AN: And off we go to another chapter.
A bit of a tribute to a certain review in the first part here. I hope my reasoning makes sense here.
By the way, I'm trying out a new concept in this chapter. You'll know it when you see it.
Also, shout outs to my beta reader, jerysxo, who has helped with some last minute fixes and contributed to the quality of this chapter. You rock!
When I woke up, I didn't scream.
I felt too tired for it.
Instead, I whimpered, rocking back and forth and refusing to open my eyes. I felt numbness and exhaustion permeate my whole being in a way previously completely alien to me. It's as if I've aged twenty years in a single day.
I thought I was prepared. I thought I knew what I was getting into.
I remember being so excited, the possibility of escaping clouding everything else.
Even the crushing reality that lay underneath.
The reality that, even if I died, I wasn't given a choice.
The worst part wasn't even the horrifying death I just went through moments ago, being forced to watch the abomination fly over and gaze at me with its eye countless times before I finally passed away.
The worst part was that I'd have to go through it again, whether I wanted to or not.
Maybe not now, maybe not in the next loop...
But if I died a hundred additional times, is it a stretch to imagine that the Old Man would be the cause for some of those deaths?
And that I would eventually end up in that trench again..?
That brought me to think about what happened, and then I whimpered some more, like a baby without its parents.
It was one of those things you couldn't really think about until you lived through them, even though you thought you could.
Yes, it's easy to think that you're going to die. But with a goal in mind, the suffering becomes meaningful. It gave me strength in that, regardless if I died, I was one step closer to escaping. And also, even if I died, it wouldn't be permanent.
If only it were so simple.
The complicated part came when you actually started dying. It wasn't like a video game where you watched the character die, then shrugged and clicked the respawn button. It was traumatic in every sense of the word, made all the more so by my complete inexperience with death, especially my own.
Eventually, I stopped whimpering. I just laid there, eyes scrunched shut as hard as possible. No matter how terrified I was, how senseless paranoia told me that Billy was going to get me if I didn't open them...
I didn't open my eyes. I was afraid of what I'd see if I did.
I didn't want to see the eye again. Not ever, never.
The door opened.
"Hey. They've got some work for ya. Do me a favor, and step out of your cell."
I didn't move. I didn't have the strength to.
"What, are you stupid or something? Hey, sleepyhead! I said, step out of your cell. If you don't step out of your cell, I'm gonna kick your ass."
Idly, a part of my head noted that I should be afraid right now.
Instead, I felt numb. And either way, to get up and go outside would mean I had to open my eyes. I wasn't prepared to do that.
Maybe I'll just sleep this one off.
"Hah, you have got to be the dumbest test subject we've ever had!" He paused. Maybe he shrugged, I didn't care. "Or you're just a really heavy sleeper. Oh well. Shut the doors and open the gas valves."
The doors shut down and I could hear the sound of gas being poured into the room. Even as I started feeling dizzy and nauseous, as my body started to spasm uncontrollably and my consciousness leaving...
I still didn't open my eyes.
When I woke up again, I had the sudden clarity of mind to conclude that I never wanted to go through that again. Brief as my death was, it was not pleasant.
Remembering the feeling made me want to throw up in my mouth. I resolved not to repeat the same mistake again.
Which meant that I would need to use my eyes to escape the facility.
That brought me to attention. I fought against my fear and - slowly, painfully - opened my eyes.
A dull, unassuming white room was in front of them. I sighed in relief. I was expecting to see that again, irrational as it was. Just knowing that I could trust my eyes somehow gave me a little confidence, muted as it was.
In fact, now that I think about it, having my eyes closed all the time kept reminding me of it... With my eyes open, I could think about other things.
I was in shock, I realized. It didn't take an Einstein to guess just what traumatic experiences caused said shock.
Regardless, thinking about it all the time won't do me any favors.
So I focused on my next agenda, as much as I could.
The agenda being the two people that died from Billy. If I could get to them in time, before Billy did...
Could I save them?
As the door opened and the guard beckoned me outside, I didn't feel motivated as I might have felt once before.
I just felt tired.
Once I was free to explore the facility, I gunned it towards them. It was relatively simple once you knew the facility for a bit, you just went right and followed until you reached the place.
Then it got complicated. On the last hallway before the room, before I managed to catch up to them...
A teddy bear was blocking my way.
Of all the things... a teddy bear!?
And for all I knew, this little buddy would chase me and kill me in a terrible and brutal fashion.
