Resurrection – New Faces
<< Building a Team | Light and the Mole | Investigation >>

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Light and the Mole

Site-θ MTF Briefing Room-A

Doctor Light stood at the podium and looked out at the small audience. A small group sat in the briefing room: Carlotta Deneb, SCP-1360, SCP-5601, Lucretia Popescu, and Rainer Miller.

Light cleared her throat. “Try to save your questions for the end. Anyone seen the 4494?”

They all shook their heads. She sighed and started to toggle on the projector connected to her laptop, when a shadowy figure stepped out of a semi-dark corner in the back of the room: long black coat held open and its chest puffed out.

“Whenever the Specter is called, there he will be!”

Light tried to focus on the man-shaped shadow. “So, all we have to do is call you and you’ll appear?”

“It would all depend on whether or not I was already fighting crime, Director! But where the laws of man and the universe are broken, you will find the Specter close by!”

“Okay, good to know. Can you sit down?”

“Certainly!” He moved towards a seat near Carlotta and tipped his hat. “Officer Deneb, a pleasure.”

“Sure, same I guess. Now hush.”

Light cleared her throat. “As I was saying, let’s hold questions until the end.”

Light dimmed the lights and toggled the projector to the “on” position. A map of Yellowstone National Park filled the white wall behind her. Different areas of the park were covered in a red cloud, stretching out from the place Site-θ stood.

“The highlighted areas represent the extent of the shifts we’ve been monitoring here at the Site. I’m sure you’ve all noticed the spatial anomalies that have been briefly occurring here at the facility. Sensors have shown the effect is spreading out into the park.”

“We’ve cordoned off the park, keeping the civilians out of harm’s way, with a cover story about seismic activity. But that won’t help us much longer: the effects are spreading. For now, the spread is slow, in the last few days this is the growth we’ve catalogued. But it is spreading, and it won’t be containable forever.”

Carlotta raised her hand, but Light shook her head. “Hold on, for a minute. This has been vetted. Eventually, unless something drastic happens, the effects we’ve seen here will spread beyond the boundaries of this park and into populated areas. We are potentially facing down the barrel of a full-fledged XK-Class fluctuating reality scenario. Worse, our facility may be responsible for it.”

Carlotta raised her hand again.

“Go ahead, Agent.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be disrespectful. But how can a newly formed MTF do anything about reality falling apart?”

“Well, it only seems impossible right now because we don't know what's going on yet. With a thorough investigation we'll have a better handle on what we can do to resolve the situation. I wanted you all to understand the importance of why I called you together.”

1360 did not raise its arm, it merely started typing on its text-to-speech tablet and Light waited for it to finish. “I can see these shifts clearly, and do not suffer the effects you humans do, the vomiting and such. But I do not have any ability to affect these shifts in spatial reality. What do you expect me to do?

Light bristled and turned to look at the android. “You have a unique perspective, your mind can slow down your perception, meaning you can react faster to these shifts than your teammates. Which means you can help protect the people around you. So, I expect you to serve the purpose I’ve given you: what you agreed to do.”

1360 merely looked at her, typing nothing in response. She sighed and rubbed her eyes.

Someone coughed and Light looked up to see Rainer’s hand up. “How did this happen?”

“We don’t know, that’s part of what I’m going to be asking you to take part in: exploring this facility.”

“Part of?”

“Yes, I also need you all to keep an eye out for anything suspicious. The Foundation is always at risk for stealth incursions, but I believe we have a mole at this site.”

Rainer perked up. “I can’t believe there’s a traitor in our midst. What’s wrong with people?”

“Well I like to believe we’re working for the common good, in the grand scheme of things, but not everyone would agree. Someone is working at cross purposes to us. It could be from without or within.”

Rainer shook his head. “Did someone already take hostile action?”

“There was an assassination attempt not long ago, yes.”

“Do we have any information on the mole? Who they’re working for, perhaps?” Rainer asked.

“Worry free, worry mine. I do believe I must decline. Searching for traitors is something I fret, it’s a little out of my skill set,” 5601 said before Light could answer.

Light sighed, but before she could respond Lucretia spoke: “Bird, all agreed to be here. The best way to get killed is you to undermine our teamwork before even begun. Just like me, you do the job, or they put you back in box.”

