Doctor Nate Neutrino's Bare Knuckle Science Adventures

South Pole Haven

An olive green truck with US Army markings drove through the blizzard. The truck stopped, and the occupants of the cabin tried to get their bearings in the white out. One was a square jawed brown-haired man in a lab coat. Another was a humanoid robot, with the letters "IKE" across his chest. The third was a tall Chinese man, clad in a trench coat. The scientist, Doctor Nate Neutrino, turned on the radio.

IKE, sitting behind the truck's wheel, removed his foot from the gas and put on the brake. "Doctor, we have arrived at agreed upon location," IKE noted, handing the microphone to Neutrino. "Let us call Krupp."

"Calling Herr Doktor Krupp," he spoke into the device. "Calling Doktor Krupp! We're at the rendezvous location you sent us!"

"Guttentag, Neutrino! I read you, loud und clear!" Krupp's voice replied on the radio. "Chu Yang ist still zhere vit you, ya?"

"Right here," the Chinese man replied.

"Gut, gut," the German added. "Zhis mission, you vill have a different sort of case. Zhe scientist here is an old friend of mine. His name ist Doctor Isaac Andrews.""

"The economist?" Neutrino asked. "He seems like a square compared to the rest of the super-scientists on the list. No offense to him."

"But did not you hear of his disappearance?" Krupp replied. "Zhis is vhere he vent to."

"He and several dozen other intellectuals," Neutrino replied. "I was surprised that many people believed his doomsday scenarios."

"For publishing zhose, he vas removed from his academic position und blacklisted," Krupp explained. "But he also found zome vealthy friends, und vanished vit zhem during zhe US Navy's Operation Highjump."

"That was when Admiral Byrd helped set up an American base down here, if I remember right," Neutrino added. "Did Andrews and the others hole in some research base down here?"

"In a matter of zpeaking, yah," Krupp replied. "Zheir supplies comprised more zhen just Navy goods, but zhose did not publically exist."

"So, did they build their own outpost or something down here, and used their friends in the Navy to help them cover it up?" Neutrino surmised. "This is a swell location to isolate yourself."

"Yah," Krupp replied. "Zhey call it 'Haven,' zince it is a place vhere scientists can be free from zhe Americans und Russians."

"Sounds like my kind of place," Neutrino added. "How about we just lay low here?"

"Ain't too bad of an idea, Doc," Chu added.

"It may seem fitting, Doctor," IKE interrupted. "But Herr Doctor Krupp has logical reasons for you to arrive here."

"IKE is correct, Doctor," Krupp replied. "Andrews has zome problems of his own, and needs your help. In addition, your friend is coming down here, und has unknowingly been followed by both Zpencer und zhe Reds."

"Swell," Nate grit his teeth. "So she busts out of the lock down, and heads somewhere she thinks no one can follow. Sounds like her."

"Who are you talkin' about, Doc?" Chu asked. "Squeeze of yours?"

"A very close female friend," Neutrino replied. "Met her before being shipped out to Korea. She gave my engineering unit a talk on the best ways to demolish bridges."

Chu whistled. "Sounds like quite a twist! Where'd a dame learn to do that kind of stuff, anyway?"

"She got a pretty good gig for her skills," Nate explained. "Back in World War II, she was a guerrilla in the Philippines. Helped fight the Japs."

"What's her name?" Chu asked.

"Isabel Balisong," Neutrino replied. "That was the only name we knew her by. Also the handle she used during the war."

"Doctor Neutrino, zhe has told me zhat she vill meet you here. Zhat is vhy I gave you zhese instructions!"

"And your friend's pad is a swell, remote place to meet up," Neutrino noted. "Good ideas, Herr Doktor. Any chance we can find somewhere warm to park?"

"Analysis of nearby frozen surfaces shows multiple subterranean gaps in the ice," IKE noted. "I presume some are natural cavities, and some are Andrews' base?"

"Yah, mein robotic friend," Krupp radioed. "You are literary right on top of his base."

Just then, the Deuce began to move. Not forward or backwards or to the side, but downwards. The sounds of hydraulics could he heard from outside the truck. Due to snow covering the windows and windshield, no occupant of the cab could see outside.

"Do not panic, mein friends! You are merely on un elevator heading down," Krupp added. "Just relax, und enjoy zhe ride! Zhere vill be enough exzitement zoon enough!"

