On the Radar
rating: +50+x

On the Radar

A Twisted Pines / Wilson's Wildlife Tale

1: An Informal Summary of Foundation Nexus Policy


Nexuses. You probably know of them. Nexuses are population centers that also seem to attract anomalous amounts of anomalous activity (if that repetition makes sense). There are some general rules… nexuses rarely have a population of over 30,000 people, the people themselves regard the strange happenings as "normal", and the anomalies seem to follow a general theme.

So, when you have a population center that basically generates anomalies, how do you interact with it?

Well… most often, the Foundation has taken a fairly strange tactic. Due to the number of nexuses, and the tendency of their residents to regard their surroundings as "normal", the definition of normalcy has been molded a bit. The natures of the nexuses are of course to be kept from the general public, but the not general public of the nexus is to be treated as if their situation is normal. As long as their twitter feeds don't mention that hip new memetic drug going through town, or their instagram doesn't show a selfie with the giant gemstone in the sky, it's all good. The Foundation only wishes to stay in close contact with the governments of said nexuses, and to monitor their activity (as well as the traffic of the general public in and out).

So, you can imagine that when a little mom and pop organization shows up in the middle of a nexus to deal with nexus specific problems, it doesn't so much concern the Foundation, now, does it? They're not part of the general public, they aren't going to venture far out of their town, and what's a safety measure in an anomalous town but a boon to the Foundation? A little chip off their shoulder?

Not much, it turns out. It's not much more than a boon. And in most cases, they stay that way. No one bats an eye at Redacted, Blackboxia's Vampire Hunting Society except to check in on their progress once in a while. No one minds Expungeville's super essential oil market, as long as it doesn't leave town. And no one, especially no one takes notice of a humble little animal shelter in a sleepy town aptly (or maybe not so aptly) named Boring, Oregon.

Of course not.

Why would they?


2: Nx-17 Boring, Oregon


Nexus #: Nx-17

Civilian Designation: Boring, Oregon

Population: 7,000

Area Class: Briar

Nexus Interaction Protocol: Nx-17 requires little cover-up. Social media / online keywords correlated to Nx-17 are "boring oregon", "town of boring", "weird animal", "weird hike", and variations thereof (synonyms). Webcrawlers are to tag articles / pages / posts that contain one or more of said keywords. Anything tagged will then get reviewed by Nx-17 related Site-64 personnel, and will be removed and civilians approached if found to be infringing on the maintenance of the veil.

The Foundation is to maintain a close eye on Boring elections; the mayor and town council are to know of and interact with the Foundation under the pseudonym "the Supervisors". Local elections are to be manipulated so that only Foundation approved civilians enter office (under the criteria that they will cooperate with the Foundation and consequently be willing to maintain the veil).

Containment Facility: Site-64

Description: Nx-17 is a small farming town roughly 30 km southeast of Portland, Oregon. Nx-17 generates (or contains) roughly 350% the average number of anomalous fauna per square kilometer as compared to the rest of the world (excluding clear outliers, such as Nx-18, "Sloth's Pit, Wisconsin", and the anti-anomalous Nx-42, "Dull, Scotland"). Said anomalous fauna generally does not present clear and imminent danger, except in rare cases.

Unlike other nexuses, anomalies from within Nx-17 are able to exist outside of Nx-17, but rarely leave.

Addendum: As of 1/20/1997, an organization dedicated to the rehabilitation of mundane and anomalous wildlife in Clackamas County has been founded. The organization is run by a civilian named Tim Wilson, born in San Diego and thus not native to Nx-17. This development has yet to incite direct Foundation actions, though some have been proposed.


3: A Formal Discussion of Site-64 Tim Wilson Policy


Across Site Director Edgar Holman's desk slid a file of collected information on the new Boring, Oregon organization. Holman pulled it towards him, and opened it up. He was greeted by big block letters, printing "Wilson's Wildlife Shelter". Headed by a Tim Wilson, roughly ten employees and a couple volunteers. Non-profit. Small.

"Alright, and why has this been brought to my attention? Shouldn't this just be filed?"

A pause between the four men in the room.

"Well," one started, "we could just file it, but we're afraid of a couple of implications." Seeing the raised eyebrows from Holman, "probably nothing, just something we wanted to go over with you."

The site director sat back in his chair, and sighed. He had better things to do. He was in the middle of reading and signing several papers, advocating for the upgrade of Unregistered Anomalies (or URAs) to Special Containment Procedures Required Objects (or SCPs), when three Nexus 17 researchers had wanted to discuss this new development. Holman nodded, and motioned for them to get it over with.

The green-eyed one, Boring Archivist Seanan McDowell, started first: "Okay let's go over the basics. This organization was founded by an outsider. So, we can assume that he will not treat the abnormal wildlife here as 'normal', and may opt to draw attention to it. He's a very vocal, very politically active member of the community, and he's been known to regularly travel outside of Nexus 17."

A brown-eyed, dark skinned Boring Historian Josh Higginbottom chimed in: "He's involved, directly involved with the anomalous wildlife, does think it's all magic and fantasy, highly active, travels, and very vocal. He's a prime vector for knowledge of the nexus to leak out to the rest of the world."

Edgar blew wind from his nose. "Alright. However. Wilson's Wildlife Shelter. Is it doing its job?"

Josh: "I'm sorry sir?"

Edgar: "Is it rehabilitating wildlife, giving animals a home, et cetera."

Seanan: "Yes, it's doing it, it's doing surprisingly well given the nexus."

Edgar stirred the air. "Mhmm. How many anomalies have they found before us?"

"Err," Seanan looked around, "you have the file in front of you right now, take a look for yourself. Page thirty-four."

Edgar sat upright and began to flip through, scanning for page thirty-four. Once found, the site director pressed his finger down the page until it met with "Notable Anomaly Interactions". His eyebrows slowly rose as the list just… went.

"That's an impressive number. And all of these, they found them before we did?"

Josh: "We're quite literally holding a meeting tonight on whether or not to upgrade Boring to Asphodel status from Briar. And that's all Tim Wilson's doing. We had no idea there were this many anomalies in Boring."

Edgar: "I imagine we've been cataloging all of these somewhere, their own designations?"

