Personal Log of Richard Larenz

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Personal Log of: Agent Richard Larenz, KIA 10/12/2009, member of Mobile Task Force Omega-Zero ("Ará Orún")


Recovered from within log book.

Date: 9/13/2012

Travel to the Underneath was successful for the most part. None of the streaming tech made it through the journey, but we decided to keep going with the mission; the log books made it through no problem, and we have one of those instant-print cameras. Apparently the lack of LCD screens makes a big difference in this dimension, so we will use that in the meantime. Three of our five two-ways made it, we are lucky to even have that. Lowrie found one of the microdrones in the pack, so she is going to set it up and see if anything exists outside the temple. Doubtful, but worth a look.

It's nice to inhabit a real body again. A real real body. Even if we are dead, we are alive as we'll ever be in this place, which is more than enough motivation to come out this way.

Who am I kidding? This place sucks. I'm hungry. Hungry! Haven't felt that in a long time. The pangs are real though- almost as if I've been starving myself for all these years. I wanted to plow through our rations but MacLaughlin was right. We need to make it last. Apparently the folk in this place won't succumb to hunger, but they'll feel the pain of it. They're already dead too, aren't they?

We avoided the main shrine and set up a pop-up base camp near the return altar. Vasilev and MacLaughlin are going to check out the "GARDEN" destination, while Fontaine and I check out "VESTIBULE". Vassi spent months pouring over the texts and learning the language, and he has some theories as to where these places go. None of them are good.

Date: 9/14/2012

Realized there is no way to tell time in this place. I swear everything crawls by, but it's probably just me. MacLaughlin supposedly asked for a few watches. None of them made the transition, and our circadian rhythms haven't existed for years. Who needs sleep? Not I, said the ghostly apparition. Oh well.

The first two set off today. Watching MacLaughlin tune the altar and lie to sleep reminded me- we are really out of our depth here. Mobile Task Forces undergo years of specialized training and experience with their chosen field. We are a hodgepodge collective of the dead that never die. Vasilev was a Junior Researcher before his death, I think. Just a baby, taken hostage, forced to pour his mind out into a crystal drinking glass only to get caught up in the assailant's crossfire and Swiss cheese'd. I was there watching as his brain was forced out of new holes in his head, but he wouldn't see me until a little later. Swore I smelt it, the gray matter, the blood and cerebrospinal fluids pooling and mixing around his mangled corpse.

There's one thing we all have in common though, one thing that makes us almost invincible as a team: We aren't afraid to look death in the eye. Been there, done that.

In fact, I know a few Omega-Zeds that were grabbing at any chance they could get to experience something other than what we are out there. I don't blame them. So many of us want to die, to really die, and there had to be a way out. Some tried erasing all traces of themselves, but it didn't work. Not like intended, anyway. If you listen, you can still hear them, screaming in unison, not at all closer to approaching the veil than the rest of us.

Good times.

I didn't want the suicidal bunch, so I took along four Orúns that weren't about to dive headfirst into the maws of the void. The corporeal forms add both literal and figurative weight to dying this time around, thus we were giddy and distracted. Well, everyone except Vassi- he is always quiet and miserable.

As the altar finished working on MacLaughlin and Vassi's turn approached, I watched as he traced his returned form, feeling the bridge of his nose, the angle of his chin, the width of his forearm.

As if memorizing the shape of his coil.

In fear he might lose it again

Fontaine and I decided it was time. Lowrie volunteered to be the one who stayed behind to keep watch on the pop-up site and do some drone surveillance. She has high coghaz tolerance and a morale most of us do not possess, so we figured she would fare alright. The rest of us took two radios and went our separate ways. We waited a bit for the first two to contact us before setting off ourselves. Felt like forever, but they called in eventually, both sounding very relieved. I was too. Said they ended up in a grove of sorts. Lots of foliage, and it was warm. Sounds like a dream.

It's odd, seeing the corpses of your teammates pile in the corner while knowing that they are still very much alive (In whatever sense "alive" is in this place). I couldn't keep myself from looking at Vasilev's body, his blank, half-open eyes, glazed over with that milky sheen only the dead can produce. Is that what we looked like? What did they do with our bodies? I never checked.

Not that it matters. If all goes well, I'll be dead again in a minute. See you on the other side.

Emerging from the void was like ripping the bandaid off of my gaping existential wounds. I'm here, though.

I had this strange feeling right before I lost consciousness, like I had remembered something. Can't tell you what it was exactly, but it was important. Like one of those things you shouldn't forget, shouldn't be able to forget. I felt it once before, when I died. When I closed my eyes this time, that familiar dark engulfed me and I forgot it just the same.

