The Science Adventures of Dr. Nate Neutrino
Above and Beyond
Doctor Nathaniel Neutrino pushed the crate into the back of the truck. He was a tall, square-jawed man with dark brown hair, blue eyes covered by glasses, and clad in a lab coat. Around him, soldiers dressed in US Army uniforms and helmets loaded several crates into the back of the truck. Dr. Neutrino assisted them, knowing what was in these crates had taken decades of covert operations, clandestine dealings, and blind luck. The remnants of a half century's worth of conflict amongst super-scientists sat in the military warehouse. He saw a large soldier carelessly drop a crate.
"Hey, careful with that box!" he shouted. "If that thing was armed, we'd be radioactive ash!"
"Sorry, sir!" the soldier saluted and picked up the box with a lot more care and slid it backwards into the truck. No matter how many times he had been reassured that they were safe, Dr. Neutrino was always nervous about the radioactive growth-rays they had captured from the recently institutionalized Dr. Harold Hausen. Despite the large amount of goods that were supposed to go on the truck, it appeared nowhere near being full. Superficially, the canvas-covered GM "deuce and a half" CCKW Army truck looked like any other military truck, right down to the white star on it. Dr. Neutrino knew that it was much more than that, and was as much a part of the stash as the items being loaded on it. Dr. Neutrino took a quick glance at an inactive robot in the corner of the warehouse, and turned to the Army officer in charge of the men helping him load the truck.
"So, Captain, you said a G-man of some sort asked for me to take this to the edge of the base?" Dr. Neutrino turned his head to the side, checking the clipboard. He noted the name "Roberts" on his uniform.
"Yes, sir," Captain Roberts replied. "Said is name was Special Agent Dick Carver. Didn't say what agency. Only that the Reds were after this swag, and it ain't safe here."
"Captain, I must thank you for your assistance. There's one last thing I need," Neutrino pointed to the inactive metal man. "Take special care with the robot."
The Captain directed two soldiers to lift it up. "Careful with that, you apes!"
Both nodded and set about picking the man-sized robot up. The head was rounded, the body was a cylinder, and the arms and legs resembled vacuum tubes. The letters "IKE" were painted across the torso. IKE had been a helpful assistant in the lab, but had been deactivated for months. The two soldiers leaned the robot sideways, as carefully and respectfully if they were laying out a body for a viewing, and rolled the machine into the back of the truck.
"That's all of it," Dr. Neutrino checked a clipboard and checked off the robot. "Thanks again, men!"
The soldiers nodded in acknowledgment of him. The Captain bowed his head. In the corner, an older Sergeant looked at Dr. Neutrino. "Hey, I have a question for ya, Doc," he asked.
"When did I give you permission to speak freely, Wilkins?" Captain Roberts replied. "Don't harass the man!"
"Let him speak," Dr. Neutrino asked the officer. "So, what can I help you with?"
"I think I saw you before. Were you out back on the firing range, with that old Kraut pistol and other guns?" Sergeant Wilkins asked.
"Yes, I was. I was trained with an old Mauser pistol and shotgun by a friend of mine," Dr. Neutrino replied nonchalantly. "It was nothing major."
"Nothing major my ass! I saw you out there every day!" a huge grin appeared on Wilkins' face. "You could shoot straighter than some snipers I've seen!"
"I just enjoy recreational shooting, boxing, and wrestling," Neutrino shrugged. "If you can offer me some additional advice, I'd welcome it."
"I should be taking lessons from you, Doc!" Wilkins nodded.
"If you say, Sergeant," Doctor Neutrino added. "All I can recommend is the same strategy that works for doing anything in life: Practice, and lots of it."
"Okay, slobs, head back to the barracks!" Captain Roberts shouted. "Let's leave the Doc to do whatever he needs!"
The soldiers left the warehouse as the scientist climbed into the vehicles' cab. He locked the door, and moved the right seat. He entered a large, empty space. The walls, floor, and ceiling looked like sheet metal, but no matter how far he walked towards the walls, he never seemed to get closer. But it was not the size of the space he cared for. He approached the edge of the vast space, and found the robot that had been previously loaded into the truck.
Dr. Neutrino recalled the instructions from the letter he had received earlier. He opened a hatch on the back of the robot's head, and saw a small keypad. Dr. Neutrino pulled out a rolled up piece of paper out of his lab coat, and began to enter the long sequence of numbers into the machine. As he finished, he closed the hatch, and waited. For a few long seconds, there was nothing. Then, the robot's lightbulb eyes flashed on, and the machine began to stand up. Nate felt the trench knife and Mauser Broomhandle pistol in his pocket, glad that it was there in case he needed it.
