Apropos; the Changing.

page: 1
0

log in

join

posted on Feb, 4 2013 @ 08:18 AM
link   
CH. 1

The duty watchman scanned the skies above the line of trees before him, his widened eyes darting rapidly, seemingly fearful of what might materialise in the darkness before them. The sudden flight of a lone bat, swooping from a nearby pine branch, caused his heart to drop a beat - but there was nothing else, save for the cold shimmer of light from the distant stars. He relaxed a little, admiring the heavenly canopy, mesmerized by its glittering array of twinkling jewels - blue, pink & white-hued diamonds, jostling for the attention of earthbound observers. To the East, the Moon’s silver halo had diffused widely since cresting the horizon a few hours earlier, blanketing the nearby stars in its glow, subtly usurping their share of the wonderment of mankind. The watchman turned his attention downwards again, to the shadowy outline of his cabin up ahead, barely visible as a dull smudge against the canopy of blackness - situated just in front of the deep forest whose border flanked this side of the road, perhaps a mile up ahead - only his knowledge of its position allowed him to see it at all, in spite of the sheen of moonlight casting shadow upon shadows.

The cabin was set well back from the road, amidst the first trees of the forest, for a particular reason - the casual pedestrian or motorist would almost invariably fail to notice it as they passed, precisely as had been intended by its subtle location. Stepping through the undergrowth, familiarity placing his feet well in spite of the apparently wild tangle of weeds & bracken, he breathed steadily and listened cautiously - nothing but the ordinary sounds of night greeted his ears, and his clouding sigh of relief cut through the frosty air with dramatic pomp. He knew he had to stick to the tree line, away from the eyes of the occasional truck drivers - the road’s only regular users – anything less than absolute caution would be insane, given the night’s events.

In anticipation of nearing the entrance to his humble outpost, he paused and drew a large bunch of keys from the pocket of his waxed overcoat. As he fumbled to find the correct Yale, the various keys rattled dully and slipped through his frigid fingertips, causing him to curse silently. He realised with displeasure that far too many of them were entirely unnecessary these days, just memories and echoes of former responsibilities, when he had been active well within the inner perimeter of the base. The locks they had once turned were long since been replaced with electronic access systems, even retinal scanners in some cases – and now the clunky metallic relics haunted him, a sign of his increasing redundancy, his efforts at a semblance of control taunted by their staunch non-complicity. A creeping and most unwelcome epiphany was unfolding in his mind, and he dropped the keys entirely as the weight of realisation grew. Leaning down slowly to paw the undergrowth, he retrieved them, and with the all-too-familiar physical pain arcing in his lumbar region on standing, he found he was also pained by a more acute, more intensely present awareness of the trend of his decades served as a man of the establishment: A steady reduction in duties, relegation to minor work details, the descending upper limit to the chain of command above him – whilst others he knew, and thought he had known well enough to rely on for support, seemed to sail past him, upwards and beyond, never to acknowledge him again, uncaring as they ascended to the highest echelons of this most mysterious of projects - which they had all given their lives to so long ago, and as equals, he had thought. Why him? Why not me? Thoughts of envy, bitterness - of anger - had come every now and then, but eventually the flicker of virtuous resolution had crept into his heart, somewhat resignedly: He would simply care less than naught for the seeming death of his prospects, allowing his time to pass, finding contentment somehow - even in the face of overt rejection by former colleagues, former friends. It hurt, but the years had softened the pain, and he now found pleasure in simple things, comforted by simple routine, still in love with his wife, appreciating the gentle changing of the seasons - occasionally buoyed by the oddity of minor surprises that life threw up as they trod their path.

