Plane 54 is off-limits to all travellers and local authorities have been notified that anything leaving the Rift from Plane 54 is be shot to kill, with no exception, and the remains to be disposed of immediately. Only Associates with permission of the Chair and the local law enforcement are allowed to enter under supervision of the assigned coordinator. All expeditions are handled by Coordinator London and Dr Bourbon.
All personnel near Rift 54 have to wear specially made bio-hazard suits, which includes an air filtration system. Said filtration system needs to be cleansed before personnel is allowed to leave the containment area around Rift 54. Specific details on these procedures are worked out on a day to day basis.
- Dr Bourbon
Little is known of Plane 54. Exploration is impossible at this time and the Associates who have explored the area near the opposite Rift could not be debriefed. All available information is based on diary entries by Associate 89, who described what might have been Tier IV society.
Associate 89 and 64 passed through Rift 54 on the 5th of June 1873 to explore the Plane for the first time. The expedition then missed the two-week deadline. Another week later, on the 29th a single masked individual dressed in an all-enclosed suit, came through the Rift and left three books on the ground, and then disappeared back into the Rift. These books include a personal diary, a book on ██████████████ and a volume of ███████████ ████████. It is assumed the unidentified man was Associate 89. Neither Associate 64 or 89 were ever seen again.
The excerpts below are taken from the Associates 89 diary (document 54-2) that were left by the unidentified individual. This document now resides in special containment in facility ███████. The excerpt below has been redacted for readability.
We couldn’t believe what we saw when our eye got accustomed to the light. There is a futuristic city waiting for us at the horizon. Most notable is the enormous Ziggurat-like structure close to the sea. It seemed to be under construction based on the scaffolding and cranes we could make out against the clear blue sky. It looked most amazing.
But as my fellow associate pointed out, something is off about our emviorment. Despite the amount of industry and chimneys, there are but few faint plumes of smoke. And those can only be seen as the sky is unusually clear. Perhaps they found a way the deal with the miasma of the big cities. Any Londoner would kill for that knowlegde.
Traveling through mostly woodland, We managed to find a road, but it hasn’t been used in quite a while. There are no cart-tracks nor horse-droppings or anything. My fellow keeps repeating he finds this place unsettling. Can't say I blame him.
There is a water tower of sorts in the distance. Should be an hour walk or so. But that’s for tomorrow.
In the morning we found a village, but it was abandoned. It was a ghastly sight from the moment we found it. Boarded up windows, dilapidated walls, collapsed sheds. I have seen abandoned mining towns like these, but they didn’t have large ‘X’’s painted on the doors. My suspicions were confirmed when we found a large ash-pile in the town square. Before we investigated my fellow stepped on a used bullet-shell. Then we investigated the ash-pile and there were charred remains of human bone in there. They shot the people and burned their bodies in the streets! What type of madness did we find?
As we left the village we witnessed more graves and human remains next to the road It would appear people were dying long before the massacre. But where are the survivors? We did spot some pasture animals in a distant field and during the night we noticed an unusual amount of bats passing over our heads. That is not suspicious. Just peculiar. However, today we encountered animals that appear to be cows or oxen. But there were ravaged by disease that mutilated them beyond recognition. Huge sores, bad teeth and reeking of dysentery. The smell was so horrible we made ourselves scarce as fast as we could.
Having seen these beasts it has dawned on us that humans might have contracted that same disease. Odd, as this environment doesn’t seem like an area for miasma to develop. My fellow is gathering herbs as we speak to assemble some makeshift masks.
We reached the outskirts of the city, spurred on by nothing more than morbid curiosity at this point. It is clear now most people are dead. I hoped they all perished, after what we experienced today!
We found, survivors. A group of ragged savages, who merely wore the remnants of a once-great civilization. The appearance was horrid, deformed by whatever disease affected both body and mind. Their skin seemed ravages by pox. they teeth were rotten, their breath foul. Three of these subhumans attacked us on sight. Clearly they are not used to people defending themselves with firearms.
After we shot the first the other fled like the cowards they are, leaving their women and children at our mercy. I swear, if I was a lesser man I would have put them out their misery there and then when we discovered what they were roasting above their campfire… They were bloody cannibals!
We did manage to investigate the severed head of the victim they mounted like a trophy. He appeared to have been healthy at the time of death. Me, and my fellow, discussed for a moment the option of ending these creatures… But we decided that even if they lost their humanity, it doesn’t mean we need to. But I swear I’ll shoot them at the slightest provocation!
Barely slept. During the night we took turns keeping watch as the other slept. We tried to prepare our last sausages for breakfast, but the smell of meat made our stomachs turn. We thought about heading back to the rift. But we had to see the city first. Before nightfall, we will make our way back. [...]
We made it to the city outskirts were we found safety in an old library. All this knowledge of this advanced society in arms reach and we can’t take it with us without destroying it. Just one of these books could revolutionise our society… Best stuff has been taken anyway. Scholars took it, or savages burned it for warmth no doubt. [...]
At least now we know for certain there are survivors. We encountered three individuals, clad in a fully enclosed suit and masks with some sort of respiratory device. We called out to them and in response, they opened fire on us… They must have thought we were savages. They chased us for a couple of streets until we found shelter. The sun has already set and we are running out of candles… and everything else.
