Friday, November 29, 2013

We're OK. Well, alive. Or at least we were when I typed this. Not sure when it'll be posted. Not much in the way of internet connectivity where we are. We also don't know anything about current events, and won't be able to post any comments. Like Carter had said, we left on a mission. 'We' being him, Doc, and me. I'll tell you all what's gone on. Green text = Carter. Blue = Doc. And orange = me.

   I was caught up in reports and files, as many of our contacts were having issues. Some dropped off the grid. Others were found dead. Placed in very obvious locations. Displayed for any and all to see. Nasty business. Anyway, I was busy with that while Carter decided to post comments. Partly because of the alternate Linux. Who, by the way, I hope returned to where he belongs. Didn't sound like someone I'd want to meet. So, I was getting ready to call it a night when I saw Carter walk towards the cockpit. I followed, curious as to why he finally emerged from his office.

...as soon as you get clearance to depart, head straight to those coordinates.

Hattery looked like he was about to argue. But Carter continued talking.

I know that it is the middle of Antarctica, but you'll find a small landing strip at those coordinates. They'll be barely adequate for our plane. 

Hattery said 'yes sir' as he contacted air traffic control. Carter turned to me.

Ah, Sam, there you are! Do me a favor, find the good doctor. Tell him that we are going on a very important mission. He'll need to prep supplies for, oh, maybe a week to three weeks. It's a long mission. I'll be in my office.

He walked out as I said 'yes, sir.' I made my way to the med-bay. The ensign from Raven squad was next to Keith's bed. Keith luckily has been healing well. He's been able to talk, just very quietly. It's good that he has someone to talk to, since Linux isn't with us. Doc was at his desk.

Oh, Sam. What can I do for you? Headache? Can't sleep?

No, nothing like that. The commander wants us to go on a special mission with him. In Antarctica. Wants you to pack supplies for about a three week excursion.

Antarctica? Surely, you misheard him. There's nothing there that could possibly interest us.

I didn't. He said Antarctica.

Well, then. I guess Marcus will have to take over medical duties while I'm away. I'll have to brief him on what to do if any situation arises involved young Keith. I'll be at the Osprey at 0430 tomorrow. Will that be acceptable?

It had better. As I finished that statement, Hattery's voice came over the intercom telling everyone to prep for take-off. I'll see you then, Doc. I need some sleep.

Good night, Sam.

I went to my quarters and slept. The next morning, Carter met us at the Osprey. We were about to land the plane. Doc had under-estimated the travel time. We made sure that we had everything we needed. After the plane landed, we got the Osprey prepped. Carter put Jenkins in charge of operations, and Doc put Marcus in charge of the med bay. We set out. About an hour later, Carter brought us to a landing. We got out. There was nothing of note in sight. I don't see anything, commander. Why did we stop here?

It's the right place. It has to be. He started looking up at the sky. He mumbled something about 'the brightest star.' And he set off in a direction. Then, he disappeared.

Carter! Carter! Where'd he go?

Calm down Doc. I drew my pistol and started advancing to the last place we'd seen him. Suddenly, his head appeared in mid-air. Just his head.

What are you two waiting for? Get over here! You won't believe this! His head disappeared again. I stepped forward.

I was frozen. In front of me. There was a city. With what looked like architecture from many different cultures. Some, modern. Some, ancient. I saw short huts, and tall skyscrapers. I saw concrete, metal, even wood. It was completely invisible from where we had landed. The city was on a much lower elevation. There was a hill all around the city. The city itself was devoid of snow. And I could feel a breeze that felt warm. This place defied logic. I turned around and saw Doc as he approached. He didn't see me waving. Then he stepped through and saw it all as well. A perception filter of some kind. On this scale? Brilliant!

Come on, we need to find the commander. We started down the steps. It was amazing. I had never seen anything like this. But, the streets were empty. There weren't any people. Yet, the city looked like it was well maintained. We eventually found the city center. There was a big circular building. From here, I could see that the planner had been very organized. You could see cross-roads all the down the main streets. We entered the building and found Carter. Reading from a book of some kind. The walls were covered by enormous bookshelves. Each one full of books.

