Beyond The Depths: It's A Long Way To Go

Series Archive » North Star » Chapter 1 » Beyond The Depths: It's A Long Way To Go

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Black looked out at the awe-inspiring landscape as the train-lift zipped across the alien world. The line the train was attached to was built along a series of mountains, rigid and dark in color. A flat sea of violet grass stretched for miles, only broken by another mountain range on the other side of the plain.

A large, bright, blue moon contrasted against a deep green sky, which itself was textured with swirls and moving patterns. Black couldn't tell if those were supposed to be clouds or something completely different.

He turned back around and took in the cabin. It looked strikingly similar to the inside of a subway car, with the only real difference being a lack of vertical handles. The walls and floor were made of a strange, dark gray metal, and the only source of light was from a half cylinder on the ceiling.

Sitting next to Black was Scorn, wearing a white cloth vest and with the plasma globe in hand. Scorn's lipless mouth moved as they clicked at two guards standing by the door. The two Krekels clicked in return, most likely holding a conversation.

SCP-105 was sitting across from Black. He caught it turning away as he looked over at it. It had been taking short glances at Black every since he woke up, looking away whenever the two of them made eye contact. Still, 105 hadn't asked him anything yet.

He looked down at the book he had yet to read a word of, trying desperately not to think about the dream. About Lora.

No. Black thought to himself. Not Lora. SCP… God… it was terminated so quickly they didn't even give it a designation.

The cabin rocked slightly as it took a slight turn. Scorn had told them it would be about an hour and a half before they reached the pool. So far they have travelled roughly an hour.

Black closed his eyes as his mind, unwillingly, began to wander.

Jaxon was crouching down in a pool of blood, holding Lora in her arms. Lora, pale and covered in the red liquid, was clutching her side.

"It hurts." She cried.

"I know it does." Jaxon attempted to soothe. "I know it does."

The girl let out a few whimpers, then stopped moving. Her empty eyes stared up at nothing.


He opened his eyes and turned to 105. It was looking at him with a mixture of confusion and concern.

"Are you ok?" It said.

"I'm fine." He reached up and wiped his eyes after feeling moisture begin to build up.

"You sure?" It asked. "You seem really out of it, and you look terrible."

"I'm just anxious to get back to our world." He said.

This wasn't a complete lie. Ever since he came to his senses back in the cell, he had been concerned about how the op was going. When they had left, Omega-7 was caved in and engaged with a giant spider. Sure, the rest of Omega-7 was on their way, but after seeing what happened to Evans…

"Remember when I said you spoke in your sleep?" 105 said.

"What about it?"

"Well, in your rambles, you mentioned a Lora, and how she didn't need to die. What's that about?"

Black froze. He wasn't expecting that.

"How much did I say?" He asked.

"Just that it wasn't fair how she died."

It wasn't fair. Black thought. Out of all the outcomes that mission could have had, that was by far the least fair.

"Do you want to talk about it?"

Black gave 105 a look. "What makes you think I would want to talk about it?"

"I… I'm just saying…" It started. "I get nightmares too, and speaking with someone always helped me."

He looked 105 over, then turned back to his book. Again, he gazed at the words rather than actually read them. After a few minutes of idly staring, he placed a hand over his eyes.

He was standing in the living room of the house. Lora, Benedict, Ryan, Albany, Jaxon, and the other Upsilon-6 operatives were there as well. The young girl was holding her father's hand tightly, intimidated by the agents.

"Do we have to, daddy?" Lora asked.

"Yes sweetie." Benedict said, looking down at her. "It's for your own good."

Benedict had been allowed to join Lora in containment as a Class-E personnel. This was so he could help keep her docile, as well as prevent any mental damage caused by losing her remaining parent. While he was still wary on turning himself and his daughter over to the shadowy Foundation, he knew it was best for everyone.

The man turned to the agents. "Alright, we're ready."

"Good. Please, this way." Ryan said, side stepping.

He, Benedict, Lora, and the agents walked out of the house. There were no snakes, there was no fire fight, there was no need for anyone to die.

Lora was alive. Benedict was alive. Ryan was alive. This was, without a doubt, the best outcome they could've hoped for.

