Leaving the Base

Playlist: Smash into Pieces - Big Bang

Lower Level, Black Sun Base, Intsy, Arkhangelsk Oblast, Northern USSR, December 6th 1941 14:05

Keeper Note: No Loz this week, so Anné's dump in the drink gave a pretext for her to be under the weather and quiet this session.

The blast shook the entire bluff like a small earthquake. The front wall of the base blew out in several places, and chunks of concrete of various sizes were blasted across the jetty and into the sea. Several of the party were knocked down and suffered minor cuts and bruises. Anné was unfortunate enough to be off-balance when a big piece hit her squarely, and she was tumbled across the dock like a rag doll and into the water. She lay still, afloat for the moment as her heavy clothing began to soak through.

Marcus had seen this, and dashed over, hurling himself flat to the freezing dock and reaching out with his rifle butt, managing to hook it into one of the felled sniper's pack straps. Francoise came to help him, and between them they hauled the unconscious Frenchwoman out of the water onto the side. "We need to get her out of those wet clothes!" said Joe urgently. He smashed a pile of small, empty crates to bits with a few blows and used an inextinguishable match to get a fire going.

Looking inside, the team gazed on a sight of utter devastation. All the interior walls as far as they could see were largely gone, and the lights were all off. The drum of petrol they'd dragged into the mess hall had been smashed and ignited, and small fires were still burning in different places in that area. Major von Bach's attempt to kill them all had been impressive - but unsuccsessful. There seemed no sign of further fireworks, so they heaved Anné into the remains of the mess hall, laid her on the remains of one table and broke up the remainder of the wood for a better fire. The temperature stopped dropping and stabilized at merely "bloody cold".

Upper Level, Black Sun Base, Intsy, Arkhangelsk Oblast, Northern USSR, December 6th 1941 14:05

As the ground stopped shaking, Birapeer stared at the gaping hole where the armoured upper doors had once been. A cloud of dust and soot had billowed out, and everything seemed to have calmed down. Cautiously, he ventured back inside, making his way across the already-wrecked upper floor to the spiral stairs.

Three-quarters of the way down, he found the stairs ended abruptly, with a twenty-foot drop to a pile of rubble partially obstructing the doorway into the lower base. By happy chance he had grabbed his pack on the way out of the base, and had some rope available; after rigging one to the remains of the stairs, he was able to shin down and join the others as they explored the damage.

Black Sun Base, Intsy, Arkhangelsk Oblast, Northern USSR, December 6th 1941 15:30

It was immediately apparent that the base was no longer habitable. All the interior walls down as far as the south corridor and commander's quarters were gone and the rooms devastated. A corner of the laboratory was blown in, but the damage was far less than that Birapeer had already inflicted on it. The infirmary and medical stores were simply gone. In places parts of the ceiling had come down, and occasional chunks of stone kept falling after.

The Communicator

In the laboratory, their eyes were drawn to the gentle yellowish glow of the second once-mystery device, now revealed as some kind of communicator. The last thing anybody wanted was another blast like that! After some thought, Marcus and Birapeer - avoiding the location just in front of it where it appeared able to see things - picked it up and lugged it out to the dock, to dump it into the water. It vanished with a sullen splash and was gone.

Exploring further, they discovered that the heating boilers were still running, though severed pipes were pouring hot water out across the south corridor. Birapeer, Cyril and Francoise set to with tools and spare parts and managed to stop the leak, meaning that some areas of the base were still heated. The majority, however, was not, and there was no way to close out the weather now.

Dusk was drawing in. There was nothing for it; they would have to leave in the morning. The brief radio contact they had was not guaranteed to bring rescue, and even if it did, they were not going to be able to survive here that long. Most of the food supplies had also been in the mess hall. They had enough for a few days at most. Their only hope was a cross-country hike to the diamond mines at Ard Griba. There was considerable debate over this; some, Joe and Birapeer included, felt that getting knowledge of the danger presented by the project back to their command was more important than some miners - who were probably already zombiskis anyway. Others felt it their duty to try and put an end to the last survivors of this abominable project, and save any lives that they could, and that - at the moment - they had no means of getting back anyway. Anné was in no condition to summon Byakhee.

