Anniversary Email 72

Congratulations on your 12 year anniversary. That is an impressive amount of time spent within this institution, but nothing more than a grain of sand falling through the hourglass for the servants of Vecna, for whom even death is but an inconvenience. They who are asked “At what price, power?” and answer they shall pay any cost. Perhaps as little as an eye and a hand. Perhaps far more. Always at the cost of your soul. We wallow in the filth of this world, in forgotten ruins, trading in secrets and defiling the works of man and elves alike. Our cults are hidden in plain sight, in the heart of your cities, corrupting allies and foes alike. We are an inclusive blight. A spreading rot. You cannot defeat us. Do you not feel as though it is time to join us? Give in to the call of lichdom and secret your spirit away in phylacteries hidden the world over. Watch as feeble heroes stumble and flail, trying to cast down your dark designs, but only ensnaring themselves deeper within your webs. Watch as the tides of undeath swell and wash this world clean of the blight of the just and the pure. We are waiting for you. We have an eternity.

Rogue 1.5

Having seen the latest entry in the Star Wars franchise, I think we can all agree it was better than the lackluster rehash that was The Force Awakens, and vastly superior to execrable prequels. Having said that, viewing it in the larger context of the Star Wars whole does complicate matters. Rather than a by the numbers review, I thought I would address these points by adding on a post credits sequence that I think would have really cleared things up.

Oh, EXTREME SPOILERS for Rogue One, by the way.

I’m not even kidding. Here there be spoilers.

Spoilers, yo!

Ok, you were warned enough. Here we go.

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INT – PALPATINE’S THRONE ROOM

Emperor Palpatine is seated on his throne. Beside him is Darth Vader, breathing like an asthmatic trying to do chin ups. In front of them stands an Imperial actuary in a smart uniform with a clipboard.

ACTUARY
And so you can see, we achieved a 300% increase in combat effectiveness with the use of simple hand grenades…

PALPATINE
No grenades.

ACTUARY
Why no grenades? Literally every main character, er, rebel agent of any import was killed by a grenade or an explosion of some sort during that last skirmish.

PALPATINE
I don’t like them. I have already gotten the rebels to agree to no grenades. No grenades.

ACTUARY
If you will forgive me, your highness, they were very effective. Ridiculously, stupidly effective. The rebels probably can’t even afford that many grenades, which is why they’d be eager to agree to such terms. Meanwhile we’ve been blowing our budget on ineffective plastic armor for the Stormtroopers.

PALPATINE
I am done talking about this.

ACTUARY
Very well. That brings us to the matter of Galen Erso. I understand we murdered his wife in front of him.

PALPATINE laughing darkly
Yesssssssssss.

ACTUARY
Was anyone at all concerned about this? How it might affect the quality of his work?

PALPATINE
Not really.

ACTUARY
Do we have something on this guy? Are we blackmailing him with information that would ensure compliance? Like… Does he eat people? Because that would be great to know. He really wouldn’t want that getting out. Being a cannibal.

PALPATINE
No. That is a completely different show.

ACTUARY
Did we at least have people peer review what he was doing? Any oversight on his transmissions?

PALPATINE
No. You have to trust your people, you know. It is what good leaders do. Delegate.

ACTUARY
Look, there is delegation, then their abdicating your responsibility to ensure the safety and security of…

Vader begins force choking the Actuary.  The Actuary gags and gasps until Emperor Palpatine waves his hand and releases the man.

PALPATINE
How did you like that, eh?

ACTUARY
I… I didn’t.

PALPATINE
I bet not. We’ve got more where that came from, you know.

ACTUARY
Can I just… Is that like a sexual thing for you guys? Does it turn you on?

VADER, defensively
No! I just choke people. And then my heart rate increases and my breathing gets faster and my blood pressure goes up.

ACTUARY
You are describing arousal…

VADER
And then little Vader gets excited and stands up to look around and see what is going on…

ACTUARY
Still describing arousal…

PALPATINE
Enough of this. Did you have further questions, or must you insist on wasting the time of this august body?

ACTUARY
Of course. My apologies.I’d like to talk about Eadu if we may.

PALPATINE
Of course.

ACTUARY
Am I to understand we had a shield that covered the entire planet and made it immune to penetration by both weapons systems and ships?

PALPATINE
Yes. It is an impressive piece of technology and we did not steal the idea from the movie Space Balls.

ACTUARY
Of course not. And are we putting this same shield on your… Death Star?

PALPATINE
No.

ACTUARY
Can I ask why not? It seems like that would be an excellent precautionary measure.

PALPATINE
That shit won’t work.

ACTUARY
But why? It…

Vader begins force choking the Actuary again. The Actuary gags and chokes, falling to his knees.

PALPATINE
Oh my God! You were right! He totally has an erection right now!

Vader loses his concentration, dropping the force choke. The Actuary stands back up.

VADER
Wait, what?

PALPATINE
Oh, when I was rebuilding you I had them put in a bunch of sensors so I could monitor your… you know what? Never mind.

Pause.

ACTUARY
Awkward… Moving along. Now the data the rebels stole. I understand they transmitted from the surface using an imperial dish. Do we know what they transmitted?

PALPATINE
Not a clue.

ACTUARY
None of ships picked up the blast of data from the planet’s surface…

PALPATINE
Our shit didn’t work.

ACTUARY
You know, our technology seems incredibly fickle, like it only works in a very specific set of circumstances that… Whatever. Fine. I understand Tarkin gave the order to fire on the facility. Is that correct?

PALPATINE
Correct.

ACTUARY
And he did this despite the fact that the rebels were fleeing and we could have examined the missing drive to determine what was transmitted, or reviewed the outbound logs for the planet, which Director Krennic alluded to them keeping, to determine what was sent?

