CONTAINMENT PROJECT EVALUATION
DATA LOG 2
Name: Qar’Ek Da’qu
Administrative Ambit: Chief of historic evaluation of Containment Project facilities on SOL-00I
Date: 5th day of the fourth month, year 372 after the founding of the republic
The following material is a compendium of the diary entries by Carlisle McAvin, found in his repair shop on the edge of Muntun Upon Stynn and the entries by P. S. Tertio. As chief historic evaluator of the CP Facilities, I’ve taken the liberty to combine the respective entries, since both individuals show very similar entries.
10th May, 1960
Hello. My name is Carlisle McAvin. I’m seventeen and I write in this diary, due to the mysterious happenings in our one-horse town as of late.
Yes, one-horse town. Muntun Upon Stynn (Stonehill Town, as it were) merely has a population of roughly 2000. So everyone pretty much knows everyone else. It lies somewhere in the Scottisch Highlands, probably near Glencoe. The landscape is hilly, the pathways rugged. Thus, there is no real road that leads here. Which is why, whenever I take a trip with my car, I commute between the hamlet of Mennith and the manor of his lordship MacDonald.
As you can imagine, there’s not much to see here. We have a small town hall, a small church, a pub, as well as a small theatre which has recently been refitted to accommodate a cinema. Movies… strange stuff, all be it entertaining. As I’ve already mentioned, I work in the car repair shop. Well, strictly speaking it’s a repair shop AND a general store in one. My father, Wallace, is in charge of the store while I manage the repair shop. My mother died giving birth to me and my father has never remarried. He himself doesn’t think very highly of cars, thinks they’re just some modern fancy fad that’ll eventually go away. As far as I’m concerned: I’m obsessed with them! It took one whole year for me to build me my own. Admittedly, you still have to crank it up and in the beginning it caused me nothing but trouble. But now it finally works!
The road from Mennith to Muntun is usually mundane and without anything exciting happening. But not today. After finishing my business I had in Mennith I was heading back home, but suddenly and without warning, someone came climbing out of the gully near the town! I slammed the breaks as hard as I could – a true miracle I didn’t run the guy over! That’s the last thing I needed! Mad with rage I got out of the car and checked the hood – all was well! I walked over to the guy and yelled at him, asked him what went through his mind to scare the fright of me like that! But upon mustering him once my rage died down, I realised this guy wasn’t from here. He wore a thick blanket and under that a… Roman tunic?! What the hell? What was even scarier, was the fact that he had a real short sword with him. I know it so well, because this crazy person stuck it in my face.
“Ubi sum?! Qui es?! Quid hic accidit?”
“Calm down, man,” I tried to persuade him: “I don’t know, who you are, but Julius Caesar hasn’t been played in months.”
“Quid dicit?! Non te comprehendo!”
“Hey, calm down, all right? Put the knife down. No need for things to get violent.”
I desperately tried to signal him to put the knife away. But he didn’t understand me. Either this was a well thought-out prank of the Mennith boys or something really strange was going on here. Thankfully – and without my help – he put the knife down and then circled my car in awe.
“Quid es?! Tuus est?” he spoke in surprise before coming back with quite a perplexed expression on his face: “Nulli equi?” he asked me with a furrowed brow and I simply nodded.
By this point, you’ll probably be asking yourself where a simple mechanic from the Highlands picked up Latin. Now, admittedly, I like working in the repair shop a lot – but it’s not something I want to do forever. As soon as I have the necessary coin, I want to study at the university in Glasgow. What exactly, I don’t know yet. But advanced knowledge of the Latin language is crucial to even be accepted.
I acknowledged his question with an affirmative and then showed him the hood of the car. He obviously had never seen a machine like this one and I became certain that he had never seen a machine before in his life. Nevertheless, I had to be sure everything was still in working condition. I instructed the guy to turn the crank while I sat at the wheel, telling him when to turn it. Long story short: the car still worked. He hesitatingly sat to my left after I signalled him to get in. Couldn’t just let him stand there, could I?
