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Major Kaiju

Page history last edited by Michael 4 years ago

to the Index or to the Recon Team R-101 page or back to The Maple Revolution

 



report covers:   21 October 2140 - 17 November 2140

 

 

Friday, 21 October 2140

 

weather:  low temperature 37 °F, high temperature 64 °F. Winds 12 to 15 kph from southwest in the morning, declining and coming from southeast later in the day. Overcast all day.

 

      The member of Morrow Project team R-101 were in Hardisty, Alberta.

     The Security Branch of the Airborne Regiment had some important prisoners.

 

The Prisoners at Lake Louise

 

       Eight members of the Morrow Project were still in "protective custody" at Lake Louise as of the summer of 2140. They were members of three teams captured by the Canadians using deceptive radio transmissions. The teams were:

 

 

      The Canadian government has no idea where the wakeup signals are coming from (if they aren't a fault, or some secret built-in feature of the boltholes). They've been in sporadic contact with other Morrow teams who never showed up.

     Tear R-44 didn't have a computer installed in their Scout, but the R-12 vehicle did. The Airborne Regiment has ten Project ID cards, either at Hardisty or Lake Louise. The fifteen or so remaining Resistweave coveralls have been distributed mostly to caninjas.
 

I'll make a summary of the Regiment's contact with other, not-lured-in teams.

 

Operation Liberty For All

 

Operation Liberty For All

 

Lake Louise Plan of attack

We will take 6 Viking aircraft from HARDISTY to the town of BANFF, requisition ground transport, and proceed at night to LAKE LOUISE.

Each MP member will be accompanied by 1 Frontalier, 1 Skin baller and 3 Regiment members.

2 A/C will transport 6 Regiment members each.

 

Friendly forces

5 MP

5 Skin ballers

5 Frontaliers

21 Regimental (including an officer very recently appointed to Captain rank)

 

On arrival in LAKE LOUISE VILLAGE, all forces will effect the swift and peaceful takeover of the community. Civilian casualties are to be avoided to the greatest extent possible. Parachute Regiment members will take the lead in controlling the key locations of the village. MP personnel will provide support and coordination to the Regiment.

 

Key Locations

Airfield - one km north of the village

Train Station/Telegraph Office

Bar/Brothel (search for Canadian Armed Forces members who might be on leave or pass from CFS Lake Louise, and secure them)

 

Once the village is secure, we will move swiftly to CFS LAKE LOUISE. We will attempt to infiltrate CFS LAKE LOUISE, if conditions will support such action.

 

Forces for securing CFS LAKE LOUISE

4 MP (Doc Perkins will remain in town to coordinate with security forces).

4 Skin ballers

4 Frontaliers

8 Regimental

 

We will establish a support position with our LMG’s to support the advance of our forces.

Mr. Fairhope and Mr. Khoderevsky will lead the initial assault force. Ms. Tager will anchor the support position with her LMG. Capt. Doyle will move from Support Position to enter the building when initial assault has secured entry to the building.

It can NOT be emphasized enough that we have friendly forces inside CFS LAKE LOUISE. Extra caution will be taken to avoid friendly fire (it isn’t!).

 

All MP will wear WHITE Resistweave

All personnel will wear red bands on each arm. Spare bands will be carried to give to liberated MP personnel freed at CFS LAKE LOUISE.

Safety of MP prisoners takes priority over capture of Regiment personnel. We can always catch them later.

 

Challenge FARRAH

Response FAWCETT

 

This was chosen to be guessable by our MP friends, but not by random guards.

 

As always

Move Swiftly

Aim Carefully

Strike Hard

 

     A half-dozen of Canada's Viking aircraft were summoned from Winnipeg.

 

Saturday, 22 October 2140

 

weather:  low temperature 39° F, high temperature 57° F. Winds 8 to 15 kph from west and northwest. Overcast all day. Sunrise was at 9:15 a.m. (Mountain Time, daylight savings not in effect).

