Word of Mouth
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Site-90 was an odd place. A mishmash of red brick and wrought iron, blanketed in plants and located — and Merle was quoting from the dossier here — in the 'green places of England'. Not on any map, but existing both metaphorically and literally wherever English wildlife flourished, tucked out of sight behind a loose fold in reality. Predictably enough, its isolated pocket of existence was bounded on either side by a boundless forest, and above by a vast canopy. Sunlight trickled through, and so did rain, but there were few birds and fewer people. Nowhere near enough for a sprawling complex of this scale.

And yet, as Merle made his way up the long dirt path towards the Site's sole entrance, he was greeted by a cheerful face waving hello from a security checkpoint.

"Hi!", called the face. "You're Kellis, right?"

"Yeah." He broke into an awkward half-jog, presenting his key-card. "Merle Kellis. I'm your new Researcher."

An eyebrow is raised. "Junior Researcher, right?"

"Oh, uh, yeah. I guess."

The face grins. "Just messing with ya. I'm a Junior too, at least until the next promotion cycle rolls around. Name's Travis Beufort."

"Nice to meet you. I've got to ask— isn't the main checkpoint closer to the Site? I thought you were short-staffed here, seems like a waste of personnel to send someone this far o-"

"Psh! They always say that. Truth be told, we're doing fine — most of our stuff's either Safe or non-moving, and there's nothing really dangerous. Plus," Travis gestures around "It's not like we've got to worry about civilians. Honest to god, most of the work here is gardening. Stuff grows like anything."

"Right, right." Merle pauses. "But still, why are you here?"

Travis grins, holds up a finger, and steps out of the booth, locking it behind him. Merle opens his mouth again, but is promptly shushed. With the look of someone imparting a grave secret, Travis places a hand on the new hire's shoulder.

"Tell me, Mr. Kellis… Did you ever hear tell of SCP Negative One?"


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