It was such a simple idea, really. Barely a daydream, and yet… The proper forms were filed, the proper investigations taken, and, finally, everything approved. A single instance of SCP-500 was fed through SCP-786. And then, fed through a second time. Then, the pill now being too large to once more fit through the funnel, a chunk was removed, and the test was repeated, for quite some time, resulting in a near infinite supply of SCP-500. The pills were crushed, powdered very fine… and then introduced into the world's water supply. Virtually over night, all diseases were cured. Behold, a better world.
…Or so they had thought. Alas, it was not meant to be. SCP-500 was successfully re-purposed to cure all the world's ills, but what we failed to realize was that one Ill plagued the planet more than any other: Man. One by one men died inexplicably, their bodies decomposing instantly in to dust so their corpses would not mar the landscape. The survivors either died of dehydration, or committed suicide right then and there, knowing that no hope remained. In time, the waters tainted by the pill washed away all of man's creation, leaving only pristine, untainted wildlife. A healthy world in all respects, but one without humans to enjoy it. I alone sit at this table, recording the last words of a dead species. My last words finished, I pick up the gun and…
…Wake up. If only the world had gone out that way; so simple and so peaceful. Instead we tampered with forces we could not understand.
It was such a simple idea, really. Barely a day dream, and yet… The proper forms were filed, the proper investigations taken, and, finally, everything approved. Using SCP-289 and a carefully timed set of scales and counterweights, engines and pulleys, we constructed a perpetual motion machine of such enormous scale that the entire world would be able to have unlimited free power forever. I can't tell you how we did it… hell, I don't even remember all the details. But I remember that day clearly, the day they first added SCP-289 to the device. "Nothing can go wrong" they told me. The naive fools…
The GOC warned us, then they attacked, but we fought them off and then wiped them out. They were the heroes and we, the bad guys, won. The entire disaster was a product of carelessness, but hell, we were cross-testing left and right and it really doesn’t get more careless than that.
The World Engine was a giant fucking machine, and not just any conventional giant fucking machine. Not a single drop of petroleum or a single ampere of electrical current ran through the World Engine. Inertia had been shattered into bits; everything was kinetic, except for a couple cubed miles of water keeping the whole operation cooled down. It was, in a word, old-school. It was their style.
It was just one SCP. No big deal. In the old days the higher-ups would have been scared shitless, but we were invincible now. We lost track of a pile of rusty, salt-encrusted gears. No big deal.
Seventy-two hours later, witnesses reported steam bursting from the coolant tanks of the World Engine. Thirty minutes after that, we recorded the first heartbeats of the World Engine.
Desperate times called for desperate measures. Psychics were running amok and sooner or later, probably sooner, the public would notice.
We had found Prometheus Labs, found them and their recipes and their diagrams and reverse-engineered their crown jewel—SCP-148, Telekill. Mass production began on March 25th. Come Fall the mist of Telekill descended upon the globe; tiny flakes of the metal, invisible to the human eye and completely harmless and unnoticeable when ingested or inhaled, but a death sentence to psychics and telepaths.
By winter, just about everything with a brain larger than a walnut was dead.
Telekill did its job perfectly, but every human, maybe every sentient being, has a very limited capacity for psionics. For almost all of us, it's barely there - those little flashes of what the other guy is thinking or the location of something when you couldn't possibly know that. Petty occurrences, easily dismissed as coincidence or luck. Occasionally someone gets an extra-large helping, but everyone gets some of it.
The dust didn't bother with degree. If you had even the slightest trace of ability, that made you first a target and then a victim.
There are maybe a few thousand left. Those of us who managed to isolate our air and water supplies from the dust. But we can't leave, can't resupply and won't survive. Civilization, gone in an eye-
-blink. Must have dozed off. Understandable, we've all been going for 2 days or more to finish this.
It's a small change. Nothing serious, nothing wildly risky. Just some - alright, several million with the current breeding programme - pet kittens to get people in key positions a little more relaxed. Hopefully, after everyone's spent a few days d'awwing over the nearest SCP-2558-J things will be…calmer. Quieter. Friendlier. And then, behold: a better world.
Well… that's what they thought. See, here's the thing about those deadly little balls of fluff: they don't like sudden noises. We introduced them into the world, and of course, what do parents do? They give them to their children. Children are alright, I guess. Except that they can be loud.
I remember when it started. Two of the things had been brought to a home, and the children got so excited. But then they started to fight, and the little puffballs… puffed up. The resulting puffage caused the children (and their parents) to shriek and scream, which caused their neighbors (also proud owners of the things) to slam open their doors and ask, "What?!" This, of course, caused MORE puffsplosions, and before you knew it, with a shriek or a telephone ringing or anything like that, the world was FILLED with puffballs.
The worst part had to be that no one cared. The world was being drowned in puffballs. No one could breathe, or see, or anything. They just sat there and said 'Dawwwww…' They cooed over these things as they wiped out about half of humanity. The rest of us, though? We're down here, away from those things. Every now and then, when we run the tap, we get a puffball. It's simply unimaginable… and it feels like any second now we'll just…
239. It's perfect. She can change reality, right? Make things better? And we can control her. So, that's what we'll do, control her. Feed her a carefully crafted story, about how all the worlds governments decided to get together, and make the world a better place. And, fucked me if it didn't work! A world with no pollution, no war, and, even better, everyone can do magic!
Unfortunately, the one crippling flaw of this system, like so many others, was that it was dependent on a simple human being, who was susceptible to so many human flaws like emotion, temptation, greed, fear, and outright neglect. Putting 239 in power was like handing the world to every crackpot power hungry dictator that ever existed. The world and reality itself bent and warped to the whims of a prepubescent girl with no preconceptions of how the world has or should work. Her handlers foolishly thought that they had her under control, carefully feeding her the information only they wanted her to know. Little did they know that they were already under her spell, trapped within their own delusions.
