Item #: SCP-2259
Object Class: Euclid
Special Containment Procedures: SCP-2259 is to be kept maintained with charcoal filters and fluorescent lights replaced as necessary. The tank will be cleaned carefully to avoid damage to specimens inside. Twice daily fish food will be sprinkled onto the surface of the water.
No specimens can be brought to term without permission from Site Director ████████ and the Ethics Committee.
Description: SCP-2259 is a 1000 liter glass fish tank measuring 280cm x 65cm x 55cm. It is lined with a gravel substrate, with under-tank filters. Fluorescent lights are set into a plastic hood fitted to the top of the tank. There are several plastic plants and a novelty skull bubbler that opens its mouth at regular intervals.
When properly maintained with salt water, SCP-2259 is capable of spontaneously generating human embryos, henceforth referred to as "genesis events." In a genesis event, 150-200 zygotes are produced. These will immediately begin dividing, following normal human development until day 7. Instead of implanting onto a placental wall, blastocysts will be free-swimming. Each forms an opening in the trophoblast which allows it to consume food flakes placed in the tank.
At this stage, cannibalism will begin to occur; at irregular intervals, a blastocyst will approach another and begin stripping off surface cells until it has killed off the target blastocyst. Other blastocysts will approach and also begin to feed. If sufficient food is provided, approximately 15% of the blastocysts will be consumed in the first four weeks, increasing if insufficient food is provided. They will spend most of their time hiding among the plastic plants.
If no food is provided, the blastocysts will consume each other until only one is left, which will then starve to death.
Aside from the feeding opening, development will proceed normally. At four weeks, limb buds will allow the embryo to swim more freely, and the feeding opening will begin to close as the mouth forms.
At this point, the embryos become much more active and spend more time in the open parts of the tank. Cannibalism will occur at a slightly lower rate, with a further 10% being culled by eight weeks.
At eight weeks, the embryos will be fully recognizable as fetuses, with lengths ranging from 2.5 to 4 cm in length. Arms and legs will be clearly visible, with nose and jaws rapidly [REDACTED]. The feeding opening, now unnecessary, will be completely closed. Most of those that survive beyond this point will have varying rates of genetic chimerism due to incomplete ingestion of other blastocysts.
At this point, they will become much more territorial and aggressive. This is the period of greatest cannibalism as the fetuses actively hunt for each other, using [REDACTED]. 90% attrition rates can be expected by week 20.
At this point, fetuses will begin to respond to auditory stimuli; tapping on the side of the tank causes great agitation at this stage. Lanugo and vernix will begin to form on the fetal skin, providing some protection. Amniotic sacs will form, but will be quickly torn at the limbs and mouths during feeding, leaving those parts free.
By the end of 24 weeks, the fetuses will be clearly recognizable as human, with the exception of [REDACTED]. Fat will begin to form on them; this is particularly recognizable on those most successful in predation.
Any outside animals introduced to the water at this stage will be targeted by the fetuses. In one experiment, a 1.5 kg rabbit was skeletonized over the course of five minutes after being dropped into the tank.
The final wave of predation will occur as the tank becomes crowded due to the growth of the fetuses. By week 30, there will be no more than three fetuses surviving as the weakest and smallest are torn apart by the others. One surviving at this point is typical. The mouth and nose will reform until typical for a fetus of this stage.
At some point from week 34 to week 40, the remaining fetus or fetuses will breach the water and begin to give an auditory cry. If they are not removed at this stage, they will fall back into the water and drown.
Once removed from the water, the fetus is considered born, and will be referred to as an instance of SCP-2259-2. Instances of SCP-2259-2 are identical to normal human infants in nearly all respects. A scar from the closing of their feeding opening is in the same location as a human navel, and almost identical. X-rays of the jaws show some minor signs of [REDACTED], but are indistinguishable without close examination. The infant can be cleaned and the caul removed.
Three weeks after the last fetus has died or been removed from the tank, a new genesis event will occur.
Recovery: SCP-2259 was recovered from a London apartment after the tenant, one Jeremy Watson, came to the Foundation's attention under suspicion of successful application of alchemy.
During the raid, the suspect destroyed much of an old book. At this point, a number of arms emerged from a cupboard and dragged the suspect from Foundation custody before vanishing. It is believed the book was from the Wanderer's Library, and that Watson is currently held prisoner for damage to a Library book.
The book was titled Homunculi and Genesis, written by a 17th century English alchemist named Rafe Hodgsonn. It was concerned with the creation of life, and surviving pages discuss the spontaneous generation of maggots from rotted meat and mice from soiled cloth and wheat. Unfortunately, the process was in the portion of the book destroyed by Watson.
Surviving notes from Watson discuss feeding cycles and the expected stages of development. The notes suggest that Watson had produced several generations of SCP-2259-2 prior to the raid. It is currently unknown what happened to these specimens.
MTF Nu-4, "Golden Standard," has been alerted that this book may be in the hands of other alchemical researchers. MTF Iota-17, "Navel Gazers," are watching for upspikes in the incidence of genetic chimerism, as well as any children showing unusual navel scars or mandible development.
Addendum 2259-23: As of 05/23/2014, only two instances of SCP-2259-2 have been allowed to come to term. One is an Asian female currently six years old. The second is a Caucasian male currently four years old. Both are being monitored, but have shown no anomalous properties. They are unaware of their origin, and have been rendered sterile as a security measure.
Addendum 2259-35: New substrate must be thoroughly cleaned and sterilized before being added to the tank. A specimen of Eunice aphroditois was discovered in the tank and could not be contained and removed for over six months, greatly disrupting the genesis cycle.