PALPATINE
I mean, I guess so.

ACTUARY
Do you have any idea how damaging it is to troop morale to fire on your own people? Please tell me you fired him.

PALPATINE
No. I put him in charge of the Death Star. Forever.

ACTUARY
Of course you did. Great. That’s great. And that brings us to you, Lord Vader. I understand you chased the rebel holding the plans at a brisk walk.

VADER
Correct.

ACTUARY
And cornered said rebel, who slid the plans through the door.

VADER
Correct.

ACTUARY
And at no point did it occur to you to rip the plans from his hand with your force powers, even though we saw you do that seconds before with the rebels’ blaster weapons, or to throw your lightsaber, or force choke him into submission, or anything?

VADER
Uh… I forgot.

ACTUARY
You forgot.

VADER
I forgot I could do that stuff. Yes.

ACTUARY
And where are Tarkin and this Death Star headed now?

PALPATINE
Alderaan.

ACTUARY
And why are they going to Alderaan?

PALPATINE
So that when we capture Princess Leia we can demonstrate the power of this fully armed and operation battlestation!

ACTUARY
Right. And you need to demonstrate this to her despite the fact she watched you use your super weapon on Eadu and will would likely mention something to that effect?

PALPATINE
Oh, she won’t do that.

ACTUARY
Really? Because that seems kind of important. Like she’d at least bring that up…

PALPATINE
Won’t happen.

ACTUARY
You know what? Fine. Final question. Given that you are seemingly unconcerned with collateral damage or the damage to morale caused by firing on your own troops, can you explain why you had to go through this convoluted effort to build not one, but two secret armies to wage war against each other so you could destroy the Jedi and take over the republic when you could have just as easily waited to finish building the Death Star and fired directly on the Jedi Temple, killing them all in one go? I mean, it is not like they’d have seen it coming given they were standing right next to you multiple times and could not tell you are a Sith lord.

PALPATINE
Well, I, that is… actually a way better plan.

Palpatine begins using force lighnting the Actuary. The man writhes and screams as bolts of blue electricity arc through his body

PALPATINE
Oh my God! I have the biggest boner right now!

END SCENE

Anniversary Email 71

Please join me in wishing a happy one year anniversary to <NAME> of the <PRODUCT> team. While not working on <PRODUCT>, <NAME> acts as our first line of defense against the fearsome Yeti, snow demons who haunt the frigid mountains and forests of Canada. He has a rigorous training regimen consisting of eating at places named Pain & Fromage. I did not know what fromage was, so I looked it up. Apparently he subsists on a diet of suffering and cheese. That is probably not the type of person you want to mess with. Good job on upping your pain tolerance, <NAME>.

And you will need quite a tolerance for pain when the yeti come. Covered in a shaggy hide and immune to the effects of cold, their hook like claws and grotesque fangs are capable of easily rending flesh. Their brutish strength is more than enough to shatter bone in a single blow. They thirst for blood and seek to destroy the world of men, returning to earth to a more primitive, natural state where they alone shall rule over broken tribes of our descendants as cruel overlords. From their ice palaces they shall force the remaining humans to toil in the frozen wastes, bringing the yeti fresh meat and treasures which they will lock away in caves deep beneath the earth.

There will be no winter wonderland, only a cruel and inhospitable plane of suffering and torment, where the wind bites deeply into exposed flesh and the loss of fingers and toes to frostbite is a common occurrence. No art or science, only the unrelenting cold. Bundled in rags, the last free humans will wage an ineffective guerrilla campaign against these arctic horrors. All of this shall come to pass in time. It is inevitable.

Unless, of course, we are first corrupted and taken over by The Thing. That is also up there. Perhaps the yeti themselves are already Things. That is, perhaps, a possibility too terrifying to imagine. You may need to spend more time at Pain & Fromage, <NAME>.

Congratulations again!

Anniversary Email 70

Not an actual anniversary email, but a congratulations note I sent two recipients of a promotion at my company.

Congratulations, <NAME> and <NAME>! With your new roles come increased responsibilities. Tasks, if you will. Toils, like the heroes in some Homeric epic. Deep within the confines of the earth, the hidden things sleep. Impossible beings that should not exist. Things that by our current understanding of the sciences cannot exist. The great weeping sores that line their bodies weep sweet lacrima. When ingested, this cloudy fluid opens our minds to strange new vistas and terrifying cosmic truths that unwind human sanity and send us into a spiral of madness from whence there is no return. To sup from their wounds is to blow open the doors of perception and wrench your third eye open in blood and pain. To light your every nerve with electric current and burn away any pretense you maintain about your place in this world. You cannot call yourself fully human once you have tasted their alien fruit.

Of course, such things must be made to slumber. They are fang and claw and multitudes of limbs and mouths that will surely seek to consume all that lies before them. They hunger, and they sleep fitfully. You must descend beneath the earth, into the lightless subterranean caverns and sing them a siren song of screams of pain and terror. All that soothes these monsters are the sounds of strife and the scent of bloodshed. The taste of fear. Conflict is, to them, a sweet lullaby that gently lulls them back into complacency. Dreamless sleep.

In time you shall grow accustomed to your new home. Your eyes will fog and go dark in the depths. You will no longer need sight. You will navigate by the scent of the sleeping ones and the sound of their vast mass shifting, signaling the need for your ministrations. Eventually, as you continue to subsist on the fungus found in their caverns, a fungus fed by the secretions of the sleepers, you will begin your transformation. Finally, one day you will take your place among them, joining their ranks as we send new acolytes into that hellish chamber of lament.

Congratulations again!

From the outer darkness