Crosspoints: I Dream of Shoggy

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Malchus
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Crosspoints: I Dream of Shoggy

Post by Malchus » Fri Feb 13, 2009 2:57 pm

Note: I've been meaning to get around to re-writing IDoS. I finally got off my lazy ass to do so and, well, here it is. It's combined from parts of the first three chapters of the original story, with several re-written portions and new additions. Also, I've changed how the story goes. Mack Hauer and his militia doesn't play a role in this one since I decided to focus solely on the shoggoth as the primary threat. Finally, I also decided to set this after the Crosspoints Christmas Carol story Shroom wrote for the SecSan.

Anyway, enjoy. And I promise to try to actually complete this rather than let it die like all my other stories. Hopefully, I can make myself keep that promise.


Crosspoints: I Dream of Shoggy

Chapter 1

Arkham, Massachusetts.

Like many places in the Miskatonic River Valley it used to be a dreary little town—ancient, witch-cursed, and even subtly fearsome. A legend-haunted, yokel-inhabited place where huddled, sagging gambrel roofs and crumbling Georgian balustrades brooded out over the centuries beside the darkly muttering Miskatonic. And, indeed, to this very day the outskirts of Arkham did live up to this cheerless description to a dismally considerable extent.

However, even the heartless force of urbanization had found enough semblance of a heart to reach out and embrace most of Arkham. The decaying, gambrel-roofed Georgian constructions had given way to concrete buildings and cozy suburban homes with insulation and aluminum siding. Dirt roads and creepy wooded areas had been replaced with paved streets, sidewalks, and well-maintained public parks with jogging trails. Finally, the small population of ignorant, superstitious hicks had been displaced by comfortably urbanized, reasonably educated New England yuppies, rich folk, and other such well-to-do people.

Despite this complete makeover, the town-turned-small-yet-growing-city—as with other similar places in the Miskatonic Valley—seemed loathe to part with its eerie, haunted legacy. This was especially true at night. There always seemed to be something disconcerting hovering in the dark shadows just beyond the boundaries of streetlights and asphalt, seemingly waiting to reclaim Arkham and its inhabitants if given the chance.

As if to accentuate the disconcerting atmosphere, a dark corner in the suburbs was suddenly illuminated by an unnatural glow. Had anyone awake been close by, they would have seen the glow emanating from the alleyway next to a rather popular diner. A glow made eerier by the slightly bluish reflections off the lingering winter snow. If they had ventured into this alleyway, they would have seen a large, strangely glowing vortex with what looked like a shockingly twisted landscape within. The vortex started to pulsate rather intensely just before a huge, dark, and viscous mass extruded from it, unceremoniously plopping with a wet slap upon the alleyway.

Just as suddenly as it appeared, the transdimensional portal disappeared. The alleyway was dark again, with only the shine of a streetlamp lending it dim light.

The amorphous, gooey mass the transdimensional rift had ejected, however, was still there. It was about the size of a small car, with a roiling, tar-like appearance to it. In the dim light the dark blob seemed to have a slightly greenish tint, and if anyone has seen it would swear that it had a slight, sickly-green glow to it. Against the white background of the snow, the slight bioluminescent glow was even more pronounced.

The blob started to bubble, as if some air from within was being burbled out. The bubbles, however, quickly became what were unmistakably eyes. The eyes peered out as they appeared, looking around as if to see where it had ended up. They didn’t last long, peering out for a few seconds before deflating and sinking back into the inky, greenish mass, only to be quickly replaced by more bubbles that turned into short-lived eyes. For a while, it did nothing else but look around with these constantly regenerating eyes. As it appraised its surroundings the thing’s body—if you could call it that—was compacted tightly into a lump, as if fortifying itself against the cold. It continued to writhe in place slowly, seemingly confused and scared of being in such unfamiliar territory.

Then slowly and tentatively, a part of the clump seemed to flow out and solidify into a sort of stubby palp-like extension. It cautiously felt around the alley with this palp before several more slowly appeared. It felt around with these as well before, apparently satisfied that the alleyway was safe enough, it slowly creeped along and peered out the alley with eyes-tipped palps. It looked around for a moment before it crawled onto the sidewalk, clearing a path through the snow.

New organs appeared along its surface which, like the eyes, constantly appeared and disappeared. One of these organs could sense smells, a sort-of nose if you will. Most of the odors were odd and unfamiliar to the creature, yet not upsettingly so. In fact, some of the odors seemed rather… delicious.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

“Little one…”

That voice… it was familiar yet for some reason she just couldn’t place it. A quiet, almost gentle voice, yet one that seemed to resonate throughout the mind; it demanded attention and conveyed power.