 

     About 2:30 in the afternoon, a half-dozen Viking aircraft arrived, having flown 1190 kilometers from Winnipeg. Each had 2 crew aboard. The planes were refuelled, the "rested" pilots took over, and the Project members (and their military, skinball and frontalier allies) boarded for the flight to Banff. Takeoff was at about 3:30 p.m, for the 274 kilometer flight ... the planes arrived at Banff around 4:45 p.m.,  a couple of hours before sunset.

 

weather:  temperature 39° F to 51° F; mostly cloudy 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; strong winds from WSW from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

 

     The stationmaster told the team that there had been no contact with Lake Louise for a couple of days; the telegraph line might be down, and the rail-truck only came down to Banff twice a week to pick up mail and groceries.

     Captain "Nemo" addressed the gathered townspeople, a couple of trucks were requisitioned, and most of the force departed for Lake Louise at 6 p.m.. The 50 kilometer drive would take 4 hours; that would leave the team 7 kilometers away from the village and chateau; there were plenty of trees and low ridges to conceal the vehicles' approach.

     Dismounting from the trucks, the force covered the 7 kilometer distance in a couple of hours. It was pretty close to midnight when they entered Lake Louise Village. A few things were immediately apparent:

 

  • the telegraph line had been violently pulled down for a couple hundred meters just before the village

  • the rail-truck had its hood up and seemed to be under repair

 

     Only the tavern and the rail station had any lights showing ... both places had sudden late-night visitors. Liam Murphy, the tavern owner, spoke with Captain Doyle; he said that 48 hours ago there'd been a violent (in the sense of noisy in the middle of the night) escape from the chateau. All of the prisoners had stolen a big dump truck and driven off towards Kicking Horse Pass.

Kenworth 849 truck, stolen on October 21, 2140

 

     They'd pulled down a lot of the telegraph line, sabotaged the station master's rail-truck, and apparently chased off the chateau's horses and damaged other vehicles too.

     Leaving a small team of soldiers to guard the village, the rest of the force moved to the chateau, about 3 kilometers away. Appearing suddenly after midnight, they took the garrison by surprise. Captain "Nemo" and the Canadian troops led the way into the building; the guards at first assumed this was a group sent up from Banff to help recapture the escaped prisoners. Nope!

 

Sunday, 23 October 2140

 

weather:  low temperature 40° F, high temperature 50° F; cloudy all day, with rain showers from 1 p.m. onwards. Waxing moon is about 94% full. Sunrise is at 9:23 a.m. (although the sun doesn't clear the mountains to the east till at least 9:30).

 

After midnight:

 

     The garrison was very tired -- they'd been awakened by the escape the night before last, and had spent much of the time since then chasing down the scattered horses, working to repair the telegraph and vehicles, and searching the chateau to determine what gear had been stolen by the prisoners. The prisoners probably had rifles, shotguns or pistols (Jack Garvins was being employed by the Canadians as a gunsmith), and Garvins himself probably had a reasonably accurate rifle, along with a belt-fed Browning machine gun. The diesel-powered dump truck had been loaded with drums of fuel, along with lots of food, blankets and camping equipment.

     Captain Breen, a very tired and exhausted fellow, was probably relieved to hear that the escaped prisoners were someone else's problem now.

     Tager eyed the Security Branch staff suspiciously, and pretty soon most or all of them were locked up. Doyle sent a couple of men to trudge through the dark back to where the trucks had been left. Everyone needed sleep ...

     Around 8 a.m., messengers set forth headed for Banff. They carried instructions to have two Viking aircraft fly though Kicking Horse Pass, follow the dump truck's path, and drop a message to the truck. They were to remain as high as possible while doing all of this (but under the cloud layer).

 

Doyle's message to the escaping prisoners

WAR IS OVER, CANADA IS FREE AGAIN WITH THE HELP OF THE MORROW PROJECT. PLEASE COME BACK TO ALBERTA. SIGNED DOYLE, TEAM LEADER R-101.

We should get Hugh to provide the actual text.

There's no real limit to the size of the message (except how much time you wanted to spend writing it.)

