Sunday, November 6, 2011

Reflections on Science

You've all watched some sort of movie where the scientist learns something that Man Was Not Meant To Know, and releases some sort of unholy terror into the world, right? Either they're creating experimental portals to other dimensions, or they're doing experiments on human perceptions in deep-sleep and other altered states of mind, or they've realized that the obscure writings of some ancient civilization are weirdly relevant to a particularly esoteric branch of physics, or something along those lines.

That, um, that actually happens.

Oh, not very often. Usually, when something from Outside enters our world, it's a result of people like us, who actually know what we're doing. (And, in particular, who know how to put down the things we call up.) Occasionally, we run into something like the recent situation with the Corpsewalker, where someone has stumbled across the knowledge but lacks the necessary background or caution to use it. Very rarely, these kinds of threats come from scientific researchers, who have come to the knowledge on their own.

But, for the same reason that these occurrences are so rare, they're also extremely hard to predict. They tend to happen to people, and in places, that we aren't watching. By the time we find out that something has happened, the situation is already out of control and almost certain to end badly. (One such incident occurred in Chicago in 1871, another in Mexico City in 1985. That should give you some idea of just how badly these things can end.)

We're watching one of those situations now. It's more subtle than the two I just mentioned, but it could prove equally dangerous. The fellow involved is a dream-researcher, and right now we're still trying to figure out what he was trying to do, and what he's actually done.

I've mentioned before that a lot of my fellow worshipers have unusual sorts of dreams. Whatever this researcher did, no less than six of us dreamed about it . (I was not one of them; that particular sort of dreaming isn't one of my talents.) They, of course, passed the information to the Elders, and the Elders set some of the Watchers to find out who the guy is and what he's done. And that is where I come in.

Reflections of a Deranged Cultist is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual deranged cultists or overzealous scientific researchers is entirely coincidental.

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