Now though, on this particular night, the awful reality pressed in upon him; he had been deluding himself. All his former self-assurance, his acceptance of the limits of his status within - or rather, on the outskirts of - The Project, well, it evaporated. He had wanted to be deeply involved, had been promised a central role – and yet, he had eventually been utterly excluded – with no good reason, as he saw things. After so many years, this night, he found himself faced squarely and coldly, by what amounted to the total and abject failure of his life’s ambitions… The brutally sharp outline of these thoughts had surfaced with a vengeance, and the thrust of their implications unsettled him more than he would have imagined possible. Strangely, they stirred the beginning of some inexplicable fear – even the faint, creeping omen of some inconceivable terror, lurking just beyond the horizon of his awareness…

He shook himself from the trance induced by bitter memory, dazed, and inspected keenly the luminescence of the figures on his wristwatch – several seconds passed, as he sought to ground himself in Actual Reality. Seeing that the hour was late, he stepped forwards once more towards the safe haven of his cabin. Ridiculous! Undoubtedly, these feelings were ridiculous, and he began to tell himself thus, over and over again – his imagination wasn’t used to such excitement as the night had offered, and now his brain was proffering some childish fear response, probably evolutionarily designed to make him creep into a quiet place, to settle himself down until the perceived threat had blown over.

The night’s events had certainly warranted strange subconscious reactions, if nothing else. After all, the sheer – well, what was it now? Was it the perceived impossibility, or the simple unexpectedness of it all? Regardless, the magnitude of what had taken place, the high strangeness of it all, had led to unavoidable conclusions regarding the potential for personal jeopardy - for such thoughts to be actively in the forefront of his consciousness, let alone in the depths of his dreaming mind, was entirely understandable, therefore. What a strange hodge-podge the human psyche was, he remarked inwardly. With the momentary detachment of a third-party observer, seeing his own thoughts and feelings from some other vantage point, he calmly foresaw, and was able to name his deepest fear, that which lurked beyond the pale of ordinary thought, and thus control it - though this was a short-lived, and thus useless state of mind. Crashing back into himself, he found that his moment of calm confidence had been replaced by a cold and savage sense of fragile mortality, which he wasn’t at all equipped to deal with. Mortality - now there was a thing… Rarely had he allowed himself to consider death, given that until this night he’d fully expected he had long to live; never having taken up bad habits, having lived sensibly for all of his fifty-five years, there had seemed no point in contemplating matters of the soul, even as the years had begun to quicken in their passing as time went by.

continued...




posted on Feb, 4 2013 @ 08:18 AM
link   
Pushing these strange, most unwelcome thoughts roughly aside once more as he arrived at the cabin - reprimanding himself for the implicit cowardice they betrayed - he stamped up the few steps at the entrance, raised his hand (ignoring its trembling as he did so) and with some difficulty succeeded in his attempt to unlock the shuttered door.

Shuffling a few steps in darkness, his footfalls echoing through the solid wooden floor into the crawl space beneath, he pulled the light cord & narrowed his eyes in response to the sudden illumination. Turning to survey the scene before him, he was shocked to see loose papers & crumpled archive boxes strewn about the place, as though a hurricane had whipped through in his absence. Monitors were smashed to pieces, the sole computer station utterly destroyed; wires had been ripped out from their runs and were strewn about wildly - it was utter chaos. Confused, and more than a little panicked, he turned to close the door behind him, and drew a sharp intake of breath – the doorway framed a man, standing silently and dressed darkly, his face hidden in the shadows just beyond the threshold. The realisation that the intruder had crept up covertly, and had quite possibly been the one who’d disheveled his cabin so violently, shocked him less than might have been expected… Even though it was located tens of miles from ordinary accommodation, the installation of which the cabin marked the boundary was entirely within walking distance, and – well, he knew precisely the types of persons involved in its subtle operations. Despite the lack of immediate terror, and a scant hope that this was something other than that which it appeared to be, the watchman knew that the presence of this stranger more than likely spelt trouble for him. Pretty much whichever way he cut the situation, especially considering this particular night’s events, there was reason to be fearful - and so soon after he’d succeeded in pushing thoughts of death from his mind! He almost laughed out loud, for the irony was sublime. However, as one might expect, the rising sense of fear choked the humour, which faltered immediately after its initial abstract conception.

