Death, some say, is an inevitability. The entire cosmos attempts to kill us; Meteors endeavor to crash into us, anomalies vie to redact us, the sun sends solar waves towards our humble planet, galaxies collide bombastically, and the paradigm terror of entropy dictates doom of a cold or hot end. This, I accepted without fear or anger. One day, however, I found a new aspect, a new chapter to death, a most unbearable mortality: turning into a goose with human legs while I slept.
My name is Buckchamp McFuckmeup, and it is short to say I was bumfuck terrified of what happened. I worked for the Foundation, I knew what happened to people who experienced anomalous changes while they slept. I was not prepared to be locked up in a “standard humanoid containment cell” for the rest of my avian life. So, I took the only approach that I could think of at the time: hope that nobody would notice. I slapped on a gasmask to mask my beak and head, and shoved my wings through my suit. Thankfully, it turned out my cover was as covert as one could expect from an anthropomorphic gosling; that is, rather. However, I found that things were quick to change under the influence of an anomaly.
The job was a response to an anomalous occurrence in a decrepit factory. As soon as we entered, the disrepair of the place was apparent, it's condemned interior flush with a veneer of ash and rust, gins and dynamos either in hefty disrepair or too obsolete to be useful; reminded me of my local laundromat… except today I forgot my quarters. The progression down the spacious machine house went slow, every now and then a spark of energy spurring a long dead tool to life (giving the squad a healthy spook and ridding them of a few bullets), but steadily in our search for whatever the fuck was in here. All we were told was that some teenagers broke in, heard something weird, and one of them died because a monster ate them "or something." By that information, we could capture this dust for being anomalously allergenic and I think the bureaucraps and I would go home happy, but I was shut down when I brought it up. I was weighing the benefits of doing it anyway when I tripped over some anomalously large detritus and fell face first into an inactive furnace, meeting whatever "it" was face to visage after a tall drop.
It was a sight too peculiar, perhaps, to forget. In the middle of the small chamber lay a pie, cherry I think, untouched among the ash, charcoal, and coke rife in the forge. The pastry, I felt, resonated in the chamber, nay, my very soul, with an innocence greater than that of a puppy superimposed on a lollipop. I shook it out of my mind, realizing the cognitohazard for what it was, ready to call out my squad for containment. But I looked once more, gazing at it thoughtfully. I could call my team, get this stupid skip, and get home. But, I could also capture it, because fuck it and my team, I am a goddamn adult, and should be treated as such. Well, I thought I was. So I took a step. Then another. I kept stepping towards the pie, splayed perfectly in the center of the stove. I was nary a meter away from the delicious treat with my wings outreached when the tin suddenly stirred, and I whispered a prayer and a fuck for bad luck.
It rose up like a possessed child caught on a pulley system, slowly and surely, orienting itself in some way I inferred to be facing front. At first, it just stayed there, until I decided to resume my attempts at containment. It then slowly started circling me, occasionally scattering dust from the sides of the chamber and freakin me the hell out. So, I did what I could at the time to try and stop it: throw some ash at it, because pies taste terrible when they're covered in ashes. I thought it was worth a shot, and soon the burnt wood remains volleyed something surrounding the tin and dessert, a vaguely fishlike form about the size of a man lengthwise appearing from the void. Well, I would say it was vaguely fishlike, but I saw Jaws, and I knew what the fuck a shark looked like. It was a shark, and there was a pie in it, and I didn't want to be in a room with a fucking flying shark. So, I grabbed an outcropping pipe near the furnace mouth and started to climb out.
I was getting the fuck out of there like a tree when I stepped on the stupid pipe and I slipped off, falling to the side and making me all dirty and shit. Whatever, I reached for it again, but the furnace seemed to disagree with me. The rungs decided they had enough shit, and their rusty smug body crumbled at my second attempt, and things started getting uncomfortably warm in there. Not the sexy kind, I wasn't planning on getting it on with a shark as much as my goose side wanted it, but the temperature kind. Flames started to lick the rim of the chamber, and I was trapped in with the dumb fish.
