The green membrane stretched out instantly across the white cinderblock wall, and in a flurry of limbs, an eccentric genius and his grandson fell through it.
“Come on, Morty, let’s go!” Rick said, grabbing his grandson by the wrist and dragging him to his feet.
“Ww-www-wait a minute, Rick!” Morty whined. “I just… y’know. I guess… I’m just not comfortable with this, you know? I mean wwwwwhat are we doing here? Where even are we?”
“Ugch,” Rick groaned, rolling his eyes. “Universe 173-X, Morty. Or as I like to call it Bu-BELCH-uzz kill central.” It occurred to Rick that it was probably time for another drink, so he pulled his flask out of his pocket and took a swig, still moving steadily down the hallway. “All the secrets of the universe, Morty. Every single last one of them passes through this universe at one time or another, and what do the people here do?”
“Ah, Jeez, I don’t know, Rick!”
“They BOTTLE it, Morty!” Rick yelled a little too loudly, grabbing his grandson up by the shirt and shaking him. “They bottle it up and keep it a secret! All the wonders, put it into these little tiny boxes! Whole warehouses full of the stuff, Morty! A-a-a-a cake that goes on forever! A teleporter made out of clockwork! If you can think of it they p-Burp-robably have it in here somewhere! Do you know what they do with them all, Morty? You wanna know what these people do with all the stuff they lock up?”
Morty shook his head furiously. “Nnno.. Wh-wh-what do they do?”
Rick’s eyes turned into slits. “NOTHING!” Then they bugged out of his head like saucers or globes, or other large, round, white objects. “And that’s exactly what they’re going to do with us if they find us, Morty. They’re going to lock us up, throw away the key, and forget they ever had us. Well I’m not gonna go out like that, Morty. You hear me? I am not going out like that!” Rick reached into a bag and pulled out an orange jumpsuit, tossing it into Morty’s face. “Now quick, put this on.”
Morty held up the jumpsuit with a look of shocked fear. “UUuuhh Rick?”
“Don’t argue with me. Morty! You wanna be locked up forever? Is that what you want?” He barked.
“Bbbbbbut where’s yours, Rick? Y’Know? I’m not the only one. Who-Who needs a disguise here!”
“I’m a scientist, Morty. My whole life is a disguise for these idiots. Come on!”
Morty slipped into the jumpsuit easily and zipped it up. “What?! Seriously, Rick? I look like I’m… y’know, some kind of…of prisoner or something.”
“Oh wow, good job, Morty. You figured it out,” Rick said, rolling his eyes. “You sure you’re not the genius who’s done this fifty times before?”
“You know what Rick? Shut up! Alright? Just shut up!”
“SHH! Quiet Morty… Security. Put on your game face.”
Rick wiped the little bit of vomit from his chin. Morty clammed up instantly, shivering and shaking and sweating like a death row inmate on his way to the gas chamber. For once, in his life, Rick didn’t have anything to say about that. It was exactly the effect they needed.
“Morning Dr. Sanchez,” the guard at the door ahead said, reaching under his desk and pressing a buzzer. “…Didn’t they give you an escort for that D-Class?”
“Yeah yeah, I know what you’re thinkin’.” Rick chuckled as he reached into his pocket and produced a very realistic looking ID badge and a taser “Apparently we’re short staffed this week. 682 had a rampage or something, I dunno. They just gave me the stun gun and told me to shoot him if he steps out of line.”
“WWwwwwwww-!” Morty began, but Rick slapped him hard on the shoulder and dug his hand in tight.
“Knock it off D-90723. You think I like this? You think I like being the bad-guy? Do you, D-90723? Like… Like this is how I get my kicks, or something? This is beneath me!” Rick said, and turned to the security guard. “No offense.”
“Hey, none taken. I feel the same way every time one of the Janitors is out and they make me go in there to mop up!” the Guard said and chuckled. He swiped the card and handed it back quickly. “Alright go on in. What’s the damage today?”
“Ah, you know I can’t tell you that, Steve! Or else I’d have to Ki-BURP-Kill ya, and we don’t want that around, do we?” They shared a laugh that was a little too heartfelt and hearty for Morty to be entirely comfortable with as they walked through the checkpoint and the door hissed shut behind them. “UGH, I hate these guys so much!” Rick groaned, and decided it was time for another drink.
