SCP-093 'Orange' Test
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rating: +32+x

Mirror Test 7: Colour (Orange)

Subject is Dr. Dan ███████, male, 44 years of age, mildly atrophied muscular physique. Subject's background shows instance of reckless endangerment via intentional containment breach, leading to multiple recorded fatalities.


Asterisk.png

"Quit looking over my shoulder."

Dan pointed at the tablet computer, over her shoulder. "Thought this was Test 6?"

Dr. Sophia Light shrugged, nearly striking him in the chin. "Database insists there's an entry for 6. Can't get access, probably a placeholder. We're looking into it."

"Okay." He pointed over her shoulder again. "But 'reckless endangerment'? I was trying to prove a point. I did prove a point."

"And yet that disc you're holding turned an oranger shade of guilty."

He walked back in front of her, still holding said glowing disc. "Okay, but 'mildly atrophied'? I beg your pardon."

"You're pardoned. Again. Now go make it worth our while." She pointed with her stylus at the simple mirror on the wall.

He fiddled with the wireless camera attached to his labcoat lapel. "What's the verdict on this thing? Because if it doesn't work, I am not carrying around a hundred meters of coaxial cable."

"We think it will, if you stop fiddling with it. Made great strides in interdimensional comms over the past decade." Sophia slipped the tablet into her labcoat pocket. "Surprise me with an alternate dimension once, shame on you, et cetera, et cetera."

The door to the temporary containment chamber opened, and a polyglot crowd crowded in. The members of Light's provisional MTF Alpha-9 team — Lucretia Popescu, Carlotta Deneb, Rainer Miller and SCP-4494 — filed in first, followed by four Foundation soldiers and…

"No," said Sophia, moving to block the passage of the final towering figure. "No, no, no. Absolutely not."

The rough, chiselled face of General Jack Wilford glowered down at her. "Goggles asked for me personally."

She looked back at Dan. Dan shrugged. "Overwatch assigned Tau-1 to Area-09. Wilford came with."

"What means, 'Goggles'?" Popescu asked.

Sophia peeked at the hallway behind Wilford, then gestured at him and Dan to follow her out of the chamber. Dan shrugged apologetically at the team, and as he was the last one out, he closed the door behind him.

Sophia's hands snapped to her hips. "He tried to kill you." She pointed at Wilford. "Him. He relayed the transmission that sicced 096 on you."

"096-D," Dan murmured.

Wilford's eyes widened with feigned innocence. "I did that? Then why am I still alive?"

She pointed at Dan, who was leaning on the door with his arms crossed, staring at the disc in his hand. "Because he won't sign off on my official complaint."

"And why is that?"

Dan didn't look at him. "I've grown accustomed to your face."

Wilford scoffed. "More like, even you know you shouldn't still be alive."

Sophia reached up and snapped her fingers under Wilford's nose. "You tried to axe my most important asset. I'm not entrusting him to you."

Wilford shook his head. "I've been briefed. I'm not going to shoot your rottweiler when there's burglars at the door."

She shook her head. "Not good enough. You know how few generals we have? We don't even mint those anymore. It's absurd for you to go on a field op."

He crossed his arms. "Not when I already know the field."

Sophia blinked. "What?"

"Violet test. Three of my men and I escorted the subject through a ruined cityscape. Lost a good soldier, gained… well." He pursed his lips. "Whatever we gained, this mission is either going to add to it, or make it all have been in vain."

Sophia swore under her breath. "I didn't even know. Those old files are so goddamn redacted."

Wilford ignored her. "The thing that made that other world in its image is pure evil. I want to make damn sure it's eaten its last Earth."

"See? He's so noble." Dan cracked his neck. "And if he tries anything, Popescu can dump him in one of Miller's singularities. Win-win."

Sophia stared at them for a moment. Wilford met her gaze impassively, Dan still wouldn't look at either of them.

"Fine," she sighed. "But if you so much as nudge him, I'll reassign Tau-1 to 076 detail."


Asterisk.png

"Why we are bringing expendables?" Lucretia demanded, as they walked back into the chamber. "Already have expendable Sarkic."

