The Depths of Quiescis
Dear Doctor, I return this file to you because I am not sure what to do with this document. It just contains a note signed by you, dated the 5th of February, 1865. That was five years ago. Has there been any other documentation on this entry? If so, please ensure it reaches the archive’s desk so these records can be filed properly.
Thanks in advance.
Dear Associate ▓▓▓,
At this time, it’s advised that Associates avoid P-13. Would you be required to enter the facility, level 2 hazard protection is strongly advised.
Proper inquiries into the origin and purpose of the P-13 complex are still being conducted.
Recently, I did receive this debriefing of Associate 299, dated 17th of November 1864, after the discovery of the facility designated P-13. It comes across as a cowboy yarn to me, pun intended. But maybe it includes some of the information that you are looking for.
Further information will follow shortly.
The following is an excerpt from the debriefing of Associate 299. Topic, the discovery of an unknown facility and disappearance of Associate 490. Interviewer Dr. Tequilla, interviewee Associate 299.
Dr. Tequilla: “You knew Associate 490, did you not?”
Associate 299: “Only by number and tribulations.”
Dr. Tequilla: “Any idea why he broke his oath?”
Associate 299: “Why, I think I do, good man. But I would have to tell you the full story. For I happen to know what I am about to tell you, your boys don’t have on file.”
Dr. Tequilla: “Is it a good one?”
Associate 299: “Hee, hee, I’d be careful if I were you. You are not going to like it.”
Dr. Tequilla: “Those tend to be the most interesting ones.”
Associate 299: “Alright…
So, it all started like all good tales, out on the prairie. 490 and I were chasing a reported outsider in the Chihuahua Desert, Texas. 490 is one of those with Crow blood. Spent most of his y
ears off and on the reservation. He knew the land well and was a decent tracker. He would do the tracking, I‘d do the shooin’. Bit superstitious though, but most folks who spend enough time on the prairie tend to be…
[Pauses to take a shot of whiskey]
Those stretches of land can make you see things. I believe it’s what drove ‘em to become an Associate. Believin’ there is more to them rifts than meets the eye and he connected them to the legends of his ancestors. Now, you don’t have to live on the prairie to believe that. He, he…ergh.
[Takes another sip]
I’m tellin’ ya this because I wager those beliefs are what drove him over the edge.
So, we were huntin’ a suspected Outsider on behalf of the local ranchers. Now, I realize that we are not supposed to be guns for hire, but the routine of advising people on how to contain rifts does not work out here.
We’re talkin’ no-mans-Ville.
The Mexo-American war didn’t help the situation, and our countrymen are still at each other’s throats. For years to come by the looks of it.
[Takes another sip]
After two days we managed to track it down. A lonely beast the size of two buffaloes. Its posture was kinda like that too. Well, more ape-like… How do you describe something that is part ape, mushroom, and frog-crocodile? Anyway, that thing belongs in a swamp somewhere, not the Chihuahua Desert. It lodged itself in a waterhole and, I assume, only came out when hungry.
Good thing 490 had some experience with javelins because we needed to blow that bitch up with dynamite… Eh, it wasn’t too big of a hassle all things considered. Once we got accustomed to its appearance we dared to come closer and torpedoed him with our explosives.
That is also when we discovered it was kinda - mushroomy… We never discovered the rift it came from, bye-the-by.
[Takes a drink]
Anyway, after a job well done, we entered a small town. One of those that used to be Mexican before the war, but got annexed. The young folk had left by the time we got there. Those who remained were just the old folk who provided shelter to cowboys and travelers.
It was getting dark, so we decided to take a hotel for the night.
That fateful evening, we were preparin’ for bed when 490 looked out of the window. I still remember vividly how he stood there with a bottle in his hand staring in the distance as if he knew there was something not quite right out there in the dark. “Are there any other towns nearby?” he asked.
“Not for miles,” I said. “Why?”
“Than what the fuck am I lookin’ at?” he asked. I apologize for the language, but I never hear
d him talk like that before either.
That’s when I got up and joined him. There it was. Countless lights are neatly arranged in a checkered pattern just by the mountain range. I checked our map again, but no mention of any town in that direction. Maybe a confederate fort then, I thought. Well… The next morning, over breakfast, I asked our hostess about the lights we saw. And that is when our suspicions were roused something fierce as she shook her head. “Non, senior. There is no camp. No soldiers.”
“But we saw lights burning last night, near the mountains,” I said.
Then her eyes grew that large, I was afraid they would pop out of her skull and looked at us as if we had invited the devil himself into her hotel. “Senior. There is nothing out there.” Her insistence was… unsettling. And of course, we didn’t believe a word of it.
