Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 5.10

Posted by harmony0stars on November 30, 2009

“We collect these creatures in service to humanity. By better understanding them, we can protect humanity from them. Any one of these animals would maim and slaughter as many humans as it could reach before it was brought down. Dump one in the middle of any major metropolis, and you’d have a massacre.”

“Then why don’t the ghouls of Sybar City wipe out the inhabitants?” she countered, getting sick of his sanctimonious attitude.

He didn‘t look surprised to learn that there were ghouls in Sybar City and shook his head as he explained in a condescending tone, “Ghouls tend to prefer well-aged meat, and they‘re not stupid. I’m sure they’re well aware that by the time the people they had slaughtered were ripe, their deaths would be noticed, and they would get to enjoy none of the fruits of their labor. Beyond that, how do you know they don’t steal the homeless off the streets at night?”

“Well, aside from the fact that I was homeless for several months and according to the politicians, the homeless problem is on the rise, I don’t think the ghouls are culling our extraneous population,” she replied with some disgust. Though she immediately regretted even mentioning the ghouls, she managed to suppress her desire to blurt out that the ghoul she’d seen had had no problem eating a fresh corpse. Of course, it might have been starving at that point. Not only had she probably just put them in danger by even mentioning them however, if she was attempting to make the professor think she was on his side, she was doing a great job of it.

“Oh, you would get along splendidly with Professor Murdock. She’s as much a bleeding heart as you are,” he announced sourly and much to her relief. “She’ll get herself killed one of these days trying to ‘reach out’ to these monsters, and the rest of my colleagues will finally see what I’ve been saying all along. There is no ‘friendly’ xenite.”

Glory said nothing, but he’d just confirmed his true feelings and they were more inline with Jacoby’s than not. She wondered how many of the other researchers below Miskatonic’s campus were in Scott’s camp. The professor was obviously well respected if the reactions of the people they’d encountered so far was any indication. Or maybe they were just cowed by his intellectual bullying.

“But I’m getting ahead of myself. Ghouls are only one of many creatures which threaten the human race. If you would be willing to work with us, there is much that we could share with you about the true nature of our existence on this planet.”

Glory frowned. She had no doubt that there was a great deal she could learn, but did she want to associate herself with people who would torture other sentient species just because they weren’t human? Beyond that, could she trust these people? No doubt they’d heard Robert’s story and were curious about the sword. Worse, they would expect her to share her research with them. If she refused, there wasn’t a lot he could do to keep her here, despite having revealed some of his organization’s secrets. On the other hand, if she disappeared later, who would connect that with her visit here?

“In your researches, have you encountered any vampires?” he asked suddenly.

For a second she was terrified that he was in some way referring to her sword. “Yes, but I had to kill her. Though in all fairness, she was trying to do the same to me,” Glory answered, recalling the woman Lori had sent to Aaron’s place.

“Excellent,” Professor Scott replied, ignoring or misreading her momentary anxiety. “No doubt you’re concerned with human rights issues Ms Lewin, but I can assure you that any resemblance the various xenite races bear to us are entirely circumstantial. One of my colleagues insists that it is simply a biological adaptation designed to help these creatures hunt us. Even when they use us as progenitors of their own offspring, it is merely to lure us into a false sense of sympathy.”

As he continued his spiel, she could tell he was up to something; she just didn’t know what. “I can see your reluctance to join us,” he announced with a slight pleading tone to his voice, “but perhaps if you were to participate in one of our current projects… you might get a better feel for what we do here and how important it is for the good of our race.” Was there a momentary tightening of the skin around his eyes, a quiver in his voice? Glory wasn’t sure what made her suddenly wary, but she followed Professor Scott from the room without comment.

He explained with his back turned to her as he lead her back down the hall to the intersection and past the elevators. “A Viking barrow was recently discovered on a new construction site near the Sybar City harbor. Perhaps you read about it in the paper? With Columbus day coming up less than a month from now, they‘ve been calling it the tomb of Leif Ericson, despite the fact that the grave predates his possible arrival by at least one hundred years,” he stated with some annoyance.

He glanced back at her, but she shook her head. “I’ve been away.”

“Yes, of course,” he replied without pressing for more information. “So you’ll be unaware of the bad reputation the site has acquired with the press since its discovery.” He opened a door on a conference room which was much nicer than his office upstairs. For one thing, entering the room wasn’t automatically an obstacle course.

“I do understand why you might be wary of us, Ms Lewin. After Jacoby’s harassment, you must be questioning not only our methods, but our goals. Please, have a seat,” he said. “I’ll be right back.”

Professor Scott was gone several minutes too long for her comfort. She was just starting to worry that they were planning something when he returned with a thick manila folder held together with two rubber bands. Taking a seat opposite her, he began shuffling the papers and photos inside.

to Book 5, page 11

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