Mission 5 Story

Mission 5 Story

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    Steam Crow

    Here’s where you can post your stories for Mission Number 5. If you already posted your story on the old site, please add it back here for others to explore and enjoy.


    Monster Ranger

    This is a tale that was passed down from the first Monster Scout in my family, A. H. Eyre:

    I had joined the monster scouts when Baron rolled through my small town in rural Utah in 1906. He spoke to a small crowd of us in the town square and informed us of what was going on around us. Many of the townsfolk didn’t give him any heed, but I was fascinated. My family had visited the small town of Garden City a few miles north of us and word was that a monster had been seen in the deep blue waters of Bear Lake.

    People spoke that the monster was 30 feet long and was vicious. But hearing Baron speak, I knew this to be wrong. This monster was our friend and had been stuck here on “Irth”. And wanted to get back to Monstru. I had to help him. I asked Baron if I could join and help out our monster friends. He made me a monster scout that night and I set off for Garden City the following morning.

    When I arrived in Garden City I found a nice family that took me in and gave me a room to stay in. Baron had informed me that many wouldn’t believe that monsters were real so I should say that I was here to study the unique wildlife in the water, fish and plankton. The father of the family owned a small boat and told me it was mine whenever I needed it.

    That afternoon I set out on the bluest water I had ever seen and began the task of trying to find the great beast. I didn’t know what I was looking for only that Baron had told me” They need our help, they need us to guide them”. I was determined to help out this monster any way I could.

    The first day I didn’t have any luck in located my soon to be new friend so I decided to ask around the town if anyone had seen anything. Many people laughed and said it was a children’s story and told me I was wasting my time. I asked around for a weeks time and was on the water for hours a day but nothing had been revealed to me. I was beginning to think that maybe they were just stories after all. Then the day I had been waiting for came. I finally met a man named Taylor that told me he had seen something late at night near the cat tails where the fireflies father. This was the best lead I had so I was determined the next night to find him.

    I set out to the area Taylor had mentioned and there was the most beautiful glow I had ever seen. There must have been thousands of fireflies hovering over a small inlet of water surrounded by cat tails. When I approached the inlet, I couldn’t believe what I saw. There he was, the monster. He had a long neck in which was the most gentle face I had ever seen. He had eyes that could make anyone calm. When I approached he started to back away but I told him I knew where he was from and I was here to help be a guide. He looked at me and I could tell he knew I was a friend.

    The next few nights I visited with him, bringing him food and telling him all about our world and that there were many of us who wanted to help. In the blackest of nights, he would take me on his large back and carry me to the middle of the lake and it was beautiful. One night as I was riding him, he came to a small mountain and there was a cave near the show where the lake flowed into. We entered and there I saw them. He had a small family. They were no bigger than dogs. 3 small monsters. I asked where their mother was and he gave me the saddest look I have ever seen. I realized she didn’t make it through the portal from Monstru and he was just trying to protect his children.

    I vowed on that day to protect him and his family and would pass down our secret to my family. As I visited the cave each night I realized that this lake would not be big enough for 4 grown monsters and was worried that their secret would get out and the monsterologists that I had heard about would find the small ones and take them away for horrific studies on them. I looked at the father and said that I was worried for his family and felt that we needed to move the children to different lakes around the state. He looked at me and I could tell he agreed. He then showed me something I will never forget. In the back of the cave was a glowing whirlpool. He helped me on his back and we proceeded into the pool. I was nervous as to what was going on but the moment we entered the middle of the pool I was calm. We then were transported to each of the big lakes in the State, The Great Salt Lake, Utah Lake and Lake Powell. I was astonished. All the waterways in our great state were connected by this pool. His family would. It be split up, they could visit at any time one another. I cried I was so happy for them.

    Over the next few years we helped the children get used to their new lake homes and now every lake has a creature to protect it and make it a little bit of Monstru here on Irth.

    So if you are ever on one of the 4 Great Lakes here in our beautiful state and see a green glow of fireflies, approach them with caution and let rise you find there know you are guide to them and help them out anyway you can.


    Monster Ranger


    RangerScout Prickly Pear here today. Some of you I’ve had the pleasure of meeting personally, others that privilege has yet to be mine. But, for those I’ve met, you may see me randomly holding up a roasted peanut…or two…or a handful. For no good reason? Oh no, for the best reason: let me tell you about FiFi, my Baku companion. No, you cannot see him (yes, with a name like FiFi…he’s a “he”). Every once in a while he graces me with his visual presence and he comes up to about my mid-thigh – like a good-sized dog. Although don’t ever let him know I’ve compared him to a dog – he just hates ‘em!