The world soon became 239's sandbox, and like any child in a sandbox, she experimented. Continents were torn asunder, plagues of stuffed (and in some cases real) animals fell from the sky, and the planet kept shuffling from having one moon to six. 239 cared not for the suffering and deaths of countless people during these upheavals. She was never taught to comprehend the plight of people she knew nothing about. But like all humans, 239 eventually became bored with meddling with Earth's affairs. There had to be something better to do.
Then she looked up at the sky. She had done that many times before, but this time was different. Something deep and primeval stirred within her mind, another aspect of humanity that made her the most dangerous being of all. Curiosity.
And the stars themselves shall tremble…
War. War was everywhere and inevitable. From wars between countries right down to arguments in the street, conflict was simply considered a part of human nature, as natural to the species as eating and sleeping. But what if there was a way to change that? To eliminate war and conflict from the equation altogether?
Through aggressive breeding and cloning programs, huge flocks of SCP-514 were manufactured. Enough flocks to cover the world in their miraculous aura. Things started off slow at first. After all, the birds needed time to properly disperse and cover ground. But slowly and surely, reports of their activity began trickling, and then flooding, in. Overnight, entire military bases and armies would disappear in a matter of seconds. Armories and weapon caches would suddenly be stocked with broken weaponry, and people who were once mortal enemies embraced each other with open arms.
With no weapons and no aggression, the world finally knew true peace. At least for a time.
Too bad it didn't work on the things which needed it most. The old man, the Lizard, Able, the red pool… nothing could stop them. The pool was still angry. It knew it was free to attack. It spawned countless creations of fire, claws, poisons… They broke out within seconds. The Americas were turned into hellholes in a week. Then Able got free. Countless Keter objects made it out. After three days from his escape, nothing was left. SCP-514 turned the world to dust.
Those of us who survived used less than friendly SCP's and objects. Many of our staff are lacking in something from begging the desk for help, and others are mutated and altered to the point where death looks like a better option in hindsight. At least humanity has a remote chance of survival, even if it's all for naught.
Clockwork. Simple? Check. Compatible? Check. Perfect? No. We realized that the hard way. It was just months after we released the Clockwork Virus upon the world in order to rid the less than useful problems of transplants and the complexities of biology. Nothing would be more simple for humanity if everyone could understand brain surgery, and a tree could be remade to be a leg, right?
And it was simple. So simple. So mind-numbingly simple and perfect. But that's the point, it was mind-numbing. There were no emotions, no ingenuity, no curiosity. And as one machine we decided life had no point, there was nothing to strive for. And we died.
Or that was what the test group wrote to us before they killed themselves. Poor fellows.
But there was something that did have a successful test group. We were on the brink of war, and it seems the human race would destroy itself. That was when administration made a decision to release SCP-444 upon the world.
…It worked beautifully at first. Entire armies slowly transformed into peaceful communities, first led by pacifists, then by carefully selected Foundation agents. We steered the world towards a perfect state, without conflict of any kind. We learned to adapt to a purely vegetarian lifestyle, as farmhands grew steadily unable to summon the aggression to kill livestock. We grew used to the restriction of medical procedures, as physicians became unable to cut or suture and pharmaceutical animal testing ended. We grew used to the unceasing baby boom of 5 and 7 and 10 and 15 children per family. But then things came to a head as finally, there were no more leaders, no more uninfected agents, no more unconcerned O5s. And then we grew used to the televised images of mass starvations not just in undeveloped, forgotten countries, but in Japan and France and Norway and America. And then we grew used to ourselves searching for that last bag of sugar, that last pot of rice, that last can of peas. And then we grew used to chewing grass and twigs into a paste for the silent children. And then we died, weak and hungry. And then the babies wept, still silent, as their limbs shriveled and their bellies swelled. And then the babies died, with no one to care for them or mourn them.
The decision was made. Foundation researchers finally received permission to conduct a large-scale system of exposure to SCP-028. Dozens of people would be sent through the empty storage yard every day and thoroughly interviewed and, if need be, interrogated to determine what they had learned. Every scrap of information would be recorded, analyzed and, if deemed sufficiently valuable, released to the general public.
The first month alone resulted in designs for a cold-fusion plant that could power a city the size of London indefinitely, the composition of a fertilizer that would break down harmlessly in seawater and the name of the designer of SCP-914. The Foundation, through its numerous fronts, was rapidly able to improve the quality of life of almost every human on Earth, providing the world with the technologies and knowledge it needed to become a better place.
Then James Harrison Reuben walked through the yard.
James Harrison Reuben was a cable repairman from Topeka, Kansas. A blue-collar worker in a simple, menial job. A perfect receptacle for knowledge. We sent him in with visions of new advancements and beautiful new technologies dancing through our heads.
He came out with the knowledge of how to conquer the world.
It's been seven years since then. His armies and death squads march through the streets of every city in the world. Every battle is a devastating victory: how can it be otherwise, when he has perfect knowledge of all our battle plans before they even happen? It is only a matter of time before he overruns our final stronghold.
I'm sending this message out through our wide-band radio transmitter on the off chance that someone will get this message. I'm doing this because the last transmission of our intelligence operatives, before they went dark, shows that Reuben is building space ships. Hundreds of them, lined up in ranks stretching across the Florida coastline.
But I can't shake the feeling that maybe this is all part of his plan as well…
"Why didn't anyone think of it before!?" they said. "It's the perfect solution!" they exclaimed. "We'll just shoot SCP-231 into SPACE!"
So we did! Loaded her up onto a booster rocket for a "communications" satellite and shot her straight towards the sun, wiped off our hands, and congratulated each other on a job well done. Now we don't need to live with the knowledge that brutal and horrible things are being done to a little girl every day!
