• rating: +103+x


The following item designation and document has been associated with Temporal Event 7969-1. Although the text of the file has been cleared of possessing cognitohazards and infohazards, the information contained therein is suspect and its provenance uncertain. For more information, consult the Temporal Event 7969-1 briefing packet.

— Maria Jones, Director, RAISA, 03/01/2023



SCP-7969 upon recovery.

Item #: SCP-7969

Object Class: Safe

Special Containment Procedures: SCP-7969 is currently being contained on-site at Sol 3's moon. Archeologists from the Shatterglass Exhibitry are in command of research operations.

Description: SCP-7969 is a pair of objects found on the moon of Sol 3, part of the patrimony of the Duke of Glavi. The objects, both made of unknown metallic compounds, are a plaque bearing 14 lines in an unknown script and a crudely-carved humanoid figurine.

Accordingly to Ploison-Netinsini dating methods, SCP-7969 was estimated to be created 97,000 years ago. This predates the earliest known manmade artifact by 16,000 years, and its discovery has dramatically altered the archaeological consensus about the origin point of humanity.

I will not disguise my feelings, my Pir; such a discovery has given me an abundance of joy and fascination. These twin objects, alike in composition, have irrevocably altered our understanding of our species's origins.

It has been suspected by a growing number of archaeologists that the human race did not, in fact, develop in the Haleski arm at all, but could have developed on the opposite side of the galaxy, in Closer Holvanis. The Order has long known that our origins were further to the north than commonly supposed; and as one of the most ancient organisations in the Empire, we would know better than most.

And yet, repeatedly, stubbornly, we have been disbelieved. So it is with no small amount of pleasure that I observed the Conclave's shock and outrage to discover that they were wrong, and we were right! How happy I am! To see such luminaries as T'Sask Ope and the Herlnag strut in agitation on the stage was something I have wished for these many years.

The Order has been granted an Imperial and Ducal order granting us exclusive rights over all archaeological digs in the Sol system for many cycles. That name itself is believed to be very ancient; it is one of the ten names that the Recapitulators possessed for their holy systems, some 70,000 years ago. We have no older names for any stars in the sky - although there has been some disagreement about the Recapitulators' very existence. All our documents relating to them are copies of copies, after all.

But we need not scour the archives for scraps any longer. These two objects are small, humble, but the dating is clear; they have stood in the same spot for longer than recorded time itself. Their preservation is, presumably, anomalous; there is no other artifact on this moon, however thin its atmosphere. Analysis is ongoing on their composition; it seems to be some primitive compound, based on a partial understanding of physics. The figurine appears crude to our eyes.

But, oh, what a tableau they are together! They must be some kind of memorial, I am sure; the figure's positioning, face down in the lunar dust, a deliberate message. Or perhaps they have been dislodged as a result of the long years. We will not, can not, know. But I have hopes, my Pir; such hopes. It is an honour to have been entrusted with this work.


Sol 3.

Memorandum 1: On 185225-RPA, an Imperial diktat awarded the Order of the Three Arrows full rights to any archaeological work in the Sol system. The area had not previously been examined in any great depth, owing to the Conclave's opposition to any acknowledgement of the Recapitulation's historical basis.

A preliminary scan of the system's astral bodies was largely negative, outside of SCP-7969 itself; however, some unusual patterns were detected on the surface of Sol 3. Further investigation has been greenlit by the Order's personnel.

This document does not do it justice, my Pir. We have discovered nothing less than cities! And not the usual scattered settlements; vast, vast conglomerations, the buried lines of crisscrossing settlements that could hold millions of people! Imagine!

Perhaps I get ahead of myself; we have only discovered, through sub-surface scans, the remains of street patterns. There are no buildings, no artifacts; indeed, no other signs of humanity. But there is nothing else these patterns can be. It is only a matter of time before we find something new; we are almost ready to cease our orbital observations and descend to the planet's surface.

Very few further abormalities have been discovered yet. It is a Class-9 planet, teeming with plant and animal life in abundance. I believe two species bear a close resemblance to carvings from early Gyl'Obiaye, which have never been sufficiently explained by that system's fauna: a rock with a face and arms protruding, and a species of feral cat with a glubfish's mane wrapped around its neck. The former is particularly bizarre and terrifying; the latter, savage, but without real malice.

I cannot wait to touch them, see them, be eaten by them. We have requisitioned enough bodies to last us for years; the Emperor's generosity is unbounded. This proves to be a scholar's true playground. Our ships gaze down in awe and wonder.