After a pause that seemed to last much longer than it actually did, the unwelcome visitor stepped towards him from the shadows, stooping under the lintel, adopting an expectant stance just inside the doorway. He removed his hat, showing his features fully – if he knew the watchman, it was barely noticeable from his stern expression. The watchman was surprised, now allowing himself the previously suppressed laugh, its brief staccato perforating the tension before hastening into silence as other emotions rushed in. Frowning & grimacing at the same time, a painfully comical blend of surprise, relief & tremulous uncertainty gripped him. Faltering in his stance, finding his legs to have entirely lost their strength, he stumbled backwards, and as his hands groped for something stable to lean on, they found the armrests of his tattered swivel chair. Half-falling, he sat down – the chair slid some distance under the impact, and he found himself looking up into the eyes of a man he knew all too well, but who had no business at his cabin, so far as he could discern. Loosening his collar, the watchman tried to speak, but no words came – he had just seen the dull glint of a gun, holstered under the intruder’s jacket, and he gave in to the rising dizziness, finally passing out as the intruder reached forward to stop him falling out of the chair.

Surveying the unconscious form of the watchman at his feet – for he had laid the poor man out – the intruder chuckled quietly. Poor sod, he thought, there’s no way he could have known. Satisfied that he hadn’t had a heart attack, the intruder turned his attention back to the chaos of the cabin. Someone had been in just before him, and it couldn’t have been much more than ten minutes earlier.

***

continued...



posted on Feb, 4 2013 @ 08:19 AM
link   
CH. 2

The official activities of those who operated the generally unknown base to which the watchman was attached, were known to anyone with reasonable connections locally – or, by reading the briefest of outlines provided in simple listings accessible to nationally-active military personnel above certain rank. The unofficial - and therefore, the main activities - were known only as the rumours of whispered folklore, and more definitely, amongst the members of a very small circle of ‘professional amateur’ persons possessing more than a passing interest in covert military affairs. These were the folk who had persisted in the face of denials, who by some minutiae of family or industry connections, or as the result of excellent subterfuge, were privy to the first whisperings of the secretive mission being undertaken at RAF Wodehill - whisperings that had surfaced in the mid-fifties, and which had never entirely dissipated, despite the best efforts of Counter-Intelligence officers assigned to the protection of the installation & its personnel.

Classified (again, officially) as Top Secret, the rumours of nuclear armaments were allowed to propagate, encouraged even, ensuring that folk stayed away – assuming, naturally, that Cold War secrets were best left well alone. Journalists knew that any attempts to cover the base’s sometime-odd activities – strange sounds, strange lights & even earth tremors - would result in an immediate editorial blackout for the article in question. Indeed, the very attempt to write such a piece would ensure that for the remainder of their career they would be found covering village fetes, school board reviews and bypass proposals, their names struck from the prospect of ever attaining national status, anywhere. So the base remained an open secret, well guarded in its own right, and possessing the necessary air of palpable mystique to ensure nobody asked too many sensitive questions. Locals stayed well away, naturally fearing contamination by radioactive materials, or arrest for trespass - and this suited the inner circle most admirably.

As it happened, there were nuclear armaments installed at the site, and in its primary function - as an outpost providing deterrent against the ever-present Soviet threat – the base was duly staffed and managed as such. The majority of persons in employment at the site, as well as those who knew of its existence and official purpose via other means, were entirely in the dark about the ulterior purpose of the station. Those who were active in maintaining the official activities were fed cover stories, more complex than those given to the public of course, regarding the occasions of odd phenomena – and rarely, a single officer, or even someone of junior rank, who strayed upon the inner workings, was recruited into the circle - after a fashion - in order to protect ‘The Secret’. Still, most employees, most overseers, most visitors - and of course all politicians - knew nothing of the activities of those shadowy figures constituting the inner circle. These were they who perpetuated the myth of ‘communications testing’ amongst base personnel - and inevitably doled it out - if ever someone were to question the brief shaking of their barracks the night before, or the mysterious lights seen dancing above the nearby hilltops the past weekend.

There was a small group of civilians who were without official involvement, and yet who had aggregated as those who had independently - in one way or another - come across the rumours of the secondary activities at RAF Wodehill. Amongst these, a certain fraternity mentality had evolved over the course of time, and they sought to actively monitor strange occurrences connected to the base, as well as others in the county, as a sort of hobby. Participants would gather in their homes, or more likely, in the various pubs scattered amongst local villages dispersed throughout the county, in a rough circle around the Wode Hill base itself. Over an evening’s drinking, they would debate motives and outcomes, sightings or reports – especially excited by activities that bore the hallmarks of the lore of ‘damage control’, when base officials would suddenly turn up in some poor farmer’s field during the night, tenting off multiple areas, forbidding access - & proceeding to dissect the surrounding landscape for weeks at a time. All this would leave the stricken farmer with no doubt that his estate was at risk of collapsing into a massive sinkhole - due to ancient mining activities, naturally - or endangered by some other ominous notion of risk that had been fed to him by officialdom.

continued...



posted on Feb, 4 2013 @ 08:19 AM
link   
New information, new contacts or new members of their exclusive little society were highly coveted, yet they knew that caution was the prerequisite for all avenues of enquiry. Associated topics were debated, other case histories of similar sites analysed – and the most risky, yet often rewarding action - that of questions being posited to perceived sympathizers, suspected of possessing relevant information. Such were of course ‘vetted’ thoroughly beforehand, and a loose system of gradations of inquiry had become quite sophisticated, so that members were able to discern when the person involved was raising ‘tells’ of their likely complicity with counter-intelligence operations, and therefore had to be ‘dumped’ quickly. Remarkably, the rag-tag bunch of ‘theorists’ managed (more-or-less) to remain clandestine, avoiding the attention of the counter-intelligence officials; in spite of the many years they had collectively followed the incredible mystery of Wode Hill. They had all heard tell of other groups, similar to their own, who had not been so fortunate to remain ‘under the radar’, who had not been so cautious. Whether such were true, or mere legends, was irrelevant; they served to impress upon the ‘Wodeans’ ever more eagerness to maintain their low profile as the years passed…

This night, whilst the unfortunate watchman was now snoozing soundly upon the floor of his devastated cabin, the Wodean Society members were sat around a corner booth in ‘The Lincolnshire Tunnes’, one of their favorite retreats on cold winter nights. The warmth of a fire crackling merrily behind them, golden light refracting through the edges of their ale-filled glasses, they raucously raised a toast to one fellow’s recent engagement – to the lady whom would become his second wife, whom they had long suspected would one day assume his name. Clapping him on the back, riling him with less-than-savoury suggestions (much to his increasing embarrassment), thoughts of RAF Wodehill were, for once, relatively far from the forefront of their collective mind.

Just as the soon-to-be ex-bachelor was being goaded towards the resident piano, requests for various inappropriate tunes being flung his way (for he was a musician by profession), the old Grandfather clock in the corner struck eight o’ clock – and within a second or two, a mighty blast wave hit the pub, its sonic boom roaring through the emptied window frames even as the splintered glass launched inwards across the room, flying into the horrified faces of the semi-drunken group.

In that instant, their destinies changed, though for several minutes the scene was simply one of absolute chaos. Only much, much later, would it become apparent that the entire world outside, and their part within it, had changed - forever. The same was true of people in reaches so far beyond the cracked leather & stained oak of the Tunnes that it would have seemed impossible for any connections to be relevant. The changes were inevitable, as would become clear, and would take place in spite of what eventually amounted to an immense national cover-up; the initial actions of which, parts of a long-standing plan, had rolled into effect at the very moment the blast was detected by regional monitoring stations… Satellites orientations & lenses were being adjusted; bases nationwide were placed on high alert; covert air defence batteries were raised up from underground bunkers; preparatory international memos were being sent; troops began rallying under their commanders in readiness for despatch to the countryside around Wode Hill… Everything was in motion, even before the civilian members of the secretive Wodean Society had risen to their trembling knees, up from the floor of the now devastated ‘Olde-World’ pub they had loved so much.

***

continued...



posted on Feb, 4 2013 @ 08:20 AM
link   
CH. 3

The faintest tremor caused a book to fall from its solitary shelf in the watchman’s cabin, but the man standing over the sleeping form of the watchman himself knew immediately that there had been an immense explosion above the base itself; indeed, he had anticipated it, which was why they were still breathing. The sound that followed a second later was, to the uninitiated, inexplicably amplified to an apocalyptic roar, vastly in excess of anything that might have been expected from the minor preamble of the blast tremor itself, and it was this horrendous cacophony that roused the watchman from his nerve-shattered sleep. Jolting into a seated position, his eyes roved, his thoughts reeling as he tried to take in what was happening. Surreally, the intruder was standing as calmly as could be imagined – with the air of someone waiting for a bus - whilst the ominous reverberations of that terrible initial sound echoed on, flooding the atmosphere around the fragile cabin. The man smiled disarmingly and placed a hand on the watchman’s shoulder, steadying him as he clambered fully to his feet. Gesturing to the wheeled chair, he now aided the watchman to take his seat, before stepping back and seating himself on the edge of a battered olive-green filing cabinet. Taking a case of cigarettes from his jacket pocket, once again revealing the holstered pistol, he lit one & addressed the watchman as he exhaled.

