I.H.Pickman's Proposal

rating: +435+x

Item #: SCP-001

Object Class: Archon

This was all that Dr. Johnathan West had managed to get written down before the phrasing of the actual document eluded him. It was no small task, authoring a file for SCP-001. Others had done it before him, for other anomalies that were considered important enough. That's what an 001 draft came down to— importance.

"Wait, shit." He cursed. "Archon's non-standard. Should probably put something there."

Object Class: Archon1

"That's better." He looked down at his watch and sighed. Writer's block. What a thing for a scientist to have.

It's not like 001 was a secret among anyone at Site-87. It was a big event, and several others were co-authoring the draft with him, giving feedback and fixing up sections. It was a group effort, like much of what happened at 87. But it was make-or-break; the credibility of the site rested upon it.

"Dammit." He stared as the watch's hand ticked towards 5:00. Well, he still had another month to finish up this proposal — and besides, tonight was the weekly poker game.

He saved his work, shut off his monitor, and went up to the common area on Sublevel 3.

"What kind of a class is Archon, anyway? Call." Katherine Sinclair, thaumatologist, put her ante into the pot. "Shouldn't it just be Thaumiel?"

"No, see, the Multi-Universal Transit Array is Thaumiel. Raise." Tristan Bailey, Multi-Universal Diplomat, was playing with a junk hand, but none of the others knew that. He considered himself having a good poker face, especially when the content of the discussion turned to containment procedures. "It's contained, but it can be used to save the world, if need be. An Archon-class will literally break the world if you contain it."

Cassandra Pike, parazoologist, raised her brow to Tristan. She could tell he was bluffing; all of the Baileys had the exact same tell. They'd rub their index finger over their thumbnail. Pike smirked and pushed her stack of chips into the center. "All in."

Bailey groaned. "Fold. Dammit, Pike."

Cassandra just shrugged, and watched as the others at the table folded, handing her cards to the dealer. Cassandra Pike was not, until very recently, emotionally stable. But she was a damn good poker player— the stack of chips she just put in would have bankrupted the others.

"Gotta admit, I'm jealous." Jason Hendricks was Pike's former superior, recently returned from Oregon. "I get transferred, and less than two years later, you discover the new 001." He shuffled the deck and looked over his shoulder, expecting West to come in the door any minute.

"It's been boring here without ya, Jay," Bailey admitted, adding, "There's nowhere near enough insect-related hallucinations without you."

"Hilarious as ever, Bailey." Hendricks shook his head. "And how's your position under Dr. Hennessy? Missionary or reverse cowgirl?"

From the other end of the room, Montgomery Reynolds coughed, the root beer he'd been drinking spilling everywhere. Sinclair looked at him with a raised eyebrow. "What?" Reynolds asked. "It was a good quip."

"If you're thirteen!" Sinclair let out a single "hah". "Never thought you'd have such an immature sense of humor, Monty." She looked at her cards, straining not to raise a brow at the pair of kings she'd been dealt. "You sure you don't want in on this?"

"I am a sorcerer, not a gambler. I'd have an unfair advantage over you all— a word of clairvoyance, and I can see all of your hands." Reynolds was talking out his rear— he was a horrible gambler. As he took another sip, his phone buzzed. He looked at it, tilted his head, and walked over to the table. "Katherine, I think this is meant for you? West sent it to me by mistake."

"First draft of the containment procedures, then." Sinclair adjusted her glasses, took his phone, and swiped her thumb across its screen.

Special Containment Procedures: SCP-001 is ingrained within the narrative structure of Sloth's Pit, Wisconsin (Nexus-18) and Site-87, allowing it to be more easily observed within this area. If necessary, certain sections of SCP-001 can be narratively contained in order to isolate major continuity errors and malignant plot devices.

"That's incredibly vague." Sinclair shook her head. "Send it back and tell him to clarify what 'narratively contained' means. And 'malignant plot device'?"

"Just give me my feedback in person, why don't ya?" Johnathan West walked into the lounge, stowing his phone. "Truth be told, I wrote the procedures on the way up here."

"Kind of mind-boggling, what you're containing," Hendricks said as he dealt West in. "The concept of narrative causality? That's pretty heavy."

