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Rising Phoenix Gaming

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  2. "Whatever made that noise sound big to anyone else? It sounded big." RJ looked towards where the sound first seemed to come, though it was hard to tell with the echoing quality, then towards the second call. She shook her head at James' question. "There's no way to tell how far the source of the signal is or how close we are to it," RJ admitted. "Don't have any sensors or tools to detect or measure it. We've just been following a heading I took as close as possible." She pursed her lips, then blow out a frustrated sigh and shook her head again. "No, I agree with you, McLeod. We head back to camp. Given some time, I might be able to rig up a portable version of the sensor array to track the signal on the move. If not, if it stops, I'm sure I can come up with something to trace the signal with resources from back home. At the very least, we have to update home base." RJ glanced down, trying to scrape bug guts off her boot, then at the other fallen bugs, then at her teammates. "So, uh, anyone collecting some specimens before we get the fuck out of here before whatever the hell is making that sound shows up?"
  3. James grunted in annoyance. "Damn." he looked around to the others. "Everyone ok? Good. We need to go." He looked to RJ, and then to Emily. "How far are we from the source of the signal?" He still had his weapon ready. "Doctor, you need to make the call, are we continuing on, or are we heading back to camp. As Security chief, I reccomend going back to camp, but this is your call."
  4. The guns fired and shattered the sounds of the forest with explosions which were seemingly louder than they should have been. Two of the bugs burst as lead jacketed bullets ripped through their torsos. the monster bugs fell and the remaining bugs fled. The forest was eerily quite once again. Then in the distance they heard a sound none of them could identify. It was loud and produced an echo, it began low pitched and drove up the scale. It was like the cross between an elephants trumpeting and a crocodile's hissing with some sort of clacking grunts interspersed during its length. The call or cry or whatever it was lasted about twenty or thirty seconds, then silence for about the same amount of time, then it came again but with a different pitch or timbre. And from a different direction.
  5. "Holy Fuck!" RJ shouted, brining up her tablet in its heavy-duty case as one of the bugs zipped straight at her. The droning buzz of its wings was incredibly loud. There was a painful pinch and the tearing of heavy fabric as the dragonfly bit through her jumpsuit. She had a sidearm. It was in its holster, still buttoned. She'd been shown how to use it and clean it, as a precaution. But she hadn't taken any actual lessons firing it, and thinking about using the pistol in a dangerous situation hadn't been ingrained in her. The monstrous dragonfly withdrew a few inches, a strip of RJ's jumpsuit dangling from its mandibles. The scientist took the opportunity and swatted down at it with her tablet, the impact way more jarring than it had any rate to be hitting bug. She felt it vibrating up to her elbows as the dragonfly thumped heavily into the ground. "Motherfucker!" she growled as she heelstomped the huge bug with the crunching of chitin, chest heaving with exertion and adrenaline. She felt bile rise up her throat at how incredibly... substantial the dragonfly was. It was comparable to an armadillo she'd kicked, one time, in Texas, in a completely unexpected incident, when surprised. The armadillo had seemed affronted when it tumbled into scrub. The mutant dragonfly seemed pissed!
  6. "Goddammit." He'd not expected bugs, especially not ones this damn big. Still, he was a great shot, and had been mostly ready for the attack. Immediately he shot at one of the bugs attacking the scientists he knew didn't have combat training, trusting in Terry and Brett's ability to defend themselves, he turned to the one going after Lance and pulled the trigger. His SAW was set to semi-auto, which was good, and sent a single round through the body and exit the left compound eye of the massive insect, the round continuing it's flight deeper into the woods. The dragonfly jerked to the side at the impact even as it fell dead to the ground, body fluids splattering Lance somewhat. James didn't stop to apologize, there were still more of the things attacking, and likely more in the woods. He moved laterally, to aim at another, as he knew Biggs was handling the other flank.
  7. Emily scoffed at McLeod, "Hmmph, you are making an awful lot of assumptions based on what is primarily theoretical guesswork, for one thing..." With no warning at all the bugs moved! The attack was swift and simultaneous. If it weren't for the creatures size they wouldn't have been able to be seen much less defended against.
