Beyond The Depths: Asset, Not Agent

Series Archive » North Star Hub » Beyond The Depths: Asset, Not Agent

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August, 2003


"It's mid August, how the hell is it this cold?" Milo's staticky voice said into Black's ear.

"Northern Canada isn't exactly known for its sunny beaches and hot climate." Black replied.

He lowered his radio and leaned back into the uncomfortable tree stand. No one told him what it was that had breached, only that it was causing the higherups to freak out. When Albany planted his ass in the tree, he had told Black to keep an eye out for 'large' creatures. When Black asked him to specify, he only repeated the word 'large.'

He had gotten used to jumping head first into god knows what with jack-shit instructions in the four and a half years since his first mission. Miraculously, the only scar he had was on his face.

He gazed up at the night sky. No clouds dared break up the infinite number of stars that dotted it. A large, full moon illuminated the landscape below. It truly was a beautiful sight.

If only I were here under different circumstances.

A shadow passed by the moon. Black stared as the object, slightly darker than the sky around it, moved through the air. Judging by the size and speed, it was most likely a jet of some kind. Just then, balls of fire billowed above the tree line. The booms of a distant explosion reached Black's ears a second and a half later.

"Bombing run?" Black said into his radio.

"Aye." Albany replied. "Nu-7's arrived with manpower, artillery, armor, and air support."

"Nu-7, huh?" Evans said through the mic. "You guys ever help them before?"

Agent Evans was the newest member of Delta-4 ("Minutemen"). Being deployed only two weeks ago, he still had that dedication and spirit all rookies had. Always the first to whatever form of transportation they were taking, always the straightest standing when at attention, always the first out of bed and doing their daily routine, always ran when walking would've sufficed.

Hell, the last mission was one of the very few to include a debrief, and Evans was the first there. It was cute.

"Once." Milo said. "Didn't end well."

"We won't be working with Nu-7 tonight." Albany said.

"Huh?" Black replied, confused. It was, after all, the job of Delta-4 to provide backup to the task forces on duty.

"Don't go getting your hopes up. We've been assigned a different task force to aid."

"A different task force?" Milo asked. "Who?"

"Wish I knew…" Albany replied. "Jax will let us know when we get back to camp. Nu-7 agents have been sent to relieve you. Return to where we set up shop once they get to you. Albany out."

Black slouched in his stand.

"HEY!" A voice below him called. He looked down. Two agents donning Nu-7 uniforms were starring up at him. "You the D4 agent we were sent to relieve?"

"Depends." Black shouted back. "Are you the Nu-7 agents sent to relieve me?"

"Yes sir, we are." The other agent said.

Black nodded. Twisting and turning, he made his way out of the stand and towards the ground.

"Good luck, gentlemen." He said as he landed. He turned so the moon was to his left, then began walking towards camp.


Anyone who's walked through a forest can tell you how loud your steps can be. The crunching of leaves and snapping of dead sticks causes more noise than one would give credit for. Sneaking up behind someone is not an easy task.

So Black was completely caught off guard when he felt a hand push his back and his foot trip on an extended leg. He let out a gasp as he fell to the ground. The sound of plastic hitting stone echoed through the woods as he landed flat on his face.

He rolled onto his back and looked up at Milo. He couldn't see her face through the helmet, but he imagined the most smug mug she'd ever flashed.

"Ah shit…" Milo said, reaching a hand out to Black. "Told ya to watch out for those 2700-J instances. Bastards like tripping people."

"Bastard indeed." He said, taking Milo's hand. She pulled him to his feet. "One of these days I'm gonna find that skip and shove the barrel of your sniper up its ass."

"Oh, you are now?" The two of them resumed walking. "And how do you plan on acquiring said rifle?"

"I'll just steal it."

"Like hell you are." Milo retorted. "I'll set up mines and blow up the entire god damn site before I let you lay a finger on my baby."

They continued their trek in silence. For several minutes, only the sound of crunching leaves and snapping twigs echoed through the forest.

"BLACK! MILO!" The two turned to the energetic voice behind them. Evans was running through the woods, trying to catch up. A fast walking Brian followed suit. "There you guys are. Hey, what do you think Colonel meant when he said aid another task force?"

