Item #: SCP-420
Object Class: Safe
Special Containment Procedures: SCP-420 is to be contained in storage locker 1014-420 at Site-██. Level 3 clearance is required to remove it from storage. Samples of SCP-420-1 not in use for testing should be stored in the container marked "SCP-420-1-decon" in locker 1014-420 until they lose potency, at which time they can be disposed of with biohazardous liquid waste. Please make note of the time and date in the attached log when samples of SCP-420-1 are added to the decon container.
Those infected with SCP-420-2 are non-contagious, and should be contained in standard solitary D-class secure confinement. On reaching phase 3, infectees' rations should be doubled. Phase 4 infectees should be kept under constant surveillance for signs of advancement to phase 6, in which case the infected must be destroyed by high-temperature incineration.
Description: SCP-420 is a dirty bottle of [REDACTED]-brand whiskey with no lid; when emptied, a small amount of whiskey-like liquid (SCP-420-1) always remains in the bottle, appearing as liquid adhering to the sides. This liquid pools back into a few milliliters of SCP-420-1 over time. Drinking SCP-420-1 will cause SCP-420-2, a nonfatal but consuming degeneration and mutation of skin and keratinous tissue (hair, fingernails, etc.) in the infected. Cases of SCP-420-2 should be contained for further study. Early cases can be treated (see Treatment, below). SCP-420-2 has only been shown to affect humans.
SCP-420 cannot be washed out; liquid added in turns into SCP-420-1. When poured out, the SCP-420-1 retains its properties for up to 48 hours. Chemical analysis shows no anomalies in SCP-420-1 before or after loss of potency: it is identical to [REDACTED] brand whiskey when potent, and has all the same effects in addition to causing SCP-420-2. When it loses its potency, the chemical structure changes to that of concentrated urine. Urinalysis of decontaminated SCP-420-1 shows that it belongs to a human male, approximate age 50, with severe liver degeneration. Further analysis using [DATA EXPUNGED] shows that the urine contains trace quantities of [DATA EXPUNGED] consistent with SCP-███; research shows [DATA EXPUNGED].
SCP-420-2's infection progress varies somewhat from patient to patient, but can be described in several phases. Detailed descriptions for therapeutic purposes can be found in Medical Document 420a-4 (attached). Brief descriptions for containment purposes follow:
- Phase 1: Immediately to 12 hours after consuming SCP-420-1. The infected's mouth becomes dry and swollen, leading to slurred speech. Note that this slurred speech is not consistent with intoxication: recording 420-c-004 (attached) contains a comparison of speech patterns resulting from intoxication compared with SCP-420-2. Within 24 hours of consuming SCP-420-1, infected's finger- and toenails become extremely brittle, cracking up the finger and bleeding. Fingernail growth is at the same time accelerated. Ingrown nails are an inevitability; infection of these ingrown nails and open sores is identical to uninfected subjects. Infected's hair exhibits similar characteristics.
- Phase 2: 1-2 weeks after phase 1. Infected's skin become brittle and dry, cracking and sloughing off. Like nails and hair, growth is also accelerated, replacing lost tissue and growing more in heavy, thick folds. Genetic analysis of keratinocytes shows mutations similar to skin cancer. The tissue undergoes additional vascularisation similar to cancer cell metastasis. Though apparently cancerous these cells have not shown any tendency for detachment resulting in systemic spread. Thus, phase 2 is not malignant: even if phase 2 keratinocytes are injected into the blood, they will reattach to the skin layer or die1. Innervation of the site is fully functional. Growth of the skin folds inside the infectee's mouth prevent communication, although growth progresses such that the infected can still breathe and eat. Infectees show a complete disregard for what they eat. Only one post-phase 2 infected has been observed outside laboratory conditions (see Recovery Log 420, below); the majority of SCP-420-2 infectees die due to malnutrition/food poisoning, infection of open wounds, or alcohol poisoning from over-consumption of SCP-420-1 in this or earlier phases.