...the ultimate sacrifice. The end to it all. He must walk alone. To save them all. To save the one...  He looked up at us. It's amazing isn't it? And to think, we are the first humans to walk here in centuries! Maybe even millenniums! I want you two to guard the Osprey. I'll check in every day. And, Lieutenant Commander, if you get the chance, find a way to contact our friend Lovett. There are so many books here. Offer transportation here. Tell him to consider it a favor. Free of charge. No strings attached.

Yes, sir. Do you need anything else? We could be more of a help in here with you.

No, I'm fine. I want you two out there. This place is dangerous. 

But, Carter, you've been locked in your office. I haven't even had time to examine you and make sure you're okay! Come back with us, this city won't be going anywhere. 

No, no. I'm perfectly healthy. Don't worry about me. It was obvious that arguing would do no good. We set out for the Osprey. So, here I am. Typing this up. Waiting for a satellite to pass that we could use for internet. Lovett, his offer is genuine. If you want to see the city, inform us. We'll provide transportation. Of course, we'll be out of contact for at least another week, I suspect. I hope you are all well and safe. Sanna, be careful, alternate Linux sounded like he was a bit too crazy. I wouldn't trust him. Linux, I hope you're back and safe. Keith has asked about you a few times. Doc thinks that he'll make a full recovery.

Need to be quick, got a connection. Stay safe everyone. Will update and catch up when I can. Feel free to leave comments. We might get another connection soon. - Lt. Com. Cartwright
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UPDATE

So, we're back on the plane for now. Doc and I. Carter asked us to go back. I guess my description of the city didn't really do it any justice. It's far too amazing to describe. And the fact that there's a perception filter that blocks the entire city from view is even more amazing. The archive building (since that seems to be what it was) has books on many different topics. There's stuff about human history. Going back farther than anything I've seen, and going ahead: into the future. There's books about the fears. About people. Different topics, research, medicine. You name it, it's here.  It's a treasure trove. Doc and I walked in to find Carter as he hadn't checked in with us. He was sitting at a desk in the center, the top covered with books and papers. He kept muttering to himself, although I couldn't make out what. Doc went off to the medicine area.

Carter, you haven't checked in, we were worried about you.

Don't be, this place is protected. It's the rest of the city that you have to worry about. I want you and Doc to go back to the plane for a while. Maybe pick up Lovett if he's interested. I'll be alright. Got enough rations here to last me a month.

Suddenly, we heard Doc yell something. The words were lost in the echo. He came running with a book in his hand.

I've found it! After nearly a decade, I've found a copy!

Without looking up, Carter started speaking. Yes, you did. In the medical research section. A book full of research that could be very useful and could save many lives. Most copies were destroyed, because the methods used to obtain the research were described as 'unethical.' 

Doc was surprised. So was I. How did you know that?

He looked up. Just a guess. He turned to me. Can you do what I asked?

Yes, we can. We'll be back as soon as possible, sir.

He turned back to the books as we started for the doors. Before you go, you'll want to leave that. It can't go through those doors.

Why not?

Well, it was destroyed for a reason. And it would cause the entire building to collapse around our ears. Not a fun way to end the day.

Doc put the book back and we left. Now, here we are. Me, reading reports and drinking hot cocoa. While Hattery prepares to take off. Lovett, send us your coordinates and we'll be there. - Lt. Com. Cartwright

Friday, November 15, 2013

Situation Update

Sam here. A lot's happened this past 24 hours. For starters, the commander was posting comments. In the middle of a crisis situation. That's the major thing. We had a crisis. We're fine now and waiting for clearance to land at a different site. Hopefully, we'll be safe until we can figure out what had happened. Colored text: Pinkish-purple=me. Blue=Doc. Orange=Jenkins. Green=Hattery.
I was in the operations room when alarms started going off.

Ma'am, you'll want to see this. Massive surge of Sigma in the area.

Lieutenants Greene and O'Connor walked in. Along with Doc.
Is it true?

Before I could respond, Hattery's voice came over the intercom: Our instruments up here are picking up Sigma. Please tell me it's a false alarm.

