Rejected MoD2: ERROR


Remember how I said I finished my other story with eight hours to spare? This is the one I wrote in those eight hours. I wound up finishing and submitting it just a few seconds after midnight, however, so there was never much hope of this one being accepted. Once again, I'm not changing anything - in fact, this time I'm even keeping the formatting.


A51 Archives:
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            -> Benjamin C. Redwick

March 6, 1953: We have recovered all debris from the yesterday’s crash. Of particular note are the 7 identical black crates, all marked with a red star and labeled USSR-477 through USSR-483. We have yet to pick up any transmissions explaining what the aircraft was doing in American airspace.

March 6, 1953: Two crates are damaged beyond repair, as were their contents; the broken components are being shipped to the labs. The other five are on their way to the test chambers.

March 6, 1953: I don’t like this. Recovered artifacts are usually forced to undergo extensive scans before they’re ready for testing. These five were sent right through. What’s more, we’ve been ordered not to fire on any Soviet planes without first consulting Washington.

March 7, 1953: The five undamaged crates were all opened today. Their contents were all identical: A machine roughly four feet high and two wide; they are cylindrical at the base and semi-circular at the top. There is a slit close to the top two inches wide and an eighth of an in thick. Each one features an identical panel  covered in buttons – unfortunately, the labels are all in Russian, and a translator must be flown in.

March 9, 1953: The translator has identified the buttons for us: there is one labeled Power, one labeled Print, one labeled Drink (likely a rough translation), one labeled Eject, and one labeled Test. There is also an indent in the panel containing a glass vial and labeled Blood. Pressing Power on one of the machines yielded no visible effects, but a loud hum could be heard from within. Pressing it again caused the hum to subside. No further testing will be conducted until we have authorization.

March 10, 1953: J. Edgar Hoover himself, head of the FBI, came to the base tonight to “check on how things were going.” He specifically asked about the recovered crates, which is odd because we haven’t told anyone outside about them yet.

March 11, 1953: We received authorization and set up the five machines in a semicircle in Test Chamber 19, which used to be an aircraft hangar until the planes got too big. A monkey, Test Subject 001 (TS001), was strapped to a table in the center of the five machines, which were all powered up.

March 18: One week later and the monkey has yet to die of radiation poisoning. The machines were deemed safe to handle by hand.

March 18, 1953: All the machines are powered off and labeled 01-05. We turn on Machine 1 again and, acting on a whim, removing the vial from the indentation and placing TS001’s tail into it. We then try each button. Print causes a blank white card to eject from the slit on top. It has been taken into Chamber 233 for testing. Test causes the machine to emit a short, low, angry beep – and a red light lights up briefly. Drink and Eject yield the same result.

March 18, 1953: Scientists take a blood sample from TS001 and pour it into the vial. Pressing Test again yields the red light and low noise, but Drink causes the machine to take in the blood using some sort of pneumatic pump and a green light to light up, accompanied by a much happier ding! Pressing Eject causes the blood to run back into the vial. The blood has been taken for further testing.

March 19, 1953: The blood was returned, having been deemed normal. We put it back into the machine, pressed Drink, and this time pressed Test. The red light beeped incessantly for about two minutes, until eventually the green one lit up with a familiar ding! The green light remained lit until pressing Print, at which point another white card was ejected from the top of the machine, this one featuring black writing on it. Said writing was in Russian.

March 19, 1953: The blood sample was tested in each of the other four machines. They all worked in the exact same manner, and yielded the exact same card with the exact same writing, which our translator informs us means ATOMIC TESTING. Scientists immediately rushed TS001 to the Atomic Testing Field and disposed of the blood sample.

March 20, 1953: TS001 has died in Atomic Testing.

March 20, 1953: Atomic Testing is designed to test the capacity of a given material to withstand a nuclear attack, and thus its propensity for use in the construction of fallout shelters. No shit, the monkey died.

March 20, 1953: A rabbit is selected as the next test subject (TS002). As with the monkey, all five machines yield the same result. This time, they read DISSECTION.

March 20, 1953: Scientists immediately dissect TS002, hoping to find something out of the ordinary. Much to their surprise, it appears perfectly normal.

March 21, 1953: Codename Four, Head of Operations at Area 51, deems the machines unsafe and orders all testing to cease.

