“Termination” is a word we heard a lot in this place. It was mostly heard over intercoms, or through the grape vines as gossip between the dorms. They didn't like that we talked between dorms at all, but we found ways. Most of us have spent years in prisons all over the country, and we had been sneaking things a lot bigger (and often deadlier) than scraps of paper between cells, so it wasn't a problem to learn at least some details of what insane shit the guys down the hall were being ordered to do. A lot of it doesn't bear repeating, because it's obviously bullshit. Only problem was that most people only lasted a few days here. We here in dorm 3 would spend that time setting up links with the dorms next to us, and across from us, but often we'd be lucky to get more than a few pieces of news from them before they dropped off the face of the Earth. We'd hear new guys getting marched in to take the spots, and we'd all be back to square one. And every time, one way or another, we'd hear that word- “The Class Ds were terminated”, we would over hear on radios. “Guys, you know that tall guy from Dorm 2? He failed a polygraph, haven’t seen him since. The Doc just said he'd be terminated”. And for everyone of us who was “terminated”, another would be marched into their now vacant spot later that same day.
We here in dorm 3 were a little luckier. We'd been stuck in here for about 4 weeks. The calendar says it's the 31st of March, so maybe a little longer. About a month sounds right. The six of us were all taken together from a Supermax in Colorado, lifers all. Although we're not sure where we are, we know we took a bus, a plane, and train (and possibly a boat?) to get here, on a blindfolded journey that lasted about, say, 2 days? Point is, none of us wanted to spend a day longer in those tiny cells, with awful food, surrounded by cameras, sharing what little space you had with your fellow criminals. When we agreed to this, that's what we were trying to escape.
Problem is, this place was almost exactly the same, except a lot more strict, and a hell of a lot more secretive. Not even an exercise yard, or a warden we can talk to if we bitch loud enough. In hindsight, better the devil you know, maybe. But at the time, all we knew was a guy in suit, saying he was here “on authority of the Department of Justice” asking us the same question each: “Do you want to be Class Ds? It's just for a month”. Hell, we were all class A prisoners in a Supermax. We thought we were being offered a spot at a minimum security prison, or at the very least, transfer to a less secure wing here. Maybe we should have asked questions. Maybe we should have been skeptical. Maybe we should have recognized the guy had shown us not a scrap of ID. We didn't care at the time. We saw a way out, took it, and now we're trapped in an even tighter prison where our fellow prisoners are constantly getting “terminated”. We were stupid; but we were lucky. Since then, we've not had to leave the cells, do hard labour, or worry about getting shanked. All we have to worry about is: what happens at the end of the month? Will we be “terminated,” too?
Next morning, and we rip yesterday's date off the calendar. We're getting so bored, we almost fight for that privilege. At least it passes a few seconds. 1st April, and already the others are busy punching and pinching each other like little kids. Maybe something will happen. We've been here a month. Will we hear from our little friend from the supermax? Will we finally be allocated one of these “procedures” we keep hearing about? The ones followed by numbers we never remember? They remind us of police codes, but aren't connected to any crimes. Or at least, not any we committed.
Wait, no. Intercom's coming on. Some guy clearing his throat. “Good morning, Class D Personnel of dorm 3”. Shit! This had better be good. The six of us were practically standing to attention now.
“I would like to thank you for your valuable service in the past 31 days. Everyone here at the Foundation is grateful for your decision to join us for this time. Sadly, your month long tenure with us is at an end, as agreed, and it is now time for you to be terminated”.
Deadly silence. Whatever it meant, we were joining all the others we'd seen this past month.
“That is, your employment with us is to be terminated, and our contracts annulled. To celebrate your time with us, we have prepared an honorary breakfast in the canteen. Our senior staff would like to thank you personally for your efforts, before escorting you off of Foundation grounds, and back to your homes. A guard will come to escort you in 5 minutes. Thank you again, gentlemen”.
It cut out. Employment terminated? An actual breakfast? Home?! Things were looking up, and the six of us found ourselves once again silent. After 10 years of more of prison followed by a month of nothing, going home was like telling a kid he'd just won his own candy store. The guard did show up five minutes later. He did escort us down the hall, and through others we had never before seen, until arriving at a set of double doors, through wish he ushered us. And in this room, what we found was definitely not our breakfast.
As heavy locks closed behind us, and bright lights came up, we found ourselves face to face with a giant-ass glass cube, like a giant fish tank. There were no koi here, though- the tank had some giant mess of blood, bone, and guts floating in liquid. Two of us barfed at the sight; I barfed at the smell. It was then that the same voice came up over another intercom. “Class D personnel are in position. All safety features and door locks are activated. Commence tank drain”. A vent in the bottom of the tank opened up, and began gushing the liquid onto the floor of the room, giving off a sizzle and some faint steam wherever it touched. It slowly leaked all the way to us, touching our shoes which melted a little before we started moving back up against the door.
Once the tank was empty, and most of the room was an acidic death trap, the sides were lowered, as is the cube was being unfolded. Not only did we only have a small island of dry floor by the wall left to stand on, but we had no option but to stare as the gooey mass slowly took form- first as a beak, secondly as a torso- until finally- oh, Christ. It's got legs. It's getting up. It can walk- but we have no where to run.
As this ungodly animal slowly awoke and eyed us, then the room, then us again, we heard for the third time, that voice. “So sorry, gentlemen. It appears I had my memos confused. The termination of employment is for one of our senior staff. You, however, have been assigned for termination in quite another way. Please await the approach of SCP-682 to commence testing. I can only apologize again for the confusion. Goodbye, Ds. Oh, and April Fools”.
The monster was prowling now, I didn't count the mouths; I couldn't possibly count the teeth. Things moved too fast after that; for most of us, they ended even faster. We never even had the chance to dodge, or run this thing. We had nowhere to go even if we tried; but I tried anyway. As I ran to the side, into the acid, I felt the melting sole of my shoe liquefy. I tripped, landing on my face. It burned everywhere- but still, the creature came for me, clearly still hungry from the friends of mine he had just swallowed almost whole. Before it blocked my sight entirely, I could see cameras in the corner. And at the other end of the cameras was, no doubt, the man who was the source of that voice.
Yeah. Happy April fools. You bastard.