The Ethics Committee isn't your enemy! Your site's liaison is there to help you do a better job. Those pesky containment procedures can seem impossible to perfect, but if you work with your liaisons, you can get them just right. If your liaison pays you a visit, give them your full attention. They're just there to help!
~ Page 234 of the Foundation Employee Handbook
Dr. Jeremiah Cimmerian sat in the back of a powder blue Lincoln Continental at the outer gate of Site-88. It wasn't a long drive from Mobile Regional Airport to Site-88, and Cimmerian had enjoyed the scenery. Cimmerian's driver, an elderly, quiet, and somber man with a barely detectable southern drawl, flashed identification to the guard, and they moved past the outer perimeter. Two other cars were ahead of them at the second checkpoint.
Cimmerian tried to get a closer look at the other two cars. "Kent, right?"
"Yes, sir," the driver answered.
"Busy day today?" Cimmerian closed his laptop.
"Probably more engineers out of 352," Kent said with a nod. "The regional director's been pushing us to upgrade our containment wings."
"Kate was on us about those upgrades for years. I'm surprised they're finally following through, honestly."
Kent turned around, seeming interested for the first time this entire trip. "You know the Regional Director?"
"I didn't actually meet her in person until that breach a few years back. Though the circumstances weren't exactly conducive for us to get acquainted. If it wasn't for that I'd just know her as a name on reports I filed."
Kent put his arm on the back of the front passenger seat. "You used to work here?"
"Yeah. Site Liaison for the Ethics Committee."
Kent laughed and turned back. For a minute, Cimmerian thought, he must've thought I was important.
You are not just scientists and you are not just agents. You are diplomats. The world is counting on you to not just contain threats, but to avoid taking actions that create new ones. There are many objects that will not or cannot care how morally or ethically you treat them. There are also many that will care. And we care.
Remedial Ethics: A Refresher, Page 2.
Cimmerian turned the doorknob leading to Director Maddox's office and nearly choked on the smell of cigar smoke. The photos on the bookshelves were significantly older than the ones on the desk. All of them were pictures of Maddox, at various stages of his life.
Maddox greeted him warmly. Cimmerian had heard these sorts of pleasantries before. Regular staff might not care, but site directors knew better than to piss off a member of the Ethics Committee. Everyone had skeletons.
Cimmerian just nodded along until Maddox got to the real question on his mind. "What brings you back to Site-88?"
"Honest-to-god ethics violations, believe it or not," Cimmerian said, pulling a file folder from his bag. "I'm here to investigate your Liaison's reports."
"Ahh. Yeah, she's been complaining about a lot of our work recently."
Cimmerian nodded. "Mostly stuff relating to the Alpha-Nine trials, right?"
Maddox stopped suddenly. "You're cleared for that?"
"Did you think the committee was just skipping the party?"
Maddox composed himself. "Sorry. Um. Ok. Your liaison…" Maddox paused for a moment as if remembering the name. "Jenkins. She's complaining about some of our work because she's not read up on Alpha-Nine. There's not much we can do about that right now, though."
"Even so, we can't just ignore the reports. That would be even more suspicious."
"So, you're just going to run around the site and make it look like you're checking up on things?"
"I'm focusing on 2913, so depending on how that goes I might be out of your hair before the end of the day."
"2913?" Maddox shifted in his seat.
Cimmerian pulled a folder from his bag and opened it. "I'd like to talk to you about the impact testing you ordered last month."
SCP-2913 is a severed right hand, formerly belonging to James Hallman (deceased), which is capable of independent movement. Approximately 5.1 centimeters of the radial bone and 4.6 centimeters of the ulna extend, uncovered by skin, behind the wrist joint. Despite the lack of a biological support system and obvious trauma associated with the terminating ends of the bones behind the wrist joint, SCP-2913 remains healthy.
SCP-2913 is capable of speech, hearing, sight, and smell. SCP-2913 has shown a moderate level of skill in complex problem solving. While SCP-2913 has been observed to move its fingers and thumb together in tandem during the act of "speaking", observation of SCP-2913 has revealed the auditory source of speech to be between the 1st and 2nd metacarpal bones even in the absence of motion.
~ SCP-2913's Documentation.
Doctor Cimmerian sighed. The records he'd read had prepared him for this… but this was exactly the kind of SCP object that made it difficult for him to do his job properly. Cimmerian wasn't a naturally emotional person, but he was human. Remaining objective was always a struggle.
Better get this over with now.
The inside of SCP-2913's containment chamber was grey and sterile. Cimmerian sat down at the desk on one side of the glass partition. SCP-2913 lay almost motionless on a table, facing a television. Cimmerian could tell the room hadn't been properly cleaned in a few days. He wrote that down in his notebook, then activated the microphone.
