Spacer Lest the Glaciers Claim the Earth 15
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    Like I said, it wasn't a good day and it got worse—I was emotionally wrung out, exhausted, and alone. Nothing I did seemed to bother the man unduly. Phoenix, idiot that he is, kept taunting him ("Sargent Master Stryker says hello and wants to know if you're still wearing women's underwear!" "Hey, Fimbulwinter—I tried to fuck your wife, but she was frigid!") and nearly got killed when he succeeded in drawing Fimbulwinter's fire. Lucky was trying to get her staff to appear. Eventually Fimbulwinter covered the ceiling with a thick layer of ice, then jumped out the window just before it started to fall.
    Lucky had her upper body freed by then and could use the staff to fend off falling objects. I put a shield over Phoenix and curled up to ride it out. There was something very odd about his bio-aura, but before I could figure out what it was something got through my own protection and it got very dark. When I woke up there was no sign of him—it's not that he was dead, or buried somewhere; I knew exactly where he'd been and he was gone. I was trapped in a small open pocket with Lucky, who had used her staff's flame to melt away some of the snow. I managed to work my way up a little distance, haul her up, go up a little farther, and repeat the process until we hit up against a wall of sheer ice and twisted steel which had once been the skeleton of the building. Fimbulwinter doesn't do things by halves. Lucky, still woozy, was almost ready to lapse back into unconsciousness; she passed me her gloves.
    Those things make me nervous, and for all I knew they wouldn't work for me at all, but we were running out of time and body heat. I put them on and felt them move. The things are alive. She's never mentioned that. I gingerly put my hands up against the ice wall and tried to imagine a lance of heat, something that would melt a channel through without bringing the entire thing down on us.
    I passed out. Phoenix says the heat beam nearly took off his head. Turns out he had been a couple hundred yards away, mysteriously healed of the wounds Fimbulwinter had inflicted and a bit amnesiac besides. He says he has no idea how he got out there, but when he saw the collapsed building he guessed we were still trapped and started digging his way down.
    We woke up in the hospital. It was about three in the morning by then. Reilly was there, somber as usual. I took the chance to ask for any developments on the Bates situation. He told me that for all they can tell, she moved to Boston (from Chicago) eighteen months ago. Close examination of her records shows the same pattern as mine.
    "Maybe I should get a tattoo or something so you'll know it's really me? Look, I have the feeling that the department won't be thrilled to find out that one of its variants has a totally falsified history."
    "That's why they won't find out about it," he shrugged, an implicit statement of trust which went a long way toward improving how I feel about the whole situation. I'm still worried—well, a lot more than that—I'd have to be either very dumb or very cunning to have worked my way into this position as part of a plot, and for all I know it'll turn out to be the latter. Reilly also found that Yesterday's Tomorrows owned an island in the bay, out past our own base.
    Phoenix's "daughter" has come out of her coma; he's named her Dawn, giving up on "Daemon Whore," much to everyone else's relief. She's very beautiful and doesn't seem to know anything about herself, or much about anything else, although she can apparently create objects out of nothing. Now we don't know if she'll ever get a chance to learn. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
    Lucky refused to go anywhere until Chandler showed up to talk to her, and even then seemed really out of things. She kept going on about a dream she had had with Yasmina in it, something about being prepared for something and losing her immortal soul to Sutha. She seems to have made up her mind that Fimbulwinter is out of our league and Boston isn't worth dying for. I bit back any comments I might have made about flaming hypocrisy after the way she'd cornered me earlier and tried to talk to her sensibly, but she wasn't having it; punchy as we all were, things got a little bit heated.
    Reilly calmly checked his gun and said, "OK, then, let's go."
    "You can't go up against him!" Lucky protested.
    "Someone has to if you're not going."
    Transparent as the tactic was, it got her moving; I'll have to remember that one. Reilly came with us anyway. So did Dawn, much to our later dismay. We took the hospital's rescue chopper. I spent most of the flight telling Phoenix to shut up and let me concentrate. We got there on instruments and sheer instinct. I even landed us without too much of a bump on what I could only hope was actual land.
    The snow continued to fall heavily, and out on the island the wind was fierce. Lucky smelled ozone; the rest of us chained up and followed her. The wind shifted suddenly, and she was moving again before we heard Dawn scream. The yndraegen never had a chance; Lucky crushed its skull. Dawn lay still, already unconscious, a huge raking wound open across her neck and back. Before anyone could do anything, the wound closed and scarred over, but she had lost a good deal of blood and her pulse didn't reassure.
    "I can fly her back by myself a lot faster than with the 'copter. You wait here," I suggested. It wouldn't take me long, and if Fimbulwinter knew we were here we had already lost that advantage. If we could all cooperate for once we could finish this right here.
    I must have been dreaming. Lucky had already dashed off into the snow, and Phoenix went after her. That left me alone to snarl at Reilly, who proved better at taking orders.
    "Get in the helicopter. Close the door. Draw your gun. I'll be back in ten minutes." I headed for the mainland at top speed.

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© 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson