The Brink (#0145) - The Climber, Part 2
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Interlude I - Episode 2
Where: Chazov Mountains, Russia
When: The day after E-Day, 3:28 pm
The terrain grew treacherous as Vlad climbed higher. Loose rocks and rivers of gravel crunched underfoot. Scattered here and there were shards of a strangely smooth, grey rock that looked suspiciously like steel.
It took almost 30 minutes for him to reach the orange-jacketed corpse, and as he neared the peak of the mountain, a number of other bodies came into view. Vlad peered at them warily. It wasn't uncommon to find bodies this close to the wall, but it was uncommon to find this many.
Vlad's mind ran with possibilities. Had they been attacked? Were they some kind of suicide cult?
He reached the orange-jacketed body and began his initial examination. The body was a male in fairly good condition. No signs of injury or a struggle. No broken bones or open wounds. He was lying face-down, legs straight, arms at his sides, with his head facing down the slope of the mountain. He was wearing an orange parka, black boots, a woolen beanie and black ski pants. All of his clothes were in excellent condition. By all accounts it looked like he had been walking (or running) down the hill, away from the wall, and just...died.
Vlad swung his backpack off his shoulder and removed a pencil and clipboard. Tourists sometimes asked him why he used such archaic tools for recording his observations, rather than using an electronic PDA or a portable computer. The answer was simple: electronic equipment was notoriously unreliable this close to Gorod Drevnih's wall. It was likely to break down at any moment, or have its entire memory wiped without warning. Such was the nature of Gorod Drevnih. Such was the nature of The Veil.
Vlad carefully wrote down the details of his find: the condition and position of the body, the GPS coordinates (as well as a detailed description of the area in case the location reported by the GPS was inaccurate), and the possible cause of death: "unknown". He stooped and searched the man's backpack. It only took a few seconds to find his driver's license. Vlad pulled it out...
"Bozhe moi!" he said. Oh my God!
The photo on the license was instantly recognisable. Vlad had seen that face in countless magazine articles and TV documentaries.
"Bozhe moi!" he said again. He checked the name on the license for confirmation.
Name: Dennis Adams
DOB: 24 February 1947
Doctor Dennis Adams was no dumb, hapless tourist. He was the world's foremost expert on Gorod Drevnih. Everything there was to know about the wall and the terrain surrounding it, he already knew.
"How? How did you die?"
- February 23, 2013
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