    The story goes that sometime in the fall of 1913, Baron Davis received reports from the Spy Rangers of an unnatural looking bear spotted in the woods – and he also heard that the Plug Uglies and Monsterologists were on the prowl for the very same creature. Further civilian reports came back that it was a bear; no a lion; it’s a tiger – wait – an elephant!!! Well, it certainly sounded like a creature from Monstu…perhaps even a foon. So Baron grabbed his gear and headed out. He spent three days trudging through the Wenatchee National Forest before he spotted fresh tiger tracks. It took another two days to track the creature to its hidey-hole. Still no sign of the Hatters yet, but Baron knew he had to act fast; they couldn’t be far behind. An overwhelming and distinct scent of Beasty in the air filled the opening to the den that Baron investigated. Suddenly, a gray squiggly elephant trunk protruded from the little hole in the Irth. Baron knew they could be dancin’ daisies by now and had to hurry.


    He checked his satchel for any delicious bits and all he could find was a flask of emergency doomshine and a few crusty roasted peanuts. He laid out a trail of peanuts and poured some doomshine into the lid of his whistle tin. And waited. Slowly but surely, the trunk stretched further and further and nabbed the first nut, pulling it back into the darkness. A second later, the odd bear-tiger-elephant monster plunged from the opening, wriggled around for a second, and then quickly snorted up each peanut until they were gone, stopping only to quench his thirst with the tin o‘shine. His li’l oxtail wagging… he nudged up against Baron, burrowed into his thigh, his trunk prodding the depths of the satchel for more nuts.


    Suddenly, voices came from the distance. Loud, obnoxious, and foul. It had to be the Hatters!!! Baron looked at the monster and hissed, “Hide!” through clenched teeth. FiFi shook his mane, wriggled his trunk, *farted* and suddenly became invisible. Astounded, but not too surprised, Baron turned around just in time to see a Plug Ugly break through the brush. “Oh, it’s a Ringe! Whatchoo doin’ out here, you stinkin’ Scarf?!” Baron hid his disgust, sipped on the doomshine flask, kicked a peanut shell by his foot, “Looking for a place to set up some canvas and catch a blink.” The plug looked around, sniffed the air…”Hey,” he says, “what’s that smell?” Baron winks and grins, “Peanuts give me gas…” and pops a nut in his mouth. Mortified, the plug runs back into the brush and the Baron heard him yell to his companions, “Ain’t nothin’ but a nature-lovin’ Ringe.” They continued to stomp through the forest, away from Baron and the invisible FiFi. Baron felt FiFi’s trunk relax from around his calf…and the gentle, intrusive prodding back into the depths of his satchel for more nuts. Baron patted him on his mane, “C’mon, back to Monstervania with you.” Once back at the lodge, Baron introduced his unseen shadow as FiFi..FiFi the Farter. And the rest…well, as they say, is history.


    “Wait a minute”, you say, “If FiFi was discovered by Baron back in 1913, what the heck are you doin’ with him now?” Passed on from generation to generation of Rangers, randomly through the ranks, FiFi has chosen a companion. Who knows why FiFi chose “this Ranger” or “that Ranger”, but for now; he has chosen me. This “little” Baku continues to keep our acquaintance. My delightful little peanut-loving Baku companion. Eater of nightmares…and roasted peanuts.


    I had to forgo the standard-issue neckerchief slide and replace it with a daily reminder to grab myself a bag of roasted peanuts and toss them in my satchel. You’ll see this when we meet. The first few weeks of Baku’s constant companionship, I would forget the nuts…and FiFi’s incessant poking and prodding trunk drove me, well, NUTS!


    The attached photograph (click here) was taken of FiFi between 1915-1916 while he and some Ranger Scouts were in Alaska searching for Adlets. Notice the nuts? He can’t get enough of ‘em. In fact, I have to carry a bag around with me every day in my satchel. Nobody wants an unruly Baku! FiFi apparently hasn’t aged a day. Perhaps roasted peanuts are a Baku’s fountain of youth?


    And one more thing – when you smell something…foul…around me, I promise it wasn’t me. FiFi may be adorable and fluffy and playful, but man he’s got some major digestive issues. And if you’re every lucky – I mean truly lucky – you’ll get to catch a glimpse of him, too.


    Footnote: for those of you who aren’t familiar with a Baku, the Dark Librarians have told me that they were first discovered in Japanese folklore. A spirit, demon, or monster with the trunk and tusks of an elephant, the mane of a lion, the body of a bear, the legs and feet of a tiger, and the tail of an ox. Some Baku have been seen surrounded by lapping flames. (Thankfully our flatulent FiFi doesn’t have any flames – could you imagine the carnage?) When called upon, Baku have been known to devour nightmares. BUT beware – an angered Baku will not only eat nightmares, but dreams, aspirations, and hopes. I repeat: nobody wants an unruly Baku. Send me your roasted peanuts! …please…


    Kevin Gilbert
    Monster Ranger

    (Note: The following text was recovered from four handwritten journal pages passed on to me by a Trolla of my acquaintance a few months ago; while she had been in possession of the pages for a number of years, she was unsure about their exact origin. As always, if any Ranger has knowledge of additional pages from H.E. Palmer’s journals, we at the Black Acre Lodge would be most appreciative for their return.

    K. Gilbert, Dark Librarian)

    … which I must admit was shouted with more bravado than I actually was feeling at the time.

