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"D-952, please step forward."

Veronica Fitzroy stepped forward, wincing at the bright light. She'd have assumed technofascist mad scientists would've worked on getting a better mugshot system, but hey, if some shadowy facet of the US government really did have need for meat through the grinder, it was small price to pay for escaping life in a men's prison.

But it'd be over soon. She'd lost everything, botched a suicide, and let Bandages get away with everything, but it'd be over soon. That made her happy, at least.


Even after the homophobia, drone strikes, and regressive tax laws, the US Government always had one last way to fuck the world.

The Foundation's best idea for an experiment was to put twenty murderers in the same room with three stooges who could barely operate a musical instrument. The only thing that could make it worse was if they were a Rush cover band, which, in-fact, they were, because life was just a series of practical jokes.

Perhaps as part of the experiment, or perhaps as torture, several instruments had been scattered around the room for the rest of her merry band to play. Some, inexplicably, had already began banging out Canada's Styx without a care in the world; certainly, without a care for music theory and its application. How anyone with half a functioning nervous system could stand four simultaneous (which was rather generous phrasing for a couple of off-beat lunatics) renditions of 2112 was anyone's guess.

With every off-key shred, NP Rock ate at the pit of her stomach and the back of her mind.

Veronica was almost glad when, getting up to smack the drummer in the face, one of the mall cops finally dragged her out.


She could have been a professor by now, if she hadn't gotten sidetracked. Teaching undergraduates basic engineering equations by day, getting high off mushrooms and fucking the music theory instructor by night. Maybe Ashy'd still be alive, then.

Her mind was wandering. It did that these days.

Wasn't like the problem before her deserved her attention. It was an shitty problem, written on shitty paper. At least to Veronica, it was immediately clear that the whole process was objectively incorrect; number theory didn't work like how this little bugger supposed it did, and several portions were straight up nonsense. That they expected her to write an analysis of the problem as if it made sense was nearly as nonsensical. But then, things rarely made much sense, anymore.

Veronica decided to take the inverse sine of said nonsense number, and inexplicably found herself accosted by an angry grizzly bear.

D-7294は目を上げて、背が高い栗色の髪 (青に染まってる、当然だ。それはいつだって吉兆だったさ。特に酷い染髪をしてあるともなると) の少女が彼のセルに入れられたのを見た。彼は微笑んで本 (『ピアニスト』。良好な言動に対するちょっとした報酬だ) を側に置いて、哀れな少女を一瞥した。「ハロー。アンタはまだ1285か、それとも俺は新鮮な犠牲者と話してるのかな?」

D-7294 looked up as a tall, chestnut-haired (dyed blue, of course. That always boded well, especially with a dye job that horrid) girl was deposited into his cell. Smiling, he deposited his book (Die Klavierspielerin, a little reward for good behavior) to the wayside as he gave the poor girl a lookover. "Hello. Are you still 1285, or am I speaking to fresh meat?"

少女は、バーバ・ヤーガと彼が自由だった頃に見た死んだ目のビデオスターの中間ぐらいの酷い笑い方をしたが、最後の微笑みはその目に届いていなかった。目はまだ死にきってはおらず、しかしそう大丈夫というわけでもない。だが、「使い捨て」 (Disposables) が“大丈夫”な連中であることは滅多になかった。「アタシが新鮮に見えるって?」

The girl had an ugly laugh, somewhere between Baba Yaga and those dead-eyed video stars he used to watch in his free days, ending in a smile that never reached her eyes. Eyes not quite dead, but not quite alright; but, the Disposables were rarely an "alright" folk. "Do I look fresh to you?"


"Fresh is relative. Frankly, you look like roadkill that hasn't died." The second car would be coming soon enough. Girls this fragile rarely lasted, especially the ones who pissed off HR hard enough to earn a cell with D-7294.


"Yeah?" 7294 swore he could spot the slightest bit of bemusement on the wretch's face. "Dead on." The bemusement faded quickly from the girl's face as she collapsed in a slump in the corner. "Just waiting for the right thing to do me in. Fucking taking them long enough."


