SCP-3397
rating: +27+x
Deathofpliny

SCP-3397, as depicted in 1967.

Item #: SCP-3397

Object Class: Euclid

Special Containment Procedures: Due to SCP-3397 occurring at a regular location and time each year, containment measures need not be enacted for most of the year. From the 22nd to the 25th August, civilians are to be deterred from entering the areas at which SCP-3397 manifests using the cover story of "restoration and preservation of archaeological sites." At no point is any sentient individual requiring a functional respiratory system permitted to make physical contact with any of SCP-3397-1 through -22. Metal objects are to be kept away from any manifestation of SCP-3397.

Description: SCP-3397 is an event, occurring once a year since it was first observed in 1965, which appears to be a re-enactment of the circumstances leading to the death of the Roman natural philosopher Pliny the Elder. SCP-3397 is carried out by a number of selectively-corporeal entities1 (designated SCP-3397-1 through -22) resembling various individuals who interacted with Pliny in the hours leading to his demise. This event occurs between the hours of 1300 and 0800, local time, from 24th-25th August. It is localised in the Gulf of Naples, Italy, particularly around Cape Miseno and the ruins of Stabiae2. The scenes depicted during SCP-3397 heavily resemble those described by Pliny the Younger3 in his letters to the historian Tacitus.

Throughout the duration of SCP-3397, various objects and human figures described in Pliny the Younger's letter will appear from a location outside of line of sight and reproduce the events described in said letter. SCP-3397 begins at 1300 local time, when individuals resembling Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger, and Plinia Marcella4 (henceforth designated SCP-3397-1, 3397-2, and 3397-3 respectively) manifest at Cape Miseno, discussing a "strange cloud". It ends at 0800 local time, when SCP-3397-1 collapses on the shore of Stabiae and cannot be revived by the two slaves attending him (designated SCP-3397-10 and 3397-11).

At the conclusion of SCP-3397, all entities manifested during the event board the galley created near the beginning of SCP-3397 (designated SCP-3397-23). After SCP-3397-2 through SCP-3397-22 have boarded SCP-3397-23, SCP-3397-1 stands and addresses an unknown observer in Latin, saying; "By command of the Divine Caesar, we are condemned to never gaze upon the fields of Elysium. This eternal servitude was the consequence of our impiety. Look upon our plight, o mortals, and repent, lest you suffer a similar fate." After finishing, he boards SCP-3397-23 himself, which then sails southwestwards and vanishes when out of sight.

SCP-3397's secondary anomalous effect occurs when a human subject initiates physical contact with an entity manifested during the event. When this occurs, the subject will fatally asphyxiate in 100% of cases. Autopsies of individuals killed in such a manner reveal that their asphyxiation was caused by the lungs becoming filled with ash. The mechanism by which ash enters the lungs is not known.

It is currently unknown whether SCP-3397-1 through -22 are sentient beings.

Experiment Log 3397:
Test I - 24/08/1968

Procedure: D-1047, selected for his knowledge of the Latin language, was instructed to follow SCP-3397-1 and read aloud Pliny the Elder's book "Naturalis Historia", with the intention of attracting the attention of SCP-3397-1.

Results: D-1047 located SCP-3397-1 at 1301 hours and began reading the book, continuing for over an hour. Neither SCP-3397-1 nor any other manifestation displayed any signs of awareness of D-1047's actions. At 1423 hours D-1047, against the advice of Foundation researchers, stopped reading and attempted to make physical contact with SCP-3397-1 as he boarded a galley at Cape Miseno. D-1047 subsequently collapsed to the ground and died from asphyxiation before medical staff could attend to him. SCP-3397-1 did not respond to the attempt at physical interaction.

Notes: D-1047's lungs were later found to have anomalously filled with ash. All personnel are henceforth to be instructed to avoid physical contact with SCP-3397-1 and potentially all other entities manifested during SCP-3397.

Test II - 30/08/1968

Procedure: The ash found within D-1047's lungs were chemically analysed and radiocarbon dated in order to determine its constituent compounds.

Results: The ash was found to contain pulverised rock, volcanic glass, and minerals and was indistinguishable from non-anomalous volcanic ash. Radiocarbon dating revealed it to originate from around the 9th decade of the 1st century AD.

Test III - 25/08/1976

Procedure: The SCPS Lancer, a modified Point-class cutter equipped with a marine radar system, was directed to pursue the galley (SCP-3397-23) after it departed from the shore at 0800 local time, at a distance of 500 metres.

Results: The SCPS Lancer pursued SCP-3397-23 for two hours as it travelled southwest, at a bearing of roughly 200 degrees. At 1010 hours local time, a previously unnoticed cloud of thick fog rapidly enveloped the surrounding area, at which point visual contact with SCP-3397-23 was lost. Additionally, SCP-3397-23 never appeared on SCPS Lancer's radar.

Test IV - 25/08/1982

Procedure: A radio-controlled robotic drone, equipped with a mechanical arm and a video camera, was directed to make physical contact with SCP-3397-1 in order to test the interaction between manifestations of SCP-3397 and non-living materials.

Results: The drone approached SCP-3397-1 at 0200 hours local time, while the entity appeared to be asleep, and successfully made contact with it using its arm attachment. The arm slowly pressed into SCP-3397-1's body and seemingly sunk into it, as if it were made of a gelatinous solid. A minute into this action, the metal of the arm began visibly rusting and the video feed subsequently cut out. When the drone was later recovered, it was found to have become rendered inoperable by extensive corrosion of its metal components.

Notes: Containment procedures have been updated as a result of this discovery, advising against the introduction of metal to SCP-3397 entities.

Test V - 25/08/1986

Procedure: D-5119 was given an audio headset and instructed to attempt to board SCP-3397-23 at 0800 local time, and if successful to report on the actions of the entities on board. SCPS Lancer was directed to follow SCP-3397-23 at a distance of 500 metres.

Results: D-5119 boarded SCP-3397-23 without issue after SCP-3397-1 through -22 and followed them below deck, where she observed that each of them sat behind an oar and began rowing. D-5119 reported little of interest for the first hour, repeatedly expressing feelings of boredom and attempting to engage in conversation with SCP-3397 manifestations. Any attempts at verbal interaction with the entities failed.

As in Test III, a cloud of thick fog rolled in at 1010 hours and SCPS Lancer lost sight of SCP-3397-23. D-5119 reported that the entities, previously impassive, appeared to have an expression of anguish upon their faces and were rowing more fervently than before. At 1015, SCP-3397-1 was heard shouting at D-5119 in Latin5, who quickly became panicked and requested extraction. Attempts by research staff to calm her and glean further observations failed as she became increasingly more panicked. A Latin chant, gradually increasing in volume, could be heard in the background, intoning "A new supplicant for Caesar. Repentance for a heretic's life." At 1018, D-5119 began screaming incoherently. Audio cut out entirely five seconds later.

Notes: On 24/08/1987, a new manifestation of SCP-3397 resembling D-5119, designated SCP-3397-24, was observed, taking the role of a slave to SCP-3397-1. Testing of SCP-3397 using human subjects is to be discontinued until further notice.

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