Exploring the SCP Foundation: SCP-4242 - Foundations

Exploring the SCP Foundation: SCP-4242 - Foundations

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SCP-4242: Foundations. In the modern time period, the scp foundation really has no equal when it comes to containing anomalies. They have the expertise, the resources, the equipment, and the personnel to generally keep a good handle on protecting the world from the paranormal.

Depending on the timeline however, the foundation hasn't always existed, and there very well may have been time periods where other groups had to step up to handle containment of things out of the ordinary. SCP-4242 is an anomaly associated with these groups and with time travel, allowing the foundation to travel back and learn from their forebears, while also learning something very interesting about their present. SCP-4242 is a phenomenon by which a place of worship develops a labyrinth chamber in its lower levels.

These chambers can contain a number of labyrinths, both walkable floor labyrinths, as well as wall-mounted finger labyrinths. Only one of these chambers can exist in the world at one time, but if the place of worship above it is destroyed, the chamber will reappear beneath a different place of worship somewhere else. The present location of scp-4242 is at a lutheran church in Iceland, so placed to maintain both the need for the location to remain public while minimizing traffic to the location. When a subject completes a labyrinth, either by walking the path or by tracing their finger on one of the finger labyrinths, they are instantly transported to a similar chamber. This chamber contains a similar collection of labyrinths and is also located in the lower levels of a public place of worship, but is located in a past time period. Exiting the chamber will lead the individual to the historical time period in some location on earth.

In all of these instances, the chamber is being closely monitored by an organization dedicated to the preservation of normalcy for the public, and/or the containment of anomalous phenomena. These organizations are either contemporary members of the scp foundation, or are similarly structured organizations from times and places where the foundation did not exist. The foundation has decided to inform these other organizations of the mission of the scp foundation and they have been supportive, with exploratory and diplomatic missions yielding insight into present challenges with containment, and foundation expertise and technology proving useful to historical organizations. It is somewhat odd that the foundation would be so cavalier in interacting with people from the past, but perhaps they see the pros outweighing the cons.

They aim to continue to leverage access to these historical organizations in order to maintain foundation goals throughout the history. By continuing to progress through the series of labyrinths, individuals can travel to a wide array of different locations and time periods, and we're given 9 different examples that the foundation has visited. First, we have the Temple of Vesta in the Roman Republic in the year 44 BCE. The time period is right in the aftermath of the assassination of Julius Caesar, and the region is in the midst of a civil war. Researchers visiting this period are advised to listen to locals regarding the movement of troops throughout the region and exercise caution on the roadways throughout. The labyrinth during this period is watched over by priests and attendants of the Tiburtine Sibyl, a young woman who tells prophecies upon entering a trance-like state.

These prophecies are highly valued for their accuracy, although their cryptic nature can lead to misinterpretation. So far, this woman and her attendants have prevented three xk-class scenarios, but have increased the level of uncertainty of their actions at any time. After observing the woman for some time, she gave out a couple specific prophecies. In the first, she stated, "The centuries shall bear fruit, the children's children three hundred times will wish to bring peace.

Fear their advice, for they know not the destruction they bear on their tongues." The second prophecy states, "Find the triple tortoise, defending against its center. There is the pinnacle of protection. Beyond, there is nothing." Another time period visited was 1534 CE, with the location being the Kasuga-taisha Shrine in Japan. This is during the Sengoku period, an unstable time, but the shinto shrines were respected and should remain safe.

The location is monitored by the Iga Clan, a famed shinobi family who works closely with the emperor to track down and neutralize any anomalous threats to Japan. Kasuga-taisha is one of sixteen heihaku locations, to where the kami are delivered messages and storage of anomalous items takes place. The Iga clan has agreed to hire out shinobi agents to the foundation for stealth-based missions, while the foundation has supplied the clan with amnestics. Apparently, the clan is capable of using the labyrinth to travel to future locations, and a number of anachronistic items were found in their possession. These objects included a set of spears and shield from the Zulu tribe around the 19th century, four floppy discs containing a collection of infocom text adventures, a Schwinn bicycle, 200 America Online compact discs, modified to have sharpened edges, a Remington-Lee bolt action rifle and ammo, and an Apple Iphone 6. The clan has not reported having traveled further into the future than the foundation's present day.

