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“Toto sighted! Permission to engage?”
“Permission granted. Let’s do this.”
Surveillance Log C-225
00:00:00 – Chaos Insurgency forces mobilize. Approximately twenty heavily armed men with light air support.
00:01:25 – Gunfire can be heard as Chaos Insurgency forces make contact with Dorothy and Toto. Visual contact made when Chaos Insurgency forces fall back from their attack position.
00:02:01 – Visual contact with Toto made. Pursues Chaos Insurgency forces as they retreat.
00:02:34 – Toto annihilates the Chaos Insurgency ground forces. Reinforcements arrive via helicopter to continue engagement. Two helicopters stay on position to provide air support. Reinforcements engage with heavy machine guns and rocket propelled grenades.
00:03:12 – Toto causes 50% casualties among the Chaos Insurgency forces and manages to destroy both helicopters. Toto then falls back into the forest. Chaos Insurgency forces do not pursue.
00:18:53 – A single helicopter arrives and a single figure disembarks. Figure appears to be wearing some type of powered armor with wing-like protrusions on its back. Assumed to be some kind of weaponized SCP. [Later confirmed to be Chaos Insurgency agent codenamed Songbird].
00:20:31 – After brief conversation with surviving soldiers, [Songbird] enters forest in pursuit of Toto.
00:23:54 – Foundation response team arrives.
“So, what’s the situation, Agent Watts?” Spoon asked as he approached the surveillance post.
“CI troops engaged the target and got the snot beaten out of them.” Agent Watts pointed down into the valley they were observing. “What’s left of them are on cleanup duty, as you can see.”
Sure enough, roughly a dozen figures in military fatigues could be seen picking their way through the field below, collecting dropped weaponry and equipment as well as disposing of their dead. Though alert, it seemed very clear that they were not aware they were being watched at all.
“Sir, we’re in position.” Spoon’s radio buzzed. “What are your orders?”
“Move in.” Spoon declared.
In a scene reminiscent of the infamous Ride of the Valkyries in Apocalypse Now, a quartet of Blackhawk helicopters roared over the sky, taking the CI troops by surprise. Several of them panicked and attempted to run, while others raised their weapons to fire. There was a loud crack, muffled by the roaring helicopter engines, but no less deadly. One of the CI soldiers fell over, half of his head blown off while the MTF soldiers in the Blackhawks readied their own weapons.
“Put down your weapons and surrender!” A loudspeaker from the lead Blackhawk blared. “Any resistance will be met with lethal force!”
The Chaos Insurgency soldiers glanced at each other nervously, but one by one, they began throwing their weapons down and raised their hands in the air when they realized their odds of winning were absolutely zero. Within minutes, an entire platoon of Foundation troops fast roped down onto the field and began the process of taking the Chaos Insurgency prisoners into custody. Meanwhile, another squad of Foundation troops filtered into the forest to track Toto and Songbird.
“That was a rather nice shot.” Spoon smiled as Fork packed up her sniper rifle. “Was that really necessary?”
“It looked like they needed some extra encouragement.” Fork shrugged.
“Well then, let’s go down and see what our colleagues from the CI have been up to.”
Even though FBI Intelligence was supposed to stay vigilant at all times, even they need to sleep and rest from time to time. In the late after hours, like the rest of the building, the Intelligence office was dark and mostly empty, manned only by the occasional janitor or agent on their graveyard shift. The division chief of Intelligence, James Albans, was sitting at his desk working. Normally, like the rest of his agents, he wouldn’t be staying at the office so late, but he had received several confidential files that he couldn’t trust anybody else to read.
“Jesus!” James spun around in his chair, surprised to see Richtoff standing behind him. “Damnit, Alex, what the hell have I told you about sneaking up on me like that?!”
“And you’re supposed to be the sneaky type.” Richtoff grinned. “So, what’s life like being on the top?”
“It’s not so bad. The pay’s better, I don’t have to do anymore undercover work, and I get to spend more time with the kids.” James sighed. “How’s life in the dregs of the FBI hierarchy?”
“Not bad, I get a lot of free time, and nobody disturbs me down in the basement.” Richtoff said jokingly. “Look James, I know it’s late, but I need a favor.”
“You’re not the type to ask for favors.” James narrowed his eyes. “What’s going on?”
“I need you to dig up anything you’ve got on Stark.” Richtoff said brusquely, eyes darting side to side as if they were being watched. “Off the record, please.”
“Oh? Hope Internal Affairs doesn’t find out. You know how bitchy they get when somebody does their job for them.”
“Just do it.”
“I’m on it.” James sighed. “Anything in particular?”
“The usual. Anonymous bank accounts, deviations from his schedule, unauthorized movements or communication.”
