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- 1 Asylum Diary Entries
- 2 Forest Diary Entries
- 3 Arctic Diary Entries
- 4 The Game Master
- 5 Gallery Asylum Diary Entries
- 6 Gallery Forest Diary Entries
- 7 Gallery Arctic Diary Entries
- 8 Gallery The Game Master
Asylum Diary Entries[edit | edit source]
Jacqueline Strine[edit | edit source]
September 22nd 1911
Though the journey from London has worn me through to my bones I still felt a thrill of excitement sweep over me as we approached Alexandra Asylum's gates. Maton Joan was right, it's an imposing gloomy affair but amongst the rugged landscape of Skye it's a minor blight that I can tolerate. The Matron also bent my ear with other rumours that supposedly escape this place, but I won't pay any heed to her, she always was one to rabbit.
Upon arrival, my new superior, Doctor Freed wasted no time in informing me of my duties and showed me around the first and second floors, but prohibited me from ever venturing to the third floor where the maximum security department lies. He needn't have worried, nothing could keep me more disinclined to venture there.
September 22nd 1911
I'm just thankful that the security here is so robust. Really there's no escaping Alexandra. Even if a prisoner did escape, there's nowhere for them to go but to their maker. It's just barren mountainscape and forests as far as the eye can see.
Joan was particularly clear about the rumours regarding the third floor, according to her, that's where they do the experiments.
Dr. Freed has put me in charge of two young children who have been put under the care of the Asylum after suffering a series of disturbances in their family life. The lad's name is Thomas and the younger, Cassie, a little girl.
I've been granted two days to settle in and then I shall be shadowing another Ward nurse on her duties.
September 29th 1911
The doctor introduced me to my charges today, Thomas and Cassie.
At first the two would not acknowledge my presence and it took the doctor ordering the two to come and present themselves for Cassie to scurry over.
Thomas continued to play with the blocks but engaged the Doctor with a stare I have only ever seen in photos of the disturbed at training college.
Cassie refused to make eye-contact but stood shivering before us, probably scared of the Doctor's heavy handed commands.
I introduced myself at her eye-level and she relaxed slightly, when I asked her what her daddy's name was she even ventured a few whispered syllables but before I could get anything more out of her Thomas hissed, "Don't talk to them!" and she clenched like a fist.
September 29th 1911
The doctor then said that Thomas was our local bunny killer, "Yes I know it's you!", I swear I saw a smile touch that small boy's lips. Does he even blink?
He's so cold. How does a little boy become this way? The doctor told me that they were barred from going outside unattended now and were to be kept away from the kitchens and any store cupboards. The Doctor refused to tell me why they had first been admitted. Only offering that it would become obvious. Encouraging.
I'm starting to worry about my new duty. As we left the room, Thomas launched a toy block at the reinforced window behind us. The window smashed and the Doctor's whole demeanour crumpled. He stumbled into the room, un-oinched his belt and proceeded to beat the boy to within an inch of this life.
November 5th 1911
No fireworks at the asylum, as it disturbs the patients too much, the Doctor tells me. In fact it seems that there is not much of anything at the Asylum.
Those who live away from the building make sure to vacate promptly, I can't blame them on that, but those of us who are here to board are really left to our own devices. I'm swapping books with one of the other nurses so I shan't go too insane. They won't need to lock me up, I'm already here.
It disturbs me to see Thomas taunting his little sister. It seems that she is his captive audience, an unwilling witness to his awful games. Today he took Cassie's doll. She's so passive. She just let him use it in his violent cowboy games.
November 5th 1911
In this game he lures the doll, as the good sheriff, into a bank that he's looting and shoots it dead over and over again.
In another game he's a monster pretending to disembowel a victim. He does this until Cassie cries, consoles her mockingly and then plays it all over again.
Intervening in this seems to be the only way to get Cassie away from this nastiness. Thomas simply broods as I attempt to distract Cassie, but is he senses that we are even close to having fun he'll find a way to bring the focus back to himself again.
The other day he purposely made himself sick until he had a fit and then smeared the sick over the walls when I left to get a mop and bucket. Thomas' place at Alexandra is fully justified, but why is Cassie here?
January 7th 1912
Now that we've settled into a daily routine, it's become easier to draw the two out into more productive activities. Cassie has come out of her shell no end now that she knows that Thomas isn't the only other person around to play with.
Thomas has even taken to joining in periodically though it's rare that he doesn't have that icy scowl on his face. I can see him wanting to let down his defenses, whatever reason he may have to need them. I still know practically nothing about them. Dr. Freed refuses to tell me and the other members of staff don't know either. But what is sure is that they are making progress under my care. They may even get out of her one day.
January 12th 1912
Just when I feel that Thomas is stepping out of the shadows... Today I felt both the children more in a more buoyant mood than usual so I indulged them in a game of hide and seek. They ground floor is safe enough, certainly none of the day once patients mind the children being around, those that are even aware of them.
It came to my turn to count and I set about seeking the children out when I heard the distant shrieking of Cassie, then a sudden muffling. Thomas came tearing round the corner from somewhere and when I stopped him and told him to tell me where Cassie was, he refused shoving me back with so much force I crashed into a table. I was forced to pick myself up and search out Cassie. I eventually found her in the staff room only because I heard her muffled sobs and knocking from inside one of the lockers.
January 12th 1912
Once I had calmed her down we returned to the recreation room to find Thomas standing with a grin on his red-headed face. He simply said that he'd made something else disappear. Cassie immediately realized her doll had gone and Thomas laughed maniacally at her distress. I told him to fetch it at once, but he once again refused. Cassie was inconsolable.
January 17th 1912
This morning I awoke to find that I had been relieved for the day. I cannot describe to you the relief at having a reprieve even for a day. Thomas and Cassie were taken to see the Director for an assessment. I was told it was nothing to be concerned about, that's it's not something that reflects upon my care of them. When I asked the Dr if the Director often did this with the patients, he said no but he had taken a special interest in the two and was considering them for taking part in his research, though he couldn't tell me what the research was about. Never having seen the director in all my time being here so far, I'm not surprised by this. I only know what he looks like because he of his portrait. An attractive, well-groomed man but with a malice about him that I find fitting for the director of this particular asylum.
January 17th 1912
I spent my day walking the snow covered surrounds and met the groundskeeper for the first time. George was quick to want to know all about me and we spoke over tea in his hut. It wasn't very well insulated from the cold but the small stove kept the place from freezing over entirely.
When I told him about the children I was taking care of, he recoiled a little and said I must be steelier than I looked. I asked what he knew of the children and that is when he told me something that I'd rather have not known.
The children, it would seem, were put here by the authorities after an involvement in the brutal murder and dismemberment of a servant at their late father's estate. George was uncertain whether they were merely witnesses or in fact the murderers. They were only brought this far north because they have some connection to the Director, though George couldn't say what it was. Friend of the family? Surely not a relative!
In any case, I'm far more disturbed to be coming for a potential pair of killers. In the morning I shall be requesting that Dr Freed transfer me to other duties or I shall leave.
January 18th 1912
Dr Freed is away on external duties. The children were returned to my care today, it seemed like that they were on the third floor of the Asylum. What an ordeal! The pair seemed very fatigued by their assessment, so much so that I let them return to their bunks to sleep. Poor souls, I'm dubious about what George was saying the other day, even Thomas isn't capable of killing a person. I won't believe it. They must simply have been unwilling spectators to the brutal crime.
January 19th 1912
It was clearly a mistake to allow the children to sleep the day yesterday as they awoke when the sun went down and were hyperactive the entire night, not to mention curiously irritable. The behaviour of the pair of them was verging
January 19th 1912
on the lunatic! Even Cassie was throwing stuff around and racing round the ground floor. I'm only glad that Dr. Freed wasn't around to see it. I would surely have been reprimanded.
The day's rest has affected the children's sleep cycle more profoundly than I expected. They were extremely reluctant to move from their beds during the day and even seemed disturbed by the light.
I took the step of putting sheets up at the window in the creation room just to get them to set foot into the place. It didn't affect any of the other patients that were in there but the two children still seemed very reluctant. Cassie immediately asked for her dolly. I had completely forgotten about the damned thing, it was still missing since Thomas had hidden it. Thomas cackled as if reminded but Cassie turned on him immediately and jumped at him like a wild animal. This simply made Thomas hysteric, but Cassie tried to sink her teeth into
January 19th 1912
him. She screamed at him, "You took him away! My little baby!" She was in such a rage that I had to call the orderlies in order to restrain her and when they'd pried her off him she had a violent fit. I saw no option but to put her back to bed to rest. Clearly there was more to their assessment than a simple check-up.
I'm going to see Dr. Freed when he returns tomorrow.
Later on Frederick and Roger helped me to track down her doll. The little monster had hidden it al the way up on the first floor in the playroom up there.
I certainly couldn't have found the thing by myself.
January 20th 1912
My complaints to Dr. Freed have fallen on deaf ears. He told me in no uncertain terms that he would not remove me from my duties as he felt that I was suited to the care of small children. He also threatened to besmirch my career were I to leave before my term was up. I find myself trapped here now. When I asked him what had happened to the children, he simply told me that it wasn't his job to question the actions of the Director and that he wouldn't endanger his position by starting now.
January 27th 1912. Since the attack upon Thomas, the two children have been split into separate dorms. They are both practically nocturnal now and prowl corridors at night. The biggest change of character has come from Cassie. She stalks me as I carry out my rounds and constantly takes the opportunity to ambush me when it's quiet. It's turning me
January 20th 1912
into a nervous wreck, to the point where administering injections is becoming hazardous as she often chooses this time to jump out. A couple of times she's full on kicked me in the shin.
Thomas is usually around to watch this, it's as if the two have called a truce now and have resolved to make me the target of their unjustifiable ire. I would have half a mind to go up to the Director's office on floor three and give him a piece of my mind if I didn't think he'd have me locked up in a cell.
March 1st 1912
The Asylum is only just calming down from the uproar of the previous night. The ambulance has just left with George's body in it and a group are still sweeping the grounds for Thomas. It all began when one of the night maidens found Cassie drowning in the swimming pool. He managed to fish her out with a pole and when he called me, she told me that Thomas pushed her in after she tried to save her doll which he had hung from a noose above the pool. Almost as soon as she'd told us this the electrics for the Asylum gave out and we were plunged into darkness.
The next few minutes were the most frightening thing I've experienced.
Attendants, wardens were dashing around hollering, trying to find torches and keys to get the lights back on. All the time this was happening the patients went mad; they just ran amok attacking anybody they found. Sever
March 1st 1912
al of the attendants were knocked to the floor by flailing low security patients. Well they've been moved up a floor now. Should have stayed in bed.
Cassie and me simply stayed put by the pool while the warden went off to assist with getting the lights back on. She almost seemed herself again.
It was only when the lights were finally back on, the patients tranquilized and the assaulted staff patched up that we realized that Thomas was missing. That's when we discovered the blazing hut of George the groundskeeper. In the panic a blaze was started at his hut, it was deemed to have been started intentionally by a pile of logs built up in front of his door thus blocking any chance of escaping. They said that he was overcome by the smoke and would have felt nothing.
March 2nd 1912
Still not sign of Thomas. He is said to be guilty of starting the fire at George's hut and starting the blackout that led to the bedlam of the prior night.
March 6th 1912
I'm leaving this god-forsaken place. The events from last night were too much and I've required stitches in my thigh. I'm frankly lucky to be alive, the Director said. Yes, I've finally met him, unfortunately it had to be whilst he operated on my leg.
Whilst doing my night rounds I checked in on Cassie. To my horror she had stolen a large kitchen knife and was attempting to sever the head of her doll. I attempted to stop her by grabbing the knife, but her grip was abnormally strong and I swear I saw a madness in her eyes that made her unrecognizable. It must have been my imagination but they seemed to glow from some inner fire.
I was unable to wrestle the knife from her so I grabbed her doll instead and threatened to confiscate it if she didn't give me the knife. She ignored me and instead started after me,
March 6th 1912
slashing at my leg. The director said if she had gotten in an inch deeper I could have bled to death! I had no choice but to run through the dark corridors.
I ended up shutting myself in my locker until morning with nothing but that hideous doll for company and the footsteps of the girl walking around and around in circles with that knife in her hand.
Eventually the night warden was able to disarm her and she was locked up for everybody's safety.
March 7th 1912
So ti seems that I will remain here. I tried to hand in my notice to the Director and he expressed his regreat at my leaving with such great passion that I couldn't go through with it. He told me what an inspiring job I had done with the children. He seems to care deeply about what happened to Thomas and Cassie and promised me that Cassie would be well cared for by him but would have to remain on the third floor. I agreed eventually that it was for the best. It's really the only place where she'll be safe from doing harm to herself and to others. I don't blame her for what she did, she'd just a little girl who was the victim of a cruel life. It would seem that my imagination had gotten the better of me and I have misjudged the Director, Neville, entirely. As we spoke more informally I almost couldn't stop him tell me
March 7th 1912
all about the uses of his research, it would potentially have military applications according to him. I told him that his portrait really didn't do him justice and he smiled at that. We are to go for dinner soon.
Now that I have had a little time to reflect I feel I may have misjudged this place.
Everything deserves a second chance.