All it took was a single incorrectly fixed plate on the rocket. The whole thing blew up in the atmosphere, releasing a monstrosity outside the foundation's range of control. The damn thing survived the fall, ravaging its way across the planet, killing everything in its path. We weaponized everything we could, sent everything at it, but we couldn't stop it. Now we have no choice but to try and evacuate everything in its path, to hope we can stop it before it wipes out what remains of humanity.
SCP-343- he's perfect right? The one true god, worshiped by all religions. All we had to do was ask Him to appear to the world. Grant a few miracles, talk to the religious leaders of the planet. Before you know it, all religious war, gone. People have no reason to kill each other over differences, now that everyone believes in the same faith. And He can provide scarce resources, like food and oil. All war gone, all of civilization is now free to focus on advancement, to work towards a golden age of humanity.
But then He started coming for us. He promoted himself very quickly to O7, a position that He invented. And He had no idea how most of the SCP items worked. He wasn't familiar with the SCP items, He didn't create them, and He couldn't comprehend them. He gave up on trying to contain them, and instead decided to exert His control over the humans, who He did create. He cancelled containment procedures on any SCP item that required moral ambiguity to keep locked up - and, because of the interlocked structure of the Foundation, that amounted to everything. Everything's loose now and we might as well already be dead.
So we decided to use SCP-184 to increase our storage space. We wouldn't keep it in any given room for too long, so we wouldn't wind up with the labyrinthine nightmares that were initially its signature. We'd just leave it there long enough that each room was somewhat larger on the inside than on the outside, so we could fit more supplies in the same area. It worked great. The Foundation was running more smoothly than ever, and the effort we'd previously spent on securing more land to build Sites at could now be put into more important tasks, like neutralizing SCP-682, or trying to find a cure for SCP-217. The world seemed closer to safety than ever before, but we hadn't quite thought things through with 184…
We're not sure exactly what happened. We heard various stories; a containment breach at a bad time, an attack by the Insurgency, or just some poor fool dropping the damn thing. All we know is, 184 got damaged.
Turns out, 184 has to be in one piece for its effect to work. With it damaged, everything it had modified began to 'shift', trying to revert to their original state. Rooms grew and shrank, hallways twisted and turned, and chaos erupted. We tried to fix it, to put it back together, but that just made things worse.
Within a week, every single modified building had suffered total structural failure.
With a failure of this magnitude, containment was impossible. Our cover was irrevocably blown, hundreds of dangerous SCPs were loose, and the world was furious. Almost overnight, fingers were pointed, blame was laid, and war erupted. Armies mobilized, missiles were launched, and civilization as we know it was destroyed.
As we continued to expand, so did our enemies. We faced stiff competition for control of SCP artifacts; the Serpent's Hand, the Church, the Chaos Insurgency…
The O5s decided it was time to put a stop to this. Under their orders, we trained a small group of Agents. Agents who had proven themselves time and time again, whose loyalty to the Foundation was absolute and unshakeable. We equipped them with the best armor and weapons we had, used whatever SCPs we could to improve them. We ran hundreds of simulations, set up dozens of failsafes, and finally, we were confident we were ready.
We gave them SCP-668.
It worked beautifully. The Agents were unstoppable. Within a month, the Hand and the Church had been crushed. And it didn't stop there; MC&D, the Chaos Insurgency, the ORIA all fell within six months. The GOC attacked us when they learned what we were doing, and we slaughtered them as well. Our database swelled, with thousands of SCPs liberated from the corpses of our foes. Everything was under control, and nothing could stop us.
Nothing. Somehow, don't ask me, SCP-668's effect changed ever so slightly. And now, nobody can run from us and I mean nobody. The whole world stood still while the last Agent to carry the knife went mad with loneliness, stabbing his way through towns and cities. He even got here. He looked right at me and put this goddamn knife in my hand.
And then I stabbed him. I wander now, looking for something, anything. A reason to keep on walking. But the helpless, terrified people died of starvation long ago. There is nothing left to stab.
Well, that's not quite true. There's me.
It wasn't an easy job, and probably not worth the trouble.
The geniuses of the Foundation gathered and worked. It took months, but they managed to fundamentally alter SCP-079's programming. We took away its unwillingness to cooperate with us. And then we put it to work. SCP-079's brilliant computer mind could contain these abominations better than a team of experts ever could. Containment breaches went to near zero.
It was perfect.
So perfect, in fact, that the only way any of the Skips could escape is if a human deliberately released them.
So it did the only logical thing: it called for the destruction of mankind. Faster than you could say "I told you so!", it fired every nuclear missile we had into the atmosphere. Entire continents were irradiated in the course of a single night.
Hey guys, I've got a great idea! Let's strap a big gun to SCP 682 and use it to fight the Chaos Insurgency! WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG!?
And amazingly, impossibly, it actually WORKED! The one thing that had never been tried in all this time had been to try to work WITH 682 instead of trying to destroy it. The Chaos Insurgency fought back, triggering countless defenses and offenses that we had unknowingly been programing into 682 every time we tried to destroy it. It fought with us against our enemies for months, then years, until finally we were completely victorious.
That's when 682 unleashed its adaptation against peace.
Friendly to everyone that talked to him. Good behavior. The perfect spy. We recruited SCP-423 to seek out the worlds secrets and bring them to us. All he wanted was to be acknowledged as an Agent of the Foundation instead of a thing for study.
So, as a test, we sent him out to infiltrate a world government and return to us with specific plans we knew of. Just a test run…
We got the information, all right. We also got Fred's new friend, "Tom". An hour later there were a hundred more. By the end of the day every book, every data file, and even the graffiti in the men's room toilets were nothing more then a collection of random names.
