Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 6.16

Posted by harmony0stars on May 31, 2010

Scott continued giving her the five dollar tour. “The passages were here, some say, before the University. In fact, the previous Dean discovered new tunnels as the Administrative building was remodeled and decided to make them public due to the frequent violent storms of the region. We‘ve had trouble with the student body ever since, especially when those role playing games were popular in the 80s.” He waved his hand dismissively. “We try to discourage the students from using them and keep the obvious entrances locked, but every year we have one or two freshmen who get lost in the tunnels. Generally they claim to have been pushed inside by a band of malicious upper classmen, but our older students are hardly of a temperament to engage in such juvenile activities, and the freshmen can never describe their attackers. There are also the urban legends of students finding previously unknown passages, never to be seen again. Though there’s no evidence of any such thing ever happening, and as you can see, the passages are fairly straightforward, we try to encourage the belief that the tunnels are unsafe. There’s no sense in having students injure themselves in a panic.”

They finally reached a turn in the tunnel and then a fork. There were fresh patches of paint on the walls, most likely covering malicious graffiti. Scott led the way to the right and up another flight of stairs. At the end of a short hall there was a nondescript door. Scott pulled out his keys, but the lock was broken. He muttered something under his breath before announcing, “This is the Sc2 building.”

To the right, there was a small lounge and straight ahead was the main entrance. “This was the Humanities building before the remodel. Math and the sciences are taught here now. You may be interested to know that our geology department and botany are top notch, given your methods.“ He avoided come right out and talking about anything to do with the monsters he hunted and kept in the third level. “We’ve added state of the art filtration systems to protect against any chemical accidents or fire. The pride and joy of the department is the planetarium however.” They took a nearby elevator up another level.

“You mentioned you were interested in seeing our copy of the Necronomicon?” he said quietly as the doors closed behind them.

Glory shrugged, slightly confused by the question. “To be honest, I always thought it was nonsense invented by Lovecraft to give his stories depth. I’d never taken any of it seriously until recently. I mean anyone can buy a paperback version in a bookstore anywhere in the world, so how accurate could it be? I mostly want to examine yours simply to have a passing familiarity with the real thing. I collect rare books, and I don’t want to be bilked by a con artist.”

“Ah, I see.” He sounded vaguely disappointed by her answer. “Well, I assure you it is not something invented by Lovecraft. Where he came in contact with it, I can’t imagine, but every bit of it is true. Though of course, the paperback version is a joke. It is around the Necronomicon and other ancient occult tomes that most of our work revolves. Which brings us to the planetarium. One thing that the Necronomicon makes clear is that we are working with a timetable measured by the clockwork of the cosmos. ‘When the stars are right’ is the catchphrase one most often encounters among the subhuman worshipers of the Cthuvian cults.” Glory winced at the term subhuman and was grateful that Scott‘s back was to her as he unlocked the door to the planetarium. Like most of the rest of the campus, the Humanities building seemed to be deserted.

Phoenix shifted uncomfortably in her mind and said, Ask him how soon.

“And how right are the stars, professor?”

Scott turned to regard her with a very serious expression as if he thought she might be mocking him. “Close, so very close now that our time might be measured in decades… or months.”

He let her into the room, and she immediately craned her neck upwards to the telescope. The room was massive to accommodate the machinery that allowed it to shift to survey different sections of the heavens. She couldn’t imagine how much something like that must weigh, but she didn’t envy anyone who happened to have classes in the rooms beneath their feet. At least she assumed there were rooms down the hall she’d seen on the first floor.

“We’re not at the best elevation for star gazing, but we felt that it was best to keep our staff close in the event any cultists caught wind of our activities. Hopefully it should deter attacks on our people.”

“Have there been many attacks?” she asked, looking at him askance.

“Up until recently, no. We had been lucky and careful enough to avoid detection, but as the time draws closer to the prophecies set down in the Necronomicon…” He shook his head. “You saw the young man on crutches outside my office? He was lucky to survive an attack on our home soil, and Professor Murdock, the woman I was meeting with when you arrived has decided to quit over the matter. Rest assured, this was the first time anyone had managed to infiltrate our headquarters. Our security measures are being upgraded as we speak.”

Scott seemed to be operating under the assumption that there was some vast conspiracy of subhuman races hell bent on the destruction of humanity. She just couldn’t see it. All the non-humans she’d met so far had seemed to be looking out for themselves. Even Cindy and her people were only concerned with keeping their own safe. So far as she could tell, humans were the meta-predators on the planet, not the victims.

“If it were later in the day, the astronomy students would be here. Though in this weather, they’ll have to content themselves with combing through previous data.” He took her back down to the previous floor and into the tunnels. They walked a much shorter distance this time, turning right and then left to come up at a door that looked very familiar. So this is where Ehecatl brought me in.

to Book 6, page 17


One Response to “Tattoo Book 6.16”

  1. Pontus said

    A planetarium is a very different thing from an observatory. You won’t find a telescope in a planetarium.

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