Archeological Team: Members from the top 5 European Universities who specialize in or are brave enough to enter the North American badlands.
Location: A dry, dusty area in Central WA, along the ancient Yakima River.
Evidence shows a small city was once located here.
Goal: Determine what caused the Event.
Objective: Find and excavate the dwelling owned by someone named Grantbo.
Area Hazards: Some lingering radiation from the event, but nothing much to worry about so far from the various ground zero’s. Evidence of the super-plague is easy to discern yet isn’t a concern since it died out long ago. No live viruses have been detected by orbital scans.
Persistent rumors that the great cleansing of 2012 originated in this area have dogged Dr. Zon since he was a small child in the 5th grade. The reason why so much of North America was wiped clean from the face of the Earth is largely unknown. The radiation, the super-plague that caused people eyes and glands to suddenly bulge then explode is common knowledge. So is the mass die off of both plant as well as animal life throughout not only the region but the entire continent. What caused such a massive landmass to suddenly die off is unknown. There were no survivors.
Rumors, more like legends really, have floated around for more than 1400 years as to what really happened. Some say there was a nuclear war. Those people are uneducated feebs Dr. Zon thought. All planetary weapons were accounted for after the Event.
Other feebs speculated the old USA nuked itself; or that a terrorist did it. More nonsense. Intact records from other countries from that time disprove this theory. So what happened? And why? Dr. Zon entered the field of archeology for one reason, to solve the mystery of the Event.
While a college underclassman at the ripe old age of 19 Zon had no real idea what he wanted to do in life. He was taking general education courses at the University, but mostly just smoking weed and drinking beer with his friends.
While researching a class paper on how social networking got it’s beginning before the Event, he ran into something startling.
Zon had plugged in the computer cable to his mastoid implant. As his mind floated though the vast quantities of information he decided to take an information thread others in his class weren’t likely to take. Sure he was trying to get this project done as quickly and efficiently as he could, but he didn’t want his paper (piece) to sound like everyone else’s.
He saw a thread as thin as a hair leading off to who knows where, which intrigued him so he took it. His mind let the flow of information and energy wash over him as he went deeper and deeper into the recesses of all known information.
Back in those days the US Government was tracking quite a bit of information via the Echelon system. It enabled them to gobble up all phone, fax, computer and satellite information being transmitted around the world. The records from that target time frame are mostly complete, from 1/2008 up until 9/3/2012 when the Event occurred. Zon was just amazed that these records survived at all. The computer systems from back then were pretty primitive, after all. He let his young mind drill deeper into the maze of information, taking threads so thin he almost couldn’t see them with his mind’s eye.
Zon then found the Echelon security protocol hidden on a wire transfer that was made on a cell phone call. Zon easily broke the 45 digit encrypted code (this is 3445 after all), which revealed this message: 9/3/2012 11:34 am, ‘Grantbo is unstoppable; threat level has been raised to Alpha #1. All attempts to eliminate him have failed. He is currently hidden in his bunker located in the basement of his house. We know he can’t get out since our air strike fused the blast door to the concrete frame. We need immediate authority to launch a nuclear strike on his location. We are almost out of time. We must, MUST strike NOW!!’
Wow! Zon thought, this message happened on the very day of the Event! Did this have something to do with it? So Zon dove deeper into the swirling mass of information to find even more. Zon then started to look for Grantbo’s smart phone information package. He knew that every call, text or anything else Grantbo ever did on that device would have been recorded by the Echelon system.
Zon probed deeper until he found it. Starting to sweat he pushed aside the firewalls to the information globe. As he opened the file it simply evaporated like mist to a strong wind. He saw a wisp still lingering so he focused his mind on it. Zon forced his way into the mist of information where he found the remnant of a voice memo from the devices’ internal journal.
SmartPhone Date 8/1/2012-This is Grantbo: Wow the Event is beginning!! I just saw what looks lik…..
Zon’s head nearly exploded. Such was the jolt of the shock wave that coursed through his body from the depths of the system. The computer’s safeties fired at about that point, which saved Zon’s life. What the heck happened? He then screamed no, nooooooooo!!!!
Zon tried to retrace his steps though the computer information system for the next 2 years without success. He was never able to find his way back, not even close.
Zon did get one thing however. When the shockwave entered his mind the numbers 121585-F883FOR009-4477310165G A1 left a permanent impression; the carrier code of Grantbo’s phone.
Zon eventually became Dr. Zon. Dr. Zon knew, deep down, that he could solve the mystery of the Event. He had the one piece of knowledge that would lead him to the answer. All he had to do was find Grantbo: Or more precisely Grantbo’s smart phone. He just ‘knew’ it still existed. If his bunker hadn’t been hit directly by the energies of the Event, it was likely to have survived.
Dr. Zon also knew that his government would never allow him to go into the badlands of the North America unless he had a very good reason. So Dr. Zon spent 35 years becoming the greatest Archeologist of his day. With such credentials he could insist on an expedition to find the answer. His ace in the hole was carrier code. All he now needed was the phone.