I woke up in what I can only describe as a hallway for gods. The roof is immeasurably high, disappearing on occasion behind clouds that linger near the very top. The walls I saw were littered with cuneiform, and I almost instantly regretted not bringing Vassi. The walls I didn't see, however, eluded us entirely. How big is this place?

I was noting the windows, stained, ornate and perfect in design. Colorful, not like the temple. Crafted by the hands of a power beyond comprehension. Light poured in from outside, though all I saw was more gray fog. The mind-bending is a little different here, not as depressing. It's still there though, trying to push thoughts into my head.

Went to take some photos and the camera is gone, hopefully the other two have a copy of their own. Lowrie briefly checked in, said drone surveillance revealed little so far. Said she might try the other sky for clues. Took me a while to figure out what she meant. Fontaine joined me not long after, and we decided to set up camp. We're finally getting tired.

Sleep is for the weak. Too many nightmares. Fontaine had them too. Shaken awake by the horrors of a long-dead mind, I righted myself to see his rugged form fidgeting with a pack of cigarettes. He found out a little while later that the lighter didn't survive the journey.

Fontaine was a Rat before he died. They always get the worst of it, moribund in the depths of some hellhole. He knew nothing else. In fact, his spirit had clawed its way out of that hole once his teammates left him behind. He harbored no resentment though, claiming he would have done the same.

"I was too far gone", he would say. "I was a liability."

Would he do the same to me? Could I do the same to him? Funny how even your own death doesn't prepare you for the possibility of it happening again.

The whispers are getting louder, so we've decided to move on.

Been wandering this place for a while. There doesn't seem to be an end, but we know it isn't true. If there was one set of walls, the others had to exist too. We're cursing ourselves for not just following the wall itself, but I don't know how much that would've helped.

It took a while for Vasilev and MacLaughlin to check in, apparently they were hiding from something. Something big. They wouldn't, or couldn't, elaborate on it much more. Vasilev says it's the Garden of Babylon, and not the hanging one. Don't know what that means, maybe I should have studied a bit more.

I worry about Lowrie.

We made a breakthrough today. Found a spiral staircase, going up. Not necessarily where we want to go, we really just want to see whatever else is in this place. No sign of a return altar. The architecture doesn't seem even remotely Sumerian. In fact, it doesn't resemble anything I've ever seen before. We are beginning to doubt we will find a way back at this point.

At the top of the stairs, we got a nice view of the place. It has to be dozens of kilometers across, maybe more. There's something in the distance, some change in the layout that implies this place is not actually endless. We found some cuneiform tablets too, transcribed the symbols. I'll have Vasilev translate them if when we get back.

Note: See Recovered Materials Log 2759 for more information.

Radio silence. Not sure what to think. Fontaine is restless and insists we keep moving.

Made it to the other side of the complex. Felt like days of walking, but I have no frame of reference. The journey revealed a small temple contained within this immense complex. Like a scaled-down version of the Ziggurat itself. It felt like a joke, and it would have been funny if it didn't have this ominous churning sound emanating from within, something mechanical, perhaps. Fontaine and I are debating our next plan of action.

We have decided to investigate. Since caves and corridors are his specialty, Fontaine is leading. We waited a while to see if the noise would subside on its own. It didn't. If anything, it's louder, and changing. I hear the words in the sound now. It's our only lead, so hopefully this isn't my last entry.

Ana biti sa eribusu, mituti ikkalu baltuti. Adi la basi alaku.1

I woke up just outside where the temple was- or where I thought it was. Fontaine is gone. I don't know where he is. I don't remember anything after following him into the structure, and that's gone too. Maybe it was a hallucination. If that's the case, why hasn't the churning stopped?

I need to leave. Find an exit. There is one. There's gotta be one.

Walked in a straight line until I hit a wall. The area is so dizzying in size, I have no clue where I am. Followed it for a bit before I heard something. Something large, footsteps echoing like cannon shots. Hid like a child. Glanced out at one point an saw something bright, radiant. Ineffable. It held a power so immense I could feel it tangibly. Looking at it made my eyes hurt. It left shortly after.

I heard from Vasilev today, saying there are giants about. Gods, he said. After my experience, I believe him. He had been holed up in the forests there with MacLaughlin, waiting for them to pass. Still no word from Lowrie. Running low on food.