"I think…" Milo said, stopping so the two agents could catch up. "He meant we're going to be aiding another task force."

"I know THAT. But like, which task force?"

Black shrugged. "Probably some spec ops. If whatever breached is too much for Hammer fucking Down, then I doubt we're cleared to know much."

The four agents continued their pace south. Silence once again fell over them. This silence was broken by the sound of honking. The agents turned, and a jeep with Nu-7's insignia pulled up beside them.

"Evening beautiful." Rigby said, smirking. "Wanna burn some rubber with this jeep I stole and get ourselves a nice, quiet room afterwards?"

"I'd rather pleasure myself with broken glass." Milo retorted.

"I was talking to the cutie with the scar." He pointed at Black.

"My feelings are the same as hers" Black responded.

"Didn't enjoy it last time, Agent Milo?" Albany, whom Black just noticed was in the passenger seat, laughed.

"I don't remember last time." She replied.

About a month ago, Delta-4 had done exceptionally well on a rather successful mission. They had celebrated by spending the night in the Site-47 bar. At some point, Milo had challenged Albany to a drinking game. Albany, being the 6'7 260 pound Scotsman he was, was perfectly sober by the time Milo was slurring her words and stumbling around.

Thinking Albany couldn't take much more, Rigby had decided to take Milo's place. Both Milo and Rigby were completely wasted by the time they returned to their dorms. Albany was sober as a child, Black didn't drink (he never did), Evans hadn't been deployed yet, and Brian never showed up.

Drunk out of their minds, the two of them decided to hobble into the same dorm. They woke up the next morning naked, in the same bed, and suffering a massive hangover. Neither of them were able to recall the night before.

"What happened last time?" Evans asked. Black glanced over at Milo and Rigby, who returned the look.

"We'll explain after the mission." Rigby said as the agents climbed into the seats.

With that, the jeep began moving back towards the camp.

"Hey, uh, Rigby…" Evans said after a few minutes. "…you didn't actually steal this, right?"


"It still amazes me how the Foundation's able to set all this up in such little time." Albany said as they drove over a hill.

What was once just a single tent acting as Delta-4's command post now resembled an entire military base. Temporary buildings and garages were erected all over the outskirts of the woods. Hundreds of agents and researchers rushed along, doing whatever it was they were tasked with.

"Pull in over here." Albany said, pointing to a large tent off the the left. Jaxon was standing outside of it, her helmet tucked under her arm. Rigby parked beside the tent, and the group jumped out of the vehicle.

"Major." Albany said, saluting.

"Colonel." She replied, returning the gesture.

"Where's the rest of Delta-4?" Black asked.

"Aiding Nu-7."

"I thought we were going to support another MTF." Milo said, confused.

"You are. The rest aren't." Jaxon said.

"And what exactly is this task force?" Rigby asked.

"Follow me." She turned and walked into the tent. The rest followed.

Several agents were seated along rows of chairs. On the further side was a large map of the area. Red circles and arrows were littered all over it.

"James, you're with me. The rest of you, take a seat." Jaxon said, pointing towards the row of vacant chairs to their left. The group walked over, sat down, and (besides Brian) took their helmets off. Jaxon and Albany walked towards two agents standing in front of the crowd. One had dark brown yet graying hair, the other was dirty blond.

Black looked around at the agents. He took note of how unusual they all seemed. First, their uniforms were all black. Usually MTF arms and legs were colored, Delta-4 being dark blue. Second, their MTF insignia was unfamiliar to Black. Delta-4 had aided several task forces in the past, and by month 8, he had all but memorized every task force logo.

The agents in question all had their helmets removed. Some were talking to each other, some were checking their equipment, some had glanced at the new agents, some were just staring into space. Despite their uniforms, they all seemed like normal MTF agents. All except two.

The first was a tall, muscular, olive skinned man whose shirtless body was covered in tattoos Black couldn't even begin to identify. He had long black hair, and a large, bulky collar was strapped around his neck. He stood cross armed and off to the side, eyeing the Delta-4 agents as they sat. Black felt his insides grow hot when they made eye contact. He decided not to hold it for long.