Carlotta turned and looked at Lucretia, who shrugged. “What? Is true! You Jailers might be letting me off of chains for now, but not going to pretend not right back where I will go if I act up.”

“If I may?” Light interrupted. “It’s true that most of you are being released with the understanding that you will cooperate, but you’re not slaves. I don’t expect you to serve without question. This is a briefing session to allow for questions and even dissent, potentially. If said dissent is respectful.” She looked at 5601.

“You want respect from me, a Hellion duke? I’ll serve because I wish, not for fear of rebuke.”

“That’s fine, as long as you stay on mission. Are there any other questions?”

Carlotta raised her hand again. “Yes, Agent Deneb?”

“Getting back to what Rainer was saying, do we have any information about the mole? Motivations can go a long way towards identifying a suspect.”

“At the moment, I have very little information about the identity or possible motivations. It’s possible it’s paranoia fueling this assertion, but there’s too many unexplained deviations in security and in the database. I’m sure that someone is working against us. So, we have two mysteries to solve and neither one can be ignored. Additionally, I want to stress the possibility that there may be more than one double agent in our midst.”

Rainer spoke again: “What makes you think that?”

“I mentioned those deviations in security and the database. There are just too many for it to feasibly be one person. These include discrepancies in patrol locations as recorded versus their actual check-ins, timing of tests on anomalies on site, and the actual storage locations for anomalous items versus the recorded storage assignments. So far, these discrepancies have been chalked up to user error but if looked at in the larger scheme of things, it looks like someone is trying to secure access to anomalous items and rearrange the timing of security within the facility. All of which tells me that someone is looking to do a raid. Given the sensitive nature of our current emergency, and the overall bad news this would be on any normal day, we need to neutralize the mole or moles.”

“Any other questions?”

Light waited a moment and when none were forthcoming, she spoke again. “In the coming months, these are the sorts of events we’ll be tasking you to investigate or neutralize. Anything from internal security matters to more significant events. I’ve chosen you because of the wide variety of your skill sets and abilities, and because I think you will work well together.”

4494 stood up and clapped a hand on both Carlotta's and 1360's shoulders. "We shall rise to the occasion, Director. As long as Laws are being broken, the Specter is at your disposal!"

Light nodded, shut down the projector and toggled on the lights. “Thank you. Alright, that’s all for now. Feel free to forward any other questions to my assistant, Vaux. For now, I want you six to familiarize yourself with your new quarters and get some joint training in. I’ll have orders for you soon.”

Light was gathering her notes into a folder and shutting down her laptop when she heard someone clear their throat.

“This is a bad idea, Director Light.”

“Good morning, Director Avery,” Light said, without looking up from sliding her notes and laptop into her bag. “What can I do for you?”

James Avery, Director of Site-θ, was just under two meters tall and spindly in a charcoal three-piece suit. He was leaning in the open doorway of the now empty briefing room. He walked in and closed the door.

“You can take your experiment and vacate my site.”

“I have authorization from O5-10, under the Project Resurrection mandate. Take it up with the Council.”

“That doesn’t give you free rein to take over this site.”

“No, it doesn’t. But whether you like it or not, I’m going to be here for a while. This is an ‘all hands-on deck’ sorta problem, so I’d appreciate it if you don’t interfere.”

Avery sat on one of the chairs and opened a file. “One deadly android, one demonically possessed parrot capable of horrendous property damage, one psychologically unstable wormhole generator on loan from Site 17, and the best part, a Sarkic killing machine who grew up ripping people apart for the Lodge’s enjoyment.”

“Don’t forget the actual embodiment of ‘fighting crime,’ I’m quite proud of that one.”

Avery had an unpleasant laugh. “What makes you think you can control these things?”

“They don’t need to be ‘controlled,’ Director. They’re cooperating. Besides, there are inherent controls. Some of them bear watching, it’s true, but I’m not blind. You just want to control them yourself.”

Avery sighed. “I want nothing of the sort. What I want, Director Light, is to not have my site get turned into a circus show. What I want is for trained professionals to handle this emergent situation.”

