This was more than he'd signed up for. The New Agent Manual - SCP Object Classification Standard listed Keter as the most dangerous type of object. They eat, kill, and drive people crazy. If left unchecked long enough, they could destroy the world. T.D was supposed to go decommission a keter today. First, though, he answered his supervisor's insane question.
"Uh, according to the documents SCP-3542 is a memetic reality-bending hostile object. Possibly Abrahamic. It says here that it 'disappeared' two dozen D-Class death squads and three fully armored decommission machine squads."
The supervisor remained impassive. "That's correct. The Squads were, ironically, about to be decommissioned anyway so it saved us some processing costs."
T.D. fumbled with the security ID hanging by his side. It gave him a level 1 security clearance. He'd been recruited as a specialist. He'd been training for a year. He had life insurance, year-end reward goals, and retirement benefits. This sort of thing happened to D-Class didn't it? Why were they doing this to him?
"So, I am going to deal with this on my own. With a shotgun."
"Yes. Standard issue for this kind of work. If you're worried you can requisition heavier equipment. I wouldn't though; any damage comes out of your paycheck."
T.D. didn't respond.
The supervisor smiled for a moment. "Look. This is your first assignment, and you need to trust that we know what we're doing. It's fine to be little worried. That shows you're ready for this. When I did my first decommission I had to kill a fucking sea monster. But you'll figure out pretty quickly that the classification is less important than the rating. Yes. This is a Keter object. Be careful. But it's also got a negative rating."
T.D. nodded along as his supervisor continued.
"Look." The supervisor pulled a thick book from the top drawer of his desk and tossed it to T.D. "Open that to page 88, start on the 2nd paragraph."
New Agent Manual - SCP Object Rating Standard
To analyze if information relating to SCP Objects attracts roughly consistent positive evaluation from observers, the Foundation has established the "Ratings System" for all anomalous objects incorporated into our mainlist. As mentioned in the New Personnel Guide, the existence of the anomalous has a direct relationship with a high evaluation from the Foundation itself. Essentially, how positively the Foundation views an object has a directly determinative effect on the object's permanence.
This connection is not currently fully understood, but has shown its veracity in all cases. No exceptions to this rule have been detected. For this reason the Foundation holds a significant advantage over other GOIs. We exist as the inherent judges of the anomalous. If other groups or persons wish to utilize anomalous creations or discoveries, those objects must either remain outside of the Foundation's knowledge (and therefore have little effect on the world at large) or be subject to this evaluation effect.
As a result, an SCP Object's rating is an integral part of an object's containment. Ensuring higher ratings will ensure the continued existence of and (generally) containment of an object. For an object which is highly dangerous and/or difficult to contain, a lower rating is a safe and effective method of neutralization.
The Foundation Ratings Committee is in charge of this evaluation task. Current rating procedures ensure that contained SCP Objects are not interfered with by any organization or individuals. While evaluation can theoretically be carried out by any group of 10 or more foundation staff, the ratings committee are the only personnel allowed to assign evaluations to an object.
After an object's anomalous nature and danger level is determined, the Foundation Ratings Committee will begin their evaluation of an object. In principle, the committee will evaluate the object's value to the Foundation. All objects receiving a negative rating from the Ratings Committee may be ignored or eliminated dependent on the level of danger they represent. All Keter level objects are to be neutralized within 48 hours.
The Foundation Ratings Committee standards are as follows:
Negative — More members of the committee than not have given this object an unfavorable evaluation.
Positive — More members of the committee than not have given this object a favorable evaluation.
Highly Positive — More than two thirds of the committee members have given this object a positive evaluation. Note: Outside of procedures already carried out prior to evaluation, these objects do not appear to be susceptible to neutralization.
Heritage — Special rating. All objects in this ratings class are added to the heritage list. These objects will not and cannot be neutralized.
All Foundation personnel who wish to join the Ratings Committee must possess a level 3 security rating and at least 5 years of service to the foundation. Ratings Committee members are required to adhere to a strict set of rules that will be outlined upon your application. If you're interested in joining the Ratings Committee please inquire with your supervisor or with the committee directly.
T.D. handed the book back to his supervisor without a word. T.D. had already read this a dozen times. It didn't make him feel any better.
