UMBRAL_MIGRATORY_SEQUENCE.txt

NOTE: This is Part 11 of a 12-Part storyline: Team Bird, Season One.
It is recommended that you first read SCP-3095, and then start from the beginning with SCP-3662.


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▷ SITE-18 INTRANET SYSTEMS INITIALIZED.

▷ ACCESSING IntSCPFN:/files/EE-3570/UMBRAL_MIGRATORY_SEQUENCE.txt…

▷ OPENING FILE…

UMBRAL MIGRATORY SEQUENCE


During an End-of-the-World Scenario leading to the significant loss of Foundation assets, the Pluto Protocol exists to set up a reliable, alternative means of control for the rest of the Foundation.

The protocol dictates a set of actions that must occur in a specific order — according to the severity of the scenario. These actions are as follows.

  1. At the onset of a significantly disruptive worldwide event, each Foundation-operated Area, Site, and Outpost must declare independent status.
  2. If the event escalates to an EKHI-Level disruption,1 Site-01 and Site-19 must assume joint control over any unallocated resources and act as a form of administration where necessary.
  3. If the event escalates to an AMIDA-Level disruption,2 the Division with the highest number of available resources is granted executive control over the rest of the Foundation.

On 1 June 2018, the Foundation Avian Division gained full authority to fulfill the Foundation Prime Directive. In response, we drafted multiple projects to ensure a suitable backup plan in the face of a Broken Veil. We determined which backup plans would serve necessary during a total-loss event, while attempting to maintain acceptable levels of normalcy.

When almost all non-Avian Division personnel had been lost, all projects were placed under indefinite hiatus. The Avian Division lacked the man bird power to enact the bulk of them. After Extranormal Event 3570, however, efforts were renewed — we had no other choice.

A chronicle of the selection philosophy for current backup plans is as follows.

PROCEDURE LAZARUS-01


PROPOSAL: Initiate Procedure Lazarus-01 at Site-2000 to repopulate Earth with a non-anomalous group of humans devoid of EOI-121.3

The BE-Class “Migration” Scenario has yielded only minimal damage worldwide, except in major population centres. The dwindling number of extant Type-BE humanoids ensures clean-up efforts would remain relatively unhindered. As such, the procedure is projected to require at least 15 years to fully initialize and complete.

SUITABILITY: LOW

NOTES: EOI-121 affects humans on an esoteric level involving higher-dimensional phenomena that is as-yet-misunderstood. The procedure is determined to operate inadequately; the Avian meme complex would simply reinfect all created SCP-2000 humanoids after repopulation.

THE ENNUI PROTOCOL


PROPOSAL: Disseminate ENUI-5 in large volumes globally to wipe out the Avian meme complex, or at least, reduce its effects in anomalous humans.

Activation of ENUI-5 can be delayed until an estimated 99% of the human populace is exposed to the agent. Sufficient ENUI-5 compounds would require 6 months to produce, between 2 and 4 months to disperse fully, and an instant to activate.

SUITABILITY: LOW

NOTES: Humans affected by EOI-121 display atypical psychogenic plans capable of hosting the Avian meme complex. ENUI-5 can be dispersed in large, controlled quantities, but is of a rudimentary quality and cannot target the meme complex alone. Either the entire human populace experiences total memory erasure, or ENUI-5 does not target the meme complex and is useless.

PROJECT LETHE


PROPOSAL: Trigger the Lethe agent within every human mind. Lethe will access and wipe all data and memory related to the Avian meme complex.

After wiping each individual mind, the meme complex associated with each human Self will re-enter their mind via a pre-existing Noospheric connection. Memetic triggering via Lethe has a significant chance of failure because Lethe has no recorded uses in Foundation history. Because it is memetic, however, it can be dispersed far more effectively than ENUI-5. Lethe would require at least 1 week to disseminate.

SUITABILITY: VERY LOW

NOTES: This is ridiculously beyond the Avian Division's capability and relies on too many what-ifs.

—Dr. Frederick Hoygull, PhD
Avian Division Head

SCPS SOLIDARITY


PROPOSAL: Based on an ADK-Class “Complete Anomalous Destabilization” model, projections indicate the anomalous will reclaim Earth within 1 to 3 years.

