Lieutenant Richard McMillian was the only survivor of the Fokker Universal Monoplane that had crashed into the rock-solid frozen landscape. Of course base camp knew about the crash, but with the current weather conditions, Richard knew they could not send out the only other plane the South Pole Expedition had.
He glanced out over the blistering icy surface and the thick snowstorm which was whipping frozen snow crystals like shards of glass across his partially unprotected face. He no longer felt it; his cheeks were numb below the protective aviation goggles and the felt cap he wore. The wool shawl he had wrapped up across his nose was frozen stiff. Behind him lay the remains of the plane, the larger part of the fuselage on its own and almost 20 yards away to the left were scattered pieces of the wing.
Richard knew that the smartest thing to do would be to stay with the plane. As soon as the weather cleared up someone from the base camp would search for him and the dark painted metal would be easy to spot from the air. Some of the emergency gear might even be still intact. The crash had been violent and sudden, killing Lorenzo outright, but there was no fire. He knew there were flares and enough wood and other combustible material to make a fire. Finding shelter in the fuselage would increase his chances of survival considerably.
It wasn’t animals Richard was trying to escape from. This forbidding frozen continent was not home to any predatory animals that could prove dangerous to a grown man armed with a pistol. As a matter of fact, this far from the actual coast there wasn’t any animal life. Even though the polar winter was three months away, here roughly 80 miles from the coast, it was very cold. The base camp had be established on a rough pebble beach which overlooked a mostly ice free bay.
He wasn’t sure if he was unconscious or just dazed from the crash, but after he realized they had crashed his first thought had been that it was the sudden weather change that had caused the plane to collide with the frozen ground, but then he saw it, that impossible thing and the fist-sized charred holes across the fuselage made it all too clear to him this was no accident. They had been shot down!
What he had seen must be reported. He knew his life was unimportant in relation to what he had seen. The notebook he carried held his sketch and the notes he had scribbled with frozen fingers. He hoped against all hope that his people would find him, but then they might be in the same danger. Shot down by that flying disk! He had been an Aviator all his adult life and this exciting new technology that allowed men to leave ground and soar like birds, kept him hungrily seeking any information about all Airplanes and their development. There wasn’t a manufacturer, motor or plane shape he didn’t know, yet that flying disc that had appeared hovering over the plane wreckage was nothing he had ever seen, although he knew the symbol on its side identifying the country of origin very well. This was the logo that had replaced the Iron Cross shaped logo from the first world war. It was still a cross, to some known as the broken cross, but to everyone reading the papers and watching the newsreels from Europe it was the Symbol of the New Germany, the Swastika!