Though we were anxious to begin deeper investigation into Look to the Future which was briefly linked to the Twilight during our adventure in Boston, and their connection to New World, order of business turned to the Armitage letters and the one lead within which we could touch upon immediately. So, before returning to NY, a single day’s research by Theo and Will got us started, and Atwater and myself travelled to Arkam for a couple days to pay a visit to one of their meetings. I will summarize that subject in the Armitage Files. The others returned to NYC in the meantime on the 15th.
Atwater and I returned to NY on the 17th. Before I detail our major focus, one thing I shall note which seems of no real importance, but yet something intangible about the news trouble me. I can’t put my finger on it, only say that I have a deep feeling something greater and terrible will come of it in the future:
Awaiting Will at home in his mail was a letter from an acquaintance named Jackson Elias, a man whom Will assisted with research on an occult book. The postmarked Shanghai. Will’s description of Elias:
- An orphan, fiesty and tough but stable, from Stratford Connecticut. Unafraid of a fight.
- 38 years, dark complexion. Med build
- He and Will became good friends, and Will insists he would do much for the man. His relationships are unusual as Elias and his friends often do not see or speak for months or longer when he is working, though he is very social. Enjoys cigars and the occasional drink.
- Writings consentrate on death cults. His best known is Sons of Death about modern Thugee in India. Secretive about his projects until finished. His writing style implies first hand experiences. He writes much about cults’ powers of persuasion and manipulation of fear. He is a skeptic, however, of the supernatural and dark beings such as we combat as he has never seen it first hand. He says insanity and inadequacy characterize the death cults, drawing the weak minded to fill their inadequacies.
- Travels widely, a fine linguist. Mostly self educated.
- 1875 book on headhunters in Amazon; ’77 Masters of the Black Arts surveying historic sorcerer cults; ’78 The Way of Terror about use of fear by cults; ’80 Smoking Heard of which the first half details historic Mayan death cults and the 2nd present day Central American death cults; ’83 Sons of Death (he infiltrated the cult!!); ’85 Witch Cults of England about covens in 9 counties with interviews on practicing witches; ’86 The Black Power expanding on his terror/fear theme with interviews with anonymous cult leaders.
- All books published by Prospero Press of NYC, edited by Elias’ friend Jonah Kensington (Will has met him a few times).
Father Jon has actually read several of his works and finds them of high quality though they lack knowledge of the arcane.
The letter described how he has been doing research on a book in Central America and then at some point “stumbled upon a hornet’s nest” by gaining some kind of information on the Carlysle Expedition, and was now heading to Egypt. In this mysterious letter, Elias also asks Will to find a ‘good investigator’ if he can, for he may need a good investigative team. This was all very cryptic, for Will had no idea why Elias was in Shangai nor the reason for his investigating the Carlysle Expedition.
Something about this is…unsettling. Will felt the same, which is the reason he brought it to my attention first thing the morning after our return, moments after he first read the letter. I am going to review all of my articles on the expedition.
Recording missed much of this stuff on Elias.]
After some time getting our own affairs back in order, our next plan was Look to the Future, and by chance I received a letter at the office on Thursday the 24th from a David Lee of the city. He wrote a request for help, though he admittedly felt a bit silly and could not possibly involve the police as he has no hard evidence of criminal activity. He had heard of our previous exploits in Boston at Silver Twilight. Lee’s letter explained that he is a member of Look to the Future, apparently headed by a gifted alienist named Mr. Black. This Black believes in releasing men’s creativity by subjecting one’s mind to certain conditions. Attending meetings would apparently assure one of these great discoveries. Black stands at a podium while members meditate on certain geometric designs, handed out on paper to each member before hand. Black then chants invocations meant to bring about the ‘proper subconscious response’ then the attendees repeat a particular chant. It was a particular word in the chant which caused me to sit straight up instantly, though at the same time was really no surprise: ‘Yogsothoth’! This chant was repeated for an hour or so.
This obvious villain Black surrounded himself with thuggish arabs (why such an arab connection multiple times in our experiences?), and a man named Mr. Stanford!. No sooner had we lost him than another chance was dropped in our laps. The organization ran monthly meetings, regular seminars and guest speakers who typically try to push the members into joining other lodges, having even mentioned in particular, and multiple times over, the Silver Twilight as a wonderful choice!
Lee wrote that Look to the Future deals in strange items, and that his ‘health is deteriorating since joining the group. It may be nothing but other members have suffered the same. Black has very secretive ways, and his arab security is close to him, suspiciously close.’
