The Recording
rating: +48+x

Item #: SCP-███

Object Class: Safe

Special Containment Procedure: SCP-███ requires no special handling or storage beyond that of typical electronic devices - keep it at a reasonable temperature, dry, away from electromagnetic interference. It is not believed to pose any risk to anyone, therefore can be kept in a secure locker rather than requiring its own chamber.

Description: SCP-███ is a small rectangular device, approximately 4 x 2 x 0.5 cm. It appears to be a storage device of some kind, similar to a modern-day memory card, but much more advanced - our engineers have estimated its storage capacity to be approximately 200 terabytes. Based on the available data, we believe the device to have been constructed in or around the year 2074.

It took several years to construct an interface to allow us to connect it to current computers, and several more to write the software necessary to read what is on it.

The entire content of the device is a single file, a multimedia recording. Our software engineers have managed to recover and convert the file into a format usable on our current computers, but the video appears in monochrome, a single 'layer' of the recording. They say that there are at least 18 such layers, each from either a slightly different angle, or displaying a different colour, leading us to believe that the recording was intended to be viewed on some type of three-dimensional display that has yet to be invented.

Device contents: The recording on the device appears to be a police interview, two detectives interviewing a murder suspect. Due to the missing segments, we don't currently know the names of either of the detectives, or the suspect, who is referred to only as 'Doctor'. We hope that eventually we will be able to recover the missing pieces of the recording and identify the men, the location, and the exact date the recording was made, so we can track the people involved in the years leading up to the events in the recording.

Below is a complete transcript of the section we were able to recover. It begins mid-sentence with the detective nearest the camera, whom we have dubbed 'Detective 1'.

