Domed City on mining Moon

Iceman Series – Part Three-

by VJ Miller Sr
If you missed Part Two

Last time we left with a Question: Who is the dead man in that dark damp alley?

Iceman - the Moon of RenquisteFred screeches up to the alleys mouth. Pausing, he speaks to the officer on duty who points to Owens deep in the interior. Long strides carry the taught body ever nearer. Hobnailed boots click in rhythm on the brick paving; echoing hollowly off the walls of the alley’s confines. In the gathering mist he walks straight to Sgt. Owens, paying no mind to the other officer.

“What happened Greg?” came out ice encrusted.

“I… I don’t know how to say this…”

“It’s Charlie… isn’t it?”

Nodding solemnly, Owens kneels to pull back the shroud, followed by Fred, removing his helmet.

Nostrils flaring, eyes narrowing, he examines the crushed body that looked as if he’d died very slowly, extremely painful; beaten to death with some heavy object, or objects. Close scrutiny shows the left pinky missing; neat, purposely severed rather than torn off in the execution. Stoic, sickened, Fred slowly rises, followed by Owens who replaces the shroud.

“I hated to do it this way… but I couldn’t over the phone.”

Silent, staring vacantly, Fred turns his back without a further word to stalk off into the thickening fog toward his bike.

“Fred… Fred. What are you gonna do?”

Fred halts, ponders, then turns half around at the waist; his voice cold as a Siberian winter. “Fred Sinclair… is dead...” He tugs on his helmet. “Only the Ice-man lives.”

Bewildered, the two detectives behold Fred’s departure into the cloying mist; of the roar and screech of tire of his rapidly receding motorcycle.

# #

“What was the significance of the missing pinky?” asked Ross.

“It was Rourke’s trademark. He wanted everyone to know he’d done it.”

“That’s why you’re such bitter enemies.”

“Exactly…. I was prepared to forget he ever existed, now I was determined to pick up where Charlie left off…”

# #

Bursting into the apartment, Fred hurried straight to Hacker’s computer. Accessing his current cases, Rourke’s name was prominent, along with confederates, pictures, traits.

Roxy’s Bar/Poolroom, dimly lit, smoke filled, catering to biker types. Two dozen men and women mill about or openly engage in debauchery. Blending in at the bar in his biker attire and mirrored sunglasses Fred observes Eddie go belly up to a biker woman at the pool table. Sporting pink hair and a dozen visible tattoos she stands haughtily in Eddie’s face.

Yanking out his wallet Eddie flings a few bills on the table. The biker bitch slowly wraps her claws around the notes. Blowing Eddie, a kiss she stuffs the money into her halter top. Stalking off, jeers cascade around Eddie; elbowing his way out of the bar.

Paying his tab, Fred tails him.

The basement bar resides in a tough area. Filth and overflowing trash cans abound. Motorcycles stand queued up to the curb. A derelict sprawls in the gutter of the unbusy avenue. Inadequate light diffuses from pole lamps and windows.

Muttering, Eddie is alert to metallic scratching from behind. Nothing becomes apparent to his scan. He resumes walking. Another unaccountable noise quickens his pace.

Whirling to a crashing trash can he is relieved to discover a scraggly cat rummaging in the garbage seeking his evening repast. Whistling to chase away the willies he resumes his journey; obligated to pass a dark alley.

From the gloom two potent arms seize Eddie about the neck and drag him into the inky shadows. From behind, Fred holds firmly to the struggling Eddie.

“Tell me where Rourke is.”

“Rourke?… What’s a Rourke?”

“Don’t play dumb with me Eddie.”

“I don’t know what-cher talkin’ about.”

“Wrong answer.”

A quick twist easily snaps Eddie’s neck in Fred’s hands. Released, Eddie’s body flops awkwardly into the filth. Kneeling, Fred takes the large knife from his boot and lops off Eddie’s left pinky then disappears deeper in the alley.

Single minded now he was not thinking straight just yet.

Days later: outside a manufacturing plant a worker exits the gate, finds and enters his car then drives off.

