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File 154116441039.png - (818.56KB , 600x848 , 00vhsupload.png )
909237 No. 909237 ID: 73c479

The Distant Early Warning Line was a system of radar stations spanning the Arctic regions of Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Iceland and and the Faroe Islands. Built to detect incoming Soviet bombers during the Cold War and provide early warning of any land or sea invasion, it was built between 1954 and 1957 and was the northenmost and most capable of three radar lines in Canada and Alaska.

As a body's distance from the Earth increases, the force of gravity - zzt
-approaches zero- zzt
the absolute at which all motion ceases- zzt
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No. 909238 ID: 73c479
File 154116448611.png - (404.31KB , 848x355 , 010upload.png )

The date is January 3rd, 1969.
No. 909239 ID: 73c479
File 154116456622.png - (5.30KB , 847x354 , 03upload.png )

Distantly, you hear the sound of a ringing phone.
No. 909240 ID: 0ab180

Pick it up, sleepy head
No. 909241 ID: 73c479
File 154116616862.png - (415.14KB , 847x354 , 1upload.png )

The ringing jerks you awake, seeming to grow incessantly louder with every passing second, and by the time you manage to open your eyes the phone sounds like it might pull out of the wall socket and attack.
You should probably pick that up.

You get out of bed in what is more controlled descent than freefall and manage to reach the phone before it stops ringing without knocking over anything in the process- which you decide to count as a win, considering the state of the apartment- and pick up. You have some pretty strong words prepared for whoever the hell it is calling you at three in the morning, but you don't manage to get in so much as a "hello" before the ringing is replaced by your boss' familiar and decidedly unwelcome voice.

"Jackson, that you?"
No. 909242 ID: 7efe6b

Does he often call you at such hours?

"Yeah, where's the fire?"
No. 909244 ID: 891b91

"No, this is Bozo the Clown. Of course it's me, and before you say anything I just want you to know you owe me a coffee."

I wonder if this is going to be an all-out tribute to John Carpenter's The Thing, or if it's just inspired by it? Either way, incredible presentation so far, very nice work!
No. 909245 ID: 8cae37

"Yes. What's the problem?"
No. 909246 ID: b17114
File 154117183897.png - (282.43KB , 850x356 , image.png )

You slide down onto the floor and lean back against the dresser you keep the phone on. Might as well make yourself comfortable. You're no stranger to off-hour phone calls, but your scheduled work rotation isn't until February, so this is still kind of out of the blue, and you're not even half awake enough to want to figure out what the matter could be.
"No, this is Bozo the Clown. Of course it's me, and before you say anything, I just want you to know you owe me a coffee," You say. "Do you have any idea what time it is? "
You hear him sigh into the phone. "Yeah, yeah, look- I'm not happy about this either. Wouldn't be calling you if it wasn't important." A pause. "Listen, how soon can you be up at the Grand Island airport? We've got an emergency."
"What?" You wind the telephone cord through your fingers, suddenly alert. "An emergency?"
"You'll be on rotation a little early this time. We've got an operator dead up in the station by Oliktok, I need you to check it out. Probably just an accident, but you know how it is." Your boss sighs into the phone again, louder this time. "Look, I'm sorry about this, but we can't just send in another civilian contract worker until we're sure it's safe. Just fly out there and take a look, if the weather holds we'll have a chopper pick you up in a week or two."
Oh, great. Now it's your turn to sigh. "Any other good news I should hear?"
"I'm serious, Jackson." There's a tired edge to the voice on the other end of the line. "Listen, I can't tell you more until you get down here, so hurry it up, okay? Pack your stuff and drive down to the airport, someone'll pick you up out front."
There's a click as he hangs up.

Well. Looks like you're not getting any more sleep tonight.

Oh yeah this is definitely a love letter to the Thing! I'd put it down as more an inspiration than all-out tribute, but that's definitely what I'm going for. :D
No. 909247 ID: 7efe6b

Pff, we didn't even get to negotiate our terms.

Pack your stuff. Make sure to bring lube with you.
No. 909250 ID: 891b91

Recall your name and profession. Is it safe to assume this is a government job?

