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Doom: The Temple

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Hi all, my first Doom fiction, a story which even scares me! Hope you enjoy it. Warning: It is pretty grim.



== 22 October 2220


We recently received this transcript of an archaeological survey conducted in the Antax system, eighteen light-years from Earth. The first part of the original document is fragmented since the data pad was damaged during the explosive decompression. The rest is clean. As you may recall, Antax was discovered only two years previously despite its proximity to Earth, shielded as it was by a radiation cloud of unknown properties whose dissipation prompted the discovery.

The survey team was a group of mostly British experts, along with Dutch and French personnel, transported by the Trafalgar class frigate HMS Dauntless. A small group of Royal Marines accompanied the dig. The Dauntless is still missing in action and until now, no-one had heard anything from the expedition.

As of this moment, the Brits don’t know we have this document. I have no idea what to do with it; the implications (and I mean all of them – you know what I’m saying about the Sarasota) are terrifying to say the least. I think we may be better off destroying this and putting the whole thing behind us.

Their families won’t thank us for going public – to say the least. I can’t imagine what they’re going through, but it’s better than how they’ll feel if they find out what really happened.


Albert Lamm
UAC Extrasolar R&D


= Date: [No Data] // Time index: [No Data]

…atmosphere is particularly clean, there being no trace of pollutants or toxins harmful to humans. It is like breathing brand new air, invigorating. Ambient temperature consistent at twenty degrees centigrade. The wind is westerly at three miles per hour, a slight decrease from this morning, where it…

…cliffs and mountains of galvastone, with the now-familiar black-and-white crazed pattern common on worlds throughout the Milky Way. We may be able to mine it for minerals, though the remoteness of this planet – and I speak almost spiritually, with little regard for the subspace sandbars throughout this sector – means that …

The world is beautiful to behold, yet almost melancholy. Cliffs and hills rise against a fiery golden backdrop. It is perfectly silent. It is late afternoon, and I think…

…discovered some type of structure made of curious grey stones, cyclopean in construction, though there is little evidence of … else living on this planet, and we detected no power sources or population centres from orbit.

As we explore further we see some kind of green mildew growing on the stones. This is certainly a purpose-built structure, for the shape of it is consistent, a curved dome roof held up by rows of rectangular pillars. There appear to be some type of decorations, perhaps faces or other images, inset into squares at regular intervals. They are all worn beyond recognition. The Marines are heading in now, and we are awaiting an all-clear.

[Rest of report is lost]

= Date: 11 May 2219 // Time index: 20:06 solar time

As in my initial report, we have found something that has already altered the way we see the galaxy. This should certainly be suppressed until we can make further, conclusive investigations with a fully equipped task force. I’m not sure if I am reassured or frightened by what I have seen so far. If I was forced to choose, I’d say I am afraid.

We have found what appears to be a temple or a gathering-place of a kind I have never seen before. However, the more we explored, the more I found myself assailed by doubts. I keep thinking of the mission reports logged by UAC personnel and the United Earth Marine Corps, in particular the two Memento Mori operations and another one whose name I cannot recall; I must have read a hundred reports of strange and sinister structures inhabited only by the dead.

If there is one thing I am sure of, it’s that this place is long deceased. The decay rate of this structure, taking into account the very mild atmospheric conditions and total lack of airborne industrial pollution, dates the construction of this place at fourteen thousand years in the past. The Marines have found no evidence of traps or other threats.

I say this place is a temple, but that is merely a guess. It is decorated so ornately and the imagery is such that I can’t help thinking it is meant to conjure an air of divinity.

The carvings are fabulous beyond belief, surpassing by far anything I’ve seen produced by the primitive humans of the time. This is really amazing! I cannot believe how well preserved these carvings are; it’s like no time has passed since they were made.

We have found one large carving adorning a corridor wall. This is just an ordinary corridor, yet the carving is so ornate.

