In Charles Stross's Laundry Files there is a peace treaty between each territorial government with a coast, and the entities covered by the codename BLUE HADES.

This comes up in "The Jennifer Morgue" and in is mentioned again in "The Rhesus Chart".

Said entities, covered by codename BLUE HADES, are almost definitely H.P. Lovecraft's Deep Ones. more or less. Bob sums up the treaty thusly:

We have an agreement with them: we agree not to piss them off (by, for example, building the Underwater City of Tomorrow! or otherwise intruding on their territory without prior arrangement) and they agree not to exterminate us

What is there reason for the treaty?

Is it that they are nice and don't want to kill people?

Is humanity a threat to them that is better dealt with peacefully? Perhaps because what few humans they couldn't kill off, (non-coastal) would retaliate to an extent that BLUE HADES would take greater losses?

7 Answers 7


Angleton covers this pretty well in The Jennifer Morgue:

No.” Angleton’s expression is implacable. “Water absorbs the energy of a nuclear explosion far more effectively than air. You get a powerful pressure wave, but no significant heat or radiation damage: the shock wave is great for crushing submarines, but much less effective against undersea organisms at ambient pressure. We could hurt them, but nothing like as badly as they could hurt us. And as for the rest of it — he gestures at the screen ” — they could have wiped us out before we discovered them, if they were so inclined. They have access to technologies and tools we can barely begin to imagine.

They are the Deep Ones, BLUE HADES, a branch of an ancient and powerful alien civilization. Some of us suspect the threat of the super-tsunami is a distraction. It’s like an infantryman pointing his bayonet-tipped assault rifle at a headhunter, who sees only a blade on a stick. Don’t even think about threatening them, we exist because they bear us no innate ill will, but we have at least the power to change that much if we act rashly.

In The Fuller Memorandum, Bob makes it explicitly clear that the current thinking is that we just have nothing they want.

But our neighbors, the Deep Ones and the Chthonians, are adapted for wildly different biospheres. There is no colonial overlap to bring us to the point of conflict — which is a very good thing, because the result would be a very rapid Game Over: Humans Lose.

On top of that

  • It's pretty clear that something nasty (CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN) is coming which has the potential to affect all life on Earth. Since the beachhead will almost certainly be on land (rather than in the ocean), we'll basically be cannon fodder.

  • Killing all humans might prevent CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN from occurring, but a sacrifice that big could actually end up attracting something much worse.

  • Humanity may not be the ideal neighbour but it's certainly preferable to have us on their doorstep rather than the alternatives.

  • BLUE HADES are fearful of DEEP SEVEN (creatures which live inside the crust of the Earth). Preserving us means that there is a potential neutral arbiter in future disputes.

Charles Stross has confirmed this in a tweet:

[...] the commenters pretty much nailed it. (There’ll be more on this in books 9 or 10, but that’s a way down the line.)[...]

  • 1
    Stross says this is correct twitter.com/cstross/status/776402777639706624 Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 12:52
  • 1
    @phulpursglove - That's gratifying.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 13:39
  • Also, just because a race is not human in The Laundry Files doesn't automatically make it a giant, xenophobic "Kill all the Humans" squad. BLUE HADES is a good example of this (especially Ramona Random, who could have totally fed Bob to the succubus once she didn't need him), but there are some other examples... which I can't reveal without spoiling the later books. Commented Jun 4, 2018 at 20:28

Bearing in mind that Bob is an unreliable witness one could take the official Laundry “line” on BLUE HADES with a pinch of salt.

Other possibilities are:

1 They are a dying civilisation with a very small population and are living in the remnants of high tech civilisation they no-longer fully understand and are to a large extent bluffing the surface dwelling monkeys.

2 They are actually a theocratic state worshipping father dagon and are keeping humans alive for some dreadful purpose.

3 Avoiding the planet of hats trope they are like the us and have multiple states with differing views and they regard worshippers of father dagon as we do the cult of the black Pharaoh – in this they might see us as useful if flaky allies in the war on tentacles.


A few things about BLUE HADES relationship with humans to be observed:

  1. BLUE HADES is the dominant sentient species on Earth, controlling between 70 to 75% of the planet's surface. Emphasis ON Earth, because inside the planet DEEP SEVEN currently has almost the whole mantle to themselves. As far as BLUE HADES are concerned, we're a minority species confined to horrifically unpleasant wasteland reservations.

  2. As of The Annihilation Score we know that BLUE HADES are a technologically hyper-advanced species in the Star Trek sense, although their engine technology is kinda.... well.... ergh...