Anyway, a dead operator? It's probably just an accident and not any kind of foul play, but all the same, be sure to pack your pistol.

You do have a gun, don't you?

Nice! I'm excited to see where this goes.
No. 909266 ID: 270774

well, down to business. reflect on how things have been up til now — not this eventful, i’m assuming.
No. 909280 ID: 094652

You wish he wouldn't shed crocodile tears about how special you were. There's hundreds of expendable technicians just waiting to do your job, and he makes a big-ass fuss so you'll do your boring work efficiently. And then he'll conveniently forget that you deserve overtime pay.

Well, get dressed, it's time to save the world from ever-increasing empty threats coming from puppet governments controlled by spies and politicians who are completely divorced from the societies they control with a subtle titanium grip, the fully-unlocked secrets of prosperity and a chance to breach heaven itself ignored for the simple pleasures of bullying entire third-world countries by acting crazy and waving a big stick with a yellow half-plucked flower on it.

That includes your country.

You hate this job.
No. 909301 ID: 73c479
File 154120417251.png - (526.19KB , 850x356 , 6upload1.png )

It takes you all of half an hour to get dressed and pack your stuff, two week's-worth of clothes into a large duffel bag and everything else into a backpack. It takes you a while to dig out your ID, as, following the rules of any object currently being looked for, it's at the very bottom of a drawer full of other documents. It's really nothing special, certainly not FBI levels of importance- just a card authorizing a one Dr. David Jackson to work along the Distant Early Warning line as a mechanic, a job you've had ever since you were offered a post in '62 and which has, over time, slowly evolved into far more oversight than actual maintenance. While it's definitely government work, you'd take it over military life any day- even boarded up in the middle of nowhere for months on end listening to radio static, it's still doing a hell of a lot more good than running around shooting at innocent people. You went through basic army training fresh out of college, and that was more than enough of that.
Unfortunately, it looks like it's the military training aspect that'll turn out to be more important this time, though- being able to hold your own in a fight and having vaguely more access to classified information really is the only reason they're sending you and not some other poor fool. Oversight and the occasional USAF guy aside, most of the people working on the smaller stations are civilians, quite a few still from the original Bell Telephone crew, and they aren't exactly equipped to deal with these kinds of... complications.
To be honest, though, it is your first time being called in outside of your normal shift rotation. You've stayed a couple weeks overtime before, but most of those were just due to bad weather. Not someone dying. You don't feel great about it.

You don't keep any firearms in your apartment. You've rationalised it to yourself a couple of times, but really it's just because the idea of having guns around makes you kind of uncomfortable. You'll probably be issued a standard handgun as necessary, though, and even if not- you've never been to a station that didn't have more shotguns than it did people. You know, in case of bears.
You check the wall clock in the kitchen on your way through [just past four AM], doing one final sweep to make sure you've got everything you might need. You've got clothes packed and basic stuff like, you know. Toothpaste. Toothbrush. Soap. And so on. In addition to that, you have a portable cassette recorder and some blank cassette tapes, and a sci-fi novel you've been meaning to read shoved down to the bottom of your backpack, just in case.
You stop by the fridge to make sure there's nothing in there you shouldn't leave lying around (half a gallon of milk, piece of cheese, the three remaining eggs should be fine) and you're just about ready to go, unless there's anything you're forgetting.
No. 909318 ID: 094652

Make yourself breakfast with the perishables. If anything bad happens, you'll know that you used them well.

Oh, and don't forget your geiger counter. Remember, if you get cancer from going to places you've been ordered to go, you need good reason to sue.
No. 909361 ID: 7efe6b

The picture of your ex. A trinket that brings you luck. You carry stuff like that around?

