Crisis Part One

What is the SCP Foundation?

The Overseer Council is an institution predating the Foundation. From our earliest days, it has operated under a shroud of secrecy. Membership is a closely guarded secret, afforded to those in the room where it happens and their guardians, the Red Right Hand.

Seen variably as chess-masters from on high commanding the anomalous by the sheer force of their will; Old and doddering bureaucrats from the right families who sit in their immortal chamber; Whispering the secrets of the universe to each other; Perhaps the best people chased from the pages of history and into a smoke-filled room where the fate of every person, past and future, can be decided again?

The Overseer Council does not need to change.

The scientists who orchestrate this refined madness. Fighting and give their lives for a veil they have never seen. Creators of the greatest innovations in scientific history, such as the Scranton Reality Anchor, Enigmagraphs, or the discovery of Humes. Without their innovation, the Foundation would have already been relegated to the dustbin of history.

Agents who delve into the places eyes cannot follow, a meat grinder that can leave the slaughtered still living. Sacrificing not only their lives but their souls and their dignity in order to take the fight to hell itself, they have earned this right more than anybody, paid in blood.

Is the Foundation an idea, that we must protect the innocents from the tainted knowledge of immortality pills and extraterrestrial life?

The Foundation is not omnipotent or immortal. It is not a magical gathering of the best and brightest to keep a mission going in perpetuity. It is an institution and, like all others, its success is not guaranteed.

The Foundation must change. Or it will be changed.

Outskirts of Charleston, WV, USA
8:42 PM Eastern Time

Waylon Severus surveyed the barren, blasted and beautiful landscape splayed out before him. West Virginia had long ago whored itself out to the mining and chemical companies which had long since abandoned it to its fate. The rocky mountain cliffs lining the roads were held back by chicken-wire chains, occasionally releasing their contents as tumbling rockslides.

The trees and natural beauty which topped the mountains left standing were a marvel to behold, pockets and oasis of what had once been. Where the inhabited dwellings still stood, their interiors were dark and the exterior crumbling. Severus could see all of this from his roadside vantage point. The lights of the city of Charleston twinkled in the night, slightly removed from the nearby Chuck Yeager international airport.

He was not here to admire or admonish the scenery, however. It was business that had called him to this godforsaken state. Perched perfectly poised for pouncing, Severus surveyed every automobile passing his hidden location. Vans, trucks and cars held no interest to him. It was one particular Pontiac Aztek which held the key to his success. Not that many automobiles had passed on this hot summer night. Few were traveling this dreary place, inside or out.

Mobile Task Force Alpha-1, Red Right Hand, was a more motley crew than most people expected. Although they were his comrades, and now, subordinates, tonight Severus sat alone and unknown to the world. The orders from the Overseers had been succinct, and blunt. Everett Mann was an enemy to the Foundation. A question of treason had only one correct answer, swift and punishing execution. Red Right Hand were the ones who made it happen.

After all, the hands weren’t read for making art. Peace was only made through blood.

Severus had never met Mann, only heard of his work in passing. A highly proficient roboticist and expert in all things biomechanical, the inventions which sprung from his mind and laboratory were noted for both their incredible ingenuity and unnervingly unnatural nature. There had been no explanation as to why the great man had erred to stray from a righteous path. Severus didn’t particularly care one way or the other. This had become why he was put on this planet and in this moment, it was all that he thought of.

At that moment, another automobile turned the corner onto this twisting mountain roadway. It chugged with a rhythmic fashion, plugging and huffing its way up the steep grade which it found itself traveling upon. Fixing his binoculars on the cabin, Severus could see a robust-looking gentleman sitting behind the wheel. The man was drumming his fingers on the wheel, looking over his shoulder as the pavement in front of him twisted and turned.

Dr. Everett Mann was a robust gentleman, bespectacled and bearing a broad mustache which tweaked past the ends of his lips. Hair which once suggested tight trimming had grown undone and tousled in time. An unbuttoned white shirt was haphazardly holding itself onto his body, which reflected an oily surface under the clear moonlight.

Grabbing a fistful of fencing, Severus swung downwards towards a black tarp strung along the treeline, with leaves and debris shrouding its purpose. Straddling his motorized bipedal vehicle, he silently spun forwards just as the Mann’s mobile made its way past him. For a few moments, there was no reaction. Then, his target began to accelerate.

For a few minutes they stayed like this, one man trying to pull away and the other maintaining equivalent velocity. As they came to a turn, Severus flung himself forward, leaving his transportation behind as he recklessly slammed himself onto the vehicle’s roof. Just as he did so, everything flew into disorder. Spiraling out of control, the Aztek upon which he was precariously perched.

For a few moments, everything twisted and shook. Careening off a cliffside, the metallic exterior of the vehicle crushed itself and shattered into infinitesimal pieces. Severus himself did not wait to see what fate would befall him should he continue on this white-knuckle trip, leaping from the roof as soon as it left the road and taking chances upon the rocky steepness of mountains.

It was a calamity which lasted only for a moment. Severus picked himself up from a jagged gulch his body had gravitated towards. Patting himself down, he found himself short of some skin and blood, but otherwise intact. The vehicle was a smoking wreck, headlight halfheartedly sputtering illumination casting dancing shadows which sprinted in and out of the rocky spot it had come to rest upon. Picking himself up, Severus strode towards the remains.

Crouching to look inside the smoke-filled cabin, Severus frowned loudly. Instead of a man bloody and bruised, he was instead greeted by a grinning straw automaton with wires poking from its corduroy clothing. Clicking a flickering flashlight to life, he surveyed the rest of the interior. The passenger's door had been lost somewhere in the crash. A few cigarettes and shattered test tubes littered the rest of what had not been pulverized.

Probably opened before the crash… son of a bitch bailed on me. Thinks he’s so clever? Pulling a Rosenberg on me?

