Their vessel is known as the Gallatin. The rigors of their mission, and an unexpected confrontational encounter with a vessel of identical design, had left it with few instruments useful for navigation. The attacks upon them had demonstrated that the program’s original goals had been abandoned. The team’s survival instructor had successfully trained three of the crewmembers, and they helped save the lives of all who remained. The crew’s continued survival was, nonetheless, still in jeopardy.
The new ranking officer had suggested the crew split up into two groups. Each group would return to facilities associated with their launch. One group would head west, and one east.
Utilizing the shuttle from the Gallatin, half of the remaining crew returned to what they believed to be the site of Edwards Air Force Base; their point of departure. It no longer existed. They turned east to reunite with the other crew, but as they passed over the central plains of the United States, they encountered a herd of buffalo they estimated to be in excess of two hundred thousand. The survival officer was pleased by the sight of an inexhaustible source of protein, but he also became suspicious that time had not been adequate for the return of herds that large. He demanded they reverse course to a location that could help confirm the year.
They visited a geological formation that might help them tell time. The dates of major volcanic eruptions were well known, and a major eruption had occurred in the late twentieth century. The sight of the volcano stunned the crewmembers.
The other crew thought they had found the site of Cape Canaveral, but it, nor any modern facilities existed. Struggling for some kind of answer, the crew of the Gallatin were first to arrive at a location they were certain to be Washington D.C. All that existed were expansive wetlands.
Crewmembers had agreed upon Washington D.C. as the site to reunite. Before the other crew could arrive, another disturbing fact would become clear. The twentieth century Solutrean hypothesis suggested that European migration to the Americas occurred long before Columbus. The hypothesis would prove to be correct. The crew had been looking for modern structures, and had missed the more primitive settlements. They had inadvertently set down within less than a kilometer from a Celtic encampment.
The skills of the survival officer were needed, but he was with the other crew, and over two thousand kilometers away.