Abject Blue Insomnia

rating: +27+x

SCP-3985-7 Vocalization Log (2072)

JAN 14 -    (00:51) Sixteen (suns/sons)
(01:52) Burning
(14:11) To see through

FEB 26 -    (12:36) [Unintelligible]
      (15:04) Up above

APR 02 - (05:05) White showers
     (05:08) White flowers

JUN 19 - (08:33) Strangle it
     (08:41) Strangle it

JUL 21 -    (19:09) [Unintelligible]

SEP 08 - (21:48) Dog
  (21:49) Play
  (21:50) Fetch

You watched me make it, right? Mix the bottles from the top shelf with the ones on the bottom. Two to one, remember? Stir it all together until white crystals form.

Dhole toiled in the basement of a forest cabin, stirring great vats and sweating over ovens. A long table spanned one side of the room, its surface covered in plastic bags, bits of wire, and neat tools. An aquarium full of tangible night squirmed on the other side of the room, glowing lines of stars tracing twisting paths through it. A radio crackled noisily, announcing the electoral victory of some would-be prince over another.

Fill the pouches with it when you're done. Twist the wires around the connectors. Don't push too hard, or it might go off early. You've got stuff to do before you die.

She only paused long enough to stuff an energy bar into her mouth and tie back her black hair. It had become shaggy and matted in recent months, but she was too busy to cut it. Sweat gathered on her forehead, sliding down through thick eyebrows before dripping to the floor. Busy. Numb. That's what she aspired to.

Get the stuff out of the safe while that settles. It's the same combination I used for everything else. You're probably going to need it all.

Giant blue birds stared silently at Dhole as she opened the safe hidden under a removable section of the floor. It was full of fascinating things: sleek guns, colorful pills, and stacks of plastic cards. Egret's voice came from the bird perched on Dhole's shoulder, explaining each's nature in vague terms. All facts she knew already.

We'll have to find where they have the Overseer locked up. Check with that girl we met in Pittsburgh. The place with the tower, remember? It's not that far.

The little witch stared with wide green eyes as Dhole sat down across from her. She placed the Overseer's rings on a flat map of the world and stared as they shifted in slow, jittering patterns. They stacked themselves over the southern tip of a southern continent and repeated the act on a more detailed map. Dhole swiped one of Egret's cards through a flickering device afterward, and it beeped happily as money vanished from a nameless account on some nameless island.

Getting in might be tough, even if you were me. Steel doors. Big guards. Bigger guns. Dying in a black site is as easy as breathing. Don't worry though, Dhole. Don't pick at your hands like that. Just listen to my plan.

The bird's beak pushed into her ear, though her mind, into some place even deeper inside. Dhole winced as she listened. Once, twice, too many times to count. Egret's hand was clear in the plot's bloody twists and repulsive turns. Dhole abhorred it, even after everything that had happened.

"Might some other path be charted? You know I can–"

No! The birds swelled in numbers, appearing at the edge of her vision and flying to every possible perch in the crowded basement. Blue feathers and harsh screams filled the air. Nonononononono! Listen to me. Listen to me! Don't think about those things! Don't think at all! Listen! Listen! Listen and act! Act and don't think! Bite. Bite! Tear their throats out! Maim the traitors! The false overseers. Everyone!

Had Egret ever spoken like that? It didn't matter. Dhole resolved herself to a thoughtless week as she completed her preparations. She resolved to being the kind of hound who would snap, snarl, and kill. The numbness was almost pleasant. This way, the plan stung less than a flea's bite. Her obligations would be met no matter the cost.

Dhole walked down the well-lit corridors of a place that did not exist in any records. She wore a single-piece uniform, pushed a wide cart that reeked of garbage, and went almost entirely unnoticed. Nothing this elaborate had been in Egret's original plan, but the hop to her homeland and back had not been accurate enough. The bird on her shoulder whispered a new plan into her ear as she went, and each chirp sounded oddly pleased.

She paused to empty a squat trash can into her cart, one of many on her twisting route. A bleary-eyed man passed by as she shook soda cans and rotting peels into her cart. He did not so much as look at her. Dhole waited until he was far away before putting an extra package from her cart back into the empty can.

Sweat ran down Dhole's back as she passed from corridor to corridor, emptying each can she saw before loading them again. The rings in her pocket vibrated with increasing intensity as she did, buzzing louder and louder against each other. The dark mass stuffed into a duffel bag pushed outward even more incessantly. It couldn't be much longer before the building's many cameras noticed its writhing shape.

The Overseer's jewelry sang as she turned a corner toward a passage full of important-looking signs and symbols. They no doubt warned her about what the armed guards standing at the far end would do to her if she stepped one foot too far.

Don't be afraid, said a bird as one of the guards shouted at her. Don't worry about them. Don't worry about yourself. Only worry about the Overseer. Dhole glanced down at the neat, white containers still stacked inside the cart, shoved it down the hallway as hard as she could, and slapped the detonator hidden in her pocket.

Flames bloomed immediately. The luminous eruption was majestic, but only in the moments before a wall of hot air swatted Dhole down the hallway. She bounced like a skipped stone, off one wall and again off the floor, before sliding to a slow stop on a scratchy carpet. Something like thunder rumbled all around her and the building shook violently.

Birds swarmed Dhole as she pushed herself to her feet. Her ears rang too loudly to hear what they screamed, but she could guess. Hurry. Advance. Before the opportunity is lost. She limped down the hall, leaning against the wall as she went, stepping over broken bodies and through a broken doorway. The rings in her pocket shook. The darkness in her bag dripped out. Dhole could barely feel anything, but that wouldn't matter soon.

