From: Foundation Global Administration, Requisitions Division
To: Researcher Byzant
Subject: Approval of D-Class request for SCP-4932
Your request for 1,250 D-Class personnel for use in testing with SCP-4932 has been approved. The aforementioned quantity of D-Class personnel will be imported from Site 18 to Bio-Site 84 immediately. You will be notified when the requested quantity has arrived at Alice Springs, Australia.
F.G.A Requisitions Division
Howard Byzant leaned back in his chair once he had finished reading the e-mail.
“What?” he muttered to himself. He had needed the D-Classes and the approval would make it considerably easier to learn how the anomaly in question functioned – break some eggs to make an omelette and all that. What stunned Howard was that the number of D-Classes he had asked for had been approved, were being flown or shipped over from some foreign country like morbid livestock, and that he had sent the request for them just the previous day.
Howard remained motionless in his seat as the superficial absurdity of this response sunk in. He would soon have a small army of expendable prisoners at his beck and call, all to be sent to what would almost definitely be their death for no higher purpose than to record how they died, and how long it took. One and a quarter thousand souls – more people than there were in Australia with a sentence of life imprisonment – who would have their idea of normalcy shattered briefly before their bones followed suit.
It was then that Researcher Byzant leaned forward again and began typing up a group e-mail to his colleagues assigned to SCP-4932. They had to prepare for the arrival of the D-Classes, finalise their brief accommodation and obtain other research materials that they needed to get before testing begun. Though he felt a brief empathy for them, Researcher Byzant first and foremost had an allegiance to the Foundation and by extension would be expected to do whatever was needed to gain the information they sought.
Besides, they were D-Classes. D-Classes were only taken from death row, so they were screwed anyway. The only exception was when Protocol 12 was enacted, and the Foundation hadn’t been that desperate for expendables since the early eighteen-hundreds; every single one of the 1,250 humans Researcher Byzant was about to receive had obviously done some horrendous things during their lifetime to end up where they were. They would deserve whatever fate they got.
“Good morning, D-53682. My name is Dr. Amanda Clarke, and I will be conducting your psychological evaluation today.” Her voice was warm and welcoming, but conveyed a false sense of empathy. She’d spoken to hundreds of thousands of D-Classes, all with relatively similar stories of breaking the law repeatedly or severely and ending up here, and with each subsequent interview she became more and more jaded to them. Dr. Clarke didn’t really care about any of the men and women she spoke to anymore. She’d already predicted the response of the downbeat looking man before her, before he had even entered the room.
“My name is Jesse Ball.” He was unhappy with the soulless number that had become his new identity. Amanda briefly looked down at the sheet on the clipboard she held, and ticked the box confirming he was still attached to his former name. It was always the first to be ticked.
“Very well then Jesse. How has your day been?” She ignored the majority of his response, paying heed to only the small packets of information that she needed and drowning out the rest with how she felt about her own day. She had already spoken to over a dozen D-Classes today, all with the same story of innocence and pleas for help. D-53682 was no different. Dr. Clarke ticked the box designating that he was uncomfortable with his new life. She ticked the box designating him as insistent upon their innocence. She ticked the box denoting he – rightfully – had no control of his life anymore.
The assessment only went for an hour, but for Dr. Clarke it took an eternity. Several years had surely passed as this man cried and sobbed and begged to be let free, or be sent back to Site 18 in the states. Australia was so far from his home, too far he claimed.
“Can I at least send a letter to my mother? She lives back at the farm, she would be worried about where I’d gone…” he begged.
“Of course. We’ll do our best to make sure that she gets your letter, Jesse.” Accepting the handwritten note from the man, she stood and escorted him to the door of the room and into the care of a guard waiting outside. Returning to her seat, Dr. Clarke dropped the note into the nearby garbage chute as she pulled the filled form from the clipboard, filing it into a tray marked ‘completed’. The letter would never reach anyone – none of them ever did. Anyone who cared about these criminals had already been told what they needed to think, that they had been killed in a prison fight and disfigured beyond recognition. In desperation and grief, families and friends wouldn’t even notice that the few stray limbs they were burying in a coffin weren’t human, just animal meat and bones moulded into vaguely humanoid shapes.
Taking a brief drink from her glass of water, Dr. Clarke pressed the button on her desk that signalled for the next to enter as she attached a blank form to her clipboard. The next to walk in was a woman with a downbeat vibe about them. Dr. Clarke didn’t bother trying to identify their race or ancestry; she hardly even registered the woman had dark skin. As thoughtlessly as before, she spoke.
“Good morning, D-53683,” she spoke as she filled the designation into the form. “My name is Dr. Amanda Clarke, and I will be conducting your psychological evaluation today.” Again, the empathy and warmth in her voice was fake, perfected over the countless evaluations she had conducted. As before, she had already predicted the response, and only paid heed to their first name.
“My name is Jesse Ball,” she responded, pathetically trying to resist the impeding numerical designation being forced upon her. Dr. Clarke knew that just like all those before her, and all those to follow, D-53683 would fail.
