Commentary to BuzzFeed’s “The 57 Best Conspiracy Theories I Heard At New Jersey’s 55th Annual UFO Conference” Part 2

Part 1 is here. This is a response to this listicle.

49. English occultist Aleister Crowley let the demon Lam into our world through an inter-dimensional portal, via Satanic ritual.

CuttyDarke: That unreliable self publicist? If he rose from the dead to tell me the sun rose in the east I’d get up extra early just to check.

PlanetNiles: It’s hardly a conspiracy; it’s well known occult lore.  Crowley made contact with the courtly fae, when they were in the bath or something.  He wanted to see them in the nude. He was disappointed and made up some BS about it as was his want. But not demons and not a Satanic ritual. They’re a different kettle of fish entirely; think 4Chan and you’re halfway there.

48. Later, Crowley’s portal, located at Area 51, was enlarged by rocket scientist Jack Parsons and L. Ron Hubbard. This began the modern UFO era.

PlanetNiles: Not Crowley’s portal. Crowley thought the Rite of Babalon was a stupid thing to do and forbade Parsons and Hubbard, that other great self publicist, from doing it. Hubbard told him to get stuffed. Oh look an ultraterrestrial invasion. Given Hubbard’s character I wouldn’t be surprised if that hadn’t been his intent all along.

CuttyDarke: Jack Parsons; fantastic guy and a great person to be around but not someone you would want to leave in a room with a large button labelled “do not press.”

47. This is not the same inter-dimensional portal that was located on the top of The Tower of Babel. But they’re related.

PlanetNiles: The portal wasn’t located on the top of the Tower of Babel but beneath the inverted temple of Sin nearby.

CuttyDarke: This caused our colonial cousins no end of confusion when they misinterpreted some ancient inscriptions to include references to a “Stargate”.

PlanetNiles: But did result in more than a decade of excellent science fiction television.

46. The Earth is roamed by shadow people who only leave in the name of Jesus.

CuttyDarke: The “Shadow people” are actually cast by extradimensional beings impinging upon our more limited reality. They’re not leaving in the name of Jesus; they’re leaving because you’re shouting at them. They’re actually really offended.

PlanetNiles: Nobody likes a religious nut job. Speaking of which…

45. Millions of people in the U.S. today worship Lucifer.

PlanetNiles: …Yes. They call themselves “Christian Evangelists” or just “Evangelists”. You can spot them doing their dark master’s work every time they open their mouths to spew hate at anyone who isn’t one of them.

CuttyDarke: The Cathars were right. Anyone preaching the Proserity Gospel is in fact worshipping Satan. God does not give you special prizes just for praying.

44. One-third of heavenly angels “fell” with Lucifer, and became demons. These demons are getting onto Earth via the inter-dimensional portals.

CuttyDarke: They fell, to Earth. They don’t need portals. They’re already here. Our friends in the Vatican wish it were that simple. Closing portals is relatively easy. If this were true they’d never need to Exorcise anyone again.

PlanetNiles: Demons can be summoned from other worlds but it, officially, really difficult. Portals aren’t involved that much as the demon sends a projection and either manifests a body when they get here, if they’re try-hards, or just possess then nearest sap.

43. Demons dress up in “bio-suits” that look like what we think of as grey, black-eyed aliens.

CuttyDarke: No. No. Demons either possess a body or manifest a physical form. The Greys are actually the Fae. Or other ultraterrestrials. Or projections from your own mind.

PlanetNiles: Current thought is that the Greys are actually what the Courtly Fae look like without glamours. “In the nude” as it were. Although perhaps not all of them.

42. Fallen angels mated with humans once, but NOT twice. This information is presented on a PowerPoint slide titled “5 Reasons Why I Do Not Believe There Was A Second Incursion of Fallen Angels.” I’d badge this BuzzFeed list “SMH” and “TRASHY.”

CuttyDarke: Oh here we go. They’re not talking about angels here. They’re talking about the Nephilim.

PlanetNiles: Best we can make out the Nephilim weren’t literal giants but figurative ones. These days we’d call them super-humans. The whole children of angels thing is just an origin story; less sophisticated people explaining why junior can bench press a mammoth and jump whole rivers in a single bound.

