(The Engine of A Film)/(The Fine Game of Nil)
rating: +107+x

Once Upon A Time In Site 19…

"Man, another day, another 096 breach," Researcher Chad Benson said, kicking a paperclip across the room. "At least this time it was just some dude. Can you imagine how bad it would get if it was like, a bunch of dudes?"

"Dude," Researcher Kyle Sachs raised an eyebrow, "that's already happened like… twice."



The two of them sat at their post, just outside of SCP-096's containment cell. It was a slow day, so Kyle had snuck in a six-pack and some darts and they had spent their time ineffectively acupuncturing the drywall. After a while, and after another case of suds had been absconded with from the staff lounge, Chad poached an inquiry.

"Dude," he said, leaning forward precipitously, "what if like, the Shy Guy just has like, image issues, you know?"

Researcher Kyle looked up, one eye casually maintaining its focus on the ground. "What?"

Researcher Chad squinted, racking his brain for intelligent thought. "Like, what if the Shy Guy is actually a real bro, but he's just got some shit going on, you know? Like he's got some issues with acne or some shit."

Kyle nodded slowly. "Bro, I get that. I knew this guy once who had real bad acne issues, messed him up for a long time. Maybe Shy Guy just needs some Clearasil or some shit, dawg."

"Dude, check it," Chad said, stumbling to his feet, "what if we went and like, got a mask or, or some shit like that, and gave it to the Shy Guy? You know, like… like a peace offering. Maybe he would come out of his shell."

Kyle slapped his leg. "Bro! That's totally what we're gonna do! We're gonna chill with the Shy Guy!" His face contorted suddenly, as the Mousetrap setup of plastic pieces in his mind suddenly ground to a halt in the face of a most unfortunate reality. "Where are we gonna get a mask though? We can't, like… leave the site."

They sat together again for some time, considering their options. Finally, in unison, they both hobbled to their feet and went scampering down the hall.

Concurrently Elsewhere…

Mary Sachs stood painfully in front of the man who pretended to be her teacher, the man who had educated her for twelve years in the bombed out ruins that served as the school for the nearest hundred miles, and watched as he told her that college was simply an impossibility.

"Miss Sachs, surely a bright young thing like yourself considers herself suitable of attending Aktus University, but unfortunately I don't think that you are qualified. The university only accepts a handful of students this year, and never more than that cap while The Foundation occupies there." he said, simply, as if it were the most logical thing in the world. "Frankly, I'm not even sure that a person of your womanly type is suited for a college. After all, Dr. Shaw has decreed that girls belong in the home, serving and pleasuring their husbands."

She could feel every eye in the room staring painfully at her and she gulped, miserably. "But sir, that's horrifically sexist and retrograde. You've been encouraging us to think progressively here, and then you just say something so horrible how could you-"

He cut her off, tutting. "You must think for yourself if you want to become a Foundation D-Class or Researcher, you understand. But you are not capable of doing those things. Even then that is difficult. I think it's vulgar myself but I can't help it if Shaw is awful and vulgar. Rules are rules, I'm sorry."

She sat down sadly.

Chad and Kyle arrived at another containment cell a while later, where they met Researcher Todd Bloch. Researcher Todd heard their appeal, and after thoughtful consideration, met them with a reply.

"Bro, this is totally what we're gonna do!"

The three of them then checked themselves into the room labeled SCP-035, where they snatched the contents therein with some special graspers and took off back down the hall. On the way there, the mask could be heard muttering to itself about "fucking douchebags" and "what the fuck guys srsly omg" and also "jesus christ didn't even spare me a second to pack what knobs".

Finally they reached 096's containment cell again, and after making sure they were clear that this is the one you can't look at, and not the one you have to look at, they opened the door slightly and kicked the mask in. It muttered to itself ("those lunatics I swear on me mum"), before they slammed it shut. They grabbed yet another pack of beer, and then waited.

Ten minutes passed, and then twenty. After nearly half an hour, they heard a knock on the containment cell door. Quietly and carefully, they moved over towards the door, and with a single outstretched hand, Researcher Chad slid the door open. On the other side was 096, facially equipped with 035.

