Tag Archives: Alo

Supplemental Report 3: The Experiment

Chief,

Agent Cordero reporting in from the shallow end of the gene pool at the Alvin C. Melmoth Memorial Hospital. Went up to the psych ward today, Chief. Wanted to check out the digging down in the basement first, but something about the set-up down there gives me the willies. I think that’s where the real action is around here, but I’ve got a feeling I’d better not just go barging in. Too many workmen. Too isolated. Too easy to make me disappear. So I’ll try it later tonight, when they’re not working.

The psych ward, on the other hand, is full of normal medical staff I can intimidate however I want. Speaking of whom… Have I said fuck this place? Well, fuck this place. I feel for the people here whose minds are being messed with. I really do. But what was going on in this psych ward… Somebody should have said something. I saw how scared a couple of these people got when I started asking questions. They knew something was up. Maybe they didn’t know how bad it was. But fuck them anyway.

Now, the info I got from Rosemary was kind of sketchy, but it sounded like some real mad scientist stuff was going on. People strapped to tables, she said, multiple IVs, wires running into their heads. I took some of that with a grain of salt. Rosemary’s just a cleaning lady, after all. Could have been somebody hooked up for shock treatment. But she was describing patients lying there like that overnight, which didn’t sound right. So when I arrived this morning, I asked about shock patients first.

That earned me some nervous glances, but they got me the info. Looked on the up and up. I checked in on a few of the patients, and they all seemed about as good as any crazy people do. So I started checking the treatment rooms. Nothing too suspicious there, either. Then I found a locked door. Room 532. Went up to the front desk and very sweetly asked for the key. They couldn’t find it. Memories were kind of fuzzy about what, exactly, that room was used for.

So I stopped being sweet. Flew off the handle. Told them to call maintenance and get somebody up there with either a master key or tools to take those doors off the hinges. About half an hour later, a guy showed up with both. Larry. I liked Larry. He was not remotely prepared for what we saw on the other side of that door. But he was a nice guy. Efficient. He tried the master key first, and was really shocked when it didn’t pop the lock. So he tried a couple of others. No luck. We were both pissed off at that, so we set in on those hinges with a vengeance. Got them out in record time and pulled the doors down.

As it turns out, Rosemary’s description was completely accurate. Room 532 was a nightmare. Tables lined up along both walls, eight of them, with people strapped to them. Or what was left of people, anyway. They were all in pretty bad shape. Emaciated. Not sure why they even needed to be strapped down, really. I doubt any of them could have stood up under their own power.

Anyway. They were all Native American. Alo, I’m assuming. Each of them had three IVs hooked into them. One with blood plasma, one with some kind of nutritional fluid, and the third filled with the Alo Black Drink. So we’ve got plenty of that for the lab to play with now. Pure, undiluted stuff. Can’t wait to see what they make of that. The Pocket Brain went nuts for it.

Sorry, Chief. I keep getting sidetracked. That other detail Rosemary gave me, about the wires in their heads. She was right about that, too. And we’re not talking about electrodes glued to their scalps, either. These people had straight-up electrical wires running down through holes drilled in their skulls. Looked like they’d been there a while, too. The skin had sort of knitted back together around the wires, kind of puckered up all red around the hole. No infections, amazingly enough. Whoever was in charge of the poor bastards was a lot more careful about that than he was about keeping them from looking like Auschwitz survivors.

One other weird thing about those patients: their skulls were malformed. Not so much that you’d immediately notice it. But once you got in close, you realized that their foreheads were too big. They protruded out from the middle, like there was something pressing against them from underneath with enough force to reshape the bone. Maybe a pineal engorgement of some kind, or maybe some kind of new structure growing off the front of the brain. We’ll never know, because–

Anyway. They each had two wires in their heads, one on each side just above and in front of the ears. The lines ran up the walls and connected to a master cable that ran along the ceiling and through the back wall of the room. Larry was looking a little queasy by the time we figured out that set-up. Something wasn’t right in that room, and it wasn’t just the condition of the victims. The air was wrong. Charged, somehow. It was making me a little dizzy, and Larry was already turning green before I suggested we try the door in the back wall.

