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The Ambassador

ambassadors2.jpg

The Ambassadors prior to 1987 restoration, including detail and [bottom-right] corrected perspective with speculative aversion vertices

Item #: SCP-XXXX

Object Class: Keter

Containment Procedures: Internet service providers monitor all traffic for histographic profiles and object detection rulesets provided by the Foundation.

Broadcast media transmissions and publications are monitored by the Foundation satellite office at the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, Va.

To limit the potential for media exposure, software vendors and web-based services are not engaged, with the sole exception of Google LLC, whose longstanding participation in the containment of SCP-XXXX remains an invaluable first line of defense.

Upon discovery, renderings of SCP-XXXX-1 are to be confiscated1 and archived at the Foundation Special Artifacts Repository. Anyone known to have created or observed a rendering of SCP-XXXX-1, or who publicly describes or discloses the existence of SCP-XXXX, is administered amnestics.

Description: SCP-XXXX is a sentient entity inferred to exist via ephemeral manifestations in electronic transmissions and other media. These manifestations appear in response to inquiries about songs, games, television shows, movies, books and paintings vaguely-remembered from childhood.

Through these manifestations, SCP-XXXX obliquely but persistently attempts to convince the searcher that the object of nostalgic interest is in fact ██████████████ (SCP-XXXX-1), a Class-I memetic hazard that incorporates as many elements of the barely-remembered media as possible, as a superficial dressing around a fixed semantic core that implies the existence of SCP-XXXX itself.

The nature and content of SCP-XXXX's manifestations vary depending upon the medium and genre of the subject, the emotional tenor of the search methods, and the environment in which the search is conducted. The most common contemporary manifestations are internet search results, microfiche projections and YouTube "Up Next" suggestions.2

Further investigation will yield increasingly concrete references to the subject of research. Observed examples include retweets by otherwise long-dormant fan accounts, passing references in anonymous forum postings, and unscheduled late-night television shows that end abruptly soon after being turned on. Individuals restricting their search to physical media may find inscrutable notes in margins; those consulting librarians or experts may later experience brief conversations with strangers who remember the subject, but who cannot subsequently be tracked down for further discussion. A particularly anxious searcher may glean no apparent results, then experience an intense and beautiful dream.

Individuals who subsequently undergo memory formation of SCP-XXXX-1 generally perceive a detailed yet still markedly incomplete picture of its whole, thereby cultivating a growing sense of nostalgia and yearning.

76% are nonetheless satisfied by the discovery and take no further action attributable to it. 20% discuss it with others but make no significant effort to reproduce SCP-XXXX-1. Approximately 3.92% generate media resembling known renderings of SCP-XXXX-1, without direct reference to SCP-XXXX.

The remaining 0.08% attempt an explicit reproduction of SCP-XXXX-1 (0.04% anamorphically, 0.04% with a corrected perspective). Of those, most find the results inadequate due to lack of skill in the relevant artistic medium. An alarming proportion become obsessed with rendering or communicating the image they have of SCP-XXXX-1 and present clinically significant symptoms of psychological distress attributable to this fixation (the scenario by which most instances of SCP-XXXX-1 are learned of by the Foundation). A final subset attempt metanarratives that detail their experiences of "searching" for SCP-XXXX-1. Only 3 known instances describe the existence of SCP-XXXX itself.

As of January 1, 2018, there are 21 artifacts under Foundation control that incorporate sufficiently similar3 representations of SCP-XXXX-1. Twelve are drawings or paintings. 5 are poems, stories, novels or other texts. 2 are sculptures. One is a video game and one is a vocal recording. Only one known instance is currently outside of Foundation control: ███████████, more widely known as The Ambassadors, a 1533 painting by Hans Holbein the Younger, part of the collection at the National Gallery in London. The depiction of SCP-XXXX-1 therein (SCP-XXXX-1-5) is overpainted with a human skull that matches SCP-XXXX-1's characteristic anamorphic projection but only vaguely its unique anatomical proportions4.