Tuesday, April 27, 2010

[Mythos XIII] Crawl, Chaos! -and Quantum, Creep...

With apologies to HP Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Charles Stross. Copyright 2010 Thomas James Hardman, Jr, all rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. References to real places and things may be included but their usage is fictional in nature and intent. Any similarity to real persons or parties is coincidental and should be seen as fictional in nature and intent.

Perhaps you'd like to jump back to the previous chapter?

"If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”
        --Professor Stephen Hawking

"The law admits that it is possible to defame neither the dead, nor their murderers."
        --Old legal maxim

"Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Fthagn! Ph'nglui mglw'nfah Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!"
        --Abdullah Alhazred

"Go long on Goldman and short the fuck out of CDOs and Fannie Mae. Then when the smoke clears and people stick their heads up to look around, short the shit out of Commercial Real Estate."
        --My "Boss", in one of his more lucid moments

"What the hell is going on?"
        --Pretty much everyone, including myself

Salvia Divinorum is "not a party drug" but then again, neither is BZ.

BZ, of course, is specifically not intended to be a party drug; it is intended for use as a battlefield incapacitating agent, dispersed as a weaponized dust aerosol. It turns out to be quite effective as an additional element introduced to a battlefield that is already "hot", but the variability and delay of onset preclude its use as a sneak-attack weapon initiating hostilities. Also, the effective dose is rather high, compared to many other psychoactives that could produce disorder of the type a military might like to inflict on enemy ranks. So much is required that it couldn't possibly escape notice in a clear-air environment. People would be wondering "where did this dust storm come from?" and as the first people started to react, presumably someone would notice and report it back up the chain of command via radio or other signal techniques.

It would be hard to ignore the symptoms of someone succumbing to BZ; those who aren't actually paralyzed tend to run around screaming, not with fear, but with rage.

Salvia, and related entheogens would work far better, if you weren't concerned about a high casualty rate possibly exceeding that of a full frontal assault with standard infantry weapons, or the short duration of effects. Such chemicals have rapid onset and rapid emergence and short durations. Also, if your enemy was fighting a religious battle, or one in which religious ideas or ideals were important to morale or motivation, it might be a little counterproductive to knock them into a five-minute conference call with the Almighty, which would be about how they'd experience it.

Salvia Experience Painting

No, if you were going to give entheogen drugs to any troops at all on the battlefield, probably you'd rather give it to your own.

Aspen Hill, Maryland is a somewhat decayed "core suburb" about 12 miles due north of the White House down in Washington DC.

Its commercial heart, so to speak, is located right around an area you might call "the triangle", where Georgia Avenue and Connecticut Avenue intersect just north of each of their intersections with Aspen Hill Road. On all but one side of this triangle, and in the entirety of the triangle, are shopping centers and strip malls, and large parking lots that are usually only about a third full, at most.

On the one side where there's no strip mall, there is a very large cemetery. Beyond that, neighborhoods of houses and apartment/condominium complexes.

Behind one of the strip malls is a large office building. It's the last local offices of a very large transnational corporation that does a very brisk business indeed selling the machines of war and systems to utilize them. Some years before, they had absorbed another, much older, US-based defense contractor, and the new management absorbed a lot of older contracts as well.

Some of those contracts seem to have had more than a bit of evil influence on people associated with them. For example, that former contractor once employed one Fred Coffey, now on death row for the murder of a 10-year old girl, known or believed to be responsible for a long string of violent crimes against children. Almost certainly, someone visited the site quite frequently who was later found dead in his Florida prison cell with a plastic bag over his head, John Brennan Crutchley, the infamous "Florida Vampire Rapist". One takes a look at the known and probably careers in crime of these people, and one looks at how much they got away with before they got caught, and how long it took to catch them, and one might reasonably assume that some of these aforementioned "older contracts" might have inflicted their evil on more people than merely Coffee and Crutchley... and that considering those people, their professions, and the likely contracts with which they were involved, as much as the contracts warped them, that they inflicted their evil into their work on those contracts.

"For as you gaze into the darkness," wrote Nietzsche, "the darkness stares back into you."

Aspen Hill is also characterized, especially south of Aspen Hill Road, by rental properties with significant violations of county fire, safety, and occupancy codes. As for those who own properties, there are some which have comparable histories of violation, and which have been overbuilt to grotesque size.

Probably the majority of these are effectively worker barracks, often packed wall-to-wall in unsafe conditions, and the month-to-month renters are quite frequently not legally present in the USA.

On Saturday, May 1, 2010, bus-drivers in the area noticed an odd phenomenon. The usual passengers were where you'd expect them to be, but so were a lot of extra riders. All around the region, it was standing-room-only.

