MisterBibs, Agent of the Foundation, was having string of good luck for the past month.
This, naturally, gave him an astonishingly bad mood. Bibs wasn't an entirely spiritual person, but he did believe that there was a finite amout of good luck in the universe, and a string of positive events in a row meant that one's luck was running out. It was the sort of belief that was confirmed no matter what happened: if things kept going well, it was just proof that something bad was soon coming. If something bad did happen, it justified his belief.
As he followed the blinking lights directing him and other staff members to the emergency, he knew his string of good luck had run out. Since "running towards a major threat" was something Bibs did all the time, it gave him the time to mentally tick off all the good events in the past month that (in his own opinion) caused whatever Bad Thing had just happened.
At the start of the month, he discovered a new way of containing SCP-409. Bombarding a source of 409 with high-impact sonar waves causes the crystals to dissolve into a non-contagious gel. It made complete sense to him, since 409 was just White Tiberium, but it was a surprise to everyone else. Last Bibs heard about it, the eggheads-with-actual-eggs-in-their-heads were working on figuring out why it worked.
A week or so later, he had done… something about SCP-055. He wasn't sure what he did, or anything, and regularly forgot that he had done anything. All that remained of the event in his memory was the existence of 055 itself. It was a strange feeling, Bibs thought, to have a memory that actively wanted to escape. He could feel the the memory of 055 rattling through his brain, careening off memories and mental fanwanks and creations, trying to find a gap. So far, all it had accomplished was leaving residue of itself on other memories of his.
A little bit after that, there was that… thing with Rights. Even in his head, he refused to actually specifically mention it. Every once in a while, when he was all alone, he did a little dance in celebration. It was almost worth the beating Bright gave him when he found out.
Of course, the pride of the month was a few days ago. Abel knew that Bibs was a jumpy person, and since Abel was a prick, he enjoyed taking advantage of that. Without fail, the outcome was the same: Bibs jumped upward, urine flowed downward, and Abel laughed. But one time, one rare and precious time, only jumping happened. So proud that he hadn't wet himself, Bibs proceeded to dance a finely-tuned jig in front of the Sumerian warrior. Since Abel was a prick, though, he didn't appreciate it.
At the end of the mental voyage, he jumped through the double-doors to where the emergency was. The scene was chaos, as to be expected. When the blinking lights and klaxons announcing a containment breach were going off, chaos always springs up. Something was very, very wrong, and very unexpected.
One of the few things that kept Bibs employed by the Foundation was that his sense of fear was off-kilter compared to everyone else's. Things that scared everyone else didn't phase him too much. It wasn't bravado or courage, it was simply that almost everything the Foundation dealt with had some analogue, even distant ones, to some story he read at one time or another. Even if there wasn't, his mind created one. What scared Bibs were the warning signs that something the Foundation was handling reminded him of a Bad Event from something he'd read. The rate of such worries weren't extremely high, but they were high enough that he wasn't fired when performance reviews came up.
What was in front of Bibs and the rest of the Foundation was a perfect example of this. To everyone else in the room, the frightening aspect was that the SCP attempting to escape confinement was SCP-682. They were afraid of how it was spewing forth thick gobs of acidic blood from its mouth and eyes, threatening to dissolve the walls of its containment. They were afraid of how any weapons fired at 682 were bouncing off its flesh with a flash of light.
Bibs, Agent of the Foundation, wasn't phased by that too much. He trusted his fellow co-workers to contain 682 by itself. But what did frighten him was what was around 682's neck. It looked like a rusted iron necklace, digging into 682's flesh. It didn't look right, but it didn't take an idiot to know what it was.
It did, however, take an idiot (Bibs himself) to fix it. So he ran back to his office, knowing he had the tools to stop the problem.
There was one more thing he was afraid of. He was afraid of getting blamed for the containment breach.
It was his fault.
Two Weeks Earlier
Bibs stood near SCP-914, holding what he wanted to refine in his hand. He was childishly excited to be given permission to do so. As with most of his suggestions, the O5s were hesitant to allow him to do it. They had every right to be, since it was a vanity experiment, with little actual benefit to the Foundation. Bibs made as such clear during his proposal. But in knowing that, he provided as much information explaining the objects to the higher-ups, so they understood what he wanted to do. These were good ones, not the bad ones, and he was only going to set 914 to Fine. There was very little chance of anything going wrong.
