SCP-4390
rating: +102+x
BY ORDER OF THE OVERSEER COUNCIL
The following file is Level 2/4390 Classified
Unauthorized access is forbidden.
4390
Item#: 4390
Level2
Containment Class:
euclid
Secondary Class:
none
Disruption Class:
vlam
Risk Class:
notice

header.png

Entrance of SCP-4390.


Special Containment Procedures: Access to the location containing the entrance to SCP-4390 is to be guarded at all times. Individuals attempting to access the area are to be arrested by Foundation agents embedded in local authorities and remanded to the local law enforcement system.

Access to SCP-4390 is restricted to exploration teams with permission from the Site-94 research authority. These exploration attempts are to be handled in conjunction with representatives from the "Dr. Wondertainment" Group of Interest.

Description: SCP-4390 is an extra-spatial area located beneath the Giordano's Italian Eatery on the west side of Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The singular access point to SCP-4390 is located in the restaurant's basement, currently disguised as a non-functional walk-in refrigerator.

The space beyond the entrance to SCP-4390 is a massive, cavernous area containing a large, constantly shifting labyrinth built out of stone. The walls of the labyrinth appear to extend up at least 20 meters, but attempting to scale the walls or ascending vertically will result in the subject beginning to shrink exponentially until they are too small to ascend any higher. Descending will reverse this effect.

The entirety of SCP-4390 is overrun with thick vegetation, little of which appears to bear any resemblance to anything found on Earth. Additionally, several species of small reptilians and flying creatures, as well as larger, seemingly mammalian entities live in and around the labyrinth, though these creatures also do not resemble anything found on Earth. The majority of these creatures are not outwardly hostile, though several species have been shown to have territorial behaviours that can display as hostility towards intruders.

interior.png

Interior of SCP-4390.

SCP-4390 appears to have been designed as a massive game - the labyrinth contains several intelligent entities alongside the plants and animals, many of whom appear to exist within the structure to create unique challenges for travelers. Contact with these entities is typically uneventful, but occasionally these entities will offer travelers an opportunity for a wager; individuals are capable of wagering anything that could be considered "theirs1" in exchange for some anomalous object or characteristic of equal value offered by the intelligent entity in question. While possessions that are lost or gained in these transactions persist outside of SCP-4390, characteristics or bodily functions that are lost or gained within SCP-4390 are restored once the individual leaves through the access point.

Individuals who die within SCP-4390 are turned into spectral apparitions that can follow the other individuals of their party2. These phantoms can interact with some aspects of SCP-4390 and can pass through walls, but cannot themselves be used to solve puzzles or answer riddles3. Once the phantom's "party" reaches the end of the labyrinth or are killed, all members of the party will reappear at the beginning of the labyrinth with phantoms restored to their physical forms. However, if the party does not "clear" the labyrinth and all individuals perish, upon materializing at the labyrinth's entrance they will be without any of their personal possessions, including their clothes.

SCP-4390's existence was made known to the Foundation after the staff at Site-94 were contacted by an agent representing the "Dr. Wondertainment" Group of Interest. A full transcript of the initial interview with this individual is available in Addendum 4390.1.

Addendum 4390.1: Interview with GOI Agent

Internal Audio Recording Transcript

In Attendance:

  • Foundation Site-94 Asst. Director Robert Duncan
  • Foundation Site-94 Security Director Al Morris
  • Dr. Wondertainment Marketing Director Sebastian J. Fitchingsley

[BEGIN LOG]

Asst. Dir. Duncan: Green light is on, let's get started.

Fitchingsley: I'll be quick, we-

Dir. Morris: Sorry, hang on. We need to uh, say our names first. For the record.

Fitchingsley: Oh, my bad.

Asst. Dir. Duncan: No, no, it's fine. Just these protocols, you know. I'm Robert Duncan.

Dir. Morris: Middle name too, sir. Sorry.

Asst. Dir. Duncan: Seriously? Christ, alright, let's try it again. I'm Robert Cartwright Duncan. (Pauses) Assistant Director of Research, Site-94.

Dir. Morris: I'm Alfred Alan Morris, Security Director at Site-94.

Fitchingsley: Me next?

Dir. Morris: Yeah.

Fitchingsley: Alright. My name is Sebastian Juneaux Malthuzan Hermano y Konquistadito Vanabulous Extraordinariorion Frank Fitchingsley. (Pauses) I'm the Dr. Wondertainment marketing director. You can just uh, you can just write down the Fitchingsley part, I think.

Asst. Dir. Duncan: Got it, alright. So let's actually get into this thing now. You said something about some sort of deal, or what?

Fitchingsley: Alright, let me just lay it out here for you. My boss, Dr. Wondertainment, is just the most recent in a long line of Wondertainments stretching back as far as history permits. In that history we've been fortunate to maintain a pretty linear progression of authority - one Dr. Wondertainment hands the mantle off to their successor, and they become Dr. Wondertainment, and so on. Granted, there have been a handful of breaks in there, but nothing wild.

Asst. Dir. Duncan: That's neat, but that just sounds like exposition.

Fitchingsley: Get used to that. The real problem is that there have been a fair number of bastard Wondertainments - people who either were promised the position of Dr. Wondertainment and had it pulled out from underneath them due to some shame or another, or the children of a Dr. Wondertainment with some mysterious passenger. That sort of thing. What you may not know is that recently, the last Dr. Wondertainment, Isabel disappeared under mysterious circumstances. In her place, a previous Wondertainment, Bertrand, has taken over the daily operations of the company. This has caused a bit of a stir, because the line up until this point has been pretty straight - a few crooks here and there, but it has never gone backwards. This is problematic.

