Avian Anthology I
@import url(https://fonts.googleapis.com/css2?family=Montserrat:wght@700&display=swap);
@import url(https://fonts.googleapis.com/css2?family=Architects+Daughter&display=swap);
 
/* Flopstyle CSS Theme
 * [2020 Wikidot Theme]
 * Created by Lt Flops
 * Select CSS Styles Are Credited Where Necessary
 * -- (CC BY-SA 3.0) --
**/
 
/* ---- SITE HEADER ---- */
 span, a{
     word-break: unset;
}
 #header h1 a,
 #header h1 a::before{
     color: hsl(0, 0%, 90%);
     text-shadow:
        .7px    .7px  0 hsla(0, 0%, 0%, .8),
       1.4px   1.4px  0 hsla(0, 0%, 0%, .8);
}
 #header h1 a{
     font-family: "Montserrat", "Arial", sans-serif;
     font-size: 170%;
     letter-spacing: 0;
}
 #header h2 span,
 #header h2 span::before{
     color: hsl(0, 0%, 90%);
     text-shadow: 1px 1px 0 hsla(0, 0%, 0%, .8);
}
 
/* ---- TOP MENU ---- */
 #search-top-box{
     right: 6px;
}
 #search-top-box-input{
     border-radius: 0;
}
 #search-top-box-form input[type="submit"]{
     background: hsl(0, 33%, 30%);
     border-radius: 0;
 
     font-size: unset;
}
 #search-top-box-form input[type="submit"]:hover,
 #search-top-box-form input[type="submit"]:focus{
     background: hsl(0, 25%, 50%);
}
 #top-bar,
 #login-status{
     right: 8px;
}
 
/* ---- SIDE MENU ---- */
 #side-bar .side-block{
     border-color: hsl(0, 0%, 20%);
     border-radius: 0;
}
 #side-bar .heading{
     color: hsl(0, 0%, 5%);
     border-bottom: solid 1px hsl(0, 0%, 20%);
}
 
/* ---- GENERAL ---- */
 body{
     color: hsl(0, 0%, 5%);
 
     word-break: unset;
}
 #search-top-box-form input[type="submit"],
 #search-top-box-form input[type="submit"]:hover,
 #search-top-box-form input[type="submit"]:focus,
 #top-bar ul li ul,
 #side-bar .side-block,
 .page-rate-widget-box,
 .scp-image-block{
     box-shadow: none; 
}
 
/* ---- INFO BAR ---- */
 body{
     --barColour: hsl(0, 89%, 18%);
}
 .u-faq{
     display: none; 
}
 .info-container .collapsible-block-content{
     padding: 0 .5em 30px;
}
 .info-container .collapsible-block-content .wiki-content-table{
     width: 100%;
}
 
/* ---- INFO PANE ---- */
 .creditRate{
     margin-right: 0 !important;
}
 .rate-box-with-credit-button{
     border-radius: 0 !important;
     box-shadow: none !important;
}
 
/* ---- PAGE RATING ---- */
 .page-rate-widget-box{
     margin-right: 0;
}
 .page-rate-widget-box,
 .page-rate-widget-box .rate-points{
     border-radius: 0;
}
 .page-rate-widget-box .cancel,
 .page-rate-widget-box .cancel a:hover{
     border-radius: 0 !important;
}
 
/* ---- FORMATTING | [GENERAL] ---- */
 #page-content h1,
 #page-content h2,
 #page-content h3,
 #page-content h4,
 #page-content h5,
 #page-content h6{
     display: flex;
     flex-direction: column;
     align-items: center;
     justify-content: center;
     margin-bottom: .57em;
 
     word-break: unset;
}
 hr{
     height: 0;
     margin: 1em 0;
 
     background-color: transparent;
     border-top: 1px solid hsl(0, 0%, 67%);
}
 .collapsible-block-link{
     font-size: 120%;
     font-weight: bold;
}
 .info-container .collapsible-block-link{
     font-size: 100%;
}
 ol li{
     margin: 0 0 1em;
}
 ul{
     margin:1em 0;
}
 .footnotes-footer, .bibitems{
     padding: 0 0 .5em;
}
 
/* ---- IMAGE BLOCK ---- */
 .scp-image-block.block-right{
     margin: 0 0 1em 2em;
}
 
/* ---- FORMATTING | [SPECIAL] ---- */
 .centered{ /* ---- Center-Aligns Text ---- */
     text-align: center;
}
 
 .justified{ /* ---- Justify-Aligns Text ---- */
     text-align: justify;
}
 
 .indented{ /* ---- Indents Block by ½-inch/2em (Use Within Other Divs) ---- */
     text-indent: 2.4em;
}
 .indented .bibcite,
 .indented .footnoteref,
 .indented ul,
 .indented ol,
 .indented .scp-image-block.block-right,
 .indented #page-content h1,
 .indented #page-content h2,
 .indented #page-content h3,
 .indented #page-content h4,
 .indented #page-content h5,
 .indented #page-content h6,
 .indented .footnotes-footer,
 .indented .bibitems{
     text-indent: 0;
}
 
 .rev-red, .rev-green, .rev-blue, .rev-yellow, .terminal-span{
     font-weight: bold;
}
 .rev-red{ /* ---- Red Document Revision Text ---- */
     color: hsl(360, 100%, 27%);
}
 .rev-green{ /* ---- Green Document Revision Text ---- */
     color: hsl(120, 100%, 27%);
}
 .rev-blue{ /* ---- Blue Document Revision Text ---- */
     color: hsl(240, 100%, 27%);
}
 .rev-yellow{ /* ---- Yellow Document Revision Text ---- */
     color: hsl(40, 100%, 40%);
}
 
