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Chapter 1: The Observatory

Crackle-ree,

Static,

chooh-ee,

ooh,

thoo-free,

choo,

troo-three

two,

two-three

two.



That was what I heard through my stolen AM radio on my drive home from Kuvandyk. At the time it meant nothing to me, being the twenty-three year old Russian secretary that I was. Only ten years later, after I moved to America and learned English, did I understand what that meant.

But I digress.

I found it somewhat odd that out of all the stations on the radio, this garbled mess came out of the one, static filled station that I chose for the peaceful white noise it gave. What made it even more peculiar was that out of the some-hundred-or-so trips I had made with that radio station on, along the same route, that it happened to be that night that the radio made the noise. I wasn’t a Christian, (much to my parents’ annoyance) so I changed the station thinking of no demonic meanings, and finishing the drive with some Russian dancing music.

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The next day I woke up with nothing of the previous night's radio noise in my memory. I made toast, eggs, and had opened the smoked salmon, that I had caught the previous weekend, from it’s tin case. When I turned to the radio to turn it on, (I plug it into the car to charge the battery and remove it when I leave my car) I remembered the previous night’s events, dropped the fish, stepped, and slipped on it, breaking my nose on the floor.

“CHYORT!” I yelled clutching my nose. Blood was pouring out of it and dribbling down my chin so I quickly grabbed some gauze and taped it to my nose.

The fish was all over the place and what was salvageable was either too small or covered in blood so I threw away what I could and continued with breakfast, grumbling at my bad luck. I decided eventually to turn on the source of my bad luck, and that being the radio. I flipped through the channels for a few minutes until I found the dancing music which reminded me of the weird noise I heard. Much to my dismay, I only heard the once soothing, but now frustrating static.

“If I can’t get it here, I might as well go back to where I heard it,” I thought, so I put on my shoes and headed out the front door. Soon, I found myself with my pedal to the metal cruising along in the cold daylight on the winding road through the green and brown blur that was the forest at completely illegal speeds with the static filled radio at full blast. I was so desperate for the noise (I still cannot figure out why on earth I was so desperate to find it) that every single time the static popped or changed pitch, I slammed on the brakes to a near-full stop.

After about half an hour of the same routine, I found it, and boy, was I happy. Immediately, I jumped out of the old and rusty car, grabbed the radio, and trotted into the forest. I wandered around in the brown-green color so commonly associated with the forest enjoying the serenity of birds chirping and toads croaking for a little while playing a game of hot and cold with the radio, I could never see more than twenty or-so feet in front of me due to the sheer amount of trees, but they were thin, and it was fall, so there were very few leaves to cast shadows in front of me.

Ten or fifteen minutes later I came to an old sign which I could not read, for it was in english. The sign read something like:

“Area is under constant surveillance do not advance past this point.”

(Why it was in written in english in a mostly Russian speaking country, I will never understand) the sign was old and rusted and the paint had scratched off in some places, so I didn’t think it was that important.

I advanced past the sign, and for a few minutes I played hot and cold until, as if I had hit a wall of clarity, the radio crackled and I heard the words: Two, Two-Three, Two, Two-Three. What I hadn’t noticed before in the car, was that there seemed to be a small pop at the end of the three, like a scratched gramophone disk.

At this point I was overjoyed at my discovery, but that joyousness had been short lived as I realized:

“What now?” The answer soon came as; after less than thirty seconds of walking, I came to a massive, decrepit, concrete building. The once-iron doors, now rusted completely through, were hanging at odd angles and seemed to have massive chunks missing from them and had a small brown puddle in front of them.

Being a learned Russian, I knew not to open those doors since a bear could be hiding behind them, so I made my way back through the winding trees, making sure to remember the path along the way, and drove home at somewhat calmer speeds. When I arrived, it was dusk, so I brought in my radio and made a survival pack for the next day’s adventure, consisting of: A waterproofed torch and six batteries, a handmade sticky grenade, a flare, a helmet with a handmade torch mount, heavy duty waterproof boots, camouflage cargo pants with a holster, a crowbar, lock picks, a hammer, a re-breather, three spam sandwiches, my father’s AK-74 with four mags, my grandfather’s Walther PPK with two mags and a first aid kit. I was Rambo!