"They are not expendable," Wilford growled. "None of them. But the three of you are high-rated Foundation assets, the kind of thing these men and women are trained to protect. The kind of thing that's too valuable to throw at something which will respond to good old-fashioned firepower."

"Assuming there's anything like that over there," said Dan.

"What's even the point of bringing anomalies, then?" Carlotta asked. Lucretia frowned at her choice of words, and she winced before continuing. "If you're gonna fill out the ranks with firepower, I mean."

"I'm sorry you feel that way about your own training, Agent Deneb," Wilford snapped, "but it's too late to back out now." She opened her mouth to protest, but he kept going. "If I need a boulder shifted, guns won't be much use. That'll be on Ms. Popescu. If I need a specific item pulled out of someone's ass, that ass will be Mr. Miller's."

"My ass has nothing to do with it," Rainer grumbled.

"And The Specter," Dan interrupted, "is coming in case we need someone to arm-wrestle the Anti-Monitor. Everything else will be up to the grunts."

Wilford grunted, but said nothing further.

"We good?" Dan asked. Without waiting for a response, he held the disc in front of him like an ID badge and walked towards the mirror.

"What's the rush?" Miller called after him. "No pep talk?"

"Follow me, and don't die," Dan replied without looking back. He clapped the disc to the mirror's surface, and felt it snap into place like a magnet on metal. He didn't stop walking when he reached the glass, and he didn't stop walking after that, either.


A9Asterisk.png

Subject entered the provided mirror while holding SCP-093, which emitted an orange colour. Outside technicians observed that the mirror retained a true reflection until subject had completely passed into it, at which time the view changed to a rubble-strewn interior space heavily tinged in orange, similar to previous tests. Video feed follows in attached media…


A9Asterisk.png

It was a strange sensation, a simultaneous sinking of his gut, shortening of his breath and quickening of his heart. None of this was a direct effect of passing through the mirror, which offered no resistance at all; it was merely his every instinct screaming at him that this was a bad idea, this was a dangerous place, and this was a very, very stupid thing to be doing.

"Greetings from Earth," he whispered into the warm, musty space. "The good one." He tasted rust in the air, and thought he could smell blood. Blood smells like rust. Occam's Razor. Focus.

He was standing in a narrow hallway filled with smashed concrete and metal debris. The metal had once been painted white, so that the countless rust spots resembled rot and mold on cardboard. He was barely able to pick and stumble his way forward, stepping over what looked like a box of circuit breakers and several broken computer terminals. Once he'd gone a few meters, he looked back through the shimmering orange portal behind him and gave a tentative thumbs up sign.

"You hear me?" he asked. Sophia shook her head, and tapped her lapel. He nodded, and activated the body camera and microphone. "Enter freely, and of your own free will. But watch your fucking step."


A9Asterisk.png

Camera activates, flickers to view. Subject is looking back through the mirror at the containment chamber. Tau-1 and the remaining members of Alpha-9 proceed through the mirror, soldiers preceding agents.

SCP-4494 declares that its reach, and thereby the reach of justice, now transcends dimensional boundaries. Dr. Dan retorts, and a brief argument ensues before Agent Popescu intervenes.


A9Asterisk.png

"MISSION HAS STARTED!" Lucretia bellowed, and both Dr. Dan and The Specter abruptly ceased their arguing. "Please to be moving on now."

Wilford scanned the cluttered mess ahead of them, and nodded. "The Sarkic is correct, if loud. We need to get a move-on."

"The Sarkic thanks you, General Grunt." Lucretia gave a theatrical half-bow. "Small expendables first."

"This is Control," said Light from Dan's lapel, making him jump. "How's the transmission quality?"

"Loud and clear," he responded. "Dial it back to just 'clear', please, we don't know who else might be listening."

Lucretia clenched and unclenched her fists. "Could yell again, find out."

Carlotta took one of Lucretia's hands. "Or we could do this by the book, Lucy."

"What book?" Lucretia waved at the chaotic tangle of stone and metal surrounding them. "Roadside Picnic? Weird reality burps happen, sneak or no."

The Specter pulled both of his pistols from their holsters and spun them on his thumbs, before snapping them back into place. "Not if I find them first. The Specter is like a bloodhound on the bloody, smelly trail of evil."

"Smoke man getting to be a lot," said Lucretia.