 .terminal-span{ /* ---- Computer Terminal Text ---- */
     font-family: "Courier", monospace;
     font-size: 120%;
}
 
 .lite-heading{ /* ---- Special Heading Area (Adapted From SCP-4058) ---- */
     margin: 2.4em auto;
     clear: both;
}
 .lite-heading h3{
     color: hsl(360, 100%, 27%);
}
 .lite-heading hr{
     width: 55%;
     margin: auto;
 
     border-width: medium;
}
 
 .scene-break{ /* ---- Fancy Section Break ---- */
     width: 2.5em;
     margin: 1em 0;
}
 
 .footing::before{ /* ---- Article Footing ---- */
     content: " ";
     position: absolute;
     bottom: 1px;
     left: 0;
     right: 0;
 
     border-bottom: 2px solid hsl(0, 0%, 47%);
}
 .footing{
     position: relative;
     bottom: -2px;
     margin-bottom: 2px;
 
     border-bottom: 1px solid hsl(0, 0%, 47%);
}
 
 .series-nav{ /* ---- Series Navigation ---- */
     margin: .5em 0;
 
     background:
       linear-gradient(to bottom right,
                hsla(0, 0%, 100%, 1),
                 hsla(0, 0%, 50%, .5));
     border: outset 1.5px hsl(0, 0%, 5%);
     border-radius: 2em;
 
     font-size: 85%;
     font-weight: bold;
     text-align: center;
}
 
/* ---- CUSTOM DIV BLOCKS ---- */
 blockquote, /* ---- Regular Quote Block ---- */
 div.blockquote{
     background-color: hsl(0, 0%, 96%);
     border: 3px double hsl(0, 0%, 60%);
}
 
 .alt-blockquote{ /* ---- Alternative Quote Block ---- */
     margin: 1em 0;
     padding: 0 1em;
 
     background-color: hsl(0, 0%, 96%);
     border: 1px solid hsl(0, 0%, 60%);
     border-radius: 1em;
}
 
 .lightweight{ /* ---- Lightweight Quote Block ---- */
     margin: 1em 3em;
     padding: 0 1em;
 
     background-color: hsl(0, 0%, 90%);
 
     text-align: left;
}
 
 .card-block{ /* ---- Decorative Quote Block ---- */
     margin: 1em 0;
     padding: .6em 1.2em;
 
     background: hsl(220, 15%, 93%);
     border-left: 8px solid hsl(0, 100%, 30%);
     border-radius: .48em;
}
 blockquote hr, div.blockquote hr, .alt-blockquote hr, .lightweight hr, .card-block hr{
     border-color: hsl(0, 0%, 67%);
}
 
 .report-box{ /* ---- Report Block ---- */
     margin: 1em 0;
     padding: 0 1em;
 
     background-color: hsl(0, 0%, 100%);
     border: medium solid hsl(0, 0%, 5%);
}
 .report-box hr{
     border-color: hsl(0, 0%, 5%);
}
 
 .realistic-shadow{ /* ---- Better Shadows ---- */
     box-shadow:
          0 1px 1px hsla(0, 0%, 0%, .23),
          0 2px 2px hsla(0, 0%, 0%, .18),
          0 4px 4px hsla(0, 0%, 0%, .15),
          0 8px 8px hsla(0, 0%, 0%, .13);
}
 
 .faux-source{ /* ---- Mimics "Page Source" Appearance ---- */
     margin-bottom: 1em;
     padding: 1em 2em;
 
     background-color: hsl(0, 0%, 100%);
     border: 1px dashed hsl(0, 0%, 67%);
}
 
 .raisa-header, .pink-header, .oracle-header{
     margin-bottom: 1em;
     padding: 0 .5em;
 
     text-align: center;
}
 .raisa-header{ /* ---- RAISA Notice Header ---- */
     background: hsl(60, 65%, 85%);
     border: 1px solid hsl(0, 0%, 60%);
}
 .pink-header{ /* ---- Pretty Header ---- */
     background: hsl(350, 100%, 85%);
     border: 1px solid hsl(0, 4%, 36%);
}
 .pink-header hr{
     border-color: hsl(0, 4%, 36%);
}
 .oracle-header{ /* ---- SPC Oracle Notice Header ---- */
     color: hsl(208, 100%, 97%);
     background: hsl(208, 67%, 44%);
     border: 1px solid hsl(0, 0%, 5%);
}
 .oracle-header hr{
     border-color: hsl(208, 100%, 97%);
}
 .img-resize img{ /* ---- Header Icons (See Examples) ---- */
     float: left;
     width: auto;
     height: 8em;
     margin: .5em;
}
 
 .log-header{ /* ---- Interview/Exploration Log Header ---- */
     margin-bottom: 1em;
     padding: 0 1em;
 
     background: hsl(0, 0%, 96%);
     border: 3px dashed hsl(0, 0%, 60%);
     border-radius: 1em;
}
 
