Exploring the SCP Foundation: SCP-5549 - Second Sin
SCP-5549: Second Sin. The Foundation in the present day generally has a policy of little to no cross-testing between anomalies. It’s a sensible enough policy, as a single anomaly is often unpredictable in the way it interacts with our world, so there’s no telling what will happen when you combine two or more. This wasn’t always the case however, and the younger days of the foundation featured a lot more situations of foundation researchers throwing stuff together and seeing what stuck. Obviously, they learned their lesson at some point, and we’re going to look at one of those lessons in SCP-5549. We’re initially presented with one of the most basic SCP descriptions possible, stating that the object class is safe, it’s to be contained at site-05 in Western Siberia, and it is a sapient entity with ontokinetic abilities.
Any further information requests are to be forwarded to director sharp. Obviously, there’s more to it than that, and a user proceeds to use a virtual terminal to access the list of users who are able to look at the full file, which consists of only the o5 council. They then specifically look up info on Maria Jones, director of the foundation’s Records and Information Security Administration, and o5-14, despite there only typically being 13 members. They then login as o5-14, using the watchword of “adropofsuninaglassofmoon”. Now, they access the full file of scp-5549, and the article can begin properly.
SCP-5549 is a hostile sapient entity with class V ontokinetic abilities, also known as reality bending. SCP-5549 is highly resistant to all forms of damage tested against it, and the extent of its abilities is currently unknown. It was created by the foundation department of inter-anomaly experimentation as part of project London Bridge. We’re then given a transcript of a committee hearing related to the project proposal for London Bridge, on November 30th, 1975. Director Sharp is the one who put forward the proposal, and although he thought he was heading into a meeting with a liaison to the council, he ends up in a meeting with o5-11.
Sharp doesn’t recognize him on sight, and 11 says that there used to be a time when their faces were everywhere in the foundation, but not anymore. Sharp says that he wasn’t aware that o5-11 was going to be handling his case, and 11 replies that he’s not, as normally this proposal would’ve sat at the bottom of some yellow-bellied paper-pushing secretary’s desk for six months and then rejected because he had a bad day. 11 however, has taken an interest in Sharp’s little experiment, and asks him how long he’s been working at the foundation.
Sharp responds that it’s soon to be 8 years, and 11 says that that’s not long enough for him to be able to remember the good days. It wasn’t always like this, reeking of bureaucracy, and it was different twenty years ago. They were pioneers, changing the world, with the atreus array, the scranton reality anchors, even managing to exploit the eel, scp-3000. Nowadays you have to fill out seventeen forms and take a piss test just to borrow a pen. Sharp asks why 11 is telling him this, and he replies that he’s hoping Sharp can help him to change that, him and his project.
He tells Sharp that the other members of the council were considering dissolving his department before this proposal came through. They think that the state of the foundation right now is good. 11 disagrees, and he pushed through Sharp’s proposal and it’s been greenlit.
He also pulled a few strings and got Sharp access to some of their more unique anomalies, as well as making him head researcher of site-05. Sharp, naturally, is quite surprised by all this, but 11 tells him that he has a lot gambling on his project, and if he fails, they’ll both suffer. 11 has the strength to weather the storm that would fall on them, but he doubts that Sharp does.
With that, we’re provided the mission statement for Project London Bridge, the purpose of which is to create an artificial anomaly designed to assist foundation containment efforts and advance scientific knowledge of major contained anomalies. The subject of the experiment is to be a d-class personnel, chosen after project approval and subject to intense psychological and physical vetting. The subject will be repeatedly exposed to several anomalies as chosen by Project Lead Sharp, and brought close to expiration. The subject will then be exposed to scp-427, a locket that can rapidly heal injuries, and treated with non-anomalous medical technologies.
This is obviously an enormously stupid idea, even if we didn’t know how it’s going to end up, but the foundation ended up with a pretty strict policy for not cross-testing anomalies for a reason. The foundation needs to find a suitable d-class then, and so we’re given a transcript of an interview between Sharp and d-293, who rather than being forced into foundation service, is just a normal inmate currently. Sharp tells her that he represents an independent research group that has a vested interest in making sure humanity is protected from threats, unexplainable things like ideas that hide themselves in your memory and species that have evolved specifically to hunt humans, the kinds of things we used to call demons and monsters.