Perhaps the worst of it was that, as I stood in front of the teddy bear that was looking at me, I fully believed that it could kill me and that it would traumatize me horribly if given the slightest chance.
I mean, if it was on the ground and not moving, who knows? It might have been a useful and beneficial SCP, if it wasn't a normal teddy bear in the first place!
But since it was animated and could move, it simply couldn't be helped. It was definitely a terrible and gruesome creature of doom.
I once doubted this genius way of classifying SCPs, before I learned with experience.
Oh, did I learn...
The idea can easily be summarized with one question that you should ask yourself in this facility.
'Have you ever seen an animate SCP that was not evil?'
Reminded of this age-old doctrine, I, adhering to its infinite wisdom, humbly turned tail and fled.
This time, I tried something out. I made a relatively short loop back to the place, expecting it to follow me but being too small for it.
Inevitably leading it outside of the hallway.
Whatever the case may be, the bear was not there and I managed to go through the door.
And they were there.
"I think there's an exit on the-"
Oh shit. Wasn't this what he said before they died?
Was I too late?
"WATCH OUT!" I shouted loudly. The scientist stopped and they both looked at me, eyes wide. "SCP-173 IS IN THE VENTS. DON'T JUST STAND THERE. MOVE, MOVE, MOVE!" I continued shouting my lungs out.
Perhaps sensing the urgency in my voice, both of them wasted no time in moving towards me, with me already opening the door for them.
The moment they were at my side, I closed the door.
The lights went out. The sound of a vent being opened could be heard, and some scraping of concrete across the floor.
The lights turned back on.
They were still alive. Did...
Did I do it?
"Keep your eyes sharp." I said, then opened the door.
Billy was down at the stairs. I closed the door.
"You," The scientist started, panting. "Saved us. Thank you."
"Mighty thanks from me as well. We stay there a moment longer and we almost get the short end of the stick, heh." The janitor added. I noticed he had a bit of a cowboy accent going on.
I did it! They were alive!
"No problem. For now, though, we should move." I said, just as the door opened. The two weren't expecting it and quickly whipped their eyes to Billy, but I was already watching it.
After what I've been through, there was no way I was going to let my guard down.
"H-He can open doors!?" The janitor stammered out. He looked to be increasingly nervous.
"Yeah, but I've encountered him before. Be fast enough and he eventually loses track of you. Don't worry about it. Now, let's get a move on already."
The scientist agreed. "Yes, the D-Class speaks the truth. Then I guess I shall take over this ragtag group of survivors. If you follow me you might even survive."
...Pulling it out of the ass a bit, but as long as he delivered, I was fine with it.
He probably knew the facility better than him anyways.
"Perfect. I'm fine with it. Let's go." I said, and started to move towards the door I came through, which lead to the rest of the facility.
Just as the scientist went in the other direction.
Towards the door that lead to a dead end.
Oh, come on...
"Uh, sir... You're going in the wrong direction." I said.
The janitor was standing in the middle with the two of us on opposite sides. He appeared to hesitate, before moving to stand beside the scientist. He sent an apologetic look to me, as much as he could while looking at Billy anyways.
"And what," The increasingly annoying figure said. ", makes you think you know more about this facility than me."
"Ah da-da!" Did this idiot just shush me!? "I don't want to hear it, and you're wasting our time. You saved our lives, that much is true, but that doesn't mean I'm going to allow you to lead us into our doom. You're a Class D, don't forget your place."
I suppressed the urge to hit him. Did this fool want to get himself killed!? What was the difference if you were a scientist or a D-Class when one knew better than the other?
But I can't just leave them, or they'll die...
"Fine." I gritted and made to join them. I'll have to make a plan for when Billy inevitably follows.
"Atta boy. Now let's stop dilly-dallying. You stay there while I open the door. Follow me once I give the signal." He grinned and went to open the door. "To freedom."
To freedom, my ass. This guy was probably in it only for himself. I quickly realized that there would be no getting to him. We were probably there as meat shields for him.
Judging how he suddenly had two of us between him and Billy as he was retreating - and most assuredly not giving a signal - I had a disturbing feeling the sentiment was more close to reality than I thought.
"Let's go." I said.
"B-But, shouldn't we wait for his signal?" The insecure janitor asked.
"I have a feeling we aren't getting a signal. You should follow me. I've roamed around the facility quite a bit before I got to you guys, and I know for sure that the way he went through is a dead end."
The guy needed a moment to process what I said, and the implications. When it became acutely clear that there wouldn't be a signal, he started cursing.
"That greasy two-faced son of a whore. He was lyin' like a rug the entire time. Shieet!"
