Picture Perfect
rating: +91+x

"What do you think boys? Is she a beauty or what?"

The gathered senior researchers looked on in a mixture of shock and dismay at what Clef had hung on his office wall; a framed four-foot by five-foot photograph of SCP-096, its face plainly visible for all to see.

Kondraki hung his head in disappointment, and considered how only the fact that he was now in a relationship with Clef was stopping him from making the man a quadriplegic for a second time.

Cimmerian shook his head in exasperation, questioning his recent decision to cut back on his drinking.

Shaw cocked his head in bemusement, wondering if 096 would only kill him once or each time he took a new body.

Kain lowered his head with his right paw over his snout, which just came across as adorable no matter what he was actually trying to express.

Gears alone remained implacably unmoved by the masterpiece, which is perhaps why he was the first to speak.

"Why?" he asked the single word that was on each of their minds.

"Why?" Clef repeated.

"Yes Alto, for God sakes why?!" Kondraki demanded, gesturing wildly at the offending photograph.

"To celebrate! He's dead, or neutralized, whatever. It's official! It's real! It's, it's canon, if you will. We can look at his ugly mug all we want!"

They all stared at the emaciated, pale, screaming face in the picture for the first time in their lives.

"I don't want to look at it at all," Gears said frankly.

"Yeah Clef, it's pretty damn creepy," Shaw agreed.

"And in poor taste," Kain added. "It's awfully disrespectful to all the hundreds of people this bastard killed."

"It's reckless endangerment is what it is!" Cimmerian said. "096 was neutralized yesterday! We need more than a 24 period to confirm that a neutralization is effective. If he comes back to life, we're all going to die!"

"Back to life? When does that ever happen?" Clef asked smugly, throwing his arm around his previously deceased beau. "Look, worst comes to worst we can forget what his face looks like with amnestics. Did we ever test that? Sounds like that's the kind of thing we would test."

"Clef, if you don't take that goddamn thing down right now I am going to defenestrate it and you out the nearest window!" Kondraki threatened.

"Guys, come on. Think about what this means!" Clef implored them. "How many new researchers have come up to you over the years and said '096's file says it's scheduled for termination. Why hasn't it been terminated yet?'. Well now it is! The day long prophesied has come to pass! We're free!"

The four men and lone dog still did not appear to share Clef's enthusiasm on the matter.

"I never really got why we were so keen on neutralizing him in the first place. He could be contained by putting a sack over his head," Shaw said, with the others murmuring their agreement.

"That's where you're wrong Elias. There could be photos of him from before he was contained, or someone could get a hold of the photos we already have of him," Clef argued. "If they did something like hack Markiplier's Youtube account and put that photo on his homepage, it'd be game over. The Shy Guy would breach containment with millions of dash ones to kill all over the world, and that kind of rampage would guarantee he'd have cameras pointed on him 24/7. Exposure would grow exponentially until the bastard slaughtered most of civilization. As far as I'm concerned, he should have been classified as Keter from the start."

"We had a clear understanding of what triggered his anomalous behaviour and preventing those triggers was relatively straightforward," Shaw countered. "That's a solid Euclid Class, borderline Safe."

"Oh, lets not start this debate again, shall we?" Kain implored.

"Killing him always seemed like the kind of thing the G.O.C. would do, not us," Cimmerian mused. "Er, no offense Alto. But there's a lot we never learned about 096. You know what else new researchers ask me about all the time? What would happen if you saw 096's face while you were in space, or in another reality. We never tested that, and now we'll never have the chance."

"More pressingly, SCP-096's origins remain utterly unknown," Gears said. "Further study of SCP-096 may have eventually yielded insight into whether any similar entities exist or could exist in the future. Such information would have been extremely useful to have, and may even have prevented major catastrophe."

"You know what I never got about 096? How his containment site didn't have a break room or coffee, and that Daniels somehow neglected to take that into account in his alibi," Kondraki said. "I don't think that anything that qualifies as a manned site wouldn't have a break room, and if it didn't have coffee that's not something that would ever slip my mind. I'd be bitching about that non-stop."

"Alright, I hear what you're all saying, but shut up, you're wrong," Clef insisted. "The Shy Guy was a Sword of Damocles dangling over the whole world, we killed him, and we're going to celebrate that by doing the one thing we never could while he was alive; looking at his face, each and every day, for the rest of our lives, so that we never forget what we've won and could have lost, and Ben not everyone is as obsessed with coffee as you are tea's actually more popular on a global scale!"

The men and dog considered Clef's passionate plea, and then looked back up at the grotesque and (hopefully) neutralized cognitohazard that he wanted to use for office decor.

"Alto, take this thing down or so help me, I will have you critiquing first drafts of SCP reports by junior researchers for the rest of your days," Kondraki threatened.

Clef narrowed his gaze at Kondraki, attempting to gauge whether or not he was bluffing. Deciding he'd rather be safe than sorry, he reluctantly pulled the picture off the wall.

"None of you appreciate po-mo art."

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