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It was a dark and stormy night.

The Site-19 Annual Multidisciplinary Symposium About Research Articles (SAMSARA) was off to an auspicious first day. Site Director Acosta stepped back up to the podium.

Her eyes struggled to appear excited. "Thank you, Dr. Maravilla and Dr. Velasquez, for that wonderfully enlightening talk on 'The Chemistry of SCP-2829's Secretions, and Its Practical Applications in Containment Innovation'." The doctors bowed, Dr. Maravilla disconnected his laptop, and they each walked back to their respective seats to the tune of sparse clapping.

Director Acosta suppressed a yawn. "Next, we have an exciting presentation by-"

She was cut short by a stocky, lab-coat-clad figure barreling through the double doors and sprinting up the platform steps. The young man paused, held up one finger, and tried to catch his breath. Then he stole Dr. Maravilla's unopened bottle that was left on the podium, and gulped it down in its entirety.

Acosta tapped her foot repeatedly. The sweaty young man leaned over and whispered in her ear.

Acosta could feel individual hairs turning grayer by the second. "Alright, nobody move, NOBODY MOVE! There. Alright, so here's the situation at present. SCP-049 was found dead in its cell 20 minutes ago."

A cacophony of cheers, sighs, laughter, and yelling erupted from the gathered scientists.

"Quiet! This means, first and foremost, that the Site is on lockdown until we get this sorted out. And you're all suspects. Mobile Task Forces are sweeping the building. I've got Internal Affairs investigators on every line. We are going to get to the bottom of this, and figure out who gets the dubious honor of a posthumous celebration. Agent Curie will be leading this investigation."

The tall, wrinkled man pushed his comically oversized glasses up his pointy nose, and cleared his throat. "Yes, hmm. I will be personally conducting all interviews. I assure you, my team and I are most experienced at handling situations like these."

Researcher Genesis Rosas was the first to be cleared, as she had been confirmed to have slept through the entire symposium. A forensics specialist, she was quickly called to begin assessing the victim, or what was left of him. She stared down disdainfully at the broken white mask and corroded robes that sat in a pile on the floor. The security guard accompanying her stepped over the caution tape and handed her 049's file. "Ironic," he mimicked in an Emperor Palpatine voice, "he could cure others from death, but not himself."

Genesis lightly smacked him with the clipboard. "This is serious business, nerd."

The guard shrugged. "Nothing serious about that thing. Glad it's gone", he said pointing at the pile. "Yeah, so security cameras all black out 10 minutes before it happened. No weapon, no blood, no footprints, at least from what I can tell."

Genesis twirled a loose curl of her jet black hair. "From what I've been told, no decommissioning was scheduled. It was either a skip, an intruder, or someone in here."

"Well, the perimeter sensors were still up. No one went in or out."

Genesis set down the file. "You're still thinking inside the box. Plenty of ways someone could have pulled this off without triggering those, but I'll wait for the MTFs to finish their sweeps."

"What about the skips? Barring this sucker, every sentient slash mobile skip is secure."

"Never underestimate skips."

Agent Curie faced the wall of the interrogation chamber. He took a moment to dramatically stroke his beard before he began.

"Doctor Maravilla. How coincidental that your talk concluded right after the deed was done. A bit too coincidental, don't you think?"

Dr. Wilberto Maravilla sat in the uncomfortable metal chair, rubbing his temples. "Seriously? You really think I would threaten my own job security here, breach every protocol in the book, just over that damn plague 'doctor'?"

"It is possible that you and your co-author purposefully engineered your presentation to be so boring as to lull any witnesses to utter apathy and allow a third agent to carry out the termination."

Maravilla stood up. "Alright, now that's just insulting. That presentation was one of the best of the day! Our clinical tone was perfect! Our conclusions fascinating!"

Curie looked down at the table. "I dunno, it could have used more narrative."


"Nothing. What beef, if any, did you have with the SCP in question?"

"Beef?" Maravilla made air quotes. "Before transferring to Site-234, I made frequent visits to the Chemistry Labs here. The hallway that leads to those labs passes right by that infernal thing's cell. Every time, I would hear it calling out after me. 'Oh, my good sir, are you a true doctor, as I am?' Day in and day out. Finally, I was tasked to analyze one of the vials in its bag. It turned out to be distilled urine. I put in my request for transfer that same day."

Agent Curie scribbled on a notepad. "Mhm yes. I must now conduct more interviews. Guards, return this doctor to the auditorium." Dr. Maravilla shrugged, and walked out the door.

One down, one hundred and eighteen to go.

Dr. Velasquez now sat in the chair, picking at the scab on her knuckle as Agent Curie droned on.

"… and woke up SCP-3233, paid off her little critters, smuggled them into Site-45, had them steal the Claw, seduced SCP-2719 to get inside the Plague Doctor's cell, and finished it off." Agent Curie leaned in to face the suspect.

Velasquez blinked. "And I'm supposed to have done all this while Maravilla was struggling to connect his laptop."

"So you admit it!"

Velasquez hit her forehead on the cheap table. "What. Look, I hated that thing as much as anyone else, but this is ridiculous! Why don't they just chalk it all up as a budget-saving free termination and be done with it?"

"Hmm. That would be the sensible response, after all… but only if you were the mastermind behind the Site-19 embezzling ring! This is just the tip of the iceberg!"

"I never thought I'd say this, but I think I preferred talking to 049."

One by one, the doctors were interviewed and each one admitted their disdain for the skip. Three time-shifted copies of Dr. Thaddaeus Xyank were found, all with buckets of popcorn and camcorders, and all cursing themselves for neglecting to account for Daylight Savings Time. Dr. Kumail Khan lightened the mood by putting together an impromptu "Best 049 Impression" contest.

Finally, all of the researchers, MTFs, and staff were once again gathered in the auditorium. Director Acosta tapped the microphone.

"Thank you all for your cooperation and patience. MTFs have finished clearing the Site and have found no evidence of any Ways, sabotage, or any other methods of intrusion. In other words, the perpetrator is somewhere in this room." She motioned to Genesis, who took over the microphone.

"I've gone over all the evidence and cross-referenced every interview. The killer is none other than Agent Curie!"

The crowd gasped. Then a second time, as they saw Genesis pointing at an empty seat.

"-the fuck?"

Outside, Agent Curie took a deep breath of relief and removed his ill-fitting mask to reveal a better looking, more medieval one. He grinned to himself. "There's only room for ONE cure in this town."

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