The Deuce descended on the cylindrical cargo elevator, heading towards a concealed base. Above them, a trap door closed above, concealing the shaft beneath it. Snow from the blizzard covered it up again, all the footprints and tracks vanished beneath the fresh white coat.

A group of heavily armed figures closed in on the location fast. They rode fast, sleek vehicles. Each had a sleek, streamlined car with four skis instead of wheels. Behind the body was a gigantic fan. They were Soviet RF-8 vehicles, each with a Red Star painted on their front. Each held two people, a driver and a gunner. Two machineguns were mounted on both sides. All were piloted by masked figures holding AKM assault rifles. The aerosans crossed the Antarctic wastes, speeding over wastelands and frozen seas. There was only one human among them, a large bearded man in a thick coat and belts of Nagant M1895 revolvers and ammunition.

"Ah, don't you love the feeling of the cold air?" Igor Molotov asked the ape-man piloting the craft.

"Yes, comrade. It reminds me of home," the half-human hybrid replied. "I am grateful the Union's scientists saw fit to give me genetic enhancements against these temperatures."

"Yes, but the Union demands much of us," Molotov replied. "We face things that would make the Red Army and capitalist pigs cower in fear. We must also punish treason against the people's Revolution in all its forms. Only the Union can provide the proper environment for socialism. That is one thing Stalin got correct."

"If not for him, we would not exist," the ape man replied. "So we owe our lives to him, and to the dream he helped build."

"Some claim communism could coexist with democracy in some form. Or that a free, small socialist government is the better alternative," Igor continued. "One needs only look at that Ukrainian anarchist fool Nestor Makhno. The Red Army rightfully crushed those anarchists, as we are the only government that truly speaks for the Will of the People. The Western illusion of democracy will soon fade into history, and give Hitler, Caesar, and Makhno company."

"Where is the target, comrade Molotov?" the ape-man asked, changing the subject. "We have tracked the target here, but they are closing in fast."

"The target landed her plane near an old American research base. It was abandoned for another station, but certain sources suggest it may not be so empty," Molotov explained. "If there is a place Neutrino and her would meet, it would be that one. Be aware we may have company. Spencer and his men are also chasing her."

"Permission to kill, sir?" the ape-man asked.

"Granted as always, comrade!" Molotov grinned. "Dick Spencer and his capitalist goons should not leave Antarctica alive! I only request that you bring Neutrino before me, as we shall give him a chance to serve our glorious Union."

"Yes, comrade," the ape-man replied. "I look forward to the chance."

"If Lenin could see us now!" Igor mused. "The enemies of our Soviet Republic shall burn! Oh, Doctor Neutrino, I have sought a good battle for the longest time! Do not disappoint me!"

The World War II era sleds continued on, following the path of a plane that was reported to have landed somewhere nearby.

From the opposite direction, more vehicles were approaching the base. These vehicles were painted white, and were box-shaped devices on treads. They followed behind the first one at regular distances. They had Browning M2 machineguns and ad hoc armor playead added to them. The armed snow-cats were filled with several groups of armed men, all in white face-concealing hoods and thick coats. The men held AR-10 rifles, and had entrenching tools by their sides. Sitting behind the driver of the lead snow-cat was Agent Dick Spencer. He held a radio in his hand, and began to speak to his troops.

"All of you are here for one reason," he said over the radio. "And that reason is to kill communists. Now, I've pulled some strings to get you here. You all have fought the Reds in some way before, and you call from from different but respectable backgrounds: the Vichy French Foreign Legion, the Waffen SS, the Blackshirts, Franco's men, and of course, the honorable Ku Klux Klan."

While not everyone had gotten along due to politics, Spencer knew the Cold War presented them all with a single chance to unite against the Reds. While most were racist and nationalist, they all had one love in common: money. They were his hired guns, and they'd need to keep their guns pointed at the Reds. They all knew that. They also knew most of them would be in prison for war crimes if Spencer had not pulled strings to get them out. Spencer looked around the snowcat, and chuckled to himself how much the mercenaries' outfits resembled the Klan's own hoods. All of his men were white, since he didn't want any Jews, spics, niggers, or gooks polluting his private Red-killing army.

"Now, my White Legion," he addressed them. "The Reds may be trying to meet with their agent, Neutrino. Given how remote the old research station is, if that gook tramp is trying to rejoin Neutrino and the Reds, this would be the most likely place."

