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I love the smell of napalm

8 April

Hello, this is Tony – the nerd. Here is the update we got texted from the satellite phone earlier. Crazy shit!!

Woke up in a pile of naked bodies in a room smelling of opium and hash. Apparently, it was a good night…

On the flight out me and The Monkey sat in the open door of the Huey. I hung on to the gun mount for support, but The Monkey just lolled against the frame as if it was the most natural thing in the world and smoked cigars. I noticed Hambone glancing back at him every now and then, a frown visible even with the aviator sunglasses. We flew north along the Mekong for a while before banking towards the north east and flying through mountain valleys. The Monkey had pulled me to one side before we boarded the chopper and said that he thought there was something wrong. He was suspicious of Hambone’s reluctance to take us into the deep jungle. He said that all of the Huey pilots he had known had been capable putting their birds down just about anywhere. I said that maybe Hambone was a bit crap, but The Monkey just shook his head and told me to keep a one in the chamber just in case.

We left the mountains and headed out across sparse jungle crossed by the occasional road. Hambone shouted over his shoulder that we would be landing soon, and The Monkey looked at me and patted his side arm. We descended into a wide clearing and it was immediately obvious that we were not alone. The Monkey was in Hambone’s face straight away, gun drawn, but Hambone just held up his hands and said ‘Sorry guys but we can’t go any further without this meeting. I hope you are doing this stuff for the right reasons – for all our sakes…’ I thought for a second that The Monkey might shoot him, but he flipped on the safety and made his way back to me as Hambone killed the engine.

Those waiting for us were a mix of Orientals, men and women, but my attention was drawn to the seven tall, thin Chinese men in long black robes. I almost laughed out loud at the long white moustaches, beards and eyebrows. It was like a Shaw Brothers kung fu movie. I glanced at The Monkey but he wasn’t laughing and I swallowed it down and kept my hand by my Glock (that’s not a spelling mistake). One of the tall Chinese began to speak in exceptionally good English ‘Welcome Monkey Lord’ he said with a little bow of his head. The Monkey stared back through a cloud of cigar smoke. ‘We could let you get no closer to the temple without discovering your true intent. When you made your journey to the West, we thought that you had been seduced by the Illuminated Ones, that your previous life had biased you towards them.’ The Monkey took the cigar from his mouth and said, ‘What the fuck are you talking about?’

Over the next two hours he got his explanation. The Orientals are the heads of a Chinese based secret organisation called The Green and Red Society. They have been around for hundreds of years and stretch across the whole of South East Asia and count their members in the millions. Their mission is to oppose the Western Illuminati. When they heard, seven years ago, of the monkey who could speak they saw the myth of the monkey god becoming reality. Then The Monkey disappeared and they were thrown into a state of flux. The Shaw Brothers rejects are Mao-Shan sorcerers who, from what was hinted, have been alive for a very long time. They used their arcane arts to determine the possible location of The Monkey but it wasn’t until he became self-aware that they could finally locate him and at this point, to their horror, he headed to Europe. They knew of his previous life as a US soldier, this it seems was an unexpected twist in the plot and they believed that because he was aware of that life and heading into the west that he would be attracted by the Illuminati who would eventually become aware of his presence. They then located the Buddhist monk who had rescued The Monkey. When asked why he had given The Monkey to a merchant seaman instead of bringing him to the Society he had simply said that all creatures have their destiny and that The Monkey would find his were ever he was. He had also given him the fourteen sticks which had been in his possession since he was a child in Cambodia, they had been given to him by an American soldier.

It seems that our unwanted visitors at the house had been breakaway members of the Society sent to retrieve the sticks. It was believed, by this splinter group, that if The Monkey did not have the sticks then he could be left to his own devices but it seems they didn’t realise how difficult it is to get something from a monkey who doesn’t want to give it up… The black hole had fucked with their juju and things had definitely not gone as planned. All of this had been done without the full agreement of the Green and Red Society and I got the impression that all was not right in paradise with their organisation. Then, the Mao Shan had received a message from an old lady in a country house on the moors and they realised that The Monkey was coming to them. So now they wanted to know which side The Monkey was on and I got the distinct impression that a good number of their assembly where of the assassin persuasion. The Monkey explained to them that he didn’t give a flying fuck about secret societies but that he felt drawn to the temple in the jungle and that he was going there to find out about himself not to help anyone else. I thought that might have resulted in a whole lot of stabbing and shooting but it seemed to please the Mao-Shan dudes and they nodded lots amongst themselves and the lead one said ‘The monkey god will follow his nature’, very cryptic I’m sure, and then invited us to take tea with them and talk further. Everything suddenly relaxed, in fact I didn’t realise how tense it had been. They said that we should spend the night with them in their camp just inside the tree line and that they would try to answer any questions we had and provide any help that they could.