Across the street in a secluded area Fred sits casually on his cycle. Eyeballing the car leaving the lot he triggers a remote device and the car disintegrates in a ball of intense heat and light; a scorched patch on the street the only clue that anything was ever there. Satisfied, Fred snaps his helmet strap and drives easily away.

The Pink Palace Strip Joint was anything but a palace. Drowned in loud music, sitting in a dimly lit room, a handful of blue-collar workers drool over Shelly stripping on stage; cheering and whistling when she got down to the best parts.

Fred enters scanning the room. Her act complete Shelly gathers her costume and retreats backstage. Fred follows to a dusty dimly lit corridor in time to see Shelly amble past the Bouncer, a huge Neanderthal then bounce into her dressing room.

Like all good bouncers should, he attempted to turn this follower the other way. A vicious chop to the throat paired with a lightning-fast whack to the base of the skull transported the brute to his dream ship. “Nighty-night.”

Slipping into Shelly’s dressing room Fred steps quietly behind Shelly who sits before a mirror checking her make-up. Cool, she is mildly annoyed. She’s been here before.

“How’d you get in here?”

“I wanna see your boss.”

“You got the wrong room, Bub. Vinny’s down the hall.”

Fred leans in close to her ear, half whispering. “No…. Your real boss — Benson Rourke.”

“Never heard of him.”

“That’s what Eddie said before I scragged him.” Shelly’s jaw drops. “I’m the one’s been killing off his people.”

Perplexed, worry etches itself on Shelly’s smooth face. “Look. I don’t know how you got past Carlo, but…”

“You mean that Neanderthal out there. Forget it. He’s taking a nap.”

Curious, Shelly rises quickly, glares at Fred while she elbows past him and looks into the hall. Discovering the bouncer in a heap she is incensed. “What’d you do to him?!”

“I sang him a lullaby.”

“Who the hell are you?”

“In due time…. Just understand this…. I’m not a patient man…. Either Rourke sees me soon or I keep killing his people till he does.”

“I can’t speak for him.”

“Then find out.”

Turning to leave, Fred is halted at the door. “How do I contact you?”

“Just be here tomorrow.”

Left to contemplate, Shelly throws on her clothes and hurries out to the parking lot. The sun burns fiery crimson on the horizon while she hops into her car and speeds out of the lot.

Out beyond the suburbs, deep in a wooded terrain among the near hills, sits an unimpressive three story farmhouse. Overgrown with weeds only the tire tracks in the dusty earth betray that anyone has recently been here. In a corner office in the basement Rourke argues with two of his cohorts. Animated, he paces the room; Arte and Jack are apologetic.

“Why haven’t you found the son-of-a-bitch?”

“He’s like a ghost, Ben,” says Arte.

“Yeah. He comes and goes like that,” says Jack, snapping his fingers, “and nobody knows who he is.”

“Nobody knows nothin’! He’s killed six of our top people in the last three weeks.” Rourke slams his desk. “I, Want, Him, FOUND!”

“Why do you think he’s usin’ your trademark?” says Jack.

“I don’t know. But we know who’s gonna get blamed for it!”

All out of breath, Shelly bursts into the room. “Rourke! He came to see me.”

“So why aren’t you dead?”

“Don’t get smart.”

“You know who he is?”

“Never seen ‘im before. He wants to meet you…. Says he’ll be back tomorrow for your answer.”

Grinning, Rourke is contemplative. “Where’ll he meet you?”

“At the joint. Why?”

A spirited Rourke circles his desk poking it with a rigid finger while he makes his point. “Arte — Jack. Take some men to Shelly’s tomorrow…. When the asshole shows bring him here.”

“The asshole’s here already,” snaps all heads around to the voice coming from behind the half open door. Fred slowly pushes open the door and takes one step in. Arte’s attempt to subdue the intruder is met with a crunching chop to the throat. While Arte crumples Fred pulls his weapon, holding them at bay.

“Is that him?” says Rourke.

“In the flesh,” says Shelly.

“I hear you’re looking for me.”

“It looks like I’ve found you.”

“So you have…. You followed Shelly.”

“She was in quite a hurry. I nearly lost her.’ Placing his fingertips under Shelly’s chin, Fred grins at her. She shoves his hand aside and sneers.

