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Never Ending Story

Discussion in 'Thread Games & Discussion' started by simian, Sep 22, 2017.

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  1. Johnny-be-Good

    Johnny-be-Good

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    Jinks sat down in his supervisor's uncomfortably crampt cubical.

    "What's up, boss?"
    Botts, "Sending your team out to the Badlands to investigate an anomaly. It's a hot site from the rebellion of 2053, so you'll need class 3 environmental suits 24/7. There's an archeology team from the Federal Antiquities Museum on site that's claiming a find involving potential extraterrestrial 'artifacts'."

    Jinks rolled his eyes upward as he tilted his head back and took a long draw from the icy cold beer in his hand,

    Botts knew the look and anticipated the coming sneer.

    Jinks. One side of his smile curled slightly up, the other slightly down. Botts never knew which side was the idiots favorite of the day as Jinks could easily swap sides while going on one of his rants. Mood of the moment appeared to be smile on the right, likely meaning Jinks was early on his first beer of the morning and his sarcasm was only surpassed by his arrogance. His 'logic' was waiting in the wings, as Jinks was fond of saying. Meaning his consumption of illegal beverages hadn't hit the highpoint of his day. Or 'whatever'.

    Jinks, "So how is FSC planning to waste my time on another wild goose chase"?

    Botts, "Dead fossilized monkey clutching a pie. Alien bodies. Radioactive site. Unexplained ionized atmosphere. All focused at a site just as secretive as the infamous Area 51 but more remote. And still guarded."

    "And the potential of a time dilation scenario playing out on a scale not supported by known physics."

    Botts' last comment got to Jinks. His eyes twinkled with an intensity seldom seen and both sides of his face smiled upward at the same time.

    "This could be fun."
     
  2. Johnny-be-Good

    Johnny-be-Good

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    Sitting in his own crampt office, Bobie reviewed the paperwork for his new assignment.
    Bobie Jinks normally worked with a fixed five man crew plus himself.
    But someone above Botts ordered a switch. Two actually.

    Lou Anne Sanders was his right hand. Attractive and one of the few women in the acquisition department. She would have been classified a mathematical savant if it hadn't been for her additional intellect. Lou Anne could crunch equations and data sets almost as fast as a mid level quantum computer. Her gift was also knowing what the results meant and what to do with them. Ai had 'nothing on her'.

    Bobie's gift was making associations without precise data or in the coming case, conflicting evidence.

    Stev Franks and Samuel 'The Sam' Borden were tech assistants. Bobie had worked with them frequently and were accepted as a necessary part of his team. Efficient.

    That left two spots open for 'go'fers'.
    And these were the changeups for the mission.
    The mission folder included photo ID's of all members of Bobie's team.
    These two go'fers came with black suits, cheap white dress shirts, no ties, business dress black shoes and slight bulges under their open jackets. Plus close cropped hair cuts to further distinguish their imagery.
    Last names only.
    Abbot and Costello.
    Jinks made the connection. A reference to a pair of silly actors that carried the tag 'slapstick comedians' . A factoid normally only a historian would be aware of.
    But here they were and Bobie saw nothing humorous about them.
    Ex military? Mercenaries? Bodyguards?
    Obviously his protection detail.
    Definitely out of the ordinary even for the FSC.

    There was no corporate spying in this day and age.
    Not on the North and South American continents, anyway.

    Mega Corp merged everything. Owned everything. Here.

    New Europe? The Old Guard in China?

    It was giving Bobie a headache, so he put it aside for the moment and signed off on the mission after adding his refrigeration unit and its perishable cargo.
     
  3. Johnny-be-Good

    Johnny-be-Good

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    The next morning, Bobie was called into Botts' office.

    Botts, passing a folder to Bobie, "Here's your official mission plan. It's sealed and to be opened when you land down in the deserted desert town of Kingman, Arizona.
    Mega built a command and control center near an ancient air field you'll be using for the duration. It's a hardened site. Radiation levels are inconsistent even after 12 centuries. Winds pick up, the sands shift and low altitude radiation increases. At about 3 meter depths, ground radiation can be lethal in short order. And that's a quote from the team on site."

    Bobie thought, a hardened site usually involved the consideration of events that could go bang. He frowned.