A box of matches?
No. 909362 ID: 270774

you’re forgetting to eat! quick breakfast, THEN you can go. if you travel on an empty stomach it’ll be that much more exhausting.
No. 909363 ID: 7efe6b

drink ALL the milk!
No. 909410 ID: 6f85f7
File 154128215147.png - (291.95KB , 850x356 , 7upload1.png )

You may be in a hurry, but you decide you might as well have some breakfast before you go. You try not to make it some sort if ominous "last meal" thing- you just won't be back for a while, and it'd just be a shame to let the food go to waste.
You make scrambled eggs and dump the cheese into the frying pan so it melts in, and dig an old cafetière and some ground coffee out of one of the kitchen cabinets. You might be owed a drink, but you're not taking the chance of missing your caffeine fix.
As you wait for the water to boil, you take one last look around to make sure you've got everything you need and add a book of matches to your equipment, slipped carefully into your wallet alongside an odd fifteen-something bucks in cash and a battered old polaroid photo, about as close to a lucky charm as you're willing to get.
You add as much milk as you can into the freshly-brewed coffee, and reluctantly pour the rest down the drain. You hate to let it go to waste, but there's definitely too much for you to drink at once.
It takes you another five minutes to do the washing-up and you're out the door, grabbing your old geiger counter off a shelf on a whim as you pass by. You don't even remember buying that, but who knows? Might come in handy. You're usually not the type that packs everything they can get their hands on, so you can allow yourself the extra object. The counter goes into your backpack. [You now have access to your INVENTORY, and can check its contents at any time by requesting CHECK INVENTORY or selecting a specific item.]
You lock the door behind you and soon you're outside the apartment building, getting into your car parked out front.
It's cold, and your breath fogs in the night air, the street lit sparsely by the lamps lining the sidewalk on either side of the road. The winter's been mild so far and the snow on the ground looks a lot more like dark slush than anything else, but it still crunches underfoot when you step through it to get into the driver's seat.
Thankfully the engine starts on the first try, and you pull out onto the empty road. You turn on the radio and absently turn the knob until you tune in to some late-night FM station playing its way through some recent rock album.
The road out of Grand Island to the airport is just over three miles long, a short drive in the quiet hours when it's so late it's already early. You don't see any other cars on the way there, and the parking lot is practically empty when you pull in two and a half songs later. There's a single figure waiting outside the airport's big front doors as promised, coat collar popped against the cold. Your boss notices you from across the lot as you step out of the car and raises a gloved hand in greeting.
No. 909420 ID: 7efe6b

Walk up to him and greet him reluctantly. Ask how long before the plane's ready and if there's anything else you need to know before you leave.
No. 909459 ID: d887c0

Standard greeting. What's the job?
No. 909462 ID: 270774

be polite, but there’s no need to pretend you’re jazzed to be here. he knows he’s asking a lot. do the pleasantries, though — how is HE on this very cold, very early morning?
No. 909560 ID: 891b91

Best not to go into this unprepared. Ask your boss what it is that he couldn't tell you over the phone. Idly entertain thoughts of possible sabotage by the Russkies, knowing full well that it's far too exciting to be the actual reason why you were called into rotation early.
No. 909607 ID: c1eaac


This! Be polite but sleepy.
No. 909610 ID: f5593c

Give him a salute and ask for a sitrep.
No. 909616 ID: 73c479
File 154137534395.png - (320.78KB , 850x356 , 8upload1.png )