Lee wished us to investigate the organization and either expose any fraud or prove otherwise so he could continue to receive these odd artifacts. Needless to say, all our attentioned seemed poised to turned to the eradication of Look to the Future.
I was able to relate some facts about Look to the Future when the others joined me for lunch at Atwater’s house, facts that I had up to this point held to myself, being of no immediate consequence previously:
- They opened their doors about 1 year ago
- One Byron Slim is the founder, having come from unknown territory west, and New World provided the initial investment to get him started
- The primary aim of Look to the Future is to help businessmen and the like
During our spare time over the weekend we spent time gathering further information on the order, though I sent a written reply to Lee that we would meet with him soon. We discovered the following pertinent information:
- Will talked to several other known members who also mentioned the odd artifacts the order has given to some members. One being a simple frying pan (given to our David Lee no less) with a wooden handle. Its amazing quality is that whatever you cook upon it simply slides around and can be slid off the surface. It does not stick. Another is a lighter with a small flint on top and some sort of roller which ignites it. Another is a pencil of sorts, housing a thin rod of led which can be slowly released as one uses it up by twisting part of the pencil itself. Absurdly, we all agreed these items seemed something futuristic. Even more absurd, but for our previous experiences this year, we were quite serious.
- A Mr. Black actually runs the meetings but is never seen outside of the ritual center, nor has he been seen even at the establishment but for directly before, during, and just after each meeting ceremony. Black and Slim have been seen together.
- Slim lives nearby in a 2 story house with several of his arab guards. It seems to be difficult to tell their numbers, for no one arab is with him for any extended period of time, as if they are being rotated in and out.
I, in disguise as but a street walker, cased the hall on Saturday, the day of their ceremony. The hall is an old warehouse, and guarded almost like a fortress by armed arabs, though they try not to be obvious about it.
Additionally, Atwater found in discussions with some of his collegues that 3 people who have gone to these meetings over the last year have died. Some strange and unexplained disease from which they could not recover, even in the hospital.
On Sunday the 20th, Atwater and Jack accompanied me to interview Lee.
Jack “I think the 3 of us should join this order.”
Myself “Is this going to become our modis operandi? We join evil organizations before destroying them from the inside?”
Myself “Hopefully Stanford doesn’t walk through the door. That would be quite the scene. Perhaps I should be in disguise.”
When we arrived we found Lee a sickly man, cheeks sunken. He was not well, and Atwater instinctively examined him.
Atwater “He has been eating, but is suffering from a total lack of energy. He hasn’t gotten any worse of late.”
Jack “That’s because he hasn’t been going to those meetings.”
He really could tell us no more than in his letter, except that he hasn’t been feeling nearly as bad since he stopped attending.
Myself “And others have suffered from this?”
Jack “People died from this?”
Lee “Died yes, but not from this. They suddenly get a fever and must go to the hospital. They then seem to get a bit better, then take a turn for the worse yet again. After hanging on for a few more days they die. 3 in the last year.”
Jack “That’s not very unusual. There are lots of sicknesses around that kill people like that. What if one of them had been travelling in South America and brought Malaria back?”
Atwater “It’s nothing like malaria.”
Lee “As well, the deaths happened months apart.”
Myself "Is this a social club at all, or just the ceremonies?
Lee “There is a social side, yes. Before the ceremonies. Then Slim leaves and returns soon after with Mr. Black. Slim then leaves before Black stands at the podium and it begins.”
Myself “How long had you been taking part before you first started feeling these effects?”
“I felt it from the very first time, looking back on it now. At that time I thought nothing of it, of course. The next meeting is in a week, I should tell you.” The same saturday of the seance, as it turned out.
Myself “Are there a lot of members who do not suffer any effects?”
“Any member I have spoke to has felt at least somewhat sick after these things.” Atwater offered to see him regularly for the near future.
We all met over dinner at Friday’s that evening, joined by Roosevelt, and we informed them of our exploits in Boston and what he had on our plate now.
Will “Maybe Slim and Black are targetting individuals, whether the choice is by design or by chance. That could be why although everyone feels some minor effect from the ritual, only some end up dead.”
Atwater “Lee hasn’t gotten any worse since he stopped attending. He also hasn’t gotten any better.”
Friday “Speaking for the police, we have come across nothing suspicous about them.”
Teddy “I’m sorry, I really can’t do anyting for you. We can’t just raid this place” he of course jumping straight into the idea of ‘action’.
Myself “We have no intention of simply raiding it. What we could use is any information you can get from your position. Civic records, building plans…”
Teddy “Ah, as far as building plans I can tell you now, no. The plans were quite private. The building was remodelled, by a company connected to New World. The first floor should be one large room, with stairs to a basement or something in the rear. This sublevel was not original. What it is, I have no idea.”