 .warning-notice{ /* ---- Simple Warning Block (Adapted From SCP-3143) ---- */
     padding: 0 1em;
 
     background-color: hsl(0, 0%, 100%);
     background-image: url(http://scp-wiki.wdfiles.com/local--files/scp-style-resource/scp_trans.png);
     background-position: center;
     background-repeat: no-repeat;
     border: 2px solid hsl(0, 0%, 5%);
 
     text-align: center;
}
 
 .journal{ /* ---- Journal Block (Adapted From SCP-4003) ---- */
     margin: 1em 0;
     padding: .9em;
 
     background-image:
                       linear-gradient(to top,
                        hsl(201, 33%, 84%) 0%,
                        hsl(60, 29%, 89%) 8%);
     background-position: 0 8px;
     background-size: 100% 1.3rem;
     border: 1px solid hsl(0, 0%, 80%);
     border-radius: .9em;
 
     font-family: "Architects Daughter", cursive;
}
 .journal p{
     margin: 0;
 
     font-size: 1.3rem;
     line-height: 1.3rem;
}
 
 .sms-message{ /* ---- Text Message Block ---- */
     float: left;
     clear: left;
     width: 22.4em;
     margin: 0 0 1em;
     padding: 0 1.2em;
 
     background: hsl(0, 0%, 75%);
     border-radius: 2em;
 
     font-size: 112.5%;
     text-align: center;
}
 
 blockquote .collapsible-block-folded,
 .alt-blockquote .collapsible-block-folded,
 .lightweight .collapsible-block-folded,
 .report-box .collapsible-block-folded,
 div.blockquote .collapsible-block-folded{
    /* ---- For Collapsibles Inside Divs | [CLOSED] ---- */
     padding: .75em 0;
    /* -------- */
}
 .alt-blockquote .collapsible-block-unfolded,
 .lightweight .collapsible-block-unfolded,
 .report-box .collapsible-block-unfolded,
 div.blockquote .collapsible-block-unfolded{
    /* ---- For Collapsibles Inside Divs | [OPEN] ---- */
     padding-top: .75em;
    /* -------- */
}
 
/* ---- ADVANCED WARNING HEADER ----
 * Adapted From SCP-001-JP - indonootoko's Proposal
 * See the Example at the Top of the Page
**/
 .orderwrapper{
     position: relative;
     width: auto;
 
     text-align: center;
}
 .council{
     position: relative;
     top: 0;
     bottom: 0;
     left: 0;
     right: 0;
     width: 295px;
     height: 295px;
     margin: auto;
 
     background-image: url(http://scp-wiki.wdfiles.com/local--files/scp-style-resource/scp_trans.png);
     background-position: center;
     background-repeat: no-repeat;
     background-size: 295px 295px;
}
 .ordertitle{
     position: absolute;
     top: 27px;
     left: 0;
     right: 0;
}
 .ordertitle h1{
     color: hsl(0, 0%, 5%);
     font-size: 220%;
     line-height: 90%;
}
 .orderdescription{
     position: absolute;
     top: 93px;
     left: 0;
     right: 0;
     width: 100%;
}
 .orderdescription h1{
     color: hsl(0, 0%, 5%);
     font-size: 120%;
}
 .orderdescription p{
     color: hsl(0, 0%, 5%);
     font-size: 90%;
}
 .itemno{
     position: absolute;
     bottom: 18px;
     left: 0;
     right: 0;
}
 .itemno h1{
     color: hsl(0, 0%, 5%);
     font-size: 170%;
}
 
/* ---- YUI TAB BASE ---- */
.yui-navset .yui-nav a,.yui-navset .yui-navset-top .yui-nav a{background-color:inherit;background-image:inherit}.yui-navset .yui-nav a:hover,.yui-navset .yui-nav a:focus{background:inherit;text-decoration:inherit}.yui-navset .yui-nav .selected a,.yui-navset .yui-nav .selected a:focus,.yui-navset .yui-nav .selected a:hover{color:inherit;background:inherit}.yui-navset .yui-nav,.yui-navset .yui-navset-top .yui-nav{border-color:inherit}.yui-navset li{line-height:inherit}
 
/* ---- YUI TAB CUSTOMIZATION ----
 * Adapted From Black Highlighter Theme Dev
**/
 .yui-navset *{
     transition:
                  color 80ms cubic-bezier(.4, 0, .2, 1),
       background-color 80ms cubic-bezier(.4, 0, .2, 1);
}
 .yui-navset .yui-nav,
 .yui-navset .yui-navset-top .yui-nav{
     display: flex;
     flex-wrap: wrap;
     width: calc(100% - .125rem);
     margin: 0 auto;
 
     border-color: hsl(360, 94%, 20%);
     box-shadow: 0 calc(.0625rem * 5) 0 0 hsl(360, 94%, 20%);
}
 .yui-navset .yui-nav a, /* ---- Link Modifier ---- */
 .yui-navset .yui-navset-top .yui-nav a{
     color: hsl(0, 0%, 5%);
    /* ---- Tab Background Colour | [UNSELECTED] ---- */
     background-color: hsl(0, 0%, 99%);
    /* -------- */
     background-image: none;
     border: unset;
}
 .yui-navset .yui-nav a:hover,
 .yui-navset .yui-nav a:focus{
     color: hsl(0, 0%, 96%);
    /* ---- Tab Background Colour | [HOVER] ---- */
     background-color: hsl(360, 100%, 27%);
    /* -------- */
}
 .yui-navset .yui-nav li, /* ---- Listitem Modifier ---- */
 .yui-navset .yui-navset-top .yui-nav li{
     position: relative;
     display: flex;
     flex-grow: 2;
     max-width: 100%;
     margin: 0;
     padding: 0;
 
     background-color: hsl(0, 0%, 96%);
     border-color: transparent;
     box-shadow: 0 0 0 .0625rem hsl(360, 94%, 20%);
}
 .yui-navset .yui-nav li a,
 .yui-navset-top .yui-nav li a,
 .yui-navset-bottom .yui-nav li a{
     display: flex;
     align-items: center;
     justify-content: center;
     width: 100%;
}
 .yui-navset .yui-nav li em{
     border: unset;
}
 .yui-navset .yui-nav a em,
 .yui-navset .yui-navset-top .yui-nav a em{
     padding: .35em .75em;
 
     text-overflow: ellipsis;
     overflow: hidden;
     white-space: nowrap;
}
 .yui-navset .yui-nav .selected, /* ---- Selection Modifier ---- */
 .yui-navset .yui-navset-top .yui-nav .selected{
     flex-grow: 2;
     margin: 0;
     padding: 0;
 
    /* ---- Tab Background Colour | [SELECTED] ---- */
     background-color: hsl(360, 94%, 20%);
    /* -------- */
}
 .yui-navset .yui-nav .selected a,
 .yui-navset .yui-nav .selected a em{
     border: hsl(360, 94%, 20%);
}
 .yui-navset .yui-nav .selected a{
     width: 100%;
 
     color: hsl(0, 0%, 96%) !important;
     background-image: none;
}
 .yui-navset .yui-nav .selected a:focus,
 .yui-navset .yui-nav .selected a:active{
     color: hsl(0, 0%, 96%);
     background-color: hsl(360, 94%, 20%);
}
 .yui-navset .yui-nav .selected a:hover{
     cursor: default;
}
 .yui-navset-left .yui-content{
    /* ---- Content Background ---- */
     background-color: hsl(0, 0%, 99%);
    /* -------- */
}
 .yui-navset .yui-content,
 .yui-navset .yui-navset-top .yui-content{
     padding: .5em;
     border-color: hsl(0, 0%, 60%);
}
 
/* --- INTERWIKI --- */
 iframe.scpnet-interwiki-frame{
     position: relative;
     width: 17em;
     height: 12em;
     margin-left: 4px;
     margin-bottom: .78em;
 
     background-color: hsl(0, 0%, 100%);
     border: 2px solid hsl(0, 0%, 20%);
}
 
/* ---- REDUCED MOTION ACCESSIBILITY ----
 * By SMLT
**/
 @media (prefers-reduced-motion: reduce){
     *, *::before, *::after{
         animation-duration: .001s !important;
         animation-iteration-count: 1 !important;
         transition-duration: .001s !important;
    }
}
 
/* ---- MOBILE MEDIA QUERY ---- */
 @media (max-width: 479px){
     #header h1 a{
         font-size: 85%;
    }
}
 
/* ---- NOTE MEDIA QUERY ---- */
 @media (min-width: 480px) and (max-width: 580px){
     #header h1 a{
         font-size: 100%;
    }
}
 
/* ---- MINI TABLET MEDIA QUERY ---- */
 @media (min-width: 581px) and (max-width: 767px){
     #header h1 a{
         font-size: 120%;
    }
}
 @media (max-width: 767px){
     .open-menu a:hover{
         box-shadow: none;
    }
}
 
/* ---- TABLET MEDIA QUERY ---- */
 @media (min-width: 768px) and (max-width: 979px){
     #header h1 a{
         font-size: 140%;
    }
}

NOTE: This is Part 10 of a 12-Part storyline: Team Bird, Season One.
It is recommended that you first read SCP-3095, and then start from the beginning with SCP-3662.


rating: +60+x

The Noosphere
Time Immemorial

Thoth peered into the Noosphere with astute curiosity. He glanced down at the ocean of minds: A whirlpool of purple, pink, green, and blue specks spread across an absurd distance. He looked up and saw Akheilos, the Great Selachian, scouring the void. The Cosmic Starfish continued dangling from an infinitesimal tendril, ominously inching onward from extradimensional space. Even now, Thoth feared the Starfish: The only thing that could interfere with his plans.

YHWH encompassed what seemed like the entirety of the mind-filled expanse. If Thoth executed his plans at the wrong time, YHWH would strike him down instantly and bar him from prosperity 'til the end of time. Luckily, YHWH would soon find Himself busy with something.

As Thoth sat in his perch, a wave of memories conjured by the Noosphere washed over him. One hundred billion memories tainted by 200,000 years of vengeance, dread, euphoria, grief, avarice… They vibrated him to his core. If he were a mere mortal, Thoth's perch would be shambles. His mind would be a confluence of rogue personalities, thoughts, and concepts, ripping him piece by piece.

Thoth counted the ages like seconds.

4…

3…

2…

1.

At once, the sweet radiance of the Noosphere dimmed. Thoth felt a great mass dissipating into the dark, like removing a bowling ball from a trampoline. He still had Akheilos to worry about, but although Akheilos excelled in strength, Thoth was all speed.

Thoth peered across the Noosphere at his target: A full human that had manifested itself newly within, susceptible to attack. As Thoth extended a single talon toward him, Akheilos clued in and took pursuit.

Thoth soared as fast as he could.

Akheilos followed closely.


Finally, Thoth came to the pale, bald man in an orange jumpsuit. Unlike the other minds, he was not a mere speck; the Noosphere immersed him as he doused in with the unyielding current. Thoth directed his weapon into the man's mind before flying away.

At once, the weapon cocked–


And fired into the head of humankind.



Thoth cackled as he watched the tsunami of orange spread across the planet of minds. He shuddered, as energy flowed into him. The personalities of the billions of humans supplied his damaged form with power. He looked into the void and saw the blue planetoid that he called home, glittering across the sky with its tired, old minds. Thoth ventured into meatspace, across the Noosphere to Earth, and had almost winked out of existence in the process.

He would soon be back there.

Akheilos was troublesome. Thoth might soon be able to overpower Akheilos and extinguish him permanently. For now, he had to remain wary of a surprise attack from the Selachian. Thoth kept a glance at the beast from the border of the Noosphere. It was avoiding Thoth like a wild animal avoiding a flame.

The planet was now more orange than not. Thoth decided it was time to initiate the next part of his plan. The scientists at the Foundation had just now started studying a videotape from his home planet. In a certain spot, two minds turned red.

Like turning a car key to start the ignition, he ignited the crimson fire with a swoop of his wing. It radiated in every direction, and Thoth basked in the warmth of the newly brainwashed human populace.

He anticipated the cawing in his name.



What had made it so easy to achieve? The answer was simple: There is a vulnerability in the human mind — a deeply ingrained need, woven into society. The need to share, communicate, and be heard. Humans have no defense for this.

Why would they? Never had acceptance been weaponized.

With birds as the vector and minds as the medium, that singular idea spread so rapidly that nobody could even think to retaliate. Like a virus, when it latched itself deep within, its only directive was to spread — anywhere there was camaraderie, there was the bird.

To remain uninfected by the bird meme was to be ostracized. Everyone at some basal, guttural level wanted to partake in the phenomenon. They wanted to fit in. When a single, simple, succinct word triggered all humans to join hands as one, what hope did they have?

Birds had become the only thing on the brain. And when humanity realized what it was doomed to become, it convulsed, grasping its collective head. Millions of individuals fell to their knees, screaming to the heavens, tearing out their hair as their eyes bulged. Slowly, but surely, all were infected. All had become equal.

The cawing came.

Some humans were more naturally resistant to the meme, but ignoring something so ridiculous was impossible. The longer they gazed into this abyss, the longer it leered back. Once inside, the idea stuck. Everyone followed eventually.

The singularity was not technology; it was birds.

And in the end, the black hole consumes all.

logo.png

New York City
August 2, 2018
Morning

Or does it?


Two figures stood minuscule before the near-lifeless husk of a massive whale. The one on the right: An armored human towering two meters tall. The one on the left: A pelican bird barely a meter in height, yet somehow more composed.

Two seagulls and a pelican stood nearby, peeking from behind the pelican-in-command, waiting for the cue to attack.

“If you're willing to supply some muscle for our war, we're gonna help you fight yours. Full co-operation on both sides. Deal?” the human said. He was Captain Quinn Griffith, leader of an elite team of shark-punchers.

The pelican paused for an uncomfortable stretch, shrugged its wings back, and eyed the human. A modulated, yet unmistakably avian voice streamed through the high-fidelity speaker of its paratech translation collar. “Deal,” it replied. She was Keshrayuth, head of an equally elite team of birds fighting to uphold the Veil of Normalcy that now hung in tatters.

“… Keshrayuth, what are you doing?” Quibba — the second pelican — interjected. “We have no clue who this one and his team are. They screwed with our efforts to keep the world ordered in the first hour they've been here! And they are in dire need of preening.”

Keshrayuth sighed. “How, exactly, have we gone about fixing things as of late, Quibba? I understand this one is violent — perhaps ridiculously so — but this is the first glimmer of hope we have had in months. It won't be cast aside, and I certainly won't stand for that. Neither will Hoygull. In fact” — she turned around — “the language of violence they communicate could be instrumental in gaining the upper hand against Thoth.”

Quinn pulled off his helmet. His forehead glistened. “Listen, I'm sorry, but you keep on mentioning this 'thot' character. Like, am I missing something here? Who is that?”

Keshrayuth shook her head. Her bill floundered from side to side.

“I'm not having a laugh! Come on, my team's had a long journey. We've been away from home for months, battling a Deviant enemy we know next to nothing about. It would help if someone, anyone, explained what in the depths was going on!” Quinn was almost shouting. “I mean, if we're gonna be a team, we oughta gain some common ground.”

“And what is your name, human?” She scanned him head to toe. “You are human, yes?”

“That's right, ma'am; I'm no Deviant. The name's Quinn. And the rest of my team's in our… Inside this whale.”

Quibba shot a terrified look at the leviathan. “They're inside the whale? Did they get eaten? Oh, Medila!”

“No! No, they're alive in there, all right. They're napping on the damn job,” Quinn chuckled. “And the whale's on our side too. I'll show you.” He placed a hand on the whale's damaged fin.

The ground shook as whalesong coursed through it.

The birds jumped back with a squeak.

“Rise 'n shine, Gægr,” Quinn whispered, “I've got some new friends to show you.”

logo.png

Site-18, Somewhere in Southern California
August 12, 2018
Daytime

Ever since a supernova of blue exploded into the skies, the Avian Division busied itself with plans of evacuation — now that the world had officially ended. Unfortunately, they had only been able to devote a few scant personnel to each plan.

Amidst the hustle and bustle, one central thought plagued Dr. Frederick Hoygull's overworked mind:

Migration.