    Botts, "Orders from above. You and your team have been ordered 5 days at the Restoration Center. Sorry, no getting out of this".
    Botts smiled inwardly knowing it would temporarily cut off Jinks' alky habit.
    Jinks was the only employee of the Mega Corp that had given an exemption to legally use alcoholic beverages and it didn't sit well with many.
    Of course, many did consume, anyway. But the fines and social stigma that went with being caught seemed draconian.

    The Restoration Center was essentially a warehouse complex of coffin like medical devices used to stimulate muscular activity by inducing and maintaining contractions while monitoring needed nutriment requirements. It built strength quickly. But since it induced the cramping of muscles, it was in reality the perfect torture rack.
    No pain meds because needed levels induced poor mental health. As if the pain didn't, many thought that had experienced the machine. Only sleep induction was permissible and that's how many spent their time, or at least wanted to.

    Five days of pain was worth about two months of intensive workouts.

    The team went under as a group and exited the torture machines together.
    Physically fit, but sore all over and intensely grumpy.
     
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  4. Johnny-be-Good

    Johnny-be-Good

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    It was a long flight from the corporate headquarters of Mega Corp in Santiago, Chile to the Arizona Badlands of the Can-Am subsidiary.
    Once a Hispanic stronghold before western civilization gravitated toward a series of nuclear holocausts, Chile's ethnic identity had became diluted since. The South American continent had avoided the nuclear conflicts that eventually burned down their wealthy neighbors to the far north, much of the old Europe, all of the Middle East and economic strongholds in Asia.
    Things change and so did the identity of Chile. It's said money travels to where it's appreciated the most and there were few profits to be made where radiation was stalking the living for unforeseen future millenia.
    South America became a refuge for the living and survival of the wealthiest became a focused goal. Elements of Eastern and Western culture became the new ethnic identity and the coastal city of Santiago became favored as Mega Corp grew from the identity and wealth of these relocated nuclear holocaust survivors.

    The corporate jetliner set down at Kingman in the early afternoon.
    An uncomfortable flight, the team slept poorly and fatigue temporarily blinded them to the stark conditions of the Badlands.
    Obvious were the safety protocols in place for protection from radiation levels. Disembarking went smoothly as a large flexible tubular walkway extended to the parked airliner and made seal against it's main exit.

    The team exited with pilots and crew following. Through the long transparent tunnel, only a few millimeters thick, they traversed. Snaking from airliner to the concrete bunker, they walked the 40 meters or so to the sealed entrance, entered a password and upon entering were greeted by Dr. Fritz Heisenburg, a leading scientist for Mega Corp Research and Development.

    Lou Anne gave Bobie a gentle nudge and whispered, " Careful what you say to him, he's political."
     
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  5. Johnny-be-Good

    Johnny-be-Good

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    Bobie remembered a year old news article on extremist political groups and one in particular linked to Heisenburg.
    But then, 'careful' was both a necessity and a prerequisite in this line of work.

    It was a 5 hour trip to the site in sealed military transport designed for rugged terrain. Seeing that there was little need for a network of roads in a lifeless environment, travel conditions were rugged and 99% off road.
    This on top of a rough flight left the team fatigued and not immediately ready for the coming site tour.
    They begged off for a few hours of rest.

    Awakening in the early morning hours, just in time to see the Sun rise above the desert floor, from the double paned windows of their sealed quonset huts, Bobie passed around the stim tabs as Abbot set the morning meal out on the common table. Likely military rations from the looks of the nondescript packaging of dehydrated food.

    The site tour was a go for 10 AM local.
    Just time enough for Bobie to consume the first two of his special beverages of the day without worrying about a conflict with the stim tab.

    The team suited up, met Dr. Fritz waiting in the remnants of what had appeared to be a warehouse but now existed mostly as thin layers of rusted metal and weathered concrete. Steel beams thinned and perforated from centuries of rust. Some melted and twisted from the heat of nuclear weapons and broken slabs of concrete walls, etched by the weather and frequent sand storms.
    The ancient debris was in scattered patterns about the warehouse's concrete floor indicating the the likelihood of several close blasts.
    It occurred to Bobie and Lou Anne at about the same time, in such a desolate location, this site could have been a critical target. But why was the big question.

