Everybody Needs Somebody
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MTF-Lambda-9, later known as the Foundation Animal Assets Division, was established in 1924, reached peak performance in 1946, and has been significantly downsized since. As dissolution of the Foundation Animal Assets Division is currently under vote, a timeline of events, along with excerpts from relevant documents, are assembled below.

Review of documents detailing the history of the division from founding in 1924 to peak performance in 1946 is suggested, but not required.

Part Two: Project-λ-099, beginnings

At its peak, the division consisted of four animal trainers; two Foundation agents, including one former field agent and one Foundation psychiatrist; various caretaker personnel; forty-two canine assets, with fifteen on containment units, ten on search-and-rescue unit; six on retrieval units, five on morale-boosting projects, and six designated for Project-λ-099; one chimpanzee; and four equine assets.

It's not a large wing, for what it's supposed to be housing. The office space is separated into three sections by thin walls that shake if someone sneezes too loudly. They form a "T" shape, meaning that to get to the deepest section, one has to slip through one of the first two rooms.

It's better to go through the left. That's where Moore and Moore work, but search-and-rescue is rarely ever at base. Peggy Moore, the wife, short and deceptively plump, wears the kind of rose water that makes the whole place smell sweet for weeks after she's been there. Bob Moore, a tall man who waxes his beard and talks constantly of things he read in the newspaper, nests. He drags in exotic potted plants, clippings of papers he's found interesting, quilts and paintings to hang on the thin walls… They keep pictures, too, one of their girl that died and one of their girl who didn't.

It's more home in the little office for them than anyone else in the division.

Passing through to the back, that's Agent Harrison's space. It's workable. He's got a picture up on his desk of the team when he'd first started — before his time, even, when it was Agent Nelson and Rose Emerson — and another one of his nephew Bill who died in the war. He doesn't like the pictures.

There was a thing he was assigned to back in '33 which could pull its skin into shape of people. It never quite got it right. He couldn't always place exactly what it was — the jaw bulged out wrong, or maybe it didn't, maybe it was the nose or the eyelids or the teeth, which never seemed to change very much — but he always knew, quicker and surer than any member of his team, that it was wrong.

It's the same thing for the pictures. He'd never seen Rose quite so young, but he remembers that her skin wasn't supposed to be white like that, a smudged blur in front of the dark background. He remembers the spots and the rough tan and the scratches and the blemishes. Bill, who he'd rocked on his knee, is as much a ghost in the picture as anything else. The picture didn't take correctly, he guesses, or maybe it just couldn't keep up. Bill's hair is both too wispy and smudged, and not wispy enough. He'd slicked it back, too, to look good in the photo.

He keeps them around not because he admires the miracle of technology or because he feels some sort of connection to them. He keeps them there because it reminds of one thing — Bill and Rose were human, before they died, and they're not. At best, they don't exist. At worst, they're the pictures, twisted and wrong. That's how it's going to happen to Harrison and everyone else, and he thinks it's something that's worth remembering.

On the other side of Harrison, in the office he doesn't walk through to get to his own, is Dr. Clarence Frost.

Dr. Frost isn't a substantial man. He looks too old for forty-three, too old for the kind of cutting-edge thing he's supposed to be doing. Yet he's too young to have earned the salt and pepper sprinkling of his hair, the deep, sullen crow's feet under his eyes, the air of elderly venerability with which he holds himself. His face is too old for him, and his eyes are too young for his face, and it leaves him unimpressive and unsubstantial.

That's not the only reason Agent Harrison doesn't like him, but it's the easiest one to name. There's something creepy to him, too, though, something wrong. About the jaw, maybe, or the eyes, or the nose or the teeth.

Launch of Project-λ-099 ("Everybody needs a pal"), the Foundation's first full service and therapy animal project.

Dr. Frost's wife packs his lunches. He eats them neatly at his desk, sometimes slipping small cuts of meat down to the long, fat dachshund that he brings with him to work now. Those are the kinds of dogs he's working with — it's four toy Cavvie spaniels, and two French Bulldogs on Project-λ-099.

