SCP-6500 Fragment 11
SCP-6500 Fragment 11
By: HarryBlankHarryBlank
PUBLISHED: 25 May 2021 21:09
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CREDENTIALS VERIFIED. WELCOME, O5-13.
O5 COUNCIL CONFERENCE IN-PROGRESS. ATTENDANCE: MANDATORY

INITIATING NEURAL LINK…
DATASTREAM ADJUSTED PER SIXTH SUN PROTOCOL


6S14.png


zNpYxbP.png

PARIAH'S REQUIEM

You blink awake, disoriented by the feeling of transferal to this body. You take note of your surroundings as your grip on reality strengthens — brown table, black chair, grey walls. With a deep breath, you place your hands firmly on the familiar mahogany surface; a gold placard comes into focus, reading "O5-13: MEDIATOR".

The placard is one of thirteen, placed equidistant about the elliptical table, each accompanied by a corresponding Councillor's body. You glance across their faces (where applicable) to watch the last few stragglers upload. Seated across the table is O5-6, who lets out a huff.

To your left, the Chair inquires. "Something the matter, Six?"

"Nothing you haven't heard before, One. It's ridiculous that we have to actually be here."

"It's important to uphold tradition," he cautions. "We owe it to our predecessors."

"If our predecessors had had the option to attend conferences as efficient digital thoughtforms, I think we'd have a different tradition." He leans back in his chair, drumming his fingers rhythmically against the table. "It's a waste of good clone-bodies."

Further to your left, a digitized voice interjects. "FOUNDATION FOR THE ANOMALOUS, FOUNDING DOCUMENT, STATEMENT FIVE," it drones, emitting from a large, cylindrical machine. "LINE SEVENTY-FOUR: O5 PERSONNEL ARE REQUIRED TO BE IN PHYSICAL ATTENDANCE FOR ANY AND ALL MEETINGS OF THE ENTIRE COUNCIL."

Six scoffs. "Easy for you to say. When's the last time you left this room?"

"IRRELEVANCE DETECTED." The upper third of O5-2's cylinder rotates toward the Chair. "THE COUNCIL IS IN FULL ATTENDANCE. PERMISSION TO PROCEED?"

O5-1 reaches forward, taking hold of a Foundation-provided worktablet and stylus. "Yes, let's get started." You and several others follow suit, examining the meeting's itinerary.

"AS THE FOUNDATION'S REIGNING ARCHIVIST, IN THE PRESENCE OF THE CHAIR, I CALL THIS COUNCIL TO ORDER. LET THE RECORD SHOW THAT ALL COUNCILLORS ARE PRESENT AND OF SOUND MIND. THE ROLE OF SPEAKER IS HEREBY DELEGATED TO THE CHAIR."

"As the Foundation's reigning Chair," O5-1 recites, "I verify the aforementioned and commence O5 Council Conference #X-2737B." His boredom is made apparent by the similarity of his voice to O5-2's; a monotonous, pre-recorded sequence of syllables. "The first item on our itinerary is a requested review of sentence by the Internal Judicial Department." As he continues, you look to your worktablet:

Your eyes aren't the only ones to widen in response as you read. The Council had been informed of this event and its perpetrator soon after it occurred, though not the why or how. The laundry list of charges is not unusual, though it was particularly uncommon for the accused to be unidentified.

"The perpetrator possesses a remarkable catalog of anomalous abilities and physical augmentations with which they covertly entered a Foundation facility. They then masqueraded as a Senior Researcher and submitted a project proposal to procure SCP-6500-α-Staff. With it, they gained control of the remaining SCP-6500-α elements and wielded them with stated intent to bring about the dissolution of the Foundation." You're surprised again as O5-1 seems unfazed by the gravity of his last statement.

"For their crimes, the High Tribunal has sentenced them to execution. However, as the perpetrator's abilities prevent typical methods of execution, the Council is to review the sentence for an appropriate alternative."

