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nn5n: scp-3966 Falling Out
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SCP-3966
3000AB.png

Crystal structure of SCP-3966-B. The left-hand component corresponds to SCP-3966-A.

Item #: SCP-3966

Object Class: Keter

Special Containment Procedures: A vial of SCP-3966-A is kept in frozen laboratory storage at Site-66. It is to be tested monthly for contamination. Any new compounds found to contaminate the vial sample must be spectrographically analyzed for its chemical composition and any open molecular bonds must be noted.

Additionally, medical literature submitted for publication must be examined for descriptions of SCP-3966, and any such papers are to be denied publication. In the case of an outbreak of Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome (SUNDS), Mobile Task Force Rho-7 ("Doctors Without Mortars") is to be deployed to establish SCP-3966 levels in both victims and living civilians in the outbreak area. Harvesting of SCP-3966 from cadavers under cover of autopsies has been approved.

Under Procedure Morpheus-4, all correspondence relating to SCP-3966 is to be saved for review by the Cognitohazard Department, but SCP-3966 is not to be subject to cognitohazard handling protocols at this time. Researchers assigned to SCP-3966 may request reassignment if they begin to suffer from periodic limb movement disorder (PLMD).

Description: SCP-3966 is a neuroactive polypeptide found in humans. It is found in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of over ██% of autopsy cadavers when death occurred during sleep. In the form recovered from cadavers, it is termed SCP-3966-A and has the anomalous property of having no C-terminus.1 The final amino acid in SCP-3966-A has a free binding site on the carbon chain that does not show any chemical reactivity.

Testing Log:

Experiment 3966-1

Subject: D-51174

Protocol: Subject is administered via spinal tap under local anesthesia a dose of 2 ml of a sterile 10% isotonic solution of SCP-3966-A. Subject's vitals and EEG are monitored for biological response. 2 ml of fluid is taken after 30 seconds to rebalance cerebrospinal fluid levels.

Result: Subject undergoes a sudden withdrawal reflex behavior 11.5 seconds into the process. Subject is manually restrained but undergoes no further response, and the 2 ml sample is successfully recovered. Subject suffers increased tissue damage at the lumbar puncture site, but recovery is complete.

Subject reported a sudden "falling feeling" post-injection. EEG reported onset of Stage 1 NREM sleep approximately 1.5 seconds before reflex response. The "falling feeling," withdrawal reflex, and NREM onset are consistent with a hypnic jerk.

Biochemical analysis of the sample indicated no trace of SCP-3966-A. A new protein was recovered (labeled SCP-3966-B), and sequenced. The protein was chemically non-anomalous and ends with a C-terminus as expected. Further testing is required to determine how SCP-3966-B is constructed.

SAVED COMMUNICATION FROM SCP-IM SYSTEM

Pawlie: Hi Dr. Argent. Experiment completed. We were worried when the subject startled with a big needle in their spine, but it all turned out okay.

RodArg: I saw the report. Do we know where the new protein came from?

Pawlie: No. I can't imagine it would be constructed so quickly.

RodArg: Exactly. We need to know where it came from, its amino acid sequence, what assembles it, and how it's folded.

RodArg: We also need to understand what action SCP-3966-A has in vitro. Normally a protein should start at the N-terminus and end at the C-terminus. That missing C-terminus should mean it's extremely biologically reactive since it should bind to pretty much any other protein and tear it apart. I was expecting it to act like a prion-style cyanide, but we aren't seeing any signs of widespread biological disruption. Also, there's little reason it should only be found in the CSF if it's so long-living and open. It should be able to just punch through the blood-brain barrier by opening cell membranes.

RodArg: I'm sending over some new test protocols. I'll help you with them as my schedule allows. Thanks for the help, and welcome to the team, Ellie.

Pawlie: Sure thing!

Experiment 3966-2

Protocol: 0.5 ml of a sterile 10% solution of SCP-3966-A administered to a petri dish containing 0.5 ml of a sterile 5% solution of gamma globulin and 5% albumin. Sample monitored for reactivity.

Result: No reactivity reported. Levels of SCP-3966-A unchanged.