Dan sighed. "Got that all out of your system, folks? The fact is, there's not likely to be anyone around. Save for one isolated incident in a very different environment, the only humanoids encountered in 093-E are the weird faceless ghost things, and they don't kick up a fuss." A look of realization and worry spread across his own face, before he visibly scrunched it down. "Nobody's ever encountered an Unclean in an interior space, or I'd have shushed you at the start."

"I'd love to say it's good to know you're thinking," said Wilford. "But it isn't." He shouldered his rifle. "Let's advance."

The soldiers took the lead, and with a few more muttered comments, the rest followed.


A9Asterisk.png

Alpha-9 moves through the facility, exploring every accessible room and hallway. The functions of each space have been jumbled, the apparent result of both age, misuse, and conflict; many contain a mixture of unfamiliar, rusted medical equipment, broken electronic components, and clusters of clothing. Most of the clothing is military uniforms, coated in a dark brown viscous fluid.

Dr. Dan queries Control about the presence or absence of entities invisible to Alpha-9 but visible on the video feed. No such entities are visible, and Control assures him of this.

After eighteen minutes of fruitless exploration, a large set of double doors is located. The ceiling and walls around the doors have caved in; General Wilford remarks that this appears to have been the result of deliberate action. Dr. Dan requests that either Agent Popescu or SCP-4051 attempt to shift the rubble. SCP-4051 asserts that he would not like to chance it, as the materials do not comprise a solid whole; Agent Popescu agrees to perform the required action, and manifests a series of tentacular bioforms which take hold of the rubble and violently move it aside. Once the point of ingress is largely clear, Agent Popescu notes that she is only useful for her physical strength; Dr. Dan takes issue with this remark, and a brief argument ensues before Agent Popescu wrenches the door open.

Agent Deneb notes an inscription on the lintel above the doors: "THE HAMMER ARE WE, THE ARM IS HE."

Alpha-9 proceeds, with SCP-4051 lagging behind.


A9Asterisk.png

This wing of the facility was concrete. Very nearly nothing but concrete: brushed slabs for walls, polished slabs for floors. Rainer didn't like it. He didn't like concrete; it gave him a comforting, homey feeling, and he knew that shouldn't be the case.

"This place isn't damaged," he remarked to nobody in particular.

He wasn't surprised when it was The Specter who answered. "A valid insight, old chum! Whatever nefarious forces breached the outer halls did not penetrate to these depths."

"The people living in these halls were the nefarious ones, I think," Rainer corrected gently.

The Specter dipped its wide-brimmed fedora in a facsimile of a nod. "Fair play. I've been assuming all the citizens of this cursed burg are nefarious, not honest folk like you or I. It may not be precisely true, but it feels… right."

It did feel right. There was an oppressive sameness to the halls, and an uncomfortable, close warmth to the air which made his head ache slightly. It felt like somewhere nothing good had ever happened.

You're externalizing, he thought miserably. Because your friend is a genuine superhero, and you're just a wannabe.

"Hold," Wilford called, one hand in the air. There were doors on either side of them now, black metal with no visible means of opening. "Let's be thorough. Popescu or Miller, you're up."

Lucretia patted Rainer roughly on the back. "Indulge self."

Even the idea of helping made him feel better. He put one hand on the nearest door, glancing briefly at the nameplate: "Rederick Bonafarve." He glanced back at Dr. Dan, who theatrically waggled his eyebrows and mouthed Told you.

Rainer grinned. The door was definitely metal, and very solid. He thought for a moment, then shrugged. "How fast you want this thing breached?"

Wilford was staring at him. "What?"

"How fast? You want anything in there to have advance notice, or you want the element of surprise?"

Wilford and Dan both considered. Light's voice pre-empted them both: "The latter."

Rainer nodded, and turned back to the door again. The space around it seemed to bend, to distort, to ripple like a pool of still water with the introduction of a sudden stone, and…

"Surprise," he said, as the door completely vanished.


A9Asterisk.png

The dormitory room is neatly kept and sparsely furnished, containing only a bed, a bedside table, a wardrobe, and a desk with chair. A closed door stands at the opposite end from the hallway entrance.