Severus stood, brushing himself up, and clicked his keys towards the sparkling stars somewhere far above him. A motorized whir sounded from the road above, and a single headlight flashed in signal to him.

We’ll see about that.

Chuck Yeager Airport Runway
Charleston, WV, USA
9:45 PM Eastern Time

A man freshly shaven and changed stood nervously on a far-reaching outdoor tarmac. Downhill, there was a small white building, perched atop a blasted former mountaintop moved to make room for its facilities. Mann knew that it was commemorated to a brave man, both in name and in the form of a bronze statue inside its walls. The art piece in question depicted a brave American test pilot, who had braved dangers never before seen by humans in the name of making progress. It was somebody with whom Everett Mann could certainly identify with. The spirit of human progress had been one of the foundational pillars of his work with the Foundation.

Who else could have imagined sweaters which consume your sweat? Or replacing the pancreas, a highly overrated organ, with a new-fashioned organic super-compound composed of crabs, cucumbers and a few secret ingredients? Not to mention his myriad of robot friends, each one more advanced than the last. None of those chumps at AIAD really created any intelligence anywhere close to the creations which sprung from the mind of Mann.

Hatbot, of course, had been a darling creature. Not only a fully intelligent creature capable of cultivating the talent of an entire facility to maximum efficiency, it also possessed a fashion sense much more powerful than anything that you could find within the halls of new-fangled kid who did not know who had blazed the trails they now walked upon.

Looking up at the building which bore Chuck’s name, Mann slowly nodded his head. There had probably been many a mad idea floating around inside that man’s skull, marvelous ones, which may never yet see the light of day. Restrained by higher ups who did not understand what was truly important. Pathetic. Mann checked his watch. The plane he had chartered really should have been here by now.

A light strung a silhouette in front of him. Accompanying it was the hum of an engine, a metallic whistling, then silence. Sighing, Mann slowly turned to face its source. Silhouetted by the bright light emanating from his headlight was Waylon Severus, wrecker of Azteks and Red Right Hand’s master.

“For what I did, they should have sent more than just a mad dog after me.”

Waylon stepped out of the light, giving Mann his first good look at the young man. Dark hair cropped close to his head, dimmed yellowing eyes with green iris highlighting the pupil. The uniform was lined with pockets and red flair, a single alpha insignia stitched upon his lapel. In his hand there was a knife, serrated and sharp as a scalpel, while his lips curled into a mad, awful grin. “Look, Everett. I don’t know why either. I don’t really care. Honestly, I think you’re a creep. I’ve heard about the ways you cut up the little ones. There’s not a lot I haven’t heard of these days.

Scoffing, Mann took a step back, keeping his eyes fiercely fixated on Severus’ advancing form which grew larger in every moment. “Don’t take a high horse with me. They sent you because water finds its own level. There’s not much of a difference between our butchery. I do mine in a laboratory, you do yours out in the open.”

“At least I’ve got the balls to let people see the work I do.”

“Sure, wet work. I bet that there’s a lot of press covering that. At least my work’s discovered something. I push mankind forward. What do you think doing the Overseers dirty work has accomplished?”

Twisting the knife in his hand, Severus grew a spring in his step. “If it weren’t for the cruelty of our masters, maybe this world wouldn’t have room for the work you do. I didn’t come here to debate the merits of our line of work, Mann. You’re stalling for time because you’re out of tricks.”

Mann laughed. “What service do you think you’re going to have accomplished here tonight? I’m going to be dead and nothing is ever going to be the same.”

“It never is. Killing is not a small task. Whenever I think about the lives I’ve ended on orders of the Overseers or otherwise, I think of who we leave behind. There aren’t enough amnestics in the world to fill in the gaps we make. Forgetting only makes the fissure deeper. When there’s nothing to think about there’s no time to heal. It hurts every day and they don’t know why. I don’t know why. Did they ever make you forget anything, Mann?”

Nodding, Mann continued backing towards the cliff’s edge. “Probably. I never checked when… I had the opportunity. It wasn’t ever something particularly important to me. Whatever I was deemed worthy of remembering was always enough for me.”

“I remember everything. All the faces I’ve left behind. The people I’ve killed. Places burned and things stolen. Whatever you’ve done has put someone like me in charge of ending the life you’ve lived. I hope it was one you find satisfactory, doctor.”

“Always. I never regretted a day in my life. I’ll save you a spot in hell, boy. You’re the common enemy of mankind”

With that Severus pounced forward, plunging a knife towards the older man’s throat. Mann threw himself backwards, nearly over the cliff’s edge, and produced from his pockets several scalpels, razor sharp and ready for surgical incision. Hurling them towards his pursuer, he turned to slide down the cliffside and out of sight. A strong hand caught the end of his jacket.

The life of Everett Mann had been a productive one indeed. It is impossible to describe the surgical techniques he pioneered or the myriad of other methods. Memories came flooding back. The Foundation had provided him with so much, and it was so much he had taken from it. Perhaps this time was right.


The bucket of bolts prototype which would one day be known as Hatbot looked up towards his master, face switching rapidly between a myriad of mangled-looking faces. Each one mouthed words unheard by its creator. Patting its jigsaw head of wires and gears, he plugged in a speech synthesizer, eager to hear what his newest son might bestow upon his brain.

“Now, H-Bot, I’m going to ask you a few questions. I’m going to expect them to be answered immediately. Can you give me that time, dear friend?”

“I…”

“Excellent. Now, let’s begin. How many times have you been activated since you gained the power of thought?”

“… Want…”

“Not an answer, but this is your first time so I’ll be gentle. Do you like games, with rules? Like, say, the game of life, with Asimov’s laws of robotics?”

“…. Kill Mann….”

“Hmm.” Mann wrote a few notes on his clipboard. “A little less coherent than I hoped for, but the kid has dreams. I think you’re going places. Let’s keep working.”