"Unit IKE reactivation sequence complete," the robot said in a monotone voice as it sat up. "State owner name. Current owner: Doctor Otto Krupp."
"Change to Doctor Nate Neutrino, authorization code one-three-five-four-zero-seven," the Doctor spoke. "State internal operational status. Activate default personality, male gender."
"All systems optimal," IKE replied. "Personality system activating. Booting from source."
The robot stood up, holding its metal head with its mechanical hands. A feeling of warmth came from the automaton, and it seemed to be more than just radiator heat. It looked around, standing tall. IKE looked at Dr. Neutrino and extended his hand. "Glad to meet you, Doctor Neutrino."
"Doctor Krupp told me to ask about his last data entry," Dr. Neutrino added. "He said I was in danger because of it."
"Doctor Krupp's latest entry was an inventory of experimental devices from the Science Wars, and several Allied and Axis secret projects. Tell me, Doctor, are the Science Wars still going?" IKE asked.
"They died down in the last few months. We Yanks and the Reds began recruiting or neutralizing the last few super-scientists, so only a few stragglers are left," Neutrino replied. "I've had to add in some alien items in this mess from a town called Roswell."
"My positron brain shows several rogue super-scientists still believed to be in operation," IKE explained. "May I inquire as to the health and welfare of Herr Doktor Krupp?"
"Ah. Thank you for the update on world geopolitics, Doctor Neutrino. Has Dr. Krupp been in contact with you recently?"
"Yes, and the news wasn't as good as I'd hope," Neutrino added. "There's a crooked G-man are trying set me up as a Red spy. Probably because I exposed some of his evidence against another poor sap as fake. Yet McCarthy is keeping him around, since he's a good attack dog."
"Your arrest and exposure as a Communist spy would provide a warning towards scientists who stand against them politically," IKE replied. "Avoiding long term incarceration is highly suggested, Doctor, especially given last remaining super-scientists may threaten peace and or stability of the world. What is our current location, and plan of escape?"
"We're at White Sands Test Base in New Mexico," Dr. Neutrino answered. "Technically, we're in the back of the Deuce."
"Yes. The experimental truck utilizing Compressed Area Relative Directional Infinite Space," IKE replied, nodding his head as servomotors whined. "Many items from my inventory also seem placed around here."
"Exactly," Neutrino explained. "I am employed as a scientist at the base, but the crooked guy, Dick Carver, planned to use me to take the wrap for something I didn't do. He's working with some off the books operation, and has his agents around the base, waiting to move."
"So how do you know this?" IKE inquired.
"Dr. Krupp sent me a coded letter a week ago, and some of our old friends in the military and government," Dr. Neutrino added. "I was told to reactivate you, and set up a method of escape. I have to get this truck inside the experimental rocket ship Copernicus and lift off. He told me he'd contact me once I had cleared gravity."
"That does not sound very challenging. It is statistically unlikely Carver does not know you are aware of his plot," IKE replied.
"When I head for the rocket, that changes fast," Dr. Neutrino opened a nearby wooden crate labeled: "Misc. Weapons."
He pulled out a black metal assault rifle with the words "Heckler and Koch Gewehr-3" engraved on it, a strange looking British EM2 rifle, and pulled out a cut down Ithaca pump shotgun. Dr. Neutrino loaded several slugs into the shotgun, pumped it, and slung it under his lab coat. "Now this is something I might need. Too bad there's no magazines for the others here."
"What is your plan, Doctor?" IKE inquired, turning his metal head to the side.
"You've driven the Deuce before, correct?" the Doctor grinned. "At least from what Krupp said."
"I have been compared to a surgeon with my vehicle handling abilities," IKE replied. "Do you require me to drive?"
Neutrino nodded. "I need you to put the pedal to the metal and head directly north. Avoid hitting any humans, and get up the rocket ship's ramp."
"Affirmative, Doctor," IKE nodded.
Neutrino readied the shotgun, but hoped he would not have to use it. The last thing he wanted to do was shoot his former coworkers and give credence to what Carver was trying to do to him. Still, he wanted to ensure the last few super-scientists were accounted for, and their inventions not used by irresponsible parties.
Whatever Carver had planned was sinister enough to get the elusive Dr. Krupp to personally warn him. The Doctor entered the cab of the Deuce, and instructed IKE to sit in the driver's seat. Neutrino sat next to him, and buckled his seatbelt. Most people did not have the idea of using safety belts in cars yet, but Dr. Krupp had that foresight long ago. He readied the shotgun, and felt IKE hit the gas. Even with the slugs, the shotgun was a poor choice for longer ranges.
