Mission Report: An Expedition to the Southern Ice Caps Document in Etharai | World Anvil

Mission Report: An Expedition to the Southern Ice Caps

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Content Warning: Implications or mentions of hypothermia, death, and serious injury
The following collection of documents detail the ill-fated expedition to the southern ice caps that resulted in a halt to all travel to the region. These documents are solely for the purpose of maintaining a record of the reasoning for such a decision. Reader discretion is advised.

File Entry #1: Audio Recording of Expedition Arrival

Recording: Arrival at the Southern Ice Caps (57/13/2)

1:13 / 4:41
The above recording, and the corresponding transcript below, were recorded by the sea crew of the expedition, and has since been retrieved. This conversation is between Sails-as-Wind, comms leader of the ship, marked here as "station", and Theas'toura'mekketh, land expedition leader.
The recording started at 3:14PM and ended at 3:19PM.
[Start of Transcript]

[00:00.45] This is expedition leader, Theas'toura'mekketh, reporting in. Station, do you copy? [00:05.37]
[00:06.10] This is station. Copy. [00:07.78]
[00:08.18] Station, we have made landfall. All checks are a go. Sending position. Over. [00:13.18]
[00:13.59] Leader, please be advised. Snowstorm expected due west of your position. Over. [00:18.79]
[00:19.26] Acknowledged. Clear to proceed? [00:21.13]
[00:21.90] You are clear. Proceed. [00:23.38]
[01:16.18] Station, I'm getting readings of movement, approximately 98 degrees from our position. Confirm? [01:21.87]
[01:21.87] Acknowledged. Checking it out. [01:24.36]
[01:25.58] Copy. [01:26.45]
[01:31.35] Life forms read, 96 degrees, 327 tocs from your position. I'm getting a warm body signature, positive energy signature, negative Thyic signature. Stay clear. Over. [01:42.85]
[01:43.26] Copy that. Moving away now. [01:45.15]
[02:40.70] Leader, check in. [02:42.18]
[02:44.54] (Out of breath) We're here. Checking in. [02:47.77]
[02:48.25] Toura? You alright? [02:49.84]
[02:50.88] Yeah. Yeah, we're good. What the hell was that thing? [02:56.11]
[02:56.63] We got some readings, I can check it against our databases? [02:59.96]
[03:00.46] Mm. Yeah. Do that, please. [03:03.92]
[03:04.37] Copy that. Stay put. [03:06.13]
[04:28.18] Leader, get back to the ship. Now. [04:30.86]
[04:35.55] Leader, do you copy? [04:37.89]
[04:39.02] Something's off. Leader, check in. Please. [04:40.73]

[End of Transcript]

File Entry #2: Journal Entry of Expedition Leader

The following journal entry was retrieved from the body of Expedition Leader Theas'toura'mekketh. The body was found frozen and half-buried in snow. Please read this with the proper respect for the dead.

Entry: 57/13/2

The team and I just made landfall, and it's already gone very wrong. We ran into this monster of a creature, a huge six-limbed beast with eight glowing red eyes and giant claws. We ran, but not all of us made it. Tik and Beams-with-Pride both fell victim to its attacks. Tik died instantly - from what I could tell, at least - but Beams-with-Pride was not as lucky.
In addition, Mottledstripe sustained major injuries. Reathia'ythmara'tourisal is trying to patch her up, but Mottledstripe's supposed to be the medic on the team, and she can't really relay instructions in her state. Ythmara's doing the best she can, but who knows how long she'll be able to last.

We've lost contact with the ship, as well. When we were running the second time, the main radio fell, and our team radios aren't built for long distance. Selik's trying to put something together, so hopefully we can figure out a way to get a message to them as soon as possible.

In the meantime, we've found some firm snow and dug in to make a snow shelter. We've got plenty of fabrics and warm clothing, and if I know anything it's how to put together a shelter, so we should be fine for a while. At the very least, we'll be safe from that monster.

The lower half of the page this journal entry was on was torn off at an unknown date. The entry itself does not appear to be interrupted.

