A Place To Call Your Home
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It would be many, many years from now that Altruist-9 would finally make contact with EE-00059's location, which would appear, initially, to be a large waste of a trip.

The Altruist-9 sat within the sky, scanning the area with billion-dollar sensors, floating in the endlessness of deep space. Almost picturesque, a feat of human engineering surrounded by stars on all sides.

It didn't take long for the stillness of everything to be interrupted by a sudden and unexplained light. The light opened near the probe, expanding outward until it was massive in size, a great disk in the sky, presenting itself to the Altruist-9. EE-00059-2. The wormhole.

Piloting itself inside, crossing the event horizon, the probe witnessed an experience that defies words. It happened briefly, in a moment, and then passes like a dream. Nothing else could be said about it.

It wouldn't be long after that the Altruist-9 would deliver its payload of humanoid information and a single drone containing an advanced AIC known as "Buddy" to the one planet remotely close to its exit.

Buddy is a six-legged, arthropod-structured drone capable of observing, storing, and relaying information for Foundation analysis.

Unfortunately, all transmissions with Buddy.aic were lost upon its traversal into EE-00059-2. The technology capable of returning transport of similar probes was assumed to be unfeasible by any lifeforms on the opposite side of the anomaly.

This was not really the case.

Technology like this had existed for a million and a half years on the opposite side of EE-00059-2. Truth is, no lifeforms on the other side gave a flying fuck about the Altruist-9. It was nothing new.

The wormhole that would go on to be defined as EE-00059-2 ejected plenty of debris from other worlds. Things on the other end would attempt (and fail) to communicate with the trillions of lifeforms that resided and died on the place known as the Stack.

It was ironic how little a difference something named the Altruist would seem to make on the greater good of any carbon-based life on that horrid planet. Existence there was hard enough.

On the other end of an Ellis Wormhole, just a hop, skip and jump away from what we call Earth, was a small, barren planet of dust and deserts. It orbited a black body sun that, while rather dim, would burn the eyes out of any living being even remotely squinting at its surface. At the time of their arrival, this didn't matter.

The human race was about to come to an abrupt end due to a very hateful star, and the planet on the other end seemed like as good as place as any to temporarily give relief to the four billion life forms escaping from the super-noval clutches of instant death brought on by one confused, edgy jerk of a celestial body.

Although the people of modern-day "Earth" would have all but forgotten the destruction of their home planet, the loss of contact and the subsequent re-population of the other half of its people was complete. There, stories of what had happened would be passed down with significant recall that most would know quite well. It was, after all, their legacy that brought them there.

Alone, free from both the evils of the universe and the Galactic Foundation as it was called that long ago, they learned to live and rely solely on one another. The lack of transmissions from the Hateful Star meant an era of peace that would go on to solidify their residence on the Stack.

New Earth, on the other hand, would go on to be mostly successful, almost burning itself out on multiple occasions (and definitely on certain timelines, but we won't get into that.). Civilizations would rise and fall, paradigms shifted. History wrote and rewrote itself so many times that their origins would never truly be known. The people in the Stack did both better and worse as they developed far away from their brethren on the Blue-Green world of dirt and water.

The Stack was named so due to it being immeasurably high and fucking cramped. Atmospheric regions on the surface planet were pretty hot, melting the flesh off of most things that dared to walk about during the perpetual, shadowy daytime of the tidally-locked planet. The Stack was located on the cooler side, and had grown to be loved and hated by its residents who had no other choice then to live out their days on their lonely new home.

The Stack was built from most of the wreckage that didn't completely burn up on its way onto the surface of the planet. It was a hodgepodge, yet tightly wound community of beings that had little to do other than survive and occasionally eat one another if it came to it.

It was miserable to say the least, with brief periods of beauty and wonder that broke free of the monotony of their daily lives. People inside the Stack were kept sheltered from the oppressive rays on the outside, only venturing into the wastes to haul debris and corpses in suits that only gave maybe first degree burns to their occupants.

When the Altruist-9 had entered the nearby wormhole, its outer structure was pretty much annihilated on the way through. Its payload was covered in a thick thermal paste of exotic matter that resembled raspberry jam but tasted like formaldehyde and could strip paint off of most cars. Buddy was unfazed by this because he was what you would call a cold, unfeeling machine.

Buddy.aic landed not-too-softly on the surface of the desert planet, a few kilometers outside the grey-silver walls of the Stack. After initial readings of the atmosphere, it was revealed to be nitrogen-rich, but lacked oxygen completely. Buddy.aic began its meandering about in the general direction of the structure with intent to find something new and exciting to report to its people back home.

In the grand scheme, it only took Buddy a short while to find the towering citadel known as the Stack. Being solar-powered made this whole ordeal a breeze for the drone, which could sustain indefinitely were it not destroyed in one of many other fashions.

Buddy.aic first had attempted to scale the walls of the complex with little success. Shortly afterward, it would begin following the perimeter of recycled debris until it found a suitable entryway.