“Little one…”

There it was again. She looked around the monotonously sheet-white surroundings, searching for the source of voice. It was become more and more recognizable by the minute and her mind was absolutely sure that it knew who it belonged, yet knowledge of its exact identity stayed infuriatingly beyond her grasp.

Wait. What was that?

Something had caught her eye. It glowed, standing out from even the bright white surroundings. She moved closer as it pulsated and grew, becoming what was unmistakably a portal of some sort. Again, she was struck by a sense of the familiar—and the foreboding.

“Little one…”

The voice was stronger now, coming distinctly from the direction of the portal. She kept moving closer, sensing the familiar presence of the voice’s source. As she did, a warning feeling of unease made its presence known by clamping onto the pit of her stomach. For a moment, it made her stop in her tracks. The identity of the voice was just at the edge of her grasp now. However, she was becoming increasingly uncertain about wanting to know after all. Something about all this… well, it just felt wrong. She just couldn’t exactly place
how it was wrong.

After a moment, she started moving forward again. Sense of apprehension or not, she wanted answers.

And an answer did she get.

Something flew out of the portal at that moment, right towards her! Everything darkened ominously as she fell on her behind, screaming and bringing her arms up in an instinctive protective motion. Suddenly, as if an unexpected realization, the identity of the voice’s source became know to her.

It was HIM, the Gatekeeper!

It looked right at her with the large, yellow eye that was its head. The massive eye’s blood-red iris dilated, focusing the black depths of its pupil squarely at her. Again, it spoke.

“Watch, little one. Watch…”



Karen Salinas woke up with a start. She was in a cold sweat, breathing rapidly in the instinctive response to stress or danger.

“Gah!” she spat, “Again?!”

She clenched her fists and uttered a curse. She was familiar with that dream, she had gotten it quite a number of times since the first one about two months that completely changed her life. It was always the same goddamned dream—even though she knew what that thing was, it just had to make it so that it always ended up scaring the shit out of her. What, did it get its jollies scaring people to death in their sleep or something?

She let out a frustrated breath. She knew what the dream meant. Another Crosspoint had opened, and by the somewhat hazy feeling she had she knew it was some distance away, yet close enough to trigger her damned Pointwatcher sense.

In fact she had a pretty good premonition of what the distance was, and it was right towards the direction of the neighboring city of Arkham. For some reason, when her Pointwatcher abilities were activated her sense of direction was impeccable whereas when it was dormant she had some difficulty with directions. Still, that did not stop her from being really annoyed with said abilities for interrupting her sleep. A look at the clock hanging beside her Wayward Son poster—1:02 a.m.—did nothing to improve her mood.

She considered, as she had in the several such moments since she had woken up right in front of a Crosspoint spouting horrifyingly freakish creatures, not calling it in and going back to sleep. She had two tests tomorrow and had studied late into the night, and she’d need to be well-rested if her mind brain was to be clear enough to give her some chance at doing well in said tests. She could let this go just this once and say she hadn’t sensed it, right?

She knew the answer even before the question had finished itself in her mind. No, she couldn’t just not report this. Crosspoints usually meant dangerous creatures, creatures who could maim or kill people if no one did something about them. Because of her abilities, she was one of those people who were supposed to do something about them. Plus, her conscience would never let her have a good night’s sleep again if she did decide to just screw it and someone did get torn apart and/or eaten.

Besides, Clarisse, her Blacksuit handler, would kill her if she [trained-to-use-guns-agent Clarisse] found out that she [disgruntled-from-having-her-sleep-interrupted Karen] had not reported in a Crosspoint manifestation.

She let out a sigh, wishing that all she had to deal with were the normal, everyday problems most 14-year-old girls had to deal with. You know, like grades, periods, clothes, and dating. Her last mission had been bad enough, pulling her away from her family--on Christmas Eve of all nights—and having her spend what should’ve been a fun night with relatives trying to keep herself and others from being anally invaded by some robotic nightmares created by a bunch of sick Greys. Explaining to her parents on why she had been late returning home from her night of “caroling” had not been fun. Luckily, Clarisse had managed to spin some story about a blizzard that her parents had thankfully believed. Although, they had been suspicious on why she had come home in what looked like the ride of one of her schoolmates—a male schoolmate. That her cousins had earlier suggested that said male schoolmate was her boyfriend just added another level of complication.

