A Side Step Forward
rating: +15+x

The following excerpt has been cleared by the O5 Council as an example of an isolated update proposal to SCP-001. In all cases the speaker is not identified, nor are the logs complete.

Proposal Date: 30/5/2024

Update Proposal: Evaluation of Post-Operation Falcon Punch effects on consensus reality following the mass discovery of thaumatologically enhanced robotics and prosthetics.


It appears we have come to a crossroads. While this isn't the most severe breach of the Veil we've had, it is certainly among the most extensive. The question is what we are going to do going forward.

Who is this we? You were the one who was so desperate to pull the trigger on this. Anderson Robotics had been you and Holman's white whale for decades. Well, Ahab, you caught the bastard, but now the Pequod is underwater.

I recall your vote was in favor of the operation.

And I've regretted it ever since.

If you two are quite finished sparring, we should return to the matter at hand. Every major robotics and computer science lab on the planet just discovered how to make Anderson's tech at once. And we're already seeing the public announcements of their discoveries. We need to make a decision.

"Alright, Jamie."

She heard the doctor's voice.

"The surgeons have installed the implants. In a few moments, I will give the command, and they will turn on. I will then run a few calibration tests but assuming everything has gone to plan, we should be all set."

"Will it hurt?" Her father's voice was audible across the room. "It won't hurt her, will it?"

"I'll be fine, Dad," she said with a smile. "It's a little late to turn back now."

"There will be a little pinch," the doctor stated, "but nothing too bad. Are you ready?"

"Let's do this!"

There was a slight shock, and the feeling of something clicking in her mind. Static appeared where there had been darkness before, which slowly resolved into vibrant colors. Colors she had never had the pleasure of knowing. Out the window, the lush gardens of the clinic's grounds were in full bloom. A beautiful first sight.

"It worked," she whispered. Tears were welling in her eyes. "It worked!"

She looked over at her dad, seeing his face for the first time.

"I can see."

It shouldn't be a debate, to begin with. We have the necessary amnestics and we can certainly create an adequate cover-up. It will take half a dozen task forces burning the midnight oil for a few months, but we aren't so far out of the woods that we can't get the cat back into the bag.

I'm sorry, let me be sure I have this correct. Your proposed solution to the public discovering how to make a handful of spooky robots and maybe advancing computer science half a century is to expose the affected population, a group that is nearly 4 billion by conservative estimates, to known carcinogens? This isn't a few city blocks of some downtown somewhere, or an isolated backwater we can just dunk in the blue goo and make think it's March again and have the side effects go unnoticed or explained away as an interesting epidemiological case study. You'd just be trading one breach of the Veil for another. Both are caused by us.

And your alternative is better? Just let the tech become part of the new normal? Pretending our massive mistake here wasn't a mistake at all?

They do have a point though. We've rewritten consensus normalcy before for things that have gotten out of hand. What is the point of having SCP-001 be a living document if we can't be pragmatic with it?

"Mr. Patel?"

He looked over from the hospital bed. The newest addition to a cavalcade of doctors that had been in to see him since he had been brought in after the crash was there. While her badge was too small to read at this distance, he could see 'Neurosurgery' printed on her white coat.

"I'm Dr. Stowe," she introduced herself. "I'm on the Neurosurgery team. I was called in to consult."

He looked down at his legs. He hadn't moved or even felt them in the last three days.

"Is there anything to even be done at this point?" he asked. "I was told that the crash had severed my spine. I'm not a doctor, but I know that doesn't quite heal."

"A few years ago you would be correct." She smiled as she took a seat by his bed. "There have been quite a few developments in my field since 2024 though. We now have a special implant, a kind of flexible bridge, that allows us to essentially rewire your nerves and bypass the damage. It won't be an exact one-to-one, but you'll be able to walk through the park, run, jump, garden, feel. Everything you could before."

"W-what?" he said. "You're saying you can-"

"Yes. We can fix your spine."

I guess my concern is that when we start down this path, how do we make a decision as to when to stop that won't be arbitrary. How far are we going to let them ride this wave before we decide 'that is enough, back behind the Veil with you.'

Did you have a specific example in mind?

Anderson's Pseudo Artificial Intelligences for starters. We could probably handwave the most rudimentary stabs at replicating that as computer science weirdness, but what happens if we allow them to replicate the Peregrines or the Sakers? Those are basically artificial human souls. Mass production and exploitation of them would venture far too close to a new wave of slavery for me.

We don't stop mundane slavery where it arises. I can appreciate the sentiment, but we also need to keep perspective here. Holding another sapient being in bondage is not anomalous, as unfortunate as that is. If they create an army of robot slaves on their own, well, there is enough Sci-Fi out there to have warned them why that was a bad idea, to begin with.

"Come along, Jeffery," the old man's gait was slow and shuffling. He carried with him an ornate cane that Jeffery had carved for his birthday a few years back. An android slowly strode behind him, a series of grocery bags tightly gripped in its arms. A group of gardener drones whizzed past, on their way to tend to the large city park they were just exiting.

"Will you need help getting up the stairs, Walter?" the droid asked, two silver eyes peered over the paper at the upcoming house. "Are you feeling fatigued?"

"No, no," he said. He was already attempting the first step. "I've got the energy. The therapist said I need to keep moving. Just can't grab the rail and the groceries anymore, you know?"

"I understand. Please do not hesitate to ask me for assistance. You are more important than some cans of tomatoes."

"I am not sure too many people would agree with you at this point," Walter chuckled. Step by step he ascended toward his house. "I'm fine, trust me. Just a little slower now."

The droid lingered behind the whole way, and let out a small synthetic sigh of relief as the old man finally crossed his threshold. It placed the groceries down on the kitchen counter, and quickly placed the contents away.

"I'd offer you a beer." Walter took a seat at the kitchen table. "I know you don't drink though. Is there something I can offer you instead? I can easily keep it around the house."

"I appreciate that, but it is not necessary," the droid chuckled.

"You're too kind." The old man smiled. "You probably have to get to your next client. Go ahead and lock the door when you leave. The check should be sent to the usual place. Thanks for your time, Jeffery."

"See you Wednesday, Walter."

You can bury your head in the sand as much as you want, but we've been at this for literal hours! We've looked at the data time and time again. We've discussed as many ramifications, potential ways for this to backfire, and precedents as 13 individuals can possibly comprehend. In the end, the benefits of us using this opportunity to update 001 far exceed the known consequences of us trying to turn back the clock here. Even someone as stubborn as you has to admit that.

I will not. But I know when the time for words has come and gone. I think we are ready to vote.

Her wife smiled at her from the bed. The last 35 years had been nothing but bliss. But, as with all things, it seemed to be coming to an end.

"It's time, I think," she said and squeezed her lover's hand.

"Aren't you terrified?"

Her wife shook her head.

"It will work, or it won't. I don't regret anything though."

She nodded, and then placed the device on her wife's head. It let out a low whirr, and then she was still.

As quickly as she could, she placed the device on its dock and turned on the monitor. Thirty minutes later, an image appeared. An avatar of her wife as she looked 35 years ago. Tears of joy welled both their eyes.

"Can you hear me?" she asked the construct on the screen.

"Loud and clear, my dear," she replied.

"You look beautiful," she said.

"So do you."

Conclusion: The recent mass discovery of minor thaumatologically enhanced robotics, prosthetics, and their applications are added to SCP-001.

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