Eternal Lies: The Masks of the Liar

Episode XVI: Ashes to Ashes (Director's Cut Deleted Post-Credits Scene)

[Deleted Post-Credits Scene!]

The two women walked through the narrow corridor formed by steel packing shelves on either side. The shelves were full to bursting of wooden and cardboard boxes, many stamped with the initials LASAS and a date.

“It is very impressive,” said one of the women. They stopped at the intersection of a traverse corridor.

“Thank you,” said her companion. She stopped in front of a map tacked up to a cinderblock wall and lifted a pair of horn-rimmed glasses to her face. She nodded with a satisfied air and let the glasses drop back on their cord to her breast. She adjusted the long red scarf that was tightly wound around her neck and led her companion down the right hand corridor.

They came to a large steel door, thick as a bank vault door and with a lock as least as complex. “We have a reading room in here,” said the woman with the red scarf. “And we keep a few of the more…sentimental artifacts on display there.”

They stepped through the doorway. The woman in the scarf pulled the door shut behind them and spun the lock. Her companion slowly turned, nodding at the paintings and photographs hanging from the walls. On a table in the center of the room, a diagram of a step pyramid was displayed.

“For me?” she said with the ghost of a smile. She was shorter than the other woman, with long, straight black hair and eyes that were black in the dim light. She had light-brown skin and carried herself with an almost royal elegance.

“A coincidence.”

“Surely you know that for someone like me, there is no such thing.” She turned and picked up a small leather-bound journal. “Ah, my husband’s notes. I had thought them lost in the shipwreck. Ramon Echevarría’s last testament to the world. Who will read it, I wonder?”

“Those least like to fall under its influence, I should think,” said the woman with the scarf.

There was a vitrine against the rear wall, made of conspicuously thick glass. Mounted inside it was a dismembered human forearm. Its golden color made it look metallic. Just above the wrist, a lipless mouth full of jagged teeth slowly opened and closed, as if drugged. Mérida leaned over it for a long time. “You kept it, I see,” she said finally.

“Yes.”

“Will you not destroy it?”

“When the time is right. After all, it may yet prove valuable. And I secured it at no small risk.”

“And what would your agents think of you doing this?”

“They were never my agents. Well, not knowingly, anyway. Let’s just say that when I saw the chance to improve the situation, I did so.”

“You always were opportunistic, Wilhelmina. I notice that one item from that affair is conspicuously missing.”

“Whatever do you mean?”

“The ibis-headed dagger in your hand, Mina. Come, come, hiding it behind your back won’t work on me.”

Mina took her hand from behind her back. She was holding the Dagger of Thoth in it.

“So,” said the other woman. “It is to be this way?”

“I’m afraid we can’t have loose ends like you running around, Mérida.”

“So I’m a loose end now. Do you not think I could stop you if I wanted to?”

“Perhaps. Our experts took a number of precautions in constructing this room. And I am not without experience in this sort of thing.”

Mérida Echevarría ran her hand along the vitrine. “My poor Wilhelmina. You are still quite young by my standards. How will you be when you have outlived three generations of those you loved? I was loved by one who worshipped me as a goddess. I was queen over an entire people who did the same. I have lived many, many lifetimes since then. I have lived long enough to come full circle and see my own younger self growing up. But you, Mina…you still think that you are human.”

“Indeed. I see no reason to think otherwise.”

“Don’t you? Don’t you grasp that to be human is to be mortal? Surely you can deduce that syllogism.”

“I’m afraid that I don’t believe you were ever human, my dear, so I find your conclusions to be biased.”

Mérida chuckled. “Perhaps you are right. Well, come do what you came to do.”

“I plan to.”

There was a long silent pause.

“Well?” said Mérida crossly. “Do it, damn you! I’ve waited long enough! Go on, I want—”

Mina drove the dagger into her chest. Mérida slumped against the table, panting. For a moment she looked at Mina with eyes that were filled with both pain and gratitude. Then she collapsed to the floor.

Mina watched her dissolve for a while. When she was satisfied there were no more remains, she unlocked the vault and left the room.



Her guard detail, in their plain olive drab uniforms, met her as she climbed out of the mineshaft.

“Are you all right, ma’am?” said her adjutant, running up to her with a parasol.

“Yes. The target was sanctioned with no other casualties.”

“Very good, ma’am. Shall we bring in the chopper?”

“Yes, young man, summon the helicopter if you please.”

Her adjutant waved over the signals orderly. “Alert the President that the Director is leaving Groom Lake. Shall we tell Las Vegas to ready your plane, ma’am?”

“No. Let’s head out to that Institute I’ve been hearing so much about. It’s on our way, after all. I think it’s high time we find out what trouble they’ve been getting into.”

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Episode XVI: Ashes to Ashes (Part 16)

Vanessa had been released from the asylum at last, just in time for Christmas. Millicent and Mirabelle brought her over to Ruby.