The Chair nods to O5-2, who begins to click and whir in response. Suddenly, the far wall begins to shift, the enormous screen becoming a window into another space. You peer into an inky black chamber, impressing its immensity upon you as a lone figure comes into focus. A soft, blue light illuminates the subject; rather, it illuminates the mass of restraints which obscures them — the figure is suspended in mid-air, each of their six limbs entombed in enormous steel deadlocks.

"This individual claims to be O5-0, an unofficial member of the Founding Council and, as you all are well aware, the first to hypothesize SCP-6500 within the Foundation. They refused to defend or deny their actions, in any capacity, to the Tribunal, and I suspect they will say little now." He sets his worktablet down as he speaks, leaning back in the Chair's chair. "The role of Speaker is now delegated to O5-2 to facilitate further proceedings."

"AS PER STANDARD PROCEDURE, COUNCILLORS MAY ADDRESS QUESTIONS TO THE ACCUSED, AFTER WHICH ANY RESPONSES WILL BE FILTERED FOR HAZARDOUS CONTENT AND BROADCAST THROUGH MY SYSTEMS. THE ROLE OF SPEAKER IS CEDED TO THE FLOOR FOR DISCUSSION."

A youthful man sporting sharp, jet-black hair raps his knuckles against the table, drawing your attention with two short knocks. "I'll start: I don't see any issue with treating the perpetrator as a high-threat humanoid anomaly for now. We seem to have no problem containing them and, should SCP-6500 continue on its course, they'll eventually lose their anomalous abilities. They can be executed then."

"Seriously, Four?" O5-6 scoffs. "You want to delay the restoration of the entire anomalous world and risk giving this criminal exactly what they want?"

"We're not even certain of the full capabilities of these artefacts yet — testing has yet to show their reversal of the Event. It's possible they may only stop or slow the phenomenon — we know this is the case for SCP-6500-α-Heart."

"If the anomalous — and, by proxy, the Foundation — were doomed anyway, what would be the point in executing this individual? They'd have lost the power to harm the Foundation, and it would be moot even if they hadn't."

Another two knocks rap against the table, originating from a stout, silver-haired woman whose placard reads: "O5-9: ORACLE". She opens her eyes to reveal clouded gray sclera, with no visible irises or pupils. If anyone were to understand the natures of the artefacts, she telepaths to you, would it not be this individual?

Four and Six share a glance before looking back to Nine. The Chair responds instead: "Yes, it would. However, they have refused to answer any relevant inquiries."

I shall like to attempt, she retorts, turning to address Two. Open communication to the prisoner.

There is a pause and the crackling of static before Nine continues. "Prisoner," she now speaks, with a raspy but firm tone. "You are now before a conference of the Council in review of your sentence. Be aware that your cooperation may impact your sentencing."

After a few moments, the figure nods slowly; they attempt to shift against their restraints, their lower pair of arms stretching a few inches behind them. You catch glimpses of their face — enough to note their discomfort.

"If you are who you claim to be," Nine continues, "it would stand to reason you are well-studied in the anomalous artefacts which you attempted to wield. The Council inquires as to the natures of these artefacts; what do you know of their abilities, and their role in preventing SCP-6500?"

The subject's lips begin to move soundlessly. A few moments pass as their response is monitored for hazards, before being relayed through O5-2's speakers. "The Earth-Mother provides tools to those who will fight in her name," the low voice hums.

You catch Six rolling his eyes, as does Twelve, who gestures to the former inquisitively. Before he can retort, Ten knocks a six-fingered hand against the table. "This Council is not in the business of solving riddles, prisoner," she cautions. "Please, elaborate."

The figure smirks before speaking again. A dry chuckle precedes their explanation; "The artefacts are elements of the Natural world, imbued with the power to restore it; the Natural world does not include the Foundation. It cannot."

"We protect both the anomalous and Veiled worlds," the Chair insists. "Our goals are not selfish. We only neutralize when necessary or ethical. Our noble pursuit requires the 'Natural world' and its prosperity."

