Ugly things in the darkness,
Worse things in store,
In the declining! Years!
OF THE LONG!
Red, the Metaspiders, and Star Signals
What are the connections there?
Let me be absolutely clear: "CASE COLOURLESS GREEN" states on no uncertain terms that Star Signals and the metaspiders are "shadows" of 3125 (see quote below). I am, incontrovertibly, reading too far into this. But even in light of that fact, I find myself wondering if the situation is not a little more complicated than that - if the Foundation may have missed some details, or if some were simply irrelevant in the grand scheme of the narrative and left for us to discover.
"Every competent antimemetics research project finds SCP-3125's fingerprints sooner or later. It manifests all over the world, in thousands of different forms. [...] Impossibly virulent cults, broken arithmetic, invisible spiders as tall as skyscrapers, people born with extra organs which nobody can see."
Let's start with the metaspiders.
We see metaspiders "up close" twice, and both are in explicit association with Red. "Immemorial" is, of course, the more obvious, and salient, example. The being Eli sees is a metaspider, and Red is not only present, but riding on its back. (And yes, it is Red, I have a few things to say about that too.) He even seems to have some command over the horde of smaller spiders that cover it. What's really interesting about his interaction with Marion, though, is what he says.
He calls out, "Marion Wheeler! I owe you for the lake."
The lake from "Unforgettable, That's What You Are", that is.
Wheeler shoots Marness in the head. Marness falls forward, limp, then rises back up, lifted by the three spider appendages as if he is a puppet being controlled by something gigantic and invisible.
Though we don't see him in the latter chapter, his comment makes it obvious that he was there. Given this information, it is obvious that there is some kind of connection between Red and these spider-kaiju; he is certainly adept at cooperating with them.
These are not the only times we see metaspiders, of course; Adam sees them, at distance, many times throughout Hell On Earth. Indeed, they even approach him and Red when they confront each-other at the end of "Blood/Brain". What follows is very interesting. After Red is dead and resolved to ash, the metaspiders just... leave. Surely, they must be aware of Adam's presence, but they make no attempt to attack or even approach him. In "Immemorial" and "Unforgettable", the metaspiders are in an unambiguously threatening role, but "Blood/Brain" suggests aggression - at least, aggression towards humans - is not in their normal behavior.
Given everything we know about 3125, it doesn't make sense that a part of it would be non-hostile. If the metaspiders are not typically threats towards humans, we can assume they are not actually "shadows" of 3215 - rather, their association with it is secondhand due to their association with Red.
The matter of Star Signals and the Ojai cults is both clearer-cut and far vaguer. The metaspiders bring with them a plausible deniability, but it seems obvious that the Ojai cults and the dread ideas that possessed them were manifestations of 3125.
Like Star Signals, the Ojai cults, and Fifthism in general, 3125 is heavily associated with the number five; it is likened to a five-spoked hand or five-poitned fractal, its SCP designation is five to the power of five, its page on the wiki proper even includes a faux keypad that requires the code "55555" to go further. The victims of "Ojai Syndrome" are violent and prone to speaking incoherently, and the later pages of Star Signals are peppered with nonsense words. "CASE HATE RED" repeatedly alludes to people heavily influenced or possessed by 3125 as speaking incomprehensibly or in a different language, and they, too, are violent.
Red is again in a prominent position, with his first "on-screen" appearance being in "Ojai", and his broadcast therein peppered with nonsense words, even directly alluding to a passage from Star Signals.
"—wasps and, yeah, it's going to be sharp inside. When you're made to move, that's tloi kwrlu dlth you'll bleed from—"
Sit in a dark room by yourself for at least an hour per day. Move around as much as you’re made to.
Given all of this information, how can there be doubt? There is because the author says there is.
The official timeline of the series says this of the year 1951, emphasis not mine: "An outbreak of SCP-1425, which is possibly an aspect of SCP-3125, occurs." Possibly. Whatever the Foundation thinks, there is, by qntm's account, some doubt. That is what interests me.
Red belongs to the Ojai cults, that much is clear. It's tempting to say that, as with the metaspiders, he is the bridge between two unrelated bundles of dread ideas, but there is also no reasonable doubt that Star Signals is a manifestation of 3125, a "shadow". This appears to imply the Ojai cults and their behavior as a whole must also be "shadows", but this is not necessarily the case. There is a real possibility that, back in 1951, they and the dread ideas that fueled them were separate, but sometime between then and 2005, that changed. That would explain why qntm was so coy about the connection.
Let's take a second look at 3125's file.
SCP-3125 is an extremely large (see full Θ'-dimensional fractal topology, attachment 13), highly aggressive anomalous metastasized meme complex originating externally to our reality and now partially intersecting it.
SCP-3125 is metastatic. Metastasis is the process by which cancer cells spread into other parts of the body, particularly those not adjacent to where they originally developed. Our dread star isn't limited to itself - it can spread, it can grow, infecting other ideas and idea-complexes with itself, making them extensions of its own pathogenic awfulness.
Whatever started the Ojai cults, it wasn't mundane and it wasn't healthy, but it wasn't necessarily one of 3125's unnumbered arms - not back then. It doesn't need to have been; a good meme can be vicious and virulent without it. But at some point, the great thing that had been assembling in dark corners overtook it, and they sort of... merged, into some deeper, darker dream.
Chapters in Chronological Order
Note that this is not the recommended reading order. Information taken from the official timeline.
- Initial documentation of SCP-2256, "Very Tall Things"
- Database entry is written from the perspective of 2010 or later
1995- "Fresh Hell"
2005, April 22 to May 11 - Events documented in SCP-1425, "Star Signals"
2008- "Wild Light"
- "We Need to Talk About Fifty-Five
- "Introductory Antimemetics"
- August - "Unforgettable, That's What You Are"
- Late October - "Where Have You Been All My Life"
- November 30
- "CASE COLOURLESS GREEN"
- "Your Last First Day" and "In the Trenches with the Dead"
Beginning of "Unthreaded" is somewhere around here; likely late 2015
2016, November or December
- "CASE HATE RED"
- Beginning of "Ará Orún"
- "Ará Orún"
- May - Adam reaches Site 41
- May 4 - Adam leaves a final note on the file for SCP-3125
2020- "Champions of Nothing"
In "Champions of Nothing", it is noted that almost a year of time is missing from human memory. We don't know exactly how long Hell On Earth lasted - a minimum of five months, likely more - but a full year, or nearly a full year, seems unlikely. Though it is known that countless people died, I have difficult believing the human race itself would've survived for that long. It is my suspicion that, for several months between "Your Last First Day" and "CASE HATE RED", 3125 was so thoroughly suffusing reality that, though it technically hadn't taken over yet, that time was also lost when it died.