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Chapter XXX

The form of the Delta Omega base came before its function. The shape, the massive disk lying on the flat uninterrupted plane, appealed immensely to its architect Igori Splendov. How had this come to be? Igori was unable to answer. He saw limitless possibilities in the disk, the power of the curving walls.

There were the several appealing and beautiful mathematical concepts embodied in its form. Why its very circumference contained his favorite number, pi. In contrast to the United States with its polygonal military hive, the USSR would have the more human, the more enlightened, wheel. There was something rational, welcoming, and universal about this shape. He would explain this to anyone who’d listen. He saw a modular living space to open up the wastes of Siberia. He saw smaller disks submerged beneath the arctic ice, silently monitoring enemy submarines. Disks could be brought to the moon, transported to the Mare Traquillitatis one wedge at a time. No matter how cold the environment, how inhospitable, or dangerous, the disk would support the pioneer spirit of Lenin’s revolution.

Igor’s wheel was Soviet Communism; while its particulars might vary place to place, its universality was obvious, its essential structure destined for ubiquity.

When the Committee for the Planning of Large Scale Industrial Activities made it clear to him that the permafrost of Siberia would never support a structure of such stupendous mass, he remained undaunted. A visit to a Soviet submarine base late in 1959 convinced him of the power and importance of the atomic engine. A talk with a few bold young submariners convinced him the unlimited heat from such a reactor could open up the frostier wastes of the world. At last he had the final key for his citadel of communism.

Igori drew up new plans. He sought advice and support and marshaled them in front of no less than 14 executive planning committees for agencies as diverse as the Ancillary 50 Year Planning Adjunct and the KGB. Ultimately he would discover his plan gained the most favor from organizations with the least to lose should the project fail. There were apparently revolutionaries even among the revolutionary class.

One group, the Foreign Intervention Service asked him if the design could be tried in a remote corner of the southern continent. Igori insisted it could.

Then the most dispiriting phase of his entire life; the dream was being realized, but he grew more and more remote from it. The same powers with the resources and determination to make his socialist wheel reality, were jealous of their secrecy. True revolutionary initiatives were out of favor in Khrushchev’s Soviet Union. The wheel spun away from him.

He only lived to see his creation once. When true loyalists of the revolution once more took the reins of the Politburo, the FIS rewarded their old architect with a trip to Antarctica. His design had been modified considerably; even only half-finished, Igori could see that quickly. But his shape was there, the massive curving disk. His heart surged inside his chest, a great force lifting him off his feet, transported by the sublime force of his own vision. The cold no longer troubled him; the grasping hands of bureaucrats and apparatchiks slipped away. The black wall curved above and he rose to meet it.

They buried him near to the Delta Omega’s airfield. Periodically, with the shifting of ice, his coffin would nose free of the glacier and breach once more into view. Inevitably, before the creaky gears of the Delta Omega’s physical plant could be rallied, Igori’s crypt would plunge once more below the ice.

Workers didn’t begrudge his occasional visit. After all, an architect was entitled, from time to time, to check on his life’s work.


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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.

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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 …

Chapter XLVIII

Spaceman found it very easy to leave the station. His coterie of friends kept growing with each attempt at intervention until a kind of critical mass arrived. Whether or not he was a prisoner, or a Section Starfire agent, or a notorious addict became immaterial. Spaceman lead, and those looking to follow did so.

Heading up from the bowels of the engineering deck, they passed by the cryptozoological section. It occurred to Spaceman that his escape would be that much easier if the personnel in the station had something distracting them. A command to Mr. Doubtful cut off the emergency power to the pens, cages, and corrals keeping the cryptids at bay.

He figured the result would be a few sasquatch and sea serpents making a break for it. He hoped there were enough penguins in Antarctica to feed a new population of Big Feet. Big Foots? Spaceman chuckled to himself, bummed a cigarette from another engineer and directed his followers upwards.

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