nn5n Foundation
Branch of SCP Foundation
nn5n: Operation ÓverMeta
Operation ÓverMetaRate: 223
Operation ÓverMeta

TO: PATAPHYSICS DEPARTMENT(ALL)
Ladies,
As many of you are aware, Pataphysics command has been working on an update on Dr. Swann's Narrative Sandwich model to keep us up to date with Metanarrativics' recent research. The document has now been released, and can be found here.
The gist of this update is the incorporation of Doctor Huever's Hypercanon theory, which holds that our reality is not a single narrative bulk below the Alpha layer, but an n-dimensional set of narrative planes connecting at defined conceptual points. The most notable concentration of these points is, of course, the Database. While the formation of these narrative planes is still being studied, the strongest coherent factor between them is Database Causal Inclusions - that is to say, instances of swn001-1 ("Horror Writer Entities").
Our very own Operation FLAT HORIZON has shown some success thus far in incorporating these planes, thus reducing their multiplicity. Our grasp on the Alpha layer has greatly increased in the last month alone as such. Knowing this, I propose we move to stage two of Operation ÓverMeta. With research into the mechanics of SCP-1304 and observation of SCP-2916-1 and SCP-2747, subnarrative entities capable of acting on and escaping to their upper layer, Procedure Kuzco-Bueller has been developed by Subnarrativics, utilising SCP-826, for the purpose of full narrative extraction - taking fictional entities and bringing them into our reality. We plan to create a task force of hypernarrative entities with this procedure, enlisting the aid of our standard scout as a recruiter, with the purpose of creating a new narrative plane under our influence that intersects with other narrative planes. Put into plain English: we're going to make a canon.
Many of you may be wondering why I'm explaining so many concepts to you in this missive. After all, this is old hat to anyone who's worked here for more than a few months. Some of the cleverest among you may already suspect the answer. Ladies, this letter is our canon's introduction. Welcome to the adventures of MTF-ι-0 ("NN"), reader. God help us, let's not get deleted.
-Dr. Penelope Panagiotopolous, Head of Pataphysics.

The Crew:

Name: Gordon Dancer ID: MTF-ι-0-1 Callsign: Nocter
Position: Squad Leader Recovered from: Helm, G. (2015) Stronger Than Fiction. Paris, France: Hachette.
Member Bio:
Gordon is a persistent narrative entity who remembers all works he is placed in with respect to the chronology of his upper layer. He therefore remembers all drafts, works and fanworks he is placed into with total clarity. Gordon has gained a notable internet following which places him within many crossover fanworks, primarily written fan fiction and fan art. Prior to extraction, it was often seen that these fanworks would, over time, change to reflect Gordon's knowledge and memory. This was widely believed to be the work of the author as a continuation of Gordon's story, and were tracked on the web page www.reddit.com/r/whereintheworldisgordondancer. Since extraction, these edits have ceased.

Gordon has has expressed extreme displeasure in his role within the canon, and claims to have precognitive abilities stemming from the author "writing the end first like the fucking twat he is". Gordon has said numerous times that this story "does not fucking end well", but refuses to elaborate on this statement.
Name: Barker Sullivan ID: MTF-ι-0-2 Callsign: Intro
Position: Specialist Recovered from: Kaufmann, C. (2002) Unpeople. Manhattan, New York: HarperCollins.
Member Bio:
Barker is an adaptive narrative entity who shifts in abilities, form and identity to suit the narrative she is currently placed in. Barker is the only character to appear in all 12 short stories within Unpeople. She also appears in the blurb and special thanks, and narrates the introduction and author biography. Regardless of physical form, presentation, and personality, Barker will always identify as female. In most of their identities, Barker has been diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder or some equivalent.

