rating: +13+x

“Christ, 204 really did a number on this place.” Agent Williams frowned as he surveyed the damage the Keter level SCP caused to its containment cell.

“I concur. The monetary damages caused by this breach easily numbers in the millions,” Dr. Gears said in his usual blank, apathetic voice.

Williams sighed. He didn’t exactly enjoy working with Gears but he was the doctor on duty and Williams honestly didn’t feel like filling out all the paperwork necessary to get this mess sorted out. It was quite sad really. He’d rather oversee the operation of Containment Protocol 204 than fill out a few forms.

“How far did it get?” Williams asked.

“SCP-204-1 managed to break out of its containment cell, made its way through several labs, plowed straight through the onsite dormitories, and was making its way to the Euclid containment wing. Fortunately, it wandered into the hallway leading to SCP-615’s enclosure and both SCP-204-1 and SCP-204-2 were incinerated by SCP-615’s containment measures.”

“I suppose Containment Protocol 204 is now under effect.”

“Correct. The candidates are being gathered as we speak.”

“And what’s our total body count?”

“The current tally is sixteen casualties. Nine dead and rest wounded.”

As they traced the line of destruction SCP-204 had wrought, Williams frowned. There shouldn’t have been any reason the thing could get this far. The EMP generators alone should have been enough to keep the SCP contained.

“Oh, and the EMP generators were never online,” Gears said, as if reading Williams’ mind. “They weren’t powered on today and by the time they were spooled up, SCP-204 was already contained. The staff at fault will be properly reprimanded.”

Farther down the path of destruction, they finally made their way to the ruins of the on-site dormitories. Fortunately, they were mostly empty since the majority of the staff was on duty, but as Williams and Gears could see, rescue crews were still digging survivors, and bodies, out of the wreckage.

“I would advise you to be cautious,” Gears warned. “This area has not yet been completely secured, and there is still a danger of catastrophic structural failure.”

“I’ll keep that in mind- oh damn.”

Gears and Williams found themselves in what was left of one of the dorms. In the corner, there was a woman huddled with her child in the corner. Williams was slightly disturbed, as the scene reminded him of those macabre remains of the people of Pompeii. The woman, apparently a junior or assistant researcher judging from her torn and shredded lab coat, was clutching a young girl who couldn’t have been more than eight or nine years old. It wasn’t completely uncommon for on-site personnel to have children here, but it was still a jarring sight.

“Correction, casualty count has now been increased to twenty three,” Gears said dryly. “The cause of her wounds was probably by falling debris.”

“No…” Williams inched closer to examine the bodies. “Her hands… the scabs on her knuckles suggest she was fighting something.”

“Are you implying that she engaged in physical combat with SCP-204-1?” Gears asked.

“The evidence doesn’t lie.”

“I find that scenario highly unlikely.”

“Then you haven’t seen what a mother defending her child is capable of.” Williams shook his head. “I’ve heard stories of women lifting cars and tearing doors off their hinges to save their kids. Maybe we can add punching out SCP-204-1 to the list?”

“Well, it’s not like it made any difference. She and the child are still both deceased,” Gears droned on.

“Gears!” Williams cried.

“I am aware of your tendency to give respect to the dead, but-“

“No, it’s not that!” Williams knelt down and checked the girl’s pulse. “They’re both still alive!”

“What?” Gears’ eyes widened by several micrometers, and the muscles around his mouth tightened ever so slightly. This was possibly the closest he ever got to genuine, complete surprise.

“I think,” Williams leaned even closer, craning his ear against the mother’s mouth, “I think she’s singing a lullaby.”

“So how do you think they survived?” Williams mused as medical teams carted Assistant Researcher Ann Wells and her daughter Jill Wells away to the infirmary. “SCP-204-1 doesn’t leave jobs half finished.”

“Most likely, SCP-204-1 initiated a cost-benefit analysis and came to the conclusion that terminating Dr. Wells and her daughter wasn’t beneficial.”

“Huh, is that so?”

“Do you have an alternate theory?”

“Yeah, but you’ll just think it’s stupid.” Williams shrugged.

“How foolish you, making assumptions about me like that. I am above that sort of pettiness.”

“Well, I’ve got absolutely no evidence to back this up, but maybe, just maybe, SCP-204-1 realized that it and Dr. Wells weren’t so different?”

“That’s implying that SCP-204-1 possesses a level of intelligence that is completely unheard of based on our research of it.”

“I know I know, but it’s just a gut feeling.”

“I find this turn of events highly unusual,” Gears said.

It had been four days since the SCP-204 containment breach. Containment Protocol 204 had been put into effect immediately after and it had finally paid off, but with results that nobody had quite anticipated.

“Of all the people, it had to choose Jill.” Williams shook his head.

“Need I remind you, that Jill is merely a name on a piece of paper that no longer exists. She’s an SCP now.” Gears coldly reminded him.

“What’s going to happen to the mother?” Williams asked.

“Dr. Wells will be given a rigorous amnesiac treatment and then be transferred to another facility.”

“So, it’ll be as if Jill never existed, then.”

“The Foundation has no place for sentimentality, Agent Williams. I’m not quite sure why you’re expressing so much concern over two individuals you have never met.”

“I’m pretty sure explaining the reasons would make your head explode.” Williams shook his head and walked away.

Gears, however, opted to stay in the monitoring room and stared at the security screens for what seemed to be a very long time. If the man was thinking of anything, none of the personnel present could even begin to guess what it was. They merely tried to pretend he wasn’t there and continued with their duties. There, sitting in the middle of the newly reconstructed containment cell sat Dr. Wells, or at least something that resembled her, watching over Jill as she slept.

Meanwhile, the sound recording equipment inside the cell began to pick up something odd and faint. The sound engineer on duty was about to disregard it as random interference, but thought sounded vaguely familiar, like a lullaby.

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