A Sailor in a Blinding Sea
rating: +12+x

December 5, 2004 | 4:30 PM

Over the Atlantic Ocean, a few hundred kilometers off the coast of North Carolina, a thunderstorm is crackling and brewing against a deep purple sky. Dr. Mikhael Rivera is watching it through the two-meter-wide plate glass window in the Unit 42 employee lounge, eyes wandering behind his steel-framed glasses. His back is aching again, no doubt worsened by all the manual labor he was doing the previous day; his stamina has been dropping steadily over the last several months, but he knows better than to blame it on his age and heart conditions.

He looks over his shoulder as he hears footsteps softly tapping on the low-pile carpet. It's not a face he wants to see, but only for work reasons. He sighs. "What is it, Lunick?"

"You're needed in the lab, sir."

"Of course. Tell 'em I'll be right there."

"It's urgent." Lunick shifts his weight, slender hand fumbling with the ID card hanging on his belt.

Rivera sighs and stands up, grimacing and grasping his lower back as he picks up his pager and mug.

"Coffee at four-thirty?" Lunick asks, stepping aside to let him exit the room first.

"Hot chocolate."

"Trying to get in the holiday spirit?"

Rivera gives a half-hearted chuckle in response as the two of them step on the elevator to the lower containment levels. "Heh. Sure." He stares at the floor as the elevator descends. "So, you know what's going on?"

Lunick shakes his head. "Well- well, not really. I've been working on the countermeasure developments, you know, they won't really let me near the thing."

"Mmm."

"Yeah, so, just go talk to Moser when you get in there. She's the one that sent me to get you."

"Got it."

The elevator doors open. After the security checkpoint, Lunick takes the hint that he's talking too much and skitters off down the hallway toward the left-hand wing.

"Alright, I'm here," Rivera says as he walks into the main lab and sets his hot chocolate down on his desk. "Moser, what did you need?"

The frail, older woman hurries over, papers stacked neatly on her clipboard. She stands on her toes, speaking directly into his ear. "Sir, it's something to do with the D-class testing."

"Well, what is it to do with it, then?"

"The most recent subject. We sent him in to get as close as possible to the object, but it wasn't like other results."

"Alright. What do you need from me?"

"Well, sir, we're just hoping you can figure out what might be happening." She takes his impatience as a cue to walk over to the security office. He follows behind her. "Only a little bit of this didn't have distortion — you know how this thing hates electronics — but we caught what he was saying."

They stop in front of one of the computer terminals. She shakes the mouse and pulls up the video, turning the monitor to face him. He nods and plays it.

"…Far as I can go. No, it's not letting me- it's not letting me get closer to it…"

"What's wrong with his voice?" Rivera mumbles, frowning.

"We don't know. Probably damage from the injuries on his throat."

Rivera squints at the grainy video. "If I go in there- no, no, it'll take me somewhere else and- want to be free? No, not free. That's not- that's not real." The man turns to the entrance foyer's exit and stumbles for several feet before collapsing at the edge of the camera's field of view.

The video stops. Rivera opens his mouth, but closes it.

"Yeah. As you've probably inferred, that's the only section that isn't corrupted."

"What's the corrupted audio part sound like?"

"Just a… sort of an electronic screeching noise. A little different than usual. You can listen to it if you want, but there's not much to it and the man we brought in from Cognitohazards said it's potentially unsafe."

Rivera waves his hand and looks at the floor. "No, no, I don't need to listen to it."

They both stay silent for almost a minute before Moser speaks. "I know you're thinking. Just, uh, can you stay in the lab a few hours longer? We want to send another one in, but we're hesitant."

"Alright. Yeah, just, uh, can we wait at least an hour or so? I don't see a reason to rush this."

She licks her lips. "Right. Of course, sir."

"Okay." He nods as he walks out of the room and over to his desk. Moser left a copy of the most recent tests on his mouse pad, but he's read them before.

December 6, 2004 | 8:25 PM

Rivera sits at his desk, his head in his hands, watching the bagged remains of the most recent D-class subject get hauled out of the lab and down the hallway by two men in bright yellow hazmat suits. He looks at his watch. He's been in the lab for longer than 24 hours.

"Hey Moser," he calls out as she walks by.

She stops. "You alright? Don't you want to-"

"Go take a shower? Yeah. I'm too old for these kids' work hours," he scoffs, eyeing the younger lab assistants that are still energetically running around from station to station as they compare results amongst each other.