  3. BLUE HADES has an active human recruitment program. In the context of Cold War spycraft, they use propaganda (by way of Innsmouth-style cults) to lure humans to defect, although their success rate is low. We know from The Apocalypse Codex that BLUE HADES also seems to place special emphasis in trying to recruit the Lilim, members of genetically-modified human bloodlines created by The Sleeper in the Pyramid (or its agents). In the context of Cold War spycraft, this may mean they are also trying to "defang" humanity or coopt its more dangerous elements, probably because they ALSO don't want idiots to wake up the Sleeper.

  4. Humans do present an existential threat to BLUE HADES. In The Atrocity Archives, an alternate Ahnenerbe SS summoned the Jotun Infovore which proceeded to eat the entire universe within a few decades. Not even BLUE HADES could survive it. In The Nightmare Stacks, the Specimen B variant of genus homo managed to take territory from BLUE HADES in their own homeworld, draining the entire Mediterranean and generally lowering sea levels globally - before promptly doing something real dumb and getting everyone killed. This means a sufficiently technologically advanced (for necromantic values of technology) race of humans can fight against BLUE HADES and expect to win, but in general we pose BLUE HADES an existential threat through sheer ignorant stupidity.

Those are the observables within the Laundry Files universe. Outside of it, we also have to remember that:

  1. The Deep Ones ALREADY survived the prior NIGHTMARE GREEN scenario. For that matter, they immigrated to our planet during the last conjunction. They were around 350 million years ago as servants of Cthulhu and helped built R'lyeh itself. In other words, they have experience coexisting with the Elder Gods at a level humans can't even begin to comprehend. They probably don't like the idea of being reduced to slaves again, but our NIGHTMARE GREEN is survivable to them, as long as we're not stupid enough to summon something as bad as the Jotun Infovore which poses an existential threat to the universe itself.

In summary, BLUE HADES chose to tolerate us because to them we're an insignificant technologically primitive minor species living in what passes for desolate wastelands, they have ways to manage and defang us, our civilization (unlike Specimen B's) is non-threatening to them, and the only real threat we pose to them comes from our sheer apocalypse-inviting stupidity.

As long as we don't exceed a certain OH S***! threshold of NIGHTMARE GREEN they're okay, because they themselves are not afraid of most gradations of NIGHTMARE GREEN that would mean automatic extinction for humanity. They probably view Cthulhu roughly the same way young Bob viewed Angleton.


In Lovecraft's "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" the Deep Ones could interbreed with humans. I'm pretty sure BLUE HADES are similar in that respect and that Ramona Random is half human. I don't remember if the details are made explicit, but she starts out with mostly human characteristics and becomes fully aquatic at the end the same way the hybrids of "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" do. It is not too difficult to infer that maybe BLUE HADES tolerates humanity because they benefit somehow from the steady influx of human genes. Or they may just look on us with affection because they find us sexually attractive.

  • Ramonas a type 2 BLUE HADES aka a hybrid Type 1's are traditional Deep Ones the type 3's are constructs Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 23:02

There's also the fact that killing billions of sentients would accelerate NIGHTMARE GREEN and draw even more attention to our planet than we're going to get otherwise - this is why The Laundry doesn't destroy all computers or initiate a nuclear war to reduce the number of minds - it would be even worse. BLUE HADES could wipe out all our coastal cities, but that level of sudden megadeaths could bring things to Earth that they are afraid of.

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    You're not wrong, but it's worth pointing out that I already made this point in my answer; "Killing all humans might prevent CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN from occurring, but a sacrifice that big that could attract something much worse."
    – Valorum
    Commented May 5, 2016 at 19:20

In 'The Annihilation Score' it is shown that BLUE HADES is supplying humanity with military technology. Dr. O'Brien is shown a photo of a British soldier armed with a vitrification weapon, essentially a Basilisk gun under a different name. Either BLUE HADES are being very nice and giving us the means to protect ourselves or, as O'Brien speculates, they're making sure we are a fairly effective fighting force so we can take out as many of the enemy as possible before we get wiped out ourselves. That way BLUE HADES has a better chance of survival.

  • I think the basilisk gun was developed by humans starting with the experiments in the GAME ANDES REDSHIFT files Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 22:04

I think the safest solution for the Deep Ones is to annihilate us but they are probably too "humane" to do that to 7 billion sentients. Also, at our level of technology when we are being noticed by "others" they probably think if they get rid of us "someone" might take notice and decide to investigate and probably the last thing they want is attention.

Also, the Deep Ones probably think when the old ones eventually return they would probably ignore them at the bottom of the ocean if there was a buffet table laid out for them on the surface.

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