Dr. Everett Mann was elbow-deep in a patient, assisted by the crabs. It has been his idea, to replace the interns with crabs. Saves money and the crabs already know what they're doing.

"Yes, snippy, you're doing a great job of holding the forceps. Now, we're going to need to make a slight incision in the carotid artery… very careful… steady…."

Just then, blood sprayed from several clumsy incisions, soaking Mann’s precious and new scrubs down to the bone. Sighing and chuckling, he patted his crabular friends upon their carapaces.

“Ah well, better luck next time. Practice makes perfect after all, no?”


It was at that moment that Mann felt a digging pinch on his skull. As the blood spiraled out of his brain, Mann felt ashamed of how wasteful he was being. And a little embarrassed. After all, most of that wasn't even his blood…

Site-19
In the not too distant future.

The smallest coffee room in Site-19 where the lights could just never quite stay on. There wasn’t any particular reason and the electricians never found anything faulty. Other amenities in the locale didn’t suffer from any intermittent outages. Not the refrigerator, nor the sink, not even the radio sitting in the corner. The microwave was a little funky, but that wasn’t really uncommon, and one time the fridge leaked. But none of that is why the Foundation's day to day staffers avoided it like a cursed laboratory.

It was the preferred break room used by some of the facility’s more senior officials. Terrifying people of whom it was said they could end your life within moments of encountering you. Either that, or it was such a surreal experience that you would leave with a soul as empty-feeling as your lunchbag.

Dr. Bright was usually the one to arrive first in the day. Currently inhabited the body of a small child, some days didn’t possess the stamina to make it all the way to normal lunchtime. It was always odd seeing their amulet hanging off their body in such a large way.

Next along would almost invariably be Dr. Charles Gears, cold and calculating in his timing as much as his demeanor.

Dr. Clef and Kain Pathos Crow both arrived around the same time, each slowing to the other’s speed in their own way. Clef’s years separating him from the field had given him a lot of free time to let old wounds catch up with him. The wily twinkle never left his eye, but his paunch betrayed evidence of the desk he sat behind.

The esteemed Professor Crow carried himself in a custom wheelchair. Not possessing thumbs, due to many years of being a dog. Although a handy machine it was nothing compared to his long-retired egg walker and in brittle shape, without anyone skilled enough to replace its parts. Everett had been the last person to know how to fix it by hand. It was rumored that anytime somebody mentioned the egg walker out loud, Kane’s muzzle got a little more white.

On this day, a special day, Kain arrived first on the scene. Or, so he thought he would be. There was a diminutive human wearing a smart lab coat, sporting a shaved head and a heavy amulet. Sitting on the floor in front of the countertop was a plate with a hamburger on it.

Kain happily wheeled his way inside, and consumed it carefully. As he savored his meal, a dexterous stroke of his paw mashed a message from his marvelous machine. “You’re too kind, Bright. I appreciate this.”

“It’s no problem.” Bright smiled from above as his friend chowed down. “Did you think I would forget my old friend?”

“Hey, I’m not that old, right?” Kain paused from his birthday feasting. “Only like… 28 in dog years, if I age at the same rate, eh?”

“Not counting your wild human youth.”

“You are too much, you know that?” Kain pushed a button and a disembodied laugh erupted from the rear of his robotic chariot.

“I’ve had a lot of time to practice.” Bright chuckled.

“You certainly have, you certainly have.” Dr. Clef strolled in, tossing a box of milkbones to the floor as he went. I’m sure we’d have no finer expert around. Sometimes, depending on the body of the day, I bet you can remember every damn one on the rolls.”

“Maybe not that far, Birdface. I’ve still never seen yours. Do you just not like people buying you cake and alcohol?”

“I’m a grown-ass man and can buy myself both, without needing an arbitrary special reason to need it. Not like I can trust you to bring any party favors.”

Kain’s laugh track echoed through the room once again. It sounded eerily disconnected from reality, especially for those remembering how the man’s voice had sounded in life. Fortunately, neither of the other men did. Unfortunately, they were the only ones.

Bright grinned and put on his best innocent eyes. “I bring the special stress balls one time and you’re really never going to let it go?”

“Not on your life.” Kain swallowed his prize and arranged himself to be ferried towards a spot across from Bright’s seat.

Clef sat on the counter, and for a moment there was silence. The two men drank their respective adult beverages while Kain wagged his tail a bit.

Bright took a bite out of his food. “So, what do you think of this new kid, the big cheese of Red Right Hand?”

“Totally unqualified. I don’t know what the Overseers are thinking with this one, he’s just a brute force type. These new bloods are all the same, no respect for proper procedure.” Clef crossed his arms and leaned back in his seat. “We oughta teach them a lesson.”

Kain’s voice box emitted a monotonous laugh. “Really, and you’re such a good role model for proper procedure now? Been pushing papers a little too long, haven’t you?”

Bright looked between the two, a twinkle in his eye. “He’s just jealous that his bid got shot down.”

“Shut up.”

“He even asked me to put in a good work with my father…”

Clef threw a previously unseen burrito from his sleeve to the spot where Bright had been sitting moments before. Peeking up from beneath the table, Bright pointed and cackled. “Don’t worry, he never even called me back.”

“I’m serious about this kid, this guy, Severus or whatever. Common enemy of mankind, I’ll just put that out there. No warmth for his fellows.”

Bright tossed a small cloud of salt in Clef’s general direction. “Get off your high horse, bub. We’re all a little bit of mankind’s enemy sometimes. Depending on which segment yer looking at.”

(more stuff)


Men at work


Blast and Gillespie discussing budget


The following message was found displayed on the SCP-2600 monitors, it appears that the anomaly cessated its primary anomalous activity around this time. Further research is underway to explain this incident. Reclassification may be pending.

Zap! Pow! Splat!

I've got to get this high score.

Zap! Pow! Splat!

I've got to get it now.

Zap! Pow! Splat!

