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nn5n: scp-4361 Red is Her Favorite Color
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Item #: SCP-4361

Object Class: Safe


ambly.OP.ia server farm, side view.

Special Containment Procedures: SCP-4361's potential to reveal or retain sensitive and classified information is reliably contained at Site-15 by ambly.OP.ia, an autonomous software-based protocol.1

ambly.OP.ia is hosted in a small, Faraday-shielded2 Site-15 server farm. A team of six on-site personnel have keycard authorization from Dr. Markos or the current team lead. Daily, one member of authorized personnel must visit the server farm to view the physical readout panel at the entrance. If the panel's LED is green, no action is required. If it is red or orange, personnel will convene with Dr. Markos or the current team lead to determine whether software maintenance, a firmware update, or a restoration from backup servers is required.

Directly observing SCP-4361-AV-X, regardless of clearance, is forbidden.

Description: SCP-4361 is an entity that generates a four-second YouTube video each time its most recent YouTube video is observed.3 The complete known set of video instances have been collectively designated as SCP-4361-AV-X.

Observing SCP-4361's latest video triggers a spatial-temporal anomaly that allows SCP-4361 to superimpose a new visual element onto its previous video using a file obtained from the viewer's computer. SCP-4361 will retrieve images or text for this purpose from the viewer's local storage, network-protected storage, or remote servers to which the viewer is or has been connected. This retrieval can bypass any known file encryption or electronic security.

SCP-4361's ability to access data is connected to the viewer, not the machine used to watch the video. SCP-4361's range of access increases correlative to the frequency or duration of SCP-4361-AV-X observation. It has been hypothesized that prolonged exposure to SCP-4361-AV-X may introduce cognitive hazards.

Video metadata, including the uploader username, video description, etc., are composed of malformed character strings. On March 13, 2019, Dr. Markos, in conjunction with MTF Mu-4 "Debuggers" liaisons, deemed this metadata irrelevant to future containment.

SCP-4361-AV-X instances may contain both previous and current viewer data as well as data apparently produced procedurally or deliberately by SCP-4361, rarely including compressed audio. Details on non-viewer data are noted in former team lead Dr. Gina Handon's personnel file and personal log, archived within this file.

Entries not pertaining to SCP-4361 have been omitted. Sample audiovisual assets provided for reference when relevant.

ENTRY: 2018-09-26T18:00:33


Screenshot of SCP-4361-AV-1, provided by former site researcher Dr. Erik Sol. Classified information was redacted on retrieval.

Well, Erik's been fired. Or transferred, I guess; they never tell me which. We've granted a provisional designation of "SCP-4361" to whatever stole his local copy of Procedure 4715-Waning Moon. God knows what that was doing in his damn Downloads folder. God only knows why he opened a YouTube link out of his personal email account while connected to the VPN.

Oh well. I'll need to find someone else willing to save me one of the good bagels in the morning.

Gotta love the email subject, though: "you'll love this honey just like our dear old Sally xoxo -mom FWD:: watch this video." Erik's mom never learned to punctuate, I guess. Not that I should throw stones; Mom has to ask me how to find her text messages every time I'm home.

Sally is a sweetheart, from the looks of the photo. Reminds me of Ginger, Mom's cat, before she jumped off the banister.

SCP-4361-AV-1 — that's how we're labeling the video — is bad news for Erik, but not that interesting in itself. Mu-4 sent techs our way to help scrub the classified data. No full task force involvement, not yet; it's just one video, not a crime scene.

ENTRY: 2018-09-28T21:33:01

SCP-4361 made another video. Sort of. We had a D-class load AV-1 on his personal computer, and it spit out a new video instead, with all the same images as the last one except for a… very personal photo from the D-class's laptop. Guy turned the color of shiraz when we made him open the original file to confirm its origin. Even put his hand up to try to cover up his wife's…

…well, anyway, SCP-4361-AV-2 is logged, and I think we've confirmed the temporal-spatial-anomaly aspect. Metadata confirms that as far as YouTube's concerned, this is the only video SCP-4361's ever made, and it's never been edited.

