End of an Era
rating: +28+x

August 9th, 2024

"What do you mean 'gone'?" Edgar Holman looked up from the report in front of him to lock eyes with a very tired looking agent who sat before him.

"I mean, for all intents and purposes, Three Portlands is gone, sir," Agent Damian Creed elaborated. "Vanished, erased, poof. Every Way we know of, we tested. None of them work. Our colleagues in the UIU have reported the same."

Holman took off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose.

"So, you're telling me a city of nearly 100,000 people just vanished?" he asked. "How is that even possible?"

"I don't know what you want me to say, sir!" Creed's voice rose with frustration. "But yeah. Not sure the how and the why, but yeah. That's what appears to have happened!"

"When did you notice?" Holman's voice remained calm as he continued to press questions.

"A little after midnight when Ross didn't report in from some undercover work Tau-51 had her doing in the city." Creed deflated. "It wasn't long after that the UIU began to report the stranded Portlanders piling up, and loss of contact to Thorne and the rest of their agents."

Holman nodded. Silence fell over the room. Eventually, the Director closed the file in front of him and slid it back to Creed.

"Talk to Assistant Director Merlo immediately," he said. "Pull anyone and everyone you need. Just get to the bottom of this. Something terrible has probably happened and those people may need our help, whether they like it or not. And, for the love of God, get someone to make some calls to the UIU to see what they need on our end."

"Yessir." Creed slid the file under his arm and promptly took his leave.

Holman waited several moments, then rolled over to the computer on the side of his desk. Without a moment of hesitation, a series of keystrokes took him a special chat command on the Foundation intranet.

Does the Black Moon Howl?

EHolman: Only through those twisted pines.

Upon entering his passphrase, Holman watched the screen, awaiting a response. Twenty minutes later, he got one.

O5-3: What's up, Ed?

EHolman: Three Portlands appears to have completely vanished. I am having MTFs deployed to look into it. Anything I should know from your end before proceeding?

O5-3: I know about as much as you at this point. The Council will be meeting about it shortly. Hang tight.

EHolman: Alright. Thank you for your time.

Holman sighed.

"Nothing like taking shots in the dark."

The Director proceeded to enter in another series of keystrokes. The screen briefly flickered, and the chat was gone.


March 6th, 1998

Holman placed the last of his knickknacks on the desk of his new office and looked around. After a few moments, he frowned.

"This is way too much space," he thought aloud.

He had had large offices in the past, but as of taking command of Site-64 earlier that week he now possessed the keys to a workspace equivalent to the Taj Mahal. Defeated by the sheer volume of empty beige walls, he slumped back into his chair with a sigh. Blankly, he stared ahead, wondering if a poster for the Portland Jazz festival would be classy.

"You have a visitor, Director."

The sound of his secretary's voice over his desk’s intercom shook him from his thoughts. He proceeded to brush himself off, clear his voice, and reply.

"Thank you. Please send them in."

A few moments later, a sharply dressed woman in a black pant-suit entered. Her brown hair was cut off at neck length, and a casual, confident smile adorned her lips. After allowing the door to close behind her, she looked around the room and nodded.

"I like what you've done with the place," she said.

"Uh, thanks?" Holman replied, watching as she took a seat in one of the chairs in front of his desk. "I don't believe we've met. You are?"

"Not in person, no," she chuckled. "I'm O5-3."

Holman blinked and remained silent.

"I see," he said, eventually finding the words. "Uh, so what do I owe the pleasure of this visit for? I didn't think we already had a problem."

"Oh, you don't," she said with a continued grin. "At least, not yet. I like to keep an eye on Site-64. Figured we should meet face to face now that you're at the helm."

"Why though?" Holman asked. "Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to have the chance to serve, but 64 is a bit of a backwater. What special interest could you possibly have here?"

O5-3's smile vanished, as a more solemn expression took its place.

"Imagine something for a moment, will you Ed?" she said. "It is alright if I call you Ed, yes?"

"Ed is fine," he replied.

"Picture Serbia, 1914," O5-3 went on. "The place is a powder keg. Everyone is looking for an excuse to kick in someone's teeth, and then Gavrilo Princip gives them that reason. Boom."