He looked over a map. The base was officially abandoned by the US government, but some company, Andrews Industries, had purchased it to use as a testing station for certain instruments. Aside from a few researchers, they'd be completely alone.

"Expect the Reds to bring guns along," Spencer grinned. "I'll give bonuses to whoever kills the most of them! I want Neutrino alive, since he has to answer for his treason!"

"How about his girl, boss?" one of the mercenaries asked. "Or if any of the eggheads from that lab nearby stick their heads out?"

"Then put a bullet in it," Spencer grinned. "No witnesses, remember. If you find that zipperhead bitch, feel free to have fun with her before you shoot her. And if you do it in front of Neutrino, I'll double your pay!"

Spencer and the men in the snow-cat began snickering to themselves. Spencer knew many of these fellows had done that sort of thing before. After all, boys would be boys.

The elevator with the Deuce had finally stopped moving.

"Finally, we can stretch our legs a bit," Neutrino noted.

Doctor Neutrino, IKE, and Chu emerged from the truck into a sterile steel environment. Around them was a cylindrical shaft that extended as far upwards as they could see. In front of them were a half-dozen robots. Each looked like a sleeker, more 'naturally' proportioned version of IKE. Instead of heads, each of the robots had an opaque-visored helmet on. In their hands were pump-action shotguns and shorter versions of the HK G3. Behind the robots was a massive bulkhead door with an emblazoned letter "H" on it. It was big enough to fit the Deuce through, and the robots seemed to be on guard.

Just then, the door opened wide. A man with a blue jumpsuit and brown hair and mustache, flanked by robots on either side, appeared in the doorway. A nametag reading "Isaac Andrews, PhD" was visible on his lapel.

"Ah, Doctor Neutrino, I presume," he extended his hand. "Krupp said you'd be coming. And there's IKE, and you're Chu."

"Doctor Andrews, I presume," Neutrino shook the man's hand. "What's with all these robots?"

"Those are my security and manufacturing staff, the Haven-Bots," Isaac waved his hand towards the armed robots. "Designed so they resemble armored humans instead of machines." He looked at IKE. "No offense."

"None taken," IKE replied. "My scans of these machines indicate they lack higher cognitive functionality. They respond, but are not truly self aware."

"That is correct," Andrews added. "And something we are trying to change. Creating artificial intelligence is always a difficult task. Sadly, all robots today have limits to their processing hardware, and are unable to improve themselves as fast as the hardware would need to sustain more processing speed."

"In this sad era, self-aware machines are rare. Machines who are otherwise identical models can have one unit become self-aware, and have the other unit remain a simple automaton," IKE explained. "Much research is necessary, but sadly, most super-scientists do not investigate the field with the coordination and finesse that is required."

"What is this place, prof?" Chu looked around. "Some kinda lab?"

"In a manner of speaking, yes and no," Andrews nodded. "As Krupp may have informed you, I built this facility to escape from the world's gaze, and for other reasons."

"With all the heat from the G-men and Reds, can't say I blame you," Neutrino added. "But you seem like you expect someone to push the Button soon."

"My papers are sometimes interpreted as such," Andrews explained. "But Krupp and I agreed that certain measures should be taken into account if nuclear war does break out. Imagine if not only all nations, but all civilization and possibly life ended because of some petty ideological war. Come, follow me, and I will show you what I do."

"How about my ride?" Nate gestured back at his truck. "Mind if I at least cloak it?"

"No need to," Andrews gestured. "Just drive it through the door. These tunnels were designed specifically to allow supply trucks in during construction. We have a motor pool on the other end."

"Then I'll give us all a lift," Neutrino pointed backwards.

"Now, allow me, Doctor," IKE added. "I have already downloaded relevant information regarding Doctor Andrews and this facility. His tour should benefit you more than I."

IKE climbed into the Deuce, and drove it. Andrews and his robot guards lead Chu and Neutrino down a wide steel passageway. The Deuce followed behind them, slowly. As they continued down the passageway, Neutrino could see glass windows, each overlooking a lab or small facility. The first one he saw was on the right, and seemed to be a massive greenhouse. Plants were being grown in a variety of conditions, soil types, and some even in special vats. Neutrino noticed radiation symbols on some of the plants, and technicians and robots handling them with special suits on. The name "Hydroponics and Agricultural Lab" was painted on the wall in large black letters. The technicians all wore blue jumpsuits similar to Andrews' own.

