Posts tagged: Reyes

5 July 2161 (late afternoon)

By , 04/30/2010 9:52 am

After a walk around the facility, Joe and I ended up back by the vehicles. We saw Commander Pacheco sitting in the front seat of the truck, looking over some paperwork. He had one door propped open with his foot, letting the breeze blow through the shaded interior of the vehicle. It looked like a good time to take care of the customary courtesies, so we went over and introduced ourselves.

Good evening, sir. Mind if we join you for a few minutes?” I asked.

Not at all,” he replied, nodding at the door on the other side of the truck. “I’ve been meaning to talk to you, anyway.”

We walked around to the other side of the truck, and got in. Joe sat in the back, watching us as we talked.

Sir, since I’ve been assigned to your unit, I thought I’d brief you on what Joe and I bring to the team. Prime wasn’t very clear on what you need, only that we were to report to you and replace a recent combat loss.”

It’s good to have you on the team,” he said with a smile, then sighed. “We suffered a casualty fighting a Mexican Army unit a couple months ago. We were busting CA-1, a science unit, out of the Huntington Beach area south of Los Angeles. We went up against a Mechanized unit, in difficult terrain.” He frowned at the memories, then sighed again. “You can read the reports on that, later. Go ahead and tell me about yourself.”

Basically, I’m a cop,” I said, shrugging my shoulders.”I worked as a Game Warden in South Florida, doing mounted patrols of the Everglades. Chasing poachers, locating lost hikers, that sort of thing. Joined the Army, got assigned to the Provost Marshal. I did three tours in Vietnam, 68 through 71, all of them as a dog handler in the MPs. First tour as a scout, clearing tunnels and bunkers in the field. Next two tours with CID and counter intelligence, mostly rear area work – investigations in drug smuggling, homicide, and sabotage. Eight months of that, I worked as an interpreter and interrogator. After the I got out of the service, I worked for the DEA as a dog handler, searching for smugglers and pot farmers. It was a lot like Nam, in some respects.”

I hope you don’t have problems with drugs these days,” he cautioned.”Since it seems to be a part of the normal economy.”

I’ve never had a personal problem with them, sir, only a professional one – it was my job to find them.” I did have a problem with people too stoned to do their job, but that didn’t need to be brought up at this point, since I hadn’t seen anything like that yet.

I don’t do them personally,” he assured me, pulling a small metal flask out of a cargo pocket and offering me a sip. “This is my chosen poison.” I politely declined the offer, and went on with my briefing.

I was recruited by the Project in September of 77. Trained for two years with a new dog – that’s Joe, here – who was provided by the Project.” Joe grinned at Vod, wagging his tail several times. He loves the attention. “We were originally slotted for assignment to the Frozen Watch as a replacement member for a MARS team, since we’re a security team. Went into the freezer at the end of 1979. Woke up a few days ago, and got new orders from Prime. They changed their mind, I guess, and sent us to your RECON team instead of a MARS unit.”

I rubbed the stubble on my chin and frowned. I should have shaved before approaching the CO, but it was too late now.

Let’s see,” I said, gathering my thoughts. “I’m 30 years old. I’m fluent in English and Tagalog – my dad is Filipino, my mom was from Tennessee. I also speak Vietnamese and Spanish. That’s Latin American style Spanish, though, not Castillan. I can pass for Columbian, Puerto Rican, something like that, but not as a Spaniard.”

That may be very useful,” he noted. “There’s a strong Hispanic presence in California, and of course the Mexican Army is trying to move into the neighborhood.” He took another small sip from the flask and motioned for me to continue.

I can drive pretty much anything you need driven,” I said. “I’ve had the basic training on heavy weapons, but frankly I’m probably the last choice you’d make for that. I’m a close quarters combat specialist.” I ticked off weapons on his fingers as I expanded on the topic. “I’m good with a pistol, shotgun, submachinegun, knife, stick, and empty hands. I’ve been studying Pekiti Tirsia Kali since I was a kid. PTK is a Filipino martial art that focuses on the use of edged weapons. It’s come in handy a few times when I’ve been undercover.” I showed him the little PTK medallion I wear around my neck, then tucked it back into my T-shirt.

Outside of combat,” I went on, “I’m can do all of the things you’d expect a policeman to do – investigating crime scenes, talking to witnesses and suspects, handling prisoners. I’m good with dogs and horses – I’ve worked with them most of my life, and I enjoy it.”