"The Assignation of Archduke Ferdinand and the start of World War I," Holman commented. "And, Portlands is… what? Our very own Powder Keg of Europe?

"Is it so hard to believe?" O5-3 shrugged. "GOC, UIU, the Hand, us, you got all the alliances vying for a slice of the pie. Do you really think there won't be some point where they won't all be irreparably pissed off at one another?"

Holman nodded, pausing as the gears whirled in his mind.

"You think Three Portlands will be ground zero for an occult war."

O5-3 gave a satisfied nod.

"My predecessor and I strongly believe that if an Eighth Occult War is to occur, it will be due to the delicate situation regarding Three Portlands," O5-3 explained. "My like-minded associates and I strive to make sure that won't happen. And now you're our MVP in that game."

Holman looked down at his desk and fell silent.

"It’s a lot to take in, I know," O5-3 sighed. "That's why it’s best to have this meeting in person."

Holman nodded in further silence.

"If Three Portlands is such a powder keg, why isn't there a closer eye on it?" Holman eventually asked. "You'd think you'd assemble a bomb squad when dealing with a bomb."

"Because this a very, very distant iceberg our ship is heading towards," O5-3 shrugged. "And my more present-minded colleagues don't have the capacity to worry about it. Still, there are others who would rather see the whole city wiped from existence and be done with it."

She scoffed at this latter notion.

"You don't need to Agent Orange the entire garden if you have a pragmatic gardener pulling the weeds."

"No pressure though, right?" Holman rubbed his temple.

"If my colleagues and I didn't think that you were capable of the job, someone else would be sitting in that chair, Ed," O5-3 said with a confident smile. "You'll do fine."

"Thanks for the confidence," he chuckled. "So, what. This whole visit was just a pep talk?"

"Nope," O5-3 replied, and stood up, sliding a small card to the young Site Director. "It was so I could give you a direct line to me, should you need one. When asked 'Does the Black Moon Howl?' your response is 'Only through the twisted pines.'"

Holman read the instructions on the card and nodded. He looked up to see O5-3 was already taking her leave.

"Godspeed, Ed," she said over her shoulder. "And maybe get a poster or two in here when you get a chance. It's… a little depressing."


August 12th, 2024

Edgar Holman let out a tired sigh as he sat within his office. He idly took a sip of coffee before checking the time on his watch. It was 11:15 PM and a mountain of paperwork was sitting in front of him on his desk.

Creed and the rest of MTF Tau-51 had yet to turn up anything particularly helpful in their investigation. Meanwhile, contacts within the Unusual Incidents Unit and the Global Occult Coalition appeared to be just as in the dark as he was. It was as if the entire city of Three Portlands had evaporated overnight. Worse still, O5-3 had yet to get back to him. Each time he attempted the command prompt, he was met only with his reflection on the dark screen.

EHolman: All leads are dead. MTFs currently dark in the field. UIU and GOC as stumped as us. If there is any insight on your part, it might behoove you to share it soon.

Holman weakly chuckled to himself under his breath as he read his last message to O5-3.

"Maybe the whole thing was a shared hallucination. That would be a fun SCP to read."

The phone then rang, derailing his train of thought. The exhausted Site Director half-heartedly picked up the receiver.

"Holman here," he answered.

"Ed, it's Three," the familiar voice of his superior fired back.

"Well hello there," Holman replied. "I was beginning to think you were ghost-"

"Ed, shut the fuck up and listen!" O5-3's hissing whisper cut Holman off. "They are coming for you tonight. I don't know how much longer you have. You need to leave 64 now. Lay low and don't trust any-"

The line then went dead. Holman gently placed the receiver down as the lights in the office followed suit, the bright fluorescent giving way to the dimness of the emergency bulbs. It was then that the security lock on Holman's office door engaged on its own.

Holman recovered the pistol he kept hidden in his desk drawer, checking to make sure the magazine was full before turning his chair away from the door. He then got out of it and quietly made his way to a corner of the room outside the immediate firing range of anyone coming through the entrance. The old man then held his breath and waited.

