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rating: +72+x

Item #: SCP-XXXX
Object Class: Safe/Euclid/Keter (indicate which class)

Gräfin took a deep breath, taking the opportunity to crack his neck. Shaking his head to clear any stray thoughts, he placed his fingers on the keyboard…

…only to find he couldn't figure out something to type.

"Darn, where do I start?"

'Start simple,' Graf remembered. 'Better to write something than nothing at all.'

He remembered that the anomalies involved were just roses that absorbed all light, so it must have been safe, right?

Object Class: Safe

Progress. Back to checking emails.


Admittedly, he probably shouldn't have expected much praise over what he had put in. The feedback he received was… not exactly positive.

"Object Class? That's it? What about containing this thing?"

"Finish up that report, squirt. No time like the present."

"Kid, I don't even know what dongle we're talking about. At least tell me what it looks like."

Sagging slightly, Gräfin nevertheless pulled himself up before resolving to finish the report - or at least, write something up to quiet his peers. And anyways, the sooner he finished the report, the sooner he could submit it for review so he could get his monthly stipend.

Special Containment Procedures: Can be grown normally. No serious containment method needed. Maybe get a dedicated gardener?
Description: SCP-XXXX are roses that don't reflect any light. Looks the same as that new pigment, Vantablack I think? Whatever it is, don't leave it in a dark room or you'll probably never find it again.

Gräfin paused again. What should he put in for the addendum?

Addendum XXXX-1: If SCP-XXXX shows any changes or goes missing, must inform Site Director.

Perfect.


"Morning, junior. What'cha up to?" The sudden voice jolted Gräfin out of his thoughts. Looking up, he saw the stolid gaze of his superior.

"Researcher Kiryu!" He'd heard rumors about the bug-obsessed researcher - she had revolutionized organization methods for the entire Foundation, and was widely acclaimed for that.

He'd idolized her ever since.

The researcher - he could see a Level-3 Clearance badge on the front of her shirt - bent down, eyes narrowing slightly as she skimmed over the report draft before her, before she pursed her lips. "Is this your first official report?"

Gräfin winced internally. That couldn't be a good sign.

"Yes, ma'am. I'm… building upon the framework I've made."

She nodded, before walking off. Once she was out of eyesight, Gräfin let out a shaky breath. He hadn't felt that anxious since he first stepped foot into the building - however surreal this all still felt to him. As he focused back on the computer in front of him, he heard her voice ring out one more time.

"Make sure it sounds clinical in your final draft. We are a professional organization, after all."

Special Containment Procedures: SCP-XXXX requires standard maintenance procedures as per the Maintenance of Non-anomalous Angiosperm Protocol. Additionally, SCP-XXXX should be situated in an area surrounded by light to prevent possible loss of the anomaly.


"So tell me a little about yourself, Gräfin."

"Well, I was studying BME in university…" Rambling on, he couldn't tell if the researcher before him was genuinely listening, or if she was just being polite and pretending to care.

Truth be told, he didn't even know why she offered to have lunch with him.

"That's nice and all," started Zyn, swallowing her sandwich. "But what about you? Any interests of your own?" Gräfin opened his mouth, ready to protest that BME was his interest, but stopped short - he didn't want to aggravate his idol so early, not when she had given him the opportunity to distinguish himself from the crowd.

He craved recognition.

"I guess you can say I like to draw." Seeing her eyebrows raise slightly, Gräfin pressed onward. "Nothing major, you know? Some odd doodles and whatnot."

He was a bit disappointed at her lack of reaction - he wouldn't call himself a prodigy or anything, but at least hoped to find any sign that he had left a lasting impression.

"How's your report coming along?" Her sudden words jolted him out of his thoughts.

"I… well, would you like to see the draft? I'm not exactly good at explaining it." Pulling his laptop out, he was surprised when Zyn simply shook her head.

"If you can't explain it to me, how do you expect me to believe your draft is any better?"

Gräfin flushed. "I…well…wha-what if I'm just not good at speaking?"

"I never said you had to verbally express it," she rebutted, a ghost of a smile on her face. "If you're capable of writing the general gist of your pitch, that's fine as well."

"… Huh? What's the point of writing that if I'll end up writing the draft anyways?" To his surprise, she didn't react, as though she had been expecting that answer. Instead, she just passed him a note before picking up her stuff and heading out.

Head to Room 115, RAISA's Intra-site Resources Room. Ask for the Butterfly Squad Roster.