Large metal spheres and leagues of heavy tubing dominated the once-secure chamber. Another crumpled body was sprawled on the floor and a wiry man tried to hide behind a toppled desk. Dhole could smell the urine as she approached. Him! Ask him! Make him show you! insisted the birds. She did not need to be told.

"Where are the overseers?" she said flatly. Once, she would have once hated the way he stared directly at her face, but it hardly mattered now.

"I don't–"

"The Overseers." How did Egret ever get people to do things?

"They're not here! This isn't that kind of place!"

Dhole stared blankly at him. A klaxon sounded overhead. Two birds alighted on her, one for each shoulder. Violence, squawked one. The gun, added the other. Of course. The pistol felt unnaturally heavy every time she practiced with it. This time was no different.

"Overseer-6. Bring her."

"I can't!"

The rings struggled against her pocket toward the nearest metal sphere. They spun against each other, clinking furiously, beating an irregular rhythm.

"That one," she said, pointing with her free hand. "Open." The man seemed almost ready to object until she pointed the gun at him. Could it truly be so easy?

The heavy door opened slowly. No light shone out, but Dhole didn't need to see inside. She could already tell what it held. Water splashed around her thighs as she stepped down and waded forward, each step quicker and louder than the last. The door slammed behind her, but it didn't matter. She was almost done.

The former Overseer hung in the middle of the chamber, bound in a harness hanging from the low ceiling. Straps were wrapped tight around her, and tight clusters of tubes led to needles stuck through her skin. Dhole looked around for Egret, looked for any of the birds, but there were none to be found.

"Overseer?" she said. Her words died in the strange room, and the woman barely twitched. "Overseer. Houndmaster. I've brought what you asked for. I've brought what you demanded." She twitched again. "As you summoned, I came. Overseer, please." Another twitch, more violent this time. One by one, Dhole pushed the rings onto the woman's long fingers. Brass, then silver, then brass again. They shook as she removed them from her pocket and stilled once they touched flesh. "Please."

Something banged outside the sphere and the Overseer gasped. It was a coarse, haggard sound. Rough and dry. "I, I… I!"

"I brought the other thing too," said Dhole, unzipping her duffel bag. Some of its contents had already escaped, but most remained inside. She could feel the Overseer's eyes focusing on her, then focusing on it.


The viscous night sky surged upward. High and thin, it wavered slightly, as if somehow indecisive. Several more bangs issues outside the metal walls. The starry edifice tipped forward, trembled, and rushed into the Overseer's chest. She screamed. Dhole screamed. Outside, someone else screamed. The process barely lasted a second.

"Dhole?" rasped the Overseer. "My hand. Take my hand."

The chamber's door slammed open as she grasped the woman's clammy fingers. Gunshots echoed off the walls louder than her voice had, and something inside her squished, snapped, and burst. A vast wave of pain overwhelmed everything else, crushing her senses and drowning her thoughts. Wildfire burned through her nerves. All of them. She was consumed, engulfed, and yanked away from the rest of the world.

Dhole floated in nothingness. Not a nothingness of the mind, she felt too cognizant for that. Not the nothingness of death either. It was too empty for that. Making tiny movements, she rotated herself, turning to face the woman hovering before her.

"You did well," said the Overseer. She was newly clad in a simple black dress and newly radiated power. It hurt to look into her starry eyes. "I did my best to fix you, but it's never been my specialty."

"I live, regardless."

"For now," she agreed. The nothingness receded slowly, and Dhole found herself lying on a cot in a sterile, white room. Unfairly, the pain remained.

"I fulfilled my contract. I reached and grasped it. I'm… I did it." She pressed the heels of her palms to her eyes and groaned. "I did it."

"You've done more than I ever could have expected. There's more to do though, Dhole. I can't harbor this inside forever. The Foundation needs to be put right. It needs to be fixed. My place needs to be restored."

Dhole breathed as deeply as she dared and rolled up to a sitting position. The great walls of numbness erected inside herself were naught but rubble. Her fortifications were broken. She breathed again, and more things hurt than just her body.

"I am not sufficient," she finally said. "There are people better suited. People better able. Fetch a champion. Create one, if you must. I cannot, not again. I will not, not this time." She babbled on as she looked into the Overseer's eyes. Even when full of starlight, they were cold, dim, dead.

"I know," she said, reaching out to gently pet Dhole's matted hair. The touch was almost comforting, almost motherly, until she noticed the nothingness creeping around her feet, crawling up her legs. "I'll return this to you when I can."

The nothingness was more complete this time, and much closer to death.

Erin Ahmadi, once and future Overseer-6, watched her underling sleep. Slow breaths, slow pulse, but the piece of thaumaturgy seemed to have worked by every measurement she could take. A risky first attempt, but practice would have taken too long. The slug inside her was already demanding more than she wished to give.

"Egret," she said calmly. Forcibly. With her rightful authority. The girl's orange eyes snapped open and she grasped for some weapon that wasn't there. "Egret!"

"Overseer!" the girl said, stiffening suddenly. "Overseer," she repeated, almost sheepishly. She moved to rub her eyes and stopped to stare at her hands.

"Don't worry about it. Don't even think about it."

"Of course, Overseer." She moved them to her lap and looked up at Ahmadi with something close to worship. Something worse.

"Egret, I need to know: Do you do good things while working for me?"

"If you say they're good, Overseer." Her smile oozed out like coagulated blood through a wound. It looked even worse on a younger face.

"Do you want to keep doing this sort of work?"

"What else would I do?"

Ahmadi paused, then reached out hesitantly to stroke the girl's greasy hair again. She had nothing else to give in exchange for loyalty, though Egret would not ask for anything at all. She never did. All Ahmadi could do was leave the things buried inside her minion untouched.

"Then let's begin. Here's what I need you to do…"

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