A few moments later, the door flew open with a hiss, assailants in black tactical gear opening fire into the office chair, only to find after it had been shot to pieces that Holman had moved.

Holman let out two short bursts. An assailant fell forward with a scream of pain. Another fell backward, clogging the door. Before Holman could squeeze the trigger once more, a bullet lodged itself in his gut. The old Site Director stumbled backward. He leaned on the wall before finally sliding to the floor. A small trail of blood marking his path down its surface.

"Before any of you pull the final trigger, you should know this won't end with me," Holman managed to get out. "There are others. There are alwa-"

BANG

Holman finished his slide to the floor, his old weary frame lying upon the linoleum in a heap.


April 17th, 2007

Edgar Holman smiled as he sipped his coffee and watched his daughter on the playground. While it was a bit chilly out, it hadn't rained particularly hard that day, and the two had the Washington Park playground all to themselves.

"Watch this, dad!" Linda Holman shouted as she hung upside down on the monkey bars.

"I see," Holman replied with a chuckle. "Very impressive sweetie."

A familiar woman in a black windbreaker sat down on the bench beside him.

"Cute kid," O5-3 commented, taking a sip from her own coffee.

"How the hell did you find me here?" Holman asked. His eyes remained on his daughter, who was now heading towards the slide.

"Being on the O5 Council has its perks," O5-3 replied.

"Like stalking your Site Directors?" Holman sighed.

"Among other things." O5-3 gave a sheepish grin. "I saw the AAR on the Seattle paratech raid. This Anderson guy, you think he has more like 1360?"

"We've formed a task force to find out," Holman answered. "Not a whole lot yet, but we've established that they're based out of the Pacific Northwest at least. I'm guessing they're probably connected to Three Portlands, but it will be a bit of time before we'll be able to confirm that."

"Dad, check this out!" Linda shouted. She proceeded to run up the slide, slipping as she got to the top and sliding all the way back down. Holman chuckled once more.

"Very cool, sweetie," he cheered. "Most impressive."

Holman then returned his attention to O5-3.

"Whoever this Anderson guy is," he went on, "if it turns out he's operating in Three Portlands there isn't going to be a way for us to stop his gadgets from getting through. Too many gates and we don't have nearly enough watchmen."

O5-3 nodded.

"Then we just have to hope he's not based in Three Portlands, don't we."

"Easy for you to say," Holman scoffed. "We'll do our best. But if there is anything on your part that can be done, we'd appreciate the hand."

O5-3 smiled, then stood to take her leave. Before departing she patted Holman on the shoulder.

"I'll see what I can do, Ed."


August 14th, 2024

=SCP Foundation=

Overwatch HQ

Office of the Overseer Council


To the staff of Site-64,

Without a doubt, the assassination of Director Edgar Holman is a tragedy. A kind and pragmatic man, Director Holman's absence from the halls of his beloved site will surely be felt for years to come. While an investigation is ongoing, what has been made clear by this point is that this was a team of Chaos Insurgency operatives. The motivation and ultimate goals of their actions remain unclear.

Needless to say, the safety of the world does not wait for any one person. In the same spirit in which Director Holman conducted himself, we must carry on. To let us be crippled by fear in the wake of this terrible event is to let the Insurgency win.

The Council has appointed Dr. Angela Moretti to act as Site-64's interim site director until such a point in time that an appropriate replacement for Director Holman can assume the office. Additional counseling staff has been made available on-site should any members of staff feel the need to seek them. Together we will see ourselves through these trying times.

O5 Council


Secure. Contain. Protect.


November 20th, 2018

"This is Holman," the Site Director answered his office phone. Before him, several after-action reports from a series of recent operations within Three Portlands were spread out across his desk awaiting his review and approval before their final submission to RAISA.

"What the fuck were you thinking, Ed?" O5-3's voice came across the line. "MTF operations in Three Portlands? Are you fucking kidding me?"

"Nice to hear from you too, sir," he replied. "And yes. I approved MTF Gamma-13's operations within Three Portlands to apprehend Vincent Anderson. Wouldn't you know it, we succeeded. GoI-1115 is now without its leadership."