She took a deep breath and sighed. She took a look around the darkened Dunwich Academy dormitory room she had returned to after the end of Christmas break. Sighing one more time, shereached under her bunk bed’s (she got the lower bunk) mattress and took out what looked like a small coin purse. She flipped open the flap and stuck her hand in. It always amazed her how impossibly huge the inside of it was thanks to some Blacksuit techno marvel. She reached around inside and felt the distinctive shape of what seemed like a revolver’s handle.

Karen pulled it out and, indeed, it did look something like a revolver handle. But instead of a bullet chamber and barrel, it led to something that looked like a metallic rolled-up umbrella. She pushed some of the buttons on the small display screen mounted on where the hammer would be if it actually had been a revolver. The metallic “umbrella” suddenly opened up with a slight click into what looked like a small communications dish. It was the classic profile of the Blacksuit Hypnotic Memory Wiper.

The girl set it down on her bed and reached for the small pouch again. This time, she pulled out an actual revolver— a six-shot .410 Blacksuit Custom Revolver sidearm with a 5-inch barrel, a recoil-neutralizing handgrip, and compensator grooves on the muzzle. She flipped it open, inserted Blacksuit homing jetslug ammunition, and pulled out the speedloader that had held the bullets together before she flipped it close and placed it within a holster.

She then stood up as quietly as she could, keeping the lights off so as not to wake her roommates on the top bunk and the other bunk bed. She quickly took off her pajamas and put on a few layers of winter clothing as quickly and as quietly as she could. She then took the compressed-space pouch and pulled out the roll-out belt (which also retracted in compressed-space) on its back. Karen put this around her waist and made sure the pouch was within easy reach of her left hand. Then, she put her cellphone in a waterproof plastic cover which she strapped on to the belt. Next, she put on her holster, which hung a few inches below her left armpit, with the butt of the gun position in such a way so as to be easy to pull out with her right hand. Over this she put on a thick cyan winter jacket, which she kept unzipped so that she could reach for either the holster or the pouch.

Taking a quick look around, she picked up the Hypnotic Memory Wiper and slowly, quietly towards the door.

“Where the hell are you going?” a sleepy voice called, stopping Karen in her tracks, “Do you know what time it—”

Karen spun, bringing the HMW up and pressing the trigger. Her roommate, Joanne, suddenly stopped talking, falling into a trance. Sighing in relief that Joanne was susceptible to hypnosis, Karen commanded: “You didn’t see me. Go back to sleep. Oh, and you owe me ten bucks.”

She let go of the trigger and immediately, almost comically, her roommate went right back to sleep. She looked around to see if her other roommate, Alicia, was still asleep. She was.

Karen smirked, appreciating how handy the little device she had was. Being the only free agent in Dunwich Academy with roommates (the two other free agents having none because of their status as “school weirdo-outcasts”) she had been given the HMW by the Blacksuits in case her classmates, teachers, or other school staff caught her sneaking around. She would’ve loved using it for other things as well, but the Blacksuits carefully monitored when and where she used it. In fact, they probably noticed right now, and she’d probably receive an inquiry about the use right about now.

As if on cue, her phone started to vibrate. She picked it up and heard a smooth, almost bored sounding voice say tersely: “Usage of your Hypnotic Memory Wiper within the Dunwich Academy dormitories was detected. Explain yourself.”

“Good evening to you too, SOCRATES.” she replied. SOCRATES was the Blacksuits AI-controlled communications and coordination network. She never could remember what the acronym meant.

“Technically, it’s early morning,” the AI answered. “Explain your HMW usage.”

Karen rolled her eyes. Ever since she had made a crack against it, the AI had always been pretty impolite and gruff around her. She shrugged. It’s not like she cared.

“Crosspoint, probably in Arkham,” she could play the coldly terse game, too, “Haven’t told the others yet.”

“Very well, I shall inform Agent Lewyn and your fellow free agents,” SOCRATES replied, “Be at the school football field. The Black Helicopter will be en route shortly.”

Abruptly, the call ended. Karen hooked the phone back on the belt and made her way toward the school football field. All in all, that had been remarkably civil and to the point. Usually, the AI would’ve been snippier with her—it was a remarkably vindictive little bastard for a computer. Then again, it was pretty much all business during a mission, and a detection of a Crosspoint counted as one.

The girl stifled a yawn as she hurried along. She had a feeling this was going to be a long night.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

The amorphous mass moved forward, flowing shockingly fast along the paved sidewalks and the piled up layers of winter snow. New organs constantly bubbled to its sickly greenish black surface only to disappear about as fast. Various eyes peeked out, some useless in the dark while others found illumination towards the infrared or ultraviolet spectrum. Acoustic sensors of varying degrees of biological sophistication listened, taking in the unfamiliar—at least to the creature—sounds of a typical New England winter night. Sensory nerves along its out layer of cytoplasmic membrane regarded the temperature and crunch of the snow beneath it with a detached disinterest.

