SCP-5XXX: You Can Still Save Her

This was originally intended to be an SCP-5000 Contest entry. When this idea turned not to have a strong mystery theme, I decided to abandon the idea of entering the contest but continue developing this as a regular SCP. I couldn't get it to work, so I abandoned it completely. This is draft four of around six, and dates from around January 2020. This SCP was also intended to be part of Five Five Five Five Five although it doesn't directly factor in to the main storyline, it's more of a side story.

It's usually understood that the Foundation universe is connected to various other universes by various means, and SCP-3125 is stated to be a multiversal-level threat, so a reasonable question is, what happened to those other universes when SCP-3125 arrived? This SCP was intended to explore the answer to that question. In my mind, what happened was that all links between the Foundation universe and other universes were severed, by a combination of emergency manual intervention, automated systems and SCP-3125 itself. However, in those last minutes, some senior Foundation officials may have attempted to "eject" to safety...

This idea never really came together, I think mainly because I never made a firm decision between the two obvious major possibilities: is Evans genuine, or is he contaminated?

I should have picked one option or the other, and I never did, because each of them closes off the really fun possibilities of the other. And, I think I was still stuck on the "mystery" theme, where it would ideally be kept ambiguous and left up to the reader to decide which explanation suited them. The result, then, is a bit of a tonal muddle. In any case, I decided around this point that I had sunk far too much time into this side story and I needed to write another real chapter.

This could be salvageable.

Item #: SCP-5XXX

Object Class: Euclid

Special Containment Procedures: SCP-5XXX's vocal cords have been severed. SCP-5XXX is not permitted writing materials of any kind. Foundation staff with knowledge of American Sign Language or British Sign Language are forbidden from interacting with or observing SCP-5XXX. Archive footage, audio recordings and transcripts of SCP-5XXX and written works by him may only be accessed, under close supervision, by Foundation staff who have received P-1L clearance from Dr. Sofia Mellor. Communication with SCP-5XXX is to be carried out exclusively using Argot, a specially-constructed sign language with an intentionally constrained vocabulary which makes it impossible to express complex or nuanced ideas.

SCP-5XXX is confined to a Type-III+ humanoid containment unit on Site 39.B.

Description: SCP-5XXX is Conrad Allen Evans, O5-7 of the Foundation of parallel reality PL+209480.3/GE-099465.0, which is colloquially referred to by those familiar with his case as "Earth 2". Evans claims to be the sole escapee from a cataclysmic K/A-class event which befell that reality on 30 November/1 December 2016, annihilating an uncertain but "significant" percentage of humanity in that reality. Evans' stated objective in all interactions with the Foundation is to establish cross-dimensional access between our reality ("Earth 1") and Earth 2, in order to provide material support to the Foundation of Earth 2 as they deal with the K/A-class event. In the event that Earth 2 proves to be unsalvageable, he proposes to use Earth 1 as a safe evacuation route for the surviving Foundation staff and civilian population of that reality.

Evans' actual objective is to propagate the Alpha-level memetic anomaly which has overrun his home reality. The opinion of Dr. Mellor is that opening communication with Earth 2 would cause this memetic anomaly to occupy our reality just as it has Evans', with 99.5% certainty.

Evans is a 1.87m-tall human male of mixed ancestry. He physically appears to be between 30 and 40 years old but claims to have been born on 18 August 1909 and to have benefited from O5-exclusive age-reversing treatments.

Evans has demonstrated himself to be fluent in Hindi, Bengali, English and Russian, and can read and write in all of these languages. He has also shown a rudimentary grasp of Chinese and Yoruba, and a sound knowledge of American Sign Language and British Sign Language. Evans' true grasp of Chinese and Yoruba may be better than he has shown, and he may be familiar with other languages not demonstrated, including other sign languages. He has genius-level intellect and is able to rapidly acquire unfamiliar languages by ear.

Evans is cogent, charismatic, disarming and persuasive. He is able to adapt his persuasive techniques to better appeal to the sensibilities of those to which he is communicating. He switches easily between emotional appeals and rational ones, and between highly plausible promises of material reward and equally plausible threats, both personal and abstract. His account of the events which transpired in his reality are vivid, alarming and convincing enough that he has, on multiple occasions, successfully persuaded Foundation staff to release him from containment1 and assist him in escaping. Those taken in by his appeals — and subsequently dismissed from Foundation service — include junior janitorial staff, security personnel, administrative personnel, highly experienced researchers, and even senior (international-level) Foundation executives.

