We were mostly sure that the former nazi rocket engineers we hired for this most covert project were vampires even before we hired them. We wanted vampires. Vampires that could be corrupted to the American Dream. We needed vampires. Vampires would help us win the space race. Vampires would help us defeat the werewolves.
If you’ve heard of me by now, I’m a boring white guy in a handful of old Nasa files. My name at the time was bland and unassuming and you’d be in good company if you couldn’t recall any detail of my face even staring directly at it. It was a useful disguise for some time for a naiad go between of Nasa, three dozen three letter acronym agencies, and the secretive cold war project that defended the world from a deadly werewolf agenda but nearly destroyed the Moon in the process.
Everything is still classified, I write this memoir in the hopes that it won’t be believed. The world doesn’t need to know how close we came to blowing up the moon. An old woman claiming to be a silver-diseased naiad claiming to have been a boring middle manager white guy in mid-20th century Nasa telling this tale should do plenty to keep it firmly in the annals of Cold War conspiracy nuttery. I hope.
Having said that, allow me to ground this tale in some of the science of the so called super-natural. (Not to accidentally add credence to this tale, but because I am and have always been a scientist and these sort of technical details matter to me.) For instance, take the aforementioned silver, common to many werewolf stories and related to my current unfortunate allocation of human-perceived old age. I’m not talking about normal silver, what a boring shiny metal that is, but old language habits die hard and I of course mean quicksilver. The element that today’s periodic tables more imaginatively call “Mercury”.
Now Mercury poisoning will kill just about anything on the planet slowly. (Myself being an immediate case in point.) It’s reputation to kill Werewolves instantly is maybe a bit exaggerated, but it is indeed one of the things most effective to killing them. Their beefed up human-wolf hybrid metabolisms being extremely sensitive to Mercury. Or quicksilver and ‘silver as you’d still call it if you are a few millennia old such as myself and some of my vampirical former colleagues. Just again don’t confuse it with the silver of silverware. Throwing a couple forks at a werewolf will just make them mad.
There are plenty of scientific and semi-scientific deconstructions of what sort of blood-borne parasites a vampire might be in popular culture. You can extrapolate well enough from many of them to something resembling the truth. I’d rather not get into specific details as vampires are disgusting and I’d like to keep my lunch down while I write this. Vampires are blood sucking parasites in every way, including and especially personality. They are awful people and I never would have worked with them by choice, but for the circumstances and the limited availability in help. I had a planet to protect and they were the devils I knew. I don’t assume people will entirely agree with this coalition of the necessary evil, and I have regrets to this day with the company I had kept, but I can only hope the outcomes were worth it. One thing I will offer scientifically speaking is that I do like to correct the impression that vampires were more of an Eastern European native parasite. While they became known for some incredibly violent outliers in Eastern Europe, rest “assured” (and it is not a reassuring fact) that their more successful warrens were more often in western Europe. You just don’t have as many horror stories making it into pop culture from western Europe, not because they didn’t happen but because they were better at hiding their parasitic insanity out of public view. I did mention that these particular vampires were former nazis, who had played their own nasty parts in events over there. We tried to recruit them to the American Dream as if dreams of boring suburban life could control the urges to feast on the blood of innocent Americans. We let their usefulness cloud the acts of monstrosity they had done relatively recently during the war, much less over the course of quite long lives.
I can guess you have a ton of scientific complaints about the plausibility of the existence of naiads, and I could get into a lot of them if you had weeks for a proper symposium on the subject. As a scientist trained and working in Western (so called “modern”) traditions for several centuries, I unfortunately default to the greek name. As something of a native to the Americas I should point out that there are plenty of more applicable first nations names and nicknames to choose from. To some extent it doesn’t matter to this tale, my role was a bureaucrat leading the charge and ego checking some vampires. Naiad is such an interesting old word conjuring images of young maidens in water, the spirits and protectors of that water. Somewhere between helpful, immortal demigods and bitchy monsters you don’t want piss off. I’d love to claim that I embodied all of that in my life in different capacities. In the capacity relevant to this tale, I was a boring white man in a suit and tie working for government bureaucracy, about the exact opposite in every way of what you would expect of someone labeled a “naiad”, so the science of my life is perhaps not entirely relevant here. The symposium will have to wait.
