Discovery! – Dreamland 48

Discovery! – Dreamland 48

Feb 05, 2021


Jason saw the entire solar system as if from above. He could clearly see the two clouds of meteors at the edge of the system. Everything was moving around the sun and in some cases, there were planets with their own orbiting spheres. Earth looked a bit different than all of the other planets, in that it seemed to have a cloud of tiny objects that were all around it, some were moving and some were stationary or very nearly so, in their orbits. And too, there was a large oblong object that sat nearly stationary above the earth. As the earth turned, it moved with it along with many other objects, maintaining an orbit in a geosynchronous position above the earth. Jason knew that this must be the International Space Station, as well as the many man made satellites placed in orbit by the human race.

Jason watched the scene as the earth rotated around the sun. He saw what looked like a tiny light break away from one of the clouds at the edge of the solar system and start "falling" into the center of the system. Not falling really, it began spiraling in it's orbit, nearing the center of the solar system. Jason watched as the light passed a planet and altered it's orbit into a tighter spiral toward the Sun. As Earth and the light's orbits converged, the light flashed as it impacted the Earth's atmosphere. Then it could be seen striking in the Ukraine with a bright orange flash.


Jason was watching as the stasis pod cover closed slowly, sealing him within. Jason's point of view was from an upper corner of the stasis pod room. Jason saw Dr. Swan look the pod over carefully, checking the seals. Then she checked the infusion machine and watched as the glass tubes containing a gray liquid were drained into Jason's circulatory system. Jason saw Dr. swan adjust some equipment and leave the stasis chamber, turning out the light as she left the room.


Jason's point of view had changed, he was above the solar system again and saw lots little lights break away from the clouds at the edge and start spiraling toward the sun. He saw them pass other planets, altering their orbits around the sun all around the solar system.

Jason then began seeing flashes from the cloud of man-made satellites all around the Earth. There was a large flash when the Space Station was hit by an asteroid the size of a small car. Jason could only watch from above, as for three rotations of the earth, asteroids crashed into it and any man made satellite in orbit around it. Jason saw that any light made by electricity on earth blinked out from meteor impacts. Soon, there were no lights from the earth's surface aside from forest fires and other burning areas.


Jason saw the earth from above, spinning remarkably fast. He could see the passage of time by the changing of the seasons. He also saw the atmosphere clear up, as if the rains and snows of the seasonal changes were washing the skies, literally.

The Earth's rotation slowed and lights could be seen in places on the surface. Again, lights broke away from the two clouds of meteors at the edge of the solar system, tightening their orbits of the Sun. The patches of lights had started growing as Jason watched the orbiting lights neared other planets, passing them and altering their orbits. The Earth's orbit and the asteroid's orbits intersected, bright orange flashes appeared on the Earth's surface where the lights had been. The earth was dark again and it's rotation sped up, showing the changes of the seasons. During those seasonal changes, he saw the earth convulse on it's surface, like the land became liquid and rippled like something large had moved under the surface, causing a ripple on the surface.

Jason then saw his experiences since his revival in fast motion up to when he had lain down and closed his eyes.

Jason opened his eyes, listened for any sounds, sat up, lit the lantern and continued to listen for a few seconds. Jason checked his gear, put his boots on, stood, straightening his clothing as he picked up his ammo bag, putting the carry strap across his chest and picked up his M-16.

Jason went to his desk/reloading bench, sat down, removed the magazine from the M-16 and pulled the charging handle. This ejected the live round from the breach of the weapon and "cleared" the weapon. Jason put the round back into the magazine and set it to the side. Jason removed the butt-plate from the M-16, removed the cleaning kit and replaced the butt-plate and screw.

Jason took out his 9mm sidearm, removed the magazine and cleared the breach. He refilled the magazine, laying it aside and began cleaning the 9mm first.

