📋 SCP-2718 — What Happens After
rating: +1+x

"If they fail to complete their task within two hours, or if, upon return, they can remember the year or name the current U.S. President – terminate.”


Object Class: <ERROR> | Date Written: May 7, 2014 | Author: Michael AtreusMichael Atreus

PART 1: It's German For "Twilight"

Please repeat this sentence to yourself, and make sure it gets into your head.

Belief is the key.

Done? Very good. Keep that in mind as you begin your DAMMERUNG journey.

Here are some questions you might have as you begin your DAMMERUNG journey:

  • Why is the item number glitchy and rotating?
  • What happened to the object class?
  • Why is the Foundation so scared of the description?
  • Why can't the file ever be deleted or expunged?
  • And what the everloving FUCK is "DAMMERUNG"?

These questions all have reasonable answers that make sense. In addition, remember that everything you read in the description and the technical reports is true. The Foundation tells no lies. But how are some of these contradictions solved? Now let's find out.

SCP-[????] is a DAMMERUNG class cognitohazard. All personnel, regardless of clearance, are forbidden to expose themselves to the Description of this article under any circumstances. Do not tamper with this warning without DAMMERUNG clearance. Do not discuss the existence of this article with any person. No disciplinary action will be necessary, provided you close this article now, and clear your browser cache.

SCP-2718 is a cognitohazard. The cognitohazard is in the description of this article. DAMMERUNG clearance is necessary to edit the article. The Foundation is deathly (ha) afraid of any information about this cognitohazard getting out.

Atypical software measures have been used to mitigate the risk of accidental exposure. It is only by an unfortunate coincidence of extremely low probability that you have stumbled across this entry at all. No disciplinary action will be necessary, provided you close this article now, and clear your browser cache.

Since creation, only the Special Containment Procedures section of this record has ever been editable. Due to the clearance of the file’s original author, and anomalous database limitations in effect, this record can neither be deleted nor effectively redacted. Access restrictions cannot be applied to the data in any reliable way.

This is where the terror and desperation of the Foundation really comes out. They have employed "atypical measures" to a degree that it seems impossible to even find this entry normally. The description is not editable because of the "clearance of the original author."

Somebody powerful, somebody who used their power made it so that the description of the article cannot ever be removed. And the Foundation is scrambling to cover it up.

Of course, access restrictions can still be enforced. It is now too late to close this article. Do not discuss the existence of this article with any person. Notify the Help Desk that your workstation has a DAMMERUNG contamination. Shut off your monitor, and seek immediate amnestic treatment.

Just…damn. This is probably the most terrifying containment procedures on the entire website. The repeated warnings - close this article now, do not expose yourself to the description, do not expose yourself to the description.

And what is DAMMERUNG? A special one-off clearance given to people at random times. Let's find out who they are.

PART 2: Tech Support Is A Terrible Job

Open the collapsible named DAMMERUNG EYES ONLY, and you'll find a set of official instructions for what you should be doing in this situation. Your task? Improve the current containment procedures by any means possible, in the time allotted to you. The Foundation has no other recourse than to hire advanced tech staff to improvise new solutions over and over again, kludging them together in panic and fear.

To this end, an un-haltable mainframe process (ID 9000013) repeatedly switches the ordinal designation of this article with that of another randomly selected entry. Normally, when two article numbers are exchanged for administrative purposes, the two entries disappear from the index momentarily. A kernel exploit of Processor Erratum 23 allows us to delay completion of the subroutine by deeply recursing the article renumbering with an intentionally terrible algorithm (currently Bubblesort Stoogesort Bogosort) against a known corrupt stack in extended memory until the thread aborts catastrophically, the index swap completes, and the process restarts.

Yeah, your eyes just glazed over that, didn't you?

The article is impossible to delete, so the Foundation is trying to prevent it from showing up on the archive. They do this by repeatedly switching the designation of SCP-2718 with another random SCP's designation, and then delay completion of the switch with a terrible algorithm thereby causing both articles to simply disappear. This designation switch is what is causing the weird numeral rotation up in the item number.

Breach only occurs when - in the seconds-long moment that SCP-2718 appears on the main list after the years-long clock cycle ends - a user clicks the link, ignores all warnings, and reads the Description. This just happened, and you are the one trying to fix it.

There is a side effect: the randomly-chosen article disappears from the list as well, and reappears under a new designation. This means that some articles are just vanishing and renumbering themselves throughout the database, a great concern to the Foundation. But this grave side effect is acceptable compared to the terror of people knowing this article exists. That's how serious this is.

