ajb1978

Legacy of the Archivist

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Day 0

The world has pretty much gone to hell.  No one is quite sure why yet, but everything that relies on electricity has gone to pieces.  We've been reduced to bicycles, horse-drawn carriages, and other such 18th century means.  The eggheads in Washington somehow caught wind of a phenomenon further north, where an aurora somehow makes tech work again.  Evidently some guy in Montana managed to get his cell phone to work a couple weeks ago, and after processing a few reports (again, slow, given that horses are apparently a thing again) the correlation between an aurora in the sky and working tech was identified.

And so here I am.  Somewhere in Canada, called out of retirement to do one last covert intelligence mission.  What the hell.  I was living the sweet life.  I have my farm, I have my land.  I just want to keep to myself.  But when Washington comes calling with a three-star General to personally request my assistance in a covert op... well I guess you can take the man out of the service, but you can't take the service out of the man.  I mean a seven figure payday doesn't hurt either, not that I'm sure the dollar is worth anything anymore.

Anyway, the trip to Oregon by horse, and then the steamboat up north to Great Bear took a couple weeks, but I found myself dumped off at some random frozen port on the coast of the island.  I'd never heard of the place before today, but apparently that's par for the course.  Some kind of remote wilderness outpost, where no one of any import would bother to live.  And yet here I am.  Somehow Washington thought it important enough to bring ME out of retirement.  Of course, weapons and equipment were OSP, so I was sent in with literally the clothes on my back, a flashlight, and basically nothing to speak of.  I'm on an intelligence mission, because apparently the activity on this island is stronger than anywhere else.  Aurorae are more frequent, and apparently some kind of quarantine was in effect not too long ago, and Uncle Sam wants to know what's up.  Why didn't I say no to this one?

Anyway the steamboat drops me off, and I kind of auto-pilot my way ashore and inland, and here I am taking shelter in some old abandoned house in a mountain town called Milton, if the road signs are any indication.  I've been a lot of places and seen a lot of things, but this is all pretty new to me.  No hostiles apart from wildlife that seems intent on ripping up my clothing.  And this on-site procurement stipulation on the mission...borderline worthless.  It would help if there were anything worth procuring.

Day 1

A short rest to catch my bearings, and I headed out.  The aurora was indeed in full effect, as I began to explore the town.  The wolves....so many wolves!  It was everything I could do to avoid them as I searched for information.  I wrote down the information from screenshots from a few computers that were active.  A bank, a post office, and a gas station.  Nothing that gave any indication as to what was transpiring.  I arrived at the conclusion that I need to be a bit less discerning as to what I consider "valuable equipment" to facilitate the OSP nature of this mission.  After nearly freezing to death on the road, I stumbled back to the house I had deemed suitable for an FOB and settled in for the night.

Day 2

I need better gear.  I spent the day scouring this small village for anything that might prove useful.  I grabbed whatever I could find.  Books and stacks of paper for burning, any clothes I could find, candy bars, cans of peaches. I lucked out and found a few .308 rifle rounds, not that I have a rifle to use them in.  I also acquired a few bladed weapons.  A couple hatchets and and a knife in a car.  I spent the rest of the day cannibalizing some parts to make repairs to others, and went to sleep feeling a lot more confident in my situation.

Day 3

I'm better equipped, but given the extreme cold, I could be doing better.  Today I followed the road out of town and checked out the situation to the northeast.  A wolf got me just past the bridge, but a hatchet to the ribs took care of that mess.  Unfortunately it tore a huge chunk out of the nice coat I'd just finished repairing.  I spent the entire day scouring the northeastern reaches of this area, finding a church, numerous abandoned cars and trucks, a cave, a crashed plane, but a lot of supplies.  Still no survivors, but a lot of wolves that took a great deal of effort to avoid.  I returned to the town of Milton exhausted to the point of collapse, but obviously I'm still alive or I wouldn't be writing this.  The aurora sparked up again tonight, and this time I stayed indoors.  I'm just done for today, and calling it a night.

Day 4

I've got a reasonable stockpile of food and water, so I'm spending some time further repairing my gear, and ensuring I have an adequate field kit assembled.  I've fixed most of my clothing and repaired my other gear, even going so far as to sharpen my hatchet and the knife I found in a car yesterday.  I might just be okay here.  And actually, I'm feeling stronger than I have in a long while.  All this exercise, this action in the field, I'm feeling healthier and stronger than I have in the past...maybe 15 years.  I'm a bit disappointed that I'd let myself go that far, but now I'm glad I'm back in action.  While I was out exploring yesterday, I spotted a cave to the north.  I don't think it's mission-critical that I explore it, but something tells me that is the right way to go.  I will load up on supplies and check it out at first light.  I've spent the whole day getting my field kit in order, and now it's time again to catch some shut-eye.

