Self. Similar.
rating: +28+x


sketch copied from old documentation

Richardson Island

Aliases - "Mandelbrot Island," "Fractal Island," SCP-8249

Summary - An island shaped like a fractal, believed to have repetitive recursive(?) properties. Reports of strong return of memory.

Threat - Med.-High, reports of strong, debilitating hallucinations of events past, present, and imagined. Unconfirmed reports of disfiguration. All current intel comes from Foundation— could be a trap, or at least a very dangerous idea.

Interest - Could help me remember who I am.

Conclusion - I'm going there. The Foundation is giving me a ride from the mainland. We leave at dawn.

He had arrived at the docks early. Apparently, “dawn” was a vague time period for the Foundation agents that did not mean the second the sun rose above the horizon, but rather early morning. It was no matter to him. He had waited this long, he could wait for a little longer.

In any case, it gave him time to figure out what ship they were going to take. Normally, his eye might’ve turned toward the larger ships, the ones designed for scientific research. But he knew better than that; as far as the Foundation was concerned, this was a simple courier mission; drop off the researcher, let him research, come back for him (assuming he survives). They’d want something less conspicuous, something that would be more likely to blend in. This would make it hard, but he knew what to look for. He knew to look for a ship trying its best to look normal, so normal you wouldn’t even remember it. Much like the man himself.

His eyes eventually fell to the most ordinary one. A nearly unidentifiable trawler, named St. Conrad of Parzham. That had to be the one.

He had docked the ship, quietly as he could. He snuck below deck, hoping to find out more, but the Foundation had been careful about the ship’s facade. It was painfully normal, betraying no signs of distinction from any other privately owned vessel of that type. He hadn’t expected to find classified documents lying around at every corner, but he’d hoped that perhaps the Foundation had been just a little careless in telegraphing their intent. As soon as he thought that, he realized how ridiculous that thought had been.

Just at that moment, the boat lurched, and the man felt a surge of curiosity that others might’ve mistaken for unease. This certainly wasn’t Foundation protocol. As the boat steadied, he quickly realized the boat had departed from the dock. And from what he could tell, the unexpected captain was heading straight for Richardson Island.

So who was this captain?

Cautiously, the man made his way up to the helm, careful not to make noise.
A young woman sat below the steering wheel, leaning over a bag that seemed much too small to contain anything of importance and looking over several documents and muttering to herself. It was almost comical. This girl had managed to trick several high ranking Foundation personnel. Did that say more about the Foundation or about her?

“Beautiful morning for a boat ride, don’t you think?” he said, throwing caution to the wind. The girl’s head snapped back as she heard his voice, eyes wide in surprise. He had scarcely finished his question before she had a knife to his throat.

“Who are you? I thought I had taken care of all of you Foundation goons back in town.” The man, unaffected, blinked in response.

“Easy,” he said, a futile attempt to calm her down. “I’m not with them.” He quickly looked down at his clothes. “Obviously.”

This didn’t sway the girl one bit. “But you’re working with them. Give me one reason I shouldn’t throw you over right now.”

“Ooh," he winced. "'Working with’ is a rather strong phrase. Let’s just say our interests aligned. In fact, you’ve done me a rather massive favor by significantly decreasing the odds that I’m walking right into a trap.”

“You still haven’t given me a reason.”

He rolled his eyes. “Because it would be a waste of your time and energy. Yes, I have no doubt you could throw me overboard with no problem. But I have no real reason to hurt you, and vice versa. Wouldn’t you rather focus on navigating us to the island?” He glanced at the horizon as he said this. She looked back and saw they were quickly drifting off course.

“Damn it!” she said, reluctantly dropping the knife to take the helm again. She quickly corrected course, constantly looking over her shoulder. “If you even think about betraying me—”

“Wouldn’t think of it. We’re heading to the same place. You’re really making my job easier.” He almost chuckled. “I really should thank you.” The girl groaned in response. He moved to the railing, looking at the distant island as it approached and breathing in the sea air. "So why are you heading out to Richardson?" he asked her. Her head quickly turned to look at him, her face a mixture of confusion and suspicion.

"What's it to you?" she asked dryly.

He shrugged apologetically. “Just curious, I suppose. I mean, it’s not every day you see an island with a fractal coastline.”

She turned to the man and raised an eyebrow. “You know most coastlines are fractals, right?” The man looked confused.

“I’m sorry, what?”

