Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Blood Falls - Part 1 Handbook

If you're reading this that means you've stumbled onto my blog after reading part 1 of "Blood Falls' on /r/nosleep (or you're lurking my blog and reading this a day early, you creepy bastards). Welcome!

I've included some references and additional information below on some of the things covered in the first part of the story. There's a lot of information thrown in that some of you might be thinking, "hey, I'd kind of like to know more about that." Look no further! Everything you need is here for your perusal.


Before we get into specifics from part 1, as promised here is the full schedule for all remaining parts to "Blood Falls":

3/30 - Part 1: Story
4/1 - Part 2: Story & Handbook
4/4 - Part 3: Story only (no handbook)
4/6 - Part 4: Story & Handbook

Story posts will be on /r/nosleep at or around 10:30am EST. Handbooks will all be on this blog and posted simultaneously with all future story posts.

BLOOD FALLS

The big item in the story is Blood Falls of Antarctica, pictured above. Lou describes that the red ooze is actually iron secreting from a trapped microbial ecosystem under Taylor Glacier. There's much more to it than that.



I won't be discussing too much about Blood Falls in this post. Doing so may/will spoil future parts of the story. But, here is an overview of the surroundings of Taylor Glacier.



MCMURDO STATION


There's actually quite a lot to do at McMurdo! It's the largest base in all of Antarctica and serves as a central hub for all incoming and outgoing personnel. It can house up to 1,300 people at a time. NASA's website on McMurdo contains interesting details for everyone that will be visiting the station.

The population at McMurdo is constantly changing, although it generally averages around 1,000 people at a time during the summer months. Winter, however, there's generally around 200 people there. Here's a census I dug up from 1/2011:
  • McMurdo Population: 995 people 
  • Raytheon Employees (support staff): 550 people
  • NANA (Kitchen and Janitorial Staff): 106 people
  • NSF Grantees (Scientists at McMurdo): 113 people staying and working at McMurdo!
  • NSF Staff: 4 people
  • The rest are air force, pilots, helo ops, runway personnel etc.
  • MALE: 70.6%, FEMALE: 29.4%
Compared with the South Pole during the same time:
  • South Pole Population: 221 people
  • Raytheon: 145 people
  • NANA: 17 people
  • NSF Grantees: 55 people

And yes, they actually do have rock concerts there:



We scientists really know how to party :)

The LC-130 Hercules is a plane used on the continent that is equipped with skis to land on snow and ice. To conserve space for the story, I left this out of the first part. The C-17 plane that the team takes from New Zealand is more commonly used at the USAPs headquarters.

Speaking of the USAP, if you're interested in a job at McMurdo, you can find more information here. They have jobs available that range from scientists to cooks to cashiers. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity!

STORMS

There are three classifications for the weather conditions on Antarctica:

  • Condition 3 - Normal weather.
  • Condition 2 - Wind speeds around 55mph. All nonessential outdoor activities stop.
  • Condition 1 - Wind speeds exceeding 63mph with visibility less than 100 feet.

This video accurately captures the effects of a condition 1 storm. It's taken from the documentary "Antarctica: A Year On Ice". You can watch it on Netflix if you'd like to see more. I highly recommend it!

Here's some info on the ECW gear in case anyone wants to look more into what they include and how they issue everything. This clothing is specifically designed for sustaining warmth in such extreme conditions.

Lastly, here is a map of the area where the story takes place. I've noted the areas mentioned in the story for your convenience (you'll have to click on the image to get the full scale clearly.)



TRIVIA & DELETED DIALOGUE

A bit of trivia for this story as a whole and this part in particular. I listened to a song by one of my favorite independent artists who goes by the name 'Wolfgun' while writing to fuel inspiration for certain characters.

Song & lyrics inbound:


Deeper as we go
You will not see anything
You won't even know
As the shadows fall
You will not feel anything
Cold as virgin snow

If you like this song, I'd recommend downloading his stuff. It's all free! You can find more on Wolfgun here.

