Echoes Of Routine
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A shrill lion's roar echoes throughout the hallway, or rather a forced yawn. He was falling asleep, nodding off without really understanding what was going on around him or even where he was, while his hands kept typing automatically. But he finally manages to clear his head and turns off his computer after a long 8-hour day. And that's more than enough, as he has been in front of that computer for 10 months now, transcribing document after document without being allowed to do even a single research. At last he was on his short Christmas vacation, and he had planned to visit some friends in Castilla, they had a piece of land near a town called… Campisábalos? Maybe, in any case that meant that he could forget everything until next year.

He opens the door to his office and the morning star smiles at him through the window. The lights in the hallway flickered on as he passed. There was no one else in sight. It wasn't unusual either, at this time of night the night shift would have been pretty much engrossed in their own newsrooms by now.

As he walked along, some of the older fluorescent lights flickered intermittently, but still allowed him to see the numbers on the doors of the various offices and labs on the floor. His was 133, and it was even accompanied by a plaque with his name and everything "Doctor Santiago Vicario". As he turns corners, he sips from time to time from his thermos flask. Anyone else would bring coffee or even tea to stay awake, but his tastes went beyond the ordinary. He preferred to bring a liter of whole cow's milk obtained entirely from local farmers. He had always been quite meticulous about that.

Through the corridors of the facilities there is a peculiar aroma, indescribable, but familiar to Santiago. It was like a guide wanting to show him the way out. After a long walk it was time to take the elevator, which being on the fifth floor should not take long. The floor was huge, but at that moment he remembered the warehouse with the concrete door on the other side of the corridor, or at least it looked like a warehouse: a concrete door without any sign, although he never saw anyone going in there either.

The doors open and an automated voice queries the floor you wish to go to: first floor. The doors then close, the lights flicker and return to white. Two clangs can be heard, as well as the friction of metal against concrete. A thud turns everything snow-white, covered with a thin layer of lactose under the sparks.

It was cold and he was alone.

He shrugs and jumps up from his chair. He had fallen asleep again. There was already enough text typed on the computer, and he wondered at his uncanny ability to type while on an astral journey. It was getting late, and he already had plans for this vacation, so he turns off the computer and leaves. New moon, and only a single star in the west illuminates his door. There's a strange smell in the air, clearly familiar, but he didn't know exactly what it could be. incense? No, but it did remind him a little of the smell of something burning, or perhaps sparks from a short circuit.

It was a fifth floor, and as tired as he was it was better to take the elevator. While waiting for it, he took out his thermos and while drinking his precious milk, he thought he had a deja vu. It would be better not to take the elevator on this occasion, surely a good run up the stairs would take his mind off it. The emergency stairs were not far away, less than thirteen steps even, right next to the floor bulletin board.

"Psychometric test: can you define yourself in one word? Communicate your results to Dr. Yerko Venceslao for a psychological evaluation of the sector."

Just one word… Hardworking? Competent? Dairy lover? No, that would be pretty predictable, the expedient would be to look for something that might actually reflect what it is…. Precognitive? Yes, maybe. To know what is going to happen if one observes carefully is simple to say the least, and destiny is a unique and irreversible path. If something must happen, it will happen, regardless of whether different decisions were intended to avoid it. The spinners of fate are wise and implacable, but he believed he could read their threads.

He pushes the lever of the stairs while still immersed in search of the ideal word, when he hears a clatter behind his back. The concrete door of the presumed warehouse is now open, and that distinctive smell is noticeably accentuated. Curiosity overtakes him, but the battered fluorescent tubes along the corridor begin to fade, and so he ends up ceding the entire corridor to the venus light. The white emergency lights on the stairs come on, and he understands that this is an invitation to enter his vacation as soon as possible. He descends at a normal pace and on the fourth floor he lightens his pace. Already on the third floor he is clearly running and on the second floor he skips the steps two by two. On the first one, a slip, the unexpected wear on one of the peaks, a friction with which his shoes could not cope. And so his forehead reaches the first floor first, with an important impulse kisses the ground.

It was very cold, and the dawn didn't seem to want to show itself.

With a slight migraine, he holds his hand between his eyebrows as he tries to wake up. It felt like a hangover after New Year's Eve. Already a bit annoyed, he tries to situate himself, and remembers having stayed up late with one of those infernal transcripts. But at last this year of torture and exploitation will come to an end.

As he walks out the door of his office, number 133 of course, he looks out the window opposite and when he sees the only light in the sky he feels a pang in his chest. He looks to his left, towards the elevator where the fifth floor corridor ends, and his nose still smells something he can't quite identify, maybe even burnt pneumatic. But his legs are no longer going to move in that direction.

On the other side there weren't too many interesting things, beyond the warehouse, although it wouldn't make much sense to go there, the only thing he wanted was to get home and lie down. Standing in front of the window, he remembered that there was no one in the hallway, so his colleagues would already be working in their respective offices. He wanted to approach some of them more out of a desire for human contact, but realized that they were closed. All of them.

That's when he really asks himself, "where am I?". It's a rather absurd question, but he found himself unable to answer it. On a fifth floor, that's for sure. That seemed pretty obvious at this point. A fifth floor of a sector of… "what job?". He thinks he remembers eons in front of a computer transcribing texts. Texts of which he is unable to recall a single word. "My name is Santiago Vicario, I transcribe texts and I carry a thermos with hot milk to keep me awake".