The inmate assumes that this is some kind of joke, and asks what could they possibly want from her, as she’s just a college dropout with no special skills. Sharp tells her that they need people with nothing left to lose, people that can help them with testing, which is ugly work, but there’s a lot of people counting on it. The inmate asks why she should care to help, and tells him to get someone else, but Sharp says that there are benefits, as they’ll commute her sentence and make sure that her family doesn’t suffer from her absence. Just as a little bit of life advice, if a man in a suit ever shows up and says that he needs your help to test some things involving monsters, make sure to refuse, vehemently. The inmate however agrees, becoming d-293.
A medical report on d-293 shows her to be 29, with east asian ethnicity and a normal height, weight, and hume rating. Dr. Jacques Boucher is presiding over the report, and remarks that they picked a quality test subject, about as normal as it gets, aside from her having killed a person. He wants to add semi-regular psychological check-ups to the testing schedule, as he can’t imagine this kind of testing to be good for one’s mental health. Keeping the subject complacent is rather important in this venture, and he’d be more than happy to handle those himself.
With that, the anomalous testing began, starting with SCP-494, a set of gloves that allow the makeup of two objects held in each hand to trade materials, such as turning a golf ball into a spherical diamond, and a diamond into a diamond-shaped piece of plastic. A doctor used the gloves and held onto 293’s shoulder with one hand while holding a rod of titanium alloy in his other. Two seconds after the test began, 293 tore herself out of the doctor’s grip at the sight of titanium spreading across her shoulder. She was then forcibly sedated and returned to her containment cell. She demanded to be released immediately, and reacted violently to any personnel entering her cell.
In order to prevent similar incidents in the future, dr. boucher’s proposal of regular psychological evaluations has been approved. Another medical report shows her weight having dropped by 6 kilograms and her height increasing by 22 centimeters. Boucher writes that most of this height gain is in her neck, which is slightly concerning based on how fragile her collarbone looks. That’s in regard to all of her bones, as she might be suffering from calcium deficiency. He’s going to recommend a higher calorie diet to make up for the weight loss, and notes that any fluctuations in her hume rating is probably just due to them keeping so many anomalous things in one place.
A transcript of the first psychological screening interview between Boucher and the d-class starts with him asking her how she’s been feeling lately. She’s bored, but she’s also upset about how much she freaked out about the test and how bad it was. Boucher says that she handled it better than she could have, and it’s not really her fault, as these kinds of anomalies are hard to predict, even for them. She saw the look in Sharp’s eyes during the test though, and Boucher says that she’s here to help them truly understand these things and the way they affect people. She’s not sure how changing her arm to metal helps anyone, but he replies that they need to know how different anomalies interact with humans.
When a soldier somewhere gets attacked with one of those anomalies, they’re gonna be able to thank her for teaching them how it worked. Every single test furthers their understanding of these things, and she’s an invaluable asset to this project. Obviously, he’s being a bit disingenuous about the purpose of this project, and is certainly sugar coating how horrible things are going to get, but likely because he’s also unaware himself. With that, we’re given the logs for a few more tests that occurred between June and October of 1976. First, she was injected with SCP-217, a virus that causes all organic tissue in a creature’s body to re-arrange into a form of organic metal, through a highly complex and very painful process.
Within 9 hours of injection, the infection spread through her left arm and into her toros, as she repeatedly voiced extreme discomfort and requested the test be ended, which was declined. After the infection had spread to her collarbone, she was healed through exposure to 427, and made a full recovery in 24 hours. A subsequent physical noted significantly denser muscle tissue, layered with deposits of an unknown metal. Next, she was exposed to scp-212, a robotic medical device that will surgicially replace and upgrade various organs and body parts through a highly invasive process involving no anaesthetic. 212 initially displayed confusion at the d-class’s modified body, but quickly began operating. After 9 hours the operation ceased, and all incisions were sealed correctly.