“This is what Alpha-9 is all about, using anomalies to better respond to a crisis. If you don’t like it, get in line behind the hundred other people gunning for me.”

“I’m not ‘gunning’ for you, Light. I have serious, vehement concerns about sending a group of anomalous individuals into the subsections of this site to look for a phantom phenomenon we know nothing about! A demonic parrot! Even you must have doubted choosing that thing.”

“Its abilities make it an undeniably useful asset.”

“What about the Sarkic? She’s a goddamn killer.”

“We’re all killers, Avery. And she wants a better life; one with meaning. I… no, we can give her that. What’s all this about anyway? Why are you challenging my every decision?”

Avery shook his head and stood up, walked to the door. He turned back to her before he left. “This is going to go very wrong. I won’t have you endangering my people.”

“If we don’t figure out what’s happening in this facility, we’re all in danger.”

He turned and opened the door but paused when she called out. “Avery, I need your personnel files. Forward them all to Vaux.”

“What the hell for?”

“I think you’ve got foxes in the hen house.”

Director Light’s office, Site-θ

Later that day.

“What’re we looking for?” Vaux asked.

“Anything that could show a split loyalty. Or even any connection to an outside org, especially if it’s a GoI,” Light responded.

It was late afternoon and they’d been perusing the hundreds of personnel files for Site-θ for hours.

Vaux sighed and set down his tablet. “Aren’t these files checked for security all the time?”

“Yes, but someone’s working against us here. There are too many discrepancies in the logs. Someone’s sneaking around, and they’re not doing it for the thrills.”

Vaux got up and stretched his arms above his head. “I’m going to get a coffee; do you want one?”

“Mm,” she murmured.

He nodded and walked out of the room. She was looking at the files for her new recruits again. She keyed on the voice recorder.

“Popescu could have been a plant by the Lodge, they’d fucking love to get someone in with the command structure. Deneb is probably clean, unless the UIU has gotten more devious in recent years. They’ve always been reluctantly cooperative at best. The parrot probably isn’t reporting to anyone, he’s scared of his connections outside of the Foundation. The rest have no connection to an outside org, except the android… but Anderson hasn’t sent any communications to it in almost a decade.”

She clicked off the recorder. Probably wasn’t one of her recruits anyway, the planning involved would have been esoteric to presume such a project would get greenlit by the Council. Then again, it’s always possible, she thought.

She keyed open the technical research staff roster. MIT. Harvard. UCLA. DARPA. DOD. The credentials of Site-θ’s research staff were impeccable.

“It’s gotta be someone,” she groaned.

It was a little over four hours before she was going to send the new team to investigate the subsections of the facility, and she had no answers about the mole. The only clear connection to a GoI were 1360 and Popescu, and they didn’t seem likely candidates.

Vaux came back in with a styrofoam cup of hot, black coffee and set it down in front of her on the desk. “Anything?”

“Nothing conclusive. What are you looking at over there?”

He picked up his tablet and scrolled. “Looks like the administrative staff, mostly boring stuff.”

She sipped the coffee, a harsh light blend, and opened up another personnel file for the research staff. Her thoughts were interrupted when Vaux said “Huh.”

“What is it?” she asked quickly.

“Think I have something.” He turned the tablet towards her, and she scanned the contents.

“Get Popescu and Deneb up here, now.”

Interview Room B, Site-θ

Lucretia stood in the corner of the interview room, in plain site of the table set out for the subject, her arms crossed in front of her. The lighting in the room kept the corner of the room relatively dark, letting her merge into the shadows with the black short sleeve button up shirt tucked into dark grey jeans she was wearing. Carlotta and Light both sat at the table with several paper files in front of them. They looked up when the door opened and security brought in Samuel Myers, executive assistant to Director James Avery. The security personnel sat him down in the chair opposite Deneb and Light across the table.

“Wait outside, gentlemen,” Light said. The security detail exited the room and locked the door behind them.

“Mr. Myers, hello. My name is Director Sophia Light. This is my colleague, Agent Deneb.”

“Who’s the muscle?” Myers asked.

“That’s Lucretia, you probably don’t want to stare at her. That’s right, look at me.”