 

     At 9 a.m., the two trucks set out from the chateau, and entered Kicking Horse Pass. For about 60 kilometers, the road was broad and clear -- formerly a four-lane freeway -- in a wide, flat valley with the Kicking Horse River winding along. The trucks forded the river a couple of times, following the tracks of the big dump truck the escaped prisoners had used. This took about 4 hours of driving, and brought them to the narrow, steep part of the pass, about 10 or 12 kilometers of narrow canyon, landslides, and steep roads. The highway had been maintained from time to time over the decades since the Atomic War, but the team could see that a wooden bridge had been burned two days ago. They got out of their trucks and began walking.

     The tracks of the dump truck were easy to follow, and even a rough, improvised 5% grade road was better than clambering over the hillsides. As Kirk remembers, this part (the narrow canyon) was still a 2-land road in the 1980s, as shown in this picture. Not long after they started walking, two Vikings flew overhead -- the underside of the cloud cover was 2000 meters above sea level; Lake Louise was 1600 meters above sea level; the floor of the Trench (where Golden is located) was about 800 meters above sea level.

     An hour or so later, one Viking flew back, and dropped a can with a message: OTHER PLANE SHOT DOWN. It continued back towards Lake Louise.

     At the end of the day, the team came out of the pass near the ruins of Golden, and camped. The rain made their journey a bit less pleasant.

 

Monday, 24 October 2140

 

weather:  temperature 35 F to 46 F; overcast 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; fog and light rain showers 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., also at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.. Waxing moon is 98% full.

 

     In the morning, the team determined that the escaped prisoners were heading NNW along the Trench; there was a lot of pondering and supposition about the reason for that. The day was spent hiking briskly; the night was spent camped. Pete heard a bear ....

 

Tuesday, 25 October 2140

 

weather:  temperature 39 F to 48 F; overcast all day, plus fog before dawn. Sunset was at 7:34 p.m. (although the mountains to the west hid the sun at least 20 minutes prior to that time).

 

     The faint roar of the Peterbilt truck moving slowly away from the team spurred them to brisk hiking this day. By nightfall they realized they were only 5 kilometers from the escapee's campsite; the team pushed on into the darkness.

     Thus, at about 8 p.m. the search party arrived at a wide clearing, with the truck parked in the middle. The escapees had rigged out a big tarpaulin from the rear of the truck, and were making dinner. Annie Tager moved out into sight first, in her white Resistweave suit and red hat ... she certainly didn't look Canadian! Friendly contact was made, at last. The rest of the search team stumbled into the camp, and were offered hot stew.

     The escapees were led by Jack Garvins, a member of MARS team M-12. He was a former Marine warrant officer, with lots of experience as a sniper and marksmanship instructor. A lot of questions were asked by both groups:

 

questions asked for Garvins and his group

  • What the hell are you doing going north?

    • "Rogers Pass is inaccessible; we're going to Big Bend and following the Columbia River to Revelstoke. That's roughly the route we all took to get here." Most of Big Bend Highway was abandoned in the early 1980s after the lakes on the Columbia River flooded much of the route, and the Rogers Pass road was built. Here's a lovely picture of the Big Bend Highway in 2013, after three decades of abandonment.

  • Where's the M-12 vehicle at?

    • "We don't know. Gene Ribera was left with the vehicle when we were scouting near Lake Louise; he drove back through Kicking Horse Pass and followed the Columbia River. That was a couple of years ago."

  • How were you awakened?

    • All three teams were awakened by properly-encrypted VLF signals, which included an "action code" (the reason for waking up):

      • CODE 0608 REBRIEFING AND LOGISTIC UPDATE ALERT

      • CODE 0751 CRYOBERTH UPDATE REQUIRED

      • CODE 1000 EMERGENCY TEAM ACTIVATION SIGNAL RECEIVED

    •  

      None of the teams were contacted by Prime Base after waking up. Their clocks were all incorrect by many decades.

  • What were conditions like in the areas you came from?

    • M-12 was in a bolthole in the Sierra Nevada foothills. They heard about the Foundation, as a well-armed group in northern California, but didn't encounter them. They traveled north through the Columbia Plateau in Oregon (nasty groups living there), and roughly followed the Columbia River into Canada.

    • see the top of this page for info on R-44 and R-12. They know more about the Foundation, including that they probably have the equipment from a Morrow Project supply depot. 

  • What do you have?