CuttyDarke: They were taller than average. But then they were also hardier and stronger than average. Your actual fallen angels, i.e. demons, can’t mate with human women because of genetics. Their genetic material just isn’t compatible with ours.

Stop the Press!

So Cutty and I got called upstairs to HQ this morning. Place was in an uproar.

You see a while back we both got flagged to do a bit a writing. Some loose dramaturgy on the QT for the department. Publicise our operations a little. Get people aware but not involved. That was the whole purpose of this blog TBH.

Only someone beat us to it. I mean that literally. Worse they may be leaking things that haven’t happened yet. Last night on Smashwords someone calling themselves Sable Lovekraft published a smutty short story about the Threshold rituals. The thing is the ritual in the story isn’t due to take place until the Worm Moon this coming March. We don’t know who is behind this. The real Sable hasn’t published any smut since 2009 and deleted her back catalogue not long after coming to work for us.

Whoever is doing this has inside knowledge of our operations and procedures. For example the different sections, also called branches, of the department are lettered A through to Z. E branch deals with the Threshold, S branch involves shape-shifting, X branch is folk magic and so on and so forth. “Sections S, E, X and Y” are actual sections dealing with actual elements of Threshold.

Worse the publisher is calling itself “Department Y Press” and is using the same version of the department logo as we’re using on this blog.

I’m telling you this because all signs point to me and Cutty. The story is dedicated to us under our civilian names, crediting us as “Creators of the Department”. The logo originates with us as I’ve already noted. There is a link to the author’s Tumblr blog which seems to be linked to a Tumblr blog in my name too.

Nobody in the story has been alerted to its content and we’re trying to limit its exposure. Since there is no permanent harm to anyone in the story we’re going to sit back and see how things play out. Maybe this is some weird fanfic leaking in from nearby universes or something.

The story is called Arthur’s Grove it’s just under 14k words and is priced on Smashwords at the insultingly low price of $0.99. Read it at your own risk.

Commentary to BuzzFeed’s “The 57 Best Conspiracy Theories I Heard At New Jersey’s 55th Annual UFO Conference” Part 1

Original article can be found here.

57. The CIA controls the New York Times, the Washington Post, other reputable leading newspapers, and some academics.

Cutty: No. That’s the Illuminati.

PlanetNiles: There is no Illuminati. You’re thinking of Rupert Murdoch.

Cutty: That’s what I said. Rupert Murdoch just thinks he’s the Illuminati.

56. David Rockefeller put every president from Ford onward into the White House.

Cutty: Are there no other billionaires buying their way into the White House? I can actually reveal that every president has been in the pocket of some, but not all, of the 1% for decades. It all cancels out.

PlanetNiles: The President is actually a figurehead, much like our Queen. Who sits in the oval office makes no difference to the actual character of the US government; That’s in the control of the giant ants that live under the Pentagon.

55. The Aspen Institute is the “open Bilderberg.”

Cutty: The Aspen Institute is actually a front for the secret US government agency as detailed in the documentary series “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” The recent film was horrifically inaccurate.

PlanetNiles: This is why we can’t have nice things.

54. CERN, the The European Organization for Nuclear Research, has a logo that looks like 666 in a twist.

PlanetNiles: Actually it’s 69696.

CuttyDarke: That’s two and a half 69’s. The actual secret is that CERN is a massive Swingers club. You heard it here first. Lock up your daughters, sons and large mammals when CERN are in town.

53. They are trying to recreate the Big Bang.

PlanetNiles: Well duh. I mean they’re not trying to create a new universe, yet. We have people for that already. And the LHC has opened at least one Wyrmhole, bringing a powerful dragon to Earth which we had to return to sender. But CERN’s goal is to investigate the fundamental nature of the universe.

CuttyDarke: And to do that they need to smash small bits of it into each other to see what comes out, Recreating some of the aspects of the big bang in the process. It’s what they claim to be doing. Please try harder when you’re coming up with conspiracy theories.

PlanetNiles: It’s the sexiest science on the block right now.

Cutty Darke: That’s why they’re all swingers.

52. We are placated by the NFL, and also “Dancing with the Stars.”

PlanetNiles: True. Actually this one’s true.

