Midwinter ilmestyi Amigalle vuonna 1990. Peli on klassikon maineessa, ja etenkin sen tuolloin suunnaton pelialue on vielä naavaparroilla hyvässä muistissa.
Peli muistetaan hyvin myös sen ohjekirjasta, joka oli paksu kuin Dostojevskin teokset yhteen niputettuna. Alta löydät vain osan pelin ohjekirjan tekstistä, jonka joku innokas harrastaja on käsin koneelle naputtanut. Koko ohjekirjan löydät täältä.
”Midwinter” is a highly complex strategy game. It is easy to learn,
but difficult to master. Many of the screens are driven by easily
identifiable icons, the function of which are shown in the ICON.PIC.
When the game has loaded, select your method of control and ”Training”
mode from the ’Game Options’ screen. Deselect ”Mortars” and ”Bombers”,
and click on the ”Play” box.
You are in control of Captain John Stark, leader of the Free
Villages Peace Force, the law enforcement agency on the island of
”Midwinter”. Enemy forces under the control of the evil General
Masters have set up their base in the south-east and are attempting to
capture your Heat Mines which are distributed throughout the island. Your
objective is to recruit fellow members of the F.V.P.F. (there are 32 in
total) and ultimately to defeat General Masters by destroying his
Headquarters in Shining Hollow.
Click on Captain Stark’s portrait from the ’Team Display’ to access
his ’Personality Display’. Please refer to the ICON.MAP for quick
identification of each icon. Each of the Team’s Personality Displays
give vital information as to their abilities and characteristics. The
successful interaction of the 32 members of the F.V.P.F. is the key to
winning. You must move Stark around the island to meet up with other
people and hopefully recruit them.
Select the ’Main Map’ icon to ascertain Stark’s whereabouts. The
map of the island shows locations of strategic importance as green
dots which may be highlighted by selecting the buttons on the
indicator board. Names of places are shown when the on screen pointer is
moved over them. Stark’s location is shown by a green arrow. The location
of team members and enemy units are highlighted by selecting ”People”.
They are shown as brown men and black crosses respectively. If a
settlement is shown as a green dot with a white border, the enemy have
captured it. The map magnification may be increased by clicking on the
left mouse button, and decreased by clicking on the right. When you have
found stark and his nearest colleague, select ’Close Map’.
Select the ’Decisions Display’ icon from the Personality Display.
The Decisions Display shows all options which are open to you . Please
refer to the ICON.MAP for identification.
Select the ’Skiing’ icon. This accesses the Skiing-3D action mode,
where you view the landscape through Stark’s goggles. Please note that
action modes can be paused at any time by pressing ”P” on the
Clicking on the left mouse button sets you walking.
Your walking speed may be increased by pushing forward on the mouse.
When you meet a downwards slope you may start skiing properly, and your
speed will increase quickly. Move the mouse left and right to steer, and
click on the right mouse button to stop. The mini-map displayed shows
your surrounding area, showing buildings and settlemets as white dots.
You should ski in the direction of your nearest colleague. You may refer
to the Main Map at any time by pressing ”M” on the keyboard.
If at any time you hear a low-pitched drone, it signifies that the
enemy are nearby. It is the sound of a vehicle engine. The green
lights below the goggles will flash to indicate the vehicle’s
direction relative to you. If you spot a vehicle, stop skiing by
clicking the right mouse button and press the ”S” key to toggle to
Sniping Mode. Here you view the landscape through Stark’s rifle-sights.
Line up the enemy vehicle on the cross-hairs and press the ”Space Bar”
to fire bullets.
Pressing the ”S” key will return you to skiing. Pressing the ”Space
Bar” whilst skiing will throw a grenade directly ahead of you. Once
you are close to a building or settlement, press ”X” on the keyboard
to return to the Decisions Display. You will have the option to enter
any buildings which are nearby.
Every buildings in ”Midwinter” has a specific function, full
details of which may be found in the manual. If you are in a
settlement, once you have selected the enter ’enter buildings’ icon
you will have a choice of building to enter. If a building icon has a
red person next to it on the choice screen, it contains a recruit or
potential recruit. If you enter this building, by clicking on it, you
will have the option to ’join’ forces with this person. To find your
colleagues reply, click on his portrait. If he agrees to join, you will
have two characters available to control, and further options will be
open to you.
Characters are controlled independantly whilst performing most
functions, and the brown watches you will have seen throughout the game
shows each character’s personal time. The blue watch shows the time at
which watches must next be synchronised, at which point a Situation
Report will be recived, telling you how well you are doing. Once a
character’s personal time exceeds the Report Time, he will be unable to
perform in any action mode until watches have been synchronised. This is
effected by clicking on the ’Synchronise Watches’ icon on the Team
If you manage to find a garage, you will have the opportunity to
drive a snow-buggy. Enter the garage and select the appropriate icon. You
will view the landscape through the buggy’s windscreen. The speed of the
buggy is controlled by pushing the mouse forwards (accelerate) or
backwards (decelerate), and its direction by moving the mouse left or
righ. The buggies are armed with a variety of missiles, fired by
clicking on right or left mouse buttons or the space bar on the keyboard.
Full details of missile specifications are found in the manual. You will
encounter enemy vehicles in the same way as when you were skiing. The
buggy can be exited by pressing ”X” on the keyboard.
On entering a cable-car station, selecting the cable-car icon
allows you to travel up mountainsides quickly and safely. the cable-car
will automatically leave the station and travel to its destination. On
arriving at the top station, you will be able to hang-glide back down the
mountain by selecting the appropriate icon. The view seen whilst
hang-gliding is that of the pilot, with the canopy filling the top of the
screen. The launch sequence is effected by clicking the left mouse
button. Take-off is achieved at speeds in excess of 24 m.p.h. The
hang-glider controls are similar to that of an aircraft. Pushing
forwards on the mouse lowers the nose, causing the glider to lose
height and accelerate. Pulling back on the mouse lifts the nose,
gaining height but losing speed. The direction of the glider is
controlled by moving the mouse left or right. Holding down the space
bar on the keyboard allows you to view the ground at an angle of 45o.
Missiles are fired by clicking on the left mouse button. Hang -gliding
is tricky, and you will need to spend some time getting used to the
controls. Read the manual for hints and tips. If your speed falls
below 15 m.p.h. the glider will stall – with dire consequences !
Landing the glider requires you to steer close to the ground at a
narrow angle, gently descending as you keep the wing-tips level. Once
you have landed, you may return to the Decisions Display by pressing
”X” on the keyboard.
Every character will need to rest, eat and sleep from time to time.
Keep an eye on your Muscle Power indicator. If this drops to zero you
will faint. Charactersmay become injured, but can receive First Aid
from friends. extra supplies of weapons and fuel can be found at
various buildings, and some provide shelter and a good vantage point for
”Midwinter” is a game with endless strategic possibilities. You will
find it nearly impossible to win unless you recruit help. Your
ultimate objective is to destroy Master’s HQ by blowing it up. You
will need to learn the techniques of sabotaging buildings to aid you
in your progress to your goal, and to finally destroy the enemy.
It is possible to scratch the surface of such a complex and
challenging game as ”Midwinter” in this Quick Start guide. Remember
that it only descripes the game in ”Training” mode. For the ultimate
challange, allow the enemy full fire-power by selecting ”Bombers” and
”Mortars”. But you’ll need thge manual to help you this time!
Good Luck !!!!!
* NEWSFLASH *
Reuters International News Agency .. 23 November 2015 .. News Flash ..
PRESIDENT ESCAPES – ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT
Miami, Florida, U.S.A 1430 hrs. An unsuccessful attempt to assassinate
the President of the United States was made early this morning on the
seafront at Miami beach.
Three security guards were murdured as they protected President Ed
Jackson from eight hooded gunmen, believed to be from the Global Green
Army who last month bombed the Supreme Soviet Congress of Peoples
Deputies, injuring the Premier.
President and Mrs. Jackson were both unharmed, but shaken by the
attack. Two of the gunmen were shot dead, and the others arrested.
