Spacer Lest the Glaciers Claim the Earth 16
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I took Dawn to the emergency room, rattled off the essentials of the situation, suggested they call Chandler for his assessment, and headed back out into the steadily falling snow. Oddly enough I was feeling better, at least physically. I headed east in a series of low-flying curves, hoping that I would manage to spot the island or some other landmark rather than heading off across the Atlantic.
    About halfway there I heard a low chuffing sound, almost like that of a helicopter, below me, and dropped down for a better look, trying not to think about what a lovely target I must have made, a glowing woman wearing black against a background of snow clouds. It was Fimbulwinter, in a modified swamp skimmer which was carrying him quickly across the ice. I sighted along his line of travel and took off.
    A light ahead turned out to be coming from high windows in a large, warehouse-like structure. I scraped ice away and looked inside to see tons of cryptic equipment humming away. This was the place, but where was everyone else? Had they found the building, were they on their way, or lost in the snow?
    While I was trying to decide what to do, Fimbulwinter turned up. Somewhat to my surprise, Lucky sauntered out of the shadows and had a talk with him—stalling, evidently. After a few minutes she stalked out the door in a huff; he made no attempt to stop her and went about his business, enraged to discover that she and Phoenix had been unplugging, unscrewing, and generally messing around with things during his absence.
    Then Phoenix killed the lights. He needed all his speed after that, as Fimbulwinter threw all manner of power at him, missing every time. Meanwhile, I descended to ground level and met up with Lucky. Taking advantage of the darkness, I turned off my shield and we crept through the open door.
    "I've been a fool," Fimbulwinter announced suddenly. "And few can claim to have heard me say that. Pity you'll be dead before you can tell anyone. I can sense your body head. In fact, you're right... there!" He loosed another ice blast, which barely missed its target. "In the dark, I have the advantage!"
    "You know," Talon replied, "you're right!" And popped a flash in his opponent's eyes; Fimbulwinter howled in pain but appeared to recover quickly. Lucky sprinted toward the main generator while I got under cover, and Phoenix continued his taunting attacks. I had just gotten a solid lock on Fimbulwinter—he was incredibly powerful now, I sensed, but I didn't want him getting away again—when he found the fuses. The lights came back on just as Lucky hurled herself bodily through the generator, staff first.
    Fimbulwinter's shouted, "NO!" was drowned out by the explosion. I was unhurt (well, aside from a little dose of radiation, but I'm beginning to take these things more in stride), but Lucky went straight through the concrete wall, and the others spent a while ducking for cover. Fimbulwinter was in a state of panic over his machinery, as a recorded voice calmly announced that there would be another explosion in 43, 32, 18 seconds, would we mind evacuating the building?
    "You fool!" the villain snarled, ducking as Phoenix went after him again. "If that goes, it will turn all of Massachusetts to slag!"
    "Isn't that more or less what you wanted?" I inquired a bit acidly. Slag, snow, what difference did it make?
    "No! The only chance is if I can contain it somehow..." He fiddled with switches, then ran to stand on a disk of metal which stood beneath another, suspended circle. They were connected to a monitor which displayed a wireframe of his body, and what I assume were energy readings. They went off the scale almost instantly.
    I went to see if Lucky was still alive. She practically ran over me, picked me up by my shoulders, shouted, "We have to get out of here!" and took off toward the chopper. I wondered who she thought was going to fly it, since I wasn't going anywhere. We had precisely zero chance of outflying a serious explosion, and I wasn't going to leave Phoenix there alone in any case. Might as well see how it turned out.
    Phoenix tackled Fimbulwinter, throwing whatever he was doing out of kilter. The ice lord howled some more and cursed Talon as he struggled back to the disks.
    "I can't die like this!" were the last words I heard out of him.
    The room was rapidly getting colder as he tried to absorb the energy of the immanent explosion. When the air over the disks began to liquefy, Phoenix and I made our exit.
    It stopped snowing. I had just gotten the helicopter off the ground when Fimbulwinter reached his limit. The shockwave almost took us down, but we stayed level somehow and headed west at the best speed we could manage. A second, larger explosion nearly crashed us again, and once the light had faded we saw a gaping hole where the island had been, slowly filling as water and chunks of ice crashed down. That should take care of him.
    At the hospital the others piled out, but I sat in the helicopter for a few minutes, taking some comfort in the familiarity of the space around me. We saved the city, and that feels nice, but there was nothing to distract me now from what else had happened that day. Dawn, for one, has retreated into a coma again; Chandler diagnosed shock, and there's no way to tell if she'll come out of it. I swear Phoenix looked relieved that she's not his problem right now; he left right away to pose for the newspapers.
    I'm so tired, but I wanted to record this before I finally crash. It's stopped snowing, and I'm going to bed.

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© 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson