Falling Into Stars
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1

The first few decades after becoming SCP-963 Jack Bright almost felt funny occasionally.

He had worked with many people, those were the geniuses, freaks, psychopaths, or whatever they were, screened from the world, buried with their names. But Bright had to admit unwillingly, though his coworkers were the last creatures one can think of at the mention of "colleagues", he, even so, did not hate the days shared with them. In most cases, at least.

Surely, what happened after that weren't so funny. They faded slowly, those he had known well. They became silent, then gradually fell out of sight, decaying. Clef, hidden; Kondraki, missing, rumours had it that Gears killed him, who could hardly find himself among gears since the death of Iceberg; Kain, abandoned in a laboratory; Glass, motionless…Only Bright remained Bright, independent of and safe from time. "Immortality" has shown its power on both the body and the mind, nothing could possibly pollute Bright ——

Sorry, an amendment here.

After Bright got polluted by 963, nothing could possibly pollute 963.

So mobile of the Foundation's personnel, those old friends' faces whom he had known were already blurred behind memories. It was found hard to remember times, nor names of those around him, both meaningless to him.


Upon receiving Alto Clef's mail, Bright was, in fact, quite surprised.

It has been a long, long time since their last gather. In Bright's imaginations, Clef was still the enigmatic, vigorous and horrifying executioner. Yet now before his eyes is only an old man with grey hair, hunchbacked throughout the years of storms and thunder. Only judging by the figure, it's hard to recognise that this is the Clef.

"I didn't know the Satan on Earth himself would get old," Bright stood to his side.

Clef laughed and coughed as though it was something amusing. Sparks of blood sprayed through the air.

Bright didn't raise a single eyebrow to this. "Allo, Alto," he greeted, with his hand sliding smoothly into his pocket, grabbing hold of the exquisite handle of a gun.

From the first sight of Clef's appearance, Bright knew he was here to kill him.

"Long time no see, Jack," Clef said. “Really sorry to see you still not broken free from 963."

"So you decided to come here yourself to terminate this last regret, yeah?" Bright continued dexterously.

"We've talked about this," Clef gazed at him, the same old familiar sharp stare under the edge of the hat, "you are the most unstable factor affecting the Foundation's future."

"Just because I'm immortal?"

"Particularly because you're immortal. You'll become the most profound affecting member within the Foundation, and one day mutate into inhuman in eternal time. For this sole reason, killing you is one last thing I have to do. I'm sorry, old friend."

"No more words we can have then," Bright said, pulling his right hand out of his pocket.

……

"What I really want, is a peaceful death," calmly putting away his gun, Bright told Clef, who was still coughing out blood, "not being locked into 963 facing the borderless void. You can't kill me, Alto."

He left in a light pace, never turning back.


2

Later, in a few certain moments in his eternal life, he still recalls where it all started.

It was before Bright received his Doctor's Degree. For easier identification, we shall call him Jack.

It was when Evelyn Bright was still a woman of normal human appearance.

Jack's mother was often not home for months and years just like his father, such that after decades he can only recall a beautiful yet blurry image. No matter how it had been, "mother" still had a great appeal, so in the afternoon when Evelyn went out with Jack, TJ followed up in resent.

Woman held hands with her sons one on each side, walking on the grey town streets. The elder one was at unease for a while before finally shaking loose of her hand and following aside silently. He was already a sensitive young man, but mother had seemed to be still taking him as a kid.

Suddenly losing the temperature on one side, Evelyn hugged TJ closer without a second thought; the red-brown curly haired boy looked up, then curled up his body obediently, gently leaning into her arms.

Jack watched like a stranger. In the beginning he was the one to be taken out, yet TJ got the majority of attention unwittingly —— for sure, as mothers will always lean their love towards the younger children. And Jack Bright, being the second son in the family, had been living under the sights of not many requirements nor expectations, growing up freely before anyone had noticed him just like inconspicuous wild grass.

Evelyn didn't take the brothers too far away, the visible bulge of her abdomen made her incapable of standing for too long. The people stopped at a food stall at the corner of the street, the woman hesitated for a second, and ordered a waffle each for the two kids out of the few options.

Early summer sunlight made the skin behind Jack's neck a bit pricking. TJ couldn't hold back the nature of a child, biting the snack freshly out of the machine, wandering aside without further much to do.

But Jack stood straightening his back unnoticeably. With the self-proclaimed matureness, he stood beside his mother motionlessly, together staring at his share slowly showing brown color on the waffle iron.

