Empty Oceans
rating: +16+x

« SCP-4373

Site Director Boris Vilakova woke to light filtering through the waves outside his bedroom's porthole. As usual the first thing he thought of was O5-1's email last month. Boris closed his eyes. Despite his attempts to do otherwise, his mind locked onto that message with immobilizing obsession until the aroma of pan-fried ham pulled him out of his bunk faster than his duties ever could. He followed the scent out of his quarters and down to the Site-189 kitchens where Researcher Grooms stood over the stove top.

"I thought we were saving the pork." Boris questioned before grabbing a cup of coffee and sitting at the kitchen table.

"I'm tired of fish and don't you dare mention whale." Grooms replied, not bothering to look up. "The supply shipment should be here soon anyway."

Boris shrugged.

"You didn't have to listen to the sounds the whales made as they were put down. They are smart enough to know they are about to be slaughtered." Grooms looked off into space for a moment as he talked.

"Its better than another cascade event. Besides, the Foundation isn't going to raise our budget any time soon." Boris shook his head before sighing, "But I won't pass up a change in breakfast. Bacon's got nothing on minke for greasiness."

A loud clank against the hull of the site interrupted the prospect of breakfast. Vilakova raised his brow and turned in the direction of the sudden noise. Another pang on the metalwork of the sea lab brought the Site Director out of his seat. A third bang on the airlock followed by a deep bellow had the two of them scrambling for their spearguns.

"GEORGIE!" Someone screeched in the water outside, the pitch vibrated something thin and fragile in their minds.

"Georgie?" Researcher Grooms recognized that name. "You don't think its that SPC agent I interviewed do you?" Grooms looked over to Boris as the bolt to the exterior door of the airlock moved in periodic jolts.

"We amnesticized him. He shouldn't remember this place, much less that we brought his porpoise here."

The airlock door creaked open and filled the space with sea water as the figure of Coach Russel flowed in. He closed the door and ripped off his re-breather, exposing bloodshot eyes and a look of sleepless mania.

"I'm coming for you, Georgie!" Russel screamed at the two of them.

"Do… do we call for a Task Force?" Grooms asked as Russel struggled against the reinforced lock of the interior door.

"They are just going to ask why we can't take care of it ourselves. You know what? I would have to agree with them on this one." Boris raised his speargun towards the door and trained it on Russel, "This site is for authorized personnel only! You have thirty seconds to leave before we…"

"Um… Boris?" Grooms tapped on Boris's shoulder and pointed him towards the kitchen porthole.

Just outside the windows floated pods of dolphins and Minke whales, each one staring directly at the two of them. Their black eyes reflected the baffled faces of Director Vilakova and Researcher Grooms before a high pitch whine twisted them into an agonized grimaces.

Russel cried out as he threw himself against the reinforced glass door.

The porpoise and whale chatter grew in volume and forced Boris's eyes closed. Amid flashes of pain he saw images of unblinking eyes glowing in the darkness, weighing on him like boulders. Static washed over his senses until he felt the speargun drop out of his hand. He keeled over and landed on his back next to Grooms as the sound of cracking reinforced glass filled the air.

"Where is my Georgie? Why do I keep hearing him? Why can't I get his screams out of my head?" Russel broke down in front of the two and wept.

The ocean was quiet. Other than the wind lapping the waves and the familiar hum of the motorboat's engine, Researcher Nia heard nothing at all. She took a jar tied to a bit of rope and lowered it into the ocean, some of the water splashed up as it sank under the waves. She let the glass jar float for a few moments before pulling it back out. The jar was full of sea water and a few small shards of plastic. Nia filled several more jars in the same manner and turned the motorboat around to head back to shore.

When Nia arrived back at shore she found her wife, Researcher Graylin, sitting on the beach just as she had expected. What Nia hadn't expected, however was that one of her colleagues was also there. Coach Damon, the one of the leaders of the Shark Punching Center branch in America, sat on an ice chest looking across the sea with a bored look on his face. Nia got the boat as close to shore as she possibly could and stepped out of it walking towards them. Damon stood to his feet and stepped to the side.

"What are you doing here, sir?" Nia asked.