    Dangling there, I watched my cap flip down to the farmlands below and was reminded that I had taken a position in the library at Black Acres precisely because I wasn’t overly fond of being hung by my ankle hundreds of feet in the air while some thug in a suit tried to cram years of ballooning experience into a couple of minutes.

    Above me I could hear Alouicious laughing maniacally, as was his wont, and I could hear his pug-ugly sideman banging at the mechanism that provided hot air to the balloon. Below me the young mothman, terrified and injured from his earlier run in with Aloysius and his crew, flew with great haste.

    I called out to the creature, cooing to it as I had heard his mother do earlier that week when things did not appear so dire. I was banking heavily on him hearing a great deal better than I, and I hoped my crooning call would let him know that while things were not ideal at the present moment, he still had an ally who was actively interested in his safety. Not noticing any reaction on the mothman’s part, I switched to cawing a Montalk lullabye I had been taught during my time in Sarajevo. All the while the balloon continued to steadily ascend.

    A pulsating blue beak of light creased the air in front of me, indicating that Aloysius had finally repaired the damage I had done to his infernal device and that he had begun his hunt again. As my satchel remained on the floor of the balloon’s basket and my apron had been discarded during the fire at the chalet, I found myself with no tools to aid in my escape from the current predicament I was ensconced in. The motto says that a Ranger protects no matter what, though, and even in my dire state I vowed I would allow no further harm to come to that noble creature winging away so desperately beneath me.

    I endeavored to shift my weight front to back (at least front to back relative to my particular position at that moment, which was, of course, upside down and dangling by a single leg many hundreds of feet in the air) until I was soon swinging like one of Madame O’Brien’s pendulums. As Alouicious appeared over the side of the basket with his damned rifle in hand, I heaved myself with all the strength i could muster, hoping to at least absorb the blast with my own body and provide the innocent creature a few more seconds in which to increase the distance between him and the ever-rising balloon.

    Much to my dismay, I overshot my mark, and the azure beam did not strike my person as intended but instead hit the chain that bound my foot to the balloon’s basket. Needless to say I began to plummet, which is when I felt, at the time, that things had truly taken a rather unfortunate turn.

    While pinwheeling towards the earth, I could not help but reflect upon the prophecy first whispered to Angela and myself by the Sphinx of Abydos in 1913: “Beware,” she had begun, “for in five years time…”

    (Here is where the text ends. Much has been written on H.E. Palmer, and as near as I can determine, this journal comes from his time in France, which would place the event in question somewhere between July and September of 1917. To provide some context on this time in Palmer’s various adventures, I’m including a letter he sent to his friend, Angela Carruthers. As near as I can determine, this would have been posted shortly after his experiences with the Mothman.)


    Dear Angela – As you may be aware, the various events that have brought me to this war-torn piece of land near their conclusion. I have, of course, contacted B. and informed him of the passing of dearest little Mezec in August.

    As I told you then, your talents are better served far away from the bitterness and bile with which Europe has become infused in these most recent times, and while I am sure things have been far from peaceful in the Dakotas, I take some comfort in the knowledge that you were far away from the insanity that has surrounded me these last weeks.

    As I write this, I am recuperating from some recent misadventures in the home of L., and he and his wife both send you and Merritt warm regards and belated congratulations on your nuptials last year.

    This brings me to the heart of this correspondence. The misadventure that has laid me up so thoroughly was stirred up by A. (that cad) and his usual group of n’er do wells and hoods. While I left him and what remained of his band of idiots in a precarious place (indeed, if it were anyone else besides A., I would consider the matter done), I cannot help but feel that he will turn up again to vex us. It all ties back to Abydos and the things the four of us found there. Her words still haunt me, and I wonder how many must fall before we are finally free from what was spoken there.

    Please be careful out there in the field, my dearest sister. Once I am able to stand without howling like a skinwalker, I will conclude my business here and head back to the States. Inform Merritt that I made contact with his Smudge friends from Bezonvaux and that they are alive and hard at work with B. attempting to end the Axis threat once and for all.





    Natalie Slaughter
    Monster Ranger

    <center>Tales from the Slaughter House</center>The Slaughter family carries on a naming tradition that’s been in place for as far back as any of us can trace. Our first names are our own, but our middle names — our second names — are inherited from those who came before us. It’s said once that they were once written in a family tome that’s been long since lost in sacred ink, each batch hand crafted to carry on desired skills and traditions. To keep the family power alive.

    My brother and second uncle are both Logans. They’re kind and studious, hyper focused on their detail oriented professions of law and engineering. My uncle works to pass laws that would protect the rights of monsters and make it easier for them to assimilate into our world if they so chose. My brother focuses on buildings and structures, planning for the safety of everyone. His most recent accomplishment resolved the infamous issue of fire sprites setting off building sprinklers by augmenting the sensors.

    My cousin and uncle are both Marks. They’re natural explorers, intent on travel and discovery. My cousin explores by air, once a fighter pilot who now scans the clouds with an olive branch for new beasts curious as to the nature of our world. My uncle digs deep into the earth, looking for clues about monsters long past. He’s focused on discovering all he can about their hidden history.