Experiment 3966-3

Protocol: Amino acid sequencing of SCP-3966-A and SCP-3966-B via Edman degradation and mass spectrometry.

Result: SCP-3966-B sequencing complete. Total chain length: 289 amino acids.

SCP-3966-A sequencing concluded. Total chain length: 143 amino acids. The initial 142 amino acids match the N-terminus sequence of SCP-3966-B. The final amino acid was unrecoverable. Sample mass was indicated to decrease by approximately 0.70%.

SAVED COMMUNICATION FROM SCP-IM SYSTEM

RodArg: Hello Ellie, I'm going to need you to run Experiment 3 again on an -A sample. There was clearly some contamination, given the mass imbalance.

Pawlie: Sorry, will do. I was just really tired. Haven't been sleeping well.

RodArg: It's all right. Take a nap if you need to. Check the equipment beforehand; we can't have any leaks.

Pawlie: Okay, but it's not like I've been able to take a nap lately, either. I keep almost falling asleep, but then I imagine I'm tripping over something and my brain panics and wakes me up. When I eventually sleep, I get nightmares. It's been really bad.

RodArg: Wait, are you telling me you have been getting hypnic jerks?

Pawlie: I guess so

RodArg: I'll be right back. I want to check on our D-class.

Pawlie: ok

RodArg: D-51174 has been complaining of the same thing. You may have received a dose of SCP-3966. May I perform a lumbar puncture on you to rule out the possibility?

Pawlie: You want to stick a long needle in my spine?

RodArg: It's how we'll be able to test your CSF. It's not like it's easy to reach, and it's never been seen in blood.

Pawlie: I guess I don't really have a choice, do I?

RodArg: No, but it's an outpatient procedure. You'll be back at your bench in an hour.

Pawlie: Whatever you need, I guess.

Experiment 3966-3B

Protocol: Amino acid sequencing of SCP-3966-A via Edman degradation and mass spectrometry.

Result: SCP-3966-A sequencing concluded. Total chain length: 143 amino acids. The initial 142 amino acids match the N-terminus sequence of SCP-3966-B. The final amino acid was unrecoverable. Sample mass was indicated to decrease by approximately 0.70%. Results identical to Experiment 3966-3.

Research 3966-Alpha

Protocol: Map known amino acid sequences to the human genome.

Result: No match to human genome. Further research into genomes of other species ongoing.

Head Researcher's Note: We don't know where it comes from, but since it's not human, it must come from the environment. The CSF is bacteria-free, so it must somehow be deposited across the blood-brain barrier. The most likely candidate for an entry point is the choroid plexus, since it generates the CSF from blood plasma, but this is located deep inside the cerebrum so it is hard to examine. Will requisition neural tissues to see how else it might work. - R. Argent

Experiment 3966-4

Subject: Junior Researcher Pawlukojc

Protocol: Subject undergoes a spinal tap to retrieve 1 ml of cerebrospinal fluid for testing for SCP-3966.

Result: Biochemical analysis of the sample indicated no trace of SCP-3966-A. Detected levels of SCP-3966-B are the highest to date at 4.2 mg/dL, 350% what has been discovered in earlier specimens.

SAVED COMMUNICATION FROM SCP-IM SYSTEM

Pawlie: Dr. Argent? What's happening? Am I going to be okay?

RodArg: There appears to be SCP-3966-B in your CSF. Highly elevated.

Pawlie: You said this was like prion cyanide, though?

RodArg: That would have been the -A form. We detected no trace of that. We're still unsure where the -B comes from and what effect it has on the body, but it has not shown to cause any anomalous activity. I'm speaking to Dr. Drake, bringing in some samples of human neural tissue for further testing. We need to find out if and how SCP-3966 binds to neurons and/or glia.

Pawlie: Okay. So what happened? Why am I infected?

RodArg: There was the leak during Experiment 3. My present hypothesis is that you were exposed to SCP-3966 during the leak.

Pawlie: I'm so stupid.

RodArg: Accidents happen, but we've got to make sure you're all right. I want you to take the day off, get some sleep. You've been looking rather ragged.