Friday “I would be happy to inteview some of the attendees.” He would do so in the next couple days, and find out the same we already have about the sickness.
Myself “They seem to be sucking energy from the members. I fear to keep someone or something alive, or bring some grotesque unspeakable thing forth.”
Teddy “It appears you will have to risk attenting a meeting.”
To my dismay, this seemed our only course of action. Friday volunteered to send his best undercover man to a meeting first. A detective Striebeck.
I also showed the others an ad I had come across in the paper during the day for open minded individuals desiring an experience in the supernatural to take part in a weekend at a haunted house in NE. The ad guaranteed results for the $50 fee.
Jack “Does the fee include transportation? And food?”
Myself “Yes, the carriage and caterring. And the guarantee of seeing a ghost, it appears.”
Jack “I say we do it.”
Myself “If so, Jon should as well. The afterlife is right up his alley.”
Jon immediately volunteered for the chance at a ghost.
Myself “Will, you could do a story on it for the paper.”
Will “I was thinking the same. I’m going to research this whole thing tomorrow.”
I will make this tale its own entry at a later date, or leave one of the others who were present to detail it, and move on with the Lee case and Look to the Future. Suffice to say, all 3 returned safely from a harrowing evening.
We decided that Jack being a businessman and union man had an easy in, since Look to the Future cattered to business men, as did I with the detective agency and Atwater with his private practice. We three were the perfect half of our group to stay behind and begin, and that solidified how we would split our forces. The question would be, would it be safe to even attend a meeting.
Saturday morning the 26th, Will, Jon and Theo accompanied by Cassandra departed for their haunted sleepover.
Theo of course requested “Jack, stay out of trouble” as we saw them off.
We met with Friday’s man Striebeck the following Sunday and he reported a terrible headache after his attendance at The Future the day before, and strange details of the chanting just as Lee informed us “Sure enough this Black started the ceremony, chanting nonsense syllables which the congragetion repeated some 45 minutes. Black stood changing, gesticulating and making strange noises. The man that seems to really run things is the that Mr. Slim, but he does not stay for the ceremony itself.”
Myself “What is the general mood of those there?”
“During the whole thing, some seem bored and others very excited. Afterward, many are lethargic and suffer from headache.”
Myself “What’s the sense of the inside?”
“But for a room behind the speaker’s podium maybe 10’ a side, it is all one large room. If they have anything to hide it’s downstairs. When it was all over, I was invited by Slim personally to dinner, him having noticed I was new.”
AAtwater “Did you go?”
“Yes. He was definately trying to pump me for information.”
The others returned from Corbus Wood.
On Monday, Friday gave us sad news: Striebeck had become very ill, very fast.
Theo “Great Buddha. So quickly?”
Friday “Yes. Not ill like Lee and the other attendees. He has a bad fever, chills, vomitting…”
Atwater “It could be the food at Slim’s dinner this time.”
Myself “Is he in the hospital?”
Friday “Yes. They say he wasn’t poisoned, he’s sick with something they have never seen before.”
We made straight for the hospital, and Atwater made a detailed examination of Striebeck. He said it was certainly an unknown disease.
Jack “He’s turning into a ghoul!”
Atwater “No, it is not ghoul fever. I will try all the tricks I know.”
Striebeck seemed to respond positively over the next few days to Atwater’s treatment. Friday was extremely angry, wrathfully so. Not at us, but at whatever was going on at the Future. He insisted we take it down as fast as possible, get him anything he could use to hit it.
Jon “Do we just want to raid it?”
Will “I think breaking in would be foolish, it being one large room with only one entranceway. The only way is to attend. Perhaps we should check on Slim where he lives? At his home.”
Jon “Go straight to the house, break in there.”
Jack “We don’t have time to wait long to make some kind of move.”
Will and I spent Tuesday and Wednesday taking turns casing Slim’s house. We quickly picked up on Slim’s pattern of going to the temple at the same time each day. 3 arab guards always accompanied him, while 3 others come from the temple to his house, leaving 3 at his residence at all times. He had no visitors at all, not even Black. He must be seen by no one at all but for prior to worship. The house is a 4square: 2 floors, each with 4 rooms.
