SCP-5005
rating: +394+x


BY ORDER OF THE O5 COUNCIL

The following file is Level 4/5005 classified. Unauthorized access is forbidden.

5005

Item #: SCP-5005 Level 4/5005
Object Class: Euclid Classified

lamplight1.jpg

A picture of one of SCP-5005's "burning" lamps in the Aetherium district; similar in effect to sodium lamps but based on thaumaturgy rather than mainstream technology.

Special Containment Procedures: Diplomatic relations with SCP-5005 have been established under the terms of the Sarai Treaty. A permanent researcher is to be stationed on SCP-5005 at all times, whose presence can only be allowed or rescinded by the agreement of the project lead and two Foundation psychologists. Other Foundation personnel are permitted conditional research access to SCP-5005 with the approval of their supervisor. Access is gained via a Scranton-Meyerbeer Arc from Site-Q46, located in the Aadzain Universe on the far side of the Western Cluster. Contact your extrauniversal contact for more information.

Personnel are reminded that a prolonged stay in SCP-5005 may be severely emotionally taxing, and are encouraged to consider their own mental health before entering.

Description: SCP-5005 is a human settlement, located 3449 whalons to the Multiversal East of the Central Reality Compass and 87 whalons beyond where matter is ordinarily capable of permanently existing. Consequently, it is the most remote settlement created by a sentient creature and the most remote matter in existence.

SCP-5005 is constructed on an expanse of an earth-like substance, which acts as a fertile soil. The extent of this expanse is unknown, as it is impossible to engage in long-term exploration beyond the limits of SCP-5005 -1's light range.

SCP-5005-1 is a large biomechanical lantern suspended over SCP-5005. SCP-5005-1's light possesses a degree of reality stabilisation far in excess of any other known examples, allowing for the permanent existence of matter within its light range. However, SCP-5005-1's capacity as a light source is limited and temperamental. Due to its size and distance from SCP-5005, its lux illumination is relatively low in the settlement. It is frequently described as being similar to the light of a full moon on Earth.

SCP-5005-1 is suspended above SCP-5005 by a large protruding tendril, which emerges from the expanse and forms an arc above SCP-5005. The tendril is believed to be constructed from an artificially hardened and strengthened form of the expanse-substance.

The composition of the expanse-substance is unknown. Various scholars have proposed a link to Sriskan holochrome, which possesses a similarly unusual molecular structure. However, the archeological record of Sriska is very limited, and no currently known Sriskan technologies could create something on the scale of the expanse-substance. The residents of SCP-5005 refer to the substance as "mahi loam", a word which has no known connection to any of the cultures on SCP-5005 and is of unknown provenance; further investigation is required.

The following is an assessment of other anecdotal evidence and theories concerning SCP-5005's surroundings by Dr. Hamish Franklin, Project Lead on SCP-5005.

Although the historical documentation surrounding SCP-5005's founding and history is relatively extensive, any scientific understanding of the town's surroundings or its light source remains beyond our capabilities. It is clear from the mechanical elements within SCP-5005-1 that it is a synthetic creation of an unknown civilisation, but there is nothing we can find that is remotely similar to it. There are some - some - similarities to Sriskan technologies within the substance of the expanse, but that kind of molecular structure has its forebears in any number of universes in that cluster and beyond - Aadzain, Harkhret, Kharak. What all of them lack is anything even slightly as advanced as SCP-5005-1, which can create almost Earth-like conditions in the midst of unreality.

Any number of theories have come forward. A research experiment of the old Empire, a neo-Oestrian birthing ground, an Aadzainian horse-culling centre - one biologist even thought it could be the remains of a Harkhret pioneer's anglerfish! These ideas are innovative but remain, at best, only mere speculation.

Not even the populace can provide any clues. Whatever ancient people made it must be long dead now. We cannot send Foundation personnel beyond the city limits, of course - far too dangerous - and most anecdotes from the town's explorers simply speak of more and more dark, and that gradual unsettling feeling that they'd been away from the light for too long. Would-be pioneers have either been driven back swiftly or have disappeared.

