Modern/Delta Green - The Beginning of the End (COMPLETED) - Page 7




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    The End of Paradise: Part 8 – The Furnace

    “I swear, it was here!”

    Jim-Bean swung his flashlight around. There was no sign of the door on the wall, or evidence that it was ever there. He used his utility knife, and just slashed at plaster.

    Archive was serious. “Something’s wrong here. I think this is actually part of another dimension.”

    Jim-Bean snorted. “Sure, right. Well, whatever it is, I have the book to prove it.”

    “Did you hear that?” asked Blade.

    There was a clanging sound coming from the furnace.

    “Just noisy old pipes,” said Jim-Bean. They all froze to listen.

    The banging became more insistent, as if someone were inside and banging for help.

    Jim-Bean ran over to the metal hatch. It was hot to the touch.

    “Isn’t this thing natural gas?” asked Blade, dubious.

    Jim-Bean wrapped both hands around the handle and yanked hard.
    As he opened the hatch, Jim-Bean got a glimpse of the interior of the furnace, full of flames. A burning man screamed…
    And then the flames were gone, the metal cool.

    “Did anyone else see that?” asked Jim-Bean, blinking.

    “See what?” asked Blade. “The banging stopped once you opened the door. Probably rats.”

    “Big rats,” said Archive. He cocked his head. “Is that…the sounds of a crowd upstairs?”

    They ran upstairs to check.
    Last edited by talien; Tuesday, 17th March, 2009 at 11:46 AM.
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    The End of Paradise: Part 9 – Opening Night

    All the Metro volunteers and staff were assembled, as well as several hundred prominent citizens of Arkham. The festivities had begun with a party in the lobby; the jazz trio was just winding down and the crowd moving into the theater as Hammer exited from behind the curtains.

    Guppy hobbled in. “Hammer! I’ve been trying to call you all day?”

    Hammer blinked. “What? All day…?”

    He caught sight of Archive and the rest of the team. “What the hell is going on?”

    “I think we just experienced some lost time,” said Archive with a frown.

    “Guys, I wanted to tell you!” said Guppy. “There’s something new in the lobby. The wall is now decorated with vintage photographs of the Paradise…” He clicked a button, and photos of all three of the pictures were transmitted to their Cistrons. “Take a look!”

    There were images of three generations of Allen family patriarchs. Max Allen, Frederick Allen, and George Allen. Although taken decades apart, all three were done the same way: a man standing on the upper balcony of the Paradise looked down at the photographer, who used a wide-angle lens to capture the beauty of the room.

    There was a flash of a camera overhead. They saw a photographer standing just inside the doors, aiming upward. On the balcony overheard stood Richard Jacobs smiling, in the same pose as that of the Allen men. He was an aging but dignified man wearing an expensive suit.

    “Oh this is bad,” said Jim-Bean.

    The theater’s sound system began playing “Carmina Burana.”

    “We’ve got to stop that projector,” said Archive. “I’ll stay here in front. Shut that thing down!”

    The music wound down, the lights went out, and the projector whirred up. A beam of light cut through the darkness and filled the screen. The opening credits to Rules of the Game rolled and there was brief applause. Archive took his seat towards the front near the screen.

    The rest of the team took the steps two at a time. They tried to get into the projection room but the door was locked.

    Blade slammed into it a few times. “Sturdy door,” said the big man.

    “I got it,” said Guppy. He pulled out a lock-picking device.

    “They let you have that?” asked Hammer in disbelief.

    Guppy nodded. “Sure! Didn’t you ask for one?”

    The lock clicked and the door opened.

    In the theater, the film started to stutter. The image rolled and jumped, going in and out of focus. The images of the film changed to the footage from the basement, of men in suits and faceless masks. There was a grinding sound from the projection booth.

    The image was jumping so much it was hard to make out. Good-natured calls of “Focus!” came from the boisterous crowd. Then the image steadied, the men took off their masks, and a blinding light filled the room.

    The projector was unmanned. Hammer kicked over the projector, but the light continued to beam from somewhere.

    “There’s no film in the projector!” shouted Guppy in horror.

    And yet the tremendous light that beamed from the front of the projection booth began to strobe. There was a crashing sound and screams erupted from the rear of the theater.