On Thursday afternoon, Halloween, we made our move while Slim was away at the temple. I was the first to approach the builing, Theo with me. We circumnavigated the house first, seeing through the uncovered windows all 3 arabs: one in the entry room where the stairs up were, sitting in a comfortable chair with a strange looking rifle (it had a handle on top of it, was shorter than other rifles); another was cooking something in a pot in the kitchen; the last came downstairs as we watched, carrying pile of clothes into the kitchen which he dumped into a basket, then proceeded to sit in the living room playing a one-man game of cards. The cards had unusual symbols upon them. Soon the riflebearing guard yelled to him and they switched places, the former guard dozing on the living room couch.
Jack “Me, Wang and Father Jon can take out the guard with the rifle. You other 3 go in by the kitchen. Hopefully we can take them out quietly enough that the arab sleeping doesn’t wake up.”
Obviously, we didn’t follow Jack’s advice.
Myself “We can use the trellice to get into the upstairs and search while they are all downstairs.”
Will “Who should go inside?”
Jack of course volunteered, joining myself and Theo. Will kept watch at the front of the house while John watched at the corner should Slim arrive unexpected.
After climbing up the trellis as stealthily as we could, Jack, Theo and I entered through the window into the second floor hall. The plan was for myself to make a search, Jack at my side as Theo stood in the hall as guard. However, Theo insisted he heard a voice talking one of rooms. Listening at the door, he then signalled 2 people. We gathered at the door and Theo opened it every so slightly. There sitting at a desk was Stanford! The second voice seemed an image, for we could see through it as if he were a ghost!
Stanflrd “But Baron, we are doing the best we can.” The Baron Halktman!
Baron “This operation is becoming too obvious. We must close it down.”
Stanford “But Baron, Mr. Black is making progess all the time.”
Baron “Do you know how much of my energy it has cost me to come to you like this? That’s how important this is. I think you’ll find Mr. Black will agree with me. In the meantime my agents tell me your operations here have attracted the attention of you know who.”
Stanford “Those bumblers!”
Baron “Those bumblers have already closed down 1 of our most valuable recruiting centers.”
Stanford “Never fear. They are as good as dead. Baron, let me explain.”
Baron “Ever since the 1st crusade, I have heard men tell me that: ‘Let me explain’. And it is always just an excuse.”
We then backed off.
Jack “Should we call on the cops?”
Myself “Yes.” Jack moved for the window and signalled for Atwater, then told him to fetch Friday.
Theo and I got back to eavesdropping.
Stanford “Just a few more weeks. We’re so close.”
Baron “I’m not sure if the gains are worth the risk. We must still maintain a low profile. But all right. I will give you another month. Tell Mr. Black to drain them for all they’re worth!”
The figure then wavered and disappeared. This Baron must be able to ‘project’ himself to other places!
Outside, Atwater got Will, who sent Father Jon down the street. He flagged a beatcop in a few minutes and told him to get Friday immediately, “We have seen the wanted Carl Stanford of the Boston Silver Twilight.”
The reports from there, having been in the papers and much word of mouth, sent the officer running.
I searched the other room while Theo and Jack watched Stanford’s door. There was a message there, which was unusual in that it was typed in the most exact form I have ever seen. I dare say that anyone has seen. Moreso than any modern typewriter. It spoke of a ‘Belfagore in Scotland, reporting no success in finding the disc. He and the knights of the outer void may be forced to slay more intruders. Info received that the ark of vlaktos may be found in Ca. Still no reports from the Chilean island. FINISH’
Now we can add Chile and California to Scotland as part of this conspiracy! I pocketed the paper.
Friday now arrived at the house with trusted men, and I climbed down to meet him.
Friday “We still have no right to break in. How do we say you know he’s in there?”
We explain the situation inside, I assured Friday we could come up with a satisfactory story.
Myself “You take the lead going in. Wait for the arabs to head up after us.”
I climbed back up and we readied to hit Stanford, leaving Jack to guard the steps.
Jack “Kick the door down, Wang.”
Myself “Jack, stand off to the side, if they come up bullrush them onto one another so that they will be easy for Friday to capture.”
The door being unlocked as we knew, I simply threw the door open, Jack notwithstanding. Our plan was to attempt to capture him, since the law was present. So, Theo and I burst in. Stanford’s reaction time was like a flash, bordering on superhuman. Wang entered first but Stanford was prepared, reaching out and grasping Theo for only a second. Whatever arcane power he attempted to perform mostly failed, for Theo felt very weak suddenly, though only for a few seconds.
Theo struck out with a jumpkick, but Stanford deftly and calmly dodged with a smooth sidestep “After 400 years I have not the time to mess with the likes of you!”
I readied my shotgun for his next spell attempt, but he fled and smashed through the bedroom window. I fired after him but just missed as he ran. Outside, Atwater saw the glass smash out for only a foot or so before disappearing into thin air, and Stanford the same. Theo and I ran and looked out the window but were greeted by something entirely different.