<Begin transcript>

Detective 1: …your confession, we have multiple witnesses, and we have this…
The detective presses a button on the table in front of him, and the wall in the rear of the picture blurs, then fades into what looks like a high-tech laboratory. The wall is a screen of some kind. On the screen, a man is standing in front of what can best be described as a blur, stretching from floor to ceiling. He seems to be shouting something at another, older man, who is aiming a shotgun at him. The man with the weapon, who is the man being interviewed, shouts something back. The younger man turns towards the blur and takes a step forward, at which point the older man fires the shotgun. The left-hand side of the younger man's head explodes, he spins round and falls backwards into the blur, and his entire body disappears.
Doctor: I HAD TO DO IT!
Detective 1: Why?
Doctor: Because of what he was about to do!
Detective 2: Which was what?
Doctor: I don't know. Possibly destroy the universe.
Both detectives chuckle
Detective 1: Destroy the universe. Well, you stopped him, good job, Doctor.
Doctor: I'm serious! And I don't know if I stopped him, you saw yourself, his body fell through. The damage may already be done, it may be too late.
Detective 1: What damage?
Doctor: That'll take some explaining.
Detective 1: You're in some serious trouble, and we've got all the time in the world. Talk.
Doctor: OK, OK. I've been completely co-operative, I'll tell you everything. How much do you know about wormholes?
Detective 1 shrugs.
Detective 2: Only what I've seen in the movies. Bending space, that kind of thing.
Doctor: Yes, exactly. I won't go too much into the science of it, but my team and I were working on developing stable wormholes. A way to instantly travel from one point to another. About 6 months ago, we had a breakthrough. We actually did it.
Detective 1: You made a wormhole?
Doctor: Yes. We managed to open one in the laboratory. We punched a hole in spacetime! An actual wormhole, right there in front of our eyes.
Detective 2: Okaaaaaay… and where did it go to?
Doctor: Philadelphia.
Detective 1: Oh, spectacular. That would've been… May. Nice time of year for Philly, huh?
Detective 2: I dunno, I would've preferred Hawaii.
Doctor: Please, let me continue.
Detective 1: Alright, go ahead.
Doctor: Thank you. When we first opened it, we had no idea where it led to. We ran all the tests we could think of on it, but eventually, we knew we'd have to send something through it. So, we got a video camera and attached a locator device to it, and sent it through.
We left the complex, and activated the locator. It showed that the camera was 150 km away. We got there in 2 hours, and eventually found it halfway up a tree.
Detective 2: Is this going anywhere?
Detective 1: Apart from Philadelphia?
Doctor: Yes, yes, I'm getting there. It's crucial you know the full history before I explain why I had to kill him. May I continue?
Detective 1: Please do.
Doctor: We retrieved the camera, only to find that the battery was dead. We thought that maybe the trip through the wormhole had somehow fried the electronics, drained the battery. We got it back to the lab, and connected it to a charger, hoping maybe it had recorded some footage before whatever it was had killed its battery.
Detective 2: And had it?
Doctor: Yes! But this was the part that shocked us. The first message that appeared on its display was "Chip full". And simultaneously, one of the technicians yelled over that there was nothing wrong with the battery - it had simply been used up, drained.
Detective 1: Meaning?
Doctor: A standard holochip will store 36 hours of recording. The battery for that camera model lasts for 48 hours. We retrieved the camera in 2 hours, detective, yet the battery was depleted and the storage device was full! We checked the contents of the chip. It had a full 36 hours of footage on it.
Detective 1: So, the camera was damaged and wrote garbage to the chip?
Doctor: NO! It worked perfectly! The footage we pulled from it began in the lab showing me smiling into the lens, then going through the wormhole, then into a blinding light - sunshine! Then green, then blue sky. As near as we could tell, it exited the wormhole 35 metres in the air, had fallen, and landed in the tree. Luckily, it had ended up pointing up in the sky. We were able to determine, from weather conditions and the phases of the moon captured by the camera, that it had not only travelled 150 km through space, but it had also travelled 9 days back in time!
Detective 1: Back in time.
Detective 2: Time travel.
Doctor: Yes.
Detective 1: If you're gonna start jerking us around…
Doctor: I'm not, I swear it. The wormhole had not only bent space, but time too.
Detective 1: So you built a time machine.
Doctor: Unintentionally, but, yes, we had. We kept experimenting with it, over the following weeks and months, sending more and more objects through, as well as sterile biological samples, until we were able to accurately calibrate the exit point both spatially and temporally to a high degree of accuracy.
Detective 1: What does that mean?
Doctor: We were able to create wormholes to within 1.5 metres of our intended destination location, and to within 12 minutes of our intended destination time.
Detective 2 sighs.
Detective 2: What has this got to do with you killing Doctor Snow?
Doctor: Everything.
Detective 1: Well how about you use that time machine of yours and skip forward to tonight. Say, when you arrived at the lab.
Doctor: OK. It was important you understood what the device was before I explained.
Detective 2: You've explained. Now, talk.
Doctor: Alright. This evening, I was at home, reading, when the lab's security system telephoned me. It told me that there had been an intrusion into the Restricted Materials compound. That's where we keep all the dangerous chemicals, biological agents, weapons tech, that kind of thing. It said that Doctor Snow had broken in, and removed 8 litres of Rx52.
Detective 1: Rx52?
Doctor: It's an engineered virus, a bio-weapon. It causes a severe rash within 10 minutes of exposure, followed by pustules erupting on the skin. It's non-lethal, and runs its course in about 4 hours, with no lasting effects.
Detective 1: OK. Go on.
Doctor: While Rx52 is non-lethal, it is still very dangerous. Its intended use is to create mass chaos, panic, but not fatalities. That much of it is enough to infect tens of thousands of people. I jumped into to my car and drove to the lab. When I got there and entered the building, the lab's computer greeted me and announced that I had a new message from Doctor Snow. I got it to play the message for me, and that's when I realised what I had to do.
Detective 2: Which was…
Doctor: I had to stop him, whatever the cost.
Detective 1: What was the message from Doctor Snow?
Doctor: It was a last will and testament, of sorts. He explained his plan, every detail of what he was going to do. In his own words, he was going to become a hero, legendary. He'd been planning it for some time, apparently. He was going to use the device to send himself back in time, along with a shotgun, 200 rounds of ammunition, and 8 litres of Rx5. He'd set the spatial co-ordinates to Manhattan, New York, and the temporal co-ordinates to 4 am on the 11th of September, 2001.
Detective 1: WHAT?
Doctor: Yes. He was going to send himself back in time 73 years, to the morning of the attacks. Are you familiar with what happened on September 11th 2001, detective?
Detective 1: Of course, I learned about it in history class, we all did. What was he planning to do?
Doctor: 2,973 people died in those attacks, most of them in the old World Trade Center towers. He was going to stop them.
Detective 2: WHAT? There was no way he could stop them, those planes came from completely different parts of the country.
Doctor: He wasn't going to physically stop the planes. He was going to have the two buildings evacuated. He was going to connect the canisters of Rx52, 4 litres in each tower, to the ventilation systems. He would then contact the authorities and announce that he was a terrorist who was about to release a large quantity of the smallpox virus into both buildings.
Detective 2: Smallpox?
Doctor: It was a deadly virus which was eliminated in the 20th century, but was believed, for a time, to have been held in stockpiles for biological warfare. His plan was two-fold - if the authorities acted as he'd hoped, they would have evacuated both buildings. If they didn't, he would have released the Rx52 by remote into the buildings' ventilation systems. The physical symptoms which Rx52 presents would make people believe that it truly was smallpox, and they would panic, fleeing the building, or at least try to leave, going down to the lower levels if the authorities enacted quarantine procedures.
Detective 1: My god.
Doctor: Yes. Ingenious. The people behind the attacks would have had no way of knowing, but if his plan had succeeded, those planes would have collided with two empty buildings.
Detective 2: What was the weapon for?
Doctor: That was in case he was discovered. He'd thought of everything. In case he was found planting the Rx52, his intention was to get into a gunfight, which would have caused the authorities to turn up and cordon off whichever tower he was found in. He would have told them, between shots, that they were 'too late, I've already done the other tower'. Again, this would have caused both buildings to be evacuated.
Detective 2: OK, let me get this straight. Doctor Snow was going to use your device, a time machine, to stop one of the worst atrocities this country has ever experienced?
Doctor: Yes.
Detective 2: And you stopped him?
Doctor: Yes, he had to be stopped! I couldn't let him interfere!
Detective 2: Why not? He could have saved thousands of lives!
Doctor: No, no, my god, no. He would have changed history! History is fragile, don't you get it? Had he succeeded, history as we know it would have been completely rewritten! He would have created a paradox! We have no idea what would have happened, it could have decimated the fabric of spacetime! Destroyed existence itself!
Both detectives are silent, staring at him
Detective 1: Sit down please. Sit. Down. We'll get into the physics of it later. Continue with your story. What did you do when you'd listened to the message?
Doctor: I ran as fast as I could to the wormhole chamber. When I got there, he'd already activated it. Beside the door were the canisters of Rx52, with the shotgun and ammunition on top. I screamed at him to stop. He turned to look at me, sneered, and told me I was too late. He was standing in front of the wormhole, there was no way I could have reached him in time to stop him going through. Even if he went through without his equipment, he could still create catastrophic damage to the timeline simply by his presence there. I had no choice, I could NOT let him step through. I grabbed the shotgun from where it was, and aimed it at him. I gave him one last

<end transcript>

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