Billith's Skips

"People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it’s the other way around.

Stories exist independently of their players. If you know that, the knowledge is power.

Stories, great flapping ribbons of shaped space-time, have been blowing and uncoiling around the universe since the beginning of time. And they have evolved. The weakest have died and the strongest have survived and they have grown fat on the retelling… stories, twisting and blowing through the darkness.

And their very existence overlays a faint but insistent pattern on the chaos that is history. Stories etch grooves deep enough for people to follow in the same way that water follows certain paths down a mountainside. And every time fresh actors tread the path of the story, the groove runs deeper.

Stories don’t care who takes part in them. All that matters is that the story gets told, that the story repeats. Or, if you prefer to think of it like this: stories are a parasitical life form, warping lives in the service only of the story itself."

- Terry Pratchett

Item #: SCP-3XXX

Object Class: Thaumiel

Special Containment Procedures: SCP-3XXX is to be secured with Level 5 clearance in a location known only to O5-7. O5-7 is to be the sole operator of SCP-3XXX and is to work directly with members of the Pataphysics1, Metaphysics, and Relative Physics departments during testing efforts to minimize collateral and help better understand SCP-3XXX's effects.

Description: SCP-3XXX is a ████-brand sterling silver analog wristwatch. Instead of the typical watch face found on standard devices of its kind, SCP-3XXX's face has twelve pictograms set in a circular pattern. These symbols relate directly to twelve unique settings (See SCP-3XXX Settings List for information). The pin on the side can be pulled out and used to adjust its hand which does not move on its own2. Changing settings with the dial will cause the name to appear briefly on the background of the watch face in a pixelated, LED fashion, despite the lack of digital parts.

SCP-3XXX primary anomalous capability is to manipulate the narrative causality surrounding the passage of time for the wearer. Each of SCP-3XXX's settings changes the way the wearer perceives and travels through time. When a selection is made by closing the pin, SCP-3XXX's face will glow in a soft color that corresponds to each setting. During this period, the closed pin can be manipulated to adjust the hand, causing the wearer to move forward or backwards in time an amount that would be applicable for the hour hand of a standard twelve-hour watch face. One quantum of time using the dial is six minutes.

Not all settings support both forward and backwards travel and therefore can have wildly unpredictable results. As of ██/██/████, due to the complexity and sensitivity of the device, testing requires approval by O5 Command and can only be carried out by trained Level 5 personnel.

At this time SCP-3XXX is being utilized for the burgeoning PROJECT CAUSAL REFRESH. O5-7 is to utilize SCP-3XXX to locate, secure and contain [DATA EXPUNGED] from alternate timelines associated with SCP-3XXX. A contingency plan is in effect that would train a new Level 5 individual to use SCP-3XXX in the event of O5-7's sudden demise. This plan is to incorporate SCP-3XXX-1 into teaching modules until the individual feels comfortable with all settings.

SCP-3XXX-1 refers to an anomalous, 6,398-page manual found with the device. SCP-3XXX-1 contains a complete overview and breakdown of SCP-3XXX's various modes of operation. No company name or contact information is listed. Paper tested and found to be non-anomalous personal printer paper.

SCP-3XXX-1 contains a greater number of pages than its physical constraints allow. In addition, all information retained by studying SCP-3XXX-1 is inaccessible unless wearing the device or reading from the book3. Inferences about the nature of each mode are made using testing observations and study of narrative/ontological causality.

Testing Log 3XXX-1A:

Note: Experimentation was initially approved for D-Class testing before the full capabilities of the device were realized. This was changed on ██/██/████ to reflect new findings.



Date: ██/██/████
Subjects: D-11248
Setting: Relativistic
Preface: First test of SCP-3XXX's abilities. D-11248 was told to set the device and travel six minutes into the future, then six minutes into the past, returning to the initial point.
Result: D-11248 successfully initializes device and vanishes from testing area. Subject does not return. Six minutes later, D-11248 appears in same spot. Subject claimed to experience a rapidly accelerated version of the events that happened around her location, but was unable to move for the entirety of the event. Upon setting the time back, D-11248 emitted a scream before violently imploding. SCP-3XXX retrieved without incident.

Note: It is possible that this setting, if using currently understood and accepted models of relative physics, does not have an appropriate function for backwards travel. Subjects likely move at near light speed to achieve accelerated forward travel.

Date: ██/██/████
Subjects: D-2374
Setting: Stopwatch
Preface: Subject was instructed to set the device, travel forward six minutes, then return.
Result: D-2374 initialized device without error. Upon setting time forward, no effects were observed. Several seconds later, another copy of D-2374 appeared in the testing area, claiming that they were only able to travel back to the point where the setting was initially selected. Both versions of D-2374 are able to interact without issue. Six minutes later, the original D-2374 sets the time back and vanishes from the testing area. D-2374's copy experiences light nausea but seems otherwise healthy.

Note: Interesting, it seems as though this setting is only capable of backwards travel, and only to a starting point that was causally already in action. Further testing is required.

Date: ██/██/████
Subjects: D-2374
Setting: Stopwatch
Preface: Subject was instructed to set the device, wait twelve minutes, then travel back twelve minutes to the starting point. Control instructed researchers to stop D-2374 from traveling once a copy of him appears.
Result: D-2374 initialized device without issue. No copy of D-2374 appears. D-2374 successfully stopped from leaving.

