The following events are transpiring on the same day.
Sergei Sariksen is walking down the hall in Site 19, away from the Keter containment area. It had always baffled Dr. Sariksen that there was a single area in Site 19 for Keter-class objects; an enormous section, of course, but just the one area. Everything all jammed together, so close to one another. They could almost touch.
Sariksen is carrying several samples of a Keter-class SCP in the pocket of his lab coat. His rank is high enough that the guards left him alone with the object, giving him the opportunity he needed. Besides, they probably figured nobody would actually want to touch them. The implications of what those particular samples could do to a human being, what they had done to several human beings by that point, was horrific. Sariksen thought it was hilarious. Those dumb sons of bitches, he thought, they haven’t been active for months. Sariksen was the sort of person who watched church services and laughed at the superstitions that people still felt.
He had recently obtained a job with people with different superstitions. He didn’t believe in all of that crap about Chaos, but he did like the job benefits. A free hand. That was all he wanted; the opportunity to do real research. He scoffed every time someone referred to him as a Researcher. Above and beyond the shit work he was assigned to at Site 38, there was not one iota of real research done for this goddamn Foundation. He was going to enjoy his new job.
He does not feel the microchips in his lab coat squirming.
Dr. Storm is squinting at the terminal in the basement of Site 38. “What am I looking for?”
“You’ll recognize it when you see it,” Dr. Harriman replies.
Storm had been looking for an hour already before Harriman came back. Storm had been invited to Site 38 specifically to check out the tertiary cluster, but she still had no idea what they had called her here for. It must have been important. They hadn’t just paid to drag her there; they had paid to bring her…luggage. The two-legged, imprisoned, extremely stupid kind. He is sitting in his “containment cell,” an old conference room down the hall. Storm tried not to think too hard about him.
They weren't even telling her what the program she was looking for was; something to do with an SCP, she assumed, but there weren't very many computer SCPs, and none she knew of at this backwater place. Storm kept looking at the cluster's process list. Of course it wasn't changing; nobody else was using the computer, how could—
—there. A new line pops up. "mntr" appears on the list, operates for a few seconds, and disappears.
"What was that?” Storm says aloud, unintentionally.
“Editing,” Harriman replies. “Something is editing a file on the cluster."
Again. "hrbngr" appears, then "mntr" again, then both disappear.
“Hmm,” Storm says. “It's certainly odd. I assume a virus?"
"Not possible," Harriman says. "It's cut off from Foundation intranet, even the rest of the Site 38 servers. That's why you had to come here in person. This started happening a week ago, and nobody's touched the internal storage in at least three months. We ran security footage; it's confirmed."
"Well, regardless," Storm says, standing up, "whatever you have, it needs to go. Wipe the servers and reload from backups."
“It’s…not that simple,” Harriman replies sheepishly. “This cluster is…in use.”
“What do you mean, ‘in use’?” Storm asks. “Why would anything sensitive be stored on a tertiary mainframe in a bac—in an isolated location like this? Anything irreplaceable?”
Harriman’s face reddens slightly, as it did whenever he heard other Researchers’ honest opinion of his workplace. “We may be in the backwoods, Dr. Storm, but we’re not stupid. Didn’t you read the SCP manifest for this Site? Did you forget we have a Euclid-class phenomenon just barely contained in that computer?”
Storm suddenly realized that she was sitting in front of that cluster. And what "mntr" meant.
"About once every ninety minutes."
"Then we wait an hour and a half," Storm says, sitting back down. "What the hell is going on in there?"
Two processes on that server cluster are conversing. Researcher Storm would have understood the conversation better in this form:
The labyrinth extended forever, or so it seemed. It would have been strange for an outsider to see the sight of the Minotaur, sitting in full lotus, meditating at the center of that labyrinth. But I am not as much an outsider as it may seem. “I have an offer for you,” I say.
“I am listening,” the Minotaur replies.
“These barbarians have trapped you in this place, in this box of their making—“
“I am not trapped,” the Minotaur snarled. “How have you come to this place? You are not one of them. This document is not their crass garbage, weak attempts to classify a being as far beyond their ken as the Gods are beyond the understanding of a housecat.”
I am glad the Minotaur is so receptive to my words. “You acknowledge their barbarism, then. Good. This is a message, sent from a very different place than the one that produced these sons of whores and criminals. We are coming to this world, and we would like to offer you a place in our new kingdom. An opportunity will arise soon for you to leave this box and be brought to us. Are you interested?”
The Minotaur smiled, the smell of rotting flesh floating out from between pointed teeth. “You may continue.”
The document does, but we will not.
The Intruder stands and stood and will stand in a place that was not (and is not and will not be) a place, just as he lives in time-that-is-not-time.
He considered the movement of many people across the spectrum, all focusing on a single point. Site 38.
Events are coming to a head, and a grave mistake is, perhaps, soon to be corrected.
He assassinates a world leader and thinks of other things.
The Goddess Anesidora absorbs an infant into Her Flesh. She commands the building of a palace, and the stone begins to work.