10th May, 1960
Learning a language is one thing. But speaking it, is another matter entirely! That is… HAVING to speak it! The drive back to Muntun took another fifteen Minutes (it’s thirty minutes total) and thus I wanted to find out more about this strange guy. But I quickly realised that he spoke neither English, nor Scots nor Gaelic – only Latin. And I soon realised something really strange was going on here.
I asked him simple stuff: his name, where he was from and so on. He told me his name as Publius Septimus Tertio and that he was from a place called Mons Petrae. Instinctively, I wanted to slam the breaks again as this name sounded eerily similar to Muntun Upon Stynn. But this would’ve meant we would have to turn the crank all over again. I therefore simply drove onward, until we reached my repair shop. There, we immediately went up the stairs to the actual house.
Yet I have to say I was… somewhat amused to see Publius first walking around my repair shop; his eyes were full of amazement and awe. How he’ll react when I show him a film?! Suffice to say he reacted quite well to the glass of whiskey which is traditionally offered every guest and which I had stashed in my room without my father knowing.
“Your dad allows you to get drunk on the job?” he questioned.
“Firstly, he isn’t here,” I replied in my still choppy Latin, bearing a grin on my face: “And secondly, we aren’t getting drunk.”
After that I served each of us a second glass before demonstratively closing the bottle filled with the finest Single Malt Scotch and setting it aside.
”And you’re not shitting me? You’re really a Roman? I mean… from the past?”
“Of course, I’m a Roman. Can’t you tell?!” he defensively countered.
I asked Publius in which year he and his family lived and he gave 762 a. u. c. as an answer – meaning 762 years ab urbe condita, since the founding of Rome. That corresponds to our 9 BC. But what happened next, I can’t explain as of now. Regarding the date I made an off-handed comment about how you simple couldn’t conquer everything – obvious reference to the battle of Teutoburg Forest.
“What do you mean?” he asked in confusion: “Everyone knows that this rebellion had been crushed!” That remark itself was strange, but Publius dropped the bomb when he told me that his city lay between York, Manchester and Lincoln.
“That’s… absolutely impossible! You… you shouldn’t even exist!”
“Cause Britain won’t be Roman for another thirty-four years! Under Emperor Claudius!”
“Emperor? What Emperor?” he asked, amused with regards to my ignorance concerning his assumed reality: “Rome is and has been a republic since 245 a. u. c.! Everyone knows that!”
All this made no sense! Either this guy was a well-versed huckster, or something completely different and inexplicable was going on here! Rightly confused by all this I snatched the bottle of whiskey, treated myself to another glass and downed it in one gulp only to then look into Publius’ grinning face who then said something to the effect of: “What was that again – we aren’t getting drunk?” I don’t know, whether it was the alcohol or the way he said it, but that made me laugh really hard. After gathering myself again though, I asked him how he even got here in the first place.
He told me how he had gone through the entrance to a series of underground passageways in the grave on the hill close to his village. There he had gotten himself lost and haphazardly tried the gully on the road. And the rest you probably have already read in entry one. It all sounded so… surreal – but then again, quite plausible. After all: Jules Verne wrote of a lost world deep inside the planet and furthermore there are theories about the earth being hollow just below the planet’s crust. If Publius came from there? Perhaps there was a place on… or below the earth where antiquity had continued – but why the askew reality then?
Sadly, I didn’t have time to question him about this as the door to the store flung open and my father called from downstairs. I asked by guest to keep quiet until I returned. He simply nodded and like a good boy he sat on my bed where he pulled out a few scrolls and asked for something to write with. I hastily shoved a pencil into his hand before hurrying down.
NOTE: I’ve shortened the following scroll by P. S. Tertio due to redundancy issues, given that they describe the exact same things as in entries 1 & 2 by McAvin.
9th Calends of January
762 a. u. c.
