THE OMEGA SANCTION
SO ENERGETIC ARE THESE ACTIONS AND SO STRANGELY DO SUCH POWERFUL DISCHARGES BEHAVE THAT I HAVE OFTEN EXPERIENCED THE FEAR THAT THE ATMOSPHERE MIGHT BE IGNITED ...
Nikola Tesla, inventor
MORE: WHAT WOULD YOU DO? CUT A GREAT ROAD THROUGH THE LAW TO GET AFTER THE DEVIL?
ROPER: I’D CUT DOWN EVERY LAW IN ENGLAND TO DO THAT!
MORE: OH? AND WHEN THE LAST LAW WAS DOWN, AND THE DEVIL TURNED ROUND ON YOU—WHERE WOULD YOU HIDE?
A Man for All Seasons
HISTORY IS MOVING PRETTY QUICKLY THESE DAYS AND THE HEROES AND VILLAINS KEEP ON CHANGING PARTS.
James Bond in Casino Royale,
written by Ian Fleming
DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AG
Jonastal, Thuringia, Germany April 1945
Able Company caught primary assault. It was simply Able’s turn, and Charlie would offer suppressive fire and flanking manoeuvres and handle artillery coordination, but it was Able’s turn to go first. Lead the way. Semper fi, all that fine bullshit.
The hillside had turned into a seething hell hole of Dantean proportions. Flames belched oily smoke stinking of pitch and seared pork. Craters and bodies strewed the savaged landscape, which rumbled under a screaming sky.
With their Thompson sub-machine guns pointing the way, Sergeant Manny Decker and privates Dempsey, Genaro, and Cole alongside the 200 men of Able company ploughed up the tree lined-hill towards the Pass. The burnt-egg stench of sulphur hung everywhere.
Battle was weather. They ran through clouds of vapour, dust in the air, through layers of sulphur. There was no sun. Their boots fought for leverage in the soil and shale of the hillside. The thunder pounded, except that it was gunfire. The slope was alive with rounds striking, and it looked like small animals peeping about.
Angry, white-hot bolts of illumination cut through the mist and smoke.
Germans let loose with mortar fire, scattering the company. Decker and the men alongside him found themselves separated from everyone else.
The defenders were dug into the cliffs above. Machine guns and 20 mms’ bristled from bunkers, which over watched the mouth of the gorge leading to the Jonastal Pass. This redoubt was the last line of defence to the Jonas Valley Industrial complex. A last ditch attempt to prevent the Americans and Russians from getting their hands on German technology along the ever-shortening road to Berlin.
Information had been received about a vast underground complex in the Jonas valley area, so their unit, part of 30 Advanced, being the closest had been attached to the two US company’s and had been dispatched to take the valley, not expecting it to be as heavily defended as it was. When they arrived at the nearby POW camp at Ohrduf it had been abandoned, and so they expected the same when they moved on the valley.
Decker felt the fierce whisper of displaced air to the left and right of him as he made his way towards a fallen tree.
Scrambling to the earth, he reached the tree seconds in front of his comrades. They took advantage of the few moments of safety to catch their breath, and still their beating hearts. Cole crossed himself, and looked up to the sky as he was trying to become part of the fallen trunk. His nineteen year old face ashen beneath the dirt smudges.
“This is fucked up,” Dempsey gasped, his slender fingers gripping onto his weapon.
“Yeah, one company to take out those bunkers,” Genaro kissed the twin dice which hung from a chain around his neck.
“We’re here to soften ‘em up for the tank boys,” Decker pulled out the Thompson’s magazine, and replaced it with a full mag.
They all heard the rat a tat tat sound of machine guns from the bunkers and felt the thuds as bullets splintered the trunk above them. Next, came the whump crum of mortar fire. Shells exploded all around, showering soil down on them like a heavy summer rain.
Decker poked his head above the trunk. He was rewarded with another hail of machine gun fire, the rounds slammed into the trunk making it shudder with the sudden violence.
“They got us pinned good,” he said. “but we are only a couple hundred yards away from the first bunker. If you boys lay down some covering fire, I think I can get close enough to lob a grenade in.”
Before any of them could answer, they felt the ground rumble, the sound of a heavy diesel engine, and the crack of timber. Looking behind them, all four were horrified to see the approach through the trees of a Königstiger, the most feared tank in the German arsenal. Cole’s face was ashen, Genaro sat with his eyes wide, mumbling the 23rd psalm under his breath. Dempsey tried to scramble backwards but prevented from doing so by the trunk. His chin trembling, Decker thought he heard him call for his mother under his breath.
Fear pinned them to the spot. The 56 ton monster rocked to a stop ten yards away.
Decker regained his senses. Grabbing Genaro, he was about to scramble away when the 88mm barrel angled up towards the bunker.
“What the fuck!” Cole stared open-mouthed.
They all hit the deck, as the high velocity round exploded from the muzzle.
Decker, despite covering his ears felt as though he was underwater. The change in air pressure muffled all sound. Another shell exploded from the tanks muzzle. The world rocked around them.
Decker and his men climbed to their feet, he risked a look at the bunker; it was now a jumble of smoking rubble. With one eye on the ruined bunker they walked over to the tank.
A head popped up out of the turret.
“Thought you Tommys may need a hand.”
The grinning face of Tony ‘Duke’ Parsons looked down at them.
“Where the fuck you get this from?” Genaro slammed a hand against the tanks track.
“Ask me no questions.” A shit eating grin split his face as he tried to pull off an innocent choir boy look.
Duke was one of those types of guys every unit seemed to have in its ranks. You wanted something, they could locate it.
“Carry on men, gotta go help the others.”
He banged on the turret, “Waggon’s Roll!”
A thick cloud of blue smoke swept over the bushes and trees at the rear of the Tiger. With a rumble of rusting tracks, the tank set off again towards other bunker positions.
Decker rubbed the back of his neck as he watched the tank crash through the trees.
“C’mon boys, up the hill.”
They vaulted over the trunk, and proceeded towards the now silent bunker. The sounds of battle had died down further along the line. Decker gave up a silent prayer for this brief respite.
After checking the wrecked bunker for any signs of life they moved off to regroup with the rest of Able Company. Duke and his tank had helped even up the odds. Within the space of an hour, Able Company had cleared out the rest of the bunker positions. They entered the pass and found evidence of a hasty retreat. The Germans had not bothered to take valuable equipment with them. They found the same when they arrived at the Industrial Complex. None of them could figure out why the Germans had defended it with such vigour only to leave in such haste.
As the sun sank below the valley, Decker, Cole, Dempsey and Genaro were taking a well-earned break at the newly established forward operating base. The top brass had taken over a collection of offices with some work sheds turned into billets. A message from company command told them to hold the valley until further notice.
Outside, dispatch riders came and went, slithering wildly through viscous mud. The sounds of shouted orders drifted on the night air. For now, the percussive sounds of war was a far off drum beat fading in and out on the night air.
As a veteran of many campaigns, Decker did what all veterans did; he got his head down. You never knew when another chance to sleep would come so you took it when you could. Genaro, Dempsey, and Cole had hooked up with three other guys from Charlie Company and started a card game.
“I’ve heard of you boys,” one of the Charlie company men said as he studied his cards.
“Yeah, you’re supposed to be ghosts, 30 Advanced Unit, you never see ‘em but you know they’ve been there,” another added.
“And we can take your money before you know it’s gone,” Genaro slapped down another winning hand bringing forth another round of groans from the other players.
“I couldn’t do what you boys do, you must have some big cajones,” the third man, a dark skinned individual, said as he took the cards Dempsey dealt out.
Cole leaned away from the map table and looked at the slumbering seargent.
Decker sighed. Opened his eyes and peered at Cole, “What?”
“I always wondered why we’re called 30 Advanced Unit when there’s no 29, 28 or any other units before us?”
“It’s the number of Commander Fleming’s secretary’s office at Admiralty, they couldn’t think of what to designate us so some wag came up with that number and it stuck,” Decker said before closing his eyes.
Decker thought back to his first meeting with Fleming, He had been lying prone after a Red Cap had struck him with a Billy club after answering back. The stockade had been his home for a year.. The charge was desertion and failing to obey the orders of an officer, as well as striking said officer. He had been in France as part of the fall back to Dunkirk. His unit had all but been wiped out. Decker, alongside five other survivors had trekked for several days, most spent in running battles with German patrols. He had started out with ten men, five were killed before they came upon a unit of Seaforth Islanders mounting an ambush in an attempt and slow down the enemy. The commanding officer, an upper class twit with a plumb in his mouth, had ordered Decker and his men to stay. He refused, told the man he had his own orders, and as far as he was concerned the orders of a dyeing man trumped his. The officer did not take kindly to that or the head butt Decker laid on him when the man pulled his pistol on him.
Fleming had held out his hand to help him up. Told him he was putting together a unit to undertake covert infiltrations into enemy territory by land, sea or air, in order capture much needed intelligence, in the form of codes, documents, equipment or enemy personnel. He would shit, piss, and fornicate with his new unit, did he want some of that. Decker did, and so here he was.
His thoughts returned to the present, and listening to the card game.
“I heard there’s a lot of Nazi gold hidden in this valley,” Cole said.
“Oh yeah, where’d you hear that?” Genaro laid down his cards and whooped as he took some more pay from the mooks he was scamming.
“Oh man, that’s me out,” Cole threw down his cards his lips curled back in disgust. “Heard some of the brass talking earlier.”
“You hear too much. Cole, sometimes it’s best to keep your mouth shut,” Decker said, his eyes still shut.
Before Cole could protest, their company commander, Captain Hardesty strode in.
“On yer feet men, I need you for a mission.”
They all jumped to attention. Decker felt a rush of adrenaline, but also a little disappointment at the interruption to his shut-eye.
“Grab your weapons, and follow me.”
Hardesty went outside to wait for them.
Decker grabbed his Thompson, and helmet. The others scrambled for their weapons before following Decker and Hardesty outside.
He pulled out a cigarillo from the battered pack in his top pocket, and struck a match on the wall of the building nearby. Applying it to the cigarillo, he watched Hardesty conferring with two infantrymen. Decker noticed a man in the uniform of an SS-Obersturmbannführer sat in the jeep parked behind them. He was secured with handcuffs, and looked as though someone had given him a good going over.
Hardesty nodded to the men then came over to speak to Decker.
“It appears a small group of officers, and some scientists have taken refuge in one of the mining complexes they did not manage to blast upon their retreat. I want you men to go in and flush them out before they destroy anything else.”
“Only the seven of us, sir?”
“The Oberst there says they are not heavily armed, everyone else is tied up with other duties for now, head on down see if you can find them, I’ll send some others down as soon as I can free up some bodies.”
Hardesty pointed up the valley. “I’ve put two men at the entrance, head up there, they’ll give you a radio.”
Without another word, he walked over to the jeep and climbed in alongside th infantrymen. The jeep reversed then headed away.
“Another bullshit duty, “Cole griped.
“Quit yer moaning, let’s get this done then you can get back to losing money”
Some twenty five tunnel entrances were bored into the hillside overlooking the valley. Evidence of vast construction activity lay all around. Some of the entrances had been blasted shut, the ones that were intact now had infantrymen on permanent guard duty outside, their weapons trained into the tunnels.
As they approached, a guard waved them over. Decker and his men jogged up the side of a train track embankment then up to the tunnel.
A metal canopy had been built above the tunnel entrance, possibly the beginning of some kind of camouflage system.
“Just the seven of you?” He asked, as a greeting.
“Fraid so,” Decker answered.
“How many’s supposed to be down there?” Cole asked.
“About twenty two, officers, scientists and a couple of Waffen bodyguards.”
“But there maybe more, right?” Decker threw down his cigarillo, crunching it out under his boot.
The guard shrugged.
Cole took the radio off the other guard, and strapped it to his back.
“C’mon then, let’s do this.”
Decker strode towards the tunnel. The first few feet had been dug out of solid rock, stretching into semi darkness, the way lit by weak lights every few feet. The hairs on the back of Decker’s neck stood to attention. He knew this was a shit detail, also, he had a fear of confined spaces, after falling into a sinkhole when he was a kid. The land around the farm he had grown up on in Alabama was riddled with tunnels from a nearby mine, he had been out wandering the fields with his dog, Skip, when the ground beneath his feet had opened up, swallowing him and his dog. Despite his screams, he was not discovered until the next day.
He felt a cold sweat break out all over his skin. A hand on his shoulder broke the spell. He turned to see Genaro.
“You okay, Sarge?”
“Yeah, let’s do this, eh.”
Gripping his Thompson, and taking a deep breath, he stepped into the cool air of the tunnel.
Keep it together, Decker thought.
Not wanting to appear weak in front of the others. He took point. They walked in single file through the ruff cut tunnel. No on spoke, only the noise of their breathing came back at them from the tunnel walls.
Decker felt the whole weight of the earth and rocks above him.
A series of twists and turns brought them to a concrete wall, with a closed metal hatch door set in the center. Decker held up his hand.
“Stay where you are, they could have booby trapped the door.”
Decker put his hand on the central locking wheel but stood to one side of the door. He looked to the others, signalling them to hit the deck against the wall of the tunnel.
He had seen it before, where doors or vehicles had been turned into bombs. The thought made his hand sweat. He rubbed his hand on his jacket before placing it back on the wheel. Giving it a hard twist, he threw himself away and against the wall. Nothing happened. He turned back to the door, and pulled it open. Machine gun fire erupted from the open door. Bullets, spanged off the walls, and caromed around the tunnel.
Genaro and Cole returned fire.
Decker pulled a grenade from his utility pouch, pulled the pin, and then tossed it through the door. The explosion when it came was loud. He felt his ears pop. He jumped in front of the door and fired from the hip. There was no need though, he saw the German soldier who had been operating the Spandau machine gun, slumped over the sandbag emplacement, blood pouring from his head.
Decker stepped through the hatch, weapon at the ready. He moved to one side of the door as the others followed. The interior here was different. The walls were constructed of reinforced concrete. A well-lit corridor extended before them, four doorways on either side leading off to who knew what. They could also hear a faint whining noise coming from beneath their feet.
Before moving off, they checked the rooms leading off the corridor. Finding nothing but desks and scattered paperwork, they headed deeper into the complex. The noise became louder as they descended deep underground, along a series of switchback corridors. Each one is leading to workshops or storerooms. The workshops were full of strange equipment the likes of which they had never seen before.
“This is a wild goose chase, sarge, the krauts probably long gone by now,” Genaro said, his face etched with the tension they all felt. The strange noise was now ear splittingly loud.
They had come to a larger hatch door set in a grey wall of the now familiar block building work. A Swastika was emblazoned above the door.
Decker was about to answer when the hatch burst open, a man in a white coat stumbled out. His face was red. Blood poured from his ears and eyes.
“Die Glocke läutet, Die Glocke läutet, Kammler ist verrückt!”
The man screamed before collapsing, his body wracked by some kind of fit.
They all froze except for one of the men who made to move towards the man.
“Don’t touch him. We don’t know what they’ve been doing down here,” Decker said, “Anybody understand what he was saying.”
“Something about a bell ringing, and someone called Kammler being crazy,” Genaro supplied.
They all looked straight at him as if he had been the one raving.
“What! What? I had a German friend before the war, taught me a few words, education guys, you should try it sometime.”
They moved around the now still figure. Edging towards the door. The noise now was deafening. A reddish purple light glowed beyond the door.
Decker stepped through followed by Genaro, Cole and the other men.
The sight, which greeted them, was the strangest any of them had seen before.
Beyond any experience.
They stood in a vast cavern, taller than a cathedral, and wider than two football fields. Around the edges sat various pieces of electronic equipment, the purpose unknown to Decker or the others. The bodies of many dead scientists lay on the floor of the cavern. They had all been shot.
The strangest sight was located in the middle of the cavern. A massive circular structure, 30 meters wide and 10 high. With its 12-meter-thick columns and horizontal beams. The structure was part-reminiscent of some ritual pagan edifice, reminding Decker of the concrete base of a cooling tower, only bigger. Attached by thick, heavy looking chains to the concrete columns, but floating in the air was a device which looked like a huge bell. By Decker’s estimation, it was about fifteen feet tall, and ten feet wide. The base of the bell was furiously spinning anticlockwise. Electricity arched from the top of the device. The bell was throwing off a reddish purple glow, enveloped in this glow were the men they had come to find. Twenty-five men stood beneath the bell. Some in uniform others in scientific smocks; the glow bathed the group of men.
The noise was now climbing up the scale, becoming unbearable. Decker dropped to his knees. The others followed. He felt a popping in his ears, felt warm wetness run down his neck.His skin tingled and itched as if he was covered with ants crawling all over him. As he watched, the bell began to lower onto the group. One of the men, in the uniform of an officer, smiled at him and raised his right hand in a Sieg Heil gesture. The bell covered them all. Suddenly a bright flash exploded from the bell shaped device, which spread out-wards. Where it touched Decker, it burned like nothing he had ever felt, he had a fleeting image of being back on the farm, running with Skip, and then nothing.
DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
CLASSIFICATION: TOP SECRET/EYES ONLY
AUTHOR: WEBB, CHARLOTTE (D-6)
SUBJECT: GEHEIME STAAT
INCIDENT 1: 9/9ATTACK ON A MARINE BASE
Helmand Province, Afghanistan
In the early hours of December 12, a large and heavily armed force of over one hundred men attacked a remote United States Marine Corps staging and supply base in southern Afghanistan.
The force attacked with precision, skill and overwhelming violence, killing all of the twenty-two engineers and maintenance staff stationed at the isolated base.
The attackers’ objective, it seems, was not the murder of US service personnel. They were after the aircraft kept at the base.
The attackers took 8 Black Hawk attack helicopters plus 8 Marine Corps V-22 Osprey ‘Warbird’ gunships
INCIDENT 2: 10/10
THE THEFT OF THE ‘Kruzenshtern ’
One month and one day later, on October 10, a Russian cargo freighter, the Kruzenshtern , was seized by persons unknown, off the west coast of Africa.
According to its cargo manifest, the ship was carrying timber, fuel and building supplies destined for Zimbabwe and its seizure was initially believed to be the work of West African pirates. But then the Russians sent half of their Atlantic fleet to find the ship.
Our investigations have revealed that the Kruzenshtern was actually carrying a large weapons shipment intended for sale to three embargoed African regimes. Its cargo was:
* 310 AK-47 ASSAULT RIFLES;
* 4.5 million rounds of 7.62mm AMMUNITION for those rifles;
* 90 RPG-7 GRENADE LAUNCHERS;
* 9 STRELA-1 ANTI-AIRCRAFT VEHICLES, each equipped with four 9M31 surface-to-air missiles;
* 12 ZALA-421-08 unmanned aerial surveillance DRONES;
* 18 machine-gun-mounted JEEPS;
The freighter was manned by a ten-man squad of Spetsnaz special forces troops.
This last fact makes it extremely unlikely that the Kruzenshtern was taken by African pirates. African pirates are usually poor fishermen who attack commercial vessels for the purpose of securing ransoms; at the first sign of any military presence on a ship they invariably flee.
On the contrary, the force of men that took the Kruzenshtern knew exactly what was on it and was skilled enough to defeat a team of crack Russian paratroopers to get it.
INCIDENT 3: 11/11
THE TORTURE OF AN AMERICAN OFFICIAL
Washington, D.C., USA
Shortly after midnight on March 3, a small group of unidentified men raided the Georgetown home of the former US Secretary of Defense, killed his two bodyguards, and kidnapped the ageing Secretary.
The secretary was found - alive - by two early-morning hikers in Rock Creek Park, bound to a torture device. He had been waterboarded. During his subsequent debriefing, the Secretary exhibited symptoms of severe shock. He continually shouted Geheime Staat
INCIDENT 4: 12/12
Soon after midnight on January 1, a temporary UN prison camp in the Darfur region of Sudan was raided by a force of armed and masked men.
102 prisoners variously described as ‘revolutionary fighters’, Islamic militants from several African nations, and narco-mercenaries’of German origin were freed from the prison and spirited away. All but two of the camp’s UN guards were killed.
The two surviving guards reported that the raiding force used a variety of Russian-made assault weapons and two American Cobra attack helicopters. The raiders departed with their large number of escapees in two V-22 Osprey gunships with US Marine Corps markings.
Before they left, they spray-painted a message on one of the prison walls: ‘Geheime Staat JUST GOT STRONGER ...’
INCIDENT 3: 11/11
A ROBBERY OVER GREECE
In the early hours of November 11, an unmarked German Gulfstream jet carrying nine billion euros from Germany to Greece disappeared from the skies above northern Greece.
The plane’s cargo of hard currency was intended for use in the latest stage of Greece’s financial bailout.
The wreckage of the plane was found the following morning. One crew member was missing. The other three had all been shot in the head at close range. The money was gone.
The incidents outlined above describe in somewhat grim detail the rise of a new non-state entity calling itself the Geheime Staat
Where it is based and who comprises it is not known.
What is known is this: it is a force of militarily-trained individuals that over the last seven months has obtained for itself a considerable supply of weapons, finance and manpower.
It does not, as yet, show any religious or cultural motivations for its aggressive acts. We do not yet know what is driving this rogue ‘Army’.
Nevertheless, it wants us to notice it.
It has carried out one operation a month, every month, for the last seven months, in accordance with a pattern where the number of the day and the month are the same. Clearly, it wants us to see this pattern, and we should be aware of it, because tomorrow is April 4...
A WAREHOUSE ON THE BANKS OF THE THAMES, LONDON, PRESENT DAY
The roller shutter doors to the warehouse ascended to allow admittance to the dark coloured Ford Transit van. Once it had vanished into the murky depths of the building, a man cradling an AK-47 stepped out and lit up a cigarette.
"I have eyes on one x-ray," Adam Bane said into his throat microphone. "He is armed, and standing by the main entrance to the warehouse."
"Have that." Came back the reply from the SAS Op room.
Bane scanned his binoculars to the left, a red Mercedes was driving into the warehouse compound.
"Target is now on the plot," he relayed.
“Have that, all teams go amber.”
The smoker quickly put out his cigarette, and signalled to someone out of sight. Two stocky shaven headed men emerged from the warehouse, one held a pistol, the other was unarmed. He relayed the information.
The driver of the Merc climbed out, and opened the rear nearside passenger door. Henry Mueller, the primary target exited the vehicle.
Mueller was a fixer, a shadowy figure who served as a go between for various terrorist organisations. He had appeared on MI5's radar about two years ago when he negotiated the purchase of Sarin for Al Queda. They had managed to intercept the shipment, but Mueller had eluded them.
The shipment he was involved with now was Eastern Bloc uranium. Though associated with the chaos of the immediate years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, reports of nuclear smuggling in the former Eastern bloc continue to this day, and Bane knew they were non less ominous for the number of false alarms that were raised from time to time.
There was no information on who he was working for, but the purchase was being made from a Moldovan criminal gang, although no one had any information on why the deal was happening on sovereign soil.
The Moldovan authorities had passed on the information to Interpol who in turn passed it to MI5. The suspects, who included four Moldovans, one Russian and one resident of the Russian-backed separatist region of Transnistria in eastern Moldova had been in contact with Mueller.
Bane watched the driver remove a metallic suitcase from the boot, while the unarmed man patted Mueller down. He took the case, and all three went into the warehouse. Cigarette man followed behind, closing the doors after him.
"All x-rays inside target building, go, go, go!"
Several things happened all at once. An armoured Range Rover crashed through the compound fence. Four black clad trooper’s abseiled down from the roof of the warehouse where they had earlier secreted themselves. They crashed through the windows. Percussive whumps of flash bangs inside the building followed this.
Eight troopers exited the vehicle and headed for the doors, which had begun to open. Cigarette man appeared, and was cut down in a hail of bullets as he raised his weapon.
Bane threw down his binoculars, drew his Glock, and headed out of the flat, which was overlooking the compound on the banks of the Thames River.
He had volunteered to be on over-watch of the compound because Mueller had become a cause celebre for Bane, he had been involved in the original operation with the Sarin, and had taken it personal that the man had escaped capture. This time around, he wanted to be in on the kill so to speak.
Bane reached the compound as the final gunshot echoed out of the warehouse.
He holstered his weapon as he walked around the Range Rover. An SAS trooper was walking out of the interior. He removed his gas mask as he approached Bane.
"All targets are down," he shook his head, "Not by our hand either."
"What do you mean?"
"They all shot themselves."
"Yup, him too, all before the guys hit the deck, one made for the van, he was the only one we took out inside the warehouse."
Bane was having trouble processing this information, these men were as tough as they come, ex Spetznaz or FSB to a man, yet they chose suicide over capture.
"Have your men secure the perimeter."
The man nodded, and called the others out.
Bane walked into the warehouse. The stench of death filled the air, he learned long ago death smelled of copper and cordite, in his line of work, this scene was no different. He moved carefully to avoid the rapidly spreading lakes of red. The van was parked in the centre of the darkened warehouse; the only light was the bars streaming through the smashed or murky windows.
He looked down at Mueller, half his face had been blown off, this made no sense at all, and in all his experience, he had known nothing like it. Bane made his way over to the van, and tried the handle on the rear doors. They opened easily. Inside he saw a medium sized wooden crate. Stencilled on the side facing him was the eagle and swastika symbol of the Nazi's. Bane frowned, the box was too small to contain the amount of uranium they had been told about, and he certainly would not expect to see a Nazi symbol on it.
After handing over to the on scene science officer, Bane returned to Thames House on the north bank of the river. He had a lot to consider regarding the ending of the mission, which had left many unanswered questions. He would have to have answers for his boss as well. Sir Alec Walton, a former Colonel in Chief of the Special Air Service, and as hard nosed an operator as Bane had ever known. Not a man to suffer fools gladly or missions gone sour.
Taking a deep breath, he knocked on Sir Alec's oak panelled office door.
"Come in," came the scratchy voiced reply.
Bane pushed the door open and entered the richly carpeted office. Sir Alec sat behind his desk, which was an exact copy of the Resolute desk which sometimes sat in the Oval office at the Whitehouse, a gift from Queen Victoria to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880 and was built from the timbers of the British Arctic Exploration ship Resolute, hence the name.
On the wall behind Sir Alec, hung pictures of the Queen, and the present prime minister, David Llewellyn. Bane noticed his boss was not alone; a whipcord lean man in his late fifties sat in one of the two chairs in front of the desk.
"Have a seat Adam."
Bane sat down in the other chair.
"So, the job did not go plan," Sir Alec leaned his elbows on the desk and steepled his fingers.
"No, not exactly, we did retrieve the shipment though."
"A very unusual situation all round, I've just been informed the shipment was not uranium either, it was something called Xerum 525, otherwise known as red mercury."
"Red mercury, isn’t that just an urban legend?"
"I'm not a physicist, so I could not say, but this gentleman may be able to shed some light on the matter. Adam Bane meet Colonel Brice Montague, C in C of Omega."
The man leaned over and shook Bane's hand.
"Good to meet you, Adam," he had a southern American drawl to his accent.
"Omega, I've never heard of it."
"Good, then we are doing our job correctly, we are a deeper than deep black ops outfit, we manage, er...Unusual situations, a small but very elite group of operators drawn from the ranks of the US and world military and now recently given special autonomy to defend the entire world—from threats that were beyond the comprehension of traditional military forces.We are not under the flag of any one nation, a multi national group, we go anywhere we are needed."
"How does this concern me, and this Xerum 525," Bane had a feeling he was not going to like the answer.
Sir Alec answered for the colonel, "They've just lost their British security asset, so I am putting you on secondment to Omega, Colonel Montague viewed a few personnel files, and picked you, your involvement with the red mercury shipment was an added bonus."
"But what about all my other jobs? I still have several on-going."
"Chris Deakin can take them over; you'll need to brief him before you leave of course."
