Study Guide

The White Darkness Chapter 9

By Geraldine McCaughrean

Chapter 9

Solar Corona

  • Manfred Bruch has proof that Symmes's Hole exists. Guess that settles that.
  • Manfred and Victor met through a website called Thoughtextreme.com. It's like a chat room for crazy obsessed people.
  • Manfred has been through a lot since he met Victor. To help with the project, he mortgaged his house, lost his wife, dropped other projects; in other words, he's all in.
  • Through Thoughtextreme.com, Victor told Manfred he was looking for a fossil that provided evidence of "interior life," or hole people, if you prefer.
  • And wouldn't you know, Bruch found someone selling just such a fossil on eBay. Again, sounds legit. This Manfred guy is just 2 legit 2 quit.
  • Also legit sounding? The photograph of Symmes's Hole that Manfred obtained through a friend who works at NASA.
  • Victor wants to see the photo; Manfred hands it over with a melodramatic flourish. Everyone cries. Now Victor wants the coordinates. Manfred will hand them over… but there is the small matter of his payment. Victor hands him a check.
  • The money is to finance Manfred's film. Mmhmm, totally legit. The crew is flying in on Thursday.
  • Here's Jon, the trip leader. He asks the co-conspirators to get out of the Arctic vehicle, which is off limits.
  • Victor almost loses the slip of paper with the coordinates, but saves it.
  • Uh oh… All the passengers are sick with catastrophic diarrhea. Also vomiting. The resident doctor thinks it might be food poisoning.
  • Sym is not sick, though, so good for her.
  • Sym's been thinking she really needs to get in touch with her mother. She's not sure how much her mom knows, which worries her.
  • She's also not sure where all the money to finance this trip has come from.
  • Sym confides all her concerns and doubts to Sigurd, who's very reassuring. He believes in Victor's genius, and he also doesn't think Sym should contact her mum.
  • Enough conversation. Sym decides they should go for a spin on the Ski-Doo. At the end Sigurd kisses her. It's her first kiss—swoon.
  • Titus has been notably absent. Sym wishes he'd come around so she could ask him about Symmes's Hole. She knows he couldn't really tell her, though, because he only knows the things that she knows. After all, he lives in her brain.
  • Sym was so distracted by the Ski-Doo and the kiss that she never did call her mum. When she wakes up the next morning, the camp radio is on the fritz. Someone poured whiskey all over it.

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