I Don't Want to Know Anymore
rating: +12+x


The man rubbed his hands together, breathing on them in a vain effort to warm them up. Being holed up for so long made the brisk air refreshing. The action also caused him to let out a cough.

Having a cold was the most mundane aspect of this task, he mused.

Did he hate his assignment? No, not really. Sure, it was a bit bland, but he didn't mind it. The "scip," as he heard the higher-ups called it, wasn't too nasty, just some run-down temple with some minor anomalous activity. All he needed to do was get something for them.

He'd take that over being experimented on.

"D-59416, are you in position? Over."

"Roger that. Over." Lowering the transceiver, the D-Class sighed. It was a bit unfortunate that the good doctor had to break his illusion of peace.

As he stepped forward, he took the chance to admire the surroundings. "Fresh air, lush trees… would be like home if it wasn't for all these damn tourists."

Walking up the worn stairs, he ended up in front of the dilapidated gates and picked up the transceiver once more. "Alright sir, what now? Over."

"Go through the left corridor of the temple. Walk to the guard stationed in front of the 'Closed for Renovations' sign. Tell him Dr. Yang sent you. Over."

Forcing his way through the throngs of tourists, D-59416 grimaced as he fumbled with the transceiver. He'd been warned about the unscrupulous pickpockets who preyed upon the unsuspecting, and truth be told, he was getting attached to the walkie-talkie. Grinning slightly once he managed to clip it back on his belt, he proceeded to carry out his orders.

As he neared the guard, he noticed although the walls were noticeably more polished, there weren't nearly as many people. Then again, he mused, the Buddhist sculptures along the side corridors weren't nearly as impressive as the one in the Main Hall.

"Dr. Yang sent me." The guard stared at him for a few seconds before nodding jerkily.

As D-59416 walked past him, he could swear he saw the guard clench his jaw.

"Do you know what you're here for?" asked the on-site Researcher, once he met up with her. "You're here for extraction of some brown mold." Seeing him scrunch up his nose, she sighed. "Relax, if you don't want to touch it, just use a scalpel. The real challenge is what happens afterwards."

Turning to the guards behind her, she announced, "Initiate Extraction Procedure - 6K5. Evacuate and administer amnestics to all tourists. All guards are to expect moderate resistance. Although the entities are relatively fragile, we need to keep them off him until he leaves the forest." Saluting, the guards mobilized immediately. As they began escorting people off the premises and taking down the on-site lab, the D-Class walked up to her.

"What entities? I wasn't made aware of this."

"The temple's caretakers. Just say you're paying respects to the statue and they should leave you alone. Do your best to hide your extraction attempt. Once extracted, exit the premises immediately. Do not respond to the entities if they question you. Once you exit the temple doors, run out and don't look back, no matter what you hear. An extraction team will be waiting for you once you break past the forest."

D-59416 blinked. "Hold on, I thought this was just a temple with some minor anomalous activity."

"Minor is subjective. Now get to it. Oh, and do try to speak Mandarin. After our last… incident, they don't take kindly to English speakers any longer."

Once the report came that all the tourists had been evacuated, the Researcher turned to him. "In you go, D."

Shaking his head slightly, the D-Class gave another light cough before walking into the designated room.

It was huge.

Golden ornaments decorated the room, which was probably larger than the mess hall he once caught a glimpse of. Statues twice the size of a man lined up the walls, as if keeping a watchful eye on anyone who entered. Women dressed in traditional Chinese garb seemed to float elegantly through the room, tending to the plants or polishing the statues.

In the middle of it all was a marble statue of a monkey, face contorted into a scream. A golden staff was coming out of the statue's chest, gleaning brightly under the shine of all the candles.

The statue was also being set on fire by the attendants.

"What are you here for?" Turning to the side, he nearly jumped backwards once he realized how close one of the attendants had been to him. He hadn't sensed her at all.

"I'm here to… pay my respects," he worded carefully. She gave a look of disapproval but nodded.

"Sisters!" she declared. "Turn off the naphtha. A follower of the Bodhisattva has come to pay his respect to the Damned One." As the flow of oil had stopped, D-59416 noticed that the statue was practically unharmed, although mildly discolored.

"Please hurry, pilgrim," she cautioned. "We must resume the ritual as soon as possible." Nodding, the D-Class walked towards statue. Ignoring the glares of the attendants around him, he knelt at the base of the statue and prostrated himself.

