Dr. Northrop scratched his ear nervously, and tried not to wonder whose mannerism he was imitating.
As the senior staff — Bright, and Rights, and Kondraki, and oh god Clef, and Crow, and Gerald, and Gears, and Light, and even Snorlison - filed into the conference room and took their seats, he could not help but compare what he knew about them with what he had learned.
"Th-thank you for coming, gentlemen. And ladies. And… and Dr. Crow. I'm… I'm sorry to disturb you all, but —"
"Get on with it, Northrop!" someone — was it Kondraki? — snapped.
Northrop winced, took a deep breath, and continued. "Yes, Dr. Kondraki, of course. Sorry. I've… I've called you all here because of some very disturbing results from Project: Turtledove, results which I feel may have significant repercussions for us. Not… not for the world, or for humanity, but for us specifically. The people in this… this room."
Dr. Gerald's brow furrowed. "Turtledove. Turtledove. That's the alternate timeline one, right?"
"Yes, it—" "Working with Gephardt to expand our network allochronously so that we can connect to another timeline's Internet and pillage their Foundation's files, yes. Sorry, Northrop, I could tell you were going to have trouble with that one," Snorlison finished kindly.
Northrop winced again. "Uh… yes. Now, for the alternate timeline R-zayin-H-517/6, we experienced some significant difficulty in locating that timeline's version of the Foundation. Their Internet in that timeline is quite… quite ubiquitous, and the absence of media reports on interactions with… with Euclid-level entities is… well, we thought it a definitive indication that that timeline has an SCP Foundation to take care of these problems. But…. none of the standard domain names were in use, our dedicated IP blocks were, were unallocated… and then I, then I found it. If you'll consult the flash drives I've prepared beforehand, you'll see the… oh god. You'll see the entire content of their Foundation's site."
Northrop held his breath while the others pointed-and-clicked their way through the files. After a moment's silence, Clef spoke up.
"Is this some sort of joke?", he spat angrily.
"N—no, sir, it's quite serious."
"Bullshit! Their version of the Foundation is hosting its website on a public wikifarm?"
"Y-yes, sir. They are. And it gets worse. It gets a… a lot worse. Sir."
Gears raised his hand.
"… yes, Dr. Gears?"
"Thank you, Dr. Northrop. By 'worse', are you referring to the notice on the website's front page which tells casual visitors how they can join the SCP Foundation?"
Bright snapped to attention. "They what?!"
Northrop winced. "Th-that's…. that's part of it. But —"
"Hey, I thought you said these were the entire contents of their website?"
Northrop blinked at the interruption. "Uh… yes, Dr. Rights. The whole… the whole contents of their site and their… their forums, which —"
"Then why do we only have censored versions of their documents?"
"That's, I… please, sir, ma'am, I'm, I'm getting to that."
Rights sat back down, muttering.
"Th-thank you, Dr. Rights, ma'am. Sir. Uh, yes. As I was saying, for… for timeline R-zayin-H-517/6, uh, one of the first anomalies we notice is that their… their SCP Foundation has its… its site in public. With their files open to the public, and — as Dr. Gears pointed out — a "join us" link on their front — their front page. Our initial reaction to, to such a catastrophic security breach was… well, frankly we thought they were being idiots but we didn't care. They're not… not us, they're just our allochronous equivalents. But, uh. There are some… some significant problems with that… uh. Project Turtledove is, uh, our goal is to, to learn from the allochronous database, and so we —"
Kondraki grumbled menacingly.
"…their files are the same as ours," Northrop finished hastily.
Crow's doggy head tilted and his ear quirked upwards. "I noticed that they have a lot of entries that seemed familiar, but surely they're not identical?"
"I'm, I'm afraid they… Dr. Crow, sir, there's nothing in their SCP files that's not also in ours. With the same wording. Exactly the same, down to the… the typos. And… sir, they even use the same numbering as us. Not just the same, the, the same numbering system, but the actual… the actual SCP numbers are exactly the same as, as ours. For every entry."
There was a long silence.
"That's impossible", Clef said. "They… they must be running a Project Turtledove of their own."
Gears raised his hand. Clef sighed. "What is it, Gears?"
"I do apologize, Dr. Clef, but I must point out that even within a more mundane paradigm of reality, such an occurrence would not be impossible. It is only a mathematical improbability, albeit one which is quite literally more than astronomical. You are correct, however, in that it is considerably more probable that our allochronous equivalents are running a Project Turtledove of their own."
Kondraki got up from his chair. "So that's it, then? Looks like a major security breach from an alternate timeline, but it's actually just us reading over our own shoulders. Nothing to worry about and we can leave now. Right?"
"Uh… I'm, I'm sorry, Dr. Kondraki, but there's … more."
Kondraki sat down again. "For fuck's sake. Okay, Northrop. What else do you want to tell us about alternate timeline R-zayin-H-whatever?"
Northrop closed his eyes, chose his next five words very carefully so as to avoid stammering, and then spoke.
"I don't think we're real."
to be continued