I looked back at the Huey as they started to walk towards the trees with The Monkey and there was Hambone sitting by the door gun. The barrel had been pointing at were the Mao-Shan sorcerers had been standing and I could swear that he flipped the safety on and gave a massive sigh of relief. I asked him if he was coming and he said no that he would stay with the chopper but that he would take us were we needed to go in the morning. I nodded and followed the others into the trees…

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9 April

Hi, Tony again – this is what we got earlier…

Last night we heard how the Green and Red Society had fought the agents of the Illuminati for hundreds of years, and how those agents had extended their control across the planet through the financial institutions, the major corporations, governments, the church and the press. This stuff went on for ages, I think there was a big hearts and minds exercise going on to make sure that The Monkey was on the right side. We also learnt that the Society had more than its fair share of Triads, Tongs, Yakuza gangs and other eastern criminal groups, plus a whole shit load of assassins not affiliated to anyone in particular. Seems that they are not angels by any stretch of the imagination, and it was the Yakuza branch that had recently begun to go against the wishes of the main council of the society. Most of the Mao Shan dismissed it as just internal power politics but I noticed that the sorcerer who had greeted us and done most of the initial talking lowered his eyes and looked for a long time into the fire.  

This morning we went back to the chopper accompanied by two of their men who they said were to go with us to ‘keep us safe’. Amazingly The Monkey didn’t have a strop and just let them tag along. At the Huey Hambone looked suspiciously at the two goons in tow and waved us on board. We took off immediately as if Hambone didn’t want to hang around and headed east. He shouted back that inside the hour we would be at the temple site and that the Society had given him the heads up about a flat rock outcrop above the temple that we should be able to set down on.

I kept an eye on The Monkey – even though he hadn’t thrown his toys out of the pram there was no guarantee that he wouldn’t throw the goons out of the chopper. But we got to the temple site with no incident and Hambone set the Huey down on a flat rock area level with the treetops. The Monkey went straight over the ledge and disappeared amongst the green. After about twenty minutes he scampered back up with a massive grin on his face. He says that the monkey temple is directly below us and that there is a passage through the mouth that leads into the cliff and down. I am sending this update now as even the satellite phone can’t work underground. We are tooling up and taking food and water with us so we are prepared for whatever we find in there (hopefully), and we are all going – Hambone says that he wants in so now there are five of us. I will try to send further updates later…

Tony again – there has been nothing else yet…

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10 April

Hi, Tony again. We have had no communication since yesterday and we are starting to get a bit concerned – about a couple of things actually…

We are worried that we haven’t heard from the guys in Cambodia but it could be that they are still underground, and The Monkey does seem to be more than capable. Closer to home – we received a call late last night from JudyZ, she is the friend who managed to hack the US Army classified site. She was worried because she was getting unexpected activity on her WiFi router and her laptop began to behave in a way she described as ‘unusual’. Then, at around 4.30 this morning we get a call from her saying that she had woken up to find that the camera light on her laptop (she sleeps with her laptop on in her room) was on and she couldn’t close the camera app window down. She was sure that the camera was being controlled by someone remotely. It freaked her out and she switched off the laptop – something she never does. We told her to get back to sleep and that we would call her around breakfast time. We called and got no answer. We have been trying ever since and texting and emailing but nothing. There is none of her usual on-line activity and we even contacted a couple of her friends, but they said that they hadn’t seen her today. Dave has decided to drive up to her flat in Reading to see if she is okay, he left about an hour ago. We will keep trying to get hold of her and let him know if we get her within the next couple of hours. Must admit it has spooked us a bit. JudyZ is the best hacker we know and after we thought that someone was trying to back track us during our attempt to hack the classified sites, we think she may be in trouble…

