Memory
rating: +30+x

…and down it with water. Done. Soon I'll believe that 21st of December 2012 was a regular boring day. I'm glad I can forget the experience. Those who rank higher will always retain the memory. That is their duty. Small time personnel like me are only meant to do one thing - to execute orders. Long-term memory only makes things complicated for us. The amnestics are kicking in, mind getting blurry, and only the brightest shards of my memory's kaleidoscope shine through the fog…

***

"You up and about?"

The pain in my head after being struck with the buttstock. The pain in my hands wrung behind my back. The pain in my neck after the needle. But the worst of all is shame - burning, merciless shame of remembering what happened to me. It's not my fault that my brain was defenseless in the wake of the mental attack, but I can find little solace in it. Dancing barefoot in the snow in the laboratory's ruins, chanting praise for some creatures I didn't even know before, chasing my lab assistants with a scalpel in my hand. Good thing they were faster. Lovecraftian insanity, no less. Horrible shame, like that after a massive binge. I'm writhing on the floor, even though no one is restraining me now.

"Up and about," says the MTF lieutenant, deftly lighting a wet cigarette. "How many fingers? What's your name, you remember?"

"N-Noir. That's a codename. Two fingers."

"Correct. Lieutenant Moroz, Tau-22. We have an order to evacuate your Safe-class along with you." He's looking at some records in his tablet. "Six diminutive semi-sentient beings and four small artifacts, right?"

"Right"

"Get your boots on and go pack your zoo. And wear this, looks like you'll need it."

He gives me an army helmet with an integrated headband made of Prometheus TK-1, a light version of some alloy that comes in handy in times like these.

"Thank you"

"You should thank Sgt. Glushakov for not shooting you. He wanted to. OK, let's move, Moire."

***

The downtown is impassable. City square is littered with human and inhuman corpses. Independence Monument lies in ruins before us, like a huge corpse staring into the sky with unseeing eyes. And mortar shells still keep exploding.

"We're in deep if those guys behind the 'Chimaeras' are infected," I whisper to Sgt. Glushakov. "They say they got a tank and some artillery."

"They aren't, they have 'tinfoil hats' too," says the sergeant after a pause. "They're just jerks, firing blindly into the world. GOC is as GOC does."

"Hey, Amour, whatsyourname, shut your whining!" grumbles Lt. Moroz, chewing his cigarette violently. "Your lab girls are doing fine, look at them, so why aren't you in shape?"

Helen is looming over the skip cage - they actually look like nestlings - and whispers something to them tenderly, probably a lullaby. If the creatures get worried, they may cause some trouble, even if they are Safe. Nadya is bandaging a soldier's leg. A bullet wound, actually. The creatures attacking us are actually less dangerous than people under their influence, especially if said people are armed police officers.

"Get those [EXPLOSION] GOCs behind the House with Chimaeras online and tell them to cut it out already!" the lieutenant is screaming into his radio. "That P.O.S. is already blown to [EXPLOSION] bits, so now will they please shut their [EXPLOSION] mortar and let us pass. And yes, tell them we said thanks."

Soon the mortar sounds cease. Our APC is moving on, like an icebreaker wrestling through solid ice, carrying valuable SCPs with us. Some figures clad in GOC uniform appear from behind the House with Chimaeras, one of them waves to us. We wave back. No matter how we've been brawling with the Coalition all these years, their help was very welcome now. I don't think our small envoy would have broken through the square without artillery assistance.

On the turn I look back and see the ground next to the House with Chimaeras give under, dragging the diminutive black-clad figures below…

***

We're near the Nicholas Chain Bridge. People are running over it, a lot of people. They are being chased by an indescribable black mass that stops every now and then, consumes those left behind and presses on.

"Blast it!" screams the bomb technician captain. "They're done for anyway, blast it!"

Pieces of the bridge, people, and those vile minuscule creatures composing that black mass are floating in the air above the Dnieper for a few seconds, then it all comes crashing down into the river. Someone in Central Command must have known that these things cannot swim. No wonder we were told to stay close to the water.

The field engineer is as pale as snow. Captain sits next to him and places a hand on his shoulder.