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Day 5

Kitted out with the best gear I've managed to assemble thus far, I headed north out of Milton and towards that cave I spotted yesterday.  Wolves were out in force this morning, like they knew.  Do they have some kind of doggie internet?  Whatever.  Gave one the slip by hiding inside a car, and another by ducking into that abandoned church for a few minutes.  I used the reprieve to munch on a Nuts N Stuff bar.  What is the "stuff" anyway?  Probably shouldn't ask.  Anyway the cave led me to probably the most pristine area of wilderness I've ever seen.  This winding, hushed river valley, where it was fairly obvious true industry had never set foot.  Found a couple dead guys laying on the ground though, in really strange ways.  I mean I've seen a lot of dead guys in my career.  Even made a few that way.  But these guys were just...  laying in the middle of nowhere.  No signs of struggle, no obvious injuries I could see.  It was like they decided "Yep, this is where I end," then just plopped down right there and died.  I'm not sure what to make of it.  I found a cave to call home for the day, and while gathering sticks for a fire I spotted a plume of smoke in the distance.  Someone else is here, that much is certain.  You can't have a fire in these conditions unless humans are involved somehow.  Still a bit of light left in the day, so I built a small fire, had a bit of chow, and took a short nap.  I woke up with maybe 2 hours of daylight left, packed up, and headed off towards the smoke.  My journey involved a few tangles with wolves, but that hatchet saved my bacon.  What I wouldn't give for a sidearm...  The terrain wouldn't let me proceed normally, and I was carrying way too much baggage to deal with a straight climb, so I opted for an ice cave hoping it would maybe connect to higher ground.  I needed that hatchet again.  Apparently wolves are spelunkers now too...can't say I was expecting that.  I had to ditch some of the gear I'd collected in order to climb a rope someone had left in the back of a large chamber. Shortly past that was another small alcove lit eerily with this weird blue moss of some kind.  Good a place as any to hunker down for the night.  A campfire and couple cans of beans later, I'm packing it in.

Day 5, Midnight

Note to self: Don't eat 2 cans of beans for dinner ever again.

Day 6

Exiting the ice cave, I reconned the highlands I had emerged into.  Strangely, no wolves up here, just a few caves with some scraps left over by some previous explorers.  I also found a cache of supplies someone had left.  Sorry whoever you are, I'm here and you're not.  They're mine now.  Moving on I finally found my way to that signal fire, just as a blizzard rolled in.  An abandoned camp site, a nice satchel hanging from a tree limb, and another guy laying on the ground.  Checked his pulse but he was already gone, but not stone cold.  If I'd been a few hours earlier, I might have caught him alive.  I briefly considered using his shelter, but instead backtracked to a cave I'd passed earlier.  Proved to be the smart call, as I was able to get a roaring fire going with all the firewood I've been hoarding, and cook myself a pretty hearty dinner.  The blizzard roaring outside, the fire roaring inside, I settled in for the night.

Day 7

This is stupid.  I made breakfast and headed out, intent on returning to town and planning my next move, when another blizzard rolled in.  I'm back in my cave now, wondering how I'm going to spend the next however many hours it'll take for this storm to die down.  I did pick up a book on wilderness survival the other day. This is as good a time as any to read it, I suppose.  I stoked the fire back to life from embers, and I guess this is going to be my day now.  Closing thoughts for the day: I know the rule on hiking is "leave the land as you found it", but no way I'm lugging all these empty cans around with me.  I don't see it as littering, I see it as "leaving something for the next guy to use".  Assuming there is a next guy.  Whatever, I've got a book to read.

Day 8

Bear.  I left the cave shortly before the break of dawn, retracing my steps back the way I had come and retrieving the gear I ditched 3 days ago. It was dark, windy, I didn't hear the bear until it was practically right on top of me.  It reared back on its hindquarters and roared, giving me just enough time to take one desperate action: I threw myself off a cliff.  I landed hard on the ice, twisted an ankle, and split the seam in the butt of my pants.  I'm sure I looked a fool lumbering around with my underwear hanging out, but better that than whatever the bear would have done to me.  And it's nothing a little Tylenol 3 and a sewing kit can't fix. Amazing how many people have that stuff just sitting around up here.  After confirming nothing was broken I crawled up a log to the other side of the ravine.  That bear notwithstanding, the trip back to Milton was uneventful and uncomplicated.  I guess after throwing two blizzards, a handful of wolves, and a bear at me, the river valley had decided I'd passed the test.  I didn't get a chance to interrogate the man who lit that signal fire, but this satchel I acquired as a consolation prize is a heck of a lot more useful than I'd have given it credit for.  This, plus being back in shape, I can lug around about a third more junk than I could have the day I arrived.  All in all, I'd say I made the right choice.  Well, I have enough to last me several days now.  I think I'm going to use this time to read the archery book I picked up, and work on fixing everything else up as good as I can get it. Then...onward.

