July 26, 2059
It was at three in the morning that the announcement came. A loud tone pierced the air, jolting many awake. The PA system crackled to life.
"Attention all staff. Please report to the hangar deck immediately. Repeat, all staff to the hangar deck immediately!"
Half an hour later, and almost thirteen hundred staff were packed into the same space in which they had witnessed the loss of the Earth. Now, they again awaited the Council's speech. At the center of the room was a podium.
O5-7 walked out in front, flanked by the other twelve. A notable visual disruption surrounded them due to their reality bending effects, which had seemingly escalated. The panel still commanded some degree of gravitas and there were few but loud cheers as they took seats behind O5-7, who stood at the podium.
"Good morning everybody, we know it's an early one today, but we figured it was best to let you know. We've got Earth back."
Covers over the hanger windows retracted, revealing a swirling blue Earth, replete with clouds and greenery.
Cheers filled the deck as the crowd threw their hands into the air in joy, many researchers grabbing the nearest staff in embrace.
"We know this is a huge moment for everyone…" O5-7 began as the cheers finally started to die down. "It's the completion of our mission, at last. But we'd like to give you all a couple of reminders.”
She quivered as she caught eyes with Ramya, standing near the front.
“First and foremost, keep in mind that for everyone down there, it's still July 7. You're going to all have to go back to the same place you were when it all went to hell. That's why we've got this setup here, so that I can get back on the phone with the GOC."
Isolated cheering and whooping still emanated from the crowd.
"Second, it's going to be immediately obvious to staff that something changed with all those GoIs gone. We will begin declassifying this in a week, but if anybody asks you, make sure to not comment on it.
Third, the thirteen of us are not going back at all. We will give a basic briefing to our new Council on how to carry out the necessary duties, but to those thirteen, make sure to discreetly tell the on-duty Foundation liaison at the landing pad that there was a 787700 activation. This is the only exception to rule two.
Fourth – except for the Council, you're all staying on this ship for your full assignment like you were supposed to originally."
Good-natured booing erupted.
"Yeah, yeah, we know. But it would sure raise suspicion if we had a mass exodus from a 'United Nations ship'.
"Finally, I just want to thank all of you for standing together with us throughout the whole crisis. And seriously, if you ever need advice feel free to come up here, you'll just have to bring up a Scranton anchor, no big deal.
I really want to emphasize that this isn't the end of anything or the beginning of anything. It's another day at the Foundation, and we kept today from meaning anything. All we did by removing the other GoIs was make today a little easier. Thank you all for being here! Everyone who was here for the call on the seventh, stick around! Everyone else, go back to your normal, pre-apocalypse duties. That'll be all!"
The new council finished their briefing, and the inauguration began.
"Do you, the duly selected successors as designated by O5 Command, swear to uphold the principles of the Foundation, pursue the goals of Security, Containment and Protection, and prioritize these objectives above all else, so say you all?" O5-1 asked, administering the final step in the succession.
"So say we all!"
It was over.
It had begun.
July 8, 2059
Isaac Kaufman woke up in his beyond-lavish new "quarters" in Site-01, an enormous mansion contained within the miles-wide underground site. He had even convinced the rest of the Council to permit Ellen to stay with him at Site-01. Thus, he did not feel any particular desire to get out of bed that morning.
Isaac finally raised himself at ten o'clock, and walked down to the fully stocked kitchen. The cleaning team hadn't done a perfect job, the old O5-4 still had a couple cans of beer in the fridge. Other than that it was a kitchen ready for a Michelin-starred restaurant.
"Fuck it!" Isaac said to himself aloud, chugging the first can on the spot. He threw together some eggs and sausage, plated it up and opened another beer. After weeks on a spaceship learning to govern a global conspiracy, exhausted and desperate for some enjoyment, Isaac wanted some potato chips. He held the bag with one hand, inflating the other side, and punched the bag, ripping it open.
Ellen walked down to find him, where she discovered him committing what she took to be one of the more egregious crimes in New Foundation history. Ellen was horrified. She knew Isaac could do such things as run an organization that throws humans to murderous lizards for the sake of containment, but this was too much.
"Isaac! Have you gone mad! You could've just used scissors!”
The two laughed their asses off for almost a minute straight, Isaac in particular.
