Four Agents And A Campfire, 2092

rating: +17+x

What this is

A bunch of miscellaneous CSS 'improvements' that I, CroquemboucheCroquembouche, use on a bunch of pages because I think it makes them easier to deal with.

The changes this component makes are bunch of really trivial modifications to ease the writing experience and to make documenting components/themes a bit easier (which I do a lot). It doesn't change anything about the page visually for the reader — the changes are for the writer.

I wouldn't expect translations of articles that use this component to also use this component, unless the translator likes it and would want to use it anyway.

This component probably won't conflict with other components or themes, and even if it does, it probably won't matter too much.

Usage

On any wiki:

[[include :scp-wiki:component:croqstyle]]

This component is designed to be used on other components. When using on another component, be sure to add this inside the component's [[iftags]] block, so that users of your component are not forced into also using Croqstyle.

Related components

Other personal styling components (which change just a couple things):

Personal styling themes (which are visual overhauls):

CSS changes

Reasonably-sized footnotes

Stops footnotes from being a million miles wide, so that you can actually read them.

.hovertip { max-width: 400px; }

Monospace edit/code

Makes the edit textbox monospace, and also changes all monospace text to Fira Code, the obviously superior monospace font.

@import url('https://fonts.googleapis.com/css2?family=Fira+Code:wght@400;700&display=swap');
 
:root { --mono-font: "Fira Code", Cousine, monospace; }
#edit-page-textarea, .code pre, .code p, .code, tt, .page-source { font-family: var(--mono-font); }
.code pre * { white-space: pre; }
.code *, .pre * { font-feature-settings: unset; }

Teletype backgrounds

Adds a light grey background to <tt> elements ({{text}}), so code snippets stand out more.

tt {
  background-color: var(--swatch-something-bhl-idk-will-fix-later, #f4f4f4);
  font-size: 85%;
  padding: 0.2em 0.4em;
  margin: 0;
  border-radius: 6px;
}

No more bigfaces

Stops big pictures from appearing when you hover over someone's avatar image, because they're stupid and really annoying and you can just click on them if you want to see the big version.

.avatar-hover { display: none !important; }

Breaky breaky

Any text inside a div with class nobreak has line-wrapping happen between every letter.

.nobreak { word-break: break-all; }

Code colours

Add my terminal's code colours as variables. Maybe I'll change this to a more common terminal theme like Monokai or something at some point, but for now it's just my personal theme, which is derived from Tomorrow Night Eighties.

Also, adding the .terminal class to a fake code block as [[div class="code terminal"]] gives it a sort of pseudo-terminal look with a dark background. Doesn't work with [[code]], because Wikidot inserts a bunch of syntax highlighting that you can't change yourself without a bunch of CSS. Use it for non-[[code]] code snippets only.

Quick tool to colourise a 'standard' Wikidot component usage example with the above vars: link

:root {
  --c-bg: #393939;
  --c-syntax: #e0e0e0;
  --c-comment: #999999;
  --c-error: #f2777a;
  --c-value: #f99157;
  --c-symbol: #ffcc66;
  --c-string: #99cc99;
  --c-operator: #66cccc;
  --c-builtin: #70a7df;
  --c-keyword: #cc99cc;
}
 
.terminal, .terminal > .code {
  color: var(--c-syntax);
  background: var(--c-bg);
  border: 0.4rem solid var(--c-comment);
  border-radius: 1rem;
}

Debug mode

Draw lines around anything inside .debug-mode. The colour of the lines is red but defers to CSS variable --debug-colour.

You can also add div.debug-info.over and div.debug-info.under inside an element to annotate the debug boxes — though you'll need to make sure to leave enough vertical space that the annotation doesn't overlap the thing above or below it.

…like this!

.debug-mode, .debug-mode *, .debug-mode *::before, .debug-mode *::after {
  outline: 1px solid var(--debug-colour, red);
  position: relative;
}
.debug-info {
  position: absolute;
  left: 50%;
  transform: translateX(-50%);
  font-family: 'Fira Code', monospace;
  font-size: 1rem;
  white-space: nowrap;
}
.debug-info.over { top: -2.5rem; }
.debug-info.under { bottom: -2.5rem; }
.debug-info p { margin: 0; }

rating: +17+x

It’s a balmy December night. A warm wind blows across the black, scorched earth. All that gives definition to the landscape are patches of warped tallgrasses grown at right angles, their fire-resistant carapaces clicking together in the breeze.

