Where Death Used To Live
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Location of Interest: Where Death Used To Live (LoI-3448)

Exploration Team:

  • Joyce Michaels (J-1)
  • Joyce Michaels (J-2)
  • Me (J-3)
  • Joyce Michaels (J-4)

Mission Parameters: Locate Tony Michaels and return him to his body.

Additional Information: LoI-3448 is a conceptual representation of death. The rules of LoI-3448 are not well understood. The five senses do not operate in LoI-3448 as they do in baseline. This means that any and all sensory input could be hallucinatory or metaphorical.

Despite the urgent nature of this mission, you have all the time in the world, Joyce.

[BEGIN LOG]

J-1: Ok, we're in.

J-2: We got tiled floors, fluorescent lights, and a lot of chairs.

J-4: And more than a few… People Magazines? What is this, 2017?

J-1 jumps over an unattended counter and starts rifling through papers.

J-1: Looks like we have medical records, schedules for surgeries.

J-4: Hospital?

J-2: Definitely hospital. And this is the waiting room.

J-1: Were there always organs on the seats?

J-4: Of course, who else would be reading those magazines?

J-1: Right right. I think we've searched this room enough. We should split up down the four corridors to look for Tony. He has to be in the hospital somewhere.

J-2: I mean, as far as I can tell the hospital is all there is.

The group notices the lack of windows in the room.

J-1: Alright, I'll take this one, everyone else find your own.

J-1, J-2, and J-4 each enter corridors. J-3 takes a seat in one of the chairs and begins to rock back and forth.

J-2: This hall looks clean. None of the doors to operating rooms are open.

J-4: How long does this thing go on for? I swear I can see the end but I'm not getting any closer to it.

J-2: Tried knocking on one of the doors. No one answered.

J-4: Just walking and walking. That's all I'm doing.

J-2: I'm kicking now. Still no response.

J-4: There is no end.

J-2: No one can hear me.

J-2 and J-4: Its just me and infinity.

J-1: I found an open door.

J-2 and J-4: Where?

J-1: First door on my right.

J-2 and J-4: What is inside?

J-1: A bed, a body, and a heartbeat monitor.

J-2 and J-4: What is missing?

J-1: The doctor, the nurse, the will to go on.

J-2: No one can hear me.

J-4: The end is not nigh.

J-3 continues to rock back and forth in the waiting room. Her headphones are set to maximum volume.

J-1: The body's moving, just a little bit. It's breathing quickly.

J-2 and J-4: It's a nightmare.

J-1 approaches the body. It is emaciated and faces away from J-1. J-1 reaches out to touch the body.

Unidentified Voice: [from behind J-1] Don't wake it. Its dreams are much sweeter than the pain of waking.

J-1, J-2, and J-4 crumple to the floor. J-3 stands and bolts down the corridor out of the waiting room1 She stops running after fourteen minutes, in front of an open door. Just beyond the opening of the door is a garden full of daisies. A man is kneeling next to one of the flowers, slowly stroking it. Beside him is the mannequin shaped like the body of J-1.

J-3: T— Tony?

The man looks up.

Tony: I was wondering when you'd get here. C'mon, I have a garden here. It'd be a shame if you didn't get to see it.

Joyce takes a step into the garden, and then pauses. Tony flashes her a brief smile. She joins him on a walk through the garden.

Tony: Anything new?

Joyce: They told me you were dead.

Tony swallows.

Tony: I mean… they're only half wrong.

Joyce: I've been taking care of dad for a lot of the time.

Tony: How's he doing?

Joyce: Delusional, damaged, but still not dead.

Tony stops walking. Joyce stops as well. After a moment Tony embraces Joyce.

Tony: I'm so sorry… I'm sorry I didn't know what I was thinking or doing and I'm just sorry for all of this.

Joyce hugs Tony back.

Joyce: I know. I know. But you can save your apologies for a little later. We'll get you out, and you can apologize to dad and Emily yourself. We're getting you out of here.

Tony: Out?

Joyce: Yeah. We have a whole plan put in place. You're going to—

Tony releases Joyce and takes a few steps back. He gives her a confused look.

Tony: Wait… no.

Joyce: No?

