The Foundation knows no ideology but containment. The rest of the world, on the other hand…
- The Woodvale Incident — "The radioactive wasteland that they're so scared of will be the Elysian Fields compared to what the United States will unleash."
- Voices Unassailable — "Here's what you have to keep in mind about the Cold War."
- Matryoshka — "A man, smiling and terrible, his hands reaching to strangle the life from her, each one of her lives coming to the same place. But it isn't death that he is after."
- Cleon — "If that's art, then I'm a Hottentot!"
- Misnomer — "The bias is transparent for what is supposedly an apolitical organization."
- In the Shadow of a High Wall — "Twenty-Thirty knew we could never follow it over the Wall. We had to try and bag it then and there."
- Audio of War — "…may need to detonate the warhead prior to evacuation."
- What the Spybird Saw — "You can't bring civilians on missions that officially don't exist."
- They Will Leave Us With a Shaken Earth — "My beloved Dorothy, there is a whole new war here, a new type of war…"
- SCP-2498 — "Listen very carefully. In the best of all worlds, I am twice-dead."
- The End of History — 11/9/1989
Introduction to the Canon
Hello! Welcome to The Coldest War, a tumultuous landscape of subterfuge and violence set against a backdrop of clashing ideologies and the last embers of romanticism. Across forty years and seven continents, the Foundation struggles to keep the anomalous from bringing humankind even closer to destruction at the hands of overzealous ideologues.
Before you jump in, read through what's been written so far to get a feel for the universe. Then, figure out how you want your piece to fit in with the rest of the collection. There's plenty of elbow room — Cold War lasted forty years and involved almost every country to various degrees, so don't feel you have to reference existing characters or events heavily just to be consistent.
The stories of this canon cover the whole length of 1945 to 1989, and much is left to your discretion, though we ask that you add new events to the timeline in pencil — bear in mind that other writers may want to use the same countries and figures in their own tales.
In such a period of great espionage, the governments involved developed extensive cultures of secrecy and obfuscation. The right hand won't always know what the left is doing, so don't worry about duplication of roles between, say, the African and Asian branches of the Foundation, and so on. That being said, the Coldest War is an interconnected world, so linking is highly encouraged!
Our canon holds tremendous potential for growth and recurrence — a SCP captured by the Russians in 1962 may be unleashed as a powerful new weapon in 1986. As you write, consider what seeds you are setting, for yourself and others. This canon is about compromising principles, about the gap between politics and reality, and about the power of technology to overwhelm the intentions of its wielders. What would America do with the Foundation's resources, if it meant stopping Communism in Asia? How would the Foundation decide what to save and what to abandon to the superpowers? Just how wrong could all this go?
Good luck, and enjoy your stay in the Coldest War!
Writing for The Coldest War
The ashes of Berlin have scarcely cooled when the wartime Alliance shakes itself apart. After alienating Stalin with crude threats at the Potsdam Conference, inexperienced President Truman can only watch as struggles of every scale and dimension spread from the mountains of Afghanistan to the jungles of Peru. Ancient ambitions and treasured grudges — not to mention the Communist/Capitalist squabble — are bubbling to the surface in Africa, Asia, and the Balkans. Millions are ensnared in the clash of ideologies or manipulate the warring powers to their own ends.
World War Two dragged a reluctant world across the Rubicon. Nazi science may have led the charge in turning the supernatural into weapons, but their example has been picked up by numerous others. The leaders of the US and USSR have recognized the critical role to be played by what the Foundation calls the anomalous, and what the world knows as the parascientific. Though the cat is at best half out of the bag, there's no going back.
Seeking to ride out the flood, and evade those who would loot the Foundation for the next great weapon, the Foundation has temporarily relocated the most sensitive and destructive of its assets to the non-aligned nations of the world — Egypt, India, and Indonesia — but enough has been left behind to set the superpowers down a very dangerous path.
The Veil Protocol has not failed. Though the "parascientific" has become relatively widespread, the average person believes such innovations to be no more than particularly advanced science, the details of which are heavily censored. The Foundation is totally unknown to all but the upper leadership of the great powers, though it works with many governments through front companies and infiltrated agents. As such the Foundation's core mission has not changed, though the willingness of Russia and America to unleash the anomalous has added a considerable sense of urgency. They are to secure, contain, and protect; preserve their artifacts from the world and the world from their artifacts.
Stripped of many of its more extravagant resources, yet still possessing a network of agents and scientists second to none, the Foundation seeks to play the various major and minor powers of the Cold War against each other through force and trickery, if need be — anything to keep the loosed SCP objects from driving the potentially apocalyptic escalation further.
Stalin's paranoia made him fear all outsiders, and his megalomania persuaded him that the answer to his fears was a massive empire of satellite states surrounding Russia. Dominated by many stupendous hatreds for his various enemies, from 1945 to 1953, he nipped at the boundaries of the USSR's borders through all sorts of proxies.
After Stalin came Khrushchev and a succession of elderly party strongmen. All of them see the parascientific as first a means of outgunning their western arch-nemesis and second as a means of restoring the deep wounds of the Civil War and World War II, neither of which have ever really healed.
The USSR is eternally playing catch-up with its wealthier and more heavily armed foe, but the West is never to realize just how fragile the Soviet facade really is. Perhaps the treasures abandoned by the Foundation, in the hands of communist industry, can level the playing field and turn propaganda into reality. Oversight of Soviet parascientific endeavors is provided in large part by the ruthless agents of the GRU Division "P".
Other Communist states such as China and Vietnam see the SCPs as bargaining chips and trump cards for all sorts of projects. How would parascientific assistance have affected the Tet Offensive? Would the Kremlin and China have parted ways if anomalous resources could "persuade" the Soviet leaders to accept the Chinese perspective?
One document, a report by the National Security Council published in 1949, guided the US-European alliance's cold war strategy for the next twenty years. NSC-68 stated very bluntly that the Soviets were trying to take over the world, would never stop trying to take over the world, and couldn't share the world with freedom of any kind. Parascience means, for the early Cold Warriors, the next H-Bomb — another means of staying one step ahead of the Red menace.
First organized in 1950, America's parascientists and anomalous entities ("special talents") under their care are organized into the 388th Independent Special Company, an army unit of indeterminate size split into various detachments and deployed across the globe in pursuit of various unknown missions. First on the list: track down and bring to light the mysterious Foundation and its horde of parascientific material.
In Europe the colonial powers cling tightly to their foreign possessions. Perhaps the anomalous holds the key to maintaining the fraying empires of England, France, and Belgium. Desperate national leaders clinging to past glories may well unleash more than they had bargained for…
Consisting of a number of countries but most prominently Egypt and India, the Non-Aligned Movement looks at the brewing Cold War and wants no part in it. Charismatic figures like Jawaharlal Nehru and Gamal Abdul Nasser rally their people around the idea of a Third Way free of dependance on the war-mongering superpowers.
It's hard to modernize a country without turning to the US or the USSR for hand-outs, though — so when organizations with names like Superior Construction Planning and Sunni Cotton Production offer to pay the bills in return for vast tracts of land in the hinterlands, nobody is in a mood to ask very many questions.
The Groups of Interest
Some of our fellow travelers are more affected by the Cold War than others; the Library does not particularly care for the outcome of the Communist Experiment, while AWCY? finds a new renaissance in the counter-culture enclave of West Berlin. Moreover, aftershocks take time to spread — the Church of the Broken God in Canada may be totally unaffected by the destruction of a Church sect operating in Nigeria. It is up to you to discover how each makes its own way through the age.