    • The Peterbilt truck, lots of diesel fuel, a couple of not-very-detailed maps, blankets and cold weather clothing, a sort-of skimpy set of hobo-level camping gear (pots and pans, canteens, steak knives, etc.), some 9mm pistols, a couple of 12 gauge shotguns, a sniper rifle (built from various parts), and a belt-fed 7.62mm Browning machine gun, with 500 rounds of ammo.

 

questions R-101 is asked

     Besides a lot about the Maple Revolution, Garvins and his team ask about:

  • When did your team wake up? What type of team are you?

    • Our berths opened up on July 3rd -- we've been busy. We're a Recon team, with a 65 foot long patrol boat in the Great Lakes."

      • "Jiminy Cricket, you guys are lucky!"

  • What happened to Prime Base?

    • "We don't know. Nobody seems to have heard from them."

  • Did the Project forget about just us, or all the teams?

    • "At least seven teams, including a big Engineering depot, woke up after the Atomic War, before 2050. As far as we can tell, none of those team were awakened by a signal -- it was "bolthole conditions" in every case where the survivors were able to determine what happened. The ones that left records woke up between 2010 and 2047. We've met the grand daughter of a Morrow Project member, and there are some other people around descended from Project members."

  • What's going on in the Great Lakes?

    • "There's various nascent industrial zones, but also some pirates, raiders and nasty areas. Chicago has lots of cannibals, for example. We've made contact with a busy industrial zone in Pennsylvania, in the Allegheny Mountains -- they make and sell rifles, mortars, cannons, and a cute copy of the grease gun. We are based in what's called the Arcadian Republic, around the remaining Soo locks, and are working with Heather Mist to build relationships between the civilizations around the Great Lakes."

  • Who are these other folks with you?

    • "Rene, Paul, Eduard, Jean, and Joseph are frontaliers; basically wilderness sorts in Ontario." Referee question:  did you take any skinball guys, or Canadian soldiers, on the hike into the Trench? Not too important, though.

 

 

     With better camping conditions, and Garvins' group standing watch, Doyle's team got much better rest that night.

 

Wednesday, 26 October 2140

 

weather:  temperature 35 F to 46 F; overcast or mostly cloudy all day. Full moon this night.

 

     At dawn, after breakfast, everyone climbed onto the truck, which turned back towards Golden. The day was spent driving.

 

Thursday, 27 October 2140

 

weather:  temperature 35 F to 39 F; fog before dawn, overcast all day, with light rain from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

 

     Another day driving through the Trench. Riding in the dump box, in the rain, was not so nice; a few people considered getting out and walking. Midway back to the pass, they stopped to bury the pilot of the Viking aircraft that Garvins had shot down. Digging a grave in cold rain was no fun ... Garvins did most of the work, though.

     They ended the day at the outlet of the Kicking Horse Pass.

 

Friday, 28 October 2140

 

weather: 28 F to 41 F, with 8 kph winds from the NW from noon. Scattered clouds.

 

     The Peterbilt was parked for "long term storage", with the battery disconnected, tarpaulin wrapped around the cab, etc. They then began trekking up the narrow part of the pass ... twelve or so kilometers of 5% grade, uphill, with a cold wind at their backs (35° F including windchill from noon onwards). This took most of the day; the team got through the narrow, rugged part of the pass, but without much daylight left.

 

Saturday, 29 October 2140

 

weather:  23 F to 41 F, mostly cloudy. Winds 8 to 10 kph from the SE from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

 

     After a freezing night, the group set out again along the Kicking Horse River. A Canadian Army command car met the team in the morning as they trudged along. Half-a-dozen people jammed into the car, which sped back to the chateau, and sent out trucks for the other Morrow people. By the end of the day, everyone was back at Lake Louise, having hot baths and hearty meals.

 

Sunday, 30 October 2140

 

weather (Lake Louise to Banff):  28 F to 37 F, mostly cloudy with three snow showers during the day.

 

     The Project members, along with their skinball and frontalier allies, traveled back to Banff by train. At Banff they learned that snow was falling at Hardisty, and in general air travel was a bad idea. They were put up in the hotel for the night.