Good to have the animal handling skills,” he said, nodding his head. “Down near our base we have an extensive horse unit. The Circle-Lazy-8 ranch has been keeping up general training with their own type of recruits, and with the establishment of the High Desert command, we’re expanding as fast as we can. But good vehicles are at a premium, so even CA-4 uses horseback to get around sometimes.” He shifted in his seat, and stretched his leg against the door a little. He looked at the flask, then put it away and waited for me to continue. I chose my next words carefully.

That just about covers me, so let me tell you a little about him,” waving a hand at Joe, who sat up straighter. “He’s been my partner since the Project recruited me – he’s actually a product of a selective breeding and enhancement program.” When the Commander didn’t blink at that phrase, I relaxed a little. “He’s trained as a detector dog, dual rated – drugs and explosives. He’s also had the Project’s version of SAR training, among other things. He’s the smartest dog you ever saw, sir. You ever see the old Lassie TV show? He’s smarter than Lassie – a lot smarter.”

I noticed your little game of who sits in front,” Vod replied agreeably. “Got a giggle out of how it seemed Joe knew exactly what was going on. Does he get along with Cats?”

Joe snorted, which made Vod stop and look directly at the dog. Vod glanced at me, but I kept my face carefully neutral. “Joe’s not really a cat person, but he’s got nothing against them in general.”

Vod looked back and forth at the two of us, then raised an eyebrow and settled his gaze on Joe.

We have a sort of…well, ‘intelligent’ cat back at the base. It’s bonded with the team’s resident Jedi, our medic, Tim.” Vod paused, as Joe cocked his head to one side and twitched an ear. “Er…you didn’t hear me call him a Jedi, OK? He’s been developing some sort of sensitivity, psychic abilities, and he’s a little unhappy about the whole thing.”

No problem, sir,” I said. “We understand, no Star Wars jokes about Tim, and the cat is on our side.”

Vod looked at Joe, who promptly chuffed, wagging his tail a few times, then sat up straight again with a serious look. The commander started to open his mouth to say something, then closed it again and nodded slowly. There was an awkward moment of silence, so I pulled out my notebook and pencil.

Well, sir, I guess we just need to know where you want us, and what you want us to do. Duty assignment and standing orders, if any.”

Pacheco scratched the back of his neck with one hand, and then drummed his fingers on the dash.

You may be wondering how a lowly RECON commander like myself ended up in charge of this convoy,” he began. “CA-4 awoke about 5 months ago or so, all alone. We actually ran into Fred and his wife about a hour after leaving our bolt hole. And that was just the beginning of our whirlwind tour. Our team is more of a Combat Recon, than Scout recon. Sort of a Recon Light… or a MARS unit with a recon mission.”

I am currently the 2nd in command of the High Desert Command.” He gestured at the MARS vehicles. “AZ-3 came in about a month or so ago, so they are either still finding their way around, or deciding if they are going to stay. I need to have a talk with Patrick, the AZ-3 OIC about what is going on in his team. Since the awakenings have been so randomly spaced, some teams seem to have more loyalty to their teams than to the project as a whole.” He frowned at that, then went on, “That is something we are trying to change. We managed to wake up the CA-2 command team, and subsequently 4 other teams all at the same time.” He tapped the papers he had been reading when we walked up.

So the High Desert Command is a little more integrated as each team hasn’t had as much time feeling like they’re all alone, like CA-7 and AZ-3 did.” He borrowed my PDA and connected it to his, then transferred some files across as he talked. “Here is some light reading for you, it’ll help you pass the time and get a feel for our group.” He disconnected the PDA and handed it back to me.

Fred is very rough around the edges in some respects, but amazingly refined in others. He’s probably the biggest believer in bringing back democracy, freedom and security that I have met so far. His passion outshines a lot of people who “knew” the old world. I guess a lot of us took what we had for granted, and Fred can just dream about what it was like,” he said, then added, “or what it could be like.”

I’ve learned to cut him a lot of slack, and respect much of what he says about how to relate to people and things nowadays. The Project down south has less than a hundred ‘down time’ personnel. Even less than that, now that many of them were shipped to Prime Base to assist in it’s reactivation and renovation. A lot of our reconstruction projects have been put on hold until that’s accomplished.”

Pacheco looked around at the convoy, then pursed his lips for a second as he thought.

Hmm…assignments and duties?” he mused to himself, then turned in the seat to point out various parts of the convoy. “Fred drives usually, and for this trek we actually flew his truck up here to act as a ‘contact vehicle’ so we wouldn’t scare the locals on sight. Tim is our medic, and Keshawn is a crack shot who fills the sniper role for us.”

