CatastrophicFailure

Revelations of the Kraken (Chapter 37: Fire)

Recommended Posts

2 minutes ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

Don't read not ready yet!

Aargh, so hard to not! :sticktongue:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, 0111narwhalz said:

Aargh, so hard to not! :sticktongue:

And here I thought I was posting in the middle of the day when no one's around... :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm black organic substance that infects people in weird ways? Sounds like protomolecule to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dun dun duuuun!

 

"...this is very bad."

tenor.gif

So now we looking at a Kraken-controlled zombie Kerb army? Cool :D

 

And a black goo symbiote? Hmmm....

giphy.gif

Edited by vsully

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Spooky - and then menacing - as Kerm. 

Great chapter and my goodness have the stakes just been raised. Also I have a sneaking affection for what seems to be the new dou...ouch my shin, running gag. :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/1/2017 at 2:05 PM, KSK said:

Spooky - and then menacing - as Kerm. 

Great chapter and my goodness have the stakes just been raised. Also I have a sneaking affection for what seems to be the new dou...ouch my shin, running gag. :) 

My jealously for your convenient blasphemy target has reached a zenith. :D

@Vaporo I haven't had much chance to play with that excel thing, other than to learn that Microsoft™'s free excel viewer only does exactly that, and being Microsoft™, they want certain favored parts of my anatomy for the privilege of clogging up my hard drives with Office®. :rolleyes: I'll have to see if OpenOffice is still around...

but in other news, despite getting stuck in a bus with a stuck-on horn, I had a surprisingly good day and next chapter is complete, just needs a final edit. Should be up some time this weekend. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

but in other news, despite getting stuck in a bus with a stuck-on horn, I had a surprisingly good day and next chapter is complete, just needs a final edit. Should be up some time this weekend. 

:targetpro:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

My jealously for your convenient blasphemy target has reached a zenith. :D

@Vaporo I haven't had much chance to play with that excel thing, other than to learn that Microsoft™'s free excel viewer only does exactly that, and being Microsoft™, they want certain favored parts of my anatomy for the privilege of clogging up my hard drives with Office®. :rolleyes: I'll have to see if OpenOffice is still around...

but in other news, despite getting stuck in a bus with a stuck-on horn, I had a surprisingly good day and next chapter is complete, just needs a final edit. Should be up some time this weekend. 

 

OpenOffice is still around, but isn't really actively developed - try LibreOffice instead (https://www.libreoffice.org/). One of the advantages of open source is that forks can happen; the downside is that they may never be pulled back into the original project...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

 

@Vaporo I haven't had much chance to play with that excel thing, other than to learn that Microsoft™'s free excel viewer only does exactly that, and being Microsoft™, they want certain favored parts of my anatomy for the privilege of clogging up my hard drives with Office®. :rolleyes: I'll have to see if OpenOffice is still around...

If you don't have Office, then don't bother. The "translator" works using VBA, which is a language that runs almost exclusively as part of Office, plus it references some Excel-exclusive properties. It won't work in any other program. However, VBA is very similar to JavaScript, which is relatively portable... Hmmmmm. maybeeeee... (Gears start turning inside head).

Edited by Vaporo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Old Abraham would raise his hands
And mourn this very day,
For his children left the promised land
In search of their own way.
They'd kick and scream like wayward sons
Always wanting to sleep,
And dream away these evil days
In hopes that God can't see.

 

Chapter 6: While You Were Sleeping

 

She.

She drifted... swirled in shadows. But rising... ascending... toward a distant, beckoning light...

A shadow shifted, obscuring it. A dark form, a hidden face. A hand clamped tight to her mouth. A burning in her veins. And a horrible, wet gurgling noise. 

A voice whispered, "it's me! I'm just changing your IV bag."

Slowly... painfully slowly... the world resolved into focus. She looked up at a vaguely familiar face with a finger pressed to its lips. 

"You—"

"Shhhhh..."

"You are Doc," she kept her voice low. 

Doc smiled, then nodded across the small room. She followed his glance, discovering the source of the awful gurgling sound. The one called... Gas-man... was asleep in a chair against the wall, head cocked back, a hefty river of drool running from one corner of his mouth. 

