Agent Isaac Allred-Smith was not having a good October.
It had all started on September 30, when he'd filed a request for temporary leave. Under "Reason for Request", he'd written, "Too much goddamn stress."
On October 12, he'd received a notice that his request had been processed, and in response, he was being moved to another Mobile Task Force. A more active Mobile Task Force. This did not make him happy.
"The hell is this?" he had exclaimed, slapping the note on the desk of Regional Director Kate McTiriss. "Did you not read the damn paper I sent in? This is the opposite of what I asked for!"
McTiriss shrugged, barely glancing up at him. "We both know stress isn't the issue, Isaac. The past two months have been slower than anything." She straightened a stack of papers Allred-Smith had knocked over in his outburst. "I highly suspect you're just looking for a way to take out pent-up aggression. And besides, it's not like we're dropping you in an active war zone. The task force isn't even on its home turf, so things should be pretty smooth. Besides, LMTF-237 Teth is the Green Thumbs. Botany." She gave the agent a smirk. "What could be more relaxing than gardening?"
Right. Gardening. Relaxing.
On his first day with his new teammates, a meter-long insectoid made out of venus flytraps ate Agent Allred-Smith's guitar and half of his left shoe.
Everything about the new job was awful. His temporary lodgings in Site-88 were small and smelled of pesticide. The on-site ethics team, led by Dr. Cinnamon or whatever, was way too touchy-feely for his liking. And he'd liked that guitar, dammit. He needed it. Even now, as he sat hunched-over on his bed, his fingers twitched in the air, yearning for wood and nylon. The month had gone nothing but terribly.
And then the klaxons went off. Isaac felt his Foundation-issued phone buzz in his pocket. Annoyed, he glanced at the screen.
! Low-Level Breach Report !
We've got reports of a scip about 15 miles out. Some farmer made a call to the local police, completely delirious. We think we know what it is, but it's new. Hasn't got a number yet.
Get out there, see if you can get it under control. Be careful, we're not sure how dangerous this thing is. Call for backup if needed.
- Site-88/LMTF-237 Teth joint direction overwatch
Yeah, yeah. Another day, another potentially life-threatening mission. And of course they didn't send him with any support. He was only completely new to the region.
He flicked on the police recording as he grabbed his jacket stormed out the door. Might as well get an early read on what he was up against.
"911, what is your emergency?"
"Oh God, oh God. They're out there. I still see them."
"Sir, please state your location and the nature of the emergency, if possible."
"They're staring at me. Dozens of them. I can feel their eyes on me. They took the whole field. The whole field full of their staring eyes and broken smiles."
"Sir, I -"
"It's burning! I can feel them burning! I -"
Allred-Smith clicked out of the audio. He wouldn't be getting any real information from that. Standard creepy shit. That farmer was half out of his mind, and there was some sort of weird interference in the background. A murmuring, chuckling sound, cutting itself off every so often. That couldn't be good.
Isaac fumbled with his keys as he punched the coordinates into his car's GPS. Almost as an afterthought, he opened the object file and set activated text-to-speech. He wasn't a fan of robots speaking broken English, but dying in a car crash on the way to a scip would be just perfect.
Item #: [AWAITING CLASSIFICATION]
Object Class: Euclid [TENTATIVE]
Special Containment Procedures: [AWAITING ANALYSIS]
Oh, so he was going in practically blind on how to catch this thing. Brilliant.
Description: SCP-n/a is the collective designation for a species of roughly-humanoid organisms populating the southern United States. Instances of SCP-n/a are similar in appearance to indigenous flora, with genetic analysis showing similarities to Cucurb-
OK, people that looked like plants. Or plants that looked like people. Got it. Whatever. Skip a bit.
Upon reaching maturity, instances of SCP-n/a become mobile, and gather in populated areas in large clusters. Upon settling in a location, the bodies of SCP-n/a instances will undergo a period of what is assumed to be directed necrosis, developing semi-geometric abscesses. Few instances of SCP-n/a have been observed to display the same abscess pattern. Prolonged exposure to these patterns, especially those displayed by newly-matured specimens, have resulted in observers developing a sense of paranoia in 70% of cases, and an intense fight-or-flight response in 46% of cases.
Don't look at them too hard. Sure. He'd have to squint or something, he supposed. It certainly was nice of them to send him in without any kind of special equipment.
Following abscess formation, SCP-n/a instances will manifest bioluminescence, as well as increased heat output. Extreme caution is to be exercised when -
Too late. He was here. The farmer hadn't been lying. The field was positively glowing, alive with bizarre geometric shapes emitting bright yellows and oranges. In the shadows, he could make out taller, humanoid silhouettes. They weren't moving. They only stared. Allred-Smith put his hand on his pistol. He wasn't supposed to damage anomalies if he could help it, but if those things got any closer, he wasn't taking any chances.
This was it. Go time.
Allred-Smith cautiously opened his car door, and began easing his way toward the field. One of the figures shifted. Isaac felt his heart rate quicken. He picked up his pace, reached for his gun…
…and promptly tripped over a large gourd. "The hell?!" he shouted, spinning around. A crude, frightened gaze met his own, glowing with an inner light.
A jack-o-lantern. He was staring down a jack-o-lantern.
Isaac heard laughter from behind him. "We were beginning to think you got lost," said one of the silhouettes, bending down. In the light of the pumpkin, the figure's face revealed itself to be that of Nathaniel Atkinson. "Glad you made it, after all."
"Sorry about all of this," chuckled another figure. It flicked on a flashlight and metamorphosed into Dr. Jeremiah Cimmerian. "We've been so busy that we never had the time to give you a proper welcome to Site-88."
"Well, better late than never," said a third shadow, stepping out of the darkness and transforming into Agent Jacob. "Even if Atkinson did almost ruin that phone recording."
"I couldn't help it!" protested Atkinson. "I never imagined I'd get to hear you pretend to be a farmer, or that it would be so hilarious. At least I was able to swap out Isaac's bullets for blanks!"
"Anyway," interrupted Cimmerian, regaining his composure, "apologies for all the inconveniences you've been burdened with over the past few days. We hope you can come to forgive us." He pressed something large into Isaac's arms. "And behalf on all of us here at Site-88…"
"Welcome to the team!" the rest of the shadowy figures cheered, quickly breaking out into a barrage of jokes and laughter.
Isaac looked down at the object in his arms. It was a brand-new guitar, with green tuning heads. "May your thumbs be forever green!" declared an elegant inscription on the side.
For the first time in a while, Agent Allred-Smith smiled. Maybe his stay here at Site-88 wouldn't be so bad, after all.