Tag Archives: Flying saucer

The SCP Foundation: Behold the Rabbit Hole

When I was a kid I was really into the conspiracy scene. UFO’s, bigfoot, the Loch Nes monster I was into all of it. I had books on cryptozoology, and books on psychic phenomena and books about flying saucers that supposedly came up out of the ocean and I devoured it all like it was candy. Which now that I think about it, it kinda was; candy for the mind.

But now I have become a man, and I have put away my childish things. Not that I don’t believe in flying saucers and bigfoot anymore (also bigfoot in flying saucers, that one’s a biggie). I still reckon there could be stuff out in the universe we don’t understand, but my opinion toward it all is kinda, meh. I’ve come to accept that the world we see is pretty much the world we get. If there are aliens out there you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll end up being narcissistic, divisive, and have bad breath to boot.

But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still some fragment of wonder left in my soul, some yearning for the idea that the world is Not As It Seems. Which is why when I stumbled upon the internet archives of the SCP Foundation I was hooked.

The SCP acronym stands for “Secure, Contain, and Protect”, and the site archives a long list of artifacts under the care of the SCP Foundation that pose various levels of danger to the world or are weird enough to keep for further study.

Of course the whole thing is pure fiction. But it is interesting fiction. The world of the SCP Foundation provides a framework for all kinds of creatures and anomalous objects to coexist carefully tended by a staff dedicated to keeping the world safe from the many monsters that lurk in their closets.

On top of that, because the SCP Foundation website is a wiki it serves as a tremendous outlet for writers in the real world. SCP entries can be rated by an “up” or “down” vote, and users comment on what parts of the entry worked for them and what parts need more work. Think of it as the world’s most focused writers group, everyone contributing individual threads of story that form together into a single terrifying tapestry.

Really though, there’s no way for my description alone to sell you on this. You have to see it for yourself. The SCP website is huge, but if you’re looking for a place to start, here are some of my favourites:

SCP-115 – Miniature Dump Truck

SCP-212 – The Improver

SCP-242 – Self “Cleaning” Pool

SCP-283 – A Rock That Falls Sideways

SCP-315 – The Recorded Man

SCP-354 – The Red Pool

SCP-426 – I am a Toaster

These are only a few examples, not even an exhaustive list of my favorites, but there are thousands of these things. If you’re a writer looking for inspiration or a reader who enjoys “weird” fiction then I highly recommend you check out the SCP Foundation website.

Only be careful. Because once you’ve entered the labyrinth you may not be able to find your way out.

The Parable of the Super-Duper Quarter

Once upon a time in a reality plane far far away, there was a planet which was inhabited entirely by quarters. The quarters lived a happy but uneventful life until one day when they spotted an alien space ship in the skies. The space ship landed and alien scientists came out of it.

“Oh dear,” the quarters cried. “Have you come to probe us and infect us with your larvae?”

“You are all quarters,” said the alien scientists. “We do not even know how that would work.”

“Then what do you plan to do with us?” asked the quarters.

“We are going to flip you all and observe the results,” said the alien scientists. “But do not worry. No harm will come to you.”

The quarters were very happy to hear that the aliens would not hurt them and many of the quarter had always secretly longed to be flipped, so they happily queued up outside the flying saucer and waited for the the aliens to do their experiments.

Sometimes the quarters landed with their heads up, and sometimes they landed with their heads down. The alien scientists all made careful notes each time a quarter was flipped. But then after many, many thousands of quarters had been flipped many many times, something strange happened. One of the quarters went in to be flipped and he landed with his head facing up every single time.

When the other quarters heard the news they were all astonished. Clearly any quarter that could land with his head up on every flip must indeed be a super duper quarter. From far and wide the other quarters came to see the super duper quarter. Newspaper stories were written about him, and he was interviewed on late night talk shows for quarter TV stations.

The other quarters asked the super duper quarter what his secret was. They wanted to know how they could land heads up every time too.

“It’s very simple,” said the super duper quarter. “I eat 47 pounds of avocados every morning for breakfast. No one else I know eats so many avocados. This is the secret to my success.”

Soon the quarters were all clamoring for avocados and the quarters who were avocado farmers got very rich.

But it made no difference. Sometimes the quarters who had eaten avocados landed heads up and sometimes they landed heads down.

When the alien scientists finished their research they told the quarter people they would be leaving in the morning, but when the quarters all went to bed the alien scientists snuck into their houses and took them all and put them in a big bag. Then the alien scientists loaded the big bag onto their flying saucer and took off. When they got back to their home world they used all the quarters to buy soft drinks, and they drank all the soft drinks in one go. The soft drinks gave the alien scientists a stomachache and subsequently their entire race died out in a bizzare accident involving rubber bands and pancakes.

