Tufto's Snowbox
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SCP89.jpg

Photograph found on the body of an SCP-XXXX-A instance, believed to show the approach to Site 89.

Item #: SCP-XXXX

Object Class: Keter Neutralised

Special Containment Procedures: Following the events of Incident XXXX-911, SCP-XXXX is believed to be Neutralised. However, previous containment measures must remain in place:

A Foundation task force is still to monitor communications channels for any SCP-XXXX incidents among the general public. All Foundation personnel are to remain on a heightened level of alertness and combat readiness, especially those in active combat roles, in case of an SCP-XXXX incident targeting them.

Should an SCP-XXXX incident occur in the vicinity of any Foundation personnel, they are to remove themselves from the vicinity as soon as possible. On no account allow any SCP-XXXX-A instances to make physical contact with you. If you survive an SCP-XXXX incident, please file a report with Director Simon Kells Director Mary Mackenzie, Project Lead on SCP-XXXX.

Description: SCP-XXXX refers to a series of anomalous events. These events consist of the sudden manifestation of multiple humanoids (hereafter referred to as SCP-XXXX-A instances) in the vicinity of a particular individual or individuals. SCP-XXXX-A instances will then attempt to make physical contact with their target(s), and if they are successful will demanifest, taking their target(s) with them.

SCP-XXXX-A entities all wear identical uniforms, emblazoned with the logo of the SCP Foundation. These uniforms appear to be designed for cold weather usage, and prevent any outside observers from seeing the entity beneath. As SCP-XXXX-A instances are able to demanifest at will, and appear to automatically demanifest upon suffering serious or fatal injury, no detailed observations or interrogrations have been made to date.

Approximately 79% of SCP-XXXX events over the past 3 decades have targeted Foundation personnel, all of whom operated principally in combat-orientated roles. A further 16% of events have targeted members of the ORIA, 3% have targeted members of other GoIs, and 2% have targeted individuals with links to national militaries. No other trends have been noted in SCP-XXXX events.

SCP-XXXX events have been recorded as far back as 476 CE; a total of 909 events are known to have taken place, although the real figure is estimated to be much higher. Sharp increases in the number of events can be seen after the advent of firearms and following the establishment of the Foundation and the ORIA.

Addendum 1: Please note that due to the retirement of Dr. Mary Mackenzie, Dr. Simon Kells has temporarily taken over as Project Manager for SCP-XXXX. Due to Dr. Kells' impending [REDACTED] and his involvement with the design of the planned Site 89, a replacement is expected to be found by 24/12/2018.

Addendum 2: The following is a list of particularly noteable SCP-XXXX incidents.

Designation Date and Location Individual(s) abducted Notes
Incident XXXX-1 c. 476, Rome Several former members of the Emperor's personal guard First recorded SCP-XXXX event; the Continuation Chronicle of Gregory describes men in black clothes with the letters "SCP" emblazoned on their arms shortly after the time of Romulus Augustulus's deposition.
Incident XXXX-5 c. 860s, Sistan Several ayyārān, an early form of Islamic holy warrior who made up the backbone of the Saffarid state The Tarikh-e Yaqub reports that a punitive expedition against the Zunists of Afghanistan was prevented by an SCP-XXXX event, featuring several men dressed head-to-toe in black and with "words in the Frankish script" emblazoned on their arms. The author, Rashid ibn Yahya al-Tamimi, noted their discussion of a "Red Shah".
Incident XXXX-24 1366, Suzhou Several gunnery experts in the Yuan army These events were widely observed at the time; it has taken an extremely significant effort to suppress documents related to this event, and remains by far the most problematic SCP-XXXX event to fully contain.
Incident XXXX-25 c. 1440s, Mayapan Several members of Mayapan's royal house, along with multiple Mayan warriors Instance recorded entirely through a later Mayan codex; attached pictures are the earliest known visualisations of SCP-XXXX. This event apparently hastening the city's decline as the cultural and political capital of the later Maya civilisation, a rare example of a major impact occuring as a result of an SCP-XXXX event.
Incident XXXX-89 1824, "London to Norwich Road" The entirety of O5-4's personal guard. First event targeting Foundation members recorded, in the year of the Foundation's establishment. Noteable for deliberately not targeting O5-4, who later reported that they apologised to him and stated simply that they "needed more bodies for the wall".
Incident XXXX-211 1929, Tehran Six members of the original ORIA taskforce First event targeting ORIA personnel. Witnesses reported conversation in Persian taking place betwen the SCP-XXXX-A instances.
Incident XXXX-537 1979, Armenian countryside All combatants in an ORIA-Foundation skirmish. This caused a significant de-escalation of hostilities between the Foundation and the ORIA for a number of years, as the abrupt loss of contact with the taskforces involved led both sides to believe that the other possessed an especially destructive and silent weapon. Security camera footage revealed this to be an SCP-XXXX event in 1987; the information was shared with the ORIA for the purposes of mutual containment.
Incident XXXX-842 2006, Minnesota Two members of O5-4's guard team. This occurred during a major containment breach; an SCP-XXXX-A instance was heard to shout that they "were in the wrong time" shortly before their demanifestation.

