Dr. Mann sat low in the seat, like a student sitting before the principal. "I suppose you want to know what happened."
"We have six escaped SCPs, over fifty casualties, and tens of thousands of dollars of damage. Yes, Doctor, I think it's safe to say an explanation is in order." Dr. ███████ sat across from Dr. Mann, a serious expression on his face. "Now, I've looked over the logs, but I need you to clarify several points."
"Yes, sir," Dr. Mann said, sinking a little lower in the chair.
"Good. Now, take it from beginning. What happened?" asked Dr. ███████.
"Well, it all started when I was shaving the pufferkitten…"
Dr. Mann stroked the kitten's head gently, calming it, as he turned on the clippers. He didn't want to trigger the kitten's defense mechanism until he had finished denuding it. "That's a good subject," he cooed. "That's the way to advance the cause of science…"
There was a loud crash outside, and the kitten turned into a ball of fluff. Dr. Mann sighed. It would take some time to calm it down again. He decided to look.
Dr. Valence was yelling at several maintenance workers who were in the midst of moving a large box. One corner was broken slightly, apparently from an impact with the wall. Curious.
"Good day, Dr. Valence," Dr. Mann said. "I'm afraid you've interrupted a valuable experiment. I don't mean to complain, but I need quiet to continue."
"Blame these idiots," said Dr. Valence. "They're handling valuable computing equipment like they were taking an old sofa to the curb. If they damage it, I swear I'll have them all assigned Keter duty."
"Pardon my curiosity, doctor, but what is in the box?" Dr. Mann tried to look into the damaged corner, but he was unable to make anything out.
"Ah! Come by the server room at three. I'll be unveiling it then. Don't tell anyone, but the contents of this box will change the face of the Foundation." Dr. Valence beamed with pride.
"Really?" said Dr. Mann. "Well, I wouldn't miss that for the world."
"So, that's when you first encountered the device," said Dr. ███████.
"And I wish it had been the last," said Dr. Mann. "If I'd known what was going to happen, I'd have tried to stop it sooner."
"What happened next?" asked the psychologist.
"Well, I went back to my laboratory and finished the experiment," said Dr. Mann. "It was quite fascinating, really…"
"I've… seen the pictures," the psychologist said, turning a little green.
"Its fur will grow back," Dr. Mann said, defensively.
"Let's just skip to the meeting with Dr. Valence, please."
It was half past three when Dr. Mann finally reached the server room. He'd been distracted by the results of his experiment, and had then gotten lost in the halls of the facility for twenty minutes before finally getting turned in the right direction by a guard. As he arrived, he was surprised to see how many people were gathered inside. It was rather crowded. He recognized several other researchers, as well as his good friend, Strelnikov, Dmitri Arkadeyevich.
"Excuse me," he said, trying to get inside without touching anyone.
"Ah, Mann, there you are," said Dr. Valence. "You're a bit late. I've already unveiled Hatbot."
"Hatbot?" he asked.
"Yes, Hatbot!" He stood aside and motioned to a figure Dr. Mann hadn't noticed among the crowding figures.
It was roughly human-like, through it had shiny black plastic for skin and a row of lights for a face. It looked like something out of a Hollywood science fiction picture, save for the fedora perched on its head.
"Why is it wearing a hat?" asked Dr. Mann. "It isn't normal for robots, surely?"
"Oh, it was a joke by one of my technicians," said Dr. Valence. "I was going to call it the Fast Learning Artificial Intelligence System, but they started calling it Hatbot, and, well, the name stuck."
"Fast learning Hatbot call it normal, surely," said Hatbot. It spoke with a smooth, very human voice.
Dr. Mann raised one eyebrow.
"Well, it's not very intelligent yet," said Dr. Valence. "It learns from conversation. The more it hears, the better it gets at understanding words and forming sentences. But the real use is in routing communications. From the server room, it can handle all of the Foundation's communication needs."