So then you scroll down past the kill agent, and you find the note left by the last person to respond to the breach. This is DAMMERUNG: “Randomly select one mainframe-qualified coder from the Experimental Containment Research Group with Level 3 clearance. Supply the designee with a Behemoth-class amnestic, and dispatch them to the affected terminal. They will find instructions there. If they fail to complete their task within two hours, or if, upon return, they can remember the year or name the current U.S. President – terminate.”

Not a lot else is in this note - the editor improved the killsprite, and increased wait time by a factor of two, but he couldn't do much else. He notes that at least he won't have to remember the Foundation "processing" the breacher (probably implying some sort of torturous horrors) and that if the Foundation adds quantum processors, this approach will quickly become unfeasible.

Finally, he admits he got curious - though the amnestic would wipe it away - and he looked at the description.

I guess I got to thinking my brain was hosed either way so what the hell and i don’t know why but i just went ahead and did it - couldn't help myself really - RESIST THE URGE - it’s clearly a Fridge-class cognitohazard and already it’s starting to sink in so this horse pill better work right quick

Remember this clearly: it's a cognitohazard, above all else. And now, the main course in our DAMMERUNG journey.

PART 3: Nope Nope Nope Nope Nope

Welcome to the Description, please enjoy your stay. This appears to be a transcribed audio recording from O5-7 (Miriam Prayther).

The recording begins as an underling explains to O5-7 the purpose of the transcribing machine. She asks the man if this record can be made as permanent as possible in any way, and he responds that a method used to prevent data corruption can be used to make the article effectively undeletable. This explains the quote in the containment procedures above: "Due to the clearance of the file’s original author, and anomalous database limitations in effect, this file…cannot be effectively redacted."

She advises the man to use amnestics to forget the entire morning, and then:

As a literal token of my gratitude for your loyalty, why don’t you hold on to those credentials? I won’t be needing them. If you act quickly, I suspect you can think of a way to put them to good use before they are revoked and you are detained.

Evidently, this article - to O5-7 - is serious business. But why does she not want this article to be deleted? And what is she afraid of?

My name is Miriam Prayther. I have been O5-7 for seventy-seven years.

I will remain so for perhaps seven minutes more, and that is not enough time to devise adequate Special Containment Procedures myself. I leave that to you.


She goes on to discuss about ways to anomalously restore life - the temporal and the replicative - and notes that both of these methods don't allow one to see into the afterlife. She says that, in all of the Foundation's existence, they have never reliably known what happens after death.

We are then introduced to Roger Sheldon, O5-11. He, unlike the other overseers, refused to anomalously extend his lifespan, and he was one of those types who liked to be alone. During a vacation on a remote island, he had a stroke that killed him. Fourteen years passed before they were able to find his remains, and the Foundation wanted to find him, for he essentially had a key that allowed his soul to come back.

They built a body for him perfectly fitting his old one in every way, and his resurrection exceeded anyone's expectations. He came back to life. They restored him to office, and his reaction to resurrection was unmistakable joy.

In particular, we welcomed some of the changes to his habits. As soon as the rest of us allowed it, he began regular fortification treatments for the first time. He appointed a sensible entourage of medical staff and bodyguards that were never far from his person. Previously, empathy for his fellow man had never been his strong suit, yet suddenly he displayed renewed interest in the safety of our containment protocols, the healthcare benefits of Foundation employees, and a profound distaste for the sacrifice of D-Class. Under the circumstances, none of this struck us as particularly alarming behavior.

But it should have.

What is common across all these patterns of behavior? A renewed interest for human life, to be sure - but also a strange and deep fear to let anyone die.

O5-11 wanted to know if immortality was possible, and was disappointed - strangely - to know that it was out of the Foundation's grasp. Then, a bombshell: against all regulations, Roger contacted an "apex-tier pluripotent entity" (Essentially, a god) and tried to ask it for help. When asked why, he delivers his answer - a horrific account of himself feeling everything that happened to him after death. An excerpt:

"…my skin blistered and split in the sunlight; biting insects descended rapidly. I felt eggs hatch, larvae crawl, gases build and burst within me, individual cells rupturing, interstitial fluids souring and blackening. Somehow my capacity to experience and store these sensations grew - even as I was keenly aware of my cerebrum being scattered and devoured, my perception expanded, into the gizzards of birds and the depths of fire ant dens. I was aware of every fingernail and strand of hair that pulled away in the wind - and my sensation clung to them as they settled in the ocean and dissolved in the maws of a trillion diatoms…"

This is how O5-7 reacted:

We were dumbfounded. And suddenly: sympathetic. And an instant later: fearful. I can't remember the last time I felt my heart race so.