Found what I believe is the front door of this place. It's huge, a hundred meters tall. No way I can open that myself. I wonder if Fontaine is still a ghost. Maybe he's finally moved on.

I think I found Fontaine. Or, what is left of him. Found an eyeball, same green-brown iris and all. Bits of viscera blanket the columns and floor. Where he may have stood, a large scorch mark is etched into the ground. At least he is at peace.

Another one of them came today. Managed to slink by unnoticed, making it to the door before it swung shut. The outside world is… wrong. Disfigured. The complex appears to be a floating island of sorts, torn apart from the rest of the world, which is also in pieces. An orange-red moon hovers below. Nowhere to go. No food either, but it won't kill me. Just hurt like a bitch.

Some good news: apparently Vasilev and MacLaughlin found another altar and just managed to escape before almost getting caught. MacLaughlin apparently has some burns from getting too close to one of them. They're gonna pull him out once they get back.

I think I'm starting to lose myself to the cognitohazardous effects of this dimension. I can somewhat understand the cuneiform now. It forms concepts in my head when I stare at the symbols. I know I don't belong here. I know I don't. Keep talking to myself, reassuring myself over the constant yelling. I don't want to hear the message, theywe can't make meyou [illegible scribbling].

No. No. It can't be.

Once there was a young, fledgling planet. On this planet lived a race, the dawn of our lineage, proto-human but neo-human. Technologically advanced due to their use of anomalous items and artifacts, they mapped the landscape of the universe and unlocked great secrets. Means to cover great distances, travel to other worlds, create them, even. They worshiped the seven gods and the fifty immortal children, the Annunaki.

[DATA EXPUNGED], a spiteful and jealous god, sought to end the human race for its own pleasure. It had its own hand in the creation of the sky. When it did so, it built a celestial body, massive and known only to itself, putting the glowing sphere on a collision course for the lonely, perfect little home of the humans. It took thousands of years to align just right, but it was a spiteful god, not an impatient one.

By the time they realized their fate, it had been sealed. They knew death was upon them.

In a last-ditch effort, they created large ships of strange metal, looking to their artifacts for other worlds. One, a mysterious disk, was studied and replicated in clay. Its destinations were tarnished by Sin, but the mechanism intruiged them. It was brought to their eldest temple, and upon the altar, they presented the device before the Seven. They, in an act of great mercy, blessed it with the means to bring them together again with the power of a blood sacrifice.

Only a few made it to the other side. Two ships made it off-world, the rest perished in flame. The Annunaki, distraught for the loss of the human race, released their essence into the heavens. It reached out to touch fifty individuals, granting them with immortality, with undeath forevermore.

It can't be.

I see now that the island hovers in the heavens high above the Underneath. There is no exit in sight for me. I'm going to toss this book over the side and confront one of the seven. I'm not afraid of annihilation. I welcome it.

I don't want to live forever. Tell O5-11 I'm sorry, I failed him.

According to the accounts of MacLaughlin and Vasilev, they had retrieved the Foundation-issue leather-bound log book while searching for Lowrie, who was not found. The drone video footage was discovered near the camp. Nothing of interest is recorded for the first twelve hours of observations. Lowrie is seen taking the drone to SCP-2759-E2. After launch, the drone is piloted over the walls of the ruins to reveal the shape to resemble a borehole, with similar holes found strewn throughout the surrounding area. Piloting the drone across part of the ocean, vocalizations are picked up sporadically, emanating from the dark waters below. The drone cuts feed abruptly and is not recovered.

Recovered Materials Log 2759:

Excerpts from recovered cuneiform texts, translated by Agent Pyotr Vasilev.

…and when in the height, heaven was not named,
And neither the earth beneath bear itself,
And the primeval, the Apsu, who begat them,
And the chaos, the Tiamut, the mother of them both
Their waters were mingled together,
No field was formed, no marsh was to be seen;
When of the gods none had been called into being,
And none bore a name, and no destinies were ordained;
Then were created the gods in the midst…

…and as they drank from the waters,
they too became the sea,
they sing within the Valley,
without light.

…They who have slaughtered a god, together
I have imposed your toil on man.
In the clay, god and they shall be bound,
To a unity brought together, undying;
So that to the end of days,
The Flesh and the Soul,
which in a god have ripened–
in a blood-kinship be entwined…

…Upon the death, the god, the star
Broken upon the altar they wept and fled.
The great body of light, bound to man lay cleaved;
They, the fifty, the Annunaki, bore by seven,
The toil of man, forever in their suffering.
In death, the rapture is for the unclean.
And for the rest, they are the gods.

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