Dr. Dan repeats his query to Control about the presence of entities on the video feed but invisible to Alpha-9. No such entities are visible, and Control assures him of this.

The soldiers search the room briefly before calling an all-clear, and the remaining members of Alpha-9 enter. SCP-4051 immediately moves to open the single drawer on the bedside table, and makes an excited exclamation at its contents: an immaculate, leather-bound book imprinted with an image of two hands pressed together in a symbol of prayer. He removes the book and hands it to Dr. Dan, who expresses admiration for SCP-4051's quick thinking; SCP-4051 responds enthusiastically, and Dr. Dan carefully stows the book in his bag. Control reminds Dr. Dan of his earlier dismissal of the possibility of locating precisely this object; Dr. Dan claims not to have received Control's transmission, and Control does not repeat the message.

The soldiers collect several clean uniforms from the wardrobe, storing them in their backpacks. SCP-4051 nullifies the second door, revealing a spacious personal washroom.


A9Asterisk.png

Not expecting company, I guess. Dan examined the mess from the doorway; he immediately realized that what he was seeing was not actually grime. Nobody made a move to enter the room.

The sink was coated in a thick, dark brown sludge which ran down like a tiny frozen waterfall from the spout. The bottom of the bathtub was covered in the same substance, with the same obvious point of egress.

A pile of amber-smeared clothing lay against the side of the tub.

"They were bathing in it?" Wilford asked. His jaw was set in a grim line.

"And drinking it," Dan nodded. "Probably laced all the water, evaporated now." He frowned. "Can't imagine they were doing it regularly, though. Too uncontrolled. They must have started pumping it into the water when they got desperate, when they needed more, stronger soldiers, faster. Soldiers don't like being experimented on, and they wouldn't have all volunteered for extra Tears. This was the workaround. It's how I would've done it."

He left his pondering reverie to find the entire group staring at him. "What?"


A9Asterisk.png

General Wilford comments that Dr. Dan would have found ready employment at this facility. Dr. Dan retorts that both of their alternate selves might well have done; a brief argument about the existence of 'alternate selves' ensues before SCP-4494 intervenes.

SCP-4494 enters the bathroom and carefully lifts the lid of the toilet; the bowl is dry but clean, with no sign of the anomalous fluid. Multiple extraneous remarks are made by Alpha-9, and they return to the hallway.


A9Asterisk.png

They walked in silence. The Specter was used to surprising his foes, and he was used to being alone with his thoughts, but he had become accustomed to the gregarious nature of his teammate. There was a tension in the air which suggested his new allies were not as comfortable with the silence, and themselves, as he was. The tell-tale guilt of the unjust, he thought, and felt a pang himself for thinking it.

He decided to break the ice. "Perhaps this would be a good time for you to tell your origin story, Dr. Dan."

Dan looked back at him, grimaced, and looked away. Wilford, however, grinned. "Our man Dan here is no stranger to MTF operations. He's spent the last ten years thinking long and hard about one in particular."

"This isn't the time," Light snapped over the radio.

"Sure it is. All these rooms are empty, and we're just covering ground. Might as well multi-task! Your team needs to know all about this fine gentleman if they're ever going to trust him." Wilford clapped Dan on the shoulder. "Their fearless leader."

"Sophia's the leader," Dan muttered. "I'm just the asset."

Wilford laughed. "Dr. Sophia Light, leader-slash-killer of men."

"Killer?" said The Specter. "You're calling her a killer?"

"Ask her how she got her job, some time." Wilford smirked. "I'll give you a hint: it involved ten dead men, and treason."

"Eleven," Light corrected him. "And yes, ask me about it when you get back. When you get back."

The Specter felt a knot forming in his… well, he felt a knot forming. He liked Light. She didn't seem like a killer, to him. But, then, neither did Dr. Dan.

Dr. Dan seems like a braggart. Most evil-doers were braggarts, but most evil-doers didn't look so consistently miserable beneath their bravado as did the doctor with the redacted name. He certainly did look guilty, though, on second glance…

"Our man Dan," Wilford continued, "secretly let a monster out of its cage, then sent an entire unit of our best agents after it without letting them in on his reasoning."

"The reasoning was sound." Dan marched forward in a straight line, staring into space. The soldiers were very obviously trying not to look at him.

