09 December 2018

Update - Dec 2018

This is the end of the first chapter. Writing of the second chapter has been delayed due to moving. I am at least halfway through the writing, but I will need also to have it edited before I start posting again. The second chapter will probably also be without images, but I will try to get images back for the third chapter.

I will get the compiled ebook and pdf formats for the first chapter out by the end of the month.

I will be trying to post my travel journals slowly as well. The link is here. Since I don't have these edited by another person, they can go up as soon as I finish writing them.

06 November 2018

Initial Arrival 32

Day 4
1 October 1956
Yakutsk, Siberia, USSR

“Is there anything else you want to say?”

“I can't think of anything right now.”

“Ok. I will want you to sign some papers indicating your intention to defect.”

“Is this appropriate? I don't really know anything of value. I just don't have anywhere to go. And I don't want to go back.”

“Yes, and you really shouldn't undervalue yourself.” Ivan shifted the focus of his speech. “It will take time to determine what we will do. But we will probably move you to Moscow. Here is forbidden to foreigners. There we will have resources for you. If you are to stay long, I will get you textbooks from which you can learn our language. For now you need to remain in this hospital. Can you do this?”

“Yes.” Before Ivan left, however, Jennifer had another concern. “Have you seen either Nicholas or Joshua?”

“Huh?”

“Nicholas is my brother. Joshua is a friend.”

“I haven't encountered anyone by either of those names. From your story, I can understand why you would be concerned about your brother. But this is the first time you have mentioned a friend.”

“He was with us, but I don't know if he is here. By the time I was gone, he hadn't left the vehicle.” Jennifer paused, considered, before continuing. “He is black with long hair.”

“I am sorry. If we find them, I will tell you.” Ivan paused before adding, “Can you tell me anything about them which may be useful? For instance, what is their accent? Do either of them know our language?”

“They should have the same accent as me. I think their only foreign language training was in school.”

“Look, I don't know what has happened or will happen to them, but we will try to find them. Thank you for telling me that they may be here.”

“Ok.”

After they had finished, Ivan left Jennifer alone again.

23 October 2018

Initial Arrival 31

Day 4
1 October 1956
Yakutsk, Siberia, USSR

“Good. Can you tell me about the events in the clearing now? How did you get there?”

Jennifer begun to retell the story, much more confident this time, as she didn't need to lie and had prepared for this in advance. “I was in the forest, lost, cold and alone, and heard voices in the distance. So I went towards them. I heard gunshots after some time, a few I guess. After that, I heard thunder, then some screaming. I think they were startled.

“Visibility was low. It was difficult to see with the snow falling in my eyes. I may have already been in the clearing by this time, but I didn't see anything. I was focused on trying to avoid tripping or stray branches. Eventually, though, I caught sight of some of the people standing, wearing coats and hats. Three, perhaps. One of them was carrying another person who wasn't protected from the cold. As soon as they saw me, they started to leave. They fired in my direction to cover their departure. I froze, then dropped to the ground to prevent from being hit.

“On the ground I saw two people. Male and female, I believe. Both were dressed for the cold and snow. One was motionless, the other, the man, said something I didn't understand. It took a bit for me to do anything about this. I was shaking, my heart beating rapidly.

“After the other people left, I made my way to the man. He was injured, shot in the leg. I told him I was lost, that I didn't understand what he said, that I needed to stop his leg from bleeding. He told me to take his coat and hat and go towards the east, there was a city about an hours walk away. I was so tired, my focus had shifted from saving myself to saving him. I told him I didn't think I could walk that far. On his suggestion, I tied his leg with his belt before falling unconscious.”

Jennifer paused and grabbed the clipboard with her drawings. She took out one of the clearing. “Here, I have some diagrams of what I remember. They may be difficult to read and inaccurate, but hopefully they are still helpful.”

Ivan took the drawing, looked at it, then folded it up and put it in the back of his notebook. “Thanks. Is this all you remember? Could you get any details of the attackers?”

“No. … Well, I think they had fur hats and coats. They had boots as well. I don't know the colors, but they were not bright. I don't recall much else. … I am sorry I can't help more.”

14 October 2018

Initial Arrival 30

Day 4
1 October 1956
Yakutsk, Siberia, USSR

Ivan came back later, perhaps about half an hour later. Jennifer was no longer crying. He sat down and took his notebook out again. “Do you want to continue?”

“Yes.”

“Good.” He opened his notebook again. “Before coming here, what was your job?”

“I worked for the air force, a civilian, programming computers and doing calculations.” Jennifer had rehearsed this, so she knew what to say. The truth is more unbelievable and would hurt more people if believed. But she was still embarrassed to lie and uncomfortable with lying. And she couldn't control her reaction, so this would have been obvious to anyone watching her. There was nowhere to run, so she just hid.

Ivan, however, either didn't notice or didn't care this time. “Where did you work?”

“Is this relevant?” This is never going to work. I can't do this. But she did remember some things based on her discussion with the man from the clearing. “Cheyenne Mountain Complex, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.”

“How did you get to Siberia?”

“We flew in a plane.”

“We?”

“My brother and I were there, with some of the soldiers.”

“Why were you there?”