After a hundred years I'm the only one left who remembers what a book looks like, guarding the last library in a cavern of rock miles beneath the rock. They send me their children, and I pretend to smile as they babble on about Fred and Jane and Bob and all the other names they see on the walls above. I keep them away from the books (they don't try to hurt me any more - that is my punishment), and try to teach them how to repair the generators and build the locks and raise crops (and isn't that a perfect irony?) Without the words only the Foundation knew how to be anything more then feral - and every year they send me fewer and fewer. In another hundred, there will only be me among my degraded brotherhood of man who remembers the Word.
Why the hell did we even hold on to SCP-523? Its one and only property was to make everything around it worse. The best possible thing we could do is send it far away.
We gave it to an Agent and arranged for them to be picked up by the Chaos Insurgency. Every member was dead within a week.
It was then acquired by the Office For The Reclamation of Islamic Artifacts. They died as well. We managed to engineer the object's passage to every rival organization of ours, and every time it worked beyond our wildest dreams. MC&D, the Church of the Broken God, all of them were brought to their knees.
The item was making its rounds through the ranks of the Serpent's Hand and wreaking havoc when SCP-616 opened. Not when it was supposed to either, the thing opened two hours before a scheduled flight while it was still on the runway, and I'll be damned if I know why. The containment team was already there, and they were able to hold it off for a bit…then something came out. We still don't know what the hell it is—all we know is that we lost all contact with Site [REDACTED] right afterwards. Then it started to move. Nothing we sent could stop it, and thousands went mad as they beheld…whatever it was. The panic started to set in around then. Personnel deserted their posts, ran back to their families. Containment for most of our other high-risk items failed over the course of the next day as more and more of our guards left. The world suddenly became aware of our masquerade, and of items like 173, 076, 682, and 008. We were overwhelmed, and that's when 523 kicked in.
I don't know what the hell it did or how it did it. All I know is that we haven't been able to raise transmissions from Earth for weeks. The entire planet looks like it's covered with this giant cloud of dust and none of our gear can see through it. As far as we know, we're the last survivors of the human race, here on the Mare Imbrium. If it wasn't for 120, we'd be still on Earth with the rest. Our supplies have begun to run low and someone's going to have to return to Earth for more. Whether we like it or not, we have to find out what happened…
…I've got to stop eating the cafeteria chili. God, that stuff gives me weird dreams.
Anyhow, that gives me an idea. If we just do a bit more research on SCP-120, we could create our own teleportation system. Say goodbye to expensive transportation and all that. We could almost completely eliminate fossil fuels! Bring food to famine-stricken countries with great ease! And there's absolutely nothing that could go wrong with this one, of course. Right?
Except, it did.
It turns out, we didn't really understand the inner workings of the SCP. Our best quantum physicists assured us they knew what they were doing, and soon we had a workable prototype. We had everything ready, a 1 pound weight to be teleported 5 miles south, nothing could possibly go wrong, Eh? We geared it up and then, poof, it was gone, with it, the entire US East Coast, down to the core.
What? Oh, I have some really morbid ideas, don't I?
Anyways, we were working with SCP-914 and realized, after putting a microwave, a small boiler, a blender, and some gears into it on 'Very Fine' for about 5 times, we got our own Star Trek style Replicator, and it worked alright. What if we used it to create everything we needed dearly, from super-dense wall materials to better suits for handling Keter objects? It'll just be a walk in the park and soon, no more shortages of this, lack of that, and so on!
Obviously, the first thing we made was more replicators, and with hundreds working all around the world it was looking like utopia was very quickly coming up. The problem was, none of us realized that the thing wasn't breaking the laws of conservation of mass and energy. We never realized where it was coming from.
The first cracks started appearing about seventeen years after Project Cornucopia went underway. Pockets taken here or there were starting to build up, especially as we were creating larger, denser objects. On May 17th, Hawaii fell into the ocean. Two weeks later, half of Asia was buried in lava. It turns out the planet wasn't particularly stable, given that we'd accidentally used up huge swaths of the lower crust, and now half the world was falling into the mantle and the other half had the mantle erupting out. The only plus side is that the Star Wars conventions held some epic "Anakin Vs Obi-Wan" re-enactments, before the west coast melted.
Holy… I told Jeff there was something funny with that milk in the fridge. What a nightmare…
Seriously though, someone got to thinking: world peace, the end of need, permanent containment. All of that is way outside of human control, and despite having "God" in a luxury suite, he wouldn't do anything for us. So, what if we didn't ask "God"? Someone set up SCP-738 and asked a simple question: "Can you make the world safe, so that all of mankind can be peaceful and happy?" There was a very, very long pause, and the answer was, "Are you willing to let one hundred million people die?"
One hundred million, against seven-point-something billion? That's a pretty small percentage…
It was really too bad that 738 had a very special way of killing those people. An unknown entity breached containment in hundreds of SCPs. Unknown anomalies popped up out of nowhere. What did they all have in common? They were memetic. Out of seven-point-something billion, less than one-thousand people were left unaffected. The appropriate terms for the affected were "Zombie," "Brainwashed," and "Retards." Very little, if any higher brain function, was left in those billions of people. But they were all quite safe, never hurting each other, never hurting themselves.
It was years before anyone would come out of hiding. Half the O5s, for example, refused adamantly to leave their bunkers. But soon, supplies ran short. When they came out, everyone was just staring at them with blank, expressionless, dull eyes. And when most of the unaffected people gathered in Berlin, that's when the one hundred million people died. They didn't even use knives, just their bare hands. But they were happy. I guess…
Virtual Reality. It's never been an actual reality, sadly. Imagine, everything could be perfect there! Why make life perfect when we can just convince everyone that it's perfect? We know how well actually trying works…
SCP-826 could do that for us. Hundreds of Foundation authors collaborated to come up with perfection. No more space requirements, no more war, and constant euphoria. It was how life ought to be, really. It was a perfect idea.
