To Live and Die in LA...
Winternight and the Cyclic Order
»»>(This thing turned up on Shadowland about two weeks ago. and I’ve spent most of the time since then trying to decide whether anything this bizarre might possibly have something to It. Keeping In mind the first lesson of this crazy world-that nothing is impossible-I’ve decided to post the file.with reservations. This may be nothing but tabloid-sc reamsheet stuff . the ravings of a madman. Or it may be a desperate attempt by a man slowly losing his mind to warn us about the nice folks who started him down that path.Or anything in between. On the off-chance that there’s a groin of truth to this sick story . I offer it to the general Shadowland public. Make of it what you wi l:md if you find anything at all that might give it some credence. for Ghost’s sake. LET US KNOW.)««<
-Captain Chaos (06:34:21/07-22-52)
My llfe Is ashes.
Ihave betrayed everything I ever believed In. My career is in ruins. My family lies dead by my own hand. All because of Winternlght. Because of the monsters, the inhuman flends who made me KILL KILL MY FAMILY KILL THEM ALL DROWN THEM IN BLOOD DROWNING l’M DROWNING
No. Not inhuman. All too human-in the general sense of the word.They are our own twisted reflections, the dark sides of every race of humanity. If they were truly inhuman, Icould not have become one of them so easily.
No matter what it costs me, Iwill die a free man. Wlth my family gone, no one else can be hurt by the disclosures in this file. And I must expose the truth in all Its awful detall.or the whole world will die. Idon’t know how and Idon’t know when … they have people working on more different ways of destroying life on Earth than most of us have ever imagined … but they Intend it to happen soon. Ican’t do much to stop it-only shout a warning and hope to God someone hears. If there is a God.
Someone has to believe me. That’s the only way Ican make up for what I’ve done. I’ve done things … terrible things. Some of them I can’t remember. Some things I remember all too AFRAID J’M AFRAID THEY’RE COMING TO KILL ME CANT LET THEM FIND ME RUN RUN HIDE HIDE IN THE DARK DIE IN THE DARK
The chip. It’s done something to my mind. Ihave to stop this
… have to focus , get all this down. send it where it might do some good. Got to control myself.
Three years ago. I was appointed director of the UCAS Army Special Assets Division. Special Assets tracks down. handles and stores weapons of mass destruction. Nuclear weapons , chemical, biological … all the horrible tricks humankind ever managed to pull out of its collective bag before the Awakening brought us magic as the new tool of choice by which to destroy one another. IN FIRE IN BLOOD IN AGONY THE UNWORTHY WILL PERISH IN THE FLAMES
The fugues are getting worse. I may not have much time left. Iremember watching the trucks at the toy company. Toronto. that’s where it was. A few people with me … colleagues. friends
Voices over the headset. Seeing through a cold camera eye. Gray gloves … they kept carrying boxes of toy cars around. wear ing heavy gray gloves. I knew what the gloves meant. Shielded gloves. Keep the poison out. the radiation.
How long ago? I can’t remember. Did the chip do that, too?
Or have they already gotten to me? Wiped my memory of all but a few fragments … oh God, if You’re there, please make that not be true. Make it not be true,God. If Ican’t tell this story . Ican’t atone,and then I’m damned BURN IN HELL BURN LIKE THE REST THE WORMS THE ANTS THE VERMIN COWER IN THE DIRT WITH A LL THE REST AND SCREAM WITH THE PAIN OF THE FIRE
Early in 2055, an intelligence analysis crossed my desk. A
small toy manufacturer in Toronto had received a small shipment of nuclear material. We placed them under surveillance. hoping to find out who or what was behind them before sweeping in and making arrests. After months of fruitless watching. several pounds of nuclear material arrived hidden in a shipment of plastic resin. We traced the material as far as a warehouse in Nairobi. Kenya which burned down two days after we confirmed the address. Where the contraband originated prior to Nairobi remained a mystery. I know the answer now. of course-but none of my superiors are likely to believe me. Those that did would be killed instantly by Winternight agents. anyway. KILLED DEAD BLOOD BLOOD EVERYWHERE WHY WONT YOU STOP SCREAMING STOP STOP STOP
I can’t tell anyone in SAD. This is the only way to get the warning out.