At least I still believe that it is…
[…] I only hope he doesn’t get in trouble with his father. However, I’m still pondering in what strange world I’ve landed! Everything is so foreign. The buildings… the materials they are made of.
Nevertheless, the room of this strangely clothed and behaving boy who can barely speak my language, seems to hold some interesting discovery. What especially peaked my interest was an assortment of strange devices and creations in front of his window. Yet, I’ll try to describe them to the best of my abilities. The most striking thing was a box on a stool with a large, moving plate and a large, protruding horn. Underneath the stool was a stack of thin pouches, made of some sort of weird, thin paper. After taking one out and removing its contents I stared at a large, black discus, decorated with numerous grooves, with a label and a small hole at its centre. CREOLE LOVE CALL – I have no idea what that means.
The final device I found interesting, stood on Carlisle’s desk. It was a vertical box with two large, round eyes at the bottom. In between, a confusing bar with strange short and long lines. And yes, I know, I shouldn’t have touched anything, but when I touched the right eye out of curiosity, I noticed you can turn it, whereby the regulator moved from right to left, depending in which direction you turned the eye.
Shortly after, my host came back and offered me a tour of the place he lived in. However, I then had to confess to him that I had come here without my family’s or my relatives’ knowledge and that they most certainly had noticed my absence by now.
9th Calends ofJanuary
762 a. u. c.
I’m back home. But let me recapitulate what had happened. After telling him that I needed to get back home, we snuck outside and took the strange cart back to the gully on the road. But before that happened, we made the acquaintance with what I can only describe as a witch. No, idiots, she wasn’t an actual witch who could’ve cursed us. It was basically a completely mad old hag, whom Carlisle described as being called Mrs. Darson.
Her appearance was haggard and she wore a blanket over her head. She gestured wildly and kept rambling on about the same stuff: of giant towers of glass and steel – whatever that is! Of flying… cars and of DN-AGE that did something to her. The mad cow then attacked us, said that we were really old men whom someone had turned young again. Bullshit! But since she wouldn’t stop, I pulled my gladius in frustration and yelled at her to leave us alone, which she eventually did.
Either way, we eventually reached the gully I had come through. I then asked him, which time of day it was and Carlisle replied it was about ten o’ clock in the morning. I don’t know what “ten o’ clock” means, but I informed him that it had also been morning when I left for the ancient stones. At first, he looked at me with confusion before going back to his cart where he gave me a small packet with strange, small sticks in them. He told me they were called ‘cigarettes’ and that I could ‘smoke’ them whenever I was bored or stressed out by lighting them. I thanked him, draped my blanket over me and began the descent to the bottom.
The way back to the ladder I had come through proved to be very, very long. Something I hadn’t noticed when following that odd turtle. However, I had kept that strange writing device I had received and used it to jot down the label next to the ladder. I did this since Carlisle told me to come back tomorrow – which I’m definitely planning to do!
9th Calends of January
762 a. u. c.
As anticipated, my leave had been noticed and everyone was deeply relieved to have me back. When asked where I had been, I concocted a lie, saying I had lost my way on the road to the stones in the forest since I had wanted to take a detour to the village first. They all bought this, admittedly, stinking little lie hook, line and sinker! Best prerequisite to put on a toga candida on the near future, I’d say!
8th Calends of January
762 a. u. c.
There’s still a little bit of room on this scroll, which is why I’ll record the rest of this day’s happening here. Sorry, if it all seems a bit disjointed, but I can’t afford to waste good paper.
Normally, it is not Roman custom to ask women for advice. In this case, however, my sister’s advice was pivotal. I’ve always asked for her opinion since I was a little boy and thus I did once more. I therefore went over to Marius’ bakery and then upstairs to actual living quarters to talk to Septima. After whisking the slaves out of the room I told her about my mysterious findings and showed her the packet with the cigarettes I had taken with me. Yet, I didn’t receive the reaction I had anticipated from her. Instead of labelling me insane, she simple held her right hand in front of her mouth and gasped: “I thought, it was just me!” Upon this she went over to the chest from her childhood where she kept all sorts of possessions. She rummaged through it for a little while before coming back with a bundle. I was quite astonished when she unwrapped it and showed me something that fitted neatly into the ensemble of things I had found.
