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nn5n: scp-3192 When the Bell Tolls
SafeSCP-3192 When the Bell TollsRate: 49
SCP-3192
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A photograph of SCP-3192 prior to containment.

Item #: SCP-3192

Object Class: Safe Euclid

Special Containment Procedures:

SCP-3192 is to be placed in a standard artifact containment cell.

SCP-3192 is to be placed in a standard artifact containment cell. A guard is to be posted in front of the cell at all times.

SCP-3192 is to be placed in a secure vault. Two guards are to be stationed by the vault at all times. Video surveillance is to be conducted 24/7.

SCP-3192 is to be kept in an underground shelter capable of withstanding a high-grade "bunker buster" explosive; as of 1/1/2010, this means the shelter should be located at least 50m underground and its walls should be able to endure a force equivalent to 250 tons of TNT. The shelter should be reachable from the surface via code-activated lift, with guards stationed in visual range of the lift at all times. The containment site should be as isolated possible; Site 118 in the Sonoran desert and Site 204 in Bhutan are ideal.

All knowledge of SCP-3192 is to be restricted to employees with level 4 clearance. A plausible cover story on the dangers of interacting with the object under containment is to be disseminated to on-site personnel, all of whom should have at most level 3 clearance.

Description: SCP-3192 is an astronomical clock originally embedded within the gatehouse of the Hampton Court Palace in Richmond upon Thames. When any human subject stands directly in front of the clock for 3.5 seconds1, the subject begins to experience an acute feeling of thirst and a hallucination of standing in the path of a hurricane; at the same time, the dials of the clock begin to move, with the final positions corresponding to the amount of time remaining until the subject's death. All recorded efforts to alter the date of death predicted by SCP-3192 have met with failure.

A number of Foundation personnel volunteered to be exposed to SCP-3192 following discovery of its anomalous effects. After conducting follow-up interviews, the Ethics Committee recommended against using Foundation volunteers as test subjects, as most of the people who asked to be exposed to SCP-3192 have not benefited from the experience.

Subject: Mr. Chaudhuri, a researcher in the Mathematics subdivision. 34 years old.
SCP-3192 predicted time until death: 30 years, 4 months, 8 days.
Consequences: Immediately after exposure, subject wrote the number 11,047 (corresponding to the number of days remaining until his death) on the blackboard in his office. Subject begins each day by decrementing this number by one. Subject appears to be in good humor, with work performance unaffected.

Subject: Mr. Goldstein, deputy director of Site 209. 31 years old.
SCP-3192 predicted time until death: 63 years, 5 months, 4 days.
Consequences: Subject suffered a loss of morale post-exposure, resulting in substantially poorer work performance. Despite the apparently encouraging prediction that he would die at an advanced age, subject reported feeling as if he has been given a death sentence.

Subject was ordered to report for counseling three times a week; however, no discernible improvement was observed after 15 months of sessions.

Subject: Mrs. Graham, a secretary in the Astrophysical division. 54 years old.
SCP-3192 predicted time until death: 2 years, 9 days.
Consequences: Mrs. Graham's colleagues report no changes in her daily behavior. A devout Baptist, Mrs. Graham has said she is looking forward to seeing her parents and deceased husband soon.

Subject: O5-██. 51 years old.
SCP-3192 predicted time until death: 1 year, 2 months, 32 days.
Consequences: Subject resigned her post with the Foundation to focus on personal relationships. Over the coming months, subject took up gardening as a hobby, eventually supervising the construction of a shed on her property; the collapse of this shed caused subject's death.

Attempts to terminate subjects prior to the date indicated by SCP-3192 will fail for what appear to be accidental reasons each time. It has been hypothesized that in causing certain events to occur, or not occur, SCP-3192 takes a path of least interference with reality. Debate over whether this hypothesis holds, and whether it can even be sufficiently formalized to be tested empirically, is ongoing.

SUPERVISOR: Dr. Hermann Braun.
SUBJECT: D-6372, a 57-year-old Navajo male.
SCP-3192 PREDICTED TIME OF DEATH: Approximately 27 years after beginning of testing.

TERMINATION METHOD: Firing squad.
RESULTS: All shots missed.

TERMINATION METHOD: Firing squad, take two.
RESULTS: All shots missed. Bullet ricochet injured two of the squad participants.

TERMINATION METHOD: Remotely activated explosive.
RESULTS: Explosive activated approximately 90 seconds prematurely, killing seven Foundation personnel. Subject unharmed.

TERMINATION METHOD: Subject was put into a 3000m2 enclosure containing four Barbary lions (borrowed from a local zoo). The lions were kept without food for the ensuing 500 hours. Subject's clothes were fumigated with the smell of raw meat.
RESULTS: The lions sniffed the subject obsessively but made no attempts to consume him.

