The Battle of Baikal
rating: +40+x

Lake Baikal, Siberia
Day Four of SCP-610's Containment Breach

"This is commander Ibrahim Croshaw. Re-containment impossible. Requesting nuclear bombardment, Overseer Command, please respond."

Static was the only response the radio gave. Like the last three days. The flesh had somehow melded itself to the radio tower, but he had hoped the signal would still come through somehow. Occasionally, words in an unnatural tongue came through the radio, some Sarkic speech.

The worst part about it was the quiet. The giant, screaming heads only appeared once every couple of hours to disgorge their fleshy matter, but beyond that, nothing, except for the sounds of hellish moans from what had once been the hospital tent. They thought that they could at least alleviate the suffering— they had been wrong.

"This is commander Ibrahim Croshaw. Re-containment impossible. Requesting nuclear bombardment."

He didn't even notice when the flesh started to crawl out of the microphone. Even if he did, he wouldn't care. He just kept repeating the message, and when the flesh overtook his vocal chords, the message still repeated.

In a dark room in an undisclosed location, a woman, a man, and a computer monitor watched the world end.

"We've never seen this behavior from 610 before." O5-3 spoke from the other side of a secure connection. "It's shown some intelligence, but nothing on this scale."

"Have we considered nuclear bombardment?" D.C. al Fine steepled her hands together. It felt like such a stereotypical thing for a GOC representative to say, but it seemed like the best option. "The lake itself has already been contaminated. Radiation poisoning can't hurt what human population remains."

Adnan, a representative of the Horizon Initative, shook his head. "The political situation of the world is fragile, and eyes are watching everywhere. If anyone who didn't know about the Triumvirate—"

"Such as the President of the United States—" O5-3 offered.

"Saw a nuclear explosion in Russia, they'd assume it's either an unsanctioned test, or an attack." He leaned back in his chair.

"We could enact the Penzance Protocol." O5-3's monitor printed out a description of the protocol— using a Combat Zeppelin's modified Scranton Cannon to rewrite local reality. "Erase it from reality."

"Too risky." Adnan waved his hand. "Lake Baikal vanishing off the map would tear the veil down. However…" Adnan took out his phone. After struggling with the screen, he accessed the universal texts. "We do have some artifacts related to the Mekhanites which we might be able to use."

"The amount of Akiva radiation in the area is negli—" al Fine began.

"'Akiva radiation' is a nonsense term, like 'Humes'." Adnan snapped. "You can't quantify faith into some numbers. If the Mekhanites believed that their artifacts can combat the flesh, then it's worth a shot."

"I agree." O5-3 coughed. "There might be a few issues with the usage, however, considering recent events."

"You lost some, didn't you?" al Fine played with her headscarf, rolling her eyes. "Let me guess: the Xbox kids?"

"…and a relic related to the Xia dynasty. One day they were there, the next they weren't. By all accounts, the former walked out of the site with no impediment, and the latter was…" A modulated laugh of disbelief came from O5-3. "Was stolen by a monkey."

"Truth be told, we've got some LTEs whose remains have vanished as well." al Fine rolled her headscarf around a finger. "The… thing that the Horizon Initiative liquidated in the middle east back in… 2013? We had some of its remains in storage. Now it's all gone."

"Between all of this and their seizure of SCP-2217… the Mekhanites believe it to be their end-times. And I'm inclined to agree." O5-3 paused briefly. "So, what course of action do we take?"

"Let's put it to a vote." al Fine tapped the table before her, and a bank of monitors lit up on the far wall, showing five of the other six other members of the Triumvirate's central council. Samuel and Bernard, the other two thirds of the Horizon Initiative's tribunal, both looked tired. O5-8 and O5-11's screens were occupied entirely by emotionless numbers. The Secretary General sat, stoic.

al Fine frowned. "Where's General Barnshard?"

"Indisposed." The Secretary General shook his head. "He's in the hospital. His pacemaker began acting up."

"We can do a vote with eight." O5-3 spoke sagely.

"Very well." al Fine cleared her throat. "This first vote vote is to determine whether or not we, the Triumvirate, will commence nuclear bombardment of Lake Baikal, in an attempt to cleanse the Flesh that is currently overtaking Foundation containment."

Five minutes later, there were three votes for this measure, five opposing.

"This vote is on to whether or not to rewrite local reality using the Penzance Protocol, erasing Lake Baikal and SCP-610 from the area. All in favor, vote now."

One in favor, seven against. al Fine could practically hear O5-3 shaking with rage.

"All those in favor of using artifacts related to the Mekhanite faith in an attempt to combat this threat, vote now." Adnan nodded.

Another five minutes. Four in favor, four against.