Except that's not how things went.

Benedict reached out to the Serpent's Hand. Lora tried to run away. And in the end, both lost their lives.

"Do you know what a Type Green is?" Black said, still covering his eyes.

"Huh?" 105 said. "Oh, no I don't."

"They also go by reality benders. As the name implies, they can bend reality."

"Like SCP-354-11-A?"

Black lowered his arm. "Huh?"

"Richards said -A might have some reality bending capabilities."

"Because the cave system it went into didn't exist prior to -A manifesting. Which means it might have actually been created by the spider."

"Oh, ok." 105 replied. "Reality benders can, what, just do whatever they want?"

"It's a bit more complicated than that, but yes."

105 looked down in thought. "So, I'm assuming Lora was killed by-"

"Don't say its name." Black interrupted.

105 froze, and a look of sudden realization appeared on its face. "Oh, ooooooh. Lora's the reality bender."

"I said don't say its name." Black sighed. "A few years ago we were called in to retrieve a reality bender that was causing anomalous weather patterns. We tried to bring it in quietly, but things went south. A rival Group of Interest got there first, and…" He trailed off.

"And you had to kill her?" 105 finished.

Black nodded.

105 gave him a look. "There's more to the story, isn't there?"

"What do you mean?" He asked.

"You're an MTF agent. You've probably killed hundreds of people, both armed and unarmed. Why does this one haunt you?"

Don't say its name.

Black took a deep breath, not answering immediately.

"Because it was six years old."

"Six?" 105 said in disbelief. He nodded. "Jesus…"

It gave him a look, then leaned back in its seat and stared off into space.

The train rocked again as they rounded another corner. The Krekels had stopped their conversation, and were now doing their own things. Scorn was looking over a large piece of parchment marked with symbols Black couldn't understand.

"Do you treat me the way you do because you feel guilty about Lo-" 105 stopped when he looked over at it. "-the Type Green?"


"Telling Scorn my name is SCP-105, calling me it, getting mad at Evans when he called me by name."

"I call you SCP-105 because that IS your name."

105 sighed and shook its head. "Black, we've been over this, 105 is my designation, not my name."

"Yes, we have been over this." Black said, starting to get annoyed. "There is no difference between the two."

"Look… Black…" It started. "I know you feel bad about having to kill Lora, and you're dehumanizing her to feel better, but-"

"I said don't say that name."

"…but the situation between me and… her… are completely different. She could change the weather with a thought, all I can do is reach into-"

"Use it pronouns when referring to anomalies." He interrupted, starting to get angry.

"Will you listen to me?" 105 said. "I'm trying to tell you that you don't need to dehumanize me because there's no reason to kill me and I follow instructions. Could you at least call me by my name for my cooperation?"

"I am calling you by your name."

"Oh god dammit Black." It said. "Why are you so persistent on being such an as-"

Black slammed his book shut, causing 105 to jump. They stared at each other for a few seconds, then he spoke up.

"Have you ever read your file?" Black said.

"N- no." It stuttered.

"Well neither have I, but I have read the files of several other humanoid anomalies. Do you know what the one consistency across all of them is?"

105 shook its head.

"They all address the anomaly's deadname as formerly. You hear that? FORMERLY. Which means that at one point, yes, you were Iris Thompson. Now, you're formerly Iris Thompson, SCP-105. Your name is SCP-105. Your file states you as SCP-105. Every single piece of paper that will every mention you will have you down as SCP-105. I'm not calling you 105 because of some vendetta or personal opinion. I call you 105 because that is your name, and I call you it because you are an object. An SCP object, property of the SCP Foundation. Understand?"

105 looked at Black, a mixture of shock, horror, and hurt on its face.

"-es sir." It mouthed with a quivering lip. It looked like it was on the verge of tears. Curling up into a ball, 105 hugged its legs and turned to the left, looking at nothing.

Black ignored the twinge in his stomach and suppressed the part of him that would never say such things. Instead, he simply opened his book and looked back down.

The train rocked again.

There was a tapping on Black's shoulder. Turning, he saw Scorn holding out the plasma globe.

"Is Iris alright?" Scorn said.

"It's fine." He replied coldly.