    In between flashes, Archive was able to make out that the back third of the theater had collapsed into another subterranean chamber. Theater patrons, many still in their seats, fell through the breaking timbers, screaming. They landed in a dark mass.

    It was nitrate movie film stock, an early film format long since abandoned because it was highly flammable. In moments, the film ignited and the back third of the theater erupted in flames. The burning film writhed up and out of the chasm as if alive, snatching nearby patrons and yanking them into the fire.

    “Vual,” whispered Archive.

    Richard Jacobs emerged, lifted up by the tendrils of film. He was burning and laughing at the same time, the nitrate tentacles lifting him higher and higher towards the trap door in the ceiling.

    Archive ushered people out the emergency exits. “Don’t let him reach the ceiling!” he shouted to his comrades.

    The team needed no further encouragement. Drawing their pistols, they opened fire through the projection glass.

    A bullet grazed Jacobs. He whirled, an inverted marionette on burning strings, and pointed at Blade, the biggest target. “Zyweso, wecato, keoso, Xunewe-rurom Xeverator!”

    Tentacles snapped up and through the window, wrapping Blade up like a mummy.

    Archive caught sight of Sara. “Why aren’t the sprinklers working?” he shouted.

    She was stunned, staring up at the writhing flames. “We…rushed the opening…”

    Guppy, despite his bruises, dove into action. He scrambled for a fire extinguisher from the lobby and turned it on Blade, extinguishing the flames

    Jim-Bean drew his knife and slashed the tentacle of film. It whipped backwards as if in agony.

    Jacobs turned and carefully aimed a Colt Delta Elite pistol.

    Hammer drew his Glock and fired.

    A red blot appeared in Jacobs’ forehead. The film suddenly went limp. His body collapsed into the boiling film stock below, instantly incinerated.
    Last edited by talien; Thursday, 21st February, 2008 at 03:11 PM.
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    The End of Paradise: Conclusion

    “Well that went well,” said Jim-Bean.

    “Drake’s going to have our asses on this one,” said Hammer. They were at the Arkham Hospital again, where Blade was recovering from his burns.

    Archive shrugged. “I don’t think so. The authorities cited the existence of an unknown basement—“

    “I TOLD you there was something weird in the basement!” shouted Jim-Bean. He got a dirty look from one of the nurses tending to Blade.

    Archive cleared his throat as he read off of his Cistron. “The basement was used to dump a large collection of nitrate films that were taken out of circulation. A weak floor under the weight of the crowd and the combustible movie stock combined to produce the disaster, which killed dozens and injured more than a hundred.”

    “But,” added Guppy with a smile, “no credible reports of the film coming to life exist.”

    “And what about Paradise?” asked Hammer.

    Guppy read off his Cistron. “Metro Arts is being sued over the failure to be up to fire safety codes. I doubt the Paradise will survive.”

    “Then it’s over,” said Jim-Bean.

    Hammer shook his head. “Take a look…”

    They all brought up Guppy’s pictures on their Cistron. One of the pictures on the wall revealed a poster in the background of a crowd scene. It read, “Welcome Sound and Light Club International Chapters,” followed by the names of prominent cities across the country and around the world.

    “It’s far from over.”
    Mike "Talien" Tresca

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    Chapter 2: Lethal Legacy - Introduction

    This scenario, “Lethal Legacy,” is from the Call of Cthulhu supplement, “Last Rites,” by Ian Winterton. You can read more about Delta Green at http://www.delta-green.com. Please note: This story hour contains spoilers!

    Our cast of characters includes:

    • Game Master: Michael Tresca
    • Joseph “Archive” Fontaine (Dedicated Hero) played by Joe Lalumia
    • Jim “Jim-Bean” Baxter (Charismatic Hero) played by Jeremy Ortiz
    • Hank “Guppy” Gupta (Smart Hero) played by Joseph Tresca
    • Kurtis “Hammer” Grange (Fast Hero) played by George Webster
    • Jake “Blade” Iron Shirt (Strong Hero) played by Matt Hammer

    This scenario was played right after The End of Paradise and was considered by the group to be the more interesting of the two. My suspicion is that this is because the scenario involved a combination of investigation and combat, with an alien opponent that had unknown capabilities. I was able to slowly introduce each of the creature’s powers, giving the PCs a rising dread as to what was to come.

