Subproject 23, Project Entryway; derivative of the Montauk Project and an absolute horror show.
My names Joshua A. Jameson and I was part of the United States Air Force from 1978 to 1998 . I spent the first third of my service as a Pararescureman and that much I’m proud of. The other 2/3rds is eating me away inside.
Now for starters I’m going to let you know that I’m going to avoid flair, filler and bullshit. I will however provide you with what little evidence I’ve retained over the years. Skip over it if you want, the truth remains the same.
I’ve noticed that the infamous Montauk Project has gotten a little more notoriety over the past few years and most of us have heard the story by now, military scientists kidnapped children and exposed them to torture all to try and unlock innate abilities, most notably the ability to conjure something up out of nothing.
The sister project of Montauk, Project Entryway, has stayed silent even over the growing years. I won’t let that stand any longer.
Us at Project Entryway followed a similar direction as Montauk with the only major difference being that we weren’t trying to make something new, we were trying to find something already here. While the geeks over at Montauk tried to conjure up vases and monsters using their minds, we were trying to explore the unexplored.
I can’t tell you how the scientists got involved, mostly just folks from Brookhaven Laboratory I’d guess, but I joined up when I heard about a long-term Joint Forces mission needing volunteers to form medical and security details. Well as a Pararescueman I had both, so when I saw the Job posting I submitted my Resume and hoped for the best.
I got the Job.
Soon enough I was being flown down to New York with three other Security guys and being ushered down to Camp Hero. At this time no one really knew about Montauk. The internet was in its baby phase and the fear from the Cold War left the information, what was available, double encrypted and ciphered. As far as we were aware Camp Hero was just another radio site.
After our landing and a bit of a drive we hit Montauk Point New York. We passed through the small friendly looking town and through some forest before reaching a small gated military outpost. The only thing of note was a large radio tower which we all expected from our research.
Our driver pulled up to a security check point and all of our gear was confiscated. I’d assume they’d search it and give it back to us, but instead they just threw it in some vault and I never saw any of it again.
To make up for our stolen gear, they gave us brand new uniforms along with whatever else we needed. Me and the rest of the security boys weren’t used to this kind of treatment, it was just too clinical for the usually sarcastic and snide Security Police members we were used too.
Our whole conversation consisted of this:
They’d ask a question, we’d answer, they’d ask if we needed anything, we’d say no and then silence. I'm not sure if the boys we interacted with knew what was going on on the inside of the facility but they sure as hell didn't try to make friends with us.
Given enough time we were geared up and ready to go. The Captain in charge of in-processing told us our debrief would be first thing that following morning and for us to try and get some rest if we could.
That’s when a few uniformed men escorted us across the field and into the radio tower.
When we entered the facility we walked right by the Communications Center staffed by only a handful of men and down a tight hallway. We found ourselves facing a large concrete door. A few guards nearby pushed it open exposing a flight of stairs leading straight downwards.
Wherever we were going had to be in the bowls of the earth. The stairs seemed to continuously descend. Our walk down took whatever courage we had; there was a certain electricity in the air that was unnatural, it didn't feel like you were being watched, it felt like you were alone.
I think we all took a deep breath of stale air when we hit the bottom of that staircase. What lay in front of us now was a hub of hallways and doorways, people in lab coats were walking around, conversing, and eyeing us.
We were guided over to our living quarters, separate from Montauks security members of course, and we were once again instructed to get some rest.
Now one thing you should know about military members, no matter what branch, we’re all just kids. We talk, we gossip, we’re inappropriate and when you leave us to ourselves we do the opposite of what you want. We were told to sleep therefore we were told to chat each other up like giddy school children. It was then that I got to know everyone.
There was Bobby Wilkerson, former speech champion from Washington State.
Then was Georgy Capparelli, All Star college baseball player from Jersey.
And of course Tanaka Yoshida, a child of Japanese soldiers during WWII and the biggest American Patriot I knew.
Why did I tell you their names? Because, they deserve to be remembered. They were good people who just wanted to do the best they could out in the world. Each had dreams, they all wanted to be something when they left the service. Bobby wanted to be a Congressman, Georgy wanted to work for his father at their lumber mill and Yoshida just wanted to retire as a United States serviceman with full honors.
That’s it, that’s all they wanted.
After our brief, yet giddy, exchange of words, we managed to get what little sleep we could. One thing I remember about sleeping down there, once the lights went out that place was darker then dark. We were God knows how many feet underground and there was absolutely zero natural lighting. Once the man made lights were out, all light were out.