"What about you?" They asked.

"Never been better." He lied.

Scorn looked over Black before answering. "Very well, if you insist."

The Krekel turned back to the guards and began clicking at them, while Black returned his gaze to his book, again not paying attention to the sentences.

A sniff came from across from him. Black closed it eyes.

Don't pay attention to it. He thought. Don't feel bad for a skip. Don't humanize it.

He opened his eyes a stared blankly at the book.

There was another rock as the train shook. Black looked up. Something was different about this one. It felt off, like it was caused by an external force rather than simply turning a corner. The Krekels were looking around was well, clearly also confused by the movement.

Then the cabin shook again, this time much more violently. It shook with enough force to make Black slam his head into the seat.

Something's wrong. Black thought as he pulled himself up. Scorn and 105 had gripped the back of their seats, using it for support. The guards, meanwhile, were bracing themselves on the wall.

A strange screeching noise came from the ceiling, and the two guards ran out of the door. Scorn had outstretched the plasma globe before Black had even pulled himself to a sitting position.

"What's going on?" He asked upon touching the orb.

"We are under attack." Scorn replied.

"Attack? By who?"

"A splinter group of the Foundation. A group that believes abnormals such as yourself should be used to make Krekels a race of gods. They seek to upheave the balance of power and drive the world into anarchy."

"Do they have a name?" Black asked, even though he already had an idea of what they were called.

"The group refers to themselves as the Chaos Insurgency." Scorn responded.

Great. He thought. Now we have to deal with an alternate Insurgency.

Black reached down and put his helmet on. "What can I do to help?"

"It is you and Iris they are after, I advise we leave this to the guards."

"Yeah, well…" Black unsheathed his knife. "I'm not one to just sit around."

Standing, he made his way over to the door. Hugging the wall, he positioned himself so that he could ambush anyone entering the room. As he waited for something to come through, he took a peak at 105. It was still holding the seat, its fists turning white. It wasn't looking at Black, but he could see that its face was that of stone.

That blank expression quickly washed to fear as it looked up at the door. Black pushed himself closer to the wall and turned. The barrel of a boxy rifle was slowly moving its way through the door. This was followed by an eight fingered hand on the grip, and then the entire body came through.

The Krekel themselves was wearing some kind of facial covering and armor identical to the guards, except this one was a dark green. Slowly, the Krekel walked through the door and clicked at Scorn, rifle pointed at their chest.

Black didn't waste any time. As soon was he was behind the Krekel, Black plunged the knife into the base of their skull.

The Krekel made a sharp hissing noise and dropped to the ground. Black grabbed the rifle and hurried to Scorn.

"Please tell me that was a bad guy." He said when he touched the plasma globe.

"Indeed." They replied. "That was a Chaos operative."

Black examined the alien gun, and noticed several triggers and buttons around it.

"How do I use this thing?" He asked, lifting the device.

"For as much as I'd love to explain the mechanisms of our ██████ to you, we are under attack. Just know it requires you to angle your arm like this." Scorn raised their arm and bended it in a way Black couldn't. "You are physically incapable of using it."

Oh excellent. Black thought rolling his eyes.

"How about you?" He asked, offering Scorn the rifle. "Can you use it?"

"I… am not a soldier." Scorn said. "But if I must…"

Another screech came from the ceiling as Scorn grabbed the gun. They looked up, then turned back to Black.

"Chaos have nearly been rid from the train, they just need a bit of assistance in the next car over. Please stay here."

Scorn, with the rifle in one hand and plasma globe in the other, stood and hurried out of the cabin. Black turned to 105, who was still clutching the seat and staring at the door.

"You o-"

Black was interrupted by some force behind him. At first, he thought is was an explosion, but then he remembered explosions didn't exist in this world. Besides, it didn't feel or sound like an explosion. It felt more like a strong gust of wind, and it sounded like the sound barrier being broken. Almost like a repulse, rather than an explosion.

Whatever it was, it caused Black to fly to the other side of the cabin and smash his head into the wall. If it wasn't for his helmet, he almost certainly would've been knocked out.

Guess I should've been sitting. He thought as he waited to hit the ground. But that moment never came. Instead, Black felt like he was floating, as if gravity had suddenly disappeared.