Sulfur reaked, and all we could see was a redness in all directions, and a horde of small implike demons with blades scampering toward the window. As they came to within a few feet of entering out world, the gate closed instantly. Did we witness Hell itself?
2 of the arabs then came charging upstairs as Friday burst through the door. In a hail of bullets the 3rd arab went down. Jack sprang from the corner, shouldering the first arab up into his partner just behind him. Both went tumbling hard down the steps where the police and our other men came at them. The arab with the odd looking gun raised it and fired, sending an amazing spray of bullets out in seconds! 2 of Friday’s men fell before the arabs were shot dead.
About 10 arabs came from the Hall next door with Slim, who was demanding to know what was happening. Friday first began to explain he was harboring a fugitive. When we came to question you, your servants let us in then simply opened fire so we returned in kind.
Slim “Then my servants were only protecting my house.”
Friday “They were given every chance.”
Slim “If you wish you may search my house. There is no one there.”
To make a good show of it we did, of course finding nothing.
Upon seeing the broken window Slim “You broke my window. My servants certainly didn’t do it, so that leave you. I demand payment. But, to show no hard feelings I invite you to our meeting this Saturday.”
To which we agreed of course.
The gun is made of a strange, unknown material.
Friday “You need to be more careful when you call me in. This may have cost me my badge if it went a little worse. And it may have cost me 2 good men.”
I pulled Friday aside and reminded him as a friend of the extent of the danger and skill of the enemies we face. Victory will not always be total, enemies will escape, win battles, our side will lose heroes. He found this realization most depressing, but saw the truth in it.
We spent the time before in intense research:
Halktman is the latest Baron of a long line holding land in Germany. All the pictures of the family look remarkably different. German, then British, then Spanish. One of his family fought in the 1st crusade, one helped found the Teutonic Knight.
They have been involved in commerce for generations, and it appears one of their main financial encdeavors of today is a British company they seem to be stock holders in is…New World Limited. It is the equivenalt of the British East India Co., but though they have much business on earth they are biggest on Mars. They have their own army on Mars, like East India in India.
Their president, however, in an American from Chicago! Edward Chandler. One of most recognizable people in world, like a Carnegie. One of largest corporations in the world.
Sickly child, sent to Europe at 10 to private tutors. Father owned moderatelly successful tool manufacture in Chi. Had no boyhood friends after leaving Chi. When he returned at 18 he was healthy enough to enter business school at U of Illinois. On football squad, joined dad’s firm at mail delivery. Parents tragically killed in boat accident near San Francisco Bay, and he took over business. Overpowered opponents with ease, merging with a brit company as New World Limited. Instrumental in opening of Mars. He’s around 60, though looks more like 45.
Where in Europe was he? What were parents doing in san fran? The Stanford report did mention CA.
Will located a fraternity bro from Illinois living in NYC, who described Chandler as wierd, friendly, outgoing and popular. Got all women he wanted, wealthy (his parent’s company had taken off), handsome, charismatic. 1 wierd thing: one night we were throwing a party, but though he was not much of a drinker he drank a lot. Started talking about wierd things he’s seen, places gone and things read before coming to college, while he was in Germany with some German tutors. I’ll never forget some of the stuff he said, about going to a library beyond the stars! None of us believed him. After a few more drinks, he said he’d prove it. Bets went down and we kidnapped a coed, and “I don’t know what got into us..it was the wierdest thing. We took her to a park, tied her up to a rock, and he was about to cut her open! No joke, sir. When the police happened by and heard the commotion. We were all arrested.”
Myself “I should say. None of you tried to stop this madness?”
“It was like something took us over, we were all chanting toward the sky…”
Theo “Like a madness inside you.”
“Yes. We were chanting and I swear to you now, I know it was the alcohol, I could see the sky opening up above us.”
Theo “What did you see on the other side?”
“Nothing. And I thank god I saw nothing. Ifhave a feeling if I had I don’t think I wouldn’t be standing here today. It must have been the alcohol. The only word I can remember of the chanting was ‘Yogsothoth’. You won’t find any police record of this. All of our families were wealthy and everything got hushed up. I rarely spent time with him after that. He made me uncomfortable.”
Theo “It’s is very good you didn’t get to see.”
“I haven’t met with him in so many years, but have you seen pictures? He looks so much younger than me. He refered to himself as the child of destiny.”
That ended the interview.