The next lab showed different firearms sprawled out on a table, each unloaded. There was an AKM, a British EM-2, an HK G8, a Colt M1911, an AR10, a Thompson, a Garand, an SKS, and several other firearms. A technician would put each into a bucket of mud, ice, water, or sand and then fire it from a special clamp. He was obviously testing accuracy, bullet velocity, and other factors with the different conditions. That one read "Small Arms Tests."

Another lab showed some of the Haven-Bots from before. Some completed robots sat in the corner, but shelves of spare parts dominated the rest of the room. A technician directed the robots to pick up parts from the shelves, and tried to get them to assemble more of their number. The name on the wall read "Von Neumann Lab." Neutrino did watch this lab with interest and amusement. In the corner, there were several computers. Strangely, they were smaller versions of what Neutrino was used to seeing.

The next lab showed a pile of trash, spare parts, and scrap metal. Technicians and robots scoured the junk pile, eating assembling a variety of improvised devices. Some old appliances and machinery were being repaired from the scrap pile, and others were motley combinations of machine parts. "Salvage and Repair Lab" was what that one was entitled. After completing a new device, a technician in a jumpsuit would enter it into the nearby computer.

There was a strangely conventional room next. The lab had bookshelves, more of the small computers, and caches of microfilm. A few rolls of film, records, and punched cards were also placed around the room. Robots and technicians moved around, placing various books on the shelves. "Media Archives and Cataloging" was what this room was labeled. To Neutrino, it looked like a comprehensive library.

There was a final lab near the end of the hallway. This one had various electrical devices and compact computers in it. Strange energy bounced around in tubes nearby, and Tesla coils were placed around the room. Robots handled small containers with radioactive symbols, while the scientists and technicians set up various sensors. There were two boxes at the end of the room. One was empty, and one had a plant in it. A scientist pushed a button, and the plant vanished in a flash of light. It reappeared a second later in the other box. That laboratory was labeled as "Experimental Physics Lab."After touring the hallway, IKE parked the Deuce in a large lab with several old US military trucks nearby, repainted with Haven's "H" symbol. Isaac Andrews lead Chu and Neutrino into a sterile steel office, with a compact computer, small bookshelf, television, radio, and desk. Andrews sat down, and invited Neutrino and Chu to each pull up a chair.

"Looks like you're studying most fields of science and engineering here," Neutrino noted. "Lot of research with radioactive materials and unconventional engineering."

"Back in the industrialized world, I found many individuals believed my papers," Isaac Andrews explained. "And wanted to do something about it. So, we formed the Haven Foundation. We pulled some strings in the US Navy, completely refurbished the abandoned base, and conduct research that would make the rest of the world envious."

"The Reds and States would kill for some of this research," Neutrino noted. "No wonder you're laying low."

"We have another reason," Andrews continued. "Our facility is designed to be largely self sufficient and isolated. If a nuclear war does occur, we have all the necessary components to rebuild civilization. I hope we never have to use them, but it is better to have a secret failsafe than none at all."

"What if there is no atomic war, then?" Neutrino looked enviously at the labs. "You just going to stay hidden down here?"

"We will eventually rejoin mainstream science," Andrews gestured down the hall. "But there are three hundred brave souls here, who have given up their lives outside here for the sake of science, and the survival of humanity."

"An interesting Haven you have set up," Neutrino nodded his head in agreement. "You fellows want to look at all the devices in the Deuce?"

"Herr Doktor Krupp said we should," Andrews said. "We are one of the few facilities qualified to do so. Not even Krupp knows everything that's back there. For the sake of science and civilization, we'd request your permission to look through those devices. We'll run some tests, and give them back. May even find a way to improve some of them."

"Go right ahead, Doctor Andrews," Neutrino smiled at the professor. "Think I can just crash here? I've got a lot of heat from the G-men."

"I'd have no problems with a scientist as respectable as you joining us, Doctor Neutrino," Andrews continued. "But Krupp has some other plans."

"So, is Krupp here?" Chu added. "I've always wondered where that egghead went after his lab went up in smoke."

"I am here, mein friends," said Krupp's voice over the radio. "I am here, und not here at vonce."

"What are you talking about, Herr Doktor?" Neutrino inquired. "Where are you hiding?"

Andrews looked at the radio. "So, he hasn't told you yet?"

Neutrino and Chu both looked at Krupp and Andrews with interest.

"Krupp didn't quite fake his death in the manner he planned to," Andrews explained. "After his experiment went awry, he found himself in a rather...disembodied state."