1 Several people have independently contacted me requesting clarification or correction of this statement, which they believed to be in error. It is true as written. — Dr. Mellor

Evans is considered to be a Delta-level memetic threat and a category 9N+ cognitohazard.

History: On 1 December 2016 Evans arrived at Site 300.0, the Foundation's central administrative building for North America. He supplied valid credentials which allowed him through the Site's perimeter and then presented himself at main reception as a "walk-in". He stated that he was a refugee O5 from a parallel Foundation and asked to urgently speak to the Site Director. He was immediately detained for questioning.

Evans described his home reality as being nearly identical to our own, with a historical track apparently matching ours up to at least May 1985 and diverging only slightly from ours in the years since then. No obvious single point of divergence has been ascertained during questioning. Evans described Earth 2 as having largely the same anomalous phenomena as Earth 1, and described an Earth 2 Foundation very similar to ours, aside from certain natural variations in procedures, naming conventions and staff. Evans was apparently able to recall almost all of his Foundation's SCP database, and accurately described a variety of SCPs identical to those we have in containment, though many had different numbers; he also described a number of SCPs not present in our reality.23 Throughout questioning he repeatedly asked to urgently speak to the Site Director or to our own O5 Council, and was denied.

2 Notably, SCP-001 of Evans' reality is apparently completely unrelated to ours.

3 Evans was not informed about the similarity between his Foundation's database and ours, nor was any information about our own SCP database shared with him at this time. It seems likely that equally many of our own SCPs would be unknown to him, but to share such classified information with him in the hope of confirming this would, naturally, have constituted a severe information security violation.

On 3 December the Director of Site 300.0 provided Evans' interview transcripts and a blood plasma sample to a representative of the O5 Council and requested guidance. The Council quickly responded to confirm that Evans was genuinely a Foundation O5, though they declined to explain their rationale. The Council ignored all further requests for information. In particular, they declined to confirm or deny that our own O5-7 was the Conrad Allen Evans of our reality, or that such an individual had ever existed, whether on the Council or not.

On the same day, MTF Rho-65 secured Evans' severely damaged transdimensional escape capsule, which was found at a location given by Evans. Scientific analysis proved that the capsule had indeed arrived from a parallel reality, carrying one humanoid occupant; Evans' fingerprints were also found in the capsule interior.

These combined factors lent enough credibility to Evans' story to officially confirm his identity. He was granted basic clearance, and a small engineering team was assigned to assist him in establishing access to Earth 2.

On 19 December Evans' team carried out the controlled implosion of one of the offspring of SCP-█████, successfully forming an ellipsoidal wormhole terminus approximately 13.2 metres in diameter linking Site 39.B of our reality with a disused transdimensional gate in a Foundation facility on Earth 2. Analysis showed the wormhole to be stable and safe for human use. Later that day MTF Tau-2 transited the wormhole and reported that the Earth 2 end of the wormhole was hermetically sealed off by a sphere made from an exceptionally resilient white metal. Evans called the sphere an "emergency shroud". The interior of the shroud — a configurable display intended to be used for the sending of messages in the event of an emergency — showed symbols indicating lethal anomalous memetic contamination. It also showed written messages in multiple languages warning in the strongest terms against attempting to penetrate or communicate through the shroud, and advising to instead keep Earth 2 sealed off from the greater multiverse for all time.

Evans was able to identify the shroud material as an alloy developed by a senior Foundation containment architect in his reality. He provided a manufacturing process for the shroud material. He also described a hazardous but likely effective procedure for combining several SCPs to breach the shroud. Apparently unperturbed by the memetic contamination warnings, Evans instructed his team to carry out the breaching procedure. At 21:30 on 19 December, one of Evans' technicians notified Foundation senior staff of what Evans had ordered. Evans was immediately classified as SCP-5XXX and taken into humanoid containment.

During further interrogation, Evans adhered to his original story. He described the memetic warning signs as likely a ploy by the K/A-class anomaly to seal Earth 2 off from outside help, marking that reality as its own. Experimental cerebral scanning technology employed at this time indicated that Evans believed himself to be truthful. He repeated his urgent plea to speak to the O5 Council, which was again denied.

On 20 December it was discovered that several of SCP-5XXX's engineering team were proceeding with the breaching procedure, apparently considering the urgency of the situation on Earth 2 and the authority of SCP-5XXX to overrule the authority of Earth 1 Foundation officials. These engineers were terminated, as was a project manager who was found to be collaborating with them.

From 21 to 31 December 2016 a replacement engineering team attempted and failed to shut down the wormhole, discovering it to be self-sustaining with an expected lifespan of approximately 1.07E+23 years. On 1 January 2017 construction of an identical emergency shroud surrounding the Earth 1 terminus of the wormhole began, using the white metal alloy described by SCP-5XXX. Construction was completed on 11 February 2017.

On the morning of 9 March 2017 SCP-5XXX disappeared from containment. Over the course of the following 48 hours it was determined that, using various Foundation staff as intermediaries, he had managed to make his case known to the Deputy Director of the Foundation's Oceania office, who had overruled the Director of Site 39.B without their knowledge and authorized SCP-5XXX to be released. Following his release, SCP-5XXX had made contact with a representative of Prometheus Laboratories Incorporated and promised advanced proprietary Foundation technology in exchange for extraction, protection and material resources. All Foundation staff responsible for SCP-5XXX's escape were terminated. Those remaining staff with knowledge of the case were interrogated to determine their level of sympathy for SCP-5XXX; those unable to maintain a dispassionate opinion of the case were given Class-E amnestics and reassigned. On 29 April 2017, MTF Rho-70 reacquired SCP-5XXX from the Prometheus Laboratories site where he had been secreted, and destroyed the incomplete transdimensional capsule which he had begun to construct with their assistance.

SCP-5XXX escaped twice more over the following twelve months, both times with the assistance of compliant Foundation personnel who had either become familiar with his case file or had been swayed by speaking to him personally. Progressively stricter containment procedures were put into place to reduce SCP-5XXX's ability to communicate his plight to Foundation personnel.

On 30 June 2018, following a third escape attempt, SCP-5XXX's ability to speak was permanently removed, in the belief that the inability to articulate complex thoughts would reduce the memetic risk.

SCP-5XXX is aware that further impropriety may result in significantly more drastic containment measures.

Addendum 1, 30 April 2017

SCP-5XXX's descriptions of the K/A-class anomaly occupying his reality have been removed from this document, as they have been shown to cultivate support for SCP-5XXX's position.

Addendum 2, 1 August 2018

All references to ████████████████ have now been removed from this document, as they have been shown to cultivate support for SCP-5XXX's position. Before his power of speech was removed, SCP-5XXX spoke about ████████████████ frequently in interviews, indicating both implicitly and explicitly that he considers ████████████████ to be more important than his home world or his Foundation.

The Argot language to which SCP-5XXX is now restricted intentionally contains no sign for ████████████████. In spite of this, SCP-5XXX has attempted on several occasions to introduce such a sign. SCP-5XXX is forbidden to use such signs, even in private, or to invent more signs of any kind. Expansions of the Argot vocabulary may only be made with the approval of Dr. Mellor.

Since August 2018, SCP-5XXX has begun referring to ████████████████ obliquely, using the existing Argot sign for "data expunged", apparently making reference to the above restrictions.

Foundation staff are strongly discouraged from attempting to discern the true meaning of this sign.

Discussion (15)

2020-10-08 01:29:24 by qntm:

If I picked a number I would have gone for SCP-5557.

2020-10-08 07:23:20 by Len White:

As written, the O-5 sounds ineffective as opposed to dangerous. Multiple escape attempts accomplishing nothing except worsening his own situation doesn't make him sound like a threat, it makes him look comically ineffective. As an O5, he would have known the quite obvious consequence of going for an immediate breach without first obtaining approval of some sort. And if he was going to breach it in secret, he'd probably have formed a cult of personality (assuming he is anomalously persuasive), ensuring that nobody would have tattled on him before making an attempt. Or failing that first attempt, establish a support base in secret it before enacting a subsequent successful escape attempt. I feel like this would worked been better if he had escaped, instead of being contained -- but that wouldn't an SCP entry make.

