The office of Dr. Isaac Seidelman was quiet in the early evening, the pale yellow light of his desk lamp warming the building’s old walls. The sunset was vanishing beneath the veil of night, the last of the red and orange light fading from the sky out the windows of his corner office. The old security lights outside began to flick on one by one as the sun fell, as Bio-Site 66 settled down for the night.
Seidelman was a thin, tall man, dressed in a pale old grey suit. He and Dr. Bridge were co-directors of this site, and while Bridge headed most of the… hands-on research, Seidelman handled inter-site communication and a host of administrative duties. Somebody had to, after all.
He sat back, feet up on his desk, reading the paper as he waited for his usual visitor. He was the first person in every day, and tonight he’ll be the last one out.
There was a knock at the door as the clock hit seven-thirty, and Seidelman’s guest let himself in. A tall, older man, older than Seidelman, balding and fair skinned, wearing a heavy brown overcoat. He carefully shut the door behind him, as Seidelman pulled himself to sit upright and fold his paper.
“Good evening, Administrator.”
“Good evening, Dr. Seidelman.”
Seidelman smiled, gesturing to the admin’s usual worn old chair in the corner. The Administrator’s hands were folded, as usual, as he sat back in the chair, letting out a quiet breath. Seidelman, in the meanwhile, produced a bottle of scotch from beneath his desk.
An odd tradition manifested between the two, some time long ago. Once weekly, they would spend a few hours and enjoy one another’s company. If Seidelman brought the booze, the Administrator brought the stories. The doctor was sure that some of them were true. But the man across the room never seemed to keep it all consistent from week to week. Not that either of them minded.
Seidelman poured them each a glass, and set both on his desk, leaning to set one near the closest edge to his guest. The two sat in silence in the dim office for several long minutes, before Seidelman finally broke the silence again.
“Another bad week, my friend?”
“Every week is a bad week somewhere, Dr. Seidelman,” an arm slid from beneath the Administrator’s coat, stretching and reaching across to pick up his scotch. “You already know that.”
“Mmm. Shall we talk about it? Or about something else?” asked the doctor.
The Administrator took a sip of scotch, the glass still held daintily from the peculiar tanned hand, extended from his coat of arms. His own two remained close to one another, clasped in his lap. After a moment he stood up, out of the weathered armchair, and stepped towards the window, his own hands drawing to clasp behind his back.
“I’d like to talk about something else tonight, Dr. Seidelman. If you wouldn’t mind.”
“Not at all,” Seidelman sat back in his own chair, a fingertip tracing a circle around the lip of his glass. “What kind of ‘something else’?”
“How about something terrible, Dr. Seidelman?”
“… in a manner of speaking,” the Administrator turned to glance over his shoulder, his own little grim smile apparent even in the dimmed office light. “Tell me, Dr. Seidelman. This Site specializes in biological SCPs, right?”
“… Why yes, it does.”
“What do you know about number two-three-one?”
There was a palpable silence on Seidelman’s side of the room, as he straightened up and set both hands on his desk.
“… I’m vaguely familiar. Outside my wheelhouse, but most Level Four personnel know of -”
“You don’t need to pretend I don’t already know of its notoriety, Dr. Seidelman. Many Level Threes know of it as well. Rumours spread like a pox in our line of work,” the Administrator took another sip of his drink. “Relax, please. We’ve had more interesting chats.”
Seidelman took a breath, relaxing a bit. It’s true, they have had more… interesting discussions. This shouldn’t be any worse, just because it happens to be… that story.
“… Okay, Mr Administrator,” Seidelman reached below his desk, to pull out a plain bottle of water. “Where shall we begin? The secure containment document, or…?”
“It all started with God,” the Administrator said. He said it with a kind of finality, even at the beginning of the story.
“… Three four three?”
“No! Not that God. The other-other one. The Catholic one,”
“… One of the Catholic ones,” the old man glanced back at Seidelman with a shade of grim humour in his eyes. Or at least, what Seidelman thought could be humour.
“You know this nearly as well as I do, but there's always somebody contrarian, Dr. Seidelman. Contrarian to evil, and contrarian to good. Sometimes they’re driven to it themselves, sometimes circumstances press them in some new direction,” the Administrator looked back out the window.
“One of these contrarians was against faith, and everything good it brought. He wanted to bring about Armageddon, or some silliness like that. You know the type, I’m sure,” he took a sip of his drink, pausing both for effect and to help him decide what to say next. “And so he decided to do some… light reading. You’ve read two-three-one’s redacted report, correct?”
“Yes or no, Dr. Seidelman.”
“… Of course, I have.”
“Mm-hmm. So you recall the part about the Satanic sex cult?”
“Yes. Quite starkly.”
“Seven ‘sisters’, Dr. Seidelman. Not literal sisters, of course, but sisters of their ritual. Hell on earth, in more ways than one.”
The Administrator took another sip of his drink, the tanned arm reaching and twisting behind himself to set the glass down on Seidelman’s desk, gracefully and silently. It quickly slipped back beneath the coat, vanishing before its wearer began to speak again.
“We weren’t entirely sure what we were dealing with, when the raid was initiated. We knew there was some sort of supernatural disturbance, and the calling cards of religious ritual behind civilian disappearances. But… we were unprepared, and learned a lot from the experience. Resistance was met, struggled against, and overcome,”
His hands behind his back shifting to clasp more comfortably. “And the first born of the seven became one of the earliest blackbox artifacts. I’ll be visiting that site next month.”
Seidelman nodded, listening quietly. He wondered what became of the mother. He knew better than to ask.
“The second was a shame on our part. You can’t abort evil, Dr. Seidelman. There’s no such thing as nipping it in the bud, when it’s True. Contrary to goodness at such a primitive level.”
“Mmm.” Seidelman nodded again, his eyes following his friend.
“Needless to say, we never made that mistake again,” the Administrator murmured, as a moment of melancholy passed across his face. “The third sister killed herself, to avoid our containment procedures. It was a dark day for everyone on-site. Very dark.”
“And… the fourth?” Seidelman asked, a careful curiosity in his voice.
“… and then somebody decided it was a good idea to try and heal one of the poor girls. You can't heal something that broken, Dr. Seidelman,” the Administrator looked out through the blinds, bitterness in his voice, the yellow of outside lights crossing his face. “Something that was made broken.”
“Overseer Command decided to try and utilize our panacea to heal the poor girl,” he closed his eyes, turning as if looking out the far window again. “Their logic was sound, of course… Her child was an affliction, Dr. Seidelman. It cured her, causing her to… reject the evil within her. And the evil did not take a human form. It never has, and never will. It loathes everything pure and good in this world, for it was cured of goodness as its mother was cured of evil.”
He inhaled deeply, his gaze out the window and towards the night sky. After a moment, he sat in the old worn armchair, his hands clasped in front of him.
“The dragon, Dr. Seidelman. The fourth is a bastard against nature, and remains one to this day. You know exactly which I mean. The great beast.”
“… that beast?”
“The only one. Of course, we can't say whether it would have been better or worse if nothing had been done. It's sister is nearly as terrible.”
Seidelman’s heart skipped a beat, and he coughed in stunned surprise.
“The fifth sister’s fate remains a shame upon the Foundation,” continued the Administrator. “The ritual was botched, and she bore her child, which was born to a human mother in the human fashion. And so the evil took a human form, human in origins not its nature. I’ve fought to have it black-boxed, but Command sees differently.”
He sat back in his chair, looking across the office to meet Seidelman’s eye.
“And so we contain it, as item number zero-five-three.”
It took a moment for Seidelman to connect the dots, recalling what number zero-five-three was, and what -
“… the Young Girl.”
“But with every mistake, we learn something, don’t we?” the Administrator leaned forward in his chair, his hands clasped together in front of him. “Everything must be born eventually, Dr. Seidelman. Even things that aren’t really born at all, in the real sense of the word.”
“… Do you know what the worst part of this is, my friend?” the Administrator suddenly asked. “It’s the pain. The humanity being scorned, innocent souls being harmed without mercy, to save this earth. Mercy is the bane of safety in our line of work, Dr. Seidelman. But there it is. Without mercy, we aren’t human. The absence of mercy in one man’s heart sparked this entire saga of hell on earth.”
He sat back. “But then, a friend, a good man - a good man - wanted to save the sixth sister’s life. Save her from the hell on earth he saw each day, in that concrete prison we keep them in. And in his mercy and stupidity, they both died, and the sixth child was born.”
Seidelman opened his mouth, before his friend spoke again.
“I would like to say that many died that day,” said the Administrator.
The Administrator fell silent, as Seidelman shifted and looked out his window.
What felt like hours passed, before the Administrator spoke up again.
“… You had an interesting way of starting this conversation off, Dr. Seidelman. Personal demons.”
“Oh… oh, dear, I’m sorry sir.”
“No, don’t apologize. It would be worth a chuckle, if it wasn’t so terribly accurate.”
The Administrator stood up, stepping off towards Seidelman’s desk, a long, thin, pale arm extending from within his coat.
“I’ll be off, with that. I need to be in Uluru tomorrow.”
Seidelman shook the hand, standing up. “Thank you for the visit, my friend. Safe travels. Same time next week?”
“Of course, of course. Goodbye, Dr. Seidelman.”
The Administrator opened the door, and stepped out of Seidelman’s office. Seidelman sat back in his chair as the door closed - he could barely make out conversation, before it shut, leaving silence behind.
He sat for a little while, before reaching for his newspaper and opening it up again. Just another Thursday night chat with a friend.