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Day 10

Heading out well equipped, I navigated a ropes course and found my way to a cave that burrowed straight through the mountain range to the southeast. I threw my bedroll down and rested up after my climb, before exiting the cave and seeing what lies ahead.  I emerged to the aurora filling the sky, and based on what I'd seen thus far, knew to be on my guard.  There was a cabin in view as I emerged, and at first I thought someone may have been home, as the windows were all lit up.  It was completely empty though.  There were signs of recent habitation, but certainly no one within the last few weeks.  The door wasn't even locked, so either they weren't coming back, or weren't expecting anyone to stop by.  Either scenario meant no one would likely bother me if I took their rifle...which I did.  Now that I was packing some heat, I felt a lot more confident, and headed out once more.  I don't have much ammo though, so I continued to use my flashlight to deter the local wildlife.  I came upon a railroad track and followed it to some kind of dilapidated camp office.  The aurora was powering the computer, so I took the opportunity to dig through the files a bit.  No mysteries of the universe were solved however, so I exited and followed the power lines.  The wolves came at me a few times, but the floodlights along the tracks kept me covered.  As an infiltration specialist I spend a lot of time clinging to the shadows.  First time in my life I've had to cling to the light.  Anyway my gamble paid off, as the tracks led me to an old hydro plant.  If I thought the camp office was bad, this place was literally falling apart.  All the creaking and banging, live wires laying about, that place could very easily have been the death of me.  In fact it nearly was.  Three separate instances I got zapped by live wires.  Hurt like hell.  And my reward for all that was another computer to hack, and record information from.  This place is getting on my nerves. Freezing to death one minute, burning to deatht he next. Hiding from wild animals in the middle of a spotlight. Food poisoning for the third straight day.  As I treat my burns, pop some more antibiotics, and get ready to sleep on thsi cold hard floor, I'm starting to realize what happened in this place.  It's rotting.  Everything, rotting.  Like a cancer or something, the land started to swallow up the structures, it doesn't look like this place has had any shipments of anything for years.  80% of the food I've found is past the expiration date, some of it severely.  Those dead guys from before, I'm thinking they most likely died of food poisoning.  I'm starting to think there isn't anything sinister going on here.  The reason the folks here were hit harder than elsewhere, is because they were already nearly dead. Like getting punched on an open wound.  But I've still got a job to do.  I'll gather the rest of the intel, and report back, so I can get out of this nightmare.  I can feel the painkillers kicking in, so hopefully I'll be able to sleep soon.

Day 11

I returned to the camp office with what I could carry, and I am going to spend the next couple days searching the various structures in this valley for more supplies.  I should be able to fortify the camp office and turn it into a viable safehouse.  In the event more agents are sent to investigate after I'm done, I will have made their lives ten times easier.  I returned to the dam and cleared it out of supplies, did a sweep of the lakeside cabins and the ice shanties, and even found an old MRE in a hunter's blind between the lake and the dam.  I was pretty hungry so I tore right into that. The date said it was from 1996, which explained why some of the stuff tasted a bit off.  But it came with one of those miniature glass bottles of tabasco sauce.  You just don't see that anymore.  Made my whole day, and I think that's going to be the highlight of this whole experience.  Well that and the moment I get back on the boat to leave.  Time to use the last few minutes of usable daylight to sew up a hole in my boots, then call it a night.

Day 12

One final sweep of the area turned up a spare rifle and a hatch leading to some doomsday prepper's cache of tools.  I grabbed everything and brought it back to the camp office.  After surveying my (impressive) assortment of odds and ends, I realized I am seeing extremely diminishing returns on my forays into the wilderness.  I have enough for now, I think.  I grabbed one of everything, filled my pack with all the food I had collected, and left to go follow the tracks south.  I've been out here over a week, and I'm no closer to finding any solid answers than I was when I arrived. I'm moving slower with my pack stuffed to bursting like this, but I need to pick up the pace, and this way I can stay on the move. I encountered several derailments as I headed down the tracks, across a frozen marsh, and through rail tunnel. Near the second derailment I spotted my first wolf in over a day, but he was a ways off and wasn't a threat.  The tracks ended at a collapsed bridge...guess I won't be going any farther that way.  Right about then a blizzard picked up, so I sought shelter in an old machine shop nearby. I got a fire going in an old forge off to the side, and used that to cook up some dinner, and dry off my outer layers.  I grabbed a few hours of sleep, and woke to the aurora lighting the building up.  As before, I recorded all the information I could from the computers.  Since the rail line is safe from wolves thanks to those flood lights, I'm going to pack up and head out right now, and see how far I can get following the tracks in the opposite direction.  I may not have had a full night's sleep, but that's what coffee is for.

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Meh and writing these is no longer fun so I'm gonna stop.

Long story short, the plan is to hit up PV, heading to TWM, then CH and end it at DP.

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3 hours ago, ajb1978 said:

Meh and writing these is no longer fun so I'm gonna stop.

Long story short, the plan is to hit up PV, heading to TWM, then CH and end it at DP.

Take a break, and come back to it. I've been enjoying it, my friend. It is an interesting and engaging take on things. 

 

Happy Holidays aj. Wishing you a New Year filled with Wonder.  :)

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