7294 almost felt something. A vestige from a dozen lifetimes past, perhaps; the memory drugs rarely erased the imprint memories left.


What a dumb animal.


"Let me ruin the surprise, then: you don't get out." The girl barely stirred at that; she probably already knew that tidbit. "Nothing here just kills you. And if it does, you'll go to hell like everyone else." Somewhere in the "diary" he kept, 7294 assured himself that hell was an eternity in one's corpse. He still can't remember why.


Another ugly chuckle. She could certainly stand to be broken.


"Yeah, maybe. But let a woman dream, alright?" 7294 was surprised: the most put together thing about the girl was her uniform. She may have been a head taller, sure, but the Foundation had made her small. Still, such was the price of climbing a mountain of sandpaper.


"Dreams are for children. The Foundation breaks both, in time, so I suggest making them like you, before they start placing you with the more…interesting experiments. But, a moot point. I believe your next experiment will be the one that brings you down."

When the girl finally looked back up, D-7294 swore he could finally see something approaching humanity in her face. "You think?"

"Well, little lady," This time, the girl sneered. "some people, you can just tell. All in context clues, of course." At one point, the girl might've had the left half of her head shaved; even with hair growing back in, the bruising was readily apparent. How she avoided a concussion was anyone's guess. "Since you don't appear to be new, that means you've gone through quite a bit of tests…tell me, what's your name?"


"I meant your real name."

"Veronica. If you're gonna be like this, we're not gonna make for good roommates."

D-7294 sighed, mostly to keep an appearance. The girl's response wasn't all that unexpected. "Okay, then. My name is D-7294. Your name used to be Veronica. What is it now?"

"Oh, we're going with The Prisoner level metaphors, here. Well, my number's 952. My name remains Veronica, okay. It's a nice name. Picked it out myself."

"And this?" The flourish was instinctual. Symphonic habits died hard. "This is why I know they don't like you. Whoever you used to be, be it some vegan mustard peddler or b-movie stunt double, that ended the moment you were handed a life sentence. Here? You're D-952. You're a lab rat, and refusing to walk the maze means they'll dissect you instead."

D-952 barely reacted as 7294 ambled over to her slumped form. "They've already put you through the tough ones, haven't they?" She sneered as he loomed over her, of course; he couldn't say he liked her stubbornness, but she'd break, eventually. The girl didn't look the type to bend. "Well, now they've roomed you a serial femicide." Barely winced at that. Probably glad she was getting attention in the first place. "Next is something a little deadlier than me, and a little less pleasant. You've put yourself in a corner. Fighting will make the corner smaller."

D-7294 recognized the stare 952 was giving him. A recalcitrant glare that sought to replace both action and rhetoric in a situation where this girl had neither. These days, 7294 was rarely in the position to receive one of these.

"Veronica is dead, and none of her friends are here to care for D-952."

And with that, D-952 finally began to cry.


D-7294 always dreaded new roommates. More often than not, they interrupted his daily routine with incessantries. Thankfully, D-952 stayed quiet.

Time was hard to count in the Foundation, so one went by events, instead. Four sets of stretches, two hundred crunches, a piss break, a few chapters of his favorite book, and three lookovers of the "diary"(Updated with every rumor and personal experience since he'd been allowed pen and paper, of course.) in case they needed him for something peculiar. Today wasn't Sunday, so they wouldn't be allowing him access to the cello, but it helped to do the standard finger exercises, just to keep the muscle memory there.

It was only after he began unconsciously humming a tune that he even remembered he had a roommate.

"Hey, uh…could you be a little quiet?"

D-7294 couldn't help but smirk as he looked back over to the disheveled mess on the bed. For all the fight she'd almost certainly spent with the Foundation, right now she couldn't even bear to face her roommate. "Am I bothering you?"

Finally, D-952 turned over. 7294 swore the bags under her eyes had deepened since they threw her inside, to the point where she looked less like a human and more like a pale, overgrown raccoon someone dressed in an orange jumpsuit. "Yes. You are."

"What a shame."

7294 continued humming, as 952 turned back over in her bed.

