Leah Mauldin stood in front of the door, butterflies in her stomach. In her 9 years as Chief Financial Officer of Site-101, she had experienced many a challenge. Everything from a cat-turtle that ate all the dollar bills in the site vault, to a sentient computer virus hacking the site bank account, had happened under her watch. She thought she could handle anything. But all her training, all her experience, could not prepare her for her today.
For today was the day O5 command had assigned Dr. Clef as the new Site Director. Yes, Dr. Alto Clef, the man as infamous within to the Foundation as Satan himself, and believed by some to actually be Satan, was now her boss. He who nearly destroyed Site-19 and terminated numerous SCP objects all while carrying a ukulele, was now in charge of the place she had called a second home for the better part of a decade.
After taking a moment to prepare herself, she swiped her security card through the slot.
She stood in anticipation for a few moments. Then a feminine voice was heard from a speaker in the card slot. “Come in please,” it said.
Leah stood confused for a moment. She wondered if someone else was in the room with him, then slowly opened the door. “Am I interrupting anything?” she asked sheepishly as she peeked inside. Sitting at the desk was a dark haired woman wearing a fedora, with a mandolin hung around her shoulders. The woman typed at her computer.
After a moment, the woman looked up. “Have a seat right there. You’re Miss… uh Mauldin, right?”
“Um… I think this might be the wro…”
“Don’t worry, contrary to what you’ve heard, I won’t bite. Well, not unless you want me to. Now, you had a report to give me?”
Leah cautiously entered the office. She stared for a moment at the chair the woman had been pointing to, then sat down and placed her folder down on the desk. As the woman opened the folder and began to skim through it, Leah glanced at the name tag on the desk.
It read “Dr. Alto Clef”.
“So, pleasure to meet you, Miss Mauldin, I’m sure you know who I am,” the woman said, gesturing to the name tag, “According to this, Site-101 being investigated for… tax evasion?”
“Yes, that’s what appears to be happening. Um, if you don’t mind me asking though, I thought you were…”
“Taller?” Clef cut her off, “Yeah, I get that a lot. Anyways, Leah… Is it OK if I call you Leah?”
“Um, no, not at all. Do you mind if I call you…” she hesitated for a moment, “…Alto?”
“That’s fine by me,” Clef continued, “Well, in regards to what we came here for; I think this whole thing should be easy to fix.”
“Oh, err, yes,” Leah sputtered out, “This isn’t the first time this has happened. It’s usually just a clerical error. All we need to do is…”
“Right, let’s hitch a ride on the next flight to Area-55!”
With that, Dr, Alto Clef hurried out of the room, leaving Leah dumbfounded. A few moments later, she doubled back.
“You know you’re coming with me, right? That’s a Director’s order.”
The chopping sound of the helicopter’s blades was giving Leah a migraine.
“So, I just want to be clear on this,” Leah said as she rubbed her temples, “You think we can resolve this situation by legally registering Site-101 as a falcon?”
“Yup, a Grey Falcon to be exact. Since it’s officially a vulnerable species, we should be able to get a tax credit that way.”
“And you plan on doing this by bringing a highly aggressive SCP, an avian SCP, to Site-101, by helicopter?”
“Exactly, the tax guys will need some proof.”
“And you don’t think that’s a little risky?”
“Well, you’re right, the Grey Falcon isn’t endemic to the United States, but I don’t think that will be too much of a problem.”
“Actually I was referring to… never mind.”
If anything, Leah had no remaining doubts that the other woman was indeed Dr. Clef.
“Um, OK, Alto, I was wondering something about your, uh, your…”
“My eyes?” she said quickly, “Oh, yeah, my eyes aren’t really two different colors, it’s just that one of my pupils has been stuck closed since I was a kid, so that eye looks lighter than the other.”
“That wasn’t what I… wait, really?”
“Yeah, it’s sort of like David Bowie’s eyes. Man, I still can’t get over him.”
“Heh, yeah.” Leah remarked, holding her head.
“Still, Blackstar was a great album.” Clef suddenly smiled widely, “Hey speaking of that, do you think some music will help with that headache of yours?”
“Um, I don’t…”
Clef was already strumming her mandolin.
“In the villa of Ormen… in the villa of Ormen… stands a solitary candle…”
In an aircraft hanger at Area-55, several Class-D’s were working to secure hooks around a giant bird. Containment Specialist Nick Magnus stood outside, talking to the two people who were responsible for the operation.
“So you both want to move SCP-1387 to Site-101 because you're being investigated for tax fraud?”
“Look,” Leah was quick to add, “It’s her idea.”
“Right,” Dr. Clef added, “I want to make Site-101 legally a falcon, for tax purposes.”
