The skip was proving to be significantly more difficult to deal with than I had anticipated.
As in, it was actively attempting to carve my face into a nice confetti, and then sprinkle my con-face-tti in the air.
”Heh. ‘con-face-tti.’ I’d have to remember that one for next time,” I thought as I dove through the closing containment bay’s doors as they slammed shut on an errant tentacle, slicing it off with a squeal of pain from the skip inside.
I slowly got to my feet, and pulled out a notebook from my pocket. Pulling out a pen, I jotted down a quick note.
Anomaly is extremely hostile, do not approach. ‘Con-face-tti expected.’
It all started two months ago. Shit went down. And I mean that in more than the typical Foundation way, where the world is full of bloodthirsty monsters, unspeakable terror, and occasionally tastes like raspberry lemonade razorblades.
I didn’t know what was happening at the time. The guards herded me into the holding chamber like a calf being led to slaughter, and I felt roughly the same way. Whatever was happening, I was pretty sure that I’d get the short end of the stick.
Life’s like that when you’re basically human cannon fodder. Life as a D-class I guess.
For the first hour, I assumed that some breach had happened, and I was being sequestered, as per usual. When the fourth hour hit, I thought that it might be more serious than usual. When the sixth hour hit, and I heard screams coming from outside, I got a little worried. When the eighth hour hit, and the power went out, kicking on the backup generators, I was pretty sure that shit had hit the fan.
For a while, I wasn’t sure what to do. Some part of me thought that staying in the chamber until someone came to get us was the right call, because I was fairly sure I’d get shot if I left. Another part of me pointed out that if something this big had happened, they’d probably be coming around to shoot me anyway. “Wrapping up loose ends,” so to speak. Well good for them, hope that stain of plain old murder was worth the bureaucratic efficiency.
In the end, I decided that if I was gonna die, I might as well have a chance to run for it.
After squeezing myself through the vents, I dropped into the hallway, and immediately scanned the area, bracing myself for a hail of gunfire from a waiting guard team. Instead, what greeted me was…carnage.
Everything was bathed in the light of a slowly flashing red alarm. The remains of the guard team that had locked me up was all scattered through the hallway. Yet the typical sights and sounds of a Foundation site busy at work were nowhere to be found, the hallways devoid of all life save for the puddling remains of staff members everywhere. The smell of death was thick and cloying, wafting through my mind and seizing my brain in a chokehold that made me gag.
I picked a pistol off the ground from the severed hand that still clutched it in its rigor mortis fingers, and pocketed it, just in case I needed it. Seriously, what the fuck had happened to this place?
As I walked through the hallways, I only found more signs of violence, but no signs of any answers or life, anomalous or otherwise. No doctors, no usually ever-present guards, not even another D-class. In the middle of one hallway, I picked up an ID card from an important looking corpse, before I finally came upon what I had been looking for: the site director's office.
“Okay, so, note to self, don’t fuck with that tentacle-y skip in the future. Thanks, self.”
I slid to the ground, and buried my face in my hands. I wondered if all this time alone was making me crazy.
Back in the day, when there were other D-class around here, we picked up a real sense of gallows humor, except nothing around here was nearly as nice as the gallows. At least gallows had the decency to snap your neck and kill you quickly. If only some of those skips my fellow D-class had to deal with were so kind.
There I go again, I guess.
But there was a point to it. Shitting around about skips was a lot easier than having the stuff drip down your pants every time you realized where you were and what in the hell you were doing. At least that's what we told ourselves.
I picked myself up the ground and dusted myself off, focusing on the task at hand. I checked for any bits of tentacle that might be stuck to me and looking to wriggle underneath my skin or something. After I decided that I was clean enough, I made my way to the site garage, checking to make sure nothing else was going to pop out of its chamber and eat my face.
The site garage was filled with untouched vehicles, all except for one loaded Foundation issue truck, stuffed with supplies and other assorted gear. I pulled out a checklist from my bag and began to run down the list.
‘Feed SCP-3234.’ Check. I wrote “con-face-tti” next to the item on the list.
‘Week’s worth of supplies.’ Check. GI issue MREs for a week, plenty of water, and a first aid kit, just in case.
‘Camping supplies.’ Check. Tent, knives, and other tools, all packed up and loaded.
‘Weapons.’ Check. I had raided the armory for a pistol, a rifle, and plenty of ammo. Odds are it wouldn’t do squat against any skips that I had to come up against, but if there were human targets, that was another story. Plus, they made me feel better about myself.
I got in the truck and checked the map that I had gotten from the site director’s office, before turning on the ignition and leaving the garage.
Next stop: Site Omega.
I had passed by the site director’s office dozens of times while being escorted from test to test, and I figured that it was as good of a place as any for figuring out what had happened. Every time I had passed by here, there were two armed guards in front of the door.
“Well, there were two guards here at some point.” I mused, looking at the splatters of blood that were on either side of where the door should have been had it not been torn off its hinges and thrown away. Solid steel had buckled and been torn apart by something which I didn’t think that I would ever want to encounter.
That reminded me of the fact that I still had no idea what had wrecked this base, and it certainly wasn't anything that I had ever been in testing with, or I'd be like Mr. Puddle and Mr. Human-Shaped-Stain here. Suddenly, I felt very alone and very exposed in the middle of this open hallway, so I quickly ducked inside.