He flew down specially designed vents at the base of Site-18. The vents led to an airlock, where Mobile Task Force Eta-4 (“Begone Thoth”) perched, all calm before the storm.

Quibba pecked himself clean. Keshrayuth looked on in disgust. After months of constant vigilance to matters of Foundation rigidity, she'd steeled herself, and now found the simple action — of grooming oneself in public — revolting. Linda Duck and James Crowl — two birds specialized in covert operations, who had their names changed to conform to Foundation standards — faced straight ahead.

Hoygull caught Crowl side-eyeing the shark-punchers.

Marine Fighting Team CHARYBDIS argued with one another on the opposite side of the room.

The shark-punchers were an anomaly in and of themselves. Hoygull found himself stopping to admire their muscular biceps. He shook his head and wedged himself into whatever this hour's petty squabble concerned. “While the Avian Division manages our contingency plans, I trust you'll be busy with DIVINE RUSE?”

Quinn looked at Hoygull, then waved his hand in the space between him and his three subordinates as if swatting gnats.

Jaedan, Leah, and Haruki shared confused glares but shut up all the same.

“Jaedan and Haruki have something up their sleeves,” Quinn explained. “They'll be the ones handling that front. Leah and I, well, we're going to escort you off-world — maybe rendezvous with some long-lost Foundation buds of yours. I'm sure any number of 'em could've answered your call, so don't even get your feathers in a bunch.” He laughed, then froze, then awkwardly rubbed the back of his neck.

That figure of speech wasn't quite the most culturally sensitive for a bird. Leah shuffled away, grimacing.

Hoygull met Quinn with a piercing stare, and then–

A klaxon wailed from someplace nearby.

Hoygull nodded, then waddled away. He swiped a clearance card across a nearby door lock, opening the room to a small chamber beyond.

SCP-2785, the source of the alarm, sat inside. He'd undergone a recent upgrade, courtesy of Haruki: CHARYBDIS' tech expert. He now had several antennae sticking out of him and sported a casing forged from beryllium-bronze. This was done, of course, so SCP-2785 would be more receptive to not only radio signals but significant Noospheric events. Hoygull counted on him as an advantage Thoth couldn't possibly know.

“I'm getting air-information!” SCP-2785 said, using his made-up term for radio waves. “There's a voice in it this time!”

“So…? We haven't got all day! Let's hear it,” Quinn said.

SCP-2785 closed his eyes. Static crackled from an internal speaker Haruki had installed. The speaker blasted like a tuba. It reminded Hoygull of when he used to sit down with Researcher Calvin and watch those odd orchestras on the TV.

“Greetings, to whom this concerns,” a male voice said. The man in the speaker sounded no-nonsense, his voice gruff and deep. “This is General Tarland of the Global Occult Coalition.”

Hoygull fumbled with his card, dropped it, and with shaking wingtips, brushed against his translation device — and dropped that too. He flapped his wings, motioned to Quibba, paused, then covered his face. Isolate that signal, dammit!

“My troops and I are currently stationed inside Southwest Coalition Bunker Alpha-5,” Tarland continued. “We're five miles south of the Mojave Desert. It seems the statues have forced their way through an unsealed access shaft and are commencing a full-scale assault on our bunker.”

“Wait, statues?” Haruki asked. “Is he talking about that god-ugly Deviant sculpture?”

“No. It's like — the bird-men outside aren't heavy enough when it comes to fighting armed dressings of Thoth,” Duck replied. Her translation device was glitching out. “So, he told his followers to build magickal statues.”

SCP-2785 continued broadcasting.

“Fortunately, we have an ace up our sleeves — Project: HYPERION. A missile to fire into one of the Ways, equipped with enough hostile memes to obliterate KTE-4581 and all affected subjects. Unfortunately, it's in a base beneath the city of Las Vegas, and the bastards ate the strike team we sent to snatch it. It looks like we're not getting an opportunity to launch.

“Hopefully, someone receives this message. Maybe the Foundation. Maybe the Insurgency. Maybe one of the isolated survivor groups. There's a shed on the outskirts of Las Vegas marked with a seven-pronged star. It's an entrance to the HYPERION facility.”

Tarland paused; over the radio static, Hoygull could hear a commotion behind him and a long sigh. “Dammit, they've forced their way in! We're out of men! If you're hearing this, get to HYPERION. It's humanity's last hope. This is General Tarland, signing off.”

“Medila, bless him,” Crowl muttered.

“That's the end of the message,” SCP-2785 said. “But… I'm getting more air-information! This time, it's dots! Lots and lots of dots!”

“How many dots?” Keshrayuth asked.

“Well… There's one, two, three…” He faded into a buzz that lasted a minute. “Uh, what number comes after eighty-six?”

Hoygull squawked in distress.

“Dots? Make yourself more clear, you hunk of junk,” Quinn snapped.

“Robot is connected to the AEDS — Advance Enemy Detection System. There are statues outside of base,” Duck said.

“AEDS… Oh, you mean the A.E.S.D.!” Quinn said. “The Advance Enemy Selachian Detector!”

“We cannot fight them all alone,” Keshrayuth warned. “It is nine against eighty-seven.”

“Oh, I know! Why don't we take the Site's emergency submarine?” Jaedan chimed in.

“That's… What? We don't have that!” Crowl avoided the effort required to get the damned translator to understand the concept of a submarine. “We do have a train rail going from here to Site-17, though. It's near Vegas.”