A smirk slid across the girl’s face. “You have no idea why it’s called Richardson Island, do you?” She chuckled to herself, turning away again to look at the island in the distance. Clearly, she was having some fun with him now, being the only one on board with the knowledge she had attempted to tempt the man with.

It was surprisingly effective.

“My point being, you’ve surely heard the stories of this island. And surely you know enough to know they aren’t unfounded claims. Why would somebody as young as you dare to venture there on your own?”

“I could ask you the same question. Minus the young part. Don’t think your age will save you. Did you even bring anything to help you get through the island?”

The man held his breath, annoyed, before admitting, “The Foundation was to provide everything for my travels.” The girl laughed. “But you’re not one to talk,” he quickly followed up. “What do you have that ensures your survival over mine?” She quickly held up the knife, glinting it at him in the sunlight. He nodded, trying not to put his head in his hands. “Right, a knife, but you really think anything else in that small bag of yours will do anything?”

“You’d be surprised. And you never answered my question about why you’re here.”

“No, you never answered mine.” The girl shrugged, keeping her lips sealed. The man sighed, resolving that he would have to compromise to learn anything. “I’m hoping to gain a better sense of myself.” The girl looked at him strangely, clearly not understanding. Not that he cared to explain. “Can you at least tell me your name?”

The girl considered this a moment before responding. “You may call me The Black Queen.”

“Wow. That’s not pretentious in the slightest, your highness.”

The girl scoffed. “And just who do you think you are to mock me?”

“Oh, I’m Nobody of note.” The boat beat on against the current, bringing them closer to the island, and closer to understanding.

A girl took on several Foundation agents and commandeered a vessel that was heading the place she wanted to go anyway. Wonders never cease. She could've simply stowed herself away, and instead she stole a whole boat. I think we'll get along well if she stops being such a petulant brat.

I recognize I'm not being entirely fair to her. I must just be tired. It's not as if she's a child. I just sense this youthful energy, this anger. This hunger that she's trying so hard to satiate. It seems so…

Familiar isn't the right word. Familiar is never the right word in my situation. But it just seems so normal. It's almost refreshing when it isn't annoying. She introduced herself as The Black Queen. Of course I've heard the name before, but never encountered anyone who used it. I know enough to know there are multiple Black Queens, but not enough to know how to distinguish between them, or even what their goal may be. I mean, why take the risk of going all the way out to the island? Enlightenment? There are easier ways of achieving that. She's not like me, she's self-assured in who she is. In fact, who she is seems to be driving her.

In any case, she hasn't yet picked up on who I am. Perhaps she doesn't know of me. Then again, it seems unlikely she'd know of the island but not me.

Is it strange that I'm looking forward to her discovering the truth?

“Stop following me!” The girl yelled.

“I told you before, it’s not intentional. Also how could I be following you if I left the dock first?” The two had tried to separate at the dock, but somehow they’d already run into each other several times.

“You tell me.”

“Look, I know you’re doing this whole, like, teenage-angst—”

“I’m not a teenager.”

“—go it alone, coming of age quest… thing, but is that really the smartest idea?” The girl looked indignant, about to interrupt. “What I mean by that,” he quickly said before she could start, “is the intel I’ve gotten on this island suggests the anomalies take hold more quickly if one is alone. Working together, we slow down whatever anomaly poses a threat.” The girl looked to the side carefully considering what she was being told.

“Why should I believe you?” He pulled out his journal, looking for the right clippings.

“Because I have information directly from the Foundation.” He handed her several excerpts of the document.

“How the hell did you get these?” She interrogated, reading them voraciously.

“A contact within the Foundation got me the info when they realized I was planning on coming here.” She looked up after reading them, carefully taking in the man before her.

“Okay, fine. You can tag along with me, but don’t get in my way,” she said fiercely.

“Of course not, your majesty.” She rolled her eyes at this, turning away and walking deeper into the wilds of the island. “You know, you never told me why you’re here.”

“And you never told me who you are. Frankly, it’s none of your business.”
“It is my business if we’re working together.”

“‘Working together’ is a rather strong phrase,” she parroted. He could tell she was rather good at using one’s words against them. When she thought about it. “And if we are, in fact, ‘working together’ as you say, I should know what to call you.”

He smiled slightly and shrugged. “It’s like I said before, I’m Nobody important.”