The figures are strange, like men, and they’re on horseback…the horses look strange, their legs appearing to be double-jointed, their faces contorted with fury. At least, that is our interpretation. There are two men. The one on the left appears to be a warrior. He’s holding a sword, and he’s got a helmet with some kind of feather or headdress which goes back and then flares upwards.

The second man may be some sort of scholar. He’s facing the soldier but he doesn’t have a sword. Instead, some sort of device, possibly a weapon, is hovering several inches above the open palm of his hand. It’s roughly spherical, though some of the men think it is actually a cube...it’s hard to tell as there is some weathering here, though not as extensively as the exterior designs.

The figures are wearing some type of armour over robes. It reminds me of pictures I’ve seen of the ancient Romans. In fact, the whole thing has a Roman flavour, but we’re on another world…my God, is it possible that these people actually influenced men from Earth? A science fiction cliché, yet I have to give thought to the implications!

Coming back to the horses, they are like the animals we know, but are more massive. Certainly, despite several physical differences, the resemblance is uncanny. For the record, they do not have horns or wings.

There’s some sort of strange symbol between the men…looks like an inverted trident. I have never seen this design – or anything like it – before.

As you can imagine – as you can tell from the tone of my voice – we have made a discovery of the most fabulous kind! Yet there is an almost palpable aura of menace. These…men…are not human: their faces are similar to our own, yet their eyes are blank, like balls of lead.

Who were these men? What was their importance? Why do the figures in this carving so strongly resemble creatures of Earth when our world is dozens of light-years away?

Why am I so afraid of them?

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= Time Index: 23:19

We have entered a fabulous palace of nightmares. We are wrapped in a blanket of the softest horror.

I must choose my words carefully, for doubtless the Union Aerospace will pick them apart, and I don’t want to…holy God of Earth, what have we found?

Have we made a mistake in coming here?

[Rest of report is lost]

= Date: 12 May 2219 // Time index: 16:31 solar time

I have recovered enough from my shock to record these fragmentary thoughts. I am overwhelmed in a way I never thought possible. I will try to start from the beginning.

We have found something that must never be disclosed. We can never tell the people of Earth. Such secrets as we are uncovering here…they are sanity-blasting at best. I can only imagine what hell would be unleashed were the demons to find this place. However, for the sake of my continued sanity – and for the enlightenment of the UAC, who must heed my advice and destroy this place immediately – I will make this record.

The “men” in the carvings are beings of mythic power. We have discovered numerous carvings, many frightening beyond belief, which show terrible struggles between the creatures and the demons. Some of the demons we know through hideous contact, such as the vermin-like Imps and the Knights of Hell.

However, there are other monstrosities which I have never heard of before, such as man-shaped beings wrapped in fire, things that flop and slither in their own vomit and sickening creatures who walk upside down on all fours. I am not saying humans have never encountered such beings before; the fate of those who ran foul of such…abominations…makes me sick to think of.

These possible encounters may have been suppressed for purposes of maintaining morale. God knows, people were shooting or hanging themselves in their hundreds back then, and these…things…make even the Imps look attractive.

The men in the carvings are possessed of legendary power. They face the Hell Knights with swords, spheres and strange-looking cubes. Some carvings appear to show the use of psychokinesis. For example, the cubes and spheres appear to levitate above the characters’ hands.

Raging battles – each of which could have been the doom of mankind – seem common in this species’ history, if the sheer number of carvings are anything to go by. Their characters – surely legendary heroes rather than average soldiers – have no apparent fear of the daemons, even though their society was slowly being unravelled by hellish madness. In fact their faces rarely express emotion. Their eyes are always blank.

To face the demons in hand-to-hand combat! Surely there must be an element of fantasy in this work. If these beings worshipped a supreme deity of their own, given their own capabilities, I dread to think what it might have been.

The landscapes vary widely from carving to carving, though the architecture remains the same. Some of the worlds shown resemble very strongly some of our most far-flung colonies, leading my team and I to speculate that we are inheriting the ruins of some ancient galactic empire. Dear God, that living beings of such potency crossed the stars! That we are following in their footsteps! A separation of fourteen thousand years is not long enough. Their strength, their technology, would seem magical to us, though outwardly they resemble men from a primitive age.