Charlie Halvish[edit | edit source]
April 22nd 1942
I don't know what's worse, the shelling or that woman's incessant voice echoing up the corridors. Even up on 1st floor. I can hear her down there, ordering them all about. The usual rounds today, mucking out the cells into the dead too.
These buggers are treated like animals, so they act like it, so we treat them like it. Round and round. His royal highness did grace us with his presence from upon high as a break from the toil. Showing off his new apprentice round the facilities. I saw the fresh young bastard; shock of red hair, two-faced as a flipping coin just like the lord of the manor. Didn't so much as make eyecontact with any of us. This place'll show him a bit of the darker side of life.
Smother the city out of his. Evan Dredger was, of course, front and center with them like a gorilla in a uniform. It almost made me burst out laughing seeing the way the Director disdains that caveman. Can't he see the way Old Nev winces whenever he opens his mouth. I 'spect not. Seeing how he thinks he's top dog.
April 26th 1942
Bombs dropping all day today, it's like the sirens are still wailing in my ears now. Must be going permanently deaf. None very close to the Asylum, but you never know do you? It only takes one and them pilots up there must be able to see a building this big. We keep them lights off though at night. Daren't put even a candle on. Or it's your life.
I was sent downstairs today by the Dredger to face the Iron Maiden. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place. Matron Strine, what a swine! Looks like a pig n' all. I hear told that she was a fetching number back in the day. Clearly times have been hard. She's got all the appeal of a pick-axe today. Personality to match. She had me shepherding the kids around today. Sure there were more of them when they arrived. From London, the lot of them. They probably would have had less bombing round the West end than up here. Poor blighters. Couple that with the Matron shouting them round like a barking bulldog. I'd be bloody shell shocked too. One of them dawdled just a little too long in the canteen and she walloped the bugger round the back of the legs so
hard he went over on his arse. Had to help him back up.
It was with a lot of joy then that I saw her take a funny turn today. While we were doing gas mask drills with the evacuees the Director came down with the new boy. Well the Matron caught sight of them both at the back of the Rec Room and damn near fell over. I followed her gaze to the pair of ghouls, that ginger youngster, Mr Vale raised his eyebrows at her with an icy grin that turned me cold. Even Old Nev was smirking from behind him. She dropped her mask and legged it out of the room. Me and the kids just creased up at that. Oh we had a good old laugh at that. I hear told she and Old Vic had a thing once. I hear he had a LOT of things. Once. Ha! What a shame!
May 7th 1942
The bomb dropped late last night. Maybe 3 o'clock. I can't say how close but it was close enough that it shook the building hard enough to hurl a couple of chimney pots down into the courtyard. The siren was the first thing to rouse me, followed by the impact. I had to get all of the orphans and the patients from the 1st floor down into the basement. It was a complete fiasco, total darkness and the basement was ankle deep in water from the April showers. It was as we were huddled in the dark with the wailing, shrieking patients all yammering and howling that I realized how vulnerable we all were not just from the bombs but the fact that we'd just piled a bunch of innocents into a darkened cellar full of violent convicts. It's no wonder two of them went missing. We combed the cellar after the all clear was given, looking for the children. Nothing, not a trace. But they didn't just vanish. They must've gone somewhere. I complained to Evan that we had to call the police but he simply said that he'd talk to the Matron about it and to stop nagging him. I asked about them among some of the more coherent patients up on 1st, they were mostly no use, apart
from one who pointed me towards a recent addition, Simon Ruttle, a chronic flasher and general deviant sent up from Birmngham. While the rounds were switching I let myself into his cell to question him. He maintained that he knew nothing and hadn't done anything to any kids. I made sure that message was reinforced with a few good licks from the baton. No one seemed to mind except him.
May 18th 1942
The bastards! They found out! How? Evan sidled up to me today, really friendly like. Started asking me about back home and how come I'd requested to be posted so far from my family and friends. I told him to mind his own beeswax. He didn't even falter though, that smug mug of his kept leering. He told me that he knew about my wife. Not around anymore is she? You were never heavy-handed were you Charlie? I asked him what he knew! He just kept smirking. Nothing, he said, if you're willing to carry out a few extra light duties during unsociable hours.
Nobody ever needs to know why you ran to Skye, or ever find out that you're here, Charlie, he said. I could have drawn my truncheon and broke his skull open given an ounce more goad. I just gritted my teeth and asked him what he sodding wanted. He just walked off and said we'd talk again soon.
On the night rounds I came round the corner to find that Vale prowling the corridors. He was just wandering round in the pitch darkness. There was something deeply disturbing about seeing his silhouette in that corridor. He seemed like he was checking through cell
hatches as if looking for something or someone in particular. Suddenly he called out, Hello Charlie. How did he know I saw there? How come he even knew my name?
We'd never been introduced. He was right next to me, I nearly peed myself. He leaned in and said, I hear you've volunteered to help us out. The right option, I feel, He said. The bastard knew too! Was he the one that found out? I don't know what words were trying to come out at that but I choked on them. He was gone before I had the chance to straighten myself out. I'm done, what can I do?
I can't escape, there's nothing for miles. I'll have to do as I'm told for now.
May 20th 1942
I didn't have to wait long for that extra work from Dredger, God help me. He disrupted me whilst on round, said to just drop it and follow him down to the evacuees dorm. We were greeted by the old Pick-axe. Jesus, is she in on this as well? Does she know? She didn't even acknowledge me, just walked us silently into the dorm and pointed to a dorm bed. She said, that one. It was that poor mite what she clobbered the day I helped out. He saw me, I saw him...Jesus.
Dredger just jabbed a syringe into his neck and plunged the drug into him. His eyes, just his eyes. The light went out of them. That's when I realized that there was sobbing all around us. The children weren't even asleep. They'd been witnessing all of this. They saw me. They saw the kid getting drugged up, The Matron just shrieked SHUT UP at 'em all. Do you want to be next, she blasted.
That squashed them. Dredger, picked another child at random, drugged him and we carried the pair off up to the 2nd where we just left them in a cell. I don't know what happened to them then. Evan turned to me after and just said, remember, shut it.
I prayed a shell might drop on us that night, but nothing came.
June 3rd 1942
I was assigned to herd the children around again today. It was horrible. They all recognized me from that night and where we laughed before, they just cowered from me. None of them would go near me. God help me, what have I done?
I took 'em outside to get some exercise. I tried to organize them in a game of hide n seek but none of them moved. They were just terrified of me. I shouted at them to run and play, but they just started snivelling. I stood away from them in the shadow of the Asylum and sparked up in the hopes that without me standing by they would just be kids, you know?
I looked out on the fields and I could see the Director and that Vale out on the horses pursuing a pack of hounds. They were hunting rabbits or foxes or something. Glad they're being all chummy while the rest of us carry out the dirty work. What must they be doing to those poor blighters up there. They never come back down that's for sure and if they do I'm not involved in bringing them back. At least not yet.
June 12th 1942
What the hell are they doing up on 2nd? Whatever is going on up there, it ain't natural. We brought two more of the evacuees to the second, the numbers left are getting thin. How they're going to explain this away to the parents, I don't know. Maybe they're just banking on their parents getting bombed. Maybe they'll just tell them they died in a shell blast. We shoved them in the same cell as the previous nights. Evan told me to hand about while the 2nd floor orderlies spoke to him in the security office. In the cell immediately next door to the two kids one of the patients started going mental. I mean, I know we're in an insane asylum but it didn't seem like any kind of fit I've heard before.
Screeching like an animal he was and pounding on the door with some force. They must have him on some powerful painkillers, I remember thinking. I thought I'll give him a rap through the hatch to get him to think again but when I unlatched the window in the door this disfigured limb lunged for me almost quicker than I could dodge. I won't forget the look of that hand, some kind of skin disease must've been wet looking. Disgusting. I fell on the floor
getting out of the way of his overgrown nails and that's when I saw those eyes in the dark. How was it I could see his eyes in the pitch black of his cell? He didn't have no light in there. That's when two of the 2nd floor orderlies grabbed me and started dragging me off into one of the cells where one drew a gun and held it to me. Evan stepped in. I was almost grateful for him stopping them.
Don't worry about shutting him up, he won't be telling anyone anything, he said.
Isn't that right Charlie? He said. Who am I going to tell? I'm stuck here in hell. Even with the door open, there's no freedom on the other side. The place has got me.
June 15th 1942
This night was beyond anything in the nightmares I've been having. This night we were accompanied. Mr Vale was with us for a special collection duty. We ventured down the stairs to 1st as usual but there was no Matron to greet us with her strong silence tonight. I found out why pretty quick. We went past the children's dorms and into the staff accommodation instead led by the Vale boy.
He just moves with a jerk that I find freakish, but he's got such a predatory scowl I daren't risk even a hint of a grin even to the back of his head. We approached a single bunk in a single room, like a nun's cell. That's when I realized who we are collecting. Silently we slipped into Jacqueline Strine's room.
It all happened so quick, so violent Vale was on her chest with his knees baring down on her neck. Her eyes just bulged out of her head as she awoke choking and then them eyes clamped on him and she tried to say something. Dominus? Praying maybe? He didn't wait until she started to black out to plunge the syringe into her neck, but as he did he simply hissed at her time enough to reminisce later.
These two have met before. It felt like a vendetta.
I mean, I've got malice for this woman, but not like this man does.
We bundled her up the stairs and into the cell like the others.
I'm just another one of the animals now.
June 21st 1942
I'm a wreck, they've got me working day shifts and I can expect to be ragged out of bed at all hours just to dispose of body parts or muck out a bloodied cell.
The director and his protege saunter around casually in bloodied scrubs like it's all nothing to them. Are they feeding children to the patients up here?
What the hell is going on? Nobody speaks to me, they just order me around. I'm less than a human here. You wake up one day to find yourself locked in this madhouse, someone tells you what to do and you just run around like a rat in a maze trying not to get made a mug of and just hoping there's a way out of it all at the end. I got made a mug of. My grave will say, Charlie Halvish, mug.
The Director and Mr Vale called a gathering up on the 2nd in the middle of the night for, what Dredger called, an announcement. Gathered there were all of the people involved in sprinting away those poor kids. Some of them looked like me, like they'd been mugged. What had they found out about them? The Director wanted to thank us for our co-operation...can you believe that?...and dedication to the Asylum's new research advances. What re
search advances was he talking about? He then turned to Mr Vale and said that the biggest thanks should go to his apprentice for creating the pathway for him to broaden the research beyond the borders of Alexandra Asylum. You are a natural at this, young man. He then said, We are no longer dealing with mere research but a product!? A product? Are we a factory now? He kept going, Our contribution towards the war effort will be felt globally, all through the refinement and attunement of our very flesh and blood. Words and thoughts fled me, I was literally reduced to shaking. He guided our attention to the large arched corridor behind him. Stumbling out behind the bars that divided us from the row of padded cells that housed the inmates of the 2nd floor was a familiar figure dressed in a medical gown.
It was the Matron, she had been kept up here since the night we smuggled her up.
She was addled but aware enough to spot us congregated there and she started feebly clawing through the bars. Thomas! Neville! Please do't do this to me! I don't deserve this! Not this! She was pleading with them, sounding more and more desperate. Old Nev ignored her like a toddler
having a tantrum and rolled his eyes. Some people even chuckled, Evan definitely did. Nev continued...and here is what all your efforts have been building towards. It sounded like he said Terrorhound it came out more like Der Terrorhund though.
From way down the corridor past where Strine was pleading came a baying that came straight out of hell. It was joined by 3 or 4 other howls. It sounded like the screams of the patients sometimes, like when the bombs went off, but this was horrific. It sounded tortured. I feel ashamed for thinking it, but I was grateful Strine was there and not me. That sound approached her with a speed that wasn't natural, her screams rose to a frenzy as she turned to see what was screeching towards her through the dark corridors. Two of the attendants from up here had tranq rifles and they made ready, clearly they weren't confident in the bars containing them.
Her scream peaked and then there was nothing, just an horrific tearing sound.
Through the bars I could make out the creatures they had set upon her. I recognized their now twisted faces. It was the evacuees, four of them, but their skin, it was like it had rotted on their bones. I
threw up on myself, this was too much to bear. I fled the room. I could hear jeering behind me, especially the voice of Evan Dredger.
June 27th 1942
Nobody said a word about it afterwards.
I wasn't summoned to clean up the mess this time around, but now I know what I was cleaning all this time. The victims of those things. They weren't killing those poor kids. What they did to them was worse. They turned them into monsters. One of the other attendants said I'd missed the presentation to Old Vic of a couple of taxidermied rabbits from Mr Vale. They had a right laugh over that, but nobody there could work out why they found it so bleeding funny. Must be a hunting joke. Today I found myself unable to leave my bunk. Evan came in ad kicked me. He had found me crying uncontrollably. He just stormed out of my room screaming, Right, he's done. So I'm just waiting now, for my turn to be one of the rabbits. They can have a right old laugh over Charlie running from the Terrors in the dark.
Here lies Charlie Halvish, Mug.
Director Vale[edit | edit source]
July 4th 1955
A good day for independence. I'm sure you'd agree. The father of modern Chimerobiological-warfare. Neville Lagorun passed away in the wee-small hours of this morning, following massive trauma to a number of his organs.
His example shall act as a pointing finger indicating the future as it gives birth to the brightest star in the Arms industry, Lagorun-Vale Ltd. Truly he shall be missed. We stand on the grave of a giant. Such a pity.