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The following morning I got dressed in a leather jacket with studded elbow pads and shoulder pads, ate a hearty breakfast consisting of two eggs, a sandwich, a can of spam, and my mother’s black bread, got in my rusted out old Lada “Rust Bucket” and backed out of my car shed.

I had my backpack on back, pistol in holster, AK in lap and was in my car with the radio on and driving at breakneck speeds towards my destination, it was an adventurer's dream!

In twenty minutes flat the radio started making noises again and I slammed the brakes, tires screeching and nearly crashed into a tree. I jumped out of the the “Rust Bucket” and with AK in hand and radio on waist and ran through the woods nearly dislocating my arm when I collided with a tree. After ten minutes of solid running, I had the concrete wall in sight and I took note of the new brown stream coming from the wall. I raised the Kalash’ and kicked the door open screaming a Russian war cry hopefully raising all hell for the expected bear.

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Nothing.

Nothing at all, not even darkness, there was stale light streaming in from the derelict doorways that lead off from the main concrete passage onto some old pro communism posters and pictures of american communists leading the world’s technology with giant metal trains by the look of it. I took a step into the hallway and my boot plunged ankle deep into a brown, gravy-like substances that I previously presumed was the ground, for, it had no reflection. The roof was somewhat low, I estimated about two metres from the top of the gravy floor. The walls were concrete but when I ran my hand over it small chunks came out and my fingers left a trail, almost as if it was made of a decaying chalk.

I slogged on through the gravy floor until I came to the first door. I reached out to grab the handle and immediately recoiled when my hand was met with the same gravy-mud as was on the floor.

“How on earth did it get up here?” I thought to myself as I rubbed my hand on my pants. I made attempt number two in opening the door and found that: even though the substance rubbed onto my hand, there didn’t seem to be any less of it on the door. The substance seemed to have a lot of friction, almost like rubber, so the knob was easy to grasp. I opened the door to find that there was a step up onto a platform that was the floor of the small enclosed room made of normal plaster on wood covered in wallpaper which was peeling off at the corners. The room itself seemed to be windowless and in a pentagonal shape with a bunk bed on one side, an open door on a different end leading to a bathroom, a yellow naked light bulb on the roof and various chemical testing (I presumed) instruments on desks at all the other sides.

The vials were empty, but for the gravy which had coated everything, it all retained its basic shape - but turned brown. I picked up a couple of the vials to find that they were absurdly heavy for glass vials. I dropped one on the floor to see if it would break, but it simply hit the floor and stayed, not even a bounce. At this point I was getting somewhat disturbed but I screamed like a little girl when the yellow light from which the illumination came fell onto my head and exploded. I got out of the room I shall call “The Office” and slammed the door shut causing the already weak hinges to burst off and the door to fall back into The Office.

The lighting worsened quite a lot, forcing me to turn on the torch and put it on my helmet. I decided to advance to the next room only to find that it was exactly the same as The Office. Exasperating, to say the least. I made my way down the hallway through the gravy which was beginning to look somewhat appetizing since it heavily reminded me of the open fire cookouts my family used to have before I moved away. After about a minute or so of slogging through the gravy in the fairly long hallway, I came to a gravy covered door - only, the gravy on this door seemed to be rippling. I attributed the rippling to my shaking torch, making things shimmer, and went ahead with opening the door. It came open fairly easily, because the chain that locked it was entirely rusted through, and it swung inward with a light push. What was on the other end though, scared me so badly that I wasted half a magazine, just shooting it.

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The carcass was still clothed but its skin was repulsive, it was chalk white with some sort of mucous covering the entire body, the nose, non existent, but instead there seemed to be two black, slick, wormlike tendrils wriggling around from the nose to the mouth where it was slowly eating away at the teeth. Watching it made my stomach empty the morning’s contents all over the floor. When I finished retching I decided that I had no more food to lose, so I opened up the shirt, and boy was I wrong. The chest had a massive hole in it where some green shimmering gravy sat, slowly dissolving the various internal organs. It couldn’t have been there for more than a month, because it had only recently finished off the heart and was moving on to the lungs. After viewing this horrific sight my stomach decided that it was not done yet, and I projectile vomited right into the gravy. As soon as it hit, my breakfast sank straight to the bottom for only god knows...

I left the disturbing sight, much more shaken, to continue on with my expedition. I walked through the dark hallway, which had no physical difference from the previous one other than a metal stairwell at the end of it. The stairwell was much darker than the hallway for some unknown reason, it almost seemed to eat my torchlight, and I had a hard time adjusting to the darkness, so I had to wait while deciding whether to ascend or descend along it.

