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Escape From Iron Mountain

Page history last edited by Michael 10 months ago

to the Index or to the Recon Team R-101 page or back to The Dead Enders


Morrow Group North - Training, Leadership and Planning


      During much of January, Doyle was off at the Council of Three Fires. The meeting had been arranged in early October of 2140, as a reaction to the conflict between the Canadian Liberation Force and the Canadian Army. He warned the Anishinaabeg about the possible caninja attacks.

      Much of the council activities were contemplative, and there were a lot of sweat lodge sessions. Consensus within groups, and then consensus between groups, and a lot of traditional requirements for purification, conversation and topics made for a long council -- plus, the war had come and gone!       

      Decisions were reached on cooperation with the new Canadian government, transport through Anishinaabe lands, use of Petawawa, Carp and Hagersville, etc.

     Doyle impressed the council with his "mesh net" simile about the Morrow Project's goals.


"We seek to bring people together, to make us all stronger and better. But there may be some who don't want to be in too close contact with us, or others in our bag.

The mesh is flexible, so there is room to rearrange the contents of the bag.

The mesh is open, so there is a way for those who wish to leave the bag to do so easily.

To those who do not wish to join us, we bid a fond adieu, and hope that we will not be strangers to each other.

To those who leave, we wish a safe journey, and vow that we will still stand ready to help, should the need arise.

To those who wish to join us in the journey, for as long as the choose to do so, Well Met and Welcome!"


pink bands are rough "trade route capacity" indicators; the dark lines are the highways keep in service by the Canadian Army


     Also in January and February, the Morrow teams at Camp Woebegon held some classes in subjects such as hovercraft operation, agility and footwork (DEX training), marksmanship, various martial arts, etc. Each of these courses took five or six weeks (for a couple of hours every day).  

     The group's engineers were busy drawing up plans, supply requirements, survey requests, etc.


Sunday, 5 March, 2141


     weather:  high 37° F, low 0° F; snow on the ground (at Soo) 1 meter. Cloudy all day, winds all day from the east, strong wind gusts 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. from the east. Sunrise 7:10 a.m., sunset 6:29 p.m.


the ice chart at the "most ice coverage" for the year


     A digital signal was sent by an unknown ELF transmitter that afternoon, which activated Recon Team R-99. The team's cryogenic chambers were activated -- but only one still held a viable person.


Monday, 6 March, 2141


     weather:  high 35° F, low 0° F


     The croygenic berth of TJ Daley opened eight hours after the activation signal was received; he smelled burning electronics, old paint and rubber, and canned oxygen. The air was cold, only a few lights were on, and a few electrical devices were humming and ticking. He stumbled over to the "banquet table", opened a can of water ...

     ... and looked sadly at the other berths -- his four team mates were long dead. The bolthole computer showed:





     ... which included the activation signal time date (January 28th, 2005). He opened his equipment bags, and personal effects boxes, dressed himself, and ate a Rice Krispie bar. The cryoberths of his dead team mates had failure codes with various dates in 1961.

     Looking at the vehicle, the preparation time was 4 hours for a four- or five-man crew ... which included lifting up some very heavy wheels (142 kg each). The application of  chassis grease, gear oil and lubricating oil would also be quite a chore.

     The bolthole, 40 meters inside a mountain, had a small window beside the door (instead of a periscope); through the window Daley could see bright morning light streaming down the entrance tunnel.

     Having drunk more of the canned water, TJ charged up the backpack radio's battery, and opened the bolthole door. Outside, it was mid-day, with snow about a meter deep covering the ground. He strung up the antenna and listened for several minutes -- no real immediate signals, certainly not what he expected.

     After searching many frequencies ... slowly ...


PRC-70 channel change


     ... TJ came across a radio broadcast, mostly an eclectic set of 1980s recorded music; the DJ had a Texas accent. The DJ called himself Roy, and was transmitting from "Camp Wobegon, in the heart of the Arcadian Republic".  Here are many of the albums and performers on his play list:


    • Koyaanisquatsi soundtrack, by Philip Glass - electronica

    • Apollo, by Brian Eno - ambient country

    • Tangerine Dream - electronica

    • Current 93 - dark ambient, post-industrial, apocalyptic folk

    • Coil - industrial

    • Laibach - avant garde, industrial

    • Test Department - industrial

    • The Sisterhood - gothic rock

    • Death in June - post-punk and neofolk

    • Sixth Comm - pagan dark wave post-punk

    • Front 242 - electronica, industrial, techno

    • Sisters of Mercy - post-punk, gothic rock

    • Colourbox - electronica, soul

    • Suicidal Tendencies - hardcore punk, thrash metal

    • Big Black - punk, post-punk

    • Joy Division - post-punk

    • Red Lorry Yellow Lorry - post-punk, gothic rock

    • Savage Republic - post-punk, industrial

    • Einstürzende Neubauten - industrial, electronic dance

    • Pray For Rain - punk

    • Marrs - dance, acid house. "Pump Up The Volume" notably.

