Spaceport America is licensed to have manned launches once Virgin Galactic gets there. But for unmanned, we have all sorts of different facilities. There is the sea launch facility that comes out of Los Angeles in this great big floating oil platform… it goes out to the middle of the Pacific Ocean and launches there. There is… of course the Russians have the Baikonur Cosmodrome… in Kazakhstan. Pamela: Right.
You have to combine the two or you fall straight back down to the planet and go splat in a rather violent and not-healthy-for-the-people-on-board way….
Fraser: So you get to save fuel or be able to launch a heavier rocket just by being on the equator. I guess sea launch has the biggest advantage… they go right to the equator and launch right there.
Pamela: Exactly. This gives them easy access to geostationary transfer orbits. It makes it easier, actually, to do any kind of orbit because you can launch at a variety of different angles to get your project directed in many different ways.
Fraser: So, if you want to build a launch facility, your first goal is on or as near the equator as possible. What else does a launch facility want to have? Pamela: You need to not have airplanes flying overhead. The Mohave facility is located very close to Edwards Air Force Base which for a variety of primarily military reasons it is a no-fly zone from the ground up to unlimited altitude. They also have an area where supersonic flight is allowed. Now a similar [situation] also exists for Spaceport America.
Fraser: Right. Pamela: And with all the other facilities here in the United States, not many people live in the desert, so Mohave and the Spaceport America are in a very limited habitation area.
The one in New Mexico particularly amuses me because one of the cities, about 15 miles away, is Truth or Consequences. What kinds of facilities will they have there? First of all, you need someplace just to assemble your rockets.
All of the pieces come in, but any one individual piece… that could be an entire semi-truck all by itself… an entire freight train car all by itself. And then you have to put together these multi-story rockets… so you need a vehicle assembly building… a giant hangar. This is a building that can open up to allow the entire space shuttle external rockets, solid rocket booster assembly on its Mekalush - Flying Bugs EP (File crawler to just roll out and roll all they way out to the launch pad.
Fraser: Right, and then they put the… once the rocket has been assembled, they put it onto that enormous crawler and it moves at like one mile per hour. Pamela: The launch pads have several different parts to them. Then attached to this is also your launch tower so you can get astronauts all the way to the top of the craft… you can check all the aspects of the rocket prior to launch.
Ok, so then take me through what would happen on an average day… or over the course of a couple of days. Pamela: Well, in the assembly building, they can literally mate all of these pieces together. They build all of it vertically, so they stack together the different segments of the solid rocket boosters, they bring in the external tank and assemble it.
They run through tests on all of the equipment, check over all of the tiles on the space shuttle and all of the insulation. Then of course they have to fuel it up… fill it up with food… each astronaut is allowed to select certain preferred food items. And little things like making sure the bathroom still works are more than a little bit important when you get to outer space. So they go through all of the doldrums of essentially building and rebuilding and building again all of these different rockets, all of these different space assemblies.
When we move into the future, if the Ares I and other Constellation mission rockets continue to be funded by NASA, they have similar assembly guidelines. These are segmented rockets where you have multiple pieces coming in that have to be assembled.
Pamela: And then at about three miles an hour, crawl it very, very slowly out to one of the launch pads. They also put them through all sorts of different tests. They test them in vibration situations… they test the rockets in vibration situations… they test-fire engines prior to launch….
It applies to both the vehicles and the astronauts. They procrastinate in doing this because it has to be kept under pressure… it can explode… and it really needs to be kept cold, so over time you can see what looks like steam. So, procrastinate as much as possible before fueling. So then at about T hours, this is the point at which they start to make sure everything is in final prep. This is the point where you start panicking over weather. At 11 hours, you have the weather briefing and the engineering briefing.
This is one of the things that I think is so cool… this giant building rotating. This is also where they start turning on and activating all of the systems on the space shuttle… turning on the communication systems, turning on the measurement systems that are keeping track of everything on board the space shuttle. You shall go be in a bunker is basically the word of the day when they are at that point. This is also where they start purging the air out of all the different systems that need to be filled with gaseous nitrogen during launch.
It just keeps going, each hour getting more complicated with more built-in holds. They hold again at T-6 hours. This is one of the points where they tend to do a lot of scrubbing of missions.
Pamela: Well, they have to meet certain criteria. Pamela: At T-6, this is where we finally get allgallons of cryogenic propellants on board, and finish filling the external tank with its full load of liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen, we now have a bomb. Finally at T-3 hours we have yet another hold.