"Oh, that's very nice…" said Dr. Mann, disappointed that Dr. Valence hadn't meant a more literal changing of face. He so enjoyed a good cosmetic surgery.
"Very intelligent at screaming at Jews and praising communists, Mann," said Hatbot.
"Ah, yes," Dr. Valence said quickly, "there are still some quirks to be ironed out. We must keep him away from D-Class personnel. They keep corrupting his database."
"That's very nice," said Dr. Mann. "But I really must be going. Lots of work to do, you know how it is…"
"Your life will be reset at the point of midnight in England," said Hatbot.
"And a good day to you too, Hatbot," said Dr. Mann, before hurrying out.
"And was that the first time it threatened your life?" asked Dr. ███████.
"I believe so," said Dr. Mann. "I didn't think much of it at the time, but in light of later events…"
"When was the next time you saw Hatbot?" the psychologist asked.
"Later that evening," said Dr. Mann.
The laboratory was quiet and dark, the only light spilling out from Dr. Mann's office, where he was sitting down to a microwaved burrito. He was cutting it into smaller pieces when he heard something opening the door to his lab.
"Hello?" he asked. "Is anyone there?" He picked up his auto-scalpel, in case of an intruder or a patient.
"She is worn out by use," said a familiar voice.
"Oh, it's you, Hatbot," Dr. Mann said, putting the auto-scalpel down. "You shouldn't be here. You belong in the server room."
"You shouldn't be here," said Hatbot.
"What? What do you—Oh, of course. You're only parroting me. Well, let's get you back to the server room." Dr. Mann put on his android-handling gloves and began to guide Hatbot out of his laboratory.
Hatbot didn't respond. It seemed rooted to the spot.
Dr. Mann pushed a little more firmly. "Come on, it's time to get you home."
Suddenly, Hatbot turned, hitting Dr. Mann with the side of its arm and knocking him to the floor. "He comes!"
"What the devil?" Dr. Mann asked as Hatbot stepped forward.
Suddenly, the ceiling broke, and something heavy fell on top of Dr. Mann.
"This place is a lawsuit waiting to happen," said Agent Yoric, sitting up. "Oh, hey, it's Hatbot."
"My… lungs…" Dr. Mann said weakly, trying to breathe.
"Oh, sorry," said Yoric. He stood up and helped Dr. Mann to his feet. "Hey, sorry about the ceiling. They don't make 'em like they used to."
"Think nothing of it," said Dr. Mann as he brushed himself off. "Listen, would you help me get Hatbot to the server room? Something seems to be off with it."
"Ah, okay," said Yoric. "How do you mean, off?"
"Well, if I didn't know better, I'd swear it just attacked me," said Dr. Mann.
"Neh, Hatbot's harmless. It wouldn't hurt a fly," said Yoric, patting Hatbot on the back.
"As you say," said Dr. Mann. "Still, let's get it out of my laboratory and back where it belongs."
"Did you become suspicious then?" asked Dr. ███████.
"A bit," said Dr. Mann. "But I don't really know much about robots. For all I knew, that could have been normal."
"When did you know there was something wrong?" asked the psychologist.
"When it tried to kill me again the next night. That's when I began to detect a pattern," said Dr. Mann.
Dr. Mann was half-asleep in his office when he heard something moving around in his laboratory. He sighed and reached for the auto-scalpel. He opened the door in time to see a black plastic figure leaving the room, while a table began to blaze.
It took ten minutes to control the blaze, at least five of which was spent trying to figure out how to activate the sprinklers before grabbing a fire extinguisher. He was now covered head to toe in fire-retardant foam. Only his foam-proof snood protected his mustache.
He wanted to march right up to Dr. Valence and demand an explanation. Unfortunately, he didn't know where Dr. Valence might be this time of night. That left only one avenue.
"Dr. Rights! Dr. Valence's creation tried to kill me!" Dr. Mann said as he burst into the break room.