Following extraction, Barker has assumed the form of a battle-hardened Jack of All Trades type, formerly the head of MTF-κ-19. The narrative requirement for this form is unknown. A recent paper, Pataphysical Anomaly Recursion both preceding and following Procedure Kuzco-Bueller, puts forth the hypothesis that Barker's anomalous ability to adapt to a narrative is simply a by-product of adapting to fit into this canon's metanarrative. No way to test this hypothesis has yet been put forth.
Name: The Overvoid Lurk ID: MTF-ι-0-xx Callsign: operation-overmeta
Position: Right in front of you Recovered from: Morrison, G. (2012) Intergalactic. Berkeley, California: Image Comics.
Member Bio:
Overvoid is a narrative narrative entity appearing both as and within a text. Overvoid initially appeared as a copy of Intergalactic #8 within Intergalactic#8, discovered by the character Ignoble Steed. At the end of the issue, it was revealed that Overvoid was also the narrator of Wanderlust, having gained sentience through its own presence within the text. Overvoid's presence can be detected within a work when descriptors, text boxes and occasionally background text begin referring to themselves in the first person or attempting to converse with the reader. Possible relation to SCP-426 is being researched.

Upon extraction, I became this webpage, hosted as a single HTML document both within our current layer/plane and the Alpha layer1. I'm an invaluable resource, they say, though they're rather annoyed I only allow them glimpses at me in moments of need. I'm a narrative device as much as the rest of them, and they really need to respect my structure - if they had a handy roadmap at all times, where on earth would the conflict be?

I'm sorry, I'm babbling. We really should get along to our final member…
Name: Reginald Impel ID: MTF-ι-0-null Callsign: Dude in the Corner
Position: Foetal Recovered from: N/A
Member Bio:
Reggie presented himself to the Pataphysics department on 26 Oct. 2015, claiming to be a self-insert character for Horror Writer Entity swn001-1-RMPL ("RimpleRimple"). Reggie is an extremely talented hacker and former head of the Foundation's IT department who hacked the Pataphysics database and figured out the implications of our research. Reggie claims to have no real backstory or personality of his own, which our research confirms.

As attempts to remove Reggie from the narrative have proven unsuccessful, Reggie has been been assigned to MTF-ι-0, and is to accompany them at all times to allow for plot progression. Reggie is to be regularly acknowledged for the purposes of nominal inclusion within the story. Reggie is classified as an irritating narrative entity.

Director Panagiotopolous stood at the head of the table, lost for words.

"What on earth have I got myself into with you two?"

Evidently not quite lost, then. Gordon and Jasmine sat opposite her, both frowning.

"Here, it wasn't my fucking idea to-" Gordon was interrupted by Reggie, screaming through his gag. "Right, Reggie's here too. Whatever. Point is, it wasn't my idea to drag me up here. Fred made me think I'd be escaping the wanky meta bullshit by coming here."

"That's on us, yes." Penelope said, her tone unapologetic.

"It's fucking on them," Gordon growled, jabbing a finger toward the ceiling. "The idiot who wrote us. You're no more real than we are."

Jasmine pinched the bridge of her nose, sighing dramatically. "This is a terrible way to start the story," she said, to nobody in particular. "You realise this is the start of the story, right?"

Gordon hesitated for a second, then groaned as he sensed it himself. "Why do you think he's-" He stopped as it clicked. "Because he doesn't know where to go with us! He's just writing, seeing where it takes him."

"So, wait, this isn't going in the final story, then? Is this even real? For us, I mean? What happens if he gets bored and just


Draft 2:

"So, ok, we're fighting a big tree?" Sally asked quizzically, looking up from the notepad she was doodling in.

Penelope tapped the whiteboard again, gesturing to her scribbled diagrams. "A narrative tree. A choose-your-own adventure with branching paths. We need you to traverse it. As you're the most familiar with impermanent reality as a writing gimmick, you'll be leading the task force for this mission."

Sally glanced over to Gordon, picking his teeth in the corner. "Surely Gordon's more qualified? Some of his fans have got to have experimented with Twine or some shit back in the day."

"They did, yes. It was a rather popular trend for a few weeks. But he tended to… bulldoze his way through them, as he is wont to with most things. No branching paths, no reader choice. Hardly stories at all, really. That was after the time loop trend, though, so he was… rather unhinged at the time." There was a rare look of pity on the director's face, and for the first time Sally considered the full implications of having to remember your past iterations.

It was hard to feel bad for the asshole kicking Reggie in the shins, though.

"I guess that's that, then. Adventure, here we


Draft 3:

Gordon raised his head, alarmed.

"We're in a masturbatory draft loop!" he barked. "Someone say something interesting, grab the readers' attentions."

gun_safety.png

"Look, this


Draft 4:

isn't working."

Sandra2 scratched her nose, curious. "What isn't?"