CuttyDarke: What do you think that stuff is for? I mean some of it is for your own good. And some of it is to stop you rising up and overthrowing the arseholes you think you put in charge.

51. Soon 3D printing will be able to 3D print a being.

CuttyDarke: It depends upon you definition of “being” and “soon”. If by “soon” you mean soon on a geological scale then yes. If by “being” you mean some sort of homunculus or poppet that you can imbue with life, then yes. We can do that already. If you mean some sort of self aware human being then don’t hold your breath. It’s not going to happen in our life times unless we live for over a century or something.

PlanetNiles: I heard Doctor Promethean was planning on assembling a 3D printed person but still needed a human brain. Of course it’s rumour and scuttlebutt; he’d rather adopt again.

50. The Biblical flood took place in 2400 B.C.E.

PlanetNiles: Ooh I know this one. No. More like 9000 B.C.E.

CuttyDarke: That’s what  the boss says, and she was there. Although she can be a bit iffy about precise dates.

PlanetNiles: She told me it was a Thursday. Completely wrecked her weekend plans.

The White Rabbit and the Iron Caterpillar

I’m breaking into the current story (archived here) because for once I got to personally witness shit going down. Seriously, that never happens. I work in an archive for fucks sake.  Most of the drama I witness is decades old. I only got called in because I was literally the only familiar face available.  Well except for Doctor P but he’s his own category of trouble.

Below is a transcript of me debriefing the S.I.S. Officer code-named Dee.






DEE:  At last a friendly face. Is Sorrow coming?

CD:  Sorrow is currently in the middle of the North Sea dealing with a… thing. We’re trying to recall her but it won’t be quick. And if you don’t move that hand I’m going to start breaking fingers.

DEE (PUTS LEFT HAND IN JACKET POCKET):  Sorry. I think it’s the drugs. Suddenly it’s got a mind of it’s own.

CD:  For the record I am Senior Secret Historian Cutty Darke conducting the debrief interview.  Can you state your designated codename for the record?

DEE: Wouldn’t you like my name?

CD:  Which one?  The one you gave up. the S.I.S. codename that we’re not allowed to write down or whatever legend you’re using this week? We like to have a consistent name for our records and we refuse to reduce anyone to a number.

DEE:  Fine.  For the record I am Dee. I am an Intelligence officer with the Secret Intelligence Service. I know why you picked that name, by the way, and it’s not funny.

CD:  So, can you tell me what happened? Do you remember how you got here?

DEE: I remember some of it. I was drugged, I know that.

CD:  Did someone slip something in your Martini?

DEE:  I don’t think so. I think I inhaled something.

CD:  What’s the last thing you remember clearly.

DEE:  The Queen of Hearts club in Soho. It’s supposed to be a members only drinking club but beneath that is a sex club and beneath that is a bondage club. We have intel that there’s a smuggling ring working out of it.

CD:  Not your usual line of work.

DEE: This ring’s ambitious. They claim they can get anything into the country; guns, explosives, drugs, counterfeit medicine, counterfeit money, people, exotic animals. There’s a rumour that someone is asking them for RPG launchers.

I spotted someone who was obviously dealing something to the customers and I followed him down into the depths of the club. You can’t deal in a place like the Queen of Hearts unless the management says so. I knew he would be my route to the smugglers.

He kept moving down. Below the nightclub, below the sex club, down through the bondage dungeon and into the deepest basement level. The red leather and the black velvet was gone and it was all rough brick walls and bare light bulbs. I was careful following him but not careful enough. I turned a corner and he was waiting for me. He blew something into my face and suddenly everything was… wrong.

CD: Wrong how?

DEE: I felt dizzy, I couldn’t see properly, everything was dark and blurry and the proportions were off.

CD:  That fits. The lab says you were dosed with a new cocktail of drugs we’ve been seeing on the streets for about a month. The main ingredients are similar to Scopolamine and Amanita Muscaria. The street name is White Rabbit.  We don’t know why.

DEE:  It’s because of the dealer.

CD:  The dealer is a white rabbit?

DEE:  The dealer is an albino with a white track suit, buck teeth and a stupid, fucking hat.

CD:  Anyway… This drug is so new that we don’t have definitive information about the effects but our pharmacologists theorise that the combination should distort the senses and make a person highly suggestible but also violent, paranoid and unpredictable.