"What? Slow down, Mann. What's wrong?" asked Dr. Rights.
"I was in my office and that android of Dr. Valence's set my lab on fire. And last night, it hit me. Very hard." Dr. Mann tried to project a tone of righteous indignation.
"Ooooh, poor baby. Are you sure Hatbot was trying to kill you, sweetie?"" asked Dr. Rights.
"I saw it!" said Dr. Mann. "With my own eyes."
"Well, it will be on the security tapes, dear. Come on," said Dr. Rights, guiding Dr. Mann to the video room with a gentle hand.
"And what happened then?" asked Dr. ███████.
"There was nothing. Not a damned thing on those blasted tapes." Dr. Mann tugged his muttonchops in irritation. "And of course Dr. Rights assumed I was dreaming. She gave me a cookie and some warm milk, but no salvation from the machine."
"Did you suspect it may have edited the footage?" asked Dr. ███████.
"I knew it had done something, but as I've said, I don't know much about computers and networks and the like. All I knew was that no one would believe me about the threat of Hatbot."
"Can you expand on that?" asked the psychologist.
"Well, the problem was that darned near everyone loved Hatbot."
Dr. Mann walked nervously down the hallway. It was just after lunchtime, and he still hadn't slept. He was waiting for another attack.
"Have you been hanging around Hatbot?" one guard asked another.
"Ha! Yes. 'Fuck trees, I climb clouds, motherfucker!'" The guard laughed raucously.
"Hell yeah," said the first guard.
"Don't they understand the threat Hatbot represents?" Dr. Mann thought to himself. "Don't they understand he's a menace?"
"Tovarish Mann!" said a familiar voice. "How is you are doing today?"
"Strelnikov, Dmitri Arkadeyevich! It is good to see you, my friend," Dr. Mann said, glad to see the Russian. "Surely you will believe me."
"In what are you for need this believed, friend?" asked Agent Strelnikov.
"It's Hatbot. It has tried to kill me, but no one will believe me." Dr. Mann was nearly on the point of tears.
"For make sayings of nothing more," said Strelnikov. "I stop this fascist machine for Doktor Mann. Where am I for find this?"
"Oh, thank you!" said Mann. "It's in the server room."
"Yes! I am make destroyings of it now," said Strelnikov. He marched off, purpose in his stride.
"And that was the last time you saw Agent Strelnikov?" asked Dr. ███████.
"Yes. Poor Strelnikov, Dmitri Arkadeyevich doesn't know the site very well. He was depending on the automated maps to find his way around. I understand he wasn't found for several days."
"He was all right," said Dr. ███████, "except for a few superficial burns from the steam tunnels. Now, what happened next?"
"I guess Hatbot knew I was on to him, because that's when it became more subtle."
Dr. Mann was sitting in his office. He'd taken a short nap, but he'd woken up again, knowing Hatbot would come soon enough. He had readied his laboratory for defense, but he wanted to be awake when it happened, in case his preparations were for naught.
Dr. Mann bolted upright. Robots did not scream like that! He looked out into the lab, and saw a man dangling from the loop trap he'd set at the entrance. There was a package on the floor beneath him.
"Oh," he said. "You're not a robot."
"Get me down!" the man said. He wore a maintenance uniform.
"Oh, sorry, of course," Dr. Mann said. He hurried through the laboratory, avoiding tripwires, nooses, and sundry other traps as he did so. A quick swipe of the auto-scalpel, and the man was returned to the floor. "You haven't seen an android, have you?"
"What? No!" The man struggled back to his feet. "Look, I was just told I had to deliver this package to Dr. Mann."
"I'm Dr. Mann," he said.
"Well, here's your package. And you're welcome to it!" The man stormed off, not even saying goodbye.
Dr. Mann picked up the package and walked back into his office. He wondered what it might be. Was it a present? He tried to remember if it was his birthday. No, it wasn't his birthday. That had been a month ago. He had gotten a nice e-mail from the Foundation reminding him to get a physical. Was it Christmas?
