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M

mark chaney

LIVING BY LIGHT


Sub light.just thought.

Spiraling down like a feather to the ground.

Reach twenty and pause.


From beyond the mounds of druid's summit, closing to the woods of normanton
down, there came sounds. Mystical musical chords that arrived overhead like
the arrows from a bow.

Scan from rise to rest.

First the beating of rhythmic drums resounded through the trees and lifted a
swathe of movement all along the horizon. In the distance a ragged army
seemed to advance.


Correct to hover.dispatch orb.

From the resonance of strings, to the whistling of flutes, musicians
marched forward upon the fields of olde sarum.

Closer.now visible.


Beneath a canopy of summer leaves, came human voices singing. A rustic
choir incanted ancient runes and filed from out of the woodland trees,
through the pastures of fresh green wheat and on to the expanse of Salisbury
plain.

Here and now, it is summer and below the sweet scent of woodruff drifted
lazily through the air. The land shone vibrant and healthy, all was at peace
with this world. Tribes were gathering to be beside the tumuli and rings, to
celebrate last year's light with the first fire of the new season. The Sun
shone hazy with the outlying clouds, yet still its powers cast speckles of
gold on to the giant stones. The mottled lichen and the matrix of the stone
shimmered with the star, a fire of dancing flames.

Pitch and descend.

It is later in the evening and all discussions have ended; it was time for
celebration, the summer solstice, the beginning of a new year.

Open.360.

Encampments were established everywhere, yet none were allowed within the
henge itself. Tents, marques, tepees, shacks and sheds were scattered about
the ground undisciplined. Burning firewood, roasting spicy meat, herb
lavender and common gorse fixed with the evening mist, an ability to taste.
A thousand happy faces some flushed ruby with excitement, other glowed
intermittently from the warm mead and honeyed wormwood. Leather smacked and
raced tassels turning in a spin. " Tonight is not to fight, for tomorrow
live another day"



Track northeast.



Rebecca sat closest to the burning flames, the fire lit up her eyes with
momentary vigour, then perched scanning and squinting, drifting back into
the past with a sparkle and a smile. You could see it in her face, Rebecca
was once indeed a damsel so fair, her beauty had cut many a man's heart.
However, that was in the olden days and the twinkle as she reminisces events
long, long ago. Rebecca was old and at an age, when referred to as being old
was deemed by all acceptable. She had reached her centennial with honor and
pride.

Everything stopped in sudden silence, as she held up her right hand to show
them her signature and scar. The crowd cheered, moving closer, as Rebecca
looked to the heavens acknowledging the waking stars with wise old eyes.




Spiral up.align for the past.






SOON
Does death now have wings?



All around was a pearl blind white, a monotone of endless and relentless
cold.

Mechanical sounds, the discernable noise of thudding helicopter blades are
heard vuumping off and away into the distance. Beneath and welcoming to the
eye, several shiny objects clear broadly into focus. Rising from the frozen
surface, a troop of frosty silver igloos stood out against the endless
white, like a jeweled platinum ring. This was the southern atmospheric
monitoring station known to the world, as SAMS. Located on Norwegian
territory near Vestfjella, its presence remains remote from any forms of
civilization and safely secured to the freezing ice of the Antarctic
southern pole. Its benefit to humanity today, wrestles against the horror of
its recent past. Vestfjella was a once a killing den and thriving whaling
station. S.A.Ms, was a scientific research laboratory at the cutting edge
of science. For the last few years, the station had been monitoring a
strange phenomenon that was taking place within the biosphere. A rogue
weather feature had evolved, a Frankenstein, combining leftover elements of
chemical warfare, airborne viruses, and dangerous chemical pollutants. This
deadly cloud circumnavigated the planet, existing under any meteorological
conditions, devastating every sign of life wherever it became, as evil as
any medieval plaque. Environmentalists campaigned for action and a last
desperate warning, like the last desperate warning, came to industrialists
as another unicorn, a mysticism that went unheeded.

The Sun, a pale disc barely skimmed above the frozen horizon. Some grains of
radiance now filtered through the atmosphere, which lit the crest of an
impending weather front and the cool embrace of battle grey and angry nimbus
clouds. Approaching with stealth from the south, the cloud seemed to spread
out like a sickly stain and as with most weather features, it portrayed a
form. Two towering horns reached around the distant horizon and were raised
into the heavens sending burning gold's into the sky with heat and haze. A
satanic face with hollow eyes grinned around the jawbone as its claw like
hands seemed to be rubbing with anticipating glee. A reddening mane bristled
high into the stratosphere and an unnatural feeling of a darkening energy
held the local atmosphere transfixed. As it draws ever closer, the scent of
acidic salts filled the air and the splattering of toxic precipitation stung
the freezing surface. Yellowing pools of hissing gas formed lakes of noxious
death. An increasingly howling gale blew up a storm, and strange demonic
voices seemed locked within its center. The demon shouted louder and louder
with hysterical laughter and mocking obscenities, it crackled and croaked
incanting Latin tales from hell. Lightning bolts, crashing thunder and a
hurricane of force project it ever forward; the tempest had arrived. For a
few moments, everything spun into a miasmic swathe and then as abruptly as
it had started, all disappeared.

Silence clung and a perfect halo appears at the zenith. At eye of the
storm, and for a few brief moments, absolutely nothing stirred.

The poisonous cloud moves northwards on, only its front carries such that is
death. After the silence came the natural back force, blizzards of snow that
eventually cover and freeze the poisonous pools. This is nature's strength a
natural force that hounds a world way, beyond the shrieking fifties and the
roaring forties. Its might hits the stations outer entrance with pace, a
hush of air inside destroys the vacuum of the faraday doors, and they slowly
open up. A few moments later and the mechanism purr's itself shut. In here,
the wind and the weather are absent, as the environment is very carefully
controlled. Another hush of air as the vacuum returns and releases the inner
door to reveal the inner sanctum and central chamber. Steel floors and wall'
s clad the inner skin, giving the entire inner structure the appearance as
one metallic mass. At waist level, stainless steel worktops continued to
complete the circumference. Science projects with chemistry and biology
devices littered the tops, every few meters swivel chairs were placed, and
all were empty. A computer accompanied each seat and displayed its imagery
holographically. Molecular structures, system schematics and mathematical
formulas rose up from flat dark mats. The bleating lights and the humming
gadgetry sparkled on and off. Their motions indicated that they still
attended some function or duty. All this technological industry a contrast,
because the station itself was deserted and void of any form of organic
life.





























"Capitalism carries within itself war, as clouds carry rain" [J.J. Jaures]


MT (micro-tech) is a global giant, an Anglo-American consortium
established secretly before the last millennium. It now existed openly, and
for a singular purpose, to insure the few elite, remain the few elite. For
this, MT successfully constructed and supplied the latest military
technological gadgetry.

The Personal Information Processor, commonly known, as the "pip" is that
current, "state of the art, must have" device. Ultimately slick, as
presentation with such products is always handsomely applied. Extremely
expensive and ergonomically shaped to fit the contours of wrist all
effortlessly light, like a dark sweatband. Multi-tasking and organically
powered through barometric pressure, kinetic movement and solar energy. The
non-mechanical parts enabled lifelong usability, the drives were constructed
from seamless zero gravity compound platinum and silica, with software
systems already applied. Enigmatically encrypted programs made the whole
device personal and its build quality made it virtually indestructible. The
pips dutiful purpose was to simulate the functions of a synthetic human
mind, an almost life, in its ability. Scholar programming with integrated
logic, gave a far superior learning curve. It hungered for the collating of
data on every global subject, level and task. Client specific DNA and user
voice activated commands held fast the security. It displayed visual
requests through projection of holographic imagery, a system of light
trickery known as GZAM, (Gustav Ziess Aurae Monitor) another industry of MT.
Such systems had previously guided drones with deadly accuracy and laser
bombs to their horrifically surprised targets in the jungles of South
America, the slopes of the Korean peninsular and the desserts of the Middle
East.

The pip had been commercialised and acceptable for civilian use for many
years. In the public domain it proved absolutely vital, with high status in
demand. Its resourcefulness had made it unique. The pip was indeed rapidly
becoming as useful an implement to modern man, as much was once his knife.

Peoples, governments and states that rely solely on such technology, reflect
certain arrogance. They relished these gifts so deeply sought and were so
easily by such gifts, betrayed.















"Let your thought's dip deep into the stream or shall those depths be never
fathomed"


Anchored just beyond the sparkling reef of paradise beach, a few kilometers
South of Richards bay and Southern Africa, the Green Peace flagship Gaia
floated on the warm agulhas tides like a graceful swan. She drifted in
silent elegance on the mirrored calmness of the warm green Indian Ocean.
Gaia was perfect in her setting being so beautifully designed. Ancient
lines like the clipper yet as able as a modern schooner with her twin blower
turbines, still on standby. Her rigging rising full to the topmast in
readiness of command and the breeze or blowers will fill her sails. Gaia was
not alone, nor had she been for several years. Returning from the cold Gaia
had been stalked every inch of the way by the frigate USS Clinton and the
Australian coastal command vessel Barracuda. Gaia was an international
vessel with an international crew. The captain was a fundamentalist green
American from the big easy, occasionally sharp and as equally jovial. He was
everything that's best in Uncle Sam, well educated, forthright, and
committed to the cause. Even though the radar, satellites, and various
bugging devices held, Gaia's every position. The captain had developed over
several years, tactics so that he and his colleague a German eco-agent could
slip the observation net and undertake a special conference on the beach
beside the shore. By means of clever computing and the resourcefulness of a
local chokka fishing fleet, they both entered the warm waters and without
the foe, ever noticing managed to snorkel and slip ashore. The Captain and
the German hop scotched up the blistering beach, its sand all white and
glittering with heat. They briefly cooled their soles in pools besides the
rocks and continued unseen. Sneaking directly into the awaiting beach cabin,
they quickly changed into the pre-prepared dries. They both kept smart while
hurrying to the bar where another special agent would brief them with the
update of events, and further them the task.

Africa shone, her lonely subtropical coastal charm, brushed vibrant with
passionate colours and scintillating flair. The sky a cobalt blue was clear
with hardly a cloud to spoil the view. Cycads and the browning wintry of
raffia palms whistled and whispered gently about the dunes. Monkeys and
parrots chatted vigorously in the low-slung mangroves, coconut palms, and
chinobar trees. The saltiness in the atmosphere was perfumed with the
sweetness of ozone and the warmth the ear lapping sea. The setting was about
as far from the cause as it could be, almost surreal. A mission so dark and
dangerous to pursue, awash, in the splendor of this sunny paradise. An enemy
so vile still haunted them, into this heavenly tropical utopia.

The temperature seemed hotter in the circular beach shabeen, a thatched lapa
set on pile driven gum poles, a meter or so above the fine white sand. The
ceiling was a thinning cape spray and through these gaps beams of light
stung at the wooden sandy floor. The semi circular walls were made of reed
and decorated with various marine items, driftwood, and large cabana shells.
In the center a semi circular walnut bar, behind which a large Zulu barmen
was entertaining its visitors.

"So Frank.can you get him out" the American Captain asked wiping his
forehead clean of the salty beads with a soggy wet hanky.

"Whoa china.their breath lies hot and heavy on my neck" the khaki Afrikaner
retorted, swigging directly from the cool condensing bottled quart.

"Can you help us or not Herr van der merwe?" the little German eco-agent
demanded twitching frantically while sipping at the rim, a glass of cool ice
tea.

The Afrikaner did not answer; his bright blue eyes gazed out wearily from
his weather beaten face, they reached out staring at the deep, as equally
unfathomable in thought.

"For Gods sake man.can you get him out or not" the fractious American
captain increased his volume and tone, whilst fidgeting uncomfortable on the
dryness of land and the sweaty heat.

The tall Zulu barman drifted anxiously towards the meeting and gave the
Captain a completely threatening glare. Franks nodded for the Zulu to
desist, the barman winks and returns to his duties, cleaning the shot glass.

"Jezzus you okes.look sleepy I'm up too here with you bleddy foreigners
telling me what I have to do for them.I've enough kak here to arrange for
me-self" Frank smarted and acting furious with rage picked up his beer
bottle and slammed it down hard onto the bar next to the German.

"Ja.ja es gibt immer ein arschloch" the German stuttered.

" Frank.you've gotta be aware of the importance and what is at stake here"
the American Captain now lowered his volume considerably and frowning with
all the muscles in his face, he starred pleading with concern.

The Afrikaner shook his head and dropped his shoulders in frustration, then
huffed while scratching at his blonde crew cut hair, he sighed a little and
pointing both arms to the sea in resignation, letting out a gentle moan.

"Frank you have got to do something.you're our last hope and you damn well
know it.Pretoria said you would definitely help us," the Captain begged.

"Okay butte.I can get this man to the capital.but that's as far as I go"
Frank knew he would have to give in and a little reluctantly he agreed to
their demands.

"Is the pip there and who will guide me home?" the little German professor
sharply questioned, they all suddenly blinked as the wind blew up
expectantly from the sea, it temporarily removed a large cluster of shade
and the burning Sun caught in all there eyes.

"The pip.I don't have a clue about the pip...man. maybe its in Pretoria.I
wouldn't know and to be honest I no longer care" Frank lied as he put his
hand to shade his eyes, within that instant the clump of shade returned.

" I hope its there my friend" the German spat indignant.

" There my friend.if you are lucky you might further the cause" The
Afrikaner stared into the Germans eyes while finishing gluging to the foam,
he wiped his lips, stamped the bottle down once more and ordered another
beer.

"Thank green spirits and blue angels" the American Captain cheered " I can
leave you two too it, good-bye" the American Captain broadened his smile and
congratulated both men with the keenest of departures, his lasting efforts
seen heading back to the cabin and out onto the beach with goggles, snorkel
and flippers he slid back into the warm corralled sea.

"When and where in Pretoria will I find the pip und how far can this
man.your friend take me," the German demanded, also finishing his mineral
drink, wiping his lips, stamping it down and ordering another.

The Afrikaner opened up his own pip wrist communicator and proceeds to type
in the encrypted text. A few awkward moments existed between them. Frank
continued to stare while the German fixed his eyes onto the beautiful
horizon and sighed as the replying text bleeped in.

"And" the German quizzed.

"You can prepare for leaving this continent within the hour, disguised as a
South African economic attaché. There you will transit in a diplomatic
convoy of various other ethnic attachés.you'll fly to Lusaka and join the
African crisis delegation departing for Hamburg and the European talks.they
will arrive in Germany tomorrow lunch time.you can find your own way home
from there I hope.Herr Kuntz" the Afrikaner deliberately dictated the
response.

"Excellent" the German replied ignoring the sarcasm.

Frank and the German both decided on staying until Gaia and her stalking
escort had completely left the bay. The German looked back at Frank in
trying to understand the man. Frank was a leader in the militant green's, he
was also a renowned biochemist and responsible for some of the most
notorious environmental escapades in recent times. In over thirty years of
eco-service, Frank had only once been caught and even then escaped.

Frank regarded the German Werner Kunz with equal admiration; he knew that
Werner had discovered the poison cloud many years ago and that Werner was
the Professor of the Atmospheric Conditions Monitors at Harvard and
Cambridge universities. He had also heard that Werner had spent several
years in a Russian prison, captured protesting at a scrap yard of nuclear
waste at an oil refinery near Murmansk.

"Tell me Herr van der Merwe. why are you always so rude we are working for
the same side" the German twitched a half smiled at him.

"My friend I've been opened from here to here by the cause" frank replied
drawing a line beneath his chin from his left ear to his right.

"Does it have to make you so unfriendly towards your comrades" the Professor
jittered.

"Ja" Frank nodded

" And that is the way you with us to entertain each other on this long and
arduous journey" the Professor stuttered concerned.

" Look china.the less I know about you the better and that goes for me too.I
don't want to know because if they catch me they will torture me and I've
been there before.believe me it hurts.it hurts enough to talk" Frank
shuddered.

" We can still smile from time to time or not.Herr van deer Mere" the German
tried his best to smile, but perhaps it is simply not in German genes. A
sudden hideous contortion that took a form akin to the expressions being
required whilst squitting out the last dregs of fiery dysentery. Frank
stared at Werner's comical struggling before breaking into a smile of which
he could not control himself.

"No.a smile assumes recognition" Frank held back the tears.

"Never.ever smile.mine got was fur ein leben" the Germans painful grinning
turned into a frowning grimace.

"Never.ever smile" Frank cried aloud.

Frank took the quickest route to Pretoria still some seven hours away.
Climbing into the parched arid soils of the seringa tree and the high veld.

They spoke little on the way but eventually each gained a notion of the
comradeship they felt. What they were doing was right; that life itself has
meaning and that for both of these men its virtue became apparent and
sufficient.

The Jacaranda trees of Pretoria lined the avenue to the union buildings with
confetti of purple blossoms; falling sapphire petals littered the streets.
Frank parked up and the German professor got out.

"Njani.Professor" Tula Malinga greeted him with a wide toothy African beam.

"Njani.Tula" the professor stammered shocked at seeing that his escort was
not only a woman but also an extremely tall ethnically dressed Zulu. "Please
tell me that you do have the pip?" The German extremely anxious, that this
single mystery could at least be solved.

"I think you have it now.Professor" Tula broadened her grin until it
encompassed her whole face.

Werner reached into his jacket pocket and in that very same moment, the
flashing lights signaled Frank's departure as he headed off into the sunset
and on to the next certain phase. Werner pulled the shiny object out into
the last light of day, also smiling but this time more appropriately than
before. Werner with that sudden sharpness knew, that he had now become the
latest high profile client for disposal on the states darkest list.















































Nullius addictus iurare in verba magistri,
Quo me cumque rapit tempestas, deferor hospes. [Horace]


The visitor is not of this earth, nor from our solar system or even our
galaxy. He is from a galaxy at the very edge of our understanding beyond the
Virgo Supercluster. His species has the start of a millennium or more
advances in science. As we have learnt to leave this Earth, his kind has
occupied their understandings in traveling through many dimensions and the
enormity of time and space.

His crafts propel themselves through space by three means. Firstly, a galaxy
class starship using neutrino based technology. Secondly, a solar system
craft utilizing gravitational vortex control. Thirdly, a terrestrial class
craft, making use of a planet's electromagnetic fields. All forms of craft
appeared similar in one way, they were shaped into large translucent
spheres. The surface of which sporadically glowed with a rainbow type sheen.
The only object visible within each of them at the core was a small dark orb
shining like the pupils of an eye.

Suddenly within its mass there was click, like a trigger being released and
a fluorescent green mist rose out from the inner skin and swirled about
inside. A louder click and a flash of light ignite some life into small
golden orbs. These little golden orbs rise in columns and encircle the
craft. In delta formation, they speed into a single twisting path and crash
toward the central. Another intense flash of light before a single image
starts to appear.

The view of space outside was spectacular and the visitor, his craft, and
the golden orbs survey their new surroundings, with noisy excitement. In an
instant they had reached the Oort cloud at the distant borders of our solar
system. The visitor collates the navigation information, while circling the
barren debris of these rocks and life's explosive past.