Pawlie: Yeah, I still haven't been sleeping well. I keep drifting off, just to suddenly feel like I'm falling and I jerk myself awake. All night long. What causes that?

RodArg: There's no definitive answer, but hypnic jerks are related to an imbalance between the time sleep onset and sleep paralysis set in. Some scientists think it's evolutionary in nature, stretching back to when we as primates slept in trees. I'm not convinced, though. Other animals appear to have them, too, although they don't seem to be awoken by twitches during REM sleep. In any case, healthy adults and children have them all the time. They're annoying, but normal.

Pawlie: i just want them to stop

RodArg: One more thing. You mentioned having nightmares?

Pawlie: Yeah. Why?

RodArg: I had strange nightmares last night, too. What happened in yours?

Pawlie: So back in college, I used to dye silk scarves. You'd float the dyes on a water surface, then with a straw carefully blow on the surface to make designs, which you'd then place the scarf onto. In my dream, I was doing this, and all the designs started looking wrong. The patterns all started looking like blood and guts and eyes and stuff, as if it was staring up at me. Then this swarm of spiders started crawling out of the ceiling, and started lowering web lines into the water. They started sucking up all the color. The spiders kept trying to stick their webs on me, too, to suck up my color. I had to run from all these rainbow spiders in the ceiling.

RodArg: Okay, that's a bit different from mine.

Pawlie: What was yours?

RodArg: Back in my college days there was this comic called Enigma. Early 90s. In it, there was a serial killer called The Head, a tall skinny monster with a giant head and big puckered lips who would stick a metal straw up their victim's nose and suck out their brains. I had this thing chasing after me all night long.

Pawlie: 90s comics were fucked up.

Inquisitor: This is a message from the Cognitohazard Monitoring Department. Based on conversation markers, there is the possibility of memetic infection. Please be aware that all correspondence regarding this SCP will be archived, monitored, and analyzed.

Pawlie: Oh god are we in trouble too? I can't take all this. Not right now.

RodArg: I don't think so.

Inquisitor: Hi, yeah, you're not in trouble. We just noted that you're sharing dreams that involve chasing and straws in the same time period. It could easily just be a coincidence, and it's inconclusive that a cognitohazard is involved, but we just want to make sure you're free of memetic infection. Don't worry, we don't share any of this with Ethics or HR. Our job is just to track down cognitohazards.

Pawlie: I should go. I'll just take a sleeping pill or something.

RodArg: Sleep well, Ellie. See you tomorrow. I'll get the experiments done.

Experiment 3966-5

Protocol: Application of SCP-3966-B to viable human neural tissue harvested from SCP-596 D-class. Test tissue for binding sites.

Result: SCP-3966-B binds weakly to N-type calcium ion channels on neurons. Binding causes passive blocking of the channel, but the bond will break in the presence of changes in cell voltage potential (such as during a regular firing of the neuron). Biological activity is limited. Therapeutic function would be limited to a very mild paralytic and analgesic that would not last during normal activity.

Of note, SCP-3966-B would not cause hypnic jerks; it is essentially not a risk. I would call this an inactive protein. - R. Argent

Experiment 3966-6

Protocol: Application of SCP-3966-A to viable human neural tissue harvested from SCP-596 D-class. Test tissue for binding sites.

Result: SCP-3966-A binds strongly as an exotoxin to N-type calcium ion channels on neurons. Presynaptic terminals are observed to undergo a cascade misfolding, restructuring the calcium channel into an open cell pore. Neurotransmitters, ions, and cytoplasm exit the neuron rapidly through the pores, causing cell death within seconds.

Sample mass was recorded at 93.2% the pretest sample. No leaks detected. Of note, extracellular neurotransmitters were not detected and the fluid containing the tissue did not have higher concentration of calcium ions.

Huge mass change again, but no leaks? What, so the neurotransmitters and ions just vanish? What does this refolding do? - R. Argent

Experiment 3966-7

Protocol: Mathematical modeling of SCP-3966-A and SCP-3966-B protein folding and binding with N-type calcium channels.

