P-15: The Tether
A note by Dr Bourbon
The archaeological-site surrounding P-15 is under the jurisdiction of the Dutch Colonial Resident on Java and the Regency of Banyomas. A KNIL garrison has been deployed under the guise of guarding the surrounding area against insurgent attacks on the local community.
When investigating P-15, discretion is of the utmost importance due to the local reputation of the site and access can only be granted by the regional governor in Purwokerto. It is highly advised not to mention Gunung Diam to natives nor colonials in the surrounding area.
P-15 is a Rift, located among the ruins of an ancient temple complex, on Gunung Diam, a volcano located between Gunung Gede and Gunung Padang - within the Banyomas Regency of Jawa Tengah. The exact age of these ruins is unknown, but estimates range from a 7.000 to 20.000 years. Some argue it’s even older than the temple complex located at Gunung Padang, making these the oldest known man-made structures in the world today.
The Rift’s destination remains unidentified. The environment beyond P-15 cannot be captured by any known media and descriptions by Travelers vary from person to person.
Accounts state the explorers noticing familiar smells (despite wearing an enclosed suit), the emergence of memories, hallucinations and feelings of ‘nostalgia’. Transmitters near P-15 can receive signals on a most FM frequency, even though there are only two active FM Radio Stations nearby. Due to static caused by poor reception, it’s potential origins can only be speculated upon, until more capable receivers become available.
P-15 was revealed by an unauthorised expedition to the Gunung Diam archaeological site. The perpetrators intended to explore the collapsed caverns on the mountain and blasted one of the tunnels open. Inside this cave, the group discovered P-15. Some team members panicked, believing they unleashed some dormant evil. In the following hours a fight broke out as one member attempted to collapse the tunnel with dynamite. Shots were fired which attracted the attention of local farmers who sought out a local priest, who in turn alarmed the authorities. The culprits were soon apprehended and their equipment and findings confiscated.
Reports prior to Association involvement Edit
For unknown reasons, the colonial administration did not inform the Association of the discovered Rift. Instead, P-15 was investigated in 1865, by a colonial resident, David Meijer, for several weeks until his eventual disappearance. Friends and other acquaintances claimed that his inquiries into the Rift had driven him mad. An Associate arranged an interview with the Colonial Resident of Banyomas about the background of Meijer’s project.
Excerpt from Interview P15-03; Dutch Colonial Resident Johan de HaasEdit
Associate: ‘You had contact with David Meijer prior to his disappearance, correct?’
de Haas: ‘Yes. He needed my permission to enter the ruins at Gunung Diam. I allowed it at first, but told him that he shouldn’t go there any more.’
‘Any reasons he needed permission in particular?’
‘The reasons why I should have refused him to go, in the first place I am afraid… I am sorry, it is hard to explain this to non-natives.’
‘Uhm. Could you elaborate on that?’
[The regent pauses.] ‘I am sorry. But there are forces at play in these lands, alien to those who haven't experienced them. The ruins at Gunung Diam are, taboo. It is said, the builders dared to challenge the Gods and were destroyed. Many believe their spirits now roam the ruins to witness the consequences of their insurgency, till the end of days.’
‘Excuse me… Do you, really believe this?’
‘The good book tells us not to tempt God. Therefore we do not speak of such things. Therefore I- For you own well being, I suggest you do not mention Gunung Diam outside this office.’
‘Allow me to summarize what I think you just told me... You believe, spirits, took him?’
‘I have seen it with my own eyes. He looked like he had risen from the dead. His smell… It wasn’t natural. It was plain for everyone to see, Associate.’
[end of fragment]
After the interview, the Regent handed over Meijer’s journal, which was recovered by local authorities from his workshop in Poerkerwanto.
The following transcripts are taken from Meijer's journal, translated from Dutch and Malaysian into English.
I returned from Amsterdam, and already I wish I never returned home as boredom is taking hold of me once again. Amsterdam is all I dreamed it would be. It’s architecture, art, culture, everything! How is it possible we fail to materialise that here, in the Indies, what comes so natural to our people?
