Conspiracy, Part IV
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The Information Broker

British Airways Moscow-London Flight, Somewhere over the North Sea
Friday, 23 December 1988, 1900 hours GMT


Enjoying a cigarette and nursing a thirty-year-old scotch, Harper perused the Foundation file on Professor Sir James Mycroft from the relative privacy of his first class seat. A curious fellow, this Sir James. As Harper read the file, it occurred to him that it was a little strange that he had never heard of the fellow before; after all, Harper was high in the Foundation's counterintelligence hierarchy, and the Special Contact Protocols related to the professor required any and all contact to be routed through Foundation CI. Harper exhaled. Perhaps not, he thought. After all, the Foundation is a large organization with a great many contacts. I doubt even any one Overseer knows of all the various groups- or persons-of-interest.

Person-of-Interest File

Name: James Carl Mycroft

Special Contact Protocols: All Foundation personnel are to observe caution and report any interaction with individual to Foundation counterintelligence. Individual is known to solicit classified material; unauthorized disclosure of information is grounds for disciplinary action under Foundation General Security Protocol 03, Sections 366.


jamesmmycroft.jpg

Professor Sir James C. M. Mycroft (file photo)

Gender: Male
Date of Birth: 12 March 1945 (age 44)
Nationality: British; Maintains citizenship in both United Kingdom and Switzerland
Hair: White (wears full beard, also white)
Eyes: Blue
Height: 188 cm
Weight: Estimated ~80 kg (designated light heavyweight boxer during university days)

Decorations/Honors: Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (GBE)
Profession: Professor of Mathematics, Cambridge University, UK
Academic History:

  • Bachelor of Science (Mathematics), Cambridge University (c/o 1966)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Mathematics), Cambridge University (c/o 1970)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Astronomy), Cambridge University (c/o 1974)

Academic Society Membership: Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, Institute of Physics, Royal Astronomical Society

Language Proficiency: English (Native), German (Native), French (Fluent), Russian (Fluent), Italian (Conversational), Spanish (Conversational), Classical Latin (Rudimentary)

Recruitment Prospects: Recruitment attempted and failed, 1971. (See addendum)
Affiliations with Groups-of-Interest: Serves as freelance information broker, having provided information to the Foundation, the Global Occult Coalition, and Prometheus Labs, Inc.; Believed to be a club member of Marshall, Carter and Dark, Ltd.; Displays little loyalty to any single group and is willing to provide information to all sides if payment is sufficient.
Threat Level: Moderate; Foundation personnel are to observe caution and report any interaction with individual to Foundation counterintelligence.

Profile: Professor Sir James Mycroft is a Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University. He has published extensively on advanced mathematics and celestial mechanics. He is also a freelance information broker for organizations studying the paranormal and preternatural. He displays little loyalty to any single such organization, preferring a self-described "neutral" stance. He has consulted with the Foundation on several occasions, both providing information about other organizations and objects not in the Foundation's custody, and performing analysis on mathematical or astronomical SCP objects. Though the source[s] of Mycroft's information within the Foundation and other organizations is/are unknown, it is speculated that said source[s] is/are high-level and pervasive. Foundation personnel are advised to observe caution when interacting with Mycroft; all such interactions are to be reported to Foundation counterintelligence.

Mycroft is wealthy, owning large shares in a variety of major corporations including (but not limited to):

  • Baasch Engineering Corporation
  • Global Transport, Ltd.
  • Howell Information Technologies
  • Huntington Arms, Inc.
  • Prometheus Labs, Inc. [*Group-of-interest to the Foundation]
  • Saito Mining Industries
  • Wallace Security Enterprises

Though controlling shares sufficient to affect policy at these corporations, Mycroft appears to display little interest in affecting their operations or management. Mycroft also is known to generously support a variety of charities, including the International Red Cross, Global Clinic Charity, Engineers Without Borders, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Known Associates: Mycroft is well-connected socially and politically, and has been confirmed to have dealings with the following individuals:

  • [NAME REDACTED], O5-5: Roommates during university. (Deceased, 21 December 1988)
  • [NAME REDACTED], O5-7: Met during university.
  • Johann Schneider, Deputy Director of the Global Occult Coalition European Division: Childhood friend.
  • Randolph Carter III, Partner, Marshall, Carter, & Dark: Mentor. [*Person-of-interest to the Foundation]
  • Sir John Major, British Chief Secretary to the Treasury: Chess partner.
  • Sir Christopher Keith Curwen, British Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service: Personal friend.

Known Related SCP Objects:

  • SCP-033 - Written classified treatise dissenting the documented existence and effects (disseminated to GOC and Foundation).
  • SCP-1050 - Provided mathematical analysis to Foundation.

