SCP-8001

A story about the end of stories.

rating: +500+x
Item#: 8001
Level4
Containment Class:
euclid
Secondary Class:
{$secondary-class}
Disruption Class:
ekhi
Risk Class:
caution

edgeoftheworld.png

SCP-8001 and the island of Last Watch, as approached from the east.


Assigned Site Site Director Research Head Assigned Task Force
Site-99 Dr. Kaitlyn Kota Dr. Carter Christian Ω-91 "Sentinels"

Special Containment Procedures: Due to the relative difficulty of accessing SCP-8001 without assistance, SCP-8001 is considered to be generally self-containing. In the time since SCP-8001 was discovered by Foundation personnel and a base of operations was established therein, only three civilian vessels have come within 150km of an access point, and none met any of the other understood prerequisites for passage through those access points.

Mobile Task Force Ω-91 "Sentinels" will maintain a persistent perimeter around the most common access points to SCP-8001 by way of a single Raymond Howe-class patrol vessel to be anchored at the K-162 floating research platform, roughly 25km from access point "Aleph".

Gaining access to SCP-8001 is not a well understood process. Personnel attempting to reach SCP-8001 and the island of Last Watch should observe Protocol 8001-105 (detailed later in this document), which dictates the position, orientation, date, time of day, and atmospheric characteristics vessels are believed to need in order to pass into SCP-8001. Failed attempts to pass into SCP-8001 will result in the vessel simply ending up further west than SCP-8001's understood position, at which point vessels may return to K-162 to attempt passage at a later date.

SCP-8001 can only be accessed by a floating vessel. Flying machines, such as airplanes, helicopters, airships, or gliders will inevitably find themselves blinded by the clouds of water vapor that surround SCP-8001, regardless of the altitude or speed they are flying at, and regardless of their proximity to a vessel that makes successful passage. SCP-8001 causes significant interference with radar and other imaging devices, making tracking vessels passing in and out of SCP-8001 difficult. Similarly, submersible vessels cannot pass into SCP-8001 unless they are surfaced throughout their passage, as direct line of sight with Last Watch is believed to be a prerequisite required to make the journey.

The existence of SCP-8001 is routinely discussed within fringe internet communities and other "flat earth" groups, making information suppression of SCP-8001 relatively simple due to obfuscation by association. The existence of SCP-8001 does not negate the truth of the Earth being spherical, and the makeup of communities determined to assert the existence of SCP-8001 or discover its location (along with the rhetoric used and adjacent conspiracy theories touted as fact by their membership) act as an informal barrier against discovery by more serious civilian scientific entities.

Passage beyond SCP-8001 is not currently believed to be survivable. Individuals who pass over SCP-8001 are considered lost.

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Tower of Sunset on the Isle of Last Watch, situated on the edge of SCP-8001, as viewed by drone from the west.

Description: SCP-8001 is the edge of the planet Earth. The geological, geographical, or ontological origin of SCP-8001 is unknown, and its existence in spite of the obvious and scientifically verified spherical shape of the planet exists as a logical impossibility that serves as the primary academic goal of researchers assigned to SCP-8001. SCP-8001 is not an extra-planar space or pocket dimension - research teams stationed at Site-99 on the island of Last Watch can be detected by GPS, can use satellites to make telephone calls or transfer information digitally, and have launched rockets or flares that are visible to persons who are not within SCP-8001's locality.

SCP-8001 exists as a sheer edge running north to south in the southern Pacific Ocean, over which the waters of the Pacific flow freely into an indeterminably deep void beyond. Approaches to SCP-8001 by ship are precarious - vessels can easily get caught in the rapidly moving water and be swept over the edge unless they follow a carefully charted path that maneuvers them past a series of shoals that break up the flow of water, which ends up in a sheltered bay at the island of Last Watch. This same passage can be made in reverse, allowing vessels to transit to and from SCP-8001 with relative safety, so long as they are following the correct passageway.

SCP-8001 creates a substantial amount of water vapor, which serves to obscure the vicinity around SCP-8001 from outside observation (SCP-8001 cannot be viewed from satellites or any other overhead camera, including those launched from within SCP-8001). It is not known how far SCP-8001 extends in the northern and southern directions, as any attempts to navigate away from Last Watch by ship inevitably ends in the vessel being swept over the edge of SCP-8001, and any attempts to do the same from the air will either become lost in or obscured by the spray.

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One of several remains of wooden sailing vessels wrecked on the shallow shoals around the island of Last Watch. Due to the damage incurred over many years of decay, the age and origin of these vessels are difficult to determine.