"We're shopping around different names for it," Pike admitted. "Probably gonna be called I.H.P.'s proposal. After Isaiah Pickman."

"The archivist who died last Halloween?" Hendricks frowned. "What's he got to do with it?"

"His cataloging of the archives was obsessive," Sinclair explained. "Thanks to him, we were able to pick up on anomaly occurrence patterns that nobody else noticed. That led to me, Bailey, West and Pike theorizing about a centralized anomaly…"

"Which led to SCP-001. Fair 'nuff." Hendricks put his contribution into the pot. "Did you hear Phil Verhoten's coming to talk here?"

"You're fucking joking," Bailey stared. "Philip Verhoten? The guy who literally wrote the book on Nexuses?"

"Books, plural." Sinclair began listing off titles. "There's Crossroads, The Death of Magic: On the Dissolution of Nexuses, The Micro-Nexus… he's got a fourth one coming out, too. Title's not been announced."

Cassandra Pike looked unimpressed. "Okay, but, who is this guy? I call."

West shook his head at Pike. "You need to brush up on your history. Philip Verhoten was the man who discovered Sloth's Pit."

Special Containment Procedures: SCP-001 is ingrained within the narrative structure of Sloth's Pit, Wisconsin (Nexus-18) and Site-87, allowing it to be more easily observed within this area. If necessary, certain sections of SCP-001 can be narratively contained contained using narrative exploitation techiques in order to isolate major continuity errors and malignant plot devices.

"Still sounds wrong," Johnathan admitted to a sigh, looking up at his brother. "I dunno, Harry. What do you think?"

"I think you misspelled 'techniques'." Harold West looked at the proposal. "Try writing the containment procedures after the description. It's worked wonders for me in the past."

"But it won't work in the file. Ugh." He looked down at the document on his laptop and sighed. "'Narrative exploitation techniques' is such a nonsense phrase."

"Well, if we called it 'tempting fate' or 'hanging a lampshade', that wouldn't be terribly clinical." Harold sipped his coffee. "Maybe you should ask Verhoten when he comes into town? God knows you worshiped the ground he walked on when you were getting your Foundation credentials."

"He discovered Sloth's Pit, but he hasn't set foot in it since the 90's." Johnathan groused and tapped away at his keyboard, writing the first lines of the description.

Description: SCP-001 is an anomalous universal constant which has been dubbed by Sinclair, West, Pike, Bailey et al. as the Law of Narrative Causality. SCP-001 provides irrefutable proof that the baseline universe is a fictional construct existing within one or more separate narratives.

"Too early to have that in, you think?" Johnathan frowned. "I feel like it should have, I dunno, more impact."

"Impact?" Harold snorted. "We're not writing a novel."

"No, but we may very well be in one." Johnathan stirred his coffee. "Isn't Julie's Little League game this Saturday? Am I still un-invited to those?"

"The coach still thinks that you throwing the ball back at the pitcher and beaning him was an overreaction," Harold affirmed.

"That was the fifth foul he had thrown!"

"And he was on your niece's team!"

The more Johnathan thought about it, the more he considered his brother was right. He should talk to Verhoten. But 'worshiped the ground he walked on' was a bit much— Verhoten had just introduced him to the idea that anomalies could be more than just horrendous things which could eliminate space-time as they knew it. He'd done that by bringing him here.

He looked at a picture on his desk, one which displayed a younger version of both himself and Verhoten, standing by Gray Lake and looking out at the only lake monster who wasn't anomalously blurry on film. A conversation creeped back into his mind.

"Johnny," Verhoten began, "You're going through what a lot of newbies in the Foundation go through. You're sick of all the death and destruction and nihilism, and you want to know there's something worth saving."

"Don't put words in my mouth," West snapped. "The world's not going to end in nuclear fire, big deal. Some rotted corpse is going to break out of its cell and eat children, or else a giant slug is going to crawl out of the sea, or we're going to be assimilated into a massive machine—"

"Johnny. If there was only death and destruction in the universe, we wouldn't have this." Verhoten turned to the lake, if it could be called that— it paled in comparison to Lake Superior, less than an hour's drive away. It was more of a large pond. "Look at it. Millions of years of geological processes created this. Biological processes ensure that it's inhabited. And anomalous processes…" Verhoten cupped his hands and gave a loud holler.