Next, we have the same location in Iceland that the anomaly is presently located in, but in the year 931 CE instead. The labyrinth here is located in a thermal vent underneath a mead hall and nearby altar dedicated to Thor. The region is sparsely populated, even compared to modern Icelandic standards, and functions as a ship repair station for adventurers traveling further west. The mead hall is maintained by Viking adventurers and farmers, not acting as an active containment site, but instead maintaining stories of beings and anomalies encountered both in the North Atlantic and in Greenland.

The occasional Skraeling artifact is taken from the native greenlanders and is temporarily held here before being transported further east for more permanent containment. The foundation has been told than a number of these objects have been contained by taking them out into the open ocean and scuttling the ship to ensure that it sinks to the ocean floor. A number of vikings here have shown interest in further exploration, and a few members have been trained and enlisted into the Mole Rats MTF. It's notable that both the old norse religion and christianity is practiced at this location, with the old norse practitioners being the ones maintaining the site and compiling records of anomalies found.

Efforts will have to be taken to ensure that this practice is transferred to the christians as more of them land in the area, or the location will have to be destroyed so that it relocates. In 600 BCE, in the palace of Rama in what would be modern day India, the labyrinth is watched over by King Rama of Kosala, the seventh avatar of Vishnu the Protector. Rama is an accomplished hunter of rakshasas and other demons and reality benders, with a foundation-annotated copy of the Ramayana available for a history of his accomplishments. His skills, techniques, and knowledge have been immeasurably helpful in the capture and containment of demons, devils, djinn, oni, kama, spirit people, fomori, and other such beings for both the foundation and other organizations. Since SCP-2820, a directed energy weapon operated by an AI, claims to be the 10th and final avatar of Vishnu, Rama was asked about how best to contain it. He merely laughed and commented that he's nearly done, explaining that receiving the sacred texts and accepting his true divinity means that he knows all outside time.

He stopped further commentary saying, "The cycle will continue, do not concern yourself with that." Next we have a temple of Isis in Egypt, in 224 BCE. The temple here was viewed as one of the burial places for Osiris, and was considered particularly sacred by the locals. Isis performed the embalming and preservation of Osiris' body, and her priests are highly skilled in mummification and funerary rites. The priesthood here has been particularly helpful for the foundation in the realm of corpse preservation and containment of anomalies associated with dead bodies.

The foundation retains five mummification experts on staff at Site-19 in case of emergencies, and personnel may be mummified on pre- or post-expiry request, or at the discretion of foundation containment specialists as required. Moving over to Scotland in the year 2750 BCE, we have a labyrinth located in a tomb underneath a stone circle on the Isle of Lewis. The locals are Neolithic herders and fishermen, who trade with some of the peoples of Britannia, although they reject any and all grooved ware pottery and similar artifacts. These objects are destroyed at the stone circle and the grooved ware people, who originate from Orkney, are considered forbidden.

The local priesthood is skilled in geomantic tracking and naturalism, able to develop maps of Ley Lines covering the planet and extending to the moon, mars, and a redacted location. In addition, they rely heavily on the animal and plant resources in their environment, showing increased ability to exploit natural resources in the prevention of Orcadian anomalies. In 2017, a foundation mission to Orkney from this location ended up going awry, with the team considered to be lost. Exploration and retrieval of the foundation equipment is considered high priority before the locals are exposed to paradox-inducing technology. Next, there's the Temple of the Golden Lotus in China in the year 256 CE. This is in the later years of the three kingdoms period of Chinese history, and although the temple's location is considered sacred, the political factions during this era are fragile and prone to a sudden realignment, with war being a regular result.

Depopulated farms and abandoned family mansions can be found in the surrounding countryside and can be used as shelters by foundation agents as required. A few taoist priests are in charge of this temple, and the foundation is working with them to remove the anomalies gathered here and to relocate them to a safer age. Since the priests are used to working within the hierachies of ever-shifting political structures and appealing to a beureaucratic arrangement of deities and spirits, they are particularly resistant to prague-class sociopolitical cognitohazards and demonstrate high memetic resistance. They are capable of partioning and mentally storing concepts up to and including berryman-langford memetic kill agents without ill effect, and study of their techniques is ongoing.

