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Saturday, April 10

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posted by Michael Tresca at 2:38 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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Monday, April 5

Grace Under Pressure: Conclusion

Guppy wept. Cthulhu was visible as a dim glow off in the distance, approaching swiftly.

"That's it then," said Guppy. "It's over."

He put the Wallaby on cruise. There was no point in fleeing. There would be nowhere on Earth they could escape to.

Hammer didn't say anything. He just kept staring at Jim-Bean's heart monitor, listening to the mechanical whine heralding his death.

Cthulhu reached the Horseshoe. With slow, ponderous deliberation it rent the submarine, tearing great gouts in its hull.

Beep. Jim-Bean's heart monitor beeped once.

"Guppy," Hammer said slowly.

"What?" asked Guppy.

Hammer pointed at Jim-Bean's heart monitor. His suit had lost pressure and the sensors were completely missing on one arm, meaning he'd probably lost a limb. But the heart monitor still worked.

Huge bubbles fled to the surface as sparks and flaring light from electrical systems lit the scene of the Horseshoe's demise.

Beep-beep. Jim-Bean's heart monitor bleeped again.

"I think you'd better speed up," said Hammer. more

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posted by Michael Tresca at 8:41 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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Grace Under Pressure: Part 8 – The End of the Beginning

Jim-Bean was dying. No more pain. No more worry.

The light faded. Jim-Bean was already blind, his eyeballs long since destroyed from the radiation, but there was a light within his own mind that shone brightly. Even that was fading. He was falling, falling, falling…

He deserved peace, didn't he? Jim-Bean had been abandoned, experimented on, treated like a dog. He had been betrayed, violated, and used. He was crazy anyway, increasingly losing his grip on reality.

Stupid humans. They could fend for themselves from now on. It was better this way.

And yet. And yet.

Jenny was in his mind's eye, straining. The babies were being born. His babies. His children. Boys and girls all jumbled together. Nurses whisked them away, except for one. One of them, only one, was stillborn.

The doctor said something to Jenny, holding the limp little creature up for her to see. She wailed a scream of anguish that woke Jim-Bean up out of his stupor. Dead? Dead!

No, not dead. The other six were alive. But the doctors were hiding it from Jenny, hiding it from him. Those were his children. This was his future. They were the inheritors of the earth, and Majestic was trying to cover it up.

Jim-Bean forced himself back into consciousness. He took a deep breath, and found that gills had formed in what was left of his chest.

The virus! The PI virus had infected him, turned him. Now he was one of them. more

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posted by Michael Tresca at 6:19 AM | 0 comments links to this post


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Saturday, April 3

Righteous Triad Fists: Part 7 – …and Hand Grenades

Jim-Bean and Hammer were dressed in pressure suits, which were sturdier than the diving suits. The Horseshoe had largely depressurized. Water streamed everywhere. They moved past dead bodies floating face up in cramped corridors.

Hammer's cistron was hooked into the HUD in his suit. "According to the deck plans, this is the entrance to the reactor." They both grabbed hold of the huge wheel on the door. Nuclear warning signs were plastered everywhere in bright yellow.

It wouldn't budge.

"The pressure from outside must be too great," said Hammer. "We'll have to blow it."

"We don't have enough explosives to blow it!" shouted Jim-Bean. He was always shouting now, because there was a roaring in his ears.

"That's the only way. We'll have to make do—look out!"

Jim-Bean turned slowly as Hammer extended one pistol and fired past him. A Deep One's head exploded. Deep Ones crept down the corridor, hopping along walls, jumping from pipe to pipe, swarming like ants down a tunnel.

Hammer raked the area with gunfire. Suddenly red warning lights began to swirl and klaxons shrieked behind him.

The Deep One corpses piled up. Hammer spared a glance over his shoulder. The outer door to the reactor had just slammed shut again.

"Jimmy! Jimmy, are you nuts? You can't survive in there!"

"Maybe not." Jim-Bean's voice betrayed no hint of concern for his plight over the comm. "But I can certainly handle it better than you can."

Hammer reloaded, fumbling with the pistols in the darkness. The suit's limited visibility and the gloved fingers made it difficult.