In the end, a vote turned out for the mines.

Black Sun Base, Intsy, Arkhangelsk Oblast, Northern USSR, December 6th 1941 18:49

As they settled in for the night in one of the warmer remnants of the base, both Francoise and Joe were looking unwell; tired and feverish, with dark-rimmed eye and aching joints. Francoise remembered something she'd noticed in one of the books they'd salvaged from the laboratory and dived back into them. What she found left her deeply worried.


The purpose of base, as they'd guessed, was research into a process to produce controllable troops from dead soldiers. The project's name was Abprallen - ricochet - and the resulting zombies were referred to as Abpraller. There were two processes for creating them; one a chemical and magical process using a Reagent (noted to be green) produced with the aid of an object called a Demon's Tears crystal - the missing item from the strange table in the lab - which produced a stronger creature, and another using a spray version of a similar Reagent, the vapous of which triggered a similar transformation and produced a weaker Abpraller. Finally, if either type fed off a living or dead body, that body would also transform, most of the time - this was not a certainty.

Keeper Note: The description of the two books and their contents are here:
Prozess zur Abpraller
Tägliche Laboraufzeichnungen

This knowledge led to two conclusions. First, that the Soviet expedition had brought their destruction on themselves, as someone had dropped a vial of the stuff in the lab and filled the base with the vapour. Second, that the rat bites Francoise and Joe had suffered might be more of a problem than they had expected!

Finally, tucked into the back of one of the Prozess was a hand-written update penned in the same hand as the Laboraufzeichnungen. It recorded a formula provided by Major von Bach to Prof Schneider on the latter’s request, for halting the transformation of the bitten prior to the death of the victim.

The Antidote

This triggered a frantic search of the remains of the laboratory. After some time, a small box was uncovered with four vials of the antidote. Carefully following the instructions, Marcus administered it to both Joe and Francoise - who both went down as if poleaxed. Nervous examination showed them OK but deeply asleep, and they were made as comfortable as possible in the now-explained containment cells for the night. While they slept, Anné and Marcus delved more deeply into the two books, Marcus learning the formula for the antidote though proving unsuccessful at trying to manufacture it.

Keeper Note: at 08:00am local, elements of the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service attacked Pearl Harbour on Hawaii. The war would never be the same again. For the team that's 9pm or so, not that it makes a difference..

Black Sun Base, Intsy, Arkhangelsk Oblast, Northern USSR, December 7th 1941 08:23

The next day, both Francoise and Joe were much improved and it seemed the antidote had worked. Gathering their available supplies and equipment, they set off across the tundra from the upper door.

With the compasses a few of them had in their equipment, and their memories of the map which had perished in the explosion, they plotted a course towards the mines, south-east of the base and between two and four days' walk away. Conditions were harsh, and those versed in Arctic survival made sure everyone was properly prepared.


Tundra, Arkhangelsk Oblast, Northern USSR, December 8th 1941 11:05

Midway through the second day Cyril, walking point, noticed something unusual sticking out of the frozen snow ahead. The unvarying wasteland of the tundra meant that the unusual was very apparent to the wearied eye, and he veered towards it curiously. His apprenehsion grew, however, as he realized he had found a human body.

As he closed in, he noticed a distinctive-shaped object poking out; a German army helmet. Alarm bells began to ring, and the team closed in around it carefully, steam guns and Totenmesser readied. After some prodding, however, it became apparent that this was merely a dead body. Investigation was unable to identify a cause of death; as far as they could tell, he'd simply died of cold. Pathetically, he was bare-footed. A pair of German boots lay next to him, far too small for him and worn out. So, apparently, one of their quarry had died of cold while travelling, and one of his comrades had taken his boots...

Session Date: 9th June 2020 - in CyberSpace!