The navigable portion of the waters leading to SCP-8001 end at a rocky outcrop that rises up from the sea floor, forming a small island roughly 1.2km2 in area. The easternmost section of the island contains a small bay surrounded by shoals, from which the rest of the island can be accessed by way of a narrow staircase cut into the rock. At the center and north of the island is a mostly flat, wooded section upon which grow a variety of different kinds of trees, grasses and brush1. To the south of this area is a small rocky hill that serves as the home to a small graveyard, and to the west is a narrow outcrop of rock that hangs over the edge of SCP-8001. A robust wooden walkway protrudes out over this outcrop, allowing individuals to pass over the edge of SCP-8001 without falling.

It is upon the flat wooded area that the Tower of Sunset is located, a moderately sized stone structure built in many conflicting architectural styles, likely over the course of many hundreds or thousands of years. The primary exterior portions of the tower are built in the ancient Roman ionic style, with the westward facing portico being an open gallery of limestone pillars supporting a triangular pediment, which extends back into a mostly rectangular inner cella that has been added onto on all sides. There are examples of 17th century Spanish and 5th century Chinese influences, as well as more modern architecture dating as late as the early 19th century, with some fixtures being identified as originating from Britain, the United States, France, and the Netherlands. The primary (and seemingly oldest) feature of the tower is the tower itself, which is constructed in a mixture of Greek, Egyptian, Roman, and Mesoamerican styles.

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The reflector dish for the Tower of Sunset lighthouse.

The tower serves two distinct purposes. Its primary role is as an oil lamp and reflector lighthouse, which is maintained by an 18th century automatic re-lighting system that appears to have at some point been retrofitted with more modern bearings and timing elements. The secondary role is as a library; the main floor of the tower, as well as most of the tower itself and the two small basement levels all serve as an information repository for texts and writings seemingly collected over several hundred years of exploration that ended at SCP-8001. There are examples of journals, logs, charts, maps, diaries, and other texts in a wide variety of languages, including Latin, French, Greek, Farsi, English, German, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Korean, Urdu, Portuguese, Amharic, and many others, as well as pictographic languages such as Nahuatl and ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. The collection also contains a single piece of modern digital media storage - an early model Sony .mp3 player, manufactured in 2003, within a watertight plastic case, which is believed to have washed up on the island entirely by chance. Despite its watertight case, the .mp3 player was damaged irrevocably by water ingress and is no longer operable.

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An unusually ornate section of the Tower of Sunset library, including furnishings and woodwork believed to have been repurposed from a Portuguese merchant vessel.

Much care has been made to preserve the texts within the library at the Tower of Sunset, as evident by the significant amount of technology that has been fitted into the original ancient structures over many years to reduce the effects of moisture, light, and aging on the texts contained therein. Many of the texts have been transliterated from their ancient sources into newer, more resilient articles, but there are many that have decayed past the point of legibility. The oldest known piece of writing on the island, a set of Egyptian tablets dating back to what is believed to be at least 2300 BCE, are worn down past the point where they could be translated and are preserved only as a reference point. The most recent document found on the island prior to the Foundation's discovery of it in 1944, was a Chinese sea chart believed to have been printed in 1925, altered significantly in an apparent attempt by the owner to make sense of SCP-8001, and to attempt to chart a path away from it.

Prior to the Foundation's arrival, the island of Last Watch had a single inhabitant - a sentient mechanical construct who maintained both the library and the lighthouse, as well as being a general caretaker of the island grounds. This entity, identified as SCP-8001-A, self-identified as "Aurélie", and claimed to be the reconstituted sapience of a 16th century French explorer who had been marooned on the island at some point in the past. SCP-8001-A is a clockwork entity, whose locomotion and speech are controlled by a complex series of gears, diaphragms, pistons, and pulleys, all designed to mimic human behaviour. For more information on SCP-8001-A, please see Addendum 8001.2 below.

Addendum 8001.1: Discovery

The existence of SCP-8001 has been thoroughly debunked throughout most of human history, with early Greeks having conceptualized a spherical Earth as early as the 5th century BCE, and with Eratosthenes calculation of the circumference of the planet in 240 BCE the recognition of the Earth as a sphere became more widespread. Despite this, there have been numerous fringe groups throughout history who have, at different times, claimed the existence of the world as a flat plane with an "edge" running around its exterior. The first known exploration to discover this edge is believed to have been by the ancient Roman sailor Faust Strabo who, having set sail to discover the far west in the year 45 CE, instead ran into hardship as his ship and crew were marooned near modern day Casablanca, their vessel having been unsuitable for blue water travel.

