The lurker in the inter-record gap
The occasional visitor to Miskatonic University's
the contrast between the lowering, inbred looks of the head
expression of your average Yankee university student.
Certainly Edwin, returning to the involuted and
claustrophobic region of his upbringing in the belief that
the creatures of the deep were quiescent again, suspected
that the man who carried his disk packs was one of his
Arkham half brothers, possibly a three-quaters brother.
"Did they seal up the window in the granite tower above
Arkham?" he asked by way of experiment. As a consequence of
the man's multiple speach defects, the answer was
unintelligible, but Edwin caught the sense from the livid
letting fall six volumes of operating manuals. Clearer than
enough--look out the window that faced no point of the
compass, and that certain things could still look in.
Medlers might still give Cthulhu and the Old Ones their
In contrast, Dr. James Pendline was like a breath of
fresh air when Edwin sat down with him to plan how they
computer. Young, hair trimmed in the en brosse style
affected by New York academics, he stuck but one faint,
familiar to those who have studied the abominable writings
of the satanic Arab, el Oufkr aft.
The main problem was to get rid of the old Arkham
monitor, Reptilian 13. Into the dusk they worked, poring
over the vellum sheets.
Once a student came in to report slimy things creeping
out of the multiplex channel. James Pendine looked at him
levelly. "Did you invoke a recursive procedure?" He at last
admitted it, was given a temporary fix, and sent away.
They went into the computer room just after midnight.
Little by little they cut away parts of the Arkham monitor,
trying to leave only an amount sufficient for the reading in
of the clean new code. Edwin heard a muted scream as the
Grim-faced they continued.
At two o'clock the telephone rang.
"That's project MAC" said James Pendine. "We let them
maintenance." The telephone stopped ringing and a light came
on to show that the line had been connected automatically
to the computer.
Edwin shrieked and pulled the cable, fizzing and
"Pray Heaven I was quick enough," said Edwin. "Why had
you not disconnected that telephone?" Pendine smiled. "You
are fearful that somehow the remnants of the Reptilian might
"I hardly know what I feared," answered Edwin, and he
began loading the disks and tapes and cards that would make
the Miskatonic computer a healthy thing again.
Rosy-fingered Dawn broke, cloudless, serene. The
computer was compileing Algol, working much more slowly
than it used to under the old monitor, but at least there
brought in on a salver for breakfast.
Across the dewy campus lawn the porter was seen
approaching. Absently Edwin noticed he left the prints of
three feet behind him. He proffered a telegram.
TO PENDINE MISKATONIC STOP SINCE CONNECTION YOUR CPU LAST
NIGHT OUR GRAPH PLOTTER WONT DRAW PENTACLES STOP ALSO TOADS
EVERYWHERE STOP HOWEVER WELL WORTH IT STOP EXECUTION SPEEDS
MUCH IMPROVED STOP THANKS MIT ENDS
As is the case with many telegrams, the text was
followed by a few meaningless characters--random ripples on
Mr. Bell's fluid that appended themselves as parasites to
the real symbols of human intercourse. For the sake of this
narrative's completeness they are given below: