Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Them 15: EAT

So. I haven't really addressed this one. Don't know why. Guess I should. So here's EAT.

Yeah, it's a crappy picture made in paint. Get over it.

EAT is...what the fuck is EAT? I can't seem to really get a straight answer out of any of my contacts. They can't even agree on what the fuck EAT stands for. They all say that it's an acronym, but an acronym of what?  One said it's the "Epping AquaTarkus" (whatever the fuck that means), another says that it's "Evolution's Angry Twin" (oh, that sounds scary) and yet another says that it's the "Eternal Answer Tree" (at least that sounds imposing).

Meanwhile, I have a bunch of people who say that the real threat isn't EAT, but what EAT creates: the Camper.

Not people who go camping, no. The Camper are a group of hive-minded (I think) people who seek to spread the infection that is EAT. Drink a drop of EAT and you become obsessed. With that? I have no fucking clue. Whatever you want. Playing video games. Sleeping. Whatever.

And then, apparently, the obsession drives you to go to a nearby pond or fountain or place where EAT is. Where it's Ink is. (Why is it called ink? No clue. Again: I have no clue about anything.) And then it...does something to you and you become a Camper.

I've got people who say Camper are harmless. They just repeat what you say. And then there are others who say that this is just an "early stage" Camper (again: whatever that means) and that "stage ten" Camper are much, much worse. Not that anyone will tell me how. When I asked, they muttered something about "five arms" or something.

I guess the reason I have been putting off writing about EAT is because I really know nothing about it. Everything here? Could be totally and completely wrong. I've never encountered EAT (or if I have, I don't know it). All this information is second and third-hand. A friend of a friend of a friend.

So I guess what I'm saying it: draw your own conclusions.

And Wonder Why

I visited Finder's grave today. Fenella's grave. I don't know. I guess I just felt like it.

I haven't posted here lately. I haven't felt like it. I don't really know if any information I put out there actually helps anybody.

And lately, I've been feeling my age. I'm older than I thought. I'm older than I ever thought I would be.

I thought I would be dead by now.

I read a book a while ago. It was a fantasy novel by Glen Cook - I like his books. No epic fantasies, just regular people trying to survive. The book was called Soldiers Live and there was a quote that I liked. That I think means something:

Soldiers live. He dies and not you, and you feel guilty, because you're glad he died, and not you. Soldiers live, and wonder why.

Finder died and I wanted to die in her stead. I would never be glad that she was dead, but now I am glad that I am not. I glad I am alive and I wish to remain so.

I am alive.

And I wonder why.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Them 14: The Dying Man

Alright, time for another. I figured I've been off the air long enough.

So: what the fuck is the Dying Man?

Well, from what I've been able to gather, he's a body-jumping parasite. Have you ever seen that movie Fallen, where Denzel Washington has to fight the demon Azazel who can transfer bodies with just a touch? He's kind of like that only it sort of takes more than touch to transfer. It takes dying. Hence the name.

Imagine a knife-wielding maniac attacks you and you, in self-defense, kill them. If they were possessed by the Dying Man, well, you're screwed because now you're possessed by the Dying Man. I have no idea if there is a way to get rid of a Dying Man infection, because all reports of infections I've heard end in the possessed dying. The best thing you could probably do is go somewhere completely isolated to kill yourself, so that the infection isn't passed on.

Now, here's where it gets complicated. You see, you might not be able to go anywhere; you might be completely controlled by the Dying Man. Or it might just mess with your head. Or it might unbalance you. Or it might lay dormant.

Because there isn't just one Dying Man, oh no. There are many. Apparently, it used to be one big thing and then it was split into many smaller things. Because that always works out great.

In any case, being infected by a Dying Man usually means your body will either immediately be taken over or slowly be taken over. This also applies to the rate your body degrades - oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the infection also comes with degradation of your body, mutation, decay, and, eventually, death. Because the Dying Man is always dying.

Another thing to consider is that apparently all the different Dying Man have different names and personalities or something. I'm really not sure about that one - all of the operatives I've talked to who have come in contact with the Dying Man have avoided talking with him, probably for fear of becoming infected themselves.