That one was locked, too, and again none of the master keys worked on it. So it was back to the hinges, Larry getting greener and greener as we worked. I was feeling it, too, that charge in the air seeping in around the edges of my mental defenses. Took us a little longer to get that second door down.

On the other side was some kind of control room. Sorry to be so vague, Chief, but my memory gets a little fuzzy here. I mostly remember gauges and dials. Buttons. Switches. Levers. As I try to describe it now, I realize that what I’m seeing in my head is a cartoon. A drawing out of a comic book. I’m going to try some hypnotic recall here. See if I can’t dredge up something useful. Hang on.

*************

As soon as we opened the door, the pressure on our heads doubled. Larry puked. I wanted to. It was coming from the machines. Constant, pulsing waves of it. Like standing next to a generator. Ten, twenty, thirty seconds later, Larry was down for the count and I found myself standing in front of what I assumed to be the controls. I started throwing switches, slapping buttons, trying something, anything, to make it stop. Out in the ward, I could hear the patients moaning and thrashing around, but there was nothing I could do for them, nothing. I had to save myself, stop the machines, stop them, because no one else could. Who was going to come in there and turn the things off? Rosemary? She wouldn’t even have lasted as long as Larry. The nurses were already too scared of this room to even tell somebody they had a horror movie unfolding under their noses, so it was up to me, up to me and nobody else, and to hell with those poor people with the wires in their heads and their giant goddamn foreheads, they were already lost, already lost before I got there, already dead, and

I’m sorry, Chief. I’m so sorry. I let you down in there. I blindly slapped at the controls until the pain stopped. Because by that time, by the time I’d hit a few buttons and driven the things into overdrive, there was pain. Such horrible pain, so much more than I was ready for. So much more. When it stopped, when I came back to myself, the machines were on fire. I stumbled back. Grabbed Larry and hauled ass. As we stumbled through the ward, I saw a lot of blood. Blood and brains and fire. More fire. They were burning. Burning from the head down, burning because I’d made them burn. I tried not to look. I had to get Larry out of there and get back with fire extinguishers and put out the fire so maybe I could save some of them but I couldn’t save anyone I couldn’t I killed them I killed them I killed them myself.

So I tried not to look, but I did look. And the last patient, the guy in the last bed on the right, he had yanked the wires out of his own head and he was bleeding but not burning and his eyes were open and the light was going out of them and he looked at me. Looked at me with this awful expression of peace. Like he knew. Like he knew that I’d killed him, and he was saying thanks.

*************

Goddammit. Goddammit. Fuck this place. Fuck it. Fuck hypnotic recall and the whole goddamn dirty business. I’m going down to that basement now, Chief. I’m taking my gun. And god help whoever gets in my way.

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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.


Report 24: Not Nearly Enough

Sir,

The report from the doctor who examined Alexandra Melmoth doesn’t sound good.

By the time I got to him, Luke Pallaton was already tending to the doctor’s injuries. Cleaning the blood from the man’s genitalia revealed two puncture wounds at the base of his penis, and a rash forming on his testicles. Pallaton administered anti-venom, but it didn’t do any good. The rash worsened rapidly, the doctor’s sac swiftly puckering up in a mass of sores that wept in watery black. And where the black spread, so did the rash, down into the soft tissues of the anus and spreading across the thighs.

All of this in under five minutes, at which point Pallaton rushed the doctor out in search of what he called “more expert spiritual care.” The venom of gods was beyond him.

The search for Alexandra didn’t go well, either. We didn’t find her anywhere on the grounds of Ranger HQ, or anywhere nearby. So we returned to the building to organize a broader search, and while Cheveyo made the necessary phone calls, I went to the examination room to figure out what happened. The doctor, an Alo tribal practitioner by the name of Kachina, had thankfully recorded the session, a transcript of which follows.

*************

Kachina: Commencing examination of prisoner Alexandra Melmoth, at request of Captain Cheveyo. This will be a general examination of the patient, with particular attention paid to a possible shoulder injury, and… it says here… the teeth. Huh. Now I’m a dentist.

Alexandra: It’s fine. I’m sure the Captain has his reasons.

Kachina: Alright, then. Let’s take care of the teeth first. Smile real big for me, okay?
(clattering of instruments)
(light tapping)
Look fine to me. Any idea why he wanted your teeth looked at, Miss?