They kept changing the boxes. I remember that. The Urban Brawl T-shirtr-that was the funniest one. So many trucks, so many little towns … it was cold all the time. New England winter. Always hated winter in upstate New York . Philly. Boston … so damned cold. Our van kept breaking down. None of theirs did. I remember Jake saying it must be magic. Right … a “charge bat tery” spell.
Where did we end up? All I remember is driving endlessly after panel trucks in the cold and blowing snow ICE THE WORLD
WILL END IN ICE IN WINTER DARK AND COLD AND DEAD
I remember poor Hauser died. Congenital heart failure. He found out the unmarked van·s registration numbers were bogus. Dead a week later.
The final shipment-labeled as a state-of- the-art trideo set with all the accessorier-ended up at a private house. I don’t remember where. The person renting it was a travel writer and part-time researcher at MIT&..M. Nothing about him suggested anything out of the ordinary;he had no record of political involve ment, and nothing about any of the datawork that we could find appeared to have been faked. The only odd note about the house or its inhabitant. aside from the arrival of the nuclear material. was the heavy magical shielding around the building. None of our agents could penetrate it.
I remember being somewhere very dark and cold. So cold. my fingers went stiff. Down … I remember moving down. walk ing down a slanted floor. No. a passage.Cold. hard rock under my feet. I couldn’t stop shivering COLD COLD AND DARK AND DEAD DEAD SMOTHERED SUFFOCATED CLOSED IN OH GOD THE WALLS THE WALLS THEY’RE GOING TO FALL ON ME
Coal mine. Iled the team into a coal mine. It was late … dark
… quiet. In an airshaft halfway down a disused passageway. almost entirely blocked by rubble from a long-ago collapse. we discovered eight nuclear weapons. They were covered with mag ical inscriptions inlaid with orichalcum.
>>>>>(Orichalcum?! They must’ve been trying to … no. I’m not even going to write that down. It’s too frogging scary.)<<<<<
-Wouerd (08: 1 1:21/07-22-52)
>>>>>(It’s frogging bulldrek. Can you say “nuclear weapon foci?” Can you say " mixing technology and magic-can’t be done?")<<<<<
-Wiz Kid (08:20 35/07-22-52)
>>>>>(Can you say,·cybermancy?" There’s tech and magic for you. Just because no one·s made a magic nuke bomb yet-that we know of-doesn’t mean it’s impossible.)<<<<<
>>>>>(I don’t want to think about this.)<<<<<
>>>>>(So get off-line.)<<<<<
We arrested 58 suspects. of whom 51 knew nothing about nuclear material or weapons. They knew only that certain anony mous people had paid them good money to drive a truck from Point A to Point B. or to type in a false entry on a shipping mani fest. None of them held particularly well-paying jobs. When offered a chance to make a year’s salary or better with one simple act, they jumped at it. The remaining seven suspects suicided under questioning.
I prepared a report-such as it was-and submitted it to my superior officers. Three days later. in Cincinnati on an inspection
tour, Iwoke to find myself tied to my bed in my hotel room. Four men were in the room with me, one of them bending over me. He clicked a chip into my datajack ,and suddenly Iwas a god.
ECSTASY PERFECTION POWER STRENGTH JOY RAISE THE GLEAMING SWORD LET IT FALL FALL ON THE ENE.MY WATCH THE BLOOD WATCH IT CATCH IT DRINK IT LAUGH AS MY ENE MIES DIE
Absolute power. Absolute certainty. Swinging a gleaming axe at the heads of my enemies. They died in fountains of blood. Ilaughed. My friends laughed with me. Laughed and danced and drank. We still lived. We were the chosen. We would live forever and ever. Amen.
DARKNESS DEATH COLD PAIN IT HURTS HURTS HURTS ALL GONE ALL GONE ALL GONE l’M DYING DYING DEAD DON’T LE.T ME DIE IWANT TO LIVE IHAVE TO LIVE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
Why does It hurt so much to cry?
The chip was gone.He took it. Ifell from Heaven.plunged into the depths of the Inferno. Cold, empty. desolate. Someone was whimpering like a whipped dog,blubbering the word “please” over and over until the sound died away into sobbing. When my eyes started burning, Irealized the one whimpering was me.