Well this is weir-

Black's train of thought was cut short as he was slammed into the ground. Hard.

It took a good minute for Black's vision to stop blurring, and it took another for the ringing in his ears to stop. He spent the time laying on the ground, recollecting himself. After returning to relative normal, he pushed himself to his feet.

The train was tilted at an awkward angle, and was in a complete wreck. The entire left wall had been torn off, and bits of metal and debris were strewn everywhere. SCP-105 was laying on the floor, grasping its arm and looking at it with a pained expression.

"105?" Black said, walking over to it. "You hurt?"

It didn't answer him. Instead, it bowed its head and tried standing, but gasped in pain and fell back down.

"Easy." Black said, reaching out and helping it to its feet. It didn't say a word. It didn't even look at him. Rather, it limped out of the wreckage and into the purple field. Black was going to follow it, when a noise in the cabin over caught his attention.

Scorn. He thought.

Trying not to hurt himself, Black awkwardly made his way over to the door and stepped through.

The cabin itself was in much worse shape than the previous one. It looked like the explosion… or whatever destroyed the train… originated from here. A few guards laid dead around the wreckage, but there was no sign of any Chaos. No sign of Scorn eit-

A dull thud came from Black's right. He turned to see Scorn lift a large chunk of debris off their body and onto the floor. The Krekel made a hissing sound as Black made his way over.

"What happened?" He asked.

Scorn didn't response, instead reaching around and pulling out the plasma globe.


"What happened?" Black repeated as he touched the orb.

"The Chaos operative suicide ██████. They knew they were cornered, so they decided to take as many of us as possible."

"I see. Here, I'll help you up."

Grabbing Scorn's hand, Black pulled the Krekel to their feet.

"Thank you." They looked over Black's shoulder and around the cabin. "Where is Iris?"

"Outside." He replied. "It'll live."

"Very well." They said. "I advise we search the train for any more survivors. They may be wounded and in need of aid."

Black nodded, and the two began walking further into the train. At first, they didn't say much, just making their way across the cabin.

Once they entered the next car, however, Scorn spoke up.

"I have a question I've been wanting to ask you Agent Black."


"Why did you tell me Iris's desired name was SCP-105?"

Black went stone faced. He was hoping he wouldn't have to answer that.

"You asked me for its name." He eventually said. "So I gave it to you."

"Iris said SCP-105 was not her name."

"Maybe not the one it wants, but it's the one it has."

Scorn turned to Black, staring at him with their cold, insect like black eyes. It looked like they were going to say something, but didn't. Instead, they just turned back forward after a few minutes of silence.

"Another question." They continued. "Why do you use inanimate pronouns for Iris?"

"You mean why I call it an it?"

"Yes." Scorn replied. "At first I believed it was just a translation error, but now I'm not so certain."

Black thought for a moment. He wasn't in the mood for any debate telling the truth might spark.

"That's just its pronouns. Must be a translation error, like you said." Black half-lied.

"Perhaps." Scorn said. "Perhaps."

The two of them entered the next cabin. This one, unlike the last few, seemed mostly intact. There was a dead guard and a few dead Chaos on the floor, but other than that looked completely normal.

Well… normal for this reality.

"Your clothing…" Scorn started. "We analyzed it upon your discovery. While the material itself is foreign to us, the general make up and build of it is similar to the armor used by our guards and Strike Force operatives."

"…And?" Black said, though he had an idea of where this was going.

"I'm just curious, Agent Black. Why are you wearing something so heavily defensive?"

"I told you I was an explorer in my world. This is just what we wear."

"But Iris isn't wearing anything nearly that dense."

Black didn't respond.

"I'm beginning to question how honest you've been with me." Scorn said.

The Krekel stopped, causing Black to stop too. They turned and looked him right in the eyes.

"Agent Black, please understand that the Foundation is dedicated to helping you. Not just in the sense of providing sustenance and shelter, but also in ensuring your return home. I understand you being skeptical of us, but also understand we mean you no harm."

"Why are you implying?"

"You can be honest, Agent Black. We have no plans of keeping you here in our dimension."