"Yah, zhat is correct," Andrews replied. "I am no longer amongst zhe material vorld in a form I can interact much vit."

"What the hell?" Chu shrugged. "So, you're some kinda ghost now?"

"In un zense, yah," Krupp replied. "But I am able to talk over zhe radio. I have become zome zort of energy-based entity. I can zense tings zhat few others can, yet I can only talk over zhe radio in zhis voice."

"So, because of a freak lab accident, you ended up as some kind of quantum ghost?" Neutrino suggested. "I've heard and seen far out things before, but I never thought they'd be this odd."

"The sad thing is, this outcome to the experiment was conducted under an extremely improbable set of conditions, and they are nearly impossible to replicate," Andrews added. "One of the problems we super-scientists have is not keeping thorough notes and having absent memories."

"That explains how you were able to turn on the radio in the Deuce," Neutrino nodded. "But Doc, I've got a question. If you knew about this place, why didn't you just send all those other super-scientists down here? Heck, why didn't you tell me?"

"You verked vor zhe US Army, und your sudden disappearance vould raise too many quvestions," Krupp's disembodied voice continued. "Zame zhing vor zhe others. It is easier to get vake papers und passports zhen smuggling all of zhem to zhe Zouth Pole. Especially vhen zome of zhem vere hostile to us. Zince zhis place is humanity's vew hopes in case of atomic var, I tried to be as zecretive about it as I could."

"And because I have a persistent schmuck like Spencer behind me, lingering here too long could endanger you," Neutrino continued. "It's tough and a hard call, but I get why I can't stay."

"That ain't right!" Chu protested. "Why does he have to split while you look at his swag in the truck?"

"Cool your jets, Chu," Neutrino added. "It's for science and civilization. This is the best shot we have at preserving it all, so some future generation can make good use out of it, rather than just being locked in some old warehouse forever. If the Reds or US finds out about this place, then the gig is up."

"I honestly hope my efforts to rebuild aren't needed, and we can all just assimilate back into society once these tensions cool," Andrews continued. "But until then, our Haven, our Foundation, needs secrecy."

"Zhere is a problem, vhich I needed to tell you," Krupp explained. "It is related to Isabel."

Neutrino's eyes lit up. "Isn't she already here?"

"She is on this continent, heading for the location of this base," Andrews explained. "After she escaped from prison, she told Krupp that she needed somewhere to hide."

"Zhis I vas zadly unprepared vor," Krupp's apologetic voice came on. "Zo, instead, I gave her zhe location of zhis base. Zhe problem is zhat both Spencer und Reds are following. I know exactly vhere she is, but zhe vill need help to drive off two zmall armies behind her."

"So, I have to find her and get her down here without either group finding the base?" Neutrino surmised. "Doesn't sound too rough. I'll just get the Deuce, turn on the cloaking device, and do it up quick. The blizzard hides any traces, and we teleport out of here like normal."

Andrews gave him a discouraged look.

"IKE, zhe truck, und zhe devices in it are being repaired und cataloged," Krupp's voice said. "But you vill have zome tricks of your own."

"I'm listening," Neutrino grinned. "Any chance of having some of those Haven-bots at my side?"

"We don't want to draw unwanted attention by leaving too much advanced technology out there," Andrews shook his head. "But we do have something better for both of you."

"Yeah?" Chu nodded.

"There is a good reason the Haven-bots are proportioned to human size,"Andrews grinned. "Their helmets are full of sensors that can be worn, and their bodies can be used as armor. They are all made of light, composite materials. They're also white in color, so you can hide in the blizzard and be practically invisible. The thermal sensors would allow you to find your enemies, even in the snow. Plus, they can keep you warm,"

"Not bad. Even if they're lost, they'll probably think it's just something I dropped from the Deuce," Neutrino grinned. "So, Chu, ready to get suited up?"

"Hold on," the Chinese man protested. "You're getting togged to the bricks in some new gizmo you never even used before?"

"The only way to change that is to try it out a bit," Neutrino grinned. "Now, I could really use your help, Chu. You can put holes in mobs of bad guys faster than some machineguns I saw."

"I'll be coming with ya, so save some for me," Chu nodded.