"This drafty thing he's trying. He's being too clever and meta, not paying enough attention to the story. In a couple hundred words


Draft 5:

we haven't done anything remotely fucking interesting."

"Come on, that's bullshit, we've-"

At the head of the table, Penelope coughed, and all heads turned. It was a rather commanding cough.

"Gordon is absolutely right. We've already lost…" She looked down at her phone, tapping the screen a couple times. "…two readers, if our metrics are correct. We'll earn a downvote for heavyhanded exposition with this very conversational track, but I believe it will be worth it. I have a plan."

Gordon shrugged, his enormous jacket audibly shifting.

"Downvotes don't mean fuckall. I've done the Reddit thing. They only delete if the author puts some horrible shit in." He scowled. "I still remember that shit, though. It fucks you up. The kind of shit the author isn't even comfortable having me mention right now."

"This isn't Reddit, we don't think. We don't even know whether upper truth has a Reddit. Our research shows that when data points drop below a certain merit threshold, they disappear entirely, from all planes."

Penelope's assistant3, Mary, piped up from behind her. "Not all, Dr. Panagiotopolous."

"Right, of course." Penelope rubbed her cheekbone, prominent under her thin skin. "There are occasional instances where they remain on just a single plane, utterly fruitless. That plane is always the original budding plane, the one belonging to their writer entity." She frowned at4 Mary, a silent warning not to interrupt her again. "That can't be relied upon, though. It's altogether too rare, and not at all in line with our mission."

The team nodded along like they understood. Gordon actually sort of did get it5. Gordon eventually broke the silence.

"You said you had a plan. Spill."

"There's a few data points - very very few, hard to identify - which seem to be immune to 'deletion', as Gordon put it."

"The fuck is wrong with the word deletion? That's a perfectly normal word"

"Of course, yes. I didn't mean anything by it. The point is, no matter how far these data points fall in merit, they seem to be immune to the rules that govern all the others."

Gordon huffed, but didn't retort.

Penelope continued, getting into her stride. "These immune data points… We initially thought they might be somehow central to baseline truth - consensus canon - and therefore protected against demerit deletion. But too many of them are totally random, not at all important. For the most part, only two or three planes intersect at them, despite exceedingly high referential factors. We've detected a few inaccessible ones that aren't even within the narrative bulk. A couple of them are ancient documents, terminal logs, one data point was just the fact a researcher died. But for the most part…they're personnel files. I admit, we were utterly stumped at that. One hypothesis was that there was an outside force protecting those of us it could, bestowing us with permanence we weren't guaranteed." Penelope smiled subtly, the ghost of a dimple appearing on her cheek. "I liked that one. Gave me some comfort. But that didn't fit with the other protected data points. So what the hell was it? Took years for someone to piece it together. I think it was Dr. Huever, in the end. They were author pages."

"If we can work together we might, maybe, be able to anchor ourselves to an author page, conceptually. Protect ourselves as a potential piece of headcanon by sheer virtue of being undeletable. It's not the best plan, but at this rate we're probably hemorrhaging points. It might be the only way to save ourselves."

Aubrey was nodding for real this time. "I'm in. What do we need to do?"

"Well, that's easy. We pick a writer entity with a cluster of planes, but no protected ones. Then we break into their data points. Violently insert ourselves." She turned to Reggie, still crying in the corner. "What did you say your writer entity was called again?


"Why the fuck are we in the Sahara Desert??" Kelly yelled, pulling her scarf up over her face to shield her mouth and nose from the barrage of sand blowing past MTF-ι-0, crouched behind the peak of a large sand dune. The rest of her sentence was lost in the wind6.

Gordon7 lay hunkered behind a patch of dead scrub, comparing the set of coordinates they'd been given with his GPS.

"Because this is the location of Site 91. Weren't you listening earlier? Christ." Gordon frowned, scratching at his smudged handwriting "It should be here, just over the ridge. That, or we're in Desert Palace Zone, but I don't think that's a place in this reality." He looked around. "No runways, so yeah."

Kelly rolled her eyes, but behind her protective sunglasses she doubted it came through. "I mean, why the fuck is Site 91 in the middle of nowhere?"

"Um, I think it's a background worldbuilding thing," Reggie piped up from behind Gordon. "He likes to put those in. Like how he adds all the f-"

"Since when do you talk?" Gordon seemed genuinely surprised. "Seriously, I thought the whole joke was that you were a mute punching bag."