File Entry #3: Expedition Crew Communication Logs

Recording: Crew Communication Auto-Logs (57/13/3)

22:32:01 / 47:59:99
The above recording, transcribed below, is the automatically-stored logs on the expedition crew's walkie talkies, intented to be stored for 48 hours before being deleted. They were retrieved only an hour before the logs would have been deleted.
[Start of Transcript]

[01:00:00.48] Testing, testing. [01:00:02.69]
[01:00:01.07] (Echoed feedback) Testing, testing. [01:00:03.28]
[Minor Feedback]
[01:11:16.61] Toura, this is Selik. Can you hear me? [01:11:19.86]
[01:11:20.28] Selik, I read you. Over. [01:11:22.66]
[01:11:23.56] Great, heading out. Twigs and plants, yeah? [01:11:27.85]
[01:11:28.45] Affirmative. [01:11:29.54]
[01:11:29.92] Oh, come on, lighten up, will ya? It's not like we're on our deathbeds here. [01:11:35.21]
[01:11:36.70] I am following protocol. I suggest you do too; this is not a situation to take lightly. Over. [01:11:43.61]
[01:11:43.94] Yeah, whatever. [01:11:45.90]
[02:47:23.23] Toura, experiencing minor issues. Heading back now. [02:47:28.59]
[02:47:30.75] Selik, minor issues? Please elaborate. Over. [02:47:34.67]
[02:47:35.53] Oh, nothing serious. Don't worry, I've got it handled. [02:47:39.45]
[02:47:40.16] Selik, what do you mean? Please report. [02:47:43.13]
[02:47:43.32] [A distant scream can be heard.] [02:47:48.11]
[02:47:59.21] Selik, you there? [02:48:01.82]
[02:48:07.82] Toura, experiencing minor issues. Heading back now. [02:48:12.95]
[02:48:16.55] (Sigh) Selik, is this a prank? [02:48:20.16]
[02:48:39.12] Ok, Selik, this is a serious situation. Report in. [02:48:42.89]
[02:48:46.67] Selik I'm not kidding. I'll have you relieved of duty when we get back to the ship. [02:48:51.69]
[02:47:54.33] Oh, nothing serious. Don't worry, I've got it handled. [02:47:58.25]
[02:48:59.56] Selik, you're repeating yourself. Get back to the shelter, now. This is your last warning. [02:49:06.4016]
[Intermittent warbling noises and feedback]
[04:24:52.85] Toura, you there? [04:24:54.78]
[04:24:57.89] Selik! Thank the worldmothers. Where the hell have you been? [04:25:02.15]
[04:25:03.23] Toura, I need help. [04:25:05.99]
[04:25:57.89] Help with what? Is everything alright? [04:26:02.15]
[04:26:08.39] Sending location. [04:26:10.68]
[04:26:11.37] Coordinates received. Is eveything alright out there, Selik? Over. [04:26:16.24]
[04:34:28.96] Selik, I'm sending Ythmara to your location. She's looped in to this signal. Ythmara, confirm? [04:34:35.22]
[04:34:36.34] Affirmative. [04:34:37.11]
[04:34:37.84] Selik, confirm? [04:34:39.20]
[04:36:10.52] Affirmative. [04:36:11.51]
[04:36:12.40] Received. Selik, stay where you are. Ythmara, radio in when you reach his position. Over. [04:36:17.92]
[05:11:21.70] Selik, I am nearing your position. Please confirm. [05:11:24.96]
[05:11:33.84] Selik, please confirm. [05:11:35.63]
[05:20:21.92] Selik, I am at the coordinates. Are you there? I don't see you. [05:20:26.23]
[05:20:29.27] Ythmara, what's going on out there? Please report. [05:20:32.38]
[05:20:33.44] Toura, I don't see him anywhere. Please advise. [05:20:36.85]
[05:20:38.10] Send in your coordinates? [05:20:39.37]
[05:20:39.88] Acknowledged. [05:20:40.61]
[05:20:50.13] Sent. [05:20:50.68]
[05:20:58.10] Coordinates match... you don't see him anywhere? [05:21:03.63]
[05:21:04.40] That's a negative. I- HOLY FUCK WHAT IS THAT [05:21:10.69]
[05:21:11.14] Ythmara, report in. What's going on? [05:21:13.10]
[05:21:14.25] It's- it's Selik. He's dead. And it looks like he's been mauled. [05:21:19.10]
[05:21:21.71] Ythmara, return to shelter immediately. Over. [05:21:25.36]
[05:21:44.42] I- yes. Affirmative. [05:21:48.85]
[06:02:51.78] Ythmara, report in. What's your status? [06:02:54.32]
[06:03:22.09] Ythmara, are you there? [06:03:23.90]
[06:03:27.74] Ythmara, do you read me? [06:03:29.19]
[06:03:34.15] Ythmara? [06:03:35.01]
[The remaining 42 hours of the recording are radio silence.]