Time didn't exist in the Foundation, but breakfast did, and it always came carefully through a hatch at the bottom of the door. Eggs and turkey sausage, plus a bit of fruit. Today was a coffee day for both of them, and while 7294 was glad to be getting out of the room, he almost pitied 952. Lizard bait was probably a best-case scenario, here.

The best case for time's continued existence, however, was the punctuality of the Foundation. Some unit of time after coffee day breakfast (which 7294 had begun to call a "koffee"), men in white coats and black armor would come in to escort either him or his roommate to whatever the men in grey suits decided they could throw Disposables at. A koffee was always the same amount of time, of course. At times, 7294 even swore he could count in them.

Of course, 7294 was bemused to find only one post-koffee transport squad at their door, and even more bemused when they ordered both of them out.

He almost felt sorry that the mall cops that had to drag his half-dead companion out to what he could only assume was a memorable time.

D-7294 had learned, of course, to stand straight and look forward whenever he was being sent on these excursions. Looking like you were cooperating was, after all, just as important as actual cooperation. Of course, he'd occasionally side-eye the containment chambers, get a glimpse of what horrors and wonders lay beyond his peripheral. Maybe look out for that demented half-cat they let wander the halls, just so he doesn't step on it and piss off some bleeding heart orderly.

There was little reason to do much else, however, until the two of them were shoved into a large room with a beanbag chair and a box. Typical. In D-7294's experience, a combination of random objects was always the worst thing they threw at you. Looking over to-

…D-7294 wasn't sure he was looking at the same person, anymore.

D-952's posture had completely changed. Where previously she had adopted the stance of a depressed koala, D-952 now stood straight, with a look of almost grim determination on her face. Moreover, she looked…there weren't many good ways to put it, but "receptive" was one description.

The intercoms crackled into life. "D-7294, please approach and open the box."

Oh, fun. He gets to kill her.

Opening the box didn't ring any "diary" bells, but it was nice not to die instantly. The inside of the box was a new rich sort of plush, heavily padded and drenched in a cloyingly sweet fragrance. Most of the fragrance came from a tumbler of some sweet, brown oh god no, they expected him to drink this, didn't they?

"D-7294, take a sip of SCP-209, and falsely describe the experience."

Well, between this and getting fed to an overgrown peanut…

…it tasted good. Really good. Warm, like a good whiskey from back when he was a free man, if not quite as bold. Smooth, with just the right amount of burn on the way down. Moreover, it made him feel…good. Fresh as new, and all of that.

D-7294 found himself unconsciously taking a seat in the beanbag chair. "…a bit cool."

The entire time, 952 had been standing at attention for the next command, unmoving and outwardly stoic. He'd have almost mistook her for part of the room at that point, if she hadn't shivered as soon as the words left his mouth.

7294 took another sip. "…lively, but fruity."

And that's when she started getting antsy, fidgeting in place. He hadn't expected much from his half-dead companion, to be sure, but it was nice to finally break her out of half-rigor mortis. It was only about half a minute later that she finally moved, pacing around the room in hurried steps, nervously stealing glances between 7294 and the observation camera.

7294 considered saying something else, just to make her squirm further; but the spectacle was amusing enough as it was right now, especially as 952 suddenly clutched her stomach and fell to her knees.

One thing he could say: he'd never seen someone vomit fruit puree before.

He could kill her, of course: certainly, that seemed to be the point of this exercise. It'd been a while since they let him do that. Just…say something, like "warm as the sun", or "it's nice to drink something without a skin". Maybe she'd even be happy, finally getting to die. That would be nice, he thought, as he sipped his drink in silence.

Maybe he could bend her into shape. Oh, the men in grey suits would love that. The problem child broken into a compliant doll, every agonizing contortion recorded for posterity by the men in white coats. Perhaps, one day, he could perform an encore; they'd turn him a boogeyman, preying on the naughty. That too would be nice, he thought, as he sipped his drink in silence.

Only after he finished his drink and found himself escorted back to the cell did he realize he forgot to break his silence.


"Why didn't you kill me?"

D-7294 looked up from his "diary" (complete with a new entry for whatever he just drank) at the former vegetable in the fruit-stained jumpsuit. "I beg your pardon?"

