He started with DSMD HQ, and branched out. NASA, and Spaceforce. He left them all arguing over who got the robot. Spaceforce got to Vegas first, and nabbed the "orange peel" reentry capsule, still down in the Wash.
NASA took the robot.
Two days later it exploded in an "Intense radiation event."
Two hours after that, a kill on sight order went out for Doctor Inferno.
Still no word from agents Mike Mckenna or Patricia "Patty" Winter.
Not a Super Plane
Will finished the checklist, signed the contract, and got online to complete the already vetted transfer of a big chunk of change.
Mike growled faintly, the worst he could do, right now. He was not happy.
"All right, throw the gear aboard and lets go." Will grinned, grabbing his own stuff.
"Unfortunately neither of you know how to fly, so we'll have to stop for the night when we refuel in Saskatoon. Then on to Athabaska, and Great Bear Lake. Then another night's sleep. This baby's got extended range interior tanks, and I'll pickup a barrel of aviation fuel in Saskatoon. Just in case."
All the bags went in the back--cold weather gear for all of them and lots of food, hopefully not needed.
He warmed up the engines--not really needed after the short test flight--filed his flight plan with the tower and taxied off, following the tower's directions carefully and taking off into a beautiful sunny November day.
It took two days to get to Borden Island.
Mike was still grumpy. At least Patty was curious. Asking about the plane, it's range . . . and watching him fly, asking . . . about everything.
He just grinned. "I doubt you'll have to fly out of here, yourself, but since you are curious . . ."
And waking up feeling and looking younger. In Saskatoon, he told himself he could pass for fifty. Then a long day flying, stopping in Athabaska for fuel and then on to Bear Lake, for a chilly night in a small cabin, with fuel he'd had flown up three days ago.
In the morning Will peered in the small mirror and grinned. "Forty! I look forty!"
Mike sighed. "And whatever the hell insane thing you think you need to do up here had better be worth what's going to happen to you when the DSMD gets a hold of you."
"Tsk! Oh ye of little faith! This is going to be so much fun!"
Patty looked over. "Have you got a diabolical machine hidden in an Arctic fortress?"
"Useful, not diabolical."
Mike sat up suddenly. "That's why you called Ernie! It wasn't just to steal the van. You're going to steal his Space Plane!"
"Finally, you see it. And anywway, it's not his Space palnethe reason I'm doing this is that something odd happened that made me curious about that Asteroid that's due to pass by in . . . let's see, eight days now. So I'm going to go up and take a look."
"But . . . Mr. Snead said something about twenty feet of ice and snow?" Patty looked alarmed.
"Yeah. Not the best place to build a Superhero redoubt. Might have a little trouble getting in, once we get there."
They exchanged wide-eyed stares.
"Relax. I have plenty of fuel, and with you two along, I will have plenty to eat all winter long." He snickered. But they really just looked disgusted. Not frightened.
Drat. I used to be able to panic people with a statement like that. I've lost my touch.
"Well, I'd offer to leave you here, but there isn't enough food for the winter, so, lets load up and go. And break out the parkas and insulated pants. You'll want them at the next stop!"
As he'd hoped, the island wasn't totally ice covered, so it was easy to spot where he needed to go, circle and find a smooth surface to land on. The rocks were icy, but the slight uphill slope and the headwind mad stopping easy. He turned and taxied back, turned the plane to face upwind then cut the engine.
Chocks under the wheels. Then dragging out the lightweight sled
"Hopefully it's far enough away." Will grabbed his black duffle and computer suitcase and loaded them on the sled, pulled out the crates of freeze dried foods, a few odds and ends he'd thought might come in handy . . . the insulated tent. Mike glowered, but grabbed one side of the rope loop and helped him haul it back up the slight slope of the landing path to a knob of rock. "Let's leave everything here for a minute, while I take a look.
He turned left and stepped carefully onto crunchy dry snow, poking ahead with his new cane. He stopped at a slight drop, and studied the ice and snow, the rocks exposed on the other side of the miniature glacier.
He nodded. "Yep. There it is. Under twenty feet--at least-- of ice and hard packed snow."
He fished in his pocket and brought out a foil wrapped package. "Here, Mike. Call your boss and tell him you've got a ring side seat to watch Doctor Inferno trying to melt his way into Ernie's secret base."
Mike looked suspicious.
"Oh, and put it on speaker, so I can hear him cuss." He looked from one to the other. "I don't suppose either of you are any good with explosives? Well, no matter. I'm going to unpack the groceries and the tent."
He stomped a careful path back to the knob, catching bits of Mike's voice over the wind.
" . . . has explosives and thinks he can melt his way in."
Tsk! Not on speaker, so I can't hear. Not that I can't guess.
He walked back.
"Yes, Sir! I'll stick right by him," Mike looked around, and glowered, "and do as you say."
He tapped the phone as if turning it off.
"You can't possibly have brought enough explosives to dent this."
"Ah. But I know where the entrance is. Not to mention . . ." He snatched the phone from Mike's hand dropped it into a cushioned bag and threw it. "My secret weapon. The US Air Force."
Will pulled three heat sticks out of his pocket, snapped them to mix the chemicals and threw them after the phone. "Come along now, they may be pretty fast."
Mike snorted. "The troops and helicopters will be here in three hours."
Will sighed. "Mike. There are no helicopters that close. It's a tossup whether they'll bomb the hell out of that glacier, or send missiles. But we need to be away and under cover as quickly as possible."
"What!" Patty yelped.
Mike got his mouth closed. "And that's why you had me call? Because you think they'll bomb the glacier, but somehow not damage the fortress?"
"Yep. Now let's get. Or you can sit here and wait, if you want." Will ducked into the strapping of the sled and started off again. Uphill and edging to the right. Slow and steady, don't sweat.
Patty slithered on the ice, grabbed one side of the harness and started pulling. Mike growled and added his strength to the other side. Across the iced over stream, up the slight slope to the gentle crest, dropping a few feet down the otherside, then turning left and hauling the sled up to a rock outcrop with a slight over hang, capped with snow.
"There, see? I said it wouldn't be very far." Will grunted as he hauled the sled under the overhang. "Now, we'll just sit on the crates, cover up with this white tarp and we'll just pretend we're snow for a short while."
Mike glared. "You are insane. Patty, sit in the middle, you're the smallest, and you'll get cold fastest."
Patty cleared her throat. "And what if it's helicopters and troops?"
"Then they shoot me and take you guys home. And you really really hope that asteroid just whizzes safely past. Poor paranoid old super villain! RIP." Will finished tucking in the tarp and sat on a crate himself as he pulled the tarp up and over his head.
"They are not going to bomb us." Mike pulled the tarp over his and Patty's heads. "And they won't shoot you if you surrender."
Will snorted, and tucked in the side a bit to cut the draft.