Dosing you with that shit is the stupidest thing I’ve heard all week.

DEE:  But it worked. I didn’t find the smugglers. I don’t know what I found. None of it makes sense.

CD:  Let me worry about making it make sense. You just worry about remembering it. What happened after he blew in your face?

DEE:  He ran. I followed. He ducked into what I thought was a cupboard but was really a narrow staircase heading down.

CD:  What did it look like?

DEE:  Narrow, twisting, dark, swaying from side to side. By the feel of it the walls were covered in glazed ceramic tiles.

CD:  Shit.

DEE:  I went down the stairs for so long that by the time I got to the bottom I’d forgotten why I was there.  The space was huge and dark. I could barely see my own hands. The only lights were orangy safety lamps bolted to the walls. The air was warm and stale and the ground was uneven. I looked around, trying to remember what I was doing there. Then I saw the Rabbit. He was standing next to one of the lamps. He had something small in his hands and he was staring at it. Then he put it back in his pocket and he hurried off. I followed.

CD:  Do you know which direction he was heading?

DEE: No. He was getting away. I followed. That’s what I knew

I didn’t know where he was going. He kept taking this thing out of his pocket and looking at it.  At first I thought it was a pocket watch because it was round and it was on one of those long keychains. But he was holding it horizontally and turning from side to side looking at it. I guessed it was a compass.

CD:  And you decided to get it?

DEE:  Not immediately. I just wanted to say close. I didn’t decide to go for the compass till I realised where I was.

I don’t know how long that took because it seemed to be both 10 minutes and 2 years.  I started to hear distant rumbling sounds. It reminded me of something. I knew I shouldn’t be hearing it but I couldn’t remember why. It came really close. The ground shook. I clung to the wall to stay upright. There was a terrible wind and a flashing light and when it was gone I thought I’d lost the Rabbit. Then I saw the light reflecting off his dirty white track suit.

He was passing in front of something bright. So bright I couldn’t focus on it at first.  It was the platform of a Tube station. We were in a Tube tunnel

CD:  Which one.

DEE:  Green Park.

CD:  Do you not remember a conversation about the Underground and how dangerous it is and why you should stay the fuck out of it.

DEE:  I do.  I did.  That’s why I decided to abandon the pursuit, leave via the station and call your lot in to deal with it.

CD:  Pull the other one.  It plays Ave Maria.

DEE:  I was drugged, maybe poisoned.  I was going to climb up on the platform and get the hell out of there but there were… things on the platform.

CD:  Things?

DEE:  Big hairy things.  Don’t laugh.  Like Yetis.

CD:  I’m not laughing.  This is London.  We call them Wombles.  The scientific name is Australopithecus Giganticus.

DEE:  So they’re real?

CD:  I know someone who’s dated one.

DEE:  I can never tell when you’re joking.  I crouched under the platform edge and crept after him.  He wasn’t moving very fast and he kept stopping to look at the compass.  I don’t think he knew I was there till I jumped him.  I knocked him out and took the compass.

CD:  And that’s how you got this.  For the record I am showing Officer Dee the Compass that was found in his possession upon his arrival in HQ.

DEE:  Yes.  Why isn’t it working now.

CD:  It’s called an Undercompass.  They don’t work up here.

DEE.  When I took it from the White Rabbit the two needles were pointing in different directions.

CD:  Do you know which one he was following?

DEE:  The brass one.  Does that mean something?

CD:  Every Under compass has at least 2 needles. The blue points to the Thames. The other one points to one of the landmarks of the under. I’ve never seen a brass one before.  You can stop holding my hand any time.

DEE:  Sorry.  I didn’t realise…

CD:  So you subdued the White Rabbit and took his compass.?

DEE:  Well I thought I’d subdued him.  When I looked up he was gone.  He should have been unconscious or at least lightheaded.  I’ve been using that chokehold for years and it’s always worked before.

CD:  And?

DEE:  I looked around for him and when I couldn’t find him I followed the compass along the tunnel till I came to Down Street Station.  There was nothing on the platform there so I climbed up, forced my way through a couple of the doors till I found the stairs.  When I got to the surface I came straight here.

