He Who Screws With Reality
rating: +187+x

by Nagiros

"His first name is Samuel. Last name is Veras. He's a Class V reality bender, and we have no idea how to keep him contained. The Foundation's never seen anything like him before."

Dr. Weathers blinked slowly as he raised his head to look up at his assistant. "Did you turn on the Scranton Reality Anchor in the interview room?"

The assistant researcher shuffled a few of her notes before nodding. "We did. He was told that if he bent reality in its field, the device would implode."

The site director leaned back in his chair, closing his eyes and exhaling through his nose. When he opened his eyes again, the decorated walls of his office greeted him. The wizened faces of people Merriam didn't have the clearance to know about glared at him from their golden frames, almost like they had expectations of their own that they were placing on his shoulders.

Shaking his head to focus himself, he continued, "How is he? Is he at least compliant?"

"No, sir." Merriam's voice rose from the pile of papers she held, her head buried in her notes. "He's made it clear he intends to breach containment and end all human life as soon as he is able."

Weathers nodded. "Anything else I should know?"

She paused. "He prefers the name 'Primus'."

The old man did not reply as he rose from the chair. He took a few papers from his desk, gathered his tired wits, and left Merriam with the glaring portraits.

The door to the interview room was familiar to him. It was made of dark, gray metal, with a slight dent on the top, from some ill-fated interview nobody cared to remember. The creaking of the hinges rang in his ears for the thousandth time, and he dryly observed the young man smiling maniacally in his chair, seated at a low, steel table in handcuffs. "Psychopaths," he muttered. He hated reality benders.

The young man opened his eyes as Dr. Weathers took a seat across the table from him, laying down the papers on the table. His attention was drawn to the device humming in the corner. The Reality Anchor stood three meters tall, with constant sparks of electricity flying through tubes of strange gasses. A beautiful machine, far too complex for any normal man to have built. He supposed Scranton had not been a normal man.

He turned his mind away from the Foundation's past, eyes glossing over the document in front of him. "Good afternoon, Mr. Veras, and welcome to the SCP Foundation. Your anomalous properties have warranted your immediate detainment by our organization. If you have any issues with the stipulations of your containment, you may voice them at this time, and the procedures will be reviewed if your objections are valid."

The reality bender threw his head back and laughed. "Do whatever the hell you want to me. Bury me in concrete if you want, I'll dig myself out and—"

Dr. Weathers shifted the papers on the table disinterestedly. "Noted. I will now ask a series of questions to confirm that you are a reality bender. Please explain how you view using your anomalous capabilities, Samuel."

His lip curled in disgust. "My name is Primus."

The site director raised an eyebrow at this. "I won't be calling you that, nor will anyone else here. How do you alter reality?"

A smile flashed across Samuel's lips. "Think of a wave, doc. Big wave, near the beach, hot babes relaxing in the sand. I move my board from one side to the other, I shift reality. And after you turn off that SRA and I can kill everyone on this site with a flick of my wrist, I'm doing one final run on that wave before I get off my board for good."

Dr. Weathers squeezed his eyes shut, trying to block his frustration. "Yes, every reality bender we bring in seems to have that impression, or something like it."

Samuel's handcuffs clanged loudly as he jerked against the chains holding him in his chair. "I am no mere reality bender. I am a god. Your reality benders are dust compared to me."

Dr. Weathers stared at the young man over his thick reading glasses. Samuel searched the man's eyes for meaning and found a mix of boredom and irritation. The director was losing his patience. He smirked and leaned back in his chair, glaring back defiantly.

The site director, in turn, reached for a sheet of paper on the table, taking it up and examining it for a few seconds. He brought it down from his face and spoke in low tones. "In my years here at the Foundation, I have performed interviews with seven-hundred and twenty-three reality benders, such as yourself. One hundred and thirty-two of these individuals have been labeled Class II, two-hundred and eleven have been Class III, one-hundred and seventy-two have been Class IV, and a staggering two-hundred and eight have been Class V."

