The Outsider: A Conversation About Truths

"That will be all. This meeting is hereby adjourned. Thank you, Overseers."

Chairs could be heard swiveling as the Overseers began to rise from their seats. Four, began to walk off towards a wall, but no one bothered; he would be gone by the time anyone looked again. Three's computer screen bleeped off, as the rest walked out of the room, either alone, flanked by their Factotums or the Red Right Hand.

As One sat back in his chair, sighing at the notes sprawled over the desk, he was drawn to the presence of another person, who was supposed to have left the room.

"Goddammit Nine! Stop skulking in the bloody shadows, you nearly gave me a heart attack." One took a sip of water from the cup in front of him. "Why are you still here?"

"My resignation. Why did you deny it?" Nine sat straight, her pale face a stark contrast to the dimness of the room.

One massaged his temples. "Ah. That."

"You knew this was coming, so don't act surprised. Are you going to give me an answer, or not?"

"No. You are going to answer yourself." One took a sip of glass, his veins visible against the wrinkled skin.

"Don't go all Zen on me. What do you mean?" Nine rose from her seat and walked towards One, her stride firm and impeccable. She stopped just short of his seat. "Are you really going to deny me free will, like the rest of your captives?"

One breathed in deeply, pushing himself away from the table. "What is your purpose here in the Foundation? Why do you think we chose you?"

"Hmph. I don't know. I was just minding my own research when you grabbed me." Nine looked down upon the frail One.

"Research into the anomalous, might I add? Personally, I was surprised to discover someone actually researching the anomalous, without even realising it was an anomaly in the first place."

"Your point? Don't waste my time."

"Your time. Such arrogance. As if you're not wasting my time." Nine's nostrils flared up for a moment. "I want you to continue your duty for one more week. Observe the Foundation more. Question everything. And please, take another view of things, from a different lens. Any question you have, I'll answer it."

Nine paused for a moment to consider his proposal. "And if nothing happens?

"You can leave. I'll amnesticisize you personally."

"No other options?"

"One week. Goodbye, Nine." One rose from his seat with the support of his cane, and shuffled out of the room, leaving it empty.

"Finally, well done on the Kansas City case, Eight. Another crisis avoided. Meeting adjourned."

Once all the Overseers had departed in their natural (or paranatural) methods, Nine approached One. Her face was more wrinkled, her breath slightly shorter and heavier.

"Busy week?" One stacked all his papers into a nice pile and packed it into his briefcase.

"Don't ask questions you know the answers too, One. It makes you look stupid." Nine sat down in one of the nearby seats, slouching ever so slightly.

"On the contrary, it gives the appearance of naivete, which is useful for masking yourself and your intentions. But I digress. What did you learn?"

"Why do we not destroy some of our SCPs. We have a few dozens that are practically inanimate objects.Yet we waste our resources on keeping them contained."

One became slightly flustered." Well, not what I asked, but-"

"You said you would answer my questions."

"And I will. We don't completely understand everything we contain. Destroying them would be like putting a bottle of mystery liquid into a fire. It could burn, blow up in your face, or siimply put out the fire. Do we really want to take this risk? Pray to whatever's up there that we don't accidentally end the world? Action and reaction. If humanity can't handle the repercussions of it's own actions, how would we fare any better?"

"A watch. That will always be six minutes slow, no matter how you adjust it. Unless it's the personal pocket watch of some cosmic entity, I fail to see the correlation."

"Then go ahead. If you believe in it, then do it. But if it burns, expect it to come burning down on your head."

"A fair warning. Why do we not utilise them instead?"

One scratched his neck as Nine leaned forward. This was going better than expected. She was still stubborn and defensive, but at least now, she was willing to listen to something other than what she wanted to hear.

"Rather similar actually. If you don't understand how something works, isn't it even more dangerous to use it?"

"But we do, don't we? The Thaumiel class objects. Alpha-9. Even Theta-90 uses a skip for certain encounters."

"True. But too much of anything isn't good for anyone. Say, if we were to use all the anomalies we had to contain more anomalies, how different would we be from the GOC? Or maybe even The Hand? It would simply be a blatant violation of what the Foundation stands for."

"Isn't the Foundation's goal containment?" Nine crossed her arms, as she sat straight.

"The ends do not always justify the means. If achieving our goal means throwing aside everything we stand for, I would rather be defeated."

