Shadow of Fear: Prologue
Posted By: Archangel_7<email@example.com>
Date: 10 October 2008, 7:14 am
Signals from the Lighthouse; The Wake Up Call to a Sleeping World
"Lighthouse to Porta de Lisboa, I'm uploading the scans to the network now." Adriano hung up the phone and clicked the "Begin" button outlined in blue on his screen. An indicator bar appeared, tracking the file's progress as the data began uploading. Adriano leaned back in his chair, stretching his arms and glancing at the cheap watch clasped around his wrist. "Eleven-fifteen PM."
The air was thick, as it often was around the sea. He glanced out the window, down on to the dark water. Lighthouse Station was placed appropriately at the edge of the ocean, perched on the crest of a sheer cliff looking out onto the endless expanse of waves. Every night Adriano came to survey for signs of storms or pressure fronts coming in off the ocean, but in all his four years of working here he had never come across something as unusual as this.
He took a sip from his mug of coffee, and grimaced at the bitter taste. "Well, I suppose I've never known much about coffee," he whispered to himself. It might not have been pleasant, but at least it would be more than serviceable to keep him awake. He set the cup down.
Two minutes later he heard a chime from the monitor's speakers. A message reading "Transfer Complete" flashed across the screen. Adriano picked up the phone again. "Lighthouse to Porta de Lisboa, do you have the scans?"
There was a moment of silence from the other end of the line. "Yeah, we have them."
"Well? What do you think? Do we have something here?"
" the dispatcher sighed. "Yeah, we have something here alright. Listen, I'm going to set up a direct uplink with your station, just accept it when it comes up."
Adriano clicked the button to accept and in another window an exact reproduction of the dispatcher's screen popped up. His window was open to the scans that Adriano had sent him several minutes ago.
"You know, I don't need to look at these again."
"Just bear with me," the dispatcher replied. "Now these are the scans you sent me, right? Now take a look at the lower edge of where the sonar anomaly picks up." He studied the area and saw what he had noticed earlier: A bulbous protrusion from the cloud of distortion that reminded him somewhat of the head of a snake.
"Alright? Now let me overlay another anomaly the Darmus group picked up in the a few months ago." Another scan came up on the screen, and a red outline was traced around the borders of the anomalous object. The dispatcher transferred the outline to the other scan, and lined up the odd protrusion with the equivalent one on the first scan. Much to Adriano's surprise, they lined up perfectly.
"That's not all. We picked up a similar distortion just off the coast of Africa. Look at this." A different scan popped up, with a similar flowing distortion centered on a seemingly arbitrary point.
Adriano remained puzzled. "I've never seen any system like this over there before. Where exactly around Africa did you get this reading?"
"That's what's worrying me. The unmanned scanners picked this up over Mombasa, exactly three days ago."
" Adriano breathed. "Oh God. What are the protocols for this?"
"I've already contacted the military reserve at Rio. They told us that we have to pack up and keep quiet about this as long as possible. But what I recommend you do is stay put, and keep Dispatch updated."
"I don't know about that. Someone might want to know more. They might show up, start digging around, you know? The last thing I need is ONI sticking their noses here. I'm not in the mood to deal with red tape."
"Well, just think about it for a minute," the dispatcher said. "You're alone in the middle of nowhere, miles in any direction from any major population center. Let's face it, the Covenant aren't going to care about some tiny weather station, and neither are the Spooks. They have more important things to worry about."
Adriano nodded in silent agreement. "I... I guess I'll keep you posted."