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Thread: Empire of Fu Manchu

  1. #3281
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    An artificial cavern under the Yonaguni Formation
    Off the coast of Yonaguni Island, Pan-Asian Empire
    Thursday, September 20th 1940




    It came from nowhere. One moment Dr Henry “Indiana” Jones, Dr Sun and four Si-Fan acolytes were looking wildly about, directing the beams of their torches in all directions trying to find the source of the Hellish whistling sound. The next something colossal was almost on top of them – it was an oblong thing, made up of a sickly pink-grey bulbous matter which reminded Indy of the colossal wounds he’d seen on some long dead fallen soldiers during the Great War, or perhaps like an extirpated cancerous growth. The thing had several fang-packed mouths spread seemingly at random all over its surface and eyes opened and closed, never twice in the same place. It looked to be floating but under it great footprints of the now hideously familiar kind appeared as it moved about. The edges of the thing were not well defined – here a part of it appeared as if from nowhere and there it disappeared – it was not a case of reshaping or retracting parts of its hideous anatomy, but rather as if parts of the creature alternated between visibility and invisibility.

    No sooner had the thing appeared, it struck. As the men shrieked in abject terror, a small localized tornado sized one of the acolytes. Immediately, the creature opened a mouth and let out a savage blast of cold air, so powerful it stripped much of the flesh from the unfortunate Chinese’s bones. His scream of terror and pain was cut short with brutal suddenness.

    The other acolytes snapped Zhuge SMGs from their backs and opened up. Firing at point blank range, their fire would have massacred an elephant, but the creature shrugged it off and answered with another blast of cold air. Without anything holding him in place, a second acolyte was flung backwards, still screaming and firing as he disappeared into the darkness. His scream ceased abruptly, presumably as his trajectory intersected something unforgivingly solid.

    ‘RUN!’ Indy cried and the survivors bolted. Indy ran like a madman, windowless basalt towers flashing by on both sides. Panic-stricken, he headed for the breach in the wall opening up into the Citadel Hall.

    Suddenly he felt his arm being grabbed, and, with a final scream of panic, he was dragged into one of the yawning black entrances to one of the basalt towers.

    ‘Shut up!’ Dr Sun whispered, just inches away. ‘Let’s just wait a moment – If that thing is intelligent, and I do not doubt that it is, and if there’s more than one of them, the entrance will be guarded!’

    Hardly had the American started to voice his objection when a fresh round of screaming and gunfire erupted from the direction of the entrance. It was mercifully short.

    ‘Good thinking!’ Indy agreed, admiring the composure of the Chinese. ‘But we can’t stay here – it – they – they will find us!’

    ‘Agreed – let’s explore this tower then. We might find something that could be of use to us.’

    Their torches shut down, the two men moved deeper into the absolute darkness reigning in the tower. The ground floor seemed to stretch across the whole surface of the building. The darkness pressed on them, their minds populating it with the floating monsters.

    ‘Come to think of it, it should be safe using our torches’, the Chinese academic said.

    ‘How do you figure?’ Indy protested, not feeling inclined to experiments. ‘Their light would be visible through the tower opening, and that thing had eyes – and a lot of them!’

    ‘But they can’t depend on light to be able to see; there isn’t any down here, remember? Either they can see in a different spectrum of radiation than us, like infra-red, or they have some wholly exotic means of detection. I take it you noticed that these are not tri-dimensional beings. In any case, our electric torches can hardly make us any more detectable.’

    ‘Bad pep talk!’ Indy said ruefully, but dutifully switched on his torch, as did Dr Sun. By the light of their beams, the interior of the tower proved to be one giant chamber, the towering internal walls covered with so many openings it gave the impression of a giant honeycomb of basalt. But what immediately attracted their attention was something flickering oddly on the floor.

    Indy whistled softly. ‘Will you look at that!’

    There were a few large, apparently fossilised teeth scattered on the floor, but that was not what attracted their attention. A kind of colossal porous structure or lattice, somewhat like a sponge but much less closely knit was on the floor. A dull bone-white and partly translucent, it flickered in and out of existence around the edges just like the creature had, so that its exact shape and dimensions could not be appreciated. The lattice was broken in many places.

    ‘It’s one of them – dead!’ Indy whispered.

