Death, Love and in Between
rating: +1+x

"I welcome you to our hotel 'Club Deluxe & Elegancy #20'"
Viktor looked confusedly at the man in the white coat who approached him and Emilia in the entrance hall of the Alpine hotel with theatrical, wide-stretched arms. Behind him followed a woman in the standard uniform of the agents.
"I see you are puzzled. Don't worry, this is DE20."
"Ah, I see. Haha, how original," Emilia commented, rolling her eyes as discreetly as possible.
Briefly, the sunshine on the researcher's face dimmed.
The agent smiled apologetically and held out her hand. "A warm welcome from me as well. I am Alice Peterson and this is my colleague Dr. Stephan Faust. I take it you two are the agents who solved the haunting at the pension."
Emilia and Viktor nodded, seemingly allowing the researcher to find his good mood again. "Very well. Please follow us to the lift."
Once everyone was on board, the researcher pressed the button marked 4.

✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧

"And these are your rooms."
Viktor looked around wide-eyed at hotel rooms that must have been as big as his old 3-room flat.
"Um," he summed up his reaction.
A mischievous smile appeared on the researcher's face. "Would you like just one?"
His colleague pressed her elbow into his side. She couldn't hide her smirk, though.
Emilia was on the verge of spitting fire. Fittingly, she was already turning red.
"No, thank you. No need," Viktor beat her to it, "I was just surprised at the size."
"We have to keep up appearances if we're going to build a super luxury hotel on our Site. And you are guests, so why not use it," Peterson explained.
"Of course, we also have an empty containment cell if it appeals to you more, Mr Eißner,“ Dr. Faust added all sanctimonious.
"No, I'd better not look a gift horse in the mouth."
Emilia teased a little more: "I'd recommend it to you, too."

✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧

Emilia and Viktor had just returned from a seminar on dealing with civilians who had seen an anomaly in the city. The two turned the corner in silence where Dr. Faust and Ms Peterson were engaged in a conversation. Dr. Faust caught sight of Viktor.
"Ah, Mr Eißner. I hope you have some more time for me. Because I have a request."
"What exactly?"
"For that, you'll have to come with us to another floor and another sector."
The agent pointed to a lift that differed from the others by the presence of a security gate. Viktor was uneasy about the implications of this. "G… Good."
One by one, Dr. Faust, Viktor, Ms Peterson and Emilia held up their ID cards to the sensor.
Viktor turned around, "What is it?"
Emilia looked at the display, puzzled, before holding the ID card against it again. Again the system refused her passage.
"Dr. Faust, Ms Peterson, what is the problem?"
But the two remained silent, as if oblivious to the problem.
The last thing Emilia saw before the lift door closed was an equally confused Viktor and the sympathetic looks of Ms Peterson and Dr. Faust.
She was too distracted to notice the screen indicating 'Sector D'.

✧ ✧ ✧ ✧ ✧

The empty corridors of the sector echoed the footsteps of the two unequal men and the agent. Dr. Faust had not explained why he had intercepted Viktor after training.
When Viktor was almost about to ask where they were going and why, the researcher stopped.
"Near here … there!" he whispered, turning to Viktor and asking, "What do you see here?"
Caught off guard, Viktor stared at the indicated wall. He had noticed before that there were remarkably few ghosts here, so it was quite easy to make out the only two shadows. They were different somehow, fuzzier and clear white, sometimes sparks dancing around them. It looked as if they were overexposed. He studied three or four cycles before hesitantly turning his head to his two companions.
"I see an agent and a researcher. They are arguing. Very heated, if I can judge correctly. Then they both shrug and raise their hands above their heads. I assume they were hit by something, but I'm not sure."
Viktor had not looked directly at them during the whole report. He could be seen trying to keep his breath steady.
"Please be honest: you saw me and Alice, am I right?“ Dr. Faust's voice, so cheerful, was quiet. He already knew the answer. "Please don't be afraid. We are not doubles. We … I think we should sit down and have a drink."


Dr. Ainsworth yawned unabashedly and otherwise it was obvious that she had just woken up from her office nap. She looked grumpily at her digital alarm clock before finally greeting the trio: "I can't blame you. You are right on time to the minute. Come into my office."
Ms Peterson and Dr. Faust enthusiastically made themselves comfortable on the sofa, while Viktor contented himself with the armchair. As the still not quite awake Dr. Ainsworth poured herself a dark, herbal-smelling liquid from a tea kettle into a cup labelled '#1 Witch' and 'Walpurgisnacht 2000', she dropped into her desk chair.
"So you've persuaded Balder to look at the place. Good.", she half-heartedly wiped across the desk and lifted a folder. She squinted at the sticky note, then the researcher opened the folder.
Viktor lost patience, "Forgive my tone, but may I ask what exactly is happening here? I'm called to Site-DE20, two employees show me their own deaths and now we're sitting in an office as if nothing had happened. And what about Emilia?" The last had slipped out, prompting a minor giggle from Peterson and Faust. Dr. Ainsworth looked at the two with a raised eyebrow. "You didn't inform him?"
"We're just your assistants,“ Dr. Faust defended himself and Peterson nodded.
Dr. Ainsworth groaned but pulled herself together. She took a deep breath and exhaled.
"These two are anomalous," Dr. Ainsworth summarised tightly. Peterson and Dr. Faust looked at their colleague piqued.
"I don't get your wibbelie-wobblie-taimie-waimie relationship anyway. You'll have to do it yourselves. I'll allow you to do it now. If need be, I'll use my Magic to make him forget."
Viktor had given up trying to make sense of it all and hoped he would just have to sit it out. The agent took pity on him and explained, "There was a serious containment breach about five years ago. There were hardly any casualties. There was even an exact number in the report: Five. But there were two not mentioned in the files. And you can guess which ones. They were ours. We owe that fact to an entity with the designation UE-1248. It changed reality. Not only undid our deaths, but changed our relationship to each other. There was a Mandela Effect."
Peterson stopped as Viktor was lost in thought.
"Why didn't you receive an SC Protocol, as I did with One-Hundred-and-Forty-DE? And what do I have to do with it?"
Dr. Ainsworth picked up a file from the desk and leaned forward, "Let me tell you about Project Trickster, Mr Eißner."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License