Alexei Belitrov in: How to Fighting an Endangered Species

Big Ol' Disclaimer

This is a scrapped project; it was never posted to the wiki and therefore technically is not part of my Hall of Shame. But fuck it, where else would I put it?

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In case you weren't linked here from the hub or another chunk of the story, and the scroll bar thingy above wasn't a HUGE giveaway, this is part of a series. The collapsible below will give you the long and skinny version of the previous installment(s). I recommend you read those installments instead, but hey, I'm not your boss. Do you, buddy.

The Gods were angry. She had failed. Her youngest daughter had died without ever seeing the light of the Sun. The Beasts had taken her voice. They — she had forgotten the old Songs. The Beasts had even taken the old Songs. They fed her so little that she could barely stand. The air here was heavy to breathe.

She… she remembered having a… a canvas to draw on, and a stylus to draw with — all flimsy materials the Beasts had created — but now even that was denied..

She didn't remember the sound of her own name, it had been so long since she'd heard the Songs. She asked herself, was there anyone left alive to sing? Or was she the Last? Would she, a broken, voiceless one, a failed mother, die starving and alone and silent? Would she be the last voice to Sing?

She traced the lines of her scars frequently. She knew those scars. She did not remember gaining them, but she knew them, from her mother before her. Those were the scars of motherhood. She had a daughter. If her memory was not failing her (a possibility she was forced to admit), they were the scars of a mother of many.

But she had many, many scars, most that she could not identify, scars that had little to do with motherhood. Scars from failures past, perhaps? She had no way to tell.

As she laid in her bunk, tracing her scars, she thought she heard the sound of the Singing. It was not a voice she knew, but, if she were to place a name to it, it would be to those Gods she had failed.

The Singing came as though from a distance, carried on the wind, but it sounded reassuring. "Daughter," it spoke, "you have not failed us. You have been deceived. Even now, we care for your Children. All is not lost. Be at peace, and know that we are always listening." She felt comforted a moment as the Song began to fade, but soon realized it was likely the dying musings of a diseased mind.

Just as the Singing faded, the very real sound of the wretched machines began to blare. The obscene lights and False Song of the Beasts flashed and groaned and hurt her. She knew these sounds and lights — did not remember, but knew these sounds — and knew that nothing well would come from it. Just as she was about to crawl away beneath the bunk to hide from the obscenity, she heard another familiar sound: her door had been unlocked.

She stared in anticipation a moment, waiting for the diminutive Beasts that were sure to waddle through, weapons in hand. Instead, in addition to the False Song that accompanied the painful lights, she heard the Singing of the Beasts somewhere far away. It was the Song of their pain and rage — a Song she knew well, better than the False Song and obscene lights. And soon thereafter, the Song of their weapons — loud and hateful and painful pops that had been directed at her far too many times.

The Singing of the Beasts and their weapons grew closer — surely, something was driving them back…

Alexei Belitrov was having a damn weird day. It'd all been normal until he'd been yanked from his cell and forced to fight what he was absolutely positive at this point was a demon. From there, he'd been set on fire, shot at, accused of egregious and nonsensical crimes, and now he was fairly certain he was about to fall to his death. From what he could tell, the sky was dark and grey and on the verge of a storm. The wind rushed by him in a way that could only mean he was falling at terminal velocity. The only saving grace was that there appeared to be a large complex of buildings directly below him, meaning that his death would be noticed and dealt with immediately. On top of all this, he was fairly certain he'd lost his page in the novel he'd been reading when all the nonsense started.

As the ground approached, Alexei felt himself stabilize. Something was standing him upright in the air. And as the buildings grew larger in his vision, he realized he was also slowing down. By the time he was within two meters of the surface, he'd stopped, hovering in place. He could see warning lights, hear alarms and the faint sound of gunfire, but was surrounded on all sides by brutalistic concrete buildings.