“I’m so glad to see you both,” Vanessa was saying to them. “It…sometimes seems strange there are two of you…but I think that’s all right?”

“It’s perfect,” said Millicent. “And you look wonderful.”

“And this must be…Ruby, yes?” said Vanessa. “Ruby…Fitzgibbons?”

“Fitzgibbons Cuevas,” said Millicent. “Ruby, this is Vanessa. My mother.”

“How wonderful to finally meet you,” said Ruby. “I’ve heard so much about you.”

“Thank you. Your hair is very red, isn’t it?”

“Oh, thank you.”

“Who does it for you?”



Dr. Born and Dr. Orange met at the bar. “Julius! Happy New Year! Let’s consult the list of things we are allowed to talk about with each other.”

They flipped through their government-issued notebooks.

“The Yankees,” said Dr. Born. “I think they will win the World Championship again.”

“I favor the team from Brooklyn,” said Dr. Orange. “And the war, that’s terrific, isn’t it?”

“Nice talk. Let’s do this again next year.”



Senator Grey brought Jimmy into his library. In one corner, half in the shadows, was a tall, rugged man wearing a Marine colonel’s uniform.

“This is that guy from the War Department who wanted to see you,” said the Senator.

“Hello, Francis,” said Jimmy.

Francis O’Donnell stalked into the light. “Jimmy,” he barked without preamble. “I have a mission for you.”

“What are you doing with the war department?”

SERVING MY COUNTRY! There’s a little outfit we’re forming, the Organization of Strategic Services. I’ll tell you about it on the way.”



Dawn broke clear and cold the morning of the 14th of January. Inside the Grey’s mansion, the party was still in swing. Jimmy opened a second story window, crawled out on the windowsill, and then slid down a drainpipe.

He froze for a second, listening intently while glancing around. Finally he waved for Francis to come down as well and turned the corner of the house.

Ruby was standing there waiting for him. “Look who finally learned how to sneak up on people,” she said.

Jimmy frowned, then shook his head, then sighed. “I guess I can’t keep you from coming, can I?”

“I love you for even asking the question. Where are we headed?”

“Burma, to start,” said Francis, coming around the corner. “Both you and your husband are coming, I take it? Good. I think I have something just right for your talents.”

And a few hours later, the Brightening Dawn lifted up, turned over the Bay, silhouetted against the sun. Below, Los Angeles woke to another day, or turned in from yet another endless night shift. But that didn’t matter, in the long run. It didn’t matter if they were rich or poor, they were still free even if they didn’t know it. For the moment.

Free, in a way they couldn’t appreciate. Free to be ignorant, free to think that a landlord’s overdue notice was the worst thing that could happen to them. Free to live and die and maybe even do something that the rest of them would remember for a short time, a year, a century, a civilization.

And on high, Olympian, the gods looked down uncaring and uncomprehending, disinterested in the organic infestation on this measly planet, set upon their own schemes and trials. None of them would take notice of this puny unevolved species. None of them but one, the one who carried their message to an insensate universe, their soul, their magician and trickster, unable to avoid noticing these creatures because they were a part of It. A meddler, a torturer, a soul lost upon the void, drowned in a sea of silence…

And that reminds me of a guy I know.

THE END

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Episode XVI: Ashes to Ashes (Part 15)

Beren and Luthien—er, Geronimo and Ruby—settled down, spending most of their time outside Los Angeles on a little ranch in the California hills that Geronimo ran like a proper hidalgo. They had two children, Rodolfo—Rudy to his friends—and Charlotte. But everyone called her Charlie.

Temperance spent time in the finest boarding schools, and only got kicked out of one of them. She could shoot like an Olympian, sail like a pirate, and was already interested in learning how to fly a plane. Most of the time she lived with Captain Murphy and his new wife, the former Karen Eliot.



Jimmy had vanished. They followed him as best they could, tracking the withdrawals and deposits of a secret account he had access to. Ruby kept a bulletin board in her office with all the stories of mysterious strangers showing up in the nick of time to save people from dangers that seemed almost supernatural. Many had a picture of a man hunching to get out of the camera shot, or as if he carried the weight of the world on his back, hurrying away from the scene.



The 1942 holiday party that the Greys threw was a somber affair. Many of the guests attended in brand new Army or Navy dress uniforms. It was only five weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, but already there was an ominous sense that it might be the last time many of them would see each other.

Ruby was astonished to see Jimmy slip in, accompanied by a couple of M.P.s. She embraced him tightly.

“Stay here,” she said. “I’ll go get the others.”

Jimmy noticed that she limped.

“Good to see you, son,” said Senator Grey, walking up and pumping his hand. “There’s a man from the War Department wants to see you, but get settled first. Everything’s changing now. I get to like FDR publicly now. You’re looking good. I like the scar.”