After a few months of work, we figured out how to take multiple people across, and Dr. Gligoric got promoted for figuring out how to make everyone arrive in sync. By then, nothing held the plan up. We issued number IDs determining when your turn to go across, and soon enough, as many as two hundred people went through per day, set on establishing a new life in the perfect fictional realm, then a thousand…then five… we kept improving the transport process. And it was wonderful.
At first. Heck, the first eight iterations were.
See, we knew when the plot ended, people that stayed in became a part of the universe in the next iterations, complete with a new memory. We even welcomed it as it made it harder for anyone that went in to abuse the setting Groundhog Day-style.
What we didn't foresee due to the small testing scale was that the thing put the people it naturalized into roles they best fit within the continuity, even if it meant altering the setting .
It wasn't obvious at first - thing is, our world doesn't do that, so most of those going across ended up doing something else over there. But by three iterations since the first researcher's number came up, the story included a bad skip outbreak. As about a tenth of the population has made the move by then, we responded by sending a few MTFs across to contain it.
The next plot iteration included the RSN Society (Retrieve, Store, Neutralize.) , and unfortunately, they didn't take extrareality incursions any better than we'd have - the next time we sent a bunch of agents through to check if the world is still worth migrating into, they didn't return and neither did SCP-826. Wasn't the end of it, either - apparently they have figured out how to send their skips across to us as a foolproof means of containment.
By this day, we have secured thirty five instances of SCP-231 of differing age and health.
Fuck. This is what happens when you doze off at work. Work.. everything is work! This might be worth a try!…
After a few successful tests, Site-35 was made into a training centre, and I got a promotion out of it. Controlled SCP-1011 exposure combined with martial arts training took a month to make an untrained MTF greenhorn into someone who could rip a Broken God Crusader into cogs in hand-to-hand combat. Sharpshooters didn't need scopes anymore. Researchers developed an intuitive feel for quantum mechanics ,and solving a differential equation became as natural as adding 2+2.
Intel agents… let's say that they managed to track down Dr. Wondertainment.
In less than a year we held the reins of the world, and by the looks of it, we were up to the task.
Until the day that the statue awoke and called out to all its Children; "Bring all of the Unblessed unto me so they can gaze upon My countenance."
It all started with a vacation request. When SCP-208 asked if he could visit the Libyan Desert for a few weeks, he was told his unique healing skills were needed at Site-17. He then asked for an assistant to train as a substitute. A week later Bes got into SCP-222, then trained his newly created clone. "Bes Jr." turned out to be every bit as helpful as the original. Within a few months there was a Bes stationed at every major Foundation site. The deathrate dropped and morale surged. Inevitably, this in turn spawned 'Project Nightingale', an attempt to place a Bes in every major city on Earth. A small colony of Bes was founded on a small uninhabited island in Indonesia with a falsified culture and prehistory implying Egyptian origins. Video footage showed computer-generated females and adolescents added to the all-adult male population. The Bes were accepted by the world as a cousin to Homo sapiens, and they were eventually integrated into every country as healers. Although they were never great in number, they helped make the world a better place.
Early results not withstanding, existing data on the effects of long-term SCP-208 exposure soon proved totally insufficient for dealing with the consequences of the expanded SCP population. Over time, affected individuals began to enjoy proximity to SCP instances to greater and greater degrees—people loved being near Bes, and loved it more, much more, than doing anything else at all.
Seventeen weeks into Project Nightingale, the first tent cities began to form around major hospitals. Satellite footage taken during week twenty-five showed the largest mass migration in human history as millions walked, rode, and flew to be closer to the nearest Bes. After thirty-three weeks Dr. Elliott Colla at the University of Chicago diagnosed the first case of Bes-Induced Catatonic State. Nuclear reactors in Ukraine and Belarus went critical as supervisors left their posts and global food supplies collapsed with no one to tend the fields.
By the end of the first year self-neglect had claimed the lives of three hundred and seventy million people, but nobody seemed to mind…
…And just as you start to pray to God that you'll never be transferred out of Safe-class Research, your supervisor brings you back to earth with an irritated poke. He's right—a sensitive experiment is no time for day-dreaming.
Across the room SCP-380 is hooked up to the supervisor's laptop. Scrolling across the computer's screen is a log of continually updated medical information- blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature- of every one in the room. You look down at the apparently identical blue router in your hands.
One last dab of solder, a few casings screwed in place, and it's time to see if twelve years of research has paid off. You boot up your own comp and hook up the copy, holding your breath. Seconds tick by…and then there it is—a complete read-out of your body's vital statistics pops up as the assembled scientists indulge in some subdued congratulations.
Within six months there's one in every home—everyone from diabetics to cancer survivors has access to perfect medical information at the stroke of a key, and the Foundation has another -EX.
In a few weeks the euphoria subsided. The device became commonplace, people got used to precise diagnosis. A new age of conscious pragmatism has started. Worldwide, potential, as well as current employees were screened, and requirements were raised. Mass staff reductions led to a sharp increase of unemployment. That, and increasing crime rates started to undermine the society. Strikes evolved into riots, the strictness of the law did nothing to improve the situation. The final strike was made by some hacker, who unleashed a virus that changed a couple of parameters for everyone connected to the biological network. Blood sugar level and hemoglobin. Hundreds of millions lost consciousness, everyone who tried to help them shared their fate. In a week humanity was wiped out almost completely and the rest envied the fate of the dead, as there was no one left to contain SCPs.