Alexandra: Not… exactly.

Kachina: Well, I’m satisfied if you are. Now, if you’ll step behind the curtain there and disrobe, we’ll get on with the examination.

Alexandra (a pause): …Alright.

Kachina: Examination of teeth complete. They show no signs of damage or irregularity. Clean pearly whites. Wonders of modern dentistry. Commencing physical as soon as patient has… disrobed… Oh, my.

Alexandra: Doctor?

Kachina: Yes. Yes, well. Just sit up here, Miss.
(clattering of instruments)
Ahem. Now. Stick out your tongue…

Alexandra: Aaaaahhh…

Kachina: No need to say aah, just… Well. Well, that’s odd.

Alexandra (muffled): Wha?

Kachina: Patient’s canines appear enlarged, and the back of her throat… Say aah again, please, til I tell you to stop.

Alexandra: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh…

Kachina: Stop. Patient’s throat shows unusual degree of muscular flexibility, enlarging to… Well, I’d have to measure it. But larger than normal human capacity.

Alexandra (small chuckle): I should have mentioned my lack of gag reflex.

Kachina: I see. That’s… Well, that’s a very unique throat you have.

Alexandra (teasing): All the boys say so.

Kachina: Ahem. Well. Let’s have a look at… at that shoulder.

Alexandra: That’s not my shoulder you’re looking at, Doctor.

Kachina: Just trying to ascertain… any damage to… connective tissues.
Ahem.
Now, which shoulder was it you injured, Miss?

Alexandra: I don’t remember, exactly. Let me see…

Kachina: Stop that.

Alexandra: Stop what?

Kachina: Stop stretching. It’s… distracting.

Alexandra: Sorry, Doctor. I’m just trying to see if my shoulder hurts.

Kachina: Well… Well, does it?

Alexandra: Not really. But… Something doesn’t feel right, on the left side. Here. Feel here.

Kachina: Here?

Alexandra (sharp intake of breath): Yes. Yes, right there. Now, let me rotate it, and…

Kachina: Miss Melmoth, please take your hand off my shoulder.

Alexandra (low): Does it bother you?

Kachina: Yes.

Alexandra: Liar. But, fine. If you don’t like it there, maybe a little lower…

Kachina (voice strained): Miss Melmoth, that’s… That’s enough.

Alexandra: Oh, it’s not nearly enough. Not nearly…

(wet kissing sounds)
(sharp intake of breath)

Kachina: Please… stop…

Alexandra (voice thick, deeper): No…

(shuffling, bumping, sliding zipper)
(more wet noises, moaning, hissing)

Kachina (weakly): Wait…

Alexandra (angry, voice transformed, barely recognizable): You know you want it! Now sit down and let me give it to you!

(more bumping, moaning, hissing, wetness)

Kachina: Ah… ah… ah… AAGH!

(wet sucking and a deep, muffled chuckle)
(spitting noise, shuffling)

Alexandra (distracted tone): …god, I need a man…

*************

Some noises follow that we assume are the sound of Alexandra getting dressed, jimmying the lock on the window, and crawling out.

Her behavior here is distressing, to say the least. I saw something similar when I visited her in the hospital, of course, this sexual predation without full Yig manifestation. But this happened without influence of the Osceola, with no more inspiration than a bit of nudity and a hint of attraction from her victim.

Cheveyo says that he saw no inkling of this behavior when he brought her in. She seemed compliant and scared. Almost relieved, in fact, to be in custody. It’s the only reason he left her alone with the doctor, though I do wonder how much her strange magnetism may have affected that decision. She can’t seem to turn it off.

Obviously, her condition is extremely volatile. Whatever happened to her at the lake… whatever she left behind… has changed her. Will it still take the trauma of death to release Yig inside her at this point? Or will finding whatever satisfaction she craves have the same effect? Either way, she’s on the loose, and presumably looking for more victims. We’ve alerted Sheriff Patton, and issued an APB. I just hope we can find her, and that I can get her to eat the Wanageeska hot dog, before she takes another victim.

– Agent X-23, signing off.