By a cracked and broken road, four Agents sit around a flickering campfire.

“So,” says an Agent in a nondescript suit and tie, stoking the fire. “We gonna sit around with our dicks in our hands, or do ya’ll feel like making conversation?” His features are quiet and oddly clean— an oasis of tidiness in a sea of ashy grime.

“Been on the road seven years, asshole.” Another suit-and-tie Agent, although his is much more dilapidated. A scraggly gray beard sits on his face. Both of his eyes are a deep bloodshot red. “Made enough conversation for several lifetimes. Rest of you can start.”

The wind whips around them. The stars shift above, leaving multicolored trails in the sky.

“I was in Nashville,” one says. He’s in a blue windbreaker and dark sunglasses. The acronym FBI is proudly emblazoned on his arms in Day-Glo yellow. “In 2089. During the evacuations.”

A reverent “Shit,” escapes the lips of the nondescript Agent.


The S.W.A.T van hurtles across the Cumberland River, the heavily damaged bridge beneath it almost collapsing under the weight of its reinforced tires. Behind it, East Nashville burns green and blue. Great black cracks reach across the sky. The streets are crowded with screams.

The Agent stands in the van’s back, beads of sweat running down his forehead. His hand is shaking around the grip of his gun. His knuckles are ivory-white.

“Sir, please!” one of the three refugees accompanying him says. She’s a young woman with frizzy, jet-black hair. “He’s not hurting anybody!”

The Agent has his firearm aimed at one of the other refugees, a man not older than 55 lying unconscious on the van’s right bench. He’s dressed in corduroy and a grey sweater vest, and his chest has been torn open to expose flesh a deep shade of emerald green. Blood trickles from his wound, slowly eating away at the fabric of the seats.

“He’s not even conscious!” the first refugee says. Her suit is blood-stained and torn.

“Shut up!” says the Agent. “I can’t trust any of you. You told me you were baseline!”

“Please! He’s our uncle!” The second refugee speaks up. She also has frizzy, jet-black hair, and is dressed in stained sweatpants and a faded college sweatshirt.

The van collides into something large enough to send a dull thud resonating through its chassis. It rattles and shakes heartily in response to the impact, and the Agent is nearly thrown to his feet.

The Agent pounds on the metal divider standing between him and the cab. “The hell’s going on up there?” the Agent yells.

“Fuckin’— something got to the Birch Street site!” the Agent in the front says. “It’s just this big black thing now! Hit a goddamn tendril!”

“Shit!” the other Agent says, stomping his foot in frustration. “Don’t you folks worry.” he says, turning to the refugees. “We’ll get you out of here. Just might be on our lonesome, is all.”

The unconscious refugee moans. The suited refugee bends over him, cradling his head in her hands. He opens his eyes, and looks up at her.

“Hey,” she says, doing her best to give a reassuring smile. “It’s alright. We’ll get you help.”

“Come to dust,” he says, eyes wandering. “All. Come to dust.” He coughs, spraying blood over her suit. It sizzles and smokes as it sinks into the cloth.

“That’s it!” the Agent says, finger moving to the trigger. “Miss! Step away!”


“So you shot him?” the nondescript Agent says.

“Not exactly,” says the blue-jacketed Agent. “I was in the front.”


“No!” The other refugee falls onto the man, blocking his chest. “I’m not letting you hurt him. He’s a wounded man! You piece of–”

The man’s flesh ruptures, coming apart at sharp angles. His arteries let forth torrents of blood, suffusing the interior of the van.


“I thought the sound came from outside the van. I ignored it. Just kept driving,” he says, expression grim. “We were two miles past the city limits when I finally pulled over.”

“Nothing left of the refugees but bones. And my partner…” His voice weakens. “Legs were entirely gone. Got the story out of him between gasps and screams. Did the humane thing.” He mutters the last words, his head sinking into his hands.