Millicent walked by and handed Jimmy a double bourbon without a word. Mirabelle chased after her. She grabbed Jimmy’s shoulder as she went by. “Hello, James,” she whispered. “By the way, dad says hi.”

Jimmy drifted over to the edge of the room. Suddenly he stopped and turned around slowly.

“Hello, Janet,” he said.

“Jimmy. How nice of you to wander in from the cold.”

“I read your ‘novel’.”

“They’re thinking of making a movie, if they can get the right director. And special effects.”

“Tentacles?” he said with a grin.

“Turns out it really is difficult to get them to undulate.”

“How have you been?”

“Dad died last year. Guess you couldn’t make the funeral. Tell me, you still have that ring, or did you sell it?”

She didn’t throw her drink in his face before stalking off, but he flinched as if she had.



Someone tapped him on his shoulder from behind. He sighed and turned around. A nondescript man of average height and build, with grey hair, grey eyes, and a grey suit, was standing stiffly in front of him.

“Are you James Wright?” the man said.

“If I said no, will you believe me?”

The man considered this for a moment. “No. You are James Wright. You have knowledge of the Great Race of Yith.” It wasn’t a question.

“Yes, I have.”

“Allow me to introduce myself. I am Kakakatak. I understand you had some dealings with a different branch of me at one point. That branch’s activities during the Great Temporal Crisis were noted with approval in the collective.”

“Sure.”

“I must ask for a certain object that branch transported backward in time to give to you. Against all regulations, I might add. I’m not usually so loose on rules. That branch clearly fell under the bad influence of someone. The dagger, please.”

Jimmy handed him the ibis-headed Dagger of Thoth.

“Thank you,” said Kakakatak. “I will put it back where it will be. It is a shame that I don’t remember you much. Thus is temporal mechanics. Your tiny human brain would not understand.”

He held out his hand. Jimmy shook it. Kakakatak’s face took on an unusual expression, as if he was shocked to discover something. “Goodbye…old friend.”

He limply let go of Jimmy’s hand.

“See you again,” said Jimmy.

“Oh. I was left a message by myself to place a call for you. You should pick up that phone.” The grey man turned and walked away, quickly vanishing into the crowd.



There was an extension phone on a little table nearby. Jimmy picked up the receiver.

“Hold please,” said the operator. “One moment for Manhattan, Kansas.”

He listened to the static of the long distance lines for a while.

“Auckland residence,” said a woman’s voice suddenly in the receiver. “Who’s calling please?”

“My name is James Wright.”

“And who are you calling for?”

“Betty?”

“I’m Elizabeth, yes.”

“Oh,” said Jimmy. He sat down on the floor next to the table. “Have you…have you ever thought of becoming a private investigator?”

“That’s a strange question,” Betty said nonchalantly. “I’m finishing up school now, and I’m in the 4H marksmanship group…I’m hoping to go to the University of Chicago next year, maybe get my degree in languages or…anthropology. I think I’d like to see the world a bit too.”

“Well. You keep up the good work.”

“All right. You sound like a very strange man…but a good one. Now that’s an odd thing for me to say this time.”

“Reminds me. You should look into reading Tropic of Cancer.”

“Sure, I read that. This girl I know at school gave it to me. Sorry, but I have to go mister. It’s time to feed the pigs.”

“Have a good life,” said Jimmy softly, and hung up.

[On the recording there’s some laughter at that line, but let me tell you…this is what I roleplay for. JP did a wonderful job this whole episode of conveying Jimmy’s utter collapse, and then capped it off with this beautifully understated scene.]

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Episode XVI: Ashes to Ashes (Director's Cut Deleted Scene 2)

[Deleted Scene begins!]

One night, as he was getting ready for a night out on the town, he felt a strange sensation, as if the link between him and Ruby and Jimmy and Millicent—which had gradually broken down over several months following the closing of the Singularity—had suddenly opened again. Through it he felt a presence—not something frightening, more like the cool, heightened awareness he felt when breaking through a particularly complicated mathematics problem.

He stared at his bedroom mirror. It seemed to him someone was standing directly behind him, in the inky shadows of the room. He couldn’t see the other person’s face, but he knew who it was.

Greetings, doctororange. We/us/ourselves have given much thought to the PROBlem you posed in the notspacetime we encountered you twentythreedimensionally ofcourse. The nottimespace the Messenger created/caused to benotbe.

“I asked a question?”

INdeed you asked what the probability was that our twentythreedimensional manifold of spacetime was a simulation. I/us/weselves knew that it mustbe infinitesimal but we/ourselves/us had never calculated it.

“And?”

Most inTEResting nomatter how I/we/myself analyzed the problem there always ALWAYs remained the tiny probability that this WAS NOT a simulation. I/we/ourself means that the universe as you PERceive it thatis.

“So…you were wrong? It’s not a simulation?”