The dachshund comes to the office ostensibly under the pretense of socializing the other dogs, but really because Frost wants it there. Everyone seems okay with it. Harrison doesn't know why he isn't.

"Albert," Dr. Frost says, peeking into his office. His lips are still covered in a fine layer of grease from the meat he was eating. It's these cuts of meat, every day, that make Agent Harrison convinced that Frost's salary must be much higher than his.

"Agent Harrison," Harrison corrects him. He doesn't even think of himself as Albert at work.

"Yes. I'm gonna need your help." That's odd.

"On Lambda-099? Your spaniels are going into top secret territory?" Harrison can brag that he's got a higher security clearance than most people on site — he's supposed to be the buffer between the division and shit they're handling here.

"We're working with SCP, er, three twenty— no, one forty… oh, dear boy, it must have been…" Harrison has more than a decade on Frost. He's silent as he goes to check through Frost's paperwork.

BACKGROUND: Document "Green Geneva" Secondary Mission Statement was passed 19th November, 1946. While it is most remembered for expanding the Ethics committee, it also lead to the creation of several smaller projects and changes in the operation of existing ones. Most of these were attempts to improve conditions for humanoid and sapient SCP objects where possible.
Bowman's Proposal marks initial first efforts to aid in these secondary mission objectives by the FAAD.

Bowman's Proposal | ████-346 | 04/21/1947

DIFFICULTY IN MAINTAINING SECONDARY MISSION OBJECTIVES: Due to a combination of its anomalous traits and past trauma, SCP-████ appears to suffer from an acute anxiety disorder. Standard treatment has been deemed high risk due to SCP-████'s unique biology, and regular counselling sessions have had minimal effect, as SCP-████ shows little trust towards Foundation personnel.

OBSERVATION: Limited results available from personnel involved in Project-λ-099 show a decrease in length and severity of trauma and anxiety related attacks experienced by personnel involved in the program.

PROPOSAL: Allow SCP-████ limited therapy involving Foundation animal assets involved in Project-λ-099.

Proposal approved 05/03/1947 by Site Director Earl Runner.

It's not as obvious here, which fucks with Harrison. The thing's perfectly passable, for what it's imitating. The bridge of its nose falls in a little far, perhaps, for a child its age. Its lips are a mess, dry and cracking, spiderwebs spreading out of them and onto its chin, the corners of its mouth, but it's not worse than anything Harrison has seen on real people and real faces.

Its movements are jerky, twitchy. It's gonna hurt the dog. Harrison doesn't have his gun. The whole place is losing it. Green Geneva his ass. He's worked for the Foundation for most of his life, now, and he thinks he's going to outlive it.

Back in the day, they knew messing with this kind of shit could cost them good men. They knew better than this. Harrison has seen it — someone softens up, a little, looks at one of them like they're human or deserving to be thought of as such, and the poor bastard's head is off in ten seconds flat.

The Foundation isn't a medical facility or a research center first. Not in Harrison's view, at least. There's 'secure' and 'contain' but it all boils down to 'protect.'

Bastards are trying to protect the skip before their workers. At the very least, it's gonna kill the spaniel.

Foundation search-and-rescue unit, headed by Bob and Peggy Moore, deployed for the third time, to rescue field agents Gonzalez and Belle, trapped in a pocket dimension created by SCP-████.

Reality, they said, is going to be unstable, but that's not the right word. It shifts and it screeches, seemingly only held down by Bob's weight. He can only see Percival now, out of everyone he'd entered with. Percival's paws twitch, uselessly stuck onto the inside of his ears. His tail is wagging, wildly, on his stomach.

The rest of it is a blur. Bob's lost his glasses, as well, which isn't helping. He feels like he's the only solid thing in here. There's small bits of something stuck to his sleeve, and it takes him a second to realize that it's the air that's wrong, gritty and sandlike, and now it's in his lungs and—

Peggy's screaming. Peggy was supposed to be only enter in the beginning, get the dogs on the path, but there's no way out, is there, and now he can hear them all — Peggy's screaming and Percival is whining and Galahad is giving scent signals, and there's Gawain and Kay and—

Something soft. Something human, or human-adjacent. Distressed, muttering.