"Okay Bundy, lemme spell this out: you, you are some kind of serial rapist, or murderer, or whatever happened to get you locked in here. Me, I am an uppity tranny that no one will miss. You have been given the means to horribly kill me, and instead I end up vomiting smoothies for ten minutes. What gives?"

Was that why her voice was so annoyingly scratchy? "I could ask why you looked so keen on not dying."

The sudden shift from carrion to rabid in D-952 was off-putting, to say the least. A side-effect of the brandy? "Look, that's not important. I've been around the fucking block, and a creepoid like you would take any fucking chance to flay the skin off my fucking arms. So, what gives?"

…D-7294 didn't have an answer.

"Maybe I wanted to watch you suffer more." 7294 looked back to his "diary", and couldn't quite focus on the words. "Who knows, maybe you're the One who miraculously gets me to 'see the light'. Maybe we 'make love' in an amateurishly written sex scene, somehow escape the Foundation, and adopt a family of adorable puppies that fix your myriad of issues, all of which conveniently stem from your infertility. Or maybe, just maybe, I didn't feel like it."

7294 wasn't sure if he liked her better half dead or half mad, but he was sure of one thing: he didn't like her. "And for god's sake, what has gotten into you? Just an hour ago you had to be scraped off your bed with a spatula."

Thankfully, that shut her up for a while.

Lunch came, eventually. Fried catfish and green beans, plus a yellowed rice that was probably more salt than grain at this point. One of the guards had slipped a can of cranberry juice into one of the meals, either as a joke or a reward; still, fruit juice didn't quite appeal to him at the moment.

7294 had learned to appreciate the silence during lunch; small talk rarely amounted to much in Foundation care. It helped that 952 was a silent eater. Shame it only took half a post-meal koffee to ruin the quiet.

"…I saw a desk."

"Haven't we all?"

"Okay, asshole. I meant a room with only a desk, sandwiched between two rooms with a chair each."

7294 sighed, glancing through his "diary". "And I'm sure they have a very good reason for that." There were a few desk rumors, of course, but that meant little when their descriptions were as disparate as this. "Do you mind telling me what this has to do with anything?"

"Because…" 952 trailed off. "…alright, this is going to sound really stupid, but that desk's got a wish-granting fairy in it."

952 was right, of course: that was stupid. It was several seconds before 7294 stopped laughing.

"What's so g-ddamn funny, huh? You just got done making me vomit the probiotic special, but apparently fairies are too 'out there'."

The conceit wasn't quite as hilarious the second time around. "I can believe that the supernatural exists. I can believe that, through some means, we are able to shape the world through its usage." 7294 placed his "diary" to the side. "What I do not believe, however, is that you share a history with a quote-unquote 'wish-granting fairy' that inexplicably resides inside of a desk in the exact same prison you are currently trapped in."

"But… I mean…" The girl certainly believed her delusion, at least. That, or she should've taken up a career in stage. "I know it's there! I've had friends who…there's a gash under it, crescent shaped, and my… my friend, Jack… he has a piece of it! Fucking…" D-952 stopped in her tracks, realizing how ridiculous this whole affair was. "…listen, my friend made a really bad wish with a piece of that thing. He…we used it to hurt people. It's all…it's all still out there."

"Then I…well, used it for legalese and…" D-952 shivered again. "Ah, hell, I don't know much about this, or how I can put this into words. But I need to get to that desk, so I can…"

952 sat back down on her bed. "G-d, I hate to even say this. But…I have no illusions you don't believe anything I just said. Still, do you think you could…I dunno, help me?"

Help. Help her.

Of course she needed his help. Here was a flighty moron, unable to do anything on her own, who crumpled like wet tissue at the first sign of resistance; and yet even still, she apparently felt the need to lash out at anything that struck her fancy. Hell, he should have killed her back there, where he had the chance, where she'd actually be useful for something. She was barely more than a featherless biped with a mood disorder; of course she needed someone to crush her back into place.

"…alright. Maybe I will." D-7294 stood up . "Under one condition."

"Does it involve weird sex?"