Of course, we are no true Dutch. I hoped the attitude of the ‘Totoks’ was unique to the bureaucrats from the homeland. They frown on anything Indian, including us colonists. I hoped it would be different in Amsterdam. I was wrong. They addressed me like some oddity. A lexicon on tea and coffee products. Then there was the staring. I know that look. I get it often enough when I enter the bazaar in Poerwanto on my own, without other whites. One of them even dared to call me an ‘Indo’. I could barely stop myself from speaking up.
If we truly want to modernise the Indies we need to prove to these [Word scratched out] we are just as valuable to the kingdom as any other subjects.
At least I got what Amelia asked for. I got the carriage, the books, the clothes. Suitcases filled to the brim with luggage. We don’t even know what the child will be, but Amalia insists it is going to be a girl. I don’t like the influence the Dukun has on her but I gave up on arguing about it. I am afraid I might have to renew our discussion after ‘she’ is born.
We arrived at the site today. It looks just like a pile of rocks. I’ll finish my report later. Jan is giving me that look again.
Inside the only open cave, we found the Rift unguarded. The governor claims that, even if he could hire guards, the reputation of the mountain alone keeps the curious at bay. Finding coolies willing to work is impossible and even colonials refused to answer my letters. No matter how good-natured they are, the Indo’s believe this Tear might be connected to… Well, Goena Goena.
These Rifts are a strange oddity. It casts an odd glow, taking away colour rather than illuminating it. The surrounding rock itself seems to have been eaten away by. Its like termites ate the surrounding stones away turning it into spongelike structures. I have not read of this phenomenon before. Maybe some outsider creatures could have done this before they turned to dust?
As for the site itself. Local folklore claims it was built by Prabu Siliwangi’s evil brother Pudari Siliwangi. The brothers held a contest on who could build the most beautiful palace of worship… In one day. The one at Gunung Padang and the other here, at Gunung Diam.
Pudari, realising his brother would best him, consorted with witches to decorate his temple with gold and jewels… Nothing remains of that splendour, but the legacy does. Now I am stuck with the Totoks of the Department of Antiquities who spend more time complaining than actually working. And if they are not complaining there sitting around that radio. Hopefully, that battery runs out soon. maybe then I’ll have some peace and quiet. This is supposed to be the Silent Mountain!
Yesterday I saw one of them empty a can of applesauce next to the nasi in his tin and then mixed it together with the babi. Disgusting.
I was told, this place is called the Silent Mountain because no birds dare to come here… It is true. Being surrounded by all manner of loud beaked birds all my life, the silence is unsettling. Even meneer Krom called in sick today. I guess all that talk of spirits and witches is even getting to the Totoks. The only thing I appreciated about them was they didn’t go along with all this superstition. Its what holds back progress! It is like a disease of the mind. It must be fought and cured. All the more reason to push on with my research.
I can’t help but feel something about this Rift is unique. As far as I can tell from the literature it seems very similar Reality Tears, but it seems stable. If it was a Tear, it could explain why the original civilisation disappeared overnight. Maybe it stabilized over time, give or take a couple of millennia, and turned into a…
I need to consider this.
An amazing discovery today thanks to my new Utter-Krapp radio set. While trying to radio Batavia I intercepted an unexpected signal on an FM-frequency of which I am positive isn’t local. The reception is faint now, but I’ll move the antenna closer to the Rift tomorrow.
My investigation on the Gunung Diam Rift is yielding incredible results. I managed to successfully receive radio signals on an FM-frequency from Europe. Unfortunately, I am not able to determine the language due to the static, but I am pretty sure it is the Mediterranean.
Regardless, Madrid, here I come!
[a note scribbled in the bottom of the page]
The wait for the delivery of the protective suit is aggravating. We can reach space and message each other all over the world. Yet a simple delivery takes weeks!
