A Price to be Paid
"It's one of the enduring myths of the Foundation," said the redheaded woman in the snappy suit, stabbing idly at her salad with her cafeteria-issued plastic fork. "'D for disposable.' "
Fifteen minutes later I handed her back a clipboard and a pen, rather in a daze.
"You're doing a great thing, John," she murmured. "This can actually be very good for your career. Volunteering for the program shows the higher-ups you're ethical, brave, and devoted to the Foundation's cause. Having it on your record can do wonders for your advancement, though we obviously don't advertise that. Anyway- you have ten days to transfer the projects you're working on to your colleagues, and to prepare. You won't need to pack- we provide everything."
"Can I tell people what I'm doing?"
"If you like," she shrugged. "Most won't believe you, and those that do will think it's a demotion and a death sentence. Up to you." She slid the clipboard back in her back and stood, smiling. "Well, I'll see you in ten days, John," and shook my hand.
I shook my head; it was buzzing at the tide of revelations I'd just received, over salads in the Site-104 cafeteria. You join the Foundation, and your world stands on its head. Monsters are real; magic is being done in a lab just down the hall; and men and women in white labcoats and safety glasses, bearing clipboards and stern expressions, are the last line of defense between the world and the Eschaton.
Now, my world was on its head again; a wind-mill I had been tilting at for months, since I had learned of its appalling, sleep-destroying existence, was gone. Or was it? Were the facts so well-known among my colleagues- the damned among us clad in orange jumpsuits, given numbers rather than names- was it all lies? Or was I about to join them on the steep slope to hell? I sat under humming fluorescent lighting, staring at a bowl of kale, head swimming. Was I going to wind up dead in the most ignominious way imaginable?
Or was I really, as my lunch date said, doing a great thing?
Later that day, I spoke with my supervisor. The boss was a Level Three, with a Doctorate and all, a man I really respected. Whose input I desperately needed. He gave me nothing; just agreed to reassign my scheduled tasks. He gave me a long, level stare when I told him what I would be doing in that time: not reassuring, nor intimidating.
Over the next ten days, I updated my will, talked to my coworkers about what I had volunteered for, tried to finish up any projects I could. I had no wife or kids to worry about, thank God.
Stella Nelson, Level One Zoology Researcher and one of my best friends, cried when I told her- and damned near every time I saw her over the next nine days. She was sure it was a demotion, that I was being punished: that I was going to die. Dr. Arnold Scotti, Level Two and Site Psychiatrist, nodded thoughtfully at my story, and immediately placed a bunch of calls to see if he could confirm what the woman had told me. After several days, he reported glumly that he couldn't tell conclusively whether it was true or false. Richie Wilkins, my sometime drinking buddy and Level One Anomalous Literary Analysis Researcher, blew the hell up, calling out superiors Nazis, insisting I had to fight back, to run, that he would…
That he would what? He usually trailed off at this point, looking uncomfortable. Which itself became a pattern. When someone learned I would shortly become a D-Class, they grew uncomfortable, avoided eye contact, and quickly changed the subject. In the eyes of damned near everyone, I was a condemned man.
The ten days were up on a Sunday. I lived off-site, in a little nearby village populated entirely by Foundation employees and their families. A knock came at around noon; I was expecting a couple men in black suits and dark glasses when I opened the door of my apartment, come to drag me off: the terrified convictions of my coworkers had sunk in.
But, instead, there stood only my lunch buddy, Magdeleine 'Don't call me Maggie' Watts; a middle-aged woman with brilliant, curly red hair, a level, ice-blue gaze, and very nice pinstripe business attire. Level Three, Ethics Committee Liaison. "Ready to go, John?" she asked.
"…I suppose so." I stepped out and locked the door behind me. We walked down the hall and out into the brilliant sun of mid-day. "So, I can't find anyone that can confirm or deny what you told me," I said.
"Not all that surprising," she replied, as she led us to an SUV. "There's a culture of silence around the D-Class program."
"Why?" I asked. "Why not just tell people the truth?"
Magdeleine laughed outright. "We tried, back in the mid-eighties. We sent some memos out, had testimonials, the whole bit. It didn't work. People thought it was all fabrication. The denials gave the rumors validity, you see? So, now we let people whisper and believe we're all Nazis. It's a fine tool for weeding out actual fascists and sadists in the ranks. Also, when someone speaks out- like you, John- we recruit 'em."
She opened the passenger door for me. "It ought to be obvious that we're not Nazis, John. The Foundation has an Ethics Committee, for God's sake! But, if you're really worried, it isn't too late to back out. You can turn around and go right back to your apartment, right now, if you like."
