Digging up the Past
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The doors of the Bio-Research Area-12 meeting room opened slowly. Senior researchers and project directors walked numbly back to their offices. Kain Pathos Crow emerged from the meeting room with his paw on the controls of his electric wheelchair. The corridors remained silent; they had spent the last half hour adrift in a sea of bizarre and terrifying words.

Death was no more.

Never one to have his priorities out of order, Professor Crow turned his attention first to practical, immediate matters. The emotional ramifications, he decided, could wait their turn. When he moved towards his office, it wasn't a sense of dread that pushed him along, but a newfound sense of purpose.

Well, actually, it was a modified piece of hospital equipment that pushed him along, and that fact irked him tremendously. He passed a few people he recognized, and far more that he didn't. Young people. Most of the junior staff were around 30. He'd met a 21-year-old guard just yesterday.

His entire leg ached just keeping the chair moving him in the right direction. If he were being honest with himself, he'd admit it was nothing short of a miracle he'd lived this long.

Crow's office was like his mind: carefully constructed to appear less remarkable than it was. Unread books sat open on his desk merely because they smelled the nicest. A comfortable circle of cushions resting on his couch beckoned him tantalizingly. Occasionally, as he lay there, he had pondered what it would be like to go to sleep, and not to wake up.

But that ship had sailed. He wheeled himself to his desk and began dictating to his computer.

Project Codename: Lazarus

Project#: PRJOLM-14310193

Clearance and File#: NPF-00051473

Head Researcher: Professor K. P. Crow

Project Aims: To recommission, further upgrade, and utilize SCP-244-ARC for the purpose of allowing Professor K. P. Crow to remain beneficial to the Foundation indefinitely.

SCP Utilised:

  • SCP-244-ARC - as the base construct
  • SCP-447 - as a raw material
  • SCP-500 - as a raw material
  • SCP-914 - for the altering of raw materials
  • SCP-890 - for altering of materials and the finished product

Raw Materials:

  • One pill of SCP-500.
  • Five hundred liters of slime produced by SCP-447 as a biological preservative, disinfectant, and lubricant.
  • One heart-lung machine.
  • One dialysis machine.
  • 250 kg of bulletproof glass.

Refining and Altering Procedures:

  • Heart-lung machine, dialysis machine, and bulletproof glass to be refined using SCP-914.
  • SCP-890 to assist with further shaping the resultant machine to integrate with SCP-244-ARC chassis. This will be necessary in order to contain the slime produced by SCP-477.

Two weeks passed with shockingly little indecent. Crow had rarely left his office, devoting nearly all his waking time to study at his computer. He read and reread every word of relevant information he could get his paws on. He was building his case, ensuring he had an answer for any rebuttal the council had.

He was expecting a lot of pushback. He figured he would need to cash in some favors. Hell, the possibility that the O5s would outright veto it loomed very real in his mind.

He was nervous when, starting from a nap, he saw a new message. He took a breath, then told his computer to open it.

NOTICE FROM THE FOUNDATION RECORDS AND INFORMATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION

PRJOLM-14310193 has been approved. Requested materials will be made available at Site-19 within the next 24 hours.

— Alexander Hovis, Assistant Director, RAISA

Crow could hardly believe what he was seeing. He didn't even notice the tip of his tail twitching in its arthritic approximation of a wag. Wasting no time, he arranged to be on the next flight out to Site-19.


shuttle.png

It was 6 in the morning, raining, and Crow hadn't had any coffee.

The flight to Site-19 had been a long and bumpy one, further intensifying the aches ailing Crow's joints. By the time they landed, he was so stiff he had to be carried off the jet and onto his wheelchair. Crow's tail slowly tucked itself between his legs as he pawed the lever on his chair, moving forward.

The handful of researchers and off-duty MTF personnel he had shared the flight with were already inside Site-19's loading bay, sheltered from the warm summer rains. A single figure stood out in the drizzle, one which his failing eyesight couldn't quite make out. As the distance between them closed, Crow caught a glimpse of the bright red gem set in the amulet hanging from their neck.

Oh no.

"Kain! You son of a bitch. What's up, dog?" Jack Bright's smile was recognizable even when the face giving it belonged to a fifty-year-old woman, with black hair beginning to grey at the roots. In no time, he was walking behind Crow, pushing the wheelchair along.

"Just dealing with this monkey on my back." Crow let his paw slip from the controls and tried to get a little more comfortable. "I didn't expect to see you here, Jack. Don't you have a site to run?"

"Indeed I do, and part of that includes being aware what anomalies are and aren't actively contained here. You didn't think I was gonna let someone check out your old legs without making sure it was really you? What kind of friend would I be?"

"The kind that has an executive staff to delegate the task to. I know you, Jack. If you wanted to make a big show of it, you'd have met me at the containment chamber. Meeting me here, as soon as I'm off the plane, that means you're trying to meddle."