Jenkins told me it wasn't. We had to act, fast. Doc, get the med-bay prepared, just in case. Keep an eye on Keith as well. Greene, get your squad ready and go on constant patrol throughout the plane. Make sure we are airtight. O'Connor, get your squad ready, have them prepare for possible boarders. Hattery, get us in the air ASAP. Am I clear? Questions?

They all started moving. This was bad. Ma'am? This surge came out of nowhere. I've never seen anything like it. Are we even prepared for this? And where's the commander?

Just focus on those readings, lieutenant. I want to know where this is coming from.   

Another alarm went off. Proximity alarm! Port side wing. Near engine 3. Footage.  He pointed at a monitor. The image was very difficult to see, but there was a figure standing looking straight at the camera.

Can you enhance it any, Jenkins?

Negative. This is the best we can get. I'll keep an eye on it. Shouldn't the commander be out here, taking charge in this kind of situation? 

He should, yes. But forget about him. We have a job to do. If he wants to stay in that office, than at least he's out of my way. 

He looked like he was about to say something. But he got cut off by the intercom. It was Doc. Sam, I'm looking at these readings. There are enough particles out there to kill any of us with only a half-second of exposure. There's nothing I can really do. If we get a breach... He didn't need to finish that thought.

I know. I'm going to the cockpit to see why we aren't in the air yet. Jenkins, keep an eye on our 'friend' out there.

On the way, I passed by Raven squad. They were in full protective gear. Not that it would do them any good. At least it made them feel safer. All three pilots were in the cockpit. Hattery, Dixon, and the Russian ensign who claims to be the best pilot that Russia's ever seen. I wouldn't know. Lieutenant! Why aren't we in the air yet? 

Hattery answered without turning. Engines aren't igniting. I don't know why. The fuel is reaching them. The lines are fine. But they just aren't igniting. I looked at the ensign. He was intently watching his panel. He then called Hattery's attention to something. That might just work. Let's give it a try, what have we got to lose, eh? It's going to be a while, ma'am, go ahead on back to the ops center. Let us fly-boys handle this.

I walked on back to the operations control. It was a while before anything happened. Raven and Bear kept reporting no activity. Jenkins let me know when the figure vanished. Suddenly we started moving. I walked to the intercom. Results?

Kind of. We're moving. Just not the way we want to. Engines are working for reverse thrust, but not forward thrust. I'm thinking that, maybe, if we move back far enough, we might be able to get forward thrust. It was a sound plan. As long as we didn't hit anything. Jenkins called my attention to the monitors. The figure had appeared at two other locations before disappearing again. Along with all traces of the Sigma. Hattery came over the intercom again. Everyone strap in! We're going to start take-off procedures. With luck it'll work. Next stop, anywhere but here.  

We were in the air shortly afterwards. Currently, Jenkins and his team are looking at the still frames from the camera recordings. Doc's doing examinations of everyone to make sure that none of were introduced to Sigma. We're waiting for clearance to land. And I'm completely pissed at the commander. It can go down here, in record. That was completely out-of-line. He should have been out here when the first alarm went off. Instead, he stayed in that office, writing comments on blogs. I'll keep you all posted. Lieutenant Commander Sam Cartwright, signing off.

     

Friday, November 8, 2013

He's awake now. Woke up an hour ago. Was in an incredibly bad mood. Here's what went down. White text with quotes is him, blue is Doc, and the orange is me. (I'm going to try this and see if it's easier than quotes)

"How long have I been out?"

At least 11 days, sir. We were getting a bit worried.

I'm going to need to run some tests to--   He was cut off. The commander was already getting up and moving while he said the following.

"No, I'm fine. No tests needed."

But--

"I'm fine."  Doc was shocked. So was I. This wasn't like him, he didn't cut people off like that. At least, not his friends. He left the room at a brisk pace. Straight to his 'office'. (Which in actuality was a separate bunk room that he had converted into an office space. It has a three way desk with more than sufficient space. It's connected to his bunk room.) Shortly afterward, he called for me on the intercom. I came to his office and entered.

"On the small table to your right is a piece of paper. On it is a list of food that I'd like you to bring in to me, has the amounts as well. Please be quick."

He said all of that without even turning around and looking at me. He was facing the monitors on the far wall.