- Phase 3: 3-6 weeks after phase 2. The infected loses innervation of the skin and other keratinous surfaces. Nerves in the skin layer grow uncontrollably, but no longer send signals back to the central nervous system. Genetic analysis of skin samples from this time show mutations in keratinocytes so severe as to no longer resemble human DNA. Though individual samples suggest the mutations are random, analysis of samples from different infectees shows a consistent mutational path leading to a final genotype with relatively little variation. In other words, the skin of the infected is a different organism entirely, possibly a different species, related only to other infectees' skin. At this stage, 'tumours' may form inside the skin layer, analogous to several types of tissue, including muscle and secretory cells. Also at this stage, the skin slows its cracking and falling apart, although it never stops entirely. It becomes a thick series of leathery folds with exposed, bloody tissue beneath. Fingernails and hair grow out from the skin at apparently random locations.
- Phase 4: 3-7 days after phase 3. The skin begins to twitch and writhe on its own, in apparently random patterns. Differentiated tumours develop into whole surfaces of contractile and other tissues. Small 'throats' begin to form leading from the outside of the skin to the circulation of the host, but are mainly nonfunctional at this point: the host's mouth still does most of the eating, although the host itself doesn't appear to be eating now. The mouth is instead working on its own: CAT scans of the host's brain activity show panic and fear as the only dominant thoughts, and motor groups in the jaw muscle area are not recruited. Rather, chewing and swallowing are forced by the motions of the mutated skin.
- Phase 5: 1-2 days after phase 4. Phase 4 and 5 may overlap significantly, with different portions of the skin entering phase 5 faster than others. The twitching/writhing skin activity gives way to organised motion. The skin can now be considered a separate organism from the host; it moves the body like a puppet (albeit slowly), and exhibits extremely rudimentary intelligence. It is a scavenger organism and opportunistic predator. The skin digests food by excreting a clear enzymaceous fluid onto proposed food, leaving it to digest, and then folding the food into itself. Ingested food is taken into folds lined with thick, heavy, hairs and keratinous plates leading down into the 'throats'. Inside this mouth, a grinding net of keratinous plates break down food, which is then filtered and absorbed into the host's blood. Activity scans of the brain show many hosts, at this stage, have gone insane. Some, however, seem relatively calm, and are processing input from eyes and ears normally.
- Phase 6: Most infected remain at phase 5 indefinitely; the trigger which causes a shift into phase 6 is unknown. The skin begins rapidly growing hair and keratinous "teeth", increasing in mass, and [DATA EXPUNGED]. Infected patients who appear to be entering phase 6 should be destroyed immediately by total incineration.
Treatment: SCP-420-2 can be treated in phase 1 by aggressive radiation and chemotherapy, coupled with constant intravenous administration of formula 420-a09t-t174b (see Medical Document 420a-4 for pharmaceutical and chemical properties and therapy description). This treatment has a 73% success rate (full removal of SCP-420-2) and 21% fatality. From phase 2 onward, constant administration of 420-a09t-t174b will slow the progression by two to tenfold, but rarely removes it entirely (success rate of full removal of SCP-420-2 drops by about 25% per day after the onset of phase 2). Additionally, 420-a09t-t174b appears to be at least part of the trigger to entering phase 6: 420-a09t-t174b treatment should be halted in phase 5.
Recovery Log 420: SCP-420 was found in the possession of an unidentified vagrant in ████ ████████, United Kingdom. Agents had been sent to investigate reports of a "bridge troll", which was revealed to be the aforementioned vagrant in phase 5 of SCP-420-2. The vagrant's skin appeared to be using SCP-420 to create and drink SCP-420-1 constantly through its mouths, although its primary sustenance came via refuse, local pets, and [REDACTED]. The vagrant was collected and designated SCP-420-a. SCP-420-a perished during experimentation on ██/██/2010 and was incinerated after autopsy.