Wow... he... really did sound like a cowboy.
I shook my head. This really wasn't the time.
"Yeah, yeah. Follow me, let's go. It's probably gonna chase him anyways, should give us enough time to escape."
I started walking, but then the guy started talking.
"Now hold on a second, mister. The guy may be uglier inside than the southern end of a northern bound horse, but I don' exactly wish him dead."
Oh for the love of-
"Then let me make this simple for you." I said, patience gone. "Either you go with him, or you go with me. I'm not going to risk my life again for that sleazeball."
"Just keep in mind who actually helped and who didn't when you make your decision. Also, I'm blinking. Keep your eyes on it."
When I was sure he was looking at it, with an indecisive look nonetheless, I blinked.
"You can blink now. I'm watching." I added for good measure.
"Well... I guess you do make a point." He said, then started to move towards me. He probably blinked in the meantime. I moved to the door, though I didn't open it just yet. Never know what's behind it.
"Though I want to keep it on record that I do not like this, mister!" He said as he moved next to me. "I don't like it one bit!"
I internally rolled my eyes. "Will do. Now keep your eyes on it. I need to check-" My eyes turned to the shelf to the left.
There looked to be some papers on it.
And a card.
"Keep looking at it." I said, then went to the shelf. I heard his voice from behind. "Hey, where are you going, partner?"
"I saw some stuff we could use." I said. "I'll be right there. Give me five seconds."
Since I was in a rush, I took the papers and what looked to be a Level 1 security clearance card, then dashed right back to him.
"Keep your eyes on it. I'm checking the room." I opened the room, half expecting to see the bear again.
Luck was on our side, though. The room was empty. I turned to look at Billy again. I noticed that the door from which the scientist went through was open. Memories came from when I kept all the doors opened, and what happened afterwards.
"Come inside. I'll close the door behind you." He complied.
I closed the door.
"Phew. That took a few years out of my life." The man said. Then he turned to me.
"Say.. there any chance we could save him?"
"Let's see..." I said, already doubting it. If I was right...
I opened the door again.
"Sweet merciful Christ!" The guy turned around to look at the room.
Except it was empty.
"Just as I expected." I closed the door.
"At least warn me the next time you pull a stunt like that! You gave me a heart attack!" The guy was breathing heavily, and I felt a pang of empathy for him.
"Right, sorry about that. Did you see the opened door from where the scientist went through?"
"Billy probably went through there to pick him off. If he kept the doors open like that then Billy can easily catch up. I highly doubt that we can make it in time."
The janitor looked confused.
"Ah." I guess I didn't explain that. "That's how I refer to SCP-173." I felt oddly bittersweet as I repeated the words of the D-Class that died. "Less of a mouthful that way."
He shrugged, then grinned. "If it works, it works. Anyways, what's your name, lad? I think I ought to know the name of my savior."
"Well... I don't... exactly... remember." I finished lamely.
He stared at me, long and hard.
"You don't... remember your name?"
"Yeah." One of the unexpected disadvantages of everyone calling you 'kid' or 'squirt' in your childhood, with everything else afterwards being a black haze.
"Well that's a new one." He said after a moment. He looked me up and down.
"Yeah..." He said after a while.
"Huh?" I questioned.
"Yeah." He nodded, as if teaching an important lesson. "You definitely look like a Jimmy. Imma call you Jimmy from now on. Strong and manly name, that is."
Maybe it's best if I didn't think about it too much?
I'm fairly sure my actual name wasn't Jimmy anyways...
"And your name?"
"Why it is none other than Steve Jimmy Fischkopf." He nodded his head towards me in greeting. "Pleased to meet ya."
Hey, wait a second...
"Did you just give me your name because you couldn't think of anything else?"
He grinned in response. I sighed.
"Pleased to be met, I guess. Now, let's get a move on.." I started to move, but Steve put his hand on my shoulder.
"Hey. Can ya give me the keycard you snatched a while ago for a moment? I wanna check this door."
"Sure. Try it out." I smiled as I gave him the keycard.
I suppose it couldn't hurt to humor him. He was new to this after all. Better to get used to the disappointment earlier than later, right?
I've been through most of the open entrances to the facility, and basically all the terminals I passed before had a notice that said that they need at the very least level 2, if not 3, security clearance. The chance that this would open so conveniently-
The door accepted the keycard, and the door opened.
"Well, well," Steve started. "Looks like we got lucky. Let's go in and explore."