Asst. Dir. Duncan: Uh huh.

Fitchingsley: I know! Wild times. But what I'm getting at is it was assumed that the Wondertainment who would succeed Isabel was her distant cousin, Yancy diPettito-Cortez Wondertainment. Due to the circumstances of Isabel's disappearance, the board determined that Bertrand would sit in her place until she could be located and returned to her position as rightful head of the company.

Dir. Morris: Oh, ok, I can see where this is going.

Fitchingsley: Yes dear boy, you certainly can. Ole Yancy took this as a grave slight, no doubt having thought that he could stroll in and take the name of Dr. Wondertainment and carry on as normal without a thought in the world for Isabel. He is offended that the board would prioritize Isabel's recovery over his own schemes, and has splintered away from the main brand and formed a… (gags) knock-off. He's out there, right now, calling himself Professor Amazementopia, causing all sorts of ruckus.

Asst. Dir. Duncan: This is a compelling story, I'll admit, but it doesn't answer the question of why you showed up in my shower this morning asking to meet about some life-or-death scenario we've found ourselves in.

Fitchingsley: Right right - sorry about the shower again, I really was planning for the foyer but the math has been a bit off ever since Isabel disappeared. You're both familiar with our very popular and well loved board game The Foundation, right? I believe you have a copy in your possession. Well, Yancy has decided to shack up under a pizza place near here to work on a competing game. He's calling it "The Maze 2: The Game" and is filling it up with all sorts of strange and unusual stuff he found on safari somewhere. It's a real nasty scene.

Asst. Dir. Duncan: "The Maze 2"? What happened to "The Maze?"

Fitchingsley: There was no "The Maze". Just "The Maze 2". This is the sort of shit I'm talking about.

Asst. Dir. Duncan: You say it's a game? Like a board game?

Fitchingsley: Well… no, not really a board game. Honestly, it's not really a game at all, it's just a big maze. Here's something you need to know about Yancy - one of the reasons Isabel was selected to run the company at such a young age was that the hope was she would outlive Yancy and the title of Dr. Wondertainment would pass to someone with more… basic mental and emotional functionality. Yancy is an absolute headcase and a shit toy maker. He doesn't really get the whole "toy making" thing - he's more like a kid who builds a big thing out of Lego or whatever and then doesn't want anyone else to play with it. He's kind of a dick, and you can see how that business model wouldn't be conducive to growth and development.

Dir. Morris: Yes.

Fitchingsley: So that's the deal. I'll tell you where the entrance to Yancy's dumb game is, and you and your jackboots can roll down to Fulton Industrial and bust the door in and gather up whatever snacks and surprises he's managed to stuff into that place. This I'll do, in exchange for one small favor.

Asst. Dir. Duncan: Oh god here we go.

Fitchingsley: No no, seriously, this isn't a bad one. When Yancy left HQ he took a bunch of stuff with him - personal belongings, some cars, a hot air balloon and some prized stuffed turkeys. That sort of thing. Then he also decided to nab a filing cabinet full of financial records because he thought it would be some wild blow to the organization. What he didn't consider was that it's 2019, and all of our records are backed up to the cloud. However, in the wake of this treachery we realized he also stole something much, much worse - our filing folder of incriminating and embarrassing pictures of our board members, myself included.

Asst. Dir. Duncan: …what? Why would you keep a file folder full of naughty pictures of yourselves?

Fitchingsley: Insurance! It's one thing to threaten a man with a lawsuit, and another to threaten him with exposing his dingle dangle. Keeps everybody happy and in line, with a slight undercurrent of fear. It's the Wondertainment way.

Asst. Dir. Duncan: So where is this file folder now?

Fitchingsley: In the filing cabinet. Yancy doesn't even realize he's got it, that absolute trout, but when he realized the financial records were of no use to him he tossed the cabinet into the middle of his very stupid and bad maze game. All we need is that file folder - you can keep literally anything else you find in there.

Asst. Dir. Duncan: Hang on, why do we need to be involved in this? Aren't you capable of sending a team of your own guys in there?

Fitchingsley: (Sighs) Look, think about this for literally any seconds. If we send a squad in there to tear up this absolute pillock's dumb maze thing, he would realize that there's actually something valuable in that filing cabinet, right? So then he goes and flips past "financial records" into "fine pictures of dicks and butts and stuff", and that's the ballgame. He has all the cards, he just doesn't know it - we want you to be our bluff.

Asst. Dir. Duncan: This seems like a lot of trouble.

Fitchingsley: Yeah, I mean, it probably will be. It's a really, really bad game. But I know how much of a hard-on you sickos have for putting weird shit in boxes, and there's a whole cornucopia of weird shit underneath a dirty-ass pizza joint like, 10 miles from here. Are you in, or are you not in?

Asst. Dir. Duncan: I dunno… what do you think?

Dir. Morris: I mean, I don't care. It's up to you - we'll do it if you want us to.

Asst. Dir. Duncan: Hmmmmm… alright. You've convinced me. We're in.

Fitchingsley: Excellent, glad to hear it. Say, out of random curiosity are your guys all up-to-date with their vaccinations? The basic stuff; tetanus, measles, ebola.

Dir. Morris: What?