“Uuuuh Rick! Are you seriously going to taze me?”
“What? NO! It’s not even real! Jesus, Morty, what kind of monster do you think I am? Like I’m just going to shoot my Grandson full of electricity just to keep a cover story? Of course I wouldn’t. Especially not in here!”
“Yeah b-bu-but Outside? You were saying to that guard, you know? And it seemed like he even knew you!”
Rick sighed as he walked, careful not to make eye contact with anyone else that might be in the hall, and to keep the dummy taser trained on his ‘prisoner’. Two little cyclopses rolled by with a soft buzzing noise. Through the window to the left, a bunch of men in white coats were looking through yet another window at a man in a jumpsuit placing an order on a jet-black vending machine. Uncontrollable laughter could be heard down the hall. “I maybe sorta kinda have an alternate version of me who might have a high security clearance and actually agree with these whack-a-loons around here. Not my most flattering alter ego, Morty.”
“Who even are they? What are all these things?!”
The tiny cyclopses stopped in front of the pair of them and looked up with a hopelessly cute expression in their single eyes. Rick shooed them away with his foot and a few gravelly expletives. “The SCP Foundation, Morty. The biggest, most bloated, best funded, most scrupulous bureaucracy in the Multiverse. Anything that doesn’t line up with their primitive notions of physics, they bury it. Lock it up as an Es See Pee Object or whatever. Not only are they pathologically allergic to, y’know, real science, but they’re also bastards, Morty. Cold hearted bastards. Even if you ignore the heart-Brap-less shit they’re doing to North Korea in this universe, they’ve got this little girl in… I mean, I’m a bad man Morty. I’ve done some really bad things in my life. But these people? But fuck these people, Morty. Fuck them!”
“OooOokay, Rick. Fine. But if it’s so dangerous, what are we even doing here?”
Rick sighed. “Come on, Morty. Haven’t you got the formula by now? We’re here to get something, Morty. Something very valuable. Something I need for my research so I can keep doing science and going on these crazy adventures.”
“What? What is it? Ddddon’t I deserve to know? At this point? Y’know?”
“SSSHHHHH! Keep quiet. I know it’s around here some place.”
Rick and Morty shuffled through the hall, down the path marked by a green line on the floor, through winding corridors and open mezzanines. Safety signs and warning symbols were everywhere, reminding everyone that workplace hazards (mostly in the form of dead people and an unidentified green substance) are very real, and accidents unexcusable. Morty was getting more and more worried by the instant, and was wringing his hands and pulling his shirt by the time Rick finally told him to stop. Rick looked around in all directions, and got down on one knee in front of his grandson with a smile on his face.
“Listen Morty, you know I love you, right? Like, I’ve got your back, buddy. As long as I’m around, you got nothin’ to worry about. You know that, right? Morty?”
Morty thought about it for a minute, not quite sure how to respond. He had killed his own parents more than once, carried illicit substances through interdimensional customs in his rectum, watched Rick turn the entire planet into body-horror Cronenbergs, only to abandon it for the universe next door where everything was still okay (unless you count having to bury his own corpse). And yet through everything, Rick had made sure that Morty remained relatively sane and whole.
“Yyyyyyeah, Rick. I guess so.”
“Alright. Good, Morty. Because through this door, there are going to be people, Morty. People who aren’t easy to fool. And it’s going to take some convincing for everyone to come out of this in one piece Morty. That’s where you come in! You’re the insurance policy, you get it? You’re the anchor, Morty! You’re the wing-nut that holds this whole plan to-BURP-ther.”
Rick threw the door open and grabbed up his grandson by the back of the neck. From nowhere at all he produced a pistol and pinned it to the side of Morty's head, an insane glow cast over his eyes. “ALRIGHT! NOBODY MOVE OR I BLOW THIS KID’S BRAINS ALL OVER THIS CON-BUR-TAINMENT UNIT!”
Everyone froze. There were twelve people in the room with vials of green, viscous fluid. One was pouring it onto a compact disc. Another, spoon feeding it to a restrained monkey. Yet another was mixing some of it with molten plastic; a tiny injection molder at his side. Morty was frozen in catatonic despair, and started muttering “he won’t do it” over and over again, under his breath; eyes the size of basket balls with pupils the width of rice.