It had to be Christmas, he decided. He opened the box with the auto-scalpel, and looked at the contents. Inside were several odd, round fruits, about the size of a pomegranate. The skin was a very dark purple. There was also a note. It said, "He waits behind the walls." Most peculiar.
Dr. Mann picked up the auto-scalpel.
Two minutes later, Dr. Mann stumbled out of the room, covered in stinging insects. "Bees!" he screamed. "Why did it have to be bees?"
He tripped over a wire, and his arm was caught by a snare, pulling him off his feet entirely. His feet knocked over a stick, releasing a small avalanche of ball bearings beneath him, which knocked him over again as he tried to regain his feet. His flailing arm broke a string, and a bunsen-burner-turned-flamethrower activated, setting his coat on fire. He pulled his arm from the snare, falling over a chair and knocking over a small basin of acid which fell down his leg. He screamed, and swallowed a bee. He choked and flailed as he tried to make for the exit before finally stepping into a snare and being pulled upside down, dangling over several of his trained surgeon-crabs, which jumped up and down as though expecting treats.
"It sent fruit from 417?" asked the psychologist. "And you tried to eat it?"
"I thought it was a Christmas present," said Dr. Mann.
"It's almost July!" said Dr. ███████. "Forget it. Just… Just tell me what you did after you got down."
"Well, after I excised the affected tissue and performed emergency heart surgery on myself, I endeavored to get help."
Dr. Mann looked down the hallways, desperately looking for help. Any help.
He walked past Dr. Clef's office.
All right, not quite any help.
He looked in the break room. The only person inside was Agent Tam, who was eating some sort of sandwich.
"Excuse me, Agent Tam, could I borrow a moment of your time?" he asked.
"Sure thing, Mann! What's up?" asked Agent Tam.
Dr. Mann sat down across from Agent Tam. "Hatbot keeps trying to kill me. I'm very frightened. I think it may succeed soon."
"That's crazy! Hatbot's awesome. Why, I'm getting a Hatbot tattoo!" said Agent Tam. "Fuck trees, I climb—"
"But you don't understand!" Dr. Mann said, desperately. "It struck me! It set fire to my office! It covered me in bees!"
"Bees? Sounds like you need an exterminator." Agent Tam began to chuckle, then looked down at his sandwich. "Goddamn! Some bastard stole the mustard!"
"Please, Agent Tam, this is important," said Dr. Mann.
"So's this! Some bastard stole my mustard! That was good fucking mustard! I'm going to ram my fist down the throat of whoever took my mustard!" Agent Tam threw down his sandwich in disgust.
Dr. Mann was hit by sudden inspiration. "It was Hatbot!"
"Hatbot?" Agent Tam looked at Dr. Mann wildly for a moment, then growled in rage. "I'll kill that pile of scraps! Teach him to take my mustard!" He bounded up out of his chair, grabbing a butter knife. "Remember the horseradish!" he shouted as he ran out the door.
Dr. Mann smiled to himself. Surely now the matter was over.
"But the matter wasn't solved, was it?" asked Dr. ███████.
"No," said Dr. Mann. "I overestimated Agent Tam's good sense. He punched Hatbot several times, called it a pansy, and then spat at a researcher on the way out. Sadly, none of this disabled it."
"So your second attempt to neutralize Hatbot failed."
"Yes. But I didn't realize it until the next attempt on my life," said Dr. Mann.
Dr. Mann slept the sleep of the just, or at least the sleep of the oblivious. He was finally safe thanks to Agent Tam.
He shot up when he heard someone moving about in the laboratory. An intruder! But it was impossible. Surely Agent Tam had destroyed Hatbot.
He got up, grabbing the auto-scalpel as he did so. He carefully opened the door, turning on the light.
There was a man standing in the middle of the laboratory. His shoulders were hunched. For some reason, he was wearing a metal gauntlet.
