Vicious Spam

Typing thoughtfully on his Mac and then pausing, The Sage read some passages out loud to Eden, who, like most sleeping dogs, paid not a blind bit of attention except for her ears. “After recent events in Appledore, North Devon, it is my opinion that we should be more observant about unexplained deaths in the British Isles. Cultists seem to be using more and more clever ways of finding converts and sacrifices for the master(s). Much like Islamic extremists, they are increasingly using modern technology for their purposes. It might be time for us to recruit some new technology experts to help our cause. We must use email and brains as much as we use the spell and the sword.”

‘Rupert will like that last bit,’ The Sage thought to himself. ‘I am sure he uses a sword from time to time in his work.’

Eden, his ever faithful dog, who had a side-line in sniffing out daemons, and, let’s be fair, kill a few, lay beside him in his office. In a case of nature over nurture Eden has, since a small puppy, been able to find the Old Ones and their minions. Eden was as much constant threat as the Sage to his two-legged companions. She never truly relaxed unless she was in the safety of their heavily warded Pembrokeshire home. It was here that she was able to act like a “normal” dog and lie on her side snoring away.

But we digress.

“We must make an effort to develop warding for websites and networks. There are a few amateurs who have been attempting to successfully ward their high technology internally. But since there have been no attacks on any of our networks or computers there is no evidence that any of these will work.”

The Sage then thought about the policeman who was consumed by a nefarious being while obstructing their investigation into a suspicious death.

“This is of uppermost importance. Yours in the fight, Andrew, Sage of Wales.”

The Sage pressed the button and sent his email off.

To his shock there was an almost instant beep of new mail. It was from one of the amateurs he referred to in his email. A pang of guilt struck him. While they might be amateur, men like Gawain did not lack for the will or the drive to make them good in the age-old fight. The Sage had to remind himself that it was from these ranks of amateurs that some of the best “pros” have emerged. It was just a bloody nuisance to sort the good from the nonces. And the fight attracted as many of the tin-foil hat brigade as any other worthy cause. Alas, in this game people got killed and driven mad no matter whether they were sane to begin with or not.

“Dear Sage,” the email read. “I have been working on a virtual version of the Elder sign to protect our respective computers from minion’s electronic attack. I believe I have found a spell that can be adapted to properly engage the Elder sign to function. It has pro-active attributes, as it warned me not to hit a tainted site recently. It is possible that this might also be useful as a way to find front-sites for actual cultists. Think of this as an Elder sign Norton if you will. I enclose the code and the virtual sign with instructions for placement. Yours sincerely, Gawain du Nord.”

After opening the attachment, the Sage found a program that auto-installed the Elder sign protection. The Sage decided not to mention this to Rupert. He was the most vocal about bloody meddling amateurs and would not take kindly to what the Sage had just done.

There was another flashing symbol on the dock of his Mac and he noticed another email had just come in. It was another one from Gawain.

“Dear Sage, Apologies for a second email. I forgot to tell you why I was moved to write this program. I found this report on Ananova about some odd deaths amongst male computer users. It seemed similar to your last encounter but with a different twist. The dead were found with a dark green tint and the room smelled of seaweed. Not surprisingly all of the deaths have occurred near the south coast of England and in Normandy. Yours, Gawain”

Without even thinking the Sage clinked on the link to read the latest report. His heart sank, and Eden lifted her head to stare at the Sage.

“Bugger, and I thought we were going to have a quiet weekend together, Eden. Looks like we might need to check one of these deaths out.”

Eden growled in agreement, sitting up in attention.

“I guess we better round up the troops and head to Dorset.”

He sighed.

The Sage began to write an email. “Gawain, Thank you for your kind email and helpful program. I agree that we should be worried about this development. Could you please monitor these reports for me and keep me up to date on the latest one. We are planning to investigate this, as it’s very worrying indeed. Regards, Andrew”

The next morning as The Sage was reading over the reports of the deaths over his tea, Rupert and Claire showed up. It struck the Sage as amusing that despite initial reluctance to work together, Claire and Rupert were spending most of their time together these days, even when they weren’t off trying to kill some big nasty.

The online aspect to the fight against Cthulhu’s minions worried the Sage greatly, as in the past cultists had shown a profound luddite tendency, eschewing modern technology for up close and personal recruitment and other nastiness. It shouldn’t have been any sort of surprise, but it was not pleasant just the same. It was unrealistic, but the Sage was keen to see if it was possible to stop any expansion in this area dead in its tracks and force them back into their “old ways”.

The Sage was trying to decide which location was best for them to have a look at. It was more a sense of where it would be the least difficult to get access to the body and the location. Not all Police were as open-minded as they were in West Wales.

While Rupert and Claire got themselves coffee and some nibbles, the Sage returned to his office to check on the latest developments. His instincts were right, because in his email sat another report of a mysterious death with similar circumstances. Lucky for them, not, of course, for the deceased, the death had occurred in Cardigan right up the Welsh coast.

The Sage was relieved that the four of them would not have traipse across the country to go look as some green covered corpse. They could go less than an hour away and look at a green covered corpse.

“Good news! We won’t have to go to Dorset, after all. We can go to Cardigan, instead.”

“We were going to Dorset? That’s news to me.” Grumbled Rupert. “I just know we were supposed to come here, not our final destination. If you had said, we could have met you there.”

“Oh hush, Rupert, and drink your coffee“ Claire gently reprimanded him. “He really does not do mornings too well, does he?” she turned and asked the Sage.