You raise your free hand in response, returning the gesture with a loose salute as you cross the parking lot.
"Jackson," he greets you once you're close enough that he doesn't need to shout. "Glad you could make it." Your boss pulls off his gloves and you shake hands briefly.
"Not much of a choice, huh?" You reply, and the two of you set off in the direction of the airside area. "How's it going, Boss?"
"Cold as shit and too goddamn early," he grunts, shoulders hunched against the rising wind, and there's not really much you can say to that. You decide not to remind him he's not the one going to Alaska. It is cold as shit and too goddamn early, after all.
You pass the guardhouse separating landside from the proper tarmac and your boss flashes his badge in the general direction of the guard that reluctantly emerges from the booth to check your ID. "You guys NORAD, that right?" The guard, a man in his mid-twenties bundled up in an oversized coat buttoned over his uniform, scratches his head sleepily. "You're over by the last hangar, right on the left at the end of the apron." He waves a hand in the general direction and lets you pass through. "You've got the only Hercules here right now, can't miss it."
You continue through the service area of the airport, past enormous hangars sparsely illuminated by what little lighting the few lampposts provide. Eventually your plane comes into view, the C-130 a hulking white behemoth in the half-darkness. You pause and turn to face your boss. "There was something you couldn't tell me over the phone, wasn't there?" You say.
Tsgt Arthur McMurray sighs, breath billowing out into a pale cloud between you. "That's right," he says eventually. "Look, this probably really was just an accident, alright. Knock on wood and you'll be back in two weeks, might even get some real time off before you go back to Point Lay." He turns his head away from you, looking back at the now-distant guardhouse. "Thing is... We've been having some trouble with the reports from Oliktok station lately. Commercial flights called in hours late or not at all, entire days' worth of records missing... They're probably just having trouble with one of the radars, but." He shakes his head irritably. "Look, I don't want to be the guy to cry wolf, okay? It's just I think there really might be something wrong up there."
"Something?" The duffel bag you're holding is starting to feel heavy, and you set it down at your feet. McMurray scratches his forehead with the back of a gloved hand.
"If you ask me," he finally says, "I think someone might be sabotaging the station."
"You mean like a Soviet agent?" Your eyes are starting to burn from lack of sleep, and you rub at them with your now-free hand.
"Don't quote me on it, alright, Jackson?" Your boss scuffs at the ground with one heavy-duty boot, scraping a thin layer of snow off the concrete. "Could be Soviets. Could be one of the civilians gone a little stir-crazy in the winter." He sighs. "I just think you should be armed, is all. You'll find a box for you on the plane- standard pistol and some ammunition. You know. Just in case."
No. 909624 ID: d887c0

Better to have and not need than need and not have. Hopefully the former.
Thanks for the consideration.
No. 909816 ID: 7efe6b

What about a cross and a wooden stake? Does the gun at least have silver ammunition?

Also, tell him that you're not responsible if the whole place burns down. Then go.
No. 909921 ID: 73c479
File 154163389564.png - (385.86KB , 850x356 , 9upload1.png )

     You nod affirmatively. Noted. "No silver bullets?"
     McMurray scowls, but there isn't any force behind it. "Don't fuck around, Jackson," he sighs. "I'm serious."
      "Right. Sorry, Boss." You pick your bag back off the ground and the two of you finally set off for the actual airplane. One of the pilots- thirty-something, dark hair and a round, friendly face- is perched on the top step of the Hercules' airstairs, and he waves to you as you approach. "Just finished refueling," he calls. "Ready to go when you are!"
   "Guess that's my cue." Your boss stops again, and turns to face you. "I'll leave you here, I'm sure you can manage the last fifty feet on your own." He scratches the back of his neck. "Look, Jackson- don't get yourself killed, okay?" It's about as nice as he gets, and that's definitely something.
  You almost make a snappy comment, but reconsider just in time. "Thanks, Boss," you say instead. "I mean it." You're not really sure what to do with your hands, so you shove them into your coat pockets. "I don't know what I'll find out there, but..." You are, for a moment, struck with the vision of fire in the snow, the arctic night lit red- failure, a worst-case scenario, something terrible-
    "I'll be careful," You say.
    McMurray claps you on the shoulder. "Good man," he says. "Be seeing you."

    The pilot waiting for you gets up when you near the stairs, and extends a hand in greeting as you reach the top step.
   "Name's Barry," he introduces himself as he ushers you inside. He's practically cheery despite the inhuman hour, with the kind of smile that genuinely seems more friendly than forced, and, when you ask him about it, he explains he's used to flying much earlier hours and usually gets most of his sleep during the day anyway.
   "Don't touch the cargo," he warns,  and shakes a finger at you as he shows you into the airplane's main chamber- a single aisle loaded with large crates and a row of unfolding seats on either side, simple metal frames covered in red canvas. "We're taking the opportunity to deliver some last-minute supplies to Anchorage after we drop you off, and you would not imagine the hell they give me if anything's out of order." He laughs. "Anyway, as you can probably see, rest of the plane's free, so feel free to sit wherever you like. Box over there is yours, too." He points.