The final inspection team goes through and makes sure everything is ready to go. This is when they finally load the astronauts on board. The close-out crew proceeds to the launch pad and gets all the final configurations done. They have to assist the astronauts in because the astronauts are now required to be in full space suits… special space suits, but still full space suits during launch.
This is where the televised weather briefing goes out on NASA TV, and where the flight crew get their own separate briefing, as well. They go through a final cockpit check… making sure all the switches are in the correct configuration… and everything they need is actually on board, which so far has always happened.
They do communication checks, voice checks, make sure all their mics function. Then they get closed in and everyone retreats back to the fallback area except for the astronauts up on top of everything.
And at T minutes they hold again. Use your broadcasters if nobody is responding, and shoot anything that moves. AP-3 Ross: Houston, you take lead. Got it? Team enters SCP As expected, initial interior space is a long descending staircase.
AP-3 Houston takes lead. Team descends for three minutes. AP-3 Houston: Pretty good, we— pauses I see a door up here, on the landing. Ohalo, Noah, keep an eye on our backs when we pass it. Hang on. See where the dust is kicked up? SiteCommand: Affirmative. Just got some static, wanted to make sure you were good. Might be our exit. Eyes open. AP-3 Ross: Goddammit. Alright, Command, be advised that the bottom of this stairwell is just missing.
AP-3 Vigo: I mean I can see how far down it goes, and it sort of looks like forever. SiteCommand: Game Wardens, go ahead and proceed back up.
AP-3 Vigo: Ross, look. AP-3 Ross: Hang on. Command, how far are we to the bottom of this stairwell? SiteCommand: One moment. AP-3 Ross: Stellar. The topography is off here. SiteCommand: Team Lead, hold position for a moment. Team moves quickly up the stairwell in relative silence. AP-3 Ross: Yeah, sorry Command, that all happened quickly.
AP-3 Houston: I can actually still feel them, guys. AP-3 Houston proceeds to stand up. He is missing his legs from his knees down, but appears to be floating, as if they were still there.
AP-3 Ross: Alright. None of Mekalush - Flying Bugs EP (File studies we ran uncovered any anomalous effects related to that phrase. Team continues in silence for four minutes. This information was not promptly relayed to the task force. Team approaches target in silence.
Upon reaching target, video feed shows a severely disfigured, rotted human corpse, age unknown, partially conjoined to the wall behind it. Several other spatial distortions are evident nearby, such as the ceiling and wall appearing to pull back into each other, but this is unnoticed by AP AP-3 Ross: Ah, shit. Good to finally see a familiar face. AP-3 Houston: Us too, man.
This place is fucked up. Look at my fucking legs, man. Look at this shit. SiteCommand: Team Lead, please be advised that you are under the effects of a powerful cognitohazard. AP-3 Vigo playfully punches the corpse, dislodging its jaw. The corpse does not respond. Do you know how to get to the lower levels? Zachary, stay here. Noah, do you read me? Do you hear me at all? Pause Command, where the fuck is Noah? Be advised, the upload is complete.
Please restart your visors for the filter to take effect. AP-3 Ross: There we go. What was it that— oh, gross. Our visors are ticking like crazy, too. Approaching MTF AP-3 is a shimmering, transparent, humanoid construct, apparently the source of the spatial anomalies in this area. As its feet touch the ground, the floor begins to warp within space around them, stabilizing after the entity passes by. MTF AP-Noah is visible hanging behind the entity, though the nature of the agent is uncertain, as the spatial anomaly he is caught in appears to be extremely severe and very few of his features can be made out.
Noah is seen attempting to move slightly, but continues to be twisted by the anomaly as it moves. MTF AP-3 fires on the entity. As the bullets approach, their trajectory changes and they twist and spin around the entity before falling harmless on the floor or lodging in the ceiling. AP-3 Vigo is seen turning and attempting to pull away from an unseen force. Vigo screams. AP-3 Houston produces a miniature, portable Scranton Reality Anchor, which he powers on and lobs towards the entity.
There is a flash of red light, and for a split second the entity becomes visible as an extremely disfigured, grotesquely elongated humanoid, which exists for only a second before the spatial distortions surrounding it are anchored and violently reset, creating a massive pressure wave in the confined space.
The team is momentarily incapacitated. AP-3 Ohalo: The color will go away, that's just the anchor cooling down. You good? As dust clears, AP-3 Noah becomes visible, partially fused with the wall, ceiling, and floor across ten meters of hallway. The agent is unmoving. SiteCommand: Team Lead, do you feel as if returning to the surface will be more dangerous than continuing your mission.