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Portuguese map of the known world, circa 1502. SCP-8001 is identified in text on the far right as "Oceanus Terminum".

Despite this, numerous instances of writing related to the edge of the earth persist within the historical record. Chinese writer Han Jinhai, writing in the 4th century CE, describes at length an account of fishing vessels and their crews who, having been blown off course by a terrible storm, found themselves "adrift in calm waters amidst a roaring tempest at the place where the world ends". Additionally, a 13th century account of an Indian vessel being lost on the high seas makes note of a "terrible sound in the deep sea, as if the ocean itself were spilling over, and great sheets of white foam fell from the sky onto us". While these accounts do not describe the island of Last Watch or any of the structures thereon, it does perhaps provide the first accounts of individuals who approached SCP-8001 and then returned. It is possible (and indeed likely, considering the age of the Tower of Sunset) that there were many more vessels who approached SCP-8001 and either did not leave written record of their return to the rest of the world, were unable to leave, or as is believed to be the case with the vast majority of vessels, attempted to reach or depart SCP-8001 and were sent over the edge to their doom.

The possible existence of SCP-8001 was first made apparent to the SCP Foundation by way of a manuscript discovered during a series of arranged document transfers between the Foundation and the Horizon Initiative. The document in question, a detailed sea chart by Russian engineer and seafarer Boris Kozlov2, contained an extensive description of the nature of SCP-8001, including a depiction of the Tower of Sunset. The heading of the note reads as follows:

A map of, and possible additional routes to, the long line at the end of the Earth, and the tall tower that rests there, which by way of a bright light gives warning to vessels in their approach to a catastrophic end which, by passing beyond, offers no hope of life or continuance of any kind…

Due to the presumed remote location and logical impossibility of SCP-8001, no action was taken to seek out and ascertain the existence of SCP-8001. The chart was held in storage at Site-19 until March of 1942, when a Foundation vessel sailing between Panama and Auckland, NZ passed close enough to SCP-8001 to see "a lighthouse, shining clearly, where no land is charted and no abnormality is known to exist." Further investigation of the area in the year following this initial passage revealed no sign of land - however, teams working to identify the unusual sighting rediscovered the Kozlov Chart in storage and, using it as a rough guide, were able to make the first confirmed, intended sighting of the Tower of Sunset in October of 1943. Early the following year, two additional voyages were undertaken to attempt to reach SCP-8001. The first of these lost contact with a radio station in French Polynesia and was never heard from again3. The second expedition, lead by Captain Erol Meyer and the ship SCPS Windswept, found the passageway through the shoals near SCP-8001 and moored at the Island of Last Watch.

Addendum 8001.2: SCP-8001-A

Captain Meyer, along with a contingent of researchers from Site-402, made initial contact with SCP-8001-A, who had noticed their approach and was waiting for the team near the small dock by the bay. SCP-8001-A was described by Captain Meyer as:

…a peculiar contraption, possessing unmistakably mechanical features yet resembling a human figure in a curious manner. Clad in a modest gown and drab cloak, it boasts a slender frame of admirable craftsmanship and aesthetic appeal. Silhouetted against the light, one might easily mistake it for a woman, save for the moment it engages in conversation, dispelling any such illusion. Though its physical construction is a marvel of engineering, its method of articulation appears antiquated by contemporary standards. Nevertheless, its speech, though tinged with a discernible French inflection, is articulate and confident, bearing no resemblance to the mechanical mimicry of human speech…

The initial interview with SCP-8001-A was conducted by Dr. Ivan Mann, who had accompanied Captain Meyer on the expedition, and was recorded. A transcript of this recording is below.

Addendum 8001.3: Excerpts from Collected Documents

The following are several excerpts from documents archived within the Tower of Sunset, provided by SCP-8001-A, which reference SCP-8001 itself.

From the 14th century journal of Eduardo Genevese:

…a sight of great profundity, to behold the waves of the vast ocean surging downward into the heavens. Gazing intently into the mist, one discerns somber silhouettes – mayhap stones or vessels ensnared below, yet to plummet into the abyss. The sensation that grips the soul whilst standing upon this precipice is naught but a communion betwixt mortal and the divine. Such an overpowering apprehension of ultimate fate could only be ordained by the hand of God.

From a 4th century text, likely Byzantine in origin:

Verily, this locale stands as the vestibule to the celestial realm beyond our earthly abode, for hither lies the limit where mortal feet may not tread. The splendor that graces this hallowed ground suffices as testament to its verity.