Gräfin was… thoroughly embarrassed, to say the least.

What he thought was some "top secret thing" that he could access because of Zyn's possible favoritism was instead a simple writing room filled with some fellow interns of his, and where their seniors walked around the room, giving critique. The welcome sign wasn't much more inspiring, either.

"Welcome to the roster's meeting room, though I guess you can just call it "The Forum" like the rest of us. While we are not cruel, we do not coddle."

"But, we are here to help."


"I still don't understand why I have to come up with a pitch before writing a report," Gräfin muttered. The woman looking over his shoulder chuckled.

"We get a lot of reports where the people have no clue what they're writing about. Sure, you might not think you're one of those people, but hey - we live in a world where memetic concepts can reshape our identities. Zyn got tired of us poring through tons of shitty drafts where the JRs kept going off-topic or giving tons of redundant crap, and here we are now."

Seeing his perturbed look, Oake continued. "After all, does it really matter that your walls are 12.34567 centimeters thick? Will the anomaly erupt in fury if we were a nanometer off? What about containment cells five hundred meters tall to contain a humanoid? Or what about drafts with needless filler to look bulkier than it actually is?"

She sighed, taking a deep breath. "Sorry, got a bit ahead of myself there. The point I'm trying to make here is: people just tend to make mistakes or absurd reports. We're hoping to help people catch those mistakes early on so it doesn't detrimentally affect the reports - or our budget.

"But I am different," he wanted to say, but he bit his tongue. Shaking his head, he just huffed before gripping his pen. After scrawling out two sentences, he stood up and walked out.

"I'm gonna go to the recreation room for a bit."

The anomaly is a species of roses that absorb all light. That's it.


Mathias's eye twitched as he read the simple concept.

"Guth," he began slowly. "While I acknowledge your frustration with our system for reviewing people's pitches before allowing them to write drafts, is this tongue in cheek tone really necessary?"

"Christ man, I just want to write the fucking draft. I don't understand the need for all this," retorted Gräfin. "You're just here to critique my stuff before I hand it in, right?"

"The Forum is a volunteer project headed by the Butterfly Squad Roster. We were former colleagues and interns of Researcher Zyn, and we decided to pass on the kindness she showed us to others. All are free to ask for our services - with the caveat that we are free to reject what we deem to be too riddled with holes. Additionally, if we are not confident in your ability to create a draft, we are allowed to request that you give us a concept first."

"And if you are confident?"

"That is the greenlight system," replied Mathias. "We sign our names at the bottom of your pitch. Upon receiving two signatures, it is an indication that we have placed our faith in you that you can at least make a semi-coherent draft that'll be well received by whatever peer-review board you happen to land when you submit the piece."

Gräfin bit his tongue, seething. Giving a jerky nod, he swiftly walked out, taking his concept with him.

After he had walked out of the room, a woman poked her head out from one of the cubicles. "Lemme know if we need to keep an eye on him."

"Don't worry about him, Zyn. At least this one didn't insult anyone on the squad."

SCP-XXXX is a subspecies of roses that absorb all light that hits it. Draft will include standard containment protocols akin to containing normal plants, discovery, as well as various tests involving the anomaly.


"So what's the story involving this scip?"

"What?" Another thing to add on? Gräfin was not amused.

"As much as we hate to admit it, our researchers are only human. They too get stressed out by the endless toil our jobs require, and thus a lot of the time they don't actually read the entire report. In an attempt to make sure that our researchers don't skim the report as much, we encourage the usage of stories."

"… You're losing me here, doc."

"Find a way to make it both interesting while not jeopardizing our primary focus," explained Mathias. He glanced at the new concept. "Honestly, you've actually got a not half-bad plot going on right now, what with all the testing an all. Sure, it might be a little generic, but it's leagues better than what you started out with."

"Wait, if I already have a story then… why ask me in the first place?"

"If you yourself can't explain it, how can I expect you to actually implement it? Now, run it from the top."

"So all I have to do is… give a linear chronology record of events that happened involving the testing of this thing?"

"Pretty much, yeah. I'll give this a greenlight, you've slaved over this enough for some self-reflection. I can dig that. Go ask another member of the Butterfly Squad Roster to give this a look-over."

Addendum XXXX-1: Chronological Experimental Log


"Well? How is it?" asked a nervous Gräfin.

