Looking Forward

Hecatoncheires
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April 29, 1992

Undisclosed location. Board Room.

Varga shut down the projector and looked out at the darkened board room. “To sum up: 5612 represents Watts’ obsession to discover the origins of 4612-A and the events that occurred in Eckhart House in 1779. His ultimate discovery led us to find the remains of a two-billion-year-old interstellar organic construct in Iraq. 5512 was an investigation by the UIU that uncovered a thaumaturgically active cult with connections with a species resembling 4612-A and involved in the genetic modification of its members.”

“What we have is a hostile force from outside our solar system with a significantly protracted history of interfering with human development. Said interference has been both technological and genetic. Such interference, and the threat of further action, is a significant threat to our organization and to normalcy.”

Varga looked around the room from her place behind a lectern. The room was still dark. When she had entered only the lectern and the name plates in front of each of the thirteen spaces around the table had been lit. Each was numbered 1 through 13, with no other information. She knew that even if the lights were turned on, she wouldn’t see any identifying details.

“Before we examine my proposal, are there any questions?”

A small light illuminated O5-12’s placard. “What progress has been made on the analysis of 4612-A’s genetic structure?” The voice was strangely atonal, revealing almost nothing about the speaker.

Varga stifled a sigh and tried to make eye contact with where she assumed 12’s eyes might be. “Well, I did seek approval for analysis of the organism’s genetic structure, but the request was not approved. Even if it had been, the program at Site-91 would need to be expanded to focus more on research alongside containment. What we do know is that the tissues of 4612-A are much denser than would be expected, causing the cadaver to be nearly immovable. Moreover, the material of the cadaver absorbs radiation through a process I do not yet understand. Given my preliminary examination of the cadaver, I theorize that this organism manipulated the same type of energy thaumaturgical rituals exhibit.”

O5-6’s placard lit up. “Why do you say that, Director Varga?”

“The crystalline structures embedded in the ‘hands’ of the cadaver emit residual thaumaturgical readings. Moreover, energy transmitted in close proximity to the cadaver is instantaneously transmitted to the crystalline structures and absorbed into the organism. This is even effective for thaumaturgical rituals done within a roughly 12-meter radius.”

O5-2’s placard lit up, “Are you sure that 4612-A is deceased, Iona?”

“Despite the lack of putrefaction, the significant physical trauma 4612-A underwent, and the evidence that a ritual was used that was meant to kill highly powerful, ‘god-like’ beings lends credence to my belief that the organism is dead. Additionally, based on forensic evidence, the cadaver has not moved in many decades. Moreover, the entity designated as 4612-B, which claimed to be the offspring of the organism, also stated that it was deceased.”

O5-1’s placard lit up, and a throat-clearing cough was heard from the other end of the table. “Alright, Director. I think our questions have been answered. What’s your proposal?”

Varga moved to the table and set out a pile of single sheet proposals, attached to a predicted budget. The pages moved of their own accord and were placed one by one in front of each O5’s nameplate. She knew this was more an aspect of the perception filter shielding the O5s from sight than some thaumaturgical trick.

1992-04-20

ProjectHeca

From the Desk of Iona Varga, PhD/MD

RE: Proposal for Project Hecatoncheires

In respect to the evidence presented before the Council on the three anomalies, I submit the following proposal for a joint task force and expansion of research capabilities at Site-91. If we are to fully understand the purpose of the various anomalies and their goals concerning our organization (which they are aware of) and the human race in general, then we must take proactive steps. The potential threat to the preservation of the Veil cannot be underestimated.

Details of the Proposal:
Combined Task Force made up members of three MTFs:

  • MTF-Beta-777 (“Hecate’s Spear”) - specializing in thaumaturgical ritual analysis and countermeasures; including thaumaturgical combat.
  • MTF-Tau-9 (“Bookworms”) - focuses on anomalies related to the Library, the Serpent's Hand, and 'magic'.
  • MTF-Omega-20 (“Thought Police”) - consists of two groups of operatives: the WOLFs (psychics) and the LANCEs (non-psychics), specializing in detainment of Persons-of-Interest.

Increase in Research Funds and Capabilities for Site-91:
For the purpose of research into countermeasures against Thaumaturgical rituals, specifically an attempt to develop techniques or mechanisms for grounding/cancellation of thaumaturgical effects.

Find and detain POI-8832:

  • Confirm identity
  • Discover any connection to 4612-A
  • Locate any members of Second Haptic Assembly (as described in SCP-5512)

Expansion of capabilities concerning the genetics lab at Site-91:

  • Perform full genetic analysis of the various forms of organic material retrieved from SCP-4612-A and found in connection with SCP-5512.
  • Additionally: Analyze genetic augmentation to Carmichael and cadavers found during investigation into SCP-5512, along with the chromosomal pairs added to POI-8832.



Iona Varga, MD/PhD
Site Director, Site-91


Attachments: Files for SCP-4612, SCP-5512, and SCP-5612.