  8. "I know we can breathe it now, but if the oxygen levels aren't the same as that time frame, if they're like ours back home, how the hell are these guys so big?" He answered quietly, even as he too aim. The bug had no idea what he was doing, but it would the second he shot. "Just a precaution." He was watching the insects intently. "They move fast, and damn near any direction, watch your zones." He wasn't really talking to the doctors, but to Biggs, who'd also unlimbered his weapon and was taking aim at the oncoming bugs. "Do not let them land on you."
  9. Emily who had been staring at the monster sized dragonfly flinched at her name. "I'm a nuclear biologist, not an entomologist, but yeah, the insects at this size could have still been around in the late Jurassic. Matter of fact if I recall the largest ever found fossilized dated to the Permian era. And yes humans would have been able to breath, back then. Breathing would have been the least of their worries." As Emily spoke, several more of the large insects began to flit closer from the woods. Steve who had been amused at the reaction to the big bug now grew serious and unlimbered his SAW and charged the weapon, "McLeod?"
  10. "Jesus Fucking Christ!" RJ hissed through clenched teeth, biting back the surprised scream she really wanted to let out, in case it agitated the - seemingly the size of an eagle or bigger - bug. If it had been within arm's reach, she would have swatted at it with her tablet, probably more to the detriment of the table than of the dragonfly. And damn, was it loud. She didn't mind loud. She had an old gas-guzzler of a motorcycle. She loved its deep, vibrating rumble. The buzzing drone of the bug's wings sounded way more ominous to her. Living things shouldn't make sounds like that. RJ gave McLeod a hooded look without really taking her eyes off the dragonfly and those huge, black, multifaceted eyes that seemed trained directly on her. She tried to ease back away from it without drawing its attention. "Dammit, McLeod! I'm a physicist and engineer, not a paleontologist!" she cursed. She jerked her chin towards the team's biologist. "Ask Scarborough bout that stuff. But, it being predatory, as you say, I, for one, am fine if you want to shoot it."
  11. James turned his attention to the hovering dragonfly, and his eyes narrow. "How the hell?" "So, when we came, we were sure of the oxygen levels and all right? Because didn't they have giant insects like this in Earth's fossil record? From way back in the Carboniferous and Permian eras?" While the mutant squirrel was something, it certainly could exist, but from what he did know of science, a Dragonfly of this size should be impossible. "Dragonfly are predatory, so be careful."
  12. Just as RJ spoke something flashed at the corner of her eye and she instinctively looked that way and right into the multifaceted eyes of the largest dragonfly she had ever seen. And it was large, very large. Its wings stretched almost two feet on a side and its body was probably two to three feet long. It hovered several feet away from RJ, it wings buzzing rapidly producing a sound that was akin to a remote drone. As soon as it had appeared the mutant beaver as RJ had called it had scurried under the root it had been sitting on.
  13. RJ had never been a girl scout, let alone done anything remotely like SERE training. There was probably an easier, more efficient way of noting direction and heading, but she didn't know it. Walking along next to the buggy - still idly wishing she'd been able to talk the powers that be into the suitability of motorcycles - she kept looking at the compass, then her surroundings, back at the compass, then making notes and diagrams on her tablet, trying to make sure they were staying on track. Her notes looked less like a map and more like an engineering schematic, but they made sense to her. It was only after Dr. Legs and Boy Scout spoke that RJ noticed the sudden return, or rather, the sudden appearance, of ambient wilderness sounds. She looked up sharply from her tablet, brushing a damp lock of dark blond hair from her face, then cocked her head as she studied the first bit of fauna they'd seen this side of the Looking Glass. Did the Looking Glass emit some type of field bugs and animals could sense and were wary of? Were they wary of the particle stream they'd been following? RJ carefully shifted her wait. She was sure it was just her imagination, but it felt like animal was staring back and was deciding if it was annoyed or not. She was glad her dogs were at home, because they would have tried to play with the damn thing, and it looked strong for its size. "Um, is the mutant beaver thing dangerous?" RJ asked, glancing over her shoulder in case there were more, or something else bigger and more dangerous that considered the thing food.