Within the blinking of an eye, the visitor arrived at Pluto, the so-called
lord of the underworld. Silver strands are propelled from the craft towards
the planet; they intersect the surface as geometric gridlines. Closing in
upon this little world, a shoal of golden orbs are released and while the
visitor passes silently over the faint mist and thin veneer of Pluto's
atmosphere, they return and fill the imager with cloned particles and copied
molecular structures. There is a sudden silence of activity, as Pluto's moon
Charon appears, rising from the east, to escort Pluto on its mystical path
through the depths of deepest space. The visitor, his craft, and the golden
orbs pause for a moment's reflection as to the beauty of planets and their
satellites, then travels further on. Silver strands are sent out and silver
grid lines reappear, encircling the mass of a giant blue planet; the
flashing lights and the golden orbs jig merry with enthusiasm once again, as
Neptune, a God of the sea, appears for the visitor and orbs to study. The
orbs leave the craft and after a short while, they return and build more
complex elements and structures into the visual machine. They leave this
gentle giants atmosphere and head off into space. Uranus the seventh planet
accompanied by many moons and encased by many charcoal rings. Once the
information was compiled and stored, and they effortlessly proceed. Saturn
the sixth and second largest planet and a slightly brightening Sun. They
collect the complex gaseous molecular structures, which so excite and
entertain the dancing orbs. Jupiter, God of the sky, the fifth and largest
Planet, so immense, all the planets combined could comfortably fit within
his jovial mass. Swirling clouds, of oranges and browns spin within its
high-speed rotation. This time they pause, and take in its true magnificence
and of course its known significance to them, without Jupiter, its unlikely
that any other planet within this system would ever exist. Stationary, the
visitor, his craft, and golden orbs continue to collect data. The orbs
bleep with the anticipation exposed by radar revealing the four terrestrial
planets. The visitor, his craft, and orbs continue and skillfully navigate
through a belt of asteroids. Mars, the God of war appears to greet them,
how bright it shines these nights. This planet was nearly close enough to
the Sun, a mere tiptoe on this solar system hike. The dancing orbs flicker
with exhilaration as they approach the dusty red planet, molecules appear
and disappear in rapid succession. Then something new, a faint laser of
pearl like particles released; they form into a ghostly mass and beam down
to the planets surface. They return in silence with the knowledge that not
everything we hold is purely data. An important moment had occurred, the
visitor along with the orbs turn to view the imaging machine.

Slowly the craft manoeuvres gently starboard, the visitor and orbs gasp.
The crazy golden orbs explode into excited activity, they whirl about the
craft, which can hardly contain them, enthralled by the beauty that beholds
them, they reach a climax and ejaculate into an orgasmic frenzy.

Gaia, our Mother Earth shrouded in the mystery of time and space continuum.
The bluish hue of her elegant oceans, the reds, the oranges, the greens and
the browns of fertile lands, clear between the whiteness of serenely sailing
clouds. The visitor and his companions were mesmerized; indeed this was a
priceless jewel within an unknown pit of darkness. For the humans and every
living thing below, this planet was at this stage, their only hope.

Entering the geo-stationary orbit and rapid bursts of activity take place
as the gathering of data, continues. Molecular structures, particle physics,
and chains of DNA appear on the imager. There followed a sudden pause, one
of the many satellites seemed to evoke much interest. An Itec Corolla Mk
0157 scientific and military global surveillance and communication
satellite, was busying itself transmitting information back and forth.

The visitor and his companions hover in the static thermosphere the
boundary of space, well above the northern summer skies. The crest of the
Sun rises in the east escorted by the exquisiteness that is the dawning of
another day. The visitor monitors the systems and dispatches a football size
orb to investigate. The orb speeds to the signal that is bleating from the
drifting helium balloon in the stratosphere below. It follows the chorded
line to find the tagged and precious cargo. A data retrieval canister
contained nothing but the world's second most important pip.

The orb approaches its goal, slowing to a stop and in mid air it gracefully
settles like a magnetic counter balance. The orb spins, side on to the
silver canister and their reflections for a moment transpose. Within the
fluttering moment of its organic shutters the pip released the information
and communicated the data back to the visitor. The orb foot tapped
impatiently as it waited for the command to tack away. The visitors request
arrives and to the orbs relief, it free falls like a hunting falcon swooping
to the ground, stopping once more to balance a few meters above the cool
embrace of freshly fallen snow. The orb extends an eye as a camera; it pans
around in silence and follows each degree with intense concentration.

So much activity from this industrious device, with surely so little to
survey, each angle is much the same, for all is another monotone, endless
and relentless cold.

The orb as camera slowly turns to the vertical fifteen degrees, a relief for
the whitened wearied lens, as a new dimension appears. The visitor as if
stunned with admiration, froze all motion, struck with the swiftness of awe.
This was a sight so rarely encountered. The visitors face, if one could have
seen it brimmed with satisfaction, the only known oasis in a universe of
time, Earth the first encountered planet that has survived. Humans the first
found forms of intelligent organic life. The rush of such realization fills
his alien souls with the purest of pleasure. The visitor had found an
unequalled jewel, a haven, and at the shores of lights a beacon of hope in a
galaxy of darkness. This, to the visitor was indeed the most priceless
treasure he had ever encountered. For this moment they had travelled over
incalculable light years of time. Making the journey of a hundred solar
cycles, completely worthwhile. The visitor and orbs, sigh with loving
appreciation at the entrance of the day, a dawning sky. They cheer aloud in
harmony at the rising of the Sun, and sulk in witness tears to the slowly
disappearing Moon, near fully focused she causes quite a stir. It was for
them the first time they had truly noticed her, such pallor in a natural
satellite, how mysterious, that in the near fullness of her setting, she
appears to smile, then as is a love so beautifully disloyal, softly sinks
into the final efforts of her domain, the far side of the world and night.
Colour's now rise in altitude as light pastel's enhance the detail to the
lining of the few blushing cirrus clouds, above the last visible
constellation, Cassiopeia fades into the heavens. Mercury the messenger,
just a faint illumination, Venus is the last light to leave the dawning
stage, the sun breeze whooshes past the orb heralding the day.
 
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M

Mike Koewler

You been chewing on mushrooms?

Mike

mark said:
LIVING BY LIGHT


Sub light.just thought.

Spiraling down like a feather to the ground.

Reach twenty and pause.


From beyond the mounds of druid's summit, closing to the woods of normanton
down, there came sounds. Mystical musical chords that arrived overhead like
the arrows from a bow.

Scan from rise to rest.

First the beating of rhythmic drums resounded through the trees and lifted a
swathe of movement all along the horizon. In the distance a ragged army
seemed to advance.


Correct to hover.dispatch orb.

From the resonance of strings, to the whistling of flutes, musicians
marched forward upon the fields of olde sarum.

Closer.now visible.


Beneath a canopy of summer leaves, came human voices singing. A rustic
choir incanted ancient runes and filed from out of the woodland trees,
through the pastures of fresh green wheat and on to the expanse of Salisbury
plain.

Here and now, it is summer and below the sweet scent of woodruff drifted
lazily through the air. The land shone vibrant and healthy, all was at peace
with this world. Tribes were gathering to be beside the tumuli and rings, to
celebrate last year's light with the first fire of the new season. The Sun
shone hazy with the outlying clouds, yet still its powers cast speckles of
gold on to the giant stones. The mottled lichen and the matrix of the stone
shimmered with the star, a fire of dancing flames.

Pitch and descend.

It is later in the evening and all discussions have ended; it was time for
celebration, the summer solstice, the beginning of a new year.

Open.360.

Encampments were established everywhere, yet none were allowed within the
henge itself. Tents, marques, tepees, shacks and sheds were scattered about
the ground undisciplined. Burning firewood, roasting spicy meat, herb
lavender and common gorse fixed with the evening mist, an ability to taste.
A thousand happy faces some flushed ruby with excitement, other glowed
intermittently from the warm mead and honeyed wormwood. Leather smacked and
raced tassels turning in a spin. " Tonight is not to fight, for tomorrow
live another day"



Track northeast.



Rebecca sat closest to the burning flames, the fire lit up her eyes with
momentary vigour, then perched scanning and squinting, drifting back into
the past with a sparkle and a smile. You could see it in her face, Rebecca
was once indeed a damsel so fair, her beauty had cut many a man's heart.
However, that was in the olden days and the twinkle as she reminisces events
long, long ago. Rebecca was old and at an age, when referred to as being old
was deemed by all acceptable. She had reached her centennial with honor and
pride.

Everything stopped in sudden silence, as she held up her right hand to show
them her signature and scar. The crowd cheered, moving closer, as Rebecca
looked to the heavens acknowledging the waking stars with wise old eyes.




Spiral up.align for the past.






SOON
Does death now have wings?



All around was a pearl blind white, a monotone of endless and relentless
cold.

Mechanical sounds, the discernable noise of thudding helicopter blades are
heard vuumping off and away into the distance. Beneath and welcoming to the
eye, several shiny objects clear broadly into focus. Rising from the frozen
surface, a troop of frosty silver igloos stood out against the endless
white, like a jeweled platinum ring. This was the southern atmospheric
monitoring station known to the world, as SAMS. Located on Norwegian
territory near Vestfjella, its presence remains remote from any forms of
civilization and safely secured to the freezing ice of the Antarctic
southern pole. Its benefit to humanity today, wrestles against the horror of
its recent past. Vestfjella was a once a killing den and thriving whaling
station. S.A.Ms, was a scientific research laboratory at the cutting edge
of science. For the last few years, the station had been monitoring a
strange phenomenon that was taking place within the biosphere. A rogue
weather feature had evolved, a Frankenstein, combining leftover elements of
chemical warfare, airborne viruses, and dangerous chemical pollutants. This
deadly cloud circumnavigated the planet, existing under any meteorological
conditions, devastating every sign of life wherever it became, as evil as
any medieval plaque. Environmentalists campaigned for action and a last
desperate warning, like the last desperate warning, came to industrialists
as another unicorn, a mysticism that went unheeded.

The Sun, a pale disc barely skimmed above the frozen horizon. Some grains of
radiance now filtered through the atmosphere, which lit the crest of an
impending weather front and the cool embrace of battle grey and angry nimbus
clouds. Approaching with stealth from the south, the cloud seemed to spread
out like a sickly stain and as with most weather features, it portrayed a
form. Two towering horns reached around the distant horizon and were raised
into the heavens sending burning gold's into the sky with heat and haze. A
satanic face with hollow eyes grinned around the jawbone as its claw like
hands seemed to be rubbing with anticipating glee. A reddening mane bristled
high into the stratosphere and an unnatural feeling of a darkening energy
held the local atmosphere transfixed. As it draws ever closer, the scent of
acidic salts filled the air and the splattering of toxic precipitation stung
the freezing surface. Yellowing pools of hissing gas formed lakes of noxious
death. An increasingly howling gale blew up a storm, and strange demonic
voices seemed locked within its center. The demon shouted louder and louder
with hysterical laughter and mocking obscenities, it crackled and croaked
incanting Latin tales from hell. Lightning bolts, crashing thunder and a
hurricane of force project it ever forward; the tempest had arrived. For a
few moments, everything spun into a miasmic swathe and then as abruptly as
it had started, all disappeared.

Silence clung and a perfect halo appears at the zenith. At eye of the
storm, and for a few brief moments, absolutely nothing stirred.

The poisonous cloud moves northwards on, only its front carries such that is
death. After the silence came the natural back force, blizzards of snow that
eventually cover and freeze the poisonous pools. This is nature's strength a
natural force that hounds a world way, beyond the shrieking fifties and the
roaring forties. Its might hits the stations outer entrance with pace, a
hush of air inside destroys the vacuum of the faraday doors, and they slowly
open up. A few moments later and the mechanism purr's itself shut. In here,
the wind and the weather are absent, as the environment is very carefully
controlled. Another hush of air as the vacuum returns and releases the inner
door to reveal the inner sanctum and central chamber. Steel floors and wall'
s clad the inner skin, giving the entire inner structure the appearance as
one metallic mass. At waist level, stainless steel worktops continued to
complete the circumference. Science projects with chemistry and biology
devices littered the tops, every few meters swivel chairs were placed, and
all were empty. A computer accompanied each seat and displayed its imagery
holographically. Molecular structures, system schematics and mathematical
formulas rose up from flat dark mats. The bleating lights and the humming
gadgetry sparkled on and off. Their motions indicated that they still
attended some function or duty. All this technological industry a contrast,
because the station itself was deserted and void of any form of organic
life.





























"Capitalism carries within itself war, as clouds carry rain" [J.J. Jaures]


MT (micro-tech) is a global giant, an Anglo-American consortium
established secretly before the last millennium. It now existed openly, and
for a singular purpose, to insure the few elite, remain the few elite. For
this, MT successfully constructed and supplied the latest military
technological gadgetry.

The Personal Information Processor, commonly known, as the "pip" is that
current, "state of the art, must have" device. Ultimately slick, as
presentation with such products is always handsomely applied. Extremely
expensive and ergonomically shaped to fit the contours of wrist all
effortlessly light, like a dark sweatband. Multi-tasking and organically
powered through barometric pressure, kinetic movement and solar energy. The
non-mechanical parts enabled lifelong usability, the drives were constructed
from seamless zero gravity compound platinum and silica, with software
systems already applied. Enigmatically encrypted programs made the whole
device personal and its build quality made it virtually indestructible. The
pips dutiful purpose was to simulate the functions of a synthetic human
mind, an almost life, in its ability. Scholar programming with integrated
logic, gave a far superior learning curve. It hungered for the collating of
data on every global subject, level and task. Client specific DNA and user
voice activated commands held fast the security. It displayed visual
requests through projection of holographic imagery, a system of light
trickery known as GZAM, (Gustav Ziess Aurae Monitor) another industry of MT.
Such systems had previously guided drones with deadly accuracy and laser
bombs to their horrifically surprised targets in the jungles of South
America, the slopes of the Korean peninsular and the desserts of the Middle
East.

The pip had been commercialised and acceptable for civilian use for many
years. In the public domain it proved absolutely vital, with high status in
demand. Its resourcefulness had made it unique. The pip was indeed rapidly
becoming as useful an implement to modern man, as much was once his knife.

Peoples, governments and states that rely solely on such technology, reflect
certain arrogance. They relished these gifts so deeply sought and were so
easily by such gifts, betrayed.















"Let your thought's dip deep into the stream or shall those depths be never
fathomed"


Anchored just beyond the sparkling reef of paradise beach, a few kilometers
South of Richards bay and Southern Africa, the Green Peace flagship Gaia
floated on the warm agulhas tides like a graceful swan. She drifted in
silent elegance on the mirrored calmness of the warm green Indian Ocean.
Gaia was perfect in her setting being so beautifully designed. Ancient
lines like the clipper yet as able as a modern schooner with her twin blower
turbines, still on standby. Her rigging rising full to the topmast in
readiness of command and the breeze or blowers will fill her sails. Gaia was
not alone, nor had she been for several years. Returning from the cold Gaia
had been stalked every inch of the way by the frigate USS Clinton and the
Australian coastal command vessel Barracuda. Gaia was an international
vessel with an international crew. The captain was a fundamentalist green
American from the big easy, occasionally sharp and as equally jovial. He was
everything that's best in Uncle Sam, well educated, forthright, and
committed to the cause. Even though the radar, satellites, and various
bugging devices held, Gaia's every position. The captain had developed over
several years, tactics so that he and his colleague a German eco-agent could
slip the observation net and undertake a special conference on the beach
beside the shore. By means of clever computing and the resourcefulness of a
local chokka fishing fleet, they both entered the warm waters and without
the foe, ever noticing managed to snorkel and slip ashore. The Captain and
the German hop scotched up the blistering beach, its sand all white and
glittering with heat. They briefly cooled their soles in pools besides the
rocks and continued unseen. Sneaking directly into the awaiting beach cabin,
they quickly changed into the pre-prepared dries. They both kept smart while
hurrying to the bar where another special agent would brief them with the
update of events, and further them the task.

Africa shone, her lonely subtropical coastal charm, brushed vibrant with
passionate colours and scintillating flair. The sky a cobalt blue was clear
with hardly a cloud to spoil the view. Cycads and the browning wintry of
raffia palms whistled and whispered gently about the dunes. Monkeys and
parrots chatted vigorously in the low-slung mangroves, coconut palms, and
chinobar trees. The saltiness in the atmosphere was perfumed with the
sweetness of ozone and the warmth the ear lapping sea. The setting was about
as far from the cause as it could be, almost surreal. A mission so dark and
dangerous to pursue, awash, in the splendor of this sunny paradise. An enemy
so vile still haunted them, into this heavenly tropical utopia.

The temperature seemed hotter in the circular beach shabeen, a thatched lapa
set on pile driven gum poles, a meter or so above the fine white sand. The
ceiling was a thinning cape spray and through these gaps beams of light
stung at the wooden sandy floor. The semi circular walls were made of reed
and decorated with various marine items, driftwood, and large cabana shells.
In the center a semi circular walnut bar, behind which a large Zulu barmen
was entertaining its visitors.

"So Frank.can you get him out" the American Captain asked wiping his
forehead clean of the salty beads with a soggy wet hanky.

"Whoa china.their breath lies hot and heavy on my neck" the khaki Afrikaner
retorted, swigging directly from the cool condensing bottled quart.

"Can you help us or not Herr van der merwe?" the little German eco-agent
demanded twitching frantically while sipping at the rim, a glass of cool ice
tea.

The Afrikaner did not answer; his bright blue eyes gazed out wearily from
his weather beaten face, they reached out staring at the deep, as equally
unfathomable in thought.

"For Gods sake man.can you get him out or not" the fractious American
captain increased his volume and tone, whilst fidgeting uncomfortable on the
dryness of land and the sweaty heat.

The tall Zulu barman drifted anxiously towards the meeting and gave the
Captain a completely threatening glare. Franks nodded for the Zulu to
desist, the barman winks and returns to his duties, cleaning the shot glass.

"Jezzus you okes.look sleepy I'm up too here with you bleddy foreigners
telling me what I have to do for them.I've enough kak here to arrange for
me-self" Frank smarted and acting furious with rage picked up his beer
bottle and slammed it down hard onto the bar next to the German.

"Ja.ja es gibt immer ein arschloch" the German stuttered.

" Frank.you've gotta be aware of the importance and what is at stake here"
the American Captain now lowered his volume considerably and frowning with
all the muscles in his face, he starred pleading with concern.

The Afrikaner shook his head and dropped his shoulders in frustration, then
huffed while scratching at his blonde crew cut hair, he sighed a little and
pointing both arms to the sea in resignation, letting out a gentle moan.

"Frank you have got to do something.you're our last hope and you damn well
know it.Pretoria said you would definitely help us," the Captain begged.

"Okay butte.I can get this man to the capital.but that's as far as I go"
Frank knew he would have to give in and a little reluctantly he agreed to
their demands.

"Is the pip there and who will guide me home?" the little German professor
sharply questioned, they all suddenly blinked as the wind blew up
expectantly from the sea, it temporarily removed a large cluster of shade
and the burning Sun caught in all there eyes.

"The pip.I don't have a clue about the pip...man. maybe its in Pretoria.I
wouldn't know and to be honest I no longer care" Frank lied as he put his
hand to shade his eyes, within that instant the clump of shade returned.

" I hope its there my friend" the German spat indignant.

" There my friend.if you are lucky you might further the cause" The
Afrikaner stared into the Germans eyes while finishing gluging to the foam,
he wiped his lips, stamped the bottle down once more and ordered another
beer.

"Thank green spirits and blue angels" the American Captain cheered " I can
leave you two too it, good-bye" the American Captain broadened his smile and
congratulated both men with the keenest of departures, his lasting efforts
seen heading back to the cabin and out onto the beach with goggles, snorkel
and flippers he slid back into the warm corralled sea.

"When and where in Pretoria will I find the pip und how far can this
man.your friend take me," the German demanded, also finishing his mineral
drink, wiping his lips, stamping it down and ordering another.

The Afrikaner opened up his own pip wrist communicator and proceeds to type
in the encrypted text. A few awkward moments existed between them. Frank
continued to stare while the German fixed his eyes onto the beautiful
horizon and sighed as the replying text bleeped in.

"And" the German quizzed.

"You can prepare for leaving this continent within the hour, disguised as a
South African economic attaché. There you will transit in a diplomatic
convoy of various other ethnic attachés.you'll fly to Lusaka and join the
African crisis delegation departing for Hamburg and the European talks.they
will arrive in Germany tomorrow lunch time.you can find your own way home
from there I hope.Herr Kuntz" the Afrikaner deliberately dictated the
response.

"Excellent" the German replied ignoring the sarcasm.

