The Ambrose Fair
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"…It's really more of a festival than a fair."

"Yes, but then it wouldn't be a pun."

"Chaz, nobody gets your puns."

Chaz Ambrose, owner and occasional chef of the restaurant with his own name, looked at his accomplice with falsified shock.

"Marius! My puns are the talk of the town!"

"We're in a field." The man in question was short and stocky, with a square jaw and square shoulders. If not for his well trimmed hair, piercing eyes, and disapproving grimace, you could quite easily mistake the man for a wall. Indeed they were in a field, far from the prying eyes of the many organisations that would quite like to capture, contain, or burn to the ground the large pavilion tent they stood in front of.

"Figure of speech. Shall we go inside?"


The flaps of the tent parted, and revealed the interior to be a good five times as large, possibly ten if you were paying attention. The smells of cooking meats, cut cheeses, and exotic spices suffused the air. Almost as immediate was the vast array of tables of every sort, arranged with even more dishes of particular fancies from all corners of the globe, and some corners beyond it. Trays laden with dishes of every sort and culture, stands filled with samples from every reality possible, portions of edible esoterica of every impossible sort. Chaz smiled at what he had wrought.

"Looks like those adverts went down a treat."

"It seems that the Circus knows what they're talking about." Marius grunted, even his attitude improved by the surroundings. "Pretermemetics. We'll have to investigate more uses for such a thing."

"Get your head out of business for a little and enjoy yourself." Chaz sampled a cube of toasted bread, and was surprised and delighted to find his tongue believed it to be covered in rich butter. "If even one of these talented chefs is convinced to work for us, then it's all worth it, right?"

"Provided they assist us in staying ahead of the competition. I don't want what happened to Mario's happening to us." Marius had a cupcake virtually thrust into his hands. He looked at it skeptically, and took a small bite. He was about to remark to the chef how bland it was, when he noticed that the sponge had reformed in his palm.

The pair spent the next hour wandering the aisles, sometimes together and sometimes apart. Chaz pulled himself towards a stand proudly labelled "Cheese-it," and was encouraged to try all sorts of objects dipped into the magic orange liquid. Marius spent many minutes conversing with an anartist about the flavoring techniques of various vegetable dishes.

Eventually, they reconvened, and together approached the diminutive stall, advertising impossible cuts of meat. Marius was already deep in conversation with the woman behind the stall as Chaz approached, allowing him a few moments to inspect the wares. Mostly cuts of fish, that moved about and through each other with no regard for physical limits. It took a few moments for him to realise that they must exist in higher dimensions.

"You two seem to be getting on." The pair turned to face him, and Chaz got a decent look at the stallholder for the first time. She was a shorter woman with a round face and bronze skin. Her tightly knotted and tied hair still held some measure of grace, and her rust-brown eyes conveyed strength as she pierced him with her gaze.

"Cassandra here had some interesting thoughts on how we're running front of house." Marius grunted, thick brows knotted in frustration. "She's right. We should be doing more."

"Doing more? How so?"

"Think about it." Cassandra interrupted Marius, deepening his scowl further. "As far as your customers are concerned, all you are is a group of expressionless waiters and aggressive kitchen staff. There's no heart, no soul."

Chaz took a moment to consider this. It held a few too many of his own concerns for him to be pleased by it.

"What do you recommend?" He silenced Marius' complaints with a raised hand, and gestured for the chef to continue.

"Make a show of your cookery. You know, open plan kitchen, let the customers see all the magic that goes into preparing their food. Bit of flash and dazzle, and you're golden." Cassandra finished with a flourish of the knife, cleanly cutting a salmon steak into six pieces, and then reassembling it with a piece left over. She presented the remainder to Ambrose. "Food for thought."

Marius coughed loudly, holding his phone for the both of them to see.

"If you're quite done, outer perimeter reported black helicopters. Probably the Foundation."


Ways between the worlds opened and closed all throughout the pavilion, and within minutes the vast array of tables were barren of ingredients. After no more than five minutes, only three people remained inside the now empty tent.

"You're coming with?" Chaz looked expectantly to Cassandra, a bag full of equipment strapped over both their backs.

"I may as well."

Ambrose smiled at this, and nodded to Marius. The shorter man produced a sphere of polished marble, and dropped it onto the floor. With a kick, he sent it forwards a few metres, and it opened into a swirling pool of thaumic energy. Without another word, he threw his own sack of wares into the warp, and stepped through himself. Cassandra took a more cautious approach, looking expectantly at Chaz, before carefully jumping through the breach in reality.

Chaz Ambrose took a last look at the abandoned festival of food, and smiled glumly as he heard the regular beat of helicopter blades.

"I'll miss you, tent." He said to himself, dropping his bag into the way. He tutted as he followed it, and his vision was clouded by the Darkness between Dimensions.

Specialist Watson released the measuring tape from her grasp, allowing it to snap back into position in her partner's hand. The tent was definitely anomalous. Maybe not an SCP, and definitely not her field of expertise, and it was therefore not her problem.

Her immediate problem was the large quantity of recently opened portals. She couldn't count how many there had been, their signals were too close together to differentiate easily, and she couldn't tell where any of them had gone, if any had even gone to the same place. She had been tracking Ambrose ever since the first incident, when Lambda-14 had been assigned to them, and yet she was still as unable to unravel their mysteries as she had ever been. Possibly more so.

Watson kicked a table over, breaking its already shaky frame in two. A few people from the task force looked up at her, but most knew enough to leave her alone. The one exception to this was Agent Gary Janssen.

"Not nearly as good as the November raid, ey Rhianne?" Gary approached Watson with enough of a smile for her to notice and scowl at him before responding.

"No." She replied simply, venom dripping from her voice.

"Still, we shut down what looks to have been quite the gathering of people. Probably stymied Ambrose for a bit." Gary was unaffected by the anger directed at him, as he calmly righted the remains of the table. "We found a few bits and bobs, nothing really interesting besides the tent. Still, I call it a good raid."

"A good raid would be if we caught the bastard!" Watson shouted at him, again drawing eyes from across the tent. "You must have read the reports, every time we've seen this shithead's work people have died. Every second that he remains at large is another damn second that someone, somewhere, is being tortured by his work!"

"We can't say that for sure." Gary tried placing a hand on her shoulder, only to find the air around her approach boiling temperatures. "I agree that we need to capture him, but he's not evil. We've lost far more people fighting random anartists than we have fighting the restaurant. We'll get him eventually, I promise."


"Yes, Rhianne?"

"Shut up."

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