The wind forced spirals of icy air into his lungs, every
step felt like a marathon as his boots were as heavy as lead on his weary feet.
He trudged slowly and uneasily making his way across the vast expanse of
desolation that spread in front of him. Although he was covered in many layers
of clothing, the cold bit mercilessly at the skin of his chapped and aching
face. The briefcase he was carrying was getting heavier with every step. As he
stopped to regain his breath, Martinez surveyed the landscape through squinted
eyes. He was miles from anywhere. In front of him lay an expanse of ice and
snow that seemed to continue infinitely. The freezing wind lapped at his legs
and threatened to force him off balance as he leaned forward to compensate. He
looked down to his GPS. The co-ordinates matched those in this morning’s
briefing. The target destination cross sat in the dead centre of the GPS screen
as it beeped away happily. This was the place. He placed the briefcase down
onto the ground and pushed the release buttons, the briefcase opened to reveal
a blank LCD screen and a tripod with several laser drill components. He deftly
assembled the drill and activated it. The laser drill whirred into life,
slicing and penetrating deep into the surface. After a few minutes the screen
in the briefcase flashed text in bright red characters.
ORGANIC MATTER LOCATED
Martinez fumbled awkwardly with the latchet on his belt pack, swore under his breath and pulled his glove off with his teeth. Although the metal of the fastening was sticking to his fingers he unfastened the pack and fished out a handful of marking flares which he then lit and placed along the ground at two meter intervals. The flares emitted their crimson hue illuminating the bleak whiteness of the icy ground on which they stood. Martinez pawed his radio with his re-gloved hand, “I’ve found traces at the correct co-ordinates. I’ve marked you out a parking space.” Martinez thought for a second and rekeyed the mic, “hurry up and get me before I freeze”.
Martinez wrapped his arms around his torso as he was encircled in the icy grip of the Antarctic wind. He looked to the horizon and saw a faint black spot that was slowly increasing in size. As it got closer the mass took shape. The black research helicopter thundered overhead and excited the snow that lay thick on the ground causing it to swirl and dance in the air as if mesmerised by some mystical music. The dance slowed to an almost stop as the helicopter touched the ground. A tall, stocky figure stepped down onto the cold surface. He was; like Martinez; also protected from the elements by layers of thick clothing. A snow mask covered most of his face but his piercing ice blue eyes practically shone in contrast to the pale snow and the dark clothing. Martinez turned to face the new arrival. “Hey Sverre, Can we get this done quickly before I become a human ice cube?”
Sverre pulled a long sack from the helicopter and removed two larger versions of the laser drill Martinez used earlier. He erected them effortlessly and placed them either side of the flares then pulled his snow mask away from his face. “Ready? Clear!” He yelled over the howls of the wind as he pushed the activation button on the panel of the nearest drill and they burst into life. The drills started to swivel slightly as they cut into the ground. The ice slowly started to melt.
“Whoa! Sverre, stop the cutting!” Sverre flipped the lasers to off.
The two stood at the lip of the hole and stared with amazement at the two bodies that lay perfectly frozen in the ice. Sverre jumped into the hole and started to dig with his gloved hands. Martinez followed suit. Both were working feverishly trying to free the frozen bodies from their prison of ice. After what seemed an eternity for both of them, the bodies were uncovered. Sverre knelt beside the nearest. Martinez stepped forward, “Careful Sverre, they’ll be brittle. You don’t wanna snap them.”
Sverre gently moved the corpse and noticed an open wallet laying beneath; he brushed the ice from the top and studied the faded ID card. The name was Macready.