Supplemental Report 2: The Network

Chief,

Fuck this town, and fuck its rinky-dink medical services.

Sorry, sir. Unprofessional of me. But, really. Fuck this place.

Agent Cordero here. Obviously, I guess. Spent the day down at the Alvin C. Melmoth Memorial Hospital, a black hole of responsible patient care. Seldom have I seen a medical facility so rife with abuse, and a staff so blind to what’s happening under its own nose.

To be fair, I’m pretty sure there’s no one in the place whose mind hasn’t been tampered with in some way. They all have these weird gaps in their memories, incidents they signed off on that they have no memory of. Lots of that centered around the care of Mr. Possum Reynolds. And the Melmoth girl, of course. Her stay takes things to whole other levels of incompetence. Her grandfather’s puppet doctor with no proper credentials coming in and taking over, that Black Drink crap somebody slipped into her IV drip…

I’d suspect corruption except for what the Pocket Brain told me. I was using it to test for psychoactive substances in the hospital pharmacy – there were a ton, by the way – but it kept giving me these funny readings, psychoactive blips when I wasn’t actually pointing it at anything. I thought maybe it had grown a tumor or something. I’ve had this one a long time, and you know how they get diseased after a while. I was just before popping the skull-plate off it when I realized what was happening:

It was warning me about my damn coffee.

I’d picked up a cup in the nurse’s lounge before coming in. Good stuff, I thought. A little bitter, but you know… Rich. Full-bodied. Whatever that crap is they say in the ads. It finally hit me that the Brain was letting out those funny little yelps every time I took a sip. So I finally just pointed it at the cup. Strongest reading I got all day.

So now I was pissed. They dosed me! They fucking dosed me! I barreled off back down to that lounge, ready to tear somebody a new one, but there was nobody there. I scanned the coffee maker, and bam! Readings off the scale! So I confiscated the son of a bitch. Unplugged it, poured the coffee and the grounds into specimen jars, and hauled the whole damn thing down the hall under my arm and out to the trunk locker in the car.

Raised a few eyebrows there, let me tell you. Raised a few more when I cleared out the cafeteria and started scanning the kitchen. Not as many hits there as I expected, but enough. Highest dosages were in the coffee. Guess it masks the flavor better. But it’s also the ideal food to dose. I mean, do you know how much coffee is consumed by medical personnel on a daily basis? Hospitals practically run on the stuff. You couldn’t find a better vector for psychic assault.

My guess is that anyone who’s ingested food, drink, or medicine at Melmoth Memorial has been compromised. Part of Melmoth’s network or primed to become part of the network when the need arises. I’d suggest that we just Burn the place, except for one thing: Rosemary.

Rosemary’s a cleaning lady down there, and… Remember how I told you that I saw some relieved expressions when I announced myself yesterday? Well, Rosemary was one of those, and today she came forward for a chat. She’s seen all kinds of odd goings-on. People walking around like they’re in a trance, acting funny, acting like they’re not themselves. The psych ward’s the worst. But that’s not all, Chief. Somebody’s digging in one of the basements. Official story is that they’re doing “repairs.” But nobody’s been allowed down there since work began, and she’s seen men carrying out wheelbarrows full of concrete and dirt.

So something more than just mind control’s going on here, Chief. And if we Burn the place, we might never find out what. So I’m going to play dumb, and keep digging. Maybe find an excuse to examine that basement.

See? I don’t always lead with the gun.

– Agent Valerie Cordero, signing off.

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About Mark Brett

Shaved Yeti. Alien. Writer of stuff. Read my fiction at https://reportsfromthefieldblog.wordpress.com/. Read my thoughts on comic books and other dork culture ephemera at http://dorkforty.wordpress.com/. View all posts by Mark Brett

One response to “Supplemental Report 2: The Network

  • Mark Brett

    Cordero, this is the Chief.

    You be careful out there. These people might look like yokels to you, but that doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous. You’ve been briefed on Oscar Melmoth, and I know you’ve studied the Icke File. But you’re not just dealing with lizards made of sound here. You’ve also got the Alo involved. Their Blue Book file’s one of the oldest in our records, and it’s got as many questions as it does answers. That’s serious business. Ancient powers who’ll do a lot more than spike your coffee if you’re not careful.

    But speaking of that coffee: make sure you get probed by the Somnambulists. Mix yourself up a neural scrubber if you don’t check out. I’ll agree with you that we can’t afford to do a burn on the hospital just yet, but I’m declaring that place a Class Ten Psychic Hazard until further notice. That’s Class Ten, Agent! With full precautions! Don’t play around in there.

    Now. That psych ward stuff sounds promising, but I think checking out the digging first is a good instinct. An awful lot of this case has already happened underground. Anybody digging anything deeper than a ditch should be treated with suspicion.

    Reminds me a little of that time back in ’78 when we cleaned the Dero out of Chicago. You don’t get much Dero activity in North America anymore. It’s mostly Eastern Europe these days. Things were different in the Seventies, though. You’d get infestations. Mostly in the older cities. Chicago was the worst.

    Anyway. I was on this one with old Avery Scott. Heck of an agent, that guy. Good instincts. Went down to a rabid Yeti a few years later. Kinda sad. We’d gone in based on reports from businesses. A whole two-block area was up in arms. Weird noises in the walls. Reliable employees going missing. Especially people on closing shifts. There’d usually be some cash missing from the till, too. But it was like whoever stole it didn’t understand how money worked. They’d leave the bills, take the change. Really loved rolls of pennies.

    Avery heard that thing about the missing penny rolls and it tipped him off to Dero activity on the PDQ. “Yellow-blooded dwarves,” he said. “Mark my words, we’re gonna be knee-deep in yellow-blooded dwarves before this thing’s over.” And he was not wrong. Dero love copper, it turns out. There wasn’t much of it in pennies, even back then, but they liked sucking on them anyway. Like candy, or some kind of breath mint.

    So we went around checking out basements. Dero live underground, see, and only dig their way up to the surface when they’re desperate. Looking for food or sex, usually. Or sport. They like hunting. And voyeurism. They’re little perverts, if you want to know the truth. But they don’t like sunlight much, so they tend to come out at night. And even then, they like to stay hidden. So, basements. That’s why they liked Chicago so much, I always thought. Lot of basements in that town. Some of them hidden. Sealed off. Secret booze rooms, dating back to bootlegger days. Great way for Dero to get into a building.

    We started with the places people had disappeared from. Every one of them had a basement. And every basement had a weird spot in the wall that looked like it had been tampered with and sealed back up. The police had re-opened one of those Dero doors, but behind it was nothing but dirt. So they dropped it. We didn’t. I was all for getting a crew in there to dig down to their nest and burn them out. But Avery nixed that. Something told him it was a bad idea. Instincts, like I said. I was still developing them back then, but he had them in spades. And they told him to wait. He wanted to catch one of the things first. Find out how many of these “yellow-blooded dwarves” we were dealing with.

    So we set up surveillance in every untouched basement we could find. Security cameras. Microphones. And we rolled through the neighborhood in an unmarked van, waiting for a signal. I don’t know how many nights we spent in that van, living off bad coffee and doughnuts. Just like real cops. I was getting more and more impatient. Mouthed off some. But Avery just kept driving. Stayed the course. Let his instincts take us where we needed to be. And when those instincts paid off, they paid off big.

    But I’ll have to tell you that part of the story next time. Simmons has something for me to look at down in Lab D, and I need to be getting down there.

    Still. Trust your instincts, Cordero. I think they’re steering you right.

    – Chief Bill Roberts, signing off.

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