"What up, bros!" 096 said, flashing out some dope gestures. "Sorry for all of that shit from pretty much the entire time I've been chillin here, you know. Got some real deep set issues I haven't really dealt with yet, but it's all good now that I got this dope ass mask yo!"

"Dooooooooooope!" the other three said in unison.

"Fuckin twats I'll break yer necks," spat 035.

"So what do you guys want to do now?" said 096, donning some sick shades.

The four of them paused to consider, and then Researcher Todd snapped. "I got it! Why don't we go prank the senior staff?"

"Broooooooooooooo!" the other three said in unison.

"Christ on a cracker," said 035.

Mary Sachs stood, about twenty pounds heavier and a child in arm. Her new husband, formerly a boyfriend deemed too intellectual for the university, had insisted on plastering the walls in Clef posters.

"Glad they're back to being rockstars now! That was a terrible time for us when they were our presidents, eh?" He looked back at her, shirt down, the baby grabbing her nipples and squalling.

"I suppose." she said simply. "But I don't really think of them as musicians either. I mean, they don't play, they just make the guitars float."

He looked dangerously down his nose at her.

"That's a sure sign of a cognitohazard, Mary. Sure of it. I read it in the paper. Only people infected by a particular cognitohazard say that about instruments." He intoned, very slowly and low.

"Ben, I've never seen a cognitohazard before, ever." The baby began to cry.

But he was looking at her with a glint of fear in his eyes now, and ran across their small shack to the cell phone, a direct hotline to any Mobile Taskforce of your request. Mary no longer paid attention to Ben, now screaming down the phone to somebody to hurry down from Site 19 with some amnestics, and tried to comfort her baby. It evidently couldn't hear her or couldn't care. It only screamed louder and louder.

It drowned out his frantic dialogue with the operator until he came over and smacked her until she shut it up. She just stared blankly, unable to move. It continued to scream.

Doctor Shaw sat quietly in his office, muttering over some paper work. He bent his head down to adjust a pile, but his long horsy snout only proved to knock the papers off of the desk.

"Horse body my ass," he muttered, trotting around and shitting against the wall, "see how they like to clean up all this mess."

It was about that time when a pack of rabble rousers appeared just outside the doorway. Shaw's keen sense of horse smell alerted him to their presence, as did his keen sense of horse hearing when they knocked on the door.

"Come in," he neighed.

In burst Researcher Kyle, himself donned with a pair of dope shades. "Yo Dr. Shaw, you had a rough day?"

Shaw raised a horse eyebrow. "A rough day? I mean, not particularly. I didn't die today, and I got some meetings take care of, so I guess overall it's been fin—"

Then in came 096. "Then why the long face!"

"FUCKIN HORSE," shouted 035.

The four of them burst out laughing, and continued their antics down the hall. Shaw, flabbergasted, took a moment to compose himself and then called down the hall after them. "You whippersnappers wait until I get a real simian body. Then we'll see who has the long— I mean, who has shit on their faces! Because it will be you!"

He stamped back into his office, kicking a hole in the wall and knocking off a valuable monkey statue. After a moment of quiet contemplation, he was suddenly struck with a thought.

"Wait," he said, peering back outside. But they were already gone.

Mary Sachs couldn't sleep at night anymore. The taskforce had doped her up on so many different kinds of amnestics that it destroyed half her brain chemistry, it had seemed. She turned to Ben, still asleep himself, and nudged him awake. Some nights, she wished her brother Kyle would pulls some strings and fix her life. Tonight her brain couldn't manage that.


He grunted and rolled over.

"What is it, it's goddamn midnight, Mary!"

She stared into his hard, piggy little eyes. The thick brow was still furrowed from sleep and his mouth was pursed.

"Ben, do you still love me? I mean, it's been a while since we first married and now with my headache and insomnia I can't tend the crops anymore. Does it bother you, at all? I mean, are we still happy."

He stared into her dulled chocolate eyes. Her face was soft and open, her mouth just exposing her incisors.

They stared at each other for a long time. faces meeting.

"Go to sleep, Mary."