Only one anecdote has been preserved that holds any interest for us. Roughly a century ago, a particularly daring (or drunken) poet decided to pick a direction and head that way as long as possible. He was just about suicidal enough to stick with it longer than most others, but not so determined that he didn't eventually turn back.

Out there, many miles away, he happened to glance at his hand and saw it begin to unravel. In a panic, he stared across the landscape, and saw a brief glint on the horizon. Thinking it was home, he headed fast towards it, but after crossing a prominent ridge he found that he'd been going in the wrong direction entirely. Before him lay a glassy orb of immense proportions, the colour of milk, embedded into the earth. And a faint light shone beneath its surface.

By some miracle he managed to get home. There wasn't much of him left, and it didn't take long before he expired. But his half-mad, lunatic story he screamed out has stuck in the town's lore. For most of the townsfolk, it remains a cautionary tale for those who might consider stepping beyond the light's edge.

The following are a series of introductory essays on aspects of SCP-5005 by academics and Foundation personnel in the Sol and Orchard Universes who have studied the anomaly. These have been supplemented by Foundation logs that provide examples of the phenomena discussed.

1. History by Dr. Johannes Kobold, Level 3 Foundation Historian.

SCP-5005 was founded by Jean-Antoine Delacroix, a noted poet from the Orchard Universe and former dragoman in the Kievan Republic. Delacroix discovered SCP-5005's location following the dissolution of his relationship with the Strathclyde painter Emily Woolf, leaving him in a state of extreme depression. He attempted suicide via arc blinking, launching himself in a random direction in the hope of expiring in the non-matter surrounding the multiverse.

Instead, Delacroix arrived close to SCP-5005-1. Deeply curious about the location, he blinked himself home to embark on a series of explorations of the site. He founded SCP-5005 in 2107 and gave it the name Lamplight, which remains its common name to this day. Delacroix's stated intention in founding the settlement was to create a place "that could provide a home to the damned, the dispossessed, the refugee and the lost".

However, the initial inhabitants were almost entirely artists, writers and intellectuals from the Orchard Universe, quickly ending Delacroix's utopian hopes for the town. He again fell into depression and disappeared in 2110.

Subsequent immigration to SCP-5005 has followed a similar pattern, with the majority of the town's population belonging to academic or artistic professions. Most other inhabitants are the survivors or descendants of two major influxes of refugees who took up residence in SCP-5005: a group of survivors of the Neon London in 2396 and the remnants of the Tribes of the Many Steppes in 2419.

The nature of time in SCP-5005's non-matter surroundings means that human aging varies greatly from person to person. Consequently, while some visitors have undergone the span of a full human life in a single 24-hour cycle, others have shown no visible signs of aging across many centuries. This allows for an impressive range of sources for SCP-5005's history. An example of this can be found in the following interview with Sergei Osmanoglu, the owner of the Dragoman Tavern, who emigrated to SCP-5005 in 2109.

Interviewer: Junior Researcher Sofia Ramirez

Location: Dragoman Tavern

Date: 29/11/2524

<Begin Log>

Ramirez is sitting in the main room of the tavern, at a table by a window. She has just switched on a recording device and placed it in front of her. A tall, burly man with a thick beard - Osmanoglu - is sitting opposite her. Snow can be seen passing by the window. There is a lit fireplace behind Osmanoglu.

Ramirez: Thank you for agreeing to this interview, Sergei.

Osmanoglu: It's not a problem. I've got time. And you pay the rent promptly.

Ramirez: I - ok… When did you first arrive in Lamplight?

Osmanoglu: 2109, I think. It was a long time ago.

Ramirez: What was the town like then?

Osmanoglu: Small. Cold. Fewer buildings, fewer lamps, less snow.

Ramirez: Yes, I wanted to ask about that - how is there sn-

Osmanoglu: But it was better back then. Delacroix was there. People said he'd founded the place, but I couldn't understand how they could think that.

Ramirez: What do you mean?

Osmanoglu: He didn't have energy. No spark. He'd spend all his time staring out there, into the dark.

Osmanoglu gestures towards the window; the darkness of the non-matter is visible outside.

Osmanoglu: This place wasn't meant for us.

Ramirez: You can't know that for sure. The soil here is so perfectly suited to supporting human life.