"First real sleep he's had in a few days," Doc whispered, "let's not wake him."

She nodded. 

"How're you feeling, today?"

Trying to drag herself from wherever she had been, it took some time to answer his question, "eye hurts..."

"Hmm..." Doc produced a pen light, shining it around, "well, that's probably because it's almost open today. The swelling's gone way down, that's good. And you remember me, that's better. How 'bout Sleeping Ugly over there?"

Her brow pinched at the term, but she answered, "he is... Gas-man..."

"Well," Doc put a thoughtful hand to his chin, "that's close enough, I suppose. And you are..?"

She... she tried... but only shook her head, "is... shadow... like trying to remember dream. Is something there, but I cannot..."

Hmming again, Doc mused, "so you can't remember your name, but you know at least two languages. I wonder... könnst du Krünish?"

She blinked, "ein bisschen. Aber ich war nie sehr gut," then quickly raised a hand to her mouth in surprise. Doc grinned.

"How about," he began, "{blink}[squint] kidrock <right armpit fart> macklemore {gleek} (glottal stop) de vrieskou daar zat [twerk] ik toch al niet mee urp?"

Her jaw dropped open, "you speak Ceriman?!"

"No, I just know the one phrase."

"What... does it mean?"

Doc gave the back of his head an embarrassed scratch, "well, I'm probably getting it wrong. It's either 'the cheese is old and moldy, where is the bathroom?' or 'I shall bathe in the blood of your kin and make fiddles from their bones, you sweat from a baboon's nethers!'."

She opened her mouth. 

She closed her mouth. 

"But you recognized it," Doc said with a wink, "Valentina Kermanova knows half a dozen languages. Ceriman isn't one of them. At least, I don't think it is..."

The name called to her again, but distantly, like someone shouting across an open field. Shouting for someone else. 

Pulling her knees up with a wince and hugging them, she spoke to the blankets, "I know how to talk. I know that this is the North Pole. I know that is a table, and that is a chair, and that is... a disturbing amount of drool. But when I try to look beyond..." slowly, she shook her head, "I do not know what I know."

Doc gave her a comforting smile, "you're healing. It will take time. This probably isn't the best place for finding familiar things to help kick-start your memory, but we'll try everything we can."

She looked past him, to the spartan, cylindrical room, and the snow blowing in the twilight beyond the window, "is... more familiar than you know..."

"Well, that's a start, isn't it?" he said, "now, when you feel like being conscious for more than a few minutes at a time, we'll see about getting you some real food instead of this glucose drip." Here he brandished the empty IV bag, "although, when I say 'real' and 'food,' I'm really stretching the meaning of both words."

The barest hint of a smile touched her lips, "food sounds good—" then a wave of nausea billowed through her, "er... eventually."

"You just let us know, we'll have you on your feet in no time," he grinned, "though I'll have to find you some slippers, floors are always cold, here."

"Is alright, the cold—"

"—never bothered me anyway," never opening his eyes, the Gas-man smacked his lips, snorted, then went to drooling out the other side of his mouth, "snooooooorlaxzxzxgzhzgxhzhgzhztypthbpthnzzzzzzzzzzz..." It was a sound like metal ripping underwater. 

She... could only stare. 

"He is... very strange," she finally managed. 

Doc seemed to consider this with a thoughtful frown, "yep, he is, alright. But he's a good guy, you should give him a chance."

To this, the Gas-man added a somnolescent burp.  

"Oh?" she tried to raise an eye... bulge, but only winced in pain. 

"Mmm-hmm," Doc nodded, "he hasn't left your side since you got here."

 

————————————————————

 

"Morning, Dave."

"Morning, Frank."

Frank tried once more to rub some feeling into his weary face. Morning, it most definitely was, if only technically. Dave had fittingly left off the 'good.' Pouring the last gritty dregs from the coffee pot into a stained mug, Frank took a deep yet mechanical swig.

"They're back."

And promptly sprayed it all over the grease board.

"Again?!" he coughed. 

Dave's chair gave a loud creak of protest against his bulk as he leaned back, a smug smile on his face, "tenants in warehouse 19 been birching to da bossman again. Say dey picking through da dumpster outs behind."

