Factotum

And the people in the houses
All went to the university,
Where they were put in boxes

And they came out all the same.


And there's doctors and lawyers,
And business executives,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky

And they all look just the same.


rating: +20+x

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Penelope.

Penelope had a mother, a father, two little brothers, and a dog named Bosco. She lived in a house outside of a big city in a North American country. She went to school with many other children her age, and made many friends. As she grew up, she started to learn more and more about the world around her, and became fascinated with physics and chemistry. Penelope decided one day that she wanted to be a professor when she grew up. She was eleven.

When Penelope went to high school, she fell in love with a girl named Regina. Regina and Penelope played football together, and for the time they were together, Penelope began to forget about the world within her world. She put away her textbooks and thought only of Regina and football. She was sixteen.

One day, Penelope went over to Regina's house to study for a test, and found Regina sleeping with a boy. Regina swore it was nothing, but Penelope's heart was broken. She left Regina, left football, and returned to her books. She pulled away from her friends and her family and dove into her studies. Her teachers wondered how one of the most reclusive students they'd ever known could be one of the most brilliant. She was seventeen.


The next year, Penelope graduated at the top of her class. She had received letters from many schools all across the continent, desperately desiring to bring her brilliance to their school. Each one she turned down. She wanted to get away from school, away from academia, away from Regina. A week after graduating, she joined the military. She was eighteen.

Penelope excelled there, where her problems could be beaten physically and mentally. She was quiet, reserved, controlled, but smart and dangerous. Her passion to succeed found her at the top of her class, where her superiors took notice. A number of watching eyes had been following her for some time, and one day they sent her a letter. She was twenty-two.

She arrived at a bus station one day with a ticket stamped only with a barcode and a time. After all the other buses had left, and after the people had gone, and the station had closed, one last bus appeared as the moon hung in the sky. A man emerged, and offered her a choice: stay at the station and return to a world that had ceilings and distractions and Regina, or step on board and become excellent. Penelope entered the bus. She was twenty-three.


As with most things in her life, Penelope took quickly to the life of a Foundation agent. She was assigned MTF-L5 "Graverobbers", and then MTF-Y19 "Living Lightning". She stood alongside the members of School Boys, of Twenty-One Guns, of Mole Rats, of Highway Patrol. Her prowess was widely acknowledged and her fame only grew as she rose through the ranks. On her birthday, she was invited to Alpha-1, "Red Right Hand". She was twenty-nine.

Her missions became different. She disappeared from the public eye of the Foundation, moving now in the darkness between places. She did not know the names of her colleagues. There was no fraternity between them. They each had their designations and their assignments. She was called A1-28. She was thirty.

There was a breach. An entity had escaped. Angry at its oppressors, the entity turned its hatred towards the Overseers. Alpha-1 was dispatched.

They arrived at the site as the creature closed down on their iron gates. Their defenses lay broken, their armaments destroyed.

Red Right Hand fell around her, until only Penelope remained. With a sidearm and a knife, she held off the monster for two days.

On the third day, the monster died.

On the fourth day, Penelope died.

She was thirty-one.


In her dreams, she saw the shadows of people who had been in the darkness around her.

She called out for them, but they did not answer.

They only watched her.

And waited.


On the fifth day, a woman woke up. She did not know her name. She did not know her face. She was in a quiet and empty room.

A man entered. She asked him his name, and he did not reply. She asked him her name, and he did not reply.

She asked him one last question.

"What am I?"

The man smiled.

"You are Trust, and you are a being of purpose."

The woman who had been Penelope, with a mother and father and two brothers and a dog named Bosco, who had loved and hated Regina and wanted to grow up to be a professor and who loved physics and chemistry and football, nodded.

"I am Trust," the woman said, "and I am a being of purpose."

The man smiled.

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