Frank and the German both decided on staying until Gaia and her stalking
escort had completely left the bay. The German looked back at Frank in
trying to understand the man. Frank was a leader in the militant green's, he
was also a renowned biochemist and responsible for some of the most
notorious environmental escapades in recent times. In over thirty years of
eco-service, Frank had only once been caught and even then escaped.

Frank regarded the German Werner Kunz with equal admiration; he knew that
Werner had discovered the poison cloud many years ago and that Werner was
the Professor of the Atmospheric Conditions Monitors at Harvard and
Cambridge universities. He had also heard that Werner had spent several
years in a Russian prison, captured protesting at a scrap yard of nuclear
waste at an oil refinery near Murmansk.

"Tell me Herr van der Merwe. why are you always so rude we are working for
the same side" the German twitched a half smiled at him.

"My friend I've been opened from here to here by the cause" frank replied
drawing a line beneath his chin from his left ear to his right.

"Does it have to make you so unfriendly towards your comrades" the Professor
jittered.

"Ja" Frank nodded

" And that is the way you with us to entertain each other on this long and
arduous journey" the Professor stuttered concerned.

" Look china.the less I know about you the better and that goes for me too.I
don't want to know because if they catch me they will torture me and I've
been there before.believe me it hurts.it hurts enough to talk" Frank
shuddered.

" We can still smile from time to time or not.Herr van deer Mere" the German
tried his best to smile, but perhaps it is simply not in German genes. A
sudden hideous contortion that took a form akin to the expressions being
required whilst squitting out the last dregs of fiery dysentery. Frank
stared at Werner's comical struggling before breaking into a smile of which
he could not control himself.

"No.a smile assumes recognition" Frank held back the tears.

"Never.ever smile.mine got was fur ein leben" the Germans painful grinning
turned into a frowning grimace.

"Never.ever smile" Frank cried aloud.

Frank took the quickest route to Pretoria still some seven hours away.
Climbing into the parched arid soils of the seringa tree and the high veld.

They spoke little on the way but eventually each gained a notion of the
comradeship they felt. What they were doing was right; that life itself has
meaning and that for both of these men its virtue became apparent and
sufficient.

The Jacaranda trees of Pretoria lined the avenue to the union buildings with
confetti of purple blossoms; falling sapphire petals littered the streets.
Frank parked up and the German professor got out.

"Njani.Professor" Tula Malinga greeted him with a wide toothy African beam.

"Njani.Tula" the professor stammered shocked at seeing that his escort was
not only a woman but also an extremely tall ethnically dressed Zulu. "Please
tell me that you do have the pip?" The German extremely anxious, that this
single mystery could at least be solved.

"I think you have it now.Professor" Tula broadened her grin until it
encompassed her whole face.

Werner reached into his jacket pocket and in that very same moment, the
flashing lights signaled Frank's departure as he headed off into the sunset
and on to the next certain phase. Werner pulled the shiny object out into
the last light of day, also smiling but this time more appropriately than
before. Werner with that sudden sharpness knew, that he had now become the
latest high profile client for disposal on the states darkest list.















































Nullius addictus iurare in verba magistri,
Quo me cumque rapit tempestas, deferor hospes. [Horace]


The visitor is not of this earth, nor from our solar system or even our
galaxy. He is from a galaxy at the very edge of our understanding beyond the
Virgo Supercluster. His species has the start of a millennium or more
advances in science. As we have learnt to leave this Earth, his kind has
occupied their understandings in traveling through many dimensions and the
enormity of time and space.

His crafts propel themselves through space by three means. Firstly, a galaxy
class starship using neutrino based technology. Secondly, a solar system
craft utilizing gravitational vortex control. Thirdly, a terrestrial class
craft, making use of a planet's electromagnetic fields. All forms of craft
appeared similar in one way, they were shaped into large translucent
spheres. The surface of which sporadically glowed with a rainbow type sheen.
The only object visible within each of them at the core was a small dark orb
shining like the pupils of an eye.

Suddenly within its mass there was click, like a trigger being released and
a fluorescent green mist rose out from the inner skin and swirled about
inside. A louder click and a flash of light ignite some life into small
golden orbs. These little golden orbs rise in columns and encircle the
craft. In delta formation, they speed into a single twisting path and crash
toward the central. Another intense flash of light before a single image
starts to appear.

The view of space outside was spectacular and the visitor, his craft, and
the golden orbs survey their new surroundings, with noisy excitement. In an
instant they had reached the Oort cloud at the distant borders of our solar
system. The visitor collates the navigation information, while circling the
barren debris of these rocks and life's explosive past.

Within the blinking of an eye, the visitor arrived at Pluto, the so-called
lord of the underworld. Silver strands are propelled from the craft towards
the planet; they intersect the surface as geometric gridlines. Closing in
upon this little world, a shoal of golden orbs are released and while the
visitor passes silently over the faint mist and thin veneer of Pluto's
atmosphere, they return and fill the imager with cloned particles and copied
molecular structures. There is a sudden silence of activity, as Pluto's moon
Charon appears, rising from the east, to escort Pluto on its mystical path
through the depths of deepest space. The visitor, his craft, and the golden
orbs pause for a moment's reflection as to the beauty of planets and their
satellites, then travels further on. Silver strands are sent out and silver
grid lines reappear, encircling the mass of a giant blue planet; the
flashing lights and the golden orbs jig merry with enthusiasm once again, as
Neptune, a God of the sea, appears for the visitor and orbs to study. The
orbs leave the craft and after a short while, they return and build more
complex elements and structures into the visual machine. They leave this
gentle giants atmosphere and head off into space. Uranus the seventh planet
accompanied by many moons and encased by many charcoal rings. Once the
information was compiled and stored, and they effortlessly proceed. Saturn
the sixth and second largest planet and a slightly brightening Sun. They
collect the complex gaseous molecular structures, which so excite and
entertain the dancing orbs. Jupiter, God of the sky, the fifth and largest
Planet, so immense, all the planets combined could comfortably fit within
his jovial mass. Swirling clouds, of oranges and browns spin within its
high-speed rotation. This time they pause, and take in its true magnificence
and of course its known significance to them, without Jupiter, its unlikely
that any other planet within this system would ever exist. Stationary, the
visitor, his craft, and golden orbs continue to collect data. The orbs
bleep with the anticipation exposed by radar revealing the four terrestrial
planets. The visitor, his craft, and orbs continue and skillfully navigate
through a belt of asteroids. Mars, the God of war appears to greet them,
how bright it shines these nights. This planet was nearly close enough to
the Sun, a mere tiptoe on this solar system hike. The dancing orbs flicker
with exhilaration as they approach the dusty red planet, molecules appear
and disappear in rapid succession. Then something new, a faint laser of
pearl like particles released; they form into a ghostly mass and beam down
to the planets surface. They return in silence with the knowledge that not
everything we hold is purely data. An important moment had occurred, the
visitor along with the orbs turn to view the imaging machine.

Slowly the craft manoeuvres gently starboard, the visitor and orbs gasp.
The crazy golden orbs explode into excited activity, they whirl about the
craft, which can hardly contain them, enthralled by the beauty that beholds
them, they reach a climax and ejaculate into an orgasmic frenzy.

Gaia, our Mother Earth shrouded in the mystery of time and space continuum.
The bluish hue of her elegant oceans, the reds, the oranges, the greens and
the browns of fertile lands, clear between the whiteness of serenely sailing
clouds. The visitor and his companions were mesmerized; indeed this was a
priceless jewel within an unknown pit of darkness. For the humans and every
living thing below, this planet was at this stage, their only hope.

Entering the geo-stationary orbit and rapid bursts of activity take place
as the gathering of data, continues. Molecular structures, particle physics,
and chains of DNA appear on the imager. There followed a sudden pause, one
of the many satellites seemed to evoke much interest. An Itec Corolla Mk
0157 scientific and military global surveillance and communication
satellite, was busying itself transmitting information back and forth.

The visitor and his companions hover in the static thermosphere the
boundary of space, well above the northern summer skies. The crest of the
Sun rises in the east escorted by the exquisiteness that is the dawning of
another day. The visitor monitors the systems and dispatches a football size
orb to investigate. The orb speeds to the signal that is bleating from the
drifting helium balloon in the stratosphere below. It follows the chorded
line to find the tagged and precious cargo. A data retrieval canister
contained nothing but the world's second most important pip.

The orb approaches its goal, slowing to a stop and in mid air it gracefully
settles like a magnetic counter balance. The orb spins, side on to the
silver canister and their reflections for a moment transpose. Within the
fluttering moment of its organic shutters the pip released the information
and communicated the data back to the visitor. The orb foot tapped
impatiently as it waited for the command to tack away. The visitors request
arrives and to the orbs relief, it free falls like a hunting falcon swooping
to the ground, stopping once more to balance a few meters above the cool
embrace of freshly fallen snow. The orb extends an eye as a camera; it pans
around in silence and follows each degree with intense concentration.

So much activity from this industrious device, with surely so little to
survey, each angle is much the same, for all is another monotone, endless
and relentless cold.

The orb as camera slowly turns to the vertical fifteen degrees, a relief for
the whitened wearied lens, as a new dimension appears. The visitor as if
stunned with admiration, froze all motion, struck with the swiftness of awe.
This was a sight so rarely encountered. The visitors face, if one could have
seen it brimmed with satisfaction, the only known oasis in a universe of
time, Earth the first encountered planet that has survived. Humans the first
found forms of intelligent organic life. The rush of such realization fills
his alien souls with the purest of pleasure. The visitor had found an
unequalled jewel, a haven, and at the shores of lights a beacon of hope in a
galaxy of darkness. This, to the visitor was indeed the most priceless
treasure he had ever encountered. For this moment they had travelled over
incalculable light years of time. Making the journey of a hundred solar
cycles, completely worthwhile. The visitor and orbs, sigh with loving
appreciation at the entrance of the day, a dawning sky. They cheer aloud in
harmony at the rising of the Sun, and sulk in witness tears to the slowly
disappearing Moon, near fully focused she causes quite a stir. It was for
them the first time they had truly noticed her, such pallor in a natural
satellite, how mysterious, that in the near fullness of her setting, she
appears to smile, then as is a love so beautifully disloyal, softly sinks
into the final efforts of her domain, the far side of the world and night.
Colour's now rise in altitude as light pastel's enhance the detail to the
lining of the few blushing cirrus clouds, above the last visible
constellation, Cassiopeia fades into the heavens. Mercury the messenger,
just a faint illumination, Venus is the last light to leave the dawning
stage, the sun breeze whooshes past the orb heralding the day.
 
M

Mike Koewler

You been chewing on mushrooms?

Mike

mark said:
LIVING BY LIGHT


Sub light.just thought.

Spiraling down like a feather to the ground.

Reach twenty and pause.


From beyond the mounds of druid's summit, closing to the woods of normanton
down, there came sounds. Mystical musical chords that arrived overhead like
the arrows from a bow.

Scan from rise to rest.

First the beating of rhythmic drums resounded through the trees and lifted a
swathe of movement all along the horizon. In the distance a ragged army
seemed to advance.


Correct to hover.dispatch orb.

From the resonance of strings, to the whistling of flutes, musicians
marched forward upon the fields of olde sarum.

Closer.now visible.


Beneath a canopy of summer leaves, came human voices singing. A rustic
choir incanted ancient runes and filed from out of the woodland trees,
through the pastures of fresh green wheat and on to the expanse of Salisbury
plain.

Here and now, it is summer and below the sweet scent of woodruff drifted
lazily through the air. The land shone vibrant and healthy, all was at peace
with this world. Tribes were gathering to be beside the tumuli and rings, to
celebrate last year's light with the first fire of the new season. The Sun
shone hazy with the outlying clouds, yet still its powers cast speckles of
gold on to the giant stones. The mottled lichen and the matrix of the stone
shimmered with the star, a fire of dancing flames.

Pitch and descend.

It is later in the evening and all discussions have ended; it was time for
celebration, the summer solstice, the beginning of a new year.

Open.360.

Encampments were established everywhere, yet none were allowed within the
henge itself. Tents, marques, tepees, shacks and sheds were scattered about
the ground undisciplined. Burning firewood, roasting spicy meat, herb
lavender and common gorse fixed with the evening mist, an ability to taste.
A thousand happy faces some flushed ruby with excitement, other glowed
intermittently from the warm mead and honeyed wormwood. Leather smacked and
raced tassels turning in a spin. " Tonight is not to fight, for tomorrow
live another day"



Track northeast.



Rebecca sat closest to the burning flames, the fire lit up her eyes with
momentary vigour, then perched scanning and squinting, drifting back into
the past with a sparkle and a smile. You could see it in her face, Rebecca
was once indeed a damsel so fair, her beauty had cut many a man's heart.
However, that was in the olden days and the twinkle as she reminisces events
long, long ago. Rebecca was old and at an age, when referred to as being old
was deemed by all acceptable. She had reached her centennial with honor and
pride.

Everything stopped in sudden silence, as she held up her right hand to show
them her signature and scar. The crowd cheered, moving closer, as Rebecca
looked to the heavens acknowledging the waking stars with wise old eyes.




Spiral up.align for the past.






SOON
Does death now have wings?



All around was a pearl blind white, a monotone of endless and relentless
cold.

Mechanical sounds, the discernable noise of thudding helicopter blades are
heard vuumping off and away into the distance. Beneath and welcoming to the
eye, several shiny objects clear broadly into focus. Rising from the frozen
surface, a troop of frosty silver igloos stood out against the endless
white, like a jeweled platinum ring. This was the southern atmospheric
monitoring station known to the world, as SAMS. Located on Norwegian
territory near Vestfjella, its presence remains remote from any forms of
civilization and safely secured to the freezing ice of the Antarctic
southern pole. Its benefit to humanity today, wrestles against the horror of
its recent past. Vestfjella was a once a killing den and thriving whaling
station. S.A.Ms, was a scientific research laboratory at the cutting edge
of science. For the last few years, the station had been monitoring a
strange phenomenon that was taking place within the biosphere. A rogue
weather feature had evolved, a Frankenstein, combining leftover elements of
chemical warfare, airborne viruses, and dangerous chemical pollutants. This
deadly cloud circumnavigated the planet, existing under any meteorological
conditions, devastating every sign of life wherever it became, as evil as
any medieval plaque. Environmentalists campaigned for action and a last
desperate warning, like the last desperate warning, came to industrialists
as another unicorn, a mysticism that went unheeded.

The Sun, a pale disc barely skimmed above the frozen horizon. Some grains of
radiance now filtered through the atmosphere, which lit the crest of an
impending weather front and the cool embrace of battle grey and angry nimbus
clouds. Approaching with stealth from the south, the cloud seemed to spread
out like a sickly stain and as with most weather features, it portrayed a
form. Two towering horns reached around the distant horizon and were raised
into the heavens sending burning gold's into the sky with heat and haze. A
satanic face with hollow eyes grinned around the jawbone as its claw like
hands seemed to be rubbing with anticipating glee. A reddening mane bristled
high into the stratosphere and an unnatural feeling of a darkening energy
held the local atmosphere transfixed. As it draws ever closer, the scent of
acidic salts filled the air and the splattering of toxic precipitation stung
the freezing surface. Yellowing pools of hissing gas formed lakes of noxious
death. An increasingly howling gale blew up a storm, and strange demonic
voices seemed locked within its center. The demon shouted louder and louder
with hysterical laughter and mocking obscenities, it crackled and croaked
incanting Latin tales from hell. Lightning bolts, crashing thunder and a
hurricane of force project it ever forward; the tempest had arrived. For a
few moments, everything spun into a miasmic swathe and then as abruptly as
it had started, all disappeared.

Silence clung and a perfect halo appears at the zenith. At eye of the
storm, and for a few brief moments, absolutely nothing stirred.

The poisonous cloud moves northwards on, only its front carries such that is
death. After the silence came the natural back force, blizzards of snow that
eventually cover and freeze the poisonous pools. This is nature's strength a
natural force that hounds a world way, beyond the shrieking fifties and the
roaring forties. Its might hits the stations outer entrance with pace, a
hush of air inside destroys the vacuum of the faraday doors, and they slowly
open up. A few moments later and the mechanism purr's itself shut. In here,
the wind and the weather are absent, as the environment is very carefully
controlled. Another hush of air as the vacuum returns and releases the inner
door to reveal the inner sanctum and central chamber. Steel floors and wall'
s clad the inner skin, giving the entire inner structure the appearance as
one metallic mass. At waist level, stainless steel worktops continued to
complete the circumference. Science projects with chemistry and biology
devices littered the tops, every few meters swivel chairs were placed, and
all were empty. A computer accompanied each seat and displayed its imagery
holographically. Molecular structures, system schematics and mathematical
formulas rose up from flat dark mats. The bleating lights and the humming
gadgetry sparkled on and off. Their motions indicated that they still
attended some function or duty. All this technological industry a contrast,
because the station itself was deserted and void of any form of organic
life.





























"Capitalism carries within itself war, as clouds carry rain" [J.J. Jaures]


MT (micro-tech) is a global giant, an Anglo-American consortium
established secretly before the last millennium. It now existed openly, and
for a singular purpose, to insure the few elite, remain the few elite. For
this, MT successfully constructed and supplied the latest military
technological gadgetry.

The Personal Information Processor, commonly known, as the "pip" is that
current, "state of the art, must have" device. Ultimately slick, as
presentation with such products is always handsomely applied. Extremely
expensive and ergonomically shaped to fit the contours of wrist all
effortlessly light, like a dark sweatband. Multi-tasking and organically
powered through barometric pressure, kinetic movement and solar energy. The
non-mechanical parts enabled lifelong usability, the drives were constructed
from seamless zero gravity compound platinum and silica, with software
systems already applied. Enigmatically encrypted programs made the whole
device personal and its build quality made it virtually indestructible. The
pips dutiful purpose was to simulate the functions of a synthetic human
mind, an almost life, in its ability. Scholar programming with integrated
logic, gave a far superior learning curve. It hungered for the collating of
data on every global subject, level and task. Client specific DNA and user
voice activated commands held fast the security. It displayed visual
requests through projection of holographic imagery, a system of light
trickery known as GZAM, (Gustav Ziess Aurae Monitor) another industry of MT.
Such systems had previously guided drones with deadly accuracy and laser
bombs to their horrifically surprised targets in the jungles of South
America, the slopes of the Korean peninsular and the desserts of the Middle
East.

The pip had been commercialised and acceptable for civilian use for many
years. In the public domain it proved absolutely vital, with high status in
demand. Its resourcefulness had made it unique. The pip was indeed rapidly
becoming as useful an implement to modern man, as much was once his knife.

Peoples, governments and states that rely solely on such technology, reflect
certain arrogance. They relished these gifts so deeply sought and were so
easily by such gifts, betrayed.















"Let your thought's dip deep into the stream or shall those depths be never
fathomed"


Anchored just beyond the sparkling reef of paradise beach, a few kilometers
South of Richards bay and Southern Africa, the Green Peace flagship Gaia
floated on the warm agulhas tides like a graceful swan. She drifted in
silent elegance on the mirrored calmness of the warm green Indian Ocean.
Gaia was perfect in her setting being so beautifully designed. Ancient
lines like the clipper yet as able as a modern schooner with her twin blower
turbines, still on standby. Her rigging rising full to the topmast in
readiness of command and the breeze or blowers will fill her sails. Gaia was
not alone, nor had she been for several years. Returning from the cold Gaia
had been stalked every inch of the way by the frigate USS Clinton and the
Australian coastal command vessel Barracuda. Gaia was an international
vessel with an international crew. The captain was a fundamentalist green
American from the big easy, occasionally sharp and as equally jovial. He was
everything that's best in Uncle Sam, well educated, forthright, and
committed to the cause. Even though the radar, satellites, and various
bugging devices held, Gaia's every position. The captain had developed over
several years, tactics so that he and his colleague a German eco-agent could
slip the observation net and undertake a special conference on the beach
beside the shore. By means of clever computing and the resourcefulness of a
local chokka fishing fleet, they both entered the warm waters and without
the foe, ever noticing managed to snorkel and slip ashore. The Captain and
the German hop scotched up the blistering beach, its sand all white and
glittering with heat. They briefly cooled their soles in pools besides the
rocks and continued unseen. Sneaking directly into the awaiting beach cabin,
they quickly changed into the pre-prepared dries. They both kept smart while
hurrying to the bar where another special agent would brief them with the
update of events, and further them the task.