"Ah, you must be One," spits the prisoner. "You sound just like your father — regurgitating all the self-justifying turns of phrase the Foundation has always used."

There is a pause. O5-1 grips the table with a ferocity you do not recognize. "You shall address the Council with respect. This will be your only warning."

"My apologies," they respond, verging on insincerity. "However, my point stands. The artefacts may keep the Impasse at bay, for a time, but it will not solve the root of the disease."

Six knocks. "That being?"

A silence fills the room. The Chair shares a glance with the Oracle, before turning back to the prisoner, whose laughter grows to replace the emptiness. "He really hasn't told you? Oh, this is rich."

The Council gradually turns to their Chair, who addresses them hesitantly. "As I'm sure you're already aware, trend data suggests a correlation between containment efforts and SCP-6500, hence its containment procedures."

"You are a coward," the prisoner states matter-of-factly. "Go on, tell them."

O5-3 gestures to their leader. "One, what the hell's going on here?"

"The correlation, er… it's stronger than we originally thought."

We can avoid this no longer, One. It must be decided now.

Six glances fervently between the two. "Someone'd better start talking sense, right now."

"The Foundation is the cause," the prisoner interrupts. "The sole cause. Every time you lock up an anomaly, every time you conduct a test or publish a document — steal the Natural elements and apply your artificial understandings and definitions — you choke magic out of reality." They sigh, relaxing against their restraints once more. "A Foundation that secures and contains is incompatible with the anomalous."

All eyes in the room gradually converge on O5-1, who tellingly refuses to meet their gazes.

You take a deep breath, watching realization set in among the rest. "You've got to be kidding me," Six huffs. "How the fuck could you, One?"

"Like hell was I going to risk this Foundation for the anomalies we swear to contain!" The Chair punctuates his statement with a pound on the table. "I — we — have a legacy to uphold, and duties to fulfill."

Ten knocks, as if they hadn't passed the point of formality. "Wait, wait — just to make sure we all understand this — you're saying our options are either to sit and watch anomalous phenomena die out, or to dissolve ourselves so we can, instead, sit and watch anomalous phenomena destroy humanity."

"Humanity existed long before the Foundation," the prisoner lectures. "You tell yourselves that you're preventing countless untold apocalypses and raptures, but you're preventing change. You prevent the entropic effects of the Natural world on the artificial and, in so doing, cause the accelerated entropy of the Natural."

"Even if humanity could safely coexist with the anomalous, with no regulating bodies —"

"You misunderstand. Regulation is different from containment."

"Explain."

The figure leans forward. "Councillors, your fearless leader seeks to prolong our crisis indefinitely; he neither wants the anomalous to die nor to prosper, because either option results in the death of his Foundation."

The Chair fumes. "You insolent —"

"Shut it, One," Four snaps.

"You now have a choice," the prisoner continues. "You can go on, preserving this Foundation out of cowardice, perverting its once-noble ideals for the sake of power, or stubbornness, or… you can become something more. You can unmake this institution, revert the death and destruction you have wrought, restore the Natural world, and begin anew — build an organization that fights for the Earth-Mother, and for its inhabitants, human or otherwise."

It's hard to tell how long the following silence lasts; nobody dares to break it, save for Two's clicks and whirrs. After some time, Nine knocks. I propose the latter. To be clear, I submit this proposal to the Council with priority. The decision is now; it is fated.

Three initiates the discourse. "The Foundation cannot exist for its own sake. If we act neither in the best interests of humanity nor the anomalous, then we act for nothing."

"If by 'the best interests of humanity'," Ten adds, "you mean 'the death of trillions of species of sentient and sapient anomalous beings', I'd like to establish that that's the least ethical possible option here."

"Nobody's campaigning for the death of magic, Ten. Sitting on the Ethics Committee isn't a requirement for knowing right from wrong."

"Didn't stop One," Six quips.