The hand jumped and spoke. "Holy heck!" 2913 turned and moved its fingers and thumb in time with the words. "Who are you?"
"I'm Dr. Cimmerian."
"Well heya Cimmy. Can I call you Cimmy?"
Cimmerian paused for a moment. "Sure."
The hand walked on its fingers to get closer to the glass partition. "I never saw you before."
"I've never come down here before. Han, I think?" Cimmerian put the object's documentation on the desk in front of him.
"Haha. You're the first one to call me that. I was getting used to 2913."
"I can call you that instead if…" Cimmerian began.
"No! I like it. It's much more personal than the number."
"Ok. Han. I wanted to get your perspective on the tests they've been running on you."
Han recoiled slightly. "Maddox knows what he's doing. He's been with me since I first got here."
Cimmerian nodded. "I understand that. I'm just helping him out. The more you can tell me about the testing, the better I can help Maddox with his job."
"Well, tell him just because my bones heal quick doesn't mean it doesn't hurt when they break 'em."
Cimmerian started to answer when a short blast of noise blared over the intercom, followed by a voice. "Warning. This is not a drill. Please remain in your current locations until further notice. There has been an incursion in sector 4."
Han spoke up excitedly. "Are you about to go all John McClane on their asses?"
Cimmerian pulled out his phone. No bars. "They locked the door before they played that message. No escape."
"You're just going to wait it out?"
"Not much choice." Cimmerian set his phone down on the desk. "I'm safer in here than I would've been out there."
There was a pause from Han before it turned around and crawled towards its television remote. "You wanna watch Game of Thrones then? I can start it over from the beginning of the season if you want."
Cimmerian looked over at his phone. Still no signal. Shit.
"Maybe later," Cimmerian said. "Right now we need to talk about those tests."
I have here a copy of Dr. Kondraki's termination procedure proposal. Step one is his plan to use cat urine and a pistol loaded with silver bullets. Backup plans two, three, four, And five are listed as, and I quote, 'Wing It,' 'Make Something Up,' 'Cross That Bridge When I Come To It,' and 'Put My Head Between My Knees And Kiss My Ass Goodbye.'
~ Post-Incident Interview 083-CLEF-01
The questioning was routine. When it was over, Han had apologized if it was getting Maddox into any trouble. Cimmerian had laughed at that. Now though, with the hand back to watching television, Cimmerian was moving around the room awkwardly holding up his cellphone and hoping for a signal.
A distant rumbling shook the containment chamber and interrupted them both. Cimmerian looked around as the power blinked twice and then went out for good.
For a brief moment there was complete silence. Then the backup systems kicked on. Red emergency lights illuminated the room, and the ventilation system began to move air again.
During that brief silence, Cimmerian thought he could hear something outside the door. He put his ear up to the wall and listened. He heard the faint sound of a declined access card.
"Shit." Cimmerian said, even though Han couldn't hear him anymore.
Cimmerian dragged the desk to the left wall before flipping it over on its side. The intercom clattered to the floor. Cimmerian pulled the table closer to the wall, and then laid down beside it.
Outside, a knocking started, and quickly became louder. Cimmerian closed his eyes, covered his ears, and took a small breath. He heard the metal door come off its hinges a moment later and slam to the ground. Cimmerian opened his mouth and breathed out slowly. The men outside threw an object into the middle of the room.
The world went white, and then very black.
14:45:01 Second group of hostiles (designated "Dasher") breaches 2913's containment cell. A flash bang is deployed into the breached room.
14:45:13 Dasher-1 and 4 enter 2913's cell while Dasher-2, 3, and 5 remain outside.
14:46:34 Dasher-1 and 4 leave 2913's cell with 2913 in a cloth bag carried by Dasher-4. Remains of this bag later indicate it to be a Kevlar weave.
14:46:39 Dasher receives a radio signal from Prancer (first group of hostiles) requesting assistance at 2343's containment cell. (Please see incident report 1430 for more information on LMTF 352 Dalet's neutralization of "Prancer".)
14:47:05 Dasher proceeds 13 meters before 2913 escapes its confinement.
14:47:06 2913 exits bag, brushing Dasher-4's belt as it falls to the floor.
14:47:10 A fragmentation grenade detonates on Dasher-4's belt (It has been determined that this was an accidental detonation relating to 2913's fall.), killing Dasher-1,2,4, and 5. Dasher-3 is mortally injured and will die before security teams arrive. 2913 is thrown away from explosion.
14:47:25 2913 recovers and returns to its cell.
Note: Request by 2913 to keep grenade pin acquired from Dasher-4 as a "souvenir" is currently under consideration.
~ Video Surveillance: Incursion Log 88-04
There would be debriefings, investigations, and reports to file, but Cimmerian headed back to Site-17 the next morning. They'd have to catch up to him there.