[END LOG]

Addendum 4390.2: Exploration of SCP-4390 Attempt #1

Initial exploration of SCP-4390 was conducted by Mobile Task Force Atlanta-2 "Fucking Traffic". Mission objective was to survey the danger within SCP-4390, and reach the center of the labyrinth if possible.

Exploration Log Transcript

Members Involved:

  • MTF ATL-2 Franko [LEAD]
  • MTF ATL-2 Vice
  • MTF ATL-2 Liter

Franko: Alright, mics hot. Let's go into this refrigerator.

The team passes through the threshold of SCP-4390. They emerge on the other side in the entrance courtyard of the labyrinth.

Liter: You might not believe this, boss, but I don't think this is a refrigerator at all.

Franko: Stow it, Kowalski. We've got important business to do here.

The team approaches an archway over the main entrance. Carved into it are large block letters reading "PROFESSOR AMAZEMENTOPIA'S THE MAZE 2: THE GAME", seemingly in "Impact" font. Below this are the words "IN NO WAY AFFILIATED WITH ANY LOW-CLASS 'DR. WONDERTAINMENT' PRODUCTS - ONLY HIGH QUALITY ENTERTAINMENT HERE".

Vice: Wow, this guy is for real, huh?

Suddenly, a face appears on the arch next to the team.

Liter: Whoa holy shit!

The Face: HELLO TRAVELERS, AND WELCOME TO PROFESSOR AMAZEMENTOPIA'S MAZE 2: THE GAME, A CARNIVAL OF WONDERS FOR ALL AGES!

Vice: Hey calm down there brother, there's no need to shout. we're right here.

face.jpg

The Face.

The Face: APOLOGIES, FRIENDS! THE CURSE THAT BINDS ME HERE DEMANDS THAT I ELEVATE MY VOICE TO UNNECESSARY LEVELS IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN A SENSE OF INCREASED EXCITEMENT IN ALL PARTICIPANTS!

Franko: So how does this work? We just go into the maze and… what? What do we get when we get to the middle?

The Face: WHEN? (Laughs hysterically) YOU GIVE YOURSELF TOO MUCH CREDIT! NOBODY YET HAS SOLVED PROFESSOR AMAZEMENTOPIA'S INCREDIBLE PUZZLE! NOT EVEN PROFESSOR AMAZEMENTOPIA! BUT FOR THOSE WHO SHOULD PERSEVERE, UNTOLD RICHES AND BOUNTIES AWAIT!

Franko: …and all we have to do is get to the middle?

The Face: YES. IT'S A MAZE, THAT'S WHAT YOU DO WITH MAZES.

Franko: Do we get any hints?

The Face: WHA- WHAT? NO. IT'S A MAZE, THERE ARE NO HINTS.

Franko: What happens if we get lost? Or we can't get to the center? Are there any exits?

The Face: THE ONLY EXIT IS BY TAKING OR LOSING YOUR LIFE.

Liter: (Aside) Sort of a shitty maze.

The Face: HEY. I HEARD THAT. YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO THE MAZE. NOBODY IS FORCING YOU. AND YES, IF YOU WANT TO ESCAPE THE MAZE THE ONLY WAY OUT IS DEATH. IF YOU DIE, YOU WILL BECOME A PHANTOM, FOREVER HAUNTING FUTURE TRAVELERS OF THE MAZE. UNTIL YOU ALL DIE, OF COURSE, IN WHICH CASE YOU WILL BE RETURNED TO THE FRONT OF THE MAZE.

Franko: Alright, well, I guess we'll do the maze. Let's go, boys.

The Face: WAIT. I HAVE TO SING THE MAZE SONG BEFORE YOU CAN GO IN.

Vice: Oh no that's not-

The Face: WELCOME TO THE GAME / THE MAZE 2 / IT'S A THRILLING MAZE / FOR YOU / IF YOU WANT TO BE / RICH AND STRONG / ENTER MY MAZE / YOU CAN'T GO WRONG / SING THE MAZE SONG / IT'S A GREAT SONG / IT'S A MAZE SONG / FOR ME AND YOU

Liter: It was worse than I thought it would be.

The Face: WOW, OK, VERY COOL THING TO SAY. JUST TRYING TO HELP OUT OVER HERE, DOING MY JOB. FINE THEN, DICKHOLES. GO AHEAD, GET IN THERE. YOU WON'T HEAR ME CRYING WHEN YOU'RE DEAD.

The door leading into SCP-4390 opens. ATL-2 team enters the maze, and the door shuts behind them. From the other side, the face in the wall can be heard shouting profanities.

Franko: Alright. Keep alert, let's get going.

Team travels through the labyrinth for a short period of time. They encounter a small group of creatures that look like large beetles with duckbills and a single hopping leg. After the creatures pass, the team comes around a corner and sees a wide gap between where they stand and the rest of the path. In front of them is a pit that extends down as far as they can see. As they're looking into the pit, The Face appears on the wall next to them.

The Face: GREETINGS, ASSHOLES.

Vice: Jesus Chri-

Vice is startled by the appearance of The Face, and stumbles backwards. He trips over a root on the ground, and falls into the pit.

Franko: Vice!

Liter: Oh fuck!

The Face: OH NO, WHAT A SHAME!

Vice disappears into the darkness. There is a moment of silence, and then the sound of something heavy striking the ground at high speed. Another moment later, a spectral Vice appears in front of the group.

Liter: Oh shit.

Franko: Oh shit.

Ghost of Vice: Oh shit I'm a ghost.

