The Cycle of Axer Carrick
Part III -- Frostmelt
by Henry Wyckoff

Chapter 13

"I think you seem to have forgotten about a basic law of nature," said the boat captain, who resembled Santa Claus -- with a New England captain's outfit instead of a red outfit. "This is winter, and during winter, almost every bit of ocean up there freezes up. Haven't you ever heard of an icebreaker? *That's* why they were built in the first place."

Richard Sharpe managed to look furious and embarrassed at the same time. Axer desperately wished he had a camera. Sharpe spun around to face Axer. "Why the hell didn't you tell me about this?!"

"You never told me your whole plan, and since you were in charge, I figured you knew what the hell you were doing. Apparently not."

Before the argument could go any further, the captain interrupted. "I said you can't get up there with my boat, but I never said that you couldn't get there. It's going to be the ride of your life, but you'll get there -- I think."

Sharpe looked suspicious, "What do you mean?"

"I also have a plane that can land on ice and water as well as land. I can fly you as far as Greenland if you want, but with the storm coming, it's as bad as playing Russian roulette."

Everyone considered it, but Sharpe answered first, "We *have* to get there. Gas up the plane."

"Seeing as you're from the states, I'll charge you... 10,000 American dollars."

"You're charging *WHAT*?!" Sharpe almost drew his sword.

"Look at it this way -- you're acting like this is some kind of clandestine operation, and you have a death wish. I don't have a death wish, and I don't care much for clandestine operations. I *do*, however, know a good thing when I see it. And I see a job that's worth 10,000 dollars."

Sharpe paced back and forth, grimacing and muttering. "I don't have that kind of money on me."

"That's O.K. I'll take a bank guaranteed check -- write one out, and I'll confirm it over the phone."

* * *

Cancerman answered the phone. ^^Hello. We understand you betrayed us.^^

"I don't take well to being put on a death list."

^^Understandable, but don't you understand that we need to keep some level of standards? You can't expect us to let losers stay in positions of power, can you?^^

"I didn't fail -- they managed to slip out of my traps."

^^A great distinction... We will consider it. There is one chance for you to restore yourself in our eyes. Powys calls you ally, albeit with great caution, so if you can betray him, we will forgive all.^^

Cancerman smiled. "What must I do?"

* * *

Mr. X was waiting in the driver's seat as Powys and Skinner emerged from the building, honking the horn. They ran over to the car and hopped in the back.

"It's about time," snarled Mr. X, gunning the engine. "What did you two do up there -- have tea?"

"He's in on this?" demanded Skinner. Powys nodded, grinning from ear to ear. "Who else?"

"Mulder calls him Cancerman."

Skinner's reaction was priceless.

"Now, you wanted to know what's going on. Let me start with a basic lesson in physics. I know that's the last thing you want to listen to, but it's vitally important. Now, what do you know about quantum physics?..."

Skinner's eyes narrowed, and his head tilted -- in irritation, not curiosity.

* * *

Odin entered the steak house, yipping and yowling like a cowboy, twirling his spear around. "Yahoo!! This here's a roundup! Hand over all your steaks -- and scrape off the teriaki sauce, you damned yuppies!"

Everyone was too shocked to say anything at first, but when they saw the blood all over him, they began to realize this wasn't a prank.

"What the hell's going on?" demanded the cook, who stepped out from behind the kitchen with a large baseball bat in his hand. He was an emigrant from Brooklyn with the build of an ex-wrestler and muscles powerful enough to crush a brick. He took a good look at Odin, and frowned. "We don't serve SCA members."

Before Odin could say or do anything, Nick barged in through the front door, with his gun drawn. "Drop the spear, and turn around slowly!"

Odin lazily turned around, but kept hold of his spear. "So it's the cop... I'm *really* scared. *Pweeese* don't shoot me officer!" Although he had no way of knowing that the cook was about to bash his head in from behind, he smoothly ducked at the last moment, thrusting the spear-head behind him.

The cook froze in place, jaw dropped open, eyes wide in disbelief as the spear ran through his body. It was rudely ripped out, and he fell back onto the floor, still gripping his bat. Odin laughed maniacally and charged towards Nick, who had sprung into action a fraction too late.

Nick emptied all ten of his bullets into Odin, who looked like he was doing some jerky kind of dance.

Odin looked at himself, screaming with exaggerated shock, "Oh... Oh GOD!!!! I'VE BEEN HIT!!!" He went into hysterical laughter once more, thrusting the spear into Nick's chest. Before Odin ran out the front door, he grabbed a half-eaten steak off of someone's plate. If anyone could've seen him sprint off while cramming a steak down his throat, it would have been a disgusting sight.

