It’s 1993. Yo! MTV Raps is still on the air, Kurt Cobain is battling his own and sundry other demons in Texas, and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes is up to her eye black in Tonies. Halfway across the world, in the desolate Burrekh Mountains of Turkmenistan, Compton-based rapper Eazy-E and his faithful companion Station have encountered a twisted conspiracy. Saddam’s Republican Guard, in league with rap mogul Suge Knight, seem to be after a mysterious meteor that crashed in Egypt and disappeared to Leng. Which is connected to Turkemistan through the Dreamlands. It’s complicated. Captured and threatened with torture, E has escaped by swearing an unspeakable oath to Hastur. But can even the help of Outer Gods allow E to stop the sinister events already in motion? Find out in the conclusion of Straight Out of Coptic!
Steve: Okay, I know you always post those paragraphs catching people up at the beginning of these, but this time I have a question about our last session.
Zack: Right. Go ahead.
Steve: You had E getting help from this dude named Farrokh.
Zack: That’s not a question, but, yes, Farrokh from the Iranian Mystic Intelligence Force did seem to help you. He wants E to meet him at the one hotel in Korpent so they can join forces and follow Saddam’s Republican Guard troops up the mountain to the supposed location of the Plateau of Leng.
Steve: Yeah, I get all that, but then I looked at the article and you included a picture of Freddie Mercury at the top of the article. And then I looked up Freddie Mercury and his real name was Farrokh Bulsara. So is Farrokh in the adventure Freddie Mercury? And why is he still alive in 1993 when he died of AIDS in 1991?
Zack: These are all good questions, but since E failed his music industry knowledge check, despite having bonuses, I am not going to answer those questions. As far as you and E know, Farrokh is Farrokh, elite IMIF agent.
Steve: Thanks, this was really helpful, dude.
Zack: You’ve just reunited with Station following Hastur saving you by ludicrously gibbing a couple Republican Guard soldiers and one of Suge Knight’s posse members. You’re standing in the streets of the ancient village of Korpent. Fog shrouds the Burrekh mountain peaks, but in the gray, pre-dawn morning, you can see the tail lights of vehicles snaking up the mountain pass towards Leng receding into the impenetrable mists.
Steve: Yo, Station dude, we’ve got to get up there. They’re gonna get to our meteor.
Zack: He flops around and bloops his horn excitedly.
Steve: Yeah, right on, friend. Let’s get to that hotel and check out Farrokh see if he’s got like a low rider or something we can drive up there.
Zack: Going back to the hotel triggers your memories of getting kidnapped just a few hours ago by Suge’s minions.
Steve: Is the coast clear or are there Saddam troopers lurking around?
Zack: There’s no sign of all the trucks in the village. Presumably the Republican Guard have all gone up the mountains.
Steve: Alright, me and Station are heading inside.
Zack: The concierge at the hotel screams and runs away as soon as she sees Station come slithering into the hotel. A bellhop faints dead away.
Steve: Oh, yeah, right, I had him disguised inside a refrigerator crate. Guess that blows my cover.
Zack: “I thought you might not make it,” says Farrokh, stepping out of the telephone area of the lobby. He’s wearing a leather cap and motorcycle goggles on his forehead in addition to his general Tom of Finland leather outfit.
Steve: Yo, friend, just so we clear, I am straight as hell. Just because I write all the time about trans people in my rap lyrics and I’m really touchy about gay stuff doesn’t mean I am in any way into that.
Zack: “No harm done! You’re a fellow journeyman in the realms of the weird and so you are my ally.”
Steve: Like, it’s a normal thing to write a song about making a woman take off her clothes at gunpoint during a bank robbery and then realizing she has a penis. That’s normal rap subject matter.
Zack: “That’s fine. You don’t have to keep explaining it.”
Steve: I’m just saying, it’s something you see on the streets. In Compton, you never know what’s going to happen. A lot of hot ladies there have penises.
Zack: This is turning into one of those skin crawlingly awkward moments. Farrokh is looking at his big leather biker boots. Even Station is looking at you a little weird with about half of his eyes, as if to say, “Drop it, homie.”