“We don’t have much time, Ray. The bastards struck just like we were told they would – though we can thank God they didn’t use nukes - at least, not yet…”

Sergeant Raymond Brattleby frowned, his fogged mind clambering over obstacles of stubborn rationality, scraping at the recesses of his former conceptions - his best efforts to grasp the situation failed him. Ordinary formalities were abandoned, it seemed, and he thus addressed the senior officer in reciprocal fashion:

“What the bloody hell’s going on Alf…?”

Air Marshal Alfred Poplar smiled again, but retained the serious demeanor customary to his position, as commander of the regional joint-services counterintelligence committee. He leaned forward slightly.

“It’ll take longer than we’ve got to explain. Things are going to change very fast from this point on, Raymond – you’ll need to keep up. We’re on a wing & a prayer, in a sense, but we’ve prepared as best we can, and it’ll be clear soon enough, you’ll see.’’

Finishing his cigarette, giving no time for the watchman to respond to his words, he stood up, and peered out through the shutters at the roadway beyond the undergrowth. Seeing the lights of a vehicle, he gestured, and Raymond duly stood up. Both men exited the hut, leaving it in the disarray in which they had found it, and ran over to the Land Rover that was now idling at a standstill twenty feet away. Following the counterintelligence chief into the back of the vehicle, Ray exchanged a nod with the driver, who had turned to enquire of the Air Marshal:

“Where to Sir?”

“The Ollerton facility. Carefully does it though, stick to the tertiary route if you can – and keep an ear to the radio.’’

The driver engaged the clutch, and the Rover sped away, kicking up gravel as it went. Raymond Brattleby turned to look back, confused & concerned - but the only signs of anything out of the ordinary were the lights of inbound helicopters. In fact, there did seem to be a strange quality to the clouds overhead, which he hadn’t noticed earlier that night, but he decided it might be best not to think too hard about minor details at this juncture. The Moon shone brightly overhead, faithful, ever-calm steward of the night, and the noise of the choppers faded as the Land Rover drew further away from Wode Hill. Turning back to speak with the counterintelligence chief, Ray found that Alfred had now leant upon his jacket, folded up between his shoulder and the juddering window to his left. He seemed asleep, oddly, and so the watchman reluctantly followed suit, knowing that a fair distance lay between their position and Ollerton – after all, he was worn out, perhaps unsurprisingly.


continued...



posted on Feb, 4 2013 @ 08:20 AM
link   
Strange days, he mused, as he inclined his head to rest. A folded blanket, laid upon the upper edge of the seatback, served to cushion the occasional jolts offered up by the crude, hardy vehicle as it fought with uneven road surfaces. He remained blissfully unaware, for now, of the operations being mounted back in Wode Hill – which would soon spread to all the surrounding villages & hamlets within a twenty-mile radius. In fact, across the nation, and by some measure or other in various parts of the world, plans were being finalised; a long-held draft of specifically proposed actions was being rolled out covertly - on a scale never before contemplated in the history of organised subterfuge. It was compartmentalised so thoroughly, that barely a soul knew even the beginnings of the magnitude of what they were a part of. And that was certainly for the best - at least, for the time being.

Two sleeping men, juddering fitfully in the back of an unspectacular off-road vehicle as it sped through the country lanes of Lincolnshire, were together perhaps the most, and least informed persons who were centrally and indelibly connected to the entire charade. Everything was in place, and the world had changed - as had been anticipated for almost the turning of an Age (a fact that few truly understood…)

How long would it be until the world noticed?
There could be no answer - not yet.

***





new topics

top topics
 
0

log in

join