Kick the Bucket

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Chapter Three

Building Three

Fourth Floor

Conference Room 2 / Vault Four Control Room

Audio log: 1993.10.7 / 1350 through 1612 hours

Excerpt duration: 1 hour 23.5 minutes

Eyes only.

Duplication or removal of this transcription from archive strictly prohibited.

Participants:

[1] Colonel James P. Forrest …................ US ARMY

[2] Captain Quincy Unis …...................... US ARMY Judge Advocate General’s Corps

[3] Able Hartman …................................ US Central Intelligence Agency

[4] Doctor Donald Everette PhD …......... Director of Building Three Science laboratory

[5] Counter Admiral Sergey Vasiliev …... Russian Navy – Baltic Fleet

[6] Oleg Mikhailov …............................. Dean of Moscow State Mining University

[7] Natasha Semenov ….......................... SVR Russian Foreign Intelligence Service

[8] Yugoslav Belinky …........................... FSB Russian Federal Security Service

FSB (Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation

SVR (External Intelligence Service)

Transcriber’s note: Fourteen minutes of belligerent, repetitive, and extremely loud accusations directed towards [1] by [5] [6] and [7] were removed from this transcription for the purpose of clarity.

See appendix #1 to view excised material.

Colonel James P. Forrest: How many ways do you people want me to say the same damned thing?! Neither the United States, its armed forces, our NATO allies, or the freakin’ Boy Scouts, created, deployed, or directed the actions that LENGTHY EXPLETIVE DELETED thing took against your dig site on Yamal Peninsula and the Alakurtti Air base!*

Considering how there’s never been any confirmed ... thing ... activity reported outside our country, and how childishly you’re acting right now, I’m not surprised my superiors thought it best to keep them a secret. Count your lucky stars this is the first time you’ve had to deal with one!

* Footnote: 1

See enclosed maps and satellite photographs of Yamal Peninsula and Alakurtti Air base before and after incident.

Oleg Mikhailov: If not from your imperialistic warmongering military industrial complex, where did it come from?!

Colonel James P. Forrest: Do you really want me to explain where meteorites come from ... for the third time?!

Doctor Donald Everette: With your permission, Colonel. I’ll take it from here.

Colonel James P. Forrest: Be my guest.

Doctor Donald Everette: Greetings, I’m Doctor Everette. I’m the director of all scientific inquiries conducted at Building Three. Unfortunately, a frustratingly large portion of my duties revolves around finding new and scientifically novel ways to justify a budget that has produced few tangible results. In essence, nothing has changed significantly in regards to our understanding of what these ... things ... are, or how best to deal with them since our first encounter almost four decades ago.

Oleg Mikhailov: You must have learned something?

Doctor Donald Everette: Yes indeed, Mr. Mikhailov. They are supremely dangerous, utterly mindless, and implacably aggressive. Given the opportunity, that ... thing ... on the other side of the window behind me would quickly turn us into protoplasmic goo.

It would shortly thereafter break down what’s left beyond the detection range of any instrument we possess, and repeat this activity indefinitely on any multi-cellular organism it can perceive within range of its senses ... the nature, function, and scope of which has never been discovered.

Trust me. Until you see what they can do in person, the phrase ‘a bad way to go’ is meaningless.

Natasha Semenov: I have a question too, Doctor Everette.

Doctor Donald Everette: Please go ahead, Mrs. Semenov.

Natasha Semenov: As you probably can tell from my accent, English isn’t my first language, but even I can detect a distinct strain in your tone and phraseology. Are you trying to be deceptive? Both you and Captain Forrest keep using the ‘thing’ designation. Shouldn’t it be ... Blob, Blobs, or The Blob?

Doctor Donald Everette: Someone has been watching decadent 50s American horror movies I see.

I was indeed hoping this topic didn’t come up, and it’s not because of any duplicity on my part. Prior to your arrival, Captain Forrest and I flipped a coin. I lost. What follows next is the orientation speech given to military personnel posted to this complex. For my benefit more than yours, and in the interest of saving time, I will try to distill it down to areas of interest that are most relevant to your presence here.

Frankly, after having given this speech so many times, I’ve begun to do it in my sleep.

So please feel free to ask me again when I’m done, okay? Otherwise we’ll be here until midnight if I stop and start too many times.

Here goes ... Greetings. This is Building Three. It is, just like the other four buildings located behind the walls and watchtowers you passed to get here, dedicated to the safe containment and disposal of nuclear, chemical, biological, and other hazardous materials.

That is near absolute truth, by the way. The only lie is one of omission: Everyone working in this particular building is actually dedicated to a single task: getting rid of these ... things ... with extreme prejudice.

Oleg Mikhailov: What do the other buildings deal with?*

* Footnote: 2

Inventory and current projects lists available to Level Two clearance personnel only.