Because the Avian Division is both ill-equipped and inexperienced to counter this, our efforts are better suited toward evacuation and later resettlement. Per Project Heimdall, transfer all vital assets to the SCPS Solidarity, situated at the L4 Lagrangian point. When all vital personnel, equipment, anomalous objects, AICs, informational constructs, and suitable amounts of natural resources have been loaded, the Khevtuul 1 Exoplanetary Survey will be analyzed. A suitable near-Earth exoplanet will then be selected — according to Avian Division consensus.

SUITABILITY: HIGH

NOTES: WE WILL REBUILD


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OPERATION: DIVINE RUSE


1. DEPLOYMENT DATE: 12 August 2018, 07:45 p.m. PDT

2. DEPLOYMENT LOCATION: Site-18, Mojave National Preserve, Southern California

3. TEAM: Marine Fighting Team CHARYBDIS

4. TEAM MEMBERS:

  1. C-0 Gægr Kemdulnim The Deep One — Transportation Agent
  2. C-2 Jaedan Traviss — Stealth Pugilist
  3. C-4 Haruki Nakahara — Technical Specialist

5. MISSION DESCRIPTION: Secure and contain the anomalous Selachian entity, designated WHITE NETHER, via pugilistic force. Coerce it to consume the Apex-Tier Pluripotent Entity known as Thoth.

6. EXECUTION: TBD

UMBRAL MIGRATORY SEQUENCE is not our primary means of achieving the Foundation Prime Directive. Did you think we would retreat with our tails between our legs? No! Further efforts have been developed, and by my executive order, Operation: DIVINE RUSE has begun. Thoth will regret ever glancing down at us from his perch in Hell. We'll do what it takes to knock him from his throne into the real world.

We no longer merely wish Thoth gone. We'll destroy him with a sharpened talon, wherever he perches, and reclaim our mantle — or die trying.

May Medila have mercy on our souls.


—Dr. Frederick Hoygull, PhD
Avian Division Head

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A girl wearing metallic blue boots stretched out her arms. She shuffled back into the Clark-Class NEUROKNOCK armour standing upright at the wall, unfolded for the room to see. Mechanical sections of a tungsten carbide exoskeleton activated and unravelled from within themselves, climbing up her legs. Thick, alloyed segments wrapped around her torso, and with percussive clunks, narrower segments snapped onto her arms and forearms.

Across from her, a boy wearing similarly powered armour stood with a stone-faced glare and crossed arms. The suits took 30 seconds flat to power up and do their magic, but for all the world, he looked like a slouching teenaged attitude problem who had been waiting hours for his mom to finish her errands.

“Hey, you know something?” the girl asked him.

“I know a few things. I'm not as stupid as I look.”

The girl laughed while her own powered armour — now encompassing her body (sans neck) — sealed up and pressurized. “Hold up. We're both wearing the same thing! You're not saying I look stupid too — are you?”

The boy stretched. “I take that back. I look stupid, but not nearly as stupid as you.”

The girl fidgeted, rotated her wrists, and bent back her arms — analyzing their dexterity. “Finally, he admits defeat!” she announced to the empty room.

“Listen, Haruki. The sooner we get out there, the sooner we blow that gawking bird gullet and stupid Selachian mug to smithereens. All right?”

“'Kay, Jae Jae.” Haruki giggled. “That's what Leah calls you, isn't it?”

“You know… It doesn't have the same ring when you say it. I think you've ruined it.” Jaedan slipped on his helmet but kept the faceplate open.

“You're just saying that because you like her.” Haruki slipped hers on, too. “Admit it!”

“Teach one of your robots to read minds, and you can find out.” He winked and pressed a button behind his helmet. The glass shot down and the rest of his suit pressurized.

“Anyway, as I was trying to say before. I'm glad Quinn trusts us to go on a mission like this! I can't wait to catch his look when he sees that Selachian's ugly face plowed in.”

The pair walked through the next chamber. A door closed automatically and sealed them in. Another door opened ahead, and the vestibule filled with water.

“Yeah, whatever. Race you to the whale!” Jaedan jetted off into the pool beyond.

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The bulky, 45-metre-long blue-grey body of Gægr Kemdulnim The Deep One displaced enormous amounts of water as he breached the ocean and shot into the sky. He maintained breathtaking spins while screaming through the clouds.

Haruki and Jaedan sat inside him, quadruple-strapped and flanked by a roll-cage somewhere within the blubber.