AP-3 Ross: I— I have no way of knowing that. We have no way of knowing what's in here. Everything in here is so fucked it's incredible. I don't even know if we can get back, if we wanted to. None of the other teams have, have they? AP-3 Ross: Pause Honestly, whatever happens down here can't be any worse than whatever we'd see on our way back. It probably doesn't make a difference.
Pause Whatever. Let's keep going. Team Lead, we are preparing another team to evac you, in the event that you reach your target. Insertion time is in four hours. AP-3 Ross: You're sending another task force in here? What idiots volunteered for that gig?
Team continues on for a short time, unimpeded. They pass through several other areas, including a ransacked infirmary, a cafeteria space melted into slag, and a wing of containment units identified as "Olympia Class" that are no less than m in height.
Eventually, the team enters a room off of the main hallway that appears to be a telecommunications center. A single television is illuminated on a wall across from them. AP-3 Ross: Stay cool, guys. Search this room, see if there's anything we can collect that they could use topside.
There is a sound on the other end of the room, like static. Ohalo and Houston move towards the illuminated television. The screen flickers, and an image appears. The interior of a standard containment cell is shown, though it is devoid of any comforts or belongings. A single red light behind the camera is on, poorly illuminating the space. A long figure is huddled in the corner. Who are you? The figure shifts sideways, and more of its body becomes visible through the darkness.
The red light illuminates its eyes, though little else of the figure can be made out. Unidentified Figure: Mmmmmmmm… you're different. You smell different. You know I can smell you, even from here? You don't know that, though. They did, but you're not like them. They went to great lengths to figure that out. They knew, they know, they will know, mmmmmmmm.
The figure slides slowly across the wall of the cell, just out of range of the red light. Its movements are noticeably erratic. It comes closer to the camera. MP3) Figure: They had a number for me once, when I was Bobble. But your friends didn't like the number. Said we identified with the numbers. Mmmmmmmm… I am not Bobble, but I am a thing that used to be Bobble. Pauses You're not where you're supposed to be, gun buddy. You don't match the air in here. You're out of place, just like I am. Just like we are.
Unidentified Figure: Daddy Emerson played a tricky little game with the strings of the universe. He walked on them like a tight rope, and was surprised when he fell. Tricky little Emerson. Didn't just want boxes, no no no. He wanted boxes full of ideas. Ideas like pain, horror, death. He worked very hard to stack those boxes on his string and broke the whole thing, and we all came tumbling down with him laughs, and trails off.
Unidentified Figure: How many, hee hee hee, how many entities were swallowed by Site? Laughs You silly silly out of place boy. Silly little boy. Everything made its way into Site If the Foundation could find it and the Coalition could catch it, it was fed into the meat grinder down here.
They mulched us all, if there was nothing to gain. Some got lucky. Bobble got lucky. Stuffed in a funny box and played with. Toyed with. Experimented with. To see what sounds we made when we wanted to die.
Others were not so lucky. Pauses They burned the Library, you know. Held it upside down like a can of soup and let the contents run out into the furnace, and burned the whole place up. They did other things, too. Worse things. Daddy Emerson liked it.
He watched it all, everytime. Got his jollies off watching it. The unidentified figure approaches the camera and comes fully into view, illuminated by the red light. A significant portion of its body is distorted by video static that moves as it moves. This static appears to be cutting into the tissue of the figure's body, creating large lacerations that ooze a dark yellow fluid. As it moves, the figure appears to be sloughing off large portions of its mass, which are replaced with static.
Half of its face sloughs off as it nears the camera, and one eye becomes shrouded in static. AP-3 Vigo: Chief, we're picking something up on the radio. I think it's the survivor's signal, we must be getting close. Unidentified Figure: Have fun, boys. Don't let the dead bugs bite. Laughs If you see Daddy Emerson down there… pauses rape him to death for me.
AP-3 team passes out of the telecommunications room and into the main hallway. Following the strength of the signal discovered by AP-3 Vigo, they near an area that appears to be a cryogenic containment unit, similar to those utilized in the defunct Cryogenics Y-Wing of Site As they pass through this area, Command loses the signal of each member of the team, with only intermittent static being broadcast.
This continues for thirty minutes before a signal is received again. AP-3 Houston: Oh shit, thank God. We've been trying to reach you forever. Yeah, we found the survivors. They're holed up down here in… I don't know what you'd call this place, but it's not conducive to habitation. We're looking at twenty, maybe thirty people?
