Erichthonius begat Tros, king of the Trojans, and Tros had three noble sons, Ilus, Assaracus, and Ganymede who was comeliest of mortal men; wherefore the gods carried him off to be Jove's cupbearer, for his beauty's sake, that he might dwell among the immortals.
O5-2 and O5-1 watched video feeds from a cramped room in their fortress.
Hundreds of scenes of devastation. Giants in the sky, on the earth, in the sea. Massive ghostly animals and not-animals sailing across the land. An otherworldly flotilla taking up a tenth of the Atlantic ocean. Strange, unidentifiable, not-quite-humanoid armies in a three-way battle. A comet of molten metal hurtling towards Earth. The GOC trying and failing to enact Procedure Pizzicato, bearing the brunt of an organization-wide psychic attack mid-announcement-speech. Even some small river god trying to end its local world and causing problems with mass landslides.
And… hundreds of containment breaches. Maybe thousands, in less than a day. O5-2 worried that the Foundation would soon come apart at the seams. The leadership was already fracturing - site directors were at each others' throats, arguing, fighting, and wondering where the hell Overwatch was. Some of the directors and other staff had already disappeared - one of the disappearances in particular worried her. But she couldn't do anything about any of it. The O5s were all isolated, unable to send communication, only receive. Some sort of system-wide attack by an unknown entity. The local tech monkeys were working on it 24/7. O5-2 was ambivalent about whether she wanted them to succeed.
And, displayed on the monitoring equipment stationed further out in the solar system, something slowly approaching from far away in space…
No, not 'something'. More than one something. Many 'somethings'.
O5-2 looked at O5-1. He appeared to be sleeping. Maybe dead. Well, probably not dead. He often looked like this when he slept, still, so still. He was old. Extremely old. Some people said he was the Founder of the Foundation, but O5-2 had never known how seriously to take that. People probably said the same jokes about her, after all. She looked almost as old as he did.
And, hell, considering where she'd come from and all she'd had to do… the only survivor of a broken reality… coming into this world, where she never truly fit in, always hiding everything from her other self…
She chuckled. What a silly time to reminisce. The end of the world was here. All the ends of the world. Competing. She wished she could do … something. Anything. But it was all she could do to ignore the compulsions planted in her brain. Goddamned reality benders. Maybe she should have gone to the GOC after all.
"I wonder what the other O5s are making of this," she said aloud.
"They're already dead," a voice whispered behind her.
A glowing light suffused the room.
The Way opened. First came black and purple light, then the bricks in the wall in front of the group folded inward one by one. Sophia Light resisted the urge to make a joke about Harry Potter. She wasn't sure how the Hand members would take her poking fun at their serious-business magic. Just like she wasn't sure if they'd abducted her, or if she'd gone with them willingly, or something in-between.
"You're sure about this?" she asked. "The last time Foundation personnel went into the Library, none of them came out in one piece. The only survivor lost both his arms."
"Your people came in with bullets and fire," the woman calling herself Asherah said. "The Library only harms those who seek to harm others. Or to damage the Library itself, or worst of all, the books. Your people tried all three."
"Well, I certainly don't plan to set anyone on fire today," Sophia said dryly. "You're sure I won't be attacked anyway?"
"We're sure," the black cat said. The cat could speak, Sophia reminded herself. She'd been trying to get used to that for the past few hours. One of the more obviously anomalous Hand members she'd just met. The other being the woman who appeared to be able to control the colors of herself and her surroundings. Some relation to 598, she wondered?
"You're with us now," the cat continued. "As long as you keep your word, you will be safe."
Sophia chose to let the comment slide. She supposed it was true, after all. For now.
"Don't act so worried," the woman with the shifting rainbow skin said. "You're going to save the world. Here's how we get started."
The motley group walked through the Way, and entered the Wanderer's Library.
O5-1's body rested on the floor at the foot of his chair, slumped where he had fallen.
O5-2 looked up at The Harbinger. His form was so bright… so angelic… but she still wasn't fooled.
"You're not one of 343's?" she asked.
"Of course not," he said.
"Good," she said. "You know… In another future, we got to grow old together."
The glowing being stepped towards her, sword in hand. "I know."
He made the cut quick, rapid, and as painless as possible.
When she was dead, he closed her eyes, and leaned down, planting a kiss on her lips.
"I'm sorry, Sophie," he said.
The fiery red and white angelic hosts of Yahweh clashed with an almost equally large army on their path across the Middle East. This army was made up of humanoid soldiers, animals, and more monstrous creatures, all featureless and black as pitch. Where they walked, blackness flowed across the land, the bushes, the trees, the rivers, and anything that touched it suffocated and died. The creatures and the blackness had all come from one place: the ink pen known as SCP-505.
They were almost a match for Yahweh's army. Almost.
The angels were a true army, not a mass of monsters. Innumerable white swords flashed. Black creatures flew into pieces and dissolved. Angels fell with gaping wounds, or suffocated, covered in ink. But in the end, the winner was clear.
The angels were hardly highly-developed reality benders, but they shared some of their Master's power. As they marched, they removed the ink contamination with their Master's borrowed power and healed the land. For now. This was the wrong apocalypse - the world was to perish in fire, not in ink, and certainly not before Yahweh gave the final command.
They heard the roars of other monsters, far off in the distance. Giants strode across the horizon. There was no time to waste. They would soon come into conflict again, with their Master only knew what. They had expected an army of demons and men, not… this. Why had their Master not warned them?
The angels marched through the scattering ink-beings, and crested a hill to find their way blocked by a massive mountain range that had not been there before, that had simply not existed five minutes before.
The mountain in the center of the range was more monolith than mountain, and oddly shaped. It almost looked like a hand… with an upraised middle finger…
As the hosts of heaven watched in disbelief, giant flaming letters erupted into being across the mountain range. In moments, the letters formed a single sentence, burned across the land, a sentence big enough to be visible from space.
The sentence read, "ARE WE COOL YET?"
Alone now, the Harbinger let his light dim. Let his disguise and power slip away, leaving nothing but the ordinary human being underneath.
He could think of himself by his real name now. Troy Lament. He closed his eyes and felt the relief of being able to think that again. To be human.
Of course… 'Troy Lament' wasn't his real name either. Not really.
Troy found and opened the file folder on O5-1's computer labeled "Jeremiah Colton." The access codes he already knew, and entered.
He read the files for a long time.
Then he sat staring at the screen for even longer.
Then he pulled up another window.
IDENTIFICATION CODE REQUIRED.
He typed in his name.
WELCOME JEREMIAH COLTON.
YOU HAVE (1) NEW MESSAGE.
If you are reading this, you know what to do.
I'm sorry. We all are.
The note was unsigned.
Troy hesitated only a moment before continuing to type.
The machine replied.
Does the black moon howl?
He typed in his response.
When the foundations crumble.
The machine processed for a moment.
Activation Phrase Required. Please Speak Now.
Troy Lament spoke the word, only now fully understanding what it meant, both for him and for the future of the Foundation. "Ganymede."
The message went out to every single secure facility associated with the Foundation, to every terminal, to every member of personnel above Level 1. When the Administrator read it, she sat back in her chair. The message was short, to the point, and final.
Announcement to all locations: Initiate Ganymede Protocol. All Sites are independent from this point onward.