"Good question!' Coach Damon said with a sudden smile. He reached down and unclasped the ice chest's list.

"So something weird has happened and I want to get my science girls take on it. You see, I was out fishing with the boys, I've had a lot of free time ever since we started using Pattern Screamers to punch sharks, and I caught this." Damon lifted the lid then stepped back with a dramatic flourish. Inside was ice and nothing else."

"Sir, there's nothing in there."

"Precisely." Coach Damon had a self-satisfied look on his face. "Now, I'll confess that I'm not the world's greatest fisherman or anything, I'm more of the old school fisticuffs type, but I think that even I should have caught at least something after three days of deep water fishing."

Nia nodded. She motioned towards the jars of water in the back of her boat.

"Water samples?" Damon asked.

"Exactly. Though it's not the water I'm checking directly, it's the things living it. I need to get some readings on the plankton levels in here."

"So you've noticed it to? It's like everything in the ocean just disappeared"

"Is there anyone who hasn't?" Damon opened his mouth like he was about to say something, but then hesitated. It was true, whatever weirdness was going on in the ocean had been talked about in the Center for more than a month already.

"Fair point…" Damon said somewhat sheepishly. He shook his head "So I suppose that means we all agree that this is a problem right?" The two women nodded in near unison.

"Excellent, now what do we do about it?"


Damon took another sip of coffee and looked over the email one more time just to make sure that it wasn't a hallucination. Unfortunately reality did not bend to remove it and it remained staring at him.

To: Coach Damon
From: Charles Plinth
Thank you for your concern and for contacting me about this issue of yours. So, I know that you and your blokes are really concerned about the cute little fishes and crabs and barnacles and want us to do something about it. Well, we've come to a decision. And that decision is a firm 'no'. Thanks to the Pattern Screamers, we've punched 99% of all sharks. As we speak the Grand Pugilator is on the verge of announcing total victory over the Selachian menace. We're even turning SPC-682 back into a gecko so that we won't be stuck with him as the last shark in the world. So in short, while I do see your concern and the fish caught in the crossfire are unfortunate, we, an organization formed explicitly to fight sharks simply cannot afford to pass up an opportunity to KO the entire Selachian Order. Sorry, but the Screamers are here to stay.
Sincerely, Charles Plinth, Bodacious Assembly
P.S. Also fuck you.

Damon nearly punched the computer, but managed to stop himself thanks to his years of Selachian Pugilition training. He took several deep breaths just as he had practiced, then got up from his desk to find something to eat. He got himself a bowl of multigrain cereal, but he had only eaten one bite when he got an urgent phone call from Graylin.

"Yeah" he said into his cellphone while holding his cereal bowl with his other hand.

"It's bad…" Graylin said "Really, really bad." Damon took a deep breath.

"I'm ready."

"We've lost half our plankton." Graylin explained "This isn't a mistake, the ocean is being emptied. If this is what happens after a month I'm not sure that I want to know what will be going on in a year. Assuming that any of us are still alive." Damon cringed a bit at that last line. To anyone else it may sound like doomsowing and fear-mongering, but after what he had seen he bought it.

"So what's the diagnosis if we lose all ocean life."

"Well… after the massive climate change from the atmosphere losing most of its oxygen production, total collapse of all fishing based cultures, mass unemployment and major hit to the world economy… I say that it will be pretty bad." Damon bit his lip; for nearly the first time in his life he had no clue what to do. His mind was blank.

"They said they won't stop it."


"Sorry, I tried but… look, we all oppose sharks. We're in the SPC after all. But the current Assembly, they're batshit about shark punching. Like, I've noticed the Assembly getting more and more radicalized for a while now, but even I hadn't known they were this bad. It's like… like…"

"Fuck." Graylin suddenly said from the other line "It's that bad huh?"


"Fuck." there was silence on the other end for several seconds before Damon heard a long, tired sigh.

"Okay… I had thought of a contingency in case of this." She took a deep breath. "I know this is going to be… untraditional… but…" She sighed again. "If the Center isn't going to help us, maybe we can find someone who can…. I think we should call the SCP Foundation." Damon wanted to suddenly loudly yell 'What', but he stopped himself when he realized that actually sounded like a good idea.

