Chapter 4, Settling InMature

Chapter Four

Settling In

August 5th 2134, A hydroelectric power plant ten kilometers northwest of Mozhaysk.

5:30 P.M.

            Connor gagged at the sight in front of him. Human bodies, male and female, were scattered all across the rest of the tunnel way. Flies were buzzing around the carcasses and the rats were eating and gnawing away at the free feast. Some of the bodies were dressed in blue coveralls, white overcoats, and some in fine suits. Others had had their clothes stripped from them, and others were wearing FK armor. Now we know what happened to the workers and the defenses, Connor realized. “Mist, you read me?” Connor asked John over his helmet com.

            “You’re slightly fuzzy but I can hear you,” John replied.

            “Rendezvous with Fog and Shadow, I found something you all need to see.”

            “Copy that, already there.”

            Connor ran back through the reservoir the same way he came as best he could since he still had to remain crouched down. He reached the reservoir pit once again and turned off his night vision. Connor then climbed up a ladder on the side of the pit and was on the catwalks once again. He sprinted to the big green tent that was the armory and met with Arden, Dale, and John who was already there. They had already divvied up the guns and magazines. Arden handed Connor his three extra pistol magazines and one extra assault rifle magazine, so Connor was the one who got skimped out one assault rifle clip.

            “Okay guys, I found out why there’s no one here,” Connor said.

            “Why?” Arden asked.

            “Just follow me and you’ll see,” Connor replied as he started walking back to the main reservoir. Arden, John, and Dale followed him. They all vaulted over the reservoir pit’s railing and proceeded down in to the tunnel heading northeast until they reached the long pile of bodies. “So, now we know where everybody went.”

            “Good God,” Arden remarked. John moved over next to the pile of carcasses and began to search them.

            “We need to get all of these bodies out of here though so that the water can drain properly,” Connor stated.

            “Here, I’ll go to the other side of the outflow and start pulling the bodies out from there,” Dale said as he started back up the tunnel and back to the reservoir pit.

            “I’ll go with you,” Arden said following Dale. After they left Connor shifted next to John and began searching the bodies as well.

            “This is seriously messed up,” Conner said. John just remained silent, and for the next few minutes they said nothing. After searching all of the bodies in their reach with no interesting items found, they waited for Dale and Arden to come in from the other side. But they didn’t wait for long. Connor and John noticed Dale drop in to view outside from the top of the tunnel. When he landed, mud and water splashed outward and he entered the tunnel from the other side. Arden dropped in to view as well and waited at the drain exit. Dale grabbed the first body that was closest to the end of the tunnel. It was a middle aged man in a yellow shirt and blue coveralls with a blue ball cap. He dragged him to the edge of the tunnel by his armpits. Arden took the man from Dale’s grip and carried him to the bank in between the drainage creek and the forest to the east. Arden laid him down on the damp mud and returned to the mouth of the tunnel for the next body.

            Dale grabbed another body, this one being a young woman in business attire. He dragged her out of the tunnel and Arden carried her to the bank like the last one. Dale and Arden continued to pull out body after body until the bank was lined with every carcass lying side by side. Arden counted the total amount of dead bodies.

            “Forty-eight bodies,” Arden said. “Of those it looks like ten of them are FK personnel. Eighteen others are plant workers. Fourteen others are office workers. And the other six that are naked, well we obviously can’t tell who they are.” Connor and John continued to search the bodies that they hadn’t searched before, but still found nothing of interest.

            “Take any extra clothing off of the dressed ones and dress the naked ones. Whatever sick minds these attackers had should not continue,” Connor said as he pulled a suit coat off of one of the dead man’s body and dressed one of the naked girls in order to cover her breasts. Dale, John and Arden began stripping extra clothing as well. Jackets, coveralls, and pants were stripped from the still well clothed and were used to dress the naked deceased men and women. It still wasn’t a remotely peaceful sight. The eyes of half of the victims were wide open looked terrified. Their skins were a pale white and cold, not to mention the number of sores and bite marks that the rats caused on them. At this point Vapor Team was glad that they couldn’t smell anything right now since they had their helmets on. All of them were didn’t say a word and stood still, taking a mutual moment of silence. Dale suddenly began to head back toward the power plant, but no one asked why. Arden, John, and Connor just stood frozen and unable to speak. After a couple of minutes, Dale came down the small slope leading to the creek bank. He was hefting the large green tent canvas that covered the makeshift armory in the power plant.