After an undetermined amount of time that morning must've hit. We were all woken up by a scraggly looking and frail scientist. He introduced himself as Dr. Grant Hargrove and asked us to follow him to the experiment area.
We walked down the maze like corridors passing by all sorts of men from all different backgrounds. Some seemed disheveled while others seemed to stare off into space. Besides from a few whispers between each other this facility was dead quiet around us.
After a couple minutes of walking we reached our destination. A big metal door with black paint reading ‘Subproject 23’ in blocky letters. Dr. Hargrove turned towards us and began his speech.
“Inside these doors is where you’ll spend most of your time. We don’t have much funding so the four of you will have to do for security. You can work the details of that on your own as long as we have two armed members inside of this room at any given time while our experiment is running. You are to take the title of Squadron 08-23." At these words we glanced at each other, four members certainly didn't make a squadron. At our glances we heard Hargrove make a grunt before continuing.
"Yes I’m well aware there are only 4 of you. It’s just to provide leeway in case members need to be exchanged or replaced in a timely manner. If you have any questions you may only ask them to me or one of the other scientists involved in Subproject 23. You wont speak a word about what we’re doing to anyone including the other workers down here. Understood?”
His tone was matter of fact and rehearsed. Who knows how many times he’s told this briefing and who knows what happened to the others that were working down there before us. I had always hoped we were the first but something tells me we weren't.
We choked down our questions and in unison answered “Understood.”
He turned his back to us and typed in some numbers into a small keypad next to the door. We heard several clicks as the locks disengaged. Hargrove opened up the door for us and we stepped inside.
The room was a massive concrete rectangle.
The ceilings had to have been as tall as a small auditorium. The only structures inside this facility were right next to us, a set of steps leading up to an observation post.
A door similar to the one we entered from stood strong at the top of the step. The steps themselves seemed to be nothing more than a glorified rolling step ladder. There was indents in the concrete floor allowing the stairs to be pushed away from the observation door.
‘Strange’ I remember thinking to myself. We're dozens of feet underground in a highly fortified facility. What good could these extra safety measures be in place for?
I heard Dr. Hargrove cough to himself to gather our attention.
“Each of these doors are installed with 7 magnetic locks, 4 divided on the top and bottom and three on the side. They can withstand about 1,500 lbs of force each and can only be disabled with the code of the day. The codes will change daily so make sure you check the logs in the observation room up those stairs.” He lifted his frail looking arms towards the observation deck.
“Sir, what will be our daily duties?” I heard Bobby’s soft voice ask.The Doctor tried to give a warm smile towards Bobby but it seemed pained and forced.
“Hopefully all you’ll have to do is sit down in front of some machinery and let us scientists do our work. If something should happen to us you may have to provide security or search and rescue operations.”
We all looked at each other than back to the nearly empty warehouse. The only thing standing out in the barren room was some metallic pillars and beams aligned at the opposite side of the room from the observation deck. Wires ran from the pillars straight into the concrete of the nearby walls.
“Uh, search and rescue? As in here? In this room?" Georgy’s loud Italian voice echoed in the concrete shell we found ourselves in. Dr. Hargrove’s gaze turned behind us, his eyes defocusing and forming into thought.
“In a way.” He muttered quietly more to himself then to us. Before he could clarify, the door to the observation room clicked open, giving a loud moan as the metal fought against the arms of whoever was pushing.
“Jesus, I get these door but really.” A voice rattled off from behind the door as it opened. Eventually revealing a man of good stature. He looked like one of us, a serviceman, rather than a scientist though his lab coat expressed something different.
“Hey everyone, sorry for interrupting, my names Dr. Carter and I’m the exploratory scientist of this Project." He gave a charming smile before nodding towards Hargrove.
"I overheard Dr. Hargrove mentioning saving one of us, that will most likely mean me. In case something happens I just want to say I’m appreciative of you guys. I know you’re in the dark right now but we’re going to be doing some exciting things down here.” Dr. Carter flashed another smile, exposing his pearly white teeth. Dr. Carter was clearly more of a people person then Dr. Hargrove.
Just behind him stood half a dozen other scientists writing things on clipboards, pulling levers and activating switches. It was such a large room yet the only space that seemed to be in use was the observation room.
I could feel my hair stand up as a feeling of apprehension came over me. Something was off here. I was just a normal kid for the time we were in, I never much watched science fiction movies or shows, I never believed in the boogeyman and believed I believed wireless phones were the work of the Devil.
What I was seeing made me double think all of that.
Well except maybe the Devil part.
“So, Dr. Hargrove, If you wouldn’t mind stepping up here and taking control, I’m going to introduce these guys to Project Entryway.” Dr. Carter eagerly headed down the metal stairs skipping a few steps here and there.