I've been here for a hundred days. It won't let me walk away.

Zap! Pow! Splat!

But how will I know when it ends?

Zap! Pow! Splat!

Stella's her name. The name of the game. The name of the game is to beat the whole frame, so that Stella won't take me away. But she already did. Why do I continue to play?

Zap! Pow! Splat!

There's too many of them. I can't get out of here.

3000 points. Instructions say that setting sail ships us free. I don't know what that means. It doesn't even make sense.

Zap! Pow! Splat!

I'm done now. Game over, I'm going to another castle.

Splat!

It had been some time since eyes had been laid upon the sculpture. Automation had long ago removed the human part of the equation. Its stillness longed for a gaze, of any variety, to bring purpose to its menial life. A crane above cranked to life, diesel fumes pumping as it lowered itself to lift art with lifeless automation.

Perhaps the will of creation had finally run its course. Are objects allowed to decide when their time has passed? More likely, though, it was the powerful fingers of the crane, punishing the brittle concrete with crushing pressure and force. What had once been imagined as gentle was now spider webbing and cracking and digging in until there was nothing more to dig into.

A lone researcher manning the security booth didn’t see until it was too late. Through the flickering vagaries of CCTV, he claimed ignorance and was believed, which was good, being the truth and nothing but.

Whoever wasn’t looking didn’t change what happened. Once the claws had the sculpture within their grasp, it was all over. It cannot be said whether the destruction was instantaneous, or a more meticulous process. The head was crushed while suspended in the air, before the rest fell to the ground and shattered like fine china. White powder and vestiges of painted stone littered the floor, overtaking the offal and blood skids which still marked the sculpture’s former territory.

As the dumbfounded men and women rushed to the chamber to view their folly, the sculpture had one last moment of comfort. At last, to be gazed upon… such a sweet sorrow.

… Commander Waylon Severus has been appointed as the new chief of Mobile Task Force Alpha-1, after the death of previous leader Suleiman Andros. Previously Director of MTF Operations from 2003-2009, Commander Severus had been serving as a field operative in Mobile Task Force Alpha-13 at the time of his appointment. He is the youngest commander of Red Right Hand since its formation in 1949. The Overseer Council has not issued an official statement regarding the promotion at this time.

— Excerpt from Foundation Administration Quarterly, Vol. 34, Issue 11.


Site-81, Safe-Level Containment Garage. SCP-2245 Containment Area

"You think he's gonna choke again?"

Dr. Adam Leeward paused, mid-lean, eyes moving from the pop he had just been vended to the shit-eating grin of Dr. Michael Edison. "Er… that's a fine way of putting it?

Chuckling to himself, Edison began walking towards the object of their testing while Leeward retrieved his beverage. Standing up, Leeward began walking towards the truck. Reviewing his notes, he flipped through pictures of a wintry truck stop and many vain attempts at getting inside of a cubical contraption.

Edison's voice jutted him from thought. "I hear the reds have their hands on super-trucks they reverse engineered from this bad boy."

"Why exactly are you so concerned with what the Overseer's personal task force leader does with his life?" Leeward asked, sipping his soda as he inspected the truck's exterior. It was a tractor trailer, with tiny tinted windows and a snow-white paint job. "Shouldn't we be hoping he doesn't fuck up and get us all killed, or worse, fired?"

"He's just their extra-special errand boy." Edison chuckled, climbing onto the siding. Leeward followed his lead, peering inside the cab. The omnipresent black cube described in documentation was present, but it seemed much cleaner than he'd been lead to believe.

Leeward began scribbling down a note, door half-open, as Edison's rambling continued. "He'll be doing their dirty work in a truck like this, designed to deliver toys to all the little boys and girls."

"Are you on something?" Lee tried his best at inflicting a sarcastic tone while climbing into the cab. "Not used to people being this glib during working hours."

"Sorry." Edison clamored up alongside him, slamming the door shut. "I'm just not a fan of the guy, is all. One of my little brothers lost a leg on an operation he planned."

"Jeez." Leeward grimaced, pressing virtual buttons on a screen connected to the cryptic cube. A delightfully colored menu popped into existence, giving a few driving options. All noted in existing documentation.

"Plus, he totally screwed the pooch the last time he was in a position of power, maybe they're hoping that was bad luck or something."

Punching a few buttons, Leeward smirked. "You think you're better suited for the job?"

"Maybe." Crossing his arms, Edison peeked over at Leeward's work. "Better thn him. He’s the common enemy of mankind.”

“Little harsh, no?”

“Maybe.” Edison shrugged, and looked to his work. “Hey, was this button here before?"

Before clarifying, Edison stretched his finger forward and poked at a virtual button not previously present. Instantly, the doors locked. The whole cabin dimmed, as well as the lights illuminating the entirely of the testing chamber. A small screen showed a scrolling loading bar, labeled "WonderLoading!"

Leeward stared at Edison intensely.

Edison, freezing in place for a few moments, poked impotently at the plastic. "Well, this could be worse…"

Almost as soon as he had spoken, the loading bar on-screen surged forward to 99%, before dimming again momentarily. Text with a play reading "out of range — returning to origin point" scrolled past, bouncing merrily as they went along. Then, the truck began to roll.

Leeward buckled his seatbelt. "If you say anything, or touch anything, until we're rescued, I'm going to tell them it was the skip that did it."

Edison nodded silently, buckling his belt in turn.

Closing their eyes, a cacophony of smashing concrete and bending metal permeated their ears as they plowed through several layers of garage. Every alarm in the tri-mile radius was blaring by the time they burst through to the outside world. They would be several miles outside of Site-81 before somebody stopped them.

The hacking sounds produced by SCP-049 were a collective shame to every researcher attached to the project. Each time a meow or a moan meandered its way from the masks’ naval passages it sent a shockwave through anybody who could hear it.