I hesitated. I wanted to say something about how he was acting. Yes, sir. Consider it done. I snapped off a salute by habit, even though he wouldn't be able to see it. I went and got the food, brought it back to the office.

"Just set it on the table, please, Lieutenant Commander."

Yes, sir...Permission to speak freely?   His motto with me is that I always am free to speak my mind, I still ask anyway as I prefer to follow protocol.

"Denied."  Blunt. Straight to the point. And, most importantly, surprising. I stood their completely aghast at this for a few moments. Then I responded.

...Yes, sir. Anything else? Orders?

"No, that will be all. Dismissed"

I left the office. Something's not right. He hasn't talked to anyone since, he hasn't said anything about what had happened. Nothing. It's unnerving. This isn't like him. He never got like this before, did he? - Lt. Com. Cartwright

Friday, November 1, 2013

Been Too Long (Part 5)

 Well, I will add this here, before the main part of the post. He's still in the med-bay. If anyone has any leads, please help. We've run out of ideas. Bear squad hasn't seen anything at the warehouse, possibly they cleaned house after what happened. Anyway, here's the posting of the last catch-up part. - Lt. Com. Cartwright

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     So, now the major event that I've been passively mentioning. The massacre. It happened so fast, and so many things occurred at once. It started, for me, when I woke up. Suddenly, something woke me up. I sat in my bed trying to figure out what. It wasn't S, she was still sleeping soundly next to me. There wasn't anyone in the room. What was it? And then it hit me: it was quiet. Completely quiet. Normally, you could hear the ventilation systems as they had to run almost constantly to keep the temperature stable. Something was seriously wrong. I jumped out of the bed, and ran to the desk where I kept a pistol. S woke up and asked me what was wrong. I told her to stay in the room, and to start bundling up in clothing. The temperature was already starting to fall.

      The hallways were empty, and dark. I made my way to the generator rooms. Knowing full well that there were only two people who could disable the generators. On the way, I ran into Sam. I informed her her of the situation, and ordered her to start the evacuation procedures. She ran the opposite way. Gathering her team as she went. I made it into the room where the generators could be activated. Right as the third set went down. The third set was devoted entirely to the shielded alloy. It requires electricity to function as a barrier. I saw as Class 2's just 'popped' into existence and killed the people in the halls who weren't prepared. I made it to the controls. He was waiting for me. Jumped me when I was reaching for the console.

        "You didn't think it would be that easy, did you?" I saw his gun, and managed to send it from his hands, but he did the same to me. I was preparing to use the strikes that Strider had taught me back in London, but he struck first. Hard. My head was slammed onto the nearby railing for the maintenance catwalk. Dazed me. I managed to recover in time to avoid a swing from a pipe that he had 'found.' (More appropriately, ripped from previously mentioned railing.) That was his mistake. He had put too much weight behind the swing. It would be a weakness to exploit. Later. As at this time he had my leg and made sure to break it. I managed to get a decent hit in. He flew into the controls, the generator roared to life. That's when the plan formed. He swung with the pipe again. I was able to throw my weight against him. He fell through the gap he had made in the railing. Right into the generator. It jammed and performed an emergency shutdown. But, there was no way he'd get free. I found one of the pistols, and limped over to the controls. He started talking. "I know what you're thinking, [REDACTED], don't do it! You all need me! Sam needs me! You need me! We have a lot in common, I can teach you so much!" I slowly started reaching for the control that would activate the generator. Do you know what you're doing? You're dooming yourself. You're dooming [REDACTED]. You're dooming Sam. Everyone out there will die! All because of you! I was saving you all! I was saving Sam! Don't do this!" I hit the switch. The sounds of the gears covered his screams. I shot the controls after locking them. No one would shut them off. I left the room and started heading for the hanger. Where everyone would rendezvous for evacuation. Where we'd set up the warhead that would blow up the facility. I hobbled my there. Shot three Class 2's who thought they could keep me away from S. I made it there and saw the survivors. All 7 of them. 

