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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 appeared well on its way to destruction. The deck kept rumbling under their feet, all of the coolant pipes and power ducts venting around them. A loyal platoon of henchmen guarded the gate and didn’t seem inclined to listen to Spaceman’s patter.

With regret he suggested to his friends to remove the obstacle.

On the other side of the gate the airfield beckoned. The airplane that had taken Spaceman to the Delta Omega base still stood gleaming in the sun. For the moment the runway seemed to be holding together despite the waves of tremors coming from the dying Delta Omega. Spaceman looked back once they reached the plane, and observed that the entire station had begun to list to one side. Its end neared.

The pilots insisted that they had to wait for their passenger to arrive, a frustrating situation for Spaceman. The airfield began to deteriorate, some of the buildings closer to the station slumping into the widening pool of meltwater around Delta Omega. He was about to replace the pilots when he saw a vehicle leaving one of the emergency gates, heading directly to the plane. The jeep could contain Hugo, Melissa, or the Master himself and Spaceman realized he’d like a chance to speak with any of them or all of them. He instructed his friends to arm themselves and then lower the embarkation stairs to the tarmac.

A long flight awaited him. It would be nice to have some good conversation to look forward to.



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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 …