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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?



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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 …

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.

By the time they reached the main exit, the station a…