As far as duty assignments go, for this trip we’re using the Jeep and the Commando Scout as the lead elements. You and Joe will join Fred and I in the Jeep, since there’s no way you’re going to fit Joe in the Scout, unless he can operate the 20mm.” He looked at Joe, raising an eyebrow. Joe looked at the floor, avoiding eye contact. Vod smiled and turned back to me.

So stick close and cover my back. I’m usually the pointy end of the stick, and I’ve been known to get in pretty deep. Fred is usually right there in it, too.” He emphasized his next sentence carefully, “Try to get used to Fred, he will learn to trust you soon enough.”

He glanced at his watch, then at the sun low in the sky to our west.

We’ve been running a rotating night watch, with one person sleeping thru the night. We’ll add you into rotation starting tonight.” He looked sharply at me again. “I know all this seems pretty crazy to you. You’re twenty five years behind the rest of us in technology advancement, and even that has crumbled to almost nothing around us. You know your capabilities more than I do at this point, so if you see a shortcoming in plans, or feel you have something to contribute, then speak up. If you don’t ask a question, you can’t have an answer.”

Yes, sir,” I answered.

Anything else?” he asked.

As members of the Frozen Watch, Joe and I were only given standard individual loads, and I’ve used up about 10% of my ammo and 25% of my rations since we left the bolt hole. I’ve also got a short list of items that will be useful in my duties. What’s the procedure for requisition and resupply?

If you need supply we have umpteen tons of it in the trucks,” he waved at the convoy. “Mostly TOW-II missiles, Armbursts, and LAW rockets, as we are trying to blunt off an armored attack by Mexico s forces into the High Desert. Thus the urgency of the trip. We do have ample crates of small arms ammo, and once we do get south, a well stocked supply base of just about everything except ammo. The bottom floor of the base was under water when we activated it, and that is where the ammo was stored.” I made a note of which trucks he pointed to, and flipped the page on my notebook to the next topic.

I’ve gotten some of the background on SYRN and Crimson King from Fred, but I’d sure like a little more information on the whole situation. I’m still trying to figure out who’s who, and why we had to shoot our way through that town today.”

AIs, right,” he nodded.”They’re thinking machines. But barely thinking, and very restricted in how they think and what they can do. The first one we ran into was called Morgana. She’s sort of a “law and order, democracy” advocate. Then there’s Crimson King, who works mostly through biological improvements and combat. They have their own set of rules, and sort of treat us like pieces on a game board. Morgana has decided to ally with the Project, specifically the High Desert Command since we haven’t told her about Prime Base yet.” He shook his head at some unspoken thought.

Prime Base also has an AI, which assists in running that base as well. Morgana is really helping us to get the most out of our efforts in reorganizing and upgrading the High Desert Region. They each have varying resources. Morgana has robotic vehicles, both on the ground and in the air. Crimson King has proven he has some too, but mostly he works thru…well…organic operatives, like the SYRN. The fight today started because one of the SYRN agents tried to read Tim’s mind, possibly trying to get information about Prime Base. We can get more into it later, and you can find some info in our mission files as well.” He pointed to my PDA, indicating the files he had transferred earlier. “The kids, and the woman we rescued earlier, may or may not be SYRN agents, but they certainly have been in extensive contact with Crimson King, so we can’t take a lot of chances.”

Well, sir,” I told him, “if you need someone to talk to the kids, to try to get some intel out of them without threats, I’m probably one of your better candidates. I’ve got a lot of experience talking to people in a non-threatening way. Joe is handy when dealing with kids, too. Usually, they love dogs. And since I’ve got no idea at all where Prime Base is located, I’m probably the lowest risk option at the moment. If they can somehow read my mind, all they’re going to get is information that’s 180 years out of date, plus the last three days of me wandering through the desert.”

Pacheco considered this for a moment, then nodded his head.

You have a very good point,” he said. “When we wake them up, we can have you talk to them while some of the truckers cover you. The truck drivers know it exists, like you, but we brought them in and out of it in secret, so they don’t know the exact location.”

5 July 2161

By , 04/24/2010 6:52 am

Mission Report from FW-4/NV (attached CA4, assignment pending)

Mission Date 5 July 2161, 1940 hrs

Mission Personnel – SGT Reyes, CPL King

Current Mission – Convoy escort duty with CA4

Location – Truck stop on I-80, 2 miles SE of Wadsworth, NV

Status – Camped overnight at truck stop.