"Fuck." al Fine rubbed her face. "We need a tiebreaker."

O5-3 remained silent for several moments. Then, their monitor flickered out, the number upon it vanishing.

"Typical." The Secretary General rolled his eyes. "Time of crisis, and they throw a fit over not getting their way."

O5-3's monitor turend back on. On it was the face of a man, his skin made of bronze, his eyes iron, his hair carbon fibers. Were he ever human to begin with, his face may have once been considered Phoenician.

"Bumaro." al Fine hissed.

"That's not possible." Even through the voice modulation, O5-8 was aghast. "That's a secure Foundation connection. Nobody could crack into that."

"You who call yourselves the Triumvirate. Look to the sky, and you will see hope gliding down upon wings of steel and light. Be not afraid. We come to cull this infection."

The screen flickered, and then the message looped.

al Fine's phone rang. It was one of their agents in NORAD. Shaking, she picked it up. Her eyes widened as the other end described what they were seeing.

Near the shores of Lake Baikal, a sniper sat in a clock tower, contemplating a pair of pills in his hand. Cyanide. Quick, relatively painless. Better than being overtaken by the things below. Rationally, it would be better to die from poison than live through an agonizing existence as a creature of flesh.

Humanity, however, is inherently irrational, thanks to a pesky thing at the bottom of a box. He wasted his last bullet six hours ago, trying to shoot a head that may as well have been made of rubber, yet the pesky thing told him to save himself.

All in all, Agent Domovoi was not a religious man. His family had brought him up Orthodox, but as far as he was concerned, the idea that an all-loving God could allow the Flesh to exist, to continue shambling through the streets below, was absurd.

From the east, the sun rose, as it is wont to do. Domovoi stood, continuing to contemplate the cyanide pills in his hand. It shook, and he let them drop. He couldn't. Even in a time such as this, some part of his brain told him that life was better than death, that there was some glimmer of hope. But if there was any, he didn't see it.

A shadow fell over the sniper. He turned away towards the sunrise, and looked up— a massive object had come over the town. Domovoi squinted, and looked through his binoculars— he expected a Combat Zeppelin, come to enact the Penzance Protocol, or else just plain nuclear bombardment. He had seen one final sunrise. It was some comfort, that the world would continue to spin.

What was above him was not a Combat Zeppelin. It was larger, and made of stone. On its underside, there were runes in something which looked almost Grecian, but slightly off— Domovoi guessed that this was all that was keeping the mass of rock afloat.

Then, from the lip of the rock, people jumped. Dozens of them— men and women alike. Domovoi let out a startled gasp, waiting for their eventual impact, but it never came. Some of them sprouted wings of hard light and glided down onto the ground below. Others extended cloth membranes and propellers, drawing what seemed to be gattling guns from out of their chests. There were some who plummeted to the ground, but they fell with purpose, hammers or spears in their hands, ready to crush or puncture the flesh below.

He heard the sound of a propeller behind him, and turned around, falling over with a small scream. Behind him was an angel made of brass with six arms, wings of fabric and wood, inspecting his fallen rifle. In the process, he had trod on the cyanide pills. "What the fuck?!" He swore in Russian.

There was a click from the brass angel, who replied in a modulated voice. "Be not afraid. We come for your salvation." One of his hands was extended down to Domovoi.

Shaking, the sniper took it. He didn't expect the metal to be so warm. It was then he noticed what the angel was doing to his rifle— it was being reloaded, with far more rounds than should have fit. The magazine appeared to have been replaced by one made of bronze.

The rifle was spun between the six arms in a theatrical manner, before being handed back to Domovoi. "I am not suited for such modern weaponry, but I have modified it so that it more effective against the spawn of Yaldabaoth." There was a click, and then the angel's propellers restarted. "Consider this an olive branch. Thus spake Legate Colt."

With that, the Legate flew to the street below. All three of its left arms merged into a single limb, and fire started emanating from it. It took Domovoi a moment to realize, but Legate Colt had just turned his left arms into a massive gatling gun.

He looked back at the powderized cyanide pills, and rubbed his face. His hand was on his rifle, and he put the scope to his eyes, blasting a hole through a shambling mass of flesh that had been about to strike Colt down from behind.

Closer to the edge of the city, a Mekhanite battle chorus sounded. It was discordant— for the first time ever, the hollow, bell-like chanting of the Orthodoxists were intermingling with the harsher sounds of the Maxwellists. Drowning them both out were Greek hymns recited by those who had given themselves to the Broken Church.

The chains that Legate Trunnion had in place of hair were pulled towards her weapon— a spear made of magnetite. Originally, it was intended to smite Maxwellists during a conflict that had broken out in 2005, but now, it was finding a very different use.