From a document written by 17th century entrepreneur and explorer John Russell:

5th of August, the year of our Lord sixteen hundred and twenty six,

On this present day, the hour of man's ascendancy hath arrived! Lo, we have accomplished the craft of aerial conveyance, a marvel to behold. The fabric unfurls beneath the radiant beams of dawn, whilst His Majesty's ensign dances aloft in the breeze. Yea, this day heralds our ascent into the heavens, to venture unto those far-off realms that lie beyond the confines of our terrestrial sphere, realms hitherto untrodden by mortal foot, and from whence few have returned! Verily, the mechanical contrivance, in its semblance of sentience, hath voiced its dissent against our enterprise. Yet let it be known henceforth that the apprehensions of the Gauls shall not today dissuade the steadfast resolve of the noble progeny of England!

From a document transliterated from its original, now lost, text:

Before us, the earth seemed to fall away into nothingness, a sheer drop into oblivion that stretched as far as the eye could see. The horizon, once a distant promise of new horizons and uncharted territories, now marked the boundary between existence and the great unknown.

Addendum 8001.4: The Journal of Lord Theodore Thomas Blackwood

Discovered among the documents catalogued within the Tower of Sunset is an excerpt from the Journal of Lord Theodore Thomas Blackwood, a self-described explorer, naturalist and "Conqueror of Uncharted Realms". Notably, Lord Blackwood is contained at Site-19 and has been classified as SCP-1867.

The journal of Lord Blackwood found within the Tower of Sunset archives displays the characteristic bravado of its author throughout, up until the entry describing Lord Blackwood's team having found SCP-8001. Thereafter the writing becomes noticeably concise and abbreviated, describing in short how his team surveyed the island, briefly spoke to the "clever automaton, masquerading as a Parisian, who attends diligently to the illumination of the lighthouse", before saying a prayer and departing to the east. The text of this journal was found to be so out of character for its supposed author that, shortly after having returned from his initial expedition to SCP-8001, Dr. Mann sought out a meeting with SCP-1867 to discuss it.

The transcript of this exchange is below.

Addendum 8001.5: The Journal of Adán Sedano, Keeper of the Tower

That morning I descended from the tower as the rays of the sun stretched their golden fingers across the island, casting long shadows that danced upon the edges of the tower's walls. There, beneath the shade of the ancient rosewoods, sat the aged watchman, his gaze fixed upon the distant western sky. His countenance, weathered by the years of solitary toil in the care of our archives, bore a rare tranquility as I approached to offer my aid for the day's tasks, and perhaps a tome to occupy his leisure.

It is his smile that lingers most vividly in my memory - a serene expression that had eluded him for many a season. The passage of time had etched deep furrows upon his visage, yet on that morn, his gruff demeanor gave way to a moment of geniality as he bid me join him in silent contemplation, the morning light shimmering upon the drops of water.

Inquiring after my youth, he sought tales of my past life in the Holy Land, of my lineage and upbringing. Recollections of distant memories stirred within me as I recounted my aspirations of exploration and worldly discovery, while he, in turn, recounted his own past endeavors and aspirations. "Once," he confessed, "I harbored dreams of following in my father's footsteps as a carpenter, a shipwright. Yet fate had other designs."

In the ensuing discourse, he regaled me with tales of his travels, his loves, his fears, and the myriad wonders and oddities encountered in his journeys across distant lands. Enthralled, I listened intently as he spun his tales into the weft of time.

As twilight draped its cloak upon the world, he turned to me with a gaze brimming with fervent resolve, as though seeking answers within my very soul. He spoke of the enigmatic nature of our abode, where countless odysseys had reached their terminus, their mysteries left unresolved. In a voice weighted with solemnity, he posed a question that lingered in the air like the echoes of a forgotten lament: What worth, he asked, did such answers hold for a man? What worth did they hold for me? Bereft of an adequate response, I could only ponder his words in silence.

That night, he bestowed upon me his cherished journal, bidding me to add it to our repository come the morrow. "Tomorrow," he declared, "let it join the annals of our record. I fear I have naught more to impart."

Come the dawn, I awoke to find him gone, leaving behind naught but folded robes and sandals beneath the ancient rosewoods. His absence lingered as a silent testament to the transient nature of existence, and I never beheld his countenance again.

Addendum 8001.6: Dialogue with SCP-8001-A

The following is a transcript of a conversation between Dr. Ivan Mann and SCP-8001-A, upon the former's return to SCP-8001-A in 19484. SCP-8001-A had approached Dr. Mann while he was transcribing his own recorded notes, allowing him to easily record their conversation.


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