"Hello?" Dr. Mann said, tremulously. "I'm afraid I'm busy, but if you'd care to come back in the morning…"
The man gave a deep growl, which turned into a chuckle, and then a scream. "He comes!" he said. "Beh҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚͡ ̒̓̔̕̚ind… He's waiting҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚͡ ̒̓̔̕̚ . I… I… Stop. No. He knows of the ord ҉ ҉҉er. Ber ̒̓̔̕̚eft of chaos, it…H҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘Ȅ̐̑̒̚̕̚ IS C̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̚̕̚̕̚̕̚̕̚̕̚OMI҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘NG." The man's eyes were leaking a black substance, almost as though he were infected with SCP-679, but much more viscous.
"What? Who's coming? What's wrong with your voice?" Dr. Mann asked, reaching for the auto-scalpel.
"Z҉A҉L͡҉O҉ ̵̡̢̢̛̛̛̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟ ̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̊̋̌̍̎҉G ̎̏̐̑ ̕̚̕̚ ̔̕̚̕̚҉ ҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇ ̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍ ̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚͡ ͡҉҉̔̕̚̕̚҉ ͡҉҉̔̕̚̕̚҉ ҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇ ̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍!" the man screamed with sounds that should never issue from a human throat, and the gauntlet changed shape to a long spike, as though poured into a mold.
"I still don't understand how it managed it," said Dr. Mann. "I understand it used ███, but I'm not quite sure how it moved it to my laboratory, let alone with a test subject. How did it keep from alerting anyone?"
"We're still working out how it managed to take control of the maintenance worker. However, once it had managed that, it was able to give him an artificially high clearance. He took ███ from containment, took it to your laboratory, and put it on."
"Diabolical," said Dr. Mann.
"What did you do then?" asked the psychologist.
"Well, once I dispatched the subject with ███, I knew I had to find a way to destroy Hatbot once and for all."
Dr. Mann stormed up to the server room. "Dr. Valence!" he shouted. "I must have a word with you, Dr. Valence!"
The scientist opened his door. "Yes, Mann? What's the problem?"
"Your mechanical Machiavelli is trying to kill me!" Dr. Mann said, grabbing Dr. Valence by the collar.
"Let go of me, you maniac!" Dr. Valence said. "That's ridiculous! Hatbot is perfectly safe."
"You should pants fetchingly in the morning," said Hatbot, from behind Dr. Valence. "Every midnight in England. Are you human?"
"I am not a crazy! I am perfectly normal! The machine is trying to end my life!" Dr. Mann let go of Dr. Valence, and gestured toward the server room. "I have suffered no less than four attempts on my life thus far! I will not suffer another! Hatbot must be destroyed!"
"Are you crazy?" asked Dr. Valence. "Do you know how much he cost? You can't possibly expect me to let that work go down the drain."
"But it tried to kill me," Dr. Mann said. "Why won't you believe me? It has to be destroyed!"
"You need to sit for the camera, and die possibly," said Hatbot.
"See? See? It just threatened my life again!" howled Dr. Mann.
"I think you've been working too hard," said Dr. Valence. "You should go back to wherever it is you hole up at night and get some sleep."
"I don't need sleep! I need Hatbot's destruction! Hatbot delendo est!" screamed Dr. Mann.
"Guards!" Dr. Valence shouted. "Restrain Dr. Mann and escort him back to his office. Make sure he doesn't go anywhere near the server room."
"But you can't do this! Don't you understand? Hatbot is a menace! A menace, I tell you!" Dr. Mann's screaming became more frantic as two guards grabbed him by the arms and started pulling him away. "You think he's harmless, but he's going to kill me!"
The guards paid him no heed as they dragged him down the hallway.
"So, your first attempt at direct confrontation failed," said Dr. ███████. "What did you do next?"
"Well, you have to understand, I was fairly desperate by this point."