There wasn't much in terms of deleted content from this part. Just this line of dialogue from Barry that contradicted later events in the story.

  • Barry walked up behind me. “We do our best to avoid interfering with nature here. Both physically and socially. McMurdo is an American station, but technically the land doesn’t belong to any government. There’s no law enforcement here, no jails, no one owns the land. By definition it’s anarchy. Yet everyone here gets along and works together.” He patted me on the shoulder. “You’re both part of the family now.”  

That's all for part 1. There will be another handbook that corresponds to information discussed in part 2.

Thanks for reading everyone!




Monday, March 14, 2016

Schedule

The new series is on track for release on 3/30. It will be posted to /r/nosleep in the morning under the title "I WAS RECRUITED TO STUDY PENGUINS IN ANTARCTICA". It won't be in all caps though. Don't want people to think I'm yelling or anything.

As of now the story spans over 3 parts. I'm still editing and revising, so there's a chance it'll be pushed to four parts.

Along with each part of the story will be studying material posted on this blog to support and provide further information on some of the details divulged. Each handbook (as I call it) is tailored to each individual part. This information ranges from deleted scenes to studies conducted by Stephen Hawking. After 'The Eos' was posted I received many messages on reddit asking for elaboration on the science. I'm never against someone messaging me directly, but I'd still like to provide the information to everyone.

For the moment, this is current schedule:

Handbook for Part 1 - 3/29 (read it early!)
Story Part 1 - 3/30
Story & Handbook for Part 2 - 4/1
Story & Handbook for Part 3 - 4/4

This schedule is tentative. If I wind up expanding to a fourth part the schedule will change. The full, solidified schedule will be included with the first handbook on 3/29. One way or the other, part 1 will be on /r/nosleep the morning of 3/30.

That's all in terms of scheduling and whatnot. Here's a snippet from part 1!




He introduced me to the other members of our team that had arrived. There was Kristy from Ohio, an early thirties blonde who was on her third tour of conducting science in Antarctica. Barry, also from Ohio, a nerdy looking fellow with glasses that looked to be in his late twenties on his fifth tour. And Lauren, who had long hair dyed bright red and didn’t talk much. She seemed socially reserved from my first interaction with her and didn’t divulge much information about herself other than the fact that she was from Maine.

Knowing that these people would be my colleagues over the course of the next four months I tried my best to engage all of the new people while at the airport. Barry and Kristy were very responsive. We all got along as soon as we met and started making jokes together. They were both experienced and assured Dmitry and I that they would look after us. Lauren, on the other hand, disappeared shortly after I met her.

“Have either of you previously worked with Lauren?” I asked Barry and Kristy.
Barry shook his head. “Nope. But I’ve seen her before. She was at the station the last time I was. Recognized that red hair right away.” He had a strange quirk whenever he talked where he would blink an excessive amount. His glasses magnified the slight twitch.
“I think she was working with microorganisms. Nematodes rings a bell.” Kristy chimed in. She spoke in a chipper voice that seemed to be just a tad louder than the volume of most people’s voices. “I don’t recall ever seeing her at any social gatherings.”
“Nah, she must have been pre-occupied with trying to get the sand out of her vagina.” Barry smiled at his own lewd joke as he blinked heavily.
“I think she was just making sure *your* sand stayed out of her vagina.” Kristy teased.
“Ooo, better get some drain cleaner for that potassium hydroxide burn!” I tried to make a joke that made me sound like a scientist and instantly regretted it.
Barry elbowed my arm. “We know you studied chemistry, bud. You don’t have to prove it.”
Dmitry looked confused. “I do not understand. Who has burnt vagina?”
Barry and Kristy looked at Dmitry both perplexed and amused. “What makes Dmitry here so great is that he’s funny when he doesn’t try to be funny,” I explained.





Yup, Dmitry is back! :)

The Fourth Domain - Finale

Thank you, once again, for those who took the time to read the third entry in the Shaun Brewer series. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as...