"You… you sure?" he asked, sounding somewhat sheepish.

"I think so… I don't know what else to do really. Also…" Graylin continued, "I tried to get in touch with Gibraltar, the place where they're training these things, and no one got back to me except Charles." Something went off inside Damon's brain at the mention of that.

"Well… I guess that settles it." As much as he hated to admit it, they really were running out of options. "Do you have that Boris guy's number?"

Boris felt as if he was in two places at once. He could still feel himself lying on the cold metal floor, but at the same time he could feel another place. And that place was nowhere. Infinite nothingness seemed to squeeze in from all sides, crushing him smaller than a proton, it wasn't empty space that surrounded him. It was absolutely nothing.

Then he felt something slam on his ears and he was pulled back to reality. Director Vilakova saw Grooms looming over him. He reached his hand up and felt at his ears. Grooms had given him earplugs, the military grade type. They didn't fully block out the sound, but they blocked it out enough. Boris smiled as he realized that Grooms had been prepared. Grooms pulled him to his feet then they both ran over and grabbed Russel before dragging him deeper into the facility. At first Russel seemed near catatonic, but when they got further from the corrupted whales, he started to blink. When they reached a storage room at the center of Site-189, he sat up.

"Shit…" Boris shook his head as they collected themselves. "So that's what it feels like to be a shark who hears this…"

Russel seemed shaken but steadily got up to his feet.

"I… I thought that SPC-3930 only worked on sharks." Russel stammered out.

"Apparently they're getting more powerful…" Grooms huffed before signalling the group towards the submarine bay.

"The Assembly just sanctioned SPC-3930's use for the entire Center. We've raised thousands of dolphins for it." Russel shuddered as they carried him into the bay and leaned him on the railing of the sub pool.

"In to the pod." Boris pointed Russel to the submarine hatch while Grooms tiptoed onto the submersible to unlatch it.

"They can follow us out there," Russel warned them as he followed Grooms down the sub hatch.

"The sub's audio insulated. That plus the plugs should keep us safe until we reach land," Vilakova insisted, and sealed the hatch behind them.

The three secured themselves as Grooms keyed in the command to detach from the site dock. The bolt jolted and shook the occupants as it pulled out and the submersible sunk another meter into the water.

"We need to go to Gibraltar." Russel turned both the Foundation staffs' heads at the comment.

"You want to head to Gibraltar in this thing? Over 800 km of open ocean with those dolphins and who knows what else out there?" Grooms checked his sanity.

"I have friends there that will help. They have the common sense that the assembly has punched out of themselves." Russel nodded.

"Do it. We'll send a report to Coastal Site-131 once we surface." Boris silenced Grooms' concerns.

Grooms piloted the submarine down and out of the dock where the hulking form of a humpback whale awaited them just beyond the site foundation struts.

"Don't worry, they won't hurt us." Russel reassured them.

"Given what just happened, I'm not inclined to believe you." Director Vilakova narrowed his eyes at the SPC agent.

"They are just regular dolphins other than the sound they can make. Georgie was always just a regular old dolphin besides the whole paralyzing noise thing." Russel nodded as Grooms piloted the vessel out from under Site-189, "Speaking of, where is Georgie? I miss my little buddy."

"Um…" Grooms froze in his seat at the question.

"He was released last week," Boris answered with the unflinching tone of a professional liar. Boris and Grooms exchanged nervous glances and the director shrugged.

Russel sighed. "It's just… when I dream I keep getting images of him in pain. I also smell something with the images, are you normally supposed to be able to smell stuff in a dream?"

"What smell?" Grooms asked feeling concerned. Outside the window he saw packs of whales floating past them as the submarine neared the surface.

"Yeah, it smells pleasant but something about it makes me queasy. I get this taste like beef liver in my mouth when I think of it." Russel shuddered at the memory, "I just hope Georgie is doing well out there. It's a big ocean after all…"

"Okay…" Russel said as he looked at a computer monitor. "Looks like we'll be arriving at the base in… maybe half a day."

