"You want me to go back into the field?"
"We need you to go back into the field. This is not a request. This is an order," the woman in the mint-green pantsuit said.
Dr. Alto Clef, (also known as Agent Ukelele (also known as The Father of Lies (also known as The Serpent (also known as The Smiling Man (also known as That Bastard))))) shook his head. "After the way you treated us last time? I think fucking not."
"We had no choice," the woman in the mint-green pantsuit said. "It was an emergency. We needed all your skills back then. We need them again now."
"Why? So I can ride herd on the next batch of schmucks you convince to do your dirty work? All to end up getting tossed out into the cold the moment that something goes wrong? That something being caused by the bullshit protocols under which you're going to make us operate, this hobbling our ability to do our fucking jobs? I refuse. You'll have to find someone else to be your hit man."
"I say again, this is not a request, this is an order," the woman in the mint-green pantsuit said. "Or have you forgotten the terms of our deal? Are you reneging?"
Clef did not reply.
"It's a dangerous world out there for a young woman. Especially one who has the kinds of challenges she does," she continued. "Very dangerous indeed."
The seconds ticked by. Clef unclenched his fists, trying to ignore the pain his fingernails had caused digging into the palms of his hands. "So it's come down to this, huh? You're going to use her as leverage against me?"
"If we must. We would prefer that you come back to work for us in a much more amicable fashion," the woman in the mint-green pantsuit said.
"It's been nine years. I've been behind a fucking desk most of that time. I don't know if I can do it again like I used to."
"It will all come back to you."
"No. As much as I hate to admit it, I'm nine years older," Clef said. "I'm not as fast or as strong or as tough as I used to be. I've got a bigger beer belly. My hands shake. My eyes are worse. If you want me to do this again, I'm going to need some help."
"We anticipated this. Draw up a list of candidates for your Task Force…"
"I only have one. Andrea Adams."
"Impossible," the woman in the mint-green pantsuit said.
"No, it's not."
"Adams is assigned to—"
"Adams has been assigned to desk duty because you're afraid of her. But if I'm going to do the job you're asking me to do, I need Adams. I know she's been requesting reassignment to Mobile Task Forces. I know you've been denying her requests. Either you give me Adams, or you find someone else to head your Task Force."
The seconds ticked by. "Your condition is agreed upon," the woman in the mint-green pantsuit said. "Andrea Adams will be reassigned to your task force, as requested."
"Then get the hell out of my way and let me get to work," Clef growled. "And send me a copy of the bastard's file as soon as possible."
Item #: SCP-████ (SCP number pending)
Object Class: Keter
Special Containment Procedures:
SCP-████ is to be contained in a standard Class-B Suite at Site-17. Until such time as a termination order can be carried out, containment procedures are to utilize the Appeasement Protocol. For this reason, all requests for alterations to furnishings are to be carried out at the first available opportunity.
Currently, alterations include:
- One refrigerator, to be restocked daily with requested food and drinks. (Approved)
- One television with XBoxOne video game console, online capabilities disabled. (Approved)
- Various games for XBoxOne, including Watch_Dogs and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. (Approved)
- Personal computer for entertainment purposes, including limited access to streaming video files uploaded to local non-internet enabled server (Approved, SCP-████ is to provide a weekly request sheet of desired movies).
- Female companionship for the purposes of sexual activity (Pending)
Subject is a male of European descent between the ages of 19-24 with blond hair and blue eyes, approximately 160 cm tall, 82 kg in weight. Subject is extremely emotionally unstable, with a short temper, refusal to submit to authority, and tendency towards temper tantrums. As the subject's emotional instability directly correlates to the manifestation of his anomalous abilities, every effort is to be made to avoid provoking any emotional outbursts from the subject.
Subject is a Type 2 localized line-of-sight reality alterer. Mean range of effect is 20 meters, with a maximum detected range of 200 meters. Primary form of reality alteration is physical phenomena, including rapid dislocation of objects, distortion of local-space time, and telekinetic force effect.
Subject has limited control over their abilities, which correlate to incidents of high stress or emotional distress in the subject. Attempts to administer sedatives have proven unsuccessful to date. Due to the difficulties in containing the subject, O5 command has authorized use of the Appeasement Protocol for temporary containment, pending final termination.
"Good to see you again too, Adams."