The two stared at each other, neither saying anything. Eventually, Scorn turned, and they continued walking down the train.

"You claimed the green pool you feel into was an abnormal." Scorn said.

"Yeah." Black replied. "And?"

"You also claimed to have engaged the Special Object 354-B instances. Quite a coincidence to find yourself with several abnormal at once, especially since you are mere explorers."

Black didn't respond.

"Then there's your armor and weapons. Although we didn't know it at first, you confirmed that the objects we found on you specifically are supposed to be rifles. Admittedly, the mechanics of said rifles are incomprehensible to us, but the purpose is the same. I can't help but think you hold the occupation of soldier in your world, not explorer."

"Exploring is a dangerous business. You need to be armed like me."

"If that is the case, then why isn't Iris equipped like you?"

Again, Black didn't respond. They passed a door that got blown opened and into another room.

"You may have hoped I wouldn't pick up on this…" Scorn started. "But I know SCP-105 is a numerical designation, not a name. At first, I trusted that I was merely misunderstanding. However, I'm not so sure now."

"What are you saying?" Black said with the slightest bit of anxiety in him.

"You coming across that pool and those creatures wasn't an accident, was it Agent Black?"

He went silent.

They're onto me.

"Forgive me if I'm wrong, but you didn't go down into that cave to explore, you went down to eliminate."

Black stayed quiet.

"You can be honest with me, Agent Black. I have no plans of harming you, or keeping you in this reality. If it would make you feel better, I won't include what you say in the records."

He turned to the Krekel and sighed.

"In our world, I work for an organization that deals with anomalies… or abnormals. We study them, contain them, keep that out of the public mind, etc. We call ourselves the SCP Foundation."

Scorn let out a weird hiss.

"Astonishing. I would love to make contact somehow. I'm sure our combined knowledge would benefit both of us greatly."

The two walked through a door and into the next car.

"With the knowledge you work for an alternate SCP Foundation, I assume Iris is an abnormal?"

Black nodded. "Yes, it is."

"I see, and I'm assuming your Foundation enforces dehumanizing policies?"

He mentally flinched a little.

"Anomalies are objects." Black said. "You can't dehumanize what isn't human."

Scorn let out a bitter hiss.

"Do you honestly believe that?"

Black didn't reply.

"Tell me, Agent Black, do you enjoy objectifying Iris and any other sentient abnormal in your world?"

Black opened his mouth to speak, but didn't. In all honesty, he hated treating 105 so coldly. He hated treating anyone so coldly. He knew how much he had hurt 105, but he had to suppress the part of him that cared. It was protocol, and he had lost too much sleep after Lora.

"I know why I need to…" Black started. "Our Foundation, we do a lot of things that don't make us sleep so well. And sometimes, we have to do terrible things to skips like 105. I can't risk hesitating to do what needs to be done because I've grown attached it."

Scorn let out another deep, bitter hiss.

"You are wrong. You are so, extremely wrong."

"In what way?" He asked.

"Do you really believe think that what you call abnormals will effect your hesitation?"

Black thought for a moment, taking in what Scorn had just said. They had a point. If Black was forced to pull the trigger on 105, would he really hesitate less just because it was an SCP?

Of course I would. He thought.

"Yes." Black said. "Yes, it does make things easier."

"Then your race thinks differently than mine."

The two entered another train cabin.

"Long ago, before we established our Code of Ethics, we too dehumanized and objectified sentient abnormals. We told ourselves the same thing you tell yourself now, that by treating abnormals as inferior beings, we would be able to do what needed to be done without losing ourselves."

Scorn turned to Black. "Do you know what we later came to realize?"


"It didn't matter." They said, looking forward. "We hesitated just as much as when we humanized. We empathized just as much when we did horrible things, and make no mistake, we do horrible things. The difference is we ignored suffering."

"Elaborate." Black said.

"We allowed bad things to happen that didn't need to happen. We ignored their weeping and pain. We still empathized, but by treating them as objects, we were never able to justify bringing an end to it. We weren't saving our humanity, we were suffocating it."

The Krekel looked at Black. "You have done terrible things before, if your Foundation is anything like ours. Tell me, do you really feel better about those things by pretending the one hurt could never feel?"