Steve: Consider it dropped, friend. I just wanted to get that out there so, you know, everything was on the table.
Zack: “Fairly put. Saddam’s minions have a head start on us, lads. We’d best be off to the races. Here, I brought you this.” He tosses you a pair of chrome Colt 45 pistols. He has a grease gun SMG and a bandolier of hand grenades.
Steve: I hope you also got a truck for my friend’s fat spaghetti looking ass or it is going to be a long walk up that mountain.
Zack: Your truck is still parked outside. Farrokh has a Triumph motorcycle. He’ll lead the way up the mountain.
Steve: Let’s do this then. Fist bumping with my friends here.
Zack: You and Farrokh fist bump and then fifteen tentacles come in and very gently bump into your fists like a bunch of those unrolling party whistles.
Zack: Star wipe to the road up to the mountain plateau, Farrokh leading the way on his motorcycle, headlamp slashing through the mists, while you follow behind in your Soviet surplus truck, Station’s red eyes peeking out from rips in the canvas back. You make it a few miles up the mountain when you see the first flash in the mountain height. It is followed by a rumbling like thunder. Then several more. Farrokh pulls to a stop and you draw up beside him in the road.
Zack: “Hell of a fight going on up there. Makes me wonder who they’re fighting with.”
Steve: If I had to guess, it’s probably these little short dudes with tattoos on their faces. The Men of Leng.
Zack: “Well, less of them for us to bother with, right?”
Steve: “You said it, friend.” But E ain’t feeling it. This is some ominous shit and he’s stroking those 45s thinking about putting some lead into some motherfuckers.
Zack: You follow Farrokh up the winding mountain road as flashes continue to light the low-hanging clouds. You emerge onto a cold, arid plateau that stretches for several miles before you. Through the foggy mists, you can see the dark shapes of ruined trucks, the motionless heaps of dead bodies, and the intermittent flashes of gunfire and explosions. The road disappears into the rocky plain. Farrokh pulls over behind a natural pillar of rock and parks his motorcycle. He motions for you to pull up beside him.
Steve: Getting my guns out from the start here. That includes that AK I picked up last adventure. Pull up beside him and get out of the truck.
Zack: Station slithers out beside you. Farrokh is brandishing his grease gun.
Steve: Yo, Farrokh, we doing this on foot?
Zack: “Yes, my friend. The fog is too dense to risk driving into the midst of a gun battle.”
Steve: Sounds good. Does Station have like infrared vision he can see through the fog?
Zack: Good question. I’ll say that he has something more like x-ray vision, but he can’t really communicate warnings to you.
Steve: You, Station, my friend. You off the chain. Scout for us.
Zack: He bounces excitedly and flings himself into the mists, piping merrily. You immediately see flashes of gunfire that silhouette his flailing tendrils. He’s going to murder a path for you through this.
Steve: Follow that friend.
Zack: You and Farrokh follow behind Station, occasionally encountering some ruptured corpse or broken piece of equipment that he has dispatched. You are encountering about an even mix of tattooed miniature men and Republican Guard soldiers.
Steve: Telling Farrokh, “These friends right here with the spiral drawings on their faces are the ones with the darts.”
Zack: He examines one of their blow darts. He smells it. “Yes, I’ve encountered something like this before. Cordyceps monstrum. It is a most grisly way to die. The natives of-”
Zack: A shotgun flashes and Farrokh is sent sprawling by a blast from both barrels. Suge Knight steps out of the mists, a smoking shotgun in his hands and a cigar in his mouth.
Zack: “Look at a friend who don’t know when he’s beat. Hope you ready to die, E, cuz I’m done asking questions.”
Steve: Oh, I ain’t the one who’s gonna be dying.
Zack: Right. Initiative. What’s your DEX?
Zack: No, you know what, go ahead, because there is no way Suge Knight is faster than Eazy-E. That guy gets described to police sketch artists as “lumbering.”
Steve: Today is not a good day, so I am gonna use my AK. Blazing away on this fool.