    ‘What do you suppose killed it?’ Sun whispered, crouching over the remains. ‘OH! Look!’ he suddenly exclaimed, pointing to something on the floor, just in front of the remains of the creature.

    What had caught the scholar’s attention was a small crystal cube with each smooth side about four inches. Aside from the atypical shape, it looked entirely like quartz. And there was something inside it, something reminiscent of a coin (although not metallic), complete with characters inscribed on it. That disc drew in Sun’s gaze...

    ‘Don’t look at it!’ Indy shouted and threw his jacket over the cube.

    ‘What?’ Sun snapped. ‘Why not? If that’s not the cube we were sent to fetch, I’m a cucumber!’

    ‘I agree – but don’t you remember the pictures in the Inner Sanctum? I think they were a warning! There was a member of each of the species inhabiting the Earth at the time holding a cube very much like this one – and what were they doing?’

    Sun nodded. ‘Killing their brethren. Right, thanks for warning me. So you think examining this cube too closely might turn me into a homicidal maniac?’

    ‘I don’t know how it works, or if it works, but I’ll happily leave studying it to Fu Manchu. And to judge from the shape this critter is in, I’d say it turned on its fellows, and they killed it. We’ve found no other remains of any one of them, so I’d say they normally take care of their dead in some manner that leaves no fossils. But not this one. They probably avoided this tower ever since killing it – they must’ve realised the cube was to blame for the sudden insanity of one of their numbers.’

    Dr Sun nodded. ‘No way to confirm it, but it sounds plausible enough. So we got the cube – now how do we get it – and ourselves – back to the surface?’

    Before answering, Indy bowed to pick up the cube, still covered by his leather jacket. Donning leather gloves, he put it into one of the jacket’s pockets and put on the garment.

    ‘I just might have an idea about that. We’d be staking our lives on us guessing right about how the things feel about the cube though.’

    ‘Well, if we stay here we’re dead anyway, so we have nothing to lose, right?’ Dr Sun said cheerily.

    Indy groaned. ‘That’s one way of putting it, I guess. Prepare to run – and don’t look at the cube when I take it out!’

    ****


    Holding the cube high in his left hand and with Dr Sun at his side, Indy ran through the tunnel leading to the Citadel Hall. There had been no sign of the trans-dimensional monstrosity, but the crushed remains of the two last Si-Fan acolytes had been spread out on the cave floor just outside the tunnel entrance.

    As the two investigators entered the cavernous Citadel Hall, it quickly became apparent to them that all was not well. From the ruined cyclopean fortress of the Great Race came screaming, gunfire and the Hellish whistling of which Indy and Sun now knew the source only too well.

    ‘The camp is under attack!’ Indy shouted. ‘There’s nothing we can do, we must get out with the cube!’ He had no intention of risking failure, which would mean an excruciating death for James, for the sake of a bunch of Si Fan henchmen. He turned away from the Citadel and set his aim on the base of the shaft leading to the trapdoor chamber in the Yonaguni monument.

    ‘No, think! We must get our diving gear!’ Sun replied, pulling at the Americans arm. ‘We can’t possible survive the ascent to the surface without it!’

    Indy thought about it for a moment, but finally shook his head. ‘No, we can do without! It’s not more than sixty feet to the surface – we should be able to reach it even without the diving suits!’

    ‘You’re mad!’ Sun screamed. ‘We have to go to the camp! You said the cube would scare off the things!’

    ‘I said it might!’ the archaeologist replied. ‘I’m not eager to put the theory to the test if I can help it!’

    Their disagreement was resolved in an unsettling manner as a number of the creatures floated up from the ruin of the Citadel and advanced quickly, uncannily hovering over the expanse of hexagonal flagstones toward the two running men. Apparently they had dispatched all the Si Fan in the ruins and were looking to finish off the last survivors.

    ‘Oh crap!’ Indy murmured. ‘Quickly, to the shaft!’

    Now Dr Sun did not object, but their panicked flight came to a sudden end as two amorphous things reached the base of the shaft, located near one corner of the building, long before Sun and Indy.