    My grandmother and I are both Kays. We’re the first in centuries because of a black mark against name — apparently the second Kay in our line did the unthinkable. She enslaved a monster.

    She was immediately shunned by the family, of course, and holed herself up in a house in the country side. Family members would sneak in with parties in the night to try and find the creature, but Ancestor Kay kept them well hidden.

    When she passed they searched again, tearing up floor boards and ripping walls apart. No one found a hint of where the monster might have been kept. They started to wonder if it had just been a rumor. Maybe Ancestor Kay had gone mad and imagined the monster. Maybe she had been innocent after all.

    Her relations lived on their lives riddled with guilt over both possibilities: that she had enslaved a monster no one had been able to find and liberate, or she had lived her life accused of a terrible crime that Ancestor Kay had never actually committed.

    The property stayed in the family name for generations. No one wanted to sell it in case the monster was still there, hidden in a pocket no one had the skill or knowledge to open, but no one wanted to live there either.

    No one until my grandmother, only the third Kay in our line, decided enough was enough.

    Resources were scarce for a single mother and she had children to feed. The family agreed to gift her the home at no cost under the condition that she take care of the land and free any monsters she may find trapped inside.

    And so she did. She tilled the land, planted crops and bought cattle and chickens. Her children played on the rolling hills. Cleaning out the decrepit house took work, years of it, but at last it seemed done. As she moved out the last box she unearthed a door. It was flush with the floor, only a small knob separating it from the rest of the boards. She pulled it up and discovered a small flight of stairs that led down to a basement of sorts, covered in cob webs and parchment so old she was afraid they’d crumble at her touch.

    Towards the back the area opened up. An old woven rug was laid out and around it were wooden blocks, a rocking horse so covered in dust it’s dark decaying mane was nearly white. A toy kitchen made of heavy iron, complete with small dishes and cooking pots. A children’s play area.

    What made this even stranger was the knowledge that the only previous owner of this home never had any children.

    Grandmother Kay walked around the room, trailing fingers idly over the forgotten playthings with a frown. Where on earth had they come from?

    It wasn’t until her hand brushed over the faux stove that she gasped; it was glowing hot, a bright pink in the darkness. The air filled with the scent of burning dust and flesh. Two eyes blinked curiously, warily, out from it’s surface. And that’s when Grandmother Kay understood.

    This was it, the monster Ancestor Kay was said to have enslaved. Trapped in this long forgotten children’s toy, likely an amusement for a family long passed. She’d never known it existed below but had been haunted by the presence, driven mad by the knowledge that it was here somewhere. She’d died never knowing where to find it.

    The wayward fire elemental responded to the kindness in my grandmother’s touch, the inherent goodness he could sense, and was instantly released from it’s prison. It stayed with my grandmother through the remainder of her life, attracting other monsters that kept her company over the years.

    When she passed I was named a Kay, now that the curse of the name had finally been lifted. It’s now said that Kays have the gift of sense, sight and heart. We’re supposedly more sensitive to the presence of monsters that otherwise go unseen, and our hearts are large enough to offer them the care and kindness they deserve.

    I’m not sure if I believe in destiny or naming legends, but I hope I can live up to the Kay legacy.


    Ophelia Bell
    Monster Ranger

    I’d like to share some of my great-grandmother’s Ranger journal entries- she was quite the adventurer in her day.

    From the Ranger Journals of Clarissa Bell, Scare Force.

    19 March, 1914
    Today marks day 5 of my initiation into the Monster Ranger. I’ve received news that my request to join the Scare Force has gone through, and tomorrow I shall be assigned a biplane and a Scare Force squadron. I must admit, I was expecting to be assigned to the Monster Medics, even with my request, but the Monster Rangers have a refreshing lack of… shall we say, gender bias that the army seems to have no shortage of. “Women don’t belong on the battlefield,” indeed.

    20 March, 1914
    Oh, I shall have to see about getting a photograph of my beautiful biplane to attach to this entry- I don’t know if I can describe her with words. She’s dark blue, with lovely burnt orange stripes on the wings and tail, the color of a pumpkin. The face of Marrow Thatch- who is quickly becoming a mascot of sorts for the Rangers- is painted on her tail as well. I’ve named her Lucille. My squadron- called the Gargoyle Squadron (each flight squadron is named after a different monster) has been very kind already, and I’ve only known them for a day. There are four of them- two other human Rangers, Betty and Jackson; and two monsters that I have yet to learn their species. One is somewhat feline, but with bird feet instead of paws and a muzzle more like a dog’s. The other is yeti-like in appearance, though a little more- petite, is the word, and they have webbed paws and a tail like a beaver- possibly an aquatic yeti. I must ask them to write down their names- I only heard them out loud today and I’m still learning some of the spoken languages of Monstru. The yeti is quite adept with machinery- I believe the Ranger term is Clocktalker. They were able to strip a bent propeller from the nose of their plane and replace it with a new one in less than two minutes. Tomorrow we fly reconnaissance to a new possible Monsterologist laboratory- the Signal Rangers have been getting word from all over the monster community that monsters are being kidnapped by the thugs working for the Monsterologists. We are to gather information on the security, location and any possible dangers surrounding entry into the base for the rescue team. Even though this mission is of utter importance, I can’t help but grin with excitement.