Eventually, he was given permission. If there was a line between "Giving Bibs Permission To Do Something Because It Had Value" and "Giving Bibs Permission To Do Something To Get Him To Stop Asking For Permission", he didn't know about it. Thankfully, such distinctions only occasionally depressed him.
Bibs, Agent of the Foundation, stared briefly at the 914's knob, set to Fine. The setting Very Fine was tempting, but really, it had taken him too long to get permission for Fine, much less Very Fine. To get permission for Very Fine, he'd have to start the approval process all over again. Even if he wanted to do that (and he wasn't sure he wanted to, really), it'd mean a whole bunch more paperwork and begging. He wondered which one he'd have to do more.
Well, it didn't hurt to ask, did it? He turned around to ask the guard, required by policy to be with him during the experiment, a question. To his surprise, he wasn't there. Odd, he thought. He turned around and went through the door. He went to the door to 914's containment room to find out why, and the two guards there were gone too. Damned odd.
Bibs wasn't the kind of person who complained when rules weren't followed - after all, he was usually skirting the occasional rule or six - but never the big ones. Containment Procedures were the biggest of the big rules. With 914, one guard was always with the guy doing the test, and two were positioned outside. Three guards, all away at the same time. He groaned. More likely than not, the Observation staff in the booth above 914 had let them take a break. Yeah, Bibs whined to himself. It's not like I'm in need of protection or anything..
Time to call the folks in the booth. He flipped open his communicator. "Hey, it's Bibs. We got an O5 on-site? Last minute request to alter my experiment a bit. It's against the rules to change an experiment on the fly, and I'd rather not be shot for doing it without permission."
Groaning, he craned his head to look at the booth. He just barely was able to make out a crudely-written sign saying "BRB COFFEE" on it.
Now, Bibs was annoyed. Sure, his uncanny ability to infiltrate and investigate without being noticed was invaluable in his role as a Foundation Agent. He could get into places, go where he wanted, and nobody bothered him because he always acted like he belonged there. Or lost and confused. Or like he belonged there, but lost and confused.
But that 'gift' became really annoying when he wasn't in the field, and people forgot that he was around. Like today.
He looked at the objects he planned to run through 914. Little toys, of no value to most people but himself. Shiny plastic promotional items. He figured 914 would turn them metallic on the Fine setting. Maybe fit a little bit better, since they were designed to be worn by much fatter people.
He waited a few more minutes for someone to come back. He kicked the wall a few times. He contemplated peeing on the wall, figuring that would get someone's attention. But there was a fine line between "I Told You Not To Leave Me Alone" and "Actually Crazy."
Bibs was annoyed at being ignored. He had an experiment to run. The Observation Staff and the Guards were AWOL. They were the ones breaking all the rules.
The Very Fine setting was very tempting.
Bibs had already worked out how this all happened by the time he returned to the containment breach.
His first assumption was worked out, contemplated, and rejected before he even reached his office. Someone else had found out what he did with 914, and replicated his methods. Whoever it was, the ignorant fool decided it would be a great idea to use a different ones than he did. They used one of the bad ones, it got away from them, and it chose the finest bearer it could.
As he reached his office, he had already judged that assumption as false. Nobody knew he what he had done. Sure enough, it was the guards and the Observation Staff that got reamed out for dereliction of duty. He was Bibs, Agent of the Foundation, so nobody doubted him as he filled out the test results. Two objects, fine setting, Two objects, metallic. No other change, with a "Aw Shucks, It's A Shame It Didn't Do What I Had Hoped!" note.
No, this was his fault, albeit indirectly. He, using 914, had created two of them. Good Ones. But just like the stories they came from, the Good Ones' existence brought forth other ones. Bad Ones. Nature abhors a vacuum, a vacuum created by his own hand.
Bibs slammed into the door to the containment booth, and 682 was still trying to escape. The Guards, reduced in number but no less determined, had kept the reptile contained. Its cage had seen better days, missing sections but still keeping the beast contained. The walls steamed from the acidic blood 682 continued to burst forth.
The red-iron necklace was still clamped to its neck. Nobody else would understand what was going on, but to Bibs it was clear as day. The red necklace was demanding control and ownership over 682, and 682 was having none of that. Its physiology was not only rejecting the necklace, but attempting to assimilate it.