“Yeah boy, he said the thing!” a Class-D yelled from inside the hanger.
Nick turned around and gave an annoyed look, then looked back at Leah and Clef.
“Look, I’ve been working with that damn bird for years, and in my opinion, this is a dumb idea.”
Leah sighed loudly. “Yes, that’s what I’ve been saying all day! It’s impractically dangerous.”
“Oh, I agree,” Nick continued, “You want to register the site as a falcon, but 1387 is a giant seagull.”
Leah’s jaw dropped.
“That’s fine,” Clef responded, “These are tax collectors, not ornithologists. I don’t think it’s going to be an issue.”
Leah’s jaw fell even lower.
A scream was heard from within the hanger followed by a splat, and then another scream.
“Hold on,” Nick said as he turned around and walked back into the building.
“Hun, close your mouth before a bug flies in,” Clef teased.
Leah took a moment to regain her composure. She cleared her throat before speaking.
“Right, um, Alto, in all seriousness, there’s something I’ve been wondering about all day.”
“Hmm? What is it?”
“Well, I know this might be a bit awkward for me to inquire about, but…” Leah gestured to Clef’s chest, “How exactly did that happen?”
“Oh!” Clef said emphatically, “That’s what you’ve been so confused about!”
“Yes, I’ve been wondering about it all day!”
“Well, since you’re so curious, I bought this shirt at this really nice store in Baltimore.”
Leah’s mouth dropped again, wider than ever before.
“They give you a discount for coming in with a musical instrument, so I got it for a bargain too.”
Leah said nothing as Nick walked back outside.
“Alright, the skip is secured, and the chopper is ready to go. I’ll arrange another one to take you guys back, but first I need to call down a clean up crew to deal with what’s left of D-49687.”
About 30 meters away, a heavy lift helicopter started its engines. The blades began to rotate, slowly at first, then gradually faster until they were a blur. Finally, after about a minute, the aircraft lifted off, a rope attached to the bottom.
Ever so slowly, the giant bird tied to the other end was dragged out of the hanger, squirming the whole time. The rope was pulled steeper and steeper, until it was vertical. Then, 1387 was gently lifted into the air.
It was a sight to behold. The Class-D’s all shuffled out of the hanger to watch as spectacle.
Then the rope broke, and the 20 meter long seagull plunged to the ground. The Class-D’s all screamed before being crushed under the weight of the falling bird.
1387 was still for a moment, before shaking itself free of the remaining rope.
Leah was terrified, frozen in place as she watched the creature begin running towards the perimeter fence, wings flapping.
Oh god, it’s going to fly out! she thought. She glanced at the others. They seemed unrealistically calm.
1387 jumped into the air, about to fly over the electrified fence. It gracefully flew for a moment, seemingly free at last…
…then crashed down into the fence, writhing for a few moments as it was electrified, then laid down stunned.
“What? But… how?” Leah muttered.
“Well, good thing we clip that thing’s wings every month, eh?” Nick said nonchalantly.
“It’s a damn shame that didn’t work, but I suppose it will make a good story back at 101, right?” Clef said as she patted Leah on the shoulder.
“Yeah, I guess so.”
“I guess the clean up crew has their work cut out for them. Hopefully Magnus won’t have any issues getting that thing back in its hanger OK.”
“I’m sure he’ll be fine.”
“Well, either way, we still have this whole tax evasion thing to deal with.”
“Like I said earlier, it’s probably just a clerical error. I’ll get it sorted out when we get back."
As if on cue, a helicopter landed outside, ready to take Leah back home.
“Well, when you get back,” Clef said, “It was nice to meet you Ms. Mauldin, but I think I’m going to stay here and let you go on ahead without me.”
“Wait, aren’t you needed back on site? You’re the new Director.”
Clef let out a small laugh. “Oh, that was just probationary. After today you’ll have someone a bit more normal as your boss.”
Leah was dumbfounded for a moment. Then, she leaped for the door.
“Wait a minute, Leah.”
Leah stopped in the doorway and turned back towards Clef.
“I can’t let you leave just like that. Besides, didn’t you have something you still wanted to ask me?”
Leah was about to speak, but like many other times that day, she was cut off.
“You’ve been trying to ask me all day why I’m in the body of woman. Well, I suppose I’ve stalled enough. To make a long story short, there was an incident with SCP-113. That’s the reason I’m on probation, by the way.”
Leah stood for a moment, then said, “Alright, but that wasn’t what I was wondering actually.”
“Oh, really? Huh, I thought that was kinda the elephant in the room.”
“No, I was wondering why you have a mandolin instead of a ukulele.”
“That’s just because the author has a boner for mandolins.”