Frank's teeth ground like a yellow-stained stone mill as his face split into a snarl, "kerm. Flarping. Dangit!!!!!"

Dave snorted, "dafuggle is a kerm?"

Frank could only stare, and blink.

"Whatevah, yous knows what dat means," Dave's face practically oozed smugness. It dribbled down his cheeks and disappeared into the folds of his many chins, bringing with it crumbs from his last meal eager to join their lost brethren. 

"Sonnofadingdong, I am not getting paid enough for this carp!" Frank spat.

"Yet yous keeps coming back ever night," he drew a napkin across a chin that only made it dirtier, "but da bossman dids leave yous a lil present dis time." He nodded toward the corner. 

Now Frank's face split into a cruel, smug grin as he hefted the electric cattle prod, "oh, flarp yeah! I'ma make those snart-smelling grubby mabberflabbers dance like [generic gelatin desert prodict]!" He thumbed the switch, and his smug grin glowed blue by the light of a thick, buzzing arc between the electrodes. 

"Then be off aboutcher noble rounds, good sah," Dave mocked with a creaky, greasy half bow, "but yous still paying for da coffee yous wasted."

Frank shot him a final look as he reached for the door, "sprunk you, Dave. Sprunk you very much," and disappeared out into the darkness. 

"Lousy gobnobblers," he muttered as he hurried along, hugging himself against the unseasonably cold midnight air, "low down, goodfernuthin, lazy flibberflabs! I got a job, why can't they get a job, hah? I hate my job, but I got a job! Dragging me out here in the middle of the night, freezing my tiddlywinks off. I'll show em!" he brandished the cattle prod to the empty heavens, "I'll shove this so far up their whoopsidaisies they'll—"

Ker-sploosh.

Frank stopped in mid gabber. 

"Oooooooh, no!" he snarled, "I am not pulling your crusty, hoobastank S out of the harbor!" and stalked off towards the edge of the pier. 

"You better be dead!" he raged, "skittamirinkidinkidink, you better be dead or so help me I will—"

There was nothing there. 

"Huh?" he clicked on his flashlight and shined the beam toward the water a few meters down. It swelled gently back and forth, on account of being the color and consistency of lumpy oatmeal. Frowning, he turned away to—

Ker-splush.

Some water sloshed onto a small floating dock below, and quickly tried to make a break for it before anyone noticed. 

That was... odd. 

Not the water, that was normal, but... Frank had never seen a fish this far up the harbor before. At least not a live one. A distant, nagging concern began to worm its way through his gut. 

Huffing, he made his way down the rickety, rusting ladder as it creaked and swayed. Something went ping, and he screamed as he fell... a few centimeters onto the bobbing wooden dock. With a grunt at his own nerves, he clicked his flashlight back on and shone it down over the grayish water. 

There!

He almost saw... something. As the dock swayed beneath him, he crept out towards the edge. Yes, right there! He caught a fleeting glimpse of a small, dark form below the sludge. Going down to hands and knees, he peered out... leaning...

There... there it was! A slowly undulating shadow just under the surface... circling... and... coming right this way...

He leaned just a bit more...

Rinky-tink-ting.

Frank jumped up with a growl at the sound of a tin can skittering across the ground somewhere above. 

"Oh, that is it!" he practically flew back up the ladder, "someone gonna die tonight!" and charged away toward the dumpsters. 

"Mammerjammers!" he waved the heavy metal flashlight in one hand, the cattle prod in the other, "zimmy-zammy flimflams!" 

He came around the corner, and as expected, a hunched figure dressed in stained rags was leaning against a stack of pallets amidst the debris and trash. 

"Hey! You!" Frank cried, "you can't be here! You're tresp—!"

The figure turned. 

"Oh... scat..."

His eyes...

The vagrant looked back, his own eyes wide, aware, and terrified. Angry sores weeping foul black pus covered a face of worn grey leather. His beard was matted to a clump with dark, dried fluid, what hair that remained draped in whispy tangles. But his eyes...

His eyes..!

"Whugle?" he said between ragged, agonal gasps, "glorp?"