I have also been doing some more work on the Arno Whitaker thing. The AI search has produced quite a few image hits that now span nearly one hundred and eighty years including one from LinkedIn! I had got so focussed on the image search that it took a suggestion from Kev before I Googled his name, and there he is – Arno Whitaker, CEO of a US company called Brightstorm who are involved in bioengineering and have links with US military contractors. He has a bloody LinkedIn profile and everything! His profile picture is that same smooth, oddly twisted face with the fixed grin that we have seen in the other photos, as if he has been severely burned and had a not very successful skin graft. I found a biography for him on a corporate business site and it claims he is forty seven years old and was bitten on the face by a rattle snake in his late teens which has left his face disfigured and partially paralysed. He is a philanthropist, collector of antiquities, and all-round good guy – apparently…   

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Just heard from Dave, JudyZ’s flat is completely empty, not even wallpaper on the walls! Completely empty. Dave is not hanging about, he is on his way back…

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11 April

This is Kev. The hyper temporal gateway/black hole has started rhythmically pulsing. We are monitoring it and the electromagnetic cage we built seems to be preventing any overspill from its event horizon.

Dave is totally spooked by the absence of anything JudyZ at her flat – he says it’s like she never existed. He also thinks that someone followed him from her flat. He is sure he managed to give them the slip by diverting through the rush hour carnage of Bristol city centre and then sneaking back onto the M5 via a service road to Sedgemoor Services, but we are keeping a close eye on the road.

Probably more disturbing is the fact that the Monster Highs have just turned up. They say they awoke because they got the feeling something was wrong, and they have come to protect us. We have no idea what that means but now we have two really hot, scantily dressed, partially dead girls in the house who have taken up residence in the bosses darkened bedroom. Frightening and arousing at the same time (all those episodes of Buffy etc. are coming back)!

Still nothing from Cambodia…

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Kev again – at last, news from Cambodia. It doesn’t sound good…

I have been shot. It was a fucking blood bath.

We rappelled over the cliff edge. I had never done it before, but the others went over like it was an everyday occurrence, except for The Monkey who doesn’t need ropes. The others were down on the ground quickly but The Monkey stayed next to me as I bounced uneasily down the rock and as we descended he told me in hushed tones that he had spoken to the monkeys who live around the temple and they had warned him that there were other humans hiding amongst the trees.

On the ground I got my first proper look at the temple and it is just like the drawing in the journal, a few more vines and leaves but the same monkey face staring out of the rock. Either side were the seven-pointed stars and through the monkeys open mouth the dark interior of the temple. It was immediately obvious that the goons had been here before. Hambone gave us a knowing look and The Monkey made a couple of subtle hand signals of the sort you see spec ops dudes do in movies and Hambone shifted his attention to the surrounding jungle. The Monkey led us through the mouth of his giant counterpart, and we clicked on LED torches to show us our surroundings.

It was obvious that the temple was ancient and that anything of value had been removed a long time ago. Vines had encroached through the entrance and cracks in the cliff, and dead leaves and a few small animal bones littered the floor. We moved deeper inside, and an intricately carved arch framed a tunnel that led downwards in a gentle slope. As we moved down I noticed that Hambone had positioned himself at the rear and kept checking back the way we had come.

After about ten minutes of walking along a tunnel painted with scenes of monkeys dressed in armour and carrying flaming swords fighting with demon creatures with wings we came to a chamber which, after a quick count, I realised had seven sides. In the centre of the floor was a smooth circular indentation about eight feet across and on either side stood a statue of an armoured monkey with its paws cupped and raised as if offering something towards the indentation. As I got closer I could see that the cupped paws had grooves cut into them, grooves in the shape of a seven pointed star.

I glanced around the room and saw that the goons had gone to the left side where The Monkey had gone, and that Hambone had stationed himself by the entrance. I also noticed that Hambone had slid a handgun out of its holster and was holding it down against his right leg. The Monkey waved me around to the top side of the indentation and glared at the goons when they made to follow until they stayed put. From his backpack he took two small bundles and gave one to me – the lolly sticks.