Addendum 3: On 09/07/2018, an SCP-XXXX-A instance abruptly manifested outside the office of Dr. Kells. This instance had been fatally wounded with a gunshot to the chest. Unlike all other SCP-XXXX-A instances to date, it did not demanifest upon death. An autopsy revealed that it to be an ordinary human female; analysis of teeth and DNA revealed that she had grown up in West Africa at some point in the 13th century.

Within the pockets of the instance's suit was an unknown electronic apparatus (which had been damaged irreparably by the gunshot) a photograph of the location of the planned Site 89 (see above) as well as three documents bearing an unknown Foundation letterhead. Their contents have been logged below.

Document 1

A NOTICE TO ALL FOUNDATION PERSONNEL 09/12/2084

Hail to you all.

Due to the recent fall of the Hong Kong and the Continuation GOC, the Alliance's communications network has been irreparably compromised by the Other's forces. As a result, the use of all electronic devices for any communications purposes is ordered to immediately cease; communication must revert back to physical forms such as printed paper.

Some of you have expressed concerns over the feasibility, under this new system, of contacting our sites in Western Europe and the Americas, as well our Imperial allies. These individuals should remember that as long as we control the skies, we still have control of the means of communication. Letters to other Foundation sites and to the Empire should be sent through the proper channels; no exception or tolerance will be permitted for alternative methods.

We Shall Prevail.

-The Administrator.

Document 2

A MESSAGE TO THE OVERSEER'S COUNCIL, DATED 20/04/2085

Hail to you all.

I know some of you are concerned with the recent events at Site 89. Be rest assured that there is no possibility of the Shah's forces taking the sites. Aside from upgrades to the Sharding Cannon implemented by Captain Afsaneh, the mirage continues to hold steady and the walls have not yet been breached. Events are continuing to go as well as expected.

I have been made aware of objections to the continued presence of the Apparatus at Site 89. Even if there was the slightest possibility of the Shah breaching that facility, I would remind you that we are still unable to break the protections left on it when the Horde buried it there, and thus cannot move it. I am perfectly aware of the catastrophe that would ensue if it was taken, but we simply have no other option, even if there was a more secure Site in existence, or any way remaining to safely transport it.

Tend to Europe and America, and leave Site 89 to me. We are the last facility capable of turning the tide in this war, and I intend to see that done. Focus on the continued military conversion, and on preventing the Shah or the True GOC from crossing the Rhine and the Rockies.

The True GOC's increasing dominance the skies has led me to entrust this to Lieutenant Inari, in whom I have more faith in than anyone to deliver this safely. Please order her return immediately upon receipt of this message; I do not want her away from Site 89 for too long. This siege requires a constant supply of good men, and I can't afford to lose anyone.

We Shall Prevail.

-The Administrator.

Document 3

Dear Martha,

It's been too long since I last saw you! I am so sorry I was not able to get there at the Trail's start, but I hope you managed to get to the north safely. I know, more than anyone, how hard it is to get away from the Foundation these days, but if anyone can do it then it's the Hand. The Library is probably the only safe place left where none of them can get their claws into you.

I have some news, but you must not tell a soul, in case the Administrator finds out: I should be with you soon! I won't tell you how- too much stuff that could be deadly if this falls into the wrong hands- but it's almost bizarre that nobody's thought of this way before. I feel bad about leaving the Foundation like this, but I've got to get out somehow. I don't know how much longer I'll laugh, and expecting others to care is a luxury in this place.

You might wonder why I don't just go home, when I tell you how I'm getting out. I do miss it. But things are more complicated than that. The stuff they put in my head changed the way I think- made me modern, made me unable to be what I once was. I can't go back to that world any more, and I can't see what it's like today- it's all been burnt in the war. And besides, I can hardly go without my dearest friend! It would be horrible to be permanently parted from you.

There's so much to update you on. I visited the Turkmen front recently- did you know it used to be called the ORIA instead of the ERIA? The Organisation for the Reclamation of Islamic Artifacts, rather than the Empire. You learn so much doing this, it's almost enough to make me want to stay. Studying the history of all these places is so necessary and so fascinating. And I made a new friend- a child in the hunger camps. I can't take him with me, sadly, but he's such a pleasant child. He made me a straw doll- God alone knows where get got the materials.

I know a letter like this is foolish, and unnecessary, and I can hear you berating me. But I need to get this stuff out. I still feel guilty, I really do, for leaving the Administrator. He needs us all, I know. There have to be more bodies for the wall, but 89's worse than ever. It's just frost, smoke and ice, all billowing upwards, and the weapons… there are still humans in the Shah's army, but they keep bombarding them with the worst of sins. The cannon that warp reality, the mirage that drives them mad, and those terrible iron walls, streaming blood from the constant fighting. They rise, up and up forever, only breaking for more weaponary to poke through. I don't know how much of the world's coal supply is stored beneath it, but it seems to keep going on forever.

I've enclosed a photograph of what the mirage looks like nowadays. It's quite ingenious- you can't even tell that there's anything there at all. They all know, of course, but by the time they've bypassed the deception alchemy they're too mad to put up too much of a fight. It's the only thing that's stopped us being completely overwhelmed by numbers, but it's not enough. I don't think this siege will ever end.

I'm going to be sending this from London, and I hope it manages to reach you. I'm being sent to deliver a note to the O5s, so I'll try to disappear there. With luck, I should be at the Library in a month or two. I hope it's not too crowded there. I hope you're OK. I hope a lot of things. I wish I could stay, I know what I'm doing is wrong, but I just can't stay on like this without losing everything. It's necessary, but I can't live as just another body.

I'm thinking of you.

Inari.

Following this incident, Dr. Kells took the decision to cancel the planned construction of Site 89 and to forbid any further use of Item-89939, in an attempt to prevent further SCP-XXXX manifestations.

Addendum 4: On 23/12/2018, an SCP-XXXX event occurred outside Dr. Kells' office in Site 75. This event was notable for the highly unusual pattern of behaviour demonstrated by the SCP-XXXX-A instance, which communicated with Dr. Kells for several minutes. A video and audio feed had been installed by Dr. Kells in his office; a log of it can be found below.

Log of Incident XXXX-911

<Begin Log>

The video shows Dr. Kells office. It is after dark, and only a couple of small lamps, one on his desk and one on a nearby bookcase, provide light; the room is consequently dim and dark. Dr. Kells is writing a report at his desk.

After 19 seconds, an SCP-XXXX-A instance (hereafter referred to as XXXX-A1) abruptly appears in front of Dr. Kells' desk. It stands facing Dr. Kells, who looks up with a start.

Dr. Kells: Wh- ah. I was wondering when one of you would turn up.

XXXX-A1 does not respond.

Dr. Kells: I imagine you've got people watching your precious Site 89. I imagine you have a whole host of spies located up and down the years of its construction. Well, unfortunately for you, I can put a stop to the whole thing right now. The apparatus isn't so important to us.

XXXX-A1 does not respond.

Dr. Kells: If you're planning on doing something to me, then hurry up. I don't have all day, you know. But without me, there's no Site 89 and Apparatus for you to get your hands on.

XXXX-A1: Oh, there will be, Simon.

XXXX-A1 presses a point on the side of its neck, and the suit immediately begins to fold away from him. When it has fully come off him, a humanoid figure is revealed, who looks identical to Dr. Kells. Dr. Kells abruptly starts and stand up, looking shocked.

Dr. Kells: Wh- what kind of- how have you-

XXXX-A1: It's really very simple. Mind if I have a seat?

XXXX-A1 takes a seat in an armchair in front of Dr. Kells' desk.

XXXX-A1: Tomorrow, your job as provisional Project Manager ends. You'll become O5-4, and you'll fly over to Site 01 to be sworn in. It is there that you'll discover that the O5 Council has access to certain advanced technologies that allow them to extend their lifespan. To prevent any aging, and keep them constantly renewed at their own age. You'll have moral qualms about it at first, sure, but you'll do it in the end. It's for the greater good, after all.

XXXX-A1 lights a cigarette, and begins smoking. Dr. Kells slowly sits back down again.

XXXX-A1: The years will pass, and you'll do well for yourself. Very well. You'll end up being the chief member of the Council. And one by one, as they get killed in some meaningless action or other, as they drop like the flies they are, as there isn't enough substance for the newer members to be anything other than mediocrities, you'll end up as the last one left. The only one with power. The-

Dr. Kells: The Administrator. You're the Administrator.

XXXX-A1: Quite. And so are you- or, you will be. The position will have been empty for a long time by then, but in times of war a Dictator is necessary. When it's done, I'll retire somewhere. Crozier Island, perhaps- we always did like the cold there. But until then, I need to win this war.

Dr. Kells: The Red Shah. He's-

XXXX-A1: Don't say his name. Please. It doesn't do good to remind the world of what he is, and what we did. What matters is that the enemy's at the door, and he's not happy.

Dr. Kells: Why do this? Why are you taking people?

XXXX-A1: Because I need bodies for the wall and there are none left. I'm trapped in the far, far north of Siberia, at Site 89, and nobody can help us. The legions have the land, the traitors have the sky, and the ice has the ocean. Nothing can get in or out of Site 89, and the only people left have their own problems to deal with, thousands of miles away. I need manpower. I need bodies.

Dr. Kells: This… that is monstrous.

XXXX-A1: Oh, undoubtedly, but you've been here too long to still have principles about these things. We take them, and we put stuff in their heads to make them fight and understand, and we put them on the wall to fight, to man the cannon, to die. That's our world now. That's where your grand project will lead us. We try to take Foundation people when we can, or ORIA people for our friends down south, but too much change at once is a shock to the system, so we have to spread it out a bit across time. We try to get ones who can hold a gun, at least. Are you alright? You look quite pale.

Dr. Kells: You can change time. You can stop all of-

XXXX-A1: No, sorry, I really can't. You remember what happened the last time we accidentally fucked the timeline up. Your career took decades to recover after that blunder. And besides, it wouldn't work. The timeline has ways of correcting itself; the most damage we've done is almost screwing the Fall of Rome up and messing up the Late Maya, who were doomed anyway. You can't get the staff, you see. Training these idiots is just too much-

Dr. Kells: Shut up. Just… just shut up. Let me think.

XXXX-A1: Take your time. I'm in no hurry. I can travel in time, after all.

There is silence for several minutes. XXXX-A1 continues smoking.

Dr. Kells: You. You're what I turn into.

XXXX-A1: Don't act so surp-

Dr. Kells: Oh, shut up, you smug little- look, what the hell do you want from me? If everything really is so hard to change, why should what I do alter anything? What is this?

XXXX-A1: (quietly) I know for a fact it changes things, because I remember being you.

There is silence for several seconds.

Dr. Kells: What?

XXXX-A1: I remember sitting where you're sitting. I remember- well, I don't fully remember, I think I might have changed something this time around, but I remember myself, sitting there, full of outrage and indignation as I argued against the inevitable. And the version of me that came from the future changed my mind. I stopped the cancellation of Site 89, I took my seat on the council, and I did what had to be done. Because it does have to be done.

Dr. Kells: S-stealing people from the past-

XXXX-A1: I told you. I need bodies. And none of you need them, caught up in your primitive tribal wars with one another, or containing little outbreaks of antimemes or statues. You think the conceptual nightmares or Hindu snake gods which haunt your waking thoughts survived? The Shah is in everything, is in our heads, our hollow hearts. He can't be stopped, except by bodies thrown against him, except by this desperation.