[End of Transcript]

File Entry #4: Journal Entry of Expedition Leader (2)

Similarly to the previous journal entry, this entry was found on the corpse of Expedition Leader Theas'toura'mekketh. It has been placed here so as to remain in chronological order.

Entry: 57/13/3

Selik has died. I'm assuming it was from the monster that was chasing us yesterday - Ythmara said that his body had been mauled.
Speaking of which, Ythmara has still not returned, either. I've heard nothing from her on the radio since noon. I can only hope she's still alive - but unfortunately the chances of that are not very high.
It's only me and Mottledstripe, who is not recovering from her injuries. I've been doing my best to tend to them and follow whatever instructions she can give, but she's fading quickly. I don't know what to do with half of this medical equipment.

Which also brings me to this - with the amount of time that has passed, if Ythmara does return there is a high likelyhood she's been injured. I have no clue how to treat anything more serious than a surface wound.

I miss Ythmara. On some level, I feel a bit guilty for everything that's happened here. I'm the one who volunteered for this expedition in the first place, and suggested that she come along. I'm the one that convinced her to come with me. I'm the one that sent her out there, looking for Selik. Maybe I should've gone out there, instead of her.

But I can't dwell on what's already been done. I need to focus on trying to keep Mottledstripe alive, for now. If there's any chance of rescue, she may still be able to recover.

Selik was able to get his transmitter somewhat working, before he headed out today. It's only a one-way signal, and we don't know if it's reached the ship, but they're bound to be looking for us anyways.

I hope Ythmara comes back. I hope she's ok. I hope we will all be ok.

This page is covered in drops and splotches of blood, and some of the original ink was almost unreadable. Some portions required context to fill in, as the words themselves were entirely unreadable.
There also seem to be tear stains on the page.

Rescue Operation

Immediate Response

Shortly after losing contact with the ground expedition, the communications centre of the ship notified leadership personell, who immediately began to organise a rescue mission. This was done via magical flight, looking down on the landscape from above. They were able to spot some footprints in the ground, which faded and were no longer visible after a certain point. There were some calculations done to determine likely direction of travel of the group.

Further Searching

There were theories that the expedition had dug into the ground for shelter, considering the barren landscape, and the rescue operation began to send drones to check any holes in the snowy ground. However, due to the high quanity of cave-ins within the snow, there were too many locations for the drones to be able to check in a timely manner. Some prioritisation of location was done due to probability.

Finding the Expedition Crew

After almost 24 full hours of searching, the first member of the crew was found. Selik's body had been viciously attacked, with snow encrusted over it. Shortly afterwards, Ythmara's body was found in a similar state. After a bit more searching, both Toura and Mottledstripe were found victims to a cave-in of the snow shelter they appeared to have made. Mottledstripe died of injuries, and Toura of frostbite.
The last to be found were Tik and Beams-with-Pride, in a similar state to the initial pair - though it seems that their bodies had been moved after their deaths.

The Aftermath

After the ship crew turned in reports of the fate of the expedition, further exploration of the southern ice caps was promptly halted. While there were some attempts at finding out what the creature that had initially attacked the expedition crew was, these attempts have so far not been successful.

Cover image: Brown Paper Book by Pixabay


Please Login in order to comment!
Dec 13, 2023 01:47 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Brilliantly done with the transcripts and journal entries. You can feel the fear.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Dec 13, 2023 02:36 by spleen

thank you :D the transcripts in particular took me forever

Have a wonderful day!
Dec 20, 2023 10:47 by Angantyr

Reading this send a chill down my spine. Great narrative with a mix of mystery and down-to-earth reality!

Playing around with words and worlds
Dec 20, 2023 13:10 by spleen

thank you!

Have a wonderful day!
Dec 24, 2023 21:34 by Barron

As someone who *really* loves writing alouds and stories as part of their worldbuilding, I gotta say that yours has really impressed me. I was legit tense as people kept going. I still have no idea what killed them, and I'm excited to learn.