“Well, then, let’s see here.” James scanned through the data. “Nothing we didn’t already go though in his standard background check. Sure, Stark is a bastard, but there’s no indication that he’s a traitor or anything like that.”
“Or maybe it’s because he’s just good at hiding it.” Richtoff frowned. “Or maybe not. Pull up his cell phone records in the past eighteen hours.”
Richtoff mentally scanned every single number as he systematically ran through the list. He then managed to pick out the number that was time stamped shortly after Sam’s interrogation.
“Huh, that’s no FBI number I know.” James frowned. “Hold on.”
There were several minutes of terse waiting, with the silence in the office only being broken by the rapid clicking of James’ keyboard as he began running through ever FBI, law enforcement, and government database he had access to.
“Well, this is interesting.” James whistled. “I had no idea Stark would get mixed up with these kind of guys.”
“What’d you get?” Richtoff asked.
“That number’s been flagged by the NSA. Unfortunately, that’s all I can tell you, since the data’s locked, but from the looks of it, it’s probably involved in illegal activity.”
“Now, we can’t exactly prove anything from this.” James warned. “For all we know, Stark may just have a secret informant and didn’t bother to tell us. Seeing as how he’s a complete asshole and a glory hound, I can’t say I’d be surprised if that’s the case.”
“Any way to get anything more?”
“Well…” James stroked his chin. “I know a few tricks to get around some of the government firewalls. I probably won’t be able to pull out anything complete, but here we go…”
James tapped several more keys in rapid succession, ignoring the various official warnings that began popping up on the screen. Finally, he managed to print out a window on the screen, displaying a rather incomplete text file. Large portions of it were either censored or corrupted, making it almost completely unreadable. However, there were a few bits and pieces scattered inside that could have meaning drawn from them.
“Chaos Insurgency?” Richtoff frowned. “Who are they?”
“Huh, let me see.” James said, equally curious. “If you’ve never heard of them, then they have to be really really new or really really old.”
“Can you find out?”
“What do you think I’m doing?” James sighed as he continued to type. “Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. Money transfers, mostly from Swiss and Cayman bank accounts to… shell corporations.”
“For what?” Richtoff wondered. “Mafia? Drug trafficking? Terrorism?”
“No… Africa.” James frowned. “The only things they all seem to have in common are that they’re based in Africa, and a few are flagged as being fronts for local ‘freedom fighters’. None have any history of being heavily involved in US affairs, though.”
“What would Stark possibly gain from associating with these people?”
“I don’t know, but I wouldn’t let my guard down.” James warned. “Word doesn’t really get around here in the States, but those rebel groups in Africa are really beginning to reach out. They’re not just teenagers with AK-47s either. These guys are trained professionals, and are well equipped. There are even rumors going around that they’re slugging it out with Al-Qaeda and other Middle Eastern groups over who gets to call the shots in Africa.”
“Thanks for the warning.” Richtoff patted James on the back. “Get some sleep. It’ll be a shame to spend the whole night in a dump like this.”
“I’ve found something!”
“Let me have a look.” Spoon shoved his way through the bushes and made his way to where a fireteam had discovered something. He took one look at the discovery and whistled, ”Oooh, that’s pretty nasty.”
“Huh, so that’s what happened to him.” Fork raised an eyebrow, not deterred by the sight at all. “Bastard probably deserved it anyway.”
Threat Index: Class Two Combat Threat Neutralized (KIA)
Profile: Very little is known about Songbird’s identity or history. However, there are extensive reports about his suit of powered armor. While not an unheard of SCP type, Songbird’s power armor distinguishes itself with a pair of mechanical wings that appear to be able to impart limited flight to the wearer. However, Songbird’s abilities have only been remotely observed and their true extent is unknown.
“Well, I guess he wasn’t that much of a threat after all.” Spoon mused. “It’s quite a pity though. The researchers aren’t going to be happy that Toto didn’t leave much behind for them to study.”
“Since when did you care about what the researchers thought?” Fork asked.
“Good point.” Spoon bent down to examine Songbird’s remains. There, splattered on the floor, was a huge bloodstain roughly three meters in diameter, littered with pulped flesh and the remains of Songbird’s power armor, which looked like pieces of shredded tin cans now. “How many people do you think are in this?”
“Uhhh…” One of the forensic technicians raised his head from the carnage. “From the spread and the amount of blood, I’d say anywhere from one to six individuals, though that’s preliminary. We’re going to need to test every sample in a lab to find out for sure.”
“Hmmmm, I hope there are more people in this pile than one.” Spoon frowned.
“Why’s that?” Fork raised an eyebrow.