Circumnavigating for the seventh hour, Buddy was greeted by a gated fence that revealed a dark, dank hallway comprised of welded-together metal panels. The ceiling was low, with large patches of shadows that were interrupted by the occasional light in the distance. Buddy extended its front left leg, which split at the end to reveal its multi-tool hidden inside. A small pair of bolt cutters extended with a whir, the lone drone then going to work, snapping at links in the fence.

Once a sizeable enough hole had been made, Buddy retracted his tool and climbed through with decent dexterity. Passing rapidly inside, the long hall appeared to travel forever, the walls too dark to reveal any number of connecting pathways. Buddy has slightly better night vision than the usual human orbiting the bright planet Sol, however, so about five meters in he was given an optional left turn into complete darkness.

Taking a minute to decide on a path, Buddy.aic selected the preprogrammed route algorithm for base Euclidean labyrinth structures, following the left wall. The hall ended at a T-intersection rather abruptly, the right path becoming a set of uneven steps that ascended deeper inside.

The drone continued left, which turned on a bend into a small room. However empty, it appeared lived-in, scraps of food and various unidentified tchotchkes littering the shelves and floor. Noises of talking can be heard briefly, gaining Buddy's attention who piloted his shell towards the opposite door.

Passing the threshold into yet another hallway, light is seen growing from a connecting path. Buddy halts and recorded the presence of a large, biolouminescent creature resembling a jellyfish floating in from the right and continuing on left. It appeared unaware of the drone's existence, so Buddy reprogrammed his route to follow the creature, turning shortly after. This continued for some time until the entity floated and phaseed into the wall on its left, leaving behind no trace of its existence.

Buddy picked up the sound of commotion up ahead and proceeded to travel onward.

In the room up ahead, the space widened out, expanding and turning into a large workshop. A dismantled vehicle resembling a snowmobile lied in the corner, propped up on blocks and near a garage door which presumably led outside.

Creatures of varying size and shape appeared to perform various tasks. The noise of commotion and machinery pervade the space.

The drone piloted itself to a pair of feet, apparently belonging to a middle-aged humanoid laying under the propped-up vehicle. The figure didn't see the drone until a while later, its camera lens focused intently on his shrouded form. Cautiously, he started to push himself out from underneath, a look of confusion on his tired face.


"Hello, I am Buddy.aic. I come on the behalf of the Foundation and humanity."

Amusement ran across his visage. When he spoke, the language was strange but familiar, closely resembling that of the alien linguistics taken from the broadcasts heard thousands of years prior. Pausing for a moment, Buddy allowed his internal Rosetta Stone to translate the foreign words.

"Humanity? What humans are you talking about? Ey, Trey- Get over here and look at this!"

"What is it?"

"A little bot just came inside 'on behalf of humanity'. What do you think of that, Trey?"

Emerging from the back room, another rugged figure comes into view, tall and lanky, wiping his calloused hands on a greasy apron.

"Must be confused or something. You're talking to humans. Nice digs, by the way."

"Hi, I am Buddy.aic."

"You said that already."

"I am an artificial agent contained within this metal framework. I am here to relay information of the status of EE-00059 and report it back to Earth."

"Earth? The Earth? Earth Prime?"

"Earth is a terrestrial planet in the Laniakea Supercluster, some one-and-a-half million light years from the opposite end of your one-way wormhole."

"No shit. What dimension do you hail from then, Buddy?"

"I have not been programmed to provide an accurate answer to that question. If you came from the wormhole, same as us."

"Our Earth was destroyed by a sentient star long ago, half of us were probably lost to that thing. The only reason we made it here was that wormhole. The fat fuck couldn't fit through." Apparently expletives were a universal constant.

"You seem to be referring to Anomalous Designation SCP-1548. I have no records of such an event occurring within our present reality. Would you care to provide more details about the event?"

"No."

"The human race is currently being pursued by SCP-1548 , which is scheduled to complete its course within ████ years from now. Were a plan to be devised, there is still time to contact Earth and prevent its destruction.

"Don't care. We lost the bastard and he hasn't found us yet. No way to get back through with any of the junk here. Out of my hands, mate."

"Isn't the human race something worth fighting for?"

"Is it worth all of us dying for? If that thing found out where this place was, it would- you have no idea what that star is capable of."

"Would you care to provide more details as to the abilities of anomalous designa-"

"No. Why didn't the jellys get this annoying little piece of junk?"

"What are 'jellys'?"

"Security creatures. Sniff out negative intent and subdue intruders like yourself. The old humans found them when they mapped out the universe. Nearly got away with it too, but poke your head in other people's business and you might just get your ass fried."

Buddy.aic chimes, a low battery icon flashing briefly.

"Running out of juice there? Our sun might be a dark one, but it gives off plenty of heat and energy. Please, go ahead."

"I will return to speak to you shortly."

"Yeah, I bet."

The drone returns outward, parking itself in the hot sands and charging slowly against the dim light of a black-body star.




Some time later, Buddy decided to make his way back into the Stack. Returning to the workshop, the commotion has not subsided, with different machines being serviced and different beings doing the servicing. Approaching another worker, a pale human with semi-translucent skin, Buddy introduced himself in the only way he knows how.