  14. The hike hadn't bothered him at all. Still when Emily called out and pointed, his gaze immediately followed to where she pointed. James didn't quite raise his rifle into line with the giant rodent, a cursory threat analysis told him it wasn't threatening them, even though it was unusually large. "Well, that's not something you see every day." It was then that he realized, he finally heard the sounds he expected to hear from the forest, well some of them. He could hear the sounds of different insects, or at least what he would say were insects if asked, but still no birds, or anything else. "Mark the distance we are from the camp. We'll need to see if this is uniform at some point." His gaze never left the rodent. "Thing's bigger than a nutria,and looks way more muscular."
  15. The terrain didn’t pose an insurmountable obstacle, sure it slowed them somewhat due to there being no large trials but there were what James called game trails. Though they had seen no animal life since coming through the LG there was evidence that animals of some sort did exist here. Thus, the small game trails. The largest obstacle was following Dr. Verges’ directions. The trails meandered but she wanted to stay as close to her imagined line of sight as she could therefore it took longer than it would have but eventually, a little over two hours after leaving camp they were approximately five kilometers from the LG, more than twice as far as any of them had traveled since arriving at this place, it was then that they crossed an important line. They had just stopped so that Verges could check her compose to make sure they were still on course when Emily called to them in a whisper. “Guys Look!” She was pointing at the base of a giant redwood and there sitting up on a root was an animal, nibbling on an acorn. It looked like a large rodent, about the size of a dog, fifteen maybe twenty kilograms. The animal froze in mid nibble as it noticed all the humans looking at it. It was at that precise moment everyone noticed the sounds of the forest.
  16. Seeing how the eggheads were so opposed to sending out a smaller team, James nodded. "The whole Team then." James held up his hands, forestalling any further outbursts. "Grab your gear and let's get ready to go. We don't know what we'll find, so plan accordingly. We'll load a wagon, and carry everything else that doesn't fit. Let's try to be ready in half an hour, an hour tops." He turned to head to his own quarters, to prepare what he would need for this. He didn't thinking bringing so many people was wise, butin the end, he wasn't really the one in charge. This hadn't yet devolved into a security concern, but with it being something new, he wasn't planning on taking chances. He caught Biggs' attention and nodded. "We go fully loaded. It may look aggressive to the others but if there is a threat, I want us to be able to handle it." The shorter man looked at him "And if we can't?" "Then I buy time and you get the docs back to the Looking Glass and hold the fort until it opens and get them through. Their knowledge is going to be vital if there's a threat on this side." The fact he was talking about sacrificing himself, and if need be, Biggs doing the same to protect the scientists wasn't lost on either of them. "Hopefully it won't get that bad. Besides, we'll do alot better with both of us holding the fort." James chuckled. "Damn right. We could be jumping the gun, but I'd rather be loaded for bear and find a mouse than than be loaded for mice and find a bear."