Fear. Why highlight this portion? Because that sensation of abnormally large fear is crucial to understanding the mechanics of this phenomenon. Remember this.

Still, as the three of us hurried to conference room Alpha, I suddenly found myself harboring subtle thoughts of - [[html]]<throat clearing>[[/html]]

And again, a weird pause here, like a thought that Prayther does not want to have. Subtle thoughts of what? Is her subconscious in the middle of realizing something?

Or, take this:

However, O5-8, whose face had grown increasingly pale as she listened to him, was suddenly a passionate advocate for action. "We must declare human death a Keter SCP," she demanded, "and contain it at any cost."

That absurdity garnered an uproar, of course. But Roger had himself a sure ally now, and this spurred him on, shouting over the others to add even darker details of the intensity of his perennial excruciation. Imagery I cannot repeat. Sensations I must not contemplate.

It is said straight out here that O5-8 is not normally one to speak up, but now she was pale with fear and passionate for a cause that was - to everyone - patently absurd. Ask yourself: what is happening here?

And with that, Roger recounted more of his story, and these sensations were the ones that spurred people to action.

<brief coughing> I'm feeling… lightheaded.
O5-2, always a moderate influence, suggested we recess and collect ourselves, but then -3 suddenly moved that we order the immediate systematic termination of dangerous skips, to better protect ourselves and others. O5-6 seconded, but before it could be put to a vote, -13 suddenly clutched his chest in paroxysmal panic and was being evaluated by his medical technician when his feed abruptly cut out. As the fracas came to a boil, it was -10, I think, who was next convinced. Oh! Is belief the key? I —

I —


… doesn't matter.

Ah yes, what IS happening? This is chaos! This is fracas! O5-7 said it herself, and we readers understand perfectly that these Overseers are not acting as Overseers are expected to do. And again, another one of Miriam Prayther's interludes where you see the sparkle of doubt in her voice. Is belief the key? Yes, indeed it is. And still she denies it, ignoring her lightheadedness, as she says it doesn't matter.

Still confused? Keep reading.

That was enough. Suddenly, O5-1 muted us all, and stood, red faced and shaking.

"Regardless of the truth of O5-11's experience," she said, "it is plain that we have lost all reason. There is only one possible explanation for this. Therefore I am declaring Emergency Protocol 17. Remain where you are; we shall all be administered class A amnestics. Except you, Roger. We made a grave error releasing you from containment, and it will be corrected."

Regadless of the truth of the experience - regardless of whether Death really is a Keter-level SCP, a grave error has been made. And so Roger is sentenced to die, and amnestics administered. To forget all memory of what happens after.

She pointed at her administrative assistant to act, but before he could lock down the conference room from which -2, -11 and I were dialed in, Roger had already bolted out the door. I was after him in an instant, and nearly crushed by the bulkhead as it slammed into place. I only wanted to stop him - I think - and now I was outside the safe room too - but he was already out of sight.

Superlative Idiot! They couldn't see me, couldn't hear me, they couldn't know that I wanted back in, how badly I wanted to breathe the red gas that was surely already streaming into the room on the other side. One instant of poor judgment, and my fate is sealed. And now that I know what's in store -

And ask yourself this: why does O5-7 want to breathe the amnestics so badly? What difference does it make? Why is her fate sealed?

Help enough, eh? For this, my final act.

I love the Foundation as I would have loved a daughter. I do this for the security and protection of mankind. And so I beg you: this — gnosis — must not be erased, forgotten. That is not containment. That is madness.

Bring us back. Get us out.


I'm so frightened. What's wrong with me? I —

To O5-7, this knowledge of the afterlife cannot be forgotten. She wants to world to know what happens after death, so that one day the suffering dead can be brought back. And still, this fear, fear so extreme she asks what's wrong with her. Fear, for soon she will die and experience Roger's hell for herself.

Stand by, Sir. Negative on one-zero-six escaping, Sir. I'm getting details - say again, please - it's the other way 'round. The other Oscar, he went — in, Sir. He went in.

And finally, the end.

O5-7 is dead, but O5-11 is still on the run. And he goes inside 106's chamber. The Old Man, who tortures you in a pocket dimension for fun. To Roger, that's preferable to dying. The force of this idea hits you like a brick, and perhaps it is this that makes you consider how horrific and ineffable SCP-2718 is.

