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!




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