The Vice-President, Michael Baker, later condemned the attack.
”We have today witnessed another attempt on a world leader by a
terrorist group intent on furthering their cause by murder. the
cold-blooded killing of members of the security services will only
strengthen the resolv of the President, and the people of the United
States, to resist the demands of this group, and to progress with our
stated plans for the controlling of current climatic trends. We are
determined that justice be done. Terrorists will pay with their
lives, whatever their cause.”
He was anxious in his statement to denounce the growing support for
the ”Global Green Army”, who have recently attracted publicity for
their aims, to see governments acting together to combat the problems
of the greenhouse effect, by a campaign descriped by the GGA as
* NEWSFLASH *
Reuters International News Agency … 4 April 2017 … News Flash …
WASHINGTON, MOSCOW, AND BRUSSELS DISCREDITED IN ”I C E G A T E” SCANDAL
Washington D.C, Maryland, U.S.A. 1300 hrs. Following the agreement
issued jointly by the governments of the United States, Soviet Union,
and Europe in January, stating their plans for combatting global
warming, it has been reported that a classified section of the
document has been leaked to an American Newspaper, ”The Boston
The study, entitled ”The Midwinter Report”, appears to be finding of a
KGB / CIA commission charged with examining mechanisms by which world
cooling could be triggered. It is claimed that if the leaked documents
are genuine, they amount to an international conspiracy to create a
belief that a ’mini ice age’ may be the solution to the climatic
crisis. The Global Green Army have issued the following statement:
”The governments of the world have taken no effective action to stop
the accelerating climatic crisis endangering life on Earth. They are
obviously so desperate for a solution that they have produced a report
which is sinister in implication, and implausible in practice. It is a
discredited document, borne of corruption, and indicative of the fact
that governments will not save the world from oveheating.”
* THE MIDWINTER REPORT *
DOCUMENT STATUS: TOP SECRET
THE CLIMATIC CRISIS
”THE MIDWINTER REPORT”
’The Climatic Crisis’ was jointly commisioned by the governments of
the United States of America, the Soviet Union, and the Federation of
European Nations, as a part of a wide-ranging study into the causes,
effects and possible solutions to global warming.
This particular briefing – ”The Midwinter Report” – is part of the
third section, examining possible shortcuts to accelerate global
Part One deals with natural causes of accelerated global cooling, or
ice-ages. An appendix, Part Two has been prepared, outlining possible
manufactured routes to the same end. This document is available
separately, and is for the eyes of heads of state only.
DOCUMENT STATUS: TOP SECRET
THE FORMATION OF ICE-AGES
A) The lessons of history
B) A combination of causes
i) …………………………………… The location of continents
ii) ………………………………… A cooling of world climate ?
iii) ………………………… The reduction of the radiation traps
iv) ………………………………… An in crease in reflectivity
C) Detonating the Dynamite
i) …………………………………………… Volcanic activity
ii) …………………………………………….. Meteor Strikes
ACCESS RESTRICTED: FOR HEADS OF STATE ONLY
THE FORMATION OF ICE-AGES
A) The lessons of History
Glaciation (the formation of ice) occurs if one basic environmental
condition is fulfitted: More snow must fall and accumulate in the
winter than can be wasted or eroded by melting the following summer.
If this imbalance continues for a few years, a period off glaciation
Close examination of the start of previous ice-ages has led us to
believe that two main factors combine to initiate glaciation.
1) Continental land-masses ’wander’ across high latitude areas, where
ice sheets are normally expected. Ice will affect the land surface
whilst it remains in this position; but if the land-mass then drifts
away to lower latitudes the glaciation ceases.
ii) Under the influence of external factors, the world’s climate cools
so that snowlines are lowered everywhere. In the mountains, glaciers
develop and ice sheets expand into the middle latitudes. The sea-level
falls, as the area of sea ice is increased, and many parts of the
globe not actually affected by glaciers become areas of permafrost.
Ice, in some shape or form, starts to affect greater areas of the
there are other factors which may possibly contribute:
iii) Mountain ranges are built up until they reach the regional
snow-line. If this happens, ice begins to affect the higher parts of
mountains and flows into glacial valleys.
iv) A slight warming of the earth’s surface causes the base of the
Antarctic ice sheet to start melting, which releases great amounts of
ice into the Southern Ocean, to be trapped in wide ice shelves. This
causes the ocean to cool, and then the air above it, in turn freezing
the Antarctic and other ice sheets, building them up to ice age
proportions again. This is called the ice sheet surge theory.
v) A reduction in solar radiation received in the polar reqions may be
caused by the Earth’s geometrical relationship with the Sun changing. As
a result of complicated relations between small but systematic variations
in the inclination and orientation of the Earth’s rotational axis,
coupled with changes caused by its elliptical orbit, these changes occur
constantly. milankovich, a Yogoslav geophysicist, showed the calculated
temperature changes associated with this ”wobble”, indicating four main
groups of low temperatures within the last 600 000 years,
corresponding roughly to the onset of ice-ages. But there has been much
heavy criticism of Milankovich’s ideas, on the grounds that the
variations considered would have much less effect on world climate than
he claimed, and so his calculations were of dubious worth.
It is seldom possible to recognise these mechanisms working
independently of one another. Most Ice Ages have probably had very
complicated causes, with a contribution from several factors.
To predict the onset of the next ice-age, we must estimate the next
time at which two or more of these factors will be exerting a strong
enough impact to trigger the onset of global cooling.
| NATURAL CLIMATIC COOLING \
| Air mass changes cloudiness, \
| CO2 levels variable, Volcanic dust. \
| CONTINENTAL ARRANGMENT \
| Land masses near poles or in high \
| latitudes arrangement of oceans. \
| MOUNTAIN BUILDING \ ICE
| Distrubution of high mountains. / AGE
| ASTRONOMICAL EFFECTS /
| Changes in planetary geometry. /
| GLACIOLOGICAL EFFECTS /
| Surges of ice sheets Peak /
| ice changes /
Diagram 1: Factors combining to cause an ice-age.
B) A Combination of Causes
1) The location of Continents
”The primary geophysical requirement for continental glaciation is the
presence of large land masses in sufficiently high latitudes to catch
and hold a lot of snow”
The present location of continents and their expected geologocal
characteristics as a result of their locations do not always appear to
match, as the following two examples illustrate.
A cursory glance at an atlas will show that the Sahara desert today
lies on the equator, and its climate is as far removed as one can
imagine from glacial conditions. But scientists have found that great
expanses of icesratched bedrock, striated erratic boulders and meltwater
channels, all characteristic of a glaciated enviroment are present.
When the first accurate maps were drawn, in the eighteenth century, it
was seen that the west coast of Africa corresponded closely with the
east coast of South America. In the nineteenth century, geologists
started to ’date’ rocks, and found rocks of similar ages on the west
coast of Africa and the east coast of South America which fitted
together when the coast lines were matched.
Both of these unexpected discoveries have come to be explained by a
theory known as ”Continental Drift”, the slow movement of the continents
from some previous alignment to their present positions, on a deep-lying
In 1912, it was suggested by Alfred Wegener that Continental Drift
started with the break up of the great supercontinent of Pangea.
(See Pangea.pic for further details….)
About 100 million years ago the present day continents began to drift
away from one another, leading to the creation of the South Atlantic
and South Atlantic and North Atlantic Oceans and the Indian Ocean.
Antarctica was now migrating towards the south pole while Australia
moved east and India moved north, from their initial positions
illustrated in AFANAU.pic.
In the Northern Hemisphere at the time the north pole lay somewhere
near the Bering Strait off the coast of Alaska. those land masses now in
’convenient’ positions were bound to be affected by glaciation, and so
the glaciers of Alaska and Antarctica were formed.
It has been predicted that the continuation of Continental Drift will
lead to the continents being in the position illustrated in CONT.PIC;
but at the present time, their positions fulfill the first criterion
for glaciation – there are currently sufficent land masses in high
latitudes for the onset of glaciation.
