Death is a simple matter, an inevitability that is hindered solely by acceptance. Do I want to die? No. But do I care whether I die? Yes, and suddenly human will becomes stronger than fate. We do everything within our power to survive.
Standing on the ridge of a snowy hill, two men stand beyond the precipice of disaster. Kilometres ahead, Area-83 erupts a cloud of fire and smoke as the the facility below burns like a coal mine. One of the men sits down in the snow and gazes at the mess. All his friends, his work and goals, wasted by someone else's mistakes. Someone, or some SCP that wanted out.
He didn't bother to speak, but rather hung his head low, contemplating this problem. --Ltn Vasquez, officially Technical Sergeant Jeffrey [REDACTED] (talk) 08:48, March 22, 2015 (UTC)
Thousands of innocent lives. Extinguished in an instant. Well, those lives weren't exactly saints, but they didn't deserve such premature deaths. Wilson had witnessed many, many things. Both of his parents dying, dozens of his closest friends being slaughtered in ways a layman would be incapable of imagining, every rape and torture in the book.
But never had he seen something so...catastrophic. He never really thought about how advanced nuclear weapons are. They could literally make millions of people nonexistent in less than an attosecond. They gave humans the power of gods. And he had just witnessed that power unleashed firsthand. An orange sparkle in his eyes reflected a colossal explosion miles from him, and the weakest aftermaths of the shockwave brushed up against his apathetic face. Facial expressions couldn't illustrate his appalment.
The sound waves that had blasted the countryside were fading to low booms, leaving only a fiery glow on the cold ice. It bothered him so much that everything was gone. But now that he thought of it, he realised most of the personnel had terrible backgrounds. In retrospect, there was no past to deal with now.
"I guess we go forward, eh? ...Just, not now. This whole ordeal makes me shiver, and I'm sure It's not the cold".
"I know. There's this...metallic feel in my throat. What do you think this means for the Foundation? Think it'll recover?"
Gale shook his head, "One site alone is bad enough, but this isn't the first time. I'm sure the Foundation is on its last knees".
After a long silence, Wilson chuckled. "I...I remember the first time we met. It was my first year at the Foundation. We were... in a break-room. You were talking about.... some crying Class-D, and I think you scolded me for not patrolling his block."
"Yeah, I remember that. D-76-somthing. You were pretty unsure of yourself back then... God, that was such a long time ago, times have changed, wouldn't you agree?"
"To be honest, not really. These four years have been such a fast blur."
"And in that time, the Foundation has managed to get its thumb so far up its arse. Living... no, dead proof of this is right there. Shame, I think they really did mean well..." Gale was silent, when a memory surfaced. He voiced it, saying, "'The portal to hell is opened with the incantation of good intentions'".
"What?" Wilson said. He didn't really hear it, it just sounded like some poetic nonsense.
"It's a phrase I heard before, can't remember where... You know, Wilson, I spent so much of my life at the Foundation chasing some past that eluded me. Even now, it's haunted me that a chunk of my life is just missing. Gone. And any proof that it was there is probably burnt in that nuclear shithole".
"I envy you. I would've preferred it if a majority of my life was masked with amnesia."
Gale chuckled, "Yeah, well you can't tell if my past is any better than yours... Hell, I could've been homeless before... I think... up until high school, somewhere there is where the memories halt, like a road that comes to a full stop, and there's the remnants of some dirt road, but It's so difficult to see it at all. I know that I had a family, an education, I lived someplace in Britain and I decided to join the Royal Air Force... Not sure, it all just blurs, and suddenly there are these random instances of... something. I don't know, but It's strong enough to lay on the fringes between remembrance and forgetting".
"Why do you want to know about your past, Gale? What good could come out of it?"
Gale considered this for a moment, and stated, "Answers. Closure, perhaps. Curiosity just sinks its teeth in every moment, and its well-meaning curiosity".
For some reason, what Gale was saying angered Wilson. "What if your past is traumatizing? What if it permanently fucks you up? I don't believe in a deity, Gale, but...I think you unknowing your past was how it was meant to be."
