Into The Unknown

Prologue

Log Book Data Entry #1
Sep 7, 2000
11:52 AM
2nd Exclusion team
Captain Anon

Being the captain of an exclusion team is certainly not an easy task. Having to manage each member and work in unison to be efficient takes a toll on you. But that's just how it is. It's been a year and a half since joining the National Security Forces (NSF) after having been discharged from the military. Most of the time I've been here has been training and providing protection for several high-class members. But that task has changed. About five and a half months ago, a message was given from the higher-ups informing several members of the force about certain "exclusion teams" being formed to investigate The Exclusion Zone that was formed around the Chernobyl Nuclear Powerplant months after the devastating disaster had occurred. Not much is known about The Zone since barely anyone has dared to enter. And there are no official records of people who are said to still live there ever escaping. I was told that due to my high work ethic and leadership skills, I was going to be one of the soldiers given the role of captain for an exclusion team. I met my team shortly after the position was given. The team was a mismatch of humans and anthros from different walks of life. Some were ex-military/government personnel while others were from other private military companies. I didn't think much of it but there was one member that bugged me. A tall Female wolf woman named Ana (short for Anastasia/Анастасия). I was told that she would be my second in command of the group as she had about as much experience as me. She was eager to be part of the team and happily introduced herself when given the position. We trained several months after that and became close as a team working effectively and efficiently. Although small altercations still came up. Nothing too drastic. When training was done, our task was given. We were to retrieve information about a missing team that had gone in before us and collect any vital information about the zone. As for the difficulty of this mission, no one said this was going to be easy, but here we are.

End of Log

Chapter 1

2 hours before Deployment

The smell of cigarettes fills the room
Everyone on the team has taken a laid-back stance after the briefing
The investigator was packing the documents to leave so no one thinks much of it
As you were writing down something in the journal you brought along, you catch Wick looking at you from the corner of your eye
"Hey captain, what are you doing with the journal?" Said Wick smoking his daily cigarette
"Just starting a log book to record our expedition. Just in case anything is to happen while in the zone." You retort
"Seriously? You writing a log book isn't going to help us in the middle of a firefight."
"As I said, it's just to document our findings. Nothing special."
Closing the journal, looking at him "Besides, the journal isn't going to hurt you."
"The captain makes a good point Wick." Victor responds "Documenting the expedition will provide the researchers with a better understanding of what is going on."
"Alright then." Wick concedes while putting out the cigarette
"Anyways. What do you guys think of the mission?"
"It certainly something new and different compared to the previous assignments I've been given." Dominic reply's
"Certainly beats taking care of oil tankers while in the heat of the middle east."
"I've heard rumors from the higher up's that the team before us had seen some wild shit before losing communication." Ana replied
"I guess we have to see for ourselves." Wick coldly responds
The conversation is cut short when Colonel Roy enters the room
All of you proceed to stand to properly salute him
"At ease." He says calmly "I come to inform you that due to an unexpected weather event and your deployment will be sooner than expected."
"Ah shit." You say
"Ah shit indeed. Your deployment time has been pushed up to thirty minutes." Colonel Roy affirms "Your gear is ready in the armory. I would suggest taking what time is left and contacting any friends and family members you might have before deployment. Good luck." He says before he leaves the room.
"Well I guess time is ticking. You heard the man. Let's go"
After leaving the room, all of you head to the armory to gear up. Not much is said during this time, but everyone takes the time to call their loved ones individually. So do you, well at least what is left of the family.
Once finished, the entire team heads to the airstrip to board the transport helicopter. Although, you end up getting pulled to the side before getting there.
"Captain Anon, I need to speak with you for a moment." Colonel Roy announces "I need you to know this before you go. The team can not mess up the mission. Even though we have other teams on standby, don't get your ass and your team's ass killed. Understand?"
"Don't worry Colonel. We will do our best to perform to the utmost extent. Besides, isn't this the reason why we trained for?" You reply
He gives you a mildly unamused look but sighs.
You go back to your team and board the helicopter.
After a few minutes, the pilot was given the green light to lift off.
The flight is about an hour long, but the time is spent resting or playing cards.
Soon enough the drop-off area was nearby
It's a considerably-sized patch of grass with heavily wooded forestation surrounding it. All you can see is trees for miles.
"This is as close I'm allowed to leave you, Captain. Without risking the safety of everyone on board" The pilots say
"This should be good enough." You reply
You open the side door as the pilot starts to lower the helicopter. The height is just enough for you and your team to get out of the helicopter
Once everyone was off, you give him the green light to leave
"Bravo team to Headquarters. We have successfully arrived at the drop point."
"Affirmative Captain. Remember what I told you" The colonel responds through the radio
You pull out a small map and compass from a small pouch on your plate carrier. There's not much detail on the map but it will have to work for now.
"The edge of The Zone appears about 3 miles North East from here."
"Everyone knows what they're doing?" You ask
Your team members collectively nod in unison
"Good. Because it's too late to turn back"