    • Simple Minds - post-punk, new wave, alternative

    • Yello - electronica, new wave. "Oh Yeah" notably.

    • James Ray and the Performance - gothic rock

    • Ennio Morricone - soundtracks. "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" notably.

    • bootleg recordings of a Rolling Stones concert in Syracuse, made in September 1989. The sound quality is pretty bad.

    • Doyle's mix tape:

    • Annie's mix tape:

      • Roxy Music - Love is the Drug

      • Joan Jett - Bad Reputation

      • ABBA - Waterloo

      • Pretenders - Back on the Chain Gang

      • Blondie - Call  Me

      • Michael Jackson - Thriller   (Annie knows the dance routine, perhaps a bit too well)

      • Roxy Music - Both Ends Burning

      • The Three Degrees - When Will I See You Again

      • Suzy Quatro - Can the Can

      • Pretenders - Tattooed Love Boys


Most of the tapes were snagged from Damocles.


      Every twenty minutes or so, Roy would ask for "requests and suggestions" on the same channel, and would stop broadcasting for a few minutes. During one of those gaps, TJ transmitted a request, along with some hints about being from the Morrow Project. The radio station didn't have the requested songs, but -- since TJ was the only person who'd every requested a song, except for members of Morrow Group North -- the DJ was able to realize TJ was probably a Project member.

     The DJ, Roy Deschenes, got Doyle, Tager and Fairhope over to the radio station in a hurry. Without mentioning "Morrow Project" and any other blatant clues, Doyle and his team got enough information from TJ to make an arrangement -- they'd show up late the next day. TJ was asked to call in every couple of hours before sunset. A password-response was agreed on.

     Doyle and his team were a bit worried about three dangers near Iron Mountain:



     They quickly loaded equipment into the SK-5, and (along with Matt North and Dennis Franklin) headed out over the frozen lakes.

      TJ gathered up snow, melted it, and poured it into his team's V-150 -- in a few minutes, he had hot water to make a LRP meal with.



     During one of TJ's visits outside his bolthole, he saw a rooster-tail of snow over the hills and trees -- some form of snowmobile, probably. It was passing from the east, to the west, but came to a halt about two kilometers away; TJ never heard its motor.  The team in the hovercraft told him to go back into his bolthole and wait there until the morning.


Tuesday, 7 March, 2141


     weather:  high 24° F, low 13° F. Winds 10 - 18 kph from the W or NW. Fair skies, except for some clouds early afternoon.


     Having halted during the night, the Morrow team in the hovercraft headed inland after dawn. 

     When TJ went outside to contact the hovercraft, after breakfast, he noticed the roostertail begin again in the west -- this time it turned towards him. He returned inside the bolthole and closed the door.

     After a few minutes, he saw though the bolthole window a sort-of snowmobile pass by the outer opening of the tunnel (i.e., it didn't come inside the mine). After a few minutes, though, a smaller vehicle entered the mine; about the size of a radio-controlled car, with mis-matched parts and a shopping basket fastened on its back. A jerky, mis-shapen "head" had two small lenses and a single larger one. A couple of manipulator arms -- more like NASA moon-rock grabbers -- dangled off the sides. A power and control cord unreeled off the back. All in all, the robot looked rather like a (21st Century) Army bomb-disposal robot, only built by someone with no concern for appearances..

     The small robot crawled slowly into the mine tunnel, stopping every meter or so and pointing its camera head all around. Eventually it reached the front door of the bolthole; TJ looked at it a bit nervously from behind several inches of lead glass. The robot gazed at him, and soon turned around and left the mine.

      Several hours later, the hovercraft arrived at the mine/bolthole. The robot and snowmobile were long gone; the snowmobile's tracks led off in the direction of Damocles (about 73 kilometers to the north). The R-101 team dismounted, and carefully approached the mine tunnel; Doyle held up a piece of cardboard with the word BRUCE written on it, and TJ pushed a piece of paper with the word MORROW on it against the bolthole window.