A trident design shows up consistently. I don’t know for certain what it means but we have every reason to believe it is either a symbol of their faith or an icon of their empire – or perhaps both.

Obviously the beings were inimical to the demons, so their creed could not be one of evil, though from what I have been able to determine these beings would be no allies of ours. They appear self-absorbed, aware only of their own kind. They allowed the galaxy to burn while fighting only for the lives of their own kind.

To us they would appear emotionless and detached. This may have been due to their intelligence. Simply put, they were so far beyond us they might well have perceived the nature of the universe in a different way, rendering communication with humans impossible. I don’t know why, but this reminds me of medical reports from the old days, when human children were sometimes born with a disability they called autism.

Of course, these beings were aliens, and no-one is to say that men from another world would think or act as we do. Our own scientists are short-sighted despite the terror of the last decades. They cannot believe that sentient beings would think or behave any differently than we do.

I am not sure what emotions this recording will convey to you as a remote, detached listener. Curiosity, certainly. Dread? I fear not. Yet that is my overwhelming reaction to this place. My men are suffering too. Nobody dares work alone even though this world has been dead for millennia.

When I think of the scale of the revelations within this building in I shudder. To be under the same roof that once housed beings of such might! I dare not use the word ‘magnificence’, for this implies a sense of self-aware nobility, rather than the cold dispassion the aliens must have felt towards all things.

Some facts are not for humans to know. Some things are outside our comprehension. The experience is too overwhelming, too dreadful, and our emotions provide limits that cannot be breached without irrevocable damage to sanity. I believe these limits have been reached in myself and my men, and they are all that is keeping us grounded. We must not explore further! We dare not. Yet, we dare not leave these things buried either – there is so much to learn here, and all of humanity may be at risk if we turn aside from these revelations.

Repeated scans find no trace of life on the planet, no power sources other than our own. I have ordered the men to arm themselves regardless. It seems pointless, considering the relative weakness of our plasma rifles compared to those abominable swords used by the beings. Morale is broken, however, and I must do what I can. We will call for retrieval tomorrow.

For tonight, we will set up camp here inside this building. We are safe from attack yet I shall arrange a watch.

= Time Index: 03:07

I was woken around half an hour ago for my watch, which is to last another ninety minutes. Our chronometers are not recording time in a linear fashion. Not long after my awakening I sat upon the steps of a low column cradling the NPX-90. Nothing less than a plasma rifle can comfort me now, despite my knowing it is useless against the phantoms in my head.

The environment tent, lit from the inside, was to my left, lit internally, standing against the night beyond; to my right the corridor stretched endlessly.

A strange sound echoed towards me from the right. It was dark, the grey stone walls almost seem to absorb light, and the rest of the men were asleep in the environment-tent. I checked the scanner on the plasma rifle and it reported one human bio-sign about ninety metres from my location. The cause of the noise. One of the scientists? I thought we had agreed to remain together and undertake no further exploration. A cowardly decision, you might think, sitting there in a plush corporate office, yet we do not claim to be heroes.

I activated my full arc light and followed the sound, my footfalls echoing through miles of darkened halls. There were many arched doorways – strangely without doors – which I passed through, none of which led to rooms, instead being part of a network of corridors. My automapper, which I consulted continuously, did not become confused at any time. It was like looking at a grid of straight lines. Yet I knew I would be able to use the map to find my way back to my colleagues, and at this point, that was all I cared about.

I moved further into the building than I had been before, bypassing the occasional empty side chamber which had already been explored. After about five minutes’ careful exploration I found Dr Windsor – and a large room I hadn’t seen before. The automapper told me I was in the centre of the building.