The man who’d given me the chip-he was slender, well dressed. with smooth dark hair and gold-rimmed glasses- promised me Icould have another taste of it if Ilistened very care fully to what he had to say. I listened. I tried not to breathe too loudly for fear the noise might keep me from hearing his every word.
When he talked, Iheard the flutter of birds’ wings. His shad ow on the wall looked like a raven. His hair was just the color of raven feathers. Funny.
He told me about Wlnternlght. Winternight wants to destroy the world so that they can bring to life the old gods of Norse myth. They believe the Awakening has made the world ready for the gods’ advent-all that remains is the final act of preparation. the creation of Ragnarok.
Ragnarok is the ultimate war of destruction. Every living thing must die In this battle. so that Winternlght’s Elect can use the overwhelming power of the sacrificed life-force to transform the world into Midgard and themselves into gods. Everyone who has ever knowingly aided them. even those not among the Elect, will become gods as well, as a reward for their deeds. Not even death will keep them from transcendence.
Nuclear winter. That’s one way. Or biowar. Ali the food crops all over the world, dying. Then the rest of us die of starvation. Slowly. Our agony pleases the old gods. The slower we die, the stronger they become.
Ebola … was that one of theirs? Ican’t remember. Probably. They’re fiends. I know they have scientists working for them. Would-be gods designing microbes to dissolve innocent flesh into dead nothing.They ‘re monsters.
I’m a monster.
»»>(Crock-brained . Addled as a dozen year-old eggs. Absolutely, totally , no-frogging-doubt-about-it crazy. What’s this guy slotting?)<<<«>»(I heard about this guy. Brigadier General Lucius Harding kllled his own family . bombed the Pentagon. If someone could make him crazy enough to do that with a chip ….)««<
»>»(You buy this bulldrek? The paranoid ravings of a certified fruitcake who butchered his own family? If he’d sold The Devil made me do it; would you believe that too?)««<
—Pretty Polly (12:06:57/07-22-52)
»>»(I thought that’s what he was saying. These Winternlght slots sound pretty devilish to me.)««<
-Wild Man (12:15:43/07-22-52)
>>>>>(If they exist.)<<<<<
»»>(I’ve heard rumors about a new chip on the streets that sounds an awfullot like Harding’s god chip They coll It a berserk er chip. and It makes you into an unstoppable killing machine. Triggers all the violent impulses In the brain and makes you like it. As Iunderstand it.these things don’t work quite like your usual BTL. Instead of replacing the user’s sensory input with the stuff coded on the chip. the berserker amplifies the Id. ego and endocrine responses. It converts pain to pleasure. and sets up a strong feed bock loop to the pleasure centers. I’ve heard it mutes fear responses as well. A meek little wogeslove could use one to chip herself Into a frenzy and go on a rampage.hocking at everyone within reach until someone puts a bullet through her brain. If Hording got ahold of something like that and it frogged up his brain. the violence of the experience might well account for all those weird lapses into blood-and-death ranting.)««<
>>>>>(Doesn’t prove some bunch of destroy-the-world nuts gave him the chip, though.Maybe he got it from his friendly neighbor hood dealer.)<<<<<
-Pretty Polly (12.43:1 1/07-22-52)
»»>(Anybody noticed how many news stories there’ve been recently about lab break-Ins? All over the world.I’ve seen at least five over the past couple of months. Maybe there’s something to this.)««<
»»>(Oh. right. "Prize orangutan snatched from Northwestern University’s Animal Research Department by outraged animal lovers. Note left behind soys. ‘Non-sentient primates are people too.·- This is evidence of a conspiracy to destroy the world and create Valhalla in Its place?)<««>»(Not the orangutan story.you slot The other ones. Like the chemical plant in Seattle whose warehouses got broken into a month or so bock-just one can of some nasty poison the newsies wouldn’t or couldn’t name got lifted. Or the two-bit subsidiary of Shiawase outside of Sapporo that lost a whole slew of reports on test cures for cold viruses. Somebody even raided a Soeder-Krupp outfit somewhere off the North Sea coast.The p:ace wasn’t much more than a dumping ground for unpleasant Industrial drek-like leftover nuclear materlal. No one’s sure exactly what or how much went missing, because the place kept sloppy records. Poisonous chemicals.nuke stuff ,viralresearch-anyone starting to see a pattern yet?)<<<<<