Eventually I decided to ascend in the hopes that there would be a little open clean air if I went up since from a distance, I had never seen a concrete building from the mountains before. An ominous scraping sounded from down below so without waiting any longer I ran up the steps as fast as I could; I was becoming very unsettled.

I counted three flights of gravyless, creaky metal steps before I came to a door in the roof. I busted the lock with the butt of the Kalash’ and slammed the door open, climbing up the short ladder and sitting down on it to open my pack and take out a spam sandwich.

I ate in silence for a few minutes before I noticed something; I was sitting, suspended in midair three stories from the forest floor. I screamed and fell on my back only to hit my head on something very hard and sharp, and black out.

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When I came to, I looked around for a moment thinking

“I can fly!”, Before a searing pain made itself known on the back of my head. I felt around until my hand touched dampness, so I took out the first aid kit and put a bandage around my head. Still somewhat dazed, I looked around for moment, noted that it was dark, and also noticed the dampness on my shirt. I turned around to look at where I presumed that I hit my head and noted that the forest was washing off.

“Wait a minute,” I said out loud. “Why is the forest... washing off?”, As I took a closer look, I noticed that the forest was painted on. I replaced the batteries in my torch and looked around. What I saw confused my already poor conditioned head so much that it froze up completely. Even at about one kilometer, only the tops of the trees showed.

“How..? What?” I thought, until I noticed that there were four groups of trees that were perfectly square, and extended three quarters of a kilometer into the sky. On the tops of those four tree groups were large cables  which, when I followed them, led to a large triangular structure with a half-circle under it and a massive spherical shape suspended on the half-circle. It looked like something extremely familiar I’d seen somewhere before, but I couldn’t place my finger on it at the time, ten years later I now realise that it was an Arecibo Observatory copy, up scaled nearly three times.

I wondered how no one had ever seen it before, until I remembered why I had to use the first aid kit. I replaced magazines in the Kalash’ and moved the lever into safety so that no more “accidents” would happen again. I hauled open the iron door which for some reason didn’t have any gravy on it and landed in the room with a thud. When I landed I took two steps and suddenly there was a massive metallic screech and the stairs broke off their mountings, sending me, and the stairs tumbling. I curled into a ball and put my pack under me to break the fall, but it did very little, as when I landed my neck nearly broke, and I felt a hammer on my left arm as it fractured under Two-Hundred and ten pounds.

I lay in a ball, in pitch black for a few moments, moaning as my left arm throbbed painfully while blood leaked down my cheek. After a few moments, I took out the first aid kit and got out some more gauze for my nose to tape it up again, and while I was readying the field patch, I took a sniff and noted the smell of honey mixed with the sewer water. I couldn’t tell whether that was from the smell of destroyed stairs or from my own bloody nose, but I put on the gauze anyways. After I had finished my temporary rhinoplasty, I got to the task of examining my left casualty. There weren’t any cuts on or around it so I imagined it to be the bone itself. Thankfully my dominant arm was still in good shape so I made a sling for my left arm, picked up and turned on my torch (the handmade mount had broken) and taped it to the Kalash’ which was still in near pristine condition.

I shouldered my pack and went about the task of making a new plan on how to get out. I looked for a rope but remembered that I hadn’t the materials to get out of a hole.

“Chyort!” I shouted out of frustration. The gravy that covered that walls eliminated any chance of an echo, which made me remember how alone I was. After a couple minutes of trying, the gravy turned out to only be strong enough to holds its own weight, not mine. I took out the first aid kit and strung some of the gauze together, but it only was three meters high, either way, it couldn’t have held my weight anyways. In my desperation I did the only thing left that a human can do, I yelled for help. I yelled and yelled and yelled until my throat felt like sandpaper. When I could yell no longer I curled up into a ball and cried. I sat there crying for I don’t even remember how long, all I remember is the despair I had felt, sitting there in that dark, black, smelly pit. I was going to rot, and no one would find me, I would be the unsung commoner. The one who went half mad going after a noise and died in a pit of sadness.

