Dispatch from the Paintball War
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O5-2 entered the conference room and took her seat at the long table. She said nothing to the other twelve people seated around her, and they said nothing back. The O5 Council only met in person once a month. There was no time, no purpose in any pleasantries.

There were no leaders in the O5 Council, but they each took turns to officiate meetings. This month it was O5-8's turn. He started without ceremony. “We have twelve items to discuss today,” he said. English was the first language of only three O5s, but he spoke it without the trace of an accent. “The first concerns the proposed termination of SCP-2629-A.”

There was a half-second silence, and then O5-7 said “What, the paintball ghosts?”

O5-8 sighed. “These are Class III Incorporeal Humanoid Entities, not ‘ghosts’. But yes, these are in fact, ‘the paintball ghosts’. Well done, Seven.”

“Wait,” said O5-12. “Isn’t this all a bit extreme? 2629-A hasn’t killed anyone. They haven’t even injured anyone, except by accident. We’ve gone to far greater extremes to cage far worse monsters.”

“Normally I’d agree,” said O5-8. “But we’ve had six Aleph-2629 Scenarios in the past six months. Even if 2629-A sticks to attacking Site-19, and I must stress that we have no guarantee it will, the rate of attacks will be get more and more frequent. Working at Site-19 will become intolerable.”

“But it’s still not like us to just give up on an SCP,” said O5-12. “Remember how many people were slaughtered by 096 before we finally agreed to put the bastard down?”

“Could we simply move out of Site-19?” said O5-13.

“Impossible,” said O5-8. “We’ve spent decades and untold billions of dollars building up Site-19. Abandoning it would be an unthinkable waste of resources.”

“We lost eight sites trying to contain 1440,” grumbled O5-12.

“And what a marvellous use of resources that was!” said O5-11. “I had friends who went up in smoke alongside the seventh site. Seems to me that we should have cashed in our chips a little earlier.”

“I lost friends to 1440 too,” said O5-12. “That’s why I’m finding it so hard to accept that we’re surrendering to bloody paintball. Can’t Site-19 simply adapt to daily paintball attacks?”

O5-8 grimaced. “That might be the best option if we can’t agree on termination. But Site-19 contains or is crucial to the containment of over a thousand SCPs. The logistics involved would be immense. Should we value the containment of one SCP over a thousand?”

The O5 Council continued arguing. O5-2’s eyes slid over to the far wall. Every boardroom on the planet had small touches to make it more liveable. Every boardroom but this one. There were no windows, no pot plants, no pictures or certificates on the walls. But what it did have was a wall covered in over three thousand miniature lightbulbs. Every lightbulb had a small numberplate attached to it. Most of the lightbulbs were dark, but here and there, there were a few of them lit up in red. Even as O5-2 watched, a lightbulb marked “2416” slowly lit itself up. O5-2 sighed. She wondered how SCP-2416-21 had managed to kill himself this time. There had been far too many containment breaches in the past month. At least terminating SCP-2629-A would mean one less to worry about.

Around her, the O5 Council still hadn’t reached a consensus. “2629-A is ambulatory,” said O5-7. “If we tear down SCP-2629 it may take up residency in Site-19 permanently.”

“It nearly has already,” said O5-8. “Our estimates say we only have a year before Iota-17 losses outweigh victories. At least by demolishing SCP-2629 we might have a permanent solution.”

“Hang on,” said O5-2. “How did 2629-A find Site-19 in the first place? It’s on a different continent.”

“That was in the SCP file,” said O5-8. “Don’t tell me you haven’t done the reading. They overheard Site-19 being mentioned in some Task Force chatter. A terrible breach in discipline.”

“Yes,” said O5-2. “But surely they didn’t mention the exact co-ordinates of Site-19? Even if 2629-A knew what country Site-19 was in, it would still be nearly impossible to find, what with everything we’ve done to cloak and disguise it.”

The table was silent. O5-8 glanced down at his notes on SCP-2629, even though he’d already memorized them. “That’s a good question,” he said. “We don’t know how 2629-A was able to find us.”

“So, could 2629-A find other secret places?” said O5-2. “If we instruct Iota-17 to casually drop a reference to a different site during their next match, could we get 2629-A to re-direct their focus there instead?”

O5-8 looked sceptical. “Are you suggesting we set up a decoy site for 2629-A?”

O5-2 grinned. “Who said it had to be one of our sites?”

CI%20Document.png

DeCIRO Catalogue Number: SC-19/988-19/438

Document Type: Step Compilation

Dates Received: 9/20/2019 through 9/22/2019

Operation Status: Open.

Foreword: This is intolerable. Simply intolerable. These Class Threes have made a mockery of the most important work being done in this age. What we do here today is not surrender. It is a temporary measure only. Once we have the means we shall drag them into corporeality and grind them into powder. And we shall have the means.

Nevertheless, protective measures must be taken until that inevitable day comes. Our efforts to dissuade the Class Threes by holding Delta Command meetings by satellite link have only led them to refocus their annoyances elsewhere in the organization. Over the past week six of our North American laboratories have been hit. Sensitive equipment and valuable anomalies have been damaged. No, I am afraid we in Delta Command must bear the brunt of these attacks.

1. STEP 19/1123: A new conference room must be constructed for Delta Command meetings. This room must be as utilitarian as possible. Nothing inside it should be difficult to clean or easy to break.

2. STEP 19/1130: All Delta Command members must be provided with full paintball armour before each of our meetings.

3. STEP 19/1134: As paper documents and standard handheld devices are typically susceptible to paintball damage, new methods of in-meeting information recording and retrieval must be devised. The new conference room must be equipped with multiple inconspicuous microphones, specifically designed to withstand paintballs. While this is a serious security risk, it will ensure information conveyed in the meeting is not lost and can be accessed by Delta Command members later.

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