As promised, we have more concept art for the more visually-inclined among you in today's section of the Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs design documents.
Tomorrow, you'll get a chance to look at more detailed level-by-level breakdowns of encounters, interactions and events!
A Machine for Pigs
Conceptual Primer (continued)
The heat in this giant chamber is retchworthy, it cloys at your heart. You stand on a walkway that curls around the square walls of a well sunk deep to drain the heart of the earth. Square frame skeleton of rusty metal, carapace to hold the throbbing white larvae upright. This is the boiler, it is where all the heat is made.
Imagine, if you can, a stuffed organ, a stomach, filled to choke with heavy water, sweat or soup, thick and viscous. Imagine it left in the sun, in a searing Mexican heat, until it hardens into a stone. Baked and lumpen, inside the water boiled into a raging geyser, erupting in periodic spiffs and phuts from seams in the skin. Now, we see the potential for a splitting, a bursting, a showering boiling acidic gutrot to scour the flesh from bones and the mortar from walls and bring the world in upon us. Wrap the stomach up in metal bands, belt it together, run thick iron straps around the whole, caliper it with groaning greasy grey and bolt it into place, rivet the exoskeleton into place. Then assemble a scaffolding, a square case of vast struts and pillars, and cross-beams and supports and walkways, so we once again place this distended, heavy, leaking, condensation-stained organ within a network of ribs and bones. Within a cage, a parasite lung to breath me this whole understreet sleeping leviathan. Sagging cables looping from ports and puckers rammed deep into its flanks. A giant chimney stack, windpipe to the machine, tottering from the very apex, shudder and steam, boil and bedraggle. Four levels of square-ringing walkway, in wood and metal, makes us Gepetto swallow us down into the belly of this dismembered whale. This our touring, then.
The top floor, a storeroom. A wall of heavy leather gauntlets, fingers all burnt and stained. Aprons too. And bandages. Piles of sodden, stinking bandages, to wind around the face and keep the snout from burning, the brain from drowning in the fetid haze of old moisture caking our faces. Barrels of glue and render to patch leaks. Outside on the walkway, a rickety crane dangles old chain onto a wooden platform, creaking, swinging, gallows and gibbeting in the convextion of the boiler’s wet breathing. Then down to ignition control, a large room of gears and dials, of levers and winders, and pipes and hissing, like a recombined church organ that has partially consumed itself and become sick on the remnants, puked it’s own limbs back into shattered contortions. Pressure regulators. Vapour routers.
Condensing Manipulators. Pipe- cleaning brushes on long poles. The hatch where the smallest urchins are sent to scrub the insides of the pipes and often stick and starve, or slide to their deaths into the boiler itself, or are baked by unexpected blasts of white- hot steam. Metal cupboards for the holding of cogs and bones. Eletrical lights over-cooked and fit to explode. The firing mechanism to ignite the heart and then to keep it beating.
Below this, another store room, more patches and plasters, and strange cradles and canisters for thick rods of some form, that seem to incandesce in the half-light. A burn in the air that is wholly unnatural. Lead gloves here.
And then we descend to the bottom floor, where a door marked “Rod Control” is locked. Through the glass we see bank of levels set out in a grid on one wall. Coloured lights by each, green but for two, which are unlit. A desk and chair opposite, a wall of
plans and charts and tables. A cabinet leaks a dark fluid in the darkness at the back of the room. A shudder, a shade, a shoulder of a shadow, and we can tell that on of Mandus’ pig-workers is hiding in defeat, shame and low, animal self-disgust in the darkness in the corner. We can hear it keen and murble if we press our ears to the window: “decay rates, oh yes, oh decay rates to lasty last forevering my piggies, longer last the glowstone than wepeople, older and cancerer than lizardy pigs, we will carry it down thee, we will bathe thee rodlings mister, we will keep your heart so cold it may beat for a million million pigling centuries”.
This boiler, this saggy corpse that stinks and steams and shivers so, ends suspended above the floor and at it’s base, we see the top of the burner. No flame here, just a great old heat, a stubbed out sun on a plate of ceramic fuse, glowing darkly bluewhite in the indigo. Haze and shimmer all around. Yellow bandages wrapped about our foreheads and snouts to suck the sweat close and prevent sunstroke. There is a small door, an access to the below the burner in the floor. We lift it and descend into pipeways, conduit corridors below and around the burner, yet here, perversely, the temperature falls not rises and the brown light blues and thins. And ahead, the sound of still water and an empty sense of death is all that threads us along this vein.
This isn’t a place I have seen before, on all my travels through the machine, whether awake or in dreams. What ungodly temple is this? Beneath the vast boiler, that groaning, leaking, barnacle swollen bruise of metal and wood, that cacophony of dripping, drooling, hissing, that barely-contained, that swollen heart of hate and clanking, what is this stillness, this silence, this palpable air of death I have found.