Dr Windsor, one of the most brilliant archaeologists I have ever met, was standing in the centre of the room. It was wide and –with one exception – bare, a chamber rather than a room, with a low ceiling open to the stars which glared down with a sinister quiet. I felt on edge, every hair on my body standing up, as though I might be sucked up into space at any moment, or as if some thing might drop down on me from the starry sky like a spider descending on a fly.

Windsor was kneeling before a curious object dominating the centre of the chamber. It was a grey pyramidal stone, an obelisk or monolith of some type, with a flattened top, about eight feet tall. It was standing on a one foot high platform. Windsor was on the platform, leaning forward with his hands on the pyramid, scrabbling at it as if to pick loose bits of shale away. I turned my light on the man and he looked round in alarm, his arms going round the pyramid almost protectively.

For the record, in case this report does not arrive with attached bios, he is a bald man who wears glasses, one of only a few men I know who can afford such a prestigious piece of headgear. I believe it may have been a gift from his employers – the UAC. What other company can afford to spend such money?

As you may know, the latest generation of automappers have other functions. Mine acts as a data recorder in more ways than one, and the conversation I had with Windsor is reproduced here. If this information is ever released, it must be done so in an abridged fashion (that is, abridged for the sake of decency and for his family, who will no doubt be saddened enough by the news of his death and who will not need to hear the exact manner of his passing).

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I asked Windsor what he was doing.

“Doing?” he replied. “Doing, my esteemed colleague? What I’m doing is what we’re supposed to be doing. Am I not a seeker after truth?”

I was mystified by this.

“My dear friend,” Windsor sneered, still clutching the pyramid. “You have so much to learn.”

“For instance?” I asked, grasping the NPX more tightly, for Windsor is an urbane and gentle fellow in an age where cruelty is all but celebrated, and the man before me showed none of his usual restraint.

“For instance, this place we find ourselves in. We believed these beings defeated the demons, did we not?”

“I don’t remember coming to any such conclusion. Let’s return to the camp and get some sleep. We’ll be out of here by the afternoon.”

For the first time I noticed Windsor was sweating. He removed his glasses and wiped his forehead on the back of his sleeve – the first time he’d let go of the pyramid since I entered the room.

“Are you all right?” I asked, rather stupidly. A wild, hunted look came into the man’s eyes as he realised he was no longer holding onto the pyramid, and he clutched it once more, dropping his glasses.

“Doctor Windsor – Michael – I think we’ve suffered greatly today, and I also think we need time to adjust to what we have learned. We are in no immediate danger. Let’s go back to the others. You look like you need rest.”

At this point, my colleague let loose a frightening wail – or perhaps it was a scream – and closed his eyes. I have never heard anything like it, and it chilled me utterly. It was an empty sound, more devoid of life than the night sky above.

“There is danger all around us! Can you not see, can you not see?” He began scrabbling at the pyramid again. “It’s all around us, wearing a skin of stone! The Ascended didn’t defeat the Demons. Neither did we, not even when we repelled them from the Earth and our religions combined to expel the taint they left behind! We can never remove it – it’s always there, a stain that spreads to become a cancer, hunting us wherever we go! We cut it out, it grows again. How long until there is nothing left to cut – the last scraps are utterly consumed, or else cut up to the point of non-existence! The Ascended realised this, which is why their entire race died – they died to escape! Their power was such, their life-force so formidable, that they continue to exist after death. They’re here right now! Can’t you see them?”

This was very alarming to hear, and I glanced around, seeing nothing but shadowed archways, walls carved with interlocking symbols, a section of wall with something resembling but not exactly the same as a Christian cross cut into it by hands that were far from human.

“I see nothing but a dead place, built by a dead people,” I said as levelly as I could manage. “I see no-one but you and I, and I think it’s time we were leaving.”

I started towards him – I’d drag him back to the camp if I had to – but he made that frightening noise again and I halted, arming the plasma rifle with a whine of building power.

“I can see them. They’re all around us, flitting from shadow to shadow like ghosts. They’re watching us from the stars. It’s like they see us, but they don’t see us, do you understand? Individually we are nothing to them. We’re ants; dust; microbes. But if that’s the case, why are they staring at you with such frightful hate?”