Before he could vocalize his concerns over the oddity, the booming voice that had presumably sent him here spoke up again: "LOADING… DONE! READY? 3… 2… 1… BEGIN!" As the countdown reached 1, Alexei was dropped to ground level. Words flashed across his vision in English: "OBJECTIVE: ESCAPE THE SITE-115." Just as with the booming voice, the words disappeared before Alexei could express his confusion.

"What the hell does that even mean?" The radio Alexei had strapped to his chest garbled out the words as he thought them. As he walked, hoping to identify someone who could orient him, he switched his firearms back to safe and noticed a new weight on his belt. Just before he rounded a corner in the maze of cargo containers, he looked down and saw a knife hanging at his side, next to an ammunition pouch on his hip.

As he unbuckled and examined the weapon, words flashed across his vision again: "MARK I TRENCH KNIFE. EXCELLENT AT CLOSE QUARTERS. IF THROWN, MUST BE PICKED UP AGAIN TO RESUME USE. AVAILABLE ATTACKS: STAB, PUNCH, THROW. EQUIPPING THIS WEAPON LIMITS RIGHT-WEAPON USABILITY." Alexei quickly tried to blink the text away and as he did, he actually saw the weapon: a 20cm blade attached to a knuckle duster handle seemingly custom-made for an Armored soldier. It was matte black, had loops for four fingers, and a blunt spike outside each loop.

He absentmindedly returned the knife to the sheath on his belt. He had no reason to use it now but felt he might need it later.

As the Singing grew louder, she'd crawled below her small bunk, folding herself beneath it as much as possible. The Beasts were sure to find her, but somehow she felt that it may be something worse than the Beasts on their way.

Soon after, the Singing fell silent. The False Song of the machines continued, but no longer were there the pops of the wicked weapons or the voices of the Beasts.

Before she could egress her hiding space, she was overcome by the smell of food. Not the half-dead, meager food provided by the Beasts, but the food that flowed within the Beasts themselves. Fresh, perhaps, but hardly digestible to her. And whatever killed the Beasts may not be an ally, so she decided instead to wait.

She did not have to wait for long as she soon heard the Singing of the Beasts again. Something within the Song sounded hateful. She knew the Beasts when they felt fear. She knew their curiosity, and their anger. But she had never known their hate.

Accompanying the Song was a clicking noise, almost (but not quite) like the heavy hooves the Beasts possessed. She was not sure how, but even the sound of the clicking felt hateful. Almost as if on-cue, the Singing of the Gods began again, clearer now, though still as from a great distance. "Daughter, do not move. Do not try to Sing. The thing you hear is a Demon, a great Evil. You cannot hope to fight it. Wait for it to pass, even as it seeks you."

The Song in her mind faded as quickly as it began, even while the Demon's Song grew louder. Her heart began to hammer in her chest as she began to feel the clicking through the floor…

As Alexei explored the maze of small concrete buildings, he came across a sight both completely alien and far too familiar. Before him, a Foundation agent wearing a thick jacket, tactical belt, cargo pants, and black boots lay on a set of steps that appeared to be the adjacent building's fire escape. Or, what was left of a Foundation agent. Alexei recognized the symbol from a patch on the jacket. The belt had a holster for a sidearm, but the weapon itself was nowhere in sight. His jacket was torn in multiple places, showing the insulation, the layers of shredded clothing, and deep lacerations beneath. There was a jagged wound across his throat, his limbs were sticking at unnatural angles, and it appeared that at least some portion of his left arm was absent entirely. The pool of blood surrounding the man was substantial, and much of his clothing was either spattered or soaked.

Alexei was familiar with death. He'd dealt it innumerous times, and had seen it dealt to those under his command just as often. And he was familiar with Foundation personnel — people like Doctor Friedrich and the agents who escorted him to and from his meetings with Victoria and his card games with Penny. He knew they had dangerous jobs but had never truly associated the men and women at Site-17 with the corpses he'd helped to identify, helped to remove from battlefields, helped to bury. The sight before him had shattered that in an instant.