“How’d you get in here.” says Rourke. “The guards…”

“Are taking a nap.”

Kneeling to care for the fallen Arte, Shelly cannot withhold her sarcasm. “You sing them a lullaby too?”

Fred grins while Shelly helps Arte to his feet.

“You killed some good men,” says Rourke.

“If they were so good… how come they’re so dead?”

“Touché…. Now. What was it you wanted?”

“First: your attention. Now that you got a job opening, I want it.”

Arte, Jack and Shelly are incredulous.

“That… might be arranged.”

The trio protest, (“Uh uh.”) (“No way!”) (“Are you nuts?”). Rourke waves them silent.

“So. What qualifications do you have?”

“Get real.”

“You could be a cop.”

“Could a cop get away with killing half a dozen men just to get to you?”

“Yeah, all right. Maybe I’ll give you a shot.” Protesting ever loudly, Rourke waves off his cohorts. “Hey! Shut up willya. Who’s in charge here?”

The grumbling ceases slowly while the trio circulate the room.

“If they were fool enough to get themselves killed… they deserved it.” Rourke looms in Fred’s face reinforcing his status. “You’re in…. For now. But you’ll be on probation. One strange move, one unaccounted for action and I’ll set you loose in space and watch your guts explode all over your face.”

Fred replaces his blaster inside his jacket. “What more could I ask?”

# #

“He didn’t recognize you?” says Ross, relaxing with Iceman on the sofa.

“It was a gamble but when he knew me I had long brown hair. Now it was in a crewcut. I was five years older, six inches taller and more filled out. Plus I rarely shaved and always wore my sunglasses.

“Then what happened?”

“After a few months he’d begun to trust me… One day he called me into his office. He wanted to show me his plans for an all-out assault on the prison…”

# #

Fred was incredulous, Rourke was going to free as many prisoners as he could… and he wanted Fred in on the raid.

“It’s about time.”

“You’ve earned it but you’ll be watched.”

“Where’ll you be?”

“Here. Generals don’t fight y-know.”

Nodding knowingly, Fred shakes Rourke’s hand. “I promise you, you’ll get a bang out of my results”

Two nights later Fred’s plan came together. Thirty men and women suit up, check their weapons and hurry up the stairs to the back of the old house.

Fully armed men and women stream from the basement entrance into a waiting delivery van. Bringing up the rear, Fred balks when he peers into the cramped van.

“It’s kinda cramped in there. I’ll follow on my cycle.”

“Suit-cher self,” says Arte from the back of the van. But I’ll be watching you from here, so don’t plan any side trips.”

“I wouldn’t think of it.”

After closing the doors Fred walks around to the cab. “Move it out,” he says while he sticks a plastic explosive device out of view on the side panel and flips the arming switch. Mounting his cycle, he follows under the watchful eye of Arte.

A moonless sky hangs inky black over the political prison; a velvet cage more or less but a prison none the less.

The streets are empty when the van stops three blocks from the concrete and steel walled prison. Pulling next to the driver Fred flips up his visor.

“When you’re ready floor it and crash the gate… I’ll follow you in.”

The driver nods, spinning the wheels; the van lurches forward. While the van accelerates Fred closes his tinted visor reaching in his pocket for the remote detonator.

Arte, glancing out the back window, has a revelation. “He’s just sitting there…. I don’t like this. Something’s wrong.” Kicking open the back door he is too late to alter his fate.

Pressing the button, the van, halfway to the prison, erupts in brilliant flames that climb rapidly to lick the misty bottom of low-lying clouds; illuminating everything in its path in an eerie crimson glow.

Klaxons bawl from the prison while Fred sits transfixed; the blaze dancing erratically, reflected in his darkened visor. Sloth-like, Fred clicks the cycle in gear turns and cruises away into the darkness.

Sitting with his feet on the desk Rourke drops them with a start when Fred appears in the doorway.

“You’re back already. What went wrong?”

“Nothing. It went perfectly.” Fred leans his fingertips on the desk. Rourke is perplexed.

“Well. Where is everyone?”

“Dead…. I killed them all.”

“You what! Why?”