    22 March, 1914
    Today I write from within a forest where Gargoyle Squadron is seeking shelter. Our mission was technically a success- we performed several flyovers of the Monsterologist laboratory and discovered that they are employing some of the monsters as… guard dogs, of all things. The poor things are chained up around the perimeter of the facility and several of the awful thugs standing guard to keep them in line. Ranger Gritt (that’s the aquatic yeti, who I’ve learned is referred to as a sea-squatch, so I was not far off!) has informed me they’re referred to as plug uglies by the Ranger community. We were circling back for a third run when several awfully loud planes seemed to come out of nowhere and opened fire on us. They bore the Monsterologist insignia and we were forced to retreat. We managed to lose them in some heavy cloud cover but both Ranger Jackson’s plane and my dear Lucille took damage. Gritt is working furiously to repair them before we’re discovered. In the meantime, the rest of us have been exploring the forest, trying to see if there are any monsters residing here that would be willing to assist us, or that we can help out.

    22 March, 1914- supplemental
    While exploring the forest I came across an orphaned owlbear chub. After some searching, I found what clearly had been the nest, but the mother was nowhere to be found. The nest looked a struggle had taken place, and I strongly believe that the mother has been abducted by the Monsterologists. As a Ranger, I couldn’t leave the chub to fend for itself- while owlbears are indeed ferocious creatures, the younglings have not learned the hunting skills that make the adults so dangerous and rely on their parents for food for several months. I have taken the chub back to camp with me, and for the time being it will return to our Ranger base. If we can safely release it into the wild, whether by finding its mother or a surrogate owlbear roost, then we shall do so, otherwise it can remain on the base- perhaps become a mediator between owlbears and Ranger, considering the underdeveloped relationship that currently exists.

    Also, the chub is quite adorable.

    23 March, 1914
    Ranger Gritt’s repairs went smashingly and we were able to return to base. A Doom Mime platoon was waiting for our return and almost as soon as we delivered our information they were off. Hopefully there won’t be any surprises in store at the Monsterologist base and they’ll get through more easily than we did.

    On a happier note, all the Rangers on base are very fond of the owlbear chub, even Ranger Jeremy, who’s allergic to owlbear fur. We’re trying to come up with names for the chub, in the event that we can’t find a suitable way to release him.

    23 March, 1914- supplemental
    We’ve named him Thatch, both after Marrow Thatch and because the combination of fur and feathers gives his body the appearance of- well, thatch on a roof.

    25 March, 1914
    The Doom Mimes have returned from their mission to the Monsterologist laboratory base. They’ve delivered the good news that they were able to free the monsters that they found there, but it seems most of the Monsterologists hightailed it out of there after our flyovers and the base was largely empty, apart from a few Plug Uglies. The Doom Mimes also reported back that they found no owlbears on the base, so it looks like Thatch will be staying with us for a while longer. The last nest of owlbears recorded was in a forest a hundred miles from here or so, so a troop of rangers is there right now looking to see if there’s still a suitable family for Thatch to join. Even though I know it would be best for the little chub, part of me hopes he gets to stick around for a while. I think he’s taken to me. His favorite food right now is berries- especially wild raspberries. I think soon he’ll start finding prey- he looks to be about that age.

    14 April, 1914
    Thatch is still here. I think we’re still looking for a home for him, but many of the other Rangers have rather taken to having him around. He’s growing so fast- he’s already nearly 25 pounds! I’ve been taking him into the woods and teaching him to hunt so that he doesn’t rely on Rangers for food all through his life, and I was worried at first that he wouldn’t return to base with me, but I’ve long since lost that fear. I think he’s learned his name, too. He’s begun to get a few new feathers in- real adult feathers, not the baby fluff.

    23 April, 1914
    The base is in a tizzy. Baron Davis himself is coming! He’s visiting Ranger bases all over in light of the recent Monsterologist issues. Nasty rumors are being spread about Rangers and monsters. I wonder what Baron will think of Thatch.

    I wonder what Thatch will think of Baron?

    25 April, 1914
    I needn’t have worried about either of them. Baron Davis has what seems like a deeper connection to Monstru and monstrous folk than the average Ranger- unsurprisingly. Thatch practically cuddled Baron upon meeting him- he made a strange cooing noise I’ve never heard him make. If he was a cat, I’d call it purring. Baron was quite pleased that we might have a new ‘liaison to the owlbear community’ as he called it.

    Baron also brought news of the latest Monsterologist escapades across the country and beyond. In Minnesota, they’ve been tracking a bison maximus belonging to a Ranger named Paul. Apparently they’re searching a lake in Scotland as well after the mere rumors of an aquatic monster dwelling there, and in New Jersey there’s a large squad of Plug Uglies ravaging the deep forests looking for a monster that hasn’t been reliably seen for over a hundred years.