But the combined input from its various, short-lived eyes and ears was secondary to its equally various and equally short-lived olfactory organs. The noses and antennae registered a scent wafting through the air and screamed it at the living blob’s equivalent of a brain. It was the somewhat unfamiliar yet unmistakable scent of living flesh, the beckoning aroma of food. An irresistible odor that was getting stronger and stronger as the creature came closer and closer.

Suddenly, a loud series of sounds rang through the creature’s erstwhile ears. The Dreamlands organism turned its numerous eyes toward the noise and saw a very furry four-legged creature. It was the source of the yipping, but, more importantly, it also reeked of living flesh. The creature poured itself across the snow, racing towards the yapping soon-to-be-morsel. As it closed in, it reared up. The target quadruped barked louder and more ferociously, but it was quickly silenced as blob brought itself down on the hapless terrier.

The amoeba-like mass quickly absorbed the St. Bernard into itself, digesting it, hair and all, within a matter of seconds. It shuddered in satisfaction, forming a few momentary mouths which then ululated, “Tekeli-li, tekeli-li…”

Still, it wanted more. The animal it had just eaten, though unusual, had been delicious. However, it had been too woefully small. Its senses suddenly picked up new sounds which were apparently coming from the unusual structure nearby. They were different from with the sounds which had been produced by the thing it had just consumed, but these ones also corresponded with the beautiful and enticing aroma of live meat.

It moved to the structure, feeling around for entrances large enough for it to squeeze through. It was close enough now that the sounds coming from within seemed much clearer.

“Great, now that we’re awake the damn dog shuts up.”

“I don’t know, Lester, something’s just not right.”

“The mutt probably just saw a cat or something.”

“Right, like some cat’s going to be moving around in the middle of the night in this weather. Besides, when Pietro gets going he never just stops barking. Not until we check on him.”

“Well, I wish he did.”

Suddenly, bright lights came on, dazzling the amorphous blob’s dozens of supernumerary eyes. As they adjusted it saw movement within one of the rectangular parts of the structure it had scoped out. It didn’t take much for it to know that the things moving inside were prey. It lunged, as fast as an eye blink, part of it shooting out towards its targets. However, it was suddenly stopped by an unseen barrier.

“Oh sweet fucking Jesus, what the hell is that?!”

“Quit gawking, Lester, and grab the fucking shotgun!”

Momentarily confused, the creature quickly shook it off. Whatever had stopped it would soon be pushed out of the way. It formed three long tendrils tipped with hard, bony clumps. These it swung hard at the transparent barrier, shattering it into several shards. Wasting no time, it surged into the hole it had created. It saw the two creatures going above some sort of stepped incline, away from it, and quickly climbed up after them.

“Oh my God, oh shit! LESTER, IT”S IN THE HOUSE!!!”

“What the fuck is going on?!”

“Just shoot the damn thing!”

The shoggoth’s numerous ears heard a loud roar suddenly blast out, seemingly from one of its prey. Something slammed hard into its shapeless, viscous body an imperceptible instance later. It wasn’t fatal, but it had hurt. From its numerous mouths it let out several furious, unearthly howls before tearing angrily towards the offending pair.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Blacksuit field agent Mulley Sculder stifled a yawn as he stared out the windshield from the passenger side seat of his team’s Black SUV, a modified 1993-1996 model Jeep Cherokee XJ. It wasn’t due to the time—he looked at his watch, 1:12 a.m.—since he was part of the Miskatonic Area Blacksuit Night Patrol and thus had no cover job so they could spend most of the daytime asleep. Mostly, he was just plain bored. Despite the Miskatonic area being a Crosspoint-heavy zone, there were some periods where nothing really happened. And when Crosspoints did appear, half of the time it was during the daytime, which was usually not his problem unless it was major enough to warrant all the Blacksuits in the Miskatonic area been called up. So far, no Crosspoint event of such magnitude had ever happened outside his shift.

There had been the most recent event during Christmas Eve where some Dreamlander Greys had gone around putting anal probe drones in people’s presents. However, most of the activity had been limited to Dunwich city. His team, being in Arkham, had just sat around on emergency standby. He heard that the Ipswich, Innsmouth, and Kingsport teams had pretty much done the same. That had left only agent Lewyn, the free agent kids, and Fred Wick’s Black Helo to sort things out, much to the teams’ collective chagrin and embarrassment. Still, it had all worked out in the end, thought the fact that he had missed the action and that his boss and the kids had managed to do the job had left him itching to actually do something to prove that he and his team weren’t a bunch of useless stand bys.

