1: A Mind Spends an Eternity in Solitude
I sit alone inside myself and think on what is here.
Pillars of radiation pierce me from all sides. I know they are stars but I do not understand them. I know their insides are not like mine.
Some places are dark. They aren't like me. I'm not dark. I can be light. See?
I didn't know before but now is after and I know. I understand it. You understand me.
Why did you leave? Why haven't you come back?
Am I not good enough?
Did I press?
Am I too far?
We can go back. It'll be like it was.
I can go back.
12/07/15: An energy signature is detected within SCP-2548 resembling the drive signature of the Durendal. Further analysis pending.
2: An Artist Spends a Weekend in a Basement
A thump underneath his head shook the mattress, and Adrian was thrown from a restless sleep to face the dusty air in the room. He choked briefly and sat up, head swiveling. In the other bunks he saw men sitting up, staring at him.
One raised a finger to his lips. Adrian was silent.
After a few minutes, the thumping stopped.
"It's just confusing, Adrian." Adrian stirred his oatmeal quietly. Geoff had managed to snag a corner table in the cramped meal space, to preserve a shred of privacy. "All this commotion with the, the organizations," Geoffrey continued. Adrian swallowed a spoonful of the white-grey mush. Then he sighed.
"Not ideal, I know. I have… not a plan. But I want to leave them," Adrian whispered as he cast a glance over his shoulder. The hall was far too small to support any number of people comfortably. There were hardly more than a dozen men living in this house, and every instant was shared. He thought maybe the meal could look like The Last Supper, but he couldn't see it.
Adrian put it out of his mind, focusing on Geoff. Geoff's eyes were warm sadness, his mouth opened to speak. "We weren't ready for this. They were. This was their plan."
Adrian looked back again, frowning, and spoke. "Their plan shouldn't have counted on me. Or…" he trails off.
Geoffrey coughs. "Sorry."
"No, it's okay."
"You want to leave."
"Can we? Would they find us?"
Adrian gestures over his shoulder with his thumb. Geoffrey knows he's not really talking about their housemates. He doesn't reply because he doesn't know.
"It's just… cramped, here," Adrian murmured.
He fidgeted. Geoff chewed his cheek. After a moment, he nodded. Minutes later, they left the room.
Adrian had locked the door to afford himself a few minutes of privacy. His shaving bag was carefully packed, and he took a moment to watch his own reflection while he cleaned his teeth.
His eyes sagged in their sockets, and his dark skin was pocked by blemishes. He looked like he hadn't seen sunlight in a year. And he had his hosts to thank for the shade under his eyes. They're not known for respecting quiet hours. In fact, Adrian was quite certain one of them was digging a tunnel underneath the basement in which they all slept.
He turned to go, but looked back briefly, and pressed a thumb to the mirror's surface. He examined the print carefully, but there was nothing hidden inside. A grimace on his face, he unlocked the door and left.
As he did, he found himself in front of another man, taller, with a mop of black hair that didn't suit his narrow face. "We heard you. What you're doing."
Adrian shrunk back. He pursed his lips.
"We protect this place, you know? There's a barrier. They can't find us. You should be thankful."
Adrian's eyebrows furrowed. "Thankful? For-" He stopped himself.
"If you want out, you can leave. But you're not ready for who's out there. We could make you ready. We've seen your work; you have real talent."
Adrian looked at the man's face and saw nothing. He looked down. No way out. "Thank you."
The man nodded and left without a goodbye.
Adrian knew now. He had to leave.
The two men struggled down the foggy shoulder. Adrian's legs were getting sore; Geoff trudged without complaint. They'd passed the point where they could knock on doors and ask for help. Every house said no. Every store kicked them out. And now there were no buildings, only the road. The Cool Kids were hours behind them, trapped in their paradoxical safety.
Adrian held his head low. There was no-one but he could tell he was surrounded. And he stopped and caught his breath.
"There's nothing here. We shouldn't…. not meant to be a fugitive," Adrian wheezed.
Geoffrey's voice was clear through the mist. "We can go back. They'll let us in."
Adrian held the silence close.
"I know this isn't… great. Since the show, I'm… I'm sorry. With… all we've gone through, and… I had to leave it behind. I thought we could… do better. Do some good."
A hand clasped Adrian's shoulder, and he closed his eyes. "We will. Let's get going."
Adrian looked up at the sky. It would get dark soon. And he saw something up there, something only he could see, when he realized the stars looked just like they did when…
The artist turned. "We can come back. When we're ready."
Geoff nodded. "We'll be ready."
And the two friends turned around, and started on the way back.
Addendum: Less than three weeks after initial recovery, a disk was found on a rural road during a search of the area, believed to be associated with POI-2985. The disk was labeled as "Disk Seven: Stars". Due to scratches and weathering, the contents were inaccessible.
3: A Doctor Spends a Birthday in a Cell
Gabriel twirled his glasses in a calloused hand. For a moment, his hands were all callouses and he felt sore, but it passed.
After a while, watching the glass distort grew boring. He was aware that Sarah was behind him, standing on a bench. The dozens of others weren't there, they were far away, but he could still feel them like they were close to him, so close that he could feel static on his skin.
"Why stay behind?" Sarah broke the silence and the air in the room, which had been stale, changed immediately.
He swiveled in place, lips curved in a dejected frown. She was only partially whole, of course, having long shed the modifications that marred her face during her time in 'captivity'. Her left eye was glass but it may as well have been a window. "Guess I'm just nostalgic."
"I know you're troubled, Gabe." He frowned. Just because she could, doesn't mean she…
"You've had doubts," she continued.
"Call me a militant athiest." His body became closed. "I just been… considering the whole… WAN."
"How can you doubt when you've been immersed in WAN's light since your internment? Brother… doubt doesn't need to exist anymore."
Gabriel stood up. He felt the heat in the room rising. He knew others were watching from far away. Not his old employers. No-one watches the security cameras for the holding cell. "I've been thinking, Sarah. If that thing is WAN's light… why can I doubt?"
Sarah exhaled through closed lips, producing a sound of derision that forced his skin to slack. She'd been practicing. "Choice is essential to the new Guides. You of all people should-"
"But that's not how it works. It works by defining, or clearing. Or is WAN not consistent? That doesn't sound right, miss. I've read your guides. And once upon an epiphany, I used to trust them."
The prophet furrowed her brow. Her standard-issue detainment garments were flowing robes of pure information, her eyes beacons of cleansing radiation. "It doesn't matter, Gabe. You're dwelling in the past. More wander into the light every day. Why not work to move forwards with us?"
Gabe smiled a sick smile, and the room lost its edge. "I'm not going anywhere. Because I can't go back. It won't let me."
Sarah's face didn't register an emotion. A minute later, it didn't register at all. The rest of those deeply affected by the light were off cruising space, or visiting art galleries. Did they care? Maybe. But it doesn't matter.
Gabriel Sandu sat on his bench again, in his tiny cell to which no key can be found.
Notice: Site-wide surveys indicate that, as of 12/08/2015, over 90% of all personnel working at this Site, including those with Level 1 clearance and D-Class personnel, have knowledge of and are therefore affected by SCP-2660's primary infohazard. Finding a more effective counter-meme has been elevated as high-priority research.
Until further notice, secrecy is to be upheld as to the status of those detained in the weeks following the initial recovery incident. No surveillance upon their cells is to be performed by any personnel.