   You recover the case you're directed to and sit down in one of the seats near the front of the plane. Barry leans against the still-open door as he makes one last safety check of the cargo, marking things off on a clipboard produced from the cockpit. He finishes and turns to look at you again, his expression slightly more subdued than before. "Too bad about what happened up there," he finally says. "Poor guy, dying out in a place like that." He shakes his head. "Man. Lucky the weather's good enough for us to fly you out there though, huh?" He runs a hand through his hair, good humor already returning. "A winter this bad, and here's all flights from Grand Island taking off as scheduled. Real stroke of luck, eh?"
   He's interrupted by a voice from the cockpit, and leans inside to reply. "Yeah, that's right," he says as he pulls his head back out. "High time we were on our way." His gaze sweeps over the inside of the plane one last time, and he gives you a little wave as he retreats into the cockpit, closing it off behind him.
    There's a jolt as the plane shudders to life, and the intercom crackles on.
    "This is your pilot speaking, again," Barry chuckles like it's the funniest thing in the whole wide world.
"Taking off from Central Nebraska Regional Airport. The time is 4:58 AM, ETA's at about 8 AM local time- that's about six hours from now, so I suggest you make yourself comfortable-" There's a pause and you can hear a murmur as the copilot says something to him. "Oh, yeah, yeah. And from me and Mary both- wishing you a nice flight."
    The intercom clicks off and the plane rolls onto the empty runway. Moments later, the airstrip's lights fall away beneath you and the Hercules C-130 rises into the still-dark sky.
No. 909923 ID: 7efe6b

Adjust your seat to the most comfortable position you can and then go to sleep. Enjoy a nice dream with you in the Bahamas.
No. 909926 ID: d887c0

Best get comfy - this flight could take a while. Maybe try to catch a few more winks before landing.
No. 909963 ID: c1eaac

long flights are a perfect time to nap, if you can!
No. 910089 ID: 891b91

Yeah, time to get a nap in, but first scope out the contents of the case, both to confirm that you've got the pistol and ammo you were promised, and to see if there's anything else in there.

Also, out of curiosity glance at the other cargo and guess at what it might be. (But don't touch it -- don't wanna get Barry in trouble, he seems like a good guy.)
No. 910090 ID: 891b91

Oh, and have a little chuckle to yourself about the fact that the pilots are Barry and Mary.
No. 910821 ID: 5d3ade
File 154232739695.png - (445.37KB , 850x356 , 10upload.png )

You pull the case -ordinary, black, hard-shelled- into your lap and open it, flicking back the metal clasps set to either side of the handle. Inside is a standard M1911 pistol, a bore snake and a paper box of cartridges (a quick count gives you thirty-five rounds). Satisfied that everything seems to be in order, you close the case and set it down on the airplane floor.
You don't want to get your pilots (Barry and Mary, huh, you have to admit that is kinda funny,) in any trouble, but you can't help but be curious about the cargo they're carrying. Disappointingly, it turns out not to be anything special- mostly crates of easy-to-store food as far as you can tell, probably for later redistribution among deliveries to the smaller line stations. You spot several types of canned vegetables, some beans, a whole box of tinned mystery meat (gross) and some canned peaches (less gross). Nothing suspicious, at least not more suspicious than the meat. You decide to leave it alone.
The plane is a cargo model, which is actually good news- the unfolded seats may not be the most comfortable for long flights, but there aren't any armrests between them, which means you can actually lay down. You take off your coat and fold it into a pillow, and try to get some rest. The low sound of the plane, more vibration than anything audible, fades comfortingly into the background and you're asleep almost as soon as you close your eyes. If you do dream, it is of something warm and pleasantly shapeless.
No. 910823 ID: 5d3ade
Audio Ben Salisbury & Geoff Barrow - What Do You Know - (3.66MB - 192 kbps - 44.1 kHz , Ben Salisbury & Geoff Barrow - What Do You Kno.mp3 ) Length: 2:39