Dr. Kells: You don't know that.

XXXX-A1: I do. I've seen him.

There is silence for several seconds.

Dr. Kells: You've- seen-

XXXX-A1: It was the fifth year of the war, on a snowy day. Those early years were pure carnage. I was leading our forces in a massive offensive against their position in the Altai Shan. We thought we'd finally made some headway in this campaign, after years of failure. His forces were retreating, we'd won the day… and then he came.

I saw him, Simon. I saw what he was. I saw all the bile, the howling, the hate-filled rage of this thing that men had made. It was like staring at a Pattern Screamer, but more hollow. I understood, then, what I'd told myself so long ago. As we fled, our minds on the edge of madness, I vowed that we would never lose. We would not fall. We would prevail. I understood the truth of the world today; its meaninglessness, its desperation, like the dark eyes of an eel in those moments when we cling screaming to life. I won't go like that. We will prevail.

Dr. Kells: You must have tried something else. What ab-

XXXX-A1: Anything you suggest has already been tried. I, or one of the others, or someone in the Empire, or the fucking GOC pretenders in Hong Kong- it's been tried. There's nothing else. There's just the wall. Rights, mercy, ethics, tolerance- these are peacetime things. What we need now is bodies. What we need now is meat. This is war, and I don't care what happens as long as one of us can stand upon the body of the Shah's last follower and still be alive.

XXXX-A1 stubs out his cigarette, and rises, standing over Dr. Kells' desk.

XXXX-A1: You have to give Site 89 the go ahead. You have to keep letting us take your soldiers. We'll be careful. We'll make sure nothing too deadly gets loose. And you can always recruit more. You have all the manpower in the world.

A silence ensues for several moments.

Dr. Kells: I- I can't just do that. It's not- I'm not-

XXXX-A1: You're making exactly the same whimpering noises I made years ago. And I know what I did, Simon Kells. I know what I am. And I know what you'll do. What you have always done, every time every slightly altered iteration has had this talk.

XXXX-A1 begins to walk away. Dr. Kells is silent.

XXXX-A1: Be seeing you. In a manner of speaking.

//XXXX-A1 abruptly demanifests. Dr. Kells is left alone, staring at the snow outside his window. After several minutes, he presses a button on the underside of his desk, deactivating the camera.

<End Log>

At 6.23 the next morning, Foundation personnel entered Dr. Kells' office to find that he had committed suicide via gunshot wound. A short note was left by Dr. Kells to explain his actions.

I know you're never going to read this- you're not even going to have ever existed in a minute- but having considered the matter deeply, I think that you're talking a load of utter horseshit.

I believe you've seen the King. I believe you've been tortured by what you saw. I believe everything you tell me is completely true, my dear Simon. But that doesn't somehow make it true. Your mind's too small for that. All our minds are. You'll never see any truth beyond your own eyes.

You know why old men are so conservative, so backwards? It's not because of the wisdom of experience, it's because they don't know how to be anything else. They've seen so many disappointments and so much of the same old life that they can't concieve of anything else. Minds narrowed to the point that any darkness is considered the ultimate truth.

And that's all you are, Simon- an old man. You sink into darkness and mistake it for some ultimate truth, some nihilistic revelation of bitterness that comforts you to sleep. But just because you can see something in your frail little mind, you assume it never could be. You made this, Simon. You- we- were too weak. You turned humans into objects, into livestock. You smashed your training into their brains, turned medieval women into modern warriors. You kept them as chained prisoners, took away their personhood, took away who they were. You think that's how you win a war?

There's always another way than this. There's always a way out. Your petty fascism is the mark of incompetence, of hysteria and cynicism and the pain of failing wrapped in a madness that looks, if you're the right kind of fool, like a rational truth. But people can't live like that. If you'd given them hope, if you'd given them a future, if you'd made them people, then there's nothing they wouldn't withstand. Make them rise with one heart and voice under a banner of truth. The Shah is small. The Shah is made of our weaknesses. You're wrong, Simon, and you always will be.