    And of course, I had plenty of NPCs to mess with, a whole family of gun nuts. I used Jack Nicholson’s performance as Melvin Udall in As Good As It Gets as the template for Randy Kalms in this scenario to spice him up a bit. The rest of the family was largely in the background…except the youngest, Luke. I’ve learned in horror that going after the weak link really makes the group feel vulnerable, even if it’s not “one of their own.”

    An important part of The End of Paradise established that a foster home was actually raising cultists. Here, Randy Kalms lays out the entire campaign in one breath. It’s not all factually accurate (I’m not going to give ALL my secrets away in one fell swoop!) but it’s a good start and provides a framework for a conspiracy (Majestic-12) vs. a conspiracy (cultists across America). And two members of the cult conspiracy are about to start an all-out turf war.

    Although the first scenario was creepier in tone, this one was much more freeform with moments that ended up being disturbing only because that’s how they played out. When you have a dimensional shambler with levels in telepath, you’d be surprised what you can pull off…

    Defining Moment: The defining moment in this scenario is when Guppy, who was talking to the rest of the team, slowly turned around to see the dimensional shambler looming over him through the window. I showed the players a picture from the scenario and it totally freaked them out.

    Relevant Media
    • Last Rites: The source of the adventure, "Lethal Legacy."
    • As Good As It Gets: Jack Nicholson's misanthropic author, Melvin, is the inspiration for Randy Kalms.
    • Miskatonic University: Everything you ever wanted to know about Miskatonic University.
    • Yuggoth Cultures: Contains Alan Moore's Yuggoth Creatures, which is in turn the book that Randy Kalms was writing that would have given all the mythos away. Of course, in this story it's actually Mary Kalms who experiences much of the happenings referenced in the book, and Randy merely fictionalized it. This is a fantastic comic for fans of Lovecraft.
    • Burning Down the House: by Talking Heads.
    • Fear: My inspiration for how a family reacts in a remote, fortified cabin under assault by an outsider.
    Last edited by talien; Sunday, 26th June, 2011 at 01:32 PM.
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    Lethal Legacy: Part 1 – Miskatonic University

    Hold tight! Wait till the party’s over
    Hold tight! We’re in for nasty weather
    There has got to be a way
    Burning down the house

    --Burning Down the House by Talking Heads
    ARKHAM, MA – Archive looked at his Cistron critically. “Miskatonic University?”

    “Miskatonic University?” asked Jim-Bean. “You don’t mess with that place. Why do we have to go there?”

    “Something about a stolen mummy,” said Blade, recovered from his burns. Both he and Guppy had been in and out of Arkham Hospital for a week.

    “There’s nothing wrong with Miskatonic University,” said Archive. “I got my degree in archaeology there.”

    “We’re supposed to meet with Dr. Joseph Bread,” said Hammer.

    “If we get a chance, I’d like to meet with Randy Kalms after this,” said Archive. “He contacted me about the events at the Paradise Theater. Said that he was connecting the dots on cults, something about a grand conspiracy theory.”

    Hammer’s brow furrowed. “I don’t like the sound of that.”

    “Me neither,” said Archive. “But the only way to find out what he’s really doing is to talk to him myself.”

    “We’re here,” said Blade. He parked the van and they got out.

    The campus looked much like any Ivy League school, attractive but reserved. It was meant to inspire learning and a certain educational reputation. To Jim-Bean, it just looked creepy.

    Dr. Bread was a tall, excitable young man with dark curly hair and glasses, given to emphatic gestures.

    “Hi,” said Hammer, shaking the man’s hand. “We’re with the National Trust—“

    Dr. Bread looked like past him at Archive. “Joe? Joe Fontaine!” He laughed, released Hammer’s hand in mid-shake, and walked over to Archive. “It’s been forever!”

    Archive sheepishly took Dr. Bread’s hand and pumped it. “It’s good to see you too.”

    “The last time I saw you was at…why, at the Dean’s annual Garden Tea!” He threw an arm around Archive. “What have you been up to?”

