Item #: SCP-5552

Object Class: Keter

Special Containment Procedures: Oh fuck it.

I was wrong.

Everything had wilted by the time I arrived.

I drove to Site-72. The whole southern side of the building had already crumbled into black-tarry mess. There were a few guards out front to keep civilians out, but other than them the whole site was empty. They let me back in to "get my stuff".

Apparently, this time the CHRONUS Project made faster progress than last time. The time machine was mostly done. As a bonus, we reconstructed the walls out of that soft material we found at the GOC… I think 6 timelines ago now?

There's still food in the cafeteria. I think I'm going to hole up here for a while. The place still has power, probably because the Foundation doesn't want to take any risks and let something escape from here that they might've forgotten to take with them.

I can't stop working. I need to fix my theory, and then I'll fix everything else.

Progress is going even slower now. I don't think I can ever get these models to work for me the same way Cindy did.

I read through some of the reports of wilting in other parts of the world. A long stretch of land in France, two towns in Thailand, and the entirety of K2 are gone. I'm afraid that the next time I look out the window, instead of seeing the forest behind Site-72 I'll see scorched ground and crumbling trees.

The soft walls here seem fitting. I think something about the material is resistant to wilting, but really it just contributes to the insane asylum feel. All I'm missing is a straight jacket.

My "Order" theory is finally dead. And no, not because I got the models to work. My pocket watch wilted. I'd had that since I was sixteen when my grandfather gave it to me. And now it's just black dust.

I'm back at square one. No theory. No models. Not even someone to bounce ideas off of. I've taken to talking to myself to get my ideas out of my head but that only works so well.

It's funny, because all of the clocks in this place stopped working weeks ago. The only reliable time-telling device I have left is my computer. And honestly, I'm beginning to suspect its timezone is drifting.

I googled "Jonathan Wendel" on a whim. Most of what I read just made me mad. Got his PhD from Stanford in Theoretical Physics. Has tenure at CalTech, leading a joint project with Oxford on time-travel. A lot of papers published. A lot of talks given.

But then I started reading about his personal life. Turns out, he never owned a dog.

So then how did he come up with the name "Wilt"? I got the name originally from him. But where did he get it from?

I mean, I have a theory. All I'm good for is theories. But, I've been using "wilting" to describe the destabilization process. It's just such an accurate description for the phenomenon. "Wilt". Everything turns black and then collapses. Like a flower in winter. Wilting away.

I remember, Cindy wanted to go back in time and do everything over again. She wanted to kick me off the project, wipe her memories, and solve the problem herself. It was a clever idea. Set up everything to be just the way you would've wanted it, and then forget what happens next so you can experience it for yourself anew.

What if I've seen all of this before?

What if Cindy saw all this before?

What if the only way to stop it, was to stop us from inventing time travel in the first place?

We'd go back, give Wendel our research, but not the proper numbers. He'd publish first, and then perish first when he makes the machine. We'd think our theory was wrong. We'd stop.

God, we're too clever for ourselves. Except I can't prove it. I can't prove jack shit. Maybe he doesn't have a dog in this timeline but he had a dog in that one. Or maybe he just came up with the name on his own in a happy little coincidence. It's just a theory. Just another useless theory.

I miss Cindy.

I hate this. I have nothing. I feel close to an idea it slips out of my fingers and I lose my train of thought entirely. I've been here for far too long. I'm banging my head against the walls, and I don't even feel anything because they're soft. There has to be a reason. I've been able to travel back in time reliably and yet I can't explain why. It's pathetic.

I'm not used to doing this on my own. It's not like I was ever able to solve these problems on my own. It was our theory after all. It took two of us to solve.

Maybe that's what's going on. Maybe the theory is mocking me for trying to solve it myself. Running me through a maze with no exit.

It was kind of silly for us to think we'd be able to travel back in time in the first place, wasn't it? That we would be able to make it work even though no one else has. Maybe things would be better without our theory.

You know, that doesn't sound so bad. I have little else to lose.

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