Significant alterations to the d-class’s body were made, including removal of large amounts of body fast, hollowing of bones, placement of a metal structure around the heart, and placement of two unknown organic masses within the torso, the purpose of which is unknown. She was then injected with scp-008, a complex prion that’s pretty much the zombie virus. The standard escalation of symptoms proceeded, and she fell unconscious within two hours. She was then exposed to scp-427, causing a reversal of all external symptoms.
Examination revealed that certain internal symptoms remained, including increased muscle endurance and strength, as well as high blood viscosity resulting in negligible blood flow from wounds. So far it seems like they’re well on their way to making an anomalous weapon. Either that, or causing a glorious death. In another medical report, her weight has now gone up a few kilograms, and her height has gone up another 20 centimeters. Her skin has become noticeably tougher and feels almost reinforced.
Boucher has also noticed some bruises on her sternum during the check-up, and although he won’t ask where they came from, he advises Sharp to be more careful, as damaging their test subject is inadvisable. Sharp responds that his concern is appreciated but unrequested, as they’re handling the subject as necessary. He also tells Boucher to refrain from referring to the subject as a her.
In another psychological screening interview, Boucher asks her how she’s feeling, mentioning that he had them bring her some books because she was bored. Clearly, that’s the least of her worries though, as she says that she’s trapped in a cell for most of the day, and the only time she’s let out is to have some insane tests run on her. She fears that she’s never getting out of here, but Boucher says that that’s not true, as they’ve already gotten through the first round of testing, and she’s doing fine.
She replies that she doesn’t feel fine, she feels horrible, wanting to throw up and cry at the same time whenever she gets out of the testing chamber. She hasn’t seen the sun in weeks, and chokes down a sob. Boucher moves to comfort her, and says that it’s good for her to tell him about these things, as he’s here to help her. He’s going to see what he can do about those issues as soon as he gets back to his office. In another interview, the d-class asks him if they even know what they’re doing here with the testing, as she’s tried to find a pattern to it, and can’t figure out what they want from her. IT seems like they’re just throwing things at the wall to see what sticks at her expense.
Boucher replies that of course they’re not doing that, they’re not animals. They have a plan, he just can’t tell her what it is. She however doesn’t think that he knows the plan either.
Boucher explains that these things aren’t supposed to exist, and the rest of the world doesn’t even know about them. THey’re figuring out how to safely handle them, as nobody understands anomalies like they do. The d-class says that she gets that, but she hates feeling sick and scared all the time.
Scared of her next test, and scared of Sharp. Boucher replies that it's okay to be scared, and they’re on her side, and he’s on her side. In the next interview, Boucher brings her some rorschach cards to do an inkblot test, which she had assumed he was going to do at some point.
He says that it’s pseudoscience, but entertaining pseudoscience. He shows her one card, which she first takes to be a stain, but then says that its a bruise. A second card looks like a bone to her, and a third card she says reminds her of captain hayes tattoo. This throws Boucher off a little bit, and he asks her if she needs to talk about something, but she says that it’s fine. In another round of testing, she’s placed into SCP-222, a coffin that causes the creation of a clone of any person that falls asleep in it. The test proceeded as expected, although the clone that was created was identical to the d-class prior to testing, suggesting that her dna has not been altered throughout all of the testing.
Next, both the d-class and her clone were placed into a chamber, and the clone was exposed to a sample of scp-610, the flesh that hates. The temperature of the chamber was then increased, and within seven minutes, the clone had been completely covered in growth. The d-class panicked and attempted to exit the testing chamber, slamming against the door several times. When deterrent electrical shocks were applied, she then attempted to break through the observation glass, but was quickly absorbed into the rapidly-increasing mass of scp-610. Testing was then stopped, and then scp-427 was applied, quickly causing the mass to shrink in size. It disappeared entirely within four minutes, and the d-class was recovered, unconscious, although the clone was not.