"Scat!" Frank muttered. He dropped his arms, his anger forgotten. Fear clamped tight around his stomach and... tiddlywinks. "Are... are you okay, old kerb?" he tried, "you... need some help?"

"Glorp," the vagrant began shuffling toward him, "glorp!"

"You... you want I should call the shelter?" dimly, Frank was aware of his mind trying to will his feet into motion, but they seemed frozen in place.

"Glorp..." the old kerb stumbled closer, now reaching out for him. Blackness oozed over cracked lips, "glorp..."

"Hey... hey, stop..."

He shambled closer, fingers grasping, "glorp."

"Hey, stop! You're freaking me out."

"Glorp."

"Stop!"

Hands went for Frank's throat. 

In that instant, Frank suddenly remembered what was in his own hands. He brought the cattle prod up and jammed it right under the old kerb's chin.  

"Glugluglugluglgulgul!" he screamed, his wiry of old frame convulsing beneath layers of rags and filth. Then his wide eyes rolled back, and he dropped like a sack of rotted fruit. 

Frank was left to gape down in horror. His breath puffed out in vague clouds in the frigid air. The lump on the ground didn't move. 

"Oh, scrap," he breathed, "oh scrap! Oh skitterydingdong I killed him! I killed him! Oh scat, I just killed a guy!" Cautiously, frank went to nudge the vagabond with his foot.

A hand shot out and grabbed it. 

"Gah!" Frank screamed as he toppled backward, light and prod flying from his fingers. Rough, irregular breathing filled the night air. The old kerb raised his head, his eyes two pools of pure misery, and began to drag himself forward. 

"Glorp," he pleaded. 

Frank squealed again as panic took him. He shook one foot free and jammed it into the vagrant's jaw, which snapped with a wet crunch. He tried to pull himself backward but the crusty old coot was incredibly strong. Finally, his questing fingers closed around the flashlight. He swung it around right into the other's head with a dull thud. Again and again, Frank drove the weighted butt into his skull. Foul, dark liquid splattered. 

The grasp released, and old kerb collapsed once more. Frank managed to pull himself back, and stumbled to his feet, panting. 

"What the front yard..?," he squeaked, shoulders heaving. Then louder, "what the front yard?!"

The ragged form on the ground twitched. Wheezing, gasping, again it raised its head. One eye bulged grotesquely from its socket, the jawbone dangled by a scrap of flesh while the tongue continued to squirm. Hideous gurgling sounds escaped the ruined mouth. 

Again... again he reached out...

Frank was distantly aware of a warm wetness that bloomed and ran down his leg. He pivoted on a heel and took off running. 

"Help me!" he screamed till he was raw, "somebody help me! Help—!"

He slammed hard into more grasping hands. An old bag lady stared at him with those same wide, pleading eyes. Bones poked out through rotted mittens. 

"Whaguggle?" she said, "glorp! Hwork," she spat vile black goo onto him. 

Shrieking, Frank shoved her away. All around him, the chorus rose.

"Glorp... glorp... glorp..."

He ran. He ran in mindless panic, turning this way, that way. Figures loomed from every shadow. Finally, he turned down an alleyway and ran right into a chain link fence topped with heavy razor wire. His own eyes wide with madness, his lungs seeming to rebel, he threw himself against side door. 

"Let me in!" he cried, slamming his fists against it. Rough coughs racked his chest. Red and black streaked the metal surface. "Please, let me in!"

But no answer came for him this night.

At length he turned, and saw the entrance to the alley plugged with dozens of shambling, lurching, muttering forms.

Glorp...                                               Glorp...                                                     Whaguggle?                                                             Hwork!

Whaguggle?                                                                 Glorp...                                      Glorp...

Glorp...                                                                              Hwork!                                                                  Glorp...

Glorp...                                Glorp...                                         Whaguggle?                      Glorp...

 

Alone in the darkness, while a sleepy town in northern Kleptogart dreamt the night away, Frank Kerman screamed. 

And screamed. 

And screamed. 

Edited by CatastrophicFailure

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Then I saw a great dark throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne..."