McDowell shook his head. "We've been backlogged. We don't even have enough personnel to hunt down each of these things."

Edgar: "But somehow, they do. With ten employees."

Seanan: "And a growing volunteer base. Needless to say, the organization is growing fast. And the larger it gets the more visibility it gets. We're already afraid they might make a website. We're getting off track, though —"

"Oh, I don't think that at all," the site director smiled. "This feels, to me, like a Site-64 goldmine. Tim Wilson may be a slight danger to the veil, but the last thing we want to do is dispel this lovely little anomaly documenting machine here. Now," he put his elbows on his desk, "what we have to do is figure out how to keep it running while keeping its visibility low. Not such a hard task, I can imagine, for people who have been keeping Nexus 17 locked up tight for, oh what is it, fourteen years?"

One of the three researchers gulped nervously.

"What I'm saying is, Tim Wilson stays. Closely monitored, but he stays. And I'll leave the issue of covering his tracks up to you. Has he been an issue yet?"

Josh breathed through his teeth, paused a second, and then hung and shook his head.

"Good, we can hope that he'll never actually become one. That's all. Submit it as an issue for a Board of Directors meeting if you're unsatisfied with my answer. Now, I have other business to attend to." Holman pushed the file back towards the researchers.

For a moment, no one moved.

Then, the previously silent Boring Containment Strategist Kai Boskovich stood so forcefully he almost lost his glasses, snatching the file in the same movement. "This is a ridiculous risk for a possible breach of security."

Kai's slick brown hair waved as he speared the door open, Josh and Seanan following close behind. Just out of view, Holman could hear one say "we'll come back with numbers" before the door closed.


4: Undercover Agent, Wilson's Top Volunteer


Wajima Moyumi was a multipurpose, "stands on their own" agent, currently not tied to any MTF or SCP containment team. She wasn't more than a month or two out from having lost her three best friends in a containment breach, not even on an assignment. She was psychologically evaluated, determined to be sane enough to keep working, but, of course, she wasn't looking for anything intensive at the time. Something quieter. Nicer. An inbetween something that was sure not to cost any more lives.

And so, undercover as Hagimatsu Yufuyu, she was a Foundation plant at Wilson's Wildlife Shelter. Her home at Site-64 wasn't much more than an hour and half drive from where she wanted to be, and a three hour round trip was a very small price to pay for basically being a volunteer animal handler.

To keep up the facade of having a life outside of being a volunteer outside of the shelter, she only went to be a volunteer on Thursdays and weekends. The rest of that time was spent doing menial tasks and paperwork around Site-64, sometimes interrupted by a small, low risk mission.

She was dry cleaning a very small, very cuddly, but unfortunately electric seal when Albert Westrin walked up. He was a scraggly, stereotype of a man, with a graying beard, completely bald head, and hands more than familiar with hard labor. He was Wajima's closest companion at the shelter, a fellow volunteer whose off days coincided well with hers. He was a berry farmer with a family, and they had schedules for tending the farm. Everyone took the weekends off, though, for the most part (everything nonessential was cut from the schedule). Almost every day he had free time he would come down to the shelter, at least just to check in. If he truly didn't have time to hang around, he'd usually bring drinks and donuts. Needless to say, Wajima was happy to see him.

"What's cracking, Al?"

But Al was soon enamored in their pet project they had been working on together. The seal bounced and arfed and tried to struggle out of Wajima's firm grip towards Albert.

"Oh, someone's happy to see me!" Albert bellowed in his ever loud, growly deep voice. He slipped on rubber gloves so he could safely pet little Copper (named after copper wire, not its color). Wajima, seeing the moment was going to happen whether she liked it or not, released Copper to have a little handling session with Al. For as strong and stoic a man as he looked, it was not difficult to catch him in the act of becoming a big softie. It made him all the more charming, the way his looks and actions played off each other in the most subversive ways.

"That makes two of us, Al." Wajima smiled at him.

"Good to see you too, Hagi. How's Copper been?"

"Copper's been fine. I was just scrubbing some of the muck off of him when you came by and had to ruin it by being adorable."

"Sorry to interrupt," Al continued to scritch Copper's head. "Alright, little guy, go back to getting clean."

Wajima (carefully) scooped up Copper and brought him back to her rubber covered lap, and took a warm towel to several smudges on its otherwise shiny grey body. Copper squirmed, but Wajima was rough and stern, and had little to no issue keeping the slippery seal where she wanted it. Albert looked on with admiration.

"Alright!" Copper was gleaming as per usual. "He's ready to go back in his tank…"

Wajima lifted him up, and dumped him (he was making it hard to do otherwise) back into his little, lonely fish tank. The water was made strangely rigid, and Copper proceeded to swim around the inadequate tank. There were only some rocks, and a little place where he could come out of the water onto a little rock beach. But, otherwise…

They couldn't put other fish in the tank with him, because they died immediately. They couldn't return him to nature, because he would go about killing everything in his wake (and how he ended up in an Oregon creek to begin with, nobody really knows), and… well, that was it, but it was plenty problematic in and of itself. Today marked a week of Copper being in the care of the shelter, and he was perfectly healthy, they just… they just had no idea what to do with him.

Albert and Wajima exchanged looks, and pursed lips.

"So, alright. What are we going to do with him?"

Albert scratched his beard. "Well… I talked to Tim, and we just… we still don't know. He's not fit for the wild. Or, the wild isn't fit for him, and we don't put our animals above other animals."

"Mostly…" Wajima snuck a smile.

"Well, sure, we name them of course."

They chuckled, but it was short and heavy. They didn't even have a very big enclosure for him. He was confined to an overblown fish tank, in the middle of a green and wooden room filled with chirping birds. Him being there had hindered their ability to take any other aquatic animals into their care, too. It was becoming quite the hassle, and the idea looming on the horizon… nobody want to put Copper down, and the longer he was around, and the more problems he caused, the more it felt like a necessity.

But as was said, nobody wanted that. Which is why it hadn't happened yet. And why they still treated him like a guest, and scrubbed him every once in a while. Wajima had it on her mind to push to release Copper, and then possibly adopt him as a skip back at Site-64. However, pushing that agenda would come off as out of character, and she would be met with resistance at every turn. It would most certainly draw attention to her, and it would also interfere with her just-an-observer mission. Still…

"What if we just keep him?"