"That's not necessarily a 'no' to weird sex, it's just-"

7294 tried sighing hard enough to interrupt 952, but it came out more as a frustrated grunt. "Shut up. Just…shut up, for once. God, what is wrong with you?"

952 mumbled something that wasn't quite loud enough for 7294 to hear, but that assumed he cared in the first place.

"I can help you survive long enough, if that's what your asking. Maybe I could even help to obtain an assignment to this…wish-granting desk. But!" 7294 stepped over to once more loom over 952. This time, she didn't sneer, and he somehow found that worse. "You will be completely obedient to me. If I am accosted by some thug during exercise or recreation, you are to draw attention from me. If I am in need of extra energy, you are to give me some of your food. But most importantly, just shut the fuck up when we're alone."

D-952 silently nodded. The sudden stillness was unnerving, but if the alternative was everything else with this girl, he'd gladly take it.

Finally sitting down, 7294 returned to his diary. "I'll give advice tomorrow, if you'd kindly buy in with a portion of your dinner. Don't worry, they expected you to die today, so there's no chance they'll stick you anywhere else."

Dinner was three six slices of over-seasoned turkey and mashed yams.

Hello. Your name is Zeke Don, but you go by D-7294. This isn't your first time reading this, but it might as well be. Likely, you've had your memories erased. Let's get a few things out of the way:

1) The Supernatural exists. Yes, quite a shock, you who've had your memory wiped. Fairies are real, there's monsters under your bed, and Al Gore is likely a reptilian. However, physical laws exist alongside them, and they are the one thing these demons cannot kill.

Every ghost, monster, or artifact that exists operates under a set of rules, each entirely unique to one another. That means that for every terror that longs to tear your legs off, there is an entire field of study dedicated to the combating said terror. Some method may be esoteric, while others may be reminiscent of the stories you heard growing up. The fact remains, however, that through a certain set of behaviors, you can ensure, with near 100% guarantee, that you will not die. Knowledge is power.

Therefore: Record every rumor you can, underlining every truth and striking through every falsehood.

Veronica assumed this one was meant to kill her, but unless a sheaf of papers from some reject's art collection had the ability to tear her jugular out, she should be fine.

"D-952, please observe the document."

Well, it appeared to be a character study of oh fuck no. Veronica may have been stupid enough to associate with Jack and, by extension, the Man in Bandages, but 7294's pictographs were pretty fucking clear on what not to do here.

"Please describe the contents of the document."

Veronica spoke in visual metaphors of visual metaphors as she thought of nothing.

Much to his surprise, D-952 was shoved back into their shared room with nary a scratch. 7294 looked up from his copy of Les Misérables just in time for the door to slam shut. "I'm surprised you somehow survived. What did they throw at you?"

952 began wriggling like an eel, before putting a finger to her lips and shaking her head.

"That explains quite a bit, but not about what they put you up against. For god's sake, can't you be normal?"

"Well, excuse me for being thrown in a room with a…" 952 trailed off. "It's, fuck, uh…cognitohazard, right? The thing you can't know about? Ah, fuck it." The springs in 952's mattress creaked as she haphazardly tossed herself into bed, but they didn't exactly allow them to oil the damn things, did they? "G-d, I feel like I'm living Kafka's nightmare, sometimes."

"Learn to get used to it."

2) You are working for the Foundation. Not on your own free will, of course, but that hardly matters. Perhaps, one day, they might release you. For now? You're a glorified lab rat.

Your job is to provide information on what happens when what interacts with what, with a focus on the what, why, and how. Sometimes, it'll be as simple as playing a record; other times, you might be forced to clean feces off the feet of a statue. It's important to keep your wits about you, lest your skeleton is snapped into a pretzel.

Of course, because you're expected to provide information, you cannot tread too carefully. If you cannot provide your captors with the information they require, then you are unfit for testing. If you are unfit for testing, they kill you.

Therefore: Be careful, but play the game. If things move too slow, improvise.

D-952's jumpsuit looked a little burnt, as did her skin. Nevertheless, the Foundation had failed to kill her today, which was nice…if only because D-7294 could get more information out of a manic depressive than he could a corpse.

