A Feature by Paul Harrington and Fenrir-Lunaris

The following is an excerpt from the journals of Horace Alfonse Montgomery, a middle-aged exobiologist whose mission is to observe unknown forms of life in the universe. Horace disappeared on December 18th, 2008. Since he disappeared, encoded messages have been found in deep space. This was the final message to be discovered.
I fell for an eternity through a sea of stars. What momentum I felt as the gray-cloaked man first pushed me from that crystalline staircase had faded away, and I felt no weight. The sounds of the world slowly faded, replaced with ones deep within my own head. I was being fed information.

I saw great holes ripped in space. The beautiful cloak of stars was torn apart as apocalyptic images burned into my eyes, half-seen, half-imagined. In this darkness I saw terrible deeds and terrible creatures. The monsters I had studied in the time before this hell were as nothing compared to the evil I witnessed here; torture, cruelty, dementia. The Gray Man wanted me to look upon these sights and despair.

I looked upon a great and brutal warlord. The look upon his face was one of desperation and madness; this was a creature that took a sick pleasure in the destruction that it wrought. Covered in a mighty armor, this warlord stood upon the backs of innocents, of creatures too simple and small to stand up to his wrath. From some angles, he appeared almost ethereal, fading in and out of reality. He was looking for something; an heirloom. A memento. Perhaps something from a more innocent time. Perhaps a childhood friend? His failure to find whatever he sought only made him angrier. This beast brought oppression and slavery to the lands he ruled, and none seemed brave enough to challenge his throne. The sky darkened, and this image faded from my mind.

Next, I beheld another armored tormentor, this one from a far more advanced civilization. It was some sort of hybrid of flesh and machine, and grinned the most hideous of grins. In this creature I saw no madness; the brutality it rained down upon the land was cold, calculated, and entirely without remorse. While emotion may have driven the previous monster to his madness, this new one was completely without any, except perhaps for satisfaction. This was a manipulator, a conniver, a thief. Both lies and wisdom fell from its metal jaw, as creatures strange and horrible bowed to this unworldly lord.

As this shadow left my mind, a third figure entered. This too was one of lies and wisdom. A humanoid in a world of animals, this was clearly an invading alien menace. He was not of the world he walked, but he understood it so deeply, and had such terrible magic, that he was able to control it, reshape it, bend its inhabitants to his will. This man too took a smug satisfaction in the wicked deeds he committed, setting himself upon this world's throne of God. A false God, only able to hold such a powerful glamor upon this world because of his alien powers. In another world, he would have been deposed quickly. Here, he stood triumphant over these creatures with only a slight effort.

The next tyrant was wholly different from the previous ones. This was a seemingly simple machine, incapable of movement, unable to communicate beyond extremely basic thoughts. And yet, I saw lines of men, women, and creatures of all walks of life fall prey to its temptations. Upon this machine sat a simple button, emitting a terrible menace. The desire to touch this treasure was beyond the ability of these poor lifeforms to resist, and on contact with it, each one died a lonely death. The machine sat coldly and thoughtlessly as it caused the extinction of its world. Only silence remained.

After what felt like years, I once again caught a glimpse of the crystalline world that the Gray Man had thrown be from. It had changed; the simple, blinding colors had given way to a more realistic tone, and its structure had become far more complicated. The strange, round-headed creature that the Bread-man had killed had again taken corporeal form, and drooled a sickening paste from its mouth. Where this paste touched, decay followed. Glistening crystals became dull, flat surfaces. Living, intelligent creatures were transformed into whooping beasts. The meaning of this became clear; I was seeing events that occurred long before I first visited this world. I was watching as it melted from a healthy, fascinating world into one made only of sickness. This round-headed monster seemed singularly unaware of what it was doing as it doomed its own planet to a a broken existence.

I left that world as cold and alone as when I entered it. I witnessed a new type of horror; one that was not confined to one world. A creature covered in horrible tentacles darted from world to world, ripping holes in the fabric of time and space as he went. He brought doom to each he visited; not the cataclysmic destruction that some of these monsters had committed themselves to, but one that struck worlds just deeply enough so that this mischievous ghoul's face would be known throughout existence. Most only caught glimpses of his slippery mass; those who looked upon him fell into piles of gibbering insanity. This one didn't need weapons or words. Chaos simply followed everywhere he flowed.

Another Great Corrupter slithered out of the darkness next, perhaps in pursuit of the tentacled horror. Foul words bled from its jaw, and all that it grasped became corrupted. A more powerful incarnation of the round-creature whose toxic drool had corrupted thecrystalline world, perhaps? Strange shapes fought back against this seemingly endless serpent, as it slowly ate away at the core of existence. This creature could pass between the physical, spiritual, and electrical worlds at will, and used this ability to evade its hunters. I watched for long years as it evaded capture and continued to devour worlds. It showed little intelligence, but was nonetheless a grave threat.

A group of men drifted by on a flying saucer. Closely observing their faces and behavior, I eventually came to discover that these were indeed all the same man, though different circumstances in different realities led him to choose different lifestyles. One constant remained between them all; the love of experimentation, often at the cost of the lives of innocents. These were men of science. Destruction was not their goal; rather, creation. What once may have been a noble path had led to unspeakable evil. For the sake of their experiments, these men laid entire worlds barren. They pursued knowledge, but what good is knowledge at the expense of entire civilizations? I fear that their ranks may swell as these strange researchers continue to explore other realities. I fear for what their knowledge will ultimately birth. I fear the consequences of their careless disregard for the scientific method.

Decades passed; maybe centuries. Finally, I had reached the end of it all. There was light, and there was water. I fell into a great black sea, thicker and far murkier than the waters of my world. I washed up on the shore of a world without light. Neither sun nor moon illuminated this strange darkness, and yet I could see. Perhaps the touch of the Gray Man had given me a sixth sense. A new reality opened before me, and I stood upon a great beach. A tower rose endlessly into space on the far horizon. This world was all worlds, and no worlds. It was the end of time, and the beginning. Not alive, yet not quite dead, I trudged on across the harsh sand. I felt the menace of the Gray Man at my back at all times, but never saw him.

Whatever else he had done to me, that cold shade had imparted me with an important lesson; that I could no longer sit back and bear witness to terrible acts. I had seen hundreds of worlds fall to tyrants and destroyed because no one was brave enough to stand up. No more. I may not have been a hero in life, but I understood now the hunger for justice that true heroes feel. Whatever world I'd find myself in when I reach that tower, one thing was sure; I was a new man. I'll no longer document the strange events I witness; I will be a part of them. Let the rest of the world document my actions. This journal and this recorder have been my closest friends over these years, and now it's time to say goodbye. I leave them here for whoever may find them. From now on, let the universe judge me for what I do. End log.


September 2008 - July 2009