    “I’ve been busy. I freelance…” Hammer shot him a glare but Archive kept talking. “I advise on possible occult investigations like this one.”

    “I feel a lot better knowing you’re on the job, Joe.” He brought them to the door of Miskatonic University’s archaeology department. It was closed by police tape. A university security guard stood beside the door and held up the tape so they could pass into the room.

    “This exhibit concerns Dynastic Egypt,” said Bread. At one side of the room, past pottery, bronze jewelry with cloisonné work, dove nets, and a fine collection of adzes, rested a sarcophagus. The heavy protective glass top had been unscrewed and moved aside.

    Hammer snapped on plastic gloves. “Mind if I look around?”

    “By all means.” Bread stepped out of the way.

    The sarcophagus was empty inside, except for random dirt and a few scraps of crumbling linen.

    “The police came and went,” said Bread. “They weren’t much interested, I’m afraid. The theft has student prank written all over it.”

    Archive nodded. “Anything unique about this mummy?”

    Bread shook his head. “Thousands of mummies from ancient days have been found in Egypt and elsewhere. This one was utterly unremarkable. Of interest, certainly, since all old things are, but of nominal value. Like most, it was male and dated to the Old Kingdom.”

    “The period of the third through sixth dynasties,” said Archive. “And the era when the first pyramids were raised.”

    Bread smiled. “It’s good to see you haven’t lost your touch.”

    Archive rubbed some crumbling pits of the sarcophagus between his fingers. “It seems to be crumbling?”

    Bread blushed a little. “It’s a leftover from a student fair a few years ago. Papier-mâché. Not stone at all. Too heavy. Stone would go right through the floor. Good job though, isn’t it?”

    “Do you think the mummy is still on campus?” asked Guppy.

    Bread nodded. “Yes. Odd time of year for a prank, though. Pranks usually happen when the weather’s decent. Imagine toting a mummy about in a cold rain such as we’ve had.” He paused, then murmured, “God, I hope they wrapped it in something!”

    “This place was locked though, right?” asked Blade.

    ”Of course. The doors to the exhibit are regularly locked at 6 p.m., as are the department offices. Weekdays, an hourly security patrol of the building begins at that time, until 7 a.m.”

    “Can we see the security cameras?” asked Hammer.

    “Certainly. They’re quite odd in themselves.” Bread took them to a security office where an obliging guard ran the tapes.

    At about 5:45 p.m., a tall, thin man about forty years old entered the exhibit room, looked about, then left. He wore a raincoat and a balaclava. He returned ten minutes later, reached up, and neatly sprayed the lens of the visible camera with black spray paint without showing his face.

    “In the exhibit, there’s one camera in plain sight,” said Bread. “That’s the dummy. There are actually two real cameras, hidden at opposite ends of the room.”

    He then put down the spray can and made some curious signs with his hands. His lips moved as well, but of course, no sound was recorded.

    “Invisibility spell,” muttered Archive.

    “Hmm?” asked Bread.

    “Nothing.”

    The intruder sat on a bench and opened a magazine from his pocket. A close examination deciphered the smeary title: Black Goat Quarterly. A large pentangle decorated the front cover of the thin little magazine.

    At 6:10 p.m., a guard arrived, looked about indifferently, and utterly ignored the sitting man who was reading. The guard turned out the lights, but the man on the bench made a gesture, and the guard turned the lights back on again. The man continued to read. The guard locked the door and departed.

    “Sam Knowles was the guard,” said Bread. “He’s been reliable for more than fifteen years. He knows the security arrangements in the room. He remembers nothing of this, except that he closed the room as he always does. When he closed it, he swore there was no one there.”

    At 7:05 p.m., just after the guard had looked in again and passed on, the man on the bench rose and walked briskly to the mummy. He took out a bag from under his raincoat and lay it aside. Again he made brisk, convoluted gestures. A moment later all the screws popped out of the glass lid. He carefully slid the heavy glass off the sarcophagus, then slipped the open bag under and around the mummy. He turned off the lights, then opened the door from the inside and closed it behind him carefully.

    “A witness who passed the building last night described a tall, thin man in a balaclava who exited the building carrying a bag,” added Bread. “The time matches the time on the tapes.”

