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Alternative Armament for Shoggoths

It was a terrible, indescribable thing vaster than any subway train—a shapeless congeries of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and unforming as pustules of greenish light all over the tunnel-filling front that bore down upon us, crushing the frantic penguins and slithering over the glistening floor that it and its kind had swept so evilly free of all litter.

H. P. Lovecraft, At the Mountains of Madness (1931)

That’s the eye-witness description we find in “At the Mountains of Madness” for the terrible shoggoths, horrifying bio-engineered life-forms that H.P. Lovecraft name dropped in his other stories “The Thing on the Doorstep” and “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.” However, their creators, the Old Ones (later rechristened Elder Things so as not to confuse them with the Great Old Ones) designed the shoggoths to be a kind of endlessly repurposable biological construction equipment. 

“Formless protoplasm able to mock and reflect all forms and organs and processes – viscous agglutinations of bubbling cells – rubbery fifteen-foot spheroids infinitely plastic and ductile – slaves of suggestion, builders of cities – more and more sullen, more and more intelligent, more and more amphibious, more and more imitative!”

The shoggoths were an endlessly adaptable life form that could act as a crane, an earthmover, a bulldozer, steamroller, or even (one supposes) weapons of war when the Elder Things warred with some of the other early inhabitants of the Earth. They were never meant to be able to chose what shapes they took, that was for their masters to decide, but like the quoted passage says, they developed independent intelligence and an agenda all their own, quite reminiscent of the common sci-fi trope about artificially intelligent robots and computers gaining consciousness and turning on their creators. 

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The Dog Soldiers

Wars make warriors. But wars also make warriors into beggars. From the first time humans employed organized violence to impose their will upon their fellow men, injuries received by combat were seen as badges of honor. The history of each warrior’s successes and defeats is written in their flesh. Each missing limb, each furrowed scar is a story. Some stories are triumphs, others tragedies. Warriors have always faced the prospect of being eroded, whittled away until they can ultimately no longer serve the purpose for which they were created. More warriors than not end their careers not only unable to fight, but unable to work. Those most unfortunate end up even unable to care for themselves. In earlier times such men had to rely on the alms of their family and neighbors, with nothing but their injuries to testify to their service. The discarded warrior is all too common. Even in our enlightened time, with our vigorous social security net, gravely injured warriors are discarded. Before the end of the Second World War, the loss of an eye or an arm or a leg did not force the departure of a soldier, particularly officers, from their service. Today, any physical imperfection means an almost instant departure into civilian life. Many of these warriors do not make this transition smoothly. Loss of purpose. Loss of comradeship. Loss of structure and discipline. Many veterans still crave these things long after their forced departure from their adopted tribe.

The discarded warriors seek only to escape their exile. Some through vice, some through exceeding the expectations of their peers, some go looking for a new tribe, for a new mission. Others search for meaning, looking for god’s plan written in their wounds. Most, fortunately, find no meaning, no plan, no god. I say ‘fortunately,’ because the only thing worse than screaming questions into the silent void, is the day that the void finally answers back.

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The Father of War- Avatar of Nyarlathotep Adam Scott Glancy

Image is a dark image of the back of a male with black shards of glass surrounding him. He appears racked in fear.

Father of War
by Ian P. Duckett

“When Qassim pushed the metal vase over, shards of glittering black glass spilled out onto the floor. Qassim dipped his hand into the vase to see if old man Kassam had hidden his gold beneath shards. Just as Qassim started screaming, old Kassam pulled a pistol and shot himself in the head. He knew what was coming.”

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