When It's All Over

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O5-1's chopper lands on the Site-40 helipad, and an unassuming man with near transparent skin exits. Everyone turns to look at him as he walks through the site, although with enough respect to try and pretend they aren't. He notices, but extends the same respect to them, and doesn't act like he has.

He's here to meet with the man and woman that saved the world: Captain Perseus Rosales and Doctor Mikasa Kaori. They piloted humanity's ultimate hope against the forces that would doom the world, and emerged victorious. While their mech was ruined in the process, its shattered form had been bought to Site-40 and suspended atop an oil platform.

The Councilman walks up to the railing on the side of the platform where Rosales and Kaori are waiting. He perches himself on it, folding bony fingers around the edge, staring intensely at the mech in front of him. Rosales and Kaori exchange a glance before they approach their superior.

"You wanted to speak with us, sir?"

"So I did." His voice is harsh, but strong, almost as if it should be quiet but is being amplified somehow. "First of all, I must thank and congratulate you again for your actions in Greenland. You saved us all from certain doom."

He takes a deep breath of the cold ocean air in and pauses before he continues. "But I have to ask. What are the chances that this could happen again? Have we truly saved the world for good, or only on this one occasion? Can we let our guard down, or do we have to pay more attention than ever?"

Mikasa gulps. She was afraid of this question. "It can happen again, sir. It'd be more easy than it was in the past. There are more monsters in the world now. More giants. And it'd be easier for one to take control now. Their bonds have been strengthened."

The metal of the railing groans as O5-1 crushes it in his hands. His eyes burn with fire and fury as he stares at the ruined SCP-5514.

"Then the work is not over."

Wringing out a washcloth, Quincy Ridge looks at himself in the mirror for a moment before rubbing it on his face, a much-needed refreshing chillness against his warm skin. Tossing the cloth in a laundry bin, he glances at his watch. While working at Wilson's Wildlife Solutions usually felt fulfilling, everyone was acting a bit strange since all the… giant monster stuff.

At least he wasn't poor Mr. Wilson. He'd been trying to argue with the Castaways— or, well, the Foundation now— that the monsters didn't deserve to be killed, using Cappi as an example that WWS could handle these sorts of things. Quincy had tried to tell him that there's a difference between a crocosquid murder-machine and the doofy, sentient bath toy that is Cappi, but he still kept on pushing on.

And speaking of Cappi, she's Quincy's last animal to check on for the day. He walks over to the locker room sink and snatches up the bucket and sponge sitting inside, then sets off for her enclosure.

As he draws closer to the fence, however, something is amiss. A short, chubby man in a purple suit sits on top of Cappi's head, scratching her gently. "Who's a good fly murderer?" He asks Cappi, who makes a little groan of happiness. "You are! Good girl."

Something feels off about the man's voice. Like it's constantly wobbling, never consistent in pitch, topped off by the remnants of an accent Quincy just can't tack down. Polish, maybe?

Before Quincy could ponder more, he pushes through the gate and calls out to the man. "Hello? Erm, are you supposed to be here?"

He turns, his face lighting up as he notices Quincy. "One moment, good sir!" Holding onto his black top hat, he slides down Cappi's back and hops over to Quincy with a crooked smile and yellowed teeth. "You must be Quincy, yes? Cappi told me so much about you!"

"Yes, but how did—"

The man suddenly gasps. "Where are my manners? I completely forgot to introduce myself! I am Dr. Cornelius Wondertainment of Dr. Wondertainment tee-em, but you can just call me Cornelius." He takes a bow.

"Alright. So, uh… you made Cappi?"

"I signed off on her shipment! Although, judging on how she is here and not in our Portland location, it appears that didn't go so well, hm? Well, that's beside the point. The people in charge of the shipment have been…" He takes a pause seconds too long, as if he's searching for the best way to convey his next words. "Dealt with, yes."

Quincy gulps and contemplates running off to phone the Supervisors. But something tells him he doesn't have be 'dealt with.' Cutting to the chase, he musters a polite smile to Cornelius. "So, what are you here for?"

Cornelius reaches into his suit pocket and pulls out a small yellow scroll. "I'm here to give you ownership of Cappi, of course! After seeing how much you've taken a liking to her— your child Harper especially— I just can't take her away from you all, that'd be cruel! So instead, we're just going to call this whole situation a happy little accident, yes?"

Handing the scroll to Quincy, Cornelius gave his hand a little pat before letting go. "So… does this mean we can take pictures of her now?"

For a moment, Cornelius' face turns to a blank stare. Then, he lets out a giggle. "Why yes, as long as they are not for commercial purposes, and if they are, all profits must be funded to Dr. Wondertainment tee-em. Everything is outlined in that scroll. Now, I'm afraid I must be going. Been quite busy with all of this monster business afoot, and it's almost time for our meeting on which ones to make realistic plushies out of! In fact, perhaps I can send a catalog your way?"