“But it lacks an energy source,” Quibba blurted out. “Bird-brains took it down. I'm surprised they didn't nuke themselves to Hell. If we get the power working, we can leave. Can anyone fix it?”

Haruki had the know-how but didn't say it. She couldn't mention Operation: DIVINE RUSE, either; if Hoygull told Eta-4 what he had planned, they'd have protested. She simply pursed her lips.

“Oh, me!” SCP-2785 hopped in a circle. “Me, me, me, me!”

“Okay then,” Quibba said. “There's a mounted grenade launcher on the next floor. I'll provide covering fire. Hoygull, can you help him?” Quibba wanted Hoygull to ensure SCP-2785 didn't mess anything up; the soda fountain incident still burned freshly in his mind.

“The rest of us'll battle the statues,” Captain Quinn said. “I'll be your motivation!” He was grinning.

Quibba jumped down from his perch. “Come. Armory's this way.” He led two shark-punchers and the other birds toward a door on the right, which opened to a stairwell.

Hoygull turned to Haruki and Jaedan — the only two to stay behind. “You sure you know what you're doing?”

Jaedan grabbed his powered armor's pauldron. “Come on, bird-man. You can trust us.”

Hoygull left without another word.

logo.png

Hoygull let himself taste the dry, dusty battlefield air. In front of him, his remaining fifty birds held their ground with various tripod-mounted grenade launchers, modified to operate easily with wings. Atop the Site's conspicuous spire, he saw Quibba piloting a much larger, much more powerful grenade launcher to clear out large crowds of statues. Hoygull himself held a modified combat shotgun loaded with slugs — though, he suspected they'd be useless if he found himself cornered.

The statues continued; their onslaught slow but unyielding. Each was a tall, stout ibis, and there were countless. Judging by the reports he received from ambushed scout patrols, they relied on brute force and not much else.

If each carried unseemly anomalous threats like the countless idols in Foundation deep storage — Hoygull perished the thought.

When the statues marched into range, Quibba fired a barrage of high-explosive shells. The blast tore a rift in the ground and ten or so statues into dust. As if on cue, the rest of the Avian Division fired a volley into the oncoming crowd. The shells screamed like a jet engine. Hoygull was glad he had given his troops earmuffs.

After the initial barrage, Hoygull turned back and fled into Site-18. He was anything but a fighter. No, he needed to ensure they still had a ride out of there.

logo.png

“You see, if you want the generator to work,” Hoygull repeated, “you have to make sure all the wires are connected.”

SCP-2785 looked at him with eyes that conveyed the opposite of understanding. “Why?”

“You know how I told you about electricity? Well, you need the wires to carry it, like how pipes carry water around. You know how pipes work, right?”

SCP-2785 nodded. “But then, how does air-information work?”

Hoygull sighed. “You know how mist is like water, but in the air? That's air-information, but with electricity.”

“Oh.” He didn't sound convinced. SCP-2785 continued operating one of the tools in his hand, welding wires together. After a minute or two, he chimed and pressed a button on the generator. It sputtered a little before coming to life, lighting up the monorail tunnel.

“Let's tell everybody to get down here, ASAP,” Hoygull called, turning to fly up the stairs. He ran into Quinn and Leah in the hallway. “What are you doing? You're supposed to–”

“There's too much noise out there, sir,” Quinn said. “We can't work our magic in those conditions.”

“Well, we've got–”

Hoygull was interrupted by the beeping of his radio, which he picked up and squawked into instinctively.

“— is Sergeant Gullivan,” a voice on the radio said. “We're being overrun. For Medila's sake, get out of–”

Gullivan got cut short by a loud crunch.

“Medila help us,” Hoygull whispered. He turned back to the shark-punchers. “Listen, Quibba's still at the top of the spire. We need to get him down from there. Please, come with me.”

The shark-punchers nodded.

Hoygull flew up the stairwell. On his way, he passed by the armory and swapped his combat shotgun for a more effective handheld grenade launcher.

logo.png

Hoygull, Quinn, and Leah arrived atop the spire.

Quibba sat at the grenade launcher, merely looking back with a pained expression. “Sorry, boss. I cannot continue firing. Our friends have been pushed too close. The explosions will hurt them.”

Hoygull watched over the railing. The Avian Division's front line was compromised, and the remaining lines struggled to prevent the onslaught of statues from pouring into Site-18.

“Kesh, Crowl, and Duck are already retreating,” Quibba continued. “If the train rail is ready, we need to retreat too.”

Hoygull and Quibba shared a quick nod. Quibba dismounted from the grenade launcher, and together, the four rushed back downstairs.

logo.png

When Hoygull returned to the bottom, he spotted Keshrayuth, Crowl, and Duck — along with the few remaining members of the Avian Division — spamming grenades at Site-18's entrance to dam the torrent of statues.

Hoygull fired a grenade to help but realized that, in his rush, he had forgotten to pick up an extra magazine. He would be forced to ration the grenades already loaded. Not bothering to use the translator, he squawked at his team.

Eta-4 shouted orders for the Avian Division to fall back.

The pair of shark-punchers, Quibba, and Hoygull ran and flew down the maze-like hall to prepare the train for final departure, but hit a snag.

A towering, ibis-headed behemoth filled the entrance to the monorail station. Its shadow paralyzed all.

Hoygull instinctively raised the grenade launcher, eyes wide and panicked.