Black thought back, back to Lora. Truly, without a doubt, one of the worst things he had ever done. And the more he thought about it, the more he started to question it. He had spent years telling himself that Lora wasn't really a person, that they were an SCP object.

And yet, the nightmares and guilt still came.

How many times had he woken up at 4 in the morning in a pool of cold sweat? How many times had he replayed Lora's death over and over and over again in his head? How many times had he fantasized the operation going differently?

If Lora truly was just an object to Black, then why is she so hard to think about?

"Do you understand ██████?"

Black snapped back into the real world. "No."

The cabin door opened, and the two walked through. The room they entered was different from the others. A large window covered the further wall, with a row of consoles were lined up beneath it. It looked like this was the front of the train.

A dead guard laid with their body over the console. Black assumed they were the pilot or driver of the train. To Black's immediate right was a Krekel in green armor. A Chaos operative. In their arms was a boxy rifle, aimed forward.

Black was about to ignore the Krekel, but something made him stop and take another look. The Chaos operative had moved its head up slightly.

They're still alive.

A muted whirring sound came from the rifle. Black's eyes widened as he took a guess at what was about to happen.

He quickly side stepped as a hard bang came from the Chao's gun. Black caught a glimpse of something small and white fly past him.

A sharp hissing came from behind Black. He turned in time to see Scorn clutch their chest and fall to the ground.

The whirring returned, the Chaos was revving up for another shot.

Black tore his knife from its holster and bolted at the Krekel. He used his free arm to bat the barrel of the gun away.

It fired, and the window shattered as another white object flew through it.

Black held up his knife and plunged it into the Chao's lipless mouth. It struggled some, but it was evident that it was wounded. All it could do was hiss, before falling silent and motionless.

Sheathing the blade, Black turned and hurried over to downed Krekel.

"Scorn!" Black said, kneeling down and removing his helmet. "Don't worry, I'll get you out of this."

"No… you won't." They spat. "The bullet… pierced my ██████. I won't survive."

"Shit." Black hissed.

"You must… reach Special Object… 354-C… on your own. Everyone else… is dead."


"The rail line… leads directly to the pool. It's a 3 mile walk."

Scorn reached into one of their vest pockets and pulled out the long piece of paper.

"Give this… to the guards. They will… let you enter."

Black reached down and took the parchment.

"Take… Special Object… 1134. Use it to communicate… with my kind."

Black pulled at the orb, but stopped when Scorn's grip didn't loosen.

"You said… you did not understand… ██████… correct."

"No." He replied. "No I don't."

"It means doing good… in the name of evil… which our culture… considers the greatest sin. There is no crime… more despicable… or dangerous… than masking your evil actions… with good intentions."

Doing evil in the name of good.

Never had Black heard a sentence that described the Foundation so well. They did do evils, a lot of them. But it was always with the notion that worse evils would happen if the smaller evils didn't.

There was a saying that everyone in the Foundation knew: 'we die in the dark so you can live in the light.' It was meant to symbolize the veil, and how the Foundation kept anomalies secret so the world could live in peace.

There was another saying that was starting to catch on, especially within the ranks of MTF:

We go to hell so you can live in heaven.

"Listen to me… Agent Black." Scorn said, placing their free hand on Black's shoulder. "Do not allow… your good intentions… to justify… your evil actions. Evil… is never… justified."

Scorn dropped their hand to the ground.

"Don't… be… evil."

They didn't say anything after that. They didn't move after that.

Black sat there in silence, looking at Scorn and thinking about what he had just heard.

Then, he put the plasma globe and paper in his backpack. Standing, he left the Krekel in their final resting place.

Black stepped out of the wreckage and looked around. Debris, train parts, and busted rail line were scattered all around the general vicinity. SCP-105 was sitting in the grass about 30 feet in front of the crash, one arm on the grass and one arm on its ankle.

"Scorn's dead." Black said. "As well as everyone else on the train, we're all that's left."

105 didn't respond.

"Before they died, Scorn told me how to get back." He started. "All we need to do is follow the line for about three miles, then we'll be at the pool. Let's get going."

Black took a few steps, but stopped when he noticed the anomaly hadn't moved.