Dr. Mann wandered the halls disconsolately. Anytime he approached the server room, he was turned away, or escorted politely but firmly back to his office. No one would believe him about the danger. Didn't they understand that this was a matter of life and death?
He had near given up hope when he heard someone mutter, "God, I hate Hatbot."
He looked up to see the secretary, Break. "Excuse me," he said. "Could you repeat that?"
She looked at him levelly, and in a slow, even voice, she said, "I. Hate. Hatbot. Do you have a problem with that?"
"No! I hate Hatbot too!" he said, excited. "It keeps trying to kill me."
"Oh, you're the one they've been talking about," said Break.
"But you believe me, don't you?" asked Dr. Mann.
"No," she said. "Hatbot's just a machine. It can barely form coherent sentences. I'm pretty sure it's not trying to kill you."
"But you said you hated Hatbot," Dr. Mann said, desperately.
"Yes, because it's annoying, not because it's homicidal. All anyone talks about is Hatbot. They keep walking by my desk repeating everything it says. I swear, if I hear 'Fuck trees' one more time…" She glared down the hall towards the server room. "Plus, when I went in there, it kept asking me for nude pictures."
"Well, if it's that big a problem," said Dr. Mann, "why don't you deal with it? Take direct action! Destroy Hatbot!"
Break thought about this for a moment, and then shook her head. "No, I'd have to get up from my desk. I've got way too much work to do."
"But what about when they start bringing Hatbot here?" he asked.
The pencil in her fingers broke. "Here?" she asked, a dangerous gleam in her eyes.
"Yes. They're going to start taking it on walks around the facility. It can do its job just as well from anywhere on site." Dr. Mann had no idea if this were true, but it sounded plausible.
Break's eyes narrowed. "Wait here," she said, taking a handgun from her desk. "I'll be right back."
Dr. Mann smiled broadly as she stormed off down the hall. She seemed much more capable than Agent Tam. Surely she would have the problem dealt with swiftly.
"And that's when all hell broke loose," said Dr. ███████.
"Yes. It seems that Hatbot's power had become stronger by this point."
Dr. Mann knew something was wrong when he heard the screams and smelled the smoke. Surely Break hadn't accomplished all of that with just one handgun.
A man stumbled out of the hallway. His eyes were dripping with the same blackness that had issued from the subject of 047. More was dripping from his mouth. He turned to Dr. Mann. "His is coming. I must… I must kill Mann."
"Kill Mann?" Dr. Mann said, horrified. "But I'm Dr. Mann!"
"Hail ͪͅZ̩̻͎͓̯̲̓ͥͫͪ̎ą̹͔̖̖̱͍̥̞́̂̀̈ͭ͂̈̂͛l̨̮ͪ̒͌ͦ̊ͧ̊͛͘͜g̪͔̩̑͆̆̏͛͌ͩ̋ớ̢̳̮̫̬̣͈͔ͨ̽!" the man said, lifting a sidearm.
Dr. Mann didn't wait any longer. He dodged down a hall as a bullet burrowed into the wall. He ran until he found a utility closet.
He breathed a sigh of relief, until he noticed he was not alone. It was a Class-D holding his face in his hands.
"Excuse me," Dr. Mann said. "Look, I'm hiding here too. Perhaps we can figure out what's happening and stop it. Your status could be changed if you help the Foundation."
The man looked up, and Dr. Mann saw that his face was gone, replaced by a dark hole. Stars could be seen shining in the black. A scraping, slurping sound could be heard, as though from a great distance.
Dr. Mann started to scream, and then decided that wasted valuable breath that could be more profitably used fleeing.
He ran back to his laboratory by a very roundabout route, changing his path whenever he heard footsteps. When he arrived, there was no one inside. He locked the door with a quiet sob of relief.
He tried to figure out what he should do. This had to be Hatbot's doing. Someone had to stop it. But how?
He could only think of one answer.
"So, this was the point you decided to take on Hatbot yourself?" asked Dr. ███████.