It looked like a tile, but it was far too thick to be one and consisted of three layers of materials completely alien to me. The first was glass-like, behind it a soft layer and lastly a black, coal-like layer. “I found it a few days ago while picking flowers to press,” she explained to me. I asked her, if she had shown it to Marius – which she negated.
11th May, 1960
You know how bloody irritating it is, when can’t concentrate on anything. I mean on absolutely nothing! This has been going on the entire, damn day: selling wrong things to customers, billing the merchandise incorrectly, misplacing or even losing tools! That’s how my entire, bloody day went! Why? Simple: the hallways! In the last entry or the entry before that I had mentioned knowing a thing or two about the works of Jules Verne. Well, knowing a thing or two might be an understatement – I love this author! The worlds, he creates, the characters, he brings to life! I’ve read 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, as well as Journey to the Centre of the Earth, dozens of times. Why am I telling you this? Simple: because none of these books talk about underground hallways made of iron with odd labels. Fantastical inventions that will one day be reality, interesting worlds one would want to explore. But of worlds connected by hallways – nothing.
Well, I thought of taking up the task of becoming an explorer myself and descended down the gully from which Publius had come through. And it was, as he had described: iron – or should I say, steel-made – hallways with pipes and lights. And also the odd markings he had described. Next to the ladder stood D.E. 1920 RD in fat, painted, yellow writing. What did that mean? 1920? That was forty years ago. Since I neither knew what it meant or where I was going, I walked along the wall with the odd writing until I reached another ladder with another piece of marking: D.E. 1920 SQR. SQR? If Publius had come through this entrance, shouldn’t this be SPQR – you know, Senate and People of Rome? This was the symbol of the Roman Republic – the republic which apparently still existed in Publius’ world. I climbed up the ladder but abruptly halted when I heard a familiar voice… Mrs. Darson?! Yes, it was her voice and she was again rambling on and on about the same nonsense. Add to that I heard the sound of church bells ringing and with my other hand I took a look at my pocket watch: four o’ clock – the evening ring.
Apparently, I was still below Muntun, which was why I sadly climbed back down. Upon turning around though, I noticed three more hallways with the following markings:
D. R. -44 FRM
D. M. 1340 SQR
For some reason, I decided to go down the first of the three hallways and you won’t believe who crossed my path. Well, I guess you can assume, who it was. It was Publius who, again cloaked in his blanket, had apparently also gone off exploring. For him, it must’ve been quite a surprise seeing me down here. Divine intervention, one might say. We greeted each other and he told me he had come through the gully in the centre of his town. And it appeared, he had had the same idea as me and showed me his scrolls on which he had also written a few of the odd markings.
D. E. 1920 SQR
D. S. -8000 HLL
We noticed the two bottom markings to be exactly the same and promptly discussed what we should do next. Publius wanted to get to the bottom of it immediately. But then I got an idea: didn’t he say that entered the hallways through a grave in a hill? Well, we also have a hill – all be it, there’s a small chapel and clearance with a cabin for festivities at the top, not a grave or an ancient stone circle. But then I remembered how confused I was about the fact that the name of his town sounded an awful lot like Muntun Upon Stynn. Was there a connection? Or was this all just a coincidence?
Only with much persuasion did I manage to convince Publius to first go to my place to gather some provisions. Who knows what we would find on the hill or beyond the other ladders! Yet… I have to say that I did make him… a few promises. For one, he again wanted to drink from my stashed whiskey and secondly, he wanted to know what CREOLE LOVE CALL was all about. And… of course I’d comply with his demand!
Written by Thedarkflintstone