AN: Enow, another piece to add to the puzzle.

Disclaimer: Tanigawa-san owns every character you've read in the books/seen in the anime/manga/various Haruhiistic paraphernalia. I own a computer and a will to write fanfics involving them.

Chapter 1: In Soviet Russia, Time Travels YOU!!

It was an afternoon like any other. Which meant, of course, that if you were, like myself, trapped in a bizarre, officially unrecognized, rag-tag club consisting of Agent Smith's niece, Aphrodite and Cronus' lovechild, Edgar Cayce's clone, all commanded by God's own evil twin sister, then you have as bad luck as I do. Then again, there's really no other place on this planet where you will find such a weird collection of individuals. Hell, maybe in this entire universe.

Reading a book in her usual seat at the table was Yuki Nagato. Once more, she had her full attention sitting somewhere between the pages of her thick hardback book, which this time, appeared to be some kind of Russian sci-fi. Gods know who wrote it or what it was about, but one thing was certain: it was enough to acquire her interest. Her present, and indeed, practically permanent, frozen composure would put even the gargoyles of Notre Dame to shame.

Performing her duties as the official maid was Mikuru Asahina. To anybody concerned, brewing and serving tea was normally not the most prominent task given a maid, but I suppose, like just about everything else when it came to this organization, the definition of a maid's priorities here were an exception. It's not like I'm complaining. Asahina-san's tea… it's not normal either… in a good light, that is. This stuff has been kissed by angels, blessed by fairies, and taste tested by the expert tongues of those who dwell in Valhalla. A little flowery, I know, but she deserves every bit of flattery I can muster!

On his latest of Othello losing streaks against me would be Itsuki Koizumi. Words cannot describe my utter… contempt… no, that wasn't it… rage… hatred… I give up. Let me restate that: Words cannot describe how negatively I feel about this fellow. Not only do I suspect that he knows these things, I also suspect that he's into provoking them. Why? Well, who knows, really? Why should I bother attempting to understand a conundrum as vague as this relatively handsome face, constantly polluted by a perpetual pseudo-smile?

And ranting off about some new, mad scheme that she planned to initiate as soon as inhumanly possible, was none other than our very own resident insane dictatress, Haruhi Suzumiya. My first impression of her was a weird, but nevertheless striking girl. The three mentioned beforehand have given me their own impressions, as well. A post-human capable of rewriting the very code that the universe is made of, a crack in the time-space continuum, and, most laughably, God. My current impression? Frankly, I don't give a damn which one of them is right. My own personal opinion dictates that this girl is the very bane of my existence.

So you ask me, what am I doing here with this group of weirdos, attending to her every whim then? Honestly, I haven't got a clue. As far as I can tell, I'm the only person here who's even remotely normal. Hey, maybe it's just like those American sitcoms. They all have a token black guy. In the case of this wild world I live in? That makes me token black… or rather, token normal.

"Remember! We meet here tomorrow at 9AM sharp! You all had better be here on time, because if not…" Haruhi slit her neck with a finger before passionately shaking her fist in the air as she finished whatever the hell she was talking about.

Something about a sequel to that blatant Asahina-san publicity stunt. And… shooting? Oh God. I glanced over at the troubled protagonist, who seemed far from ecstatic at the announcement. There has got to be a way out of it. Maybe I haven't tried out every option yet.

"Meeting is adjourned!"

This announcement was further reinforced by the abrupt shutting of Nagato's hardback, which we sort of had a silent agreement on as the official declaration to the end of any of the SOS Brigade's so-called 'meetings'.

As I rose from my seat, slinging my bag over my shoulder, I was suddenly pulled back by a powerful force. Three guesses whose grip that was.

"I left the key in my shoe locker. Stay here until I get back."

And just like that, I stood there with a scowl, watching the departure of all members of this madhouse… all of them but me. Haruhi slammed the door shut, leaving me alone in this room that Koizumi had once elaborated to have become, in layman's terms, a den of evil. All that was missing now was the psycho killer doll.

I sighed, resigning myself to this fate. No matter what I did, there was simply no way out of it.

For what seemed an eternity, though it probably lasted no longer than two minutes, I stood there, looking at the door, until, just as expected, the inevitable happened. The barrier between this cursed club room and the hallway burst open, as Haru- what the hell? Asahina-san! What are you doing here? And why are you shoving doors open like Haruhi? Standing before me, in all her finery and glory, was none other than Mikuru Asahina (big).