“Remember Charlie Hacker?”

Realization cascades down Rourke’s face. He grabs for his weapon on the desk. Faster, Fred covers Rourke’s gun with one hand while drawing his own with the other. Seeing the folly, Rourke returns to his seat.

“You’ve got one minute to pray to any Deity you hold dear…. Then I’m going to end your fucking existence.”

“You are a cop.”

“No…. Something worse…. An old friend.”

Confused, Rourke eyes Fred while he removes his glasses. Familiar cold eyes accuse while Rourke stares pondering. Realization crawls across Rourke’s memory. His face waxes ashen blank, then gradually, the Cheshire Cat grin. He barely whispers.

“Iceman. Of course. Only you could be that cool under fire…. Why?”

“You murdered Charlie Hacker.”

“He was getting too close. Besides, what was he to you?”

“A friend. A good friend.”

“He was just a fucking cop!”

With his free hand Fred yanks Rourke by the collar, up nose to nose; glaring intently.

“We coulda owned this planet!”

It doesn’t really matter,” says Fred, releasing Rourke who remains in his face, “since you’re gonna be dead in a few seconds…. I just wanted you to know who and why.

”Rourke sits back calmly in his chair. “So, get on with it.”

Leveling his blaster, Fred’s finger slowly tightens on the firing stud.

“Don’t do it Fred,” comes the calm voice of Det. Owens from the doorway. Fred never shifts his gaze from Rourke who grins.

“How’d you get here Greg?”

“Wasn’t easy. I lost you after the fourth execution. It was luck I located you before you blew the van earlier. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to follow you here.”

“My mind was preoccupied.”

“Wait a minute…. You let him kill my people?”

“I have my days.”

Rourke postures incensed.

“Why don’t you turn your back for two more seconds?”

“Can’t do it Fred. This one they want alive.”

“I want him dead.”

“He’s got contacts higher up who fund him and supply arms.”

“You’ll get nothing out of me,” says Rourke.

“Oh, we have our ways…. Now let me have him Fred.”

Sanity prevails this evening, Fred relents, reluctantly. Rourke is cuffed and taken away.

“You won’t keep me long…”

# #

Ross slides close to Iceman on the sofa. “And he got away again.”

Months later with outside help while he was taken to the prison moon.”

“And you’ve been chasing him ever since.”

“When I had a lead. He never trusted anyone again and became a lone assassin. I took the reward and was ordered of Tau Ceti.”

Ross sits forward, twisting to gaze at Iceman. “And this is what motivates you?”

Iceman is briefly thoughtful. “It’s a means to an end.”

“Rourke’s end?”

“Maybe…. And what motivates you?”

Their eyes locked in an embrace; Iceman eases his glass onto the coffee table. She speaks coyly.

“I’ll show you,” she says, taking Iceman’s hand she tugs him toward the bedroom where she leads him beside the bed. She opens his shirt pushing it back, caressing his chest…

Hours dissolve away; the suns having reappeared from eclipse. Iceman lies awake in the bed; Ross asleep next to him. Thoughtful, Iceman realizes something and rises slowly. “Well, I’ll be damned. You spoke too much Ben.”

While he finishes dressing, Ross stirs and is half awake.

“Mmmm. Where you going?”

“I got a hunch and I have to check it out.”

Sitting slowly Ross drags herself to the window to pull back the drapes. Sunlight cascades over, causing a glowing halo to encompass her nude body. Disappointment flavors her voice. “The beginning of another long day.”

“I’ll call you later.”

She postures to kiss Iceman good-bye. He holds back. Instantly she understands last night is over. Both know that had they talked somewhat longer last night might not have happened anyway. “Bye.”

Iceman hurries out while Ross yawns and pads for the shower.

Sitting at his desk stuffing his face with pastry Janst is aware of protesting voices from the outer office.

“But you can’t go in there!” says the woman’s voice from outside.

“Bullshit!” returns the gruff voice of Iceman.

The door bursts open and Iceman thrusts in pointing an accusing finger at Janst. “You Son-of-a-Bitch! You set me up.”

Jumping back reflexively Janst drops his coffee and doughnut in his lap eliciting a yelp. While Iceman stalks to the desk the woman scampers for help.