Osmanoglu: You don't make a place for people with that thing suspended over it. You'd build a sun or stars, not a pallid half-moon. There are no places for humans this far out.

Ramirez: Other civilisations got close. Sriska, Harkhret -

Osmanoglu: They weren't humans. Wrong cluster. And if they did make this place, and I doubt it, then they are long gone now. Nothing but their dust and their Lamp left over.

Ramirez: So - what did Delacroix do?

Osmanoglu is silent for some time.

Osmanoglu: He had a girl, and it went sour. So he came here to start something new, something great. But the only ones entranced by his mad designs were the same old crowd of poets, all talking about the great utopia they'd build here. Another society of true freedom to escape the horrors of the dozen others they'd made. But they didn't want to do the hard graft or come down from their Bohemian bubbles, so it was all talk. Shooting shit in taverns like this one. I'm the only one left now.

Osmanoglu takes a sip of beer.

Osmanoglu: Delacroix, though, he was smart. He could see this. First time I saw him he'd been here two years, and the absinthe had reached his eyes. He saw that all he'd done was make more meaningless ego. But I think… I think part of him loved the misery he felt. He wrote his best poems here, everyone says so. About the dark as a mirror, and about - about other stuff. You've read him?

Ramirez: Not yet, no - hard to get a copy in Sol.

Osmanoglu: You're the next universe over! Should be easy. On Orchard, you can find him anywhere. Not so much here. People don't like to remember him here.

Ramirez: Why not?

Osmanoglu: Because he talked truths the poets don't want to hear. Or because we all know what happened to him. Oh, there are those who say he went back to Orchard, but any true Lamplighter knows that he stepped into the night. "The night does not give such easy answers", he used to say. I would just pat him on the shoulder and tell him it was OK, and I… he was not a well man, Sofia. He wanted to destroy himself. And we don't like to talk about that.

Ramirez: Suicide, right?

Osmanoglu: No, more than that. I don't think he wanted to die, to end. He wanted to annihilate the idea of himself. He'd come here and order absinthe, over and over and over again, staring at the - the snow and trying to make out shapes. Then one day he was gone.

Ramirez: I… I see.

Osmanoglu: You should go home, Sofia. Go back to your Sol, to your Foundation. This is not a place for well people.

Ramirez: Then why are you here?

Osmanoglu: Someone has to care for the sick. I saw you watching Kastamonu, from your window.

Ramirez: I don't know wh-

Osmanoglu: Tall man. Wore a greatcoat. You saw him, didn't you? Walking down the cobbled streets. He was a playwright, from Daevastan. Smoked those pipes, wrote with trembling hands under the gas lamps. I put the fire on and keep it warm, but he hasn't been back for days. Just walked into the smog, one foot beating a tardy march, withdrawing with the other as a faintly whistling silhouette. You saw him and said nothing. I think you are like him, in a way.

Ramirez: …That'll be all for now.

<End Log>

2. Structure and Society by Dr. Harry Grant, Lecturer in Eastern Multiverse Studies at Kings College London.

SCP-5005 is, properly, a series of five small districts loosely gathered around a central plaza, the Woolf Square. Three of these districts were created by the various artistic groups present in SCP-5005 across the centuries and consequently reflecting their sensibilities; the other two were founded by refugee groups.

The districts are:

  • The Kievan or Victorian district was the original core of the city, founded by Jean-Antoine Delacroix in 2109. The architectural style is reminiscent of the late Dnieperian style, roughly analogous to a mixture of Victorian and Imperial Russian architecture in the Sol Universe but with some oddities, such as a strict adherence to cobbled streets and the regular placement of gas lamps. The ardent romanticism of the city's founders has led to the structure of this district being deliberately disorganised. It has frequently been admired for its many communal meeting places and frequent public concerts.
  • The Aetherium district was created during the Cyberpunk Revival of the 2350s, a response to the horrors of the Burnt Apple War that caused severe destruction to the Orchard Universe's Earth. The Cyberpunk Revival was marked by a deep cynicism and disillusionment with contemporary politics, reflected in an architectural style deliberately modelled on post-industrial decay and internet-based subcultures. The district is thus highly architecturally varied and was renowned for its anarchist politics, which were credited with an urban and social regeneration across the settlement.
  • The Giotto district was created by a group of Sol Universe artists who, in response to the Namibian Crisis of the 2390s, wanted a radical return to pre-modernity as a response to the "evils of the present". The group, vehemently opposed to all realism in art, created the district as a way to return to "a world of starker light", constructing buildings exclusively in Gothic or Romanesque church architecture and with an emphasis on stained glass's light-refracting properties. The early days of this district were marked by an ascetic, medieval morality, almost entirely absent today; the modern neighbourhood is chiefly known for its biannual passion plays and wide range of communal and charitable activities.
  • The Neoclassical district was founded by refugees fleeing the Neon London in the early 25th century. Characterised by 18th century British architecture but augmented by a large number of green spaces, flowing curves and a stated desire to create "utopia", this district was rigidly and rigorously planned as an ideal community of elites. Although this project has long been abandoned, the neighbourhood has become a focal point for a great number of literary circles, with young artists frequently attending its salons and literary festivals and many patrons settling in the district.
  • The Nomad district was created by the surviving Tribes of the Many Steppes. Most of the structures here are yurts and other nomadic tents utilised by the Salome Universe's Inner Asia analogue, but at the centre of the district is a Manichean temple of particular architectural significance even beyond SCP-5005. This district is frequently engaged in housing refugees from across the multiverse, a cause that many of SCP-5005's residents involve themselves in.

Despite many historical differences, conflicts and disagreements between these districts are now uncommon, with the populace as a whole freely mingling. Although each district has its own celebrations, there is one major festival celebrated in SCP-5005 by the populace as a whole: the "Parade of Candles" or "Chrizmata", held once a year on a day roughly analogous to midwinter in the northern hemisphere of the Orchard Universe's Earth. A description of this festival by Junior Researcher Ramirez can be found below.

The festival's proceedings begin at what would be 6AM in the Orchard Universe's Kiev, the system of timekeeping agreed upon since SCP-5005's foundation. Residents from all the districts gather in the central square to engage in a series of acrobatic performances, poetry readings, artistic displays and musical recitals.

The artistic segments of the community essentially use this event to promote and discuss their various works, while the rest of the populace treats them as a form of entertainment. It is notable that while many of these works use the surrounding dark as their subject matter, it is rare to hear discussion of the darkness, both during the festival and outside it.

This activity continues for several hours while the owners of the local taverns begin the task traditionally incumbent on them: constructing a large pyre in the centre of the square. The resulting structure is enormous, but due to the prevalence of fog and snow in SCP-5005, it is frequently unusable as a pyre. In these cases, the populace simply links arms and dances around the structure, before returning to their various homes and cooking an evening feast.

If the pyre does catch light, however, then tables will be set up surrounding the fire and a shared feast will take place in the square. The food here is a mixture of plants grown in the expanse-substance as well as imported food, which makes up the vast majority of the food consumed in SCP-5005. A great many Kievan and Strathclyde delicacies can be found from the Orchard Universe as well as Malted Saloons from the Salome Universe, a delicacy brought by the tribal refugees that has proved surprisingly popular in the town.

After the meal, candles are brought out for the populace to light from the pyre. It will usually be burning much lower at this stage, and is ordinarily safe to approach. Having lit their candles, the populace begins to wander, individually and haphazardly, towards the edges of SCP-5005-1's light range. They will spread themselves out at a safe distance behind the edge of the circle and, holding their candles aloft, begin to sing several hymns in succession. The year's hymns are voted on during a town meeting; they are primarily from the Orchard Universe, but some Sol and Salome songs are sung. There is also usually a reconstructed Sriskan song added as part of the continuing superstition that the Sriskans created SCP-5005-1.

The singing is not impressive, as one would expect from hundreds of people spread out across a very large distance and with little training. Other observers have called the effect charming; it seems to me to be reflective of the almost monomaniac obsession that the denizens have with the light and the fire motif, present in so many artistic works and important to their conversation and culture. It is a bizarre and disturbing fact that so many travel to understand or be inspired by SCP-5005's non-material location but end up ardently embracing the familiar trappings of home.