As he kowtowed, he noticed a very faint brown fuzz on the statue. Remembering the Researcher's words, he slipped out the scalpel and scraped off some of the mold. Placing it into a ziploc bag, he hurriedly stood up and prepared to walk.

"Please consider worshiping a more refined deity," stated an attendant, bowing as he shuffled past her. "The Damned One is not-"

Upon hearing the woman cut herself off, D-59416 broke into a cold sweat. Looking up from the ground, he saw that all the women in the room had stopped their actions and were staring at his left pants pocket. Looking down, he noticed the slightest piece of plastic jutting out.

The mission was compromised.

"Give us the hair," they hissed, advancing towards him. "Give it to us!" Snapping out of his stupor, the D-Class broke into a sprint.

Damnit, shouldn't have skipped breakfast.

"I need help!" he hollered, bursting past the room where he had met with the Researcher. He could see that the makeshift site had been stripped bare and the guards were in position. Gunfire blossomed behind him, causing him to wince as the noise was almost loud enough to perforate his eardrums.

Screams erupted behind him as the guards and the attendants clashed. Although the attendants were cut down by waves of gunfire, there seemed to be an endless swarm of them emerging from the rooms, all screaming and demanding for the mold to be returned.

He payed them no mind. All he cared about was getting the hell out of there.

"Over here!" Recognizing the voice to be the guard at the entrance, D-59416 ran to him, who was holding back the deluge of attendants at the main entrance. "I've been ordered to escort you. Do you still have your transceiver? I lost mine during the first wave of hostiles." Nodding, the D-Class fumbled with his belt for a bit before handing it over. Motioning for D-59416 to follow him, the guard activated the transceiver while running into the forest.

"Dr. Yang, this is Agent Ocasio. The sample and D-Class have been secured. Requesting immediate evacuation. Current position is approximately five meters ahead of the main entrance. Over." Static persisted for several seconds, causing D-59416 to dread that their rescue team wouldn't arrive, until Dr. Yang finally replied.

"Loud and clear, Agent Ocasio. Satellites say we are about 800 meters to your ten. Good luck. Over." Grinning, the now named Agent Ocasio slipped the transceiver onto his belt in one smooth motion, glancing back at D-59416 to check if he was still following, and continuing his path.

D-59416 was by no means an athletic person, but the fear of being murdered was enough of an incentive to keep him moving. Or at least, that was what he would have thought several months ago.

Exhaustive missions after another were taking their toll on him. He wasn't as young as he once was, and without the Foundation drugs - "amnestics," the researchers called them - he was unable to feel the sweet release of amnesia. With every step, the burning sensation in his muscles slowed him down a little more, the howls of the attendants growing behind him.

He'd probably be forced back into experimentation after this. Perhaps it was best to just let them take him over…

"Oi, keep up," barked the agent, snapping him out of his thoughts. The order jarred D-59416 back to reality, forcing him to run faster. "Don't disappoint me now."

"The benefits of indoctrination," muttered D-59416. Grunting, the D-Class ignored the pain in his muscles and pumped his legs faster, eventually making up for lost ground.

Every so often, Agent Ocasio would fire back into the woods, eliciting a wail from that general direction.

The D-Class decided not to question how he knew.

Once the two had reached the clearing, a helicopter awaited them, with Dr. Yang and several armed guards inside.

"Glad to see D-Class aren't just cannon fodder," snarked Dr. Yang, helping D-59416 up onto the chopper. "Really though, you've done better than the previous extraction attempt."

"What happened then?" As the rush of adrenaline began to ebb away, D-59416 could see his hands were shaking.

"Same as this one, really, though we weren't as prepared for the overwhelming flood of those entities. We failed since we didn't know how to handle them. Now, though, we know that they only target the one with the mold - namely, you - and tend to ignore other hostiles, even our gunners. Once they can no longer find you within the forest, they'll assume you're dead and return to the temple. Within a few days, we can allow civilians to pray there once again."

"Now then," continued Dr. Yang. "The sample, if you will." Pulling out the plastic bag that nearly resulted in his death, D-59416 handed it over to the doctor, who inspected it carefully. The D-Class noticed that the patch of mold he had scraped off had more than tripled in size already, and if he squinted hard enough, he could swear he saw the mold enlarging in size. The size increase didn't go unnoticed by Dr. Yang.

