A/N: This story is an answer to a challenge issued to me by "That Flatland Guy", Mobius Shadow, who wrote the first Flatfic and now issued the first Flatland challenge. I had the honour of being the first Flatfic reviewer and now I'm writing a Flatfiction of my own. Needless to say, I'm assuming if you're reading this that you have at least some knowledge of Flatland and basic geometric concepts so this won't be too confusing. Anyway, read and review and take up the challenge of writing a flatfic yourself to give a one hundred year old tale of mathematics and intrigue a fandom.

Standard Disclaimers Apply.

Perpendicular: A Flat Fiction by Sparkling Cyanide

Albert sat before a desk in his small but cheerless dungeon cell. After all those years of mockery and scorn spent within these prison walls, he finally placed a period at the end of the last sentence of his book. Although he should have felt a sense of accomplishment, all he could feel was overwhelming futility. He wanted his people to know the truth, about higher dimensions and their own world as well. That was why he had written this. But if they didn't listen to him in person, why would they bother to read his writings? Albert did have the vain hope that maybe his book would go unnoticed by the Chief Circles and still remain for future generations to look at and ponder. But alas, that seemed unlikely as the book was almost certainly headed to the nearest fire the moment the Circles laid eyes on it.

Out of the corner of his eye, Albert noticed a tiny insignificant point sitting in the corner of the room. This point didn't remain insignificant for long. In a matter of moments it had expanded into a small circle.

Most imprisoned polygons would have shook with fear if a Circle had appeared before them, but Albert knew better. Unlike the hypocritical upper class of society, this Circle was different. For one thing, it was a perfect circle. Its circumference was completely smooth and round, not made up of a thousand small sides like the Flatlanders who called themselves Circles. Also this Circle appeared to magically change in size, shrinking and expanding at will, a feat not many Flatlanders could understand let alone perform. This Circle wasn't really a circle. It was a cross-section, a 2-D representation of Albert's old friend the Sphere who was dropping in on a visit from Spaceland.

"Nice place you've got here." The Sphere began sarcastically, eyeing the prison with slight disgust.

"It's the thanks I get for trying to enlighten society." It was now obvious to Albert that society didn't want enlightenment. The powers-that-be just wanted to destroy or suppress anything that was a threat to their hold on power. "I mean," Albert continued. "I know the truth and I just wanted THEM to know that the world is really a much more beautiful and complicated place than they imagined. As you can see, I didn't get very far. The Circles condemned me as a lunatic and that's how I ended up here."

"I see you've kept yourself busy though." The Sphere indicated the book on the desk.

"I don't know what I was thinking!" Albert exclaimed. "I only wrote it in the hopes that I could find one person out there who believes."

"Then why don't you?" The Sphere suggested.

Albert looked confused. How exactly could he go anywhere to find anyone? Walls surrounded him on all sides and the doors and windows were barred with armed guards waiting on the other side.

"You were put here because of your belief in a third dimension, why not use it?"

"Are you suggesting that I..." Albert trailed off, having difficulty understanding what it was that the Sphere was implying.

"This prison confines you in two dimensions. Why not move "upward" into the third? You wouldn't be affected by its walls."

Albert looked sheepish having not considered this possibility. "You know," he began, "even after all my travels in Spaceland, "up" is STILL confusing."

The Sphere smiled, if such a thing were possible. "It's been a long time hasn't it?" he reminisced. "Here, I'll help you."

With the sphere aiding him, Albert once again experienced that strange sensation of being "peeled" of the surface of his world. Soon he and the Sphere were floating leisurely above the prison, drifting quietly over its walls. The world of Flatland lay below them, spread like a sheet of paper from a mathematician's musings. It looked so small, reflecting the small minds of its polygonal inhabitants.

"Wait." The sphere stopped abruptly. "You forgot your book."

Intersecting the plane once again, the Sphere snatched the book of "heresy" from the desk, and re-emerging, passed it to Albert.

"Thanks." Albert said somewhat half-heartedly. "But it's not like this does me any good. I can't go "Down" there anymore. Someone will recognize me and then I'll be back in jail right where I started from."

"But what about telling your people the truth about their universe?" The Sphere tried, attempting to appeal to Albert's higher ideals.

It failed as Albert sighed dejectedly, becoming more depressed by the moment. "I tried! It's not like they'll listen to me."

"Nonsense." The one thing the sphere couldn't stand was self-pity. "All you need is a little push in the right direction."

It never occurred to Albert to take the Sphere's words literally. Before he could respond, the Sphere had given one of Albert's edges a shove and he found himself tumbling toward the world. The journey was short and it wasn't long before Albert was once again stuck in the Flatland plane. It wasn't what he was normally used to however, as the push had caused him to rotate in 3-D and he was now intersecting the plane at a 90 degree angle.

On the ground, Albert shook himself, trying to clear his mind. The book was there beside him and to his left he saw a point which once again expanded into a small but perfect circle.

"Sorry for being so rough," the Sphere began, "but I don't think anybody will recognize you now. You can take your book and find that "one believer" you were telling me about."

With a final wish of goodbye and good luck, the circle shrank back into a tiny point and then disappeared entirely. Despite all appearances, Albert felt he was not alone. He could feel the Sphere's presence hovering above him in dimensions undetectable to Flatland senses.

Albert went to pick up his book, noticing that his movements were strange and awkward. It seemed that although he had returned to Flatland, he had somehow been changed. Instead of lying in the plane as a square like he normally did, he was now lying perpendicular to the plane making his form appear as a long slender line.

Albert momentarily forgot the book in shock.

"I'm a WOMAN?!"