The suit has arrived and I am making the final adjustments. Tomorrow I will enter the portal and explore whatever I’ll find on the other side. I spoke with Krom about it, who still pretends to be ill, and recommended I should ask members of the KNIL to go instead. As if they dare to even look at the mountain, let alone come near it. Besides, no way I am going to make any more changes to the equipment.
Frustrations aside, Krom keeps bringing up the new radio tower in the fatherland capable of transmitting radio signals all the way to the indies. Ha, imagine uniting the Kingdom by means of the Rifts instead. The Indies would be truly civilised, and the ‘Indiers’ would be true Dutch.
Our child would not even be able to comprehend what it was like.
I entered the portal for the first time. It was not as I imagined it would be. Initially, it was uneventful. My vision was blurred to and extreme degree and it looked like I was making my way through thick smog. But I didn’t sense anything. Not even the ground beneath my boots. I am not even sure the fog was real or my eyes were trying to make sense of, a Great Nothing.
Then things took a turn. For a moment it smelled like I was walking near the plantation where I grew up. The scent of the damp jungle mixed in with burned coffee beans. Something I haven’t smelled in ages. Suddenly, images started to manifest around me. Old memories of home. Random thoughts about Holland, Amsterdam in particular. People in places... Amalia with... our child?
These were no hallucinations. Rather projections like that inside a Camera-Obscura.
The only thing I saw, which was anywhere close to reality, was the Rift behind me with the distorted reflection of the physical world. But for some reason… For a moment, I was more afraid to go back to reality, [than] to remain… [illegible]
I could swear the child in Amalia’s arms was smiling at me.
I couldn’t sleep. Amalia was acting nervous around me. The servants seemed to ignore me… And when I tried to get their attention they looked over their shoulder like a dog that was about to be disciplined. Is there something wrong with me?
Another day that doesn’t make sense… Last night Amalia slept in the guestroom. She got up just after we went to bed and... She just got up and left. Said she was too tired to walk all the way back to our room… She blamed it on the pregnancy, but I know there is something wrong with me. I know it.
The readings from my expedition through that Tear are so strange they might as well not have recorded anything at all. Even the time it recorded is wrong. It says I was inside for 7 hours. [At this point the writing appears more and more erratic, which has become a staple of his handwriting.]
THAT IS WRONG! I went in at ten in the morning. I CAME OUT AT [illegible]!
I have to go back in. Find out what is ruining my readings.
Had breakfast alone this morning. Everything was already on the table, just no one to serve me… I have not seen Amalia. By the sounds of it, even the birds avoid our house now.
I don’t know what I expected to find in that place today. Everything transpired pretty much the same. The warped image reflected in the Tear corresponds with the current state of my reality. It doesn’t make any sense. At first going in was at least exciting, but now it’s mundane. As boring and monotonous as my life in the Indies. That is why I risked coming in here in the first place! Everything is so dull. All I had to look to forward to is fatherhood.
Now I realise I'm going to be a father.
If I don’t make it to the other side of the tunnel ‘she’ is going to succumb to the same meandering existence as I have!
I have to go back.
Someone actually talked to me today. An old woman in a peculiar garb from outside Banyumas approached my camp. Wished it was somebody else though. Despite her small size, she terrified me in ways I haven’t experienced since I was a boy.
On one of my father’s excursions in Cianjur I strayed away from the camp to explore the rimbo at the bottom of a mountain. It was something I tended to do. There I found a ruin. A small area covered with trapezoid-shaped columns of which only a few were still standing upright, but most were strewn about as if somebody had been throwing them around. maybe these slid down from the mountain. But I remember there being pavement underneath my feet as I explored.
Then, an old woman appeared from nowhere for the jungle and threaded the ruins. As if her behaviour wasn’t unsettling enough, she was all wrong. She looked human, but with the proportions of an ape and her head was all long and cone-like. She pointed her bony fingers at me as I looked at her. She started yelling at me in a tongue I wasn’t familiar with and gaped her mouth like she wanted to spray venom at me. I ran back and told everyone what happened. I was scolded, and no one wanted to even check if the ruin was there.