2) A cooling of world climate
When viewed from space, and as seen in photographs taken from the
moon, the Earth appears to be blue. This is caused by the scattering
of light by air molecules in the earths atmosphere. Part of the blue
light from the sun is scattered forward to Earth, which is why the sky
usually appears blue to us, and part is scattered back to space, which
is why the Earth appears blue to anyone on the moon. It is estimated
that the scattering by air molecules has the effect of reflecting 9% of
the energy of all sunlight incident on the Earth.
The strongest reflection of sunlight (about 90%) is caused by snow;
clouds have an average reflectivity of about 50%; ice and deserts about
35%; land areas between 20% and 10%, depending on the vegetation; and
the oceans only 3% (which is why they appear dark in pictures of the
Earth taken from space).
When all the sources of reflection are added together, we find that
the Earth, on average, reflects some 36% of the solar radiation
falling on it. It therefore follows that the Earth has available 64% of
the energy of incident sunlight.
It would be possible to calculate the degree of heating caused by the
sun, although this calcualtion would be anything but precise, since the
Earth is a very complex body, and a complete calculation including every
factor would be very complex.
| We can approximate the calculation by considering the Earth to be a |
| small spherical body which; |
| i) absorbs all solar radiation received. |
| ii) is a good radiator of heat at all wavelengths. |
| iii) has the ability for equilibriation of heat rapidly. |
If we suppose the object moves around the sun in the same orbit as the
Earth – about 150 million kilometres, it is possible to calculate that
we would expect the body to have a temperature of 280 Kelvin (7o C), a
result close to the actual average temperature of the Earth 287 Kelvin
(14o C). The error in the calculation is 3%.
To upgrade our model we must make the imaginary body more realistic.
If we suppose that it reflects 36% of the sunlight inicident upon it,
as explained earlier, but otherwise keeps the same conditions, the
calculated temperature is about 250 K (-23o C), giving a 13% error.
This worsening of the error suggests that the Earth must have a
mechanism which compensates for the reflection of sunlight.
That compensating factor is that the Earth is not a perfect heat
radiator. The atmpsheric gases of the Earth generate a radiation trap,
mainly made up by two gases, water vapour and carbon dioxide. This is
what is known as the ”Greenhouse Effect”.
The Carbon Dioxide trap absorbs strongly in the wavelengt range from
14 micrometres to 16.5 micrometres (1 micrometre is one millionth part
of one metre), and the water vapour trap blocks the escape of heat
with wavelenghts longer than 20 micrometres.
When the wavelength falls into one or other of those blocked ranges,
scarcely any radiant heat generated at ground level succeeds in
penetrating the trap. There is essentially no escape through the trap
into the higher atmosphere and thence into space. Blocked radiation is
either re-admitted (after being absorbed into the trap) downward into
the ground immediately, or absorbed again by the gas entering the trap,
in which case there is a further re-emission. Sooner or later, perhaps
after many absorbtions and re-emissions, the trapped radiation reaches
the ground, where it is removed by ground absorbtion, so returning the
heat to where it started.
Heat radiation from the Earth occurs at wavelengths both within and
outside the wavelengths of the traps. The fraction of the energy of the
radiation within the traps is 42%, with the carbon dioxide blocking about
15% of the heat energy, and the water vapour about 27%. The effect of the
traps is therefore to reduce the radiating efficiency of the surface of
the Earth to about 58% of the imaginary body used in the calculations
above. The surface of the Earth cannot cool itself as efficiently as the
imaginary body would be able to do.
The inability of the Earth to cool itself is compouded by partial
trapping at wavelengths outside those just considered. As well as the
more or less total trap for wavelengths greater than 20 micrometres,
water vapour generates a partial trap at wavelengths between 16.5 and 20
micrometres, while Carbon Dioxide creates a partial trap between 13 and
14 micrometres. A partial trap is one in which a significant amount of
radiation does get away into space, although a considerable fraction
also returns to the ground, where it is reabsorbed.
There is additional partial trapping of all wavelengths if there
happens to be an appreciable quantity of water droplets or ice crustals
suspended in the atmosphere. This is most marked when cloud is heavy,
which is the effect which produces a hot, stifling effect before a
thunderstorm. The air is ’cleared’ with heavy rainfall, removing the
radiation trap caused by water droplets. The partial traps are usually
estimated to increase the blocking of heat energy from the 42% given
above to approximately 63%. The calculation cannot be axact, because the
cloud distribution varies around the Earth. We can say that, of the heat
energy radiated from the heats surface, approximately one third escapes
into space and two-thirds are reabsorbed.
This is not quite the complete picture. There is way in which the heat
traps can be circumvented, involving evaporation of water from the ocean
surface. When water evaporates, it cools the ocean surface. The water
vapour rises with updrafts of air, producing clouds. When the clouds are
big enough a fraction of the water is carried above the radiation trap.
That water vapour condenses into water droplets, or into ice crystals,
with a release of latent energy (energy which was trapped within it).
Because this happens above the radiation trap, the energy is released
into space, and cannot be reabsorbed. This bypassing of the traps is by
no means complete, but it has the effect of reducing their blocking
ability from the previous 63% back to about 40%. We now have an equation
to balance. We have earlier seen that the earth’s surface receives 36%
less solar energy per square metre because of reflection, and we have
now seen that this is compensated by a 40% reduction in the rate of heat
radiation. This small energy profit of 4% raises the temperature of 280K
obtained for the imaginary body to about 283% (10o C) for the average
temperature of the Earth.
The diagrams (JANUARY.pic & JULY.pic,, sorry but i didn’t have the time
to paint em … but i hope ya enjoy the game !!!) show world temperatures
for January and July. Considering that half the total surface of the Earth
lies in an equatorial belt between latitudes 30o south and 30o North, it
is clear that the average temperature of the Earth is in fact about
14o C. Indeed, the average annual temperature in the equatorial zone is
about 25o C, in mid-latitudes about 10o C, and in high latitudes about
-10o C, so that, by weighting these three areas 3:2:1, one obtains 14o C
(287K) for the average temperature. It would be possible to close the
gap between observation (287K) and calculation (283K) still further in a
more detailed calculation. But we have illustrated the two important
points: The heat radiation traps in the lower atmosphere, ”the
greenhouse effect” compensate very closely for the loss of solar
radiation due to the reflectivity of the Earth; and that about one-fifth
of the incident solar energy goes in the evaporation of water vapour.
We have now reached a crucial question. We must ask how a planet with
an average temperature of 14o C above the freezing point of water could
develop an ice-age. Either it must arise spontaneously, or one of the
important quantities used in the above calculations must change. It
seems unlikely that it could possibly occur spontaneously, as the Earth
is very efficient at transferring heat from one region to another,
namely from temperate equatorial regions to polar reqions, via wind and
oceanic currents. This enables the Earth to keep a climatic equilibrium
in a steady state. Some external factor must be influential in altering
one of the mechanisms which keeps the Earth’s climate so finely balanced
– either or both the radiation traps in the atmosphere must be reduced,
or the reflectivity of the Earth must be increased.
The reduction of the radiation traps
With an average temperature of 14o C (and 25o C at the tropics), the
evaporation rate of water into the atmosphere must always be very much
greater than is necessary to maintain the water vapour trap. Therefore
we need only consider the carbon dioxide trap. We have seen that carbon
dioxide blocks radiation over a particular wavelength, reducing the
earth’s radiating capacity by 15%. If this trap were removed, it has
been calculated that the average temperature of the Earth would fall
back to 270K (-3o C), at which point an ice age certainly could occur.
Two factors lead us to the conclusion that this is an unlikely cause of
past or future ice ages. Firstly, if the Carbon Dioxide in the
atmosphere were to be so significantly reduced, it would have a
catastrophic effect on plant life, which need carbon dioxide for
photosynthesis, the means by which they, and ultimately we, as they area
vital part of the food chain, survive. And secondly, the major current
concerns to environmental scientists, and the reason for the preparation
of this report, is the effect our output of carbon dioxide is having on
the atmosphere, and the way it is increasing, not decreasing the very
radiation trap we have been discussing.