The reason for his actions soon became clear. From the water, a tall neck emerged. A small head on its end bellowed back in response. West gasped, backing away. "What the hell?!"

"Elasmosaurus jacksonslothii," Verhoten explained. "Sloth's Pit's own lake monster. You know, the reason we don't have any clear pictures of these is because their skin gives off EM radiation that screws up film." He handed a camera to West. "We just call her Lady Grey."

"You… named an anomaly? But—"

"Johnathan. For every Keter-class anomaly, there are at least twenty Euclid-class anomalies like her. They just do their own thing, live their own life, don't bother anyone. The anomalous isn't inherently evil or good."

Lady Grey swam over to them. Verhoten continued, "There are two sides to the anomalous: the wonderous, and the terrifying. Working in the Foundation, you see mostly the latter. But I'm going to show you the wondrous. Now, can you get the tripod out of my bag?"

West came back to reality and sighed, rubbing his head. "Wondrous and terrifying, ey, Phil?"

He cracked his knuckles, and began writing.

Description: SCP-001 is an anomalous universal constant which has been dubbed by Sinclair, West, Pike, Bailey et al. as the Law of Narrative Causality. SCP-001 provides concrete proof that the baseline universe is a fictional construct existing within one or more separate narratives.

SCP-001 is observable through use of narrative exploitation techniques. Examples include use of the phrase, "What could possibly go wrong?", "At least it's not raining", and pointing out an inconsistency in a given situation (an action which has been termed 'lampshade hanging'). Doing so will invoke an alteration in SCP-001, dubbed SCP-001-A.

SCP-001-A instances take several forms, and usually are of a nature that would typically be conducive to telling a compelling narrative from an outsider's perspective. SCP-001-A instances are not necessarily anomalous in nature, but do account for pockets of 'unreality' that have been observed within the last twenty years. Examples of commonly observed SCP-001-A instances include:

  • Meeting with a former romantic partner upon a return home and rekindling a relationship
  • Weather altering in such a way that it creates opportunities for Schadenfreude
  • Keter-class SCPs suddenly becoming far easier to contain in the aftermath of a breach
  • The invocation of Murphy's Law resulting in disastrous, but distantly comedic, events.

"Distantly comedic…" West shook his head and deleted the last few words, before realizing he didn't have any better of a proposal. He sighed, and left it as-is.

"Are you sure this is wise, Katherine?" Montgomery Reynolds frowned. The two of them were in the middle of Lover's Lane, at nighttime, with a Pickman-Sinclair Narrative Fluctuation Detector. "I'm not so sure that he's going to be amiable."

"He was willing to work with us last year," Sinclair said, holding up the Detector's wand. She admitted, "Granted, we were working to stop a reality restructuring event and the possible collapse of the Nexus…"

"Still can't believe that you wrote a script for this," Reynolds frowned. "That thing's probably just going to scare him off."

"No good slasher villain can resist a pair of horny— well, 'horny' —" she made the air-quotes visible" —thirty-and-forty-somethings. Not as effective as teenagers, but none of the Baileys were available."

"You know, they have a whiteboard here at Site-87, trying to document their own timelines. From 2005 to now, they have a gigantic space that just reads 'weird temporal bullshit'." Reynolds looked at the script. "If I didn't love you…"

"There's no universe where that's possible," Sinclair rolled her shoulders, and looked at the script. "From the top."

Reynolds rolled his eyes. "'C'mon, baby, do you wanna die a virgin?'"

"'I ain't dyin' anytime soon… Derrick." Sinclair suddenly regretted her choice of name for this experiment. "'I'm gonna live long enough to fuck a million other guys before' oh my god this is awful." Sinclair broke down laughing, leaning against Monty. "Oh god I thought the shit I wrote in high school was bad!"

Reynolds leaned down to kiss her. "Well, it appears to have done something right." He nodded to the Narrative Fluctuation Detector— it lit up bright green.

Out of the shadows, a large, black shape leaped, bringing its axe between them, splitting the ground at their feet. They jumped back, staring at the Goatman.