I think I made the new guy angry, by the way. He was going out for coffee, so I asked him if he could get me a soy latte, and when he asked me what size, I just sort of snorted and pointed at him. I'm such a jerk about names.

I'll need to sit with him this week and have a proper introduction like the professional I supposedly am. We'll need to coordinate schedules; he's working with the Mu-4 contingent on containment procedures for 4361. He's young, but confident. Hopefully just a few couple more entries on this one before we mark it Safe and put it in the proverbial box.

NOTE TO SELF: Buy cat litter on the way home. Also, stop leaving your paper calendar at home. You never remember things when you write them here.

ENTRY: 2018-10-15T05:56:40

Venti insists I call him "Dr. Markos" and that he call me "Dr. Handon." Ugh. I think it's an assert-dominance thing, even though he's an assistant junior who walked in here five minutes ago and I'm heading up the team. "Real professionals would address each other" blah blah. Men.

He acts more task-force than researcher — very formal, goes on about multi-tiered Faraday cages or whatever lock-down containment plans he's brewing, before we even know what we're trying to contain. Plus he's making buddies with all the Mu-4 crawling around these days. It's a full task force commission now. Hackers with assault rifles make for a… tense break room environment.

SCP-4361 shouldn't be that interesting to them — yet, anyway. We logged another quirk in the anomaly today: It's not purely web-based. Had another D-class watch the videos a few dozen times, using computers he used regularly and a few he'd never touched before. By the nineteenth iteration, SCP-4361 displayed a text file that wasn't on any of those computers. A poem, fourteen lines long. Not half bad if you're into sonnets. Billy (the D-class; nice guy, for a drug runner) squealed and said that he kept the poem in a "secret folder" on his home desktop.

On the twenty-seventh iteration, it showed a photo of Billy hugging █████ ████████. Billy laughed, then squealed again, louder this time. Said he'd never met her, that the photo was impossible. Then he said he had a crush on █████ ████████, from back when she was a child pop star and he was a preteen. (God, Billy is as young as my niece. I wish we had more old-fogey D-class here.)

Now, Billy might be lying — Yannis is working on corroboration — but it's hard to prove a negative. We could end up flagging 4361 as an infohazard, but I don't think it's urgent. I halted the test, though, mostly so we can re-test Billy in a few weeks to see if the effects reset — to see if SCP-4361 "forgets" him, so to speak.

ENTRY: 2018-10-16T14:11:39


Source photograph for image render noted in SCP-4361-AV-640 on October 16.

SCP-4361 grabbed a photo of Henrietta today. The one from years ago, where she's licking her paw; one of my favorites.

I laughed at my desk and Venti turned, saw it, and screamed at me (!) that it was improper to use my own device to view an instance. I told him it was a personal cell phone, I told him I'd never connected it to the Foundation network, and I told him to mind his own damn business, but he was ranting all the way down the hallway.

HR still hasn't responded to my request to have him transferred. He's probably some O5's nephew, knowing my luck.

ENTRY: 2018-10-21T10:02:59

Billy was lying; it didn't steal his dream, he's just good at Photoshop - but. But. Something else is going on. We think it — I think it —

I'll be back after the testing.

ENTRY: 2018-10-21T13:50:01

Christ, 4361 is alive. It's — no. I think 4361 is sentient.

Billy's first re-test instance, SCP-4361-AV-502, had audio. Every other video has been mute. We were so caught off guard that we didn't even record it the first time. In the next instance, the audio was murkier, decaying faster than the images usually do. Still, you could hear it clearly:

"You came back. Thank you. Please."

She — it — sounded like a young woman, maybe seventeen. Hard to be sure through the distortion.