Myers’s eyes were clear and did not waver when meeting Light’s. “Why am I here, Director? What the hell made it necessary to have me dragged from my office?”

“We have something we’d like to talk to you about.”

“Yes, I gathered. But there are more respectful ways of getting my attention. I might not be a director, but I have been with the Foundation for more than ten years.”

He looked straight into Lights eyes and asked: “Does Director Avery know I’m here?”

“I’m sure he will soon enough.”

“Director Light, I know you’re having some issues with Director Avery, but this hardly seems like an appropriate course of action. Do you think that this sort of political power move is going to give you leverage?”

“I don’t need leverage, Samuel. I need answers.”

“To what?”

Deneb flipped open the file in front of her. “Mr. Myers, you have a very interesting credit history. Did you know that?”

“I’ve had problems financially for years, that’s none of your business.”

Carlotta shook her head. “Financial problems is putting it lightly. You’ve been sinking in massive debt for the last six years, barely keeping yourself above water.”

“Before my mother passed, she amassed quite a few medical bills. Insurance only covered half the procedures. It’s not a crime.”

“But your credit rating has significantly improved of late, isn’t that true?”

“I came into some money, the trust my mother set up finally matured and I was able to pay off most of the debts. Again, I don’t understand why I’m speaking to you about it!”

“Over the last six months you’ve received disbursements from the trust in upwards of $600,000. Is that correct?”

“Yes, what of it?”

“That’s a hefty trust, and it’s not even tapped out yet.”

“None of this is illegal or against any Foundation regulations! I’ve declared it at my most recent security check!”

“And you were flagged for a biannual review, because of it. Did you know that?”

Myers said nothing in response. He looked from Carlotta to Light to Lucretia and back to Carlotta.

“Have you heard of the company, Bigelow Commercial Solutions, Mr. Myers?” Carlotta asked.

“No, should I have?”

“There was a classified raid of their HQ by the UIU last week. We didn’t get any paperwork from them until a few days ago, but something was flagged for our attention. Internal security services hadn’t had a chance to vet the documents yet, but they’re filed nonetheless,” Carlotta said.

The door to the interview room opened violently, slamming against the wall. James Avery stood in the doorway, shaking. He glared at Light. “What exactly are you doing, Light?”

The security detail stood behind Director Avery, several of them shifting back and forth barely perceptively.

Light stood up and looked at Avery. “James, you can leave, or you can sit quietly. I won’t brook interference.”

“Why didn’t you come to me if you had some problem with Samuel? This is preposterous!”

“Director Avery, sit down and shut up, or I will have you forcibly removed.”

“By whom? My own staff?”

“I have explicit authorization to perform an investigation of this Site, in orders of an O5 Council member.” Light looked at the two-man security detail and said: “If you want to keep your jobs, you will follow my orders, gentlemen.”

“The Council sent you here to recruit new members of your team, Site security is my purview.”

Light produced a document with the O5’s seal. “Here is my authorization, do you want to read it? If so, sit down. Or leave.”

Avery quickly pulled the document from her fingers. The room was silent for a moment as he read. “This is vague! It talks about investigating the emergency situation in Yellowstone, nothing to do with a witch hunt.”

“I assure you; I am within my legal authority. Last chance, sit down or I will have Popescu escort you from the room.” At this last bit she glared at the security detail over Avery’s shoulder. They considered for a moment and then closed the door.

Avery looked behind him and then back at Light, the paper in his hands vibrating as his forearms tensed. “Fine, get this over with.” He sat down next to Myers.

Deneb pulled out a couple more documents. “Mr. Myers, did you know that Bigelow Commercial Solutions doubles as an estate law firm in Connecticut?”

“No, I’ve never heard of them!”

“That’s strange, as the documents the UIU sent to us shows that Bigelow is the company that set up and administers your mother’s trust. For which you are the sole beneficiary.”

“Okay, so what?” Myers asked.

Light slammed the table. “‘So what’ is that this company is a shell company under the ownership of the Fifth Revelation Congregation, also headquartered in Connecticut! Do you know who they are, Mr. Myers?”

“I don’t like this. James, I demand representation, they’re trying to set me up for something!”