Neville indicated in no uncertain terms that I was the only one suitable to carry on his work and it's with pride that I accept that torch and hold it aloft to guide the world forward. His hands shook as he signed the paperwork.
We can look forward to a safer more well-protected society in the future, free from the tyranny of all who seek to stymie our freedoms. Lagorun-Vale will go down in history as the champions of those freedoms. I see a statue of Neville and myself standing shoulder to shoulder handing fire back to Western Civilization.
Until such time as the statue materializes and in memorial to Neville's passing, Alexandra Asylum will be renamed Dunning-Kruger Asylum.
This symbolic act severs ties to our past and embraces the future with precocious zeal.
July 5th 1955
The corpse of the predecessor was sent to the morgue for disposal.
Further enhancements to be tested today. A new species of arachnid has been discovered in South America with extremely aggressive tendencies. One has got to admire the orderly savagery of the insect world. Lagorun himself started outsplicing colonial insects into the early prototypes. More obedient he said. He had no idea.
We have taken delivery and start synthesizing this new material into the product immediately. Each successive generation of Terrorform virus manifests new and improved traits.
By selecting the most successful and pitting them against one another we are able to ensure the most powerful survive in order to synthesize the next generation. My Chinese contacts have assured me that we have a number of interested parties looking to fund this research in return for exclusive rights to the most current Virus. Lagorun-Vale will act as the front for these business transactions operating as a competing Arms company by day while the real company operates behind the curtain. It is better that we have no name. But my goodness they will know us in time.
July 8th 1955
Tests of the new virus have commenced. The usual ratio of failures but a steady stream of volunteers are picked up by the field team and ferried to Alexandra with mechanistic precision.
The final patients at the asylum are either being packed off to Mainland establishments or being draughted into product tests as either hounds or rabbits.
The closure of the asylum will be a great loss to the Care of the Mentally incapable and mentally divergent alike. It's always felt like a home to me.
Leaving has always been a heart-breaking experience. The building is a hive of activity, however, the staff, I am told, are asking about severance and compensation following the sudden closure of the Asylum and their imminent unemployment.
I had them told that they could expect all that they had coming to them to be paid in full. They will continue to close down the Asylum but it will continue to serve as one of our primary testing facilities as we expand the scope of it's capabilities to the rest of the building. Goody.
July 15th 1955
A day for celebration indeed.
The synthesis of the arachnid material into the virus has had some highly exciting side effects for the transformed. Some test subjects were observed to have enhanced mandibular motility and as a result heightened lethality when neutralizing non-infected participants.
This development will of course be marketed as a premium product in addition to our standard batch. Thomas Vale Esquire also has his birthday on this day, my son and heir.
Today I brought him into the fold. True he was only born one year ago but its never too soon to get them involved. His carer was given the day to take in the beauty of Skye and I took control of my Son.
The MKI virus that Director Lagorun, Neville tested on myself and my sister all those years ago may not be the overtly potent brew it is today but it has had its subtle effects on Cassie and myself.
The clarity it gave me in my formative years as I ventured out into the world. I felt the way a fox must feel amongst the chickens in the coop. My bloodlust was tantamount to a psychotic frenzy, but my size, I was enfeebled by my childishness.
As I grew though, so my strategies diversified. I stopped needing the mess and needed the game instead. The endless chess games that people make themselves pieces of. And so it was no accident that I found my way back here. What better place to play than my childhood cradle and dear, kind Neville was there with open arms to accept me back as an equal. He killed me the day he tested the infection, a favour repaid, but I was reborn anew. I want all of this for my one and only Son. In time I will be too old to oversee all of this and a visionary needs a visionary to ensure the future is made the way he intends it to be.
August 2nd 1955
I went to her cell today with news of my boy. What pride he instills in me. What hope for the future I showed him to her through the window and she seemed to understand. Sometimes I see recognition in her eyes.
The virus didn't seem to have perfected her the way it did me. Some days she is almost serene, some days she needs educating, but she's learning. Slowly learning. Maybe then she can join the others wandering freely amongst the floors.
She regarded the squirming infant with frank fascination and it was as if she knew that he was one of us. "My Little Baby?", She said. "Yes", I told her, "one of us". I told her all about the improvements I had made to the ELIXIR grade version of the Virus we were given, enhanced longevity, heightened Hebbian connectivity and thus accelerated learning speeds as well as suppression and refined control of those ticks and quirks we call emotions. I event threw in some greatly enhanced physical attributes.
What the hey, the boy may find a use for them further down the line. He'll be an Ubermensch.
Cassie tried then to grab the child from my hands but my well-protected entourage were quick to put her in her place. I told them to give her a 30 minute hosing down. Education takes time.
August 3rd 1955
Well closure of the Asylum has been completed now and my new floor staff helped me to bid farewell to the former employees. Out with the old, in with the new.
Now that is what I call severance.
My Chinese agent continues to negotiate terms with our overseas clients hoping to outbid one another for a chance to control an army of Terrorforms. These things take time though and a good deal can only be reached by sustained debate.
Two major wars have shaken the world and now everyone wants to be assured that they won't be the one to be invaded next time. Perhaps they even want to be the expansionists in the next dramatic theatre of war.
Who am I to judge?
Investment is rolling in and time is in abundance. The master in any game is the one with the most patience and when my Terrorforms are commonplace in militaries around the world then the next phase in my game will come into play.
Forest Diary Entries[edit | edit source]
Jacob Clay[edit | edit source]
The Game Keeper's Diary 1
December 12th 1999
No full moon tonight. It's a dark one. Doors and windows bolted, nice and tight.
Shutters down. Cosy like. My luck was definitely in the day I stumbled across this little number. No noise, no traffic, just a man and his house in the woods.
Beautiful. They complained that one of the saferooms, didn't lock last time they all ran. One of the hounds got in and well, I'm not looking forward to what I'll have to clean up tomorrow. They managed to collect all the hounds in though so no escort necessary. If they would just upgrade the equipment we wouldn't have these problems. Maintenance can only keep decades old machinery going for so long. Must be fun trying to round up those things. I don't envy the field crew; paid like private security in the Middle East and a fraction of the chance of survival. The Turnover's
so quick they probably don't even get a chance to talk to each other about where the previous crew went.
The Game Keeper's Diary 2
December 13th 1999
Had to properly give that safe room a hosing down and a scrub. My mistake for leaving that thing to fester until now. It seems two of those poor runners managed to get into that tunnel before the lock failed to fire. Double the mess.
I don't know what's kinder for them though, this or what's in store for them if they managed to survive. I'm sure the boss laughs his ass off at the thought of that. Certainly a man with a taste for irony.
Patrolled the grounds. No signs of intrusion.
This place has a long history of uninvited visitors it would seem. We're just the latest in that line. When I see those stone circles out there, I often wonder what happened to the folks that built them. Were they cleaned off the same way we cleaned off the land when we first arrived?
It must be a cycle that humans are used to. Ethnic cleaning. Brutal. I'm one to talk though. They do say that hindsight is always clearer than foresight.
What if those things even got out? Eh? What if they started breeding? Would they be any more humane than us? Doubt it. We're the weaker species. They'd make light work of us.
The Game Keeper's Diary 3
December 14th 1999
My cabin has turned into a sort of museum. I've collected an odd assortment of reclaimed odds and ends. I've had to start chucking away all the backpacks and sleeping bags, the undrwear. Stuff I do keep: toothpaste, easy to stockpile, tins and stuff. I keep the clothing if it's big enough. You can never have enough layers in a place without central heating. One of the few things I do miss, but once I get the augur going, you'd never miss it. Just a bitch in the morning if it's spent itself in the night. Specifically at this time of year.
The field team have taken to ambushing people in their cars, they mostly just dump the cars here outside, I strip em for whatever they've got and leave em to rot. I won't complain. No rent and a savoury pay. That's pension sorted out.
I'll go to Thailand when
I'm done with this. Get a tan!
The thing that I treasure the most out of my collection are the little bits and pieces that tell you about the people they used to be. Every now and then, you'll get a photo. Every now and then you'll get a laptop that hasn't been password protected. The best though is when you come across a diary. For me, that's pay dirt. People are so much more interesting down on paper. More honest.
They never think their words will ever get read by a stranger. Most people never realize that a diary is a letter to a person you'll never meet. When you're dead this person will read about you and wonder what you were like in real life. It makes me sad to think that some diaries never get read. In effect I'm a living memorial for these people. I carry around their memories long after they moved on.
The Game Keeper's Diary 4
December 15th 1999
Tonight is an active night. That means the field team have a full complement of test compliant participants. Rabbits as they are known in our terminology. I must go down to the holding area and prepare them. I have no fear of noting this down. By the time I'm gone I'll have no fear of what that madman in the mask will do to me, then I shan't fear anybody reading what I set down here.
They get hosed down in their cages, given a pain of scrubs and fed, little knowing or caring that the food is drugged. We tend to starve them a few days just so we don't have any hunger strikes. Even if we do get a Mahatma, I'll just put em down with a dart. I just like to keep it humane. Experience has taught us that one and the GM gets awful vengeful when his tests are knocked out of schedule. Awful vengeful. I wonder what
his diary would say about him. You never meet the man in the mask when you're on the team. I was never on the field team. I was internal. Ez-engineer, electrical, military. Worked the rigs for a spell after but it was too close quarters, no privacy. Always somebody wanting to, NEEDING to talk. Always getting emotional, because I preferred the company of a good book. I never got it.
Anyways I found this gig via a mate who was also ez-military and knew I could keep schtum cos of the nature of my work whilst I was serving. Somewhat NOIR, you might say. I kept the Dunning Kruger running like clockwork and then news of this place came us, late FO's. I've been here ever since, occasionally going up to the Asylum to do some more finessed maintenance. It's like early retirement most of the time.
The Game Keeper's Diary 5
December 16th 1999
Well if last night was anything to do by, we'll be saying bye bye to another game control team. They messed up not once, but twice. Unacceptable really.
Sometimes the Master will let a slight goof slide, but the big stuff usually lands the poor bastards in one of my cages. They may even have met me. Nasty surprise when they meet me again through the bars. I know how to keep my distance. I know the difference between work and play. When they're on the other side of those bars, it's business. Nothing personal, just business. Last night one of those Terrors must've taken a shine to whatever I'd been cooking earlier.
I was given a code of conduct for game nights. Lockdown everything. Ensure all lights are extinguished, so as not to distract the Rabbits or the Hounds. Make sure you're not cooking any
thing. Etc etc. Simple rules, easy to abide by. But those Terrors have got a wicked nose a few generations on. The GM doesn't know me but knows me well enough to know I don't cook during the match. S'why I haven't had a red dot land on me. But in any case one of them was on my roof, gnawing on my chimmey trying to get in and the swine only managed to get one of the roof panels off. I thought I was going to end up with a house invader!
So I'm sat there calmly with my rifle pointing up at the attic hatch waiting for a visitor that never shows up. Probably lucky for me. I'm not sure how well an unscheduled product termination would have been received by them. My reputation's good, it's not that good.
So that's the first goof, the control team should have sniped that guy with a dart soon as he got up.
Secondly, they only lost one didn't they? This is almost unheard of.
One got away back in the 80's. Very bad news for those responsible and quite a large number of dog walkers and campers disappearances to cover up in a short space of time. Nearly blew the lid on this place single handed. Police poking around, nasty. Got recovered in the end. But, that's why we have them all tagged now. My design too. Very fashionable, subcutaneous jewellery.
So how on earth does one of those buggers get away?
The Game Keeper's Diary 6
December 17th 1999
Didn't have to wait long to get the answer to that last question. No prizes for guessing that I got an armed escort today. Two boys and me with my rifle, too.
New. They would have been brought in today. The old team'll be down in the cells. I'm afraid I still don't trust the young ones. These two look like they'd only been in 5 years. Doesn't seem like that alertness you used to get with the veterans was really drilled into them. Hasn't had the time to settle in. I don't always feel like I need to take the rifle along. Depends on the escort.
They said a team was still out combing the area for the hound. They'd covered about a third of the forest compound, it'd probably turn up in one of the mines.
They tend not to be active during daylight unless they're really hungry. Their metabolism ramps up, see? They get more
aggressive, enraged. Like you or me getting cranky when we haven't had our morning coffee.
I finished my rounds, all the units are working apart from one which caught a bullet. It's totalled, so it's going to need a full rebuild. I carted it back to mine so I can sort it out in time for the next game. Shouldn't be a problem.
It's not as if a game would be completely derailed by an ammo point being out of action. The player will just have to be more resourceful won't they?
The boys hung around while I fixed the roof. That's when I found it. The clever bugger had been up on my roof for a reason. He was using one of the pieces of corrugated metal to jimmy the tracker out from under his skin. He'd smashed it in the process. It's happened in one of the games a few month back but they managed to get the slippery sucker the same night. I reported it to the boys and the radioed it for
It's dark and those wingnuts have still not tracked down the hound. Those hounds are smart. It's probably keeping low, keeping quiet. Now the sun's down, they're in it's game. It'll be playing it's trade now. Picking one off. Pretending to be another. They simply can't resist the urge to play with their food. I hear all of the excited commentary the next day. I was never really a sports fan, but it is always interesting to hear how those critters have evolved their tactics over time.
