The Only Way To Travel
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"So…you want coffee or anything? I think I have some left on the nightstand."

"No, thank you."


"Mr. Brown, while I appreciate the pleasantries, I am here on investigation, namely the events surrounding Captain Anderson’s death and you coming into command of the Foundation's lone combat zeppelin.”


“Please, Mr. Brown, wait until I have begun recording. Mmm-hmm. Case File 20121108-6, regarding the destruction of Station HALO-3, overseen by Anjali Mhasalkar. Please state your name and identification number for the record.”

“Uh…Lawrence Brown, 30221-1/994.”

“Now then, Mr. Brown. Please explain the events leading up to the incident.”

“Okay…uh, I was transferred to HALO-3 on September 1st of this year, as part of Project Skylight under Doctor Mandelson. We were training SCP-994 specimens for reconnaissance missions.”

“Did you at any time come into contact with any other objects or entities within the station?”

“No, never. We were all given the standard briefing during transferal, all the emergency codes in case of breaches and evacuation protocols, but that was it. Just usual stuff.”

“Go on.”

“Uh…Not much happened for two months. We weren’t having any major problems with Project Skylight: no major problems with the implants, and 994s are pretty trainable if you start them small. We were working on getting them to fly courses more than five kilometers out from the station when the incident happened.”

“Please describe what happened that morning.”

“Well, the Bonham had docked at around four, I woke up at six, usual routine, went down to the 994 hangar at eight-thirty. We was doing some adjustments to the GPS implants. They kept messing up during flight, had no idea why. Dr. Mandelson and Logan and Ari were there with me.”

“Had you had any contact with the SCPU Bonham, its crew, or its cargo before the incident?”

“No, I just knew that they were docked at the station and were going to head out the next day.”

“Station security records transmitted before destruction indicate that there was a containment breach of the high-security experimentation chamber at ten-seventeen, releasing E-7804 into the surrounding modules. Please describe what you experienced.”

“There was an explosion, I think. Just this big thud, but from where I was you could barely hear it. Then the sirens started going off and the flock just scatters out of the hangar. We locked down the hangar and the lab, and we were waiting in there for…maybe twenty minutes. Nothing over the speakers but the general lockdown announcement. We had no idea what was going on.”

“Did anything unusual occur to you during lockdown?”

“No, nothing. Lockdown ended after about twenty minutes or so, so Dr. Mandelson contacted control to see what was going on. No one answered. Mandelson sent out a distress signal and we all made our way to one of the escape shuttles, just like protocol.”


“So we had no idea what was going on, it wasn’t anything that we’d been briefed on, so we presumed that it was something the Bonham had brought it to us.”

“You are correct.”

“The shuttle was right next to the hangar, so we get over to it quick, but it wouldn’t launch. Dr. Mandelson said someone must have messed it up from command, and then he said that we should investigate, see if we could find security or command or someone who knew what was going on.

“I was at the back of the group, they were at the front, so I was able to see the whole thing when we got jumped by the creature and… and …"

“Would you like me to pause the recording?”

“Yeah…yeah. Just give me a bit.”

“Very well.”

“Can you describe the creature?”

“Well… it was humanoid. Didn’t change too much of the host. It was more of an outer covering, like someone had taken clay and molded it around the person. Grey with red circuit-board-looking designs.”

“And then what did you do?”

“I hit it with a fire extinguisher and ran away while it was down.”

“What did you plan on doing?”

“If command was quiet and the shuttles weren’t launching, then the only real way to get off was the Bonham, I thought, so I went that way. I could hear some fighting from some of the other levels: stayed as far away from that as I could. Took the maintenance shafts.”

“Did you consider that a threat?”

“At that point, I figured I was either going to die, or I wasn’t. Fifty-fifty chance, so it didn’t matter what I tried. I wasn’t thinking too clearly at that point. Just running off of adrenaline and fear.”

“Did you encounter any more of the creatures?”

“Three of them, but they didn’t notice me. They don’t see or hear normally I don’t think. Move slowly and quietly enough and they can’t tell that you’re there.”

“What happened when you reached the docking bay?”

“The Bonham was still there, but none of the crew. Not a soul in the bay. I thought that they were all on the ship, but if that was the case, why hadn’t they taken off? So I walked towards the ship, hands in the air, and as I approach the ramp lowers and a whole strike team just runs out and stands there. It’s like I’m not even there. They just stand there in two neat rows, and I guess Captain Anderson walks out, except…he’s got like this war paint on and everything. Tore up his uniform, looks like he jumped off the deep end from orbit, big grin on his face. He actually notices me. Walks down the ramp, and he’s got his arms out like this, all smug and everything. Like he’s the villain in some pirate movie. Even had an eye patch.”

“What did he say to you?”

“He didn’t really say anything, before he walked over and headbutted me. Then he said ‘how’s it going, motherfucker’?”

“And this lead to your injuries, I presume?”

“Yeah, he just beat the tar out of me for a bit, said something, not sure what, and then had one of the strike team guys carry me back into the ship. It must have been some powerful conditioning to override the standard set: Those guys were zombies.”


“I was half-conscious at this point, so I really don’t have that good of an idea what was going on, but I know I was able to see out the window enough to see that the station was covered in the clay-like stuff, big gobs of it. Like it had been maybe an hour, hour and a half since the breach? I’ll be damned if that’s not Keter.”

“And you would be right.”

“I think Anderson says something about missing the fun and work to do, and after that, nothing until I woke up here in medical.”

“No memories at all?”

“Bits and pieces, but they’re all blurred…except for the bit at the end, when the recovery team got there, I remember waving something around and shouting 'I am the captain, and this is my crew, and this is the SCPU Fuck You’.”

“You would be correct.”

“And that’s it.”

“Very well. Mr. Brown, have you been informed of what went on during your blackout?

“Not really — bits and pieces.”

“You killed thirteen Chaos Insurgency agents with a shotgun and rammed the Bonham into the station’s anti-gravity ring, triggering its self-destruct sequence. All told, this incident resulted in the complete destruction of one of our HALO facilities, the death of one hundred and eighty-six personnel, the destruction of twenty-two anomalous objects, the loss of experimental technology valued in the range of ten billion dollars, damaged relations with three of our major extra-universal suppliers, and one of the largest cover-up efforts of the last decade. However, you also prevented an attempt to disperse E-7804 into the Pacific Ocean, which would have required a global restructuring event to contain.”


“Consider this a commendation for inadvertent heroism.”

“I have a question, though.”

“Go on.”

“Why exactly do we have a combat zeppelin?”

“That’s classified, Mr. Brown.”

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