Jim North's Imaginarium
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Director Yamaguchi's office was less stark than Janice had imagined. It still had the muted earth tones common among other site directors' offices she had seen, almost to the point that it could have been a direct copy/paste job, but that in itself was more human than she had expected.

In both her official and freelance capacities as a computer-based troubleshooter, Janice had met a few of the AI that the Foundation had created and collected over the years. While not overly familiar with any of them, she had come to notice a few common traits, among them being a rather loose grip on what it meant to be human. The SCP-designated AI generally fell into the utterly alien or those who had formerly been human until ripped from their organic shell and stuffed inside a machine, tearing away whatever in them had been human in the process.

As for those that had been developed in-house, she could never make herself ignore the fact that she was speaking with a personality construct, a set of code that each intelligence had taken on to better communicate with their human counterparts. She didn't doubt that each one had selected their particular mask with a purpose, but it was still a mask, and through it was filtered a perspective that could absolutely pass as genuine but not as human.

The Yamaguchi intelligence, she decided, had almost certainly not decorated the office itself.

Potted plants lined much of the side walls, interspersed with wooden shelves laden with books. Janice approached a bookshelf at random and ran her fingers across the spines. Crooking a finger over the top of one of the books, she pulled it out, flipped it around, and let it fall open. She didn't recognize the story held within, but it was indeed an actual book. A work of speculative crime fiction involving a hard-boiled private detective, if the text she skimmed over was any indication.

After closing the book and putting it back in its slot, Janice walked past the director's desk and stepped up to the wide, tinted windows that stared out over the nearby beach, giving a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean beyond. Several high-flying cirrus clouds were lazily drifting through an otherwise clear blue sky that stretched across the horizon.

Janice turned around. Leroy had closed the door behind himself and was busily occupying himself with rustling his hands nervously in his jeans pockets, obviously trying to wait patiently while the doctor took in the surroundings. In one of the far corners of the room, leaning with its back against the wall, was a robot similar to the janitor that she had seen earlier.

"Is that the director?" Janice asked, pointing.

Leroy peered around behind him, eyes wide as if he expected the AI itself to be standing right over his shoulder. "Oh yeah, that's her frame," he said, obviously trying to suppress a shudder. "It's just been sitting on the recharger ever since she disappeared. I checked the access log to see if maybe she's tried to jump into it when we weren't looking, but it's clean."

"Hmm. I'll take a look myself here in a bit. In the meantime, where's the mainframe?"

"You're standing right behind it, actually." When she gave him a look of confusion, he gestured between them. "The desk," he said. "She had all of the components taken out of their original housing and transferred here. Most of it is in the desk, with some cables extending down into the floor to hook up to the main network lines."

Janice stepped forward to study the desk more closely. The exterior was made of intricately carved wood that had been stained a deep, dark red, bordering on burgundy. She reached down to open one of the side drawers only to find that they were the facade for a door that opened onto the front panel of a large computer tower. The tower filled the entire space within, its only features being a single Foundation-style USB port, a short row of indicator lights, and a round keyhole that presumably inhibited access to the components beyond.

The top of the desk was flat, smooth, and completely clear of clutter. There was no computer terminal, no phone, no desk calendar, and presumably no need for any of it given the office's main occupant.

"So, should I assume that I already have clearance for this system?"

"Yeah, most of it," Leroy said, nodding. "In fact, you should have access to just about everything in the building. If you need to get into something you don't, it'll have to go through Mr. Wilson."

"Of course it will," Janice said quietly with a mixture of annoyance and resignation. She pulled out the site director's chair and sat down.

Reaching behind her left shoulder, Janice pulled her personal AR Display from where she had put it while fiddling with the settings in the elevator. It slid into view over the desktop, a ghostly panel dense with options, links, and information. One of the links touted itself to be a connection to her current location's network, so she reached out and tapped it.

A series of security checks scrolled by, letting her know that she was who she claimed to be, then disappeared as the physical desktop she was sitting at started to populate itself with all the standard equipment a modern office needed.

"So what's with all this theatricality?"

Leroy's head snapped up as he was dragged out of his own thoughts. "I'm sorry?"

"The site director is an AI, right? So is just about everyone else around here. Why the desk? Why have an office at all?" she asked, throwing her hands wide to take in their surroundings. "If the point of doing all this automation stuff is to get rid of the human factor, why bother working so hard to make them seem and act human? Why am I currently loading up a phone and a computer screen and, Jesus Christ, a fucking desk lamp when Yamaguchi could just network directly into the phone lines and intranet from inside the system itself?"

"I, uh … " Leroy blinked rapidly for a moment. "I guess I never really thought about it. Probably to put the higher-ups at ease about the whole thing? I mean, it's one of the things that got me excited about the project."