= = = Combat Summary = = =

Encountered 8+ members of a group called SYRN who had previously been engaged with units of the Brotherhood. Negotiations for safe passage of convoy thru town broke down when SYRN negotiator attempted to forcibly extract information from a team member (using some sort of psychic ability). Team forced passage thru town, using suppressing fire from vehicles (20mm cannon, 40mm HVGL, 7.62mm GPMG). Killed 2 SYRN members, capturing 3 more. Probable kill of 3rd SYRN member, but unconfirmed. No friendly casualties, no equipment lost or destroyed.

= = =Threat assessment (SALUTE report) = = =

Size

2x “Breaker” – powerful psychics, female human, apparently leaders. Able to violently lift/move an armored vehicle with psychic powers. Demonstrated numerous psychic abilities: telepathy, deflection of bullets, pseudo artillery strikes (as lightning), and one was able project illusion of herself to everyone within 250m

4x children – appear to have some sort of psychic powers as well, perhaps operating as some kind of ‘battery’ of psychic energy for the Breakers. Seen holding hands with each other and a Breaker during attack against team vehicles.

2x riflemen – seen attacking convoy from building on west side of road

1x archer – no visual on this one, but fired at least two arrows at team vehicles from cover.

Probable at least 1-2 more riflemen, given angles and impact points against multiple vehicles dispersed along the roadway.

Activity

Initially engaged with Brotherhood forces, who suffered significant damage to vehicles and personnel before withdrawing from town. SYRN forces blocked travel through town along Hwy 447(N/S), then assaulted team medic (psychically) in an apparent attempt to gain information or control.

Location

Remains of a small town (Wadsworth, NV) approximately 2 miles north of I-80

Unit

No visible uniforms or insignia of rank, leaders wore robes or lab coats spattered with blood. Breaker corpse had necklace/medallion identifying her as a follower of “Crimson King” (an AI previously encountered by CA4).

Time

Encountered SYRN forces at approx 1440 hours, engagement complete by 1500.

Equipment

Breakers wore no body armor, carried no weapons.
Children wore no body armor, carried no weapons.
Riflemen were armed with small caliber civilian rifles, judging from damage and rate of fire.
Archer was armed with a bow or longbow, judging from recovered arrow shaft and rate of fire.

= = = Current Supply Status (personal) = = =

Expended 33 rds 9mm, recovered 17 brass.

3 days rations consumed

incidental use of first aid kit

= = = Personal Log = = =

It’s been an interesting day, to say the least. After breakfast and some tea, Joe and I left our concrete cave and moved north to the rendezvous location on the map. We did a recon of the area around the crossroads, then found some cover east of the roadway and set up our OP.

At roughly 1000, we spotted a cloud of black smoke approaching from the north. This turned out to be a convoy of local vehicles going south. The smoke was from whatever fuel they were burning, and their speed was only about 10-15 mph. All but one vehicle had iron shod wooden wheels, similar to the ones you saw in old Western movies, just wider. They looked like a hard ride, too. The other vehicle was an old armored car, with a turret of some kind welded on it, and flying a flag that looks like the USA, except it has a green field with a big dollar sign where the blue and white of our flag would be. That vehicle had rubber tires, but the same kind of black exhaust.

About 1300 we saw dust from another convoy approaching from the north, but almost no black exhaust. This one turned out to be a combination of Project vehicles and local ones, and they stopped to pick us up. After an exchange of flares and radio calls, we went down to meet them. They’ve got a RECON team running the convoy, with some MARS elements backing them up, and the cargo trucks are being driven by allied locals. The team commander is Vod Pacheco, dark skinned and soft spoken. I gave my report of the previous convoy passing thru, and he put us with a native recruit named Fred, riding in an up-armored 4×4 Scout. Fred is apparently part of the truckers who are driving the cargo trucks, but has officially joined the Project, and acts as sort of a go between for the two groups. I haven’t sorted out the political situation yet, but apparently its a three way alliance of the Project, the truckers of Fred’s clan, and some ranchers. He’s a font of information, and the truck is his personal vehicle. Joe and I did our version of rock-paper-scissors, and I got the window while Joe got to ride in the back seat.

