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Thursday, April 18th 2019, 2:17pm

On the footsteps of the others

An excerpt from the voyage of the research vessel Xue Long (Comments welcomed by PM)


Thursday, April 18th 2019, 2:28pm

Impenetrable fog - prolog

Friday 12. November - onboard of the Dinghy of the chinese research vessel Xue Long

The men stood uncertainly at the bow, trying to see something, while the Xue Long's II. officer, Liu Guoliang, steered the boat through the fog with slow 4 knots. The air smelled strongly of sulfur and a dark veil lay on all surfaces - so it was not a natural fog but rather volcanic origin.

Slowly, the sun broke through the thinning fog and cleared the view to several islands that formed a lagoon. Guoliang picked up his binoculars and took a panoramic view - he saw some islands or islets that were slightly aparted. The largest one on the western and a smaller one on the eastern side, and he recognized a small channel leading into the lagoon. Also he clearly see sharp cliffs rising from the sea, and the reefs of the islands consisted of reddish-gray rock and were rugged and sometimes very steep.

"Yeah, this could be the outside of a huge crater, if we take a look at the arrangement of the individual islands, but of course, it could only be found out in an deeper investigation. The steep slopes are the result of erosion caused by rain, but the ocean also eats the rocks. And there we have the cause of the fog, the volcano still seems to be active." said a scientist and pointed to a huge column of smoke rising to the sky from one of the islands.

"This must be the archipelago of which Professor Farnsworth and Professor Dietrich had written." another scientist said excitedly.

"If this is the mentioned archipelago, we'll find it out", said Guoliang, then he picked up the radio and sent a message to the Xue Long, which was still outside the fog. A short time later the outline of the Xue Long peeled out of the fog and the chinese research vessel followed them slowly though the channel to the inner of the lagoon. The anchor of the research vessel fell rattling in the water and Guoliang steered the dinghy alongside the ship.


Tuesday, April 23rd 2019, 10:22am

On the footsteps of the others (2) - we are not the first

The Xue Long laid calmly at anchor and swung slightly up and down in the waves of the lagoon. A little bit perplexed, the scientists and parts of the crew stood on the deck of the research vessel. Normally tropical islands were famed for their abundant vegetation and a great diversity of mammals and birds, but here was no animal to be seen and no birdsong was heard. Nor was there any indication of natives or other residents - no canoe, no hut ... nothing. If these islands were inhabited, then there must be somewhere a sign of life or at least some remnants will be found - thought captain Donghua Li.

An expedition team boarded the dinghy and drove to the lagoon beach. At first they thought it was black sand, as it sometimes be found on volcanic islands, but when they went ashore, they realized that it was volcanic ash mixed with larger boulders. A thick layer covered everything.

"Here we build our base." said the head of the scientist, Professor Haibin. While the dinghy was being unloaded, the first scientists were already getting to work, taking soil samples and inspecting the surrounding area and checked the air for existing gases, cause in a distance yellowish smoke rose. With the next trip of the dinghy, Donghua Li also came ashore and while the sailors helped the scientists set up the gauges and others helped to get a baloon ready for launch, Li asked the professor after his first assessment of the situation.

"The lagoon," he began, "is definitely a volcanic caldera. Not too long ago, the island was shooked at least with one or may be more gigantic explosions, parts of the island sank in the sea, and the remained land were covered with ash and boulders."

While the two were deepened in a conversation, suddenly a vioce sounded "Captain Li, Captain Li" and a sailor came running up to them, waving a bright orange rag in his hand.

Li took a closer look at the scraps, at first he was not sure what it was, but when he saw the strings, he realized they were the remains of a weather balloon. And he was sure when he read the 5 letters "K O M E T".

"So we are not the first ones here." he said to the professor, handing him the remains of the weather balloon.

"What do you mean ?" asked professor Haibin.

"Your colleague was right, we are here in the archipelago described by Professor Dietrich. You hold the proof in your hand. This piece is the remains of a weather balloon and here you can see that it comes from the German survey ship "Komet"." said Donghua Li while pointing on the letters.


Thursday, April 25th 2019, 3:50pm

On the footsteps of the others (3) - Explorations

When the sun rose the next morning, the Xue Long was still anchoring in the lagoon and the scientists began their investigations and research on the islands. Seismic measurements were made and weather balloons were started, other scientists took soil samples from each island to better understand the nature and the way of the eruption. Slowly, the results of the investigation gave a more detailed picture of the eruption.

By now it was certain that it was a typical Indian Ocean island before the eruption - with lush forests and grasslands. However, these were destroyed by either lava, ash or the pyroclastic flow. Also, the result suggested that there may have been some kind of freshwater sources, cause typical bones from asian water buffaloes were found. The scientists were surprised, however, that the found bones were sometimes of enormous size and could not actually belong to the assigned species.