The number 48 Ride-On bus from the MetroRail station in Rockville arrived, standing-room-only and creaking under the weight of pasengers, at the intersection of Parkland Drive and Aspen Hill Road and disgorged all or almost all of those passengers at 11:54 AM, 12:15, 12:35, 12:55 PM

The return leg from Wheaton's station comparably creaked up the street and disgorged a full load of about 60 persons at the same intersection at 11:58 AM, 12:18, 12:38 and 12:58 PM.

At roughly half-hour intervals, thus, approximately 120 persons would alight at this intersection from buses headed both ways from both stations, and they would walk west down Aspen Hill Road, towards the commercial core of Aspen Hill.

Considering the rather appalling number of overcrowded "worker barracks" -- flophouses for out-of-work illegal alien construction workers -- located quite nearby, they were joined by a great many people who didn't need a bus ride to get to downtown Aspen Hill.

Aspen Hill is very well served by public transportation. As other buses arrived, packed standing-room only, quite a crowd began to gather.

They came in on the number 49 Ride-On, disembarking at the nearby intersections of Georgia Avenue and Bel Pre Road, getting off of the bus from the MetroRail station in Glenmont at 11:49 AM, 12:18, 12:48 PM, and on the same line from Rockville's station, at 11:49 AM, 12:19, and 12:49 PM.

They came on other buses as well. The other Ride-On routes could deliver only about 60 persons per trip, and although they did connect with other routes, they had a commuter rail terminus at only one end of the line.

The MetroBuses, however, could be packed full with almost 140 people. The "articulated" buses could carry many more. The L8 arrived full of passengers from as far south as Kensington, and disgorged their passengers in the heart of beautiful downtown Aspen Hill at 11:31 AM, 12:01, 12:31, and 1:01 PM. The combined Y7/Y8/Y9 lines each unloaded over 100 passengers in beautiful downtown Aspen Hill at 11:41 and 11:56 AM, and at 12:11, 12:26, 12:41, 12:56 PM.

All in all, about 3000 people arrived by bus and converged, more or less, at the intersection of Aspen Hill Road and Connecticut Avenue, and until 1:00PM, they did a little shopping, for which the merchants were mystifiedly glad Then shortly before 1:00, those who had already arrived greeted the new arrivals just getting off of the many buses, and they then converged on the major intersection, more or less. More or less... they couldn't all fit on the sidewalks, which weren't all that large. So where did they mass starting a bit after 1:00?

On the property adjacent to their goal, which was of course the neighborhood Home Depot store. They began to unfurl banners, and bring drums and noisemakers out of their backpacks, and to beat their drums, in the capacious parking lot of 4115 Aspen Hill Road.

The security people came out to ask them what exactly they thought they were doing and to get off of the private property. Someone who was clearly a leader of this event stopped haranguing the crowd with his bullhorn and presented a photocopied sheaf of papers.

"This a copy of your lease, man. It expire yesterday. You got no authority. You are dismiss."

And there on the lease instrument, there was in fact a date of termination of lease as April 30, 2010, on some 230,000 square feet of commercial real-estate, which was not only the largest single block of commercial real estate now on the leasing market in the whole Maryland side of the Greater Washington Metropolitan Area, but also a rather old building rumored to have asbestos issues and known for a fact to have been built astride a creek which had to be buried underground in 5-foot diameter reinforced concrete pipe.

At this exact moment, at a house next to a residential neighborhood storm drain grate providing upstream access to that concrete pipe, a powerful gasoline generator was started, where it began to power a heavy-duty industrial construction air-compressor whose heavy-duty hoses ran down through that grate and into that concrete pipe. Deep in that concrete pipe where it passed under the building, small yet very muscular men began to operate their air-hammers at a point which had been pre-determined -- from purloined blueprints -- quite some time ago. Above ground in the parking lot, far from any above-ground openings to the underground stream's pipe, the drummers were pounding out a rhythm not too different from the clatter of air-hammers.

The leader of the rally went back to haranguing people in Spanish, English, and Spanglish on his bullhorn, and the security officers laid hands on him to try to get him to stop or to at least to start giving out orders to disperse. After all, the final stages of dismantling and decommissioning had not yet finished, the decommissioning of a partially disassembled massively parallel supercomputer with every last writable chip infested with nasty nasty downloads from implacable alien entities trying to creep into our timespace to devour humanity, the planet, and then the rest of the universe, in about that exact order. Sensible precautions had evacuated almost all human personnel before this really dangerous part of the decommissioning started, on the theory that the less people who got exposed to infectious self-reproducing complex thinking From Beyond, the less emergent transcendant alien horrors could be instantiated and have to be dealt with, should anything go horribly horribly wrong.

The assembly's leader gave orders quite different than the expected "please let's go somewhere else". In mere instants, the security guard was in handcuffs in the back seat of his own Ford Escort, which was promptly, if fairly gently, inverted in the parking lot. This development was accompanied by a lot of rude laughter and a chant which was recorded by the reporter from the Gazette, phonetically, as "veetro peento peeg". Nobody seems to know what this means.