We found some other agents of ours, too. A few Mole Rats, and a guy from the Travelers. They all ended up down here. AP-3 Houston: Uh, yeah, so… that's not going to happen the way I think we wanted to, not currently. It's a whole lot worse here than we had anticipated, Command. I don't know how they ever locked some of this stuff up, but suffice to say that every single containment cell is broken open, and this shit is real. Like, really real.
We keep hearing things down the hallways nearby, I think whatever is out there is looking for us. I think they're angry. If they find us, we don't have the bullets to keep them down, let alone get these people out. AP-3 Houston: He's been trying to get some defenses ready with the others, in case they come tonight. It's not looking good, you know?
I don't know if you guys have a backup plan, but we'll take any ideas. Apollo-3 Team, be advised that we are activating and inserting Tau-5 for rescue and recovery. The AP-3 team had requested assistance in extracting the survivors due to the large number of hostile entities within the site.
Each member of MTF Tau-5 was outfitted with a number of cybernetic enhancements per the specifications of their design, including arm-mounted incendiary cannons, shock-absorbing leg extensions, heat-resistant plating, built-in SCRAMBLE adaptations within the eyes, and others. T-5 Irantu: Team, check your optics; the last thing we need is somebody succumbing to a memetic hazard.
T-5 Irantu: Good. T-5 team enters SCP through a drainage gate under the secondary office structure. Each team member activates their shoulder-mounted lamp, illuminating the tunnel. After a short time, the team reaches another gate. Several large drainage pipes are visible behind the gate. No fewer than twenty charred humanoid forms in varying stages of destruction are pushed up against the bottom of the gate. Several arms are pushed through the grate and are reaching out towards the tunnel.
T-5 Irantu: Hard to say. Near that MP3) pit we keep hearing about? Maybe they came from there. T-5 team cuts through the gate and scales the wall behind it to the largest of three drainage pipes. Team continues on for a short time. Pauses This is strange.
T-5 Onru: Irantu, the wall is weak here. I can hear echoing on the other side of it. T-5 Irantu: I see. Pauses Alright. Munru, you and Nanku see where this tunnel lets out. T-5 team splits up, with T-5 Nanku and Munru following the drainage pipe towards the source of the heat, and T-5 Irantu and Onru going through the thin wall to the hallway beyond.
Irantu and Onru manage to break down the concrete wall between the drainage pipe and the hallway beyond. Within the hallway are several bare offices, barely lit by dim overhead lights.
The entire area appears to have been abandoned for some time. Irantu and Onru look for an elevator or stair access, but find nothing. After a short time, Onru finds a door that opens into a control room. A large glass observation window is obscured by some dark material. Many of the controls in this room have been destroyed. T-5 Onru: This is the control room for the incinerator, see? Blast shields? T-5 Onru: No. Pauses No. Approaches the window These are bodies. And garbage. Congealed and coagulated.
Look, you can see faces. T-5 Irantu: I see it. Pauses Our intel said that one of the engineers had blocked up the drainage pipes out of here.
Nanku and Munru are probably going to run into that. Onru proceeds to look over the controls on a relatively undamaged controller near the observation window. As she does, Nanku and Munru appear at the door. Something has turned the end of that pipe into slag. T-5 Nanku: I broke my hand on it, look. Holds up her hand, which is undamaged. It was broken, I mean.
Onru throws a large switch and turns several nearby knobs. There is an immense groaning sound, and the mass in front of the window begins to spin slowly.
There is a jolt, as if something has broken free, and the mass begins to spin rapidly and slowly descend. There is the distinct sound of a turbine spooling up. The mass has cleared the window, revealing a massive cylindrical chamber on the other side, at least m in diameter and roughly m deep. At the center of the chamber is a massive shaft, extending the full height of the chamber, attached to several large turbines.
As the turbines spin, the matter within the chamber is turned into a slurry. Near the top of the chamber are several pilot lights. Large holes are present around the outside of the chamber. Onru throws another switch, and the pilot lights are ignited.
Enormous streaks of fire cascade down from the ceiling of the chamber, scorching the mass below. Additional jets of flame begin to emit from the walls of the chamber. T-5 Irantu: Look, down near the bottom. Over there, see? Can you get that door open? A large circular door opens near the bottom of the pit, above the level of the matter within.
Nanku extends her arm, and fires several rounds from a wrist-mounted projectile weapon at the glass window in front of them. The glass cracks and shatters, exposing the room around them to the heat of the chamber. The team enters the incinerator and jumps down onto a ledge below, near another drainage pipe. They make their way through the vast chamber, avoiding the spinning blades and ever descending biological slurry around them.