TERMINATION METHOD: Thrown from airplane.
RESULTS: Subject tangled up in the parachute of an amateur paraglider. The paraglider was in possession of a small backup parachute, which brought both men down to earth at a dangerous but not fatal speed. Multiple rib fractures were sustained. Subject's attempt to escape Foundation custody post-landing unsuccessful.

SCP-3192 was discovered by Dr. Hermann Braun of the Division of Paranormal Investigations (DPI) of the Wehrmacht. The DPI regularly monitored communications between persons of interest, especially among members of Catholic splinter groups with an interest in the occult; Dr. Braun was the first to note an uptick of interest in St. Ignatius of Cordoba, who built SCP-3192 in the late 16th century, and was moved to investigate. Ignatius was the disinherited son of a Spanish duke who joined the Franciscan order in his late twenties and undertook a pilgrimage to Jerusalem approximately a decade later. Several excerpts from his unpublished autobiography are preserved in the Vatican archives.

… when I had spent a fortnight in the Judaean desert — when the sting of viper bites made the slightest movement painful beyond compare — when my thirst had turned into a ravenous beast — I had a vision of the LORD.

It is to my everlasting shame that I cried out at His sight, weak being of flesh that I am. His eyes were balls of lightning; His hair writhed as a den of snakes; and out of His mouth came holy fire. Verily I say unto you, His anger was a sight to behold. But the LORD had great mercy on this sinner, for the terrible vision before my eyes disappeared, a great gathering whirlwind taking its place.

And the voice of the LORD came to me out of the whirlwind.

PLACE MY FEAR IN THEIR HEARTS, said the LORD
FOR THEY SHALL DENY MY NAME
MY TRUTH IS REVEALED FROM THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE WORLD
MY LAW IS PERFECT, MY COMMANDMENTS PURE
MY JUDGMENTS SWEETER THAN HONEY
I AM CLOTHED IN SPLENDOR AND MAJESTY
BUT THEY SHALL LAUGH ME TO SCORN
LET HIM WHO HEARS UNDERSTAND: I AM NOT MOCKED
WHAT THEY SOW, THEY SHALL REAP

The words made no sound but branded themselves upon my soul. It was an experience unlike any other; and moaning silently, I prostrated myself on the ground before my Master.

THEY SHALL ABANDON THE PATHS OF GOODNESS, said the LORD
PROFESSING THEMSELVES TO BE WISE, THEY SHALL BECOME FOOLS
THEIR HANDS ARE DEFILED WITH BLOOD
WASTING AND DESTRUCTION ARE IN THEIR PATHS
BUT MINE OWN WRATH IS REVEALED FROM THE HEAVENS
TO ME BELONG VENGEANCE AND RECOMPENSE
THEIR SOULS SHALL NOT KNOW PEACE
FOR THE DAY OF THEIR CALAMITY IS AT HAND
I SHALL GIVE THEM UP UNTO THEIR OWN STUBBORN HEARTS

When the words stopped, my soul eased and a sigh escaped my lips. I opened my eyes slowly and saw that the whirlwind had disappeared — only the winds of sand fluttered about me. Instantly I knew what task the LORD had set for me; and I summoned what strength remained in my bones to set out of the desert.

Shortly after his vision, Ignatius embarked back to Spain; SCP-3192 was constructed approximately one month after his arrival in his hometown of Cordoba. Notably, no prior record exists of Ignatius having any expertise in clockworking. SCP-3192 changed hands several times over the following centuries before finally arriving at Hampton Court.

The outbreak of World War II put a temporary halt to Dr. Braun's investigations. As a result, the properties of SCP-3192 were only catalogued in the late 1940s after the dismantling of DPI led to Dr. Braun coming into the employ of the Foundation.

On 2/7/1954, all testing on SCP-3192 was ordered by O5-██ to cease immediately.

I demand O5-command reverse position on SCP-3192. There is much we do not know:

  • How does it behave about relativistic time dilation?
  • Is cryopreservation death?
  • Can people be resuscitated after the date of death predicted by SCP-3192?
  • What counts as a human being? We know it ignores macaques and great apes but what if we bring a brain-damaged human before it?

Many experiments I need to run.

Respectfully but disagreeably yours,

Prof. Dr. Hermann Braun
Research Head, Division ATF-L-3
Ph.D. Theoretical Physics, University of Heidelberg
M.S. Mathematics, Technical University of Berlin
Doctor Honoris Causa, Queen Mary University of London
Editor, Journal fur Reine und Angewandte Mathematik, 1926-1945,
Deutsche Physik, 1933-1945, Arkiv för Matematik, Astronomi och Fysik, 1930-1945.