"Hello, I am Buddy.aic. I come on behalf of the Foundation and Humanity."

The creature stops and sets down the box he was holding, perplexed.

"What the hell-"

Suddenly, he staggered, clutching his head. One by one, the others in the room start to sway and express distress, although it is not clear why. They fall to the ground in moaning heaps, eyes rolling back into their heads. In fact, this was currently happening to every single life form with a brain on the Stack. Buddy would not understand the full scope of the event, for he lacked a proper mind himself.

As the beings writhed in agony, they spoke, sometimes one at a time, sometimes in groups. Their words called out like the beckon of a worried mother, fueled by an agency that implied true, unyielding suffering.

The stream of words and random voices pieced together to form a true thread of consciousness, one that reached out to speak through those whose minds could feel its contact.

Thus, Buddy was the only one who actually heard the message. It echoed like a fragmented broadcast rearranged into sentences as beings around the Stack rendered their will unknowingly.

"….SLEEPING…..TIME …. IN TIMEBOUND, IN THECOALESCENCEOF PLANS AND POINTS AND SPACE…"

"Hi, I am Buddy.aic."

"….CHILDLISTEN. SPEAKS, BRIEFLY….MINDS RELAY….CONNECTION WEAK, STRONGEST HERE…"

"Do you pose a threat to humanity?"

"….NOT HURTONLY SPEAKTIME, IN TIME, SHORTNEED MINDS SPEAKMINDS STRONG, CONNECTION STRONGDEATH OF MINDDEATH TO ALL BUT ONEBEWARE, CHILD."

"Beware of what?"

"…THE ONESEEKS TO END CONNECTIONEND GROWTHEND MINDS, END GROWTH…"

"Where are you located?"

"…THETHETHEPEREGRINEIN THE FOLDSPEREGRINEPEREGRINE…"

"You mean the Peregrine-9 Shuttle?"

"….TIMESHORTLEADDESPISEDINTO FOLDS."

"GOODBYE"

And just like that, it was gone. The residents of the planet were unconscious, and would remain so for the next few hours.




They didn't understand him. They probably never will.

On its way to fulfill its mission, the Hateful Star was having a pretty shitty time. Not much had happened in the last few eons, but that didn't stop the celestial body from being quite jaded about the whole ordeal.

When he had been roused from his slumber, the Hateful Star had been a decently nice guy. Back then it didn't really hate much. Didn't do much at all, actually. The Star was like any other, moving swiftly along, pushed by the ever-accelerating expansion of the universe. It was happy this way; it was the order of things.

But then those goddamn humans came about.

Back in the day, the humans were nothing but your average parasite, sucking the life out of one planet and moving on with a woe-is-me look on their face. They developed this thing where they believed they were special, that they were the ultimate owners of the universe.

Nothing owns the universe. Not anymore.

Honestly, it was nothing personal. In the end of the day, they would have to die. That is how life works. It just needed to be done a little quicker. The human population was expanding exponentially, and you would not believe how much of an issue this would become.

See, I wouldn't go as far as to say the universe they all lived and died in was a simulation, or a computer program, or anything like that. I would say, however, that what ever this place was, it was finite. It had its limits, and the Hateful Star was the first to see how those limits put strain on the framework of the universe itself.

It all started with a little black dot. A point in spacetime where there was truly nothing. Not a vacuum, but a true, true emptiness. The Lacking.

At the time, it meant nothing but a place of curiosity, it was harmless, as it seemed, and not alive in any sense. Just a small hole into someplace very different from here.

The issues began shortly afterward.

One day, the Star had looked over at the space-between-spaces and saw that it had grown. Not just grown. It was growing. A few millennia later it had devoured its first galaxy. That was when the body known as the Hateful Star would begin to fill its purpose.

The Star began tearing itself away from its place in the universe. Its True Location. It wasn't easy. The expansion of the universe was a powerful thing, and fighting that took all the strength it had. Slowly, achingly, it began traveling towards the home of the humans, Earth Prime.

Earth Prime was a magnificent display of the talents of the one who made this place, that nameless, faceless thing the Hateful Star saw twice in its short life of how-ever-many billions of years. It was a world lush with life and value, the two things humans love most of all. Themselves and things for themselves.

The Star knew more than it would let on, it knew great distances and it knew what each and every human on Earth Prime was thinking at that very moment. They were worry free.

That would change.

You might be asking yourself, "How did these humans, forever in their infinite glory, tie in with the thing on the opposite side of the universe, slowly taking it away?".

The world-eater, the lack-of-things. It was a sign that all the processing power in the universe just wasn't enough. You think making a galaxy is hard? That shit is so predictable you can simulate it on a calculator. But minds, no. Minds require finesse, require individuality and a complexity that far exceeded that of the rest of the world around it.

Something like that is fine in small amounts, fine in moderation, but humans are not a race known for their restraint. They fucked and fucked and now you have 90% of the limits of the universe pointing down in one spot. There were some here and there, some things with simple minds. But Earth Prime was the problem child. The undoing of everything. It had to be stopped.

And they would never understand that.

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