October 24, 2009, you had transferred from McChord Air Force Base to a clandestine rural test base in the Willapa Hills. You have been waiting for days while the tech team was working on propulsion calibrations. Despite being asked time and again to get in and out of the cockpit, you’ve actually had nothing to do but study the control manual. The manual was written in such a flabbergastingly technical prose that you still don’t understand anything except directionals, propulsion, and anti-propulsion, good enough.
Finally, Halloween morning, you got clearance to run your first flight test. On your control board, which lacks any controls or gauges except a joystick with a dial, and a single dim light that changes color like a mood ring, not even an artificial horizon or elevation. Taped over the mood light you found a Weekly World News article of the alien visiting Barack Obama at the White House. Probably your mechanics trying to encourage you. Also a note from your commanding officer, “Get a helmet! That floppy leather thing is not regulation!”.
The night was windy with good moonlight as you climbed in. Halloween was ideal because any sightings of your vehicle would be written off as a prank. This was a range test, so you weren’t doing any fancy flying. To minimize public disturbance you kept over rural forest lands.
The craft was amazing, it turned so fast you nearly fainted at the G-force in your first subtle maneuvers. Adapting to the feel of the craft you soon were cruising low over the trees. Using your personal South-compass and a forest roads map to navigate, you kept away from populated areas. Checking your position as you neared Willapa Bay, you were dismayed to see your compass spinning in wild circles. Concerned, you were trying to confirm your position by matching the bay coastline to what you could see, when a sudden vortex erupted over the small island you were passing.
In an instant you were enveloped in a fierce outburst of cloud, lightning, and wind. You struggled to keep yourself oriented, but soon could not tell up from down. For a moment you felt the pressure drop so low you thought you might get bends. Then moments later your ears were popping as air flooded back in. Then suddenly, calm…
You are cruising low over mountains. The sun is rising over a sparse pine forest. Taking a breath you wonder what is happening. Where are you? Have you been abducted? What year is it? Looking down to get your bearings, you don’t notice the massive wall of rock, incongruously placed in the sky before you.
When you wake up, you will meet the other characters.