Quit the Questions and Take Your Money
rating: +13+x

It was time.

SCP-4579 opened his eyes and threw off his blankets. The voice was back again, whispering to him from the little metal tube in his brain. For the last three months, it had been his only guide in a turbulent world of white coats, prodding needles, and unanswered questions. Three weeks ago, it had ordered him to run. Even as he was shoved back into his cell, it never told him why.

Now it was back, telling him it was finally time to leave.

He took a moment to look around his cell, at the clinical whiteness of the walls and the dull glow of the cameras. He tore his gaze away and forced himself to focus on the plan. He'd fretted enough, there was no point anymore. The days of fear for having his paratech discovered or slipping up a lie were almost behind him.

The darkness was surprisingly peaceful. The normal din of the busy site had given away to silence, and he took a moment to appreciate the calm before the storm. He figured all the doctors were asleep, finally resting after a long day of work. They wouldn’t be for long. He clasped his hands together on his lap, wondering how long it'd take.

-o-

Silas Petterson took a deep draft from his coffee cup as he sat down in the slightly moth-eaten brown chair. The Site-17 break room was silent except for the clink of his cup on the table. He settled down the seat and savoured the brief reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the site.

"DANGER: UNAUTHORISED FACILITY INCURSION IN SECTOR NINETEEN. DANGER: KETER-CLASS CONTAINMENT BREACH IN HIGH SECURITY ZONE FOUR. DANGER: UNAUTHORISED FACILITY INCURSION — "

Petterson jumped up from his chair. The empty calm of the break room had been shattered in an instant, and he was hardly out the door when another guard barreled in from around the corner.

"You know what's going on?" Petterson asked as the man stopped to catch his breath.

"Everyone's down in Zone Four, dealing with the Keter."

"Then we cover this sector. You're Caron?"

"Starr. Caron died last week."

"Right."

The sound of footsteps echoed out through the open doorway, muffled somewhat by the still-blaring sirens. Peering out, Petterson caught sight of a foot slipping past a corner at the end of the hall.

"Well, we haven't got all day."

-o-

SCP-4579 sat on his bed, idly flicking a projection onto the floor as the sirens blared around him. He stared down at the floor, watching his duck appear and disappear. It was soothing, almost hypnotic.

Clang.

The door swung open. Standing in the doorway was a sight he knew too well — Dr. Amara Valenta, senior researcher. Behind her, he could see at least four other armed men staring down at him.

"You?" he asked once his eyes adjusted to the light flooding in from the hall.

"Don't waste time." she said coldly as SCP-4579 hurried over.

"You’re the contact?"

"Surprised?"

"To be honest, my money was on Kozel. The guy wouldn't stop twitching. You know, if you ever want out of this shadowy government business, you’ve got a career in acting—"

She shot him a pointed glare, and he quickly remembered the situation they were in.

"So uh, how many guards should we be looking out for?" he asked as they stepped through a security checkpoint.

"Most should be in the other wing to deal with the breach we staged, though there's bound to be a few here. We've got ten minutes to move you out before backup arrives." answered one of the masked gunmen.

"They better give me a bonus for this."

"Your pay was already discussed."

SCP-4579 shrugged. With the doctor in front of him and the guards behind him, the group made their way through the wing.

They were coming up on another security station when he felt a new set of eyes burn into his mind. He shut his eyes, trying to focus in on the observer. They were searching for something — no, not searching. Aiming.

"Guards, over th—"

Two shots rang out before he could finish. Scrambling backwards, he shot a projection of a wall in front of him. It flickered for a moment — solid in parts yet intangible in others — before he heard the man beside him unload a round down the hall.

Dropping the projection, he flicked his eyes up towards the ceiling. He never did like the sight of blood.

-o-


Petterson had just turned the corner of a hallway when he felt Starr tug on his sleeve. His gaze flickered to what Starr was looking at — a woman in that ubiquitous lab coat, several heavily armed men, and a figure he recognised as SCP-4579.

"Is that Dr. Valenta?" Starr whispered.

Petterson shoved him to the side, managing two pulls of the trigger before the bullets hit him. The first buried itself in his vest with a thud, while another tore through his leg. Beside him, Starr crumpled silently onto the floor.

