02/28/2024 Snippet, THE VISITOR FROM OUTSIDE.

Fighting through the Not-Covid Plague! Now my oldest kid has it! Yay!

So today I got to see the inside of the Sentinel Dump for the first time. This primitive phone I was given ‘rang’ for the first time, and that was fun; I almost completely missed it. Fortunately, I figured it all out quickly enough to take the ‘call.’ It was Osborn, and he wanted me to know that I could just go to the Dump at any time I liked. My morning was free, so I went.

You know, you read in books just how primitive the 20th century was, but you don’t really think of what that means in real life. I was expecting some piles of trash and maybe a shack or two, but the Sentinel Dump is huge. Which makes sense, because it was getting so much trash from everywhere. What I didn’t expect was how loud it was. Osborn’s put up soundfences in various spots, and you can see why once you’re past them. Everywhere I turned, there was another hulking mass of ancient industrial equipment (and I mean ancient. Like, pre-electronic, sometimes), wheezing and growling and whining everywhere. And they’d move on their bases, rattling and shuddering, like they were just about to fly into pieces the moment you looked at them.

I don’t know what they were doing. Taking large bits of junk and breaking them into smaller ones, mostly. People would dart between the machines, dumping pieces out of baskets and putting them into hoppers, heedless of the oils and ichors that might get smeared on their clothes and faces. And the smells! The air tasted of metallic grease and slime, and I took with eagerness the face mask offered to me by a Dump employee here to show me the site. She was eager to help (they all were), but I left as soon as I possibly could, and breathed a real sigh of relief when I came away from that place, and could breathe cleaner air. Which tells you a lot about how filthy and nerve-wracking the Sentinel Dump is.

02/27/2024 Snippet, THE VISITOR FROM OUTSIDE.

Lets see who buries who, shall we?

“The USOld wasn’t like we get told now, you know.” Zealia told me that fact with slightly horrified glee. Or maybe slightly gleeful horror, like it was some sort of whispered folk tale. “They weren’t always the good guys. They did dark things.”

“Well, sure,” I replied, wishing I could eat in this library. These books were pretty fragile. “Slavery, Old Devil Wilson, the True Gaians. We learned about all of that in school.”

“Sure, but I don’t mean those things. I mean secret things.” Zealia tapped one book on the table. “Like the stories in that one. It’s a bunch of transcripts about some operations the USOld did two hundred years ago against a bunch of cults.”

I thought about “Cults, two hundred years ago… oh. The Reds?”

“No! That’s what I thought, too, but this is even earlier. Before World War II. They were local cults, not taking orders from the Great Provider or anything –”

Right about then I snorted. “I hope not! Come on, you know they made that guy up for the teracts.” 

Zealia waggled her hand. “Sort of yeah, sort of no. The Great Provider really existed, but he probably didn’t sleep in a pool of blood. But that’s not important! Forget him! This is about why we have the Sentinel Dump.”

Scotland the [insert rock joke here].

This is just flat-out cool.

It is, indeed, going viral. People keep asking the dude to make them one of their own. He keeps telling them that they’ll need to wait thirty years. …I approve.