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Short Story: "Under an Icy Sky"

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Philip Zack       (Page 9 of 10 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page.     Permalink

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With a little help from the hackers, and a lot of nerve, Phoebe got the feel of teleoperating the drone in less than fifteen minutes. "You know," she said when they were ready to go, "I used to be a bit of a gamer myself before I was married. Alex thought it was frivolous, though."

Together, they showed Andreas where it would be safe to enter from: on the edge of the ridge that lined the facilities area. That section of ice was not cantilevered over a broad open space, so the stresses would be spread out better, and the ice and snowpack above it was natural. If they could get the equipment over there, they could melt a hole through the ice and safely lift people out.

Andreas was aghast. "Do you realize how long that would take? And besides, how could we convince a conference full of political and business leaders to do anything like that?"

"Fine," Phoebe said. "Do you have a better idea?"

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"I certainly have a faster one. As long as everyone stays inside the complex, they're safe. We can blow a hole in the roof of the cave and let our guests leave the way they came: through the front door."

"Blow--?" Alphon said. "Are you crazy? You saw what happened when a chunk of ice came down out there. And you want to knock it all down?"

"We created this place, kid. We can tear it down and build it again. With a hole that big, we can land a VTOL on the patio and get them out in comfort a group at a time."

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Phoebe fumed. "And the workers? What about them? Or are you just going to leave them there, and let them slowly freeze to death?"

He didn't answer.

Alphon spread his hands. "So now what?"

The feed from the drone was still active, so she landed it in view of the target zone and they waited. "I feel so helpless," she grumbled.

He raised his eyebrows. "So must the people who work for those jerks. Well, I suppose we can at least tell the workers to keep clear until they've finished playing with their war toys."

After the hackers got word to the resort staff, they settled in to watch the cockpit and see what happened next. While they were waiting, the 3D printer finished, and Phoebe started crossing the room to look at it. "Do you know what this is supposed to be?"

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He shrugged. "Only that it was some sort of memorial for your mother, and that Ellen helped design it. Oh, and that the resin has some of her bone dust in it. Beyond that, I'm as much in the dark as you are."

"Well, I guess we'll just have to see for our--." She stopped when the room suddenly filled with the sound of a massive explosion in Greenland.

"Those idiots!" Alphon said, staring aghast at the cockpit. There were flashes of light from above, and it wasn't the blue glow of filtered sunlight. "They must have called in an airstrike or something. The whole roof of the cave just came down and flattened the main building of the resort!"

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Ever since I learned to speak binary on a DIGIAC 3080 training computer, I've been involved with tech in one way or another, but there was always another part of me off exploring ideas and writing about them. Halfway to a BS in Space Technology at (more...)

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