Where seconds ago was a stern and tall and generally rather intimidating Doctor Gears was now a tiny, fluffy kitten. Well. A cat. A very old and thin cat. The tape that Gears was passing to you fell on to the floor, making an unpleasant sound and you couldn't help but wince because apparently this thing was filled to the brim with all sorts of memetic shit and, no, movement (probably) wouldn't make any of those horrors bursts into the world of living without a proper VHS player (and where the hell you'd get one of those) and did I mention Gears is a cat? Suddenly he is a cat. A fucking cat.
You blinked. Turned around. In the corner where Agent Lament was chilling suddenly was a Bengal cat, casually cleaning it's privates. His. Since it was probably Agent Lament. Most likely. Something told you that it was him. Somehow.
You thought about taking that damn cassette off the floor but decided against it. It was probably safe anyway to touch it but if Foundation thought you something in your years it was that nothing labelled as safe is actually safe in the most common meaning of this word.
Which was also the reason why you decided that touching cats around you was a wrong thing to do. Gears-Cat decided otherwise and hopped off the table and started rubbing himself against your leg. And shedding. You regretted wearing white pants to work. Those thin black hair were everywhere and everything that happened in paragraphs above took maybe less than a minute.
You tried taking few steps back and the moment you saw Lament-Cat casually marking his theory you decide to whoop your ass out of here asap.
Except there were cats in the corridor too. And in the elevator. And in the bureau of Site Director (yes, the bureau. Those high on the ladder had an official bureau and office for researching the research stuff because when you need someone you have to check both places because… convenience!) which was, thank the God (whichever one comes to mind, there is always bound to be at least one out there listening1 at any given moment. Instead of guards, there were cats.
In that moment you also realized how shitty situation was and that the fate of entire Foundation rests on your shoulders.
You had better days in life.2
As you were looking for anything remotely useful inside the bureau, you briefly pondered on possibility of you being a reality bender. For a second you imagined that the cat staring at you from the shelf which resembled Cat-Lament a bit too much for your liking was, in fact, Agent Lament. Nothing did happen, so that theory can go to trash.
Also, Lament was staring at you angrily so you tried to hurry the fuck up but Jesus Fucking Christ and all the Archons Gears somehow found his way here what the fuck and why the hell he's again rubbing against your calves.
Also, you found the key to the elevator. Yay.
So you went to the elevator, Lament and Gears casually following you. You had no heart to allow elevator door to damage either of them (too much) and so when those damn cats finally entered, you tried, as casually as it was only possible while looking straight into the camera on the ceiling, slid the key in and waited for elevator to respond to take you to the usually off-access part of facility.
The O5 part. You were kind of excited, despite the relative seriousness of the situation. You petted Gears and he started to lick your fingers, which was kinda nice and maybe would relax you a little if not the fact that Lament tried to stab you and, hooray, he was declawed. He wasn't neutered, though. That was super unpleasant and unnecessary.
You entered the new hallway which was super nice, aesthetically. Black and sleek and good lord how long someone polished the walls and floor, that is bloody ridiculous. You took in the cautious step inside, looking around.
It would be quiet and silent if not the fact that Lament started to make some sort of unholy noises and just sped across the entire fucking hallway into wherever. Gears didn't want to move, so you gently took the cat into your arms, trying to ignore amount of fur on your fingers and how you could probably feel his every single bone through thin layer of fur and skin. A tad disturbing but Gears seemed pretty cool with being held, actually trying to nest inside your arms, which would be cool if it wasn't, you know, Gears.
Where now? You followed Lament, paws imprinted on the floor (good god, every step was visible on it, including yours and that didn't help your paranoia, helpfully pounded into your head by oh-so-amazing-Foundation) and the shiny, shiny hallway brought you to a dark room, filled only with a big table, thirteen chairs and a big, big shiny red button in the middle of the table. There were no cats there.
A shiny, metallic letters and numbers on the button formed "SCP-2000 DO NOT PRESS WITHOUT A BLOODY GOOD DAMN REASON". Next to it sat a cat, trying to insert his nonexistent claws under the glass that protected the button. Also, the cat was black and made of shadows which was super fucking disturbing but it still had same patterns on fur as Lament so, yeah, that was probably Lament. Somehow. You decided to not question it.
Gears carefully moved in your arms and you allowed him to land on the table. He came closer to Shadow-Cat-Lament and pushed him away with his paw. Lament just stared at him, as if surprised and took few steps back. Somehow the shadowy-ness or whatever disappeared. Was it even there in the first place? You couldn't wonder for too long because Gears opened the glass case and stared at you, as if waiting.
Was Foundation filled with cats a good enough of a reason to push the button?
An unholy screeching in the background assured you that it was. You didn't want to meet catified version of the indestructible gecko.
You pushed the big red shiny button, silently hoping that maybe this time out you won't get -7 C skin because come on, that made cuddling difficult.