Jason spent the next hour or so, cleaning all of the functional weapons he had collected so far. Jason had collected 2, 12ga. shotguns, one with the barrels and butt sawed off, making it a double barreled pistol and the other was a pump shotgun with it's barrel sawed off at the length of the magazine tube and had half of it's butt sawed off. He had also gotten 3, 9mm pistols that were functional. The pistol that Jason had gotten from SSGT. Darvy, was by far, the best of them. Jason cleaned and lubricated all of his cash of firearms, loaded them all and put them on the shelf across from his "bed". The best of the 2, 9mm pistols, Jason put under the mattress at the head of his "bed".

Jason believed that one should always treat a firearm as if it is loaded. And if you're going to treat it like it is loaded, it should be.

Jason liked the pump shotgun because it held 5 rounds total and could be loaded with several different types of ammunition. When he emptied the tube that was the magazine for the pump shotgun, he found that it was loaded with 00. buckshot. He liked that choice in ammo for the weapon so, he loaded that ammunition back into it when he had finished cleaning and lubricating it.

The pump shotgun had been being carried by the first man Jason had killed by driving his bayonet into his skull. Jason had liked the ingenuity this man must have had. He had made an over the shoulder draw, holster for the weapon from leather, sewn with sinew. On the shoulder belt for the holster, there had been sewn a pocket at the bottom which extra shells could be stored in. Jason liked it so, he put it on, holstered the shotgun and felt truly armed and dangerous.

Now, Jason was armed with an M-1,A-1 bayonet, a 9mm with 8 in the mag, 3 extra mags, M-16 with 30 round magazine and a 12ga. shotgun with 5 rounds 00. buckshot and 6 extra rounds of buckshot.

Jason felt that he was ready for any tactical situation that might happen in his search of other, "friendly" humans. Somehow, Jason knew what must have happened while he was in stasis.

Jason thought, "The earth must have, undergone a 3 day meteor shower that wiped out all satellites that were in orbit around the earth and also hit the earth itself everywhere there was a city. A few years later people were starting to move back into the cities and generating power, that powered conveniences. Then, another meteor shower occurred and wiped out A/C generators and A/C powered devices. At roughly the same time, a major earthquake or a series of serious earthquakes happened, people moved away from the cities out of fear of something."

Jason still hadn't figured out exactly how long he had been in stasis but, he knew it was much longer than 30 days. The only way for him to find that out, was to find somewhere people have settled and find out what year it was.

Jason grabbed a bottle of water and drank it as he exited his quarters and headed upstairs, remaining alert for sounds or movement. Jason reached the roof, removed his folded binoculars from his ammo bag as he walked to the north end of the roof, wanting to look closer at what he saw in the distance.

In the distance there was smoke, rising into the air in a tiny column. Jason opened his binoculars and looked at the column, trying to examine it's origin but, the rolling nature of the landscape prevented seeing the origin of the smoke. Jason figured that it couldn't be more than a few miles and decided that he would travel to the location of the smoke, in the hopes there was some kind of settlement there.

Jason checked the countryside from the roof in every direction and could find no other indication of life other than the thin column of smoke which was rising above some distant fire. Jason was thankful that the air was mostly still on this day. Instead of the usually blustery days that were more common for this time of year in Jason's memory. Jason hadn't heard any "katydids" singing yet and was expecting to hear their songs any day now.

Jason had loose tethered the mule to a bicycle rack just outside the main entrance of the formally new Science and Engineering building. So, he went down to first check to see if the animal was even still there. The mule was still there in the area but, had pulled free of the bicycle rack and was eating clover, deeper in the courtyard. Jason chuckled, shook his head and went inside to get the pack-saddle for the mule.

Jason picked up the pack-saddle from the table in the study/snack bar courtyard, checking it to be sure of it's functionality. Jason reasoned that if there were indeed settlements of some kind out there, there would likely be trade of some sort, between them.

"How better to introduce yourself to a settlement than by posing as a traveling trader?" Jason thought. "The pack animal will serve as an introduction, Jason, my boy." Jason went into his quarters and got the 9mm, sawed off shotgun pistol, unloaded them and placed them in a compartment within the box that had three compartments. Then Jason gathered up all of the miscellaneous personal items that had been among the items he had acquired by killing the first five men he had met. Jason also put packages of paper and pencils he had found when searching a teacher's storage area in one of the classrooms into the box, filling it.