Note to self: Maybe omit some of this
This was it. Goose versus shark, bird versus pastry; I dashed towards the blur of dust, but my leg was caught quick by an invisible assailant. "Fuck, more?" I thought, quickly tripping and finding myself being dragged to the flames. Struggling, I kicked up another clod of dust with my wing, and I immediately regretted it. The thing was revealed further, more terrifying than I initially anticipated; it was, indeed, a shark in form, but in lieu of fins it had what appeared to be tentacles. With rope-like-appendages tethering me down, I decided to calmly assess my options. "WELL FUCK ME NOPE NOPE NOPE!" I yelled aloud, but this did not deter the beast.
But I managed to shake my leg free after 3 hours (this I knew because I was at least some part rooster), and I kicked the abomination straight in the cherries. It's body understandably collapsed, slowly gliding into the wall like a remote control airplane that had the controller shotgunned and immolated. It crashed into the flames, and then all was silent… except for the flames roasting the creature. I had… lived. Even if it wasn't climactic, I commissioned, and subsequently decommissioned, my first skip. But I wasn't satisfied, oh no.
I had came there for a job, and I planned to leave with a trophy of said job. Plunging my wing into the creature's burning corpse, I felt for the pie, and quickly retrieved it. I blinked. The next moment, all that was left was a tin. I was terrified, and thought I had a hint of cherry on my tongue. Then, I blinked once again.
There was something on the bottom of the tin. Wiping away some of the jelly I was shocked to discover an aged and wet picture of Alto Clef; what the hell did he have to do with this? I licked yet more; the corpse of a whale… no, of a shark… became clearer- I searched my memory for something that would link the two. Synapses burst, neuroms nyoomed, and it dawned on me: It was SCP-682, something my team had dealt with in the past. I was horrified; I dropped the tin, and then picked it up again. There was yet one last bit of jelly in the tin; grimacing at the ash now on it, I licked the tin clean. I dropped the tin one final time.
It read, "Good luck, son!"
But there just wasn't time to think about pies or shark/human mating, nor for shedding a tear for my lost lover; I needed to get the fuck out of there because everything was on fire. I had just the idea, however.
Taking what remained of Alto Clef Jr., I proceeded to fling it into the wall; it bounced off, and I took to action. Flapping as hard as I could to overcome my sheer mass (mostly muscles of course), I quickly rose to the same altitude of the tin. Triangulating my target, I kicked the tin as hard as I could, and glided to the rim of the furnace with the feeble upper weight. I was home free, if I could climb up. But, fuck, no hands. I started to slip. This was it. I embraced the ashy fate that I was entitled to, and let go, and my vision went dark amongst the fire and the flames and the coke.
No… No, it couldn't end like this. Not like this. I had so much to live for, so many people supporting me. Like… Fuck. Okay, the only being who really cared about me I ended up eating, so I had to use the energy their body gave me at the least. I got up; the ashes collapsed from my body, and I was subsequently lit on fire. In hindsight, the symbolism was painfully clear: I was a phoenix, born to rise again from the ashes of my failure. In the moment, the symbolism was painfully clear: I was fucking burning alive.
So I flapped my damn fucking head off like every good bird should. I reached the lip of the furnace; then the entry; finally, I reached solid ground. I had made it. And then a gigantic clockwork arm grabbed me and tore me from where I was, still aflame. I recoiled, but was suddenly hit by a wash of saltwater. I was no longer goddamn on fire! But, as a side effect, I couldn't breathe, as the shit got in my gasmask. And I looked up at my savior; there, holding a clockwork arm in his hands, was Commander.
I was reduced to tears. "C-commander? Oh my god, I'm alive! Oh Jesus fucking CHRIST I'M ALIVE! I FUCKING DID IT, I KICKED AN ANOMALOUS ASS AND LIVED TO TELL THE TALE!" I was screaming this when my compatriot let go of me, and let me crumble to the floor. "You've passed. Welcome to MTF Sigma-1.618, pride of the Shark Punching Center, the premier task force for giving sharks their just deserts."
ALTO CLEF JR.: FINS OF THE FATHER - FIN