    25 April, 1914- supplemental
    Apparently Baron Davis can speak owlbear. I must get my hands on a way to learn the language myself.


    Both my great-grandmother and her son Alfred, my grandfather, were active members of the Ranger community. My grandfather recently gave me Clarissa’s journals after my official enrollment in the Monster Rangers. I hope to share more adventures soon.

    -Ophelia Bell, Scare Force


    Monster Ranger

    So, as I recall, it must be over a decade now that I met Rodney Pettibone. I was in southern Idaho, near Boise on the Snake River. It was a hot summer day and the black flies were thick. To escape the heat we headed into the hills where it was cool and misty.

    This is where we encountered Rodney Pettibone for the first time. He was camped off the side of the rutted, dirt road. Being neighborly, we stopped to chat. He was friendly but aloof and looked quite weathered like sedimentary rock from centuries of exposure.

    We exchanged pleasantries, had a bit of small talk and then, out of nowhere he asks if we have seen any monsters. Surprised, I said, “no”, and asked, “have you?”
    “Of course, I’ve been to Monstru!”, Rodney said excitedly.
    The look on my face must have prompted his clarification. “It’s where the monsters live.”
    “Then how do we see them here?”, I wondered to myself.
    He continued, “yeah, but also they live among us here. The ones that can’t make it back.”

    Not quite sure what to make of all this I asked Pettibone to explain. Was he a crackpot, delusional or some kind of cryptozoologist? It remained to be seen.
    “Well”, he said, “my first encounter was a long time ago when I made my living as a musician. We traveled around playing country music in dance halls, my brother and three other fellas. I played the fiddle.”

    “You understand quantum physics?”, Rodney asked.
    “WHAT?!”, I thought. “Ummm, generally, but I’m no Einstein.”
    “Well, when you travel like we did, the time gets a bit fuzzy. City to city, town to town. It was probably around a year straight of this kind of thing when it happened the first time.”
    “What happened?”, I asked.
    “I saw my first monster”, Pettibone replied.

    “We were in a dance hall, right here in Idaho. We had loaded in our equipment, like we usually did, but they had us wait in the basement for some reason. It was snowing, so we didn’t care, the furnace was in the basement and we were freezing!”

    “I saw him out of the corner of my eye, a furnace goblin. Like us, trying to warm up”, Rodney continued. “suddenly I didn’t see the other fellas in the band, the room looked different. More of the furnace goblin came into the room, they were certainly surprised to see me”, Rodney laughed. “They huddled and spoke in hushed tones to one another. They didn’t know what to make of me.”

    “I blinked hard, and rubbed my eyes to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. I was back in the room with the other fellas in the band”, Pettibone recounted.
    “Are you sure it was real?”, I asked.
    “You betcha”, Rodney continued. “While my ‘time traveling’ or what have ya, isn’t as frequent now, I see the monsters among us.”

    He has to be crazy, monsters, time travel. But he added to his story. “That same night when the band was on a brake, an older woman approached me. She introduced herself as Gladys Abernathy. She was visiting from out of town with a group of friends and wondered if I would like to join them after the dance for coffee.”
    “I’ll check with the other fellas and see if they’re up for it”, Rodney recounted.
    “She said she only needed ME to join them. Needed? I admit, it intruigued me”, Rodney smirked.

    “We joined up at a nearby diner. Gladys, a large man who went by Bob, a slight woman who didn’t introduce herself or say a word and the other fella, Ira. We ordered coffee and Gladys got straight to the point.”
    “We noticed you tonight, at the dance. We are looking for people like us. People who are different. Who see things others can’t”. She paused.
    “What do you mean? See things?”, Rodney was now concerned.
    “You’ve seen things, things you can’t explain”, Gladys leaned closer. “Maybe things you wouldn’t share with your band mates?!”, her brow now raised. “I can tell you’ve seen them?. The “monsters.”

    “I learned monsters are real”, Pettibone said. “And they can be our friends. I see in you, what they saw in me.”


    Monster Ranger

    Sock Monster Report

    Monster Ranger Report: Snaggle

    This study contains a synopsis of ‘Sock Monsters’ to date and is followed by a standard Monster Ranger data report.

    We’ve all heard of a “Sock Monster” and maybe you’ve seen the original 1911 report by Brother Jebodiah Weber of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Jeb’s initial findings were pivotal in curtailing the Sochen Kreeper legend and likely the result of his many long days “alone” in the barn as well as his peculiar love of socks. Although the Ordnung never allowed him to officially join the Monster Rangers, his uncanny abilities to sense and redirect monsters were a testament to Baron Davis himself.