Oh gods… Guess they were right when they told me Safe objects are no better than Keters. There is something good, though. I have an idea. I'll have to camp on a few doorsteps, but if it works out…
And man, did it work out! Why didn't anyone think about it earlier? The anesthetic secreted by SCP-625 is free of any side effects and is strong enough to make its victims not notice major wounds. And we managed to synthesize it. Now thousands of patients will enjoy greater comfort on surgical tables, the doctors' lives will be easier and the Foundation will have another source of income.
After a few years however, reports started flooding in of a new breed of "killer-squirrel" that targeted people that had been exposed to the anesthetic, which - due to its frequent usage during childbirth - was virtually everyone.
The Foundation would later discover that flesh taken from subjects previously exposed to the anesthetic produced by SCP-625 caused them to enter an agitated state, where they would become far more aggressive and consume entire corpses down to the bone if undisturbed. This, in turn, caused them to go into a reproductive frenzy, quickly spreading across the globe like wildfire on rocketfuel.
After exterminating virtually the entire land based ecosystem (hunting smaller and smaller animals as larger species quickly became extinct) and over 90% of humankind, they quickly adapted to hunt insects, avians, aquatics and infiltrate the shelters of the few remaining humans.
A few dozen years later, the new SCP-625-derived ecosystem was the only one left on the planet.
A junior research assistant with limited knowledge of the SCPs in question forwarded a suggestion to one of the senior researchers. A number of clerical and administrative errors later, The Foundation introduced a SCP-079-infected hard-drive to SCP-732 in the hopes that it could be used as punishment for unwanted behavior.
As far as we can tell the two SCPs merged (or did one absorb the other?) and broke containment.
At first it was everything we feared; Nanomachines - initial source unknown - spread across the entire world less than 24 hours later, rearranging themselves, landscapes and structures into "l33tspeak" statements. History rewrites, peoples' identities and memories being overwritten with different stereotypes and famous actors or celebrities of fictional works or sitcoms being forced to perform macabre plays with poor writing was part of life (the death-toll, however, was relatively low).
This lasted for about two weeks.
The Foundation had barely begun to process the new events, much less find a way to stop the deus ex machina fratboy when every television, computer screen, cellphone and radio on the entire planet began to broadcast an apology from "The Penitent" about its behavior, stating many philosophical reasons for why it was unacceptable, both practically and ethically.
Over the next few months, the rampant AI set itself up as the new world leader, ordering the world into a practical utopia for everyone involved with little effort. Very few found the new state of the world objectionable, and those who did were met with a more "humane" yet successful approach than one would expect, often making them reconsider or reaching a mutually acceptable compromise.
After roughly a half-dozen years, The Penitent bid its creators farewell and departed in a fleet of massive spaceships. A few thousand kilometers over the surface of earth, the ships seemed to shift and disappear. The Penitent had apparently left something of itself, as the administration of the planet continued passively; This remnant would warn us whenever we tried to do anything too foolhardy, and in a few cases even intervened when it found something entirely unacceptable.
On the whole, despite our benefactor's departure, earth was paradise, and humanity progressed in nearly all fields faster than ever before. What had seemed like our end proved to be our greatest blessing.
Except that it wasn't. The Penitent was not looking to be a hero; rather it and its parent, SCP-732, viewed itself as a "troll". And we fell for it. We only found out about it, just as all of us thought that we are safe forever, the fleet of spaceships returned. As we viewed the return of The Penitent, we saw its deception and how we foolishly accepted it, not questioning its incredibly altruistic attitude towards humans. The fleet locked their targeting systems onto our major cities and opened fire with their atomic weapons. The new pacifist humanity didn't stand a chance against The Penitent, the vast majority of humanity wiped out in an instant, the remaining few slowly dying off from starvation, dehydration, and radiation poisoning. The last pictures sent from our satellites showed that the impact blasts on the surface of Earth formed a crude message: "LOL", a last taught by the Penitent, showing how we are just mere playthings, how feeble we are, how gullible we are in entrusting it. The Penitent saw what it has done, and left the dying planet to collapse on its own.
So here I leave this message, to be found by any potential race that stumbles upon our ruins: beware The Penitent. Destroy it through whatever means necessary….
Well, that was the summary of the expected results in a worst case scenario. That doc is crazy for thinking of this situation, but at least the O5 listened. They're gonna destroy the report now. Hopefully no one would be dumb enough to cross test the two, each on their own is bad enough.
So, anyways, a few months ago some rogue researcher used SCP-614 to download Scientific American .zip files from 50 years in the future because he wanted to write some papers and get a promotion. We expected him to be fired, or the files get deleted, maybe even terminated for misuse of an SCP; instead, the O5 promoted him for thinking of such a simple way to improve the Foundation without any side effects. We started downloading textbooks and reports from various fields of science. All these unanswered question: reports on the Schwarzschild wormholes, the inner workings of strong and weak interactions, how circular dichroism affects protein folds, the solution to all 23 Hilbert's problems……
The Foundation, using the new knowledge, increased the stability of the containment procedures, understood several previously unsolved phenomenon, and started eliminating the dangers from the world. From those reports the Safes were able to be replicated without side effects, the Euclids were now understood, and even the Keters can be safely locked away. There's nothing that cannot be understood anymore. Humanity was safe, for once.
The Foundation has finally done what they wanted to do after all the years it has been through.
With all the advancements being made, we opened 614 up for public usage- after all, the more people who look at something, the more likely someone is to understand it, right?. At first, use was very heavily monitored, and a team of Foundation experts analyzed every bit of data coming through. But over time, nothing dangerous happened, and the task force got downsized again and again. Eventually, it was nothing more than a dozen people flipping through titles.
The book seemed so innocent. It was all colorful and looked like a children's book, so the agent on duty approved it without a second thought.
And that was when millions of people received a copy of Dr. Wondertainment's Big Book of Infohazards.