Nick got up and slammed through the front door, running after Odin and tackling him from behind. Odin slid along the asphalt, scraping most of his body pretty badly.

"Mmmph!... Mmmpph!!" Odin was screaming through the few inches of steak still in his mouth, some of the meat still sticking out of it. Nick thought he was going to be sick, but he handcuffed the man, taking the spear away.

"Spit it out, slob!" snarled Nick.

Odin obliged, not only spitting it out, but slobbering all over himself. Barbecue sauce ran down his mouth in disgustingly long drips. He pouted, "Oh... you're no fun!"

Nick grabbed Odin by the shoulders and slammed him up against a truck, oblivious to the food that got all over his hands. "You'd better start talking!"

"What do you want me to say?"

"How did you get the spear?"

"I took it from the fed. She was trying to do a chemical analysis on it -- she was convinced that there had to be a 'physical explanation' for Gungnir's life. When I found her, she was banging her head on the table because the chromatography scans were blank!" He laughed merrily. "She won't find a thing -- there *is* no chemical to be found."

He leaned towards Nick his insane look replaced by the soberness that comes with a hangover, "Do you want to know a secret? I'll tell you in a few sentences the ultimate wisdom."

Nick looked him warily. "Go on." He didn't release his grip.

"The spear, along with the other weapons you found in the church, is *alive*! It was made by a dwarven smith who Loki challenged. He made these weapons so that we could fight the threat of the Jotuns."

"And who are the Jotuns?"

The look of insanity returned:

"Nine whole nights on a wind-rocked tree,
Wounded with a spear.
I was offered to Odin, myself to myself,
On that tree of which no man knows."

Then he began to weep like a child. "I didn't *know* what it would mean! I didn't *know*!"

Nick didn't know how to react. It was obvious the man was insane, but he wasn't any ordinary lunatic. "What am I going to do with you?... I can't take you in, and I can't let you go..."

"Three roots there are to Yggdrasil
Hel lives beneath the first.
Beneath the second the frost-giants,
And men beneath the third."

"What do you mean?"

He smiled foolishly, "You can't take me in to the police station, and you can't let me go... But you can come with me. The show is about to begin, and you wouldn't want to miss it."

"And what show is this?"

"The Maelstrom," his eyes took on a zealous look. "All events happening at once. Random access memory. Time takes on a new meaning." His eyes returned to that haunted, sober look. "We must be at the roof of the world in a week. If I am not there... all is lost."

"You're not making any sense!" Nick shook his shoulders. "Perhaps if you started to explain what you're talking about, you'd make sense!"

Odin started to sing again, "...The oyster boys are coming now, watch them scatter along the tide..."

Nick shook his head in frustration. He seemed to notice the half-eaten food on his hands for the first time. "You slob!"

* * *

Cancerman had arranged for a military jet to fly them to Canada. In the meantime, Powys was making drawings on a small blackboard. Although Mr. X and Cancerman already had a good idea of what was going on, they listened in on
Skinner's lesson.

"So, one implication of Schroedinger's cat is that the entire universe splits into two separate, distinct universes -- identical except for the fact that in one, the cat is dead, and in the other, it is alive."

Powys drew a line that forked into two lines. "So, time and space go forward, and diverge once the decision is made. But there are infinite quantum decisions being made. What we have then is an infinity of parallel, *real* universes. At this precise moment, there is a universe identical to this one, except that you're wearing a red shirt.

"There's another one where the only difference is that your hand is a fraction of an inch away from where it is now. There's another one where Cancerman is a world-class cross- dressing ballerina and Mulder is a porn star. The possibilities are endless.

"Now, keep in mind that this theory is accepted despite any lack of proof because it explains the mathematics. If any other theory opposing this came about, but could fit the math easier, then that would be the accepted theory."

"So, what's the point of all this?"

"The physicists were on the right track, without having any proof. Unfortunately, there *is* proof, and that's where the problem lies. Imagine that the time-space tracks can be visualized as a giant tree. It nowhere approximates the true visualization, but it works.

"Suppose you wanted to go from one limb to the other: if the limbs were far enough apart, you'd have to descend a branch until you could find the base of the branch you'd want to reach.

"It's accepted in physics that you can't just jump from one to the other -- you have to travel backwards in time, and then travel forward in time, affecting the quantum decisions of the universe until you reach the desired branch.

"That's accepted in physics, because it yet again fits with mathematics and our own observations. What the physicists don't know is that where there is a will, there's a way. Odin's so insane that he's transcended the limitations that physicists set for themselves. He wants to create a bridge between branches so everything happens at once."

When they all looked baffled, Powys explained, "He wants to knock down the barriers between the alternate worlds. He wants to create a maelstrom that will affect the whole universe. Don't ask me how he's going to do it, but I believe he knows."

* * * *

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