"Damn it, Jimmy!"

He didn't get a chance to say more. The Deep Ones, finding their courage, launched another assault. More of them plunged down the hallway. more

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posted by Michael Tresca at 7:21 AM | 0 comments links to this post


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Friday, April 2

Grace Under Pressure: Part 6 – Horseshoes…

The agents were all battered and bruised. Caprice lay unconscious on the floor with a bloody head wound, a strip of gauze over one eye. Archive sat rolled up in a ball, whispering to himself over and over: "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!" Guppy was in the pilot's seat. Hammer sat at the co-pilot's seat next to Guppy, but he wasn't entirely sure what to do.

Ho had it the worst. He just laughed and laughed and laughed.

Behind them, Jim-Bean languidly kept one arm on each chair. He stared in fascination at the collapsing black mountain. Something was emerging from it, wings unfurling like a butterfly exiting a cocoon. It was so alien and yet strangely beautiful to him.

The psychic pressure was pounding now, like a heartbeat. Jim-Bean had trouble focusing.

The comm. crackled. "Mayday! Mayday! This is the RSV Horseshoe, we need immediate help, is anyone there? Christ!" There was the sound of banging in the background. "…They're outside now…listen, we're under attack! Repeat, we are under attack!" There was a muffled explosion. "Wallaby! Wallaby!" A sudden crack. Then a couple of heavy thumps and static.

Guppy yanked the wheel hard as the Horseshoe, still sparking and falling into the subterranean depths, suddenly loomed into view. The Wallaby skidded off the side as the huge metal form slid past as the Horseshoe sank into the depths, down towards the thing that was assuredly coming for them all.

"That's it!" Hammer turned to Guppy. "The Horseshoe is nuclear powered, right?"

Guppy blinked. "Yes, but…"

"Guppy, that thing can't reach the surface. We've got to stop it. No matter what it takes…"

Hammer and Guppy exchanged a look. They had their differences in the past. Guppy had threatened to kill Hammer; Hammer had Guppy committed. But in that moment they weren't enemies, or allies, or fellow agents. They were all that stood between humanity and the end of the world. more

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posted by Michael Tresca at 8:41 AM | 0 comments links to this post


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Thursday, April 1

10% Off Alien Invasion

My sole book on Lulu, Alien Invasion, is on sale at LuLu.com for 10% off. Enter code APRILFOOLS. Today only! more

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posted by Michael Tresca at 7:05 PM | 0 comments links to this post


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Grace Under Pressure: Part 5 – Who's There?

"No!" shouted Hammer.

Cho Chu-Tsao was momentarily distracted, turning to look at the satchel tumbling down towards the altar. Her defenses lowered, Hammer fired a bullet between her eyes. She slumped backwards, mouth open in surprise.

The ensuing explosion blasted the plinths off their bases. Guppy was nearly beheaded by one of the rocks as it whistled through the air.

The shockwave stunned the agents. In the ensuing dust and debris it was clear that the altar had been ruined. Hammer, Archive, Guppy, and Caprice struggled to their feet.

A figure strode towards them out of the cloud of dust. Hammer's pistols were up in a flash.

It was Jim-Bean. He dusted his hands. "Great, so now that's over…"

The rubble shuddered. A huge piece of stone slid off the back of the Deep One bodyguard. It was bloody and battered, with one goggle eye smashed in. In its arms was the frail Ko, looking like nothing more than a sickly child in its arms.

"The stars are right again," Ko whispered as he expired. "What we failed to do by design…you did…by accident…"

He died with a smile on his lips.

The bodyguard made a low moan. But it was not mourning over the dead man in its arms. As the dust settled, a horrible fact became clear: the door was open.

By blood and force, the seal had been penetrated, its doors blasted open. In the darkness, a mountainous mass pulsed softly with the same unnatural glow as the rest of R'lyeh.

Jim-Bean's mouth fell open. For once, he was without words.

"Run…" whispered Hammer, straining to tear his eyes away from the slumbering mass at the center of the dome. "Run!" more

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posted by Michael Tresca at 6:30 AM | 0 comments links to this post


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