She was noted to have significantly altered body proportions, growing by several centimeters and having more clearly visible blood vessels. Next, 10 grams of flesh were cut from scp-682, the hard to destroy reptile, which was then dried and placed into cold storage to freeze it. The d-class was then forcibly sedated and prepared for surgery, with an incision made in her lower left forearm.
The sample of flesh was then place within after being slightly heated, and the incision was sealed. The sample began immediate growth and spread through the d-class’s body, causing significant distress. The sample spread to the upper calf when Dr. Boucher, the operating surgeon, amputated
her left leg at the knee. After decontamination, the leg was observed to be slowly regrowing, although growth did not halt after the limb had reformed. In another medical report, her height has increased by another 34 centimeters, while her weight has decreased by a kilogram. Boucher writes that this testing cycle has been the most intensive yet and its resulted in some unforeseen changes.
She has become absurdly thin and lanky, with a layer of toughened skin wrapped around a skeleton that’s incredibly strong and light. She barely even looks humanoid, and he’s growing apprehensive about her anomalous capabilities as well. Her localized hume rating can’t just be a result of the other anomalies anymore, and he’s put in a recommendation to turn up the reality anchors in her cell.
In another psychological interview, Boucher enters her cell and calls out to her. When she responds while squatting in the far corner of the cell, she startles Boucher, who says that she scared him. She’s not surprised that she scares him though, saying that she looks like a monster. Boucher replies that she doesn’t, but apologizes, and says that they still intend to keep their promise if that’s worth anything. She says that they don’t, as maybe he does, but Sharp definitely doesn’t. Boucher doesn’t try to argue that, but says that there’s workarounds, and although he doesn’t outrank SHarp, he can try.
The d-class however just asks him to leave. Later, Boucher returns, and says that he just wants to see if she feels like talking. He tells her that they’ve arranged for restitution for her family, so they won’t have to worry about finances for a long, long time, because he keeps his promises.
Also, because Sharp thinks that it’ll encourage her to be more amenable to testing. The d-class asks what he thinks, and he just says that it’s an apology. He can’t tell her how sorry he is, as he didn’t know it was going to turn out like this. He’s going to try to make it right. He’s convinced Sharp to delay the next set of tests, and he’s going to go talk to him about this. She asks him if he thinks that he can get through to Sharp, and he replies that he has to try, and apologizes again.
A transcript of an audio recording from Sharp’s office shows Boucher sitting down and telling Sharp that he has some concerns regarding d-293. Sharp isn’t surprised, as his medical updates have been telling. Boucher says that the reports have been disturbing, as she’s barely human anymore and might as well be an anomaly. Sharp however corrects him to say that it is a test subject, and he’s wasting his time trying to sympathize. Boucher counters that it’s human testing, so it’s already terrible nature, and he doesn’t have to go out of his way to make it worse. Sharp says that it might be terrible, but it is necessary, although Boucher doesn’t understand how.
He asks what they hope to learn from all this, and says not to give him the generic advancing our understanding crap, as he’s beyond that. Sharp says that the foundation has always been about getting their hands dirty doing the work that no one else will, so that everyone else can sleep at night. Every test had a purpose, as nowadays they have to deal with the insurgency, the GOC, and two dozen world governments. They have the world’s biggest treasure trove of anomalies and the foundation doesn’t have the balls to use them to their advantage. Boucher says that their job isn’t to use them, it’s to lock them up, and Sharp’s trying to weaponize things they barely understand. Sharp however says that if one d-class has to suffer for them to understand these things, he’s willing to take that deal.
Boucher swears at him and storms out. Six days later, an incident occurred at site-05. Active motion was detected in the d-class’s cell, but was dismissed as standard activity. 16 minutes later, sensors in the cell detected a sudden drop in the light level, which continued to drop in stages until the cell was in complete darkness. Three armed members of containment detail are sent down the elevator to get to the cell, but the scaffolding of the elevator shaft begins to shudder, before shearing and collapsing entirely.
