Story Less Complicated
rating: +2+x

The characters Sal and Sally are no longer considered canonical!


In the most remote part of the site was the mortuary that doubled as an autopsy room. While staff fills other rooms five to seven stories below, this one rests alone on the first basement floor. Rumours say that sounds above ground can be heard when it’s quiet. On top of that, nobody likes dead bodies, so everyone, except its caretaker, avoided the location.

The place was relatively more separated, quiet, and where people usually tend not to go. These three factors made the autopsy room as…

…the best place to loaf from work.

Naram, the Autopsy Room caretaker, was painfully reminded of that fact while pathetically looking down at Sally, who was asleep on his desk.

All this happened while I was out for a can of coke.

He thought as he pulled out a scalpel from his right sleeve.

“Do you have to be that violent?!?” Sal said, shaking, sitting on the folding chair.

“Who told you to loaf here? I’m here, eyes peeled. What the hell did you think?” Naram answered as he tried to pull out the scalpel stuck to his desk.

“There’s nothing to do at the astronomy department! Do you mean I should just sit there getting death stares?”

“Hoow strange, a person I know from astronomy made their own work, I presume?”

Lost for words, Sal leaned back on the folding chair. Naram was still struggling to pull out the scalpel stuck too deep on his desk that he can’t even see the blade.

“Or maybe get me a can of coke. What did you expect with an empty pair of hands?”

“I don’t have money. Sally used my card to pay for the communal dinner again yesterday.” Sal said, tapping his head.

Naram shot coldly at him as if he’d pull another scalpel from his left sleeve.

“You want to hear a funny story?” Sal said, feeling his body shaking.

The coldness in Naram’s eyes developed to annoyance.

“Is it about your love life?”


“You got dumped again.”


“Ms Sally told about how you got dumped, Mr Sal.”

“It’s about Sally.” Sal looked up in the air, gave a big sigh, and said.

Naram’s eye widened. It was a name he never expected to hear from him.

“Are you allowed to talk about that? Here? I’m not going to taking responsibility for this.”

“Sally’s too terrified to come out as long as your scalpel’s stuck there.”

Naram tilted his head and let out a deep sigh. He was intrigued after all. Sal cautiously sat on the folding chair. Surprisingly, Sally was begging Sal not to tell in his head, but he delightfully ignored her.

“So it was three months ago…”

There were always few people at astronomy. Astronomical SCPs are relatively uncommon, and the disinformation department was responsible for their containment. Moreover, experiments with the objects were virtually impossible. Hence, the astronomy department could function smoothly with so few people. The three office workers at astronomy used to joke around that the day someone joins them is when Sal(ly) starts dating.

But alas, miracles do happen.

“Can I get your attention, please?”

Dr Lazy, head of the astronomy team, said as he entered the office. A petite lady followed him.

“For some reason whatsoever, there’s a new teammate. Take care of her so she can adjust well to the Foundation. Especially you Sal…ly.”

The two, including Sally, just stood there. The new teammate introduced herself, smiling.

“Nice to meet you. I’m Karen Daisy. It’s a pleasure to be here!”

Sally looked at Karen, head on her desk, who was being guided to her desk.

"She's cute…" Sally unconsciously muttered.

“What?” Sal asked, but Sally ignored, all the while looking at Karen.

This is strange.

What is?


What about her?

I want to see her.

Hey, we just had lunch together.

Nevertheless, I want to see her. I want to talk with her longer. I want to see her smile, and I want to see her chatting with me. I want to hold her pale hands. I want to stroke her hair. I want to hug her tight. I want to kiss her, even if it’s not her lips. I would be filled with joy just by looking at her, doing nothing else.

Sounds like love.

It is, right? For you too?


“Do you HAVE to tell that during work hours?!!!” Sal exclaimed as he pounded his fists on his desk.

Everyone, including Karen, looked at Sal(ly) ’s desk. Sal turned into Sally and put her head on the desk in shame.

“I didn’t think Sally was the shy type. I thought she would be straightforward about her feelings.”

“Maybe it’s because she became an expert in getting in someone else’s love life.”

Seeing Sal’s hair suddenly grow longer, Naram pulled another scalpel from his left sleeve and turned it in his hand. As he pretended to throw it, Sally burrowed down again like a mole.

“So it’s a bad ending? Sally fails to confess.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t have started if that’s the case. Here’s where it gets interesting.”

The lab door banged opened, and Dr Lazy, with a serious expression, busted in. The two senior members, except the rookie who was oblivious to the situation, looked back at her seriously.

“It’s a business trip.”


The reason Sal(ly) hated business trips was simple; the site they work is located on the south of the Jeolla province1, and the observatory is in the Gangwon province2. They can’t use a helicopter because of some reason, so they had the additional burden of travelling by car.

But this trip was different.

“They say they need two people. First, Ms Karen, I recommend you go this time. I’d need one more person to-”

This is my chance.

“I volunteer!” Sally shouted.

Are you crazy?!!!

The other two, except Karen, looked at Sally in surprise.

“This is unfair!”