Tried to leave the city, but my fellow associate isn’t feeling well. He attempted to keep pace but the poor man was clearly afflicted. When we took a moment to rest he fell asleep sitting. I took a moment to investigate him, and my suspicions were answered right away. Hideous boils formed, shaped like dark cauliflowers near his armpits and small ones started to appear on other places. I'm starting to wonder now rather those people fired on us because they knew we were infected. [...]
Parts on my body itch as I write this and the skin feel burned as I scratch myself. Must have been the miasma emanating from those filthy cows. But maybe it is just the stress and I’ll feel better tomorrow.
This is it. I think I am dying. My new friend told me I might have days. Maybe weeks. No matter, I am stuck here. Who knows what disease I could carry home with me. So, what is it going to be. Travelers Disease or this plague I got….
My new friend, Jamil, tells me it could be worse. I could have caught Revenosis. A disease that turns people into mouth breathing simpletons they call Cripples who seek out to infect others. But instead I have The Rot as he calls it. It is just one of the diseases they weaponized. Yes, these are weapons they created. This world has been ravaged by men-made epidemics.
My friend, Jamil used to live with the survivors in the London Sanctuary no.4. It is the ziggurat that we spotted from the rift. A place specially build to house the cities population, hermetically sealed from the outside world, so no one could get sick from the Bio-weapons. They didn’t get to [finish] it. So, only a small portion of the people remained, leaving everyone else to succumb to the plagues.
Jamil claims there are more places like that, but some have been broken into and got infected.
(part mostly illegible)
One Sanctuary opened the gate [voluntarily] in order to help the survivors with medical aid. He had heard that Sanctuary is secure, but plagues kept house within their walls. Killed more people than they saved. (At) least, that is what [the leaders] of Sanctuary 4 claim, Jamil added somewhat sceptically.
This [why the] people in the suits opened fire on us. Sanctuary 4 is attempting to create a beachhead in this capital and [purge the infected?]. Jamil not though. This bloke deserted at the first opportunity because he found the government to dictatorial. It is not my place to judge either of them [I] suppose.
11th day (mostly illegible, and some words are covered up by strange yellowish stains.)
Feels like I spend the day slowly crawling to a (stand still?). Two more days and I should make it to the Rift. Brought as many books as I could carry. [...]
This entry was bound upon the cover of the recovered diary by Associate 89. Although it is understandable why Associate 89 wrote what he did in light of this threat, The Chair is considering to write down instructions on how Associates ought to communicate in the future.
54-1 is a handwritten letter left behind at the entrance of Rift 54 by an unknown individual in a fully enclosed Suit, presumed to have been Associate 89. The original document is now stored in a special storage facility at ████.
To all it may concern,
My name is ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ officially known as Associate 89. I am a member of The Association of Ishtar. We are a fellowship of like-minded individuals who travel beyond the Rifts. You may have been told these rifts are mere curiosities. Tears in time and space. But those are lies, spread by those who are afraid to confront the truth about the nature of our universe, or because they don’t want any of us to know the purpose of the Rifts.
These Rifts are actually gates to other Planes. Worlds with intelligent life which might be an alternate version of our own, or a different universe entirely. We do not know. But we know ‘things’ have been invading our world. Things with agenda’s which are still unknown to us.
The existence of Phenomenon 54 presents a series of problems for us. If our expedition decided to return early before any symptoms became apparent we may have a Nation Wide disaster on our hands. We might have to consider making the measures taken at Rift 54 standard practice.
Ladies and Gentlemen. We are dangerously unprepared for a phenomenon like P-54. We can’t have our Associates running around like they are doing right now. I don’t need to bring up some of the horrible diseases which were contracted elsewhere and spread on our own Plane.
I suggest for both the protection of our people and those we encounter beyond the rift we develop something. Not just protocols. But suits like those of the brave souls who are guarding Rift 54. Of course, those won’t be able to resist the effects of P-73, but who knows what is out there.
- Dr Bourbon
History of Plane 54, as interpreted by Dr Brandy Edit
As we understand there had been a significant build-up of Biological Weapons on Plane 54, designated Hades. During the Arms Race, all large powers and most smaller nations all developed their own versions, based on known diseases. From what we understand, what is called Germ-Theory here on Atlas seems to be correct in that diseases and infections are caused by micro-organisms. The factions on Hades learned how to cultivate these organisms and enhance them. Then they devised delivery methods, usually unmanned air balloons that would spray the population or release vermin, like bats, above hostile cities. Specially bred bats seem to be a very popular method of spreading lice that would infect both humans and animals alike, and these animals still flourish there today.
Fauna and deformation
Some strains of the disease have affected the very blood of both humans and animals. Some of the micro-organisms aren’t germs like is discussed in Germ Theory. These are called Viruses. These are apparently different in the sense that they affect something in our blood. Something the survivors refer to as DNA. These apparently contain our inheritable traits. So if this becomes damaged, the offspring suffers. That is most likely the cause for all the deformed animals and children that Associate 89 described.
In Tubingen Germany, they isolated strains of what might be this so-called Deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA. Attempts are being made to contact a physician, Friedrich Miescher, who published a number of papers on the subject since 1871. The Chair is contemplating inviting Mister Miescher and his colleagues to discuss our findings. Also, consider contacting Robert Koch. He is one of the leading voices in Germ Theory. He holds a position at the Imperial Court, however, so discretion is advised. We don’t want the Imperials to get any ideas.