The testing chamber was humming. Not a fluorescent hum, or even one from the various electrical implements hidden within its walls. No, this was a different humming. It was… hopeful. A hope that soon, the pieces would fall into place, and things would be finished. It seemed cheerful, almost giddy, and seemed ready. Somewhere, the musicians were getting into place. All that remained was to await the conductor.
Incident 148-A: Timeline, from the beginning… at █-22-██ ██:██, analysis of the testing chamber security footage indicated a low humming sound not indicative of any equipment currently located within the room. Further investigation into this auditory discrepancy is ongoing.
… and you've doublechecked everything?"
Dr. Eberstrom nodded. "Director Cyrus, you have nothing to worry about. Not one little thing. My boys have gotten that lil' sum- the testing chamber so well wired, all I have to do is throw a switch."
Cyrus nodded. "Good, good. I'm pleased to hear it, Doctor. If all goes well, this could be a boon to all of our careers."
"It's that important?" Eberstrom threw a glance to the Director.
"Perhaps. We'll see what the results say. It could be a big boon to the research we do here."
Eberstrom grinned to himself. Who knew that just directing a bunch of faceless wrench-monkeys to wire up a room could lead to him sharing a room with the site director? Oh, the places he was going to go….
"Now, let's be going. Agent HK-016 is waiting for us in the observation chamber."
Lee Byron looked at himself in his mirror. He was presentable, of course, almost to an impeccable degree. His lab coat had been ironed, then ironed some more, and then, for a change of pace, he ironed it again. The same went for his pants, and even his tie. He'd almost done it to his socks, before common sense crashed down onto his brain. He was ready. Today was the day.
Raise your baton, conductor
Lee smiled to himself. This is it.
… Security footage shows Researcher Byron exiting his chambers, and proceeding to the testing chamber at ██:██. Notably, analysis of audio indicates that he is humming the same tune which was detected from the empty testing chamber. Interviews are being scheduled with surviving members of the research team to determine if and when Researcher Byron had begun humming this tune.
Masipag sat in her quarters, angrily fuming to herself. Kulzn was an idiot. Fritz was obsessed with a piece of paper. And what do they get to do? Participate in Byron's big test. Her friend, and his big day, and the only witnesses would be the stuck up director and an asshole.
She flipped over on her bed, grumbling to herself as she checked the clock. They were probably setting up the test now. She could almost imagine Director Cyrus, sitting in his stuck up little seat, glancing around so he could pretend he was supervising everything. Kulzn probably had that stupid look on his face, and they both were watching Lee set up his stuff.
Bluh. I shouldn't be so angry. Bad for the soul.
Stretching, Masipag got up, and got on some gear. Might as well kill some time quadruple-checking everything in the containment wing. Who knows, maybe she'd see Lee coming back from his big day.
██:██ Agent Masipag exits her quarters and heads to the containment wing. The reason for this is currently unknown, as Masipag was not scheduled to perform security work in this area.
██:██ Commander William enters the SCP-085 containment area. He will remain here until the alarms indicating Incident 148 sound.
Byron inhaled. This was it. The big game. The last hurrah, the touchdown, his hail mary moment. Glancing to his sides, he sectuple-checked that everything was in order. His papers were in hand, the controller under his arm, and his spectacles were freshly cleaned. He was ready. With butterflies in his heart, he stepped forward, then… stopped. For a moment, his arms hesitated in front of the double doors. Was this wrong?
Lee, they need their conductor. You are the only one. No one else can protect them.
Lee Byron pushed the doors opened, and was greeted with the brilliant light.
██:██ Researcher Byron enters the testing chamber. At this point, no further major movement of the lost parties occurs, with the notable exception of Masipag and Commander Williams. Director Cyrus, Agent HK-016, and Doctor Eberstrom are not visible for the remainder of the footage, due to the lack of video feed inside the observation chamber(which, while being a departure from normal protocol, was insisted on by the late Director).
Cyrus peered through the glass. "Eberstrom, what is he doing now?
Eberstrom stood up, and looked through the glass panel. "Uhhh… looks like he's getting the test subject ready. Gotta get him, y'know, strapped in and stuff. Sir."
"Right. Are you set up back there?"