O5-1 spoke again after the proposal was handed out: “Alright, Director. If you will excuse us to disc -”

O5-8 spoke up for the first time: “I’m sorry One, but I have one final question.”

“Excuse me, go ahead,” O5-1 said.

“Director Varga, just how much time will you need to get this project up and running, if approved?”

“That will depend entirely on the success of the research, but the expansion of MTF mobilization capability at Site-91 should only take a month.”

Again, the tone was entirely neutral, but Varga considered it a touch disapproving: “Alright, thank you.”

“If there are no more questions for Director Varga, we’ll have her clear the room and discuss her proposal. Director, thank you for the presentation. Expect a response from this body within the week.”

ProjectHeca

September 17, 1779

Underneath Eckhart House, Yorkshire England

Geoffrey Watts stood towards the back of the chamber in his heavy woolen robes. The black robes were suffocating, especially with the hood up. Despite the stone chamber being underground, it was stifling with so many people standing and sweating and watching Eckhart with the demonic corpse.

There were two dozen members of the Society of Yorkshire Thaumaturgy present in the chamber, including Geoffrey. "Gathered here so we can watch the venerable master gloat over his prize. First, he kills his demon, using our bloody efforts. Now he wants to carve it asunder and bathe in its hellish blood? Damn fool," Geoffrey thought.

Geoffrey was nearly twenty years old, making him the youngest member of the Society. His father’s connections had secured him a place in the group. Until the night before, he had been restless and bored at Society meetings. “Good Master Eckhart had surprises in store for us; yes, he did. An ancient ritual to kill gods, such that we might destroy that which holds back mankind’s progress. And here we see the results, a horrendous hell beast that reminds me of a slug.”

Eckhart was gesturing with a vicious-looking dagger and speaking in a language that he claimed was Aramaic. “He could be speaking gibberish or ancient Egyptian for all I know.” Eckhart took the dagger and sliced along the belly of the beast, from which wound blue blood splashed onto the stone floor and Eckhart’s robes. Eckhart slid his hand into the wound to the shocked gasps of the Society members present. “Good God, what madmen have I joined myself to?”

The other Society members joined Eckhart in his chant as he raised the blue-stained dagger above his head and the knife began glowing a dull red. Suddenly white light slashed into the room from overhead, partially collapsing a small area of the ceiling. Geoffrey fell backwards and began sliding himself away from the rubble and light until he was pressed against the far wall. The light dimmed and his vision adjusted to see a man in a navy-blue cloak over long coat, wearing a tricorn hat. The Society members all stared at the newcomer, shocked at the sudden intrusion. Geoffrey slid behind a stone pillar and peeked out to watch what would happen. His arms shook in the robes and his heart raced in his chest.

The man walked towards Eckhart and yelled “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” Eckhart dropped the knife and almost fell backwards in reaction to the bellow. The man’s eyes glowed bright blue as he spoke to Eckhart; Geoffrey could not clearly hear the words exchanged but only caught a word here or there. “This thing was his father? What madness?”

Then without warning, the man plunged a fist through Eckhart’s chest and then tore his body in half to a chorus of screams from the Society members. “What monstrous strength! This is surely a demon.”

Eckhart’s body started burning before it struck the floor and was engulfed in flames. Malcolm approached the figure, shaking, and spoke with him. “Courageous but foolish.”

Without warning Malcolm was on fire, without a logical reason for the flames, a horrible screeching tearing through Geoffrey’s ears. The man with the blue eyes turned from the burning, screaming figure to the rest of the Society and spoke louder: “Come, you apes, show me your miracles.”

The entrance to the vault erupted in flames, ruining Geoffrey’s hopes of escape as the cloaked figure approached the shaking Society members. Some held him off with thaumaturgy, but he seemed not to notice the assaults. One by one, sometimes two at a time he killed them, until none but Geoffrey still breathed. He shivered in a crouch behind the stone pillar, no longer trying to catch glimpse of the abattoir surrounding him. What felt like hours passed, but finally he looked around the pillar to see the man in the tricorn hat bowing before the body of the hell beast. Geoffrey's shallow, panicked breathing must have caught the man's attention, because he looked up. The man, his eyes no longer glowing, approached and stood over Geoffrey. His fists squeezed in leather gloves, the material creating little squeaking sounds in that quiet, bloody hall. Geoffrey could not help but stare into his deathly cool blue eyes, silently praying that he might live past this night.

Finally, the man relaxed his fists and walked away. The conflagration at the entrance receded in front of him and he spoke one last time, just loud enough that Geoffrey could hear the words: “Do better.” Then the man walked from the chamber and left Geoffrey shaking in the dark. After some time had passed, Geoffrey struggled to get up and headed towards the entrance, not bothering to see if his fellow Society members had breath in their lungs.

“Away. I must be away!”

At the entrance, he closed the blue door and activated the glyphs, watching as the door faded from sight. The roof of the manor was caved in, but the structure was not yet burning. Geoffrey found his mount in the stables and rode for his father’s home, to gather his things and leave York behind.