The Face: I TOLD YOU WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF YOU WEREN'T CAREFUL. I DID TELL YOU, DIDN'T I?

Ghost of Vice: You spooked me! This is your fault, you shouting dick.

The Face: IT IS MY JOB TO INFORM TRAVELERS ABOUT THE TRIALS THEY WILL FACE WITHIN THE MAZE.

Franko: Vice, you alright?

Ghost of Vice: I, yeah? I think? I feel alright, I'm just… very spectral.

The Face: AND SO YOU SHALL REMAIN, UNTIL YOU COMPLETE THE MAZE OR YOUR FRIENDS ALSO DIE!

Liter: Well this is dumb.

The Face: YEAH WELL FUCK YOU TOO ASSHOLE. (Pauses) ALRIGHT. THIS IS THE GREAT GAP. TO PROCEED, YOU MUST CROSS THIS GAP. BUT BE VERY CAREFUL, A FALL FROM THIS HEIGHT COULD SPELL YOUR DOOM!

Ghost of Vice: You don't fucking say?

The Face: LOOK IT'S NOT MY FAULT YOU DIDN'T LISTEN TO THE INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO CROSS THE GAP.

Franko: Let it go, boys. Let's just try to get across this. (Pauses) What do you think? Can you jump it?

Liter: Hmmmmm… maybe.

Liter takes several steps back and gets a running start. As he approaches the ledge, he jumps to cross the gap. He gets a hand on the far side, but can't hold on and falls into the pit. His video feed also cuts out, and after a short moment a spectral Liter appears in front of Franko.

Ghost of Liter: Fuck!

Franko: Ah, Christ.

The Face: WOW, TWO OUT OF THREE ON THE VERY FIRST OBSTACLE. YOU GUYS ARE PROS, LET ME TELL YOU. WHAT AN ACCOMPLISHMENT.

Franko: There has to be like, what, some sort of lever or something that opens a path across? (Pauses) Oh, this tree, right. Just sort of give it the ole push.

Franko pushes a nearby tree over the gap, creating a makeshift bridge.

The Face: CONGRATULATIONS DUMBASS, YOU FIGURED OUT THIS VERY DIFFICULT TREE PUZZLE.

Franko: Fuck off.

Franko, Vice and Liter continue traveling down the corridor, occasionally looping back after finding a dead end. The path opens into a small graveyard. In the center of the graveyard is a thin, pale human woman in tattered clothing, stooping over a small cauldron. Franko approaches this person.

Franko: Hello there.

Unidentified Woman: Greetings, traveler. I am the Witch. Perhaps you would like to enjoy one of my specials brews, yes? They are very mysterious and magical.

Franko: Alright, what's this shit.

The Face appears on a nearby wall.

The Face: SHE TOLD YOU HER NAME WAS THE WITCH, DIPSHIT. ARE YOU HARD OF HEARING TOO?

Franko: I got that, what does the brew do? Is this poison?

The Face: I WISH! IT'S A RANDOM CONCOCTION OF WHATEVER SHE HAS LAYING AROUND. IT CAN DO ALL SORTS OF STUFF TO YOU. SOMETIMES IT'S GOOD. SOMETIMES IT'S BAD. I PERSONALLY HOPE IT'S BAD!

Franko: Can I go past you without drinking your weird brew?

The Witch: No, dearie, I'm afraid you can't.

Franko: Ah, fuck it. Might as well.

Franko drinks from the cauldron. He begins to rub his eyes furiously, and when he opens them up they have changed to a bright green.

Franko: Holy shit, I can see everything! I can see… I can see into the center of the maze, and I can see… I can see the exit there! It's so far away… hey, Witch, does any of that brew give you like, super speed or something?

The Witch: (Cackles) Maybe. Who knows?

Franko: Good enough for me. Give me some of that stuff.

Franko takes another drink from the cauldron. He begins to noticeably swell, and moments later explodes in a shower of bananas.

Moments later Franko, Liter, and Vice reappear at the entrance to the maze. Their tactical gear and all clothing items are missing.

The Face: WOW YOU GUYS ARE ASS.

[END LOG]

Addendum 4390.3: Exploration of SCP-4390 Attempt #2

Exploration Log Transcript

Members Involved:

  • MTF ATL-2 Franko [LEAD]
  • MTF ATL-2 Vice
  • MTF ATL-2 Liter
  • MTF ATL-2 Cairo
  • MTF ATL-2 Dance

MTF ATL-2 passes through SCP-4390 and enters the labyrinth. Upon reaching the other side, The Face appears again on a nearby wall.

The Face: OH HO HO HO. LOOK WHO RATTLES BACK IN FOR ROUND TWO. GETTING YOUR CHEEKS CLAPPED THE FIRST TIME WASN'T BAD ENOUGH, YOU HAD TO GO AND FIND SOME FRIENDS TO EXPERIENCE IT WITH YOU.

Franko: Shut up.

The Face: OH, DON'T WORRY. YOU WON'T BE HEARING ANYTHING FROM ME. I KNOW A LOST CAUSE WHEN I SEE ONE. I'LL JUST BE CHILLING BACK HERE, WATCHING YOUR FAILURES AND ENJOYING THE SATISFACTION OF YOUR DEFEAT.

Vice: Dude, seriously. You're a wall.

The Face: AND YOU FELL IN A HOLE. WE ALL FALL SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD.

MTF ATL-2 passes through the entrance of SCP-4390.

Cairo: Is that thing always like that?

