By David Sokolowski, ©1998
DATE: 17 June 2000
AGENTS: Damen, Darcy, Darius, Denby
SUMMARY: A speculative look at events during the turn of the milennium.
CASE STATUS: ?
figured it’d be best to send this to you directly in one piece. i know it’s long, and may not initially clarify our situation, but hell, what else do you want me to do with it? you’ve only got one alphabet to keep track of…
ok, sorry, that’s not fair. it’s just that the situation isn’t getting better here. as Darcy has relatives up north, i’m going to try to get her past the blockade and possibly check out the cult’s home in Hepsburg. i just hope i don’t lose her like i lost Denby.
-(formerly San Francisco)-
To say that things changed quickly would be putting it lightly. Understand that most people (still) perceive El Nino as a product of global warming–although you and I know better–and it seemed wise to send someone to investigate possible Otherworld causes for the storms (Otherworld being D Cell’s term for that which is not specifically defined within the realms of DG’s existing database of the supernatural). As El Nino 98-99 began pounding Northern California in September, 1998, Damen and I established covers in the San Francisco Bay Area, and D Cell was created (Darcy and Denby would later be recruited from local organizations).
The storm’s relentless energy took a great toll during those times, and the Bay Area doubled and redoubled its disaster-aid efforts, which, as time would show, weren’t enough (you will, of course, recall the televised death of 25 rescue workers and television crew when a rock slide plunged a rescue attempt into the ocean). Investigations into the storm’s causes were slow at first, allowing for both the storm’s growth and other events calling attention to Otherworld activities, but soon it became evident that our instincts were correct and something very strange was going on.
(Although specific case histories will certainly illuminate my point more clearly, two stories deserve recognition for their importance in D Cell’s growth: the first shows by example that we should look to all government agencies for recruitment. Oliver Sansham, a supervisor in the Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) department at UCSF‘s medical center, discovered a cache of rotting corpses, each with its internal organs completely decayed as if by some advanced disease, in a storeroom under the center’s power plant. His refusal to “keep things quiet,” as his boss wished, led to our discovery of the case and recruitment of Oliver as a DG friendly. In the end we found that an intern was using the bodies to create a new strain of hosts for the hive-like parasite we now call Jgolranx. As stated, my specific report contains the details, but suffice it to say this intern had read about the process in the book The Well’s Bottom, a tome that continues to plague D Cell to this day, and whose author would play a very large role in D Cell’s future.
The other story more directly affected D Cell’s development: In late October, 1998, two months into the storm’s new life, five men robbed $5.5 million from BankWest in downtown SF, culminating in the bloodiest shootout in SF history. In broad daylight, the men killed all eighteen customers and seven staff, then escaped through the sewers, killing eight police officers and injuring seventeen more. Four of the five men escaped alive, although within three days all but one man had been found dead along with their share of the money. Reports given of the men “using superpower-like weaponry and flight to escape,” were later denied by the police and city. The fifth man was never found. We now believe these men were test subjects for what we call The Tempest. Again, details can be found in the case history, but this unusual robbery illustrated that organized crime had begun using a specific sort of Otherworld magic and equipment to get its job done–not the last time we would see this.)
At no time during the growth of El Nino did we suspect Majestic 12 or any other previously encountered adversary. In fact, the only evidence we had at that point was a sense that someone or something was actively stirring up trouble in order to further propagate the already unstable and anxious atmosphere Northern California found itself in. (Remember that John Wright–the Silicon Valley tycoon who donated $500 million of his own money for disaster relief–was elected governor in November, 1998, by a landslide. His ultra-extreme views and policies instantly changed the face of California government.) By the beginning of 1999, as the storm and the number of casualties grew, we began hearing rumors of a cult across the bay that had been gaining members and vitality steadily alongside El Nino. Apparently this cult had been recruiting members from the ubiquitous wealthy of Marin County (in the North Bay), and using the money to further propagate whatever goals it had set for itself. Although little was known of this organization, it was to be taken as a serious and deadly threat–D Cell’s first casualty came when Denby, the DG agent sent to investigate and perhaps infiltrate the cult, disappeared completely after reaching the cult’s headquarters in Hepsburg (ninety miles north of SF).