Now personally, I thought we should let it be. But 490… Man, he looked pale like he was running a fever. “We need to look,” he said. “I need to see there is nothing there!” Those lights really upset him.
“Alright, alright,” I said. “We’ll go.”
We did attempt to get some information from the locals beforehand, but they were tight-lipped. Every time we mentioned the lights they politely tried to brush us off after mumbling somethin’ about cattle thieves and soldiers coming through.
Just mentioning those mountains seemed to inspire dread. “No senior, stay away from there. Only the wicked go there to drink with the devil,” said one. No wonder the youngins left…
Then, while heading out we met a caravaner on the road. Said he carried liquor across the border. We didn’t question the legality of it… He did however give us some insights. He claimed there used to be a temporary settlement where they send sick people… to die. Tuberculosis patients. At least, that was his explanation.
I asked if the complex was Mexican or American. He couldn't answer that, but as far as he remembered the place was abandoned when he first arrived.
After all that, I figured these folks were concerned about stirring the souls of the dead. But 490 seemed incredulous, and wouldn’t rest until he’d seen the place for himself… To be honest, by now those lights in the night drew me like moths to a flame.
[Takes another drink]
Just couldn’t help myself.
It was past noon when we arrived at the gates of the non-existent settlement, eager to find shelter against the sun. A gated community with a pearly perimeter. Above its white walls rose the roofs of a large building, like a sanatorium, and there were houses too. But no people.
Above the ornamental gate, locked with a large padlock, was the name of the place in cast iron: “Quiescis”.
[Drink the glass empty]
Can I have another…. Thanks…
I tell ya, just standing in front of the sign made my hairs stand on end, and if either of us were there by ourselves, none of us would have even considered coming near the place… But there were two of us, and both were too embarrassed to admit how terrified we were. So… We went inside through a collapsed section of the wall.
[Has another sip]
Now, I’ve traversed rifts and have seen strange worlds. But none felt as alien, or hostile as Quiescis.
Most of the buildings were not but ruins. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just age. Inside of the perimeter wall were bullet holes. On the inside.
Whatever threat ended this community was inside before they could react. Or more likely, it had been with them all along.
We followed the main road from the gate to a plaza with a large fountain in the middle. From there the road split in two other directions, the community to the west and the sanatorium to the east.
That hospital looked more foreboding than anything I had seen. Something about its odd architecture. It had some Italianate-themes going on. Like square flat-roofed towers on either side of the entrance, like a church. Then it had some, let's say, mesoamerican features like animal-shaped brackets supporting the roof. I never saw those combined before. But I’m no architect.
Without saying a word, we wandered in the direction of the houses. Unfortunately, these had a similar renaissance style. Not as grand, mind ya. But enough to make us nervous. You could just feel something bad happened here, and we had noticed no sources of light. No buildings I would consider safe or worth squatting in.
We had already walked past some of the ruins when suddenly we heard something collapse inside one of the houses.
Sacred stiff we looked at each other. “Is anyone in there?” I cried. I kinda hoped it was a coyote or something But that is when we saw two shadows move. Two Mexican children walked
out of the house. A little girl, and a boy holding on to a lantern. They glared at us as scared kids tend to do when doing something they are not supposed to.
“What in tarnation are you two doing here?” I asked.
The girl hid away behind the boy. “Exploring.”
“This place is dangerous. Get out of here.”
They wanted to run off, but 490 stopped them. “Wait,” he said. “Is anything in there?”
The two looked at each other.
“Don’t go inside the temple,” said the boy, and then the two off um continued to run.
“What temple?”, we cried after them, but they had already disappeared between the ruins.
Kind of embarrassing, I would say that two children were braver than we were, and even after that, we didn’t dare to enter any of the homes.
[He sighs and takes a shot]
That’s when we found this small cubical building, its heavy metal door being wide open. Utterly unremarkable at first glance, but we thought it could provide us with some clues to what was going on here.
But when we opened the door, we were confronted with this symbol, like a marker.
Dr. Tequilla: Marker?
Associate 299: Yeah… An outlandish glyph of sorts. Like a crescent moon and a dot. And tentacles, three of them. Kinda like a jellyfish. It even had an arrow shape through the middle tentacle as if it told us to leave…
Dr. Tequilla: Are you alright?
Associate 299: Now that I think of it. It was really rusty. I wonder now if that red… Whatever the case. It riled up 490 something fierce and he just stormed in.
By the time I looked inside, he was already descending down a wide staircase leading down to where the sun don’t shine.
Fool that I was, I followed him downstairs with nothing but a simple lantern. After passing an antechamber, it became obvious very quickly that this wasn’t just any town. There was a tunnel down there, running down the length of the whole settlement it seemed. The place was littered with beds, wheelchairs, and other hospital furniture. And then there were doors. Many doors. Heavy double-doors of steel.