The convoy drove south for a while, then we saw explosions far ahead, and heard the sounds of combat coming from a little town. After scoping out the situation at long range, we tried to bypass the entire mess, but had to turn back because of terrain. It looked like the convoy of vehicles I spotted earlier (slavers from the Brotherhood) were slugging it outwith someone in the town, and losing badly. They eventually retreated to our location, complained that we weren’t helping them, and then limped off unhappy with us. Apparently, our convoy made arrangements to pass thru Brotherhood territory, but the agreement doesn’t extend to our having to fight their little wars for them.

After a bit of discussion between Pacheco, the obnoxious MARS officer (who is subordinate to Pacheco for this mission, and unhappy about it, as far as I can tell), and the Brotherhood representative, we sent a couple of folks down into town to parley with the defenders (our medic, Tim, and a woman from a Phoenix team – a part of the project I’ve never heard of).

These defenders turn out to be part of a group called “Siren”, which is actually spelled SYRN, I found out later (we don’t know what the acronym stands for). Their leader was a woman wearing some Obi-Wan-Kenobi robes, straight out of Star Wars. She even had Force powers, it turns out. From what was said later, the discussion went something like this:

You’re Brotherhood, why shouldn’t we kill you?”

We’re not Brotherhood, we just paid them to let us travel through their area without hassling us. We want you to let us go by without hassling us, too.”

Hmm…I detect some latent talent for the Force within you. Come to the Dark Side, or else.”

Um…tempting, but no thanks.”

Time to drain your brain for interesting and embarrassing memories” <cue glowing eyes>

They’re eating Tim’s brain! Waste’em!” <cue gunfire>

Once the shooting started, we drove down into town and exchanged shots with the SYRN troops who were inside buildings across the street from the old high school (though they used their force powers to make us think they were in the High School at first). The SYRN leaders are called “Breakers” and they had some pretty frightening powers, too. They knocked one of our vehicles completely off the road and into the river, blasted the road with lightning style artillery strikes, and one of them even stopped a .50 caliber sniper rifle round from hitting her with a wave of her hand. Unfortunately for them, we have some serious firepower on hand, and we flattened the high school and several buildings that they were using for cover. They tried to blockade the bridge out of town, using one of their “Breakers” and a group of children (not hostages, these kids were helping the Breaker somehow). They didn’t know how to counter CS gas, though, and a lucky shot from Fred’s grenade launcher took the wind out of their sails. The Breaker took a 40mm chemical round right in the chest, knocking her down as it exploded. The gas cloud pretty much incapacitated the whole group of them on the spot.

I was moving in to take prisoners when the Breaker sat up and tried to do something to my mind. It felt like an instant sinus headache, and out of reflex I put a burst into her point blank. Apparently they can’t concentrate on blocking bullets while they are simultaneously trying to eat your brain and suffering the effects of CS. My burst made her DRT, and the pain in my head vanished instantly. One of the kids was dead (it looked like a stray round got him earlier) but the other three were fine, just miserable from CS. I zip-cuffed them, and somebody put them all out with tranquilizers from the med kits.

We searched the bodies, put the prisoners in one of the vehicles, and I recovered about half of my empty brass. On the Breaker we found a medallion shaped like a cross, with a little circle/eye thing in the center. One of the team has identified it as the symbol of the Crimson King, who is apparently an “AI” they have had trouble with before. An AI is a supercomputer, like Colossus or HAL-9000. That would be a lot harder for me to believe, if I weren’t typing into a computer about the size of a pack of cigarettes, I have to admit. (It’s hard to say which is stranger, Earth as I have awoken to find it, or Earth as I have read about it, from 1980 to 2008, where the historical information in this little computer ends. Internet? Russia joins NATO? Email? AIDS? Boy George? That’s not even the really strange stuff, either. I’m going to requisition two spare batteries for this thing, as I have a LOT of reading to do. I just looked up AI and it means “Artificial Intelligence”.)

We rolled through what was left of the town and ended up at a Trucker’s Haven on I-80, built on the location of an ancient (feeling my age as I type THAT word) gas station and truck stop. This place is neutral territory, people who would otherwise be shooting at each other play it cool while they are here, and its a place to buy supplies and fuel. It’s also a place to swap information and rumors, which is what our truckers are doing right now. It looks like we’re camping for the night, letting everyone stretch their legs and relax a little. I’m going to go talk to the Team Leader and find out what my official duties are going to be. While I’m at it, I’m going to see if I can gather a little more intelligence on the important things. Whatever they are cooking in the restaurant probably isn’t beef, but it sure smells like it to me.