"I'm…fine, thanks." I slid in the car, and she walked around to the driver's seat. If she was lying, she was smoother than a greased snake; and even if she was, I needed to know. I needed to see what was behind the curtain.
We drove in silence to the airport on the edge of the tiny, nameless town.
"You aren't coming?" I asked her, as I boarded the small plane.
"I'm the Committee Liaison for Site-207, John," she said. "You're going to Site-301. You'll be met by their Site Liaison when you touch down."
I nodded, said goodbye rather awkwardly, and ducked into the plane. I suppose it was narcissistic to assume I would be the only volunteer from my site; two others were already aboard the plane. One, a very thin black woman in her thirties, was sitting at a window seat, staring silently out. Beside her, talking at her (rather than with her), was a short, twitchy, rather monkey-like man of indeterminable age- he could have been twenty, and he could just as easily have been forty. He had dark hair and glimmering brown eyes, and a face that was a febrile mass of laugh lines, crooked teeth in a crooked smile, and heavy, expressively cocked eyebrows. A high, constant stream of words, strained through a Brooklyn accent, flowed from him.
I sat nearby, listening. He seemed about halfway through a colorful story about three venomously jealous women he had been juggling back home.
Takeoff was uneventful. About an hour in, I interrupted my fellow passenger's unending diatribe (which, by now, had become a very entertaining tale of a containment breach that could only be stopped with the power of funky dance), to ask, "Hey- what did you two do before this?"
The fellow's story ground to a blinking, grinning halt, and I was afraid I was about to hear the grim story of a pair of unstable death row inmates, or Foundation demotees, when he piped up, "Retrieval specialist!"
"Retrieval?" I asked.
"Fuckin' A, brother! Foundation's own gawddamn bloodhounds! Retrieval Team Four-Oh-Nine! Best o' the best!" His smile was bright enough to put burning white phosphorus to shame.
"…Alright. How about you, miss?"
The thin woman turned to me, and gave me a long, cool, measured look. I hadn't seen her so much as glance at me previously (I would have remembered); she had a stare that could shut a man down from a hundred yard, get his complete measure, and inform him with contemptuous clarity that she was not impressed.
"…Theoretical Physics Division, Level Two."
Well, that explained why I'd never seen either of them. Retrieval teams spent all their time either on assignment or in their own dorms, and the Theoretical Physics Division were the Site-207 phantoms; memos and research drifted from their carefully secured wing, occasionally, but they didn't mingle with us soft-science plebians.
"I'm Level One, Memetics," I said. "My name's John."
"Pleased ta meetcha, brother! I'm Nicky, that's Nicholas Scotti on paper," burbled the monkey-faced man irrepressibly.
"Annette," murmured the woman, her attention drifting back out the window. "Annette Milgram. Pleased to meet you."
"So you're both volunteers?" I asked.
"Yep," said Nicky. "Second tour, I'm told. Nonconsecutive, of course. Shooting people up with amnestics on a regular basis can mess you up pretty bad, apparently."
"Yeah," I said. I'm Memetics: I know all about amnestics. "There's a lot of cognitive and physiological side-effects to long-term amnestics use. Seizures, brain damage, loss of long-term memories, anterograde amnesias, aphasia…"
"Yeesh. Sounds like fun." Nicky mugged a cartoonishly overdone grimace, and chuckled. "So, how about you? First time?"
"Yes," I said. "I've never been a D-Class, before. I didn't know volunteering was an option until ten days ago. I wasn't even aware you could do it more than once."
"Oh, sure. Lots of people do it more than once; that myth that D-Class get executed every month started because our shifts are thirty days, and wound up falling apart 'cause some of us volunteer more than once. Now they say us poor doomed souls get amnesticized and shuffled around…which, I guess is kinda true. So….how'dja get into it, anyway? Try to expose 'em, or something?"
"Wrote an essay, actually. Posted it on the Foundation intranet. I said that anyone with authority that supported the D-Class program was guilty of war crimes." I paused, as Nicky laughed at that. "…I'm still not sure that I'm not being punished."
"You aren't," chipped in Annette quietly. "This is the fourth time I've volunteered over the last eleven years. When I first volunteered, I was Level One. I made Level Two in half the time most would have, and I've been fast-tracked for Deputy Director of the Theoretical Physics Division." She paused. "I was going to expose them. I was going to reveal the existence of the Foundation and the D-Class program to a journalist. They caught me. I thought they were going to execute me, or at least amnesticize me. Instead…"
"I wonder why they do that?" said Nicky ruminatively. "Recruit people who, uh, you know, buck against the D-Class program? Grant us amnesty, too. I mean, conspiring to reveal the Foundation- that's a straight-up capital crime."