A perfect storm of confluence in contamination in a laboratory. Test tube mislabeling begat incorrect assumptions begat mutual trust that any questions would be fixed further along in the system. Protocols producing complacency. Zombie plague mixed with Kitten Flu.

Nothing inside the good doctor’s repertoire seemed to arrest the heady affliction which now permeated his skull. The mask puffed outward, and tufts of fur could be seek intermittently from inside the beak. It was always mottled and grey.

“Never clean.” Those were the last words the healer of that one great and terrible singular cure uttered. A few weeks after the infection set in, it settled into a corner and stopped moving.

More scenes of containment breaches and some interactions at everyday level with Foundation people complaining about stuff or demonstrating archaic stuff

Site-77, Surface Level Gardens

"Hand me that trowel, would you Mr. Anderson?"

It was the hottest day in summer, but that was not going to stop Director Gillespie from minding her petunias. The garden, perched on a bluff overlooking the undisclosed mountain Site-77 was built into, had been designed to Gillespie's specifications. She was not going to let such a prize fall into disrepair no matter what the temperature may be.

Reaching into a burlap sack slung over a small fence was Assistant Director Theodore Anderson, her head of security, obtained a small trenching tool before handing it to his superior. "Here it is, Director. This is the right one, yes?"

The well-dressed military man was tall, with a clean-shaven head and speckled, dark skin. Today he wore sunglasses, as it was an overwhelmingly sunny day.

Director Gillespie grabbed a fistful of soil, and paused. "Theo, I think the sun might just have gotten to me. I've broken out in a sweat… help me up, would you dear?"

"Certainly." Dropping to a knee, Anderson allowed the elderly Director to drape her arms over his as he stood again, bringing her up with him. "Perhaps you shouldn't be kneeling for so long, you might not have someone to help you get up next time."

"The reaper is coming for me eventually, Theo. The garden is a good a place as any to meet my fate."

Squinting, Anderson peered down at her from over his plastic frames. "So morbid. Here I am thinking you're all about seeing the about the future."

Gillespie shrugged, rubbing her arm with a wrinkled hand. "It's the things you begin to think of at my age. I'm happy with what I've done here. I'm not anywhere close to done, certainly, but when you're somewhere around ninety it gets to the point where you need to put your affairs in order."

"Like your grandson?" Anderson smiled.

Nodding, Director Gillespie stared down at the mountain expanse spreading itself below the bluff's side. "Like my grandson. Ralphie is a good boy… but he needs more time. You've met him and… I know you don't get along, but you can't deny his spark."

Strolling over to the cliffside, Anderson leaned over the side to watch the clouds drift past. From up here, they always seemed to be gathering on the horizon. "You think he's going to be a better fit than me?"

"Eventually, but for now… you're able to provide that stability. Hold down the fort until Ralph is ready."

Kneeling to be face-to-face with his Director, Anderson pointed a finger down below towards the bowels of the site. "I'm not sure that day is going to come, Gillie. I mean he's smart, sure, but the boy has no attention to detail. Needs to learn how to be more patient, and talk to people."

Smiling momentarily, Gillespie winced, rubbed her stomach, and strode to the cliffside beside her commander. "That is why it will be a temporary arrangement. I'm sure… Ralph can take over when he's ready. The legitimacy… is there."

"I don't know… you're giving him a lot of credit." Anderson stood, pushing up his shades to face the clouds again.

A soft sigh Anderson heard from below him would be haunting dreams for the rest of his life. Turning to speak to his Director again, there was only empty space and a breeze floating through the air. Then came the crack that would come back again in nightmares.

After they found her broken body at the bottom, it was found her heart had stopped on the way down. It was a small comfort to those she left behind.

Site-64 Staff Cafeteria

Dr. Joshua King stared with trepidation at the Golden Delicious sitting on the tray in front of him. King had vigorously opposed having a fruit luncheon today, and the tarnished red abomination sitting before him was proof of that. But now, he had no choice. Here it was. Time to eat.

Slowly, ever so slowly, the fiery mark of fruity death approached his mouth. But when he bit into the flesh he was greeted by sweetness, instead of bitter seeds of defeat. Could it be that at last, the apples wished for peace? Setting it down on the table, King felt victorious.

He was free! Nearly leaping to his feet to dance for joy, King swept another piece of fruit from the table to his mouth. In his excitement, he swallowed it whole. The grapeshot rolled into King's smooth-bore throat and remained there. Heimlich could not save him this time.

Falling backwards out of his chair, the choked knot in his throat was quickly supplanted by the ample blow to the back of his head. Reeling in thought, the tunnel of light that was his vision faded ever more, until the King was dead.

Outpost Sgarbossa
Parts Unknown

Mobile Task Force Alpha-1's commander was a tall, blockbuster of a man. The room they were in was hardly larger than a handicapped bathroom stall, and Severus’ imposing demeanor seemed to completely sucked in all the oxygen in the room. There were four of them seated around this table. Mobile Task Force leaders, all wearing worried faces.

Severus planted his hands on a circular mahogany table. His eyes darted across lines of men in smart uniforms. A few shunned his stare, but most met his eyes with their own steel. "What are we doing here, boys?"

"Boys?" Wendy Finkmon, commander of Mobile Task Force Xx-XX, looked at Severus with a single raised eyebrow. "I think we've all got a reason to be concerned here, sir."

Severus’ face cracked into a smile. "Of course, the senior women among are ranks are also recognized. But I'm being serious here. What are we doing about all of this?"

Sitting with his boots on the table, Hammer Down commander Jason Dodridge launched a toothpick onto the table with a simple flick. "The Overseers have gotten soft. I don't know when it happened, but it happened. We've got breaches inside and out but they don't do shit. I remember when it used to be possible to get something approved. You know, the good old days, back when people actually cared about what makes things actually work. They're fucking afraid of upsetting the apple cart while the old order rots away."

