Roach Wrangling at Kiryu Labs
rating: +21+x

Normally, Dr. Riven Mercer disliked cleaning the Kiryu Labs biological testing room. Listed simply as “Experimental Room 210”, it was less of an experimental chamber than an enormous haphazard collection of temporary quarters for various small living things. This meant that at any given time, there were usually some low-threat anomalous creatures in the room, such as the tortoise with the barbecue grill shell from eight months ago. Kiryu Labs rarely saw living anomalies for monthly processing caches, but nevertheless the room was kept well stocked with tall plants, various pet foods, and glass jars for obtaining samples and catching bugs.

Of all the 18 rooms that made up the Labs’ anomalous item processing chambers, Experimental Room 210 was routinely the smelliest and noisiest. Not to mention the dirtiest, Riven thought as he tiptoed his way through some bushes near the entrance, since the floor is dirt.

Dr. Mark Kiryu, Director of Kiryu Labs and resident bug-lover, was standing in the hanging mesh tent set up in the corner furthest from the chamber door, underneath the skylight window in the ceiling. The tent existed to house the anomalous winged animals sent to Kiryu Labs, and tended to need repairs once every few months due to being pecked at, chewed on, and occasionally set on fire. As Riven approached, he noticed two things: Mark was trimming a large potted ficus, and Mark had a small yellow bird on his head.

“It’s a cockatiel,” Mark commented, snipping away at the ficus. Riven blinked.

“I can see that. Is it anomalous?” Riven asked, walking closer to Mark in a half-circle to look at the bird from different angles.

“Banana,” replied the yellow cockatiel helpfully.

“One of the MTFs sent him over,” Mark explained, setting down his pruning shears and collecting the trimmed leaves and branches off the ground. “He and a few other animals were seized from an unscrupulous breeder. Guy was hoping to get a contract with a company marketing tropical fruits overseas. The bird was kept in a cat carrier.”

“Banana,” the cockatiel confirmed. It shifted on Mark’s head a bit as he stood up and placed the tree trimmings in a bag.

Mark reached over his head and gave the bird a few pats. “This bird only eats bananas, only says the word “banana”, and is yellow… like bananas. DNA analysis indicates 99.5 percent banana genome. Also he smells like bananas. Guess which fruit he was made to advertise?”

Riven moved his hand to the bird and tried to get it to step onto his fingers. “Tangerines,” he replied, adjusting his arm so the banana bird could climb over to his shoulder. Mark rolled his eyes. “I think they gave you that doctorate too soon, Rivs. And give me back my banana. I need him to help me concentrate on pruning all the plants.”

Banana the anomalous cockatiel tried to affectionately eat Riven’s hair. Riven grinned. “I think he likes me. And if you’re doing all the plant pruning, what am I supposed to do?”

Mark scooted his hand over Riven’s shoulder and stole the bird back. “His friend is named Coconut and he’s sitting in the ficus. You can wear Coconut as a hat. Banana is mine. I am socializing him properly.” Mark put the yellow cockatiel back on his head. “The interns cleaned up most of the droppings and testing debris this morning, but there was admittedly one thing they were less sure they could do properly.”

Riven was looking through the ficus to try and spot the coconut bird. “What was it?”

Mark handed Riven a glass cup and a piece of paper.

“Pest control. Or roach wrangling, if you prefer.”

FadRoach.jpg

"Fad Roach", attempting a new cleanse.

SCP-723-J-1 is a Periplaneta Americana (American cockroach) believed to be a distant relative to SCP-723-J.

SCP-723-J's anomaly manifests in its unusual preoccupation with following popular human behavioral trends, such as dieting, specialized exercise regimens, and intelligent technology for the home environment. Individuals who encounter SCP-723-J-1 will take note of its overzealous desire to be seen as hip and stylish.

SCP-723-J-1 Intake Log Interview

Dr. ██████: Where did you get that? Are you sure it’s good for your digestive system?

SCP-723-J-1: [eats]

Dr. ██████: Do you think Sad Roach would be happy that you’re so obsessed with dieting? Is this new cleanse really necessary?

SCP-723-J-1: [eats]

Dr. ██████: Isn’t this the third diet you’ve tried in the last week?

SCP-723-J-1: [eats]

Dr. ██████: Fad Roach, no.

“Fad Roach? That’s a new one.” Mark wheeled in a small green waste disposal bin into the Kiryu Labs spare room, where Riven was reading aloud from a sheaf of papers and chuckling. Two glass jars, each with a cockroach inside, were next to him on a countertop.

“It’s pretty good. The last intern just brought it in, after he helped me catch these two over by the main hallway.” Riven flipped over one of the sheets. “It’s nice that you encourage writing these up.

Mark poked at one of the jars. The roach inside wiggled its antennae menacingly. “Well, newer initiates don’t always get to write up documentation in their first year. I figure, why not let them practice? Especially since plenty of the other staff are funnier than I am. I mean, look at Bad Roach.” He picked up the two jars. “I’ll get these little guys processed. I don’t think they’re anomalous, but hey, can never be too careful in a place like this. Also the arthropod guys in the Bio Wing might be looking to use these for tests.”

