An Interesting Meeting

Valentin would be walking through the murky areas of Level -2, hoping to find some more information on the dangerous place. They say there are undocumented entities and dangers in this place, and that was perfect for him to get a chance at more trades with the M.E.G. or other groups.

His boots sloshed through the dirtied, tainted, Almond Water-filled basement and he moved out of the way for some wires dangling above. This place was absolutely disgusting and filthy. Hopefully he could find the Hall of Dull Flames soon, or maybe the Abyss. That place was essentially unexplored as of now, and it would be priceless to him if he got his hands on new information. The things he could do with this place's files was out of this world for him. The M.E.G. had sent people here and had casualties (or at least injuries), so they would want to know as much as they could. They always were his biggest buyer.

In another part of the backrooms, a silver-haired teenager flips through a stack of papers.

After a few minutes of searching, he groans. Spec kicks at his desk, sending the office chair he was sitting in spiraling backwards into the center of his basement residence.

"I swear, if I have to spend another day searching through my old files, I'm going to mc-fucking-lose it."


Spec sighs.

"I need sleep."

Spec wheels over to a pile of beanbag chairs in the corner of the room, flopping down upon it and passing out almost instantly.

Viktor, unfortunately, doesn't find what he's looking for. He treads through the murky water, picking up a few items along the way. They seemed useful.

"Not much else here. Think I might have to make my own way out of this place."

He raises his right hand, crunching the crystal together, and opening his fist. Black smoke would flow from the gaps in the rock, and a door would soon reveal itself. Not… really a door, but more of a passageway. He walks through, taking in a deep breath, knowing that he might regret this later.

As he walks through the darkness, the air around him changes and morphs, and soon enough he's back in Level 11. And, soon enough, he would feel a terrible, agonizing pain in his right arm and torso. He falls to a knee and grips his arm close, hoping and praying that it would end quickly.

A loud beeping noise abruptly awakens Spec, almost causing him to fall flat on the floor.


He catches himself on the side of the beanbag, pulling himself up.

"Now that's what I'd call a rude awakening… let's see what's causing such a ruckus, shall we?"

He mutters to himself.

Spec stands up from the cushy chair and walks over to his desk. He throws himself into the desk chair, turning his gaze up at the wall-mounted television screen. The television displays an array of security cameras scattered across various levels, but none show anything of note. A hound here, a partygoer there, but nothing out of the ordinary to warrant the alarm going off. Unsatisfied, Spec clicks a few times with his computer mouse, panning to cameras located in Level 11.


Spec gives a low whistle.

"…never can catch a break, can I? 'Never seen this man before— but he looks well equipped… too much to be new. Plus that mask, the distortion…"

"I ought to check it out."

Spec stands up and walks towards one of the walls of his basement. He grabs a backpack and white sweatshirt off of a coat hanger, and the wall slides aside revealing a long corridor. Spec makes his way down the hallway, and eventually comes to stop on a grainy tan tile, like that of a city sidewalk. He hits a button attached to the wall, and the tile begins to rise. The ceiling parts open, placing Spec on one of the sidewalks of Level 11. The tile slides in to place behind him, concealing the entrance.

Spec glances both ways down the street, and crosses, making his way towards the newcomer's location.

Just breathe, Valentin. All he had to do was breathe. The pain would leave soon, it always did. This has happened before, and he just had to keep getting air into his lungs. With slow, shaky, and irregular breaths, he got up from the ground and began limping down the alleyway.

"Just need… some water…"

He had run out of water in his pack from earlier expeditions, and of course he couldn't drink the dirtied water in Level -2. It was about time he got back to one of the Databases stationed on Level 11. He walked past other people, dripping with dirty water and having liquid sloshing in his boots, before seeing someone approach him wearing a white sweatshirt.

This kid might've been attempting to seem inconspicuous, but something felt… off about this one. Something about how he walked and the way he looked around. It tipped Viktor off that this teen was looking for someone or something in particular, and he waited for something that might happen. He'd live with a few more minutes without water.

Sure enough, a few moments later something does happen: Spec walks up to Viktor, offering a hello.

"I don't believe I've seen you around here before my good man— and considering the maidens don't wear masks that look straight out of Star Trek, mind if I ask ya what you're doing here?"

He states blatantly.

Viktor is glad that this person has a welcoming demeanor; not many that he interacts with, especially the begrudging U.E.C., are very polite. He offers his right hand out for a shake.

"Just happen to be returning from Level -2. Boots are soaked and I'm a bit dehydrated, but I'm safe and unharmed. What may your name be, comrade?"

Spec accepts the handshake. While normal enough, Viktor can't help but feel there's something off about his grip. It just felt… wrong.

"You can call me Spec. Names are a hassle in this place, as I'm sure someone who traverses Level -2 and lives to tell the tale can attest to."