      TJ opened the bolthole doors, and greeted the three Morrow Project members. They looked very "salty", with lots of non-standard equipment -- red hockey pads, beaded mittens, large knives, odd pistols, various bright red hats, etc. The news of the correct date, and of the date of the Atomic War, were a blow to TJ.

      Discovering that four out of five cryoberths had failed 44 years ago disturbed the R-101 team:  "I thought these were supposed to be perfect." They helped TJ put the bodies in body bags, and carried them out to the hovercraft, where the bodies were placed in the external "pannier" storage spaces.

      Preparing the V-150 for travel took 4 hours -- filling the transmission, differentials, hydraulic systems, etc., and putting the wheels onto the armored car. Once done with preparation, the armored car was driven out of the bolthole, which was sealed behind it.

      From the bolthole to the coast of Lake Michigan, near Escanaba, was 84 kilometers, almost due east. North and Franklin sped off ahead, as the hovercraft was going to take a very different route back to the Arcadian Republic. The old U.S. Highway 2 was heavily overgrown by trees, and had only been a two-lane road at the time of the Atomic War -- there were many areas where the trees were too close together for the hovercraft to pass through.


U.S. Highway 2, east of Iron Mountain


     The country between Iron Mountain and Escanaba had been mostly forests before the Atomic War, so it did not look too different -- the lack of utility lines, or any structures at all, was the main visual difference visible when a meter of snow was on the ground.Annie and Doyle took turns driving the armored car.


a section of U.S. Highway 2 near Escanaba.


     At Escanaba, the Morrow folk came to scattered farms and fishing villages, at the north end of Green Bay (specifically, on the west side of Little Bay de Noc). A farmer standing by the snow-covered road waved to the vehicle, and the team decided to stop and ask him where they could spend the night. The farmer, Mr. Thrope, invited the team to spend the night with his family.

      During dinner with the Thrope family, the 20th Century folk realized how well the Canadian Liberation Force had served to unite various communities, and to give the Morrow Project a good name. Overthrowing the largest, best-equipped army in the world (as far as most people knew) and taking hardly any casualties while doing so, made them big damn heroes in the eyes of many people.

      Another blow for TJ:  chickens, cattle and swine had not survived much past the end of the 20th Century.

     The Morrow personnel spent the night sleeping in Mr. Thrope's barn.


Wednesday, 8 March, 2141


     weather:  high 27° F, low 0° F. Winds very light from the east; cloudy.


     Bidding farewell to the Thrope family, the Morrow team followed U.S. Highway 2 north-east along Lake Michigan. The trip would be about 300 kilometers, and would take a couple of days along roads with a meter or so of snow.


U.S. Highway 2, on the Upper Peninsula during the winter


     A couple of lumber or fishing towns were passed -- some of them were uninhabited during the winter. The Morrow team got about halfway to Sault Ste. Marie this day, and stayed with some lumberjacks in a mostly-deserted town in Schoolcraft county during the night.


Thursday, 9 March, 2141


     weather:  high 36° F, low 21° F. Winds 20 kph from the east; cloudy.


     This day marked the widest extent of ice on the Great Lakes.


more of U.S. Highway 2 in the Upper Peninsula


     Mid-day, the armored vehicle passed the Arcadian Republic border .... at the small town of Brevort, in Mackinac county. A couple of men in fur coats waved happily to the Morrow Project vehicle as it passed through the town.

     The Mackinac Bridge was still standing, but looking very "Mad Max"-y.

     TJ got his first look at a location destroyed by the Atomic War -- the former Kincheloe AFB had been hit by both a surface and air bursts. Nobody was currently living there, but the 300 meter diameter crater, filled with ice, was a sobering sight.

     At Soo (the Ancient city of Sault Ste. Marie), the city on the American side of the river had been destroyed by an air burst during the Atomic War; snow-covered ruins loomed in the late afternoon skies. The team drove over the International Bridge -- the steel spans over the canals were preserved by Team Eta, but the "low", flat bridge sections over the river portions had long ago been replaced with timber trestles. There was no river traffic at this time of year, but the Canadian-side town of Soo was clearly busy; smoke was rising from smokestacks and chimneys, and horse-drawn sleds were moving timber and other supplies around the town. Utility poles carried telephone and electrical lines around the town.

     Again, the citizens of Soo waved from their windows as the new Morrow Project vehicle entered the town, and a fair number of them followed the vehicle to the Morrow Project base.



     Formerly Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and the city of the same name in the United States. The American city was especially hard-hit by the Atomic War -- a 600 kiloton airburst was targeted at the ship locks.

