Saturday, June 19, 2010

RM5 & 6 Epilogue

The dawn rises on a town in chaos. As smoke billows from the shunting yards and industrial sector, the workers living on the higher slopes pack their belongings as best they can and flee into the surrounding mountains. The Black Guards, defeated and disorganised, pull the broken body of their leader from the burning wreckage of his armour and replace it with the corpse of a dead soldier.

As the British consolidate their victory, their reinforcements begin to arrive. A regiment of Sikh's marches up the valley, followed by the Royal Afghan army and Lt Col Sir John Napier gathers his officers around a makeshift headquarters in an old administration building. As the Afghan's press into the town, hunting down renegade Turcomen and their Uzbek communist allies, the British engineers quietly inspect the factories and workshops.

By the time the sun has set, the Royal Army Service Corps have already brought up heavy load trucks and the engineers of the 8th Royal Dragoon Guards are busy dismantling the infrastructure and exotic machinery of Korsakov's hidden town.
"Do we have an idea what any of this stuff is?" Sir John asks James Cartwright. The civilian nods thoughtfully, his gaze resting speculatively on the wreckage of Korsakov's armoured suit which has been loaded on to the back of a truck and is about to join a heavily armed convoy back to India.
"The future I would say"
Sir John follows his adviser's gaze, but shrugs and lights a pipe. Walking tanks? Not likely he thinks to himself. He looks about and spies Daniel Mansfield and his companions resting on the back of a Morris truck, eating, drinking and laughing as they watch a team of engineers setting up a wireless they have liberated from the Bolsheviks. Leaving James Cartwright to his musing, the British commander strides across just in time for a warbling voice to intrude into the Afghan night. To the sounds of distant gunfire, explosions and the occasional scream, a Jazz combo accompanies a female singer as she laments the loss of love.
"Well met Sir John!" Mansfield smiles as he passes a mug of steaming tea.
"Thank you... Rocketman" Sir John chuckles.
"Why General, don't you fancy something with a little more bite?" Mitchell asks in a hoarse voice as he offers a bottle of amber fluid. Sir John eyes the bottle which catches the light of the wireless dials revealing some kind of turgid sediment discolouring what ever the drink is.
"Ah... I'm quite alright with my tea thank you"
"Quite right" Daniel Mansfield smiles as Mad Dog Mitchell shrugs. "Tea is the foundation of the Empire!"
The music slides into static and one of the engineers fiddles with the dial. A plate of corned beef sandwiches is passed around and George Macarthur sets about lighting a camp fire. Suddenly the static is replaced with a crisp voice that elicits a small cheer from the surrounding Britons.
"...o'clock news, this is the BBC World Service from London. Here are the headlines.
In the United State of America, Franklin Delano Roosevelt has been reelected to a second term as President, in a landslide victory over the Republican candidate Alf Landon.

World leaders are to meet in Paris to discuss the recent upheaval in Germany following the death of Adolf Hitler in a car crash and whether or not any intervention under the auspices of the
Treaty of Versailles should be attempted. Authorities in Berlin have rejected any notion of an international intervention under the authority of the League of Nations. A spokesman for acting Chancellor Hess has said that Germany will continue along the path of National Socialism established by Adolf Hitler.

In London the BBC have launched the world's first regular television service..."