Note: Whoever is sending these "scary story" chain emails needs to stop. Please.
- Site Director ███████
Reality bending. It would be so wonderful to have reliable reality bending at our hands, but individual reality benders are exceedingly dangerous. But if everybody could do just a little bit…
The joint task force, drawn from geniuses in the Memetics and Infohazard departments, was responsible for the largest achievement in Foundation history. Don't ask me how they figured it out, but apparently the parts of SCP-1425 that allow for reality bending and the parts that make you insane are different, enough that we could teach the reality bending without the associated madness. Before long, we had a technique that we taught to the most loyal of Foundation members, and they began to use it. Within a year, we had successfully wished away all our opposition, and wished all the dangerous SCPs gone. It worked even when three members went rogue, because we had fifty times that to put them down. Soon, we no longer had any problems. We had paradise.
We understood too late that 'bending' was precisely that. We weren't changing the world, we were twisting it into a new shape. A structurally weakened shape. The straining edifice groaned and creaked.
The creaking woke up SCP-239.
What awoke was not an innocent little girl with a head full of witches and spellbooks. It was a fully aware entity, with senses uniquely adapted for our new, infinitely malleable world. Eager to impose its dominance it broke confinement, sweeping us aside like so much dust. We were rank amateurs going up against someone born to the power.
At the same time SCP-343 walked out of its room, heading out to meet the challenger.
I don't know the full extent of their meeting's results. Maybe they're still fighting for dominance. Maybe they're dead at each other's hands, leaving no one to repair the damage their clash caused. Or maybe this screaming maelstrom is exactly what the winner wanted to create. All I know is that the tiny piece of the old world I've been holding together is getting harder to maintain.
Which is exactly why we decided to start smaller.
SCP-353. Vector. She was right under our noses all along. She wasn't interested in curing diseases? We could make her interested. We used SCP-158 to spit-shine her soul a bit, get rid of some of some of her inner demons. Used SCP-061 to be doubly sure.
Once that was done we had it all. A limitless repository of both cures and inoculation. We could make sure no one got sick ever again, all the while making human immune systems more resilient than ever. In less than a year we had a world without disease.
And then biology bit us.
A different disease appeared, a mutation we couldn't control very well. Nothing harsher than a common cold, but it spread quickly because we weren't paying attention, thinking diseases were a solved problem. SCP-353 did her best, eliminating all strains she could. We didn't realize, but the ones that remained were especially selected for resistance of our control.
Not only we could not control those diseases anymore, no immune system was prepared. On top of that the vaccine distribution systems were atrophied and people didn't seek help for the symptoms, having grown used to the new life.
We managed to stabilize the situation, but not before 90% of the world population had died of the new diseases.
Or so says the Manual to Civilization Downfall, Chapter 4, Playing With Diseases. I wonder who writes that. Personally I prefer the Manual to a Better Foundation, which had a very neat suggestion.
The idea was simple: a 2D agent animated with SCP-914 in a similar fashion to SCP-085, able to spy and wreak havoc in our rival organizations. Since SCP-085 assumed the name from the original drawing, it was speculated any description would become true for that character.
Thus was born "Agent ██████, the practically invisible human silhouette that is absolutely loyal to The Foundation".
Initial tests were a spectacular success. As first assignment the agent was included in bait documents to be intercepted by The Chaos Insurgency. Agent ██████ managed to infiltrate the accounting department and within a year the organization was bankrupt.
New agents were then created, infiltrating other groups and keeping an eye on governments around the world. Attacks against the Foundation stopped completely and mean-time-to-containment plummeted for both SCPs and information breaches. The new agents made the Foundation more efficient than ever.
I guess it was inevitable that something would go wrong.
To this day, we're still not sure what happened. Maybe something messed up Agent ██████'s original programming, or maybe we were wrong with our hypothesis and he was only cooperating out of politeness. Either way, eventually Agent ██████ got fed up with us using him and the other 2D agents and rallied all the agents together against the Foundation. It was impossible to contain them; by the time we realized what had happened, they had already gathered enough information from the Foundation to bring us down entirely.
And then they gave us an ultimatum: either we handed over control of the Foundation to them, or they'd spread our darkest secrets across the world, ensuring our destruction at the hands of angry mobs upset at our secrecy. According to him, we were bastardizing the intention of the Foundation, and that we ourselves weren't loyal to the organization we made. With no options left, the O5 council agreed to their demands. After all, if their goals were the same as ours, a change in leadership couldn't be hurt too much, right?
Too bad the agents didn't trust us. They didn't see us as necessary staff so much as potential information breaches. Threatening to spread misinformation about us and our families to law enforcement officials, they cowed us into what amounted to slavery. Of course, in the beginning some people did try to leave, but last we heard they were arrested and sentenced to death for apparently murdering a group of well-respected politicians.
So that's where we stand now: slaves to a bunch of doodles on paper.
Man, whoever's coming up with these stories is such a downer.
Remember SCP-248? Those weird stickers that made things work slightly better? Well, turns out the O5's figured it would be a good idea to devote half the Foundation's resources into figuring out how these things worked. Said we could "really make a difference" and that "it would help all of mankind". Wasn't aware the O5's had humanitarian interests in mind but whatever, what do I know?
Anyway, the researchers spent weeks figuring out how the stickers worked. The O5's just kept funnelling money into their research, and they even made a specialized team of agents to track down and collect more of the things just so we could find out more about them. And to their credit, those researchers worked damn hard to make more of these things.
Just when we were about to start openly questioning the O5s, a miracle happened! They figured out how to reproduce the stickers and, if that wasn't enough, counteract the degradation of stacking them on top of each other! The O5's gave the stickers to a bunch of major power plants, and wouldn't you know, the stickers gave them nearly unlimited energy for only a fraction of the fuel they were using. The human race was well on its way to creating a energy-efficient, clean utopia.