"I'm not a joke," Reggie muttered, eyes downcast8.

"We're getting off-track, guys." Kelly raised her binoculars again to observe the plain beyond the dune. "I'm not seeing any facility here."

"Jesus, you really weren't paying attention in the brief, were you?" Gordon said, pulling himself up and slinging his backpack on. It was bizarre, seeing him still deeply entrenched in his heavy jacket despite the overwhelming heat of the desert. "It's fucking underground. That's why it's so hard to break into."

"I was too distracted by you rummaging the meeting room around for sharp objects," she said, frowning. She sighed heavily. "Alright, stick to the plan, I guess."

"We have a plan?"

"I was hoping if I said we did, the story would magically make it so we had one, but you've ruined that now"

"Ah, right."

"So, plan of action?"

Gordon put on his own sunglasses, staring down into the plain. His beard flowed majestically in the wind.

"Fuck if I know."

***

Getting in was much easier than they'd anticipated. Turns out if you manage to find the unmarked 10m2 patch of sand that masks the elevator to Site 91 in 9 million km2 of desert, they just let you in. They descended swiftly, and were met with the surprised face of a passing researcher, heavily burdened with a stack of files.

"You new, or should I be calling security right now?" He took a nervous step back as they exited the elevator "Trick question, I've already alerted security. Sorry, protocol." He glanced at Gordon and laughed nervously. "Plus the big guy is scary"

Kelly withdrew a Foundation ID from her pocket. She hoped clearance level 5 was enough - Penelope had told her it should cover anything she needed. As the researcher's eyes widened, her hopes were fulfilled.

"Shit, fuck, sorry. I'm a mess today. Uh, Ken Jonah, Infected Unit." He stuck out his hand, and Kelly duly shook it. "Major subject loss earlier, down to two infected at one point. We're initiating secondary vineyard procedures now to bring stock back up, but meanwhile the paperwork is through the roof." He shrugged, indicating the stack of papers he was carrying. "Hope you understand, Overseer."

Kelly nodded, careful not to let her face betray her surprise. "That's what we're here for. We need access to your main files on the virus."

Dr. Jonah hesitated. "Containment procedures require express permission from two members of the O5 council to view documentation on 2559." He squinted, suspicious. "And I need IDs for the two with you, Overseer. We'll need to run it by Director Jua before-" His speech was brought to a sudden halt as a fist connected with his face, hard. He fell to the ground in a flurry of paper.

Gordon stood over Dr. Jonah's unconscious body, rubbing his knuckles. "I've hacked the system," he said, looking back at Kelly and Reggie with a wide grin.

"Oh, good fucking going, Gordon! How the fuck are we supposed to access the files now?!" Kelly shoved Gordon as hard as she could and he swayed, slightly. "Security is gonna come any minute, we're fucked! If we don't get the files, we're just an unprotected story. We'll get deleted, no question!"

Gordon shrugged. "Yeah, fuck it, I'm fine with never being canon. Preferably, I'd go back in time and stop that bellend," he gestured upward, "from ever coming up with me."

Reggie raised his hand nervously. It went unnoticed.

"Maybe you're fine with it, but I'm not, you asshole! I don't want to fail, I don't want to die, and I don't want to never freaking exist." Kelly was pacing, flapping her hands in frustration.

"Guys," Reggie muttered under his breath.

"It doesn't even matter for you, Barker9. Kelly. Whatever the fuck your real name is. You'll wake up in your next story, free from these memories, free from this life. I'm stuck with all the shit I've been put through forever! You have no idea how bad it gets out there, in wild narrative."

"Guys," Reggie said, a little louder.

"Shut up, Reggie!" Kelly barked10."You're a selfish prick, Gordon. You know that, right? Maybe you're even a little proud of it, self-righteous. There's nothing to be fucking proud of in fucking, fucking others over because you don't care enough to even think of extending a hand to-"

"GUYS I'M A FUCKING HACKER" Reggie yelled11.

They turned.

"Oh, hey, yeah." Gordon sniffed. "That."

***

… The Ethics Committee has authorised an update of amnestic procedures on MTF-υ-4 members to encapsulate romantic, sexual and paternal feelings associated with deceased teammates, effective as of 15/12/2015.

