The 784 Incident: Part 5: Breaking Point
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Part 4: Breach

"Plausible Deniability"

Post-Incident Interview, ██-██-████

Interviewer: And that was when Director Valentine breached containment on SCP-784.

Clef: That is correct.

Interviewer: And at that time, Lieutenant Takahashi of MTF-D9 had already arranged her strike team in preparation for arresting Director Valentine.

Clef: That is correct.

Interviewer: Can you explain for me, then, what happened next?

Clef: To put it mildly, sir, the shit simply hit the fan. What I hadn't anticipated at that point was that a decommissioning attempt on the other side of the base would go horribly wrong, causing destruction and death on a massive scale.

Interviewer: … so in short, while SCP-784 was making its escape attempt, that was about when…

Clef: About when Kondraki was throwing cat urine at SCP-083, yes.

Interviewer: …


"WHADDYA FUCKING MEAN NO BACKUP'S COMING!" Takahashi screamed. "I'VE GOT A FUCKING KETER SCP BREAKING CONTAINMENT, AT LEAST ONE POSSIBLE HOSTAGE, AND I'VE GOT FOUR GUYS WITH PEASHOOTERS TO TRY AND CONTAIN IT!"

"Lieutenant, I'm sorry, but all resources are currently being diverted to another incident. I can get you a fire support team in about half an hour…"

"There won't BE a need for a support team in half an hour because we'll all be DEAD in half an hour!" Takahashi snapped.

"Lieutenant! He's coming!" Chang shouted.

Takahashi swore and grabbed her nine mil, checking the chamber and magazine for ammunition. Thirteen rounds wasn't gonna be enough. Hell, a thousand rounds wasn't gonna be enough for this one. She took cover behind a soda machine, the lurid red and white advertisements on the box casting a strange counterpoint to the amber emergency lights. The rifle in her hands felt small and inadequate compared to that which was approaching.

The first sign of trouble was Valentine. The older woman was naked, her pale skin laced with stretch marks and pale blue veins, and she was slowly staggering out of the darkened corridor, pale body laced with blood. "Jesus, she's alive!" Vicks gasped.

"Stand fast, Vicks!" Takahashi ordered. "Director Valentine, come here!"

The older woman turned slowly, then slumped against the wall. Takahashi swore again, turned to Vicks and Chang. She pointed to her eyes with two fingers, then gestured down the corridor, and pumped her fist once. Vicks and Chang nodded grimly and headed down the corridor, sweeping the corners with their flashlights and pistols. They took up positions on either side of the hallway, then nodded to Takahashi.

"Thomas, you're with me." The lieutenant ran to Valentine's side. The woman's head was lolling on her shoulders, and her body was covered in a thin sheen of sweat, matting her hair to her skull. "Hey, bitch, are you alive?" Takahashi whispered.

Valentine's eyes opened: the sclera of her eyes were red from ruptured blood vessels, and her speech was slurred. "Lieu… loo…" The older woman coughed up blood. "Got away… hit the sprayers but he got out of containment… he could be anywhere by now. Damn… stupid of me. I didn't… thought I had him in check… Hit the ground hard, feel bad…" She slumped forward. Her entire back was covered in blood, and there seemed to be a large welt forming on the back of her head.

"Fuck, fuck fuck fuck fuck… Thomas, help me get her on the ground. We gotta immobilize her head."

"Think it's a concussion?"

"Concussion, contusions, aneurysm, whatever it is, this bitch hit her head hard." The two of them laid Valentine down on her back. Takahashi tabbed her communicator. "This is Delta-Nine to Site Control, we have a man down, request immediate medical assistance."

"Delta Nine, be advised that we are currently in the middle of…"

"I know you're having a Kondraki Moment, you asshole, but you can spare a couple of stretcher bearers to take one woman to the infirmary! Takahashi out!"

"Lieutenant!" A taller man was running towards them, huffing and puffing under the weight of several large nylon bags. He was closely followed by two paramedics, carrying a backboard, neck-brace and trauma kit.

"Roybal! Thank God you're here! What's the situation?"

"The situation is fucked. Casualties are in double digits already. Someone let the goddamn Sharpie Ball out of its container and it rolled over an entire Task Force." He tossed one of the bags to the ground. "We're not gonna be getting any backup."