While the scientists under the leadership of Professor Haibin continued their research and investigations of the remaining islands, the crew of Xue Long undertook a systematic survey of the still existing coastline of the archipelago. For this purpose, the ship left its current anchorage and drove around the lagoon and kept sending troops to land surveying. The results were more or less devastating. The eruption completely destroyed the once-large island and wiped out all life, and left behind an inhospitable, almost hostile landscape.

In an encrypted message, Captain Donghua Li sent the results of his survey of the archipelago to Qingdao to the Ocean University of China, on whose behalf the ship was traveling. However, he was sure that the results also found their way to the naval leadership in Beijing.


Friday, April 26th 2019, 11:30am

On the footsteps of the others (4) – relics from prehistoric time

While the crew of the Xue Long continued to map the archipelago in as much detail as possible, the scientists, under the leadership of Professor Haibin, intensively studied all islands of the archipelago. They found not only remnants of subtropical flora, which are typical for islands in the indian ocean, but also primeval bones. But these bones were in amazingly good shape, just as if the animal had been alive at the time of the volcanic eruption. The men around Professor Haibin preserved them and brought them aboard the research vessel for safekeeping and for later closer examination and identification at the Qingdao University.

„What we see here - or rather said what we found here on the islands“, he later tried to explain to Lieutenant Liu Guoliang in the ship's laboratory, „is actually impossible. For example, this animal“ he held an oversized bone in his hands and turned it in all directions „it is clearly an Arsinoitherium. This animal lived millions of years ago, but the bones are in excellent condition, just as if it had lived in our century. Our finds here are invaluable to science ! “ he closed his explanation enthusiastically.

The second officer listened with interest to the professor's statements, then he assured him that he would do everything in his power to continue the research here and left the lab. On the way to the radio room, he thought about how valuable this island could be for China if they built a base here. Unfortunately, there was no fresh water or vegetation here, but which is indispensable for the supply of a base. „Then, a supply ship has to be stationed here.“ he said softly to himself, already writing in his mind the message he would send to the Chinese Navy. He was sure of his promotion, he thought and sent the encrypted message.

It was 04:32 AM early morning, when the seismographs registered the tremors. The volcano just did not come to rest.


Thursday, May 2nd 2019, 11:29am

On the footsteps of the others (4) – Where does the path lead ?

It was shortly after eleven o'clock when Professor Haibin entered the officers' mess, a quick glance showed him that the room was well filled, although there were still a few scientists missing. At the front of the conference table, Captain Donghua Li, together with his second officer, was bent over a map and were discussing eagerly.

After a short while Li took the floor. „Gentlemen, as you certainly know better than me, after all you are scientists and I’m 'just' a simple captain“ he said with a smile „ we are here in a special situation. And I'm a bit worried, cause of last night's development, about the safety of the ship and this expedition. Therefore, I would like to ask Professor Haibin, as scientific director, to present us a summary of the previous research results.“

„As we all know by now” Professor Haibin began his summary „this lagoon is the remnant of a larger volcanic island, which was torn by one or more gigantic eruptions. Our investigations of the various islands has shown, that we have here an island, which is unique in its kind. It must have been like a time capsule from the Jurassic or Cretaceous here before the eruption. The relics we found show that the prehistoric flora and fauna were preserved to our time, but were unfortunately destroyed by the eruption. However, I would like to make further investigations, since we have scratched only the tip of the iceberg and there is certainly still a lot to discover here.“ He continued his remarks. „However, I'm worried that we are still on the summit of an active volcano, as evidenced by the recorded earthquakes. I can not say with any certainty that this vulcano will be slumbering again for years or even centuries.”

„So you mean that we are in danger here?“ Captain Li asked.

„We have to be careful“ Professor Haibin began his answer something evasively „The records show a small increase in the little earthquakes, but this is not synonymous with an imminent eruption. It would be a shame if we did not take the chance to explore the islands here.“ He tried to gain more time for the research of the archipelago.

Second Lieutenant Liu Guoliang agreed with the professor. „I also think that we should not let this opportunity unused, to take a look here into the past of the earth. I would like to help the professor with his further exploration on the islands.“ he said in the direction of Captain Li. He thought of the answer from Beijing that the archipelago could be of strategic importance in China's future plans.