Gale glanced and stared sadly at Wilson, "Wilson, if truama is what I endure, then so be it." He stood up, shaking the snow off, "I keep thinking I have some relative, a brother or cousin, someone that cares... or maybe not... I'm sorry, Wilson, but you're wrong. Ignorance Isn't bliss, It's a curse that eats you alive. It fucks with your head knowing that right after high school, the next memory is waking up from a coma in the middle of nowhere, trapped for an eternity with Gears and his entourage of power-hungry asswipes. THAT IS MY LIFE, AND IT IS YOURS".
"Not anymore," Wilson said without any emotion, staring up directly into the vexxed Gale's scarlet eyes.
Gale looked away, controlling his rage. It was enough that he had to deal with the memory gap, but this was just annoying.
"You're right. We can only go forward, then... I'd rather not sit here so close to that explosion". --
Wilson clout his palm into Gale's and was helped up to to his feet when the two descended into the snowy forest that encircled the area, which was just a city-sized pile of smoldering debris encased in a thick coat of black fog. It was in the climax of night and the only thing that broke the silence were the two's black combat boots crunching up against the ground's snow and a few noisy crickets. The utter darkness was interrupted by Wilson's flashlight, which barely illuminated a few bits of tree trunks and the snow they stepped on.
Wilson stopped dead in his tracks and lightly placed his hand on Gale's armored chest.
"Wait," Wilson whispered. "....do you hear that?"
Out of the nooks of Wilson's hearing, he heard a third set of footsteps behind them. Wilson jerked around, the beam of his flashlight following him, and beam immediately peered down at a black wolf a few meters behind the two military-men. This wolf was...strange, however. For one, it was stalking the two, but the stalking felt...passive, not malicious. Like a guardian angel. Wilson couldn't explain it.
Secondly, the wolf didn't immediately charge at the two and rip their throats out. It seemed more like a generic canine than a wolf. And thirdly, it was pitch-black. So black Wilson almost thought it was a silhouette. Wilson approached the dog and crouched down, looming over the canine. It curiously tilted its head at him, not wagging its tail but seeming neutral, and the guard slowly raised his hand before running his hand through its soft fur. --Fireworks888 (talk) 04:06, March 23, 2015 (UTC)
"Do you always pet wolves in the forest, Wilson?"
"If it was gonna do anything aggressive, it would've already done it."
"Death wish, Wilson. Come now, It's a feral. Leave it be".
"Fine. It'll probably follow us, anyways," Wilson sneered, rising to his feet. "Where are we even headed anyways? We're just wandering through the forest like a couple of jackasses."
Gale blinked, suddenly and fully realising they didn't know where they were, nor did they have the materials to navigate, and the cold was biting harder with every second ("not that it ever bothered anyone in the Area", he mused).
"Opposite direction of the "portal to hell" we just opened".
"We can't just walk left for the rest of our lives Gale, we need a goal to reach. The escape ferry, a watch tower, anything."
Gale smiled, "Forward, Wilson".
The two's journey throughout the scraps of the area's foresty border continued, and Wilson trained himself to not look behind him. Just ignore the dog, just ignore the dog Wilson recurred to himself mentally. After two or three minutes, Wilson gave in and turned around to see absolutely nothing behind him. Just a plain of snow with his and Gale's boot-prints.
Huh, he said to himself before resuming his walk.
Not too long after, the two could see a red light in the distance, towering over the trees like half a mountain. Wilson didn't even need to vocalize "There it is," and so the duo picked up the pace, their goal being the light, before finally coming upon four metal legs taller than any tree could hope to be, all holding up a big box containing someone's office peaked with a red emergency light. They had found the watch tower.
While the office was slightly visible, the legs practically shot up into the completely black sky, and the only thing that came out of the meadow of blackness that hovered over the forest was a metal ladder.
"I'll go first," Wilson quickly announced to stop any arguments. "Spot me."