  17. Mostof the two teams not occupied were listening in on the coversation. It was agiven that the prime teams members would be calling the shots as that was the hieriarchy that base had established. Emily frowned and raised her hand in a wait a minute hold on gesture, "I don't think that is a good idea, just the three of you traipsing off into god knows what. If anything the whole team should go. They put us together as functional teams for a reason. Short term division is a necessity when your working near camp, but you don't have any idea how far away this will take you or what you may find that the three of you have no expertise in. we havn't even been further than a kilometer from camp in the two months we have been here we really don't have a clue as to what is out there or where we really are. Splitting up is not a good idea and one I am vehemently opposed to." Others standing around nodded. Dr Sheridan, leader of the Beta Team, stepped up. "Dr Scarbrough is right. Something like this shouldn't be done half assed. If you are determined to go take your whole team, and use one of the wagons to haul the supplies and the right equipment." The wagon she spoke of was one of of three electric buggy's built to haul material they were about the size of a large desk, long and wide enough to just barely fit through the LG. They ran on six balloon tires and were all terrain. They were slow and full speed they could run at the speed of a slow trot, but their batteries could operate for almost seventy two hours of constant operation and could be charged with built in solar panels. assuming you could find a patch of ground that let some sunlight through. "We can take one of the portable gas generator the small one we can use that to recharge the batteries until we get some sunlight." This was a suggestion by Lance Hughes. "Assuming you want the rest of us to come along"
  18. "The sensor array is too bulky and delicate to operate on the move," RJ confirmed, nodding at the her setup near the Looking Glass. "But I can give you the precise direction it's coming from. It'll be up to you guys to keep to the same heading away from the camp and out in the woods." The blond doctor began repacking her pack for an excursion. It had been packed in the expectation that she was back to the Prime Side for the foreseeable future. Settling the pack on her shoulders, then slipping a few extra things into the loops, clips, and straps of her jumpsuit, her brows rose when the men looked at her. "Oh, I'm coming too. Unless the particles are coming from beyond the atmosphere, thanks to the curvature of planet, the stream can only be coming from so far. The particle stream seems too... coherent to be natural, and with the rather distinct target and the fact this is the first time it's been noticed, it suggests the source might be, man - er, constructed, rather than a natural phenomenon " She tapped herself on the breastbone. "Might be handy to have an engineer and physicist on hand." An excited smirk bloomed on her face. "Besides, I'm not about to miss out on a chance to put my name to boson to join Higgs."
  19. "I'll go with you. If something happens, you'll possibly need me, and it's better to be on scene. I'm also getting stir-crazy for not having much to do in this crew." Brett says. He smiles and gathers up the things he will need for the hopefully short excursion.
  20. James didn't quite get the science, but since this was the first time for something, he could understand the alarm, and interest. "Do we have some way to follow the stream back to its source?" It seemed obvious that they needed to try and find the source, and have a team maintain watch over the Looking Glass, in case there was a change in it and to advise Command about it when possible. When RJ shook her head, he sighed. "Damn. Well I can try and track down the source, but I'd ask for a volunteer to come along, since this is something that's not happened before, nobody should be doing anything alone."
  21. The sheer silence had been the hardest to get used to. The initial excitement about the project had grown disappointedly dull with routine surprisingly swiftly. The Looking Glass was one of the most fantastic discoveries in human experience... and RJ was bored. She was practically relieved when she being reassigned. Another routine reading that would show nothing ne - Her breath caught in her throat! Her eyes widened. Hands still for a moment, she checked the sensors to make sure they were calibrated properly, that they weren't malfunctioning. Everything showed green. It wasn't an error. "Stop! Stop, don't go through the Looking Glass!" RJ called out sharply before even looking up to check if the Looking Glass was even open, though by now she was used to its cycle. Several pairs of eyes turned her way. She pointed exaggeratedly at the sensor array. "I don't know how, but we have a particle stream of unknown origin and characteristics flowing into the Looking Glass." Her blue-grey eyes narrowed as her gaze flicked from one display to another. Nothing detected from the Prime Side. "No, not going into it, but... reflecting off the plane of the anomaly." "What do you have, Verges?" "I really don't know." The striking scientist and engineer sounded less worried and more excited than when the project was first underway, despite the unknown. "I haven't seen anything like this before. Nothing from the RHIC, nothing at CERN. I think, I think, the particles are some type of bosons, but they are oscillating in a way they shouldn't. And the particle stream is coming from..." RJ turned from a monitor to look around, then back at the monitor, twisted around again, then pointed "... that way." "What passes for East, here," MacLeod drawled. "Whatever. I can't tell, yet, if the particle stream is doing anything to the Looking Glass, but as this is the first really anomalous reading I've seen since we stepped through the damned thing, we can't ignore the possibility."
