Ihpkmn's Talebox 2

Nexuses, of course, do not necessarily need to encompass an urban area. The twenty-nine confirmed Nexuses in the USA are mostly municipalities from Sloth's Pit, Wisconsin to Amityville, Missouri to the newly-classified Rouge Masque, Mississippi, but three of them barely encompass a single building, and one of them — Apartment 8I, Nexus 249 — is a single room.
- Dr. Philip Verhoten, The Micro-Nexus: The Smallest Oddities, the Biggest Impacts


Agent Allen Bowie had long since come to the conclusion that anyone that said that New York was the greatest city in the world was full of more shit than a constipated cockroach the size of Florida.

It was messy, crowded, full of holier-than-thou morons, it was impossible to get a good pizza outside of a chain restaurant that wasn't overcooked, everything was overpriced, the subway was full of people riddled with STDs, the cops looked at you weird, and the neighbors. Fuck the neighbors.

Agent Bowie was glaring out at the skyline, loathing his assignment, before getting to work. He opened his window, and climbed through it, entering another apartment just like his. Beyond this, through another window, was another, and then another, and so on. It was shitty New York City apartments all the way down. An infinitely recursive room… but, someone else lived in each one.

"Greetings, Agent Bowie."

Allen looked at his neighbor, rolling his shoulders. Professor Blazkowicz was a tall man with gaunt features, a Polish widow's peak in his hair. He inhabited Apartment 8I in a parallel universe, where an alternate Foundation had set up equipment to study the anomaly within. The same was true for about fifty other adjacent universes; this one happened to be a universe where the Foundation had university courses where students observed anomalous phenomena.

Bowie nodded. "Professor." He looked behind the man, at a crowd of semi-bored looking undergrad students. "Nothing fazes these kids, eh?"

"Not since the Great Collapse a few years back." Blazkowicz shrugged. "I don't suppose you're here to borrow a cup of sugar?"

"We sent a drone through a few rooms," he explained, "And the signal went dead about three dozen apartments away. Probably just got snared in something and lost battery power, but I gotta make sure."

""There's been a slight reconfiguration, actually." He took out a map of the Complex Apartments and splayed it on the table. "Apartment 8I-4923 has vanished entirely, and Apartment 8I-4927 has taken its place. They… don't know they're anomalous yet."

"Well, that's gonna make things awkward." Bowie chewed his lip. "I'll make it through all right. Thanks for the tip, prof."

"Good luck, Bowie." Blazkowicz nodded, before talking to his class about quantum entanglement.


Apartment 8I-182

Calling this particular instance an 'apartment' was a stretch; nobody actually lived here. Twenty or so years ago, someone figured out the apartments were a multiversal crossroads, and had set up a coffee shop there. While places like Three Portlands had Not Another Fucking Starbucks, this universe seemed to prefer Yet Another GODDAMN Dunkin' Donuts when it came to ripoff coffee shop names.

Bowie coughed up the fifty dollars for his coffee and donut and looked at the map that had been plastered on a flatscreen in the corner of the cafe. It showed various things going on in the Apartments; inclement weather in 8I-942 was causing some flooding within the apartment, while 8I-1008 had been raided by a much more militaristic form of the Foundation. Another TV was broadcasting a live feed of the apartment being raided.

"Good thing that's one of the branches," Bowie heard someone in the shop say. "And that one's vacant, isn't it?"

"Yeah," another responded. "I think the New York in that universe got flooded out. Don't even think it's the Foundation that's the big cheese there."

"Gawkers?"

"Nope. Don't know what the hell runs that place, but… they ain't right."

Bowie shook his head and looked towards the nearest window; several new ones had been installed in the apartment, as this was a crossroads in a crossroads. Each of them led to a different apartment.

He looked back at the map for his destination; Apartment 8I-4999, where the drone had gone dark. There was twenty rooms between here and there, but most of them had been streamlined. The one he was worried about was right before it: 8I-4927. The people living in it didn't know about the anomaly yet.

Nobody went into 4999. "Avoid 4999" had just been a general rule for as long as the Complex Apartments had existed and been mapped. The Foundation, of course, never listened to warnings or rules of thumb as often as they should have. People wandered through it on accident every now and again; with the ever-shifting nature of the Apartments, it was inevitable.

Bowie chewed through his banana creme donuts as he walked through the next apartment, where people were trying to sell extrauniversal goods. A man covered in black fur with four arms tried to hawk a depleted uranium cell to Bowie, and was met with a Foundation badge to the face.

The rest of the trip was, for the most part, spent unaccosted.