Liter: He's a cock. Just ignore him, but also expect him everywhere.

The team travels through the labyrinth for some time. Eventually they reach a wider passage with a small cart on one side. A hatch opens on the side of the cart, and a vaguely arachnoid entity with a vaguely reptilian face and a distinctly Australian accent appears.

Unknown Entity: Greetings there, fellas. Me name's Dominican Joe, purveyor of fine goods. Looks like yer out here exploring the ole maze, ey? A bit of a spot, that is. Have a look at me wares, tell me what ye think.

Dance: Hey, just a quick question: what are you?

Dominican Joe: Me? Well, I'm a crawly-gobbler there, mate. Well, me mum was a crawly hog, and me dad was a snatch-gobbler, so I guess I'm sort of both? But I got most of me mum's features, I've been told.

Franko: What do you have for sale?

Dominican Joe: Let's see, we've got some bullets that shoot lightning, a hat that can protect you from things falling on your dome, and… this thing you strap on your hog that makes things die when you stick it in them.

Silence.

Vice: Alright, now hear me out-

Franko: No.

Vice: (Quickly) Cool, cool.

Liter: What about those lightning bullets. Those sound neat. How much for those?

Dominican Joe: Well, that'll be 19 scraps of Na'ath.

Dance: Come again?

Dominican Joe: Scraps of Na'ath? You know, those little pieces of paper made from the sail of Midas' ship that we use as currency?

Silence.

Dominican Joe: Damn, that's a breaker there, boys. Well, how bout this. We can do ourselves a little fixit, here: I'll give you these bullets, and you give me… your toes.

Liter: My what?

Dominican Joe: Your toes, mate! Those little wriggly guys on the end of your feet. Come on, who needs those? Besides, you get to swap them out for lightning bullets. Pretty cool, huh?

Liter: I use those to walk though.

Dominican Joe: Nah mate, come off it. You don't walk on your toes, you walk on those big flat guys behind them. I'm not asking for the flat guys, those don't do me any good. But I can make something happen with the little wrigglers.

Liter: I… I think I'm probably good.

Dominican Joe: Ah, a real bummer. Well, how's this - take this here coin, and if you ever need me to show up with me shop here, just pop this bad boy in any crack in the ole wall you find out there, aye?

Dominican Joe hands Liter a small brass coin.

Liter: Yeah, uh, thanks.

Dominican Joe: You got it, mate!

The party continues to navigate through the maze, crossing several obstacles as they do. Occasionally The Face will appear to vent its frustration at them, and then disappear shortly afterwards.

They approach a wide chamber with a domed roof covered in various foliage. As they enter, they see a large feline-esque creature with a woman's face sitting in the center of the room. The door shuts behind them, and the feline creature turns to face them.

Feline Creature: Hello, travelers. I am The Dreamer. Welcome to my lair.

Cairo: Are you supposed to be a sphinx?

The Dreamer: I- uh, no. My understanding is that a sphinx was not in the budget. I am a Catagan. Like a sphinx, but fewer component parts.

Franko: So what's the deal here, then.

The Dreamer: There are five of you, so I will give you three riddles, each more complicated and devious than the last. You have, ostensibly, five chances to solve these three riddles. If you muck it up, I'll eat one of you. So don't muck it up.

Vice: Look, I'm not about to get eaten by a cat. Can't we just go around? There has to be another path past this thing.

The Dreamer: There is not. If you try to go around, you're going to be walking for like, months. It's a big labyrinth. The only way into the inner circle is this way, or another way on the far side of the labyrinth. However, that side is guarded by a Dogenever, which is much more of the stabby-bitey variety than the more toned-down riddles thing I've got going on here.

Franko: Don't think we have much of a choice here, boys and girls. Cairo, you want to go first?

Cairo: Yeah, I guess. (She steps forward) Alright. Let's hear the riddle.

The Dreamer begins to shimmer slightly, bands of blue color pulsing down its cream-colored fur. After a moment it stops, and the creature opens its eyes.

The Dreamer: A boy and a doctor go fishing. The boy is the doctor's son, but the doctor is not the boy's father. Who is the doctor?

(Silence)

Cairo: Is that… is that it?

The Dreamer: Yes.

Liter: Damn, that's a tricky one. Who is the doctor?

Cairo: I- it's the mother. The doctor is the boy's mother.

The Dreamer: Ah, dammit. I thought I would've gotten one of you with that one.

Dance: I think you would've. (Side-eyes Liter)

The Dreamer: Alright, very well. Next riddle. (Pauses, shimmers again) What do an island, and the letter "T" have in common?

(Silence)

Vice: Huh, so these are sort of shitty riddles, aren't they?

The Dreamer: HEY. (Turns and snaps at Vice, who jumps backwards) Nobody asked you.

Vice: Sorry.

Cairo: Alright, alright, it's that they're both in the middle of water. Because the T, in water, and also islands. I've heard this riddle a thousand times.

The Dreamer: Damn, you did it again. You done went and did the damn thing again. I am absolutely gadzooked.

Franko: Alright, let's wrap this up.

Cairo: Last one, let's hear it.

The Dreamer: What becomes wetter the more it dries?

Cairo: I- uh… (pauses) a dryer?

The Dreamer: WRONG. (Eats Cairo)

Vice: Holy fuck.

Dance: Oh Christ I'm going to be sick.

Franko: God dammit. Liter, get up there.

Liter: But I-

Franko: You can do it, big guy. For the team.

