Item #: SCP-2976
Object Class: Safe
Secure Containment Protocols: All known extant copies of SCP-2976 have been accounted for, and are held in Foundation custody at Site-███. All copies are to be contained in standard, Safe-class containment lockers. All keys to the containment lockers are to be held by the current Research Lead, with duplicates on file with the current Head of Security.
SCP-2976 is not to be opened, read, listened to or in any way have its contents perceived by any members of the Foundation above D-class. Experiments carried out with SCP-2976 are to take place in soundproofed rooms. Any copies, recordings, digital scans, or other reproductions of the SCP are to be destroyed immediately after use. Any Foundation employee who has been exposed to SCP-2976 is to immediately undergo administration of Class-C amnesics, to remove the detailed memory of the words they have been exposed to.
Anyone exposed to SCP-2976 outside the Foundation, but who has not yet been infected, is to be administered Class-C amnesics, and any evidence of SCP-2976 is to be removed from their possession. The same process applies to anyone found to be in Stage 1 of infection. Anyone in Stage 2 or higher will be removed to Site-███, to be dealt with on an individual basis. If infection is widespread, refer to Special Procedures B-14, in the addendum.
MTF Lambda-Beta, ("The Bibiliophiles") has set up agents to monitor estate sales, online forums, and used book stores for any copies of SCP-2976. MTF Lambda-Beta is currently headed by Special Agent Kailen O’Reilly. Please direct any information on instances of SCP-2976 not in custody to Agent O’Reilly, at ████████████@███.SCP. Do not attempt to secure the instance of SCP-2976, unless there is a danger of losing track of the item.
Investigation of SCP-2976 is undertaken by current Research Lead, Dr. Kenyana Ulaley. Any researchers seeking to test SCP-2976 are to provide Dr. Ulaley with a fully detailed plan of research, notarized by a minimum of two relevant members of Senior Staff.
Description: SCP-2976 is a book written by science-fiction writer Harold G. Talont, titled 'In the Hall of the Last King.' First published in 1932 by the now defunct science-fiction publisher 'Bewilder Books', the book describes protagonist Tom Johnson's 'exploration of a temple to strange gods, in darkest Africa.' The story is rife with the sexist, racist attitudes of the time, referring to the native Africans as 'savages' and introducing women to the story purely for the pleasure of the protagonist. The 'Hall of the Last King' is described in great detail, to the point that critics remarked it 'seemed to leap off the page.'
Reading SCP-2976, hearing it read (by human or electronic means), lip-reading someone else reading it, or in any other way being made to know the exact words of SCP-2976, may result in infection. Testing on D-class has proven that the presence of other infected, of any stage beyond Stage 1, may speed up the rate of infection and development of infection. Stage 2 infectees that spend substantial time together will increase the development of the infection by at least double, Stage 3 by at least triple, and Stage 4 infectees increase the development of the infection by ten times the normal rate. Merely being around other infectees is not enough to speed up infection; effort must be made to discuss SCP-2976. For this reason, infected are capable of increasing the development even if the time spent together is over the phone or internet. Summaries of the story do not result in infection. Infection is a multi-stage process, as follows.
Stage 1: During Stage 1, the infected becomes intrigued with the story, particularly with the 'Hall of the Last King.' Infected subjects become convinced the 'Hall' is based on a real place, and spend their leisure time attempting to find it, sketch it, or seek out others who may have information on it. Stage 1 infectees will often attempt to interest friends and loved ones in SCP-2976, to infect them as well. The advent of the internet has led to infected being easier to find, as regular web searches for 'Hall of the Last King' have turned up multiple Stage 1 infected. At this point in infection, class-C amnesics are enough to stop or reset the infection.
Stage 2: Subjects initial interest in SCP-2976 becomes more obvious. All free time not spent taking care of themselves or ensuring their survival in some way is spent in pursuit of the 'Hall.' Infectees will sometimes attempt to make copies of SCP-2976, or scan it and upload it to the internet. Subjects report vivid intense dreams of the 'Hall', which seems to reveal more and greater detail of the architecture. While not all infected see the same locations within the 'Hall', there is enough overlap between locations observed to provide a basic layout and floor plan. The 'Hall' as described displays repeated abnormal structuring, with the dimensions, details and architecture being non-Euclidean in nature. Walls become floors, stairs lead to nowhere, and average humans who study the drawings can’t help but feel that something is fundamentally wrong with the pictures. There appears to be no underlying theme for the building, as modern, medieval, Oriental, Greek, and Arabic themes mix and mingle with no regard. See Addendum 12-C. At this point in infection, class B amnesics are enough to stop or reset the infection.
Stage 3: Within nine months of Stage 2 infection, subjects will fall into a coma for roughly 2 days. Upon awakening subjects claim that they were taken to the 'Hall of the Last King', where they were 'showered with earthly delights.' All subjects have used that exact phrasing, before going on to describe an excess of food, alcohol, drugs, and sexual activities with members of the appropriate sex. Infectees at this stage become obsessed in their pursuits, ignoring jobs and families to focus on both finding and fully describing the 'Hall.' It is at this point that many infectees seek the physical company of each other, in an attempt to get a complete lay out of the 'Hall.' At this point in infection, class A amnesics may stop the infection, but any exposure to SCP-2976 will result in immediate re-infection at Stage 3.