Report 22: The Morning After

Sir,

As you could no doubt tell, it was a bad time in Pannawau last night. A lot happened, and I’m not sure my Osceola-fueled mind-hopping exploits entirely captured the scope of it. So I thought I’d codify things with a slightly more formal report than is my norm.

SECTION A: The Events of the Evening

  • First, and most obviously, the Black Mirror Brute came out. I discovered that the Sad Man was not, in fact, summoning the Brute, but trying to distract it from leaving the Mountain and wreaking worse havoc. See Section B below for more details on the Sad Man’s plan.
  • Alexandra Melmoth was on the loose, as well, in a Yig-Form transfiguration seemingly triggered by the presence of the Brute in the Gray World. She changed back in the early morning hours, and is currently in custody on the Alo Reservation. Her family is demanding her release, but the Alo are thus far holding firm. I’ll be heading out to speak with her again later.

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EMERGENCY REPORT: On Patrol

***SECURITYBREACH*** Unauthorized Intra-Blog Access ***SECURITYBREACH***

[burst of static]

Testing…

[static]

Test–

[crackle]

[hum]

Testing… There. That’s got it. Here ya go, Pappy.

[rustling]

Hello. This is John Cheveyo. I don’t know who’s on the other end of this thing, but we found your transmitter here on the ground outside the Opa Lodge. Little beat up, but we got it working again. Figure it belongs to either Matthews or Denise. Definitely not commercial-grade kit. And not something we built on the rez, either. Not enough owls on it.

Ah, hell. Let’s stop pretending here, alright? I don’t know exactly what agency Matthews works for, but I know the kinds of things you investigate. You investigate things like us. And that’s fine. We’ve got our secrets, you’ve got yours. Neither of us likes it too much. But right now, I’ve got more important things to worry about, and I need your help with it.

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EMERGENCY REPORT: Night Journey

Chief, this is Denise.

Something’s… dammit… something’s gone wrong. I’m–

[unintelligible]

[burst of static]

DAMMIT!

Sorry for the mess, sir. I’m using the live feed from the auto-transcription mic, so this is gonna come out a little stream of consciousness. But I’m in a hurry, so I wanted to dictate this to you from the– gah!

Sorry. Deer in the road. How these people live with rodents running out in front of them all the damn time is– Shit. Deer aren’t rodents. I know that. They’re… What the hell are they? Anyway. You know what I mean.

So I’m in the car, heading up-mountain to the Opa Lodge. Something’s– I had a dream. Something’s wrong with X-23. One of those things – the owl-headed things – has dosed him with something. The Black Drink, I think. He fought it, but– Something’s not right. He was in my head, Chief. He was in my head, and he needs help.

I’m not making sense.

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Report 21: Many Voices

Sir,

I returned today to my room at the Opa Lodge. This decision may be rash. Denise certainly thinks so.

I certainly do. He informed me of this idea by phone, if that tells you anything about how hare-brained even he thinks it is. Talk some sense into the man, Chief. Get him out of there before it’s too late.

But after my conversation yesterday with Heyoka, I believe this to be the best means possible of smoking out the Sad Man. This is the portion of that interrogation I’ve kept hidden from the Somnambulists, for reasons that I believe Denise has already made clear: some of the subjects broached there were things I am sworn not to reveal, even to you. If I thought these things posed some kind of threat, I would break my word in a heartbeat. But in our zeal to know everything, we sometimes delve too deep. Secrets and lies, sir. Secrets and lies. It’s the currency we deal in. But sometimes we must allow ourselves to trust. And unless you intend to bring me up on charges, that’s all I have to say on the matter. Though I’m sure the Somnambulists will have their say, as well.

[Review Complaint #23594-Q, pertaining to violation of Field Code 821: Mental Hygiene and Security Maintenance Code 51: In the Event of Somnambulist Intervention. The Agent has committed an unprecedented breach of protocol, and must be corrected for proper functioning of Agency operations.]

At any rate. One thing struck me particularly in Heyoka’s story about the snakes coming to Pannawau: there was a missing date. He said that they came 40, 60, 200 years ago. Well, 40 years ago was the Yig Incident. And 200 years ago was The Year Without a Summer. But what about 60 years ago? What happened then?

