Alone in a Sea of Voices

rating: +24+x

O5-13 sat on the veranda of his small cottage, the honeyed rays of light gently receding as the sun sunk below the trees. With a faint groan, he stood up, setting his well-worn copy of Going Postal on the table beside him. The sturdy oak door swang open softly as he stepped inside, the coatstand wobbling as a breeze swept through the door. Walking past the cooker he chuckled, he hadn't needed that since he had entered, but it was a nice detail nevertheless.

"Hey Skippy, play Hometown Smile."

"Saying please wouldn't go amiss!"

"Despite all these years stuck with this dullard, you haven't lost your snark, ey?"

"Given you had a choice for my personality I do believe this is wholly your fault, Tom,"

A slow whirring filled the air as his computer booted up. It sounded weird, but over the years the sound had become comforting to him, just another piece of noise to calm the whirling storm inside his head.

"That says oh, everything will one day be alright,"

The login screen finally loaded, a bright green meadow background with dewdrops sparkling in the sun, rainbows of refracted light soaring across the open fields. A young, happy couple took front stage grinning ear to ear with a badge each in their hands. A reminder of what he gave up.

"Cause all these empty faces they got nothin on yours,"

Password: DrAmeliaArk2007

"And I'll do anything just to keep you by my side,"

The Foundation emblem slowly rotated as the desktop loaded, a sparse screen only bearing a few icons, silhouetted against a background of a world carried by four elephants, on the back on a turtle. As he went to open a browser, a small notification appeared in the bottom left, "Access SCiPNET Email? One (1) new message!"

Thirteen smiled, he was glad the ethics committee was doing better these days, it had been a prolonged uphill climb for certainty.

"Do you want me to set an alarm for the meeting?"

"Sounds good, I may have to doze off in the meantime, think the artificial heat tired me out."

"Very well."

"Oh, Skippy? Please could you play my sleep mix as well?"

"Roger that. Playing "Ruth B. - Lost Boy" now."

"There was a time when I was alone, Nowhere to go and no place to call home,"

O5-5: "Regrettably, I - and a few others I am sure - am unfamiliar with the event in question. I would appreciate a quick summary of the situation." Five's deep voice cut through the silence of the virtual meeting hall.

O5-1: "Ah yes, apologies. Ten? I believe you have the details."

O5-10: "Two days prior to this meeting, SCP-2561 utilized heretofore undocumented cognitive override abilities to take control of two Ethic Committee personnel in order to aid in its escape. After being cornered, SCP-2561 lashed out and was accidentally neutralized by two onsite guards. Ignoring all security failures previously addressed, SCP-2561 should not have been able to affect the two Ethics Committee members to such an extent. Furthermore, the actions of the aforementioned personnel were thought to have been covered up by higher-ranking members of the Committee until a further search revealed their identities."

O5-9: "Is it known if the personnel had any potential connections to the SCP prior to the event? Or if—"

O5-10: "That is all currently unknown. Our efforts are being somewhat hindered by the Ethics Committee itself."

O5-3: "How did the subject affect the staff? As far as I am aware they are behind SCRAMBLE glass, and any memetic compulsion would be ineffective, correct?"

O5-10: "It is theorized that either the glass was faulty or the entity was stronger than initially thought. The chamber is currently being investiga—."

O5-7: "Anyway, it appears that the Committee's recent growth has caused it some issues, they appear to have become somewhat insubordinate. That will need to be corrected."

O5-1: "My thoughts exactly. I propose scaling back the Committee's activities until we can conduct a thorough search into the root cause."

O5-2: "Due to their mishandling of the event, I, unfortunately, have to agree with you on this."

Thirteen sat fuming at his desk, staring at the faceless black silhouettes, "We agreed this was a containment issue, rather than one of the Ethics Committee, didn't w—?"

O5-11: "Indeed, but members of the Ethics Committee are supposed to have a CRV1 high enough to withstand attacks from entities such as these."

It was rare for Eleven to vote against Ethics Committee matters. He had been a staunch supporter of their methods in recent years, as well as a good friend of Thirteen. Something big must have happened to swing his vote.

O5-8: "May I suggest merely reducing Ethics Committee involvement with known mind-affecting anomalies. Their complete removal of power seems like it could cause large issues elsewhere in regards to containme—."

O5-9: "If this involvement is affecting the research and containment efforts of other anomalies, I do have to agree with Two. Whether or not it was mind-affecting, the Ethics Committee still failed in their duties."

O5-10: "I see no issues with Eight's proposal, although I would recommend a CRV check of all current Ethics personnel."

O5-4: "Roger that."

O5-1: "If we are all in agreement, then I shall start the vote for 'the reduction of Ethics Committee interference with known mind-affecting anomalies, decrease in overall Committee interaction with anomalies under study, and a CRV check of all current Committee personnel.''

After a few minutes of voting, two messages popped up in the side chat.


O5-1: "Thank you for your time today, I will be in contact soon regarding the specifics."

The blank avatars blinked out of existence, leaving only two. "You wanted to say something, Thirteen?

O5-13: "You keep tightening the noose on those anomalies, One. Sooner or later, that rope will snap."

O5-1: "Depends what breaks first. I am confident in our containment engineers."

O5-13: "Anything pushed to its limits will snap. The quality of containment won't matter at that point."

O5-1: "That is where we must agree to disagree. Goodbye, Thirteen."

Thirteen stared at the "Ended meeting screen" his fists balled at his sides.

"Hey, Skippy? Is my calendar clear for the rest of today?"

"Aside from reviewing the progress of the Archiving Project, yep!"

"Alright, if anyone calls, tell them I am busy. I need a walk to cool my head off."

"Sure thing! Enjoy your walk."

The door once again swung shut behind Thirteen, the gentle breeze whispering across the bright grass. Glancing at the vibrant green ivy growing up the side of the house, he made a note to cut it when he got back. Shading his eyes against the sun, he glanced along the path, the solitary blue door standing at the end.

Strolling along the cobbled path he made a mental note to contact Samual about some recent disturbing discoveries about SCP-5977's past. Reaching the door, he opened it slowly, the inside a plain white square bearing the text "Please Wait."

As he entered the featureless room, a voice rang out, echoing against the plain walls.

"Welcome to Oneiroi West, please state your desired destination."

"Paris, France."

"Connection being established, please hold. Thank you for your patience."

There was a pause, the oppressive silence filling the room before the voice once again spoke.

"Connection Approved. Welcome to Oneiroi West, we hope you enjoy your stay!"

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