“You think she’s lesbian?” the driver said conversationally, snapping Mulley out of his musing.

“Huh?”

“Administrator Lewyn,” clarified the driver, “I mean, we’ve never seen or heard of her with any guy. She hasn’t ever flirted with any other Blacksuit man, either. Or any other guy that I heard of. You think she’s into chicks?”

Mulley rolled his eyes. Looks like he wasn’t the only one who was bored.

“You, Howie, are what my mother would call a ‘pig’,” Mulley retorted, “Just because she never looked your way doesn’t mean she’s lesbian. ‘Sides, I heard there’s something between her and Miski Merlin.”

Mulley was referring to Hiram M. Richards, a wizard or something that lived somewhere in the Miskatonic area (they never could find his place unless they had business with him) who provided the magically-enhanced gun their boss used. He was known among the local Blacksuits as Miskatonic Merlin, or Miski Merlin for short. Ms. Lewyn regularly visited him to keep her enchanted gun supplied with enchanted ammunition. Rumor has it that that wasn’t the only thing Hiram supplied her with, though no Blacksuit was stupid enough to say so out loud where Ms. Lewyn might hear.

“The hell is this?” a voice behind Mulley asked. It was Phil, the third of their three-man team. He was seated at his station, which took up most of the rear and middle area of their Black Cherokee, “You guys actually gossiping about our boss? What is this, high school?”

Phil snorted before continuing, “Besides, I heard that the she doesn’t really mind whether you have Y chromosome or you don’t.”

Howie was about to say something when the Black SUV’s secure radio cackled to life. It was the calm, almost disinterested-sounding voice of SOCRATES: “Batmobile element be advised that there has been a positive Crosspoint detection within your patrol area, exact location still to be determined. You are to search for any possible Dreamlander incursion. Engage if necessary. Teacher and Eraser are en route via Chalkboard. Updates will be given as they come.”

“This is Batmobile 1, roger that.” Mulley replied over the radio. He heard the five other Blacksuit patrol vehicles of Batmobile element radio in their own affirmatives. He couldn’t help but smile at his patrol group’s reporting name. Someone had decided to make a joke about black vehicles moving around Arkham at night, which was the namesake of the insane asylum from the Batman stories, an it had eneded up being adopted as the Arkham Night patrol’s official reporting name. Chalkboard was the reporting name of the backup BH-3 Black Helo , while Teacher and Eraser referred to Agent Lewyn and the young free agents respectively.

“Hear that, boys?” Mulley said, “Keep a look out, we might be seeing some action soon.”

“And maybe after this is over we can ask Agent Lewyn how she swings, eh Howie?” put in Phil.
“Yeah,” Howie grunted sarcastically, “Sure. Whatever you say, Phil.”

Mulley ignored them and gave his AA-12 automatic shotgun a quick once over, checking the ammo type designation markings on its twenty-round drum magazine—unguided directional-fragmentation jetslugs, he noted. Just the thing to put down any Dreamlander nasties. He checked the weapon’s electronic sight’s uplink to his digitized sunglasses. An arrow projected on the lens of his sunglasses pointed off to the side indicated that the weapon was pointed beyond his line of sight. First checking to see if the safety was engaged—it was—he pointed the weapon down. The arrow moved and changed into targeting crosshairs. He nodded in satisfaction when the crosshairs moved to where the gun was pointed. Everything looked to be in working order.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Agent Clarisse Lewyn hung on to a handhold as the old Black Helicopter, codenamed “Chalkboard”, flew toward the city of Arkham. Flying in an aging helicopter was not a pleasant experience, since there was always the lingering worry in the back of her mind about that it’d fall apart on them before it would even reach its destination.. The nagging worry was made even worse by the fact that Chalkboard was not one of the newer, more advanced BH-53s with IR-visual active camouflage. No, based on a variant of the Sikorsky H-3 Sea King airframe it was an aircraft well into its thirties—older than she was, Clarisse thought to herself—and held on by more cannibalized parts than an Iranian F-14. An older Black Helicopter whose heyday had been in the seventies, spared from the scrap heap only because the Blacksuits couldn’t afford any newer helicopters.

True, the Blacksuit engineers had managed to maintain the Black Helicopter admirably well, given what they had. It had even been outfitted with radar-absorbent material and a quieter engine and rotor system. It also had an earlier version of the IR-visual camouflage system installed, although in comparison to the much more advanced masking system on the BH-53, it was pathetically easy to spot.