Liter: Well, ok. Uh, wetter the more it dries… wetter the more it dries… is this a dead bedroom joke?

The Dreamer: (Moves to attack Liter, but hesitates) Is that your answer?

Liter: No no no no, it definitely is not. (Pauses) Oh. Oh, I got it. It's a towel. Cause it dries you, but then it gets wetter. It's a towel!

The Dreamer: (Sighs) Ah, shit. Alright, fine, it's all yours. Feel free to pass through.

Franko: Where is Cairo?

The sound of a slight muffled struggle emanates from within The Dreamer. Moments later, the incorporeal form of ATL-2 Cairo appears through the side of the entity.

Cairo: I am now a ghost, I guess. This is a weird maze.

Franko: It's fucking stupid, let's keep going.

The team proceeds down through the chamber and into the hallway beyond. After a short time, they come to a split in the hallway. Two male figures, one dressed in jeans and a t-shirt and the other in a bathrobe, stand in front of each of the pathways. Notably, the letter "S" is embroidered on their clothing.

Franko: Alright, what do we have here.

Man on Left: Hola, viajeros. Me llamo señor honestidad. Este es mi hermano, señor deshonestidad. Detrás de nosotros hay dos caminos, y solo uno conducirá al santuario interior. Sin embargo, solo tiene una pregunta que nos puede pedir para determinar qué ruta es la correcta. El otro camino es muy peligroso, así que ten cuidado con lo que decidas preguntar.

Vice: Come again?

Franko: Ah, shit. Alright, do any of you speak Spanish?

Liter: Hrmmmmmm… I took Spanish in middle school. I could give it a shot.

Franko: That's it? Nobody else here speaks any Spanish?

The rest of the team shakes their heads. Franko sighs.

Franko: Alright Liter, give it a shot.

Liter steps forward and clears his throat.

Liter: Hola. Me llamo Liter. ¿Cómo estás?

Man on Right: Lo estoy haciendo bien, gracias.

Liter nods knowingly.

Liter: I have managed to establish a line of communication. I will begin now with some inquiries. (Pauses) ¿Hay una fiesta en mis pantalones y estás invitado?

Man on Left: ¿Qué?

Vice: (To Cairo phantom) Did he just say something about a party in his pants?

Liter: Hang on, hang on. Let me try again. Queremos ir al interior. ¿Dónde debemos ir?

Man on Left: Ven por aquí. Este es el camino hacia el círculo interior.

Man on Right: No no, no escuches a esta trucha. Ven por este camino, este es el camino a la verdad.

Liter: (Nods sagely) Ok. I think I've got it. They're saying that they're… brothers, and that we can only ask one question of them to see which path to go down.

Franko: Alright, ok. So what did you ask?

Liter: What path should we go down.

Franko: (Pauses) Alright… and what did they say?

Liter: They each said their own hallway. (Strokes chin) Very mysterious.

Franko: Goddammit Liter you moron, this is some kind of mind bender and you went and bucked up our only chance to get some decent intel about this. Christ. You might as well have asked them their names.

Liter: Oh, no, they already told us those. This guy on the left is Mr. Honesty, and his brother there is Mr. Dishonesty.

Silence.

Dance: Why is Mr. Dishonesty wearing a bathrobe?

Man on Right: Es un hombre deshonesto que sale de la casa sin nada entre sus genitales y el aire libre, sino una delgada capa de tela.

Franko: Mr. Honesty is the one on the left?

Liter: Correct.

Franko: (Sighs) Alright. Let's go that way. Good job, Liter.

The team continues forward for a short time, crossing many other smaller obstacles and fending off minor aggression from some strange fauna along the way. After an hour passes, they come across a man in a blue bathrobe standing in the middle of a four-way junction, looking anxiously at a piece of paper in his hand. The man is wearing a blue top hat with a white star on the front, as well as a pair of oversized wire-framed glasses. As the party approaches, he turns towards them with a start.

Unknown Individual: Whoa there, slow your roll chief. Don't get any closer, I'm warning you.

Ghost of Cairo: Or what?

Unknown Individual: Or I'll kick your ass, asshole!

Franko: Hang on now. I recognize that nasally timbre. You're the face in the wall.

The Face suddenly appears on a nearby wall.

The Face: UNFORTUNATELY NOT YOU DUMB FISH. I SPRUNG FULL FORMED FROM THE MIND OF THIS BRILLIANT MAN STANDING BEFORE YOU. HE IS THE WORLD'S PREMIERE ARCHITECT OF THE ARCANE AND UNCANNY. HE IS THE MASTERMIND BEHIND THE TURNING OF THE WORLD'S WHEELS. HE IS-

Vice: Lost, by the looks of it.

Silence.

Unknown Individual: Well, uh… well… uh… yes.

Franko: So you're Yancy then, yeah?

Yancy Wondertainment: Excuse you. I'll not have you referring to me by my slave name. I am Professor Amazementopia, toy maker extraordinaire.

Liter: Is this supposed to be a toy?

The Face: IT'S A TOY.

Yancy Wondertainment: It's not really a- uh, it's more like a prototype, you know, like-

The Face: IT'S A PROTOTYPE.

Yancy Wondertainment: Yes, alright, calm down Eugene. Look, I am a skilled craftsman, this much is true. You've no doubt here because you've heard of my accomplishments and desired to seek out my masterpiece for yourself.

Franko: No, we're just here for the loot at the center of the maze. Honestly, I'd forgotten your name until a few minutes ago.