T-5 Munru: Yes, in fact. Shoots a glance at Nanku All of this has to be draining somewhere, likely out below us, through one of these fissures. Team enters the open door and descends down the drainage pipe a short distance, before it empties into a large cistern. The team enters the cistern, which is lit from above by a large, glowing, plant-like structure. At the sound of their voices, the glowing structure begins to shake slowly, and thousands of glowing, spinning pods are released from its body.
As they fall, they brightly illuminate the entire chamber. The glowing pods create vaguely humanoid shadows on the walls of the cistern, which act in an anomalous manner. These shadows appear to reach their hands up or forward, as if towards the team. As the pods reach the slurry below, they extinguish, and the shadows disappear. T-5 Munru: This is a drainage pipe, leading away from the incinerator. The incinerator is underneath the power station, which is to the east of the compound.
So far as we can tell, we need to go northwest from there, so… pauses hang on. Look over there. Something is pushing through. Onru points at a spot on the wall, illuminated by their shoulder mounted lamps. At that spot, a thick flow of black fluid is seeping between a crack in the wall, and something small is wriggling within the crack.
The team zooms in on the spot, revealing a small, writhing leech pushing its way through the spot. It breaks through, and falls to the ground. The small leech moves towards the biological slurry at their feet, and begins to ingest it. As it does, the leech slowly begins to grow in size. The team looks back towards the wall, where several spouts of black fluid are beginning to pour through various cracks along its surface.
Several more small leeches are squirming through these cracks. Covered in other people's blood. Reaching up towards us. These are like fingers, they all communicate back to the host, the— pauses Bring me a leech.
T-5 Onru: No, bring me one. I need a leech. Irantu moves across the room before grabbing a leech off of the ground. As he pulls it away from the liquid, it struggles and squirms, biting several large chunks out of his hand. Onru extends her left hand towards the leech, which opens up to reveal a series of long, delicate, metallic rods with pointed tips. She maneuvers the rods into the flesh of the creature, near the base of the brain. T-5 Onru: There. Pauses They heard the incinerator activate.
Let me see if I can do something with that. Pauses There we go. You should all have it on your retinas now. T-5 Onru: Ongoing topographical changes. T-5 Onru: Probably something to do with this section, here. Pauses Yes, I can see conduit running to that area. T-5 Onru: This area, here. Several corridors lead to a large research wing, but most of them have been blocked off.
Every now and then, one of the ends of the network goes dark here. Pauses The survivors are in there. T-5 Onru: One moment. Pauses Three paths to choose from, each with different potential hazards. The first takes us further down this pipeline, until we reach a waste treatment facility within the plant.
The second path drops us into another cistern below this, which leads directly to this large chamber here. Pauses The leech is in there. T-5 Onru: The third route takes us through this area here, which… is queer. I can hear the leeches as they move around the site. They go in and out for… something… but they do it very, very quietly. T-5 Nanku: Motions towards the ground at her feet Look at this leech. The leeches follow a single path in, and a single path out.
T-5 Onru: The last one is the fastest. We follow this tunnel towards a service door, and follow a staircase towards the bottom. We need to get these people out quickly. Onru, does it feel to you like the leeches are trying to get into the wing where the survivors are? T-5 Onru: Yes. There is plenty of blood in this site, but not all of it is still warm.
Team leaves cistern and follows drainage pipe west. Eventually the team reaches a service door, lit by a single flickering lamp. Onru amplifies her shoulder mounted spotlight, illuminating the entire wall of the tunnel. Onru turns left, illuminating several dessicated corpses in a corner at the end of the tunnel, all of which are covered in and seeping the same fluid.
The team enters the service door, revealing a partial staircase. The stairs above them are intact, but the stairs below have been destroyed. The walls of the stairwell are coated in cracks, through which seeps the black fluid. Munru lights a flare and drops it, and the team watches it fall. After a short time, the flare lands with a slight splash, revealing the floor below.
T-5 Onru: Pauses Site has at least 50 underground floors, and no fewer than 80 individual wings. The Euclid-Class containment cells alone are as large as the entirety of Site T-5 Munru: Which means there could be worse things down there nobody has seen yet.
Irantu leaps from the landing and lands near the flare, his implants absorbing the majority of the impact. The rest of the team follows suit. At the bottom of the stairwell is another door into a hallway, and the team enters it. T-5 Onru: About m down this hallway, on the right.
Team moves down the hallway, Nanku at point, flanked by Onru and Manru, and Irantu watching the rear. As they pass, they check each door to see if they are locked.