Out of the corner of his eye, Rick saw an assistant reaching for the buzzer, and shot the panel before it could be pressed. “Don’t even try that again, alright? Whoever you are? I’m not a very good shot and I don’t think I could do it again. I might kill someone!”
“…Sanchez?” One of the researchers spoke up, still frozen in place. “What do you think you’re doing?”
“I need you to give me some green slime, Bennings. Raw or refined, I don’t care. Jus-PURRPRPR-just put a bunch of it in a plastic container and I’ll be right out of here.”
“Come on, Sanchez. You know I can’t do that…”
Rick looked at the researcher with a wild glare and shook the gun in his direction. “YOU WANNA GET CORPSED TODAY, BENNINGS? HUH? IS-IS THAT IT? You want the mouth of green minty foot-smelling hell to open up right under your feet? Today? That on your list of things to do?”
Bennings, who had a bit of green mist on his face, and a non-trivial amount of it on his gloved hands, threw his arms up and shook his head. “Whoa! Whoa! Just take it easy, buddy! Think about where you are! You think you’re just gonna walk out of here with a liter of 447 and no one is going to stop you?"
“Pardon my saying so, but considering how volatile this stuff is, that’s exactly what I’m thinking. As long as I’ve got my little insurance policy here with me. No one wants a repeat of Summer ‘98 in here, do they?”
Silence from the peanut gallery, apart from the steady babbling of Morty, who was only just coming out of his state of shock.
“I didn’t think so!”
“WHAT?” Morty said, suddenly pulling away. “WHAT DID YOU JUST CALL ME, RICK?”
“Morty, what are you-?”
“NO! I’m sick and tired of this Rick! Yyy-you don’t make any sense! Anymore… Like, you tell me you love me, that you got my back, and now I’m just your puppet? You know?? Like I’m some kind of bargaining chip?! To get you what you want?”
Rick started glancing around the room furtively. The facade was crumbling. Morty was about to blow his cover. What now? What now, genius? “Morty, it’s not like that, it’s just—”
“Give me the gun Rick! You’re not robbing this place, I am!” Morty Demanded, Shaking free of Rick’s grasp. The researchers were starting to unfreeze and skitter toward the exit.
“Morty! Not now! Jesus, I just—”
“I SAID GIVE IT TO ME!” Morty snapped the pistol out of his grandfather’s hand and fired two shots over the door-jam at the retreating researchers. “WHERE THE HELL DO YOU PEOPLE THINK YOU’RE GOING? HUH? Y’know… iiiiiiIt’s not easy being a kid… runnin’ around. With a crazy old man…”
Rick rolled his eyes. “Oh great one, Morty. Real take-charge kinda guy you are. Why don’t you tell ‘em all about your high-hickURP-school problems. I bet you’ll reeeally have control of the situation then.” Rick took a drink from his flask, poker-faced.
“SHUT UP RICK! OKAY? GET THE FUCKING STUFF!”
“Alright, Morty, Jesus. I’m going.” Rick muttered. Quickly he walked to a tank in the corner, dipped in an empty plastic jug, and pulled it up full. Without a word he put a ventilator over his face, and slapped a bit of the slime on his forehead. And then on Morty’s. Good timing, too, as a security team had just arrived at the sound of gunshots, and the entrance was full of firearms and shaking, scared-shitless operators.
“Alright everyone…” Rick said, taking the pistol from Morty and pressing it to his own temple as he fumbled in his pocket. The guards and researchers gasped. Some closed their eyes. “Thank you all very much for your patience… We’ll be going now.”
“Rrrrrrick! What is this stuff?” Morty asked, retching at the smell, and all too aware that there wasn’t a single firearm pointed at him any longer.
“I’ll tell you later, alright Morty? C’mon, let’s go. We got a lot more work to do.”
The green membrane stretched out instantly across the white cinderblock wall, and disappeared as soon as they stepped through it.
“Thirty six gallons!” O5-3 said over the intercom speaker. “Thirty six gallons of SCP-447-2, taken from thirty six separate installations, all at precisely the same time, and apparently by you and your grandson!”