Doctor Donald Everette: The usual, Mr. Mikhailov. Leftovers of the Cold War. Items like weaponized viruses, bacteria, and chemicals that were confiscated by our military and intelligence services from one whacko nation or another. Medical waste that laughs at any antibiotic or vaccine ever created; and the occasional lab experiment cooked up by microbiology majors when their professors aren’t looking.

They also provide great cover for our existence, too. Not a single reporter has ever accepted our frequent invitations to inspect our numerous bio-hazard containment laboratories, or toxic waste depositories.

I continue ... Your superiors, in whichever branch of the armed forces you hail from, assigned you here to serve our nation, and its citizens, by guarding this complex from any enemy wishing us harm. They choose you because you are the best. I hope ... I know ... we can count on you! Now please report to the building shown on your folder for more detailed orientation and bunk assignments. Everyone with red flagged travel papers please remain seated. Dismissed!

Excellent! Now please open your folder and examine the top photograph. That ... thing ... in the bucket is what you’re here to protect the United States from. It has the potential to destroy this building, and everyone in it, if it escapes confinement. Your job is to make sure that never happens, and to retrieve any found outside these walls before incalculable damage is done to our nation and its citizens.

Your commanding officer, Colonel James P. Forrest, is waiting downstairs to initiate your orientation, issue bunk assignment, and schedule instruction times for specialized training courses over the next few weeks. DISMISSED!!

Counter Admiral Sergey Vasiliev: What is your attrition rate, Doctor?

Doctor Donald Everette: Currently quite modest, Admiral. In the beginning, before Building Three came into being, it was appalling*. Even today ... err accidents do happen. Our only effective weapon against these ... things ... is extreme cold. No matter how well trained, we ask our soldiers a great deal to go about their duties with cylinders of liquid nitrogen strapped to their backs.

* Footnote: 3

See appendix 23 for figures pertaining to on-base casualties and injuries reported since Building Three began full operation.

See appendix 24 for figures pertaining to off-base casualties and injuries reported since Building Three began full operation.

See appendix 25 for figures pertaining to, when known, of civilian deaths and cleanup results since Building Three began full operation.

Doctor Donald Everette: Almost done...

Oleg Mikhailov: Excuse me, Doctor Everette. Before you continue...

Doctor Donald Everette: Yes? What is it?

Oleg Mikhailov: You actually do that?

Doctor Donald Everette: Do what, Mr. Mikhailov? Have no idea that you’re referring to.

Oleg Mikhailov: All you did is show these soldiers is a photograph? And on that laughable evidence they will lay down their lives to protect this country from a bucket of frozen grease?

Doctor Donald Everette: I do, and they have. The men I give this speech to are volunteers drawn from elite units throughout our armed forces. I know it’s not grammatically correct, but they are literally beyond the best of the best. Compared to the combat horrors they’ve already endured, what they experience here will barely qualify as a discomforting memory in their old age ... if they ever have one. They will do their duty to our country no matter the cost to me, you, or themselves.

Oleg Mikhailov: Without question?

Doctor Donald Everette: No. If I told them to break into your bedroom in Moscow and drown you in a bathtub full of melted cheese, they’d likely ask what brand to use. I have a fondness for Velveeta.

Colonel James P. Forrest: Doctor!

Doctor Donald Everette: Sorry, Colonel. I’m overdue for my nacho break. Is there anything else, Mr. Mikhailov?

Oleg Mikhailov: No ... please continue.

Doctor Donald Everette: Before anyone asks ... and someone always does ... after decades of extremely expensive and insanely dangerous research, no one has yet proved that these ... things ... are in fact individual entities, possess any recognizable chemical makeup, are alive in any true sense of the word, or have any toxic qualities beyond utterly destroying any carbon-based life-form they encounter.

All done! Mrs. Semenov? I believe you have a question.

Natasha Semenov: I’d still like to know why you and Captain Forrest are so reticent to use the “Blob” designation. Is it a secret of some sort?

Doctor Donald Everette: If truth be known, it’s exactly the opposite. That name is the brainchild of the late Captain...

Colonel James P. Forrest: Doctor ... that information is not relevant.

Doctor Donald Everette: Understood ... Building Three gradually came into existence after our first skirmish with one these ... things ... in 1957.

After that horrendous experience, the Pentagon tasked the officer who successfully contained it with creating a covert rapid response force to deal with future encounters, to eliminate any evidence of what happened, and, in the interest of avoiding civilian panic, to craft a cover story that’ll make any future reports of ... thing ... existence untouchable by the media for all time.

In other words … just another typical day in the army chain of command.

With a starting budget that wouldn’t open a hamburger joint today, he commandeers a barracks empty since the end of World War II, and procures whatever equipment he can beg, borrow, or steal from the host base. He carefully fills it with a handful of trusted officers and troops drawn from his prior command, and starts working on the next two items left on his to-do list.