CD:  And you didn’t follow the brass needle any farther into the Under?

DEE:  No.  I was drugged. I couldn’t see straight. I just wanted out.

CD:  And then you just walked straight from Down Street to [REDACTED] with no detours?

DEE:  Yes. Don’t you believe me?

CD:  That rumbling you heard in the tunnel was the last southbound train on the Victoria line. It reaches Green Park at 00:31.  That ties in with SIS losing your tracker signal when you entered the basement of the Queen of Hearts at 23:51.

You showed up here at 06:43.  The climb up from Down Street is a bugger but it doesn’t take me six hours and I’m fat and my knees are fucked.  The walk to [REDACTED] shouldn’t take 30 minutes never mind 6 hours.  The White Rabbit in your system hasn’t metabolised like it should.

DEE:  But I don’t remember… Scopolamine you said?

CD:  Yep.

DEE:  You think they gave me another dose and then suggested that I forget it?

CD:  Could be.  Can you remember anything out of place.  Anything after Green Park that doesn’t seem to fit?

DEE:  Just fleeting images.  Knights in golden armour.  Machinery.  A smell like incense.

CD:  Golden armour or bronze?  Was the metal the same colour as the needle on the compass?

DEE:  Yes.  Does that mean something?

CD:  Well it means that the compass leads to the knights.  Who maybe aren’t knights.  We have reports of sentient automata.  Hold on.


CD:  Good news.

DEE:  You don’t sound convinced.

CD:  Mostly good news.  Sorrow took you to the Halloween party last year didn’t she.

DEE:  Yes, but…

CD:  So you’ll have met Doctor Promethean then?  Absolutely huge bloke, dressed as Frankenstein’s monster?

DEE:  Yes, a few times, but what…

CD:  Lovely guy, but he put you on edge?  Made your skin crawl?

DEE:  Yes, but how did you know?

CD:  He does that to everyone.  He tends to loom even when he doesn’t mean to and that can trigger a fight or flight response.

DEE:  Is he coming?

CD:  Yes.  So I need you to stay calm.  In your current state his presence could make you want to run.  You need to fight that urge.  I will hold your hand if you need me to but I’d prefer if you ask first.

DEE:  I’m so sorry.  I didn’t realise.


CD:  For the record Doctor Adam Promethean and Professor Kew are now entering the room.

DR P:  Dee, my boy.  How are you?  I hear this arm is giving you trouble.

DEE:  A bit.

DR P:  Let me help you with that.


DEE:  My Jacket! …  What the fuck is that?

KEW:  That is an Iron Caterpillar.  It’s been pumping you full of drugs and trying to hijack your nervous system.  Don’t worry.  We can remove it.

CD:  That dealer with the buck teeth and the stupid hat.  How sure are you that it was just a hat?



We’ll be back with the current story next week.  If anyone wants to take a guess why his codename is Dee feel free to stick it in the comments.


Code 5 Alert Incoming – Part 4

Part one is here.  Part 2 is here.  Part 3 is here  The contents page is here.  I’m not going to try and summarise it for you go back and read them.

I’m going to return to the extract of the witness statement of Doctor [REDACTED].


“The morning of the third day at sea was the moment that we began to fear that we were damned.  We began to realise that what we were facing was not simple disease but first we had to deal with the body of the old man.

Since the sea was too rough for us to remove his remains to the deck we cleaned the blood up as best we could and then a couple of the older women volunteered to sew him into a sheet for a shroud.  Once that was done we placed him in a corner and then tied the body in place so that it would not slide around as the ship rolled.

The only death was of the old man but more than 30 people had fallen ill.  Of those who were already ill only two had grown sicker.  As we spoke of our experiences it became clear that every single person who had fallen ill or grown sicker had been visited by a shadowy figure like the one I had seen.  Even the old man who died had babbled to his grandson of an Ifrit [a being made of smokeless fire from Arabian mythology].

We did not know what evil we faced and I do not want you to think that we sacrificed our reason lightly.  We did not assume that demons or ghosts were plaguing us.  We thought we had been drugged.  The main argument was not between rational and superstitious explanations.  It was between those who thought what we had seen were paranoid delusions brought on by drugs meant to keep us docile and those who thought that the crew were attacking us and our perceptions were clouded by drugs intended to prevent resistance.