Chapter 2

On track to The Zone

The journey through the woods towards The Zone is filled with heavy vegetation
You often have to cut the way through so the gear doesn't get caught by branches in the way
Ana's poor tail has to be filled with twigs by now
It's going to be a hassle trying to get them out
All is going well until all of you were stopped dead in your tracks
"Do you guys hear that?" You ask "Sounds like leaves being ruffled"
"Yeah I hear it too." Wick responds "Seems to be coming from above us"
You and your team proceed to go into a ready-up position
Finger on the trigger
Your heart begins to race
You begin to breathe heavily
The sound keeps getting closer and closer
Until you see it
"Phew, It's just a bird," You say, lowering your rifle
"What damm bird has three legs?" Victor reply's
"Beats me. Must've come from The Zone." You retort "Come on, we have to keep moving. The Zone is not far from here."
The rest of the journey was just as before but with no startles
Then the clicking of the Geiger counters start going off
"We're getting very close to the edge of The Zone." You say "We're still in the green, so nothing to worry about."
After some time, a tall chain-link fence becomes visible through the vegetation
The Edge of The Zone
"Finally. Now I can get these damm twigs out of my tail" Ana says annoyingly
"So this is what is separating The Zone from the rest of the world?" Wick snarly says "I was expecting something more grandeur."
"Yep. Nothing more than a tall chain-link fence." You reply "It won't stop us from entering."
"Victor, grab the fence cutters from your bag and cut a hole for us to enter. In the meantime, Wick and I will keep an eye on our surroundings."
As Victor is cutting the fence, You see the fence spans for miles in both directions
No military presence to be seen. Looks like we got lucky
"Hole's finished Captain." Victor announces
"Good. Ana, did you finish removing those twigs?"
"The twigs are removed, Captain." She replies, gabbing her gun
"Perfect"
One after another, we enter The Zone, informing the next until we're all inside
The fence is bet back into shape, although those cuts are still visible
"Keep your heads on a swivel team." You say "We don't know what we can find lurking in these woods."
"Surely hope it isn't something like the bird we say back there." Wick jokingly responds
You can't help but let out a smirk because of what he said
The first steps inside The Zone were relatively calm
Sometimes being rudely interrupted by the cawing of crows flying overhead
But it wasn't long before a dirt road was seen in the distance
There seemed to be military trucks as well
"I guess we aren't alone." You say "Everyone spread out. Maybe we can catch them by surprise."
As the team starts to get further away from you, you ready your rifle for combat
But the closer you got, the more you notice the convoy was abandoned
You regroup with your team next to the trucks
"That's odd. What military would leave their stuff just laying around in the open?" Victor asks "Should we radio this to headquarters?"
"Better safe than sorry." You respond as you grab your radio "Bravo team to headquarters."
"We appeared to have found an abandoned convoy of military trucks of Cold War origin. Are we granted authority to search them?"
"Affirmative Captain. You have full permission to search the convoy captain. Anything useful for your expedition is allowed to be kept." Colonel Roy responds through the radio
"Everyone choose a truck. Find anything useful we can use." You announce
A full sweep is given to the truck you choose. But you end up empty-handed
Nothing but rusted ammunition and rifles, expired med kits, and years-old food rations
Everything seems to be untouched, but there are dried blood spatters here and there
Looks like these trucks have been stuck here for a long time
You wonder what could've caused this
"Captain, I found something. You might want to look at it." Ana says through the radio
As you start to leave the truck you were inspecting, you hear something in the woods
You point your rifle in said direction
"What is it, Captain?" Victor asks
"Nothing. Thought I saw something in the woods." You reply as you put your rifle down
"What about you? Found anything?" You ask Victor
"Negative." He responds
"Damm it."
You proceed to walk towards the transport truck where Ana is
"Here it is." Ana says as she gives you the item "A map"
"Hmm. Looks like it has more information than the one we have." You reply "Only problem is that it is in Russian"
"Ana, is there any way you can read this to us during our expedition?"
"I most certainly can Captain." She says as she grabs the map
"There seems to be a small town not far from here."
Victor and Wick regroup with you and Ana and walk down the dirt path as shown on the map
After some time, all of you arrive at a flooded intersection
Nothing interesting is seen other than some civilian cars rusted and bent out of shape
"The town should be down this road." Ana says pointing at the road
As you and the rest of the team continue to walk, you feel a sudden drop in pressure
As if the surrounding area got cold very fast
"Uh C-Captain?" Wick stutters
"Yeah Wick?" You respond as you turn around
Wicks's ears are flattened backward on his head as if something had scared him
You look in the direction where he's pointing at
Your eyes widen at the sight of a transparent glob-like object having materialized above the water forming a concave shape below
The cars start to get crushed and pulled in
The trees start to bend. Their branches are ripped and sucked into it
All of you are paralyzed as if the object is exerting an inexplicable force
What sort of thing can do such a thing
After a couple of seconds, it collapses under its own weight and expulses everything
You turn away and cover your face so debris doesn't hit it
Thankfully, the cars didn't move that far from where they were
"What the fuck did we just witness?" You ask
"We... don't... know." Victor says
It takes a while for everyone to recollect their thoughts after what just happened
"We should get moving Captain" Ana announces "Looks like it's gonna rain hard"
As you walk, a thought crosses your mind
The Zone looks to be even worse than we could've imagined

Edit
Pub: 27 May 2023 06:18 UTC
Edit: 11 Jun 2023 05:03 UTC
Views: 1616