You wake just moments before the plane approaches for landing, in time to see the dark gash of the makeshift airstrip in the snow ahead of you and, stretching into the horizon, the pale specter of the northern sea.
From so far up the land seems to pass seamlessly into the water, ice upon ice coming alive in a thousand shades of white and gray and though you've seen it a hundred times there's still something viscerally, frighteningly beautiful about the frozen landscape.
In the depth of January winter Oliktok Point is sunlit for less than an hour, pale warmth barely breaking cold so deep the ice seems to seep into the marrow of your bones. There is something- fleeting, yes, but present at the back of your mind, something disquieting about every arrival to the Arctic north- like an intrusion upon something not quite meant for you. Every structure is an interruption, a dark blot on the frozen marshes, covered in snow. Not hated, no. Simply unnecessary. Passing. What?
After a few days the feeling always fades, beaten into submission by the mundane troubles of rationing food and repairing radios and complaining about the cold- and yet, something lingers, perhaps just the completely rational knowledge that left outside you really would freeze to death. There's nothing wrong with that, though. A healthy amount of fear is good for the soul, isn't it?

The plane lands heavily, setting down on extended skis as it skids to a stop. Through the window you can see two figures, slighty too far away to make out their faces- one brown parka, furred hood pulled over their head, one green, hands tucked onto pockets- safely off to the side at the end of the airstrip. The taller one, dressed in brown, waves in your general direction and sets off briskly towards the plane, followed closely by their companion.
No. 910826 ID: 5d3ade

An aside: The sunrise for the timeline here should actually be sometime after noon, but I had already drawn the update image when I realised that,and was just too lazy to redraw it. In an effort to keep as much accuracy as possible in this respect all following days will have the proper sunrise/sunset times,which will be reflected in the art. I hope you'll forgive the error here, whoops.
No. 910831 ID: 094652

"So, how long until the scheduled end of the world?"
No. 910890 ID: 7efe6b

Wait until the pilots tell you to exit. Then go meet your welcoming party.

Technically, on Jan 3rd the sun is down all day long at Oliktok Point. It's only later, on Jan 19th that the sunrise/sunset cycle begins. Tbh, I didn't even notice any issues until you mentioned it so... I guess I don't care :P. We can say that in this alternate universe, the earth isn't as tilted as in real life.
No. 920746 ID: 73c479
File 154996137146.png - (392.74KB , 850x356 , 11upload1.png )

You get up and double-check that you have everything you brought with you. As you put on your coat the plane's engine winds down and you can hear; almost imperceptibly, the soft ti-chak as the metal cools.
The door separating the cockpit from the cargo hold cracks open and Barry comes in.
"You got everything okay? Good flight?" He asks as he sets to opening the main door to let you out of the plane.
"Yeah, thanks." You watch as he finally finishes unlocking the door, pushes it open, makes a satisfied noise and then immediately, loudly, sucks in air through his teeth as the temperature outside hits the inside of the plane like a shockwave.
"You'll forgive me if I don't walk you outside," Barry says, hopefully, as he unfolds the stairs down the side of the plane. "It must be, what, five degrees outside? Feels like less. Negative five." He rubs his hands together. "I fly out here every year for the past four years and I still can't get used to the temperature." He laughs. "Thank God for heated cockpits."
You nod in agreement, say something noncommittal, shake hands, lean in through the cockpit door to wave thank-you-and-goodbye to Mary, and then you're out into the snow. You manage to get maybe fifty feet before you hear Barry again, calling from the top of the steps. "Hey! Jackson, that right? Stay safe out there!"
You raise a hand in aknowledgement, call back thanks, and then you're off to meet the welcoming party.