As far as his parents deaths: it was reported as accidental drowning. The detective however retired soon after, and bought a very expensive house. In less than a year he was found dead in his bedroom with a look of horror on his face. Some clever doctor did note that the father’s lungs seemed to be full of fresh water, not saltwater of the ocean. Not a mark on his body, but the mother had bruising on shoulders and neck.
Theo “Seems like she was attacked and held under. Perhaps even deep ones.”
Myself “Perhaps he was killed by that spell Timmons tried to kill me with, but failed thanks to Will.”
Cassandra “Ah, a fine connection.”
Myself “One doesn’t soon forget almost spontaneously drowning.”
Saturday came, and we attended the meeting. We had no time to waste with the Baron’s demand to “suck them dry”. It needed to end today, or we would come to our ends trying. His resolve bolstered again, Friday stood at the ready close by with his trusted men.
At the meeting, Slim opened the rear doors and in stepped Mr. Black as Slim retired to where Black came from. From the first moment, we could feel a power from Black. He quickly put out his hands and ordered all to begin chanting. We only pretended of course. Theo meditated, and I heard Jon next to me mumbling the lord’s prayer which I then whispered with him.
We had arrived early, and had strategically gotten aisle seats. As all had their heads down, we began moving toward the stage. Then we could see a smoke, or fog, flowing from the people chanting and into Black. We then rushed the stage with desperation. People were going to die tonight, in numbers. Jon fired a shotgun shell into the air as I reached the stage first.
Myself “Enough of this Black.”
Black “What do you wish of me?”
Will reached me “Leave these souls intact.”
Black’s form changed from an older man to much younger, dressed like a Pharaoh of ancien Egypt! Behind me, Atwater and Jon each let out a wail of terror.
His ropes were of many colors, and a crown of gold that shined with a light of its own. He stood proudly and deitylike, with a capricious look of humor upon his countenance.
Myself “Your work here is over.”
“You have tried to stop the great ones, whom it is unlawful for men to fight.”
Theo “We fight to the end!”
“They with the powers from outside bring chaos and horrors for you, John Westinghosue. Forget not this warning lest horrors unthinkble suck you into the gullet of shrieking madness. Remember the other gods, theyare great and mindless and terrible. And lurk in the outer voids. They are good gods to avoid. Pray to all space that you may never meet me, in my thousand other forms. Farewell John Westinghouse and beware, for I AM NYARLATHOTEP, THE CRAWLING CHAOS!”
Face to face with him we were, the real thing in front of us! Who, even Archimedes, will ever believe this?
He waved his arms calmly, and all the crowd suddenly fainted. We stood, knowing we were helpless if he wanted to destroy us all.
“These others are of no importance. It’s to you and your henchmen that I speak now.”
Myself “Your work here is done for now. Leave NY.”
“I have a thousand faces.”
Myself “I know this. The Bloody Tongue, The Bloated Woman…”
“Oh John, you know so much, yet so little.”
“I know, I accept that.”
“Don’t you understand, I was once like you. You could be like me. You all could.”
Jon “Are you trying to bribe him?”
“All of you.”
Myself “You were human?” Apparently, he wasn’t here to answer questions.
“Don’t you understand my plan?”
Myself “No, but I hope to one day.”
“Then you will rule with us.”
Myself “I do not wish to rule with you.”
“Then you will serve, or you will die. You think I seek to bring back these Things, these Old Ones? If I do or if I don’t that is not my plan. My plan is to make men like gods. You’ll be free of all restraints, you will be the same as gods. You will eat the food of the gods. Join me John Westinghouse.”
Myself “I will not. These people do not look like they were becoming gods.”
“Then you will die. You will all die. You and your kind play an interesting game.”
Myself “Happy to be of service to you.”
“So long as you stay interesting, you may live. Become boring…”
Myself “We’ll try to stay interesting to you, then.”
“Then for now, these who worshipped me (motions to the crown), are yours.” And with that, he turned to walk away. With one or 2 steps he seems to have walked far, far away. A deceptive effect like vertigo. With that the great power vanished.
It took a minute or 2 for us to gather our senses and regain our backbones, at which point we called on Friday and loaded for bear. When we reentered in force, to find Slim on the stage with 6 of his arabs. We approached.
Slim said in astonishment “You’re still alive? Oh Dark One, great Nyarlathotep! Strike down the infidels for us who worship you!” When nothing happened, he seemed very confused, and for a moment still waited for us to be destroyed.
Myself “Arrest this man.”
Friday, Atwater and myself spoke aside as the rest held kept them covered.
Fiday “So what’s the charge, John? We need a story. We can’t really arrest him for anything.”