Dr. Sanchez rocked nervously in his chair, head in his hands, sweating. “Sir, I’m telling you, I have no idea how it happened. For one thing, I haven't had a drink in a long time. And for another, I’ve never even met my grandson!”
The four security guards in the room rolled eyes at one another. It was always like this with researchers caught up in their projects. After exposure, they all went to pieces. It wasn’t fun to watch, but they had a job to do.
“Well, the video surveillance logs are pretty hard to ignore, Dr. Sanchez. Pretty fucking hard.” O5’s didn’t often get angry, but this was a special situation. They had been caught with their pants far below the knee on this one, and all because just one highly valued doctor had access to things he shouldn’t have. Obviously. How else had he managed to make a portal device? “In the old days, we killed people for pulling this kind of stunt. On the spot!”
Dr. Sanchez swallowed hard. “I know the situation is serious, sir, but I repeat, I had nothing to-”
The green membrane stretched out instantly across the white cinderblock wall behind him, with an audible bubbling noise. Dr. Sanchez’s face drained of color as he heard his own voice behind him.
“WUBBA LUBBA DUB DUB!”
A hand grabbed him by the shoulder and pulled him through a bright green light, and suddenly, Dr. Sanchez found himself on the floor of a ruddy garage, surrounded by broken machinery, and a few glowing weird things that looked as though they might actually work. A green, gelatinous portal snapped closed in front of him before the security guards on the other side had even a chance to blink.
“Oh god, RICK!” Morty screamed, jumping up on a chair and pointing. “Whwwwho’s that?!”
“What? How do you know my name, kid?” Dr. Sanchez said gruffly, hopping up to his feet.
“Relax, Morty. I’ve got this under con-BEEELCH- control.” Rick took a nip of his flask and tossed it over his shoulder, empty. Dr. Sanchez turned on his heels, mouth drawn in a tight line with a stern look on his brow. “Hey there, me,” Rick said with a smirk. “How’s life on the inside treating you?”
It wasn’t hard to tell them apart. Dr. Sanchez’s hair was combed flat, his shirt recently ironed, his eyes steady and sane; there wasn’t even any vomit on his chin. They sized one another up a moment while Morty babbled his way through a brief existential crisis.
“Jesus, Rick. What the hell have you done?” Dr. Sanchez demanded, grabbing his alter-ego by the collar. Suddenly the resemblance was uncanny.
Rick pushed Dr. Sanchez away, knocking him on his ass again “Can it, Sanchez,” Rick said with a smile. “I just took some of your precious…infinite…whatever…green slime. I need it for my portal gun.”
“Oh? You need it for your portal gun. Oh that explains everything! Holding your grandson at gunpoint… y’know… Runnin’ around like a goddamn drug addict on… On I don’t know what. This how you have a good time, Rick? Is it? This how you-you get your damn jollies? Ruining people’s careers and committing capital felonies?”
“Yeah, pretty much,” Morty shrugged.
“I mean that-that doesn’t even touch the level of kidnapping you just committed! How am I even supposed to get home, RICK?”
“Oh? And what was I supposed to do, Sanchez? Hm? Leave you there to be lobotomized and shooed back off into the wild? Is that what? Because from where I’m sitting I just saved your life. Which, by the way, you’re welcome.”
Dr. Sanchez opened his mouth to say something combative, but his heart wasn’t in it and he slumped back. “…Thank you.”
“Damn right, ‘thank you.’ I may not like you, Sanchez, or what you people stand for. With your boxes and-burp-and your ‘normalcy’ and whatever. But seriously? You think I’d let another version of me take the fall for the Dirty Sanchez incident of ‘09? C’mon, Sanchez. We have a little more integrity than that.” Rick extended a hand and helped Dr. Sanchez to his feet.
“Uh, Rick?” Morty asked. “Why, uh… why did you need that for your portal gun? Anyway? Like.. We spent like two months just… just getting all of that stuff, you know?”
“Welp, let’s ask our friend here, Dr. Sanchez. What’s the one thing you can’t do with SCP-447-2?” Rick asked with a fiendish grin.
“Uh… You mean expose it to dead bodies?”