PART 4: Cool Story, Bro. What's the SCP?

Please remember this statement once more, as you finish your DAMMERUNG journey.

Belief is the key.

Much of the criticism towards SCP-2718 is that there's so many plot holes in it. Why the containment overkill? Why the purple prose? Why are the O5s acting like buffoons? What even is the anomaly being contained?

The answer to all these questions in four words: SCP-2718 is a cognitohazard.

Take a look at the article's tags. We've got "infohazard" and "knowledge," two big clues. This is a phenomenon that happens when you are exposed to a specific piece of knowledge - that knowledge being sincere belief in a specific afterlife. SCP-2718 is that knowledge, and that's what's being contained.

If you are exposed to that knowledge, it happens to you when you die.

This is what Miriam Prayther almost realized as she gave her account of Roger's account. O5-11 truly believes he experienced a horrific afterlife, and when he speaks about his afterlife, it is always described as being filled with sensations and imagery that no human could ever dream of even contemplating.

This should set off alarm bells.

As the Overseers listen to more of Roger's story, they start believing it. They start experiencing real, visceral fear to a degree that is almost unusual. They all begin acting like children as they scream that death must be contained. Perhaps this is the cognitohazard working - the cognitohazard of reading/hearing/learning about Roger's experience - and causing them changes in belief.*

Because belief is the key. Those people that learn of this phenomenon and even harbor - for an instant - the possibility that it might be real, are now permanently under SCP-2718's effect. A slight doubt, and you are done for. But this makes sense, right? With all infohazards, it's only true understanding that puts you under the effect. It's the spread of a bit of information.

And this new infectious, anomalous belief spreads itself and changes who you are. O5-7 intentionally set the record of SCP-2718 in stone because she truly believed that this was the fate of all humans after death, and who wouldn't let the world know? But what she didn't know was that she was actually spreading a slow-acting, truly lethal infohazard. And now, the Foundation must contain it at all costs, because the more people there are that read this, the more people will suffer through hell.

This explains a number of strange writings:

p.s. I guess I got to thinking my brain was hosed either way so what the hell and i don’t know why but i just went ahead and did it - couldn't help myself really - RESIST THE URGE - it’s clearly a Fridge-class cognitohazard and already it’s starting to sink in so this horse pill better work right quick

You see? The technician doesn't want it to sink in. Once he comprehends it, he experiences Roger's death.

Superlative Idiot! They couldn't see me, couldn't hear me, they couldn't know that I wanted back in, how badly I wanted to breathe the red gas that was surely already streaming into the room on the other side. One instant of poor judgment, and my fate is sealed. And now that I know what's in store -

An instant of poor judgement, and her fate is sealed. She now knows what's in store. SCP-2718 is now her fate, whatever it was before.

You know what the worst part is? Perhaps the O5s afflicted it on themselves. Perhaps their method of storing a key to Roger's soul, anchoring it there with his body forever as his body split apart, was what caused the anomaly. That makes sense, right? Normally, your consciousness dies with you or goes onward, but this method of "recall" made his consciousness link to his body, even as his body became smoke and sinew. My theory is that that was what made him experience those sensations, and that this was the O5's price for trying to learn what was after death.

Why do I think that? Highlight the bottom of the page.

Ρωγερ, έχετε καταβληθεί τιμή, σοι μετατίθημι στον παράδεισο.

Roger, your price is paid, I transport you to paradise.

Roger went through fourteen years of an abnormal, strange afterlife and he ended his life by running into SCP-106's chamber. Maybe the price was inflicting the cognitohazard on the world. Maybe it was penance through those fourteen years. Trying to learn what happens after is a breaking of the cosmic rules, and so the Overseers had to pay with that warped, twisted death.

As for O5-11, maybe SCP-106 is more than what he seems, but it seems that his bargaining has payed off. SCP-106 will use his control of time to keep Roger from every dying, making it a safe place.

There is a theory that the afterlife is whatever we believe it to be, whatever our religion or faith tells us is our destiny. SCP-2718 overrides that, overwrites your afterlife, creates a new, endless, meaningless pain that lasts even further than the end of time. If you are exposed to this infohazard, this is what happens to you when you die.

And now that you've read the Description…uh…don't die, I guess?

Link: SCP-2718: What Happens After

Written By: ModulumModulum, u/modulum83

Date Published: July 11, 2017

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