To The Best Of My Ability, Preserve, Protect And Defend

"Thank you for coming on such short notice, Mr. President-Elect," said the middle-aged man in the lab coat. "My name is Dr. Gears, and I'll be your liaison to the debriefing."

"The way my Secret Service agents put it, it sounds like I didn't have a choice," replied the executive, offering a light chuckle with the statement as he briefly glanced back at the two men-in-black who flanked his sides.

Gears didn't smile, or make any emotional response at all. "Of course you had a choice, Mr. President-Elect," said Gears, somewhat cryptically. "Please, follow me."

The President-Elect nodded once. "You heard the man, boys," he said to the Secret Service agents.

"They will not be coming with us," said Gears. The President-Elect furrowed his brow, looking from one Agent to the other. Both offered only stony-faced silence.

"Alright," said the President-Elect, hesitation audible in his voice. He stepped forward, walking side-by-side with Gears through the sterile, hospital-like halls of the building.

After some minutes of walking and negotiating corners, they came to a door labeled 'Amphitheater.' Gears opened the door, nodding once. "I'll take my leave of you here," he said. "Inside you will meet Doctors Rights and Bright, who will carry out the debriefing."

"Thank you, Dr. Gears," said the President-Elect. "It was a pleasure to meet you."

Gears said nothing, simply waiting for the President-Elect to enter the room. The President-Elect took his cue, and entered.

Inside was a bare white room, barely ten-by-ten feet, not at all the amphitheater that was promised on the sign. The President-Elect looked around, puzzled. "I think you stuck me in the wrong room here, Doc," he said, turning around. The door, however, was gone — not merely closed, but non-existent, offering only a flush white wall with no exit.

"Step forward, please," came a female voice from the far wall.

The President-Elect blinked twice. "I have to say," he said, snickering nervously, "this wasn't included in the introductory video."

"Step forward," ordered the voice again, with growing impatience.

The President-Elect took one step towards the wall. "Like this?"

"No," said the voice. "Step forward, through the wall."

"How am I supposed to do that?" asked the President-Elect. "There doesn't seem to be any door…"

"Oh, for Christ's sake," said the woman's voice. "Bright, will you please go show the genius who'll be running America for the next four years how to get in here?"

"I thought you'd never ask, sweet-cheeks," came a deeper voice, belonging to an adult male — which didn't really mesh with the series of events that came next. The unbroken surface of the far wall wavered slightly in the lower middle section, and through its surface broke the form of an upright primate — possibly a gibbon or an orang-utan.

"This way, please," said the monkey, very politely.

The President-Elect blinked five times, then laughed. "This is some kind of joke, right?" he said, incredulous. "Some kind of weird science initiation? I mean, I just saw a talking monkey come through the wall."

"No," said the monkey, "this is a joke." With that, he sprang up, jumping on the President-Elect's shoulder with more speed than the suited man could compensate for, and pushed himself off the President-Elect's back, the weight of his leap propelling the executive forward into the far wall — or rather, through the far wall.

Suddenly, the President-Elect found himself in a massive theater, with a large plasma projection screen dominating the forward wall. A stout woman, arms crossed in annoyance, glared at him. "Thank you," she huffed. "About fucking time. Take a seat, suit. The quicker I can show you this stupid video and get back to work, the better."

"I… uh…" was all that the President-Elect could manage to stammer, his eyes wide as quarters in a mute attempt to comprehend what had just happened.

The monkey appeared behind him, grinning madly. "It do do a number on the ol' brainpan, eh Mister Prez-Lect?" He gasped the President-Elect's hand and gently led him to the front row of the auditorium.

"You take far more pleasure out of this assignment than I do, Bright," said the woman, fiddling with a laptop.

"Oh, I just love any assignment I get to do with you, Rightsy-wightsy," replied the monkey.

The President-Elect blinked in disbelief. "You…" he said, pointing to the monkey, "You're Dr. Bright?"

"Dawn breaks over Marblehead," quipped Rights. "Now shut up and watch the video."