"You hurt?"

105 didn't respond

Black sighed. "We don't have time for this. We need to get moving."

He turned and took another step, but again stopped when the object didn't so much as budge.

"You coming?"

It didn't answer.

"105, if you stay here, you will die." Black said flatly.

"Why do you care?" It said quietly.

Black frowned. "Why wouldn't I?"

It let out a bitter laugh. "You said so yourself, I'm just an object. I'm a resource, thus I don't matter."

Black sighed. "Look, I never said-"

"NEVER SAID WHAT?!" 105 snapped, turning to him. Its eyes and cheeks were moist. "That I don't feel? Because you sure as hell act like it! You called me an object! You called me property! You replaced my name with a number! And you act like it doesn't matter!"

It was shaking now, rage running through it. "If it was just you, MAYBE I could ignore it. Just lower my head and suck it up, treating you like any other asshole I've interacted with. But it isn't just you! It's everyone! Doctors, guards, other MTFs. Hell, the agents on Team Abel refuse to use my name, and they're on the same goddamn task force!"

Black opened his mouth. "It's against protocol to-"

"TO HELL WITH YOUR FUCKING PROTOCOL! AUGH!" It let out yell of pain as it failed to get to its feet. Gritting its teeth, 105 tried again, this time pushing itself up.

Something's wrong with its leg.

"Do you have any idea what it's like for the world to see you as an object?! To have everyone in your life actively avoid showing the slimmest bit of compassion?! No you don't! Because you've had the luxury of being considered normal! You'll never be locked up just for existing!"

"Anomalies are a threat to normality."


"You…" He started. "You just are."


"…You threaten the security of the veil."


Black opened his mouth to respond. Because the Foundation deems you a threat is what he was going to say.

But something stopped him. Something inside him stopped him. Something he had been trying to suppress for years.

105, with a red face and balled up hands, continued yelling.

"I COULD BE NORMAL IF I WANTED TO! I WAS NORMAL BEFORE… Before…" Tears began streaming down its face as its voice began to waver. "Before I watched my best friend die in front of me. Before I watched my NEXT best friend die in front of me. Before the papers labeled me a murderer and turned everyone against me. And before the FOUNDATION THREW ME IN A BOX!" It began yelling again.


It was heaving now, running out of breath. "Everyone I love is either dead or thinks I'm dead, and the only thing waiting for me on the other side of the portal is a five by five cell and cold rations. What makes you think I would EVER want to go back? If that's the way to our reality, then I'm going this way! Augh!"

105 grunted again as it limped in the opposite direction of the pool. Then it limped again, then again, then again.

Black stood in silence as he watched the anomaly hobble off.

Nothing could stop the overwhelming feeling of guilt that was building up in him. He thought back to everything Scorn had said in their last few minutes alive. Specifically, about if dehumanizing really caused Black to detach himself from anomalies. Now he had a solid answer:


Even after objectifying 105, after following SCP reference protocols and treating it as a thing, he still found himself empathizing with it. The same with Lora. The reason Black had nightmares was because he COULDN'T just not feel. He couldn't just look at Lora and not see a young girl.

It wasn't who he was, and now he had made 105's life miserable. Ironic, as he had told himself acting the way he acted was the only way to keep life from being miserable.

The part of Black he had tried to suppress ever since that Christmas day had finally taken control. He just couldn't continue to pretend he didn't care. He couldn't pretend he didn't feel for…

"Iris." Black called out.

The girl stopped dead in her track, then turned around. Confusion and shock covered her face.

The two stared at each other for several seconds in silence, then the expression on Iris's face dropped.

"I'm going to spend the rest of my life as an SCP, aren't I?"

"Yes, you are."

Silence once again fell over the two.

Iris's lip quivered, then she dropped to her knees and broke down sobbing.


Black stood in silence as the girl wept. As he watched, he couldn't help but feel that there was more contributing to her misery than his objectification.

I'd keep an eye on it, Black. MTFs are no place for a child. Just… make sure it doesn't get overwhelmed. Rigby's voice echoed in his ear.

Something told Black it was far too late for that, even before they fell into the pool.

Iris sniffled a few times and took a shaky breath.