Present day 6/12/3445, Dr. Zon with his team of nearly 120 people were using their sensors over a scrub and rocks to find the outlines of the ancient foundations.
It didn’t take long for the searchers to find the dwellings mailbox. The rusted shell still had the outline of the address and owner. Grantbo was clearly visible, no scanner needed to verify this one. Dr. Zon was simply elated.
The search continued. The foundation of a dwelling was quickly discovered. Excavation began in earnest. 6 days later diggers removed enough dirt to get into the basement. The next day they found the blast door.
It took the team another 2 days to get into the hidden bunker. They never did get the blast door opened. It had sealed itself to the concrete and steel superstructure. A more detailed examination showed that a large blast wave caused the door to flex into its housing. They eventually had to dig down next to the entrance tunnel then bore into the structure. It was a pain in the ass.
6/22/3445, 8:01 am: Dr. Zon stood in the bunker wearing his has-mat suit. The bunker was small, maybe 10’ X 15’ with 7’ ceilings. It had been cut into the living rock. In one corner was a bed with a human skeleton on it. He figured it was probably a male from the bone structure.
Green and purple light fell from the device Dr. Zon held. It detected then determined his age upon death as somewhere between 260-280 years old. Dr. Zon hit the side of the scanner a few times. What wrong with this thing he thought? Another scan came up with the same result. Huh?
Ordering more scans from different devices confirmed the age of this human. How can that be, people only lived about 75 years back then?
The skeleton held a Glock 17 in his right hand. Most of his skull was scattered over the edge of the bed as well as stuck to the wall. An empty cartridge was found on the floor.
Shifting attention to the rest of the room they found lots of shelves, small table, a chair, and a trunk. The items seemed ordinary. Cans of food (both full and empty), porto-potty, water jug, plates, cups, a lamp, a pair of glasses and a bowl, were scattered around. Dr. Zon wondered how people could get by using such primitive technology.
One of the assistants called Dr. Zon over to the bed. Pointing under the mattress he found a small plastic box. Using his anti-grave technology he retrieved it from the dust. Dr. Zon dared not touch it, lest he drop the thing. The tension of a lifetime flooded his nervous system creating a bad case of fumble fingers.
Dr. Zon ordered his assistant to open the box. Under howls of protest from both collogues in addition to the other professionals who were watching the action via a communication link, he forced the issue. His assistant used a light probe to gently pry open the delicate lid. Inside sat a complex metallic key and a smartphone.
Dr. Zon sat down hard on the chair which immediately disintegrated.
6/22/3445, 6:49 pm: Dr. Zon was lying face down on an auto-med healing cot (field, military grade). It took a while for the medic to remove the long wooden splinter out of his butt cheeks. Just as well he got hurt when he did. The heart attack he suffered just about then would’ve killed him if he didn’t get immediate medical attention.
6/23/3445, 9:01 am: Dr. Zon was all ok after spending 12 hours in the automatic healer pod. Damn was he glad they brought along the device. He knew he’d have to watch what he ate in the future so as not to have this problem again. Technology, you gotta love it.
In front of him on the table was the smart phone. A technician determined that the power supply had been exhausted. He rigged a remote non-invasive charger to trickle in the power for it. After scanning the device he figured it was in good enough shape to fire up. Only with it alive would they be able to get any data from it.
As the technician was about push the power button he asked Dr. Zon about the men we lost?
What Dr. Zon didn’t know was that behind a false wall in the back of the bunker was a metal door. A couple of his subordinates used the key from the box to open the lock. When the door was pushed opened they were sucked into a sea of inky blackness. The door closed with a great thump.
Rescuers immediately rushed to the men’s aid with the same result. Replay from their helmet cams were useless in revealing what happened to them. Scans were performed to see what was on the other side of the door, without success. They found that when any electronic device got to within 3’ of the door it would lose power. The robot they were going to use was now useless.
6/23/3445, 5:30 pm: Dr. Zon looked at the smartphone wondering if it would reveal the secrets he so desperately sought. The men he lost weren’t that much a concern for him since his focus, no, his obsession was to download the code from his mind into the device via his mastoid implant. He needed to know.
6/24/3445, 10:01 am: Dr. Zon finally got his other collogues to move this investigation along. They dared not open the door again lest they lose more good people. Dr. Zon convinced them that the answers they seek may be on the smart phone. The technician turned it on.
As the device started up the image of a 50 something wearing the glasses in the same style that was found on the table. It became obvious that the picture they were looking at was the owner, the guy on the bed. The readout was quickly analyzed and translated: Grantbo’s phone.
Dr. Zon could scarcely breathe, let alone talk or really do anything other than just stare at the image. Grantbo, I’ve found you.
6/27/3445, 2:03 pm: Dr. Zon was about as pissed as he has ever been. The technician, with all of his fancy dancy technology hasn’t been able to gain access to the voice journal. Sure, they pulled out phone numbers, contact names, call logs and even when the cell system stopped working: 9/3/2012, 11:59:59. They determined from the GPS everywhere Grantbo had traveled with it since the device was first turned on. Grantbo’s entire life was clearly outlined in 5 minutes increments.