Most doors lead to network maintenance areas, though notably one door leads to the telecommunications room previously visited by the AP-3 team. One screen on the far wall appears to have been busted from the inside out. Acts as insulation for the data center. T-5 Onru: The only way I can see is through the server room. Pauses That is very strange. There are certainly plenty of access points to that room. Pauses Very strange. Team enters through the door of the server room.
They pass through several more security doors, all of which are unlocked. Irantu motions for the team to activate their internal heating coils, protecting their internal organs from damage due to exposure. However, T-5 Nanku had previously disabled the visual cue for the warning on her optical overlay, instead relying on the audio cue that accompanied the implant.
The audio warning does not trigger at all. It is not until the team enters the primary server room that T-5 Onru realizes that no sound is audible at all, regardless of the source. Thinking at first that it might be her auditory implant, Onru removes the implant and restarts it, but after establishing that it is functioning properly, she attempts to communicate this with Irantu. Irantu motions for the team to hold and attempt to discern the source of the anomalous influence.
Munru motions towards the door they entered through, but Irantu motions towards the back of the server area, towards the research wing. It is during this silent discussion that Nanku first notices movement across the large room. Motioning for her teammates to stay still, each team member begins to hear a quiet whining sound, which slowly grows in intensity. He motions towards the racks, and the team acknowledges it. Irantu motions for the team to move towards the far wall, and they slowly proceed between the server racks towards the back exit.
Suddenly, Onru catches a momentary glimpse of a large entity across the room, and stops her teammates from advancing. She looks around the corner, and sees the entity again as it comes back into view.
The entity is a massive, multi-limbed figure. The primary structure of the entity is a floating, cross-legged, humanoid construct with six legs, eighteen arms, and thirty-six forearms attached to seventy-two hands. Each limb moves independently, gesturing and posing in constant, sudden, jerking movements. The golden bands are etched with glyphs later identified as being powerful antikinetohazards 3though the chains are broken and the antikinetohazards are inactive.
T-5 Onru also notices that some aspect of the entity is creating a severe malfunction in her optical implants, singeing the circuits responsible for handling the SCRAMBLE calculations.
She looks away, ejecting the implants before they damage her retinas, and motions to the rest of the Tau-5 team to not look at the entity directly. The team acknowledges, and they continue to move forward. Suddenly, the whining becomes dramatically louder, and begins to draw closer to the team.
Munru drops a proximity mine from his pack, and then another a short distance away. As they flee away from the entity, streaks of blue electricity begins to arc between the server racks, and the ground beneath them begins to shift as if it was made of sand.
As Nanku threatens to fall into the ground, there is a muffled wave of pressure behind them as the first proximity mine detonates, and the ground solidifies. The team turns a corner, and the back entrance to the room comes into view.
From above them, they can see a hole in the ceiling exposed to the cryonics laboratory, and briefly a complicated containment cell is visible, though it is thoroughly destroyed. The team moves swiftly towards the door, as white-hot glyphs begin to appear on the ground beneath them and in the air around them.
The team manages to duck and weave through the symbols, but T-5 Nanku catches her left arm on a glyph in the air and it bursts into flames.
Irantu, having seen this from his position behind Nanku, fires his weapon at her shoulder, removing the arm. It falls to the ground and explodes into a cinder. Munru reaches the door first and throws it open, and Onru follows immediately afterwards.
Nanku stumbles through, collapsing on the other side, and Irantu comes up last. Just before closing the door, Irantu turns to look at the entity closing in behind them, which at this point was a barely visible blur of gestures, fiery glyphs, Mekalush - Flying Bugs EP (File, and an inhuman whine.
Irantu slams the door closed, and immediately ejects his optical implants. The team rushes down the corridor away from the security door, and slowly the sound of footsteps can be heard around them. They reach a large open space in between several hallways, and stop to catch their breath. Pauses What was that?
T-5 Nanku: I did. I think it was shouting. T-5 Nanku: Scoffs Like I needed it anyway. Besides, Nanku swings her shoulder mounted flamethrower to her left shoulder, and detaches it so it hangs below where her missing arm should be what was I really going to use that arm for anyway?
The team turns to see the hallway to their immediate east, which has been barricaded and filled with a substantial amount of explosives and incendiary equipment. He approaches the barricade Hello? This is Tau-5 Irantu, is anyone there?
There is a shuffling sound, and a large wooden crate is moved slightly. A dark face can be seen in the space between the crate and the wall. Z-9 Hollis: Oh boy. The goddamn Power Rangers. They told me about you. Team moves towards the opening in the crates. As Munru and Nanku pass through, Onru pauses. Irantu notices this, and turns to look. Black cracks have begun to form on the walls of the atrium behind them, and wriggling black leeches start to fall out of them, accompanied by a thick, black fluid.