  22. The cycle did indeed continue, as did the work. That first night sleep was fleet for the place as normal as it seemed as so very different as well. For one thing there was the silence. It was utterly quiet with only the wind moving through the trees to supply any sound whatso ever. No insects, no animals, just quiet. The next day was better, especially after the LG cycled and they had a connection back to base. They finished the camp and did their experiments and explored within the limits of their instructions. The radio relay worked which meant that the small drones could fly and be piloted from the other side and communications would work for when the teams would be cleared to travel beyond the current limits. They slept better the second night and then they returned to be replaced by the next team. This would continue for sever weeks each team spending about 70 to 80 hours on the far side. The night sky, finally seen by climbing one of the towering redwoods and spending a night above the forest canopy, was very unknown. The stars were sparse, and not in any configuration the climber had seen. There was no moon the whole night. Pictures were taken and a remote camera was lashed to the tree for constant observation. Visually scanning the horizons found that the forest stretched for dozens of kilometers to the east and north to tall snowcapped mountains while to the west the sun glinted off what appeared to be the waters of a river some ten or twelve kilometers away. To the south the forest simply ended about 18 kilometers away with nothing visible beyond except mists or clouds. At the end of the second month two teams were virtually permanent on site. Dr Vergas was to have been replaced as her expertise had truly no longer been needed but she made a discovery. On her last scheduled deployment while taking a now routine reading she detected a previously undetected stream of unknown particles going into the LG from the side they were on!
  23. "Are we meant to clear this place, or are we supposed to interact with the environment as little as possible, I can't remember right now. We could also send someone up to the top to look around, too. Anyway, let's not worry about things that are out of our control for now. We need to assume the Looking Glass will continue on it's cycle, and that it'll open at the appointed time." He hefted box 29A and opened it, looking inside to see a shelter that needed to be assembled. The look on his face was one of concentration as he read over the instructions contained within the box.
  24. "It follows what you'd expect of a regular cycle, as far as we know." He shrugged. "Once we are able to clear this wooded area, we'll have alot more sky to see, and be able to more accurately measure things like that." James replied calmly.
  25. RJ sat down her own box, Camp 101B, stood up and knuckled her back. She looked at the silvered, opaque Looking Glass, her heartrate accelerating despite trying to affect a blasé nonchalance. Signing onto the project, they were already committed, but seeing that argent oval sealed the deal. She glanced toward where the horizon should have been, but there was only the trees thickly packed and almost impenetrable. Her stormy blue-grey eyes went up to where the sky should be visible, but even though the small clearing the camp was in was like an oasis in the trees, the sky was still invisible hidden by the packed canopy of forest, what light filtering through the leave making it seem as iif it were evening instead of near noon. That thought made her frown as she glanced at her watch. Was it noon here? "Right," RJ said, switching her gaze down to McLeod. "How long is the day/night cycle here, anyway? Is it an even, or never split? Does it follow the 28 hour cycle of the Looking Glass, or lines up the 24 hour cycle we're used to?" Whatever Wonderland the Looking Glass had sent them, if it didn't feel like home, RJ couldn't say it didn't feel like Earth, it didn't feel alien.
  26. At Terry's reaction, James turned, hand dropping to his gun, out of habit at that level of alarm. He turned back to her, and saw her looking at the closed Looking Glass. He pulled hand away from the gun silently, knowing there was no direct threat. He moved up to where she was, and laid a hand on her shoulder, giving her a reassuring squeeze. "That's just the window closing. It'll be twenty eight hours before it opens again." He had already set his watch to this effect, holding it up, and letting her see the countdown. He removed his hand from her shoulder, and nodded. He remembered wondering if it would reopen again, how sleeping wasn't the easiest thing "It's not easy, knowing you're here, and can't go back for a while. Still, let's focus on what needs to be done." He looked to the others, knowing that the others were likely having some issues. "Everyone take a few minutes, we all knew it would be closing, that we'd be here, and then Let's get back to work. I don't think anyone wants to sleep outside tonight." He tried his best to sound reassuring, having already been through this before himself.

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