"I thought I told you three years ago that I never wanted to see you again, you loathsome fuck." Adams slid into the chair across from Clef's and put her kitten-heel black leather pumps on a stack of half-finished paperwork. "And yet, here I am. Care to explain this bullshit?"
"Your use of invective has improved dramatically," Clef said. "You never swore like this when you worked for me."
"That's because I was fucking terrified of you."
"You never asked for a transfer."
"I was damned if I was going to let you get the better of me."
"And you've done well since then. Moved up the ranks. Your rise has been meteoric. From Junior Administrative Assistant to Senior Special Agent in less than five years? No one else has ever been promoted that quickly in the history of the Foundation."
"No thanks to you. What do you want?"
"You've requested transfer to the Mobile Task Forces, but you haven't heard yet where you're going. You're wondering what's taking so long. What's taking so long is this."
Clef tossed a manila envelope onto the desk. Adams picked it up gingerly between thumb and forefinger.
"Oh, just open it, it won't bite."
"I'm never sure with you," Adams growled. But she opened the folder up and began to read.
It took her about half an hour to finish reading, and by the time she was done, her stomach felt like it was made of lead. "This is real?" she asked hoarsely.
"This is…" Adams shook her head. "Clef, these stupid motherfuckers are reinstating the Omega-Seven project."
"Alpha-Niner now. 'Last Hope.' Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?"
Adams tossed the manila folder back into the desk. "Let me guess," she said. "They want me to be a part of it?"
"No, Adams. You're being assigned to a new Mobile Task Force. Tav Six Sixty Six."
"No," Clef said. "Tav, with a 'V'. Hebrew alphabet, not Greek."
That didn't make any sense. "Mobile Task Forces don't use the Hebrew alphabet," Adams said.
"You've always been quick at noticing the obvious, Adams."
"Oh, fuck off, Doctor," Adams snapped.
"No. I'm serious. Noticing the obvious is a useful skill in this line of work. Now tell me something else obvious that no one would have noticed."
What the hell else was there? "A three-digit number?" Adams asked.
"Number of the Beast, my dear. Numerologically speaking, the number of Nero, the Roman Emperor who stood by and fiddled while Rome burned. The man whom the early Christians hated so much that they turned his name into that of the Devil itself. You see the symbolism?"
Adams rolled her eyes. "Stop with the 'Devil' bullshit. I don't buy it for a moment."
"I'm not the Devil, Adams. But we are Satans. Adversaries. Opposers. Our role is to oppose. To be the adversary that—"
"You see what I mean about noticing the obvious, Adams? Yes, our. I'm the commanding officer. You're my exec. And that's it. Tav-666 is an MTF of two."
The clock ticked on.
"And here's the part you're really going to love," Clef said. "Mobile Task Force Tav Triple Six is a black Task Force. We appear on no org charts. Except to the O5s, we don't exist. Our job is going to be to keep an eye on the O5's new toys."
Things became clear. Adams steepled her fingers. "We're the safety valve in case Alpha-Niner goes tits-up," she said.
Clef smiled. "Ah, Adams. I knew I liked you for a reason."
Addendum: Per the Clef Protocol, SCP-████ is to be terminated at the earliest possible opportunity. Senior Agent Andrea Adams will carry out the termination.
"So what now?"
"Now, Adams? You prove you can do the job. Read this."
Clef handed her a black folder marked SCP NUMBER PENDING. He poured himself a drink from the water cooler while Adams read. He knew that she was done by the annoyed scoffing noise she made. "I think I've read this story before," she said.
"You see it too? Exactly the same flavor profile as the first one they asked me to take down. Phase 4 Reality Bender. Limited power, limited control. Emotional trigger. Appeasement-based containment." Clef grinned. "Almost as if they were setting this up as a test case."
Adams drummed her steepled fingertips against each other. "You think they did?"
"You think O5s wouldn't?"
Adams exhaled deeply. "People have died thanks to this Skip," she said.
"That they have."
Something about Clef's voice made something inside her brain go click. "You don't trust the O5s," she said accusingly.
"I know them, Adams," Clef said. "They don't see people. They see lives. They see numbers. They make all their decisions based on the cold calculus of logic. Maybe that's the only way that you can run an organization like ours. But it means that we can't trust them to help us. We're not just expendable, we're disposable." He dropped the empty paper cup into his trash can.