The site director’s body was slumped over his desk, looking surprisingly calm compared to most everything else that I had found in the site. A bottle of some kind of pills was open on the desk, along with a note written in a kind of stilted, blocky looking handwriting.
If anyone from the Foundation made it out and is reading this, understand that this could be Dr. Heinrich’s theorized “XK-class scenario” that he published a paper on last year. It’s so bad that the Phoenix Protocol is in effect. May God save our souls. Good luck to whoever you are.
I didn’t have the slightest clue what the hell he was talking about. Scratching my head, I noticed the still-on computer that was on his desk. I moved aside the director’s body, and sat down in front of the computer when I was promptly greeted by a faintly lit screen.
“PLACE FINGER ON PAD”
I noticed a small metallic plate in front of the computer on the desk. I put my finger on the plate and immediately drew it back, wincing at the small cut that it had somehow made.
A small bead of my blood lay on the plate, but the computer’s screen flickered and changed.
“DNA AND FINGERPRINT SAMPLE IDENTIFY: D-1573.”
”ACCESS GRANTED UNDER PHOENIX PROTOCOL”
The screen soon changed to a Foundation Logo background covered in rows and rows of folders. Suddenly, the screen was covered in pop-ups all sharing a common theme.
ALERT FROM SITE BRAVO: SIMULTANEOUS RELEASE OF MULTIPLE KETER CLASS SCP OBJECTS, IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE REQUESTED.
ALERT FROM SITE TANGO: EXTREME LOSS OF LIFE DUE TO RELEASE OF SEVERAL HOSTILE ANOMALIES, IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE REQUESTED.
ALERT FROM SITE EPSILON: CANNOT CONTAIN SUDDEN RELEASE OF HOSTILE ENTITIES, IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE REQUESTED.
AUTOMATED ALERT FROM OVERWATCH COMMAND: PHOENIX PROTOCOL IN EFFECT.
The alerts went on and on, until I clicked through so many that I lost count. I was dumbfounded. How many sites were there? What the hell had happened? Who else was still out there?
My eyes were drawn to one last alert flashing in the bottom right of the screen. I clicked on it, and my heart began to pound as I read the document.
PHOENIX PROTOCOL ENACTED
Note: This is an automated action. The Phoenix Protocol is in effect for the following automatic reasons:
At least 5 hours has passed without any response to Phoenix Alarm system from any site, therefore it is assumed that contact has been lost with >90% of Foundation sites as of the time of this alert.
In addition, contact has been lost with Overwatch Command.
PHOENIX PROTOCOL EXPLANATION:
In the event of systemic collapse in the operational strength of the Foundation to the point where it is assumed that no major site has the ability to effectively contain any SCP objects, along with the crippling of the Overwatch Command, the Phoenix Protocol ensures the survival of the Foundation’s key data assets and central purpose.
In the event of the Phoenix Protocol going into effect, all surviving members of the Foundation of any security clearance or status are immediately upgraded to temporary level 5 intelligence clearance regarding SCP anomalies and tasked with coordinating the consolidation of Foundation intelligence and survivors into a force capable of securing critical anomalies that must be contained immediately.
If you are responding to a Phoenix Protocol that is currently in effect, you must follow the following steps in order to ensure the continuation of the Foundation and potentially the human race:
The drive to Site Omega had been long. Even the closest Foundation site to my original one had been hours away. Thankfully, it didn’t seem like anyone in the civilian world had noticed anything particularly out of the ordinary yet, but I couldn’t vouch for what it’d be like in the upcoming weeks.
I set up my camp a 30 minute walk away from Site Omega, just in case I’d have to be here for a while. I wasn’t entirely sure what I’d find in there, and it was better to have a place to fall back to, just in case shit hit the fan again.
I decided that I had enough time to do a quick scoping out of Site Omega before night fell. I picked up my rifle (little more than a security blanket in this situation) and grabbed my bag of medical supplies, tools, and notebooks containing all the info that I could get my hands on about Site Omega and its anomalies. If I was going to do this whole “saving the world” thing, I’d have to make sure I didn’t get my dumb ass killed before I could do it.
I walked to the site carefully, rifle ready. Soon, I came upon the site, hidden in the woods and disguised as a military research lab. The whole site was surrounded by trees, most of it being underground and hidden away. The actual entrance to the site was a little bit hidden away, forcing me to drop my rifle and check the map for where exactly it was.
“Freeze. Hands up.”
I froze in place, and slowly raised my hands into the air at the bark of the iron voice behind me.
“Turn around. Slowly, motherfucker.”
I turned around, making sure to do it extra slowly just in case.
I almost laughed when I saw what it was. It was maybe 12 D-class, just like me, though still wearing the jumpsuits that I myself had discarded a week ago. They were melting out of the trees, behind cover, from the bushes, everywhere. Only one of them had a gun, but she seemed to be the lady with the voice who had been yelling at me.
Life seems to have a weird sense of irony, don’t it? All these regular Foundation staff dead, but 13 D-class left to pick up the remains.
“Who the hell are you?” The voice barked again, a pistol trained squarely at my head.
“Easy, easy. I’m a friend.” I said, trying to infuse my voice with as much calmness and friendliness as I could.
“Tell us who you are, shithead, and I might not shoot you for trespassing,” the woman said, not moving an inch.
I smiled a bit despite myself, recalling something that I had seen while combing through files on the site director’s computer. I grinned at the crowd in front of me and answered.
“I suppose you can call me…the Administrator.”