A legitimate experiment in physics, on commission by Majestic 12.
This scenario was written in late 2011, under news coverage of OPERA’s fast neutrinos, the E-Cat cold fusion hoax, and signs of the Higgs boson at the LHC. It’s about the idea of science running into Mythos phenomena, which are natural in the world of CoC. No scientist would accept the idea that a big portion of reality will always be ruinous.
The private sector
Ruby Oremus, 41, is a quantum physicist, just under 5 feet tall as the result of a mild bone-growth disorder. She’s best known for her work on CPT symmetry at the University of Maryland. Dissatisfied with the academic world, she heads Mirror-World Labs, a company owned and funded to 77% by the Bright Matter Investment Group. Its representative, Ashkon James, is generous in all things, except hiring. Mirror-World employs only nine.
In a locked drawer, Oremus has twelve pages of abstruse theory and formulae, provided by James over a period of eight months. He calls them “the framework”. She believes this is the result of original research at some other private lab. Without it, Oremus would not have known where to begin her company’s current project, which is to make 1 gram of antimatter with negligible energy input.
The very private sector
In reality, “the framework” is derived from MJ-7 Project REDLIGHT. It spawned from the creation of antimatter reactors in the duplication of Grey technology (Delta Green, page 82). It’s meant to generate the fuel for these reactors, without which they are useless. The same project is being run in parallel at an MJ-12 facility near Fort Drum, designated FLIPSIDE.
FLIPSIDE was a harmless failure for almost two decades before its foundation was copied to Oremus’s fresh minds in the private sector. If her team succeeds at Mirror-World Labs, it will either be annihilated by the antimatter it produces, or inducted and/or killed by MJ-12: a win-win.
The real estate
Mirror-World Labs runs out of an optical observatory at 9,000 feet in the Rockies, not far from Denver, Colorado. The building is new, with lead shielding in the walls and two large, oil-fired backup generators. The company also rents a small office in downtown Denver, second floor of four, with one room remodelled to hold the servers.
Access to the lab is by a single road, through a sturdy gate operated by a key-card lock with individual 4-digit PINs. There are no guards, but the security cameras feed into a REDLIGHT op centre masquerading as Rocky Road Security. Its logo is of a serious-looking man with a bucket of ice cream and a shotgun. They watch the office too.
Oremus’s experiments involve the isolation and filtration of light from a range of stellar objects around the constellation Sagitta. The light is applied to heavy, ionized gases at near-vacuum pressures in the building’s small, mirror-clad toroidal containment chamber. This would normally be expected to do nothing, and it generally does. However, by varying the aim of the telescope, the filters, the type and temperature of the gas and so forth, Oremus has demonstrably broken CPT symmetry on the molecular scale.
The effects have not been visible to the naked eye, but instrumental records show reversed momenta with all other factors held constant. This disproves the Lüders-Pauli theorem and probably topples the mirror-world hypothesis Oremus named her company after. To her, this is huge. A Nobel waiting to happen. Fame and money floating in electromagnetic suspension.
There are two reasons why the original FLIPSIDE has not yet produced this effect. Firstly, the Fort Drum facility is a radio telescope. The active form of radiation is not electromagnetic, just reflected a lot like light, which is why the simpler optical telescope in Colorado can focus it, while masking other, inhibiting rays.
The second reason: The stars have only recently come right. The Greys’ antimatter generators rely on physics that are not normally valid on Earth, but will be, as changing gravitational interference patterns direct and focus more of the radiation. In a few years, minuscule quantities of antimatter will be visibly annihilated in the night skies of Earth. This is the bonfire of the End Times.
The following are Oremus’s employees at Mirror-World Labs. They are hand-picked for their skills, their greed and their lack of close family. MJ-12 has dossiers full of real and fake biographic leverage on each of them.
- Peter Bohatsch, 31. He’s from Austria, but got his Ph.D. in theoretical physics under Oremus in the US, then did his post-doc at a Max Planck institute in Germany. Charismatic and competent, he works in the Denver office, mostly analysing sensor data.