The two were lead to a changing room. Each put on a special one-piece insulated jumpsuit. The suit was pure white in color, and tight against their skin. They then put on a set of white armor made of some sort of plastic. The armor included chest armor, arm protection, boots, leg protection, special gloves, and finally, a sleek helmet. The helmet allowed them to look outwards, and see there natural rage of vision. There was a button that allowed them to switch to a bizarre vision mode, with everything being white and green. There was also a radio mouthpiece in the helmet. The armor had enough openings for plenty of spare magazines. Neutrino took his trusty G3, M1911A1, and trench knife. Andrews did hand him a silencer for both of his firearms. Chu didn't accept a silencer, taking only his two Browning Hi-Power pistols with him. Finally, the two were lead back to the elevator they first came in.

"We taking this thing up again?" Neutrino inquired Andrews over the radio.

"No. Stick to the right wall. You should find a set of stairs that goes up," Andrews replied. "The ground around here is full of more tunnels than Iwo Jima. Full the main path up. You'll come out directly south of Isabel Balisong's current position. See that arrow appearing on the visor? That will direct you if you do get lost."

"Thanks, Doctor Andrews," Neutrino gestured to Chu. They found a small door on the right side of the shaft, and went through. Inside was a dark, winding tunnel. Neutrino switched to night-vision, and continued upwards with his G3 ready. Chu followed behind him, keeping both of his pistols out and ready.

"Just out of curiosity, where'd you learn to shoot like that?" Neutrino asked his companion. "I know cowboys used to shoot with two revolvers, but not automatics. Not many people I know can shoot like you do and still retain accuracy, let alone tactical proficiency."

"It's a shooting style used by an American first, actually," Chu Yang explained. "Ever heard of the Wraith?"

"Think I heard of him. Some vigilante from Chicago, back during the Depression?" Neutrino tried recalling the name.

"He used a double pistol style with Colt pistols, similar to the ones you're using," Yang explained. "Never met the guy, but he inspired me to act as a private eye, and vigilante sometimes. I use these heaters since they hold more shots than the Colt. More bullets means more chance of them hitting your mark."

"Must have taken a long time to train," Neutrino whistled. "I've seen trick shooters that can't help."

"Back in Shanghai, I knew a blind monk who would always meditate with a gun. Learned it from him," Chu replied. "The trick isn't precision and skill, but skill without precision. Spray in the area your enemy is most likely to come from, and keep him from shooting first."

"Interesting, but I'll stick to what I know," Neutrino patted his rifle. "That's rifles, shotguns, automatics, regular shooting, and close combat."

"Suit yourself," Chu shrugged. "Say, tell me about this gal of yours. If we need to save her, might as well know what she's like." The two continued up the dark passageway, talking to each other over the radio.

North of the two men was a plane half-buried in the snow. A set of tracks lead away from it, now half buried in the snow. In a rocky outcropping nearby, a woman moved slowly through the woods. She was covered in head to toe by thick clothing, and her face, hands, and other extremities were also covered, lest she get frostbite. On her belt was a pair of weapons she had used for a long time: a bolo knife and a Colt M1911A1 made in the Philippines. Across her back was slung a weathered Springfield M1903 bolt-action rifle. The ice was a far cry from the tropical islands she spent most of her life on. She had gotten used to the cold from living in Korea for a while, but the winters here were a whole order of magnitude worse than what she thought.

While her vision was blocked by the snow and wind, her senses could detect where the noises of engines were coming from. To the east and west where both different types of engines. She did not know who was driving the machines coming from either direction, but she had some ideas. What she did know was that she did not want to get captured by either party.

She knew the direction she wanted to head in was due south, but she did not have a map with her. Krupp had guided her here on the radio, but the radio had died with the rest of the plane. All she knew now was keeping heading south until Haven's agents made contact with her. While she knew tracking in the wilderness, her home was the jungle, not the dead, frozen bottom of the world. Isabel Balisong moved slowly, and headed away from the buried plane. Soon, her enemies would both be coming down upon it. Best not to be there when they both arrived. Looking up, Balisong noted that slightly, the blizzard was decreasing in intensity fast. Soon, there would be restored visibility.

Dick Spencer was the first out of the snowcat, holding his Smith and Wesson Model 10 revolver with him. The damn blizzard had subsided, so Spencer could finally see he had arrived at his destination. While the mercenaries carried larger weapons with them, he kept his lucky pistol with him. While he had never served in the military or law enforcement before, his experience as a private investigator had told him to carry a weapon was better than not to carry it.

"Everyone, spread out and search for tracks!" the agent ordered. "If it moves, kill it!"