Zack: You’re at almost point blank range. The AK bucks in your grasp as you bang out a full magazine into the hulking form of Suge Knight. His shades shatter. His cigar bursts apart. His velure track suit bursts apart in bits of shredded flesh and welters of blood.
Steve: YEAH! Get some you creepy ass motherfucker!
Zack: Your gun clicks dry and Suge Knight is still standing there, laughing, his body and face horribly mangled with bullet wounds. Out of each injury, like a suddenly inflating balloon, new flesh and organs sprout out. Tentacles, fingers, and even eyes riot out of his many injuries on writhing tongue of flesh. Suge Knight continues laughing, his broken mouth stretching, one eye bursting and becoming ten eyes as he reveals himself to be a SHOGGOTH.
Steve: Ohhhhhhh fuck no!!!
Steve: Getting my pistols and blazing at him as I start yelling “STATION! MOTHERFUCKING STATION! WE GOT A SHOGGOTH UP IN THIS MOTHERFUCKER!”
Zack: “My task was simple,” snarls the unwholesome voice of the Shoggoth that was Suge Knight. “I was commanded to dominate rap music and destroy all threats to the master. Now you, my final threat, have come to me… to be destroyed.”
Steve: Fucking Shuggoth.
Steve: I am guessing me emptying two Colt 45s on this friend is not going to put him down.
Zack: Not even close.
Zack: The Shuggoth launches a river of protoplasmic flesh at you, knocking you off your feet and binding your arms. Several mouths form on the surface and begin to cackle with mocking laughter. “It’s over E. Your rapping days are through.” You can feel your joints being hyper-extended. He’s going to pull your arms out of their sockets.
Steve: Yo, Hastur, you gonna help out a friend this time?
Zack: CREEEEAAAK you are in agony as your arms are flexed backwards to their physical limits.
Steve: If this is how E dies getting murdered by a motherfucking shuggoth then so be it. Dre and Ice are gonna haunt your ass.
Zack: “The black one will give them movie contracts and let Dre make headphones. They will bow to the new order as mankind is consumed. Now it is time to die.”
Steve: I hope you choke on my hat.
Zack: You hear a soft popping sound from nearby. Barely audible over the rush of adrenaline in your ears. You see a tiny dart stuck into the Shuggoth.
Zack: “What… what is… AAAAAAUUGGGHHHH!”
Zack: You’re flung from the grasp of the Shuggoth as it suddenly explodes with bizarre growths of fungus. Tendrils and pods of fruiting bodies erupt through the formless flesh as the Shuggoth dies in agony.
Zack: He’s standing weakly beside you, nearly dead from the shotgun blast he suffered.
Zack: “They call me death on two legs,” he says and slumps to his knees.
Steve: “Naw, friend, don’t die on me. We’ll get you to a hospital. I’ll put you in a magic salt shaker and bring you back to life or some shit. Come on.”
Zack: “No time, E. It’s all on you now. You have to stop Saddam from getting the meteor. Stop his men.” He presses his grease gun into your hands and then goes limp.
Zack: Station appears by your side, burbling sadly and playing an attempt at Taps on his flute.
Steve: Getting up and climbing onto Station’s back.
Steve: Mush, you motherfucking green husky.
Zack: Station moves through the fog with nauseating confidence, vaulting over deadly pitfalls and changing direction without warning. The only thing keeping you on his back is Station, his tentacles working like a crash harness. He darts around trucks, shields you from machine gun fire and completely avoids an Iraqi armored carrier as it turns a turret in your direction.
Steve: Whoa. Saddam is serious.
Zack: A massive shape appears in the misty distance. It resolves as a huge, ominous, mind-bending temple of inhuman architecture. It is at once beautiful, with swirling minarets and asymmetrical domes, as it is unearthly and disturbing, with reliefs depicting impossible vistas and maddening creatures. A portal hangs in the air outside the temple, a way open to a sand swept desert. The Republican Guard troops are driving trucks into the portal, each carrying a huge aluminum tube packed with the strange meteoric metal. The rest of the Iraqi force is fighting off desperate attacks from the Men of Leng. Although the cannibal warriors are fearless, their darts are no match for armored vehicles and machine guns.