ProjectHeca

May 1, 1992

Central Archive, Historical Library. Office of Dr. Matsouka, Site-91. Eckhart House, Yorkshire, England.

Rebekah sipped at her coffee, while Dr. Matsouka cleared a chair for her to sit in. Thirty-six hours ago, a final psych exam had assessed her with mild PTSD and encouraged her to continue the therapy, releasing her to light duty. I've never been so on edge. Constantly trying to maintain my control. I’m not even “angry” just ready to lash out.

Rebekah watched as Matsouka continued to fumble around the office, mumbling to himself. I could still quit, take amnestics and go back to Tel Aviv. But who’s to say amnestics would solve the problem? Better to be around people who work in the anomalous, than go it on my own.

“I wanted this cleaned up when you came round, but I lost track of time,” Dr. Matsouka said. He indicated the cleared chair and sat down behind his desk.

“It’s fine, Doctor.”

“Please, call me Andros. I’m merely a doctor of history; it seems silly to claim the title.”

“Andros?”

“Ah, yes. My name is Andronicus, but for English speakers it tends to come off ringing of Homer or Shakespeare. So, I just go by Andros. Anyway, Director Varga said I was to catch you up on 5612, right?”

“Yeah. So, I’ve read the summary of 5612, but I was confused. How does a small town get thrown into a bay?”

Matsouka shook his head. “We don’t exactly know, other than our resident thaumaturgists being sure it was performed through magic. And ‘thrown into a bay’ isn’t quite correct. It's almost as if the entire town was picked up and carefully moved eight hundred meters west of its original position.”

“But it was moved fast enough to wreck several ships in its way, right?”

“We don’t know if it moved fast or not. Consider that several hundred thousand tons of material moving at a slow and steady pace would be devastating; easily destroying several ships, no matter how well made.”

“Touché. So, what work has been done since the initial discovery?”

“The anti-memetic field around the ruins makes it difficult, but we’ve had several extended archaeological digs. Mostly mundane objects were found, though anything from within the field degrades at a significantly lower rate. As far as we could tell at first, there were no survivors. But I recently found reference to the witch Watts mentioned in his journal dated after 1815, so it’s clear she survived.”

“Was she a part of what happened?”

“Honestly, I have no idea. I don’t think so. I believe it was this man mentioned towards the end of his journals. Have you read his journals? They also describe a terrible massacre and a humanoid entity mourning at a monster’s death bed; it’s quite fantastical.”

Rebekah shuddered. She knew the events of that massacre quite well; they were etched in her mind. This was the problem with psychometry, or at least it was for her. When she read things in an object or a person’s history, the images were hardwired into her brain. Usually, there was a layer of disconnect that helped her discount the emotional impact of the events she saw. But when she placed her hands in that giant slug’s body cavity, she had been taken over and used as a projector. She had never before projected the images she saw, and she hoped she never would again. Because every one of the deaths she witnessed that day would stay with her for the rest of her life.

“What’s wrong?” Matsouka asked.

“Have you reviewed the footage attached to 4612?”

Matsouka shook his head. “No, I haven’t. I’m not cleared for it, but I understand that the director thinks the two files are connected. 4612 is something to do with the containment cell below this facility, correct?”

“Yes, but if you’re not cleared for it, I can’t say more. Likely you'll have access to it soon. Let’s just say I am intimately acquainted with what Watts experienced that day.”

“Right, well that’s not really why you’re here, I assume. Did you have other questions about 5612?”

“How exactly did we discover 5612-B, the tubular structure? It honestly beggars belief, seeing as its half the world away from Watts’ last known location.” Rebekah felt twitchy and didn’t know why Director Varga wanted her to sit with Matsouka for this “briefing.”

“I basically did some image searches based on the drawing of the monastery. Watts did the discovery; we just followed his breadcrumbs and had the site thoroughly examined.”

“Tell me.”

“It’s over ten kilometers long, and hollow. It’s got biological ‘machines’ in it that we don’t understand. There’s a control room of sorts, and possibly engines at the rear?”

“Engines?” Rebekah almost spilled her coffee.

“Yeah, that’s what Astrophysics is telling me. They believe these structures represent machinery that perform the functions of an ‘Alcubierre drive’.”

“What the hell is that?”

Matsouka flipped open a legal pad and reviewed for a minute. “Ah here it is, the drive is a ‘theoretical engine allowing for the warping of real space to allow for faster-than-light travel.’ Apparently, it isn’t supposed to be possible.”

“Wait, like a spaceship?” Rebekah was paying attention now. “But it’s like a giant coral tube or whatever, right?”

“Right, it does resemble coral, but it seems to be some sort of vehicle.”

“Isn’t it underneath a fucking mountain?”

Matsouka laughed. “Yeah, it is. Which means it’s been here a long time.”

“And has something to do with the origin of what Watts was haunted by.”

Matsouka nodded.

“Exactly.”


Hecatoncheires
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