So in the late 1950s Uncle Sam had discovered that there was a surprising amount of influence by werewolves in the highest levels of Soviet space efforts. By Uncle Sam I don’t just mean the anthropomorphism of the usually more faceless American bureaucracy, but in this case a specific informant usually referred to by that moniker. I’m told they were a balding harpy sometimes nicknamed by their home bureau as “America’s favorite bald eagle”, but I’ve never met them so I don’t know how true that description is rather than merely a cover and/or a joke. (As a naiad from a bureau trying to control vampires, it would not have surprised me if America had a harpy intelligence asset with a taste for jingoistic cosplay on the payroll as well.) Uncle Sam’s smuggled plans and gathered intel suggested that the Soviet werewolves were extremely keen on control of the moon.
In fear of Soviet werewolves controlling the moon, several agents including myself were tasked with different initiatives to keep our moon out of Soviet hands and especially those with Soviet werewolf claws. I had been at the Bureau of Land Management under a prototype of the modern day EPA. That was good proper science you would expect a naiad to be involved with. On paper, given my classification level, and my science background, my cushy place embedded in Nasa’s hierarchy, my role was the head scientist for all the initiatives and one of the most central figures. In practice I felt a lot more like chief vampire wrangler on the project. For the most part the vampires were already working for Nasa. Nasa hired a lot of former nazis to be rocket scientists and unsurprisingly the sets of former nazi rocket scientists head hunted by the US and former nazi rocket scientists who were also vampires were very nearly isomorphic. (That is there were only a few outliers outside the main union section of the Venn Diagram of the two sets.)
The vampire/werewolf rivalry goes back centuries. I don’t have a lot of details on it and it isn’t my place to explain it to anyone else even if I did, as an outsider to the rivalry. The important things to the bureaus I was placed in the middle of was that vampires had their own reasons to stop dangerous werewolf activities (no matter their views on Soviet geopolitics, the Cold War, and/or communism), and that they already met a certain “security clearance level” for cryptid and monster related operations. (My cryptid work for the Bureau of Land Management and its early days EPA predecessor obviously putting me directly on the radar as the safe leader/babysitter role in the project.)
The basis of the project was that the US government realized that where it had recruited primarily former nazi rocket scientists who were vampires, the Soviet union focused on the former nazi rocket scientists who were werewolves. The US felt it needed to: 1) establish what the scientific relationship existed between werewolves and the full moon happened to be, 2) prevent werewolves from gaining territorial control of the moon, and 3) provide for the ongoing defense of the moon and related space territories as may be useful to werewolves.
It was the first point that most interested me in the project. It sounded like a fascinating scientific study. Unfortunately, the first issue turned out to be a lot less of a standard scientific inquiry and a lot more of a covert intelligence task assigned to other bureaus.
Werewolves are not native to the Americas. The vampire-focused head hunting had resulted in fewer werewolves known to the US government, and of those very few outliers, most were just busy enough with existing Nasa projects, were considered risks to read in to the project by their vampire colleagues, and through forethought had non-consent to blind scientific testing clauses in their immigration forms filed with the State Department. Meanwhile, the first nations are familiar with several cryptids native to the Americas with resemblance to werewolves. However none of them seem to have direct relationships to the werewolves known to (European) pop culture with especially the presumed lunar cycle link we were concerned with. With essentially no subjects to directly inquire into their behavior or examine their behavior in controlled circumstances, it was unfortunately for my interests in science of the project, data gathering was left to library research and trying to smuggle Soviet science data across the Cold War fences and walls.
That left me to babysitting parts 2 and 3. Under the assumption that in space the moon was always full, the vampire rocket scientists started with the assumption that the moon was a dangerous resource to leave available to werewolves in space and their Plan A right from the immediate start was to do a controlled demolition of the entire moon as a denial tactic. Sure it would destabilize Earth’s tides for a few centuries and make the night generally darker, but those were seen in some ways as side benefits to vampires. This “Plan A” in particular was where I most felt like I was in constant pressure to babysit the vampires. I cannot tell you how much energy I wasted over the years of involvement in that project in conversations such as:
Them: “Why don’t we just blow up the moon? That would solve all of our problems.”
Me: “We can’t just blow up the moon.”
Them: “Why not? What has the moon ever done for us?”
Me: “A lot of people would miss the moon.”
Them: “Yes, and many of those people are werewolves. Why should familiarity with a lunar status quo stop us?”