2020-10-08 16:49:43 by carl feynman:

How about if two Evanses from two nearly identical timelines show up simultaneously, crashing their machines into each other. The only difference between them is that one of them wants to save his world, and the other is contaminated and wants to destroy ours. When and how does their behavior diverge?

2020-10-08 16:53:29 by Star:

Absolutely no chance he's not contaminated, though I'm very curious about the last redaction.

2020-10-08 20:02:40 by rose kolodny:

My first thought was "what if it was Earth-2's Wheeler, instead?", but I think Wheeler would have gone down fighting. Maybe Bart Hughes?

2020-10-08 21:55:28 by skztr:

my guess for redacted, if it had an answer, would be the Noosphere. But I assume the point is it not having a real answer. I don't think a decision as to whether or not they are "infected" is required for a good story, ie: works fine, as-is. Aside from the seemingly-anomalous-level ability to convince others to join their cause, it seems like a potential "non-infected, but reacting irrationally / unable to accept that all is lost" ie: one doesn't need to be "infected by an extradimensional meme that will destroy reality" in order to cause bad things to happen.

2020-10-09 00:26:44 by thatoneguy:

i feel like the title points the way best for the redaction

2020-10-10 10:50:31 by Fnorfensuld:

I mean classifying especially persuasive people as cognitohazards is the logical conclusion

2020-10-10 12:31:45 by Smith:

" The interior of the shroud — a configurable display intended to be used for the sending of messages in the event of an emergency — showed symbols indicating lethal anomalous memetic contamination." Did you mean exterior? Also, I like carl's idea.

2020-10-12 07:32:34 by JJJS:

The redaction is his romantic partner, right?

2020-10-15 05:16:30 by Ratter:

@Smith: The messages are displayed on the *interior* of the shroud because they're intended to be seen by anyone *exiting* the wormhole.

2020-10-15 07:47:25 by Z:

> i feel like the title points the way best for the redaction > The redaction is his romantic partner, right? That would be my interpretation, yeah. Though conceivably it could be a daughter, I suppose. Overall, I really love the idea of flipping the script and seeing the Foundation through the lens of the Foundation, and I very much enjoyed this execution. I can see how he might come across as too ineffectual, but hey, even an O5 just might get stressed out in a situation like this. I think I'm most curious about the O5 Council's reasoning for confirming that Evans was a valid O5 but nothing else, and also how they reacted internally.

2020-10-15 15:01:32 by Coda:

> I think I'm most curious about the O5 Council's reasoning for confirming that Evans was a valid O5 but nothing else, and also how they reacted internally. I have three theories. The first is that the local O5-7 really is the local doppelganger of SCP-5XXX. The second is that O5s have an identification protocol that they don't want to disclose outside of the Council's lest it be fraudulently replicated by non-O5s. The third is that SCP-5XXX managed to use anomalous influence on the O5 council even through such indirect means.

2020-10-16 04:53:21 by Whybird:

<data expunged> = “(s)he who must not be named”

2020-10-16 18:53:45 by Sean:

In light of the other stories, one of my thoughts is that SCP-5XXX is one of the people carrying the seeds of a "countermeme" to SCP-3125, like Marion Wheeler did. It's not necessarily the same idea; Evans seems particularly motivated to rescue a specific person, while Wheeler's idea seems to be more about being a true believer in the Foundation's mission. It also doesn't mean that Evans is a "good" person or that his actions would succeed in freeing his home dimension. (Wheeler couldn't succeed while she was alive either, without an amplifier for her idea.) I just mean that he fits into the narrative role of the hero standing between humanity and antimemetic threat, who continues to fight even though he clearly should expect to lose. Like Marion, that both makes him a target for SCP-3125 and someone who's able to avoid being taken over by it long enough to keep narrowly escaping. It also fits in with the idea that he seems to be talented and lucky to a degree that makes him seem anomalously effective, even though nothing about him is confirmed to be anomalous. (Though probably all O5s are like that in one way or another.)

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