“That’s quite enough, Michael,” I said firmly, suppressing the nearly uncontrollable chill of fear climbing my spine. “I’ve had enough of this place and I’ve had enough of you. We’re leaving, and your consent is not required.”

At this, I pointed the rifle in his direction.

“And if you aren’t convinced, I’m sure I can change your mind by demolishing your favourite pyramid.”

“NO!” Windsor screamed, holding tight. His voice echoed down the hallways and reverberated through my gut. By now I was so on edge I nearly blasted him by accident.

“You really don’t know, do you?” he shrieked. “You are so small – so human! You are blinded by your science. You will never know the galaxy as we see it. You will never know the filth that crawls and flaps in the night, the insanity that awaits all humans upon death. Oh, but men have tasted it. The horror that was loose on Earth – that was a warm-up, a starter course for them. The Plutonia Experiment was a failure, they just don’t know it yet. We destroyed it? We banished it? Hah! It’s still out here among the stars, and it’s looking for us, and it will find us eventually. Our reign will end in the most unutterable despair, and no-one, not the Gods you humans worship, not the technology you’ve built to take the effort out of life, will save you from damnation.”

“You’ve bloody well gone mad!” I yelled. “You are babbling, Michael. Hold your peace or I will shoot you – you know as well as I that spoken daemon-fear is a crime punishable by death, even out here!”

Michael paused then and inclined his head as if listening to something. I couldn’t hear anything at all – but no, suddenly I could hear it. It was so far away it might have been nothing at all, just the ringing in my ears. It is many years since I had regenerative surgery. No-one in the furthest colonies has access to such technology. At first I blamed this, the mortal failings of my age, the tinnitus which is provoked by silence.

I realised after perhaps a minute that what I was hearing was real. It was real, damn you, I swear it! I strained maddeningly to hear it, like the sound was teasing me by remaining on the very fringes of perception. Then it grew louder – yet still faint – and I realised where it was coming from, and I turned my face to the stars with very real fear in my eyes.
That was the point at which everything seemed to collapse on me like a falling roof. I was operating beyond the fringe of human knowledge in a galaxy lethal towards mankind. I was hearing music from the stars themselves, and more abominably than anything else, this music took the form of a kind of screech, almost a scream. It rose and fell, rose and fell, its intensity gathering then waning.

“Michael!” I cried, looking to my colleague and former friend who was by now scrabbling frantically at the smooth stone of the pyramid. “For God’s sake, Michael!”

“For our sake!” he all but screamed. “For our sake, oh please, let me be wrong, let me –”

The pyramid began to light up from the inside. I don’t know how else to phrase it. The thing started to glow with a gentle, pale light. It was getting brighter by the second. Suddenly it was too bright to look at and I turned away – Michael did so too, throwing his arms up to shield himself from any possible attack – but before my eyes closed I caught a glimpse of something that terrified me beyond my ability to explain.

“Aiieee!” Michael Windsor screamed. “I see it now! I see the battle hex that waits for me when I die! Oh, the Egyptian ruins surrounded by a lake of fire – I shall roam these worlds, and many others, forever when I die!”

A bolt of light leapt from the squared-off tip of the pyramid and streaked upwards into space. It travelled at a velocity faster than any starship. When the light vanished – at a point somewhere in the Taurus constellation – the vague screaming noise ceased. We were in darkness again. The pyramid was inert once more.

I know this may not sound as frightening as it was at the time. I can only say that some dormant sense was awoken in me and I will never again be able to journey through the void without the most intense feeling of horror.

“You bloody idiot, we didn’t need to see this!” I all but screamed at my crazed colleague. “We were leaving, you bastard! How can I forget what has happened here? Answer me, you piece of shit! We’re leaving – you’re coming with me!” I moved into a weak-legged run towards Windsor, who was once again scrabbling at the stone. “Stop that at once! What are you doing, you fool?”