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Somnambulist Transmission 3: Owls and Snakes

Transcript of conversation between Agent X-23 and Alo Cultural Eccentric designate Heyoka. Also in attendance: Alo Ranger Captain John Cheveyo, his lieutenant Luke Pallaton, and a captured Nukpana.

X-23: I should compliment you on the mind reading, I suppose.

Heyoka (shrugs): Just a trick of the trade.

X-23: I suspect it’s a little more than that. The only other person who’s been able to read my mind recently was a man touched by an extra-dimensional snake god.

Heyoka: How do you know I’m not?

X-23: You don’t seem the type.

Heyoka: Huh. Not good enough for your fancy snake gods, am I? Maybe I don’t want to tell you a story after all.

X-23: My apologies.

Heyoka: Apologies won’t fill my belly, White Devil. But they’re a start. Now, sit down.

X-23 (sits)

Heyoka (stands): Good. Now. What do you know about snakes?

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Report 19: The Clown

Sir,

An eventful day today, both enlightening and frustrating. First thing, I got a call from John Cheveyo. They had apprehended the Sad Man, he told me, and invited me to the interrogation. I set out before Tom and Gladys even had breakfast going, so I ran by the Stop n Go on the way, to get that cheese biscuit I’d promised Oscar Melmoth I was going to have. Edna had heard of my hospital stay, and quizzed me quite thoroughly about my cardiac health before selling it to me.

Another recipient of her heart-wise caution this morning was Cecil Murden, the one-eyed, one-footed chainsaw sculptor I’ve heard so much about recently. Quite the character. I think Edna may be sweet on him. She made a great show of checking the Biscuit List (her hand-written weekly tally of how many biscuits her regular customers have consumed in a given week), and made sure that Cecil hadn’t hit his personal limit of two. Cecil had a heart attack a few years ago, it seems, so Edna put him on limited rations.

Cecil took her attention with a sort of mock annoyance. But that’s how he reacts to everything, apparently: mock annoyance, mock interest, mock humor… It’s like he’s having a very personal joke on the world, all the time, no matter the subject. In a less charismatic man, it would be off-putting. But there’s always a twinkle in his eye, and a certain gruff charm to the performance, so you walk away feeling like he’s let you in on the joke. Even though he’s done no such thing.

I’ve met men with that sort of demeanor before. Some carry it better than others, but usually they’ve seen horrible things. If that’s the case with Cecil, he didn’t let on. But considering that he once traveled with Oscar Melmoth, I can only assume the worst.

He confirmed that service, by the way. He was proud of it, in point of fact. Said it was the only honest work he did the whole time he was a Merchant Marine. I told him I’d like to know more, and we made plans to meet for dinner. After that assault on my mind last night, I want to find out everything I can about Oscar Melmoth.

At any rate. Cheveyo met me at the door of Ranger HQ. He didn’t look good. Dark circles under the eyes, a cut up at his hairline, a hard set to his jaw… The Sad Man had obviously put up a fight. I shook his hand and moved to go in, but he shook his head.

“We’ve got him at Wakiza’s.”

“What the hell is Wakiza’s?”

He shook his head again and motioned to his truck. “Let’s go.”

Once we were moving, he opened up a little more. “Sorry for the silent treatment, Clint. We’re dealing with some sensitive stuff here. This guy, your Sad Man… He’s kind of important here on the Mountain.”

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Report 18: His Heart’s Desire

Sir,

The headache started almost immediately. A slight throbbing in my left temple that began the minute I entered the grounds of Melmoth House. It would get worse.

But first, Robinson. He met me at the gate, as arranged. “You can’t drive up to the house,” he said. “Oscar will know. He always knows.” So, the gate. I parked the car safely off the road, and we walked by flashlight. He looked ghastly in that light, older and more haggard than he’d seemed earlier in the day. If I hadn’t been distracted by the headache, I might have taken more notice of it.

As it was, though, I just wrote it off as one more horrorshow element of an evening that seemed full of them. Melmoth House is quite the imposing Gothic manor at night, looming dark and mysterious against the night sky. The place even has a hedge maze, which is where Robinson lead me first. “A shortcut,” he told me. I didn’t see how that was possible, but with the throbbing in my temple, I decided not to argue.

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