"Pardon?"

Al nodded his head, as if agreeing with himself. "What if we just keep him? A little mascot. Copper, of Wilson's Wildlife Shelter."

Wajima blinked a couple times. "I mean, then we would have a permanent issue with the tank —"

"Nonsense," Albert dismissed her, "we wouldn't possibly think of making Copper his own tank if he was just a guest like the rest of the animals, but with him as a pet — er, a mascot, well. We could give him as big a tank as we like."

"He's going to need a really big one, if he grows like a normal seal."

"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."

"Are you certain?"

"Why not?" Albert reached a rubber glove into the water and stroked Copper as he swam past. "And we could use it as a push to direct the budget into making an aquatic sector."

"An aquatic sector!?"

"We already have different cages for the birds so they don't interact negatively with each other, eventually we are going to need more than just one tank, and Copper is evidence! Wouldn't making the decision to keep him push Tim and folks to make a better fishery?"

Wajima was wide-eyed. "I— I suppose? Are you sure we should set the precedent to keep animals? Is it in the budget? I guess the community does really like us…"

"Our fundraisers regularly cover whatever we don't make normally, and then some."

"Hmm." In the back of Wajima's head was a voice telling her it might not be a good idea to help the shelter keep animals that they would rather track as anomalies in the wild. "Well…" Copper stuck his head out of the water and made eye contact. "Screw it. Let's do it. Tell Tim we're keeping Copper. We'll talk about it either tonight or tomorrow."

Albert smiled a wide toothy grin, though it was obscured by his monster mustache.


5: Wilson's Wildlife Expansion


Around an oval table, in a dull, obsidian black padded meeting room, sat, in clockwise order, Site Director Edgar Holman, Assistant Site Director Dr. Sarah O'Connell, Assistant Director of Personnel Cameron Miles, Assistant Director of Facilities Dr. Milena Lopez, Assistant Director of Research Dr. Avery Sanchez, Assistant Director of Containment Sophia Turner, and Assistant Director of Task Forces Agent William Johnson. To anyone who was familiar, it would be obvious it was the Board of Directors doing their weekly Sunday meeting.

Today's agenda had included the usual… a drug ring in Three Portlands, an on the loose anomalous murder of crows, some localized spacial phenomenon to the south, and a new piece of robotics they picked up along the way while investigating these three other things. They also had a letter from Area-12 discussing a territory dispute around an anomaly that both facilities wanted to claim credit for finding. It was exhausting. As per usual.

But they were getting to the end of it, to the part where they all get to pack up and go home. Only one or two more things on the agenda — and muffins were being passed around, so that helped of course.

"Alright," Holman spoke, after they had written an outline of a letter to Area-12 that was to be filled in later by some diplomatic staff, "now we have the Nexus 17 status report to address. Submitted by…" Holman sighed. "…Seanan McDowell, Josh Higginbottom, and Kai Boskovich. It's titled, 'Growing Concerns Around a Growing Wilson's Wildlife Shelter', and subtitled, 'The Worrying Expansion of an Anomaly-Based Organization'."

Somewhere, one of the directors groaned. Holman rattled off a good amount of it, got tired of talking, and passed it to Sarah O'Connell. The information delivered wasn't much new. The Nexus 17 research team, working in tandem with an undercover agent named Wajima Moyumi, had news that Wilson's Wildlife Shelter was now keeping some anomalies under their own care, starting with a seal named Copper that was quickly becoming their mascot.

Essentially, they were beginning to act like a small containment site. They were even toying with changing their name, from a shelter to something else, for more general wildlife issues, though still primarily a wildlife shelter. And, as always, the plethora of anomalous (or what they called "magical" and "unusual") animals they were discovering was inarguably impressive.

After the explanation, it took a bit for anything to be said. So, Holman prodded.

"Thoughts? Proposed actions?"

Sophia Turner spoke first. "From what the report says, so far the organization has been successful in its containment, correct? And with how many anomalies are under their control, well, that's the same number of anomalies we would have to contain if they weren't around. That would be a whole budget battle with Site-19, as we would need significantly more resources, more personnel, and more task forces. Since Wilson's Wildlife Shelter was created, our funds spent on monitoring Nexus 17 have gone down by over 60%. That's huge. Does anyone have our expenditures on hand?"

"I do," spoke up the designated meeting scribe, sitting at a desk off to the side from the main meeting.

"Can you tell us how much less we've spent on containing anomalies from Nexus 17 since Wilson's Wildlife Shelter decided to start keeping some? Don't forget to check expenditures relating to transporting anomalies captured here to other sites."

"On it, but it might take a bit."

"Thank you."

The week had been busy, and while people could have been reading the issues beforehand and prepared, it wasn't really expected. The Area-12 debacle was just about the only thing the board of directors had reviewed, because it had been an issue all week.

"Well," William Johnson piped up, "while we're waiting on that, I am going to propose the creation of an MTF specifically for Nexus 17 activities. The project's been on my backburner for a bit, and with all the hubbub around Boring as of late, I thought it would be good to bring up." He slapped down a thin stapled sheaf of papers. "I already have the designation reserved. Beta-4. No nick slash codename yet, of course. They usually choose that themselves. I also have a slate of people I would like on it. Namely, I'm putting Agent John Schut up for the captain role. They have extensive experience dealing with animals from their time in Slings & Arrows. Or at least, animal like anomalies."

"What's the purpose of that?" Cameron Miles spoke out. "Sounds like we need an MTF like that less than ever right now. The shelter is doing most of the job that that task force would do."

"On the contrary, I think that Wilson's Wildlife shows precisely why we would want a task force for Boring. We know better now than ever how many anomalies there really are in Nexus 17, and we would do well to seek them out. If the concentration is as high as Wilson's is making it look like it is, they're going to run out of funding and resources quick."

Milena Lopez joined the conversation. "And they've been very successful so far?"

"Very," Cameron pointed out, "they've dealt with over thirty anomalies at this point and they have sustained zero serious injuries, and absolutely no deaths. Plus, it's still not as publicly known as you would think, which is more our prerogative than theirs but still."

"Well how about this then," Milena continued, "what if we funded them?"