Wilson got a firm grip on ladder's fifth and sixth ice-covered rung and felt of the metallic cold. His fingerless gloves did nothing to defend his nerves from the sheer bite of winter, but he hardly cared. And so, he began to ascend up the ladder, it shaking every step. He reached the top, pulling himself into the office and peeking back down into the snowy abyss that lied under him before gesturing Gale to come up.
As Gale followed Wilson's example of scaling the ladder, the guard analyzed office. It was dark, of course, illuminated only by a dying desk lamp stationed upon a sturdy desk. The desk also had a metal flask which Wilson pocketed, an old musty shortwave radio, and was littered with crumbled up papers. Wilson attempted to use the radio, and predictably only received deafening static.
As Gale finally reached the top of the ladder, Wilson found a map of the region. A giant forest, the area housed in the forest's heart, and a colossal mountain strain enclosing the region. However, there was a little crack of water in between the mountains that lead out into an ocean. The beginning of the river was marked "Ferry Bay".
"There," Wilson pointed. Our escape is right there. That's a good 5 miles. Get use to walking," Wilson cracked to Gale as he pocketed the map. "Nothing else up here is of interest, let's not waste any time getting there."
"Hold up", Gale voiced, fiddling with the radio. He tried to use a nearby standing microphone, but the cable had been degraded by weather, as with the headphones. He then took note of the channel.
"10.426 mHz, USB. Keep that in mind, Wilson, we might need it later." Gale then took a few glances at the papers before taking a great many and folding them into his pocket, "Might need this. Mic's dead, so we can't work off here. Lead the way". --Fireworks888 (talk) 05:23, March 23, 2015 (UTC)
The ferry. That was the goal. The ferry. Wilson ran 2 miles every day as apart of his mandatory daily exercise, so walking 5 miles shouldn't be too much of a...
"Gale?" Wilson asked, mindlessly.
"Ye-AAACH!" A metal blade jammed into Gale's stomach. Blood oozed out of the soldier's mouth and stomach wound, and before the thought of "what" could even course through his mind, he was on his back, laying in the snow, fading in and out of consciousness. While crippled, the sole reason Gale wasn't dead was due to his thick combat armor. Wilson had stabbed him. Just out of the blue, unsheathed his combat knife and gouged into his one friend's guts.
Then Wilson came to.
It was as if he had just woken up. He was groggy and tired, and analyzed the situation. Gale was laid out in the snow, coughing up his own blood. Before Wilson could ask what happened, he noticed he loosely gripped a knife like a zombie. He had blacked out. Something...possessed him. He had an episode of violence, driven by....her. Wilson heard rapid footsteps in the blackness that encased him. And they weren't the light pats of a wolf or other example of wildlife, no no, this was from a human. A better term would be humano-
A red figure pounced out of the darkness onto Wilson. The back of his head collided with the ground and dazed him, and before he knew it, his riot vest was ripped to shreds. What pinned him down was a being, with the size and shape of a curvy and attractive woman, but the face and skin/fur of a red fox. It was her. It was the Kumiho. Her ravenous and thirsty fangs ripped Wilson's security jacket and vest down to the skin where his pale abs were revealed. Her sly and cunning brain was flooded and focused on one goal: Wilson's alcohol poisoned liver.
However, before her feast could begin, Wilson rammed his already blood-covered combat knife into the side of her neck. She howled in pain as she tried to claw the blade out, but was met with a brutal bone-breaking punch to the nose by Wilson. Now she was fucking pissed.
She got on all fours and gave another voracious pounce, not wanting Wilson's organs, but his suffering. She unhinged her jaw like a snake and bit down with unimaginable strength onto Wilson's forearm. He yelled in agony as her fangs sunk into his bones and fractured them with sheer desire and force. He kicked the damn thing in its stomach as it gnawed on his arm and she cringed back upon the kick. She readied for another pounce but the fight was interrupted by another howl.
It was the canine.
The dark canine sprinted towards the beast and scared it off, the Kumiho whimpering and running off into the distance before being engulfed by the darkness of night. The canine didn't follow. Wilson was crouching, writhing in pain along with Gale.
"Gale, I'm.... so sorry, I..." Wilson couldn't even get a word out. The sleeve of his right forearm was completely and messily ripped off, and his arm was drenched in blood pouring out of two sharp teeth marks burrowing down to his bone. He wasn't the concern. Gale was. With his one good arm, Wilson put pressure on Gale's stomach wound as the canine curiously watched.
"Don't die on me, Gale," Wilson strained out. "Don't you fucking die on me," Wilson spit out, tearing up. He was fading in and out just as much as Gale. Wilson fought through the darkness and FORCED himself to stay awake. Disinfection wasn't the focus. Stopping the bleeding was. And so, for a solid 2 minutes, Wilson forcefully rammed his fingers into Gale's stab wound, clogging up the bleeding like a bottle cap until the blood flow finally subsided. The canine still loyally stood by Wilson's side as he treated Gale, who began to awake.
Following the stabbing, Gale hadn't a thought to process anything next. It seemed that the two were going to make good time getting to the ferry when suddenly he was in the snow in a pool of his own blood. Thought was impossible, and the pain threatened to tear him from conscious, but he held fast.
All his senses seemed shot, even his eyesight was deceiving him, for all he saw were glimpses of a shock of red passing over him. Somehow, a single thought came through,
"My eyes are bleeding"
No, they're, and for the time, they won't because that made no sense. Then, back to pain. It would take a miracle to keep conscious for any longer.
The cold began to get to Wilson. Until now, it was the least of his problems. The wintery wind seeped into his wounds and shivered his bones down to his very core. He started to succumb to hypothermia, and began to shake like a baby rattle.
No...you can't die. You're so fucking close to the ferry. YOU CAN'T DIE. COME ON!
Then suddenly, Wilson remembered something. The flask. He had only stolen it due to his alcoholism but it just might save his life. He always knew the three steps to treating a wound. Stop the bleeding, disinfect the wound, and patch it up. Wilson's injury still oozed with blood, but it didn't matter. With his one good arm, he revealed the metal flask from his pocket uncapped it before hovering it over his mangled arm and praying to the god he didn't believe in for a drop. Nothing.
A drop of alcohol dripped out from the flask's head. He shook the container and more tears of liquor poured out before the alcohol began to make itself a home in the bloody fang-bites of Wilson's mutilated forearm, killing any infections that attempted to pollute the intramural of Wilson's veins. It stung like absolute SHIT but Wilson had endured so much pain in the last few minutes it barely fazed him now. He disinfected Gale's stomach wound as well and moved onto the third step: patching it up.
Gauze. When the containment breach that destroyed the Foundation started, Wilson was in the midst of it, and his wrist was ripped open by SCP-280, forcing him to retreat to the infirmary and patch it up with gauze, which was still wrapped around his good arm. It was used gauze, yes, but it was better than nothing. He ripped the old roll of gauze off of his good arm to reveal a patch, what almost looked like a miniature lake of dark red resting on Wilson's wrist. It was healing, with time. He ripped off about one fourth of the roll and used that fourth to patch up his other arm. It was pathetic, as the blood almost instantly soaked the thin piece of fabric, but as aforementioned, a little gauze is better than no gauze.
He used the other 3/4 of gauze to patch up Gale's stomach, wrapping around his lower torso two and a half times. The two broken men laid together in the snow, still dying from hypothermia but too tired to fight it.
"Hey..." Wilson said thoughtlessly. "....Gale?"
"Have you ever...thought about how death would be like?"
"I have... I think I dreamed it once... long time ago.""
"Well...I think about it quite a lot," Wilson said as he stared towards the black sky. "But now that I'm finally facing it...I'm scared. I'm really scared. It's like taking a major jump. I don't know if I'll make it. But I don't want to make it."
"You see anything yet, Wilson?"
"Not yet... but I saw an abyss, once. It was massive, dark... there might have been a light somewhere, but before I knew it, I was rising."
"All of a sudden, Wilson, I''m awake at Area 405"
"Gale...do you want to die right now?"
"No... God, no. Like Hell I'd want to see that abyss again. Don't give up, Wilson, It's a God damn chasm with nothing left but to swallow you whole"
"If I got up...would I have to carry you?"
The pain coursing through Gale's body was insane, but somehow, being lonely seemed a worse fate than this pain.
"Yeah, help me up, I'll walk if it kills me"
"Just a minute..." the pain individually disabled each of Wilson's nerves and the cold numbed them. It took several minutes for every nerve to regain feeling, but after a few minutes, Wilson reluctantly and slowly rose to his feet before grabbing Gale's hand and pulling the soldier to his feet.
Once they were up, they were immediately in danger of toppling forward. Yet, the two began to trudge forward, balancing their own weight and letting them finally make progress to the ferry.
As they moved, they both thought vaguely of the sudden disappearance of the wolf.
Wilson was about to give up all hope. Any sliver of will and ambition towards surviving was frozen by the blizzard, and Wilson closed his eyes to succumb to the cold...but the will thawed out. A red light in the distance. It burned through the sheet of snow like a candle. The ferry! It matched the watch tower's light, but instead of piercing the dark heavens, lurked around the trees' level of elevation.
"G-Gale...," Wilson shivered. "I see it!"
Wilson and Gale picked up their pathetic hobbling speed before finally arriving to the Ferry Bay, which was really just a rickety wooden dock settled right next to the ferry. It was small, but extremely vast and grand in Wilson's eyes. Hope often inflated things. They limped past the red docking light that led them to this miracle and they soon bordered the night-sunken watercraft.
This ferry was much different than the common ones. It was completely automatically driven by an advanced but dull AI, which was perfect, as these two mangled military-men were in no condition to drive. It could also be activated at the press of a button situated in the captain's room. Seemed like a horrid design flaw, and this flaw caused many deaths of failed escapee personnel who were left behind, but it was too risky. The quick activation of the ferry also saved many lives, as it also left behind many atrociously dangerous SCPs as well.
After entering the captain room's Wilson rammed the side of his fist into the activation button and the ferry quietly roared to life before the AI took control of it and navigated it through the river, past the sides of the rocky mountains that encased the sliver of water.
An hour later, they soon drifted out of the river and onto the Barents Sea. A meadow of dark purple gently laid under the ferry as Wilson and Gale rested upon the comfy chairs that were housed on the ship's deck. They sat next to each other in complete silence, listening to the subtle sounds of the sea as the giant moon burned through the still black sky and reflected in the water. It was a truly beautiful sight that the two never got tired of gazing upon. After a good half hour of sitting in silence, Wilson broke it by digging around in his pocket and pulling out the flask.
A few drips of delicious liquor still sloshed around in the metal enclosures of the flask, and Wilson's alcoholism was persistent, but he wanted to be courteous and offered Gale the rest. "Want some?"
Gale shook his head, "Sorry, I'm not partial...". It was very enticing, but eventually gave in.
Gale took the flask and took a few sips, relishing the fire that now burnt his lungs and stomach. The relief wouldn't last long, but for this walk, it had to be enough.
Their short but treasured drink was cut short, after the vague hum of....piano playing echoed from downstairs. It was coming from the recreation room.
At first, the notes were light, but they grew heavier, seeming to create a dreamy quality in the air. Gale slowly raised himself, minding his wound. Wilson himself seemed to not care, but then followed suit.
The chords morphed themselves with the growing dark, followed by the fog from the river. Descending down the stairs to the main room, he found nothing, but the sound was louder, now resonating within the room, but also below. So they simply walked on.
Upon finding the parlour, the man they encountered had now begun a new song, one that bounced between notes in a pleasurable, uplifting way that made Gale smile for a moment.
The man sitting at the worn piano was tall, slender, his skin taut and bony. He looked to be almost at his 50's, but he couldn't confirm that. His clothes were filthy, covered in soot, dirt, and what seemed to even be chunks of flesh and blood sprayed on his shirt. From what can be seen, it was an old pair of jeans and a tucked in white (Was white, thought Gale) dress shirt. His horn-rimmed glasses were stained, but still reflected when he turned his head, simply stating a "hello" in slightly higher baritone voice. --~~~~
"Uh...hello, sir," Wilson nervously said. This man was obviously mentally unstable, as evidenced towards his unsettling dissonance. He couldn't blame him, however. Judging from the splats of red decorating his attire he had seen some shit. "May we get your name?" Wilson asked, trying to sound as polite and formal as possible.
