ACCESS LIMITED TO SECURITY CLEARANCE L-1/883 AND HIGHER
DO NOT COPY OR REDISTRIBUTE
re: SCP-883 Containment & Research Procedures Updates, Effective 1999-03-13
Following the events that occurred on 1999-01-25, exploration within SCP-883 has been restricted to 6.5 kilometers or less. Should any insects show unexpected levels of aggression, all personnel will immediately retreat to no more than 1.0 kilometers from the entrance until such time as the on-site MTF has investigated and the lead researchers have cleared the incident. Meetings providing the full details of the new security procedures are being scheduled. See your section leader for assigned times.
Honey harvesting will continue as currently scheduled, with the guard force increased by 50%. Remember that no more than 1 liter should be harvested from any given 5 meter length of honeycomb. Additionally, new kevlar protective suits have been developed and will be assigned as of the effective date listed above.
MTF η-5 will be dissolved and the surviving members reassigned. MTF ζ-9 will be transferred in until such time as MTF η-5 is re-formed. Please welcome the "Mole Rats" to their new assignment.
I have dreams of it, you know. Flying and falling and floating. Deep blue sea that is filled with a vast buzz of scales against wings. The details differ; sometimes I'm swimming with the fishes, sometimes it's the birds and the bees. But I always dive deeper, deeper, deeper into the heart of the swarm, the school, the secret.
The members of the new Recon Task Force designated Omicron-6 were a careful selection of ichthyologists, oceanographers, submarine and submersible operators, and agents with spatial distortions experience. As the only member of MTF Eta-5 with underwater combat training, Agent Patricia Ortiz was a perfect choice. After her initial briefing into SCP-850's security and containment protocols, she was somewhat disturbed. As far as the Foundation grapevine was concerned, SCPs were pretty much all unique, and to find a pair of disconnected ones that were so similar was disconcerting.
Still, until the Bottleship was completed, she'd be spending her time with the other non-engineering members of the Trilobites refreshing and retraining her underwater skills. It'd been a while since she'd used a harpoon, and the ones they'd be using were rather more powerful than what she'd originally trained with. She wasn't looking forward to encountering the larger inhabitants of the zone.
At the heart of it all is what I think of as the Queen. Not in the sense of a great mother or a ruler, but rather like the rat-kings of old: the maddened result of too many creatures knotted together in too small a space until a great horrible vastness forms. In the nature of dreams, it is all-encompassing, surrounding without and within like the fabric of reality itself, while its single form lays in front of me, lazily gliding around me on its finwings.
Even including the usual construction delays and last-minute mission tweaks, Project Bottleship was completed within a reasonable amount of time. It was a testament to the dedication of the Foundation construction crews that a 50-meter-long submarine could be constructed in free ocean while surrounded by a school of herring in constant motion. The Trilobite was a pride of engineering, and well up to the task set before it.
It was midday when the last of the crew finally boarded their new home and the exploration mission finally officially began. Agent Ortiz heard a thin cheer as the captain announced that they were descending, and wondered what green researcher thought that any exploration assignment was a good excitement. She, like all field agents, knew that the best assignments were boring, and sincerely hoped that this one would be so dull that she'd be begging to surface just so she could see some unfamiliar faces.
This is the point where you'd expect me to say something dramatic like I startle awake, sitting straight up in bed, soaked in a cold sweat. But that doesn't happen.
Or that the Queen whispers dark secrets into my mind that promise to drag me into an enlightened insanity. But that doesn't happen.
What happens is that it flicker-flutters off, utterly uninterested in one not of its kingdom or kind. And then the dream resumes a more normal surreality, leading to random sparkings and images as my mind resumes its nightly housecleaning.
The submarine moved slowly through the school, as visibility was essentially nil due to the fish, and sonar was little better due to the same interference. The last thing that the crew wanted was the ignomity of crashing into an unexpected seafloor or undersea mountain. The slow pace suited some of the more excitable ichthyologists just fine, though, as it gave them a chance to get as much footage of the fish they passed as possible.
The first few kilometers were interesting, as the herring veered around the intruder into their realm, slowly changing in subtle ways into new variations of the base species. The novelty rapidly wore off, though, and the next few tens of kilometers quickly subsided into a nice boredom. The scientists still noted the slow progression of changes, but a subtle coloration change or slightly different fin shape were less entertaining than before.
There was a burst of interest at the end of the first day, when the ship officially passed the previously established point of furthest exploration and they entered truly uncharted territory.
The schools of herring that they'd been passing through started to thin as the fish diverged into more and more radically different body plans and sizes, building into a new, self-contained piscine ecosystem. After a few days, they had thinned enough that the sonar was able to function more or less unimpeded. This was less of a blessing than expected, given that they still couldn't ping a bottom.
But I still remember the dreams and the intersection that is the Queen. A great fish large enough to swallow the sea, yet the size of the humblest buzzing bee, emblazzoned in shimmering colors of indifference. I know that it waits, deep within a school and opened by a comb. It waits, for it has world enough and time to wait.
After a week more of exploring the widths and depths of the schools, the weapons officers had already had to spear several large fish which had been getting aggressive with the ship, including one almost 10 meters long. But no significant damage had been done before the aggressors were either killed or driven off, so the captain and lead researcher decided to dive until a bottom was found, or until they reached the limit at which they wouldn't have enough fuel to return.
Deeper and deeper the Trilobite sank, discovering a strange occurrence: the schools of fish began to get denser again, only this time they were composed of larger and larger fish. They seemed to accept the submarine as one of their own, though, and the number of attacks dwindled to nothing. But an air of expectancy permeated the ship as the crew subconsciously felt a sense of impending… something. Maybe doom, maybe salvation, maybe just a threshold.
The appearance of the mountain peak should have been a relief, but just increased the feeling of trepidation. It was roughly triangular from above, with a tip blunted by water and seemingly scalloped trailing slopes. And it extended even farther downwards, past the lower limit at which the intervening fish created a confused sonar signature too dense to read past.
It wasn't until they were a few hundred meters from the mountain's side that it suddenly flexed and the Trilobite was roughly shoved away by the massive wall of water. The next few minutes were a confusion of alarms and rolling and jumbled feelings of both despair and relief as the tense atmosphere finally released. The relief was short-lived, however, as the massively broad and scaled body to which the mountain was attached rose up to meet the fragile ship.
And when the men in their armor and the women with their pots finally come upon it, it will move and it will lead and it will feed.
ACCESS LIMITED TO SECURITY CLEARANCE L-4/850, L-4/883
DO NOT COPY OR REDISTRIBUTE
re: SCP cross-contamination
All personnel with clearance to read this memorandum have been provided clearance to read the summary dossiers for SCP-850 and SCP-883. Please review these dossiers prior to continuing to read this memo.
On 2000-12-12, the Foundation lost contact with the deep sea exploratory mission into SCP-850, codename "Trilobite". Among the personnel aboard was Agent Patricia Ortiz, formerly a member of MTF η-5, which had been assigned to SCP-883 prior to its dissolution.
On 2001-03-01, members of MTF ζ-9 discovered Agent Ortiz in SCP-883, 7.3 kilometers from the entrance to SCP-883. She was found unconscious in a fetal position, covered with approximately 1700 insects with known high levels of aggression, none of which had stung her. Agent Ortiz was retrieved and placed in a quarantine unit and has not yet regained consciousness.
Please provide a list of information you wish Agent Ortiz to provide once she has awakened. Relevant questions will be compiled and incorporated into her debriefing and a full, un-redacted transcript will be provided to lead researchers.
And it hungers still.