Day 2 of Containment cycle 366
"Wait, so are you actually… ?" Agent Xavier Garcez asked with that same incredulous, gushy tone that the new staff always had when they saw the nameplate on the desk.
"Yes, I am Doctor Alto Clef. No, those stories were all greatly exaggerated," the man in the plain brown civilian security officer's uniform responded with a hint of resignation. "Agent Garcez, why are you still wearing that black suit? Didn't the Requisitions department issue your cover uniform before you arrived on site?"
"Sir, no sir," Agent Garcez responded, tearing his eyes from the stylized nameplate bearing the musical inscription that was such a huge part of the Foundation mythos. Snapping stiffly to attention in the manner of one who was addressing a drill sergeant, Garcez continued, "I was told that a uniform and cover identity would be provided on location."
"Jesus Christ… at ease, Garcez." Clef stood up and paced across the grimy old security office and opened a rusted locker. "You're way too big to wear one of my extras. And I don't have your cover identity. So guess what? You're camping out here for the next few days. I'm not having you shuttle back and forth from this facility looking like one of the goddamn Men in Black. I can't believe Requisitions screwed this up again. Please tell me they at least sent you in with the necessary supplies."
"Yes sir, Doctor Clef. They're in the back of my truck."
"Let me guess, you drove in here with a big shiny black SUV with out of state plates, and you parked it out in the old lot outside right next to my Toyota."
"Er, yes sir, Doc-"
"Garcez, this site is an abandoned federal penitentiary with a really gruesome past. To ghost hunters, this place is like a blonde holding up a sign that says 'Free Blowjobs.' You are supposed to be part of the skeleton rent-a-cop staff that keeps horny teenagers and thrill seekers from trying to sneak into this building. Do you know what happens to people who sneak into this building?"
"Entering the restricted rooms in this building is invariably fatal. Regulations state that any persons who enter SCP-450 are to be considered lost," Garcez recited from memory, still standing at attention with his square jaw thrust up into the air.
"Do you look like a rent-a-cop? Are you driving the shitty kind of car that a rent-a-cop would drive?" Clef limped up towards the younger, taller man, narrowing steely eyes that had already witnessed more than a lifetime's worth of horror. "No. I'll tell you what you look like. You look like the fucking new guy who doesn't quite understand what he is dealing with yet. You're here to learn that really fucking fast, or else you are going to die in here like one out of four fucking new guys that come in here to learn the ropes. You cut any more corners and you will wish that I was the goddamn devil that 732 made me out to be, because that guy would just put a bullet in your worthless ass and bury you in the parking lot. But I am not that man. So if you fuck up in the slightest bit from here on out, you are not only going to die inside of 450 but the gates of Hell are going to open up so wide that the clean up crew that comes in here to pick up the pieces is going to have to fake a natural disaster big enough to wipe the neighboring three towns off of the map. Am I clear?"
"Sir, yes sir!" Garcez said, eyes staring off blankly over the top of Dr. Clef's receding hairline.
"This isn't the army, Agent," Clef sighed wearily and returned to his desk to send an equally nasty letter to the Requisitions officer that sent him a new agent without the proper gear.
"Uh, s… sorry Doctor," Garcez replied. Receiving no answer, he slumped his shoulders and sat down on the musty tweed sofa in the office. Finally he spoke up again. "So what are you doing here, Doctor?"
Clef looked up from his monitor and squinted, "Retiring."
Day 17 of Containment Cycle 366
"I'm getting old, Garcez," Clef explained. "It was just over thirty years ago that we first secured this site. I was the first person to walk that mile, you know. Devised the containment procedures myself."
Garcez said nothing. He was dressed in the proper plain brown uniform now, his eyes locked straight ahead down the dilapidated hallway. His pace was measured and calm, his footsteps almost silent in comparison to the doctor's shuffling limp and the clack of Clef's cane.
"I based the containment pattern on the Seal of Solomon," Clef continued in a relaxed tone. "Thought it would have some sort of arcane power over the entities trapped inside death row. It seems to have worked, they've only gotten loose once and that was seven years ago when some fucking new guy didn't make it to the chair in time. Once I kicked Bright into the containment zone, as a joke. You could smell nothing but burning chimp for the next three months, even in the safe zone. Fucker said he'd kill me one day for that, heh heh. Good times. Also, I fucked your mother."
Garcez flinched and looked sideways. Clef smacked him in the shin with his steel-tipped cane.
"Don't react, Garcez! Don't react to anything while you are taking this walk," the doctor hissed. "You just keep on tuning me out and finish the practice run. We've got three more to do today. You need to execute this task perfectly or you will die, do you understand me? Now come on, back to the starting line."