"Yeah." I said numbly. I mean, sure we found apparently the one room that could be opened with this card, but that doesn't mean we would get anything useful-
"Hey, come in. I think I just found a level two card!" My eye twitched.
"Hey, look!" He came up to me and showed me what was most certainly a level two security clearance card.
"I'm pretty good at this, don't you think? No complications whatsoever and we already have this baby over here. Yeehaw!"
A dark look crossed over my face. My eye twitched again.
"Eh hehe..." The man laughed, but it was much more hesitant. He finally noticed my expression. "You, uh... You okay there, buddy? You have a mighty scary look on your face right now."
Oh... did I now... What could it be, I wonder?
Perhaps the fact that I literally died over and over again searching for a way out but not being able to find anything useful except death and bloody murder in this whole facility.
Maybe also the fact that I already was in these two rooms, but couldn't check the shelves due to Billy following me...
These are all valid reasons.
It was that this janitormade more progress than me in five minutes than I have in my entire time roaming the facility, even with my ability to go back in time!?
"I'm. Fine." I tried smiling but I probably looked like a psycho because the poor man looked positively scared now.
I took a deep breath, and slowly exhaled it.
"Sorry. I just remembered something..." I struggled to find a word for it.
"Tragic. Very... tragic." I sighed, feeling too old for this.
"Let's just finally go somewhere."
He appeared to hesitate, but eventually followed.
"Listen, I'm sorry if I made you recall something bad. I really didn't mean to." He actually sounded apologetic.
That made it all the worse in my head. And the worst part was that I couldn't really be angry at him.
"Don't worry about it, Steve. It's nothing you did... I guess it's myself I'm mad at."
He shot me a concerned look.
"Listen kid... If there's anything I've learned in life, it's that you got to learn to forgive yourself. If you can't forgive yourself, what's the point? You'd just be weighing yourself down with all of your past failures and could never appreciate the good work you've done and could do. Trust me, I've been through it."
That... was surprisingly deep advice.
I made sure to remember it.
He must have seen my surprised look, because he laughed briskly.
"Didn't expect that from a janitor? Yeah, I can tell." He took it with good humor.
"If I may ask..." I began. "How did you end up being a janitor? You seem... more experienced."
As we were walking through the facility, he told me his story.
"Well, believe it or not, I owned a farm back in the day. I've worked, bled, and shed tears for that piece of land and eventually, I gave it to my kids. Naturally, that's not the whole story, and there's much being left out, but it's a good enough summary."
"Work was all I knew but, when I eventually retired, I felt empty, y'know? Suddenly having nothing to do. So, one thing led to another, and I started working here. Pays quite good for the position, considering that I have to clean containment chambers and the like. They appreciate folks like me who can keep things to themselves and do their job quietly."
Then he started asking about me.
"How about you? You got a reason for being here?"
"Not one that I can remember."
"Ah, yeah, they apply amnestics on you guys, right?"
"That might explai-"
A familiar noise echoed in the room.
I could see a black puddle rising from the floor.
Terror rose within me.
/* Don't forget to take a break and drink some water! */
Steve Jimmy Fischkopf
The young man that saved him definitely was one of them strange ones.
On the superficial level, he looked all like what you'd expect from Class D folk. Blunt (but not necessarily impolite, this one) with a casual disregard towards authority.
That's what I'd thought at the beginning, but it was clear from the very start that there was more to him than met the eye.
After all, he did save them. But I didn't fail to notice that the man was heavily panting when he came here, after which he started shouting for them to get away the moment he was there.
Now, you can call him stupid, but this old guy's nothing if not observant of these kinds of things.
The kid knew me and the scientist were there. He also knew that SCP-173 would go through the vents directly to them.
And how did a kid like him know that?
Not a kid, his mind corrected. This was a man, eyes hardened through experience and hardships.
The poor guy was also as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Every time he opened the door, and it was always he who did, insisting that I stay back a bit, he looked like he expected the devil himself on the other side of the door.
The look made me sad, but it also made me curious. Just what had he been through before he reached them?
I didn't think I wanted to know.
But the look of pure, unadulterated terror that morphed on Jimmy's was one that had him instantly on edge.
I caught the strange sound and looked to see-
Wait just a gosh darn second...
Is that a black man rising from the ground!?
Well, I didn't need to be told twice.
I booked it after the guy. Woah, he was really gunning it.
"H-hey, slow down! I-I can't keep up!" I shouted after him, but he didn't listen.
He eventually did stop, but it wasn't because of me.
"STOP!" He shouted.