Atwater “We need a trumped up charge.”
We could see that some of the crowd, though alive, did not escape the ordeal mentally unscathed. Some were insane or well on their way.
Myself “Atwater’s a doctor, he can say they were drugging the members which was driving them insane. Atwater can be named there official doctor for recovery, and can make the regular check ups so no other doctor can question it. I can add additional psychological analysis.”
Friday “So we’re going to say the insane here were driven so by Slim.”
Myself “And his men Black and Stanford who escaped. How does that sound, Friday?”
Friday “I’m down 2 good officers. That works for me.” He turned to Slim “You’re under arrest.”
Slim began raving with an insane look in his eyes “My god has forsaken me. Die infidels! Kill!” He then dived behind the podium, and Friday’s men drew there revolvers and fired. The podium must have been lined with metal however, for it was bulletproof. A general battle then began.
Jon and I opened with double barrel blasts, Jon killing one while I wounded my target severely. Friday and his 4 men present then fired, Friday wounding his on the calf. Jack let loose with a single barrel and blew one to hell. The arabs each fired 4 shots in rapid fire succession, winging one officer and dropping another. Will then dropped another with his shotgun, while Atwater hit his as well. Theolonius rushed onto the stage after our first volley ready to engage in melee.
I drew my revolver and hit my man again as Jack’s second barrel hit another. Jon killed another man instantly with his second barrel. The arabs fired rapidly again, and one of Friday’s men hit the floor wounded. Atwater was on him in a flash and the brave man would live. On stage, Theolonius would say later he felt 2 attempts by this point at some sort of arcane attack upon him, but both failed. At the first he felt a tinge of heat for, the second he was sure Slim was trying to dominate his mind. We are lucky he went after Brother Theo, who is surely our most resistant man. Theo now grappled Slim easily and held him immobile.
Jack, drawing his revolver, missed an arab as Atwater drew his swordcane and charged. The arabs threw their guns to the floor and drew their curved arab daggers. The 2 remaining arabs looked at Theolonius for a second, then one said to the other “He’s only a chinaman. The great sorcerer Slim will destroy him.” They then began moving toward us until one saw Father John baring down upon him with his blade. The arab promptly turned and ran for the back of the building. Jon joined battle with the last arab, already wounded by my gunfire, as we followed the fleeing man into the rear room. He made short work of him, so we waited for he and Theo to join us.
Slim began yelling “My altar, stay away from my altar!” Jon promptly smashed it open and broke it to pieces. Inside, 2 books: Old California and The Catacysm of the Knights of the Outer Void.
The rear room led us downstairs to a hallway, where 2 arabs ambushed us with another rapid fire assault using their strange rifles. Jack and Theo were leading the way so took the brunt of the attack, leaving Jack bleeding. Theolonius’ lead punch missed, but leaving himself open thanks to firing his rifle in such close proximity, the arab was then hit with a kick to the kidney. Atwater and Jack (point blank) both missed the other man with their revolvers. Will and I both struck him with our revolvers as Jon between us and slashed him with his sword. They pulled daggers but our men were far more skilled. Jack began fighting back with his own daggers, joining Jon and Theo in the melee. Atwater sent an expert shot into the fray, gashing the head of Jon’s man. Our men were far superior, and in seconds the arabs were dead. Behind where they sprung out of we found 2 passages. Taking the first it turned on itself several times before ending at a door. Behind the door stood 2 more arabs. Atwater dropped one with both barrels as the other wildly fired his rapid fire rifle back and somehow missed completely. These men were obviously no experts with these futuristic weapons. My shotgun blast finished him off.
Another door lay behind them, to another corridor and 3 more doors. In the first we found 2 more arabs behind an overturned table. Jon and I returned fire from the cover of the doorway as the wounded Jack charged! He stabbed one badly in the chest on his initial rush. As Jack’s man started to fire a burst at Jack, he was cut again. Jon rushed the other and ran him through with his sword, killing him. Jack was struck twice by the burst but was amazingly only grazed. Jack and Jon made quick work of him, after which Jack seemed reinvigorated (card). We found 2 more rifles, each with 24 clips of ammo. In total now, 8 rifles and 46 clips of ammo.
Jack decided to pick up one of these rifles and try it out against the enemy. The second room had a strong but odd organic scent to it. A large steel tank almost filled the room, with electrical wiring and numerous dials, levers and valves but no apparent opening.
The third room held a lab/storage room and racks of vials filled with a grayish brown liquid. After examining the liquid, Atwater recalled a smudge on Lee’s arm which looked exactly like this liquid. We planned on taking several vials with us before leaving. They may lead to a cure.
