by Seamus Esparza

Read in Lovecraftiana: The Magazine of Eldritch Horror (2016-17)

(This review contains spoilers)

A special ops agent named Mycenaean is sent to northeast Vermont with a squad of soldiers to kidnap a member of the Starry Wisdom Cult.

He’s a total hardass who spouts a bunch of toxic bullshit straight out of an 80’s action movie, and I’m not sure if it’s meant to endear the reader to him or not, but it certainly does not.

He flies in with his team, whose names really aren’t necessary, and they quickly come across the weird residents of this place. They first see the fishlike Innsmouthers complete with some bizarre set of twins that are barely human-looking anymore. They all feel the itch to open fire but decide not to and hunker down in some abandoned place.

The soldiers accompanying Mycenaean were not told about any of this and so naturally ask him about just what the fuck is going on. He tells them all about there being other planes of existence touching ours and the weird creatures it brings to Earth. One soldier brings up a story about how they rescued another squad a decade or so earlier, and one of the men they pulled out of the wreckage looked just like Mycenaean, but he’s here now, not having aged a day out of his twenties since. Hmm.

Mycenaean goes over the ordinance they have brought with them and decides to hell with the Brass’ order; they will open fire and kill all the cultists during their meeting. They quickly find the meeting place full of strange beings, many of which defy description.

Then we get to the point of this story, the big action set-piece. A flashback has Mycenaean saying to high-ranking officials that we are in the Nuclear Age! We no longer have to put up with these beings anymore; we can just blow them all away and make them pay. And so, back in the present, he does just that; his squad rigs the place with claymores and opens fire on the beings laying waste to the whole of them.

While ordering his men to seize all amulets, scrolls, documents, or anything of the sort, he comes across an avatar of Nyarlathotep. Yeah, that guy, who apparently can be harmed by basic human weaponry. Just go with it.

They have a conversation. Nyarlathotep calls Mycenaean ‘Moiramaxos’ and says he is some kind of warrior of fate. Mycenaean reveals he’s been doing this for three thousand years if you still didn’t figure it out or even care. It doesn’t really matter. We are just here for the action.

Mycenaean and his men are attacked by the Mi-Go and take heavy damage but manage to fight them off. They see some hole appear that gives a glimpse of the Daemon Sultan, Azathoth. (I love when they use the full name because what does that even mean?) The cultists must have been somewhat successful in causing that, but nothing happens, and all is fine for now.

The story ends with this lovely quote from Mycenaean, and while it doesn’t work that way, I still enjoy the sentiment: “Kill those from the outer gulfs who come here, kill every avatar of Nyarlathotep. Shove a tactical nuke up Cthulhu’s ass. Hunt down every member of their cults and liquidate them. It isn’t too hard. I’ve been butchering these pigs for close to three millennia.”

I didn’t find this story great, but it was fun in the action scenes against the creatures the protagonists usually just faint to. Unfortunately, there’s not really much to it other than that, and I didn’t care much for Mycenaean’s backstory; that is barely explained or matters, honestly. His fellow soldiers were just there for the plot and not actual characters. I suppose that’s fine for a short story, but it holds it back for sure.

*** Three out of Five Stars (Average)

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