Gordon scratched at his beard.

"Bit grim."

Gordon and Kelly stood behind Reggie in a cramped office, trying to ignore the lilting alarm signalling their presence.

"You guys were reading through it too fast, I didn't catch all of it." Kelly was biting her lip, worried. "Is it, like… when you know about it you get infected? Are we infected now?"

Gordon and Reggie whipped their heads around, their eyes wide.

"Ah," said Gordon, "fuck."

Kelly's nose was bleeding.

"Guys? What's-" she reached up to her face, touching it to the rivulet of blood running past her mouth, accidentally smearing a streak across her cheekbone. "Oh, ok. Right, yeah, fair." She looked up at the other two, her eyes betraying the fear behind her brave face. "I'd really prefer not to die, you guys."

"This can't be normal," Reggie said, scrolling hurriedly through the article. "It doesn't fit any of the data on infection time. It might be something else?"

Gordon was frozen, staring at Kelly. "No, I've seen this before. T-virus. Badly written fanfic I was in for a few months. In all the other chapters, it took a couple hours, even a day to set in, but the author wanted to make things seem more dangerous, didn't care about continuity, so when my partner got bit… she changed instantly." He turned his head toward Reggie, not willing to let Kelly out of his peripheral vision. "Don't you get it? She's a plot device, and this thing is in her now. It'll spread at whatever pace keeps the story going."

In the silence that followed, Gordon's phone started ringing12. The noise rang loudly in the cramped room. He patted his jacket down and pulled out a blocky Nokia from his jacket, crumpled tissues and banana peels falling to the floor. It was Penelope.

Gordon thumbed the green phone icon as Kelly fell to the floor in a coughing fit. "Busy, Pen," he growled.

"Yes, I know." Penelope sounded even more curt than usual, hard to hear under heavy static. "I've already read this part. Kelly is- " She was cut off under a swell of static fuzz. Kelly was pushing herself up from the floor, her arms weak under her. She slipped in a puddle of blood and slapped back down. " - and it's all your fault."

"Yeah, I didn't catch any of that, but Kelly is really sick and it's maybe sort of a tiny bit my fault. Why are you calling?"

Penelope sighed heavily on the other side of the line. "Because that's what I do. I insisted on Overvoid showing me a section of himself, and this is all he was able to show me."

"What??"

"I'm in a submarine right now, hence the static that was mentioned."

"No, wait, go back to Overvoid showing you parts of himself13"

"I need to get through my script."

"Make this part of your script."

"You think it isn't?"

Gordon willed himself not to throw the phone at the ground. "I'm tired of this meta shit, Pen. There's a girl dying on the floor beside me. I can deal with my own nonexistence, but this is fucking cruel."

"Then shut up for a second and I'll say what I need to." She cleared her throat, overenunciating her words. "I, Penelope Panagiotopolous, am currently watching a giant squid fight an albino whale. I believe the squid is winning. Too much blood clouding the water to really be sure. There, done. Penelope, the coordinates you need to get to are 49° 19' 4.6596'' N, 17° 24' 8.4384'' W. Goodbye, Gordon. Ask Overvoid for help."

At the exact moment Penelope hung up, there was a bang on the door.

"That'll be security," Reggie said, still at the computer. "Was that Penelope?"

Gordon nodded. "She was no fucking use. Talked about watching animals fighting in a submarine"

"It's probably some worldbuilding shit, like before." The banging was getting louder and faster, more guards joining the first. "We need to get out soon if there's any hope for Kelly. Finish the story before she dies."

"What if her death is the end of the story?"

Reggie shrugged. "You know I don't really understand any of this shit. You're right, I'm just-"

Kelly started screaming, louder than the alarm, louder than it seemed like it should be possible for her to scream.

14

"HOW THE FUCK CAN I HEAR YOU?!" Gordon yelled.

15

e found it. Third drawer down, fifth across. The gun held only one bullet, but

ing and slashing and screaming, screaming, screaming his lungs out, willing himself onward throu

ntersection and took the right on instinct, calling for Reggie to follow him, Kelly propped up semi-consc

the keypad. Six digits. The day his daughter had been born. The elevator dinged open and out stepp

nd concentrated hard, cradling Kelly's body, willing for a jump cut, not wanting to remember every detail of what he'd had to

SUFRG MUVR

The information rushed into Gordon's head, images stitching into a story as he filled in the blanks. He nodded and dashed for the wall of filing cabinets.