 

Monday, 31 October 2140 - Halloween

 

weather:  19 F to 33 F, mostly cloudy or scattered clouds. Snow showers in the morning.

 

     Our Heroes boarded a train, bound for Hardisty -- about 500 kilometers away.

 

Tuesday, 1 November 2140

 

weather (Hardisty):  23 F to 32 F, light snow fall all day, light winds from the south.

 

     By the end of the day, the Project teams were in Hardisty. Team R-101 had been away for nine days; there was lots of news about the Revolution. The visible damage from the looting and unrest had been cleaned up, and businesses were open again.

 

Wednesday, 2 November to Friday, 4 November 2140

 

weather:  cold; rain showers all three days; mud.

 

     Some rest in front of warm fires, and shopping, helped the team recover from the Revolution and lots of walking through the Rockies.

     Tager did some shopping at the stores catering to "gents and lasses", buying outfits for her friends.

 

The Tager Collection

     When money and opportunity collide, I want to pick up some leisure clothes for the team.  Some saving may be required, or sweet talking of rich Canadians, or boxing matches, to finance all this. They are meant as gifts so I'm not going to pick the team's pockets for this.

 

  • some "townie" duds for Bob.  Frock coat, nice shirt, vest, fancy neck scarf, pants that are not denim. Because Southern charm should look slick. About $9.

  • a shirt with bloused sleeves, leggings, a sleeveless over-tunic (heavy enough to hold up to a shoulder belt), and a wide belt for Popeye. Because he should look medieval and even bigger; and the ladies like to see a well-turned calf now and then. About $5.

  • a heavy-duty bib shirt, denim trousers, a nice belt with a fancy buckle, cowboy hat, and gun belt for Roy. Just a hunch that gear will look good on Sam Elliott. About $4.

  • for Vic, a frontier doctor look - white shirt with thin vertical stripes, black vest, black frock coat, black trousers, black four-in-hand tie, a "doctor's" bag for God only knows what, and some spectacles with plain glass for when he wants to look smart like Governor Perry. Because I got my idea of frontier doctors from Little House on the Prairie. About $13.

  • for Peter, clothes that fall off easily? Circus acrobat tights?  This was a hard one to settle on.  A nice buttoned shirt of soft cotton; it should look better with a few of them unbuttoned.   Sleeves that are easy to roll up and some heavy braces for that Smith & Forge strong-man look. Some high-waisted trousers that will no doubt fit snugly, showing off his build to good effect. About $3.

  • large red kerchiefs for everyone. About $0.50

 

     Total $34.50; boots are very personal, so some accessorizing is left to the team.      Presumably more recently-acquired Morrow team members get less extensive gifts. "Welcome to the 22nd Century" embroidered handkerchiefs, perhaps.

 

Available in English, French, or Ojibwe.

 

A Sharp-Dressed Man

 

     As an example, a successful professional gambler in Hardisty will wear an expensive black suit ($10) and boots ($5), offset by a snow-white ruffled shirt ($2) and dazzling "flowerbed" brocaded vest ($4). Huge rings adorn his fingers (two at $5). A stickpin with a large stone, called a ‘headlight,’ sparkles on his chest ($5). In a pocket of his vest is an enormous pocket watch ($10) adorned with precious jewels and attached to a heavy silver chain ($2) that drapes across his chest. In the fall and winter, his black worsted topcoat ($13) holds a flask of whisky, kid gloves ($2), and a scarf. His black fur hat has a wide brim ($4); his cane has a silver head, and probably a concealed blade ($3). He'll have a nickel-plated .38 Special or .44-40 revolver with pearl grips ($30) in a holster at his side, out of sight; he doesn't carry any spare cartridges, though. Total, $100 including the revolver.

     Note that the highest-paid, most dangerous labor at the refineries near Hardisty draws $5 per day.

 

Prize Fights in Hardisty

 

     The fights draw large crowds, who usually pay $5 at the door (and pay some more inside for liquor). Headquarters Hall, the main arena for fights and other spectacles, makes $2000 from the door, and table fees paid by the professional gamblers, on a good night. Besides prize fights, there are matches involving bears and dogs, and other blood sports. The winner's purse for the "highlight" prize fight of the week might reach $300. Lesser matches, or lesser halls (the Empire, the Derrick, the Rumble, etc.) rarely exceed a $100 purse for the winner; admission to these venues is usually $0.50 or $1, with charges up to $2 for especially popular events.