A pause. Several muffins were munched.

"At risk of putting the scribe to more work, perhaps some of the funds we are saving we can use to fund them. Not all, of course, because they have other sources of money, but if we keep them funded enough to keep up with their expanding number of anomalies under their care, it would be likely less funds than our own operations we would run. They already take anonymous community donations, it would be trivial to sneak in our own cash. And if they do notice that they suddenly have a relatively rich donor, why should that alarm them to investigation?"

"That's ridiculous," bit Sarah O'Connell, "no matter how much money we would save, it's not worth putting our trust into an organization that we don't have any control over. Any wrong move they make would be on our hands, and we could have avoided it easily by doing it ourselves with our own funds."

"Then maybe… maybe we do control them. At least a little bit."

The room turned towards Cameron.

"We already have Wajima Moyumi working under them as a volunteer. She's really well known in their organization — obviously under an alias — and we could put her there as a permanent position. Upgrade her from volunteer to employee. If the organization grows at the rate expected, we still have plenty of time before their size is really problematic, and she could climb the ranks. Pull some strings, push certain issues… it would be a subtle influence, sure, but in a non-profit organization, perhaps her natural charm would take her far. She could be our inside man, not just a spy like she is now. And then she could make sure our funds get used the way we want. Well, as long as we play our cards right. If that worked, we'd spend less money, could trust the organization more fully, and we also would have an easy venue of sabotage if ever we needed them suddenly out of the picture."

Several mumbles erupted around the room.

"I would vote in favor of that," Holman said, raising his voice above the chatter, "as long as she has another agent with her. And, of course, she needs to agree to the job. This would be a permanent assignment, of course. Her final job, assuming that Wilson's doesn't go under — or we don't put it under."

The room's hum died down.

"20%," said the scribe. "We've spent 20% less on transportation and containment. It might be too early to tell, but it looks like it's going to keep going up, too."

A smile tore at the right corner of Sophia's mouth.


6: Undercover Agent, Wilson's New Employee


"A name change!"

"I know!"

Albert and Wajima shook with excitement. Genuine, too, if it must be specified for Wajima. "We're moving up, expanding!"

"Helps that our funds jumped up so suddenly."

"Heheh," Wajima looked up and off, "yeah. Fortunate."

Albert and Wajima were at a large desk, the last volunteers on a late night to be licking envelopes and shoving invitations inside. There was a pre-party, a big announcement party, for all the volunteers and employees of Wilson's Wildlife Shelter, telling everyone that they were officially changing their name as a result of expanding their services. The marketing tactic called it a "grande opening". Now they were not only an animal shelter, but pest controllers, local ecosystem surveyors and researchers. They were already preparing expeditions to get readings on local frog populations, and soil alkalinity, and water sediment, and all that.

But for right now, they were all just happy to be changing their name. It was movement, momentum, and action. They weren't just a shelter, they didn't provide services, they solved things. Wilson's Wildlife Solutions. It had a nice ring to it.

So, in the aftermath of the pre-party, Albert and Wajima had just said a long goodbye to a tired (and a bit drunk) Tim Wilson, they were continuing to work. Not too many envelopes more, thankfully.

"Where do you think this will take us?" Albert asked.

"Hmm," Wajima thought. "We're definitely gonna keep growing." She hoped, so, anyways, pushing thoughts of an intimidated Foundation out of her mind. "I can only imagine good things." That wasn't true. "And that's all that really matters."

There was a pause. Both tasted envelope. Wajima was thinking… but she wasn't sure this would be protocol. It wasn't part of her mission, at least. She was just curious. She figured it could easily fall under playful banter, and laying on the charm that earns her respect and trust. Yeah. That justification worked.

"Uh, hey, so."

"Hmm?"

"I'm not a local, you know? Moved here from the East Coast, a little town in North Carolina." That wasn't entirely a lie. "And, we don't uh —"

"Have magic animals?"

Wajima furrowed her brow. "Yeah. We don't. This was, well. Exciting. Interesting! Ridiculous, to think this all existed. When I first came up here I really didn't believe my eyes. And I'm just wondering. Well, what do you think about it?"

"What about it?"

"About how it works. With science. How it conflicts with everything we already know, how — like, why are we here, helping them out, and not telling some scientific institute about the goldmine of research here?"

She shouldn't have said that. She'd gotten too comfortable here, possibly too wanting of a new friend. Too open. This wasn't the cold, contemplative agent she used to be. She flushed with guilt.

"That's the issue, right there."

"Hmm?"

"To think we know anything."

"We must know some things."

"If the knowledge is practical, keep it. But don't think it's universal, all applicable. That's the problem with modern science." Al smiled at her. "That's not to say it's not valid. But those big name scientists are all up their own asses."

Wajima chuckled. "Sometimes, yeah." She suddenly wondered what Al thought of the environmental scientists they were soon to recruit for their ecosystem studying. "Well, I'm thinking of quitting my job."

"No, Hagi, why? You're a great florist!"

"'Cause I don't feel any sense of purpose at the shop up in Portland. I love making bouquets, but that's not going to fulfill me in the long run. And this place, this place is fulfilling."

Al's eyes narrowed, and his head tilted up. "Oh, ho ho ho. Really?"

"Yeah, really. My limited botany experience gardening pretty flowers and arranging pretty flowers in pretty ways should get refined working here with you guys, and then they'd be pretty useful. And that would be pretty cool."

Al tried to suppress a smile. "I'm sure it will pay less."

"You don't go into non-profits expecting the highest quality of life, Al."

Al was failing pretty hard, so he turned his head back to his envelopes. "Well. Well, well. Glad to have you on the team."

Wajima breathed a deep, satisfied breath. The team indeed. Really, not much of a team at all.

Felt a lot more like a family.


7: Time Passes


In January of 2002, as part of Wilson's Wildlife Solutions' New Years resolution to have more public relations than just Boring, Oregon, it launched its very own website. Now, this hadn't happened earlier for quite a number of reasons.

Tim Wilson had always been something of a luddite. He had a natural distrust of industrialization, companies, factories, and, as an extension, technology of all sorts. Tim Wilson, and a few of his very close friends, such as Albert Westrin, Nandini Chandra, and his wife Alice Wilson, had bonded over disparaging remarks of the "incoming generation" and their "reliance on technology", paired with a tangible apprehension of the internet and a suspicion of its supposed uses.