It doesn't know what it's doing, does it? It's not doing this to fuck with them. It's doing this because it can't make imitate things right. It's barely keeping it up, maybe…

"Gal, boy, why don't you…" Inexplicably, the dog is right under his hand, though, here, he can't tell Gal and Kay apart. He hopes he's on the right track, and he follows and he reaches for the small red thing in the middle of everything.

Project-λ-099 involvement with SCP-████ declared a success.

It doesn't kill the spaniel.

It just sits there, for several minutes, letting the little thing lick the scabs on its face. Then it lifts its hands up, jerkily. It pulls on the fur a little bit, lets up quickly, and sits back. There's something focused about that little face, something almost human. Agent Harrison can't quite tell the expression. Must hurt to move its mouth.

Frost is beaming when they walk back. "See, Albert?"

"Harrison." He corrects automatically.

"You're just a worrywart, you. She liked it."

"It liked it."

"Oh, don't be that way."

He keeps talking. Harrison doesn't listen. It'll only make him angry. Angrier. He doesn't know, right now, if he was wrong. He can't tell if Frost was right — he knows he doesn't like it, either way — and if maybe Director Runner isn't losing it after all.

He could have just relaxed his guard, a little bit, when he'd seen that bit of human in its face. He must be getting rusty.

It's after hours by the time they're back in the office, and Harrison isn't planning on staying late. He wants to smoke without Frost complaining about the smell, and he wants his dinner and he just wants out of the building.

There's someone by the doors of the office when they arrive. It's one of the administrative assistants — Robert, was it? Roger? — from the main wing. He's got his hands in his pockets, and he blocks their way in.

"Dr. Frost, Agent Harrison, have a minute?" He asks, and doesn't wait for an answer before he tells them that Bob Moore is dead and that a skip got him.

Robert Moore, the lead of the search-and-rescue FAAD team, is declared KIA.

They're all invited to the funeral. Harrison goes, and he sits next to Peggy Moore. Peggy's voice sounds raw. She keeps repeating the details.

Her daughter, Alice, is a lanky girl with a horse-like face. She walks with braces. Harrison thinks that they'll probably take her memories after this, because Peggy is saying way more than she should. It's better to let her have this now, though.

"Just like that," Peggy says, "Clutching that little red thing to his chest. Gal was right there with him — Galahad, he's one of the Newfs, you remember? — he was right there with him. I hope he makes it. Just tore straight through him, horrible, nasty thing. I think he grabbed it on purpose."

Alice is crying. "He was there with him." She says, "You were there with him."

"Your old man was holding on to his back." Peggy says. "With the other hand…"

Harrison remembers another hand and another dog, and then he thinks about what did this.

The body doesn't look human. Peggy's looking at it like it's Bob. Alice has her eyes closed. Harrison isn't as repulsed by it as he expected. He can close his eyes and imagine Bob getting up, and that scares him, because it makes him feel like he doesn't know what's human anymore.

Robert-or-Roger is waiting for him outside when they leave, and he can't say he's surprised. He's ready to tell him everything that Peggy was saying inside, but it's not about that.

"Remember that test run a few days ago, bringing humaniform objects into 099?" Harrison nods, but was-it-Rodrick doesn't need acknowledgement, "We'd like you to sign off on that. Just a formality, really, but you've been on the division longer than anyone, now…" And Frost hasn't worked a year, yet.

Harrison is silent for longer than feels appropriate. "Leave it on my desk." He manages, after a moment.

Project-λ-099 is approved for wider involvement with SCP objects.

Harrison retires two weeks after he signs the paperwork. It's time, anyways. He doesn't have much to pack, so he sits there and stares at the photographs for a couple minutes. He doesn't know what they mean anymore — if he looks for too long, he thinks he can see Bill moving, thinks he can feel himself catch his smile. He thinks there's color in Rose's eyes if he doesn't blink.

He packs up both of them, and he walks through Frost's office. The Foundation, he knows now, is going to outlive him. He doesn't know what it will become, if he'd recognize it in twenty years.

He bends down to pet the dachshund. And, genuinely, he wishes Frost luck with that.

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