The Goatman frowned, letting out a huff and recovering the hatchet. He looked at them, the script, and the Detector, shaking his head, a wild tangle of hair covering his horns. "Aren't you a bit old for this?"

"We're doing tests," Sinclair shrugged. "Give us a break."

The Goatman snorted. "Last great secret of this town, the Narrative, and you've figured it out." He hefted his hatchet, tilting his head. "How'd you do it?"

Tristan Bailey was working on his tablet when he nearly walked into Dr. Sinclair in the elevator. As the doors closed behind him, he muttered an apology, and looked at the screen at the back of the car. The screen behind them displayed a picture of Phillip Verhoten, a South African man in his sixties with skin the color of finished mahogany, smiling behind a pair of glasses. He was superimposed in front of his books with an announcement scrolling overhead: "Philip Verhoten, Author of The Crossroads, Atrium 2. Don't miss it!"

Sinclair looked at Bailey, a soft frown on her face. "I've been reviewing your contributions to the 001 file. I… found an issue."

"Oh?" Tristan frowned.

Sinclair pulled out her own tablet and highlighted the problematic section, which she had crossed out.

In contrast to what was theorized in S. Andrew Swann's SCP-001 Variant, the entity or entities responsible for constructing the baseline narrative, for the most part, do not appear to be actively malevolent, but they are perverts.

"That last part is really unnecessary." Sinclair scowled at Bailey.

"People put jokes or goofs in non-finalized drafts all the time. I seem to remember someone getting a reprimand because they accidentally left a certain foxy name within a report."

Sinclair glowered at Tristan. "You said you'd never mention the Sinclair/Synner incident." She muttered.

"Not my fault you're horrible at picking character names," Bailey said as the elevator doors opened. "Your test in the woods reveal anything?"

"The Goatman was oddly talkative," Sinclair admitted. "We told him how we figured out what we did to discover the Narrative, and he gave us, well, questionable data."

"Like what?" Bailey stepped out of the elevator, walking alongside Sinclair.

"So, the whole concept Swann's proposal put forth, the progenitor universe that writes all of our lives? He says that may not actually be the case." She rubbed her temples. "It's confusing. We may not be fictional, but our world operates on the rules of fiction, so it kind of is."

"Well, even if we aren't fictional, we still operate on the rules of it, so same difference." Bailey took out his phone and leaned against the wall. "Anything else?"

"Yeah. He said that," She shook her head and let out a soft chuckle. "He said that it may be alive."

"It?" Bailey raised an eyebrow. "The Narrative?"

"He said that it was 'a spirit' that was alive in Sloth's Pit. It can… react, and be talked to." Sinclair scoffed. "That would explain why we can manipulate it."

"I dunno." Bailey paused and scratched his head. "It can react, but it doesn't seem alive; it's more like it has chemical reactions to certain phrases. Trying to actually communicate with it is absurd. It'd be like trying to have a conversation with hydrochloric acid."

"I'm skeptical too," Sinclair admitted, continuing to walk on. "You have to admit, it does seem to have a sense of humor at times."

Bailey started walking again, looking at a monitor in the hallway displaying an announcement from Director Weiss that testing in the biology sublevel was to be halted until E-2913 could be recaptured. "Yeah, maybe, but it's always cringe humor, slapstick, and bad puns. There's never any irony."

"And now that you've said that, there probably is."

"Nah," Bailey said, moving past Sinclair to the coffee machine— not the coffee machine, unfortunately ("Friggin' Site 19 gets everything good", Bailey muttered to himself.) "What, now that I've said that, am I suddenly going to win the lottery? The odds of—" He blinked, his hands over the keys to input his order; he glanced behind the machine, and saw a stub of paper sticking out from behind it. "The fuck?"


"There's a scratch-off card behind here."

"Five grand from a random scratch-off ticket created by exploiting the narrative. Not bad, Bailey." Pike raised the pot. "Now you have some scratch to lose to me. But… you know you're not supposed to do that for personal gain, right?"

"I didn't mean to! It's like it messed with me." Tristan called Pike's bet, knowing she had the better hand. "West, I looked over Pickman's observations again. I think that… the narrative might be selective."

