Loge's eyes teared, shimmered with gentleness and love.


'I must confess that I haven't been totally forthcoming with the two of you,' the old man said in a voice that was suddenly vibrant with ecstasy. 'I said there were no gods, but there is God-the God of the universe, the God of us all. He first spoke to me when I was twelve years old, told me to begin collecting the pictures and film clips you saw. He has been speaking to me on a regular basis ever since, guiding me in my work. It was God who gave me the mathematical system I needed to apply the Triage Parabola to humankind, God who urged me to take responsibility for developing the Valhalla Project. I am doing God's will. You see, gentlemen, I am the Messiah. Good-bye, now.'

Stunned, Garth and I watched Siegmund Loge turn and walk away down the long corridor to the door, which he closed quietly behind him.

Then Garth and I really got serious about trying to break through the shield.



More broken furniture; muscles and bones near to breaking as we hurled ourselves against the Plexiglas, bounced off.



… the end of the world, all hope gone…



It seemed an appropriate time to panic, so we did-at least to the extent that Loge's happy death gas allowed us, which wasn't much. Actually, we were kind of laughing, singing and prancing around the living room when Mike Leviticus, submachine gun crooked in his one whole arm, yanked open the door at the end of the corridor and sprinted toward us. It was the funniest thing we'd ever seen, and Garth and I stood with our noses pressed against the Plexiglas and howled with laughter. We wouldn't move, even when Leviticus frantically motioned with his stump for us to get down, so he finally fired just over our heads. The shield didn't so much shatter as disintegrate, showering powder, slivers, and shards over us.

'Fly away home, Mike, m'boy,' I cackled. 'Poison gas. Get out of here.'

Garth, even though he was in the middle of the Toreador Song from Carmen, nevertheless had the presence of mind to stumble over the rubble of the shield, find the switch and shut off the gas. Leviticus, his face red from the strain of holding his breath, used his machine gun-none too gently, beating the butt and barrel on our backs-to herd the giggling Fredericksons down the corridor and out the door, which he slammed shut behind him. He managed to whack us along another corridor, steered us to the left, and plopped us down on the floor directly beneath a huge ventilator shaft. After twenty minutes, our howls of laughter had dribbled off to an occasional, high-pitched giggle; another twenty minutes, and we managed to hold it down to spasmodic grins.


'I think I'm all right, Garth. You?'

'Me, too.'

'Mike,' I said, grinning foolishly up at the Warrior, 'how can we thank you?'

Leviticus, his lantern jaw set firmly, shook his head. 'I'm the one who has to thank you, Frederickson. If it weren't for you, my soul would have been doomed to eternal damnation.'


Leviticus held out his naked stump. 'This was a sign, a warning-God at once punishing me for, and trying to rescue me from, my own stupidity. It's taken me all this time to realize it; thank God I realized it in time. I helped install the gas system, so I knew what Satan-when I understood a few hours ago that Loge was Satan-had planned for you.'

'Good thinking,' Garth said drily, then hiccuped with laughter.

'I know what the two of you have been through,' Leviticus said, first staring at me intently, then at Garth.

'Yeah,' Garth said with a dreamy smile, 'it's been kind of a bummer.'

'I saw what the two of you looked like when you were brought to the Institute… and I watched you both heal before my eyes. Only God could have done that; only God could have helped you survive all your trials, and only God's wonderful Grace could have healed you. Satan made you into beasts, but God made you human again. It was a miracle. That's when I began thinking.'

'Ah,' Garth said as we both began giggling again. 'And not a moment too soon, dear boy.'

'I realized then that I must be God's Warrior, not Satan's, at peril to my soul. It was up to me to rescue you from Satan. I picked up this machine gun, stole the plane, and came here as fast as I could.' The Warrior paused, bowed his head low to us. 'Please, please forgive me for my part in your suffering, and for taking so long to understand your true mission, to stop Satan.'

'Right,' I said as Garth and I got to our feet, dragged Leviticus to his. 'Before we split, we have to figure out a way to blow up this place. Do you know anything about vulcan technology and heat transfer?'

'No, but I think I'd recognize the main power control source, if that's what you're asking.'

'Right. All of the huge pipes you see running across the ceilings carry magma to someplace where it's converted into steam to run turbines. Look for a wall filled with pressure gauges. We'll separate to save time, and maintain communications through the intercom system. If you stumble across Satan in your travels, bring him along. If he puts up a fuss, shoot the fucker in the knees and carry him. We need him alive to give us all the details of the Valhalla Project and tell us everyone who's involved.'

Leviticus held out his machine gun. 'You want this?'

Garth and I shook our heads. 'With Loge,' I said, 'all we'll need is a butterfly net.'


'Come out, come out, wherever you are!'


Loge had always done things, or gotten others to do things, in a big way, and the underground complex in Greenland was no exception. We had no idea how many levels there were, and after forty-five minutes Garth and I had not even finished exploring the level we were on, which contained apartments of varying sizes which we assumed were for the technical and manufacturing personnel scheduled to come in.

'Do you suppose he knows we're looking for him?' Garth asked.

'Sure. He must have been watching the whole show on television.'

An intercom in the corridor we were passing through buzzed, and a button marked 'General' lit. Garth pressed the button.

'Yeah, Leviticus?'

'I found the guts of this place. I'm down on the fourth level, in the Pressure Control Room. I'm going to bust it up.'

'Wait, Mike! Don't do anything until we-!'

But the intercom had gone dead and the light had winked out. A few seconds later we heard and felt the ratta-tatta-tatta of machine gun fire, the vibrations carrying clearly through the massive steel magma-flow pipes overhead and the ventilating shafts.

'Shit!' I said as we raced down the corridor and stepped into the first elevator we came to. Garth hit the button marked 4, the elevator doors closed, and we descended.

On the fourth level, the doors opened and we sprinted down the corridor to our left, toward the sound of machine gun fire. We almost ran over Siegmund Loge, who was just stepping out of an office. He was holding an open cardboard carton in his hands; in the carton was a gallon container of some amber-colored fluid. Garth grabbed the scientist by the front of his sweater, while I took the carton from his hands and gently set it on the floor.

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