Avian Anthology II
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August 12th, 2018 | Night | Outskirts of Las Vegas

The group of birds and shark-punchers emerged from the monorail tunnel to see the blue-tinted night sky of Las Vegas. The bird-people that had once filled the sky were now thinning out. Looking down, Hoygull saw the now-familiar sight of damaged buildings and dead humans in various stages of the avian-ification process.

"Whoa," SCP-2785 squeaked. "Everything's so big, but so broken. It's as broken as… As a broken car!" They still hadn't worked out similes.

"I don't think we have much time," Hoygull said. "The humans are going through the portals and disappearing. If we don't get HYPERION off the ground in time, the human race will be lost."

"We've got to double-time this search, then," Duck said.

Luckily, flight made it much easier to search. The five seagulls took to the skies, looking for the shed General Tarland described.

It took an hour of searching to find the shed. It wasn't quite on the outskirts of Vegas; in fact, it was closer to the Las Vegas strip than not. It had the seven-pronged star and a ladder going down for what seemed like forever. As Hoygull casually coasted down the shaft, he did not envy SCP-2785, who had to go down the ladder manually.

The bunker reminded Hoygull of an airplane hangar, but instead of aircraft, the bunker contained a massive missile, the base of which took up a good amount of floor space and the tip of which almost touched the top of the hangar. Thick, insulated wires attached computer equipment to the base. The entire place smelled of gunpowder and gasoline.

Crowl flew up to one of the computers. He pushed some buttons, before turning back to the group. "This thing needs some fuel loaded into it. It'll take all night," he said.

"Good. Then we can get some sleep," Hoygull said. "I could use a bit of shuteye."

It seemed that the bunker was meant to hold soldiers, for a time being. Hoygull found a spot in the bunkroom and curled up to sleep on top of one of the pillows.

August 13th, 2018 | Below Las Vegas

Hoygull awoke after a good six hours of sleep and took a handful of sugar cubes from the missile site's break room to shake off the sleepiness. Crowl woke up soon after and logged into the computer terminal. "Alright, do you all want the good news or the bad news first?"

"Give us the good news first," Kesh replied, who had stayed up all night doing who-knows-what

"The Missile is fueled up and ready to be launched when we are ready."

"Bad news?"

"It looks like the army of statues from earlier finally caught up to us. Luckily, they are a long distance away, and I do not think they will be able to bother us before we can launch the missile. If we start now, we will have plenty of time to launch before they get here."

"Let's launch now," Kesh said. "We don't want to cut it closer than we already are."

Crowl hit a few buttons. A computerized androgynous voice sounded over the bunker: "Initiating Project HYPERION launch sequence. Opening primary missile exit shaft."

The ceiling of the bunker parted, accompanied by the mechanical sound of gears turning. Eventually, the bunker opened to the bright blue night sky. The moon was still in view.

"Initiating launch sequence." The voice continued. "T-minus one hundred secondsNinety-nine…"

Hoygull could hear the engine of the missile warming up. Suddenly, he heard a visceral, ear-splitting sound, not of the rocket, and looked up towards the moon. A large portal had just opened up in front of it, and the head of a flaming red bird poked through.

"What's that?" Crowl yelled.

"I…" Hoygull stumbled. "I think we might be dealing with Thoth here."

"I'm getting a lot of air-information here!" SCP-2785 yelled. "But I don't think it means anything. It's just bird calls!"

At the sound of screeching, several of the bird people swarmed the sky. The sound of metal-on-metal overwhelmed even the cacophony of voices as something tumbled down the access shaft. Louder than everything else, Thoth shook the world with his mere presence. This woke up Quibba, who had still been asleep.

"I think… I think this is the end of the line," Kesh yelled. "I can barricade the access shaft with some of the equipment here. You guys go to the armory and find something to use."

"Seventy seconds…"

Kesh flew into a forklift and used it to push a table into the way of the access shaft. Hoygull motioned to the rest of his team to enter the armory.

Hoygull turned on the light. At a glance, he could see that there weren't too many explosives in the armory. Maybe they would interfere with the missiles function. All they could find were a few grenades. Unsurprisingly, there weren't any weapons adapted for use by birds, so they had to improvise. Hoygull found a double-barrel shotgun that he could lift somewhat easily.

