Of Mice and Mouse Mats

Current Project

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Item #: SCP-XXXX

Object Class: Safe Keter

Special Containment Procedures: SCP-XXXX is to be kept in a standard safe-class containment vessel at Site-YY. A bespoke container has been created such that, when being removed from storage, SCP-XXXX can be retrieved and handled without making contact with its lid.

The anomalous effects of SCP-XXXX are only to be made manifest in a secure testing chamber with no means of exit for SCP-XXXX-1 instances, preferably with an airlock-style access point as a further preventative measure. Outside of exceptional circumstances, personnel are to wear standard Foundation issue respirators when in contact with SCP-XXXX. Personnel are further encouraged to thoroughly wash exposed skin after contact with SCP-XXXX-1 instances.

As per the Monument Accord of 1949, SCP-XXXX has been designated an Artefact of Historical interest, so supervised access is to be given to colleagues from the Horizon Initiative and the Incongruous Historical Society in exchange for SCP-XXXX remaining in Foundation custody. Before visits from the HI and/or the IHS, researchers are to attend a briefing from a representative of the Foundation Department for Interorganisational Co-operation on the extent to which they may divulge information relating to SCP-XXXX, Site-YY and the internal workings of The Foundation as a whole.

Description: SCP-XXXX is a lidded urn, crafted in the style of Grecian urns from classical antiquity. While initially appearing indistinguishable from historical urns discovered in archaeological sites around modern-day Athens, forensic chemical methods (particularly Laser-Ablation Mass Spectrometry, the results of which are contained in Appendix XXXX-A) have determined that the methods by which SCP-XXXX was crafted divulge from methods typical of that era. Thaumaturgic script, identified as belonging to the Hellenic School of Thaumaturgy, has been painted on the side of SCP-XXXX.

SCP-XXXX's anomalous effects may manifest when a human subject lifts its lid, with the effect varying based on a complex combination of factors centered around the subject's national identity. These are seemingly defined by Herodotus' four elements of national identity, the names of which are present in the Thaumaturgic script. While the elements were initially written in a different context to the geopolitical situation of the modern day, they are each applicable to and map onto their modern equivalents. For example, 'shared sanctuaries and sacrifices' seem to apply to members of the Greek Orthodox Church in addition to observers of Ancient Greek religious tradition. The differing manifestations are as follows:

  • Subjects not fulfilling any elements of Greek national identity are unable to successfully lift the lid of SCP-XXXX. Furthermore, over the ensuing month, subjects rapidly develop severe and incurable symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, regardless of their past history of respiratory health.
  • Subjects with Greek heritage are able to open SCP-XXXX, which immediately releases a cloud of unidentified particulates alongside generating a seemingly endless number of SCP-XXXX-1 instances. Initially instances are generated quickly before the rate of manifestation slows - typically around five SCP-XXXX-1 instances are released in quick succession, followed by a further instance every 10 to 15 minutes on average. Replacing the lid causes the immediate disintegration of all

SCP-XXXX-1 instances all resemble female adult feral city pigeons (Columba livia domestica) with faces resembling those of human women. SCP-XXXX-1 neither vocalises in a way akin to non-anomalous humans nor pigeons, instead producing raspy hissing and grunts not dissimilar to species of vulture. Instances typically act with indifference to the subject which first released them, but tend to be aggressive toward any other present humans. Of note is that SCP-XXXX-1 instances tend to avoid contact with SCP-XXX

SCP-XXXX-1 continuously release an unknown aerosol-phase chemical species

Addendum 1: Excerpt from Guest Lecture

As part of the Monument Accords, a member of the Incongruous Historical Society was invited to give a guest lecture in Site-YY's formal conference room, relevant elements of which are reproduced below.

Dr Noah Kaminsky
Incongruous Historical Society
An Old English Werwulf in London: Monsters of Myth in the Modern Age
2016/05/21, SYY/012A

…which brings me on to an interesting case study, which is that of the Harpy. For our gracious hosts, I am of course referring to the member of your bestiary you've given the designation SCP-XXXX, which fit the bill almost perfectly for what we understand to be the harpies as described by Virgil - that being birds with the faces of women. Those intimately familiar with the Aeneid may note a divergence from the description provided by Virgil, providing an image of a much more fierce bird of prey which isn't quite brought to life in the common street pigeon, as much as the pigeons may disagree.

[Audience Laughter as Dr Kaminsky progresses his slideshow to an image of pigeons stealing chips out of the hands of a shopper in a UK highstreet]

But rather than this being a hole in the plan, it instead brings me on to why I've chosen to feature this creature at all. What is particularly interesting about harpies is that their description changed a fair amount over time - yes, always tending to be some combination of woman and bird, yes, tending to be an aspect of the classical element of wind, mostly a devious or antagonistic force - but their appearance did alter over time.

[Dr Kamisky progresses shows a slide of a collage of depictions of harpies]

We just looking at some of these we should be quite pleased that these are locked away in an urn - if only so we do not have to look at them! Now pigeons aren't particularly scary but they are ubiquitous in the urban areas of the United Kingdom where the urn is located. This suggests that, if these are the harpies of antiquity, they are Type A Beasts by the Hunnings Model as far as their relation with literature as concerned - that being they themselves changing rather than just their descriptions in literature - you can familiarise yourself more with that in Hunnings et al. in - uh - in his IHS paper, I've forgotten the exact title, but I'll send Initiative and Foundation personnel the link and your institute logins will let you read it.

[Dr Kamisky shows a summary of slides of effects of particulates on the human body]

I've not done any science since my GCSEs so I'll apologise to our hosts now as a precaution for my last note on harpies, I took this slide from Google images. Harpies are associated with the wind and are malicious - these are common tropes in the literature. Traditionally we say they are associated with storm winds, but in the developed world we aren't as frightened by either storms or wind in the same way that a more skeptical. But what we see with these harpies is the production of atmospheric particles, which we know are very harmful thanks to our modern understanding of biochemistry. It is therefore possible that the Harpies are somehow aware of our contemporary science and are turning themselves into something harmful while staying - ah - we'll say 'on brand' with it reflecting their association with wind. But that's just conjecture.

So that's all I'll say on Harpies, that was a bit of an aside, if we move on to the next case study which is more of a Hunnings Type B now I think on…

Addendum 2: Thaumaturgic Study

Translation of the Hellenic Thaumaturgic script was slow, owing to its

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