Item #: SCP-263
Object Class: Euclid
Special Containment Procedures: SCP-263 is to be kept inside its containment area at all times. Each usage of the item must be scheduled at least a week beforehand to a Level 4 personnel. A camera should be focused on SCP-263 while it is active in order to record everything displayed and said. Personnel using SCP-263 must keep at all times a mobile telephone, a PDA, or a netbook computer with full, unrestricted access to a complete, synchronized copy of SCP Foundation's data banks, stored in a dedicated database server to guarantee full retrieval of an SCP entry in no more than 200 milliseconds.
To allow for greater chances of survival while reading information from SCP Foundation's databanks, design and implementation has been commissioned of an expert system that must parse a question about an SCP written in natural English, scan through the entirety of SCP Foundation's database, analyze the matching articles' text, and deliver an answer within a lapse no greater than five seconds (5 s).
Description: SCP-263 appears to be an ordinary TV, in quite worn condition, bearing the logo of the "THOMSON" company. There is a power switch, two buttons to regulate volume, and two to change channel on the TV, but the latter four are not working. SCP-263 has been observed to work even when not connected to a power outlet.
When switched on, the TV always displays the interior of a studio, whose design bears similarities to studios of game shows from the 60's. A large logo, saying "CASH OR ASH?" in large, stylized letters dominates the back wall of the studio; an unidentified music piece is playing in the studio at all times.
The only man visible in the studio is SCP-263-1.
SCP-263-1 appears to be a male human of Caucasian descent, dressed in an elegant suit, approximately in his thirties. SCP-263-1 appears to have a rather enthusiastic, "over-the-top" personality, and smiles almost constantly. As soon as a test subject switches SCP-263 on, SCP-263-1 will face the subject and say - apparently to some invisible audience - that the subject is "a new competitor" who "just tuned in" to the "Cash or Ash" show. He will then state that he wishes the subject "whole lotta luck" in answering "the three fiendish questions" and "getting the cash - and not ash!" (SCP-263-1's exact phrasing and acting are quite different upon each activation of SCP-263.)
SCP-263-1 will proceed to ask the questions.
All of the questions are related to various SCPs in possession or on record of the Foundation; most of them are inquiries upon rather basic information on the SCP in question, but some of them concern specific minutiae, found only in certain obscure documents which require high clearance and/or are rather complicated to find or reach. In each case, though, the answer to the question is available somewhere among the Foundation's reports and research logs. For a full list of all questions asked by SCP-263-1 during testing, see document #263-Q1.
The subject has 45 seconds to answer each question. If within that time frame the subject supplies a correct answer, his success will be acknowledged and briefly congratulated upon by SCP-263-1, who will proceed to ask the next question.
If, however, the subject answers incorrectly, or does not answer within 45 seconds, SCP-263-1 will announce: "Time's up! So sorry," and the subject will immediately be engulfed in flames of very high intensity. These flames are apparently impossible to extinguish, but disappear on their own after a few seconds, leaving behind only the burnt remains of the subject. The flames are harmless to the environment. Meanwhile, SCP-263-1 will once again address the "audience" and state that the failure is "a pity" and that "hopefully the next competitor will avoid the ash… and get away with the cash!" SCP-263 will then turn off on its own. (Apart from this, SCP-263, once turned on, cannot be switched off.)
If SCP-263-1 notices someone whispering to the subject, or hears someone else tell the answer to the subject; or if the subject attempts to move behind SCP-263 so that SCP-263-1 cannot see them, or moves more than 7 meters away from SCP-263, SCP-263-1 will accuse the subject of cheating and inflict the same punishment as above, remark on the "dwindling ethics of today's people", and SCP-263 will switch itself off. However, portable consumer electronic devices, such as mobile telephones, PDAs, and computers smaller than eleven inches (11"), have no effect on SCP-263-1, as he appears to be ignorant about any technology invented after 1968, thus allowing the subject to quickly look up the information required to correctly answer the question.
Those who answer all three questions correctly receive a prize. It is always a small object (or, in one case, several) which materializes in front of SCP-263. Curiously, upon dispensing the prize, [DATA EXPUNGED].
The prizes given away by SCP-263 seem to be completely random, and not related to the subject or anything else in any way. So far, the following has been given:
- A marble figurine of a dragon, 5.3 cm long, carved with surprising expertise; microscopic observation confirmed that micrometre-size details are present
- Several banknotes, which appear similar to ordinary U.S. dollars; however, the faces of the presidents are all replaced with the smiling face of SCP-263-1
- [DATA EXPUNGED]
- A clockwork figurine, 4 cm tall, made of brass and walking around randomly when wound; the figurine depicts an unknown, vaguely squid-like creature
All attempts to inquire SCP-263-1 about himself or SCP-263 have proven fruitless. SCP-263-1 does not react to any questions or statements, save for the question answers or any "cheating" attempts.