March 31, 1953: Off the record, for the last ten days our logs show power being diverted to Test Chamber 19 for roughly five minutes per night sometime between one and two in the morning. Someone is obviously conducting research on their own, but I don’t want to get anyone in trouble unless I know they deserve it.

April 1, 1953: Hoover stopped by the base again and spoke at length with Codename Four. Once again, only Area 51 personnel have been told about the presence of the five machines. How Hoover came to know is beyond me.

April 1, 1953: Codename Four orders us to resume testing.

April 2, 1953: Machine 1 was powered on and immediately shut off of its own accord. Scientists suspect a faulty power supply to be the culprit. Archiver Benjamin Redwick, checking the Test Chamber logs, discovers that someone has been secretly conducting tests without approval. The project is shut down by Codename Four pending an investigation.

April 2, 1953: If they knew I had been holding onto that information for ten days, I would have been in hot water, so I “just so happened” to check the electrical usage logs as a “preliminary measure.”

April 7, 1953: Hoover came again, this time with a Russian in tow. They went into a room with Codename Four and our translator, and came out again five hours later. I asked our translator, in private, what they spoke about, but he would not say.

April 7, 1953: Codename Four calls off his investigation, having determined that the power fluctuations were, in fact, the result of interference from adjacent test chambers. Testing is to resume once our engineers have determined the best way to hook up the machines to our generators, thus eliminating the danger of further outages.

April 22, 1953: We believe that Machine 1 has been suitably equipped with a conventional power cable. The rear of the machine is now a mess of transistors, wires, resistors, and electrical tape. However, as soon as we attempt to test a blood sample, the machine sparks and shorts out. It is taken in for further alterations.

May 2, 1953: Machine 1 has been equipped with a conventional power cord. Testing the blood of another monkey (TS003) reveals that it works in a manner consistent with the other four machines. We test the blood of two other monkeys (TS004 and TS005), and again find the five machines to be consistent. The other four machines are thus taken in to be outfitted with their own power cords.

May 2, 1953: Our translator informs us that the cards of TS003 read TESTING, those of TS004 read STUPIDITY, and those of TS005 read ESCAPE. All three monkeys are rushed off for further tests.

May 2, 1953: I managed to get our translator drunk after hours and ask him, once again, what his meeting was about. He will only tell me that the Russian has done more to aid us in the Cold War than every man in Area 51 combined.

May 3, 1953: TS003 died during testing. TS004 was given an IQ test, failed, and was thusly euthanized. TS005 was allowed to escape into the desert, where sensors indicate it died of heatstroke. The purpose of the machine remains unknown.

May 4, 1953: A bit of research on the archives revealed that the pilot of the plane we shot down was, in fact, American, and that his body is still being held in the facility.

May 6, 1953: The engineers have finished outfitting the machines with power cables. Testing is set to resume tomorrow.

May 6, 1953: I snuck into the morgue late at night and took a blood sample of my own from the pilot, one Charles Neverow. I am hiding it in my toilet tank and plan to test it at the earliest possible opportunity.

May 7, 1953: Ten monkeys (TS006-TS015) are each tested on every machine, yielding five identical sets of cards. Every single card simply reads MONKEY. The ten monkeys are placed in Test Subject Observation Homes.

May 8, 1953: Ten additional monkeys (TS016-TS025) are tested. Again, every card reads MONKEY. These monkeys are also placed in the Test Subject Observation Homes. Our scientists remain baffled.

May 9, 1953: Twenty additional monkeys (TS026-TS045) are tested. Once again, every single card reads MONKEY. The twenty Test Subjects are placed in the Test Subject Observation Homes. Every Test Subject Observation Home is now filled.

May 10, 1953: Unfortunately, it would seem the Test Subject Observation Homes collapsed and killed all forty Test Subjects. It is very likely that this was caused by our exceeding the weight limit of the structure, but in case this is the work of sabotage the Homes will be under constant, indefinite surveillance. Testing must be put on hold as the facilities are repaired.

May 10, 1953: I’ll test the pilot’s blood tonight; the guards are all busy keeping watch over the monkey cages, so Test Chamber 19 should be unguarded. I’m setting out at one in the morning.