She pressed play on the laptop's media player. On the forward screen, a movie in the style of an old high-school PSA began to play: President of Destiny: The SCP and Your Administration. A man appeared on the screen — or at least, a man from the neck down. His head, in contrast, appeared to be in a constant state of flux: initially, it was that of a cat, then morphing into a seal, a mallard, a gecko, a cinnamon bun, a vagina, and so on and so on.

"Hello, Mr. President-Elect," said the head-changing man. "My name is Dr. Clef, and this video will explain to you the purpose of the SCP Foundation and its role in the global community." As he spoke, Bright climbed up into the seat next to the President-Elect, carrying a bucket of movie-grade popcorn, which he began to munch on happily while watching the film.

Over the next half-hour, Clef's droning voice narrated over the top of visions only before seen in the most horrifying nightmares: buildings exposed to folded-space anomalies, people infected with invisible viral agents that turned them into zombies or machines, all manner of otherworldly creatures and bizarre humanoids, devices which couldn't possibly exist in the confines of technological understanding, and a few objects which could barely be photographed at all. The President-Elect sat frozen in his seat, paralyzed by the images being forced on him, while Rights simply stood with her arms crossed watching with disaffected boredom.

"Oh," said Bright, elbowing the President-Elect in the ribs as he pointed at the screen, "I love this one, the guy with the head that's half an orange." He shoved the bucket towards his seatmate. "You want some of this?"

"Erm, no, no thank you," stammered the President-Elect, visibly shaken.

Fifteen minutes later, the film concluded with Clef returning to the screen, his head an oversized bottle of multi-vitamins. "And that, Mr. President-Elect, is what we deal with: threats to the very nature of reality itself. We hope this video had been informative for you. At this time, I will return the focus of this meeting back to your instructors." The screen went blank, and the lights came up.

"My… my God," said the President-Elect.

"Not quite," said Bright, "but you're not far off."

Rights turned to face the President-Elect. "I'm going to assume you haven't jumped twenty IQ points upwards in the last forty-five minutes and spell it out for you: the SCP Foundation deals with threats to the human race. We identify them, locate them, contain them, and erase all records of them having ever existed. What we don't need is government interference. You do your job of playing pretendy funtime wars with the Arabs and the Russians and whoever else you want to thumb your nose at, and we'll do ours, and never the twain shall meet. Capisce?"

The President-Elect was silent for a few moments. Then, having finally regained some measure of composure, he spoke. "In a few short days, I will take the following oath: I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. And that Constitution begins like this: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. Now, if I understand what you're telling me, and I think I'm not so stupid that I don't, you want me to leave that responsibility of ensuring the defense, the welfare, the liberty of the American people to your organization, to take a back seat and trust that you know how to best assess these terrible threats to America and to the world. I'm sorry, Dr. Rights, but that's not the job I was elected for."

"Yeah," said Rights, "I had a feeling you'd say that."

"They always take the altruistic side," noted Bright, nodding contemplatively. "You want me to bring in the D?"

"Please," said Rights, turning back to the laptop. "Well, Mr. President-Elect, since you gave me the wrong answer, now you get to watch the other training video."

Bright climbed down off of his seat. The lights went down again, and the screen came back on. This time, what played was a video of the assassination of John F. Kennedy — except it wasn't the well-known Zapruder film, but a shot from an entirely different and never-before-seen angle, in high-resolution 70mm film.

When the lights came back up, Bright had returned with a wheelchair, in which was bound and gagged a Latino male.

The President-Elect looked at the man, then looked back to Rights. "Is this supposed to be some kind of threat?"

"No," replied Rights, "this is." She pulled out a 9mm handgun from her labcoat, and pressed the barrel to her own temple.

"No, don't—" cried the President-Elect.

Rights pulled the trigger, and at the same moment, the man in the wheelchair lost a significant portion of his cranium. She put the gun back into her pocket, her head completely unscathed.

The President-Elect stared aghast at her. "What… what the Hell was that?"

"The magic bullet, of course," replied Rights.

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