The Drooling Path: Epilogue
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It had happened. Finally, after a blizzard of paperwork, a long, quiet plane ride, and a dizzying orientation, James was walking the halls of Site-17…though "wandering" might have been a more appropriate word. Site-17 was much bigger than James had expected. There weren't nearly enough directories, and the ones that did exist seemed to contradict each other. Either that, or the newly-christened SCP-2432 had messed up James's brain more than he'd initially suspected.

He was standing in front of one of these confusing directories when someone finally noticed his distress and took pity on him.

"Hey, you need some help?"

"Huh?" James asked, whirling around to face the speaker - a security guard, who was now approaching. He had his visor up, revealing the face of a man a little younger than James himself. He was taller, though. Buff, too.

"Do you need help?" he repeated. "You look lost."

"Oh, uh," James said, with mixed embarrassment and gratitude. "Yeah. I'm trying to get to chemistry lab 102B."

The guard nodded. "Alright. You'll need to…" he closed his eyes to think for a moment, then started pointing. "Go that way, turn left at the end of the hallway, make a right at the first intersection, go down the stairs and make another right, go around the next two corners…" Then he trailed off, because he noticed the blank look on James's face. "Uh, why don't I just show you?"

"Thank you," he said, smiling in relief.

"No problem." Then he set off down the hall, following the directions he'd been reciting. James had to speed up a little bit to catch up with his guide's longer legs.

"I guess you're new, then?" the guard asked.

"Uh, yeah. To this Site, anyway."

"Where were you before?"

"Fourteen," James said, with as much contempt as he could muster.

"Ouch. What'd you do to deserve that?"

"Beats me. Something in a past life, I guess."

They both chuckled, a little awkwardly. The silence that followed after was even more awkward.

"So," James interjected, a bit louder than he'd meant to, "uh, how long have you been working here?" It was dawning on James that he'd never actually had a real conversation with any of the security officers at Area-14.

"Couple years."

"Do you like it?"

The guard shrugged. "I guess. Not a huge fan of the security gig, but it's - hey, Iris."

"Hey!" replied a young blonde woman, heading the other direction. James didn't notice the "SCP-105" across the back of her gray jumpsuit until she had already passed them.

"Shit, that's a-"

"It's okay!" the guard setting, putting a hand on James's shoulder. "She's cleared. Didn't they tell you that at orientation?"

Feeling foolish, James relaxed. They had told him, and he was pretty sure he'd even caught a glimpse of SCP-073 - who he'd heard was the Biblical Cain, though he didn't buy it - on his way in. He still wasn't used to the idea of letting anomalies wander around the Site, though, mostly because he still wasn't used to the idea of anomalies that weren't Class 4 biohazards.

"Sorry. Just, coming from Fourteen-"

"Yeah, I know. Most transfers take a while to adjust. But take it from me - you're safe." James looked into the guard's strong, smiling face for a little longer than was probably comfortable, until the guard noticed his hand was still on James's shoulder and they broke both physical and eye contact as quickly as they could.

The guard cleared his throat and resumed walking. "So, as I was saying, the security gig isn't too bad. We don't have incidents here very often."

"Thank God," James agreed. The violent containment breaches were, of course, the thing he'd miss the least about ABCA-14.

"I'm hoping to join a Task Force, though, next recruitment cycle."


"Yeah. Just Village Idiots or something, not one of the big ones like Nu-7. I guess you know all about them, huh?"

"I know they make a lot of noise when people are trying to sleep."

The guard laughed. "Yeah, I guess they would. You won't have to deal with that around here either."

"Just keeps getting better."

"Yeah, you'll love it here. And here we are." The guard gestured at the door to the lab.

"Oh." James turned to face his guide. "Thanks…" then he read the guy's name tag for the first time, and immediately had a miniature heart attack.

"Relax!" the guard laughed. "He's my dad."

"Oh," James sighed. "Phew, I thought this was an Undercover Boss thing for a second."

"Nah. When you meet Dad, you'll know it."

"I will?" James tried to hide his worry but didn't succeed.

"He's not as scary as he sounds," the guard promised.

James nodded. "That's a relief." He'd heard some pretty crazy stories about Dr. Kondraki. He didn't believe any of it, of course, but was still worried about whatever nuggets of truth might underlie the rumors.

"Anyway, I'm Draven," said Draven, offering a handshake.

"James," said James, taking it. "James Talloran."

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