With apologies to C.S. Lewis

Dear Mr. Asmodeus,

As you know, I was recently contracted by the Higher Powers to conduct an independent audit of Hell’s operations and security in the aftermath of last week’s incident (hereafter “The Incident”). I refer to the events of last Monday, when a lone Space Marine gained entry to Hell and, in the course of just a few hours, inflicted a staggering amount of damage to Hellish property and personnel.

The Incident has effectively disrupted Hellish operations (not to mention its budget) for the indeterminate future. It takes time to re-spawn so many slaughtered demons, and in the meantime, temp workers must be hired to torture the souls of the damned. In addition to the costs of breeding and training an entirely new staff, we are now faced with the considerable challenge of finding a construction contractor willing to descend into the Stygian depths to repair the very extensive structural damage. We may even be forced to temporarily suspend the processing of newly-arrived souls due to these personnel losses.

Management tasked me with a straightforward job: review current Hellish security and operations and recommend action steps that will ensure that this sort of thing never happens again. Over the last week, I have interviewed survivors of The Incident and toured the nearly-demolished facilities in search of ways to avert future Incidents. I am pleased to present the following recommendations, which I feel will significantly decrease the chance that the legions of Hell will ever again be slaughtered by a lone Space Marine and his shotgun.

1) Better Master Plans. No offense is intended to you or your strategic planners, but it should be noted that this Incident–actually the third such Incident–occurred during your efforts to, and I quote, “bury the pitiful souls of humanity beneath a tidal wave of eternal darkness.” During all three of your invasion attempts, a Space Marine has sneaked into Hell and wreaked havoc. Future invasion plans should budget more money towards protecting the Hell-gates, perhaps by fencing them off or requiring I.D. checks at entrances.

2) Clutter Control. The severity of The Incident would have been greatly reduced had the Space Marine intruder not been able to find and use health packs, ammunition, and high-tech weaponry that were inexplicably scattered–unattended and unsecured–throughout the Abyssal caverns. There is absolutely no good reason to leave rocket launchers and chainguns (or ammunition for them) lying around on the ground where they can be picked up by any passing Space Marine. I recommend that you increase the janitorial budget, institute a stricter “clutter-free workplace” policy, and do everything possible to keep cutting-edge weaponry safely and legally secured and out of reach of intruders.

3) Better Combat Training for Personnel. Many casualties could have been avoided had the Hellish hordes received better training in basic combat tactics. It is important that Hellish staff be able to adjust their combat tactics in response to the Space Marine’s own actions. This is most important for your so-called “Boss” personnel, many of whom were tragically killed because they refused to deviate from their “patterns of attack” despite the fact that the Space Marine had clearly caught on to their tactics and was exploiting them. In one instance, two otherwise intelligent Hellknights were left hopelessly confused by the Space Marine’s strategy of ducking behind a pillar in the middle of the room. A demon with a more “can-do!” attitude would have investigated the pillar instead of standing still and being repeatedly struck by missiles until he died. I recommend longer and more in-depth combat training for all Hellish denizens.

4) No Toying Around. I know it is tempting to “play” with the Space Marine–gloating, issuing threats, and “toying” with him by letting him live just to see if he is able to overcome your fiendish traps and demonic guardians. However, after a certain point, I recommend that you stop toying with the Space Marine and simply kill him. For instance, instead of blowing up a bridge in front of the Space Marine and then gloating that he will never find a way across the chasm, why not just blow up the bridge while he’s walking across it? It’s less satisfying, but letting him live because you find his “pitiful” efforts “amusing” is just inviting the sort of disaster we experienced last week.

I think you will find that applying these recommendations to future operations will significantly decrease Hell’s vulnerability to lone Space Marines, and will improve morale amongst a demonic workforce that has suffered through not one, not two, but three Space Marine rampages in the space of only ten years. I hope you find my report helpful, and would be more than happy to assist you should you have any questions about it. I remain

your faithful servant,
Mephisto
Auditor from Hell

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5 thoughts on “With apologies to C.S. Lewis

  1. pcg

    Brilliant. I’ve come to expect no less from you, Andy, and you’ve delivered yet again. This needs to be published.

  2. Polytropos

    Dear Mr. Asmodeus

    Computer gamers (especially Doom fans) must not under any circumstances miss The Staging Point’s audit from hell. Very funny. Hat tip to Ed….

  3. Bill

    I couldn’t agree with pcg more. Just what I needed on a gloomy Monday.
    I am so impressed that I might even go so far as to say that it is a “rattlin’ good yarn.” Excellent work, sir.

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