"Selective?" West snorted. "That implies that it's sentient, if not sapient." He looked pointedly at one of the walls in the room. "Probably just someone beyond the fourth wall messing with you."

"Yeah, but— mmmn." Tristan sighed. "It's too responsive to be random chance, but too inconsistent to be something like a chemical reaction. I dunno."

"Lines up with what the Goatman said," Sinclair admitted. "'The Spirit of the Narrative is more alive here than in other places'."

"You think he meant an actual spirit." Hendricks squinted his eyes. "A global… what's it called?"

"Genius loci," Sinclair nodded, calling Bailey's bet. "Not just global. Maybe universal."

Tristan looked at the rest of the table, then at his junk hand. "You gotta admit, there's something here."

"The way I see it, you're just making my job more complicated," West shook his head. "Keep in mind that I'm the one who's actually writing this."

"Verhoten's visiting in three days," Pike chimed in. "I've heard you're on good terms with him. Present it to him for feedback?"

"Harry said I should do that. I'm gonna check." West tapped his fingers against the table. "Not a bad idea."

"This kind of… de-explains the 'god is a bunch of horror writers' concept that Swann put forth, though." Sinclair shook her head. "Not sure how I feel about that."

"I thought it was bullshit when I read it," Tristan admitted. "Trev told me they sometimes put fake 001 instances in the database to throw off leaks. I know the Broken God one is mostly accurate, Gate Guardian is real, but beyond that, it's all up in the air."

"We have the remains of the Gears proposals in storage on-Site." Pike drew incredulous looks from the rest of the table. "What? It's common knowledge. The remains are inert, anyway."

"So that's what E-0005 is?" Tristan cocked his head upwards. "Wondered what a big bunch of demon bones was doing in low-value containment."

"Kinda weird, isn't it?" Hendricks asked, drawing the subject back to the original. "I mean, I know I'm fictional. We all know we're fictional, but… nothing's really changed." He raised the pot again. "We know we're in a simulation, and there's been no nihilistic crisis, no rage against the heavens, nothing." He frowned at his cards— pair of twos. "Wonder why that is."

"Quality of the authors keeping us from going insane? Or maybe… we're not fictional?" Sinclair put her cards in the table and pulled out a notepad, drawing two crude planet Earths, and a window between them. "Like, maybe they can see into our universe and are just recording events."

"Metafiction gives me a headache. I feel sorry for the new pataphysics guys. Call." Bailey looked at his cards, then at the turn in the center of the table— a pair of twos and a pair of threes. He had junk in his hand. "God dammit."

West had his own notepad out, muttering that he had folded. He wrote a few words on it.

Description: SCP-001: Alive? Narrative conscious? World-window? More tests required.

"Is there any way to test if it is alive?" Pike frowned at her cards— King and an Ace weren't gonna help much with a turn like this. "Like— malignant narrative isn't all that uncommon. From the tests we did, it's actually pretty easy to make."

"How would this test work?" West asked, scribbling down more.

Reacts to malignant narrative removal?

"Well…" Sinclair looked at the scars on her arms, before turning a page on the notepad, rolling up her sleeves, and starting to scribble on the paper. "If it is alive, then it might be possible to create a spell that could make its pain manifest, or otherwise detectable. I can have it ready tonight; we just need malignant narrative."

"How do we achieve that?" Pike was folding now to focus on the discussion, much to Hendricks's chagrin. Bailey had just turned over an Ace in the river. "One of the easiest ways we found was to achieve an anti-climax, but those aren't easy to accomplish— not intentionally."

Bailey himself folded, joining in. "Well, we could—"

Hendricks threw his pair of twos on the table, and stood. "There's your goddamn anticlimax! Four of a kind, and you all fold!"

The air within the room felt like it had grown denser. Everyone went silent, and Sinclair pulled out a portable Narrative Fluctuation Detector wand. The lights on it blinked a bright, dangerous red.

"Hendricks," Sinclair laughed. "I could kiss you."

"You know, it occurs to me that the narrative may have made itself malignant." West frowned as Sinclair finished the circle of chalk on the tile floor. "It forced an anticlimax so we could detect it— that's assuming that Bailey's hypothesis of it being alive holds true."