Bane did not like this one bit, but he knew he had no choice, what Sir Alec said was then written in stone, still he loved a challenge, and he had a feeling this was going to turn out to be the biggest challenge of his life.
Montague handed Bane a file, which he had drawn from the briefcase by the side of his chair.
"We have two missing scientists to locate. Their field of expertise is anti-gravity and boosted fission weapons. The feeling is that somebody somewhere is building a mother of all bombs, that's why the need for the red mercury, I'm told it's a super-conductive material used for producing high-precision conventional and nuclear bomb explosives. There is a ticket in the file which will get you to Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport, you'll be taken to our head quarters from there, you’ll report to Commander Morgan, the file contains all the Intel you need on our current mission, and your expected role within. Anything else, Morgan will fill you in."
Montague stood up.
"I'll bid you good day gentlemen, and I will see you in a week Adam."
With that, he left the office.
APRIL 4th BACK GATE SECURITY SHACK, AREA 51
Beyond the Jumbled Hills, in the wide Emigrant Valley of southern Nevada, bracketed by the Timpahute and Pahranagat ranges, lies Groom Lake. One of many dry lakes that dot the desert reaches of Nevada and California. An expanse of white, hard alkaline soil—caliche soil. Rocky Mountain sheep and wild burros often wander onto its surface. Relentless winds lift small pebbles and drive them across the surface. Once or twice a year, a couple of inches of rain leave a thin liquid layer, a mock lake, shimmering and wavy, whose evaporation rapidly smooths it to a high polish. The land sat like this for centuries before the asphalt and metal buildings, the wooden barracks and hangars, arrived, turning it into Shangri-la, the Forbidden Temple of black, or secret, technologies.
Groom Lake is set inside 4,742 square miles of restricted airspace, and nearly four million acres of bomb range—a space as big as a Benelux nation. It would come to be called by many names: Groom Lake, Watertown, Paradise Ranch, Home Base, Area 51. But the name for the airspace above the lake and the secret test facility and base that would grow there was, irresistibly, “Dreamland.” It was this airspace that made it special, the airspace where strange craft appeared and disappeared like whims and suspicions, where speculations like airships glowed and hovered, then zipped off into the distance.
High above the road leading to this forbidden place of legends an eagle cut a circle into the bruised and troubled sky, high above Tikaboo Valley, a hunter, seeking it’s prey below, on the sun scorched verge of the Intersection of 375, or the Extraterrestrial Highway, as it had been dubbed by Nevada State legislature, and Back Gate Road. Here, Tikaboo Valley, 25 miles wide and six times as long, as lonely a place as could be found on the planet, stretched into the distance till it merged with the horizon. It was Tikaboo Valley that connected the outside world to Area 51, or to those who are in the know, those who work there, it is simply known as The Complex, or sometimes, The Ranch, hidden as it was by the jagged peaks and ridges of the Groom Range and the Jumbled Hills. A place where death and life met beneath a sun bleached sky in a battle for supremacy. Tikaboo Valley, where bodies and secrets were buried in spades.
The bird wheeled and circled before diving towards what ever it was hunting. Karl Smith watched and silently cheered the creature on. He watched until the eagle reappeared from behind a line of Joshua trees and headed off towards Coyote Summit.
This was going to be a day for hunters, he thought, as he entered the guard shack. Smith checked his watch, one hour to zero, he saw. He picked up his radio to check in with Central Security Control, which he had to do every hour on the hour. If he missed the check in even by a few seconds the armed response teams would descend on his location with all bells and whistles sounding.
“First base to dutch apples, receiving, over.”
“First base, go ahead.”
“I have a code-5, repeat, I have a code-5, requesting a pony 122,” Smith said into the handset using the codes for shots fired, and nearest response vehicle to attend.
“We are dealing with several Code-2’s First Base, but will free up a pony to attend your location.”
“First Base is 10-4.”
Smith grinned, of course you’re having Code-2’s you schmuck, he thought, we organised the party for you.
Smith had been employed by Wackenhut Security for over two years, he had to prove himself before being given the assignment here at the complex, better known as Area 51 by the crazies out in the world. Its official title was the Nevada Test and Training Range, approximately 100 miles north of Las Vegas, on the edge of the Mojave Desert, it sits inside the largest government-controlled land parcel in the United States. Encompassing 4,687 square miles, this area is just a little smaller than the state of Connecticut—three times the size of Rhode Island, and more than twice as big as Delaware, it was huge. On top of nearby Bald Mountain, elevation 9,380 feet, sat the radar site and observation post that gave security officers an unrestricted view of all traffic entering and transiting the area. It was the first of several security rings and sensor networks employed by the Air Force to ensure that nothing penetrated the discreet cordon sanitaire around the base. The others, if you were unlucky, could be a lot less passive, more in-the-face: the sworn-in deputies from "Pittman Station" who patrolled the valley looking for miscreants and who occasionally locked them up and were said to throw away the key;
Parts of the location were the most inhospitable on earth, the result of hundreds of nuclear bomb tests, both above and below ground leaving the land irradiated for thousands of years to come.
After fifteen months he was assigned here, he had to prove himself all over again, riding shotgun with a supervisor in one of the response team vehicles. If the supervisor decided he did not like him he would be ghosted from the job. Lucky for Smith, his super turned out to have been a Navy SEAL just like him, so they got on great guns.
Once approval was given he became a trusted employee, given more freedom about the base, or as much freedom as could be expected. Now he was assigned to gate duty, his real job could begin.
He took a piece of gum from the packet on his desk and stuffed it in his mouth, before taking the M16 from the grey cabinet at the rear of the shack.
Stepping outside, he looked around. There was no sign of the response team as yet. Heading to the rear of the shack and out of view of the cctv camera, he raised the weapon and fired. The camera exploded in a shower of sparks.
As the last broken parts landed on the ground, he heard the approach of the response teams white Jeep Cherokee, coming in from the direction of the Crescent Reservoir to the south east.
He leaned against the side of the shack, nonchalantly popping his gum, seconds later the Cherokee topped the rise beyond a cluster of storage sheds, dust disturbed by its passage made the vehicle look as if smoke was spewing from it’s rear.
The jeep pulled up in front of him. Mac Dowdle, his supervisor and a new probationer whose name Smith could not remember, climbed out. He smiled to himself as he noticed they had left their weapons inside the cab.
“What’s the problem, Karl?”
“No problem, everything be cool.”
He raised the M16 and shot Mac in the throat. His head was nearly decapitated as he was thrown back against the truck. The probie’s eyes went in to saucer mode. Before his reactions kicked in, Smith put a round in his chest then his head.
He turned away, pulling a cell phone from his pocket. He hit speed dial.
“Hunter König, Zeit zu kommen in die Partei eintreten, Heil Hitler.”
Bane used the week before his flight to tie up the loose ends of his life, he had no idea how long this secondment would last, but he figured long term rather than short. He didn’t have a partner, or siblings, and his parents were dead, so there would be no tearful goodbyes to contend with. Bane, in his mid thirties,was about five-ten, with a rugged creased face and black hair. He usually wore his hair cut short and his chin clean-shaven, but after seven weeks in the field chasing down leads on Mueller then following the shipment, his hair was longer and he had a healthy stubble around his jaw. Bane had striking blue eyes and would probably have been considered handsome were it not for the scar running from his hairline down to the right side of his mouth, giving him a perpetual half smile, a trophy from a previous mission that had gone bad. He spent a day briefing Deakin on his ongoing jobs, after he was up to speed he decided to head off to a pub run by a friend of his, Bob Jennings. Smileys was on Herrick Street opposite Millbank Gardens, he had recruited Bane straight from int and squint, other wise known as 14th Intelligence Company, the unit conducted undercover surveillance operations against suspected members of Irish republican and loyalist paramilitary groups, and Bane had been especially gifted in intelligence gathering, he had an unerring knack of seeing things as a cross between a jigsaw and a giant dot to dot puzzle, he never failed to complete the puzzle. He had joined the unit towards the end of the troubles, but still managed to shine within the company. Jennings approached him when he put in an application to take part in the SAS induction course, he persuaded Bane he would be better off crawling through the seedy world of spy vs spy, than mud and blood.
Jennings was retired now, but still kept his finger on the pulse of the intelligence world, he may have been in his seventies but his mind was as sharp as a newly forged Toledo blade. Bane wanted to know more about Omega, but did not want to go through official circles. Jennings was the best man to ask.
He pushed open the main door of Smileys to be greeted with the pungent aroma of spices and beer, the spices came from the afternoon lunches cooked up by his Gurkha chef, Tamang, the little man was a virtual wizard in the kitchen.
Jennings raised a hand in greeting when he saw Bane. The pub was busy as usual at this time of day. So he took a seat at the end of the bar to wait for Jennings to come over to him.
The pub was a regular stop off after work for many staff from Thames House. They felt comfortable with Jennings being one of their own. Bane nodded to a few familiar faces, and ordered a Whiskey Sour, his favourite tipple, from the young girl behind the bar. Jennings came over to him as she was handing him his change.
“Good afternoon, young Adam, what brings you in here so early in the day?”
“Thought I’d check on my old friend, see if he wanted a lift to the old peoples home.”
“Get away with you, I’m not even close to joining the shit in my bed brigade,” he laughed, and flicked the towel in his hand at Bane.
Jennings leaned across the bar, speaking in a low tone he said, “Word on the ticker tape is you are being shipped out to the Greeks.”
“You still don’t miss much, do you?” Bane laughed and took a sip of his drink.
“What do you know about them? I’ve never heard of them before.”
Jennings looked deep in thought for a moment, then came around the bar, and led Bane by the elbow to a booth in a quieter section of the pub.
“I know about Omega,” he said when they were seated, “Because my counsel was sort out when the company was in the planning stages.”
“Okay, tell me more.”
It came as no surprise to Bane, Jennings had been a global intelligence operator all his adult life, he began with the SOE, the Special Operations Executive, it was officially formed by Minister of Economic Warfare Hugh Dalton on 22 July 1940, to conduct espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance in occupied Europe against the Axis powers, and to aid local resistance movements. After it was dissolved officially on 15 January 1946, Jennings was taken into MI6’s fold where he spent many years butting heads with the Soviets during the cold war, before transferring over to MI5. Some said he was the inspiration for Flemings James Bond. A hard nosed operator whose knowledge of international affairs as pertaining to clandestine operations was incomparable.
“Omega was initially put together by a United Nations Security Council resolution, as an information gathering unit, primarily in the field of WMDs.”
“Why did they need extra information gatherers? They already have plenty of those.”
Jennings went on to provide an explanation.
The resolution was what is known as a closed door resolution, not needing the whole of the council present, Omega was going to be run along the lines of the SOE, which is why they needed Jennings input. It was the belief of Ban Ki Moon that his inspectors may have succumbed to bribes to doctor the information they gathered. Omega was to be the answer to that. They would gather their own information via clandestine means, and then sabotage what ever factories or labs they uncovered. All made to look like accidents of course.
Omega consisted of an investigation branch, a scientific branch, and a direct action branch. In their first operational year, they proved to be immensely successful. The problem was, if information about Omega were to become general knowledge, this would cause huge problems for Moon and the UN, their activities being illegal under the UN charter. Omega was cut loose, became autonomous. Still funded under the covers by the UN, and their base of operations moved to the most secret of locations in the western hemisphere, Area 51.
Omega was a multi-national unit from the beginning, all but the investigation and direct action operators were on temporary contracts, some did not know they were working for the unit, employed by shell companies whose ultimate management terminated at Omega.
“They are hidden so deep. They don’t even leave a paper trail.”
“No wonder I’ve never heard of them. ” Bane knocked back the last of his drink.
“I think you will fit in very neatly with their way of working, they certainly are unique.”
“Area 51, eh, I bet the yanks are loving that?”
“It was at their invitation that Omega station there, they’re not on the base proper, an old mine up in the Groom mountains overlooking the lake bed has been converted into their operations centre, that’s where you will be going.”
“Oh goody, does that mean I get to find out if they have aliens there?”
Jennings laughed, “I have no doubt you will learn many secrets, but I do not think little green men will be one of them.”
“Thanks for this little chat, Bob, you’ve told me more than what was in the file they gave me. One last thing, do you have any idea why someone would be trying to buy red mercury, specifically a type called Xerum 525, we just took down a shipment being purchased by a guy called Mueller.”
A shadow fell across Jennings face, and Bane wondered if he’d asked too much. His friend looked around as if someone may be listening to their conversation.
“Xerum 525 was created in the labs of a Dr Hans Kammler, an SS general who was responsible for the construction of the extermination camps, gas chambers, he was also head of construction for the V 2 rocket programme. 525 was allegedly the integral fuel for a German wunderwaffen, a wonder weapon, one that would make the bombs that were dropped on Japan look like fireworks. It’s all supposition of course. I did hear this Mueller has hooked up with some shadowy figures connected to something called Geheime Staat, or Secret State. ”
Bane sat back, and pondered on what Jennings had told him. The information opened up more questions, why would Mueller be chasing a shadow.
"Geheime Staat?” Bane said,“I’ve never heard of ‘em.”
“Like Xerum 525, they are also a supposition, some say they are the sons and daughters of the Third Reich’s top echelon of leaders, the babies taken away at birth to be brought up in the Nazi ideology, one thing is for sure, they have a lot of money behind them, where it comes from no one has been able to trace, you wont have heard of them before as they have only just come to the surface.”
Bane looked at his watch then stood up.
“Sorry, Bob, I have to go, lots to do before I leave.”
Jennings held out his hand. Bane shook it.
“Don’t leave it too long, you hear, I hope I cleared a few things up for you?”
Bane took a breath, and rubbed the back of his neck, “You’ve helped, but also given me a few more questions.”
He again shook Jennings hand, then walked out of the pub. It was a pleasant evening so he chose to walk home.
Bane’s head was swimming with the information his friend had imparted, so, Xerum 525 was some kind of fuel component for something termed a wonder weapon. That would gel with what Colonel Montague said about a moab, a mother of all bombs. Still, it all seemed a little far fetched to Bane, his knowledge on German tech during the war was sketchy at best though. Hopefully more information would be available to him when he reached Omega’s headquarters. The file Montague had given him only contained back ground information about the two scientists, and a little about their disappearance, nothing on anything else.
He was so deep in thought he did not see the hooded figure step out of the entrance to Millbank Park.
Bane saw the man was holding up a cigarette. His brain registered the fact he had asked in German, his senses picked up on the flash of the blade as it came up towards his stomach.
Trotsky put on a burst of speed, his leather shod feet pounding the sand and shale beneath him, his heart beating hard against his rib cage, and his breath coming fast. When he rounded the bend in the canyon, he could see the road leading to Groom Lake Road security checkpoint. A feeling of relief washed over him, his run had been particularly difficult today, and the heat coupled with the extra weight he had added to his rucksack had made it particularly gruelling. He was looking forward to reaching the shack and sharing a glass of cold orange squash with Gary Brook, the guard on duty. He liked Gary, a fitness fanatic like himself, when not operational he made the five mile run every day, then would chat for an hour or two with the guard before heading back to Omega Command in the old Silverstein Mine buried deep under the Groom Mountains.
He bursts out onto the hard packed road, as two gunshots from an automatic weapon bounced off the rock walls ahead. He reacted instinctively, diving to the cover of a large boulder. He landed on his back, the bricks digging into his flesh. He stifled a cry.
Now the sound of gunshots was common around Dreamland, as he preferred to call the area, it was the fact that the report was that of an AK-47, which sent him diving to the dirt. The snapshot scene he had of the guard shack was a 4x4 with tinted windows, and a man in desert camouflage clothes standing next to the vehicle aiming at the now deceased guard sprawled on the dusty track behind the red and white barrier.
He quickly shook off his rucksack and drew his Glock 17 from the holster under his tracksuit top. Risking a quick look, he saw there were currently two men standing next to the vehicle, one was on a mobile phone; the other was dragging the body of the guard to a ditch opposite the shack. Neither was looking his way. He took off at a run to the next bit of cover, another set of boulders. He made the cover as the man on the phone turned in his direction.
Trotsky was close enough to hear them now; the two men were speaking in German.
What the fuck, he thought.
“How long until the bus gets here?” One said, switching to English.
“Yeah, be here in ten minutes.”
“Good, they will not know what has hit them. Heil Hitler!”
This was not good; an armed incursion into Area 51, by men who spoke German, and used the term Heil Hitler, part of Trotsky admired the sheer balls of these men and by the sound of it, more big-balled men were on the way.
He knew when to pick a fight, and when to run away. Trotsky, real name Levi Davidovich Bronstein, was a former member of the Mossad, and before that Israel’s elite Sayerat Matkal, modelled on the British Special Air Service; even down to having the same motto, 'who dares wins’. Two years ago, he had been put on indefinite secondment to Omega, an expert marksman, and a demolition expert, when he joined the outfit he felt like he had come home. And home was where he needed to be now. He knew he could take the two gunmen but there was nothing he could do about the bus load of bad guys who were on the way.
He made to move quietly away, when out of the shadows of the rock wall, a rattlesnake shot out at him. Trotsky was like Indiana Jones in the fact that he detested snakes in the worse way. A scream escaped his throat and he threw himself backwards away from the snake and onto the track.
Shots rang out, kicking up dirt next to his head.
He rolled away. Coming to his feet, he returned fire. One of the men was knocked back, a hand clutching his shoulder.
The man swore at Trotsky in German. He suddenly felt mischievous.
“Eine Juden, you mother fuckers!” He yelled, while doing a little dance, and holding up the Star of David, he had hanging from a chain round his neck.
He fired again; making the men dive for the cover of their vehicle, before taking off at a zig zagged run back in to the canyon. He had about five miles to run, and he wished he had brought a radio with him now, or his cell phone. Still, without the weight of the rucksack he was soon flying, jumping rocks, and crevices.
Morgan would want to know about this, he thought, if they take the base they would have access to some scary shit, and no one would be able to take it back. He hoped the additional layer of security would be up to the job of stopping them. The defences the base possessed were incomparable with anything on the planet. A nice welcome the English man was going to receive.
Morgan was feeling irritated. He had another two hours to go until he handed over to Trotsky. He wanted to be away. Michelle was about to go into labour any day, and he wanted to be by her side. His real name was Terry Drake, but like all operatives in Omega Group, he was given the code name Morgan. He was the Chief operator of Omega’s Direct Action Force, a former Captain from Marine Force Recon, one of the United States Marine Corps's special operations capable forces (SOC) that provide essential elements of military intelligence to the command element of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF); supporting their task force commanders, and their subordinate operating units of the Fleet Marine Force (FMF). He had been with Omega for four years, and its DA Chief for one.
The operating remit had changed somewhat since its inauguration, but it did not matter a jot to Morgan, a bad guy was a bad guy, whatever the colour of the flag they sailed under.
At the age of forty he was the oldest of the men on his team, but was still as fit as any of them, and the one with the most battle scars, some visible some not so. Morgan was a brilliant tactician, probably the best on the team, which was the underlying reason he was given the job above Conda, his only opposition in the running for the job.
The Hub had to be manned 24/7, and all operators had to take their turn. Only one operation was taking precedence. The search for whoever was trying to purchase Xerum 525, and trying to locate the two missing physicists. The capture in London had been a very good one, but with no one to question, they had hit a dead end. Omega investigators were out in the world though making discreet enquiries, hopefully they may come up with a new angle, this Bane who was about to join them came with an excellent reputation as a hard nosed investigator, also he had combat experience so that was a plus.
He had just shut the file on the MI5 operative, when Trotsky almost fell through the hermetically sealed door to the control hub. Morgan got up from his desk and walked out of his office cubicle into the hub proper, he reckoned who ever designed their operation centre must have been a Star trek fan, as it looked like the deck of the infamous ship ala Pickard times.
“You’re back early, Trot, Gary run out of squash?”
“Boss, we got a big problem, well maybe,” he gasped between breaths. He was bent over, hands on his knees. Morgan thought he must have really pushed himself this morning. He became attentive though. Trotsky was not one normally to panic.
“A couple of sauerkraut eating mother fuckers just took out Garry, and there’s a bus load of others on the way, looks like an armed incursion into Area 51 is about to take place.”
Morgan smiled at the look on Trotsky’s face.
“Relax, they won’t succeed, you know security is quad ringing the area, they may have got past the gates but they’ll be stopped before they reach the Ranch. Striker Force will take them down.”
Morgan knew Striker was comprised of elite operators, veterans to a man. They were a part of the inner rings of security infrastructure surrounding the Groom Lake complex. If you were to look at a top down image of the complex, and highlight the outer security infrastructure, you would see a series of concentric rings. These were divided into quadrants, the outer rings were the electronic sensors and Wackenhut security teams who now have started to refer to themselves as camo-dudes, the term pinned on them by the UFO watchers who stalk the area in the hope of seeing little green men. If someone managed to get past them, they would then face the striker teams, squads of twenty per quadrant, backed up by Black-Hawk choppers, and these shots first and asked no questions. More striker teams who patrolled the complex itself covered the innermost rings, also there were numerous electronic, and chemical deterrents the like of which Morgan was not sure of.
“Let’s take a look see at their security in action,” Morgan said.
He walked over to what he had termed the captains chair, from here, he could operate the numerous video screens, and access the hubs powerful computer. He freed the control terminal from the arm of the chair, with a whir of hydraulics the screen positioned itself in front of his face. The keyboard extended to an ergonomic position in front of him.
A few deft clicks brought the big wall screens to life, he tapped a few more keys, and they were into the Groom complex external security cameras, piggy backing without leaving a traceable signature.
Trotsky sat at the computer array in front of the captain’s chair.
“I managed to wing one of the fuckers before I bugged out,” he said.
“Score one point to the home team then,” Morgan said as his fingers danced over the keys.
The main screen melted into sections showing images of all the security cameras on the Extraterrestrial Highway side of the complex.
“Back gate cam is out,” Morgan noted.
He zoomed in to the Groom Road security cam, and expanded the image on the big screen. A large white bus was passing through the now raised barrier, exactly the same model as the ones used to ferry workers back and forth from the complex. The only difference with this bus was the line of small parabolic dishes along the roof of the bus. Morgan shifted through the other gate cams; they saw similar busses passing through the other gates. Only the others had a convoy of four busses at each gate; all fixed with the same dishes.
Trotsky activated the hubs radar screen.
“I have four bogie's holding position at all points five miles outside the restriction box,” he reported.
Morgan’s hairs stood up on the back of his neck as he realised the significance of the dishes.
“The busses have EMF transmitters fitted.”
“I noticed that, I have a bad feeling, boss.”
“Me too, let’s see if I can get eyes on the bogie's.”
His fingers danced across the keyboard again.
One of the mini pictures expanded to show an area beyond the Timpahute Mountain Range, East of Rachel. They could see two V-22 Ospreys and two AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters holding formation near Penoyer Springs. The Ospreys were, quite simply, aerial beasts. With tiltable rotors, they were capable of both swift aeroplane-like flight and helicopter-like hovering. And these Ospreys were the variant known as the ‘Warbird’: they were armed to the teeth. They each had not one but two 20mm six-barrelled M61 Vulcan cannons, door-mounted .50 calibre AN/M2 machine guns, and missile pods slung under both wings. The Warbird was the mother of all gunships—big and strong, yet also fast and manoeuvrable—The two Cobras weren’t shy either: they carried slightly smaller M134 six-barrelled miniguns underneath their sharply-pointed noses. Morgan replaced this image with the one of the bus on Groom Lake Road. As they watched, the bus jolted to a stop. Several armed figures seemed to materialise from the landscape to surround it. This was Striker Force. Morgan zoomed in. The figures, in desert camouflage, approached the Bus. They looked on in horror as the men of Striker Force dropped their weapons, and clutched their heads, dropping to their knees. The windows on the bus opened. Striker Force was cut down in a hail of automatic gunfire.
“Trotsky, contact Penn station, I think we have a major shit storm about to go down.” Morgan whispered, giving the code name for Edwards Air Force base. He had the sinking feeling that it would be awhile until he saw his wife again.
Bane sensed the blade, and reacted out of instinct born out of the thousands of hours he spent with his unarmed combat instructors. Unlike many of his fellow agents who put their faith in a gun, he believed there would always come a time when the gun would let you down from jamming or some other reason. So he had immersed himself in the knowledge of all his instructors. He dodged back, and to the side. The hooded figure stumbled forward under the force of his own momentum. Bane hit the side of the man's head with an open palm before planting a stamping kick into his rib cage. The man grunted. Flying back, he crashed against the metal railings surrounding the park. He was tough, recovering quickly. The man drew a Browning pistol from under his hooded top. Bane went for his own, realising too late he was not carrying. Time seemed to slow down as the assassin’s gun arm rose for the killing shot.
The assassin was thrown back with the force of the bullets striking him in the chest and face.
Bane spun in a crouch to see a dark coloured Saab pull up at the kerb. A grinning face at the end of the gun arm poked out of the passenger window.
“Hurry, get in,” the man said.
He was a big bear of a man with skin as dark as a moonless night. His accent tinged with a South African twang. Before Bane could react, the squeal of tires signalled the arrival of another car, a Ford, at the end of the street. The man pushed open the rear passenger door, and Bane dived inside. The driver, a thin man with a Clark Gable moustache expertly threw the car into reverse. The other car was nearly upon them. They reversed at speed along Herrick Street. The other car almost bumper to bumper.
“Welcome to Omega, Adam,” the man fired at the pursuing car, “You can call me Conda, this here is Gladius.”
The newly introduced Gladius threw a 360 manoeuvre. They were now facing the right way.
“What the fucks going on? ” Bane yelled over the noise of the cars engine.
“The SAS team who partnered you on the op have been taken out on their way back to Hereford, the science lab where the 525 was taken to, was broken into, the stuffs been taken, we figured you’d be next on the list, so we came to give you a hand.”
Bane was shocked at this news, who ever these people were they were good, and must have had eyes on the plot to locate all involved in the take down.
They had travelled for several streets, and the car was still hanging on like a limpet. Luckily, traffic was light now but the direction Gladius was travelling would take them to the heart of London, which would then be a problem.
Bane gave directions, which would carry them away from heavy traffic and take them back towards the docklands.
They swerved around a corner into Fynes Street, travelling at nearly fifty miles an hour. The far end blocked by a Black cab and a delivery van that appeared to have crashed; the two drivers were out in the street arguing.
“Fuck this, hold on boys.”
Gladius slammed on the brakes before putting the Saab into reverse. They flew back, smashing into the Ford as it appeared around the corner. Bane was thrown to one side by the impact. Conda leaned out of the window and got off a couple of shots. Gladius shifted into first and they shot forward. Bane heard glass smashing as Conda’s bullets found a target. He sat up. Gladius threw him a Glock 17.
“Make yourself useful, spy boy.”
Bane turned to fire out of the rear window, which had been destroyed at some point. He had only seconds to register the missile flying from the hand held rocket launcher on the shoulder of the man who had got out of the vehicle.
“Mother fucker! ” Trotsky said as he slammed down the phone. Morgan had only been half-aware of the heated conversation between Trotsky and Penn Station, as he had been focussed on the events unfolding before him. The buses had cut through the inner security rings like a laser through sheets of paper. Each Striker team had been slaughtered with clinical efficiency.
“They said they had never heard of Omega, there was no base out at Groom Lake, and if I didn’t get off the line they would trace my number and have me locked up, I even gave our rec code.”
Trotsky went over to the water tank and filled a cup, almost downing it in one long swallow.
Morgan blew out a long breath then activated his coms, dialled into the main telephone system before keying the direct number for Colonel Jim Drake.
After a couple of rings, a gruff sounding voice picked up at the other end.
“Colonel, this is Morgan, rec code Alpha Omega 123/344A, I have a black situation here.”
There was a pause at the other end. He heard the colonel ushering someone out of his office.
“Morgan, how the hell are yah? What’s going down?”
