It had taken Reed a long time to finally be able to find what he had been looking for. From the first moments he decided to to rethink everything he'd been doing, and started taking careful readings from Earth itself, instead of focusing only beyond it, to when he started picking up the very specific pattern of energy release, and pinpointing its location to somewhere in a vast area in Antarctica, to deciding he had to take a closer look (which was the fastest part, taking only seconds), to ensuring funding, authorization, and building what needed built and leasing the rest, securing the Army plane and the ship, unloading the snow hovers, and setting on their way... and they still weren't done.
Because of the distortions caused by the geomagnetic field, and the aurora australis, their sensors could do very little to pinpoint the actual origins of the radiation they had been picking up. They would have no choice but to move around, trying to map it through triangulating it, clearing it up as they moved. It would be endlessly boring, slow moving, and, due to the environment, they would be confined to the cars most of the time. Communications to the outside would be limited by the noise, and there would be no internet. Reed repeated those facts, hammering it in, because he was bound by their agreement to let them know of it, but he still remembered what had happened the last time he invited the rest of them on a trip, and he knew how they felt obligated to accompanying him, and he wanted to make it absolutely, absolutely
clear he could do it himself, never mind the fact that he could barely remember how to drive a car, much less a heavy vehicle over constant snow, or two. It wasn't like there was much for him to crash into out there anyway. The fact that they had all come was both a great relief, and deeply concerning.
The snowhovers Reed had designed worked much better than the usual snowcats the research stations used simply for the fact that they only touched the snow during full stops, meaning they had even lower impact on the environment. They were built to house four people comfortably, which meant that Ben could walk without hitting anything on one, as long as Reed stuck to the walls in the way only Reed could, and Johnny and Sue would have plenty of space on the other. Both of them had relatively comfortable folding beds, and Reed had made sure Ben's was reinforced, and large enough. One of them carried most of the equipment and material, while the other was the residential one, with the couch, and a small, but functional kitchen. Though both held emergency supplies, so they could survive long enough to reach help, or for help to reach them in case they lost one of the vehicles, they still usually parked and moved to cook, eat, and reassess, before stopping for the night, though day and night were not as simple that far south, where sunlight could be from 0 to 24 hours a day, depending on the day of the year and place, and the human concept of time zones didn't reach. It there was one thing to be said for it, water wasn't really a problem, though the need to conserve energy did mean the heating was controlled.
Several days passed with slow development, though they had to backtrack a few times as they realized they were being led farther away from their destination. It was hours of driving with little else for Reed to do but worry himself about the conversation he had had with Ben, the one about not chasing the wave when it had already done them so much damage the first time, stopping from time to time to get readings. Some yelling at Johnny not to fly too close to the snow, at least, because the melting and refreezing could damage its consistency and they were supposed to be reducing their footprints. They had thankfully managed to still reach it during the warmer period, while there was still natural light, but it was fading fast. He was starting to concern himself with not being able to find anything when they finally reached what should be, according to his calculations, the starting point.
They stopped the cars and left, Reed letting his feet grow larger to lower the pressure the caused against the snow, watching carefully at his sensors. There was an elevation ahead, but that seemed to be only it. "I'm going to check it out."
He said into this comms. Unless they were standing close to each other, the dry, cold weather left them hoarse if they spoke too loud, especially when the winds picked up again. Moving up, he realized the elevation was actually very steep, the snow depositing itself over it to hide its true depth. "Careful, Ben."
He warned. He was the most likely of all of them to sink into it, and pulling him back would be... well, Sue might actually just fish him out quite easily, but it would be better to save them all the trouble.
They walked several more meters, before Reed was satisfied they had reached the point of high energy of the complex system they had been calling the "cosmic wave". He stopped, and looked around, planning. "I think this it it. We can leave the cars where they are for now, it's not too far away, and we don't need them sinking into the snow. We can start bringing the heavy equipment over, leave it working overnight."
Little did he know the hill gave in only a few meters ahead, exposing the farming area and entrance to the complex cave system where a small tribe, carried over by the cosmic storm that struck them centuries ago, and thousands of kilometers away, had found a way to survive.
, @JOHNNY STORM
, @SUE STORM
I hope it works for everyone. Please, let me know of anything I can change, or add, or remove, to make it better for you guys!