Jason left the other box empty, intending to fill it and the two canvas sacks along the way through the neighborhood he would have to go through, before entering a more rural landscape. Jason partially filled the two canvas bags with cloth items of clothing and 5 pair of boots which were more or less serviceable.

Jason set everything on a table next to the table he had laid the original leather halter and pack saddle on. Then he picked up the halter, putting it over his shoulder, picked up the pack-saddle and blanket to carry them outside. When Jason entered the courtyard, Clyde lifted his head from his meal of clover and snorted. Then Clyde walked over to Jason and stopped in front of him. "Would ya lookie here. Are ya ready for an adventure, Clyde?" Jason asked in a chuckle as he put the blanket and pack-saddle on Clyde's back and started securing the saddle in place.

Clyde "pawed" the ground with his left hoof and snorted, nodding his head, as if answering Jason in the affirmative. Jason petted and stroked Clyde as he put the leather halter on his head, securing it with the buckled strap behind Clyde's ears. "You wait here, Clyde. I'm gonna get your load. I promise not to make it too heavy, for ya boy," Jason was saying to Clyde, as he clipped the lead to the halter, led Clyde to the bicycle rack and tied the lead rope to it.

Jason started with the two wooden boxes that were obviously made for the pack-saddle, lashing them in place with the leather belts that were secured to the two "X"s at the front and rear of the pack-saddle. Then Jason brought the two canvas bags out and hung one on each side by their woven leather draw-strings, over the "X" at the front of the pack-saddle.

Jason stepped back, looking Clyde over and said, "Well, Clyde, you look like you could be a trader's pack-mule, to me. And if the truth be known, I am planning to do some trading with others, if I can find friendly people out there. Let's hope so, buddy." A thought occurred to Jason as he was looking Clyde over.

Jason went back inside to secure his quarters, pick up two string mop handles and the two lanterns filled with fuel, he had brought back from his apartment for light at night. Jason had been an avid "camper" and had spent many weekends at the lake, "roughing it", fishing and hunting for his meals in the years before he had entered the suspension study.

Jason secured the mop-handles with their head ends up at each end of the pack-saddle. Then Jason hooked the lantern handles over the mop-head end's, mop-head holder and secured it in place. Effectively using the handle of the lantern as a mop-head, securing it to the mop-handle.

Jason also picked up his collapsible, carbon fiber, fishing rod with the closed face reel to take along, just in case he might feel like fishing. Jason had some survival gear for fishing in his ammo bag along with other survival gear but, the idea of using his rod and reel from the bank of a pond, appealed to Jason. And Jason knew of a pond with fish in it, to the north of his old apartment, in an affluent retirement community, at least it used to. Jason had an acquaintance there, who had invited him to fish there whenever Jason wanted to.

Jason put the rod and reel in one of the canvas sacks and put his small tackle box in the other. Then Jason led Clyde out toward the north, to start his personal search for other friendly people who had gathered together.

The trip between his quarters and his old apartment complex was uneventful so, Jason decided to stop and gather all of his old belongings that might be useful in trade, in particular, there was Jason's old paperback book collection that had somehow largely survived the ravages of time. Jason had put them in a wooden cabinet that had been well built and it had protected them from the elements. There were also a couple of "men's magazines" so, he got those too. Jason put these in the box that was mostly empty and re-secured the box to the pack-saddle.

Jason tethered Clyde to the railing and set to searching those apartment units that still looked stable. If a unit looked like it might have anything that might be useful in trade, he searched it. He had no idea what might be needed by any settlement other than basic hand tools, cloth, weapons and food-stuffs. Jason didn't like what he was starting to see more often than not.

In nearly every "serviceable" dwelling, there was a desiccated and decaying body, usually in bed. As if they had died in their sleep or at least were in bed when they died and Jason wondered about that. Jason made a mental note of the fact that there were so many bodies in repose, rather than in some sort of position where they might have been doing something other than lying down when they died. It was as if all of these people died at the same time, at night, during their sleep.