But before other steps could be taken another defining event took place. As the world knows, on March 23, 1999, President Clinton met with San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown for a disaster relief fund raiser at the Fairmont Hotel. The rest is history–at 9:12 p.m. a van carrying a small nuclear device crashed through the Secret Service barricade and into the hotel whereupon the device exploded, killing the President, Mayor, and 339 other people. More than 2000 were injured in the blast, and a 20 square-block area was secured and evacuated as a radioactive area. Of course, the rest of the world doesn’t know that it wasn’t a nuclear device that killed everyone, but rather some sort of biological infestation that turned everyone in the hotel into ground beef; it was in fact the Air Force who nuked the area to prevent the infestation from spreading.
Investigation of this explosion kept D Cell occupied for the rest of the year, and it is now my opinion (hindsight being perfect) that the explosion was staged merely as a distraction (granted, one of global proportions) from the growing strength of the cult across the bay. But without getting ahead of myself, let it suffice to say that although evidence was gathered and hypotheses were suggested, no one could have prepared for the events that would transpire and the mind-wrenching conspiracy the facts now seem to represent.
So as of April, 1999, the Bay Area had suffered almost $290 billion worth of damages (between the storm and bombing), and city, state, and federal governments had all changed figureheads within the last four months. Why didn’t we question this more? Doesn’t it seem so clear now? How far from our purpose had we got that we couldn’t see the facts straightening up in such a simple, straight line? The trial and execution of James Gershwin for the assassination of the president and mayor made Oswald’s set-up look like a child’s play. Whomever Gershwin had pissed off was more powerful than anyone could fathom, and the evidence would eventually show that everything fit.
But I digress. Quite honestly I hadn’t been very pleased with D Cell’s performance up to that point (Gershwin’s execution at San Quentin took place in June, 1999), having lost an agent (and friend) and making almost no progress in our original goal to determine if El Nino had Otherworld origins. Damen and Darcy were good agents, but we had just become too wrapped up in the intricacies of separate episodes and had forgotten to look at the bigger picture. Perhaps you can pass on our lesson to other cells–every part is a piece to a bigger puzzle.
Also remember that at this point El Nino still pounded against the shores, and that most of northern California hadn’t seen a dry day in ten months. This consistently depressing atmosphere, combined with the growing paranoia of the impending millennia, created a very anxious public. There were many instances of mass panic over the next six months, and D Cell found its resources over-exerted as we attempted to discern the valuable from the inane. Although the other shoe had yet to drop, one last example should serve to illustrate the strained circumstances D Cell found itself operating in:
In October, 1999, D Cell became aware of a rash of kidnappings taking place in the Outer Sunset district of San Francisco (which had lost the two ocean-side blocks in the storm). In a matter of four weeks fourteen boys had disappeared, all between the ages of twelve and seventeen, all with blond hair, and all within a twenty-three block area adjacent to the ocean. At first we believed a new settlement of Deep Ones might be involved, but continuous stake-outs of the beaches turned up nothing; besides, young men were never the Deep Ones’ favorite. To make my story short: hard-pressed investigations led us to the home of Kendall Redder, a computer programmer who had got his hands on Volume One of the Revelations of Glaaki–you know, the one that talks about how Glaaki inserts his spine into his Initiates? Well, seems that Redder had deemed what was good for one ancient being was good for a computer programmer, and so he had been kidnapping these children and attempting to inject them with his own vital fluids. But to get that done he modified his own “spine” through another casting in the Revelations (side note: we could never figure out where Redder got his copy, but remember that in San Francisco anything goes, so it’s almost a moot point).
In the end, eleven of the boys died from Redder’s failed experiments, and the other three suffered crippling nerve and mental damage (I can send you photos of Redder’s “spine,” but I’m not really sure you want to see them). When confronted, Redder admitted to needing a collection of mindless slaves to help him through the New Beginning–he believed that most of the world would die at the year’s end, and only those who could protect themselves from That Which Would Decide (Redder’s description, not mine) would last into the 21st century. You can see what we were up against.