What clean blue water without a ripple or a blemish, whose light engulfs me so? What rods fall into this water, this metal so unlike brass or steel, a milky sheen to the surface, a white clean like cotton wrapped upon a pole. Why this humming, this dizzying sense of vibration, electricity, power? How can this deep water be so clear, these rods descend into the earth so?
And all around, above, where I stand, the machine as it ever is, dark metal, wooden joints, stairs and gratings. Yet here we suckle at the very stillborn tit of god himself.
Filth it corrupt into my so break my speakings heed thee pigling. Cut the bleed line keep the sick back from wirings me clean my gizzard and flush my veins return my mouth to me in wholeness. I have such visions to share with thee if my jaw be unshackled and you harvest the crust from my eyes. Make me clean Mandus, that my thoughts and words can unfouled be.
Oh, indulgence. Oh, you drug. Oh you obesity, you opiate. The rich are easier than the poor, we find, they are attuned to ease, to fattening. Gluttony comes simply to them, they do not consider the future because it has already been purchased for them, a product of their entitlement. No, a different strategy for the poor, who grub to life, who will neither gorge nor spend, who mistrust the offered hand, the plate of steaming offal. For them, we are become the disappearance in the night. Our strategy here is that they are the many, sheer volumes can be removed from the pack without notice. More efficient and less visible to picking off stragglers and strays, the lost and the injured, is the removal of entire families, streets, communities in one swoop. Let the ground open under them and fall to the maw. Trap doors and nets in blind alleys and the puking grounds of the gin palaces. The false street with its spring-loaded bay doors can deliver tens of them to the holding pens at once, they tumble down into the cages and the breakages and ruptures inevitably suffered are counterbalanced by the quantity of product, the fact that this is mass process, not a refined and more singular output. Last month, by activating the doors at shortly after midnight on a balmy Saturday, fifty-seven individual products were obtained in a single catch. I have instructed my contact at the workhouse to begin plans for a street festival before the end of summer, to pack out the narrow lanes with a teeming throng, with hundreds of pairs of feet. We have begun to assemble a network of false streets and have extended the holding pens in preparation. A second pigline will be added to enable the system to cope with the increase in traffic.
But the wealthy, oh not for them the mass slaughter, no refinement and quality is the key. Slovenly inbreds all, they chow and splutter on their rich banquets, they quaff and chortle in the spill and spew and bones and matter. We have set aside an entire wing of the mansion for their parties, we invite them from near and far, and we guzzle them in with fine wine and the finest cuts in all of London. My god Mandus, but these chops are rather divine, who is your butcher? My dear man, this rump steak is the most tender and rich I have ever eaten, it feels as if it only came from the pig a matter of minutes ago!
Feed them up, for the wine and the grains will also lend a character to the product, keep the flesh relaxed. Opium in the champagne and gravy. A hog roast every night for the Duke and the Duchess! An actress battered and sliced! An artisan in every mouthful! A importer of fine teas stewed in his own leaves! A long oak table in an oak paneled room, thick velvet curtains to keep the noise in, to leave the neighbourhood peacefully asleep whilst they bicker and breed under the table, by the fireplace, on the carpet stained with wine and fat, whilst long dead nobles of deformed grace and cold stare watch them from gilded frames along the crooked walls. We will hose it down later, buckets of water to swill away the leftovers, through grills hidden beneath the plush pile of the carpet. Then upstairs, to bed! To bed! To toss and turn on bloated stomachs, to copulate and puke upon chaise-longue, four-poster or dressing table. Collapse at last into the engulfing mattress, drunk and drugged and fat and stupid and senseless. And spring the trap, manpiggies, spring the trap.
The four-poster bed is not simply a concession to the deviant expectations of the affluent and bored. The canopy contains the cage mechanism, which is remotely triggered in one of the many bathsphere-like control pods in the facility. At a pull of a lever, a set of hydraulic pistons and gears are fired, resulting in three walls of steel bars dropping from the ceiling via the canopy to cage the product into the bed. This prevents escape, in case the cocktail of drugs and drink consumed by the product over the course of the banquet is not enough to render it insensible. The entire bed is then tilted backwards into the wall by a powerful spring mechanism, also fed by the hydraulics. The pressure for this system is created as a by-product of the vacuum evisceration system employed for mass production elsewhere on the pig line – in this way, we have created our very own bottled revolution, for the movement of the masses is an inevitable causal factor in the extermination of the rich!
(No machine blades for fatty bishop and gluttony heiress. Only the finest silver service: with long blades strapped and screwed into his forearms, the manpig waits beyond. He only wants to comfort them, he only wants to be comforted, piggy wants a cuddle, a stroke, it’s alright it’s alright, but he is just so enthusiastic, too enthusiastic, and slice and cut and into the vat go the lumpen afters. Prime cuts all for the sorting bins, and the very best, as always, back in the dumbwaiter to the kitchens above, to be stewed and plumped and gravied and breadcrumbed and returned to the table for the next night’s feast.)
