End of Depression

O5-4 stared into the eyes of Harold Holt in a complete lack of comprehension.

Four had always encouraged his factotums to speak up if they wanted a word in whatever conversation was occurring; it never hurt to have more opinions or viewpoints on a subject. Even though they had the occasional disagreement on what should or shouldn't be done with this or that anomalous object, he, Frost, and Harold tended to agree on most issues; they all believed exceptions should be made on the no-utilizing-anomalies rule (case-by-case, obviously), they all thought that humanoids should be allowed more leniency, 1048 be damned, and they all agreed that pataphysics was bullshit.

All of this factored into Four's confusion when Harold began berating him for his project the day after its completion.

"May I ask why not?" Four asked. Harold had earlier stated that the world couldn't exist without Death.

"Every day I've been alive because of the Fountain has been another day I get more burdened, stressed, tired. I'm sure you've noticed I have a new therapist that I visit frequently."

"I have noticed as such," Four replied in a tone suggesting he didn't see how this was pertinent. He took a quick glance at Frost to gauge his expression and was slightly surprised to see it looked like he was agreeing with Holt.

"I have depression. I didn't have depression ten years ago. Now, I'm not saying correlation equals causation - you know that - but I feel fairly justified in saying I'm feeling more and more hopeless the more and more I'm avoiding death by drinking from the Fountain. Death is the promise that all of the problems we face in our lives will one day resolve themselves, or be lifted from our shoulders. You've just gone and taken that away. Imagine how badly this will affect the average person, knowing that their problems, no matter how unsolvable, will be there forever and ever, with no end, ever."

"What you're suggesting is that these new circumstances will drive many people to depression," Four stated, making sure he understood his colleague's stance.

"Yes!" Harold shouted, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "And that's not even to mention the population boom, and how that will affect infrastructure, the economy, housing…"

"Okay, I believe I understand where you're coming from, and I'll address your concerns," Four said. He leaned over to his right and pulled his laptop from his carrying case before setting it on the desk and opening it up. A few clicks later and he had his e-mail open to a few months ago. He flipped the laptop around to show Frost and Harold his correspondence. "I've been in contact with Isabelle Collingwood, 999's head researcher. I have recently learned that 999's testing has yielded the result of permanently curing a D-Class's suicidal thoughts. Yes, permanently. I don't think it needs to be stated just how good this is."

Four turned his computer back around to himself to pull up Exhibit B when he had to hold up a hand to Harold, who was about to ask how that was going to do any good for all ~8 billion people on the planet. Harold understood he should wait for Four to present his full case before taking it apart.

Four turned the computer back around yet again. "These are the test results from SCP-2719 from a few years ago. Our researchers were able to deduce 2719's full scope of abilities: it could put any abstract concept inside of another abstract concept, but only as long as it had a sample of all involved concepts beforehand. We now, as of the date of 999's test I just showed you, have an example of a depression cure, and we sure as hell have an example of humanity. Do you see where I'm going with this?"

"You don't mean-" Frost started.

"Yes, I do mean. Make humanity Inside and send the depression cure inside, and boom; no more depression. We could alleviate the over-population issue by putting funding towards the colonization of outer space; there are plenty of habitable planets out there, and we have several means of space travel. All we need to do is convince the rest of the Council."

Dr. Bright looked at his old schematics with surprise; the Ganymede Protocol had been all but decommissioned in the wake of ΩK, and most of the Foundation's efforts as of late had been on space colonization. In fact, the meeting he was currently having with O5-4 was being held in the Foundation's new observation site, an enormous ring that encircled the Oort Cloud. Jack had heard rumors, most likely spread by Alto, that it was a reconstruction of an alien structure from before humanity had evolved.

"These are your blueprints for the Bright/Zartion Hominid Replicators," O5-4 stated. "Truly brilliant machines, I must say."

"Thank you, sir," Jack said. "Zartion did most of the machine-work; I was more focused on making sure the Seed was properly integrated."

"Yes, he was quite an asset for the Foundation," Four said. "You know, he was working on a Reality Anchor attachment that would disrupt thaumaturgy when he passed. Very unfortunate that ΩK happened only two months afterwards."

"Yeah, that really sucked," Jack replied. "but, sir, I don't think you called me out here to reminisce."

"You are right, Jack. I called you out here to ask for permission to use the Hominid Replicators in a universe-wide, Foundation-provided service that would provide new bodies for any and all who needed them."

Jack's eyebrows rose at that. He was about to ask a question along the lines of, "What about the newly-created humans? Wouldn't they be subjected to the same suffering, then?" when O5-4 said, "We have already done preliminary testing in collaboration with Prometheus Labs, and have found that the Replicators could be used to create exact copies of bodies, sans the brain, so rest assured that there is no suffering being created if you say yes."

Jack sat there thinking about anything that could go wrong, but couldn't think of anything. People probably wouldn't be getting kidnapped and body-snatched, as the Replicators could produce anybody, there was no risk of dying, the way the Foundation operated, it would most likely be done to a 'T', it all seemed like it would work.

"Sure. Let's do it."

O5-4 looked at the Foundation's newest leap in anomalous technology, the Retroactive Consciousness Preserver. A machine made in a collaboration between the Temporal Anomalies Department, the Artificial Intelligence Applications Division, and Dr. Bright, it would, if built correctly, travel backwards in time and make note of every conscious being in the entirety of the universe, and how each of them die (if applicable). It would then travel backwards in time again, but this time it would, at the moment immediately preceding each consciousness's death, switch the being and an exact (but non-alive) copy of it, putting the being into an anomalous life-support system Inside of it. After collecting and saving every being, it would travel back to the present and collaborate with other AIC's to create accommodations for all who were saved.

Four had never been more proud of his position.

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