Which brings me to New Year’s Eve, The Big One, and my last attempt at brevity. In a moment Nostradamus would have been proud of, an earthquake at 9.7 on the Richter scale and centered in San Jose rocked the Bay Area at exactly midnight of New Year’s Eve, 1999. Even I had taken the night off and was spending a rare moment with friends both liquid and solid. But the earthquake was, well, in a word: awesome. I have never felt so scared in my life, and feel confident that I will never feel that scared again. What made it so terrifying is that, for a second, everyone thought it was the end of the world. For all the freaks that have been ranting for all these last few years, in one moment it seemed like they would be proved right.
The damage was amazing; almost all of Silicon Valley disintegrated in the two- minute shake (felt like two days!), while SF and the East Bay suffered serious damage, including the downing of the Bay Bridge and a fire in the financial district that killed 420 people. Mass destruction was the name of the game, and to press the facts, within two days it seemed to most that the apocalypse had finally arrived. (At this point in my story let me remind you that San Francisco’s government is not only new but pressed to the wall by El Nino–there had been no solid city leadership since the assassination of Mayor Brown almost two years earlier. People did not know who to turn to for help.)
So it will come as no surprise to find out that within three days of the earthquake (after the city’s relief efforts proved they were unable to deal with the disaster) hundreds of people crossed the Golden Gate Bridge from Marin and, calling themselves The Church of Free Will, began initiating an extensive relief effort throughout the city. During the first few months they supplied water, food, and shelter to thousands of people, helped organize cremations and services for the relatives of deceased, and essentially brought welfare and peace to a city that knew neither. Naturally their efforts stood unopposed–the relief effort was more organized and passionate than anyone had previously offered–and in fact, the city, state, and federal governments greeted the Church with open arms.
Since the Church has been here, life has actually started to calm down a bit. Funny that in early February the clouds finally cleared and the rain stopped. Later that month the Church invited everyone in the city to take part in a volunteer relief effort to rebuild the city; the amount this group has accomplished in three months makes the Conservation Corp look like the Boy Scouts: whole sections of the city have been rebuilt and beautified, and although not functioning at full power, water and electricity have been restored to many parts of the city. Clothing has been given away (mostly white smocks with gray pants), and the Church gives regular therapy to those who have suffered the most.
It must be obvious to you now, as it is to me, what is happening here, but a few facts remain untold: first, the Church has been entirely effective in keeping their efforts out of mass media. Road blocks have been set up on all major roads, and under the guise of public safety traffic in and out of the area has been strictly controlled. As stated, they have full support from the governments (have received honors and awards, in fact), and essentially now have the run of the city. And, of course, they issued a statement just two days ago announcing the conglomeration of the entire area into a single city, which will now be called The Bay. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, is the Church’s leader, the Reverend Phel Morrow, whom D Cell knew previously as the author of the highly-expurgated tome The Well’s Bottom. (This specific case deserves more effort than D Cell can afford, and all that we have been able to determine at this time is that Morrow wrote the book years ago, that most of its few hundred printings and its publisher were destroyed in fire, and that no matter how hard we try this book continues to act as a most irritating thorn in our side. I’m sorry, but at this point I can’t offer any more solid information.)
At this point let me be blunt: I think they’re putting something in the water and food they distribute so freely. Attendance at weekend Church services has reached nearly 70 percent of the population. Most people wear their Church smocks as they help build a new city according to the Church’s plans. All media is monitored, as is traffic in and out of The Bay. Only because our covers are fairly secure do I feel safe staying here–for the moment.
In the end it seems so obvious. The Church now owns the city, and although their goals are still unknown, I daresay I’m not looking forward to the day I figure out what they actually want. It all worked so perfectly: the storm, the assassination, the earthquake. Everything so grand and simple we couldn’t see beyond our noses. I can only hope we don’t end up on the losing side of this.