Nodding, Severus crossed his arms and leaned forward, hulking over the others, his bulk looming and swaying above the rest of his assembled leaders’ heads. "We've got to do something about this. The Foundation's what we serve, not the Overseers."

Wendy stared at him, resting her hands on the table gently. "I hope you realize that you're talking treason of the highest order, my friend."

"Of course." Severus slowly reached down below the table, retrieving a small silver slip of paper. "But I also realize we've been hit more in the last year than any of the last ten. Those crows out there are testing us. Soon it's gonna be obvious that we can't survive by our wits alone."

Dodridge's legs left the table, and he too leaned in to speak with his contemporaries. "Wendy, I know it's some crazy shit to think about. But we're in a ditch and everybody's noticed. If the Overseers ain't gonna drive us out of it, we'll have to go on our own."

Silently sitting between Severus and Wendy, nearly having to lean against her while he sat directly across from Dodridge, Calvin Ekblad has been keeping his mouth shut. As the least senior of the notables sitting at the table he'd only been on the job for a few years. Sucking in some air Ekblad leaned back in his chair. "We could all be killed for this conversation… or worse, lose our memories. You've sucked us in, sir. Now what do you want?"

Turning to face Ekblad, Severus slid a blue piece of paper towards the Commander of Home Improvement. "This is a blueprint of Site-01. It inoculates you to a lot of the countermeasures."

The color began draining out of Ekblad's face as he held the paper close to it. "Has… have you shown this to anybody?"

"Only you, so far. Pass it around." Severus listened as sound was sucked out of the room. Other than the crinkling of paper as it changed hands, nobody spoke. Finally, it returned to the man that had handed it out, who placed it in a green folder. "Now, some people are going to fight us on this…"

Site-77 Director's Office

Theodore Anderson had done very little to adjust the amenities of his office after taking on the job. Director Gillespie's furniture remained, as well as other interior fitting and lights. The only additions Anderson had made was a video monitor for the long-distance calls that now went back-and-forth on a seemingly daily basis. There were also several empty boxes of tissues in the new wastebasket.

Site-64 Director Edgar Holman's face looked large and distorted, peering into the webcam like he didn't know it was on.

"You're here, Edgar. You can take a step back now." Anderson stared into his own camera, trying his best to strike a relaxed pose. "I can see you now."

"Excellent. I trust you're adjusting well." Holman's face receded from the screen, revealing the background of his dim office. "Well enough. King's funeral is next week, nothing else major has gone wrong as of yet."

Anderson nodded once. "Good to hear there's another place on Earth that isn't on fire."

The camera feeding Anderson video vibrated slightly as Holman opened his desk drawer. Producing a piece of paper, Holman slipped on his glasses and began reading. "Over the past fifteen months, before any of this even happened, appointments of new high-level officials slowed to a crawl. It's causing a lot of backup. I don't even know if they have an interim Director over at 81."

"I'm sure this isn't helped by the incumbents starting to drop like flies, then?" Anderson looked at his interim office. "It feels like some of the other new administrators were added to their posts by default. Won't last long."

"Certainly not. But you have to wonder how the Overseers find some of these people."

Anderson sat back in his seat, sifting through a dossier of papers until he found one corresponding to Holman's. "Could be slim pickings up at their end, maybe. But, getting to the point, I got that proposal for data-sharing you submitted to our people and I'm all for it. The boys in the lab have already started getting everything ready."

Holman's eyes widened slightly. "That's good to hear, thank you Theodore. I'm going to be hopefully preparing things on my end as well. I'm honored to be the first to share in seventy-seven's internal archives."

Rubbing his head, Anderson's lips almost peaked into a small smile. "I'll be honest, you were our second choice. But with Karlyle's demise, there's not really a coherent authority on that end for us to work with."

Shrugging, Holman checked his watch. "I'll take what I can get. I've got to let you go now, but I'm sure our people will be talking."

Nodding stoically, Anderson waved him off. "Hopefully I'll see you soon. Keep your wits about you, alright?"

"You bet." Holman shut off his connection, and Anderson was left alone.


SCP Foundation Outpost - Mariposa

“This is Dr. Boyd, recording test number eleven, for the O series of SCP-1799 testing."
Inside the cramped observation chamber, Dr. Boyd wiped his nose and peered through the opaque glass. Down below was a small and colorful man, staring at a large, orange-clad gentleman. They each eyed the other, one with a look of resigned defeat, the other wearing a mask of cliche' disdain.

"D-0917, please approach SCP-1799."

The orange-clad man glanced up, shrugged, and began lumbering in the desired direction. Without clowning around, SCP-1799 said something. It was inaudible from behind the glass, but it was quite the opposite for the D-Class. He was chuckling.

Mr. Laugh sighed. Then, he signed. 'I don't feel comfortable doing this.'

Dr. Boyd pressed his finger on the blinking red intercom button. "SCP-1799, continue with testing procedures, or you will be returned to special confinement."

The clown let out an especially designed resigned sigh, and said something else. Who knows what it was, probably something rude, or unhappy, but it didn't matter. The result was always the same. D-0917 began laughing, at first in the form of a small chuckle, then rolling into full out laughter, guffawing, pounding on the table, rolling on the floor hysterics.

Dr. Boyd noted the time it took in a logbook, then took to the microphone again. "Alright, SCP-1799. You may return to your normal containment chamber for today."