Aside from the members of the mobile task forces, the team was tasked with recovering twenty-seven surviving members of Site staff, including Dr. Mohammad Scott, a Site assistant director of Temporal Studies. Several of these individuals had sustained significant injuries, further increasing the difficulty of extraction efforts.
T-5 Irantu: Thank you. Onru has prepared an evacuation plan; I will let her explain it. T-5 Onru: Our travel paths from this position are compromised, by the entity in the data center and the creature in the atrium. After speaking with Dr. Scott and his team, we have devised a route that leads us as far away from the current major threats as possible.
Unfortunately, our information on all threats is incomplete; even Dr. Scott was not privy to information on all contained entities within the site. As such… pauses we should still proceed with extreme caution. Pauses This is likely already well understood. T-5 Onru: Produces a topographical map Our entry routes are here and here. The largest obstacles we are experiencing currently are the spatial instabilities within the lower levels of this site. On the suggestion of Dr. Scott, and Captain Hollis, our route will first travel to this section of the facility, where the Thresher device is contained.
This device is the cause of the… instabilities, and while it is not possible to completely disable the device without risking our own lives or the lives of above-ground personnel, we should be able to reduce power to the device long enough for us to create a stable path to the surface, following this route, here.
Z-9 Hollis: I got lost once shortly after our insertion and ended up in that room. I was attacked by a number of creatures that were difficult to perceive, likely due to some latent antimemetic effects. That machine draws a frankly impossible amount of energy from some energy source elsewhere in the site, and those creatures I saw feed off of it. T-5 Irantu: We will not have enough time, and the probability of our success drops dramatically if we split up our team.
Once the device is powered down, it is likely that we will have less than an hour to make our escape before it trips its failsafes and powers back up again. We will just have to make our push from there, hoping that it buys us enough time. T-5 Irantu: Your assignments are as follows: Tau-5 will take point, Apollo-3 will take the right and left flanks, and Zeta-9 will take up the rear.
The healthiest survivors will stay near the back, and those with more serious injuries will be near the front near Tau In the event that we are flanked or assaulted, follow typical multi-force defensive assignments, while allowing Tau-5 to intercept the higher threats. T-5 Munru: Maintain clear lines of communication. Tau-5 and the task force captains have channel priority. Keep chatter to a minimum, you will all have plenty of time to speak once we reach the surface.
Z-9 Hollis: Our priority now is extracting these people, and staying alive. T-5 Irantu: Acceptable. I will take point. We need to move quickly.
Gather your things, prepare the civilians, and we will leave shortly. Teams break to assemble in their formation. Civilian survivors are briefed on the mission plan, and positioned in the middle of the block.
T-5 Irantu: Agreed. Munru, Nanku, collapse the main door. We will exit expediently out the side. The block moves out of a side door towards a side hallway. T-5 Nanku and Munru hang back to set explosive charges around the door frame. Leeches are beginning to work their way under the door frame and through cracks in the walls. As they step away from the door, Nanku opens her flamethrower on the leeches. T-5 Munru: I cannot say that you are making a difference, Nanku.
There are likely many more leeches elsewhere. T-5 Nanku: This is very satisfying to me. Continues to burn leeches coming through the walls It is delicious. Munru and Nanku move quickly to join the rest of the group, which has begun moving down the side hallway.
As they pass through the first door there is an explosion, and the building around them shakes. From beneath the group, a loud, uncanny screaming sound is heard. The group continues down a series of hallways towards a stairwell, stopping occasionally to check for hostile entities. After a short time, T-5 Munru calls a halt. T-5 Munru: My optics are pinging. Pauses Strange. Move everyone back, I will scout ahead. T-5 Munru comes around the corner of the hallway, weapon drawn.
At the far end of the hallway, a vaguely humanoid entity, the same entity as seen during a previous remote drone exploration of SCP, is seen drawing on a wall with a long, curved finger. Munru projects an image of the entity to Nanku, who rounds the corner behind Munru. The entity begins to move very quickly down the hallway, changing dramatically as it moves; the entity becomes considerably larger, and its long robe flares out to either side, exposing additional hazards that are blocked by the SCRAMBLE units.
Munru and Nanku raise their weapons and fire. The creature reels backwards as it is struck by bullets, with large holes opening across its flesh.