It's gonna be another night of lockdown.
The Game Keeper's Diary 7
December 18th 1999
So that sucker laid really low. The whole team came back in. There was no contact at all. That's unheard of. Is the Terror trying some new tactic? I've completed my external duties for the cycle but I still like to get outside, get some fresh air. Now I'm confined to barracks again. I guess I'll have to be happy in my work. Guaranteed the GM will not allow those grunts to rest until they've got the thing riddled with darts or dead. Then they'll be following suit. I often wonder if all this Turnover is smart. Is it too much to ask for a little tolerance for the occasional mistake? Okay the mistake will disembowel you, but if you survive that, surely you have a much more vigilant individual?
That's something a lot of training can't even instill. The awareness of someone who's had death glance off them.
I radioed the team and told them I'd heard noises up on my roof again. The hound is active during the daylight hours. He must be pretty hungry. He'll get sloppy if he goes too long without a feed. They said they'd send a team. He'll be long gone by the time they get here but at least it's a ball park for them to start at. The real fear is if one even got off the compound. It's highly unlikely, they've been given a perimeter that'll set off the charge in their trackers and in the rare circumstance that one manages to get the tracker out, the electrical perimeter ought to make light work of them.
The Game Keeper's Diary 8
December 19th 1999
The first I knew of it was the stealthy bugger dropping down from the crawl space in my roof. I hadn't been careful enough. He wasn't just excavating his tracker, he was creating a hiding place. Clever. I awoke just as he'd transformed into his human form. I recognized the face. It was one of the old gatekeepers that were draughted into the hound program. He'd survived the run as a rabbit and so he was selected to serve as a hound.
Hello Jacob. It remembered me. I don't know if these things hold a grudge but if they were inclined to, this one definitely would have some ammunition to hold against me. Whilst in the cells he was a belligerent son of a bitch, so I hosed him. Alot. He tried the olf hunger strike tactic. Even though he'd been starved for 3 days. So he saw me, a fella that he'd
chatted with on rounds, had some banter with him, completely stonewall him and then aim a fully loaded weapon at him and fill him full of tranqs. Yep, he called me everything under the sun. You never even think you'll see them again.
You never even think you'll see them again. I just KNEW I wouldn't. I was wrong wasn't I? He had my rifle in his hands before I could even move. Leveled at my head. This was not loaded with tranq. He tried to make me beg him. I told him that if he let that thing go off he'd have a team on this location in seconds and he'd never get out. He seemed to consider this and said, thanks for the advice, before putting the rifle down on my work table.
That's what I was hoping for, just a split second window. He transformed to try and take me out silently, but I am a paranoid, paranoid man. I always feared this situation would arise. And I prepared. Paranoia is a survival mechanism in the night
survival mechanism in the right hands. I pounded the button on the wall and the flash-bulbs mounted throughout my cabin all fired simultaneously I have these buttons everywhere. There's two in the bathroom.
The rest is obvious. I had him tranquilized before he knew what was going on. I dragged his flayed arse down the stairs and into a cell and called the incident in. Well you didn't think I'd be writing this if I was dead did you? Difficult to predict how the GM will take this little twist of fate, so just to be on the safe side, I may just take that retirement early...
But if you are lucky enough to be reading this you'd better believe that these are the words of a tanned survivor lying on a beach somewhere, enjoying that mojito...
Moss Wind[edit | edit source]
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Rosemary & Linda[edit | edit source]
Linda's Diary 1
May 7th 1989
Rosemary is always taking the piss out of me for carrying this book around. She says I must be the only person in the world who seriously keeps a journal. I know I can't be the only one, I've seen it on the telly. Anne Frank kept a diary and she turned out alright didn't she? I'm going to keep writing it in spite of her attitude, there's gotta be something in it right? Or people wouldn't bother with it so much. I often onder what other people would make of this diary if they ever read it? I mean am I writing it for myself or am I writing it in the hopes that someone else might read it. If so I should be very careful what I say, right?
They say that Anne Frank's diary had to be censored because of stuff she had written that she never expected to be read. You can only get the real thing if you're an academic
and even then it's peppered with footnotes and other nonsense from people who read her diary and then analyzed and analyzed it. I wonder what she wrote about that was so inflammatory? Masturbation? Boys she liked? Was she into girls too?
Maybe when you're cooped up in a place that you can't get out of you soon realize what you can and can't speak to other people about. That's when these things are worth their weight in gold. There's things in here I can't even speak to Rosemary about.
I definitely can't speak to Mum and Dad about Rosemary. They still think I'm going to have a good Catholic Wedding to a good Catholic boy. Why else would we have come all the way to Scotland to get a break from them?
At least we can be alone here.
Linda's Diary 2
May 8th 1989
Rosemary and I are going to have such an amazing adventure! We're going to rent a boat! She managed to knick her step dad's credit card, American Express of course, dear! It's going to pay for everything! The benefits of having very rich and very absentee parents. I could kiss her, she's such a genius sometimes!
The geezer renting the boat didn't even seem to care if we'd driven a boat before, he just showed us where to start up the engine and just said, "Tekkit slaw," by which I can only assume he went, take it slowly! We will, fella, we will! We have all the time in the world and we're young and free! He stared at us like we were a couple of aliens. Must be all the eyeshadow and I don't think he'd ever seen a mohawk before.
Rosemary just blew the fella a kiss and shot him a sorry-to-see-you-go kind of wave as we chugged off. I
wish I had her nuts! If I ever had a mohawk too my parents would just kick me out or call Father John for an exorcism or something!
We were in such a hurry to leave that we didn't really check to see if this clunker needed to be filled up first. Rosemary just said that we were on an adventure and we shouldn't think about such trivial matters! I love it! Let's go to the ends of the Earth!
Linda's Diary 3
May 9th 1989
After motoring up one of the little side rivers we managed to find a rickety old jetty and moor up for the night. Inside the boat was a cramped but cozy cabin space, we stuck all our stuff down and laid out our sleeping bags and mats.
Rosemary undid both our sleeping bags and zipped them both together up the middle. That girl, incorrigible!
We woke up this morning and found that we'd managed to inadvertently stumble across a not just run-of-the-mill, idyllic forest! We brewed up, got dressed up and went for a wander. Well the place was amazing! It was rocky warren of pathways amidst the trees. Though the place was deserted the paths were pretty well worn. My guess was that it was on a national park or something. For all we knew there was a heaving city on the other side of the forest. You'd just never be able to
tell with all the natural rocky walls and stuff. While we were wandering around we saw lots of odd stuff.
There was a magic circle made out of standing rocks! Me and Rosemary took turns pretending to sacrifice each other to the devil. I wondered whether the paths were worn down by a constant stream of Satanists flocking to the woods to sacrifice goats in this very circle. It didn't seem likely, not enough guts to go around!
The other weird thing we kept seeing were these odd electrical boxes posted around the place. They were like, these odd cabinets. Probably for icing paths or something Rosemary said. There was no power going to them though so we just left them.
Linda's Diary 4
May 10th 1989
No idea if Mum and Dad have even noticed I'm gone. We chose a week when pretty much both sets of parents were travelling off for conferences or business deals or some nonsense. I doubt that either of mine are back. I know Rosemary simply doesn't care. Her real dad died when she was young, some overdose or something.
Her mum re-married this high-flying banking guy named Gerald, what a terrible name! A red-braces and red-framed glasses kind of guy. Bellend if Rosemary's affectionate name for him. Anyway they both kept taking all the drugs they would 'cos business was booming for Gerald and one night her Mum went as well. OD's on some toxic cocktail of Coke and Smack and all sorts of drinks. They couldn't bring her back. She says the only reason Gerald still takes care of her is because of the guilt.
That's half the reason I wanted to do this trip. To get her away from that. At least for a while. It was my idea really. I just never really thought we'd do it. You can always rely on Rosemary for that.
Linda's Diary 5
May 11th 1989
Things are tense this morning. We're still moored in the same place but we daren't go out even to sail away because there was some weirdo poking around the boat last night. Rosemary was the first to hear it. She woke me up and we both clearly heard some boots clomping around on the roof.
As we clung together we even tried to breathe quietly. Rosemary scared me stupid when she shrieked though. She said that she saw a face looking through one of the tiny portholes. I asked her who it was, she said she couldn't be sure. We just had to wait it out until morning and then we agreed to go.
Hunger got the best of us and we had to go out eventually. We stayed on the boat to cook while I kept a look-out.
It was my turn to scream though when this young looking fella suddenly appeared by a tree with his
hands up in the air. He said "It's okay, I come in peace. Just please promise not to scream again, I've already got tinnitus from turning me Sex Pistols up too loud!"
Rosemary giggled at that. I wasn't so sure, so I asked him what he was doing out here. He said he was camping with some mates about a mile back on one of the hills and was out for a stroll. We asked him if he was the one poking around the boat last night. He said yeh and that he was sorry, he was just wired from taking a load of speed and he stumbled across the boat. We asked him why he was up on the roof and he said he was only looking for some Riglas. Rosemary seemed put at ease by that and asked him if he fancied a coffee. He said sure, but could he have it over by the tree, he'd had a heavy night and he was still a bit sensitive to the light. Rosemary laughed again and said sure. She can have a good time with anybody
it would seem.
I stayed on the boat and did the washing up while those two chatted away. Said his name was Danny. By the time I was done, Rosemary had lent him some papers and he was shinning up.
There's just something about the guy I found a bit odd. Uncanny really. Like, he just didn't seem to move right. A bit trembly, I expect he's a smack head as well. Or well on the way to being one. I stayed quiet while the other two chatted away. Suddenly he asked if we'd like to go up to his tent and meet his mates. Rosemary was all for it.
I said, I didn't think it was a good idea. She asked me what was wrong with me and wasn't I getting a bit bored just hanging around this place or on the boat.
I said, no, I was having a good time. She just shook her head a bit and said, fine well if I wanted to stay here and write in my little diary I could.
She was going to go and meet some new people. Don't wait up.
I said she didn't know the guy well enough to be heading off with him like this.
She just said that I sounded like Gerald and that maybe I should change my frames to red too. She just stomped off with the guy. I can't believe she just stomped off like that. She left me behind. After a few minutes, I changed my mind and tried to follow them, but I just got lost in the weird pathways between the cliffs. It took me hours to find my ways back to the boat.
It's night, she's still not back. I don't know what to do.
Linda's Diary 6
May 12th 1989
I tried to stay up all night again but I couldn't hold it together. I already had one night without sleep I couldn't do another so I just passed out. It's morning now and there's still no sign of her.
Midday and she's not here. I'm going to leave a note on the boat saying that I've gone looking for her and that if she comes back while I'm not here, not to go anywhere. I'd be back. I'm going to take my pencil with me sharpened up and if that Danny guy tries to mug me I'll stab him in the eyeball.
I half expected to find her at the boat, hung over and laughing about the party she had with the boys and how much fun she'd had. But there was nobody there.
Nobody in the maze. No footprints. No trace. I even ventured up onto some of the sur
rounding hills, just hoping to spot a tent, or some clue.
I have enough food for 2 more days. After that I don't know what I'm going to do. If she doesn't come back I'll have to go and ring for help, get the coast guard, the police, anybody. She does this though, sometimes. She's told me how she'll just go to some random's house and stay and party for a few days. Her stepdad will be furious but she does it all the time. Says it's funny. I guess I understand how Gerald must feel. I wonder if she thinks it's funny doing this to me?
Nighttime. No Rosemary.
Linda's Diary 7
May 13th 1989
Well, reading back now at how much I was worrying, I feel a bit stupid now.
She's back. Oh my God, I'm so glad she's not dead.
She came back really late in the night, just before morning. She crawled into the bed next to me as the sun was starting to come up. I didn't say anything. I just held her tight. She smelled kinda weird though. Like not her usual Rosemary smell, but if you're going to go party with random in a field, you'd smell funny too.
I got up and made some coffee for us both and just breathed THE biggest sigh of relief. She was too passed out to drink the coffee so I let her sleep it off.
I'm sure she'll be ready to tell me all about it soon enough. Was she dragged through a hedge backwards though? Her clothes are just caked in mud.
The beast is asleep again. I don't know what she took up there but she's pretty out of it. I'm kinda concerned about where she was injecting though. It looks like there's a needle mark right in her neck. She's a wild-child, no doubt about it. The few words I got out of her indicated that the party was fine but then she wanted me to leave her alone. Fine.
You're getting some action today, seems I may be too. Rosemary is finally up, though she's jittery, and has decided she wants us to do something special up at the stone circle. She's pretty insistent in fact. What could be more romantic than being dragged through a cold, dark wood at night? I said, those boys aren't going to jump out or anything stupid are they? She said the boys were long gone.
I can't put my finger on it but she seems a little funny, like not quite herself. But one thing I recognize,
that hungry, impish smile. She's got some surprise planned, so I'll go along with it.
I'll put it down to her hangover. Just thought I'd update while she puts on her face.
Almost time to go.
Something is wrong with Rosemary!
It's not her! She changed into some kind of bloody monster!
I've locked myself in the hull of the boat with all our things.
She...it...chased me back here and was beating and scratching at the door. It's gone quiet but I can't see whether it's out there or not. I don't know what to do. One moment it was Rosemary in the stone circle, laughing and flirting, skipping and...and then her eyes were glowing and she was changing. Her skin just split open and this thing was inside her.
