Hundred-Year Favor
rating: +49+x

"What do you mean delete everything?"

"I— I was told to get rid of all the evidence."

"That's idiotic and you know it!" Jared said as he clenched his fists, "Like, maybe we can fix it! You can't just give up like that."

Emily didn't turn around from her computer, "It's… it's what Four told me. I just got off a call with him."

"Oh, and now you're following orders. Since when did Emily Young ever listen to her boss?" Jared replied. He glared at the back of Emily's head until she finally turned and faced him. Emily could tell Jared was serious, because he wasn't learning on the doorframe like he usually did.

"We need to get rid of it all. It's what we were told."

Emily's eyes were distant. Jared knew she wasn't all there. Half the lab cheered, the other half panicked, and everyone's phones were ringing. Tony looked all too smug on the 3448 monitor. Just not a care in the world.

"I— no. I can't. Delete the files yourself. If you want me wiped, do it yourself. I'm leaving," Jared turned to leave.

"Wait! Jared you can't just… leave. I need help."

"Yes you do. But not mine."

Jared went to his desk, grabbed his computer, packed up some of his papers, and then left.

deskBig

Jared Helburg hadn't seen Site-2718 in about a hundred years. He never quite felt comfortable thinking of memories as being hundreds of years old. A year, five years, a decade, all of those felt like a long time for him still. A lot changes in a few years, it's hard to comprehend a whole century of change. In that time, he'd moved around a lot. Always working for the Foundation, but always in different places. Spent thirty years up in Alaska, another few decades in Vietnam, then a score in Oregon. He just left his station in Calgary, which he had worked at for eight years.

He was probably going to come back to the states soon anyways. His daughter was about to get one of those cybernetic enhancements he'd heard about in the news. If there's one thing his time in Site-64 taught him, it's to be skeptical of any robotics coming out of there.

But that was supposed to happen in a few weeks. Now Jared was traveling for a favor. He abandoned her a hundred years ago, but he won't do that twice. He took a deep breath, and then opened the door.

"Hello?" Jared asked.

A woman wearing a pair of headphones popped up from behind one of the desks. "Are you Jared?"

"And I assume you're the person who called me? You forgot to give your name," Jared navigated the sea of disordered desks and loose papers as he approached the woman.

"Yeah, sorry. I was— it was a strange day. I'm Joyce Michaels."

"Oh. You're Tony's sister."

Joyce nodded.

"Yeah, ok. This makes more sense now. Sort of. Where's Emily?"

Joyce pointed behind her, "Back in the monitor room. She's been talking to Tony ever since this morning. Hasn't said a word to me."

"That sounds par for course. She gets dramatic when she's stressed."

Jared headed for the monitor room. The light next to it flashed red, just how he left it. He knocked once before opening the door. He didn't recognize Emily at first, but then again she didn't look anything like she did a hundred years ago. She started speaking before she turned around.

"Joyce, I need a—"

Emily stopped once she noticed Jared.

"Hey boss," he said, "Still fucking around with dead men?"

"Jared?"

"Miss me?"

Emily stood from her chair, "You piece of shit! Why the fuck are you here?"

"Your friend called me and said you two needed a hand," Jared replied as he leaned against the wall, Speaking of, aren't you supposed to be in the fetal position begging for death?"

"First of all, I can hate my life and do something else at the same time. Called multi-tasking. And second, that was not a public thing."

"Face it, we're stuck. And you have not been giving me confidence we'll get ourselves unstuck," Joyce called from the next room.

Jared couldn't help but smirk, "How's Tony been? Feeling lively?"

"God, even after a hundred years you're the same fucking person," Emily said. She sat back down in front of 3448's computer monitor.

"Same could be said of you."

Jared smiled a little. Emily didn't return it. She turned back around and resumed typing to Tony.

"You're still a coward," she said.

"Still hung up on that?"

Jared walked toward Emily.

"You abandoned me. And Tony."

"There's a long, long conversation we can have about who was in the right. I don't regret leaving. That's not why I'm here."

Emily turned around again.

"Then why are you here?" she asked.

Jared looked at the ceiling while he thought for a moment. He eventually got his words in order and crouched in front of Emily so they could be eye to eye.

"Because I should've dragged you out with me. So, I'm going to get Tony out of here first, and then make sure you have no reason to come back to this place," he said.

Emily took a moment to really look Jared over. His face looked different, but it had the same smirk. His body was taller, and broader, but it stood with the same slump. His voice was lower pitched, but it was as unreasonably confident as it was a hundred years ago.

"You hate the fact you missed me, don't you? I'm feeling nostalgic already," he said.

"Shut up."

"Yup, just like old times."


It took about half a day to catch Jared up on everything that Emily and Joyce had scrapped together the past few weeks. It was a meager amount of new information, and most of it wasn't useful. Jared cleared out a spot on a desk from his computer and looked through some of his old files.

"What are you looking for?" Emily asked. She peered over Jared's shoulder

"Well… ok so the one thing we're like, 95% sure of is that if we can kill Tony like we did with that girl, he'll actually die, right? Like, if you die in this state, you're just all the way dead."

"Right."

"I remember from my time at Site-64 coming across— ah! There it is," Jared said as he opened a file.

Emily pushed Jared out of the way, "What is it?"

"SCP-3560. It's robot purgatory."