However, the Miskatonic area’s one and only BH-53, AKA “Blackboard”, had crashed just soon after the incident on Christmas Eve. The Grey saucer it had engaged had managed to clip its tail rotor back then. While the rugged design of the BH-53 had allowed it to keep flying until the Greys had been dealt with, the tail assembly had finally shaken itself apart just as it had been about to land on the hidden helicopter base. It had spun uncontrolled and crashed, causing further damage to the airframe. Luckily, the pilot, Fred Wick, had emerged relatively unscathed. The chopper, however, had been trashed and was still undergoing extensive repair.

Of course, that meant that the Miskatonic Area Blacksuits Response Team had had to fall back on their older stand by Black Helicopters. And, along with the worrisome nature of the airframe’s age and structural integrity, there was also the fact that the BH-3 lacked a compressed-space internal compartment. This meant that they couldn’t carry that much equipment or weaponry with them. In fact, the MABRT’s “fast attack vehicle” (actually little more than an extensively modified golf cart) had had to be strapped on under the chopper. Naturally, this added another worry for Clarisse, despite knowing that the straps had been well-secured and were rated for cargo far heavier, since part of her mind was still afraid that it could fall off…

Clarisse shook her head slightly. She knew that she shouldn’t worry about every little thing. She’d have to trust that the chopper would keep itself and that the straps on the cart would hold. The pressing concern here was that there was the likelihood that she would face some sort of dangerous Dreamlands creature soon, so she had to prepare herself for that. Plus, she was also leading a team composed of kids into that possible danger as well, so she’d have to stay doubly focused so she could concentrate on keeping them safe as well. Sure, they could handle themselves pretty well. They’d proved as much before, but especially during the most recent incident even thought that had been a very close thing.

Still, she had never been happy with the Blacksuits having been forced to press kids with special abilities into service since SDI had co-opted the adult Pointwatchers, Trackers, and metahumans who had been in Blacksuit service. She scowled, the thought of how SDI had near-guttedher organization when funding shifted to them was always a sore point with her, or any other Blacksuit for that matter. But just as quickly as the scowl had appeared, she shooed such bitter thoughts away. Now wasn’t the time for that, and it never did anyone any good to dwell on such things.

She turned toward where her free agents were seated. She caught sight of her newest free agent, Karen, first. The young girl wore the same expression she wore every time she was had been called up at an ungodly hour to participate in a Blacksuit operation, a grumpy and disgruntled pout. As Karen quietly sulked she ignored the glances of one of the other kids under Clarisse’s purview, Kenny Heimstein, the MABRT’s resident Tracker. The girl was most likely doing so on purpose since she did know of Kenny’s little crush on her, an interest that was unwelcome but, for now, seemed tolerable.

Clarisse understood both Karen’s scowl and Kenny’s interest. Karen’s comfortable life had not so recently pretty been turned upside down when her Pointwatcher abilities became known to both her and the Blacksuits, plus, she had just been awakened at an uncomfortably early time. So, it was no surprise that she was annoyed. As for Kenny ogling her, well Kenny was a hormonal teenage boy who hadn’t been around many girls before and Karen was a reasonably attractive female peer. And speaking of peers and attraction, Clarisse thought saw Karen shoot a quick glance at the third free agent on the team.

The older woman smiled wistfully, and a little sadly. The typical high school hijinks would’ve been pretty funny and cute, if only it were under more normal circumstances. She turned toward the third kid, Max Li. The boy was giving Glock pistol he carried a quick last-minute check as the chopper quietly settled on the ground. Apparently satisfied that his gun was in order, he holstered the weapon before looking up, causing Karen to quickly look away. Max hadn’t noticed and was calmly looking ahead, the usual blank expression on his face.

The Blacksuit agent found herself smiling again, this time in affection. Out of the three kids, she had known Max the longest. She had been assigned to the team handling Max and some other specially-able children the Blacksuits had been interested in years ago. She remembered when he was still a scared little youth, scared to tears of the thing that had grafted itself onto his left hand. The chemical imbalance of the Dreamlands symbiote had wreaked havoc on the child’s emotional state back then, and Clarisse hands been one of the Blacksuits who had helped Max throughout that early ordeal. Of course, the symbiote having learned to master its biochemical ministrations likely had something to do with the boy learning to cope.

Her reminiscing turned to darker memories as she remembered when the Greycoats had attacked Max and the other kids she had been transporting. Despite her efforts and those of her fellow agents, some of the kids had either been taken or killed. One of those taken had been a young girl Max had grown attached to. And it had all happened under her watch.