Linda's Diary 8
May 14th 1989
I'm in a nightmare...It returned 3 or 4 times last night. I lost count, but it kept attacking the door, trying to break the portholes. At one point it attacked the door so hard, I thought it was going to burst straight through the wood. I spent the night feebly trying to pile bags and anything I could get my hands on against the tiny door. It held, just. Rosemary is gone, I have to accept it.
That thing must have killed her. There's no movement near the boat as far as I can see from the portholes.
The keys aren't here! Rosemary must have taken them when she went off with that boy. If it even was a boy? What the hell happened to her? I want to get away from here now.
I've been outside looking to see if there's any sign of keys or anything I can use to jam into the ignition to
start it. There was a screwdriver in one of the stow boxes. I jammed it into the ignition but I couldn't turn it. I was too worried that I'd break the lock to try any harder. I'd be well and truly stuck here if I did that.
I found two hairclips and was trying pathetically to pick the ignition, when she came again. I just heard her voice calling my name from the trees. I didn't think twice about shutting myself inside the hull room again. I peaked out of the portholes and she was still there. She wouldn't venture any closer than the cover of the trees. Whatever it is, it doesn't seem to want to come out into the daylight. I have to think of something. I can't do this alone.
The thing definitely can't come any closer. The weather has lifted and the sun is high. I watched it try to move forward and it freaked out and
ran back, seemingly hurt. I feel safer but I can't hang around until night falls. The door won't take another night of pounding. I can't take another night of that.
The day is starting to go and I have no plan. I've tried everything. When I went outside, it started trying to talk to me. Trying to persuade me that it doesn't hurt. That it can make me the same as it. That we could hunt together at night.
I screamed at it and told it to go away, but it just maintained it's steady stare at me. Almost mockingly, it held up the boat keys and told me that if I walked over it would give them to me and let me go. I half wanted to believe it, I was so desperate. It's happy to say anything to get what it wants.
It's gone 5pm now and I'm beyond terrified now. I've been crying for two hours, paralyzed. I'm going to cast
off the boat and hope that the current takes me away from here. It's flowing pretty quickly at the moment. It'll carry me down and away, at least far enough so that that monster won't be able to catch up with me.
I'm stuck. I'm locked inside the boat once again. I cut the line for the boat and watched as the monster screamed at me from the shadows. I screamed swearwords at it, but it was too soon. I should have steered the boat or something. A few dozen meters and the boat ploughed into some weeks and got wedged. I'm trapped. I'm totally trapped and the sun is going down. Oh God, oh shit. Please help me.
I've got to swim for it. It's almost totally dark outside but I can't wait here for that thing to come. I'd rather drown than let it get its hands on me. This will probably be the last that anybody writes in this
book. I can't see anybody finding it all the way out here. What will happen to me? These futile words I send into the darkness. Somebody protect me...
Arctic Diary Entries[edit | edit source]
Major Lancer[edit | edit source]
Major Lancer Security Log 1:
November 7 1995
Terminal Phase before delivery has been entered. In the coming days we will initiate Operation White Out earlier than projected, before the latest product demonstration and only once full delivery of the enhanced UV inhibition component has been implemented. The team has been briefed on the precise plan in the coming days as dictated by HQ. Measures to accelerate delivery will be put in place.
Major Lancer Security Log 2:
November 8 1995
The two cover operations that make up the Outer Squadron of Woundwort consists of both Military Standard surveillance and intelligence and Civilian Scientific research. Whilst they provide adequate tactical cover narrative for the operations in the Security building they have also been co-opted into providing useful extra services during their time here. HQ agreed that this was an efficient broadening of their functionality. The free radical that was brought in from Hensands has remained insert since being drafted in but is being monitored for tactical transfer to the Inner Squadron should he sufficiently develop his tactical potentials. His old section sadly were dissolved for interception of one of our low level tactical transmissions via our bespoke Labyrinth sets. Standard operating procedures now mandate that at least Level 4 encryption be used for lower priority traffic. The free radical is closely monitored in his activities by an embedded agent handler: Covername: Backstab.
He will appraise the Hensands Free Radical and report on his emerging aptitudes.
Major Lancer Security Log 3:
November 9 1995
Civilian Operation Manager Jeffrey Brians was met with today. I personally delivered the adjusted terms for production of the UV inhibitor by the Civilian facility. Brians initially resisted the delivery date but I suggested sanctions were they not willing to comply. An agreement on how best to reach the required yield, was quickly put forward by the manager with little need for further prompting and I left to allow operations to commence under his command.
Major Lancer Security Log 4:
November 10 1995
Arrangements were made for a supervisory attachment of two Special operatives to oversee the delivery of the UV inhibitor. They will cycle in an 8 hourly shift pattern in line with the Civilian Scientists plan of action as specified by their COM.
Backstab sent an appraising report of the Hensands free radical indicating that he has passed phase one screening upgrading his status from free radical to prospective candidate. Phase two screening has begun and the candidate's practical potential will be summarily appraised.
Outer Perimeter alarms have been tripped by an external incursion. Recon concluded hostile intent but could not identify at this stage. Delta and Echo fireteams have been dispatched to deter and engage the hostile if need be.
Labyrinth was utilized at top clearance level in order to alert HQ and Alpha that our position could be compromised.
It would seem that the Hensands Candidate has intercepted out Labyrinth transmission using the set equipment we provided. Promising if unexpected.
Backstab has committed to spearheading misinformation tactics so as to ensure our cover remains secure.
Contact was made by Delta and Echo upon the hostiles. Delta received heavy casualties. They have been appraised as being in possession of sophisticated weaponry and tactics. Delta have been recalled. Echo to track hostiles remotely and exploit opportunities for guerrilla tactics.
Major Lancer Security Log 5:
November 11 1995
The UV production operation has commenced at the CSRC.
Echo have lost sight of the hostiles. Charlie will man the CSRC. Bravo have been dispatched in order to assist Echo.
HQ have approved authorization to send out the Hounds should the hostiles prove to be too elusive.
Major Lancer Security Log 6:
November 12 1995
Backstab has confirmed that triangulation of the Labyrinth transmission intercepted by the Hensands candidate was not achieved. The origination of our broadcast remains secure.
Although Backstab successfully substituted the Labyrinth Ciphertext with a dummy transmission. He is unconvinced that the candidate has been satisfactorily convinced of its legitimacy. This proves a hurdle as doubt has now been cast upon Backstab. I am confident Backstab can rescue the situation.
Operations continue apace at CSRC. Nothing to report.
Major Lancer Security Log 7:
November 13 1995
Backstab has reported that the Hensands Candidate had good reason to suspect the substitute text as he had managed to sneak out duplicate printouts of the original ciphertext to work on in secret. He had been sufficiently accustomed to the garbled text to be able to distinguish between the original and the substitute.
Rather than perform a hasty extraction Backstab suggested that we allow the candidate to attempt to unravel the onion text. Though I am sufficiently confident in our transmission's security that I do not feel the need to worry, I urged Backstab to remain vigilant and to enact extraction protocols should he get too close to the core message.
Bravo checked in. Echo disturbingly have not. Bravo imparted that Echo failed to meet at the prearranged rendezvous point. Fearing that they have stepped into a trap they are initiating tactics to lose any tails. This puts me
in the position of being two and a half fire teams down. Should this hostile element prove to be any further threat, emergency procedures will have to be put in place.
1800 hrs Backstab has assured me that interpersonal trust has been reestablished with the candidate. Though has expressed his dismay at having to lose a game of pool in order to do so.
Major Lancer Security Log 8:
November 14 1995
Operations at CSRC have started to cause concern that actual output of the product is not keeping up with estimated and reported quantities. Also last night one scientist was reported to have suffered a fainting spell. S.O. Trojan dealt with the matter and assessed that the individual concerned has fainted due to self induced lack of sleep, not labor induced exhaustion. He asked to be transferred to a different time as the young lady had misconstrued his gestures of pacification as lascivious and wishes to pose no further source of discomfort. I approved his transfer and will take his place instead.
Bravo split in order to lead the hostiles in opposite directions. No contact with Echo, they're gone. Half of Bravo is responding. The other half failed to check in. No sign of engagement. The direction of movement, in spite of the fire team's best efforts to disorient them, has been consistently in the direction of the barracks. They must know we are here.
Bravo, what is left of them will attempt to head home. We will have to engage at the Barracks should they attack at all. They have proven themselves too formidable on snowy terrain. I ordered Bravo to maintain constant radio contact
until they are in and to report whether they are tailed in real time.
Bravo team have gone cold. No gunshots heard, they simply went offline. The escalation of this incursion has lead me to rule that the Hounds will need to be deployed. Since the current version of the UV inhibitor is not powerful enough to keep the Hounds going long enough during daylight hours I have two options: Take the current incomplete reserves of the New UV inhibitor and use it on the hounds immediately or wait until the sun is lower and use the current version. I have radioed HQ for guidance.
HQ advised that under no circumstances could the Demo product be used for engaging the hostiles. I am left only with the latter option.
Have set the remaining fireteams on perimeter defense with orders to check in every 10 minutes. Extra multispectrum motion sensors have been placed to reinforce current security measures. All personnel have been put on orders to ready all equipment and to initiate the Whiteout protocol.
I readied the Hound serum, enough for Alpha fireteam and myself to take. This is an extreme measure, however the
brevity with which these hostiles have dealt with a sophisticated opponent such as ourselves, has impressed upon me that we may not be dealing with a conventional enemy. I briefed Alpha fireteam that upon my order they will inject the serum, not before. They understood the risks. This will in no uncertain terms though give us the decisive advantage on the battlefield. I will ensure that a pre-prepared message will be sent to HQ to dispatch a containment team in the eventuality that we are pressured into taking this step.
Watch has reported nothing. No contact has been made. All perimeter devices have been checked and rechecked. Watching and waiting.
The sun is setting. The hound's mobile holding units have been transported out to the periphery of the security perimeter of the barracks. 9 out of 10 have been deployed. They are chipped so recovery shouldn't be a problem. We will monitor their progress. They have been primed with the inferior batch of UV inhibitor. The efficacy of this version is such that they can sustain prolonged exposure to direct sunlight for up to four hours. This gives them a chance of being able to get to the hostiles. If they are however unable to locate them overnight their chance of survival through to the next night will be unlikely.
new version of the UV inhibitor could have had them out there for days. Weeks.
The hounds have been released. We watch and wait.
Fatigue is starting to show. I have distributed the gamut of military grade stimulants to all personnel to be self-administered under their own judgement.
They don't need babying by a doctor.
The hounds have been going around in circles. They seem to have found nothing.
One has split off and gone rogue but we shall recover it or it'll simply burn in the sun. 8 left. I have set ops to monitor and report to me. I must pressure the CSRC to hurry. Delivery of the product has been demanded soon. My unit is only too aware of what HQ will do should we fail to deliver the Demo. Alpha is rigid about failure. Murderously so.
Administered stimulant to sustain my watch on CSRC. I will use this opportunity to motivate them.
Major Lancer Security Log 9:
November 15 1995
A distinct disciplinary wobble last night on my part. Clearly the stress of this set of situations and operating on four hours sleep per night had built me up upon me without my realizing. It will not happen again. In an effort to stop and accident last night one of the civilians over-stepped the mark and in an unforgivable rage I decided to teach her a lesson by swiping off her pony tail.
I've done worse in the past. In the ranks this kind of thing is seen as horseplay. I forget that these things are far more serious from a civilian perspective. She ran out in a way that indicated I'd taken it too far. I will send an apology to Brians when the time is right.
I was alerted that the hounds had chosen to stop in an exposed area, clear of cover. This is unconventional behavior from them. Are they resting? The sun will be high in a few hours and their ability to evade direct exposure will be handicapped. They will last until 1500hrs in my estimation. If they have not moved or made contact with the enemy we will have to take the modified serum ourselves.
Who the hell are these intruders? How are they able to take out entire fireteams of experienced special operatives and disappear? How have they evaded the Terror
forms? I've seen these creatures in action. Unprepared opponents have no chance, they are instinctive tacticians. Lethal. I feel from this that the attackers must therefore have been prepared. Could it be that we have a mole?
The hounds have been eliminated! How? Why? If it has been the tactics of this incursion team to lay low this long, why risk your firepower against the Terrorform? Perhaps they don't know that they will expire soon? Perhaps it's a message? Who are they? The Hounds were eliminated a mere two kilometers from the Barracks. Though not a single shot was heard. Our foe is close. We must take extreme measures. It should not have come to this.
The CSRC have just sent message that the product has been destroyed. We are dead men now either way. But fight we must.
I have ordered the Alpha fireteam to take the serum as have I. The modified version of the serum has the properties of giving the soldier enhanced physical capabilities with added cognitive clarity. There have been, at best, anecdotal reports that the serum allows a certain instinctive exchange of intentions between members of a squad. For want of a better word, a form of wordless telepathy. It is believed that the Terrorforms in thier full transforma
ion are able to co-ordinate their tactics in this way. The modified serum imparts a boost to aggression but in an attenuated controllable form. This control is at the expense of strength. We will not be a strong as a full Terror but we will maintain control.
