LiterallyMechanical

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Item #: SCP-NNNN

Object Class: Keter

Special Containment Procedures: Shipments of intraocular lenses (IOLs) intended for cataract surgery are to be randomly intercepted and inspected for evidence of counterfeit merchandise. Any such IOLs with defective UV protection are to be traced to their factory of origin, and their production is to be halted. Any individuals known to have been implanted with sabotaged IOLs are to be given corrective surgery with unmodified lenses.

Marketplaces and souvenir stores in major metropolitan areas, especially those with a significant tourism industry, are to be routinely swept by Foundation personnel. Any bootleg merchandise imitating the “Hello Kitty” product line by Sanrio Co., Ltd is to be inspected for evidence of SCP-NNNN. Any shipments of such counterfeit merchandise are to be likewise traced to their factory of origin, and their production is to be halted.

MTF-μ-9 “Tenth Lifers” are to be housed at Site-44. Feline operatives of MTF-μ-9 are to be selected from nearby animal shelters based on a “curious” or “active” temperament, and are to be allowed free rein of the facility. Cetirizine1 is to be provided to human employees at Site-44 who suffer from cat allergies.

INTERPOL and other international agencies are to be monitored for information on PoI-NNNN or other high-ranking acolytes of the Ancient Order of the Lion’s Eye. PoI-NNNN is a high-priority target for acquisition by the Foundation, and if discovered, he shall be detained immediately.

Description: SCP-NNNN is an “impossible” color generated by the superposition of near-ultraviolet light (approx. 310 nm wavelength) and deep red light (approx. 735 nm wavelength) on the human retina, as well as that of certain other animals. While other impossible colors2 are well-understood by the greater scientific community, SCP-NNNN has gone unremarked. This is largely due to the inability of humans to perceive near-ultraviolet light in ordinary circumstances, as well as the uncommon mutations to the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN)3 that allow for significant visual processing of the anomalous color.

SCP-NNNN is interpreted by the human mind as an impossible shade of “ultra-pink” or “white-magenta,” as described by those who have viewed the anomaly. In typical adult humans, though the blue photoreceptors of the retina are capable of resolving ultraviolet light, the lens of the eye blocks the photons of that wavelength. Furthermore, a typical human’s LGN will discard some or all of SCP-NNNN as irrelevant noise, resulting in considerable variation from person to person of the ability to see SCP-NNNN. Approximately 20% to 25% of humans have a sufficiently defective LGN to resolve any amount of detail in the SCP-NNNN, while as few as 1% suffer from LGN impairment severe enough to see the anomalous light with perfect clarity.

Cataract surgery involves the removal and replacement of the lens with an artificial implant. Modern intraocular lenses (IOLs) used during such surgery have a UV-opaque coating, designed to protect the eye from ultraviolet light damage, and will accordingly obscure SCP-NNNN. However, if counterfeit IOLs with deficient UV protection are implanted in an individual with an impaired LGN, SCP-NNNN becomes visible.

Shipments of deliberately sabotaged IOLs intercepted by the Foundation typically lead to the discovery of dozens of compromised surgeries, almost always performed by surgeons unaware of the defective product. Though the Foundation continues to shut down compromised production facilities as they arise, the extensive infiltration of the Ancient Order of the Lion’s Eye into the global manufacturing industry allows for new, clandestine manufacturing centers to be set up and operated with relative ease.

The Earth is inhabited by an unknown number of incorporeal creatures detectable only in shades of SCP-NNNN4 These creatures, designated SCP-NNNN-Ω, display significant morphological diversity in a sparse ecosystem that exists superimposed on the visible Earth. Dozens of species have been identified, ranging from small, fast-moving insectoid animals to stationary tree-like entities upwards of a hundred meters in height, though none display signs of sapience. As SCP-NNNN-Ω are relatively rare and have very little physical interaction with the Earth,5 spotting and tracking them is a difficult task.

In addition to LGN-impaired humans who have undergone faulty lens replacement surgery, two other prominent groups have the ability to perceive SCP-NNNN: young human children, and Felis catus, the domestic house cat.6

Until roughly the age of ten, the human lens is thin enough to allow for some penetration of near-UV light. Furthermore, the LGN in young children is underdeveloped, and will almost always allow for at least a faint perception of SCP-NNNN. Children will often describe SCP-NNNN-Ω as “monsters” or “ghosts” that are invisible to adult humans. As the brain matures and the lens thickens, this ability is gradually lost.

Animals of the Felis genus, most notably the domestic house cat, have ocular lenses that are naturally permeable to UV light, and an LGN that does not filter SCP-NNNN in any respect. All house cats, therefore, can easily perceive SCP-NNNN. As the experience is a typical part of a house cat’s day-to-day experience, this ability rarely causes any distress or unusual behavior. However, just as sudden movements of mundane objects and creatures will often alarm house cats, unexpected activity of SCP-NNNN-Ω may provoke a similar response.7 Feline agents of MTF-μ-9 and their human handlers are trained to interpret these signs, and have become a reliable method of tracking and studying SCP-NNNN-Ω.