The two people standing in the snow off to the side of the airstrip turn out to be a man in his... mid fourties, at a guess, wearing a brown parka, and an extremely bored-looking young woman with close-cropped hair and a drab military coat. The man steps forward to meet you as you approach, pulling down his hood. He looks pleasant, if exhausted and badly in need of a shave.
"Sorry we couldn't come down here to meet you properly," he says by way of greeting. "Would've brought a right welcoming party, but we've been a little..." He rubs his cheek with the back of a gloved hand. "A little out of sorts. Considering what happened." He makes a motion like he wants to shake hands, realises he's wearing gloves,comes- thank god- to the conclusion it's too cold to take them off. He crosses his arms awkwardly in front of him instead, and makes what appears to be a herculean effort to smile. There's a chunk missing from the eyebrow over his left eye. "Right. Sorry," he says. "We can introduce ourselves properly inside. In the meantime- I'm Arthur Bergstrom. Right. Doctor Bergstrom. You can call me Art. I'm in charge of this whole mess." He sighs. "And that over there's Ripley." He gestures to the woman, who seems completely satisfied to let him handle the situation. "Thanks for coming. Really." He tries to smile again, this time it seems a little less forced. He looks dead on his feet. "For what it's worth- welcome to Oliktok Point," Dr. Arthur Bergstrom says.
No. 920756 ID: 834378

Introduce yourself, shake their hands, thank them and tell him it's more than you expected. At least the weather is nice. Then suggest that everyone goes inside before talking about the incident.
No. 924185 ID: 73c479
File 155165143251.png - (201.55KB , 850x356 , 12upload1.png )

You relent and, despite the cold, remove your gloves so the two of you can shake hands. Bergstrom does likewise and accepts the gesture with a look of relief.

"Thanks," you say, social greeting rituals now more-or-less properly maintained. "It's more than I expected, anyway. And good thing for the weather up here too, huh? A little more snow and we might have had trouble touching down." Pause. You feel a little like neither of you quite knows what to say. "Oh, uh. Right." You should probably introduce yourself. "Doctor David Jackson," you say. "Just Jackson is fine though, that's what everyone calls me. Nice to meet you. "

Bergstrom- you haven't known him long enough to think of him as "Art"- nods slowly. There's a faded scar running through his upper lip, and he rubs at it absently with the back of his hand- the same motion as before, you realise, just clearer without the clunky mittens obscuring the gesture. "Jackson. Okay. Nice to meet you too," he says. And then, "Well, you're right about the weather, that's for sure. Been holding up unusually well this year." He hesitates. "Though I'd rather not jinx that just yet. I'm not sure how long it'll stay nice, and looking at our luck lately..."

His companion, who seems to have gotten bored with feigning disintrest in the conversation, sighs audibly. "You know you can talk about the weather once you're inside and not, say, freezing to death outside, right?," she says, then turns to face you directly. "Anyway. Since it looks like we're all doing introductions out here- like the boss-man said. I'm Ripley." She extends a hand in your direction. Her grip is solid and confident, and she meets your eyes for a moment with a small, curt nod. "Now, if we're done, I'm starting to get a little chilly here," she says. Clearly deciding that's enough shared information on her part, Ripley shoves her hands back into her pockets and looks around. "If you gentlemen will excuse me- I still need to check the hangar before it gets dark, so I might as well get going." She pauses. "Unless our guest here wants to come with me, I guess. I can show you around, give you a tour of the... facilities. Not that there's much to look at." She snorts, like there's something vaguely funny about that. "No sense in wasting daylight, I mean. Might as well."

You take a look in Bergstrom's direction- he seems to be the one in charge here, after all- and he shrugs. "Up to you," he says. "I'll be going back inside to the living quarters. You can always meet the rest of the crew later, so there's no real rush."
No. 924260 ID: 270774

might as well take a tour with ripley and get the lay of the land. i like her already.
No. 924261 ID: c1eaac

yeah yeah let's get the tour! and maybe get to know ripley.
No. 924549 ID: 834378

Gotta learn all the good hiding spots first I suppose.
No. 939991 ID: 73c479
File 156380276669.png - (422.01KB , 850x386 , camp1final.png )

“I’ll take the tour, if you don’t mind,” you say. “Might as well get a look around.”

Ripley nods. “Sounds good.” She rolls her shoulders, trying to warm up a little, putting herself back into motion. “The hangar’s the farthest south, so we’ll start with that, and then turn around back to the camp.” She turns to Bergstrom. “Think you’ll manage without me for ten minutes?”