“It’s bad, Jim, the Complex, incursion by an unknown force, with precision, skill and overwhelming violence, strength unknown, automatic weapons, and sonic weapons seen in play. I’m sending you the cctv feed we got from here ” Morgan’s fingers were a blur over the keyboard.
“I’ll get back to you.”
The line went dead.
“That’s how you do it, you rang the main office didn't cha?”
He sat back down, “They’re fucking morons.”
“You better send out the recall, I want every available man back here like yesterday. Also work up some facial recognition when these mothers finally show their faces.”
Trotsky turned back to the console in front of him, and went to work.
Bane had less than a second to respond. Calling out a warning, he opened the car door next to him and threw himself out, rolling as he hit the road. He did not see the missile hit but heard the explosion, and felt the heat from the fireball that engulfed the car.
Flaming debris clattered down all around him. He pushed himself to his feet. Unconsciously he had retained his hold on the Glock, which he now raised and aimed through the smoke that shrouded him.
For a second a gap appeared, he saw the missile man about to climb into his car. They must not have seen him dive out of the vehicle. He pulled the trigger. The man was knocked forward. Blood spurting from his mouth.
Bane stumbled through the smoke, and fired several times at the driver’s side. His bullets starring the glass.
In the distance, he could hear the sound of sirens approaching. Keeping the car covered with his weapon. He looked around to see if Conda and Gladius had made it out. They had been unlucky; he could see through the flames their bodies burning.
Cursing, he moved towards the car. He saw his bullets had found their mark. The driver was dead.
He checked the dead man on the road. He had no identification on him. Bane also noticed the labels on his jacket, and shirt had been cut off. There seemed to be something peculiar about his hands too. On closer examination, he saw the finger and palm prints had been burnt off probably with acid.
He knew now this had been a professional hit team. The sirens were closer. He decided now would be a good time to leave the area.
The phone on Colonel Stephen Fairfax’s desk trilled sharply. He picked up the handset, noticing the light on the base set telling him the call was from security central.
“Sir, we have a force incursion of unknown strength approaching, perimeter security is delta, I repeat security is delta, requesting activation of Shiva Star sir.”
A cold sweat broke out all over Fairfax’s body. He was a forty year veteran of the United States Air force, a career officer as was his father before him, and his father. He had started out as a fighter pilot, and had flown everything in the US aerial arsenal, even the legendary Aurora. Never once had he shown any signs of fear, but it gripped him now. He was the keeper of America’s deepest, darkest secrets, in a base that was supposedly impregnable, even a gnat could not breach the quad ringed security infrastructure. And now here it was happening, they were under attack.
He swallowed before answering. “Yes activate Shiva, sound the attack alarm.”
Shiva Star was Grooms primary defensive weapon, based around the MARAUDER system, which was an acronym for Magnetically Accelerated Ring to Achieve Ultra-high Directed Energy and Radiation. The weapon was able to produce doughnut shaped rings of plasma and balls of lightning that exploded with devastating effects when hitting its target.
The attack alarm began to sound. At the other end of the phone he heard the sound of several gunshots, a new voice came on the line.
“I’m sorry Colonel. Shiva will remain sleeping for now.”
The line went dead.
He was aghast, whoever was attacking had people on the inside. This was not good. That left him with only one option, Protocol Echo, the total destruction of the base by a thermonuclear detonation.
He called his second in command, Captain Andrew Bodane, told him to go to the shed right away.
He turned to his laptop and activated the Echo message. Informing Edwards Airforce Base they were compromised beyond recovery.
Fairfax looked at his hands, they were shaking, this was going to be worse than 9/11, he thought.He wondered whether the attackers were Al-Quada aiming for another 9/11.
Five minutes later he was exiting the Consolidated Services building where his office was situated. He slipped on a pair of sunglasses against the glare of the sun. A slight wind kicked up little whirlwinds of dust as he made his way along the paths between the dormitory buildings. He could hear the evac alarm sounding loud in the Nevada air. The shed was situated beyond the dormitories, at the other side of the old toxic waste burning pits. Only he and the Captain Bodane had access to the building for obvious reasons, it was exactly what its name said, a shed. Buried underneath was the Protocol Echo activation system. From there, they could descend to the tunnels and on to the Mag-Lev station which would take them to Edwards.
The dormitories looked like those found on any US base around the world, three storeys, flat roofed grey affairs of which there were fifty built to the rear of the hangers and the administrative buildings. The old pits were situated beyond the buildings, now no longer employed to burn toxic waste, since the court case back in the Eighties, brought by former employees and their families. All that was done now out towards the irradiated lands in S4.
Men and women were now exiting the buildings, hurrying towards the evac point. He paid no attention to them as he headed towards the shed. Fairfax heard the crack of automatic fire. He quickened his step.
Off in the distance, he could see Captain Bodane coming from the control hub, and heading towards the shed, which was now visible through the heat haze rising from the desert floor.
Bodane was waiting by the door when Fairfax arrived at the shed. Sweat patches caused by the day's heat and fear spread from both mens armpits.
“Are you sure we’re doing the right thing, sir?” Bodane asked.
Fairfax’s affirmative answer was punctuated by gunfire and several explosions from the direction of the 5000 metre runway, one of the longest in the world.
He took out a set of keys from his pocket, after a few seconds of fumbling he found the right key.
Bodane looked around at the sound. He was thrown back against the timbered walls of the shed, a ragged bloody hole between his eyes.
Fairfax twisted going for his service pistol before realising in his haste he had left it behind in his office. A figure arose from the sand dune which had drifted into place a few metres away from the shed. As sand fell away, Fairfax saw the figure of a man in a sand coloured Gilly suit, a wicked looking Heckler & Koch G36A2 assault rifle in his hands. Aiming the weapon at Fairfax’s face, he approached.
“Don’t move an inch, Colonel Fairfax.”
His heart sank, who ever they were, they were not Arab terrorists as he had first thought. The man had a slight German accent. He realised they had won, and under his watch as well.
The man spoke into a wrist microphone.
“I have the Colonel secured, and am in possession of the two keys.”
Morgan watched as ten white busses came to a stop in front of the Janet Airlines terminal next to the huge edifice of Hanger 18. Black clad soldiers emerged, and disappeared into the terminal, and the other nearby buildings. He estimated their strength to be approximately 160-170, a large force indeed. An armoured half track, followed by six more busses arrived from the West side of the complex.
“Close in on the half-track, I have a feeling the head honcho may be in there.”
Trotsky moved to comply. Both were feeling numb at the events of the last hour. They knew there was nothing they could have done to stop it which only added to their feelings of helplessness.
More soldiers emerged from the newly arrived busses. The door at the rear of the half-track lowered, and a man emerged being held between two men in Gilly suits. Morgan concentrated on his own screen. He could see the man was Colonel Fairfax, the complex commander, looking like he was feeling very sorry for himself.
Another figure emerged from the vehicle. He was flanked by two huge shaven headed men who from their look were possibly related. This was likely to be the leader and his body guards. He was tall with closely cropped blond hair, aged about late thirties with heavy set features, and lips that looked like they were set in a perpetual sneer. He was wearing, of all things, a long leather coat,the type you always saw SS officers wearing, in old world war 2 films. Completing the look were high spit shined leather boots.
He signalled to someone in one of the busses. Ten men emerged, all dressed in white lab smocks. Another two emerged. Hands secured with cuffs. Morgan recognised them right away, the two missing Physicists. All of them disappeared into the terminal.
The helicopters had now thundered in from their holding positions. It looked as though they were providing over-watch of the base. Criss crossing the complex in a menacing show of force.
“I’m running facial now on blondie, did you see our two missing scientists?”
Morgans coms chimed, attracting his attention.
“It’s Colonel Drake. Morgan, you and your boys better get the hell out of there, Colonel Fairfax is under instruction to initiate Protocol Echo, you're going to be in the middle of one hell of a nuclear blast.”
“Sir, I don’t think he had time, the enemy force has control of him, if he had set it off they’d be high tailing it by now.”
“Shit! We’ll have to do it the old fashioned way, I’ll inform the president, and Majestic. Are you okay to be our eyes in situ for now?”
“Yes sir, I have a better idea of their numbers now, approx 350 combatants, also sixteen gunships on over-watch, they also have in their possession two scientists we had been tasked to locate.”
“Okay, in the mean time I’m having the local police shut down all roads leading into the area, any change get in touch. Drake out.”
Morgan stared at the screen, six hours were a long time, anything could happen.This was probably the worst situation the US had faced since 9/11, and he had no doubt no one would ever know about it. All the deaths would be passed off as some kind of accident, or some other incident.
“Gentlemen, talk to me, how could someone take control of our most secret asset, I want answers,” Barry Goldwater, Director for Operations, and Majestic liason officer said as he looked at the eight faces around the large T shaped table in the Joint Chiefs of Staff Conference Room. The National Military Command Center (NMCC) is located in the Joint Staff area of the Pentagon. The NMCC is responsible for generating Emergency Action Messages (EAMs) to launch control centers, nuclear submarines, recon aircraft and battlefield commanders worldwide.
The NMCC staff provides continuous operation monitoring, reporting, training, maintenance management, and coordination for all communications-electronics activities and systems supporting the NMCC to ensure minimum essential National Military Command System (NMCS) connectivity for the Single Integrated Operational Plan execution, worldwide situation monitoring, and crisis management. It also provides the Joint Staff with ADP operations, support and information relating to operational capabilities of the United States in the area of nuclear command and control, primarily missile warning systems of the Integrated Tactical Warning and Attack Assessment (ITW/AA) network.
They had assembled for what they termed daily prayers, the sharing of intelligence and action plans for ongoing operations, when the call came in from Edwards, informing them of the attack.
Goldwater took a sip of water from the cup in front of him before once again scanning the faces around the table. He could see no answers would be forthcoming. They had been caught with their pants down, and someone had nicked their belts.
“Do we actually know who has control of our base, do we know what they want?”
He stared directly at Robert Morgan, the CIA’s Intelligence Director. The man looked uncomfortable, and not a little embarrassed.
“Is this Al-Queda? Have you any idea at all?”
“To be fair sir, this came right out of the blue, having looked at the video I...”
Goldwater slammed his hand on the table.
“We’ve all seen the video feed, we can all tell it’s not Al-Queda, and things are not supposed to come out of the blue, that’s why we have a CIA, my God, what a cluster fuck.”
“Do we have a contingency plan to cope with this kind of situation?”
“Yes sir we do,” said General Robert Byrd, “I have SEAL Teams six and five, plus a detachment of Delta on standby, we can take it back.”
Goldwater sighed, rubbing his eyes as he settled back in his chair.
“It’ll have to be a hard take down, no survivors.”
A communications officer walked over to the table and whispered in Goldwater's ear before going back to his position.
“We have com link with Groom,” he said, “Put it on loud speaker.”
There was an audible click as the rooms speakers were activated.
“Good afternoon gentlemen, to whom am I speaking?” The voice was cultured with a German accent.
“Barry Goldwater, the Deputy Director for Operations, who’s this?”
“I am Oscar Koenig, Reich Fuhrer of the Geheime Staat.”
Looks passed around the table. Robert Morgan put his head in his hands.
“What is it you want, Mr Koenig?”
“Oh that will be revealed in good time, I want to warn you against any desire to use force against us, we do have control of all this base’s defences, including Shiva, the senator was most forthcoming in his information.”
“You need to give yourselves up now, Koenig, save you and your men a lot of trouble in the long run.”
“Oh why, oh why, do people like you have to have it spelled out to them, Mr Deputy Director, your men will die, and as a consequence to any hostile action on your part, we will destroy the nearest township, you know the capabilities of this base as well as I do, do not test me, gentlemen.”
The line was cut.
“I want to know everything about this Geheime Staat, about Oscar Koenig, and I want to know everything about Grooms defensive capabilities. Can he do what he’s saying, or is he bluffing?”
“Do we mobilise sir?” General Robert Byrd asked.
Goldwater looked at him, thinking for a moment.
“Can you get us back our base, Colonel?”
“Yes sir, I can, the teams have trained for this eventuality, also there’s no way he’s got control of Shiva-star. Fairfax wouldn’t give up the codes to activate. We have to go now if we are to go at all sir.”
“I hope you're right." Goldwater said, shaking his head, “I hope you're right, send your boys in, General Byrd.”
The two men met on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Both were important men in their respective circles, shakers, and movers on the world stage. The tall well-built man with the bald head was a colonel attached to the Department of Defence, and often advised the president on military matters. The other was a Republican senator.
“Good evening, David,” the bald headed man said.
The senator just nodded.
“Why’d you called me out here? We agreed not to meet again after I gave you the information you needed, I’d be shot if anyone found out,” he looked about, to check they were not being observed.
“You’ve been a great help to our cause, senator, I wanted to hand over the photos in person, we did agree once we had all the information about the complex you would get them back.”
He handed over a buff coloured file; the senator snatched it out of his hands. Opening the file, he checked the contents.
“They’re all there, even the negatives. We hold no more copies.”
“I still don’t understand why you couldn't get the information yourself, surely the DOD has it?”
“My security clearance doesn't extend into the black, yours does with your connections with the security complex.”
The photos contained images of the senator in compromising positions with young Russian male prostitutes, which they had taken when they wired his room while he was on a fact-finding mission to Moscow. When he was presented with them, he was left with no choice but to assist them.
“Is this the end of the affair then?”
“Yes, senator, it’s the end.”
The senator missed the imperceptible nod of the bald mans head. A shadow detached from the deeper darkness of the monument. A hand wrapped around the senators head, he felt the prick of a hypodermic needle, then felt no more.
The man let go of the senator. The balding man retrieved the file, scattering the contents all over the rapidly cooling body.
They both walked away into the night. The bald man did not realise it but by the time the sun rose, he would join the senator.
Bane now knew he was running for his life. He arrived at his flat to find a bombed out smoking ruin. Whoever these people were, they were serious. There was just one place left for him to go, Omega base.
Two hours later, after buying a change of clothes, he sat on a Boeing heading for America. Next stop New York, then he would grab a connection to take him on to Las Vegas. He had to use his own credit card because the tickets had been in his flat. He did not want to call in as he had a feeling someone inside was dirty. At first, when Conda had told him the SAS team had been taken out and the lab attacked, he thought there must have been someone watching. That could not have been the case; the whole area had been sanitised by the SAS back up team. The only way anyone could have known where the Xerum was is if someone had blabbed. Same with the SAS team, Bane considered, maybe a tracker had been fixed to their vehicle at some point. The only bodies on the plot though had been the science bods.
He decided to sleep on the problem; he wasn't looking forward to telling his new team mates two of their friends had been killed saving his ass. There was no way he could do this but face to face.
Dr Jennifer Connelly swore when she heard the alarm, the slide she had been placing under the microscope jumped out of her hand, and smashed on the floor.
She looked across at Billy Lee, her assistant. His face was white.
“Not another drill!”
She brushed a strand of hair away from her face, and blew out a slow breath. Frustration coursed through her body, in fact the whole place was frustrating, with its draconian security measures and compartmentalised ways of working.
Dr Connelly arrived a month ago, under contract from the Department of Energy, as a nuclear physicist she was used to tight security, but this place took the biscuit.
On her arrival they had stuck a computer disk in her hand and asked her to make sense of the formula described within; they wanted a rundown of its properties and capabilities. The formula was, Hg6Sb2O8, a variant of red mercury with some of the mercury present in its pure metallic form, a complex mixture of elements, including about 10% by weight plutonium, with the remainder consisting of 61% mercury, 11% antimony, 6% oxygen, 2% iodine and 1.6% gallium. She found it a strange thing for a super secret organisation to be working on, she felt there was something missing, and that was what she had been working on when the alarm disturbed her.
“This ain't a drill, doctor,” Billy said as he jumped up from his workstation, “It’s the attack alarm, they never drill that.”
Billy Lee had been at the complex for two years. He worked as an assistant to whoever needed him. He had worked on some scary stuff in his time here; most people thought the Groom Lake complex only tested Jets. That were not the case, everything from biological to neurological weapons, and defence systems found a place here. The one thing he had really enjoyed working on was what the scientists had nicknamed ‘Harry’s Cloak’, a material that rendered the wearer invisible. A Canadian scientist had discovered a material that had light bending properties, the government had paid him an ungodly sum of money to come and work for them, and the result was the Personnel Anti-Visual Camouflage Unit, VCU for short. They were now trying to turn it into some kind of paint that could be switched on and off.
He ran over to the door, and saw techs and civilian staff pouring out of the other labs and offices.
“C’mon, Doctor Connelly, we have to go. That alarm means the base is under attack, it’s the only time they’d sound it.”
“Hang on, Billy, I’ve got to grab some stuff.”
By the time she joined Billy at the door, the corridor was clear. On the white walls, red arrows had appeared showing the direction they were to go.
Billy set off at a jog, Dr Connelly trailing behind him. He led her through a dizzying array of corridors into an area she had never been. People in uniform or civilian attire appeared to be heading in the same direction; she wished she had paid more attention at the induction now. By the time they reached a bank of elevators which was crowded with people her heart was beating fast, both from the exertion and the fear of whatever had made them sound the alarm.
“This is going to take forever,” she said.
He was about to answer when the sound of gunfire close by made them both jump.
“Shit! ” She grabbed Billy’s arm, pulling him into the crowd of bodies.
Ten heavily armed men, dressed all in black, their faces covered with black balaclavas rounded the far corner. One fired into the ceiling above the crowd who all dropped to the floor.
Dr Connelly dragged Billy towards a door to one side of the elevator foyer. Praying it was unlocked, she tugged on the handle. The door opened, unseen by the gunmen, they vanished inside.
Looking around, she found they were in a utility cupboard, a storage room for the floors cleaners.
Billy went to speak; she held a finger up to silence him. She opened the door a crack, and peered out. The gunmen had formed the crowd into a single file line. A man in the uniform of Groom Lake Security lunged at one of the gunmen, and tried to wrestle his weapon away. CRACK! A shot rang out. The security guard flew back. Two more shots rang out. The two men who had been either side of the guard smacked into the wall behind them before sliding to the floor, leaving a blood trail on the wall.
A loud voice called out, from out of her line of sight.
“Let this be a lesson to you all, if you resist, we will kill you and the person in front, and the one behind you, now move!”
Dr Connelly put a hand to her mouth to stifle the cry which caught in her throat. The sound of the mans voice sent little ice picks of terror running all over her.
The men and their captives marched off. One man was left behind to guard the elevator.
She quietly shut the door, and sank to the floor.
A million thoughts were racing through Colonel Fairfax’s mind as he was escorted into the main security hub of the complex. Situated on the first level, from here every single area of the vast complex could be monitored by the various CCTV cameras. The defence systems that protected them from external threat were activated from here too. He saw on one of the cameras in the maglev station, the black clad soldiers had control of it, so it looked as if no one had got away.
Two large shaven headed thugs stood off to one side, both armed with Heckler and Koch machine pistols. A tall blonde haired man was sat in the main control chair.
“Good morning, Colonel Fairfax,” he said, swivelling the chair to face him.
He knew now his job was to gather as much Intel as possible, they obviously wanted him alive, the question was why.
“You must be the boss of this little suicide mission, you’ve got some balls I’ll give you that.”
He stood up, towering over Fairfax by a good two inches, he was struck by the man’s piercing blue eyes. The man stuck out his hand.
“Reich Fuhrer, Oscar Koenig, very pleased to meet you.”
Fairfax stood ramrod straight, had he heard right, Reich Fuhrer? His base had been taken over by Nazis, what the hell!
“What do you want, Mr Koenig?” He said, not able to say his title.
A blow in the small of his back drove him to his knees.
“You will use the proper form of address for our leader,” one of his escorts said.
“I need you to open the secure vault for me, Colonel Fairfax.”
Fairfax was aghast. The vault contained technology they had failed to control, or could not understand, all locked away waiting for a time when science advanced enough to figure them out. Only Fairfax could access the secure area, the door was key coded to his living DNA, if he was dead the door would not open.
“Why? There is nothing in there that would be of any use to you.”
“I beg to differ. Colonel, I want the Kecksburgh device, Die Glocke.”
Fear now gripped Fairfax’s heart. The Kecksburgh device should have been destroyed a long time ago. The decision had been made at the highest level to bury it in the vault. Attempts had been made to make it work again, but all had failed. The trouble was because they had never been able to replicate the fuel that drove the device. He had recently received a work order to attempt the replication again, which he had railed against at the time, but had been left with no choice but to comply. He remembered when the device was brought to Groom Lake, the chief project officer, Glen Locke called it, the true Goddess Shiva, too beautiful to let die, too monstrous to live.
Kecksberg, Pennsylvania,December 5, 1965
Jack Murphy was manning the phones for talk show Dj. Ralph Bates. He loved his job on WHJB in Greensburg. He had been working at the station for just over two years, and one day he hoped to become a DJ himself. In his downtime, Ralph had been giving him pointers on the job.
Tonight was open house night, where people could call in about any subject they wished to discuss. He had just disconnected a caller who wanted to know if it was okay to have carnal relations with a goat of all things. Ralph was droning on about the qualities of two locally brewed beers, Murphy’s mind wandered off to thoughts of Christmas. His mother in law was coming to stay this year, and he was not looking forward to it. She came to stay two years ago, and spent the entire time moaning, and putting him down; that had ruined the festive season for him.
He was brought out of his reverie by the phone ringing.
“Hi, you're through to WHJB, what do you want to speak to Ralph about?”
“This is Frank Kelp, out at Jacobs Farm, I’ve just seen a ball of fire streak across the sky, I think it’s some kind of space-ship, or maybe a plane. Its crashed in the woods at the edge of my farm, I can see blue smoke pouring out.”
“Hi, Frank, you sure ‘bout this?”
“Damn straight, sir, me and my boys are heading over there, gonna see what’s what.”
“You need to call the local sheriff Frank, and maybe an ambulance, if it’s a downed plane there might be survivors.”
“I’ll do that, and I’ll get back to you, let you know what we find.”
The line went dead.
Ralph had put on a record while he grabbed a coffee. Murphy told him all about the call.
“Now that’s a story, where’s Carter?” he asked, referring to the stations on call reporter.
“He’s out at...covering that kidnapping story.”
“Ah, yes, okay, Murphy, get the spare camera from the back office and high tail it out there, time for you to shine my boy.”
Murphy stood up and shuck on his jacket.
“Yes,sir, you can count on me.”
With a cloud of excitement surrounding him he dashed out of the studio, grabbed the camera, a notebook and five minutes later he was in his Cammarro kicking up gravel as he shot out of the station's car park.
He made the normally three quarters of an hour journey in a little under twenty minutes. A red pick-up truck was parked on the verge next to the wood. He pulled alongside it.
As Murphy was climbing out of his vehicle, three figures emerged from the trees. Frank Kelp and his two boys came over to meet him.
“You must be Mr Kelp, I’m Jack Murphy from the radio station, we spoke earlier.”
“Yeah, it’s the darnedest thing let me tell you, ain’t seen nothing like if afore.”
“What did you witness sir?”
“We couldn't get too close, see, too hot, I called Sheriff Jackson, he told us to stay away.”
The sounds of approaching vehicles made them all turn.
A police squad car followed by eight tarp covered military trucks approached down the single lane track. The lights blinding them.
The squad car pulled up alongside them. The paunchy figure of Sheriff Jackson climbed out.
“Evening boys,” he said, touching the brim of his hat, “I got to ask you to go back to your homes, the army boys are going to handle this, seems like it’s a meteor come down. Don’t want anyone getting irradiated, you know.”
Murphy stepped forward, held out his hand. Jackson looked at it like it was a gone off piece of steak.
“Sir, I’m Jack Murphy from WHJB radio, how’d they know it was a meteor?”
“A full statement will be released later tomorrow.”
He walked away to speak to a man in the uniform of an officer. Other soldiers were out of the trucks and starting to tape off the woods.
Frank and his boys nodded at Murphy before climbing in their truck.
He kicked himself. He had to get in the woods and grab a closer look at what had crashed. He returned to his car, manoeuvring around the trucks he made his way to the far end of the woods. Once his car had gone around a bend in the track and out of sight of the soldiers he pulled off the road, driving a short way into the woods on the opposite side.
He would have to be as quiet as he could if he was going to get a look at the crash site, there was no way he was going to miss out on this story, possibly the biggest to have hit this county.
Checking his car could be viewed from the road he scooted across to the tree line on the other side. He would have to move in the dark, but there was a full moon up above so he was not moving entirely blind.
Moving as quietly as he could, he headed in what he thought was the general direction of the crash. After about ten minutes up ahead he saw a pulsating blue light in the forest. The sight made his skin tingle, and fear grips him. He had to push on through, this could be his big break, if he could get some pictures he would be famous if it did turn out to be some kind of craft from outer-space.
He ducked behind a tree as voices came to him from nearby. The voices faded away so Murphy moved off, staying low as he neared the glowing blue light.
The trees thinned out as he neared the crash site. His hair felt as though it was standing on end, the air around him seemed filled with static. The usual forest smells were tinged with ozone, and burnt metal.
The light came from a clearing. He pushed through some bushes and fear rooted him as firmly as the trees around him.
Laying on its side in the middle of the clearing. Small bolts of electricity leaping off it’s blue glowing metallic surface, sat what looked to Murphy like a giant black bell or acorn. He estimated it to be about ten to fifteen feet long with a diameter of ten to twelve feet with a hemispherical domed top. Around its base strange writing could be seen, it reminded Murphy of Egyptian Hieroglyphs, then his eyes were drawn to a large symbol on the body of the device, his eyes widened at the sight of a swastika.
He heard voices again, this time he could hear conversation, in German of all things. Murphy crouched, and edged around the clearing. A group of very confused looking men stood a few feet away from the base of the device. He could not understand what he was seeing. Some of the men were in Nazi uniforms, others in white lab coats.
From out of the trees across the clearing emerged several soldiers. Weapons raised. The group of men put their hands up. The officer he had seen earlier stepped out to join them.
One of the men stepped forward, clicked his heels, gave a curt nod of his head.
“I am Dr Hans Kammler, I believe you may have been looking for me,” he said in heavily accented English.
Murphy remembered the camera he was holding. He raised it and focussed in on the crowd. The flash added to the glow from the device lighting up the area. Murphy felt two strong arms grab him from behind, and before he could resist he was dragged backwards through the forest to the road.
He was placed in the back of one of the trucks, and a pistol was shoved into his face. The soldier did not say anything, just glared at him. He felt blood pour from his nose where the pistol had caught him.
The rear flap was pulled aside and they were joined by another officer.
“I’m gonna say this to you only once, you saw nothing in the woods, no people no crashed device, nothing. If you reveal what you saw we will kill you and your family, and anyone you tell, is that clear enough for you?”
Murphy was scared now, more scared than anytime in his life, he nodded his head.
“I can’t hear you, boy.”
“I won’t tell anyone,” he stammered.
The camera was wrenched from his grasp, and the officer removed the film before handing it back.
“Get him out of here.”
Murphy was dragged from the truck and led back to where his car was concealed. He looked over his shoulder at the officer who drew a thumb across his throat.
Not having any luggage, Bane quickly cleared through customs. Drawing out cash from a hole in the wall ,he arranged for his connection flight before grabbing a coffee. Bane sat in a seat that would give him an unobstructed view of the concourse outside the Starbucks window. He knew whoever was after him would be on the ball, and because he had used his own credit card back in London they would pick up on it, which is why he paid for his connecting flight in cash. There would be watchers out there, he just had to locate them. No matter how good they were he would spot them, Bane had received training in surveillance and counter surveillance by the best, both in 14th Intelligence, and MI5. Everybody gave off subtle signals, especially when pretending to do one thing when in actuality you were up to something else. He just had to search for those signals.