"Yeah, but here is the thing, Ed," O5-3 yelled. "This is the kind of bullshit I expect you to keep me in the loop on!"

"We had a very sensitive timetable," Holman said flatly. "I sent this to the needed channels and when we got approval, had my teams act. You always said you wanted someone pragmatic at the helm with respect to Three Portlands. What's more pragmatic when dealing with a problem than removing the source of the problem?"

"But what if your mission hadn't succeeded, Ed?" O5-3 shot back. "What if Merlo got apprehended by the UIU? What if civilians had been killed? Do you have any idea what kind of repercussions we could have had if this thing went belly up? Do you have any idea what kind of repercussions we'll have now? You've shown the rest of the O5 Council we can successfully operate in Three Portlands covertly! Are you prepared to deal with that rabbit hole?"

Holman paused, then cleared his throat.

"With all due respect, sir," he began, "I think we'll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it. I will continue to stand by my actions and that of Agent Merlo, Agent Navarro, and the rest of Gamma-13. Whether you will or not is up to you. Expect the after-action report shortly."

The line went silent. After several moments, O5-3 tsked.

"You cast your bread upon the waters, Ed," she said. "You better pray it doesn't come back tenfold."


August 16th, 2024

Assistant Director of Task Forces Sasha Merlo watched her computer screen in her dimly lit office. A security archive video played on a short loop. In it, Holman sat in his office and answered the phone. The screen would cut out to black for 10 minutes and return to the image of her former boss and friend crumpled on the ground in a pool of his own blood, the furniture shot to splinters. The same effect occurred in all other camera feeds that could have picked up on the incident.

"That's just so fucking convenient, isn't it," she mumbled to herself. She then looked at her phone and frowned. "Come on Creed. Where the hell did you guys go?"

The last four days had been an absolute circus. It was a trying enough time whenever one of the Assistant Site Directors needed to be replaced. Now, however, Merlo and her colleagues each were taking turns essentially training their boss on the lay of the land. To be fair, Dr. Angela Moretti seemed competent enough. Still, the O5 Council's rush to replace Holman with her, rather than promote one of the ASDs, would have been suspicious even without the sudden "Chaos Insurgency Assassination."

She turned her attention to the clock on the wall, and then to her coffee mug. The former read 8:35 PM. The latter was empty. With a sigh, she stood, mug in hand, and made her way to the hallway. A pair of guards were posted outside.

"Another coffee run, ma'am?" one of them asked.

"I'm afraid so," Merlo replied with a tired, sheepish grin. "Shall we then?"

The guards nodded, and the three took off, returning to the office fifteen minutes later with a refilled mug of cafeteria sludge in hand. Merlo gave her escorts a polite nod as they resumed their post outside her door. She then made her way back to her desk.

Merlo frowned as she looked at the screen. A text prompt had opened in her absence.

We know Holman confided in you frequently. Perhaps it would be beneficial if you laid low, and remained collaborative.

The printer on the other side of the room sprung to life, printing off a single piece of paper before powering itself down. Merlo blinked and remained seated for several moments. She then got up and approached the printout slowly, gingerly holding it in her hands as she read the message on its surface.

Hey Sasha,

If you're reading this, I'm afraid I must have gotten very unlucky. Even the Foundation's accountants aren't safe from the dangers of our line of work, it seems.

I want you to know that Jessie and I are so proud of you. Watching you rise through the ranks over these years was a real thrilling ride, and I'm glad I was there for it. In your own way, you made the world a safer place for people like me and our daughter, and there is so much to admire in that.

Over the years you always said I was your rock. The source of stability when the world was falling down around you. I'm glad I could bring you some comfort in your times of strife. But let's be honest, Sasha, even during those times nothing could hold you back. You're the strongest person I ever met, and I know you'll carry on as determined as ever.

I love you, Sasha. Never let anything hold you back.

P.S. since I won't be able to make it for you anymore, I've included that Pad Thai recipe you loved so much.

Merlo froze for several moments, gripping the paper tightly in her hands before sprinting to her phone and rapidly slamming in a number.

"Come on, come on," she said to herself as it rang. "Gabe, please…"

"Hello?"

