The Heart of the Mountain





Registered Phenomena Code: 289

Object Class: Beta-Purple

Hazard Types:Additional Properties: h-ballistic.png Ballistic h-geological.png Geological h-explosive.png Explosive h-extreme-temperature.png Extreme Temperature h-ecological.png Ecological h-regenerative.png Regenerative


Artist's depiction of RPC-289. Photographic material classified.

Containment Protocols: Two laser motion sensors shall monitor the frequency of RPC-289's beats at all times and automatically alert the containment division of any increase beyond the safe level of 25 mHz.
Every three months authority personnel are to descend into the underground chamber of RPC-289 and perform a ritual similar to the suovetaurilia by disposing of an ox, a pig and a sheep into the pit of lava. In case the frequency of beats increases beyond the acceptable level immolation should be made in accordance with the following table1 until frequency starts decreasing:

Should RPC-289's beat rate surpass 1 Hz and normal containment procedures fail, the containment team must attempt neutralization through the use of FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile.
Material secreted by the object after an offering is made should be collected, molded into ingots and transferred to Site-007 for storage and testing.

Description: RPC-289 is a self-replicating mass of molten rock with a surface temperature of 1000°K resembling a human heart. It possesses several hollow "arteries" of volcanic stone reaching into the walls of its chamber, which keep it hanging in place above a lava pit. RPC-289 is located inside a vast lava cave3, which exists inside a dimensional anomaly and is connected with the underground Crypta Sub-Vesuvia of the monastery of the order of St. John the Hesychast through a 4km lava tube. Overlaying the dimensions of the tunnel with a map of the area reveals that the real location of RPC-289 would be 1400m below the caldera of the Mt. Vesuvius volcano.

RPC-289 normally beats once every 2 minutes producing a loud (ranging between 65 and 70 decibels) thudding noise and launching parts of itself through its arteries to the magma chamber of the volcano. The educed RPC-289 mass reacts violently with non-anomalous magma, and in larger quantities can cause an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. An eruption event will take place if RPC-289's heartbeat is accelerated above the safe level of 3 beats every 2 minutes and preventative action isn't taken. The frequency of RPC-289's beats increases when the object suffers physical damage, or on exceptionally rare occasions without any external stimuli.
When attacked, RPC-289 will create small earthquakes and disturbances in the lava lake beneath it (similar to sea waves) and proceed to eject streams of lava travelling at speeds up to 340km/h in the direction of the aggressor. Attacks violating the material integrity of the object4 will lead to parts of RPC-289's coming into contact with the lava below, which may cause the lava lake to erupt and threaten all personnel within the chamber.

RPC-289's heartbeat can be slowed down if living organisms of the Animalia kingdom fall into the lava pit below it. Certain species have been found to "satisfy" RPC-289 better than others, with humans yielding the best results. After consuming an animal in this way RPC-289, will begin leaking (or bleeding) a small quantity of molten non-anomalous substance identified as a high-carbon steel alloy.

Discovery: RPC-289 was discovered during operation Sub-Vesuvia when soldiers of MST Papa-3 pursued three creatures5 which had breached containment from the crypt and entered the lava tube leading to it. When Authority personnel reached the chamber they witnessed the hybrids destroy a sculpture by exhaling acidic fumes onto it. The attempted re-containment failed when the creatures were cornered between the team and the edge of the pit. The unstable ground, soaked with acid, caved in under their combined weight, sending all three into the lava lake. Members of the MST confirmed that RPC-289's heartbeat slowed down afterwards. These events coincided with the cessation of volcanic activity around Mt. Vesuvius which had begun five days prior.

Addendum 1: Archaeological finds.

Foreword: Traces of human presence in RPC-289's chamber dating back to as early as 800BC have been discovered. For nearly 1300 years the cave was a site of religious significance until it was ultimately abandoned in the early 4th century. RPC-289 itself was indirectly worshiped as a god through the cult of Vulcan but its existence must have been kept in secret, perhaps by the Vanguard of Hercules. The following is a list of the most important artifacts found inside RPC-289's chamber:

The Vesuvius tablet: 50x150cm stone tablet with Latin inscription detailing recorded outbursts of RPC-289 activity and the sacrifices made to avoid an eruption. Most of the data regarding containment procedures comes from its precise descriptions of the object's heart rate and some of it has later been confirmed through testing.

Hasta Donatica defect spearhead: Constructed of the secreted by RPC-289 steel, this spearhead was likely intended for use in an expensive, decorative spear. Through Radium dating, it has been determined that the material had been used in the making of weapons since as early as 250 BC. Due to the high quality of the alloy, such weapons were far superior to the works of contemporary blacksmiths.

Desecrated statue: 5m high sculpture of an unknown man in the classical style. Heavily damaged and completely defaced by creatures coming from the Sub-Vesuvia Crypt (See Discovery).

Bust of Emperor Aurelian: Preserved in almost perfect condition due to the relative isolation of RPC-289's chamber. Bears the following inscription on its pedestal:

Gloria æterna Imperator Caesar Lucius Domitius Aurelianus Augustus, Dominus et Deus6, Restitutor et Servator Orbis.7

When the scorching rage of Vulcan was about to shatter Italia, when Rome itself was to meet the fate of Pompeii and none of our sacrifices would appease him, Emperor Aurelian descended into the throat of Vesuvius armed solely with the great eternal flame of Sol Invictus8 and lacerated the heart of Vulcan. Victorious over men and gods, may he live forever! Praised be the Unconquered Sun!

This text is the only evidence of anomalous eruption event being prevented without the making of sacrifices. Authority efforts to identify the anomaly used to contain RPC-289 have yielded no results.

Two human skeletons: Belonging to Oberleutnant Arnulf Rottmanner and Doctor Gotthard Kreisel of the German Anomalous Research Division. Rottmanner's chest was hit by RPC-289's lava burst after he emptied the magazine of his Gewehr 43 rifle into the object. His actions likely led to the 1944 eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.
The body of Doctor Kreisel was found near the wall of the cave with a self-inflicted bullet wound in the skull.
For more information see Authority Report №1366.

Addendum 2: Threat estimation.

The power of eruptions caused by RPC-289 is theoretically limited by two factors: the object's heart rate and the quantity of magma in the magma chamber of Mt. Vesuvius. It should be physically impossible for RPC-289 to beat faster than 120 beats per minute without imploding. However, even 110 b/m are estimated to be enough to cause a mega-colossal volcanic eruption. Current simulations project that were such an event to transpire, it would lead to ██ million civilian casualties and cost 20 trillion dollars in economic damages.

A proposal was submitted by the Authority to regularly drain the magma chamber of Mt. Vesuvius by triggering small-scale eruptions soon after the initial recovery of the anomaly. Unfortunately, it was promptly rejected by the Italian government which cited the high economic cost for the prevention of a "purely hypothetical" super-volcanic eruption. Currently, the best preventative measure in the case of containment failure remains the quick neutralization of the object.

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