Agape: In Search of Universal Love
from the novel, The Lodging for the Rose
Rolf. A. F. Witzsche
Story 17 - Aquarius in Ice.
Story 17 - Aquarius in Ice.
With the shrill of the alarm clock our honeymoon ended. The harsh reality came back into our lives. The weather was still perfect for our mission. Stars filled the sky. This meant that everything could progress as planned. Breakfast was already available at the center, when we arrived. The prevailing atmosphere, of course, was strictly routine.
Breakfast was radically different that morning, than it had been in Caracas on the morning after our first night together. Here, nobody knew us in terms of our intimate background. Nobody knew how much closer we had come to each other, although this seemed hardly possible.
People greeted us briefly. They greeted us as though we were part of the center, and then went on to do whatever they normally did. The center was a hall with tables big enough to seat eight people; four on each side. As it was, only three people joined us for breakfast. The major showed up late. Perhaps she always did. She had a cup of coffee for breakfast, nothing more, and talked about how the reindeer herds were benefited by the station, especially during extreme weather conditions. Then, we were off on our way to the airfield, still chatting as we went. Our scientific team had been busy loading the plane up. They were almost done when we came to the hanger. There were a few other delays, too. The engines needed to be warmed up. Eventually, though, we were on our way.
We flew low this morning. The major explained that we had to fly as low as we could dare, in order to avoid any possible radar contact. Most of the time we flew just a few meters above the tree tops on a heading towards the faint orange hue on the horizon that signaled the beginning of the new day.
It took us two hours to reach our drop-off point near the satellite station. Flying at near tree top level was slower of course, being more precarious, especially at first while we were still flying in the dark. The airstrip at the satellite station was a frozen lake in the middle of a valley surrounded by forest. By the time we arrived the sun had just come up above the horizon. Everything unfolded as smoothly for us as if we were on a perfect holiday. We knew, of course, that appearances were deceptive. Evidently, it was for this reason that we didn't land in front of the station, but behind a nearby hill to the rear of the station. We landed on a narrow clearing between stands of trees. Everything sparkled in this pristine landscape. The trees projected long shadows across the snow as we came in. The major said that she hoped that the shadows would obscure our landing tracks sufficiently, so that they wouldn't be seen from space by the surveillance satellites.
By the time the plane came to a stop a new world suddenly opened up, a world of haste driven by the realization that we were in a race against time if our suspicion of a bio-weapon proved to be true. The plane was quickly unloaded. Everything was dumped onto the ground to get the major airborne again as fast as possible, while we grabbed what we could and hurried for cover.
We had changed into white coveralls in the plane, and put all of our belongings into white bags that would make us undetectable by the satellite spy system that the major was sure would be monitoring the area. Once our bit of cargo was secured and covered with snow, we were off on our trek that turned out to be an hour's march between trees, across snow drifts, over a tree covered hill, and for the final mile along a shallow ravine that led to the station. For obvious reasons the major had chosen not to land any closer. For the same reason we also had to cover our tracks in a manner that would make them look like animal tracks when seen from space.
(c) Copyright 1998 -
Published by Cygni Communications Ltd. North Vancouver, Canada