"I was there, assisting in the cleanup of something that should not have been"
In June of 2003, a few weeks after my 17th birthday, I swore into the US Navy with the intention of becoming a Navy SEAL. In 2006, I completed BUD/S and earned the title I had been seeking.
In January 2017, I was recruited by a representative of the organization I would later come to know as the Foundation into Mobile Task Force Nu-7, "Hammer Down."
In December of 2018, a robot the size of a small building was seen wandering through the Irkutsk area of the Russian Federation. In the hours and days that followed, a "disease" that no one had even known existed was wiped out by this machine, and by three organizations the world had also never even known about, called the Horizon Initiative, the SCP Foundation, and the Church of the Broken God.
I was there, assisting in the cleanup of something that, simply put, should not have been.
Of course, a 30-foot-tall robot that seems to have gathered a following of millions of worshippers isn't precisely the sort of thing you would call "normal." Such an occurrence has all the subtlety of, well, a robot the size of a building. It's not easy to conceal something like that, and it's even less easy to conceal when organizations that can only be described as "the Men-in-Black" are there, helping it do its thing. Of course, the biggest obstacle to hiding the Broken God was the fact that, about 96 hours after it was woken, the GOC launched ballistic missiles in an attempt to blow it up.
A couple things happened after that. First, the Broken God protected itself from the missiles. I don't think so much as a piece of shrapnel ever touched the thing. Then, it continued what it was doing, destroying the remnants of SCP-610 as they cropped up. When it was finished, it just left. No vengeance on the GOC, no further attacks on the flesh, no ascension for its followers to godhood, just an absence.
In its wake, it left behind… some sort of tablets. I don't know, I forget the specifics. But what I do remember is that it left behind a simple message on these tablets, repeated in who knows how many languages: "I will return." No indication of when, no set of numbers, nothing, just the words "I will return."
The world being what it is, everyone lost their shit after that. The countries that had it easiest were places like North Korea, China, and Russia; they're used to putting down demonstrations and riots. Next came third-world countries like Sierra Leone; what does it matter if the government lied to you when that government will be gone in a few years, anyway?
I honestly think Mexico had it the worst. Without having to hide behind the Veil to prevent detection by the Jailors and the Book Burners, the Chaos Insurgency and the Serpent's Hand both went public. The Insurgency actually got themselves a pretty good handle on the Mexican drug trade, while the Hand used the tension of the times to get riots going. What little hold the Mexican government had on its people, it lost quickly. The civil war didn't officially start until June 2021, but anyone who didn't see it coming since March 2019 had their head in the sand. That's when there was the first big riot outside of the capital. There were, what, 200 casualties? 300? I don't remember. That was when the Mexican government started asking for outside help.
No one wanted to, at first. Countries like the US, where people already hated the status quo and distrusted the government by default, were too busy keeping themselves stable. I honestly can't remember if there was a single day when you could turn on the news and not hear about riots, protests, arrests, and terrorist plots. 2019 was also when Mobile Task Forces began working with and training alongside Special Forces, police departments, and other public safety organizations in order to help them respond to anomalies.
A lot of their work and our work was actually the same: keep your head on a swivel and know what you're looking for. That's actually why the Foundation recruited from Special Forces and some of the higher-tier SWAT teams: less education the Foundation had to provide them.
It wasn't until 2022 that the Chaos Insurgency and Serpent's Hand really started causing enough trouble in Mexico and along the border that the Foundation decided to step in. That's when I was deployed to Juarez. Decades of training and experience in fending off the Mexican Army on the cartels' part and nearly a century of fighting the Foundation on the Insurgency's part had made the city into damn near a fortress for them and a living Hell for anyone who got in their way. That's why we were getting sent in: to take out the POI in charge of the Insurgency's Texas/New Mexico border operations.
A city as large as Juarez gives insurgents- Chaos or otherwise- plenty of room to hide. That's how a sniper was able to ambush my squad and land a round in my spine that left me paralyzed from the hips down.
One thing the Foundation had never wanted to admit about the Church of the Broken God until after the Veil had been lifted was the fact that they had the best surgeons on the planet. If you wanted an iPhone in your skull in 2009, they could've pulled it off. If you wanted to be able to turn the lights on and off in your home by blinking, they had an upgrade for that. If you lost the use of your legs because of a sniper on a rooftop in Juarez, they had you covered.
After the Awakening, which is what the Lifted Veil event became known as in common vernacular, there was a revolution in technology. Technology that futurists had anticipated in the 2040s or later became commercially available by 2024. Of course, by then, the Foundation had relegated me to paperwork. They rejected my requests for a return to front-line duty three separate times. Eventually, I just applied for training to work as a containment specialist.