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is the captain speaking," dinged the intercom. "We are currently beginning our descent into Heathrow. We should be landing in about thirty minutes. I'll be switching off the smoking sign and switching on the seat-belt sign shortly. It is currently clear in London and a brisk four degrees centigrade." Harper extinguished his cigarette, finished his scotch, and tucked the file on Sir James back into his attache case.

Interlude

Harper is on his way to London now. The meeting will likely take place tomorrow morning.

Does he know anything damaging?

No. The Foundation's files have been sterilized. Have the Coalition's?

Yes. The Coalition's investigation is almost as far behind as that of the Scottish police.

And Harper's conversation with Sir James will suit our purposes?

Of course.


Petersfield, Cambridge, UK
Saturday, 24 December 1988, 0900 hours local time


The residence of Professor Sir James Mycroft turned out to be an elegant townhouse in one of Cambridge's upscale residential districts. Harper walked up the front steps and rapped the ornate door knocker three times. The door opened, revealing a short, portly British butler. "Yes, sir?"

"I'm Timothy Harper," the American introduced himself. "Is Sir James in?"

"He has been expecting you," the butler said. Harper blinked in surprise - he hadn't made an appointment. Then again, Sir James was an information broker. "If you will follow me, sir." The butler ushered Harper inside, leading him through an ornate front hall and into a library.

Sir James' library was lined floor to ceiling with leather-bound tomes covering every subject known to man (and, for that matter, probably a number of subjects not known to man). Dark oak paneling was visible in the few sections of wall not concealed by bookcases. The center of the room was occupied by an ancient oak desk decorated with carvings of griffins. Three small statues of grotesques sat on one side of the blotter; a small silver hand bell sat atop a stack of graded blue book exams. To one side of the room stood a free-standing chalk board covered in mathematical gobbledegook Harper couldn't begin to understand. A towering fireplace crackled happily in the corner, with a painting of a waterfall hung above the mantle. The painting was oddly familiar, though Harper knew he had not seen it before. In a tall-backed chair next to the fireplace, a tall man with wild silver hair and a thick beard sat reading from a small green book. Harper and the man were roughly the same age, according to the file, but the bearded man seemed at once ancient and youthful in a strange, timeless fashion. Sir James looked up, first at the butler, then at Harper. The professor's harsh steel-blue eyes seemed to cut right through him; this was clearly a man who was not to be trifled with. In an instant, the harsh flash of Sir James' eyes was replaced by a friendly twinkle - if he had been wearing a red suit instead of a tweed jacket, Harper might have mistaken him for Saint Nicholas. "Welcome, welcome!" exclaimed Sir James, tucking the green book into an interior pocket of his jacket. He gestured to another chair by the fire, separated from his own by a coffee table with a marble chess set. "Come, sit. May I offer you a cup of tea or coffee?"

"Coffee, black, thank you," stated Harper, taking the offered chair.

Sir James looked pointedly at the butler, "Make that two, Deeds. A dash of peppermint in mine, if you would be so kind."

"Yes, sir," the butler replied, disappearing from the room.

Sir James directed his attention to Harper, "My dear fellow, what brings you to my humble residence on this fine Christmas Eve morning?"

Harper began, "Professor Mycroft, I am Mr. Timothy—"

"Timothy Harper, counterintelligence officer for the Foundation, recently promoted to Level 5 for the duration of your current investigation," the Englishman interrupted. "Do you prefer 'Mr. Harper,' 'Timothy,' or 'Tim?'"

"Tim is fine," Harper began.

"Very well, Tim," continued the Englishman, smiling politely. "I myself prefer either simply 'Professor,' though you are not one of my pupils, or 'Sir James.' I never could get used to being called 'Professor Mycroft' - in my mind that was always my father."

"My apologies, Sir James," Harper said. "I am investigating the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing. Several Foundation personnel were killed in the explosion, and we have reason to believe a paranormal artifact was used in the explosion specifically to kill them and destroy the documents in their possession."

"A terrible tragedy," Sir James agreed. "Alan Hamilton - you knew him as O5-5 - was among the dead. He was a good friend. How can I be of assistance to the Foundation?"

Harper explained what he knew so far, pausing only when the butler returned with their coffee.

"And so Cornelia believed I might be able to lead you to C," Sir James said thoughtfully, sipping his coffee.

Harper frowned, "I'm sorry, Cornelia?"

Sir James blinked, and smiled, "Right, I forgot for a moment you didn't know her real name. Overseer Seven. Another old friend of mine - we met in university, one giving a lecture the other attended." Harper nodded, and the Englishman continued, "Anyway, I do not know the precise location of the chest of explosive coins or its associated atlas. I must say, however, it seems a clever means to accomplish the destruction of an aircraft. After all, no airport security officer in the world will look twice at someone having a coin in either their luggage or on their person. Regardless, I will attempt to determine its whereabouts."

