Who Wants to Live Forever?

Doctor Jonathan Irkwright closed the door behind him, sitting down at the desk and opening his folder. "Just getting my things in order," he said, smiling at the person across from them. Irkwright found that it usually put them at ease, to see a little disorder in the precise and coldly organized Foundation.

The man didn't even look at him, staring at the walls of the interview room like the guards reported he had been doing for the past four hours.

He was young, around twenty, maybe twenty-five, with ragged brown hair. A tattoo sleeve on his left arm, and minor scarring on his face from removed piercings. He looked just like any other D-class personnel.

Irkwright glanced down at the ornate amulet display prominently around his neck. First time he had seen it in person.

"So, Doctor Bright," Irkwright started. "I'm Doctor Jonathan Irkwright, Foundation psychiatrist. You can call me Jonathan or John, or whatever. Do you prefer Doctor Bright, or just Jack?"

The junior researcher didn't respond.

"No point beating around the bush I suppose, we both know why you're here." Irkwright pulled out the incident report he had received this morning.

"Yesterday at 12 pm, you were overseeing testing for SCP-590. Just for memory, 590 is a humanoid male-"

"I know what 590 is. Sir." His voice was creaky from disuse, but Irkwright swore he could hear a tiny spark of anger in it.

Irkwright raised an eyebrow, but continued on. "Very well. As part of testing its healing abilities, you were the one who made the decision to induce it to heal several cases of mental retardation. As 590 takes on the characteristics of whatever malady it heals, this reduced it to the approximate intelligence of a three year-old. Is this correct?"

Bright nodded.

"Good. One hour later, you returned to your quarters, pulled out a handgun, and shot yourself through the temple, killing yourself."

The researcher shrugged. "Didn't work."

Irkwright placed the report back in the folder, sitting back in his desk. "No, it didn't. They simply placed you in another body. Did you want it to?"

Another shrug.

Irkwright flipped through his folder, pulling out the documentation for his file. "I notice you've been assigned to 590 since… well, its arrival. You were one of the first staff assigned to his research team. After all these years, I imagine you might've grown attached to it."

Bright stayed silent.

"I can't imagine that was easy to do, Jack. The Foundation instills that the anomalies are objects, not people with their own thoughts and feelings and families, but I suppose that doesn't make carrying out the order any easier."

Irkwright shuffled through his papers. "I see you're also assigned to another humanoid anomaly, SCP-321. How has your experience been with this anomaly?"

Another shrug. He wasn't really getting anywhere, Irkwright realized.

Irkwright sighed, putting his papers away. "Jack, I'm trying to help you here. All I want is for you to be back on your feet as soon as possible. But you're going to have to meet me halfway, alright?"

Still nothing.

"Would you like me to come back tomorrow? Would that be better."

Bright did nothing, just continuing to stare at the wall.

"Alright. We'll resume this tomorrow."


The incident with SCP-590 seems to have a large negative effect on Doctor Bright's wellbeing. Guards have reported silent, listless behavior, and eye contact is completely absent. Doctor Bright has also refused to eat, an action which while is not particularly harmful, is a concerning sign

Irkwright sat back at his desk, looking at the draft of the report he had been working on for the past couple of hours.

Time for a coffee break, he decided, locking his computer (like Eleanor liked to remind everyone, they had sensitive data on it), before making his way towards the site breakroom. Hopefully no one had taken the last of those muffins he had been eyeing since lunch.

The mood of a lazy Friday afternoon had permeated the breakroom. The lucky few who resided off-site or were off duty for the weekend had already left.

One of the of the doctors, Calvin Nguyen was already in there, eating a late lunch with one hand and devouring a stack of paperwork with the other.

"Busy day?" Irkwright queried, checking the muffin box. Empty. Well, there were always the oatmeal and raisin cookies. Even in the Foundation, everyone had the appetite of a five-year old.

"Had a round of D-Class sessions," Nguyen said, not taking his eyes off the papers for even a moment. "More testing on that jail cell anomaly, that batch from last month just came out. Complete wrecks. Shelving them for WB testing."

WB. Warm Body Testing, as Nguyen had coined a few months ago. A general catch-all term for the D-Class who weren't in a stable enough mental state for anything beyond being shoved through SCP-120.

"Speaking of D-Class, heard you got assigned to nine-six-three's case." Nguyen glanced up at him, slowing down for a moment. "Figure out why he put a bullet in his head?"

"Working on it."

"Well, good luck with that." Nguyen returned to his work, Irkwright already forgotten. He grabbed a few cookies and a napkin, returning to his office. He took an experimental bite. Not bad, surprisingly. Why didn't anyone take them? He made a mental note for later.

Irkwright sat down at his desk, just in time for his phone to ring. Of course.

"Doctor Irkwright speaking" He said as he typed his password singlehandedly.

"Irkwright, wonderful to make your acquaintance. I understand you're assigned to Jack Bright?"

"…Yes. I'm sorry, who is this?" The voice, a male's voice, was completely alien to him. It had the faintest hint of a texan accent.

"Overseer Six. I'm going to need you to clear Jack Bright for his return to active duty immediately, please."

Irkwright sat up straight, nearly dropping the phone. He'd never seen one of the semi-mythical Overseers before. Some people didn't even think they existed. And here one was, calling him to drop a patient.

"Oh, uh…It's an honor sir, but I, I don't think I can do that," he said nervously. He'd handled enough discipline reports to know they weren't to be trifled with. "That'd be, well, a gross abuse of my power, he's mentally unstable at the moment.."

"Hmm." There was a brief pause on the other end of the line, and the sound of typing. "I see you asked to be considered for a senior position at Site-36? I could possibly put in a good word for you, if you help me out with this request. I can guarantee you wont receive so much as a slap on the wrist."

A request. As if O5-6 wasn't one of the most powerful men on the planet talking to one of his subordinates. "I…I'll write up the paperwork. Sir."

"Glad we could get to the bottom of this. Now the position pays forty thousand a year, but I think we could do a little better than that. How's sixty-five?"

"It uh, sounds good to me sir," he said, pushing through a sudden dry throat that had cropped up.

"Good to hear," the Overseer drawled. "I'll have the papers sent over. Enjoy your new position."

And just like that, the most terrifying and confusing phonecall of his life was over. Irkwright stared at the phone, a multitude of questions running through his head. Why Bright? Was it because of 963, or was there something else at play above his pay-grade?

Irkwright was jolted out of his daydream by Eleanor, who stopped by to drop a stack of papers on his desk.

"Congrats on the promotion, huh? Only heard about it this morning." she said, walking off with her charactersitc bounce in her step.

This morning? Despite the bizarre past few minutes, Irkwright almost laughed. O5-6 knew he was going to take that job all along.

Irwkright turned back to his preliminary draft on Bright, and started a new one.


NOTICE FROM THE FOUNDATION DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

Following a full psychiatric evaluation by Doctor Jonathan Irkwright, Doctor Jack Bright has been deemed to be in stable mental condition. As such, Jack Bright has been cleared to return to active duties effectively immediately.

— From the desk of Director Dyanna Lexington

Bright scanned the paperwork, looking incredulous. "A full evaluation? You were in here for only a minute," he said, glaring at Irkwright.

Irkwright coughed, suddenly feeling nervous. The Overseer hadn't explicitly said it, but the implication in the offer was that he told no one about the phone call. "Well by department standards, we've determined that you're of no danger to yourself or others, and due to the nature of the instigating incident-"

"Who put you up to this, one of the oh-fives?" Bright demanded. "Who wanted me back on active duty?"

Irkwright did his best to keep a calm and neutral expression. "I'm not sure what you mean. I apologize, but I have to be leaving now, you're free to go as well anytime, Doctor Bright. If you wish to continue your sessions with a psychologist, you can schedule an appointment with Eleanor Hopkins."

Bright stormed out of the cell, swearing something under his breath. Once Irkwright was alone, he let out a breath he felt like he had been holding since his phone call.

Bright's first thought was that one of the overseers was behind the sudden change of heart. He must've assumed it was O5-6's doing, Irkwright reflected. But how exactly was the Overseer tied into all of this? Why did an Overseer care about a lowly junior researcher's well being?

Irkwright contemplated the mystery before him. There was a thread connecting 590, Bright, and O5-6, he just couldn't see it.

With a shrug, he left the puzzle behind, and exited the room.

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