I will admit that, despite clear evidence of human life, I remain nervous. If this was our cradle, the origin-point for all humanity, then would something not have survived? We have no tales, no myths that stretch this far back; each primitive colony in the Years of Night believed itself to be the only world that had ever existed. We need more than this. We need something concrete, something that demonstrates - beyond doubt - that the nightmare of our long history has a start, a clear and unencumbered beginning.

I believe, my Pir, in our tenets, even after all these years. Our mortality is not born to us; it is something that has been thrust upon us. Only truly understanding our origins can end this long curse, and return all the death and nightmares to their proper place; outside the species's walls. Humanity will be secured; the long night contained; and it shall be up to us to protect our fellow man. Has that not been our mantra these long years?
Perhaps now our oldest prayers shall be answered.

Memorandum 2: As of 185377-RPA, ground observations have been conducted by a number of the Order's crews. In conjunction with orbital observations, the following three abnormal discoveries have been made concerning Sol 3:

  • That large-scale human settlements existed on the planet's surface, as evidenced by a number of sub-surface street plans picked up by orbital observation. The size of these settlements and the resources necessary to support them have led to an initial population estimate of over 2 billion people at the civilisation's height.
  • That very few other signs of other human activity can be found. Evidence of large-scale, likely deliberate conflagration has been discovered across the planet's land mass; the obvious inference is that all evidence of human life was destroyed for some unknown reason, but the scale and thoroughness would be on a extraordinary level.
  • That the only other remaining evidence of human activity found thus far is a large, secure bunker under the surface of a northern continent. The nature of the bunker is, as yet, unknown.

Entering the bunker is currently the research team's top priority.

But none of this describes the awe and horror. Touching down, digging beneath the surface; in the flesh, the street plans are little more than a different kind of soil, fragments of primitive road compounds. And there is nothing else.

The others are less willing to arrive at the obvious conclusion, believing the scale of it impossible. But it seems clear to me, from the charred and fossilised ash; there was a deliberate attempt to destroy everything on this planet, to burn away the very memory of humanity from its surface.

Why? Why do this? If this is humankind's origins, why burn everything? The same scorchmarks, on a much smaller scale, can be found dotted across the planet's moon in small clusters. One of those clusters is near the little metal items that first brought us here, but they are not burnt. They still live! Why is this? Why did they survive?

I wish we could see. The past is a set of fragments, a set of absolutes that can only be perceived with our frail eyes, seeing only fractures and ruins we cannot understand. Maybe those rivers were once canals. Maybe that marsh was once a fish pond. Whole worlds existed here, once; the glory and dertritus of the human mind.

The true hell of the past, when you really consider it, is that it is all true. Every last battle or war, every storybook caricature; it's all true. Everywhere humans have gone, lives have been lived, lives entirely different and founded upon an entirely different understanding from our own. It is almost nightmarish, to consider its scale; but perhaps comforting. All that we are is our past; we are the merest tip of an iceberg that descends beneath the darkest and deepest sea, our eyes only dimly making out the shapes beneath.
But perhaps none of this matters, this horror and the weight of time. For I have the scent of greed upon my tongue, blinding me to all introspection. Because one place, one locale, has survived this planet's purge.

It is a bunker. We cannot see within it; some strange metal, far more advanced than anything else encountered here, coats the thing. We're not even sure how deep it goes. All we know is the symbol carved above its entryways.

Three arrows pointing inwards.

Our Order's own blessed symbol.

Memorandum 3: As of 185377-RPA, the northern continent's bunker has been entered. The interior had been similiarly destroyed by fire; a few fragments of equipment and machinery had been found, and have been requisitioned for analysis, but only a single artifact has been deemed noteworthy.

The artifact is a series of sheets of a wood-based compound, with writing on it composed in the unknown script as the moon's plaque. It bears the symbol of the Order of the Three Arrows, which was also found on the outside of the bunker.

The full significance of this is not yet known. Translation teams are currently working on a full decoding.

But it is now known, my Pir. It took many weeks, but we succeeded.

The formatting was recognisable at once; it is one of our own holy documents, like this one I write now. It alternates between the words of formality and the words of informality, as we have written about our world and those we encounter for as long as we remember.

This much could be told at a moment's glance. But then the decoding began; the rendering into a proper tongue. And then things became much, much stranger indeed.

This document - the strange wood-pulp it was printed on - has been dated, without any chance of mistake or error, to 96,000 years ago. 1,000 years after the plaque was placed upon the moon. Judging by our analyses of the planet's surface, this is the same time as the planet itself was burnt.

And the document is the one I'm writing.