4 July 2161

By , 04/15/2010 11:31 am

Mission Report from FW-4/NV

Mission Date 4 July 2161, 1900 hrs

Mission Personnel – SGT Reyes, CPL King

Current Mission – Detached Duty, rendezvous with elements of CA-4

Status – En route to RP8213, on foot. Camped in a piece of concrete pipe, approximately 1 mile from RP8213.

=====Personal Log=====

We found what looks like an old road, heading roughly where we’re going, so we followed it, making excellent time. We left the road four times before returning to it again. Once the road was washed out where it crossed a deep canyon. We had to detour nearly a mile to the north to find a safe crossing.

Next we found what looked like the rusted remains of a large truck, maybe a car hauler. It was on it’s side, parallel to the road and about 15 feet off the paved area. There were several holes dug in the sand around the wreck, each about a foot across, but you couldn’t see into the holes because of the shadows. Scattered all around the wreckage were bones. Hundreds of bones, and pieces of bones. Some bleached white from the sun, and a few that still had insects buzzing around them. We circled downwind, well away from the wreck, and didn’t relax until we were several miles away.

We stopped for lunch, in the shade of a small gully running uphill from the road, and after about five minutes Joe tensed up and signaled danger from up the gully. The wind was blowing down out of the gully, and I could smell just the faintest scent of something sour, like musty old sweat socks. We hustled across the road and into cover, but nothing ever came out where we could see it. After a while, Joe relaxed. We finished our rations and moved on, keeping an eye on the hills north of us.

About 1600 hours, we spotted a bunch of birds circling ahead of us, over a little drop in the road. We could hear lots of screeching and whistling, so we crouched down and moved behind some brush. I low crawled up to the end of the brush line and used my binoculars to see what all the commotion was about. Down in the bottom of the next dip in the road, something was dead and providing lunch for the local scavengers. I couldn’t tell what it was, but it seemed about as big a horse, or maybe a couple of human bodies piled together. There were so many birds and small vermin swarming around it, it was hard to see much more than some scraps of blackened flesh, and what might have been some green or blue tatters of cloth. Then again, those might have been feathers, it was hard to tell. I was acutely aware of the sun on my back, and I knew that getting any closer would just skyline me for anyone watching. I noted which way the wind was blowing, and crawled back to Joe. We circled wide of the remains, crosswind and quietly. The last thing I wanted to meet was something attracted to the smell and the sound of a free meal.

We came to the highway just as the sun was going down. I found a jumble of old concrete pipe sections, ranging from three to eight feet across, sitting in uneven rows about 50 meters off the west edge of the main road. It might have been some kind of road maintenance yard at one time, or maybe a business that sold sections of pipe, but there were no buildings. Joe and I carefully checked it for danger, then took up residence in a large half buried pipe. I dragged a curved piece of concrete over from another broken one, and stood it on end. With a little shoveling and stacking, we ended up with a defensible position and out of the wind.

After a cold dinner, I spent some time lancing blisters and applying moleskin to my feet. Marching thirty miles will break in a new pair of boots, but there’s a price to be paid. I checked Joe’s feet, but the muttluks on his feet had worked like a charm, no blisters for him. I compared my map to the information on the little computer, and generally agreed with it. We are just under a mile from the crossroads where we’re supposed to meet the convoy. In the morning we’ll recon the area around the crossroad and set up an OP with a view of the road. I have no idea how long it will be before they show up, but I want to be in place and ready when they do. It will be nice to ride instead of walk!

3 July 2161 (Part 2)

By , 04/15/2010 10:12 am

Mission Report from FW-4/NV

Mission Date 3 July 2161, 2115 hours

Mission Personnel – SGT Reyes, CPL King

Current Mission – Detached Duty, rendezvous with elements of CA-4

Status – En route to RP8213, on foot. We’ve covered approximately 13 miles, no casualties. Camped in pile of large boulders, waiting for dawn.

=====Personal Log=====

The bolthole was cleverly camouflaged as some kind of Forestry Service building, way up on a bluff. From the outside it looked like it w

as going to fall down at any moment. Everything was rusted and sandblasted, and the windows and doors were long gone. Inside the garage area, there were little bones all over. A closer look showed they were bleached with age and none of them were human, which made everyone a little happier

I scanned the area, then compared the maps to what I saw. I shot an azimuth to the crossroads, then offset 2 degrees south. When we finally come to the road, we’ll know the crossroads is to our left. Joe was excited by all of the new smells, and eager to be on the move. I shook hands with everyone, exchanging good wishes, and we headed off down the bluff. The old access road was just barely recognizable as a slightly smoother path to lower ground.

