Originally posted to DGML by Robert J. Parker on Friday, 23 November 2007
Threat: The Abhoth Strain, AKA the Cosmic Cancer
Here's another project that I'm working on, an additional Mythos threat to spring on DG investigators. I've written a bit of history on it. Keep in mind that everything is in rough draft form at this point.
Born from early experiments by the Elder Things to create their servitor race, the Shoggoths, from the primal soup of Ubbo-Sathla, they inadvertently created a cancerous hive-mind that was dedicated to an endless consumption of all life. This was accomplished through the introduction of the milk of Shub-Niggurath into a test batch of Ubbo-Sathla. Unable to destroy this monstrosity completely, they instead cast this nameless entity (which man would later refer to as Abhoth) into a specially-designed prison known as Abhoth deep within the earth, the structural integrity of which they maintained until the Shoggoth uprising.
With their empire descending into chaos, the Elder Things were unable to properly staff the Abhoth facility and, inevitably, a security breach occurred. Given this opportunity, Abhoth devoured the skeleton crew that existed there and only a handful of brave souls managed to activate the nuclear self-destruct mechanism that destroyed the complex and, seemingly, Abhoth. Unfortunately, things were not that simple. Abhoth still lived, although still trapped and severely weakened. Yet over countless eons the ever-spawning Abhoth devoured what life it encountered and slowly spread, probing and seeking, looking for a way to penetrate the surface and realize the Shub-Niggurath principle.
In the modern day, two manifestations of Abhoth are known as Glaaki and Eihort, foul monstrosities whose sphere of influence was limited to the Severn Valley only by the intrusion of the Insects from Shaggai, who recognized the "stain" of Shub-Niggurath's milk, which was anathema to the blasphemous doctrines of the Azathoth-worshipping Shans. Yet, these localized appendages of the Abhoth hive-mind are not the only attempts by the cosmic cancer to breach the upper crust in the name of the full-scale decimation of Earthly life.
In 1901, William D'Arcy, an Australian archeologist and worshipper of Abhoth (who was exposed to the alien collective intelligence when visiting Great Britain and experiencing the dream-pull of Glaaki) was guided to the southwestern town of Persia known as Abadan where he "discovers" vast reserves of oil. Approaching the cash-strapped Persian government, he purchases a full monopoly over the oil fields for the next 60 years for a mere pittance. D'Arcy then sold the majority of his stock to the British government, who formed the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (later known as BP). This allows for the most extensive oil-drilling site that man had ever seen as Abadan is transformed into a colonial city, hiring sixty to eighty thousand workers. This worked right into the hands of the mad cultist D'Arcy as the unwitting British government, looking to power their fleet without relying on coal, opened a doorway in which Abhoth could spread its vile influence.
Seeded amongst the British management of the Abadan refineries was a small cult of Abhoth that was recruited by D'Arcy, but the foul rituals performed behind the locked doors of "British only" clubs and the brutal exploitation of the local workers spread resentment amongst the populace. Eventually, word spread to certain elements within the Ulema (Shi'ite church hierarchy) that had studied heretical texts which depicted foul rites all too similar to the stories they heard from Abadan. This small group of religious scholars quietly worked in conjunction with the labor movement to combat British colonialism and the spread of Abhoth. While the unions were checked by the foul Tcho-Tcho scabs imported from India, the Elder Signs and hypergeometric formulae employed by the religious scholars was enough to give Abhoth pause. Further, Reza Shah, who came to power in 1926, took power in Persia and pressured the British to renegotiate the terms of the oil concession, which had become a major point of contention. Abhoth decided that it would need to control the Shah to ensure that its propagation could flower unabated. The chance for such a coup would arise 25 years later, thanks to the rise of the popular and idealistic prime minister, Dr. Mohammad Mossadeq.
Mossadeq, the opposition leader to Reza Shah's rule, became a powerful force in parliament when Reza's son, Mohammad Reza Shah, enacted constitutional reforms shortly after taking the throne. Mossadeq became prime minister in 1951, with one of his major platforms being "negative equilibrium," which rejected all economic concessions to foreign powers. He proceeded to make fast enemies with the British when he nationalizes oil in Iran. Over the next year and a half MI-6 formed a convoluted conspiracy to oust Mossadeq from power, involving the CIA, Iranian mobsters, business interests, the clergy, the military and even the Shah himself. One of those MI-6 agents, which were based out of Cyprus after Mossadeq had ejected the British from the country, had come under the influence of Abhoth. Far worse, their new Prime Minister, General Zahedi, had willingly accepted thralldom to Abhoth in exchange for his rise to power. Soon, the beast calculated, the entirety of Iran would be under its control.
Despite the popular revolt in the streets against Zahedi's coup, Mossadeq's faltering popularity thanks to his stubborn refusal to compromise his ideology in the name of politics had alienated many of his allies, as did his increasing reliance on the communist Tudeh party, which took its orders from the Kremlin. The Tudeh party, however, had discovered evidence of the frighteningly inhuman backers of the conspiracy. While they had not fully put the pieces together, what they had found they faithfully reported back to their Soviet masters, and the intelligence analysts in GRU SV-8 knew enough to recognizing the corrupting influence of the Mythos. Unsure whether or not to trust their erstwhile ally Mossadeq given this information, and interested in seeing moderate democratic voices silenced in favor of a radical communist coup, the Tudeh party was ordered to stand above the fray.
While the coup went off without a hitch, the cult of Abhoth (and their dread master) did not predict the Shah's response when the sanity-blasting truth was revealed to him on the night of the revolution. Mohammad Reza Shah, although a weak man, was horrified by the revelation of what had been pulling the strings. Fleeing the country, it was not until Zahedi had firmly entrenched himself as the new Prime Minister that Mohammad Reza Shah returned. General Zahedi and his co-conspirators would not stay in power for long, however, as the Shah labored to see him deposed as Prime Minister after two years of service and warned him, privately, that any further attempts by an alien intelligence to control his country would end disastrously. Zahedi was given a position as ambassador to the United Nations and Abhoth found itself checked by a regime that was fully aware of its existence. Abhoth, defeated once more, chose to withdraw back into the Earth, concentrating on other projects, most notably the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. Meanwhile, Zahedi worked to secretly smuggle the remaining Iranian cultists to the United States, whose descendants now work alongside the son of the deposed Mohammad Reza Shah and the Council for a Free Iran to see that, one day, they will once more have the opportunity to seize control of Persia.
Okay, some afterthoughts:
- I'm still in the middle of my history of Iran class, so further developing the story will have to wait until I know more about what happens next in our real-world history.
- No, the mention of Cyprus in both texts is not a coincidence. I'm working on what will hopefully be an interesting intersection between the previously mentioned Karotechia adventure and this Mythos cult.
- Any thoughts on a surviving tradition of Shi'ia clerics that live on until this day and is sponsored by the modern state of Iran to protect against Mythos threats.
- I really have no idea how to develop the modern Iranian cult of Abhoth operating in the US today. I know the next step for me is to do more reading on supporters of the Shah, but maybe there somebody who might be able to give me any ideas or insight?