One large segment of the party -- about 500 strong -- began to march around the old Vitro building on the westward side, intending to meet up, at approximately the northwest corner of the parking lot of the Home Depot, with about 350 marchers arriving southbound on the western sidewalks of Georgia Avenue, who had disembarked the number 49 Ride-On buses at Bel Pre Road. All were bearing signs condemning Home Depot's policy -- unique in Montgomery County -- of prohibiting daily gatherings of day-laborers seeking short-term employment while illegally present in the USA.

Not incidentally, this rally point would obscure both sight and sounds coming from the nearby storm-drain grate down which led the heavy air-hoses of the industrial-strength burglar squad trying to more-or-less pull a bank vault job into the basement of the former Vitro Labs, intent on boosting every last bit of salvage they could cut into pieces small enough to fit through a 5-foot-diameter pipe.

That some of the salvage sitting down there was pretty much praying that they'd come and get it, because of what it intended for them (and everyone and everything else, too), they had no clue.

Neither had they any clue, those above -- the roughly 2500 protestors chanting "si se puede" and "we just want to work" and "how dare you keep our employers from finding us" and "Home Depot unfair to workers" -- what was waiting for them. How could they? Although it's widely been suspected, and for a long time, that some of our weapons are too advanced and horrible to have been designed by human beings, it's still officially secret that most of the global defense industry is pretty much re-selling the tools and childrens' playtoys of incomprehensible elder gods from dimensions alien to man.

Certainly they didn't know that while their bodies and minds had inherited weaknesses leaving them prone to victimization by such things, they also had evolved defenses against such things.

Lots of people complain about how they really wish that they could actually commune with their Higher Power.

They probably don't know that they're lucky they can't; they'd never get anything done. Or worse, they could wind up wandering the desert for 40 years, growing a five foot long beard, carving tablets of stone, dragged hither and yon by whispers from beyond mortal ken. Most people have fairly strong inherent defenses against hearing that whisper; if they didn't, they wouldn't be functional in the world for long enough to reproduce. Incapacity to commune with deity is a survival skill, and don't ever forget that.

Well, either they forgot, or never knew, or perhaps had no possible reason to suspect, that there was deity -- malevolent, foul, and intent on absorbing and destroying them, but deity nonetheless -- concentrated in about a ton of EPROM chips not 200 feet from the center of their crowd.

Did the leader know, or even have any possible reasons to suspect, when he downloaded "something from the internet" and combined that with his unlimited-texting cellphone account to assemble this flash-mob?

Either he could not have so much as suspected -- or perhaps he downloaded more than he wanted off of the internet, and had become very quietly if very violently insane -- when he convinced his fellow 2500 demonstrators to all sit down quietly and unthreateningly, even as carload after carload of police began to arrive (and the television news crews set up their satellite feeds and every last uninvolved local started watching this live on the news)...

...and to then demonstrate their solidarity with the authentic spirit of pre-european Native socialism by consuming unfortunately excessive doses of authentic Native American entheogen drugs, specifically the active ingredient of salvia divinorum, "salvinorium A".

At this point in time, I was starting to grasp the import of my "boss"'s repeated if cryptic phrase "bus routes of the damned", but what the hell did he mean by his constant references to dental offices, and health-insurance? -and I was definitely wondering about how to interpret "the enemy of my enemy is my friend".

In the basement of the now-unleased former defense contracting office and research facility, there was a sudden flare of a wicked green glow. That green is the color you get when Cherenkov Radiation is red-shifted. This might seem a trifle odd to anyone who knows anything about physics, but look: Cherenkov Radiation is what you get when particles tunnel through a given medium faster than the speed of light in that local medium. The green Lovecraftian Radiation is what you get when particles from a universe with a different constant of "c" enter ours, and are red-shifted down to our speed of light. This so-called "octaving of the Cth" has been the basis of quite a few classics of science fiction, of course, notably Cordwainer Smith's "Instrumentality of Man" series where it was the basis of "planoforming".

The Game of Rat and Dragon notwithstanding, this is a really bad idea, especially on a planetary surface. As much energy as it takes, if that energy becomes for even an instant misdirected, incredibly momentous events can be initiated. See also how "the Little Ice Age" got started by a volcano, and dig deep enough and you'll find out what exactly popped that volcano. Well, hopefully you won't entirely know, since that would leave you a mindless wreck gibbering in horror, assuming that you survived at all. But you don't need to understand exactly what was almost Summoned. All you need to know is that when the Summoning was botched, and not by all that much, the resulting explosion launched a significant part of the Java Sea into near-earth orbit.

And as the lurid green glow expanded a bit, as the minds of 2500 souls were opened to direct experience of and communication with deity by the entheogen drug from salvia, a concrete chip flew from a wall in the basement of a semi-vacated former defense-contracting facility. The hammerers in the storm drain, the bank-vault crew intending to steal anything they could carry, had broken through.