An increase in reflectivity.
As warm air rises from the Earth, it cools. And as it cools, the water
vapour within it tends to condense into liquid droplets or into ice
crystals – the higher it goes, the cooler it gets, until saturation point
is reached. the height and temperature at which saturation is reached
depends upon the initial water vapour content and temperature of the air.
Humid air becomes saturated low in the atmosphere, with a condensed swarm
of tiny water droplets (it would take 1000 such droplets to cover 1
centimetre if placed end to end), which scatter light, behaving as a
Drier air has to rise higher before its water vapour becomes
saturated. When the air is particulararly dry, the temperature may have
to fall below frezzing point before saturation occurs, and then the
vapour would be expected to form ice crystals. However, this does not
happen automatically. Nor do water droplets frezze automatically at such
temperatures. If left undisturbed, they remain as liquid, becoming
In the higher atmosphere, (at temperatures of about -20o C), there are
a comparatively small number of particles called condensation nucleii,
which act as a catalyst to freeze supercooled droplets, forming ice
crystals as they pass over them. The ice crystals will then grow and
begin to fall back to Earth under gravity, but may occur rising air
which lifts them up again, causing a swirling motion, during which they
will collide with other water droplets, freeze them, and grow bigger
still. Eventually, the ice crystals grow large enough to break free of
this swirling effect, and fall back to Earth. If the ice melts before it
reaches the ground it will fall as rain. In winter, however, the lower
air may be too cool to melt the ice, in which case it will fall as snow.
It is because of the processes of swirling and freezing other water
droplets in a slow build up of ice crystals that snow flakes have such
beautiful and intricate patterns.
The crucial condensation nucleii are formed by ice surrounding around
what are called ”freezing nucleii”,which are often tiny grains of salt
sprayed up from the sea. However, if they are not present in sufficient
quantity to act as a catalyst, the supercooled water vapour will rise
still further, and cool as it rises. If its temperature becomes lower
than -40o C, it will eventually change from droplets into ice crystals,
themselves being ”freezing nucleii” around which more ice condenses.
These are the ice particles known to Artic Explorers as ”Diamond Dust”.
Ice crystals reflect and refract light, just like diamonds. Refraction
produces a separation of light into its particular colours, giving the
familiar spectrum of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and
violet. The reason you cannot see this effect from falling snow is
because of the random joining of the ice crystals to form snow flakes as
described. The crystals tend to jumble up the effects of refraction, so
all we see is a whitish haze. ”Diamond Dust” is astonishingly reflective
of sunlight. If a layer of water with a thickness as little as one
hundredth of a millimetre were turned into tiny ice-crystals it would be
so reflective as to reflect all the sunlight back into space, were it
present everywhere in the upper atmosphere. To an observer on the moon,
the Earth would the appear featureless and white, just as Venus does to
us from Earth.
| We have calculated that the loss of solar energy caused by normal |
| reflection is slightly more than compensated for by radiation traps |
| – however, ”Diamond Dust” adds nothing to the radiation traps, as |
| only a tiny amount is present, despite its high reflectivity. |
We need not search any longer for the phenomena which would cause an
ice age. Turning only 0.1% of the amount of water normally present in the
Earth’s atmosphere into fine ice crystals would have an immediate,
catastrophic effect on the world’s climate. The temperature of the land
would collapse in a few weeks and the temperature of the oceans within a
few years. Advanced global cooling would be upon us.
What is apparent is that ”Diamond Dust” is not widespread at present.
This is because the water vapour in the atmosphere does not attain a
temperature as low as -40o C easily. The main sources of water vapour
in the atmosphere are the oceans; it is the surface temperature of the
oceans which determines the temperature of the water vapour as it
begins its ascent into the upper atmosphere. Whilst the temperature of
the oceans are warm, the water vapour will not become cool enough to
form ”Diamond Dust” in the upper atmosphere, so sunlight will still be
able to penetrate to Earth to keep the surface of the ocean warm, and so
on, in a self-maintaining cycle. This state of events is aided by the
fact that the oceans, due to their enormous size, have a ”heat supply”
which will last up to about ten years, even if a significant reduction
in the amount of sunlight occured.
| The only possibility of ”Diamond Dust” forming would be if a second |
| agent were to temporarily lower the amount of sunlight reaching the |
| oceans, to cool them, for a considerable length of time, We need a |
| detonator for our dynamite |
This detonator must be a process which injects a sufficient quantity of
small particles into the atmosphere at a height above 12 kilometres,
the region known as the stratosphere. Fine particles have an
interesting and significant property. They do not stay aloft
indefinitely. Gravity pulls them downwards through the air. Large, heavy
particles fall quickly, whilst very small ones remain suspended for much
longer. What is remarkable is that particles of the sizes most effective
for the reflection of sunlight (about half a micrometre) take about ten
years to fall through the upper atmosphere. Once they get below 12
kilometres, they fall very much quicker, as they become incorporated into
much larger ice crystals and water droplets. This ten year process is of
just the right ’fuse length’ for our potential detonator.
When Mount St. Helens volcano. Washington State, erupted in June 1980,
an Eastern Airlines pilot was the first to spot a plume of ash and steam
at a height of 15,000 metres, creating violent lightning displays and
darkening the whole sky. The eruption affected large areas of the Western
States, with acidic ash accumulating to a depth of 1.5 cm at a distance
of 800 km. In East Washington the ash fell so thickly that automatic
street lightning was switched on. Within five days, the ash had reduced
visibility to 5 km in parts of Canada, 2000 km away.
The St. Helens eruption was mild compared to that of Mount Tambora in
the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) in 1815 when an immense amount of
fine dust was thrown into the atmosphere. It had far reaching effects on
the world’s climate. In New England, Canada and Western Europe the summer
1816 was extraordinarily cold. A meteorological record kept for New Haven
since 1779 records June 1816 as the coldest june un that city, with a
mean temperature that would normally be expected some 200 miles north of
the city of Quebec. The Lancashire plain in England had its coldest July,
and the summer as a whole ranks as the coldest on record in the Swiss
city of Geneva for the period from 1753 to 1960. In New England the loss
of most of the staple crop of Indian Corn and the great reduction in the
hay crop caused so much hardship on isolated subsistence farms that the
year became enshrined in folklore as ”Eighteen Hundred and Froze to
Climatologists rank the eruption as the greatest producer of
atmospheric dust between 1600 and the present. The dust circled the air
for severla years, reflecting the sunlight back into space and reducing
the amount of it reaching the groud.
It is highly conceivable that in the next couple of decades, with
tectonic plates constantly shifting, that such a huge volcanic explosion
might occur. If it were to, and consequently led to a teetering on the
brink of catastrphe. The formation of ”Diamond Dust” would explosively
accelerate global cooling. It is possible that past ice ages were caused
by volcanoes bigger than any which has erupted over the past ten
millenia. With the continents located in their present positions, it
could mean the onset of ”Midwinter”. However, we must consider other
It has been estimated that about 5000 giant meteorites with diameters of
more than a kilometre have hit the Earth over the past 600 million years,
with an average strike rate of one per 120 000 years. Meteorites with a
diameter greater than 300 metres must hit the Earth once in every 10 000
years, producing a crater similar to those found on the surface of the
moon. It is the siza of the meteorite which would be crucial for
detonation of an ice age.
A tiny micrometeorite experiences a sudden flash of heating as it
enters the Earth’s atmosphere. For a typical particle, 1 micrometre in
size, the temperature rises to about 500 K in two seconds. The flash
heating becomes stronger as the size of the meteorite increases, until
for a meteorite the size of a pinhead the temperature becomes sufficient
to vapourise it completely. It becomes a trail of bright light, seen as
a ’shooting star’.