"EEEEH!" Then there was a woman's shriek, followed by a thump.
I caught up and took note of the situation. Jimmy was standing in a room. There were two yellow painted areas on the floor in the middle of the room, and they had "Activation Zone" written on them.
There was a woman too. She looked like she was running, but got scared by Jimmy and instead fell on her butt.
"What are we waiting for!? It's catching up!" I said and started to move, but Jimmy grabbed my hand instantly, bringing me to a halt.
I was about to question just what in the blazes was he doing, but he silently stepped on the yellow tile.
Electricity arched between what I could now see were two devices on both corners of the room.
"You both almost ran into your deaths." He said, then to my horror, took my hand and started dragging me towards it.
I was so shocked that I didn't react, and when I did, it was too late.
We were moving through the room.
Through some amazing feat of luck, the electrical field didn't turn on and vaporize us. I looked back, but I quickly regretted the action.
The black man just entered the room.
"GET UP, WOMAN!" Jimmy shrieked. The woman, lost in her daze, snapped up and did as she was told.
Then she turned around to look at the creature following us.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!" And then she howled an ear-piercing screech, common sense long forgotten in face of terror as she screamed to the heavens.
The screech was so loud that it dazed me, the noise almost knocking me to my feet.
And she was only getting louder as the monster came closer.
"Oh God, the pain! It hurts!" I could taste the agony in my comrade's voice.
Something snapped within me. "Oh for the love of- SHUT YER TRAP, WOMAN!" I screamed from the top of my lungs.
The infernal screaming finally stopped, followed by a choked sob.
We all stood there in horror as the creature approached, but before common sense could kick in, something unexpected happened.
The black man walked into the activation zone. He didn't stop walking.
Then he got electrocuted, made an eldritch voice of displeasure and sank into the floor in a matter of seconds.
There was silence for one blissful moment.
"What." And it was broken by Jimmy, whose eye was twitching again.
"Everything okay there, son?"
"It was so easy. So... easy..." Jimmy continued mumbling to himself in his stupor, and I would be content to let him sort out his problems, if not for the frightened woman now looking at him with fear.
I couldn't handle another one of them screams.
"Snap out of it, boy! We haven't even introduced ourselves to this lovely lady over here." I had hoped that that would turn his mind from whatever dark thoughts they were laying on, and - in a way - I had gotten my wish.
Jimmy breathed heavily, then turned to him.
I gulped. I did not like that look. Not one bit.
"You're right, Steve. We should talk to this woman about how her idiocy almost killed us all, after I saved her nonetheless." He turned to her as he spoke, though I was secretly pleased that his expression wasn't as murderous as before. Just angry.
That didn't seem to make a difference for her.
"H-Hey! That was a completely appropriate reaction!" Her face fell a bit under his dull and unimpressed stare, but she recovered. "And besides, when did you ever save me? All you did was shout at me!"
She had a smug look on her face. Jimmy probably relished in bringing it down.
"Oh? You mean when I was literally shouting at you because you were running into an electrical field, mmmm?" I mean, he did have a point there...
"I-I would have stopped!"
"Of course. I totally believe you." The sarcasm was thick as tar on this one. I wasn't sure if I wanted to step into this minefield of a conversation or not, but they kinda needed to get moving soon.
"W-Well, at least I'm not a stinky Class D!"
"I might be a Class D, but at least I don't have screams potent enough to require SCP classification."
I finally decided to step in before the conversation devolved any further. "Children, children! Let's behave. I believe we have yet to introduce ourselves."
"I'm Steve and that's Jimmy. What's your name, lass?"
"Uh... Sunshine." She shrugged, embarrassed. "My parents weren't exactly creative..."
"Nice to meet you, Sunshine." I began.
"Now, I sure as heck understand that you two have got your own differences but standing around here won't help us any. We should keep moving or we'll be seeing a lot more of them monsters around here."
There. There's no way they could argue against that logi-
"And how do we know the Class D won't drag us down, hmmmm? For all we know, he's just waiting to stab us in the back!"
"Oh yeah? From what I recall, I saved you and you almost got us all killed. So who's stabbing who here?"
"You did so not save me!"
I sighed. This was going to be a long day.
/* Feeling tired? Then you're probably feeling like Steve! Do what he can't and go take a 5 minute break from all the chaos! Extra points if you drink water! */
That damned woman.
They finally managed to get into a comfortable silence, but I had a feeling it wouldn't last.
Every time I made a suggestion on their next moves, she started arguing with me about it. Some of the things she argued with me were just outright stupid and seemed more designed for the sake of arguing than anything else.