"Thank god for that." Grooms muttered. He pointed with his thumb out the port-hole. Dolphins and whales surrounded the submarine on all sides. They were the only sea life that the group had met for miles. Grooms looked away from the porthole and tried to ignore the song that was still leaking in through the walls.

"We need to lose them," Grooms said. "I want to get a message off to Site-131 as soon as possible."

"There is no way they can keep up with this submarine at its top speed," Boris said, looking at a blue whale swimming behind the submarine. "In an hour we'll surface and send the signal." As soon as the words were out of his mouth though, he realized that, given what he knew of the universe, he couldn't dismiss the possibility they could keep up with the submarine. Still, they really didn't have much of a choice in the matter. Boris shook his head and walked towards the back of the sub where he wouldn't have to look at the Celachians chasing after them.

Sure enough, two hours later the Celachians had fallen out of sight and they had a clear shot to the surface. Grooms pulled the submarine up and they slowly rose to the surface, emerging under bright morning sunlight. The top of the submarine breached the surface, exposing its antenna to the air and allowing for two-way communication. Grooms sent in a radio signal to Site-131; it only took a few seconds to get a response.

"Are you still alive?" A feminine voice from the other end came in.

"For now. Site-189 was attacked by porpoises."


"Yes, porpoises. And there were even some dolphins with them." Grooms said, suddenly he realized how exhausted he felt.

"Yes, the SCP-4373-1 entities, the one we've been dealing with." Boris joined the line to confirm.

"Understood, come back to Site-131. I think the Site Director will want to see your findings." The operator relayed orders.

"Roger that, but we'll be stopping at Gibraltar. There's an SPC base there we'll be stopping by." Boris took command of the line as he stared out the rear porthole.

"SPC… you mean the Shark Punching Center?"

"Yes, we have an agent of theirs with us."

The voice on the other end was silent, but after a few seconds she continued.

"Okay… just… be careful there."

"We will."

"I had been expecting a call from you two," a new voice said, suddenly butting into the conversation. Boris recognized the new speaker as the director of Site-131, Elijah Baley.

"The Foundation have been sending out marine MTFs for two weeks straight. Something big is happening but I'm not sure what it is yet. We received a communication from the SPC, addressed to you, Boris. I was hoping you could shed some light onto why they would be reaching out to you."

"I've spent more of my life under the waves than above them, Director Baley. That has afforded me more than one interaction with the Center."

"All the same, the recent sequence of events has left the bigwigs rather… concerned about you," Elijah prattled on the line.

"If they had taken me seriously to begin with, there would be no events to arouse such concern," Boris sighed before pacing back to his seat. "Now can you forward me the message?"

"Forwarding now. Good luck out there, Boris."

"I think we're here."

The lights of the Shark Punching Center main assembly hall glowed bright orange in the murky dark of the deep waters. Overhead and not far to their east lay Gibraltar where Site-131 waited for word from the O5 council to begin another fish restocking mission.

"Awfully quiet here. I thought the place would be swarming with cetaceans." Grooms grimaced at the grim emptiness of the waters in front of them.

"We rounded up most of the local ones for training with SPC-3930. They should be in a pool beneath the main assembly."

"Get us in there, Grooms," Boris commanded.

"One second, broadcasting docking codes. You should see some lights guiding you to the sub bay." Russel punched a number in to the comm station and a string of lights lit up along the ocean floor in response.

Grooms piloted the sub along them and under the titanic structure of the assembly hall until they spotted an open dock above. The submarine breached the surface of the docking pool and a mechanical arm extended to lock onto their ship. Boris unlatched the hatch of the submarine and let it creak open in the empty submarine bay. He raised his head out of the craft and scanned the area before pulling the rest of himself out before being passed a speargun by Grooms.

"Ok, now where is this pool they are keeping the dolphins at?" Boris asked as the three of them vaulted over the pool railing of the empty bay.

"We have a mass training facility beneath the assembly hall. This way." Russel motioned towards the exit across the multitude of parked submarines.

The three walked down the empty corridors amid a spine-tingling quiet. The halls were empty, like the building had been abandoned.

"Is this place always so quiet?" Grooms asked.