Just as he was loading two grenades into his shotgun, Hoygull heard the sickening sound of metal against metal. The barricade won't hold he thought. Signaling to the Avian Division, he stepped out of the armory.

"Forty-four seconds…"

Kesh had formed a passable barricade out of a few tables, a dysfunctional terminal, and the forklift parked in front of them. A statue managed to slip through the barricade. In his naïveté, SCP-2785 ran up to the statue to say hello and offer its pleasantries. A haymaker knocked SCP-2785's head clean off, and an uppercut launched him across the room and crushed him against the wall.

"Twenty-nine seconds…"

The statues burst through the barricade with their raw numbers. They organized themselves into a line and began to charge. Hoygull held up the shotgun and fired two grenades into the group of statues. The explosion destroyed three statues, and knocked a few more into other statues, causing collateral damage. The remainder of the Avian Division launched grenades and used various forms of firepower, including a mounted minigun, to push back the hordes.

As he was loading two more grenades into the shotgun, one of the statues charged forwards and punched Hoygull square in the stomach, knocking him across the room into the wall. After recovering from the blow, Hoygull picked his shotgun back up. He was losing vision, but he saw a group of statues rushing towards the missile, and he fired two more grenades at them. It worked; he destroyed them, but one of them flew into Crowl's minigun, knocking it over. He was quickly overwhelmed without a weapon.

"T-minus ten seconds…"

Hoygull realized he was out of grenades, so he loaded a couple of slugs into his shotgun and fired. They bounced harmlessly off the statues, hardly making a crack. Hoygull saw another group approaching the missile. No! he thought to himself, not wanting all of his hard work up to this point to be for naught.

Through his dizziness and deliriousness, he saw Quibbs flying towards the group. What is he doing? Hoygull thought. Then he saw the grenades attached to his shirt. Then he saw the cold, hard look of determination on his face. Then he saw him dive into the group of statues.

The explosion knocked them all away. The counting of the automated voice continued.


The engine of the missile ignited, lifting the rocket off the ground and into the air. It threw Hoygull's already damaged body against the wall again, breaking a few bones. statues jumped into the air to try to hinder the missile's launch, but it was too late. However, it wasn't too late for the human-birds flying up into the air to slam themselves into the rocket, messing with its trajectory.

No… Hoygull's thoughts sunk. It won't make it!

A bird-man slammed into the nose of the missile, nudging its head away from the trajectory. The rest of the birds saw this and followed suit. The missile now pointed in the wrong direction.

After all that's happened? Hoygull felt the disappointment wash over him like a wave.

"Uh, Mister Quinn? That AESD you mentioned earlier? I'm getting a one really big lump of air-information from it!" SCP-2785's voice climbed to a screech.

"What, you mean to say the AEDS is detecting one large threat?"

Quinn shook his head. "No, Hoygull. Look!" He pointed to the skies. While the rest of the Avian-Centre alliance was looking at the dimensional rift in space housing the avian deity, Quinn's instincts were kicking in. He saw a small red dot in the sky slowly expand. "2785 didn't misspeak. They meant what they said."

Thoth looked down at the Earth he had shaped in his image. After millennia of waiting, the blue marble was finally his. Finding the right people across all manner of dimensions wasn't an easy task. The tools needed to have precise motivation and skills required to enact his will. It was easy to start with, coercing the Shark-brained idiots to make the Avian meme and tempting the engineer with the promise of saving his daughter, but leaving a breadcrumb trail for the Foundation was significantly more difficult.

He was so powerful, his newly made vassals flooded to their new home. They would make excellent workhorses for the nobles: the people will till the land, move the stones, make monuments for the pharaoh (and, of course, to him).

Not a moment too late, either. Akheilos had found this Earth only moments after his plan had come to fruition, with the shark-brains in tow. The shark-brains had weakened the only force left to reckon with him. The humans shouldn't complain, at any rate. He had saved them from an even worse fate. Who knows the savagery that Akheilos would have performed on them?

From the blue marble, Thoth saw a small trinket. He scoffed at the pitiful final act of humankind. This was the best they could do? Some feeble explosive? It might've worked in his weakened state, but it was too little, too late. He watched humanity's last firework head towards him. If he was going to crush their final hope, he was going to do it properly.

