Old Roots
rating: +9+x

The warm ocean wind blew gently on the cargo ship. Waves gently lapped against the hull, with the ripples of lamplight reflecting off of them. The captain stared out over the rust encrusted deck that sailors paced across below. Laughter floated up, freed with the end of the war.

The old vagrant awoke to the sounds of gunshots and yelling. An explosion shook the ancient complex as the man scrambled out of the box he used as his primary shelter. Looking into the hallway, he saw several men in uniform rushing down the corridor away from him. The drifter quickly slipped out of the room he occupied and headed in the opposite direction. As he reached an intersection he climbed through some holes in the wall the police had missed. His resolution was to follow them through the crumbling infrastructure. The homeless man's palms were already sweating with excitement as he relished watching the upcoming firefight.

A storm was brewing. Waves that once gently lapped now slammed against the iron hull. The captain and the first mate discussed the danger, and the safety of the merchandise. One of the younger sailors was called up from below decks and ordered to secure the cargo.

The homeless man continued following the group of… they were police, right? Not that their occupation mattered. He was just here to watch the fight. What was life without some danger to spice things up? It had been long since he bothered with a gun but he still vividly remembered the feel. Even if one can no longer partake in an action, it is a pleasure to relish a memory. His long fingers twitched once as though feeling for a trigger. But no, guns were not his style these days. Not like they ever really were. Instead, the man kept going.

The sailor carefully climbed down the stairs leading to the main hold. A particularly malefic wave caused the ship to lurch, slamming the sailor against the wall and flickering the lights. For a moment, the sailor thought he saw another person further down the stairs, but when the lights stabilized there was no sign of anyone else. The sailor dismissed it as a vision, and kept going.

As the squad rounded a corner, the vagrant was distracted by something that smelled strangely familiar. The scent of dust and blood which filled the air couldn't block the powerful new smell that permeated throughout the hallways. His attention was completely diverted by the aroma. Although his old nose wasn't quite as good anymore, the drifter scrambled against the wall, trying to follow the smell, all thoughts of the police forgotten.

That the cargo hold stored legal cargo was a given. However, it also had about a dozen of Nazi war criminals, paying for a safe trip to South America with the stolen property of the dead. The brutality and cruelty of the passenger's actions did not bother the sailor as he walked down another flight of stairs. All that mattered was the resulting payoff.

As the vagrant ran, he could pick out the smell better. It seemed… salty. Was it sweat? No. It was more… sentimental. The drifter scratched his head. He was missing a piece of the puzzle. A memory was just out of reach, infuriatingly close yet too far at the same time. So much had been forgotten over the years. The old man had spent so much time drifting that he had forgotten the date, his past life, even his own name. Everything was too confusing for him. The old man stopped after crawling through another wall. The smell was coming straight at him now, carried on a warm breeze. Carefully, the drifter walked through one last hole in the wall, out of the smoke of the collapsing building and into the dusty sunlight.

The sailor began to use more caution as he walked down the last few steps into the hold. The raging storm was abusing the ship's structure, and he would hate to break his neck before the Nazis paid the crew off. Reaching the bottom, he saw some seawater sloshing around. More of it dripped from above.

The old man slowly paced around the hold, not noticing the footprints in the dust he left behind. The sense of déjà vu was overwhelming. He touched the walls and desperately tried to pull some sense of recognition. Nothing came to mind, but… wait. The walls! They were rusty and torn, but that shouldn't stop the effect! The vagrant spun around and saw the clear, dry footprints which held the key. The entire place should have been collapsing apart already, the ancient rust and corrosive acid working together to bring the whole thing down. But he remembered! The salty breeze was from the ocean! This was a ship! His ship!

The sailor began calling out names to see if the passengers were awake. No one responded, though the storm should have already woken them. Perturbed, the young sailor was going to walk deeper into the hold, when a drop of water landed on him. It was warm, and sticky. The ocean should have been freezing cold, but the water was warm. Looking up, the sailor realized the ship no longer belonged to them.

The sunlight dimmed as a cloud passed over the hold. The ship groaned and rocked back and forth. A series of bodies rose out of the bottom of the hold while the walls blurred and turned hazy. The old man circled around the bodies and examined them. Some faces were familiar, some were not. Some he had brought here personally through the network before he became lost, and some entered the ship themselves later on. Some were long dead and some screamed their life to the sun. Casually tossing some of the unfamiliar ones back through the entrance, the old man remembered. His name was Lawrence, and this ship had been his refuge after he wandered for years. It had welcomed him as a stowaway and showed him its secrets. All of the sailors were given as to him presents. And Lawrence had given in return, sharing what had been bestowed on him.

The old man raised his arms, and sat in the center of the circle of writhing bodies. The ship heaved in of his actions. He was the captain now, and this was his ship.

The light flickered as a cloud passed over the ship. The hold shut itself off.

Slowly, the churning water began heaving the ship up and down.

The ship tilted as its hull groaned a welcome. Debris and empty crates slid across the floor.

The ship rested for a moment above the waves and sank into the water.

It sank, faster and faster, until it seemed it was falling.

And the old man awoke.

He awoke and saw the rust and corrosion.

He awoke and saw the shifting corridors, and the great throne room he had fallen into once before.

He awoke and saw the king who had called him there and who had given the man the first taste of power.

He saw the king, and what was not the king, the absence of him, the rotting, acidic essence of death.

The king stretched out an arm. The ship and the old man answered to the call.

Everything was falling again, and the world shattered, separating ship and owner.

May/29/20██ Incident 106-375

Multiple containment breaches at Site 19.

2:53: SCP-106 breaches containment. Recall Protocol ██ -███ -█ is enacted.

10:00: Recall Protocol ██ -███ -█ is deemed ineffective. SCP-106 remains uncontained. No casualties at this time.

11:13: SCP-106 is recontained.

May/29/20██ Incident 455-162

3:05 SCP-455 suddenly was observed to tilt suddenly. Observers stated that multiple figures could be seen in the hold. No attempt at contact was made.

3:20 SCP-455 returns to its original position. No expeditions authorized.

Post incident listing

…4 members of MTF Zeta 9 (Molerats) listed as KIA in expeditions 2 and 3 into SCP-455 discovered in Site-19, bearing severe bodily injuries. 3 members were still alive at time of retrieval. 2 have since expired, and 1 is in intensive care. Debriefing is unavailable at this point. It is unknown how MTF personnel were transported to Site-19 from SCP-455.

Lawrence woke up. He was back in the abandoned buildi- no, Foundation Site-19. He remembered now. He remembered everything. Although his master's power had only been able to reconnect the ship and him for short time, it was enough.

Corporal Lawrence was ready to go to war again.

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