A large bipedal entity exits the elevator shaft at high speed, screaming, and several explosions ring out. A level 2 breach alert is activated from Sharp’s office, and MTF squads engage the hostile entity, utilizing nonlethal ammunition and equipment. Within a few minutes, the mtf squads were completely eliminated, and the hostile entity advanced towards the interior of the site. A level 3 breach alert was then activated, and more mtf squads engaged the entity, again restricted to non-lethal methods. It seems that Sharp values the life of his test subject quite a bit more than the lives of his personnel. An Air support request is also sent out from Sharp’s office, as the second batch of MTF squads are eliminated.
The entity continues towards the main testing labs, as o5 command approves the air support request. A support installation of the foundation’s atreus satellite array moves into position over the site, and the attached scranton reality anchors activate. The hostile entity then exits the testing labs with an unidentified researcher in hand. More MTF squads engage, this time with lethal force, managing to visibly wound the entity thanks to gunfire coupled with reality anchor support. The entity then retreats to the elevator shaft entrance and jumps down with the researcher in hand.
The MTF decides to collapse the entrance to the elevator shaft, and the breach alert is rescinded. We’re then provided a transcript of a phone call between Sharp and o5-11, in which the o5 immediately lays into sharp for being a complete buffoon. He tells him that he had one job and his pea sized brain couldn’t even manage to not screw that up, and now they’re sitting on a pile of dead grunts. Sharp argues that it wasn’t his fault, as Boucher decided to get moral, but the o5 isn’t buying it. Sharp says that o5-11 was the one who went on about bringing the foundation back to their glory days, but o5-11 just says that he thought Sharp could handle testing of a single anomaly, but apparently not.
Sharp counters that he’s the one that’ll take the hit for it, not o5-11, but 11 says that he has the other 12 breathing down his neck and watching his next move. They’d sell his soul to the devil for a penny if they could. Sharp asks what’s going to happen now, and 11 tells him that he’s going to keep his mouth shut during the hearing.
He’ll just listen to whatever 11’s secretary says and nod along. If they ask for any information, stay quiet, and if they have him trapped, he should say that he doesn’t recall. They’re on damage control now, and he has to fly out to site-01 to deal with the council.
Sharp asks about the site and about d-293, but 11 says that he intends to bury this mess so far below the ground that by the time anyone finds out they exist, the russians will have nuked us. A couple of weeks later, Sharp enters into an auxiliary office at site-01, and is greeted by an individual whose name is redacted from the record. When Sharp asks the man’s name, he replies that if he’ll excuse the cliche, it’s above his clearance.
He proceeds to ask Sharp if he proposed the first iteration of the proposal that would become Project London Bridge. Sharp says that he did, and the man asks if he was aware that this would result in significant harm to a foundation employee. Sharp says that they’re just d-class, but the man counters that they are still their employees, for better or for worse. He then says that Sharp requisitioned enormous resources for this little project, and asks if there are any advantages to be gleaned from this project.
Sharp sighs and says that there was valuable scientific knowledge about the interaction of anomalies, but the man says that he’s read the report and they both know that that isn’t true. Even if it was, it wouldn’t matter, as their motto is secure, contain, protect, and research isn’t involved, for good reason. Sharp says that cross-testing has always been allowed, even encouraged, but the man replies that they were well on their way to phasing out the cross-testing programs when project london bridge was pushed through.
Not only is it of no benefit, but it actively poses a danger to all those involved. Throwing anomalies at each other to see what happens was a hallmark of a darker age for this organization, one that people like 11 would no doubt return to. Eleven is a military man to the bone, and remembers when the foundation was smaller, and less organized, when they could get away with things like this. The man supposes that eleven fondly recalls their forays into project olympia and omega-7.
Sharp asks if eleven is wrong, as they could make the world a better place if they use these things, but the foundation just sits on them. They could easily enforce order on the world, and end these petty conflicts. The man counters that this organization is committed to making the world a safer place, but never like that.