"I know the feeling." She pats him on the back and walks away. He swears one of her eyes was looking the other direction during the last few seconds he made eye contact, and it sends a chill down his spine for some reason. As he grabs his unwashed hot chocolate mug from the previous day, he curses under his breath. He knew he'd forgotten something. He leans over his keyboard and opens up his personal notes.

It turns out I forgot to request a transfer for the first subject. I went to fix it but she's not in the rest area. I don't know where she went. This has been a rough couple of days for me. I've been sleeping in my office, lately, because I don't feel like leaving work. It's been almost an hour. More tests.

He'll paste it into the right test entry later. He saves it and heads for the door, his chair spinning rhythmically behind him as he walks away.

December 6, 2004 | 8:55 PM

"Showered already? That was fast."

"Yeah," Rivera answers under his breath, not taking the time to notice who it was that asked him. He heads immediately to his desk. His vision seems to tunnel, blurring at the edges. God, has he slept since yesterday?

"It's late, and you look sleepy. Maybe we should all call it a-"

"No," he snaps, and in a tone that surprises him and Moser alike. He clears his throat. "Sorry. One more. I've been thinking, is all." He prints out a blank test log template and crams it onto his clipboard. "Those metal samples still in the second aux closet?"

"Yeah, they're still there. What else would you want to do with the metals?" Her voice shakes a little, the way it always does when she's scared that she's going to have to redo tests. She follows him to the closet, standing several feet behind him. She squints. Was the closet light always that fluorescent?

"Don't stress yourself about it. I'll log it."

"I don't want you here alone."

He stops sliding the iron cube out of the closet and looks up, panting. "What? Three of the juniors are still here."

She bites her lip. "Well- Just be careful. I'm heading home for the night."

"Okay." He almost considers asking her for help moving the iron cube, but he reminds himself that she's got a good ten years on him and doesn't need the exertion. He pushes it out of the closet, into the lab, across the floor, and into the center of the entrance foyer over a period of several minutes. When he's done, nothing happens. Nothing except a low ringing noise that eerily soothes his growing migraine. He writes "still ringing" on his clipboard and turns around.

"Well, spoke too soon," Moser grumbles from the doorway, unpacking her lunch bag and purse once again. "System's not letting me leave. It's reading three points too high in here and it's locked down."

Rivera groans. He expects himself to be more worried, but his heart doesn't thump in his chest nearly as hard as it typically does when he moves after standing still. "Alright. Let's see what we've got going on out there."

It's the walk out of the entrance foyer that gets him. It's a subtle shift from blue-tinted fluorescent tubes to an ambient warm glow that covers the ceiling. He soon finds that he can't make out individual ceiling tiles anymore, because the glow of the lights is distorting them. Has the ceiling always been like that?

"Doctor?"

"Sorry, just- Has the ceiling always been like that?" he repeats aloud. It sounds just like he thought it would in his head.

"The ceiling is fine. Look here, please."

Rivera tilts his head downward, trying to gain his bearings. Moser is pointing her short-clipped fingernail toward an error message on the security system console's display. The ceiling is now an indeterminate height above him, and his desk is ten paces further toward the back of the lab than usual. "Something is wrong," he announces, but he can't hear himself speak beyond a dreamlike mumble coming from somewhere in the room. "I've got it," he pants. The look in Moser's eyes makes him confident that she can still understand him.

"I'm tired and I'm asleep," his mouth explains for him as he stumbles toward the opposite side of the lab and down the back hallway. "Just give me a minute to fix this." If his notes from yesterday are accurate, there should be two or three D-classes still just sitting around in the security office. Drinking from his coffee machine and eating his lunches, no doubt. He rounds the corner and stands in the doorway. "You. You two. No, sorry, you one. Just one of you for now. Follow me please."

God, can anyone hear him? "My ears are stopped up. Apologies," he explains. The guy must not be having trouble understanding him anyway, though, because he's following closely. Rivera does his best job of silently gesturing him into the entryway. It crosses his mind that something isn't right about the test — he thought all the D-classes are supposed to be in the same type of jumpsuit — but he proceeds anyway. The D-class complies, but with a concerned expression. Rivera thinks he might hear him say something about this being a 'workplace prank' before there's a loud crack and the lighting in the room intensifies further.

When he's done pushing aside the man's broken body for whenever the cleaning crew finally shows back up, he frowns. The ringing stopped, and the silence is painful. He looks down at his watch. It's flashing 00:00. That can't be right.