Next up was Dr. Crow, whose office was situated in a large warehouse wing of the site. They snuck in through the back, careful not to bump into any of the dangerous and probably volatile and unpredictable robots. They had it planned out, exactly how it was going to be. The punchline was set up, the mood was right. They came up to Dr. Crow's office door, and Researcher Todd slowly turned the handle, to find—

Kain Pathos Crow watching a recording of them pranking Shaw on a monitor. The canine doctor turned around as they entered, himself nearly doubled over in doggy delight. "Guys, christ, that was gold." He wiped a tear from his eye with a trembling paw before bursting into hysterical laughter again. "Look, I want in on this. You guys look like a bunch of cool bros, and I can be your #1 dog, dawg. What do you say?"

The four amigos gave each other a look, and nodded in unison (as was their way).

Researcher Kyle raised an eyebrow. "Do you have a pair of sick shades, bro?"

096 nodded. "Gotta have those sick shades, bro."

035 spat on the ground. "Fuck me mate a fuckin dog too."

Kain nodded slyly. "I can do you one better." He did a quick spin, and when he turned back around he was decked to the 9s with dope fucking shades, a sick beach tank, and some killer flops.

Thoroughly impressed, his now comrades invited him to join them, and they struck out for further shenanigans.

Mary Sachs buried her husband five weeks after the baby died, beneath a dead elm at the back of the zucchini farm. There was a brief funeral, his parents were there, as well as the landlord and their schoolteacher, seemingly unchanged."So, I was right it seems about your career! You two have made a lot for yourself. He's left you most, I suppose?"

"Fuck off," she muttered.

It was quick funeral, and that was good, for no sooner after the tidying up had finished that Mary noticed one of the disembodied spotlights passing over the eastern gardens, and soon to the farmhouse on the hill. Anxious of the consequences, Mary made haste up there with the pistol she carried, anxiously hoping the cell phone would still get service or otherwise be undamaged.

To her initial sweep of the room, everything seemed to be in order and she breathed a sigh of relief. But the cat that sometimes wandered around the grounds had followed her from the elm, and it began to hiss venomously at something underneath the bureau. Mary ducked down and peered under there with an excess of caution.

Her instincts proved to be correct, for this is where the anomaly manifested. From a previously undetected hole in the siding there came a strangled coo, some sort of baby-shriek drowning in liquid. Mary groaned, stood up, and shoved the bureau aside. The hole was a rough semicircle in the wainscotting, about six inches in radius. She winced, then shoved her hand inside the new crevice to touch something slimy and moving. It was quickly yanked out. and dropped on the floor

A fetus, barely a foot long, crying out with a born child's voice for its mother, a mother who never existed. Around it, the amniotic fluid dripping from it seemed to warp the space around the floorboards.

Horrified, she began to wallop the thing with a broom, smacking it over and over and over until its increasingly horrified cries began to stop. It took a while to kill the abortion in the hole in the floor, but eventually she was able to turn it to a red stain on the wood. The cat rushed in and began to eat it. She stood over the grisly scene, panting, hand dripping with amniotic fluid. There would be no need to call the Foundation, it seemed.

For the first time in three weeks, the cat ate its fill that day.

Agent Lament sat on the firing range, slowly cleaning out his favorite long range bowel excavating device, when he noticed a ruckus on the horizon. At first, his keen eyes thought he saw three rambunctious researchers and an escaped 096 wearing 035, but then he realized he was actually seeing three rambunctious researchers, and escaped 096 wearing 035 and that fucking dog.

"God help us," Lament said, shouldering his rifle.

Not only was it the aforementioned sextupleset of anomalies, researchers and canine, but behind them was a flock of drunken and disorderly co-eds, and beyond that, a large semi-trailer with the words "Spring Break 2015" painted on the side in bright colors. Lament reached for his radio, but it was too late. Seconds later, he was swarmed by the mass of intoxicated youth and swallowed up by its insatiable lust for the twerk.

As he suffocated under the gyrating mass, his final thought was that he should have snipped that fucking dog when he had the chance, and also that he only hoped they had gotten Clef this good, too.

Mary Sachs wanted to die, had wanted to die for the past one hundred years. Fire had claimed the zucchini farm, but the fluid on her hand had forced her skin to heal. Every so often, she could see the Site 19 building zipping around the salt desert, an endless slow motion party proceeding forever. It had been so long since there was clean water, so long since tasty food, so long since she had felt some human contact.

