perpetuo autem....in the ever present now...

A Life under the Ice.

By clif high

An original, prescient novel and screen play presented as serial installments. Copyright to clif high, 2015, all rights reserved.



Emerging: Chapter 1

A camera drone flies along and scans an empty, narrow rocky beach in Antarctica trapped between the towering wall of glacial ice and the dark cold waters reflecting gray skies as a disturbance in the water just off the beach begins.


A figure in a strange form of a diving suit struggles out of the waters and collapses exhausted onto the gravel at the base of the ice wall. As the odd helmet is laboriously pulled off, we see the intense, surreal blue eyes of a young looking woman with strangely pale skin greedily breathe in the frigid air as strands and clumps of blond hair fall out of the helmet and off the back of her head.


HUZZA! She yells, and falls back to stare at the foreboding sky before fainting, and unaware of the drone now circling back in her direction.


She came to consciousness roughly, and was aware of being handled, lifted, and hard surfaces digging into her through her suit. She opened one eye, and saw a man in a thick cold weather suit leaning over her head, peering down at her, waving a sharp light in her eyes.


“My name is Julia, and I was born 65 years ago in the middle of winter in the month of July. My father was Uber Gruppen Fuhrer Hans Malden and I was the 126th of his children born that year.” she said intently to the camera held by one of the suited forms of her rescuers as they bundled her into the snug embrace of the lifting sled of the helicopter. Julia looked around the strange machine as the stiffly bundled forms strapped her stretcher to the floor and the engines whined in the iced air and the rotors slowly started turning. She tried to reach out for the hands of one of her rescuers, and her arms met the resistance of the bands on the stretcher. She smiled, and said, “mother, your wish is true. I am free!”


As she fainted again, the door was pulled shut, the helicopter jumped up into the air and headed for McMurdo.


There were two men in the harshly lit room. They had pictures of Julia on the table between them as well as a video, stopped at the moment she began to speak, on the large monitor at the end of the room. There were several other monitors showing Julia in real time, sleeping, sedated on a hospital bed.


“She is speaking an unknown mix of Ukrainian, Russian, and German with the majority of the words being German.” Said one of the two men to the cameras at the other end of the room. Her claim to be 65 would place her birth in 1963. The doctors tell me that while she does not look it, there is physical evidence that she is over 40 chronologically, though her presumed age biologically is somewhere in her lower 30s.” John Franco said, rising as the cameras followed his movement toward the large screen opposite.


“You cannot help but notice her skin and eyes, and what remains of her hair.” Franco said as he waved at the pictures displayed on the screen. “The doctors tell me that the melanin in her skin is of a form unknown previously, and it accounts for the slightly blue sheen or aura we see. Further, her eyes have two new elements in them, also unknown prior to now...”


“...in humans”, the other man in the room, Major General Sodham said in a deep voice while looking up for the first time toward the cameras.


“....yes, in humans.” Said Franco, “but one of these eye elements is known in other species, at least as we think so far. It appears to be a type of tapetum, the mirror-like structure in a dog's eye. In the canines, the tapetum reflects light, giving the retina a second chance to register light that has entered the eye under less than optimal conditions. It is the tapetum that accounts for night vision in the canines. We suspect she has similar capabilities.”


“...the other is truly unknown.” Said General Sodham motioning for the younger man to continue the presentation.


“Have we spoken to her yet?” A disembodied voice asked of the room.


Turning toward the camera's, Franco said, “no, not yet. She was recovered only 9 hours ago, and she was physically exhausted to a level near death when we reached her.”


Some muffled words were vaguely heard from the area of the cameras and the disembodied voice queries, “Mike, is this the third?”


“....yes.” said the General, in a tired voice, turning to look at the cameras. “But of course, the first one to live.”


John Franco, deferentially standing near the screen as his superiors talked, glanced over at the photographs on the table, and regretting it the instant he spoke, said “there is this new piece.....”


“....Yes?” inquired disembodied voice.


“Well”, Franco, startled a bit by the strength he felt as the blood flushed under the beard on his cheeks, “we, well, I think we know where she's from...”

The silence prompted him to continue. “She had a piece of what appeared to be cultured stone, or ceramic, not natural, tied to what we first thought was a string around her neck.”, John rummaged through the photographs until he found one of those showing Julia as the technicians at the hospital undressed her. “Photo number 89” he said after turning the picture over. “ It seems that the string is not a string, nor is the stone a stone. When one of the technicians happened to be near it, the stone 'spoke' to him”. Franco paused, uncertain and looking to the General who merely waved his hand.


The disembodied voice spoke up just then, “ what do you mean it 'spoke' to him?” it asked?


Then, a second voice came out of the bank of speakers under the cameras, asking “more importantly, what did it say?”.


John held his pause for a second, then replied, “it spoke to him by sound that came through his jawbone to his ear. We are uncertain of how to replicate the effect as he was not observing his own actions at the time of the occurrence, and it has not happened again, but the 'necklace' has now been given over to the Exploration section for their analysis.


“As to what it said, our technician says he heard a woman's voice in his head speaking in a language that sounded sort of like Russian and we now suspect, was Ukrainian.” John paused again, this time enjoying the sensation of being in control of whoever it was on the other side of the cameras and the distorted, disembodied voices. “ There was much he did not get, as it only happened once, but he did hear clearly the name 'Neuschwabenland'”.


There was some noise, not voices, but more of a crash of dishes or cups, and some mumbled cursing. Then disembodied voice number two said, “repeat that”.


“Neuschwabenland”. Said Franco, as the connection again went silent and the lights above the cameras went dark.


“Well, that put a lit firecracker up their collective ass.” said the General, rising up and heading for the door. Turning back, his cold weather gear in one hand, the other pointing to John, “and guess who they are going to turn for answers when it explodes...”




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Check back for the next chapter in A Life under the Ice. To be presented as serials over these next few months.


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