SCP-XXXX: The War Machine
Alternative names: Imperial Serpent, The Emperor's Scourge, The Emperor's Pet, The War Machine, The Tyrant's Scourge
Item #: SCP-XXX
Object Class: Safe
Special Containment Procedures: Pursuant to further testing and analysis, SCP-XXXX is currently held in a reinforced bunker at Site ██. All current and future site personnel must be familiar with the device's instructions and pass weekly memorization checks. At the conclusion of testing, SCP-XXX will be dismantled and the parts placed in their original caskets for long-term storage.
Description: SCP-XXX is a mechanical device in the shape of a five-headed Western dragon, approximately 12m long. Each of its heads is equipped with a flamethrower, allowing it to "breathe fire." Its main systems are comprised of a steam engine powering hydraulics and gears to drive its major motor functions, including an elaborate series of valves which provides it with a crude artificial intelligence. Non-essential parts of its system incorporate various technologies, such as clockwork toe stabilizers and a simple generator-powered incandescent bulb in its chestplate; most or all of these seem to be redundant or aesthetic, and may have been included in SCP-XXX's design as proof-of-concept.
The ceramic discs in the creature's spine will increase in mass depending on temperature, up to 8kg when above 40 degrees Celsius and 5.5kg when below 25 degrees Celsius; this is theorized to serve to alter its center of mass in flight. In spite of Brother █████'s fanciful reports, this is the only anomalous behavior recorded in SCP-XXX or any part thereof to date. Further testing has been ordered by O5-X in the interest of discovering any other anomalous properties. SCP-XXX bears no free will of its own, and can be safely handled through a series of preset instructions (see SCP-XXX-2).
The parts of SCP-XXX were excavated from the cemetery of Site ██, an English monastery secured during the events of "Operation ███████vania," a regrettable campaign which cost the Foundation a catastrophic amount of manpower, time, equipment, and political capital. Once the site was deemed safe, a number of sealed caskets were uncovered during excavation, containing the component parts of SCP-XXX and a number of documents, classified SCP-XXX-1 and SCP-XXX-2. Brother █████ of the monastery offered a lengthy history of the artifacts. According to his records, SCP-XXX was traded amongst various religious orders in the area since 440 C.E, when its pieces had been obtained in what appears to be a very early form of indulgence; the documents state that regional tyrant Lord ██████ IV surrendered SCP-XXX willingly to a group of missionaries in return for anonymous acceptance into the monastery, following several decades of dictatorship under Lords ██████ I and III in the wake of Roman rule. No primary-source documents regarding its history have been found earlier than this, although a journal entry of questionable reliability claims SCP-XXX was acquired by Lord ██████ I, purchasing it from a corrupt official selling off "some of the Emperor's toys" during the empire's collapse.
SCP-XXX-1 is a set of extremely thorough schematics and step-by-step instructions for SCP-XXX's assembly, written in Latin. There are several sets of instructions, allowing for its assembly by one person over the course of ██ years, up to twenty people over the course of █ weeks. Schematics are also available for one to nine heads (SCP-XXX was only recovered with the parts for five). Assembly was deemed safe (under watch of MTF 53-Kappa-Phi "Fifty DKP Minus" equipped with a high field electromagnet) following a semi-complete engineering and artificial intelligence analysis, and uneventfully carried out by a team of researchers. The instructions are not a prescribed ritual; SCP-XXX also functioned as normal when assembled over the course of five hours with a well-orchestrated swarm of modified exploratory probes.
SCP-XXX-2 is a set of instructions, which list some commands which the dragon can be compelled to follow. The instructions are as follows, translated from Latin and annotated when necessary:
FOR MILITARY USE ONLY
Step 1: Be sure you are the only human in the immediate area if you are trying to calibrate the war lizard. Write your passphrase here: [There was nothing written here, but Brother █████ told us the phrase had been "Pliny Plumbum."]
Step 2: [LENGTHY CALIBRATION PROCEDURE EXPUNGED]
Step 3: The lizard is now in "Idle" mode and ready to take orders. You should now indicate which people you want designated as "allies" so they are not attacked. Please say a word to put the war lizard into a mode:
Idle: The war lizard will return to the state it was in post-calibration. In this state, it will not engage any targets, and will remain still unless told to follow someone or stop doing so.
Sweep: The war lizard will fly across an area, searching for valuable objects, then retrieve as many as possible to bring back to a designated point. To designate this point, say "Hoard" while you are standing in the desired area.
Intimidate: The war lizard will spew flame from the skies with the intent of starting fires and showing the glorious wrath of Rome to uncivilized savage tribes.
Kidnap: The war lizard will attempt to locate a political target for kidnap and ransom, ending the conflict with minimal bloodshed. Target priority list, made in the interest of prioritizing emotional impact, females chosen over males when possible: daughters/sons of monarchs, spouses of monarchs, national hero (non-martial), senator or representative (group has <5 members), siblings of monarchs, beloved community members, [full list available in Document XXX-39B]
Guard: The war lizard will guard an official stockpile, or, failing that, a deposit of wealth gathered in Sweep mode. Note: Gathering all Sweep wealth in one spot is normal for this procedure, as the lizard cannot properly guard multiple locations at once. In the event of the owner's death, the war lizard will revert to this state while waiting for a designated Ally or superior officer to arrive. [This is incorrect, possibly due to a series of modifications made to the device's frontal valves; should the calibrator die, SCP-XXX will assign its allegiance to whoever it has seen in the last three days who bears the greatest facial resemblance to Emperor Nero. Since it will respond to the passphrase regardless of who says it, this is a non-issue for containment.]