Oh, they couldn't hide in the basement because there were monsters there?
He was making it up! It must have been the adrenaline causing me to see illusions, she said. Luckily, or unluckily if you're me, she didn't go there alone. She was too afraid to separate from the group.
Then we finally united on trying to use the keycard to try and find a way out.
"Great idea," She said. "We can go in a room and wait it out until this whole thing is done!"
'Yeah, let's go in a narrow, enclosed space with the Old Man running about. I'm sure there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!' Just how did someone like her even get into the Foundation? It made no sense!
And then, naturally, the arguing started again. It usually resolved with Steve siding on one side - which was always mine - and the woman finally shutting up.
The worst was that Steve thought much the same about her. Oh, he didn't say it, but I could see it. He gave her one of those pained and conflicted looks that told a whole story when she talked. Like he was sorry that she came with them but knew what the opposite implied, or perhaps the way she didn't realize how... questionable some of the things she said were.
For all I knew, it could be both and more.
As time passed though, she at least seemed to ease up on arguing with me, as well as relax a bit.
I managed to convince the group to go back to what I learned was the storage room, where we separated from the scientist.
"Are you sure you wanna go there?" I asked. "We might see him... you know."
"What? See who?" She asked. I ignored her.
"There was a guy we were with. That darn scientist just used us to make his own escape against one of them monsters. And according to Jimmy here, that's a dead end. But there might be a chance he's still alive, or so our friend here says." He then turned to me. "Care to elaborate?"
"Gladly. I said it was a dead end, and it is, but there's a containment chamber at the very end of it. You need a card to access it, though. Since-"
"And since he was a scientist, he probably had a keycard which he could use to enter the containment chamber! He probably planned to hide until the monster went away, right?"
My eyes bulged. Steve's eyes did the same.
We both stared at her.
She started to squirm.
"W-What? It's only logical, isn't it?"
"Y-Yeah..." That's actually what had me worried, not that I was going to say it.
It was official. The world was coming to an end.
Although, I knew it wasn't any use...
The scientist didn't have a keycard, after all. He distinctly remembered scavenging his corpse for something useful.
His and Steve's corpses...
I shook the memories away. This was not the time.
I wanted to get in that containment chamber anyways. If I was going to start finding useful SCPs, then why not start with the biggest?
Provided the keycard worked...
We continued past the open doors, with me closing them behind us. Sunshine first argued with me on it (Keeping them open is a great way for us to know where we were!), but once she learned of the other major threat, she wisely relented.
I didn't focus on how I made exactly the same mistake as her, but hey, that technically never happened, right?
She would never know...
They went into another room with an electrical field, a room which I knew was the one prior to the containment chamber. Either way, the doors were still opened.
We could clearly see a corpse in the containment chamber there.
"Poor fellow..." Steve said, and I was inclined to agree.
"Eeeeeehh..." Sunshine let out a low pitched whimper that lasted for longer than I would have liked, but at least she didn't scream.
I didn't think I could handle another one of those.
"Hey..." I started. "Could you give me the keycard? I need to check something. You guys can stay here."
"Sure thing, son." He gave it to me easily enough, though not without a confused face. "What are ya planning to do with that?"
"That containment chamber. Usually there are papers inside that tell you what the SCPs do. I'd like to check if this one would be anything useful."
"I see..." He gave me a strange look, as if he was contemplating me.
I shrugged and went to the containment chamber, avoiding the electrical field in the process. I made sure to step over the body and, seeing how he had nothing useful on him previously, I ignored him.
I put the keycard in the scanner.
The doors started to open. Success!
"Guys," I raised my voice so they could hear me. "Come in!"
While they were on the way, I looked around the room. I immediately went to the shelves with the papers. I also saw a first aid kit which I picked up. I made sure to remember where it was for next time.
I read through the paper. It seemed that if you put an object through one end and insert a setting, you'd get an object relative to the setting and object you had set.
Now, that was interesting...
I raised my head from the paper to look at the two, who were just poking their heads in the room. I lowered the paper.
Seriously, did they really have to lag behind here?
"Steve, read through this. I'm gonna close the door." I gave him the paper and went to close the door, but he put his hand on my shoulder.
"Jimmy, what's going on? Why are we staying here?"
"Read the paper. I want to try something out with the machine." I went on to close the containment chamber door. I spared a glance for Sunshine, but I stopped once it looked like she was about to retch.
"Is everything okay?" I felt the need to ask.
