The Hidden Horrors of Hecate
How appropriate – after months of Google erroneously sending people to this post, we actually have a writing challenge about dystopic literature. Since the Internet is apparently just dying to see what I have to contribute to the subgenre, here we go.
The Hidden Horrors of Hecate
February 20, 2036
The governments of the world have been hiding their secrets on the moon. Today, we take a closer look at one possible future of humanity.
Of all the wonders in recent times, few have captured the public imagination like the Hecate laboratory. It seems like something out of a science fiction story – a massive facility constructed on the surface of the moon, equipped to support thousands of people for long-term specialized research. With its international staff, Hecate was once heralded as the birth of a new global unity. But at the same time, the pall of mystery that has covered the facility has led many to wonder what horrors transpire within its walls.
Today, the mystery may have been unraveled, and the truth is far more sinister than anyone reckoned.
A Global Controversy
Hecate is easily the most well-known research project since the development of the Large Hadron Collider. Produced with the combined resources of over thirty countries, the 2.5 million square foot, $1.5 trillion USD facility has sat quietly in the heavens for the past nineteen years. Construction of the laboratory was kept very low-key in contrast to most international projects. Announcement were few in number, and all interview requests directed towards the technicians and engineers involved in its production were rejected under a seal of secrecy.
The secrecy surrounding Hecate fueled no small amount of conspiracy and outrage. Initial discontent was limited to speculation on websites and in think tanks, but as the project drew out and costs ballooned, that discontent grew into something more tangible. It started in 2024, when a report in a German news agency estimated that the nation’s financial contribution to Hecate had exceeded $130 billion USD. This touched off protests in Germany, France and the Netherlands by citizens who were angry over such outrageous expenditures, particularly in light of Europe’s then-recent economic crisis. The following year saw riots in Brazil after the revelation that the nation had been covertly contributing to the project fund.
An elevated public interest led to both increased speculation and a litany of alleged “leaks” from hackers and project insiders. The first such leak came from a Chinese netizen group and alleged that Hecate was a biological research facility, intended to research and correct the “genetic dead-end” that some have theorized may face humanity in the future. This leak was quickly debunked, but there was no shortage of competing theories. Most speculation centered around the extreme measure of constructing the facility on the moon, suggesting a goal that was hazardous to pursue. The most popular theory held that it was a new energy source, possibly the notorious “Project Rudra” that had been banned in every nation on earth due to the risk of a cataclysmic event.
The true purpose of Hecate was right before the world’s eyes all along. The answer was in the works of an obscure but highly influential psychologist.
Intellectual Liberty and the Future
Edmund Temlakos is a name that, in certain circles, is deeply controversial. Ask a behaviorist about Temlakos, and you will learn either that he is a lunatic and a disgrace to the profession and the field, or that he is a visionary who has offered the last hope for humanity. Ask a layman – or even a scientist outside of the field of cognition – and you will likely be greeted with a blank stare. Such is the curious nature of the world’s most influential man.
Temlakos is the progenitor of the “Societal Guideposts” theory, his attempt to explain how concepts like liberty of thought influence the world for better or worse. In 2016, he published a layman-friendly version of his theory under the title “The Future of Intellectual Liberty.” While the public took little notice of this publication, it did gain several supporters within the governments of the United States, United Kingdom and Germany. Two years later, the first round of funding for Hecate was approved in Congress.
It may seem hard to imagine any connection between this behaviorist and the construction of a lunar laboratory, but an analysis of “The Future of Intellectual Liberty” suggests a possible origin. Temlakos believed that much of human progress could be directly attributed to the opening of society. “An analysis of human history,” writes Temlakos, “indicates that scientific and artistic development proceeds with greatest vigor when society acknowledged the merit of individual intellectual autonomy. This much is not in dispute among reputable historians.”
What is disputed is the argument that follows. Temlakos maintains that while liberty was a boon to earlier cultures, it has become a detriment in the post-Industrial Revolution world. In Temlakos’ model, all global problems of the past two hundred years – from genocide to the depletion of natural resources – stem directly from an excessive focus on intellectual liberty in wealthy countries. “As the world has become more and more complex, the capacity for a single man to harm his fellow man has increased exponentially,” argues Temlakos. He goes on to argue that changes in technology and socialization have eliminated the merits of liberty, “leaving only the baser appetites for self-indulgence and retribution.”
“The Future of Intellectual Liberty” concludes with a proposition. Temlakos urges the real-world application of behavioral conditioning. “I realize full well that the public, weary of any intrusion into their ‘rights,’ would resist this sort of conduct,” writes Temlakos. “The experimental phase, therefore, would have to be conducted in an extremely isolated location, far from the petty prying of the visionless masses.”
Not long after reading this, a document found its way to my door.
The Grand Experiment
The file bore the emblem of Hecate and the designation “Facility L17.” Most of the contents were highly technical, but my anonymous benefactor enclosed a guide to help me understand the higher-lever details.
Most of the file consists of design documents, describing the specifications of a Hecate sub-facility. The structure has a footprint of 45,000 square feet. It is equipped with primary and auxilliary life support systems, hydroponics cultivation labs, and an independent fission reactor supplemented with redundant high-capacity solar cells. According to the notes, this facility can sustain 300 people for at least twenty years. The facility also contains both medical and research laboratories, so I initially assumed that L17 was intended to house the researchers themselves.
The next document dispelled that belief. It was a list of the individuals inhabiting Facility L17, with demographics and biological briefs. Much of the information was listed in some kind of shorthand – a code reflecting the full data stored in the Hecate database, according to the source. Immediately, I could see that my earlier assumption was incorrect. The occupants included people of greatly varying ages, including numerous families.
But the big revelation came in the final set of documents. They were logs, carefully time-stamped and cross-referenced to the code in the prior documents. Most of it meant little to my eyes, but one word – “pressure” – kept appearing at random intervals. The note from the source claimed that these were the times when the researchers deliberately interfered with the utilities to test the impact of their previous conditioning. It began with the introduction of pollutants into the hydroponics water supply, leading to reduced food output. This was followed by various mechanical and electrical failures.
None of the “pressures” were immediately hazardous to life, and Facility L17 experienced no mortalities – “hypothesis confirmed,” according to the file. But my source suggests that some of the facilities were not so fortunate. The guide suggests that one of the “control” facilities experienced a complete loss of life. That file, too, read “hypothesis confirmed.”
It is usually considered bad form for a journalist to express his personal opinions, but in this case I must make an exception. I have already committed a crime merely by looking at the documents described above; by writing and distributing this piece, I have virtually written my own warrant. It will not remain public for long, and I feel I must do whatever is necessary to disseminate this message, whether or not it is professional to do so.
From what I have seen, Hecate is nothing short of a model for the world’s future – a world in which the very concept of free will is seen as unacceptably dangerous. We may never know what horrors have been conducted there, or how many people have died in the name of social engineering. What we do know is that after all the time, effort, money and blood that has been invested in Hecate, there is no way that its results will not be applied.
But that even presumes that it hasn’t started. The logs I was given were for an experiment that concluded almost two years ago. While experiments are still ongoing in Hecate, it appears that the researchers have already drawn their initial conclusions. Who’s to say that real world experiments haven’t already begun? Who’s to say that, in some isolated little town, the programming regimens aren’t already in place?