He saw her eyes get wide in realization. “Oh my god. You’re Nobody. And I’m an idiot.”

“Oh, not at all, your grace. It’s just a game I like to play with the people I meet.”

“For the love of god, stop calling me that, it’s just the Black Queen.” She stopped in her tracks, looking around, anxious.

“Is it really that big a deal, you—”

“We’ve been here before.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Look, all the trees are the same as they were at the dock. Like we should turn around and be right back at the boat.” As the man looked around, he realized she was right. The environment was eerily familiar. He was positive they had been to this exact place. But they had only wandered away from the dock, and the boat was nowhere in sight. How was this possible?

The glint of the knife interrupted his thoughts. He quickly looked toward the girl, preparing to defend himself. With two quick moves, she had slashed an X shape into a nearby tree.

“There. Now we know we’ve been here. We can find our way out more easily.”

A small smirk formed at the corner of his lips. “Well done, Ariadne!” She looked back at him, eyebrow raised in anticipation of an explanation. “You know the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur?” Her expression didn’t change. His face returned to a neutral-annoyed expression. “Ariadne gave him the string. She helped him leave the labyrinth.” She stared for another second before shrugging and walking forward.

“At least you went for that instead of Hansel and Gretel.” He stared after her, taking in his surroundings. As he looked around, he saw the trees towering over, in a way they hadn’t seemed to before. As he stared at the sky, a large shadow that looked like a giant bird passed overhead.


“I’m not going to wait for you!” The girl called back. The man looked back to her, walking quickly to catch up as they braced themselves for the coming exploration.

I think I’m starting to see some of the anomalous properties of the island. More exploration is needed, though, as none of the anomalous behavior I’m seeing is what I’m looking for. Though I have to wonder what my reluctant companion is here for. Ariadne (as I’ve decided to call her for the purposes of this journal) is still headstrong, but has recognized our team-up is in both of our best interests. I still wonder what she could be here for. Does she not recognize the dangers posed by this island? Surely she does, and has gone so far as to chastise me for being unprepared. No, she knows the danger. She’s weighed the risk and decided her goal is worth it. And knowing that I’m only enduring the island for very personal reasons, I can only assume her reasons must be personal as well. She hasn’t reached any sort of “greater good” or “greater evil” phase quite yet, so her motivation must be a very personal or sentimental self-interest. Not that I can blame her. I can’t imagine a self interest more personal or sentimental than mine.

Why do I want to help her?

The girl had figured out the landscape seemed to loop about every three or four kilometers, and they had settled into a rhythm based on the same path. It had been his deduction that they were actually shrinking as they approached the edge of the island. The Foundation would have a (figurative) field day if they could get the information the two were discovering simply by observing. None of this was in the file they had. Or at least, none of it was in the file the Foundation had given nobody.

“Okay, I’ll bite,” The man said as the girl gave him a leg up to the now familiar rock blocking their path. “Why is it called Richardson Island?” He reached back down to pull her up. Like a well oiled machine, they had seemed to figure out the pattern to the island. The girl smirked at this question.

“The Richardson Effect. Also called the Coastline Paradox.” She slashed another tree. “The smaller the unit you use to measure an irregular shape, like a coastline, the longer the coastline gets. It actually approaches infinity the smaller you get. Lewis Fry Richardson, a mathematician, is noted as the first to notice this seemingly counterintuitive fact. Mandelbrot later expanded on it, and at some point the work was used to show that most coastlines are not one-dimensional lines, but are mathematically of a fractal dimension. Watch your head,” she finished, ducking beneath a low-hanging branch.

“Wow. That was… surprisingly insightful. You’re really smart, you know that?” He said, somewhat in awe.

“You’re just noticing this now?” The man felt the urge to laugh at this statement. He suppressed it to the best of his ability. “I don’t blame you. But I’ve had a lot of time. And I’ve been doing research on this place… for as long as I’ve known about it.”

“And how, exactly, did you find out about this place?” This question intrigued him almost as much as the one about her motivation. “Because I have heard of this place as well, but you know, I can’t seem to recall where or when. All I have is a few notes, probably copied from old documentation. I don’t see any other reason that would require me to copy that kind of information except a risk for the original documentation to disappear… Or was it me, the one who was about to disappear? Regardless, I must have thought that I would need it later when I copied that. Did you have a particular source? A reading that you would recommend to me?”

