SCP-4604
rating: +13+x

Item #: SCP-4604

Object Class: Unknown

Special Containment Procedures: There is likely no method of containing SCP-4604. I just don't know what to do about it anymore.

Description: No doubt official documentation will describe SCP-4604 as being me.

From where I stand? SCP-4604 is the whole rest of the goddamn world.

It started maybe… a year ago? Maybe it's been a far more subtle change taking place over years, and last year is just when the changes had accumulated enough so that I finally noticed. But that's the easy description: everything changed.

Now, I really shouldn't complain. I know darn well most people can't expect to take a year off work to fight cancer and then still have the same job when they come back. To say nothing of the health benefits that got me through it. But coming back from the surgeries and chemo, that's when it really hit me how much everything had changed.

I'm not even sure I can explain it properly. Should an intense yet subliminal sensation that the mood of a place has changed persist after an extended absence? Is it a usual thing for the familiar to suddenly become unfamiliar without warning?

I couldn't put my finger on any of it. I just wandered the formerly mundane halls of Site-145 in a daze that lasted for weeks on end. Faces, authentication systems, the very corridors of the facility itself: all of this I recognized, and yet all of it was thoroughly alien to me.

I'm still not completely sure I'm not what's the issue here.

I tried to pose the problem to others. Coworkers, trusted members of the organization, people I called friends. None of them seemed to understand what I was talking about. Nothing's changed, they'd say. You've just been under a lot of stress lately. It's okay to feel a little out of place.

But I couldn't shake the feeling that it was all wrong. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized this sense of wrongness stretched back to before my illness. It was less intense then, less real, but it had still been there, lurking just beneath and behind my understanding of the world. Or what I thought I understood about it, anyway. It hadn't been a sudden change at all is my point.

I joined on with the Foundation after being caught up in crazy paranormal shit back home; I stayed with them because I believed in their goal. I believed the work they do helps keep people safe. Since that time, I've gotten a Ph. D., a private office, and a Researcher of the Year award to hang in that office. Not bad for a dumb kid from the Pampas who twenty-some years ago only cared about where to make their next score.

Have I stopped believing in the work I do? Is it me that's changed in the last twenty-some years?

No. No, I haven't changed, not that much. I haven't stopped believing. It's them who changed. Like the time they brought in that specialist from the Foundation Arcane Sciences wing. Some kind of cross-departmental team building exercise or something, the usual kind of thing that happens every few years. Dr. Fonseca was nice and all, very knowledgeable about the things she was talking about, but…

The Foundation using magic? When did we go from denying the supernatural to accepting that it could be utilized like any scientific instrument? That kind of thing is supposed to be the purview of the people who oppose us, the ones trying to free our anomalies or kill our personnel or just undermine everything we stand for with their crazy, impossible, unscientific magic bullshit.

That's one of the larger changes, but is it apparent what I mean? This kind of thing would never have flown back when the Foundation picked me up out of the villas miserias of Buenos Aires.

I need to talk about subtler changes if I want to get this idea across. They're just hard to pick out because they are so subtle.

How about this: I often see Agent Carmichael in the cafeteria on coffee breaks. "Jo," she'd say, "buddy, you work too hard. You need to take some time to yourself!" She'd smile as she said it, but there would be this look in her eyes, a softness underlying the outward joviality. It was a tiny signal that she really did care, that she really did mean it.

The last time she said that to me, the words were the same but the care wasn't there. Heck, the joviality wasn't there. It was like she'd been replaced by an AI, just rattling off a preprogrammed line of dialogue. I've got enough clearance to run scans for that kind of thing myself, and nothing came up, but that didn't stop me from mentioning it to Dr. Caries in the Bio Wing. He just looked at me like I was the robot masquerading as a person.

Or there's Dick, Dr. Hatrick, he coordinates the D-Class we use in no-sight containment procedures. His touch on my face was always warm and familiar, it made me smile. It didn't matter how familiar we were with each other, sometimes he just wanted that extra reassurance of identification, just to remind himself what I looked like. It's important to keep those kinds of social ties with other people, right? That's what the psych docs always say.

Well, last week he reached out for my face, and I noticed him hesitate. He shouldn't have, he had no reason to, and there wasn't any expression suggesting something wrong with him. But when his fingers traced the contour of my nose and cheekbones, that warmth was absent. His touch was cold, impersonal, dispassionate. It was like dragging your fingers over the surface of a long-forgotten cave well, except that I was the cave.

I'm so afraid that I'm making zero sense right now. That someone's going to read this and think I'm just losing my mind. I wouldn't be the first Researcher of the Year to have a nice old mental breakdown, especially not after a prolonged illness and absence. No one would blame me, right? There's the hell of it. But I know I'm not crazy.

I mean, that's just two examples. Nor is everything Foundation-based. Family back home, they would look at me sometimes, like they were just remembering I was real, or like they couldn't stand the sight of me and were resigning themselves to having to put up with my presence. The news gets crazier by the day. Traffic doesn't flow right. Music isn't enjoyable. On and on and on, dozens or hundreds of examples even. I can't keep track of all of them, it took me too long to notice in the first place.

So why classify this as an anomaly?

You get used to certain oddities, working at a Foundation Site, and each one's got its own character. At 22, I remember, if you ever found yourself at a hallway intersection by yourself, with no other personnel in sight and no ambient sound, you were supposed to immediately take the right-hand path and not look behind yourself until you were able to get into a room. No idea what happened if you didn't. It was one of those things, not a containable anomaly, but a quirk that everyone knew about and no one asked about more than once.

What's happening to me — or what I'm perceiving to be happening to everything around me — it's more than just some nagging would-be tear in reality. Because each of these encounters shares one very specific thing in common:

Disappointment.

Every time I see someone acting strangely, or encounter another ridiculous admin policy change, I'm not sad or angry or afraid. I just find myself filled with disappointment. And it's reached a level where I just can't stand being here. I hate coming to work. I hate seeing my coworkers. And I hate that I hate it. Nothing changed, but everything changed, and I shouldn't be feeling this way.

So think of this as a final plea for help. Maybe if I fuck with the database, someone will take me seriously. I don't know what I would do if they didn't, but I don't think I'd like to entertain options, either.

I know this isn't proper procedure. But I don't know what else to do.

Signed,

Joaquin M. Hernandéz-Buca

Senior Researcher, Site-145 Hazardous Containment

05/05/2019

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