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How about," he began, "{blink}[squint] kidrock <right armpit fart> macklemore {gleek} (glottal stop) de vrieskou daar zat [twerk] ik toch al niet mee urp?

tumblr_md5fu5pk0c1qmlsq3o1_500.gif

Bahahahahaha!

This was a hilarious chapter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/6/2017 at 1:30 AM, KSK said:

"Then I saw a great dark throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne..."

 

Might have to steal prophesy this :ph34r:

 

On 8/7/2017 at 10:20 AM, vsully said:

tumblr_md5fu5pk0c1qmlsq3o1_500.gif

True story: my wife was behind this guy on the ferry the other day. Didn't realize it at first, she was busy checking out his car (Maybach). Then some drunk totaled it a few days later. ;.;

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

Might have to steal prophesy this :ph34r:

Caution - may contain traces of blasphemy (as I imagine you've already figured out.) Depends how you feel about replacing the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11) with a great dark throne. 

The rest of the imagery from Revelation 20:11-12 was just too apt though (perhaps unsurprisingly) especially after the ending to Whispers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/9/2017 at 11:46 PM, KSK said:

Caution - may contain traces of blasphemy (as I imagine you've already figured out.) Depends how you feel about replacing the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11) with a great dark throne. 

The rest of the imagery from Revelation 20:11-12 was just too apt though (perhaps unsurprisingly) especially after the ending to Whispers.

You know what they say, the best lies are built on a core of truth. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In those days, truth shall be reviled,
And those who speak it cast out into the night.
A Great Plague shall shall be called down upon Kerb
Thus shall he be smitten in his hubris. 

Chapter 7: Truth and Consequences

 

*Any reference to other works of fiction is coincidental and completely unintentional

They're eating her!

And then they're going to eat me!

Oh my Keeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerm!

She blinked at the wall. 

Dozens of questions flowed across her mind, like the images flowing across the wall. Chief among these was what exactly had been in that last injection.

The one she asked was, "er... but what is Kerm?"

"Eh, who knows," Doc said, trying to suppress a giggle, "probably makes more sense in context."

"Even in context, nothing in this flick makes sense!" the... Gas-man added, choking back his own laughter.  

She frowned, and blinked once more. At least she could blink, not just... squint-wink, like yesterday. The images from her eyes still seemed distorted, somehow out of synch, and it might not have even been yesterday, but... that was still an improvement, right? 

Anything... anything but here-and-now just seemed all fuzzy, like trying to remember a dream within a dream. Occasionally, images flashed in her mind. People, places, things. She had no idea if they were real or not. Shadows and ghosts. It was as if she were watching the pictures on this wall within her own head. 

Something about that even...

Some indistinct part of her brain said she should be amazed at images of such depth and quality just appearing like that, with no discernible screen of any kind. The other Kerbals seemed to just "flick" them onto the wall from those little transparent tablets they carried about. 

Even in context... "...Nothing makes any sense..."

Doc eyed her as he rubbed at his chin, "ok, maybe not the best lunchtime entertainment. I'm afraid the options are pretty slim, thanks to this storm messing up comms. We can't stream anything, so all I've got is what Siri DVR'd last month."

She stared at him, the fuzziness flaring in her mind, "I... have no idea what you just said."

He seemed to share an uncomfortable glance with the Gas-man before tapping at his little plastic device again, "er, let's see what else I have here... nope... nope... nope... hey, how bout this?" then frowned, "dangit, it picked up in the middle. Well, here..." he flicked something onto the wall. 

Lukewarm applause from a small audience filled the room out of unseen speakers. The view panned across several people seated in chairs on a sort of stage: a rather questionable looking lady chewing gum, someone in what appeared to be a sports mask, a little girl in pigtails who was quite obviously evil incarnate, and... what looked like a probe core with two glowing green lights and a jutting pair of antennae. A fellow appeared holding a microphone, with hair that bore a striking resemblance to an well-used pot scrubber.

"Welcome back to Town Talk with George," he said, "our next guest this evening is the author of a new e-book that's sold dozens, yes, dozens of copies. Because anyone can get one of these published these days. Please welcome Mr. Giorgio A. Tsoukermanos!"

