An Episodic Novel by Alan Augustson

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Antark: Chapter Twenty-Two

“Anthony, has anyone tried hailing that thing yet?” “That was the first thing we tried,” Captain Nweke said. “No response yet; we may not have their channel.” “Standard ship-to-shore; shouldn’t be any question.” “Captain van Rhijn has them re-trying every ten minutes,” Anthony said. “Since they’re not displaying any hostile

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Antark: Chapter One

Captain Danny McGee was short five Marines and an eye. Never mind the chain of command; these were people he had laughed, ate, labored and bled with.

Antark: Chapter Two

The Chilean happened to be on deck too, and wondered at the insane gringito choosing to stay above decks in the eternal storm that was the Southern Ocean, holding fast to the rails but without any semblance of fear.

Antark: Chapter Three

At last they found themselves approaching a sharp outcropping of rock. The climb to the top was hell, and he had to catch his breath midway. At the crest Geoff was waiting. He gestured in the direction they were traveling, and McGee looked down into the valley.

Antark: Chapter Four

“You need to be able to contribute from Day One. Everyone’s survival depends on it. That’s why our unit of currency is an hour of work.”

Antark: Chapter Five

He couldn’t sleep worth a damn. Even with no more than the skylight in his quarters, and with sunlight already beginning to wane before the long, dark night, McGee’s mind was racing. He was awash in endorphins and there was just nothing for it. With four long flights from D.C.

Antark: Chapter Six

The work could not have been more mind-numbing, and McGee reveled in it. One potato, two potato, three potato, four hundred. After who-knows-how-many hours, he had achieved a Zen state: the last potato is gone; the next potato does not exist, and may never. The sum of all reality is

Antark: Chapter Seven

“Ladies and gentlemen, firstly, please accept my thanks for this opportunity to address you this morning, and for having entrusted me with this analysis of the security considerations inherent to a permanent settlement on this continent. “There are health, safety and logistical issues unique to daily life here, with all

Antark: Chapter Eight

McGee’s head was spinning with fatigue and exasperation, but he knew there’d be no sleep very soon. The aftermath of his presentation was ugly. Various members of the Assembly had accused him of every ulterior motive for which there existed a word. One had said that he was inventing issues

Antark: Chapter Nine

McGee was alone, standing just a few steps outside the main hatch from Valhalla Boulevard, out in the open with his parka sealed tight. He needed to not talk for awhile, just to feel that lashing wind and to hear the drone of those monster wind turbines. He had spoken

Antark: Chapter Ten

“Yo, Melissa!” “Corporal Melissa, shitbird.” “Oh my God, sorry!” “Chill out, Marine; I’m just fucking with you. Long as we’re not mainside, I’m good. What’d you need?” “I was just wondering. You said last week you and Mr. Gutierrez were gonna adopt?” “Ohhh, yeah! That’s all stalled until I get

Antark: Chapter Eleven

“The hell– ?” jumped Ortiz at finding McGee at his door. “Willie,” he panted, having run that entire length from the infirmary. “We can’t move this fast. We haven’t got the resources– “ “Man, what are you doing? Hey,” Ortiz took him by the shoulders, bringing him into his quarters

Antark: Chapter Twelve

He awoke to annoyance and sobbing. The former was with himself; the latter, for a change, was not his own. Fucking idiot, McGee thought to himself. After that stunt, he surely looked like a lunatic. That part he could handle; the problem would be if the message were too easily

Antark: Chapter Thirteen

The crate was carried into the training room with great care by two red-vested Marshals (apparently Roos had been evangelizing others on her marechausee branding, and it had stuck), and Matti Niekonnen removed the lid. He looked to McGee. “Okay, armorer,” McGee nodded reassuringly. “Let’s see if you’ve done your

Antark: Chapter Fourteen

It had been two weeks since Willie Ortiz’s fairly-triumphant return. While visiting with the Chilean and Argentine ambassadors, he had managed to connect with emissaries to those countries from elsewhere. That the South American governments threw in their support so wholeheartedly wasn’t too surprising; what affected Antarctica would also impact

Antark: Chapter Fifteen

They entered the auditorium quietly, from the rear, and the misery was almost palpable to McGee as he and Roos took up an inconspicuous position along a side wall. A younger Marshal read aloud to the ragged and miserable-looking crowd in the seats. He read in English; other Marshals waited

Antark: Chapter Sixteen

He tried not to think too much as he vigorously scrubbed his head. Water restrictions being what they were, he could get a ten-minute shower once a week. Under those conditions, he had to focus on the task at hand. The meeting of the constitutional convention had been a chorus

Antark: Chapter Seventeen

Fed, cleaned, changed and rested, Danny McGee felt vaguely human again. He even deigned to affix the brigadier’s stars to his uniform, and to wear the red beret of the AM, though berets seemed about as impractical an article of clothing as humanity ever created. He strode into Ops and

Antark: Chapter Eighteen

The winds were already vicious, and hammered the transport from the moment they emerged from the relative shelter of Valhalla’s surrounding ridge wall. Heavy as the vehicle was, to the passengers it felt in danger of a tip-over the length of the trip. It was slow going for most of

Antark: Chapter Nineteen

He needed to not think for awhile, to lose himself in something. And in the absence of booze or sex, that meant work. Thankfully, his enlisted days weren’t so far behind him, not to know his way around a toilet brush. Even more thankfully, the people of Valhalla Station liked

Antark: Chapter Twenty

McGee was beginning to appreciate Curtis Greene’s distaste for the Assembly. On the whole, he would rather have been mopping a floor himself right about now. The finding of the bodies of mother and child outside Valhalla were reported to the Assembly, as were all non-trivial events as required by

Antark: Chapter Twenty-One

In the deep twilight it wasn’t much more than a silhouette, but it was clearly military. McGee studied it through one lens of a set of binoculars, with a weird urge to bite his thumbnail. Thankfully, he didn’t dare take off his gloves. She looked between ninety and a hundred

Antark: Chapter Twenty-Two

“Anthony, has anyone tried hailing that thing yet?” “That was the first thing we tried,” Captain Nweke said. “No response yet; we may not have their channel.” “Standard ship-to-shore; shouldn’t be any question.” “Captain van Rhijn has them re-trying every ten minutes,” Anthony said. “Since they’re not displaying any hostile