"How c-can everything be okay? T-T-There's-" She stopped. She looked like she was about to vomit. "Body." She finished.
"Ah." I went on to close the door. I meant it more for Billy, but if it prevented the body from being seen, then all the better.
The doors closed.
Steve Jimmy Fischkopf
"There we go. Now, on to business. Sunshine, you can take a breather. Just don't go to any corners of the room. It doesn't hurt to be careful."
She sniffed and still looked sick, but she nodded.
I was looking at Jimmy as he was doing all of these things. I couldn't help but note his casual disregard for the corpse of the man they both once knew, going so far as to even act as if the nasty smell didn't exist.
The more I looked at the unperturbed man, the more I realized something. Jimmy didn't give off an impression that he didn't care, but it was more like he had to suffer through much worse and couldn't bother himself with 'just a corpse'.
And I wasn't blind to Jimmy's machinations either. Oh, he did suggest they go see if the scientist was dead or not, but he never once showed any emotion regarding the man. But the biggest tell was when he saw the corpse.
No surprise whatsoever on Jimmy's face. He'd already expected this would happen.
While I trusted the man to a certain degree, seeing as he did have a penchant for saving them...
Steve couldn't help but be scared. Perhaps not at what Jimmy is now...
But at what Jimmy could be, when pushed. Steve wondered at just how necessary it was for them to go to the other side of the facility instead of following the scientist... Surely, they could have saved him after he realized he went in a dead end, with their three pairs of eyes...
Jimmy eventually turned to Steve. I shook my head, dispelling the morbid thoughts and walked up to him, grinning.
"Hey, partner. I read this thing here, and while it seems nifty and all, I don't exactly get how we're gonna use it."
"Well, I'd like that clearance one keycard, and then we'll see if my hunch is right. May I?" Seeing no reason not to, I gave it to him.
He grinned. "Great. Now let's do some magic." He then went on to put it in the left side of the machine, SCP-914 if he recalled, then put the setting on 'Fine', after which he pulled the strange lever-button thing.
There was a moment of clinking noises with the machine presumably working, before the door to the right opened.
I went to see what was inside, curious despite himself.
It was a level two keycard. My eyes widened.
"Just as I thought." Steve heard behind him, and knew that the man was grinning without looking at him.
"May I have the keycard, please?"
Jimmy examined the two keycards after getting them and, satisfied, pocketed one. He then threw the other one in the machine, set the setting on 'Very Fine', then pulled the thingy.
"Now..." Jimmy started. "Let's see what comes out when we put a level two keycard in. This... should be good for us. Very good." Jimmy said, and I couldn't help but share his confidence.
Even Sunshine looked interested despite herself.
When the machine finally opened, I went in there and got...
A master card?
I looked at Jimmy, who was also confused.
"Well," Sunshine snorted in a very unladylike manner. "You technically got what you asked for. I bet that card has a lot of money on it. 'Very Fine', indeed."
My mind resisted the situation before me once again, hearing her make sense. Jimmy, however, nodded a moment later.
"So, are the cards useless now or can we try throwing them in there?" He thought aloud. "What do you think, Sunshine?"
"Me?" She asked. When he nodded and it was clear that this wasn't a joke, she responded. "Well, there's always a chance that it's going to variate between thousands of different cards besides a master card. However, it already went from a keycard to a master card. Who's to say the opposite can't happen, you know?"
"My thoughts exactly. What if it continues varying, though? Is it worth for us to continue throwing cards inside or do we abandon them?"
As the two continued to discuss this, I noticed that Sunshine relaxed the more she got into the conversation.
He's both distracting her and making peace with her. Smart man.
A surprisingly considerate one as well, if you keep in mind how the two started out.
I also misjudged poor miss Sunshine. As I watched them talk over these various topics I couldn't hope to follow, old man that I was, I realized that she was an intelligent woman in her own right.
That shouldn't have been as big of a shock as it was. She did work for the Foundation, after all, and she was obviously not a guard of any sort. Her... questionable moments arose mostly, I thought, when she was extremely nervous and in shock. It was natural that you wouldn't be in your best state that way, and she was more emotional than good ol' Jimmy.
Speaking of which, that raised a whole new can of worms. It was understandable that she was smart - once you got to know her.
But that didn't explain him. Call it judging a book by its cover, but he wasn't expecting to see a Class D be quite as cunning in his actions and decisions as Jimmy had proven himself to be throughout their time in the facility.
An enigma wrapped in a mystery, if I ever saw one.