“W-what’s this all about?” comes out in feigned innocence.

“Rourke knew I was in town.”


“No one here knows me and I was careful never to use my alias outside this office. Few if any people are still alive who know about Rourke’s history and mine. You were the only one I spoke to about Rourke and that I was after him. And I’ll bet you told him.”

“Now see here. You can’t prove…”

“No! You see. You know where Rourke is and you’re gonna tell me or I’ll wring it outta your fucking neck!”

A security guard pops in; Janst points. “Get ‘im!”

A vicious heavy elbow from Iceman launches the guard against the wall knocking him cold.

Fearful, Janst backs his chair away, forced to stop at the wall. Grasping the desk Iceman flips it aside, grips Janst by the collar, shoving his blaster under Janst’s chin.

“Now talk!”

A flaming coward, Janst can’t spill his guts fast enough. “Okay, okay. He’s at the Winthorp; room 23.”

“If you’re lyin’ to me…”

Cautiously, the Asst. Security Chief comes into the room. “What’s going on?”

Tossing Janst to the Asst. Chief, Iceman flashes his ID. “Lock him up on conspiracy. And don’t let him near a phone.”

Stuffing his weapon in his jacket Iceman hurries out.

Kicking in the door, Iceman enters number 23 with extreme caution. Unnecessary caution it turns out for Rourke is nowhere to be found. Gone for good; the room looks as if he’d never been there. “SHIT!” swears Iceman, hurrying away.

Returning to the Security Building, Iceman strides straight to the Asst. Chief. “I wanna talk to Janst again.”

“Can’t. He’s dead.”

Iceman glares incredulous. “What!?”

“Not 15 minutes after you left. Someone killed him and his guard.”

Iceman kicks the counter. “Rourke!”

“Curious. Whoever did it stopped to cut off their little fingers.”

“He must’ve seen me coming in here earlier… and now he’s covering his tracks. Can I use your phone?”

The Chief slides it to Iceman who rapidly punches buttons.

Seated at her desk Ross goes about her daily routine; the memories of the previous night now far in the back seat, soon to be forgotten. The door opens and four large men in business suits stroll in then close the door.

Removing her glasses, she is abrupt. “What’s this all about?”

“We’ve been hired to protect you.”

“By who?”

“A Mr. Fred Sinclair. There are four of us assigned to your office and two more in the lobby.”

Annoyed wasn’t the half of it. “We’ll see about that!”

“Yes,” says Amy in answer to the intercom page.

“Get me Mr. Sinclair on the phone.”

“He’s already on line two for you.”

Ross gives a firm jab to the console with a stiff finger; Iceman’s face replaces Amy on the screen.

“What’s the meaning of this?”

“I guess the men I hired are there.”

“I don’t want…”

“Rourke wants you alone. In a crowd you’ll be safer. It should slow him up till I can find him.”

“Any idea where he is?”

“No. That’s why the guards.”

“I told you I don’t want…”

“It’s the only way. Now, I gotta go. Out.”

“Wait!” The screen blanks out while Ross fumes. She thumps the intercom as if she expected Iceman to feel it then acknowledges her new companions.

“Well gentlemen, make yourselves at home.”

The men mill about while Ross shakes her head slowly. Letting out a disgusted sigh she resumes her work.

Iceman scours the transport terminal; showing Rourke’s holo to the Immigration Officer.

“…and you’ll call me if you see him?”


“Are there any other ways out of the dome?”

“Yes. There are three exits. I’ll give you the locations. Then there’s just the transport tubes between the cities.”

Thanking the officer Iceman proceeds to the first of the airlocks on his list. After parking his vehicle by the 12 foot by 12 foot lock Iceman calls for the operator, “Hello?” Not finding him in his booth Iceman opens the huge lock himself.

Stepping out onto the surface he winces at the hot desolation.

“Ya better get back in here fella,” warns the airlock operator, a cranky octogenarian.

Responding to the gray, stooped old man, Iceman returns inside while the elderly man closes the lock.

“Ya shouldn’t be out there an’ ya shouldn’t be openin’ the door.”