"What, meddle? Me? No." Bright pshaw'd to the best of his ability. Even with eyes beginning to go milky, he could tell Crow saw right through him. "Ok, not meddle exactly. I'm just, 'ya know, curious about what's going through your head, old buddy." Bright tried smiling disarmingly. He was terrible at it.

"It should be pretty obvious what's going on in my head. Old dogs tend to get even less spry as time goes on."

"To anyone else, yeah, maybe it would seem like a pretty straightforward case of you not wanting to get trapped in a useless body." Crow looked up at him with a furrowed brow. "But you and I both know there are easier ways of working around that particular problem than this."

Crow remained silent and went back to looking out in front of him, at nothing in particular.

"Do you remember what the very next project you started on after finishing the walker was?" Bright continued after a moment.

"You know I do. What are you getting at?"

"When you think, you think big."

"Perhaps I do." Crow admitted, with a wry glance. They lapsed into the comfortable silence of those who knew one another very well. Bright's rhythmic steps finally brought them to an unmarked containment chamber door. Crow watched as his friend entered the door's code.

The machine stood, slumped in the middle of the small containment chamber. Dust covered it, thick enough to obscure the shine of its polished metal. Its arms hung, touching the ground. Even in its state of disrepair, the machine was glorious. How fondly he remembered a time before it had been decommissioned, when he could jump, carefree, into its comfortable control seat.

Bright couldn't contain his smile. "Kain. Your tail's wagging."


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The Mess Hall had nearly cleared out by the time Crow and Bright made it in.

Only a few late arrivals remained, picking at leftover muffins and scrambled eggs long dried from the heat lamp above. Crow had never much cared for the provided food; it all tasted synthetic, and it truly wouldn't surprise him if it turned out to be so. His snout wrinkled as the warm scent of nutmeg and grease from sausage patties infiltrated his nostrils. Maybe he did care for the sausages, at the very least they smelled the best out of everything. Or maybe that was the bacon? He was hungry.

Bright wheeled him to one of the many empty steel tables, making sure to align the mobility chair with the edges as evenly as possible.

"I'll be right back."

Crow nodded, shifting about on his wheelchair. He felt uneasy knowing that his walker, his pride and joy, was just a few floors below. Of course, the cushiony satin delight of the old machine wouldn't mean much in a few days anyway. The entire machine was going to be refurbished and improved to better support his current state. In the meantime, he would ask someone to replace the seat of his mobility chair with that of the walker. Just because it would soon be useless didn't mean it already was.

He sat in silence, shutting his tired, paling eyes for a moment to enjoy the ambient sounds. Silverware clattering in the distant kitchen. Coffee pots bubbling. A fridge door opening, then shutting with a gentle thud. Footsteps. Footsteps. Clicking, almost. Heeled footsteps.

"Hey, buddy."

Crow's eyes shot open and his head turned to the source of the sound. His confusion quickly faded once he remembered the middle-aged woman standing before him was his friend. He sighed slightly, lowering his gaze. Bright was wearing heels. Of course he was.

"Here you go."

A tray piled with sausages, bacon, and a smattering of hash browns was placed before him. Crow's tongue instinctively shot out of his mouth, drooling all over his chair. Bright chuckled, taking a seat beside him and setting down his own tray. Before he could dig in, a hand stopped him.

"No, no. Bad boy. You forgot the special treat."

A double chocolate chip muffin. Bright placed it atop a pile of sausage discs.

"Very funny, Jack." Crow rolled his eyes and nudged the pastry off his tray with his snout, digging into the meats before him.

"Oh come on. It's not like it will kill you." Bright commented, introducing his fork to his scrambled eggs. Crow stopped and swallowed, then licked his lips. Worst it could do now was give his bowels a run for their money.

"No, it won't. And speaking of… that. How are you feeling about it all?"

"What do you mean 'how do I feel'? I feel like shit's good and fucked. But shit's been good and fucked for me for the past fifteen years. Why should this feel any different?"

Bright idly picked at the remainder of his meal.

"Jack, I…"

"Yeah, you're sorry. Don't bother. It's a bit hard to care about new bars on the prison cell when you're collared to the wall." He idly tugged the amulet around his neck. "I know the world went to shit for you and literally everyone and everything else last month, but for me, it was just Thursday."

The two shared a long silence. Neither of them found the right words to say.

Bright got up, leaving the remainder of his food behind as he vacated the mess hall. Crow looked down solemnly, pondering what to do next. Though Bright's situation was arguably more unfortunate than this, he could not stop to dwell on the matter. Soon enough both he and Bright would be free. That is, of course, if his brainchild worked. It had to.

The canine leaned up slightly in his chair, reaching for the chocolate chip muffin and taking a bite.

He had missed the taste of chocolate.

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