    The two scholar-adventurers stopped dead, looking wildly about. Too late – a broad circle of a full dozen of the horrendous beings had formed around them and was constricting. To his horror, Indy now saw that not all the Si Fan acolytes had enjoyed relatively quick and painless deaths – held fast next to one or several voracious mouths by scores of purpose-formed tentacles, several still trashed and howled as they were slowly eaten alive. Their blood showered the ground under the steadily converging monsters.

    ‘No... NO!’ Sun screamed. ‘It’s not working! They’re not afraid of the cube! I don’t want to die like that! Not like that!’

    Pale as a sheet, Indy silently agreed, to the point of seriously considering drawing his revolver and give Sun and then himself a quick, clean death. Only the knowledge of what would befall James if he didn’t bring the cube to Fu Manchu stayed his hand – while there was life, there was hope, however tenuous.

    Suddenly, the nightmare things stopped. Slowly and deliberately the two of them who stood between the humans and escape moved away, leaving their path to the shaft open.

    ‘What? It worked?’ Indy whispered, fearful of being the object of a cruel jest.

    ‘No!’ Sun answered in a piteous, fearful whine. ‘They... they want to be rid of it! They want us to take it away from here! Go, Dr Jones, go quickly!’

    Not daring to run, for fear of provoking an instinctive predatory response, the two men walked to the base of the shaft, where a rope ladder still hung from the nethermost of the metallic rungs driven into the shaft wall.

    Slowly, always under the horrendous gaze of the myriad of forming and disappearing eyes of the creatures, they began to climb the rope ladder.

    ‘Oh, Dear Lord Buddha!’ Dr Sun suddenly cried when they had almost reached the first rung.

    ‘What’s the matter?!’ Indy asked, his voice full of alarm.

    ‘It just occurred to me!’ Sun cried, his voice tinged with hysteria. ‘For getting rid of the cube – THEY ONLY NEED ONE OF US TO LEAVE! NOOOO-PLEASE-NOOO!’

    As he finished his sentence, just as he had foreseen, one of the things lunged forward. A long, cancerous-looking tentacle snaked around the Chinese scholar’s waist, and despite his panicked attempt to hang on to the ladder, it ripped him away from it with ease. For a few instants, he swirled about at the end of the slimy appendage-

    ‘OH GOD NO! NO! KILL ME! JONES PLEASE KILL MEEE!!’

    -and then it tossed him, with apparent carelessness straight into a cluster of slavering, fang-studded mouths on the back of the trans-dimensional being.

    Indy had whipped out his gun, but the creature moved away from the shaft, blocking his view of Dr Sun’s tortured final moments. His shrill screams and obscene, crunching noises made bitter bile rise in the archaeologist’s throat. But short of climbing back down the ladder to get a clear shot, which hardly seemed wise under the circumstances, there was nothing he could do.

    As Indy resumed his climb, a last desperate scream, which would haunt him for the rest of his days, rose through the shaft;

    ‘JOOOOOOOONEEES!’
    Last edited by The Yogi; 08-07-2011 at 07:25.
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  2. #3282
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Yogi View Post
    There might well be an element of auto-propaganda in Fu's words, but he also has a point. Historically, the US re-arment wasn't in full swing until 1943, a year and a half after Pearl Harbour. But that was with the CONUS untouched by war. Even if the Americans can pull of a victory at five minutes to twelve and push all the way back to the Pacific, with the majority of the country occupied and the population displaced, it's going to be a while - like many years a while - before they are able to project any serious strength across the Pacific. But moving troops to reinforce the British and the Germans should be possible, and that is serious enough in itself.

    But if it comes to that, Fu might well pull some nefarious plan out of his hat to finally bring the recalcitrant Americans to heel!

    Indeed, a quick evacuation from the American mainland if things go South for Pan-Asia could be very tricky. Fortunately Hawaii isn't too far off - doing it across the entire Pacific sounds impossible.
    A troop ship making 16 knots needs 11 days for the round trop from Hawaii - SF - Hawaii, not counting loading / unloading time. If the Japanese have to evacuate at some point, they'd better not dither around, or they will have to leave a lot of troops and equipment behind!