Once the sun came up, the glare off the rocks started to become painful, so we paused to apply sunscreen and eye protection. I adjusted Joe’s doggles until he was satisfied with the fit, and we resumed our trek. Just before lunch we came to a ravine too wide to jump. It stretched as far as I could see north and slightly southwest.

CPL King, ready for the desert sun and sand

The far edge was broken down in a couple of places, but there weren’t any easy descents to found on our side. After 15 minutes of searching, I decided we would just climb down and cross at the bottom. I dug out our harnesses, set up Joe’s sling and lowered him to the bottom. Once he was standing on the sand, he squirmed out of the sling and cautiously searched the area. I laid down on my stomach and covered him with the SMG, but after a few minutes he signaled “Clear” and I hauled the sling back up. I stowed his gear and rigged my own harness, then rappelled down to join him. I unhooked from the ropes, pulling one end until the other came loose from around the rock at the top of the canyon. Joe watched my back as I carefully recoiled and stored the ropes and harness.

We walked south in the shadows of the canyon, until we found a section of the canyon wall that had collapsed, giving us a way up to the eastern side. We also found a set of tracks – they looked like a reptile, but they were just about the size of my gloved hand. The tracks went up and down the broken pile of rocks we were about to climb, and then went farther south in the soft sand of the canyon floor. Joe sniffed the tracks and growled.

I hear you, buddy,” I agreed. “Let’s get up out of the canyon, OK?”

Joe went first, scrambling and making short jumps, until he was up over the edge above. I dodged the rain of small rocks and sand he dislodged, then made my way up with some difficulty. I nearly fell twice, and I slid backwards about five feet at one point, my heart pounding. When I got over the top, Joe grinned at me and yawned.

Yeah, yeah, life is good when you only weigh a hundred pounds,” I wheezed at him. “Next time, we trade packs and we’ll see how you do, OK?”

Joe’s ears perked up and he turned to look southwest. A second later I heard a long, low hissing sound. It sounded like someone venting an air compressor, except it ended with a little popping sound, like a wet leather belt slapping against a canvas tent. I forgot about being tired, rolled to my feet and backed away from the edge of the canyon, SMG at the ready. Joe’s hackles were up, and he backed away with me, never taking his eyes off the edge of the ravine in front of us. We crouched and waited without making a sound.

We listened to rocks sliding and rolling, and a small cloud of dust drifted up from where we had just climbed up. After a minute or two, the hissing sound came again. There was a moment’s silence, then another hiss that seemed to move back down the canyon southward. Joe’s head turned that direction for a minute, then his ears twitched, and he looked at me again, relaxing. I eased forward in a crouch, then peered over the edge of the rock slide we had climbed. Near the bottom, there were several deep depressions, where the gravel and sand had been clawed away as if something heavy had tried to climb up after us and couldn’t get a purchase. The gouges came nearly a third of the way up the ravine, and there was still a faint haze of dust in the air below. I looked back at Joe, who just cocked his head a little to one side and looked back at me.

I don’t know,” I told him, “but it was big. Let’s not be here when it finds a way up, OK?”

Joe grinned at me again, and led the way east. Though we remained alert, we saw nothing but small animal tracks and what might have been birds circling in the distance. Towards sundown, we spotted a hill with a trio of large boulders piled against it. At the base of the boulders was a little pocket, almost a cave. After checking the area for snakes or other inhabitants, we decided to camp for the night. I piled up rocks and an old log at the entrance, then built a small fire between us and the entrance. I heated up some soup and shared it with Joe, then banked the fire down to just coals. We’ll move out in the morning, and I expect we’ll make better time tomorrow, as the land looks less broken to the east.

Wake Up Call

By , 04/15/2010 10:08 am

Mission Report from FW-4/NV

Mission Date 3 July 2161, 0500 hours

Mission Personnel – SGT Reyes, CPL King

Current Mission – Detached Duty, rendezvous with elements of CA-4

Status – Preparing to depart bolthole, traveling overland to RP8213, to link up with CA4. Excess gear distributed to remaining members of FW4/NV, who are relocating via air to Base Prime. Immunizations and boosters applied, all water supplies topped off from stores. Weapons cleaned, lubricated and checked. Exit protocols in progress.

=====Personal Log=====

It’s been about 8 hours since we got the wake up call. I’m still not up to speed, but I’m working on it.