He remembers his favorite drink, and decides to take a few sips to relax. When he puts the thermos away, he notices that the window in front of his office, the only one that seems to be visible in the whole corridor, is open, and a certain icy current is coming through it. It is clear. It is as if the goddess of love is reaching out to him from the heavens. After all, it is a fifth floor, so what could be wrong? Seraphim's wings open to fly beyond the sunrise, but just as Icarus burned his wings for flying close to the sun, he too was imprudent in rushing from the windowsill.

The snow freezes the hope.

He continues to lean back in his chair until he inadvertently falls backwards. He suddenly wakes up with a start and realizes the situation: he fell asleep while transcribing his last assignment before his vacation and his trip to Campisábalos. He remains somewhat perplexed, he has the feeling that he is forgetting something. There is something he is missing. For some reason he thought something strange was going on that night, but whatever it was, it wasn't going to last long, since he had just finished his day.

After shutting down his computer he bolts out the door of his office. In any case, he remembered that he was in no hurry, so thirsty after the nap he drank some of the milk he always kept by his side. The thermos already seemed quite empty, he did not remember having drunk so much. He can see that it is night through the window and that dawn is approaching, and instinctively he looks warily at the only star that shines.

Before he knows it, he hears a faint creaking sound to his right. Although some lights were flickering due to lack of maintenance, he manages to see how someone seems to have left the warehouse slightly ajar. A very strange smell comes from inside the warehouse, a smell that awakened something inside him. It smelled like ashes moved by the wind. So he approaches the concrete door to close it before leaving, but he gets the itch to open the door and see what they kept inside.

There were no fluorescent lights in there, but it was not necessary because the whole room was illuminated by a pyre where the corpses were burning, many corpses, of a face that was familiar to him: they were Santiago Vicario. All the bodies, some more decomposed than others, seemed to have multiple contusions and lacerations. It is then that he realizes: "No, I am Santiago Vicario". A loud bang is heard, the lights in the hallway stop flickering and the door simply closes.

In this milk-white winter, Claus will never come.

In an oversight, he stopped writing and his hand threw the little milk that was left in the thermos over the small lamp he was using to write, it stopped working and the sparks woke him up. It was late and he had to stop working, but after so much dozing, he was thirsty. There was no milk left, not a drop. There was none. "Wait, where am I? This is not office 133, it's just a room with a computer and a broken lamp. There is no star on that new moon night, no elevator occupying the shaft where it should be, no stairs behind that door near the board, no concrete door in the storage room. Nor is it on any fifth floor, and there are no more doors, no windows, no nothing. Just a computer. He is alone.

He has no milk left to keep him awake while he works. Now, what the hell was he transcribing?

Item#: SCP-ES-133-EX

Object Class: Explained

Special Containment Procedures: N / A

Description: SCP-ES-133-EX is a young man who calls himself Santiago Vicario. The subject has been able to configure a space of 250 m2 outside the baseline reality consisting only of a corridor, a room and a computer. This space is totally devoid of walls, ceiling or any form of furniture, except for a desk, a chair and a non-functional lamp. Similarly, the space lacks lighting and even atmosphere. The temperature in this space has been determined to be below 0 Cº.

The history of SCP-ES-133-EX is unknown, although it is believed to be an artificial intelligence given its behavior. In normal situations, SCP-ES-133-EX appears spontaneously in this space sleeping or dozing while unconsciously appearing to play a text on its computer. Upon awakening, it moves into the corridor and proceeds to rush from the corridor into the apparent void that envelops SCP-ES-133-EX's reality. Immediately thereafter, SCP-ES-133-EX reappears and the same cycle is repeated. It is unknown whether it is the same instance that reappears or is formed by some kind of cloning or duplication.

SCP-ES-133-EX possesses no knowledge or information beyond his own name, his taste for milk and that his trade is transcription and translation of documents on a fifth floor. SCP-ES-133-EX seems to perceive the space around him as a regular office space, and does not seem to remember the previous events of each cycle. SCP-ES-133-EX always carries with him a Dewar jar containing a whitish cow's milk-like substance, which it has been theorized may perhaps contain some agent that temporarily overrides SCP-ES-133-EX's consciousness.

SCP-ES-133-EX is only able to leave the surrounding space when it realizes that it does not really correspond to the baseline reality, which will occur when it starts to read the document written on the computer.

-Well, I think we're done now. You took a little longer than usual, but the result was equally satisfactory. Congratulations! Would you like some water? Maybe a glass of milk?

-What? Where am I? Who am I? -What happened?

-Oh boy, temporary amnesia again. They should fix that. Well, I'm Dr. Yerko Venceslao and you're at Site-34, although technically you've been here for a while. What you just witnessed is a screening test for vacancies at this facility, and you passed with flying colors.

-Ah… So none of that was real? Who am I?

-Well, I couldn't tell you if it was real or not. I'll leave that to your imagination. Your name is Santiago. Doctor Santiago Vicario, and from now on you will work for us in the transcription and translation of documents and records, and I will be your new superior. Your office will be number 133. When you clear your head and understand everything around you again, you can start transcribing SCP-ES-133-EX to our database, it's a nice article.

-A glass of milk would be nice.

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