Africa shone, her lonely subtropical coastal charm, brushed vibrant with
passionate colours and scintillating flair. The sky a cobalt blue was clear
with hardly a cloud to spoil the view. Cycads and the browning wintry of
raffia palms whistled and whispered gently about the dunes. Monkeys and
parrots chatted vigorously in the low-slung mangroves, coconut palms, and
chinobar trees. The saltiness in the atmosphere was perfumed with the
sweetness of ozone and the warmth the ear lapping sea. The setting was about
as far from the cause as it could be, almost surreal. A mission so dark and
dangerous to pursue, awash, in the splendor of this sunny paradise. An enemy
so vile still haunted them, into this heavenly tropical utopia.

The temperature seemed hotter in the circular beach shabeen, a thatched lapa
set on pile driven gum poles, a meter or so above the fine white sand. The
ceiling was a thinning cape spray and through these gaps beams of light
stung at the wooden sandy floor. The semi circular walls were made of reed
and decorated with various marine items, driftwood, and large cabana shells.
In the center a semi circular walnut bar, behind which a large Zulu barmen
was entertaining its visitors.

"So Frank.can you get him out" the American Captain asked wiping his
forehead clean of the salty beads with a soggy wet hanky.

"Whoa china.their breath lies hot and heavy on my neck" the khaki Afrikaner
retorted, swigging directly from the cool condensing bottled quart.

"Can you help us or not Herr van der merwe?" the little German eco-agent
demanded twitching frantically while sipping at the rim, a glass of cool ice
tea.

The Afrikaner did not answer; his bright blue eyes gazed out wearily from
his weather beaten face, they reached out staring at the deep, as equally
unfathomable in thought.

"For Gods sake man.can you get him out or not" the fractious American
captain increased his volume and tone, whilst fidgeting uncomfortable on the
dryness of land and the sweaty heat.

The tall Zulu barman drifted anxiously towards the meeting and gave the
Captain a completely threatening glare. Franks nodded for the Zulu to
desist, the barman winks and returns to his duties, cleaning the shot glass.

"Jezzus you okes.look sleepy I'm up too here with you bleddy foreigners
telling me what I have to do for them.I've enough kak here to arrange for
me-self" Frank smarted and acting furious with rage picked up his beer
bottle and slammed it down hard onto the bar next to the German.

"Ja.ja es gibt immer ein arschloch" the German stuttered.

" Frank.you've gotta be aware of the importance and what is at stake here"
the American Captain now lowered his volume considerably and frowning with
all the muscles in his face, he starred pleading with concern.

The Afrikaner shook his head and dropped his shoulders in frustration, then
huffed while scratching at his blonde crew cut hair, he sighed a little and
pointing both arms to the sea in resignation, letting out a gentle moan.

"Frank you have got to do something.you're our last hope and you damn well
know it.Pretoria said you would definitely help us," the Captain begged.

"Okay butte.I can get this man to the capital.but that's as far as I go"
Frank knew he would have to give in and a little reluctantly he agreed to
their demands.

"Is the pip there and who will guide me home?" the little German professor
sharply questioned, they all suddenly blinked as the wind blew up
expectantly from the sea, it temporarily removed a large cluster of shade
and the burning Sun caught in all there eyes.

"The pip.I don't have a clue about the pip...man. maybe its in Pretoria.I
wouldn't know and to be honest I no longer care" Frank lied as he put his
hand to shade his eyes, within that instant the clump of shade returned.

" I hope its there my friend" the German spat indignant.

" There my friend.if you are lucky you might further the cause" The
Afrikaner stared into the Germans eyes while finishing gluging to the foam,
he wiped his lips, stamped the bottle down once more and ordered another
beer.

"Thank green spirits and blue angels" the American Captain cheered " I can
leave you two too it, good-bye" the American Captain broadened his smile and
congratulated both men with the keenest of departures, his lasting efforts
seen heading back to the cabin and out onto the beach with goggles, snorkel
and flippers he slid back into the warm corralled sea.

"When and where in Pretoria will I find the pip und how far can this
man.your friend take me," the German demanded, also finishing his mineral
drink, wiping his lips, stamping it down and ordering another.

The Afrikaner opened up his own pip wrist communicator and proceeds to type
in the encrypted text. A few awkward moments existed between them. Frank
continued to stare while the German fixed his eyes onto the beautiful
horizon and sighed as the replying text bleeped in.

"And" the German quizzed.

"You can prepare for leaving this continent within the hour, disguised as a
South African economic attaché. There you will transit in a diplomatic
convoy of various other ethnic attachés.you'll fly to Lusaka and join the
African crisis delegation departing for Hamburg and the European talks.they
will arrive in Germany tomorrow lunch time.you can find your own way home
from there I hope.Herr Kuntz" the Afrikaner deliberately dictated the
response.

"Excellent" the German replied ignoring the sarcasm.

Frank and the German both decided on staying until Gaia and her stalking
escort had completely left the bay. The German looked back at Frank in
trying to understand the man. Frank was a leader in the militant green's, he
was also a renowned biochemist and responsible for some of the most
notorious environmental escapades in recent times. In over thirty years of
eco-service, Frank had only once been caught and even then escaped.

Frank regarded the German Werner Kunz with equal admiration; he knew that
Werner had discovered the poison cloud many years ago and that Werner was
the Professor of the Atmospheric Conditions Monitors at Harvard and
Cambridge universities. He had also heard that Werner had spent several
years in a Russian prison, captured protesting at a scrap yard of nuclear
waste at an oil refinery near Murmansk.

"Tell me Herr van der Merwe. why are you always so rude we are working for
the same side" the German twitched a half smiled at him.

"My friend I've been opened from here to here by the cause" frank replied
drawing a line beneath his chin from his left ear to his right.

"Does it have to make you so unfriendly towards your comrades" the Professor
jittered.

"Ja" Frank nodded

" And that is the way you with us to entertain each other on this long and
arduous journey" the Professor stuttered concerned.

" Look china.the less I know about you the better and that goes for me too.I
don't want to know because if they catch me they will torture me and I've
been there before.believe me it hurts.it hurts enough to talk" Frank
shuddered.

" We can still smile from time to time or not.Herr van deer Mere" the German
tried his best to smile, but perhaps it is simply not in German genes. A
sudden hideous contortion that took a form akin to the expressions being
required whilst squitting out the last dregs of fiery dysentery. Frank
stared at Werner's comical struggling before breaking into a smile of which
he could not control himself.

"No.a smile assumes recognition" Frank held back the tears.

"Never.ever smile.mine got was fur ein leben" the Germans painful grinning
turned into a frowning grimace.

"Never.ever smile" Frank cried aloud.

Frank took the quickest route to Pretoria still some seven hours away.
Climbing into the parched arid soils of the seringa tree and the high veld.

They spoke little on the way but eventually each gained a notion of the
comradeship they felt. What they were doing was right; that life itself has
meaning and that for both of these men its virtue became apparent and
sufficient.

The Jacaranda trees of Pretoria lined the avenue to the union buildings with
confetti of purple blossoms; falling sapphire petals littered the streets.
Frank parked up and the German professor got out.

"Njani.Professor" Tula Malinga greeted him with a wide toothy African beam.

"Njani.Tula" the professor stammered shocked at seeing that his escort was
not only a woman but also an extremely tall ethnically dressed Zulu. "Please
tell me that you do have the pip?" The German extremely anxious, that this
single mystery could at least be solved.

"I think you have it now.Professor" Tula broadened her grin until it
encompassed her whole face.

Werner reached into his jacket pocket and in that very same moment, the
flashing lights signaled Frank's departure as he headed off into the sunset
and on to the next certain phase. Werner pulled the shiny object out into
the last light of day, also smiling but this time more appropriately than
before. Werner with that sudden sharpness knew, that he had now become the
latest high profile client for disposal on the states darkest list.















































Nullius addictus iurare in verba magistri,
Quo me cumque rapit tempestas, deferor hospes. [Horace]


The visitor is not of this earth, nor from our solar system or even our
galaxy. He is from a galaxy at the very edge of our understanding beyond the
Virgo Supercluster. His species has the start of a millennium or more
advances in science. As we have learnt to leave this Earth, his kind has
occupied their understandings in traveling through many dimensions and the
enormity of time and space.

His crafts propel themselves through space by three means. Firstly, a galaxy
class starship using neutrino based technology. Secondly, a solar system
craft utilizing gravitational vortex control. Thirdly, a terrestrial class
craft, making use of a planet's electromagnetic fields. All forms of craft
appeared similar in one way, they were shaped into large translucent
spheres. The surface of which sporadically glowed with a rainbow type sheen.
The only object visible within each of them at the core was a small dark orb
shining like the pupils of an eye.

Suddenly within its mass there was click, like a trigger being released and
a fluorescent green mist rose out from the inner skin and swirled about
inside. A louder click and a flash of light ignite some life into small
golden orbs. These little golden orbs rise in columns and encircle the
craft. In delta formation, they speed into a single twisting path and crash
toward the central. Another intense flash of light before a single image
starts to appear.

The view of space outside was spectacular and the visitor, his craft, and
the golden orbs survey their new surroundings, with noisy excitement. In an
instant they had reached the Oort cloud at the distant borders of our solar
system. The visitor collates the navigation information, while circling the
barren debris of these rocks and life's explosive past.

Within the blinking of an eye, the visitor arrived at Pluto, the so-called
lord of the underworld. Silver strands are propelled from the craft towards
the planet; they intersect the surface as geometric gridlines. Closing in
upon this little world, a shoal of golden orbs are released and while the
visitor passes silently over the faint mist and thin veneer of Pluto's
atmosphere, they return and fill the imager with cloned particles and copied
molecular structures. There is a sudden silence of activity, as Pluto's moon
Charon appears, rising from the east, to escort Pluto on its mystical path
through the depths of deepest space. The visitor, his craft, and the golden
orbs pause for a moment's reflection as to the beauty of planets and their
satellites, then travels further on. Silver strands are sent out and silver
grid lines reappear, encircling the mass of a giant blue planet; the
flashing lights and the golden orbs jig merry with enthusiasm once again, as
Neptune, a God of the sea, appears for the visitor and orbs to study. The
orbs leave the craft and after a short while, they return and build more
complex elements and structures into the visual machine. They leave this
gentle giants atmosphere and head off into space. Uranus the seventh planet
accompanied by many moons and encased by many charcoal rings. Once the
information was compiled and stored, and they effortlessly proceed. Saturn
the sixth and second largest planet and a slightly brightening Sun. They
collect the complex gaseous molecular structures, which so excite and
entertain the dancing orbs. Jupiter, God of the sky, the fifth and largest
Planet, so immense, all the planets combined could comfortably fit within
his jovial mass. Swirling clouds, of oranges and browns spin within its
high-speed rotation. This time they pause, and take in its true magnificence
and of course its known significance to them, without Jupiter, its unlikely
that any other planet within this system would ever exist. Stationary, the
visitor, his craft, and golden orbs continue to collect data. The orbs
bleep with the anticipation exposed by radar revealing the four terrestrial
planets. The visitor, his craft, and orbs continue and skillfully navigate
through a belt of asteroids. Mars, the God of war appears to greet them,
how bright it shines these nights. This planet was nearly close enough to
the Sun, a mere tiptoe on this solar system hike. The dancing orbs flicker
with exhilaration as they approach the dusty red planet, molecules appear
and disappear in rapid succession. Then something new, a faint laser of
pearl like particles released; they form into a ghostly mass and beam down
to the planets surface. They return in silence with the knowledge that not
everything we hold is purely data. An important moment had occurred, the
visitor along with the orbs turn to view the imaging machine.

Slowly the craft manoeuvres gently starboard, the visitor and orbs gasp.
The crazy golden orbs explode into excited activity, they whirl about the
craft, which can hardly contain them, enthralled by the beauty that beholds
them, they reach a climax and ejaculate into an orgasmic frenzy.

Gaia, our Mother Earth shrouded in the mystery of time and space continuum.
The bluish hue of her elegant oceans, the reds, the oranges, the greens and
the browns of fertile lands, clear between the whiteness of serenely sailing
clouds. The visitor and his companions were mesmerized; indeed this was a
priceless jewel within an unknown pit of darkness. For the humans and every
living thing below, this planet was at this stage, their only hope.

Entering the geo-stationary orbit and rapid bursts of activity take place
as the gathering of data, continues. Molecular structures, particle physics,
and chains of DNA appear on the imager. There followed a sudden pause, one
of the many satellites seemed to evoke much interest. An Itec Corolla Mk
0157 scientific and military global surveillance and communication
satellite, was busying itself transmitting information back and forth.

The visitor and his companions hover in the static thermosphere the
boundary of space, well above the northern summer skies. The crest of the
Sun rises in the east escorted by the exquisiteness that is the dawning of
another day. The visitor monitors the systems and dispatches a football size
orb to investigate. The orb speeds to the signal that is bleating from the
drifting helium balloon in the stratosphere below. It follows the chorded
line to find the tagged and precious cargo. A data retrieval canister
contained nothing but the world's second most important pip.

The orb approaches its goal, slowing to a stop and in mid air it gracefully
settles like a magnetic counter balance. The orb spins, side on to the
silver canister and their reflections for a moment transpose. Within the
fluttering moment of its organic shutters the pip released the information
and communicated the data back to the visitor. The orb foot tapped
impatiently as it waited for the command to tack away. The visitors request
arrives and to the orbs relief, it free falls like a hunting falcon swooping
to the ground, stopping once more to balance a few meters above the cool
embrace of freshly fallen snow. The orb extends an eye as a camera; it pans
around in silence and follows each degree with intense concentration.

So much activity from this industrious device, with surely so little to
survey, each angle is much the same, for all is another monotone, endless
and relentless cold.

The orb as camera slowly turns to the vertical fifteen degrees, a relief for
the whitened wearied lens, as a new dimension appears. The visitor as if
stunned with admiration, froze all motion, struck with the swiftness of awe.
This was a sight so rarely encountered. The visitors face, if one could have
seen it brimmed with satisfaction, the only known oasis in a universe of
time, Earth the first encountered planet that has survived. Humans the first
found forms of intelligent organic life. The rush of such realization fills
his alien souls with the purest of pleasure. The visitor had found an
unequalled jewel, a haven, and at the shores of lights a beacon of hope in a
galaxy of darkness. This, to the visitor was indeed the most priceless
treasure he had ever encountered. For this moment they had travelled over
incalculable light years of time. Making the journey of a hundred solar
cycles, completely worthwhile. The visitor and orbs, sigh with loving
appreciation at the entrance of the day, a dawning sky. They cheer aloud in
harmony at the rising of the Sun, and sulk in witness tears to the slowly
disappearing Moon, near fully focused she causes quite a stir. It was for
them the first time they had truly noticed her, such pallor in a natural
satellite, how mysterious, that in the near fullness of her setting, she
appears to smile, then as is a love so beautifully disloyal, softly sinks
into the final efforts of her domain, the far side of the world and night.
Colour's now rise in altitude as light pastel's enhance the detail to the
lining of the few blushing cirrus clouds, above the last visible
constellation, Cassiopeia fades into the heavens. Mercury the messenger,
just a faint illumination, Venus is the last light to leave the dawning
stage, the sun breeze whooshes past the orb heralding the day.
 
B

Brian Kvalheim - [MS MVP]

Hi Mike Koewler ([email protected]),
in the newsgroups
you posted:

|| You been chewing on mushrooms?

ROFL!!!

--
Brian Kvalheim
Microsoft Office Publisher MVP
Official Publisher MVP Site:
http://www.kvalheim.org

This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and
confers no rights.
L
 
B

Brian Kvalheim - [MS MVP]

Hi Mike Koewler ([email protected]),
in the newsgroups
you posted:

|| You been chewing on mushrooms?

ROFL!!!

--
Brian Kvalheim
Microsoft Office Publisher MVP
Official Publisher MVP Site:
http://www.kvalheim.org

This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and
confers no rights.
L
 
°

°°°MS°Publisher°°°

Melissa, you are delightfully wicked - ROFLOL

Well, for once I regret my previous post to Mark 'Help in Publishing'.
Pity I did not read furthur down the list before replying.

Now Mark, when did they let you out?
Now Mark, I think they let you out before you were ready for it.
Now Mark, when you feel better, you should not stop taking your tablets.
Now Mark, how about you phone up your carer and tell him/her to come and see
you.

Now Mark, quote "Returning from the cold Gaia had been stalked every inch of
the way by the frigate USS Clinton and the Australian coastal command vessel
Barracuda". Australia does not stalk anybody or anything and does no
operations like you describe. We would just arrange for the frog french to
come and blow it out of the water. We only chase illegal fishing trawlers
with the help of the South African Government. Australia would *NEVER* have
a vessel called a 'Barracuda'!!! We would call it a respectable name,
something civilised and meaningful like Wallerawang, Mullumbimby,
Waggabundi, Thargomindah, Goonbundagumgee.

Mark, I have been to Richards Bay - have you?
Mark, what town do you live in?
Mark what is your background?

Now, Mark, don't forget to get in touch with your carer and start taking
your tablets again.

--
 
Ad

Advertisements

°

°°°MS°Publisher°°°

Melissa, you are delightfully wicked - ROFLOL

Well, for once I regret my previous post to Mark 'Help in Publishing'.
Pity I did not read furthur down the list before replying.

Now Mark, when did they let you out?
Now Mark, I think they let you out before you were ready for it.
Now Mark, when you feel better, you should not stop taking your tablets.
Now Mark, how about you phone up your carer and tell him/her to come and see
you.

Now Mark, quote "Returning from the cold Gaia had been stalked every inch of
the way by the frigate USS Clinton and the Australian coastal command vessel
Barracuda". Australia does not stalk anybody or anything and does no
operations like you describe. We would just arrange for the frog french to
come and blow it out of the water. We only chase illegal fishing trawlers
with the help of the South African Government. Australia would *NEVER* have
a vessel called a 'Barracuda'!!! We would call it a respectable name,
something civilised and meaningful like Wallerawang, Mullumbimby,
Waggabundi, Thargomindah, Goonbundagumgee.

Mark, I have been to Richards Bay - have you?
Mark, what town do you live in?
Mark what is your background?

Now, Mark, don't forget to get in touch with your carer and start taking
your tablets again.

--
 
M

mark chaney

SOON

CHAPTER TWO

"The temperature so cold it bites, its bleakness harsher than its ice and
the constant white that blinds us dry"



The station computer shrills alarmingly, demanding immediate human
interactivity.

The Northern Atmospheric Monitoring Station (N.A.M.S) is an exact replica of
its Antarctic counterpart. A cluster of shiny igloos situated on the rugged
shores of Jan Mayen, a narrow volcanic island with a single snow capped
mountain, a freezing five hundred kilometres to the north of Iceland. The
research laboratory lay just two hundred meters from the visitor's orb,
which hummed pleasantly while transmitting these events.
The outside temperature had risen to a cool, crisp minus fifteen degrees as
the four members of the research team slept in a comfortably controlled
environment, the internal temperature rising for morning and reading an
agreeable twenty-two.