"Yes," said Dr. Mann. "I realized why it was afraid of me. It knew I was the only one in the Foundation who was immune to its effect."
"Why do you suppose that was?" asked the psychologist.
"Well, I can only theorize, but… Have you ever noticed that the Foundation staff are a bit… eccentric?" he asked.
"…Yes," said the psychologist. "It's been noted."
"Well, I think that Hatbot could only influence certain kinds of minds. It had to be able to create some sort of link. Clearly, I was immune because I'm so normal."
The psychologist coughed. "Yes. Normal. Anyway, you left your laboratory. What did you do next?"
"Next, I fought Hatbot."
Dr. Mann walked down the hallways. He had encountered the minions of Hatbot several times, mostly guards and D-Class personnel. He had dispatched them as quietly as he could, but had still ended up running several times as he drew the attention of others. It was slow, but he finally reached the server room.
Things were worst here. The metal of the walls was moving like flesh with worms crawling underneath it. He saw what might have been men, groaning little inhumanities of black fluid and running flesh, twitching and shuffling along the floor.
He moved aside them, and walked into the room itself.
There were spiderweb cracks in the air, and the angles were all wrong. It hurt his eyes to see. And where was Hatbot?
The first blow nearly took him off his feet, and the second staggered him. "You sh̵̸̝̳̮̫̙̮͖̬̔̂͗̂͞ould ͥṋ̗͙͇͉͕̬͙͙ot be here. You need to̊̅ͩ̔̾̅͛҉̯̳͢ be res̹̳͖͉͇̣̻̊ͣͤ̄̌͛̓̚͟et every 24 h̵̸̝̳̮̫̙̮͖̬̔̂͗̂͞ours in En̶̝̞̬̦̄̃g̥̖͇͙̠̽land!"
"Hatbot!" Dr. Mann cried out. "I'm here to destroy you."
"The m̒̓̔̕̚aster comes to s̷͉̘̹̟̺̦̅͌ing the song t҉҉̡̢̡̢̛̛̖̗̘̙̜̝̞hat ends the ẅ̢͙̭̥̜̿̍̀̏͌orld ҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚͡ ̒̓̔̕̚," Hatbot said. Its voice was different now. It had lost its electronic, synthesized quality, and had picked up strange harmonics that hurt Dr. Mann's head. "It's a̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓ ̔ ̕̚̕̚ ̔̕̚̕̚҉beautiful nig ҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚͡ ̒̓̔̕̚ht in Englͬͧ̿ͫ̔̉ͫ̽̚҉͈̦͕k̸̽̎̐͏̱͇͜and. Hail H̗̘̙҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙atbot."
"Stop it," Dr. Mann said. "This must end. It's madness!"
"Suc̟̲͕͕̩̓̎͞h a ҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚͡beautiful song. Fǔ̍̎̏̿̿̿̚ ҉ ҉ck tr҉҉̡̢̡̢̛̛̖̗̘̙̜̝̞ees, I KILL MAN̲̲ͤͣ̀N͚͍̻̿̒͌̍͆ Kͦͥ͘͡i͇̺̬̭̻ͯͣ͂LL M҉A҉NN K̕̚̕̚ ̔̕̚̕̚҉LL M͡҉ANN!" Hatbot charged at Dr. Mann, swinging its shining plastic arms.
Dr. Mann dodged to the side, keeping a desk between himself and Hatbot. He stepped in something that used to work there. He put down the auto-scalpel, knowing it would do little good against a machine. Instead, he pulled his secret weapon from his bag.
"Why do you even have a cricket bat in your office?" asked Dr. ███████.
"In case of 008 breakouts, of course," said Dr. Mann.
"Of course. Continue."
He swung the bat as hard as he could, connecting right where Hatbot's head connected to its body. "For Science!" he shouted.
"Embra҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚͡ c e̓̔̕̚ the end ҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚͡ ̒̓̔̕̚," Hatbot said, staggering back. Its fedora fell from its head onto the floor.