He quietly muttered, "Fuck!" to himself (a brief burst of static from the radio the only indicator he'd spoken at all), switched the machine gun on his right arm to "fire," and ran to the man, allowing the Armor to search for hazards in his peripherals. From his appearance alone, it was unlikely the man was alive, but Alexei knew as well as anyone that miracles do, on occasion, take place with regards to field medicine. As he reached the man, Alexei checked his surroundings again, then kneeled and pressed his first two fingers against the inside of the agent's wrist. After a moment, it was clear the man not only lacked a pulse but had already grown cold.

Alexei closed the dead man's eyes, searched him for anything of possible use, and removed him from the staircase, doing his best not to further mangle the corpse. As he finished, he mumbled "Sorry, comrade, I will stop what did this to you if I get the opportunity." He didn't know if what he said was true but he felt it was better than nothing. He marched up the staircase, wondering what may lie in wait for him…

The Demon had pried the door to her cell open and… searched the cell for a moment, before moving on with its wretched, hateful Singing and clicking and its smell of food. It didn't walk like the Beasts or any creature she had known; she hadn't seen much of it from beneath the bunk, only the dreadful stilts that made those harsh clicks. It had been a while since she had heard its Singing and those clicks, so she dared to venture out beyond her bunk, and perhaps even beyond her cell. As she stood, the smell of food became much stronger; something had killed the Beasts and made their veins shed their nourishment. While she wanted to think of this as good news, and perhaps even an opportunity to feast as she hadn't in a long time, she still feared the Demon and whatever other horrors may be in hiding. She stretched, in her own manner, then set out in search. Of what, she was


Alexei only found smashed computer monitors and more mangled corpses in the building. However, from the vantage point, he'd seen a helipad with an apparently undamaged aircraft towards the north. If any Foundation personnel were alive, they'd likely be attempting to evacuate via that, or whatever vehicles were available. So that was Alexei's current destination. He quickly descended from the control room and ventured into the maze of prefab buildings, alert for anything important. As he progressed, Alexei noted that several of the constructs had been damaged, both from without and within. Some had bullet holes, while others were more extensively perforated. As he wondered what could've instigated the destruction, the radio on his chest and the other in his skull crackled with traffic.

It was a young woman's voice speaking Russian with an accent Alexei couldn't quite place, "Hey, did anyone else notice the helicopter sitting on the north side of the compound?" It was toneless, almost bored. Alexei was stunned for a moment; it was the first time he'd heard a Crow1 speak good Russian. Then, as his momentary shock passed, he spoke through his own radio, "Hello? My name is Alexei Belitrov. My SCP designation is Two Two Seven Three. Can anyone hear me?"

The following silence was nearly palpable, and Alexei realized he may have made a mistake by speaking, when his message was answered by another voice, still female but more animated and somewhat deeper: "Two two seven three, what is your current location?"

Alexei continued to move, realizing that delay could be a fatal mistake. After a moment, he radioed out, "North of the control room, heading to the helipad." At the back of his mind, he was chastising himself, "What are you doing, Alexei? You're literally broadcasting your position to an unknown, possibly hostile party. You're heavily armed; what makes you think the Crows won't shoot you on sight?"

"Copy, Two two seven three. Please continue on your route; Foundation personnel will be at the helicopter, preparing for evacuation." Something in the woman's tone made Alexei's internal chastisement kick up to 11 as he reached an important conclusion: none of the markings on the buildings was in Russian. "You've done it now, you daft old man. You've been alive for nearly 60 years only to die because you fell for the oldest trick in the book. You handed your corpse to these people on a silver platter. Only choice now is to try to get the drop on whoever's at the aircraft; if you're lucky, you can negotiate your surrender instead of being shot like an animal."

Several hundred meters away, in the control room, a woman whose hair could unironically be described as "calico" stared at her silver-haired sister and, in Japanese, said, "Great. Now we have to kill this asshole before he steals our only ride out of here. Why'd you use the dead guy's radio, Tomi?"

She'd come across a corpse of one of the Beasts. Though she'd rather hunt and consume fresh prey, this creature would have to do.

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