"I- I was h- ho-" Her voice broke. "h- h- hoping that if I- joined Omega-7, and d- did what the F- F- Foundation wanted, I'd eventually b- be set free. That m- maybe after a few months or even a few y- y- years of service, they w- would look at- all I've done for them, and t- they'd let me go h- h- home."

"The Foundation doesn't work like that, I'm sorry." Black said.

Iris nodded in response. "I… I feared t- that was the c- case." She sniffed. "I just… t- tried to stay positive. H- held out ho- hope that… everyth- thing would be ok. That's w- what my m- mom always t- tol- to-." Her voice broke as another wave of tears streamed out. "…mom…" She whispered.

"Look." He said sighing, walking towards the girl. "You're right about a lot of things. About how I'll never understand what it's like to be an SCP, how you're not a threat to normality, even how I'm an a-hole."

Black stopped over her. She kept her head bowed, not looking at him.

"But there is one thing I'm confident you're wrong about, and that's how there's nothing left for you in our world."

"Everyone I love thinks I died trying to escape an insane asylum." Iris said, keeping her head down.

"What about Team Iris?" Black said. She didn't respond. "You said the agents on Team Able call you SCP-105, but not the agents on Team Iris. In fact, I've seen first hand them not only calling you by name, but defending you and encouraging others to call you by name. You telling me they aren't your friends?"

Again, Iris didn't respond.

"Are they your friends?" Black said after a few moments of silence.

Iris shrugged. "I… suppose…"

"You suppose?"

The girl took a shaky breath. "They… protect me… and treat me like a person. I don't know if that qualifies as a friend."

Black shook his head. "How long have you known them?"

"About a week."

"And how have they treated you in that week? At least compared to everyone else?"

Iris didn't answer immediately. "Well. Really… really well."

"And how do you think they'd feel if I returned without you? If I told them you stayed here of your own choice?" He asked.

The girl again remained silent.

Black sighed and crouched down. "Iris, I know life as an SCP sucks. I can only imagine what it's like to be unwillingly pulled from a normal life into this one. But that doesn't mean everything's bad. There are people in your life who care about you, and you can't give up on them just because things are rough."

Iris didn't say anything, but her breathing implied she was calming down.

"Now, are you ready to go back to our reality?"

Iris took a shaky breath and looked up at him. Her eyes were red and moist, and her cheeks were shining with drying tears.

"Ok…" She said softly, her voice now steady. "Ok."

"Good." Black said smirking. "Now, we do have to get moving. The sun extracts energy, remember? And I don't know how long the night cycles are. But first…"

He swung his backpack to the ground and opened it.

"Let's get that cut bandaged up." He pulled out the gauze and took Iris's bloodied arm. He wrapped up the wound in several layers before tearing the bandage. Iris pulled the arm close to her chest and rubbed it.

"I also hurt my ankle."

"I noticed." He said. "Show me your foot."

Iris outstretched her leg. Black gently began taking off her boot, then pulled her sock off and rolled up her pant leg.

"Oh yeah." Black said, nodding. "I'm no medic, but that's definitely sprained. Shoot."

"You said it was a 3 mile walk to the pool."

"Yeah." He replied, putting her sock back on. Placing a hand on his chin, he pondered how to approach this.

"The problem is my ankle." Iris said, looking down her leg. "I could try walking only on my toes."

"That will still put some pressure on the wound."

"Well do you have a better idea?" Iris retorted.

No I don't.

Black sighed. "Fine. Here, I'll help you up."

He took Iris's hand and pulled her into a standing position. She lifted her left heel so that she was only standing on the front half of her foot. She took an experimental step, and inhaled sharply.

"You ok?" Black asked, reaching out in case she fell.

"This will work." She said.

"You sure?"

"Yes, I can do this."

Black looked around the wreckage site.

"At least let me help you some." He said, stepping close to her. "Hold onto my shoulder."

Iris reached up and did what she was told, gripping his right shoulder with her left hand.

"Are you ready?" He asked.

"Yeah." She responded. "Let's get going, Black."

The two of them began walking in the direction of the pool.

"If you wanted…" Black said after a few steps. "You can just call me David."

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