Samuel barked out a hoarse chuckle. "You ever met someone who could melt your eyeballs from your head and then make you new ones, and then melt them again forever and ever for the rest of time?"

The director exhaled and leaned back in his chair. "A few hundred times, yes. The reason I have performed so many of these interviews is that when dealing with high-risk individuals, interviewers need to have a certain… inflexibility to them. You are testing that inflexibility."

"If your plan is to stall for time," Samuel replied, feigning a yawn, "you're doing a very poor job of keeping my attention."

"My point, Mr. Veras, is that I am growing tired of this. I grow tired of your kind. You know nothing of reality. Can't you feel the shifting? The constant flux?"

"You want to know what I feel, doc?" The young man leaned forward, a fiery passion igniting in his eyes. "I feel like nothing can touch me. Especially not an insect like you."

"Insect…" Dr. Weathers stared into the ceiling above the reality bender's head. "I do feel like that sometimes, knowing the things I know. None of us are in control, really. Sites disappear, researchers, agents… especially the SCPs. God, so many anomalies, just gone. Shifted out of reality and covered up by the universe."

"Doesn't lecturing get to you, doc? The only thing more annoying than listening to your voice is the buzz of that SRA in the corner."

Dr. Weathers looked at the reality anchor like he'd forgotten it was there. "Ah, yes, one of the Foundation's finest achievements. The Scranton Reality Anchor, capable of neutralizing any anomalous activity within its field, yes?"

Samuel smirked and had begun to reply when a loud bang knocked him backward in his chair. He looked up in startled confusion, watching as the remains of Dr. Weathers' pistol fell through his fingers onto the floor, turned to sand.

"What the hell? I can bend with that thing on?" Samuel gave the device a hard look, Dr. Weathers standing from his chair and pacing the room, adjusting a stray hair.

"Yes, you can bend within its field. Did you really think the Foundation had the technology to neutralize anomalies? That if we did, we wouldn't have a hundred of these at every site? That's a lie we tell Level Twos who start asking how the equipment works. The SRA makes reality stable, not unchangeable."

"So I can… this is the end, then." Samuel smiled, and threw up his hands in triumph, and let out a long laugh of pure malice and capability. Then he stopped. The old man was glaring at him now. Like he was some child throwing a tantrum.

"Hey, old man," the reality bender growled. "Your world's about to die."

"Oh, I doubt it is," he replied. "Well, it most likely already has. Do you know Schrödinger? It's a bit like that."

Samuel cocked his head to the side, a deep smile etched into his face. "Get on with it. If I get bored, I leave."

"Again, I doubt you will," Dr. Weathers replied. "Because as soon as you do, as soon as you destroy this site, and leave to wreak havoc across the Earth, you and I and everyone else will be but a poor facsimile of our true selves."

Samuel nodded, his eyes glazed over in mock disinterest. "Oh, that sounds unfortunate."

"Say you cull all life, as you desire. What will you do?"

The glaze immediately disappeared from Samuel's eyes. "I am Primus. I am the first of my kind. I have no equal. When the anguished dead have been torn asunder, I shall unleash a great battle-cry into the heavens, and all the universe will know my power."

The trappings of a smile appeared on the old face of Dr. Weathers. "Ah, yes, I can see it now. A lone figure on an empty globe, screaming defiantly into the dark of the heavens, who now understand that they are no match for him. It is certainly a marvelous image, isn't it?"

"The most mar—"

"That is where your story ends, Samuel. A single, ephemeral image, meant to be marveled at for a minute at most, and then discarded in favor of a more perfect universe."

Samuel's eyes once again filled with rage. "What universe could be more perfect than that?"

"This one, Samuel. You and I, right here, right now, are the only real Samuel and Dr. Weathers that there will ever be. In these constant reality shifts, you begin to wonder why Site-19 remains. Why certain anomalies don't disappear like the rest. And as you take it all in, you see that there has always been a pair of eyes looking over your shoulder. What is good to them is real, and their word is law. Anything that kills us all, anything like you? A mere suggestion to them, something to be considered but never taken seriously."

