“I had the d-d-dream again.”
Dr. Skinner dutifully jotted this note onto her pad. “Was it the same as the others?”
David squirmed in his seat. “Roughly, y-y-yeah.”
“Can you tell me about it, David?” Dr. Skinner looked plaintively across the coffee table at the subject, then back at her initial notes. Thirty-one year old male, one of the only researchers recruited from a non-scientific civilian job. Level 3, but very provisionally, and only because nobody else wanted the Site 38 job. Fairly big fish in a very small pond, before his…accident. Now he’s a psych case.
“It was the same. Not much different.”
“You have to tell me, David. What did he say to you? Start from the beginning.”
“Okay, it was during the breach, like it always is.” He paused.
“It’s okay, David, you’re in a safe place. You can talk about it. He can’t hear you.”
“He says he can. Every time it happens, he says he hears me. I think it’s real.”
Dr. Skinner sighed. “David. Look at me.” The researcher turned his head. “The entity you encountered is fully contained. You have never come into contact with it. You hit your head during the breach and experienced severe hallucinations. Nothing you saw was real. Now, with that understanding, what did he say in this dream?”
David took a deep breath. “He had me against the wall, and he was talking to me. I can’t remember what he was saying for a lot of it; I don’t even think I could understand him in the dream. He kept showing me these s-s-scenes, awful, horrible scenes. P-p-people being cut down and eaten alive. Skips were breaking out everywhere, in every hallway. Everyone else was running around, fighting, dying. Some people were even breaching containment on s-s-skips themselves, trying to use them to fight off…whoever w-w-was attacking us. Isn’t that insane?”
Like you were, dammit, Dr. Skinner thought. But David didn’t remember any of that, and it wouldn’t help to bring it up again. “It really doesn’t sound very realistic, but it’s just a dream. Go on.”
“He showed me all of the dead and dying, and I just kept laughing.”
Dr. Skinner paused, pretending that she was hearing this for the first time. “What do you mean, laughing?”
David shrugged. “I…I don’t know. It just…I couldn’t help it. I know how horrible it s-s-s-sounds, but at the time…it just seemed hilarious. Something about the way he smiled when people died.”
Dr. Skinner had this note in David’s file already. It was very disturbing the first time she heard it, but that was two rounds of amnesiac drugs for David ago. Every time he was back in this room, he told her about the same dream. He always had the same dream. Horrifying or not, it got old.
So far, though, it looked like the therapy was working. The researcher would be traumatized for life, of course, but who wouldn’t be? O5 hadn’t ordered her to oversee David’s therapy because there was any realistic chance of actually curing him. Something slightly more serious was at stake here.
“Did you see anything else?” Dr. Skinner asked.
“Well, he s-s-show—“ A knock at the door interrupted the session.
“I’m very sorry, David, excuse me a moment.” Dr. Skinner rose and walked to the door. A messenger outside slipped her a note. She glanced at the words on the page, then returned to her seat. "Now, then, where were we?"
"He talked for a long time. He took me to this room, deep under Site 19, and he kept talking the whole way there. I just remember…"
David squirmed. "He just kept saying 'Omic-c-ron.' And I don't know what that means, but…at the same time, I think I do. It's so…it seemed so familiar."
Dr. Skinner straightened up. "What does Omicron mean? Or what do you think it means?"
David glanced at the psychiatrist with curiosity. Dr. Skinner wasn't always as subtle as she intended to be. "Wait, what d-d-does that note say?"
"Hmm?" She looked at the note. New directives from Overwatch, it said. New intelligence required. Focus on following keywords: omicron class, apollyon, reverser, holzman, hollis, numberless, 555. Presence of any words indicate operation failure and will require additional amnesiac treatment. "It's a message from my daughter's school. Nothing relevant to this. Please continue."
"He…he kept taking me further and further down. I saw things, horrible things, people being ripped to pieces. He showed me rooms, I guess they were SCPs. I think he let s-s-some of them out, I can't be sure. But he took me to the bottom. The bottom of Site 19. D-d-do you know w-w-what's d-d—"
"David, please remember, none of what you saw is real. It was all a dream. But whatever you saw might tell us something about the root of what's disturbing you so much. Please, feel free to talk about it."
"There was a bottom. There were d-d-doors, locks, but he opened all of them. He took me inside and s-s-showed me what was there."
Another pause. "David, you need to talk about this. What did you—"
"I was different," he whispered.
"What was that?" Dr. Skinner.
"I was different before. There was a world before this, and I wasn't like this then." David's voice had changed subtlely. Dr. Skinner had seen hypnosis before, and the person in front of her had clearly gone under. It wasn't just the stutter disappearing. It was something else.
"How was it different, David? Please, stay on the couch—"
David stood up and stumbled forward, looking dazed. "There was a different world. There was a Foundation, but it wasn't called that. I don't think we had a name. It was smaller, much smaller. I think it was just Site 19 and a few outposts. And I wasn't called…no, I was still myself, but I wasn't a researcher. Or a landscaper. I had a different title…" David was pacing around the room now, muttering frantically. "Omicron Class Defense Marshal. That was what they called me. I was at Site 19 when it happened."
He's losing it, Dr. Skinner thought. "What happened in your dream? What did you see?"
The look David gave Dr. Skinner chilled her to the bone. "Knock it off, doctor. You know it wasn't a dream. Just like I know that memo has nothing to do with your daughter. And like I know that button under the desk is about to call someone who's going to make me forget about this." David paused. "For what definitely feels like the third time."
"Just stay calm, David." Her finger twitched in a practiced motion. "Nothing you're thinking is real. Focus on the sound of my voice—"
"I'm not going to hurt you, Martha. But time is running out. Holzman didn't finish the job he started. Something that isn't supposed to exist is sitting in the basement of Site 19, and it's waking up. There's an SCP that doesn't have a number, in a room that isn't on any map, and it wants to start running again. I don't know if Bobble woke it up or the other way around, but somebody has to stop it."
Two Agents burst the door down and knocked the researcher to the ground. As one restrained him, the other plunged a syringe into his neck. His eyes fluttering, David muttered a few final words, then lost consciousness. The Agents lifted him up and began to carry him out.
Dr. Skinner followed them to the door. "Wait. What was that he said?"
One of the Agents paused. "The tranq knocked him out, ma'am. He wasn't making any sense. I'm sure you'll see him after the next round of amnesiacs." They kept moving.
"But what did he say? It might be useful."
The agent looked over his shoulder as he kept walking. "He said, 'Please close the door behind you.'"