That old lady of today reminded me of that event. But this one. She told me that there was trouble afoot. That the locals knew I wouldn’t give up.
I told her I didn’t care about that lot. They wouldn’t walk on paved streets or have sewers if they had their way.
My equipment got vandalised this night! It where his bloody fanatics
The Resident threatened to arrest me if I dared to come close to the portal ever again. I guess he didn’t like it I called his ‘Little Brother’ an ape… But I got sick of his disgusting smirk as he lied to my face about the vandalism.
Meanwhile, Amalia is in a complete state of delusion. This morning she claimed that something is disturbing ‘the spirits’. But I know she is just the mouthpiece of those damned shamans. It is exactly this type of superstitious nonsense why we need to find out if the portal leads back to Europe!
This whole affair seems to destroy everything I hold dear. Yesterday I finally was able to speak to her. Damn it, why did she have to bring all that nonsense about spirits and ‘the thing that cannot be named.’ I need to finish this.
I went into the Rift with the tether behind me. I walked as far as it allowed me to, but as I reached the end… I all of a sudden realised that the exit to Spain might be just as far in this place as in the ‘real world’.
But just as I was about to lose hope, I saw a flicker of light in the nothingness. Something appeared from the fog, floating just out of sight. initially, I assumed it was a trick of the eye, like a familiar shape one could make out in the clouds. Eventually, the outline of its form became clear to me.
It looked like a mass of indistinct form with oddly shaped tendrils hanging down from an amorphous orb. Its appearance was twitching and distorted like the waking flame of a candle as if my eyes could not observe the full range of its movements.
The estate was empty when I returned. At least they cleaned the table... Well, there were the small piles of burned salt in the corners of about every room... What a waste.
But I must admit. Before putting on my suit this morning I inspected my body in front of the mirror on the lookout for any tentacles, or random eyes, I may have missed… I CAN’T SEE ANYTHING WRONG WITH ME!
I will set up a permanent camp today on Gunung Diam. It’s probably for the best.
Without anyone to talk to I have been talking to myself. Nobody else has. Trying to make suggestions to myself on what could be going on. That is how I recalled the myths about witches and spirits that resemble floating heads dragging their entrails with them. The servants of Rangda. I have to entertain myself now with myths and fairy tales.
Tomorrow will be the day I prove it. I’ll fight my way to the portal if I have to.
Day unknown [at least 22 days must have passed]
My Amalia, my dear wife, died last night. The doctor concluded complications with the pregnancy. A miscarriage resulted in Amalia going into labour during the night which caused a stroke… Who heard of such a thing? The Leyak couldn’t get me, so it went after my family!
Now my friends are telling me I should just leave. ‘Return’ to Holland and start a new life. I can see it in their eyes they want me to leave. It wouldn’t surprise me if they want to burn me like a witch on the pyre as they take comfort in their make-believe while a monster is stalking the night.
One told me they could use a native speaker, back in the home country, for a new radio station they are building. One powerful enough to transmit all the way to the indies… No, I will not live my life in exile or regret. I was born here. This is my home even if they want me gone. My spirit will not rest until I avenged my family.
I prepared my rifle. At the earliest opportunity, I am going back in into the Great Nothing and track that thing down. It or me, something is going to die! I am not going back out before It killed it. I don’t care if they close the Rift while I am in there!
And then - [some illegible words follow]
This is the vow of a man who has nothing but rage in his heart… I’ll enter the Great Nothing to exist for nothing.
Mister Meijer has not been seen since his wife's funeral. The families servants claim that during the days leading up to the funeral, mister Meijer spent most of the time in his workshop, and rarely spoke to anyone.
Witnesses claim they saw a lone traveller climbing the mountain the day after his wife's funeral, clad in a peculiar suit and carrying a strange firearm over his shoulder.
His journal was discovered after authorities searched his house, which led to believe Meijer entered the Rift to hunt the ‘Leyak’ and is assumed dead.
Special thanks to my proofreaders
Miskatonic Librarian and Van der Graff