Someone clapped. Someone yawned. Someone burped.

The view panned to a kerb in another chair, whose hair looked like it was trying very hard but unsuccessfully to get as far away from him as possible. 

"Now Mr. Tsoukermanos," the host continued, "please explain, in a nutshell— because that's all I have patience for— the topic of your latest work."

With an odd little smile, and an odd little squint, the fellow in the chair held his hands up, "Krakens."

"Krakens." the host said flatly. 

"Krakens," he did the squinty-hand-thing again. 

"Krakens. As in the legendary sea monsters that rose from the abyss to drag hapless sailors down to their doom?"

Snickers from the audience. 

"Well, names are really such a social construct, George," the alleged author explained, "this entity has been called by hundreds if not thousands of monikers over the eons."

"Entity," the host raised an eye... bulge, "yet a moment ago you were using the plural!"

"Such ideas, too, are really little more than a construct so that our limited minds can even conceive the inconceivable. Are there many Krakens? Can it be in multiple places at once? Or is it simply omniscient? Is such a thing even possible?" he gave a wink, "yes, it is."

The host's expression never changed, "so you actually believe these mythical leviathans exist?"

"George, the concept of the Kraken is merely our one society's manifestation of a fear older than history itself. What I have spent the last decade studying isn't some rubber-suit movie monster... it is the very embodiment of chaos itself. It is a force beyond reason or morality, far too big to fit into our limited Kerbal minds."

"I'm terrified," the host said, clearly not. 

The alleged author continued on without seeming to notice, "for it to truly be revealed to us, for it to touch this world unfettered, would be the end of all things, everywhere. After all, another word for revelation... is apocalypse."

The host stared at him, then glanced at his own watch. 

"But more importantly, I've discovered incontrovertible evidence that ten years ago, someone tried to reveal it, to let it into this world."

"And obviously they didn't succeed! Wow, that's a relief! That coulda got ugly!" the host bellowed with a wide, fake smile, "Thanks very much for joining us today Mr. Tsoukermanos. My next guest—"

"It didn't succeed because someone else stopped it."

The host's smile evaporated. The hand not holding the microphone began to twitch. 

"Someone, I'm not sure who, took a secret prototype torch ship to the fourth moon of the planet Jool, broke open the Kraken's prison, then somehow sealed it again, even deeper than it was."

The fake smile came back, "and how 'bout a big round of applause for this great, unsung hero! Thanks again for coming, Mr. Tsoukermanos, now—"

"But he's not. He doesn't know what he's done. He's put Kerberos to sleep, the door is unguarded," he leaned forward, his squinty eyes suddenly going wide, "and now, Hell is coming."

The host's irritation seemed to crack for a moment. Perhaps it was something in the guest's eyes that fractured his own demeanor.  

"Um... er..," he stammered, "well why should anyone believe you, right folks? Do you know how many people I've had on this show crying about some impending cataclysm? It's a zombie apocalypse! No, it's head-sucking quasi-sapient foliage! No, it's a grand conspiracy to make rockets out of an old pipe extruder at a secret underground lair! Why should anyone believe you?"

His expression remained mild, "because I have proof."

"What proof?!"

The guest reached into his coat pocket...

...and next to her the Gas-man suddenly went into a fit of coughing and choking. His eyes practically bulged from their sockets, his head shaking back and forth in little twitching motions. 

"Ack, don't mind me..." he gasped, trying to compose himself, "sorry... swallowed wrong..."

Doc stared at him for a long moment, "boss, you really need to get some proper rest. Or maybe add a little more water to your cup of coffee grounds."

He waved it away, "I know, I know..."

She frowned, then looked back to the image. The author was holding up..."

"A broken dish," the host said, "a broken dish?! That's your proof for all this, a broken dish?!? Wow, it's a good thing they didn't crack the teacup too, or we'd really be screwed!"

"No, this is a—"

"Waste of our time! The next thing you'll be telling us, society was created by ancient aliens!"

The guest's face twisted into a snarl, "I'm not crazy!" he spat, "there's a lost city where—"

"Oh, shut up, you pinhead!" the hose raged, producing a glass of water, "you make me sick!" then promptly splashed it in the other's face. 