3. Culture by Pierre Rachmaninoff, Reader in Literary History at the University of Old Kiev.

SCP-5005's place in the canon of multiversal literature, art and music is regarded as highly significant. Its importance to the Orchard Universe's Cyberpunk Revival is well-documented, as is that movement's impact on the culture of multiple universal clusters. Perhaps less well known is the sheer scale of artistic figures who have lived in or been inspired by SCP-5005.

The Dragoman, Firefall and Old Sriska taverns have all seen the formation of a number of significant literary circles. The renowned 22nd century poet Fernand Borges was deeply affected by SCP-5005, writing his famous poem "The Hearth of Baudelaire", a Ulysses-like attempt to portray the common life of the city's inhabitants as a large-scale epic. Martha Vintage's historical novels, all concerned with Sriskan and Harkhretian familes settling on the edges of space, are thought to have been inspired by her stay at the Firefall. But the most famous literary resident is still Delacroix, whose influence over the writing of the whole of the Western Universal Sectors is incalculable.

The unique "moonlight" effect of SCP-5005-1 and the sense of community in the settlement have been portrayed numerous times in the visual arts. The Franco-Salomin painters Claude Karakorum, Mohammed Watteau and Fransisco de Shiraz were all drawn to SCP-5005, with Karakorum's piece Delacroix's Bedchamber being among the most famous artworks of the Western Sector. The musical influence is less easy to trace, but a great many noted composers have made visits. Marius Konigsberg's "Chrizmata" Symphony and the "Cheer and Frost" heptet were both composed during his stay in SCP-5005.

It is notable that the pieces of temporary visitors or recent immigrants to SCP-5005 are almost invariably focused on the non-matter surrounding the settlement, while those of long-term residents are often fixated on community, light and sensual pleasures. Various explanations have been given for this disparity in subject matter. Many short-term residents state that they came to SCP-5005 expressly to see the non-matter and that anything else is simply a distraction, deterring from a proper exploration of the location's "mystery". Longer-term inhabitants often talk about the pointlessness of examining the non-matter or believe SCP-5005's purpose is to act as a beacon against nonexistence. The unexplained weather conditions in the settlement are never mentioned (with a single exception discussed in Dr. Franklin's essay below).

The following is an interview between Researcher Ramirez and the famed Sol Universe poet Juan Lumiere, who settled permanently in the town in 2276. It is included here to give a sense of the perspective of many longer-term inhabitants of SCP-5005.

Interviewer: Junior Researcher Sofia Ramirez

Location: Outside the Firefall Tavern

Date: 12/12/2524

<Begin Log>

Junior Researcher Ramirez is walking towards the back entrance of the Firefall Tavern, which opens onto a wide cobbled street on a slight incline. Fog can be seen all around, obscuring the rest of the street. The sounds of revelry coming from inside the Firefall can be heard.

A man in his 30s, wearing a long thick greatcoat, is smoking a cigarillo outside the entrance. Ramirez approaches him.

Ramirez: H-hello? Juan Lumiere?

Lumiere: The very same. You're that Foundation girl, aren't you? Staying at the Dragoman?

Ramirez: Junior Researcher Sofia Ramirez.

Lumiere: A lovely name. I can only presume, given that recording device on your shoulder, that you have come to interview me.

Ramirez: If we could step insi-

Lumiere: I prefer to stand out here. They are bright and merry in there. I'll wait until the fire is lower and the company more selective. Let the young have their fun.

Ramirez: How old are you?

Lumiere: Two hundred and seventy-eight. Don't look it, do I? The perks of this city. I've aged 6 years in the time I've been here, by my count. But nobody ever comes here for eternal life.

Ramirez: I've been wondering about that.

Lumiere: It's because it doesn't feel as it's meant to. You don't feel like you're living longer, just that those years have been spread out longer. Like skin stretched over a drum. You never develop properly.

Ramirez: Your writing has.

Lumiere: I didn't think anyone in Sol had ever heard of me.

Ramirez: It - well, if I'm honest, it was your work that first drew me here. You're unusual. Your later stuff talks about fire and light, but with much more craft than most of the other long-termers.

Lumiere: You like the newer ones, then?

Ramirez: I - I do quite like them.

Lumiere: But you like the earlier ones more.

Lumiere sighs, and stubs out his cigarillo.

Lumiere: Everyone likes the early ones more. They don't understand why someone would come to Lamplight just to write about the things in their own lives. To them, in their Kievan salons, this place is just the wild frontier, the mystery beyond mysteries, the edge of all creation. They want something wild, not something homespun.

Ramirez: Isn't that natural?

Lumiere narrows his eyes, thrusting his hands into the pockets of his coat.

Lumiere: Do you write, at all? Compose?

Ramirez: I - I play a little violin. I write some stuff in my spare time.

Lumiere: But that's not why you came here. You came here to solve its mysteries.

Ramirez: It has so many.

Lumiere: You're barking up the wrong tree, girl. You won't solve anything. You should go inside.

Ramirez: I'm fine. I'm not here to party.

Lumiere: Then there's your mistake. I've seen so many like you come through here. You've read Delacroix?

Ramirez: I recently acquired a copy. I haven't read much yet, though.

Lumiere: It's his last poem that, if not understood, then at least got some glimpse of this place. Rough, almost like a regression into juvenilia, but the only thing he wrote that really threw a light on the bright young things that come here, full of opium and dreams. You think people come here to see the dark? They come here because they think they should. They think inspiration is full of the external, the depths of the human soul, the ravaged passions of the age. It's not. Inspiration is the dust on a wainscot and the smell of barley, the warmth of heaths, th-

Ramirez: There is an infinite dark outside, a light that should not exist above. Why should I come here to play the fool? This town should not exist-

Lumiere: It was always going to exist. This place was inevitable.

Ramirez: What does that mean?

Lumiere: Why did you not help Kastomonu?

There is a pause of several seconds.

Lumiere: You drink, same as me and the rest. But you drink ice-cold gin in the silence of your room. You spend hour after hour puzzling, typing, working through things. I see you in your window, staring out at the night. And you watched as Kastomonu just marched himself off into the night, because you felt the same things he felt.

Ramirez: W-why do you -

Lumiere: Because I've seen you before, a thousand times. The artist falling on his paintbrush as a sword. The writer who sees God in a grain of darkness. Sometimes I stop them, but mostly they ignore me. The wisdom of youth, and all that. One fine day they'll walk into the night, into the echo chamber of compounded mystery. Never understanding that we built this place to be a beacon against it, the inevitable human sigh of defiance in the night.

Lumiere buttons up his jacket, and begins to walk away.

Ramirez: Where are you going? I'm not done with you yet!

Lumiere: Go to the fires, Junior Researcher Sofia Ramirez. Get a shorter name. Because you'll learn one way or the other that there is nothing out there.

Lumiere down the street and into the fog, whistling the Blue Danube Waltz. Ramirez stares after him for several seconds, before turning her camera off.

<End Log>

4. Psychological Impact by Dr. Hans Freiburg, Level 3 Foundation Psychologist.

The emotional and psychological effect SCP-5005 has on a large proportion of its residents is particularly noteworthy. A minimum of 14 disappearances have been recorded in the town in any given year. Extensive investigations by local law enforcement and Foundation researchers have determined these to be almost entirely suicides.

The reasons for this disappearance rate in a town of SCP-5005's size, with its generally high standards of living, are not wholly clear. The psychological effects of a lack of sunlight or a relatively unvaried diet have been considered, as has the sheer danger of an unpredictable light source, but the most interesting evidence is that the overwhelming majority of the disappearances come from artists, writers and particularly academics who have been been resident in the town for less than a year.

These residents often display similar patterns of behaviour in the weeks prior to their disappearance: an obsession with the non-matter surrounding the town, an increasing dependence on narcotics, and a greatly increased output but diminished quality of work. Many townspeople attempt to intervene, but to little avail; affected individuals are likely to become increasingly isolated and aggressive towards others.

4 Foundation personnel are known to have disappeared in SCP-5005 since the Sarai Treaty was signed, all apparently committing suicide via non-matter. Although a cause of concern for Foundation personnel, the unavoidably limited nature of mental health provision within the Foundation has meant that this situation is difficult to overcome.