Spec says, nodding toward Viktor.

"And who might you be, Mr. 'Reject from The Matrix Reloaded'?"

Viktor gives a hearty chuckle and lets go of Spec's hand. Spec could also feel something off about his hand. It felt like rocks, almost; sharp and ragged. No matter the thickness of the glove, they still poked through.

"My name is Viktor Valentin, head of the Eternal Repository. And yes, names are quite the hassle. I deal with them every day, and the ones I hear aren't even true names. Remembering is indeed a challenge, but I make it work."

He grabs his bottle and shakes it lightly, seeing how much water was left. Almost none, really. Just a bit of sloshing at the bottom.

"Ah, I need to refill soon. In other news, what might you be doing here, друг?"

"I just happened to be in the neighborhood. Which isn't really saying much considering this street is where I live, but yknow~"

Spec shrugs.

"So, the Eternal Repository? I don't believe I've ever heard of you guys. I've been around here for quite a while but the name doesn't seem to ring any bells."

Spec claps his hands together.

"SO! That either means one of the following. Option A, I'm an antisocial idiot and managed to avoid coming into contact with an entire organization. Option B, You're with the U.E.C. or M.E.G., and I have to either run or give a very annoyed lecture about following orders from your overseer and LEAVING ME THE HELL ALONE FOR 5 MINUTES—"

Spec spins around on his heel in a circle, facing Viktor

"Or Option C, I'm completely paranoid, as usual. I know where my bet is."

Spec smiles with a half-grin.

Viktor chuckles again, cracking his knuckles and stretching his arms.

"We have been founded since 2016, and seeing that it is now 2022 you may be that antisocial person you believe you are. We do have passing deals with the M.E.G. and the U.E.C., but we also have events with all other groups that we are able to contact."

He yawns, tired from the expeditions he's been on. It's been 16 hours since he's rested his feet.

"If you have any questions feel free to ask. It seems you may have some catching up to do."

"Well I do have quite a few questions, but considering it looks like you just crawled out of the sewer, how about we do this somewhere more comfortable than the middle of the street?"

"I have an outpost not far from here if you wish to come with. Not far from here, only 20 or 30 blocks down."

Viktor points down the city towards the west, knowing the layout of where he was.

"Walking into the outpost of someone who I just met isn't exactly my cup of tea, no offense—"

"How about we meet somewhere more… neutral?"

Spec places his palm against the wall of a nearby building and crimson colored cracks begin to form, before breaking away revealing what appears to be Level 6.1.

"Shall we?"

Viktor smiles under his mask and steps forward through the portal.

"Of course."

The duo arrive in the Snackrooms, fresh smells and low conversation going through the air. Cozy feelings all around relax Viktor's tense muscles, and now he wants to take a nap even more. But as always, there was work to be done.

Spec sits down in a booth in one of the bars, materializing a milkshake from… somewhere.

"So Mr. Valentin, what exactly is this "Eternal Repository" of yours like? I'm usually not to thrilled with groups that associate with the U.E.C., as they have death warrants out on both my brother from another mother Tom Von Haderach, my boyfriend, and a few other close people. Basically what I'm trying to say here is I'm not a big fan of them, but since you mentioned you also have ties with the M.E.G., I figure you probably aren't a raving lunatic."


"Whats the story?"

Valentin sits across from Spec, speaking in Russian to one of the waiters for a bottle of vodka, because why not? As he waits for the drink, he replies to Spec.

"Well, I created the group mainly to give everyone a fighting chance in this hellhole. I realized early on that people do not like others if they have a status or… what is the English word… notoriety, that's it. A certain notoriety, that of which can drive people away from people who have said reputations behind their name. The U.E.C., of course, does not have the best name in the Backrooms, yet they are… cooperable, at times. Not always ruthless savages."

His beverage arrives and he thanks the waiter, taking off the bottom of his mask to drink. His lower jaw would be entirely black and made of crystal, and his teeth tink against the glass almost harmonically.

"We use information and anonymity to help the unprotected get a start to their new life, give them a place to sleep, eat, drink, and make a true living here. It is possible, yet it is very, very difficult."

"I can get behind that mission. But then again, the U.E.C.'s mission is to protect its members at all costs. Anyone can make anything sound good on paper."

"But I suppose you have a point. Anyone becomes cooperable once you have something they want."

Spec finishes his drink and gets up to set the empty glass on the bar counter, before returning to his seat.

"I do want to address the elephant in the room though— er, more like the rock— what the heck is going on with your mouth? You don't seem like an entity to me, but that ain't natural my good man."

Valentin stops drinking and sets the glass down, giving a sigh.

"I had a… bad interaction with the Dark Sovereign in my early days of the Backrooms. I said some words I should not have and paid the price."