Sasha let out a sigh of relief as her husband's voice came through on the other side.

"Hey Gabe," she chuckled. "I just wanted to say that it's going to be another late night for me. I'll be home soon though."

"Sounds good, sweetie," Gabe replied. "Everything alright?"

"Yeah," she replied. "Yeah, just had a small scare earlier. Everything is fine, though."

"Gotcha. See you soon then."

"See you soon."

Merlo looked at her computer screen. The text prompt was gone. She then looked down at the paper still tightly gripped in her hand.

It was blank.


May 31st, 2024

Director Holman entered his office with a sigh.

Earlier that week, the SCP Foundation in partnership with the UIU managed to finally topple Vincent Anderson and his company. The excitement had proven short-lived, however, as in the process of doing so they had triggered a dead man’s switch which resulted in a massive and potentially irreversible release of information regarding Anderson's paratechnology to the general public. Since then it had been meeting after meeting and hearing after hearing. Fingers were pointed. People were wholesale tossed under a fleet of buses. And there was Edgar Holman at the center of it.

Weary, he turned toward his desk only to find a familiar face was already sitting in a chair in front of it.

"Good evening," Holman mumbled. Without another word, he proceeded towards his chair.

"Good evening, Ed," O5-3 replied.

The O5 Councilor had, at some point over the decades, taken to wearing a set of thin-rimmed glasses. Much like the salt moving in on the pepper that was Holman's own hair, highlights of gray streaked through her brown locks. Her usually casual and confident smile had been replaced with a frown of exhaustion.

"I take it the last few days have been fun for you as well?" Holman eventually asked.

"Always a good time when you have to rewrite consensus normalcy," O5-3 said. "You should give it a try next time you're free."

"Is this the part you tell me I'm fired?"

O5-3 shook her head.

"No," she sighed. "Heads will roll, but for the time being, you're safe. If anyone is on the chopping block, it's going to be Merlo."

"They will have to go through me first," Holman retorted.

"I told them as much myself." O5-3 chuckled half-heartedly. "Which brings me to the point of this meeting. You're likely going to need to retire in the near future, Ed."

Holman paused. After a few moments of silence, he replied with a nod.

"As in sipping cocktails on a tropical island, or a body bag?" he asked.

"It remains to be seen. Hopefully the former."

Holman nodded once more, and another silence took the room.

"For what it's worth," Holman eventually continued, "everything I did, all the decisions I made, was for what I saw as the benefit of my staff, the people of Three Portlands, and on a grander scale, humanity as a whole. In the end, that's really all the O5 Council could ask of me. That's all you ever asked of me."

O5-3's lips curled into a small smile.

"I know, Ed," she said. "You don't have to convince me of that. I wish I could say the same for my peers."

"Who will take my place when I'm gone?" Holman asked.

"Well, that's why I'm giving you such a head start," O5-3 replied. "I would strongly suggest you start working on a shortlist."


August 16th, 2024

With all the power of several elite mobile task forces at her disposal, Assistant Director Merlo found being bound by speed limits and traffic laws when in a rush to get home to be a rather frustrating development. Still, within 45 minutes she was putting her key into the lock and opening the door.

"Gabe?" She called as passed the threshold.

"Hey there." a wiry man with glasses and stubble poked his head out of the kitchen. "You got here really qui-"

She immediately crossed the room and wrapped him in a tight hug. She felt him tighten his arms around her in exchange. The two remain embraced in silence for several moments.

"Long day?" He asked.

"You could say that," she replied. "Has anyone unfamiliar been by your office at 64 recently, or here for that matter?"

"Well, uh," Gabe chuckled. "It's funny you should mention that. We have a guest, dear."

"Who?"

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you. She's at the kitchen table. You should probably speak to her."

Merlo released her husband and peered into the next room. There, a sharply dressed woman in a black pant-suit sat. Her brown hair was streaked with gray, and she wore a pair of thin-rimmed glasses. She gave Merlo a tired, but friendly, smile.

"You have a lovely family, Sasha," the stranger said. "I'm O5-3. Please take a seat. We have… a lot to discuss."


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