…There are still no damage reports from the missiles the United States has launched…
The dead are walking the streets! Be sure to lock your doors…
No hospital is safe!
…on a nearby island, there's footage of a number of strange, coral-like growths breaking the water's surface…
…even if they are family members…
The government has officially rescinded all powers of the FBI. The FBI is no longer an officially sanctioned law enforcement entity…
…increased sightings of monsters all over Europe and the continental United States…
…the threat isn't over! Avoid walking! Always wear your mask!
A message from a religious group calling themselves the "Church of the Broken God" has stated that we are to baptized in the Clockwork Gift, so as to pave way for the new humanity…
…are currently battling the army! Most urban areas have been turned into warzones!
…if by "new humanity" they mean robotic corpses, then I for one, do not wish to be baptized!
And whatever you do, DON'T GO OUTSIDE!
The more things changed, the more they stayed the same.
Agent Williams reflected on that thought as he followed a railroad track into Pennsylvania, or at least what was left of it. Six months ago, he made a living tracking down SCPs, and now, his life depended on reaching one that had already been found. He was still somewhat in contact with the Foundation, or at least what was left of it. There wasn't a lot of things left nowadays. Occasionally, he'd get scattered radio messages from Sites, MTFs, and some stranded Agents, but they never broadcasted for very long. Of all the Sites he knew of, Williams could only count the remaining ones on one or two hands. The rest had either fallen in the initial chaos, or initiated nuclear failsafe. A macabre game surviving personnel played was to ask each other what they were doing on S-Day, the day everything went to Hell.
Williams himself was on assignment in South America, when he noticed the rain forest around him slowly turning into clockwork. It was at that moment he bugged out. He never did find out what was the exact cause, but there were rumors floating about that a SCP-217 infected crewman on the International Space Station caused a catastrophic accident, seeding the entire lower atmosphere with clockwork "spores". After hearing SCP-217 had went global, and at least a dozen sites were compromised, Williams knew it was time to execute his Exit Strategy. His first priority was getting in contact with Richards.
Richards was in fact on Keter duty, overseeing SCP-231, no less. Containment was already blown to hell, so the priority was getting the hell out. However, Richards did note that before leaving, she made sure to leave her sidearm in 231-7's containment cell. Williams didn't know the details of what happened afterwards, but from what he heard from the Sites that still had access to surveillance satellites, there was a massive "dead zone" gobbling up Europe and slowly making its way across the Atlantic. Richards then managed to hop a plane to North America, but the closest she could get was a Canadian Air Force Base in Nova Scotia.
Either way, they had to get to their destination on foot. A rather dangerous proposition, as all sorts of terrible things were loose, and not just SCPs. Both the Church of the Broken God and the Global Occult Coalition were out in full force. GOC Mobile Execution Teams were basically destroying everything that moved. If they didn't have a dim view of the Foundation before, they certainly did so now, since they considered the Foundation at fault for not destroying the SCPs when it had the chance. The Church was meanwhile capitalizing on a wave of religious doomsday fervor, gobbling up more and more followers every day. Last Williams heard, SCP-835 had grown to such ridiculous proportions that the oceans were literally unlivable, and that it had overtaken SCP-882's containment facility. The Church was busy trying to reach the machine by throwing wave after wave of clockwork drones at the biological monstrosity.
As for the other factions, well, most governments collapsed several months into the crisis, leaving a vacuum for others to grab power. Marshall, Carter, & Dark set up a stronghold in England called Avalon, which rather fit their pretentious nature. Williams secretly hoped whatever Eldritch horror born from 231-7 took time to swing north and show those snooty bastards a good time. The Serpent's Hand and Chaos Insurgency were also out in full force, often directly clashing with the Church and GOC for control of what was left. Like the Church, the Horizon Initiative was also riding a wave of religious doomsday fervor. The Manna Charitable Foundation was trying to set up refugee zones, with varying levels of success. Of the Iranians, Williams had no idea whatsoever. The Middle East was one of the first areas to be reduced to a nuclear wasteland in the global panic.
Quickly focusing on matters at hand, Williams took a moment to get his bearings. If he was right, he was only several miles from his objective. So far, sticking to back roads and the wilderness had hampered his progress, but it was necessary to avoid unwanted attention. The GOC's METs essentially controlled the roads, and Williams couldn't afford to have other refugees or survivors tagging along with him. They'd just be extra baggage.
"This is Site-17, going off the air." Williams' radio squawked. It was essentially Foundation-speak for nuclear failsafe. That left the remaining known operational Sites down to four or five.
