By Stabernide, ©1999
The Fades are a secret society at least as old as mankind itself, established by time travellers from the future who have infiltrated and manipulated the upper echelons of every civilization in history to achieve their goals.
R’lyeh rises from the bottom of the Pacific; Carcosa begins to eat Earth’s greatest cities alive. When Daoloth tears aside the veil of everyday reality, almost everyone on the planet goes insane and begins to slaughter each other. The Great Old Ones move through the madness and destruction like gigantic leviathans, warping the reality around them in horrific and obscene ways (atolls of human flesh, etc). The Old Ones’ human followers either perish in the chaos because they are unprepared, or revel in it and thrive. The Endtimes are here at last. At this point, the Fades finally make their move. They cast their ‘apocalypse spell‘ and use Azathoth to unmake the human race at an atomic level. Billions of people scream one final time before being swept away on the cosmic winds. Everywhere it is dark and quiet.
With the world ‘cleared off’, the surviving members of the group–now all that is left of mankind–advance on R’lyeh, intending to confront their ancient enemy, Cthulhu, before experiencing its wrath. It is the first time any of them have ever seen it. Cthulhu looks down at the Fades, and although it has no face as such, they realize it is smiling.
Having experienced the Endtimes first hand, the Fades are fully Mythos conversant and are under no illusions regarding humanity’s place in the universal ‘food-chain’, or any prospect of last minute salvation. They have seen the big picture and accepted it. Only death can bring release from the nightmare that is reality. With this unique worldview, they traveled back in time with one aim: to spare Mankind the ravages of the Great Old Ones through the euthanasia of the species. They are gathering resources, both magical and technological, to do this.
The Fades’ ‘inner-circle’ is made up chiefly of the original time travelers (about half a dozen survived the trip), plus four or five sorcerers who made the grade along the way. There are then around twenty ‘lieutenants,’ known as ‘Anchormen,’ some of whom are human, and with varying degrees of knowledge concerning the Fades’ ultimate goals, whose task is to manage the flow of information between the Fades’ various fronts and the inner circle. The Anchormen have been recruited by other Anchormen, and none of them have ever seen or had direct contact with their shadowy masters, reporting via various magical/psychic means. Anchormen are usually strange creatures, immortal sorcerers or homunculi far more powerful than the rank and file magic users of this planet, yet still little more than lap dogs to the inner circle. For this reason, Anchormen are often given a great deal of freedom to pursue their personal interests; as long as this does not draw undue attention to themselves, or threaten to compromise any of the Fades activities. The last time an Anchorman stepped out of line, the Fades summoned Azathoth itself to deal with him.
Below the Anchormen are the various front organizations that serve the Fades (for the most part, unknowingly). These will generally take the form of magical ‘schools’ or ‘colleges’, wherein which young mages will be educated in a handful of powerful spells, as part of the selection process for Anchormen. There are a number of other agencies that the Fades have created clandestinely, such as the Watchmen (a shadowy ‘cult of intelligence’ established by Allen Dulles in 1945), and the Consortium (the corporate collective brought together to influence political events in the name of capitalism in the seventies). No one in these organizations will know anything about the Fades, or their purposes. Most will have their own objectives and goals, which the Fades will secretly influence so that these groups unwittingly fulfill theirs as well. All contact with the Fades will be through the Anchormen; and although some of them will interact with the group openly (occasionally even taking charge), in other cases they will use magic to cloud any memory of their existence, keeping their influence and all evidence of it completely hidden.
Early time travel was accomplished using ‘temporal gates’. The Fades paid dearly for their physical violation of the time/space continuum, however, and they only survive thanks to the large quantities of nanotechnology they brought with them from the future. This same nanotechnology is the source of their virtual immortality. While their time travel capabilities will never be as precise or practical as the Yithians, they have since managed to perfect a reasonably effective alternative to the gates using a combination of the Plutonian drug and stolen Yithian technology. They have also developed effective countermeasures against the Hounds of Tindalos (one senior Fade even has a spayed and ‘domesticated’ hound at his beck and call).
