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the eylau sequence.war

One of the great unappreciated places in the solar system happens to cover most of the Earth’s surface. Deep and glistening blue-green, for many it is a large and mysterious plain at whose edges are scattered a few waves and beaches. However the ocean, origin of nearly everything living on the thin veneer of what people call home, hosts mysterious depths where wonders lie uncounted and unseen.

But it is the dark oceanic crust that lay at the very base of the crushing depths that has always fascinated Talrensin, a middle-aged batur geologist. This particular day however, had not been very inspiring. Out at sea far to the south of La Paz, he had first suffered the frustrating loss of not one, but three deep sea probes. And now he was getting nothing but bad data from the one that would at least function at shallower depth. Considering their inherent reliability and noted deep water performance, having three of the units fail on the same day defied belief. None of that mattered though, because here he was on his fourth unit and still collecting precious little data that made even less sense.

His main problem now was recovery of the last failed unit, which reported its return to the surface over an hour before. He checked his display and sure enough there was his probe, rising lazily with 20 meters remaining in its ascent. Unfortunately there seemed to be a sea disturbance interfering with his remaining active unit. It briefly occurred to him that maybe the disturbance caused his units to fail, or maybe a giant squid had stumbled onto to them and objected to their presence. None of that was likely, so he would just have to wait.

As he relaxed a little and took another sip of beer, his failed number three unit finally bobbed to the surface and moved sleekly toward Talrensin. When it came alongside he was shocked to see that it had been damaged. It had long score marks along one side and there were holes torn in it.

“What!?” he exclaimed. “How did this happen?” He looked around as if in search of someone to blame. Checking back to his surviving fourth unit, it continued issuing strange readings from the bottom. A quick review of the data showed bottom motion being reported across a wide area, but at a glance it was too difficult to tell anything more. But he suddenly felt uneasy, and as he watched the data stream unfold his unease turned to fear. It slowly dawned on him that something very strange was happening over a large area of the seafloor beneath him. Finally unable to resist himself, he moved the damaged third unit into its bay and ordered the ship to prepare for departure. Immediately the propulsion plant came on-line and the ship’s systems sped through their pre-run diagnostics.

With a last glance out to sea he saw a large area of ocean surface off to starboard turning a gentle white. It looked like trillions of microscopic bubbles churning to the surface. He hoped that was the reason, the ocean is a big place for someone on it alone. Feeling almost scared, he commanded the fourth probe to self-destruct and ordered his ship away from the area. The vessel steadily lifted out of the water with a surging shove as it quickly moved off. Talrensin looked back, but he could see nothing. For some reason however, he felt relieved to be getting away from the area. He wanted to report this to the university as soon as possible and quickly brought up his viewer – he needed to find out if anyone else had seen this.


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Sonya Ortiz walked through the main halls of the state department offices beneath El Cajon Mountain with a nervous excitement. Only in the last few weeks had the many pieces of some larger puzzle begun to fall in place. But there were still too many blank areas. Hopefully this meeting would help move the ball forward, it remained to be seen just how fast everything needed to happen. She had personally been feeling a greater sense of urgency lately, although she couldn’t really say why – just a gut hunch more than anything.

As she walked along the smooth stone floor of the main hall, her display assistant sent a quiet ping showing that General Johns was not far behind her. She stopped and turned.

“Good afternoon General.” she said.

“Good afternoon Miss Ortiz.” replied Johns as he walked up to her, he was impeccably uniformed as usual. “I’m pleased that the State Department could make it, and particularly that you are attending. Having the right people should mean we don’t have as much convincing to do.”

“Thank you General, don’t worry though, this is still a priority for me, especially after reviewing Stanton’s latest report. I’m curious, has Sweeney’s reconnaissance team tracked any more of those dark clouds they saw out to the northeast?”

“No they have not, just the one time. Unfortunately we did not have anything to spare when the data stream came in from Lieutenant Talae’s unit. It’s a big continent and we still can’t be everywhere at once.”

“Any idea what it was?” she asked.

“Stanton and his supports at Banning said it reminded them of a locust swarm, but the way it showed on radar was all wrong for that. Unfortunately we only have the one visual and that was from far away. Trust me, they are watching for it now. I think most of Sweeney’s people did not take Stanton’s work seriously until they saw that clip. They are taking it seriously now I assure you.” Even General Johns had to admit that the data stream from Sweeney’s recon unit was a bit spooky – North America did not get locusts anymore, it was too cold for them.

“Interesting.” commented Ortiz. “So we are still going to push for contact with Dr. Zimle’s fellow researchers down on the coast, correct?” The general nodded his head.

The two looked at each other in silence. After a thoughtful pause General Johns said “We’ll get it.”

Ortiz looked at him intently, nodded her head slightly and then opened the door to the conference room.


Strangely, in the age of instant communications it was still easier to convince people of something in person. Humanity remained primitive in many ways, whether that was an advantage or not remained to be seen. This gathering was taking place in one of the open rooms located high in the face of the sheer mountain cliff. It was not a large room, but the view was spectacular and the beautiful walls of polished stone were gently serrated. Down one wall slid a sheet of water, offering a subdued trickling sound in the background.