"Conscience," said Annette. "Who else would volunteer to do this once, let alone many times? You have to feel a moral responsibility. After all, causes are made up of individuals. Most can just look away- the bystander effect. 'Someone else will take care of it,' is the attitude. They target the people who can't look away."
We digested that in silence, and she went back to staring out the window.
A few hours later, we landed. The differences between Site-207 and Site-301 were immediately apparent. 207 is a relatively small facility, all out in the open: it looked like a factory of moderate size supporting a small nearby town.
301 is in the middle of nowhere, in patchy scrublands, and distributed. Infrastructure, be it buildings, satellite dishes, or heavy pipes, were everywhere; but it was obviously supporting an underground structure which formed the larger part of the facility. The landing strip was outside the gates of the barbed-wire perimeter fence; we were met when we disembarked by a scholarly-looking gentleman with a cue-ball-bald pate, milky blue eyes peering myopically from behind spectacles, a sharply-trimmed white van-dyke, and a rather archaic three-piece suit.
"Hello, hello," he said to us. "My name is Myron Frazier, Ethics Committee Liaison to Site-301. Greetings! I understand you must all be quite tired, and likely a little frazzled. I understand one of you is new to the program, a Mr…" Frazier squinted at a clipboard in his hand, clearing his throat. "…Ah, a Mr. Leary? John Leary?"
"That's me," I said.
"Yes, indeed, pleased to meet you. I understand that you must have some misgivings, and a lot of questions; but I'm afraid intake day is always a bit busy for me. I'll show you all to the D-Class dorm, and you can change into your uniforms and have your dinner. I have a few more volunteers to meet, and then I'll be about to give you your orientation. If you would kindly follow me? Thank you." He gave an 'after you' gesture, and began walking quickly toward the gates.
We were led through a heavy steel hatch and down a long flight of stairs, to an elevator that took us God only knows how much farther down. It opened directly into the dormitory; rather than a bunch of cramped bunks, as I had been imagining, it was a hall with a series of spartan, but not uncomfortable-looking rooms (though each with a bunk bed; it looked as though we'd be doubling up). I'd slept in worst places, in my college years.
Most of the rooms were already taken; there were fifteen, and only two left vacant, and one that already had one resident: a rather pudgy, serious-faced young woman with spectacles. It was decided that Annette would bunk with her; Nicky and I picked another. Our orange jumpsuits were on our bunks, in little folded bundles.
I picked mine up. "Why do we have to wear these?" I asked Nicky.
"Lotsa reasons. Most of em pretty unlikely individually- civvie clothes could be used by a skip to track you, might get some permanent stain or something on 'em that could cause a security breach, you get it. Just a bad idea. These are easy to clean, very visible in emergency situations, completely disposable, and-" he pointed to his bundle, which bore the number D-3961, "-They got your number on 'em." He grabbed his bundle and trundled off to the adjoined bathroom to change. Once he was done, I did the same.
They might have been ugly, but they were actually pretty comfortable. The things could breathe. We went out, met a few of our fellow D-Class, chatted a bit, and after a few minutes, we were all called to the little cafeteria adjoined to the dormitory for dinner.
We sat on plastic chairs at long tables, and ate our food. It wasn't bad; not great, but solid, nutritious fare. Salad, chicken, potatoes, bread.
A few more new D-Class came in and filled their plates during the meal; soon we had a full house, fully thirty jumpsuited men and women. As we sat around, talking after the meal, Myron Frazier strode into the room. Standing by the doorway, he cleared his throat.
"Ahem. Ladies and gentlemen? If I could have your attention, please. Thank you. I believe we have all already been introduced, yes? Well, in case anyone failed to catch it the first time around, my name is Myron Frazier, and I am the Ethics Committee Liaison, here at Site-301, and I am in charge of the D-Class program here. Now, while some of you may be old hands at this- I see from your files that sixty percent of you have volunteered before- none of you have any memory of it, and further, there are some new faces. So, we'll dive right into the orientation, shall we?"
"The Foundation, as I'm sure you are all aware, was founded in the mid-Nineteenth Century to contain and research phenomena beyond the pale of ordinary science. It became quickly obvious that many such phenomena were quite dangerous; I'm sure you have all dealt with objects with transmissible effects, or particular lethality, or similar unpleasantness.
