Author’s note: This is a second part of Phoenix crew stories. It is recommended to read these in a correct order. Click here to read the first part.
We left Phoenix in the direction of the SOS ping. Our journey was pretty much straight up north. Sasha tried to joke around the fact that he forgot to lock the rig, but it left rather a bitter taste after Marcus has reminded him that we are probably only people alive in a thousand kilometre radius around and that he could just throw the keys into the sea. Some of our guys have been also fishing and looking around for any signs of bears (for the sake of our safety and maybe a delicious dinner for the crew). I do not like to spread ourselves too thin, but we got to do it. Regular radio checks were essential during the trip to the ice sheets.
Three hours of walking on a fresh build up of the ice and we made it. I could not believe what I have seen with my own eyes, but there it was, a massive submarine. There were no signs of recently disturbed ice around, so it must have been stuck for a while now. Its obviously left here by either Russians or US and considering the distance from the coast of Namalsk, it must have played some part in the conflict here. Getting on the super structure of the submarine turned out to be a bit tricky as the ice formed around had lot of irregularity and we had to be very careful. The whole submarine was angled along the long axis and it was slippery on many places, but within 15 minutes, all of us were on top and started looking for some kind of hatch to open.
I made a quick radio check with our hunting group, they caught some bear tracks and started following them. When I have finished the call, Marcus has managed to get one of the hatches loose and with the help of others, we have managed to get the front hatch opened. The smell coming out of the inside was odd, almost like something burnt out. I pulled out my hand gun and climbed down a small ladder. After switching on the headtorch, I have checked all the angles and told Sasha to drop down too. Upon descending, he immediately got his Geiger counter up, it was silent. That means the submarine reactor was likely safe, just dormant considering there seemed to be no power running.
I have decided to keep Mike and Peter outside, to stay on guard, while rest of us started scouting the submarine. While we were not sure about the overall damage to it (besides being stuck here for probably next half year), it most definitely would have a lot of supplies we could scavenge and bring back to Phoenix. We have split in half and slowly started moving through the corridors. The interior was as submarine like as you would expect – lot of tight spaces and low ceilings. We have found bunch of disturbed shelves, but other than that, things were generally at a place they probably should be. That was a good sign. Upon checking more rooms finding more or less the same, I have decided its time to think how do we get these things out and transported back to the rig. We needed every hand, so decided to check in with our hunting group. While Luke was really disappointed, he knew the sleigh they had could take loads of supplies and bring them to Phoenix.
When I was returning down the ladder, I have again noticed that same burnt out smell. It could be even a smell of a burnt wood. I was not sure, but decided to check in to see if guys were already in the upper levels (above surface). My mate Sasha was sitting in one of the quaters, which he definitely suspected to be the captain ones and was insisting on staying there, reading through some reports instead of joining me again. Decided to keep him there and left alone for the upper levels. The smell was stronger as I have went up a tight staircase. It most definitely was wood. Was somebody making a fire here? When I have got the level up, I have quickly got my hand gun up as I have noticed a dim light, coming out of one of the rooms in the corridor. I could not tell if it was some kind of chemlight or maybe even the sunlight, but slowly started approaching the room entrance while covering other sides. Just as I have suspected, the corridor here had a barrel with some burnt out piece of a furniture.
When I have peeked into the room, my heart stopped for a moment. There was a woman, sitting on the ground, surrounded by various blankets and other equipment. From a distance, I could not tell if she was still alive, but she was definitely not reacting to my light anymore. Went back into the corridor, my heart rate going like crazy now. Checked all the angles once again and decided to call in guys. Sasha had no excuse this time around, he was the closest person we could call a medic on our rig, he left his supposed captain quaters and ran towards me.
I went into the room together with Sasha while others were already on guard in the corridor. Sasha lowered to her and uncovered some of the blankets from her body. She was in some kind of uniform, which had some strange patterns, various markings including written “CTRG”. Sasha switched his headtorch to low power and carefully checked her eye reaction. I could not exactly see it from my position, but he quickly turned towards me and said: she is alive.
Story continues in part 3, SKAT-12.