“I read about it in a Library.” He looked at her with rapt curiosity, expecting her to continue. “Hold on,” she said, stopping in place. “I need to stop for a break,”.

He looked at her suspiciously, but decided not to dig deeper. His questions would eventually find an answer, and the risk of returning the young woman against him with an interrogation was not worth it.

"Good idea, I can take a little time to write."

“I thought we would’ve seen some of the weirder stuff by now.” The girl set her bag and knife down and sat against a tree, eyes closed in relaxation. “I guess that’s not a bad thing, but… I dunno. I just want to be done.”

“Believe me. I get it. But the silver lining is as long as none of the quote-unquote ‘weirder stuff’ has happened, it means we’re safe.” The man leaned against a tree, quickly writing everything he could think. As he wrote, he felt something begin to irritate him. Something at the end of his finger. He wrote as long as he could stand before closing his journal and opening his hand. Though his expression betrayed no emotion, he recognized what he saw as very bad news.

At the tip of his ring finger, five small finger-like appendages had formed. At the tip of the fourth appendage, five more appendages had formed. He imagined this was continuing microscopically as he watched. He had to do something about this, and quickly. He looked over to the girl. Her breathing was slow and steady.

“Hey. Ariadne. You awake?” He heard a slight groan from her. It seemed she was somewhere between consciousness and sleep. He had to be quick about this. He slowly walked over, bending over the knife. “I need to check something in that grove over there.” He picked it up. “I’ll be right back. Promise.”

He quickly walked away, making sure he was far out of sight. Working quickly, he pressed the knife to the excess appendages. He knew this was going to hurt. As a last second thought, he pulled out a handkerchief, putting it in his mouth to muffle the noise. He braced himself, then quickly sliced through the excess appendages, grunting through the pain. He tried not to look at the blood as he quickly ripped the handkerchief apart and wrapped it around his finger, but no sooner had he wrapped the finger than it was soaked red.

“So we’ve gotten into this position again. How curious.”

He quickly turned around, trying to find the source of the voice.

“Ariadne? Is that you?” He cautiously walked a few steps in the direction he heard the voice. He walked around a tree, doing his best not to make any noise, when—

“Ah!” The girl yelped in surprise. When she saw who she had run into, she pushed him back. “What the hell is your problem?” She looked down at his hands. “And why did you steal my knife?” She yelled at him. Calmly, he offered the handle to her, which she quickly took. “Were you going to turn on me? Or go it alone? I thought you were the one who wanted us to ‘work together’ or whatever.”

“Easy. I just had a splinter I had to take care of,” he said, holding up the bandaged finger. “And your knife was a lot sharper than I had anticipated.”

“Yeah. It’s a knife. And for that matter, why did you call me?”

“What are you talking about? I didn’t call you.”

“Yeah, you did. You said something about my task being a fruitless one.”

“Ariadne, I promise I didn’t say that.”

“That’s really not my name.”

“Furthermore, I thought I heard you call me.”


“Something about us being in ‘this position’ again.” She stared pensively at him. “You know what this means?”

“The hallucinations. We’re that much closer to our goals.” Though both felt a sense of excitement creep over them, they both felt the same thought cross their mind: yes, they were closer to their goal. But they were also in much more danger than they were before.

The fractilization has begun. I knew it was coming from the preliminary Foundation reports. I didn’t expect it so soon. So severe. So…

I can’t think of another “s” word but it hurt like a bitch to cut off my body.

I have to imagine most of it isn’t that intense, based on my intel, but who knows. The Foundation could’ve lied. Or we could experience the worst of the average. We could be the outliers.
I haven’t told Ariadne yet. She’s heard the hallucinations, she knows the body horror is coming. I have no doubt we’ll start seeing things too. I have no clue what that’s going to be like. How real it will seem. The voice I heard seemed really, really, real. But if I’m being honest, I’m less concerned with the hallucinations than I am with their content. The hallucinations are theorized to be events that happened in the past, or will happen in the future, or that have some connection with the hallucinators identity.

So what does it mean that my hallucination told me that we were back here again? Is it me and Ariadne? Has this happened before? Surely she would’ve known, or told me. What does it mean?

The two had gotten much farther, and had stayed much closer together. Together they had avoided most of the fractalizing patterns, marked the trees they passed, and had figured out a sort of double-checking system for the hallucination: if the other didn’t hear it, it hadn’t happened. And now, for Nobody, if she hadn’t seen it, it wasn’t real. It was imperative at this point that they work together in perfect harmony.