And not every night, you see, although we have begun to increase the frequency of the final act. Unlike the poor, the rich will be missed, given time. But we will continue to spoil and ready them, and our fine foods are now exported to mansions and lodges across London. And it has been noted in The Times of late, how rather overweight the great and the good are becoming, with their diets of fine wine and rich meat. Indeed, in Punch just last week, a cartoon showed Viscount Selwyn as a stuffed pig, laid upon a platter for his peers to dine upon. A vicious and cowardly slander, no doubt.
But he tasted delicious.
Oh my maker, oh my Mandus. You have saved me and in return I will save them all. I will slaughter all of my pigs and save the world for you. Whores, beggars, orphans, filthy degenerates. Pigs all. But we had our plan, Mandus, you and I, we would purify the streets, cleanse this city, set the great industry free. We would have cleaned the world, made it pure” and later “You have already seen the answer. The Maya believed by shedding blood they would avert the apocalypse. Their tragedy was nothing more than a lack of industrialisation. They simply could not shed enough blood. But you and I, Mandus, we understand and we have built a great machine capable of spilling more blood than the Maya could ever have dreamed of!
Within this clock, the steam. This spine of copper, this nervous system, this operation. I have watched lightning arc from tower to tower, seen the filaments and wires that wind about them glow with heat. I understand now the need for the freezing vents of air, this whole labyrinth glows with a barely suppressed fire.
A grid, a perfect network of squares, stretching away and below me, a tesla field, a metal forest without leaves. A dead thing yet throbbing with energy. A corpse on an anthill. Lights shining from the ground and the walls, through every socket and pore.
Light like dust in the air about me. Light drifts like motes and lodges, coalesces onto the grainy surface of the towers. Between each, like spiderweb, paper walls, etched with diagrams, some electrical, some ritualistic. A transformer turns a man into a pig and back
again, lodges in the centre, jams fast. A resistor, a bottleneck, two hundred hearts upon the altar, the priest pulls knotted cables through his tongue and the king lays back upon a bed of needle-sharp solder. Written onto this stiff yellow parchment with a metal pen, a molten scribe, so silver lines of conductor make up the ink, the iconography. A jaguar’s head at the centre of a giant fan complex, radiating spokes of human bone to the conduit basins at the corners of the known world. A stone egg pulses within a ribcage built of internal combustion engines and sets fire to the world.The walkways underfoot are shot through with gold. I cannot find the start of these patterns, they twist and interconnect, leading to unknown subroutines and buried processors. They write somewhere onto a giant glass wall, where a blue line bobs waiting for input. I find in one dead end a scattering of cards, each a few inches square, burst with a strange patterning of holes. I find a wall made of slots to fit. Some have cards jammed into them. I cannot make them move. Every so often, lightning is about me. It shatters the air above to the side below and there is a great noise, a giant restless in slumber. The patterns of lights in the dust about me change, there is a shift in temperature. I might almost believe the ground was tilting about me. Cold steam, occasionally, from a duct nearby, dispersing mist into the warm diagrams on the papery walls.
I try and encapsulate the scale of this maze. As far as I can see ahead of me, the towers spread, perfectly equidistant, perfectly aligned. Crossroads formed every five towers.
Look left and right here and you just see the same: towers, twice a man’s height and topped with a cluster of silver orbs, stretching to infinity. Between most, the taut, illustrated parchment. Occasional gaps. Sometimes a lack of wall shows me that the floor is missing from sections of the grid. Here, below, I can see another grid below me, too far to safely jump, far enough to show its holes more readily, beyond which is another grid, and another and another. These squared veins reaching to the very centre of the world perhaps. Between the thunder, almost silence, but for a ticking, an itching in the parchment walls as lines of numbers and esoteric mathematical functions constantly write over themselves in response to the spin of the world, another life, another death.
Take a dead hand, dead forever, ossified and dessicated. Bend the fingers upwards to a claw. Paint each nail in mercury. Wind copper about each digit, make a red-ringed tree of it. Halfway up each trunk, skin grows between them. Write upon the skin, palimpsest: equations, histories, pathways for the electricity to follow. The ground below a carpet of wires, the air full of light, of death. A million hands, grown like trees from the flat, scorched earth, regular and proud. This ground upon another. And another. And another.
You may hate me Mandus, you may wish me defunct. But I have seen the future, your twentieth century and let me tell you this: a far greater slaughter awaits you then even I could have processed. I seek to save the world by blood now, before millions fall beneath history, pushed under by blade, bullet and gas. The evil may hide the greater evil. But the evil also hides the greater good.
This world is a machine. A machine for pigs. Fit only for the slaughtering of pigs. But I will save them Mandus. I will save them all. Because I love them. Because you created me to love them all.