"He intentionally released that thing into the wide world, where it slaughtered a whole slew of innocents and decimated a unit of our best men."

"Decimated means 'reduced by one-tenth'," Dan said quietly. "You suffered fifty percent casualties."

Wilford's grin widened dangerously as he clapped Dan on the shoulder again. "Always the cold calculator, our man Dan! Fifty percent casualties, to prove a point. Here is an egghead who understands the meaning of 'human resources'. He even gave the poor guys a set of bullshit goggles for protection. Of course, you've all heard the line about goggles, and whether they actually do anything."

The Specter's gloves were resting on his pistols, the result of no conscious decision. "Was he tried? Convicted for his crimes?"

Wilford nodded. "Oh, yes, indeed. His perfect plan had a perfect little hole in it, and it got him sent off to a cushy containment cell for ten years. Got his partner in crime executed, actually; our man Dan is a genius at escaping personal consequences. Spent ten whole years thinking up garbage plans for killing anomalies that no-one ever intends to kill, and then the moment the top brass saw a good excuse they secretly let him out of his cage so he could rampage—"

A dull groaning they'd ignored as part of the crumbling structure's background noise suddenly bounced around them as a discrete sound, and they froze as one unit. Dan and Wilford exchanged a glance, then looked back at the rest of the team. Wilford pressed one finger to his lips, waited for acknowledgements, then stealthily pressed forward.


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Alpha-9 enters a grand atrium with a glass ceiling. They are facing an oversized reception desk which stands before a three-storey wall of plaster and concrete, with halls heading deeper into the facility cut into the bottom storey. A large canvas portrait lies on top of the desk, face down; a damaged computer terminal protrudes from a hole in the canvas.

The upper storeys of the wall are occupied by an enormous humanoid figure with pale white skin, no visible facial features, and a torso which terminates just above the pelvis. It appears to have partially phased through the concrete before becoming mostly inert; it occasionally shifts position, its limbs extending, distending and retracting at random. Flakes and concrete dust are dislodged by these actions, and exposed rebar in the walls is bent and twisted. The figure does not appear to have noticed the arrival of the team.

Alpha-9 carefully retreat far down the hallway and confer. Dr. Dan explains that the Unclean are capable of locomotion because their reach transcends atomic boundaries, allowing them limited ability to phase through solid objects, and theorizes that this particular specimen had done so before falling into a mostly vegetative state. SCP-4494 declares that its reach, and thereby the reach of justice, also transcends atomic boundaries. Dr. Dan agrees with this sentiment, and again queries Control about the presence of entities on the video feed invisible to Alpha-9. Control asserts that said entities are in fact surrounding Alpha-9 and making "hurry up gestures" at Dr. Dan specifically. Dr. Dan responds negatively to this assertion, and a brief argument ensues before Agent Deneb intervenes.


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"Is this really the fucking time?"

That got their attention. Carlotta had both hands on her hips, and she was making what she hoped was a stern face. Project authority. You don't have any, with these people, but project it anyway. "You done exploring? Found a book, found some clothes, and that's good enough for you? We've fallen into argument every ten minutes so far."

"It's this place," Rainer protested. "It's creepy as all hell."

She fought to keep the sympathy from her face. She fought to keep from trembling. That fucking thing that fucking thing that fucking thing…! She clenched her jaw.

"It is unsettling," The Specter agreed. "Coming face to face with such perfidy."

"And he knows what lurks in the hearts of men!" Dan added. "We're coping as best we can."

Carlotta gestured towards the atrium. "That's clearly the lobby for whatever this place's main deal is. We need to get through. If we're not going to just stand around and bitch at each other, we need to make a plan and execute it."

"Expendables time?" Lucretia suggested.

"Yeah," said Wilford. "No."

"We could stage a diversion," said Dan.

"I could wormhole something," said Rainer. "If anyone has a good idea as to what."

Carlotta took a deep breath, and Dan took the opportunity to peer at her appraisingly. "I get the sense that Agent Deneb has a suggestion of her own," he ventured.

She exhaled, hard, and nodded. "Yeah, I do." She smiled, even as the bottom fell out of her stomach. "We go under it."


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