Tony: No um… I'm not leaving.

Joyce: What do you mean you're not leaving?

Tony: I need to be here. I… I fucked things up, so I need to fix them.

Joyce: Fix it? You fucking shot death. You can't unshoot death. That little girl, or skeleton, or whatever the fuck that was is gone.

Tony: And I'm here! And I'm figuring it out!

Joyce: You…

Tony takes Joyce by the hand and leads her down the path.

Tony: C'mon. I've gotten started on something. Let me show you.

Joyce: Show me death?

Tony: Yes. Well… almost.

Tony continues down the hospital corridor, stopping in front of a room. There is a woman lying still in the hospital bed with her eyes closed. A heartbeat monitor shows a flat line.

Joyce: I'm not sure what I'm looking at.

Tony: It's a corpse, Joyce. She's dead. I found her bones and I buried them.

Tony pulls a red garden hoe from his back pocket.

Tony: I did it with this, and my bare hands. Now, she's pushing up daisies.

Joyce: You're… you're killing people?

Tony: I mean, I was. Not so much anymore. For some reason the damn thing stopped working.

Joyce: Stopped working?

Tony: Yeah.

Joyce: It's a garden hoe, Tony.

Tony: I don't know how it works! It just feels wrong now, like they're never ready yet.

Joyce: I— I don't get it.

Tony: I'm not going to leave. If no one's here, how can anyone be put to rest?

Joyce stares at the body for a moment, before turning around and storming back into the garden.

Tony: Joyce, wait!

Joyce: [to herself] Tony's supposed to come back with me. He's supposed to come home. Home. I want to go home.

Joyce is stopped in her tracks as she comes across J-2, J-4, and the mannequin of J-1.

J-2: Do you want to go home?

J-4: What about Tony?

J-1: What about the masses?

Joyce: But— but I'm not supposed to be here. Neither of us are. This place isn't for us.

J-2: Then what about the girl here before you?

J-4: Or the daisies?

J-1: Or the bugs?

Joyce's feet are now surrounded by burnt insect corpses.

Joyce: Wasn't the girl always here?

J-2: I don't know.

J-1, J-2, J-4: Was she?

Joyce: Of course she was. Death was always around.

J-1, J-2, J-4: Was it?

Joyce: Stop asking me!

Joyce drops to her knees, crushing the insect corpses on the ground. J-1, J-2, and J-4 continue talking, but no words can be made out. The world begins to spin.

And spin.

Unidentified Voice: Excuse me?

And spin.

Unidentified Voice: Miss? Excuse me?

And spin.

Unidentified Voice: [shouts] Miss!

Joyce looks up. She's now in a room made of compact dirt. There is no visible light source, despite the room being illuminated. In front of her stands a man-sized Teddy Bear.

Teddy Bear: Are you ok?

Joyce blinks.

Joyce: What is going on? Where am I?

Teddy Bear: There there. You've obviously been having a rough time.

Joyce: Where's Tony? Or the garden? Or the hospital?

Teddy Bear: It's all here. They're just taking a break, but they're not gone.

Joyce: What is death?

The Teddy Bear smiles, and then walks to the wall where it sits so its back is propped up. It pats the ground next to it, where Joyce takes a seat.

Teddy Bear: You know, Tony asked that question a lot. I'm not really any sort of authority on it all, being just a Teddy Bear, but after talking back and forth about death with him for a while, I think I have an answer.

Joyce rests her head against the shoulder of the Teddy Bear, and closes her eyes.

Teddy Bear: Death is nothing special really. It's just a book end. Life's a lot like a story, you see. It has an abrupt beginning, a long middle, and then an equally abrupt end. But pretty much every story has to come to some sort of end. If you don't finish the story, then it just goes on and on. It spirals out of control, and loses all focus. Now, some stories could use extra pages. While brevity is the soul of wit, not every story needs to be particularly sharp. Longevity gives opportunities to explore paths of the story that weren't around. But again, every story needs an ending. And that's all death really is. It's turning the final page. Putting the final period. It's putting down the pen.

Joyce: Then what is this place?

Teddy Bear: This is the place that enforces deadlines for the manuscripts. But it appears our communications are down. So the authors all think they have all the time in the world. Nothing is more chaotic than an author let off the leash.