The other was a relatively short woman sitting near the front. She seemed to be holding a conversation with an agent holding a laptop. She had blonde hair, and an old polaroid camera was wrapped around her neck. She wasn't wearing a full-black tactical suit like the rest of them, instead donning a heavy blue jacket with the mystery insignia sewn on the arms. She turned and took a glance at the Delta-4 agents. Black was able to get a good look at her face.

"Is that a fucking kid?" Milo said into his ear.

"I was wondering the same thing." He replied. Black was by no means one of those age gurus who could tell how old you were down to the month, but this woman… girl… couldn't have been older than 18, maybe even 16.

What's a kid doing on an MTF?

"Who the hell are these guys?" Rigby asked.

"Bet you anything they're black ops." Evans said. Black turned to him. His ginger hair was like a beacon on his head. "I mean, come on. Full black uniforms. MTF logo no one recognizes. It's like every stereotypical black ops team ever."

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"They're Omega-7." Brian said. The entirety of Delta-4 turned to him. As far as they were aware, this was the first he had spoken in months.

"…and you know this how?" Milo asked. Brian shrugged.

"Never heard of 'em." Rigby said. "What do they specialize in?"

"The use of anomalous humanoids in the field."

They use humanoid SCPs? Black thought. He had had a few run-ins with humanoid SCPs during his time on MTF. They weren't exactly the type you recruited into the Foundation, let alone use in the field.

"Wait, they USE anomalies?" Evans said in surprise. Brian nodded.

"You know which SCPs?" Milo said. Brian shook his head.

"Do you at least know what they're called?" Rigby asked.

"They call themselves Pandora's Box."

"Fitting." Rigby said.

Jaxon, Albany, and the two 'Pandora's Box' agents turned towards the crowd.

"Delta-4." Jaxon bellowed. The quiet conversations ceased as the agents looked forward. "We will be having the pleasure of working with Omega-7 this evening." She pointed towards the agent with the graying hair. "This is Major Richards. He will be debriefing us on the situation we find ourselves in."

The man with graying hair stepped forward. "Two hours ago the O5 received a distress signal from Area-354. The on-site personal reported the manifestation of a large arachnid-like entity. It has been designated SCP-354-11-A. It was virtually bulletproof, and was said to be 'birthing' other large entities. These entities have been designated -11-B through D. Fortunately, these instances were not bulletproof, but the overwhelming number of creatures and damage caused to the containment area by 354-10 allowed -A and several -B -C and -D to escape the zone of control."

He turned and pointed to one of the circles on the map. "Foundation personnel tracked the entity to this cave system here. That cave system wasn't there 3 hours ago, which means one of three things, either 11-A has reality bending capabilities, the cave is itself an anomaly that manifested the same time as 11-A, or Foundation cartographers are really bad at their jobs."

There was some light chuckling amongst some of the agents.

"Either way, it's up to us to go down there and neutralize the entity. Instances of -B through -D have been manifesting seemingly out of thin air across Canada. Nu-7 and the Coalition are doing their best to keep these things in the uninhabited north, but you can probably imagine how guarding over a thousand miles is going.

"The running theory is that neutralizing -A will cause all other instances to stop manifesting. Of course, this is just a theory. We can't know for sure why these things are appearing out of thin air, but we can take an educated guess. Colonel Johnson will explain our strategy to locate and eliminate -A."

The dirty blond agent stepped forward.

"Zeta-9, the Mole Rats, have already mapped out the cave system. Team Iris will go in first and locate the entity, as well as get an understanding of what it is we're truly dealing with. After that, Team Able will go down and eliminate SCP-354-11-A. Then, we'll clean up any remaining -B -C and -D instances, and be back to 25 and 17 in time for breakfast. Any questions?"

"Could you describe these -B, -C, and -D instances?" One of the Omega-7 agents said. Black looked over to him. The agent was twirling a stick of chalk between his fingers.

"Absolutely, Lopez." Richards said. Johnson stepped back. "-B has been described as a large centipede, far longer than -A. How it managed to birth it is an anomaly in itself. -C is a large beetle-like entity. While not bullet proof like -A, it was able to soak a lot of lead before going down. -D is a smaller version of -A. From what we gather, it isn't bulletproof nor does it birth other entities. Any more questions?"

Evans raised his hand.

"No need to raise your hand, Private; just say what you want to say."

Evans lowered it, slightly embarrassed.