 

Other Entertainments at Hardisty

 

     Projection of (fragmentary) movies, with live orchestra; singers; plays; dancers, erotic or otherwise; magic acts, Ancient technology, knife throwers, gymnasts, tumblers, escape artists, speakers and lecturers, fiji mermaids, trick shooters, midgets, bearded ladies, strong men, and other 'freaks'; wild or trained animals, including the famous McLoskey's Learned Moose ... it's pretty easy to spend $2 a night even with modest "amusement requirements."

 

Everyone takes all accumulated checks. Garvins has checks in Drive Truck and Full Auto (for shooting down the Viking).

 

     There are also meetings with the Canadian government, regarding the military campaign of the coming year. Radio frequencies were discussed.

     A number of things snatched by the Regiment were returned -- including some items from the Morrow Project museum at Soo. This included several kilograms of boron. Some Canadians of note:

 

  • Kyle Griffin:  male, age 56, formerly a sergeant now a captain in the RCMP. Very skilled (80% level) at Fieldcraft, Psychology, Sneak, Spot Hidden, Tradecraft (22nd Century version) and several useful languages (including Cree and the three Anishinaabe languages found in the liberation force). During the Maple Revolution, he was the liaison with the Morrow Project.

  • Amanda Bryce:  female, age 66, formerly the town mayor in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (until the coup of 2113). A widow, one of her sons was killed fighting against the Regiment during the coup. She knows English, French, Cree, and the Anishinaabe languages at pretty good levels, and has good negotiation skills. As of late October, 2140, she is the provisional premier of the Government of Canada.

 

     A few of the Project members are a bit concerned about the Mrs. Bryce's tone regarding America.

 

Thursday, 5 November 2140 - Guy Fawkes Day

 

weather:  cool, windy, mostly cloudy.

 

     The Morrow Project teams, minus a few being sent elsewhere, boarded a train bound for Thunder Bay. Other assignments/destinations:

 
  • liaison with Canada? That would be in Hardisty. Two people?

  • industrial survey and advisory team, in Winnipeg. One person? Two people?

 

There are six Recon team NPCs just now added to the group;

and I suspect posting a couple of them at Sentinel or Bastion might be useful. 

 

     The trip to Thunder Bay was expected to take four days by train -- it's 1,850 kilometers.

 

Monday, 8 November 2140

 

weather (Thunder Bay):  30 F to 46 F ("Oooh, it's a warm one, eh?"), overcast, with fog and rain showers most of the day.

 

     Arrived at Thunder Bay, Ontario. Roy was pleased to see his team mates, but wished he'd had a bit of notice to clean up. Garvins was predictably jealous of the Calypso.

     Arrangements were made to ship various Project assets -- broken armored cars, for example -- to various places.

 

We'll have to make a list of the various refurbished, hulked, destroyed, etc. Project vehicles that are in inventory.

 

     Note that Lake Superior itself rarely freezes entirely over -- it's very deep -- but water in the harbors, and along the coasts, often freezes.  Thunder Bay almost always freezes over.

     Convoys of trucks from Petawawa and the Hagersville Tire Dump were arriving every other day, said Roy; the Canadians were pulling out of the Anishinaabe tribal lands.

 

Tuesday, 9 November 2140

 

weather (Thunder Bay):  32 F to 39 F, overcast.

 

     Departed for Soo, a journey of 700 kilometers. On the way, the Calypso swerved aside to point out their own bolthole on West Huron Island, and Team Eta's depot at Granite Island. The trip took 24 hours, and the Calypso hove to for most of the night (probably near one of the Project bases).

 

Thursday, 11 November 2140 - Remembrance Day

 

weather (Soo):  cold; rain in the morning, snow from noon onwards.

 

     The Calypso arrived at Soo around sunset. There was a moderate amount of public attention -- people around here attributed the success of the Maple Revolution to the participation of the Morrow Project. "Hurray, team with local connections!" In fact, there was more celebration of R-101 here than anywhere in Canada.