Dozens of men climbed out of the snowcats behind him, each having a face-concealing white hood on and AR-10 rifle in hand. They broke off into squads, and began searching for any signs of their target. Spencer himself joined one squad, and headed east. He thought he heard some strange sounds on the other side. If he had any unwanted guests, they'd all be dead.

Suddenly, Spencer heard mechanical sounds off in the distance. They grew louder, and his men trained their guns in their direction. They awaited the unseen foes to fire. The sound was too rapid and fast to be someone in snowcats. Spencer pulled out his revolver and tried to trace the source of the sound. While it came most intensely from the east, the same sound also came from the north and south.

Spencer saw them all appear at once. Aerosans, fan-driven sleds, with the markings of the Red Army appeared around then to the north, east, and south. They were being surrounded by the Reds. Large figures in red coats and masks stepped out, each having a strange gate and held an AKM rifle in their hands. Some remained in the aerosans, turning their guns against the armored snowcats and White Legion members. Both parties aimed their weapons at each other. Spencer stepped behind one of his men, hoping if they opened fire, he'd buy it first. Spencer knew he was far too important to waste in a pointless skirmish.

A large, pudgy man with a Russian hat and belts of ammunition and holsters stepped on top of a nearby hill, flanked by his guards on all sides. The Russian man pointed his finger amongst the men, counting their numbers silently to himself. He pulled out a bullhorn from his aerosan, and addressed Spencer and his minions.

"Greetings, Agent Dick Spencer," Molotov addressed the American agent with accented English. "Where are here for Doctor Neutrino. He will swear allegiance and surrender to the glorious Soviet Union, or die. Remain out of our way, and we shall allow you to leave."

"You Godless Red bastards!" Spencer shouted back. "We're here to find Neutrino and bring him back for high treason against the American people! We have more men, more guns, and more reason to find him!"

Molotov grinned. "You have approximately twenty-eight men more than I do," the Soviet agent patted one of his holsters. "I must say, the math works out nicely."

It was then Molotov hurled two Nagant revolvers into the air. He then drew two more, one in each hand, and began shooting White Legion members, tracking two different targets in each hand. Seven shots came out of each Nagant M1895 revolver, and then discarded the empty ones. He then grabbed the ones he had previously hurled up into the air, and continued shooting. Seven bullets from each gun each struck seven different targets. At the end of the four gun barrage, twenty eight White Legionnaires lay dead or mortally wounded.

"Now, odds are a bit more even, yes?" Molotov grinned. "Before you return fire, you ploy with the assassins was a good one. Their white suits and armor made them hard to see. If it was still snowing, they would be invisible."

"What are you talking about, you damn Russkie?" Spencer leveled his revolver at the closest ape-man. "Those aren't my men. I don't have any special armor, and if I did, I'd be in some now!"

"Then it looks like my soldiers have just found Neutrino and a possible companion," Molotov grinned. "You have one minute to stand down. Withdraw, and we shall allow you to leave."

"We still have the better guns!" Spencer shouted back. "Men, kill these Reds and take Neutrino back!"

It was then the firefight started. Spencer shot at the Russians before taking cover behind an armored snowcat. The M2 Browning machineguns opened fire, as well as his men with the AR-10 assault rifles. The Soviets responded in kind with their AKM rifles and the machine guns mounted on their aerosans. Both sides sought cover, but some were caught in the open and killed first.

To the southeast of the battlefield and just a few minutes earlier, Nate and Chu had been out searching for Isabel. Both crouch walked past a rocky outcropping. The tracks they followed had been buried, and Isabel's position became increasingly unclear. Even to the sensors in the suit, it became harder to navigate.

"Weather's improving," Neutrino noticed the blizzard winding down. "That isn't so swell for us."

"Those mooks could see us better," Chu radioed back. "Hey, what's that? This gizmo shows there's something under the snow!"

Neutrino looked at the ground around him and Chu. Thermal images were indeed waiting. They were not quite standard human readings, but they held AKM rifles. Who or whatever they were, they probably worked for the reds. Neutrino began shooting the ground with his G3, hoping to get some of them. Chu began following Neutrino's direction, shooting the figures hiding under the snow. Suddenly, they all jumped up, and each rushed them in a group.

Three of the Soviet ape-men rushed at Neutrino. He tried smashing one with the rifle butt, but the attacker reacted quickly and dove for his legs. The creature's momentum knocked him out, and the other two mounted him and began searching for other weapons. Four of them lunged at Chu. The Chinese man managed to blast two of them in the face at point blank range, but the two behind him pulled out his balance from under him.