It MIGHTnot be. We/ourself/I cannot eliminate thepossibility. And this is the most INterESTing discovery we/myself/Us have made in this iteration of the lightcone you inhabit. We…me…I am most intrigued. So I have resolved to travel outside this manifold.

“Wait…you’re leaving the universe?”

Indeed, doctororange. There is the possibility that I can do so. And so I depart. We will not…how do you put it? Speak again. I maybe wrong. But I/we/us/you should continue to consider the possibility that this is the real reality of that which is real. Yes. We/you must do this. IN this case I think belief is as real as anyother reality. Goodbye now. We depart. Go with allof love.

[End Deleted Scene!]

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Episode XVI: Ashes to Ashes (Part 14)

There was, of course, still some other fallout.

Jimmy led everyone back to his cars. His longtime driver and girl friday Andrea met them.

“Hey Boss,” she said.

“Hey,” he said softly.

“What? You’re looking at me funny. You know I always tell you you’re crazy, right Boss?”

“You do, Betty. I mean Andrea.”



Everyone stayed away from each other for a few months. Christmas came and went. And in January of 1938 Senator and Mrs. Grey had their annual holiday party again, down in Orange County. It was supposed to be a festive occasion. After all, they had managed to save the world—twice, in Jimmy’s case. But nobody felt much like celebrating.

Janet found Jimmy in Senator Grey’s enormous, plush library—the same room Janet had talked to them all a year ago and sent them down the road of blood and madness.

“Hello, Jimmy,” she said.

“Janet,” he said. He stared at the diamond ring on her finger. Of all the things to stay unchanged, he thought glumly, that had to remain. That should never have happened.

“How’s saving the world treating you?” She followed his eyes to the ring. She sighed. “Jimmy, I understand. Just because you saved my father’s life ten years ago doesn’t mean you have to marry me. I know…I probably goaded you into it.”

He stared at her blankly.

“What’s wrong with you? I had a crush on you from the moment Dad tracked you down in your office in New York, right before you moved to Los Angeles. You were so…damn decent. And I mean I’m glad you helped Dad. If you hadn’t been there for him…well, I don’t know how it would have gone. He might have been really broken by what he saw.”

“I feel a little woozy.”

“If you don’t want to marry me…I can live with it. If…if you don’t really love me. If you’re only doing this to make Dad happy. He’s in his seventies, Jimmy. He won’t be around much longer…and then you’ll be free, I guess.”

“Your dad…isn’t dead. Right.”

“What is wrong with you?”

“I can’t. I can’t do this anymore. Any of this. I do love you. But sometimes it’s not enough.”

“I understand,” she said bitterly, turning away.

Jimmy stepped outside and flagged down some drinks. When he came back into the library, Janet was holding out the diamond ring in the palm of her hand.

He took it without a word.

“I’m still going to write a book about this,” she said, and then pushed past him and out of his life.



After the party, Ruby finally felt up to going back to the Los Angeles Society for Archaeological Studies. They had a lot of things to file away, after all. Her husband came with her, along with Dr. Orange.

Much to her surprise, the place was humming with activity. They stood in the conference room on the ground floor, staring at the many young women who were busy typing up notes.

Mina came in the door, her long scarf tossed over one shoulder. “Ah, you’re here. We have so much to talk about. I hope you don’t mind, Ruby, I took your office, we’ll get you a better one when we move.”

“Move?”

“Yes, this space is far too limited for what we’ll be doing.” She looked at Ruby over her pince-nez, and sighed. “Look. You need a director, someone who knows what they are doing, can run a large organization. Yes? That’s why you hired me. You’re welcome.”

“Thank you?”

“Dr. Orange,” said Mina. “We’ve been looking for a man of your skills for our physics department. May I offer you a situation? The salary won’t be much at the start, however you will avoid a rather messy treason trial.”

“That sounds good,” said the German. “I like America.” He began to hum America the Beautiful.



And so four years passed. Millicent, as surprised as anyone to still be around, spent most of her time helping her sister learn to be a human…well, a close approximation of a human. In time, Millicent herself learned to stop worrying about “being real”. There was college—Miskatonic University, of course—to go to, and time to spend with her mother, who was going to come home from the asylum any day now. Sometimes she had long conversations in her dreams with Charlie and Ruby.

“So you’re the dream-projection of a dead demigod,” said Charlie once. “When you get down to it, what’s the difference? I’m just a dream-projection of Ruby.”

“How is that?” asked Millicent.

“Pretty boring. I’ve learned a lot about fashion. I know everything there is to know about Milan; I just don’t care. Although she really should stay away from bias cut…”



Dr. Orange was taken off Project Philadelphia, which was something of a relief since he was pretty sure he could actually build it now. He spent the next couple of years running down any anomalies left over from the great temporal paradox, and speaking out against Nazi Germany. He enjoyed a very pleasant correspondence with Dr. Einstein.