            “Help me,” Dale requested bluntly. Without question or hesitation they all grabbed a corner of the canvas, stretched it out and placed it on top of the line of bodies. Dale had also brought four long nails that were used to tether the canvas to the steel wire frame still back in the power plant. He pierced one nail into the corner of the canvas and into the earth, and then he tossed a nail to Connor, John, and Arden who did the same. Another minute passed before they all walked back to the power plant.

            “Okay, we need to get a message off to command that this place has been assaulted,” Dale said as they reached the catwalks again. “I’m going to go inside the main building and see if I can get a connection.”

            “Sounds good, I’m going to recon the rest of the surrounding area,” John said while he started to jog towards the forest to the east.

            “Alright,” Connor acknowledged. “You wanna see if we can get this power plant up and running again?” Connor asked Arden.

            “Sure thing,” Arden replied. Dale disappeared inside the main building and John was already deep in the forest. Connor headed to the main reservoir pit again and jumped down inside once more. He grabbed the pallet and hefted it up the ladder. After laying it on the side of the catwalks he continued to clean out the reservoirs. Arden had entered one of the buildings at the base of the cliff to the west that housed the power plant status monitors.

            “So what’s the problem with the plant?” Connor asked Arden over his helmet com.

            “A lot is wrong it looks like,” Arden replied. “The intake fans at the top of the cliff are offline. The turbine has a jam in it, something is blocking its rotation. The main generator has a power connection failure in what looks like both the connection to the power lines that head west from the plant, and a connection failure to the turbine itself. Also the dam pumps need to be serviced; they aren’t pumping at maximum efficiency but that can wait.”

            “Dang, sounds like we’ve got some chores to do,” Connor said grunting a little as he hefted a crate up the ladder with one hand and climbing with the other. “There we go, the reservoir pit is clear. I’m going to head back into the drain tunnels again and see if I can get the turbine unstuck.”

            “Sounds good. I’ll try and get the generator reconnected,” Arden said. Connor entered the reservoir drain once again. Why am I the one who keeps coming down here? He thought to himself as he remembered how uncomfortable it is. Connor wormed his way to the turbine. Once he got there he looked it over harder than he did last time and saw two FK helmets jammed between the turbine blades and the adjacent tunnel wall. It’s obvious that the attackers only wanted to take the power plant offline and not reuse it for their benefit.

            “Fog, you read me?” Connor asked.

            “Yeah, why?”

            “Is the turbine powered off?”

            “Yeah, I shut it down while I was in the control center.”

            “Got it, thanks,” Connor said as he grasped one of the helmets. He pulled with all of his might and the helmet snapped free. He dropped it on the ground and grasped the next one, yanking it out of place as well. “Alright, the turbine should be cleared and ready to go.”

            “Copy that, I’m in the generator room right now and I see what the problem is in here.”

            “What’s that?”

            “Well, tell me do you see a thick black wire hanging down there?”

            “Um, yeah,” Connor replied as he noticed the wire hanging in between the turbine blades.

            “Okay, I’m right above you right now,” Arden explained. “I need you to grab the wire and feed it in to what should be a small wire corridor. Feed it through as much as you can.”

            “Okay,” Connor replied. He grabbed the wire and fed it through a small opening in the ceiling above the turbine until he couldn’t anymore. “Is that good?”

            “Yeah, that’s good, I got it,” Arden replied. Arden took wire Connor fed to him and a wire that was connected to the generator and connected them. All of a sudden the turbine sprang to life and violently spun around a few times and then stopped.

            “Whoa! What the heck man!?” Connor yelled out furiously.

            “Oh shit, sorry. Power spike caused the turbine to reversely rotate didn’t it?”

            “Yeah, and you’re lucky I had my arm clear or you would have taken it clean off!”

            “But I didn’t,” Arden replied smartly. Connor just shook his head and proceeded back down the tunnel holding the two helmets he removed from the turbine blades. He and Arden met back on the cat walks after Connor dropped off he two helmets inside the steel wire armory tent frame.

            “So what’s next?” Connor asked Arden.

            “Well, you see those tall power lines?” Arden asked Connor as he motioned to the power lines that stretched from the roof of the main building over the trees and ran off to the east.

            “Yeah,” Connor replied.

            “We need to get the connection reestablished on the roof up there.”

            “Alright, I’ll go do that. Standby to repower the intake fans, I’ll let you know when I’ve connected the wires.”

            “Alright,” Arden replied and headed for the control room again. Connor jogged across the catwalks and entered the main building. Normally he would have just walked but it was now 6:20 P.M. and there was almost no light left in the day. As Connor headed to the stairs he met with Dale who was trying everything he could to get a computer up and running.