Jason found several bolts of cloth in one of the apartments along with a bag of sewing needles, thread, knitting needles and several balls of yarn. There were also some toys for children in the closet that Jason picked up as well. Jason figured that any settlement where people were gathered, would naturally have children and children like toys.

Jason finished searching the area and again headed in the direction of the smoke he had seen from the Science and Engineering building.

Since the smoke had been in the north and Jason's old friend had lived on the edge of a pond, stocked with fish, Jason figured he'd stop off there and perhaps do some fishing. Jason was careful in his journey, but didn't make any effort to conceal his movement, trying to signal that he was a trader and not hostile to a concealed observer. Jason hoped that there were fewer bandits or raiders than some type of settlement gatherings of people with some type of law and order.

Jason had picked up some metal pots and pans, tying them to the rear "X" of the pack-saddle and they were banging together, making quite a racket as Jason led Clyde along the deserted and largely destroyed neighborhood. It seemed reasonable to Jason that a traveling trader might do exactly this to alert potential customers to his presence. The reverse was also true but, Jason felt well armed and capable of dealing with singular attackers. Besides, this was his homeland and he should be relatively safe, he believed.

Jason led Clyde around the corner of a house to see the pond, his old friend's house, with it's dock, extending out into the water. Jason's old friend's house had been very well built using treated logs and sandstone masonry. The house was still standing and looked to be in very good condition, compared to most structures Jason had seen so far. Jason led Clyde to the back yard area, which had grass that, must have been crab-grass as it was relatively short for not having been cut in years.

Jason tethered Clyde to a section of ornamental metal fence that topped a sandstone wall separating the back porch from the yard. Jason went to the sliding glass door that was a rear entrance to the house, slid it open as it wasn't locked and went inside. The interior was as disheveled as if it had been picked up, shaken around and set back down. Jason searched the house, finding his old friend's body laying next to the bed, as if it had been shaken out of it, when the house was being shaken by the earthquake that shook the whole house.

Jason carefully searched the house and found a Colt 1911, .45 with attached high quality silencer, a shoulder holster, two extra full magazines, two 50 round boxes of ammunition, a case of bottled water, 4 MREs and some canned goods that still looked good. These items were enough to complete a full load for Clyde to carry, so Jason closed up the house and buried his old friend. Jason decided that his friend deserved a marker befitting his military service.

Jason had spent the remainder of the morning, after finding his old friend, searching his house, digging a proper grave and laying him to rest. Jason fashioned a cross from two planks of wood he removed from a pallet that was leaning against an air compressor in his friend's garage. Jason put his friend's dress cover and rank patches on the cross to mark his resting place. "That's the best I can do right now, Top. Rest in peace, buddy. You are relieved." Jason saluted his old friend and walked over to Clyde.

"Well, Clyde, I was going to try some fishing. Now, my heart just ain't in it anymore. What say, we get back on the road and see if we can find where that smoke was coming from, buddy?" Jason asked Clyde, not expecting an answer. Jason pulled the strap of his harness on the left side off of his shoulder. Then he put the shoulder-holster on, attached the bottom of the holster to his duty belt and attached the strap in the back to the right side of his duty belt.

Jason put the harness strap back on his shoulder and attached the cross strap to hold it in place. Jason picked up the .45 from the table, checked the magazine, checked to see if a round was in the breach, put the thumb safety on and secured the weapon in the holster.

"This is my new best friend, Clyde." Jason said as he patted the .45 in it's holster. "The silencer is a bit much but, Top told me that it was custom tooled for this weapon. It might prove useful if I ever want to be stealthy when I shoot somebody. I'm going to leave it on, for now." Jason thought, out loud.

Jason led Clyde out to the street in front of his friend's house and east out of the neighborhood to the old main road which ran north and south. Jason led Clyde up this road slowly, albeit noisily for about a mile before encountering any real damage to the countryside.