    Guppy plugged the video recorder into the Cistron. A picture of the man appeared on the team’s other Cistrons.

    “This gentlemen is not a member of the campus community,” Bread said firmly. “Security had already searched our ID library. We have no match. But this guy probably hangs out with some campus group. He sure doesn’t look like a frat man.”

    “Not a frat man,” said Archive, “but a fan of the occult.”

    “Right,” said Hammer. “It’s time to visit the publisher of Black Goat Quarterly.”
    Mike "Talien" Tresca

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    Lethal Legacy: Part 2 – Black Goat Quarterly

    “Black Goat Quarterly is a laughable local magazine concerned with black magic,” said Archive. “It’s published by an eccentric, Josh Wilton, who has opened an esoteric book shop, Third Eye Books, in one cramped, narrow room near Miskatonic University.”

    They entered the room and a pathetic bell rang to alert its owner. Wilton was a goth whose age had caught up with his style. His black clothes fit too tightly and his tattoos were spreading so badly that their designs were hard to read.

    “Oh great,” said Wilton in haughty tones. “The Man is back.”

    Jim-Bean flashed his badge. “We’re much scarier than the Man. I recommend you give us what we need to know.”

    “And why should I talk to you?” replied Wilton.

    Archive flipped through the magazines on one wall. “This is the issue,” he pointed to Black Goat Quarterly. “Did you sell this to anyone recently?”

    “I have a subscriber list,” sneered Wilton, “but I don’t see why it’s any of your business.”

    Hammer took out ten dollars and slapped it on the counter. “We’d like to buy a copy. And whatever other information you have about your subscriber list.”

    Guppy flashed his Cistron, with the image of the man on the screen. “We’re looking for this man.”

    Wilton’s eyebrows shot up. “Douglas Drebber.” He snorted. “In that picture, he’s reading the magazine with his own article.”

    “Which article?” asked Archive.

    “Page six, The Sorcerer’s Way.”

    Archive flipped to the page. Without naming names or naming gods or even making spectacular claims, it spoke about the seductive power of the Mythos, offering ways of contacting cults connected with it, and provided simple ways to come to its attention.

    “Do you know where we can find him?” asked Hammer.

    Wilton’s eyes flipped to the Brit. Jim-Bean still kept one hand threateningly at his belt, but he kept quiet.

    “Yes.” He looked at his subscriber list. “According to this, he’s at…”

    Guppy tapped more keys on the Cistron. “Lich and South Powder Mill,” said Guppy.

    “That’s it. It’s a walk up in the French Hill neighborhood.”

    They stepped out into the street.

    “What’s your deal?” asked Blade. “You looked like you were about to take the guy’s head off.”

    “Let’s just say the occult and me don’t get along,” muttered Jim-Bean.
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    Lethal Legacy: Part 3 – Lich Street

    Only a few blocks from the roiling, rain-swollen Miskatonic River, Drebber’s building was a late Victorian faced with brick and broken up into apartments, a-squat on subsiding ground. The cold, hard rain lent the impression that the building would continue to slide, but it was quite solid. A few ragged willow trees bowed their heads in the shallow front yard.

    Hammer took out his Glock and nodded to Blade. Blade knocked on the door. No one answered.

    He knocked again.

    An older man opened the door in the adjoining apartment, adjusting his glasses. “Hello?”

    Hammer holstered his pistol. “Hello. Do you know a Douglas Drebber?”

    The old man wandered out onto the stoop. One side of his glasses were frosted. The man was blind in one eye.

    “I heard a lot of shouting last night, followed by a smashing sound. I was tempted to telephone the police, but I didn’t dare walk to the nearest payphone. It’s at the bar on the corner.”

    “So you don’t know Douglas Drebber?” asked Archive.

    “Eh?” asked the man.

    “Drebber? The man who lives here?”

    “Oh, I don’t know his name. Tall geek who rents from Mrs. Gladys Cooper.”

    “Thanks,” said Jim-Bean gruffly. The old man got the hint and wandered back into his place.

    “Still got your lock picking tool?” asked Hammer.

    “Yep!” said Guppy.

    Hammer stared at him.

    “What?”