The serum takes 24-28 hours to reach full potency and act fully upon the individual. I have ordered the team to remain vigilant. If the Intruders are intending to assault the Barracks then they shall do so at night. By that time we should be at 50% strength. A distinct advantage on a standard battlefield but we still have no information on the Hostiles.
I have ordered Alpha to rest but the remaining forces within the building to remain vigilant and to raise the alarm at the slightest twitch.
The perimeter alarms were triggered at 1530. Full alarm was raised in the building. No engagement though. They tripped the alarms but didn't attack. Our surveillance systems could see nothing. Visibility is poor whilst the blizzard roars outside but even the heat sensors saw nothing. My fear is that they will pick at us to exhaust us.
Major Lancer Security Log 10:
November 16 1995
0900hrs The alarms were tripped no less than every hour. Clever. If we know when the next alarm is coming we exhaust mental energy anticipating it. They establish a pattern and then break it when we become complacent. We shan't, but it's what they're trying to achieve.
Nobody has slept. I feel the aggression building inside. Behind my eyeballs. The exhaustion too. No confusion though. That's the difference.
The more I think about this scenario now the more it seems clear to me now that the only way the hostiles could have made it this far is with tactical intelligence. That means we do in fact have a mole. But where? It could be someone here but the likelihood is minimal as the vetting of personnel for what we do is penetrating to say the least. I will put that down to an unlikelihood.
It is far more likely to be a civilian or more likely again a signals operative.
They are security vetted but it is low level and free radicals do slip the net.
The only thing to do is to have an informal chat with the two chiefs of operations from the two buildings and see if we can ascertain some information.
Alarms still going off every hour. Still no visual. Still no contact. Their tactics are working. They expect us to
either run outside and engage them directly in a furious rage on their own grounds or they expect us to stay here and gradually get chipped away at by incessant alarms and sleep deprivation. We shall let them come to us. I am not stupid. I saw how they cut down our fireteams outside. That is a known. I'm not walking into another trap. If we are to engage, we shall do it on our own terms on terrain that we know.
The troops and myself have been taking dextroamphetamine. The side effects are showing. Troops are bickering. The shakes are evident. I am uncertain the effect it may have when mixed with the serum in my system but the cognitive clarity is palpable, I feel clear as a bell. These assailants are the one's walking into a trap. my web.
Also the Hensands candidate has passed the secondary phase. Backstab observed his terminal breaking out the plaintext from the top level of the Labyrinth transmission. We were aware that the candidate had no knowledge of the language contained within so we were confident it would remain secure enough.
I have ordered Backstab to isolate the candidate for extraction.
Chief of Civilian operations, Brians, has been summoned to meet at 1400hrs. No sleep so another dose of stimulants
has been administered.
That shit! Brians! He was the one. He was the one! He's with these intruders. He was the one who switched off the fridge and destroyed the product batch. I beat it out of him. He tried to lie at first but it took only a little encouragement.
These civilians! No balls! I took out my combat knife and he sang like a canary.
He didn't have a ponytail so I took his nose instead! I felt like I was looking at myself from the outside when it happened. Someone else's hands on the knife.
He couldn't tell me who they were, only that they were blackmailing him, holding his wife and child. I took it upon myself to end his life of dishonour.
They boys loved that, they howled for more! I suddenly felt such joy for them witnessing all this, such pride in my beloved Alpha fireteam, so I gave it to them, the body. They set up a little BBQ! Such larks these civilians will never understand!
In other news it was quite upsetting that the fireteams that had not taken the serum were not willing to take part in our celebrations. Not even willing to turn when offered the serum.
I had to have them shot.
The alarms have gone off again. Peripheral noise. Music
for the BBQ.
Contact was made across the bridge from the vector of the Civilian Labs. We opened fire upon them and obliterated them with ease. It makes perfect sense now. We must be dealing with an entire building of moles in league with the hostiles!
I have ordered the fire teams to arm and make ready to assault the Civilian building. We have no option but to initiate Operation Whiteout immediately with the key alteration that we no longer extract the Civilians.
Now we must terminate them.
Total mission success! All civilians have been terminated with extreme prejudice aside from one civilian who managed to don a snowsuit and escape. Her chances of survival are poor, however she must be stopped. I sent a small contingent led by Trojan to deal with the escapee. The rest of the men have been left to their own devices for now. Many wish to take trophies of these turncoats, some wish to eat, others want to loot. Either way they can rest for now. Sleep off the eternal vigilance of the previous days.
Such love I feel for my boys. I am with my family.
I can feel the minds of my Fireteam.
All of the sudden I understand each of their impulses and whims.
This group mind; this camaraderie.
It's no longer anecdotal.!
We are a single beast moving with a single purpose and now we are required to rest.
The Alpha has ordered it. Yes, Alpha!
I can feel his mind too, from afar, out in the snow. He is like us, we're become like him. He has been urging us all this time onwards to complete Operation Whiteout. We are like a limb that has become frostbitten. Operations must be cut off now, to allow him to move with more ease. We all see and understand it so clearly now. The hostiles were our brothers not our enemies. They were sent to ensure we were brought into the fold. Like Children of the Alpha. This was all flawlessly planned and executed by him! Alpha the master tactician. How I love him! Brians was coerced into hiding the real UV serum before destroying a dummy serum. Why? Drama! It is we who are the demonstration! What Jelly japes for the customers! See us perform!
We shall recover the serum, We shall inject the serum and we shall become the new breed.
Then when we have destroyed the Communications building we shall march under the banner of the Alpha and under the sun!
Hillary Jennings[edit | edit source]
Botanical Research Diary 1:
November 7 1995
It was with heavy hearts that we big farewell to the last Beta Vulgaris today.
Sadly the unfortunate acidity of the soil that the green-clad lunkheads from next door have imported in on our behalf has disagreed with our vegetable patch in quite the most spectacular way. That's Cauliflower, Spinach and now Beets which have languished in this harsh muck. Reynolds is looking into ways that we can create a separate bed improvised from tarpaulins or if we are able to, a gentle way of rebalancing the PH of the soil without destroying the other flora.
One must always endeavour to maintain a balance. It's the hardest trick to pull off. These plants inter-depend on one another in such a way that's almost too complex to describe in numbers. I feel more like a Druid than a scientist. You just need to get a sense for it.
It's a like a huge game of scissor paper sock. I found out the hard way that Cauliflower won't live with Strawberries OR squash and I planted it right between them. Garlic will wreck the chances of your beans and peas too.
I foolishly believed that my degree would give me all the knowledge I needed in order to function. I really knew nothing. I was so anxious that if I hadn't learned everything by the end of that last year that it would somehow be too late. But here I am, still learning, still a graduated new-born as the others call me. A first class degree means very little in the real world. I know they don't mean it maliciously. Everybody here is so good natured. It's so weird that such a nurturing group of people would be here growing out in the middle of nowhere and planted right next to something as hostile as a military base. Like I said. You almost can't tell what will grow with what. And what will throttle what.
Botanical Research Diary 2:
November 8 1995
Vegetable garden matters aside. The serious work begins. The big reason the Military are subsidizing our little side endeavours is in return for our research into, get this, the UV protective properties of a certain variety of vine from the Amazon. Anecdotally we have heard that the local tribes people slice open a length of this in order to cure really quite serious burns but also as a sunscreen if they have to make long journeys along the river in the full glare of the sun. I mean how do you accidentally discover that a vine can be used as sunscreen? How do you even realize that it can be used as a curative for burns? It must literally have come down to some Witch doctor or Shaman, out of his mind on Ayahuasca, who got lucky and smeared this particular plant on that particular wound. Some one has to win the lottery every week. It's not that weird. Bigger accidents have happened. Hello? The Big Bang?
Today we commenced with phase 4 testing of a QM version of the vine which has been selectively bred to enhance it's beneficial traits. Genetically nudged around and then put through this same routine over a period of nearly ten years according to Reynolds. What has resulted from the last battery of tests is a serum so strong that it is virtually fire resistant. I jest, but it's pretty OP.
The Military applications have become clear. And get this, in order that it not get sweated out and have soldiers constantly stopping in the heat of battle to reapply, they have communicated a strong preference for INJECTABLE serum over topical application. Think about that! Injecting your suncream into your veins!
At least it's in someway natural. It worries me greatly that they send drugged up soldiers into war zones! No wonder they comeback in such terrible mental condition. Neuro-chemical balance is like a flower garden, you encourage too much of one plant and it sends the others into disarray. Nature has a preference for harmony.
The human trails of what we have created so far are apparently taking place in one of the two very secretive military buildings that share our compound. So the rumours say anyway. Which one it is I have no idea. What we do know is that it is tri-service. Army, RAF, and Navy and that is about it. We can make educated guesses by looking at the radio antenna equipment strapped all over the rooftops and the directions they appear to be pointed in. Though that indicates little of WHO they are listening to, I haven't even a clue what the range on these glorified coathangers is. "Sneaky Peeky" the Army calls it. Paranoia, I call it.
Whoever was the first person to pick up the first weapon and use it to try and declare dominance over the others for the very first time, has a lot to answer for. Ever since, it's been an escalating drama of Mexican standoff after Mexican standoff with increasingly bigger and more powerful rocks to bash each other's heads in with. No-one is going to put down their gun in a situation
What I just don't understand is why in a world as advanced as we currently live, we still allow the most evidently primitive to call themselves our leaders.
I think I'll just stick to my plants.
Botanical Research Diary 3:
November 9 1995
I have never in-fact met anyone from the other buildings until today. I've lost count of the weeks I've been here now but, it's confirmed, there are in fact other humans in the other buildings. Just about.
The Major seemed more like a reptile than a human if I'm going to be totally honest. He seemed not to want to be here but his job requires him to come and 'inspect' progress. He spoke chiefly with Brians, the head of our operations.
He's pretty much the only one who has any contact with the military. We can't in fact go outside under pain of death. Literally. We are not privy to our exact coordinates however it is known that to go outside in the perma-blast at this temperature you would last literally, literally no more than a couple minutes. I asked how they'd managed to build this place in these conditions and they told me that it was created from prefabs flown in by heli
copter and then slotted together, took em less than a couple of months. That's pretty damned efficient! I'll order one for back home!
Anywho: the Major. The Major. Something about him really bothered me. It wasn't the fact that he seemed to stare so icily at people, if he looked at them at all. He looked constantly angry and unblinking. Unnerving focus. It was the fact that he looked like a killer. I've never even seen a killer before. I mean everybody sees mugshots of criminals on the news and they look creepy. But this guy gave me such a weird vibe. Like my reptilian brain was screaming, PREDATOR!
RUN! at me. I just wanted to hide under a bed.
I mentioned that this place was tri-service, the SBS, Special Boat Service run the security for the entire compound. This is unusual, as I hear tell that the security for a compound is usually dealt to lower end frontliners, infantry, and the like, during
peacetime. So it raised some eyebrows then that security was given "special"
attention here. Reynolds told me it'd be unusual if this guy hand't killed entire villages with his squadron. He also told me that these guys have to raise bunnies during their survival training and are ordered to eat them after. It does not relieve me to know that we are so well-protected.
When he entered our room, he just stomped around the labs, staring that unblinking deadly serious stare. It felt as though he was going to pounce on me.
My heart jumped into my throat.
And that was it, no hello. He came, he stalked around, there was a brief interaction between himself and Brians and then he suited up again and left via the walkways between our buildings. Our building doubles up as their foodstore and they can get access to our warehouse via a raised footbridge. I suppose it saves any traipsing through the snow with the cans on beans. How neighbourly.
Botanical Research Diary 4:
November 10 1995
It seems that the visit yesterday was more of a one-way conversation, than a pleasant visit with tea and biscuits. Major Lancer was sent to pressure us to accelerate production on the sunscreen. Brians called us all together in the lounge area to announce that all tasks external to the Military project had to be abandoned for now in favour of upping production of this stuff. This caused uproar as external funding for various projects depended on timely delivery of study results. Doing this would effectively mean that they would have to start from scratch and strongly rish them running out of funds. Brians tried his best to pacify the mob and said he would try to negotiate compensation of some kind from our Military benefactors.
It's spun everybody out a little bit but nobody asked the obvious question. What is their hurry? It's sunscreen for crying out
Major Lancer had apparently threatened to severely cut our funding if we were unable to produce 50 units of the sunscreen at its current potency in five days.
There were rumbles from around the room as this bombshell was dropped on us. We all felt it was ludicrous. Brians said that we'd have to most likely work around the clock in order to develop enough in time.
We had no idea that we were going to be the slave labour having to mass produce this stuff. It's going to be deployed to troops for an imminent operations somewhere hot. That was all the Major would divulge.
Botanical Research Diary 5:
November 11 1995
DAY 1: Some of the scientists actually destroyed their projects last night. It seems a little over the top to me. I mean, you leave a plant alone and it'll grow right? No need to burn the place down because you couldn't do your sunflower breeding program. I understand the annoyance it must have caused people but that seems hysterical to me.
The groups were organizing into teams of four working 8 hour shifts. I, of course ended up with the night shift, but what does it really matter? It's not like I'm going to miss any sunlight. We set up a production line for the first day as a big group, hacking back the vines, piling, de-leaving and re-piling. We then got them wrapped and refrigerated ASAP so as not to lose any potency.
Heaven forbid it drop from 3000 spf to 1999!