What happened next was a blur. The goons spotted the bundles and one of them grabbed for his sidearm before the other could stop him. I hadn’t noticed that The Monkey had his Glock under the backpack and suddenly the bag jumped as two rounds ripped through it and smashed into the goon’s chest. Goon number two had started to move towards us with frightening speed but next thing I knew he was lifted off the ground and smashed into the wall by a shot from the tunnel entrance. Hambone came over still covering the downed goon, but he didn’t need to worry as the bullet from his Colt Double Eagle had put a massive hole in his upper back. That’s when it all went a bit special. Bullets started ripping out of the tunnel and ricocheting everywhere. We dived for cover behind a large stone dais at the back of the room and found ourselves amongst a pile of very old human remains.

The others who had been hiding in the jungle must have just opened up from halfway down the tunnel, it’s the only way I can explain us not getting hit in the first volley. I returned fire with the Remington that had been slung along the side of my pack and was pleasantly satisfied with the screams that followed. The Monkey and Hambone fired into the tunnel as well, The Monkey putting down short bursts with his H&K as dark shapes crowded the entrance. There were a lot of them, fucking loads, and they kept on coming. It was obvious that we weren’t going to have enough ammo. The Monkey stopped firing and I watched as he pulled the pin from a grenade and with narrowed eyes lobbed it over the dais. We ducked down and heard shouting and then the blast as the grenade ripped through the enclosed area. We all opened up again and for a moment drove them back. The Monkey pulled a couple more pins and sent two more grenades clattering down the tunnel and when they went off there was a massive crash and a cloud of dust filled the chamber. When it had cleared, and we had finished coughing we could see that the tunnel had collapsed about ten feet from the chamber.

We had a bit of a breather after The Monkey had cut the throats of three wounded black pyjama wearing attackers and took stock of the situation. There were obviously more of them out there but they couldn’t get to us even though we could hear them digging. I asked The Monkey what our plan was and he took out the journal and said that there was another chamber at the back of the room if he could find the mechanism to open it. After about half an hour of searching he took the monkey pendant from round his neck and pushed it into a small opening in the wall and with a grinding noise a large slab of stone slide back into the wall revealing the other chamber. We went inside and shone the torches around. It was almost identical to the first chamber and I asked The Monkey what was going on. He said that the first chamber was a fake to trick those who didn’t know and that he had taken out the sticks to force the hand of the goons. This, he said was the real deal.

We assembled the two stars and took one each to the monkey statues. Just as we put the stars into the cupped paws there was an almighty explosion from the other chamber and Hambone shouted that he thought it was an RPG. We heard rocks falling and men shouting and then the guns started popping again.

At this point it felt as if I had been hit in the side with a hot sledgehammer. The force of the blow spun me round and as I fell I saw that the indentation had turned into a swirling bowl of energy then I made contact with the statue and blackness.

I am now lying in the Huey and Hambone has applied another quick clot bag to my wound. He says it’s a through and through and missed all the good stuff so I should be okay. I asked him how we got out, but he says that the morphine will kick in soon and that they will fill me in later. I asked him were The Monkey is and he just nodded to the cliff edge we had gone over – I could swear he is shaking. There are explosions and shots in the jungle down there, and there is screaming – lots and lots of screaming. I can feel the morphine fingers in my head now, got to stop…

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12 April

Hello, it’s Tony. Haven’t heard anything else from the guys yet.

The black hole is still pulsing strongly. The Monster Highs are still shut up in the bedroom. Kev thinks he may have spotted someone scoping out our house down the road. To be honest we are more or less living in The Monkey’s house at the moment, so we are going to keep an eye out and keep our heads down…

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13 April

Hey, Dave here. There is no word again from Cambodia. Don’t know what is going on and to be honest don’t know what’s going on here either.

The black hole has stopped pulsing and now looks more like a lens through which we can see a desert. The Monster Highs have come out of the bedroom and gone out through the back door into the garden. Tony asked them what they were doing, and they sort of smiled and in perfect unison said, ‘Going hunting’. We are really freaked out right now, everything seems to be going to shit. Still can’t find any info on JudyZ. None of her friends can find out anything and there is no longer any online trace of her. It’s as if she doesn’t exist – correction, never existed…

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14 April

Its Dave here – we got a message over the sat phone…

Awake for long enough at last to do an update. They have stopped giving me morphine now and I’m no longer on a drip. I lost a lot of blood even though the wound wasn’t life threatening. Apparently getting me up the cliff face was done at a run with no time for niceties and that resulted in me pissing blood everywhere…

Seems we are in Vietnam. We were more or less on the boarder anyway and Hambone just flew us to the nearest friendly place he could think of that had medical facilities and wouldn’t ask questions.