    “Maybe you should use it?”

    “Oh, sure!”

    Guppy pulled the tool out of his belt pouch and went to work. In a few moments there was a click and the door popped open.

    The hallway opened into steps leading upwards. To the right was a huge hole. Bricks, mortar, a broken window casing, and broken lumber littered the yard. The roughly circular hole was seven feet across, shattered as if a runaway truck had driven out through the wall.

    Blade leaned down to look at the tracks. “No human foot made these prints. Looks more like a bear’s, with four long razor-tipped toes.”

    Hammer took out his pistol. “Blood on the steps.”

    The steps wound upwards and turned abruptly. Hammer stopped and then stepped over the entrails.

    “Gah!” shouted Guppy, holding his mouth.

    At the next corner, a few steps from the upstairs landing, was the dead body of what was probably a woman, her limbs snapped and weirdly twisted. The flesh of her face had been ripped away, her guts and internal organs crumpled out everywhere, her flowery print dress riven and blood-soaked. Even in the chill draft from the stairs, the scent of death was strong and disturbing.

    Hammer pointed Blade at the bedroom, Guppy at the bathroom, and Jim-Bean and Archive at the kitchenette. Blade stayed with Hammer as he snapped on a pair of plastic gloves.

    “Hey, check this out,” said Jim-Bean. “Randy Kalms, ever heard of him?”

    Blade nodded. “He wrote a few scripts for movies my ex-wife acted in,” he said. “Mostly a lot of crap in the eighties.”

    Jim-Bean had a people article in his hand that he snatched from the corkboard above the sink. “According to this People article, he turned family man and moved out to Arkham with his third wife, Mary.”

    On the kitchen table were three half-empty jars, two of dark color and one of bright yellow powder. All were capped.

    Archive stared down behind the counter. “I found the mummy. Most of him, anyway.”

    The mummy’s feet and ankles had been sawed off.

    “Kalms’ wife is in this picture too.” Jim-Bean held up a mildewed photograph in a tarnished metal frame. She looked younger.

    Blade came out of the bedroom with a book. He handed it to Archive. It was titled, “Children of the Sea and Stars.”

    Archive scanned it. “This book has instructions on how to make Dust of Suleiman.” He looked over at the capped ingredients. “Olibanum, sulfer, and saltpeter. Yep, it’s all here.”

    “Don’t tell me,” said Hammer, his examination of the dead body complete. “The last ingredient is…”

    “…a mummy, yep.”

    “What’s it for?” asked Blade.

    “According to the book, protection against dread and unwanted visitations,” said Archive.

    “Can you make more?” asked Hammer.

    “Sure, but…”

    “Make it. I have a feeling we’ll need it.”

    “Why would we need some dust from a dead man?” asked Jim-Bean critically.

    “I think that Drebbers summoned something he couldn’t control. And if I had to guess, he sent it to take out his ex-wife.” He pointed at the picture.

    Blade clicked on his Cistron. “I’ll call the police and let them know about the mummy.”

    Archive finished cooking the ingredients and poured the powder into a jar while Blade talked with the police.

    “We don’t have to worry about Drebbers,” said Blade. “He’s dead.”

    “Dead?” asked Jim-Bean. “Dead, how?”

    “Wrapped his car around a tree,” reported Blade. “He died instantly.”

    “Great, so now we have some huge monster on the loose and nobody to control it.”

    “That’s why we have a job to do,” said Hammer. “Let’s pack up and get out of here.”

    There was the sound of a toilet flushing and Guppy stepped out of the bathroom.

    Everyone looked at him.

    “What?”

    “Did you find anything in the bathroom?” asked Hammer expectantly.

    “You used it instead of searching it, didn’t you?” asked Jim-Bean.

    “Uh, well,” said Guppy quietly, “it’s a nice bathroom.”
    Mike "Talien" Tresca

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    Lethal Legacy: Part 4 – Walking in a Blizzard

    Though the directions were clear enough, the drive to the Kalms residence turned into snow. The flakes were wide and soft, and the air cold. Despite the wetness, the snow began to stick almost immediately.

    Blade left the interstate at the Dudnerwell exit. Everyone felt the van shift.

