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Time: September 21st through 27th, 2019 No one likes being locked up. No one likes being run through chemical showers and blood tests and poking and prodding of just about every kind a person could think. Psychological evaluations, "interviews" about what happened during the Storm, background checks and invasions into every aspect of your life. No one likes it, but at least some people understand the necessity. And at least some of the soldiers and officials and pathologists running the quarantine at whatever base you'd all be flown into in the desert were as nice as they could be about it. Some of them. The base itself had been split between the sealed off zones for the "guests" and the free-range areas for everyone else. At the start, there'd just been the large workroom that had been stuffed with cots and blankets for the dozen or so people being kept there, but on the morning of the second day actual semi-private rooms were announced as having been sealed off for people to use. They were paired off and told that rooms would be opened to them by the evening. Workers in HAZMAT suits brought in tables and board games and cards for the internees to keep themselves occupied while doctors tried to figure out if their weirdness was contagious or their if their minds were just falling apart more slowly than all of the people that had turned into monsters immediately. "This is the worst," Lucia complained. "Why can't we have phones or something? At least give us movies to watch!" The last was halfheartedly bemoaned at one of the soldiers guarding the communal bubble in the main room. He just shrugged, clearly not about to leave his post to go get a movie for the young woman. Her all-black eyes rolled, which couldn't be seen, and she slumped in her chair. She looked around the room, picking someone out to go say hi to and maybe make a friend - anything was better than another round of Solitaire.
5:38 PM Ryan The storm had blown up out of nowhere and it wasn't just wind and water. Lightning lanced through the air around him, the plane shuddering as air pressure and wind currents danced in angry whorls. The instruments in the cockpit had gone out several seconds before the actual storm nearly just appeared around him - not a great help and certainly a little unnerving. He hadn't lost the engines, but the power kept flickering for no apparent reason and that was starting to raise his heart rate. Over the middle of the Pacific, a water landing wasn't really one you could walk away from, not even if you made it down to the ocean in one piece. The storm seemed to pulse again. It'd done that several times over the minute or so that he'd been fighting winds and ducking lightning clusters. His whole body ached with the pulse this time and the bright flash that followed after only made sense when he realized he could feel rushing air and a tingle along his hands and hair. The plane had been hit and the screech of metal, along with the hard drag on the controls, told him that he shouldn't worry about the cargo anymore - it was gone already. Lightning struck again, feeling decidedly personal in its attack on his plane. The cockpit thrummed with the energy and split open beneath him, the metal curling back with a sheen of blue light around it. That's not right, he thought to himself as his chair began to rip itself apart as the light moved up towards it. His hind-brain grabbed control of motor functions and unbuckled him from the falling furniture. It didn't exactly improve the situation, but at least he wasn't grabbed by the light and torn limb from limb himself. He fell, feeling the thin air rush past him and knowing he'd pass out from lack of oxygen before he'd actually hit the sea and die of anything else. A glint of white on the water caught his eye. A ship, his mind informed him while also playing a reel of the highlights of his life in expectation of adding the final frame. It took a moment to realize the speck was getting larger than it should. It'd been closer to the horizon and should have slipped over it as he fell closer to the water, but instead it was steadily resolving itself into a twin-stacked white and blue NOAA vessel. That was beneath him. He'd somehow fallen sideways. He stared at the ship, his mind caught in the weirdness of the moment. It'd stopped growing. He was still a hundred feet or so above it. He'd stopped moving. There was an honest-to-go sea monster attacking it. And he was still a hundred feet above it, hanging in mid-air. Emily The Hi'ialakai had just crossed the international date line and it'd been a pretty good day, all in all. They'd been bringing in a range of sea creatures onto the ship to chip and install the new mini-cameras they'd just gotten, then release back out into the wild (usually after a free meal for the indignity). The research would help them understand what climate change and changing fishing patterns were doing to the Pacific wildlife. They'd dropped a couple of sensor-bots too, intending to come back after a year and pick them up. Emily was in the computer lab, sending out pings in a rather bored fashion to the 'bots and noting how long it took them to ping back. Necessary grunt work to make sure they'd made it to the depth they were supposed to float along at and hadn't already gotten eaten by a whale or something. There was a betting pool already on how many of the bots would be in the area, in one piece, or what they'd be in by the time they came back for them. She had a few dollars in the "used as a play toy by a pod of dolphins" bin. It usually paid out. The storm alarms blared across the speakers, startling her almost off her chair. She rolled her eyes at her own antics and resettled herself. A storm, great. She didn't get seasick, but there were some new civilian recruits that apparently hadn't worked that out of their system before signing up for a life out on the water. Everyone suffered for it. She sent out her next ping, waiting the 12 seconds it should have taken to get back to her. There was an odd whirring sound instead and after a moment she realized it was the CPU cycling up like crazy. The program she used hadn't frozen, but it was stuck counting up the data it was receiving from the probe - it should have been about 4 bytes of data and it was already past 26 kilobytes. And climbing quickly. The computer gave out a sad whine after another few seconds and then died. Emily blinked and frowned. She tried to reboot the computer, but in the moments of silence that followed she began to hear other sounds from the ship: the sounds of ripping metal and screams. Something was terribly wrong.