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Chapter III

Agent Shield had never experienced a moment without the knowledge that he was special. Never doubted for one second that he was destined for something great. Never doubted that he was meant to change the world.

            Until now.

            The Hungarian Demtak Mine blinked silently on the table, marking the passage from his short pointless life to the longer eternity of his defeat.

            Agent Shield slowly took his left hand in his right and put pressure on his ring finger. The specially crafted brace snapped the bone along its old break and Agent Shield gritted his teeth. At least he could depend on some things.

            The force bubble was extremely subtle in appearance. The human eye did not want to see it, worked hard at denying it, only picking up its faint blue outline in transit. But it existence was irrefutable. If the bomb exploded now, Shield was confident he could contain the blast. The problem was the mine was remotely controlled. There was no way to determine when the bomb would explode, so he was at the mercy of the man controlling the detonator. For the time being he was safe but for various reasons he couldn’t just wait around. Lugging around the force bubble for the rest of the night was also a non-starter. Whatever was going on, he would need his mobility and at least two hands to deal with those responsible.

            He did not have the power to manipulate anything inside the force bubble, which was unfortunate. It would be nice to somehow reach inside the casing of the Demtak Mine and disable it. He could adjust the size of the bubble which gave him an idea. Not an idea he could exercise here, but a solid and workable plan. He needed space first, open air.

            The front entrances would be guarded, but the roof might work.

            He grabbed either side of his force bubble with the specially designed magnetic tips of his gloves and left the room with it. The noise from above had subsided, but not entirely vanished. He kept to the stairwells, especially after spotting his first AC operative. Clad entirely in yellow, each foot soldier wore a gas mask on their face and a pair of antennae mounted on either side of their heads. Something was off though. Generally an AC action squad would be composed of one or two henchman and a human controller. As far as anyone knew, the henchmen were like the Demtak mines, controlled remotely by radio. But these henchmen were actively searching each room with a calm methodical grace. He saw no sign of radio control. Another observation for his report.

            Shield reached the roof and tossed the bubble enclosed mine far into the air. Which, with frictionless, inertia-less objects, proved to be quite some distance. Watching it arc far into the night sky, he sought the knot of pain and trauma feeding the bubble’s existence. He breathed deep, visualizing the knot slowly slip, unraveling. Far above came a purple flash and satisfying pop to mark the mine’s destruction.

            Rubbing his temples to ward off a burgeoning migraine, he made his way back downstairs. Tonight’s escapade had been a set-up from the word go. He wanted to know who wanted him dead.

Link to Next Chapter

Link to First Chapter


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Chapter I

When the light came back on, the room was empty save for a corpse and two baffled agents of Section Starfire, the premier Anarchist Spy Agency employed by the United States government.

Two trained pairs of eyes quickly scanned the room and found it devoid of anything worth mentioning besides an old battle-scarred table along one wall and a book shelf against the other and, of course, the body of the man Spaceman had just shot. For his part, Marcus Delacroix, Agent Shield, stood across the room from him, blinking in the sudden light, unable to focus. On the table by his right hand was a squat metal object about the same color and shape as a wheel of cheddar cheese. Instantly recognizing this object, Spaceman allowed himself a rare moment of panic.

Pushing past Marcus, Space dashed to the door and tried the handle. Inevitably, it was locked.

“Do you know what this is?” said Marcus, slowly regaining his faculties.

“Yes,” said Spaceman as he darted to the b…

Chapter L

It was immediately apparent they were traveling downwards, not up. Marcus wondered aloud what sort of transportation they were going to find at the bottom of the station.

“A submarine,” Simplex answered matter-of-factually.

“A submarine encased in ice?”

“No,” Hugo said. “Open water.”

“This whole station floats?”

“Of course! That is what it is designed to do. No section of ice, however deep, could be guaranteed to support a structure this massive. What would happen if a freak warming spell intruded into the deep Antarctic? The builders of this place designed it to melt a hole through the ice into the cavern and float there like a rubber duck in a bathtub. This underside is a convenient place to store submarines, no?”

“Very convenient,” D said sunnily.

“Ah, we are coming to the first challenge of our escape from the Delta Omega.”

Ahead of them, the corridor was blocked off by a set of heavy steel doors. Each door had a small round window mounted about eye level. Steam and condensation blocked …

Interlude: Antarctica and Beyond

She saw all and knew more.

The place of knowledge looked exactly like the waking world in its details, its strangeness revealed only by implication. Looking down at her own body she knew she was dead. And yet the possibilities of her life were not entirely spent. She knew this too. Part of her wanted to simply slip back into her body and let the Charm of Utanghk do its work but she wasn’t ready to do that.

D pulled away from her body and the sub. In the ghostly second sight of the place of knowledge she perceived the submarine had already moved some distance from the dying Delta Omega Base. She watched the sub pass beneath the dark vaults of ice and turned her attention to colossal structure shuddering above.
Standing in front of it in the waking world, the station was simply a structure, impressive but also sterile. From within the place of knowledge she gained an appreciation for the effort that had gone into its creation. To see it brought low was an occasion not for celebration but …