"Sounds like the thinking of a certain motherfucker I know."
"But not your thinking. That's why I need you—"
"Stuff it, Clef." Adams got to her feet, picking up both folders from Clef's desk. "You'll have my equipment request by tomorrow morning."
Equipment request re: Termination of Subject Alpha (SCP-████)
- Staging area located no further than ten meters from the entrance of the containment facility.
- Access to SCP-408, coordinated by Special Liaison Zyn Kiryu.
- Suppressed "Mk-217" rifle (Accurized AR-15 variant)
Please see also preparations to be made for placement of demolitions charges on and around SCP-████ containment facility, as prepared by MTF-Psi-7 ("Home Improvement") for immediate destruction by remote trigger.
Senior Special Agent Andrea S. Adams
I see you're sampling my beats. Equipment request approved ██/██/████. Good hunting, Adams.
Assistant Director Alto Clef
Department of Training and Development.
He was sitting on his couch, pressing "X" to pay respects, when the door to his apartment opened and a naked Scarlett Johannsen walked in.
"Hey there, big boy," she said, in a seductive, sultry voice.
He was still staring at her tits when Adams shot him between the eyes.
"… what the hell was that, Adams?"
"That, Dr. Clef, was a successful termination." Adams smiled as she looked up at the ceiling of Clef's office, leaning back in the ratty office chair.
"You got Kiryu to make a naked Scarlett Johannsen illusion and shot the target through it. What the hell made you think that was a good idea?"
Adams sat up straight, leaned her elbows on Clef's desk. "I checked the kid's Netflix history," she said. "More accurately, I looked at the files he's requesting from the central entertainment server."
It wasn't often that Dr. Alto Clef looked lost for words.
"Iron Man 2. The Avengers. Captain America 2," Adams went on. "At first I thought he was just a Marvel fan, but then I noticed he's also been watching Lucy and Under The Skin. It was the last movie that tipped me off." She smiled grimly. "Especially because he only ever watches a few minutes of that one."
Clef sighed, rubbed his forehead with his fingertips. "All right," he conceded, "so you used a naked illusion of a movie star to distract him. Can we talk about your kill method? Completely insufficient!"
"Only if you can't hit the broad side of a barn like you. Besides, I had the entire area rigged with explosives in case I missed the shot."
"I know. If you had to use those, you would have killed yourself and everyone else in the area."
"That's why I didn't miss." Adams smiled triumphantly. "Admit it, Doctor Clef. You're just jealous that I've accomplished something you never could."
"I decommissioned a Skip… and stayed within my budget."
Clef and Adams locked eyes. Clef's smile widened. "Touché, Adams," he said softly.
The clock ticked on.
"Well," Clef said brightly. "The Skip is dead. Traditionally, this is when we go out and I buy you a beer."
"Can't." Adams got out of the chair and picked up her sports coat. "Got a date."
Clef raised his eyebrow. "Really? Heh. What's his name?"
Clef laughed: a short, mirthless, barking laugh. "You're full of surprises, Adams."
"The Great Doctor Clef, caught off-guard. This has been a good day."
It's a universal truth that the paperwork always takes ten times longer than the actual mission.
Dr. Clef reflected on this fact as he finished typing up the expense report for Adams' first decommission. In terms of equipment, she had indeed stayed far under budget. The irritating thing, however, was making sure that the proper departments got billed for their time and labor.
He clicked over to the first tab, the one where he would fill out the information for the Task Force that had carried out the mission. Tav-666 was off the books, but he did need to put something down, so that the system would accept the expense report. A dummy Task Force he could use to launder the funds to run Tav-666.
Clef grinned as he began to type.
On Monday, Senior Special Agent Adams walked into her office to find a slip of paper on her desk.
EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, you are reassigned to Mobile Task Force Lambda 2: "Dr. Clef's Bisexual Assassination Squad."
Team Leadership: Dr. A. Clef (Commanding Officer), Senior Agent A. Adams (Executive Officer).
Team Membership: N. Romanoff, L. Uci, S. Iphone, K. Foster, L. Epidermis.
Assignment: "To Kill Bad Guys Using Images of Beautiful Naked Women And Other Means."
Adams felt a vein in her temple start to throb.