[This archival copy of the current webpage was made on 21st May 1997. The webpage was originally hosted at GeoCities.]
SWEDELIA DE VENOM: The Truth
by Desmond Greenhough, independent researcher & investigative journalist
London, England. 1997.
I'm writing this in a hurry because I don't think I have much time left.
God knows whether it'll do any good, but if by some miracle I manage to finish, and if the bloody modem clings on long enough to transmit this text to the "Worldwide Web", then there will finally be a public record of the truth: the truth about the remarkable individual who sometimes goes — or went? — by the name of Swedelia de Venom.
I've spent nearly a decade trying to make sense of the life and work of the elusive Swedelia, and this document can only be a very brief and inadequate summary of the thousands of kilobytes' worth of information that I had gathered. Unfortunately I can't provide copies of the original files because they all disappeared in a burglary two days ago. By a staggering coincidence, that "burglary" took place just when I was about to make a number of sensational revelations to the press — with full documentary evidence, mind you — revelations that would have shaken the Occult World Government to its rotting foundations.
But they were never going to let that happen, were they? The bastards. They might have bullied Swedelia into silence, but they're not going to bully me.
So, all too briefly then, here's what I've managed to find out so far:
Swedelia de Venom was a scientist and researcher at what is supposed to be a highly secret government laboratory located in deepest, darkest Wiltshire — it's supposed to be secret, but everyone knows all about it because it sticks out a mile and leaks like a sieve.
The lab falls under the purview of the Ministry of Defence, and Swedelia's field of research was, broadly speaking, something to do with "symplectic manifolds" and "quantum entanglement". Now, I'm no expert, but I think I can say with some confidence that the implications of the research project which Swedelia single-handedly persuaded the MoD to undertake but later came to regret, deeply — the implications are literally earth-shattering.
Oh — before I forget, a short biographical note, if I may. And it will have to be short, not just because the clock's ticking but also because I haven't been able to dig up a great deal of information about Swedelia's life before she joined the MoD. They made sure to hoover up and destroy as much of the paper trail as they could. Naturally.
But what I do know is that she was born (as near as I can make out) in Bengal, India, in the 1930s, in the dying days of the British Raj. Her father worked in the office of the Viceroy and helped to run the greatest empire the world has ever seen, an empire that spanned the globe, an empire that was led by men who knew exactly what had to be done and weren't ashamed to do it — men who are commemorated by the monuments that can still be seen, standing proud in granite and marble, in every city on this once-sceptred isle.
How far we have fallen! The absolute shower of shit that passes for the "Directorate" of the MoD today... They couldn't run a church coffee-morning without accidentally stabbing themselves in the arse with a fork.
Anyway, Swedelia was, by all accounts, a precocious and terrifyingly intelligent child, who soon outgrew the British schools in Bengal and was sent at a tender age to Cambridge to attend the university, where, in due course, she obtained a Double First in Mathematics and Physics. This was at a time when female graduates had only recently been granted the honour of receiving an actual degree for their pains — they no longer had to be content with a baffled shrug and a pat on the head from a decrepit don.
For Swedelia, there began a long and rather troubled spell as an academic dogsbody in the Cambridge physics department, where her male colleagues seem to have spent most of their time either ignoring her or trying to take the credit for her discoveries — circumstances that would become a recurring theme in her life. Also during this period there were rumours of a failed marriage and the birth of a possibly illegitimate child, but I haven't been able to substantiate any of them. The MoD ghouls have done a pretty thorough clean-up job here.
Through the determination and the sheer force of will that were the bulwarks of her character, Swedelia persevered at Cambridge and, despite the best efforts of her colleagues to sabotage her work and suppress her ideas, she published a short but brilliant series of papers on the ground-breaking discoveries she had made in the field of applied sub-atomic physics. The papers inevitably brought her to the attention of the spooks from various shadowy government departments — you know the ones I mean — who swooped down to Cambridge, swept her up, and cloistered her in the dark, often impenetrable and yet surprisingly shambolic world of "Top Secret Government Research". (Makes you tremble with fear just to hear the words, doesn't it? Ha!)
Eventually, Swedelia found herself at the lab in Wiltshire, where she began work on the project that would be the crowning glory of her career but also the cause of her downfall and possible demise.