Friday then arrived with Slim, saying the crazy man would show us a secret door. After telling Friday to stay put with him, we continued our search of this basement. The next room we fought 2 more arabs in a room housing several machines surely from far in the future which must have been the source of the exacting printouts. Jack tried to let loose with the future rifle he took from one of the dead arabs. Nothing happened. I killed one with a double barrel, and the other fired his future rifle hitting Jon. Jack pulled his revolver and grazed him, I missed with my revolver and Jon cut him down with his sword. The bullets which missed during the fight destroyed the future-machines, sending sparks flying. There was also a box, like the one we took from the Twilight HQ and now resided at my office.
Atwater “I wonder if they are connected?” If so, inside this box is where father Jon’s head would have appeared.
We returned to find that Friday had taken Slim into the room with the giant vat. Why, I cannot imagine.
Myself “Friday, I told you to keep him in the hall.”
Joe “Ok my fellow, show us…”
Myself “TELL us what opens your secret door.”
Slim pointing to a lever at the wall “Step over there and pull the lever.”
Jon walked right over and yanked it as I said “Don’t”.
It was followed by a sound of escaping steam and a loud buzzing as the lights began to flicker. The top of the vat slid open. From inside an amorphous mass began expanding outward. The sight of this grotesque affront to nature was terrible, and Jack and Atwater reacted the most appalled of us all. All of our minds edged closer to madness.
Then, the lights went out but for some red lights, we assumed emergency lights. This thing must have been generating the power. Those of us who had matches lit them. It was still oozing out over the edges
We ran for the exit upstairs and found it blocked by a steel door.
Slim, who Friday was still dragging with him, “If the containment is breeched and the Shaggoth is released, the doors automatically close to keep it contained.”
Atwater “How do you open it?”
Slim “You can’t.”
Atwater finished the fiend off with his swordcane as I looked at Jon.
Myself “I tried to tell you!”
Friday “Let’s see how much it has grown.”
The room was now about half full of this Shaggoth abomination, a thing in its total almost indescribable. It was faintly self luminous, and was covered in bubbles and eyes. These eyes formed and unformed all over its outside constantly, an outside of living black rot.
Theo “They are immortal. Remember, they were created by the Eldar Things we met in Antarctica. They rebelled against the Things. We cannot hope to defeat it! They are far too powerful! The only men ever known to have survived them are those who have fled!”
We closed the door to the room. In the meantime we gathered 10 of the rifles, all the bottles of the liquid and rifle ammunition we could carry, Jacks pants bulging with the clips. I ran to check for more printouts or notes in the printer room and took what was there to look at more closely later.
Atwater “Let’s try to force the door open.”
Myself “I doubt it. If we could get out, the Shaggoth could. And the door is meant to keep it here.”
Friday “I don’t think we’re getting out through the door.”
Atwater “Were there any airvents?” There were not.
Jon in desperation“All right Nyarlathotep! We’re trying to be interesting here and you’re letting us down!”
Atwater “The box! It’s large enough to fit through!”
Friday “It could lead to hell for all we know.”
“If it goes to our box I’m destroying ours!”
Myself “It’s our only chance!”
Friday “Who’s first then?”
Jon led the way through and disappeared. A horrible scream from the otherside startled us for a moment, until I heard my secretary “Where did you come from!” and then she fainted in front of Jon.
A loud noise, and banging in the computer room began as Will, Atwater, and Friday went through. As Theo went, the Shaggoth burst the door to the room open. Jack turned lept too quickly, jamming himself for a moment until Theo pulled him free. I passed just as it released pseudopods at me, making it no doubt by inches. Atwater hurriedly pulled me through, but the pseudopods followed! Jon quickly went to work with his shotgun, blasted the box apart and closing the gate, leaving the slice tentacles in my office.
We were safe, the adventure at an end. Cassandra says we can not take Nyarlathotep at his word, though there is always truth hidden in his lies. Make men like gods? He used to be like us? We do know there are sects that believe he was the first human to ascend to a godhood. Is it all figurative? Or is it even more tricky than that. No matter what, it is interesting how much he seems to play around with humans. Though he causes so much suffering and death, then lets us go and leaves the entire crown alive. He is a true enigma, which may make him the most dangerous of all.
The future rifles are another issue. Tampering with time and the future’s influences on the present seems to me a tenuous thing. It is my belief these weapons should be secreted away, never to be seen or used again. At least until they are invented in their own time. We found other oddities surely of the future, all of which will be destroyed or hidden away. On a side note, the entire place was lit by electricity.