As Mathias scrolled down the draft and made comments, Gräfin's heart plummeted as the once-pristine document was infested with highlighted marks and comments. Mathias had a done a line-by-line analysis, it seemed, and his draft had been eviscerated.

"Overall, this is pretty good," concluded Mathias, jolting the junior researcher out of his stupor. Seeing his surprised look, he chuckled. "Kid, this is your first draft. I don't expect it to be perfect. It is, however, leagues better than the draft you shoved in our faces on the first day you visited the Forum."

The junior researcher stood stunned, as his senior got up and walked by him. Before he exited, Mathias gave him a final piece of advice.

"Writing is tough, kid. I won't deny it. Shit gets your heart and soul poured into it, torn apart, and rebuilt. On and on, it cycles. That's how it is. But trust me, I'd rather have a meticulously written out report, even if it takes days or possibly weeks to complete, than something slapped together in the lesser half of an hour. Likewise, the Foundation is the same. Although they're more lenient on sloppy drafts since they can't really afford to be picky with the containment procedures, do remember you are writing for a scientific organization: if they deem your stuff isn't up to snuff, you could lose all your funding for that particular project. And no one wants that."

For days afterwards, Gräfin worked day and night on his draft, going to the Forum to receive people's opinion on it, getting his draft mauled, and incorporating the advice.

"Your clauses are pretty janky, dude. Try to even out the irregularities."

"Lad, you don't need to inform the O5 whenever something happens relating to the anomaly. You'll pretty much never see them unless you're working with something actually dangerous or important, and we here at Kiryu Labs pretty much focus on low-risk anomalies that we just can't shove into a closet."

"Did… did you just do first and second person point of view? My dude, do you have to break the format? Third person is fine."

Despite the critique, he began to feel less and less troubled by the reviews and more confident; as the days passed, more and more people in the Forum found something positive to say about his draft, however small it may be.

In fact, it got to the point where he began helping the uneasy newcomers entering the Forum. Having been in the same shoes as them, he reciprocated their cluelessness and repaid it in kind with patience, slowly guiding them on their own journey, imparting what knowledge he had learned to help those who were also struggling.

It was honestly a bit exciting.

"Your draft's getting better, Julian, I'll give it that. I still feel like some events are a bit anachronistic, but seeing as we have at least two temporal anomalies here, I can't exactly comment on that without a grain of salt."


"I think this is a bit unnecessary," muttered Gräfin.

"Nonsense," shot back Oake, dragging him towards the restaurant. "You've been working nonstop for the past couple of days. I'm not even sure if you're eating properly anymore."

After ordering their food, Gräfin looked down at the table, unsure of where to look.

"You can look at my face, kid. We're colleagues here, no need to be shy around me."

"I'm not exactly good at social interactions." She chuckled at that.

"Judging by our first meeting, I'd say that is a fair assessment of your personality." Although he was sure that Oake was joking, Gräfin had to admit that stung a bit.

Silence reigned over the two as they quietly ate once their food arrived. It wouldn't be until she finished her meal that he finally spoke again.

"Why all this?"

Oake sighed. "You've been working tirelessly. I don't want you to burn out, kid. Your work ethic is admirable and all, but you also need to take a breather every once in a while - heck, a lot of our Butterflies tend to take breaks most if not all the time. It just isn't productive to work endlessly."

She laid a hand on his. "You're a good kid, and I can imagine you'll do fantastic things in the future. Just make sure you don't exhaust yourself on the way there."

All he could do was nod.

… For further information regarding the anomaly, please refer to Document XXXX-7.


"Make your move, hot shot." Gräfin chuckled, shaking his head slightly, before making his move.

"Knight to e5." The corner of his mouth twitched as he slid his piece over, silently reveling on his next phrase: "Check."

"Did you forget about my bishop?" shot back Oake. "King to c3. Checkmate."

Gräfin cursed, turning red. He had been too narrowminded - for the eighth game in a row. Those damn pieces were just too small for him to notice. "Man, you're pretty bad at strategy games, huh?" she jibed.

"I'd crush you in checkers," he retorted. She cackled in glee at his statement, taking out the board game from underneath the coffee table, taunting him with a grin. "Bring it on, junior!"

After a few rounds, Gräfin glanced at the clock. "Huh, it's about 4 PM. I better work on that report." As she stood up, Oake pulled him back down, her face losing all previous signs of mirth.

"Today's your free day, just stop worrying about that draft."