There were many who feared that we were being gassed but, as a Doctor, I had a better idea of the difficulty of administering drugs by gas to such a large group of people in such a large area.  I felt that it was more likely that the drugs were in the water or the food.  I knew that drugs such as GHB and Rohypnol could be delivered that way and can have all kinds of unpredictable effects.

In the end we agreed that those who were already sick would continue to drink the water as the effects of dehydration might cause more damage than whatever drug there might be.  The rest of us would take nothing and see if the night still brought terrors.

At the time I knew that this was the rational course to take but even then I had a heaviness in my heart.  I suspected that there was something far darker at work. I feel I must say this again.  We believe that we were being drugged and perhaps murdered by the very people we had trusted to take us to Europe but I already suspected that this belief was overly optimistic.

And yet that night there was nothing.  No nightmares.  No midnight screaming.  No-one fell ill and in the morning a couple of our patients were even feeling well enough to eat though they were still very weak.  

I could not understand it.  There had been no new supplies.  The sick had been drinking the water we thought had been drugged.  And yet some of them were actually better. We began to question the food, but that made little sense as the sick had not been eating and they had been as afflicted with nightmares and hallucinations as the rest of us.  We hoped that our problems were over but I do not think that any of us actually believed it.

By the evening one of us, a college professor called [REDACTED] began to theorise that we had been afflicted by Mass Psychogenic Illness.  I can still remember when that was called plain old Mass Hysteria.  While I had to agree that our collective trauma and the atmosphere in the hold could easily have triggered psychological problems I could not agree with his diagnosis.  Three people had died and no amount of hysteria could explain that.

As night fell I had a strong sense of foreboding.  I was sure that our troubles were not over.  I was actually surprised that I drifted into a peaceful, natural sleep and woke in the morning to find that no-one had died and there had been only the usual nightmares.  I almost allowed myself to believe that my colleague had been right and that it had all been in our minds.  

Then I heard a howl of fright from the far corner of the hold.  From where we had put the old man’s body.  I hurried across to find that the body was gone.  No-one could remember the last time they had seen it.  The ropes that had held it in place had been torn apart rather than cut.  I tried to tell myself that the ropes had been frayed and had broken on their own and that the body had simply rolled away but not even I believed that.  Nevertheless we searched the hold for over an hour and we found nothing.


I think this is a good place to take a break.  More soon.

Code 5 Alert Incoming – Part 3

Part one is here.  Part two is here.

The Cestus Dei report contains a transcript of an interview with one of the refugees.  A Doctor hoping to eventually make it to the UK with his family.  I’m including some excerpts but  I won’t reproduce his whole statement here. I think you’ll agree he is a brave and dedicated man.  I’m recommending to my superiors that he be offered UK citizenship and a job with the Department.


God willing I shall never have to endure another journey like that. We expected to be robbed and lied to but not the horror…

It was the third night on the ship before we began to realise that we were not dealing with the normal traumas of war and disease.  I had chosen to stay with the sick.  My wife was caring for my daughter and my son.  I told her to keep them as far away from the sick as possible and to take great care of our water and our food that they not get contaminated.  You must understand that we thought we were only fighting illness.

I’m sure that we should have been cold.  There was a storm raging and the metal of the ship was cold to the touch but in the hold we sweltered.  There was a haze of sweat and fear and desperation that clung to the floor and almost seemed to suffocate the sick as they lay there.  I could hear them wheezing as they struggled to breathe.

I began to grow drowsy.  I had not expected that.  Since the war started I have spent many nights tending to the sick and while I am like a sleep-walker by the small hours I have never had such trouble staying awake.

I do not know how long I slept but I was awoken by screams.  At first I thought it was more of the nightmares that had plagued us all but the first thing I saw, or seemed to see, as I woke was a dark figure crouched over one of my patients.

The storm had grown much worse while I slept.  I had to fight the rolling of the ship to stand.  I flung myself at the thing with no thought other than to protect my patient.