He opens his clipboard and starts scribbling.

They've been restless. The D-Class (I call them D-Class, I could swear one of them used to be Dr. Watkins) need something to keep them occupied, but nothing makes sense to them anymore.

He looks up and around. At his feet, chunks of blood and viscera are starting to stick to his shoes, and it's messy. He makes a mental note to clean that up. To his right, Dr. Moser is staring into the security terminal, unblinking. Well, at least she's acting normal. To his left, his desk is warping slightly in the light; he can barely make out the wheels of his chair in the thick fog. He knows better than to look behind him.

His thoughts are interrupted by the lab intercom blaring to life. It plays a distorted version of the previous tests' tapes at too high a volume. He rushes over to the security office and tries to turn it off, but he gives up when the thick fog is too dense at the door. Instead, he reaches in and grabs a bag of the most recent records before stumbling back over to the entrance foyer and starting to lay them out. "I'm laying them out for good viewing and understanding," he assumes he says aloud. It doesn't take him very long to get the different items arranged in a semicircle around the central chamber's airlock. "I've stopped the noise," he announces to the blinding light, squinting into the main room. Moser isn't standing by the computer anymore. He sighs and fumbles for his clipboard.

Everything except the Betamax melted into the floor. I checked the tapes… I checked the tapes and they're madness. Everyone keeps changing. But it should be enough to hold them at bay. Maybe now they'll stop playing that damned record on the intercom speakers.

He re-reads it, weighed down by the nagging feeling that his words on paper aren't conveying a crucial element of his situation. Where is the D-class' body? Hell, where are any of their bodies? Did a cleaning crew come and go all while he was gathering tapes? What was he doing before he was gathering tapes?

Nothing. Not anything important. He lays himself down on the concrete floor and listens for test results, writing them down sideways as he listens.

Just a repeat of the first D-Class test that worked. I copied over everything, including the D-Class number. Better than making them up. It's a completely different person. Anyway, I needed to replace the first one because the new one told me she was dead. I asked him to deal with the body and he said “don't worry about the body”. I'm surprised, because she wasn't flung apart and I haven't seen anyone else around here in a long while. Who deals with the bodies? Is anyone cleaning the test chamber?

That would have to do. He knows there's still something missing, but he can't let it worry him. He heads back over to his desk at a pace that he suspects is closest to drunken walking. He sits down in his chair, trusting that the surface really is indeed there and that he won't just fall down into the milky nothingness of the floor and ceiling.

What to do. What to do. He's the lead researcher, and yet he doesn't know what to do. Something isn't right, and hasn't been right for at least several hours. He tries to think about timing; when was the last time someone left or entered this lab? What time is it now? His watch reads 5:55. There's no way it's been almost a full 24 hours since last time he looked.

When thinking and planning hurts his brain too much, he writes instead. It takes him two blank pieces of paper to get his statement right, but when he's done, he's confident that whoever briefs him on all this madness tomorrow morning will applaud his analysis.

I needed to do this. They're all smarter than I am. Not smarter, really. Higher up? I'm in charge, I'm the doctor, but how long is that going to last? I keep getting confused… and look what they've been doing with the staff. Turns out there's a good reason I haven't seen anyone around lately. I guess this is why they terminate all these guys after a month. Whatever's going on, I can't think about it right now. I've seen the light and I'm so confused. How did I know it was pink?

He lets his pen clatter to the ground. It takes about 4 seconds for the sound to come back to his ears. The floor must have dropped in distance significantly since last time he checked.

"Moser, I'm going to repair something," he announces, unsure of whether or not she can hear him. He has a splitting headache. He stumbles off to the tool closet, trying not to think about how the not-floor feels under his feet.

December?, 2004? | 555555 PM

Pink light. Pink glow. Pink sunset. Pink lightning against a purple sky. Pink lightning burning pink-to-white over the deep blue waves as sticky, opaque rain splatters into the surf and fades away. Rivera stands up — or, at least, feels his muscles attempt to move in such a way — and just as he begins to process that he can't look down to see his body and feet below him, he finds himself falling backward over and over again, heart dropping in his chest until he feels like his stomach is about to burst. He thinks about screaming in pain, but finds that he doesn't possess the vocal chords to produce the sound. His body fights against physics until his flesh feels like it's being squished between plates of metal, everywhere all at once, and his vision of endless ocean fades to a single bright pink point under the waves. He gazes into it, unable to move the body that he's unsure he still has, until he hears a human voice echoing through the clear water.