The strongest evidence of Asahina-san being a time traveler, I first mistook this goddess as her own older sister. I know, that sounds confusing, but I'm still pretty confused myself. After about… three meetings – one in May, and another two on July 7th three years ago – I still don't fully get this whole time clone concept.

Asahina-san (big) plopped down into a chair panting, perhaps to relax her tired, delicate self after running at a rate of what seemed to be eighty eight miles an hour. "Kyon-kun, there's something that I must tell you. It's currently my first priority."

"Is that why you were in such a rush?"

"Yes."

Sorry to sound… mean… but I've got another incentive for you, actually. Haruhi will be back here any minute with the club room keys, and she'll probably freak out if she sees you in here.

"Suzumiya-san returning is the least of my worries, Kyon-kun," she answered, full bosom still heaving from this stressful physical activity called running, which, last time I checked, she wasn't really used to, "She is, however, the reason for my hurry."

"End of the world as we know it?"

"You can say that." Asahina-san (big) reached for a conveniently placed glass of water and took a long sip. For somebody who was in a real hurry, she sure took her time. "I don't have much time left, so I'll get straight to the point. Suzumiya-san is out to get me."

I'm sorry. Can you say that again? There must be something in my ear, because I think I just heard you say that Haruhi was after you.

"You're not mistaken, Kyon-kun. Suzumiya-san is…" this time traveler, currently cosplaying as a teacher, was interrupted as an expression that could only be read by others as pure agony appeared on her face. Asahina-san (big) gritted her teeth and clutched her chest, as though she had been shot… come to think of it, is that blood I see spreading out on her dress from the spot her hand was covering? Impossible! How did that happen? Her condition only worsened and she coughed up enough red to fill a shot glass.

Seeing nothing better to do, I hugged her protectively, holding tight. Whatever was happening to her, it sure as hell wasn't good. And then, one of the strangest things I've experienced so far happened. I could swear that my whole body fell through her, hit the chair she was sitting on, and a split second later, I found myself on the floor. When I looked up, every last trace of that gorgeous angel was gone.

Alright, Haruhi, what's the meaning of this!? What did Asahina-san ever do to you that you now persecute her into oblivion!? I swear… if I ever get to ask her that question, I'm going to squeeze the answer out of her like an angry dishwasher does to his sponge. There was nothing left on that chair. The blood that had splattered onto my uniform was gone. Was I hallucinating? That can't be right. The door was still ajar from when she pushed it in, so it couldn't have been a dream.

I let out another sigh of defeat as I got up to return the door to its previously closed state. Almost immediately afterward, somebody knocked. Knowing Haruhi, she would just kick it in or something. Probably somebody or another having forgotten his or her things… I looked around to see what it could have been. Looks like everybody's gotten what they'd need, so… The knock came again. "Alright, alright! Gimme a sec."

A flabbergasted look formed on my face as I set my eyes on whoever it was on the other side of the door. Not only was the man tall, burly, and thickly bearded, he also wore an outfit that gave me the impression that he was cosplaying or something. Dull gray trench coat, black boots (at least I think they were boots. The trench coat was long enough to hide most of them), and even an ushanka, or whatever they were called. That Russian fur hat thing. Now the scariest part of his costume? He was pointing some kind of Russian-looking pistol at me.

"You have minute," he asked.

Actually? If I had to answer that? No. You don't have a minute either. Haruhi will be back any second now and-

"It was not question," he stuck the pistol in my gut, cold of its steel penetrating my uniform. "It was declarative. You have minute. Now let me in."

Sure, sure! Just don't shoot me with that thing. I watched the man enter and survey the club room as I stepped out of his way. There was no doubt about it. The man was definitely a hundred percent stereotypical Russian. Right down to that was he moved, which, I could only describe as… stereotypically Russian. Sort of like what I saw on TV or read in manga when I was younger. Hard to explain and comprehend while reading, but when you saw it, you knew exactly what it was. He looked at me with those cold Russian eyes, grabbing a chair and pushing it in my general direction.

"Now, you take seat." He pointed the gun at me again. This was getting really old.

I began sweating as I complied, keeping a wary eye on that gun. Okay, you've got me, Russkie. One problem, though. I don't have any money left on me. So what're you gonna do now? You might as well pull that trigger and get it over with. I could imagine how bad I looked when my face cracked upon seeing him oblige and pull. I was definitely not prepared for the end! I mean, come on! I'm not even sixteen! What a way to go… shot to death in the place you hate the most, by somebody who dressed like the Soviet Union was still alive too! My eyes shut in reflex.

The feeling of death was certainly not what I expected. It was wet… very wet. I opened my eyes. Death certainly looked no different from life. The Russian was still sitting down in that other chair he had grabbed earlier, even, holding that gun in his hands. Wait a second. I touched my uniform. Heeeeey… the Russian shot me again. This time, I didn't flinch. It was then that I saw that it was red water that shot out of the barrel, not a killer bullet. The whole thing was a prank! After all these months of serious, world-devastating crap that I've been through, I actually became engrossed enough to think that everything that was out of the norm was real! "What the HELL was that for!?"

"Makarov is usually loaded with 9mm bullets," he said matter-of-factly. "But this one is just toy." He cracked up at this point, and started laughing.

Hey! It's not funny! Do you have any idea how hard it is to clean this? And it's red! Even if I wasn't really shot, I look like I spilled red wine on my shirt or something! He continued his fit of heavy Russian laughter. And can you tell me who you are now?

"Ah, can man not have his fun?"

"You've had your damn fun! Now start talking before Haruhi comes back and kills BOTH of us!" If it weren't for the fact that I knew Haruhi wasn't the kind of pull off this kind of stunt (though I can't really be too sure, really), I would've mistaken this Russian to be her in disguise. And who the hell is he anyway? What's he doing in this place of ultimate damnation?

"Very well then, Comrade Ivan," he finally said, "Since you have point there, I will talk."

Ivan? When did my name become Ivan?

"Ivan is Russian for John. And unless I am mistaken, you are John Smith, da?"

Oh, I get it. Another Haruhi fan, right?

"Da."

"Okay," I sighed in both relief and anxiety, Haruhi's impeding return still flashing as a warning in my mind. "I'm listening."

He tucked the silly toy gun in his trench coat. "My name is Leonid Brezhnev."

Leonid Brezhnev… the Communist Party leader?

"No, of course not!" He raised his hands defensively as he laughed at my deduction. "Though it is very interesting coincidence, is it not?"

Considering, how 'interesting' my life has become in the past half year or so, I wouldn't be surprised if you were actually the reincarnation of the other Leonid Brezhnev. So I got a name. Now who are you, exactly?

Brezhnev cleared his throat. "I am Comrade Mikuru Asahina's direct superior."

"I thought her direct superior was her older self."

"Da. But I am direct superior of Mikuru Asahina that is direct superior of Mikuru Asahina who is boarding in this time plane."

At that moment, I really wished I had a rewind button, because I could hardly understand what he was saying. And speaking of Asahina-san…

"Do not worry, Comrade Ivan. She is safe."

Safe? I just saw her display clear signs of internal hemorrhaging, and then promptly disappear before my eyes, and you're telling me she's safe? What time plane are you from anyway?

"Classified information."

Gah… withholding vital information must be some kind of SOP for you guys, isn't it?

"Not really. I have authorization to divulge it to you. I simply choose not to."

Okay, so you're now bragging. I nervously stared at the clock. Is it just me, or is it taking Haruhi forever to get back? Maybe she left the keys somewhere that wasn't in her shoe locker? It was at least five minutes since she had left already. Knowing her, she should have been here three minutes ago. I stole another glance at Brezhnev, who now had his legs crossed, elevated boot swinging around idly. Oi, don't you have any concern at all about being discovered? And what about Asahina-san? How is she 'safe'?

"If you insist on knowing, Comrade Mikuru is in Lockdown Zone."

Lockdown Zone? What the hell is that supposed to be? The latest revival of that crazy old anthology series or something?

Again, Brezhnev laughed and looked at his watch. "Let's just say that it is our failsafe in protecting against time travel-based assassinations. But now, down to more important business."

Not until you tell me just what exactly this 'Lockdown Zone' is! I'm not listening until I can guarantee beyond a doubt that Asahina-san is safe!

"Fine then. Your loss."

What is it with you and checking your damn watch? Not that I've got a complaint, I mean, I'm busy checking the wall clock too. Haruhi taking so long to get here is already starting to bother me.

"Lockdown Zone is crack in Space-Time Continuum that was created almost… sixteen years ago, in relation to my time plane. It is space that exists outside time, and outside Space-Time Continuum in general. Sending person there will erase him from space-time continuum, thus keeping him safe from time travel-based assassination."