Nobody took one step off the path.

“Well, fancy seeing you here.” He turned around at the voice. The girl was gone, and where the voice had come from, he saw a woman in a grey suit.

“Ariadne? Is that you?”

“Close but no cigar,” the woman replied. “I’m Nobody. Who are you? Are you Nobody too?”

“Dickenson,” he grimaced.

“Forgive me. It’s not often I get to use that joke.”

“You sound… just like her.” Something about this person was eerily familiar.

“Maybe she sounds just like me. Or maybe she used to. Either way, I don’t think that’s relevant.”

“Just tell me already. Who are you?”

“I just did.”

“But that’s impossible. I’m Nobody. Only one individual at a time incarnates Nobody. Or so I’ve been told.”

“Ah! Then there’s a pair of us, don’t tell—”

“Enough with the Dickenson! What do you want?”

“Same as you. And same as her.” He looked at her, trying to puzzle out what she was saying. “Did you really think you were the first Nobody to come here? Did you think she was the first Black Queen?”

“I thought I was supposed to be seeing my past,” he said, losing patience. “Or my future, or… something to do with me.”

“I am you, in a sense. And I am her, in a sense.” She sighed, circling him now. He watched her closely, ready to pounce if need be. “We usually come together. Nobody and the Black Queen. We’re not quite sure why.” She chuckled to herself. “I think your Ariadne is trying to figure that out as we speak.”

“Ariadne!” He said, realizing they had lost each other. “Where is—?!”

“But something’s different about the two of you. I’m not sure what it is, but… you work well together. Almost like you’ve done this before. And who knows? Maybe you’ll both get what you want.”

“Are you going to let me go now or what?”

The woman stepped back, hands up to proclaim innocence. “I’m sorry if I made you feel that you couldn’t leave. But I’ve done nothing to hold you captive. You’re free to run off and find her any time you feel like it.” He stood up straight, preparing to take off down the path. “But! Before you go, I’d like to leave you with one last piece of information.”


She shrugged. “Consider it a peace offering. Or a sliver of hope on my part. Whatever the reason, don’t waste it simply because you mistrust yourself. In any case, remember this: T-six-seven-two-two. Tell her. She’ll know what you mean.” He looked at her, uncertain. She only smiled back, as if encouraging him to find her. Finally, he looked away and back towards the path, taking off in search of the girl.

“Ariadne! Where are you?” He quickly ran down the path, following the marked trees until they stopped. She was nowhere in sight, and the marks had run out. She could be anywhere. He had left her, and now she was—

“I’m all alone,” he heard her mumble. He looked over to a nearby grove, and saw her standing there, not looking like the confident girl he had come to know. He gently walked over to her.

“No you’re not, kid,” he gently reassured, “I’m still here, and we’re going to get out of this.” He gulped. “Together.” She slowly turned her head to look at him, her face looking so fearful and confused. He locked eyes with her, staring at each other.

All of a sudden, she pushed him away. “I told you not to leave the path, you jackass!”

He nodded. “I know, and I understand why—”

“No, you don’t,” she curtly cut him off. “We were working together. And you left me. You let me down.” She walked back to the path, angrily cutting another mark into a tree as she did so. Like a dog who had chewed on one shoe too many, he timidly followed behind.

“I’m… sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you.” She sighed and shook her head in response to this. “But… why did that feel like it had nothing to do with me?” She stopped in the middle of the path, closing her eyes and taking several deep breaths. He calmly waited as she did this.

“To make a very long story short, a long time ago, someone left me. And… basically that’s why I’m here.” His brow furrowed in something that might have been mistaken for concern.

“Trying to relive the memories of yesterday?”

“Something like that. Something in my hallucination reminded me of that… I guess. I don’t know. I… don’t really remember it. Or it hasn’t… happened yet?” She sighed. “God I hate this place. So,” she said, pulling herself together and trying to change the subject, “I presume you strayed because of a hallucination you had. Do you remember anything from yours?”

“Well, there was one thing,” he admitted. “I met… a different version of Nobody. And she said you would recognize the sequence T-six-seven-two-two.”

She frowned. “That… sounds familiar. But I don’t really know it. Sorry.” He shrugged, unaffected, but she didn’t see. She stared at the ground, pensive in thought

“I don’t know that sequence, but that sounds like how we organize timelines in the Library. T-dash-six-seven-two-two is a valid combination.”