“Happy with your ‘conversation’ now?” the red-eyed Agent says, turning to the nondescript Agent.

“Jesus,” the nondescript Agent says. “Figured it’d be more war-story like. Y’know. Tales of the road. Not that.”

“Fuck kind of world do you think we’re living in? Not much guts-and-glory shit going around these days.” The blue-jacketed agent looks up as he speaks, expression annoyed. “Dunno what you expected.”

“Change of subject, then,” the nondescript Agent says. “Where are ya’ll headed?”

The fourth Agent speaks up. “Columbus,” he says, voice robotic beneath his mask. The moonlight reflects off of the patches of CR-V alloy on his shaved skull. “Orders from Coalition Midwest Command. All loose Agents are to regroup. Concentration of forces.”

“It can speak?” the blue-jacketed Agent says, smirking.

“Hey, lay off,” says the red-eyed Agent. “‘Least they’re still trying. Can’t be said for you fucks.”

The blue-jacketed Agent mutters something spiteful, and takes a swig from his flask.

“Fine,” the red-eyed Agent says, throwing another piece of tallgrass into the fire. “You want a fucking war story? I’ll give you a war story. Detroit. 2078. Ninth Occult War.”


A squadron of Federal fighters screams through the mid-morning sky at Mach 6. The Agent holds position on the third floor of a ruined office building, crouched behind the remains of a desk. Site-11 is under siege.

Behind him, he hears the audible click of a gun cocking. In low, gurgling tones, a voice speaks.

“Drop the gun and turn around.”

The Agent gently places his rifle to the floor, and raises his hands.

“Easy, now. I don’t want any trouble,” he says, turning to face the voice. “I’m sure we can– hoolp–”

The face that greets him is mottled, bulbous, and god-fuck-ugly. Wattles of Kevlar flesh surround its barely-recognizable mouth and eyes, and rolls of bulletproof fat spill out of its tattered black-and-brown uniform– the colors of the American Salvation Front.

“Something wrong, boy?” The soldier says.

“First time I’ve seen one of your kind close and personal,” the Agent mutters, traces of vomit around his mouth. “Jesus, the hell did they do to you?”

“Nothing that concerns you,” the soldier retorts. “Now git!” he yells.

The Agent steps towards the door, hands still raised.

“Hold on, son,” the soldier steps to block his path. “Maybe I wasn’t clear enough. I said git!” The soldier jabs his rifle towards the window.

“You bastard!” the Agent spits. He takes a few stumbling steps back towards the window's shattered glass frame, and stops just before the ledge. The wind whips his back.

"Any last words?" the soldier says with a malicious smirk.

"Yeah," the Agent says. "Go fuck yourself." He arranges his arms into a makeshift brace, and barrels into the soldier. A few stray shots fly as the Agent tackles him to the floor, spraying dust and drywall over the scene. In moments, the Agent has the soldier's rifle in his hands. He aims it squarely at the few still-fleshy patches on his neck.

"Now," the Agent says, eyes steely. "You're gonna take me to your commander."


“Cut the B-movie crap,” the blue-jacketed Agent says, derisively. “I was raised in Dayton. I know a bullshit Ninth story when I see it.”

“I played to the crowd. So sue me!” The red-eyed Agent chuckles, a sly grin on his face.

“Why bullshit?” The blue-jacketed Agent looks quizzically at the red-eyed Agent. “I don’t get it. Your eyes. Surely you got a story and a half behind those.”

The nondescript Agent looks at the red-eyed Agent with a wary eye.

“Nevermind! No war story, then.” he says. He looks to the fourth Agent. “Mr. Coalition. Surely you got something interesting in your tin can ass.”

“I don’t remember much before I got augmented,” the fourth Agent says, voice tinny. “I gave my life to the Coalition. My memory came with that.” He adjusts his mask.

“Jesus!” the nondescript Agent says. “End of the fuckin’ world, and not one of ya’ll has an interesting thing to say. Makes me ashamed to still be sucking air.” He throws his hands in the air.