    A temporary shelter had been air lifted in and erected on the old floor, itself.
    Crampt, but enough work space for the team, Heisenburg and his 4 assistants.

    Bobie, having taken off his protective headgear inside the shelter, "Doctor. Very curious about this monkey. Where was it found and what were the circumstances?"

    Heisenburg took a deep breath and with what could only be described as a slight conspiratorial smile, responded, "Tests determined it wasn't a monkey after all."
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018
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  6. Johnny-be-Good

    Johnny-be-Good

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    Jinks, "Explain."
    Heisenburg, "The archaeologist, Andropov, asked for this assignment out of the blue with no explanation. By the way, he comes from a small subsidiary deep in Old Europe. Historically, a place within the Russian-Soviet alliance of the 20th century which as it turns out, has relevance to this site and events playing out here some 1200 years ago."
    Heisenburg paused to let that scenario impress Jinks' mindset.

    Bobie, " Go on."

    "Andropov identified the skeleton found just outside the perimeter as simian. But cranial volume and jaw structure bothered one of his assistants who took it upon himself to order DNA testing on bone marrow."

    Bobie, "Wait.
    You mean testable organic residue survived the numerous nuclear explosions at this site?"

    Heisenburg, "Yes. Likely scenario, the being was exiting the building during or immediately after the first nuclear explosion. Flying debris from the building killed it and fierce winds covered the body with a layer of sand only to be glassed over leaving the body in a thin glass tomb. Like a bug in amber, it existed as evidence of past life that died in a long forgotten period of time. And just as that bug, interesting evidence was left for us to decipher."

    Bobie, "So, where's Andropov and his assistant?"

    Heisenburg, "And this is where our mystery begins. Andropov tried to stonewall the results and fired his assistant. Naturally, according to protocol, duplicate reports were automatically sent out to the FSC. The assistant was interrogated first. No issues. He played his part on the up and up.
    But when Andropov was interrogated, his arrogance in an obvious coverup made the investigative team more than just suspicious. The CEO of the SFC, Lennard, was contacted and gave permission to use more aggressive methods of interrogation." Heisenburg paused.

    Bobie,"Go on."

    Heisenburg," Andropov committed suicide. A method not seen in over 10 centuries. Bit down on what we later discovered to be a tooth containing cyanide. Must have been desperate to keep secrets."

    Bobie, "OK. Let's get back to the test results."
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2018
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  7. RT

    RT

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    After John's excellent postings ...(y)
    all I can say is that the lab test results were inconclusive, (of course) but there was still a tantalizing clue to be found within them, which escaped the eyes of everyone - except Bobie...who realized a slight variation in the spectral print out that distinguished potassium cyanide from sodium cyanide, one of which is known to be a restorative of gold from ancient artifacts...and great care is needed in the handling of it. ( I can't say which due to security protocol).
    Well it certainly wasn't an accident it was in Andropov's tooth...
    Perhaps there is more archeology to be investigated, more secrets to be revealed...or is it mere speculation?
    The simian skeleton is hard evidence of....something?
    I feel that a closer examination of insects, perhaps the golden scarabs of Egypt may be in order, perhaps a Tomb Raid? ;)
     
  8. Johnny-be-Good

    Johnny-be-Good

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    Hi RT and thanks for the 'likes'.

    Since the thread starter has not only abandoned this thread, he left TSG, I waited a while before leading off in a direction of my own.

    I intend to continue, but you have introduced an interesting fork.
    Please continue on your path here and we'll have two never ending stories paired as if an event, a moment of time generated parallel time lines existing much in the same way Schrödinger's cat thought experiment existed in two states at the same time, but definitely distinctly different states of being.

    Anyone wanting to start their own time line, have at it....this is the thread :D
     
  9. Johnny-be-Good

    Johnny-be-Good

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    Maybe this thread could be retitled "Time Lines" ?
     
