Finding The Machine
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We were prepared for war. It was obvious our mission was important from the start. Oftentimes, a manager or vice president would send their good graces before a mission, but seeing you was a rare event. We simply heard your announcements on the loud speakers, or received your signature at the bottom of a letter. Sending out a platoon for a raid on a residential farmhouse was quite uncommon as well - seemed a touch excessive at first, but when we were briefed that we were butting heads against the Church of the Broken God, the reasons became more clear. The last encounter we had with those bastards ended in flames, with the prize destroyed as a result.

They had something we wanted, of course. Our plant informed us the Church had quite the peculiar object in their possession. All I was told was that it excels in both improving and taking apart any object placed inside. This information alone made it invaluable. None of us wanted to know what the Church was planning with such a device, but if we knew their intentions well enough, it would be best for everyone if we confiscated the device.

Before we arrived, we expected a number of things to be in our way; guardsmen patrolling the area, large, grisly automatons, snipers from the rooftops, of all the things that could have feasibly been there. Few things could have been more off. Instead of the heavily armed fortress we were anticipating, we found that no one was patrolling the perimeter and the dwelling appeared entirely empty.

We suspected that they might have been expecting us. Perhaps our plant was discovered, and they anticipated that we'd make an attempt to claim the machine for ourselves. But if that was the case, why in the heavens would they leave what was most likely one of their utmost holy relics completely unguarded? None of us wanted to be hasty and jump to any conclusions, so we devised a course of action.

The barn reeked of death as soon as we passed through those thrice-damned barn doors. It was previously utilized as the center of worship, but at the time of our exploration, it was closer to a ghost town. Pews were either propped up against doors or used as barricades, and refuse was littering the dirt floor. We spotted a man at the far back of the chapel. Very slender figure, blond hair, and sporting a blue robe: probably part of the choir. The man was leaning on a podium, his back turned to us, giving me the impression that the poor sod was crying. We ordered him to get down on his knees, but he didn't give a response. I went up to restrain him, but… I apologize, sir, I'm at a loss about how to put this in words. The instant I laid a hand on him, he fell to the ground. The entirety of his front half of his body was flayed, freely exposing his bones and muscle.

We were all appalled by this, but none of us moved. After a brief moment, we continued our search, and came across a cellar door buried underneath a stack of pews. Two of the other squad members were ordered to remove the benches from the door. We stacked up against the door, and upon opening, several men and women were on the other side, facing our direction, with their backs flayed in a similar manner to the man on the pew.

They weren't moving, but they all looked as if they were making an attempt to crawl out of the cellar with a look of horror on what was left of their faces, as if they were frozen in time. We reported our findings to the rest of the platoon through our radio, and called for reinforcements. We haven't a clue if this was an anomalous plague of some kind, but we were unprepared for it if it was as such.

We awaited our cavalry at the chapel's entrance, who arrived promptly. Four more good men and the biohazard suits made us all feel more secure, but I don't know if it did any real good. The nine of us went back to the hall, cataloging the bodies as we went. Suffice to say, sir, I was a mite spooked at the number of dead bodies in the room, but it wasn't until I stepped in a liquefied puddle of what had been brains that I started to get truly worried. We didn't take notice of it before, but the parts of them that were skinned off were all facing a single direction, like moss on a stone. We had a hunch that we were only getting closer to the origin of this disaster.

The flayed portions all faced the end of the hall, pointing to a single wooden door. A woman was laying upon the ground, her legs skinned, and pointing toward the door. Her gown had a large rip in it, revealing a rather nasty - and fatal - wound on her stomach. Even if whatever blighted this place didn't get to her, she would have, in all likelihood, died from the blood loss. What was most important to us though, was her look of complete dread as she stared at the door.

We were almost certain that the door would suddenly give way to an eldritch abomination that would crash down upon us as soon as we went near it. Our squad leader ordered us to keep our rifles aimed for the door, and to be prepared to open fire if things got nasty while he opened it. That quarter of a second it took for the doors to open seemed to capture an eternity, and even now, I still don't entirely know what to make of what was there.

We saw the machine. We expected it to be rather large, but not quite as big as the room. It came in three segments, each as big as a typical walk-in closet, and connected to the center piece by tubing of some kind. It appeared to be very user friendly, sporting a dial with five possible settings, set on 'coarse' at the time, and a key that presumably activates the machine when you turn it.

There were three men in monkish robes, arms up in defense of what had already killed them. The door of the machine's left compartment was closed, but the right side's was open, with a large red pool seeping out of it. The inside was akin to the inside of a meat locker, for a lack of a better comparison. The organs, bones, muscles, …what I have to assume were nerve endings, hair, and skin were all neatly separated and organized into piles along the output stalls floor. The rest was just a blur after we found it. We packed the machine into the truck, along with some other objects of interest, and retreated to headquarters.

Mr. Carter, I have reason to believe that the device is capable of far more than we think. I have a hunch that the Church was using it in an attempt to exorcise some anomalous beast. If it was able to completely separate the innards of an anomalous creature, with little to no damage to the organs, the anomaly might have been separated as well. I'm not asking for its destruction, of course, I'm asking you to use it carefully, and understand its functions before you let it loose. I don't know what you plan to do with it, but if we intend on giving it the usual treatment by putting it on the list, appropriate measures should be taken to protect the buyers.



Lot #: 50621-914


Minimum Bid: $368,000,000

Almost certainly the pride of the auction, this clockwork titan of ingenuity comes in three pieces, each anchored to the center piece by sturdy copper tubing. Sporting a very user-friendly interface easily operated by even the most inexperienced layman, the applications of this wondrous appliance are boundless.

Unusual Qualities: Upon placing any object into the machine's 'Intake' booth, the owner will have the option to modify that object with five different settings to choose from: 'Rough', 'Coarse', '1:1', 'Fine', and 'Very Fine'.

  • Rough: Reduces the object placed inside to component elements, and separates them into individual piles.
  • Coarse: Neatly takes apart the object, and separates the parts into categories.
  • 1:1: Replaces the object with a random item of equivalent function and value.
  • Fine: Grants an item a random, although remarkable, improvement related to its function.
  • Very Fine: Randomly and radically alters an object in an abstract fashion, loosely related to the item's general purpose.

Care Instructions: This exterior of the piece should be cleaned once every week like any other metal appliance. The intake and outtake booths may also be cleaned. Under no circumstances should the device itself be disassembled.

Disclaimer: Marshall, Carter, & Dark holds no responsibility for the improper handling, loss of valuables, or results of any exchange when using this item. Especially when used on the 'Fine' and 'Very Fine' settings, the end result of "refinement" could prove hazardous to the user's health: proper precautions must be taken to prevent loss of life or limb. Placing already 'gifted' items, living beings (including the user), and remains inside the machine is greatly discouraged and will void the warranty.

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