Janice tapped a fingernail on the desk's smooth surface. "Yeah, it's all 'pretty cool', you said." She sighed and shook her head. The desktop had fully loaded, and the central mystery was calling her.

While she figured that the virtual mouse wouldn't pose any problems, the prospect of typing on a keyboard that wasn't really there felt like it would slow her down until she got used to it, so she eschewed it completely and pulled out her phone. It only took a few moments of sorting through the AR app to get the phone's keyboard linked to Yamaguchi's computer, then she was rapidly sifting through the mainframe's folders.

Most of what she found was the expected accumulation of work files related to Site-3408's operations. SCP files, monitoring programs, expense reports, incident reports, requests for more funding, et cetera, et cetera. She swept through most of it with only a quick glance to ensure no interesting wheat was hidden amongst the tedious chaff. There was simply too much of the latter for her to carefully go through unless she intended to sit at the desk for several days doing nothing but.

After getting the boring, predictable areas sorted through, she set into finding the .aic formatted files that would normally comprise the Yamaguchi intelligence. A quick, automated search pulled up nothing, to no great surprise, and a manual look through the local program files showed only a mostly-empty set of folders that were undoubtedly the original seat of the AI's coding. Once it had been given the ability and permission to move itself wherever it wanted, Janice had little doubt that the AI had rarely if ever returned to that particular cradle.

A thought occurred to the doctor. She cleared her throat, getting Leroy's attention again. "I don't suppose you guys use a different format for your AI?" she asked.

The technician shrugged. "Yeah, sorry about that," he said. "It'll be Alpha-India-Echo. The E is for 'Entity'. Mr. Wilson never really liked the whole 'Conscript' thing."

"Hmm. Nothing under that either, of course. Okay, if she's still sending orders through the system, doing paperwork, and whatever else, then she'll probably be remotely accessing this computer from wherever she is."

"Right. But I already checked all-"

Janice held up a hand. "I know, and I'm not doubting your work, Mr. McAllister. But you're in IT, so you know as well as I do that I'm going to have to go over the exact same territory again just to be absolutely certain, yeah?"

"Yeah," Leroy chuckled. "I guess you're right. Just remember, if anything starts going screwy, try turning it off and on again."

Janice smirked despite herself. "I'll keep that in mind."

The monitor's desktop was littered with a variety of icons for programs related to the day-to-day operations of the site. Janice opened a few of them at random, then tabbed back and forth between them. After a few moments of nothing spectacularly out of the ordinary happening, she minimized them and pulled up the system's command-line shell.

SCP:/> ps -am

1274 | root | A | augre-main
1388 | root | A | augre-frontend
1399 | root | A | power-main
1412 | root | A | security-network
1413 | root | A | security-augre
1439 | root | D | power-reserve
1450 | ? | D | yamaguchi.aie
1479 | ? | A | $$access%717.229.3.3408*&^
1488 | root | A | security-ext
1489 | root | D | power-aux
1495 | root | A | security-scp
1501 | root | A | cc-ext
1507 | root | A | cc-int
1754 | ? | A | $$access%717.233.5.3408@*!
1798 | root | A | scipnet-network
more (Y/n)> _

"What the hell is this?"

Leroy took a few hesitant steps toward the desk. "What's what?"

"You said there were no traces of the director AI in the system, right?" Janice leaned forward and glared at the computer screen. "Did you check the list of processes?"

"Yeah, she wasn't there either." Eyes wide, the technician strode around to stand behind Janice. "Is she there now? I can't see."

With a snort of irritation, Janice reached over to her ARD and set her workspace as Visible to All. "There," she said, pointing at 1450. "Right there. And what about these access processes? Were they there before?"

"No, that's … that's new. Why is the Director showing as dormant?"

Janice shook her head and waved off the question. "More important things first."

more (Y/n):> N

SCP:/> trace 717.229.3.3408
ERROR: Trace and traceroute commands have been decommissioned per Site Director Order #98576.

"Oh boy," Leroy said, hand over his mouth. "Here we go."

SCP:/> trace 717.233.5.3408
ERROR: Welcome to Site-3408, Dr. Bell. Please enjoy your stay.

Ghostly fingers threatened to trill up Janice's spine, but she pushed her back against the soft leather of the office chair and brushed the animal fear away. She had been put into the system before she had even arrived, and the network had registered her presence since the moment she had approached the building. Whoever was screwing around with the computers undoubtedly knew that and was trying to rattle her.

SCP:/> kill 1479
ERROR: Kill command not recognized as legitimate.

SCP:/> kill 1754
ERROR: Murder is wrong.

The screen went blank before Janice could type in another command.

The SCP Foundation Presents

Sensitivity Training

MODULE #4 - D-Class

A creation of
The Ethics Subcommittee on Inter-Personnel Interactions
and
The Foundation Human Resources Department

EC-2301.4D / HR-AAST4
2018


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