Rob Coker, Larkman Nunatak, December 25, 2012
The public tale of the 2012-2013 ANSMET Expedition, funded by various Institutions interested in acquiring Knowledge for its own sake, has been told elsewhere, most prominently in our public wireless reports. Here, today, with the last vestiges of my humanity and sanity in tatters, I feel compelled to tell the real story about the events that have taken place here on the aeons-old windswept Antarctic plateau, before it is too late. I am reluctant to tell my tale, since I know my story will likely not be believed, but I must rely upon the judgement of the dear reader.
As previously reported, we camped here in the Larkman region to find pieces of the heavens themselves that have fallen from the sky and been buried for untold ages in the dead ice beneath us, only filled area. Surrounding us, and exuding waves of menace, are the tops of various monstrous mountains of antiquity. It is a land of stark and deep, almost mind-numbing, emensity, which, from the start, also invoked in me, for no evident reason, feelings of dread and emptiness. If only I had listened to those vague feelings and fears! When I arrived here, I was reading The Worst Journey in the World, in an attempt to learn more of this merciless land that I was planning on spending months getting to know. As the days went by, I instead used the tale to feel better about our harsh conditions, which, though harsh, are far better and easier to endure than those which the early explorers experienced. Or so I thought. For example, I have been haunted by the howling winds
that never stop, streaming North from the Pole, filling our tent with what sounds like the eerie cries of the long damned, while drawing the life from our skins and producing the dead flesh of frost nip in mere minutes. This cold wind also drives hard crystals of snow against all of our sledges and tents and transport, leaving long deep drifts that we easily stumble into when the light gets cold and flat, as it often does, when clouds blot out the sun. Wraithlike streamers of such flowing crystals move across the blue ice in formations that defy description, etching and cutting all they touch; they are like ghost fingers searching for and draining any spark of life and heat they can find. We try hard to lessen our impact on this dreadfully dry and crushingly cold environment, but the heat of our stoves and of our very bodies cannot be hidden from the denizens that lurk here. And they are jealous of such warmth. And they do not wish to be disturbed. But, unwittingly, disturb them we have.
In the 100 years since Scott’s fateful jorney to the Pole, some things have changed considerably, such as this wireless means of communication, while other things, such as our sledges and tents, are virtually identical to those used by that doomed Expedition. Upon finishing that tale of noble and desparate deeds, I felt a compulsion to read next a story by H.P. Lovecraft, set here in the desolate and deserted Antarctic continent. While reading it, feelings of deja vu overwhelmed me. Suddenly, my very rational tentmate, who has been further than all but a mere handful of other human beings and seen much, quietly stated, “You know what is better than reading Lovecraft’s ‘At the Mountains of Madness’ while being in Antarctica? Reading Lovecraft’s ‘At the Mountains of Madness’ while being in Antarctica with blood dripping from the ceiling.” And indeed that was happening! It suddently all fell into place as the steak blood dripped onto our clothing, our utensils, our flesh. Surely we were in the fabled plateau of Leng, as described in the Necronomicon, written by the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred, where the eldritch Deep Ones slumber the long cold slow sleep of death. The blasphemous descriptions of the Mountains of Madness matched our surroundings perfectly. I trembled, eager to inform my companions at our next get-together in the Science tent, for we should abandon our quest for the Star Stones, for they are the sporous offspring of the Old Ones. My colleagues laughed and jested at me, singing and carrolling until the late hours. They know not what they have summoned with their crazed verses!
This Christmas day, our stockings are empty — not even coal to heat ourselves! — and no presents are to be found. Santa could not find us in this aeons-cursed land. Did this convince my companions? Of course not. Finally, it dawned on me in growing horror: The very water we have been drinking, melted from the ice beneath us, contains tiny fragments of star stones, the spores of the Deep Ones, and we have been inbibing them for weeks! Nurtured in our bodies, they have filled us with the urge to find more and greater examples of their spawn and return them to our so-called Civilization. I can only shudder at what Horrors and Truths will hatch from them.
Humanity will always explore and seek Knowledge, so I know others will come here and fall under the same curse that we have, no matter what I write here today. I shiver at what the final result may be. But the Truth had to be told.
Happy Holidays to All!
*B*: The cat is in the kitchen. Repeat: the cat is in the kitchen. 0800NZT. ES22: thermal HW problem: Scott tent with Coleman stove. Find time-dependent solution with 0F floor. (and I’m not afraid of purple monkeys…blueballed ones on the other hand…)
Other texting homies (of which I have more than everyone else combined!): I can feel the luv!