In the long silent waiting, Evelyn's voice was like a rustling breeze. Like a soft sigh, blown apart within the true wind.

"Mikell told me you wanted to apply for a biological profession?"

His mother asked.

"Mmm."

"Have you already…made up your mind?"

Jack raised his head, the thick mist of worry within his mother's emerald eyes had covered him. He didn't understand where the emotion came from, so he answered carefully, "Yes. Is there any problem with biological profession?"

"…Nothing." Evelyn raised her hand, seemingly wanted to rub his head, but in the end turned to rest on his shoulder. "I just didn't think of you going to university like this. James, so fast."

"I skipped two grades," he reminded.

"I know, your father has mentioned before," she leaned her head to one side and examined him for a while, before finally making a smile. "In before I wanted to talk this through with you, but since you've decided your path……then go follow your will."

Many years later, Jack Bright still recalls that day of the summer. Dust floated and was stuck to the wind, which carried the first moist breath before the rainy season came. The sky was clear and wide, the look on woman's face was soothed and relaxed.

And in the week after that, the youngest kid of Bright's family, his sister Sarah, was "born".

Since then he had never seen the kind of smile on his mother's face anymore.


Dr. Bright's memories about father would be even paler. Adam was already at a high position when he entered the Foundation, and bloodline means risk in hidden eyes, hence contact was made even more difficult.

Therefore Bright chose to occasionally visit Site-45 located under the Western Australian seas, and to stand for a while outside SCP-321's observation room. He knew Adam had set his footsteps here, and so did Mikell. His father and brother's body temperature seemed to endure on the ice-cold metallic floor.

This activity of him had continued for long. Until O5-12 had retired, and O5-6 hast aged, he was still wearing a stolen shell and stayed young.

It should have been a normal day when he received the mass email. The undying doctor walked along the Site-17 corridors, humming to himself, unusually having a nice mood, and the ruby amulet rocked periodically under the cover of the uniform.

He had just switched to this new body for no longer than a few days, and not many people in the site recognize him. It's good this way, no one can discover Bright's good mood.

Though……along his way he couldn't bump into too many people. Most researchers were working overtime, possibly crossing their fingers and murmuring in their breaks, praying that the contained and the GOIs would behave themselves, at least leaving them with a calm and still Independence Day holiday.

Bright was amused by his own imaginations.

For a job busy saving the world (and creating more chaos) there shouldn't be any holidays, but for personnel of lower clearances perhaps an exception could be made —— not to mention it was the Independence Day only once a year.

He wandered past the lounge with SCP-294 inside, planning to order a cup of whatever liquid for himself. At the very moment, he heard a notification from his phone. It was a mail.

"A Notice Concerning the Containment Breach and Presumption of Lost of SCP-321: ……"

After that Dr. Bright went for Sector 7. Ignoring the proper procedures, he forced his way into SCP-590's containment chamber with his clearance card.

The boy sitting on the ground fidgeting his clothes heard the sound, and raised his head with hesitation: still the reddish-brown, shoulder-length curly hair, still the feelingless, emotionless face, even the freckles on the nose are exactly the same as in memory.

The man in white coat stared into each others' eyes with the boy that had once been called "his younger brother", just as years ago.

"Still the same old look of you, 590," Bright said, standing without a proper pose, leaning on the wall. "Why don't we make a bet on who can live longer?”

The wind from a century ago howled past carrying the past, blowing through every single corner in the bodies.

He blinked, "And for sure, I'm gonna win."


3

Unknown date, Earth.

When Dr. Quartz walked into the Psychology Exam Room with files and folders in hand, he could never guess there were two Brights inside.

No, actually he should have expected it. But like all the ones who had just started to work aside Dr. Bright, Quartz hadn't fully gotten used to his everchanging host quality and quantity.

Within the two Brights, the brown-haired one saw Quartz first. He raised his hand and greeted, "Hey, little doctor."

The other red-haired Bright also turned his head upon hearing this, the chain of 963 on his neck swayed with his action; in his hands was a pure mechanical gun, the model so ancient it should have been better off in a museum.

"Afternoon, Dr. Bright…" with much hesitation, in the end Quartz didn't pronounce the 's' sound that was already on his lips. He sat down behind the office desk on the other side where Bright was, laying flat the thin electronic monitor. "Please call me Dr. Quartz, thank you. Though it hasn't been long since I joined the Foundation, I'm already the best psychologist you can find on Earth. Now may the routine psychological evaluation begin?"

