Friday found us once again gathered, only this time, at our new home, high on the hill. Munin could not have been more thrilled. It was taco-sri-racha dogs all around and most gorged and glutted on the fatty wieners until satiated (except for a particular lightweight who couldn’t face the pink tubes dripping and ripping, fresh from the microwave). There was also an alleged cake-like creation that was glorious in appearance but horrifying in the mouth. The grit of undisolved sugar between teeth, the fudgey weight of each mouthful…too much for mortals. The good thing, however, is that the few bites we choked down hit the metabolic after-burners. The chocolate super fuel revved us up just as the AN-124 whisked our fearless crew into the skies and toward their “open-field-landing.”
Something like a 12 was rolled for the pilot’s landing roll. “Oh, so this is how this is going to go down,” was the general comment on having to make a roll to see whether or not they piled it in like a lawn dart. Yup.
The MT-LBV’s were unloaded without a hitch and our little entourage headed off into the storm. It wasn’t long before they heard the radio progress of their comrades in the helicopters fighting the weather, and being ordered to continue northward regardless of danger. Soon after, it was clear that all helicopters went down with heavy icing on the rotors. Seconds later, the first sightings of herds of frozen dead reindeer – to be followed in quick succession by the seemingly mad, radio ravings of a Major Kishenko from Norilsk Air Defense Base.
Kishenko said this was no natural storm. Beware the native Nenet people. Look to their feet. Do not trust them with anything. Treat them as hostiles. Burn their frozen dead hearts.
Our elite commandoes took these words to heart.
When they happened upon some kind of abandoned and time-forgotten prison camp, they were on full alert. As one team discovered a horrendous pile of dead, hundreds of bodies, all with smashed skulls from a pair of nearby sledge hammers – another team discovered one of the huts was heated and sheltered a sled dog team. The hut adjacent to the kennel showed signs of movement, a face in a window, a hand waving from a doorway. Lieutenant Babenko’s team let loose on the man in the doorway and he collapsed back into the hut with a couple of hard hits. The following commandoes stormed in with fingers on triggers – more natives, young girls, but natives none-the-less. One girl ran. All fell in hails of bullets.
The older male, a Nenet, barely alive, tried to speak a few words before he parted this world. He beckoned his killer closer and choked a few phrases, repeatedly, almost singingly, to him. One of the troopers spoke a tiny bit of Nenet and could decipher that the man was talking about the wind, the coming wind… The Nenet started laughing, gurgling on his own blood and laughing just the same. Babenko went to cut his throat…and that is when one “daughter” sprang to attack him. A long battle ensued with the girl clawing at Babenko’s armor and several other soldiers trying to wrench her off. Muradov ran for coals from the dog kennel hut. The girl grew fiercer by the moment, growing claws, her jaw horribly distending. She shredded Babenko’s armor, and started to rip hunks from his shoulder and arm. After several rounds of struggle, the coals finally found their way to the girls heart and she stopped her desperate clawing and gaping. Babenko and another soldier were badly wounded in the battle. Kriptoshenko applied bandages – and not for the last time this evening.
Briefly searching around the compound led to strange revelations about the timelessness of the place, and the apparent corruption of the prison guards. They were into some sort of cult or some sort of dark worship of a thing called Kotura. Time was wasting but drive rolls had been so successful that it was decided to spend a bit of the precious time to rest a bit before arriving at Site 6. Lt. Fedorenko of the Special Rocket Forces protested to Captain Koslov about the wastage of time. Koslov was concerned about the fatigue of the men and wanted them to be sharp when they arrived. Fedorenko informed Koslov on some of the classified aspects and the pressing time imperative of their mission.
Koslov made the call, however, and the men rested for four hours. The storm grew worse and MT-LBV engines were kept running lest they should fail in the cold, and to keep the interiors of their steel hulled vehicles warm.
Four hours passed quickly, however, and soon it was time. The vehicles headed out. It wasn’t long before they were two kilometers from Site 6. Koslov briefly considered stashing the vehicles and going in on snowshoes. Thankfully for all, he reconsidered and soon the chain link and barbed wire gates of Site 6 were in sight. A recon team explored the entry guard posts – and found obvious signs of a fire fight, including spent shell casings. Bits of torn uniforms and even scraps of human tissue and bone littered the post.
The team advanced into the base with their vehicles in line. Soon a strange tapping noise was heard on the outside, then a banging, then more fierce blows rang on the outside of the APCs. Fleeting glimpses of a flying/running thing, like the daughter of that Nenet, appeared. Koslov ordered a recon of the main control tower. The team made it into the building but only found more signs of a desperate and bloody struggle. On the way back to the APCs, two troopers were badly wounded by the flying things, and one trooper was decapitated.
The attacks against the outside of the APCs intensified. Vehicle 4 was lifted on its side as the team searched desperately for a way into the complex. A blast from the flame thrower frightened the beasts off for a few moments while the command APC nudged 4 back onto its tracks. Finally, with help from Lt. Fedorenko, the unit found the entrance shaft, elevator, and door. The bad news was that the control panel appeared to be badly broken and it would take the better part of a minute for Babenko to try and hot wire it.
The entire unit dismounted and guarded Babenko as he set to work. By now, however, there were several of the beasts attacking the troopers and what followed was a violent, bloody, stand. The flame thrower and flare after flare was spent trying to hold the beasts at bay, and for some rounds, now and then, it worked. But the viscousness of the attacks intensified as the numbers of beasts mounted. Men were lifted into the air and ripped to shreds, others were decapitated as they stood, and many more were badly injured. A few soldiers lost their minds, some ran off into the storm, others opened fire on their comrades, still others stood stupefied until they too died in their boots. Kriptoshenko and the other medics had their hands full as they tried to keep the wounded from bleeding out. Finally Babenko unlocked and opened the door.
A moment of realization spread over the troopers. There were many wounded, too many to move inside quickly. The flying beasts were slaying and attacking with such frenzy that even one round spent lifting and moving the wounded would cost the lives of too many…The troops leapt inside, and the door was slammed shut. The screams of the wounded died quickly. Only Captain Koslov and ten of his beaten and wounded troopers made it inside.
The team found their way into the control dome, closed the blast doors and tended to their wounded. After discovering the damage to the control systems, they began to consider their options. They came up with a plan to seal the RA-115 man portable nuclear device behind the blast doors and within the missile silos. They began the trip down the long tunnel to the silos.
They reached the half way point when the howling started. They ran for it, but the beasts overtook them in the hallway – the troopers formed a firing wall and held the attack at bay – until they were attacked from the other side as well. Two more troopers fell to their injuries before they reached the silos, set the timer and retreated.
They team drained the gravel from the evacuation tubes and began their final ascent to the waiting MT-LBV’s. Captain Koslov volunteered to go last. A single very large creature wearing the tattered remains of a prison guard’s uniform, and the rank bars of a Major attacked Koslov from below. Koslov let the creature have it with his flare launcher, and several mags of ammo, but the beast kept coming and tore deeply into Koslov’s left leg, rendering it nearly useless. Then Koslov’s arm. The two grappled and fell, and finally, a sickening crunch sounded from below as the beast bit into Koslov’s head like an apple. Next in line was Sirko. The beast and Sirko fought – thankfully the wounds suffered at the hands of Koslov were substantial and Sirko was able to send the beast, falling, back down the tube. Out, into the storm and into APC’s the troopers fled. Then driving, as fast as they could go, south and away.
There were only a handful remaining who saw the brilliant flash, felt the concussion, and heard the distant roar of the blast. When they returned to Norilsk, they were questioned by Major Kishenko as to all they had done and seend. Everyone agreed to tell everything.