The Nucleus of Time

1980; using its nuclear technology, Soviet forces began to utilize a weapon system deep in the Afghanistan desert to combat the Mujahedeen. After the disappearance of a Spetsnatz team, the project was abandoned.
2002; the MIA Spetsnaz squad is found, seemingly un-aged, in a German cave system by an archeological crew. After some bewildering explanations, they were brought before Russian authorities for psychiatric assessment and to explain what exactly happened in 1980.

December 27, 1980

Svetlev had his orders. He was to escort his fireteam out into the Afghan wastes; out among the acrid caves and forboding canyons, to set up a forward post and to activate a prototypal thermal scanner. This new technology, thanks to the comrades at Nuklear Dyvision Teknologicks ( the firm responsible for Russia's nuclear dominance) would ensure Soviet victory against the Mujahadeen. The scanner would effectively map all enemy locations within a three hundred kilometre radius. Other sections of the Soviet Spetsnaz force were sent elsewhere throughout the country with the same orders. The mission was called Operation Kartographer, and it was the Soviets plan to ultimately turn the tide of the Cold War.

Svetlev removed his dusty goggles and turned around to confront his comrades. He pointed at Nerakov, who had a map at the ready.

Drawing a deep breath, Svetlev asked, "Location?"

"Da, we're here," Nerakov replied, also taking off his dirt-ridden goggles to confirm their location.

Svetlev radioed Belyakova and looked toward the sky, where the canyon opened up. Belyakova peeked his head over the edge and waved down to the rest of the crew. He pulled a rappel kit from his belt and secured it with a steel peg before the rocky cliff. He tossed the rappel cord down the wall of the canyon and Vikszili, the fourth and final squad member, tied it down. Belyakova began his descent. At the drop point, he disengaged the rappel kit from his harness.

Svetlev questioned, "Anything?"

"A few technical patrols on the binoculars, we're invisible," he replied, sure of himself.

The four of them walked slowly to the mouth of the canyon, which opened up into an expansive desert valley. This was the spot. Svetlev slid off his rucksack and opened both side compartments. He removed two rectangular, carbon-fibre boxes and opened each. Two pieces of the puzzle. He picked up the two contraptions and slid them together and locked the three failsafe mechanisms. The thermal scanner device activated immediately with a warm, neon yellow glow. There were two other small bulbs on the device; red and green, both unilluminated. Svetlev was not worried.

Belyakova blurted, "Why is it not green, is it not workin-"

The green bulb illuminated. Svetlev unscrewed a cap from the top of the device which revealed a small satellite dish. It came out automtically and began to spin. The temperature however seemed to rise twenty degrees instantaneously.

Svetlev blinked as a bead of sweat rolled down into his eye, "Vikzsili! Dig a hole, we need to secure the device immediately!"

Vikzsili pulled a modular shovel from his rucksack and began to dig a small hole at the mouth of the canyon.

The hole was now deep enough to contain the device and Vikzsili began to fold his shovel back up, "Svetlev, it is read-"

"Red. It's red," Svetlev whispered, loudly. 

The squad looked back at Svetlev, his face illuminated in the glow of the red bulb. They all kept staring at Svetlev as the little satellite disc rotating on the top of the device began to slow down. They looked amongst each other quizzical... and then the satellite dish started to spin the opposite way. The temperature again, rose. It got slightly darker all of a sudden. Svetlev looked up as he did at Belyakova before. The stars were gone. There were stars before.

They all looked up at the pitch black sky. Svetlev's face disappeared as the red bulb went out. None of them said a word as the eerie mechanical spinning sound of the satellite dish repeated itself over and over again. Breathing heavily, Svetlev tensed his fist. He reached for the satellite disc and stopped it's rotation. The light turned back to green, and his eyelids abruptly fell shut.

The End

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