CHAMELEON: Deep Well
By Ken Martin
April 1, 1993
“I’m telling you, Mac, let it go! It’s a hoax, it has to be. My bet’s on the grad students, they don’t realize how serious it is. In a couple of months, the Very Long Baseline Array will be tested, and then all of this nonsense will stop. You got the report, just look at the date, you fool… and the time, nothing ever happens at ‘exactly midnight’…”
“What’s that? Triangulation and short-wave-to-long-wave gap both indicate open space, outside the Milky Way? Right… some wise guy thought it would be funny, made the whole thing up. ‘Where’s the tape?’ he says… of course there’s no tape, how can there be any tape when it never happened? Just put the paper in the file with the others, and forget it…”
“You keep this up, they’ll be calling you in for a ‘psych eval’, and then it’s over… you can kiss your reputation goodbye. Your’e supposed to be keeping tabs on these guys, not becoming one of them. I’m gonna hang up this phone now, and forget you ever called me. You never made this phone call, I never answered it. Just forget about it, it never happened, it’s not possible. Just let it go.”
“And it shall come to pass afterward
That I shall pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.”
“Joe here, at ‘Station One’. Time is six-thirty-six p.m. Power is ready. Jake and Steve check in.”
“This is Steve on ‘Station Two’. All lines are cold, connections are tight, fire extinguisher is ready.”
“The apparatus is uncovered and inactive. ‘Station Three’ is ready when you are, Joe.”
“Alright, here goes. Main switch is ‘on’, frequencies are set to model specifications at each level, slide-switch ‘one’ is at… twenty percent, now… switch ‘two’… ‘three’… ‘four’, ‘five’, ‘six’, ‘seven’, ‘eight’, ‘nine’, ‘ten’. Check in, guys.”
“Steve here. Lines are still cold.”
“Nothing at the Cage yet, Joe.”
“Moving all switches to fifty percent. Anything?”
“Nope, just a little hum.”
“Power lines are just a little warmer than air temperature.”
“Switches ‘one’ through ‘five’ at seventy-five percent… switches ‘six’ through ‘ten’, seventy-five.”
“No change on Station Two. Just crank it, Joe!”
“Jake here. The humming has gotten a little louder, nothing else happened. Wind is starting to pick up out here. Steve’s right, Joe. Go for it.”
“Okay, guys. It’s all or nothing, now. One hundred percent, across the board. Any change, Jake?”
“Yeah, Joe, we’re finally getting something here. The humming rose to a high pitch, then faded away. The tarmac looks like it’s… shifting, it’s breaking up, inside the Cage. The wind has really come on, almost like a twister, right over the… HOLY SMOKES!”
“Joe here. The whole building just rattled, and then stopped. Steve, can you go check on Jake?”
“Steve, anybody, please tell me SOMETHING!”
“Joe… leave everything… like it is, don’t touch anything… just get out here. You’ve got to see this… for yourself…”
URGENT: CLASSIFIED TOP SECRET, DO NOT COPY
From: United States Department of Defense (DOD), acting through the Air Force Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Agency (AF ISR AGENCY)
To: Dr. Thomas McMurray, Anomaly Watch Set Intelligence and Communications (AWS-IC) Administrator
Cc: Major General Robert Redmond, USAF (Retired); DOD, AF ISR Agency; AWS-IC archives
Re: AWS Alert
Date: Friday, March 18, 2012
Today at approximately 1840 Hours, Mountain Daylight Time, an unexplained atmospheric anomaly, meeting three of the six criteria of the Anomaly Watch Set, occurred in the airspace over an area approximately 40 miles east-southeast of Flagstaff, Arizona.
Assemble AWS-IC team, recon, and report to DOD Oversight within 24 hours.
Extreme discretion advised.
Note: This may be a second incident. An unconfirmed incident may have occurred on March 15, when Criteria 1 and 2 were present during a thunderstorm over the target location. However, reports of air turbulence were explained at that time by weather activity.
AF ISR AGENCY Surveillance Transcript
2141 hours, 9:41 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 03/18/2012
Cellphone signal, captured and recorded
“General Redmond, Lieutenant Gilbert here. This is your ‘AWS’ alert. Hard copy notice is on the way, but I knew you’d like to hear it right away.”
“In the desert outside of Flagstaff, sir.”
“How many criteria?”
“Just three for sure, so far. This might be a second event, had a storm there three days ago. Don’t know where the power’s coming from yet, and onsite visual will be needed to confirm the prime condition. McMurray’s team is already on it.”
“Okay, Gil. I need you to alert the Four-Eightieth ISR Wing at Lackland, Texas, that we’ll need manned surveillance on this. Also the Four-Thirty-Second at Creech, Nevada- we’re going to want some drones for recon. Get them in touch with Mac, and keep me advised.”
“One more thing, General. I have a message for you from Defense. ‘Open Sealed Order Two-Two-Four’. That’s all it says. Good night, sir.”