  10. RT

    RT

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    John, you're doing great all on your own!
    Your script reads like a book..or a script worthy of a teleplay/movie based on the writings of Johnny-be-Good. I tend to think you probably got an award in creative writing in high school or college.
    :)
     
  11. Johnny-be-Good

    Johnny-be-Good

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    No....but they were glad to see me leave :D
     
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  12. Johnny-be-Good

    Johnny-be-Good

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    Heisenburg, "This is where the diagnosis became confusing. Because of possible contamination, samples were taken from upper and lower extremities, heart and brain.
    All showed genetic sequencing modification. But none the same nor able to be accomplished in a known manner. Yes, we know of CRISPR and even that you were modified by that method." Fritz nodded and winked at Bobie with a faint secretive smile.
    Bobie ignored the last comment as he finished off the beer in his right hand.
    "Go on. explain."
    Heisenburg, "Different elements of the subject were altered as if they were modified then assembled. But there was no evidence of this being a 'Frankenstein'. There were no distinct genetic boundaries between this creature's body parts.
    It could have aged in life with boundaries blurred as points of contrasting modification swapped genetic material with replacement cells, or the creature was engineered as a whole by a process unknown.
    Lennard gave the go-ahead for a mitochondrial study. Lab results showed mitochondrial DNA was identical throughout the body.
    Two of the researchers claimed the body was a hoax, Thomas stated radiation issues and Pauly, the lead researcher stated what ever it was, there wasn't even a process available 12 centuries ago that manipulate DNA to this accuracy and even the illegal CRISPR of today couldn't accomplish what the results were showing.
    Imagine that.
    So, Lennard approved another request to age date the specimen.
    I felt the results would be garbage because of the radiation factor, but some moron said "why not, what else could we test for?" and Lennard, the ignorant bureaucrat that he is signed off on that, also.
    Of course the results were skewed.
    But of all the crazy results we could have received, lab results indicated that various parts of the body were of different ages and the deltas coincided with the vague genetic boundaries, but all mitochondria were of the same age throughout.
    The mitochondria tested the oldest and the estimated time span between oldest and newest biologicals was 35 years. But then there's the radiation factor.
    No way to fudge that in. All that can be said is that there was a time variation in processing the various elements of the specimen and that it might have occurred sometime in the 19th or 20th century by processes unknown."

    Bobie thought for several moments, took another draw from a freshly opened beer for inspiration and replied, "So what species was this creature to start with?"

    Heisenburg, "Oh, definitely human."
    After a pause, "And a little extra."
     
  13. Johnny-be-Good

    Johnny-be-Good

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    Bobie, "Hmmm. A little extra? Such as?"
    Heisenburg, "I'm told it has something to do with DNA base pairs. If you want a better description, you'll need to bring in a molecular biologist."
    With a sly arrogant smile, "I'm theoretical physics, the stuff that makes the universe work. "
    Bobie thought to himself but held back, "Sure, you'd like to think so."
    Bobie, "So, why are you here?"
    Heisenburg raising an eyebrow, "For what you can't see, of course. If your schedule permits, tomorrow I'll escort you through the chambers under the concrete pad of what used to be the floor of the structure we've been standing on. "

    "And further, I suggest in addition you fly in a xenobiologist for the dozen or so bodies scattered through the underground complex."

    Heisenburg nodded, walking off towards the larger assembled structure, leaving Bobie to re-enter his team's quonset hut and unsuit.
    Bobie thought. Who can he call on that's qualified as a xenobiologist? The FSC had never a reason to keep one on retainer till now.
    Lou Anne was reviewing gathered data over at the other structure. It was larger than the hut thus being more suitable as a small lab.

    Bobie sent out a request on his uplink to headquarters requesting a molecular biologist, then suited back up and trudged over to the temp lab in his bulky gear.

    "Lou Anne!"
    "Yeah, Bobie."
    'You remember anyone suitable to fill the shoes of a xenobiologist in short order?"
    Lou Anne,"Not close, no. Maybe 48 hours away. He's up in his years and often difficult to deal with. Got a bad rep because one of his assistants made one of those historical blunders all scientists dread and have nightmares about, at least one time or another."
    "Martin Kittridge."

    Bobie took a deep breath. "Really?"
    Lou Anne, "Xenos don't exactly grow on trees, do they now?"

    Bobie sighed, "I'll have to get Botts to sign off on Kittridge since he's not an employee.
    I take it he's still hiding out as a recluse somewhere in Alaska?"
    Lou Anne, "Yeah. Palmer last I heard."
     