"But-"

"But nothing. I see you cramped up in your cubicle all day whenever you're not doing testing and it's fucking aggravating, you know? I warned you about burnout and look at you now! You're still spending every damn waking hour on that report."

She sighed. "You have a life outside of that document, Gräfin. I can't speak for other facilities, but here, we can afford to relax a bit. Since we're still doing testing, we're still getting paid, and our anomalies aren't nearly as dangerous as others are, meaning we can afford to hand in reports several months late: in real life, we already know how to contain this thing. The document is just there for those after us, and for the database. And I'll be damned if the database took away from my free time."

"Now," she concluded, seeing he was contemplating quietly. "I want you to slow down. Enjoy your breaks: if you ever get transferred out of this facility, you damn well aren't going to see many relaxation periods anymore. Exercise a bit! Do anything else. Got it?"

"Yes, ma'am."

This is pretty good! In fact, I daresay this is ready to be published onto the database!


"Researcher Oake!" The woman poked her head out from her cubicle upon hearing her name, only to see a familiar face jog up to her.

"Gräfin? How goes the draft? It was looking pretty good the last time I checked it out."

"It's been great, yeah, but wait - I need to say something." Seeing her give an apprehensive nod, Gräfin took a deep breath and began.

"I'm sorry for being a pain in the ass when we first met," he began, attempting to slow his breaths. "I was an arrogant prick, and I didn't deserve to use the Forum as haphazardly as I did." Her lack of a response caused him to droop, and he opened his mouth to apologize for wasting her time before she interrupted with a chuckle.

"Well, as long as you've reflected on your actions." He blinked.

"I… huh?"

"We're going to be colleagues for the forseeable future," she explained with a wink. "It wouldn't be ideal for us to be working together if we held over a grudge over something stupid, right?"

"Th-thanks," he stuttered, still a bit surprised. Sure, he was hoping she'd forgive him, but he didn't expect it to be-

"Besides, I think there's someone you should save your apologies for," she added, cutting into his thoughts. Looking in the direction she was pointing at, Gräfin broke into a smile as he recognized the man.

"Director Mathias!"

[[Submit?]]


"Well, kid," grinned the senior. "You did it. And hey, you proved yourself to be pretty dang useful around in the Forum too."

Gräfin beamed as he reveled in front of his report. It was one of thousands, yes, but it was his. His first, and definitely not his last.

"Only one thing left to do now," continued the senior researcher, before closing his eyes and clasping his hands before him. Perhaps, had it been a month earlier, Gräfin would have asked Mathias what the hell he was doing, but he wisely stayed shut until the senior researcher opened his eyes.

"Sir? What was that?"

"Oh, I just believe in something fairly pataphysical. Don't worry too much about it. Just think of it as me thanking some deity out there for critiquing my story writer and making sure my life isn't a lolFoundation."

"… What?"

"Oh, it's a running gag here. You're new so you won't know, but it's basically a slightly vehement label we gave to newbie drafts that had bizarre scenarios that would never happen in real life, like riding an anomaly down the hallways or getting your dick stuck in an Aquafina water bottle. You know, fiction."

"… Man, we work at a company locking up abominations and concepts, and I still have no clue what the fuck you just said. Story writers?"

As he and Mathias bantered a bit over the veracity of claims that deities really existed, Gräfin's mind focused on a phrase Mathias had casually uttered.

"… you proved yourself to be pretty dang useful in the Forum too."

Hello, Researcher Kiryu. I would like to…


"Got it?"

"Yes, Mr. Guth!"

Gräfin chuckled as the newcomer eagerly saved her concept to her email before signing off and rushing out of the Forum. Glancing at the clock, he prepared to clock out, only to meet face to face with someone he hadn't seen in well over a month.

"I see you've been doing well for yourself, Guth."

He gave an awkward smile. "Well, I guess. Don't think I could have gone any lower than I already did, to be honest." The woman chuckled at his response.

"I really don't know what you saw in me," he continued, scratching his head.

"Who said anything about you?" she scoffed, though her soft tone reminded him she was joking. "In all seriousness though, I am of the firm belief that most people can be redeemed, and everyone can improve. I'm genuinely proud to see how you've turned yourself around, though, Gräfin. Mathias has had nothing but praise to say of your recent work here in the Forum."

"I… Wait, you mean…"

Zyn nodded. Reaching into her pocket, she pulled out a small pin, a simple butterfly design.

"Welcome to the Butterfly Squad Roster."

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