As she said this, he looked up. Everything was wrong. Everyone was… not dead. Worse than dead. And Braindead was too kind a term. Everyone he had ever known, worked with. Anyone he had worked with in the past. He was certain, it had affected all of his friends, anybody who had been his family. Now his only chance was—

“Hey! Snap out of it!” The girl’s voice grounded him. All was well. Relatively speaking. And he had realized something.

“Ariadne, I think that’s it. I don’t think I’m from this timeline.”

Her eyes widened in surprise. “What? What do you mean?”

“I just saw it. A hallucination, or a-a-a memory! Oh my god I had a memory. Oh my god.”

“Calm down, I’m very invested in this new development, but what happened in the memory?”

“It was horrible… the whole world was practically ending— or, not the world,” he quickly said, barely able to contain the sudden surge of emotions at his newfound memory. “But human life, it was— It was… it was an EK class scenario. I think.”

“EK?” The girl asked.

“Yeah, it’s, um—”

“No, I know this, it’s… end of human consciousness. Right?”

“That’s right.” He looked at her with a tilted glance. “How did you know that?”

“I…” She stopped a second to compose herself. “I’m not sure. I guess I just… do.”

“I had a memory. You had a premonition. And now we both have knowledge of terminology we shouldn’t have access to.” He frowned. “What does that mean?”

“It means we’re close. We’ve almost found what we came for.” The girl nodded, determined now more than ever. Together, the two took a step forward.

A memory. I had a memory. Timeline T-6722. EK Class Scenario. How did I escape? What caused it? A memory. I had a memory.

“This is going to hurt a little.” The girl had started to grow an appendage on her leg. Neither her nor her companion was willing to risk letting the horrible process go on without doing anything.

“Yeah, I know, this is the third time. Just do it.” She closed her eyes, bracing herself for the incoming wound. Quickly and methodically, he sawed through the growth. “Motherfucker!” She screamed at the pain. He pressed on the disinfectant bandage against her leg as quickly as possible, taking a second to let her wince.

“We keep this up there’s not going to be much left of us.”

“Yeah, no shit…” She chuckled to herself. “Splinter my ass.”

“I didn’t want to worry you,” he protested.

“Yeah, sure, that’s the reason you didn’t tell me when it started. You told me about the hallucinations and the several Nobody’s you’ve seen, but this is the part you thought would disturb me too much. You’re lucky I packed these bandages in my bag. That handkerchief was not going to get us through.”

“Yeah, why does it seem you have more bandages than could possibly fit in that bag and still have room for a knife, a map, several secure documents and books, several days worth of rations—”

“Okay, I get the point, and I do not appreciate it.” She was about to say something else when she suddenly looked up. She looked around,a sudden seriousness in her eyes. “Soundcheck,” she said, activating the agreement.

“‘Okay, I get the point, and I do not appreciate it,’” he repeated monotonously. “What did you hear?”

“I thought—” She stopped. Nobody looked at her, concern mounting. She finally turned back to him. “Soundcheck!” She said, as though in a panic.

“‘What did you hear?’ and then you said ‘I thought’ and stopped mid-sentence. What’s going on? What are you hearing?”

“It’s him…” she whispered. She turned back to him, anxiety mounting in her voice. “Look, I appreciate everything you’ve done here to help me. But I think I’ve found what I came for. And this is where I leave you.”

He furrowed his brow and shook his head. “No, no, no. We agreed we’d stay together. It’s safer, remember? That’s the only way we get out. Together.”

“I know, I know, but right now—”

“But nothing, we have to work together if we’re going to—”

“Dad!” She yelled out, abandoning him in the clearing.

“Shit,” he yelled after her. He quickly grabbed her bag and her knife and ran after her, marking every tree he could without losing her. He followed her voice, calling into the nothingness for a man who no longer existed. When she was within his sight again, he sprinted after her.

“Ariadne! Listen to me, you can’t help him!”

“Dad!” She called, running as quick as she could. It took some time, but finally he caught up to her, quickly running around her and grabbing her shoulders to stop her.

“It’s not him!”

“Let me go!” She screamed. “Let me see him again!”

“The man you’re chasing after, he’s gone! He’s not here. It’s just a shadow of the man you once knew.”

“I don’t care!” She said, trying to wrestle away from him.