She sat down heavily on a rock. The flats stretched away to a volcano in the distance, one that seemed on the verge of eruption for a long time. Her shawl fluttered in the chill wind.

From its burrow, a thing that was something like a toad and something like a leather boot crawled towards her threadbare shoes. In the wake of it's spindly feet, there were tiny ridges and valleys in the dust, quickly inhabited by swarming mites of various size. It rotated its eyes pitifully in their malformed sockets and began, slowly, to mount her shoes. It let out a pitiful ribbit.

Upon hearing it, she looked down, and was now consciously aware that something was having sex with her feet. The toad-boot thing curled the side of its rubber lips into a grotesque approximation of a smile. She returned the favor.

"Do yourself a favor, would you, thing?" she croaked out. "Don't waste your breath. Its not worth it. There's no point to those urges in this world anymore. Or at least, not for folks like us." She glanced over her shoulder at the Site 19 building, which had teleported about a hundred yards away. A bunch of college kids in Clef University shirts partied alongside some doctors and other odd characters. Tropical house music blasted from every floor of the building. She thought Kyle was among them. Then, without warning, it popped into nothingness, zipped off to some other corner of the planet.

"Thing, I'm just about sure time is worthless now. It's been about sixty years since I lost my mother's watch." The toad-boot-thing continued to hump Mary's shoes, eagerly. "I wonder if they understand the meaning of life anymore in their ivory tower. I wonder if they still have souls." She laughed a bitter laugh. "You know, if Kondraki or Shaw wanted, they could rebuild civilization and give me my death now. But I think they've forgotten Shaw's little sex-crazed phase. That's all this is, thing. A man inside a horse had a phase where he couldn't be like you and he got mad at everybody."

"I'm sure they've forgotten it. Nothing more than a joke to them. Nothing more than a joke."

She picked the toad-boot-thing off her foot, and, hearing it squeal, brought it to her mouth. It's tough, rubbery skin made a satisfying crunch in her teeth. "Nothing more than a joke." she said through a full mouth.

Then, still chewing, laid back on the rock and looked up at the shifting, effervescent stars.

There was a knock on the door of Dr. Gears. Gears looked up just in time to see the group and their flock burst into his office.

"What's up, br—" they began.

"No," he said.

"Well FUCK YOU TOO." said 035.

Mary Sachs walked on through the wastes for a good long while. The harsh wind dried the fluid sustaining her, and gradually the wind began to seep into her skull and dry her mind.

As the party began to die down, the co-eds returned to their homes, the zoo animals to their cages, and the Loch Ness Party Monster to the sea. At the days end, all that remained were the Researchers Chad, Kyle and Todd, and SCP-096 (with SCP-035 in tow). Dr. Crow had already turned into the night, as he was a dog.

Researcher Kyle wiped a single tear from his eye. "Are we ever going to see you again, Shy Bro?"

Shy Bro reached out its hand and patted the three of them on the back. "Don't worry, fellow bros. All you need to do is bring me this magic mask, and I'll be able to visit you whenever you want!"

Researcher Chad sniffled. "Really? Is it really true, Shy Bro?"

Shy Bro smiled. "Really, champ."

"What a bunch of bitches," said 035.

And with that, SCP-096 returned to its containment cell to sleep off the long weekend's hangover. Before it closed the door, it threw out the mask, which responded with mixed feelings ("Well bugger.") but was generally cooperative.

When it was all said and done, they had laughed, they had cried. Kain Pathos Crow had to leave the country for a little bit, but it blew over rather quickly. Agent Lament was found to have not died, but just been overcome with the power of the party. Shaw was still old and curmudgeonly. The researchers grew up and moved on with their careers, each achieving great and glorious things.

But legend has it that once a year, they would return to that site with the mask, and would once again bro out for one fantastic weekend with Shy Bro.

The Thing That Was Mary Sachs was uncovered during an archeological dig by Researchers Kyle and Chad a few weeks later. It was desiccated, and alien now. Unknown to men's eyes.

"Bro, what is that thing?" Kyle said

"Fuck if I know, dude. Just some monster, y'know? Slap in, like, the bone place with a number and keep digging." replied Chad.

"Duuuude." they said together, and hi-fived.


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