Blood On Thy Hands
November 28, 1945
Imperial controlled Dublin, Ireland
Eastern Division Headquarters
Mist hung heavy in the air as a man breathed out more vapor to add to its depths. It was ambuiguty, a thing which distorted perspective. Oberst Kline strolled out from a building that served as his lodging. It was barely dawn in Dublin. The sun hinted at the tree lines, but the city remained in pitch blue twilight.
The era of clockwork was the Imperium’s greatest boon. Weapons were created that far exceeded the surrounding European countries. Their gears, carefully fitted to rifles, didn’t jam like France’s. The gears on the tank took the brunt of rocket fire. Their air force dominated with the combination of clockwork and steam. Steam. It was relatively new to the world, but the Fuhrer’s scientist were ingenius. Somehow, they had made the two work in tandem. With the rebirth of the Imperium, orders were made anew. Though weary from Europe’s Reunification, the Imperial Wehrmacht was ready once again. Their target was America. Their greatest threat since the damn communists to the west. They, of course, were subjugated.
Kline returned a salute to a passing patrol as his boots clapped against the paved streets. He was the perfect image of pure Aryan. His hair was a bright blonde, his eyes a piercing ice blue, and his physique so toned that he could model for the recruitment posters and perhaps magazines as well. His uniform was neatly pressed. The Imperial Eagle hung proudly stitched onto the uniform’s shoulder. Walking with tempered calmness, he still couldn’t ease the pit in his gut. Today was the day. The conditions were good and Intelligence had done their part. Today, the Wehrmacht was to cross the Atlantic.
His people learned from the Allies’ D-Day attack. Though the enemy had managed to gain significant ground, it was the Desert Foxes’ tactics which saved them. Trapping the scattered enemy with armor and destroying their footholds one by one. That was what his people had learned to counter and would avoid at all cost on their landing.
“Oberst Kline!” Kline looked up, slightly miffed from being interrupted from his thoughts. “Regiment 24, Scout Pod 7, Hamlein reporting sir.”
“Scout Pod 7 …” Kline looked up in thought. There were so man— “From the Eastern bound? Yes. From the East. Report.”
“Yes Oberst. Small pockets of resistance were found, but have been dealt with. We’ve captured several.”
“What did you do with them?”
The soldier hesitated. “We … spared them. They are being transported to Outpost Fox,” said the soldier. “Some opted for field execution, but I—“
“You spoke against your superior?” Amusement entered Kline’s voice. He tried to keep it neutral, but Imperial doctrine discipline was warranted. The soldier should be executed. “In the future, you’d do well to not voice such objections. Article 5, section 16, principle 13. Are you aware of its contents, Hamlein?”
“Field execution of insubordination, mein Oberst.”
Kline let the silence linger before breaking it again. There wasn’t a frown creasing his lips but smile instead. “You probably secured a treasure trove of intel.” Kline clapped the man on the shoulder as he felt a visible shrug in relief. “Your pod should be able to manage. Get some sleep.”
Soon enough, Kline arrived at the headquarter building. It was a old victorian thing of the past. Surprisingly it remained standing even with all the heavy artillery fire the Auxiliary Corps had used. Though pockets dimpled the building’s clock tower, it was still beautiful. Funny how beauty existed in destruction. The welting gardens enriched this haunting, silent visage.
Within was an entirely different matter. Intelligence personnel were all in a fuss. Handfuls sat at tables looking as if they would fall from the weight of the radios. Aids were attending to junior officers as a large map of the Eastern Seaboard was displayed on the table. Kline recognized the arrows immediately. Five arrows, fire possible attack points. There would be two fleets in total. A guessing game Kline wagered. He wasn’t sure if the gentlemen who suggested this was a mad or not. Where the fleets would go would be announced today to the Admirals.
“Oberst Kline,” a rather largely built man stepped towards him as he gestured to the table. “Did you catch the Fuhrer’s speech this morning? Fine oratory, fine indeed.”
Kline proffered a smile as he soaked in the map and the pegs on it marking positions. “I’ve requisitioned a new radio. An untimely accident took away its use. How are goes the fleet preparations?”
“4th Invasion fleet is nearly complete. 6th is ready to push off when the orders come through.”
“Wonderful.” It was then Kline noticed a skull peg. The symbol filled him with a modicum of dread. Of course, they had been sent months before this day to prepare the way. “Any reports from the them?”
“They’ve gone dark for some time, mein herr.”
“How long have we known each other Gatz?”
The large man scrunched his brows together as he breathed deeply. “Since the academy mein herr.”
“Since the academy. Conrad will suffice,” said Kline. It was against regulations, but for this instance, regulations be damned. “Lets pray the Zeros have carried out their mission.”
“They managed to assassinate Churchill.”
Kline nodded as he knew the ears of the other officers were listening. “True. All the same, Britain and America are two different beasts altogether. Where Britain has undergone years of conflict, the Americans have lost nothing — save for her allies. No Gatz. For the sake of the invasion, I hope the damn assassins are successful. They may save thousands of lives that shall depart the Imperium today … my humble opinion of course.”
Before Gatz could rebuttle, an Officer coughed as he handed them slip. It was a gear-encoded fax. The emblem of the Eagle of Justice printed in faded shade in the middle of the parchment. Kline took and read the contents as he gave it back. “We’ve received the orders. Command the Admirals to prepare for departure. Gatz, accompany me. I shall deliver the destinations. Gentlemen, to your posts. The Fuhrer has spoken, and for the Fatherland, we shall embark on yet another crusade.”