The Chair sees an opportunity to regain his footing, placing a knock to the table. "We cannot be seriously considering this criminal's proposal — there is no regulation without control or containment! We have been shown, time and again, that placing too much trust in external groups is a surefire route to betrayal."

O5-5, the Foundation's Liaison to external groups, finally makes his voice heard. "You would paint all groups of interest as untrustworthy because of a few bad actors? We used to wage war on entire anomalous species because we did not understand them — do you think we are not seen as untrustworthy? As Jailors?"

The Councillor to your right clears her throat, tracing her fingertip along the outline of her placard. "I have held the position of O5-12, the Everyman, for three decades. This Foundation plucked me out of my normal little life and told me I was humanity's voice. They introduced me to a bigger, stranger, more fantastic world than I could have ever dreamed was our reality. It was terrifying, and overwhelming… and beautiful. Not a day passes where I don't wish I could share that experience — the truth — with the rest of the world."

"That's a touching sentiment, Twelve," Eight compliments, "but not everyone will be protected as you are. If the Foundation ceased to exist, today, where would our anomalies go? There are over one thousand anomalies which, if released with no precaution, would cull half the human population overnight."

"There would, of course, be cooperation with external groups to ensure the ethical relocation of all de-contained anomalies," Seven adds.

The prisoner's audio feed crackles before they speak again. "They'd be happy to help, too, once they hear the Jailors have quit jailing."

"Think of the sacrifice!" pleads Four. "We have endangered lives and spent vast resources in our pursuit. The efforts of our predecessors, our personnel — the lives endangered to retrieve the artefacts, all in vain? We betray their efforts by giving up."

"Yes, your Foundation allows individuals to enact change, to serve the Natural within the rules of your institution," the Pariah argues, "but magic is not the result of individuals alone, as I have demonstrated in my arrest. Social, organizational change is also needed; we must cooperate in our acceptance of the anomalous."

Ten taps her knuckles to the table to say her piece. "We die in the dark so that humanity can live in the light — so that they can have brighter lives. Without the Foundation, humans will fear the world again, will be overcome by the unknown. We will plunge back into darkness."

"You would apply such platitudes and ideals to a real issue? Humans are the only Class-III species that 'live in the light'," Eleven retorts. "Do we really think that every other sapient space-age species is 'living in the dark' because they don't hide the truth from themselves? Yes, it would be a shock, but do we not owe the truth to the world?"

The question reverberates across the walls and washes over the Council. Your mind races as you replay your peers' arguments, pressing your palms flat to the table.

Two whirrs to life after a bout of silence, turning toward the Chair once more. "IT SEEMS THIS DECISION TAKES PRECEDENCE OVER THE PRISONER'S SENTENCE. HOW SHALL WE PROCEED?"

O5-1 looks up to face his fellow Overseers, and, with a deep breath, reaches forward to pick up his worktablet. "We'll do what we do best, Two: vote."

One by one, in numerical order, each Overseer (except Two) picks up their tablet. One and Two's votes are quick to appear, as are Three's and Four's. You watch Five's pained expression for an eternity before his choice registers. The votes continue in this fashion, moving around the circle, each one bringing your decision closer. You rethink your logic, you consider other perspectives; you are so entrenched in thought that you're taken by surprise when Twelve submits their vote, leaving only you to contribute your say.

With the weight of the world on your shoulders — the Foundation's Atlas — you look to your worktablet.

ADMINISTRATIVE PROPOSAL 6500-Ω

PROPOSAL:

"Dissolve the SCP Foundation in its present form, ending the securing and containment of the anomalous, and any other practices which are observed to damage both known and unknown anomalous and magical phenomena. Begin the process of shaping a new organization able to forge bonds with anomalous communities, ensuring their preservation and future prosperity." (O5-0)

COUNCIL VOTE SUMMARY:

YEA NAY ABSTAIN
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PENDING

STATUS
IN-PROGRESS


Stalemate (6-6) detected; the Mediator may not abstain.

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