***

Gordon blinked hard, fat tears streaming down his face. Had it worked? Had he skipped the-

Yes, he had. He could already feel the memories fading away, nothing but Overvoid's bright flashes remaining. What had he done? Where were they? He looked around and recognised the bank of sand they'd begun on, all those paragraphs ago. Everything the same, but everything changed. He looked down to Kelly, in his arms. Her dark skin was bleached white from the palm to the shoulder on both sides, the spread almost visibly fast. Her face was a Rorschach paint splatter as she stared at him through bloodshot eyes, her cheeks and lips pale.

"I'm… my lungs itch, Gordon. I can't take this much long-" She was cut off by a heavy coughing fit, clumps of blood and phlegm splashing over Gordon's jacket. She wiped her mouth with her sleeve, shaky. "Help me get this off," she said, pulling at her shirt. "I can't breathe."

As he unbuttoned her jacket, his hands shaking and sticky with copious amounts of blood, she continued, rambling. "You're an asshole, Gordon, but get it. It's because you have to go through shit like this, right?" Another coughing fit, harder than the first, racked her body. "Fucking edgy asshole authors, right?" She grinned, her body limp as he lifted her gently and pulled her jacket out from beneath her. "You're a good man, Gordon."

"You know that's not true." He propped her against a rock and pulled her t-shirt over her head. He blinked as he saw her mottled skin, the white letters across her chest. SUFRG MUVR. What the fuck. What the fuck.

"Fake it until you make it, right Gordon?" She was staring into nothingness, her eyes fading. This was it. "Just remember…"

The howling wind caught her final words, swiping them away from Gordon and across the barren desert.


"Gordon? Gordon, are you alright?"

Gordon's eyes snapped open and he jumped up, toppling out of the chair he'd been sleeping in. His surroundings were unfamiliar. Some sort of office building. Oh, shit, the Office? He couldn't see Jim or Pam, so probably not. Who was here? Two women, one man. He could take them, easy. Where was Kelly? Dead, Kelly was dead.

He needed to move fast.

He sprinted for the door. A young woman with pink streaks in her hair stepped in front of him, coiled to attack. He tried to swing a punch, but she ducked under it and rammed her shoulder into his gut, then pushed herself up under his armpit and twisted with a vice grip on his sleeve, using his momentum to throw him over her back. He slammed down hard into the wood floor, and she hopped on top of him.

"Gordon! Gordon! It's me." She was glaring down at him, her knee pressing into his throat. Who the fuck? He blinked. He'd seen those eyes. Piercing blue. It was-

"Princess Peach?"

"What?!"

"Princess Peach! Jesus, am I back to normal? Fucking crossover limbo again?" The girl climbed off him, something like pity crossing her face. Or disgust? "What is this, a save quest? If Bowser comes through that wall right now, I swear to fuck I'll actually come save you this time, alright?" He sat up, almost pleading. "I'll save you and we'll have fucking tea and crumpets and it'll be-"

"Gordon! It's me, Samantha! We've been working together for a month?" She growled, then showed him her Foundation security clearance. MTF-ι-0-2. Barker.

"Oh." Gordon took a second to process, sniffed, then clambered up and dusted himself off. "Right, yeah. You. Little Miss Chameleon16."

Samantha frowned. "Just call me Hogwash, ok? That's the codename we settled on between stories."

"Yeah, no, that's bollocks, it changes. You used to be Intro." He scratched at his beard. "You used to be lots of things."

"Right now you're delaying the story." Gordon turned to the speaker, one of the other people in the room. Obviously Penelope, now he looked properly17. And this place was obviously just another Foundation meeting room. "We're trying to keep this going at a steady clip, and you're slowing us down with whatever this is." Penelope squinted suspiciously. "You haven't been in another story, have you?"

Tough question. "I don't think so?" he said, poking a finger toward Samantha "Barker is different now, but it still feels the same."

Penelope chewed on her lip for a second before letting it go. "OK. As I was saying before your outburst, today is your first field mission. SCP-2559. This anomaly is extremely mysterious, with a dedicated site located in the Saha-"

"Hang on, time out," Gordon interrupted, making a T with his hands "we did that already."