We started to squabble then as I dropped the rifle and made a grab for him. He resisted, but I managed to pull him back, landing on my arse with him on top of me. I pushed him off and started to reprimand him when I realised that his fingers were covered in blood. I stared at his hands without knowing what had happened. At first I thought he’d broken his fingernails and torn his flesh in his effort to damage the pyramid. Why would a man do such a thing?

Then we both looked at the pyramid – and horror flooded my guts. I bent sideways and retched until my stomach was empty.

He’d made a hole in the stone. The bloody fool, he’d uncovered the horror that lay beneath!

I staggered to my feet, the rifle forgotten on the floor. We were in utter, soul-jangling danger. We must leave. We were doomed if we stayed a moment longer.

Michael Windsor turned to face me from his crouching position. Our eyes met, and in the infinity of dread that followed I screamed like a maniac, my throat feeling like it was tearing itself up.

My friend was human no longer. His eyes were awful, horrible, the humanity drained out to make room for a hatred that went beyond infinity. His mouth…oh God, his mouth. It was a red hole in his face. Blood leaked from his nose. Was it my imagination, or was he skinnier, more wiry than before?

The noise he made…that gasping, whining moan…that was real.

I turned and fled from the creature that had once been a man. I could hear that corrupted, shambling wreck coming after me, slowly, surely, his moans echoing through the miles of darkened corridor as if knowing where I was even when he couldn’t see me. I still imagine now that he’d have walked through walls to get to me if he was able.

The place was corrupting itself around me as I ran. The shadows were haunted. I could hear whispering coming from all round, but when I tried to focus on it, it stopped.

I had lost my automap – it was attached to the standard map lug on the gun – but I have a mem-chip which engaged a remote connection at my mental request. The mapper spoke its guidance directly into my brain, no need to wear primitive earplugs or sensor equipment, and I found the environment-tent with lights still aglow inside it. I buttoned the air-seal and the tent opened, revealing a ghastly scene.

I still feel my sanity tearing loose at the roots when I think of the carnal acts those men were performing on one another. To combine cannibalism with a blasphemous mockery of the act of love…further still, to add such violence…I cannot stand it! I cannot!

I was the only man left untouched by the evil of that place. I ran blindly, shrieking, into the night, leaving behind the ruins, the men I had known as friends and colleagues for many years, dreading hearing the slapping of naked feet against the hard ground behind me as I covered the half-mile back to the landing craft.

I slammed into the metal hull, hammering the airlock until the computer – which must have been on standby mode – belatedly realised I was there and granted me access. I was so frantic, I didn’t go through contamination procedures; I ordered the computer to let me through, then I threw myself into the pilot’s chair and made a hasty launch, ignoring the computer’s repeated and genuine demands to know where the others were.


And now I drift here in the night of which I feel such mortal fear. The shuttle’s propulsion died many days ago. There is no sign of the Dauntless which has not responded to my distress signal. In fact, I can’t seem to reach any ship, and in my darker moments I suspect I am being blocked by the dark things that live in space.

I will not allow the computer to put me in deep sleep – too many dreams of rape and mutilation, which even now are beginning to stain my waking moments.

Every hour brings me closer to the fire that claims us after death. I feel that the men are waiting for me, to anoint me in my own blood, violated and scarred. Such overwhelming horror! I can never again find joy in anything.

I can only pray that I am wrong, that the revelations of that terrible place were lies. We can never go there again – the very future of life as we know it depends upon this!

= Date: 15 May 2219 // Time index: 13:56 solar time

[Report heavily fragmented]

The wreckage…must be. Blue power armour, scatterings of debris, including one object that…computer believes is a human limb. A leg, if you want me to be precise. …computer trying to keep me sane, but…fire! Oh God…his mouth.

…American ships, the Constitution…the Sarasota. …Freedom class starships should be able to get here in five…

I don’t know if they’ve received my hails. What are they doing here, and…

…oxygen starvation. I’m hungry.

…gnaw on that leg.


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