His supervisor leaned back in his chair. "I remember my first mission. A green octopus a few thousand meters long was casting some sort of ‘dark magic’ on the Three Gorges Dam. It could talk but all I remember it saying was 'fuckton, fuckton!' over and over."
T.D. cocked his head to the side. "Wait that sounds like-"
T.D's supervisor nodded. "One and the same. The Ratings Committee call those 'Pop Culture Resemblance' and it's basically a death sentence for the object. Sometimes they can last, if they've got a good tie in to a particular culture or ancient myths. We've even had basic pop culture ripoffs that lasted because they had a touching backstory. Lucky for me, this one was about as bland as it gets. One 9mm round to the head and it was all over. I read a report once about a man-eating giant that one agent took out with a single kick to the groin."
The expression on T.D.'s face was one of disbelief.
"You're still pretty new though so, uh, use the shotgun we gave you. This is cleanup work, I promise. It only looks scary."
T.D. came trudging back into his supervisors office with his eyes wide.
"Hey." The supervisor began. "You use the gun?"
"No." T.D. slumped down in the chair opposite the older man.
"Figured as much. What happened?"
"It was an angel. I… I think. Twenty wings, six arms, three faces. It was screaming like you wouldn't believe but I couldn't make out a word. The thing had these blue swords that looked impossibly sharp. When it saw me these weird golden things came up out of the ground and started to fly around me. I thought it was over."
"It turned and screamed at me. This white hot fire flew out of its mouth and in my direction. My instinct said I'd have one shot at this. I threw the gun down and ran straight at it."
"I punched it in the face. The whole thing shattered into a million pieces that disintegrated into nothing before they even hit the ground."
T.D.'s supervisor nodded. "So we'll call that your first successful decommission." His supervisor stood up from his chair and grabbed his coat. "Come on. Let's go celebrate."
"Are we gods?" T.D. moved the food on his plate around into various shapes.
"Sure." The supervisor nodded his head. "And we're the good guys. We still don't know why it's like this, but it doesn't really matter as long as we stay in charge."
"But the world could end based on how much we like an object? And every other group and person just has to live with that?"
"Basically. I mean most shitty objects are just dangerous. Violence is all they really have going for them. If they're actually interesting then you gotta be careful."
"What's the standard?"
"If you prefer to pretend there is a standard it's 'you think this is great'. But it's not a fully qualitative judgement. There are intangibles to consider. The Ratings Committee only exists so we can record these judgements, not so we can create our own standards. If there were basic standards 682 would fail them all. But it's still there and unkillable."
The supervisor sipped on a cup of tea before continuing. "And sometimes an object is incredibly useful to us somehow and we'd like to keep it. Think about the perpetual motion machine, the spring of rejuvenation, and the Panacea. Their value to us is self-evident, yet some of my strictest colleagues hate them anyway."
T.D. nodded along. "That's why the Pancea is on the heritage list?"
"It's a bit more complicated than that," the supervisor responded, "but that's the short version, yeah."
"What's the long version?"
"We can't force people to like an object. But if you add a good story or two as an addendum, well, suddenly the object has a better chance of surviving. Like, take SCP-500. Like you said it's useful and on the heritage list. When it was first being evaluated it wasn't exactly winning people's hearts. At the same time Agent A.A and Iris had just dealt with two Keters and were both pretty miserable.
"The O5's had a big ceremony. Gave them the 'Star of the Foundation' and plenty of public praise. Then the two 'heroes' came in and took two pills for themselves. It started an investigation and got the Ethics Committee and O5 council involved in a shouting match. It was all very dramatic. Most importantly it was all very exciting. That was enough to get SCP-500 on the heritage list."
"So are they heroes or just pawns?"
The supervisor paused as his cellphone dinged. The man looked at the phone for a few moments and dismissed the text message. "Back to work. There's an X-Man with fire, ice, and mind control powers hypnotizing girls and making them attack other civilians at a nearby college."
"Again? I just got back."
"When I had your job I personally dealt with like four Mary Sues a day, and I did it bare-handed. Finish your waffles and get back to work. It's up to you if you wanna bring the shotgun."