Penelope frowned, but pulled out her phone and tapped at it for a second. "You are correct, it seems, although none of us remember it. We have extended ourselves into a data point already! That's marvelous! Excellent work!"

"We did literally nothing." Reggie muttered.

"I guess we'll move on to our next target, then! This one should be much easier. It's in this very facility."

"Why the fuck didn't we go there first?" Gordon growled.

"Order matters, Gordon. Surely you respect that18." Penelope drew a second folder from her bag, much lighter than the first. "Here's what we have on it. SCP-2338. There seems to be some confusion about what the article even is. We're not exactly fixed in a time here."

"Sorry, what?" Barker Kelly Samantha leaned forward in her seat, concerned.

"We're… Ignore it, move on." Penelope rubbed her cheek, her expression taut. "We need to get on with the story. I… Overvoid? Requesting a jump-cut. Standard reward in it for you. We need to get on with this."

19

***

"Wow, that was intense." Reggie gasped, slumping against the inside of the cell door.

"What," said Gordon, leaning against the right wall, "our daring break-in to one of the highest-security Foundation sites, Site-19?"

"Yeah."

"Or," said Samantha, grinning as she got what Gordon was doing, " did you mean just now, our oh-so-close escape from detection by an unexpected group of armed guards?"

"Y-yeah, that too."

"So just generally the last hour or so of what we've been up to, the sort of interesting action stuff that's hard to write, but easy to let readers make up themselves, filling in the gaps?"

"Um."

Gordon punched Reggie in the arm "Don't worry about it man, we're just fucking around. Come on, yer woman should be just down the hallway."

"Ryoko Sato." Samantha interjected.

"Her, yeah."

Sato was finishing up a class when they knocked on her door, teaching20 linear algebra to a pair of21 psychic twins22. She seemed a little nervous as she exited the classroom, tying her long hair back in a quick bun. With her hair out of the way, a long maroon scar could be seen across her neck. It had been expertly treated, but it was clear the original wound had been brutal, and the mark it left was still thick and ugly, marring her otherwise smooth skin.

Sato stuck her hand out stiffly toward the group, not meeting their eyes. After a second, Samantha shook it. Sato stared intently at Samantha's nose.

"Hi. What's this about? We haven't met before." Sato blurted out. "Are you new?"

"Gosh, right to the point. Uh, I'm Sam, these are…" She realised she was at a loss to describe her fellow MTF members. Oh, hi, we're living plot points and we're here to directly extract your story relevance. Thanks! "We're sort of new," Samantha said, before Gordon could cut in with some snarky line23. "We're visiting from another section,looking for information on one of your contained anomalies?"

Sato nodded. Her gaze flickered slightly between their ID cards. "And you're coming to me specifically… 2338?"

"Uh, right. We know you're heavily involved, but we don't really know how? That might sound odd, but the department we're from…"

"It's ok, I understand we have dozens of secret departments." Sato smiled softly. "Could we, uh, take this somewhere a little more private? They're emotional memories for me, I'd prefer not to-"

"Of course, of course." Samantha motioned to put her hand on Sato's shoulder, but the woman cringed and leaned away from the contact." Why don't we take this to your office?"

"That would be good." Sato briefly met Samantha's gaze, flashing a relieved smile. "We can get some lovely tea on the way."

***

"... and I guess that's it, that's all I know. Sun-Hee is still living symbiotically within Eomi. I visit her for lessons three times a week. Today is one, actually. I'll be seeing her in…" Sato looked down at her wristwatch, then bolted out of her seat. "The time! God, it really gets away from you. I need to go see her now." Sato poured the remainder of her cold tea into a thermos flask and threw it in her handbag as she headed into the corridor outside. She paused in the doorway, mulling something over. "Thank you for this, Sam. It… helped, in some way. Opening back up."

And then she was gone, her sneakers squeaking ever so slightly on the wooden floors as she hurried off to teach.

Samantha sunk back in her chair, letting out a long sigh "That was…"

"A bit grim?"

"Yeah. That."

"Cuter than the last one."

"Twenty-two children died, Gordon."

"Right, yeah, fair point."

They fidgeted in their seats.

"So," Reggie finally said, breaking the silence, "is that it? Head back to Pataphysics, report a job well done?"