"Hmm, growth seems to be as anomalous as you'd expect it to be. Right then, let's hurry to the base. I don't want this thing expanding too big without a proper container."

"So how did you feel on the mission?" D-59416, who was waiting to see the psychiatrist, was being accompanied by Agent Ocasio.

"Too much," he muttered, staring at his scrubs. "I'm not cut out for this crap."

"I dunno, you were better than the last person they sent anyways. She couldn't keep up and was mauled by those freaks. The sample she had was burned on the spot." He shook his head. "Did you ever think to yourself why the Foundation was so insistent on retrieving a piece of mold?"

"No." The D-Class's response made Agent Ocasio chuckle. "Really though, I've given up trying to deal with the Foundation's decisions. You saw me run quicker when you ordered me around, right? I've been fucking indoctrinated man. All I can do is follow orders around. I don't even have my own identity anymore, so what's the fucking point of resisting?" His response caused Agent Ocasio to give him a strange look.

"Good answer… I suppose. Me personally, I've found it's easier to just follow orders and not question things any longer. Especially after that incident with the Sandy scip."

"What's that?"

"Sandy? Oh, just some scip that's terrified of light. Poor bastard has to deal with a lightshow once a week by some sick thing that bypasses containment. It's pretty benign, so I wouldn't be surprised you don't know about it."

"What incident are you talking about?"

"With every incident comes some heavy object shattering Sandy's stuff, which is a dick move in general. However, one particular lightshow resulted in something hitting its face. Must have hurt like a bitch, because the scip cried all day until lights out. Although the researchers claim they're trying to find a source for the light, I know for a damn fact they won't give two shits about Sandy until a human gets injured."

"That sounds… reasonable."

"If so, then you're as dumb as the rest of them." Snorting lightly, Agent Ocasio stood up. "I'll put in a good word for you, see if I can make you a janitor. Perhaps you can work your way up. It'd be a shame to lose our experience together to amnestics."

Before he could say anything, the psychiatrist called for him. Giving one last glance at the agent, the D-Class stepped in for his evaluation.

"Not like they work on me anyways…"

"Piece four is still growing? Didn't we irradiate the sample and rid it of all nutrients?"

"Evidently. Get me a larger case."

"Piece six's growth rate is identical with the others. Odds of the mold being photosynthetic are unlikely."

"Jesus christ, this thing is nearly four kilos. Corrosive agents aren't making a dent in it either. What's up with piece one?"

"Destroyed. Looks like the only way to contain this crap is to burn it. Guess the attendants weren't wrong to use naphtha on this shit."

"Hold on, sir, there's something going on with piece two. I think it's growing limbs."

"Is that a fucking monkey?"

Alarms blared, waking up D-59416. Noticing that the Site was on lockdown, he sighed before plopping back down. "Another week, another breach."

As he watched through the glass panel, he noticed several small figures enter his line of sight. All but one were on fire. The unharmed one could clearly be seen as a brown monkey. Although the ones on fire degraded fairly quickly, it gave a toothy grin as it smashed through the helmets of the guards as though they were clay. Seeing D-59416, it grinned once more before smashing a hole through the door locking him inside and pulling the door out cleanly. Ripping a piece of its hair out, it spat on the wad of hair and hurled it towards D-59416's direction, splattering against the wall behind him. With that, the entity smiled one last time before going off around the corner. Based on the sounds he heard, the D-Class assumed the thing got incinerated by any nearby guards.

Blinking, he turned around and looked at the hair, clumped together and ever so slightly enlarging. "Jesus," he muttered. "It's just like the mold."

Sighing, he grabbed the hair - or mold, he didn't know what it was at this point - and flung it into the fires outside, letting the stuff burn up.

"Hey, you coming?" asked one of his roommates, poking his head out of the broken door. "Looks like the eggheads haven't ordered more guards here yet. Let's get out of this mess."

"Piss off." Knowing that the Foundation guards would be here soon enough, he muttered something about stupid roommates and laid back while the others in his cell got up.

As his roommates walked out of their breached cell, he decided to turn over and go sleep. No matter how the words of Agent Ocasio stuck in his head, nor how his hand itched, he'd put it off until tomorrow.

"Fuck this, I don't want to know anymore."

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