If the incoming body is the size of a clenched fist, the air pressure
on the body is large enough to slow down its very high speed, happening
before the heat can evaporate the whole of the material. A residue
remains which cools and falls to the ground at a comparatively low
speed. The pressure of air on the incoming body grows in proportion to
its size. When the pressure becomes great enough, (at a size of a few
metres), the body will burst into fragments which fall as a meteorite
shower. If the body is several hundred metres across, the body no longer
bursts into fragments, as there is insufficient time for them to fly
apart as the body crashes down through the atmosphere, to create an
explosion pit or crater where it lands. The explosion causes material
torn from the ground to be splashed outwards and upwards with the
disintegrating meteorite, radiating from the point of impact.
Entery speeds of 30 kilometres per second are typical, but in
exceptional cases the speed can be as high as 70 kilometres per second.
If the body were 300 metres in diameter, with an entery speed of 300
kilometres per second, the energy per ton of meteorite (typical mass = 50
million tons) would be enough to throw 1000 tons of debris up to a height
of 50 kilometres, or a total of 50,000 million tons. Only a few per cent
of the particles, in the form of tiny dust particles would be ample to
cause an ice age. The dust particles would spread gradually overthe
earth, reflecting much of the sun’s radiation, over a period of ten
years as it fell back to Earth. A giant meteorite is potentially more
dangerous than a volcano because, although the amount of material in a
giant meteorite is no greater than that blown off by a volcano, each ton
of material has about a thousand times more energy, and is far more
capable of being blown up into the upper atmosphere.
The possibility of such an object colliding with the Earth is high due
to the orbits they have. At times they pass closer to the sun than the
Earth ever does, and at other times they are further away from the sun
than the Earth. In other words, they have to cross our path twice in
every orbit they make. There are probably 10 000 of them with such a
path. The odds seem stacked against us escaping for ever – and if there
were to be impact, the detonator would explode, the deadly dust would
form, and a new ice age would have dawned.
* THE STORY SO FAR… *
On Friday 8th September 2039, New York Radio’s early evenning new
bulletin carried reports of a fast-moving white light, seen travelling
east over Florida. Eye-witnesses claimed that the size and velocity of
the light ruled out the possibilities of known military or commercial
aircraft. Strangely, most seemed happy to assume it was a alien
life-form, rekindling tales from their youth, and at the same time
giving the media a much needed story. They wanted light relief from the
politicians, endlessly glorifying the centenary of the outbreak of the
last World War, overstated by the new President of the Federation of
Europe as ”a celebration of a hundred years of global alliance.” As
always the politicians preferred to highlight their achievements, such as
their united environmental policies, which looked like thwarting the
”greenhouse effect”, and ignore the diplomatic Cold War still present in
many parts of the world. That light in the sky was about to give ”Cold
War” a totally different connotation.
The shock waves were felt as far afield as London and Sydney. In
Beijing and Bombay, buildings were rased to the ground, and near the
epicentre, on the eastern border of Burma, there was little chance of
surviving the initial blast. Fortyeight hours later, the tidal wave hit
the west coast of North America, and daylight never came over Moscow.
The political tension mounted as nations searched for the
aggressor, aiming swift retribution. Despite having hundreds of thousands
of its people killed, the Soviet Union was eyed nervously by the West.
And although the most densely populated areas of the flooded western
seaboard of the United States could not be contacted from Washington,
the Kremlin pointing an accusing finger at the Pentagon. The peoples of
Asia and the Pacific Islands struggled for survival, where millions of
people were reported to have perished in dark, flooded, chaotic villages,
towns and cities. Alliances crumbled at the time they were needed most –
man was about to go to war with the Earth.
Satellites had shown the superpowers that the devastation caused by
the explosion was that expexted from a ten thousand megaton hydrogen
bomb. Over one hundred square kilometres of forest had been laid to
waste; burnt and charred buildings lay in ruins up to 300 kilometres
from the blast; there were no signs of human life. Millions of tons of
dirt and dust had been ejected into the atmosphere, already blanketing
half the globe, and spreading. Out of the blue, another holocaust had
It was not until the following Christmas that stories began to
emerge from China, recounting that horrific night when it all began with
”the ball of fire from space”. Word of mounth passed on tales of the
death of millions after a giant rock had crashed to Earth in the night.
The news backed theories that the detonation of a huge nuclear weapon
could not have taken place due to the absence of any significant amount
of radioactive fallout. It dawned on the world that it had been struck
by a meteorite of enormous proportions, and that it’s effects would be
felt for a long time to come.
The following year’s grain harvest was largely destroyed in the Soviet
Union due the falling back to earth of thousands of tons of debris, and
the total darkness which had only just begun to ease. The Kremlin had,
for several years, been building up their grain stores, as western
agricultural technology was now widely used following the raising of the
iron curtain in the 1990’s, and were sure that they could survive a
freak year. What was more worrying to them was news that the thundra of
the Siberian plains seemed to be suffering a cruel drop in temperature,
which was leading to its spreading south.
European countries in high latitudes were also become worried as
temperatures had remained at those usually experienced in February for
the whole summer – and were now starting to drop again. The Scottish
government had appealed to their counterparts in London to allow their
people free access across the border, to the warmer climes of Southern
England, which was refused as the area was, in the words of the Home
Office, ”becoming dangerously overcrowded”. Mediterranean countries had
found that their economies were in danger of colapse, with no visiting
trade, and north-east Africa was still seriously flooded hundreds of
miles either side of the Nile.
The religious wars of the middle east intensified, as Arab states
realised that, despite their huge wealth, no-one was looking to export
commodites to them which were needed at home. Australia and New Zeeland
were deluged with refugees who had survived in south-east Asia and the
Pacific islands, and had made the arduous crossing by a variety of means.
But it was in the United States and Canada that the breakdown of law and
order was the most marked.
The President of the United States, on the advice of top scientists,
had decided to go on national television to explain what was expected to
happen to the world’s climate over the coming decade. The following day’s
newspapers screamed ”Diamond Dust to end life as we know it”, as the full
effects of global cooling became known. Hundreds of thousands of Canadian
immigrants were seeking shelter in the northern United States, attempting
to escape the falling temperatures which had driven most of its
population as far south as Toronto, and the American people were
preparing to defend their territory. Elsewhere in the country shops were
looted in the search for tinned foodstuffs, and the army were deployed
on the streets of the cities. Then the marines invaded Mexico.
Over the next five years the average temperature across Europe dropped to
2o C, often freezing the major rivers. Throughout Scandinavia, and across
the Pyrenees and Alps, huge areas of permafrost and ice developed.
Harvests failed repeatedly, and people tried in vain to travel from one
country to another in search of more clement conditions. Attempts to
cultivate large areas of Africa were partly successful, and developed
nations hungrily eyed the previously ”Third World” countries. On the
continent of America, the peoples of the United States were following
their troops south, leaving behind food crises and freezing lands. The
inhabitants of the Soviet Union had nowhere to go – to the south lay the
most damaged areas of Asia, and to the north, expanding glaciers. Some
managed to escape to western Europe, but a fierce war was now raging
along Eastern bloc borders with a re-unified Germany, Austria and Italy.
The economies of all countries concerned were falling apart under the
strain of food shortages and sustained military conflict. Man was
beginning to ignore his battle with the Earth as he fought with himself.
Then the Earth upped it’s fire-power.
For half a decade, politicians had been warned by natural scientists
that conditions would get worse before they got better. The politicians
paid lip service to their requests for a massive injection of funds into
climatic research, offering encouragement at the expense of hard cash,
which was diverted for military and agro-scientific purposes. The price
was about to be paid for ignoring their real enemy.
South Maerica had, despite the deaths of millions of its inhabitants,
maintained its population level as refugees swarmed through Mexico from
the United States. It was almost as if the Earth could feel the
concentration of people on the Central American isthmus when, in
December 2045, as global temperatures were nudging an all time low, the
strain that had been building between the Cocos and South American plates
was released. The earth shuddered, heaved, bucked and split for ten days,
spewing its insides over inhabitants and volcanic dust high into the
atmosphere, blackening the skies again in a cruel reminder of the events
which first plunged the world into chaos, compounding thgeir effects.
