by Max Barry

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by The Rogue Nation of The Polar Nation. . 20 reads.

Simo Räikkonen and Atok Sukarnoputri's Infiltration (Lore)

Chapter One

Two men met in front of an airplane, at New York's JFK Airport. They were Simo Räikkonen of Finland and Atok Sukarnoputri of Indonesia, and they had one shared goal: to take down the Polar Nation. Their first step, they thought: was to barge into the Polar Nation's base in Helsinki, and steal whatever data they could. Why were they in New York, you ask? So they could get to know each other better on the plane to Helsinki. They had only talked online, and Simo didn't even know what Atok looked like.

Simo looked at his ticket. Seat A11. The best seat in first class. He could afford it. He walked into the plane. Sitting next to A11, in A12, was a man whose age was vague, somewhere between 23 and 32. Simo pegged him as Indonesian, a fact which irked Simo. If Simo wanted to fight a racist group, he should stop pegging people by their races. Anyway, the man in A12 must have been Atok Sukarnoputri.

"Hello, Simo," said Atok. Atok smiled. Simo knew that he could trust this man. "Hello, Atok." They shook hands.

Simo would provide the supplies. He was rich enough to provide weapons, vehicles, and anything else the duo might need. Atok would provide the brains. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of the things known about the Polar Nation at the time, and was good at coming up with plans and improvising if those plans went awry.

The two men began to exchange small talk. They had discussed the details of the mission online, so now it was time to get to know each other.

"So, where are you from?" Simo asked.

"A small town in Java. Polar Nation territory now. I had enough money to emigrate. My family... didn't."

Atok fell silent. Simo could see Atok didn't want to talk about it any further. However, Simo did want to talk—about the reason why he wanted to destroy the Polar Nation.

"My sister joined the Polar Nation. It was like she joined a cult. She grew more and more distant, and more and more obsessed, until all she could talk about was how she hated "tropicals", and how she thought they were mentally inferior."

When Simo had first heard his sister rant about her new beliefs, he had laughed so hard he cried. Simo was well traveled, and he knew many stupid people who were born above the Arctic Circle, and smart people born im the tropics—Atok for one. But when Simo stopped laughing, he knew that the Polar Nation should be stopped in their plans to exterminate all tropicals.

Simo watched Atok look out the window as the plane took off. He wondered what the Indonesian was thinking about. Maybe the upcoming mission. Or maybe the sad fate his family suffered.

"Simo, did you know that no one has ever seen an image of the Polar Nation's leader?"

That did make sense. Sami Sessersuaq, the leader of the Polar Nation, was notoriously secretive. No one even knew Sessersuaq's gender.

"I think Sessersuaq's a space alien," Atok continued. "Either that or the leader is actually an African or something who hates their own kind."

"You know so much," Simo uttered sarcastically. "Why did you become an expert on the Polar Nation?"

"Same reason a Jewish person would study Nazis," said Atok. "Know thine enemy."

"Oh." Simo went silent, until Atok started the conversation back up by talking about good times before the Polar Nation. The plane they were on rose through the clouds.

An artificial voice came through the loudspeaker and said, "We have reached cruising altitude."

Atok laughed like wind blowing through bamboo. Simo laughed like a happy bear.

Since Finland was many time zones away from New York, and the flight would take a good long while anyway, Simo decided to take a nap. He dreamed that he was a Sri Lankan being tortured in a Polar Nation camp.

Simo woke up when the plane landed. He yawned and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. Atok laughed, since he hadn't slept a wink.

"So, where are we going?" asked Atok.

"To my place." Simo smiled. "We have all the things we need. I prepared."

Simo Räikkonen and Atok Sukarnoputri walked casually through streets of Finland, talking and laughing while tensing themselves for the big mission. Break into the base, steal information. In roughly that order.

Simo stopped in front of a large gated mansion. While Atok just stared at the eco-friendly opulence, Simo moved his eye towards a security camera and said, "Simo Räikkonen and a guest". The gates opened.

The two men walked towards the garage, which was quite large and looked more like a hangar. Simo made a complex hand gesture, and the door opened.

The garage was full of fancy cars, strange inventions, and experimental vehicles, with at least one private plane and two functional tanks. It gave off the air of what a man with great vision, time on his hands and too much money would create over time.