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Episode XVI: Ashes to Ashes (Part 13)

To those left in 1937, they saw a sudden flash of light and felt a strange sensation, as if time and space were reknitting around them.

“I’m reknitting time and space around us,” said Kakakatak.

They could still see 1926 in front of them, the half-farmhouse with the body of Ramón Echevarría and the puzzled-looking Vince Stack and Walter Winston.

Jimmy threw Job’s ceremonial dagger at Vince Stack, as hard as he could. It would have been a difficult throw under most circumstances, let alone the wild changes in weight and momentum around the collapsing Singularity. Still it found its mark almost as if fated. Stack dropped to the ground, bleeding.

Winds lashed them. A vortex of air and dust was forming around the Singularity. There were flashes of static and a smell of ozone, a distant roaring in their ears. Everything looked eldritch and distorted.

Ruby saw a shape loom up out of the cloud—herself, whole, with a flesh and blood left arm. Somehow she knew that if she really wanted to, she could reach out and make this image of her reality.

“No,” she whispered after a long pause. “I think I’ve finally learned to leave well enough alone.”



They felt weightless. Time twisted in thrashing loops, catching them in its sinews. Geronimo found himself cast again and again to that horrible day when his brother died, each time just as powerless as the last to save Rodolfo.

Dr. Orange was cast forward in time for a while: to Oswiecim, Poland, to Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. He saw every inch of the horrors his countrymen had imagined, saw the dead piling up around him, and knew, knew that this was no vision but a premonition, that what he had seen would be true and he would have to live with the knowledge of what was to come without the power to stop it.



Mirabelle and Millicent clutched each other. “What should we do?” said Mirabelle.

“We could combine ourselves!” said Millicent.

“Do you want that?”

“No! I want you to live!”

“I want you to live to, sister!”

They fell down into darkness together.



Jimmy was alone.

Gusts of wind assaulted him. He seemed to see with doubled vision—a hell of blazing stars where some vast menace was approaching him, and his other self, battered, tossed like flotsam on this great storm of time itself.

He pulled out his rabbit’s foot and held it up. He watched it begin to fade from his sight. And he knew that this time he had truly lost it—that this time, its very existence had been undone, that all the memories he had of it—the day his sister gave it to him, the way Francis had made fun of it, the countless burns and scars a decade of adventuring had inflicted on it—were all gone now, nothing but the dried leaves of recollections locked inside his own head.

He gritted his teeth and leaned into the wind.

[So I kept track of paradox individually and as a group; these bits were me making Moves based on how much paradox each PC had received.]



Then they were back in the amphitheater. Murphy’s men were herding the crowd out. They weren’t being very polite about it.

Kakakatak was nowhere to be seen.

Hanging in space in front of them was an afterimage, slowly fading, of the 1926 farmhouse. They turned away from it, Geronimo offering his shoulder for Ruby to lean on.

There was a ripple in the air behind them. Something lashed through the air, a barbed tentacle with horrible saw-toothed edges. It drove into Geronimo’s back and exploded in a burst of blood from his chest.

The tentacle pulled back and vanished into the past.

Ruby was screaming as Geronimo slumped to the ground in a quickly spreading pool of blood. Jimmy was yelling something to Dr. Orange.

“It’s too late,” said the German. “He’s dead, Jim.”

Using all his strength, Geronimo pushed up from the ground. “No,” he said in a harsh whisper.

And a woman in a frowsy black dress was standing in front of him. I was standing in front of him.

“When it came down to it, soldier of God, you weren’t really willing to die for your beliefs,” Nyarlathotep said. “I just wanted to say, I told you so. Have a happy life. Well, unlife.”

Geronimo stood up.

“How…how…” said Ruby.

“I seem to be all right,” said Geronimo. “If in rather enormous pain.”

“He’s stable,” said Dr. Orange.

“I feel strong,” said Geronimo. “But what is my prognosis?”

“You were stabbed through the heart. But…given that you’re alive…I think…you’ll survive surgery to repair the damage, and then long enough for the wounds to heal. I might want you to come in for a grant application…”

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Episode XVI: Ashes to Ashes (Part 12)

And suddenly they were all together, floating in space, in the glare of hateful stars. They slowly drifted in a ring, the constellations wheeling around them, the awful void threatening to swallow them.

They didn’t need to breathe. When you make it this far, those things don’t bother you.

In the center of their orbits they could see Millicent and the young Edgar Job, standing on nothing like it was something. Jimmy thought he could see some kind of pillar stretching away to infinity beneath them.

“Geronimo,” barked Jimmy. “Help throw me at her.”

The Spaniard somehow kicked his way over to Jimmy and pushed him into the center. Jimmy tumbled through the emptiness. Jimmy swiped at what he thought was the pillar and braked himself to a halt.

“Doc!” he shouted. “We need to close the Singularity. How do we do that?”

“I’m working on it!” said Dr. Orange.