 

Friday, 12 November - Sunday, 14 November, 2140

 

weather:  cold, overcast, snow showers. Winds very strong from the NW. Saturday and Sunday, cold and overcast.

 

     Rest and recuperation. The various hulks and broken Morrow vehicles arrived; the archives at the Project museum were consulted.

 

Monday, 15 November, 2140

 

weather:  cold, overcast, snow showers.

 

     The team set out in the Calypso for Marquette, to investigate the reports of "bots" in the woods of the Upper Peninsula. Travel across the lake took 6 hours.

     Marquette had a few hundred people living among the ruins of the pre-War city; there was a nice sheltered harbor. A couple of nuclear weapons had struck K.I. Sawyer AFB during the War, and a huge fire destroyed the city. The locals were friendly enough, and said that the "bots" (both the villagers, and the phenomena the villagers talked about) were southwest, about 30 kilometers or so.

     On the team's Autonav, that roughly matched the location of an ELF transmitter array -- the "Michigan Transmitter Facility", operated by the U.S. Navy, and due to be completed in 1988 (i.e., after your teams went into cryosleep). It hadn't been secret, and got press in various publications; the transmitter turned 2 megawatts of electrical input into 2 or 3 watts of transmitted signal. As part of strategic communications before the War, presumably the ELF facility was also struck by Soviet nuclear weapons.

 

Tuesday, 16 November, 2140

 

weather:  temperatures 12 F to 25 F; snow depth 28 cm, wind speed 30 kph from the north or northwest (including wind chill, temperatures most of the day were around 0 F). Light snow showers all day.

 

     Hiking southwest from Marquette, along the trace of what had been U.S. Highway 41, in the face of stiff winds. From Marquette to Republic wa about 45 miles along the old highways; the trip wasn't going to be completed in one day.

     There were very small villages, farms, and such scattered about; the team spent the night in a barn. The farmer knew about the "bots", though he wasn't one of the folks that worshiped the machines.

 

Wednesday, 17 November, 2140

 

weather:  temperatures 4 F to 15 F; snow depth 30  cm, winds light. Light snow showers before dawn, and after noon.

 

     The wind had mostly died down, and the sun peeked through the clouds a few times in the morning. However, the temperatures were bitterly cold, and the snow was 30 centimeters deep in the open. The team broke camp and set forth on skis and snowshoes, turning south along the remains of State Route 95.

 

The New Forest

     Before the Atomic War, the Naval Radio Transmitter Facility, Republic had been located here -- a few low buildings at the center of 90 kilometers of antennas. This extremely low frequency system was used to alert ballistic missile submarines of a nuclear attack, and was hence an important strategic target. The ELF array here became active in 1988, a bit more than a year before the War. Almost all Morrow Project teams were frozen by that time, but the construction and nature of the NRTF was public knowledge.

     Two 650 kiloton warheads -- both from the same SS-19 missile -- exploded 1500 meters above the ground within seconds of each other, setting the forest on fire out to 8 kilometers from each blast. One blast was over the NRTF and the other one was 4 kilometers west. The resulting forest fire only burned a few kilometers out from the area initially ignited; there was almost a foot of snow on the ground.

     By the middle of the 22nd Century, northern white cedar trees grew thickly, with some aspen, birch, balsam fir, black spruce, eastern hemlock and black ash mixed in.

     The cedars weren't very tall -- 12 meters at most, more often 8 or 9 meters -- since none were more than 150 years old. The forest had entirely "grown back" in density, but there were no big, old examples of trees. This was all within the old Copper Country State Forest and Escanaba River State Forest.

 

     The team crossed the Michigamme River on an old concrete bridge and turned west off of State Route 95. In the other direction was the remains of a small town -- and an open-pit iron mine. The pit (100 hectares area, 200 meters deep) was flooded with water; a couple of tall tailing piles stood a couple hundred meters to one side. Giant, rusty mine trucks and shovels stood about, covered in rust and snow.

