Part one June 1915- Antarctica
The Palomino Blue had finally reached its destination, Antarctica, and all inside the ship were thankful that they had arrived safely. Captain Jack Clegg-Welsh and his crew had driven the ship hard to reach the frozen lands and the team of scientists on board were busy making sure that their equipment and instruments were safely packed ready for transporting to the basecamp that had been used by a previous team of scientists.
Reports of seeing something buried in the ice during a flyover from the previous team had been reported and made headline news at the time. Professor Adrian Carmichael and his team were keen to get to Antarctica. The professor’s team members on board the Palomino Blue were, Professor Thomas Hedges, Doctor Ellie Dartford [ichthyologist], Peter Turner [Geologist] and Doctor Richard ‘Blackie’ Blackburn.
Set up in the basecamp the scientists began unpacking their equipment at once and utilised the end of the large living area as their research laboratory. Captain Clegg-Welsh and his crew remained on board the ship keeping in contact via the ship and basecamp radios. It was agreed that once the scientists had found what they were looking for, the captain and crew would give help if needed.
Professor Carmichael stood against the large wooden mantel of the roaring fire and addressed his team, “Okay team, now that we have set up our equipment, I think it would be a good idea to study the map of the area and with the help of the aerial photos we should be able to pinpoint the location of whatever it is that’s buried in the ice.”
Geologist Peter Turner picked up a long tube unscrewed the cap and pulled out a rolled map. Unrolling it he placed it on the long wooden table and placed empty coffee cups on the four corners of the map. Studying the map with the team, Turner began to look at the topography along with the aerial photos. Pointing to an area which lay around five miles to the east of the basecamp he said “I think this could be the area we are looking for as the area has a landscape of ridges and a flat surface of ten miles as they have in the photos.”
“Well done Peter, I think we should get ourselves ready for the task ahead. Tom, if you would like to join myself and Peter on the trek. Ellie and Blackie could you both stay here to man the radio and maybe cook up a big pot of stew for our return. We’ll just carry out a survey first to see just what it is buried out there and then decide on the next step.”
A couple of hours later found the team of three standing in the location that geologist Peter Turner had pinpointed on the map. The ridges on the map were high mountains which narrowed into a deep crevice a few miles out. Taking out a compass Turner informed his colleagues that they needed to walk another half mile or so to the area they were looking for. As they neared the area all sense of time seemed to stop, all was quiet with no sign of life anywhere. The needle of the compass spun crazily first clockwise then anti-clockwise, it seemed to be affected by whatever was buried in the ice. The team unhooked their ice picks and began to hack at the ice as they could all see a large long black object below them. “What in God’s name could it be?” Thomas Hedges asked as he paused for breath.
“I don’t know Tom, but if we are going to unearth it we will need the captain and his crew’s help to uncover it as it’s deeply buried.” Professor Carmichael replied also taking time out.
“I say chaps, there is something else over here and it’s smaller than what we’re trying to unearth. It looks like some kind of capsule.” Turner commented as he held the compass over it. “I’d say it’s the same kind of material as the compass is going crazy again. Let’s try and dig this out first.”
Hours later the three-man team returned to basecamp, cold but excited with what they had unearthed in the ice. Too excited to eat anything the team looked at the large oval shaped capsule of which they had laid on the long table. Its material was a metal they had not seen before and there didn’t appear to be any way of opening the strange object. “Right let’s have some of that delicious smelling stew Ellie and I think a glass of brandy each wouldn’t go amiss to warm us up. I will radio the ship and tell them of our find and of the larger object still buried out there.” Professor Carmichael said rubbing his cold hands as he walked to the open fire for warmth.
“A large object you say, and you need our help tomorrow to try and uncover it?” Captain Clegg-Welsh responded after listening to the professor telling him what they had found in the ice. “Okay that’s not a problem professor we can pack the second sledge with digging tools and get to the basecamp around seven am. I’ll see you in the morning sir.”
As the night wore on the team made their way to their beds except for Professor Carmichael, he was intrigued by the ominous oval shaped object. His thought process was that the larger object buried in the ice was some kind of ship and that the smaller object was possibly part of the ship that could have been ejected from the larger one. But why and where on earth did it come from. He sat and thought about the object, the heat of the fire making him drowsy until at last, his tired mind and body gave way to sleep.
As the sun began to appear it brought light to the snowy landscape, the 485-ton ship, the ‘Palomino Blue’ was a hive of activity. The captain was barking out orders to his crew and had first mate Harvey Donnelly ensure that all the tools were packed on the sledge and that the dogs were fed before they set off. Prior to setting off Captain Clegg-Welsh radioed the basecamp several times, but got no response. Concerned that he couldn’t raise the science team he now hurried his crew into action. “Right lads, I don’t seem to be able to raise the science team at basecamp, they may be already at the site, but surely they would leave someone to man the radio. Let’s get moving, basecamp first and if they’re not there, we’ll follow the coordinates the professor gave me last night.”
Arriving at the basecamp the captain and his crew found the main door was wide open and a sense of dread hung heavy in the bleak landscape. Taking out his revolver Clegg-Welsh moved towards the open doorway, “Steady now men, I don’t like the look of this at all. Have your guns ready just in case.” As he entered the building he couldn’t believe his eyes, the large living area was a mess, tables overturned, lab equipment smashed, but no sign of life. He motioned first mate Donnelly to check the other rooms with two men. On their return, Donnelly informed his captain that the other rooms were a mess as well. “What in hell has happened here, and where the hell are the scientists?” As they looked around the wrecked living area they came across an oval shaped metallic object on the floor that looked as if it had been unscrewed. A green slime oozed from within the capsule and in the distance screams could be heard.