SCP-NNNN-Ω are attracted to objects that exhibit similar activity in SCP-NNNN light. Commercially available UV-reactive pigments8 will fluoresce in SCP-NNNN when layered atop deep red, and swiftly garner the attention of nearby SCP-NNNN-Ω. In recent years, the Ancient Order of the Lion’s Eye has begun a campaign to expose children to SCP-NNNN-Ω through bootleg toys pigmented to reflect SCP-NNNN.

Due to their symbolic association with cats and shades of magenta, Order has focused their attention on distributing counterfeit toys in mimicry of the Hello Kitty brand. Their Hello Kitty bootlegs have been found in most major cities and tourism hubs, as well as through resellers operating on auction websites. As the majority of these retailers are ignorant to the exact provenance of their wares, and the Order contracts multiple mundane factories to produce their merchandise, tracking them has proven to be difficult.

Confiscated Hello Kitty merchandise is stored and studied at Site-44. The Site is home to a correspondingly dense population of SCP-NNNN-Ω, as monitored by the feline division of MTF-μ-9. Research into SCP-NNNN-Ω conducted at Site-44 has led to several hypotheses as to their nature, though no established theory has been formulated to date.

MTF-μ-9 has been deployed to great effect in efforts to locate safe houses and distribution points of the Ancient Order of the Lion’s Eye, which are invariably decorated with ultra-magenta paint. Roving patrols of MTF-μ-9 have played a vital role in detecting and uprooting the Order, as their unwillingness to harm or hinder cats in any way has rendered MTF-μ-9 an extremely effective countermeasure.

Addendum NNNN-1: Origin and Ongoing Activities of the Ancient Order of the Lion’s Eye

The Ancient Order of the Lion’s Eye is a synthetic cult established in the early 1990’s. Though the Order claims to be a venerable secret society with roots dating back to ancient Greek mystery cults, no record of such a historical group exists. Supposed artifacts produced by the Order are trivially determined to be forgeries due to their poor translation of colloquial modern English into Ancient Greek, as well as evidence of modern manufacturing methods and materials.

The ideology and eschatology of the Ancient Order of Lion’s Eye is an amalgam of poorly-understood neopagan and wiccan beliefs, in combination with writings from other 19th and 20th century doomsday cults. The Order was founded as a typical money-making scheme, wherein the cult leader promised salvation during a vaguely-defined apocalyptic scenario9 in return for material and physical devotion. The “sales pitch” used by the Order to recruit new members involves an appeal to childhood supernatural experiences, with emphasis placed on innocent wisdom, cat worship, and feline “third eye” vision of a spirit world.10

The founder of the Order, a former car salesman who went by the epithet “Old Tom” (born Thomas Delaney in Newark, New Jersey), amassed a sizeable fortune from approximately one hundred devotees. Delaney subsequently fled from the Order’s compound to the Cayman Islands in 1998, where he currently resides in considerable luxury. As the association of the Order with SCP-NNNN post-dates Delaney’s abandonment of his followers, he is not considered a Person of Interest by the Foundation. Any further investigation of Thomas Delaney is under the purview of the United States Internal Revenue Service.

By coincidence, Delaney’s ad hoc mythos happened to loosely correlate with the phenomenon now labeled SCP-NNNN. PoI-NNNN (born Alvin Schenk of Rochester, New York), an opthamologist who had been one of Delaney’s earliest recruits, noted that two of his patients treated for aphakia11 and LGN-related visual processing disorders had experienced hallucinations that appeared to synchronize with the activity of their pet cats. Schenk, who had been diagnosed with a similar visual processing disorder, extracted his own lenses. The Order subsequently began their distribution of sabotaged IOLs and bootleg Hello Kitty merchandise in late 2004 or early 2005.

Though membership in the Order fell sharply after Delaney’s departure, the discovery of SCP-NNNN by PoI-NNNN revitalized the remaining believers. PoI-NNNN, operating under the name “New Tom,” has led a resurgence of the cult into the 21st century. While Thomas Delaney was a con artist, all evidence indicates that “New Tom” and his followers are true believers, operating on a mandate of universal enlightenment. Modern-day inner doctrine of the Order states that when a certain critical mass of “the Enlightened” are able to “see through the cats’ eyes,” an end-of-days scenario and salvation of the believers will occur. PoI-NNNN has thus far eluded capture, and his whereabouts are unknown.

While the eschatology of the Order is entirely without merit, their mundane activities have led to a significant number of eye infections due to poorly-manufactured IOLs, as well as exposing children to unsafe pigments used to create the deep red component of their bootleg Hello Kitty merchandise. The activities of the Ancient Order of the Lion’s Eye have therefore been designated as a significant public health hazard. Foundation agents within the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, and corresponding bodies in other countries are standing by to alert their organizations once PoI-NNNN is captured, the Order is shut down, and the nature of SCP-NNNN can be concealed during consumer advisory alerts and product recalls.