"I am very sorry to say that the Foundation's initial response to this problem was to utilize slaves of African descent. It was a dark time for our organization. We did terrible things.
"Following the abolition of slavery in America in 1865 (the Foundation was, at that time, primarily an American organization), there was something of an ethical renaissance in our organization. It was decided that no separate group, especially no coerced group, was needed for this task. Instead, brave men and women of the Foundation would be asked to volunteer to interact with the anomalous, when needed.
"These days, virtually all interaction with anomalous phenomena is performed by machines: remote-control drones, and the like. Between this fact and the safety measures that have been evolving for well over a century, we have managed to reduce D-Class casualties significantly: only two percent of all D-Class are severely injured or killed on duty. That's still much, much higher than we would like, but it's much better than the old days."
Nicky, who had been sitting next to me, elbowed me in the ribs. "Hear that?" he muttered out of the side of his mouth. "Only sixty percent of one of us is gonna get got. Someone's gonna get everything below the tits amputated!"
I made an impatient little 'shut the hell up' gesture and turned my attention back to Frazier. He was still talking: "I'd like to, for the sake of those new to the program, address a few of the rumors that surround the D-Class, if I may.
"Of course, you are all well-aware we don't press-gang convicts and refugees into the program, and it is never used as a punishment. Of course not: you will be dealing with anomalies! Leaving aside the ethical lunacy of that proposition, we would never let untrained, unstable, and grudge-bearing individuals handle what we are entrusting to you. Further, the logistics of obtaining such individuals, and subsequently executing or amnesticizing them is quite staggering. It would likely constitute an ongoing information breach in and of itself. How in God's name would we hide a gas chamber in a facility? Do you know what amnestics do to the human body over prolonged consecutive uses? Madness."
I raised my hand. Frazier blinked owlishly at me. "Yes? We have a question? Mr. Leary?"
"Yes," I said. "Uh…I was just wondering…I mean, you know how those rumors get started, don't you? D-Class aren't allowed to speak to researchers outside of testing, and vice-versa, and even then, only regarding the testing, and are only referred to by number…if you don't mind me asking, why is that necessary?"
"Good question, Mr. Leary, thank you," responded Frazier with a punctilious nod. "You are a memetics researcher, are you not?" I nodded. "Well, then, the answer should be fairly obvious to you: certain anomalies have transmissible effects, or else can use a person's name to affect them. Sympathy and contagion. The policies you have mentioned are in place for the safety of both the researchers and the D-Class."
Ah. Well, that made sense. I nodded an abashed acknowledgement, and Frazier smiled thinly. "Also, of course, we don't deploy D-Class volunteers at the Sites they usually work at, for obvious reasons- it would be a terrible conflict of interest for their coworkers, wouldn't it- and we amnesticize you afterward, both for informational security- outside of D-Class exemptions, you don't have the clearance to know about the objects you will be working with- and in order to purge you of any lingering memetic infections our end-of-the-month inspections may have missed. No stories from survivors, no D-Class recognizable as comrade personnel… it is quite understandable that rumors start, as well as inevitable."
"Anyway, my last speaking point: most interaction with anomalies, as I've already mentioned, is handled by remote controlled machines…"
"Gawdamn robots are takin' our jobs," chuckled Nicky.
"…There are only, broadly speaking, two ways D-Class personnel are utilized, these days. Firstly, the testing of new items whose properties are largely unknown. We perform most tests via drone, but eventually we need to discover how an anomaly reacts to human interaction. Most of your time here will be spent interacting, under controlled circumstances, with RAOs- recovered anomalous objects. The second is interacting with SCP objects whose containment procedures contraindicate the use of drones. Perhaps machines are disrupted or destroyed around the anomaly; perhaps a human touch is needed to activate its properties. As D-Class, you are entitled to only deal with Safe- and Euclid-class anomalies.
"If there is an emergency, if a human is needed to interact with a Keter-class object, typically that duty will fall to containment specialists or mobile task-force personnel assigned to it; however, if you are needed, you may be asked to volunteer to take on temporary 'G-class' status and interact with it. This is strictly voluntary, and I should warn you, casualty rates for G-class personnel near 50% in their term of service.
"That said, such an emergency is unlikely to occur here. Site-301 is a processing facility for RAOs, and serves as long-term storage for inert Safe-class items. Virtually all of your time will be spent interacting with harmless anomalies.