"Calm down. It's like a gangrene, you know? Cut off a hand to save the rest. And we're saving the world now. Too bad about the people," he nods towards the broken bridge. "Did you hear a whole continent went below the water?"

Lt. Moroz interrupts my listening.

"Hey, Lemur, wake up, or you're gonna freeze. We don't have the equipment to ford the river. Plan B is to move south along the banking. Get your whistle out and make your chicks lay a road for us."

My lips and fingers are numb. Maybe it's the cold, maybe it's fear. Eventually I get the right melody out of the copper flute and "chicks" happily start terraforming, making the destroyed dock ravel out, paving the way for us.

"Cool," says the lieutenant in a deep voice. "Can they conjure me a fire? I wanna smoke, badly, and I'm out of matches."

***

Memories are fading, melting like ice. I can no longer remember how we got out. Only the most recent memories remain. Rebuilding Kiev took about nine months. People got their share of sights to see, including SCPs used in construction. My "chicks" were there as well, saved through very serious effort. People saw a lot of miracles, but now it's time to bid the miracles goodbye.

"Why do we need this?" I ask, nodding towards the plane passing above. A contrail of amnestics is spreading behind it. "Why do we need everyone to forget? Maybe it would be better if they were prepared next time?"

"It wouldn't" grumbles the lieutenant. He's irritated, he wants to take the hazmat suit off and get a smoke. "It would not. People are not meant to know about things like that."

"Why not? We do know, after all."

"We are cleared to know, Aurevoir. That's why we work for the Foundation - we are eligible. But you have no idea how many jackals are around."

"Jackals?"

"Twenty-five percents of people, maybe more. The very people we are supposed to save. There are those who'd burn their mothers alive so as not to be hurt themselves. Should they know about such a threat, they'll start fearing. Start thinking that humans are doomed to fail. They will try to appease the victor. Will cooperate with the enemy, worship it, make sacrifices… We had stuff like that dozens of times already. Heard about the 'Moloch'? 089 or something. It's a memento from a cult like that. And do you know how many traitors were caught this time?"

Of course I knew. They will have new memories implanted, corrected versions of the murders they committed. And recruited to Class D, along with the marauders. We too will have to "forget" about something. About the "Bookworm Project" for example. This information is usually meant for oh-fives, but we were given a temporary clearance. After we provide cooperation, our memories will be erased. Right now there are myriads of invisible creatures bred in the Foundation's labs. It is said they are some kind of "Fred" clones modified with SCP-410 genes, SCP-732 memes and something else. I don't know how incorporeal creatures can be cloned, or how memetic units can be combined with living creature genes, but these quick, almost sapient creatures work excellently. They infiltrate books and clean up history. They turn historical facts into myths, redraw geographical charts. And, having fulfilled their program, they die.

***

Last pieces of memory have dissolved in the fog. Now the fog will clear and my own mind will fill in the blanks. Maybe I'll read the fake diary that I recently wrote, saying that nothing out of ordinary happened. That's the trick with amnestics - they make a human mind seek false memories, and people gladly believe whatever our specialists tell them through mass media. Something is hard to forget, but that's what fiction is for, for a person to think "that's what I saw in a horror movie". Even the deaths of close relatives is eagerly justified, and two different minds come to a mutual agreement, having discussed the death in question.

I gladly took the amnestics. I had the option to selectively erase parts of memory, but I'd rather not remember anything - the privilege of my pay grade. Soon, I will believe, like the rest of the world, that the Earth only has six continents and seven billion people. Walking around my hometown I will remember that this cavity near the House with Chimaeras was always there, that the Chain Bridge was destroyed in 1920s and that there were only three subway lines built. A couple of minutes more and I will know that it's not 19th of November 2014 but 22th of December 2012. And in the end of March I'm going to wonder why it still snows like February.

I am almost sure that 21st of December 2012 was a regular weekday which I spent composing an utterly boring year report, swallowing coffee by the liter, melting at my skips' shenanigans and telling my lab assistant jokes about "those unwashed Mayas fooling the whole world with their Apocalypse".

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