Stage 4: When 6 or more Stage 3 infectees gather together, they have a 50% chance of mutating to Stage 4, each day they spend together. Once at Stage 4, subjects begin attempting to build the 'Hall' in real life. This is referred to as SCP-2976-Beta. While this would normally seem to be impossible, subjects are observed engaging in minor reality alterations that allow them to warp building materials to fit. Time and space within any such created structures begin to warp, mostly to the benefit of those doing the building. There is no cure for Stage 4 infections, as amnesics have no effect. Stage 4 infectees cease eating, sleeping and anything beyond working on building SCP-2976-Beta. A Stage 4 infectee must be removed a minimum of 9 meters from the SCP-2976-Beta in order to even be terminated. If they are not terminated, subjects will continue to attempt to build SCP-2976-Beta, even in the absence of tools or materials. Subjects terminated less than 9 meters away from SCP-2976-Beta continue working, despite whatever bodily trauma may be applied, up to and including dismemberment. Subjects at Stage 4 may create Stage 2 infectees simply by talking to them.
As of Incident 5.7L, it is against Foundation policy to allow infected to progress to Stage 4 without permission from both the Head of Security and the Site Director.
Stage 5: The Emergence of the Last King. This event has only occurred twice as far as the Foundation is aware. The first occurrence, Incident 1.11d was what brought SCP-2976 to Foundation attention. The second incident, detailed in Incident 5.7L, was triggered by a previous lead researcher. A stage 5 infection results in all humans within SCP-2976-Beta, infected or not, merging into a singular being referred to as SCP-2976-Delta. More details on this in Incident 5.7L.
Harold G. Talont was a prolific, but unsuccessful, writer in the early part of the 20th century. Between 1921 and 1928 he self-published 31 stories, the majority of which were in the 'gentleman adventurer' genre that was popular at the time. All of his books were widely panned by critics. In 1932, he wrote and paid to have SCP-2976 published. The publisher was a small, vanity press who seemed to have no idea what they were printing. SCP-2976 was seen as a major failure, and caused the publisher to go under. Mister Talont vanished after production and is presumed dead.
SCP-2976 did not begin to exhibit anomalous activity until 11 years after it was published.
After Incident 1.11d, MTF Lambda-Beta was formed to track down and contain all extant instances of SCP-2976. To this date, there have been 7 contained Stage 4 infections, 38 Stage 3 infections, and over a hundred combined Stage 1 and 2 infections. There has been only one Stage 5 infection outside of Foundation control.
Addendum 12-C: [IMAGE FILE CORRUPTED]
Incident 1.11d: On June 11, 1964, Foundation authorities were notified of a Keter class reality breach by agents stationed within the Chinese government. These agents reported that a branch of the government, known at the time as the █████ ██████████ ████████████, had attempted to force what we now know as a Level 5 infection of SCP-2976. Their exact knowledge of SCP-2976 and how they discovered its anomalous effects was destroyed in the controlled nuclear detonation they used to prevent the spread of SCP-2976-Beta. The remaining members of █████ ██████████ ████████████ submitted to Foundation authority, under section 5111.37 of the Belgium Treaty, and turned over all current instances of SCP-2976 in their possession, as well as what few notes remained.
Incident 5.7L: On July 3rd, 1986, Research Lead Kent Hormen requested and was granted permission to create a controlled Stage 5 infection at Site-██. Infection of SCP-2976 was limited to 14 D-class, confined to a single, hangar style containment cell. Subjects were all required to read SCP-2976 multiple times a day. Infection progressed from Stage 1 to Stage 4 within a span of six weeks.
While subjects were originally provided with building supplies to construct SCP-2976-Beta, three days after Stage 4 infection began, subjects were observed to have access to unprovided materials, including rare metals and weapons. At this point, Research Lead Hormen attempted to shut down the experiment through the use of on-site security. Security was provided with sound bafflers to help avoid infection. Despite this, all members of security were infected at Stage 4 within 11 minutes of entering SCP-2976-Beta.
Seven minutes later, all contact was lost with Site-██. All recording and communication equipment ceased transmitting at the same time. The last transmissions showed nothing unusual, beyond further attempts to stop construction of SCP-2976-Beta
31 minutes later, the site transmitted once, via electronic message, under the command code of Site Director James Julien. “He is come, crowned with fire. The Hall is made perfect through his presence. It is not enough. His anger is writ upon our flesh. He will leave. He has returned. Long live the Last King. All is found. We've stopped him. It will not last.” Attached to the message was a blurry image of a humanoid figure, silhouetted by a bright light.
Remote investigation of Site-██ revealed the site to be empty of all life, human, SCP, and test animals. The base had been stripped bare, leaving only the walls intact. There was no sign of bloodshed. The containment cell that had originally held SCP-2976-Beta appeared to have suffered heat damage, the walls blackened with non-anomalous soot. Site-██ was decommissioned and filled with cement.