Another factor was likely the internet connection in Boring, Oregon. That is to say, there wasn't much of one. It was slow. Very slow. One could make themselves spaghetti (and spaghetti sauce) in the time it took to load a minute long YouTube video. Thus, making and maintaining a website was likely to be a royal pain in the butt. A solution for this could have been for Wilson's Wildlife Solutions to save up some of its funds to pay for a better, faster internet connection. But, due to their other goals and ambitions, it always felt more appropriate to use their money on bigger facilities, better equipment, food for their animals, et cetera. It wasn't until 2000 that anyone spent anything on better connections (and, to no one's surprise, it was Gary Harp, their local "tech wizard", who finally used his own money to accomplish this goal because it made his job that much easier).

Lastly, some had concerns — especially Hagimatsu Yufuyu — of what the outside world might think of a place so magical as this! It was a secret to no one that the fantastical nature of Boring, Oregon remained unknown to the general population, and it was furthermore no secret that they were all a bit scared of how a paranoid world might react. These combined factors made the appeal of a Wilson's Wildlife website… low.

Eventually, though, there was a push. Main players in this push were the employees Alex Molina, Gary Harp (man who runs the phones and handles a lot of public relations), his brother and volunteer Justin "Chickadee" Harp, and Tim Wilson's own son Robin Wilson. The main argument for the website was to be able to source donations from outside Boring, Oregon.

Currently, Wilson's Wildlife Solutions' funds came like this:

They ran fundraisers (bake sales, petting zoos, community parties and wine tasting events, etc.), had a venue for direct donations, and anyone at all could sign up for a "subscription". This was about $15 a month (they needed money, you know), and gave anyone with it a discount on any of their services. Said services would be their pest control, their… hmm, well, that was really mostly it. That was the service you could purchase from them. Everything else was just stuff they did. Like monitor the populations of various local animals, give an ecosystem report every six months, research the pollution of the area, save animals, rehabilitate said animals when possible, and pave the roads.

Yes, they paved the roads.

It didn't really tie into anything else they did, but they thought that it would gain them public favor (and it was just a nice thing to do), so they took it upon themselves to pave the roads of Boring, Oregon. They also had a snow plow or two.

A subscription also gave anyone their monthly "catalog". Well, it did when they were in Boring anyways. Said catalog would be small reports of all their currently contained animals. Each catalog would end with something to the effect of "if you wish to help these animals, consider becoming a volunteer!". Oh, and that was another reason to get a website.

Organizing the volunteers had to be done mostly over the phone and in person. It was an arduous task that required a lot of paper and calendaring and nobody wanted to do it. With a website, they could set up an online volunteer sign up that could then auto sort people based on criteria in their application. It would of course have to be coded well, but they were also saving up money at the time to hire a coder for just such a reason. Well, at least, the couple of people pushing for a website were.

So, after the New Year's Resolution of 2002, "to become more integrated with and accessible to the public", Tim Wilson and his fellow dissenters had to give in to the website idea. Now people could see their work and choose to support them from around the globe! They had set up an online siphon to their company's bank account, and within the first couple months of their launch they got over one hundred new subscribers. That was more than a $1,500 per month increase in funds. Or, for those thinking in years, $18,000 more a year. Which was exciting! Of course!

Based on their data, most of those subscriptions came from family members or friends of people living in Boring. It was a huge success. Well, alright, not huge, but definitely a success enough that it was worth it. But behind the veil, the Foundation was exerting influence. They had some input as well, of course.

Firstly, since the Foundation had already secured much of Nexus 17's infrastructure, both through the government interference and more physical implements, they were largely responsible for a slow internet in the little town. Not entirely, no, but they got to decide whether they let it get better or slowed its progress. They clearly chose the latter.

They knew they couldn't stop them getting a website forever, but they needed some things in place beforehand. Or, someone.

Wajima Moyumi needed to be in a position where she could greatly influence the outcome of such a website. While Wajima was always a good employee, she wasn't yet the head of anything, and she would probably have to be the head of public relations, or internet technologies, or something to that effect before the Foundation would be comfortable with allowing a website. Unfortunately, this never seemed to happen.

What did happen was that she joined the team pushing for the website. The best part was that she barely had to lie to them. Firstly, she was at the front of those people who were afraid of drawing government attention (or, though only she knew it, something bigger), which was a real concern that she and others had. But then, after it became apparent that the website train had plenty of momentum, she said that she would fight for it and help set it up with the condition that they would make the site to not draw attention to the magic of Boring.

After a bit of lighthearted debate (that Wajima suspected to hide a real debate), they allowed a couple of cheeky references to their magical nature that would look like just fun little jokes to anyone across the internet. For example, Copper the seal remained Wilson's mascot, and on the site, his personality was described as "electric". The Foundation found this undesirable, but acceptable. As long as Wilson's continued to keep their more mystical aspects behind the veil, the Foundation would keep their hands off of their website. Well, except for through Wajima. But that wasn't quite the same thing.

Either way, public attention had certainly raised some interesting questions.


8: Undercover Agent, Wilson's New Socialite


It must have been the fiftieth bake sale that month. Wilson's loved putting on bake sales, and to be quite honest, Wajima was getting real tired of it. But, she was never one to miss out on a Wilson's event, and she was always one of the first to say she'd run the sale herself. She, well, didn't offer that help this time, because, as was said, it had been a great many bake sales. This time, though, she was set to start sticking around because a good friend of hers, Gary Harp, had been the one to step up to the task. She knew firsthand how boring and repetitive it could get, and she wouldn't want Gary to fall to the same fate she did.

So, Wajima parked her car across the street from where Gary was set up, in front of The Road to Damascus Church in town. It was a Sunday, and they were hopeful that a good number of people would pass by. But, it was no secret that the bake sales had been making less and less money, perhaps due to the sheer number of them. Perhaps due to the fact that people can only enthusiastically make cookies so many times. Perhaps some other un-thought-of factors were at play. Who truly knew?