Atok's jaw dropped in astonishment. "You're like a Finnish Elon Musk."

Simo shrugged. "Well, I'm not that rich."

"What—what—which of these awesomeness will happen? I mean, which one will we use?"

Simo pointed at the cars. Not the fancy ones, but some cars in the corner that looked suitable for any miltary operation. They walked over.

Simo patted a rugged-looking car like it was his dog. "This is an extremely all-terrain vehicle. Most all-terrain vehicles can only ride on the road and in the mud. This one can drive on deep snow, ice, and it's also an amphibious vehicle—can go underwater—to boot. Are you impressed yet, Atok?"

The young man nodded his head numbly.

"Well, you'll be more impressed when you hear that this car will be used for this mission."

Atok made a sound like he was trying to supress a sound like the scream 12-year-old girls make when they see their favorite pop star.

"Let's go!"

The gearing-up montage ended, and the duo went off to storm the Polar Nation's Helsinki base.

Chapter Two

Simo drove his extremely all-terrain car wildly through the streets of Helsinki. Members of the Polar Nation chased him in their own cars, wielding AK-47s.

While Atok stared out the window in shock, Simo drove onto the frozen coasts of Helsinki. The Polar Nation thought they had gotten Simo, but his car was an amphibious vehicle. Simo's car dove under the water, under the Gulf of Finland. Atok stopped staring out the window.

The Polar Nation could not follow. The Helsinki Base, despite being important, was not well-funded enough for their own amphibious vehicles. The operatives stood there, looking at the spot where Simo and his car had just disappeared.

Although Simo had gotten some material in the form of a USB drive out of the Polar Nation's base in Helsinki, they had caught him. Simi and Atok had barely escaped, and now they were fretting under the sea. Well, Simo was fretting.

"I'm doomed," Simo muttered. "The Polar Nation knows about us now."

"No, no you're not doomed." Atok smiled a tiger's smile. "The Polar Nation now knows to fear us."

"How do you think so?" asked Simo. "We don't know what's in that tablet. It could be something useful like weapons schematics, but more likely it's cat videos."

Atok smiled that tiger's smile again. "We go to an Internet cafe—maybe in Estonia, it's close and Internet's a human right there. We download whatever files might be there. If it's something cool, I know some guys in Voxija, and they know some guys in Alpha Forces. That's Voxija's special forces."

It was indeed something cool, a map of the Polar Nation's main HQ! It was in the South Pole. Simo Räikkonen's brain spun with possibilities. He imagined storming the large base, in a long, hard-fought battle, and shooting Sami Sessersuaq, whoever they looked like, in the head. But before they could do it, they needed more resources than a private individual could provide. To do that, they needed Alpha Forces.

Simo and Atok found themselves sitting in a private office belonging to Marco Karriñitz, a commander in Alpha Forces. Marco wore a demeanor that screamed "I'm better than you".

"So," said Marco. "You got a map of the Polar Nation headquarters."

Simo was uncomfortable. Atok was nodded his head like he belonged here.

"Do you know what a boon this is?" Marco asked. "This is the best thing to come into our hands since we found out Sami Sessersuaq's name. I even recommend that Mr. Sukarnoputri—don't know about Mr. Räikkonen—go on a mission to infiltrate the Polar Nation, and hopefully assassinate the leader."

"Wait, what?" Simo was surprised, since he'd been expecting a long, hard-fought battle. "Why us?"

"Because you got the USB. You've proven yourself." Karriñitz looked straight at Atok.

"How are we going to transmit information back to Alpha Forces?" Simo asked. Atok rolled his eyes.

"We've—well, Txala Enterprises has developed these tablets. They were made to be untraceable by any government or corporation, so of course they would be useless to Txala. You can take pictures of the Polar Nation base and text us about all the information you've learned." That way, if you die, the mission would not fail.

"Don't worry," said Marco Karriñitz. "Even if you fail utterly, there will be reinforcements. A dozen or so agents will be storming the base after you land. They are armed with the best equipment and will deal with any Polar Nation people that try to evade us."

"I'm leaving the specific mission details up to Mr. Sukarnoputri. I trust him to come up with a plan," Karriñitz coughed. He certainly didn't trust Simo to come up with a plan.