    BTW, it didn't take the USSR very long at all to go from the brink of defeat (1941) to dominating the Eurasian continent (1945), did it? The US are in a similar position to the USSR at the battle of Moscow - their backs are against the wall, most of their heartland has been overrun and the army has suffered massive and heart breaking defeats. But they still have lots of fresh bodies that they are frantically training into proper soldiers, and the weapons factories on the east coast are working around the clock to churn out tanks and guns and airplanes. Should they manage to push the Japanese back to and beyond the Mississippi, they will face the same challenges that the Soviets faced when they reclaimed their territories from the Wehrmacht... everything that's useful has either been carted off or blown to pieces. Livestock has been killed, farms and towns burnt down, bridges blown up, electricity and telephone grids town down, power plants destroyed, dams detonated and entire valleys flooded in the process. Mines would also be flooded with water, all equipment either stolen or thrown into deep wells. What civilian population has remained, is starving, and has nothing but rags for clothing.

    In the remote villages it might not be that bad, but you can bet that the mining towns in Montana, the Tennessee valley dams or the large cattle farms in Colorado are not going to be pretty to look at once the Japanese demolition teams are done with them.

    There are lots of heart breaking stories about how Russian engineers returned to the Don and Donets power plants, and found that the Germans had done a 100% job at wrecking everything that could be wrecked. But even so it took them only 2-3 years to bring most of the mines and power plants back into operation.

    And now - time for the concluding Yonaguni update!
    EXCELLENT!!!

  3. #3283
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leviathan07 View Post
    BTW, it didn't take the USSR very long at all to go from the brink of defeat (1941) to dominating the Eurasian continent (1945), did it?
    Good points, but there is one crucial difference. The USA may have a powerful army and all the military industry ready to feed it the day the last Pan-Asian ships off to Hawaii or surrenders. That would be analogous to the USSR in 1945. But the USSR needed only that to dominate Eurasia. The US needs a fleet, and a big one at that if it wants to take the war across the Pacific, and it will take a while to retool the war production from desperate ground war to naval war overseas - as the Germans discovered to their grief (although the other way around) in 1942. The USN has been gutted - it needs to be rebuilt practically from scratch. If any country can pull it off its the USA, but given the wretched state they're going to find the country in, it's going to take a few years, at best.
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  4. #3284
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    Well, Indy has managed to get out of that hell... I wonder what Fu has to say about that whole enterprise....
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  5. #3285
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    No no, not like this. It has to be Fu, shortly before his death, with the theme playing in the background.


    Note: I was raised on Raiders of the lost Ark.



    Good update though.
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    Fu has the cube then...He's like an eel, constantly wiggling free from all webs and setbacks his opponents manage to set up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karelian View Post
    Fu has the cube then...He's like an eel, constantly wiggling free from all webs and setbacks his opponents manage to set up.
    He'll have it, but will he know how dangerous it is? Will Dr. Jones tell him all he knows? Will Fu's use and study of the cube have any "unfortunate" side effects.

  8. #3288
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    Good to see this going still. Also...

    THE SHADOW! NOOO!
    But so they don't feel left out...
    SKORZENY! CHIUN!

    Quote Originally Posted by Leviathan07 View Post
    Satellites are out I think - no way do launch a rocket into a stable orbit without intensive R&D and advanced electronics, which would take decades and Fu hasn't had that much time.

    I think it could be something like this...
    Mounted on high-flying Japanese recon aircraft
    That, the Americans could track, if not intercept. Also, not really Fu's style.

    If he'd really worked at it, I doubt a reconnaissance satellite would be any more beyond Fu's abilities than some of the other marvels he's come up with. But in my heart, I expect we're looking at a more... organic source of intelligence?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Yogi View Post
    Power probably came from an atomic plant. In a deep pit in the passages hewn from the bedrock under the Citadel, Dr Sun had found what he and Indy guessed were the remnants of an atomic pile of some sort. Although clearly elevated above the ambient, the residual levels of radioactivity in the pit where however so low, that it could not have housed a pile of the type proposed by Hahn, Strassman and Meitner a few years prior. Uranium fuel, with a 4,5 billion year half-life, would have been virtually undecayed even after 50 million years. Still, some radioactive fuel with a much shorter half-life than Uranium could conceivably have been used.
    Indy is, alas, no nuclear physicist. A decent nuclear reactor would be stone dead after fifty million years- the fission reactions of the uranium-235 and plutonium would proceed to completion in orders of magnitude less time than that, artificially accelerated by the conditions inside the reactor. There's a reason nuclear power plants need storage facilities for spent fuel rods.