She drove the spear into what may have once been the head of a mass of Flesh as it charged her, turning the grip on it counter-clockwise. As she did, pieces of iron from the surrounding buildings were drawn towards the Flesh, cutting it into ribbons.

St. Hedwig's weapon was less practical, though no less impressive. Surrounding her was a flock of drones, configuring themselves into new weapons as the situation demanded. One moment they were a series of flechettes to carve themselves through an approaching wall of flesh, the next had them forming a barrier to protect from some form of bloody discharge. Hedwig walked through the carnage, stoic, looking almost bored. Trunnion was surprised that she didn't have a phone out.

Then, Hedwig paused, a scowl on her face. "Dammit."

"What?" Trunnion asked, stabbing her spear through the eyes of five flesh-creatures.

"The Foundation are trying to access a satellite I overrode. Should I let them in?"

Trunnion's brass lips turned into a smirk. "Let them see our great work unfold." She cranked the handle of her spear, and a building collapsed down on top of an approaching mass of gore.

"What. The fuck. Is that."

al Fine stared flabbergasted at the satellite feed, showing a giant mass of rock floating in the sky above Lake Baikal. Thousands of bodies were flying off of it, and on the mass of flesh below, smoke and laser blasts could be seen.

"The Temple of Kythera-on-the-Lake. A vestige of the Mekhanite holdings in Russia, before they disturbed the Flesh." Adnan gaped. "It… appears to be flying."

"No shit it's flying, Adnan!" al Fine looked at the text scrolling across the bottom of the screen. "…I take it a Maxwellist hacked the feed."

The text, completely green, read "Hi! We're doing your job for you. #ScrewTheFoundation #SuckOurCOGGOC #PrettyFlyForAHIGuy."

"Fucking Maxwellists." O5-3 snapped.

"So much for decorum," al Fine rolled her eyes. "The Coalition has troops in the area."

"Deploy them." O5-3 growled. "Don't let this escalate any further. Shut them all down— pseudo-Sarkic, Ticker, Hummer, whatever, just get rid of them."

"Since when can they fly?!"

Admin-Priest Markus of the Spark cleaved through a horde of fleshy creatures who had produced membranous wings to combat the aerial bombardment. His ceramic blade broke on the bones of the last one. "Wan fuck me. Cheap Prometheus weapon."

A Tinker-Cleric of the Cogwork Orthodoxy ascended next to him and offered a steel blade. "Well well! The 21st century isn't all it's cracked up to be, it seems."

"Sometimes the old ways are the best." Markus admitted as he took the blade, spinning it in his hand. "Nicely-balanced."

"Forged it myself in my own body!" The Tinker-Cleric confirmed, his brass and cloth wings parting to reveal a large cannon. He removed it from his back and took up a firing position. "Name's Ford!"

"Markus." He hefted the blade and looked his fellow Mekhanite over, tilting his head— Ford's left wing had a rather large tear in its membrane. "Want me to patch that up?"

"It'd be appreciated! I've lost a fair bit of altitude!" Ford managed to hover in mid-air while the fingers of the Admin-Priest printed new cloth into the seam. "I think I recognize your face— aren't your parents among our number?"

"Mom and dad went to your church, I think." Markus smiled as he wove together carbon fibers.. "I was a rebellious kid, and the Orthodoxy has… kind of strict doctrine when it comes to living in the 21st century. Still, I'm one of St. Turing's hands, so I can't complain too much."

The patchwork finished, Markus looked to the southern horizon. Vehicles emblazoned with UN insignia— including a not insignificant number of tanks —were crawling over it. "Hedwig protect us."

Ford refrained from making a comment about idolatry as a pair of binoculars emerged from his forehead. "I'm afraid she has nothing to do with this. It's the Coalition."

"They don't use electronic gear when dealing with us, so hacking's not an option."

"And I can taste the stink of beryl-bronze from here. They mean to exterminate all life, not just the Flesh." Ford frowned. "…has it just gotten… very quiet, all of the sudden?"

Markus turned and tilted his head. They had been talking for a good two minutes. The sky had been crawling with flying flesh, but now, it was all falling to Earth. The air smelled of ozone.

"As much as I would love to feel Her touch," Ford said, "I do believe it is time to, as the young folk say, skedaddle."

"Nobody has said that since the 50's." But, Markus agreed on principle, and started flying back towards the temple. Ford followed, and a thousand other pairs of wings flocked behind them.

"They're retreating?" al Fine frowned. "After all that? What the hell?"

"They're heading back to the temple. Something's wrong." The Secretary General frowned. "They may have a weapon in the temple that they intend to use on our forces.""