[They still had a pool of Ritual points, but everyone had to pay a point of Stability to use it, so it was a huge drain—and that was fine. That said, the ritual was pretty weak here and I should have designed this entire session backwards, starting from the ending and working to the beginning…]



Neither Job nor Millicent noticed the arrival of the others. “You have to do this,” said Job. “Don’t you understand, if you don’t, we’ll continue this hellish existence?”

“I like it!”

“You are who you ARE!” he shouted. Millicent felt every fiber of her being agreeing with him. She bent her will to resist.

“Well, Millicent, if you won’t help, then I’ll just do it for you.”

[Two more Hard Drivers.]



Jimmy felt the tatters of the Gol-Goroth connection light up, but without the guidance of that alien intelligence the images he received were harsh, jumbled, a melange of light and sound. He thought he could hear some kind of crystalline overtone, the sound of pure order, and he concentrated on it. That must be the doc, he thought.

Suddenly everything faded and he heard words with his mind’s ear. “Old friend. I hope you can hear this. Whatever else happens, Millicent Lowell must die. It is the only way.”

The ibis-headed dagger in his coat pocket weighed heavily against his heart.



“No!” said Millicent. “NO!” She lashed out with her mind, with the facilities she never even knew she had, powers of unknitting, of cancelling, erasing, ending, the eschaton, the apocalypse. She felt the forces connecting Job to the Singularity with the senses she didn’t even know she had and tried to sever them. Tears streamed down her face. She knew she would never see Vanessa again.

[So, Millicent used Cthulhu Mythos to drain points from Job’s Resistance pool. This cost her Stability as well, and took her Stability to -6. At this point the poor girl was down to 1 Sanity. Still, she Challenged her Vanessa value to refresh a point of Stability for the attack, which drained 4 from Job’s Resistance.]

“Since you won’t help me voluntarily,” snarled Job. “I’ll just have to make you.” He wrapped his hands around her throat and began choking her. She grabbed him by the throat as well and they both fell down, rolling on the void while the stars glared down. Then they suddenly flared brightly, so brightly that everyone had to close their eyes, so brightly that they could feel their skin burning.

“The Singularity is collapsing!” said Dr. Orange. He rolled toward Job, grabbing Ruby and Geronimo on the way.

“No!” shouted Job. “This isn’t right! This isn’t how it happens—”

Dr. Orange kicked him in the face, knocking him backwards and tumbling through emptiness. He unknit spacetime around them and they vanished…



Millicent watched Job flying backwards into space with a rapt awe, an awful sinking feeling gathering in her stomach. So she never saw Jimmy coming.

He had managed to pull himself up onto the pillar that wasn’t really there and somehow launched into a flying tackle, knocking the girl to the ground with him on top of her. He pinned her shoulder to the void with one hand while fumbling in his jacket with the other.

“I’m sorry,” he said.

“Take care of Vanessa and my sister,” said Millicent.

“I will.”

He pulled the ibis-headed Dagger of Thoth from out of his jacket and stabbed it down into her chest. She sighed, and then began to dissolve away beneath him, fading into sparkling dust against the burning stars all around them.

Jimmy stood up and turned around. That’s when he saw me. I was standing, hovering you might say, on the void, silhouetted against the actinic brilliance of the collapsing Singularity. I was wearing a frowsy black dress and a human form.

I like to keep things consistent, you see. Helps the poor sods along.

“Well, love,” I said to him. “So this is where I get me revenge on you?”

Jimmy stared back at me, uncomprehending. I’m used to that.

“I have so many lovely things to show you,” I said, and took a step forward.

Without a word, he spun the dagger in his hand and plunged it directly into his own heart as the Singularity winked out of existence.

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Episode XVI: Ashes to Ashes (Part 11)

Kakakatak caught up to Jimmy, Ruby, and Geronimo near the singularity, at the frontier between 1926 and 1937.

“I’m going to stand here, at the boundary, and make sure everything goes right. If you succeed,” said the Yithian.

Jimmy—the Jimmy on the 1937 side of boundary—tossed his 1926 self Kakakatak’s lightning gun. His 1926 self flipped him Job’s dagger…and his rabbit’s foot.

“One version of each of you should go into the Singularity,” said the Yithian. Geronimo handed Jimmy his sword, and he passed it over to the 1926 Geronimo. Who, you’ll remember, wasn’t Geronimo at all.

I mean, are you confused yet? They all were. I can keep things straight of course. This isn’t even a stretch for me. But just to catch you poor monkeys up, let’s see what happened to Millicent and Job back in 1926…



…Millicent and Job rolled across the edge of the Singularity and emerged in…some timespace. Neither of them perceived anything unusual. At least not for them.

Millicent could see both Jobs, the rail-thin student from 1926 and the shattered wreck of a man from 1937. She could feel the Daoloth software running on both Jobs, merging them together in her understanding.