“Oh you guy’s are going to love this.” He waved his arms at us beckoning for us to follow. Dr. Carter took us nearly all the way to the other side of the facility before stopping and turning around. I saw his eyes meet with Hargroves in the operations center. Carter lifted his hand and gave a thumbs up to Hargrove.
“You guys might want to close your eyes and open them when I tell you too. Most peoples faint after seeing this their first time. Brains can’t process it much but exposure helps.” I saw Georgy cover his eyes with his hands and turn around heeding the Doctors advice.
“Oh fuck this,” Georgy muttered under his breath while shaking his head.
Bobby, Yoshi and myself all decided to keep our eyes on the empty concrete wall in front of us. Within just a few moments we heard the whirling mechanical sounds of machinery coming to life from the metallic pillars jutting out of the floor.
Before we knew it something appeared in front of us.
Or rather stopped appearing.
The back wall completely disappeared into a thick and syrupy black shadow. It seemed to give out a pulse that made our bodies react in the worst way. It felt like whatever this thing, this shadow, was had the power to radiate the symptoms of vertigo. Each pulse sent a wave through our brains that told us to look away.
I saw Yoshi and Bobby both fall to their knees besides me. Bobby had buried his head into his lap and covered up his ears trying to stop the pulsing from getting into his mind. Based on how he was acting, I don't think it helped.
“This wall is now a door Gentleman. A Gateway to another plane of existence. If you haven’t already viewed it, then please look.” Georgy uncovered his face and turned around.
Immediately his face turned a pale and sickly color.
“We’ve ran test after test to get this right. We brought you in because we’re finally ready to send a person through. That’d be me.” Dr. Carter stood in front of us with a wide grin on his childish face. His back was towards the pulsating black void behind him.
I couldn't help it anymore, I threw up.
We all exited our meeting that day without a word between us. We received our Mission Statements and were told the testing will begin next afternoon after a morning of calibrations. We had off until then.
It wasn’t until we entered the Chow Hall that one of us spoke up.
“What the fuck did we sign up for?” Georgy mumbled angrily to his food.
“I don’t know Man, but just stay positive. Maybe it’s not as strange as we think it is.” Bobby replied, trying to reassure our little group.
“Not as strange? A fucking wall disappeared, fucking gone. And what took it’s place? A Goddamned-“ Yoshi cut him off as his voice was starting to rise in anger.
“Remember what they said, no talking about it unless we’re in that room.” Georgy listened to Yoshi and quieted himself down, shaking his head in disbelief. I had nothing to add to the topic. I still felt sick and my head wouldn’t stop pounding. I dreaded the morning.
Sadly, as much as you dread something it doesn’t stop it from coming. We were woken up a little later than usual as the science crew did their calculating. It didn’t help much, I think we were all still shaken up about what we saw the day prior. In light of that we all agreed that each of us would sit in to see what was going to happen that morning.
We grabbed our weapons from the armory and headed to the Project room. Once inside we saw nearly three times the previous staff walking back and forth. They must have had the whole projects science division prepared and prepped for what was about to happen.
We took some seats near the observation rooms staircase and watched the men work from afar. Amidst all the Lab coats running back and forth we saw a man who looked like he came straight from the moon.
He had heavily padded and sealed off clothing with a wide visor, there’s no other way to describe him, he looked like an astronaut.
The rest of the crew did function tests on his gear, checking the pressure levels and making sure he could see properly through the visor. A few Lab techs dragged out a large piece of machinery with a large bundle of wires and tubes attached. They hooked up a large tube to the man using a fist sized opening at the small of his back.
At this point I could safely assume that the individual inside the suit was Dr. Carter. I didn't envy him for what he was about to do. I did however notice the 4 other suits similar to his stacked up on some crates near the far side of the wall. I knew those would be ours if something happened to the Doctor.
All the prep work took upwards of an hour, they were trying to make everything as suitable as possible for what they were about to do.
Soon enough the Scientists backed away from Dr. Carter and joined us on the opposite side of the room. Their expressions ranged from giddy to frightened. I don’t know what tests they ran before this but no one seemed to know what to expect.
I heard an exchange between the scientists while we were waiting for the next step,
“It’s a 10 minute trial right? No exploration today, just making sure the device works?” I saw the other gentleman nod his head.
The room fell silent as Dr. Carter turned around and faced the operations room. He gave the thumbs up signal and turned to face the far wall.
Everyone watched intensely as the machines whirled to life casting away the matter that made up the wall and exposing the void underneath. Over the intercoms in the room we heard Dr. Carters voice.
