"Portal's stabilized. You're good to go. Say hi to 507 if you see him." The operator of the portal chuckled at his joke.
Trevor Bailey stepped through the portal to F-601432-Gamma; he emerged in the equivalent Site 87 on the other side, run by the Manna, Siskel, Parker, and Cooper Charitable Trust. The MSCPCT had decided that it was going to use anomalous artifacts for the good of the people, but it couldn't do it alone; while Foundation policy was to secure, contain and protect in this universe, the MSCPCT was "Save, Provide and Create for a better world."
In this universe, citrus was inedible (Vitamin C was a toxin if ingested) and instead used as a cheap biofuel; however, citrus had largely gone extinct in the 70's, and was now heavily regulated by the Brazilian government, who refused to export to the USA. The MSCPCT would give some petroleum in exchange for a large shipment of Florida orange juice.
All Trevor could think about was how nobody in this universe ever caught scurvy.
Tom Bailey stepped into the shadows of the evening sun, onto a prairie, in a brand new world. The difference here was quite obvious: all flora around him was shades of red as opposed to green. Also, there appeared to be elephants in the distance, co-existing with what seemed to be American Bison. Birds as big as jet liners circled overhead harmlessly; they ate only the mega-insectiods that flew with them. It was raining, and a balmy 70 degrees. He'd be camping here for the next 24 hours, taking soil and plant samples, and even collecting fauna, if he could. "Excellent."
Tom loved worlds like this. It always made him feel like a kid again, going into worlds that seemed almost imaginary. Maybe that's what this universe, and several others were: imaginary. Just pictures drawn by a kid on a rainy day, and put up on a fridge. The universe, in a crayon drawing.
Tristan Bailey looked outside at the New York skyline. It wasn't his New York, of course; the Twin Towers were still standing, but the Chrysler Building was gone from sight. Two of Earth's moons were visible beyond the WTC; the third would be rising in about an hour, and the fourth wouldn't be seen until morning.
He always felt uneasy on urban assignments; he was meant only to observe, and observing he was, at an anart exhibition in the MoMA. Or rather, about half a mile above the MoMA; the centerpiece of this gallery was Temptation, a giant piece of lodestone suspended above New York. It came complete with a ledge to (bungee) jump off of.
"And now, to begin our journey through the world of Larts Dimpossible, the Curator of the Museum of Modern Art, Alfons Hitler!" Tristan almost spat out his drink at that, and suddenly remembered that there had only been one World War in this universe.
This night was going to be interesting.
As far as Trevor was concerned, A-2190-Omega could go fuck itself.
A-2190-Omega had swapped time zones, and in addition to that, the Earth spun the wrong direction. He had to wake up at 1:00 AM to go to a meeting at 1:00 PM in this universe's Site 87. The coffee was unbearably sweet, the energy drinks were bitter, and they had destroyed their ozone layer, so natural light was a no-no.
Trevor envied his brothers; the most he got to see was the inside of other universe's SCP sites, while Tom got to go exploring, and Tristan? Tristan could do what he wanted for the sake of research. He had even taken over Trevor's duties as a diplomat once.
"Mr. Bailey, if you are going to sleep, then please go to the dormitory in your native universe." The room let out a cackle. Trevor sighed; why was it that in every universe, people with blue skin were absolute dickheads?
"Anything eventful, Doctor Bailey?"
"It's fascinating! In this universe, the English language developed a word that rhymes with both purple and orange! I've written it down…"
"We'll run it by memetics before sending it to linguistics. Anything else?"
"Well, the First President of the United States was hermaphroditic. So there's that."
Bailout: So, that's how Booth would've killed Lincoln.
sirsolmanhandyman: why would Booth even want to kill Lincoln? Booth was an abolitionist.
snickeringsnicket: that's the biggest load of bullshit i've heard since the time westmarkhero suggested a world without Batman comics would've exploded due to Bill Finger becoming a nuclear scientist or something
MarvelRoxDCSux: DC RIPPED OFF BILL FINGER!
MarvelRoxDCSux has been booted from #historitdidnthappen by Herstri0nix (freaking 10-year-old)
snickeringsnicket: still, i did like the bit where you talked about people being surprised about the ending to the movie lincoln in your scenario
Tristan rolled his eyes and sighed. For the sake of "research", he'd joined a historical speculation chatroom in this universe, and he was severely regretting it. Still, it was educational, if painful; the First Moon Landing occurred in 1962, for one, but they didn't go public until 1970.
Bailout: Fine, that was a bit speculative, but how about this: The Hindenburg caught fire.
Herstri0nix: I'm listening…
Tom took off his breathing apparatus as he joined his brothers in Tristan's quarters. "I was just in a universe where the air was pure ethanol, but doesn't ignite." He grinned. "I got someone in chemistry making a liquor out of it as we speak. Assuming the lab animals don't die, we'll have trans-universal hooch by the weekend."
Tristan let out a snort. "I was in the universe you found last month, F-90241-Phi; as it turns out, Isaac Newton figured out a way to convert lead into platinum. It involves a Hell of a lot of radiation, and as a result, cancer is the number one cause of death in the world."
Trevor sighed. "I got sucked into negotiations with the Republic of Australia-Hungary."
Tom blinked. "Don't you mean Austria?"