Since lack of response to previous letter, I think I have not properly explained usefulness of this item.

Plausible hypothesis is that SCP-3192 causes events to happen along "path of least resistance" — or, at least, it never strays too far from it. Furthermore: in case of termination attempt before predicted date, it begins doing this very "late in the game," usually when attempt is already in progress. If so, we could obtain advantage. For example, we could create device that kills subject before SCP-3192-predicted-time unless suitable chamber contains self-sustaining fusion reaction. You understand implications, yes?

Take logic one step further. You remember our discussions about artificially generating black holes for ████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████? Concern was that miscalculations in the stabilization process might lead to uncontained expansion. But if we do this before SCP-3192-predicated-time for any test subject, it will not happen!

Also: method by which this thing works might violate second law of thermodynamics. I am positively shimmering at the thought of new physics we could learn! I am also curious about what happen if we give it to Dr. Bright.

Please, please — let us resume testing.

Respectfully but disagreeably yours,

Prof. Dr. Hermann Braun
Research Head, Division ATF-L-3
Ph.D. Theoretical Physics, University of Heidelberg
M.S. Mathematics, Technical University of Berlin
Doctor Honoris Causa, Queen Mary University of London
Editor, Journal fur Reine und Angewandte Mathematik, 1926-1945,
Deutsche Physik, 1933-1945, Arkiv för Matematik, Astronomi och Fysik, 1930-1945.

Request denied. Because it is impossible to tell if a person was always going to die on the date predicted by SCP-3192, or if it is the act of giving them the device that sets their death "in stone," the entire O-5 council is in agreement that under no circumstances should Dr. Bright be given the device, lest it force an XK-class end-of-the-world scenario (or higher) to ensure his demise. -O5-██.

Fine, forget about the Doctor. The effects of SCP-3192 have been tested 1,217 different times before your ban. End of world is nowhere in sight, is it?

I regret that none of the members of O5 council have scientific background at doctoral or professorial level. Perhaps that is why you are not in habit of thinking rigorously about risk. For God's sake, nuclear power could destroy world tomorrow; I am confident it will not, because of the careful experiments so many physicists have painstakingly performed over the past decades. All science is, at most basic level, inductive generalization from past observations. Now apply same logic to SCP-3192 and its safety record.

All this, by the way, would have been abundantly clear to my former supervisors at DPI.

Prof. Dr. Hermann Braun
Research Head, Division ATF-L-3
Ph.D. Theoretical Physics, University of Heidelberg
M.S. Mathematics, Technical University of Berlin
Doctor Honoris Causa, Queen Mary University of London
Editor, Journal fur Reine und Angewandte Mathematik, 1926-1945,
Deutsche Physik, 1933-1945, Arkiv för Matematik, Astronomi och Fysik, 1930-1945.

Foundation security personnel visited Dr. Braun's home on Sep. 8, 1973 after he failed to return from a prolonged vacation. Neighbors indicated they had not seen Dr. Braun in over a month. No useful evidence was found within the dwelling itself but a garbage bin nearby contained documents tracing Dr. Braun to a cabin in northern Vermont.

The cabin was found to contain the remains of Dr. Braun as well as a cage holding Mr. Descheene, one of the subjects used by the Foundation for testing of SCP-3192 before the cessation of experiments approximately two decades earlier. Mr. Descheene recognized Dr. Braun during a visit to a grocery store in July of 1973, when he approached Dr. Braun and proceeded to berate him2. Mr. Descheene eventually attacked Dr. Braun before being restrained by store employees. After going to sleep in his bed the same night without noticing anything out of the ordinary, Mr. Descheene woke up caged the following morning.

According to Mr. Descheene, Dr. Braun was in the process of building a strange-looking electro-mechanical contraption (involving a collection of guns pointing at his cage) when he was mauled and subsequently consumed by a pack of bears. Dr. Braun did not respond to Mr. Descheene's repeated queries over the past months, telling him only that everything he was doing was for love of science and humanity. Occasionally, Dr. Braun would add that while he bore no ill will towards Mr. Descheene, he had little choice, for he would be unlikely to get his hands on another test subject. From time to time, Dr. Braun would also remark that the most probable outcome of his actions would be his own death.

The device Dr. Braun was in the process of constructing appeared to be a chamber for the stabilization of a microscopic black hole. Classified Foundation technology in the form of ████████████████████████████████████████████████ was used; investigation into how Dr. Braun was able to move these materials off-site is ongoing.