"One less reason to stay, I guess." Williams muttered to himself.
Unfortunately, before he could go any farther, Williams noticed something terribly wrong. He saw SCP-615 laying on the tracks. Sure, it could have been just any random pile of sticks and logs, but he could tell. Keeping his distance, he managed to catch sight of a MET of about five men coming the opposite way, flamethrowers in hand. They were obviously on the hunt, torching every pile of wood they could find. When they finally did hit 615, the creature quickly shot off into the forest. Spoon let the MET chase 615. There was only one SCP on his mind now, and any fight he could avoid the better. He still had bad memories of his encounter with SCP-173 in Arizona. Spending two days and three nights in a cargo container while hearing 173 repeatedly banging on the walls were some of the worst in his life.
Finally, he reached vestiges of civilization. It wasn't much, just a railroad junction with a small residential district and some stores, but he was on the right track. Keeping an eye out for any unnatural presences, Williams made a dash over the crossing, painfully aware of how exposed he was. Checking his map again, he found that he was only a few blocks from his destination. Encouraged, Williams continued deeper into the town, and felt his heart sink slightly. There was what looked like a military checkpoint just up the road, directly between him and the Exit. Fortunately, the men manning the checkpoint didn't look like they were from any GOI, so Williams had hopes that he could bluff his way past. Approaching closer, he could see that the checkpoint was manned by a pair of young, incredibly scared National Guards. He didn't think any of those poor saps were still alive.
"State your business!" One of them yelled, aiming his M16 rifle right at Williams' face. Even though the kid was wearing full NBC gear, he couldn't hide the fear in his body language.
"Whoa, calm down, son." Williams said diplomatically. "I'm not here to fight."
The other Guardsman breathed a sigh of relief through his gas mask. "Oh thank god, are you here to help with the purge?"
"Uh, yeah." Williams nodded, going with the flow. "I'm Special Forces."
"Great!" The second Guardsman stood aside, pulling open the makeshift barricade to allow Williams through. "It hit two days ago. The GOC is helping us clean it out. You should go to them if you want to help out."
"I'll keep that in mind."
"Oh yeah, remember, if you don't have an official sanction, we can't let you back out!" The first Guardsman added helpfully.
With his objective so tantalizingly close, Williams started sprinting for his destination. However, in his rush, he got sloppy, rounded a corner, and ran straight into a GOC MET.
"Stop!" The MET leader yelled.
"Don't worry, I'm not infected."
"All individuals breaking curfew are assumed to be infected." The MET leader inched closer to Williams, trying to get a good look at him. "Where are you from?"
Behind the MET leader, Williams observed the rest of the MET unloading piles of clockwork corpses from a truck and dumping them onto a nearby lawn, where another MET member was collecting gasoline in preparation for a bonfire. "I'm from the Foundation, I've been sent here to help."
"Hold on, I'm running this through Command." The MET leader turned around and starting waving to his squad.
"He's totally playing you." A cold, feminine voice burst through Williams' headset. "There aren't any outgoing signals. Just stand still."
A fraction of a second later, the MET leader's head exploded like a melon, and the rest of the body crumpled like a sack of meat. The rest of the MET was still in shock, and had no chance to react before being cut down by a combination of fire from Williams' M4 and Richard's sniper rifle.
"You're late." Richards said in an annoyed tone as she made her way down from her perch atop a nearby water tower. "I've been camped up there for a week waiting for you to get your sorry ass here."
"Well, as you can see, I was held up." Williams scoffed. She seemed to think going cross country on foot was a cakewalk!
"Come on, we don't have much time." Richards motioned for Williams to follow her. "Foundation HQ activated nuclear failsafe twenty minutes ago."
"So there really is nothing left."
Williams and Richards were standing in a ruined mini-mart, which had literally been looted to its foundations. However, they weren't here for food or money, they were here for the restroom.
"Does it still work?" Spoon asked.
"I've tested it. SCP-436 is still operational." Richards opened the restroom door, which was now hanging precariously off one hinge. "You do realize the inherent danger and unpredictability of this SCP?"
"Can you honestly say it could be any worse than what we're in right now?"
It was incredibly awkward trying to fit two people into a restroom stall designed for one, especially when both individuals were clad in full combat gear. However, they did eventually manage to make it work, and there really wasn't anybody around to see the whole fiasco anyways.
"Well, see you on the other side." Williams said.
"To greener pastures." Richards said as she grabbed the door handle and pulled it closed.