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
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.
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