Professor Manuel Santiga, Manny to his friends and colleagues headed this
arctic observation team; he was a tall and gangly Mediterranean, a softly
spoken Spaniard, whose years of experience appeared in weary streaks of
whitish grey which threaded through hid raven hair. Deep furrows of worry
ploughed into the contours of his face, which gave away his years, late
middle aged. His most prominent feature was a wickedly large hooked nose,
almost comical as its tip curled like the volutes of an ancient Greek
capital spiralling down towards his thin-pursed lips and the tapered goatee
beard. His piercing brown eyes and hardened features portrayed a man of
outer calm and inner strength. He was well briefed in the significance of
this mission, its outcome of such importance that even state scientists had
recommended him for this project, trusted to deliver the truth as
information without corruption. Manny would need to confront and reason with
those in power. He knew the risks, to the lives of himself and other's; his
only remit was to insure the safe completion of this project, regardless of
the costs. His many years of covert global environmental operations, had
equipped him with the knowledge of how far world powers would go to steal or
suppress this information. He realized that the establishment would try to
appropriate him and the data on the pip and being well aquatinted with this
type of mission, only the speed and changes in event's now worried him. For
the first time in years he felt the plunges of uneasiness with the fear of
knowing that so many deadly security services and so many blood-seeking
assassins were now most definitely involved.

The station felt cooler and lonely now that the science department had
departed, leaving only a skeleton crew with Manny to retrieve the data
canister and its precious capsule. His three colleagues were all research
students that came on loan from various North American and European
universities. Aged within their early twenties, steel bright and
enthusiastic. Selected as these students often are, by their political
leanings, readings and ability. The truth came with the secrecy of their
different service agencies, supposedly low profile to avoid over attention.
The station siren continues to alert the team, the professor orders the
override and is pleasantly rewarded with its silence. Rebecca was the first
student to reach the control centre, she arrived to greet the professor,
slightly dishevelled and still in her pyjamas.

"Good morning.Christ you're eager" Manny smiled, looking up from the
steaming coffee, quite possibly a stare, a little too long for the simplest
of greetings and at this realization he momentarily rushed his looks away.

Even in her hurried state, Rebecca shone awash in female beauty. She
possessed the form, the looks and the ability to lead all men on that merry
dance astray. Even those brave souls who in such arrogance thought strong
enough to resist her feminine charm, would fail. The cotton nightdress clung
to her body revealing the hourglass contours of her figure and as she walk
towards her monitor two crumpled and beaded locks of fair swish hair swung
to mesmerise, they fell gently over her fringe as she was seated. Turning
to face Manny she lifted her face, behind the glasses her sage green vixen
eyes peered out with a haunting beauty and the clarity of firm intention.
Rebecca always appeared as a slight illusion and she herself was haunted by
her looks in many ways.

"What's the score, Manny" she smiled back knowing that he couldn't help but
stare.

Once more Manny turned his gaze away "Retrieval" he replies.

"At last" Rebecca chants.

Joachim is the contrast that arrived as awful and unpleasantness; he
stopped the conversation dead in its tracks. Strolling into the control room
with one hand holding at his head, the other fumbling around his dirty night
shorts scratching at his scrotum. Joachim was a young Austrian farm boy well
built by the years of agricultural activity, brimming full with rustic life
and very basic hygiene. He roughly shook his unkempt orange hair, and then
grasps at the doorframe, grimaced, contorted his facial features, then
sighing, smiling with relief let out a stinking fart. Sniffing with
approval, he slowly sat down and buried his hands once more into his hair.

"So ein scheiss.wass ist denn loss" he grunted complaining first in Deutsche
then mumbling into English as to the nature of his throbbing head hung over.

Rebecca looked at Joachim with the expression of revolt " Your disgusting"
she sneered.

" So.tell me about it" Joachim cheered, he turned to face Manny and pointed
to the flashing consol lights, " what's that all about" he inquired.

"The sample's now ready for collection" Manny replied.

"We can pack up and go home," Joachim asked with a sign of sudden excitement
in his speech.

"Yes its over.that's it" Manny quietly replies.

"So what now.is this really the last one" Rebecca seriously quizzes.

Manny nods and she with false sweet innocence thankfully sighs.

"We've got to go out collect the sample.down load the data.then.... well
then it's off home to mummy" Manny cheered

"And the results" Joachim casually asks, moving to his monitor adjusting the
contrast.

"The results I'm sure will back up the research at the universities.they
will endeavour to produce a viable destructive compound or a defence
mechanism to combat the cloud. governments will select an appropriate
response and fund the undertaking" Manny states it as simple as the wording
of the U.N. mandate.

"Fucking great.that means they won't do a thing," Joachim mocked, he was
also fundamentalist green and could speak a curse in English with eloquent
ease.

"It all depends on how much time they've got" Rebecca intervened

"Time.are you serious.time.they've had plenty of that.time and money.****
they spent America's annual military budget and four years in a laboratory
to discover that the cloud contains global SARS and B63 which we were told
didn't exist.people die before any noticeable symptoms appear, then they
dissolve.they've never taken the cause seriously.and they never will"
Joachim scoffed, he hated the regime.

"They'll have to this time.we all know the consequences if they don't" said
Manny confident as never before that the establishments response was on this
occasion a consummate must.

"Never.its useless.they won't even try" Joachim was caustic in his features
and reply.

"Well mother nature has responded well in some sectors.we know that she
often reacts in magnificent ways to clean up our mistakes" Rebecca expressed
the state ignorance in her concerns.

"You don't believe that shit Rebecca and you know it.she can't swat this one
out. SARS, B63, CS2, or Viral Calaban and Eurasian flu, the last sample
showed seven airborne viruses, two years ago their were only three" Joachim
snarled.

"Settle down man.get some perspective there still borderline, the samples
never rise too far above the threshold, our bodies are definitely working on
defences and that's not just government chat" Manny tries to bring in some
optimism.

"And its also a fact, that after the cloud winters in the southern
hemisphere it travels north, drifting slowly over every heavily populated
urban area's on its way, to winter in the north, its an exact pattern, same
shit every year, only its longitudinal path remains unpredictable, perhaps
mother nature is trying to kill us, I would if I we're her" Joachim was
getting redder with anger.

"Well that's why we're here to sort this mess out, provide the data to
produce some kind of defensive antidote or deterrent" Manny replies.

"Yes, well let's hope they destroy the cloud quickly, it's all so
distressing" Rebecca played the innocent once more and sighed.

"Distressing, you're all fucking crazy, " Joachim laughed sarcastically.

"Look lets just get on with it, there's know point in discussing it
now...come" the professor orders an end to the debate and signals with a
clap for them to move.

"So what's the answer then, cheerful, build a bunker, hope and hide?"
Rebecca dismissingly smiles.

Joachim realised that quarrelling was futile, he slides along the control
panel towards Rebecca "Only if you share my cave with me...honey" he grins
closing in.

Rebecca waved her hand in front of her face; the smell of stale alcohol and
body odour was unbearable.

"You disgust me, I'd rather die" she replied.

Joachim put his arms around her hugging, she could smell the putrid sweat
that stained his clothes, and winced as she noticed the small vomit
particles that infested his unkempt red beard.

"Necrophilia, mmm nice, I'll try anything once.baby"

Rebecca reeled away, and stood arms folded by the exit door "He's
disgusting" she protested.

"He most certainly is" Manny replied.



They all left the control room to go their separate ways and prepared for
collecting the helium flask. Manny arrived at the inner air lock a half hour
later, as ever first his thoughts turned to the others, he was well aware
that an un welcoming committee could be waiting out there and that this
supposedly harmless mission might endanger all their lives, he especially
didn't like the fact that Rebecca was coming, he felt like all men in the
overwhelming desire to protect her.

"Manny, what's the gun for" inquired Rebecca, as she securely buttoned up
the insulated jacket.

"Wolves" replied Manny, startled at her sudden appearance.

"What wolves?" exclaimed Rebecca, as she sat down hard on the slatted wooden
bench.

Manny moved swiftly toward her and slapped the flat of his hand to the
wall, placing the other respectfully on her knee, looking down into her
eyes, he spoke softly.

"Look...I think you should stay here and guard the fort" he smiled.

Rebecca shot up and protested. "Now you look, if those two idiots are
going, I'm going too you won't stop me," she argued, glaring straight back
at him.

"I can't stop you, but it might get difficult," Manny replied.

"Difficult, what do you mean" Rebecca curiously inquired.

Manny didn't have time to reply, once more Joachim walked in and sat down
on the bench, looking nervous, he fidgeted while testing the cumbersome
mobile transmitter, the flashing red light informed him that the batteries
were low.

"Have we got any spare batteries these ones seem to be out" Joachim asked
fiddling with the device.

"Stephen's bound to have a bundle of spares hidden somewhere" Rebecca
nonchalantly remarked.

"Yeah.where is that yank.anyway" Manny asked, while checking the external
temperature, that was reading a cool crisp minus seven.

"In the shower" replied Joachim.

"Look go get the batteries and hurry him up, we'll get the winch sledge and
meet outside" Manny sighed.

As Manny opened the outer door a blast of cold air hit his air-conditioned
face with the force of a bitch slap, he gritted his teeth while noticing
that Rebecca seemed oblivious to the freeze. Manny traced his stair upwards
and the heavens, the bright blue sky was unwelcome as he could clearly see
several vapour trails and knew that higher up satellites would monitor and
accompany their moves. He looked back onto the Blanc horizon; assassins
could be hiding beneath the snow.

Joachim took the keys from Stephen's bedside cabinet drawer, unlocked the
locker and sorted through the books and documents until he found the spare
battery box at the back, as he brought it out into the open a small blue
note book fell to the floor. There was no writing on its cover, yet it
looked somehow important and as curiosity struck Joachim picked it up.
Written on the pages were several sketches, hieroglyphics, numbers and
diagrams, as he flicked though the pages, several photographs flew out.
Joachim reached for the floor, in that very instant Stephen strode into his
bedroom.

" Have you found what you were looking for?" Stephen raised his eyebrows and
sneered sarcastically.

" It.it fell out while I was searching for some batteries" Joachim quickly
responded but the guilty look that held within his eye's easily betrayed
him. Joachim turned out of the room without a further word and headed off
toward the air lock, but he could feel Stephen watching him.


Stephen returned back into the room and dressed hurriedly, a male narcissus
whose appearance was to all intents and purposes the stereotypical American,
well about as typical as any Anglo-Saxon American could ever see himself and
smile in stereo. The straw blonde sharp as the barber's blade, a good and
healthy complexion with a few lingering freckles adding an interesting human
frailty touch. The eyes, a scary Montana blue and the confident smiling
white osmond teeth, his aura could be tacitly felt brightly buzzing with the
keenness of murderous delight. Rachel's first assessment of Stephen, was
triple A, Arrogant American Arse hole, and she was usually right, what
puzzled her was the fact that Stephen never made any advances toward her,
and her instincts informed her that Stephen was in no way, gay.

Stephen knew that they were waiting for him outside, he opened the exit
door, and all of them stood, eyes to the heavens, tutting and stamping their
feet.

"At last" Manuel exclaimed sarcastically, however briefly, as motion was now
desperately needed to generate some warmth.









"In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed"
[Emerson]

Manny programmed his own pip as finder it bleated every three seconds and
this distance was calculated to be six kilometres. Joachim tugged at the
winch sledge and slowly he gained the motion that they all now needed and
set off for the chase. The terrain was mostly snow covered and level, to the
east of them a vast mountain range rose up as if it had been pinched from
the skin of the land, stretch near to its braking point and by the hand of
an angry god, released.

The crack of ski's and sledge runs on snow penetrated the stillness of the
early morning air. The small plumes of vapour, given of by exertion, exposed
their progress as their efforts were monitored by the visitor and the
corolla satellite, which built an image from the thermal imaging camera and
beamed its secrets back to it American base. The journey would take them an
hour at the most and to save heat, few words where exchanged between them on
the way. After about thirty minutes they had halved the distance and decided
to take a short rest. The tension between the three research students was
fermenting into some thing nasty, everyone held secrets and the youthful
desire in revealing them became unbearable.

Stephen broke the silence "How far now" he asked cupping his hands around
the carbon beaker of piping hot coffee.

"About three clicks, maybe less" replied Manuel, pointing aimlessly into the
distance.

"Seen any wolves yet" Rebecca asked mordantly, deliberately passing
attention to her leader.

"There's one or two out there, but they haven't shown up yet" Manuel
replied.

"Wolves, what wolves, there are no wolves out here," stated Joachim, sipping
brandy from a hip class.

"That's what you think," replied Manuel angrily.

"No.... Manny no that's what I know" laughed Joachim.

"You know **** all, now shut up and save some heat" replied Manuel lividly,
the pressure a mountain started to show.

Once again they set off and little was spoken. Within thirty minutes they
had approached ground zero, blatant hostility now filled the atmosphere and
freezing air.

"Hey, you guy's quieten up," said Steven noticing that the tracker was
bleating continuously.

They moved forward the snow crackling like gravel and in the direction of
the hidden monitoring device. Closing in, Stephen calculated it to be 70m
to the left, they proceeded to the fixed point, and now within its range the
proximity activator dutifully directed them to the monitor's exact location.
Manny and Joachim began lowering the balloon, while Stephen and Rebecca set
up the Gzam, satellite transmission unit and the remote IR.

Joachim turns toward Manuel as they lower the guidelines, he nods the
professor to stop, and Stephen walks out of hearing range "Very strange that
American" Joachim remarks.

Manny does not stop and beckons Joachim to also continue, "Why's that" he
inquires puffing and blowing with exertion.

"I found a book in his locker.it was full of Professor Kuntz's schematics
and notes .I think its him, I think that Stephen might be a C.I A agent"
whispered Joachim.

"Its possible, but this mission is so fucked up that so could you or Rebecca
be our American friend," remarked Manny casually.

"You know that not to be true Manny" replied Joachim, his reddened face lit
up with anxiety..."I served three years with your college Werner Kuntz at
Murmansk Tatiana jail, my father died in his arms during the battle of Lenz
and he demanded that I should vouch for him here and now.

" Then you know that if it is him you're here in case anything happens to
me... You understand that" Joachim nods "if they steal the pip or if they
kill me, you must get it back at any cost, any cost Joachim...even killing
to secure it, you must deliver it to Werner at Hamburg, you understand that
clearly don't you" Professor Manuel delivered his instructions with firm
intent.

Joachim continues to nod with intense confirmation almost biting though his
bottom lip with the realization of sudden concern.

"Yes, but we thought that they might try and hit you when you get to
Hamburg, not here, not now" Joachim quizzed.

"Anything is possible, do not trust anyone, know one knows of their plans"
the professor nods back.

"Shit, we must act quickly, if their plan is to kill you here they must have
a back up" Joachim states.

"Agreed" the professor quietly, replies

"OK... ok look I'll watch him, if he makes a move I'll kill him, but what
about Rebecca, do you think she's involved" asks Joachim

"I'm not sure," replies Manny.

"She could also be an agent," inquires Joachim

" Perhaps, look Joachim if the shit comes down you must create a diversion
for me, it'll give me a head start" Manny searched Joachim's eye for a
truthful response.

" But how" asks Joachim.

" Anything that will give me enough time to get a good clear distance away
they're sending a chopper" Manny try's a smile.

" When" asks Joachim?

" I don't know they never tell you these things but I think Stephen will
have to make a move soon, when he does" replies Manny.

" I know what to do" Joachim spoke it fast, like he meant it.

They completed the lowering of the balloon, and carefully emptied the
precious cargo into the drive casing. The Professor walks towards the
transmitter and places the pip into the waiting drive; immediately the gzam
projected holographically and a female image in military apparel stands and
salutes.

"This is professor Manuel Santiga, clearance code 43 777 chronicle M 3,"
Manny dictated as the laser light from her rifle scanned his retina. The
female computer warrior stood at ease, her synthetic voice rang out, crystal
clear.

"Welcome to Itec global weather pattern surveillance program 20981L
professor Manuel Santiga"

Suddenly the military female had disappeared and the gzam projected some
letters whirling in red.

COROLLA NM!................... COROLLA NM!.............................
COROLLA NM!........................... COROLLA NM!.. .LOADING.



A tenor male voice lifted out from the silence and the cold, with its
servile English tongue, spoke thus.

"Good morning professor Santiga.please repeat your access codes clearly"

"Three, eight, eighteen, fifteen, fourteen, nine, three, twelve, five space
thirteen space Charlie" Manny reeled out in correct sequence.

The computers reply was unexpected and particularly unhelpful. In fact a new
sinister tone was added to its list of abilities.

"Unfortunately professor, you now possess the incorrect pass code for a
current alpha rated program.your level clearance and pass identity has been
downgraded to minus beta five, this is due to a sudden military emergency"

Once more swirling red letters appeared and the closure sequence began.


NON-SYSTEM-USER

PROGRAM TERMINATED

Non system user please contact Col S Bicksell for clearance
csb @ bvdb.usaf (Vandenburg U.S.A.F. group B, Lampoona, California.
Net-reg U.S.A.F 44-29-778.)


The Professor continues for a short while, his fingers manually depress the
buttons, however it is safely encrypted and will not on this occasion reveal
its secrets. The professor released in an instant that the shit had hit the
fan. He removed the pip from the drive box, which interrupted the
downloading of the data. He placed the pip into a small samsonite case,
locked the wrist mechanism and began his escape.

At that very moment the blades of the helicopter could be heard, only a few
moments away, Stephen now takes.

"I think that I'll have that," shouts Stephen producing a carbon matt Glock
9mm.

"What?" replies Manny backing away.

" I think I'll have that now," demands Stephen put the slightest amount of
pressure onto the trigger safety bar.

Joachim seizes the moment like the true warrior he was and springs into
action. He rugby tackles the surprised Stephen to the frozen floor, they
wrestle for a while and it seems that Joachim has the upper hand. Fate
arrived in spinning rota blades, and the moment is a haze of burning white,
all suddenly unclear. As trained, Stephen finally gains the advantage, he
aims the gun while twisting round and manages to kick Joachim free, the
Austrian falls then rises quickly to his feet and leaps for one last do or
die assault, Stephen fires and the flaming barrel released the first 9 mm
slug of hot twisted lead directly into Joachim's torso it rips a hole
through his stomach exposing his innards, the second round twists upwards
taking out the epiglottis, splattering a tear in his throat. The Austrian
falls to his knees, gripping at the hole through to his neck, then crashing
backwards into the arms of death.

Stephen turns without watching Joachim fall, and trains the gun toward the
escaping professor, the helicopter had lowered the ladders as Manny was
climbing aboard. Stephen fires a few wasted bullets before realizing they
were too far away, he casually swivels back and trains the gun towards the
horrified Rebecca.

"I'm sorry" he sighs and fires off two rounds into her chest, he stays to
watch her drop, then as cool as the setting, ski's off back to the base in
order to further his pursuit of the Professor and now more importantly the
pip.

After a short while the Professor, the pip, the helicopter and Stephen
disappear from view.

Rebecca crouches gasping, lightly winded by the impact of the lead, she
stands and taps the bulletproof vest that had saved her life and slowly
rotates towards the dying Joachim. He wasn't a very good spy she thought and
that was the weakness inherent with ecologists and the greens. Rebecca,
inhaled feeling free again and with little emotion this beautiful being
stood inpatient watching the last moments of Joachim's life as he twitches
the steaming dark blood onto the frozen arctic surface, his final breath and
death stare leads her relieved, to focus's into the bitter distance.
 
M

mark chaney

SOON

CHAPTER TWO

"The temperature so cold it bites, its bleakness harsher than its ice and
the constant white that blinds us dry"



The station computer shrills alarmingly, demanding immediate human
interactivity.

The Northern Atmospheric Monitoring Station (N.A.M.S) is an exact replica of
its Antarctic counterpart. A cluster of shiny igloos situated on the rugged
shores of Jan Mayen, a narrow volcanic island with a single snow capped
mountain, a freezing five hundred kilometres to the north of Iceland. The
research laboratory lay just two hundred meters from the visitor's orb,
which hummed pleasantly while transmitting these events.
The outside temperature had risen to a cool, crisp minus fifteen degrees as
the four members of the research team slept in a comfortably controlled
environment, the internal temperature rising for morning and reading an
agreeable twenty-two.