The truck rocketed forwards out of the warehouse. A row of hangers was between him and the rocket ship. The Copernicus was a large blue rocket, towering over the rest of the base. Neutrino knew a certain psychologist would compare it to a masculine organ, but sometimes, a long, narrow rocket ship was just a long, narrow rocket ship.
The truck began to accelerate, the base turned into a blur, and Dr. Neutrino saw ominous black cars in the rear view mirror, gathering like a pack of hungry wolves. The path in front of them was clear, but the cars could easily circle around. IKE drove as fast as he could.
Nate saw one of the G-men stick out of the car. The G-man fired a pistol at him, shooting the back of the truck. Out of another car's window came an M3 Grease gun. He fired wildly, shattering the rear view mirror on Dr. Neutrino's side. The muzzle of an M1 Garand came out of an agent's car, firing at Deuce's rear tires. IKE began evasive maneuvers with the Deuce, shaking it wildly from side to side. Nate took some potshots out the window with his shotgun, keeping the engine block of the lead car in his sights. His few slugs that did hit seemed to ricochet away harmlessly.
"Damn armored cars," he muttered as he aimed for a not as protected target. Nate fired at the lead car's front tire, causing it to swerve out of control. The car made skidmarks in the pavement and struck one car behind it, and then a third before skidding to a halt. Nate turned to see a G-man was shouting at him and gesturing obscenely.
"Didn't you ever learn physics?" Nate shouted. "No matter can stop a neutrino!"
With the speed of a bullet, another car shot out of a hanger on the right. Inside was the clear, hate-wrinkled face of a man Nate had never wished to see again. Special Agent Dick Carver, formerly of the FBI, and now on some unknown agency's payroll, pulled alongside Neutrino's car. Nate tried to shoot, but his shotgun was empty.
"Pull over!" Spencer shouted from his car, which Nate could barely hear over the engine. "You can't escape, you Commie bastard!"
Dropping his empty shotgun to the truck's floor, Nate pulled out his Mauser machine pistol.
"Doctor, I recommend neutralizing out last pursuer urgently," IKE chimed in. "He is closing in rapidly and training a revolver on our rear tires."
Nate saw Carver had stuck the muzzle of a Smith and Wesson revolver out the window, and held the steering wheel with his other hand. He kept a constant velocity, trying to keep pace with the truck. Nate exhaled, found his target, and a gunshot rang out. A second gunshot rang out, and Nate saw the results of the exchange. He had shot two tires of Carver's car, which was now spinning out of control. The vehicle came to a stop in a ditch and fell to its side.
Directly ahead of the truck was the loading ramp for the Copernicus. The ramp had been left open by Nate just a few hours prior. IKE floored the gas, propelling the truck straight up the steep incline. IKE managed to swerve the truck in a perfect one-hundred-eighty degree turn as he applied the brake. The robot them climbed out of the truck, and pressed a button on the wall, as if he had performed this routine several times in the past. The ramp began to close behind them. Dr. Neutrino leaned back in his seat, regaining his composure. He got out and faced the machine.
"IKE, I have to say I'm impressed," he slapped the metal man on the back. "Now, let's get into orbit."
Inside the cramped living conditions on the craft resembled a submarine, by Neutrino's reckoning. There was a bed, computer room, airlock, toilet, sink, shower, mini-kitchen, and micro-reactor providing backup power for the rocket. The cockpit had two seats with belts, controls, a computer, and a radio. The vessel was able to sustain two people for an extended amount of time. Since IKE didn't need to breath, bathe, eat, or shower, he would last longer. It was good that he had ensured that there was enough fuel, air, water, and food for a while.
It also also good that they were testing one of Krupp's rockets the week they tried to set him up. Neutrino was sure there was no coincidences involved, given some of his friends had also warned him of funny business. Neutrino wasted no time and climbed up the ladder to get to the cockpit. IKE was already seated and beginning the countdown. Dr. Neutrino buckled himself in.
"Launching in five, four, three, two, one," IKE directed. "Lift off!"
The rocket ship blasted off, and the intense G-forces pressed down on Dr. Neutrino, as if a weight had been dropped onto his chest. He felt sick for several seconds, but grew used to it. IKE simply operated the controls, unaffected by the intense forces. The auto-charging batteries in that robot certainly had been made to last. Outside the front windows, Neutrino saw the blue sky become darker, until finally they were in space. The pressure on his chest was gone, allowing him to move freely again. He quickly changed the radio to the frequency that Dr. Krupp had informed him of.