„Okay.” Captain Li said thoughtfully. „You get another 72 hours for your investigation of the islands, but get used to the idea that we need to leave soon or may be immediately. On the one hand, our supplies are running out, and on the other hand, the volcano worries me.“

With these words the conference was closed. On the way out, Second Lieutenant Liu Guoliang said to his adjutant. „Make a few boundary posts with the Chinese national emblem and bring me some Chinese flags. The archipelago is a Terra Nullius, it belongs to nobody and no one claims the island. So we grab them, because as our holy emperor said ‘ Whenever any citizen of the Chinese Empire discovers a deposit of guano on any island, rock, or key, not within the lawful jurisdiction of any other Government, and not occupied by the citizens of any other Government, and takes peaceable possession thereof, and occupies the same, such island, rock, or key may, at the discretion of the Emperor, be considered as appertaining to the Chinese Empire.’ - and somewhere we will find a shit of guano, or ?”


Thursday, May 2nd 2019, 2:42pm

The archipelago is a Terra Nullius, it belongs to nobody and no one claims the island.

OOC: I do not believe that to be true. When Skull Island first came up early in Wesworld, I believe it was claimed by the Netherlands as part of the Dutch East Indies.


Thursday, May 2nd 2019, 2:56pm

The archipelago is a Terra Nullius, it belongs to nobody and no one claims the island.

OOC: I do not believe that to be true. When Skull Island first came up early in Wesworld, I believe it was claimed by the Netherlands as part of the Dutch East Indies.

Taken into account, the position of the island (noted by Bruce: 12 dgs 5 min South, 78 dgs 17 min East) - somewhere in the middle of nowhere

i would say ... it could also be claimed by Bharat or the South African Empire. So it could be claimed by all of them or no of them ;)

By the way .... keep patience and take a look how it all will end.


Thursday, May 2nd 2019, 3:00pm

The archipelago is a Terra Nullius, it belongs to nobody and no one claims the island.

OOC: I do not believe that to be true. When Skull Island first came up early in Wesworld, I believe it was claimed by the Netherlands as part of the Dutch East Indies.

Taken into account, the position of the island (noted by Bruce: 12 dgs 5 min South, 78 dgs 17 min East) - somewhere in the middle of nowhere

i would say ... it could also be claimed by Bharat or the South African Empire. So it could be claimed by all of them or no of them ;)

By the way .... keep patience and take a look how it all will end.

That's fine; I'm just noting that, to the best of my knowledge, the Dutch laid claim to Skull Island, although it is shown in a different spot on the Big Map.

I'm good to wait for the end of the story. :)


Friday, May 3rd 2019, 9:45am

Dome some digging on the historical background.

CanisD who started the whole Skull Island thing back in 1932 had the island placed west of the DEI:…37451#post37451
Kirk jokingly claimed it in the above linked thread but also mentioned he had claimed it here in a 1936 news post, but he wasn't sure if he had actually written a story to confirm that:…63714#post63714
I certainly can't seem to find reference to a Dutch expedition to Skull Island that he wrote going through the search engine.


Monday, May 6th 2019, 10:06am

On the footsteps of the others (5) – Unforseen events

The next days flew by. While the scientists made further investigations at various points of the archipelago, Liu Guoliang also undertook excursions to the islands. His excursions, however, were less of a scientific matter than of more of an imperialist nature. The sailors, with whom Guoliang sailed to the islands, fixed at the most prominent places boundary posts with the Chinese symbol of sovereignty or hoisted the Chinese flag as a sign of seizure. The fear of eruption was there constantly companion, because again and again, the ground trembled and they had to quit their work and seek protection from rolling boulders. The men managed to find shelter behind a large boulder when the earth shook violently again. „Where is Chan? " shouted Guoliang when he realized that one of his sailors was missing. „He was just behind me when suddenly everything was moving and the floor was slippery.“ a sailor answered in a shaky voice.

"All men back to the ship!" shouted Guoliang when the signal horn of the research vessel sounded loudly, the agreed signal for the immediate return to the ship. "But what about Chan?" asked another sailor. "He will come, and if he does not, it's not my problem." Guoliang answered in a cold voice.

„It's time that we left this sinister place. Is everyone back on board ?” Captain Li asked as Guoliang entered the bridge of the research ship. "Yes, sir; everyone back on board." reported Guoliang to his captain.

The research vessel drove slowly through the channel of the lagoon to the open sea. „What an inhospitable place.” thought Captain Li as he saw the lava flow pouring into the sea. „It may have been an idyllic island in the past, but now I am happy to leave this place.“ Liu Guoliang stood at the window and looked back to the island, wondering if a chinese ship ever came back to this place again. In any case, he had done everything possible to secure China's claim to this patch of land.

A few decks below, Professor Haibin stood in front of the secured bone fragments. „These pieces here are priceless“ he said to one of his colleagues and they put the big hipbone in a wooden box. „ We must persuade our government to continue the exploring of these islands. I am sure that one or the other sensation awaits us here. I will send a detailed report to my university and the Ministry of Science. Maybe the exploration of the archipelago should we not do alone, better together with other nations, after all, this is about the common past of humanity….”