For an example of some of the concerns typically raised with the Foundation's psychiatric unit, the following is an extract from Director Franklin's report of a check-in with Junior Researcher Ramirez in December 2524.

After the meal, Dr. Ramirez took me to her rooms to show me some of her initial findings. By this point, I had noticed several things that concerned me. Having known Dr. Ramirez for several years, her voice seemed markedly more strained than usual. She also seemed nervous and was sweating profusely. Several times I thought I smelled alcohol on her breath.

Her "rooms" turned out to be a single cheap bedchamber on the Tavern's top floor. There was little heating and no light, the window opening out of the Giotto district. I asked her why she had chosen this room when we had allotted her a generous allowance; she replied that the rooms on lower floors were "too noisy" and that she needed quiet to work. I thought this plausible at the time - SCP-5005's taverns are not known for being serene places of study - but on further reflection I remembered that two previous researchers, Kobold and MacBride, had similarly changed their accommodation. Both had to be pulled out of SCP-5005, and both had developed the notion that a higher room would take them closer to the "source" of the town's non-matter, a curious piece of unscientific superstition.

I noticed also that, although the bedchamber appeared to be in an orderly condition, there was a sheen of dust across many of the surfaces and a couple of tell-tale signs were visible that indicated a lot of tidying in a very short amount of time. The bed did not look like it had been slept in. Several fiction books, also coated in dust, were lying on the shelves. Only the poetry of Delacroix and two of Lumiere's novels seemed to have been read at all. There was a half-empty bottle of gin on the mantlepiece, which Ramirez quickly noticed and binned in a half-hearted attempt at subterfuge.

Her notes - written by hand - were surprisingly rough. She seemed to only use her digitop for forwarding her data to us. The haphazard organisation went some way towards explaining the decreased quality of her work, but the odd breaks in writing tone and lack of professionalism in interviews still had to be answered for. By this point, I regretted letting other projects take my attention away from SCP-5005. I sent Sofia here because of her well-demonstrated resilience and reliability, thinking I could leave the town's research in safe hands. However, it has become abundantly clear that the effects this place has on the human psyche are not so easily predictable.

I asked a few gentle questions about her life here - had she been blending in, was she enjoying the local culture - and it did not take long for her to become paranoid and resentful of my presence. She openly mocked the townspeople for being "rural", believing their cultural traditions and community were "worthless" in the context of their surroundings. She lamented their lack of curiousity in SCP-5005-1, the expanse and the surrounding non-matter. To my surprise, she also displayed little interest in Lumiere's writings, something which had previously been a passion of hers, and actively disdained Delacroix, calling his last poem "irredeemable shit that understands nothing."

The true nature of her interests rapidly became apparent. She had devised a schema, based on the angles of SCP-5005-1's light, to find a location where the bizarre laws of physics would allow someone to see the entirety of the expanse which SCP-5005 rests upon. She had done an extraordinary amount of research, pinpointing this supposed location to the exact spot and designing a craft she believed would safely transport people to and from this place. It was madness, and I told her as much. This "location" was so far out that no craft, however well-designed, could keep its occupants alive for the return journey. She did not want to hear this, and it became clear that she did not desire my presence any longer.

I did not tell her about my intention to recall her, fearing this might damage her emotional state still further. Still, it is my unambiguous recommendation that she be replaced in her post as soon as possible. SCP-5005 may not have a great deal of exploitable material within it, but we still don't fully understand the town, its mysteries, its strange lure for artists and writers or the nuances of the local culture. It is not an easy assignment, and it needs a great deal more attention than we have hitherto given it.

5. Future Research by Director Hamish Franklin.

The result of these many aspects of SCP-5005 is that the Foundation has a number of potential research directions. While the cultural and social aspects of the town remain important (and their relation to the landscape in particular remains an unresearched area), it is the physical questions that are the most potent: the identity of SCP-5005-1's creators and their reasons for doing so, its mechanical workings, and the nature of the expanse surrounding the town.