Dr. Markos went off, of course. He kept saying we should quarantine the audio. Insisted it was as bad as a containment breach. I had to get Yannis to walk him out of the room like a damn nightclub bouncer. The Mu-4 sergeant — Daniels, I think? — stared at the door after they'd walked out, stuck in a useless daze. Why are they still here?

At least now they can be productive. I had Daniels put his team on tracing a voice origin. A movie clip, a podcast, a home video; anything that matches the vocal profile.

I don't think they'll find one, but it'll keep them busy.

It sounded… scared. Lonely.

So much for the proverbial box.

ENTRY: 2018-11-14T15:48:19

I'm noting this for the record: Dr. Venti Markos wants research on SCP-4361 halted immediately. He logged a formal request, which I denied, of course. Then he yelled. Which I ignored. Of course.

We think it can "see" the data, but we don't know if it can parse meaning. We tried some A/B testing. I think its favorite color is red. It definitely prefers cats to dogs. (Or, at least, prefers Henrietta to Yannis's schnauzer. I guess it liked Erik's old cat, too. God, I miss Erik.)

No name yet; no audio at all since AV-502.

We'll keep trying.

ENTRY: 2018-12-18T18:02:01


Dr. Handon sits at a desk in a bare room, facing a laptop computer. A microphone is taped down to one of the laptop's speakers. The camera faces the laptop monitor; a YouTube video channel is visible. Most prominent in the video image is the word "TALK".

DR. HANDON: OK, let's get started. This — well, it just happened but I wasn't — I should have been (mumbling) need a proper record. OK so this is Gina, it's December 18, blah blah I don't have time for this.

Dr. Handon clicks on the laptop trackpad. The video refreshes and auto-plays.

SCP-4361-AV-872: (no audio)

DR. HANDON: Come on. You just —

Dr. Handon clicks again.

SCP-4361-AV-873: (no audio)

Dr. Handon clicks twelve more times.

SCP-4361-AV-885: Hurts to talk. Please. Hard to tal— (video ends)

DR. HANDON: OK! It's hard to — OK. That's OK, hon. Alright, so, for the record: SCP-4361 is definitely capable of responding to text or other communicative information embedded in whatever it grabs. Capable of understanding, I mean, though I'm not sure how well she — it can read. Or if it can always read what's written, or recognize what's depicted, or if it can see files that it didn't take. Can speak, too, but I guess speaking hurts.

Dr. Handon types a brief visual description of Site-15 into a word processor, with a line at the top reading "It's OK. Don't talk." and a line at the bottom that reads "Show me this one if you are here." She saves the file, opens another, and types "Show me this one if you are elsewhere." Then she clicks the trackpad repeatedly.

DR. HANDON: Come on, come on. If you don't grab it, this will take — ah. OK, so SCP-4361 confirms it's — wait. No. She took both…? Damnit. You need to make sense, girl, you have to tell me how to h — oh damnit they're here. That's enough for now. Let's —

Dr. Handon's palm obscures the camera. Video ends.

ENTRY: 2019-01-12T09:08:17

I'm continuing this research without Mu-4 authorization. My days are probably numbered, but I don't care. Venti found someone up the chain as paranoid as he is, and now a bunch of suits with no idea what we're doing here think I've exposed all our precious data to a security breach. They think I forgot our mission. Screw them.

Whatever — whoever — SCP-4361 is, it's stuck. Scared. She's a kid in a well, and we're the only ones who can hear the echoes.

I keep running data analyses on the instances. (Yannis knows he's risking his job to help me, but he's a decent man, unlike Doctor-20-Ounces.) Selection bias towards words like "help," "why," "stop" in single-word files. Selection bias towards photographs of faces expressing pain, fear, anxiety. I dumped a cache of medical logs into a subfolder, and she kept grabbing the ones related to migraine headaches and panic attacks.

My finger's sore from refreshing this video. I need more data. I need her to tell me where she is, what's going on, and who's hurting her. Hurting it. Whatever. Damnit, I can't help her unless she tells me, and she can't tell me anything if she can't hear me.