Taking his time, he scanned the crowd of people passing by outside. It was not long before he located the first watcher. A man in a suit, carrying a briefcase. He was trying to blend in with the crowd of people out in the concourse, and to the untrained eye he was succeeding. The man was walking back and forth, checking his watch as if waiting for someone who was late. Every once in a while his eyes would flick in the direction of the coffee shop, too many times to be a coincidence.
Scanning the concourse, again he soon acquired a second watcher, a man dressed as a cleaner who was paying too much attention to the first watcher and the door to the coffee shop.
Bane revised his opinion of them, sloppy, he thought.
Looking at his watch, he finished his coffee. He walked out of the door to the concourse, picking up a discarded paper on his way. He headed to his left towards the airports exit. After a minute, he stopped suddenly, doubling back. In his peripheral vision, he saw his tails stop to look in shop windows. The looks on their faces were the final confirmation for Bane. He had been correct. Time to take the fight to the enemy.
He headed across the concourse and took the moving stairs up to the second floor. After checking they were still following he headed for the men’s room..
Inside he checked all the cubicles were empty before positioning himself to the left of the door. Rolling up his newspaper, he waited.
Less than a minute after he had positioned himself, the door opened. The business man stepped into the toilets, a silenced pistol in his left hand. Bane lunged from his hiding place. Bringing down the rolled up newspaper on his gun hand, before striking out at the mans head with his elbow. The man was fast. The gun went skittering across the floor, but he dodged away from the elbow strike. He came back at Bane with two rapid punches, pushing him back into the cubicle. The man grabbed the back of his head with both hands, hitting him with crushing knee strikes. Bane grabbed the skin inside the man’s thigh, pulled and twisted. The man yelped. Using all his strength, Bane shot his head forward, butting the man in the chest, his hand shot up striking with his palm, the man’s head flew back. Still holding the newspaper he struck out at the mans throat as hard as he could. Blood exploded from his mouth, and he made a choking sound before falling to his knees, holding his ruined throat.
Bane snapped his neck to finish the job. He dragged the body into the cubicle and sat him on the toilet before locking the door, and climbing over the partition wall. He still had the other watcher to deal with, but he wanted answers as well so he would have to play it softer. He took the gun and stuffed it in the waistband of his jeans, covering it with his t-shirt.
He stepped out of the men’s room, and saw the second tail across the concourse by a pillar. When he saw Bane emerge, he turned and began walking away. Bane followed him. This time he would get some answers.
“Damn, I can’t hook into the internal cam feed,” Morgan said, slamming his hand on the arm of his chair.
“Yeah, they got quad fire-wire protection on their internal systems, no way we can work around that.”
Everything at Groom Lake appeared to have returned to normal, apart from the choppers quartering the air-space above. A few black clad soldiers seemed to be on roving patrol routes close to the buildings. A view of the security gates showed they were now unmanned.
“You got an ETA on our guys?”
“I do. Cyclops just landed at Macarran, Hypo, and Kukri are in mid flight they were already on their way back, should be landing in an hour. No word from Conda, or Gladius, and the Brit, he seems to have dropped off the map,” Trotsky said.
“That’s not a good sign. See if you can get a GPS lock on their phones.”
“I better let the big man know what’s happening.”
“Huh, good luck with that.”
Morgan dialled up Colonel Montague’s number. He knew by now the man was on a private jet winging his way back stateside. The man hated flying so would not be in the best of moods. Morgan braced himself.
“Montague,” the gruff voice answered at the other end.
“It’s Morgan, the Groom Lake complex has been taken over by a hostile force, and three of our men are missing,” he said, deciding not to sugar coat it.
“Well the airforce can look after their own, it’s nothing to do with us, but missing men is, I want them found asap.”
“I’ve got a nagging feeling though. Colonel, the incursion force have our missing scientists with them, so that makes it our business.”
“I’m still here, who’s missing?”
“Conda, Gladius, and the Brit, Bane.”
“There has been a problem on the British end, the Xerum 525 shipment has been stolen from the lab, the SAS team involved in the snatch are dead, I sent Conda, and Gladius to grab Bane...I got a call on the other line, Morgan, get back to me okay.”
The line went dead.
Crap, Morgan thought. This was turning into a right cluster fuck.
“I think our boys got trouble, you located their GPS yet, Trot?”
“I’ve got Bane's, but not Conda's or Gladius, Bane’s in New York, La Guardia.”
“That’s some good news then, I think we have to take it our boys are out of the picture.”
Morgan felt a brief moment of sadness, he had known them both for three years, had drunk, fought and the rest by their side. Good, tough, rugged men who always had his back, and he theirs. He pushed the feeling aside. There would be time for sentiment later.
His coms trilled for attention.
“Captain Aaron Barker, CO SEAL team six, and leader on this mission, any new info you got for us would be great.”
Aaron ‘Ironbark’ Barker was a legend in the teams, a gruff ball breaker who gave no quarter in combat, Morgan had heard of his reputation but had never served under him, he was the type who led from the front and expected nothing but the best from his men. Legend had it he once had a man RTO’d for having a speck of dust on a button on his dress uniform.
“Sir, they’ve got roving patrols close to the buildings, and eight V-22 Ospreys, and eight AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters providing over watch. Strength on the ground around three hundred heavily armed bodies, they’ve used sonic weapons to take out security, we have no eyes on the inside, if you can wait awhile though we can sort that.”
“No time, we’re arriving at the FOB now, and will be ready to mobilise by tomorrow morning, I’ve heard about you, Drake. Heard you got initiative, which to me means you’re unpredictable. And I don’t like unpredictable. Do what you want, just stay out of my way or else you might get shot. Understand?’
Ironbark cut the line.
“What a wanker!”
“One of your buddies then,” Trotsky laughed before dodging the pen that Morgan hurled at him.
Billy watched Dr Connelly from across the store room. She was still sitting by the door, and had not moved or spoken since they had come into the store room.
“We can’t stay here,” he whispered.
“Shh, I’m thinking.”
She pushed herself to her feet. Opening the doors a crack she peered outside. The man was still on his own, leaning against the wall smoking a cigarette.
Closing the door she looked around the room. The shelves on the right hand wall were stocked with various cloths, paper towels, and brushes of various sizes. Over on the right hand wall, the shelves were stocked with various cleaning fluids and squirt bottles. The label on the bottles next to the far wall said, 1000g Oxalic Acid Dihydrate Very High Purity, Hull, Deck, GRP Cleaner & Rust Remover. An idea was forming in her mind. One she knew was dangerous, but they had to do something. Billy was right they could not stay here.
She grabbed an empty squirt bottle, started to unscrew the nozzle. Her hands shook, and she had to pause for a moment to steady them.
“Pass me down a bottle of the oxalic acid.”
“Wanna clue me in on what you're thinking, Doc? ” He said as he handed her the bottle.
She outlined her plan as she mixed up some of the white crystals from the bottle with water from the small sink in the corner of the room.
“Are you sure about this, Dr Connelly?”
“Nope, but here goes.”
She held the bottle behind her back as she opened the door and stepped outside.
The man pushed away from the wall, raising his weapon.
“What are you doing, come over here!”
“I, I’m sorry, what’s happening? I heard shots.”
She stepped closer to him, angling round so he had to move to cover her, trying to make it look natural.
“I was just taking a crafty cig in the store room, but then I heard all that noise, I was scared.”
“Put your hands on your head and turn around,” he ordered.
She took one more step, and judged she was close enough.
She brought the bottle around and squirted at his eyes. The fine spray hit him spot on. He stumbled back, crying out. His weapon fell from his hands as he rubbed at his eyes.
Billy’s war cry made her jump. He charged out of the storeroom, the fire extinguisher raised above his head. He smashed it into the back of the soldiers head. He dropped like a trapdoor had opened up under him.
Billy had to catch her as she slumped to the floor, her face white.
She pushed him away, “I’m okay, that’s the first violent thing I’ve ever done, apart from killing the odd spider.”
She stood up, and grabbed the man’s feet.
“C’mon, help me drag him into the store room.”
He took the man under his arm-pits, and together they shifted him out of sight, securing his hands and feet with the roll of black tape which was on the shelf above the sink.
Dr Connelly took his Glock pistol, and stuck it in the waist band of her trousers. Out in the corridor, Billy took the AK-47 the man had dropped.
“What do we do now, Doc?”
She looked slightly nonplussed, “I hadn't considered further than cold cocking the man.”
Billy rubbed a hand through his thick shock of black hair.
“We need to go to the mag-lev station, we can walk through the tunnel to the nearest sub-station.”
“We’ll never make it through Billy, we need to find somewhere safer to hide.”
“There is no-where safe, look, there’s a maintenance ladder in the elevator shaft goes all the way down to the station, we should be safe in there.”
She looked aghast. “That’s twenty floors...I don’t know.”
He put both hands on her shoulders, and looked into her eyes.
“You can do this,” Billy reassured her, “There are a few niches we’ll be able to rest in.”
Dr Connelly looked at the elevator doors, how could she tell him she had a fear of closed in spaces.
Billy thumbed the call button for the elevator.
Bane had discreetly tailed the watcher to the underground employee parking lot. He checked his watch, saw he had forty minutes until his flight was scheduled. The man must have seen him emerge unscathed from the men’s room, and with no sign of his friend decided to beat a hasty retreat.
The man approached a dark coloured van, and was about to open the driver's side door when Bane pounced. Hitting him upside the head with the gun, he made sure no one was around before bundling the man into the back of the van.
He sat facing him, the silenced pistol aiming at the man’s groin.
“Who are you working for?” Bane asked.
The man stared silently back at him.
“Okay, have it your way, tough guy.”
He shot the man in the foot. He screamed, writhing about on the floor of the van.
“Who are you working for? ” he asked when the man calmed down.
“Go fuck yourself!”
Bane noticed a slight Germanic tinge to his accent.
“If you don’t tell me what I want to know, I am going to shoot you in every part of your body that will not kill you. You will die, slowly and painfully.”
Part of Bane knew he probably was wasting his time. If this man was anything like the ones at the warehouse he would die before divulging anything useful.
The man remained quiet.
Bane shot his other foot.
He held up his hand, pleading.
“Okay, okay, it’s too late for anything I say to make a difference anyway. Soon all will whisper in fear the name, Geheime Staat. Soon they will activate the bell, and then it will be too late for all of you.”
“The secret state, who or what is it? And what do you mean, the bell?”
“We are everywhere, you will know soon enough.”
Something crunched in the mans mouth, he started to spasm, foam coming from his mouth.
What the fuck, Bane thought, he could smell almonds, a cyanide suicide tooth!
He checked the man’s hands and found the same acid wiping of fingers and palms he had seen on the assassin team in London. Bane gave the man a cursory check but found no ID, at least he had it confirmed. This Geheime Staat was behind the attacks. What was the bell he had spoken of, some kind of weapon? He did find it hard to believe they were all sons and daughters of the Nazi top brass. He had to reach Omega more than ever now. With nothing else to do he locked up the van and headed for his flight.
GROOM LAKE SECURITY HUB
Colonel Fairfax held Koenig’s gaze. No words had been spoken since he had clicked his fingers at one of the shaven haired gorillas who clicked his heels, and exited the room. The only interruption was a phone call the man took. For a second, Koenig’s eyes blazed as whoever was on the other end spoke, he cut the call with a single ‘Ja’.
Fairfax heard the door to the security hub crash open. A white coated lab technician was thrown against the rear wall. Koenig pulled out an old fashioned Luger pistol from the holster at his hip. He shot the man between the eyes.
“I estimate there are about eight hundred souls working here today, do not doubt me when I say our ends justify the means we will employ. One will die for every minute you delay in giving me what I want.”
He looked at the dead tech, then the floor.
“You’re crazy, I can’t do it.”
The big man stepped outside, returning with another tech.
“Please, don’t do this, you can’t expect to get away, right now the might of the United States Armed Forces are probably descending on this place, they’ll kill every last one of you.”
Koenig nodded to Gunther. Holding the tech with one large ham fist, he jammed a thumb into the techs eye. The man screamed, and struggled futilely as Gunther ripped out his eye ball.
He threw the tech on the floor. The man writhed, crying out in agony.
Gunther knelt over the man, placed his huge hands around the mans skinny neck, and slowly squeezed the life out of him. All this was done with a look akin to sexual pleasure.
Koenig’s face showed no emotion though, except for slight amusement. Fairfax had a glimpse of the kind of dispassionate and callous efficiency that had characterised the German administrators of the horrendous concentration and death camps of the Second World War. To Koenig, the murder of one of Fairfax's staff was of no consequence. It was simply a tool to get what he wanted. He knew he was in the presence of sheer calculating and unremitting evil.
Fairfax knew he had no choice. He could not see any more of his staff hurt. All he could do was hope the cavalry arrived sooner rather than later.
“Stop it, stop it, alright I’ll do it, just don’t hurt anymore of my staff.”
Koenig patted his cheek.
“Good man,” he looked at the two men holding Fairfax.
“Take him to the cages for now, the counter attack will come soon, once we deal with that we can guide in Hoffman and the Xerum 525. Tell Eisenburg to fire up the Shiva Star Plasma Array.”
Vegas. Two thumps through the 747 and Bane was on the ground at McCarran International, an airport, like Miami's, that crackled with illicit activity; you could feel it. He watched through the window as the 747 taxied to the terminal and passed engineering shops filled with propeller planes that looked like they should have been scrapped decades ago; old classics running freight operations now, with radial engines that dripped oil on the ramp and coughed clouds of smoke, their tired but sturdy airframes lined with irregular rows of rivets and bumps.
He raised his eyes and took in the view. Vegas, sprawled there just beyond the perimeter fence under an upturned bowl of blue sky, half a dozen giant new hotels since he'd been here last, half a dozen more going up amidst a thicket of cranes. He loved and loathed this city with equal measure.
Once again he quickly passed through airport red tape, and was soon outside looking for a cab.
Down on the Strip, with the sun setting on this city of broken dreams, he took in the glare of the lights, like a handful of cheap jewelry, from the back of the cab. Half listening to the driver's lament over the mob's exodus and its replacement by corporate America. The slipping sun played over the tops of the mountains that bordered the southern end of the Nellis Air Force Range, a closed-off piece of government land the size of Switzerland where the Air Force tested its latest military hardware and ran air warfare exercises, and the driver's voice still filling his head about the days when people in the city had lived and died by a set of rules everyone understood.
The cab pulled into what was formerly the Sahara, now renamed the SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, a hotel that exuded the Vegas of Sinatra, Martin and the mob; the mid-'50s, when it had opened. It had been face-lifted so many times, it seemed like the demolition teams would be here at any moment, but through half-closed eyes you could still see how it once had been, which gave it a strange kind of charm. The Sahara suited him just fine.
Its pile-'em-in, rack-'em and stack-'em ethos, ideal for gamblers passing through. The Sahara was the last remaining vintage "Rat Pack" casino-hotel, hopefully he would not be there long anyway.
After he was ensconced in his room on the fourth floor, he grabbed a quick shower then called Sir Alec back at Millbank.
“Adam, what in hell have you been up to? You left leaving parts of London looking like Beirut.”
“I’m sorry sir, I knew I should have stayed at the scene, waited for the police. I was next on their hit list, and I think we have a mole, it’s the only way they could know where the Xerum is and who was involved in the op. I need to get in touch with Omega but I have no way of contacting them.”
“I’ve come to the same conclusion, don’t worry I’m handling that personally. Where are you now, I will contact them for you.”
“I’m in the Sahara, room 264.”
“Okay, Adam, sit tight. I’ll get back to you, let you know what is happening.”
Bane put down the phone, and crossed the room to look out at The Strip, twinkling lights even in the day. Bane always found Vegas false and tacky. He had last been here with Julia, his former girlfriend, she had called it Blackpool in the desert. Bane was surprised at himself. He had not thought of her for over a year. At the time he thought she was the one, but in the end she could not cope with his job, the hours he kept. He realised Vegas had been the beginning of the end for them.
He pushed the thoughts away, never one for morose reflection, he put it down to the loneliness of his situation, he felt cut off from everything he knew; and it had happened so fast. He lay on the bed, deciding sleep was the best thing.
"How is my little twinky,” the big Russian lifted Trotsky off his feet in a bone crushing bear hug.
“Ger off me you big lug, ” he struggled to no avail, his eyes, as always drawn to the dent in Cyclops forehead. Vladimir Avdeyev was a member of the spetsialnogo naznacheniya, or Spetsnaz, attached to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the directorate responsible for the internal security of Russia. The dent was a gift from a Moscow gangster who thought it would be a good idea to shoot him in the face. Luckily for Vladimir, the gun had been old so the bullet had lost some of its power, it had followed the curvature of his skull, exiting just behind his ear. Because of the scar the team had given him the code name Cyclops.
Morgan stepped out of the bunk room, into the hubs kitchen area, and rolled his eyes. Sometimes he thought he was working with a couple of school kids not trained military men.
“Put him down Cyc, you don’t know where he's been.”
Cyclops laughed, dropping Trotsky into a chair he plonked himself down into the one next to him.
“Hello, Morgan, why did you send out recall message? I was onto some good leads about scientist people.”
He spoke almost perfect English, but to Morgan he always sounded like a bad villain in a Bond movie. He flicked on the coffee machine before sitting across the table from them.
“We’ve found them, Area 51s been taken over by a hostile force, the scientists are under their control, we’ve been monitoring the situation for the military, they’ve got the area closed down, and are going to attack...” he looked at his watch, “In one hour.”
“I know, I saw the road blocks, they never saw me though, I was a ghost. Do we get to play?”
“Not this time, SEAL and Delta are handling this one, any news on Bane while I was sleeping?”
Trotsky was tucking into a bowl of serial. Between mouthfuls he said. “Yeah, he’s in the Sahara, you want him brought in, I had Kukri and Hypo hang fire at the airport in case.”
“Yeah, send them. I’m gonna check on the attack force, they should be moving into place now.”
Bane awoke with a start. He had been dreaming of being back in London, in the car as the missile slowly approached. Try as he might he could not get the door open. Then, he was burning, he could actually feel his flesh melting, could hear Conda, and Gladius’s screams.
He checked his watch, nine AM. Reaching over for his mobile, he saw he had missed no calls, strange, Bane thought Sir Alec would have got back to him by now.
Getting out of bed he padded to the bathroom and emptied his bladder before crossing to the sink. He looked at his face in the mirror. His eyes looked haunted. He turned on the tap, and rinsed his face with cold water.
He was just towelling his face dry, when a knock sounded at his hotel door.
At last, he thought, this must be Omega.
Pushing away the final vestiges of the dream, he quickly pulled on his jeans before answering the door. Checking the spy hole first, he saw two men in suits, both with short black hair and unsmiling faces.
“Who is it? ” He called out.
“We’re from Omega. Mr Bane, here to take you to the base,” the voice replied from the other side of the door.
There was something about the mans voice that prickled the hairs at the back of Bane’s neck. A slight German tinge to it.
“Are you ready to go, sir? We’re on a tight schedule.”
“Let me get changed, did Colonel Parker send you? ” He said,deliberately lying about Omega’s commanding officer.
“That’s correct, sir, Colonel Parker’s waiting to greet you personally.”
How the hell did they know where to find him, he’d been so careful. Understanding settled over him. With it came anger. He had been careful. The only one who knew where he was, was... Sir Alec. No it couldn't be, it didn't make sense. Sir Alec was incorruptible, or was that the image he liked to portray.
One thing was sure of, he had never seen this coming. He needed time to think. He quickly shucked on his t-shirt and boots. The men outside banged on the door again.
“Hold on two minutes. I’ll be there,” he called out.
Bane crossed to the window, sliding it aside he stepped out on the balcony, and looked over the side. It was a long way to the ground, with no hand holds. He looked across to the adjacent balcony. It was too far away to jump, but the wall in between had a small ledge he could stand on and there was hand holds too.
He heard a loud thump from the door. They were trying to gain entry, leaving Bane no choice. He climbed over the balcony wall to the ledge. The sound of the door crashing open came to him as he began to make his way across. His hands were beginning to shake, and his heart beat fast. Diamond beads of perspiration speckled his face. Knowing he only had seconds before they discovered him, he tried to increase his speed. His foot slipped. For a second Bane thought he was going to fall. His right hand lost its hold, and his other foot lost its purchase. The only thing stopping the long plunge to his death was the fingers of his left hand. Now he was in trouble. Looking below he could see people like ants. He felt his hand slipping
A strong hand gripped his right arm. He looked around to see the grinning face of an Oriental man.
“Most people leave the hotel by the main entrance.”
Seemingly without effort he hauled Bane back onto his balcony.
Dr Connelly clung onto the ladder as if her life depended on it. She thought she would be all right, but the darkness, the smell of grease from the cables and the fear of what was going on all around them had taken its toll.
“Billy, I can’t go any further.”
“You have to, Doc, come on a little further, then we can rest, there’s a ledge we can sit on.”
Even though they were whispering, the sound of their voices seemed to carry. They had travelled about four floors. Billy estimated it would take them about twenty minutes at the rate they were travelling to reach the Maglev station. He had to keep encouraging the doctor to keep her from losing it.
“You’re doing fine, we’re taking it at your pace, c’mon I’ll help you onto the ledge.”
She took a deep breath, and was trying to push away the deeper shadows her imagination was throwing up. She descended the last few feet, drawing level with Billy who helped him onto the ledge.
Across from them was the floors elevator door. They could hear voices from beyond.
“What level is this? ” Jennifer asked.
“The vault’s on this floor, those must be guards we can hear, shh, let’s see if we can pick anything up.”
At first only silence echoed back to them, then one of the guards spoke.
“Just had a call from Koenig. They are coming down to open the vault.”
“do you believe that it will work?”
“Of course it will, our scientists have refined the Xerum, and the control system, the bell will soon be ringing again.”
Jennifer could feel Billy watching her in the darkness.
“Do you know what they’re talking about?” She whispered.
“Yeah, and it’s not good, the bell is a time travel device, I worked on it when I first started here. The red mercury we’re working on is the Xerum they mentioned.”
“Time travel, give over, you been sniffing H2SO4 again.”
“Trust me, doc, it works, or at least it did once, we know the basic science behind it but so far any attempt at replicating what it once did, have failed, that’s why it’s in the vault.”
“How the hell do you know all this? I’m the primary leader on the project and I’ve not been told everything.”
“Let’s just say I’m too nosey for my own good, if they can get it to work, we have to get out and tell someone, this means big trouble.”
“C’mon, let’s keep moving.”
Jennifer leaned out and caught hold of the ladder. She had placed one foot on it when the doors across from them opened, blinding them as light flooded the shaft, and two very mean looking men were aiming machine guns at them.
Morgan had just sat back in the captain's chair when his coms chirped for attention.
“Kukri, we got Bane, bringing him in. He had a couple of visitors we had to deal with.”
“Okay, bring him in, be warned though the counter attack is about to go down, they’ll have the outer perim closed tight.”
“Thanks for the heads up, Kukri out.”
Trotsky wandered into the hub, and retook his seat at the station in front of Morgan.
“Gone down the stores, said he wanted to make sure everything’s good to go, just in case.”
Morgan brought up the main screen. The image of the groom complex could be seen nestled down in the dry lake bed, heat haze already rising into the morning air.
Nothing moved. All seemed quiet. The choppers were nowhere to be seen.
He switched the view to S 4, particularly a group of hangers next to papoose lake. Switching to infra red he saw the hangers glow with the heat coming from inside. Morgan knew these buildings were currently not in use. So a large group of bodies were inside. Going back to normal view he shifted to the craggy hills and valleys of the Papoose Mountains. These overlooked the main complex below. He zoomed in to the microwave relay station at the foot of the largest peak. Several men in desert camouflage were slowly moving past the buildings, heading towards the opposite slopes. These would be Ironbark's sniper teams moving into position.
Shifting to the left Morgan saw mortar teams setting up. He knew these would be firing a mixture of gas and smoke to conceal the approach of the home team and to cause confusion amongst the enemy.
Switching to a camera across the dry lake bed, parked up out of sight along the Groom Road was a convoy of armoured hummers, each armed with heavy calibre CROWS, Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station. A remote weapon station that provides the operator with the ability to acquire and engage targets while inside a vehicle, protected by its armour. It is designed to mount on a variety of vehicle platforms and supports the MK19 Grenade Machine Gun, .50 Calibre M2 Machine Gun, M240B Machine Gun, and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon.
Morgan could see this was going to be a two pronged attack. The Hummers would attack from the front, while the enemy was concentrating on the frontal attack, a larger force would attack from the rear. This tactic was making Morgan feel uneasy. Ironbark was using conventional tactics, but it would be a slaughter house inside the buildings, the bad guys would have loads of time to kill their prisoners. Maybe that’s what the powers that be wanted. All secrets die in the graves of the dead.
The attack began. White puffs rocketed from the top of Papoose, arcing to impact on the ground amongst and in front of the cluster of buildings below. Soon the whole area was engulfed in a hazy fog. Morgan split the screen to show all areas of action.
“Here we go,” Trotsky said.
From out of the hangers, the home team emerged. Morgan estimated there were four squads of forty men. They split to allow them to come at the base in a two pronged attack. Hummers approached at speed, racing down the Groom road towards the complex. Once they reached the long runway they spread out in a line. Their CROW weapon systems opening up. Morgan could see tracer fire disappearing into the smoke storm created by the mortars.
So far there had been no reaction from the complex. Morgan put the SEAL coms channel through the loud speakers.
“Alpha company, move, move, move!”
Ironbarks voice was loud and confident.
The sound of automatic fire came to them.
“Four tango’s down, make your way to the security building...What the fuck!”
Surprise filled the SEAL team leaders voice.
The SEALs were annihilated in perfectly executed interlocking patterns of super heated plasma fire. Morgan heard Ironbarks voice shouting above the rain of gunfire his men were laying down: “Fuck! Go back! Go back!—Jesus—Base, this is Ironbark! SEAL assault is negative! I repeat, SEAL assault is fucked! They’ve activated Shiva We’re being slaughtered!”
“Ah! Fuck! ” Ironbark shouted in pain before, his signal also went dead and the airwaves went completely silent.
“Holy shit ...” Trotsky whispered. “What the fuck is Shiva?”
Morgan was thinking exactly the same thing.
Morgan and Trotsky could not see what was happening because of the smoke, but within a purple glow spread out from the center. Enveloping everything around the base, rolling outwards, a superheated tsunami of death. When it reached the hummers, each vehicle exploded in a brutal display of fire and twisted metal. The purple coloured death wave rolled up into the Papoose Mountains, killing the sniper and mortar teams, and any other living thing in its way, leaving in its wake scorched earth.
“Whoever they are, our little team just became the last people on Earth capable of stopping them.”
A burst of machine gun fire exploded from the alcove next to Jennifer. The two men danced like marionettes with their strings cut.
She screamed, clinging on to the ladder as her fear threatened to rip her away. Billy emerged from the deeper darkness of the alcove where he had secreted himself as the doors opened.
“You okay doc?”
She lifted her head away from the metal rung, and looked straight at him.
“Could I have some warning next time you fire that...Please!”
Billy laughed before launching himself across the shaft.
“Where you going, don’t leave me!”
“I’ll be a couple of seconds, stay there.”
He vanished out of sight.
“Billy!” she called to the empty doorway.
About a minute passed when Billy returned with a broad grin on his face.
“Let’s see them get into the vault now,” he said before jumping across to the alcove.
“What’d you do?”
“I Destroyed the locking system, they’ll have to blow the door now, c’mon let's keep moving.”
“Don’t leave me again, Billy.”
Jennifer started descending the ladder again.
Robert Morgan was stressed. He knew he had messed up big time. Now was the time for damage limitation. The report on Geheime Staat, Charlotte Webb had handed to him had been sitting at the bottom of his in tray for months. He had been persuaded by Senator Braham to sit on it, that it was not important. Staat posed no threat to the US national security interests. Now the senator had been found murdered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, incriminating photos all around him. Christ, what a mess. It was common knowledge he and the senator were close friends. It would not be hard to join the dots to lead back to him. Questions would be asked, he saw his pension check burst into flames, and his future spent trading soap with Bubba in Leavenworth.