"How about some more music?" Mad Dog Mitchell grumbles. "To hell with politics. What we need is some dames!"
The Engineer grins and turns the dial further and the sound of a classical concert suddenly booms from the speakers. Sir John smiles broadly and holds up an appreciative finger. "Ahhh, Wagner!"
Mitchells face falls and he turns his attention to his bottle.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Meanwhile, in the back of a truck rushing blindly through a mountain pass, Olga, Uighur bandit Queen and leader of Korsakov's Chinese connection sits beside the cot which holds her lover's feverish form. Beside her, a bandaged head and swollen cheek making him look strangely menacing, sits Korsakov's second in command, the enigmatic Yuri.
"Miserable British..." Korsakov mutters in his delerium. Olga gazes upon him with a face devoid of emotion. Yuri clenches and clenches his fists.
"They will pay for this!" He swears. "This is the second time that Swine has crossed us. the second time the British have interrupted our plans but I swear to God that there will not be a third!"
"God?" Olga turns her cold communist eyes on the Russian.
Yuri shrugs. "A figure of speech. Nothing more."
Olga stares at him for a long uncomfortable moment and Yuri has the distinct impression he is sitting in the immediate vicinity of a great and growing danger. As Olga's attention is drawn to Korsakov's shivering rambling, he realises that heading east into Olga's domain, with the Black Guards defeated and scattered, he must tread carefully. If Korsakov should die, what would become of him? How long would Olga tolerate his presence and where else could he go? Surreptitiously he moves his hand over his 7.62mm Tokarev to check it is still on his hip. The temptation to rid himself of this competitor is strong, but he realises that as distasteful as it is, he needs Olga if the Black Guards are to be resurrected.

Olga ignores Yuri. She reaches down to Korsakov and strokes his face gently.
"Rest easy my love" she whispers. "Your time has yet to come"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Three weeks later, Daniel Mansfield re-enters the office of
General Sir Michael Keating and smiling at the astonished officer places a burnt and broken helmet of unusual design on his desk. The head of the Imperial Afghanistan Operations Department stares at the heavy object which is making something of a mess of his paper work. "What the deuce is this?"

"General, may I introduce you to the remains of Viktor Korsakov?"
"My God! You mean to say he's dead!"
"So it would seem. I destroyed his armour with a timely grenade, and unless some one else was in the damned contraption, all that was left were some charred bones and that."
General Keating examines the helmet. It is a curious artifact with a heavy visor and deep lens, cracked and broken by the fire. Around and within it are small copper pipes and wires.
"So he may still be alive?"
"I don't see how, but I suppose its possible" Mansfield concedes. He flops into an offered chair and accepts a glass of Scotch as the old General chortles to himself. "Its the damnest thing, but I didn't think it could be done. When we heard that the Afghan's had shot their wad and gone off into battle without you, I felt sure you'd be returning with no results to speak of".
"Quite the contrary as it happens" Mansfield lights a Pall Mall. "Sir John was hell for leather about it. He took us over the mountains and we fought our way to Korsakov's lair, which transpired to be a hidden town with no name that I could find. The details are all in the report to London.
Sir Michael nods enthusiastically and claps the younger man on the shoulder.
"My God Daniel. Well Done! Well done indeed. It is the most complete thing I've heard in a long time. I wouldn't be surprised to hear you receive some token of His Majesty's appreciation for this!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Merry Christmas Sir Samuel." Sir Hugh Sinclair greets his guest as he joins him in a dark metal lined chamber. The
1st Viscount Templewood turns from a viewing port with a shocked face.
"Sir Hugh" He replies.
"What do you think of our guest?"
Sir Samuel looks back through the viewing port and swallows nervously.
"To be honest with you. I don't know what to think of it"
"They called it Johann. Do you see the suppurating arm stump. It used to end in a flame thrower that was fed by the organisms bodily waste."
Sir Samuel regards the great supine body, its head lolling slightly. What ever it is, its arms and legs have been removed and a chain has been fastened about its neck.
"But what the devil is it?" he demands in a querulous voice.
"I don't think it has a name" Sir Hugh casually offers a cigarette then lights his own when Sir Samuel shakes head. "The German scientist Metzger built it from the remains of several dead soldiers".
"Do you mean to say its some kind of Frankenstein's monster?"
"I suppose that's the closest description possible" Sir Hugh replies as he walks to the steel door set into the bulk-head like wall and knocks on it. A black armour clad guard opens it from outside and the two men exit into a long corridor with a strangely curved outer wall.
"What will you do with it?"
"Its already dying and we don't know why. Even if we did, would we even want to save it?"
The corridor ends in the door way to an elevator and Sir Hugh presses a button. Far away a bell rings dimly.
"When you asked me to take control of the island I wasn't expecting anything like this."
"Quite" Sir Hugh mutters.
Sir Samuel glances down the corridor as several men in long white coats exit a door, dragging a man in a strait jacket between them as they move off in the other direction. The man in the strait jacket is gagged but his wild eyes catch sight of the two men and he struggles helplessly against his captors.
"What about Doctor Metzger?"
"He has been removed to a safe place" Sir Hugh replies. we're not sure what to do with him. Frankly I'd just as soon have him executed, but some on the Temporal Council think he may be useful."
Sir Samuel Hoare, First Lord of the Admiralty of the United Kingdom widens his eyes nervously at the mention of the High Council of the secretive Lords Temporal. He has known for some time that Sir Hugh operates with a higher mandate than from the British government, but only now does he fully appreciate the scale of Sir Hugh Sinclair's power. Awed into silence He rides the elevator to the surface deep in thought. On the surface, the elevator ends in a room occupied by four men dressed in the dirty smocks of gardeners. As the two men exit the elevator, the four men stand to attention. One of them holds a sub-machine gun. Sir Hugh ignores the men, leading the way to a second door which leads out to blessed sunlight. Standing by a small brick building in Kew Gardens, Sir Samuel breathes a sigh of relief and shakes Sir Hugh's offered hand.