The Dying Man is one of Them that you should not, I repeat NOT kill. Killing it in a populated area will only release it to be passed on. Probably to the person who killed it.

Your best bet if you actually capture someone infected with the Dying Man is to take them to an isolated area where you are sure there is no people for miles around. Then a slow acting poison might work best and allow you to leave and get far enough away to avoid infection. In any case, it's a lot more complicated than just shooting them.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Signs & Seals: Drawn Door

Okay, so I have heard third-hand about some incidents of Doors following people. Like, wherever they move, they find the Door waiting for them. Waiting for them to open it.

So when they go to a new place, they draw doors on the walls. I don't know if this actually stops a Door from manifesting (probably not), but it can't hurt. I've seen chalk doors drawn on alleyways and spray-painted on the side of buildings.

Of course, like the Operator Symbol, drawing a door may just attract a Door to you. I don't know if the City likes fucking around with people, playing with its food, but that third-hand report I heard contained an anecdote where a chalk door was erased and a real Door manifested instantly. So, hey, draw your own conclusions.

Them 13: The Empty City

I should really get around to updating this, shouldn't I? After that whole 'kidnapping' thing, I just wanted to forget about writing this blog and go on with my ordinary life of hiding from things. But today I had an impulse to write about the Empty City, so here we go:

The Empty City is a city. Duh. I've never seen it, but I've heard various descriptions. It's large, filled with "shining skyscrapers." The buildings are made of glass and metal. Someone else said that it was filled with huge towers of bone and the streets were paved with teeth. None of the descriptions I heard actually match each other.

Did I mention that it's alive and that it eats people? Well, it does.

Say, one day, you come across a door where there was no door before. Now, what could have happened is that someone just decided to install a door and did it overnight without you noticing. Or you could be seeing not a door, but a Door with a Capital Fucking D.

This Door will inevitably lead to the Empty City. Nobody who has entered a Door has returned. Well, except for Them and Their fucking servants. They are apparently "allowed" to use the City to travel.

So, yeah. That's pretty much it. There's one surefire way to avoid the Empty City: don't enter one of the Doors. Don't even open it. Leave it alone.

Of course, that may be easier said than done. One of the runners I know encountered a Door somewhere in Toronto. He claimed that even though the Door was closed, the streets became tilted, all the angles started "looping" as he put it, and he became severely disoriented. He fell into some sort of fugue state and when he snapped out of it, he found that he had opened the Door and was about to step inside. He quickly closed it and ran as fast and as far as he could.


Oh, by the by, you should all read Proxiehunter's post on Runner Signs. Very informative.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


So I've been postponing this post, since I'm not really sure if I should write it. After all, wouldn't that be encouraging this type of behavior? But whatever: it happened, I should write about it.

So last week, I stepped outside my door to check my mailbox and immediately got a face full of chloroform. I woke up tied to a chair in a dark room.

After I started yelling obscenities as loud as I could, someone finally came in the room. It was a man in a brown robe. He looked like a monk. I swear to god.

I asked him what was going on, I yelled at him, I spit at him, but he stayed silent the entire time. He just held a cup of water up so I could drink (that's where I got the spit). Then he wiped my mouth and left.

About a half hour later, this happened again, only the monk came with bread and water this time. He was still silent though.

Finally, two fucking hours after I woke up, someone else came into the room. He wasn't wearing a robe. He was, in fact, wearing a black t-shirt. He looked like he was in his thirties.

"Are you feeling okay?" he asked.

"Fucking dandy," I said. "Want to tell me why I'm here?"

"I'm sorry for the inconvenience," he said, "but we did not wish to have our location known to others. The Hushed Monks are very secretive. And silent, as you can see."

"You're not like them."

"No," he said. He looked at me, as if he was contemplating about talking further or just killing me. "I have information for you. Information I wish you to put on your blog."

"You could've phoned," I said. "That's what's done in polite society."

"You would not have believed me," he said. "I notice that none of your posts have yet to mention the Quiet."

I gave a short bark of laughter. "Yeah, there's a reason for that: I've never seen it, nobody I know has seen it. Personally, I think it's fake. Something somebody made up just so it would seem like working for one of Them is a good choice."

"It does exist," the man said. "Or rather, it does not. After all, how can nonexistence exist? It is a contradiction."

"Spare me the zen koans," I said. "And get on with the show. Who are you?"

"I am one of the Sine Corda," he said. "I am one of the rare individuals who was touched by the Quiet."

"And now you use pretentious Latin," I said. "Yeah, I know what sine corda means. 'Without hearts.' Fucking hilarious."

"It is true," the man leaned down. "I wish you no harm. I only wish for you to inform people about us. About the Quiet."

"Why? If it's true, why not remain secret?"

The man stood up and looked at me again. "All secrets are revealed eventually. You should know that more than most."

I glared at him, trying my damnedest to set him on fire with my mind. It didn't work.

"I'll have the monks return you to your home," the man said and the monk entered the room again. "They'll have to chloroform you first, but don't worry. They've had lots of practice." I tried struggling, but it was no use: the monk's hand clasped over my mouth and everything went dark again.

I woke up in my bed, my blanket all tucked in for me. After checking to make sure they hadn't injected me with anything (tracer, trinket, hell, even ink), I checked the calendar on my computer: two days. I had been gone for two days. Fun.

So that was last week.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Them 12: The Wooden Girl

I have a confession to make: I hate puppets. Hand puppets, sock puppets, any kind of puppet. Even before I knew about Them, I hated puppets. Chalk it up to childhood fears or Uncanny Valley or whatever, but puppets haunted my dreams.

And now, of course, I have a great reason for hating them.

The Wooden Girl is a puppet. Sort of. She's a woman made of wood, but not really. Some people say that the wood is only a shell that is the "skin" around a corpse. Which just it creepier.

But that doesn't really matter, because the big thing about the Wooden Girl is this: she can pull your strings. Literally. She has strings (sometimes invisible, sometimes not) that can make you do anything she wants. She can make you dance, she can make you die, she can make you kill.

So, of course, the people she makes do her bidding are called Puppets.

Worse, however, are the ones who don't need her to control their strings. The ones who serve her willingly. They are called Willing Dolls. For some twisted, fucked-up reason, they do what she wants without being completely controlled.

I've also heard some things about some channel called TowerTV, but so far, I've only seen static where it's supposed to be, so I don't really have information about it.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Them 11: The Manufactured Newborn

I know what you're thinking: what the fuck is a Manufactured Newborn? It sounds like a heavy metal band.

Oh, it's heavy metal alright. It's made of metal and wire and clockwork and bone and sinew.

Imagine this: you're cleaning the garage one day and happen to find an old toy. Maybe it's a wind-up toy, maybe it's some weird Japanese thing, it doesn't matter. What matters is, you've never seen it before. Okay, fine, whatever, sell it on eBay. Except after you put it down, you can't find it anymore.

It moves and then finds things and adds them to its body. What kinds of thing? Well, it likes metal. And bone. I've seen one tear apart a cat and use its ribcage. Luckily, all you need to do is stay away from it and you won't get hurt. Except...well, it grows. Once it grows to the size of a car, you pretty much have to get out of there.

The Newborn is pretty self-cleaning, however: after growing to a certain size (certainly bigger than a car, I think, the one I saw looked about the size of a big Volkswagen), it will rip a hole in space and vanish. The one I saw, I was too fucking scared to look into the tear in space. I mean, it was a fucking tear in space, you don't want to look into those.

However, I have recently received a report from a friend who encountered a different version of the Newborn.

I saw this man get hit by a car. The car was totaled, but the man kept walking. He looked very twitchy to me and I thought he might be a Puppet, so I followed him. I watched him go into an alleyway and when he turned around, his face was all cut up from the car crash. Under his skin was...well, part of it was his jaw bone, but part of it was dull metal. And I saw that he was muttering something. I got a bit closer, but this was all I could here was: "Return to the Tower. Tick tock. Tick tock. Towerborn return to the Tower. Tick Tock." His eyes started to glow yellow and I thought he might have seen me, so I ran the other way.