“I am sorry about that. I just got word that there was a death last night in Cardigan. I am surprised that they would have done something so close to us. You would think they would try to keep this away from our prying eyes.”

“We never claimed these bastards were smart; evil, yes, smart, mostly not.”

Claire laughed.

“Anyway, here, are the reports of the happenings. Tell me if you don’t see some interesting similarities. This is all the information I could muster, but I think it gives us enough to go on.” He paused. “Let me go ring someone in Cardigan so we can arrange to get to this soonest.”

“Yes sir.”

The brief phone chat went well, and the Sage even managed to secure the room so that no plods mucked it up. He would be the second person in the room after the unfortunate person who found the man.

“Ready?”

“Yes,” mumbled Rupert, “I suppose so.”

Eden, on the other hand had no such reservations and was at the front door, tail wagging and eager for everyone to come. She really did behave like a proper dog much of the time.

As they headed out the door, Rupert spoke in his normal blunt way. “I’ll drive.”

The group didn’t bother to answer back and headed to his elderly Land Rover. It would be fairly short ride, after all.

An uneventful drive on the Welsh coast followed that took place mostly in silence. Eden rested her head on the Sage in the back seat, trying to be ever so perfect as she was actually suppose to be in the “way back” but hated being alone.

As per normal with these sorts of things, the victim lived in a small bungalow outside of town. Other houses were visible but not right near by to the small building. A small satellite dish was perched on the roof, and the yard was tidy if un-maintained. A small non-descript car sat out front.

Unlike their last such trip, there was no officious police man standing outside. No one stopped their progress toward the front door; what impeded them was the ghastly sea smell eminating from the house. It was brackish and stagnant. The stench made the air feel heavy and claustrophobic, much like the feeling as you enter the kitchen of your local Indian restaurant.

Eden growled at the scent but continued with her master. Her growl cum yelp alerted a small man standing in the front room with a surgical face mask. Having obviously done his homework, he presented the group with their own masks and bade them to follow, not even asking for identity.

The first words out of their guide’s mouth was a warning. “Mind you don’t slip, the floor is slick.”

“Thank you,” responded the Sage. He looked down to see a dark green seaweed like slime coating the walls and floor as they approached a smaller room to the rear of the house.

Rupert was the first round the corner into the room and he could not prevent a short gasp of shock at what he saw. Claire’s reserve deserted her as well as she held her hand to her mouth as if to protect herself even more. It was only the Sage who calmly looked on at what sat before him.

As with the walls and hall leading this room, every surface was covered in thick oily green goo. As one approached the seat where what used to be a human sat the substance was even thicker.

The Sage spoke first, “bugger”. He then continued, “I have seen enough.” With that he turned and left the room, closely followed by Eden.

The remaining three were left to realise they were to follow. Rupert placing his hand on the mask-clad man next to him to bring him along.

They all quietly and carefully made their way out of the house and over to the Land Rover. Eden was convinced to leap in the way-back while the Sage and the small man sat down in the back seat.

After removing his mask, The Sage finally spoke, but not to that man. “Rupert, you know what to do. Make sure it’s consumed.”

Rupert grunted and went to the back of the vehicle to collect his few things.

“What are you going to do?” Asked the worried looking small man who was clearly left distraught by the whole scene.

“No one else must see what you have just seen. It endangers your very sanity.”

“What was that?” The small man, who still hadn’t introduced himself, asked.

“That was our enemies’ attempt to recruit new members to its cause, and skip a few steps along the way. Unfortunately it was less than successful.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Good, don’t try to do so,” the Sage put his hand on the man’s shoulder. “Go out and get arseholed tonight, or get stoned, whatever is your preference, do whatever it takes to blot that from your mind or it will consume you.”

“But I am a police investigator.”

“This scene will not go in the back of your mind like the rest, trust me.” He continued. “We shall drop you at your local pub on our way home. Call your non-police and go on a bender. Understand?”

“But…”

“You will not go to work tomorrow. I will make sure to thank your superior for your help. You are not responsible for anything that is going to happen now.”

“You what?”

“Look…” Claire paused, then continued. “He is telling you what is best for you, for your future and your sanity. Don’t ask, because you really don’t want to know.”

Rupert was busy inside, emerging only to return to their vehicle.

“Here is something that you should have with your first drink tonight,” Claire handed the man a small package. “I recommend you take it with a strong ale or cider.”

The little man took the package and examined the small tie bag it came in. He put it in his coat pocket on the inside.

Rupert started the vehicle and turned it around as smoke started to come from inside the building. The small man was so consumed with the interplay between The Sage and Claire he failed to see the building begin to burn.

The Sage turned to him and in a headmasterish tone spoke clearly. “Now where are we taking you again? Give Rupert directions. We might even join you for your first. I am sure that Claire wants to make sure you don’t spill any of her medicine.”

Even Eden got in on the act, blocking his rear view (and Rupert’s) by standing right behind the man, panting.

As they drove toward town, the Sage sighed. There would be plenty of time to break down the implications of what had happened. He hoped and prayed that the minions would not succeed in their plans. He would need to get a team of computer experts together tomorrow.

Their enemies must not be allowed to create instant deep ones.

“I dearly hope that poor man can forget the sight of that botched attempt at rapid evolution.” He paused, “if only I could forget the sight of…” The thought ended as there was no chance, the Sage instead looked forward to a very large glass of claret.


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