"Oh, actually I've had this question in mind for a bit of time," The Bright without 963 spread his arms and legs lazily on the visitors' couch, "In these kinds of years, not to mention recruiting of newbies and replenishing of Class Ds, even containment breaches almost couldn't make it once a year. So why is it that only my psychological evaluation would still be counting in months?"

Quartz got all tensed up for a moment. "Sorry, I don't know. The order came from the person originally handling your evaluations in the beginning, pulling up your early files you can still see his notes…when it hasn't been abolished I can only take it literally. So," he carefully let out the first sentence according to the standard procedures, "how are you feeling this month?"

"The exact same boredom." One of the Brights said, with that ancient weapon cycling around his thin and long fingers, "Being sent to the kind of desolated place like Earth Branch, you must have completely pissed off your boss, which is definitely because of your overly seriousness. Where did you graduate? Saturn? Jupiter?"

"……Mars." Quartz decided to brush off the former half of comments about him. "Which is not the point, please let me ——"

"Earth Branch would be very suitable for newbies like you, you can get past your whole nightmare-fuel newbieness safe and sound. It wouldn't take half a year before you're bored to death and rather be on Mars feeding 682 ——"

"Ehh……let's talk about you, Doctor," Quartz interrupted again. "How are you recently?"

"Alright, if you must ask," the red-haired Bright said.

He lowered his eyebrows, pulling up a slightly bizarre smile, seemingly staring into the distance; the moment he spoke again, a slender stillness descended lightly from above.

"I'm listening to a boundless rain."

Quartz stopped tapping the table with his fingers, and raised his head.

Judging from the looks of Bright, he knew that he almost had the words "auditory hallucination" written on his face, as in no time Bright chuckled, "Stop it with your professionalism, doc. I know my mental states well."

Ignoring the doubtful looks of the psychologist, he spoke on, "Have you ever heard the sounds of rain like that? They fall to the ground just like a snow-white flock of birds falling into the jungle, splashing up large fluffs of feathers, surging like the wild ocean, flowing away with you into the distance."

"……There were no rainfall where I grew up," even with clear understanding of that the person opposites him is talking nonsense, Quartz couldn't help but join the conversation.

"Ah, right, you youngsters who grew up in space cities wouldn't ever experience weather," Bright added, swinging his fingers leisurely.

"I've witnessed twice when the environment on Earth was on the edge of breaking down. One of which was rain like this, not heavy, but densely continued for three months. It was like the Pacific Ocean was flipped upside down above most of humanity. At the time we were so familiar with the ever gray-black sky, we thought there were something wrong when the sun finally shone."

The young doctor was attracted by this piece of old Earth history, and asked, "the second time would be before the Great Colonization?"

"Right, it was when the surface condition was so bad, humanity had a foot into the door of a fourth world war. If it became true it would be all over for everyone, the Foundation even considered Yellowstone, but it wouldn't actually make a difference——"

"I hope they wouldn't abolish the number," the other Bright interrupted.

"——Anyways, " the former one raised his volume, taking out Quartz's face filled with confusion, "controlled nuclear fusion technology became established and really usable at that particular point. Fleets of spaceships set out at a frequency that is unbelievable in times of chemical power. People went from amazement to being used to it only in three months. After that, there came the First Space Colonization …… you may go read the history books."

He suddenly stopped his speech.

And only then did Quartz pull himself away. "But what does this have to——" he protested.

"But what does this have to do with your job?" Bright smiled, "we're getting there."

"The earliest to have been in charge of my psychological evaluation, he asked me to go to his office every month," he held his head with an arm as the support, the other hand fidgeting the scratchless surface of SCP-963. "To my mind, at first he wanted to ensure that I don't randomly go crazy, and later not to let me die so randomly and easily."

"I was afraid of his dedicated and neverending questions, so I would have to draft a bunch of words to say, and make my best efforts to pretend to be a normal person during the evaluation."

"Now I would have much stories to tell, but the bone ashes that belongs to him would probably be cycled a few dozens of times as plant nutrients."

Quartz looked at him in a daze.

"I'm different from any subjects that you have ever evaluated, my dear psychologist, do you understand?" Bright picked up the amulet's chains with a finger, the ruby refracted magnificent lights. "This jewelry of diameter less than ten centimeters, it is crowded with countless souls within two millennials; this might be the piece of space with the highest human density in history, and I still feel lonely."