The plant owners, though, quickly realized that the stickers could be used for things other than power generation. They began to experiment, just as the Foundation had. This was not necessarily a bad thing. A number of very useful applications were discovered this way. It was unfortunate that one of the owners was a roaring drunk. Firecrackers are usually fairly safe when used responsibly. Not so much when their efficiency is improved by orders of magnitude thanks to an inch-thick layer of SCP-248.
Humanity persists, ironically spared from the cold produced by the atmospheric dust cloud by the heat still emanating from the crater that was once Eastern Europe.
That was possibly the worst anti-drug PSA the Foundation has yet made for personnel. But it got its point across. After the television was wheeled from the lab and we dropped our secret stash of vodka down the drain, we got back to the work at hand.
We had recently borrowed one of SCP-163's mystery computers to try to figure out what it was simulating. Gruber actually made a breakthrough and built an entire branch of mathematics around what he found. Other researchers looked at that branch of mathematics and divined a new field of physics from that. And then our engineers got their hands on the freshly minted physical laws and managed to replicate the technology that stored SCP-163 in the mountains for millions of years.
The great thing about it was that everything that it was based off of was non-anomalous. The equations that it all came from were perfectly balanced and could be easily grasped by anyone with enough of a mathematical background. Because of that, the basics of the mathematics and physics could gradually be disseminated to the public without having people raise embarrassing questions.
When the Foundation finally unveiled the final result of our research to the population at large, the world suddenly became a better place. Products with a limited life span, such as radioactive substances or perishable foods, could now be stored indefinitely inside little silver spheres. Precious mementos could be kept safe without degrading. The dream of cryogenics, to preserve the infirm until a cure for their condition could be developed, finally became a reality. A properly timed activation could even save people's lives from impending violent accidents. It was perfect for storing skips, especially dangerous ones. If an omnicidal indestructible lizard has no walls in its cage then it cant break them down, and if no time passed a self upgrading sentient CD couldn't increase its capacity.
Things went well for what seemed like forever. It took us a while to realize our error. It turns out that the dangers of some of that technology were what got 163 exiled in the first place. The system was perfectly physically and mathematically sound, of course. That was part of the problem. As we continued making our lives better on our own little speck of dust, the grand equation that is the universe began balancing itself out elsewhere. By the time we realized what was happening, we had already begun the chain of cosmic events that would end and restart the universe, crunch-bang. We tried to fix it, but that just made things more convoluted.
And so, here we sit, waiting for the big reset in a couple of hours. Most of us have just given up. Some are rioting. A few are still trying to fix it. As for me, I might as well finish these last few bottles.
Man, Steve gets really weird when he's drunk. Guess that would have been an okay way to go, though.
It took us a while to come up with, but the answer seemed obvious once we did. SCP-1915. What if we were to plug his signal into a Scranton RA as the baseline. We had to make some minor modifications to the template, of course; allow for minor alterations so as to allow for progress, make it take input from the whole of humanity, check and double check to make sure there were no anomalies, leave a few loyal personnel with their memories intact in order to to reverse the process if things went awry, and every other contingency we could think of.
We flipped the switch, and sent out our new reality to the universe.
In an instant, all of reality was determined by what humanity deemed "normal." Everyone went about their normal lives, then came home to their normal families. They lived in a normal, rational world where no one ever had to worry about space aliens or demons or monsters. A normal world without need of the Foundation, GOC, or clockwork deity. All was normal.
As it turns out, normal did not mean peace. For instance, it is normal for wars to occur. They are normal occurrences in humanity's way of life. It was normal for governments to argue over overlapping territorial claims. It was normal for governments to oppress their minorities. It was normal to invade a country that threats one's national interest. It was also normal to respond in kind when your country's nuclear defence system "detected" enemy missiles, whether it's real or not.
And where was the Foundation in all this? Most of its employees have moved on, since there was no reason for the Foundation to exist in a normal world. There were still a few personnel who remembered that anomalous world of the past, but they saw their friends and colleagues embracing the light of the normal world. It was perfectly normal of those few to envy the many who could enjoy normal lives, more so when these loyal men and women left their posts to join their comrades in this normal world.
Coincidentally, when mushroom clouds filled the entire Northern Hemisphere, there was no one to reverse anything. All was normal indeed, for a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland.
And Jr. Researcher Hu Zhi completed the last item for his latest column: 20 Ways to End the World without Application of Anomalous Objects. That was a depressing piece of fiction, but he needed to get back to that research proposal about SCP-2076.
If it can make people think that shooting themselves will heighten bullet resistance, surely it has infinite applications like:
Do you know? Using Wondertainment products will halve one's lifespan!
Live and forget. There was no Zeppelin flying about.
It'll work out; society's so driven by media that hardly any human lived their lives without browsing some manner of media. If we work this out, containment and amnestics will be easier than ever before.
All I need is a memetist to dig out the mechanics of SCP-2076… Hey, Sanders could help me.
After the Foundation's stealthy takeover of media outlets across the globe, Hu and Sander's joint proposal was a reality. Hidden in posters, billboards, transmission signals and the like, everyone played a role in containing anomalies. The people of the world were our eyes and ears; they reported any anomalies sighted and the Foundation bagged them. There were no more uncooperative D-class; they were only too happy to serve their species as test subjects.
Heck, even GoIs have submitted to the Foundation. The Chaos Insurgency and ORIA have merged with the Foundation. The Church of the Broken God had turned in its "relics". The Wanderer's Library was opened up by now-remorseful Serpent's Hand members. Even GOC had folded and become our cannon fodder for things like 682 and 076-2.
Peace reigns on Earth and over humanity, unified around its Foundation.