The small briefing room was intended to seat twenty people. Now, it held maybe sixty.
Each and every one of the people crammed into the room were from the highest echelons of the Foundation. At least one of them was a member of O5 Command, though only one of them knew which. They were watching the recordings and analysis of the recent Site-17 security breach. Breakdowns. Analysis.
Mostly, they were watching the footage of SCP-105.
Just outside the doorway, a smaller group of five people watched the activity in the briefing room. The first was in heels, and seemed rapt by the presentation. The second wore a hat, and a glum expression. The third wore a dark suit and looked serious, accentuated by a somewhat military air. The fourth wore spectacles. The fifth wore a nice pair of gloves: Cordovan leather.
These five were not members of O5 Command. An unromantic way of putting it would be that they belonged to O5's secretarial pool. Everything about them was classified: their histories, their positions, their roles, their names, even their genders. They were close enough to the top to have power, but still expendable enough to be useful.
"You see 'em," Heels said. "They're thinking it too."
"I can't believe we're actually considering this," Hat said.
"She hasn't been able to practice her abilities for the last ten years," Suit said. "Since Omega-7."
"Nine years," Heels said, watching the recording on the briefing room's projector.
"Still," Suit said.
"These aren't her anomalous abilities," Spectacles said. "Just her arms training."
"Still," Suit echoed. "The way she handles the gun jamming." Suit shook their head in admiration. "Tap, rack, bang, without hesitation. That's extraordinary retention."
"Why is this idea so damn appealing?" Hat asked. "It was a simple containment breach. Why does anyone care about this single SCP?"
"You know why," Heels said. "Because she represents Omega-7 as much as Able. We wrote off Able. We wrote off Iris. Maybe we didn't need to write off both."
"That's not enough," Hat said.
Gloves smiled. "Because some people in the Foundation never stopped wanting to play with superheroes."
"It's not just that either," Heels said. "We all know that the Council takes it as read that we need to make further use of anomalous assets. Amnestic use alone has ramped up massively in the past few years. And we wouldn't still exist without the use of Scranton reality anchors."
"Those are anomalous largely for technical reasons," Hat said. "105, and anomalies like her, are things that shouldn't even exist. Even if that didn't matter, using sapient anomalies as weapons is always a bad idea."
"It might be," Heels said. "But just look at her. She took down five hostiles and helped shut down a breach. You've seen her psych profile: she's absolutely loyal. And with her abilities — if we allowed her to develop them again — her potential is —"
"Potential?" Hat asked. "What you're proposing is to take an SCP — one of our safest humanoids, to boot — and make it much more dangerous. And that's just for starters. Which other SCPs are we going to include in this project? Are we going to jump straight to running 076 again? How many Sites do you think we'll lose this time?"
"You know we're smarter than that now," Heels said.
"Are we? Why is this necessary?"
"You've seen the archives, same as me," Heels said. "Back when Omega-7 existed, how many SCP objects had the Foundation archived? How many have we archived since then? How many have we archived in the past year alone?"
They all knew the answer.
"That doesn't make this the right response," Hat said. "Not what we're discussing. Not an anomalous task force."
"We're at our limits. We can't just passively contain anymore. You've seen all the reports I have. All the new Thaumiels we've been forced to create? We need to go further. We need to make use of all our assets. We need to act now, or maybe we don't survive another nine years. And maybe the Earth doesn't, either."
"A task force doesn't solve that problem."
"Maybe not. Maybe not right away. But it's a start. It sends a message. Opens the door for other things."
"The cost will be too high. You should know that."
"I have some concerns as well," Suit said. "Project Resurrection will already suffer from comparisons to the Zero Incident and the Kondraki debacle. Omega-7 is one of the few projects imaginable that people might have a bigger problem with remembering than the destruction of Site-19."
"I understand that," Heels said. "But… just look."
Heels nodded at the group in the briefing. They were watching 105 take out the invaders again. An analyst was explaining why Team Iris had been shuttered. She was taking questions. People were asking questions. The queue for the microphone stretched into the hall.
"If we don't do this," Heels said, "someone else will, a few years down the line. And they will do it wrong."
"I have to admit I'm surprised at the response," Suit said. "I thought a lot of people considered 105 irrelevant after all this time. Without her camera, pretty much neutralized."
"Some did," Heels said. "Many don't."
"If I may?" Gloves spoke up for the second time. "Iris Thompson was second only to Able as Omega-7's most important asset. For good or for ill, everyone remembers Omega-7. It left a mark on our organization bigger than almost anything else since the Insurgency. We cannot enter into this lightly."
"Even if I agreed with this," Hat said, "it'll never be approved. A lot of people are going to react to this… poorly."
"Any change of significance makes people angry," Heels said.
"The difference is that this time they'll have grounds to complain," Hat said. "And even if… even if it were approved… she won't agree."
"105?" Heels asked. "She'll agree."
"Able killed the rest of Omega-7, remember? With her parents gone, her former life gone, her team on Omega-7 made up all the people she cared about in the world. And she watched them all die." They paused. "She was fifteen. Fifteen. She'll never forgive us for that, and she'll never agree to this."
"She will," Heels said.
"I won't be a part of this," Hat said. "If you want to do this, you know what to do. If you need advice, you know where to find me. But I can't sign on to what you're proposing here. Sorry."
Hat tipped their namesake and walked away. The rest stood in silence, watching the activity in the briefing room.
"What are you gonna call it?" Suit asked Heels. "The Mobile Task Force. Gonna revive Omega-7?"
"Not Omega-7," Heels said. "Too much baggage. We know we need to do this differently. We may as well start with the name."
"You want numerological significance," Gloves said. "Important for a project like this. Go with Alpha-9."
"So you're on board, then?"
"Hell no. This is a terrible idea. It's probably the worst idea I've ever heard from some otherwise smart people." Gloves smiled. "But it should be entertaining as hell. I wish you all luck."
The remainder of the group watched Gloves disappear down the hallway.
"How about you two?" Heels asked Suit and Spectacles.
Suit nodded. "I'm convinced for now."
"I'm on board," Spectacles said. "My reservations aside, I can't deny that this is a natural fit for the Resurrection Project. I know a couple high-placed potential allies, people who would… jump… at this kind of opportunity. We can do it right this time. We gain nothing if we don't try. We can keep enough control this time that there need be no unnecessary loss of life or damage to the Foundation. If it turns out badly for us, then so be it. At least then we'll know."
"Reopening Pandora's Box, then," Heels said. "I suppose in that myth, the box could never be closed again anyway."
"Not Pandora's Box," Suit said. "Let's call it what it is."
"And what's that?"
"What was left over when Pandora's Box was opened," Suit said. "Last Hope."