"The purpose of Omega-7 is to utilize humanoid SCPs in the field, right? Can I ask which SCPs will be helping us?"

"Oh, of course." Richards said. "Sorry, we aren't used to joint-task force operations like this."

He pointed to the muscular man with tattoos. "This is SCP-076-2. It can take a hit and return just as much. It can also manifest swords out of thin air. Don't ask me how, not even the egg heads know that. It's also a bit of a wild card. If it so much as breathes without permission, inform an Omega-7 agent and its explosive collar will be detonated. It will be accompanying Team Able."

Explosive collar?

"And this…" He said, now pointing to the girl with the camera. "Is SCP-105. It's abilities are a bit tricky to explain. Basically, all polaroid photos are like real-time portals to it. Again, don't ask how. It will be accompanying Team Iris. Any more questions?"

No one said anything.

"Major." Richards said, turning to Jaxon. "Please elect some agents to aid in escorting Team Iris."

"You know your squad better than I do James. You pick."

"Aye." Albany replied. "Black, Evans, you're with Team Iris. Rigby, you provide transportation for them. The rest of you will be on Team Able."

The Delta-4 agents nodded.

"Alright." Richards said, putting his helmet on. "Let's move out."


"Sure is convenient that there are back roads that lead right to the cave." Evans said.

"Tell me about it." Rigby replied. "It was hard getting that jeep through the woods. Could you imagine trying to get THAT thing around?" He pointed in front of them.

Several black transport trucks were parked outside the tent. Black, Rigby, and Evans followed Team Iris to the one on the far right.

Five agents, along with SCP-105, made up Team Iris. Johnson was one. The agent who twirled chalk was another. There was also the agent with the laptop, an agent carrying a backpack far larger than what was standard, and a field medic donning a white armband with a red cross.

Black jogged up beside Rigby and matched his pace.

"Hey." He said in a quiet tone. "What do you think of 105?"

Rigby shrugged. "It must have a really useful ability to make up for its lack of skill. I mean, how old does it look to you?"

Black nodded. "Our thoughts are mutual."

"I'd keep an eye on it, Black. MTFs are no place for a child. Just… make sure it doesn't get overwhelmed."

The Team Iris agents were already strapped in when the three of them made it to the truck. Rigby walked around the side towards the driver seat while Black and Evans crawled in back. They sat down as the truck engines roared to life and began moving after a few seconds.

"So…" Evans said after a moment of silence. "Uh, would it be ok if we learned some names?"

The Omega-7 agents turned to him.

"I mean… if we're going to be working together I'd like to know what to call everyone…"

No one said anything.

"I can start. I'm agent Evans with Delta-4. The uh, the Minutemen."

"And I'm Lieutenant Black." Black chimed in.

The agents continued their silence. The one with the laptop looked around at his fellow agents.

"I don't know… should we tell them our names?" He asked.

"I think it'd be pretty funny if we didn't." The woman with the large backpack said. "Make them call us generic MTF clone one through five."

"Unfortunately," The Colonel began. "they already know me as Johnson. So the joke's already partially ruined."

The agent with the laptop let out a sigh. "Goddammit Johnson, why are you so anti-fun?" He turned towards Black and Evans. "I'm Agent Vincent."

"I'm Nikki." The backpack agent said.

"Lopez." The agent with the chalk said, raising his hand.

"And I'm Beatrice Maddox. Everyone just calls me Beats." The field medic said.

"Johnson, Vincent, Nikki, Lopez, and Maddox?" Evans said. Johnson nodded. "Nice. And how about you 105? You got a name?"

SCP-105 looked up at Evans, mild surprise on its face.

"Oh. Uh, yeah." It said. "I'm Iris. Iris Thompson."

"Like in Team Iris?" 105 nodded. "I guess that makes 076 Able. Iris huh? That's a pretty unique-"

"Watch your skipnaming Private." Black said. Even the engine seemed to go awkwardly silent.

The agents glanced at each other. 105 looked down.

"With… all due respect Lieutenant." Maddox said. "While Iris is technically an anomaly, she's also an agent of the Foundation. As such, she's exempted from the standard humanoid treatment."

"Referring to skips by their dead name is against MTF protocol." Black replied. "Besides, I'm not entirely sure it qualifies as an 'agent.'"

