Unhuman, Not Inhumane
rating: +20+x

The only sounds that punctuated Senior Researcher Richard's dark barricaded living quarters were an ancient clock, the scratching of a pen (with a dim penlight), his quickly emptying lighter, and the hit of some lovely green that he had 'confiscated' from one of the Junior Researchers prior to the end of the human race. He took a nice long hit from his pipe, held it in for as long as his THC-coated lungs would allow, then forcefully cupped his hand over his mouth in an attempt to stifle his coughs. There really was no reason to do this, since the walls were soundproof and there was most likely nobody to hear it. Old habits died hard, he supposed.

He watched lazily as the large cloud of puff-puff-no-pass wafted over the dead computer monitor and dissipated into nothingness.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

The clock slowly ticked towards midnight. He took a few sips from his water bottle, re-capped it, then reached for his half-used chalk. He then rolled his office chair to the wall and scratched a line next to the previous three.

When the klaxons blared that fateful day and the metal bars locked in place on his door, he had attentively listened, as well as prayed, for signs of an oncoming rescue. Maybe an MTF would blow the door open and hold him while he bawled his eyes out. They say a missing person's chances of survival go down by more than half after the first day had ended. Well…what about an entire facility of missing people?

He lay his head on the table and quickly went to sleep.


When he awakened, his eyes met a faint green glow. Through his grogginess, he immediately sat upright and gawked at the now powered-on computer. Someone had activated the backup generators.

Hope filled his weary heart. He fluttered his fingers over the track pad and watched with glee as the white cursor danced across the screen. After a few clicks and a spot of thanks for the lord he didn't believe in, he inputted the command to undo the security latches on his door. They hissed and slid out of place with a dull thud.

He leapt to his feet and burst through the door and out into the sterile white hallway, wincing slightly as the hinges squeaked in his ear. He had nearly forgotten that life had more sounds than just a flicking lighter and vigorous coughing.

The lights came on, strong and healthy after several days of absence. With his eyes still accustomed to darkness and candles, this sudden burst of bright light momentarily blinded him, leaving bright spots in his vision. He swore he could see a shuffling shape in the distance. He sprinted headfirst towards this figure, mouth practically pouring with questions. The figure slowly turned around, curious at the quickly approaching stranger.

Richard froze where he stood. This person wasn't human. Bright, glowing beams of light momentarily shone from its face before rapidly dimming down and revealing little cameras installed behind a casing of spotless plexiglass. Thick metal screws fastened patches of black fabric to a metal frame. Richards swore he had seen this one before…what was its number again?

Thin lines of code rapidly flickered across the plexiglass eye-holes and scrolled downwards before abruptly stopping. Richards began hyperventilating. Not only did he not remember which anomaly this was, but he also didn't remember its temperament.

Docile? Or hostile?

Richard briefly glanced to the side to see a wall-mounted computer turn on. It was tuned to the Foundation net—which he had neglected to check earlier—and showed a brief message with the coordinates of the Site as well as promises of freedom and security.

Come to Sanctuary-64 for shelter.
Yours truly, Hector.

Recognition finally struck Richard like a sack of bricks. This was SCP-1360.

"I'm—" He was thankful for the fact that it was one of the more tame anomalies, but the circumstances still begged the question…what the hell was it doing out of its containment chamber?

It strode over to the computer and gestured for him to follow. Reluctantly, Richard did so. Hector removed a USB drive from his finger and inserted it into the computer; an empty notepad appeared a mere moment later.

How did you survive, Richard?

Hector knew Richard after all. Perhaps they did interact on one or two occasions.

"Survived? Survived what?" Richard asked.

I see. Forgive me for assuming you'd know.

Richard frowned at Hector. It was difficult to judge what Hector was thinking, thanks to his cybernetic nature and lack of audible vocalizations, but judging from these two simple sentences, Richard liked to think that the android was on his side. Though, as to what side that could possibly be, Richard had no clue.

There are no other humans left here. What will you do?

"None left?" Richard meant to shout this in dumbfounded disbelief, but to be fair, his gut had known this all along. "Did you re-start the power?"

Yes. Once again, what will you do?

"I—" He briefly considered demanding that Hector return to his containment chamber, however, he dismissed the thought as soon as it came to him. What point was there in maintaining protocols anymore? Furthermore, how could a lone researcher overpower a tough android?