Rest of the team concurs. Yancy Wondertainment appears put-out.

Yancy Wondertainment: Well look, some of us don't have the luxury and near-infinite resources afforded to those real Wondertainments. I could've had that, you know. It was mine, but the "Board of Directors" gave me the end-around and now I'm down here dealing with this mess. Look at it! It's a sprawling heap. I built this stupid thing and now I'm stuck in it.

The Face: WOW BOSS THIS IS BOTH ENLIGHTENING AND EXISTENTIALLY DEVASTATING.

Yancy Wondertainment: I could get out myself, but I'm trying to get to the center of the maze too. I've recently discovered that there are lewd photographs of the Board of Directors in a file folder there, and I'm going to get them, copy them, and then post them to my Wordpress blog for all to see. That'll show them not to fuck with Yancy diPettito-Cortez Wondertainment.

Silence.

Yancy Wondertainment: You already knew about the pictures though, didn't you.

Franko: Yep.

Yancy Wondertainment: You probably heard about them from that putz Sebastian Fitchingsley, didn't you.

Franko: Mmhmmm.

Yancy Wondertainment: And you're here to get them before I do.

Franko: That's basically everything, yes.

Silence.

Yancy Wondertainment: Well, boys, it's been a lot of fun catching up, bu- RUN EUGENE, SCAMPER AWAY!

The Face: (Shrieking)

Yancy Wondertainment and The Face flee from the group. The group pursues them.

Vice: Christ, he's pretty quick for a guy in a bathrobe.

Dance: What is it with bathrobes in this place?

The team follows the hallway until it opens up into a large chamber. In front of them is a long, narrow stone bridge over a massive gorge. Yancy Wondertainment is halfway across. As they enter the chamber, he looks back to see them.

Yancy Wondertainment: Ah shit, they're on me. Quick, Eugene, do something!

Several large scythes appear from out of the darkness above. They swing down towards the bridge, and as they come into view The Face is visible on the flat sides of the scythes.

The Face: DON'T WORRY BOSS, I'LL- (voice fades as scythes disappear back into the darkness above)

Liter: What?

The Face: (Voice grows louder as the scythes descend again) -YOU PROUD OF ME.

Franko: Oh fuck this. Cairo, spooky yourself on up there and follow him. Vice, Liter, Dance. You're with me.

The Ghost of Cairo crosses the bridge unimpeded. As the rest of the party approaches, the blades swing down again and they are forced to pause as they pass. This happens twice more.

Franko: There, we-

A large stone column falls from the ceiling and crashes into Franko, killing him instantly. On the side of the column is The Face, which winces as it hits the bridge.

The Face: WHOOPSY POOPSY.

The bridge beneath the remaining three begins to collapse from the weight of the column, which falls off to the side and into the gorge. Liter and Vice run forward and jump, and both reach back and grab Dance in time to steady her as the bridge behind them collapses.

As they finish crossing the bridge, the Ghost of Franko appears beside them.

Ghost of Franko: Fuck!

They continue running in pursuit of Yancy Wondertainment. They pass a long wall full of arrow slots, each in the shape of The Face's mouth. As they sprint down the hallway next to the wall, they are peppered by cardboard arrows.

Vice: Are these- are these arrows cardboard?

Yancy Wondertainment: (From an adjacent passageway) Look, not everyone has billion dollar budgets, ok?! This is the sort of shit I'm talking about - these unrealistic expectations on toy makers really sour the pudding for the rest of us!

Dance: This guy has some stuff to work out.

The Ghost of Cairo appears through the wall next to them.

Ghost of Cairo: Yeah the guy is nuts.

The team rounds a corner and find Yancy Wondertainment standing in front of three doors. He throws open the door on his right and enters. The five team members enter the door.

On the other side of the door they see that they are no longer in the labyrinth. They are standing on the foothills of a mountain range stretching far to the north. The sky overhead is dark and cloudy. There are no signs of living vegetation anywhere nearby - the only other things standing are the burnt out husks of dead trees. Nearby they see the charred remains of many large, black, vaguely insectoid creatures.

Franko: Hang on- what the fuck is this?

In the distance they see a small tower stretching impossibly high into the clouds. As they try to observe it from where they are standing, they see Yancy Wondertainment sprinting at them.

Yancy Wondertainment: Run! Get out! We shouldn't be here!

The distinct sound of an animal chattering is heard all around them. Temperature sensors on all the operatives' body armor registers a distinct increase. Suddenly the sky above the tower turns bright orange, and above the clouds a pillar of flame appears. It arcs across the sky, dissolving the clouds as it passes. The chattering increases in volume as the pillar of fire, nearly a kilometer wide, descends on them. The entire party and Yancy Wondertainment scramble quickly through the doorway and slam it closed behind them.

Dance: Yo what the fuck was that?

Yancy Wondertainment stands as if to speak, but instead sprints through another door. The team follows.

They enter a long, spiraling stone hallway full of branching connections to other parts of the labyrinth. Through a large glass window they can see a wide courtyard at the center of the spiral, where a small pile of artifacts is resting. One of the artifacts appears to be a plain grey filing cabinet.

Vice: Shit, there it is! Let's go!

The team runs down the spiraling hallway, occasionally cutting through offshoot hallways to keep pace with Yancy. They reach a final tunnel that opens into the large, circular courtyard, though Yancy is still several paces in front of them.

Yancy Wondertainment: Yes! Yes! I did it! The crotch shots are mine! Blackmail ahoy!