- Erwin Vorlaufer, 32. His parents named him after Schrödinger, but he flunked out of graduate school and followed his old friend Bohatsch here. He does odd jobs at all times of day, including maintenance and tests of emergency equipment.
- Nick Bedemore, 36. A Ph.D. in quantum field theory from MIT, but a programmer at heart. Likes to ramble. He alternates between the lab and the Denver office, often pulling a very late shift, coding the tools that automate each new iteration of the experiment.
- Rebecca Leventhal, 44. Handles procurement and legal issues from the Denver office. She’s gotten a crash course in physics to be able to order the right sensors. Incidentally the only one in the company who has ever fired a gun, although she does not own one.
- Chelsea Otte, 28. An M.Sc. in applied physics from Texas Tech. She believes all good science is counter-intuitive to the point of horror, and loves the work. She does analysis with Bohatsch at the office, and always takes her motorcycle to the lab if she has to go.
- Karol Ptasinski, 26. Raised in the polygamist FLDS Church until she ran away at 15. She is now a foul-mouthed and ferocious mathematician, maths being the only subject she could study with the cult. Her terrible grasp of history and politics is a source of amusement at the office.
- Jerry Tan, 53. A sinewy electrician cum network administrator with an assortment of Metallica t-shirts and a black belt. He keeps everyone bugged for the boys at REDLIGHT. There’s a set of text messages in the drafts folder on his own phone that can cut off all communications and destroy the server park with thermite.
- Hooshmand “Hoosh” Parande, 30. Second-generation Iranian-American foodie. One of the world’s best-paid janitors, he handles the chemicals and cleans the lab. Like Vorlaufer and Tan, he also has to do a lot of the heavy lifting. The trio often goes out for beer.
A night at the opera
The prerequisite real-world work on CPT symmetry exists from the mid-1990s. The following single-session scenarios at Mirror-World Labs can therefore be set at any point from Fairfield’s reorganization onwards. Combine any two for a proper Opera.
Pulp action: The bug hunt
In a campaign where the Mythos is morally charged and there must be combat, there is a monster in the observatory, lured or teleported by the concentration of radiation. It comes out of the dome at night and hunts in the Rocky Mountains until Delta Green hears about it. One of the workers who spends a lot of time in the lab could be transformed or possessed. Just add guns.
Cloak and dagger: The road to REDLIGHT
The PCs are already investigating MJ-12 and hear about the company as a satellite operation. It looks like an easy target to A Cell, because it is. Through surveillance, hacking, social engineering and hijacking the transport of a new Penning trap, the PCs obtain all or part of “the framework”, without tipping off MJ. They may also get a chance to interrogate “James” (Brian Rudman, 54) and start learning about the original FLIPSIDE and REDLIGHT. Through sabotage, they can shut down operations for months.
Techno-thriller: The paths of glory
Peter Bohatsch plagiarizes work from Mirror-World Labs (on arXiv.org, or by submitting it to a journal), or puts the framework papers on WikiLeaks to show the amazing things that are hidden from the public for profit. A friendly blows her whistle and Delta Green is called in. By then, Bohatsch is missing. MJ-12 will keep him at OUTLOOK for two days. When found, he is on meth and can make no more sense than Carlos Allende. The company is dismantled as quietly as possible. Those who do not sign on with FLIPSIDE begin to disappear in other ways.
Apocalypse: The big, beautiful tomorrow
There is a breakthrough one night. One fiftieth of an ounce of polished steel in the walls of the containment chamber turns into antimatter. The explosion is slightly more powerful than Nagasaki’s Fat Man. Hooshmand Parande is killed. The rest of the employees survive to be investigated by Delta Green in the dust-strewn chaos of Denver, while MJ-12 collects its prize: The conditions of the one successful experiment.
Written by Viktor Eikman.