"Thank you," Harper said. He waited, sensing Sir James had more to say.

"You're wondering what else I know," the mischievous professor observed, "because you suspect there is more to this than just the bombing. A reasonable belief, given the recent raid the Foundation did on a warehouse not too far from here, and a belief which I share. My sources suggest that this C person has been poking around into a number of very dangerous paranormal objects."

"Most paranormal objects are dangerous," Harper observed.

Sir James nodded, "That is true, but these particular objects are ones with the capacity to do relatively targeted damage. In short, the sort of object or entity which could be used as a weapon against one's enemies. I assume you're familiar with your Foundation's Omega Seven fiasco?"

Harper nodded, "Vaguely. Not my department, but something about attempting to put an immortal humanoid SCP with impressive fighting skills on a Mobile Task Force. It ended badly."

"To state that the fiasco ended badly would be similar to calling one of the world wars a 'petty dispute'," Sir James said dryly. "Near total casualties among the involved personnel. The detonation of an onsite nuclear failsafe. The end of the careers of General Bowe and several Foundation Overseers."

"So you're saying C wants to weaponize SCPs?" Harper asked.

"If C is who I think C is, that is doubtful," replied the professor. "It is my suspicion that C is merely one of a number of conspirators - possibly simply a pawn in the eyes of the other conspirators. That said, this conspiracy has demonstrated the willingness to use dangerous SCPs against others, as demonstrated by the Pan Am bombing, and is not adverse to casualties. Such a mindset is, simply put, dangerous."

Harper agreed, "Definitely. Do you think the conspirators are likely to try and use Able?"

"I doubt it," Sir James said. "He's too mentally unstable to be controlled, as Bowe found out to his detriment. I would recommend you take a look at SCP-557-1 and SCP-1440. My contacts suggest C sought out information about them recently."

"Thank you," Harper said, making a note. "May I ask a few questions, Sir James?"

"You may ask, but I do not promise to answer them all," the professor replied. "After all, knowledge is power and information is currency. I do promise that everything I tell you will be true."

Harper nodded, "Alright, that seems reasonable. Do you know C?"

"I do, but I shall not reveal C's identity," Sir James replied. "To do so would be to betray a trust."

The response was annoying, but understandable. "Fair enough. Are there any immediate threats I should know about?" asked Harper.

Sir James stated, "I cannot say for certain, but based on what you've told me, I would recommend increasing the security details for the O5 Council. Especially since Alan was killed - a decapitation strike cannot be ruled out."

Harper made a note. "Do you know more about this conspiracy?" asked the Foundation investigator.

"Yes," said Sir James.

Harper did a double take. "Will you tell me?"

"Well, do not misunderstand me, there is a limit to my knowledge. I do not know everything about it, and I am sure there are measures in place of which I am unaware," the professor said. "Even if I told you everything I know, it is conceivable it would be insufficient to prevent the conspirators from succeeding. Given the response the conspirators had to their warehouse's being raided, my telling you could forfeit both our lives."

"You didn't answer my question," the American observed.

"Very astute," replied his host. "I am willing to tell you more on one condition, and I am sure it is one you will need to run past Cornelia. I require seventy-five liters of liquid from SCP-006 for my research. While I could obtain it through other channels, having it supplied directly by the Foundation would simplify matters considerably."

"I'm not familiar with double-oh-six," Harper said, frowning.

"Ask Cornelia; the file is classified for Overseers only," stated Sir James. "If you want the information, get me the liquid. That is my price."

"I'll pass that along," Harper said, wondering what exactly the professor wanted that he himself couldn't know about. "One last question, which has little bearing on this investigation beyond my own curiosity."

"Ask away."

"The painting over your mantle," began Harper, "has been bothering me since I came in. I recognize the waterfall, but I can't place it."

Sir James smiled. "That's Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland, made famous by the stories of Sherlock Holmes. I was born not far from there, as a matter of fact, which is why I have dual citizenship. My maternal grandfather, also a mathematician I might add, actually met the good doctor when he visited Reichenbach prior to writing The Final Problem. I have an autographed first edition of that book upstairs."

"Thank you for satisfying my curiosity, Sir James," Harper said, shaking hands with Sir James. The professor's grip was strong and firm, clearly a relic of his days as a boxer.

"Not at all, my dear Tim," Sir James said. He picked up the hand bell from the desk and shook it deftly. There was a peculiar ring, not seeming to come from the bell itself, but before Harper could reflect on this, the door opened. "Deeds, please see Mr. Harper out."

"Yes, sir." As the butler led Harper out, he was already thinking through his phone call to Seven.


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