“My lady,” said Job. He bowed.

“You’re the Singularity! That’s bad!”

“We are here to do what you are here to do.”

“I’m here to save the planet!”

“No…”

“Yes! I don’t want it destroyed!”

“Why?”

“Because I live here! All the people I love are here!”

“But you were born to destroy it.”

“I don’t want to do it!”

“But you see, it is what you were born for.”

Millicent felt the pressure of his words somehow. He was right, she knew that now; that she had been conceived and brought into the world, an encapsulation of millennia of understanding, a microcosm of entire universes contained within herself.

She squeezed her eyes shut. “I don’t care,” she said. “I’m not going to do it!”

[This was a Hard Driver vs. her Drive; my plan was to try and drive Millicent down to 0 Sanity.]



Ruby stepped over the Singularity boundary…

…and found herself on a road made of yellow bricks. She vaguely remembered the children’s books her governess had read to her as a child.

The road forked ahead of her as it wound through a cornfield. On the left fork was…her, whether image or projection or statue she wasn’t sure. This version had a left arm. On right fork was an exact duplicate of her as well, only with her familiar stump for a left arm.

In between the forks, a scarecrow had been put up. Somehow it resembled Jimmy. “See, Ruby, if you continue in the Singularity and close it, your 1926 form might vanish, and with it your arm! Of course, what do I know, I don’t have a brain! You should have read this novel better!”

“I have to help my friends,” she said, and walked down the right hand path…



Jimmy stepped over the Singularity boundary…

…and emerged inside a church. He was wearing a morning jacket and striped trousers. Janet stood in front of him in a beautiful, elaborate wedding gown. Behind her Ruby stood, in a particularly ugly bridesmaid’s dress.

Geronimo was standing next to him, looking impatient. “Hurry up, man, say your vows,” said Geronimo.

“Dearly beloved,” intoned the pastor, “This future will probably never happen now.” There was a tremendous crash and his mind reeled.

[4 points of Stability loss to Jimmy.]



Geronimo was crawling over a vast plateau, pockmarked by trenches and shell holes. It looked like a vision of Hell, or the Great War, or the siege of Madrid. He pulled himself along handhold after handhold, making only incremental progress across this vast wasteland.

The Sword slipped from his grip.

It fell tumbling into a crevasse and smashed into the rocks below, spinning as it bounced away and rebounded again and again until it sank out of sight.

He shook his head and kept climbing.

[One of my Time Travel Moves—"Make them lose something in time."]



Dr. Orange found himself in a long curving hallway. It was immaculately white, and lit by means he couldn’t discern. He started to walk down it.

The corridor was very long and never changed its gentle curve. After a long time, he came across another man.

The man looked exactly like him.

“Are you…” began the other Dr. Orange.

“Here to close the Singularity?”

Ja. I guess we should keep going.”

Together they followed the corridor for a long time. Eventually they met another Dr. Orange.

“Hey,” the new one said. “Which one are you? One of us has to be the right one.”

“Well, let’s just keep going,” said one of them.

They walked for a very long time. Eventually they found a fourth Dr. Orange.

“This is ridiculous,” said the newcomer. “What would Born do here?”

“Keep walking?” said one of them. Nobody was sure which one. It probably wasn’t even important.

“This must be some kind of Hilbert problem,” said another. “It’s all infinities.”

“We need to figure out how to do the integration.”

They huddled together for a moment. “Wait, it’s me!” said one of them, and vanished.

[1 point Physics spend by OP.]

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Episode XVI: Ashes to Ashes (Director's Cut Deleted Scene 1)

[Director’s cut deleted scene follows!]

While the crowd in the amphitheater stared shrieking at the Singularity, a group of panel trucks looped around the open end of the arena and drove up to the stands. The rear doors opened, and with a shout Murphy and his men leapt to the ground, firing rifles in the air.

Betty jumped out of the cab of the last truck. She and Murphy yanked open the rear doors of the truck and lowered a ramp.

Kakakatak glided down from the truck with an astonishing grace for something so alien. It regarded the crowd in the stands for a moment, the spun away with complete disregard for them. The Yithian moved swiftly and smoothly toward the Singularity.

To its senses, there was nothing confusing about the Singularity. Oh, of course such a distortion in the local spacetime was dangerous, but the situation was well in hand. That was not what made Kakakatak’s multiple hearts flutter as it approached the vortex. No, it was the siren call of what lay on the other side of the Singularity, the promise that resolving the closed timelike loop held out: home, the return to the collective Yithian consciousness, the camaraderie of other minds like itself.

If, perhaps, no friends. But that was a human conception. It could ignore that.

As well as the loneliness that stabbed it with a sudden pang.

