The Squeeze is a major astral current that runs through Chunky Space. It is a labyrinth of twisty passages, a realm of claustrophobia and paranoia. The Squeeze has a shifting character, sometimes seeming like a natural cavern, sometimes like an underground bunker, sometimes like a living thing. The unifying factor is the narrowness and the surruses of whispers just on the edge of hearing. The Squeeze acts as low vibrational “grease trap”, accumulating negative emotional energy and phobophilic astral creatures.
Navigating The Squeeze
Ultimately, the most important factor in navigating the Squeeze is the personality of the Squeeze. There is an overarching intelligence that controls these corridors and passageways. When a traveller moves through the Squeeze, their path is not defined by anything as concrete as spatial reality, rather the path is authored entirely by this guiding will. The locals call this being Mister Squeeze, and they have used their knowledge of him to develop two means of traversing his realm.
The first is through appeasement. Mister Squeeze creates his realm with harvested fear and paranoia. He shows favor to those who supply him. When a person has experienced a significant amount of terror while in the Squeeze, he will allow them to reach their destination. Everyone has their own “account” with Mister Squeeze, and terror can be paid in advance. The cities of the amorphous all have terror vestibules on the outskirts, sealed chambers when professional travelers go to prepay their way through the Squeeze. This is how the Caravan houses navigate
The other way is to avoid Mister Squeeze entirely. His awareness permeates the entirety of his realm, but it is so diffuse that it is possible to hide one’s presence. Without Mister Squeeze shaping the path, The Squeeze is a different place. There are still the infamous narrow passageways but in places they open out into astral pits, vast cavities where the vibrational levels of the Squeeze approach astral null. Pathfinding requires listening to the intensity and the timbre of the background whispers. Traveling this way is called skulking, and those who do it are called skulkers.
These are only found when Mister Squeeze is not looking. Bulbous nodes of yellowing plastic cases hold computers of unknown design. They are load with corrupted files and unsettling pictures. With the right commands, they can open portals to the Digital Abyss, another low vibrational astral current. The Amorphous use these portals to contact the Florid, another MAskform tribe and their most important trading partner.
The local Maskforms are known as the Amorphous. They use their Maskform shapeshifting to become jellies and oozes, to better navigate the tight tunnels. They live in fixed points within the labyrinth, ancient relics that are believed to have been created by a vanished civilization, either the phantasmagorics or the earlier Obelisk Dreamers. These settlements are heavily fortified and security is tight. They are under military rule, but with strong civilian oversight.
Teriaga is also called the city of buried glass. It is a concentric series of dirty glass cubes, each partially filled with soil. Techgnostic lamps create a sunlight substitute that fuels the largest agricultural system in the Squeeze. The lights are powered by a generator hooked up to the smallest central cube. Its contents are a state secret but are universally rumoured to be horrible.
Resivargos is a cave shaped like a giant jug. Rusty pipes carry dirty water to huge tanks. The locals harvest mold and ferment it into mold beer, the universal lubricant of Amorphous civilization.
New Aten is a branching network of metal struts, reaching down from a rock ceiling into a great void. The lowest points are adorned with elaborate wire assemblages. These contraptions receive faint signals from the void. Wires transmit these signals to techno gnostic thinking machines that process void touched nonsense into secrets and epiphanies. The city is a smaller version of old Aten, which was stolen by Father Corp raiders. Much of the backing for the rebuilding came from the Maskform Federation, who use New Aten as a hardpoint and a staging ground.
Not a single location but a “raft” of dozens of Father Corp warehouse class edifice ships. The whole complex acts as a mothership and as the Father Corp’s base of operations in the Squeeze. The endless shelves and crate stacks hold plundered goods from all across Chunky Space. Somewhere in this sub labyrinth is the warehouse manager training retreat, the psycho surgery center where new warehouse edificers are made.
A large cable of wires and pipes running through a hidden tunnel. This is the connection between Father Corp and its spawn, Rapacious Child. Fear censors release a constant stream of rendered fear. This feeds Mister Squeeze, and in return he hides the Umbilicus front hose that would destroy it.
Dig Safe Empire
The so-called “shovel cultists” of the Dig Safe Empire are really victims of a parasitic memecomplex that compels them to make an ever widening hole in the fabric of the Squeeze. More than a simple compulsion, the memeplex creates an institution that binds all the hosts together. Shovel cultists are capable of using the full force of their mental powers in service of the memeplex’s goal. From the central tunnel system of Dig Safe Empire, the shovel cultists patrol the Squeeze, looking for victims to press gang and indoctrinate, as well as for resources to exploit, all in the name of making an ever bigger hole. Long term hosts have their eyes replaced with black voids. They will hide this with glasses and goggles when dealing with outsiders.
This rouge human polity has been using their technology to infiltrate the Squeeze for a long time. Their agents use mat black stealth suits to evade Mister Squeeze. For a long time they would ignore the locals but when the Federation joined the compact they became allies with the Seeders, New Oth’s bitterest enemies. So far the conflict has been limited to small skirmishes between skulkers, but there has been an escalation in how heavily New Oth is arming its scouts.
Conspiracy crawler - A filthy, matted beard, crawling through the squeeze like a starfish made of hair. Lurks in dark holes, luring victims in with gravely promises of knowledge. All you have to do is stick your head in the hole. Attacks by wrapping around it’s victims head and implanting conspiracy theories.
Conspiracy crawler Conspiracies
Null Angler - A creature that lives close to Astral null. It sends out lures that look and act like distressed people. Once in range, the lures grap prey and drag them “down” to null
Killer Blink - A furry serpentine predator. Almost too fast to be seen. It’s nature requires it to reveal itself before it can strike. Will stalk parties for days, waiting for a victim to stray from the pack. Beilived to be beloved pets of Mister Squeeze. It is bad luck to kill one