Hey there, pals!
Dr. Wondertainment has noted that you guys are doing some spiffy new playgames with his limited edition Little Misters®, by Dr. Wondertainment! However, we're very, very, very, very sad to let you know that this is in violation of Dr. Wondertainment's Super Spiffy Extra-Legally Binding Wonder-Pact of Terms And Conditions®! As such, please find new ways to use your toys. Remember, playtime is a privilege, not a right!
Sincerely,
DR. WONDERTAINMENT

The first one to stop was Mr. Life and Mr. Death. One day, the key turned, but all the Foundation's Doctors and all of its men, couldn't put the ashes together again. They kept him in a box, and remarked that he was neutralized. Somewhere, a man in black-ops re-marked him as "Unsuitable" for work.
Then, they just began to stop. Sometimes, like Mr. Lost, this stopping was quite literal. Dead in his tracks, at the bottom of the ocean, he sat on a reef and stared into space. Took a little trip to the petty mall, as Director Gillespie would say. Never moved a muscle, never blinked. Somebody just flipped a switch inside of him.
The day after that, Mr. Laugh, Mr. Brass, and Mr. Soap just broke. The makeup pigmentation of the clown slowly dripped off onto the floor, followed shortly thereafter by his skin. Security footage analysis following the incident showed that Mr. Laugh exhibited an expression of relief as his distinctive look dripped off of him, and even brought himself to laugh at the end.
The bubbles in Mr. Soap's containment chamber blocked the view one day. When they finally subsided, he was gone.
Mr. Brass just collapsed into a pile of pulverized pieces, never to be re-assembled again.

Sorry, but any Weaponization of Dr. Wondertainment's products is a violation of good taste, not to mention our terms and conditions. We tried treating you like big boys, but now it’s time for us to take away those toys.


It was a long walk from the Coroner’s office to human resources. Bridge and everyone else had already gone back home long ago. Most nights, depending on how much of a night owl his host had been, Bright would stay here, stringing up a cot and stringing himself along with whiskey until the lights went out.

Dr. Bright closed the second compartment of the stiff box with a wistful sigh. This hadn’t been the first SCP he'd had to destroy, nor was it the last. But it had been the first time he'd dispatched an object he didn't feel total, giggling contempt for.

Reaching into his pocket, he removed and smoothed out an old piece of paper. Dr. Bright leaned against the cold morgue wall and began reading the now-retitled containment procedures, for the last time.

Item Designation: “The Preyed Hands”
Object Class: Euclid prior to being Decommissioned
Standard Containment Procedure:

Bright remembered the times before standardization, and chuckled to himself before moving on.

There were notes in here. Bright hadn’t seen them before. Kudos and slaps on the back from… so many people. Kondraki had a note here. Clef had left criticism for how long it had taken. Even Rights… no signature, but nobody else could draw a dick that innocent-looking.

Factory makeup had been something the Foundation had looked to terminate the source of for years.


The foggy streets of London were particularly troubled this time of year. Division and strife held a tension thicker and more obfuscating than any fog could hope to be. It was a dangerous time to walk the streets alone. It wasn’t just what your fellow man could do to you but what could make you bumped off in the night.

Scrabbling footsteps break concrete silence. A young woman pursued by loud silhouette.

“You have to listen to me. There isn't much time, and this is very important. I need you to promise me that you will remember what I say, and tell everyone. This is life and death for not just you, but for everyone you could ever possibly know and then some.”

She pays him no heed, zigging and zagging behind parked cars and alleys but never putting enough space, enough time, to feel away. The voice called out again.

“What are you doing? Don't run away from me, this is important! I really need to tell you this or else something awful is going to happen! You really-please stop! No, I can't follow you into there! Come back! I'm not going to do anything to you!”

A loose cobblestone stops her cold. Cracking pain falls upon the pavement. Something is broken, somewhere. Someone is standing here. It’s too thick to see the shoes. Is there anything there to see?

“You made me do that. I don't like hurting people. It is really the last thing I wanted to happen tonight, but you really forced my hand-come on now, don't be like that. You aren't going to die, these aren't even close to fatal injuries. Now, when the authorities get their shit together I need you to-”

She rolls, and groans. Darkness spreadys beneath her coat.

“Oh man, are you okay? Please be okay, I need you to know this. Can you stay awake for a little longer? Just a wee bit longer? I just need you to pass on a message for me. Can you do that?”
Eyes close. Hearing rings louder and louder…

“No-no-don't die. Please don't die. I need you. I need you to tell them to-No! You can't die! You had to tell them!”

There are sirens coming now. Six words, then it will be like he was never there.

"Watch out for the White Bird!"


Site-19 Coroner's Office

Alto Clef had been old. There was no doubt about that.

Jack Bright looked at the mangled body lying on the creaky metal gurney. The face had been obliterated, as expected. The fingers had been hacked off, mercifully after death. What caused the ancient heart to finally give out may never be known.

The corpse wore a fresh pair of lime green sneakers. Bright had been there when Clef got them. It was a shopping mall in Florida. They had been leaving a trail of stunned soccer moms and emasculated teenage punks when a Croc store had caught their attention.

After tormenting the clerks who under no circumstances deserved their presence, Clef had decided on the gaudiest set of footwear in the entire store. Leaving it a ruin of boxes and despair behind them, Bright had been gifted with the spectacle of Clef's crocs at least weekly since then.

Now he was dead. The cold grey flesh filling the emptiness in the aggressively green plastic seemed intrusive. This dead thing did not belong in Clef's shoes. But now, nothing really did belong.

Jack Bright nodded to the coroner, and stalked out of the room. They needed him in Indiana.

Aktus Estate, Eastern Indiana

Jean Carlyle Aktus was on his deathbed.

It was not the bed he had woken up in that morning, but nevertheless it was the one he would finish his last day in. It was a shallow one, with pink fuzz matted down by years of dust. Slightly damp, it provided an outstanding view of the bathroom ceiling.

One slip of the hand was all it had taken. Years of care and strict discipline had ended with one complacent flick of the wrist. The plain gray bottle, marked with the Foundation's logo in silver, had toppled over, spilling the blue medication keeping the monsters at bay down the drain.

For moments, Aktus' hands had snatched at the air where the pills almost were. If he hadn't waited to take them. If he hadn't had that dinner with his wife. Aktus had forgotten that his life was secondary to that bottle. A feeling of being eaten away wasted over his pulsating body. Veins bulged and bones broke from their sockets. The deep hurting consumed him, until finally it found no more sustenance. He was gone.