Karen was not the talkative type, but she kept on complaining in the car.

“What’s unfair?”

Sal plainly blurted, holding the steering wheel.

“Do we get paid for sitting in the car for four hours?”

“They pay for gas.”

“Why don’t they just build a separate base for astronomy? Why do we have to go through this?”

“We never had that many people. It’s a waste of resources to build a base for only three or four people. Plus, even if it does get built, it would be in the middle of nowhere. That in itself would be mental torture. Maybe it might fit for a place of exile.”

“Hmph,” Karen grunted as she puffed her cheeks.

“What? Did you expect to join the astronomy team and observe nothing until you re… Sal, you didn’t have to be that aggressive.”

Karen looked at Sally. She looked back and gave her a grin.

“It’s alright. Think we’re on a road trip together.”

“For four hours.”

“Yeah. Why don’t you take a nap?”

“Good idea. Wake me up when you reach the resting place.”

Karen leaned her backrest back. Sally drove for a while without saying anything.

That was until she heard Karen asleep.

Sally looked to her right. Karen was sleeping, leaning on the car door. Sally’s heart started to rush.

Sally reached for Karen’s hand lying next to the gear shift with her right hand off the steering wheel. She was sound asleep, so she didn’t wake up when Sally poked her. She proceeded to hold Karen’s hand. It was soft. She gently lifted her hand as if she attempted to give her a kiss of respect.

Look. Forward.

“Yes, sir.”

Sally lifted her head again to turn a tight curve. Karen woke from the momentum. Sally licked her lips.

“This looks like a regular observatory.”

Karen said to Sal, unlocking the barricade of the observatory.

“It is. They offer summer and winter camps for teenage students.”

“You can do that?”

“We don’t, but there’s a retired Foundation senior who handles it. The things he does for money. We have plenty of amnestics, though, so nothing to worry about.”

Sal briefly checked the time.

“Hmm, observation is on tomorrow afternoon. Luckily we can see it today. Follow me.”

“See what?”

“Our driving fee.”

The observatory was especially dark at night, and Karen was sitting in the darkest room in that observatory. Sal opened the door and went in.

“Where did you go?”

“Brief chat with the caretaker. We need his approval to use this place privately.”

“What are you going to do?”


Sal pulled out a remote control device from his pocket and pushed the button. Light shined from the centre of the floor and filled the black walls and dome-shaped ceiling with stars and galaxies. At that moment, the two were stepping foot in space.

“We’re looking at the night sky, somewhere. Everyone who comes here comes to see this. It changes every day… and it’s beautiful. This is why we study astronomy.”

Karen lost her words in awe. Sal sat next to her. The two stayed silent for quite a while.

Precisely three minutes after the shooting star fell, Karen broke the silence.

“It’s so pretty.”

“Just like you when I first saw you,” Sally said.

Surprised, Karen looked at Sal, no, Sally. The two were even holding hands.

I did what I could.

‘Nice, Sal.’

“I’m sorry, Karen, but… I’m really sorry; I don’t know what I’m doing right now.”

Karen didn’t answer. She just looked at her, very still.

“If you’re okay with it…”

Sally leaned towards Karen. Karen didn’t avoid her. Sally stroked Karen’s forehead and leaned even closer. Her lips touched Karen’s forehead.

For a moment, a different kind of silence filled the room.

Sally leaned back. Both Sally and Karen were blushing.

“I love you.”

Karen stood still, thinking if this is reality or fantasy, or a dream. As another shooting star fell from a distance, Karen opened her mouth and told Sally that…


Naram dropped the scalpel in surprise. It was a surprise attack. Sally didn’t miss the opportunity to stand up and stomp towards him.


“I don’t want to hear!”

Sally pulled the scalpel from the desk as if it was nothing. Naram blocked her arms, trying to stab him from above.

“Wait! You told me about Sal being dumped countless times! This is a double standard!”


“Zip it, Sal! That and my embarrassment are two different things!”

“Calm down and drop that scalpel! I missed in purpose!”

“Over your dead body!”

Just before the scalpel pierced through Naram’s face, a knock and a voice came from the door.

“Um, is there someone called Mr Naram?”

“Help me!”

Karen busted in, opening the door. Sally had put down the scalpel and stood upright since she heard her voice.

“Um, I think I heard a desperate cry for help.”

With confused Karen in front of him, he coughed a few times and evaded the question.

“It was nothing, I think. How can I help you?”

“Um, I’m the new member of the astronomy team. Dr Lazy told me that Sal would be here if he was loafing, so…”

“Well, I have good news. She’s right over there. You’re free to take her.”

“Okay. Let’s go, Ms Sally.”

Sally sighed and followed Karen. As she grabbed the door handle, Karen asked Sally.

“By the way, can’t you go as Sal?”


“Doctor told me that he doesn’t hit girls.”

“What? Didn’t you see his headlock the other day?”


“I know, I know. Sal, you lucky bastard. Yeah, thanks, Sally.”

Naram picked up the scalpel as he heard the couple walking away, chattering delightfully. It seemed like a happy ending.

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