            “Any luck?” Connor asked Dale.

            “Nope, nothing,” Dale replied. “I think we are on our own for now, until FK command sends troops to see why we haven’t reported in yet.”

            “Well, we can manage,” Connor said as he entered the stairwell column. Once he reached the roof he saw a power box that indeed had the wire disconnected from the closest power line tower. Luckily the wire that ran all the way to the power line tower got caught on an AC box and hadn’t fallen off of the roof. Conner grabbed the wire and connected it to the wire connected to the power box.

            “Alrighty Fog, power up those intake fans cause we are good to go,” Connor said to Arden in a high spirited voice.

            “Copy that, standby,” Arden replied. Arden switched on the intake fans and ran to the main generator room. Not too long after Connor noticed water rushing swiftly through the reservoirs once again. “We’re good! The turbine is rotating properly and the generator is receiving power again,” Arden said in even higher spirits than Connor. Arden rushed outside and noticed the power plant begin lighting up. Flood lights and indoor lights spread out across the plant flickered on and the parking lot lights lit up as well. “We now have power. We are now, self-sustaining.”

            “Good work Fog,” Connor said. Connor headed back down through the building and met with Arden on the catwalks again. Dale had completely given up on contacting FK command because he was with Arden on the catwalks too. They stood looking around themselves at the power plant feeling triumphant. All of a sudden John’s voice boomed with glee on their helmet coms.

            “Hey guys! Guess what I got,” John said.

            “What?” Connor asked in reply.

            “Dinner,” John replied. “Gimme a minute and I’ll be right there.” Sure enough after a minute they saw John exiting the thick forest hefting a large Russian wild boar that he had shot and killed on his back. It was at that moment that they forgot just how hungry they were since they got there.

            “Alright!” Connor shouted out with glee.

            “I’ll get a fire going,” Arden said rushing in to the edge of the forest to grab some wood.

            “Shadow, you wanna carve this bad boy up?” John asked as he plopped the animal down on the dirt.

            “You all know there is a perfectly fine cafeteria in the main building right? Along with MRE’s that were in the armory.” Dale remarked.

            “Yeah but this is fresh,” Connor replied gesturing at the boar. “I’ll be right back, I’m going to grab some seasonings and water and whatnot from the cafeteria.”

            “Whatever,” Dale chuckled and unsheathed his two ten inch-long curved blades off of his shoulders and got to work on skinning and draining the animal. About forty minutes later they were sitting around a fire with their helmets off and chowing down on boar meat. Once they had their fill, Connor and John stuffed the leftover meat in a freezer in the main building that was now working again since the power plant was back online. They all met inside the lobby of the main building afterwards.

            “We need to take turns being on watch duty from the rooftops,” John proclaimed. “How about Smoke and I take the first shift until 3:30 A.M. and it’s 11:00 P.M. right now. Sound fair?” John asked.

            “Sounds good,” Arden replied as he already found a comfy spot on a lobby couch to sleep on.

            “Make sure you turn out all of the lights though,” Dale said. “If whoever attacked this place comes back, they won’t attack if they see the lights on and notice that the plant is up and running again.”

            “Are you saying you want them to attack?” Connor asked Dale.

            “Hell yah I want them to come back. They need to get their asses kicked,” Dale replied.

            Connor shrugged and said, “I guess so.” Dale plopped himself down on a lobby couch of his own. Connor and John proceeded to the breaker room building and shut down all of the lights. They then headed up the stairs to the rooftop of the main building where they laid down prone on opposite corners of the roof in perfect silence watching for anything that moved. 3:30 A.M. rolled around and Dale and Arden stepped out onto the rooftop and relieved John and Connor. Dale and Arden lied down on opposite corners as well. Forty minutes passed and Dale noticed a rustling in the brush at the edge of the forest. Dale lied perfectly still, only moving his eyes from the safety of behind his visor. The brush parted and a rabbit went scurrying out. Dale knew that that rabbit was running from something by the way it so freely ran into the open grass at night where night predators could easily snatch it.

            “Fog, get over here,” Dale whispered over his helmet com. Arden crawled across the rooftop to over to Dale and slowly poked his head out to looked where Dale was looking. They both didn’t say anything, just stared intently at the edge of the forest. Sure enough, a barely noticeable silhouette of a human figure appeared at the edge of the forest. Behind it they noticed a few more, but the shadows made it too hard to count how many were there. Arden broke the silence.

            “Looks like Corpus was right. This is the next Communist target.”

The End

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