Just another day at the office…the click-clack of the world's loudest mechanical keyboards, the bustle of the IT department's procrastination, and, of course, in the background, the omnipresent whir and hum of the shiny new servers. In light of recent events, it's a bit strange. Never fun to have someone looking over your shoulder taking notes all the time.
I stand over the printer, waiting in anticipation and layers and layers of latex are laid out; with each blink, it becomes more and more recognizable, until…
I peek around the corner at Diol and groan. She turns around and screams, propelling her chair backwards into her desk. My groan turns into a laugh. "I'm zombie Regan," I say, taking my warm new mask off. "Pretty good, huh?"
"Oh god, you scared me," Diol says, breathing heavily. My eyes turn to her chest. "Where'd you get that?"
"I found it on the intranet," I say. "Some artist made it up. I decided to test out our new printer. Whadda ya think?"
"I think I need some payback," Diol says, smiling. "You'd better watch out…"
"There's been a murder," Caldmann says, appearing behind me with nary a sound.
"Jesus!" I say, jumping into my seat. "Don't do that!"
"Do you want to come down? Take a look?" he asks.
I swivel around and look at him suspiciously. How…gregarious. Diol's head, eyes asparkle, appears over the top of the divider to watch.
"Why would we look at it?" I ask. "Not exactly our department, is it?"
"A friend of mine asked me to check it out on the down-low," Caldmann says. "Just as a little favor. They think there's something strange about this one."
"I don't believe it," I say.
"That they'd call me up?"
"That you have friends."
Caldmann chuckles. "Are you interested, though? I can get us into the crime scene…!"
"And do what?"
"Look around, do some investigating of our own."
"Shouldn't that be left to the investigators?"
"What, you're telling me you've never wanted to be Sherlock Holmes?"
"Every kid with a hint of intelligence wants to be Sherlock Holmes."
"And now's your chance! It'll be fun."
"'Fun' is not a word usually applied to crime scene investigations. Who'd the Watson be?"
"Someone's got to be the Watson in the investigation. Someone to be dumber than the detective. Someone to ooh and aah at the investigating prowess on display."
"We don't need a Watson. We can make do with two Sherlocks."
"I doubt it."
"I'm sure we'll manage. So are you coming?"
I sigh. "Sure," I say. What's the worst that can happen?
It's quite a beautiful painting. We're at the very fringes of the site now, about as far away from Archival's offices as the core. It's a small office; bog-standard low-level researcher. A door, a desk, four walls, and a ceiling. It's like living in a cube of white cheese. Well, usually; the wall opposite the door has quite a lovely spray pattern on it. From all the blood, that is.
Death is never pretty; doubly so when it's ugly.
The body's already been removed, and Security's done swarming all around the room; there's nothing to separate it from the identical rows of doors whence it came but the name plate on it: "Doctor Beanbaum." Lovely name. I'm sure he was a lovely person. Both Caldmann and I walked past the door at least twice; you'd never know what lay behind it.
"Well," Caldmann says, surveying the scene, looking a little green. "This certainly wasn't a subtle one."
"What did the deed?" I ask, squeezing myself in behind him. "Gun, I'm guessing?"
"I don't know," Caldmann says. "Planning on taking a trip to the coroner's after this. Well," he says, putting on some rubber gloves and handing a pair to me. "Now I suppose we look around."
"You suppose?" I say, heading for the computer.
"I'm not an expert at this either," he says, pulling out a key and unlocking the filing cabinets. "I'm guessing there was…something else here."
"You don't know?" I ask.
"I wanted it to be a nice surprise," he says, already arm-deep in papers.
"Nice surprise," I mutter to myself. The computer's still on, and thankfully logged in. I could've used my archivist access, I suppose, but…actual effectiveness of it varies among the departments. It takes me two clicks to find the porn; three clicks to find the rest of the files. Priorities, people. A cursory glance through the porn confirms there's no hidden shenanigans going on there, and I take a closer look at the articles. There's not much here; Beanbaum was working on SCP-6987 at the time (what appears to be…a shower curtain? A nemotoad [sic] infection on the curtain? It's hard to tell; the poor doctor was still navigating the murky waters of the English language. I remember why the Archival department was created in the first place) and all of the documents here pertain to that. Nothing more, nothing less. Interview transcripts, security footage, experiment logs…mountains and mountains of the electronic stuff, and all for a safe SCP; just think of the Everests the keters spawn!
"What do you have?" Caldmann asks.
"Just a shower curtain," I say. "Nothing memetic."
"Mm," Caldmann says. "Same here; he was real big on paper copies, it seems."
"What are we even looking for?" I ask. "Motive? Opportunity?"
"Anything," Caldmann says, "that connects this to his professional life." He slams the cabinet shut. "Which it looks like there is not. Alright, let's go down to the morgue."
"You got us a look at the body?" I ask.
"And a copy of the report," he says. "Let's go; I'll explain on the way over."
And off we go.