Morgan opened the left hand drawer of his desk, took out his sidearm, and put the barrel in his mouth.
Barry Goldwater stared opened mouthed at the images on the screen. As did the other twelve people sat around the oak conference table. After the debacle of the SEAL team attack, a squadron of F-117 Nighthawk stealth strike aircraft had been dispatched from Edwards. Before they had even crossed into the secure box they had been destroyed by Shiva Star’s aerial defence capabilities. Bolts of Tesla boosted plasma had burned through the air. The F-117’s never stood a chance.
The twelve men sat around the table were all members of Majestic-12, the ruling council that oversaw and had full autonomy over Area-51 and most of the deep black DUMBS, deep underground military bases, where the majority of America’s most highly advanced weapons and defence technology was created. Once the purview of the Department of Energy and the Department of Defence, it was decided to bring it under the scope of one ruling body thus was Majestic created. They were to have total control over everything. Even having the right to refuse any requests from the president as to the goings on within these bases. The twelve were six civilians (mostly scientists), and six high-ranking military officers, two from each major military service made up of high ranking members of both departments. It’s members in previous years had been such esteemed names as, Dr. Lloyd Berkner, physicist and radio expert, Dr. D. W. Bronk, medical physicist; aviation physiologist; chair, National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council; president Johns Hopkins & Rockefeller University, Dr. Vannevar Bush, who chaired the wartime Office of Scientific Research and Development and predecessor National Defence Research Committee; set up and chaired postwar Joint Research and Development Board (JRDB) and then the Research and Development Board (RDB) Sec. James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy; first Secretary of Defence, replaced after his death on MJ-12 by Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, 2nd CIA director.
A very powerful body of people, some saw them as the hidden government. Goldwater didn't know anything about that, but he did know they held his ass on a plate over a roaring fire.
“It would seem this Koenig has us by the balls, do we know how he got hold of his knowledge of our base? ” Dr Garton Hunsaker, the son of Dr. Jerome Hunsaker, a former head of MJ-12, asked after contemplating the rerun of images on the screen.
Goldwater inwardly sighed. This he could answer, and it was not laid at his door.
“It would seem Geheime Staat got to Senator David Braham, who as you know, you yourself employed for a couple of years as an operations manager at the complex, he was found dead in D.C last night.”
“Do we know anything about this group? ” General Paul Shandera asked, ignoring what Goldwater had just stated.
“Yes we do, they’re called Geheime Staat. Robert Morgan had been sitting on an evaluation report for some months. Why he never alerted anyone to the threat they posed I don’t know.”
“I want a copy of this report and the name of the asset who compiled it, we’ll need to bury it so there are no comebacks,” Hunsaker paused to take a sip of water before he continued, “Where do we go from here? They appear to have total control of all assets at Groom, also what do you propose we do if they gain access to the Caldera?”
Goldwater was one of only four other people in the Pentagon who had full disclosure on all that went on within the Groom Complex. He knew the Caldera as it was called was where the most secret of all secrets was located. The Roswell Craft, the entity's who flew them and a few other special ‘gifts’ as they had been termed. Access was only granted to a few individuals. They called it the Caldera because if news of what was down there got out, it would blow like a magma filled chamber.
“I feel they are after something else, Fairfax would set off the defence protocols in the entrance to the level if they took him down there.”
The tunnel leading to the elevator to the Caldera was bio metrically enhanced, linked to the bases Cray 24000 computer, if any one entered the tunnel not linked to the Crays signature memory the tunnel would be filled with super heated plasma which would then lead to the entrance being sealed by an explosion. Also if certain additional protocols were not observed, and in the right order would result in the same series of events.
Goldwater’s cell phone vibrated. He pulled it out of his pocket; excused himself while he took the call.
At the end of the conversation, he turned to the members of Majestic.
“It seems we have another way of getting the base back, for a year now an autonomous military and science group have been stationed in the Groom Mountains, that was Morgan calling from Omega Hub, he and his team are going to enter the base via the old silver mines. They’re going to try to shut down Shiva allowing our forces to retake the complex. They can gain access into the Emergency evac tunnel this way.”
The council held a brief discussion. Dr Hunsaker nodded his head before returning his attention to him.
“Okay, Deputy Director, we agree to these people going in, but once we have regained control of Groom these people must be eliminated, do I make myself clear?”
“Why sir? These people are helping us.”
“Do not question us Director Goldwater, these men are out of our circle of control, if it were to become public knowledge of what we have down there, the consequences would be disastrous. And the report, and it’s creator, bury them both deeper than deep.”
Bane followed Kukri, and Hypo into the dark maw of the disused mine. To say he was relieved to discover he didn't have to run for his life again at the Sahara was an understatement. The two Omega men had arrived on his floor at the moment his visitors were attempting to crash his door. They had immobilised the bad guys, and Kukri had saved him from becoming a bloody art form on the concrete far below.
On the way to Omega Hub they had shared what information they knew. Bane was shocked to learn of the takeover of Area 51-an event unparalleled in history-he thought of what the assassin had said back in New York. ‘Soon they will activate the bell’, was this some kind of weapon?
They could not contact the hub as a coms shutdown had been implemented in case anyone was listening in.
After walking along the pitch black tunnel, lit only by the torch in Kukri’s hand, they arrived at what looked like a rock fall blocking the way. Bane had to admit, it was a good ruse, disguising the entrance behind the facade of a disused mine, there were even remnants of the rail tracks used to transport the ore up from within the mine.
Kukri took what looked like a garage door opener from his pocket. Bane heard the grinding of gears as the little Gurkha thumbed a button. The rock fall split along the middle and slid up into the roof and floor respectively. Light flooded out to reveal an arched metal door. Kukri put his eye up to a bio-metric device and placed his thumb against a pad.
The door whooshed up into the roof to reveal a flight of steps leading down to a corridor. Bane followed behind the two Omega men feeling like he was Alice going down the rabbit hole.
The main control area of the hub was located at the end of the corridor. Bane thought he was dreaming. The control room looked like the deck of the starship enterprise. On two levels with a large screen dominating the wall in front of what would be the warp drive and communications station on the infamous craft, straight away he designated Kirks chair which was located behind this. On the upper level numerous computer stations lined the walls. Just like on the ship there were plenty of blinking lights, monitors and equipment of unknown use.
A short haired, wiry man was sitting down at the desk in front of the chair. He looked up as they entered.
“Welcome home boys, you got no time to shit, go get suited and booted and be prepared to rock and roll. Morgan’s down in the ready room,” he turned to Bane, “Welcome aboard, sorry you won’t get no formal induction, go check in with Morgan.”
Kukri led him down two levels to a room lined with weapon racks, lockers and other bits of kit on metal shelving. Two men were sitting down at a table off in a side room.
“Morgan, Bane's here, you need to listen to what he has to say.”
The man who had his back to Bane climbed to his feet, and came out of the room to welcome him.
“Good to have you on board, Adam, I’m Morgan, Chief of D.A. Usually we give the new guys a lengthy induction as to what we’re about, but we got some trouble over at Groom, so what you got to tell me?”
Bane briefly filled them in on everything that had happened, including the deaths of Gladius, and Conda, and also what the man in the back of the van had told him before he died, ‘Soon all will whisper in fear the name, Geheime Staat. Soon they will activate the bell, and then it will be too late for all of you.’
“If we can find out what this bell is, and if it is in there it may make our job easier,” Bane finished.
“Excellent work, ‘So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss’, I can tell you will make a useful addition to our little band. Monroe wanted you on the investigation side, but I’m gonna have you work both departments, you up for that?”
Bane smiled, “Now you’re talking, I miss the days when I got my hands dirty.”
Morgan slapped him on the back.
“Good man, I want you up in the hub, get me all you can on this Geheime Staat, and get on to the Pentagon to find out if they have anything down there that could be called a bell. Trotsky will show you how to access the computers. We go in one hour, so get me all you can by then.”
“There’s one other thing, my boss, it looks like he may be on the payroll of these guys,” Bane said, “he was the only one who knew I was at the Sahara.”
“Mm, seems their tentacles stretch into all kinds of pies. We may have to deal with that later.”
Bane tossed off a half hearted salute before heading back to the hub. He felt like he had been thrown into a tornado, this bunch were different folks to what he was used to, but he could already tell they were good people.
Jennifer and Billy had finally reached the bottom of the lift shaft. Now was the hard part. They had to assume the area around the mag-lev station would be heavily guarded. Jennifer leaned against the side of the shaft, exhausted, she wiped the sweat and grime from her face. Billy had located a maintenance access grid, with a little effort he managed to prise it off revealing a darkened tunnel.
“If I,m right this should lead to the tunnel, we should be able to slip by the station unseen, hopefully.”
She pushed away from the wall as Billy crouched down and crawled into the maintenance tunnel.
“I hope you're right, Billy.”
She crept in after him, trying to shove down the panic which was rising inside her. She could hear a thrumming noise through the walls and a subtle vibration thrilled through her body. All this added to the rising tension which was building inside her. She tried not to think what would happen if they were caught. Being in the dark for so long was playing tricks with her imagination.
When she had been offered the job, for no one ever applies to work at the Groom complex; they are chosen, she was told it was a chance to work with some exiting cutting edge technologies. Nobody said it would involve crawling about in grimy elevator shafts.
Jennifer had been so involved in her own thoughts. She had not realised Billy had stopped until she smacked up against his butt.
“Careful Doc, we’re at the exit panel. It seems all quiet out there.”
“Just get us out of here. I’m getting the hee bee geebies in here.”
“Back up a bit then, I need some room here.”
She shuffled backwards, and Billy manoeuvred himself around until he was laying on his back, giving him clearance to kick out the grill.
Seconds later, they were out in the tunnel. The section they had emerged into was well lit as it was the run up to the vacuum tube which propelled the train up to its top speed of 700 kph. The white walls arched up above them with the twin guide-ways which held the guidance and levitation coils as well as the magnetic propulsion coils running along the floor of the tunnel.
Billy indicated the bend in the tunnel off to their left.
“The station is that way, just out of sight, if we crawl along we should be out of sight of anyone up on the station.”
A thought suddenly struck her.
“Billy, I don’t think you’ve thought this through, there’s no way we can enter the vac tubes.”
“We don’t have to, at the other end of the station, just inside the western tunnel there’s a ladder which will take us up to the emergency access tunnels, they will take us to the surface.”
“That’s going to take us forever, we’re twenty three levels underground.”
“It’s the only way, Doc, c’mon.”
As they approached the curve an alarm began to sound. Jennifer saw Billy’s face blanch.
“Fuck, c’mon Doc, we got to run, they’re going to flood the tunnels.”
He grabbed her hand, and they began to run.
“We’ve got about one minute to get to the ladder.”
As they began to run, the sound of water could be heard, gushing from pipes in the tunnel walls behind them.
Koenig’s face was noncommittal as he stared at Fairfax. They were sat in the colonel’s office where the man had just finished begging him not to destroy the township of Rachel. The town was a short distance away, along Highway 375, with a population of fifty four souls.
“See it from my point of view, I have told your people I will destroy the town if they attacked us, what would that say about me as a leader if I did not follow through?”
“It would say you are a kind and just leader, isn't it enough you wiped them out?”
Koenig clapped his hands.
“Your so right...no wonder they made you a colonel, Gunther!”
The large bodyguard came into the office, performed the Heil before standing to attention.
“Ah Gunther, the good colonel here has made me see sense, so, we are not going to destroy the town today,” he looked at Fairfax with a benefactors smile. The colonel lets out a breath, and ran a hand across his face.
Koenig turned back to Gunther, “Kill all the prisoners in the first section of the cages.”
Fairfax jumped to his feet, “No! Koenig, don’t do this.”
Koenig wheeled, backhanding Fairfax across the face.
“Life is about consequences and repercussions for our actions, you asked me to save the town...your actions condemned those people.”
Koenig’s face was a mask of fury for a few seconds then he smiled. To Fairfax, it was the smile of a wolf standing over it’s prey.
“Come, it is now time to go to the vault.”
“Sir, we may also have a problem,” Gunther said.
Koenig looked at his bodyguard.
“Two men guarding the elevator on the vault level were found shot. The guard on the elevator in the Labs is missing.”
“So, we have some heroes’, eh, have a team of Sturmabteilung do an intense search of the levels, bring who ever is responsible to me.”
Gunther raised his hand in salute before leaving the office.
Billy and Jennifer were running for their life. Liquid death was disgorging from pipes all along the tunnel. The water was now up to waist level as they reached the station, which thankfully was now deserted.
“C’mon doc, we’re nearly there,” Billy called out above the sound of the deluge.
As they cleared the edge of the platform, Jennifer drifted close to one of the pipes. Water hit her in the side knocking her off her feet and driving her under the surface.
Billy hearing her cry out, stopped and dived under. Groping around, he found her, and pulled her to the surface. She emerged, coughing and spluttering. He pulled her on-wards.
They came to an alcove in the tunnel wall. A metal door was set in the wall. Billy spun the locking wheel. Pushing it open, they fell through.
“Doc, help me close it.”
Together they heaved the door shut before dropping to the floor, both exhausted from their flight.
“This shit is getting old real fast, I’m a scientist, not action Barbie,” Jennifer coughed.
“Your doing a fair impression from where I’m sitting,” Billy grinned at her.
They were in a small store room. Racks lined the walls filled with various tools and equipment. A metal ladder on the opposite wall disappeared into the roof.
“Not far now, we only have to climb three levels to reach the tunnels, they will take us to the emergency exit doors.”
She pushed herself to her feet, and went to the ladder.
“C’mon then Billy, we don’t have time to sit around.”
He shook his head and followed her.
After Trotsky showed Bane how to access the computer array, Bane was soon hunting down all the information Morgan had requested. He was impressed with the power beneath his fingertips. The computer was a Rykon 457, made by Cray Systems, ten times more powerful than Crays Titan, coming in at 30 petraflops with twenty one thousand processing nodes. As well as a 16-core AMD CPU, each node contained an Nvidia GPU accelerator, a specially-adapted version of processor technology originally developed for the video gaming market. All this information was imparted by Trotsky like it was meant to mean something to Bane. He figured it meant it was one powerful piece of kit.
An hour after he sat down he had pieced together a lot of information on Geheime Staat. Piecing together the rumours and official files of many agencies around the world, it added up to something very disturbing.
He had uncovered something called Projekt Fortsetzung der Zustand, continuation of the state. A highly secret endeavour of the Nazis in World War 2. All high ranking members of the state, including Adolf Hitler fathered children who at birth were spirited away to an unknown location to be raised in the ideals of National Socialism. The plan appeared to be the continuation of Nazi Germany if by chance they lost the war. These children grew up to become Geheime Staat, the secret state.
There was no information on who the children belonged to, as all documents on the 'projekt’ were destroyed. What they had at the Groom complex would be the children of the originals, which meant the mothers and fathers were out there waiting in the wings for what ever their offspring were attempting to do.
Next he accessed the Pentagons vast database, looking for any information on what this bell could be. He was surprised when he was given access to their computers and the deep black Z-Files where the secrets they did not want anyone finding out were stored. What he found was just like something from the X-Files or a way out there Sci-Fi movie. The bell device was found in a wood near Kecksburg in 1965. Alongside the device was a group of Nazi scientists including a Dr Hans Kammler, head of the SS's Building and Works Division—the entity that had masterminded and built the extermination camps. It appeared, however improbable, they had travelled through time from the year 1945. Bane felt like he had been kicked in the chest by a horse, and had to re-read the information again to make sure he had got it right.
The bell was part of a research effort into the properties of anti-gravity, but after an accident which resulted in many deaths the device opened some-kind of hole in time. He located a short after action report, dated April 1945, written by a Captain Hardesty of the 8th Army, they had captured and interrogated an SS-Gruppenführer named Jakob Sporrenberg. He had revealed that a secret complex was concealed in the hills of the Jonas Pass in Thuringia. Here esoteric weapons research was being done, shortly before their arrival in the Pass a group of scientists and an SS General named Kammler had entered the complex in order to escape the advance of the 8th army. Hardesty sent some soldiers after them, when they did not return another team entered the tunnels. They found the complex empty of life. In a cavernous room, they discovered many, what he described as half melted bodies including the first group of soldiers who went after the scientists.
He turned to Trotsky who was trying to locate a way into the complex without walking in the front door.
“The device is located in something called the Vault, I believe that we need to assume this is what they are after, can you locate it for me.”
“On it,” came the reply.
Bane logged out of the computer then headed off to rejoin Morgan down in the ready room. After he imparted all he had found Morgan pointed to a locker.
“Get suited up and armed, we go as soon as Trot has got us a route in.”
Bane opened the locker to find a black outfit similar to what the SAS wore but with built-in armour plates. Night site goggles, a utility belt for spare ammo and other bits of kit. He began to suit up. The mood in the room was all business like, reminding Bane of his army days.
Kukri and Hypo were already suited up, doing pre-op checks on their weapons.
“Man, I never thought when I got out of bed this morning I would end up fighting the Fourth Reich, Trots gonna love this,” Hypo said, “And this time HG Wells time machine shit, what’s that all about, you think that’s straight up Morgan?”
He looked up from lacing his boots.
“Must be if it’s in the Z-files.”
Trotsky came into the room like a man with a plan.
“I found the perfect root in guys, we can get in from here...well the mine below us.” He held a portable tablet, with a schematic of the base displayed on the screen.
“Go on,” Morgan said as he crossed to the weapon racks.
“One of the lower passages crosses over the complexes escape tunnel, we can blow a hole down into it, enter that way.”
“Sounds like a plan. Okay, finish up then I’ll give a brief, for what it is at such short notice.”
Bane grabbed a M16A4 assault rifle off the rack, and retrieved spare clips from the box underneath. A Beretta M9F went into the holster on his utility belt. Spare clips went into a pouch on his belt.
He noticed the others had chosen a variety of different weapons, Kukri sported a Heckler & Koch XM 8 with under-slung grenade launcher, his blade the infamous Kukri was strapped to his back, and a Browning in the holster at his hip. Hypo had an M16 same as Bane, while Trotsky carried a H & K MP5. Morgan carried a futuristic looking weapon, the XM29 OICW (Objective Individual Combat Weapon). The gun was capable not only of firing standard NATO rounds but the under-slung barrel could launch 20mm HE air-bursting projectiles; a very powerful weapon indeed.
The unnamed man who had been sat with Morgan earlier entered the ready room. He was already suited up. He clapped Bane on the back.
“Welcome to Omega, I’m Cyclops, I do any flying we need,” he said, his voice was Russian deep but raspy like he had suffered a throat injury at some point.
“Nice of you to join us,” Morgan said.
“I was only checking out the chopper in case we need a fast getaway.”
Okay, everyone ready to rock & roll? ”
Murmurs of assent passed around the room.
“The plan, such as it is, primary objective is to neutralise Shiva, secondary is to secure the vault if we can. Once Shiva is out of action, then we can bring in the cavalry. We hit, we run, we weaken them.”
“Easy peas then,” Trotsky said.
“It won’t be a walk in the park, if you’ve a problem with going up against them, I know your grandfather died in Auschwitz, I can stand you down.”
“No way boss, I’m not missing out on some payback, doing this for my ancestors.”
Cyclops mussed Trotsky’s shaved head.
“That’s my brave little mouse, ha!”
“Ger off me ya big Muscovite lug,” Trotsky said pulling away.
Bane was now beginning to see the strong bond these people had, the same as all men of this ilk who had shared in combat what civilians could only guess. He hoped he was able to fit in.
“Let’s do this thing then.”
As he fell in behind them and they filed ou,. Bane thought, this is going to be a massacre, such a small team going up against a larger force.
Oscar Koenig was standing in front of the vault door, his whole body trembling with fury. Even his two huge bodyguards stood back as if to stay out of the zone of eruption.
He had put on his black dress uniform especially for the occasion, Fairfax thought it made him look like a caricature of a Nazi officer, from the spit shined jackboots to the peaked cap with its deaths head emblem.
Fairfax stood to one side, having explained there was no way to open the door save cutting through the metal. Some one had destroyed the doors activation console. He smiled inside, but shrank back from the explosion he knew was coming.
Koenig turned from the door, fire burning behind his eyes.
“Bringt mir die Köpfe der Bastarde, die das getan hat!” Spittle flew from his mouth, he lunged towards Fairfax, punching him twice to the head.
He flew back, crashing through a double set of doors into an administrative office. In a couple of strides, Koenig was on him. Grabbing him by the lapel, and half lifting the colonel from the floor.
“This petty act of vandalism is going to result in more deaths to your people, nothing and no one can stop us, and when we complete our mission here, I will keep you like a pet dog at my side to witness the rise of the new Reich,” he smiled, a wolfs smile, “The release of death will not be for you, my friend.”
The sound of a walkie talkie came from the corridor then the sound of one of the bodyguards answering in German.
“Mein Fuhrer, a message.”
“What is it?”
“Hoffman has arrived with the Xerum.”
“Gutt,” he released Fairfax before stalking away.
“Get this door open, you have one hour...And put the colonel in chains.” he said to the bodyguards.
Fairfax stared after him. Realisation of the situation he was in was dawning on him. He felt like he was on a ship at sea with a madman at the helm.
They emerged from the ladder into a low lit stone corridor. Jennifer stood shivering despite the exertion from climbing. Billy scuttled along to the bend in the corridor to their left before coming back to reveal it was clear of any enemy.
“How long to the exit from here,” she asked.
“I think we have to walk about one klick from here, I just hope they don’t know about it and have it guarded.”
“Oh, don’t say that, just when I was enjoying myself.”
She smiled thinly before slumping down to the floor.
“What I wouldn't give for a Vodka Martini right now.”
“I’ll make do with an ice cold Bud,” he said.
“If we make it out of here, I’ll buy you one at The Chandelier,” she laughed.
“It’s a deal, we’ll rest here for a minute.”
“How did you do it, Billy? I mean to shoot those men earlier, you always seemed so mild mannered to me.”
Billy smiled, appeared to disappear into the shadows of his past.
“One thing I took from my good for nothing father was, do to others what they are thinking of doing to you, I was bullied a lot at school, he taught me how to fight. Got me into a lot of trouble at first.”
He laughed, a harsh sound, and leaned his head against the wall.
“Anyway, they would have shot us, better them, eh?”
“So, what about you? The way you handled that guard, you didn't hesitate.”
“Self-preservation, I think they call it. I know one thing, I have never been so scared in my life.”
The sounds of voices carried along the corridor from around the bend.
“Shit!” He said, grabbing her hand, “Time to run.”
They set off at a brisk pace along the corridor. Both grimacing at the sounds their footfalls made. There was no cover. Nowhere to hide.
Up ahead the tunnel curved to the right. Jennifer looked over her shoulder to see three black uniformed men appear behind them. A shout echoed along the tunnel. One man fired, sparks flashed from the wall beside them where the bullets struck. She flinched. Billy almost pulled her off her feet as he dragged her around the curve.
Ahead the tunnel stretched into the distance, seeming an impossible length. All they could do was keep running as death approached from behind.
They had only gone a few metres when up ahead appeared two golf cart buggies with more armed men.
They stopped. Billy raised his weapon, fired at the buggies. The electric vehicles swerved. The men climbed out, taking cover behind them. Jennifer readied her pistol. Time to stand and fight.
Once they entered the mine system, they walked in silence. Each one lost in their own thoughts about the task ahead. They had trudged on for about half an hour, through dark tunnels pierced only by their helmet torches. In many places, they had to bend over to navigate the claustrophobic passages.
They entered a wider part of the tunnel which looked as if it may have been some kind of storage area. Morgan held up his hand. Cyclops and Kukri set down the metal box they had been carrying between them. This contained equipment to help affect entry to the complex. Trotsky was holding a type of Thermobaric lance, something created in the deep dark black labs of the United States. All efforts were performed in silence. Trotsky crossed over to the right side wall while Cyclops retrieved from the metal box a device which looked like a small TV connected to a camera with a wide angle lens. He set this up on a supporting tripod in front of the wall. He activated the device, the screen lit up, and after he had fiddled with a pair of knobs a black and white image appeared on the screen.
They could see a long section of straight corridor with an arched roof and featureless walls. There were no signs of life.
Morgan indicated the wall next to the image.
“Trot, cut away there then we can set the charges.”
Bane stood off to one side, feeling like a third wheel on a blind date. Hypo came over to stand next to him.
“Trotsky’s only happy if he’s blowing’ shit up or burning stuff. So, what’s so important about this bell device?”
Morgan watched the lance begin its work. The stone wall began to melt like heated butter. He came over to Bane, holding out his hand. Bane took the proffered hand and received a strong handshake.
“We have a few minutes, so, welcome to Omega once again, sorry it’s all a bit rushed here.”
“No problem, needs must when the devil drives as they say.”
“Yeah, I just wanted to say there is no need to prove anything to us here, you’ve done that already or the colonel would not have brought you on-board, go on then tells us what you make of this bell, do you think it is a time machine?”
Bane rubbed his chin, and thought on the information he had uncovered.
“Well, if the files are to be believed then yeah, it seems so, used at least once when it appeared in Kecksburgh.”
They noticed Hypo looking around.
“What’s wrong with you,” Morgan asked.
“I keep expecting Mulder and Scully to show up.”
Bane and Morgan laughed.
“There is no information on whatever the Germans did being replicated, and it seems Kammler and the scientists have been buried in the system. I could not find any information on what happened to them afterwards. The problem seems to be the fuel that drives the device. No one has been able to create the same mixture-the Xerum 525.”
“I have a feeling these looney tunes who have taken the complex may have done just that, question is, why do they need to go back?”
“Heads up! ” Cyclops called out, “We got movement.”
They all focussed in on the screen.
A man and a woman were running along the tunnel. They stopped. The man fired at something off screen. Cyclops swivelled the camera in the direction of his shots. Two buggies could be seen swerved across the tunnel with four armed men taking cover behind them.
“Trotsky, how you doing?”
“I’m through to the tunnel wall, boss man.”
“Okay, Kukri, Hypo, set the charges, some folk need a little help, when the wall goes we go out shooting.”
The two men took shaped charges from the metal box, and placed them in the still smoking hole Trotsky had made. They all moved back further down the tunnel.
“Fire in the hole! ” Kukri yelled as he hit the button on the detonator.
A fire storm of bullets punctuated the walls and floor of the tunnel all around Jennifer and Billy. The shots calculated to scare not kill.
Jennifer threw down her weapon, followed by Billy. Both realised it was futile to continue.
“Get on your knees, and put your hands on your head! ” A heavily accented voice yelled from the direction of the buggies.
They both complied with the request.
Jennifer's heart was pounding. She squeezed her eyes shut, waiting for a bullet to the head any moment. Billy stared straight ahead, watching the weapons up approach of the four men. He looked over his shoulder to see three more approaching from his rear, their weapons trained on them as they advanced.
“Keep looking at me dummkopf!” One of the four shouted, they halted about two metres away from Jennifer and Billy.
For a few seconds, nobody moved.
The silence was broken by what sounded like the gods cracking boulders with their fists. The wall to the left of the four men exploded out-wards. They disappeared in a cloud of rubble, smoke, and fire.
Jennifer screamed. Billy stared open mouthed. Six men in combat greens, emerged from the newly formed hole. They opened fire on the men behind Billy and Jennifer. One man swivelled towards the sound of a scream in the newly formed rubble heap. He fired one single shot which silenced the screamer..
Two men hurried up the corridor to take up covering positions near the buggies, two more sped past them to take up covering positions to the rear.
The remaining two walked towards them.
Billy jumped to his feet. He grabbed the nearest mans hand and pumped it furiously.
“I don’t know who you are but thank God you arrived in time.”