He stormed up to the camera, "up next on Town Talk, orphaned disembodied brains in jars abducted by UFO's and forced into weight loss programs... and the kerbelles who love them! Right after this—"
 
A chair smashed over his head. 

"Ok, maybe that's not the best either," Doc admitted, "how about..." 

Tap.

"He is... Conan! The Librarian!"

Tap.

"Wheel! Of! Fish!"

Tap.

"We don't need no steenking badgers!"

The wall went blank. 

"You know," the Gas-man said, successfully downing a lump of coffee, "I'm really being to question your taste in entertainment." His eyes looked... haunted. 

"Eh, what can I say? I like the old over-the-airwaves stuff," Doc shrugged, "but maybe you're right. Too much of that will turn your brain into cottage cheese."

She... really didn't have much to judge against, but once again she noted, these people are so strange

Though, speaking of cottage cheese...

She turned her attention back to the bowl on the tray in front of her. Too grey to be cottage cheese, probably not porridge, either, and the texture was just all wrong for oatmeal. Still, her stomach gave a soft growl. 

"What... is this, again?"

Doc smiled, "hull—" and flinched. 

"Erm, we just call it mush," the Gas-man offered, shooting a look at Doc, "it honestly tastes better than it looks."

She frowned at it, but nevertheless tried a spoonful. For... just a moment... she somehow had some odd expectation of extremely specific visions... but no, it just tasted like, well, mush. The other fellow was right, it certainly wasn't bad all, actually rather good, though she couldn't quite pin it down. It seemed to have an oddly adhesive flavor. Yet her stomach gurgled once more at the first morsel, and she realized how hungry she was. 

"Well, your appetite's certainly returning," Doc observed, "but slow down and chew or you'll end up like this guy." 

The Gas-man scowled at him. "Anything else?" he then asked her, "any memories?"

She shook her head, not looking up. Yet, there was something...

"You are getting better," he offered a smile, "when you feel well enough, I'd like to take you to the equipment bay, and show you where we found you. Maybe that will help jog something."

Still not looking up, she gave a vague nod. Space pods. The North Pole. And now... what was that about a Kraken? It all seemed so silly. And yet... why should anything seem silly, or not silly, when she couldn't even remember was silly was? Yet something...

"Something..." she murmured.

"Hmm?" the Gas-man raised an eye... bulge.

"There is... something I must do..." the words came as if a revelation, "something important..."

"Like what?"

She looked at him, but once more only shook her head.  

Something... something in those moving pictures...

For a moment it had flashed, like a meteor across the sky. But then, only darkness. 

Perhaps...

Yes, the Librarian. Perhaps... she had a book overdue. 


————————————————————


"How many," Heywood said, watching through the thick glass. It wasn't really a question. Just beyond, gurneys crowded a space meant to hold a fraction of what was there now. Two figures in Level A biohazard suits wandered amongst them making observations, the large block-letter emblem of the Kleptogart Centers for Disease Control standing out on their backs. The two nurses inside wore only plastic splash protection garb. 

"Thirty-seven," the Chief Physician responded. 

"All from the clinic."

"The clinic, and those directly exposed. Twenty-four more isolated for observation, not currently showing any symptoms. 

"Have you run out of ventilators?" Heywood asked. 

The Chief scoffed, "we deemed them unnecessary. Breathing is labored but spontaneous, and surprisingly strong despite the irregular pattern."

"But you don't have enough ventilators..."  

"The situation is under control, Doctor."

Heywood finished a mental count, "wait, where's Patient Zero?"

"Upstairs, in the isolation ICU. We thought it best to keep him separated for special observation."

"Prudent," Heywood nodded, "yet your staff here is only wearing contact prophylactics."

The Chief's scowl deepened, "the illness is not airborne. We have definitively traced it to direct contact with the infected, or with the black substance they excrete. It is extremely virulent, yet easily contained with standard protection protocols, and entirely neutralized by exposure to high temperature."

"I see," he tapped at his tablet, "and you believe the progression of symptoms is... accelerating with each newly infected generation?"

