Chapter 2. University Lab
“Professor, all the remote cameras we put out have taken precisely zero night time images.” Gil sighed as he clicked through the computer files. “Day time images are the same way. Nothing is triggering the equipment.”
“Are you connected?” Professor Ng asked. “Perhaps your using IP4 instead of IP6 addressing?”
“Yes, Professor, I sent an acknowledge signal, I can get a battery check, I can turn it on and scan the area, but there is nothing to pick up.”
“Check the other camera stations.” The long salt-and-pepper hair swayed with his nod. “See there are no images in any of the cameras.”
The graduate student clicked through the different files, swearing when he could not remember the different passwords and looking them up.
“Professor Ng? There are images in camera’s in region 3-A and 3-C and three-D. 3-B has no images, Regions 1 and 2, all regions are without images. It is like a wildlife desert, nothing for the camera’s to capture. There has been nothing for a few days, at least, I’m checking dates now.”
“Call Andre, find where he’s at. Have him get in touch with the rest of the team and prepare for a drone for a flyover. After last field trip, this will be the thing I will authorize, unless I can get the university to pay for bodyguards, pair of armed hunting guides and a National Guard helicopter.”
Gil chuckled as he dialed the team captain of the month and started the files for video they could analyzed later.
Reedah Wilson walked in while Gil spoke to Andre on the phone, Gil informed Andre that she arrived and broke the connection.
Explaining the situation to Reedah, she pulled at her ear for a moment. A tell she had when she was thinking something over.
“I have a friend that is a Ranger in the area. I’ll call him and see if there are any strange things they have noticed in the areas we are looking at.”
“Ooh! Reedah. An old flame?” Andre entered the room, putting away his mobile phone.
“I don’t do men, I’ve told you.” She punched Andre in the shoulder.
“Well, exclusively.” She added.
Heads together, they prepared three remote-controlled vehicles to lift off from the back of the roof of the research truck, specially fitted with a rack to carry the extended range quad-copter powered drones. Cameras fitted to the undersides, tops and tested. Specially fitted with UV and IR cameras, they planned to see as many things they could.
“How late are we going to stay out?”
“Only about an hour, we will bring them back about dusk and get back here.” Andre looked at them, “I do not want to stay out there after dark. Something has chased the animals out of the valley, I don’t want to find out what it is the hard way.”
“What do you think it is?” Gil asked, walking up with print-outs of authorization signatures for the professor.
“I don’t know, could be volcanic off-gassing or something. I saw something like that in Yellowstone when I was a kid, they said it was a gas eruption and was driving the wildlife out of the area.” Andre said.
“There is no volcanic activity this far north.” Reedah told him. “You are stretching that theory a lot.”
“Well, let’s overfly the area with these two toys and see what we can see and record it all.
Slipping fingernail-sized chips into the removable media slot and snapped the cap over the chips, locking them into place.
“These are the largest capacity on the market and I broke the seal on them for our use.” Gil said. “We have plenty of recording space.”
“Why are we using memory stick tech when we can network-send the information back to the lab?” Reedah asked.
“Signals get messed up, corrupted. This is just a cover to prevent any loss.”
“Good idea.” Professor Ng said as he walked in again. “Gil, do you have the request paper..Oh good. Thank you.” The Professor said, taking them from the graduate student. “We head out in ten-minutes. We are not leaving the black top, and we are keeping the engines running. If, in the unlikely event there is a gas in the valley, I do not want to wait around, we will launch and then head up to the nearest paved high-point.”
“Yes Professor.” The students said.
The team went to work. They were Idaho’s Natural University of Technical Studies.