Now under the mercy of the Soviet ape-men, they were forced to kneel and remain bound while their leader radioed an update. One of the ape-men removed his mask before talking on the radio, allowing Neutrino to see is face for the first time. The ape-men had an enlarged and flatted nose and jaw, and hair covered much of their face. They had sunken eyes, but also several distinctively human features. He spoke in fluent Russian, calling up their commander for orders. After Molotov responded, the ape-man pulled his mask down.

"Damn dirty apes," Neutrino muttered to himself.

The ape-men put their rifles to the back of their heads. They forced open Chu and Neutrino's visors. They shouted orders to each other in a guttural Russian, and seemed to be ready to force them to move. Suddenly, a shot rang out. An ape fell dead. Another shot rang out, followed by another dead ape-man. By this time, the ape-men had responded, spraying their AKM rifles wildly in the direction they thought the gunfire was coming from. One began to try to sniff out the sniper, but as he tried leading the others, he was rewarded with a bullet between the eyes.

By this time, the sounds of the nearby battle and shouting could be heard. Neutrino kicked out his leg, causing a rushing ape-man to trip. Before he could recover, a bullet shot the downed primate. Chu pulled himself into a crouch, and kicked at the knee of another ape-man. The primate was shot dead before he reached the ground.

Suddenly, a figure approached behind them. Neutrino could see the figure raising a large, menancing blade out of the corner of his eye. The blade came down, and cut the bindings that the ape-men had put on him. The blade raised again, and cut Chu's bindings. Neutrino turned around to see a familiar figure bundled up. She held a bolo in her hands, and had a Springfield rifle and Colt pistol.

"Here I was thinking we'd be saving you, Isabel," Neutrino grinned when he recognized her. "Now, haul ass out of here."

"Always in a rush, Nate," Isabel Balisong shrugged. "Where's IKE and the Deuce?"

"Getting a tune up," Neutrino said. "Chu and I have some friends here, and we'll fill you in."

The group turned to head back, when a familiar vehicle appeared in front of them. The Deuce appeared in a blue flash, and IKE opened the door. The robot now seemed a bit shinier, a bit more compact, and sleeker in form. He also seemed to move in more human motions, having been upgraded physically.

"Time to leave," IKE's mouth moved in perfect synchronization with his words. "Best leave before the others decide to look for us."

"Where are we going, IKE?" Neutrino asked. "What about leading the others back to Haven?"

"If we just teleport out of here, there's no tracks," IKE explained. "Krupp has a contact that requires our assistance."

"Anywhere's better than here, Doc," Chu said. "Just get in. Hear all that gunfire and shouting over the hill? Let's blow this joint!"

Neutrino climbed into the Deuce, and pulled Isabel and Chu in. He closed the door behind him. He noticed behind him were two smaller seats added to it. Instead of the rough metal body, there now were small carpets on the floor. The ad hoc sensor array had been upgraded to smaller, more compact ones.

"Doctor Andrews' research staff believed that miniaturization was a logical direction for electronics," IKE said as he engaged the teleporter. "There are a number of other features with the Deuce. Many are functional, and others are for comfort. The teleporter now recharges more quickly, for instance.."

"Not bad, IKE," Neutrino sat back. "Now, Isabel, we'll explain everything. Time to haul ass out of here!"

With that, the Deuce disappeared in a blue flash. To the north, the battle still raged. The dead bodies of both human scum and brainwashed ape-men filled the snowy field. While Igor Molotov knew there were always replacements for his lost troops and equipment, he had best withdraw while he still had a chance to. He was trespassing in the American territorial claims, and being apprehended here would not be good for the Union's reputation. He ordered a retreat, hoping to withdraw before his prisoners could escape. Molotov only found out the guards had been killed too late.

Sensing victory, Dick Spencer and his Legion began to mob up the remaining Reds. While he'd find they were all a bunch of ape-humans, he also found Neutrino was missing. Cursing that he had been left with nothing, he headed away empty-handed. Later on, a clean up crew would recover the bodies and remnants of the battle. They would be shipped back, given false causes of death, and the incident would be buried behind red tape. Organized by one of the US Navy commanders with friends in the Haven Foundation, evidence of the skirmish would be swept under the rug. The Haven at South Pole had its secrecy remain.