Jonathan Markham was already there. Sonya had requested he attend in order to represent the intelligence services. Also attending was Willis Bradshaw, from the House of Representatives National Security Team. His presence was requested by General Johns, and that fact alone spoke volumes about Bradshaw’s likely impact.

“Miss Ortiz.” began Bradshaw. “I recall we have met before, it is good to see you again and I thank you for coming. Please feel free to start at your leisure.” He added in his polite but no-nonsense manner.

“Thank you sir.” she replied as she sat down. She quickly slid her hands through the air in front of her as she delivered several threads of information to the others. “Gentlemen, I am sending several reports which you will find helpful. As you can see, it has come to our attention that the undeveloped lands to our north and east are becoming populated by new types of life that are not native to the area. This life is fundamentally different from existing flora and fauna, and if not checked it poses a serious threat to current ecosystems. We do not know where they come from, and we may not be able to stop them using standard pest retardants. All of our samples indicate they have a very different biological makeup than we are used to seeing and it is unknown how existing suppression systems will work.”

Ortiz paused to allow those at the table to browse through some of the presentations. “Our current plans are to continue active field observations, use the resulting data to continue development of suppression strategies and simultaneously prepare for a security response should that become necessary.”

“Security response?” asked Bradshaw. He looked at General Johns. “Edward, I suppose that is why you are here?”

“That is correct sir.” replied the general. “If you look at our current appraisal, you will see that we have activity ranging from far into the North, and across to areas east of Alamo Mountain. Our ground expedition turned up a surprising amount of information about this, and they are working with local researchers to collect more. There also appears to be subsea activity which may or may not be related, we are working to clarify that.”

“Any interference from the local black market bosses?” inquired Bradshaw as an aside.

“No sir.” replied General Johns. “Of course they are not crazy about our presence, but it does bring in some extra money and in the end, they don’t really have a choice. They don’t want to cause trouble and end up getting annexed.” the general grinned fiercely. “In any case, it is a perfectly safe environment for the researchers. To be honest, they may be in more danger from their research subjects than they are from the local smugglers.”

Bradshaw and Markham browsed through their viewers. “I see what you mean.” commented Markham. “It looks like a number of people have been killed and as many more gone missing. How many new species have been identified as being part of this migration or whatever you call it?”

“Nine so far.” replied Ortiz. “However there have been some observations of existing animal groups changing their behavior. It is possible that some of the native ecosystem is somehow being infected or modified. We are not sure how that fits in.”

“What sort of resources and timeline are we looking at?” asked Bradshaw.

“We should definitely involve the Armed Forces Research Institute at Cowles Mountain.” commented Johns. “I believe Miss Ortiz is ready to notify the Parks and Counties Department, which actually should have been the one to discover this. No insult to them, this came to the State Department’s attention because the first major incident happened outside the border.” he nodded at Ortiz and continued. “Also, the folks at JPS should be notified; their MGV designs may need modifications. I believe from what I have seen so far that microweapons may end up being used in roles we had not previously envisioned, their operating ranges will almost certainly need to be increased. Light aviation suppliers should also be notified, as they may end up having to carry more ordnance than was originally anticipated. We may need to share some technologies we have been holding back in case of emergency.”

“Do you think it will come to that?” asked Bradshaw.

“Better safe than sorry and yes.” replied the general. “We will make sure the suppliers understand that this entire subject is classified until further notice. Having said that, I believe your people will want to work with the administration on a public announcement strategy – better to hear it first from us, or at worst second! Academia is apparently catching on to this.”

“Agreed.” said Bradshaw thoughtfully. “It seems like you both have this well thought out. Miss Ortiz, I have to congratulate you for taking what appeared to be a fairly mundane accident report from the northern wastes and tying in with the General to track down its implications. It has apparently revealed something none of us expected.” he paused for a few moments while he pondered his options.

“Alright.” he said. “You may proceed with your plans and I will make the case for funding. I do not think this is something that should be ignored, and appreciate that your groups have been able to get things rolling. Otherwise, proceed as you have and keep us informed.”

Bradshaw looked over at Ortiz and Markham for questions. There were none.

“Very well, thank you.” he said as he stood and walked out.

The general looked over at Markham. “Well Jonathan, keep your ear to the ground. We will need to know if anyone else across the ocean is seeing this. But I do not want this information going into academia unedited – not yet at least.”

“Strictly between the three of us,” Markham replied, “I think others are seeing this, or something like it. We have heard the slightest of hints through our network, there has been some chatter across the Pacific and some of it may be about this same subject. We have not been able to ascertain whether it is Australia or Selangor. But it appears to be one of them.”

“Well.” Ortiz replied. “I guess we should not be surprised. Not after what we told the Australians. But we have not heard back from them, so I wonder now whether the chatter you are hearing is them, the Selangor or someone else. I’ll look forward to anything else you might hear.”

She looked over at the general. “I would start working with your associates in Southern Command and the Navy on response options, there is no telling where this will go.”

“Already under way – Miss Ortiz.” responded the General with terse familiarity. She nodded her head. ‘At least we are doing something about it .’ she thought.


Next: 22 - The Third Man

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