“Actually,” a trace of humanity creeps into the fourth Agent’s voice. He looks at the nondescript Agent. “I may have something you might like.”

He leans forward on his knees. “Now, some of the damage sustained to my memory is due to the implants. This is true. But there was also something else. After I got implanted.”


“You’ll forgive me if this sounds a little strange. I’m not entirely capable of abstract thought. Stories are hard for me to tell. Memories are facts and observations to me, not narratives. It’s not easy to meld the two.

I was on my third round of augmentations. I had received implants 34-B, 14-G, and 143-A. All neural. 34-B was anti-cognitohazardous. 14-G was antimemetic. 143-A prevented me from feeling fear or disgust. It provided specifically-designed morality and danger evaluation subroutines for greater efficiency in combat.

I woke up groggy and fuzzy on a Tuesday. It was 8:41 am when I looked outside the walls of the camp. An anomalous red vine grew wild outside its confines. They sent squads out with flamethrowers to clean it each weekend but never entirely eradicated it. Every time it grew back it got closer to reaching the walls.

My roommate was Junior Agent John Carraldo. He had only received the first round of augmentations. The expression of disgust on his face when he saw me back from the third round made me report him as a substantial defection risk. He told me he would be a bit late in getting to roll call and to state his presence for him.

When I arrived at roll call 60 Agents and 40 Junior Agents were present. Junior Agent Carraldo was present. We had a conversation.

'Morning, Carraldo,' I said.

'Morning,' said he. 'Carraldo, Carraldo, Carraldo.' Said he.

'John Carraldo,' I said. 'Junior Agent John Carraldo. Didn’t expect to see you here, buddy.'

'What do you mean?' he said. 'Aren’t I usually pretty punctual?'

'Yes,' I said. “But you said you’d be running a little late. You wanted me to say your name, remember?'

'Oh! Yeah,' he said. 'Well, hey, I’m here now, aren’t I?'

'So you are, dipshit.' I said.

We had a friendly relationship. We knew each other, John and I, even if he was a defection risk and I was disgust and ugliness and decay to him.

There was a mission that day. The Lieutenant for our base walked up to the podium and spoke.

'Morning, men! Got a pisser for you.' he said. He used words like pisser. 'Anomalous humanoid out in Toronto. Burned up a whole city block. Cops, to put it politely, are fucking hopeless. So it falls to us.'

'Strike teams Gamma and Epsilon are to move out at 0950. Dis-missed!' And off we went.

What I can recall now has been modified by the finalized version of Report 2085-33245. We were over Toronto in our Strike Dispatch Helicopter. Carraldo had been quiet for most of the flight. Charred buildings and blackened streets stretched out before us.

'Fuckload more than a city block,' he said. 'How the hell are we going to deal with this?'

'Easy.' I said. 'Nice and simple. Rifles are loaded with HE rounds. Search and destroy.'

'Shit,' he said. 'It’s like that– shit, I forget, y’know that one?'

'The Cleveland case?' said I. And then a large fireball hit the side of the Strike Dispatch Helicopter and we spun out of control over the streets of Toronto.

When I came to, everyone but me and Carraldo was dead. My augments had protected me from the trauma. He had apparently just been lucky.

'Shit!' he said, moving over to me. 'Are you okay? Please tell me you’re okay.'

'Jesus, John,' I said. 'I’m a man of iron here. Don’t think anything short of a .50 cal can even scratch me any more.' I stood up without his help.

I felt an intense heat in the air. I looked up. It was a being of fire and flame. Entity 2085-33245. I readied my rifle and discharged approx. 27 bullets.

The entity roared and screamed in response to sustained fire. Agent Carraldo remained still. It released another fireball which directly impacted me. I was severely wounded and sustained multiple burns to my body.

The entity moved on. It did not pay any attention to Agent Carraldo. He cradled me as I lay injured.

'Who are you?' he said.

'Fuck you do you mean, John? You know who I am.' I replied.

'Come on, dude. You’re dying here. Don’t you have any confessions to make? Hidden truths you want to reveal?'

'I guess,' I said. 'I regret it. I regret joining the GOC. I regret choosing to become a man-machine thing. Who the fuck’ll date me like this?'