The solution to the second problem, namely making a town filled with hundreds of nonexistent corpses vanish, was fairly straightforward and quickly became standard procedure in subsequent cleanup operations; he blew up and incinerated everything in sight.

Aided by the remoteness of the area, and the limited communication infrastructure available at that time, he derails and detonates a ‘misplaced’ runaway cargo train hauling cars filled with fuel and other flammable industrial chemicals in the middle of the town. The explosion and subsequent conflagration essentially erases what little remains standing.

The unfortunate lose of the majority of his troops is explained as an unfortunate consequence of an even larger secondary explosion; one that occurs while they were heroically attempting to evacuate the town-folk and battle the fire.

Natasha Semenov: Fire doesn’t destroy everything. What about the immediate area?

Doctor Donald Everette: It’s what we’d call a Super-Fund toxic cleanup site today. Remote monitoring, barbed wire fencing, and ‘Highly Dangerous Cancer-Causing Chemicals Present! Enter at your own risk!’ signage works wonders keeping souvenir hunters and the media out.

I know it sounds drastic, but we simply didn’t know how rare they were at the time. For all we knew there were dozens of meteorites buried beneath the town.

Natasha Semenov: Wouldn’t the deception unravel if a soil or water analysis comes back negative?

Doctor Donald Everette: It won’t.

Counter Admiral Sergey Vasiliev: How did he ‘contain it’?

Doctor Donald Everette: Purely by accident. Along with a handful of survivors, he was trying to flee the town. The ... thing ... got aboard their vehicle and the driver lost control. The deuce-and-a-half crashed into a meatpacking plant, and landed upside down inside a deep-freeze warehouse large enough to fill a couple dozen refrigerated railroad cars. It got trapped underneath the wreckage and couldn’t escape before the cold stopped it.

Moving on ... the answer to the third, and final problem, arrives the next morning after a fortuitous casual telephone conversation with his brother-in-law living in California.

That unnamed individual owned a very profitable chain of drive-in-cinemas. He was overjoyed on how much money he was making showing cheaply produced Hollywood films to satisfy the then-current UFO and monster movie craze. Films that were filling his theaters to capacity every night with no end in sight.

Inspiration stuck that very evening when Captain ... HA! FOOLED YOU!!

Colonel James P. Forrest: Very funny. I asked you to take your medication before this meeting. Did you forget?

Doctor Donald Everette: Maybe ... yeah, I did. I kinda zoned out during my midday jog around the maze and forgot about the time.

Oleg Mikhailov: What is this ... maze ... you speak of, doctor?

Doctor Donald Everette: An abandoned architectural legacy of a failed line of inquiry used for exercise and storage today. Sub-level two was turned into a giant maze in the late 80s. A behaviorist working here at the time wanted to prove Blobs weren’t completely mindless; that they possess a measurable degree of memory and conscious motivation. In the end, all he proved was how important cardio and not getting trapped in a dead end is when dealing with these ... things.

The final score: thing one, scientist zero.

Counter Admiral Sergey Vasiliev: The activities of ‘Building Three’ have been a high priority secret of the United States government and military for decades. Please explain why you take such risks, Doctor Everette. Why would scientists, such as yourself, who can never expect to publish a single word of their research, risk life and limb around these ... things?

Doctor Donald Everette: Your countryman, Mr. Mikhailov, is a scientist. Why don’t you ask him if he’d want to work here, Admiral?

Counter Admiral Sergey Vasiliev: Oleg?

Oleg Mikhailov: Like you Americans say ... in a heartbeat! There’s no such thing as a permanent secret, Admiral Vasiliev. Whether tomorrow or a century from now, what is stored here will be known to the world. The names of every researcher connected to the discovery of extraterrestrial life ... or whatever they are ... will go down in history alongside the giants of science! I’d mop floors and clean test-tubes for the rest of my life just to get the immortality of an honorable mention!

Doctor Donald Everette: Enthusiastic little Ruskie, isn’t he?

Colonel James P. Forrest: Doctor! Manners! And don’t think I forgot. Take your pill.

Doctor Donald Everette: Without coffee?

Colonel James P. Forrest: There’s a jug of water in front of you. Use it!*

* Footnote: 4

Doctor Donald Everette is authorized and instructed by Building Three medical staff to take two 40 mg Prozac tablets daily for abatement of post-stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Dosage is not to exceed 80 mg per day without proper authorization. And, until further notice, Doctor Everette is to undergo biweekly mental evaluations with the on-site psychologist during the remainder of his stay.

Footnote: 4a

Enclosed copy of alert notice posted to all security personnel: Unless in transit to his next duty station, Doctor Everette is confined to Building Three. No exceptions to this standing order will be allowed. Use of force, up to and including lethal force, is hereby authorized by Colonel Forrest.