Steve: “Through that portal, Station!” Digging in my heels.
Zack: Station rears up and launches you both at the portal with renewed speed. The last of the Men of Leng are cut down in a desperate suicidal charge as you fly over their heads. Station’s body shields you from the gunfire.
Zack: You see Saddam Hussein and another figure in a black robe on the other side of the portal. This must be the black Pharaoh! They cast a gaze back over their shoulder. You glimpse a feminine face. Could it be a woman?
Steve: Who is it? Do I recognize her? Is she famous?
Zack: You might recognize her if you got a good look. There was something familiar about her even though you only saw her eyes. Unfortunately, she brings up a gloved hand and the portal quickly closes, cutting you and the last of the Republican Guard troops off on the other side.
Steve: Noooooooo! Shooting my grease gun at all these bitches stuck on this side.
Zack: They’re confused, many of them half-insane from what they have witnessed, and you and Station make short work of the survivors. You’re left standing on a corpse-strewn field. Station pops the turret off an APC and you hear screams as he kills off the last of the Republican Guard soldiers. Smoke drifts through the air.
Steve: I don’t feel like a motherfucking winner right now.
Zack: You hear a wet shuffling of flesh behind you. A shadow falls across the steps into the temple and a bulbous creature like a huge, bipedal bullfrog with tentacles for a face comes waddling. It looks from side to side, its tendrils flicking as if it is smelling the air. Those tentacle drop limp with disappointment.
Zack: “Well, fuck me, I’m too late, aren’t I?” His voice sounds like Paul Giamatti.
Steve: “Uh, yeah, fool. What the fuck are you supposed to be?”
Zack: The creature notices you when you talk and it comes closer. It’s about the size of a very large grizzly bear.
Zack: “I’m supposed to be Craig. From the moon.” He sighs with disappointment when you don’t recognize him. “You racists on earth call us moon beasts. We got a call that somebody was trying to steal the meteor, but looks like old Craig fucking blew it again.”
Steve: “Yeah, bitch. You done fucked up, Craig. This shit is on YOU.”
Zack: He sits on the steps and sighs even louder.
Steve: “Motherfucking Craig everybody. They took your meteor through a portal to the desert somewhere. Like Iraq.”
Zack: “Babylon? Oh, what the fuck? They’re really gonna do it. Those crazy fuckers. They’re going to open the way for the Outer Gods. We tried to stop it. We like you humans, after all. Great slaves. Underrated slaves. And you make cool things like electronic scales for weighing slaves and slave shirts. Things we need on the dream moon. We didn’t want you guys wiped out and consumed by Azathoth or something or… I really shouldn’t be talking to you about this.”
Steve: “Naw, it’s okay, friend. Proceed.”
Zack: “No, I don’t think I’m doing either of us any favors.”
Steve: Well what can I do, friend? How am I supposed to stop this shit?
Zack: “I don’t know. Don’t let them used that meteor. Don’t let them build the Omniopticon with it.” He grunts wearily and dusts off his haunches as he stands. “Anyway, I got to get back. Unless you want to be a slave? No? Paulo is going to fucking lose his shit when he finds out I let the meteor get stolen. Lose. His. Shit. Talk to you later.”
Zack: Craig shuffles back into the temple and light swallows him up. You are left alone on the desolate plain outside the Temple. Station clambers out of the APC wearing a crash helmet on part of his body that might be his head. He tosses a bloody boot aside. He slithers over and puts a couple reassuring tentacles on your shoulders.
Steve: I don’t know what we’re going to do, but we’re going to have to buy a hard ticket.
Steve: Probably to Kuwait. Then we’ll catch a commuter flight or go by truck to Baghdad.
Steve: Stay tuned everybody!
Zack: Kurt, E, Left Eye, Station, and more will be back in the epic Call of Cthulhu 90s finale, Hard Ticket to Baghdad.