Sharp’s little adventure was nothing but a short-sighted attempt to weaponize these anomalies. He then dismisses Sharp, and tells him to expect big changes in the coming weeks. A couple of weeks later, a memo is put out from the office of the administrator, announcing that the department of inter-anomaly experimentation is to be dissolved effective immediately. In addition, a committee is to be formed of individuals selected by the office of the administrator for outstanding moral resolve and adherence to the prime directive.
Members of this ethics committee are to hold executive authority regarding all foundation containment protocols, projects, and database entries, as well as the ability to nullify or overturn an overwatch command decision. The first action of this ethics committee will be a judgment on the events of project london bridge. That judgment was held a few weeks later, as the ethics committee brings forth both doctor Sharp and o5-11.
The head of the committee says that Sharp’s reckless behavior endangered and killed foundation employees, and currently the product of his project is in an underground vault with an innocent researcher. This fruitless venture was of no value, took tremendous resources, and was only made possible by the meddling of his co-conspirator, o5-11. As for eleven, his manipulation outside of his sphere of interest led to the deaths of multiple foundation employees and depletion of significant resources. His attempts to devolve this organization to a more primitive form have no place in today’s foundation.
Effective immediately, o5-11 is to be placed on administrative leave without pay while the continued terms of his employment are subject to an internal vote of the o5 council. Sharp however will be stripped of his foundation credentials, with his research employment terminated, and demoted to d-class personnel with all associated duties and status. The ethics committee hopes that these penalties will help display that the old ways have been left behind for good reason. O5-11 then asks what they plan to do about scp-5549, the time bomb they’re sitting on. The head of the committee says that they’re not going to do anything, as d-293 only lashed out after constant mistreatment and exploitation by personnel.
They’ll establish containment and a security outpost to maintain it, but they’re not going to poke a sleeping bear. Especially not one they’ve spent a year throwing rocks at. They owe it that much.
O5-11 however says that they may not want to admit it, but this has proved him right. They just used militarized troops and weapons to contain an anomaly. They’re not burying their heads in the sand and shying away from it anymore, and that’s all he ever wanted. The infrastructure is there now, so it’s only a matter of time before they decide to use it. Six months later, the user that logged onto the terminal to view this file closes it out, and accesses a council vote from May 1st, 1976, a week and a half after the ethics committee judgment. The proposal they voted on that day was accepted, relieving o5-11 of his position until the administrator renders judgment on his continued future on the council.
The user then deletes their session history and logs out. They then log in with a different user name, this time RAISA director Maria Jones, implying that she has a secret o5-14 account that she uses to access higher clearance files. She sends a message to o5-1 thanking him for the offer, as being an overseer makes you one of the most powerful people in the world, and one of the most dangerous. Her place as RAISA head and ethics committee member means that her job is making sure the council remains true to its principles.
She can’t do that as a member of it. Things are changing around here, and someone has to be there to make sure the foundation doesn’t lose itself during the fight. Finally, we’re given one last addendum, an outgoing communication from the head of containment at site-05. They say that this is the only recorded audio they’ve had from the cell in the past few months, and although they’d say that it’s quieted down, the contents aren’t exactly reassuring. In the transcript, a gurgling sound is heard, followed by a female voice saying that they’ll get out, sooner or later. A male voice says that he knows, but the female responds that she’s not talking to him.
If I had a nickel for every time someone in the foundation went too far with an anomaly and it turned to bite them back, well, i’d probably have several dollars. I wouldn’t say there’s anything here that we haven’t seen before, with an unfortunate test subject, a kindly researcher, a reprehensible bureaucrat, and a disastrous incident. The ethics committee has seen a fair share of versions and iterations, but it makes sense that it was born out of some sort of ethical disaster. It’s likely not often that someone gets fired from the o5 council, and perhaps even rarer that someone turns down a position on the council, but it’s understandable. This article is actually the first in the redtape series, which includes Amoni-Ram and Mamjul & Korar, and while SCP-7545 goes more into the life of o5-11 after this, so far we haven’t seen the return of Boucher and the d-class.
In the Foundation, the ends usually justify the means, but sometimes both the ends and the means really suck.