In addition, the Fades have formidable magical powers at their disposal. Most of the spells they employ will be completely unknown to present or past day mages (unless they have studied The End Rite), and for the most part would decimate the normal human mind. The Fades, however, have ‘engineered’ their brains using their nanotechnology, and can call on reserves to control the spells that normal human beings cannot. Although obviously still incapable of directly confronting the Great Old Ones, a senior Fade would think nothing of one on one battle with a normally lethal entity such as a Flying Polyp or Lloigor.
Allies and Enemies
The Fades have no allies as such, only pawns that they manipulate. They see themselves as the mortal enemies of the Great Old Ones–in particular Cthulu itself–as they plan to ‘cheat’ them of the Earth. Being the best-informed insects on the planet, however, does not necessarily make this assumption correct. The Fades have had little or no direct contact with any other Mythos groups or races throughout their existence, fearing infiltration. Temporary alliances of convenience with both the Mi-go and Yithians, usually for the purpose of acquiring their technology, have taken place, but never for very long. They have also manipulated various familiar groups throughout history, including Delta Green, the Order of the Sword of St Jerome and the Brotherhood of the Yellow Sign (none of these groups has any knowledge of the Fades’ existence- although if the Order knew what to look for, they could presumably gain access to The End Rite in the Vatican’s ‘Forbidden Library’). The rank and file of the Fate remains ignorant of the Fades (although Alzis himself might well be aware of them, of course), and the same can be said for most of the more prominent Mythos groups. The Fades maintain a special interest in Majestic-12, and may have influenced the decisions that led to the original Majestic-12 SSP’s creation. It may be the case that Majestic or their subsidiaries will develop the advanced technology that the Fades use to survive their trip back through time.
The only group the Fades appear to have actively opposed at any time is the Cult of Cthulhu. Not one of the isolated groups of inbred, redneck paganists or Polynesian cannibal cultists, but the millennia-old secret sect of the wealthy and influential that worships Great Cthulhu for no other reason than the accumulation of power. The Cult, having learned something of the Fades and their beliefs–principally that they see themselves as Cthulhu’s greatest human enemies–have attacked the Fades’ interests on occasion, believing it will curry favor with their God. The Fades, conversely, believe that the Cult’s aims–at least in part–are to in some way hasten the Endtimes, and as such they have occasionally targeted them to make sure they do not significantly disrupt the Fades’ ‘grand plan.’ (In reality, few of the Cult’s members would care for an ‘early’ Endtimes; the attempts the Fades have noticed are the actions of a few isolated madmen with nothing more than a passing affiliation with the Cult or one of its subsidiaries).
A series of bizarre deaths amongst the movers and shakers of the San Francisco occult underground (a dog materializes suddenly inside a man’s chest; a woman’s skin turns to glass, allowing people to see her internal organs sloshing about within) leads A-Cell to believe supernatural gang warfare has broken out. Agents are dispatched to investigate. They quickly realize that both the Fate and the Cult of Transcendence have their own operatives in the area, and, for a change, they almost seem worried about the situation at hand. The agents eventually discover that all the victims can be linked to a mysterious individual known only as Mr Lost, and something called ‘the Yellow school’.
Mr Lost, of course, is an Anchorman, a centuries old homunculus who is running an Academy for prospective recruits. Lost is testing his students by teaching them some of the Fades’ more manageable spells, often to destruction. Any survivors will be transported to a secret location, through a Gate that Lost carries around with him, for the next phase of their training.
The agents will have ample opportunity to track Lost through conventional means, get into fights with rival Fate and Transcendence operatives, see a few spells ‘consume’ their novice casters, and perhaps even infiltrate the Yellow School as prospective students. Ultimately, they won’t really learn too much about the Fades. Lost will die before he betrays them, and as a homunculus is immune to most conventional methods of persuasion/torture. It won’t be easy to take him either; Lost is a formidable sorcerer, perhaps the most formidable the agents will ever meet. The purpose of the scenario is rather for the agents to learn and report back to A-Cell that a new, as yet unidentified major player is active within Delta Green’s theater of operations.