Eberstrom nodded, and sat down on the carpeted floor, absentmindedly wiping his hands on his coat. "Absolutely, sir. We've got this thing running like a well oiled machine!"
"I thought it was a well-oiled machine."
"You get what I mean, sir."
Kulzn watched them, then peered back through the window. Byron, presently, was going through the motions of strapping E-345 to a specially designed chair, and getting the instruments which would hold the telekill in place around him. If, and this was if, it all went according to plan, the guy would be unable to move a disc across the room with his thoughts.
Byron looked up to the observation chamber, briefly pausing to catch his breath. Then, he gave an enthusiastic thumbs up.
"Throw the switch, Doctor."
Eberstrom complied with gusto. From the ceiling, four large, thick slabs of Telekill Alloy descended into place, their gray-green coloration complimenting the metallic sheen of the testchamber walls. Slowly, they were lowered into the iron frames, which were themselves arranged into a box pattern, completely obscuring E-345 from view. The arms then retracted into the ceiling, leaving the room quiet, and bracing the anticipation in everyone's hearts.
Then, something unexpected. Bryon strode to the center of the test chamber…
… at ██:██ Researcher Byron produces an object, believed to be a tuning fork or a conductor's baton. He strikes the closest slab of Telekill Alloy, which immediately begins to produce a tone similar to the ones found in ██:██ and ██:██. Camera footage begins to corrupt from this point onward, although audio recording is unaffected. The audio from this point has been determined to be cognitohazardous, and removed.
Eberstrom glanced out the window, suddenly taking note of his compatriot's rapt attention.
"What'n the hell is that boy doing?"
Before either Cyrus or Kulzn could open their mouths, the glass panel cracked. Not enough to shatter it to pieces, although that happened momentarily. It was enough to let the sound in, and that sound was a glory to behold.
Can you tell us, how the bells are ringing? Can you hear it, the songs, the children, they are singing?
Cyrus tried to blink, only to find his eyelids were no longer present. Shocked, he stood, to find that his legs were composed of glass, shattered into infinitesimal agony beneath his body. Collapsing, his shattered form bore testimony to this corrupted earth for only a few moments more, enough time for him to bear the only eyes witnessing the deaths of his companions.
Eberstrom's face tried to twist into a scream as the flesh was rendered from it, and his bones melted into his mouth, but words failed, and the face continued to stretch, and twist, until he snapped off. Kulzn, his hair burrowing down into his scalp, until he could become a new form worthy of beholding the rhythm echoing from the conductor's waves and twirls.
Then, his own mind warped to the sheet music of a forgotten symphony, and he died.
At ██:██, believed to be 22 seconds after the deaths of all personnel within the testing chamber, the alarms begin to sound, indicating that a sitewide lockdown is occurring. Agent Masipag immediately begins moving towards the testing area. Similarly, Commander Williams exits the SCP-085 containment area and heads towards the test wing entrance. Both parties meet at ██:██.
"… just for one goddamn second, okay? If they're in there, that means they're already dead! What part of that do you not understand?"
Fritz grabbed Masipag's arm, and looked at her with what he hoped represented steely determination.
"The best you can do for him now is to hang back, and wait until the breach ends. We don't need another death here!"
Masipag glared at him. "How do you know they're dead? You don't know shit about what's going on in there!"
"Listen to me, for fuck's sake! If they're in there, that means the test went wrong, which means they're at the epicenter of the goddamned breach!"
"Why the fuck are you writing them off so quickly?"
Fritz opened his mouth. "Look, just-"
"NO! Fuck you, Fritz! You never fucking cared about him! You never cared about any of us! All you ever did was spent time with a fucking picture of a woman, too goddamned obsessed to see the world beyond your stupid flatland!"
Masipag tore her arm from Fritz's grasp, and tore down the hallway.
Moments later, the force from the testing chamber tore her to pieces.
Through it all, Byron kept up his act, tapping the slabs when necessary, and breaking down the walls of reality around him. This was his Pièce de résistance, his final act of his life. Even if every object he had studied had been destroyed, and even if, if this failed too, he would be remembered. They would speak of this for years.
Byron's smile stretched, as the joy tumbled from his mind. This was his immortality. This was remembrance.