Forgotten Amongst A Rusty Sea

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Four

It did not take us long to locate the source of our fallen explorer. Nor did it take us that long to see clearly the reason why she had abandoned it. The rover sat dead a clear sign of fire damage on her outer shell. Dr. Anderson confirmed that the vehicle clearly had had a fire break out, which had caused the oxygen tanks to explode. The damage had ripped one of the four wheels off, making it impossible to steer the vehicle. It was not clear what had started the fire, nor for what reason it had been able to heat up the oxygen tanks to explode. Such issues were common in Arson investigations, but from what Dr. Anderson could understand it was due to faulty wiring. Perhaps a spark had ignited the pure oxygen contents. Whatever it had been had clearly taken most of the crew by surprise. The rover was not as large as ours, for there were only two other people inside. The three beds and a photo of all three clearly showed no others could have been aboard. One man had been driving and had been knocked unconscious, whereas the other man had suffered a cruel fate of being woken up to suffer the decompression. We knew not why this vehicle’s loss had been reported. And for some unknown reason, we decided to keep it that way. We took the two men and stowed them away alongside their female companion. Then we heard the signal.

It was myself who first heard it over the intercom. A single uttered whisper due to its weakness. I had just assumed someone had muttered something under their breath by accident. However, I kept hearing it again and again. Others began to take note of my illuminated face in the visor. Upon questioning from Holt he confirmed that he too could hear the sound. Others chimed in and even those still in the vehicles could hear it on the same channel. The white noise that was being generated sent chills through my spine, yet we could not hear exactly what was being said. Dr. Anderson questioned Mercer Outpost if they could hear the same sound. We received no response. This concerned many and quickly a few voiced their demands to return to the surface. I wish we had all agreed but then what good would come of it? We decided that it was our duty to finish what these people had clearly started. We salvaged what little we could from the vehicle, for sadly the batteries had long died though their survival packs were still good. We took the photos with in hopes of determining later on who these individuals were. Without a way to confirm them, Dr. Fedotik took it upon himself to read them their last rites for the Orthodox faith. It is strange to hear those words spoken in his native tongue yet at the same time they were a soothing send off to their poor spirits.

As we continued and listened to the signal, it soon became apparent that what we were listening to was a artificial voice. This voice was robotic in nature, flat and monotone. It was becoming clear to us that this was not only an automated message, but was meant to be a beacon. This unnerving discovery would normally torment those who were less steeled than ourselves, yet I confess that they are often right to flee when they should have. With duty binding us towards finding an answer, we moved on through the tunnels. The signal slowly got stronger but the iron-oxide was still creating massive interference. As we got closer Holt gave a cry of alarm. His brain had managed to figure out what the sentence was saying. It was a cry for help in perfect English.

“We are in need of help. An illness has spread throughout the city. If anyone can hear us, please.” Naturally as soon as he said that we began to hear it ourselves. But when Dr. Fedotik was told this, he gave an even larger surprise. The message to him was in perfect Russian. One of our French compatriots commented that they were hearing it in their mother tongue, as well as two Germans under Dr. Anderson. Dr. Fedotik’s driver claimed he was hearing it in perfect Zulu, whereas another claimed that it was in perfect Mandarin. The message was speaking in all languages. Then Holt gave another cry. We had arrived at ice.

Before us stretched kilometres of ice far beyond what our lamps were able to show. Stepping out in our apparatus we began looking around at the vast blackness which engulfed us. I ordered my team to commit a drilling of the ice to collect a sample in order to determine the composition, more to distract them from the signal. A thin layer of the insistent dust had settled over the frozen white material, granting a comment from Dr. Anderson about ginger on cream frosting. Indeed a fair description but not at the moment what was on my mind, for I noticed that there was something off about the ice. I asked Dr. Anderson if there was a way to measure the luminosity of the area. She said there was a literal light meter which she could use. I insisted that the lights be turned off or covered. The blackness finally got the chance to swallow us whole for a brief moment as the measurement was taken. No one had dared move. Dr. Anderson stared at the light meter. According to the report the amount of light had been near naught. Considering our position, even with ice’s refractive index, no residual light would last that long. It was clear another source existed. Just beyond our horizon of this glacier, but exist nonetheless. Somewhere in this rusty sea light was being given off by something or someone. It had led those three people and it was now leading fifteen more towards it.

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