The meeting adjourned, and our heroes walked out of a small building in an undisclosed location on a medium-sized island in the middle of nowhere. Despite it being January, it was very hot and humid. Simo wiped sweat from his brow, while Atok seemed just fine. Atok began brainstorming.

"Your car?" Atok asked.


"With a paint job, it could pass for a Polar Nation car."

"The Polar Nation has specific paint jobs on their cars?" Simo thought a bit. Oh yeah, the ones in Helsinki were all painted white.

Simo had another, more terrifying question. "We will infiltrate the HQ, right? But they might be suspicious to see an Indonesian in the car." Simo didn't doubt for a second that he himself might be able to pass for a Polar Nation operative. His sister had proved that right.

"No, they won't be suspicious." Atok glupped, as well as gulped. "I know how to get in without my... skin drawing suspicion. When you drive into the HQ, they will ask you who's in the car. Say 'a Finn and a tropical slave—'"

"The Polar Nation has slaves?!" Simo sighed. "Of course the Polar Nation has slaves."

"I will be alongside you, infiltrating as well. I'll just be dressed as a slave."

Simo hated the thought of his new comrade dressed as a slave, but anything to destroy the Polar Nation. "Uh... how is a slave dressed in the Polar Nation?"

With perfect timing, a woman with her hair dyed blonde ran up and gave a box to the duo. It contained two Polar Nation "grunt" uniforms, "grunt" being the term for new members. Atok gave one back to the girl and said, "Thank, but no thanks. Polar Nation slaves usually just wear civvie clothes, and I don't even know why you thought a tropical like me could pass for a Polar Nation person." Atok laughed bitterly, while Simo looked away awkwardly.

Simo took a boat from Xirroni to Antarctica. When he docked, he got into his car, which was carried by the boat. It was Simo's car from the first mission, but it was modified so it could bear the intense cold of the South Pole and drive across Antarctica in a day.

The uniform was very hot inside the car. This was because the uniform was meant to bear the cold of the South Pole, and was so insulating that wearing it anywhere else would be too hot. Well, Atok was wearing civvies. He guessed the Polar Nation thought that it was good to have slaves freeze to death every so often.

They drove and drove, exchanging dark jokes and planning out the finer details of their mission. Atok was glad that the car was insulated. When Simo got tired, Atok drove, and when Atok got tired, Simo drove. All in all, the journey took around 32 hours. Antarctica was big.

As the men drove closer to the South Pole, they saw more and more cars that looked just like their own. Simo had a thought: They might be going to main HQ because they heard that one of their bases had been broken into. That frightened Simo.

Finally, they saw it. This was the HQ of the Polar Nation. It looked like nondescript snow drifts from the outside, but Simo knew that most of the base was underground. Simo thought that he could see Vostok Base, the permanent research post on the South Pole, in the distance.

Simo, heart in his throat, slowly drove his extremely all-terrain car towards the same hole in the ground that the other cars were going into. When he entered the underground area, he could see some kind of checkpoint that was judging whether cars could go into the main base.

"Remember what I said? A Finn and a tropical slave."

Simo nodded, but on the inside, he panicked.

When Simo reached the checkpoint, an angry-looking Asian man walked over the car, yelling, "Are you a new member?" at Simo.

"Yes," Simo lied.

"Who are the occupants of this vehicle?"

Simo shook with fear, but his voice didn't show it.

"A Finn and a tropical slave."

For several breathless seconds, nothing was said. And then the angry-looking man stopped looking angry, and said, "Access granted. Welcome to the Polar Nation."

Simo and Atok released breaths they didn't know they were holding. A sense of relief came over them. As they drove to find a good parking space, Atok whispered, "Yeah! We did it!"

Chapter Three

Before stepping out of his vehicle, Simo Räikkonen adjusted his disguise. The Polar Nation "grunt" uniform was bare and simple, pure white, without any adornments. Simo took great care not to disturb the gun strapped beneath his costume. Atok also had a gun under his clothes, just in case.

The duo walked out of the car. If you were only looking at the architecture, the parking lot looked like a normal parking lot, just underground. It was the people milling around who were unusual.

They were Polar Nation people. Their races ranged from white and Asian to anything in between, as well as assorted specimens who looked Native American. You could tell their status from their uniform. The fancier it was, the longer the wearer had been in the Polar Nation. Trailing behind the Polar Nation people were depressed-looking humans who seemed to be their slaves. Atok was right, and even some grunts had slaves.

