Steve checked his computer. "We have a bit over three hours."
I called Sylvia over. "Look, fax this letter to our head of operation. This is proof that a tragedy occurred, and that the attack came from a space based system." I reached for the Atlas, pulled it off the shelf and pointed out to Sylvia that the targets are all in line with each other. They can't deny this evidence. A blind person can see that the attack comes from a space based system. No aircraft exists in the world that can cover all this distance in so short a time."
"I'll call NORAD again," she said. "I'll tell them that the virus was dispersed from a commercial satellite launched four months ago in Russia. I'll give them the details."
"Also, tell them that they are using drop pods that cannot be detected by radar. They will never be able to track those pods, not even when they release their deadly contents into the lower atmosphere," interjected Steve. "Tell them that Pete has seen two of the pods."
After this, Steve and I left the station and went back to the submarine. While we were on the way to the beach, Sylvia came running after us, shaking with anger. "They said that a congressional committee is debating the issue. They will determine what to do with our information."
I looked at Sylvia; "Congress is debating?"
Sylvia nodded, and began to cry.
I asked her to join us. We ran to the Zodiac shed. We got the thing into the water in seconds and ventured back out into the black night towards the Typhoon.
In the brooding atmosphere a dream came to mind from a long time ago. The dream had puzzled me then, and it still did. I even talked to Steve about it on the day he came to help us locate the death star. In that long ago dream I had found myself in a chair with tiny wheels, like an office chair, rolling along the sidewalk of a steeply inclined city street. It was night. There was no one there. I became aware that I was totally naked. The chair was racing down the street uncontrollably, always in danger of tipping over and me being thrown onto the hard and cold pavement. But this never happened. I made it all the way to the bottom of the hill. The street ended in a park where the rolling chair finally came to a stop. Suddenly a policewoman appeared out of nowhere: "That's far enough!" she bellowed. "What on earth do you think you are doing, don't you know it is against the law?"
I didn't know what to answer. My inability to argue calmed things down. In the end, she was very kind about arresting me, and about the inevitable consequences at the police station where she recorded my name, address, occupation, etc., and measured my penis, decoded its size via an index and entered the code on the form with some remark as to how ridiculous the process was. I agreed.
It must have been after the official formalities had been dispensed with, that I found myself in her apartment eating some deliciously tasting soup. She wasn't eating, though, but I was. She sat watching me, comfortably leaning back, her feet stretched across the table. I looked at them. Her feet were bare. I touched them. After the soup was eaten she sat beside me on the sofa and began caressing my face with her feet. I would have never thought it possible that I would feel good about such a thing. I even kissed her feet, and stroked her legs. She breathed deep and heavy. All this was beautiful, in a way. Things remained like that until her husband came home. I can still remember her slim, freckled face as she talked with him in the kitchen, it shone with a bright smile. Her husband was angry. She told him in no uncertain term that I was her captive and she was the law. That's when I awoke.
When I had told Steve about the dream, adding, "this isn't me, is it?" he had just laughed and laughed as if this was the funniest story he had ever heard.
"No, no, my friend, that's not you," he had answered. "You have experienced something profound and didn't realize it. You have experienced the future of humanity. You understand more about the world, Pete, than you give yourself credit for. You have experienced what may happen after we shut this damn death star down, should we be that lucky. The point is, humanity won't be any more alert and alive, because of our efforts, than it is now. It will remain as naked in its naive ignorance, and as vulnerable as it ever was. It won't know how to defend itself when the going gets really rough, just like you had dreamed. So it will likely be taken captive and cast into poverty. The soup wasn't a meal, Pete. As a metaphor it represents poverty. Did you know that poverty is the second most potent killer of human beings? It ranks right behind nuclear or biological warfare. Poverty destroys the physical support structures that are essential for human living. It takes away people's food, housing, education, their chance for development, even their will to live. Without these, people die. They die, because they are deprived of the necessary resources for living. But the ploy is put forward very slowly and with great finesse, as you had experienced in your dream."
He had paused for a moment, searching for words. "What you have recognized, Pete, may be the royal's backup plan, the only plan that they could possibly resort to. You see, poverty can be brought upon humanity in such a manner that people will love it. Humanity has already become captivated by it. Misguided environmentalism can be used very destructively. It can be used to eliminate fundamental infrastructures, such as fertilizers, pesticides, refrigeration, nuclear energy, fossil fuel energy, and so forth. People have already been made to believe that the destruction of their livelihood increases their quality of life. They are literally kissing their destroyer's feet and feel good about it. This is happening now, just as it happened many times before, Pete, and so it will happen again. There is a fine dividing line between freedom unfolding from self-development, and captivity leading to self-destruction. Both may appear similar on the surface, at one point, but they are totally opposite when you experience their essence. The key is to stay alert and to keep on fighting!"
Here Steve had laughed again. "Why am I telling you all this? Your dreaming only reflects what you already know."
Those were his words. I was amazed at what Steve said, because I had dreamed this dream a long time ago. Steve suggested that my dreaming reflect a certain knowledge that seemed to indicate that we would come through the crisis alive? That question, however, was not resolved in my mind when we reached the black hull of the submarine. Still, his words kept ringing in my ears: "The key is to stay alert and to keep on fighting."
+ + +
I asked the captain immediately as we entered, "Can your nuclear missiles be reprogrammed to detonate in space. We need to find a way to destroy the satellite that is killing your cities? We know exactly which satellite it is and where it will be at any given time."
Steve explained to the captain that the satellite is in a near circular orbit at an altitude of forty-one-thousand kilometers. "It will come over the Arctic Ocean in slightly less than three hours," he added.
The captain understood immediately what we were saying. Steve had brought our Atlas and his calculations to prove our point. The captain, though, wouldn't even look at them. He held onto a railing at first, then sat down. He must have been in his late sixties. His face was wrinkled and bore the scars of earlier battles. He called some of his officers together and laid out the problem to them. Each one confirmed that it couldn't be done. He finally turned to us and shook his head. "There is not a single missile in the world's nuclear arsenal that can reach this far into space," he explained in broken English. "This is why Nicolai failed."
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