There is no need for Sir Hugh to impress the necessity for silence upon Sir Samuel. Having risen up through the ranks of government, with years of military and highly sensitive secret service to the British Crown (
he once recruited Benito Mussolini for MI5), Sir Samuel is aware of the existence of the Most Noble Order of Ouroboros. The secret, all powerful, shadow government of the British Empire. This is the first time he has been made aware of it first hand however. Standing in the cold winter sunlight he feels a thrill pass through his aging body. Nothing in his career has brought him this close to eternity. With a furtive glance back at the small brick building that marks the entrance to the underground fortress below Kew Gardens, he turns and makes his way to his waiting car.

Back in his office, Sir Hugh finds a large portly man waiting for him.
"Samuel Hoare's a good man, despite his support for Chamberlain. He'll stay quiet. He's ambitious too"
"I know" the other man replies absently as he enjoys a large cigar.
Sir Hugh sits behind his desk. He yawns and stretches. Lying before him is Daniel Mansfield's report.
"What did you think?"
"I think Captain Mansfield needs to curb his enthusiasm. Viktor Korsakov is not dead"
Sir Hugh nods, neither surprised nor dismayed.
"Where is he now?"
"Northern China."
"Of course."
"He is not our greater concern however. Baron Von Schöenberg has issued an ultimatum which we cannot afford to ignore. He claims his super weapon is nearing completion and he demands a seat on the High Council or else he will be forced to use it."
Sir Hugh's eyebrow's rise in amazement.
"You can see his point. He knows that we can eventually destroy him, no matter where he is hiding, so his best option is force a union of necessity. Naturally he'll keep his ace in his sleeve to prevent us from acting against him."
Sir Hugh says nothing. His mind is racing through various possibilities. A union with the Baron is almost unthinkable, no foreigner has ever sat on the High Council, at least not since it was founded".
The other man watches Sir Hugh's face.
"We still have no idea where exactly New Prussia is?"
Its some where in South America is all we know. Any reference to it had been erased from Farquhar Island and the Bremen's logs make no mention of it".
Sir Hugh leans forward.
"Winston, we cannot tolerate this threat. We have to find New Prussia and destroy the Silbervogel before it is operational!"
The man named Winston nods slowly. He exhales a long stream of smoke from his lips. "It won't be easy" he replies, "but neither was killing Hitler.
I'll put Carter onto it. If any one can do it. He can."

2 comments:

Palle "Nybyggeren" said...

All-righty. That was fast and swift.

The Baron!! <3 <3 <3

Tervlon said...

Very nice. I love the nod to assassinating Hitler. To South America!