He takes off his right glove, revealing the sharpened, almost claw-like fingers and hand, completely made of crystal.

"It has haunted me since I left that cavern."

Spec pulls off the glove on his right hand, the same one he used for the handshake earlier— revealing a mechanical limb that runs all the way up his forearm to his elbow.

"Seems you're not alone in the 'fucked up limbs' department."

Viktor laughs, putting the bottom of his mask back on and looking at Spec's arm.

"Look at us, sitting here like veterans from a long-forgotten war."

He says a phrase in Russian and clears his throat.

"What about you? Have an exciting story or just get your arm ripped off by a Skin-Stealer?"

"Heh… worse."

Spec leans back in the booth.

"Partygoer. Had to sever it myself with one of those paper slicers you find in school art class. 0/10, would not recommend. But at least I can do a decent Iron Man cosplay now."

Spec holds out his arm towards Viktor, and a circle in the middle of his palm lights up.

"Don't worry, its just a flashlight. This thing was my ticket to survival for the beginning of my time here."

Spec rests his hand back on the table.

"Cyka, I'd be surprised if it was something that could fire projectiles. At least we now know that there is someone who can handle prosthetics in this place."

A few seconds of silence pass between them, with some commotion going on in the background. Lots of people here today. Search party finally come back?

"What might you want to talk about here? Just to know more about my organization?"

He was curious what this person was looking to understand. He always loved talking with people like this, getting to pick their brains and learning what their main goals are. It was one of his pass times if he was bored, and he never got tired of it.

"More or less, maybe even make a deal. See, I've got a bit of an… obsession. I'm trying to figure out what the hell is 'running' the backrooms, if you will. I'm sure you've noticed what I mean being someone whose been around the block quite a few times. The random noclip waves, rooms being… wrong."

Spec cracks the knuckles on his left hand with his thumb.

"The 'instability' of the backrooms, I suppose you could say. I'm trying to figure out what's causing it, so I can put an end to it. I've lost too many friends to a certain— style of distortion, and I'm hitting that first. I'm sort of all over the place right now, but this is how I run into so many people. At the current moment, I'm tracking down a few of the P.O.I.s that the M.E.G. has under wraps. Unfortunately, they've updated their firewalls as of late, and since I'm not the greatest hacker, getting information on whereabouts has been rather… difficult."

Viktor thinks for a moment, nodding his head slightly.

"I see. Well, who do you wish to get information on?"

It was blunt, simple, and straight to the point.

"Depending on the difficulty of gathering said information, your price will be determined from that point."

"Depends on your price, what do you want in exchange for The Rat Master's location?"

It would seem Spec is also a fan at being forthcoming when it comes to negotiations.

"Ah, nimble little Charles. He sure is a good hider, isn't he?"

Viktor flips a coin, letting his hands stay busy.

"Last reports I got of him were in Level 11.1, yet I'm sure you know that by now. The M.E.G. have plastered it on Charles' file within their PoI list. Your price for his last known general location will be 20 bottles of Almond Water, 5 plates of sheet metal, and 2 meters of rope."

"What size bottle? The regular?"

Spec stands up out of the booth, and starts unzipping his backpack…

"Correct. The standard size will do."

Viktor waits, leaning back and watching Spec pull out items.

Spec pulls a 2 cardboard cases of almond water out of his backpack, each with 10 bottles inside. Just as Viktor was beginning to question how he managed to fit all that inside such a small bag, Spec crawls into the backpack and it folds shut on the floor.

A moment later, he emerges from the pack carrying some rope, and 5 small sized plates of sheet metal.

Spec looks back up at Viktor, zipping up his backpack.

"God I love worn sacks."

Viktor is surprised and leans forward, curious about the bag.

"Quite… interesting, that item. Well, since you have the items I requested, Charles can be found near a great oak tree in the western part of Level 11.1. It's… obvious with the amount of rats around it, and the shapes carved into its bark. It is far out, however, so I would recommend bringing supplies with you."

"Thanks. Yknow Viktor, as information traders go you don't seem all that bad."

Spec says, gathering up his things.

"I'll see ya around. Call me if you need anything, or want to make another deal."

Spec flicks his wrist, and a custom playing card appears in his left hand. He gives it a pinch, and it spirals up into the air before landing on the table in front of Viktor face down.

"Ah shit— that would have been so cool too…"

Spec flips the playing card over, revealing a contact card.

Viktor gives a small laugh, picking up the card and putting it in his pocket.

"Thank you for the compliments, comrade. I hope to see you again in the future, as I am sure we will meet again."

"Vale, Mr. Valentin. Hope ya have a nice rest."

Spec slips his backpack over his shoulders and exits the bar. Seconds later the signature crackling sound of a noclip can be heard, ringing through the small eatery.

rating: +15+x
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