"She's received training." Lopez interjected.

Black leaned forward and looked at the anomaly. "How old are you, 105?"

"15." It replied.

"Yeah…" Black said, leaning back. "Look… I'm sure it's helpful, but it isn't even old enough for the Foundation's cadet program, let alone old enough to be on an MTF. It's here because of its anomalous properties. Which makes it an asset, not an agent, and we need to treat it as such. I can't enforce that on any of you, but I can enforce it on Evans."

The Omega-7 agents glared at Black.

"Evans, was it?" Nikki asked. "Feel free to call her Iris."

"You will do no such thing Private."

Silence once again fell over the truck, with only the hum of the engine and occasional bump breaking it. They began to slow after what felt like an eternity.

"We're here." Rigby said after coming to a complete stop. "Everyone out."

Black opened the back door and hopped into the cool night air. He looked around. The entrance to the cave sat roughly a hundred feet in front of them. A small group of MTF agents were standing in front of the entrance. The insignia of Zeta-9 was sown into their shoulders.

"We've already mapped out the cave system using seismic scans." One of them said. "We sent a squad in to try and locate the entity. Haven't heard from them since."

"That's why we're here." Richards responded. He turned towards the Omega-7 and Delta-4 agents. "As we planned. Team Iris will go in first and locate the anomaly. Zeta-9 will act as guides. Once it's been found, Team Iris will return to the surface and Team Able will be deployed to neutralize the entity."

"Let's move, Team Iris." Johnson said, walking towards the cave. Vincent, Nikki, Lopez, Maddox, Black, Evans, two Zeta-9 agents, and SCP-105 followed suit.

A click came from Black's helmet as he reached up and activated the flashlight strapped to it. The same came from Evans. A muted whir came from the Omega-7 and Zeta-9 agents as they reached up and lowered a pair of goggles onto their faces.

Night vision. Lucky bastards.

SCP-105 reached into its jacket and pulled out a heavy flashlight. It clicked it on and scanned the inside of the cave.

"You set up the exit beacon?" Vincent asked, typing on his laptop.

"First thing we did when we arrived." Said a Mole Rat.

"Good. Let me calibrate the frequency… aaaaaannnddd… there. Now, so long as we have this laptop, we won't get lost in that maze of a cave."

"Do you know where in the cave the entity is?" Johnson asked.

"We have a theory." One of the Mole Rats said.

"Lead the way then."

The Zeta-9 agents turned and walked into the mouth of the cave. The Omega-7 and Delta-4 agents followed behind.


They must've been walking for for a good ten minutes before they reached their first crossroad. One of the Mole Rats walked up beside Vincent and stared at his laptop screen. They all stood in silence, waiting for further instructions.

Black, Evans, and 105 were the only ones with flashlights rather than night vision. Fortunately, their lights were wide enough to illuminate the majority of the cave. They scanned their torches along the cave walls.

As Black was looking around, he noticed that one of the beams seemed to be quivering. He followed the beam trail to 105's flashlight. Although subtle, Black could tell 105 was shaking. The cave wasn't that cold.

"To the right." The Mole Rat finally said. The squad continued walking. They came to intersections a few more times. Each time, a Mole Rat looked at the laptop before giving a direction.

"You sure that map is accurate?" Nikki asked on the 3rd crossroads.

"Positive." Vincent replied. "It was created using seismic mapping."

"I don't know what that means."

"Well, maybe you should go back to second grade so you understand."

"Well, maybe you should create better programs."

"Maybe you should create better incendiary grenades."

"Maybe you should start spending more than 15 minutes at the site gym."

"Maybe you should eat something besides fried chicken every day."

The two of them started making unintelligible noises at each other.

"Quiet you two." Johnson said. "You're making me smell burnt toast."

They stopped their mindless noise making. 105 laughed. Lopez let out a small chuckle. The group continued walking for several minutes in semi-silence.

"Hold up." Evans eventually said. Everyone stopped. "Do you see that?"

"See what?" Black asked, looking to where Evans's flashlight was.

"You don't see that green light?"

"No."

"Black, Iri- er, 105, turn off your torches." Evans said as he reached up and shut off his helmet light. Black mimicked Evans. 105 switched its flashlight off.