Result: The protein structure of SCP-3966-A toward the N-terminus is involved in enzymatic refolding of the calcium channel into a pore, while the non-C-terminus end inserts itself into the pore. The action is similar with SCP-3966-B, except the C-terminus lobe attempts entry into the pore but fails and destabilizes the N-terminus bond, causing the channel to revert to its original configuration.

Attempts to model the protein structure in the end region of SCP-3966-A results in an inconclusive configuration.

In layman's terms: The modeling program crashed. The output made no sense and the numbers blew up. - R. Argent

SAVED COMMUNICATION FROM SCP-IM SYSTEM

RodArg: Sis? Are you around?

CArgent: Why, hello there, bro. How are things?

RodArg: Not good. This latest project is making no sense to me. My assistant isn't sleeping, and I just found this stealth SCP protein in her cerebrospinal fluid.

CArgent: In her what? How did you find that?

RodArg: …I gave her a spinal tap.

CArgent: What the hell, bro? What's scaring you so much?

RodArg: Here.

<==sending scp3966.scp==>

CArgent: Okay, this is weird. I can barely believe you're spending all this time on a protein. Wait, this is being monitored by the Cog team?

RodArg: Yes. Sorry. Should have mentioned.

CArgent: So I'm going to get nightmares, too. Great. Thanks, bro.

RodArg: It’s just a precaution! Nobody knows if there even is a cognitohazard! You’ll be fine. I’m not infecting you. Really.

CArgent: You're defensive. This isn’t like you. Is there anything I can do?

RodArg: Could you look at the output of the folding model? Things blow up at the not-a-C-terminus. The math goes nuts.

CArgent: And you want Dr. Anomalous Physics to check your work. Sure, I'll take a look.

CArgent: Okay, so this looks crazy if you try to look at it using plain vectors, but I can simplify the numbers by using quaternions.

RodArg: Quaternions? What?

CArgent: Okay, so you know about the complex plane, right? With real numbers (1, 2, 3) on one line, and imaginary numbers (i, 2i, 3i) on another line perpendicular to that?

RodArg: Okay, yes.

CArgent: Quaternions don't just use i, they use i, j, and k. Three sets of imaginary numbers. Three different axes all perpendicular to the real number axis.

RodArg: How would you even visualize that?

CArgent: You kind of can't. It requires four spatial dimensions.

RodArg: What, this protein is folded - fuck.

CArgent: What now?

RodArg: Fuck, sorry, gotta go. Emergency. I'll talk later.

Experiment 3966-8

Subject: Junior Researcher Pawlukojc

Protocol: Harvesting of SCP-3966-A from subject's CSF and exploratory autopsy.

Result: Subject was discovered expired in her bed at 0015 when the vital sign monitor she wore triggered an alarm. Serum analysis of CSF indicated 5.1 mg/dL of SCP-3966-A and 1.6 mg/dL of SCP-3966-B. Cause of death appeared to be SUNDS. Histological analysis of neural tissue indicates large numbers of SCP-3966-A-mediated cell pores and reduced volume of affected neurons.

Toxicological analysis indicates self-medication of cyclobenzaprine and zolpidem. It must be stressed that these are powerful spasmolytics and sedatives, which can have paralytic side effects. Cardiopulmonary system appeared unaffected, but skeletal muscle showed marked reduction in activity.

Head Researcher's Note: I got lucky. I dropped one of the CSF test tubes, but it didn't shatter and turned out to have SCP-3966-B only. I really need a nap. - R. Argent

Research 3966-Beta

Protocol: Continued automated search of genomic sequence for SCP-3966

Result: No full matches found. Closest match (87%) to silk proteins of SCP-848.

Head Researcher's Note: SCP-848 catches prey from God-knows-where in its webs. I don't dare take sleeping pills. If I have to sleep with the spiders, I will. - R. Argent

Experiment 3966-9

Subjects: Head Researcher Dr. Roderick Argent, D-51174 (Control)

Protocol: Sleep study performed in SCP-848 containment chamber

Result: Subject slept without issue for nine hours. Subject had a waking cycle at five hours in the containment chamber, and canceled control study, bringing D-51174 into the containment chamber.