Dropping onto his hands and knees, Petterson scrambled behind the corner. He could feel slick blood seeping through his clothes and coating his hands. In front of him, Starr lay in a puddle of pooling blood. His eyes stared up at the ceiling, glassy and vacant.

Even through the haze of blood and pain, the eyes unnerved him. They stared at Petterson, and Petterson stared back. Death was something he should've been used to at that point, but there was something about those eyes — even then he knew they'd haunt him.

A ragged breath tore through him as he slumped against the wall, his blood streaking red across the smooth tile. Through ringing ears, he heard the sound of footsteps fading away. The intruders were more focused on getting the skip out than killing him. It was a cold comfort.

He pulled out a radio from his pockets, raising it to his numb lips with shaking hands.

"Man down. They have 4579."

Black dots swam around his vision as the radio slipped out of his hands.

"We…" sputtered the radio, "we’ve got our hands full. You’re going to have to wait for the MTF."

It was too late for that, he thought. The metallic tang of blood filled his nostrils as he slid further down the wall, struggling just to keep his eyes open. He was almost glad when oblivion took him.

Once it was all over, the recovery team found one Silas Petterson still slumped against the wall, heart pounding weakly in his chest. Around his hospital bed, doctors gathered with their clipboards. He told them what he saw in those eyes. They told him how the masked men never made it out, as if that were any consolation.

But the eyes never left. He could see them in his nightmares, in the sockets of the D-Class strolling down the halls, even in the hopeful gaze of new recruits. They haunted him until the day he popped that little white pill stamped with a bright red A.

-o-


They stopped.

"I can’t unlock this, not in a lockdown." Valenta said to the group as they stood outside yet another security station.

SCP-4579 watched as one of the gunmen pulled something from his pocket. There was a blinding light and another round of sirens went off, but when he could see again there was a gaping hole in the wall. And beyond that, freedom.

As he stepped out the door, the first thing he felt was rain. He stopped for just a moment, letting the water run down his face and chill his bones. It had been months since he’d felt those cold drops.

"Hurry!" barked one of the men.

Snapping back into movement, SCP-4579 followed the group towards a black van. Sliding into the backseat, he heard door snap shut with a loud click.

"So who wants all this info on this Foundation?" he asked as the van pulled away.

"Look, we all just do what they tell us and get paid, same as you." Valenta replied from the front seat.

"Like, why do they need me? Can’t they just ask you?"

"Can't."

"What do you mean, can't?"

"Part of the deal when you work here. Now quit the questions and take your money." Valenta answered, passing him a leather satchel.

"Sweet."

As he set the satchel on his lap and fumbled with the clasp, he felt something off. It was too light — whatever was in there, it wasn't his money. Not that his pay would fit in the satchel anyways. The deal really was too good to be true.

He was suddenly aware of how intensely the man beside him was staring. Beads of sweat rolled down his neck as he kept fumbling with clasp. Time was running out.

The only option left was the duck. It was familiar now, barely draining him as it materialised on the floor. He took a quick glance down — good, he was invisible. Standing up, he looked around for a way out.

"Fuck!" came the sudden shout of the man beside him.

SCP-4579 ignored it, still focused on escaping. The doors were locked. Smashing the windows would take too long. He'd have to crash the van. Ducking around the pistol-wielding man, he slid past Valenta as she dived for the satchel. Shutting his eyes tight, he gave the steering wheel a hard yank.

The van careened off the road and down a ditch. There was a moment of weightlessness, and then SCP-4579 felt his body hit the windshield with a sickening crunch. When he opened his eyes, he was surrounded by shattered glass. Up above, he saw the lights of a helicopter — the Foundation's backup had finally arrived.

Mud squelched beneath his shoes as he pulled himself out of the wrecked van. Taking a glance behind him, he caught sight of his duck again. He heaved a sigh of relief — he was still invisible, or close enough to it. The distinctive yellow duck, however, would have to go. He cast his gaze around, searching for something to project. There was a stick by his foot — it'd be shaky, but it'd have to do.

As much as he wanted to see the helicopter's occupants pulverise Valenta, he had to move. Taking one more glance behind him, he started along the ditch. He didn't let himself stop until the sounds of gunfire faded into the distance.

As he stopped to catch his breath, he caught sight of a road sign. A town was nearby — from there he'd blend back in.

He'd be Derek Wolanski again.

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