Researching and Protecting and Containing

8

The loud beeps and klaxons have since ceased over Site-002, but the damage is already apparent. Smaller fires are still raging, and the bodies of researchers and site security lying about the premises. It took three MSTs and a TRT in order to re-contain everything, and even then casualties were in the thousands. It was a massive blow to the authority, and cover-ups were massive.

The newly-elevated Senior Researcher Davids stepped out of the helicopter that took him to his new post at Site-002, to replace some of those lost in the Breach. The low morale was evident- the atmosphere was thick with anxiety and fear, despite cleanup efforts. Building Alpha, which Davids had been assigned to, still had a black scar across its side, a leftover from the fires. After showing his personnel badge to site security stationed out front, he was granted entry. The sleek and cleaned walls of the interior were in stark contrast to the outside, albeit with some reconstruction personnel scattered around the atrium, discussing work among themselves and shooting a few terse glances to the new researcher. Paying them no heed, Davids strolled through, walking to the main receptionist desk, manned by a uniformed security officer, a bandage around her forehead.

"Excuse me, but where would the receptionist for this building happen to be?" asked Davids impatiently.

"Dead. Been dead for a few days."

"Then to whom am I supposed to report to?"

"Me, until Class-E personnel are permitted back on-site." The officer glared at Davids and checked his personnel badge. "Whoop-de-fucking-do, another Researcher." She pointed to an elevator on the other side of the atrium. "Take that down to Sublevel 4, find the briefing hall. Maybe they'll tell you how NOT to cause breaches this time…." she muttered, waving him away and bending over the terminal on the desk, typing into it. "Name… Davids… Division… Research… You're all set. Now get out of here." Annoyed by the woman, Davids scoffed and brusquely walked to the elevator, swiping his ID and stepping inside, pressing the button for his floor. Lit only by one of the four fluorescent lights present on the roof, Davids waited in relative darkness, descending further into the facility. After a ding and a grinding opening of the doors, Davids strolled down the hallway present to him, following the rows of doors until he found two MST officers stationed outside a double doorway.

"ID," the one on the left demanded.

Flashing the personnel badge, Davids was permitted through, or so he thought. "Hold on for a second, buddy," the MST officer held his arm in front of Davids. "You're a recent promotee, aint'cha?"

"I'm fairly certain 'promotee' isn't a word, officer." Davids spat out.

"Watch your tone," the other MST officer said, "you're not in a position to be any trouble. Now answer the question."

"So what if I am? I don't recall Protection having any authority to-"

"This is personal, egghead," replied the first officer. "I hope you take what they tell all of you in there to heart, because I don't need any more of my guys dying because Containment can't clean Research's shit up. You're a Researcher now, and I'm simply asking that you all don't fuck this up and have us clean your shit, capisce?"

"Our work does not concern you," Davids retorted, "I'm here to find out why RPCs act the way they do, and sometimes-"

"Sometimes you fuck up, and get people, our people, killed."

"Unless you three want a deferral, I suggest you cease your petty argument." A slim, suited man carrying a small briefcase walked towards Davids and the officers, a black personnel badge around his neck: a chief of the Stability and Integrity Commission. "I've already needed to deal with the Romeo-4 commander, I do not need to deal with you as well. Researcher, I'm certain you and I have a briefing to attend."

After a pause, the officer nodded. "Yes, sir." He opened the door and saluted, giving one last look to Davids before resuming a stoic pokerface. Davids simply rolled his eyes, and followed the Chief into the conference room, filled with many people in lab coats and suits, a few site security personnel scattered about, looking rather melancholic. Greeting his fellow researchers, Davids took a seat and flipped open a notepad as the Chief took the podium and began briefing.

"Good morning, ladies and gentlemen," the Chief stated. "I have other things to attend to, so I will be brief in this. Due to a mass breach about eight days ago, a fair portion of Site-002's former personnel are now deceased. This is not, and should not, be anything new to Authority personnel, these things happen. However, you are all expected to cooperate with the other divisions, despite where any perceived blame for an incident may fall. This is why I am here - remember that your first priority is to serve the Authority, and not to bicker. It is understood by the Board and the Commission that you have your differences, which is why the Divisions exist. However, you are all still expected to fully cooperate in accordance with the wishes of the Authority, and I shouldn't need to see or hear of any deferrals because of this - or see anybody to Site-09.

The deafening silence of the room was evident to anyone in it: being sent to Site-09 was just about certain death, to be deferred was worse. The mere fact that a Commission Chief had gotten involved gave a message to those present: "You're here to work. Start killing each other, we start killing you." Looking around the room, the Chief eventually spoke: "I see I've made an impression. Giving how I am a very busy man, I have other pressing matters to take care of. You will receive your assignments within the hour, report to them at once. I should not need to come down here again." Taking his briefcase once again, the Chief walked away from the podium and towards the exit, as chatter began to erupt from the researchers and a few of the site security personnel present. Davids reclined in his chair pensively, giving thought to the warnings given to them by the Chief. The commission did not know what pains it was to do proper research on these monsters, much less the grief given to them via Protection and Containment. Why should they be scolded because the other Divisions could not do their jobs correctly? Their Research was worth a few Class D and guards, the needs of Humanity counterbalance a few lost lives and burned buildings. Of course, the Board was still the board, and with the SIC breathing down their necks, what else could he do? "I can't benefit man if I am dead," Davids mused. "I had best just play the game, there is little I can do. Now." Davids stood, checking his pager for his new instruction among the chatter and talk of his peers. He had work to do, and he damn well was not going to cut corners.

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