May 11, 1953: I tested the pilot’s blood successfully. However, someone heard the hum of the machine and came in to investigate – I was only saved by the fact that I remembered not to turn the lights on. I got back to my room safely, but had to leave the blood in the machine – I hope no one discovers it.

May 11, 1953: Evidence suggests that there was a break-in at Test Chamber 19 last night, likely confirming our suspicions that the monkeys were killed by a saboteur. Furthermore, unidentified blood was discovered in the machine. It is our belief that these break-ins were all perpetrated by the same individual. Thus, testing will cease and guard presence will increase until this individual is caught. The blood in question is to be tested extensively.

May 11, 1953: By painting the attacks as the work of one individual (being the facility archiver does have its privileges), I hope that whoever was behind the initial round of break-ins will be caught and thus take the heat off of me. At any rate, I won’t be able to ask the translator to read the card to me for quite some time.

May 23, 1953: As the intruder has yet to be found, daily room checks are to be conducted on all personnel. As a reminder, as per Codename Four’s orders, testing cannot resume until the perpetrator has been discovered, and if anyone has any information on the break-ins they are urged to come forward. Compliance will guarantee lenience.

May 23, 1953: I flushed the pilot’s card down the toilet. If they found that…

June 19, 1953: The Russian visited again, quite angry this time. I managed to get the translator to tell me that he was extremely vexed because he helped us obtain the machines at great personal risk and we have yet to do anything with them.

June 19, 1953: Ten unauthorized cards have been discovered in the clothing of Leonard Svarkin, implicating him in the break-ins of March 21-March 31. He has been taken into custody for interrogation, and testing will hopefully resume shortly.

June 20, 1953: Hoover came today, and threatened to replace Codename Four unless he resumed testing immediately and let Svarkin free. Once again, Hoover should, officially speaking, know nothing about the machines. I strongly suspect Svarkin’s been feeding him information. When the Russian joined in the argument, however, Hoover blew up at him for so acting so recklessly around his comrades. The translator, heavily intoxicated, told me that the Russian’s name was Laventiy Beria, that he had helped to poison Stalin, and that the FBI was no longer offering him their protection. I asked the translator to meet me tomorrow night so I could show him the pilot’s card (the data should still be in the machine).

June 20, 1953: Leonard Svarkin was revealed to have been innocent of any wrongdoing; the true perpetrator is still at large. Regardless, Codename Four has ordered that testing resume tomorrow, this time on rats (monkeys being too heavy).

June 21, 1953: I brought the translator into Test Chamber 19 around midnight, following a night of heavy drinking (for him) and printed out a new card to give him. He informed me that it meant POOR PILOTING SKILLS before we snuck off to our respective rooms. Still unsure of what they do. Sidenote: I just remembered that Stalin died the same day as the plane crash. I’m guessing that we took advantage of the confusion to hijack a Russian plane.

June 21, 1953: Testing twenty lab rats (TS046-TS065) produced twenty cards, each bearing the name of a different chemical. The rats are thus to be tested for those chemicals.

June 21, 1953: A sweep of his room revealed that Vladimir Kolesnikov, our translator, was in possession of an unauthorized card. Codename Four has ordered that he be incarcerated until further notice, believeing him to be responsible for the numerous break-ins. He was heavily intoxicated when the guards took him in.

June 21, 1953: The translator was captured because he was too stupid, or too drunk, to throw out the pilot’s card. Hoover’s being called in to figure out how to deal with him, though I’m not supposed to know that. I just hope he doesn’t mention my name.

June 22, 1953: Pressuring the translator, we have discovered that the illicit card read POOR PILOTING SKILLS, and belonged to an unidentified pilot in the morgue (who has been deemed TS066). He is totally unrelated to the plane crash on March 5th. The cards from the break-ins in late March, if indeed any were printed, have yet to be discovered.

June 22, 1953: They don’t want anyone to know that we recovered the body of the pilot from the plane crash. As far as everyone in Area 51 is concerned, we shot down an enemy plane piloted by enemies.

June 22, 1953: The rats, having undergone tests, were found to contain dangerously high levels of the chemical identified on their cards. The ARSENIC and CYANIDE rats have, sadly, passed away.

June 24, 1953: Hoover came here again. He warned Codename Four that he’s got more important things to do and that, if he must return again for any reason, Four would be getting the boot. I didn’t hear the rest of their conversation.