D-7294 readied his pen. "What did they throw at you today?"

"Okay, uh…" For the slave of a slave, especially one covered in chemical burns, 952 looked livelier than 7294 had ever seen her. "So there's this dog, alright? And it eats things. But, well, it eats by corroding them."

"Interesting." Corrosive dog, tested on troublemakers. "Tell me, why am I still speaking to you?"

"…excuse me?"

This was barely worth the effort. "You have survived the efforts of a corrosive canine. I am asking you how you're still standing."

"Oh, I just tried teaching it some tricks. Fed it parts of my suit when needed. I think it knows how to sit, now." 952 paused. "…you know, I'm not sure how I'm still alive."

"Interesting." Supernaturally lucky airhead, tested on me. "For someone who wanted to die so badly, you're awfully bad at dying."

D-952 shrugged. "I have hope, now. Can't waste it."

3) You are surrounded by humans.

Humans do not make decisions through reason. Man is an entirely emotional being, driven only by impulse and feeling. If the "truth" does not feel "truthful", humans will see it as "falsehood". There are no exceptions to this rule.

It is extremely easy to trust someone that you like, even if it should be clear that what they're saying isn't true. After all, no one wants to admit that they wasted time and energy on someone they could not trust. Popular "truth" is thus defined by the path of least resistance.

Therefore: Make yourself likable.

"So, uh, how've you been?"

The researcher overseeing her looked up from her paperwork into the containment chamber, and more specifically at the Veronica. "I…beg your pardon?"

"You know. What's it like working here? I was always more FUCK-" Veronica dropped the tongs, and with it the live mouse it'd been holding and the centipede who suddenly crawled up. "…sorry! One of them started climbing up, and…you know I'll just, uh, pick it up. Right now." After the bugs finished eating. "You know, I used to care for lizards. I don't know if they ever ate this much."

"I believe most of the energy goes into their legs. I wouldn't know, I studied marine biology." Well, at least it wasn't a reprimand.

"That's pretty tight. Dunno why they have you on centipede duty. I'd have thought they'd put you on shoggoth duty or something."

"I don't think shoggoths exist."

"Ohhhh do I have some stories for you, Ms…"




AUTHOR: Ariel Isabel Paternoster



DATE: 19/07/2020, 0:00-2:35

PERFORMANCE SYNOPSIS: D-952 was instructed to feed SCP-363 as specified, to which she complied. Afterwards, D-952 talked at length about a variety of subjects, including [REDACTED]. These claims are currently being investigated.




4) Above all else: TRUST NO ONE.

D-2677 first saw D-952 at one of 7294's weekly cello "recitals", turning pages for him. That's what 2677 told her, at least. She's pretty sure she'd seen him watching her before.

After a bit of searching, he saw her again in the Yard. They had a great time, of course. They talked, and talked, and talked at length. She told him her life story, her childhood in "Chicago", how to tune a string instrument, all that stuff. He told her about his time behind bars, what he did to amuse himself, hell, even a bit on how to craft, use, and hide a shiv. Still, she left in a hurry.

One day, someone slipped him a picture, and when he tried to compliment it he suddenly wasn't there.


Days turned into weeks.

They stopped trying to kill her, fucking finally. At the very least, D-952 Veronica rarely felt endangered. Mostly, nowadays, she got stuck with sanitation. Sure, she occasionally had to clean an ogre's room, or transport a glass case full of tar and masks, but she was a big girl, and knew her way around this kind of block. Hell, sometimes they stuck her with odd folk like the dude with the weird teddy bear, or some woman with a Bane mask. Sure, she wasn't allowed to talk much, but the sights were better than plain concrete. Plus, you always felt a little safer with a shiv.

Too bad they rarely lasted longer than a month. They'd hit her with a few drugs every now and then, not enough to dumb her down but enough to make her forget some of the important shit she'd seen; but, that's what 7294's journal was for. Plus, the desk wasn't on record anyways, so they didn't know to block that little bit out.

She almost felt like she was getting used to D-7294's music. Sure, it was revoltingly dissonant and depressive, but then, so was Highway Ash. Besides: he was helping her get to the desk.