"Doctor Krupp? You there?" Nate Neutrino shouted into the microphone. "This is Doctor Neutrino and IKE aboard the Copernicus. Repeat! Krupp! Respond!"
"Loud und clear, Nate!" replied a voice with a thick German accent. "You are speaking to me in space! Very exciting, yah? Is IKE activated?"
"Yes, Otto. He helped me cut out," Dr. Neutrino replied.
"Greetings, Herr Doktor Krupp," IKE added. "It is good to talk to you."
"Gut! Gut! I was getting worried about both of you! Now, listen closely," Krupp explained. "Back in my day, I worked in family's company, researching big guns und artillery. Then came the First Great War, and I decided to research rockets instead."
"For which I am grateful," Neutrino snickered.
"It was around then I moved to my currently location, after discovering CARDIS. I am not bothered any more, yah? But it was not as peaceful as I had hoped," Krupp continued, his accent as thick as always. "The vile Nazis and that failed Austrian art student had infested my country. So, I fled to America and worked with them, and I met your parents. Yet the Nazis had stolen notes of mine, from mein old lab. The shameless bastards stole their ideas for the V1 and V2 rockets, and the V3 cannon from those notes!"
Neutrino leaned back, allowing the garrulous old man to continue. Interrupting him now would only cause him to ramble more. IKE remained silent, also aware of his old master's mannerisms.
"I uploaded a list of all the freelance super-scientists that neither the Americans nor the Soviets accounted for! Most of them are the most potentially dangerous, cunning, und enduring super-scientists who bow to neither the CIA nor KGB!" Krupp continued. "If the Americans or Russians capture them or their research, it would be the worst of the Science Wars all over again, as well as World War III!"
"The last round of the Science Wars, there wasn't two superpowers ready to atomic bomb the world," Nate added. "All it takes is one of those mad scientists going rogue, unleashing some disaster, or stirring things up, and the Earth is doomed."
"Yes, Nate. But mercifully, our associates und I were able to ensure the more dangerous objects of the Science Wars were kept away from those who would use them for sinister purposes," Krupp explained. "So that is where you must assist me, mein friend. Events have occurred that prevent me or our associates from intervening directly."
"Yes, I had heard about the explosion at your lab," Nate replied. "I'm glad to see you're alright. Still, I don't like this plan so far. I have to become a fugitive, fight a number of mad scientists, and meet up with you in our Haven afterwards, assuming a rogue Special Agent doesn't arrest or kill me?"
"So, you have met Dick Carver. Very unpleasant sort, yah?" Krupp added. "He was once FBI, before you called much of his evidence into question."
"Does he work for the CIA?" Nate asked. "He's got resources and agents from somewhere."
"Nein. I believe he is far too unsubtle in his methods to be in a spy agency," Krupp replied. "His arrangement with McCarthy is more of an informal one. He serves as his bluthunden, chasing any scent in the air, and sometimes random ones."
"Doctor Neutrino, if Carver and McCarthy secure super-scientific devices or personnel, then there is a probably of over 95 percent they will use it to implement World War III," IKE added.
Nate Neutrino nodded grimly. His task would not be easy, but it may be the only desperate, mad ploy humanity had to avert the end of the world.
"So, why am IKE and I in space?" Dr. Neutrino asked. "Is someone on the list up here?"
"Yah, mein friends," Krupp said. "There are a number of Nazis who escaped to the moon on a modified V2 rocket, and have been planning to annihilate Earth ever since. They are lead by Standartenfuhrer Rolf Dietrich, who plans to exterminate the world with a massive cannon, and repopulate it with his Aryan race."
"Seems straightforward, then," Neutrino said. "IKE, let's punch it. We've got to show some Nazis that nothing can stop a neutrino."
The rocket ship Copernicus continued into void, a torch in the dark, as an angry man fumed far below on the blue planet.
Agent Dick Carver muttered to himself. He was battered and bruised, but still able to stand. What happened to his own wounded agents never crossed his mind as he looked into the sky. He helplessly watched as the rocket ship vanished into the sky. He tried to use the radio, but no one replied to him. He knew that the soldiers on this base hated him, and their refusal to launch fighters or shoot down the rocket was somehow Neutrino's fault. He had turned several otherwise moral, upstanding good Americans into commie Godless heathens. McCarthy was on the right path, but not willing to walk it completely. If he could bring down Neutrino, then he could hopefully do more than just chase these egomaniac eggheads around. The thought of himself running for office caused him to grin, before he fell down. A group of medics approached, but he muttered a curse at them while he faded into unconsciousness. Of the agents, the medics found there were some concussions and broken bones, but remarkably, no fatalities. Carver swore next time he and Neutrino met, there would be blood.