Riven shrugged, continuing to read through his packet of papers. “I’ve covered most of the experimental rooms. Agent Shen was going to help out with the rest.”

“Agent Shen, huh? Resident roach murderer? Should we let him in on the inside joke?” Mark had placed the jars of roach onto a wheeled cart. "I admit, I'm curious to see what he would write."

Looking up from the papers, Riven thought for a moment. “Why not? Shen can be funny on occasion… not that funny, but it can't be that bad. Also hey, listen to this one from the Level-2 who cleaned Room 217 earlier today…”

MadRoach.jpg

Mad Roach, sulking.

SCP-723-J-2 is a Periplaneta Americana (American cockroach) believed to be a younger cousin of SCP-723-J.

SCP-723-J's anomaly manifests in its deep, frequently-displayed emotional turmoil, comparable to that of SCP-723-J but evidently not to the point where SCP-723-J-2 would garner the same amount of attention from observers. While SCP-723-J-2 appears to shun socialization and human contact, it is currently believed that its attempts to discourage interaction are in fact intended to raise concern and attract sympathy for it. Any destructive outbursts exhibited by SCP-723-J-2 appear to follow this pattern of behavior.

SCP-723-J-2 Intake Log Interview

Dr. ██████: Mad Roach, did you chew another hole in your room again?

SCP-723-J-2: [sits in room]

Dr. ██████: You need to open up to your friends about when you’re upset.

SCP-723-J-2: [turns to face away from interviewer]

Dr. ██████: You can’t throw tantrums every time you don’t get what you want!

SCP-723-J-2: [sits in room]

Dr. ██████: Mad Roach no.

Two hours later, after the entirety of Kiryu Labs had been deemed pest-free and the monthly roach wrangling had concluded, Dr. Riven Mercer found himself attempting to explain a joke about roaches.

“What roach?” Agent Tai Yang Shen, Foundation field agent and Kiryu Labs’s resident man of few words, was sitting at a table in the break room, peeling an apple with a pocket knife.

“Sad Roach.” Riven was perched on the end of the same table, gnawing on a slice of toast.

“I don’t think so. Was it a movie? French or something?”

“No, the roach you, uh… ran into a few weeks ago. You honestly don’t remember?” After picking at the crust, Riven crammed the rest of the toast into his mouth.

“I often dispose of lab roaches. I remember the ones outside more. I let them live since they’re food for the bird families.” With an idle flick of the knife, Shen tossed a large scrap of apple peel into the nearby green waste bin.

“You really don’t like roaches much, do you.”

“No.”

“Okay… well, uh… Mark invited you to write a joke article if you want, since it’s the New Year and all, and we figured that we’d try and get everyone to socialize more this year? Group solidarity and whatnot? And this is something that all the interns and some of the joint researchers do during downtime to practice writing and stuff, and we have a format for the roaches as a funny thing we do for everyone who helps out with the cleaning, and each person has their own approach… haha… unintentional pun… I mean…” Riven paused in the middle of gesturing wildly, having realized that he was gesturing wildly.

Agent Shen continued to peel his apple. “Sure.”

DadRoach.jpg

Dad roach.

SCP-723-J-3 is a Periplaneta Americana (American cockroach) believed to be the biological father of SCP-723-J.

SCP-723-J-3's anomaly manifests in its deep disappointment with SCP-723-J, and its ability to induce feelings of guilt in any intelligent being that encounters it and hears the story of how its dreamer of a son failed to accomplish anything worthwhile in life.

SCP-723-J-3 Intake Log Interview

Dr. ██████: Can’t you forgive your son? Was what he did really that deplorable?

Dad Roach: [silence]

Dr. ██████: He was just trying his best to make it in the world, even if he didn’t follow the path you wanted him to take.

Dad Roach: [silence]

Dr. ██████: Will you at least speak to him one last time?

Dad Roach: No.

Mark glanced at Riven, and Riven glanced back at Mark.

“Rivs, we’re never letting Shen write any more of these. He is banned from making jokes. Agreed?”

Dr. Mercer nodded. “Agreed.”

The Dad Roach paper was still placed with the other Roach Files, for posterity.


Meanwhile, Agent Tai Yang Shen loaded the last of the green waste into the disposal unit outside, pausing as he noticed yet another cockroach scuttling around the trash cans nearby. Shen nudged it into a clump of weeds bordering the planted areas in the building’s courtyard.

“I assume you’re happy to be alive,” the agent muttered contemplatively. The roach, undeterred, crawled back out of the weeds and sat on the toe of his right boot.

“Glad Roach, no.” he said pleasantly, shaking his foot and flipping the insect back into the planters. The roach wiggled its antennae at him and disappeared into the bushes.

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