A dull, green light was illuminating the far side of the cave. A bend in the tunnel made it impossible to see the source.

"I see it." Black said. "Turn off your night vision."

The sound of waning whirs came as the Omega-7 and Zeta-9 agents lifted their goggles.

"We're near where the entity is believed to be. That may very well be it."

"Then let's proceed with caution." Johnson said. The agents slowly continued towards the bend. As they approached, Black felt an odd sense of dread wash over him. Maybe it was something memetic, maybe it was just his adrenaline kicking in. Or maybe this reminded him of his first mission too much.

Whatever it was, the feeling quickly went away. The team turned the corner and was able to see the source of the light.

The tunnel let out into a large cavern. The cave ceiling must've been 50 feet high and over 100 feet wide. Stalagmites and stalactites dotted the room, both hanging from the ceiling and erecting off the ground. Off to the side was a large pool that gave off a strong green light. It was bright enough to illuminate most of the cavern, though not so bright that you couldn't look at it.

There was a deep clicking sound on the other side of the cavern. Black looked over, and for a second, felt his face go cold. A large spider had strung up a massive web, and was scuttering around the far side of the cave. It hadn't noticed them yet.

"You alright Iris?" Maddox asked, turning to it.

"…Yeah." It replied.

"You arachnid-phobic or something?" One of the Mole Rats asked.

"J- just a little." 105 said.

Great.

"Let's move in carefully and get this done." Johnson said, stepping out into the cavern. The others followed. They moved up and ducked behind some stalagmite erecting upward. The spider continued scuttering along as they set up.

The creature let out a roar after a few moments. Everyone turned to it. The abdomen of the spider opened like a flower, and a large beetle, covered in the slime of after birth, crawled out.

354-11-C.

"I'm gonna be sick." Lopez said.

The spider's abdomen closed. The beetle scuttered towards the green pool, crawled in, and disappeared under the water.

"Ok." Johnson started. "Get your photos."

105 pulled its camera up to its face. There was a quiet click as the it took a photo.

"So, here's a theory." Nikki began. "Those things are appearing out of thin air around Canada, right? And that just disappeared when it entered the pool, right?" She looked back at the agents. "I'm willing to bet that pool acts as a portal of some kind."

"An educated theory." Maddox said. "But we can't be certain unless we confirm it."

During their conversation, 105 had accumulated roughly 8 photos of the spider and cavern.

"That should be enough." It said as it stashed the freshly processed photos in its jacket.

"Alright, let's-" Johnson began.

"Wait." Lopez said. "Do you feel that?"

Just as he said it, Black began to feel vibrations under his feet. The vibrations quickly increased in strength. The agents looked at each other.

There was a loud crash behind them as a giant creature busted through the cave floor. The closest thing Black could describe it as was a giant worm.

"WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!" Someone screamed.

Evans, out of fear or intuition, raised his rifle and shot at the creature.

The thing hissed as bullets ripped through it's body. There was another loud crash as it shot upward and busted through the cave ceiling. It must've been hundreds of feet long. The agents ducked and covered as stalactite and debris fell down onto them.

"Shit!" Someone yelled. Black looked up. Large debris was piled up along the wall, covering their exit. They were trapped. "Shit shit shit!"

"Vincent, increase the strength of your radio and…"

"Uh… guys…" Evans said. The agents turned around. The spider was staring right at them. It slowly moved side to side, like a crab. It observed the newly noticed agents just as much as they were observing it. Then, without warning, it sprinted towards them.

"LIGHT IT UP!" Johnson cried. The agents rose their rifle and unloading into the creature. It was completely unfazed by the hail of bullets. Black felt himself start to back up.

"Scatter!" Johnson yelled as the creature neared them. The agents sprinted in different directions as the spider reached them. One of the Mole Rats wasn't fast enough, and the creature grabbed him with its mouth. The agent screamed as the spider scurried up the wall and out of sight. The screams quickly stopped.

Black vaulted over some stalagmites and ducked behind it. Evans did the same, and was quickly by Black's side.

"Black! 105!" He said in a hurried tone.

105?

Black turned around. 105 was crouching down behind the stone. He must not have noticed it when he first hopped over. It lifted its head and scanned the cavern.