“Don't shoot! It's too close; you'll kill us all!” Quinn yelled, grabbing Hoygull by the wing. He maneuvered for a retreat into the tunnel system. “We'll need to find another way to Vegas!”

The statue inched forward, but not to attack. It was singing. Birdsong filled the hall and drowned Quinn out. The melody it sang was enthralling — pure bliss. He felt his troubles melt away and soar like a Selachian hawk to the sea skies.

Hoygull watched in despair as the Centre operatives melted before the advancing statue and its perverse calling.

Leah felt it, too, and her thought processes felt like wading through knee-high soup. Keeping grounded was difficult. It would be oh-so-easy to let her thoughts be pulled up, up, up to the clouds.

Leah remembered clouds. She remembered floating across the skies of other Earths, goofing around with her friends. She remembered the journeys they took on their way to track down WHITE NETHER. All the funny, bizarre moments they shared.

Wait… A tiny, quiet voice murmured from the back of Leah's mind. I don't want to forget this! I don't want to be a bird-person. I don't want to go! She conjured up the thought of Jaedan, of how goofy yet stoic he would look in her place.

The birds — they'll take him from me!

Leah's blood ran hot. A pulsating rush cascaded through her body. She could barely hear her own thoughts, but right now, she didn't need to. Her hazy vision tinted red. She lunged several feet and swung her arm square at the hunk of concrete, transferring her amassed rage and energy into its core.

At first, she felt pain. The statue's horrendous melody stopped for a moment before it let out a piercing shriek. It swung at Leah, knocking her across the tunnel and against the wall; though, all for naught. The statue was mortally wounded. It thrashed and screamed at the world as the small cracks from Leah's impact spread. The fractures snaked around it. The fissures deepened.

All at once, the statue disintegrated into ineffectual rubble.

With the birdsong gone, her thoughts were again her own. While Quinn regained his grasp on reality, Leah dragged him into the front-most railcar with whatever strength remained in her left arm.

“Please, Leah, get some rest,” Hoygull pleaded. “You have done more than enough.”

Leah's peripherals were shutting down, narrowing into points of light. Her eyelids got heavy, and her body shivered. She knew this feeling well: Shock. She'd probably broken her arm, and the adrenaline was wearing off. She couldn't rest just now; that was one mere statue, and there were dozens more.

“Hoygull?”

“Yes, Řezník?”

“If even one of those statues lays a claw on Jae– The team, I'm gonna have Avian Division-brand chicken wings — you hear?” She half-smiled.

Quinn's eyes shot wide open. Leah's closed. She collapsed onto the seats inside.

There was no time to contemplate her idle, feverish remark; deafening booms informed the team that they were now cornered inside the station. Looking down the hall, Hoygull saw eight Avian Division fighters — perhaps the last eight — fleeing toward him. Among those eight were Keshrayuth, Crowl, and Duck, leading the charge.

Crowl and Duck had already discarded their grenade launchers. Kesh emptied what remained of her clip, dropped her gun, and trailed behind.

“Get in!” Hoygull yelled. He and Quibba pressed inside the cockpit.

Eta-4 screamed into the railcar. SCP-2785 yanked his right arm, decoupled it from an adjacent socket, and tumbled backward through the doors. The remaining five birds drifted down the hall with battered wings, but the ceiling collapsed ahead. Statues swept through and surged the station, trapping them on all sides.

Hoygull called to SCP-2785, desperate. “Start the train!”

The car crawled to a start, then glided along its rail with ease. Some statues noticed the movement and dived onto the monorail track. A few managed to grab onto the rear-most railcar as it left the station.

Hoygull opened the side window and fired a grenade, which streaked across the side of the train, inches from metal. It erupted against a railcar somewhere in the middle and knocked it aside. The railcars ahead slipped away freely.

To secure safe passage, Hoygull fired his remaining two grenades at the roof. Like cauterizing a wound, the tunnel crumpled inward, blocking itself off.

The statues were, luckily, unable to follow any further.

logo.png

They lost the battle, and with it, a good portion of their force. But for now, they were safe.

And they might soon find something to help win the war.

For the first time, Hoygull was going to Vegas.

logo.png

Inter-Site Monorail System
Sundown

Hoygull sat next to Quinn and Crowl inside the railcar. SCP-2785 and Quibba sat in the enclosed cockpit. The rest were in a side-compartment watching over Leah, but above all, resting. The train was designed to hold the entire Site; now, it felt empty.

A cold silence hung in the air among the three. Crowl absently preened his wing feathers.

Quinn let out a sigh. “You know, I haven't gone this long without pummeling a Deviant before,” he admitted in idle conversation. “You should try it sometime. The feeling of your hand shattering the scaly skin? That's my kind of high.”

Hoygull raised his wings, displaying non-existent hands.

“Oh, that's bull shark,” Quinn whispered. “Well, I hope that clobbering that damn bird takes care of this feeling.”

Another awkward silence followed. Crowl hardly noticed.

After some time, Hoygull spoke up. “Thanks again for the help,” he said. “Without you all, we would've died a long time ago.”

“It's, uh, nothing.” Quinn stared into a point on the compartment wall. “Us Foundations need to look out for each other. Right?”

Hoygull made the closest thing to a smile he could.

“So, are we sure this missile will work?” Quinn squinted. “I mean, a Deviant Selachian is tougher than it looks. If a Deviant Bird is any tougher than that–”

“Just trust your men out there. We'll worry about the rest.”

Quinn looked vacantly out the window, exhaled, and set down his head.


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License