(Funeral scene?)



Site-19 Administrative Offices

Dr. Charles Ogden Gears was not expecting visitors. Usually, in the summer, the junior staff might go to their families, or drift to other projects. Lament had been doing his duty, as usual, but other than that few people had the tenacity to demand his attention.

"Come in."

A young man stepped in, not wearing a lab coat but jeans and a sweater. His face was pale as snow, with wispy blonde hair and pierced eyelids. Approaching the desk, he strode towards Gears like a lawyer towards a judge.

"You don't know me, but I know you."

Looking up, Gears expression remained as neutral as it had ever been. "I'm afraid that you are correct in that assessment… researcher. But if you familiarize yourself quickly we can-"

"No familiarity. Figures. You don't even remember his face, do you?"

Before he could respond, the son of Iceberg pulled out a pistol and fired two shots. They both hit home, and the stoic silently slumped in his chair. The son then followed his father into darkness.

The last delirious thought in Charles' brilliant mind before it slipped away forever was that Lament would be happy. The blood had finally given him some color.


SCPS VOYAGER, Pacific Ocean

Sophia Light had seen robots like this before. It wasn't the first time the Manna Charitable Foundation had gotten involved in an assassination attempt on her life. Standing across from the android on the bow of the ship, both combatants had arms drawn. In her case figuratively, and in its case literally.

Thunder clapped overhead, and they lunged towards one another.

At that very moment, out of the corner of her eye, Sophia nearly spotted something slouched behind a barrel. It brought itself to her attention with a sharp pain to her side. Collapsing to the deck, Sophia had only one thought in her head. Clever girl….

It would be her last.


Site-19 Administrative Offices

Nobody knew how he had managed to clean out an office so quickly, or where any of the stuff inside had gone. All they knew was that Agent Lament was no longer among them. Whether he died, or knew better than to stay riding a headless chicken is anyone's guess.

But in any case, he might as well be dead.


SCP-2935 Access Point, Central Indiana

"Get your goddamn hands—"

Warm blood cascaded across Jack Bright's face as he was struck with a gloved hand. Two more men grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him towards the hole they had cut in the concrete. Jack's face grew pale, and he twisted and struggled against his captors. He grabbed towards the amulet around his neck, but a long steel rod came down across his arm, breaking it. He screamed, in rage or horror, and another hand appeared to shove a gag into his mouth. His eyes seethed with hatred as he was dumped unceremoniously through the opening, into the darkness beyond.

He stood, pulled the gag from his mouth with his remaining good hand, and grabbed at the amulet. He pulled it, breaking the chain, and threw it at one of the men on the other side of the concrete wall. As it sailed through the air, the room around him grew very dark, and the sound of rushing cement filled the air. The Bright-sized gap in the concrete was suddenly plugged, and the amulet began to sink into the thick material. He let out a cry, and rushed forward, digging through the setting cement until he pulled the amulet out and stumbled backwards.

The sound of pouring cement continued for another hour. Afterwards, there was only silence, and darkness, and Jack Bright was very alone.


RAISA Headquarters

Maria Jones saw the red names rolling in. She knew it was time to go.

The Archimedes protocol was for emergency use only. Jones had never seen the purpose of the program. It did not protect Foundation interests, in the traditional sense. If an enemy force compromised the Foundation database, that database could be yanked out from underneath them. Along with everybody else.

The commands to initiate this protocol were simple, deliberately so. It could only come from the top of RAISA, because that person would always be a trusted individual. Jones knew this was a betrayal. But if the Directors were dead, the Overseers were dead, there was nobody left to protect her. She would have to stand up for herself.

Maria Jones pushed the button.

A crippling communications corruption cascaded over Foundation networks. It would not be rebuilt in a day. Telephone lines and secure communication servers fried themselves or crippled by malware attacks coming from inside the Foundation.

One by one, the Foundation's Sites began to find themselves very, very lonesome.


Site-01, Foundation Headquarters

The gagging wheeze of a shattered air conditioner sputtered to its end. It had already failed long ago.

O5-1 was staring intensely at nothing, waiting for something to speak. Finally, Nobody did.

Automatic Voting Sequence Initiating

A dead man's hand rose, and cracked lips parted. The only sound was a cool tone, burbling through a conference tomb. The same happened for the second man, and the third, until all around a table thirteen dead hands were stretched towards a heaven they would never reach.

It was at that moment that Commander Severus stepped into Site-01 for the first time. It was nothing like he expected. The walls were paramount to dust, almost an inch thick on every surface. The lights, where they worked, were weak and dim. Nobody else was there. No automatic security. No anomalous countermeasures. The front door hadn't even been locked.

Feeling more justified by the minute as the dust muffled footsteps began echoing throughout the hallowed halls, Severus wondered how such a sacred place had found itself in this state. Did the Overseers not care? Were they trying to hide something?

The answer to the second question was both no, and yes.

The Overseer Council was dead. For how long, nobody knew. By who's hand, it could not be said. Nobody had noticed when a brief distress message had been sent out into the ether years ago and, even if they cared to track it down, it was far too late to respond. But, in keeping with the Foundation's strive for stability above all else, the computers of Site-01 had kept the machine running in their absence.

Severus stepped into the Overseers’ ovoid command center and was greeted by a chamber of horrors. Thirteen desiccated corpses sitting around a table, hands raised as if to inquire the nature of their own demise.

Gagging, he staggered backwards out of the room, scrambling to escape the inevitable. Picking himself up, Severus saw his flailing had made an angel in the dust. The revealing wings showed a blackened trail etched in the ground by something long ago. Whatever had caused this tragedy was long gone. If it had ever been there to catch.

Trembling, feeling light inside his stomach and head, Severus did not know how he managed to find his way out.

What happens now?