Wajima opened the trunk to her red Toyota, pulled out a fold up chair, some chips, a sandwich for later, a big bottle of coke, and two cups. Then, after closing (with some difficulty) the trunk, she made her way over to Gary. Gary hadn't seemed to notice her yet, and was drumming his fingers on the stand.

"Hey," she yelled over to him as she crossed the street, "I thought you might like company!"

Gary's head shifted in his palm. "Hey. Thanks, Hagi."

Wajima set up a chair beside him, set the soda bottle on the ground with the two cups upside down on its top, ripped open the bag of chips, set said bag of chips on the table along with her sandwich in a box, and then leaned back in her chair. "So, how goes it?"

"Terribly."

"Ah," Wajima nodded, "so it would seem. Business will probably pick up once church gets out. Right? Who can resist after church cookies?"

Gary sighed. "Easily, it would seem. It's not like we haven't done this before. Every time, the sales go down." Gary fondled a cookie. "At least we get a lot of extra baked goods for ourselves, but this really is a waste of time." Gary pulled back a cheek, thinking, and then ate said cookie. "They are good."

"We've got chips you know. Don't have to eat the goods."

"But the goods are really good."

"True. Feels like the fiftieth bake sale this month."

"Feels like the trillionth bake sale this week."

"Woah there, partner, that numbers getting a bit high."

"Your number was still more than once a day."

"Er, yes, that was part of the joke."

Gary picked up a donut and began to work on it.

"So," Wajima saw an opportunity to pry, "why d'you think he's been doing all these bake sales? It's not like we're out of funds or anything. We've still been getting pretty generous donations." Rather large ones, yes, from the Foundation no less. "It seems frantic."

"It is frantic. I guess you wouldn't see it so much."

"See what?"

"Some of the troubles at the shelters." Gary turned in his chair to face Wajima. "You're our botanist, and a fieldworker, and a runner of the website. It's been a long time since you've been in the shelters."

"True. Don't have to get angry about it."

"Sorry, just a bit upset."

"You did voluntarily do this, right?"

Gary finally stopped fiddling with the baked goods and reached for the chips. "Just so no one else had to. Mind passing me the coke? Thanks. Yeah, it's just…" Gary trailed off as he poured himself some soda. The birds chirped, a quiet breeze blew, the leaves rustled, and very, very faintly one could hear the shouting of a reverend from within the church.

"Just what?"

"Well, we aren't having any finance issues! Money is the least of our worries! So you'd think that some things would be clearer around here, you know? I could, ugh, I could go on a tangent. On Tim. I think he's really not so great at organizing people, you know? He just isn't. But, while that is an issue, it's not the main issue."

A pause. "And that would be…?"

"And that's that we're dealing with magic shit, here, Hagi. There's only so much one can do to keep magic stuff safe and sound. We don't have magic, and they do. It's painful, sometimes, you know?" Gary swigged some soda. "It just feels like we're a bit in over our head, is all. Tim thinks it must be the budget. So," Gary motioned emphatically to the bake sale, "all this. He's freaking out about it. I can't even say overreacting, just in the wrong direction."

Wajima frowned. "What's the right way?"

Gary drank more soda, and took a good long while to swallow. "I, uh. I dunno. I don't know if we know. That's what's a bit scary. Copper's still got no pals, whole tank to himself. We got to put out a fire every other day. At least we see it coming, can take it out, no one gets hurt, some animals have though. We just, we don't know what to do. And we can't just release them back into the wild, I mean, if they start fires here, at least we're here to put them out, we can't willingly let them start fires out there… some of them teleport, some of them are literally hard to look at, some of them we have trouble remembering and those ones stop getting fed for a couple days and we feel so horrible when we stumble across them again.

"As I said, nobody has gotten hurt, and no animals have died except by natural causes, but… it feels like we built up a house of cards, and it's going to come tumbling down on us, you know? Our structure is flimsy, and at some point, we are going to fall apart. I think Tim realized that, but he didn't know what to do, so to ease his mind he blamed the budget, and now I'm out here selling god damned cookies that nobody wants."

Wajima was about to ask what they were going to do about it, when she realized he had no idea. That was the issue. Nobody had any ideas. And he was right… in positioning herself to be more involved with the field work (sometimes there were anomalies that the Foundation would really rather have, and Wajima regularly ran interference), and more involved in the website, she had removed herself from something that the Foundation would want to know a lot more about: how well their containment was holding up. Wajima was… perhaps discouraged to hear this news. But it wasn't unexpected. In fact, it was one of the main criticisms many of the higher ups had, that Wilson's was getting in over its head and at one point or another the Foundation would seriously regret trusting them.

So far this doubt had been staved off by exceptional performance on Wilson's part, and their leaning towards maintaining the veil, and the Foundation's having an agent among their ranks (they were still trying to find a second agent to butt in and join Wajima, but the project had been put off for so long because nobody had put it high on their list of priorities despite Wajima's pleading), and the Foundation's saving money because of Wilson's existence.

Indeed, Nexus 17 could not be thought of to be in anyone's jurisdiction except Site-64's, and Site-64 was the main site for all dealings with Three Portlands, its "sister city" the one and only Portland, Oregon, and then the many going-ons of the rest of the west half of Oregon. The east half of Oregon was mainly maintained by Area-12, a site that was lower budget and had less to do, which wouldn't seem fit to monitor Nexus 17 even if it were in the area. In this way, Site-64 had plenty to do already without having to contain everything within Nexus 17, and a group of interest stepping in to do so themselves had made them forgive, or maybe the better word is overlook, the shortcomings of Wilson's Wildlife Solutions.

Reasoning that Nexus 17 seemingly never produced anything seriously dangerous anyways, Wilson's was allowed to exist, and the O5 Council backed this decision (though it is to be noted that it was a tight 7 to 6 decision). Wajima was suddenly a bit stressed by what might become of the organization, or what the Foundation would have to do in the situation that it did all come tumbling down…

But, seeing as she was loyal to both the Foundation and Wilson's (though the Foundation clearly came first), one thing was clear.

"We have to take this up with Tim, then, right?"

"Ugh. Yes. We do." Gary's upper lip curled in distaste. "Should've done it sooner but I didn't want to."

"Hard to talk back to the big boss."

Gary started to smile again. "He's just so damn jolly. Criticizing him feels like punching a baby."