He is knocked sideways by the sudden appearance of Dominican Joe, who appears from out of the ground where Liter threw the coin he had been given earlier.

Dominican Joe: G'day mates! Welcome back to me shop. What can I do for you?

cabinet.jpg

Filing cabinet, post recovery.

The team runs past Dominican Joe. Vice opens the filing cabinet and begins to hurriedly flip through the folders therein. After a moment, he pulls out a manila folder.

Vice: Got it! I got it!

The entire labyrinth begins to shake. On the far wall of the courtyard, the stone begins to come apart from the rest of the structure in the form of a massive stone golem. As the golem's body begins to form, the team sees that the golem has The Face's face.

The Face: OH NO. I DON'T THINK SO. YOU CHUCKLE FUCKS DON'T GET TO JUST WALTZ IN HERE, INSULT MY VERY GOOD SONG, KICK MY DAD IN THE DICK AND THEN SKEDADDLE. I'M GOING TO TAKE THESE BIG ROCKS THAT ARE MY HANDS AND TURN YOU INTO POWDERED DUDE.

Suddenly, a bullet pings off of the front of The Face. The team hesitates, then immediately ducks for cover as a bolt of lightning arcs across the courtyard and into The Face's shoulder, causing the rock to crumble and explode. The massive entity stumbles backwards.

The Face: WHOA NELLY. WHAT IN THE HELL WAS THAT?

Liter hobbles forwards. It is clear that he has sold his toes to Dominican Joe.

The Face: HEY THERE BIG GUY, HOW ABOUT WE JUST TALK ABOUT THIS FOR A SECOND, EH? DON'T WANT TO THROW AWAY THIS SPECIAL THING WE'VE GOT, DO YOU? YOU REMEMBER THE GOOD TIMES, RIGHT? RIGHT?

Liter: Man, fuck this dude.

Liter fires three more times, sending three more bolts of lightning streaking across the courtyard towards The Face. The rocks making up its body crumble and the golem collapses. Dancing, multicolored lights appear overhead and loud music begins to play from somewhere above the labyrinth. Airhorns are heard over the din.

Vice: Did we win? Is that it?

Yancy Wondertainment: Goddammit. Goddammit. I get this goddamn close to really having something I can whap those board fuckers in the dick with, and you all show up to ruin it.

Ghost of Franko: I mean, you had to have known that we were going to get involved here. You can't just stuff a giant extraspatial maze underneath a pizza shop and expect us to not notice.

Yancy Wondertainment: Well how am I supposed to know that? I've never had to deal with you Foundation jerkoffs before. It's not my fault that I-

Yancy is cut off as a line appears in the air near them. From the line appear several other lines, crossing each other and connecting to form a doorway, which materializes once the lines come together. The doorway opens, and out of it steps Sebastian Fitchingsley and an older, Caucasian male in a black suit with a gold and purple tie. A small "W" is pinned to his jacket.

Fitchingsley: Ah, salutations and hello my friends! So good to see you. I am Sebastian Juneaux Malthuzan Hermano y Konquistadito Vanabulous Extraordinariorion Frank Fitchingsley, Marketing Director for Dr. Wondertainment Inc. This is-

Yancy Wondertainment: Bertrand. The fuck do you think you're doing here?

Dr. Wondertainment: Just cleaning up your mess, Yancy. No need for hard feelings, we've all had rocky starts to our careers.

Dance: Hang on, you're-?

Dr. Wondertainment: Bertrand Wondertainment, yes. A pleasure. (To Yancy) This was silly, Yancy. You've built a death trap down here, not a toy. We're toymakers. I understand your desire to be independent, but this is not the way you should go about it.

Yancy Wondertainment: I don't desire to be independent, Bertrand. I desire to be Dr. Wondertainment! It's mine by right! If Isabel is predisposed then it falls to me, it shouldn't roll back to you!

Dr. Wondertainment: (Sighs) We shouldn't do this here, Yancy. Let's go home, and we can talk this out.

Yancy Wondertainment: I'm not going home, dad. I'm Professor Amazementopia, and I'm going to be the best goddamn toymaker in the fucking omniverse. You just watch.

There is a flash, and Yancy disappears.

Dr. Wondertainment: My apologies. Yancy has always been a hot-headed boy - he's not so dissimilar from Isabel. (Pauses) You have the file folder?

Vice: Uh, yeah. Here. (Hands over the file folder)

Dr. Wondertainment: (Bows) Thank you. I won't ever understand why the board decided to keep something this foul lying around where it can be scooped up by vindictive heirs.

Fitchingsley: Thank you so much, friends. We appreciate this more than you know.

Dr. Wondertainment: Maybe think about this, Sebastian, before you go around snapping any more pictures of your johnson.

Fitchingsley: Yes sir, sincerest apologies.

Dr. Wondertainment: Very well. Thank you again, friends, and if you happen to run into Yancy again please do be patient with him. He means well, I believe. He's just an asshole.

Dr. Wondertainment and Sebastian Fitchingsley enter through the door again. As it closes, the door disappears.

Silence.

Liter: So how do we get ou-

A large shadow obscures the entire group as a massive stone disc falls on them from the darkness above the labyrinth. In the final seconds before their cameras are destroyed, the team recognizes The Face on the bottom of the disc.

The Face: EAT MY ASS, CHUMPS.

All remaining team members are killed instantly. Moments later, the entire team appears at the entrance to the labyrinth, naked and without their belongings, save for the filing cabinet.

Vice: Fuck.

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