Samuel brought his fists down on the steel table, shaking some of the sheets of paper. "You are wrong! I am the god of this Earth, not some invisible judge, jury, and executioner! I am the executioner."

Dr. Weathers found himself lifted into the air, the handcuffs on Samuel's arms still dissolving into dust as the young man's fingers closed around his throat. His weaker frame hung still as he stared into the seething rage in Samuel's eyes.

"I am going to kill you slowly, old man," Samuel growled. "I am going to devise the worst possible torture for you, and repeat it for eternity. And so you don't get used to it, I'll change it whenever I think of something worse. You will be the only living thing I spare in my crusade, just so you can look upon the dead remains of this earth."

"No," Dr. Weathers replied, "I don't think you will."

Samuel's fingers tightened around the man's throat, but then loosened. His face had a pained look to it as he set the site director on the ground, and walked back to his seat. He sat still.

"What did you do?" he asked, his voice shaking. He couldn't move.

"Me?" Weathers said, a little surprised by the question. "Oh, I'm not doing anything. I'm not a reality bender. I think this is someone else. See, that's the thing I really hate about you reality benders. You're so… backward. Reality isn't a wave, as you suggested. It's an ocean, boiling and pitching under a never-abating hurricane. Some people get to… how did you put it? "Ride the wave near the beach"? Child's play. A real reality bender makes nature his bitch from the eye of the storm."

Samuel started in shock, leaning back in his chair. His eyes were very wide now. "What the hell did you just do?"

"Oh, this? I'm speaking to you in the color red. And in bold text, I believe."

Samuel began to form his next word, his mouth forming a quivering "O". Dr. Weathers raised his hand to stop him.

"It's not magic. It's not an anomaly, any more than the universe is an anomaly. All it takes is a certain view of reality. And having friends in high places helps, too."

The director cleared his throat and took his seat. He pretended to look over the papers and documents before him but soon looked up again, analyzing Samuel's face. He saw fear.

"Samuel, Primus, Veras, what have you," he began, "I told you that I have interviewed seven-hundred and twenty-three reality benders in total. Do you know what happened to them?"

Samuel shook his head in silence.

"They were all classified, documented, and transported to their containment units. Official files were uploaded to our intranet's catalog, tests were done, sometimes cross-testing was done, and you know what happened next?"

Samuel feared the answer.

"Almost all of them have been shifted out. Maybe only seven are still here, in our reality. All of those ones were special, somehow. There was that one who couldn't... well, that's neither here nor there. The rest, they've just been erased. Forgotten. See, the first truth about reality benders is that they're exponentially more abundant than we realize. The second truth is that the universe seems to have a particular distaste for them."

"What does… am I going to get shifted out, too?" Samuel's voice quivered the slightest bit.

Dr. Weathers shrugged. "Most likely. But I'm willing to try something if you'd like to help. I've been meaning to do something like this for quite some time now. Let's avoid classifying you. No documentation, no file on our intranet. We just put you in a containment unit, and never write anything up, alright?"

Samuel's brow furrowed. "Why would you do that?"

Dr. Weathers drew up his figure in the chair. "A multitude of reasons. Maybe because I'm a tired old man who wants to break the endless monotony of interviewing another reality bender. Maybe because I don't want you doing anything worth writing about, and I imagine you don't want to be written about, either. Have we come to an agreement?"

Samuel was quiet for a while. "Yes. We have."

With a nod of his head, Dr. Weathers turned and opened the door to the interview room, signaling to two armed staff members down the hallway and waiting for them to arrive. The pair entered the room and lifted Samuel up by his shoulders, pushing him towards the door.

Dr. Weathers looked his way one final time. "And it has been a pleasure speaking with you, Samuel. Have a good life."

A shaky smile was his only response.

The site director waited for a moment before closing the door to the interview room and taking a seat in the metal chair. He looked over the papers once more before leaning back and gazing at the ceiling.

"Goodbye to you as well," he said, alone in the room.

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