Gary and Wajima giggled.

"Alright, wanna pack up early as a form of protest and take this to the higher ups?"

"Yeah," Gary stood up, "yeah I really would." Gary whipped back his leg, and then flung it forward into the table but — suddenly stopped, making only some cookies shudder, and uttered, "we should eat all the cookies and donuts and croissants first. As a form of protest, of course."

"Of course."

Gary sat back down. "Yes, let's."


9: Boss Man & Agent Woman Talk Business


The little "bling" noise that signified that Edgar Holman's secretary was about to tell him something over the speaker in his desk startled him out of his current habit of nodding off.

"An Agent Wajima Moyumi is here to see you. Had an appointment at 8:00 pm, came early because she says she's a bit rushed. Says she apologizes for the inconvenience."

Edgar rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. He wasn't even halfway through this phone book thick sheaf of papers about a more definitive splitting of responsibilities between the Unusual Incidents Unit and the SCP Foundation in regards to Three Portlands. Something to do with an anomalous drug and the anomalous drug dealer, conflicting interests on the part of the Foundation and the UIU. Foundation wanted to keep the drug as an SCP, UIU wanted to detain the drug dealer, one thing led to another, Foundation and UIU butted heads, and it had come down to an unbelievable amount of revisions in regards to their agreements in Three Portlands. Turned out nothing had quite accounted for this situation.

But Site Director Holman hadn't even really been in tune with that, because at the same time, Site-64 had gotten into yet another dispute with Area-12, which Holman was paying more attention to because Area-12 was being a real jerk about this when they had already had this debate a few years back, and settled it there! Site Director Holman had the suspicion that Area-12 was looking to become a much more prominent site, and had decided that Site-64 was its direct competitor. This mentality, Holman thought, was so grossly against the ideals and purposes of the Foundation that… that… well, thinking of it took up a lot of his time. And kept him up. And hadn't allowed him to expend much energy on the Three Portlands issue.

"Mr. Holman?"

"Yes, yes, sorry," Edgar pinched the bridge of his nose, "send her in." It was only 7:45, so she wasn't so early as to anger Holman. In fact, her sudden appearance might have saved him from suddenly going "out of order" on the job.

Wajima Moyumi stepped into the office, extended her hand, shook Holman's hand, then laid a suitcase by her side and sat down.

"Hello Mr. Holman, I am here with concerns about Wilson's Wildlife Solutions."

Oh dear lord. "And I'm here to listen. What concerns would those be?"

"Well, sir, we both know that they aren't low on funds. We make sure that they always have enough money to continue with their operations."

"Right."

"But we also know that they contain a number of anomalous fauna, some of which, if it were in our care, would be contained differently."

"Of course."

"Well, I'm here to tell you that they wish to contain 'differently', but they don't have the means to."

Holman raised an eyebrow. "Elaborate?"

"The technology, sir. They don't have the correct technology to successfully contain all of their specimens. As one example, they have a poison dart frog, named Hyde, who can teleport, and they don't really have a good way to keep him inside. They've currently given up, and he's out in the wild somewhere."

"I'm sure a search and rescue team can be sent for him, and we can try to accommodate the frog in Site-64."

"That's not all. They have a cat, a tabby, that is hard to remember. I can remember due to my training, which accounts for light memetic and antimemetic resistance. However, they don't have that. The tabby, I think her name is Roofy, goes days without being fed sometimes."

"If she's hard to remember, perhaps you can extract her yourself? You've been an exceptional agent, if the only anomalous property of the cat is it being hard to remember, I am sure we could simply allow it as a pet —"

"That's not exactly my point," Wajima paused. "Sorry for the interruption, but, the point is that all of these can be handled on a case by case basis, but together, Wilson's Wildlife is starting to bite off a bit more than it can chew, and I think we have to do something about it."

"What exactly should we do, Agent Moyumi?"

Wajima breathed. "I am not sure. I'm not a containment specialist, or strategist, or any of that. I'm just a field agent, reporting to you what I have seen. I've already told the Nexus 17 research team, and I hope that you can appreciate my concern."

"Then let the Nexus 17 team handle it. If they haven't figured something out by middle of next month, I will be able to more fully consider your concerns. Currently, however, Site-64 has bigger issues to deal with." Holman rubbed his eyes yet again.

"With all due respect, sir, I don't trust the Nexus 17 research team. They have been supposed to give me a sister agent for years, and they've never gotten around to it because things are going 'smoothly'. I have already voiced my complaints and pleaded once more for an agent to assist me but they've been putting it off. However, they do have to go through you and Agent William Johnson, perhaps the blame lies within you two."

Wajima surprised herself. Edgar's expression remained stone.

"All I am saying is that I think we will greatly regret not handling this issue further, and I have been unable to get the assistance I need from the usual sources so I am coming to you. Please consider it."

Holman ran his hand across his forehead.

"Alright. If you write up a formal report on your concerns, and bring that in, I can take that to the Board of Directors. But it won't happen this month, I can tell you that right now." Wajima fought off the urge to glare. "And trust me when I say this is not because I am putting it off. We are simply too busy at the moment." Seeing Wajima about to open her mouth: "Another territory dispute with Area-12, and then some things not within your clearance to know. But I can't consider this without the proper paperwork. You can get the forms from my secretary."

"Thank you, thank you Mr. Holman, sir. I'll get those into you within the week."

As Wajima was standing up: "Don't feel too rushed about it. As I said, likely won't happen for another month. Perhaps taking more time will allow you to more thoroughly examine and report on the situation. Take care."

"Have a good day, Site Director Holman, sir."

Holman raised his hand in a pitiably tired goodbye gesture which Wajima didn't have time to notice as she exited.

"Well, that did nothing," Holman thought to himself, "nothing but put more on my plate." Edgar sighed. What he really needed right now were some caffeine pills. Not more work.


10: The Other Shoe Drops


Around an oval table, in a dull, obsidian black padded meeting room, sat, in clockwise order, Site Director Edgar Holman, Assistant Site Director Dr. Sarah O'Connell, Assistant Director of Personnel Cameron Miles, Assistant Director of Facilities Dr. Milena Lopez, Assistant Director of Research Dr. Avery Sanchez, Assistant Director of Containment Sophia Turner, and Assistant Director of Task Forces Agent William Johnson. To anyone who was familiar, it would be obvious it was, once again, the Board of Directors doing their weekly Sunday meeting.