Doctor Donald Everette: Spoil sport! Getting back on track ... again ... our first commanding officer sat down at his Underwood De Luxe typewriter, as he did most evenings, to put his plan in action. He was, by all accounts, a highly educated individual with an abiding passion for Shakespeare.

As a member of a long-disbanded writer’s group with similar interests, he spent his free time emulating the Bard’s plays and mailing carbon-copies of his much-anticipated endeavors to a small circle of friends for critical review. College classmates who would never forgive, or forget, if they ever discovered that their highly regarded fellow playwright had misused his well-respected literary talent to pen an abomination so far beneath their high standards.

And, even worse, that he had had the audacity to post such a hideously flawed manuscript ... one intentionally brimming with maudlin childish dialogue, incomprehensible typos, ill-conceived self-contradicting plot-lines, cookie-cutter juvenile adult scenes lifted from well-known sources ... free of charge within a plain manila envelope bearing nothing but an untraceable nom de plume and equally false return address.

In simplest terms . . . an anonymous plagiarizing wannabe Hollywood hack’s unsolicited manuscript.

Natasha Semenov: That’s it? That’s how the movie ‘The Blob’ got started.

Doctor Donald Everette: In a nutshell, Mrs. Semenov, yes. A cashier’s check for ten thousand US taxpayer dollars made out to Paramount Pictures for producer Jack A. Harris’ use didn’t hurt either. Like they say, the rest is history.

Natasha Semenov: So ... let me guess ... you use the ‘thing’ designation to keep from laughing?

Doctor Donald Everette: In a small part ... absolutely! You’ve got to admit avoiding the ‘Blob’ designation whenever possible is the biggest insider joke of all time; well over three decades old and it’s still going strong!

However, there is a dark side. Complacency kills.

As your civilians and armed forces just unfortunately experienced, there is no way to overstate the clear danger these ... things ... pose to us, and, potentially, all life on earth. Getting into the habit of calling them Blobs is like referring to nitroglycerin as air freshener. Nothing good can come of it.

Counter Admiral Sergey Vasiliev: You have them contained. Why don’t you dispose of them, Colonel Forrest?

Colonel James P. Forrest: We’ve never discovered how, Admiral Vasiliev. As you know, brute force is less than useless. The heat, sound, or electrical power involved with most weaponry only attracts their attention. And nothing we’ve tried even managed to slice off the tiniest piece.

Our scientists have diligently sought a means to destroy them for well over twenty years. Exposure to radiation, electricity, blast-furnace temperatures, and every imaginable toxic material has been a total failure. We’d shot them into the Sun if we didn’t fear a rocket failure might dump one onto a less-than-friendly foreign country. Imagine the diplomatic faux pas if one landed in the middle of Saint Petersburg.

Doctor Donald Everette: We did succeed in losing a number of researchers who thought pizza, coffee and double-glazed donuts with sprinkles is a balanced diet, though.

Counter Admiral Sergey Vasiliev: What do you mean ... balanced diet, Doctor Everette? I don’t understand the reference.

Doctor Donald Everette: Without exception, we’ve never seen one move beyond a moderate walking pace. It’s not necessary to run fast to get away from their immediate vicinity if you see one coming. You just have to get past the physically-voluminous person in front of you. We call that the Zombie Rule.

Counter Admiral Sergey Vasiliev: One moment, Doctor. By your own words, Colonel, you claim to have possessed a number of these ‘Blobs’ for over three decades. If you’ve only been trying to destroy them for two, what did your government do with them for more than a decade?

Colonel James P. Forrest: No offense intended, but isn’t it obvious? Our first known encounter, and subsequent capture of another, occurred during the height of the Cold War. We spent almost fifteen years trying to weaponize them for use against, well ... you; and, somehow, to discover a means to copy their bizarre physics-defying properties for the protection of our nation in the event of World War III.

Counter Admiral Sergey Vasiliev: None taken. Your military would be in dereliction of their sworn duties to have done otherwise. In the spirit of detente, could you ... how you say? ... Boil down the results of this research.

Colonel James P. Forrest: Total failure.

Counter Admiral Sergey Vasiliev: Perhaps a little less boiled down?

Colonel James P. Forrest: Very well. Once we captured our first Blob two years later in 1960 ... I can’t tell you how asinine I feel using that word ... a select number of our best scientists attempted to analyze its behavioral patterns and physical composition.

The former was a snap: They kill. The latter: Nothing.

Given the slightest opportunity, an unfrozen Blob will follow you around like a love-sick puppy until you’re out of range of its senses, it targets something or someone else, or you become its next meal. And it will destroy anything in its path to do it.

Oleg Mikhailov: What became of the first? The one you encountered in 1958. Is it here?

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