"No," Russel said. "This is new…" In the distance, the ghostly wailing of whales echoed from the deep beyond the hall portholes. Russel brought them to a stairwell and led them down until they approached a metallic doorway marked "Training Center/Centre".

"So, what is this Foundation of yours going to do when they get here?" Russel cleared his throat before broaching the topic.

"Probably release them depending on global cetacean population level." Boris brought a sigh of relief out of Russel with the news.

"Oh good. I was fearing they would just kill them all. Maybe they can find Georgie out there when released?"

"I wouldn't count on it. Like you said, it's a big ocean out there." Grooms kept his face taut as they came up to the door. "Also, shouldn't have we seen some more of you Center guys by now?" The place felt near abandoned, Grooms couldn't even remember hearing footsteps in the entire facility.

"We have been busy finishing off the Selachian menace. The Center went into high gear once we confirmed the effectiveness of SPC-3930. I barely got a day's rest between missions before the whale calls started getting to me." Russel shook his head and rubbed his temple at the memory, "I wonder if anyone else got those dreams."

"Let's hope no one's home then." Boris motioned Grooms towards the entry and raised his speargun in preparation for the unknown.

Nia sighed and closed the comm line after the sixth attempt to contact the SPC base in Gibraltar.

"Still no answer and the emergency line is broadcasting a red alert."

"Well shit. The docking clamps look like they're on lockdown too." Damon twisted his lips in contemplation. "And it looks like Boris beat us here if that SCP sub docked there is any indication."

Damon pointed out the forward window at the Foundation insignia on the docked submarine. Nia and Graylin paced to the front of the sub and watched whales circle above the base. Their calls vibrated along the walls of the sub and the nerves of its crew.

"I… I think we need to get in there." Nia pressed her hand on the glass and felt the vibrations reinforce the idea. "Now."

"Well the docking bay is a no-go," Damon reiterated.

"Do we not have weapons on this thing?" Graylin slumped into a seat and mused.

"We're not the Shark Exploding Center." Nia shook her head, "Although I've seen some impressive arguments for explosive punching techniques."

"Well, there is an idea." Damon rubbed his chin, then he smiled, "I think we can use some explosive punching techniques of our own."

"Damon… what are you planning?" Nia looked at the coach and raised a brow.

"Buckle up."

Grooms and Russel pushed against the large steel ingress which squeaked as it turned on its hinges until the three stood with their mouths gaping at the sight. Before them was a massive pool filled with chattering porpoises and the bloated remains of countless humans. Russel staggered up to the waterline and dropped to his knees as dolphins swarmed around him.

"Wha… what? Why?" Russel stammered out as the porpoises gathered about a point and hoisted a body out of the water.

"It is the trade we made. Easy payment for the end of the Selachian threat." The dolphins pushed the figure of Charles Plinth out of the water; his bloated eyes glowed with a dim orange light and tracked the three of them with bloodshot intensity. Russel heard the sound of Grooms puking behind him as Charles stepped foot out of the water. "The era of the shark is over! Our allies deep in the void require only our lives as payment. A fair bargain if you ask me."

"You… you brought them all down here. Didn't you?!" Russel shot up to his feet, raised his speargun, and fired on Charles without a second thought.

The spear flew out the gun with a burst of pressurized air and lodged itself in Charles' chest. Charles pulled a waterlogged limb up to the spear and yanked it free without so much as a flinch. Nothing flowed out of the new opening in his body. Charles grinned and nothing leaked out the edges of his mouth, dripping down his face. Two more spears struck him but they did no more than the first. Charles turned the spear around aiming it at Russel. The SPC Coach switched to a boxing stance, but the thing that had used to be Charles jumped forward and stabbed at him with the spear. Russel cursed and staggered back, narrowly dodging the strike.

The song from the Cetaceans in the tank started growing in intensity, creating an eerie choir. A few of the other corpses started moving slightly. Grooms suddenly shouted and jumped forward before bashing Charles over the head with his empty speargun. The blow snapped Charles neck with a loud crack and sent him stumbling forward. Charles yelled something incoherent and spun around, slashing with the spear. He glanced Groom's cheek causing an arc of blood to fly out and the researcher to scream.

