Helmut Faust’s Arctic Fortress

The fire blazed in the hearth throwing manic flickers of light and shadow about the room. It glinted along the edge of Mr. Bowie’s dagger like a violent white scar as he picked his teeth with the business end. He sat slouched low in the great, leather winged back chair with his feet resting upon the Northern region of New Zealand.

“So when are you gonna let us in on your grand plan, ducky?”

“I believe the question you should be asking yourself Mr. Bowie is whether or not you can remove your feet from my map quicker than I can separate them from your legs, and don’t call me ducky.”

“As tempted as I am to break up the monotony of this frigid little cottage of yours by participating in such a potentially delicious battle of skill and surgery, I will respect your wishes sir, if only to persuade you to enlighten us all with your glorious design for which we’ve been blindly participating in.”

The pale Brit dropped his legs surreptitiously as Faust crossed the room to his desk.

“That, my pale sadistic friend is something that will come to light soon enough. For now, you’ll just have to be satisfied with the knowledge that my ends will satisfy your…proclivities, shall we say.”

“Fair enough, I suppose.” Mr. Bowie said as he sheathed his blade.

Mr. Jagger stood in front of the crackling fire, staring in to its warmth. He bore a striking resemblance to Mr. Bowie, but in body and features alone. The grim faced Englishman wore a heavy three quarter length coat and a tattered, tweed waistcoat beneath it. His boots were as worn as the leather, civil war style cavalry hat on his head and his demeanor was patient and foreboding. He turned his attention to his companions in the room.

“Someone’s listening at the door.” He said in a gravelly working class cockney as he reached for his guns.

“Put your triggers to bed Mr. Jagger. I’m expecting someone and if he has even half a brain, he’ll knock on my door right now unless he wants to be left alone in the company of you gentlemen.”
At this last statement, Helmut Faust had raised his voice so as not to be misunderstood by the person on the other side of the threshold. A moment passed followed by the insecure rapping of the expected visitor.

“Come.” Faust, ordered.

The door slowly swung open and a young guard timidly entered the room.

“Captain, said you wanted to see me sir.”

“I did, Mister…”

“Gassko, sir. Richard Gassko.”

Faust methodically roamed the room in silence. The boy shifted uneasily as he watched his mysterious employer’s circuit which came to a stop in front of the fire crackling furiously behind him.

“Mr. Gassko, you are new to our facility, arriving with the ship this past evening, did you not?”

“Y-yes, sir.”

“And what was your first official duty upon arriving?”

“Captain told me to deliver supper to the woman and her husband in the suite down the hall, sir.”

“Which you did. While in their company, did you speak to either of them?”

Richard Gassko, darted looks at Mr. Bowie and Mr. Jagger, before retuning his attention to Faust, who appeared as a silhouette from where he stood. A dark shadow on the face of the flame.

“Answer, truthful boy, because I already know the answers to all of these questions.”

“Yes, sir. I spoke with them. They had inquired as to the welfare of their boy.”

“And you told them what, Mr. Gassko?”

Young Richard Gassko lowered his head and averted his gaze from his inquisitor.

“I told them there was no boy on the ship…sir.”

“And that is all?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Very, good then boy.”

At this, a smile stretched across Helmut Faust’s face and his eyes softened in to a somewhat warmer shape. He crossed the room to the petrified Richard Gassko and put his arm around him.

“You never can be too sure of what is said around here and that is why we have the number one law in my facility, which is Say, Nothing. Unfortunately, even though your mistake is a rather harmless one, you still did break the law, which means I’m going to have to let you go.”

“B-but Sir, I-I truly said nothing else about…”

“Yes, I’m sure Gassko, but if I were to let you off then I would lose any credibility as a leader and authority figure and we just can’t have that. No, I’m going to have to ask you to go down and inform the Captain that you are to be released.”

Faust walked the boy to a tapestry at the left of the hearth and pulled it back revealing a hidden door.

“Take this staircase down below and turn in your security badge at the station across the courtyard, if you will.”

“Yes, sir. I do apologize for my mistake. I’ve never been sacked before.”

“Apology accepted, Gassko. Just be happy that you had not made a bigger infraction. In such a case, I would have had to leave you for Black Francis there to deal with.”

Helmut Faust gestured to a shadowy figure sitting in the corner next to the main entrance. The boy looked at Black Francis and got a sudden chill.

“Good luck in your next endeavor, Mr. Gassko.”

The boy opened the door and descended the winding staircase. Faust shut the door behind him and replaced the tapestry.

“I think you’re getting soft my dear boy. You should have given him to Franny. The man looks like he could use a bit of distraction from his all consuming sitting.”

“Mr. Bowie if you would kindly walk to the picture window and be sure that our boy finds his way through the courtyard safely…”

The pale sadist rose from his seat and looked out the window. The boy was just entering the courtyard three stories below. He crossed the field of snow slowly, with his head down holding his arms close to ward off the cold. He came to a sudden stop and looked all about him, searching for something which he could not seem to find. Mr. Bowie turned his head suspiciously to the side as a dog that had just been shown a carrot, but then his devilish smile began to creep up the sides of his face as he saw the snow stir at the base of the Southern wall. Richard Gassko jumped at the very same moment as he too noticed the movement of the two full grown Polar Bears rising to their feet. The boy searched all about the courtyard for some form of exit, but found none. The great snow beasts slowly padded around him, forcing Gassko back toward the wall.

“I underestimated you, Fausty.”

“I suggest you don’t do it again. That boy has cost me a grand piece of insurance that I can no longer hold over the heads of our guests. He’s lucky I only gave him to the bears.”Mr. Bowie returned his attention to the gruesome spectacle in the courtyard.

“So what happens now?”

“Now, I send you and your companion here on a new assignment. One which you should pray you do not botch.”

“We would never dream of such a thing my dear, but I daresay that polar bears strike no fear in either me or my distinguished and dusty colleague, Faustus.”

“Oh, I would never be so kind as to inflict my pets on you sir. No, my friend, if you mess this up, then Black Francis may have something to distract him yet.”

“No need to get malicious, my dear. What’ll you have us do now.”

“You are off to Berlin my boys.”

“Oh, That’s just lovely. They’re not all like you out there, are they?”

“Pack your things gentlemen. You leave within the hour.”