—8itbert (13: 23:44/07-22 -52)
»»>(HEY! I did some digging and found out something weird about that S-K facility.The exec In charge of running whatever the frog gets done there recently contributed a drekload of cred to the New Frontiers Foundation. New Frontiers goes around to school districts In poor neighborhoods. promising scholarships to bright-but-poor kids with on aptitude for science. The first crop of high-school graduates ore going to college as bioscience and
physics majors.with corp contracts kicking in the minute they get the fancy letters otter their names.)<<<<<
»»>(All of the Big Eight.plus about half a dozen smaller ones I’ve never heard of.)<<<<<
»»(So Mr. Piddly-Drek Soeder-Krupp exec hos a smidgen of social conscience.So what?)<««>»(Lizzie .Lizzie … since when does any corp exec exhibit social conscience? Ever? Once you earn above a certain amount of cred working for a corp. you hove your conscience surgically removed. It’s in their contracts somewhere. Trust me-there’s on ulterior motive here.)<<<<<
-Auntie Social (16:03:44/ 07-22-52)
»»>(Brain drain,maybe? If these Winternight skogs ore real. and they wont to destroy the planet in all kinds of neat and interesting ways,they could use a few good scientific minds. Get ‘em while they’re young, and you con train ‘em up to do all kinds of horrible things for you without batting on eyelash. With a few years’ worth of investment , they’ve got themselves a pool of bright,educated, amoral flunkies to come up with breakthroughs in biowarfare , nuke physics, or any other potentially destructive branch of scien tific research you con name.)<<<<<
»»>(They pion that long-term? Mon,we’re in deep drek.J««<
»>>>(Did this guy Hording soy he hired runners for these Winternight freaks? Did I read that right?)««<
>>>>>(One more reason to check out your Johnson. Try before you buy,chum.)<<<<<
-Mlz Liz (17:05:35/07-22-52)
»»>(Oh,like you’d be able to dig that deep. If Winternlght has covered its tracks so well that no one’s ever heard of of it until now. they certainly hove the talent to keep their connections to their Johnsons burled. Any one of us could’ ve taken on a job for them without ever knowing it.)<<<<<
-Wild Mon (17:09:32/07-22-52)
»»>(Why is anyone even toking this seriously? Winternight’s not real. It’sjust this sicko general’s version of the boogieman.If they really existed, somebody would have heard something by now.)<««>(Maybe we have. And just don’t realize It. Anybody notice the rise In terrorist incidents over the past ten years? All kinds of groups crawling out of the woodwork . Tsunami in Japan. Armageddon in the Mideast, Red Tide in Central Europe-awfully similar imagery. neh? Destruction sweeping the world. What if it’s more than just a coincidental similar ity? What if they’re all different branches of the some organization dedicated to sparking off a worldwide war ?)««<
-Bitbert ( 17:28:45/ 07-22-52)
>>>>>(The·guy with the chip" Hording keeps talking about … that really bugs me .I had a run-in once with a Raven shaman-a toxic . o real twisted slot. When I possessed him. Sow the some weird bird shadow thing that Hording described. If this Winternight bunch hos toxics working for them ….)<<«><
-Casper (17 :44:32/07-22-52)
>>>>>(Toxic Ravens would make sense (insofar as any of this makes sense), seeing as the raven god was pretty big in Norse mythology .)«<«>»(Oh, man … I just figured something out and I DON’T LIKE IT … ! Some chummers and me tangled with some really bod cus tomers in Salish lost summer-don’t ask for the details,I don’t wont to talk about ii. But four of the skogs we went up against were toxic shamans. Four of ·em. Working together. A Raven and three Wolf shamans. Think about that for o minute.
Anybody shaking yet?)<««>»»(Toxics don’t work together. They’re all too psycho to work with anybody. They’d killeach other over who got to be Top Spell slinger inside of three seconds. Lucky thing. too. That’s the only thing that ’s saved us from some major bod mojo … oh drek .J<<<<<