They ended up throwing the master card inside and eventually finding out that, past some other random cards, the one that mostly came out was a keycard. Another useful tidbit to know for the future.
And I was pleasantly surprised as well. Sunshine was a good talking partner for brainstorming, once she got calm enough to think rationally.
They threw a level two keycard they've gotten (An improvement of the level one keycard!) inside the machine, but got a strange keycard as a result this time.
"Hey, guys... look at this one." I said.
"There's no number on it." Steve remarked.
"And yet it possesses the SCP logo on top, like all the other keycards we've seen so far. Intriguing." She added.
"What do you think the name might mean?" I asked.
The 'Omnicard' was a pretty strange name, if he said so himself. Wait...
It couldn't possibly-
A sound filled the room.
A very familiar sound for all three of them.
A black spot started growing underneath them.
"Oh God..." Her voice started trembling with her, and she looked to be on the verge of losing control.
"Move!" I ordered. We ran towards the door. "Steve, talk to her. Keep her from hyperventilating. Last time we got lucky. Let's not test that same luck again." Since the Omnicard was in my hands, I quickly flashed it over the scanner, just to test it. The doors started opening. He filed that away for later.
I could hear Steve comfort her as they started to exit, stepping over the scientist. The Old Man started walking towards them.
"Oh God, oh God, oh God..." Sunshine was mumbling to herself, but that was still good. Her whispering was better than her shouting.
Then they opened the other door.
Billy was standing on the other half of the room, behind the electrical field.
Oh for the love of-
"WE'RE GONNA DIEEEEE!" Sunshine started wailing. And there goes her self control. I heard Steve talk but ignored him in favor of focusing on Billy.
"Stay behind me, and keep your eyes on the statue!" I'd have said more, and held my hand out to stop them, before-
"AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!" Something slammed into me, pushing me forwards.
"WE'RE GONNA DIEEEE!" Oh boy. There goes Sunshine.
"Sunshine calm down. We're not gonna die yet. We can still fight!" I really didn't know what else to say. Why wasn't there a manual for calming women down when they face eldritch abominations!?
Sunshine looked at Steve as he ended speaking, but that proved to be a mistake because she then focused on something behind him.
Her eyes widened, and Steve knew what was coming.
"AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!" This time, I hadn't quite closed my eyes. I ended up wishing I did, though, because in my many years, I could never have predicted what would happen next.
Sunshine ran forward, running away from the monstrosity behind them.
And promptly slammed into Jimmy, sending him hurling forwards.
Right into the electrical field. Jimmy's body convulsed violently before dropping to the floor, dead.
"No..." She stood there, watching the body. "No, no, no no..."
She took a big, shuddering breath.
-AAAAAAnd that's the end of the chapter, ladies and germs. Hope you enjoyed.
A bit of a slower chapter and also a tamer one in comparison to the previous one. I had a bit of a dilemma where I tried to end the chapter on a 'light' note but the most I could manage is having our main character die first so he doesn't have to witness the others die.
That brings us to the others. First things first, I'm not planning for this to be a story where the character has reoccurring companions for various reasons. These will be explored in the next chapter.
However, that doesn't mean that I won't include them in the future, just that it's mostly going to be our protagonist in the spotlight.
Onto the characters themselves. I took the ones from scripted events, as some of you might have guessed, such as the janitor and scientist, not to mention ye olde woman that runs into the electrical field.
I tried to make them have deeper personalities, which I find most noticeable with said woman. Sure, she ran into her death in the game like an idiot, but she was also a part of the Foundation, and I'd like to think she was much smarter than that while more calmer.
Never thought that that would be the detail that turned my story from canon into AU xD
Other update-related news, by the way. On the 20th-24th September, I will take part in a trip that is exclusively about being away from all technology and internet, meaning that I won't be able to write or publish chapters in that time. As such, there won't be an update on the Saturday that week (22nd September) and instead it will continue from the 29th.
Also, I'm basing the Foundation layout from playing the game on the seed 'LoopZero', and some of the locations mentioned inside the story are actually in that map, such as SCP-914 stuck in a dead end right from the storage room and separated with the electrical field room. If you want to find it, just take a right and follow it, you can't miss it.
Moreover, that last situation is one that actually happened to me during gameplay. SCP-106 popped on me and I had to navigate out of SCP-914's containment chamber, with SCP-173 in the electric room (I really need to google the name of that room, lol). I had to move fast, while keeping an eye on good ol' Billy, activating the field and finally moving past him with SCP-106 breathing behind my back.
So much for shorter Author Notes.
Next Chapter: 25th August, 2018