Head Researcher's Note: Just couldn't let them keep tossing and turning. I slept like a baby. The D-class didn't want to join me with all the spiders again, but they didn't have a choice. They curled up, clinging to me. Took a lot to calm them down. Really didn't like spiders. I woke up to one of them crawling across my face. I kept dreaming seeing Ellie wrapped in a cocoon. The webs are particularly thick today. Gotta tell sis. I'm cured, I hope. - R. Argent

SAVED COMMUNICATION FROM SCP-IM SYSTEM

RodArg: Hi sis. Feeling better.

CArgent: Jesus, bro. There you are. I've been worried sick. I heard about your assistant. My condolences.

RodArg: Yeah. She was good. It's still so confusing. I don't know why she got a lethal dose of SCP-3966-A. I was so worried I'd die if I slept. I haven't tested my CSF, but I know the signs.

CArgent: How about the D-class?

RodArg: They're still alive. They were never given a sleep aid, and when I realized I was sleeping okay, I brought them into the containment chamber with me.

CArgent: Containment chamber? …I'm not going to ask. I think I'm okay. This whole thing got me so nervous, I worried I was infected every time I twitched.

RodArg: Oh, god, sorry, sis. Here I am, talking about myself, and not even thinking about what this is all doing to you.

CArgent: I do that falling thing once or twice a night anyway. Probably nothing's changed.

RodArg: Good. So do you think these are 4D proteins?

CArgent: The math works out better that way. That's why the carboxyl group is missing, it's attached to the next amino acid, still, but we can't see it.

RodArg: How could we see it? Actually, how could we not see it?

CArgent: Let's see if I can explain… You've heard of Flatland, right?

RodArg: A 2D world where everyone is shapes?

CArgent: That's the one. Now you're a 3D guy, so if you're standing over Flatland, looking at someone's house, you can see everything in it at once. Which room the residents are in, what's in the cupboard, all that. But the residents couldn't ever see you, at all. That's because you aren't in Flatland, you're above it, and there's no "above" in Flatland.

RodArg: So I'd have to reach into Flatland to be seen?

CArgent: Exactly. And if you reach out and touch Flatland with your finger, all they'd see is your fingertip.

RodArg: So… I might only see the slightest bit of a 4D creature, but it could still see all of me.

CArgent: You got it. That's not even the coolest part, though. You could reach into their kitchen cabinet, pull out a cup, and place it on the table, without ever opening the cabinet.

RodArg: Wait, if I'm seeing everything in the house, even inside the cabinet… Am I also seeing everything inside the people? Where I can touch it?

CArgent: Yes.

RodArg: …You know, Grandpa died in his sleep.

CArgent: Yeah. That was what, 20 years ago? I still miss him. It was a stroke, right?

RodArg: I had a friend pull the old autopsy report. They actually didn't know. Just said it was old age.

CArgent: Why, you think it was something else?

RodArg: I dropped a test tube, but it only had SCP-3966-B. People twitch and move around, but they only end up with B in their systems. If I tried to reach into a Flatlander, and they moved, they'd pull me along, right?

CArgent: Right. Similarly, your pull would be an acceleration. It could be felt, too.

RodArg: But it would be in a direction you wouldn't notice. The only way it would make sense would be a fall… I've got to run one last experiment. If this works, I’ll need to update the description. Thanks, sis. Stay safe and sleep well.

Experiment 3966-10

Protocol: A matrix of glass micropipettes, each patch clamped with an N-type calcium channel, is prepared. A single optical fiber is threaded to the tip of each pipette. The apparatus is then placed in an isotonic solution of 25% SCP-3966-A. Upon reconfiguration of the calcium channels into pores, the fibers are inserted into the pores and visual results recorded.

Result: Reconfiguration of channels into pores completed. Optical fibers were inserted a distance of 10 μm into the pore past the end of each pipette. External microscopy indicated no extension of the fiber past the end of the pipette. In this configuration, an image was successfully generated.

Image Unavailable
page revision: 20, last edited: 15 May 2017 07:46
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