"Anyway, your shifts start tomorrow. I'll be down in the morning with your first assignments. Good evening- and sleep well tonight, you all have a busy day ahead of you."
He left, and we, as a group, went back to talking, drinking coffee and picking our teeth. Mostly, we spoke about innocuous subjects: our families and friends, dumb stories and dumber jokes, that sort of thing. It was surprisingly soothing, that banality: the frightened-ape anxiety that had been clawing around the back of my brain for the past eight hours or so mostly quieted down. Eventually, one by one, we all went to our rooms to crash.
Unsurprisingly, I had difficulty sleeping. After about three hours of tossing and turning, I sat up. "Yo," I heard from the top bunk, which had been claimed by Nicky. "You up, brother?"
"Yeah," I said. "Can't seem to sleep."
"I smuggled in some darts," he said, "Not that they search us. You smoke?"
"When I'm stressed," I admitted. "I think now qualifies." Nicky hopped nimbly from the top bunk, and offered me a cigarette pack in the gloom. "Thanks," I said, and took a smoke.
"No worries, pay it forward." He took the pack back, handing me a lighter and fishing himself out a cigarette.
"Do we just smoke in here?" I asked. "Someone will smell it."
"Naw. Just like all Foundation facilities, they got a top-notch air filtration system in here. You're good: smoke 'em if ya got 'em." I lit the smoke and took a drag.
"Hey- I didn't ask when Frazier was talking- but what does the D stand for? And what the hell is G-Class? Do you know?"
"Oh, yeah, right. Yeah, I know. It's this classification system, they got. We use it in retrieval, and I think they use it in containment. Prolly RAISA, too. When you apply it to skips, it tells you what kind of threat they are. When you apply it to Foundation employees, it tells you what kind of duties they got.
"Goes like this: from the letter A, which means weird, you know, but not a threat of any kind. Like the list of anomalous items, you know? A for anomalous, you ever heard that? Anyway, then you get nine more- they classify em in two ways, you know, like uh, axis: minor, moderate, and serious, and then physical threats and information threats (or security clearance, for us). Then there's K- you've heard of K-class scenarios, right? Yeah, global catastrophe kinda shit.
"D-Class, with personnel, means minimal security clearance and moderate physical threat. G-Class means minimal clearance and maximum danger. Euclid up to Keter. I wouldn't worry about it. Like the man said, it's unlikely to come up."
"Yeah, of course," I replied. "So…what did you do to wind up here?" He chuckled.
"Working in retrieval, I never ran across D-Class. Spent most of the time in the barracks, training, or in the field, you know? One day I ran into one. Asked someone what it was about. Then I held the Site Director at gunpoint for an hour and a half, demanding they be freed."
"Jesus!" I said. He laughed harder.
"Yeah, I'm lucky I didn't get shot. The Ethics Committee and my commanding officer got everything smoothed over, and then all of the sudden, I had a new job offer." He shrugged, grinning. "It's a good job, man, and someone's gotta do it."
"True enough," I said, stubbing out the smoke and walking to the bathroom to drop the butt in the toilet. "Thanks for the smoke, man."
"Sure," he said, and flicked his own still-burning smoke into the toilet-bowl. "Better crash, man. They like us to be up and working pretty early around here."
Damn it, was he ever right. Six o'clock, a bell rang out in the hall, and we all hustled out of our rooms into the little cafeteria-slash-common room. Frazier was there, looking crisp and perfectly alert. Bastard. Then I caught the scent of coffee. Magnificent bastard. "Come and get some coffee and breakfast, people," he said. "I have your assignments here." He waved a clipboard. "Come on, early bird gets the worm."
I poured myself a cup of coffee. There were a handful of guards, present, as well. Probably to escort us to our assignments. I watched my fellow D-Class eat their breakfasts- I'd never in my life been able to eat before noon- and listened to Frazier read out the assignments. "D-3961-" Nicky's number, "-RAO-7234, RAO-2290, and SCP-3710." So on and so fourth, until he reached D-3962. My number.
"D-3962: RAO-8122, RAO-4872, RAO-7861." Well, alright. Three pieces to work with.
Once breakfast had tapered off, the guards began escorting people out. "Remember, you are not permitted to be unsupervised outside the D-Class barracks. You may not interact with other personnel. You must obey all instructions during item interaction. This is for your own safety!" said Frazier.
A guard escorted me out of the dormitory, down long concrete halls lit by ominous fluorescent lighting- if you've been in one secure paragovernmental facility, you've been in all of them. Occasionally we passed a lab-coated researcher. They always, very studiously, avoided eye contact.