Now, I must confess that for the details of her activities at the lab I'm relying almost exclusively on the information supplied to me by one particular contact, about whom I shall say almost nothing because I've been sworn to secrecy about said contact's identity, on pain of death. And I don't intend to die just yet, thank you very much.
But I'm not breaching any confidences if I say that it was this same contact who passed on to me the curious artefact which is the one tangible piece of evidence in the huge, mystifying puzzle of Swedelia de Venom's life that makes me feel close to the person I've spent so many years pursuing but have never actually met. Oh, yes, that's right — didn't I mention it before? Well, I'm saying it now: I've never met Swedelia in person. Are you surprised? Well, you shouldn't be. Try to find her yourself, and see how easy it is. Go on. I'll wait.
God, I'm all over the place tonight. I think the stress of the chase is finally getting to me. Year after year spent running after what I sometimes feel is only a ghost, a mirage, a fiction created by some dark and maniacal prankster with the express purpose of driving me completely insane. But now there's been the alleged burglary, and the theft of all my records. And the threatening phone calls... Why would anyone bother to go to such lengths for the sake of a practical joke..??!
Sorry. Where was I? Oh, yes, the tangible piece of evidence. Right. Well, it's a floppy disc. A five-and-a-quarter-inch floppy disc, if you please. Intended to be used with one of those old "Acorn Micro" computers which that other oversized and secretive arm of government, the BBC, somehow infiltrated into thousands of classrooms and universities across the country in the 1980s. (They never give up, these Illuminati. We must resist!)
So, if I'm to believe my contact, Swedelia actually held this disc in her hand. And now it's in mine. I'm holding it right now. The thrill of it! (Oh, and yes, I made sure it would be safe from any soi-disant "burglars" — you bet I did.) So. There. That's it. That's my one physical link to Swedelia. If I believe it.
"If"? "If"? Why the doubt? Well, it comes down to the actual contents of the disc. The data. I suppose you'd have to call it a computer game, or a "video game". Quite a primitive sort of game, as these things go, or so I'm led to understand: purely textual — no graphical display. Look, I'll be honest: I don't really get on with computers, and I certainly don't have any time to fritter away on playing games with them. But I played this one, alright. Because Swedelia wrote it.
The game calls itself "The SIGMA Experiment", and on the surface it's a sort of electronic re-creation of a fairly corny B-movie type of story about the horror that ensues when scientists dabble with forces beyond their feeble understanding. You know — It Came From Another World And Ate My Mom. That sort of thing.
Okay, so, the question that's bound to arise, then, is this: why on earth would someone of Swedelia's formidable intellect and achievement waste her time writing a piece of schlock? Well, if there is a plausible explanation then I think it goes back to that forceful personality of hers, a personality that perhaps unsurprisingly led to her being at loggerheads with the MoD Directorate over the way they were mismanaging, as she saw it, her life's work. She tried to warn them that the conditions under which they were carrying out the experiments she had designed were unsafe — catastrophic, even. But of course they ignored her.
I'll get into the particulars of the experiments, and of their mind-boggling implications for the future of mankind, shortly. But, for now, suffice it to say that Swedelia's dire warnings fell on deaf ears, and her persistence, her refusal to back down, led to a hasty departure from the MoD and her subsequent erasure — there's no other word for it — from history.
Now, quite why Swedelia should decide to vent her frustrations with the MoD by writing a text adventure game for the BBC Micro we may never really know — and the very idea seems faintly absurd, when you say it out loud — but she had a brilliant and enquiring mind and was always alive to the possibilities that new technologies could offer, so... why not? What better way to smuggle her message out to the general public, perhaps, than to conceal it in a piece of popular entertainment in the newly emergent mass-medium that was computer games? What a shame she never found a publisher...
But what exactly was her message? Is the game a satire on the chaos that reigned at the MoD? A sort of roman à clef ? Did Swedelia scatter clues, or ciphers, throughout the game? Is it a warning to humanity about the dangers of allowing vital scientific research to be overseen by a pack of idiots? Well, you can make up your own mind, once I've set out the details of the experiments that the MoD were conducting, initially under Swedelia's own guidance:
It seems quite incredible, but, by the late 1970s, what Swedelia had been able to demonstrate empirically, under laboratory conditions, was that "interdimensional
Wait. I think there's some sort of commotion going on outside the door to the flat. Let me stop here and upload this. I'll start writing Part 2 in a minute, after I've made sure nothing's wrong.
[Desmond Greenhough has been missing since 1997.]