1979: Qangattarsa, Greenland – US Military Base
Rudy Spruance is lost. He has been left in the middle of nowhere in the frozen wastes of the arctic. No one comes except a huge swarm of mosquitoes. As he awakens later in an Army hospital that doesn’t officially exist, Rudy understands what it is to be on the sharp end of a ‘small clerical error’. “You’ll want to scratch,” a nurse tells him helpfully when he comes round.
Rudy enlisted in order to escape a little prison time for burglary. His fellow soldiers are a rag-tag bunch of misfits. There’s Lavone, a wannabe beat-poet, the sadistic Sergeant Genteen, and Petri, the base dealer who thinks sci-fi movies are the pinnacle of art. And there’s the base’s commanding officer, Colonel Woolwrap, who sees in Rudy a younger version of himself. Only problem is, Rudy isn’t too comfortable under his, or anyone’s, tutelage. But then Rudy meets Sergeant Irene Teale, beautiful, intelligent and most importantly, sane.
As Rudy pursues Irene, he uncovers the secret of The Wing: a hospice for American casualties from a reckless mission in the Vietnam war. Woolwrap has been sitting in Qangattarssa waiting for the last of the men to pass away. Meanwhile, the ‘patients’ remain unconscious, vegetative, erased as the men they once were.