It's the same one. Translated, yes, but otherwise identical. It features sentences I wrote before I came here, and those written by others; it contains these words I am just now writing to you; and it contains passages yet to be written. It is identical.

The Order has seen this kind of thing before, of course. Temporal anomalies are nothing new to us; we all remember Joskq and Old Karmara. But those were unstable, fragile things. This is impossible. This is time travel.

I don't know what this means. Is any of this planet real? Is it just something we made, playing with time in some distant future, placing objects from the future back into the past? Was it us, the Empire, the Order, the Conclave, whoever - was it us who burnt this world? Was time used to hide something?

These were the questions that plagued me. But I do not think any are the case. Our physics has proven that, although waves and particles may one day be able to be thrust through time, any greater objects cannot pass. Time travel in the conventional sense is not possible. But the words written on that document - even the later ones - were of a type. They were my words; their timeline was not that long. And this document was preserved, wholesale, its pulp made to last far longer than its natural lifespan. 96,000 years!

And after a long night of prayer, I think I know what happened. I think this is a paradox.

If these people were so determined to destroy all aspects of their existence, then why preserve a little metal figurine? Why, of all the memorials that must have littered their world, was this one left standing? I think the answer is clear, my Pir. I think that they left that figurine because they knew that, one day, we would find it, and send back through time these words for them to peruse at their leisure - and leave for us to find.
We know from past experience what happens when a paradox is broken; devastation, unending devastation that alters time and space around it. These people - our ancestors - must have realised this. So in their fury, they destroyed everything but that which would destroy themselves. A tiny, insignificant memorial.

I don't know what to make of this. I don't understand.

Memorandum 4: As of 185454-RPA, no further discoveries have been found on Sol 3 or its moon. As per the Imperial diktat, the Order's time here has ended, and the archaeological sites have been opened up to the Conclave. The team's final, formal report will be sent to the Pir shortly.

I am standing, my Pir, in my ordinary body, back on the Capital. I am standing beneath the triple suns as they set over our grand lodge. Perhaps this is the right moments for some last thoughts.

Time rambles on and on, a strange beast that, the closer you get to its fabric, weaves itself another way. It defies comprehension, to all the endless weight and burden of history, to those of us blessed in this present age, to our future selves. It haunts me, not only those parts unknown but our distance to the very patterns of life; the ways minds, so remote from our own, think and feel.

Two ideas have been plaguing me, over and over again. The first is connected with the burning. I saw the evidence of ash and char; I saw the fragments, hastily scorched, inside that bunker. They are old, it is said; many millenia older than all else we have found. The scientists do not know by how much. It isn't clear. Something's inside their bones.

But that ash, that devastation… what worried me first was this: that the words in this document, thrown through time, were what prompted it. They did not simply spare the memorial, they also had to burn their world. All the evidence had to align with what we found in order to avert the paradox; and they may have spent bitter centuries putting such a plan together. This, then, would be why we first fled our cradle; because we had to. Because the seal had to be preserved, or all humanity would perish.

And this was horrible to me. My words, even if only a conduit, were still part of the obliteration of history, of our past, our sense of self! The quest for our origins has never felt so close, yet so far; our mortality so remote and near. I, even as a vessel, feel I bear some responsibility.

But I do not know this to be true. I can only guess.

But then another thought occurred to me; and it concerns these words themselves.

Who wrote them? I believed - believe - that I am writing them, a spontaneous effusion of my own emotions. But I saw them written, in an ancient tongue, far before I wrote them. I saw them translated already. I cannot know where they came from. Indeed, neither can you; these may just be copies of what I saw. You only have it on trust, my Pir, that these are indeed my thoughts.

And those people of the distant past do not know this either.

Our ancestors will one day receive a message, showing them a paradox; it will claim to be from tens of thousands of years hence, after civilisation upon civilisation has fallen and died. They will read this, but they will not know from whence it comes. It will come in the form of a transmission, overriding itself into their database, presenting a challenge to them. It is to this task I will dedicate the rest of my life, to the exclusion of all else; but if I fail, then my successors will succeed. It is written, in perhaps the holiest of manuscripts we have ever discovered.

They will, I presume, take it on faith; hence why we are where we are. But they cannot know that. And so, O my ancestors, if you are reading this, let me say one final thing: I do not know what I am. I do not know what these words are, these characters trapped in time itself. I know nothing but one piece of frail guesswork: that those 14 lines on your tiny moon, that figurine, are a memorial. A memorial to those who you lost on your first steps to this, to the tens of billions roaming the sky, to untold histories that you will never know. To the stars themselves, and all the ache and frail pain of this human world.

But what the significance of any of this is, I do not know.

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