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I ain't the sharpest tool in the shed                                                                                                                            
Site 23, Delhi, India. November 22, 1956.

And this is why I insist is impossible to stress the importance of remaining neutral in this conflict. Alignment with either of the major powers would be a deep insult to those whose great sacrifices won earned us our freedom.

You may notice that despite the sentiment of some of my other writings, I have chosen here to stress that we should become no more cozy with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics than with the United States of America. Without meaning any insult to their cause or organization of their society, it would not be in the best interests of our fledgling nation to spit on our hard-won independence align ourselves too readily with either superpower; rather, we must th
our long-standing racial and e

"Your rhetoric is unimpressive, but for a native you have an impressive grasp of the language, Ms. Sanmugasunderam." Site Director Eriksson raised an eyebrow from over the torn scrap of paper.

Satyana plastered a smile onto her face as she looked up at him from behind the typewriter. "You wouldn't have hired me if I didn't." With a hint of sheepishness, "And you said you were taking today off."

The pale, heavyset man sighed and pulled up a chair in front of her desk. "No sweat. I can hardly afford to discipline every staff member who engaged in political diatribes during working hours." He glanced at the paper again, then glanced back at her. "Other writings?"

Satyana removed the torn sheet of paper from the paper table and disposed of it. "I've written several other editorials for the local English-language newspaper. The Hindi ones are acceptable, but this one is usually filled with colonialist propaganda." Her smile widened slightly and involuntarily, before she forced it back to its default state. "No offense, of course."

"I will say it again, I do not get involved in politics. But to address your earlier point, there's far too much work to be done to take more time off than I have to." He pulled out a packet of cigarettes and lit one, taking a short drag before continuing. "We still lack a definitive catalog of everything we managed to evacuate, and we only have the personnel shortage to thank for this arrangement."

Satyana stubbed out her own cigarette into the ashtray on her desk. "I'm aware. On that topic, you have mail." Satyana took a folder from her desk and handed it to Eriksson. "Two things at this site, and as usual, your position entitles you to recovery information from other parts of the Foundation."

Eriksson accepted the file and opened to the first page. With a frown of resignation, "No doubt your position as my secretary entitles you to the same information somehow… just be aware that I overlook it as a favor."

Satyana nodded. "As you wish. First order of business. Some Soviet munitions that we traded for three days ago, not fully written up yet. Initial reports are that they make trees after exploding." She hands another file to Eriksson.

"Bombs that make trees? What the hell are they planning to do with those?" He took the file. "Seems like it would be counterproductive if you're looking to invade an area, to give the defenders cover."

Satyana rolled her eyes. "Well, I prefer to think that they're intended to- You know what, never mind." She made to set the file aside.

"No, go ahead. Give me your spiel. And send them to Hall, I think he's technically an explosives expert."

"Noted." She returned to attention. "And I was going to say that it looked to me like the-" She looked at the file again. "-'tannenbombs' are a foray into increasing agricultural production."

"Isn't that what the collective farms were for? If I had to guess, it would be if they were on the run. If the Americans took Stalingrad, it would be a lot less useful to them if it were a forest."

"Possibly, but I don't feel that anything approaching an invasion would benefit either party. They wouldn't invest this level of resources on such an unlikely event."

"Unlikely? Hardly. Either they'll drop bombs, or skips, or bomb skips, or whatever. Then they'll swarm in to spread democracy or communism or whatever it is."

"Given the ideological and economic disparity, it's actually not very likely that this ordeal will be settled by combat rather than words. There's been some rather insightful analys-"

Eriksson waved a hand to cut her off. "I have more important things to attend to than vague strategic treatises, and so do you. Is there anything else?"

Satyana blinked, a bit put off. "Understood. The next order of business would be Skip Fourteen Twenty-Seven. We recovered it from the Soviets before they tried to destroy it with an atom bomb. I for one think it's horrendously mis-documented, but it should only affect us in a wors-"

"Mis-documented?" He scanned through the file. "Everything seems in order to me."

"Yes. Second paragraph of the Special Containment Procedures. 'Habitually subjugated or otherwise politically oppressed individuals, such as those under Communist rule, are ideal for containment of SCP-1427.'"

Eriksson yawned heavily and straightened up in his chair. "Yes, I read that. I fail to see how it's objectionable, given the documented effects of the anomaly."

"Well-" Satyana asked. "It would hardly be accurate to call concern for your fellow worker or loyalty to a greater cause 'subjugation' and 'oppression.' And they're even acting like it's some sort of great moral dilemma to keep it contained."

"I'm not sure they see it that way." The tone of the statement warned against arguing that particular point.

Satyana opened her mouth, then closed it. When she spoke again, her demure manner was obviously forced. "Whatever you or the authors of the document may feel about the… political implications, the bias is transparent for what is supposedly an apolitical organization."

"It says here that it's at Site 81. Most of their bosses are French, if Durand is still in charge there. The sentiment isn't changing any time soon, and I don't think it pragmatic to call for the wording on a Keter-class to get changed. Especially the Containment Procedures."

"Very well." She allowed herself a frown now. "As I was saying, this could only affect us in a worst case scenario. However, Twenty Eighty was requested for its potential to damp the effects. It seems rather straightforward, so it just needs your signature."

"Cross-testing something like this with another skip, even twenty eighty, is risky. Have Galluzzo give the okay first."

"I'll make sure to. Another that's actually being transferred here, Skip Fifteen Sixty-Four. It's a Broken God artifact. The only instance I believe will be troublesome is Dash One."

Eriksson shuffled his papers around to examine the relevant documentation. "You're right on that account… it's hard enough to transport personnel with military backgrounds across borders, even without the the recent scrutinizing of all the veterans from NATO and whatever the Soviets have set up." He rubbed his eyes.

"The Warsaw Pact. I haven't had the time to check our records yet, but if I recall correctly, we have two researchers and three assistants that fit the requirements, discounting you."

"Not nearly enough… get on the horn with Logistics, we'll need twice that. Make sure they're not Buddhist first."

"Logistics, or the researchers?"

Eriksson smiled briefly. "Very funny. The researchers. Logistics can light incense and sing kumbaya if that's what keeps them working, but I want to be extra sure that the Tickers don't try and sneak in any more plants."

"Noted. That's all that's in your mailbox today. Is there any other official business that needs taking care of?"

"Official business? Nothing. I do have a koan I'd like to pass on to you." A pause. "Er, a koan is a saying that makes you think."

"Oh? Let's hear it, then."

"Heard it from Taylor on Tuesday, just thought of it now." He hmphed, recalling it as best he could. "Why is it called an arms race, when to win a race, you need to use your legs?"

Satyana pondered the query for about fifteen seconds before responding. "Is that supposed to have some sort of hidden meaning? It's just a play on words."

Eriksson shrugged. "Hell if I know, just something I thought worth sharing. Happy Thanksgiving to you." He stood up and walked past Satyana's desk and into his own office.

She turned her head to look quizzically at him as he went. "We're not even American…" Satyana let out a sigh and set about calling Logistics.

Eriksson closed his door without an explanation. He sat down at his desk and placed a piece of paper back into his typewriter.

And I urge the goodhearted, rational citizens of India to realize that simply refusing to align our new country with either power is not enough to keep the forces of tyranny at bay.­..

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