The repercussions of the ’quake spread quickly, as sub-oceanic ridges
widened, and previously dormant volcanoes were uncorked across Europe,
and down into the Pacific Basin. The most spectacular sight occured near
the triple joint of the African, North American, and the Eurasain plates,
2,000 kilometres off the coast of Portugal, where a string of islands,
from Madeira to the Azores went off like a row of Roman candles at a
fireworks display. The few who survived the initial storms and flooding
of the islands fled to watch from the Portuguese mainland, from where
the plumes of ash and dust were clearly visible. Spots of uncontrolable
heat were speckling the rapidly freezing globe.
The winter of 2056 saw temperatures in London drop, and stay below
-25o C. Rainfall across parts of Southern Europe reached a total of 10
metres for the year, freezing as it fell, and accelerating the formation
of ice-sheets, as the glaciers crept south. The sea level had dropped by
over 500 metres in places, creating sheer cliffs where sloping beaches
had been, as the glaciated land masses rose. The ice-sheet in North
America had streched as far south as Kentucky, submerging the greater
part of the North American continent beneath a mantle of ice over a
thousand metres thick. The Scandinavian ice-sheet covered Denmark and
was approaching Poland and Germany. In Britain the area above a line from
The Wash to Cheshire was under permanent glaciation. The landscape of
the Northern Hemisphere had changed completely. Billions of people had
died from cold, famine and war. In the tropics 300 million people lived
an existence closer to medieval times than the twenty-fitrst century.
The Earth was calming down, and its inhabitants, having learnt that
when the planet led, they must follow, were becoming more peaceful. Old
political structures had broken down. Nation states had fragmented into
local thinly-spread communities, scavanging for food. The only borders
not crossed were those between hunting grounds, defended to the death by
people struggling for survival. As the temperature fell, time was running
out for mankind, and he had nowhere to hide.
The worsening conditoions had led to the continuing movement towards
the equator of the peoples of many lands. Much of southern Europe,
around the Mediterranean, was heavily overpopulated, and the shortage
of habitable space, as well as the shortage of food was becoming acute.
Where the sea level had fallen dramatically, more land for
occupation was created, but the coasts of France, Spain and Portugal
were drawing refugees who arrived daily, in their thousands, with the
fading hope of getting a passage across to the haven of Africa by boat,
or to chance crossing the land which was reported to be rising out of the
sea across the Straits of Gibraltar.
Local boat owners sold places on over-laden out-dated craft, many of
which never made the difficult journey. Some resentful refugees put
this down to the weight of money carried by the boatmen, who were often
found murdered or beaten, robbed of money and boat.
Attempts to capitalise on the new found tourist trade were not, on the
Near the Portuguese coastal town of Viana do Castelo,
seventeen-year-old Carlos Garcia waited in his father’s wheat field,
which had not seen crops harvested for six years, witching the skies.
Straining his eyes against the setting western sun, he picked out a
tiny speck wobbling in the distance. The man from Denmark was late.
The Jaguar Tomahawk bumped to a stop five metres from the road. The
fifty year old ’plane turned through ninety degrees and crept into the
cowshed which served as its home. Carlos bounded into the gloom after
”The doors. Shut the doors !” cried the emerging pilot, his wild blond
hair as excited as his words. He gasped for air, and hugged the boy.
”I think we’ve found it”, he whispered.
They stared at each other in the cold darkness, their breathlessness
sending plumes of condensation upwards, as a second man clambered from
the two-seater ’plane.
”Hello Arthur” grinned Carlos.
Arthur Randles drew himself up to his full height, puffed out his
chest, and saluted.
”Young man, prepare yourself for an adventure. The professor and I
have found the promised land. We’re going to Atlantis.”
The three men poured over the map, and Arthur scratched his head.
”So much of this bit looked different from up here” he said, waving his
hand up and down the Portuguese coast.
”But look ! That island is completely new. There’s no land mass big
enough marked. It must have been two or three hundred miles across.”
”Is it really Atlantis ?”, asked Carlos wide-eyed withexcitement.
”It must be the Azores”, mused the professor. ”But the Azores were an
archipelagos, not one island”
”What ?”, said Carlos, puzzled at the language used by the older men.
The Englishman explained,
”The Azores were a group of nine small islands, but the seas around
them were very shallow. With all the volcanoes that erupted there, and
the sea level dropping, I suppose that the island we saw could have
been the Azores. Atlantis has risen higher !”
The professor screwed his forehead into a frown. You could almost hear
him thinking, the wheels of his mind forming yet another plan. ”Is it
habitable ?”, he asked, knowing the answer. Randles shrugged.
”What we need is a source of energy. Heat mines.” Randles was a
trained engineer, and liked turning his hand, and his mind, to all
aspects of science.
”Nothing is hot anywhere, not since the rock” offered Carlos, eager to
”Old mother earth is still burning up inside ’though” explained
Randles. He could have told the boy anything, from the puzzled look on
”Yes, Olaf, I remember. Heat mines, like in Iceland. Especially with
all that volcanic activity bringing the stuff near the surface….
Shall we go ?”
”We have to get out of this place. It seems as good as anywhere. And
if we keep it quiet, maybe only take a dozen, we might just survive. We
might be the only ones.”
It took them six days to find a suitable boat, and six hours to fill it.
Carlos and his sister, Randles, Professor Kristiansen, the Italian
boatowner, an American and his wife, two young Japanese children, a
French soldier (a friend of Carlos), an English nurse (on the professor’s
advice), and her stunningly attractive friend, Amelia (on Randles’
It was a difficult journey. On the fifth night, with storms lashing
the trawler, ”Lindberg”, one of the children sighted a light, glowing
with such ferocity that most of the sky began to light up as they
neared. Cliffs loomed out of the darkness. The boatowner battled
against the forty foot waves which tossed the vessel relentlessly towards
the shore. A landing looked out of the question in such conditions.
”It would be suicide to try to get close” yelled Grazzini, his voice
”And it will be curtains if we stay at sea any longer.” cried Randles,
as a huge surge of water crashed onto the deck, as if to underline his
point, and their desperate plight.
”Head for that Cove” begged the professor. ”It may be calmer in the
shelter of the cliffs”
”Not a chance of it. But the seas are deciding that it is our
The Italian crossed himself.
As he took pleasure in reminding them some hours later, the
professor was right.
2060 – The first few days
”The Lindberg” was finally made secure after a treacherous night spent
by several of the men diving into the chilling waters, and clambering
over the jagged rocks. In the Quiet Cove, as Kristiansen had dubbed
the inlet, it was finally possible to float the foar-man rowing boat,
and shuttle the twelve pioneers ashore, where they huddled toghter,
exhausted and hungry. They erected tents, lit a fire, and ate plenty
of the food they had brought.
After a couple of hours rest, Randles, Kristiansen and Charles
Stark, the American, set off to climb the cliffs and survey the
surrounding land. Carlos pleaded to be allowed to tag along, but was
persuaded that he should stay and watch over the others. The men were
greeted after their climb by the sight of three mountains filling the
westward and northern horizons. There was little vegetation and no
sign of life. To the south lay milesof snowcovered flatlands.
”Where to ?” asked Stark.
”We’ll head north, to the highest peak. We would be able to see
more from there.” Randles was warming to his assumed role of leader.
They had walked slowly for about half an hour, battling against the
drifts and wind. The omnipotent glare of the snow and their crunching
footsteps in the snow, rhythmically disturbing the deafening silence,
were mesmeric. They spoke rarely, all overawed by the landscape.
A loud roar thundered around the hilltops, and ahead of them they
saw the snow begin to slide towards them.
”It’s an avalanche !” yelled Kristiansen.
They were transfixed. Amidst the tumbling snow they could pick out a
speck of brown, thrashing as itfell, and finally coming to a halt,
about two hundred metres in front of them. The creature reared up and
let out a deep cry, before turning tail and fleeing.
”What was that ?” asked Stark, wide-eyed.