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The stairs started that metallic scrape again. They were breaking again. I was a ghost, living my final moments for all of eternity. But...wait. I looked around me. The flashlight was on, my arm still hurt, the stairs were still lying in a rusted heap around me. So then...What was that scraping. I was instantly out of my misery. No time for self pity when there is a metal scrape emanating from the doorway that was right in front me, louder….louder. It kept coming, not even a door to protect me. I may have been meat pile waiting to be consumed, but some deeply buried animal instinct that had sat there under a pile of morals and politeness for twenty-three years wanted out. It wanted to be heard.

I raised my gun and, adrenaline coursing through my veins, unconsciously cocked it and started formulating an escape route. Here it comes… Getting closer… Closer… Closer… Almost here...Get ready for it Danilov Kulovich… HERE IT IS, FIRE!

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Next thing I remember, I was running, running for my life. My left arm was on fire but I didn’t care. There was something ungodly behind me and I could still hear it. That horrible scrape...clack, scrape...clack of It’s massively oversized legs, bound together by a short ceramic chain. The hallway I was running through was covered in gravy and had many doorways leading off of it on the left and right. It felt like I was running for hours but in reality, I couldn’t have been running for more than a minute. Soon I reached the first doorway with a door. I kicked it open, jumped inside and slid the latch into place. The scraping sounded far off but I couldn't tell how far, I was scared out of my mind.

“Okay, calm down,” I thought as I sat down.

“What had happened in the last five minutes?”

“I fell, door opened, big green thing, bullets shot off arm, had three more, new magazine.” I replaced my gun’s magazine and pulled the charging handle.

“Thing coming, no way out, loud noise, banging...wait, what? Banging? As I finished this last thought, the metal door shot off it’s hinges and lodged itself in the wall. Uh Oh. There, in the doorway it stood. Towering nearly three metres high, with three arms and a stub leaking green liquid which, on contact with the floor evaporated, and a head so deformed that I couldn’t even place the mouth.

“Heh... I’m gonna’ die.”

The creature lifted its arms with speed and grace of a cat and smashed through steel door frame as it advanced towards me. I had to think fast…I had it. Quick. Through the legs, and out the do- Chyort. Forgot about the chain. My foot caught on the ceramic chain that linked the Beast’s feet together and caused me to smash my face on the floor while the green giant’s head managed a full 180º turn to look me directly in the eye. I screamed and kicked at the chain causing the old ceramic to snap. I scrambled up and dashed out the door while the lumbering beast turned around to pursue me.

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Down through another hallway I went, through a door, close the latch, through another hallway, up the stairs, and into blackness so complete that I thought I had entered another dimension. The Beast was still far off, I couldn’t hear it, so I had time, time to get out of this hell hole. I felt around for some time in the pitch black until my hand touched a slimy surface which, upon closer inspection from my hand contained many small bubble-like shapes that were not poppable. I moved away from the wall to investigate different areas. I felt around some more until I laid hand upon a slimy, ringed, wriggling surface that spasmed at my touch, and sent two, very large, and very sharp spikes through my arm.

“AGHH!” I screamed and stumbled away. The was a very wet sounding pop, and I was sprayed with a warm sludge and a sausage like object. I wiped some of the stuff off of my face and groped around, finding a light switched which I immediately flicked on. The room was illuminated by a cool blue light, and in the center of it was a massive, glistening, black, worm-like ‘Thing’. I estimated it to be about one-and-a-half metres tall in the middle and two metres long.

It let out an ear-piercing screech and started to roll around. As it rolled I got a good glimpse of the head, which had many black, beady eyes, and two massive spines. I also saw what looked be the source of the sludge. A massive hole in it’s side, leaking a greenish black substance and various organs strung about. I was very captivated by the sight until a huge force smashed into my back, sending me head first into the ‘worm’. I pushed myself off of it just in time to avoid the spines which pierced its own skin causing yet another screech and spray of goo and organs. The creature stopped moving, so I presumed that it had killed itself, but I couldn’t stay long since, somehow the ‘Beast’ had made its way stealthily in. I rattled off yet another magazine, this time pointed at the various arm joints, all of them hitting their mark and knocking off the remaining arms. I was about to run, when the ‘Beast’ opened the top of its head, exposing the bright red, and pulsing brain, and made a sound so loud, that I went deaf in my right ear for a few months. I tried to shoot the exposed brain, but was only met with the sound of an empty gun. Cursing my luck, I turned and ran with the Beast in close pursuit.