Haruki had never grown accustomed to Cetacean flight. She paled. “Calm down, Gægr, you can show off later! We have a job to do.” Within her suit, she appeared ready to vomit.

Jaedan turned to face her, smirking. “GÆGR COUNTER, do a flip!”

Gægr pinwheeled head-over-heels — er, head-over-tail — whilst chanting a traditional Whalish folk song.

After a moment, he paused in the clouds. His ramjet sphincters kept him hovering in place. The unobtanium engine implanted in his back purred. “No Selachians in sight,” Gægr purred in elegant baritone. “You may release my handlebars, Haruki.”

“Jeez, Haruki, you're squeezing the life out of those things,” Jaedan sneered. “And Gægr hasn't even tried out that new engine you fixed for him!”

“Oh my god, don't even mention that!”

“So, what's the game plan, huh? Hoygull's going to contact us after we punt the Deviant into a deep sleep?” Jaedan was referring to WHITE NETHER, known otherwise as the Selachian daemon 'Akheilos'. Their plan was to tame the beast they had been chasing for months and turn it against Thoth. But first, they had to find it.

“No, before we pummel it. He'll be giving the thumbs up. Uh… The wings up.”

“What are we calling this thing, anyway? Operation: DIVINE RUSE?” Jaedan cleared his throat. “First off, I ain't calling any beast 'divine', no matter what happens. What do you think, Haruki, should we skip the mission and check out some Selachian burgers in the next galaxy over?”

“Gross! You'd eat that?” She shook her head. “I suppose we could get a head start and figure out where this thing is, before Hoygull contacts us. Say, Gægr, are you sensing the beast anywhere?”

Although MFT CHARYBDIS retained the ability to detect Selachian threats beyond the dimensional barrier with Deviant tech, Gægr had natural long-distance Selachian-finding capabilities. He powered these by his fins, Deviant magic, or some strange combination of both.

Gægr sang. “Selachian's gone away, and there's no need for us to stay. Come on, dear brother and sister, let's traverse the skies and play!”

“So, that's a no. Right, Haruki, power up that gadget that's a mouthful to name. Let's find this freak.”

Haruki pulled down the 'FASH' device from an overhead compartment and switched it on. With the FASH, she could detect Deviant threats within a virtually infinite range.

“Aside from silvery readings down here — I think that's from Selachians in the ocean — there's… Aha! There it is!”

On cue, a display screen showed a minor planet illuminated by orange indicative of Deviant interference. The readings indexed it as a couple of light-years away. Red annotative text noted that WHITE NETHER/Akheilos was nearby, either in or around its atmosphere.

“What's it doing all the way out there?” Jaedan asked.

“How should I know?!”

“Shit, you think it's still mad at us for messing with it last week?”

“Most definitely.” As the team's tech specialist, Haruki enjoyed the privilege of understanding all the various systems outfitted within Gægr's interior. She also suffered from having to explain whatever was going on when the devices failed — which they often did. “Okay, could you grab the Tyson Ontic Pugnātor? You do know how to handle that thing, don't you?”

“Pfft. Obviously. It's not rocket science.” Jaedan pulled at the storage cupboard to his right. The Tyson Ontic Pugnātor sprawled out on a telescopic handle. “Gimme the co-ordinates,” he said, pretending he knew what in the depths he was doing.

Haruki transmitted coordinates from the FASH into the Pugnātor herself, knowing full well Jaedan was without a clue.

Jaedan flicked a half-dozen switches and eyed a big blue button. “You ready to blast off, GÆGR COUNTER?”

Gægr moaned into the deep.

Jaedan struck his armoured palm against the button. In an instant, blue particles encircled Gægr. He propelled forward, then his entire body winked out with a pop.

To any onlookers, it looked as if a great whale fizzled into thin air.

Which it had.

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Gægr reappeared in deep space. It was pitch-dark, with nary a light source but the far-off stars of Orion's Arm. When he had manifested fully, the spectral tendrils of gravitation plucked him away.

Jaedan and Haruki jolted back in their seats.

From a display screen, Jaedan noted the twinkling azure glow of the exotic planetoid that Gægr now orbited. “Oh, wow, it's so pretty. That's… What is that?”

“If I have it right…” Haruki seemed hesitant. “That's Nibirdu.”