Kent, for his part, seemed equal parts reverent and curious. He hadn't asked any questions yet, but Cimmerian could tell they were on the tip of the man's tongue.
"You seem like you've got something on your mind, Kent."
"Yes sir." Kent paused, before looking at Cimmerian in the rear view mirror. "I heard from a friend that you took out half the incursion on your own with a single grenade."
Cimmerian blinked twice and chuckled. This, he thought, this is how those kinds of stories start.
Kent snapped his eyes back to the road.
"Well," Cimmerian began, "I can't talk about it, but that seems incredibly unlikely."
"Yes, sir," Kent answered.
Cimmerian was sure he could've gotten away with telling the truth, but what was the truth anyway?
That the other half of the hostiles had died trying to get into 2343's cell? Why did the teams go straight for Alpha-Nine candidates? What was 2343 doing on the lists in the first place? It was basically a god, there's no way anyone would have approved it for Alpha-Nine.
There were leaks and subterfuge and danger around every corner. This was exactly the kind of shit he'd been avoiding during his entire tenure with the Foundation.
"Hey Kent," Cimmerian said, sighing. "Could you turn the radio on?"
Kent nodded and pressed the power button.
Norman Greenbaum. Cimmerian thought as he hummed along, Prepare yourself, you know it's a must. You gotta have a friend in Jesus.
- Memories can be fuzzy, so if there are important details, don't wait to be asked, write them down!
- If you or one of your friends had direct contact with either an escaped SCP object or a hostile intruder, report it to your superior!
- Once a containment breach ends, follow the four R's. Re-contain, reclaim, remember and record! After the site has been cleaned up, your debriefings will help prevent future breaches.
- Sometimes problems are systemic and recurring. Breaches rarely happen just once.
~ Recovering from a Containment Breach; The Four R's and More Tips.
Dr. Light's temporary office was spartan, but she… she was anything but laconic. Cimmerian knew he was going to end up here. He'd met her when he was first assigned to the project, and she'd seemed pleasant enough. A bit secretive, but she used to be a site director. That came with the territory.
After the breach at Site-88, he'd been stuck trying to explain the events to five different people before this meeting. It wasn't like Light could even fire him, he wasn't in her chain of command. The Ethics Committee, though, would only take so much of a personality conflict before it tried someone else who was equally good at the job, but more agreeable. Cimmerian had seen it happen to others. Hell, he'd been the replacement before.
"Why do you think you're here?" she asked pointedly.
"Well. I get the feeling you're going to tell me I won't be flying commercial anymore."
"Funny. Yes, that's definitely true. But what I really need to know is what you didn't tell security about the breach."
Ahh, Cimmerian thought. That's what this is about.
Cimmerian crossed his legs and laughed. "2343."
"When did you figure it out?"
"After the first debriefing. Prancer walked into a kill-box dressed up as a containment cell. What I want to know is how you got that past Maddox."
"Maddox still believes that 2343 is an Alpha-Nine candidate. The engineering teams have been making some modifications to his site that he's not been briefed on yet."
"You figure he's a mole?"
"Not until the breach hit 2343. That was a false flag we planted in his lists. We've modified everyone's now, but until the morning after the breach he was the only one who thought 2343 was a possible candidate."
"Smart. Why isn't he in a cell right now?"
"We want to see what he does next. I'd love to say 'better the devil you know' but we think he's worse than a mole. He's a pawn."
Cimmerian blinked. "Wait. Who uses Site Directors as pawns?"
Light stopped and smiled.
An O5. It had to be. An O5 had executed or at least helped plan a breach of a Foundation site. Cimmerian's eyes widened slightly. "No. There's no way."
"I think you'll find it's becoming increasingly likely. There's a reason the council hasn't signed off on our little project yet. The debate is fierce. Fierce enough that someone might wanna persuade folks that this is a bad idea with a little outside help."
"Yeah. Shit. So you can imagine then that no, you won't be flying commercial anymore. We're going to bring the more promising candidates to a central facility. A single facility will be easier to secure and easier to hide."
"Sounds more like a single point of failure. There's no location that'll stay secure for very long."
"A central facility," Light said, shaking her head. "Not a location."
Cimmerian stopped and cocked his head to the side. "How are you going to hide a whole facility?"
Light smirked, but didn't answer. Cimmerian knew that was as much information as he was going to get today.
"Whatever you're planning, you're going to need staff that are above reproach. A janitor speaks out of turn and this is over before it gets started."
"That part's easy. Everyone's coming out of the woodwork for this."
"Ahh. Well," Cimmerian said with a nod. "I do enjoy meeting new people."
Both of them laughed, but only for a moment.