As I ran, I quickly ejected the spent magazine and inserted a new one with my bloody arm and shot behind me blindly. Now I was running in darkness with only the muzzle flash to illuminate my way. The Beast tried another scream, was cut off and let out a small yelp when a loud smash rocked the building. I didn’t linger to figure out what happened so I stretched out my yet-functional arm, grabbed a pillar and swung to my right. I ran some more, lungs stiff, and throat dry until I hit an invisible wall. I cracked open the flare and saw that I had hit a glass wall - wait...glass?..No gravy? What? I pressed my hand to the glass and noticed that it was warm,

“Better than nothing,” I thought. I looked to my right and left and saw a metal door labeled:

Warning

dangerous chemicals

hazmat suit beyond this point

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I pushed a red button and a siren sounded while a red light flashed overhead. The Beast let out another yell somewhere behind me so I tried to push the door open. I had to quickly retract my hand as the door was electrocuted, so I sucked in my gut and slid through the opening that the immensely slow door had created. Once on the other side, I pushed a green button and the door started to close again. It couldn’t have closed sooner, the moment it did close, a muffled bang emanated from the other side and the door vibrated somewhat. The Beast screamed some more but the door seemed to have sound proofing and it sounded more like a rat squeaking than a massive, man-murdering Beast. At this thought I chuckled a little. The door vibrated some more while the Beast screamed (I have no idea what caused the door to vibrate as the Beast didn’t have hands). I took a look at my surroundings, being careful to touch only what my flare light shined on from previous experience. The room I had entered had plain metal walls with cubbies built into them containing white hazmat suits and gasmasks, none of it had any gravy on it for some reason. Next to a glass door there was a control panel illuminated by a weak backlight. I decided to take a closer look at the control panel after setting down the flare in the middle of the room. The panel had about ten switches, a few gauges, all of them indicating zero of something, and some buttons with red plastic caps. I tapped some of the gauges and one of them jumped only to fall back to zero, leading me to assume that they still functioned. I tried a few of the buttons, hoping that one of them would turn on the light to no avail. Next, I tried the switches, the sixth one turning on some light blue lights. The eighth switch opened the door and since none of the others appeared to do anything, I put on a suit and gas mask and headed into the next room.

The room I entered was completely white, the glass ‘window’ had developed a metal cover and the Beast had stopped banging, buying me some more time to explore. The room was octogonal and about six metres in diametre and three in height, what I found peculiar was the complete lack of people or any sign of them. In the middle was a pedestal on which was a gravy cube. I took out the PPK since it was silenced and shot into the ‘cube’. The shot went right though causing a splatter of gravy on the opposite wall. I had about three seconds to look through the hole and make an observation that there were little wingless bee-like creatures moving inside before it closed up again. The gravy that had hit the far wall had started humming like a hive and throbbed, moving itself towards me slowly, like a sea cucumber. It stayed attached to the wall as it moved, a centimetre every two seconds. I could only watch in horror as it developed a brain like shape and two ‘eyes’ that stared straight at my chest. The cube on the other hand, had started to undulate like disturbed block of jello. The top of the cube opened up to display an actual, pink brain.

The brain ‘looked’ in my direction and made a sound like wind through a cave after which a jet of gravy was sent flying at me. The gravy landed on my chest, where it started vibrating, braking the fabric of the hazmat suit and moving on to my bare skin. It felt like fire ants, so without thinking, I swept my hand over my chest, wiping off the gravy and moving on to slam my arm into a wall. A shooting pain went through my wrist while the gravy splattered everywhere. I aimed my PPK at the brain on the undulating mass of moving gravy which had advanced a side towards me, and fired twice causing the brain to explode.

The gravy mollusk didn’t seem to care and continued on its way, so I ran back through the door, slamming on the panel until the door closed, watching as the gravy covered the door and began seeping through the cracks. I screamed and took out the Kalash’ and started shooting at the gravy until my third magazine was empty. I replaced it with the already half empty magazine and continued shooting until it too, was empty. I ran to the back of the hazmat room where my flare still was and threw it at the gravy in a last effort to stop it. In a matter of seconds, the gravy had consumed the flare and continued on. At that point I was in tears and started screaming until I heard a voice coming from the floor.

The Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico, what the American Communists had was nearly three times bigger.

Arecibo Observatory Aerial View

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-Danilov Kulovich

This is chapter 1 of the Rogue Transmission series.

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