“Name’s Morgan, and you two are?”
“I’m Billy Lee. This here’s Doctor Jennifer Connelly, we work here.”
“Nice to meet you folks, right what can you tell me about the situation down here, where are the bad guys located? How are they armed? And anything else you may think is important.”
“Sorry, sir, we can’t tell you much,” Billy said, “We’ve spent the last couple of hours running for our lives, they do seem to have guards on all floors, armed with machine guns and pistols. They seem to be German, I think they’re after something in the vault, I disabled the locking mechanism on the way down here, they’ll need to cut through the door now.”
Morgan nodded as Billy spoke. He now had a problem though, they could not afford to carry extra baggage along, but on the other hand he could not allow them to go to the hub on their own or become one man down to babysit them.
Jennifer seemed to sense what he was thinking.
“You’ve got to take us along with you, we can both use these guns, and there are only six of you.”
Morgan was looking at the doctor, surprised at how gutsy she appeared to be. She did have a point, he thought they must be resourceful to have made it this far.
“Alright, but you do exactly as myself or any of my men tell you, no exceptions, agreed?”
They both nodded, “Agreed.”
Morgan called Trotsky and Kukri back from their position by the electric carts.
“Trot, you know the layout to the vault better than any of us, you take point, first order of the day is to secure that location. Let’s move out, double time people.”
Koenig gazed into the open metal attache case on Fairfax’s desk before him. Inside sat four glass vials filled with a rust red liquid. Looking up at Hoffman, he smiled his wolfs smile and said, “A supreme effort, Oberst Hoffman, despite the might of the US armies surrounding us you got through. You will be hailed a hero in the new Fatherland.”
Hoffman clicked his heels and inclined his head at Koenig.
“It was easy in the end, Mein Fuhrer, you were right that cover would be sparse near the radioactive lands, with the help of the secreted protective suit I was able to make it through safe. Is all ready with Die Glocke?”
“We have had a minor setback, someone sabotaged the locking mechanism to the vault door but I have men currently working on it as we speak, we should be through in the hour.”
There was a knock at the door. Gunther entered and saluted.
“What is it, Gunther?”
“We have lost touch with the team sent down to relieve the Emergency Exit guards, Mein Fuhrer, nor can we raise them on their radios either.”
“Take a team down and investigate, leave your brother outside my door.”
Gunther saluted and left the room.
“Problems? ” Hoffman asked.
“No, they are probably in a radio blind-spot, come let us go check out the advance team, see if they are ready then we shall go down to the vault.”
Bane loped along behind Morgan and Trotsky. He was soon realising he was not as fit as he thought he was. He felt the beginnings of a stitch in his side, and so was glad when Trotsky held up his hand for them to stop.
The corridor had opened up into what looked like some kind of warehouse. Rows and rows of high rise pallet racking stretched away on either side of where they now gathered. All were filled from floor to ceiling, which towered high above them, with wooden crates of varying size and shape.
“What is this place, Billy? ” Morgan asked.
“Not sure, I’ve never been this deep before.”
“Trotsky, any ideas?”
The little Israely took out his tablet and consulted the screen.
“Just as it appears, a storage area. We need to travel up three levels to reach the vault. There’s an elevator we can take or a flight of stairs.”
At the far end of the room a two tiered mezzanine overlooked the room.
Weapons up, they slowly moved towards a central walkway. The sound of elevator doors opening from up in the mezzanine froze them.
“We can’t afford a contact yet,” Morgan said, “hide up in the racking.”
Bane shouldered his weapon before climbing up to the second level and secreting himself amidst the boxes. The others did the same. Within seconds, they were all out of view of the walkway below.
Several minutes passed before ten black clad men marched into view. Grouped in two columns, all heavily armed. At the head of the column was a big bald headed man. He held up a hand halting them. His head swept back and forth, then up and down. When he was reassured, there was no threat he signalled the men to move out.
Bane's heart was pounding and a cold sweat broke out all over him. He listened as the pounding of boots receded into the distance.
He waited a beat before peering out from behind the large crate he was using to hide behind. Across the way, Morgan appeared from behind his own. He slid to the edge of the pallet, and scanned the walkway below. He signalled to Bane all clear before beginning his descent from the racking. The others also emerged from their hides.
“Why didn't we take them out, why hide?” Bane asked once he joined Morgan on the walkway.
“We need to keep our presence here a secret as long as possible.”
“They’ll know we are here when they find the hole in the wall though, and what if they find the hub?”
“Unless they’ve got heavy cutting gear the hub will be secure, sure they’ll know someone’s here but not how many, but we’ll have to move fast now.”
Bane held his tongue, he knew he was the new boy and should not be questioning Morgan, even though it felt tactically wrong to him.
“Trot, leave them a surprise.”
A grin spreads across Trotsky's face. He removed the small backpack he had been carrying and retrieved two small black boxes from within. He attached one to the metal stanchion on one side of the walkway then placed the second on the opposite side.
Morgan turned to Bane, “We’re not going to leave them unharmed. An infra red beam connects the boxes, when tripped...kaboom.”
Bane grinned, understanding now. A modern version of a tripwire bomb. Once triggered it would bring down the racking on their heads.
They moved out, heading towards the mezzanine, and whatever waited for them above.
The phalanx of black clad troops came to attention when Koenig and Hoffman accompanied by the ever present hulking figure of Wilhelm Mauser. Otherwise known as 'Bad Willy', stepped out of the elevator. He and his brother Gunther had been personal guards to Koenig for over ten years, both had a fearsome reputation, making lesser men tremble in their jackboots. Rumour had it that Bad Willy once ate part of a dead prisoner in front of other prisoners just to gain information.
The trio walked past the men, and into the corridor where work was carried out on opening the vault. One man was operating a plasma torch. He was being supervised by Koenig's chief engineer, Leo Brandt.
"How goes it?"
Brandt jumped at the sound of Koenig's voice. He stepped forward, delivering a half salute.
"We are working on the second locking flange, Mein Fuhrer, another fifteen minutes and we will be in."
Bad Willy's radio crackled. He stepped away to respond to the call. Koenig noticed his body guard frown.
"Do we have a problem?"
"My brother has found the emergency exit guards dead, and a breach in the corridor. We have intruders it seems."
"Am I surrounded by idiots!" Koenig's face was red, his eyes wild.
"Tell your brother to find them and eat their eyes, put the whole base on alert. Hunt them down, put every available man on it. Nothing can stop what we are doing here. It is too important to our cause."
Bad Willy nodded, and spoke once more into his radio.
"Brandt, your fifteen turned into ten. Mauser, contact the cells, have our two little scientist guests brought here as well as Fairfax, and assemble the advance team-the time is at hand."
Morgan crashed open the double doors to the stairwell leading up into the complex. Bane was the last one through, and before the doors swung shut behind him, he heard a dull boom behind him. The booby trap had been tripped.
They all froze for a few seconds.
"C'mon, let's move, they won't be following us now."
They flew up the stairs, taking them four at a time, hurling themselves around every turn. Bane counted off one hundred and fifty steps before they reached a landing with a double set of fire-doors leading off.
Dr Connelly and Billy were panting for breath so Morgan held up his hand to stop them.
"We'll stop here for five, but no more."
He had finished speaking when a volley of bullets sizzled off the walls and floor. Bane jumped back. Bullets pounded the floor where he had been standing.
"Contact, contact, contact!" Trotsky raised his weapon and fired up the stairwell. Kukri and Cyclops joined him.
Bane rammed his shoulder against the fire-door, crashing it open. With Kukri and Trotsky covering them, they all stumbled through the doors. They found themselves in a cavernous chamber. Dominating the center, sitting on a raised platform was a large black delta winged aircraft. All sleek angles. Looking like a futuristic bird of prey.
"Putin's piles, that's the Aurora," Cyclops voice was hushed as if he had seen the face of God.
"No, you Russian Klutz, that's the next generation Aurora, armoured to the teeth and capable of MACH 12,” Trotsky said.
Cyclops sniffed, shrugging his shoulders, "Close enough my little friend, it's beautiful."
Assembled around the edges of the chamber several additional smaller craft were stowed, some in various stages of construction. On the left side of the chamber was a raised gantry, thirty feet above the chamber, reached by a flight of metal steps. Several glass-walled offices lined the north wall of the chamber.
An opening between the offices appeared to be the only exit out of the place. But that would be a problem. Fifteen black clad troops were emerging out of the opening. They took cover behind boxes and pieces of machinery.
"Shit, we're trapped!" Billy raised his weapon. Morgan pushed it down.
"Not until I say we are," Morgan said. "Omega, let's take it to them."
As one, they broke into a run full tilt towards the central platform. The air around them came alive with hissing fireflies.
Bane, Trotsky, Dr Connelly and Cyclops broke right. The others headed to the left corner of the platform.
Gunfire echoed out all around them.
The troops from the stairwell burst into the chamber. Kukri, and Morgan spun towards them. Unleashed a brutal wave of gunfire. The troops were forced back through the doors. Two of their number lay dead on the floor.
Bane dropped down beside Trotsky who had taken cover behind an electric buggy. Dr Connelly and Cyclops had taken cover behind a metal workbench and were returning fire. Morgan and the others had edged up on the platform, and were using some wooden crates as cover.
"Find us another way out of here," Morgan called down to Trotsky. He alternated between firing at the troops across the chamber, and back at the fire-door.
Trotsky took off his bergen and retrieved his tablet.
Bane took a peek over the top of the cart. Four men were trying to edge along the side of the platform. He raised his M16. On full auto, he sprayed off a volley of shots. Bullets pinged all around them. One went down, a burst of red spraying out from his neck. The others pulled back.
"Hustle, Trot, more will be on us any moment!"
It was a stand-off. Whenever they tried to edge forward, Omega team pushed them back with targeted shots.
"Found anything?" Bane asked.
"Yeah, but it ain't gonna be easy," he looked at the platform then at the roof, "we're gonna have to take a ride with big bird...up."
"Sounds like a plan."
"Yeah, but the platforms operated from up on the gantry. We'd need someone up there, but they'd be left behind."
Bane looked up at the gantry. Three Staat troopers had reached the platform. One held a predator hand held rocket launcher.
He grabbed Trotsky. Pulling him away from the cart. The missile hit. Blowing the cart into a million pieces. Bane and Trotsky were hurled into the air by the force. Their fall was broken by a table covered with files and other bits of flotsam.
Over at the opening, more men were streaming into the chamber. A shit storm of bullets assailed their positions.
Bane pulled himself free of the wrecked table. Trotsky sat up looking dazed and confused. He realised the force of the blast had taken them close to the steps up to the gantry, and out of sight of the team above.
"Everyone, onto the platform, it's an elevator to take planes up to the surface," Bane called out, "I'm going up to the gantry to set it off, give me some cover."
He pulled Trotsky to his feet, and pushed him towards the others.
"Don't it'll be suicide!"
"Go, I'll be fine."
He watched as Cyclops, Dr Connelly and Trotsky broke for the platform. Firing at the fire-doors and the other side of the room. So far, the troops behind the doors had remained there.
Bane ran the last few metres to the steps. He shouldered his M16, and drew his Biretta from his hip holster. He much preferred hand guns for close up work. The others opened up on the gantry above him. Forcing the team there to keep their heads down. He hoped the noise of gunfire would mask his assent up the stairs.
Two minutes after he started his assent he gained the platform. The three troopers were ducked under the cover of of the metal wall which circled the gantry. One of them noticed Bane. He raised his weapon. Bane shot him between the eyes. The bullet exiting above his right ear. The man with the predator dropped the launcher. Reached for his sidearm. Bane double tapped him. Two in the chest, one in the head as he stepped forward. The third who was closer, launched himself at Bane. Because of the angle, the man was on him before he could draw down.
Down on the elevator platform, Morgan and the rest of the team were taking fire now from three sides. Staat troopers had managed to advance around the sides. They were assailing the elevator with withering bursts of gunfire. Nevertheless, for the moment Morgan and his team were holding their own, returning as fierce a wall of fire at the Staat troops.
"Cyclops had enough of this!"
The big Russian jumped up from behind the cover of the boxes. Opened up with his GPMG. Spraying a lethal wall of lead. He sprinted for the aircraft.
"What the hell is the crazy kook think he's doing," Trotsky said as he ducked to avoid another spray of bullets.
"Think he's gonna try and fly out," Billy said.
Cyclops ducked under the body of the craft. Two troopers climbed up on the elevator to his left. He sent them back to join their friends, body's riddled with heavy gauge slugs. Within seconds, he had opened the underside hatch and disappeared inside.
Nothing happened for a heartbeat.
The VTOL rockets, vertical take off and landing, fired. The sleek black beast rose into the air.
The twin machine guns under the nose of the craft emitted streams of death. Staat troopers scattered as their ranks were chewed up.
Trotsky and Billy Lee pumped the air, whooping with delight.
Bane fell back against the railing as the man crashed into him. The trooper had one hand on his gun hand, the other pushing at his face, fingers clawing at his eyes.
With his free hand, he hit the man with his palm. Short and sharp to the temple.
The man grunted.
Pumped full of adrenaline and fear he showed no other reaction.
Bane grabbed the clawing hand and twisted it away from his face.
He shot his head forward, butting the man.
He fell backwards. Bane wrenched his gun hand free. He squeezed the trigger, shooting the man in the stomach. Grabbing the trooper by the front of his tunic, he hurled him over the railing. The man screamed all the way down.
Bane ran over to the control station. Confused at the array of buttons and switches, he pushed a lever forward. A grinding sound came from down below. He ran over to the railing, looking over he saw the plane turning, firing at the troops. The elevator slowly began to rise. There was something wrong though. The roof door remained firmly shut. Bane dashed back to the control panel, and began flipping switches, pressing buttons. Hoping for the best.
Finally he had it. The doorway in the ceiling, with a grinding of gears, separated in the middle. Began to open up.
Bane wiped the sweat away from his forehead. And with his heart thumping in his chest he crossed to the railing. He hated heights but knew coming up here he would have to confront that fear if he was to return to the others.
When he had first scanned the gantry he saw an electrical cable angling down across the room, disappearing into the wall on the opposite side of the vast chamber. The cable passed the edge of the elevator. With a little luck and timing, he would be able to reach the platform.
Bane removed a webbing belt from one of the dead men, and climbed over the rail.
The elevator had now risen above the sight line of those below. Cyclops continued to hover.
"How's Bane gonna get back to us now?" Kukri asked.
"He's on his own now, he's resourceful though, he'll find away," Morgan looked up at the gantry, some twenty feet above them.
The others did the same.
They all saw Bane launch himself into the air. The belt he was holding caught the cable. He zipped down through the air. Staat troops had spotted him, and were firing. Bullets sizzled through the air, missing him by inches.
Son of a bitch, Morgan thought.
When Bane drew level with them, he flipped himself sideways off the cable. Tucking himself into a ball, he landed, rolling to his feet like some crazed Circus performer.
"Anybody miss me?" He stood there, a broad grin on his face.
"No showboating, you're not American," Trotsky laughed.
"Heads up, people we're not out of this yet."
They all looked up towards the black maw they were about to vanish into. There was no telling how far up the shaft went as no lights lit the way. Soon the darkness ate them up, they were blind except for the light given off by the Aurora's VTOL thrusters, and the dim glow from the cockpit.
The platform under their feet shuddered, coming to a jarring stop.
"What now?" Hypo's voice floated out of the darkness.
"Of course," Morgan said, "the platform only goes as far as into the ceiling then somehow it's picked up by a cabling system that pulls it to the surface."
"That means the Staat schmucks can lower us back down," Trotsky said what they were all thinking.
They all felt it.
The elevator began to descend.
The vault door fell away, crashing to the floor with a resounding boom, revealing a short corridor which terminated in another door like the one they had broken through. Fairfax jumped despite himself. He had been brought up from the cells after being dressed in an orange jumpsuit, a collar placed around his neck was attached to a metal chain. They had made him walk on all fours like a dog. At first, he refused until they shot one of the other prisoners.
Tears of frustration built up behind his eyes. He forced them back. Not willing to show his captors they had beaten him.
He sat back on his haunches watching Koenig speak to the large crowd assembled before him. Ever present Bad Willy by his side, and another man, Fairfax had not seen before, holding a metal case. Two men in white lab coats stood to one side of the twenty strong group of special combat troops Koenig had called his advance team. Both men were shackled hand and foot.
Koenig was speaking German, but Fairfax had acquired a working knowledge of the language from when he had been stationed in Berlin. Koenig was giving a rabble rousing speech about standing on the brink of the golden age of the Fourth Reich. A new Aryan empire, the likes of which the world had never seen. ‘The forces of capitalism, Jewry and Marxist/communist will be swept away under the boots of volkisch, ordinary folk. We will give back power to the ordinary citizen on the street, as long as they stand under our banner.’ When they possessed the 'Ultimate Solution Device', the world would tremble in fear at their feet. All the work of their ancestors would come to fruition, and finally they could step out of the shadows to take their rightful place as masters of a world created in their own image.
A chorus of Heil Koenig echoed around the corridor at the end of his speech.
Koenig turned to Fairfax.
"This second door, any surprises I should know about?"
Fairfax smiled despite his situation, so, the man had gaps in his knowledge.
"Try it and find out." He was not quite beaten it seemed.
"Colonel, why do you still play fast and loose with your men," he smiled, a father to a wayward child, the smile fell away, "you want more blood on your hands?"
"The code is 368345a press enter then reverse the sequence but enter b instead of a and zx at the end."
"Good man," he patted Fairfax on the head, "Hans," signals to one of the assembled men. Hans saluted then marched down the corridor and inputted the sequence.
There was an audible hiss. The heavy door swung away from him to reveal the vault beyond. A large room, the size of four football fields, filled with machinery and devices of unknown use, looking like modern art exhibits in some nightmarish Art Gallery. Some stored in high racking systems. Others on the floor like discarded toys.
Koenig led the assemblage into the vault. Fairfax was forced to lope along on all fours. The leash being tugged by one of the jailers who had brought him to Koenig. Without pause, he strode between the equipment, pausing once to look at a chair that wouldn't have looked out of place on the Starship Enterprise.
"What is this used for?"
"It's a thought enhancing machine, once linked to a subject it can materialise his thoughts, especially if the subject has telepathic abilities."
He clapped his hands, like a child who'd been offered a bag of sweets. Fairfax thought.
"Why is it down here? What an excellent device."
"It proved too unstable, led to a lot of trouble at one of our bases near New York."
He nodded his head, stroking the high-back of the chair before moving on. His destination was the double doors to the test chamber at the far end of the vault. Massive – heavy steel frames are lined with copious layers of what looked like insulating or sound-proofing material.
Bad Willy who was walking behind Koenig touched the ear piece in his ear.
The man stopped, turned back to his bodyguard.
"What is it?"
"I can't contact my brother, and 6th squadron has caught up with the intruders down in the lower hanger, appears they are only eight strong. My brother though, I'm worried about him."
For the first time since Fairfax had met the mad German he saw his face soften, he put a hand on Bad Willy's shoulder.
"Our people will deal with them, there is no way they can hurt us, go, go find your brother, make sure he's okay."
Bad Willy clicked his heels, and performed a sharp Heil before turning on his heel and walking through the advance squad who parted like the red sea.
Fairfax felt a burst of excitement in the pit of his stomach. All was not lost it seemed. A rescue team, and where there was eight there would be more.
Koenig watched him leave.
He signalled to ten men who were not part of the advance team.
"Set up a defensive perimeter in the corridor outside the vault, nothing must interfere with what we do today."
The men rushed off to carry out Koenig's orders. Fairfax thought some of them looked relieved to be out of their Fuhrers presence.
Without another word they carried on across the vault.
Koenig stopped in front of the door. Turning to face the crowd he rubbed his hands together, and smiled.
"We are on the cusp of something fantastic. Our forefathers could only dream of a day like today. Let us not forget though, if not for the sacrifices they made we would not be here. They gave our mothers and fathers life, raised them in their image so today we could make that image a worldwide reality."
Fairfax thought the man surely liked the sound of his own voice.
"Colonel, the door code if you please?"
He told him, and the German inputted it into the keypad next to the door.
A hiss and the two halves of the massive door rumbled open.
With a reverence normally seen in someone entering a church, Koenig stepped over the threshold, followed by the man with the case.
The jailer and Fairfax followed, then the two scientists and the commander of the advance team and his second in command, the advance team marched in behind them. Four men remained outside to guard the door.
This was the first time that Fairfax had actually been inside. The room was roughly the size of four of the labs upstairs, with a ceiling height of thirty feet.
"Gentlemen I give you Das Glocke," With a theatrical flourish, Koenig held out his hand.
At the far end of the room, suspended from the ceiling was the bell. Fifteen feet tall by ten feet wide. The base hung about nine feet off the floor above a raised platform. Black with a red swastika emblazoned on the side facing them. Chains on either side secured the device to a metal half henge structure. On either side, two huge Tesla coils loomed like the devils fingers.
“Hoffman, the Xerum!”
The man with the case clicked his heels, gave a short nod of his head. He crossed to the bell. Placed the case on the floor before removing a tool from within his tunic, and sliding what looked like a miniature version of airplane passenger stairs alongside the bell. He unscrewed a panel on the side of the bell. Removing three vials filled with a reddish coloured substance from the case, he placed them within the device. Replaced the panel then moved away.
“It is done, Fuhrer Koenig, Der Glocke is fuelled.”
Again Koenig clapped his hands.
“Excellent, fire her up, a test run.”
Hoffman crossed the room to the main control console. Koenig selected four men from the advanced team and without a word led them onto the platform under the bell. He joined Hoffman at the console.
The four men on the platform looked about them. Eyes wild and panicked like an animal in a trap.
“Is this going to hurt?” One of them asked.
Koenig looked at him for a moment. Fairfax thought he was going to throw one of his outbursts.
The room was silent. Waiting.
“Oberst Hoffman, could you provide us with all an explanation on how the device works?”
"Of course, Mein Fuhrer, I shall try to keep it simple though.”
Fairfax pricked up his ears as Hoffman began to speak.
The bell contained two counter-rotating cylinders which are"filled with a mercury-like substance, violet in colour. This metallic liquid was code-named "Xerum 525". When the liquid is activated by intense stimulation from the Tesla coils combined with the precise spin of the cylinders it created a Tachyon Tolman torsion field around the device. This field tore open a hole in the quantum space time line. Any entity entering this field is transported backwards or forwards depending on the controlled spin of the torsion field and the power fed to it.
“Of course there is a lot more to it than that, but we do not have the time. Will it hurt? I honestly don’t know, but you brave soldiers of the Fourth Reich are about to find out. May whatever god you pray to be with you.”
Hoffman began to operate the controls.
A metal shield slid up from the floor. The device and the men underneath were concealed from view. The smell of a summer thunderstorm filled the room. The sound of crackling, like bacon violently sizzling on a skillet came from beyond the wall. A deep throbbing hum that was felt rather than heard.
Charlotte Webb stepped out of her apartment block elevator into the dimly lit underground parking garage. She was still upset at finding out her boss had swallowed the barrel of his gun. Even though she was only a junior analyst he had treated her with respect, which is why she could not understand why her report on Geheime Staat had not been actioned on.
The threat they posed had been substantial. Webb thought that she had made that obvious in her report. Now Staat had done something huge. What though, she could not ascertain. But it must be something bad to lead her boss to take his own life.
She looked about the garage. Finding it unusually quiet for this time of day. Webb shrugged and walked down the central aisle leading to where she had parked her car that morning. The only sound was her heels clicking on the concrete.
She had arrived home an hour earlier, and managed to have a shower when the phone had rung. The caller had said he was the duty officer at the Pentagon and could she return to work to brief the new head of department George Hartz on her report. Somehow the report she had given to Robert Morgan had vanished so could she bring any copies she had made.
Annoyed after such a heavy day she stuffed the flash drive with all her work on it into her Gucci handbag, and headed out.
As she approached the area where her car was parked, she realised something was wrong. For one, all the lights above her car and the ones surrounding it were out. And for two, what ever time she came into the garage, Martin the gate security man if he was on duty would greet her over the internal address system. Today he was on-duty, but no greeting was forthcoming.
She paused. Tried to look into the deeper darkness before her. Cursing her foolishness, she shrugged and continued on her way. She felt stupid, putting her anxiety down to tiredness and the death of her boss. For comfort, she put her hand into her jacket pocket closing her fingers on the short stick attached to her keys, a Kubotan, a defensive weapon she had been expertly trained to use.
She reached her car, a silver Panoz Esperante GT, and pulled out her keys. A sound behind her made her freeze. She spun, eyes scanning along the parked cars. Webb saw nothing, heard nothing except the hammering of her heart in her chest.
She turned back to her car. A figure emerged from the darkness, crashing into her. Before she could fall, he grabbed hold of her. An arm gripped her throat. Webb smelled a harsh chemical aroma. Instinctively, she jabbed back with the Kubotan, felt a hard contact. The man grunted, releasing her. She turned in one fluid movement. Jabbed hard at the nerve point on the side of his neck. The man had fast reactions. He moved his head away. She kicked out. Her foot connecting with the side of his knee, driving him to the ground.
She drove the Kubotan towards his head. He rolled away from her, coming to his feet, a silenced pistol in his hand.
She dived to her left.
Two bullets streaked through the air she had vacated.
Performing her own role, she came to her feet, and fled down the central aisle of the garage.
“Everyone onto the plane,” Morgan’s voice echoed off the walls of the shaft.
Bane scrambled across the platform as the Aurora settled. He helped Dr Connelly and Billy onto the wing. Trotsky managed to get up himself before reaching down to pull Hypo and Kukri. Morgan gave Bane a hand before climbing onto the wing.
As they all scrambled for purchase on the back of the Aurora, the platform continued to descend. They cleared the roof of the chamber below as Cyclops powered the VTOL thrusters.
Shaking like a virgin taken for the first time, the plane lifted off the platform, ascending back into the shaft.
“What now?” Bane called out above the noise of the engines.
“We go up, find away out of this before we get to the surface.”
The noise in the shaft was deafening. Bane concentrated on not falling off. Cyclops gave the thrusters more power. The Aurora with it’s living cargo accelerated up the shaft.
Bad Willy stepped out of the elevator onto the mezzanine. Behind him emerged six special commandos from the elite werewolf unit. Specially trained and hard as nails. All armed with AK-47s, grenades hung from bandoleers.
He led them across to the steps down to the storage area floor. All eyes sweeping, seeking out enemies.
They reached the foot of the steps. Bad Willy turned right and led the werewolves to the section leading to the EEV door.
His nostrils flared as he caught the familiar scent of death on the air. Rounding a section of high racking they came upon a scene of carnage, broken crates, broken bodies, and twisted, scorched, metal. Bad Willy froze at the tableau before him. His eyes were drawn to an arm and shoulder jutting out from beneath the wreckage. The eagle tattoo on the back of the hand was all he needed in order to tell him his brother was dead.
The only sign of emotion on his face-a tick at the corner of his mouth.
He said through gritted teeth, “The people who did this are already dead, they died when they killed my brother.”
Turning, he pushed through the group of men, who followed on behind him.His face a mask, devoid of emotion.
Cyclops expertly piloted the Aurora up the shaft. Keeping the plane and its cargo steady. Bane was impressed with his skill.
All eight of them were lying belly down. Stretched out across the beasts back. They had travelled what Bane approximated was a hundred and fifty feet when Morgan called out.
“Trot, find us a way out with that gizmo of yours.”
“Sorry, boss, I lost it when I got blew up, we’re flying blind from now on.”
“Shit, okay, everyone keep your eyes peeled, there’s got to be some kind of maintenance doors leading into here.”
Bane spied one two minutes later.
“Over there, on the left wall, we just passed it.”
Morgan spoke into his throat mic, “Cyclops, door, drop back until I say stop.”
