Long did the well of the sky grow black,
Until the Bifröst bridge did appear.
And into the shining void we strode to battle, to glory.
Summoned by Óðinn to fight by his side at Ragnarök.
Of ice and fire we were called and made,
Into the shining void where death awaited marching towards Niflheim.
Gladly shall I drink ale in the high seat with the Aesir.
The days of my life are ended. I laugh as I die.
Not the cheeriest poem I have ever read but pretty cool all the same. The Prof’s experts are desperate to get hold of the rest of it but that definitely is all she wrote or at least all we have. After having bits of it explained to him The Monkey thinks it refers to something similar to the black hole and the Prof agrees.
What does it all mean? Since last night the black hole is showing ice, snow, volcanoes and the northern lights. Looks like we are going marching towards Niflheim…
The Nerds have done their GPS beacon trick again and we can now pinpoint our exit to south east Iceland somewhere inside the Vatnajökull National Park. A fly around with the drone is showing a massive icefield, some dark, volcanic looking mountains and lots of snow. JudyZ is gradually insinuating her way into some of the communication satellites that are up there, they are easier to access than the military ones and will give her good practice and us an eye in the sky. She is currently waiting for a particular satellite to sweep across the Arctic circle and give her a view of Iceland so that we can have some more reliable info than Google Maps.
Is this the Thule that The Monkey read about? Another of those coincidences that don’t exist maybe…
We have had a Skype conversation with the Prof about what he thinks the runic poem means and why the monkey finger would point at it as the stone doesn’t appear to be intrinsically magic/ancient tech on its own. General feeling is that it must have been part of something bigger that was full on and this fragment of it is carrying the vestigial traces of that power. The Prof and his experts all think that the poem is about the last stand of a famous band of Viking warriors. The experts think the reference to ‘The well of the sky’ and ‘Bifröst bridge’ are all figurative but the Prof is convinced it refers to another occurrence of the black hole possibly summoned by Viking shaman (we told him how The Monkey had managed to make ours using magic ritual) and that that is how the Viking band went off to their final fight.
The girls are looking forward to our trip to the frozen north – their kind of place. I am pretty excited as well, always wanted to go to Iceland. We dropped the Hazmat suits back with the Russians, had a couple of sociable vodkas and then went cold weather gear shopping. Thermal pants all round…
We fucked up. We fucked up bad…
Through the black hole we went, me and The Monkey, the Monster Highs, and Kev. We took weapons, of course we did, and the monkey finger. We had gone through and planted a couple of sensor devices the night before along with a camera and had picked up nothing on the feed but snow and ice. JudyZ had done some aerial scans as well and the surrounding area for miles was just snowfield with the odd volcano dotted around. So, through we went, full of it, and with a clear playing field…
We had on our cold weather gear and at minus ten it felt cold after a very mild day in Cornwall. I held out the monkey finger and it immediately swung to the left and pointed us towards a black outcropping in the middle distance that smoked gently in the light breeze. After we had been walking for about twenty minutes, we realised that the smoking outcrop was much further than it had at first appeared so we stopped to take stock of the situation and I used the sat phone to call Tony and Dave to see if they could give us any distances. We had timed our excursion for when the satellite would be passing overhead again so that JudyZ could keep an eye on proceedings, at least for a while, and we reckoned that she could probably tell us how far we needed to go – if indeed the volcano was our goal.
That’s when the shit hit. JudyZ started scanning the area and suddenly the Nerds were shouting about movement up ahead of us. We couldn’t see anything. The sun was beginning to set, and the northern lights were starting to flicker over the icefield which made it difficult to tell what was happening in the distance. Then we saw them coming. They were literally erupting from the snow. Stumbling, shambling figures carrying automatic weapons and as they got closer it was obvious that there was something very wrong with them. The Monster Highs gave it a name ‘Zombies!’ and The Monkey shouted that it was the reanimated dead from our battle in Scotland. And sure enough they were wearing the same sort of paramilitary uniforms as the mercs we had fought by the loch. That grinning freak’s threat was coming true, the dead had been dropped into the cauldron and were now walking the earth again and coming for us!
We opened up with everything that we had but the bullets just ripped through the bodies and they kept on coming. They began to return fire, although with no real accuracy, but that would improve as they got closer, and we knew that we couldn’t afford to get into a close quarter firefight with them. We turned and ran.