Joyce rests against the Teddy Bear for a little while longer.

Joyce: That's a nice way to think about it. Even if it doesn't really answer the question.

Teddy Bear: Sometimes accuracy isn't the most important part of the answer.

Joyce: This place never really made sense in the first place.

Teddy Bear: Sometimes things are never supposed to make sense. And you know what we call those things?

Joyce: What?

Tony: Anomalies.

Joyce opens her eyes. She is back in the garden, resting her head on Tony's lap.

Tony: You sleep well?

Joyce: Not particularly.

Tony: Well, are you staying around here? Or are you going to go back home?

Joyce: I'm… I'm not entirely sure.

Tony: That's fine. I don't think either of us are in much of a rush. If you're going to stick around for a bit, I could use your help.

Joyce: My help?

Tony: I mean, yeah. You were always the smartest one of us. And I— I want to fix things. I don't know if I can, but I want to try damn it.

Joyce: I… I don't know.

Tony: I want to help dad.

Joyce nods, and then sits up.

Joyce: I can try, I guess… you said something about your hoe not working. Can you describe that a little more?

Tony: Well… I mean ok. It's kind of confusing to me, I guess. Sometimes I can sort of just, feel it pull me toward the bones. I then bury the bones, and then in a few days a daisy grows.

Joyce: So its like you can feel when someone is dying?

Tony: Yeah. Almost as if I'm killing them myself.

Joyce: [to herself] Killing them yourself…

Tony: Joyce?

Joyce: You had a knife that dad gave you, right?

Tony: Yeah, I carried around pretty much everywhere after I joined the Foundation. Why do you ask?

Joyce: Mhmm… I— I might have an idea. Can you help me with maybe talking to Emily?

Tony: Of course!

Joyce: Let's see if we can help dad. Then I'm busting you out of here.

[END LOG]


Red Right Hand After Action Report


Upon raiding the CI facility, we found Foundation-issued equipment and also computers linked to SCiPNet. This place must have either defected, or was raided and then was swiftly deleted from the system. There was ample evidence that the facility had been evacuated no more than six hours prior to our arrival. Luckily by examining the session information on the machine, we have determined that two of the individuals who escaped are Foundation personnel. Specifically Dr. Emily Young, and Dr. Jared Helburg.

Additionally, we discovered a large machine in the back room which appears to have been the source of any anomalous activity. Inside the machine lay one cadaver, and one individual outfitted with an AR Buteo Series Mechanical Exoskeleton. Additionally, we recovered the following report from the machine:

SCP-3448 Day 40,095 Imaging Results

<8:44 — 8:52> Four identical women awake in a hospital. They speak for a while before going down separate hallways except for one who remains in the waiting room, and puts on headphones.

<10:22 — 10:56> One of the women walks with a man down a path in a garden surrounded by daisies.

<11:46 — 12:01> Static.

<12:01 — 12:37> A woman speaks to a teddy bear in a dirt room. The teddy bear does not seem to respond to the woman.

<14:37 — 14:46> The woman and the man are motioning to a garden hoe and a knife. When the woman brings them closer together, the hoe appears to melt into the knife.

<15:26 — 15:31> The woman and the man shout at each other, each occasionally motioning to a teddy bear lying on the ground.

<15:51 — 16:07> The woman is now wearing a stethoscope, which the man examines.

<16:37 — 18:03> Static.

<19:03 — 19:30> The woman sitting on front of a hospital bed staring at the patient. The patient is an elderly man, and rests his head on one pillow, while clutching the other close to his chest.

Notably, the cadaver within the machine and the woman outfitted with the Buteo Exoskeleton were identical to individuals shown in any images displayed by the machine, except the man did not possess a knife or a garden hoe, and the woman did not possess a stethoscope, or headphones.

To ensure that this facility could not be utilized for malicious purposes in the future, the facility was razed under the cover story of the building not being up to city health standards. Scans of the building show that this did not result in the termination of either cadaver found within the building, which is to be expected.

Command was immediately notified of the identity of the two defectors, and dispatched MTF Iota-10 to recover these individuals.

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