You see, what's become very clear over the course of this conversation is that I'm really not the man for the job. The problem isn't the Shah's strength, it's your own. It's mine. Ours. After I let loose the snowfall, I vowed I'd never again let this kind of hateful purity of thought infect me, but here we are again. After all this time, the same old mistakes. So someone needs to remove us from the picture.

The timeline will change, of course. There's no stopping that, but I fail to see any worse outcome than this. We may be gone, but someone else will step up, because someone always does. Because we're people. And when this Scarlet King comes to take us all, we'll be ready. We'll be fighting. And we'll be so very human.

I'd say "see you in hell", but where you're going, there isn't even that.

-Kells.

ARCHIVE OF THIS IS NOT SCP-XXXX

NOTE: These tabs will be replaced by iterations later, when I look into how to do that :p.

It is February, and the snowdrops are in bloom. You can see them outside the station, waving slightly in the breeze. Their heads sway, to and fro, lifting themselves to stare at the sun and falling to droop at the ground.

We say they are in bloom because this is the height of their existence. To be in bloom, to be in a golden age, to be at a peak of life implies that times will come or have been that were not like this, times of painful growth or bitter decay. The snowdrops will die; others may come again next year but the forms you see today will die.

You are standing in the train station. A steam train is coming in. It is 1907, and you are an agent of the SCP Foundation. This is the only life you can remember. The correct SCP-001 instance is Wrong's Proposal "The Consensus"; you survived the Fifth Occult War but with no clear recollection, like so many. A great many things have not happened yet that will happen. The Foundation is still in its infancy, despite the confusion and proliferation of innumerable official stories and rumours and obfuscations designed to hide this fact.

You are an Englishman. You wear clothes typical for the era, and look like a man of business. Your name is John Cutter, and you are 34. These are facts, immutable facts, enshrined in a single narrative of existence. Like most of your countrymen, you belong to the Church of England, and thus you believe the narrative is that of God's creation, Christ's sacrifice, and the wait for an eventual judgement day. But others, both in England and across the world, disagree; and thus to many, the world seems to be a multiplicity, with no fixed meaning. It is a place where a cacophony with no clear harmony ringing true, where some melody might exist but in a form unknown to the musicians.

Essentially, this is reality, where there is no singular purpose and each person is untethered in a freewheeling, nonsensical world. At least, that is what you thought. Now you are not so sure.

There is a train pulling away from the station. It is black, the steam pouring from its chimneys like greying hair. It rushes around you, and as it clears, you find yourself staring at the station cafe. Somebody is sitting at a table in front of it, reading a paper, with a steaming cup of tea. A girl- young- maybe in her early 20s.

You feel as if you know this girl. You do not understand why she is here. She looks up, sees you, and smiles slightly- as if she knows you, but without any real surprise.

You know that things are going wrong in the world. You are an agent of the Foundation, and you've been smelling something in the air all day.

You approach her table, and sit opposite her. Her smile is back, at once more amused and more cruel. She puts down the paper. She stares at you. Her eyes have no irises and no whites. They are entirely black.

"Yes, they are", she says. You do not understand what she means. "Well, of course you don't. You can't read this, after all; only the reader can do that. Do you like my eyes? It's a rather cheap description that is so ambiguous in its meaning; does it mean evil, or mystery, or both?"

You do not understand the words she is saying. Because of course you don't; you're not reading this in what is supposed to be an SCP document, you're sitting at a table in 1907 England and talking to this woman you do not know, but who seems familiar to you. You look at her newspaper. It is wrong. There is no "King Edward VII". Who is that? You do not know who that is. You remember that she enjoys writing stories.

"Do I know you?" you ask.

She smiles. "No", she says. "You have never met me in your life, John Cutter. Because this is not your life any more. You're not my brother, you're whatever I want you to be."

Beyond the station, beyond your line of vision, there is a world, with trees and grass and empires, Scarlet Kings and Black Queens, dusty bricks and stone idols. It is getting smaller. It is contracting, its substance altering, its form being transmuted from one thing to the other. And a girl with black eyes sits and waves her hand, conducting a timeless orchestra.

The table disappears. Your not-a-sister disappears. You fall through the dark, into the interview log.

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