Loki's dwarf rolled its eyes and moaned pitifully as the sub leveled off at periscope depth. With stubby fingers the gnarled, neckless creature pulled its yellow-stained beard and stared up at the creaking pipes.

A thing of dark forest depths and hidden caves, Chris Turing thought as he watched the dwarf.

It wasn't meant for this place.

Only men would choose such a way to die, in a leaking steel coffin, on a hopeless attempt to blow up Valhalla.

But then, it wasn't likely that Loki's dwarf had been given much choice in being here.

Why, Chris wondered suddenly -- not for the first time.

Why do such creatures exist? Wasn't evil doing well enough in the world before they came to help it along?

The submarine's engines rumbled and Chris shrugged aside the thought. Imagining a world without Aesir and their servants in it was as hard as remembering a time without war.

Chris sat strapped in a crash seat listening to the swishing of icy Baltic water just behind a tissue-thin bulkhead -- and watched the gnome huddle atop a crate of hydrogen bomb parts. It drew its clublike feet up away from the sloshing brine on the deck, scrunching higher on the black box. Another moan escaped the dwarf as the Razorfin's periscope went up, and more water gurgled in through pressure relief lines.

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