'Jesus,' he said. 'That’s heavy. Tell me more.'

'Well, I dunno. It’s just– it’s tough like this. You know how you looked at me when I first came back from the third round of augmentations? Sometimes I think about that, and how that’s how most people will see me now. They won’t see the decorated hero who risked his life to protect people from things even we hardly understand. They’ll see a barely human monster.' I remember wanting to cry but not being able to. The idea seemed fuzzy to me once I’d said it.

'Good. God! Yes! So good!' He spoke in ecstatic tones. 'What’s your name? Tell me your name. I just need your name.'

'Lance Fitzborough. Lance William Fitzborough. Hey, wait, the fuck?' I said. It seemed fuzzy to me too, now. I had forgotten about the idea.

'You feel it, don’t you? The slipping. The going.' Carraldo smiled. 'Tell me how it feels. I want to know how it feels.'

'What are you doing? I feel like I’m slowly sliding away. I feel fuzzy.' I said.

'Yes!' Carraldo smiled a big, beaming smile. 'I want to know more. I want to hear more.' He pried my mouth open with his hands. 'And you’re going to tell me so much! You’re going to tell me everything!'

'I want you to tell me about the day you first cried,' he said. 'And how about we turn that off?'

My body camera footage cuts off from that point. They found me 6 hours and 37 minutes later unconscious. Physically, I recovered.”


A forceful silence prevails around the campfire. The fourth Agent is silent beneath his mask. He stares at the nondescript Agent, dead-on.

"Interesting tale, fella," the nondescript Agent says, expression grim.

"And it doesn't seem so clear now that I've told it," the fourth Agent says. "UIU. Nashville. What does that memory feel like to you?"

The blue-jacketed Agent opens his mouth to speak— and then closes it, just as soon. After a few seconds, he finds his words. "It's… unclear."

"How about you tell us your name?" the fourth Agent says to the nondescript Agent, a tone of deep hostility breaking into his voice.

The nondescript Agent is silent. He shifts in his seat. For a moment, the scene is quiet but for the crackling of the campfire and the whistling of the wind.

The fourth Agent’s hand darts to his holster. A knobbed, spiny tendril shoots out from the nondescript Agent’s hand, impaling the fourth Agent’s right eye– drilling its way past his ocular implants into his soft, unprotected frontal lobe. In moments, blood pours from his mask’s shattered eyepiece. The broken glass crunches as he falls over, dead.

“Jesus christ!” The blue-jacketed Agent jumps up, firearm drawn. He takes several cautious steps back from the fire. “What the hell are you!?”

The nondescript Agent retracts his tendril from the fourth Agent's body. His body inches forward in response. Several dying implants crackle, quietly.

The blue-jacketed Agent shoots at the nondescript Agent twice. Both shots go wide. He looks to the red-eyed Agent. “Why the fuck are you just sitting there?” he yells, aiming another shot.

The nondescript Agent’s tendril shoots out again, punching a hole clean through the blue-jacketed Agent’s throat. His blood spills, painting the charred soil. His gun slips from his hands as he reaches to his neck in a desperate attempt to stem the flow. He falls flat on his back, and dies, his eyes to the night sky.

The red-eyed Agent observes the scene, placidly. The nondescript Agent turns to him, tendril still enmeshed in the blue-jacketed Agent’s corpse.

“You don’t seem too perturbed.”

The red-eyed Agent points to his right eye, and winks. “Not just cosmetic, buddy. Knew from the get-go.”

The body of the blue-jacketed Agent jerks as the tendril flies back into the nondescript Agent’s hand. His flesh ripples, slightly, as it reabsorbs the tendril’s mass.

“Figured. So,” he says. “You don’t mind all… this?”

“Nah,” says the red-eyed Agent. He stands up, and walks to the body of the blue-jacketed Agent. He hunches before him, and moves the sleeve of his jacket back to reveal his bare arm. He lifts the pale limb to his lips, and tears a large chunk of flesh off, chewing thoroughly.

“Man’s gotta eat, after all!” he says, blood dribbling from his growing smile.

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