Hell

Reveille sounded at 0600, like it always did. Just another day in hell. Mateus Ivo stared into darkness with rage at being woken up. Of course like every morning the feeling quickly subsided for the most part while he got up and got ready for the day. Well if you could even really call it a day, time barely makes sense in this fucking place. He sighed and as the lights automatically got brighter and brighter. At least I’ve got my own quarters, perks of being an officer I guess. After double and triple checking everything was in order with his uniform he grabbed his schedule and made his way down the hall.
He unfolded the paper and looked over it for anything special. Orientation in 30 minutes, looks like it was his turn on the rotation. The officers complained to the lieutenant in charge of operations at this compound about being assigned to orientation duty one to many times so they roared. We’re scheduled to trade today around 0900, that means first stop is medbay …. but trade with who? with what? He thought with dread. He wish he could read the chicken scribble that was there but it was completely unintelligible. So many things come through here that it's hard to remember what creature we have to meet today. Then escorting the RAISA at 1500 for the annual checkup. Wasn't it… Records And Information Security Administration? He would have to cooperate and coordinate with their guards too, gods how he hated that, they're also so stiff, like they're barely human. He stifled a groan and looked up. There are no windows in this hallway, only doors, gods that bothers him to no end. After what seemed like hours Mateus reached the medbay…. he pushed them lethargically out of the way and grumbled a greeting at the receptionist, still a little mad a being woken up.
He spotted Dr. Sani waiting in the usual spot and sat down next to her. “Do you remember what we’re trading with today?” He asked hopefully. “Good morning to you too” She reached into the fridge next to her and pulled out a small bottle of red liquid. “Ughhh” Mateus said loudly while rolling his eyes. “Yes I do not envy you Mr. Ivo, I’ve heard from some of the other guards these are the worst ones to be near. Why do you man call them Markers anyway?” she said through her thick accent. “You’ve got no idea, the get inside your head and take a sledgehammer to everything. And it's because they look like a child went wild with Marker” he responded. She chuckled softly while injecting the tube into a small wallet sized device that had straps on the side so you could put on your arm or leg. The serum was a multitude of drugs to help combat the effects of being near the Markers.

“What's in this again Hersilia”

“Oh you know, this and that. Some LSD here, some advil and tylenol there, and maybe even a little bit of Alprazolam to keep you calm.”