“Testing, testing, can you hear me?”
“That’s affirm Dr. Carter, we are good to go with the test run.” Dr. Hargroves emotionless voice rang out over the loudspeakers.
He walked towards the void until his face was inches from it.
“Should- Should I say something important or memorable?” Carters voice jokingly said over the speakers. You could hear the fear he was trying to so hard to cover up.
“It’ll be okay Carter, we have security standing by.” Hargrove’s voice responded. I felt my body tense up realizing that he was referring to us.
“Well how about our mission motto then? Damnant Quod Non Intellegunt. Hopefully that sayings true and we have nothing to fear.” He gave a slightly chuckle to himself before quickly stepping into the void.
The instant he disappeared from our view the loud speakers exploded with sound. High pitched screeching poured over us sending some Lab technicians to the ground covering their ears.
My team and I stood up in reflex aiming our rifles down to the portal.
Just then the sound abruptly stopped and a figure emerged from the inky blackness.
The thing was big with a single large eye reflecting the room like a predators in the night. I could feel the tip of my finger tighten around the trigger before I realized what it was.
It was Dr. Carter.
Less then one second after stepping through the portal he emerged back.
“Hold, hold, hold, one friendly stepping out” I called out to my team, each lowered their rifles at my words.
“Oh thank God, I thought something happened to all of you.” Carter called out over the intercoms, “I talked for 10 minutes straight and got no response.”
The technicians all ran to help the Doctor take off his suit and take vitals. There was an odd red powder over his uniform. They tossed each article of gear he had into hefty plastic bags and tossed them aside. His brow was drenched in sweat and he was breathing heavily.
“Whew, we need lighter suits.” He said while gasping for air.
I looked up to the Observation deck and saw Dr. Hargrove and his team quickly going over notes and handling some machinery. Soon after Hargrove reached for his microphone.
“Carter, all your transmissions came back within a second, all 10 minutes of it. We’re you really on the other side for the full time?”
Dr. Carter reached for a microphone off one of the techs and spoke “Sure as hell was, it’s, it’s different over there. I counted my time and came back when I hit ten minutes in. I guess we didn’t factor in possible time discrepancies. It’s going to make things harder for communications.”
Hargrove and his team upstairs talked for a few minutes before returning to the microphone.
“Communications are going to have to be one way then, we’ll be able to slow down your voice but you can’t speed ours up before it gets to you. Next test we’ll try the one way communications. But give us a report on what you saw.”
Carter arched his back, trying to crack his fatigued bones while Doctors took his blood.
“We definitely found a new place, I didn’t explore very far but I did note that I saw what looked like a city skyline not too far ahead. Maybe an hours walk or two. The gear had the same weight as well so no distribution of gravity.” As Carter was recalling what he experienced, Dr. Hargrove rapidly took notes.
“Also I heard, I don’t know how else to phrase it, moans? Off near the Cityscape. Hundreds of beings maybe? I couldn’t tell if they were in pain or not, but it definitely was some sort of moaning or screaming.” He took a pause and added “I can’t be sure but I think I might have also seen some things walking around.”
“Explain.” Dr. Hargrove called out over the intercom.
“Well, they were far at first, human shaped, maybe a little taller than a person? They seemed to see me but I couldn’t make out any features on them. They were far away across the sands and all I could see was blackness. They looked like they were made of the same material as the gateway." Carter stopped to catch his breath before returning to his story.
"They were getting closer the longer I was there, had to have been a few at the start but by the time I came back through it was closer to a dozen and a half. They didn’t seem to walk, just kind of, I don’t know, got closer, glided maybe.”
“Did you feel threatened by them?”
“No, at first it seemed like they were just observing. I’m not sure if they wanted to make contact with me or what but they didn’t feel right. They aren’t like you or me, they just are." His voice faltered for a split second.
"Like I said I couldn’t see them that well so maybe I’m over thinking it but they seemed like standing shadows that had some sort of mass to them.” Carters voice finally trailed off, even from our distance I could see he was shivering.
“Understood, debrief with me in private. We’re shutting the gate down for today, everyone’s dismissed.”
My team headed back to our room. We we’re all a little uneasy by what the Doctor described. Given enough time our unease became the norm.
The next few tests were more trial runs. Much of the same happened, dark figures in the distance, moans from the city and audio issues.
Eventually they worked that last part out though. They slowed down the recordings in real time so we can hear everything that Dr. Carter says, though it’s odd to say the least to watch him step back through the gate with his voice still echoing over the loudspeakers like he was still out there.
With the audio fixed, phase two started.