"Therefore, you see," he jumped from the couch, opening his arms wide, suddenly putting on a bright and savage smile, which made him look like a certain Cheshire Cat a few centuries ago more than himself, "human is bound to live in loneliness and die in loneliness."

The young doctor looked up at him, seemingly wanting to say something, but in the end only giving a plain remark:

"……A breathtaking conclusion."

The other Bright had been silent for a while, and only answering now, "Tell the O5s, they can now get rid of me. I've been mad, I've been awake, now I'm tired."

He took the gun he was fidgeting for a long time, put it against his head, and pulled the trigger without any hesitation. The motion was natural and smooth, all in one go.

Before Quartz could have stopped it, with a loud blast, man's body had already fallen to the ground lightly.

He stared at the reddish white fluid and small fractions of bones for a while, finally turning to the remaining one, "Doctor Bright, next time committing suicide can you please switch for another place, just don't be in the Psychological Exam Room, okay?"

Bright shrugged, "Sorry."


4

Item #: SCP-963

Object class: Euclid Safe

Special Containment Procedures: SCP-963-1 is to be given into the care of a current D level operative, as well as personnel classified as Dr. Bright's assistant.

SCP-963-1 is to be contained within a standard small secure safe. Unless under the approval of three O5 personnel, subject is forbidden to be in contact with any organism, further experiments are also forbidden. Any personnel who violates this order will be executed.

Such standard safe is currently stored at

Site-ET-01

Pluto Area-42

PioneerIV Area-03

55 Cancri F Storage Site-E

Colonized planet with stable geological activity.


5

Unknown time, unknown location.

At first, was the return of consciousness, the heavy ego rose gradually in the drag of the mire, then sensitivity melted and wakened, until everything was once more endued their purposes. The first concept was as such: What is "think"?

Bright opened his eyes in vigour.

There's something wrong with the first visual signal that the brain had received.

He studied the vision before him in confusion. He seemed to be "seeing" two scenes simultaneously, which aligned together side by side harmoniously in his vision centre, one was a floor of gray boxed, extending indefinitely into the distance, the other one complete whiteness.

He tried to lower his head to look for 963, yet the action also failed, and caused him to dumbly and ridiculously rotated a full circle in the same position.

…Wait.

Dr. Bright, rich in past settling experiences, had a bad feeling.

He wiggled his tail, and moved his fins, and finally let the clear water flow through his gills.

Hmm, alright, he tried to think, extracting enjoyment from the worst, I've used much primate bodies for certain, but this is the first time for me to become a fish.

The white side lit up, and until then Bright realized that this is actually a giant monitor. Characters start to appear on the monitor, it was English.

Hello.

The sentence directly projected into his mind at the same time, as though there was a field that touched his brain waves gently. This had made conveniences for fish, after all even if he opens the mouth he can only spurt out a bunch of bubbles.

He "thought" back with all his concentration. Who are you?

For easier understanding, you may call me Machine.

………Humanity has gone extinct?

I am humanity, Machine answered. I am us, and I am also them.

Bright's memories and mind started to revive on this weak organism, and he only spent a moment to find out the biggest possibility.

So humanity has finally taken the life form of pure consciousness?

Yes.

You mentioned that "you are you", in other words a collective of consciousnesses?

You are smart, Machine commended. Despite using ancient human language, your processing speed of mind has still amazed me.

Thank you, I've had worked for a long time for the SCP Foundation.

What Foundation?

……

Bright wanted to laugh for a bit, but fish does not have the expression of laughter. Neither does fish weep, for it lives underwater.

Sorry, my/our/their memory units did not have this term defined. After all, by a chronological method that you can comprehend, now it is already——

Please refrain from telling me. Bright interrupted.

He went through his own thoughts again, and the Machine considerately stopped the conversation. He didn't know and didn't care how it achieved all these, as those of the future had went on this technological pathway, their development on neuralscience would definitely be at the peak of perfection.

There seemed to be no carbon-based organisms here.

Yes. The overall planet reformation project has lasted for seven hundred time particles, and all the matter were concentrated to supply energy for me. You were discovered in the last batch of prehistoric materials.

Can I transfer to a silicon-based organism?

No. To settle your consciousness, I purposely rebuilt a body of elementary vertebrae.