One final notable anomaly is the unusual weather conditions of the town. As the Orchard Universe lacks heavy snow and fog, this has often been considered one of the key attractions for the initial settlers. Its origin and source are entirely unknown, however, and very few credible theories have been produced to explain it. Originating at a point somewhere above SCP-5005-1, the snow falls regularly enough to keep the town covered in a thin layer at all times. The source of the fog is also unclear, but in both cases the weather conditions appear identical to those found in Sol and similar universes.

A related problem is near-complete absence of these conditions in any literary or artistic works. Researchers have noted that the townspeople rarely discuss it, often appearing dismissive and frightened when it is brought up. Researchers themselves have openly stated after leaving the town that the weather made them feel "uncertain" or "lost". Extensive testing has ruled out the possibility of any memetic or cognitohazardous effects.

As mentioned above, the only known creative work to discuss these conditions is the final poem of SCP-5005's founder, Jean-Antoine Delacroix. It is written in a much more modernist style than Delacroix's other works and does not display the same technical mastery. This may partly be attributed to its status as an unfinished work, found written on his desk the morning after his disappearance. It is reproduced in its entirety below.

Cold entrance cuts the mountain
Where I buried you. Salt and brine,
Whisper down the waterways of ash
Where you ran, laughing,
That mouth-made twist turned bitter.

Here on the edge of human eyes,
I stare into the mirror of the dark;
That mirror that sears my ravages of bone
And brings such images of the world's dismay,
Its broken, luminous char,
Its dreams of all the starving artists
Beavering away in opium
Or simmering soft in pain.
Casting off the trappings of the world
Which leaves just silence, soft and cold disdain.

The hearths and songs that bleed with frail light
Have drawn to fires those who huddle tight,
Their raptured peasant fear
Cast before the tongs in cheer. I walk,
A figure in the fog of old laments
Away from these twin tales
And into the snow, into the earth,
With no narratives of foes
Or platitudes of friends.

The snow gives rot, complexity, ennui,
The night does not give such easy answers.

Addendum 1: On 31/12/2524, Junior Researcher Ramirez disappeared from her lodgings in the Dragoman Tavern. A search by townspeople and Foundation personnel found only footprints in the snow, heading towards the edge of town.

On the evening of 01/01/2525, a signal was received from a temporary monitoring station set up on SCP-5005. It appeared to show video footage from Junior Researcher Ramirez's shoulder-cam at a point in the non-matter. Analysis of the footage showed that it had been transmitted several hours earlier from the location specified in her conversation with Director Franklin. Although it is theoretically possible for her to have made this trip unaided, she would have been close to death by the time she reached the location (as her apparent condition in the footage makes clear).

A log of this footage is below.

<Begin Log>

The camera opens on non-matter; this is rendered as a black screen. Coughing can be heard.

Ramirez: Told you… Hamish, I told you. You stood there and you were wrong, and I was right, and… and…

There is heavy breathing for several seconds.

Ramirez: But you won't guess, you'll never guess…

The camera turns. In the distance, SCP-5005 can be seen beneath SCP-5005-1. The light of SCP-5005-1 refracts across the non-matter in a way which shows the entirety of the expanse.

The expanse is revealed as the corpse of an augmented Harkhretian anglerfish. Most of the body has been eroded by non-matter, but the face and jaw are clearly visible. SCP-5005-1 can be clearly seen as the esca of the fish, the "lure" anglerfish possess to attract prey to them. Its eyes, possessing a milky-white colour typical of anglerfish, are also visible.

Ramirez can be heard laughing hysterically for approximately thirty seconds. This is then interrupted by coughing; blood can be seen floating in front of the camera.

Ramirez: That's it, isn't… isn't it? The end of the line. The puzzle-box complete. Just the dying corpse of Harkhret's pioneers.

There is a pause, after which sobbing can be heard.

Ramirez: I wonder if they died there. Or ran away, or - or found something better out here. I wonder if… if…

Further sobbing can be heard for 12 minutes, before fading away entirely. Fog and snow can be seen approaching from the sides of the camera, gradually obscuring its field of view until nothing visible remains. The visual feed cuts out.

Ramirez: (whispering) The night does not give such easy answers.

The audio feed cuts out.

<End Log>

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