That took the day. Morale is pretty murky
now. I imagine this sad-on will last right through the project. Can't wait for that. It's bad enough that you get scientists here that made the decision to be here and then have the audacity to complain about it!
The situation was only improved by Brians announcing that we were going to be overseen by the SBS. What are they going to do? Hold guns to our heads? Ho that'll speed production!
Botanical Research Diary 6:
November 12 1995
They actually had guns.
I made sure to oversleep to try and get my body clock into working the graveyard shift on this impromptu sweatship we've got going on right here. When I got up around two the place was like a morgue. The lab was churning through the production process and at the back of the room standing literally with their hands resting on their guns were two of the Major's men dressed all in black.
They seemed amiable enough but there's something forced about it when you're grinning and saying hello to a man with a gun. It was even more disconcerting to feel his eyes on me the whole time I was working. Any time I looked up the guy was grinning at me or whispering to his mate. Just off in the shadows.
This is just such a hostile intrusion.
End of the shift. I'm concerned. We have five days. It's the end of day two. We are on target to produce 16 units. Has Brians done the maths on this? The pace seems too sedate. He's expecting way too much in too little time. And where we save on time we cut in corners. You can't expect a decent quality product when you won't put in the time necessary to polish it.
Botanical Research Diary 7:
November 13 1995
DAY 3: I had a rough night's sleep. Just couldn't drop off. Thoughts whirling around in my head. I kept seeing that SBS guy's lascivious grin from the shadows and it made me feel greasy. I had to get up and read to take my mind off it. It really didn't help that the book was the Shining. I went back to bed. Tossed.
Turned. No sleep. My alarm finally went off as I was dropping off. Typical. I put it on snooze for half an hour and guess what? I couldn't sleep.
I stumbled into the lab finally for shift bolstered with powdered coffee, knowing full well it would work hard to keep me awake for a full ten minutes.
After that I was going to be on my own.
It was halfway through the shift that the fatigue started to really get on top of me. Naturally that was when that guy decided
it would be a good time to try and strike up a conversation. He was gleaming from in the shadows. A different partner but he was still on the same shift.
Then he strolled forward. Introduced himself as Trojan. Trojan! I thought, is this guy for real? He said, honestly, it was his real name. He must be used to getting a laugh out of that. I think I was laughing more out of hysteria. Lack of sleep.
He mumbled on, asking questions, just spinning it out and out. I was wondering how long it was going to take for the penny to drop that I was just ebing polite and that I wasn't in fact interested when my lights started to go out.
I just felt really weak suddenly and my legs went. When I came to, he was dragging me clumsily to a chair, hands just...clumsy. He sat me in the chair saying, it's alright luv. It's alright. He shoved my head down between my knees and told me to breathe. It's a recovery position. He said. When he started stroking my back I shoved his hand
away and told him I was okay. Creep.
In a little while, I was back on my feet and insisted that I carry on the work.
He slunk back into his little corner again. His eyes weren't gleaming now. They seemed cold.
Botanical Research Diary 8:
November 14 1995
DAY 4: I slept well for sure this time. There's nothing quite like exhaustion for a good night's sleep. I had a weird dream though. I was a Cabbage and this Strawberry kept trying to drink my Strawberry milkshake and I was trying to convince him that that was cannibalism. He didn't seem to be able to stop himself though.
Good news. No Trojan. Bad news. The Major was standing over us instead. Really bad news for me it would turn out, I'm still shaking from the whole transaction.
It was clear he was on edge. He was constantly pacing. Asking too many questions too. He was asking how much we had made so far. What was taking so long. Would we deliver on time. In a casual manner, but you could see he wasn't feeling so casual under the surface. His hands were just constantly clenching and unclenching around the gun.
He was also sweating a bit. He seemed worn compared to last time. Threadbare.
Then he stepped up silently next to me and said, "I hear you fell for Trojan yesterday."
The humour of a military officer. What a treat.
I simply said, I imagine he has people trying to play dead to get away from him all the time. The Major tried to laugh it off, but it came out hollow sounding.
His eyes were pickaxes. Were his pupils dilated? He looked high.
Then I don't know what mishap of co-ordination happened but I sent a container full of serum, that I was transferring carefully into separate vials, skimming towards the end of the table. Like a snake, the Major's hand hammered into position and caught the beaker but he must have miscalculated how much force to use because as he closed his hand over it, it shattered, slicing his hand
and sending the serum everywhere. He swore loudly and called me an effing idiot.
I was shaken but without hesitation I fired back with, Well you smashed the beaker, you bloody baboon. It was a flinch more than a well thought-out response. I wish I'd kept my mouth shut.
Lancer was on me in a heartbeat, hand snatching my hair and forced my head down to the lab table's surface. I could hear the other people in the lab panicking, not knowing what to do. It was like being around an uncaged Gorilla, you don't rush in to restrain it unless you want your head unscrewed. I told them later that it was okay, they wouldn't apologize enough. They just froze like rabbits in the headlights.
If they weren't already petrified, what Lancer did next had them shrieking.
I was just aware of a flurry of movement from behind me, of the other scientists scattering and ahead of me in my sideways field of view, the other SBS guy with a relaxed
air grinning widely as Lancer pulled out his combat knife. I screamed. He suddenly pulled me up by my ponytail and hacked it off with a single swipe. The other soldier burst out into laughter. Lancer threw him the ponytail and told him to ensure Trojan got this little souvenir. I ran for it. Nobody followed me.
I heard later from the other that the Major just told them to clean up the mess and to get on with making the serum.
Botanical Research Diary 9:
November 15 1995
DAY 5: I was awoken early and called into the lounge with everybody else. Brians was at the front looking pale and sweaty. With everybody there he continued in a panicky accusatory tone. It wasn't clear at first what he was talking about.
Just that this was serious and that whoever is responsible can go and explain to the Major why we won't be delivering. Several people around the room told him to start making sense. That's when he burst out with it.
Somebody switched off the fridge. The Serum had all been ruined. All of it. The whole sodding lot. He said.
Now I don't know who did it, and I can only imagine it was malicious, he said, but we are now ALL IN THE SHIT. He shook violently as he said that. Brians is not the kind of man who is used to swearing all that often.
I couldn't understand who would do such a thing. We had managed to create 37 units, it was actually wholly possible that we could have created the lot given an extra shift. It just didn't make sense. Everybody in the room was up in arms.
Nobody pointing fingers but then nobody was looking sheepish either. You notice these things when you're used to being the wallflower at parties. A few people cast an eye my way suspiciously, possibly having heard what happened and wondering if I'd done it out of anger or just shocked to see me with my new hack-attack bob. It was a shock to see myself in the mirror after the Major attacked me. The bastard has made me fashionable.
Some of the research team optimistically tested the serum to see if it was salvageable. Inevitably it was not. It had just been left for too long, ironically too warm, here of all places. They said it was reduced to SPZ 20.
Brians sent a message to Lancer telling him what happened. No reply was sent back.
Botanical Research Diary 10:
November 16 1995
All quiet today. Everybody seems to just have unilaterally decided to down tools. There's been no word from the SBS at all. They were all bluster after all it would seem. What could they do? Come in here and shoot us all for not making sun tan lotion?
Things seemed back to normal, until Brians got the message to go and meet the Major at their building.
Brians was displeased by this. I don't think he even liked going out in his native Florida. I wondered if he had ever been outside here before.
Brians didn't come back. Some others even ventured calling them on the Radio to see what was going on but there was no reply.
Nobody knows what's going on.
I awoke from a nap and people are talking about going across the bridge to bang on their door just to see what on Earth has happened to Brians. I hope he's okay.
I busied myself with looking over the vegetable patch. The Strawberries had taken over the garden. I seems like Cabbages will just have to step aside this season.
Junior Technician Innis[edit | edit source]
Signal Development Diary 1:
November 7 1995
Can't wait to get out of this effing place. Stabsy recommended that I start keeping a diary to keep it together. I've been here 5 months now, going off me tits. I'm the first junior rank they've brought into SD in Woundwort. Sign of the times really. Cutbacks. When they told me about it they said the LOA was ridiculous and it is, but they really played down how much of a goldfish bowl this place is. I mean if you spend too long outside you'll literally die. An undisclosed location they said, but bring cold weather gear. What a laugh. They most have been laughing their asses off when I said yes.
To be fair they did warn me that the location was isolated and that I'd need to be the sort who has 'hobbies'. I said no problem, I guess my reputation for being a bit of a radio ham preceded me. Always picking away at the equipment, making suggestions, improvements. So it was only a matter of time before I got in with the Signal Development lot. I got talking to the Staffies. They talked almost solidly for 3 hours about these signals that they intercepted that were like their 'Unicorns'. They were almost mythic and impossible to crack. There were, of course, the conquests. The Unicorns that they had tamed. Usually they just broke out to some tedious classified document with nothing to report. They said if they ever got caught it'd be
their jobs. But how could you resist a mystery?
Two months down the line and I'd been moved from scopes to SD as a little experiment, cos they liked me and because I'd actually helped them crack one of their Unicorns. M$L_KUT8 to give it it's formal handle, they'd been unable to triangulate it's original point of origin, but it's structure was like nothing they'd seen before. Similar to a standard FSR but the internal message actually became a self reference to reorganizing the signal into coherent order. So it would come in scrambled, that was easy enough to garble. The only way to put it back into its original form was to use it's indexing tabs which I managed to spot when looking at the supposed garble. Staff Sharples was convinced that the break out was right, but couldn't work out why they'd send garble. It was one night after work when I spread out the papers on the table and just stared at them. I must have been standing there silent for an hour when it just came to me. I could just see these little strings in the text that seemed to have structure and although they were each different they had this same weird structure. I pointed it out to Staff Barlow in the morning and he nearly spat out his coffee.
"Innis has only fucking cracked it!" He yelled to Sharpy. Staff Sharples came and looked through his thick lenses for a long time and then he turned to me, swore,
and walked off.
They got me well wrecked that night, I was so sick the next day, but they covered for me while I puked my guts out in bed. After we had the organizing tabs arranged, breaking out the plain text was surprisingly easy. Barlow and Sharpy wouldn't let me see the text it broke out to in the end. Said it was well above all our clearance levels. There's protocol for that sort of situation. But it got handled pretty quick and clean and I got a pat on the head from the CO for outstanding performance of duty. I should be on for stripes in no time.
Signal Development Diary 2:
November 8 1995
This is Shiiiiiiit. This place is shit. So effing bored.
So I guess since I started with my life story, I might as well continue. I stayed attached to the SD lot for the duration of my time at Hensands, but I wasn't allowed to work on anything to do with M4L_KUT8. I didn't have the right clearance level. Would have to do a few more years and apply for Enhanced Vetting. I applied to stay and do another turn there but they said that I was needed elsewhere. So it was off to Sunny Woundwart I went, suitcase in hand, but still no stripes. I guess it'll take a little more work.
Weirdly all of the RAF detachment here thought I'd been sent here for bad behavior. When I told them that I CHOSE to come here they all pissed themselves laughing, til they realized I was serious. When I asked them why they thought I was here on bad behavior, Stabsy just said that people were often brought here to be kept out of the way, why would I be any different. This place and rumours.
The detachment is small, about 4 bods in our department but we're attached to a general department that oversees the running of the Woundwart Coms Research Facility overall. They do all sorts of interesting stuff up here. Signal interception and de
modulation. Translation. There's a civilian building over the way that does all sorts of Civvie street research with plants and weird shit like that. We don't have a lot to do with them on a daily basis, they kind of keep themselves to themselves. It's not exactly practical to just walk outside and have a chat. The climate here is in consta-blizzard. So frigging cold. Even the walk from the helo nearly killed me! We had to wait at an outpost way outside the blizzard zone and then wait for weeks for a gap in the weather system to get in and for them to get out safely. That's bloody mental!
The inside is pretty well climate controlled. There's severe protocols for entering and exiting the building. They told me, only once I'd arrived that it's gonna be rare that I'll ever get out of the building for a look around. The days when the wind drops long enough for a look around per year can be counted on one hand. Other than that, if you ever left a door open long enough, the entire building would freeze in a matter of seconds. Some weird vacuum effect thanks to the way the wind howls past it literally hoovers out the arm air. Hence severe rules for opening and closing doors. And equally severe consequences for ignoring 'em.
So as you can imagine it's pretty crowded in here. You get to know the other peeps pretty quick and it's more than a little incestuous the way everybody sleeps around. Can't imagine what it must be like
on a submarine! Gotta do something to pass the time, I s'pose.
That said people here are pretty well prepared for the indoor life. There's a knitting group which they invited me to join Everybody has a knitted sweater in the building. And knitted bed covers. And knitted underwear. They even did a round of willy-warmers just for a laugh. I imagine anybody goes outside, it might be essential kid. I'm amazed they don't do them as a military issue.
Others just play games. FIFA mostly. No imagination.
I was lucky to arrive here when they have internet. It only arrived recently.
Can't imagine what they had to do prior to that. Slowly go mad? Read a book. And people definitely do that here. Almost unheard of in the RAF but you get scores of people sitting and reading. How civilized!
I got handed a knitted sweater from the knitting group with the words BADBOY snitched into the front. Hilarious, I thought.
Signal Development Diary 3:
November 9 1995
Work day today is just manning the scopes. pretty monotonous stuff. Stabsy is the guy I tend to be on shift with the most. We get on pretty well, he's Northern, not his fault, just by birth y'know. So we have a bit of 'banter. I call him a Northern Munky, he just calls me French because I'm south of London.