He sighed heavily. In any other situation that mixture would sound like a fun time. He strapped it onto his arm and after making a little small talk he bid her farewell and left for orientation.
*
Mateus finally arrived after a painstaking long walk through the building. He arrived at the room and saw almost everyone was here. He grabbed his clipboard on the way in and took his place along the line up of officers of their respective branches. They've all done this plenty of times to know exactly what to do and what would be said. He looked to the right and saw the site director standing at the lectern which had no papers on it to speak of, he smirked inwardly. After a short time all the new personnel shuffled, some looking nervous, tired, or stone faced and took their seats while the director started speaking. Looks like some have gone through this before. I should make a note to look at their files.
The site director started “Hello, I am the site director and welcome to Site R2 which amazingly spans this entire planet. No this isn't the only building, there are many outlets of our humble site each with different functions all over the place but if you're not assigned there you obviously don't need to know about it, capiche? I don't want a report to cross my desk saying one of you were asking to many questions and poking your noses in the wrong places. We all know why there are such strict information guards in place” There were some head nodes but most sat still. “I'll try and keep this brief because we all have a lot to do today. I'm sure you're wondering what this facilities function is and ‘do I have high enough clearance to know without being wiped?’ This. “He gestured broadly “is one of the most important sites in the foundations employ, we provide the majority of the resources that the foundation uses all over the earth to build and contain not only humanities greatest threats but our realities greatest threats. We as well as obtaining anomalous objects through trade with various extradimensional and extraterrestrial beings.” He stopped and looked over the crowd “Don’t worry you can keep that tidbit of information. Most of you will only be here for your mandatory two years, some of you will choose to stay. Either is perfectly fine with me and high command. And yes after your two year stint here certain memories will be surgically wiped for obvious reasons.” He paused to let that settle in, the possibility of more missing time. “If you decided to stay I'm sure you find this site a good fit to be. I hope you all read your introduction packets for your specific job you'll have here. But if you didn't let me reiterate the most important thing in the packet. Do not, under any circumstances step outside without the proper protection. You won't die if you do so, but you'll be subjected to a fate worse than death. Let me help imprint that on your minds” He nodded to the man in the back. The lights went off and on the wall a film appeared, projected from the ceiling.
It showed a man strapped into the bed screaming and thrashing with everything he had. Various people in white coats scrambling to do something. The man's eyes were a flame with a white blaze. The kind of fire that only existed here, the one that can't be put out, the one that didn't burn away your flesh. After about 30 seconds the film cut off. The lights came back on and the director looked over the queasy crowd. He pulled out a small bell and chimed it and let the sound ripple through the crowd. Which forcibly calmed them down.
“That… Is enough said on that topic. I will now turn things over to the officers at my sides, they will call out your names and you will follow them to your own respective areas to complete this orientation. Good day and good luck.” The director’s hologram vanished. This place was too big with too much to manage for the actually director to be here.
Jebediah, the head of mining and refinement went first and called out his names and made for one of the transport hubs, hauling hard grizzled men that looked like nervous newborns. After his sector cleared out Mateus called his names and made towards the exit. Seven people followed him out. He turned around and saw only nervous face. Shit. Not a single experienced one, they're all green. God makes this so much harder. He lead them to their barracks and assigned them bunks. “Line up” they did so with experience, proud of something they could do easily. Seems like they aren't completely useless, he mused to himself. “I'm not going to complete your orientation, officer Szu will be in here momentarily. But before that let me just say that don't be to worried about going out side, there's very few exits and very few times we actually have to step out there. It's just an effective scare tactic. Also we are a family here so don't be afraid to radio someone more experience and ask questions. Other than that just look tough and make sure you follow protocol during the day and emergencies. It might seem bad here but It's really not, there's no keter wing with monsters waiting to send you to hell or something crazy like that. And if you choose to stay I'll tell you right now the benefits are great, you get plenty of…” He noticed Sun walk in “This is officer Szu, she'll take it from here. Welcome aboard men, you are now officially guards of the foundation.” He walked and turned left towards the armory. Distantly he heard Sun screaming. She always was hard on newbies. he chuckled.
The armory was the same as always, he really enjoyed that, safety in monotony he always said. Mateus went to his locker and got out his body armor, holsters, helmet, belt, etc… Fully armored up he grabbed his rifle. He wasn't fully sure what the damn thing was, it looked like something straight from Star Trek. They explained it to him when he got it but he missed the details and only heard the tail end, that it will kill mostly anything you'll encounter here. That was all he really needed to hear, he probably couldn't understand the details anyway. He left and made his way to trading bay 10. Passing a running group of unlucky newbie guards being yelled at, he chuckled again.
***
The Markers shifted into the trading bay and almost immediately the air bent around and away from them, like reality was rejecting their very presence. There’s only three of them this time? They usually come with 4. Weird but whatever. They looked like an array of dark colors with twisting black smoke contained in the aura they give off. Some kind of substance he'd never been able to identify dripped off their bodies, somehow it also looked like solid stone too. Their “heads” consisted of a ever changing pattern and distinct on each entity. After the first encounter they started looking more and more vaguely hominids, probably trying to imitate them. The group shifted to the table, by a process that looked like they were being sucked through a pinhole and reforming a foot away, and laid out the three objects high command requested more of. Some black liquid that was oozing out of the odd looking container and dripping onto the table, but just like what dripped off their bodies, it evaporated into a black mist. A single ruby like rock was shining furiously. Wasn’t it supposed to be some kind of ore? Lastly a small creature that looked like [DATA EXPUNGED] and had [DATA EXPUNGED] for skin. Strangely enough they brought out one last thing that just looked like a dark green rod which pulsated a red aura. Everyone stiffened at that, the implications and possibilities running through their minds. A slight pain from the injector activating hit him. The, everything slowed.