Jason was now in a more rural area, and was headed deeper into the rural part of the civilization that he had once known. Jason had been topping a hill when he saw the crater where an electrical sub-station had been. Jason had been up this road before in his recent memory but, what he was seeing was vastly different from his memories.

Jason couldn't help himself and went straight to the rim of the crater to see what kind of damage it had done on impact. He "drop tethered" Clyde at a roadside patch of clover at the bottom of the crater rim, climbing the small hill to look over the edge. Jason saw a meteor crater, scorch marks and melted rock showed that something very hot had hit here and destroyed the entire sub-station. Yet, down in the bottom of the crater, was an oddly mottled, polished metal ball about the size of a softball.

Jason climbed down into the crater bowl to get a closer look at the strangely mottled, metal ball. This ball resembled the first "star metal" ball he had found, that shocked the hell out of him when he had touched it. Yet this ball was different in that it looked like the metals had crystallized and somehow maintained the spherical shape and appearance of metal. Jason looked at the ball closely, gave it a cringing nudge with his boot, expecting to be shocked and was gratified when he wasn't.

Jason didn't have any room to put another item on his person and didn't want to put it among the items he had for sale as a trader. So he dug out a hole in the dirt with his entrenching tool and buried the "star-metal" ball there for later retrieval. Jason didn't know why he wanted to come back for this piece of meteor but, felt driven to collect it.

Jason climbed out of the crater, picked up Clyde's lead and headed due east at that intersection of section line roads, since the smoke had come from at least a mile east of where Jason had started. The landscape had gone from suburban housing to a completely rural pastureland where cattle and horses might be raised and pastured or left undeveloped and used for hunting. At least, that was how Jason remembered it.

Jason heard a gunshot from far off to his northwest so, he began moving a bit more carefully, paying closer attention to his surroundings. He got out his binoculars and hung them around his neck by their attached lanyard. He would scan the countryside at the top of every hill, looking for any indication of habitation. As Jason was topping a tree lined hill, he heard another gunshot, closer this time from his northwest. Jason moved to the side of the road under some low hanging branches in a clump of bushes and tethered Clyde to a sapling there.

Jason moved to a place that would allow him to scan in the direction of the gunshot and maintain some cover. He saw a deer bounding across a field about 3/4 mile north of him, stumble and fall. The deer tried to get up and continue running, fell, kicked a few times, then lay still. Within a few minutes, two men came into the field, following the blood trail of the wounded animal.

Jason watched the two men through the binoculars closely and was a little surprised when he could hear their conversation from 3/4 mile away.

"There's no big rush to get there, Tony. They're still getting loads of goods from their main settlement. Frank wanted them to get plenty of stuff that we need and still have weak defenses before we raid them." Ben said. Ben was the obvious leader between the two, as he carried himself with authority and spoke as a superior to a subordinate when addressing Tony.

"Okay Ben, if you say so. But, I'm fucking hungry and I'm gonna have me some venison for dinner. I still have a couple of carrots and a 'tater we can put in the pot for a stew, if ya want." Tony was saying as he cut the left hind leg of the deer off of the carcass. Tony took the hind quarter by the hoof, put it over his shoulder and started walking toward the northwest.

Ben said, "If we're lucky, we'll get some horses out of this raid. I sure would like a horse to ride, it'd beat the hell out of walking everywhere. And we could expand our territory, maybe. It's a good thing that you went ahead and picked up that big pot, Tony. A stew for breakfast sounds good before we head out to join the rest of the boys."

"Frank wants to wait until they start bringing timber in for their walls before we attack. That way, they'll have horses and maybe some oxen or mules, like that village settlement they started at. Hell, Frank might decide to just take over the new settlement and make it a base for the winter. We'll need somewhere to hole up for the winter. It gets really fuckin' cold here in the winter." Ben was telling Tony hopefully.

"Ain't they startin' the settlement building sorta backwards, Ben? I mean if'n I was gonna start a settlement, I'd start with puttin' up the the walls first. But, those guys built the house and barn first, I wonder how come." Tony asked.