“GÆGR COUNTER! How you feeling, buddy?” Jaedan exclaimed.

The mass of Cetacean muscle drifted in the gravitational pull — exceptionally strong for a celestial object of its meagre size. Gægr's only reply was a low, rumbling moan as he entered the planetoid's exosphere.

Then…

“Haruki, are you hearing that? What in the depths is that?” Jaedan hissed. Though outside sounds could not breach Gægr's blubber — especially considering his distance from the planet — Jaedan experienced crooning birdsong wash over him on the periphery of his senses. It was more feeling than hearing.

Haruki didn't respond.

“Haruki?” Jaedan glanced over and felt a bittersweet orange aura emanating from her person. He couldn't catch her expression. “Haruki! Shit! Gægr, get us out of here!”

Haruki murmured. “We… We were meant to join the flock.”

Jaedan could hardly croak a reply as the Avian symphony washed over and consumed his senses.

“If… If the flock left without us…” Haruki warbled. “Then what's our purpose?”

Now Jaedan was spellbound, too. “Thoth… He will lead us on a vast migration. He will grant our purpose.”

“He'll carry us under his wing?” Saliva dripped from her mouth.

Jaedan bobbed his head. “He'll carry us in his giant beak.”

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Gægr swam through swirling mists of lighter-than-air feathered masses. Shimmering distortions above showered him with blue light; beneath him, innumerable winged humans flocked in geometrically perfect formation.

They were singing.

He sensed an impending doom: The Selachian daemon was nearby.

But where?

From the corner of his eye, a massive form in the shape of a fighter jet exited the clouds; gale-force wind buffeted its fins. Gægr twisted around. The titan slammed into his underbelly at astounding speeds.

The great whale listed to one side, expelling mist from his wake. He plummeted in agony.

Whatever the case, the birdsong affected neither the Cetacean nor the Selachian. Akheilos, a large snow-white form with pointed fins and a ghastly grin, blitzed downward as Gægr corkscrewed into the atmosphere.

When Akheilos caught up, Gægr activated his unobtanium engine and made panicked escape.

As the beasts descended kilometres of sapphire skies, a shroud of thousands of bird-humans converged on the pair. Both beings were quicker than the bird-humans in pursuit of their newfound prize. But the humans had an advantage of numbers.

An otherworldly plane covered in breadcrumb, feathered masses, and picturesque monuments lay below them. Hundreds of bird-humans swarmed Gægr, and birdsong continued coursing through his being.

He channelled Cosmic conduits of energy by singing the only song he knew would help.

It was an olden Cetacean hymn in the song-language “Balooga” that had been passed along generations. His father, his father's father, and the rest of his ancestry had kept the hymn in the family since the beginning of time. And now, Gægr was moved by the theatrics the hymn required.

Thousands of bird-people in the pair's midst paused, hanging at attention as Gægr glided through. Akheilos paused too, though not to listen: It glared at Gægr and vibrated, tinged with fiery red. Its pectoral fins swelled — ready to launch an attack.

As Gægr's hymn elapsed, its meaning dawned on The Great Daemon. A wave of unfamiliar, thaumaturgic blue mesmerized Akheilos over the sounds of thousands of excited chirps and trills. It tried suppressing the melody — displacing and even outright destroying the winged forms hanging in the mist.

But the hymn changed, rising in volume, and Gægr put all his might into singing it.

O, Medila, I give my voice unto your choir.

O, Medila, divine favour I do require.

Descend your greeting beak of cerise.

Descend, sky-maiden, and give us peace.

A massive crimson portal tore up the skies above, and through it, a multitude of dimensions could be seen. A presence patiently waited within. It took a primal, winged form, vast and alien, bearing superficial resemblance to the sacred ibis.

It was Thoth in his true form, watching over his paradise from within the Noosphere.

As their master appeared, the squeals of hundreds of thousands of bird-humans rose to a crescendo.

Akheilos, christened with an electric blue glow, strained its gaze from Gægr and propelled toward Thoth, anew with majestic power. Whether this was otherworldly force, or a Deviant magic trick was unknown, but there was nobody left to ponder this thought.

Gægr drifted, exhausted, toward the feathered grounds below. His world blacked out; clamouring birdsong was the last thing he sensed.

Then a dull thud echoed across the planet.


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