"Well, if it's just us, then we'll be just fine." Takahashi said. She unzipped the bag and pulled out a large weapon, that looked rather like a science fiction raygun. "We're Feynman's Folly. We've trained for this scenario. This is what we do."

"I see… and off the record, sir?"

"Off the record? We're up against a former member of Omega-7 in the body of a Keter-Class SCP." Takahashi snapped an energy pack into her HERF gun. "We're fucked."

"Thought so," Roybal admitted.


They'd been moving through the corridors of the darkened hallway for fifteen minutes when Chang raised his hand, signalling the others to stop.

Takahashi saw it a moment later: a hulking mass coiled up in the corner like a pile of steel spaghetti, slowly throbbing rhythmically, as if to a slow, gentle breathing. A claw reached out and touched the wall, tearing through the plaster drywall and etching away at the steel underneath. Already, a portion of the steel seemed to throb and dissolve, melting into another tentacle that incorporated itself into the mass.

She unslung her weapon slowly, gestured to the other three members of her strike team. Firing line. Standard formation. Fire on my mark. The four soldiers slowly raised their weapons towards the creature.

"NOW!"

There was a low shriek, like a camera flash charging, except much, much louder, and then a loud crack of thunder as a blast of High Frequency Electromagnetic Radiation pulsed through the air, ionizing the atmosphere in its wake. Four pulses of crackling blue-white energy lanced into the mass of nanobots, tearing huge chunks out of the coiled steel tentacles.

The monster let out a roar, and then it lunged, terrifyingly fast, crossing the thirty yards between it and the task force in a single leap. Chang went down first, crushed under the mass of steel, his broken body leaving a red smear as the thing rushed on, shrugging off HERF blast after HERF blast, the powerful energy pulses dealing damage, but not enough, not enough to stop the monster from forming a buzzing chainsaw out of one of its tentacles and using it to shear Vicks' hands off at the wrist before tearing into his guts, not fast enough to stop it from grabbing Roybal's ankle and pounding him against the ceiling until he stopped screaming and flailing and just made wet noises like a bag of cement, not enough to stop it from grabbing Takahashi around the throat and lifting her up into the air, choking the life out of the young woman.

She felt her vision start to blur as her world began to go dark. Already, she could see the thing's nanomachines tearing the squad's weaponry apart, incorporating them into its own mass. As her vision swam and her consciousness left her, the last thing she heard was a voice, sneering and sinister, in her ear…

I always told you you lacked subtlety and grace.

Takahashi had enough presence of mind to realize what that meant… and to spend her last life's breath screaming in horror and dismay.

The last sound she'd make as a living creature.


Ten minutes later, the woman that Thomas and the two paramedics had brought to the infirmary opened her eyes. She pulled the IVs out of her arm, cutting off the flow of painkillers (such a pain to bypass the morphine) and got to her feet.

One of the medics tried to stop her, but she ignored him, walking through the halls of the infirmary to the third floor, to the place where she was trying to go. She placed her hand over the doorknob, and a thin tendril of nanomachines emerged from the back of her head, from the carefully hidden plate that she had disguised as a portion of skull, despite the fact that the entire back of the skull had been scooped out and the contents removed. The nanomachines broke through the lock in moments, and the one who wore Valentine's body entered the Intensive Care Quarantine unit.

It made its way to the back of the facility, to a small bed in the back, where a young woman lay slumbering. It placed its hands over her face, and the tendrils extended, penetrated the back of the neck, probed delicately around the connections. Yes, just as it suspected. The injuries could easily be healed.

The medic was shouting now, grabbing a phone and calling for help: the cries annoyed it, so it lathed a portion of steel piping, part of the bedframe, into a crude spear and threw it into the medic's throat. One by one, its nanomachines relaced the broken neurons back into place, carefully repaired the damage to its loved one's brain.

A few minutes later, Agent Beatrix Maddox opened her eyes for the first time in months. "What… who…"

"It's me, B," Valentine's mouth whispered. "I came for you."

There was a gentle cough, as Clef cleared his throat. The Assistant Director stepped over the fallen body of the paramedic and faced the couple - one in an old body newly repaired, the other in a new body not its own - and smiled.

"Agent Andrews," he said. "How nice of you to drop by."

Part 6: Escape

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