The sat phone was still open and I could hear Tony screaming into it that there were helicopters approaching from the north. They were trying to cut us off. We slid down a long slope that we had recently trudged up and hit a flat icefield with very little cover. The girls began to create a mist that quickly thickened into a fog that followed behind us obscuring us from the zombie troops, but bullets still whistled through it and we knew that our luck couldn’t hold forever. The Monkey began to burn, his cold weather gear quickly turning to ash and I could sense that he wanted to turn and fight and then the mortar shells began to land, tearing up the snow and ice all around us so we kept running.
We knew we were close to the black hole, but the choppers were coming with their searchlights sweeping across the snow. It was obvious we had been set up and now the trap was closing on us. Up ahead there was an eruption of gunfire and explosions. I heard Dave’s voice on the sat phone shouting that they were coming out to us and that he had the spear. We could hear the distinctive thump of the AA-12s as they attempted to clear a path for us. One of the choppers turned and then exploded as something red and screaming tore through it. We watched as the other chopper veered away and then swept low across the snow and disappeared over a ridge. We were within a couple of hundred metres of the black hole and the Nerds when the fog that had been cloaking us was swept away in a swirling vortex, and we were suddenly in the open again. I looked back and standing in the centre of the vortex was a wild looking figure, arms raised and strange dark robes billowing around him. One of the girls grabbed my arm and pulled me on and as I turned, I saw Dave running towards me holding out the spear shaft and then he disappeared in a cloud of red mist.
The world went into free fall. I dropped to my knees next to Dave’s lifeless body. He had been hit by a mini gun burst from the other chopper and it had all but cut him in half. I heard The Monkey roar and saw him attack a shadowy bunch of figures that appeared out of the smoke and mist. He tore them to pieces and the pieces burnt. The girls circled around us striking out at anything that came near and taking at least one bullet. I saw Tony and Kev’s faces as they looked at Dave and the horror and grief there was unbearable. I snatched up the spear and hurled it at the oncoming undead and it ripped through them, burning them and ending them forever. Back it came and I threw it again and again and then looked for the chopper to destroy but it had landed out of direct sight and I had to be content with killing the still human soldiers that came at us seemingly from thin air.
Confusion, chaos. Somehow, we got back through the black hole. Several of the reanimated soldiers came through with us and I forced them back with the spear as Kev frantically closed the black hole. We stood staring at each other, all of us carrying wounds, all of us stunned into silence…
The girls had managed to drag Dave’s body back through with us and they have taken it off somewhere. We were all horrified at first but they have promised not to eat it – they say that we have to do something with his body to disguise the fact that he was blown apart by high velocity rounds. They say they have a way to remould it to make it look less suspicious – I have been having visions of them dropping it into a wood chipper as some terrible agricultural accident – but the girls swear they will make it as right as they can. We need to give Dave to his parents, it’s only right. The girls themselves look worse for wear, both of them took hits and although they appear to be rapidly healing it looks like proper damage to me.
We are all in a state of shock and more than a bit upset. We really did walk right into that one although JudyZ swears that there was no sign of anything around us until it was too late. The zombie troops must have been buried in the snow for some time just waiting for us and if we hadn’t stopped to use the sat phone, we would have been right in the middle of them when they came out of the snow. We have tried to piece together our impressions of what happened, and we are all convinced that live troops were dropping out of nowhere as if they were coming through a black hole as well. I think I was the only one who noticed the figure in the fog vortex, he looked like a character from some National Geographic anthropology programme about lost tribes, and after describing him to the others Tony said that it sounded like the figure he saw with Whitaker above the loch in Scotland… The Red and Green Society have been notified – we need some answers.
JudyZ is in a state of shock. She is just sort of babbling, the screen is filling up with what we can only imagine is digital screaming. The Nerds are in a very bad way as well, they had known Dave for a long time – they are drinking heavily and not doing a very good job of it. Me and The Monkey are taking it in turns to guard the black hole, we are both pretty fucked up and don’t know what to do for the best. Oh, and by the way, I dropped the monkey finger when we were fighting. The best we can hope for is that it got buried in the snow and lost but I have the nagging feeling that it has fallen into enemy hands…