Bibs found a big enough hole to fit his fist through. He slipped one of the rings onto his finger and stuck his hand in. He closed his eyes and concentrated. Whatever 914 had turned them into, they didn't work as they were supposed to. But they worked.
The weapon Bibs used was supposed to make anything he thought of, but that one of the ways the ring didn't work quite right. It chose whatever images it wanted to, which is why everyone saw a massive green Abel suddenly appear in 682's cage. it was wearing a hardhat, though, and instead of a massive blade, it was wielding a giant wrench. That's odd as all git-out, Bibs said to himself.
The Green Abel pinned 682 underneath its knees, holding 682's head down with its free hand. With the wrench-hand, it grabbed at the red necklace on 682's neck, twisting and pulling in an attempt to remove it from 682. With thick wet snaps of flesh and sinew, the necklace released its hold on the neck of the beast in fits and starts.
When it seemed that the necklace would be completely freed from 682's neck, the horrible reptile flesh twitched and shook underneath the giant green Abel. Its flesh became smooth and shiny, with a sickly yellow tint to it. With a Sumerian curse Bibs was unaware of, the green simulacrum of Abel released its grasp on the beast, looking at its steaming hand and wrench. With a thick plop, the necklace reattached itself to 682. It spoke to 682, telling everyone his name and origin in the process. Fascinating, Bibs thought to himself. Profoundly pointless, unless I get that thing off it, but fascinating nonetheless…
682 changing his flesh a different color to thwart the Big Green Abel wasn't surprising, to Bibs, at least. 682 was very good at adapting to things, and the rusted necklace that had been forced onto it. That necklace must have dumped all sorts of knowledge into its brain in the process, and 682 was using it. Sighing at having to use the other illegally-made weapon, he slid it onto his other hand, he shoved it in into the enclosure, and thought.
With a flash of light, the Big Green Abel became Big Blue-Green Abel. With newfound confidence in itself, the giant again proceeded to pin 682 down. This time, its coloring did the beast no help. The wrench found purchase on the necklace on the reptile's neck, and pulled. It was still a struggle, but not a large one.
The excursion was getting to Bibs, Ringbearer of the Foundation, and he struggled to maintain composure. He got a second wind when, with a final skkr-ktt, the Giant Cyan Abel succeeded in its task. The simulacrum raised the red-iron necklace over its head, screamed in victory, and crushed the object between its fist.
The enclosure, or what remained of it, ignited in heat and flame. Some would say it was unholy. Some would say it was simply one facet of a spectrum that a certain Agent of the Foundation accidentally unleashed upon the world. Most, however, simply described it as a big fireball.
When the flames ended, only one thing remained in the enclosure. An ash pile, in the shape of 682.
The crowd, who up until now had fought with every fiber of their being, stood silent for only a moment. It was not a moment of silence for a fallen foe, but the quiet sound of a paradigm shifting without a clutch. SCP-682 must be destroyed as soon as possible. At this time, no means available to SCP teams are capable of destroying SCP-682. SCP-682 was a pile of ash. It was impossible. Improbably. Profoundly unlikely.
Before long, a cheer ran out. It started with some clapping. Then laughing. Then a full on celebration. People celebrated. Hugged. Kissed. Swarmed around Bibs, who didn't like this. As much as he refused to admit it, he hated attention.
He felt hands around him, lifting him up. Carrying him. It wasn't for long, though, and before he even had a chance to enjoy the experience, he was dropped on his ass.
"Jesus wept! Aren't you supposed to warn a guy when you decide to stop carrying him? I mean… oh." He understood why he was dropped, and why his carriers suddenly regained their emotional composure.
An older man, in a well-fitting and expensive-looking suit, stood before him. An O5. The crowd, joyous moments before, suddenly looked like children who had been caught playing when they were supposed to be working.
The older man looked Bibs over. "Good job, Agent Bibs."
Bibs blushed. he hated compliments. "It's… it's not as amazing as it looked, sir, anyone could have-"
"Nonsense, Bibs. If it wasn't for you, there's a good likelihood that we would have had to nuke the entire Site from orbit. You're a debt to the Foundation, sir. And please, Bibs, it's Fred." He smiled.
"Your name is… Fred?"
"Indeed. A bit against policy, I suppose, but in this case, I think you've earned it." He smiled again.
He looked over at the smoking, steaming ash pile of 682.
Figures, Bibs sighed. Fuckin' figures…