From the Desk of the Dictator:

Welcome back to the base for everyone that attended Operation Invisible Distillation and a welcome back from your weekend to everyone else.

I’m writing this with tissues stuffed up my nostrils to deal with my bloody nose. I suppose I could go the medical department for something more dignified, but this is hardly the first time I’ve leaked the red stuff. It will stop soon enough.

This particular op took us to the mythical Caves of Oblivion, which aren’t as unappealing as they sound. Somewhere in prehistory, one of the lost pantheons of gods got into a fight with giant centipedes that were carved out of a mountain range. The Mountain Centipedes turned out to be terribly hard to kill but wouldn’t attack anything they couldn’t see. The gods dealt with them by filling a set of caverns with a mist that turned everything it touched invisible, tricking the bugs in the caves, and sealing the entrance behind them. Since no one else seems to have ever said, “Let’s go to that place where all those invisible monsters are stomping around. That seems like a good idea,” they’ve remained there unmolested for millennium.

We have no particular interest in the Mountain Centipedes, but that invisible mist they live in turns out to be perfect for part of Project Cut Flowers. Working together, the science and occult departments cobbled together some mist collectors, and I teleported into the caves with two of the extraction teams to deploy them.

I was going to have Frigid lead the teams, but Pipewrench insisted on coming along. Since he’s paying the bills on this one, I asked Frigid to mind the store while I kept him from getting killed. Upon reflection, this may have been a mistake, since we could have just stolen all of his stuff if he’d died. Oh well. Live and learn.

The deployment was a delicate business, since we couldn’t actually see anything inside the caves. Oh, we brought our sonar display goggles, but they turned invisible in the mist, seriously hampering their effectiveness. The caves are pretty big, but the bugs are still stomping around down there. Unfortunately, we lost Henchman 41L-9I (Sid) when he got stepped on. The occult department was unable to recover his soul. The divine nature of the Mountain Centipedes should have just destroyed it outright when they killed him, but the occult department tells me the enhancements of the soul catchers kept his intact. However, they could not reel it in before one of Death’s guides escorted him to the afterlife.

I earned the bloody nose at the end of the operation. We had siphoned off enough of the mist that contents of the cave were starting to emerge as faint shadows. I’d love to be able to blame Pipewrench for the injury, but it wasn’t his fault. In addition to our sonar goggles, we were also wearing personal cloaks so we would stay invisible as the mist faded. Unfortunately, the cloak for Henchman 38E-5J (Yuri) failed. One of the giant bugs noticed him within moments. I got smacked in the face knocking him out of the way of the bug’s strike. Once we were clear, a heavy weapons team pumped rockets into the Mountain Centipede, crippling it. Apparently, the problem they had with the bugs in the past was a lack of firepower.

By then we were teleporting collectors and personnel out of the caves, so I came back to my office to tend to my bloody nose and type up this memo. I think I’m going to goof off for a while now. Try not to tear down our organization for the next couple of hours. Remember, the world is already ours – it just doesn’t realize it yet.

Your Leader,

Dr. Photius Callaway

The Killing Man