"Egh. Glad I never went into pataphysics." Hendricks rubbed his forehead. "I know how to neuter a hodag, but this has got me clueless." He looked at the thaumatologist in the room, and asked, "Anything I can do to help, Sinclair?"

"There's an incantation on the back of my notepad I need you to read once I finalize the spell vector."

"It's not in dog Latin, is it?" Hendricks crossed over to the abandoned poker table and picked up the notepad, trying to ignore the hushed whispers from outside the room. People from throughout the site had gathered around to see if the narrative— possibly the very fabric of the universe they lived in —was alive. He was fairly sure this was being livestreamed to Site-19 as well.

Cassandra Pike couldn't help but be satisfied at the fact that, over six months after his death, Pickman would be vindicated. She'd always had a soft spot for the old archivist; when her medication failed to be delivered to any pharmacy in town, he'd let her help organize the archives. He'd been dead for months, but now he was helping the Foundation make a giant leap.

Tristan was just glad that the chucklefucks at 19, the ones who had his brother demoted for daring to do his job and neutralize a Keter-class anomaly, were going to eat crow. The family name was mud since Trevor did what he did; he was about to wipe that off.

"Fuck me, is this Sumerian?" Hendricks frowned. "Sinclair, you know my cuneiform's rusty. There's a ritual in Old French that can accomplish the same thing."

Sinclair, West, Bailey, Pike, and the rest of the onlookers raised their eyebrows at Hendricks. He raised one back. "What? I've attended a few cross-discipline seminars."

"Yes, well, the Old French ritual burned with the Plutonic Codex back in 2015." Sinclair knelt by the ritual sign and frowned. "Just manage it the best you can."

"All right… hopefully a garbled pronunciation won't do too much harm." He looked up from the notepad to Bailey, Pike, and West. "How does… one get rid of malignant narrative, anyway?"

Johnathan West looked towards the crowd; Harold stepped forward, holding out a large lampshade.

"Surely you can’t be serious…" Hendricks groaned.

"Don’t call me Shirley." Johnathan chuckled at his own joke, and took the lampshade. "In all seriousness, we need to, essentially, get rid of the anti-climax by looking at it really, really hard and pointing out why it's awful."

"And the lampshade helps that how?" Hendricks frowned, crossing his arms.

Tristan took the lampshade and put the narrow end to his mouth, like a megaphone. "The louder you point it out, the more effective it is!" He put the shade down. "It was the closest thing on hand when we started the tests. It kind of became a tradition."

Hendricks rolled his eyes, and began reading off the incantation. Sinclair knelt by the seal, making sure the ritual remained stable, while Pike, West, and Bailey all began a very conspicuous discussion.

"Boy, that was an awful piece of writing!" Bailey bellowed through the lampshade. "Poor Hendricks never catches a break. Why do you always gotta pick on him, narrative?"

"Yeah! He deserves better," Pike agreed. "He's been the butt of jokes around the site ever since he ate that stupid hallucinogen! It's not fair!"

"Stop picking on Jason Hendricks for the sake of creating conflict! It's gotten old!" West pointed out, shouting it through the lampshade. "You've turned his life into a cliche!"

"And anticlimaxes aren't fun! He should have creamed us in that poker game!" Pike chimed in.

Hendricks wasn't sure how to react; on the one hand, they were supporting him, but on the other, they were doing it solely for the purposes of heckling a universal constant. He just kept reading.

A bright, red glow emanated from the circle. Sinclair stood, startled, but able to keep her concentration as jumble of ethereal red letters formed within the air around the circle.


Sinclair scratched her head as the letters spun around. "Usually, a manifestation of pain takes a… different form. More humanoid. This is text."

"Not just any text," Hendricks frowned. "It's what I said. You can make out 'fold', 'anticlimax', and a few others. But… what does this mean?"

"Well, for this spell to work, the target of the spell has to feel pain. For it to feel pain, it needs to be able to interpret that sensation as pain. For it to do that…"

"It… has to be sentient." West looked at the floating words as they started to dissipate. "Holy shit. Do you realize what this means?!"

"That a fundamental part of our universe is a living entity of some kind, capable of registering pain and possibly other sensations." Pike's eyes went wide. "Holy shit. This is insane."