    “You okay?” asked Hammer.

    Blade grit his teeth. “The snow’s bad,” was all he said, his knuckles white on the wheel.

    The road narrowed as it climbed a little, and the surface became black ice. Blade slowed the van down to fifteen miles per hour.

    Suddenly, the van shifted again. They slowly slid sideways into a ditch filled with snow.

    “Hold on!” shouted Blade.

    They strapped themselves in just as the van jolted forward into the ditch.

    “Great,” said Jim-Bean. “Now what?”

    “Now we walk,” said Hammer. “We can’t afford to wait. How far are we away?”

    Guppy tapped his Cistron. “About a mile. It’s hard to tell though. We’re off the GPS map. Just a dot in the wilderness.”

    “Okay,” said Hammer. “Grab your gear and let’s go.”

    “Who died and made you mission leader?” muttered Jim-Bean.

    “Drake did, as a matter of fact.”

    Jim-Bean rolled his eyes.

    Following the road was simple enough, but with darkness falling the world became a black and white blur.

    Guppy tripped over a tree branch. When he looked up, a huge lumbering mound turned to look over its shoulder as it strode away. He caught a glimpse of its glowing red eyes.

    Blade helped him up. “You okay little buddy?”

    “I…did you see that?” Guppy pointed, gawking. “It was huge!”

    Blade peered into the blowing snow. “I can’t see anything.”

    “If that’s the thing Drebber summoned,” said Archive, “we’d better get moving.”
    Mike "Talien" Tresca

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    Lethal Legacy: Part 5 – The Sunroom

    The Kalms home was a solid, timber-built fortress with its own fuel and supplies. It was as well equipped for country life as a man who was wealthy and who had time could make it.

    They approached the foyer double doors and range the doorbell.

    Randy Kalms, instantly recognizable, met them at the door with a shotgun dangling from one hand. “What the HELL do you want?”

    Archive stepped forward. “Mr. Kalms? I’m Joe Fontaine. You wrote me a note about wanting to speak with me?”

    Randy blinked. “Why didn’t you SAY so! Come on in, come on in!” He put the shotgun aside as he opened the door. “Sorry about the shotgun, you can’t be too CAREFUL these days, if you know what I’m saying.”

    Archive nodded. They took off their coats and hung them in the foyer. Randy led them to the sunroom. “Mary, we’ve got some guests. Put on a pot of coffee!”

    The sunroom had floor-to-ceiling windows. It housed a large, open fire. A massive amount of firewood was stored beside the fireplace along with a bellows. There was lots of comfortable furniture, some of it antique. A drinks cabinet and entertainment system gleamed in one corner.

    After introductions were made, Randy sat down. “So,” he said, his eyebrows rising. “What brings all you boys here together?” Randy gestured at everyone sitting around him. “Are you some sort of groupies for Fontaine here?”

    Mary came in with a pot of tea and coffee. She looked just like her picture from the magazine.

    “I freelance for these gentlemen,” said Archive. “What did you want to know about what happened at the Paradise Theater?”

    Mary put the tea and coffee pots on the central table. With a “thanks honey,” Randy took up his own coffee cup and slurped a sip. “Richard Jacobs died in that fire at the Theater, right?”

    “Right,” said Archive.

    Randy leaned forward. “Let me tell you what I think. I think Richard Jacobs was part of a cult. And I think he was initiated into that cult when he was very young.”

    “Do you have evidence of this?” asked Hammer.

    “Did you know that Richard Jacobs, was raised by the Labib Home for Children until 1937, and then transferred to St. Matthew’s Orphanage?”

    Hammer shook his head.

    “Do you know what organization funded the Labib Home for Children?”

    “Uh, no?” prodded Archive.

    “MegaCosmos. Let me tell you what I think: I think MegaCosmos used that orphanage to fund a cult, the Cult of the Black Brotherhood.”

    Jim-Bean rolled his eyes. “Here we go…”

    Randy hopped to his feet. “Hear me out. I think the Labib Home for Children was used to recruit orphans into the occult arts, but there was a split in the 1930s. One group, the group that is the Black Brotherhood, funds MegaCosmos. The other one went on to become the New Moon Temple.”