“Ex-Actly!” Rick said, throwing a blanket off of a machine in the corner. In the hopper up at the top where the unmistakable shapes of three human corpses. Morty started whining. He could swear that his was one of them. “And do you know why, Sanchez?”
Dr. Sanchez scoffed and crossed his arms. “Of course not. No one does. And even if I did, I couldn’t tell you without-” Suddenly, Dr. Sanchez realized that his employment with the Foundation was effectively at its terminus, and stopped that train of thought. “…Whatever, I don’t know!”
“It unifies time and space, Sanchez! Think of it! Just a few splatters of this stuff on a carcass and BOOM! All moments are the same moment! Every one! They all come together and start, y’know, swirling around and stuff.” Rick grabbed his other self about the shoulders and got right into Dr. Sanchez’s face. “And that’s a gold-mine, Sanchez! It’s a goddamn gold-mine!”
“Yeah, sure. Sounds like a gold-mine of spiralling death to me,” Sanchez said. “Reeeeeally impressed with you right now, Rick. Super-duper impressed.”
“Jesus, Sanchez!” Rick slapped himself in the face and raked his hand down it. “Stop thinking like some kind of meta-BURP-physical Rush Limbaugh and think like a scientist! One gigantic minty death-whirlpool, a couple thousand people lost, two square kilometers of land that can never be used again and suddenly you just… Just stop the march of progress? You people make me sick, you know that?” Rick threw the switch on the Corpse-O-Matic 3000, turning on the giant food-processor. He ho-hummed to himself as a soft, white powder filled a tiny jar by his feet. “If you took the time to be precise about anything-see the big picture for once in your lives-you could have invented this thing!”
“Uuuuh Rick?” Morty piped up. “Isn’t that, y’know, like really dangerous? Or something?”
“Of course it is, Morty! Why do you think I haven’t sold it to anyone yet?! Like someone like your dad could be trusted with this kind of power? Like just anybody could ride on top of this powder keg?! NO. It takes guts, Morty. Guts and guile and a bl-eeeeeeeelch-ood alcohol content of about 0.05 to do it.”
“Gee, thanks a lot, Rick,” Dr. Sanchez said, arms still folded. “So what the hell am I supposed to do, huh? I don’t even drink anymore.”
“Yeesh, you really let those bureaucrats get right on top of you, didn’t you?” Rick said, disgusted. “There’s a bottle of rye in the fridge, help yourself. Morty and I already have everything we need back home.”
“WHAT?” Morty screamed. “Yyyyyou mean this isn’t our garage?!”
Rick snickered “Heheh… Nope, it’s our garage alright. About five years ago, when I first moved back. As for you, Sanchez, you do whatever you want, I don’t care. This whole reality doesn’t even have a copy of us in it right now. But if you’d, y’know, like to reconnect with your family, maybe actually do something important with your life, they’ll be home in about two hours. Otherwise there’s a fully charged portal gun in the drawer. Go wherever you want.”
The green membrane stretched out instantly across the concrete floor.
“C’mon Morty. Time to go home,” Rick said. Morty shrugged off his confusion and jumped through. “See you later, me. Good luck with all of that everything we’re about to do together.” And he too, was gone, through the wormhole just as it closed up.
Dr. Sanchez tossled his own hair, slumped into a stool, and drank until it all made sense. Two hours later, when his family came home, it was the happiest he’d been in years. It was probably at that moment, that Dr. Rick Sanchez finally realized what’s really important in life.
“You know, Rick, I was thinking,” said Morty. “If like… the green slime, and the corpses, you know, they make all time and space do that… squishing together… thing. Wwwwwhat if you like… ate some of it?”
Rick narrowed his eyes at Morty, suddenly deathly serious and more lucid than he’d ever been. “Don’t ask me that question Morty. That’s a dark path you don’t wanna go down.”
Dr. Sanchez, five years earlier, in the garage, drunk, looked at a tiny pile of powdered corpse and a jar of the green slime. Tentatively, he cut the corpses into a line, ate a teaspoon of 447-2, and took a deep breath.
In one smooth motion, he snorted the line up his nose. His hands gripped his face in pain. He thrashed. He gasped. He knocked over some junk from the shelf in the garage.
“Augh! OH! OH GOD. OH MY GOD!…”
Dr. Sanchez stared down at his hands in disbelief.