”It looked like a bear, but it couldn’t have been, not here” said
Randles, trying to convince himself as well as his comrades.
”I think we’d better head back” spluttered the professor.
The return journey was made in half the time.
The story was relayed to the others on their return, who listened in
amazement. Even Stark, who had kept them amused with his anecdotes
throughout the crossing, was finding it difficult to convey the scale
of the white landscape they had seen. With three mountains to describe,
as well as miles of flatlands, everyone was getting confused.
”What we need are names for everything. Then we would be like real
explorers”, suggested Amelia.
”My dear, we are real exploresrs. I’m looking forward to quite an
adventure together”, said Randles with a wink.
”We could call it Bear Mountain” chirped the nurse.
Bear Mountain it was. Whilst the men began the arduous task of
unloading the ship, the children were kept busy by the thinking of names
for other things they had seen, arguing incessantly over them. The
nearest mountains was named White Fell, and Mrs. Stark persuaded them
to call the remaining peak Mount Charles, after her husband. Everyone
wanted to name something after the ship, and as no agreement could be
reached, both the sea and the lowlands were called Lindberg Bay and
The following day the party set off south, away from Bear Mountain,
and across the Lindberg Plateau. Excitement grew as they sighted a
cluster of buildings on the horizon.
”It looks like a settlement” said Chaburn, the French soldier.
”And there’s smoke rising” exclaimed Grazzini, peered ahead.
They nervously advanced within thirty metres of the six wooden
huts, and watched for signs of life. Nothing penetrated the silence.
Stark whispered quietly to Kristiansen,
”I think we’re being watched”
A loud click swung their heads to the right, as Chabrun flung himself
to the ground, rolled, and stiffened himself prone on the ice. In his
hands was a revolver.
”Get down” he yelled.
In a flash they were all flat on their stomachs. It dawned on Randles
that the click was the sound of a gun hammer being cocked, as Chabrun
whispered ”You were right. And who ever is watching us has us well and
truly in his sights.”
Randles managed a forced grin, more in response to their predicament
than the soldiers humour.
”Is anybody there ?”, he shouted.
After the longest few seconds of his life, releif came.
”Tell him to throw his gun”, said a calm voice from the shadows.
”Do it, Chabrun”, barked Randles.
He addressed the invisible voice. ”We are friendly, we do not want a
”Where have you come from ?”, asked the voice.
Randles explained, at some length, their arrival from the mainland,
which eventually dragged the gunman from his lair. Randles offered his
hand, which wasshaken warmly. The stranger was gaunt and shivering.
”Are you alright ?”, asked the nurse.
”Hungry and cold, and our baby son is dying”, he replied, his
eyes dropping to the ground.
”I am a nurse. Take me to him.” she said.
His face beamed as he scurried off towards one of the huts. Everyone
The life of Victor Grice was saved, and the relieved group, along
with their food, were welcomed heartily by the fifteen members of the
settlement on Lindberg Plateau.
The two groups spent a couple of days swopping tales of life on the
mainland and life on the island. The leader of the settlers, Randolph
Courtenay, was a British exile, and he and Randles got along famously.
Courtenay explained that the onset of the ice-age had led to the sea
levels dropping drastically around the islands of the Azores, and that
the prodigious volcanic activity had built up the land to create new
glaciated hills and valleys. His village were a combination of
stranded travellers and refugees, and they knew of no other settlement
on the island. It had been a slice of luck that Randles’ group had
landed where they had, for both parties.
The settlers were able to explain the geography of the island as
they knew it. The Azores island of Pico, Sao Jorge and Terceira now
formed the highest mountains, with a huge volcanic upgrowth dominating
the south-west of the island. The coast was a combination of creeks,
coves and wide swepping bays, but no boats had been seen landing. They
had seen a low flying aircraft about a week ago.
They had no source of power except fire, and they hunted some wild
animals, but they were becoming fewer. Fishing was difficult without
boats, although they had seen seals in a creek to the north, and
otters in lakes to the south. Life was tough in the small community,
and they explained, they would be happy for the newcomers to stay as
long as possible, even to join forces as a larger settlement.
Randles was happy to rest awhile after the long journey. It made
sense to keep a large group, for tasks could be easily divided, and it
gave a ready made base for hunting and exploration. And it would give
him some time to get to know Amelia.
2063 The early years
Through the following two years, the south-eastern area of the island
was explored, which proved to be well populated with wildlife. Otters,
Seals, Snowgeese and Beavers were all hunted, and small areas of
Spurce and Pines were found, in which some edible vegetation was
found. The children enjoyed each new discovery, as it gave them a new
site to name. Two newborn additions, Charles Ambler and Konrad Rudel,
were focus of much attention, and friendships and bonds of trust
flowered within the community, not to mention a growing romance
between Randles and Amelia.
Kristiansen had a meeting of minds with Dr. Nansen, a Swedish
chemist, and they worked avidly on schemes to farm crops and source
power. They knew that the hunted food supply was finite, and that, with
the climate likely to worsen, a source of heat other than fire was vital.
Kristiansen was sure that the volcanic activity was certain to mean that
utilisable heat must be close to the surface, but without a turbine it
would be difficult to tap. Nansen had devised a system of growing crops
without sowing them in the ground, on a small scale. By feeding seeds in
water, it was possible to harvest edible beans by a system known as
hydroponics. The settlement was subsisting, if not thriving.
The land which had been above sea level twenty years ago was
difficult to explore, as it meant anarduous journey into territory which
was littered with the remains of the previous habitation, and despite the
extreme cold, the scientists were wary of disease and infestation. It was
during May 2063, on one such exploration in the westfoothills of the
Terceria Mountains, that they made an amazing discovery.
The few buildings which had withstood the turmoil of the previous
twenty years were buried deep beneath snow and compacted ice.
Whilst descending into the Vale of Fools, Francois Revel, at the rear
of the scouting party, fell through the soft snow into a hidden ravine,
where he lay motionless. The other men, in their haste to reach him,
caused several feet of snow to cave in above him. He was buried.
They struggled frantically to rescue him, digging with their bare
hands, and calling to him. Eventually they dug down to a depth of about
ten feet, where they found him, just alive, laying on the flat roof of a
submerged building. He was hauled out and tended to by Dr. Nansen, and
has pronounced unhurt, but suffering from the extreme cold. The party
returned quickly to Lindberg Plateau, where Revel could receive expert
attention from Nurse Maddocks, but not before the Professor had carefully
marked the spot where the incident occured. The others thought it a
sensible precaution, to warn others of the danger. The professor had
other ideas – he was coming back to examine the building.
That subsequent examination yielded the most significant discovery
made during the colonisation of the island. It took nearly a week to
clear sufficient snow to allow access, which even then was difficult as
much of the inside of the building was filled with the freezing white
dust which crept everywhere. To most of the settlers it would have looked
like a run down factory. To the scientists it was a treasure trove.
From the machinery left in the one-storey building, the professor
deduced that its purpose had been the manufacture of the small-engined
bikes which had been the commonest mode of transport in the Azores
before the meteorite struck. But more exciting was the fact that it had
its own generator, now defunct, but seemingly undamaged.
2070 The island grows up
The generator was to prove the key which unlocked the problems of
developing technology to survive in the harsh climate. It gave a means of
harnessing the power of the sub-surface heat, and utilising it to run the
machinery on which equipment could be built. It took three years to site
the first heat mine, in White Horse Valley, and two years to sink it.
Finally the power was unleashed for the construction of transport,
buildings and arms, and with them the further colonisation of the island.
The settlers moved westwards across the island, at last thriving as
the hydropics plants were developed, new villages constructed, and new
sights seen. There were marriages, including that of Arthur and Amelia
Randles, births, including sons to the Revels, Starks, and newly-wed
Chabruns, and the sad death of randolph Courtenay.