“Because if this is just one person, then that means Toto wasn’t very hungry. That means that the CI attack force didn’t hurt it nearly as bad as we thought they did.” Spoon shook his head. “Boy, that’s a terrifying thought.”
“Of course not!” Spoon grinned. “This is starting to get exciting! Make sure that equipment request I wrote up gets through to Administration. After that, we’ve got to pick some extra hands. This is going to be a big job.”
“Well here we are.” Leo said as he brought the car to a stop. Sam had regained consciousness during the drive back, but she didn’t say anything for the duration of the trip. Leo felt too awkward to ask her what happened, and decided to leave the issue for a later time. He then glanced at Sam’s house and tried to start a conversation. “That’s a nice house.”
“Thanks.” Sam smiled and blushed. “But… it’s actually my parents’ house.”
“Ah, that explains a lot.” Leo wondered how Sam could afford a house on a meager UIU paycheck. He himself could barely keep up with the rent on his small apartment.
“You’re not coming inside?” Sam asked when she exited the car.
“Uh… am I supposed to?” Leo reeled in surprise.
“Come on in. You’ve never met my dad, have you? He’s a crazy old coot, but it kinda grows on you.” Sam pulled Leo out of the car and start dragging him along.
“Sam, are you sure you’re okay?” Leo asked. “I mean, whatever happened with Stark…”
“Old news.” Sam said, with that look on her face that screamed never bring up that subject again.
“I guess I can stick around for a while…” Leo conceded.
However, unknown to both UIU agents, a silent, shimmering wraith followed close behind them, making sure not to alert her targets to her presence. Like a tiger stealthily stalking its prey, the living shadow kept pace with Sam and Leo.
Threat Index: Class Three Combat Threat
Profile: Target codenamed Chameleon is a humanoid SCP with the ability to render itself invisible. The way Chameleon achieves this is through an unknown pigment that replaces the regular melanin in its skin. This pigment unconsciously creates an odd pattern of shifting shapes and patterns designed to confuse the parts of the human brain that interpret vision. Similar to a human’s blind spot, the brain automatically fills in the empty space, creating the illusion that Chameleon and anything in her immediate vicinity is not actually there. A regular human subject will be incapable of consciously perceiving Chameleon through sight unless given specialized equipment.
Stark stood on one of the many bridges spanning the manmade Los Angeles River. Most of the year, it was just an ugly canyon of concrete and dust that cut straight through the middle of the city and leading straight to the sea. Today, it was no different. A weak trickle of water that meandered its way through piles of trash and refuse was all the mighty LA river could offer. Stark took his spent cigarrette and shamelessly discarded it over the side of the bridge, adding to the growing debris pile below. His head perked up when he saw an anonymous black SUV pull up onto the bridge, and two dark figures stepped out.
“Agent Stark,” the lead figure said, “Management is not happy with your results. Not happy at all.”
“What are you talking about?” Stark growled. “I’ve been doing what I’ve been told.”
“Doing yes, but that is a completely different meaning than succeeding.” The dark stranger shook his head. “Moreover, you’ve been sloppy. You let the FBI snoop around our targets and mess things up. You gave the Foundation the necessary warning signs that we’re involved. Also, Management has informed me that somebody has been snooping around your connections to our interests. This must be rectified.”
“This is bullshit!” Stark pulled his sidearm on his shadowy superior. “You tell your Management that I haven’t done anything wrong!”
“I’m sorry, but your services are no longer required.”
“Fuck you!” Stark screamed and was about to pull the trigger when the second figure, who was still standing behind the SUV, spoke.
Suddenly, the air was filled with the ugly sound of piercing cries, creaking hinges, and ticking gears. Stark was swarmed in a cloud of his unseen assailants and he screamed and fired wildly in the air in a feeble attempt to ward them off. As he panicked and backed up, he hit the railing and toppled over into the empty river below.
By the time the dirty FBI agent’s corpse hit the cracked concrete bank, every piece of flesh had been literally flayed from his bones. They lay on the bottom of the dry river, adding to the slowly growing debris pile under the bridge.
Combat Threat Index: Class One Combat Threat
Profile: Piper appears to be in control of an SCP that takes the form of a number of clockwork animals, similar to the results of SCP-217. However, there are few connections other than the clockwork construction. Piper’s SCP appears to be voice controlled, and based on certain verbal phrases, can take the form of several types of animals and can be given various commands.
“Excellent job, Coulson.” The Chaos Insurgency task leader complimented the operative. “Magnificent work as always.”
“The Flock always enjoys a nice feast.” Coulson cackled.
“I hope they’re still hungry.” Coulson’s superior grinned in the darkness. “We still have a lot of names on the list.”
Next: Chapter 4
Previous: Chapter 2