Clef and Garcez turned around and walked to the end of the empty cell block in silence. They were in a safe wing of the facility, one that was secure enough to have electric lights overhead. The air was thick with the smell of rot, strongest at the far wall where the practice symbol was painted in pig's blood over and over on a daily basis.
Clef paused, holding up his hand before Garcez started his walk again. His chest heaved and his hand clenched the handle of his cane so roughly that it shook.
"Are you alright, Doctor? Do you need to rest?" Garcez asked gently.
Clef looked down at the grimy concrete floor, "You know, I wonder if it even matters. The pattern. We've been tracing it in death row once a month for thirty years, but I don't think the entities care about the pattern. All they want is the blood."
"It's the walk that is important, Agent. You have to walk calmly and at the perfect rate. Not too fast and not too slow. Don't look to the sides. Just go in, smear blood on the walls, and get out. Do that and the entities will not see you, and you'll live to do this again next month. Maybe get assigned to contain something less shitty later."
"Yes Doctor. Did you need to rest?"
"No, no. I just needed to think of something new to torment you with while you practice. Something really good." Clef's face split in a wrinkled grin. "Let's get going."
For the next four hours Clef yodeled non stop. Garcez managed to complete one practice walk successfully.
Day 30 of Containment Cycle 366
The doctor and the agent stood at the threshold of death row. A pair of brilliant floodlights shone behind them in the safe zone, casting their shadows starkly against the painted steel containment doors that blocked the path to the pitch black execution chamber. Garcez clutched a white plastic bucket containing a paintbrush and three blood packs generously donated by the people of the neighboring town in one of their frequent blood drives.
"What if they attack me anyway?" Garcez finally asked, staring at the door blankly.
"They shouldn't, Xavier. But if they do, I promise I'll finish the job. We'll keep these things contained." Clef waved his key card over the electronic lock, and the steel doors swung towards the two men. A rush of gibbering voices seemed to pour out of the stark darkness of the death row cell block. One hundred and sixty six meters away, the door to the execution chamber stood open, barely illuminated by the powerful flood lamps behind the two men.
"Everything seems normal." Clef nodded as the doors of every cell on the left side began slamming open and shut in unison. "Go get it done, kid. Remember, the pattern isn't important. The walk is."
Garcez's breath was calm and measured as he stepped into the darkness. Clef watched as his partner briskly strolled past the remains of a agent who failed to execute his task perfectly three years ago.
After passing seventy three yards down the hallway, Garcez spun his head sideways with a short exclamation. "Mom?"
Abruptly his body was yanked to the side, smashed against the rusted metal of a closed cell over and over until it was limply dragged between the bars in a smear of gore. Clef narrowed his eyes and grimaced. He really thought Garcez was going to work out.
June 22nd, 20██ 7:53 PM
Clef walked with his cane tucked under one arm. His other swung the white plastic bucket in time with his measured steps. Exactly eleven minutes after entering SCP-450 he came to the old electric chair, rattling and shaking in its fixtures. With the exception of Garcez's screw-up, everything was going as expected.
Clef knelt behind the shuddering electric chair and examined the bucket's contents. Two of the blood packets had been torn when Garcez was taken. Looking back the way he came for the first time, he could see the trail of bloody footprints he had left behind. Doctor Clef pursed his lips—the one remaining blood packet would not be enough to draw the containment pattern he had devised thirty years ago. Digging into his trouser pocket, he produced the old hunting knife Dmitri had given him as a present after their vacation in Tijuana. Clef rolled up his sleeve, laid the blade against his wrist and set about his task. He doubted he would have time to walk out safely after this…
Day 1 of Containment Cycle 367
Doctor Yancy sat in the security office, feeling very small in front of Doctor Clef's laptop. A progress bar slowly filled as a series of high resolution photographs was attached to a report for the O5 Council.
Agent Xavier Garcez is confirmed to have perished while executing secure containment procedures at approximately 7:42 PM. Attached image [Incident 450-34-a] was taken by Researcher Darrin from outside SCP-450 containment. It appears that Doctor Clef personally completed containment procedures with his own blood. Of note is the phrase that Doctor Clef painted upon the rear wall of the execution chamber in place of the decayed containment pattern: "Come and get it mother fuckers."
The entities within SCP-450 are confirmed to be contained. This appears to verify Doctor Clef's recent hypothesis that the specific pattern is not relevant to containment. The entities will be contained as long as human blood is applied to the walls of the execution chamber.
Attached image [Incident 450-34-b] is of the floor before the electric chair. From this angle it is hard to determine the nature of the markings, but we believe they are multiple hand prints and a large blank area in the shape of a human body. Doctor Clef's whereabouts are unknown. He is presumed dead.