Lazar Lyusternik

Travis leaned back in his seat. "So, Doctor, I have good news and bad news."

"I never liked subjective terms."

"The good news is that we appear to be in the clear, no one on our six, and less than five minutes from the next Foundation site."

"Appearances can be deceiving."

"The bad news, is you're headed for the Waiting Room."

"The what room?"

Travis snickered. "You'll just have to find out."

"I can't believe the dumb bastard finally managed it."

"I know! Doc Jamison owes me twenty bucks."

"You bet on Anoat-, wait you place wagers on a containment breach?"

"Sure, there's even a point spread on casualty counts."

"Unbelievable. We don't have a suitable cell for 3416 when he gets here - just stick him in the Waiting Room."

For the first time since the seventh grade, Nathan Snyder had been caught.

Sure, he had close calls. With just about every three-letter agency one could think of - FBI, CIA, FSB, MSS (how was he supposed to know that was illegal in Hong Kong?), GOC, MCD, you name it.

But this time, the SCP Foundation had been not one, but two steps ahead. And now, buried in the broom closet of a condemned apartment building, he found himself out of options. What he presumed to be one of those crazy Foundation special forces teams was mere meters away.

It could be worse. As long as he didn't resist, they wouldn't shoot on sight. Probably. He'd be arrested, probably taken to some preliminary holding facility that he could bre-

Wait, 'contain' is literally in the name. Shit.

So, escape was out of the question. Could he cut a deal? He possessed valuable skills and experience.

Whether that would be worth saving a bullet, he would know, right about no-

"Hands in the air! Now!" Bright light shone on his face. A gun was shoved into it, at as well.

"Okay, okay, I comply. Not looking to get my face shot off today." Nathan rather liked his face, just the way it was.

SpecOps didn't react. Three of his friends dragged him from the broom closet, and out into what could one may have formerly called a living room.

Within minutes, he had been blackbagged, tossed into a van, and destined for the Waiting Room.

"I'm sorry, Dr. Craggs, but them's the rules."

"My contract specifies that in the event of a -"

"I know, I know. I am eminently familiar with your contract. It also specifies that if that kind of event happens, we are allowed to place you in temporary containment for 72 hours while other arrangements are made."

"Maximum security lockup is not 'temporary containment'."

"Look, it's not that bad. Just count yourself lucky it's just 3416 and a couple prisoners in there. You'll be out of there in three days. Probably less."

Craggs found it futile to resist. The Foundation may have won the battle against her freedom to experiment and advance the cause of science, but not the war.

The existence of the Waiting Room had already blindsided her enough - being stuck in there with slimy D-class was the last thing she needed right now.

If she were lucky, there could be an interesting anomaly to fiddle with.

She was not.

Nathan was the last to arrive in the Waiting Room.

It was not what he expected.

For one, it looked liked he hadn't been the only one the Foundation was two steps ahead of.

"Hi, Dr. Craggs. We haven't met. Don't you have an Interpol Red Notice?"

"Yes, I'm very proud of it. Who are you?"

"Nathan. Who's the floating head guy?"

"I am your god, the Great Anoati! Bow before my might!"

"'Might' is an overstatement. He'll mind-probe you, but not very well."

"I don't want to know how either of you got here, do I?"

"I had foiled my captors and made my escape to my island and my people. Alas, the foul-who-make-weak-anoa-stone tricked me into being captured once again."

"However could they subvert your genius…"

"The Great Anoati knows no superior."

"Hey, I'm just a wholesome Foundation employee."

"You work here? The Foundation didn't execute you for the little Barcelona incident, among other crimes?"

"Those children produced valuable data. I'm not sure what more you could want. But yes, the Foundation uses my skills, and in exchange I get to continue to evade that aforementioned Interpol Red Notice and conduct research. Albeit with all sorts of silly moralistic restrictions."

"Ah, yes. Completely nonsensical. If you work for them, why are you here in lockup?"

"I'm glad you agree. And an apparent lack of clarity in my employment contract allowed the present circumstances to occur."

"Your turn, hacker Nathan. What put you on the Foundation's bad side?"

"How did you know I was a hacker?"

"You look the part. Trenchcoat, fingerless gloves…"

"You're describing a neckbeard, not a hacker."

"There's some overlap. Also, I saw the concealed electronics on the back of your left pant leg, and the subdermal on your neck."

"That's creepy, but good eye. But yes. I wrote some anomalous software. Maybe it's also a meme. Maybe it kills people too."

"Ah, so you're looking at 25 to life. Or death."

"Don't be so optimistic."

"You've been pretty quiet, Anoati. I don't think we need your story, though."

"I am plotting my escape, to get away from you foul criminals!"

"You wound me."

"This is the beginning of a bad joke. An incompetent god, a war criminal, and a hacker walk into a maximum security cell…"

"How dare you accuse the Great Anoati of something so vile as incompetence! I will crush you!"

"That would imply this was something funny."