The good news:

Everyone in the bolthole woke up, healthy & hungry. The air, water and food supplies are all fine, and we spent the first hour recovering from cold sleep. We must have looked like a squad of starving marines in an underwear commercial. Nobody saying much, just the sound of half naked people chomping and slurping. The bolthole is still sealed and intact, with plenty of power and heat available. The computers are online, and we’re getting signals from other Project units.

The bad news:

According to the computer and the messages we received, we’ve been under a lot longer than anyone anticipated. It’s 2161, a little over 181 years since I went into cold sleep. Nobody knows why we were down so long, either, since the computers don’t offer any information on the subject. Furthermore, it appears we were shuffled around after we were frozen, because none of us know each other. As a Frozen Watch unit, we were all placed together as sort of ‘miscellaneous replacements’, and we’re an odd lot to be sure. One thing we all have in common, is we’re all from hot weather climates. We compared freeze dates, and I’m the ‘oldest’ in that respect. The computer tech was born the same year I was frozen, but he looks just ten years younger than me, and I’m thirty. (Or I’m 211, if you want to look at it that way.)

On the plus side, when they shuffled us around, they also upgraded our gear. They didn’t change our personal weapons, but almost all of our outfit has been replaced, right down to Joe’s rations. Ray, the computer expert, says its all from 2008, when he was frozen. He’s the one that showed me how to turn this thing on, too. Nice kid, but about a third of what he says makes no sense at all. I mean, I understand most of the words he says, but they don’t mean much. I’m amazed by this little computer, though. It’s smaller than my Walkman, and it doesn’t play cassettes, but it’s got lots of books and things memorized. Ray showed me how to call up the Help function, so I can teach myself by watching the little movies. I can see I’m going to be spending a lot of time trying to catch up on the new electronics, but I’ll have to do it as OJT, because they’ve already reassigned us to another unit. While the rest of this group gets airlifted to Base Prime, Joe and I will be hoofing it east to meet up with our new unit. They’re apparently in a convoy, and will pick us up at a crossroads marked on my map.

Thirty miles, by the map, through the desert. Two days to do it, which shouldn’t be a problem. We’ll leave as soon as they get the exit cleared, get clear of the bolthole before the sun comes up. The plan is travel by day and fort up at sundown. It will be hotter that way, but probably safer, since most desert life is nocturnal. Get to the crossroads early, recon the approaches and set up an OP, wait for the convoy.

Well, they just cracked the exit open, we can all smell the difference in the air. Time for work.

=====Log Ends=====

What’s point of making everything smaller, lighter, and more compact,” I growled, “if you’re just going to give me three times as much as I had before?”

The bayonet went into the pile of gear I was leaving behind, next to the helmet, assorted extra articles of clothing, the ‘self-inflating bedroll’ and the infrared aiming sight.

You’re not taking a bayonet?” Ray asked.

I’m carrying a submachinegun, Ray,” I pointed out. “I’d have to duct tape it to the suppressor, and stand really close, if I wanted to poke someone with it.”

His face reddened slightly, and he said “Well, yeah, I guess. But what are you going to do, if you need to cut something?”

I pointed at the sheathed ginunting on my pack, then at the pakal on my belt.

I may look and talk like an American, Ray, but I’m half Filipino. If anything needs cutting, I’ve got what it takes.” I nodded at the M9, “Anyway, that thing has no soul, no fighting spirit.”

He just stared at me, so I stepped over and drew the ginunting out of the wooden scabbard. I picked up the M9 and reversed them both, offering them to Ray grip first. He took them gingerly, then looked at me.

Compare the weight, the balance, just the way they feel,” I suggested. “Close your eyes, one feels like a brick in your hand, the other one feels like an extension of your arm.”

Ray made a few timid swings with both, then handed them back to me with a sheepish grin. I put the M9 back in it’s plastic sheath and dropped it on the pile again. I slid the long knife back into the wooden scabbard on my pack and flipped the little leather thong over the hilt. I showed him the pakal, then put it away. “A Filipino is never without a knife, and he usually has two or three. We have a long history with blades.”

I finished sorting gear, then started repacking my rucksack with what I was keeping. Ray carried the rest off, so it could be returned to Base Prime later. Once I had everything repacked, Joe came over so I could rig his gear. Once I had everything stored, he stretched and shrugged, checking the weight. He grinned at me then went to watch the crew clearing the exit. He’s a good partner, still young, but smarter than some humans I’ve worked with over the years.

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