The Post-Modern Masks of Nyarlathotep

Episode XVII: A Bunch Of Lonesome Heroes (Part 16)

Back on the Island, Francis lies bleeding into a trench carved in the floor, murmuring softly to himself. Freddie and his team make their way into the room.

Jimmy greets him. “I don’t think it’s working.”

Freddie sighs. “Damnit, Jimmy,” he says, taking off his shirt, “I thought you were supposed to be the big damn hero.”

“You cannot take the path of the Devil!” says the Rev. “Do not look up there.”

[2-point Stability spend. We made a spot rule that Investigative spends would give 2 points to spend on the contest.]

“Don’t you see, Rev? You and stupid Bibble? Think about the stories up there! It’s the sum of all knowledge! For us, not that stupid old guy who keeps butting in.”

“Hey,” says N, “I’m not old. Or a guy.”

“That the case, eh?” says the Rev. “Well…I’m holding my breath.”

[3 point Stability spend.]

“I didn’t need my eyes, I didn’t need my ears, I can replace my lungs as well,” hisses Charleston.

[2 point Intimidation spend.]

“All right,” says the Rev. He picks up the Tommy gun and pulls the trigger. Shots carom off the deck, but none strike home.

[Charleston, unlike the Rev, has 8 points of Athletics, so HT 4, and the Rev has no Firearms, so he missed.]

“You insufferable, short-sighted, self-centered, sanctimonious…” Charleston swings a roundhouse kick at the Rev.

[FP: You’re going to knock yourself out?


CP: I’m going to knock him out.]

N watches as Charleston spins around and cracks his head on the deck railing. He grabs a little flag. “Fricka frakka firecracker, sis boom ba! Charleston, Charleston, rah rah rah!” he cheers.

[Only one damage from the attack, which was applied to the Rev and Charleston.]

“This is all the reasons you are wrong in all the religions of the world!” shouts the Rev. He thinks furiously about all his theological training.

Nyarlathotep watches the flow of thoughts with amusement. “Wrong…never happened…wrong…I met that guy…”

Charleston staggers back. “And this is why everything you thought about those religions was never true to begin with!” He unleashes imagery from the Al-Azif on the brain of the Rev.

[Theology and Cthulhu Mythos spends, respectively. The CM spend staggered the Rev.]

“Art…there is goodness…in humanity…” the Rev concentrates on his favorite paintings.

“Come on, Chuckles, dig in. You can take this guy,” says N.

“Would you stop interrupting!”

“Fine, I’ll just sit here and stop time. Finish this so we can have ever so much fun together. I’ll show you the answers.”

Charleston looks at him suspiciously.

[Sense Trouble spend.]

“This man is lying to you,” says the Rev.

[Assess Honesty spend.]

“Howabout we just go up to it, and see what’s there? Then we can come back and be as miserable as you want!”

“That’s a good offer…but John 8:44 says, Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

[Bargain, then Theology. We decided the next roll would be opposed, for all the marbles, best total wins—I wanted to wind this up.]

Charleston starts to say something, and then shuts up.

“Every bone, every fiber, every hair on my head says this is a bad idea. For I sense trouble!” shouts the Rev.

[…and I spent 7 points and got a 13 total.]

Charleston sits down. “Perhaps it’s time for a surgical solution. You know Rev, on some level I can respect you, but I just don’t think we’ll ever see eye to eye.”

He opens the breach of his machine gun, and pops out a larva. He bites the casing off and pulls out one tentacle until it is very long and thin. Then he jams it up into his nose. The Reverend Jones makes a muffled shriek as the tentacle wriggles up his sinuses and punches through the blood-brain barrier with a crack.

Both of them shake with a seizure for a moment. Then the tentacle snakes back out, holding a piece of brain. Blood and ooze pour out of Charleston’s nose. The larva latches onto the brain, forming a tiny symbiotic sentient being known as the Reverend Jim Jones.

[“I have to walk this off for a second,” I said.]

“You want to keep this physical body?” asks N. “It’s a bit worse for wear.”

“I’m attached to it. Besides, we can always replace it.”

“You know, Chuckles, I never thought you’d come with me! But we’re going to have a great time together.”



In the gate chamber, Noor suddenly appears in front of Jimmy. “Hello, James. I think this is the last time I will ever see you.”

“Really?”

“Charleston is trying to go through the gate. You could prevent him if you want.”

Jimmy pauses. “I really don’t care,” he says. He slashes his own wrist, and speaks the final Line of the Saaamaaa Ritual.




“Big N, Big N, I’m ready!” says Charleston. “Take my hand and pull me through.”

“What? Fine, let’s do this the slow way.”

Hand in hand, they ascend over the Indian Ocean, higher and higher. The air grows thin, but neither of them need to worry about that. Stars appear—the normal stars of Earth’s sky, and the strange stars behind the portal.

As they near the threshold of the portal, Charleston says, “Big N! Big N! You should have assessed honesty!”

He pulls the Dagger of Thoth from his pocket and slashes it quickly across Nyarlathotep’s throat.

Nyarlathotep, or the form it is wearing, stares in shock and surprise at Charleston as ichor begins to leak from its throat. For a second, there is a look in its eyes of—sorrow. Loss.

Loneliness.

Then it doubles up in pain, writhes, and twists into a new, hideous tentacled form that is sucked with enormous speed through the portal. There is a bright flash, and the portal snaps shut. For a second the voice of Jimmy Wright fills the attenuated air.

Laughing maniacally and shouting “I did it! I did it!”, Charleston begins to fall back towards the Earth.

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Aviatrix

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