"What are you gaping at for?" asked an aserbic Polar Nation woman with a Hispanic slave.

"The glorious majesty of it all," Simo said quickly. Simo walked away, following the crowd. His instincts told him he would find something important.

Simo followed the crowd of Polar Nation people and their slaves to a great door. Simo could hardly bear to look at the slaves, and he could hear Atok sighing behind him.

A guard stopped Simo and said, "You better take your slave over there for the duration of the meeting. You don't want to be seen spoiling your slave, do you?"

Simo looked at Atok. Atok made a tiny, almost invisible nod. The duo walked to where the guard had pointed to, a tiny closet door.

"Should I..."

Atok made a tiny smile, then opened the door and walked into the closet. Among the coats and extra uniforms, on a couple of rickety benches, sat about a dozen slaves. They all looked Indonesian.

Atok thought, it's strange they segregate their slaves by race.

The slaves were in a wretched state. They weren't just apathetic, they were in apathy, as if they were swimming in a sea of apathy. Atok Sukarnoputri knew he had to help them.

Simo walked toward the door again. The guard remembered Simo's place in line and let him in, to the grumbling of the Polar Nation people still in line.

The door opened up to a gigantic auditorium. There was no stage, but there was a screen where the stage would have been. Simo sat in the optimum place for not being seen, halfway between the back wall and the middle, and just left-of-center.

After all the seats in the auditorium were filled, the doors closed. A gray circle appeared on the screen, apparently to represent or replace a face.

A voice came out of speakers in the wall, a pleasant female voice speaking in a Canadian accent. This was Sami Sessersuaq's voice. Simo realized that Sessersuaq felt no need to disguise her voice because no one would believe that pleasant Canadian-accented voice could've belonged to the leader of the ruthless Polar Nation.

"Welcome, fellow Polar Nation people. Listen to what I have to say, or consequences will be dire..."

Atok observed the pitiful slaves. Atok knew he had to rouse them up somehow and get them to revolt.

"I bring good news," he said in Bahasa Indonesia, the language of Indonesia. "Good people are storming this base and you will be freed."

"They beat the memories out of us. We forgot what it was like to be free."

Atok got it into his head to describe what freedom is like. "Freedom is getting money for your hard work. Freedom is deciding what you will eat for dinner. Freedom is—"

"Why are—why?" asked an old man with a wispy beard. "We're lucky. We're still alive. My son... they killed him."

"Yes," said some of the other people. "We are lucky."

Atok gave up. He began composing the speech he would give when he killed Sami Sessersuaq. It would be one for the records.

Simo listened to Sami Sessersuaq's speech in horror. He had been found out.

"At least one agent affiliated with Alpha Forces has entered our main headquarters. He may be sitting here with us right now."

Simo acted nonchalant yet horrified, mimicking the Polar Nation people sitting next to him.

"I advise you to be on your guard and watch out. I will send armed operatives to our checkpoints and fortify this base, to catch any enemies who might try to enter. I predict that we will easily overpower Alpha Forces, unless they're planning an infiltration, in which case we're doomed." The circle disappeared, the doors opened, and the meeting ended.

Simo burst out the door and headed straight for the "slave's closet".

As the slaves gazed in wonder at Simo, Atok asked, "What did you discover?"

"A lot! Sessersuaq's a Canadian woman."

"A Canadian, eh?" Atok tried to giggle, but it came out as a choking noise. "I knew it."

Simo shrugged. "Maybe you did. But they know we are here."

Atok's face grew serious. "We have to do something drastic, speed up the mission, storm the leader's quarters?"

Simo smiled like a tiger. "I like the way you think."

Before they did so, however, Atok contacted Alpha Forces on his special smartphone, untraceable by any government or corporation, that he had hidden under his civvie clothes. Atok showed Alpha Forces what the team had learned, about Sessersuaq's gender, the uniforms, and most importantly, the slaves.

When Atok was done, the duo walked towards the leader's office. The men had to fight the temptation to run through the hallways. They acted like they knew what they were doing, and no one questioned their presence openly, although some Polar Nation people with many shiny medals looked strangely at the "grunt" and his "slave".

