Monday, May 14, 2012

Every story has a beginning IX

Followers of Hyperborea Exists, two weeks later here I am, back and ready to continue my tale of ‘Every story has a beginning’. It has been an intense fortnight and there isn’t long to go before the final step. So much depends on it that we are taking every precaution possible. We can’t leave anything to chance. We hope to convince the government to grant us the funds we need to continue our research.

When I last wrote, I was describing a discovery that would change everything. A circular disc that we’d found in the Niflheim Cave. Once Barracuda 1 was back on board the ship, we stayed up all night studying the images it had taken and analysing the best way to retrieve the disc. We had to invent a completely secure way of using Barracuda 1 to raise it up.  After batting ideas back and forth and running hours of tests, we came up with the safest solution.

Robotic arms with a similar termination to those we used in Barracuda 1.
Both of Barracuda 1’s arms were fitted with pincers and we built a nylon rope harness around them. With a little skill, the disc would fit inside and then the pincers could close around it to hold the disc tight. According to our initial tests, it was lighter than we had first thought so we expected Barracuda 1 to be able to lift it up without difficulty. Of course, that was assuming things weren’t complicated by strong currents. The truth was that we were all increasingly anxious. The weather forecast said that storms were on their way.

We spent the entire morning preparing Barracuda 1 and planning the dive so then had to wait until the following day. We had also received a call from our superior at the NTNU asking if we were already on our way back. There was no choice but to lie. I’m sure you can imagine the state Olve, Geir and I were in.

Finally the perfect moment for the dive arrived. There was a short window for our operation. In seven hours’ time we would be hit by a weather front. Barracuda 1 gracefully sank down through the water, heading towards the depths in search of the disc. Would it be the key to backing up our theories about Odin’s Keel and the shipwreck?

Image from the main camera of Barracuda 1, just before reaching the mound where the Draupnir Disk was hiding. It used a laser locking system to fix its target.

The descent felt as though it would take forever, the seconds lasting minutes, the minutes lasting hours. The robot’s underwater path to the Niflheim Cave seemed eternal but finally it arrived. Everything was just as we had left it. We guided the robot straight towards the disc. It was still there, crowning the strange rocky mound and covered in flora and fossilized crustaceans. Olve skilfully handled the two remote controls.

He would be responsible for the most difficult part of the procedure. He had to lift the disc up with one pincer while the other pincer fitted part of the harness around it. Then he had to repeat the manoeuvre the other way round with the other robotic arm. It was very risky, what if the disc slipped out of its grasp and fell down the mound? That would be disastrous. We were all on edge. You could cut the atmosphere in that small compartment on board the Ice Dawn with a knife.

After several attempts, Olve managed to place the disc inside the safety harness. He closed the fastenings with the pincers and withdrew them to pull the disc towards Barracuda 1. For a moment it felt as though time had stopped, but we quickly saw that it was moving, lazily edging away from the mound like someone who doesn’t want to leave the comfort of their home.

If the descent had felt eternal, you can’t begin to imagine what the ascent was like. A total nightmare; the storm was now practically on top of us. Our great fear was that the cable could work itself loose and we would lose both Barracuda 1 and the disc.

Fate, the old gods, destiny or perhaps all three saw to it that we retrieved Barracuda 1 and its precious cargo just in time. Moments after hoisting the robot out of the water and storing it in the Ice Dawn’s hold, ten to thirteen foot waves started to surge up around us. It was time to head back to base. The journey home might have been rough but we certainly didn’t notice: we were walking on air. The three of us were fascinated by our discovery, what we would later be called the Draupnir Disc.

That’s all I have time for now but I promise to return with further details of our discovery shortly. Unfortunately I also have bad news from the NTNU to report. There’s not long to go, my friends. The truth about Hyperborea will soon be revealed, I promise. Thanks for all your support. Writing these posts feels almost therapeutic and gives me the strength to take the final few steps. Until next time!

1 comment:

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