"Stay down!" Black said, a little harsher than he intended. That's when he noticed how close they were to the pool. Not dangerously close, but closer than he would've liked.

"Get your radio strength increased?" Johnson, who was ducking behind some stone on the other side of the cave, said.

"Give me a moment." Vincent, who was right next to him, said. "There. We should be able to reach the surface now."

Johnson snatched Vincent's radio. "We need immediate extraction! We've been caved in and are engaged with SCP-354-11-A."

"You were ordered NOT to engage the entity."

"Not like we had a choice, Rich! How about you come down and save our asses before reprimanding them."

"Team Able is en route. Hold out for as long as you can."

"Oh please, feel free to take your time." Johnson said sarcastically, before lowering the radio. The sound of scuttering echoed through the chamber. 105 let out a whimper when a clicking came from the darkness.

Why the hell did they think putting a kid on an MTF was a good…

There was a loud hiss as the spider scuttered on the wall. It was making a beeline for Lopez, Nikki, and the remaining Mole Rat. The three of them opened fire on the creature. One of its eyes exploded as a stray bullet penetrated it. The creature stopped dead in its tracks and let out a bone chilling screech. Then, it scuttered back up into the unknown.

"The eyes…" Evans whispered. "That's it! The eyes are its weak spot!" A clicking came from above them. Black looked up. The creature was on the ceiling, barely visible. Evans ran out of cover and aimed his rifle upwards.

"Evans WAIT!" Black yelled. It was too late. Before the Private was able to get a single bullet off, a long string of webbing shot down and stuck to his torso. He screamed as he was shot up towards the spider. Black watched helplessly as it pulled Evans into its mouth.

His screams were silenced as his body was folded in half and crushed in the creature's… whatever a spider's equivalent to jaws are. There was a grizzly, wet, thick chewing sound as the spider ingested Evans.

"Evans is down!" Black yelled. A weird noise came from the creature. He looked back up. It sounded like… hacking?

The spider let out a large cough, or at least a cough is the best Black could describe it as. He noticed objects falling from where the spider was. They hit the ground with a muted thud. Black looked at what had fallen.

Chunks of kevlar were laying on the ground in front of him, as well some bone, a crushed MES helmet, the stock of an M16, and a…

Laying less then 6 feet from Black was a small, gray, spherical object. A grenade. Both the pin and fuse were nowhere in sight. In other words, milliseconds from detonating.

"Fuck."

Black felt himself get launched off his feet as it exploded. He fell back and hit something, though whatever it was fell back with him. He fell towards the earth, and waited for when he would land on the ground.

He felt himself land, but he didn't stop falling. Instead, he continued to fall through the floor, as if it were liquid.

Liquid.

The pool.

He had been standing next to it when the grenade went off. He had assumed he was a safe distance from it, but that was also assuming he wouldn't get blasted by a grenade. Now he was falling in, or through, it.

He lost sight of the cavern as he found himself falling through a green void. He just kept falling, with no end in sight.

Falling.

Falling.

Falling.


Gravity switched. He was now falling face first. The green void around him grew brighter as he fell. It soon became too much, and he was forced to shut his eyes. Even then, the green light pierced his helmet and eyelids.

As he fell with his eyes closed and his momentum increasing, he began to wonder if there was even an end to this. Would he spend the rest of eternity falling in this void?

Then, just as quickly as it started, it stopped. His vision returned to black as the light went out. He hit the ground flat on his face. His mind was swimming as he felt a migraine come on. Slowly, he opened his eyes and lifted himself on his arms.

He was in some… room. Black couldn't even begin to comprehend the purpose of it. He looked around the best he could. It seemed like he was on some kind of altar, maybe? Black looked around some more, which became increasingly difficult.

All around the room were tall, humanoid creatures. They were thin, with large black eyes and mouths like skeletons. Their skin was an orange pigment, and they were making some kind of clicking sound. Oddly enough, they seemed to be wearing clothing. Black tried to observe and think, but the more he did, the more his mind seemed to slip.

His peripheral vision grew dark as he felt himself lose energy. Unable to hold himself up anymore, he dropped his head onto the ground.

The last thing he noticed before succumbing to unconsciousness was someone laying next to him.


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