O5-3's monitor let out a modulated scream of "God no!"

"What's going on?" al Fine's head snapped to the O5's monitor.

"A massive electromagnetic anomaly just manifested in Greece. It's… being reported as a giant… giant mass of lightning. It's originating from 2217, and going… god knows where."

al Fine sank into her seat, feeling faint. "T-the time isn't right. It can't have been summoned already."

Adnan began to pray. al Fine joined him. O5-3 simply sat in an undisclosed location, stunned. They had lost.

Robert Bumaro stood in a cave beneath what had once been SCP-610's containment site. Before him was the bottom of a large eye; the pupil and iris were a good one-hundred feet higher up. They didn't even bother focusing on him.

"Seems that the Blind Idiot does, in fact, possess eyes." Bumaro tapped the membrane with the head of his hammer; it hissed and steamed on contact with the alloy. "Hmm. Soon, you will have one less. But will it be enough, I wonder?"

Robert Bumaro sighed. Soon, it would be time to cast off his stolen name. It was almost a pity— he had gotten used to being called Robert. It sounded strong. But Bumaro was a name that had no meaning to it whatsoever. Still, the prophet would soon shed the face and name he stole. As it was written, it would have been unrecognizable to most, but he still had it etched into his right arm, as a reminder of who he was.


"Odd how the end of the world begins at the start of the year." Bumaro rolled his shoulders. "Mother works in mysterious ways."

He felt the air around him reek of ozone. It was time. He raised his hammer high. A blinding light encompassed the prophet as he struck the hammer upon the eye of the great Blind Idiot Demiurge. The cornea melted on contact, and the vitreous fluid evaporated within, covering Bumaro in a wave of unholy gore.

Above, flesh curdled and boiled. Hellish shrieks poured forth from the Flesh that Hates as the beam fried whatever resembled neurons. Stimulated by holy electricity, skin began to reform back into its original shape. Extraneous hearts were disintegrated. Eyes that had been melted and sloughed from their sockets saw once again, and holy light greeted them.

The light passed, and with it, a sound of thunder echoed that should have deafened or killed all who heard it. Most were left reeling from the force of the blast, their ears ringing, but were otherwise intact.

The Flesh that Hates became the Flesh that Hated. In his tent, Ibrahim Croshaw began speaking another plea for nuclear bombardment, only to hear sobbing from outside. He stepped out to find clean Earth, and his fellows, whole once more, holding each other.

Others were among them— not Foundation agents. Men, women, and children, all looking confused, many naked. They were speaking in Russian, and it slowly dawned on him that these were, somehow, the people who had called this place home before the Flesh had emerged. It had never occurred to him that there was a time like that.

Croshaw put his hand to his head in disbelief, and felt the cold impact of metal on his scalp. On his right hand, this thumb, middle,and index fingers were solid steel, but still had sensation, dexterity, and all else that could be expected from organic material.

He snapped them experimentally, and saw a jolt of electricity erupt from his fingertips. He let out a soft laugh of disbelief, and rubbed his face, tears flowing freely.

Above all of this, Agent Alexi Domovoi rubbed his eyes, holstered his rifle, and lit a cigarette. The pesky thing at the bottom of the box had been right, for once. He had seen a sunrise, and, he hoped, would see several more.

Alexi Domovoi looked out onto the town square, unaware that his left eye had been replaced by warm silicon. Even if he was aware, he wouldn't have cared.

O5-3's screen crackled again, and was replaced by the image of the Prophet. It spoke, a soft smile on his face. It wasn't smug— if anything, it was welcoming.

"It's not too late, you know." Bumaro sighed. "This is our world, as well. We both want the Flesh to end. And we can help you; we can help each other. Come to the Anvil. We will talk, and we can save this world."

O5-3's number came back on screen. There was silence in the room for several minutes, before he spoke. "…we've gotten reports of Mekhanite activity around 2217. They're… lowering their blockade. Inviting Foundation forces onto the island."

"What just happened… you— we can't contain it, can we?" al Fine put her head in her hand. "At least a dozen countries, maybe half a billion people, would have seen that giant bolt of lightning, arcing across the sky. I don't even think Dark has enough resources to contain this."

Adnan stood. "I need to make some calls. We have some Shepherds in Greece who would like to observe whatever sort of… meeting is going to take place on the island."

al Fine nodded. "I… need to make a call as well. The Prime Minister of Greece has asked to be updated on the situation regularly, and this is a very large update. And Russia will want to know that the Flesh is gone."

O5-3 apologized quickly and turned off his monitor. 8 and 11 followed, and the entire Council was roused to an emergency meeting.

The date was January 4th, 2019. The end of the world had begun.

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