…Life was over.

"How did you do this?" Richard gestured to the message that Hector had left on the screen. According to the window that the message occupied, it was broadcasting to every possible device that could receive a signal.

Hector closed the window and briefly showed a video left behind by Site Director Holman. Richard's face slowly whitened as the former head honcho of Site-64 saluted. When the video cut off, he hugged himself around the waist and backed away slowly. Hector watched with a blank, robotic expression and offered an arm to him. After a moment, he took it.


Richard stood in front of a bathroom mirror, turned on the faucet, and splashed some water on his face. This was the first time he had gotten a good look at himself since the power had turned off a few days ago. He wiped off the excess moisture with some paper towels and looked deeply at the wrinkles that lined his cheeks. Something seemed…wrong. He looked normal, though.

It wasn't obvious at first, but then he noticed the subtle detail that stood out to him: his facial hair had not grown in the slightest, despite the days he spent in his locked down quarters. Three days was more than enough time for a little bit of peach fuzz to sprout.

Perhaps he was overthinking it.

The door to the bathroom squeaked open, with heavy footsteps approaching him. Richard looked over to thank Hector for his time…

…Only to catch a brief glimpse of another android that wasn't Hector.

Crunch.

Something hard decked Richard directly in his nose, sending bright white sparks shooting across his vision and knocking him clean off his feet. The back of his head struck the wall, then the rest of his body flew through the drywall and landed in a pile of debris.

The entity grabbed him by the scruff of his unwashed lab coat, lifted him clean off his feet, and threw him at the bathroom door. It burst open, sending Richard sprawling to the ground.

Despite the damage to his face, Richard could taste no blood welling up in the back of his throat, and his eyes did not burn or blur with tears. Loud, thundering footsteps quickly approached him. He barely turned over in time to see the entity approach him with a standard Foundation issue security pistol aimed at his head. Right before it fired, Richard could see a name tag attached above its left breastplate. Elli.

Bang.

The gun flew out of Elli's hand and clattered and slid away, spinning. Both Richards and the android turned their gaze towards the sharpshooting savior: it was Hector, armed outstretched, a smoking pistol in his hand.

"Why, Hector?!" Elli screamed. "He's one of them!"

Hector just shook his head and gestured for it to step away from the defenseless and prone researcher. It refused and grabbed Richard by the collar of his coat. A few more shots embedded themselves deeply in the linoleum around the android's feet; warning shots.

Elli however, did not take Hector's bluff. It wrenched Richard off the ground and prepared to throw him through another wall, before every servo in its body simultaneously seized. Hector's eyes blinked red, pinging a signal to the researcher's would-be murderer.

Slowly and stiffly, Elli released its stranglehold on Richard—who stumbled back and took deep breaths—and turned to face Hector, futilely resisting his command override. It faced the new Site Director in silence. Hector then entered a new command: a forceful shutdown, indicated by the gradual dimming of its eyes before they went black.

After this, he stepped to Richard and offered him his shoulder, only for him to decline. He then slowly pointed to the man's flattened nose and jagged cheekbone jutting from the flesh.

"I'm taking this all in a lot better than I should be," Richard quietly remarked. "I understand now. You said there were no humans left, right?"

Hector nodded.

"What of the anomalies? Are there many left?"

Once more, he nodded.

"I…I see…" Richard lowered his head and let his gaze wander to the cracked linoleum. "I…I don't want to stay here. I'm not welcome."

At this, Hector pulled the dejected man to another wall-mounted computer and used it to communicate like he did earlier.

Are you sure? I can try talking some sense into Elli. Please. I want to leave the past behind.

"No." He shook his head. Richard revealed a crumpled sheet of paper he had clutched during the altercation. It showed Elli holding a tray full of food for a rather wealthy-looking family. A very happy little girl had her arms firmly wrapped around its waist, while the mother and father waved hello to the photographer. Even with the lack of facial expressions, it was clear that Elli had it all.

"We took everything from not just Elli, but you too. I don't belong in this world, let alone this site." Richard gave the photo to Hector.

I forgive you, Richard. We can make this a better place.

"You can. Not with me. Goodbye." Richard took off his lab coat, threw it to the ground, then turned around and left.

Hector couldn't help but watch as the former Jailer strode down the hallway and disappeared around the corner.

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