ENTRY: 2019-01-18T21:52:08

I'm nowhere with this. She still likes Henrietta; I even got a smiling face amid all the grimaces when I snuck in the photo of the big furball leaping at a falling leaf. Took that one last August, before the arthritis slowed her down.

But "likes cats and maybe the color red" is still all I know. What's hurting her? Electronic interference on the server, maybe? Viewer device doesn't make a difference. It's impossible to even guess without establishing where she is first, but any time, any way I ask, I can't make heads or tails of the answer. Or, she can't understand the question.

We've had stranger temporal situations with anomalies before, I know that, it's just… the others haven't felt so urgent. And I'm not usually so isolated.

They caught Yannis sneaking the spreadsheet data my way. He's out of reach.

I have to do this myself.

ENTRY: 2019-01-21T22:10:49

Oh god.

Venti, that seeping asshole, stole my personal research logs. I don't know how for sure, but the Ethics Committee doesn't seem to care that he probably brute-force hacked my keycode. No one cares. He's won.

And I'll give the bastard credit: He's clever. Decent researcher, too. Better than me. He realized what was hurting SCP-4361 this whole time.

I was.

SCP-4361 doesn't voluntarily generate a video each time the page refreshes. Refreshing the page triggers a reflex response. Like a bee sting. And, also like a bee sting, whenever the response is triggered, it… well, it's like she's carving off a piece of herself, four seconds of video at a time, with a rusting knife.

All the random file grabbing, the heavy breathing in the transmitted audio, all that panic and fear — not cries for help. Cries to stop. Every video hurts her. And I forced a new video every… five seconds? Faster, before my fingers cramped?

(Ah. Red. "Stop." Just got that. Guess it wasn't her favorite color, after all. I hope she still likes cats.)

This isn't the real horror of it. Neither is my continued ignorance about where she is or how to help her. Dr. Markos is the showstopper. He didn't just figure all of this out; he weaponized it.

He's calling it "ambly.OP.ia" (what a horrid, cruel, obscure little joke). It's a bot farm, a bunch of networked computers, all programmed to refresh the video URL. Again and again, fast as they can without imploding the YouTube service. Each bot stuffed with blank PNGs. Scraping away any "sensitive" data, like she's a goddamn Etch-a-Sketch.

I've never seen anyone smile like that, describing such a thing.

All she'll ever see now is white noise.

I read once that modern militaries who haven't banned torture, or the ones who define "torture" very narrowly, use loud noise as an interrogation technique. Decibel-obliterating heavy metal music, recorded grinding and static, discordant guitar chords, that sort of thing. Stacked like walls around the eardrums.

That's who we are now.

I can't save her.

ENTRY: 2019-01-22T08:44:58

Here we are. The director promoted Dr. Markos to research lead. Made me watch the announcement before the Mu-4 grunts pulled me into an interrogation room. All greys and cold copper when they punched me in the mouth. Didn't know Mu-4 played bad cop like that.

Groggy. Need to focus. They administered low-grade amnestics 13 minutes ago. Made me choke down the pills dry at gunpoint when I threw the glass of water. Guess they thought it'd take me at least the whole 15 to run back to my office. Cruel joke, they thought. Well. Proper security coming now either way. Guns and all that. Big arms.

Even if I do remember, there won't be any way I could take down ambly.OP.ia on my MacBook.

But I won't remember, will I? Hell with these people.

Sent one more message. Think I jammed my finger clicking refresh. Even if it gets through, it'll hurt her even more on top of everything, but I didn't know what else to… I had no other way to… well, it doesn't really matter now, does it?

Be seeing you, girl.

VIDEO: SCP-4361-AV-1261, cached 2019-01-22T08:45:01
Title: 4B83054E8ABD8FA662E7D5D4178D60606F310D0F

page revision: 13, last edited: 27 Oct 2019 02:58
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