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Chapter LIII

The Supreme Archon arrived the next morning and entered the Master’s chamber with an obsequious bow.

“We have located the other vessel, my lord,” the Archon said in a soft voice. The Master’s trust for him had not wavered despite the many years since their last conversation. If only the Archon had possessed the traits he needed for a vessel. It would have made many things simpler.

But alas, The Master had to make do with this man’s unwavering support.

“Where?” The Master said. The night’s decrepitude was lingering on his current body, the youth of Nicholaus slow to return to his body.

“Australia. Adelaide.”

“Do we have resources in place?”

“Soon.”

The Master succumbed to gravity and let his still frail body fall back onto the bed. To kill or capture. He did not trust Spaceman but Hugo’s incompetence couldn’t be overlooked. Perhaps a struggle was required. Bring Simplex to the church unbeknownst to Spaceman and let them duel for the privilege of being a vessel. He could think of no better solution. He had waited too long and his options had dwindled.

He turned his eyes to the Archon and found his brief words had already met with comprehension.

“It will be done,” the Archon said. Needing no further instruction. Unwavering support. Absolute faith. These words rattled through The Master’s mind, threated to bring tears to his eyes. Far below, he heard Spaceman assist the preparation for the transference.

Did he need Spaceman’s charisma when his own deeds inspired such loyalty? What he needed was strength of character. That was what he had found in Hugo Simplex, the proper mixture of determination and pliability.

As the door shut behind the Archon, The Master once more sank back into his bed. Patience he told himself. There was still time. There was still a slender space for hope.

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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…