Jason was following them from about 100 yards back and was listening to their conversation in an effort to learn as much as possible about their plans, the locations of other settlements, how many of them were in their group of raiders. Jason had already decided that he wouldn't make himself known to them as a trader.

Jason reasoned that they were raiders and were planning on raiding a settlement to hopefully get horses, pack animals and other goods. That being the case, Clyde and his burden, would be a far too tempting for them to just take by force, rather than engage in any sort of trade.

"The house and barn were already there, stupid. They've just decided to make the place a settlement with defensible walls. I'm betting that their main settlement is getting crowded. So, now they're beefing up that old ranch house and barn. Plus, they're building another building and I'd bet that's going to be a bunk-house for the new residents. Their main settlement is only about a couple of miles east of that house and barn. But raiding it would be suicide. The damned place is built like a fortress." Ben said sounding exasperated and continued. "We should go north here, our camp is only about 3/4 of a mile to the east from the next east/west road north."

Jason had been sticking to the tree line which ran along the fence line and decided he had gotten far enough away from Clyde and his burden of trader stock. Jason turned around and went carefully back to get Clyde and head directly north from there.

Jason removed the pots and pans from the back of the pack-saddle, wrapped some clothing around each one and put them into the two sacks hanging from the front "X" of the pack saddle. When Jason had finished, there would be very little chance of the pots banging together and making noise. Jason had decided to move as quickly north as he could as he was fairly certain that the settlement was almost directly north of him.

As Jason was making his way through the field, they passed fairly close to the deer carcass that Tony had taken the hind quarter from. Jason's stomach grumbled as if in protest of not eating some of the venison. But, Jason left it as it was, in case the two men returned to get some more of their kill to eat. Jason went another mile north, stopped to eat an MRE, drink a bottle of water and scan the area with his binoculars.

Jason spotted a thin column of smoke in the near distance and judged it to be maybe two or three miles almost directly north. Jason picked up his pace and after he crossed the next fence line, he noticed that the ground had been worked in the recent past for some kind of crop growth. As soon as Jason neared the top of the next hill, he looked through his binoculars and could see the top of a timber palisade and three stonework towers above the treeline.

Jason angled his approach across the field he was in, toward the wide, gravel road, that led up to the front gate of the palisaded settlement. Jason approached the gate at a leisurely pace, leading Clyde slowly, while looking the settlement walls over carefully as he approached.

As Jason was angling his approach to the long, wide, gravel road that led up to the gate of the palisade surrounding the settlement, he got a glimpse of the village within the palisade. The village itself couldn't be seen but, it's stonework wall could be seen. Jason was impressed that the village had a stonework wall surrounding it like a middle-age castle would have had. The village itself was within the stonework wall and it looked like the center of the village was a manor house for some wealthy and influential, personage in the deep south.

Jason also took note of the clearing completely around the village. They had cleared the land all the way around the outer palisade wall of the village for about 100 yards from the wall. To Jason this was an indication of preparedness for the possibility of attack or even a siege. Jason knew that with modern weaponry, the walls wouldn't be much of an obstacle. But, the only modern weaponry he had seen up to this point, had been the firearms he had taken from the men he had killed and from his friend's house.

It was evident to Jason that the space between the stonework wall and the palisade had been set up as a protected crop growing area. Jason liked the way it was set up for what he had learned of this new world up to then. Jason thought it well that they had apparently used the best of ancient and antique building practices for the security and safety of it's residents. Jason wasn't sure if he had stepped into the middle ages or the wild wild west.

The absence of more people still had Jason curious as to what had happened while he was in stasis. He believed he had pieced together that earth had had some sort of meteor shower that destroyed major metropolitan areas, electronics and telecommunications and then suffered major earthquakes, in this area of the world at the very least. And because there didn't seem to be any concerted effort at rebuilding from the devastation, Jason reasoned that humanity had nearly been extinguished from the earth. Jason's attention was brought back to the present, when he was challenged from the gate of the settlement palisade.

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