RPC-143
rating: +4+x
alpha

Item #: RPC-143

Object Class: Alpha

Containment Protocols: RPC-143 is stored in a standard Alpha-class reinforced strongbox, equipped with a simple air recirculation system in order to prevent odour buildup. Researchers with a history of dust allergies are advised to wear face masks when handling the object to reduce discomfort.

Containment Protocols Updated 23/08/2017: Following Incident 143-29-A, any testing of RPC-143 with live suricate populations is to be monitored to ensure that numbers of RPC-143-3 do not exceed 16 individuals. All testing on RPC-143 is to be done in the presence of a trained Containment team from the Directorate for Higher-Dimensional Studies equipped with a suite of standard Spacial Disjunction Suppression equipment.

Description: RPC-143 is an irregular chunk of sandstone, measuring approximately 2cm x 8cm x 18cm, which significantly alters the behaviour of animals of the species Suricata suricatta (the meerkat). Its composition shows no unusual characteristics, and is entirely consistent with other sandstone deposits in the region of the Kalahari Basin where it was found. The stone's only immediately noticeable unusual characteristic is its strong odour, which has been described as "musty" or "stale". While no chemical source for this odour has been discovered, humans with dust allergies react to its presence as if it were an allergen.

Suricates are only affected by RPC-143 if they are within a direct line of sight with the stone. Animals of the correct genus which are blind or otherwise unable to see the RPC exhibit signs of fear and disorientation, but are otherwise unharmed. Testing has revealed that all animals of the mongoose family exposed to the stone appear to demonstrate severe fear responses. Thus far, suricates who see RPC-143 undergo one of three consistent effects, designated 143-1, 143-2 and 143-3.

Effect 143-1 occurs in 75% of all suricates who view the stone. Subjects will stand completely still, and begin to emit a warning cry resembling a combination of the high urgency land and air predator calls of unaffected suricates. This call normally results in other suricates who have not seen the stone leaving the vicinity as quickly as possible and taking shelter. After approximately 3 seconds of crying, the subject will attempt to disembowel itself or cause death by exsanguination.

Effect 143-2 occurs in 20% of all cases and causes the suricates to emit recruitment calls consistent with foraging behavior. This normally leads to other suricates approaching the stone and falling under its influence. Suricates undergoing 143-2 will aggressively attack and pursue all other nearby suricates which have not undergone 143-3, and will fight to the death to defend 143-3 subjects. Should no other individuals be present, the effects of 143-2 are functionally identical to those of 143-1, although the warning cries are absent. 143-2 subjects who survive in this state for more than a few days gain significant amounts of muscle mass, show reduced mental activity, and shed their fur. RPC-143-2-19, an individual which was allowed to live for three months, also demonstrated markedly thicker skin and increased rates of blood coagulation, as well as considerable resistance to pain and a heightened metabolic rate.

Effect 143-3 occurs in the remaining 5%. Victims will slowly approach the stone, stopping frequently to scent-mark the territory around it. Upon making contact with the stone, they will spend between twenty minutes and six hours staring at it without moving, before making a small incision somewhere on their body and daubing a small quantity of their own blood on the stone. Once this is completed, they return to their normal social existence, with some exceptions. They will leave small 'offerings' of food at the base of the stone, and will, if given the opportunity, arrange reflective and/or brightly coloured objects around it. Effect 143-3 subjects demonstrate significantly increased levels of intelligence, and will coordinate with others in order to expose as many other suricates as possible to RPC-143. Effect 143-3 exposure behaviours include:

  • Placing RPC-143 outside the burrow entrances of unexposed suricate colonies.
  • Reorienting RPC-143 to be close to sources of food and water.
  • Cooperating to gain "Alpha" status in an unexposed pack, then intimidating the pack into exposure.
  • Luring predators such as snakes into unexposed burrows, then placing RPC-143 along the pack's escape route.
  • Abducting suricate pups from other groups and exposing them to RPC-143.

Addendum: Incident 143-29-A: At 11:19 on 22/08/2017, adult female suricate designate #F82, then in residence at the suricate testing pens on Biological Test Site 40, was exposed to RPC-143 and converted into an instance of RPC-143-3 as normal. Immediately after the end of its period of immobility, #F82, reclassed RPC-143-3-16, began to emit an anomalous sound not biologically compatible with the vocal structures of the common suricate. Every other instance of RPC-143-3 within a 10-km radius, 15 in total, simultaneously began the same vocalizations, and all instances not within direct line of sight immediately turned to face in the direction of RPC-143, even in circumstances where they would be physically incapable of knowing its location.

After 196 seconds of vocalization, during which none of the instances of RPC-143-3 were observed to breathe, onsite spatial distortion sensors detected that an area of space approximately 3m3, centered directly above RPC-143, had developed a negative overall energy density and was exhibiting gravitational fluctuations consistent with the formation of a micro-scale Schwarzschild wormhole.

In response, Site 40 animal handling staff immediately euthanized RPC-143-3. Upon the expiration of the instance, which was observed to continue breathing and moving feebly even after being hit four times with pellets of #00 buckshot, all other instances of RPC-143-3 immediately died, apparently of spontaneous cerebral haemorrhage, with violent retinal haemorrhage as an apparent side-effect. All Site staff reported feeling a feeling of intense cold and a low vibration emanating from RPC-143, neither of which were recorded by facility monitoring equipment. Following this, all spatial distortion readings returned to baseline levels. RPC-143 itself was apparently unaffected by direct exposure to an area of gravitationally folded spacetime.

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