     A 20 meter wide straight, cleared path or road through the trees led away from the small town; obviously someone Many small but steep hills made travel interesting; between some of the hills were small lakes, not yet frozen. Some of the cedars had fallen down or lost limbs in the previous day's wind, while loaded with snow. The snow beneath the cedar canopies was about one-third as deep as out in the open, and it was a few degrees warmer than air in the open. White tail deer and snowshoe hares were seen, or at least their tracks; as the snow gathered, they had started eating foliage higher up the trees ... no other plants (ferns, herbs, shrubs and mosses) were visible above the snow.

 

note that the sliding hatch isn't quite as obvious when covered in 30 cm of snow

 

     After about 6 kilometers of travel they came to a large, circular clearing, with the remains of two tall concentric fences protruding from the ground -- mostly just the galvanized steel poles. Four concrete pylons, three of them with pyramidal metal caps, stood around a large central mound and some other lumps in the snow; one of the pylons was missing its metal cap, and looked damaged at the top. A vehicle-shaped lump stood about where the road or path met the fence; a few bits of protruding metal marked where a guard hut had been near there.

     The team stopped to observe the area, and after a few minutes a small, 6-wheeled vehicle rolled into sight. It was sort of a "banana splits mobile" or moon buggy, but with no seats or place for crew (and too small, really). It had a cluster of antennas, cameras, and obscure devices on its top, though no obvious weapons. It made some metallic, jittery noises when turning, but didn't make any combustion-engine sounds (or smoke). It was clearly patrolling around the inside of the old fence; some tracks showed that it (or another, identical vehicle) had made this circuit at least a couple of times since the last snowfall.

     The team waited until the little robot had gone behind the central mound, which had some "man-made" straight edges visible under the snow, and dashed out across the fence. Skiing 200 meters from the edge of the woods, to the mound, took almost a minute; they all climbed up onto the snow covered flat roof. Rooting around in the snow, they found some low, heavy ventilators and the rusty stumps of antennas and other technical debris -- the mound was the top of a bunker more than 30 meters long. Faint, scratchy noises came from the three un-damaged pylons ... possibly recorded warnings, played through some very old, decayed speakers.

     The patrolling robot was still circling around at about 15 kph ... a complete circuit of the 300 meter diameter fenced area would take it four minutes. The robots tracks also let to a "doghouse" -- a small structure big enough for it to enter, sort of like a garage.

 

Keep in mind that everything in the area was covered with 11" or more of snow.

 

     A heavy thud from one side of the central bunker was caused by a wide steel door swinging down; a bigger robot, with a turret, rolled over the door and onto the snow. This robot had a tracked suspension, and was considerably larger than the patrol robot. It moved off about 30 meters, and pointed its turret towards the Morrow team, who promptly hugged the bunker roof, out of line-of-sight.

     A few noises were made by the robots, apparently more recorded speech ... none of it could be understood by the humans. They decided that being aimed at by weapons was a Bad Thing. While her three team-mates aimed their guns at the three turrets, Tager prepared an Armbrust rocket slipped down off the bunker and along the berm reinforcement, and shot the big robot. Boom!

     Before the "garage" door could close up, the team scrambled into the "vehicle garage". Its ceiling had a lot of manipulators, waldos, power tools on arms, electrical cables, air hoses, other hoses, and other dangerous items. The team raced through the room as the outer hatch closed, into short air lock (more of an air washdown) and into the elevator lobby.

 

level 1

 

on to Enter Damocles

Comments (3)

Kirk said

at 9:04 pm on Mar 21, 2017

The shopping and clothing selection / ordering was done on the way west to Banff. Gifting and final tailoring would happen on our way back.

Michael said

at 11:24 pm on Mar 21, 2017

Hmm, shopping and ordering was thus on the 21st, and the morning of the 22nd. Busy, busy! What's Tager's best source for $35? Your credit is good in the local stores, though ... you don't need to cough up the funds until you've taken delivery. Or, not pay at all ... nobody's gonna send their legbreaker collection guy after the Morrow Project.

Kirk said

at 8:55 pm on Mar 22, 2017

Don't have the ready cash, so a mix of sweet-talking rich oil folks and prize fighting. Whichever leaves less of a moral stain.

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