    “Never heard of them,” said Archive.

    ”That’s why it’s so important I get the word out in my new book!” Randy was pacing. “The New Moon has deacons who are loyal to Nyarlathotep. You might know it as the Fate.”

    “Stephen Alzis,” said Blade.

    “You know him?”

    “You could say that.”

    “The heart of the New Moon theology is the Rite of Ambrosia. It’s a ritualized form of cannibalism in which a victim is eaten alive over the course of several months.”

    Guppy shivered. “Sounds awful.”

    “It is. The deacons receive their orders through dreams from Nyarlathotep. But now something new is going down. The Black Brotherhood is challenging the New Moon’s power. I think a war’s about to start, and the opening volley was the death of Robert Jacobs. The Fate isn’t going to let that go. It’s all in my book, Yuggoth Creatures.”

    He threw a manuscript on the coffee table. The subtitle read, “Being an Account of the Discoveries of Fabulous and Terrible Truths Concerning Our World.”

    Archive stared into his tea. “Randy, if this is true…if you’re writing a tell-all book, you might anger a lot of people.”

    Randy smirked. “I served in ‘Nam, man. I can take care of myself.”

    Archive nodded. “My…associates are good at protecting people. Do you mind if we take a look around, just in case?”

    “Sure,” said Randy. “Scott! Scott, come down here!”

    Scott, a pimply-faced teen, sauntered into the room. “Yes?” he sighed.

    “Take mister…”

    “Hammer.”

    “Hammer for a tour, please.”

    Scott grumbled, but he was intimidated by the size of the man before him.

    “Come on.”

    Everyone watched Hammer go. Their gaze turned back to Guppy, whose back was facing the glass panels of the sunroom.

    “I saw something on the way here,” said Guppy nervously. “It was huge. With glowing red eyes.”

    The team, including Randy, was staring past him out the window.

    “What?” asked Guppy. “Is there something on my face?”

    Looming behind him was the shadowy figure, bent down to view the top of Guppy’s head as if it were a child bending down to look at an ant.
    Mike "Talien" Tresca

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    Lethal Legacy: Part 6 – The Guest Room

    Hammer passed through the kitchen, where Mary was boiling some soup. The kitchen was a huge room with a ridiculous number of surfaces, shining pots, and pans hanging from copper hooks. There was a large selection of knives, cleavers, and meat saws.

    “Mrs. Kalms, can I have a word with you?”

    “Sure.” Mary put down an oven mitt. “What can I do for you?”

    “Did you know a Douglas Drebber?”

    Mary bit her lip. “How do you know that name?”

    “We came across it in our investigation. We were wondering if you could give us more details.”

    “There are no details to share,” she said curtly. “That was a long time ago. Now if you’ll excuse me, my pot is boiling over.” She hustled back to the oven, head down.

    “Come on,” said Scott. “Do you want the tour or not?”

    They climbed the steps large hallway. Scott pointed at each of the rooms in turn. “That’s the bathroom. That’s my room. The library. A storeroom. Belinda’s room. Luke’s room. And the two guest bedrooms.” He flounced back toward the steps. “Can we go now?”

    “Mind if I see one of the guest bedrooms?”

    Scott looked him up and down. “You’re not some weirdo, are you?”

    “No,” Hammer smiled and left it at that.

    “Fine.” Scott opened the guest bedroom door but didn’t step inside. He was clearly not comfortable with Hammer. “See for yourself.”

    The guest bedroom had a double bed, tiny table and one chair, a closet, an empty chest of drawers, and a phone. There was even a private toilet and shower.

    Hammer looked out the window. The blowing snow made it difficult to see anything.

    Blade was outside, hatches out. He looked around, then kneeled down to look at the snow. He was tracking something.

    “I don’t see it!” he shouted back through the window.

    Then Hammer saw it.

    Shuffling towards Blade was a gigantic, blasphemous form of a thing not wholly ape and not wholly insect.

    Hammer drew his Glock, aimed, and fired through the window. The bullet shattered glass and the thing flinched, more startled than wounded.

    Hammer turned around to try to explain himself, but Scott wasn’t at the door.

    He swore as he ran down the steps, pistol out.
    Mike "Talien" Tresca

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