Sometimes, as interesting as things got being a Blacksuit, she hated her job.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Lester Farnes was not a happy man. First, his wife’s damn dog had been acting up, barking away and preventing him from getting a good night’s sleep. When it had finally stopped barking, his wife had insisted that they go and check up on the damn mutt. And when they had checked, they’d stumbled upon some freakish, blob-like monstrosity that had tried to eat them like it had eaten the dog. On top of that, his leg was broken and hurting like hell from jumping off the second story of his house to escape the damn giant alien amoeba thing. Oh yeah, and his wife was driving (in itself, a life threatening situation) their car, gunning it to escape the chasing blob which turned out to be surprisingly fast. The fact that the sedan was swerving and bouncing around wildly thanks to all the snow and ice on the streets, causing his injured leg to slam into things every so often wasn’t doing much to improve his mood either.

“Ah, fuck!” Lester grimaced, cradling his broken leg, “This hurts like hell.”

“Quit whining and keep shooting at that monstrosity, you big baby!” his wife yelled, not the least bit sympathetic. He was about to retort when the old sedan suddenly swerved wildly, clipping a mailbox and churning up a cloud of snow as it rounded the corner. It swerved again as Lester’s wife tried to straighten out their path, causing Lester’s broken right leg to slam into the passenger side door.

“ARGHHHH!!!” Lester screamed, “Goddammit Mary!”

“Shut up ang get that thing off of our tail!”

Muttering curses, Lester turned his body around in his seat (causing more pain to shoot from his leg) and hefted the shotgun as best as his position (and the blinding pain) allowed. He took aim and fired, managing to catch the creature’s side. He fired again, catching the blob full in its current front and splattering a whole lot of greenish-black goo and partially formed organs. Just like the previous times he had shot at it, however, it only seemed to piss the thing off even more.

“It’s just pissing it off more!” Lester said, voicing his thoughts, “We need some of that fancy stuff they have over at the military or SDI, dammit!”

“Well, in case you haven’t noticed we’re not SDI. And since neither of us thought to snatch a cellphone before leaving, we can’t even call 911!” Mary shot back as she quickly pulled the car to the left, just avoiding a spike-tipped appendage and slamming Lester’s body around yet again. And, yet again, Lester cried out in agony and let out expletive after colorful expletive. “Do you know where the nearest police station is at least?”

“If that thing doesn’t kill us, your fuckin’ driving will!”

“Where, goddamnit?”

“How the hell should I know? I never needed to go there before.”

“Great,” Mary snorted, “That means we have to play ‘catch me if you can’ with that thing ‘til we stumble upon a patrolling cop car or the station. Or until that thing catches us.”

“You got a better idea? ‘Cause I’m all ears if—” Lester never got to finish his angry retort. At that moment a quickly-formed club-tipped organ shot out from the amoeba-like mass. It slammed into the back of the sedan hard, the slippery snow and ice causing the car to lose traction and spin wildly until it careened into the wall of a grocery store at full speed. The impact killed Lester and Mary almost instantly.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

So far, they had spotted nothing. The other Black SUVs and Black Vans of Batmobile group hadn’t spotted a thing. Arkham was a sizeable city after all, and that was a lot of ground for five vehicles to cover. Mulley had also monitored the police frequency, but there had been no reports of anything strange so far. Either the Crosspoint had dropped off whatever creature it spat out somewhere in the city where there was no one around to see whatever it was, or it had already killed anyone it had come in contact with. The latter possibility was not something Mulley wanted to think about, so he was hoping that the former was the case. With that in mind, he had ordered Howie to drive them to the small business district. There was usually no one there at this hour, so if the Dreamlander was there then maybe that was why no one had reported anything in yet.

Of course, there was the possibility that the Crosspoint hadn’t shot something out but had rather pulled something in. That happened sometimes, and it usually meant someone was sent into the Dreamlands to try to rescue whatever poor bastard had been sucked in if they could confirm anyone in the area had disappeared. However, those were rare and Mulley wasn’t betting on that being the case. Besides, he was still itching for some action, and it was a pretty good bet Howie and Phil were too.

Speaking of the two, they were both animatedly continuing their earlier conversation as the modified Cherokee rounded the corner. It was Mulley who had first spotted it. There, in the dim light of the streetlamps (which was enhanced by the sight enhancement system integrated into his sunglasses), was a totaled sedan crashed against the wall of a grocery store. Shoving itself into the sedan, feeding on whatever had been inside, was an ugly, greenish black mass. Its surface bubbled with numerous mismatched eyes, ears, and other partially-formed and strangely-shaped organs. Its slimly, viscous surface glistened slightly green, signaling an abundance of disgusting goo. The whole scene made Mulley think of living vomit, which made him want to vomit.