Charles pulled the spear back then stabbed forward, but Grooms raised his arm just in time and the spear sunk into his bicep shooting a small geyser of blood. Russel ran at Charles from behind, but the dead man slammed his spear back, hitting Russel in the gut and knocking him off his feet. He raised his spear and aimed it at Groom's neck… but then there was a massive crash noise from right behind them and the entire base shook. By the time Charles refocused himself on the intruders, Boris had closed the distance and thrust the open gas tank of his speargun into the engorged monstrosity.

Nia forced herself to her feet amid the shattered glass of the submarine deck. Water leaked in through the cracks of the breach they had made in the hull of the base. Her head was ringing. She spat blood to the side and then took several shaking steps forward, nearly collapsing again in the process. She carefully made her way over some torn metal before she ran into Damon, who was standing with a wide smile on his face despite the expansive cut on his forehead.

"What the fuck were you thinking?" Nia yelled at him. "You could have gotten us killed!"

"Could have!" Damon said excitedly, "But I didn't."

Nia spat out some more blood. Damon stepped through the hole in the plate glass and into the SPC base they had just crashed the submarine into. Nia followed him out after pulling Graylin to her feet and out of the vessel lodged into the wall. On the inside the emergency lights had turned on and water was leaking in, coming up to their ankles so far but gradually rising. Their were not nearly as many SPC Agents in the base as Nia had expected. The few who were there were mostly concerned with avoiding the rising water and didn't pay the group much mind. Damon suddenly took a turn through a door to the right and Nia realized that he was not walking aimlessly; he actually knew where he was going.

"I think this is it…" he said as they arrived at a heavy metal door which already seemed partly open. The squeezed inside and found three men, none of whom Nia recognized and one of whom was gushing blood, stabbing a… thing lying on the ground with spears. Behind them was an immense tank full of dolphins and human corpses. Nia gagged and Graylin took a step backwards.

"Boris? Grooms?" Damon called out. One of the men stopped stabbing the entity and looked up at him.

"Coach Damon I presume?"

"Come on, we're your backup." Damon pointed behind him, and after a moment's hesitation the three men ran over to him. They squeezed back out into the rapidly flooding base and started running.

"You guys have your own submarine right?" Coach Damon asked them.

"Actually, yes. I think I know how to get to where it is from here." Behind them the whale song that had been omnipresent throughout their time in the base started to grow in volume. Boris remembered the feeling of being compressed infinitely small and realized that soon the possessed dolphins would be able to swim to reach them.

"I think it's time we got out of here…" he said as he grabbed Grooms and helped him stand up.

The group ran down almost half a dozen corridors filled with not much more than water before they once again reached the submarine. Fortunately the submarine was still above water. Unfortunately the mechanical arm was still locking it in place. Damon muttered under his breath and pulled out his cell phone.

"I'm gonna call Eric, hopefully he's still here." As Damon did that, Boris walked over and started examining the arm, trying to think of a way to break the submarine out of it.

"You know…" Nia said, "It looks like the submarine will be underwater soon. Can't we just use the sub's own motor to break away once we're fully underwater?" Damon hesitated, but when he noticed that no one was picking up his call he shrugged. The water had reached up to their waists.

"Everyone in." The group boarded the submarine and closed the hatch behind them. Grooms caught a glimpse of glowing eyes watching them from the surrounding water. Soon enough, the water level rose high enough and Grooms lowered the ship, using only his good hand to manipulate the controls. The mechanical arm resisted, but the water and damage from the sub impacting the facility seemed to have weakened it. Grooms set the submarine forward at full gear and it broke away, trailing bits of damaged machinery behind it. They shot down and then forward, leaving the base behind and emerging into dark water illuminated by nothing but their own lights.

The darkness was thick around them, dropping their visibility to zero everywhere except straight ahead. And in the dim area illuminated by the submarine they could see swarming dolphins, whales and porpoises. Hundreds of them. Even through their ear plugs and the submarine's soundproofing, everyone could still hear their song. Researcher Grooms continued forward regardless of them, and turned course to head in the direction of Coastal Site-131.

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