Professor Manuel Santiga, Manny to his friends and colleagues headed this
arctic observation team; he was a tall and gangly Mediterranean, a softly
spoken Spaniard, whose years of experience appeared in weary streaks of
whitish grey which threaded through hid raven hair. Deep furrows of worry
ploughed into the contours of his face, which gave away his years, late
middle aged. His most prominent feature was a wickedly large hooked nose,
almost comical as its tip curled like the volutes of an ancient Greek
capital spiralling down towards his thin-pursed lips and the tapered goatee
beard. His piercing brown eyes and hardened features portrayed a man of
outer calm and inner strength. He was well briefed in the significance of
this mission, its outcome of such importance that even state scientists had
recommended him for this project, trusted to deliver the truth as
information without corruption. Manny would need to confront and reason with
those in power. He knew the risks, to the lives of himself and other's; his
only remit was to insure the safe completion of this project, regardless of
the costs. His many years of covert global environmental operations, had
equipped him with the knowledge of how far world powers would go to steal or
suppress this information. He realized that the establishment would try to
appropriate him and the data on the pip and being well aquatinted with this
type of mission, only the speed and changes in event's now worried him. For
the first time in years he felt the plunges of uneasiness with the fear of
knowing that so many deadly security services and so many blood-seeking
assassins were now most definitely involved.

The station felt cooler and lonely now that the science department had
departed, leaving only a skeleton crew with Manny to retrieve the data
canister and its precious capsule. His three colleagues were all research
students that came on loan from various North American and European
universities. Aged within their early twenties, steel bright and
enthusiastic. Selected as these students often are, by their political
leanings, readings and ability. The truth came with the secrecy of their
different service agencies, supposedly low profile to avoid over attention.
The station siren continues to alert the team, the professor orders the
override and is pleasantly rewarded with its silence. Rebecca was the first
student to reach the control centre, she arrived to greet the professor,
slightly dishevelled and still in her pyjamas.

"Good morning.Christ you're eager" Manny smiled, looking up from the
steaming coffee, quite possibly a stare, a little too long for the simplest
of greetings and at this realization he momentarily rushed his looks away.

Even in her hurried state, Rebecca shone awash in female beauty. She
possessed the form, the looks and the ability to lead all men on that merry
dance astray. Even those brave souls who in such arrogance thought strong
enough to resist her feminine charm, would fail. The cotton nightdress clung
to her body revealing the hourglass contours of her figure and as she walk
towards her monitor two crumpled and beaded locks of fair swish hair swung
to mesmerise, they fell gently over her fringe as she was seated. Turning
to face Manny she lifted her face, behind the glasses her sage green vixen
eyes peered out with a haunting beauty and the clarity of firm intention.
Rebecca always appeared as a slight illusion and she herself was haunted by
her looks in many ways.

"What's the score, Manny" she smiled back knowing that he couldn't help but
stare.

Once more Manny turned his gaze away "Retrieval" he replies.

"At last" Rebecca chants.

Joachim is the contrast that arrived as awful and unpleasantness; he
stopped the conversation dead in its tracks. Strolling into the control room
with one hand holding at his head, the other fumbling around his dirty night
shorts scratching at his scrotum. Joachim was a young Austrian farm boy well
built by the years of agricultural activity, brimming full with rustic life
and very basic hygiene. He roughly shook his unkempt orange hair, and then
grasps at the doorframe, grimaced, contorted his facial features, then
sighing, smiling with relief let out a stinking fart. Sniffing with
approval, he slowly sat down and buried his hands once more into his hair.

"So ein scheiss.wass ist denn loss" he grunted complaining first in Deutsche
then mumbling into English as to the nature of his throbbing head hung over.

Rebecca looked at Joachim with the expression of revolt " Your disgusting"
she sneered.

" So.tell me about it" Joachim cheered, he turned to face Manny and pointed
to the flashing consol lights, " what's that all about" he inquired.

"The sample's now ready for collection" Manny replied.

"We can pack up and go home," Joachim asked with a sign of sudden excitement
in his speech.

"Yes its over.that's it" Manny quietly replies.

"So what now.is this really the last one" Rebecca seriously quizzes.

Manny nods and she with false sweet innocence thankfully sighs.

"We've got to go out collect the sample.down load the data.then.... well
then it's off home to mummy" Manny cheered

"And the results" Joachim casually asks, moving to his monitor adjusting the
contrast.

"The results I'm sure will back up the research at the universities.they
will endeavour to produce a viable destructive compound or a defence
mechanism to combat the cloud. governments will select an appropriate
response and fund the undertaking" Manny states it as simple as the wording
of the U.N. mandate.

"Fucking great.that means they won't do a thing," Joachim mocked, he was
also fundamentalist green and could speak a curse in English with eloquent
ease.

"It all depends on how much time they've got" Rebecca intervened

"Time.are you serious.time.they've had plenty of that.time and money.****
they spent America's annual military budget and four years in a laboratory
to discover that the cloud contains global SARS and B63 which we were told
didn't exist.people die before any noticeable symptoms appear, then they
dissolve.they've never taken the cause seriously.and they never will"
Joachim scoffed, he hated the regime.

"They'll have to this time.we all know the consequences if they don't" said
Manny confident as never before that the establishments response was on this
occasion a consummate must.

"Never.its useless.they won't even try" Joachim was caustic in his features
and reply.

"Well mother nature has responded well in some sectors.we know that she
often reacts in magnificent ways to clean up our mistakes" Rebecca expressed
the state ignorance in her concerns.

"You don't believe that shit Rebecca and you know it.she can't swat this one
out. SARS, B63, CS2, or Viral Calaban and Eurasian flu, the last sample
showed seven airborne viruses, two years ago their were only three" Joachim
snarled.

"Settle down man.get some perspective there still borderline, the samples
never rise too far above the threshold, our bodies are definitely working on
defences and that's not just government chat" Manny tries to bring in some
optimism.

"And its also a fact, that after the cloud winters in the southern
hemisphere it travels north, drifting slowly over every heavily populated
urban area's on its way, to winter in the north, its an exact pattern, same
shit every year, only its longitudinal path remains unpredictable, perhaps
mother nature is trying to kill us, I would if I we're her" Joachim was
getting redder with anger.

"Well that's why we're here to sort this mess out, provide the data to
produce some kind of defensive antidote or deterrent" Manny replies.

"Yes, well let's hope they destroy the cloud quickly, it's all so
distressing" Rebecca played the innocent once more and sighed.

"Distressing, you're all fucking crazy, " Joachim laughed sarcastically.

"Look lets just get on with it, there's know point in discussing it
now...come" the professor orders an end to the debate and signals with a
clap for them to move.

"So what's the answer then, cheerful, build a bunker, hope and hide?"
Rebecca dismissingly smiles.

Joachim realised that quarrelling was futile, he slides along the control
panel towards Rebecca "Only if you share my cave with me...honey" he grins
closing in.

Rebecca waved her hand in front of her face; the smell of stale alcohol and
body odour was unbearable.

"You disgust me, I'd rather die" she replied.

Joachim put his arms around her hugging, she could smell the putrid sweat
that stained his clothes, and winced as she noticed the small vomit
particles that infested his unkempt red beard.

"Necrophilia, mmm nice, I'll try anything once.baby"

Rebecca reeled away, and stood arms folded by the exit door "He's
disgusting" she protested.

"He most certainly is" Manny replied.



They all left the control room to go their separate ways and prepared for
collecting the helium flask. Manny arrived at the inner air lock a half hour
later, as ever first his thoughts turned to the others, he was well aware
that an un welcoming committee could be waiting out there and that this
supposedly harmless mission might endanger all their lives, he especially
didn't like the fact that Rebecca was coming, he felt like all men in the
overwhelming desire to protect her.

"Manny, what's the gun for" inquired Rebecca, as she securely buttoned up
the insulated jacket.

"Wolves" replied Manny, startled at her sudden appearance.

"What wolves?" exclaimed Rebecca, as she sat down hard on the slatted wooden
bench.

Manny moved swiftly toward her and slapped the flat of his hand to the
wall, placing the other respectfully on her knee, looking down into her
eyes, he spoke softly.

"Look...I think you should stay here and guard the fort" he smiled.

Rebecca shot up and protested. "Now you look, if those two idiots are
going, I'm going too you won't stop me," she argued, glaring straight back
at him.

"I can't stop you, but it might get difficult," Manny replied.

"Difficult, what do you mean" Rebecca curiously inquired.

Manny didn't have time to reply, once more Joachim walked in and sat down
on the bench, looking nervous, he fidgeted while testing the cumbersome
mobile transmitter, the flashing red light informed him that the batteries
were low.

"Have we got any spare batteries these ones seem to be out" Joachim asked
fiddling with the device.

"Stephen's bound to have a bundle of spares hidden somewhere" Rebecca
nonchalantly remarked.

"Yeah.where is that yank.anyway" Manny asked, while checking the external
temperature, that was reading a cool crisp minus seven.

"In the shower" replied Joachim.

"Look go get the batteries and hurry him up, we'll get the winch sledge and
meet outside" Manny sighed.

As Manny opened the outer door a blast of cold air hit his air-conditioned
face with the force of a bitch slap, he gritted his teeth while noticing
that Rebecca seemed oblivious to the freeze. Manny traced his stair upwards
and the heavens, the bright blue sky was unwelcome as he could clearly see
several vapour trails and knew that higher up satellites would monitor and
accompany their moves. He looked back onto the Blanc horizon; assassins
could be hiding beneath the snow.

Joachim took the keys from Stephen's bedside cabinet drawer, unlocked the
locker and sorted through the books and documents until he found the spare
battery box at the back, as he brought it out into the open a small blue
note book fell to the floor. There was no writing on its cover, yet it
looked somehow important and as curiosity struck Joachim picked it up.
Written on the pages were several sketches, hieroglyphics, numbers and
diagrams, as he flicked though the pages, several photographs flew out.
Joachim reached for the floor, in that very instant Stephen strode into his
bedroom.

" Have you found what you were looking for?" Stephen raised his eyebrows and
sneered sarcastically.

" It.it fell out while I was searching for some batteries" Joachim quickly
responded but the guilty look that held within his eye's easily betrayed
him. Joachim turned out of the room without a further word and headed off
toward the air lock, but he could feel Stephen watching him.


Stephen returned back into the room and dressed hurriedly, a male narcissus
whose appearance was to all intents and purposes the stereotypical American,
well about as typical as any Anglo-Saxon American could ever see himself and
smile in stereo. The straw blonde sharp as the barber's blade, a good and
healthy complexion with a few lingering freckles adding an interesting human
frailty touch. The eyes, a scary Montana blue and the confident smiling
white osmond teeth, his aura could be tacitly felt brightly buzzing with the
keenness of murderous delight. Rachel's first assessment of Stephen, was
triple A, Arrogant American Arse hole, and she was usually right, what
puzzled her was the fact that Stephen never made any advances toward her,
and her instincts informed her that Stephen was in no way, gay.

Stephen knew that they were waiting for him outside, he opened the exit
door, and all of them stood, eyes to the heavens, tutting and stamping their
feet.

"At last" Manuel exclaimed sarcastically, however briefly, as motion was now
desperately needed to generate some warmth.









"In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed"
[Emerson]

Manny programmed his own pip as finder it bleated every three seconds and
this distance was calculated to be six kilometres. Joachim tugged at the
winch sledge and slowly he gained the motion that they all now needed and
set off for the chase. The terrain was mostly snow covered and level, to the
east of them a vast mountain range rose up as if it had been pinched from
the skin of the land, stretch near to its braking point and by the hand of
an angry god, released.

The crack of ski's and sledge runs on snow penetrated the stillness of the
early morning air. The small plumes of vapour, given of by exertion, exposed
their progress as their efforts were monitored by the visitor and the
corolla satellite, which built an image from the thermal imaging camera and
beamed its secrets back to it American base. The journey would take them an
hour at the most and to save heat, few words where exchanged between them on
the way. After about thirty minutes they had halved the distance and decided
to take a short rest. The tension between the three research students was
fermenting into some thing nasty, everyone held secrets and the youthful
desire in revealing them became unbearable.

Stephen broke the silence "How far now" he asked cupping his hands around
the carbon beaker of piping hot coffee.

"About three clicks, maybe less" replied Manuel, pointing aimlessly into the
distance.

"Seen any wolves yet" Rebecca asked mordantly, deliberately passing
attention to her leader.

"There's one or two out there, but they haven't shown up yet" Manuel
replied.

"Wolves, what wolves, there are no wolves out here," stated Joachim, sipping
brandy from a hip class.

"That's what you think," replied Manuel angrily.

"No.... Manny no that's what I know" laughed Joachim.

"You know **** all, now shut up and save some heat" replied Manuel lividly,
the pressure a mountain started to show.

Once again they set off and little was spoken. Within thirty minutes they
had approached ground zero, blatant hostility now filled the atmosphere and
freezing air.

"Hey, you guy's quieten up," said Steven noticing that the tracker was
bleating continuously.

They moved forward the snow crackling like gravel and in the direction of
the hidden monitoring device. Closing in, Stephen calculated it to be 70m
to the left, they proceeded to the fixed point, and now within its range the
proximity activator dutifully directed them to the monitor's exact location.
Manny and Joachim began lowering the balloon, while Stephen and Rebecca set
up the Gzam, satellite transmission unit and the remote IR.

Joachim turns toward Manuel as they lower the guidelines, he nods the
professor to stop, and Stephen walks out of hearing range "Very strange that
American" Joachim remarks.

Manny does not stop and beckons Joachim to also continue, "Why's that" he
inquires puffing and blowing with exertion.

"I found a book in his locker.it was full of Professor Kuntz's schematics
and notes .I think its him, I think that Stephen might be a C.I A agent"
whispered Joachim.

"Its possible, but this mission is so fucked up that so could you or Rebecca
be our American friend," remarked Manny casually.

"You know that not to be true Manny" replied Joachim, his reddened face lit
up with anxiety..."I served three years with your college Werner Kuntz at
Murmansk Tatiana jail, my father died in his arms during the battle of Lenz
and he demanded that I should vouch for him here and now.

" Then you know that if it is him you're here in case anything happens to
me... You understand that" Joachim nods "if they steal the pip or if they
kill me, you must get it back at any cost, any cost Joachim...even killing
to secure it, you must deliver it to Werner at Hamburg, you understand that
clearly don't you" Professor Manuel delivered his instructions with firm
intent.

Joachim continues to nod with intense confirmation almost biting though his
bottom lip with the realization of sudden concern.

"Yes, but we thought that they might try and hit you when you get to
Hamburg, not here, not now" Joachim quizzed.

"Anything is possible, do not trust anyone, know one knows of their plans"
the professor nods back.

"Shit, we must act quickly, if their plan is to kill you here they must have
a back up" Joachim states.

"Agreed" the professor quietly, replies

"OK... ok look I'll watch him, if he makes a move I'll kill him, but what
about Rebecca, do you think she's involved" asks Joachim

"I'm not sure," replies Manny.

"She could also be an agent," inquires Joachim

" Perhaps, look Joachim if the shit comes down you must create a diversion
for me, it'll give me a head start" Manny searched Joachim's eye for a
truthful response.

" But how" asks Joachim.

" Anything that will give me enough time to get a good clear distance away
they're sending a chopper" Manny try's a smile.

" When" asks Joachim?

" I don't know they never tell you these things but I think Stephen will
have to make a move soon, when he does" replies Manny.

" I know what to do" Joachim spoke it fast, like he meant it.

They completed the lowering of the balloon, and carefully emptied the
precious cargo into the drive casing. The Professor walks towards the
transmitter and places the pip into the waiting drive; immediately the gzam
projected holographically and a female image in military apparel stands and
salutes.

"This is professor Manuel Santiga, clearance code 43 777 chronicle M 3,"
Manny dictated as the laser light from her rifle scanned his retina. The
female computer warrior stood at ease, her synthetic voice rang out, crystal
clear.

"Welcome to Itec global weather pattern surveillance program 20981L
professor Manuel Santiga"

Suddenly the military female had disappeared and the gzam projected some
letters whirling in red.

COROLLA NM!................... COROLLA NM!.............................
COROLLA NM!........................... COROLLA NM!.. .LOADING.



A tenor male voice lifted out from the silence and the cold, with its
servile English tongue, spoke thus.

"Good morning professor Santiga.please repeat your access codes clearly"

"Three, eight, eighteen, fifteen, fourteen, nine, three, twelve, five space
thirteen space Charlie" Manny reeled out in correct sequence.

The computers reply was unexpected and particularly unhelpful. In fact a new
sinister tone was added to its list of abilities.

"Unfortunately professor, you now possess the incorrect pass code for a
current alpha rated program.your level clearance and pass identity has been
downgraded to minus beta five, this is due to a sudden military emergency"

Once more swirling red letters appeared and the closure sequence began.


NON-SYSTEM-USER

PROGRAM TERMINATED

Non system user please contact Col S Bicksell for clearance
csb @ bvdb.usaf (Vandenburg U.S.A.F. group B, Lampoona, California.
Net-reg U.S.A.F 44-29-778.)


The Professor continues for a short while, his fingers manually depress the
buttons, however it is safely encrypted and will not on this occasion reveal
its secrets. The professor released in an instant that the shit had hit the
fan. He removed the pip from the drive box, which interrupted the
downloading of the data. He placed the pip into a small samsonite case,
locked the wrist mechanism and began his escape.

At that very moment the blades of the helicopter could be heard, only a few
moments away, Stephen now takes.

"I think that I'll have that," shouts Stephen producing a carbon matt Glock
9mm.

"What?" replies Manny backing away.

" I think I'll have that now," demands Stephen put the slightest amount of
pressure onto the trigger safety bar.

Joachim seizes the moment like the true warrior he was and springs into
action. He rugby tackles the surprised Stephen to the frozen floor, they
wrestle for a while and it seems that Joachim has the upper hand. Fate
arrived in spinning rota blades, and the moment is a haze of burning white,
all suddenly unclear. As trained, Stephen finally gains the advantage, he
aims the gun while twisting round and manages to kick Joachim free, the
Austrian falls then rises quickly to his feet and leaps for one last do or
die assault, Stephen fires and the flaming barrel released the first 9 mm
slug of hot twisted lead directly into Joachim's torso it rips a hole
through his stomach exposing his innards, the second round twists upwards
taking out the epiglottis, splattering a tear in his throat. The Austrian
falls to his knees, gripping at the hole through to his neck, then crashing
backwards into the arms of death.

Stephen turns without watching Joachim fall, and trains the gun toward the
escaping professor, the helicopter had lowered the ladders as Manny was
climbing aboard. Stephen fires a few wasted bullets before realizing they
were too far away, he casually swivels back and trains the gun towards the
horrified Rebecca.

"I'm sorry" he sighs and fires off two rounds into her chest, he stays to
watch her drop, then as cool as the setting, ski's off back to the base in
order to further his pursuit of the Professor and now more importantly the
pip.

After a short while the Professor, the pip, the helicopter and Stephen
disappear from view.

Rebecca crouches gasping, lightly winded by the impact of the lead, she
stands and taps the bulletproof vest that had saved her life and slowly
rotates towards the dying Joachim. He wasn't a very good spy she thought and
that was the weakness inherent with ecologists and the greens. Rebecca,
inhaled feeling free again and with little emotion this beautiful being
stood inpatient watching the last moments of Joachim's life as he twitches
the steaming dark blood onto the frozen arctic surface, his final breath and
death stare leads her relieved, to focus's into the bitter distance.
 
M

mark chaney

SOON

CHAPTER TWO

"The temperature so cold it bites, its bleakness harsher than its ice and
the constant white that blinds us dry"



The station computer shrills alarmingly, demanding immediate human
interactivity.

The Northern Atmospheric Monitoring Station (N.A.M.S) is an exact replica of
its Antarctic counterpart. A cluster of shiny igloos situated on the rugged
shores of Jan Mayen, a narrow volcanic island with a single snow capped
mountain, a freezing five hundred kilometres to the north of Iceland. The
research laboratory lay just two hundred meters from the visitor's orb,
which hummed pleasantly while transmitting these events.
The outside temperature had risen to a cool, crisp minus fifteen degrees as
the four members of the research team slept in a comfortably controlled
environment, the internal temperature rising for morning and reading an
agreeable twenty-two.