Weeks turned into months.

D-952 wasn't a happy woman, of course. Still, she was happier than before…or felt like it, at least. She had to be happier, right?

Not being able to do things besides exercise and sleep (requested literature was given to 7294), combined with long hours testing and regulated curfew, meant D-952 Veronica didn't do much but get into shape and maintain a good sleep cycle. Hell, she'd already lost a bit of weight.

Veronica D-952 was forced to admit, however, that the experiments were getting quite a bit weirder. Checking the circuitry of weird floodlights, finding ways to prepare a giant, dopey-faced fish for eating, making tea from a statue's roots. They didn't kill her, though, and that's all that mattered. Hadn't taken her to the desk yet, sure, but…well, she wasn't sure exactly what she'd do there, anyways.

Months turned into years.

Veronica D-952 was good to those around her, and they were good to her, too. Maybe not everyone, but they stopped being "around" her soon enough.

Well, maybe not herself. She'd grown wiry over time, a result of…something? Whatever, she ate what she needed to and didn't what she didn't. Her eyes, too. Bit dead, of course, but she didn't know any other trans chick who had lively eyes. Sort of a rare thing for…


She rarely had to worry, these days. Maybe they'd force her to eat a cookie cake, or drink bland chicken soup from a hateful bowl that shamed her life choices, or play a childrens' playground game. Normal stuff you'd expect from something whose existence isn't recorded outside the deep web. But she did her job, and she did it well. After all, she had to go on, for…

…something was wrong, here. But she'd been wrong her whole life.

"Please, 7294, take a seat."

Supervisor Jared Green was a kindly-looking man, at least for a slavedriver. But, nine(?) years in the Foundation, and you get used to things you'd never thought you'd get use to. "Charming office." The office was trashy, filled with (Garfield-plastered) motivational posters and knick knacks, but it was better than a cell. "Pardon me asking, but is this a special occasion? Say, release? Termination?"

"Oh!" Supervisor Green had an annoying chuckle. "No, nothing so dramatic. No, this is just formality. Your roommate, D-952, is…well, has she told you, yet?"

"Something about a 231?" 7294 was surprised. Given…everything, he thought she'd kill herself at the first mention of transfer.

"If you know that, we're going to have to perform an impromptu amnesticization session after today, but yes, essentially. Over the past two years, D-952 has shown remarkable competence and loyalty, with an active drive for discovery and perfectionism. She has also, on a few occasions, aided the Foundation outside of standard experiments, primarily in the form of advice and a colorful background in both engineering and anart. She is, without a doubt, a model D-Class."

All thanks to himself, of course. Shame her dream was dead, but it's been dead from the start.

"However, due to the sensitive nature of her assignment, I'm afraid there's still a bit of procedure the Foundation has to run through." 7294 had to suppress a chuckle as Green cut himself on a sheet of papers. "Now then: first, how long have you two shared your cell?"

"Two years, plus change. Surprised we made it this far." Well, her. 7294 hadn't survived 9 years of service for dumb luck.

"Interesting. And how did she act, when you first met her?" Supervisor Green looked down to his paper sheaf. Already, one of the corners was stained with a drop of his own folly. "If I'm to understand, her transfer was…never mind." He quickly moved the top paper to the back, but not quickly enough for 7294 to miss the "ETHICS COMMITTEE" stamp. "Either way, I'm led to believe she hasn't always been…cooperative."

"Not at all."

"Well," There was no reason for Green to take off his glasses when he looked back to 7294. Probably just wanted to look 'cool'. "What do you believe was the…turning point, so to speak?"

D-7294 had expected not to remember the details, of course. However, the heavy sense of frustration, flavored with disappointment, came as a bit of a surprise. The imprint memories left were rarely erased. "I believe we had just come back from an experiment. We had an argument over something unimportant," A lie, but one he couldn't debunk himself. 7294 found he couldn't quite look Green in the eye. "and she told me that…" But, there the tides of memory flow in. "…she had seen a desk, that she claimed that some…wish-granting pixie inhabited it."