Avery looked at his assistant and then motioned for Deneb to give him the documents. He scanned the contents. “What are you accusing my assistant of?”

Light threw another document down on the table. “The Congregation is a known Fifthist nonprofit organization, with ties to senators, hedge fund managers and businesses up and down the East Coast. Myers, you prepared to explain this?”

“I… I… honestly I barely know what Fifthism is! I’m not cleared for much!”

“That’s ridiculous, Myers,” Carlotta said. “You’ve got a clearance rating of Level-3 as a Site Director’s executive assistant. You receive documents for the Director’s review all the time. You know what Fifthism is. Don’t play dumb!”

Myers didn’t say anything. Avery looked over the most recent documents showing the Congregation was on UIU, GOC and Foundation watch lists. “Samuel, what is this?”

“I didn’t do anything wrong! My mother left me that money! She couldn’t use it before she died because she set up the trust before she even got sick!”

Carlotta closed the file. “We have reason to believe the trust records were backdated. From what we can tell, it was actually established less than a year ago. We have you, Myers. You can cooperate or you can see just how 'cold not cruel' the Foundation can be.”

Myers looked at Light and Carlotta, then turned quickly to Avery, who wouldn’t meet his gaze. Myers closed his eyes and sighed. “Fine. What do you want to know?”

Light spoke again: “Who else are you working with? I don’t believe for a second this was all y-”

Light was interrupted by a blinding flash of light and a horrendous sound come out of Myers’s mouth. The room exploded in noise, automatic countermeasures playing over the speakers in the room as an alarm blared. She shook her head and looked around. Avery was unconscious, his chair tipped over. Deneb was holding her ears with her head on the table. Popescu was bent over retching in the corner.

Light looked at the door and found it blown off its hinges, the two security men down on the floor of the corridor.

Light keyed her communicator to a direct line to Site security: “Code red! Anomalous hostile loose in the site, last seen near Interview Room B! Subject is capable of cognitohazardous speech!”

The report was confirmed and the lights in the hall flashed red then white and an announcement was played over the loudspeakers: "All non-security personnel are remanded to their stations and ordered to perform lock down procedures. This is not a drill."

Light placed a hand on Carlotta’s shoulder; the agent gave her a thumbs up. Light looked over at Lucretia. “Popescu, you alright?”

“Give me minute. Feels like insides are on fire.”

“We don’t have a minute, you both armed?”

Deneb nodded but Popescu shook her head. “I am always ‘armed.’”

Light nodded. “We need to find him and neutralize him before he does serious damage.”

She looked at Avery on the floor, still unconscious. “And someone get a medic in here!”

Light raced down the corridor towards the security section of the Site, Carlotta and Lucretia hot on her heels. She burst into the section and was greeted by two tense faces, both reviewing surveillance footage. “What have you got?”

One man looked up and said: “He was last seen in sub-basement B headed east from the stairwell.”

“How is he moving around? Shouldn’t the stairs be locked down?”

“They are, Director, but he has some sort of override.”

“Put the facility into containment breach lockdown, no entry or exit without my authority or Level-5 authorization!”

“Yes, Director!”

Light turned to the small armory and unlocked the case, pulling a Glock 9mm free from its mooring and sliding several magazines into her pockets. She turned back to Lucretia and Deneb. “We need to go see if we can hunt him down.”

Lucretia snorted. “He prepared for running. Don’t think chasing him is the right move.”

“What would you suggest, Agent Popescu?” Light asked.

“Where he going? Need to go there first.”

Carlotta checked that her gun was secure in the holster, then reached for several spare magazines herself. “If he can’t get out through normal means, what’s he looking for on that level?”

Light turned to the security officer that had answered her before and asked: “What’s on that level?”

“A containment wing for some of our more dangerous anomalies, and the main maintenance sector.”

“Fuck. Get me a diagram of the maintenance tunnels right now!”

Myers climbed out of a maintenance access shaft and sighed as the fresh air hit his lungs. He looked around and saw the shallow ravine lightly dusted with snow, absent of any security agents, and started clambering up the side of the ravine. As he crested the top a puff of snow and dirt exploded mere centimeters from his face, forcing him to slide back down as he heard the echoing gunshot. Light woman called out from outside the ravine. “Myers, come out with your hands up and your mouth shut, or we will terminate!”