June 24, 1953: Vladimir Kolesnikov is working with our engineers to refit the machines to print in American English. He is under the impression that, if he does this, he will be freed. Please do not do anything to dispel this notion. Work on disassembling Machine 1 will begin tomorrow. In the meantime, the other 4 machines are perfectly safe to use.

June 25, 1953: The other 18 rats have all died of poisoning. We believe that the naturally-high chemical levels of toxic chemicals in their systems were exacerbated by the tests going on one chamber over. We wish to determine whether the machines are safe for human testing (on humans who are currently alive).

June 26, 1953: Lavrentiy Beria was ambushed by Soviet authorities and tried for treason. I wonder if the Soviets knew what these machines did.

June 28, 1953: An article was published this morning suggesting that Beria, prior to his capture by the Soviets, would frequently meet with American agents. Codename Four is getting really desperate to avoid another visit from Hoover.

June 29, 1953: Engineers are now attempting to disassemble Machines 2 and 3 completely, that they might come to understand the inner workings and thusly discern the purpose of said machines. Tests are to be conducted on Machines 4 and 5.

June 30, 1953: Just got today’s paper. The journalist who wrote the Beria article has mysteriously gone missing.

June 30, 1953: We finally got our first live, human test subject! TS067 is to arrive via plane tomorrow morning. He was convicted of treason in a fair and legitimate trial, and willingly chose to participate in order to prolong his inevitable death.

June 30, 1953: The engineers working on Machine 2 are utterly stumped as to how it actually determines what to write, but have devised a number of methods to increase mechanical efficiency (integrating the vial with the machine, lengthening the pump, dye-sublimation printing, etc.). They will be applying these alterations to Machines 2, 3, and 4. Machine 5 is to be reserved for testing.

July 1, 1953: The first live human test has gone swimmingly. Neither TS067 nor the Machine suffered any ill effects as a result of the testing process. He is to be kept in a cell separate from that of Kolesnikov. Kolesnikov reports that the card in question translates to TREASON.

July 1, 1953: Scientists now believe that the Machine provides an in-depth analysis of its subjects, but cannot figure out why it chooses the wording that it does. For instance, with TS006-TS045, it merely identified the species of the Test Subject, but with TS046-TS065, it identified the specific chemical that existed within the subjects. TS065 had his piloting skills called into question, and TS066’s crime was identified. This suggests that humans are evaluated mentally, while animals, being less complex, are evaluated biologically, but further human testing is required to know for sure. This also fails to adequately explain the first five Test Subjects, with the possible exception of TS003 (which was evaluated mentally).

July 2, 1953: TS067 is executed for treason after attempting suicide. Kolesnikov attempts to kill himself, as well. He is, however, allowed to remain alive until Machine 1 is capable of dispensing answers in English. This task should be completed rather quickly, as the machine is already equipped with a component that translates the output from computer code into Russian; we merely need to modify this single component, which is thankfully separate from the component that determines the contents of the output (and which we cannot make heads or tails of).

July 2, 1953: I can’t help but think that we’re going about discerning the purpose of these things all wrong. I recommend that we test Kolesnikov, but am rejected on the basis that we need him to help finish the modifications, and every other Test Subject has wound up dead.

July 3, 1953: All personnel are given a two-day vacation in honor of this fine country’s 177th birthday. Happy 4th of July and God Bless America!

July 5, 1953: Our first day back to work, we’ve already made much progress: Machine 2 is fully reassembled, now with an integrated vial, a faster printer, and a more efficient pump. Although none of these improvements will improve the time it takes for the Machines to conduct a test, we believe they will reduce power consumption by as much as ten percent!

July 6, 1953: One of our employees, Leonard Svarkin, has graciously agreed to test Machine 2 (becoming TS068), which operates exactly as predicted. According to Kolesnikov, the card reads RUSSIAN HERITAGE. Though Svarkin is, in fact, descended from Commies, his records can attest that he is completely loyal to the U. S. of A.

July 8, 1953: Kolesnikov attempted suicide again. This time, he wound up completely breaking his right arm, which’ll make the translation of Machine 2 much slower. I don’t think he believes he’ll ever go free. Codename Four recommends that we just fly in another translator and test Kolesnikov.