Afraid to say 'no', Quincy simply nods his head.

"Brilliant!" Pulling out an umbrella from who-knows-where, Cornelius opens it and begins to float up into the sky. "Goodbye, Quincy and Cappi! Have fun!" Soon, the man becomes nothing more than a dot in the sky, and then eventually, nothing at all.

Quincy looks up for a few moments more before glancing over at Cappi. "Well, that was sure was something, wasn't it? But less crazy than a giant fly, I think."

Cappi simply responds by sneezing, sending a mist of water into his face, a signal he knows means 'give me a sponge bath now.'

Wiping his eyes, he sighs. "You're never going to not want a sponge bath, will you?"

Cappi glances at him, then at her unscratched back, and Quincy already knows the answer. He looks down at the scroll in his hands, then tears it in half. It doesn't matter if he has some dumb scroll or not, everything is the same. And so, Quincy continues his routine, a small tang of happiness in his heart.

It's been a week since the apocalypse came and went, and Stanislav Nikolaev is still in Foundation custody. The way it's looking, he'll be spending the rest of his natural life in containment. They'll probably bring him before some committee and ring him up on charges for his crimes. After all, it really is his fault that this whole mess happened.

That's the way it looks to the Foundation, at least. Stanislav sees things from a different perspective. He's got his ear on the ground, listening in on the groans and aches of the Site-40 installation he's being kept in. He's got an escape plan, but he's only going to get the one chance. There's more than one prisoner in this joint.

He's been paying attention when they bring him food. They always deliver it at the same time. Today, when they come, he's at the door and slams it down, off the hinges, into the guard. The guard goes down quick: he's not expecting a man nearly sixty to be this strong. But Stanislav made his life's work around the breeding of monsters, and in time he figured out how to make himself one.

The guard is out of it — lying on the ground and moaning in pain. Not unconscious, but he won't be doing anything to stop Stanislav. Good enough. Stanislav grabs his gun and runs down the hall. He doesn't need a weapon, since he has enough beneath his skin, but the gun will help intimidate any opponents he comes across. Can't convincingly intimidate somebody into thinking you'll rip them to shreds when you don't look any different from anybody else, and Stanislav isn't in the mood to put his hands back together after the claws come out.

The elevator doors aren't far away from his cell. This he remembered from when they took him in. They put a blindfold over him, but that only blocked out one of his senses. Still had the other eight. At this point, there's a good chance he knows the layout of this place better than some of the employees that work here. Not all, but a good few.

Metal doors crumple up in his hands. His skin is stretching tight as his internals shift and flex. He might have to repair his hands anyway. That makes the decision to grab the elevator cables and coast down much easier. It shreds the skin around his hands to pieces and exposes the chitin he has underneath. Good thing he decided he wanted that layer before the C. gigantis experiment, since he hasn't had the chance to change anything since.

When he smashes the doors on the level he wants, he barely even looks human. Fortunately for him, and for his escape plans, even the most hardened researcher will still shit their pants at an unexpected horror monster crashing through their laboratory. A quick rampage, a little bullying and they give him what he wants.

There's a hangar in the lower levels of Site-40, right before it drops open to the ocean. It's been repurposed as a containment unit, holding a massive beetle the Foundation calls LSA-Elizabeth-18. Stanislav himself doesn't have a name for it, but he knows it's a friend, and also his ticket out of here. Stanislav crashes into the room holding it, and the creature turns to look at him. It stirs in excitement.

Seconds later, the side of Site-40 explodes and a titan emerges. Stanislav rides atop the insect, which unfurls a pair of massive wings and chitters before taking off into the air. The pair cries out together, as one.

A feathered serpent of colossal size lazily drifts through the troposphere. It is worse for wear: whole swaths of its plumage have been incinerated, with deep bite marks and gashes lining the rest of its body. But it is an old thing, and it has endured worse. It has not always been the only Behemoth in existence.

The giants that crawl the surface of the Earth are only a fraction of the strength of what was once extant. But while they are less deadly, it is still enough to shake the firmament. And still, every so often, in a rare age, a beast climbs atop the rest of its rivals and touches upon the power to do even greater things. So it has happened before, so it will happen again.

These are the thoughts of the Serpent as it coasts on atmospheric winds. There is a Way buried deep within the clouds, and this is how it will return home. There is some complicated method to activate it, but the Serpent is the master key to all of the gates and doesn't need to bother with the tools of mortals.

It flies through the clouds and breaks through the dew. Its arrival into the Library itself shocks all of the patrons who had gathered, completely unprepared to see the owner come home. They panic for a moment, moving around and trembling at the sight of the beast. It doesn't bother with them.

It slips into a deep passage, and floats down to the bottom. Down to the deepest layers of the Library, where it curls around the base of the old withered tree that supports it all. The Serpent will not die, but it needs to rest for a long time. Knowing that it has saved the world, it closes its eyes, and drifts off into a deep and wonderful dreaming.


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