It was noon by the time Isaac and Ellen got back out of bed, and Isaac got dressed once again before heading downstairs. This time he had donned a wrinkled red t-shirt just unpacked from his luggage reading, "Keep Calm and Apolly On."
Finally, he stepped outside into the Administration Wing at the bottom of Site-01, where he scanned his Level 5 keycard with great delight, and entered the conference room. He swung the door open.
He was alone.
Isaac could not imagine what would have drawn the council away. Surely, they were all not as irresponsible as he was. The old Seven had been very clear that this was the room they worked from all day and leaving it was only a choice during lunch hour and major situations. It was still fifteen minutes to lunch hour, a close call, he'd admit. But there was no obvious situation either. Isaac circled the table and sat down at his desk, hoping to find clues in the daily agenda that sat undisturbed at his seat.
"I guess you're gonna need the O6 Council, aren't ya?"
An unmistakable voice piped up from behind him. It was the old Seven. She walked out of the conference room wall.
"Ah, it's alright. 'Dr. Hallgren' will cut it, 'O6-7' just sounds funny. You know, being short a few Humes really isn't so bad."
"What the hell happened, Hallgren?" Isaac asked, his heart beating out of his ears.
"I tell you what happened. We assumed. And Isaac, you know what happens when you assume…"
"Cut the jokes, Hallgren! What the fuck is happening to us?"
"I suppose there's no point trying to soften the blow, so here goes. You're the only true patriot of the Foundation, Isaac. Everyone else left."
"You're the last member of the O5 council. Only the others know about this; to the Level 4s and below today's just another day. But you're the only one left. See, when we wiped the GoIs, there was a bit of a power vacuum."
"Oh no. Oh no."
"Remember that line in SCP-787700? Those that would replace will renew? Yeah, we just assumed that it meant renew the Foundation. Big mistake."
"So… they went and started new GoIs?"
"New would be an exaggeration, most recycled old ideals, just with new names. New leaders."
"Yeah, several gods, actually. Ion Albescu's off in some small town in Finland now, calling himself "Grand Karcist". Meanwhile Bob Barrow spiced up his name to "Bumaro" and he's sworn to be a lifetime enemy of Albescu. One faction for flesh, one faction for metal.
Williams let out half of Site-19, never even unpacked his luggage here, he flew straight to America and let all the Safe class SCPs out of the site. Hell, a third of the staff went with him out to some commune in east California. They call themselves the Serpent's Hand."
"The Serpent's Hand?"
"That's all better than what Nazara chose, though."
"And what's that?"
"She murdered an entire room full of researchers, stealing 914 and walking out with a whole MTF at her side."
"Jesus, I really hoped we had gotten rid of them. And what MTF, I'd ask, but I know it was Alpha-1."
"Yeah, it was Alpha-1. I know, Isaac, I wish I'd seen it coming too."
"We got dealt different cards from the same deck."
"Same song, different verse."
"What's Ramya up to now?"
"You mean D. C. Al Fine?"
"Sounds like when you cook pasta halfway."
"It’s her new name. Such a coward, running away through names. She defected to the Global Occult Coalition, took a good three hundred agents with her."
Hallgren finished explaining the various small groups the others had founded. Isaac sat back down in his chair, stunned.
He had an idea.
"Well, why don't you just randomize them out of existence again? Aren't you in control of everything now? Can't you stop all the breaches? Why do we even need a Foundation post-787700?"
"Ah, I was afraid you'd ask that. See, it's hard to tell you, it really is. This isn't the first time, Isaac."
"This isn't the first time 787700 has been used. See, I think you have a bit of a misconception, we all do. We need manageable groups of interest, not a lack of them."
"Why? Before, there was randomness. Now, you can make a universe guided by reason! By rules! By the Foundation!"
"There was never randomness. See, that would be fun, but this isn't a movie, Isaac. It's real life. And 787700… it doesn't let us overrule the Fates. It lets us overthrow the Fates."
"Because O6-1 knew what would happen this whole time. He came clean last night. He was the previous Isaac Kaufman."
"You mean to tell me that our gods are just whoever the last Council members were?"
"You'll understand when you're older."
Isaac let out a strained laugh.
"We can't tip the scales. Go secure, go contain, go protect. We'll be rooting for you, but not rigging it for you. Now, go make twelve new friends.