Arthur Randles built around him a team of strong leaders, each helping to
develop settlements, and teach the youngsters the skills of construction,
farming and hunting. Heat Mines were sunk at Storm Head, Thunder
Mountains, Snowgoose Valley and Shining Valley, and the Professor and
Dr. Nansen worked tirelessly to develop motorised buggies to allow the
flourishing communities to have easier access between one another, over
the hundreds of miles now discovered.
Life was improving for the brave adventurers. They began to refer to
the island as home, and with every new birth, the sense of a bright
future on the isle increased. There was no contact from the mainland;
nor was it possible for them to return. The ”Lindberg” was holed and
sunk as she was sailing close to Devils Head, in Dynamite Bay, when she
probably collided with a mine layed over twenty years earlier – the
island was peaceful, but it served as a timely reminder of the war man
was fighting elsewhere on the globe.
2081 The next generation
The population of the island now stood close to five hundred, and,
with an average age of about twelve, the society was very different to
that which the older settlers were used to. The birth rate was high, and
child care took much of the time of the women.
Consequently, the young males were quickly taught the life-skills
required for survival on the island, and began work. They were far more
adept at survival than many of their older counterparts, having known no
other life-style, and explored the island expertly; to master the
environment they had to know its layout and its dangers.
It had claimed lives with its harsh climate and deadly terrain. Charles
Stark was mauled to death by a savage animal on Wildcat Heath, which his
son, John later shot. Carlos Garcia had perished when an avalanche
swamped him on Snowstorm Pass, and the valley in which his body was found
was renamed after him. And John Rudel, the most gifted hunter and
explorer, was lost and presumed dead whilst trying to find an impassible
route through the Sao Jorge range. The blocked route was cruelly named
Mad John’s Pass, and the moor he had discovered earlier was similarly
Randles and Kristiansen, along with Courtenay’s son, Howard, had
organised a dozen of the men into a law-enforcement team. They also
organised the health care for the villagers, and were well accepted as a
vital link in the network between the settlements. The society forming on
the island was a peaceful one, but as the number of inhabitants grew,
individual feuds and quarrels sometimes broke out, and the peace force
were seen, by consensus, to work with the right blend of gentle
persuasion and good humour.
This balanced equilibrium was violently disturbed one November night
in 2081. The settlement at Redwitch Lowlands announced on the island
radio that a ship had weighed anchor five hundred yards off Whals Point,
and appeared to be carrying hundreds of people. They did not know wheter
they were armed. Randles organised the settlements around the coast to
watch for any movement from the ship, and the islanders prepared
themselves for any inevitability. The following morning the ship sailed
west, around the Southern Shore, and into Halfmoon Bay, were again it
rested, as the skies darkened. A storm was coming.
The islanders watched warily as the ship battened down its hatches for
the coming rain, and began to be tossed about the bay by the swell. The
first pioneers whispered to each other, remembering the foul weather in
which they had arrived, hoping that the visitors were not here hoping to
capture their proze. Then the heavens opened.
The first survivors made it ashore an hour after dawn, and five
minutes after the mast top of their ship was covered by the ocean. The
welcoming party was fronted by the business end of a rifle, closely
followed by Randles. The shipwrecked passengers scrambled ashore by a
variety of means, with survival their only thought. There was to be no
danger to the island, and gun-sights were lowered, to be replaced by
comfort and medicine. Nearly four hundred people of all ages and
nationalities had been aboard. About half made it ashore.
The huge influx of people, many of them injured, meant more mounths
to feed and homes to find. The islanders worked hard at caring for the
newcomers, whose tales of death and devastation from the mainland were
quickly spread, convincing the settlers that their island home was the
only safe haven. They heard how people in Europe had known about the
islands existence, but had assumed that it was uninhabitable. It had
been dubbed ”Midwinter Isle”, a name which quickly caught on.
The arrival of the newcomers was resented by some people, most notably
Professor Kristiansen, who was upstaged by a fine young scientist from
Germany, who helped the islanders to develop snow buggies for the
flatlands and construct cable cars on hillsides. The Professor withdrew
from social contact for many years, living in his laboratory with his
wife and children, and even after the German was killed by a freak
accident at a heat mine, the Professor was reluctant to rekindle
Fifty years after the grounding of the giant meteorite, life in one part
of the world was as normal as possible in an enviroment where
temperatures rarely rose close to freezing. Over fifty settlements had
been built, across the whole island, and each was home to families,
friends and workmates, employed at the dozen heat mines, in syn thesis
plants which produced fuel, and at hydroponics farms or in hunting
parties. The Free Villages Peace Force had been moulded in to an
effective, friendly policing body under Arthur Randles. He was, however,
desperately ill, and as Amelia had been unable to bear children, there
was no obvious successor to his leadership. Howard Courtenay, his deputy,
was reluctant to assume the reins of power, and he suggested that John
Stark, son of the first American pioneers, was the best man for the job.
Youth was on his side, and he had proved himself to be an able,
conscientious and popular officer. With the death of Arthur Randles on
5 August 2089, the island went into mourning. The stories of his
leadership during the colonisation of ”Midwinter Isle” passed into
Amelia Randles was heart broken. She had always been happy to play
second fiddle to her husband, but his death left her with a deep feeling
of emptiness and she began to think of home often. John Stark, as
Arthur’s successor, took it upon himself to counsel and care for Amelia,
partly from a sense of duty, and partly because her knowledge of the
island was unparalleled. He knew he could learn a lot from her, and
picked her brain on numerous occasions when a particularly thorny
problem arose. Stark realised that to be truly effective, the FVPF
needed the help of ordinary members of the community who would be
prepared to serve alongside the peace officers in times of emergency,
and so invited Amelia to help him list possible volunteers from the
However, Stark was surprised by some of the names Amelia suggested.
Could Kristiansen be coaxed back into the fold ? Would Gunn remain sober
for long enough to be of any help ? She even suggested Gregory Flint, a
petty crook of no scruples ! Ameli was adamant.
”They may not be paragons of virtue, John, but they’re all good hearted
people”, she insisted.
The potential of the Force was strengthened and with it prosperity on
the island spread. The land had been fully mapped, and potential sites
for new settlements and heat mines found. The disaster of the meteorite
faded in the memories of the older settlers, but the constant reminder
of the climate occasionally jogged them back to remember the harsh
early days of colonisation. It was as if life on Earth was evolving
all over again – but this time man had the benefot of modern technology
and a whole string of mistakes from which to learn.
As the years passed, the people of Midwinter became increasingly
certain that there’s was the only peaceful land left on Earth. They
welcomed refugees and helped most of them enthusiastically to build
settlements and make a new life for themselves on the island.
Most of the indigenous population had migrated towards the north-west
of the island where the volcanic beds were most accessiable. Life was
kinder near the Heat Mines. As the population grew, the south-east corner
of the island began to house more and more new settlers, whose attitudes
to life were often tainted by their experiences on the mainlands. Some
resented the life-styles enjoyed by Stark and his people over the past
ten years. Feuds and disputes were more commonplace in the region they
had come to inhabit, but the Peace Force concentrated its attention
elsewhere, turning a blind eye to much of thegoings-on around Shining
Hollow. Stark had heard rumours that an individual calling himself
General Masters was trying to set up an alternative agency of law
enforcement in the settlements of the south-east. So long as Masters
remained where he was, and the Free Villages remained unaffected, Stark
thought that he would let things ride.
General Masters twitched.
”Prisoners ?” he rasped, ”of course we take prisoners, De falco”.
Colonel De Falco looked both surprised and disappointed. The General
smiled briefly before continuing.
”I need a rapid victory, De Falco. We have limited fuel, limited
amunitions. We must do everything we can to encourage surrender. We will
take prisoners and we will treat them well.
Is that understood ?”
De Falco nodded curtly.
”There will be no executions, sir,” he said
”And no experiments, De Falco,” hissed Masters.
”No sir. No experiments.”
Masters gazed out of his window.
”When Midwinter is mine, De Falco, there will be great celebrations. I
shall drive in triumph through every village in the land ! Then is the
time to deal with our prisoners. Discipline is what these people need,
De Falco, discipline !”