We usually have to monitor the scopes pretty closely but there's not much that flies this way. Mostly scheduled flights which we have to log as procedure. But we have to look out for any monkey business with targets of interest. Any countries making flights into our airspace, for a 'looksie', any posturing, which happens more often than you'd want considering the precarious nature of our relationship with those particular countries. You'd think trolling the nation with their nukes pointed at you, would be low down on the list of priorities. Macho Bullshit.
Anyway Stabs and me got talking about SD and he said he knew a little about it.
He's a Staff of about 20 years been at it a while and when he said he knew a little about it, he was selling himself short. We waffled on about all sorts. I told him about the one I'd helped SD crack at Hensands. He was fascinated. He then told me that the room had originally been set up as SD back in the day. The room's set up with our scopes in the middle but there were a bunch of cabinets at the
back which had dust covers on. I just assumed it was the military being the military and saving the cost even of chucking something away. So they stuck a cover over it and forgot about it. It's immaculately well dusted, but nobody ever bothers looking underneath! Me and Stabs had those covers off in a heartbeat and low and behold it's all plugged in and ready to go! I recognized half the equipment from the SD set room in Hens but some of the other stuff seemed kinda out of date. I'll figure it out.
We set up and plugged in a scrounged computer and we set it going. Amazingly the antennas and received banks, wherever they are in the compound, were still hooked up. When Roberts came in for shift change he barely batted an eyelid.
Better they see some use, knock yourself out boys, he said. Can't argue with that. We even stayed 3 hours after shift just picking signals out of the air and decrypting them. I think I've found a hobby.
Signal Development Diary 4:
November 10 1995
We work the shifts on rotation in such a way that people don't crack up too much. In other places they'll do four on/four off, or some might do a standard week. For us because of the location and relative lack of stuff to do, they've given us a two on/one off, which is actually pretty good. It works out that we have more days off per year that way. I'm not going to complain. All the leave that we can't really take while we're here accrues and we can take it as a month off at the end of our cycle. Sweet. I'm going to 'Napa!
So it was my day off today but I wanted to go and tinker with the kit in the set room. The others didn't argue so I sat in there an d it was a goof 'cos we had 3 on instead of the usual two. Plus I don't really get to see Roberts and Bates all that often so it was good to chat to them for longer. They didn't get my tinkering with the sets though. I told them it's the same as any hobby, I just find this interesting. It's how I keep myself from talking the corridors with an SA80 looking for something to do. We chuckled at that,.
They settled down to work and I put my cans on to see what was floating about in the ether today. The usual routine signals. But out of nowhere came a signal that was so familiar that I nearly fell
out of my seat. It was only bloody M4L_KUT8! But here's the thing. It was loud and clear. I recorded the entire broadcast clear as a bell. Sharpy would be proud! I wasn't set up to triangulate but I set up the receivers so that if I ever catch the bugger again I'd know exactly where to find 'em.
Life's a bit funny sometimes y'know? I thought the guys down at SD would be interested in what I'd found so I tried to drop them a line in the office. I got put through to an operator who told me that their dept had been shut down. I thought they'd gone a bit quiet recently. It's just the way of the military that you fall out of contact with people, especially in our trade. There's so few places to go that you just put faith in their fact that you'll run into them again someday. Something like that though, I could have sworn they've told me something like that. Can't believe they've just had the plug pulled like that! I wonder where they all got posted off to?
I mentioned it to Stabs and he was equally surprised. He hadn't heard anything but he said that he'd put his feelers out and see where they got sent off to. I tried a few mates who got sent off to other places after training but they hadn't heard anything about new SD coming in. Mebbe they got something super sneaky-peeky, off the beaten track. They do exist. As long as they haven't end up in 14, they say that place is the pits. Arse-end of nowhere. Then again, what am I complaining about?
Signal Development Diary 5:
November 11 1995
Back on shift and Stabsy and me took a look at the garble for M4L_KUT8. I explained to him how I'd spotted the pattern for it before and we printed it all off and spread them out on the table. Once I'd explained the structure of the Index text we both got to work with high-lighters to play Where's Wally with them. Once we were confident we'd caught all of them we had to figure out how to put them into the correct structure and then once we'd fed them through the Demod it should break out to plain text. We did it easily enough. It made me chuckle how it was nothing now and before it's been this whole big fuss over this garble text. Reminded me of that riddle if one does not know what it is, then it is something, But if one knows what it is, then it is nothing. Then we found ourselves in that state of confusion again, cos all the broke was garble.
Stabs shrugged and went back to the scopes. He said we'd given it our best shot.
I printed out the garble to take a look at it whilst we manned the scopes. Stabs told me to put them away and focus on work. I couldn't stop thinking about it though. I went through every step over and over. Maybe we'd missed an index tab?
Stabsy told me off though cos I was so busy daydreaming that I missed a couple of flights. Luckily they were routine ones though so we just made an edu
cated guess and hoped nobody would notice.
I stuck a copy of the printout out to my bunk and took a took at them again.
First I went through the first set of garble and went through every single line with the highlighter. We hadn't missed anything after all. We'd gotten every single one of them. So I sat and stared at the second set of garble. I hadn't even seen it! This was a second set of M4L_KUT8 ciphertext! Ciphertext hidden within Ciphertext!
Signal Development Diary 6:
November 12 1995
I took it back to the set room again to tell Stabsy and realized how pissed off he'd be with me for taking potentially classified text out of the room. He apologized for being off with me yesterday and said we could take another look.
I breathed a sigh of relief inwardly. I suggested we look through the first set of text again for the tabs to see if we'd missed any. It was with no small amount of surprise that we actually found a missing tab! I didn't know what was going on. It took a moment to process. Had I missed an index tab last night when I was going through it with a fine tooth comb? I'd have to check again. We ran the text through with the new index tab and it just broke out to come monotonous report with nothing to report again. Just something about tins of plum tomatoes.
Inventory Stabsy was ecstatic about it though. He was so chuffed that we'd been able to break it out.
He couldn't understand why I wasn't more excited. I was just inwardly processing what had happened. I'd recheck the text back at my bunk afterwards to make sure I wasn't going mental. I probably seemed a little quiet for the rest of the shift to Stabsy. He asked what the hell was up. I said sorry, just tired I guess. Which I was. Staying up late picking through ciphertext is probably not great for one's mental health.
After shift I made my excuss and went to my room to take a look at the text.
This is what really shit me up. The text me and Stabs broke out was different from the stuff I'd printed out. I re-checked and I was right about having all the tabs and the tabs in the second set.
I can't sleep, so I'll write just to get this out of my head. What does it mean that the texts are different? M4L_KUT8 was carrying a message so secret back at Hensands that I wasn't allowed to see what it said and now the dept there has been closed down. I've heard back from no one who knows where Sharpy and Barlow and all that lot have gone since. Had Stabsy swapped out the printouts? Why? Had he even known? Maybe the office was broken into and the printouts swapped? In any case, I'll have to keep this on the down-low until I know what all this means. When the guy assumed I'd been sent here on bad behavior maybe I had. I thought I'd opted to go here but when I was in the WOs office and he was offering the position, I hadn't even asked what the other options might've been.
Were there any other options? Perhaps I WAS put here out of the way? Maybe everybody who came across M4L_KUT8 was put away.
Signal Development Diary 7:
November 13 1995
I turned up at the set room again. Roberts and Bates were already there and didn't bat an eyelid about me coming in in me Civvies and getting to work at the other station. Here to do some more Geeky-peeky, Innis? Bates joked. I called him a penis and all was well with the world. They got on with their scope stuff and I set about inserting the second set of text into the Demod. It broke out again to the same variety of ciphertext. I had heard of onions before, but this was just weird. They usually had a message on every layer in ascending clearance levels, which only the person at the next secure level had the cipher key to.
Keeps everything well secure. So I carried on like this ticking off the index tabs and demodding until I had gone through nine layers. When I broke out that one the tenth layer simply had a short string: K3T_H3R. That was it. I was bamboozled. I went away to think about it.
I ran into Stabs, completely forgetting about the fake cipher we'd decrypted the other day. I still didn't know what to make of it. He asked if I wanted to play a couple of games. So we did and I then kicked his butt at pool to crown it.
Felt just normal. It couldn't have been him who replaced it. He'd be acting funny. Nobody can just lie like that and be
normal with a mate.
I just woke up from a nap and I has the weirdest dream. I think it was about the M4L_KUT8. I saw this tree and Isaac Newton was sitting underneath it. It was an apple tree so I had to laugh. I looked up at the tree though and it seemed weird, towering. The branches has interwoven in a weird pattern and on the tree were these ten apples where the branches forked. Right at the top was this one big apple and as I looked up it had the sun right behind it which made it kinda hard to look at but as I looked it turned slightly and in the sunlight I could see that it had the string from the last message carved into its flesh. Suddenly a wind came along and blew so hard that the top apple detached and it bounced and rolled its way down the tree in such a way that it detached each and every apple on the way down. They all hit Newton on the head. He swore at me. I woke up.
Signal Development Diary 8:
November 16 1995
I didn't have the chance to look at the ciphertext for the last few days but today is another day off so no problem. I had a thought the other day. It seemed obvious. Could the word be a Keyword for a standard keyword Cipher? Surely after going to such lengths to break out the text from such a complex system you wouldn't bother with such a lax way of guarding a secret, but then maybe they'd be betting on the fact that the kind of people who could break out such a crazy cipher wouldn't be able to make the lateral u-turn to something so childlike as a keyword.
I gave it a go.
Got rid of the 3's and popped those four letters into the Demod. I was amazed the Demod program even had a utility to do this, obviously someone somewhere still uses such a system from time to time so it came in useful having it. I fed the garble from all of the nine sequential messages in and watched for what it spat out. I was especially interested to see who it was from. The signal had not come back up again, so maybe there was a clue in there somewhere.
It spat out one more layers of standard enciphered text which I broke out with ease and there before me was the crisp plain text.
Written in Mandarin.
I swore so loudly Roberts turned round to see what was up. I said it was nothing.
What do I do now? I can't read Chinese, I doubt I could even casually started to try and translate it even if I had a Chinese dictionary. I scanned the text for something and some of it was written in English, just a title text which simply read, Lagorun-Vale Delivery Schedule. I tried to rack my brains as to where I had heard that name before.
Well at least they gave me my diary to keep me sane in here. I am currently in the brig. Seems that someone was watching what I'd been doing on my computer and raised the alarm. Standard procedure. Watching the watchmen. I'm in the shit.
Pretty deep I'd say.
The WO spoke to me personally as I was dragged into his office by the military policeman. Told me I'd been sent here for the same thing I was caught doing with the retired equipment here. He told me I should understand what is expected of my rank and that I should stay within those limitations until a call to a higher rank is made by a superior grade. What I had done was pretty serious he told me and that the text I had broken out was of a high enough classification that I could expect some jail time at Colchester. He said he'd make a case for my good be
havior here and that aside from this blip, I'd been an outstanding Airman.
I knew better than to open my mouth to dispute all this, that I hadn't been informed of why I'd been sent here, that I couldn't have known that the text was classified as it was an unregistered signal. I didn't bother, this man in front of me had his mind set by rules made on his behalf. He didn't know reason. I simply said, Yessir. He told me I'd be picked up in a week and taken back. And that was that. They shut me up in here.
Weirdly Stabs grabbed me before they carted me off to the Brig. He grabbed my hand and shook it saying that these things oftenh turn out to be valuable doorways to bigger things.
I told him thanks but I just couldn't see how. He said I would.
There's something going on out in the Barracks. People shouting, running. I could have sworn I heard the pops of some rifles from far off.
There's rifle fire coming from inside the building. I shouted out the grating for somebody to let me out. Nobody came. Screaming now.
There's no more running or screaming. I can hear footsteps. Weirdly the advice of my grandfather before I enlisted came floating back to me: keep your mouth shut and listen and you'll be fine.
The Game Master[edit | edit source]
Game Master's Notes[edit | edit source]
Game Master s Note 1457-
By the time the team had caught up to Rachel Pankhurst
she had already tracked down the encrypted files docu-
menting the militarisation of the virus. They did arrive
before she had managed to send them to Constable Freeman.
It seems the husband wife team were actively co-operating
with one another in order to bring the Chinese deal to
light. Naughty naughty. They have all been brought under
control and the situation has been nullified. Research
will continue as per normal.
Game Master s Note 1457-
My Masterpiece, The Terrorform, as it has been endearingly la-
belled by General Tzu, utilises fine dermo-muscular regulation
and conscious pigmentation control allowing them to shift form
from predatory to human at will. The limitation to this is that
they are markedly weaker in light, to the point of aversion,
meaing the infected agents operate optimally at night. Our
customers see this as advantageous. Their cunning is matched by
their aggression and they are natural manipulatiors, winning
the trust of marks and sowing seeds of mistrust among the test
subjects before dispatching them at the decisive point. The
gains in intellect in the current batch are proving a palpable
success. The early research that has lead to this point utilised
traits from myriad of genetic sources in the animal kingdom.
What I can say with confidence is that with the refinement and
addition of modern materials, we have finally arrived at a supe-
rior new species
-Terrorform is unique and inevitable.