In one of the text messages sent to a virtual blind drop box, it said only, “I have the key.”
Dr. Zon ordered his tech to hook him up to the device. “Do it now!!!!”
His collogues were VERY reluctant to let him, not knowing what the ancient artifact could do to him. Dr. Zon would wouldn’t take no for an answer.
4:16 pm: The interface was successful. Dr. Zon now had direct access into the device. Damn, this thing is primitive. He again wondered how humans survived at all with such technology.
Dr. Zon dumped into the device the one thing he could never ever forget, the code: 121585-F883FOR009-4477310165G A1.
In his mind’s eye he could see the connection thread that led to the voice journal’s memory buffer. He opened the buffer, and then opened his mind.
SmartPhone Date 2/5/2012-This is Grantbo: ‘This is my first voice journal entry. Damn these things are really cool! My dear wife finally convinced me to upgrade from my 1999 cell phone. I didn’t want to since it worked just fine. Anyway, I’ve got this thing now. It’s got so many functions I’ll never learn them all. Now what button do I hit for ‘Angry Birds’?’
SmartPhone Date 2/18/2012-This is Grantbo: ‘The bunker under the house is almost completed. I only need to go another 6” on the back wall to get the size just right. It’s taken me 3 years to dig the thing by hand. The tough part was getting rid of the dirt and rock without my neighbors finding out.’
SmartPhone Date 2/25/2012-This is Grantbo: ‘I hit something very hard at the back of the bunker. I scraped away some debris and found a sheet metal.’
SmartPhone Date 2/26/2012-This is Grantbo: ‘I took the day off from work today to find out what was down there. It took me nearly 4 hours to chip out the outline of the metal sheet. It turns out to be a door! I even found a key sitting on the top of the door jam. I’ll open it tomorrow.’
SmartPhone Date 2/27/2012-This is Grantbo: ‘I made it out, alive. I almost can’t believe it. Something is really wrong with me. When I opened the door…’
Just then Dr. Zon lost his connection with the SmartPhone. His tempered flared at the technician. He was then told the bunker door opened! Our men came back through.
A few hours later Dr. Zon was looking down the entrance tunnel into the bunker. A bit of smoke continued to gently rise out of it. He was still numb at the events that just took place. It was hard to believe he has ordered that the bunker be flushed with fire. His men’s screams still echoed in his mind.
The 4 men came back through very much alive but blind since their eyeballs had burst. Their glands were clearly inflamed, ready to blow out any moment. Dr. Zon couldn’t let that horror release into an unsuspecting world so he ordered his team to flood the bunker with fire, incinerating the men.
Dr. Zon’s colleagues called for the immediate closing of the bunker with compressed concrete. He refused; he’s just too close to the answer to just stop now.
7/2/3445, 6:12 am: It had taken awhile but he finally convinced his collogues as well as the controlling governmental agencies to hold off on closing the site. He agreed to suspend excavations for now as long as he could further research the SmartPhone for clues as to what happened. Reluctantly the powers that controlled access agreed. The army soon showed up to enforce this agreement.
7/2/3445, 2:52 pm: Dr. Zon’s mind was reconnected to Grantbo’s SmartPhone:
SmartPhone Date 2/26/2012-This is Grantbo: ‘I made it out, alive. I almost can’t believe it. Something is really wrong with me. When I opened the door an inky blackness reached out and grabbed me. The next thing I knew I was sucked through the door.
Every nerve in my body screamed in pain. It felt like someone using sandpaper on my entire body all at once. When I could finally see something I found myself in a dark cave with a cobble stone floor and high ceilings.
After a little while a guy walked in from behind a screen on the back wall; he called himself Dr. Zon.
Dr. Zon proceeded to tell me that…’
7/2/3445, 10:02 pm: Dr. Zon had finished listening to Grantbo’s memo journal. He disconnected himself from the link, sitting for a few moments to gather his thoughts, and to stop the tremors that were about to engulf him.
Dr. Zon walked out of the prefab tent into the open air of the summer evening. He walked over to a campfire which was surrounded by relaxing colleagues and technicians. They smiled at him. They asked what he had learned.
Dr. Zon walked over to the campfire still holding the Smartphone. He dropped it in. There was a collective gasp at what they just witnessed.
Dr. Zon reached into his pocket, fumbled for a moment then extracted his personal security device (an energy weapon). He put it to his head, but before he pushed the fire button Dr. Zon spoke to those around him, “I am the Event.”
The energy beam vaporized his head.
9/28/3448, 6:02 pm: The medical team was very very lucky. As it turns out the time he had spent in the automatic healer provided all the critical synapse information needed to bring this clone fully back to life. They determined that memory retention was close to 45% overall and nearly 99% from the last 5 years of his life. The last 10 or so days before his untimely death were not recorded, bummer.
The medical technician pushed the revived button. In a few minutes the clone opened his eyes.
Dr. Zon smiled.