The quarters lived inside of the soft drink machine while the alien civilization crumbled outside. They were very thankful for their new home and they praised the super duper quarter for bringing them into such good fortune. They were so grateful that they  made the super duper quarter their king.

All the quarters lived happily ever after. Except for the super duper quarter, who rather missed his avocados.

The End

Moral: Too many soft drinks may not be very good for your health.

Moral the Second: Everything is better with avocados.

Moral the Third: Alien scientists are generally not to be trusted.

The Stone Saucer

[This short story is was inspired by the Shackleton’s Scotch Challenge over at Chuck Wendig’s Blog. The challenge was to write a story inspired by the discovery of a case of scotch left behind by Ernest Shackleton on his ill-fated South Pole Expedition. The story I was inspired to write does not directly involve either Shackleton or scotch, but rather it plays on the theme of things left behind. I hope that you enjoy it.]

Dad said they had to cut the tree down. It was old and dead, and it might fall on the house the next time a hurricane came through.

Zachary didn’t much like the idea. The tree had been there his whole life. The idea that they could just cut it down, end its legacy with a few swipes of a chainsaw felt…wrong somehow. But he didn’t have much say-so in the matter.

So Dad got out the chainsaw and started cutting, while Zachary stood back and watched. The base of the tree was thick and hard, and Dad cut for a long time making the notch in the front bigger a little at a time. Then the chainsaw made a screeching noise, and Dad yanked it back.

There was something there in the place where he had been cutting. Just a sliver of it was showing, but Zachary reached in his hand to touch it. It felt smooth and warm under his fingers.

Dad said it must have been something that had gotten stuck in the trunk a long time ago. He didn’t sound happy.

He cut around the thing as best he could and when the tree finally fell with a snapping crackling roar they saw what the thing was. It was a stone saucer, about as big around as a dinner plate and as thick as a dictionary, and it was carved all over with tiny swirling lines that crossed and converged in strange patterns.

Zachary asked what the thing was.

Dad said he didn’t know.

Zachary touched it again, and it still felt warm. Alive.

He asked if he could keep it.

Dad said yes.

So Zachary took it inside to his room.

That night, after they had finished cutting up the tree and hauling away most of the branches, he went to his room and looked at the thing again. He kept running his fingers over those twisting lines, trying to find the meaning there. Dad had said the thing had been inside the tree for a long time, maybe hundreds of years. For a while Zachary tried to think about how long that was. But after a while he got bored with the thing, so he put it on his shelf, and went to bed.

And when he slept he dreamed of strange things, of another world with skies of orange and red, and alien beings that looked like praying mantises as large as men. The mantis men were sending out stone saucers just like the one he and Dad had found by the thousands. In the dream Zachary watched as the stone saucers flew up into the red sky and disappeared. But then something happened. There was a roar and a crash, and the sky split open with light, and the world of red and yellow disappeared into fire.

He woke up and looked over at the stone saucer sitting on the shelf. It was still dark out, and the clock by his bed read 3:17, but he wasn’t sleepy.

He turned on the lamp and got the stone saucer. He set it next to him on the bed, and ran his fingers over the grooves again. The details of the dream stayed in his mind, sharp and crisp like a photograph.

It was just a dream. He kept telling myself that. But it was more than a dream. It felt…important. It felt real. But if it was real, what did it mean?

The mantis men had sent the stone saucers out for a reason. They had known their world was going to die, and they had known that they would die with it.

In the movies flying saucers had lasers and ray beams and they killed people. But the stone saucer didn’t seem like a weapon. It seemed more like…like a memento. A messenger with the memories of a dying world.

It made him think of the time Mom had come to get him from school early. Her eyes were all red, and she told him Grandpa Jonah had died. He had cried pretty hard because Grandpa Jonah was pretty much the best grandpa ever.

He went to the funeral, and he remembered looking around the big room at all the people who were there. He asked his Dad who they were, and Dad said they were all people who knew Grandpa Jonah.

He’d sat and thought about that for a while. Grandpa Jonah was gone, but all these people who knew him were here together in the same place. They all remembered something about him. And maybe that meant that all those little pieces of Grandpa Jonah were alive somehow. As long as people remembered.

And now a whole world was dead. Maybe it had been dead for a long time. But before it died, the mantis men sent out the stone saucers.

And the saucers were seeds; the seeds of a memory.

Maybe there were other saucers on other worlds, their memories infecting other minds. Or maybe this one was the only one that ever found a home.

But maybe one was enough. Maybe as long as someone remembered the mantis men, maybe a small part of them would live on.

He sat and thought about that for a long time. And when the clock read 5:13 and the first blush of dawn shone through his window he put the stone saucer back on the shelf and turned off the light. He crawled back under the covers, closed his eyes, and went to sleep.

He dreamed of the dead.