"Elaborate," Emily said

"Aren't you reading it?" Jared said as he rolled his eyes.

"Sort of."

"I can't see it from here anyways," Joyce said from next to Jared.

"Fine," Jared turned to her, "So, you know those new Anderson Robotics bodies they got everywhere now? Well, Anderson Robotics stuff works… strangely. Surprisingly enough, most of their automatons are pretty ripe to act as vessels for immortal people already. They end up fusing the soul into the machine, so it's as if they're already operated by people. At least, that's what they used to do. I can only guess though that they use something similar, but not exactly the same for their exoskeletons."

Emily finally looked behind her, "Wait, wait. Soul?"

"Soul, consciousness, electrical activity that represents thoughts. From what I can tell those are all interchangeable. It's the part of us that Omega-K keeps alive." Jared answered.

"I still can't find the part what this has to do with Tony," Emily replied, "He's already half dead. We can't stick his soul in a suit."

"I'm not finished. Although… I'm kind of hoping you're wrong about that. See… if an AR robot dies, it ends up in 3560. I'm assuming the main reason we green-lighted the Buteo Series for public use is because we're banking on the fact that people aren't dying anymore, so we're not sending civilians there."

"Wait. Wait wait," Emily said, still refusing to let Jared sit in front of the computer, "Are you suggesting that we take Tony, put him in a robot suit, kill him, and then fish his dead robot soul out of a forest somewhere in Oregon?"

Jared leaned back in his chair. "Don't make it sound like that's the dumbest plan you ever heard. You thought half-killing a lighter was a good idea."

"We're not going to drag Tony's body to Anderson Robotics. We don't know if we'll lose connection to his consciousness if we take the body out of the machine."

Jared stood up. "You're not even willing to try it? C'mon. I know some people. I could get the body in."

"What if we get a suit, bring it here and send it into the conceptual space?" Emily asked.

"We don't know how much that machine transfers," Jared replied, "We know it gets the basic idea right, but a lighter and a gun are pretty simple. How does this thing work as a concept?"

"I don't know. I haven't heard about these things until today," Emily said as she stood up.

"They've been all over the news for weeks!"

"Well I don't get out much!"

"Guys?"

Emily and Jared both looked down at Joyce. She had a small smile across her face. The kind of smile you have when you know you're about to say something stupid.

"So, those suits operate usually with an entire soul inside, right? Well… what if we got a suit with only half a soul inside, and then got Tony to fill in the other half? Like, maybe there'd be a soul vacuum he'd occupy?"

Emily looked at Jared, and then back to Joyce, "Half a soul? A soul vacuum?"

"… yeah?" Joyce shrugged.

Emily nodded, "That sounds reasonable. I mean, it doesn't, but it's par for course."

Jared also nodded and sat down, "Yeah that makes sense. Except… how would we get half a soul in one of those things?"

"We do what we do when we sent stuff to Tony. We put a suit with a whole soul in, and then half-kill it," Emily explained.

"And then we kill both the souls once they're in the suit, and then get them out of robotory," Joyce said.

"Wait, so how are we going to get the souls in the body?" Jared asked.

Emily took her seat again, "I'm like, 90% sure it'll become obvious once we see what it looks like inside the conceptual space. Things either make perfect sense on the other side, or no sense at all."

"So, who's going in?"

Emily and Jared fell silent. Everyone knew it was going to come down to this. If they were going to try this, someone needed to be the test subject. Someone would have to bank on this being "essentially right". Or be willing to be stuck with Tony for… possibly ever.

"I'll do it," Joyce said.

"You sure?" Jared asked.

"I'm sure. He's my brother after all."

Jared pushed Emily aside so he could get back to his computer. Emily just kept looking at Joyce.

"You ok Emily?"

"I— I mean not really. But I just… I dunno. I don't want to be left alone again."

"Alone?"

"Well… I know that you're willing to deal with the consequences of this failing but I don't know if I can. I mean, I'm not stopping you. You should go after him if you want. I'm just, well, I'm being me. I'm being selfish."

Emily stared off at her shoes. Joyce put her hands on Emily's shoulders.

"Emily."

"What."

"I'm coming back. I promise."

Emily looked up again. The two stared at each other for a few more seconds before Jared turned around from his computer.

"Alright, Joyce. You're due for a new robot body in a week. I managed to get you in cheap because, well, people owe me favors."

"Thanks Jared. I'm looking forward to it."


Ring. Ring.

Click.

"Hello? This is Skylar Credential Portfolios. What can I help you with today?"

"I'd like to short sell my shares in Black Moon LLC."

"One moment."

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"Hello, this is Greg Kirklan, secretary for O5-4."

"Hi, this is Erica Dunders from Site-34 accounting. Could you route me to O5-4?"

"I'm afraid he's busy at the moment. His daily meeting with the rest of the council doesn't end for another three hours."

"This is quite important. Could you tell him that uh… how secure is this line?"

"This is Overwatch Command. And before you ask, I probably have higher security clearance than you do. I know an overseer's daily schedule."

"Right, right. Well, if you could tell Four that his uh, pet project from a hundred years ago looks like its been reactivated. I don't think Site-2718 is empty anymore."

"One moment."

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"He says he'll be with you in two minutes. Just needs to get to his personal line in the office."

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