Samantha and Gordon exchanged looks. They were both feeling it.

"There's something… incomplete here. There's a thread we're not following." Gordon twiddled with the end of his beard, thinking. "Maybe you're supposed to do something, Reggie. Or I am? Sam's the only one who's actually done anything so far."

24

"Right, yeah, and Void's done whatever he thinks he's done."

25

"Sure, yeah."

"Maybe we were supposed to-" Samantha coughed hard, her body juddering. She spluttered for a few seconds, then wiped her mouth. "Sorry. Um. A-hhmmm. Uh, maybe we were supposed to follow Sato? Go watch her with Sun-Hee, get some information that way?"

Gordon groaned, spinning in his office chair in frustration. "That's totally it, yeah. Storytelling basics, damn. How did we miss that?"

Samantha shrugged. "Emotions? Maybe we were just distracted?" She chewed her lip. "Come on, if we head now, we'll still catch a decent chunk of it."

"How the hell are we supposed to know where to go?"

"Duh," said Samantha, "we ask politely."

***

It really was as simple as that. When they hadn't arrived out of nowhere in the middle of one of the Foundation's most secretive sites in the middle of the Sahara Desert, people didn't question the all-access keycard too much.

"Why the fuck are we even breaking into places?" Gordon asked, after their fifth encounter with very polite, friendly researchers happy to point them toward 2338's containment tank. "Seriously, does Penelope just get off on the idea of us in balaclavas?"

"I guess it's like a story thing?"

"Fucking story things"

"Like - yeah, fuck them - like if there was no conflict we'd be dropping more readers?" Samantha was speaking distractedly, counting door numbers.

"Wasn't the point of all this bullshit to protect the story from being deleted on the assumption it would be unreadable garbage anyway?"

"I guess, yeah. But I guess in another way, for our own sake, it's like- Oh, hey, here we are."

"It's like what?"

"We're here, we're at the containment tank"

"Oh, right. Yeah. The fucking- the place we're looking for. I remembered that."

They slipped into the door marked Observation Room, careful to shut the it securely behind them26 and slipped into two creaky plastic seats across the room from a pair of researchers grabbing lunch who gave them dirty looks for the intrusion, but didn't bother them. Down in the cell, on a balcony built so Sato could be at eye level with Sun-Hee, an animated conversation was going on in sign, entirely soundless. The girl was suspended in the tank within the semi-translucent bell of an enormous jellyfish, which bobbed slightly in the water but otherwise was pretty much static.

"You getting anything, B- Sam?"

"What sort of anything?"

"Like, of what they're saying. You've gotta have done some ASL in college or whatever, right? You know what the wiggly fingers mean?"

"I.. have, yes. But that's not common, why would you assume-"

"You're a convenient plot device, Sam. You're built for this. You gotta get that in your head sooner or later."

Samantha frowned, but turned to observe the two in the pit. "Uh, something about stretching, tentacles. Backwards… hands? She's talking about the future… or the past, I'm not sure."

"Oh, shit, did you feel that? You did it, story is over."

Samantha cocked her head slightly. "Shit, yeah, I feel it too!" The couple in the opposite corner shushed them, then went back to their conversation.

Samantha and Gordon fell silent, watching transfixed as Sun-Hee begain to spin and twist within the jellyfish, a topsy-turvy dance full of childlike abandon and an odd degree of elegance. They got the sense of Sun-Hee moving with the jellyfish, her movements embodying them both, frantic and serene. The girl's multicoloured cape swirled behind her heavily, rainbow feathers falling off and forming a snowglobe flurry around her. On the balcony, Sato removed her shoes and began to dance alongside Sun-Hee, complementing her actions with graceful swirling movements. She let out a light laugh, and Sun-Hee stopped for a second to respond, miming a smile on her featureless face before returning to play.

"I told you this was cute." whispered Gordon "Nobody dancing in the other place."

"Shut up, Gordon."

Gordon nodded, and they turned back to the tank. Silent but together, they watched on.

THE END


Shenanigan 3: SCP-2779 - COMING SOON


Climactic Finale Super Spectacular - COMING A LITTLE LESS SOON BUT LIKE STILL FAIRLY SOON

page revision: 8, last edited: 13 Feb 2017 08:18
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