The craft juddered before reversing its momentum. A few seconds later they were hovering next to a recessed door. Kukri jumped onto the ledge. Light flooded into the shaft when he opened the door, and disappeared through the opening.
Two seconds later he reappeared.
“C’mon, it’s clear.” He beckoned.
One after the other they jumped over to the ledge.
Bane was the last one. He turned back to the Aurora, wondering how Cyclops was going to rejoin them.
The big Russian had popped the canopy, and had climbed out.
“I put it on autopilot, going to crash into the roof, they think we are dead,” he said before joining Bane on the ledge.
They moved to join the others. The room beyond the door was filled with tools and workbenches. Obviously a maintenance area of some kind. Morgan had sent Trotsky and Hypo to check outside the room.
“Do you two know where we are?” Morgan asked Dr Connelly and Billy.
“Unfortunately, no. We worked mainly in the labs on the third level, our security clearance only allowed us as far as the vault level, get us there and I can get you to the vault,” Lee answered.
Trotsky and Hypo returned from their foray, looks of dismay on their faces.
“What’s wrong?” Morgan asked.
“We’re on some kind of prison level,” Hypo said.
“And they’re about to slot all the prisoners,” Trotsky added.
“Ten, we over heard them talking, they’re waiting for some top brass figure before they do the deed.”
“Take us to them, we can free the staff and hopefully they can run interference while we head to the vault.”
Trotsky led them out of the room into a stone walled corridor. Bane brought up the rear behind Cyclops. Unconsciously, they had corralled Dr Connelly and Billy Lee between Hypo and Morgan.
Trotsky headed off to the right of the door to the maintenance room. Bane noticed it was distinctly colder here, and the air smelt of damp. The corridor curved to the left. Single file, they followed the curve to where the corridor terminated in a barred gate which hung open.
Beyond, a small flight of steps descended to some kind of reception area, a place where a guard might be posted, a closed metal door led off this area.
“Trot, go scout out the other side of the door,” Morgan said.
Trotsky went to the door, and cracked it open before peering through, he eased through, and the door closed behind him.
A few tense moments went by before he reappeared.
“There’s an open area where the first section of cells is located over three landings. There’s ten enemy personnel in a room across from the door, four more are patrolling the landings.”
They all crowded round Morgan as he outlined their subsequent actions.
“Bane, I want you with me, Hypo, Trotsky, you take out the roving patrols. Kukri, Cyclops, and myself and Bane will take out the room...hard and fast.”
“What about us? What do me and Billy do?”
“I want you two to watch our backs while we clear the room. Do you believe that you can manage that?”
Dr Connelly and Lee nodded. Both showed signs of stress on their faces. Dr Connelly was trying hard to stop her hands from shaking where they gripped her weapon.
Bane put a hand on her shoulder. She flinched.
“You will do fine, just stay low, and don’t point that thing at any of us,” he smiled, what he hoped was a reassuring smile.
They all readied their weapons.
Single file, they lined up. Trotsky nudged open the door with his foot.
Morgan held up three fingers. When the final finger dropped, they silently filed through the door.
Hypo, and Trotsky moved to the left, towards the cells, which looked like any prison landing around the country. Directly opposite them was a set of double doors with inset windows. Moving fast, Morgan, Bane, and Cyclops crashed through the double doors. Ten men were sitting at a couple of tables in the middle of what looked just like a staff room. All four opened up. Their bullets jerking the Staat men from their seats.
All lay dead on the floor, never having a chance to fight back. The smell of blood and gun-smoke filled the air.
Sounds of gun shots came to them from the landings. Hypo and Trotsky taking out the other guards. The sounds of cheers and applause followed on the tail of the gun play. The prisoners vocalising their appreciation.
Morgan surveyed the chaos they had created.
“Cyclops, see if you can find the cell door controls.”
The big Russian left the room.
“Bane, let’s you and I go find someone to command our reinforcements.”
Bane smiled knowing that having the extra bodies would even up their odds.
Coming out of the staff room they were greeted by Trotsky.
“The guards are down in this section, and the next. Hypos took Billy with him to check the other sections.”
Morgan nodded, “See if you can’t scout up some weapons around here, there’s bound to be an armoury.”
“Okay boss, there are some rooms in the other landing that could be a weapons store.”
Dr Connelly was standing by a cell door half way along the landing, talking to the men inside. Bane walked over to her.
“You okay?” he asked.
“Yeah,” she nodded, “I was talking to one of the men in this cell, he’s a physicist, Professor Horatio Guyler, he’s been listening to the guards chatter. I think you need to hear what he has to say.”
Bane called to Morgan who walked over to join them. The cell door slid to one side to reveal four men in white lab coats. Cyclops had found the controls.
The complex staff emerged from the other cells, and was soon milling around the Omega team, wanting to shake their hands, and asking if it was all over.
“Stay here, professor while we get this crowd under control, I’ll need to speak with you,” Morgan said.
Trotsky pushed his way through the crowd of bodies, a man in the uniform of an airforce policeman followed behind.
“Boss, this’s Sergeant Bob Butcher of the 820th Base Defence Group, they’re tasked with internal defence of Area 51. He’s eager to kick some butt without taking any names.”
“Morgan shook Butchers hand, “Good to meet you Sergeant, I’m Morgan of Omega team, and we’re not out of the shit yet.”
“Your man here filled me in, where do you want me and my men? There’s twenty of us on this landing.”
“Well, we need to set up a perimeter guard for now, and someone needs to establish some order in here, only weapons spare though are with the dead.”
“That’s okay, there’s an armoury down that corridor,” he indicated past the staff room.
Butcher pointed to four men nearby, ordering them to fetch weapons and ammo, to another four he put on crowd control duty.
“Is that all, sir?” He asked, turning back to Morgan.
“For now, Sergeant.”
Morgan returned his attention to Guyler.
“Now, I’m told you may have some Intel for me?”
The oldest of the four in the cell stepped forward. He pushed up the wire framed spectacles which had slid down his nose, and coughed.
“Yes sir, with nothing to do but twiddle our thumbs, we took to listening to the conversations of our captors when ever they were in ear shot.”
“Go on,” Morgan said.
“They are planning to use the Kecksburgh device to take them back to Hitlers bunker, under the Reich Chancellery.”
“We’d already figured they were after that device, even though I’m having a hard time believing they can make it work.”
They were interrupted as Butcher’s men returned with weapons and ammo crates.They began dispersing them to the former prisoners, before assigning them positions. Morgan watched them go, before turning back to the professor.
“Oh, they can, the bell is already set up and functioning, waiting for the right mixture of fuel, and it’s travelled through time before, there’s no reason for it not to be able to do it again.”
“So, they want to go rescue Hitler eh, that’s their game.”
“No, no, no, they are after what Hitler knows, something about a super weapon that was never activated at the end of the war. Something more powerful than the two bombs dropped on Japan, and anything we have today. I’ve also worked with the device, and have some understanding of its capabilities.”
Bane and Morgan looked at each other. Both knew if Staat got their hands on a device like the one Guyler had just described, the world would indeed be in trouble.
The sounds of distant gun fire echoed down the landing. Trotsky emerged from the door leading to the next set of cells. He jogged down the landing to them.
“We got trouble, a large force is coming from the other side of the prison level.”
“How many exactly?”
“The whole lot of ‘em I think. Butchers men are holding them back for now. He said not to worry and he’ll hold them off for as long as he can while we make a break for the vault.”
The door they had used to enter the prison section crashed open. Black clad troops burst through, firing.
Bane dived into the nearest cell. He saw Morgan go down. Bullets shredding him to pieces. Trotsky made it into the cell across from him. He managed to pull in the professor and Connelly. The professors cell mates were not so lucky. There was no sign of Cyclops or Kukri. The other prisoners still on the landing were cut down before they had a chance to react.
Bane risked a look. The troops had taken cover in the doorways of the open cells.
“The boss is down,” Trotsky said as he risked a shot at one man who leaned out of his cover to far. The bullet struck his chest, knocking him out of the cell.
The sounds of boots on the landing above signalled the arrival of more Staat forces. Bane knew they were about to be caught in a pincer movement. They were indeed in the shit, and to be swallowed up.
The sound of her footfalls echoed off the garage walls as Charlotte ran for her life. With her heart ponding and her brain travelling at a hundred miles an hour, she reached the exit-ramp. Not daring to look behind her she bounded upwards.
She had no idea if the assassin was behind her or not, she dare not look. All her focus was placed on escape.
She rounded the curve of the ramp which terminated at the security shed. Feeling a little safer with the barrier and shed in sight, she called out Martin’s name.
A man in a black ski mask and dark clothes stepped out of the door. Time slowed down for Charlotte as horror filled her to the core. The man raised a pistol in her direction. She looked over her shoulder to see the man she was fleeing from limp around the curve.
The squeal of tyres from the road diverted the mans attention. He half turned to see a blue Pontiac Firebird coming towards him. The car hit him behind the legs. He flew through the air. Slamming into the wall of the ramp.
The car screeched to a halt in front of Charlotte who stumbled back. Losing her footing, she fell to the ground.
The drivers side door opened. A man climbed out. He raised the pistol in his left hand, and shot the attacker behind her.
“Quickly, get in the car.”
Not wasting anytime, she jumped to her feet, and got in the passenger side. Luckily, she had been able to hold onto her purse.
The man took one look around then climbed in next to her. He reversed out onto Prospect Road and headed east.
Neither of them spoke until he turned the car onto Key Bridge over The Potomac River.
“Thank you, who ever you are, but you can drop me off on the other side of the bridge.”
“Are you okay, Miss Webb?” He asked, ignoring her request.
“Shaken up, but otherwise okay. How do you know me? And who are you?”
She had no feeling of threat from him. So allowed herself to relax but kept one hand on her Kubotan in case of trouble.
“I’m your guardian angel, Miss Webb. The organisation I work for found out you were marked for special measures, because of the report you drafted. I’ve been sent to bring you in.”
“What organisation, and who’s put me down for special measures?”
She knew what special measures meant, marked for death. She was confused. The report was deemed of no real importance at the time, yet suddenly it had become hot property because of something Staat had done, no one would tell her though. When she asked she had the same cliched answer, it was beyond her pay grade.
“I work for Omega. My boss, Colonel Montague needs your help in tracking down where Geheime Staats base of operations is located.”
Charlotte thought she knew all the security agencies based in and out of Washington, she had never heard of Omega. Nonetheless, the vagaries of Washington's intelligence infrastructure were as convoluted as a Chinese puzzle.
“I’ve never heard of Omega, I thought I was aware of all intelligence departments, who are you under, NSA, Treasury? I know you're not CIA.”
The man’s eyes kept flicking to the rear-view mirror as they drove along Fort Myer Drive.
“We have a tail, three cars back, the black van.”
She looked in the wing mirror on her side, and got a glimpse of the van he had described.
“Hang on, let’s see if I’m right.”
He increased speed, dashing through the intersection of 19th and Nash. Horns sounded from disgruntled drivers. She checked the mirror again. The van had sped up also. Manoeuvring around the cars in front.
The man nodded to himself as he checked the rear-view again.
For the first time, Charlotte noticed he was wearing a bluetooth device in his ear. He touched it to activate transmission.
“Rogan here, I’ve got some hangers on, need some interference.”
He listened to whoever answered before saying thanks.
Buildings blurred by as they led the van through a series of twists and turns. Some minutes later they turned onto 2nd Street on Capitol Hill. A leafy suburban street, lined with town houses.
The man, Rogan, slowed the Pontiac, allowing the van to catch up. Charlotte glanced through the rear windshield to see the van creep up, almost touching their bumper. It looked as though the vehicle was on the verge of ramming them. She braced for impact. A car shot out of a drive-way on their left. It hit the van. The left side crumpled, and the vehicle swerved across the road, smashing into a concrete post on the opposite side.
Rogan put his foot down. The crash site receded behind them. Charlotte did not realise that she had been holding her breath. She let it out, and slumped back in her seat.
“Okay, Rogan, or whatever your name is, I want answers or I’m opening this door and jumping out.”
“No you won’t,” he laughed, “Okay, Omega is not under any department, we are an autonomous agency, formerly under the auspices of the United Nations. We have a special dispensation to operate worldwide, where ever we are needed.”
He paused in his explanation while steering through traffic, and turning onto Glebe Road.
She stayed silent, waiting for him to continue.
“Your new boss, George Hartz, has ordered the special measures against you, but we believe he is having his strings pulled by others.”
That came as a shock to her. She thought he was a bit anal-retentive when she first met him but apart from that he seemed okay.
“So, what have Geheime done that has made what I know so important all of a sudden?”
He looked at her.
“You don’t know?” He asked, surprised.
“Er, no, that’s why I asked the question.”
He returned his gaze to the road.
“They’ve taken control of Area 51, our Direct Action team has managed to infiltrate the base after military intervention failed.”
Her mouth dropped open, “Holy Christ, why the fuck wasn't I listened to. If my report was actioned...”
“It never had a chance. Geheime have a reach that goes beyond any terrorist organisation seen before, more will be explained when I get you to the colonel.”
She settled back in silence, a million thoughts whizzing through her mind.
Koenig allowed himself to feel a thrill of excitement as Hoffman shut down the controls. Now was the moment they found out if the device truly worked.
Hoffman flicked a switch to lower the shielding.
It returned to its place in the floor revealing the four men standing as before the shield had been put in place. They appeared unharmed.
At first Koenig thought the device had failed, that the men had gone nowhere, simply remained behind the shielding.
The four stepped out, looking bewildered.
“Mein Gott, it worked, mein Fuherer,” one of the men said.
“We were in the garden of the Reich Chancellery...Amazing,” another adds.
Koenig clapped his hands.
A cheer echoed from the assembled men.
“I will have to recalibrate the device,” Hoffman said, “We need to appear inside the bunker or else we will have to fight our way through the ring of steel in the Chancellery.”
“How long will that take?”
“About an hour, I have to input the correct spatial equations, recalibrate, and then refuel the bell.”
“Very well, but if you can be quick about it the better I will feel,” Koenig said.
Hoffman nodded and busied himself at the console.
Koenig strode out of the chamber, and headed for the perimeter ring outside the vault.
At the end of the corridor leading to the room, his men had set up a barricade with desks and crates. A heavy machine gun was being manned covering the approach to their location.
“Erich,” he addressed a man who was supervising the last part of the barrier erection.
The man stopped what he was doing and saluted Koenig.
“Recall all squads to the vault. It is nearly time.”
“But mein Fuhrer, they have the American intruders trapped in the prison area, they have freed the prisoners.”
“Okay, have them seal them in then activate the purge protocols for that area. It is too late for them to stop us now. Contact Willy, I want him back here now.”
The man nodded, ordering a man with a radio strapped to his back to relay the message.
Koenig turned on his heel and headed back to the vault. Nothing can stop them now, he knew that, apart from a couple of irritations the operation had so far been a success. Within a couple of hours, they would have the location of Hitlers ultimate weapon, one so terrifying it would bring the world to its knees.
Death came to them from all sides of the landing. They were trapped in the cells. Only just managing to hold back the final bullet that would send them to eternal night.
“Where the fucks Cyclops?” Trotsky called out above the din of gunfire.
“I have no idea,” Bane fired at a Staat soldier, sending him scurrying back to the cover of a cell a few doors down.
They were on their own for the moment, and it looked like Trotsky was out of ideas. Bane was the same. The odds were hopeless. They had been able to take down a couple of the enemy, but had hardly scratched their numbers.
A commotion at the far end of the landing drew Banes attention. He peered around the edge of the door. The sight that greeted him gave him hope they would get out of this. Butcher alongside Kukri and a few other security men were attacking the Staat soldiers from the rear.
He looked to his left. The other troops were retreating through the door.
Bane stepped out firing at the troops trying to get out. He saw a pair go down under his withering fire before the door was slammed shut.
Trotsky and Jennifer emerged from their cell. The professor stayed inside.
The other troops were escaping to the upper-landings, presumably heading back to the way they came in.
“What’s happening? Why are they leaving?” Jennifer rubbed her fingers through her hair.
“I don’t know, but you can bet it won’t be for a good reason,” Bane said.
He heard footsteps behind him. Bane and Trotsky spun at the same time. Weapons raised.
Cyclops was hobbling towards them. Blood poured from a gash on the side of his head, and a hole in his right thigh was evidence of another wound.
“I got cut off, the bastards got me my little friend,” he slumped against Trotsky. The little Israeli lowered him to the floor.
“You're gonna be okay, you faltzant, Russians are made of tough stuff.”
“Ah my little Israeli Govniuk, the eternal optimist, the bullet has nicked big vein in my thigh. I can feel the muscle soaking the blood.”
Jennifer knelt next to him, cradling his head.
Bane could tell it was a bad GSW, knew the Russian was finished by the sallowness of his skin. His eyes kept flickering shut, and his speech was slurred. He needed urgent medical treatment, some Ringer's lactate solution for fluid resuscitation and major surgery. All of which was not available to them here.
Trotsky was trying to apply a tourniquet above the wound. Cyclops weakly pushed him away.
“Don’t waste your time, ebanashka,” Cyclops said, his voice barely a whisper, “You have a job to do, so go do it, kill some German mudak’s for me, Polniy pizdets.”
Cyclops took one last rattling breath. His body shuddered, and the light went out of his eyes.
Trotsky shook the lifeless body of his friend.
“No, Cyclops, no.”
Bane placed a hand on his shoulder.
“It’s over. Trot, he’s gone.”
Trotsky shrugged him off.
“This is all fucked up, what are we doing down here, we should have stayed out of it, Morgans dead, now Cyclops...” He punched the wall next to him.
A tear rolled down Trotsky’s cheek. Once again. Bane was reminded of the closeness of this team.
“Trotsky, stand down!”
The harsh sound of Kukri’s voice made them both jump.
“We can’t afford to lose it now. Pull yourself together.”
Trotsky blinked, then appeared to sink in on himself. Sheepishly, he looked at Kukri, and back to Bane.
“Sorry, guys,” he said, looking down at Cyclops, “He was like a brother to me, don’t worry, you Russian maniak, I’ll take some down for you.”
Bane looked to Kukri.
“He didn't make it either, or Billy, they went down when they first attacked the other landings.”
Butcher appeared at Kukri’s shoulder.
“We’ve got another problem.”
Before Bane could ask what the problem was, all the lights went out.
After what seemed only a few minutes, Rogan steered the car onto Lake View Drive. Through the trees on the left side Charlotte could see the waters of Lake Bancroft. They pulled into a drive, stopping before large wrought iron gates. Gargoyles gazed down on them from their perch on either side of the gate.
Rogan lowered his window, and reached out of the window to press a button on the entry com box.
“We’re here,” he said to whoever was at the other end.
Seconds later the gates swung open.
Rogan drove through.
A long sweeping driveway lay before them, bordered on either side by trees and colourful bushes. A man in a Gilly suit, and armed with an automatic weapon, stepped out of the tree line where the drive curved to the right. He gave a brief nod to the car as they drove past.
As they rounded the curve, the trees fell away to reveal a two storeys modern looking ranch house, fronted by a well manicured lawn edged with rose bushes.
Rogan pulled up by the front door.
“Just walk in. The colonels waiting for you.”
“You're not coming in with me?”
“No, I have stuff to do, don’t worry, he doesn't bite.”
She opened the door, and stepped out of the car, closing the door behind her.
Rogan pulled away. She watched until the car disappeared back into the trees. Turning back to the house, she shrugged. Charlotte was past being frightened, was now more angry and a little confused at why her boss would want her dead over some stupid report. She hoped this colonel, whoever he was, was not going to give her more bullshit, because she was ready for him.
Charlotte took a deep breath, and walked up to the door. She was reaching for the handle as the door opened, spilling warm light out onto the porch.
An elderly man stood framed in the doorway. He held a gold topped cane in one hand, and a kind smile across his face.
“Welcome to my home Charlotte Webb, come on in.”
She walked past him into a tiled hallway replete with sweeping staircase, glittering chandelier, and paintings of battle scenes on the walls. She suspected there was no lady of the house.
“Are you Colonel Montague?” She said, turning to face him.
“I am he,” he said, indicating an open door off to the right, “Let’s make ourselves comfortable while we have a chat.”
She followed him into a comfortably furnished living room with vaulted ceilings, and floor to ceiling windows on three walls. He sat in a high backed leather chair next to a Georgian stone fireplace where logs crackled giving off sparks.
She took the chair across from him, crossed her legs.
He looked at her. She felt uncomfortable under his gaze.
“I don’t mean to appear ungrateful, but what is it you want from me?”
“No doubt, Rogan has filled you in on the situation my men are in, and also yourself?”
“Some, yes, but I still don’t understand why you need my help.”
“You initially made the report on Geheime Staat, I want you to continue that work for me, through our sources, we discovered you’d been marked for special measures, I hate it when those in power act as though they are god so I had to bring you in under our protection, if you agree of course.”
“Seems I have no choice do I.”
“We all have choices Miss Webb, it’s what we do with those choices that counts in the end.”
He just smiled at her, “Where are my manners, would you like a drink, coffee, juice, something stronger?”
“I could really go a whisky, neat, right now.”
“A splendid choice, I have a single malt I think you’ll like, then we can get down to the nitty gritty.”
He got up from his seat and limped over to a nearby side table, weighed down with numerous bottles and glasses. After pouring them both a drink, he returned, handing a glass to her before sitting.
She took a sip. The liquid traced a fiery path down to her stomach. She was able to relax a little for the first time since the attack on her.
“I think my men are in real danger from these people, there’s been no contact from them for a while now. You’ve looked into this group, but only skimmed the surface, I need you to dig deeper, anything, no matter how irrelevant, I want to know, especially who their bosses are, because I think there are others giving them their orders.”
“But haven't you got people of your own who could be doing this?”
“Yes, but you’ve a head start, I have a feeling we don’t have much time, long ago I learned to trust my hunches, and my hunch on this one is Area 51 is not their main objective, my people have said they’re possibly after something called the Kecksburgh device, I want you to look into that as well.”
“Quite a tall order, but I’ll give it a shot,” Charlotte said as she swallowed the rest of her drink.
Bane froze. The darkness was deeper than a philosophers thoughts.
He said into the inky blackness, “What’s happening, Butcher?”
“They’ve sealed the exit doors, I think they’re executing the purge protocols.”
The dark was pushed away, as red lights flickered into life along the landing. A siren started blaring.
A computerised voice informed them, “You have one minute to evacuate the area... purge commences in 59 seconds.”
“We have to get out, they’re going to release gas, a derivative of Phosgene, only more toxic, it’s used if the prisoners down here get out of control, and to delouse the cells.”
“... Purge commences in 48 seconds...”
Bane felt on the edge of panic, fear rising like a tsunami within him.
“Get us out of here. Butcher, you know the place better than any of us.”
“This way, follow me,” he said, “There’s an emergency escape door in the canteen, for any staff stuck down here.”
With the remaining prisoners, Bane estimated there to be about a hundred and fifty men and women. They ran along the landing.
“... Purge commences in 38 seconds...”
In the canteen, Butcher and his men pushed aside tables and chairs. He lifted up a square piece of flooring to reveal a door in the floor, a sunken keypad next to it.
“I hope they haven't changed the code, “he said, punching in a five series code.
“... Purge commences in 20 seconds...”
The door slid soundlessly aside, to reveal a flight of steps. Bane, Kukri, Trotsky, and Butcher went down first. The others following behind.
“... Purge commences in one...”
The door slammed shut behind them, cutting off the voice. Bane found he had been holding his breath. He took in a big gulp of air, looking back up the steps, hoping everyone had made it through.
They emerged from the stairwell in a large low ceilinged room, full of pipes, and what looked like a huge boiler at the far end.
The people, most of them scientists or technicians by the look of them, were milling around. Most looked confused, lost.
“How do we get to the vault from here?” Bane asked.
“I’ll have some of my men show you, you’ll need them, I’ve no doubt, Koenig’ll have a reception party waiting for you.”
Butcher called over to five of his men.
“You go with these boys, give them any help you can,” he turned back to Bane, “While you boys are retaking the vault, the rest of us will try to retake the rest of the base.”
“Get to Shiva control, then send a signal to Edwards, they’ll send in reinforcements.”
Butcher nodded, and then called out to the others.
“We’re gonna retake Groom people, there’s an armoury near here where we can get more weapons, let’s go.”
He looked to Bane, holding out his hand. Bane took it.
“You have some good luck, soldier.”
“And you, we’ll see you at the end of all this.”
Butcher nodded, then turned away, pushing through the crowd before anyone could complain, and led them away.
Bane looked at what was left of Omega. He noticed Jennifer and the professor had not gone with the others.
Kukri moved to his side.
“With Morgan gone we need a leader, and it looks like you're it, we’re just grunts, I’ve seen your file and you qualify for the position in my eyes.”
Bane did not know what to say, a couple of hours ago he was the new boy. Now he was being told he was in charge. It was a promotion he did not know if he wanted. He was looking at Trotsky, who just nodded at him.
“You got my vote...Boss.”
He turned to the recent additions, Butchers men. They all looked capable, tough looking individuals with eyes that told Bane they had seen combat.
“What’s your names?”
They introduced themselves as, Ian Graham, Matt Hunter, Stephen Shepard, Joe Garetano, and Curtis Lumley. All were members of the base’ internal security force, and ex Army Rangers.
“We need to get to the vault as fast as we can, but we can expect a sizable force waiting to greet us, so if you can get us as close as possible before they realise what’s happening would be great.”
“There is a way,” Graham said, “But it means some of us will have to distract them while the others go in.”
“Through the air vents, the room is not a vault like in a bank so needs to be ventilated, you would have to go above where the defenders would logically be, that’s why the need for a diversion.”
“Sounds good, okay let’s move.”
With the ISF men taking the lead, alert for trouble, they moved out.
Bad Willy emerged from the shadow of the boiler housing, and stared after the departing team. He had been raging at the discovery of his brother's death, but now a kind of serene calm had descended on him.
Arriving at the prison wing too late to join the battle, he realised they may escape via the emergency exit, which he had discovered on his review of the complexes schematics.
He had secreted himself in time to see them enter the boiler room. Willy was not worried about them seeing him as he was wearing a quantum stealth suit, a kind of invisibility cloak which bent light around him.
As he had listened in on their conversation, a smile creased his hard features as a plan formulated in his mind.
The cup of coffee froze halfway between the table and her lips. Webb looked at the computer screen before her. She had found him.
Colonel Montague had escorted her to a windowless room in his basement. The only item inhabiting this room was a chair with a desk and a computer. He logged her in then left her alone. For the past couple of hours she had been trawling all her contacts, then did deep scans of NSA, CIA, and other alphabet agency databases.
She had found him buried deep within the files of a little known agency, Federal Security Adjunct. A body set up to provide deep cover protection for VIP Federal assets.
Two minutes later she was standing before Colonel Montague, presenting him with the sheets of paper she had printed off.
“The life story, and the current location, for one, Anthony Kemp, son of Dr Hans Kammler.”
“Interesting, but how can this help us?”
“Because Kammler is still alive, and living with his son in Roanoke, Virginia.”
Montague studied the top most document for a few moments.
“How’s this going to help us, Miss Webb?”
“Sir, Hans Kammler arrived in this country in 1965, and not by boat or plane.”
She went on to explain all about the Kecksburgh device being a time travel machine. She handed him the other folder containing the deep black security report she had managed to unearth on the incident.
“He may know what these guys are truly up to, and also how to get to the ones that sent them here, at least that’s what my gut instinct tells me.”
“This is amazing stuff Miss Webb. Well, I’ve got a wife and two daughters, and I learned long ago never to underestimate the instincts of a woman.”
He picked up the handset of the phone on his desk.
“Rogan, pack a bag, you're going on a trip.”
They had travelled for about ten minutes, up stairwells, and along deserted corridors, when Graham called a halt. They were standing by the door marked ‘Maintenance Only’.