    However, he's perfectly on track otherwise. And, granted, this would hardly be anything like common knowledge in 1941.

    And background radiation would probably still be detectable in the surrounding areas, though it's interesting to reflect that the weaponry employed here didn't leave any such traces.

    Partially obscured by the mark left by the torch, there was impression in the mud. It had a large amorphous central portion surrounded by five circular “toe” marks, just like the million year old fossilized print.

    The discovery was greeted by a strange, whistling sound piping hideously from out of the compact darkness outside the light of the torches.
    Hmm. If not a shoggoth, and I'm not guaranteeing one way or the other... pentalateral symmetry is typical of the Elder Things of Antarctica. Aside from that, no guesses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karelian View Post
    Flying polyps.... Invisible, out-right invulnerable creatures with senses that spot a nearby target without any need for sight or smell. A lightning gun from aeons past is their only hope now
    Ah. Very possible, I'm not familiar with that corner of the Mythos.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yogi
    ‘Of course, but now that my idiot son got himself killed before he could serve his purpose as scapegoat, that can no longer be avoided nor mitigated. All he had to do was to keep breathing until the Americans surrendered, and he failed even at that. But I noticed you said IF, rather than WHEN we win. The outcome is then in doubt to you, even after our latest colossal victory?’
    True. Also, even 18 months later, I still think the numbers killed by the Pan-Asians have to be exaggerated; they simply do not have the manpower to sweep into every little town in the Western United States in sufficient strength to overwhelm the inhabitants and drive them eastward. They have a rifle strength of two or three hundred thousand men, against a population of something like forty million people, quite a few of them armed men who would resist an attempt by small cavalry patrols to drive them from their homes. Even if they didn't need to keep so many troops concentrated at the front, that wouldn't be a ratio for success.

    The great populations of the cities, and the towns along major highways that would represent the main lines of Pan-Asian advance, those could perhaps be scattered and pushed away, down the roads and off into the countryside. Even there we must reflect that the speed of the Pan-Asian advance may well have simply overrun the refugee columns; refugees on foot can only travel so far and the Pan-Asian advance has crossed roughly two thousand miles in six months.

    But it... really does defy arithmetic for Kharash to have completely depopulated such a large, inhospitable area. The Pan-Asians can't waste time routing people out of the bayous in Louisiana or the countless little vallies in the Rockies. The scale of the thing, just... gah. [shakes head]

    Sorry.

  9. #3289
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    Some great updates, I'm wondering how long it will be to the next one.

  10. #3290
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    Vacation time finally gave me the time to catch up with your superb writing Yog! I love the latest developments and it was very satisfying to finally see the so called golden master get what he deserved, although at perhaps a too high a price. :-( The Shadow will be missed.

    Dr. Sun... Is that the Doctor Sun of marvel comics? :-)

    Btw, buddy, way to long time and no see. We're moving to a new apartment soon and will have a house warming party of sorts in September. I'll get back to you on that one but I hope you and your wife will be able to come and visit us.
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  11. #3291
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    Ah, at last, finally caught up...only took several months.

    With all that said, my favorite characters are Chiun, and Duhrn. Chiun, for being a masterless, stylish, master with elderly wit and boundless pride...

    And Duhrn for demonstrating that humans need not cower in hopeless terror in the face of the 'old ones.' He is certainly a testament that he bears the image of his maker, and that maker is far more terrible than any 'crawling chaos' that sleeps under the sea.

    Of course, Duhrn has pretty much blasphemed his maker in many ways in his pursuit of power and lore...so it will be interesting to see what happens when he reaches his demise...

    ...or will he? Dr. Fu's immortality seems not connected to the elixer vitae as much as to his experiences in the dreamland immediately following Attila's death.

    Now that Duhrn has survived what sounded increasingly like the same set of torture Fu endured...could Duhrn be as long-lasting as Fu? Or, could Duhrn now BE Fu, only in a different time? I note that Duhrn has never come face-to-face with Fu...I look forward to that moment with hope and awe.

    Thanks, Yogi.
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