Skip to main content

Chapter XXXII

Spaceman followed as Necropolis stalked over to Simplex.

“What is the meaning of bringing that women here?” he asked. Simplex followed Necropolis’ gesture and shrugged.

“She was a part of the plan. It seemed reasonable to have her on hand as we approach its fruition.”

“And you were aware of her involvement in the American Intelligence service?”

“Of course,” Simplex seemed genuinely baffled by Necropolis’ questions. “That’s the point of a double-agent, don’t you think?”

“Exactly,” Necropolis said, turning to Suliman. His eyes had taken on a different, more appraising cast. “Now that we have that obvious point established, let’s revisit your own identity.”

“Rasheed Suliman,” Spaceman said. “Importer/exporter of-“

“That’s not who you are,” Necropolis shook his head as though embarrassed for Spaceman. “If you were, in fact, Rasheed Suliman, you would currently be lying in a shallow grave outside of Waco, Texas.”

“Ah,” Spaceman said, suddenly feeling very uncomfortable. The two AC men looked at Spaceman as though he were a bug who had wandered out in front of them. “I see.”

“You see?” Hugo smirked. “Are you sure? Do you see that your entire scheme was comprised from the start? Do you see that your companions are even now being inducted into our ranks?” He patted the venom harnesses of nearby AC commando. “Do you see, Spaceman, that you have been brought here for a purpose?”

“It was I who summoned you out of retirement,” Necropolis said softly. “It was I who arranged the attack on Vienna. If you been less dissolute and craven, Simplex would have captured you there and saved us the necessity for the rest of this charade.”

“Then why did you bring me here?” Spaceman asked.

“Well, isn’t it obvious?” Hugo Simplex gestured at the station walls behind them. “We need you. We need you intact.”

Spaceman forced himself to smile. “I have underestimated your resources.”

“And our commitment, perhaps.” Simplex said. Necropolis looked annoyed and also changed in some way. “Do not be hurt, Spaceman. The Master thought it best you not know every particular of this mission.”

Necropolis leaned over to Simplex and whispered something in his ear. Simplex nodded. Spaceman saw what had changed about the Greek’s appearance; he was older. White strands appeared in his formerly black hair, deep lines wrinkled the corners of his eyes and mouth. Necropolis left the room with a half dozen commandoes, only a few behind with Simplex and Spaceman.

“Forgive us, Spaceman,” Simplex said. “The hour is late and you have had a long journey to get here. I think it’s time you were shown your quarters.”

“And my luggage?”

Simplex’s wide smile exposed a great many small teeth. “Oh, I’m sure it will arrive shortly. You don’t have anything in them too important, do you?”

Spaceman gritted his teeth, not sure what infuriated him more. His cover was blown. His captors’ casual treatment implied contempt for his chances to escape. And now, after a long flight, the old shakes and nausea returned.

Following the AC commandoes leading him deeper inside Delta Omega, Spaceman sighed heavily. The withdrawal was definitely the worst.

Did he even know any hustlers left in Antarctica?



Link to Next Chapter



Link to First Chapter


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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 II

Agent Spaceman did not have much difficulty leaving the embassy. He had features and a demeanor easy to forget. Only his habits left their unsavory, distinctive marks.

Apparently there had been some kind of intrusion into the embassy. Every hall, staircase and exit was blocked by yellow-suited mercenaries of the AC’s. There was a time in the dim, distant past where this situation would have demanded his attention, his action. Thankfully, he had moved past such concerns.

Why had he even bothered coming out of his ‘retirement’ in Morocco? His inactive status stipend had been more than generous for his limited needs and the climate had been more favorable to his health. Really, if hadn’t been for that fever dream he would have stayed there the rest of his life. Having secured the object of his curiosity, he intended to return as soon as possible.

Which meant he needed money.

Finally finding a room with a broken lock on its window, Spaceman made his exit. A…

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 …