There was nothing there.  I passed right through where I thought I had seen the figure and stumbled over the body of my patient. She was still alive but was gasping for breath and clawing at her own throat and she was icy cold.  As I looked around the hold it seemed to be full of some dark fog that clung to the floor and resisted the motion of the ship.  I could see it out of the corner of my eye but it disappeared whenever I tried to look at it.

My patient complained of a great thirst and I gave her such water as I had and helped her to sip it.  Once she had regained her strength enough  to drink unaided I went to wake the other volunteers and check on the rest of our patients.  While I was doing this I became aware of sobbing from beyond the curtain we had raised to quarantine the sick.

I dreaded to look beyond the curtain and to do so meant to break the quarantine that I myself had insisted on but I could not ignore the sobs.  I parted the curtain and I saw a young man crouched with his back to me and his shoulders shuddering.  He had one hand to his mouth trying to stifle the sobs.  It is a pose I have come to recognise.  It is the reaction of someone who fears the consequences of their pain being overheard.

The young man was squatting by the side of of a prone figure and leaning over it.  He had his hand on the neck of the person on the floor and, for a moment, I thought I had disturbed an attack but when I raised my torch I saw that he was trying to apply pressure to a wound.

When the light fell on the body he turned and he looked at me with pleading eyes.  I could not resist the horror and desperation I saw on his face.  I had to at least try to help even though I could see from the blood pooling around the body that there was almost certainly no point.

I have seen many horrific wounds in my time but few matched what I saw that night.  The old man on the floor had deep gouges across his neck.  Not one wound but at least two and each one ragged as if he had been torn open rather than cut.  I got to the old man just as the last light left his eyes.  The boy begged me to do something.  The old man had been his grandfather and his last living relative but there was nothing to be done.  Had the old man arrived in the finest and best equipped hospital in the world in that condition I doubt they could have done much for him.  He had simply lost too much blood.

But the old man had died fighting.  I could see that immediately.  By the light of my torch I could see that the old man’s hands were bruised and scratched, his knuckles were bloody, he had a boxer’s fracture [a fracture of the knuckle of the little fingers] on his left hand and his fingernails were torn.  His eyes were bloodshot and he had petechiae [tiny red marks caused by hemorrhages] on the inside of his eyelids.  It seemed that someone had tried to choke or suffocate the old man and he had fought back.

A crowd gathered and after a few moments voices were raised against the boy.  They said he must have done it since he was covered in the old man’s blood.  I was able to quiet the accusations by pointing at the old man’s hands and the boy’s unmarked face.

That left us with only the problem of how to deal with the body now that the ship was heaving far too much to attempt to carry it up the ladder to the deck.


Since this is already pretty long I’m going to break it here and come back to it.

Code 5 Alert Incoming – Part 2

Part one is here.

The ship left port during what proved to be a brief lull in the storm.  They had been told to expect a journey of 10 days or more but when the storm blew up again it seemed to be driving them toward Italy and most took it as a good omen in spite of the terrible sea-sickness that afflicted many.  The Ship’s captain and the traffickers seemed in good spirits because they expected a quick journey.

The first night at sea was even more disturbed than their night in the harbour.  Many of the survivors told of tossing and turning all night, half awake and half asleep and and with a terrible feeling of pursuit.  Many screamed themselves awake but were unable to remember their nightmares.  No-one was surprised or even particularly worried, with 500 traumatised people packed into a cargo ship in heavy seas it was only to be expected.

When day broke two people were dead and more than twenty were sick. Very few people actually saw the corpses as the traffickers quickly threw them over the side. That might have been an attempt to prevent panic but rumours were rife throughout the ship. Cestus Dei did manage to find one witness who claimed to have seen one of the first corpses.  [REDACTED] claimed that the body he saw was unusually pale and thin and was already in full and rather twisted rigour.  He said it looked desiccated, almost like a Mummy.

That day the refugees began a kind of crude quarantine.  A few volunteers moved the sick to one area of the hold and did their best to tend to them.  They rigged up a kind of barrier by stringing up sheets and clothing.  They kept their patients warm and hydrated.  As darkness fell some of the volunteers pledged to remain awake to keep watch over their charges.

It could not have been easy to keep watch.  There was no electricity on board and they only had a few torches and a couple of wind up lanterns for the whole of the hold.

That was the night that the refugees began to realise that there was something truly wrong.