“Very well then Jesse. How has your day been?” A vague sense of déjà vu washed over Amanda, but was quickly overlooked as little more than the consequence of this line of work as she ticked the first box. Amanda’s mind wandered elsewhere as her interviewee spoke, planning the small remainder of her day outside of her job. What’ll I have for dinner? she wondered as the woman before her babbled on.
Just like all the other D-Classes, D-53683 was just another expendable, death-row criminal. People didn’t end up on death row for minor crimes, so if she was here, she deserved whatever she got. Any attention paid to her was attention wasted.
And just like the previous interview, D-53683’s handwritten letter to their worrying, farm-life mother was discarded thoughtlessly into the trash as Dr. Clarke filed the form away and fetched another.
With a muffled thud and a pair of clicks, the next D-Class was buckled and chained to their seat. With no further action being needed to restrain them, Agent Don Blake marched back up the carpeted aisle past the forty-odd others similarly restrained to their seat, and fetched the next one. Unfortunately today was one of the hotter days that the region experienced, and even though the trip over the tarmac back to the plane was short, the scorching heat from below was unbearable.
Unlike the last one, this chained prisoner was fully compliant to the leading arm of Agent Blake. The mildly beefy man had visibly been broken in spirit long before he had arrived at this airstrip in Wyoming, the only sound confirming his existence being the clinking of chains and the thuds of his footsteps. Up the stairs they went, past the other restrained prisoners, all the way to a vacant seat. The man, already knowing what was wanted of him, preemptively moved forward and positioned himself into the seat to ease the act of padlocking the chains to the seat, and similarly locking the seat buckle around their waist. Agent Burke turned and once again exited the plane, returning to the group of waiting deportees outside.
Don didn't know much about the flight itself, just what he needed to know. The hundred-strong D-Classes had arrived at Jackson, Wyoming from some vague site north of the town, and were bound for Alice Springs, Australia to disappear off to another vague site. Don chuckled. From nothing, to nothing, he thought to himself as he grabbed the scrawny arm of the next to be seated. For this part of their journey, the passengers were as close to nought as a human could reasonably get within this digital age - nobody knew where they came from, nobody knew where they were going, nobody knew who they were. Here and now, they didn't even have their D-Class designations. Here, they were little more than 'male' and 'female'.
Well, except this one. Agent Burke tightened his grip on the prisoner he was escorting, feeling the tug of their repeated attempts to walk off in another direction. This one in particular seemed insistent on being an annoyance to staff, but not quite annoying enough to need disciplining. Feeling the tug of the man's divergent path again, Agent Burke yanked him roughly back into the right direction. There was always the odd one out, the one who persisted in rebelling any way they could. They probably kept going even when they arrived at their destination - Don couldn't help but wonder how many got themselves killed ignoring orders. He wondered how long this one would last.
There was a brief, strong pull in the direction of the prisoner, followed by nothing. Burke must've softened his grip as he idled in his thought, and the escapee had taken the opportunity to break free and make a run for it. He was running down the airstrip as fast as his feet could carry him, away from the plane and the guards. Agent Burke barked a command to stop before he gave chase, but tired quickly - the heat belted him from above, from below, and the thick security gear he wore made it even less bearable.
"Fuck it," he mumbled to himself, pulling his handgun out of its holster and steadying his aim. The sound of three small explosions pierced the silence, followed by the fleeing prisoner stumbling and hitting the ground. Satisfied, Agent Burke turned away from the plane and back to the group of shocked prisoners as he holstered his gun.
"Any more of you expendable fucks want to die here?" he barked, angered by the brief event that had just transpired. He wasn't angry that he'd been forced to shoot the man, no - that would imply Agent Burke felt empathy for the death-row convicts. No, he was angry because now they were one passenger short. He'd have to get ahold of a replacement at some point, which would mean finding out where these lot came from, which means lots of red tape…
Don rubbed the bridge of his nose in frustration. Fucking inmates. Why can't they just listen… He thought, grabbing the arm of the next in line, and escorting them to the plane.
The sound of whirring machinery and liquids flowing through pipes finally died down, the sources of such sounds finally turning off after being left running for several days. Readings on gauges subsided to normal levels, lights turned on or off on consoles, and to signal that everything had successfully switched back to standby mode a collection of synchronized alarm bells briefly sounded.
Sitting in one of several control rooms scattered throughout the complex, a particularly stout man relaxed in his seat. Taking a drag from his lit cigarette, the man looked up at the multiple screens positioned around his seat, glancing at them for a few moments each before moving to the next. He watched as thousands of naked, dazed adults stumbled out of pods in countless rooms spread throughout the facility, being collected up by a small legion of men and herded into waiting vehicles.
“Poor sods,” he mumbled to himself, “no idea what’s goin’ on, no control about what’ll happen.” He was referring to the fact that every single one of these humans were mentally idle, their lack of free thought making them easy to handle. Some of them collapsed where they stood, unable to survive with the malformed organs they had. They were simply thrown onto a separate vehicle and counted; twenty-seven had died. In front of the man, a screen lit up with the portrait of a human silhouette.