Without sayin’ a word, 490 grabbed one of the door handles. I hoped it would be locked. But no. The door creaked as crusts of rust flaked off the hinges. We peeked inside the dark place. There was light coming into the space from above that instead of a hospital room or morgue, seemed to be a typical living room or dining era inside of a basement. There was a table, surrounded by several chairs, that had dining plates still on them covered in layers of mold and dust. And there was a staircase going up to where the beams of sunlight filtered through the debris blocking the entrance.
As we continued to explore, we walked past bedrooms, offices, rooms with operating tables. Even a morgue. But a strange thing happened. It had several observation cells: Small rooms with a large glass window, and an autopsy table inside. But these rooms were unnaturally small, with no space left for any equipment…
[He takes another drink]
These tables had a grate on top with a drawer underneath, like they were collecting something coming out of the bodies… Look I am no doc. All I am saying is these folks were not suffering from tuberculosis.
About that time we heard this unsettling whining from down the hall, like voices speaking through a poorly tuned radio. Through the buzzing of white noise, there was this unsettling moaning that sounded like the creaking of shutters swaying in the wind.
Despite the tumult, we continued until we saw a red light shining into the hallway from inside another room. It was flickering as if random shapes were passing through the light like leaves drifting on the wind.
490 was right behind when I peeked around the corner of the door opening. It was a larger room whose interior basked in a crimson radiance filtered through dirt-covered glass. From behind the window, of what I suppose used to be an observation chamber, we saw these abstract shapes shear by like objects caught in a whirlwind. The light flickered as we approached the window. Despite myself, I swiped away the dust with my hand and immediately noticed the surface was electrically charged. I also had trouble breathing when I pressed my face against the murky glass…
I can’t quite explain it.
It stared at me…
I mean, I've seen rifts in my day. But this one. I tell ya, it looked like Satan's Peephole sunken into this mound of dark ash while bending its own light like a shattered mirror. I know that ash is normal around a rift, but we’re talking ankle deep!
I tell ya again, that ain’t normal… I just remember it as this evil eye, surrounded by this… I dunno, things we’re just floating around it like caught in its gravity. But I… They must have studied it. Instead, they were being studied… Whoever they were.
Smelling the brimstone, I could just feel something looking at us.
Amidst this crimson mass floated this disk. Right in the middle, like a convex mirror reflecting our faces all twisted like. And I don’t mean in a funhouse ha-ha, kinda way. I talkin’ contortin’ our reflections into tortured wretches that were raked over the coals and back…
[He chucks the entire contents of his glass]
Associate 299: Come hit me again!
Dr. Tequilla: You sure?
Associate 299: You wanted to hear the story. Now hit me again…
[After Dr. Tequilla pours him another, he one-shots the glass]
Good man… Don’t enter the temple, the kid said.
We were shaking like little children as we stared right at that anomaly, and backed away slowly, afraid it would… I dunno. We just retreated back inside the collapsing corridors, past the small cells.
When we sneaked past one of those… That is when both felt it. Both of us turned toward the open cell door and… I know for a fact we both saw it!
Between the torn remains of canvas padding, there was a shadow. But not on the wall. Hovering beside one of those tables was the silhouette of a man. Its feet didn’t touch the ground. The light of our lantern did not do anythin’. It just floated like a light-consuming void -and it started to grow as if it was feeding on us.
We ran. We ran like our lives depended on it. My lamp broke when it collided with a bed frame and had to make our way through the dark. That is when 490 darted into a room, and just dashed inside the nearest basement. I followed him, and that’s when he just stormed the stairs and forced himself through the rubble. So did I, and then we ran. And ran, and ran.
By the time we stopped running, we were back out between the houses. The sun was setting and we were lost. Like mad we ran around looking for a way out. We went behind one house, but the perimeter walls barred our way. Ran across a mound of rubble. More walls. And this kept happening till finally, we found a section that collapsed down a steep ridge. We didn’t care anymore. 490 just built up speed like the devil was on his heels and jumped down what was probably six feet. I lost my nerve. Instead, I nearly fell as I tried the climb down like an idiot…
Associate 299: Hit me again!
Dr. Tequilla: Before I do. What happened to 490?
Associate 299: Never seen him again. Bastard took our horses and ran. Didn’t even get to ask what that glyph was about.
Dr. Tequilla: Then how did you get out of there?
Associate 299: After walkin’ till night fell, I came across a ranch. The family was kind enough to give me shelter for the night.
At the table, I told um I was exploring the ruins of Quiescis telling them I spotted some people there. But that’s when the man of the house told me what chilled me to the bone. “But senior. No one has been there for years. Not since two kids disappeared inside those ruins.”
Now, how about that drink?