“He abandoned you! He left the most wonderful daughter in the world for his own selfish reasons and…” He shook his head, finally achieving a moment of clarity. “I know I messed up before, when I left you. I let you down. But I promise to never do it again, if you come with me right now.” She shook her head, head turned to the ground as tears fell below. “Listen to me Alison,” She looked up at him, eyes widening in realization. “If we don’t leave now, neither of us is going to get what we wanted. We will die here, fractalized monstrosities, and I can’t afford to lose you like that. Not after I just found you. Okay?” She breathed heavily, unsure how to respond. “Sightcheck,” he said, hoping it wasn’t too late.

She gulped. “Just me… a bunch of trees. Me.” She took a deep breath. “And you. You’re with me.” She quickly nodded her head. “Let’s get out of here.”

The two ran past the trees, following the marks they had made. They didn’t have time to stop, not even to deal with the hallucinations that both had come for. They didn’t need them anymore.

“I’m sorry I blamed you for everything,” he heard muttered through the panicked running.

He didn’t have time to respond. “Soundcheck.”

“You heard me the first time, asshole.”

What the hell happened?

The trek had been long, hard, and hurried, but they were finally at the end of it. He could just make out the dock in the distance, the boat still on the water by the dock.

Next to a second boat. And this one, the man recognized.

“Shit!” The girl said, clearly recognizing the boat as well.

“They must be here for me. They’ll think I stole the boat, did whatever you did.” He sighed. “Alright, how are we going to deal with this?” But when he turned to talk to the girl, she was gone. He was all alone again. “Great,” he murmured. He was normally great at stealth, but on the unpopulated island he stuck out like a sore thumb.

“Nobody!” a voice boomed behind him.

“And the day just keeps getting better,” he grumbled.

“Put your hands up and slowly turn around! You’re—”

“Yeah, yeah,” he said, turning around much quicker than recommended. “You’re about to tell me that you’re part of a Foundation mobile task force. Deep Feeders? No, maybe White Rabbits. Anyway, you’re gonna tell me I stole your boat, which I didn’t, and I need to be taken into Foundation custody, but let me save you a few steps. I’m tired. I’m done. I just want to get off this godforsaken island.”

The man lowered his weapon, confused. “What?”

“I won’t fight you. Just please take me back to the mainland and I’ll go with you, willingly, and tell your boss’s boss’s boss everything they want to know about this place. Everything that I can remember happening.”

The man paused, unsure whether to trust the person he had heard so much about. “Walk towards me slowly and I will—”

“Oh my god,” he said walking towards the man. “Just take me to the dock for the love of god.”

“Right,” the man said, startled. “This way,” he said, letting nobody lead him back to the dock. “I have the PoI in my custody, we are heading to the docks,” he said into his headset. As they made their way to the clearing, the rest of the task force looked completely shocked. They laughed at how simple the man had been to capture as they approached the boat. He didn’t care anymore. He was ready for the whole ordeal to be over.

“Hey,” the captain said, leaning over to talk to him, “if it’s any help, whatever’s bothering you won’t bother you for much longer.” Nobody looked over, giving a look of condescending confusion as they reached the end of the dock. “You really think they won’t amnesticize after this?”

“Isn’t amnesticizing a man who can’t remember anything kind of redundant?” a voice came from behind them. Nobody smiled as the rest of the task force turned around. There was the Black Queen, knife to a task member’s throat. “Right. Here’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to let my friend go, you’re going to let us take the St. Conrad of Parzham back to the mainland, and you’re going to let the both of us leave out of your custody.”

“Why should we do any of that?” came the voice Nobody recognized as the man who had first found him.

“You mean besides the fact she has a knife to my throat?!” came the voice of the MTF member at the other end of the dock.

“Because I have his journal,” she said, holding up a very familiar book. Nobody smiled as he reached into his jacket and found it was no longer there. He fondly wondered when she had the time to steal it. “And if you don’t let us go, I’ll throw it in the water.”

“Captain, I think I can make the shot from here without hurting—”

“Jesus Christ,” the captain said, head in his hands. “Just do as she says. It’s not worth it to risk a casualty just to obtain information we’re already trying to get. Let her go and we’ll agree to all of your conditions.” The Black Queen stared, deadly serious, as if pondering what to do. With a smirk, she removed the knife from the MTF member’s throat and turned her around.

“My deepest apologies,” she said to the anxious woman. “It was nothing personal, and I wasn’t really planning on killing you. You understand.”