The Monkey and Hambone have filled me in on what happened at the temple. What a cluster fuck…

When I got shot I bounced off the nearest monkey statue (that explains the large head wound and concussion) and was knocked unconscious. Hambone grabbed the Remington and opened up on the men streaming into the outer chamber and it seems that The Monkey went straight over to the indentation in the centre of the room and stepped into the swirling energy I had seen just before I blacked out. Hambone was forced to retreat into the room and that was when he looked around for The Monkey and saw him in the indentation. He says that The Monkey was changed – bigger, golden fur, ancient armour like that on the tunnel paintings, and eyes that blazed like the sun (I am guessing like the pendant had glowed). He was so shocked that he had stopped firing and the attackers had almost overrun them. Then The Monkey had stepped out of the energy field and, in Hambone’s words, gone ape shit. Everyone in the doorway had died in seconds and the rest had fled back towards the surface as The Monkey pursued them, tearing apart everyone he caught.

Hambone had then looked after me as best he could. Morphine and quick clot from his field medic kit and a dressing for my head wound. He realised that he would need to get me back to the chopper and that while The Monkey was wreaking havoc in the tunnel and temple entrance and beyond he would have a chance to get me back to the surface. He had given me a fireman’s lift and carried me cautiously back up to the temple. He said that it looked like someone had gone through there with a giant weed whacker as there were just bits of the enemy sprayed around the tunnel walls. The Monkey had gone out of the temple and was chasing the enemy through the jungle, it seems he had no intention of leaving anyone alive. Hambone says that’s when he started to hear explosions and realised that our attackers had found the old mine fields that were dotted about the area of the temple. He could see The Monkey’s blazing form leaping from tree to tree and driving all before him as the temple monkeys screamed and jumped up and down. Hambone got me to the cliff face and fastened a harness under my arms then he used another rope to go up the cliff himself. He then dragged me up the cliff hand over hand and manhandled me into the Huey. That was where I had briefly regained consciousness.

The slaughter had continued for the rest of the day until there was no one left to kill and then The Monkey had scaled the cliff and crouched on the edge in the dying rays of the sun, looking, in Hambones words again, like a hairy medieval butcher. Gradually the bloodlust had left him and he had returned to his own form and then he had come over to see if I was alright. The Monkey tells me that when I had been shot he thought I was dead and that had been the trigger for his berserk frenzy – nice to know he cares. Hambone had explained that they needed to get me to a medical facility ASAP, or I might just bleed out but The Monkey told him he needed another 15 minutes and then went back over the cliff. When he reappeared he said that we should take off immediately and Hambone says that the look in his eyes said immediately might not be quick enough. Just as the skids had left the rock there was a massive explosion and the ledge where we had sat down collapsed.

We had flown across the border in darkness to a medium size village and this is where we have been for the last few days. I have had a fair bit of morphine and a couple of transfusions as well as stitches in my head. Hambone has got drunk a lot and The Monkey has spent quite a bit of time sitting by my bed and reading the journal (and getting drunk). He says some of the stuff in there makes sense now and he will tell me when I am in better shape to understand it. I asked him why he blew up the temple and he says that he only blew up the tunnel and the first chamber after removing the pendant and sealing the door. This he says is to keep people away from the power source that is now active in there along with the two stars. He says that he doesn’t need to be in it to tap into the power as a useable portion of it is now with him all the time if he needs it. I asked him if it meant he would change into an armoured monkey of death at the drop of a hat and he said ‘You are a wanker! But quite possibly, who knows?’…

This is Dave again and wow, we are happy to know that the guys are alive! This would explain why the black hole seems to have ‘tuned in’. We had speculated that the stars had formed a link with the gateway – some sort of morphic resonance Tony thinks although Kev and myself are leaning towards a chaos theory based answer (although Tony keeps reminding us that the two theories have similarities that may mean we are talking about the same thing).

The Monster Highs drifted back from their ‘hunting’ trip with some disturbing news. There are people looking for me and they have ill intent, although it seems that two of them have now ‘gone away’…

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