Myers wiped the blood from above his eyebrow where a rock had nicked him, laying with his back against the slight incline. He looked down the ravine briefly before another shot exploded the snow and soil above his head. Light called out again: “If you make us come down there, you will not survive!”

Light was yelling towards the ravine with a squad of security sharp shooters backing her up, while Lucretia and Carlotta snuck through the bushes to the south of Myers’s suspected position.

The branch of a tree snapped back into place after Carlotta moved ahead of Lucretia and nearly struck her in the face. “Hey!” she whispered fiercely.

Carlotta shrugged, mouthed “Sorry” and kept duckwalking towards the traitor’s position.

Light was yelling again: “I’m getting sick of this, Myers! Five minutes, or we come in after you!” From Lucretia’s position she could see Light looking their way, but knew they weren’t visible in the brush.

Suddenly, a shadowy figure leapt from a nearby tree and descended to the inside of the ravine. Carlotta said: “Oh god, what’s he doing now?”

Lucretia could just barely hear someone calling out from inside the ravine. “Now your time has come, felon! The Specter has you at his mercy!” Several gunshots rang out from inside the ravine, Myers screamed and then an explosion of light and sound boomed from over the edge. 4494 was sent flying into the air in an arc nearly a hundred meters long before landing with a thud.

Lucretia broke into a run towards the edge of the ravine. Myers rose to his feet and started to speak when Carlotta fired twice, hitting Myers under the left knee as he tried to get up. The stars above them flared brightly for a moment and then Carlotta gasped and fell to her knees. Lucretia could see Light and the security team also suffering as she closed on Myers.

He raised his hands from where he lying in the snow when Lucretia leapt. As she landed, her fingers and forearms exuded a dull sheen and hardened to gray bone tissue. Just as Myers started to open his mouth again, Lucretia brought down both her fists on his skull and heard a crack.

Myers coughed once, then lay still and stopped breathing a moment later. Lucretia was breathing fast as Carlotta came up behind her. “Good job, Lucy!”

Lucretia turned to Carlotta, her gaze narrow. “Nothing is good crushing a man’s skull with your hands.” She turned from the body and Carlotta and walked off towards the entrance of the Site. Light was approaching the body with her security team and turned to follow Lucretia, but Carlotta waved her off.

Light walked up to the body and Carlotta. “Well, looks like our mole is caught. Shit, you two check on 4494.” She turned to look at the shadow man and found him rising from where he fell. “Are you alright over there?”

“The Specter is never better than when Evil is vanquished!”

Light turned back to Carlotta then looked up at the frigid winter night. “I think this is going to work out just fine.”

Medical Center, Sub-Basement A, Site-θ

Light opened the door to Avery’s recovery room and he looked up at her from the bed. He reached for the pitcher of water sitting on the rotating table above the bed, his hands shaking while trying to pour. Light reached out and held the cup, silently offering to pour. Avery sighed and let her take the pitcher.

“Well, I guess you get to say ‘I told you so.’ But just once and make it quick.”

Light sat in the visitors chair and sighed. “I’m not your enemy, Avery. I’m only interested in the well being of everyone at this Site.”

“I’m not your enemy either, you know? I just don’t know about this project of yours.”

“Popescu, 4494 and Deneb handled the take down very competently. Especially for a brand new team,” Light said.

“I’ll never get used to how your voice changes when you reference that anomaly. And maybe you’re right about them. But I notice you didn’t mobilize the bird this evening.”

“Your assistant had introduced enough chaos for my tastes,” Light said.

“Samuel has been with me for four years. I can’t believe he was a traitor.”

“Who can we really trust, in this line of work?”

“Can I trust you, Light?” Avery asked.

“I promise, we’ll get to the bottom of what’s going on here. The stakes are too high to worry about egos.”

Avery nodded and lowered his head back to the pillow. Light got up and walked to the door but stopped when Avery called her name.

“Do you think he was the only mole?”

Light considered for a moment, then said “Honestly, I don’t know.”

Resurrection – New Faces
<< Building a Team | Light and the Mole | Investigation >>

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