known of the layout of the site's rooms. To all of that, I also add the element of luck: a mere week or two later and we'd have finished moving the project out of the university entirely.
Just as they were far from incompetent, so were we far from unprepared. We had contingencies in place for that day, and those contingencies were executed with flawless aplomb - but they simply weren't good enough. By the mid-1970s, our covert infrastructure already had the capacity to send a reaction force to any site in distress within the hour, track the assailants, put them in the bag, and retrieve or neutralise any objects they might have taken. What we didn't count on was that in the case of Adjunct Site-2498, the men didn't matter. All that mattered was the plan. All they needed was half an hour to crash that plane - with no survivors.
Extranormal Event Report #B38261:
Date of occurence: 1988/08/17
Location: Bahalwapur, Punjab region, Pakistan
Description: After witnessing a demonstration of M1 Abrams tanks in Bahalwapur, Pakistan, General Muhammad Zia-al-Haq boarded a Hercules C-130b aircraft to return to Islamabad. On board this flight were 37 other passengers including close associates General Akhtar Abdur Rahman and Brigadier Siddique Salik; Arnold Lewis Raphel, the United States Ambassador to Pakistan; and General Herbert M. Wassom, the commander-in-chief of the US military effort in Pakistan. The flight departed from Bahalwapur Airport at 1335 hours.
At 1340 hours, the plane was enveloped in a veil of light originating from the sun. It remained completely motionless for two minutes, after which the wings of the plane detached and the fuselage fell to the ground, still enveloped within the veil of light. No human remains were ever found at the crash site, and all passengers were presumed killed.
Follow-up actions taken: Though Foundation agents were unable to edit the memories of all witnesses involved, they were able to acquire and suppress all film records of the incident. The incident is publicised by international news sources as a non-anomalous plane crash undergoing investigation. Neither local nor international media ever reported the true nature of the incident, suggesting the presence of a parallel cover-up.
Archived testimony from [REDACTED], Archival Department Manager, Liaison to the office of O5-5, dated 1991/02/15:
Though the Geneva Accords were signed in April, Pakistan still maintained a sizeable stockpile of parascientific weapons courtesy of the United States, eager to arm their allies against the Soviets up north. General Zia's death changed all of that. The change of regime and souring of US-Pakistani ties after the crash led to the eventual withdrawal of the 388th Independent Special Company from Peshawar. Existing parascientific weapons soon proved difficult to maintain without outside expertise. Research hit a dead end. By the end of the following year, Pakistan's forays into weaponising extranormal phenomena had all but ceased. The Foundation moved in, just like we had with India - small, discrete sites, under chemical plants and garment factories - and cleaned up the mess. The remaining stockpiles of anomalous assets were eventually seized and destroyed.
It was not an easy ride. Shortly after the plane went down, our covert sources immediately picked up on mention of the incident within NATO and Soviet intelligence - I tell you now that our Foundation had never been closer to complete confrontation with a military force than that one point in the war. Reagan was furious. Admiral Kelso was chomping at the bit. We at the office feared a second El Dorado Canyon - even if India would be harder to bomb than a Libyan tent. But we had no idea when or how they would strike, we had no clue. To make matters worse, we had just learnt through our department's channels that the attack on 2498 had rendered it all but neutralised. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to us, the USS Vincennes had received direct orders from Central Command to depart from the Andaman and encroach into Indian waters. For fifteen excruciating minutes in the Bay of Bengal, there were four Harpoon RGM-84 anti-ship missiles locked straight onto the INS Viraat, with a thousand men on board. God only knows what might have happened if they had armed and fired. It is nothing short of a miracle that Captain Rogers and his men made the choice that they did that day - never in my career in this office has it been more apparent that discretion, above all things, is the greater part of valour than all others combined.
For most of the world, the war ended at Malta, where an embittered Bush made peace with weary Gorbachev, vowing never again to repeat the tragedies that had so defined the recent past. For us, the war ended in Cairo, as Directors Stillwell and Aktus negotiated our eventual return from exile. To identify the individual factors that led to these successes for peace is a business that I will leave to the historians of the new age; regardless, it cannot be doubted that the events of the time - the death of General Zia, the near-destruction of the Viraat, the bitter conclusion of the Afghan war, the GRU-P activation of 1984 - had presented the world with a general malaise that deeply pervaded both sides of the conflict. The world had seen leaders at their best, but overwhelmingly also at their worst. Parascientific weaponry had laid bare to mankind the terror that lay at the heart of war. Faced with its sins, war-fatigued America had no choice but to back down. Perhaps the incidents in India had something to do with it. Speaking as one of the few who have had the privilege of the regional theatre's front-row seat, I like to think that it had.
Do I believe the testimony of Jocasta Simos? I don't know if I do, at least in its entirety - but I believe that she acted in good faith. Did she do the right thing? Perhaps her actions did play a part in saving the world from full-blown occult war. Or perhaps they didn't, and she'd destroyed one of the most powerful anomalous assets that we've ever harnessed in the history of our organisation. I don't know, and I don't think we ever will.
And I think, all things considered, that that is for the better.