Someone stepped out of the smoke that had gathered in the amphitheater. Kakakatak noticed it coming but paid it no mind. The other didn’t see the Yithian until he was standing directly in front of it. Between the damage done to the generator room and the gunfire Murphy’s men were exchanging with the guards, visibility was probably pretty low for anyone not equipped with infrared vision and another three senses humans didn’t have words for.

The human in front of it was trying to say something. Kakakatak engaged the part of its brain that was slow enough to understand humans.

“…Monster! Get back! I am Goodman Black, the prophet of Nyarlathotep, herald of Daoloth, the alpha and the omega! My message is of love, but believe me that if you continue to interfere I will smite…”

Without saying anything, Kakakatak snipped Black’s head off with one massive claw. The human stopped talking and its body started to slip to the earth. Kakakatak sliced through its abdomen before it hit the ground, to make observations of the trunk of the creature easier.

Something was still moving under Black’s clothes. Kakakatak bent down and ripped open the dark robes with its mouth tentacles. Fused to the chest of the man was a forearm. It was smaller than the man’s own forearms and moved with a sickly sort of grace that was almost feminine. The arm was golden colored and Kakakatak could detect some kind of heavy preservative that had been used on it.

On the inside of the arm was a small, lipless mouth. It was cursing and spitting in a rather distasteful language that the Yithian stopped deciphering after realizing it was composed only of obscenities. Kakakatak swept its claw down and sliced the arm from Goodman Black’s chest. It bent its head down to pick up the arm with its mouth tentacles.

“I’ll have that, thank you very much,” said a woman behind him. She slipped around his vast conical bulk and gathered the arm up in her hands. She looked up at the Yithian from behind pince-nez, and then held up a section of the long red scarf that was wrapped tightly around her neck.

“If you don’t mind,” she said. “I’d like to wrap this thing up for transport.”

If it is possible for a being capable of predicting the most statistically improbable time events to be taken aback, then Kakakatak was. It hesitated for a moment, and then with shocking gentleness cut the scarf close to the woman’s neck with one huge lobster claw.

“Thank you, Kakakatak,” said Mina. She wound the cloth around the severed arm and then walked quickly away into the smoke and fog.

[End Deleted Scene!]

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Episode XVI: Ashes to Ashes (Part 10)

Geronimo carefully set his plastic explosive charges and then ran back to crouch over Ruby. There was a loud bang, and then the door to their room fell backwards with a crash. He helped Ruby up and they staggered into the hall.



Dr. Orange and Millicent were fleeing toward the amphitheater. The German turned a corner and suddenly felt himself violently picked up and then thrown fifteen feet down the corridor.

Millicent stopped dead as Mirabelle stepped around the corner. “Hello, sis,” she said, and then seized Millicent around the neck.

Millicent clutched her neck with her hand. She felt the bronze pendant of Jack Brady’s necklace under her hand and concentrated on it…

There was a tittering noise all around her and Mirabelle. Something latched onto Mirabelle. Something began sucking blood into itself, slowly beginning to outline some horror from beyond the stars…

[A Star Vampire, in fact! It’s what the necklace summons!]

Mirabelle snarled and slapped at whatever was draining her, dropping Millicent. There was a sound like a flabby balloon smashing into a wall as the something was smashed away. Millicent staggered up and began to run, with her sister in pursuit.



Geronimo and Ruby came limping into the amphitheater just in time to see Jimmy running toward…toward…toward…

Toward half a farmhouse, which incongruously had appeared at the end of the amphitheater.

“Isn’t that…” said Ruby.

“Jimmy. Two of them,” groaned Geronimo.

Jimmy dashed up to the boundary and came to a halt just outside the farmhouse. “Where is that bastard?” he said.

The 1926 Jimmy pointed with his Xoxul war club at the corpse of the sorcerer.

[I didn’t ask the players to track two character sheets, but I did give them a card to track health and Stability separately for each version of the PCs. This was a 4 point Stability loss to both Jimmys.]

Vince Stack and Walter Winston stared at them with open mouths. “You…you…youse…” said Stack.

“We have to find Job and do something about the Singularity,” said both Jimmys simultaneously. Disconcertingly, the Jimmy on the 1937 side of the boundary was now holding the club. He didn’t recall how he got it.



Mirabelle, Millicent, and Dr. Orange emerged into the demi-ellipse.

Mirabelle seemed to punch the air. There was a burst of blood, and the sound of something shrieking. She spun around to face Millicent.

“I want your brain!” she bellowed. “The brain from your past self! I know she’s near!”

“If you have it, you won’t be you, you’ll be me!”

“What?!” Mirabelle grabbed her by the throat and lifted her up in the air.

“I want you to live. I want a sister. But if I give you my brain you’ll stop being you!”

“I don’t understand!”

“Open your mind! Read what is in mine! You and I, we understand each other, in all the seventeen dimensions that we can reach!”

Mirabelle lowered her to the ground. “But I’m a revenant! I’m some undead monster.”

“I don’t care! You’re my sister!”

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