Eventually the team heard loud happy female voices, and they came to a large window. They looked into it for a second, and then ducked down.

A short yet menacing Inuit woman, with the same voice Simo had heard earlier, was babbling happily to a taller blonde woman with a Swedish accent and an air of submission around her. The duo pressed their ears against the wall to hear what they were talking about.

"Thank you, Vali," Sessersuaq was saying. "You have done something right for the Polar Nation—for once."

"You're—you're welcome," the other woman, "Vali", said. She seemed surprised that Sami had actually thanked her.

"Your Polar Nation military operatives are actually handling the Alpha Forces people quite nicely. I knew it wasn't a huge mistake to appoint you Military Director."

Simo and Atok were horrified. The Alpha Forces reinforcements, the extra agents were being massacred. This was wrong, this was all wrong.

The leader of the Polar Nation and her subordinate checked a security camera. "They're here."

Simo and Atok were ready to charge in, guns blazing, but when Polar Nation goons ran around the corner, they grabbed Simo and Atok before they could draw their guns and brought our heroes through a newly opened door before Sami Sessersuaq.

Sami Sessersuaq faced the agents. "So it is, you are here. Take their guns."

When the goons took Simo and Atok's weapons, Simo asked in confusion, "How? Why? We got so far, and then..."

"I'm sorry about that," Sami Sessersuaq said politely. "My minions are just so incompetent today." Sami felt like a Bond villain today. She liked that, except she would not fall into the pitfalls of a Bond villain. "Let us dine."

At these words, a dining table slid out of the wall, complete with place settings. Slaves wearing shock collars brought food.

"Come," suggested the worthy leader. "Eat and discuss." Sessersuaq sat at the head of the table. Atok rushed to sit at the table, because he had a high metabolism and was famished, but Sessersuaq stopped Atok with a glare the Indonesian had only seen before on pictures of historical dictators.

"Not the tropical," Sessersuaq said. "It doesn't deserve to be here."

"Just obey her," Simo said. "It might save your life."

Atok had an indignant look on his face, but he backed away slowly.

Simo took a seat at the table, still stunned by this series of events. How? Why?

"I would like you to join the Polar Nation," said Sessersuaq.

"Wat! No!" Simo didn't know why, Simo had no idea how to answer, but he said what first came to mind, "You're terrorists!"

"Terrorists?" Sami frowned. "Which organization is run by tropicals. Which organization sent a mixed team to break into one of our strongholds and steal that USB drive?"

Simo contemplated, for a split second, Sami believing Simo was from Alpha Forces from the beginning. When Simo fully got what Sessersuaq was saying, he laughed in her face. "I'll never join you or believe in your insane ideology."

"Oh, well, then I'll have to kill you. Not now, that would ruin the meal."

Atok tried to grab for his gun, but it had been confiscated. He tried to run away, but Vali Andersson, the Swedish woman Military Director herself, grabbed him.

"This tropical should be your personal slave, Worthy Leader."

"Oh, yes." Sami rubbed her hands together. "Such an unruly tropical will be fun to break."

Simo tried to wriggle out of his chair, but a Polar Nation goon was guarding the chair, and cuffed Simo. "Eat," said the goon. "Even if I have to feed you."

The food was very unappetizing. It seemed to be mostly fermented fish and other seafood. Simo hated seafood. Sami was sitting at the head of the table, polishing her knife with an evil grin on her face, while Atok was getting a lecture from Vali on the proper place of tropicals.

After the meal, our two heroes both met their ends. Atok Sukarnoputri's tablet was never taken away, which was fortunate for Alpha Forces, and how we know that domestic slaves sleep on straw mats. When said tablet was discovered, Atok was killed in a slow, painful way. Rocks smashed bones, brain matter, and tablets. Sami Sessersuaq didn't kill him.

Simo Räikkonen was shot the day after he entered the Polar HQ by a Polar Nation operative who had foresaken her name for the organization. Sami watched, but she didn't kill him. Before Simo was executed, he tried to escape numerous times, failing only because Sessersuaq wanted to watch Simo die instead of having him die from the elements.

Both men involved were discovered and killed, but the infiltration wasn't a complete failure. International authorities gained a wealth of data about the Polar Nation through a unique and modern information transferral system, and it brought the world's free peoples one step closer to destroying the Polar Nation. The End.