These days, 7294 rarely had the time to look at posters. The tacky Garfield ones always brought back memories of teaching kids music, back in his free days. He never got how that big orange feline captured the hearts of teachers everywhere, but by golly did he worm his way into the trash heap of unpopular pop culture.

Turning back to Supervisor Green, D-7294 came face to face with the face of a man who might as well have just caught his boss, his secretary, and his dog screwing his wife.

From: AHarper2@Scipnet (Site Director Anderson Harper; Classification Level XK-4; Employee Number 1285)
To: YYarkoni@Scipnet (Senior Researcher Yehezkel Yarkoni; Classification Level XF-3; Employee Number 2677)
Re: Re: Interrogation fruitless
Date: 25/9/2022

I'm not wasting mnestics on a former ••|•••••|••|• subject who somehow isn't X~X.

Bomb collar. Sit-down with 738. Ten minutes to explain herself. Blow her head off the moment she says anything she shouldn't.

Let's see if it jogs her memory.

D-952 was forced into a chair, wearing a cumbersome collar. The last time this happened was six years ago, and the collar wasn't beeping, and a machine wasn't assembling a…desk?

Veronica D-952 felt she should have been happy, but this didn't feel like a happy moment.

It was a very nice desk, to be sure. Mahogany, lined with velvet, with a fancy but oppressive atmosphere to the whole thing, not exactly helped by the throne currently being lined up with everything else. If D-952 had to guess, this setup was pilfered from some rich asshole CEO's private estate, probably replaced by something equally ostenta-

And very suddenly, the throne was occupied by a beautiful woman in an overcoat. "Yarkoni! How are you? How long's it been, eight years since I'm back in the saddle? How's Katz doing?"

The intercom buzzed. "Irrelevant. D-952, do you recognize-"

"Is it really gonna be like that, again? You may not have put a moron on the seat, but I know desire when I see it. Shame she's an ugly sack of shit, but I ain't no judge, just the lawyer."

"D-952. Do you recognize the figure before you?"

D-952 blinked, and shook her head.

"Course she don't, dear, I'm wearing the skin of your dead wife." For the first time since this began, the figure made eye contact, leaving Veronica D-952 unseasonably warm. "Now I know you got business with me. Come on. O5 promotion? Immunity to SCP-3211? Or what about right now, knowledge on this-" The woman grinned, leaving D-952 even warmer. "…how long has it been, Joshua? Cute trick with the will. Shame it'll cost you."

"Yarkoni, tell you what." Suddenly, D-952 wasn't staring at a woman. She was staring at a man wrapped head to toe in bandages, as the warmth was subsumed by horrid chill. The imprint of memory was rarely erased.

"I'll spill the beans. Only price: you change his documentation to my specifications."

Very suddenly, D-952 Joshua Veronica Katherine Fitzroy remembered why she wanted to see this desk so badly.

Bandages had resumed talking with Yarkoni, but whatever he said, it was vile and cowardly, and if she listened to it any longer she'd lose her chance or die. Veronica opened the desk drawer, and searched.

Veronica thought back to everything. Every single g-ddamn thing that kept her from being a normal, well-adjusted person.

How her heart screamed for Veronica to flense Joshua from her skin in every waking moment, an inadequacy abated by nothing; how those around her tried to weaponize her inadequacy, her father out of spite, Dr. Hartly out of disgust; how even those she loved never quite saw her as a normal, intact woman, and how every performative wound made in honor of them stung yet. How she'd never see Ashy, or Brad, or fuck it, Jack or Izzy or Sara again; how forgiveness remained forever out of her reach as she almost certainly died buried in a brightly lit tomb of dirt, concrete, and steel, mediocre schlock and a monument to her own failure the only thing for the world to remember her by.

And in the span of a second, all that disappeared as Veronica took a letter opener out of the desk and buried it right into the Bandaged Man's smug fucking eye.

This tale was made for the SCP Original Character Tournament, organized by PeppersGhostPeppersGhost. Thanks to WrongJohnSilverWrongJohnSilver for letting me use D-7294! Find his take on Veronica [PLACEHOLDER]

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