Note: This method seems ontologically sound, paradoxical effects at a minimum.

Date: ██/██/████
Subjects: D-2374
Setting: Stopwatch
Preface: Subject was instructed to set the device, wait six minutes, then travel back six minutes to the starting point, repeating this process a total of three times.
Result: D-2374 initialized device and waited. Three copies of D-2374 manifest in the room, several seconds apart each. After six minutes, all except for one set their watches back and vanish.

Date: ██/██/████
Subjects: D-2853
Setting: Instance
Preface: D-2853 was instructed to set the device, attempt to travel forward six minutes, then attempt to return.
Result: Subject initialized SCP-3XXX without issue, vanishing from place. D-2853 did not return during the course of the test, and is not seen for over fourteen hours. Upon return, D-2853 showed significant psychological distress and mild dehydration. Upon application of an anxiolytic, subject was interviewed and claimed to have traveled successfully and near instantly, but was unable to interact with the environment nor gain the attention of anyone. Subject experienced the same phenomenon when returning to the starting point and had panicked, considering it permanent. Upon pulling the pin on SCP-3XXX's side, the phenomenon ceased.

Note: I'm going to go out on a limb here and say this setting is creating localized temporal anomalies on an unidentified substrate. This would account for why the subject experienced successful translocation without being able to be perceived. Fascinating. I'm also putting in an official request to require trained Foundation personnel for interaction with SCP-3XXX. Losing it for fourteen hours makes one realize how special this anomaly is, and what we stand to gain if we take good care of it.

Request denied until further testing reveals it to be safe enough for administrative use. - O5-3

Date: ██/██/████
Subjects: D-3330
Setting: Recursive
Preface: D-3330 given SCP-3XXX-1 to study the specific setting. Afterwards, he was instructed to set the device, travel forward six minutes, then attempt to return to initial starting point.
Result: D-3330 explained that this setting was intended only for backwards travel. After applying setting, no forward travel was detected. Another copy of D-3330 manifested in the testing area shortly afterwards. Interacting copies of D-3330 [DATA EXPUNGED] upon contact.

Note: [REDACTED FOR BREVITY] They're still fixing the containment cell and cleaning up all the viscera. Definite ontological hazard. Tachyon meters went wild as well. I have a feeling we'll see some causal loops and other classic paradoxes with this setting.

Date: ██/██/████
Subjects: D-55121
Setting: Recursive
Preface: D-55121 was instructed to wait twelve minutes, then travel back to six minutes after starting point. During this period, subject was evacuated and contained nearby.
Result: D-55121's copy appeared in the testing area shortly after testing began. Subject claimed that the experience "Felt like one bad case of déjà vu" and "took longer than expected". D-55121 successfully vanishes from location at the twelve minute mark.

Date: ██/██/████
Subjects: D-55121
Setting: Recursive
Preface: Subject instructed to wait twelve minutes, then travel back to six minutes after starting point. Control instructs researchers to stop D-55121 from travelling once a copy of him appears. Subject relocated after start of test to a safe area.
Result: D-55121's copy manifests in the chamber. Researchers apprehend D-55121 at the three minute mark and prevent travel. Copy of subject [DATA EXPUNGED].

Note: Confirms the reliance on narrative cohesion in order to prevent paradoxes. D-55121 has a minor siezure following conclusion of the test, the cause of which was not determined. Full recovery was seen within 24 hours.

Date: ██/██/████
Subjects: D-55121
Setting: Re:do
Preface: Subject instructed to attempt travel to six minutes before the test.
Result: As the subject was not retroactivally a part of test preceedings and did not appear to translocate, it was assumed initially that D-55121 failed to travel at all. However, upon cessation of test, subject insisted they had travelled six minutes before the test and spent several hours repeating the same interval of time. Subject noticed no copy of himself during this period and only was able to break the loop after repeating his actions from the minutes leading up to the test.

Note: It is unknown if subject travelled to an alternate timeline or was located outside of reality as with the "Instance" setting.

Date: ██/██/████
Subjects: D-55121
Setting: Re:do
Preface: Subject instructed to sit in a chair and travel six minutes into the future.
Result: Test identical to last. Subject noted that the looping did not occur until the six minute mark, cycling through those first minutes of the test. The loop was only broken once D-55121 sat in the chair for the entirety of the interval.

Note: This was to be expected.

Date: ██/██/████
Subjects: D-55121

Additional Materials:

Excerpt, "A Labyrinth of Symbols", W. Edward, 2004

Nestled in the middle of J. L. Borges’ short story ”The Garden of Forking Paths” is the suggestion that a text, a work of fiction, can be a labyrinth. The obvious question, then, would be whether this story, our story, is a labyrinth. In order to formulate an answer, it seems pertinent to ask another question: ”What is our story?”.

Excerpt, "The Narrative Paradigm: An Elaboration", Walter R. Fisher, 1985

There is no genre, including technical communication, that is not an episode in the story of life.

Excerpt, ████ █████, "███ █████ █████████", █████ █████████, 1986

Our minds make stories, and stories make our minds. A story can be a rule for living according to one's culture, a useful survival trick, a clue to the grandeur of the universe, or a mental hypothesis about what might happen if we pursue a particular course. Stories map out the phase space of existence.