"Yet is it not more effective? What good is a goal if we fail to achieve it?" Her voice was beginning to become hoarse, yet it was still full of vigor.

"Then do it. I may be a man of many words, but i do not trust them. I trust action. You're an Overseer. Act like one."

Nine slowly let her hands fall into her lap. One smiled as he took the glass of water in front of him and offered it to her. She hesitated for a while, looking away, before finally accepting it, nodding slightly to him as she drank.

"What about helping the rest of humanity?" She placed the glass on the table and wiped her lips. What about those starving away? Can't we help them out?" The question came out with less crassness than previous ones, and more of a sympathetic hope.

"Manna exist for that. Not us.It's simply not possible."

"Why? Why can't we do something then?" One noticed the desperation in her voice, grimacing slightly.

"A logistical challenge. Our resources are already spread far and thin for our sites and SCPs, that to focus on something else would mean giving up on other things. We don't have the necessary equipment or training to handle this sort of missions. Simply put, the costs outweighs the benefits."

"Is that really it? A matter of logistics? We're letting the world die because of that?"

'Not just that. if the Foundation was to go public, or even be seen helping them, we would be quickly targeted. All our enemies would know where to find us, or who to hurt in order to draw us out. We'd be vulnerable and collapse quickly."

One sighed, as he looked at the empty glass. Talking for so long made him thirsty.

"The Foundation helps the world by safeguarding it. We are the watchers at the gates of dawn, looking out for whatever may come. That is how we help the world."

"You've been waiting to say that for a long time, haven't you?" Nine stifled a chuckle.

"Admittedly, it sounded better in my head. But enough about that. Do you truly understand your purpose here?"

"I'm given a chance to help create a better world, I guess?' Nine gave a half-hearted shrug.

"Err.. Well, no. I guess it's hard to find your purpose in a week. Why do you think we chose you, Nine? Out of the thousands of millions of people, we chose you. Why?"

Nine sat silently as she pondered that. "Well, I guess it would be because I was scientist, who wanted to understand how things worked."

One smiled as he heard her. "Exactly! A scientist, who's curiosity knew no bounds, who could challenge the views of everyone else on this council. But there's more. You have something none of us have."

"Err… A degree in geology? i don't know. Don't play games with me, One." Nine shifted slightly in her seat.

"There are no games here. What makes the eleven people on this council different from you and the rest of the world?"

"Hmm…Oh, our perspective, right? How we see things?"

"Yes! As we rose through the ranks, we adopted views and policies of the Foundation as our own, to aid us. Yet, it has made us dangerously narrow-minded and unaware of reality sometimes. That's where you come in. You're the other side, the counterbalance to this Foundation. The others may look down upon you, but they fail to see your true potential. What you have to offer to this council."

"So I'm responsible for saving the council from a bad decision."

"Yes, but it doesn't have to be that solely. You have the might of an Overseer, bring the change you want. You were so passionate about helping others just now, so do it. Do what you must in order to achieve your goal, and don't let anyone stop you."

One pulled open a drawer from the desk, and removed a syringe.

"The choice stands. This amnestic has enough dosage to wipe your memories back to the start of your introduction to the Foundation. Take it, and you can leave the Foundation. Or you can choose to carry on as you were. Make your decision."

Nine stood up,questioning herself. Life has been simple before she was dragged into this mess, but now she had the power to change things. To create a better world. Just like she always wanted.

"Keep your amnestics. I will continue my duty here. I don't agree with you, One. So you can be certain that things will change. I will not be silent anymore. Thank you, One." She walked out of the room, her stride continuously exuding a newfound strength.

"You can come out now," said One to an empty room.

"I'd rather not. What were you planning to do if she refused? Did you even prepare the amnestics?"

One looked at the clear liquid in the syringe. "Cyanide.It was easy to procure. Though I was really hoping that I wouldn't have to use it. She's such an intelligent woman, it would be a shame to let her go to waste."

"She seemed very unsure of herself."

"Of course. She simply needed a bit of motivation. Fact is, we need her. She will be the one to stop us before we end up dooming ourselves. She may or may not realise it, but with the power she wields, well, she could overthrow us all."

"Hence the cyanide, I guess. You sounded like a genuinely nice guy, talking to her."

"As I said, being naive is very useful."

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