“I didn’t see anyone here.”

“A man’s gotta go to the john once in a while. Can’t sit here all day y-know.”

The old man ambles back to the booth; Iceman follows.

“Does anyone other than the geologists ever use the lock?”

“Nope. Never.”

“But someone could when you weren’t around.”

“Nope. Never.”

“But I just did.”

Silent, the old man shoots Iceman a disdainful glare. He shows Rourke’s holo to the old man.

“Ever seen this man around here?”

“Nope. Never…. He’d be crazy if he thought he could survive out there.

Stepping to the edge of the dome Iceman stares pensively onto the sandy surface. “Yeah…. Crazy.”

Rourke has found himself another hole in the wall room in an equally shabby hotel in an obscure part of town; a place where he’s only a room number and a rental payment among the faceless throng. He’s discussing his progress on the phone with someone who is not receptive to excuses.

“…and you’re taking too long.”

“Everything’s well in hand.”

“I can’t afford any more delays.”

“Just leave it to me…. In a few days it’ll be done.”

“Make it soon Rourke…. Real soon.”

Breaking the link, Rourke is annoyed but soon breaks into a grin.

For 12 days Rourke had gone to ground. Iceman had searched every inch of Boom Town; twice. He’d even taken a trip to the two nearest cities on the off chance that his old enemy had holed up in one of them. No one was ever challenged who traveled between the cities, though now holo-vids were posted in all the stations for Security to check. Rewards were offered for any info that led to a capture.

Busy at her desk Ross has learned to ignore the bodyguards surrounding her. They talk quietly amongst themselves to pass the time, play cards, read or watch TV; always alert. The intercom buzzes.

“Yes Amy?”

“You wanted me to remind you when it was time to leave for your appointment.”

“All right. Thank you.” Lifting her briefcase to the desk she tosses some folders into it and rises. “Okay gentlemen. Let’s go.”

Two bodyguards lead while the others bring up the rear.

“I can’t be sure when I’ll be back,” she says to Amy when they pass.

“I’ll hold the fort for you.”

Dwarfed amid her entourage Ross waits for the elevator to stop. The doors open; Ross steps in – Iceman is about to step off. He grabs her elbow.

“Where the hell you going?”

“I’ve a meeting to attend to.”

“I don’t think it’s wise to go out just yet.”

Ross shrugs off his grip. “Look. It’s been almost two weeks and Rourke hasn’t been found…. He’s most likely left the moon.”

“Don’t bet on it. He’s stalling, waiting for us to get complacent and lower our guard, then he’ll his again.”

“I’ve still got work to do.”

Pushing past Iceman, Ross boards the elevator with her guards. Aggravated, Iceman follows.

“You could have the meeting here.”

“You don’t ask the President of the Corp. to come to you.”

“The Corp. wants you eliminated.”

“I’ve considered that. He’s on Renquiste Four for just two days and I intend to see him.”

“Uh uh. I don’t like it. It could be just to lure you out.”

“What can he do with these around,” alluding to her baby-sitters.

Having reached the ground floor, the elevator stops; the doors open onto the unbusy lobby.

“You don’t want to know.”

Annoyed, Ross leads the group to the front doors where they join up with the remaining two guards.

“Now wait a minute,” demands Iceman. “You wait right here while I check outside.”

Ross taps an impatient foot while Iceman exits the building. The six bodyguards stand stoically while Ross fumes.

Stepping cautiously to the waiting limo Iceman scans the surroundings. Trained eyes explore every nook and cranny, every point of access. Nothing looks out of place; but then, why would it? Feeling uneasy he returns to the group.

“Is the coast clear my champion?” gripes Ross.

Iceman wasn’t in any mood for sarcasm and shot her a nasty glare; which she smugly returned. “I don’t like it. It feels wrong. Maybe you should cancel—”

“Not on your life.”

“It’s not my life we’re talking about.”

“Look. Either lead, follow or get the hell out of the way. One way or the other, I’m attending that meeting.”

Against his grain Iceman gives last instructions to his men. “I’ll go first; you men follow. And keep your eyes open.”