He sighs, but gives her a tired smile. “I’ll try not to trip and die on the way back.”

“Great.” Ripley claps you on the shoulder, turning back in the direction of the airstrip. “Let’s go,” she says.

You walk east along the airstrip until it branches off southwards into a short road, the distance small enough that the silence between you doesn’t begin to feel awkward. The route’s been cleared of snow and the earth underneath is frozen solid, so getting to the hangar poses no problem. The metal structure sits at the end of an empty square of land that, like the road and the airstrip, is snow-free but unpaved. Looking south, it seems to be the furthest reach of the station- beyond, you can see nothing but snow, disturbed only in places by the darker spots of small, frozen lakes and shallow ponds.

As you head up to the building itself, Ripley pulls a set of keys out of her pockets, cursing quietly when the metal turns out to be freezing cold to the touch. You wonder if her lack of gloves is an aesthetic choice, or if maybe she just forgot.
No. 939992 ID: 73c479
File 156380282752.png - (331.03KB , 850x386 , hangar1final.png )

There’s a smaller door set into one wing of the hangar’s main doors, and Ripley begins to unlock the padlock holding it closed. It squeaks uncomfortably as she tries to get it to move, frozen solid against the sheet-metal door. “We have to make sure nothing’s gotten in there,” she explains. “We don’t have any planes at the moment, but Eichel’s been saying he saw fox tracks over here so we’re making sure nothing got inside and got stuck. Not much of a problem now, I guess, but if anything’s died in there I’d rather take care of it now rather than in the spring when it starts defrosting. ” She finishes with the lock and tugs on the door. With some resistance it swings open.

The hangar is dark, just barely warmer than the Alaskan wilderness outside. Your boots crunch on the rough concrete floor as you step inside, the sound amplified by the large, empty space and distant ceiling. Ripley’s breath clouds the air in front of her as she exhales, illuminated by the stray beam of light finding its way in through the small, high windows. “Huh,” she says. “Looks clear to me.”

The hangar really does seem to be empty as far as you can tell, save for a couple oil drums gathering dust in one of the corners at the far end. You follow Ripley into the center of the floor, where she pauses, arms crossed, and gives the space another once-over. “I don’t know,” she finally says, turning back to look at you. “I don’t see anything. If there aren’t any holes in the walls, maybe the locked doors were enough to keep them out.”
No. 939995 ID: 3d1dd5

Check near the drums or any other clutter in here. If something was sheltering in here it'd try to have made itself comfortable.
No. 940154 ID: 415370

It's possible to miss a curled up critter in the dim lighting in here if it's next to a oil drum or one of the wall studs. ...Though, if it's a fox it'd have its white winter fur coat, right? That'd show right up. Still, the both of you better sweep the nooks and crannies just to be sure. Check around and inside the oil drums and where the walls meet the floor. Look for holes and openings big enough for a critter to get in. Push any doors to check if there's a big enough gap under them or between them for a animal to get in. Wish you'd brought a flashlight. That'd help a lot in checking the dark areas.

Ask if they've had troubles in past winter months with foxes or other critters gettin' into the outbuildings, getting trapped and dying. Or them getting into the heated main buildings and causing trouble. Gnawing holes through the walls or eating food stores or suchlike.

Also ask why she isn't wearing any gloves. That seems like a invitation to frostbite around here.
No. 940297 ID: 58ee15

Tell her that she sounds disappointed. Did she found out that her secret stash of booze has been depleted or something?

Tell her why you're here, that you suspect an accident. Make it sound like you don't suspect any foul play. Does it ever get lonely around here? Could it have been suicide?

Thank her for allowing you on the tour and ask her if they got any better attractions.
No. 940565 ID: d46402

“Funny. I didn’t think there was something more interesting that a dead body. I wasn’t told pest control was a part of my duties.”

It wasn’t a deadpan joke but a plain and simple complaint. You don’t mean to be rude and she personally didn’t drag you here but you have a job to do and rather get it done.

Either way, you idly play with a crack in the concrete as if it were a potential fox saboteur secret passage. More likely just from the oppressive ice.
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