"Towerborn." Well, it was rumored that whatever dimension the Newborn came from and went back to was called the Tower. So fuck, I guess it has proxies now.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Them 10: The Rake

What to say about the Rake? Well, it's humanoid. Ish. It has arms and legs and claws. It's skin is always described as pale white, almost albino, and it's eyes are black.

It likes to sit at the edge of people's beds and whisper to them. If they wake up, the Rake will kill them. Sometimes, it will kill them anyway. Sometimes, it will leave them alive.

The Rake is...inscrutable to me. I don't really have anything else to say about it.

Well, okay, one thing:

Nobody really knows what the Rake's whispers do to people, what it's saying to them. Some have heard low guttural growls that sound like words - usually a person's name - but nobody has ever heard it's whispers and remembered.

Sometimes, there are victims of the Rake that go off the deep end. Perhaps his whispers cause it. They just drop everything and do something crazy. Some attack other people. Some kill themselves. Not exactly proxies. I call these people Maenads.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Interview with Thoth

So, after my post about Grayskins went up, I received an email from someone who called themselves "Thoth" (later, I figured it was this guy). They said that they had more information about the Choir proxies and directed me towards an IRC channel.

Here is our transcript:

TheFreeRadical: So you know stuff about Grayskins?
Thoth: Mhm.
TheFreeRadical: Well, that was noncommittal.
Thoth: I noted in particular that you didn't provide any information on the internal workings, merely their appearance.
Thoth: I thought it would be a good idea to provide your readership with additional information that you didn't cover.
TheFreeRadical: I didn't really get a chance to see the "internal workings" of the one I met. I was too busy burning it.
TheFreeRadical: I'm sure my readership will appreciate any additional information.
Thoth: The proper response, yes.
Thoth: It's a pity that fire is the best way to dispose of Choir, it's a terrible way for the people who have been inundated with it to die.
TheFreeRadical: So do they choose to be like that?
TheFreeRadical: Or does it force itself upon them?
Thoth: Very rarely the former.
TheFreeRadical: Well, that's a pity.
Thoth: Once somebody has been exposed to the fungal form of Choir for long enough, it begins to grow on and inside them.
TheFreeRadical: Is there any way to get rid of it other than burning?
Thoth: Then the very thoughts of the victim begin to be shaped by them.
Thoth: None very effective, no.
Thoth: I have heard good things about acid, but none verifiable.
TheFreeRadical: Huh. Their thoughts are affected by the Choir?
TheFreeRadical: Does the fungus get into their brain?
Thoth: Yes, that's exactly what it does. Soon enough, the Choir is changing their thoughts without them ever knowing it.
TheFreeRadical: How do you know about this?
Thoth: Yesterday drowning their cat in the bathtub was a reprehensible idea, but hey, why not, right?
Thoth: Certain connections that I am not at liberty to discuss at this junction.
TheFreeRadical: How many of the Grayskins have you seen? Do you know how many there are?
Thoth: I have seen two, but neither were active.They don't seem to be as numerous as other servants.
TheFreeRadical: What do you mean, "active"?
Thoth: In fact, I wouldn't classify them as proxies at all. They are simply the end point of the unlucky victim.
Thoth: They had both been partially absorbed by the fungal Choir. It looked like it had been thriving in their homes for months.
TheFreeRadical: That is some freaky fucking shit.
Thoth: Do you, by any chance, know how Choir spreads?
TheFreeRadical: No.
TheFreeRadical: I've heard that it appears as a blur, as a shadow, and as the fungus.
Thoth: Personally (and this is just conjecture on my part) I believe that the 'blur and shadow' forms act as carriers.
Thoth: They spring from small concentrations of fungal Choir and spread it to other locations when human carriers are not practical.
TheFreeRadical: I personally want to know why it wants to spread chaos or suicide or whatever.
TheFreeRadical: It seems to like fucking with us just to fuck with us.
Thoth: Who knows?
TheFreeRadical: Fuck, I found your blog.
TheFreeRadical: You're a fucking Timberwolf.
Thoth: Did you, now?
TheFreeRadical: A fucking Archangel death cultist.
Thoth: Ah, yes, the aforementioned connections.
Thoth: Now, now, calm down.
TheFreeRadical: So that's your "mysterious connection," huh?
TheFreeRadical: Do all you proxy fuckers get together and share stories?
Thoth: The ones who still like to think of themselves as human, yes.
TheFreeRadical: I guess that discounts the Grayskins.
Thoth: I think a great many of them have absolutely no idea what's happened to them.
TheFreeRadical: Why even contact me? Won't this look bad, sharing information with someone on the other side?
Thoth: If they try to have a thought that the Choir doesn't like, it appears to be swiftly excised.
Thoth: Personally, I sympathize with and try to help so-called 'runners' whenever I can.
TheFreeRadical: Really? Why?
Thoth: If they evade the Others, they die of natural causes.
Thoth: You have read Steward's blog, yes?
TheFreeRadical: The more runners survive, the more they can embrace the Archangel?
TheFreeRadical: Fuck.
TheFreeRadical: Any other information you would like to impart?
Thoth: Before, I mentioned human carriers.
Thoth: The second 'Grayskin' was found surrounded by Choir, but there was none actually inside him.
Thoth: We have reason to believe that the Choir exited his body by force.
TheFreeRadical: Fucking hell.
TheFreeRadical: More reason to burn them.
Thoth: The moral of the story appears to, all too often, be "Just burn it all the fuck down."
Thoth: I believe that is all for tonight, Mr Radical?
TheFreeRadical: Yeah. I'm sure to have some pleasant dreams.

