For semiurge’s Glogtober prompt: “Modern horror shotgun scenario.”
Here’s the briefing:
Two weeks ago, an American cargo ship that has been missing for six years washed up and ran aground in Long Cove, on Deer Island, Maine.
The ship is called the Honesty. It was fitted with amateur deep sea diving equipment, and was last recorded in the Flemish Cap region (a raised area of seafloor east of Newfoundland).
Satellite and on-ground imaging indicate most of the deck cannot be seen for a large mass of seaweed and coral which has grown onto the ship.
It was owned by Landsend Shipping, an incorporated company based in Boston, with ties to a Group of Interest.
The group in question is the Esoteric Church of Dagon, known in the area of New England since at least 1890. They have been significantly aided by the ability to use fictionalisations of their activities as a form of cover in itself - exchanging the position of originator and admirer.
We think the crew are just buttonmashers. It’s unlikely they would know the precise effects of what they had dredged up. The Flemish Cap is the most probable location of “Dagon Reef”, an island that sinks and rises tricentennially for reasons not adequately understood by science.
Base-camp has been set up at the town of Sedgwick - the population have been evacuated on premise of a chemical spill from the wreck of the Honesty.
Consult this image for a rough description of the radii of the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary effects.
The blue triangle is base camp.
Primary effects include fog reducing visibility to 100m, and the presence of large mobile plumes of cyan fire which hover at about 9 feet / 2.7 metres off the ground, henceforth “will-o-wisps”. Contact with a will-o-wisp is almost invariably fatal, as the fire moves towards any biological material that contacts it, quickly spreading along flora and fauna and consuming them.
To counteract this, your fireteams will be equipped with fully body plastic suits, which have been explained as HAZMAT suits for the chemicals aboard the Honesty.
Secondary effects include fog reducing visibility to 20m, electromagnetic interference which renders traditional communication methods ineffective, and the presence of anomalous sealife in the bay. It is not recommended that you interact with the anomalous sealife. Untested chronological effects are common with creatures of this kind.
Tertiary effects occur in the following sequence, advancing in stage with roughly ten minutes of exposure. Until Stage 8, ten minutes of no exposure will reduce your stage by 1.
Subjective decrease in core temperature of affected body.
Mild headache. Runny nose.
Audiohallucinations of “fish noises''. Cold feeling on back of neck.
Slurring of speech. Numbness in feet.
Inability to recognise self in the mirror. Eyes commonly unfocus.
You no longer recognise your hands as your own. Desire to consume saltwater.
Ability to blink lost. Long-term damage to eyes is guaranteed unless exposure is ceased nearly immediately.
Past Stage 8 the case is irreversible.
Hands tear off, become autonomous. Mind’s capacity for language is eliminated.
Death and reformation. Deep One created.
You will be equipped with one requisitioned Coast Guard speedboat per Fireteam. You will depart from Sedgwick dock at 2100 hours and move on the Honesty.
You will get aboard, use explosives to clear a way into the coral, then move room to room.
The crew are still aboard. They have been seen in the windows. It is extremely unlikely that any remain unaffected by the anomaly. If you find an unaffected survivor, recover them.