    As a person who wears socks, as people have for hundreds of years, I too have often wondered where an occasional matching sock has gone. But it was not until the last hot season when I decided to follow Jebodiah’s work and start studying Sock Monsters in earnest. A dirty bag of nylon wadding in my hot garage had become the food source for a particularly unfriendly coarse-haired Sock Monster (see Diet in following report). It was probably blown into my garage during a dust storm when the door was left open. Based on it’s size and the amount of nylon fiber missing, the creature had been gorging itself for a while and yet remained dangerously hungry and distraught. As I approached the high-pitched growling sound in the corner of my garage I began to see what I thought was a giant dust bunny sneering at me. I had no idea I was dealing with a creature from Monstru until I got far too close and almost lost my shoe! I have never seen so many teeth in such a small mouth! Thankfully I keep my golf clubs nearby and was able to physically coax the beast out into the open where I could ‘release’ it back into the wild. It was at this point, after I calmed down and reflected on what had happened, when I decided to study these creatures and have since been able to observe and collect information on more than a dozen Sock Monsters.

    Expanding on Brother Jeb’s initial findings that these creatures crave thread and fabric I have since found that they cannot discern the difference between natural fibers and modern synthetics (nylon was introduced in 1938). The consumption of which results in monster behavior that is erratic and decidedly unfriendly. I have since found that with a single administration of cotton, such Monsters can be easily rehabilitated and quickly return to a whimsical yet aloof state.

    Despite these gains in our understanding of Sock Monsters, the biggest puzzle surrounding Sock Monsters remains: Why do they only eat one sock out of a pair?! To address this conundrum, I have been studying the appeal of socks and the focus of my current work is to discern the importance of sock shape and smell on Sock Monster preference. My current hypothesis is that Sock Monsters hanker for socks over other articles of clothing based on certain odors (and likely flavors) associated with feet, with which Brother Jeb was so endowed. In fact, based on documented remarks by his fellow Amish regarding his ‘holey’ workhosen and ripe smell, such repugnant factors were likely critical to Jeb’s pioneering work and left the ‘odd’ man free from the sewing house to attract and interact with Sock Monsters.

    Monster Ranger Standard Gear Addendum Request: With the discovery that poor diet results in a foul Sock Monster temperament, it is my hope that as Rangers we do the responsible thing and keep spare cotton balls OR SOCKS handy for any potential future need. CAW!

    Sock Monster (Snaggle) Report Data

    Snaggle definition: a tangled or knotted mass. A fibrous monster.

    Rarity: Common-Uncommon

    Appearance: Round fuzzy creatures of varied size and very little substance. Healthy subjects have a thick collection of fine hair-like fibers. Coat color ranges the full visible spectrum and is usually a result of diet. Coat patterns, such as stripes, are common and appear to also be based on diet (contrary to rumors, polka-dotted sock monsters are not ‘more fun’, in fact, the only documented Sock Monster attack was when a grand pink & blue polka dot Snaggle wrestled my pantaloons off; see Incident Report #MR4912). Snaggles have many small teeth and sometimes sound like a working loom while eating. Limbs are ridiculously thin and surprisingly elastic allowing Snaggles to penetrate remote cracks and crevices.
    Note: Snaggles are often confused with Crumbpuffs but there is no known relation.

    Diet: Possibly related to the moths of our world, Snaggles feed on wool, cotton and other natural fibers and such socks appear to be their preferred food source. Modern synthetic fibers, such as Nylon, often result in stomach aches and negatively affect their demeanor and appearance (coarse and erratic fur/hair). Direct attacks/“snuggling” are thought to be extremely rare.

    Locations: Like tumbleweeds, Snaggles are often subject to the whim of the winds and are likely to be found almost everywhere, often on the move based on their lack of weight. Although they will rarely stay in one place, Snaggles will nest (often in laundry rooms and linen closets) while they rear recently sprouted young. At which time many socks and cotton balls are consumed (“go missing”).

    Habitat: Sock Monsters absolutely HATE water and much prefer dry climates. In fact, they have a considerable fear of rain as a thoroughly wetted Snaggle can be rendered immobile. Snaggles are often found lurking in fabric stores and laundry rooms.

    Social attributes: Sock monsters appear to be loners. In the wild, they are often spotted following moths, presumably hoping to be led to food. They rarely form groups (known as a Pack or Bundle). Such gatherings or clusterings are usually weather dependent and are usually only observed after a strong wind.

    Reproduction: Upon reaching full size (approximately 2 feet diameter in northern climates) Snaggles appear to asexually reproduce by releasing Lintspores (the act of which is quite lovely and smells like a Mountain Breeze).

    Alignment: Despite Monsterologist propaganda stating that Sock Monsters are chaotic, evil beasts with only adverse intentions, my observations suggest that Snaggles are truly neutral creatures. They naturally follow all winds and appear to lack any capacity for moral judgement.

    Economic: There are plenty of rumors regarding the promotion and mass distribution of Sock Monsters by Big Sock Business in efforts to increase sock demand. Conversely, Spy Scouts are currently investigating rumors that the Chinese have employed a water-based Sock Monster Defense System run by Monsterologist Contractors in the town of Datang (which produces 8 billion pairs of socks every year).


    Monster Ranger

    The story of our unlikely heroine starts much like any other but ladies and those with weak constitutions beware…. the story delves deep into the realm of Otherwere that few Nodds should dare to see. Now consider yourself forewarn.