Except, wait, no. This was a Tuesday, and it was an emergency meeting, called by Edgar Holman without advance warning. Everyone had just arrived, and people were in various states of annoyed, confused, worried, and so on. What could be so important?

Site Director Holman stood, and waited for silence.

"Thank you all for getting here with such short notice," Edgar began, once the muttering went down, "I am deeply sorry for the inconvenience. If you were in the middle of your own emergency situation, you may of course return to it, but you all know that. Grateful that you all showed up. Now, let me not mince words.

"It's about Nexus 17."

Edgar swallowed.

"It's about Wilson's Wildlife Solutions."

Thinking this must be some kind of joke, or not worth their time, several members of the board groaned, sighed, or otherwise expressed exasperation. Indeed, there seemed to be a lot more important things going on. Holman made note of those who did not show such disrespect. Those were the people who trusted his judgment more. Good to know, for later on.

"Now I know it sounds ridiculous. But, if it weren't for the Unusual Incidents Unit cleaning up after Wilson's — no, cleaning up after us — then Wilson's Wildlife Solutions would have made national news. No, international news, seeing as we live in the age of the internet. All news is international news. And that's just what happened. We were one day of non-interference away from a global disinformation campaign."

The room stood still.

"Right, so, details. We're still figuring it out. The short of it, though, is that Wilson's found a polar bear that was anti-entropy."

Someone near the back: "A polar bear? In Oregon?"

"Yes, a polar bear, in Oregon. They've found seals in the river, jungle frogs in the trees, we are past questioning how they all get there. It's a nexus for heaven's sake. But yes, a polar bear. Anti-entropy. Now, maybe a physicist in the room could tell us why that would be a really, really bad thing?"

The room paused.

"That's right, we don't really know. Not until we get someone qualified on the line, and we only became aware of this a little bit ago. We didn't even hear of this, until the UIU hit us up and asked 'where are you?'. I am sure you must all see how embarrassing that was. Apparently, long story short, the 'Ursus Maritimus Incident' has caused the deaths of the owner and employee of a storage company, the freezing of half of Boring, including City Hall, and the deaths of two UIU agents. The bear kept absorbing heat, until it was too bright to look at, and then they decided they had to shoot it, which blew it up, and that hit part of the Wilson's Wildlife headquarters, neutralizing three of their anomalies, one of which was their mascot Copper, and grievously injuring a volunteer there. Someone by the name of Sarah Gardner.

"That was a nuclear bomb waiting to happen. Wilson's interfered by trying to herd it towards their own premises, for who knows what reason. How they could possibly have assumed they had the ability to contain that is beyond me, but no one can say they didn't try. Two folks of theirs got pneumonia because of it. Now, of course, we have no clue where this polar bear came from, how it hadn't been noticed before, when its anomalous properties manifested, et cetera. But god damn it, we're supposed to be on top of this. And we had to outsource to the UIU before we even learned of this. Apparently Agent Wajima Moyumi was too busy trying to run interference that she couldn't reach us. Would have helped to have, say, another agent with her."

Edgar cast a masked glare at William Johnson.

"And you know what? As a gift, from us to the UIU for covering our tracks, we're going to give them the drugs from Three Portlands. Executive order."

Three people looked just about to burst with things to say… angry, sad, regretful, sarcastic, unhelpful things, and Holman had to make it clear that there would be no discussion by sharply waving his hand over the table.

"Now. I know I have sounded angry. But it is my fault as well. If not, most entirely. I would like to, right now, take the blame for the unfortunate incident with Wilson's Wildlife. There were things outside of my control, of course, but there were things within my control as well, which I had ignored in place of 'bigger projects'. Area-12, Anderson, Portland, to name a few. Wilson's simply escaped me, as I am sure it escaped most of us.

"But now, it is clear, we can not be merely an influence on them. We can't run this from behind the scenes. If we are to make this work, we are going to have to directly interfere with their doings. We — I — can hold off no longer. So, because we simply don't have time to fully discuss this, these are my orders. Should you find them to be against Foundation policy, you can take that up with the O5 Council after all is said and done. Clear?"

Some grumbling, "mm"s, both positive and negative affirmations.

"Good. Agent William Johnson, you will compose a task force for further interactions with Nexus 17. Assuming you have Beta-4 still reserved from forever ago, you are free to use that one. Cameron Miles, you are to gather a diplomatic team from the on site staff. This should include heads of the Nexus 17 research team, one or two agents for intimidation and immediate status, and Sophia Turner. Your diplomatic team will meet with the UIU agents currently occupying the Wilson's Wildlife headquarters, as well as hopefully some Wilson's Wildlife employees.

"After that point, await further instructions. Everyone who I did not give a job may stay here and we can discuss what precisely to do with Wilson's Wildlife Solutions. Is that all clear?"

The room nodded, and those appointed were dismissed. William, Cameron, and Sophia all dispersed, leaving an almost halved Board of Directors. As soon as the doors closed behind the last one out, Edgar Holman sat down in his chair.

"Alright, now. What are we to do?"

The room burst into discussion, calling into question their resources at hand, their intentions, their finances, their current projects, how a closer eye on Wilson's Wildlife would tax their time and energy. The debate was heated, but professional. The views controversial, but none idiotic. The more they discussed, the more one thing became clear:

Wilson's Wildlife Solutions was by no means getting destroyed.

On the contrary, it was going to be used.

With more direct involvement, the Foundation could both ensure that they did their job correctly, and use their connections with the public to alleviate costs and give a convenient venue for connections with the anomalous community. Yes, if the Foundation played their cards right, Wilson's Wildlife could be more than just a passive help, but well and truly beneficial day to day.

A tool.

Of course, they had seen what had happened to Wilson's while they let them do their own thing. There would have to be strict restrictions on the group, and perhaps the task force that William would organize could help directly oversee their actions. Indeed, it sounded like a good decision on paper.

After hours of debating, at last, they came to a conclusion. And, after days of diplomacy and interactions, the SCP Foundation and Wilson's Wildlife Solutions came to an agreement.




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