“We were in a plane. I got into an argument with some of the soldiers. They didn't like me. They called me a communist sympathizer. I think they considered my brother to be complicit as well, since he was the one who helped get me the job. So they knocked us unconscious and threw us out at some point with very little gear.”

“That seems very unusual.”

Upon contradiction to statement, Jennifer panicked. She knew he would be able to tell she was lying by her inability to hide her discomfort. As her brain was panicking, one of her thoughts she managed to state out loud, “But how else would I have gotten here?”

“But why would they risk entering Soviet territory? Or giving one of their people to the enemy? How did you even get past the radar?”

“I don't know much. And spy planes have been sent which evaded the radar. I don't know how these things work.” After a long pause, she remembered something. “I think there is one which flies at higher altitude, like 60,000 ft., maybe.” Jennifer believed Ivan didn't understand as he didn't respond immediately. So she thought for a bit, doing the mental calculation. “About 18,000 m.”

“You didn't fall from that height, though, right?”

What am I supposed to know of how these things worked. “I don't know.”

“And what happened to your brother?”

It was the first time Jennifer felt she didn't need to lie, at least not completely. This let her calm down a bit. “I don't know. He … dropped … first. But, when I got to the ground, he wasn't in sight. I never saw him again.”

23 September 2018

Initial Arrival 29

Day 4
1 October 1956
Yakutsk, Siberia, USSR

“Good. Let's begin with the basics.” He opened his notebook and got ready to write. “Name?”

“Jennifer Miller”

“Date of birth?”

Jennifer had done the calculation before, but was still uncertain, and scared. She hated to lie and was embarrassed to even try. Her discomfort was obvious. I need to do this. There is no other choice. This is the believable answer. But her uncertainty made her doubt her answer. “Um … April 12th, 1931?”

Ivan was almost laughing at this. “You are a terrible liar.”

What else am I supposed to say? Jennifer responded noticeably stronger, insistent, although still frightened. “I am 25 years old. I was born in April, April 12th. There isn't another possibility.”

She paused, panicking, trying to figure out what to say. If I can't even get him to believe something which needs to be true, how am I going to get him to believe anything about me? Jennifer eventually continued weakly, pleading with him to believe her. “You know this age is at least close to correct, based on physical appearance and medical exams. My birthday is written on my passport. I know you have it because you have my name.”

“What you refer to as your passport isn't real. It doesn't look anything like American passports, and it lists your birthday as the 12th of April in 1988. Since it is currently 1956, this wouldn't even be possible.”

“I am sorry. I don't have anything else. You have my only possessions here.” I think I am supposed to come up with some excuse for why it is fake. We had a game, a LARP, futuristic like Shadowrun, maybe. But Jennifer didn't say anything else before Ivan moved on.

“Alright. Let's move on. Can you tell me your current residence?”

“I don't currently have one.” She knew her answer wasn't what he wanted, but it was technically true and avoided the question. She figured that she should try to answer the question properly. She went to try to say something but didn't know what to say. I have no home. How can I even expect that I could convince him I belong here. The situation became too overwhelming and Jennifer started to cry, burrowing her head in her hands.

“Can you at least tell me your citizenship? You are American, right?”

She recited, weakly, but almost methodically, “I was born and raised in the US. My parents were born and raised in the US. My grandparents were … ” Jennifer paused, recognizing the time difference, and therefore the issue with the next statement. She continued, “My mother's side has been in the US since before the revolution. Her mother is involved with the DAR.” Realizing Ivan may not know what that meant, she added, “Daughters of the American Revolution.”

Ivan closed his notebook. “Perhaps we should take a break.”

11 September 2018

Initial Arrival 28

Day 4
1 October 1956
Yakutsk, Siberia, USSR

On the fourth day, Ivan returned sometime after breakfast. He took over a stool and sat down. Then he took out a notebook and a pen. “I need to take your statement. Can we proceed now?”

Jennifer knew this was going to happen at some point. But she was scared, especially considering that she knew she had to lie, which she didn't want to and didn't think she could, and her understanding of typical police interactions. She felt she should at least try to get more support. “I should have a lawyer present.”

“This doesn't make sense given the current situation. I am the individual who has been assigned to work with you and help you with what you need.”

“Ok. You have been trying to be non-belligerent and patient. It would probably be best to get this over with. It won't get any easier later, and this is the only way for anything decision to be made.”

“You shouldn't be nervous. I am just going to ask routine questions. If you spoke with a lawyer you would need to answer them anyway.”

“That isn't how people work. This discussion will determine my fate. It will be stressful no matter what.” There was a pause in the conversation. Jennifer breathed in and out deeply. She eventually added, “But I am willing to continue.”

06 September 2018

Initial Arrival 27

Day 3
30 September 1956
Yakutsk, Siberia, USSR

The man continued the conversation in a friendly tone. “Do you wish to practice what you will say with me?”

Jennifer was uncomfortable with this suggestion. I know I need to do this. Why does this always feel wrong? “There isn't going to be another opportunity to do this before he interviews me, is there?”

“Probably not.”

Jennifer thought for a bit. “Can we go over what he may ask and what I need to say before we go through the roleplaying?”

“We can do whatever makes you comfortable within our available time.”

They proceeded to go over this for some time. When they were done, the man told Jennifer to open the curtain. Upon doing this, Ivan came to take Jennifer back to her bed. He then left her to her thoughts.