Except for one very young Asian researcher, who stared at me with wide, terrified, pitying eyes, clutching his clipboard tightly to his chest. I couldn't talk to him, but I tried to give him a reassuring smile. It didn't seem to help. He just cast his gaze to the floor.
Oh, well. First test: in a white, sterile room (my heart pounding as the door shut behind me), researchers staring at me from behind glass, and a… white face-cloth floating in the air in the center of the room, rippling slowly, apparently unaffected by gravity.
A sternly clipped voice came over an intercom. "D-3962, please approach the object." I stepped to what I had to assume was RAO-8122. My first anomaly of the day: a zero-gee rag.
"Touch the object, please," said the voice. I gingerly poked the rag. It rippled away from my finger, as a zero-gravity cloth would. "Please take hold of the object." I pinched two corners of it in my fingers, holding it away from me in case it…did something. "Please fold the object." Gently as I could, I halved the cloth, and quartered it.
This went on for some time. It acted exactly like a cloth unaffected by gravity would, without exception. After an hour or so of tests that had gotten fairly silly after the first five minutes, a guard arrived to escort me to my next assignment.
I ran into Nicky, also being escorted to his next assignment. He had a gadget clipped to his neck that I recognized as a Nimrod Mark VII; a miniature computer designed to analyze human speech (really well, too: the Foundation's speech recognition software was decades ahead of civilian technology) and detect if it contained memetic content. Usually pretty reliable, though they sometimes went off at good jokes or particularly catchy ear-worms.
He saw me looking at it, and grinned at me. "Ucking-fay omalies-anay," he said.
His guard said, "No talking, D-3961." He looked at me and my guard, and said sheepishly, "He got a little pig statue that apparently makes to talk in Pig Latin. They've got a counter-meme, and it doesn't seem to be transmissible."
"That's good," said my guard, and I gave Nicky a 'good luck, man' sort of nod as I was led away.
Next room was identical to the first, except this one had a battered little flask in it. A similar series of silly tests ensued, none of which bore any fruit. As far as I could see, it was just a simple, non-anomalous flask. Right up until I said, "Shame this is empty. I'm kind of thirsty." Whereupon the damned thing started spurting blood like a decapitated chicken for about ten seconds. Ruined my jumpsuit. Thank god it was disposable.
A little testing soon established that whenever the word thirsty, in any language or context, was used around the flask, it started outputting blood. What kind of blood would be determined from the collected samples in the lab.
This wasn't too bad, I thought as I was led to my third assignment. I'm glad I did this. I thought back to Magdeleine, at Site-207.
"You want me to volunteer? To be a D-class?"
"Yes," she said, giving me that level, clear-as-day and cold-as-absolute-zero look again. "If it isn't you, John, it has to be someone else. That's the rub. But you already know that: you volunteer twice a week at a soup kitchen, and give a third your pay to charity. You understand that causes are made up of individuals, and if as individuals we don't do our part- well, bad things happen. Here at the Foundation, those bad things are particularly nasty."
I nod, slowly. "Hell. Sounds like I don't have a choice."
"Of course you have a choice," she said, exasperated.
"A moral choice, I mean," I replied. I took a pen out of my pocket and signed the documents wherever I needed to.
"You're doing a great thing, John," she murmured.
Incident Report 3509-01
Anomalies Involved: SCP-3509, formerly RAO-7861
Personnel Involved: Doctor Bruce Addison, Site-301 Anomalous Macrobiology Division (RC-2), D-3962 (Researcher John Leary, AB-1)
Incident Tags: Testing; Casualty; Cognitohazard; Euclid; Fatality; Animal; SCP-3509
Details: On 19 June, 2015, Doctor Addison was acting as handler during the testing of a Recovered Anomalous Object (RAO-7861), an anomalous form of partially metamorphic rodentia, previously believed to be harmless, due to the limited capacity of its metamorphism, small size, and lack of hostile behaviors. During testing, RAO-7861 displayed an ability to create cognitohazardous patterns on its skin with its metamorphism. D-3962, as a trained memetics researcher, was able to identify the threat and warn his handler. Unfortunately, infection by two identified cognitohazard agents and an atypical reaction to Class-B amnestics caused the death of D-3962 via grand mal seizure within two hours of the incident.
Outcome: Researcher John Leary (formerly D-3962) posthumously granted the Foundation Star of Bravery, and buried with full honors. Surviving family granted full pension package. RAO-7861 re-categorized as SCP-3509, granted Euclid-RA/-AF classification.