This is the worst part. His brain felt like it was in a vice, images flashed painfully in his mind for a few seconds before it suddenly stopped.
Just another day in hell.
Seegz said it felt like they were poking different parts of your brain with a red hot poker but that didn't really do it justice in Mateus’ mind. It felt more akin to putting a metal layer on your skull and then compressing it while they made your brain into mash potatoes. The it clicked, he understood, people, they wanted people. Six people. He glanced over the room as he saw other people come to the same conclusion. He looked to find the director of trade, Evan his name was, and his inner circle discussing in harsh whispers, the guard new guards were anxious and gripping their weapons, white knuckled. What’s that? One of the newer guards was on the floor, limp but probably alive. You had to score high enough on the mental resistance to be placed on duty here. God dammit son, you forgot to get your injector this morning didn't you? That's one guard down for at least a week.
Evan spoke into the device on the table “Agreed. Please wait”. Their forms stopped shifting, holding still like frozen. The theoretic division of thinks that they simply do not understand the concept of waiting and instead just go static. A few minutes passed and a few guards brought in six D-Class personnel with worried looks on their faces. Evan whispered to them and handed them each something small. It clicked Those poor souls. At least Evan was merciful and gave them a way out. Nobody would suffer for this trade, not for long anyway.
The Markers took D-Class and dissolved without a trace. Everyone visibly relaxed. Mateus went out and called the waiting research team that came over from the other site on this side in to recover the objects, his old friend Dr. Smith among them. They knew how to handle them by now. They stopped when looking over the rod. “What is this?” He said, eyeing it cautiously “I’m not sure but high command must have requested it if they traded it to us. Just use standard protocol when encountering a new object, it should be fine.” Should be? Who the hell put this guy in charge of anything? They shared a collective look, shook their heads and sealed the first three objects into lead boxes. They’d be labeled and shipped on the next transport through the portal to Site-2R for further research. Dr. Smith radioed in to transpo “We need an object transferred to containment instance 55” “Understood, hold…. containment instance 55 is clear, mark the object and step back” Smith dropped a small black orb onto the rod that stuck there strangely enough, the rod then seemingly sucked in on itself and disappeared. The radio crackled to life “Object successfully contained, instance holding at standard Hume levels.” A guard looked over mouth agape in awe and said ”Wow that's something else, how did we develop that?” Smith looked at him dismissively “What do you think we do with all the research we gain from studying anomalies, use them to make nachos?” He said while leaving. Mateus rushed after them to escort them back to the lab. They passed one of the few windows in the facilities and Mateus’ stomach dropped like it always does when he looks outside, giving him a good reminder why there were little windows here. The ground was stark white on this side of the portal while the sky was almost normal. It was a constant dark green with a sun that always stayed in the same place and the shadow of living things it cast came to life. All along the ground it looked like 3D shadows drifted through the ground like it was water. The things were agitated today he noted looking at a group near by dashing around. It's probably because of the Markers. It comforted him to know that they disturbed even these things. The view faded out of sight and they finally reached the transport hub.
He said goodbye to his old friend and the rest of the science boys and left as they were stepping into the chamber. Finally, he thought, now the day can get back to normal. Normal was good for someone with the experience Mateus had, monotony meant safety, not being shot at by the chaos insurgency, not being ripped to shreds by some ungodly creature, not watching his friends get cut open by that plague doctor trying to peddle his cure, just safety. He returned to his normal duties, checking in on the troops, the quartermaster, making request for arms and provisions for the noobies, and finally settling into his post at the guard station near the transport hub.
Three blessed hours past before an alarm sounded. He set down a requisition form and looked at the clock. Ughhh it's getting close to the RAISA inspection I guess I should.. The alarms sounded and the intercom buzzed “Code white. Breach level thaumiel, Protocol Pirathon is in effect”. The building started to hum, loudly. fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck Mateus grabbed his weapon and scrambled as fast as he could ran into the hallway. The transport technicians were sprinting from the Hub with terror painted on their faces. He grabbed the grabbed his radio “Security personal to the transport hub, arms ready, and somebody grab the Archi… the Archilo… fuck! Grab the big fucking gun” he said panicked. Who the fuck came up with that name. He'd never had to deal with thaumiel level threats before… or did he? They could have wipe it… Mateus shook his head, he realized now's not the time for that and pointed his rifle down the hall, toward the Hub. He wiped his forehead which was now plastered with cold sweat. He heard the footfalls of jackboots, sweat relief washed over him. His more experience comrades arrived first and got into formation. They started moving quickly but cautiously down the hall. He looked back at the back of the formation and saw Anderson carrying the weapon, some big cannon that was supposedly a unclassified safe scp that could destroy anything it hit. “All I saw was the techs bolting away from here” the nodded in response. The alarms the only thing breaking the silence between them while made their way to just outside the door to the transport hub. They all shared a look, who would go first? The all kept looking at each other when Mateus caught the faint hints of screams getting louder from the other side of the door. He said a prayer to a god he never believed in and threw open the door and took a step in. It wasn't the hues of red that stained the world that he looked out at that shocked him or even the unbearable head but rather it was the screams. Oh god the screams of what seemed like millions permeated every molecule of his being. He found himself hanging onto the door knobs for dear life above an impossible drop to an impossible world.

Just another day in hell…