So, the blog takeover was rather obvious. I’d expected to track down Totara; I didn’t think he’d track down me.
The first thing he did was cut the power while I was out. This took out about half the traps right away. He also removed any batteries he could find, ensuring I came home to a dark house and that it stayed that way, and also that the cameras were disabled the entire time. Black didn’t stop him.
Speaking of, I fell asleep after making tea for him and myself on the camping stove; when I woke up it was a day and a half later with dry throat and pounding headache and a bad taste in my mouth to find the house had been overturned. I’ve tested the tea since and discovered traces of sodium thiopental I found had been taken from the supply left over after I sent some to Phil, as well as fospropofol, a combined concoction that scares me. I then threw out anything remotely edible inside the house in case that had been tampered with too.
The sedatives did not seem to agree with Black, and he threw up on the carpet almost immediately after waking. He slept abnormally long in the days afterward, although he seems to be fine now apart from having a newfound aversion to tea.
My lab was somehow in even more disarray than the rest of the house. It had been methodically searched, although very little was taken. The floppy disk and CD I acquired from the mountain lab are gone, the electromagnetic field generator 2.0 and the backup fuel generator have several small but important components missing, and my computer’s hard drive has been magnetically wiped.
Totara has a sense of humor I don’t like. When I find him, I might just return the favour.
Outside of all this, I’ve been working on a way to sculpt azoth, preferably into weapons. Azoth is very malleable, capable of taking a variety of shapes and hardnesses, and I want to take advantage of this property. So far, though, it’s been... difficult.
Making a sealed experimental container was easier than I thought it would be because it required only a few modifications to a vapor cage similar to the ones holding rats. I added gloves to the final structure, as well as a glass ‘airlock’ to move items into the main chamber without any escape of contaminated air. Instead of a vacuum, fire is used to clean the air of azoth vapor after items have been removed.
I tested it out by attempting to find out if specifically living azoth could be accurately shaped. My hypothesis was that since it communicates with itself via electromagnetic signals, mimicry of these signals could cause it to perform desired actions. To this end I made a miniature solenoid with adjustable voltage and current to see if there was a ‘sweet spot’.
It did not go well as hoped. The solenoid could cause the areas of azoth it was run over to become solid, but not for any useful length of time. In addition, the behavior it caused was erratic; often the azoth would twitch or twist into odd shapes or for one worrying moment, coil around the electromagnet even when the current was cut. Fortunately said magnet was within a plastic bag from which it was easily removed.
I also tried seeing if dead azoth could be fired like clay in a kiln. In retrospect this was a terrible idea. I constructed the kiln underground and with plenty of coal in order to create a layer of carbon dioxide over the azoth to counter it’s oxygenated properties. I thought this would be sufficient but clearly it wasn’t as the entire thing detonated with enthusiasm c. As far as I can tell, the azoth ignited inside the kiln and then caused a massive pressure buildup.
I was very nearly bludgeoned by a brick, and got some very awkward questions from the neighbours. I told them it was a car backfiring.
That said, azoth can be safely cooked in an oven at temperatures below its flashpoint as long as it’s distributed evenly: it’s in fact part of the process I used to make azoth fireworks. The heat causes it to harden, shrink and become brittle, so it’s not really useful as a method of making objects. Messing around with variable temperatures and lengths of heating to see if more useful results are yielded will have to wait until said oven is fixed from the aftermath of an unfortunate paper related incident. (It’s a long story involving amateur surgery, a spectrometer, and a fire extinguisher. Also chess.)
I’m using the remains of the kiln to construct incubators, since I don’t want to leave Dying Man water samples in the one in the university.
I’ve also been making more of the active substance contained in the mysterious pills, which I’m going to call Cortexiphan just for the hell of it, so as to build up a decent stock in case it’s ever needed. Currently only have roughly thirteen grams of product, kept dry with dessicants in an anti UV jar in the freezer. Hopefully it doesn’t degrade over time.
Something I forgot to mention earlier: None of the dead or disappeared rats were from the vaccinated group. It’s a good sign but not absolute proof that it works yet.
I know I’m a bit late to this news, but Last and his team killed the Rake, or a Rake at least. In any case, a precedent has been set. I’ve been busy making the promised medals. They are almost complete, and just need to be electroplated. If you can email me an address to send them to, that’d be great.
In other news, I need a Proxy volunteer for my next experiment. Someone who can Path. It’s nothing particularly harmful or even strenuous, although it does require a lack of dickishness and an ability to remember instructions. And if you encounter a Denizen on the Path and kill it, I’d quite like it’s corpse for study.