The man, who had just now finished with an array of notes, stood, showing a tall stature that was even more filthy than expected. "Jacovi,". He smiled brightly, then glanced to Gale, "I don't need to know you name, but I believe you have something of my possession". Before Gale could reach into his vest, the man rose his hand, "Keep it, I think you'll find some use for it".
Wilson had no interests in whatever petty inside-joke Jacovi and Gale shared, but he was interested on how Gale knew this mysterious fellow. "Gale, you know this man?" Wilson asked.
"I believe you're referring to my dead assistant. Unfortunately, he was disposed of by a rogue," Whatever rogue, he did not say. "Thank you for picking up my effects". Gale, now having a glimmer of understanding, stated, "He's one of the scientists, he's the one who gave me the detonator", with this, he pulled the device out. It was useless now.
"I see," Wilson said. He was trying to act easy but it was obvious he was confused as hell. "So, doctor, what brings you to this ferry?"
Jacovi moved over to an open bench and, dropping on it, stated, "Escape, of course. The site was done for, and I refused to be part of its fallout. I just thought that if someone should live, it should be the few forces that had his mind out of the gutter," at this, he now leaned forward, "I gave an escape to one person, and here are only two escapees. Either you two were lucky, or you had your priorities in the right place".
"Yeah, I heard a group of poor idiots tried to take shelter in the bunker. It was probably blown off it's hinges by the nuke. So, doctor, do you know where this ferry is headed?"
Jacovi smile amusingly, "I believed you were manning this ship?"
"Well, these days ferries are automatically guided," Wilson smirked to the old man. "Headed for the closest functional site."
Jacovi strolled over to one of the portholes and looked out on the foggy harbour fading away. The black smoke of the once busy site still covered the sky.
"Let me tell you something about the organisation: Our goal is inherently good, but that doesn't mean we can't all be good in our intentions. The men and women who perished in that site aren't on my conscionse, but at the very least, I can say a good portion of them would prefer to torture test subjects and devise new ways to take over countries rather than secure the terrible monsters out there...
"I should have died there, but you know what? I think I'd rather have a change of scenery!" he suddenly exclaimed with an amused grin. Gale motioned for Wilson to sit on the bench. The relief was instant. The good doctor, on the other hand, was busily shuffling through his papers again.
"Tell you what: You two look a bit roughed up, but not too worse for wear. I on the other hand might slip away at any moment, so I have a very important question for you two," He pulls a sheet and scans it.
His smile suddenly gone, he looks at them dead serious, "If the Foundation falls, who do you think has both the capability and moral capacity to uphold the Foundation's core values: Secure, Contain, and Protect?" --Ltn Vasquez, officially Technical Sergeant Jeffrey [REDACTED] (talk) 05:37, May 29, 2017 (UTC)
Wilson thought for a moment. "...I dunno, Doc. I mean, shit, humanity's survived the Black Plague, more catastrophic wars than I could count, hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, all without the Foundation. It'll be hell, but I honestly think the answer to your question is... the human spirit."
Jacovi tilted his head ever so slightly at that. "I never took a Foundation guard as an optimist, considering the circumstances you two have found yourselves in." He leaned up against the aging piano. "So what you believe is that because humanity is capable of overcoming equal or worse tragedies in the past, we can overcome the Foundation's weakness, correct? That, and what might be the end of the world by the release of the Foundations locked in creations... That is what you're saying?"
This was the first time in his life Wilson had ever been described as an optimist. Reflecting on them, his words were quite idealistic, although he'd rather label them realistic. After all, with all mankind has survived, why not this? "I'm saying it's my best bet."
A loud crack was heard in the distance and the room was lit from the portholes. Jacovi glanced back, all bravado from before seeping away. "I hope you're right, soldier." --Fireworks888 (talk) 19:03, June 6, 2017 (UTC)