West shut his eyes with a soft groan. That, and I need to rewrite the entire damn file.

Phillip Verhoten wore a tweed suit as he walked on stage to the roar of the crowd. Almost all of Site-87 had come out to view him talk, and this seminar was being streamed to over a hundred Foundation sites globally. Seven translators were sitting in the corner, ready to transcribe his speech for the international sites.

"Hello, hello, hello Site-87!" He waved his hand, inadvertently triggering the motion sensor on the projector, which caused it to advance three slides at once. He looked back at the screen, and asked, "Can- can I get a reset on that? Not familiar with the newer tech. Just gimme a mouse and a laser pointer."

Once the glitch was resolved, Verhoten began speaking. "Sloth's Pit, Wisconsin. The anomaly capital of the Midwest, Sloth Spit, Home of the Best Sponge Candy in the US, Nexus-18, and for many of you, home." He clapped his hands together and sighed. "And here I stand, credited with discovering it." He shook his head. "That is a stupid, stupid term."

"One does not discover a town that's already inhabited— it was discovered by the citizens and civic workers of the town and county long before we set foot in here, after the tragic events at Camp Krakkow. Since then, we've become an integral part of Sloth's Pit's history— and its story." He advanced the slideshow, showing the cover of his book:

S & C Plastics: The Story of Your Life

A Collection of Anomalous Occurrences in Sloth's Pit, Wisconsin, as Told By Those at Site-87

"I have to admit, my reasons for coming here are partially selfish." Verhoten put his hands together. "This new book focuses exclusively on Sloth's Pit and the weirdness therein, as recounted by you." He waved his hand at the audience, triggering the slide to change into a live camera feed of the audience. "All of you. Your tales are going to make up the bulk of this book— at least, the first edition."

Verhoten put his hands together. "This town is unique. It's one of the few places in the world where the Narrative is so fully on display, and I imagine— or at least, I hope —that makes for a few good stories."

"Talking of the Narrative! Is Johnny West in here?"

Johnathan West hated being put in the spotlight, but stood up, raising his hand and looking at the ground.

"Congratulations to Drs. West, Pike, Bailey, and Sinclair, as well as the late Archivist Pickman, for making an actual discovery— finding out the Narrative is an actual, physical force. Your story is going to be one I definitely want to tell."

"Dr. Verhoten?"

As the seminar ended, Johnathan West made his way to the stage. Philip Verhoten smiled down at him, and offered a hand up onto the platform. "Johnny West, you magnificent man. Congratulations." He pulled Johnathan into a hug.

West returned it, chuckling, holding out sheaf of papers. "Dr. Verhoten—"

"We've known each other for decades now. Call me Phil."

"Well, Phil, I've… almost finalized the documentation on SCP-001. I'm still not sure about it, so I want you to take a look."

Verhoten took out a pair of reading glasses and began scanning the paper given to him.

Item #: SCP-001

Object Class: Archon1

Special Containment Procedures: SCP-001 is currently being monitored within Nexus-18 (Sloth's Pit, Wisconsin) by researchers at Site-87's newly-founded pataphysics department.

In the event of a major SCP-001-X manifestation, Procedure 001-Pickman-β is to be carried out, as detailed in the file below. Any and all SCP-001-A techniques are allowed to be used in order to combat the spread of SCP-001-X.

Testing done with SCP-001 is to be carried out only with permission from Dr. Johnathan West.

Description: SCP-001 is a sentient, possibly sapient, universal constant first discovered by Foundation Archivist Isaiah Howard Pickman (1979-2017), and first described by Pike, West, Bailey, Sinclair et al in 2018. SCP-001 manifests itself as a force described as "Narrative Causality", wherein patterns observed in nature, history, technology, and anomalous phenomena and items conform to patterns observed in fictional narratives. This, combined with phenomena reported in S. Andrew Swann's SCP-001 proposal, has definitively proved that the baseline universe is at least partly fictional.

