A Clockwork Yellow
Background: In 1995, some idiot in Burnaby, British Columbia decided to use The King In Yellow as part of an experimental and flatly illegal psychological reconditioning study using criminals. And ‘some idiot in Burnaby’ is about as detailed as a description as one can make, these days: part of the fallout of that particular disaster was the permanent erasure from human language of the phonemes that made up that man or woman’s name. Don’t think about it too hard, particularly if you have a family history of neurological incidents. The resulting disaster turned out to be of the ‘time bomb’ sort, rather than the ‘Azathoth has been summoned’ sort: while the staff all went messily and flamboyantly mad – like you do – the reconditioning appeared to …work, sort of. At least, all the subjects went permanently catatonic, which is not the worst thing that can happen when you’re exposed to Carcosa, right?
Unfortunately, the investigation was handled by Canada’s anti-Mythos government agency (M-EPIC) – and, just as unfortunately, M-EPIC’s remit has mostly been involved with Ithaqua cults and the like. Cleanup squads knew to close down the site and cover up the evidence; and the original researchers typically found new and exciting ways to commit homicide-suicide while still in custody, and before trial. But the research subjects were allowed to live, in the hopes that they’d wake up. Which they never did: the last one died in 2014, still on a respirator. By then, the relevant M-EPIC staffers had all done the usual round of retirement, resignation, reassignment, gone mad themselves, or committed suicide; which meant that nobody was left on this plane of existence who still possessed any institutional memory of the original case.