The group nods while an impatient Ross hangs back. For better or worse Iceman pushes open the door. Standing aside he holds the door, scanning the area. Ross stalks out surrounded by the six men.

Half way to the limo two beams of red laser light stab out from the rooftops; dropping two of the guards.

“RUN FOR COVER!” shouts Iceman.

Amid the hail of laser beams the remaining bodyguards shield Ross while they hustle her to relative safety behind the front fender of the limo.

Iceman pulls his blaster — returning fire to the rooftop where Rourke snipes with a laser rifle. Firing a salvo of shots to pin Rourke down Iceman dives for cover beside the limo.

“Everyone all right?” he barks.

Ross sits spraddle legged her back against the limo, suit jacket torn, hair disheveled. “Can’t-cha tell…. We’re having a picnic.”

While Iceman and his men return fire Rourke’s shots explode against the limo.

“I told you I didn’t like the feel of this.”

Ducking bursts, Ross clamps her hands over her head. “Next time I’ll trust your feelings… All right?”

“There won’t be a next time if I don’t stop Rourke…. Cover me!”

Ducking laser fire, Iceman races erratically across the street to the base of the building below Rourke. Flattening against the facade Iceman checks the laser wound on his arm. Nothing serious, he races inside the building.

Striding into the empty foyer Iceman halts, looks hurriedly around, spies the stairs and hurtles up three steps per leap.

A heavy boot snaps the roof top door off its hinges. He flattens out in the stairwell prepared to return fire. Nothing’s there. A quick reconnoiter finds all is quiet. Too quiet. Spying the fire escape ladder, he races over and looks down to the alley behind the structure.

Rourke has dropped off and races to a waiting car. Glancing up he spies Iceman descending the ladder. Several random shots erupt around Iceman who calmly returns fire from his perch. Dancing around the near misses Rourke leaps into his car and careens off.

Descending quickly Iceman spies a large delivery van rolling slowly below him. Dropping the two remaining floors to the van roof Iceman yanks out the belligerent driver, commandeers the van and races after Rourke.

Driving casually Rourke becomes aware of the van bearing down on him. Spying Iceman at the wheel of the rapidly closing van he grins proudly, floors it then laughs maniacally.

Toying with his pursuer Rourke zips left and right around startled drivers along the busy streets. Both slide around corners; slamming into parked cars, causing motorists to yank their wheels aside to avoid them, initiating still more accidents.

Overtaking Rourke in the confines of slower traffic Iceman sideswipes Rourke’s car trying to drive him onto the sidewalk. Maintaining control quick shots from Rourke’s blaster carom and burst off the inside of Iceman’s ride, just missing. He fights to maintain control of the poorly balanced van.

Being faster Rourke’s car easily outdistances Iceman’s van; disappearing into the distance around a sharp turn.

Slowing so he can check the side streets Iceman follows in the general direction; eyes darting everywhere. Stopping at an intersection near the domes edge he looks right; spying Rourke’s battered car parked askew not too far away in front of the Planetary Geologists Center.

Screeching up behind Rourke’s car Iceman leaps out to check it. Empty, he strides quickly inside the Center.

Inside, a middle-aged man and woman tend to another fellow on the floor. Checking on their condition Iceman kneels beside the woman.

“Will he be all right?”

“I think so,” says the man.

“Where did the man who did this go?”

“Out the back door to the garage,” said the rattled woman.

Rushing into the garage he sees two men helping another to his feet; a huge gash streams blood down the man’s face. Iceman questions one of the two startled women who look on.

“Where’d he go?” Near hysterical the woman can’t speak. He shakes her. “Well?”

The other woman grabs Iceman’s arm. “That crazy man ran in here, beat up Jimmy then stole a rover and took off onto the surface.”

Ignoring the volcanic blast, he hurries to the open airlock; peering intently onto the surface to a dwindling, distant cloud of sand. Returning quickly from the burning surface he barks at one of the men. “You got another one of those rovers I can use?”

End of Part Three

Next, the final chapter: Out into the desert where all hell breaks loose. Don’t miss it.
If you have any thoughts on this series if you liked or didn’t please feel free to comment
©2023 VJ Miller, Sr. Fair use rights with attributes are implied

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