Me: “We can’t just blow up the moon. It would devastate Earth’s environment for centuries.”
Them: “That sounds like a you problem to me, vampires and most humans would survive. Mostly well enough.”
Me: “We can’t just blow up the moon. You need to find a better Plan A. This has to be Plan Z or lower.”
Around and around again in circles. I know they equally wasted lots of planning time devising all the various means to attempt a controlled demolition of the moon using back of the envelope estimates of projected Nasa rocket capabilities. They debated endlessly if deorbiting the moon alone might be sufficient and roughly the tonnage of rocket fuels or nuclear fissile materials might be needed to do either job with minimal risks to Earth (and/or appropriate redundancy in case of error).
Everyone knows the Apollo program was the first to land a man on the moon, but few today remember that before that the Soviets successfully orbited someone around the moon, and obviously that test pilot was a werewolf. Our pressure to get beyond planning to action became even more crushing. Everyone wanted to know all the details of what the soviets had discovered in that test flight. Was the assumption correct that in space the moon was always full? Were there complications from the dark side of the moon? We in turn pressured our covert operations to get as much intel as possible out of the reds, and were disturbed to find the only reliable data coming back was that whatever the results of the test flight, the Soviet Union was even more determined to build a Lunar Base.
The uphill battle against “Plan A” became almost impossible. Things started derailing into serious details in how to equip an upcoming Apollo flight to demolish the moon and what sort of cover stories to use. (Overheard at one point: “What if we claim the moon really was made of cheese and we accidentally melted it? The American public might buy into the lie if we give them a fun excuse to plan neato moon fondue parties. But there’s at least one industrial dairy supplier that would love a contract to supply cheese Nasa could sell as ‘real moon cheese for fondue’ for a few quick bucks to the Nasa operating budget. Might need it too because would Congress trust a Nasa that accidentally melted the moon?”)
I worked extra hard on pushing vampire resources towards what I considered the most viable “Plan 1” (in this sort of bureaucracy 1 is higher than A, and that’s what I needed; I really couldn’t have everyone thinking blowing up the moon was the highest priority plan). That plan was simple and stupid using what science we did know: that werewolves had a deadly allergy to quicksilver. It was easy enough to “borrow” the bombardment approaches some of the Plan A colleagues were working on to plan a simple contamination of the moon’s surface with as much Mercury as we could get our hands on in as much time and space as each Apollo flight plan would allow. No need for much of a cover story than leaky equipment and the usual “humans are bad about messing up the environments around them”.
We had no idea if the extra Mercury content added to the moon would impact werewolves by much other than hopefully delaying lunar base plans until at least after expensive toxic metal surveying and/or remediation efforts.
With fewer guarantees in the plan and a lot of known unkowns Plan 1 certainly had a much tougher time with executive scrutiny than Plan A. It was a down to the wire decision just before finalized Apollo flight plans that left me a nervous wreck. I did everything I could to defend Plan 1.
Not that I wanted to coat Earth’s old satellite friend with toxic metals either, but if a plan was to be put into action I could not understand why there was any debate left that we should not just blow up the moon. I can only assume a lot of them presumed (with no more evidence than we had for Plan 1, but a lot more pop culture “gut instinct”) that we could be done with the threat of werewolves forever if we just blew up the moon.
At the end of some nail biting last meetings at the White House, having gone all the way up the chain of command to the final US executive for a decision, Plan 1 was the contest winner.
The seeding of large amounts of Mercury on the moon was a success, including as a delaying tactic. The plans to build a Soviet Lunar Base were delayed past the fall of the Soviet Union itself. So far as we are aware today the threat of werewolf control of space is greatly diminished without a moon base to call home. (We continue to hope.)
I still wish Russia would open up some of the Soviet werewolf science. I’d love to know if the moon really is always full in space. I suppose I won’t live long enough to know now, and I will regret never having access to the science.
I appreciate the irony that after advocating for a plan to bombard the moon with quicksilver I have been struck down to old age from too much quicksilver contamination in the country’s water. I feel like that was a personal failure given my time in the BLM and the EPA. In my darker hours sometimes I wonder if it was a conspiracy to murder the rest of the world’s cryptids, only to face the huge costs to human lives and the rest of the planet’s ecosystems and the consequent Occam’s Razor reminder that American companies have generally always been short-sided, greedy, environment destroying immortal monsters that make us cryptids look far more benign in comparison.