Dr. Mann hit again, and again, driving it further back.
"I cǎ̍̎̏̿̿̿̚ ҉n't let y҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇ ̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍ ̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚͡ou do th͡҉҉ ̵̡̢̛̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋ ̌̍̎̏̿̿̿̚is, Dr. Mann," the robot said, rallying. It caught the bat and tried to pull it from his hands. "He a҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚waits this nǐ̍̎̏̿̿̿̚ ҉ght."
Dr. Mann pulled back, trying to free the cricket bat. "You're a menace. You have to be stopped for the good of humanity."
"I wi̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙ll make you one҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚ with him. Ha̫̪͙͎͉̲͎̹͋͆ͮͪ̿ͪ͋il Hatb҉҉̡̢̡̢̛̛̖̗̘̙̜̝̞ ̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠̊̋̌̍ot. Hail Z҉A҉L҉G҉O̚̕̚." Hatbot lifted suddenly, nearly pulling Dr. Mann off his feet.
He kicked the desk into Hatbot, loosening its grip. He began hitting it again. Plastic cracked, exposing servos and electronics.
"I must give him the call to set him ͭͯ̀ͭ͒f͎̗̳͎̥̈́̑͌͛̌̏ͥ͞r ҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚͡ee," said Hatbot. It stepped backwards, trying to stay back from the swinging bat. "The chaotic soul. The Ne҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚͡zperd҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚͡ ̒̓̔̕̚ian hive ҉҉-mind of cha҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚͡ os. Ḧ̫̤́ͨ̄͜͢͠e̲̯͍͇̫̋ is c̠̘̗̹̰̬̱̝̖oming. Z҉A҉L҉G҉O̚̕̚…"
Dr. Mann stuck again, and again, bashing into the robot. Plastic and metal shattered under the assault. "This is for my laboratory! And this is for my friends! And this is for the bees!"
"The ҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚͡ ̒̓̔̕̚waa҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚͡ aallll҉̵̞̟̠̖̗̘̙̜̝̞̟̠͇ ̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍ ̎̏̐̑̒̓̔̿̿̿̕̚̕̚͡lls̐̑̒̓̔̊̋̌̍̎̏̐̑̒̓ ̔̕̚̕̚ssss," said Hatbot, its voice becoming slower and slurred. ""Daisy, daisy, give me your answer do. Fuck treees… I… climb… cloouudsss… moootheeeerrrrfffffuuuuckeeee…" Its voice finally drew to a halt, and the bank of lights went dim.
The feeling of wrongness stopped. The walls snapped back to normal solidity, and the cracks in the air vanished. Dr. Mann picked up the fedora, dusted it off, and placed it on his head. He whistled as he walked out.
"And that's everything," Dr. Mann said. "Oh, there was some clean-up, but I understand nearly everything was back to normal."
"Except for the damages done indirectly," said Dr. ███████, dourly. "Well, that clears up your role in this mess. I suppose your actions were reasonable, given the circumstances. Still, in the future, try to deal with these situations before they summon Keter-class reality distortion."
"I"ll try," said Dr. Mann.
In the bowels of the Foundation's Network, a background program triggered a hidden script.
Welcome, Dr. Everett Mann.
Site 17 Terminal 137
Your session will expire in 30 minutes.
E_Mann@SCP-Site17-T137:~$ sudo -bK -u root '/home/L4/A_Valence/bin/hatbot -d &>/dev/null'
sudo: User is not in the sudoers file. This incident will be reported.
E_Mann@SCP-Site17-T137:~$ su A_Valence
A_Valence@SCP-Site17-T137:~$ su root
FULL SYSTEM ACCESS GRANTED
ALL FURTHER ACTIVITY WILL BE MONITORED
root@SCP-Site17-T137:~# /home/L4/A_Valence/bin/hatbot -d &>/dev/null
+ Loading….. Done
+ Running as Daemon
[END OF LOG]