"Doctor? Doctor. Rivera. Can you hear me?"

His eyes snap open, pupils almost entirely covering his irises. He gasps, lungs rattling. "A light that died is shining in the water," he rasps between breaths.

"Sir? Sir, what-"

"I knew I needed the pink light, but I didn't want it like they had it."

"You're bleeding. Holy God, Doctor, how are you still-"

"Shh! It works on brains different from how bodies work. So I drilled a hole right through the chamber, right at forehead level- That's good, write that down. Oh fuck, it's so freezing cold-"

He feels his eyes close as Moser leans into a trash can and retches. There's dark fluid dripping down the front of his face, and the ceiling is composed of entirely pink light.

Somewhere in the pink blackness, his ears pick up on movement. Talking. Panic. People carrying things around, and Moser sobbing while gesturing frantically to one of the medical department personnel. And in the movement, a bright blue light, swirling around and out of a sturdy little metal structure. He recognizes the hue immediately. "Turn that thing off! We never approved that!" he yells, but he knows they can't hear. Behind him, a door he's never seen open is opened, and a flood of pink light burns him in the eyes and on the skin until he knows he is dry and empty.

555%&55%?, 200///5? | 5&5&5&5&5 PM

Rivera's hands are shaking, but it's standard for his age. He rearranges the bandages criss-crossing his forehead and clears his throat. Two of the wrongly-clothed D-classes are sitting behind him, awaiting instruction. At least, he thinks that's what they're doing; neither of them appears particularly conscious. He needs sleep too, he recalls, but he'll get it soon.

He opens a new entry in the test log.

Input: D-Class subjects (N/A) (N/A) (N/A)
Distance: Containment chamber
Time: Five (5)

He takes a deep breath. One of the containment personnel's terrible blue things is sitting beside his desk, smashed nearly to bits, a lifeless blue flicker spinning around inside it. Rivera wishes he'd been able to take out its central core, but he didn't have any clean power tools left after his self-excavation the other day. That spot throbs when he thinks about it, as if the thought itself is enough stimulation to make that particular patch of tissue ache and scream again. It'll be soothed soon, he reminds himself. Only twenty more steps.

The others go in first. Rivera reminds them that they will enjoy it afterward, in order to calm their shaking bodies. He stands around the corner, shielding himself from the output in order to keep his opening clean and ready for exposure. It's throbbing, and cool air is blowing onto the delicate gray matter of his mind. It feels dead to him, but he knows it'll soon be pulsing with life and understanding.

One. Two. Three. A few wet noises, and then nothing.

Output: Viscera.

It had to be done. Rivera gives one last glare to the speck of blue light as he writes his final test log; blue is wrong, and conflicts with pink. Those blue devices are aligning this world with itself, but the pink light desperately needs a new alignment. Good riddance, he assures himself, but he can't help but be bothered by the pain the blue light directs into his wound before it goes.

They all went in. They still had me do it. Maybe they still respected that I was the doctor. Maybe they just wanted to leave me out. Even if I'm half there already. Even if I can't tell what is there and what isn't (can you?). But I have a special plan. I always covered up the hole I drilled so they didn't see it. I have another way in. I can find out what I've forgotten. There are no more test subjects and nobody else. There is only one way in. The booth needs to be operated, but I have a special plan. Don't worry about the body. I just need to know if my shaft of pink light will make me flung apart.


Breach Report A-42: Complete Loss of Unit-42 and Surrounding Area on ██/██/████

Date of Report: ██/██/████

Report Filed By: ██████ ████████

Known SCP Object(s) Involved: SCP-3005

Summary of Event(s): Unknown effects of SCP-3005 led to unsafe research environment followed by use of improper containment protocol involving Mark IV Scranton Reality Anchors. Test results show likely psychological deterioration of all research and containment personnel within ~30 meters of SCP-3005 beginning at approximately the same time as containment efforts began. Last edits to SCP-3005's logs on IntSCPFN1 were made at ██:██ on ██/██/████ by primary author and lead researcher Mikhael Rivera. Dr. Rivera, and all other assigned SCP-3005 researchers, are presumed dead or missing due to the complete loss of Unit-42 following the breach event in question.

Additional Note(s): Whereabouts of SCP-3005 unknown following breach event. Containment responsibility for locating and collecting SCP-3005 transferred to Site-17 as of ██/██/████.

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