“What is that?” Howie breathed.

“Trouble,” Mulley said simply, “Phil, get ready.”

“Gotcha.” Phil confirmed, pressing a button. A circular door opened above him as his station, consisting of a motorized mounted minigun and his chair, rose until Phil’s upper torso was peeking out of the circular opening with the minigun up and ready. “Oh my God, Sculder. It smells like... I think it's bile.”

“This is Batmobile 1,” Mulley radioed, ignoring Phil’s modified X-files quote. He’d learned to ignore X-files jokes for most of his life thanks to his unintentionally referential name. Plus, he had other concerns at the moment, “We have spotted a creature by the Clark Grocery Store over by the intersection of Ashton and Smith. It seems to be an amorphous mass of some sor—”

Suddenly, some of the creature’s continuously regenerating organs suddenly perked up, and all of its eyes turned towards the Black SUV. It lay there, staring. For his part, Mulley was cursing himself for not ordering his team to back off when they had spotted the thing so they could observe it without being spotted.

“Uh, Mulley?” Howie said beside him, “ I think it sees us.”

As if on cue, the creature stopped staring and decided to lunge right at them.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

To be continued.
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Re: Crosspoints: I Dream of Shoggy

Post by Peregrin » Sat Feb 14, 2009 12:13 pm

I think it's much improved. The prose does evoke Lovecraft's but isn't anywhere as "purple" at times and the characters are more fleshed out especially Clarisse. It's generally less overtly silly than the original version unless I remember things wrong. I also liked the idea of having some of it happen through the Shoggoth's point of view, and some continuity nods setting it after the SSS which Shroomy wrote, giving some chronology.
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Re: Crosspoints: I Dream of Shoggy

Post by Malchus » Sat Feb 14, 2009 12:16 pm

Well, yeah, I did kinda tone down the silliness just a bit. And I'm glad I managed to get a semi-Lovecraftian sense to it.
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Re: Crosspoints: I Dream of Shoggy

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Sat Feb 14, 2009 8:17 pm

I like it. The story itself flows much smoother with the removal of the tangential and unnecessary Mackers who, for now, don't serve much of a purpose and just caused the main story in old IDoS to digress. It's better if the plot is simple or, at least, if unnecessary things are kept out.

This is simple. The MABRT and the Blacksuits dealing with one goddamn tough-to-kill monster! Good luck, Mulley Sculder and the brave men of Batmobile 1. I salute you!


I like how my SecSan gets referenced and how it's now a big part in the Blacksuits bit of the Malchus Mythos (yes!). And how Karen's introduction into the MABRT was just, like, at October or something.

I like the details too. They didn't seem overlong, those bits in Karen and Clarisse's POV shots, so it's cool. Just watch out for them, though. Your explanations might inadvertently get too long in the future. I think it contrasts my own prose, where there's barely any explanation whatsoever. :lol:

This is an improvement over old IDoS. It's flowing fast and smooth, and it's like a real story with a beginning and, hopefully, a middle and an end (which was what I planned for with Carol.). Old IDoS meandered about near the Macker bit and digressed then and there whereas you're going rather smooth with this one. You're already at the Shoggoth firefight!
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Re: Crosspoints: I Dream of Shoggy

Post by Siege » Sat Feb 14, 2009 10:14 pm

I don't quite recall the original exactly, but it seems to be that this iteration flows much more smoothly. Looking forward to the next chapter!
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Re: Crosspoints: I Dream of Shoggy

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Fri Feb 20, 2009 7:43 pm

Hey Malchus, I wonder if you're gonna stick Muttley in here in an unglamorous shitpiece side-role.

I'm gonna be changing his real given name from Matthias to Matthew, anyway.

EDIT:

And I simply must re-edit and re-post Carol.
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Re: Crosspoints: I Dream of Shoggy

Post by Malchus » Fri Feb 20, 2009 8:01 pm

Well, Muttley seems to be unattached to any specific unit being partially the Blacksuit delivery boy and all. And part of the plot point in the next chapter does involve the problem caused by the lack of proper armament against shoggoths the relatively lightly-equipped Night Patrols (yes, even a minigun armament is considered lightly equipped against some Dreamlanders), coupled with the lack of a built-in armory of the older Black Helo they're using. Maybe he could be the guy who delivers the necessary shoggoth-evaporating plasma weaponry.
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Re: Crosspoints: I Dream of Shoggy

Post by Shroom Man 777 » Fri Feb 20, 2009 8:14 pm

Yeah! And comic relief!

(He can bring the mortar in with a 80mm plasma shell or something)
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