    Born Marguertie Hazelwood in 1873 to two kindly souls and devout members of the Religious Society of Friends (now known as the Quakers). Theirs was a quiet and spiritual life in Pennslyvania. Nothing pleased the pair more than their quiet bookish daughter, although her preference for the shortening of her name to “Rita” was a bit of a thorn in their sides.

    Rita much preferred reading under the shade of the beautiful flowering dogwood on her parents property in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania than any of the lessons on scripture or household economics her charitable mother forced upon her. As she matured so did her taste in literature moving from the popular fiction of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte to the darker works of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and Oscar Wilde. It was one of his books, the Picture of Dorian Gray, that would seemingly set the tone for the life that young Rita would pursue.

    Her mother and father dismayed at this wicked literature their quiet girl had come to love, and in desperation for her soul they sent her to Bryn Mawr College in 1891. A good education for a young, troubled soul where she would be surrounded by fellow young ladies from the Religious Society of Friends, it was there they hoped she would receive a miracle. But this only allowed Rita to continue studies of her favorite books in a more scientific way. There she met a wonderful professor, Dr. Thomas Hunt Morgan, who sought explanations for certain biological development. Enamored with his research, when she graduated in 1895 she joined him at Stazione Zoologica in Naples, Italy to continue assisting with his work. But there both she and Thomas became familiar with the Entwicklungsmechanik school of experimental biology. They met two German scientists, Hans Driesch and Dr. Anton Volin, during their year working in the research lab.

    Where Thomas had a repulsion to the work that Dr. Volin suggested in his quiet murmurings in the lab, Rita found the same ideas scintillating. Thomas returned to Bryn Mawr and continued his work but Rita stayed on with Dr. Anton Volin. It wouldn’t be until his later invention of the Rotters that she would truly understand the darkness of the arcane studies she had been complicit in.

    Rita moved from Naples, Italy to continue working with Dr. Volin at Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (Würzburg University). It did dawn upon her, that his work was not befitting the small lab afforded to him in the Natural Sciences building. But the stares of his colleagues also should have warned her. It was nearly too late for her soul in July of 1900 when she was finally and fearfully approached by a Bloodless. She would not remember his name but she would remember his warnings. He took her to the Obscuria where she showed him the horrors inflicted upon his people, the true work that Dr. Anton Volin had been so manically driven by. She stayed there, documenting the unique Feratu biology and tending to the wounds they had. When she returned from beyond the Veil, four Irth years had passed, and Rita had already been presumed dead much to her relief.

    She quietly made her way back to the United States and took job as a nurse. By now everywhere she went there were shadows lurking just beyond her perception that made her wary. She did not fear the Bloodless after living amongst them so long but rather the inventions of Dr. Volin. Always afraid she might be found, though she was a shadow of the woman she once was. The Bloodless who found her in Würzburg came to her again, knowing she was a shell of her former self, and told her of the new friends of the Monsters known as the Monster Rangers. He suggested this might be a way for her to rebuild the person she was before. Her curiosity was piqued and she had nothing to lose.

    The first Rangers meetings she attended she sat in the back, quietly watching, shuffling her feet, and trying to think of herself as less than the monster she had been in Germany. She overheard some Rangers, though you could hardly call their words whispers as she was sure their messages were meant for her ears, saying that she might have been a Plug Ugly spy. These half-whispered doubts from the other Rangers only made her steel her resolve further. She decided that not only would she become a Monster Ranger that she would make an impact as a protector of the Monster Kind. She knew that they would need defenders soon, having stumbled upon the cruelty of Dr. Volin and the beginnings of the Monsterologists years ago.

    Being a bookish young woman, she devoured news articles and papers about new-flanged Gliders and Flyers and knew this could be the Rangers advantage. She went to the Clocktalkers of the group to see if they could help her build her own Flyer so she could do recon missions for the Rangers and protect the Bloodless and all the other Monsters from the evils of the ever growing Monsterologists. Her first flight in the Clocktalker assembled Flyer was in November of 1906 and with her knowledge of travel beyond the veil, that she acquired from the Bloodless, she was able to safely transport a group of Rangers into the Obscuria and back. Thusly Rita became one of the founding members of the Scare Force branch of the Monster Rangers, and with her medical background, served as the first flight Monster Medic to both Odds and Monsters alike.

    When the great war broke out in 1914 Rita knew she would need to serve in the United States Army and volunteered to serve as flight nurse. She disappeared shortly after the fighting began. Some say the Bloodless who found her in Würzburg came to her desperate for much needed medical attention to badly injured Monsters who were also serving in the war effort but some say she crashed her plane in the Netherlands in route to Germany. Could she still be beyond the veil? Or was she simply a sad causality of war? We may never know, but we Rangers thank Rita for her years of service.

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About The Author

Steam Crow

Daniel has a lifelong fascination with Monsters, Halloween, illustration, pen & paper rpgs, collecting miniatures, watching movies, and listening to and playing music. He's been a graphic designer since 1994; Monster Rangers is a culmination of all of his personal projects in one. He lives in Arizona with Dawna and Goblin, and runs the Steam Crow.