Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The North is Endless

This is something much more likely to see the light of day than "Now." It's a found account story, partly inspired by a spellcheck slip, "the north is endless," and partly by creating wanting to create a polar-opposite of At the Mountains of Madness. This is part one. You probably won't get other bits.

Preliminary note

The following is a transcript of a recording discovered in [Redacted] University Audio Library. The recording was made using a 1980s-standard Dictaphone.

Day One

Voice: Boarded the plane... waiting to take off... this is the audio log of Staff Sargeant Crane of the 821st Air Base Group, Thule, Greenland. I am... [inaudible] I'm recording an entry... It's a lovely day, April 23rd... 10:10am and the sun is shining... I'm accompanied by Airman Danforth... [inaudible] Sorry! Senior Airman Danforth...


Danforth: Hi.

Crane: Only temporarily demoted, He will be our pilot. Co-pilot is Airman Dyer… Who is not speaking… also Flight Engineer Rasmussen of the Danish Royal Airforce...

Rasmussen: Hello.

Crane: And Doctor Ross, accompanying us from the National Weather Service... 

Ross: That's me.

Crane:  I am Commanding Officer of the Search and Rescue team leading an expedition from the Thule base to locate and if needs be contain a reported anomaly several hundred miles into the interior of the mainland, the details of which are still being established but the essentials are 1) intermittent but frequent radio signals of unknown origins accompanied by 2) less frequent bursts of radiation, visible in the night sky from 23:19 hours yesterday as flashes on the horizon. Prior to this expedition two satellite passes were unable to locate and engage the source of the anomaly, detailed briefing is to follow. We are proceeding in a Cessna light aircraft with 20 days of food and supplies and around 200 hours of fuel. I do not anticipate being on the ice-field for that long.


Crane: We are approximately ten minutes into our flight. Thule Base is receding... Up in front is the ice-field. There is about three and a half hours of daylight left... This is... This is a truly vast country... The far north... You can only really appreciate how... endless it seems... the sense of it from the air... Broken only by occasional hills… Every time I see the uplands... All is well. We will begin triangulating the signal shortly.


Crane: It’s now approximately fifty-five minutes after take-off and we are making great progress. We are currently receiving the anomalous radio signals loud... if not clear. You might be able to [a mixture of static, tonal sounds and voices] How soon did we begin receiving?

Ross: Almost immediately. The signal has been more or less consistent.

Crane: What about the radiation?

Ross: Nothing much really, it's all, uh... oh, there's a spike.

Crane: Is it dangerous?

Ross: It's hard to tell at this range. We are still several hundred miles away, bearing east-northeast. 


Ross: Here, listen...

Metallic grinding and animal sounds, akin to roaring.


Crane: End of day one, almost. 18:25pm. We have made camp; about to report to base... The, uh, location of the anomaly has been narrowed down to a twenty mile radius. We expect to... It's odd that the intercept planes were not able to locate... whatever this is. I suppose it will all come out in the briefing... This is not our usual mission… I'm looking at the eastern horizon. There are flashes in the long twilight, maybe one every few minutes... They're not regular. They come in several colours. We have seen white, red, green and indigo. Wind is gusting considerably, short blasts from the uplands. It is unclear whether this is connected to the emissions… Rasmussen is here.

Rasmussen: Lucas.

Crane: What?

Rasmussen: Please, call me Lucas.

Crane: Ok, um, so, Lucas, why’re you here?

Rasmussen: I volunteered.

Crane: But, [inaudible] motive-wise…?

Rasmussen: I’m sorry I don’t…?

Crane: What prompted [inaudible due to wind] volunteer?

Rasmussen: Curiosity, I guess; that and the pay. I work at the base [inaudible] civilian engineer. If all goes well…

Prolonged gusts of wind hit. Mostly inaudible except for occasional fragments, e.g. ‘get inside’ or ‘secure the tents.’

Voice: Unknown flying object was spotted 22:55 hours, altitude approximately 2,000 metres, bearing east-northeast a controlled arc at an estimated speed of 440mph. Command Control attempted to contact the object but was unsuccessful. The object disappeared after seventeen seconds. At 23:10 Command Control began receiving a radio signal on standard USAF distress frequency. Signal was largely unclear but some variety of English. No American or Allied craft is known to be lost. Russians currently deny any involvement. Unable to pinpoint location via satellite pass. Intermittent radiation bursts began at 23:19, high-energy, electromagnetic radiation, largely directed upwards. Bursts continue to be detected. Please repeat: over.

Crane repeats message.

Crane: [Whispering – wind noises in background] Early morning now, let’s see, 3.19am. Gusts of wind have been intermittent but frequent. Thank goodness for the snow-wall we built. It’s difficult to get much sleep though the others seem to be… Keep trying. The sound has an unusual quality, akin to howling.

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