  14. Johnny-be-Good

    Johnny-be-Good

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    Botts sat at his desk, weary with fatigue from the nature of the constant mindless mental drudgery associated with his bureaucratic position.
    Getting a biologist for the Jinks project was as simple as typing a name into a formal request. Sid Lauter was available and replied he was ready to go immediately. Seemed enthused.
    But getting a xenobiologist was a problem. Not a popular branch of science, especially since the botched investigation by Kittridge 28 years ago. Botts remembered it being one of his early projects and was sure it held up his own promotion within the FSC. The moron claimed the body found outside the deserted Mars colony, in a Russian space suit was of alien origin.
    And now Botts had to convince the old codger to sign back on with the corporation that outed his stupidity in the first place.
    Botts held his mobile receiver to his ear and listened to another string of obscenities from the old jackass.
    Botts gritted his teeth in silence. The conversation was going nowhere. If only there was someone else to fill the position. Even a fresh university graduate.
    Botts thought, "Guess that's what happens when corporate bean counters have too much influence on education."

    Botts ended the conversation and redialed the FSC Ranger office.
    Botts, "Botts here, of Scientific Investigations. Put me through to the Commander."
    "This is General Pike."
    Botts, "Need a pickup. Might be uncooperative. Handle with care, he is elderly and important. Might even resist.
    Location just outside of Palmer, Alaska.
    Deliver to the Jinks project in the Badlands.
    Details and authorization on their way."

    Pike, "Covered as we speak.
    You sound stressed, Allen. Everything OK?"
    Botts, "As they say, Pete. Same old, same old and that's how I'm feeling lately.
    Retirement in 18 months, mostly insignificant projects filled with incompetents.
    Now I've got a loose cannon investigating what will probably wind up as originating from botched paperwork and now I have to add a loon to the mix."
    Pike, "I feel for you buddy.
    You and Alice ought to come over for dinner sometime. Marge hasn't seen either of you since the holidays."
    Botts with a stifled chuckle, "Alice got bored, too, and left for her sisters, but I'm good for some of that backalley hooch you've got stored."

    Botts, "May be nothing, but remind your men that the destination is still highly radioactive."
     
  15. Johnny-be-Good

    Johnny-be-Good

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    Lauter arrived on-site on a midnight run from Kingman, wanted to see the 'monkey' and get a few hours head start on examining the remains but Jinks convinced him to take a quick look, turn in and start fresh in the morning.

    Lauter inspected the remains currently stored in the temp shelter.
    After 10 minutes, walked back to the locker where his shiny new radiation suit hung, and with a puzzled look on his face, suited up and trudged back to the quonset hut to turn in for the night.

    It was the middle of summer, the days were long and hot, the night's short but not as cool as many thought. Early afternoons got as high as the 120's F and early mornings as low as 90 F.
    New silver suits were the coolest to wear and kept for supervisors and lead scientists.
    Bobie and Lou Anne wore new silver as did Heisenburg and Lauter. But Kittridge was going to get a yellow suit and no one seemed to be concerned for his comfort level.

    Lauter started the morning promptly dissecting the remains and looking under a microscope for any possible viral, bacterial or microorganism intrusion that would or could have also led to morphological modification aside from the DNA modifications..
    Lauter to Jinks,"I don't see anything here that wouldn't be in a normal healthy human. I think our geneticist's evaluation of the samples you sent back to the labs pretty much covers this freak of nature. Genetic modification. But my field isn't in DNA studies let alone strange DNA with five base pairs.
    Why was I called in?"

    Jinks, "Heisenburg requested one. Seems there is an underground complex under the old concrete we're situated on, and one of his assistants went in without being fully protected and died from an unknown biological."
    Lauter, "Are we talking a mutated strain because of the radiation factor?"
    Jinks, "Could be. That's why you're here and that's why the request was censored. The assistant's body suffered catastrophic organ damage and epidermal disfigurement. In less than an hour. A news item that would only cause panic if publicized, so Heisenburg wanted a microbiologist on site. And you drew the short straw. We need to know what it is and how to control it.
    Currently, access to the complex is restricted with a decontamination chamber in place."
    Lauter, "And you've inspected this complex?"
    Jinks, "Not yet. I'm the trouble shooter, not the lab rat", smiled and winked at Lauter while turning around and walking away to talk to Lou Anne about today's itinerary. That and open the first beer of the day.
     
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