I miss Roderick. He was probably my best friend when I was growing up. I wonder where he is now. When Roderick was still around, I still got to see my parents every now and then. Now, it's either sit and do tests, or sit in my room all day. And I can't even see when I'm in my room. Like, my eyes work, but I can't look at things outside of my room.
They treat me like a prisoner. I don't know why. I'm only 13, how could I have done anything?! I remember my mom telling me that I was sick, and that this place is a hospital. I think she was lying. There are plenty of doctors, sure, but none of them do anything. They just make me take tests. "What's behind the door? What card am I holding? Whose gun is loaded?" All sorts of stupid stuff like that.
But that's ok. When I'm taking tests, I can see again. I usually use the time to check on Roderick, see what he's doing. I'd check on my parents, too, but i can't seem to find them anymore.
I'm worried about Roderick. Every time I see him, he seems stressed out about something. And he's never in the same place twice. I don't think that's normal. I ask the doctors and the guards about him sometimes, but they always ignore me.
Of course, in those days, everything was in flux. The Foundation had begun overturning jurisdiction of safe anomalies (safe in this context meaning "not likely to hurt or kill people, or manipulate them in an unethical way") to local governments. The United States government had recently formed the Bureau of Paranatural Affairs to deal with anomalies on their own terms. The Anomaly Registration Program allowed people to call 911 to report dangerous or life-threatening anomalies, while also allowing people with anomalous traits to find doctors and therapists who could help them "fulfill their true potential."
In theory, it would mean better treatment of anomalous people and respect for their civil rights. In practice, it meant that kids ended up in cells because "they were a threat to national security" or some other BS like that.
It wasn't as bad as it could've been. They still let the safe anomalies visit with their families, and even when they weren't visiting, the Foundation still let them leave their quarters for certain parts of the day. There was one kid, Thomas, that I had to watch out for because he wasn't nearly old enough to be in that sort of setting on his own. I still worry about him sometimes.
Today is test day. I'm excited. They make me do these once a month, but they always take their time with paperwork. That means I can check on Roderick.
He's somewhere cold. I guess it must already be winter, wherever he is. And it's dark. I don't see the sun. The wind is blowing, and there's snow coming in on the wind. He's wrapped up, though, which is good. My mom was always making me wear a big coat whenever she visited around Christmas. It was dorky, but I would trade that for having to stay in a room all day.
I can see Roderick walking into a building. I think it's a bar. Or maybe a diner. He visits those a lot. He sits down and orders a black coffee, his usual… I think. Definitely a diner. The waitress smiles and goes to get his drink. The diner's mostly empty, which is why it's weird when some man I don't know sits down next to Roderick. They start talking. Roderick seems like he knows him.
The other man's name is Leonard. He says he didn't recognize Roderick with a beard. He always kept it shaved. Roderick says that it's the most he can do unless Leonard can help him. Help him with what? They start talking about "the good old days," when Roderick was "in New 7." No, that can't be right. What's New 7? Idunno, it must be from when Roderick was in the Navy.
Crap. More tests. I'll have to check back on Roderick later.
In 2027, the Foundation was dissolved and their assets in US territory liquidated by the BPA. It had been a long time coming. The GOC, now a public organization, was tasked with containing anomalies in international and disputed territory. A lot of skippers went there. The lucky ones, at least. 2027 is also when I was relieved of duty. I had to seek out alternative employment.
I've been working odd jobs for the last six years, finding work wherever and however I can. It hasn't been easy, but others have had it a lot worse. I think the first Witch Trials were about three-and-a-half years ago. That was when the UN and most world governments started decrying the Foundation and its work. A huge document leak kicked the riots all back up. Things the Foundation had done in the name of preserving normalcy were being declared crimes against humanity. And public knowledge of what some anomalies were capable of, alongside registration with local and national governments, led to even more fear and paranoia of the government and the paranormal than had ever existed with the Foundation in charge.
When people don't understand something, one of two things will happen: they will try to understand it, so they can use it for their own ends; or, and this is far more likely, they will grow afraid of it and try to destroy it. So it was when humanity rediscovered anomalies. Former Foundation employees were declared public enemy number one, with anomalous persons at a close second.
The lynching started about three years ago, right about the time members of the Foundation Ethics Committee and RAISA started being tried by the UN. At first the National Guard and local police forces would intervene. Lately, though, they've been liable to participate. The news never talks about it, though. No one does. Even the most accepting of places turn us away. It doesn't help issues that the Unusual Incidents Unit of the FBI has unofficially been tasked with hunting us down. Hell, I've even heard rumors that the UIU and BPA have started hiring former Foundation agents to help them track down their old coworkers. I don't believe those rumors, but the truth remains that you can't trust anyone these days.