Munru reloads, loading incendiary rounds, and fires again, setting the creature on fire. As it staggers backwards, the entity begins to scratch madly against the wall to the right, seemingly attempting to dig through the wall away from the gunfire. Nanku takes one more shot, striking the entity in its eye and causing it to collapse onto the ground.
Suddenly, the hallway shakes violently. The floor beneath the collapsed humanoid entity crumbles and falls away, revealing a large hole beneath the floor. Within the hole is a long, slick, black creature covered in blood red eyes with a mouth full of many rows of long, sharp teeth. As it bursts through the floor, a cascade of small leeches are propelled into the hallway. The humanoid entity slips through the destroyed floor and falls into the mouth of the large creature, which lets out a loud scream as it devours the entity.
Long, wet appendages snake into the hallway as Nanku and Munru begin to retreat. Nanku opens her flamethrower again, warding off the approaching smaller leeches. The group moves past the collapsed hallway as Munru and Nanku provide cover fire. They pass through a custodial dormitory and exit into a maintenance area behind it. T-5 Munru: We are right behind you, but I am beginning to think this creature is far larger than we anticipated.
Team moves down the long maintenance hallway. The hallway curves to the left, opening out into a large space full of loading equipment and machines. Several large loading docks are visible in the back of the room, though each one is collapsed and destroyed. T-5 Munru: Irantu, Nanku is damaged. We are not going to be able to gunfire rendezvous with you immediately.
Onru, do keep us updated on your position, and I will let you know when we can regroup. The group moves to the far end of the maintenance warehouse, exiting through a pair of doors leading into a staff break room. Black fluid seeps through the walls. The group has to stop briefly to bandage up a survivor whose wound had begun bleeding again. A loud screeching sound is heard nearby, and the group begins moving again.
They enter into another hallway leading in the direction of the Thresher wing. As they move through the hall, Onru hears a distinct sound. T-5 Onru: Pauses Many. More than I can count. They are… very small, but there is a great multitude of them. The group moves towards the sound, which continues to grow louder until it becomes a cacophonous sound that seems to be right above them.
In front of them, a grate on a ceiling vent falls to the floor, and a cloud of sparkling crystal butterflies begins to fill the hallway. Irantu sees the butterflies, and turns back to the group.
As the group drops to the ground, Irantu runs towards the cloud of butterflies. He disappears briefly. After a short moment, there is a burst of flame that arcs upwards into the vent, and the sound of shattering crystal can be heard above them.
As the smoke clears, Irantu becomes visible again. The majority of his flesh has been shredded by the wings of the butterflies, and his entire body is scorched. Significant amounts of flesh hang loose from his body. The skin on his back is blackened and blistered, and a thick metal implement is now visible through the scorched flesh. Onru stands and approaches him. The group moves through another hall seeping with black fluid, and then another, but the third hallway is clean and relatively untouched.
They ascend a short staircase before coming to a stop before a thick, vault door. Z-9 Hollis: The machine is behind this door. I came out this way, but the door sealed behind me. T-5 Onru: I was hoping Munru would be here. I do not think I can open this door. Suddenly, there is a resounding click, and the door in front of them slowly opens.
A monitor next to the door illuminates, and a dark room is visible on it. In the back of the room, hidden in shadows, an indistinct humanoid entity waves. A harsh, electronic static sound, vaguely reminiscent of laughter, can be heard through an unseen loudspeaker.
The screen powers off. The group enters the chamber beyond. The room is very dark, with a multitude of dim, green lights visible on the walls of the room. Based on the luminescence of the lights and the apparent distance of them from each other, the room appears to be several hundred meters in diameter.
Near the back of the room, a tower of circling green lights is visible. Z-9 Hollis: Hey, power rangers.
Head Over Heels - Pigswear - Head Over Heels (Vinyl), No Puedes Detenerme Ahora (Cant Stop Me Now) - Ted Nugent - Nugent (Vinyl, LP, Album), Sabbat - Michel Fugain & Big Bazar* - Chante… Greatest Hits (Vinyl, LP), Young At Heart - The Rat Pack - The Rat Pack (CD), Morgen Bist Du Nicht Mehr Allein - Various - Die Grosse Schlagerparade Nr. 4 (Vinyl, LP), Radioactive (Live 1979) - Kiss - Kiss My A** (DVD), Dream Phase 4 [Code: 000_000] - Sleep Center™ - Disk 1 (File, MP3, Album), For The Abyss (Is Abysmal) - Synthia (5) - Soundscape Architecture (File, MP3, Album), Bronze Tear Pass - The Abstractions - Novo Navigatio (CDr)