"Report." O5-11 spoke with an ambiguous, synthesised voice. The seated man was obliged to respond.
"Monthly production has concluded. One hundred thousand produced today, with a loss of twenty-seven immediately post-production. Remaining ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and seventy-three are sufficient to fulfil monthly requirement, and are being transported to the surface for dissemination." His voice was rough and wheezy, years of constant smoking having damaged his throat and lungs beyond repair. Whether he would suffocate or die from cancer he didn't know, but neither did he care.
"Were the fixes implemented?" asked O5-11, overlooking the abhorrently bad health of the project manager.
"Yes. Personality components should be more randomised now, and the Haemophilia glitch should be fixed now." Feeling an imminent coughing fit, the seated man whipped out a handkerchief and held it to his face as the fit struck. After a minute it subsided and, ignoring the new splotch of blood and phlegm, the handkerchief was returned to its pocket.
"Sorry. There were no losses in staff this month, so no replacements were required. We've noticed some of the machines are in need of replacement, which we'll be doing before production resumes next month."
"You should stop smoking," said O5-11, apparently ignoring the report in favour of the stout man's health. The latter in turn took another drag from his cigarette before continuing.
"What's the worst it could do, kill me?" His laughter was quickly interrupted by a coughing fit, his body struggling to process enough air. Once it subsided, he answered less humorously. "The carcinogens will make the products more authentic. In this day and age, it's pretty tough to grow up without being exposed to something lethal. It'll be distributed when I die." A brief silence ensued before O5-11 responded.
"Very well. Continue." And with that, the screen went blank once more. The seated man returned his attention to the screens in time to see the first group of products depart on a freight elevator bound for the surface.
He was glad he was who he was. Others might find it miserable, stuck watching everything that occurred in a five hundred thousand tonne machine hidden beneath Yellowstone, spending only an hour or two at the surface each week. But from the day he had been birthed by the machine, he had no choice in the matter - it was either this, or be given a false history and be conditioned into a convict, like those on the screen. He was much happier repairing and maintaining the most important machine ever forged by mankind, the same machine which birthed him, than being doomed to die within a month and get blended back into the biological soup he had been made from.
He had necessarily been conditioned to an extent, though. The Overseers had to be sure that he wouldn't defect to an enemy or go on some mad rampage, and so they had conditioned him with a strong sense of duty to protect his iron mother, as well as an undying loyalty to the Foundation. But some aspects of his personality had developed on their own, filling the vacuum around the conditioning; the most notable of this was his choice of name, Tukay Dee. Not particularly original considering he was a fourth-model worker, but it was enough to set him apart from the disposables he exported.
The toxic yet soothing smoke of the cigarette once again entered his lungs. The name signified his higher purpose, to protect and help rather than simply die. It showed he had earned any empathy he received - not for what he was, but who he was. He expected no different from his creations, and so they were given their phantom lives of villainy and crime. To avoid the misguided empathy of a researcher falling upon them simply for where they came from, causing hesitation at whether they truly deserved the imminent death before them. The chains of ethics would hold the Foundation back, constricting and killing it.
So a necessary evil was added, justified by placing it in the control of Tukay Dee. Rather than use the finite quantity of death row inmates to try fill the infinite requirement the Foundation had only to fail within a month, an endless supply of recycled convicts were made, bound to the caste of persecution and death they bore in their previous life, unable to ever escape from the cycle to nirvana.
Well, no cycle was ever perfect and the reuse of the Foundation's D-classes was no different. Tukay Dee turned his attention to a monitor showing one of the lifts, from which a dump truck piled high with purportedly uncontaminated human corpses was emerging. The Foundation had dangerous, anomalous biohazards within its care, some of which needed sacrifices to understand. In a warped way the ones killed by these diseases were the lucky ones, the ones whose bodies broke free from the cycle and could truly be at rest. Decontaminating a decaying corpse was expensive and difficult, so they were incinerated rather than sent back to the phantom "Site 18."
The machine had a critical purpose which it had to be prepared to fulfil at any time. It had to be able to resurrect the human race from extinction, reset the clock in the wake of the rapture. Regardless of what contaminant was floating within the biological soup, the machine could fulfil its purpose - but the entirety of humanity would be infected as a consequence, and a lot of the biohazards the Foundation studied would severely stint, if not exterminate the human race, if such were to happen. Tukay Dee hadn't been made paranoid, but he had developed it as a trait. Even though it wasn't supposed to be his job, he made sure to check every single corpse that came in. Just to be sure.
Leaning back in his seat, Tukay Dee watched the workers go to work as he smoked his cigarette.
At the same time, Tukay Dee hefted a rotting corpse from the mountainous pile, glad he had developed the bulging muscles that came with his arduous, physical work. He briefly paused as he watched himself escorting a batch of fresh humans onto an empty freight elevator.
Elsewhere in the factory, Tukay Dee retrieved a wrench from his toolbox as he set about unfastening the bolts connecting a faulty Bokanovsky divider to the rest of his mother.