SCP-001-A refers to narrative exploitation techniques that can be used to manipulate SCP-001, and conceivably any other narrative construct. SCP-001-A techniques include:

  • Invoking an ironic reaction by stating a phrase such as "What could possibly go wrong?"
  • Creating a solution to a problem by uttering a phrase such as "We're missing something, but what?", or by several people turning to look at a single individual who they believe is capable of solving this problem.
  • Preventing disasters via awareness of the presence of certain phrases in conversation (i.e. "It's been boring lately" or "nothing ever happens here") or narrative patterns
  • Minor probability manipulation using mass encouragement or belief.

SCP-001-A techniques are not infallible; SCP-001 seems to be able to choose which techniques are capable of working at a given time.

SCP-001-X refers to malignant pieces of narrative causality, either manifesting naturally as a result of an unsatisfying narrative event or created by excessive use of SCP-001-A. SCP-001-X instances are detrimental to the narrative around it, and have the potential to create massive flaws in reality that cause mass confusion, the manifestation of powerful and nonsensical entities and abilities, and an overall degradation in the surrounding consensus reality.

SCP-001-X can be counteracted by use of a specific SCP-001-A technique, SCP-001-Pickman-β. SCP-001-Pickman-β is a procedure which involves the following steps:

  • Location: Use of a Pickman-Sinclair Narrative Fluctuation Detector to locate a pocket of SCP-001-X.
  • Isolation: Creating an area of stable SCP-001 around the SCP-001-X instance through use of narrative manipulation techniques such as gathering a large crowd of people to observe the process being undertaken.
  • Ridicule: The pocket of SCP-001-X is ridiculed by vocalizing observations regarding the nonsensical nature of how it manifested, and how SCP-001 should have occurred in absence of the SCP-001-X instance. It has been observed that ridiculing SCP-001-X instances at higher volumes is more effective.
  • Neutralization: After approximately five minutes, smaller SCP-001-X instances can be neutralized; larger SCP-001-X instances can take up to half an hour or longer to completely render inert.

Neutralization of SCP-001-X instances causes a pain response in SCP-001; this discovery has led to the conclusion that SCP-001 possesses some degree of sentience.

Discovery: SCP-001 was first observed in Sloth's Pit, Wisconsin (known as Nx-18 within the Foundation), an anomalous Nexus monitored by Site-87. Isaiah Howard Pickman, an archivist at Site-87, observed several patterns of narrative causality within Sloth's Pit, and cataloged them over the course of fifteen years.

When his work was discovered posthumously in December 2017 by Dr. Cassandra Pike, she began attempting to corroborate his findings, which largely revolved around the manifestation of quasi-fictional entities in town being preceded or triggered by events which followed narrative conventions.

Dr. Tristan Bailey, a member of the Department of Multi-Universal Affairs, corroborated Pickman and Pike's findings with records of fluctuations in local reality compiled over the course of thirty years. With the aid of Dr. Katherine Sinclair, a thaumatologist, and Dr. Johnathan West, an anomalous item researcher, they were able to re-create the scenarios outlined by Pickman and create a device to detect changes in SCP-001, tentatively dubbed the Pickman-Sinclair Narrative Fluctuation Detector.


"Well, you did say almost finalized," Verhoten shook his head. "We've known of the whole 'god is a bunch of horror writers' idea for years. What makes this different?"

"Simple," West says. "We can't control them," He pointed at the ceiling, "but we can control this." He waved his hand around to the surroundings. "There's a difference between the Narrative and the Narrator. The people writing us are Narrators, but so are we." He twisted his hand in the air. "Sinclair's actually been able to pinpoint instances in which the narrative focus shifts away, if only briefly. You know what happens?"

"What?" Verhoten asked.

"Absolutely nothing. We keep existing, going about our lives, having conversations, and just… developing. Going on. That means that God isn't always paying attention, but we're still here regardless." He opened his hands. "We're real, Phil. We just live in a world where the laws of fiction are more powerful than the laws of gravity."

"That would mean…" Verhoten frowned. "I don't know what that would mean."

"I think that your book is gonna help you understand." West reached into his briefcase and took out a manuscript. "My submission for your book; I thought I'd give it to you in person. I typed it up in a few hours, so if it needs editing…"

"I'm sure it'll be fine." Philip Verhoten looked over the first line of the paper.

October 24th

"I hate this holiday." Dr. Johnathan West cleaned egg off of the card-reader...

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