Professor Manuel Santiga, Manny to his friends and colleagues headed this
arctic observation team; he was a tall and gangly Mediterranean, a softly
spoken Spaniard, whose years of experience appeared in weary streaks of
whitish grey which threaded through hid raven hair. Deep furrows of worry
ploughed into the contours of his face, which gave away his years, late
middle aged. His most prominent feature was a wickedly large hooked nose,
almost comical as its tip curled like the volutes of an ancient Greek
capital spiralling down towards his thin-pursed lips and the tapered goatee
beard. His piercing brown eyes and hardened features portrayed a man of
outer calm and inner strength. He was well briefed in the significance of
this mission, its outcome of such importance that even state scientists had
recommended him for this project, trusted to deliver the truth as
information without corruption. Manny would need to confront and reason with
those in power. He knew the risks, to the lives of himself and other's; his
only remit was to insure the safe completion of this project, regardless of
the costs. His many years of covert global environmental operations, had
equipped him with the knowledge of how far world powers would go to steal or
suppress this information. He realized that the establishment would try to
appropriate him and the data on the pip and being well aquatinted with this
type of mission, only the speed and changes in event's now worried him. For
the first time in years he felt the plunges of uneasiness with the fear of
knowing that so many deadly security services and so many blood-seeking
assassins were now most definitely involved.

The station felt cooler and lonely now that the science department had
departed, leaving only a skeleton crew with Manny to retrieve the data
canister and its precious capsule. His three colleagues were all research
students that came on loan from various North American and European
universities. Aged within their early twenties, steel bright and
enthusiastic. Selected as these students often are, by their political
leanings, readings and ability. The truth came with the secrecy of their
different service agencies, supposedly low profile to avoid over attention.
The station siren continues to alert the team, the professor orders the
override and is pleasantly rewarded with its silence. Rebecca was the first
student to reach the control centre, she arrived to greet the professor,
slightly dishevelled and still in her pyjamas.

"Good morning.Christ you're eager" Manny smiled, looking up from the
steaming coffee, quite possibly a stare, a little too long for the simplest
of greetings and at this realization he momentarily rushed his looks away.

Even in her hurried state, Rebecca shone awash in female beauty. She
possessed the form, the looks and the ability to lead all men on that merry
dance astray. Even those brave souls who in such arrogance thought strong
enough to resist her feminine charm, would fail. The cotton nightdress clung
to her body revealing the hourglass contours of her figure and as she walk
towards her monitor two crumpled and beaded locks of fair swish hair swung
to mesmerise, they fell gently over her fringe as she was seated. Turning
to face Manny she lifted her face, behind the glasses her sage green vixen
eyes peered out with a haunting beauty and the clarity of firm intention.
Rebecca always appeared as a slight illusion and she herself was haunted by
her looks in many ways.

"What's the score, Manny" she smiled back knowing that he couldn't help but
stare.

Once more Manny turned his gaze away "Retrieval" he replies.

"At last" Rebecca chants.

Joachim is the contrast that arrived as awful and unpleasantness; he
stopped the conversation dead in its tracks. Strolling into the control room
with one hand holding at his head, the other fumbling around his dirty night
shorts scratching at his scrotum. Joachim was a young Austrian farm boy well
built by the years of agricultural activity, brimming full with rustic life
and very basic hygiene. He roughly shook his unkempt orange hair, and then
grasps at the doorframe, grimaced, contorted his facial features, then
sighing, smiling with relief let out a stinking fart. Sniffing with
approval, he slowly sat down and buried his hands once more into his hair.

"So ein scheiss.wass ist denn loss" he grunted complaining first in Deutsche
then mumbling into English as to the nature of his throbbing head hung over.

Rebecca looked at Joachim with the expression of revolt " Your disgusting"
she sneered.

" So.tell me about it" Joachim cheered, he turned to face Manny and pointed
to the flashing consol lights, " what's that all about" he inquired.

"The sample's now ready for collection" Manny replied.

"We can pack up and go home," Joachim asked with a sign of sudden excitement
in his speech.

"Yes its over.that's it" Manny quietly replies.

"So what now.is this really the last one" Rebecca seriously quizzes.

Manny nods and she with false sweet innocence thankfully sighs.

"We've got to go out collect the sample.down load the data.then.... well
then it's off home to mummy" Manny cheered

"And the results" Joachim casually asks, moving to his monitor adjusting the
contrast.

"The results I'm sure will back up the research at the universities.they
will endeavour to produce a viable destructive compound or a defence
mechanism to combat the cloud. governments will select an appropriate
response and fund the undertaking" Manny states it as simple as the wording
of the U.N. mandate.

"Fucking great.that means they won't do a thing," Joachim mocked, he was
also fundamentalist green and could speak a curse in English with eloquent
ease.

"It all depends on how much time they've got" Rebecca intervened

"Time.are you serious.time.they've had plenty of that.time and money.****
they spent America's annual military budget and four years in a laboratory
to discover that the cloud contains global SARS and B63 which we were told
didn't exist.people die before any noticeable symptoms appear, then they
dissolve.they've never taken the cause seriously.and they never will"
Joachim scoffed, he hated the regime.

"They'll have to this time.we all know the consequences if they don't" said
Manny confident as never before that the establishments response was on this
occasion a consummate must.

"Never.its useless.they won't even try" Joachim was caustic in his features
and reply.

"Well mother nature has responded well in some sectors.we know that she
often reacts in magnificent ways to clean up our mistakes" Rebecca expressed
the state ignorance in her concerns.

"You don't believe that shit Rebecca and you know it.she can't swat this one
out. SARS, B63, CS2, or Viral Calaban and Eurasian flu, the last sample
showed seven airborne viruses, two years ago their were only three" Joachim
snarled.

"Settle down man.get some perspective there still borderline, the samples
never rise too far above the threshold, our bodies are definitely working on
defences and that's not just government chat" Manny tries to bring in some
optimism.

"And its also a fact, that after the cloud winters in the southern
hemisphere it travels north, drifting slowly over every heavily populated
urban area's on its way, to winter in the north, its an exact pattern, same
shit every year, only its longitudinal path remains unpredictable, perhaps
mother nature is trying to kill us, I would if I we're her" Joachim was
getting redder with anger.

"Well that's why we're here to sort this mess out, provide the data to
produce some kind of defensive antidote or deterrent" Manny replies.

"Yes, well let's hope they destroy the cloud quickly, it's all so
distressing" Rebecca played the innocent once more and sighed.

"Distressing, you're all fucking crazy, " Joachim laughed sarcastically.

"Look lets just get on with it, there's know point in discussing it
now...come" the professor orders an end to the debate and signals with a
clap for them to move.

"So what's the answer then, cheerful, build a bunker, hope and hide?"
Rebecca dismissingly smiles.

Joachim realised that quarrelling was futile, he slides along the control
panel towards Rebecca "Only if you share my cave with me...honey" he grins
closing in.

Rebecca waved her hand in front of her face; the smell of stale alcohol and
body odour was unbearable.

"You disgust me, I'd rather die" she replied.

Joachim put his arms around her hugging, she could smell the putrid sweat
that stained his clothes, and winced as she noticed the small vomit
particles that infested his unkempt red beard.

"Necrophilia, mmm nice, I'll try anything once.baby"

Rebecca reeled away, and stood arms folded by the exit door "He's
disgusting" she protested.

"He most certainly is" Manny replied.



They all left the control room to go their separate ways and prepared for
collecting the helium flask. Manny arrived at the inner air lock a half hour
later, as ever first his thoughts turned to the others, he was well aware
that an un welcoming committee could be waiting out there and that this
supposedly harmless mission might endanger all their lives, he especially
didn't like the fact that Rebecca was coming, he felt like all men in the
overwhelming desire to protect her.

"Manny, what's the gun for" inquired Rebecca, as she securely buttoned up
the insulated jacket.

"Wolves" replied Manny, startled at her sudden appearance.

"What wolves?" exclaimed Rebecca, as she sat down hard on the slatted wooden
bench.

Manny moved swiftly toward her and slapped the flat of his hand to the
wall, placing the other respectfully on her knee, looking down into her
eyes, he spoke softly.

"Look...I think you should stay here and guard the fort" he smiled.

Rebecca shot up and protested. "Now you look, if those two idiots are
going, I'm going too you won't stop me," she argued, glaring straight back
at him.

"I can't stop you, but it might get difficult," Manny replied.

"Difficult, what do you mean" Rebecca curiously inquired.

Manny didn't have time to reply, once more Joachim walked in and sat down
on the bench, looking nervous, he fidgeted while testing the cumbersome
mobile transmitter, the flashing red light informed him that the batteries
were low.

"Have we got any spare batteries these ones seem to be out" Joachim asked
fiddling with the device.

"Stephen's bound to have a bundle of spares hidden somewhere" Rebecca
nonchalantly remarked.

"Yeah.where is that yank.anyway" Manny asked, while checking the external
temperature, that was reading a cool crisp minus seven.

"In the shower" replied Joachim.

"Look go get the batteries and hurry him up, we'll get the winch sledge and
meet outside" Manny sighed.

As Manny opened the outer door a blast of cold air hit his air-conditioned
face with the force of a bitch slap, he gritted his teeth while noticing
that Rebecca seemed oblivious to the freeze. Manny traced his stair upwards
and the heavens, the bright blue sky was unwelcome as he could clearly see
several vapour trails and knew that higher up satellites would monitor and
accompany their moves. He looked back onto the Blanc horizon; assassins
could be hiding beneath the snow.

Joachim took the keys from Stephen's bedside cabinet drawer, unlocked the
locker and sorted through the books and documents until he found the spare
battery box at the back, as he brought it out into the open a small blue
note book fell to the floor. There was no writing on its cover, yet it
looked somehow important and as curiosity struck Joachim picked it up.
Written on the pages were several sketches, hieroglyphics, numbers and
diagrams, as he flicked though the pages, several photographs flew out.
Joachim reached for the floor, in that very instant Stephen strode into his
bedroom.

" Have you found what you were looking for?" Stephen raised his eyebrows and
sneered sarcastically.

" It.it fell out while I was searching for some batteries" Joachim quickly
responded but the guilty look that held within his eye's easily betrayed
him. Joachim turned out of the room without a further word and headed off
toward the air lock, but he could feel Stephen watching him.


Stephen returned back into the room and dressed hurriedly, a male narcissus
whose appearance was to all intents and purposes the stereotypical American,
well about as typical as any Anglo-Saxon American could ever see himself and
smile in stereo. The straw blonde sharp as the barber's blade, a good and
healthy complexion with a few lingering freckles adding an interesting human
frailty touch. The eyes, a scary Montana blue and the confident smiling
white osmond teeth, his aura could be tacitly felt brightly buzzing with the
keenness of murderous delight. Rachel's first assessment of Stephen, was
triple A, Arrogant American Arse hole, and she was usually right, what
puzzled her was the fact that Stephen never made any advances toward her,
and her instincts informed her that Stephen was in no way, gay.

Stephen knew that they were waiting for him outside, he opened the exit
door, and all of them stood, eyes to the heavens, tutting and stamping their
feet.

"At last" Manuel exclaimed sarcastically, however briefly, as motion was now
desperately needed to generate some warmth.









"In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed"
[Emerson]

Manny programmed his own pip as finder it bleated every three seconds and
this distance was calculated to be six kilometres. Joachim tugged at the
winch sledge and slowly he gained the motion that they all now needed and
set off for the chase. The terrain was mostly snow covered and level, to the
east of them a vast mountain range rose up as if it had been pinched from
the skin of the land, stretch near to its braking point and by the hand of
an angry god, released.

The crack of ski's and sledge runs on snow penetrated the stillness of the
early morning air. The small plumes of vapour, given of by exertion, exposed
their progress as their efforts were monitored by the visitor and the
corolla satellite, which built an image from the thermal imaging camera and
beamed its secrets back to it American base. The journey would take them an
hour at the most and to save heat, few words where exchanged between them on
the way. After about thirty minutes they had halved the distance and decided
to take a short rest. The tension between the three research students was
fermenting into some thing nasty, everyone held secrets and the youthful
desire in revealing them became unbearable.

Stephen broke the silence "How far now" he asked cupping his hands around
the carbon beaker of piping hot coffee.

"About three clicks, maybe less" replied Manuel, pointing aimlessly into the
distance.

"Seen any wolves yet" Rebecca asked mordantly, deliberately passing
attention to her leader.

"There's one or two out there, but they haven't shown up yet" Manuel
replied.

"Wolves, what wolves, there are no wolves out here," stated Joachim, sipping
brandy from a hip class.

"That's what you think," replied Manuel angrily.

"No.... Manny no that's what I know" laughed Joachim.

"You know **** all, now shut up and save some heat" replied Manuel lividly,
the pressure a mountain started to show.

Once again they set off and little was spoken. Within thirty minutes they
had approached ground zero, blatant hostility now filled the atmosphere and
freezing air.

"Hey, you guy's quieten up," said Steven noticing that the tracker was
bleating continuously.

They moved forward the snow crackling like gravel and in the direction of
the hidden monitoring device. Closing in, Stephen calculated it to be 70m
to the left, they proceeded to the fixed point, and now within its range the
proximity activator dutifully directed them to the monitor's exact location.
Manny and Joachim began lowering the balloon, while Stephen and Rebecca set
up the Gzam, satellite transmission unit and the remote IR.

Joachim turns toward Manuel as they lower the guidelines, he nods the
professor to stop, and Stephen walks out of hearing range "Very strange that
American" Joachim remarks.

Manny does not stop and beckons Joachim to also continue, "Why's that" he
inquires puffing and blowing with exertion.

"I found a book in his locker.it was full of Professor Kuntz's schematics
and notes .I think its him, I think that Stephen might be a C.I A agent"
whispered Joachim.

"Its possible, but this mission is so fucked up that so could you or Rebecca
be our American friend," remarked Manny casually.

"You know that not to be true Manny" replied Joachim, his reddened face lit
up with anxiety..."I served three years with your college Werner Kuntz at
Murmansk Tatiana jail, my father died in his arms during the battle of Lenz
and he demanded that I should vouch for him here and now.

" Then you know that if it is him you're here in case anything happens to
me... You understand that" Joachim nods "if they steal the pip or if they
kill me, you must get it back at any cost, any cost Joachim...even killing
to secure it, you must deliver it to Werner at Hamburg, you understand that
clearly don't you" Professor Manuel delivered his instructions with firm
intent.

Joachim continues to nod with intense confirmation almost biting though his
bottom lip with the realization of sudden concern.

"Yes, but we thought that they might try and hit you when you get to
Hamburg, not here, not now" Joachim quizzed.

"Anything is possible, do not trust anyone, know one knows of their plans"
the professor nods back.

"Shit, we must act quickly, if their plan is to kill you here they must have
a back up" Joachim states.

"Agreed" the professor quietly, replies

"OK... ok look I'll watch him, if he makes a move I'll kill him, but what
about Rebecca, do you think she's involved" asks Joachim

"I'm not sure," replies Manny.

"She could also be an agent," inquires Joachim

" Perhaps, look Joachim if the shit comes down you must create a diversion
for me, it'll give me a head start" Manny searched Joachim's eye for a
truthful response.

" But how" asks Joachim.

" Anything that will give me enough time to get a good clear distance away
they're sending a chopper" Manny try's a smile.

" When" asks Joachim?

" I don't know they never tell you these things but I think Stephen will
have to make a move soon, when he does" replies Manny.

" I know what to do" Joachim spoke it fast, like he meant it.

They completed the lowering of the balloon, and carefully emptied the
precious cargo into the drive casing. The Professor walks towards the
transmitter and places the pip into the waiting drive; immediately the gzam
projected holographically and a female image in military apparel stands and
salutes.

"This is professor Manuel Santiga, clearance code 43 777 chronicle M 3,"
Manny dictated as the laser light from her rifle scanned his retina. The
female computer warrior stood at ease, her synthetic voice rang out, crystal
clear.

"Welcome to Itec global weather pattern surveillance program 20981L
professor Manuel Santiga"

Suddenly the military female had disappeared and the gzam projected some
letters whirling in red.

COROLLA NM!................... COROLLA NM!.............................
COROLLA NM!........................... COROLLA NM!.. .LOADING.



A tenor male voice lifted out from the silence and the cold, with its
servile English tongue, spoke thus.

"Good morning professor Santiga.please repeat your access codes clearly"

"Three, eight, eighteen, fifteen, fourteen, nine, three, twelve, five space
thirteen space Charlie" Manny reeled out in correct sequence.

The computers reply was unexpected and particularly unhelpful. In fact a new
sinister tone was added to its list of abilities.

"Unfortunately professor, you now possess the incorrect pass code for a
current alpha rated program.your level clearance and pass identity has been
downgraded to minus beta five, this is due to a sudden military emergency"

Once more swirling red letters appeared and the closure sequence began.


NON-SYSTEM-USER

PROGRAM TERMINATED

Non system user please contact Col S Bicksell for clearance
csb @ bvdb.usaf (Vandenburg U.S.A.F. group B, Lampoona, California.
Net-reg U.S.A.F 44-29-778.)


The Professor continues for a short while, his fingers manually depress the
buttons, however it is safely encrypted and will not on this occasion reveal
its secrets. The professor released in an instant that the shit had hit the
fan. He removed the pip from the drive box, which interrupted the
downloading of the data. He placed the pip into a small samsonite case,
locked the wrist mechanism and began his escape.

At that very moment the blades of the helicopter could be heard, only a few
moments away, Stephen now takes.

"I think that I'll have that," shouts Stephen producing a carbon matt Glock
9mm.

"What?" replies Manny backing away.

" I think I'll have that now," demands Stephen put the slightest amount of
pressure onto the trigger safety bar.

Joachim seizes the moment like the true warrior he was and springs into
action. He rugby tackles the surprised Stephen to the frozen floor, they
wrestle for a while and it seems that Joachim has the upper hand. Fate
arrived in spinning rota blades, and the moment is a haze of burning white,
all suddenly unclear. As trained, Stephen finally gains the advantage, he
aims the gun while twisting round and manages to kick Joachim free, the
Austrian falls then rises quickly to his feet and leaps for one last do or
die assault, Stephen fires and the flaming barrel released the first 9 mm
slug of hot twisted lead directly into Joachim's torso it rips a hole
through his stomach exposing his innards, the second round twists upwards
taking out the epiglottis, splattering a tear in his throat. The Austrian
falls to his knees, gripping at the hole through to his neck, then crashing
backwards into the arms of death.

Stephen turns without watching Joachim fall, and trains the gun toward the
escaping professor, the helicopter had lowered the ladders as Manny was
climbing aboard. Stephen fires a few wasted bullets before realizing they
were too far away, he casually swivels back and trains the gun towards the
horrified Rebecca.

"I'm sorry" he sighs and fires off two rounds into her chest, he stays to
watch her drop, then as cool as the setting, ski's off back to the base in
order to further his pursuit of the Professor and now more importantly the
pip.

After a short while the Professor, the pip, the helicopter and Stephen
disappear from view.

Rebecca crouches gasping, lightly winded by the impact of the lead, she
stands and taps the bulletproof vest that had saved her life and slowly
rotates towards the dying Joachim. He wasn't a very good spy she thought and
that was the weakness inherent with ecologists and the greens. Rebecca,
inhaled feeling free again and with little emotion this beautiful being
stood inpatient watching the last moments of Joachim's life as he twitches
the steaming dark blood onto the frozen arctic surface, his final breath and
death stare leads her relieved, to focus's into the bitter distance.
 
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M

mark chaney

SOON

CHAPTER TWO

"The temperature so cold it bites, its bleakness harsher than its ice and
the constant white that blinds us dry"



The station computer shrills alarmingly, demanding immediate human
interactivity.

