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Welcome to yer orientation. I am Agent Max Lombardi. I am your instructor, on account that my leg is broken and someone in Personnel hates me.

Now, you're here because the possibility exists that you are not jackasses and might could be useful in the containment of anomalous items what are going to try to kill you.

So, let's start with the basic mission. We are out to find weird shit and bring it back, and then to contain it. Your more scholarly colleagues are the ones who study it from behind bullet-proof glass and bitch about how hard their job is. They are receiving a similar briefing in Room 67. They got donuts and coffee in there, just in case you was hopin' there might be some modicum of justice in this cold, uncarin' bitch of a universe.

Anyway, some of youse are gonna be retrieval, like me, while others are gonna be containment. You might even switch it around sometimes. Retrieval generally is preceeded by investigation by intel. Intel—who also have coffee and donuts, in case you were wonderin' how far the budget stretches—will go forth, find leads, gather facts, and then tell you sweet fuck all.

On receipt of this dearth of information, you will go out to exotic locales where you will be forbidden from stoppin' and havin' a drink or conversin' with the locals what aren't tryin' to kill you. You will go to where intel tells you the whatever-the-fuck is. An agent much higher on the food chain than you will go and talk to people for the purpose of figurin' out what's goin' on. Do not envy this agent. Shit goes wrong, he's in the worst place possible. Anyway, once he gives the go-ahead, the rest of the team comes in and takes out the skip as quiet as possible.

Skip, by the way, is what we call said anomalous entities. I am sure I do not need to tell you where it comes from.

Now, sometimes skips don't come along so quiet as we would like. I mean, sure, maybe it's a nice inanimate object that don't hurt no one, or some guy who don't even want to go around free if he's hurtin' someone. Most of the time, it's somethin' easy. But sometimes, it's somethin' that really don't want to come along quiet-like an' it has the means to enforce its wishes. So you apply stronger coercion. Ideally, intel will have figured out what this skip can take an' you can proceed directly to enough firepower to knock it loopy. Ideally, we would have donuts and coffee. Since we usually go in knowin' jack shit, you'll start off with your bare hands and work up from there.

Now, at a certain point, it looks like yer gonna have to choose between catchin' the skip an' comin' home on your own two feet. Who here is willin' to die rather than give up on the mission? One, two, three, four… Okay, you five fail. Counter to what some dingbats will tell you, the latter is actually the preferred option. Capturin' skips is the name of the game, but findin' agents who can actually do the fuckin' job is hard, an' you can always catch more skips later on. Your best option is to run the fuck away. That way, they can always send someone else in to get the fucker. If you can't, an' it comes down to a life-or-limb decision, that's when you pull out your gun and you shoot the fucker. If that don't work, you shoot it again, because ninety-nine times outta a hundred, shootin' will work if you do enough of it.

This don't mean you got leave to shoot anything that moves 'cause Agent Lombardi told you so. You do it when you gotta. We aim to bring these things in whole an' intact. But if that ain't gonna happen, the Foundation will settle for studyin' what's left.

So, them's the basics of retrieval. The rest of you are gonna be involved in containment.

Now, containment is in some ways easier. You know where the skip is, and hopefully you got some idea of what the damned thing does and how to stop it. However, there are some complications.

First off, the skip might be watchin' you too, dependin' on how smart it is. That means it's got a better idea of what we can do. It gets out, it's gonna know what the uniforms mean, and who's likely to be armed. It's also gonna be pissed. Ideally, it is more pissed at the guys in white coats stickin' needles into it, but it might remember it was your buddies who rolled it up an' brought it there.

Also, unless you're at a single-skip site, if it gets loose, it might let other shit out too, an' suddenly you're dealin' with five or six skips instead of just one. Now, they might just start fightin' amongst themselves, but you're gonna have to go in the middle of all that to break 'em up, and they just ain't gonna play along.

Also, remember how I said most of the time, retrieval is goin' after somethin' harmless? Yeah, you don't get that luxury. Sure, some of the skips you're guardin' are safe. But some of them will rip off your head and scoop out yer brains. And you're around them every fuckin' day. This is especially true if you're at one of them single-skip sites I mentioned, because they don't put them kinda resources to work to watch the fuckin' vending machine.

So, that's life as an agent for ya. Questions?

You with the glasses an' the turtleneck. How weird? Well, I once saw a guy have his bones turned into jelly. Grape jelly. Yes, they did tests. They all came back grape. That weird enough?

Guy with the buzzcut, shoot. Who decides what we go after? Generally, it'll be a site director in charge of retrieval. Ultimately, it goes up to the O5 Council, but they're really more into general strategy then day-to-day operations.

Okay, you with the messed up piercing. I don't know where this shit comes from. It's intel's job to figure that shit out. Please refer back to my previous statements on intel.

Red shirt, third row. Health benefits? They're great, if you come back alive. We got the best doctors on the planet. If it's possible to get you back on yer feet again, they'll do it.

Yes, you in the back. With the duck. The upside to the job? Well, for one thing, we get paid pretty good. For another, if we don't do the job, the world will probably end. That ain't a joke. Seriously, somebody has to do this job. Don't you wanna live to see tomorrow? Good choice.

Okay, tubby. What's your question? How do you get in one of the groups with coffee an' donuts? You go fuck yourself, that's how.

Okay, the skinny twerp with the goatee. Clef? He's a researcher slash agent slash I don't know what the fuck. Seriously, most of the stories you hear about him are bullshit. The rest are also bullshit, but may be based on something that kinda happened once if you squint. In any case, you ain't Clef, so don't get any ideas. When you've been around a while, then you can start thinkin' about emulatin' him, except you'll be too smart to.

Okay, the dame by the door. The monkey? That's Doctor Bright. He's harmless. That bein' said, you got a taser. He has genitalia. You do the math.

So that concludes my briefin'. Since you been so good, I arranged to get punch an' cookies. It ain't as good as coffee an' donuts, but hey… ours ain't fulla laxatives.

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