Wait, that doesn't sound right. If that's the case, then wouldn't you be erasing him from history, and causing all kinds of paradoxes that will result in the destruction of the universe as we know it? Or at least, that's what some sci-fi shows and manga tell me. I realized then that I was just asking to get myself into another one of those overly complicated discussions that these crazy people seemed to love giving me.

"They do not take into account Law of Self-Consistency. By this law, natural side-effect of ejecting somebody from Space-Time Continuum and into Lockdown Zone is creation of Chronospatial Stability Duplicate."

Great… more pieces of technobabble. What's that last one supposed to mean?

"Copy of ejected person with unalterable history." My raised eyebrow prompted him to simplify it even more. "Think of it this way: if ejected person is CD-RW with changeable history, then CSD is CD-R which cannot be rewritten. And no, there is no multisession option."

Honestly, I still had a hard time grasping just what exactly he was talking about. "So what happens when say, I try shoot that copy?"

"Bullet will pass through."

"So it's not solid?"

"Nyet. Copy is solid. But because in original timeline, person was not shot, then copy will not be affected if you try shooting."

I think I'm starting to get it. Starting. "But if that's the case, then why isn't there a copy of Asahina-san (big) talking to me right now?"

"Haruhi Suzumiya has found way to partially bypass Law of Self-Consistency, and has managed to erase Chronospatial Stability Duplicate from continuum. Related memories remain, however, as she is aware that completely bypassing Law of Self-Consistency will be end of world as we know it."

Haruhi? Concerned about keeping things in order? Since when did that happen?

"Since three and half years ago."

"What?" That was the least sensible statement anybody had ever given me today. Three and a half years ago was practically when she started threatening the world, and now this crazy time travelling Russkie's telling me the opposite? What's going on here?

"I am glad you asked, Comrade Ivan. That way, we can get straight to point, because I only have ten minutes before Haruhi Szumiya catches on to me."

"Okay, buddy. Tell me just how the hell you know that." Haruhi is as unpredictable as that hurricane some years ago. How can you just predict her movements like that?

Brezhnev signaled me to stand, and I followed him to the door. My eyes widened as he opened it and pointed at the portion of the hallway to the left of the club room. There she was, our mysteriously late Brigade Commander, Haruhi Suzumiya, with her keys as well. She seemed frozen, with her limbs splayed out – right arm hooked forward, left arm dragging back, torso leaning forward with her right foot planted into the floor, left leg dangling behind her. Even her skirt was defying the laws of physics, suspended in midair with the rest of her body. It was as though I were looking at a photo-finish picture taken somewhere or something. "What the…"

"Temporal expansion bubble," Brezhnev explained. "It will take her approximately one hour to arrive at door."

But you tell me you only have ten minutes. What's the deal with that?

That time traveler, now I'm certain he was cosplaying as a stereotypical Soviet Russian, returned to his chair and motioned for me to sit. Why bother? I thought you only had ten minutes on you.

"Now we get to whole point of my visit."

Finally. I hope you can explain all these crazy inconsistencies that have been piling up since I was first left alone here this afternoon. Hey, can you do me a favor and start at the beginning?

"Not problem. It all started three summers ago, in relation to this time plane."

"Tanabata?" If I had to pay another goddamn visit to that night again, I swear, I'm going to go nuts. I don't even want to count how many times I went back to relive that same summer heat, that same darkness, and that same sanity-tearing sensation of knowing that you were, yet again, living through the same moments of your life, in a different body.

"Da. Specifically when you interacted with Haruhi Suzumiya as John Smith."

Wait… so it's my fault now? In case you've forgotten, it was your idea to send me back there, which, in retrospect, wasn't all that bad, since I was able to use it to get out of a scrape last Christmas season.

Brezhnev raised his hands in defense. "Easy, Comrade Ivan! I am not pointing any accusing fingers! I am just stating fact. Yes, it started with John Smith, and yes, it was also our fault. We made serious gamble on you that day."

You were… gambling… on me?

"Da. You see, we use ultra high-tech computer to assist in all our decision-making, but ever since almost four years ago, when Haruhi Suzumiya first started causing us trouble, computer's predictions have become… much less reliable than hoped for."

Aha. So basically, it's Haruhi's fault after all. Just what I expected. And as usual, it's my great burden to bear the crucifix of saving the world from her stupidity. Why does my life keep getting more predictable?

