Iteration D


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Eleanor's time was almost up. She could feel it. She was just waiting for it to end. She wasn't in pain, per se. It was just the feeling she had, like she was past her expiration date. Like she was living on someone else's time.

Katherine rushed into the room. Eleanor had hoped she would arrive before the end. Katherine stroked Eleanor's hair.

"Item number?" Eleanor asked.

"SCP-1893," Katherine said, smiling through tears.

"Object class?" Eleanor said, beginning to cry herself.

"Euclid," her wife replied sweetly. "Special containment procedures: All stories containing or referencing SCP-1893 are to be contained in the tertiary mainframe at Site 38 until such time as Foundation researchers discover a method of transferring them without risking contamination to other computer systems. Multiple redundant stories are to be kept on the mainframe at all times. Should SCP-1893 begin displaying aggressive or otherwise unusual behavior, additional new stories written in the style used by SCP-1893 are to be downloaded onto the computer. Hard copies of all stories before and after SCP-1893 infestation are to be kept in the director's office in a triple-locked safe; no other copies are to be kept in any other location in any other form to avoid possible contamination. To whatever extent possible, discussion of SCP-1893 is to be restricted to non-electronic means, and references to item number SCP-1893 are to be prohibited on any Foundation server or computer other than the one mentioned above."

Eleanor laughed; Katherine's sense of humor always worked on her. "Description," she replied.

Katherine wiped away her tears and sniffed. "SCP-1893 is an incompletely understood phenomenon, believed to be electronic or digital in nature. The phenomenon has demonstrated at least a primitive sort of intelligence, in the form of adapting to new environments and avoiding inhospitable ones and a rudimentary ability to communicate with Foundation researchers, albeit indirectly. It is not known whether the entity is sapient or even sentient—"

Eleanor began coughing violently at that; the tumor in her lungs didn't let her do much else, many days. A thin trickle of blood seeped from the corner of her mouth. Katherine pushed the button to call the nurse, yelled for help, even ran out into the hallway to try to find the large man waiting outside when she walked in. Nobody was there now.

The coughing wound down. Eleanor spat into a bedpan, the way she had always hated doing in front of Katherine. Too unladylike, she had said. But now, she only motioned for Katherine to continue.

Katherine didn't know what else to do but comply. "SCP-1893's principal trait is its memetic quality; it is impossible to perceive, interact with, or discuss the entity except through fictional narratives. Specifically, any electronic message referring to SCP-1893 will be altered by the entity into a prose passage of variable length, tone, or content. However, messages altered by SCP-1893 will always have certain constant qualities. First, the content of the original message or document will be left intact, replacing any dialogue between characters in the story. Second, stories will often contain between two to three characters; while the dialogue between them will remain constant, the setting and tone of the characters and their surroundings are believed to often reflect SCP-1893's "mood" at the time of access. Third, components of the story's plot may change depending on whether or not SCP-1893 can determine the identity of the reader, though researchers have been unable to detect a pattern in the modifications to date." Katherine paused, stretching a bit.

She was a bit parched, and Eleanor's pitcher of water was empty (and who knew where the hell the nurses were in this building?), so she blew Eleanor a kiss and carried her pitcher out into the hall to find a water fountain.

Eleanor was tired, so tired, and it felt like she had been awake for so long. "Addendum 1893-A," she muttered drowsily to herself. "Though no effort undertaken to date has succeeded in fully containing SCP-1893, all evidence suggests that the Foundation's decision to classify the entity as such has caused it to adopt this as its 'name' and react specifically to any mention of that item number in electronic media." She paused, thinking she heard footsteps outside her door, as though someone were listening. A tapping sound came down the hallway, like a baseball bat being rolled around. It was probably a machine somewhere.

Seeing no one, she continued muttering as the room grew darker. "Assuming this to be true, a theoretical plan has been devised in the event that termination of SCP-1893 should become necessary. According to this plan, Foundation personnel would first…first…"

It was just so, so hard to stay awake. Eleanor drifted off to sleep for the last time.

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