"No. Australia. As in kangaroos, Steve Irwin, G'day mate… they wanted to trade a plant that grew fucking Vegemite for the introduction of the hazelnut to their ecosystem." He sighed. "Sometimes, I don't know if we have the best job in the world, or the worst."
"Think of it this way, Trev." Tristan said. "Within the next few months, you'll get to have a nice, cozy office at Site 19 instead of working in the backwoods town of Backwoods."
Trevor snorted. "I hope you enjoy having my old position, bro. You'll be stuck here with Tom Bombadill." He smirked at Tom, who threw a small, metal canteen at his head in response.
The mountaintop was the only piece of land he could see for miles. And he was on top of it.
It was warm, and pleasant. The sun overhead was red, but not a red giant, it was just the way the atmosphere was coloring it. Perfectly breathable oxygen, just dyed a different shade. Tom looked around the air on the mountaintop, taking pictures of the aether around him. He didn't care if this was just a Floater world; he always found the floaters to be 12 times more fascinating than any Hub or Branch world.
Circling around the mountaintop were large creatures, resembling saw-toothed fish. They were big enough that you could fly a zeppelin into their mouths and not come out the other end for a week. He took as many pictures of those as he could and let out a contented sigh once he ran out of space on his camera.
"Dr. Bailey? Come back through. We're going to close the portal in 10 minutes."
"Just a little longer, if you don't mind."
"I'm sorry, but negotiations cannot continue between our universes, as your universe is about four times normal Earth gravity over here. Either you come here, or no dice."
"Then I guess it's no dice." The other side cut off connection, and Trevor sighed with relief. Of course, he could have just used an exoskeleton, but that made signing papers so much more difficult than it needed to be.
Tristan rubbed his hair and looked through the stable window into the other universe. "Wait… so, in this reality, Earth is a gas giant?"
Tom nodded, looking through the portal. "Solid core, though. Pressure's not too high, and gravity's normal; you can walk on the surface without getting crushed, theoretically."
"How big is this core?"
"About a Kilometer across."
"Talk about a short horizon."
"No, there isn't. Just a Floater, I'm afraid."
"…you want to explore it anyway, don't you?"
"Does a cat eat mice?"
"Hello, my name is Trevor Bailey. I am speaking to you through a telepathic communicator developed by the SCP Foundation…"
Trevor looked around the entry to the other Site 87, where several green-skinned humans looked at him in confusion. "The what CP Foundation?"
The head of the person closest to Trevor suddenly exploded. He jumped back through the portal, and closed it behind him, spattered in blood.
"What the hell kind of a universe is it when people don't evolve the ability to comprehend the letter "S"?!"
"Wait… animals evolved alongside humans. How does that work?"
"Honestly, if you're not an evolutionary biologist, or at the very least a geneticist, it's very hard to explain." The talking coyote was not the most bizarre thing that Tristan Bailey had ever seen; it wasn't even in the top ten. The fact that it walked on its hind legs maybe put it in the top 50, the opposable thumbs in the top 30. It was the labcoat it was wearing that pushed it into the top 20. "Suffice to say, there may have been some inter-species breeding at some point."
Tristan closed his eyes and grimaced. "Ew." The coyote simply snorted and muttered something about racism.
"Gravity appears to be non-existent in this universe," Tom said into a tape recorder. "However, the very fact that I am recording this indicates that other forces, such as magnetism and the strong and weak forces, do exist."
"Although," Tom said, looking down at the world below him (if the word "below" even applied here), "It is troubling to wonder how this planet continues to orbit the sun without any gravity, let alone how the sun formed without gravity."
Trevor sighed and drummed his fingers against the desk, watching the two-headed being sitting across from him. "You seem troubled," They said through the translator. "Is everything amicable with the current situation?"
"I'd just like to take a break, is all."
"A break may be taken once our business is concluded." Trevor groaned a bit, and looked to the side. There was actually a window in this office, for once, and it looked out onto a desert. The sky was blue, but a much darker shade than it was back home- the kind of blue you would see in a boy's bedroom. Also, there were three smaller suns outside. Rubbing his eyes, Tristan managed to tear himself away from the sight.
"Back to business, then. Scrap silicon in exchange for access to your lithium mines…"
The three Baileys stepped out of the presentation hall, laughing to themselves. "Dad was a real jackass, wasn't he?"
Tom and Trev's pockets started shaking simultaneously. With a puzzled look, they took out their quintuple-encrypted smartphones, undid the codes, and frowned.
"E-mail. From the top…" Tom opened his, and his jaw dropped. "Dr. Thomas Bailey, you are to report to Antarctic Site 1483 for reassignment, effective… tomorrow! What?!"
"I got the same thing! Except I'm being re-assigned to 19!" Trevor stared at his phone, his eyes wide. Tom almost looked like he was going to cry.
"Antarctic… that's the Keter-class sites. Jesus…"
Tristan smiled weakly. "Guess this means we won't be able to do the "three of me from different universes" gag anymore, eh?"
Tom stepped onto the plane to Antarctica, wondering what he had done to deserve this. Reassignment to the coldest place on Earth. He'd probably be stuck with Edison, cleaning a Keter's cage or something.
With a despondent look on his face, he finally worked up the courage to read the dossier he had gotten regarding SCP-1483. He frowned at the first line of the description; how could an entire continent be a SCP?
As he read the file, a smile started to grow. It looked like the explorer would have a brand new land to visit, now.