Chapter 10: You Put Your Right Foot In

On Day One of his onboarding process Colin watched videos about spiritual possession. He sat at the end of a long table in a wood paneled conference room and cued up videos on an enormous flat screen TV that was recessed into the wall. The videos were spare, informative, and intended for a very small, very select audience. The commentator was disembodied, a faceless, bassy voice over that was warm and parental.

“For centuries,” the narration began, “spirits have been making the jump from their plane of origin to ours.” Images related to world's major religions cross-faded into a montage of illustrations depicting demons and monsters. “This phenomenon transcends cultures and religions. It appears in Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Voodoo, Shamanism and across smaller, but no less devout beliefs.”

“Some spirits can maintain a presence in this plane, and even assume temporal control, possession, but it's extremely rare for them to have a physical presence of their own. For that to happen two things are needed: a pliant host and a sacrifice to fuel the creation of a channel that could connect the spirits plane to their destination.”

A diagram illustrated the concept: a series of blue circles labeled Host, Channel and Visitor appeared onscreen. The Channel circle flattened and connected the remaining two circles like a dumbbell. “Through this channel,” explained the commentator, “an entity could both possess its host and draw energy from its plane of origin.” When they connected a series of arrows animated down the pipeline from the Visitor to the Host. The narrator warned, “Visitors who successfully navigate the channel and occupy a host possess unearthly abilities related to their occupying spirits predilections and they can live almost indefinitely.”

“This new entity, the unification of the Host, the Channel and Visitor,” the narrator explained, “is called a Triune.” A larger red circle animated onto the screen and encompassed the blue dumbbell diagram with the blue Host and Visitor circles connected by the Channel. The word ‘Triune’ appeared above the illustration.

Colin learned that all Triunes could read major disruptions in energy patterns and, to some extent, track these patterns back to their point of origin. This was essential for identifying new breaches and tracking down the Visitor before it could manifest into a Triune ‘Greeting’ was the term used to describe identifying and capturing a Visitor.

Almost a decade before Colin arrived a host who’d been breached but wasn’t yet fully possessed walked through the doors of the main chapel on the ministry campus and presented herself. She was immediately contained and medicated.

“Rose Chen had been a member of the local tantra community,” said the narrator over a photo of an early twenties Asian woman dressed in colorful steampunk clothes, “a curious dabbler in the spiritual, arcane and hallucinogenically assisted exploration of the universe. With chemical assistance she and her partner dipped their toes deeply into pool of the unknown without a guide. Under the surface of normality they discovered a world where the rules no longer applied and, like tourists everywhere, they drew unwanted attention to themselves.”

There was some trace of her remaining when she dragged herself into the chapel but the Visitor was visible in her eyes. The video showed stills of her restraining in a gurney. She looked wild and insane, her lips were peeled back like a dog, pupils like pinpricks. She was restrained until the full possession occurred.

The unwelcome visitor assumed control of Rose Chen but, Colin thought, it escaped a plane of relative freedom and stepped into a hollow shell, a prison, and fed a diet of sedatives, benzodiazepines and barbiturates to keep it off balance and cooperative. It lived in the twilight between worlds and, on some level, Colin felt bad for thing that wasn’t quite a human.

Eventually the ministry handlers and the Triune made deals. In exchange for moments of lucidity the spirit would provide them with information. Since then identifying and tracking new Visitors had been much easier.

No one in the lab could pronounce the spirit’s name, so they continued calling it Rose Chen. The narrator concluded the first of several introductory videos, “It was a small memorial to the woman who gave them their greatest weapon in the pursuit of the Devil’s spawn.”