I didn't know fish was "human-like organism". To strengthen the brain of a fish to withstand the brain waves of human, not a low difficulty.

I/us/them are omnipotent.

Then can you release me from this amulet, or entity called SCP-963 in the past?

……

Hmmm.

We make use of laws, and you are outside laws.

I have understood.

What other wishes do you have?

Well, now that there are no more life forms that I can settle in, please eject this amulet out into the galaxies in Third Cosmic Velocity. Perhaps I can borrow some alien's body for use, hahah.

No need to be so troublesome.

Oh?

I will rebuild your body for you.

Machine has kept its promises. It adjusted the workshop that only produced a fish, and started to make something bigger and much more complicated —— a human.

The enormous white screen was kept for entertainment of the bored one stuck in water. Bright kept his fish eyes opened, when one eye is tired, he can flip sides and use the other one.

Gradually he read about the history of this world. Mankind expanded continuously out into half a galaxy, but there would always be a small portion of people tired of the neverending exploration, and turned to finding a place of settlement. He had also tried to comprehend this world's culture, but politics are disintegrated, morality is unrealistic, literature is inharmonious, music is unpronounceable, and life is a corny joke. Only entertainment is spectacular, unrestrained and unprecedented, enough for losing yourself in it, dreaming forever.

He joked about it with Machine. Would a virtual reality count as a reality? It's hard to believe humanity would take the values, I felt like as if we're not the same species anymore.

We were never the same species. Machine answered calmly. You don't understand, as a whole, the life or death of each individual part does not matter anymore.

Indeed, fish does not understand. He thought, humanity has dashed all the way in the race for survival, for it freaks like SCP Foundation had born, but this kind of descendant would also be cultivated. How ridiculous of Kronos, among all the life forms from the past to the present, he was chosen to witness the future.


Repossessing a body felt unfamiliar. Bright stared into the green eyes of the one in the mirror, still somewhat stunned.

It was made according to the earliest memories in your deep consciousness, Machine explained. We can only dig this deep, it might look not that much of alike.

"It's good enough," he shrugged.

What do you plan on doing next?

"Coming this far, what about giving me an interstellar spaceship?"


While Machine recreates the aerospace industry with a magnificent product line , Bright became a completely idled personnel, hanging around everywhere everyday in this metallic world. The atmosphere of the planet is thin, and the composition much different from on Earth. When the particle flows from deep within space impacts the surface of the planet, it forms a truly splendid scenery.

In the wind there were deep, soft electromagnetic waves, seemingly something enormous has shot through the night sky, rustling.

Some day he lied on the ground, looking at the stars, just as always. A voice lightly pushed him in his brain. Compared to the previous, this consciousness is softer, with warmth which is different from Machine, which made Bright a bit surprised.

We still have the difference in sex, the voice explained in chatterings. You are now talking to 4.2% of the total population, most of whom are females.

There's something you should know. We have found that your amulet still holds onto all the consciousness that have been wiped away. Though only in pieces, they have always been with you.

You have brought the museum of humanity with you, child.

Heheh, don't be eager to argue. Speaking of time, you are the ancestor of all living human beings; but as a prehistoric being, suddenly finding yourself under the stars in the era of galaxies, would you not have ignited the hesitance and curiosity of a child?

Another wave of consciousness arises in resonance. Our branch has settled in this galaxy for too long, there's no turning back for us. But you, you can still find the way to set sail.

Go dive into the sea of stars, go find the rest of man kind, go explore the entirety of the universe, go look at the borderless scenery.

Oh child, our child, their soft voices resounded in his head, may starlight shine along your path forward.

……

The day has come when it's time to begin the journey.

One last question, Machine asked. What's your name?

"Is this utterly important?" Bright asked them back.

It decides the way you would stay on our records.

Bright thought for a while.

"At the time when I was still a human…they called me Jack Bright, Doctor or Human Resources Supervisor. In the records of the Foundation, I was SCP-963, 'Immortality' —— but I'm tired of immortality."

He slowly, thoughtfully said, "there was a number that has long been abolished, they called her 'Child of Man'. I believe, you could also call me…"

The man who was a human went silent for a moment.

Machine waited patiently.

"'Soul of Man'."

The ground beneath his feet tremored away. In almost less than a breath, the dark night sky surged, just like the millions of times he fell into the embrace of the amulet. Only this once, he didn't feel cold anymore.

Soul of Man falls into deep stars.

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