Since Mr. Descheene proved resistant to amnestics in the past, a coma was induced via repeated administration of pentobarbital. Consistent with previous testing, no "interference" from SCP-3192 was observed, as it apparently does not consider a coma to be the equivalent of death.

Containment Breaches: The following incidents are representative of the challenges faced by previously proposed containment procedures.

On 1/4/1953 SCP-3192 was used without authorization by Dr. Kelly and Mr. Nowak, researchers at the Foundation who were engaged at the time. SCP-3192 predicted that Mr. Novak would die after four years whereas Dr. Kelly would die after approximately fifty years. The engagement was subsequently called off. Dr. Kelly and Mr. Nowak were suspended for two weeks without pay.

On 1/7/1955 SCP-3192 was used by Dr. Auerbach, who faked documentation from O5 command authorizing the resumption of testing. The following exchange between Dr. Auerbach and three members of the disciplinary committee (henceforth DCM-1 through DCM-3) occurred at her hearing.

DCM-3: Dr. Auerbach, you stand accused of….

Dr. Auerbach: Let's just cut the bullshit. I'm in a bad enough mood as things are.

DCM-3: Formalities must be observed, Doctor.

Dr. Auerbach: To hell with formalities.

Dr. Auerbach: Yes, I did it. Yes, it's against the rules. Yes, I forged those papers.

Dr. Auerbach: I had to know.

DCM-3: Dr. Auerbach, you stand accused of….

DCM-1: I'd like to ask a question.

DCM-3 nods.

DCM-1: Doctor, doesn't it bother that you set a chain of events in motion? By using 3192?

Dr. Auerbach: Events are always in motion.

DCM-1: Yes, but what I mean is — the future you face now might have been different if you didn't use 3192.

Dr. Auerbach: That's true for every decision I make. If I do the opposite thing, the future might turn out differently.

DCM-2: You realize the clock will come after you now.

Dr. Auerbach: Something was always going to come after me. Cancer. Some Keter monstrosity. Old age. At least the clock has the decency to let me know when.

Dr. Auerbach was subsequently demoted.

On 2/9/1966 SCP-3192 was used by Dr. Reyes, who was at the time considering a course of treatment for lymphatic melanoma. Dr. Reyes asked Mr. Ruiz, one of the on-duty guards, to give him access to SCP-3192. Mr. Ruiz complied, offering the following rationale for his actions during his disciplinary hearing: "He's my buddy, I had to help him out." Following Directive 63-FL-4 mandating tougher punishments for infractions leading to containment breaches of objects with high destructive potential, Dr. Reyes and Mr. Ruiz have been █████████.

Due to frequent breaches, containment procedures for SCP-3192 are to be kept in a constant state of review.

We are now in a curious situation with 3192: the main object of containment is not to keep the thing in but to keep the Foundation out.

I take it you've all seen the report on the latest breach? Investigation is on-going as to how the bunker was penetrated this time. Of course, it makes little difference — where there's a will and all that. I'm sure the reason will turn out the same as always: someone had to know, causality be damned.

To those of you who haven't been around very long (specifically, O5-██ and O5-██): we've discussed some more extreme measures for the containment of this item but have not had the courage to pull the plug. The obvious solution would be to put it back where we found it and amnesticize everyone who knows about it (which includes ourselves). Unfortunately, at this point we'd have to black out a few decades of memory from the majority of the Foundation's staff.

In the past, I've advocated for containment procedures making 3192 as difficult to reach as possible. My thinking is that you're probably not going to take a trip to Bhutan, assault an armed outpost, and blast a hole in one of the sturdiest bunkers in existence, all the while avoiding detection — just to make use of this thing.

To some extent, this has been effective. These days, it's the people right next to 3192 — the guards, the on-site researchers — who figure out how to circumvent containment and succumb to the temptation to take a peek. We've tried to keep them in the dark, with no success (too many people know about this thing by now).

I don't mean to exaggerate the scale of the problem; almost all of our employees are reliable. Unfortunately, even with the screening procedures we've put in place for assignments to the 3192 containment site, we've never been able to avoid the odd outlier who becomes obsessed with getting a glimpse of what the future holds. On average, we've suffered a containment breach once every 4.1 years since testing stopped in the mid 1950s.

I move that we construct a new containment facility manned exclusively by armed robotic platforms. Any intruders will be automatically attacked. The robots should be fully autonomous and capable of self-modification to keep up with technological progress. Our only means of control will be a "kill switch" that can be activated by unanimous agreement of O5-command.

Thoughts?

— O5-██

page revision: 90, last edited: 03 Dec 2017 18:13
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