The Northern Atmospheric Monitoring Station (N.A.M.S) is an exact replica of
its Antarctic counterpart. A cluster of shiny igloos situated on the rugged
shores of Jan Mayen, a narrow volcanic island with a single snow capped
mountain, a freezing five hundred kilometres to the north of Iceland. The
research laboratory lay just two hundred meters from the visitor's orb,
which hummed pleasantly while transmitting these events.
The outside temperature had risen to a cool, crisp minus fifteen degrees as
the four members of the research team slept in a comfortably controlled
environment, the internal temperature rising for morning and reading an
agreeable twenty-two.

Professor Manuel Santiga, Manny to his friends and colleagues headed this
arctic observation team; he was a tall and gangly Mediterranean, a softly
spoken Spaniard, whose years of experience appeared in weary streaks of
whitish grey which threaded through hid raven hair. Deep furrows of worry
ploughed into the contours of his face, which gave away his years, late
middle aged. His most prominent feature was a wickedly large hooked nose,
almost comical as its tip curled like the volutes of an ancient Greek
capital spiralling down towards his thin-pursed lips and the tapered goatee
beard. His piercing brown eyes and hardened features portrayed a man of
outer calm and inner strength. He was well briefed in the significance of
this mission, its outcome of such importance that even state scientists had
recommended him for this project, trusted to deliver the truth as
information without corruption. Manny would need to confront and reason with
those in power. He knew the risks, to the lives of himself and other's; his
only remit was to insure the safe completion of this project, regardless of
the costs. His many years of covert global environmental operations, had
equipped him with the knowledge of how far world powers would go to steal or
suppress this information. He realized that the establishment would try to
appropriate him and the data on the pip and being well aquatinted with this
type of mission, only the speed and changes in event's now worried him. For
the first time in years he felt the plunges of uneasiness with the fear of
knowing that so many deadly security services and so many blood-seeking
assassins were now most definitely involved.

The station felt cooler and lonely now that the science department had
departed, leaving only a skeleton crew with Manny to retrieve the data
canister and its precious capsule. His three colleagues were all research
students that came on loan from various North American and European
universities. Aged within their early twenties, steel bright and
enthusiastic. Selected as these students often are, by their political
leanings, readings and ability. The truth came with the secrecy of their
different service agencies, supposedly low profile to avoid over attention.
The station siren continues to alert the team, the professor orders the
override and is pleasantly rewarded with its silence. Rebecca was the first
student to reach the control centre, she arrived to greet the professor,
slightly dishevelled and still in her pyjamas.

"Good morning.Christ you're eager" Manny smiled, looking up from the
steaming coffee, quite possibly a stare, a little too long for the simplest
of greetings and at this realization he momentarily rushed his looks away.

Even in her hurried state, Rebecca shone awash in female beauty. She
possessed the form, the looks and the ability to lead all men on that merry
dance astray. Even those brave souls who in such arrogance thought strong
enough to resist her feminine charm, would fail. The cotton nightdress clung
to her body revealing the hourglass contours of her figure and as she walk
towards her monitor two crumpled and beaded locks of fair swish hair swung
to mesmerise, they fell gently over her fringe as she was seated. Turning
to face Manny she lifted her face, behind the glasses her sage green vixen
eyes peered out with a haunting beauty and the clarity of firm intention.
Rebecca always appeared as a slight illusion and she herself was haunted by
her looks in many ways.

"What's the score, Manny" she smiled back knowing that he couldn't help but
stare.

Once more Manny turned his gaze away "Retrieval" he replies.

"At last" Rebecca chants.

Joachim is the contrast that arrived as awful and unpleasantness; he
stopped the conversation dead in its tracks. Strolling into the control room
with one hand holding at his head, the other fumbling around his dirty night
shorts scratching at his scrotum. Joachim was a young Austrian farm boy well
built by the years of agricultural activity, brimming full with rustic life
and very basic hygiene. He roughly shook his unkempt orange hair, and then
grasps at the doorframe, grimaced, contorted his facial features, then
sighing, smiling with relief let out a stinking fart. Sniffing with
approval, he slowly sat down and buried his hands once more into his hair.

"So ein scheiss.wass ist denn loss" he grunted complaining first in Deutsche
then mumbling into English as to the nature of his throbbing head hung over.

Rebecca looked at Joachim with the expression of revolt " Your disgusting"
she sneered.

" So.tell me about it" Joachim cheered, he turned to face Manny and pointed
to the flashing consol lights, " what's that all about" he inquired.

"The sample's now ready for collection" Manny replied.

"We can pack up and go home," Joachim asked with a sign of sudden excitement
in his speech.

"Yes its over.that's it" Manny quietly replies.

"So what now.is this really the last one" Rebecca seriously quizzes.

Manny nods and she with false sweet innocence thankfully sighs.

"We've got to go out collect the sample.down load the data.then.... well
then it's off home to mummy" Manny cheered

"And the results" Joachim casually asks, moving to his monitor adjusting the
contrast.

"The results I'm sure will back up the research at the universities.they
will endeavour to produce a viable destructive compound or a defence
mechanism to combat the cloud. governments will select an appropriate
response and fund the undertaking" Manny states it as simple as the wording
of the U.N. mandate.

"Fucking great.that means they won't do a thing," Joachim mocked, he was
also fundamentalist green and could speak a curse in English with eloquent
ease.

"It all depends on how much time they've got" Rebecca intervened

"Time.are you serious.time.they've had plenty of that.time and money.****
they spent America's annual military budget and four years in a laboratory
to discover that the cloud contains global SARS and B63 which we were told
didn't exist.people die before any noticeable symptoms appear, then they
dissolve.they've never taken the cause seriously.and they never will"
Joachim scoffed, he hated the regime.

"They'll have to this time.we all know the consequences if they don't" said
Manny confident as never before that the establishments response was on this
occasion a consummate must.

"Never.its useless.they won't even try" Joachim was caustic in his features
and reply.

"Well mother nature has responded well in some sectors.we know that she
often reacts in magnificent ways to clean up our mistakes" Rebecca expressed
the state ignorance in her concerns.

"You don't believe that shit Rebecca and you know it.she can't swat this one
out. SARS, B63, CS2, or Viral Calaban and Eurasian flu, the last sample
showed seven airborne viruses, two years ago their were only three" Joachim
snarled.

"Settle down man.get some perspective there still borderline, the samples
never rise too far above the threshold, our bodies are definitely working on
defences and that's not just government chat" Manny tries to bring in some
optimism.

"And its also a fact, that after the cloud winters in the southern
hemisphere it travels north, drifting slowly over every heavily populated
urban area's on its way, to winter in the north, its an exact pattern, same
shit every year, only its longitudinal path remains unpredictable, perhaps
mother nature is trying to kill us, I would if I we're her" Joachim was
getting redder with anger.

"Well that's why we're here to sort this mess out, provide the data to
produce some kind of defensive antidote or deterrent" Manny replies.

"Yes, well let's hope they destroy the cloud quickly, it's all so
distressing" Rebecca played the innocent once more and sighed.

"Distressing, you're all fucking crazy, " Joachim laughed sarcastically.

"Look lets just get on with it, there's know point in discussing it
now...come" the professor orders an end to the debate and signals with a
clap for them to move.

"So what's the answer then, cheerful, build a bunker, hope and hide?"
Rebecca dismissingly smiles.

Joachim realised that quarrelling was futile, he slides along the control
panel towards Rebecca "Only if you share my cave with me...honey" he grins
closing in.

Rebecca waved her hand in front of her face; the smell of stale alcohol and
body odour was unbearable.

"You disgust me, I'd rather die" she replied.

Joachim put his arms around her hugging, she could smell the putrid sweat
that stained his clothes, and winced as she noticed the small vomit
particles that infested his unkempt red beard.

"Necrophilia, mmm nice, I'll try anything once.baby"

Rebecca reeled away, and stood arms folded by the exit door "He's
disgusting" she protested.

"He most certainly is" Manny replied.



They all left the control room to go their separate ways and prepared for
collecting the helium flask. Manny arrived at the inner air lock a half hour
later, as ever first his thoughts turned to the others, he was well aware
that an un welcoming committee could be waiting out there and that this
supposedly harmless mission might endanger all their lives, he especially
didn't like the fact that Rebecca was coming, he felt like all men in the
overwhelming desire to protect her.

"Manny, what's the gun for" inquired Rebecca, as she securely buttoned up
the insulated jacket.

"Wolves" replied Manny, startled at her sudden appearance.

"What wolves?" exclaimed Rebecca, as she sat down hard on the slatted wooden
bench.

Manny moved swiftly toward her and slapped the flat of his hand to the
wall, placing the other respectfully on her knee, looking down into her
eyes, he spoke softly.

"Look...I think you should stay here and guard the fort" he smiled.

Rebecca shot up and protested. "Now you look, if those two idiots are
going, I'm going too you won't stop me," she argued, glaring straight back
at him.

"I can't stop you, but it might get difficult," Manny replied.

"Difficult, what do you mean" Rebecca curiously inquired.

Manny didn't have time to reply, once more Joachim walked in and sat down
on the bench, looking nervous, he fidgeted while testing the cumbersome
mobile transmitter, the flashing red light informed him that the batteries
were low.

"Have we got any spare batteries these ones seem to be out" Joachim asked
fiddling with the device.

"Stephen's bound to have a bundle of spares hidden somewhere" Rebecca
nonchalantly remarked.

"Yeah.where is that yank.anyway" Manny asked, while checking the external
temperature, that was reading a cool crisp minus seven.

"In the shower" replied Joachim.

"Look go get the batteries and hurry him up, we'll get the winch sledge and
meet outside" Manny sighed.

As Manny opened the outer door a blast of cold air hit his air-conditioned
face with the force of a bitch slap, he gritted his teeth while noticing
that Rebecca seemed oblivious to the freeze. Manny traced his stair upwards
and the heavens, the bright blue sky was unwelcome as he could clearly see
several vapour trails and knew that higher up satellites would monitor and
accompany their moves. He looked back onto the Blanc horizon; assassins
could be hiding beneath the snow.

Joachim took the keys from Stephen's bedside cabinet drawer, unlocked the
locker and sorted through the books and documents until he found the spare
battery box at the back, as he brought it out into the open a small blue
note book fell to the floor. There was no writing on its cover, yet it
looked somehow important and as curiosity struck Joachim picked it up.
Written on the pages were several sketches, hieroglyphics, numbers and
diagrams, as he flicked though the pages, several photographs flew out.
Joachim reached for the floor, in that very instant Stephen strode into his
bedroom.

" Have you found what you were looking for?" Stephen raised his eyebrows and
sneered sarcastically.

" It.it fell out while I was searching for some batteries" Joachim quickly
responded but the guilty look that held within his eye's easily betrayed
him. Joachim turned out of the room without a further word and headed off
toward the air lock, but he could feel Stephen watching him.


Stephen returned back into the room and dressed hurriedly, a male narcissus
whose appearance was to all intents and purposes the stereotypical American,
well about as typical as any Anglo-Saxon American could ever see himself and
smile in stereo. The straw blonde sharp as the barber's blade, a good and
healthy complexion with a few lingering freckles adding an interesting human
frailty touch. The eyes, a scary Montana blue and the confident smiling
white osmond teeth, his aura could be tacitly felt brightly buzzing with the
keenness of murderous delight. Rachel's first assessment of Stephen, was
triple A, Arrogant American Arse hole, and she was usually right, what
puzzled her was the fact that Stephen never made any advances toward her,
and her instincts informed her that Stephen was in no way, gay.

Stephen knew that they were waiting for him outside, he opened the exit
door, and all of them stood, eyes to the heavens, tutting and stamping their
feet.

"At last" Manuel exclaimed sarcastically, however briefly, as motion was now
desperately needed to generate some warmth.









"In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed"
[Emerson]

Manny programmed his own pip as finder it bleated every three seconds and
this distance was calculated to be six kilometres. Joachim tugged at the
winch sledge and slowly he gained the motion that they all now needed and
set off for the chase. The terrain was mostly snow covered and level, to the
east of them a vast mountain range rose up as if it had been pinched from
the skin of the land, stretch near to its braking point and by the hand of
an angry god, released.

The crack of ski's and sledge runs on snow penetrated the stillness of the
early morning air. The small plumes of vapour, given of by exertion, exposed
their progress as their efforts were monitored by the visitor and the
corolla satellite, which built an image from the thermal imaging camera and
beamed its secrets back to it American base. The journey would take them an
hour at the most and to save heat, few words where exchanged between them on
the way. After about thirty minutes they had halved the distance and decided
to take a short rest. The tension between the three research students was
fermenting into some thing nasty, everyone held secrets and the youthful
desire in revealing them became unbearable.

Stephen broke the silence "How far now" he asked cupping his hands around
the carbon beaker of piping hot coffee.

"About three clicks, maybe less" replied Manuel, pointing aimlessly into the
distance.

"Seen any wolves yet" Rebecca asked mordantly, deliberately passing
attention to her leader.

"There's one or two out there, but they haven't shown up yet" Manuel
replied.

"Wolves, what wolves, there are no wolves out here," stated Joachim, sipping
brandy from a hip class.

"That's what you think," replied Manuel angrily.

"No.... Manny no that's what I know" laughed Joachim.

"You know **** all, now shut up and save some heat" replied Manuel lividly,
the pressure a mountain started to show.

Once again they set off and little was spoken. Within thirty minutes they
had approached ground zero, blatant hostility now filled the atmosphere and
freezing air.

"Hey, you guy's quieten up," said Steven noticing that the tracker was
bleating continuously.

They moved forward the snow crackling like gravel and in the direction of
the hidden monitoring device. Closing in, Stephen calculated it to be 70m
to the left, they proceeded to the fixed point, and now within its range the
proximity activator dutifully directed them to the monitor's exact location.
Manny and Joachim began lowering the balloon, while Stephen and Rebecca set
up the Gzam, satellite transmission unit and the remote IR.

Joachim turns toward Manuel as they lower the guidelines, he nods the
professor to stop, and Stephen walks out of hearing range "Very strange that
American" Joachim remarks.

Manny does not stop and beckons Joachim to also continue, "Why's that" he
inquires puffing and blowing with exertion.

"I found a book in his locker.it was full of Professor Kuntz's schematics
and notes .I think its him, I think that Stephen might be a C.I A agent"
whispered Joachim.

"Its possible, but this mission is so fucked up that so could you or Rebecca
be our American friend," remarked Manny casually.

"You know that not to be true Manny" replied Joachim, his reddened face lit
up with anxiety..."I served three years with your college Werner Kuntz at
Murmansk Tatiana jail, my father died in his arms during the battle of Lenz
and he demanded that I should vouch for him here and now.

" Then you know that if it is him you're here in case anything happens to
me... You understand that" Joachim nods "if they steal the pip or if they
kill me, you must get it back at any cost, any cost Joachim...even killing
to secure it, you must deliver it to Werner at Hamburg, you understand that
clearly don't you" Professor Manuel delivered his instructions with firm
intent.

Joachim continues to nod with intense confirmation almost biting though his
bottom lip with the realization of sudden concern.

"Yes, but we thought that they might try and hit you when you get to
Hamburg, not here, not now" Joachim quizzed.

"Anything is possible, do not trust anyone, know one knows of their plans"
the professor nods back.

"Shit, we must act quickly, if their plan is to kill you here they must have
a back up" Joachim states.

"Agreed" the professor quietly, replies

"OK... ok look I'll watch him, if he makes a move I'll kill him, but what
about Rebecca, do you think she's involved" asks Joachim

"I'm not sure," replies Manny.

"She could also be an agent," inquires Joachim

" Perhaps, look Joachim if the shit comes down you must create a diversion
for me, it'll give me a head start" Manny searched Joachim's eye for a
truthful response.

" But how" asks Joachim.

" Anything that will give me enough time to get a good clear distance away
they're sending a chopper" Manny try's a smile.

" When" asks Joachim?

" I don't know they never tell you these things but I think Stephen will
have to make a move soon, when he does" replies Manny.

" I know what to do" Joachim spoke it fast, like he meant it.

They completed the lowering of the balloon, and carefully emptied the
precious cargo into the drive casing. The Professor walks towards the
transmitter and places the pip into the waiting drive; immediately the gzam
projected holographically and a female image in military apparel stands and
salutes.

"This is professor Manuel Santiga, clearance code 43 777 chronicle M 3,"
Manny dictated as the laser light from her rifle scanned his retina. The
female computer warrior stood at ease, her synthetic voice rang out, crystal
clear.

"Welcome to Itec global weather pattern surveillance program 20981L
professor Manuel Santiga"

Suddenly the military female had disappeared and the gzam projected some
letters whirling in red.

COROLLA NM!................... COROLLA NM!.............................
COROLLA NM!........................... COROLLA NM!.. .LOADING.



A tenor male voice lifted out from the silence and the cold, with its
servile English tongue, spoke thus.

"Good morning professor Santiga.please repeat your access codes clearly"

"Three, eight, eighteen, fifteen, fourteen, nine, three, twelve, five space
thirteen space Charlie" Manny reeled out in correct sequence.

The computers reply was unexpected and particularly unhelpful. In fact a new
sinister tone was added to its list of abilities.

"Unfortunately professor, you now possess the incorrect pass code for a
current alpha rated program.your level clearance and pass identity has been
downgraded to minus beta five, this is due to a sudden military emergency"

Once more swirling red letters appeared and the closure sequence began.


NON-SYSTEM-USER

PROGRAM TERMINATED

Non system user please contact Col S Bicksell for clearance
csb @ bvdb.usaf (Vandenburg U.S.A.F. group B, Lampoona, California.
Net-reg U.S.A.F 44-29-778.)


The Professor continues for a short while, his fingers manually depress the
buttons, however it is safely encrypted and will not on this occasion reveal
its secrets. The professor released in an instant that the shit had hit the
fan. He removed the pip from the drive box, which interrupted the
downloading of the data. He placed the pip into a small samsonite case,
locked the wrist mechanism and began his escape.

At that very moment the blades of the helicopter could be heard, only a few
moments away, Stephen now takes.

"I think that I'll have that," shouts Stephen producing a carbon matt Glock
9mm.

"What?" replies Manny backing away.

" I think I'll have that now," demands Stephen put the slightest amount of
pressure onto the trigger safety bar.

Joachim seizes the moment like the true warrior he was and springs into
action. He rugby tackles the surprised Stephen to the frozen floor, they
wrestle for a while and it seems that Joachim has the upper hand. Fate
arrived in spinning rota blades, and the moment is a haze of burning white,
all suddenly unclear. As trained, Stephen finally gains the advantage, he
aims the gun while twisting round and manages to kick Joachim free, the
Austrian falls then rises quickly to his feet and leaps for one last do or
die assault, Stephen fires and the flaming barrel released the first 9 mm
slug of hot twisted lead directly into Joachim's torso it rips a hole
through his stomach exposing his innards, the second round twists upwards
taking out the epiglottis, splattering a tear in his throat. The Austrian
falls to his knees, gripping at the hole through to his neck, then crashing
backwards into the arms of death.

Stephen turns without watching Joachim fall, and trains the gun toward the
escaping professor, the helicopter had lowered the ladders as Manny was
climbing aboard. Stephen fires a few wasted bullets before realizing they
were too far away, he casually swivels back and trains the gun towards the
horrified Rebecca.

"I'm sorry" he sighs and fires off two rounds into her chest, he stays to
watch her drop, then as cool as the setting, ski's off back to the base in
order to further his pursuit of the Professor and now more importantly the
pip.

After a short while the Professor, the pip, the helicopter and Stephen
disappear from view.

Rebecca crouches gasping, lightly winded by the impact of the lead, she
stands and taps the bulletproof vest that had saved her life and slowly
rotates towards the dying Joachim. He wasn't a very good spy she thought and
that was the weakness inherent with ecologists and the greens. Rebecca,
inhaled feeling free again and with little emotion this beautiful being
stood inpatient watching the last moments of Joachim's life as he twitches
the steaming dark blood onto the frozen arctic surface, his final breath and
death stare leads her relieved, to focus's into the bitter distance.
 
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