"You can say that."

"Tell me more about this gamble."

"Computer predicted minimal side-effects should you interact with Haruhi Suzumiya as John Smith. But since computer's predictions are generally wild card, then we were taking calculated risk. At the end of day, we lost gamble."

Some kind of side-effect? I wonder if this has anything to do with her unstable mentality. I looked at the clock. He had a few more minutes.

"Nothing like that, Comrade Ivan. Rather, side-effect is more dangerous. It caused timeline to branch out into infinite number of subordinate timelines, each with own you, me, Comrade Mikuru, but most importantly, own Haruhi Suzumiya."

And I assume, each of them is as much of an all-powerful pain in the ass as that one 'running' outside?

"You assume correct."

Well that's just great. An infinite number of Haruhi's. How could this get any worse?

"Within span of three and half years, approximately fifty percent of them have become self-aware."

Okay… now… how could things get any worse now? Wait… how the hell can you calculate 'fifty percent' of infinity?

"Partial Infinity, Comrade Ivan," the crazy Russkie said. "It is complicated mathematical concept that you will not perfect until another five hundred years. So don't even try comprehending."

I'm already having a hard time comprehending the rest of my life, so don't worry. I'm not crazy enough to give myself even more things incomprehensible. But back to my previous train of thought, how can it possibly get any worse than that?

"Approximately ten percent of self-aware Haruhi Suzumiya's have decided to use their powers to conquer their worlds."

Again, I would love to ask how you can calculate percentages of infinity so easily, but I'd rather not. And you know what? I'm not going to ask if there's anything worse than this, because chances are, it somehow is.

"Out of all these, only one Haruhi Suzumiya has undertaken actions that indicate awareness of existence of multiple other timelines." Brezhnev slammed his fists onto the table. "It is this Haruhi Suzumiya that we must all be wary of. She appears intent on taking over all timelines based on branching out from three and half years ago."

Gee, what makes you think that?

"Haruhi Suzumiya 738 has nullified powers of all other timelines except this one. Base timeline."

"I know this is going to sound stupidly obvious, but… why?"

"Baseline Haruhi Suzumiya, unlike all others, is unique in that she dreams."

Everybody dreams. At least… last time I checked, that was the case.

"Baseline Haruhi Suzumiya talks to her dreams."

"Okay, now you lost me." I was really starting to lose interest in this whole conversation, since, aside from the fact that there was one Haruhi out there who was planning world universal domination or something, there was nothing more to talk about. To be frank, this whole situation seemed… clichéd… Brezhnev's explanation was far beyond me, and he even gave a reprimand, hitting me with some kind of pejorative Russian name-calling that apparently insulted my intelligence. Hell should I care. All this talk about multiple timelines, 'Partial Infinity', 'Quad Infinity' (which is something he described as more than just 'Infinity times four', but a complicated set of quadrangles, quadratic equations, quintuple matrices, all using base-four numbers, which he said somebody from my time plane could understand, but not me, because I was a… whatever the hell that pejorative Russian term that insulted my intelligence was), 'Exact Infinity', and all other kinds of infinite multiples has gotten my brain overloaded.

"For god sakes, just tell me what the hell I have to do to fix this problem!"

Instead of answering me directly, he looked at his watch (again!). "Unfortunately, I do not have enough time to give you direct answer, so, like everybody you know, I will leave you with extremely vague, cryptic, and downright puzzling clue to help you with your problem."

Great… more vague, cryptic, and downright puzzling clues. Like I haven't been given enough of those these days. Why can't you just give the damn solution already?

"My time is almost up. Haruhi Suzumiya will detect my signal if I do not leave soon." He hurried out of his chair and made his way to the door, stopping to give me what I've been expecting. "Search for Scribe. Only Scribe can help you now." Brezhnev gave a weird smirk before saying one last thing, which… I should have seen coming, but somehow didn't, before slamming the door shut behind him. "And remember! In Soviet Russia, time travels YOU!!"

I sighed and cupped my face in my palms. There was no way I was going to be digesting that information dump. Two seconds later, Haruhi burst through the door and started accusing me of falling asleep while on guard duty. Since when did you put me on guard duty? Ugh… I hate this day so much.

TBC…

AN: I fear that this chapter might have degraded into a pointless plot dump. Considering how most of the other people who talk to Kyon do it, however… well, they always do plot dumps, wouldn't you think? Sorry if it dragged on. I'll try to make the next one better.