Akheilos swam through the Noosphere as quickly as he could. He had been granted a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: to kill his nemesis. Medila, the other Avian deity, had infused herself with him to serve this goal.

The whale, Gægr, had given this gift to him. He called upon Medila, and Medila had sung a birdsong so grand, it spoke directly to Akheilos' heart. It spoke to him so deeply it awoke a rage within him that had been burning for eternity. It reminded him of his people, the loved ones that Thoth took away from him.

The blood of the bird was all he'd ever wanted. He'd just lost sight of that goal.

Akheilos struggled through the fabric of reality. It ripped at his skin until it turned vibrant red from the friction. Thoth wasn't paying attention to him. In fact, only three people were the bird, the robot, and the human.

He tumbled into the skies above the squawking Earth.

The great shark spilled out from the growing red chasm in the sky. Akheilos was nothing compared to Thoth's size, but the speed and the hot-blooded passion from the beast far surpassed Thoth's own. It darted straight towards the Ibis-headed monstrosity; his maw opened wide, and countless teeth shimmered a brilliant white, speckled with crimson.

Quinn stood there, watching the sky, his jaw agape. "No way…"

"Is WHITE NETHER going to…?" Hoygull started.

In a monumental clash of deities, Akheilos tore into Thoth's eye socket. Thoth screamed and coiled backward, clutching at his eye. But Akheilos' grasp was too great. Thoth commanded his fleet of peons to come to his aid, but the daemon's appetite was too voracious. He tore chunk after chunk of Thoth's form, leaving neither bone nor gristle behind.

Bird-people began to drop from the heavens like flies. With the puppet master busy, the puppets fell limp. Thoth screamed something awful, like he was like a savage animal gurgling out its last cry for help. But Thoth was alone. All of Creation despised him; trickster gods have no place in paradise. The once noble and wise Thoth reduced to nothing more than an undignified slaver, consumed by the one he cheated.

Just as suddenly as the cawing began, the Earth fell silent.

His revenge completed and his belly full, Akheilos laid in the skies content. An eternity of blood debt had been paid in full, and his purpose had been fulfilled. Akheilos looked at his oncoming doom not with fearful eyes, but with a satisfied, toothy grin.

The missile flew away again at full speed, the dent on its carapace made by the impact compensating for its ill trajectory. The missile made a magnificent arc before colliding with the giant shark, blossoming into a giant green-and-purple explosion that lit up the midday sky.

Hoygull's last thought before passing out was we did it

Hoygull woke up sometime later in the infirmary of a Site he didn't recognize. He could see the Foundation Shield on one side of the white, clean room, and he could recognize that he was lying in a hospital bed. He looked up and saw humans operating on him… But they still had their bird wings? Hoygull cleared his eyes and saw that, yes, they were still part-bird.

The door to the infirmary opened, and Researcher Calvin — the supervisor of the Avian Division — walked in. He had undergone the avian-ification process himself, yet he seemed… Sane?

Calvin approached Hoygull, leaning over the bed. "You know, I'd like to personally thank you, Hoygull," he said. "Without your valiant efforts, the entire human population would be lost on SCP-3632. It seems that EoI-121 was completely eradicated. Given that, plus the–" Calvin paused to feel his new wings. "New modifications to humanity, I think we really came out better from this. We're still cleaning up the mess, but it'd be a lot worse if it wasn't for you."

Hoygull began to speak, but then he realized he did not have a translation device, so he stayed silent.

"Unfortunately," Calvin continued. "A sizeable portion of humanity perished during the incident, and another portion is believed to be trapped on SCP-3632. I'm talking close to a billion. We’re working on means of getting them back here. Given our new abilities, this should be easier to do than normal.

"Anyways, I wouldn’t be standing here, alive, if it wasn’t for you. I have been authorized by O5 Command to award you with the Foundation star." Calvin reached into his coat pocket and retrieved a golden star-shaped medallion with a red gem implanted at the center. He attached it to Hoygull’s lab coat. Then he stepped back, cleared his throat, and began to speak again.

"The agents from the Shark Punching Centre left this morning, by the way. I don't know if they've gone home or not, but they have their own matters to deal with. They send their farewells to you." Calvin turned around and left the room.

Hoygull sat back in his hospital bed and leaned into the pillow. Everything was back to normal. Well, as normal as things could be.

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