Over in Jerusalem in the year 100 BCE, the current ruler of this region in this time period is king Alexander Jannaeus, who also holds the position of high priest. His rule is characterized by militarism and conflict with the Pharisee faction of Judaism. The king has delegated diplomatic duties with the foundation to his royal court, known as the Sanhedrin. A specially trained order of priests is present in the labyrinth chamber here to handle visitors and ensure they are sufficiently pure to enter the temple complex. A ritual bath has been constructed adjacent to the labyrinth chamber for this purpose.

Personnel traveling here must be fluent in at least one of Old Aramaic, Biblical Hebrew, or Koine Greek, and familiar with Hellenistic Jewish customs. There is a special council appointed by the Sanhedrin to oversee the containment and neutralization of anomalies, which they refer to as abominations. Finally we have an island located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, in the year 1948 CE. The labyrinth is located in a natural cavern in a mountain on the island accessed by means of a lava tube. The site is a cult activity center related to the John Frum movement, a mythical figure among the cargo cults here. Following initial contact with the locals, members of the society began to wear replica lab coats sewn from repurposed bulk rice delivery packages and constructed a building superficially resembling Building C of Foundation Site-19 out of locally-available materials.

Within five days of the completion of this building's construction, a fully-functional replica CH-53E heavy-lift helicopter, ,which wouldn't be normally produced for 26 years, visited the island to drop off several pallets of lab equipment, canned food and cigarettes. The helicopter was constructed from scrap lumber and palm fronds and bore an apparently hand-painted foundation insignia. Contact with this time period is now restricted.

We finish with an incident log that occurred in 2018, when a male human of African descent emerged from SCP-4242 in the present time period. The man was swiftly detained for questioning, and spoke only in Latin. When a researcher welcomed him to Iceland and stated that it was the year of our lord 2018, the man paused and made some counting gestures before stating that it has been about 10,000 years. He says that that is a good long time, with so much growth and change, and humanity has done well. He states that he spoke with the foundation's colleagues 200 years ago, and they helped him figure out where he originally came from, a location that is now the sahara desert.

He's certain that the rest of his people disappeared once the desert arrived, but back in his original time the mountain valleys there are lush and the rivers are full. He speaks latin because there has always been a learned speaker of latin over the past 2000 years in Europe, so it's a good language to know, but he can also speak Chinese and Sanskrit if needed. The researcher says that if he is truly from 10,000 years back, then he's from the farthest back in history that they've so far encountered. The man says that this makes sense, as his tribe built this temple to see into the future, so there would be none further back than them.

The researcher asks how they managed to build this place, but the man just says that he doesn't understand the ways and powers of the gods well enough to explain the process, but they are welcome to come back home to speak with those who do. Of course the foundation wants to visit, but the researcher then asks why exactly they built the temple in the first place. The man responds that they have found things, creatures, words that exist beyond the realms of men or gods.

They do their best to hide them, bury them, and keep their homes and families safe from the threats they raise. Yet as each generation has the knowledge of the one before, and learns to add to it, their methods improve, but so do the challenges adapt and grow to threaten them again. They realized that if they look ahead, far ahead, their children and their children will have new ways to protect themselves. And so, they built this temple to allow them to meet with the people dedicated to protecting their brethren from these insanities in the future, so that we all may be strengthened by our knowledge. The researcher says that they would be more than happy to assist them in their efforts to protect the world, but since he's traveled through time so extensively, perhaps he can help them with a puzzle they've encountered.

The man laughs and says that he's sure their learned men know far more about puzzles than he does, but he's happy to help. The researcher says that they've managed to explore a number of different time periods, but they are all in the past. Other ages they've visited have been able to access their futures through the temple, but so far the foundation can't.

He asks the man how they might able to use the temple to explore their own future. The man remains silent for a while, as tears begin to fall down his cheeks. He says that he cannot lead them to their future, and he's sorry.

The researcher asks if he and his people are unwilling to share their knowledge, but the man says that he cannot lead them to their future because this is the last age. Based on various comments they've heard in different time periods then, it seems that something cataclysmic is on the horizon for the foundation, but the cycle of time will continue afterwards. Overall, I have to say that this is a very odd perspective on the foundation, who seem to be the complete opposite of cold and clinical here. Rather than stomping through to every time period where these temples exist and amnesticizing everyone that knows about them, they're choosing to work with these different peoples, freely sharing knowledge and expertise.

Whether that's a good or bad change of pace I'll leave up to you, but generally time travel is not something to be taken lightly. Although, if the foundation has no future, I suppose there can't be too much damage done.

2022-03-11 16:11

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