Jaw clenching, the Chief took a moment to answer, "that is correct." She pointed through the window as she spoke, "these first few who were at the walk-in clinic when the index case arrived, by their own record they began showing symptoms five to seven days after exposure. The next group: family, close associates, the EMT's who brought them in, three to four days." Veins stood out on her otherwise calm face as she continued, "and finally, hospital staff exposed before we realized the primary vector was the black substance. Twenty-four hours. At most."

"And you don't think that alone is a concern?" Heywood looked at her, "such a rapid shortening of the incubation period?"

"Of course it is. One that we have already taken prudent measures to deal with."

"Are you still administering high doses of blood thinners?"

"That protocol has not been changed. How is that even relevant?"

"Just keeping a record."

"Doctor", now she turned to him, drawing up to her full height, "this is the modern age. People can live and work on the Mün and Minmus, kars can operate autonomously, information can be shared around the world in an instant... and a well-funded county hospital can respond quickly and adequately to a minor outbreak of an illness like this. Your own reports have recognized this. I fail to see what benefit there might be to layering in more National bureaucracy. The situation is under control."

Heywood kept his face neutral, "there's half a million people in this county, two hundred thousand in this city alone. Have you canvassed the greater area for any victims that might have been missed? That's exactly the sort of thing National assets would be useful for."

"There are no other victims. Any reported cases would have already been brought here."

"What about vulnerable populations? Those who might be hesitant or unable to seek medical care. The homeless, the indigent, shut-ins..."

The Chief's eyes flared wide, "this is a close-knit, engaged community, Doctor, not some Southend urbanized cesspit!"

He looked at her.

She glared at him. 

"There are no other victims. The situation is under control."

"Glorp... glorp!"

"Hold him—GAAAH!"

"Hwork!"

Their faces snapped back to the glassed-in room just in time to see a nurse stumbling to the sink, his plastic face-guard torn off. A long, dark smear stained one cheek. He scrubbed at it until his nails left angry red scratches on his skin, and the two KCDC agents pulled him away to a bed. 

"I hope you're right, Shirley," Heywood began scrolling through the contact list on his tablet, "I most sincerely do."

 

Edited by CatastrophicFailure

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would totally watch Conan the Librarian. :D

"Conan - what is best in life?"

"Da smell of old leather. A well organized index file. And da happiness of a book returned on time."

Although I must say that Mr. Tsoukermanos had me right up to the (air quotes) "head-sucking quasi-sapient foliage". Heck - even the grand conspiracy to make rockets out of an old pipe extruder at a secret underground lair sounded more plausible than that.

 

Edited by KSK

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How did that crazy person get that dish which he somehow traced all the way back to Valentina? Introducing the modern Sherlock Holmes......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow..... just... wow! This is getting SO good!  :)

8 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

what looked like a probe core with two glowing green lights and a jutting pair of antennae.

Thank you! I'm honored!  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Getting a little Lovecraftian, aren't we, @CatastrophicFailure

I can totally see the Kraken and Cthulhu being best friends! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, KAL 9000 said:

I can totally see the Kraken and Cthulhu being best friends! 

Gotta love it!!!  :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, KAL 9000 said:

Getting a little Lovecraftian, aren't we, @CatastrophicFailure

I can totally see the Kraken and Cthulhu being best friends! 

The Kraken would totally kick Cthulhu's S, if for no other reason that Cthulhu has one and the Kraken does not. :wink:

2 hours ago, Just Jim said:

Thank you! I'm honored!

I figure sooner or later things will calm down for ol' absolutely not Thompy and he'll end up doing the daytime talk show circuit out of sheer boredom. :D

@KSK

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

I figure sooner or later things will calm down for ol' absolutely not Thompy and he'll end up doing the daytime talk show circuit out of sheer boredom.

Spoiler

eC1OSX2.jpg

:sticktongue:

Edited by Just Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Just Jim said:

Gotta love it!!!  :D

Nuh uh. No waaay are we 'shipping Cthulu and the Kraken. That way lies bad things...  terrible things... things of which we were not meant to.  Nooooooo. Please. Nooooooooo.

Excellent picture. I especially like the way that the seam in the probe core casing looks like a happy smile at that angle. :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.