The other woman shook her head. “You’re insane.” The Black Queen quickly skimmed through the journal, tearing out a page here and there.

“I think you’ll find these pages most valuable. All of the good stuff about the anomalies, how we avoided them and mitigated their effects, et cetera.” The Foundation member looked through the pages, pondering her options, before walking back to the edge of the dock with the pages in hand. “Well?” the Queen’s voice rang out.

“You heard the woman. Go to her, before we change our mind. Christ, the paperwork on this one is going to be a mess…” he said, boarding his own boat. Nobody walked towards where she stood, a smile on his face.

“Thanks for the rescue, your majesty,” he said with a bow.

“Think nothing of it,” she said, already heading towards the boat. Nobody eagerly boarded after her. They inhabited the boat as they followed the Foundation boat back to the mainland.

“You know, it’s just as well you came when you did,” the man said to his captain. “I’m not sure I remember any of what just happened. On the island, I mean.”

The girl smiled sadly at him. “Did you find what you were looking for?”

“I think so. But I think I lost it again. It’s just… blank. What about you?”

“…Same here. I don’t think it was quite what I expected.” The two enjoyed the moment, a calm if discontent silence between them. “When we reach the shore… is this goodbye for us?”

He thought about it for a second. “I think it’s more of a ‘so long.’ I doubt I’ve seen the last of the Black Queen.”

She smiled back at him. “And I still have so much to learn about Nobody.”

At least she had gotten a handle on how to access the Ways. It was like taking a familiar side street back home. After all, she had begun to consider the Library home. And after everything that she had experienced she was relieved to go back.

But the Library was not quite as Alison had left it. There was a different atmosphere in the place she had considered a safe haven, and she was uncertain which had actually changed; the library or herself.

She’d been used to living her life alone. But she hadn’t realized that she’d spent most of that time desperately fighting to not be alone. She had gotten that chance. And she…

Had she blown it? Was it just not time? What the hell happened on that island?

She sighed. All she knew was that she had gotten a taste of what she wanted, and now it was gone. And she wasn’t sure how to deal with that now. Nobody had warned her how unbearable the loneliness was once you had tasted what life could be like without it.

Or had Nobody warned her? She was having a hard time keeping track of everything that had happened, whether or not it was real, and if it was real, what was a memory or a premonition. She had no clue what to do.

She took a deep breath and closed her eyes, trying to calm down some of her thoughts. She had taken some notes, after all, and she was sure things yet to come would elucidate the experience for her in due time. Besides, in the Library, she wasn’t alone. She had plenty of little sisters, who could fill in the gaps and explain that which remained unsaid. She always had the catalogue to fall back on.

Her eyes snapped open. She knew what she had to do. She quickly pulled out her notes, preparing for the research. It took some time, but she found exactly what she was looking for. T-6722. She quickly created a new document to record her findings.


It’s one of the many Black Queens, who knows and who cares which one.

She gathered her thoughts, trying to piece together the important bits, writing just how she was taught.


Nobody is an entity with antimemetic properties, taking on the form of a human who doesn’t know who they are.


Presumably human life and the existence of the anomalous? I don’t know. Gnosis is always better at this stuff than me anyway.


I don’t know


I don’t care

She took a deep breath. She was going too fast, and that was going to be a pain to fix. Right now she needed to focus on what she could control, what she knew. She could rewrite the rest later, with help from her little sisters. Right now she just had to write it down before she forgot, and write it well.

Instance: Timeline L-99:

Nobody takes on the form of Dr. Charles Ogden Gears. Having originally come from Timeline T-6722, his mind was wiped and he took on antimemetic properties as side effects of defenses taken against the EK-class scenario that took place in that timeline. He saved himself and escaped to this timeline, but feels guilt over those he could not save, namely the family he left behind. He spends his days trying to remember who he is and searching for the reason for his deep-seated guilt, as well as any way to absolve himself of it. And he came close, he came so damn close, I was right there, and I couldn’t help him, I couldn’t lead him out of the labyrinth

She abruptly stopped there. It was an odd thing to say, especially like that. Why had she phrased it that way? What could it mean?

She closed her eyes, and for a glimpse, she saw him.

”You remember the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur?”

She smiled, opening her eyes. She went back to the beginning.

This is Black Queen Ariadne. And I swear, I will find my father and save him from the Nobody he’s become.

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