Three Thousand to One
rating: +70+x

First Officer Xilas Crowe sighed as she closed the bulkhead door behind her, sealing the communications room for another day. She sighed again as Tallow handed her a rough approximation of coffee.

"Still no response from Scipnet?" The man asked, nodding knowingly. "Don't you worry, I'm sure someone will pick up soon enough."

Xilas turned on Tallow in a heartbeat, unrestrained anger flaring in her amber eyes. "And how are you so sure? For all we know we're the last humans on Earth!"

He put his hands up defensively, deciding to leave well enough alone as he turned and exited the alcove, allowing Xilas to stew in her rage for a moment. She seated herself next to the blacked out port hole, and stared at the artificial blue light on the opposite side of the cramped hull. She sipped her coffee, frowning at the weak taste, and attempted to discern the various sounds of the submarine.

She heard the rush of the ballast, flowing from the front of the vessel towards the rear. She heard the footsteps of her crewmates as they wandered the common area on the lower deck. She heard the occasional pings of the sonar array, and the fainter pings back as it reflected off the sea floor. However most among all these things, she heard the dreadful moan of the engine and reactor, unending in its quest to drag them as far away from where they started as physically possible.

Xilas closed her eyes for a moment, trying to remember what rest felt like. Instead she only saw the dark brown eyes of the accursed creature, that she had seen every day since she boarded this accursed vessel. She shook her head, and looked up as someone finally arrived from the break room to relieve her the duty of listening to nothing.

"Keening." She said, nodding politely as she observed the tight lipped man who climbed the metal stairs. "A few minutes late? Not like you."

The man passed without a word, merely a disdainful look, and bolted the door behind him.

Xilas shrugged it off and stood up, descending the tight stairs onto the lower deck. She spied Tallow relaxing on his bunk, likely listening to some inane song on his earphones. She tutted under her breath, and continued on to her next duty.

Smoke rolled around the broken periscope, coiling about as it made its way to gather in the recesses of the ceiling. It lingered there, gazing down at the control room and its sole inhabitant. The old man pulled the last of the cigarette into his lungs, and drowned it in a bucket of sand by his feet. He stared back at the smoke, in its black serpentine eyes, and followed the dusty length of it as it slowly dissipated into the decaying air filters.

Captain John Barrett stood up from his chair with a groan, feeling the same pain in his joints that existed for as long as he could recall. He shook his head slowly and carefully. Three hexagonal green pills with the letter "W" emblazoned upon their faces sat waiting for him when he opened his eyes, sat upon the control room's primary console. As he swallowed the triple dose, the Captain observed the electronic map that sat pride of place in the center of that table. They were only just leaving the Bey of Bengal, escaping their certain pursuer under the shadow of Sri Lanka with any luck. The Captain stared back at their path for a little while, hundreds of kilometers snaking towards the Indian ocean with painful slowness.

The Captain decided he must be tired, and followed the sickly pale green strips of glowing tape away from his chair and towards the rough bunk in the back of the control room. He stared at it for a while, hardly seeing the twisted and stained blanket through the haze of unremembered memories. The Captain was interrupted in his mixed thoughts by a knock on the door of his control room, the door that remained unbarred towards the rear of the ship. After a moment, Specialist Keening entered the room unbidden, and examined the sorry state of his superior officer.

"Captain Barrett, I'm afraid to tell you that D-38120 has been abducted by an unknown entity while procuring fish. D-38620 has returned unharmed, however our food intake has been halved for the foreseeable future."

The Captain took a moment to link the similar numbers to the appropriate people. "Michael?"

"…Yes, sir."

"I see. Bring me to young Thomas, I would have words with him."

Genuine concern is what greeted Thomas when he returned from his ordeal, enough to offset the concerning lack of actual coffee in the cup of coffee he held in his shaking hands. The mug held a pitiful amount of liquid, it must have had a thicker than normal bottom, probably to keep it stable if the submarine was rocked by something, he thought.

The orange of his uniform was fading fast, clearly not intended for prolonged use between washes, but it still was emblazoned with the five numbers that should be replacing his name, if not for the kindness of the man next to him. Tallow had brought him a blanket, and was in the process of draping it over him. It didn't do much to stop the chill in his bones, but Thomas appreciated the effort.

What he didn't appreciate was the slow and loud approach of Barrett, the supposed captain of this vessel. Thomas had only seen the man a handful of times, but it was still enough to leave a frightening impression. He had expected to be called to the bridge to give his report, hopefully after some solid rest, but not for the captain to come down from his post and see him personally.

"Captain!" Greeted Tallow cheerfully. Thomas noted that the young man couldn't decide between a bow or a salute, and eventually settled on doing both. "I'll get you a drink!"

"No need for that boy, I'll only be a minute." Barrett's booming voice reverberating in the metal inner hull and causing Thomas's drink to ripple cinematically. "D-386.. Thomas. I'm going to have to ask you what you saw, if you are able. What happened to Michael?"

"He was grabbed. We were working in different quadrants at the time, but my light caught on to something big. Gelatinous consistency, a bit fell off in fact, I wasn't able to recover it. Overall form was long and featureless, I didn't see a head. From what I saw of Michael's tether rope, he was dragged upwards towards the surface." Thomas took a sip of his cooling not-coffee, and took stock of the reactions around the room. Barrett maintained a stoic facade, and for the most part so did Keening, although a hint of disdain slipped through. Concern and sadness was clear to see on Tallow's face, and from what he could see of former first officer Crowe, she was hunched on her bunk and quietly grumbling.

"I see." Barrett nodded solemnly and stood up from the seat he had taken, not to his full imposing height probably because of the low ceiling. "Then tonight, we open the last of our drinks, and celebrate his life."

Keening shook his head in barely masked disgust. "You would really throw a celebration for a D-38120?"

"In these trying times, another man lost to one such as Anantashesha is worth mourning."

"…This is the SCPS Eremita, broadcasting for the SCP Foundation on all frequencies. If anyone is able to receive this signal and is not aware of the situation, the full SCP-001 documentation has been made open access, and is being broadcast parallel to this message. Do not go outside at day or night without full body coverage, do not attempt to provide assistance to anyone who has been affected. If you have the means to provide assistance, we are currently positioned off the East coast of Delft Island in the Indian Ocean, requiring medical supplies. This message will now repeat…"

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License