November 30, 1945
It wasn’t more than a few minutes before a car almost flattened Adrian. It was a darkened sky tonight. The wind was on the rise carrying the distant sounds of fighters from the American Air Force. Dressed neatly in a gentleman’s business suit, the world — for now — was unaware of the deed performed in this country’s most secure location. The director was dead. Or he would be soon. Adrian had seen to it. Like a true Zero, he left not a trace. Insidium Colakris would see to it.
In its true form, insidum colakris was nothing more than a harmless plant. Gods, even children could smell its sweet fragrance. However, the true poison was the nectar. Process that enough and you ended with the poison. It would burn the insides of the taker. It truly was crueler than the Intelligence Director deserved, but Adrian had no time to be picky. He had spent enough time studying the man. His deadline was tonight.
Rumors circulated of the Wehrmacht’s mobilization. Schneider, another Zero operating within Adrian’s parameter location, had passed it along. After the spill from last week, he managed to fix the damn radio. If the rumors were true, it would be any day now. The prospect was exciting and terrifying all at once.
“Jonathan!” That was Adrian’s alias. The act was nothing new. He had spent his entire life living an intricate lie crafted by those he didn’t know. This man with brown, short hair and blue eyes was nothing but a ruse, a mask. It was an identity he'd throw away once its purpose was over. “Got a moment?”
“What can I do for you David?” The man with neatly cropped brown hair was a jew. Funny how they were so free about it here. Back in the Fatherland, their kind had been expunged. They were a taint. Nothing more. “I do have arrangeme—“
“Just a moment.” Adrian assented as he stood to the side watching David shuffle through a folder. “Something interesting was intercepted. Since you’re part of the comm — here, we are. Have a look.”
“Misinformation,” Adrian said. It took him no time to preview the document. It concerned the invasion, and it was almost accurate from what he knew. “It’s the damn Imperials trying to confuse us. Throw us in a loop, no?”
“That’s what I thought at first,” David said. “But if we look at other messages intercepted, this is entirely ne—“
Both men looked away as a steam powered trolley moved on by. The steam — as poisonous as the smoke of coal — blew in their direction as both men covered their faces.
“We. Really need to get those things off the street!” David pawed the empty air. “Can’t figure out how the Nazis did it. Master steam. Clockwork works just as well. Back to the subject. We ca—“
David’s voice trailed off as the ground shook. Both men stood stock still as everything quieted. Blissful seconds before the madness. Adrian knew it far too well. An alarm began to wail from afar as it grew louder than quieter. It continued to repeat the pattern.
“Oh my god.” David pointed as he saw silhouettes full through the clouds. “The AAF isn’t … oh god, is this a joke?”
Adrian looked up as his heart leapt. Amongst the clouds, instead of the Allied star imprinted on the aircrafts above, it was the Eagle, spreading its wings in majestic glory. Transports rushed past them as the soldiers on board checked their rifles and the gears within each.
A soldier sitting on the end looked up and stared in Adrian’s direction. He knew not if it was directly at him, for the steam mask blocked the man’s face.
“Jonathan, we need to get back to Langley!”
Distant explosions rocked the ground as the booms echoed across the city. Gunfire and armor added into the destructive orchestra soon enough. His assignment had been completed right on time. “Come on then.”
As he followed David back, Adrian tried to mask his smile. Now the true assignment began. Cripple the machine by removing its key parts. That, was what he excelled at.
Kline stood within the makeshift command center housed aboard the central carrier. The place was doused in perpetual activity. Reports came in by the second as vox-chatter filled the large yet seemingly tiny space. “Leutnant, order the 4th Legion to push into sector 3 upon their landing.”
“Yes Mein Herr.”
“What is the American’s state of response. Have we broke into their communications?”
Gatz, who was standing at the opposite end of the table, smiled. “Better than that. We’ve got a mole, Conrad.”
Kline’s, even with all the chaos happening around him, rose an eyebrow. “How? Who?”
“Here’s the ID.”
After reading the initial lettered sequence, Kline knew who the mole was. Those damn bastards.
“Coordinate with the asset on an independent radio. Set it up,” he said as he looked at the map again. Kline was with the 4th invasion fleet, which was meeting heavy resistance from the Americans. He expected no less. Washington D.C, the symbol of America, would no doubt be fortified. “Concentrate bombardment on the reported artillery positions.”
“Auxiliary Corps are reporting some gear malfunction, mein herr,” reported an officer. “They’re replacing the gears now. Thirty minutes.”
“Too long. Tell them to fix it immediately! We need those cannons!”
“Radioing them now!”
David was lying in a puddle of his own blood. Adrian heard his gurgled gasps for air as he chocked on the red water of life. It was kinder than the damn jew deserved. Admittedly, he had grown close to the man. In fact, it was his daughter’s birthday today. It was too bad David had to stop him today. If he hadn’t, he may still be alive.
Listening into the American Emergency Response Force, Adrian was able to ascertain where the invasion was taking place. Once he felt confident he understood the scenario, he began to transmit to the frequency he had been told prior to his departure. Taking the head piece, Adrian put them on when he was sure he was alone.
“Dark is the night,” he said in native german. He released the radio’s control and waited.
“Dawn with the Eagle’s flight,” came a crisp response in his mother tongue. “Well met, Zero. Situation?”
“Understood. Stand by.”