     I walked right past them all, straight to the access port for the bomb. Sam saw what I was doing, she ushered everyone onto the Osprey as the pilots started the engines. Time seemed to slow as Sam, S, and Sean O'Connor (who is now the current leader of Bear squad.) came running towards me. "Where's my brother?" Sam asked me. I didn't answer. I started the arming procedure. And then I saw it: the bomb had been sabotaged. It would need to be manually detonated. I cursed as loud as I could. "Damn it all! Get out here! That's an order you two! [REDACTED], you need to leave as well. Leave me. I need to do this." They stared at me. Then S spoke up. "No. I'm not leaving you behind." She turned to Sam with a determined look on her face. She turned back to me. "I'm sorry. Goodbye, Jeff." Sam and O'Connor grabbed me, they started bringing me towards the Osprey. I fought back. They managed to hit me hard enough to daze me into submission. I was forced to watch as S stood next to bomb. Then I saw a figure appear and stand next to her. It was too far away for me to make it out. And I couldn't open my mouth and yell to warn her. She didn't notice it. The ramp closed and the Osprey lifted off. About 45 seconds later, the shock-wave from the explosion was felt. I felt numb and dead. She was gone. I looked at everyone who was left. Me, Sam, O'Connor, Dixon and Hattery (the pilots), and two ensigns who I didn't recognize. One of whom was crying. I wanted to. But I couldn't. I was their commander, I had to appear strong and in control. 

      I walked up to the cockpit and turned to Hattery. "Bring us to these coordinates." I said as I started typing them out. "Use the clearance code 'Bearcat'. They'll let us in with no fuss. We're heading to our new home." I paused. "Are we the only ones who made it out?" Dixon nodded solemnly. I sighed. There had been 874 people stationed at that base. We were about to start sending people to man facilities in different parts of the world. But Cartwright had always found some excuse to hold them all back. Now I knew why. I patted their shoulders as I went back to the others. Sam saw me and called everyone to attention. "At ease, everyone. As you all know, we're the only survivors. Ensign Sean O'Connor, you are now the Lieutenant in charge of Bear squad. You will be able to choose your own candidates once we're safe. Lieutenant Samantha Cartwright, you are now a Lieutenant Commander. You will fill my previous role as second-in-command. I have a few candidates in mind to start with our rebuilding efforts. I'll give you the files when we touch down. Until then, everyone, get some rest. We're not out of the storm yet." I collapsed into a seat. And just sat there. Staring straight ahead as I tried to process everything that had just happened.

     We made it to the coordinates. The site of a project codenamed 'Bearcat' by the guys working on it. We loaded the Osprey into the hold and took flight. We added the technicians who volunteered to our crew roster. Lieutenant Jenkins and his men have made fine additions to our crew. I gave Sam the files that she would need to pass on to our contacts. That's how we got Doc and Marcus. Sean filled up his squad, while I briefed Doc and Marcus. Doc is obviously our doctor, and Marcus was given the position of squad leader to Raven squad. He filled up his squad. And then, bad news struck. Every country that supported us, with three exceptions, dropped their support. As soon as they got wind of what happened. Those two ensigns were called back home by their governments. It was either that or be branded a 'public enemy' and 'terrorist' in their home land. At the end of the day, only the US, the UK, and Russia were left.

      Shortly afterward, I arranged a revenge plan on Jack. He broke the deal, S had not been protected like he'd said. I trapped him using information that he trusted me with. And I killed him. Retrieved my revolver, and left him to rot. He deserved it. That's about the same time that we received the first few rumors of S being alive. Since then, I have been devoted to finding her. At the very least, she needs someone who can end it all for her. She doesn't deserve this life. She should still be at home, living in ignorance of all of this. But instead, she was brought into this mess. Because of me. That's the only thing keeping me going. To save her. Whether literally or figuratively, I will. I won't let anything stand in my way.

      That's the most important stuff that happened. Now we're at the present. I'll be sure to give you guys situation reports whenever I'm able. Stay safe everyone, the world's a dangerous place.

Don't Lose Sight of What Matters
Carter


(November 5, 2013) Rather than make a new post for this, I'll just add a small edit here. I've added a new tab at the top of the blog with some biographies on the members of the team. It's something that Carter's been working on. But, he's still out cold. Been quiet, though. I can't help but worry. We've also picked up Linux's friend, Keith. Doc has him stabilized. He'll live. I need to get going for now. My eyes are hurting form straining them so much. - Lt. Com Cartwright.