Skips have it just as bad. The ones not locked up are almost all registered, which just means that it's easier for vigilantes to find them. The ones who are able to head for Mexico, but I don't think many make it.
Ah, finally. They make me do the same thing every month. That's how I know I'll have awhile before they make me do more tests. What's Roderick doing now?
Him and Leonard are still talking. They have food in front of them, plates almost empty. They're talking about cost now. Cost of what? I don't know. I think they've almost reached an agreement, but it looks like they're arguing over who's gonna pick up the tab. Why can't Roderick just take a gift when it's given to him? I've never understood that about him.
Now they've settled the tab. Leonard paid. They're walking outside, to an SUV. Leonard's. It's already started, and there are people inside. Leonard is reassuring Roderick that they're with him, that it'll be all right. I'm not liking the looks of this, but it doesn't matter because I have one more set of tests I need to do.
It's cold. I bring my coat tighter in to myself. Wisconsin isn't precisely like Arizona when it comes to winters. I'm only in this podunk town to meet an old friend.
The bullet that paralyzed me wasn't the first close call I've ever had. I've nearly died on multiple occasions. On one such occasion, I saved the life of a man I only knew as Agent Leonard Wells. Tonight, I'm hoping he can return the favor.
As I'm sitting, drinking my coffee, trying to warm up in this diner in the middle of Nowhere, Wisconsin, Leo walks in. We exchange greetings, and he orders his own cup of coffee. We talk. Eventually, we reach an agreement over dinner. He'll get me into Russia for five grand. It's all I have, but it's worth it. Anything to get away from this place.
After we finish our meals we argue over who will cover the tab. Eventually, I concede. I don't know why I was trying to turn down a free meal anyway. We walk outside, where Leo's SUV is already waiting. There are three men I don't recognize in there. Leonard introduces them to me as Simon, Harold, and George. The all look nervous. George asks Leonard if I'm the man they're helping to smuggle to Seattle. He says yes. Leo's words do nothing to calm the others. I ask Leonard, as an aside, why he didn't tell me about the others ahead of time, to which he responds it was a security risk. I decide not to ask whose security.
We start driving. Eventually, we reach an isolated stretch of road— nothing around for miles. Leonard tells me that he and I will be changing vehicles, that he'll stay with me until the airport in Seattle. We get out, and the white SUV drives off. He hands me a flashlight and tells me to signal to a grove of trees in the distance. I'm signalling when I hear Leonard shift behind me. I start to turn around when—
The guards are walking me back to my room, which means I have some time to check on Roderick.
They're just driving, not talking. I didn't catch the others' names, but I don't think it matters. I don't think anything else is going to happen— No, wait, they're stopping. I can't hear who's saying what, but Leonard and Roderick are getting out. The SUV is driving off when Leonard hands something to Roderick. Then Leonard says something and Roderick starts waving the thing— I think it's a flashlight — at some trees. Then Leonard steps away and— NO!!
BUREAU OF PARANORMAL AFFAIRS INTERNAL MEMORANDUM, DATED 2033/11/03
RE: BEHAVIOR OF INMATE #864421 ON 2033/10/13
TO: SENIOR SUPERVISOR HAILEY BARRETT, UNDERAGE ANOMALOUS PERSONS PROJECT CHIEF, ANOMALOUS PERSONS DETAINMENT SITE 01
FROM: CHIEF INVESTIGATOR GABRIEL ROWLEY, BUREAU OF PARANORMAL AFFAIRS INTERNAL RECORDS DEPARTMENT
I believe I have found the source of Inmate #864421's unexpected behavior on October 13. At approximately 17:53 Mountain Time, Roderick X. Freeman, a person wanted by the US government for human rights violations in connection to his time employed with the now-defunct "SCP Foundation," engaged agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Unusual Incidents Unit sent to apprehend him with small arms fire. Mr. Freeman was killed in the ensuing firefight. Of note is the fact that, in the transitionary period between SCPF and BPA custody of Inmate #864421, Mr. Freeman was Inmate #864421's primary caretaker.
I believe this is an indication that Inmate #864421's abilities exceed what we've so far recorded. I recommend immediate testing to prove or deny this claim. If my suspicions are correct, I recommend increased security protocols, or, preferably, elimination of the subject.
Chief Investigator Gabriel Rowley, United States Bureau of Paranormal Affairs Internal Records Department
Fortunately for Fred, the BPA is incredibly incompetent, and they would never even know he was here.