END OF TRANSMISSION
. . . . . . . . . . .
The Anomaly Watch Set, or AWS, had become so embedded in the General’s memory over the past twelve years, he had no need to review it…
ANOMALY WATCH SET
1. Atmospheric disturbance reported by weather satellite, characterized by localized high winds moving either toward or away from a specific point
2. above disturbance consistently Confirmed by local air traffic as turbulence
3. Absence of storms or other weather patterns associated with high winds, or any natural event accounting for the above disturbance
4. evidence of short-term extreme high energy usage such as a local black-out or brown-out, or a spike in the electrical power output of the regional power grid
5. prime Condition: a semi-spherical Smooth crater, having no evidence of natural aging, or an open spherical frame structure onsite, or some combination of the two
6(a). The anomaly may occur in two Similar events. paired occurrences from a single location will be assumed to indicate a successful cycle.
Essential ACTION: wHEN CRITERIa 1-3 ARE PRESENT, IMMEDIATE RECONnaissance IS authorized TO DETERMINE WHETHER OTHER criteria MAY ALSO BE PRESENT.
the department of defense hereby authorizes creation and maintenance of a team of Civilian intelligence and communications Specialists, hereafter referred to as ‘AWS-IC’, to be Managed through the direction of:
Air Force Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Agency
Until further notice, AWS-IC team will be administered by:
Doctor thomas mcmurray, Ph.D.
Who is authorized to select his communications counterpart, and to recruit Civilian AWS-IC team members at his discretion,
under the department of defense oversight of:
Major general robert Redmond, USAF
who is authorized to expend all military supports necessary to Perform Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in support of the overall mission of AWS-IC, and to take possession of the anomaly site upon the successful completion of the mission.
in order to maintain mission integrity, no Civilian member of the AWS-IC team, Including the intelligence administrator and his Communications counterpart, will be informed of the military component of the mission, other than to be advised to clear the area so as to minimize the potential for ‘friendly fire’.
Dated February 21, 2000
DOD Oversight officer copy only: until further notice, a single copy of sealed order 224 will exist. said copy will remain in the secure custody of DOD oversight, who will be directed according to the proper time to open. Upon advance notice from DOD, see sealed order 224 for criteria 6(b) and further command instructions.
Classified Top Secret. Do not copy.
Retired Air Force General Robert Redmond turned his comfortable leather swivel chair to face the small fireproof safe that doubled as an end-table next to his desk. Up until now, it had been used as a place to set his coffee cup in the morning. He punched in the key-code, opened the heavy door, and pulled out all of the papers and boxes that covered the hidden compartment in the bottom. He opened the compartment, and gripped the edge of the manila envelope inside. From the envelope, he pulled out a small, thin black book.
. . . . . . . . .
After replacing the black book in its envelope, he put it back into the safe compartment and locked everything back up.
Turning to the open laptop computer on his desk, he pulled up his email program, and typed in the email address that he had memorized from Sealed Order 224. In the subject line, he simply typed the words ‘Prep Chameleon’. He posted his authorization code in the body of the email, selected the command to encrypt the outgoing message, and clicked ‘Send’.
He shut down his computer, closed it, and pushed himself away from the desk. His motions felt artificial, robotic. Tuck the chair neatly up to the desk, lights off, office door closed and locked, check the front door of the house. Up the stairs to bed.
As he lay his head on his pillow, he tried to pray, for the first time since… “Lord, help us all.” Inadequate, really. Helen would have known how to pray. She should have been here.
A single tear traced down the side of his face, soaking into his pillow.
. . . . . . . . . . .
He was walking slowly down a long, brightly lit hallway, holding Helen’s hand tightly in his own. He had been here before, and he was afraid. The ceiling light passed over their heads… He wanted to take her from this place, and he tried to pull her away as the double doors were coming slowly open before them. But now she was on a bed, very narrow, with wheels… and the light passed over their heads. He tried to push the shining man away, the one who was on the other side, holding Helen’s other hand. “Get away! You can’t have her!” His hands swam right through the man, and the light passed over their heads… his hands were opaque, translucent, but the man was solid, real… light passed over their heads. He tried to grab his wife’s hand again, to keep her from going, but his vaporous flesh just fell through her… light, over his head… Helen placed her fingers to her lips, and blew the kiss to him, as she smiled sweetly and passed through the-
He awoke with a jerk when he heard a crash by his bed. Sitting up, he realized he had been flailing, and had knocked the end-table lamp over. Another nightmare.
Looking at the clock’s red numbers, he saw it was four in the morning. Might as well get up, he thought… not going to get any sleep after that one.
He turned on the overhead light… something uncomfortably familiar… he tried to remember, but he wasn’t able to pin it down.
After going to the bathroom, he started cleaning up the broken lamp. On the floor among the shards of porcelain, he saw a small ring of yellow gold.
Helen’s wedding band. Must have knocked that off the stand, too, he thought. Better keep it with me.
He grasped the ring tightly in his closed fist.