     About 20 years after the War, during the Long Winter, Morrow Project Team Eta arrived at the Soo Locks to survey them. After a few months of further surveys, they chose to settle here, and worked to stabilize the locks. Fortunately, Lake Superior's ice was several meters thick at the time, so building a dam was easy. The large docks were not returned to service, but much debris was removed.

     The smaller, old locks and canals on the Canadian side were instead placed in operation. By 2020, a network of electrical power distribution was established in each of the cities, with workshops in Soo building electrical equipment and components.

     Fishing, and trade with settlers on the Ontario shore of Lake Superior, are the other economic factors in the town's prosperity.

     A small museum is dedicated to Team Eta; their LCM is ashore, but the dive boat was severely damaged by ice and was eventually dismantled. There are more than three dozen descendants of Morrow Project team members living in this area -- and a graveyard with 24 graves of Morrow personnel.


     The Project base was a sturdy sandstone Romanesque structure on Huron Street, built around 1900 as an office building.



     After the curious onlookers left, the R-99 vehicle was pulled into a garage near the headquarters -- three or four other old, rusted hulks of Project vehicles were already in the garage (another old sandstone building, this from an old paper mill). A couple of local staff were present in the headquarters, acting as janitors, security guards, etc.. The building had electric lighting, a working washing machine and dryer, hot and cold water, a radio room, and other amenities that TJ was probably too newly-awakened to fully appreciate.

     After contacting Camp Wobegon, taking baths, changing clothes and having a hot meal, the team settled in for a long night's sleep.


Friday, 10 March, 2141


     weather:  high 30° F, low 23° F. Very light winds from the east after dark; cloudy.


     Some of the team members considered sleeping in, but the tempting smells of breakfast, and the sounds of Doyle and Tager (early risers) soon had them all awake. The 4-page Soo Weekly Courier and Shipping Report actually had an article about Doyle and his team leaving town on the hovercraft.




   Yesterday showed a high of -4° C, & a low of -10° C. Moderate winds from the west and northwest. 

     Ice on Lake Superior and Georgian Bay remains solid. Reports of open water in most of Lake Michigan south of Green Bay give hope that the extent of ice will begin to decrease as

Morrow Project Team

Sets Out From Manitoulin in

Hover Craft.


   Monday evening the Morrow Project sent out their recently-found "hover craft" on a vital mission into the Upper Peninsula. Led by Captain Doyle, there is no word yet as to the reason for

Daladier Arrested In New Assail.


   The accused murderer Rene Daladier was arrested on Monday by the Gendar-merie Républicain at New Assail, where he had taken refuge in a logging-barracks. He offered no resistance to his arrest, and will be taken before the tribunal to enter his plea.

La Conférence To Meet In June.


   The Governeur posted notice last Saturday that he would call La Conférence into session in June. 

     Bills will be introduced to commence work on the Trent-Severn waterway, which is expected to cost $250,000 over a period of 2 years. Construction of new

Awful Calamity.


Searching For the Dead and Healing the Living.


    A report received today tells of a terrible fire in Sag City, at the winter quarters of the circus, Tuesday morning. It is believed the blaze began in the moose

the top of the front page of the newspaper


     After breakfast, the members of R-101 took TJ for a tour of the town -- workshops making light bulbs, yards building ships -- but an equal amount of time was spent getting TJ fitted out with new clothing and survival gear.

     While showing TJ around the industrial areas of town, a caninja attacked! He threw a net, with fish hooks attached, down onto TJ's escort


... who was that?


     ... and jumped down to attack with knives! He was quickly subdued, and taken in for questioning. He was Max Milton, and his partner Tim was also in the town. Tim and Max were working independently, but had a regular meeting spot / drop point:  an old barn, a couple of kilometers outside of the town.


Saturday, 11 March, 2141


     weather:  high 23° F, low 1° F. Moderate winds, from ENE before noon, from the west after that. Fair skies most of the day.


     Thus, early the next day, Doyle, Fairhope, Tager and TJ Daley crossed the snow-covered fields to a rickety barn. Tager and Fairhope hid in the loft, while Doyle and Daley found cover a few hundred meters away, in a ruin.

     After a couple of hours of waiting (and freezing a bit), a caninja appeared inside -- he had gotten in without opening a door. Tager leaped down and grappled him; the fight went on for a minute or so, as Fairhope carefully descended from the loft, and Doyle and TJ run through the waist-deep snow towards the barn.

     When Tim was subdued, he was taken into Soo, and both caninjas apologized. They promised to reform.


on to the next adventure

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