So there you have it. I had a relatively nice chat with a fucking Timberwolf who gave me some disturbing information.

Sweet dreams.

Servants: Grayskins

So I just read Proxiehunter's post on Plague Doctor proxies (look at that alliteration). I've never encountered one, but it makes sense. Imagine how many runners are wounded and have to seek medical attention. How many times do you go to the hospital? How many times do you go to the pharmacy for drugs? How many aspirin have you taken today?

I'm not trying to make you paranoid. But then again: is it paranoia if they really are out to get you?

And I guess that brings me to the subject of tonight's post. As Proxiehunter showed me something I didn't know, I'll show you something he probably doesn't know about: Choir-proxies. Yeah, that's right.

The one's I've encountered I call Grayskins. That gray mold I talked about, which is either a byproduct of the Choir or the Choir itself? They have it covering their entire body. It grows on their skin - perhaps even in their lungs. I don't know if they chose that or if the Choir just forced itself upon them. But they look absolutely freaky.

The ones that try to blend in cover their entire bodies - sometimes you'll see a person wrapped completely in cloth or wearing a burqa. Now, don't attack them just because of that (because that's just being too paranoid), but if you see gray skin under their clothes, skin covered in mold, well, that's one of them.

Just like getting rid of the Choir mold, I recommend fire. Flamethrowers may be cumbersome, but they get the job done.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Them 9: The Choir

I'm listening to music right now. I really shouldn't be. Why? Well, for one thing, it could be the Choir I'm listening to. I could be hearing the eldritch sounds of an abomination and I wouldn't even know it.

The Choir is sound. Well, maybe. It can manipulate sound, I know that. It can change what you hear. It can turn a "How are you?" into a "I hate you." It can turn a nice song into endless screaming.

It can turn your brain into a pile of mush. Yeah.

There are several limitations to the Choir, if you ever encounter it. One: in order to manipulate sound, there actually has to be, well, sound. Noise. Talking. Without sound, it probably won't do anything. (Of course, since an area being completely soundless is almost impossible, I'll let someone else try test this out.)

The other limitation is on a variation of the Choir: sometimes during an encounter, a grey mold is seen on the walls, ceiling, or floor. This mold is often thought of to be the Choir. If you could, say, destroy the mold (preferably with fire), you could get rid of the Choir in that area.

There are two problems with this method, however: not every appearance by the Choir has the mold. This either means that the mold isn't the Choir and might be some byproduct or that the mold is simply one aspect of the Choir. If it's the second case, you can still burn it - but be careful, because it will probably resist and turn the sound of your flamethrower into a screeching noise that will make your ears bleed.