July 8, 1953: Our translator, Kolesnikov, generously agreed to volunteer for testing. He informs us that his card reads DEPRESSION – an accurate analysis, given his recent behavior. TS069 is almost finished helping our engineers modify the output of Machine 1 – hopefully we can print cards in English by the tenth. Another translator is due to arrive tomorrow.

July 9, 1953: Kolesnikov was found this morning dead in his jail cell. We are of the opinion that his death was a suicide. Fortunately, the other translator – who is much faster – arrived today and finished working on Machine 1’s output component. It should be installed by tomorrow. Furthermore, Machine 3 has been reassembled with greater efficiency in a manner similar to that of Machine 2.

July 10, 1953: Our new translator graciously volunteered to become TS070. He first tested Machines 2 and 3, both of which provided the same Russian word. He then tested Machine 1, which printed a card reading PATRIOTISM – which, apparently, is the English translation of the output of Machines 2 and 3! Success! Furthermore, when asked if he loves America, TS070 replied that he does with all his heart. Our hypothesis regarding the machine’s function seems to be correct.

July 10, 1953: The new translator was lying. You could see it in his eyes, hear it in his voice. He’s as red as Khrushchev. I first got suspicious when he saw that the hammer and sickles that had emblazoned the machines had all been painted over. He saw the paint, and he gave one of our engineers a look.

July 11, 1953: Our engineers and TS070 began attempting to Americanize the output component of the other four machines. Machines 1 and 5 are the only ones now fit for testing – the others are all partially disassembled. Five more human volunteers came forward today, each one of them guards rather than scientists. All five – TS071 through TS075 – drew the same card, labeled FIRING SQUAD. Curiously, only two of them had been on the firing squad involved in the execution of TS067. Our scientists now believe that their former hypothesis regarding the machine’s function was incorrect.

July 12, 1953: I was right about the new translator. This morning, a guard walked in on him standing over the body of Svarkin. They shot him right through the head. The gunfire woke us all up. Svarkin got the worst of it, though – he was still breathing when we found him, but slowly bleeding to death. The Translator had carved the word Traitor into his chest with a knife from the kitchen, and was halfway done carving a hammer and sickle right beneath it when he was killed. Svarkin died slowly afterward. What worried me was that Svarkin was Hoover’s man on the inside – with him gone, who knew what would happen? We were afraid that Hoover might blame us. We had to make sure the translator was clearly responsible.

July 12, 1953: One of our scientists, Leonard Svarkin, suffered a horrific death at the hands of TS070, our former translator. Though Russian by birth, Svarkin loved America and he loved his co-workers. TS070, though a wretched Communist, unfortunately managed to fool all of us – rest assured that he has been properly dealt with. Unfortunately, this means that Machine 2 will remain inoperable, as the output component is disassembled and requires a speaker of Russian to fix. Machines 1 and 3 are in working order, and 4 and 5 will soon be reassembled. Each machine has been fitted with the upgrades needed to use power ten percent more efficiently. Codename Four recommends that testing cease until all Machines are properly assembled, given the recent deaths.

July 13, 1953: I had a sudden burst of inspiration. The rats were all killed by the chemicals on their cards, the monkeys were all crushed under the weight of other monkeys, Svarkin was killed because he betrayed his heritage, and Kolesnikov killed himself out of depression. The machine has, in every case, described the manner in which the subject dies. The only way I can prove this theory is by attempting – and, ideally, failing – to disprove it. I tried suggesting to the scientists that we test a large number of animals and attempt to kill them in a manner different from that described on their card, but they would have none of it, given Codename Four’s orders. I tried going to Codename Four himself, but he was in a meeting with J. Edgar Hoover all day – and Hoover was furious. I would simply have to sneak out at night and test myself – and then do everything in my power to stay alive. At the very least, this would provide me with food for thought until I have time to perform the animal tests.

July 14, 1953: I have snuck out and am now in Chamber 19. The first machine yielded a card in Russian. No good.

July 14, 1953: The second machine provided me with the response ERROR. I shall try another.

A51 Archives:
Search Terms: “machine + of + death”
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            -> Arthur C. Doora

July 15 1953: I am sorry to report that Benjamin Redwick died last night while attempting to test himself using one of the malfunctioning Machines.

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