“This’s where we part company for now,” he indicated the door with his thumb, “The entrance to the vents in there, keep heading due West, you’ll eventually come out at the Vault.”
Bane shook his hand. The others saluted, and headed off at a trot along the corridor.
“Okay, this is nearly over,” he said, “Let’s get into the vent system.”
Kukri took a step towards the door, then froze. His features twisted in pain. Blood spurted from his mouth. Bane stared in amazement at the tip of a blade emerging from Kukri’s chest. His brain could not compute what his eyes were witnessing. The blade disappeared, and Kukri crumbled to the floor, he twitched once, then lay still.
Jennifer and the professor were knocked into the wall of the corridor. Trotsky spun, weapon raised. He too was sent flying back, hit by a fist Bane could not see. He crashed head first into the wall, out cold.
He went into a crouch, backing up, and aiming his weapon all around the corridor. There was nothing to shoot though. He heard someone laugh, a horribly triumphant sound.
His weapon was sent spinning from his grasp, and something slammed into Banes face. He went down on one knee. Another blow caught him on the side of the head. Dark motes danced before his eyes, like wind blown ash, and he tasted blood as he slammed into the hard floor..
His head was swimming, he knew they were under attack, and by someone using some kind of cloaking technology, but without a target, how could he fight back.
Something grabbed the front of his jacket, and he was hoisted to his feet. Bane swung a harsh blow that connected with air. He was flung back, smashing into the wall of the corridor. Another blow caught him as he was trying to get to his feet.
Through the fog in his mind, he saw Jennifer grab a fire extinguisher from a box on the wall next to the door of the vent access.
She ran towards him, and sprayed the air in front of her. The dry powder revealed a tall bulky figure before him. He drove out with his boot, catching the figure on the left ankle. It stumbled back. Jumping up, Bane drew his Glock. Three shots later, the figure was down, twitching but presenting no more danger.
“Are you all right? ” She said as she put down the extinguisher and came to him.
“Yeah, I’ll live. Thanks, you saved my life.”
Bane spat out blood before walked over to pull aside the material covering the body. The face he revealed was an exact match to the big blonde man he’d seen earlier in the lower levels. This must be his twin brother, no wonder he was pissed.
“I’ll be damned, how did you know?”
“I knew it could only be one thing. Billy showed me it once, the wearer is completely invisible, even to infra red, he told me a heavy coating of dust is its only downfall, they’re still trying to iron that out.”
They ran over, and helped the professor to his feet. Trotsky stood up, shaking his head.
“Attack of the invisible man,” Jennifer said.
Bane checked Kukri, but it was already too late for him, he was dead.
“Just the four of us, there’s no way we can finish this now,” Jennifer said, her voice tinged with the futility of their situation.
“We still have a fighting chance, and now, with the release of the base personnel the odds are now stacked in our favour,” Bane said before leading them into the maintenance room.
“I love you Brit guys, always with the optimism,” Trotsky said as he trailed behind licking his wounds.
Charlotte Webb strapped herself into the seat in the rear of the chopper. The last thing she had expected was to be sent out with Rogan. She had been trying to explain she was not a field operative, but it had fallen on deaf ears.
Rogan climbed in next to her, and buckled in. He handed her a helmet with a microphone attached, and placed one on his own head.
Seconds later, they were airborne.
She gazed out of the window, and found herself wishing she had now taken the position with Senator Drake, instead of following the family tradition of the Intelligence services, her grandfather had been in the OSS, the forerunner of the CIA, her father, and brother were both in the NSA. Both were field operatives, while she had chosen to be one of the back room boys, an analyst.
Her reverie was interrupted by the crackle of her ear piece.
“One hour twenty and we’ll be touching down at Blacksburg, a car has been arranged for you.”
“So, we’re chasing a time travelling Nazi then,” Rogan said.
She looked at him, “Seems that way, he may have the answers to what is going on out at the ranch.”
“Yeah, Morgan and the boys have gone into some heavy shit, they’re good operators though.”
“What’s your role in Omega, Rogan?”
“I’m what you may call a troubleshooter.”
“What, you see trouble, and shoot it?”
He laughed, “Something like that, most of my work is protecting our investigators out in the field. Montague has assigned me permanently to you until this situation is resolved.”
“Rogan, got a call from Colonel Montague coming in, patching you through now.”
“Rogan here Sir.”
“You’re gonna have to abort landing at the airport, Federal officers are on the way here to arrest me on some trumped up charge, our other agents here are being pulled in, I can not contact our people out at Blacksburgh, so we have to assume they’ve been compromised. Carry on with your mission but keep a low profile.”
“Shit. Sir you can’t let them take you.”
“I won’t be here, I’m going off the grid, contact me at the usual place when you’re done. Montague out.”
“You get that?” He asked the pilot.
“Yes sir, don’t worry, I know a place where we can set down.”
Webb looked at him. Shock filling her face.
“What’s happening, Rogan?”
“Looks like someone is trying to shut us down.”
They had been pulling their way through the air-venting pipes for twenty minutes when Bane called a halt.
“What is it?” Trotsky asked.
“Sounds of battle up ahead, and I can see several bullet holes in the floor of the pipe. It looks like the pipe comes out into the corridor where the fighting is.”
He saw more bullets pepper the vent as he spoke.
“We’re going to have to go one at a time, when there’s a lull in the fighting, everyone okay with that?”
When all had given their ascent Bane moved off.
The piping was dark, claustrophobic, and hot. The only light was from torches Bane and Trotsky had attached to the barrels of their weapons. Rivulets of sweat ran down his face, which he had to keep wiping away.
Moments later he stopped again. They could all hear it now, amplified within the confines of the pipe. Automatic gunfire, and the occasional pop of a pistol. Bane covered his face as more rounds punctured the metal in front of him.
He waited for the fusillade to cease before scrambling over the punctured section of pipe. When he was across he called back for the others to do the same.
Soon, and without any casualties they were past the battle area. Bane came to a t-junction, decided to go to the right.
Ten more minutes he came to a grill cover, it had movable vented slats, and large enough for them to fit through. The slats were in the closed position at the moment. He fingered them into the open position, and peered through.
Bane could see there was a room full of shelving and equipment stacked on pallets. He judged that they had come far enough for this to be the vault. He could see no signs of life so he figured there must be another room within where the device was.
“Okay, I think we’re here,” he called back, “I’m going to unscrew the cover, be ready for anything once we are in.”
He took a deep breath knowing that in the next few minutes they could all be dead, a thought he did not want to dwell on, so he took out a multi tool device he had found in the maintenance room, and concentrated on unscrewing the cover.
Koenig paced up and down in front of the device. Word had come to him that Bad Willy was not answering his radio. The man who had brought him the news lay dead, a bullet hole in his back.
He knew there was just one reason Willy would not answer. It was because he was dead. Willy, alongside his brother, had been by Koenig's side for many years. He saw them as his sons. He wished he had time to ensure that whoever had murdered them pay, but he was a professional, the mission came first. He put all thoughts of vengeance aside, and turned to the two physicists.
“Gentlemen, you are going on a little trip with us,” he smiled at the two nervous looking men.
“Hoffman has taught you how to operate the device, yes?”
“Good, since this is going to be a one way trip, I will be needing your knowledge to operate the original device in 1945. Hoffman will remain here to destroy this device so no one can follow us.”
Koenig turned to survey the twenty men of the advance team, his special combat troops, all highly trained, and armed with the most deadly weapons the 21st century could provide, some carried the Heckler & Koch MG4 machine guns, others were armed with the smaller but no less deadly, Heckler & Koch HK416. Glock 17s were their sidearm of choice. Several DM51 hand grenade, phosphorus, smoke, and frag, hung from combat rigs. Underneath their black combat suits, they were protected by lightweight body armour, covering their legs and upper body. Their heads are protected by kevlar helmets.
“You will go into the bunker and secure it, capture Hitler alive and unharmed, I will follow after you, once we have secured the location of the ultimate solution weapon we will now proceed to phase two.”
The men as one saluted, and came to attention.
“We are ready for the transfer,” Hoffman called out from his position by the control console.
Silently, the men filed onto the platform. One man moved to stand next to Koenig, in Bad Willy's absence, he had now become Koenig's bodyguard.
“Time to become part of history my faithful warriors,” Koenig signalled to Hoffman, who manipulated the controls.
The protective wall slid into place. The ozone smell once again filled the room along with the deep hum, and electric crackling.
Koenig clapped his hands, and did a little jig.
“And so it begins.”
He turned to Fairfax who was on his knees near the door.
“As for you my little Colonel, I have changed my mind about your future.”
He pulled out his Glock, and shot Fairfax in the face. The man was launched back against the wall. Half his face disappeared in a cloud of blood and brain matter. The man who was holding the chain attached to the collar around Fairfax’s neck yelped, and jumped away from the mess of the colonels demise.
“You, go join the others.”
The man saluted, and quickly left the room. Koenig turned to face Hoffman.
“The time is upon us old friend, you know what to do?”
The man behind the control panel nodded.
“I do. Mein Fuhrer.”
“Your sacrifice will not be forgotten, your name will be placed at the top of the wall of hero's we shall build when this is all over.”
Hoffman nodded, he returned his attention to the controls.
The wall slid away to reveal the empty platform under the bell.
“I don’t have to recalibrate this time, you can go ahead.”
Koenig saluted Hoffman then with his bodyguard trailing along behind him, strode onto the platform. He nodded, a thrill of excitement flashed up from his innards. This was what Geheime had been working towards for many years, and now he was going to meet his grandfather, and if needs be kill him.
Bane emerged from the pipe. Dropping down behind a tower of stacked crates, he immediately moved to cover the others. Across the vault set in the far wall, he saw a large set of shielded double doors guarded by four men.
Moments later, Dr Connelly, the professor, and Trotsky were by his side.
“This is suicide, Adam,” Trotsky said, “What can we do against whoever’s in there?”
“What ever we can, they won’t be expecting us to get this far,” he turned to look at Connelly and the professor, “You two wait here while me and Trot deal with the guards and who ever’s in that room.”
“No way, I’m coming with you, it’s safer.”
Jennifer looked at Professor Gyler. He pushed his glasses up his nose, and nodded.
“I’m with Dr Connelly, and anyway once you’re in there you may need us.”
Bane shook his head, but realised he had no choice.
“Okay, stay behind us though, and if you have to shoot, make sure me or Trot are not in the way.”
A loud humming noise could be heard from the room. The guards ignored it, remaining in place, looking out into the room.
Using hand signals, Bane indicated for Trotsky to cross the room to the other side. They would come at the guards in a pincer movement. Hopefully they could take them out with the minimum of fuss.
They set off, keeping low. Moving between the high racking shelves, and scattered pallets. Jennifer stayed with him, while the professor trailed behind Trotsky.
It took a few minutes for Bane to move into the place he had selected to launch his attack on the door guards. Jennifer and Bane were three crates away from the door, crouched down behind a pile of engine parts for some unknown craft.
Bane signalled to Jennifer that he was about to engage the guards when the sound of a cry, and the clang of metal from across the room made him hold his position.
The guards moved away from the wall. Weapons raised.
Now they faced away from Bane as they moved towards the source of the sound. He bursts out from behind the machine parts, opening fire as he dashed towards them. Trotsky appeared from out of the shelving to Banes left, adding his fire. The four guards went down, twisting and jerking as their bullets punctured skin, snapped bones and tore apart their insides.
Bane looked over to where the guards had been heading, to see a sheepish looking Professor Guyler picked himself up from the floor.
“I tripped, sorry.”
“You two, stay out here until I call.”
Bane turned away, and along with Trotsky, headed for the entrance the men had been guarding. Both took out a flash grenade before taking up positions either side of the open door. Bane indicated for Jennifer and the professor to take cover.
He counted off three on his fingers before both pulled the pins and hurled them into the room. Not knowing how many would be waiting for them, this would even up the odds.
Bane closed his eyes and turned away. The crump of the grenade was loud. A single cry of surprise was taken up. Smoke billowed out of the doorway. They dashed into the room. Weapons raised, and tracking, searching for targets.
Through the haze of the grenades aftermath, they saw the room was deserted except for one man. He was rising from the floor next to a computer workstation. He was unarmed.
“Don’t move!” Bane called out.
The man was rubbing his eyes, and appeared confused from the effects of the flash.
“You’re too late, they’ve gone back,” the man said in halting English, “And I’ve set the device to overload, we’re all going to die now.”
Bane looked to the giant bell shaped device, hanging from chains. It was vibrating, and giving off a blue light. Electric arcs jumped from the Tesla coils attached to the ceiling, and connected the bell.
Rogan and Webb watched the chopper vanish into the distance before going to the van liveried with the decal of the Western Virginia Water Authority. The pilot had called ahead to make sure the vehicle was waiting for them.
They had put down in a deserted car park on the shore of Carvins Cove Reservoir. It was the only out of the way location they could find close to their destination.
Rogan opened the rear of the van and tossed Webb a pair of overalls.
“Put these on. This way we won’t attract attention to ourselves”
She was looking at him as if he had gone mad.
He looked at her, then shook his head, “Sorry, I’m not used to working with women, change in the back of the van, I’ll stay out here.”
Webb climbed in the van and shut the door. The rear was cramped with tools and pieces of equipment making it awkward to change clothes. After a few minutes of twisting and turning she managed it.
Leaving the van, she found Rogan field stripping a Heckler and Koch MP 5 on a nearby picnic table. He was now wearing his own set of water authority overalls.
“Is that thing really going to be necessary?”
“I like to be prepared for all eventualities, so yes it is.”
She watched in silence as he expertly reassembled the gun. There was something about Rogan that made her feel safe, but how long they would stay safe, she did not know. Inside, she was terrified especially knowing what seemed like the full weight of the Federal Government was being levied against them.
“What do we do now?”
He finished reassembling the gun, then looked up at her.
“We carry on, go talk with this Kammler.”
“And if federal agents come after us?”
“We make sure they don’t catch us. Come on, time to go.”
He walked over, and climbed into the driver's side of the van. Webb joined him.
Rogan handed her a Glock 17.
“You do know how to handle a gun. Right?”
“Of course I do.”
She took the weapon, pulling back the slide to check a bullet was chambered.
Rogan secured his weapon before turning on the engine.
He looked at her.
“Don’t worry. We’ll have a chat with this Kammler guy, see what he knows then we’ll go to ground, it’ll be a walk in the park.”
She gave him a thin smile.
“I hope you’re right, I really do.”
They set off along Reservoir Road, heading towards Roanoke.
“Professor, get in here,” Bane called out.
He went over to the man, forced him to his knees. Trotsky stood looking up at the bell device, shock and awe written all over his face.
“Who are you, and Whatever you've done, you need to stop it now,” Bane prodded the man with the muzzle of his weapon.
“My names Hoffman. It’s impossible. I cannot. I’m saying nothing else.”
Professor Guyler and Jennifer came into the room. He took one look at the device, then ran over to the control panel.
“He said he’s overloaded the device,” Bane told him.
“I know, I can tell by the sound it’s emitting.”
He looked at the computer screen, shook his head.
“It can’t be undone, when it blows it will take out the whole base. The only way out is...No, it’s impossible...”
His voice drifted off, as he came back to stand with Bane.
“What,Professor? What is the only way out?”
He was looking at Bane with fear filled his eyes.
“Into the past, we follow them.”
Bane looked up at the device. A pulsating blue mist swirled around it. Pinpricks of light sparkled within it, like fireflies on a stormy night.
“I do not like the sound of that,” Trotsky said.
“Me neither, ” Bane said, as he looked at each of them in turn, “But I don’t think we have a choice.”
“The connection to 1945 is holding for now, so if we’re going it’ll have to be now,” the professor said.
"Yeah, but we’ll be trapped, I think I’d rather die here, than through there,” Trotsky said, using his gun muzzle to indicate the swirling mist.
“And, I’m a Jew, how do you think that’ll go down in Hitlers bunker?”
“Koenig must know of a way back here, I don’t think he would risk his neck on a one way trip,” the professor pointed out.
“Enough talking,” Bane said, “We have no choice, we go now.”
He looked at the pulsating mists, swirling around the device, the last thing Bane wanted was to enter that maelstrom, but anything was better than staying here. And if they made it through they still had time to prevent Koenig from whatever he was up to.
Jennifer moved to stand next to Bane.
“I’m with Adam, everyone here is going to die, but if we have a chance to stop Koenig, then we have to take it.”
Their minds focussed on the problem at hand. They had forgotten about Hoffman. While they were talking, they did not see him pick up the AK-47 which lay on a nearby table.
He swung it towards them, and opened fire.
The house they were looking for lay at the end of a long driveway off Williamson Road. A Colonial two story house surrounded by dense woodland. Rogan pulled the van off the road, got out, and lifted the hood. This made it appear that they had engine trouble. Webb joined him. Traffic was sparse, and no one paid them any attention.
“What’s the plan?” She asked.
Rogan grabbed a clipboard off the dash and handed it to her.
“Take a walk up to the house, don’t worry I’ll be nearby. knock on the door, tell whoever answers you're from the Water Authority doing a survey of householders, get their names.”
She retrieved the Glock from the van, and stuffed it inside her coveralls, then waited for a break in traffic before walking across to the drive.
Webb looked back over her shoulder. Rogan had vanished.
The day was a hot one, so she was grateful for the cooling shadows cast by the trees bordering the drive. Her stomach was doing somersaults as her feet carried her up the winding drive to the house.
Through the trees, she could see the house. A dark coloured SUV was parked out front, but there were no other signs of life. The sounds of birds twittering in the trees announced her approach to the front of the house. She rounded the last curve, and now anyone in the house would see her. There was no movement. Webb stopped, and made a pretence of looking at the clipboard, then back at the house.
She started walking again when the rustle of bushes to her right drew her attention.
A man dressed in camouflaged combats stepped into view. He was aiming a snub-nosed machine gun at her.
“Don’t move, miss.”
Webb’s mouth went dry, and her heart thumped, she slowly raised her hands.
The man spoke into a microphone secured in his right hand cuff.
“I’ve got her.”
Another, similarly attired and armed, man emerged from the tree line off to her left.
“What’s going on, I’m from the Water Authority, doing a...”
“Sure you are Miss Webb, get on your knees, hands on your head.”
“She complied with the mans instructions, and wondered where the hell, Rogan was, or had they got him too.
The front door to the house opened. A man in a black suit stepped out, followed by an older man in a wheel chair.
"Go back in the house, Mr Kemp, we’ve got the situation under control,” the man to her left said.
So this was father and son, Webb thought.
She looked intently at the man in the wheel chair, General Dr Hans Friedrich Karl Franz Kammler, he was thin, his bald head had a few sparse hairs, and liver spots. There was also an arrogant air to his bearing, and a thin sneer curled the edge of his mouth.
His eyes bored into her, a predator examining its prey.
“You should have left well alone Miss Webb.”
The two shots almost sounded as one. Webb flinched.
The armed men were knocked off their feet. Rogan appeared from around the corner of the house, armed with his own Glock, the MP5 secured by a strap over his shoulder. He put two more bullets into them, making sure they were dead.
Kemp whirled, going for something in his jacket.
Rogan swung around to point the gun at him.
“You’ll be dead before that gun clears its holster.”
Kemp froze, looked defeated.
“Two fingers, take it out, slowly, and toss it to my partner.”
The man did as requested.
Webb jumped to her feet, and retrieved the pistol before joining Rogan at the house.
“Cover them while I hide the bodies.”
Webb took out her Glock, and pointed both pistols at them. They silently stared back at her.
Rogan made short work of loading the bodies in the SUV, before returning.
“Okay, everyone in the house.”
Without a word, Kammler wheeled himself through the door followed by his son, Rogan, and Webb came behind them. She closed the door.
They were in an airy foyer. Stairs in front of them led to the upper floor. A short hall adjacent the stairs led to a closed door. Off to the left and right of them were closed doors.
“Anyone else here? ” Rogan asked.
“No,” Kemp said, like a sullen child.
Rogan indicated the door to the right.
“Inside if you please.”
Kemp opened the door and led them into a creamy walled, pleasantly furnished living room. French doors at the far end led out to a sunlit glass conservatory.
Kammler wheeled himself into the centre of the room. Kemp sat on a leather sofa, next to a large open fireplace.
“What do you want with us? My dad’s sick, we have money in a safe upstairs.”
“Yeah, your dads sick all right, just like the rest of the Nazi Party was,” Rogan said.
“I don’t know what...” Kemp began.
Kammler held up his hand.
“Enough, they know who I am,” he said, his voice held a slight trace of his German accent.
Webb moved to a chair behind Rogan.
“Good, we can cut the crap, what do you know about Geheime Staat, and a creep called Koenig?”
“I’ve never heard of either name,” Kammler said, after a brief pause.
The pause before answering told Rogan the man was lying. He strolled around the room, stopping every now and again to look at the numerous framed photos that dotted the room. Each one showed Kammler and his son. What Rogan gained from this was a picture of a man proud of his off-spring. This was a convenient hook for Rogan. He turned around to the two men.
“You’ve come a long way, Dr Kammler. Made a nice life for yourself here in America.”
“I’ve done what I had to do, pah, your country has benefited from the knowledge I brought with me.”
“Indeed, now, we don’t have much time, and I need answers to my questions. I know, and you know, you’re telling me lies.”
“I cannot tell you what I don’t know.”
Rogan was a blur, despite his limp. He smashed his pistol into Kemp’s face. The man’s nose exploded in a cloud of red. He cried out, and fell back, his hands going to his face.
Kammler looked aghast at what Rogan had just done.
“Now,” Rogan continued in an even tone, “Answer my question, or I will continue to hurt your son.”
He looked at Rogan with hate in his eyes.
Webb studied the man who had been part of one of the most infamous regimes the world had ever known. It was hard to believe the man before her was the architect of the Nazi death camps, and responsible for the demolition of the Warsaw Ghetto. Now all that was left was a sad derelict husk of a man, a man who should not be here in this time and place. She could almost smell the poison that infected men like him. To think that he had made his place amongst normal people made her shudder with revulsion. Part of her wanted to reach out and strangle the man with her bare hands, to see the life go out of his eyes, but even that would be too good a death.
Kammler sighed. Appeared to sink into himself.
“We discovered the time travel aspects of die glocke quite by accident, you know.”
“Okay, tell us all of it,” Rogan perched himself on the arm of Webb’s chair.
“And it was shortly after that we found out we were going to lose the war.”
Bane saw the man move at the last moment. He pushed the professor out of the line of fire before diving in the opposite direction. The man had not aimed before firing, so his bullets scorched through empty air before hitting the wall.
Trotsky returned fire. His weapon on full auto. Hoffman was dead before he hit the floor.
The noise of the device was rising up the scale, and beginning to vibrate.
Bane grabbed the professor and Jennifer by the hand.
He looked at Trotsky.
“C’mon, now, before it’s too late.”
They all paused for a second, each lost in thoughts of what they were about to do. The mist was swirling faster, the pin pricks of light increasing. Blue lightning crackled within.
As one, they all ran into the mist.
Bane thought there would be pain. There was not. Instead everything froze. He felt as if a velvet blanket had been wrapped around him. His breathing stopped, the misty swirls before him froze. There was no sound. No feeling. No anything. Light faded to darkness.
Then the tugging started. Gentle at first, seeming to come from all directions at once. The intensity increased, pulling him towards whenever, and away at the same time.
He was rushing forwards, backwards, and sideways. All at the same time.
And then, just like that it was all over.
Bane felt pins and needles all over his body. His breath came back to him in short raspy gasps, like a new-born tasting the air for the first time.
He opened his eyes, and for a few seconds it was hard to focus. His vision swam with dark motes. His head whirled with a strange kind of vertigo. Someone nearby was retching.
Bane lay on a cold stone floor. A rumble like thunder came from somewhere above him. He sat up rubbing his eyes. His vision cleared, and he could see they were in a shadowy low ceilinged room, illumination was provided by a single bare bulb. Ventilation equipment sat along one wall with grey pipes leading off through the wall in front of him.
Jennifer and the professor lay nearby, and appeared to be unconscious. Trotsky was by the door leading out of the room.
He sat up, and looked at Bane.
“Well that was fucked up,” he said, rubbing at his own eyes.
Unsteadily, Bane gained his feet. He retrieved his weapon before stepping over to Jennifer. She was starting to come round.
“Where are we?” She asked, her voice groggy from the transition.
“I’m not sure, Hitlers bunker under the Reich Chansellory, I think.”
“So it worked then? We’re alive, amazing.”
Bane helped her to stand, before checking on the professor. He was coming round, he sat up and shook his head.
“I’m okay, I’m okay,” he refused Banes hand, and climbed to his feet unaided.
“Trot, check outside the door.”
Trotsky nodded, and turned to the door, opening it enough to peer through. He closed it again, and turned to face Bane.
“No ones out there, all I could see was a few small tables, and chairs, papers scattered over the floor.”
Bane nodded. Chewing his thumbnail, he thought for a minute.
“Okay boss, what’s the plan?” Trotsky asked.
He turned to face them all.
“Our mission, as I see it still stands,” he began, “But I shit you not, we have stepped into hell.”
He pointed to the roof above them.
“We are stuck in the middle of 90,000 German defenders, and more than a million of Zukhov's and Konev's Red Army troops. We’re outsiders, so either side would gladly shoot us down. Not to mention the constant artillery barrage Berlin is suffering. But, if we keep our heads together, we can do this, we have to, for the sake of our future. If Koenig succeeds, then what is happening here today, and over the last few years will seem like a small disagreement.”
“Not bad odds at all,” Trotsky said, pokerfaced.
“How much ammo have you got left?”
Trotsky checked through his gear.
“Four clips for my Glock, and six for the MP 5, plus four frag grenades.”
Bane discovered he had six magazines for his Beretta, and nine for his assault rifle, and six fragmentation grenades, plus four flashbangs.
"Not enough to do what we have to, but its enough for now, the upside is, bullets for the MP 5 won’t be hard to find, the Germans MP 38 and MP 40, otherwise known as the Schmeisser, fires the same bullets.”
“So, Bane do you have any plan at all?” Jennifer asked.
Turning to her he answered, “We follow Koenig, if we can, he will lead us to the bell here, we make him tell us where this ultimate weapon is, go home and destroy it.”
“I know where he’ll be going.”
They all turned to look at the professor.
“He’s heading for the Jonas Valley Industrial Complex in Poland, that’s where Kammler left 1945 from.”
“Of course,” Bane said, “I read that in the CIA files. Lets get out of here.”
He headed for the door.
“Wait, we’re all forgetting something,” Trotsky said.
He looked at their blank faces.
“What about the grandfather complex?”
Professor Guyler slapped a hand on his shoulder.
“My dear boy, we have enough problems without thinking about something so complex, and anyway the Novikov self-consistency principle expresses a different view on how backwards time travel could be possible without a danger of paradoxes. According to this hypothesis, the only possible time lines are those entirely self-consistent—so anything a time traveller does in the past must have been part of history all along, and the time traveller can never do anything to prevent the trip back in time from happening, since this would represent an inconsistency. Nicholas J. J. Smith argues, for example, that if some time traveller killed the child who lived in his old address, this would ipso facto necessitate that the child was not the time traveller's younger self, nor the younger self of anyone alive in the time frame that the time traveller came from. This could be extrapolated further into the possibility that the child's death led to the family moving away, which in turn led to the time traveller's family moving into the house guaranteeing that the house later became the home the time traveller would then grow up in, forming a predestination paradox.”
Trotsky looked at the professor, a blank expression on his face.
“I knew that, I think.”
Bane sighed, shaking his head.
“If you’ve finished with the lesson, professor?”
“Oh, sorry, I tend to get carried away.”
Bane cracked open the door, and after checking it was still clear, he slipped out. The others followed behind him.
They found themselves in a long room, only slightly wider than a corridor. Furnished with tables and chairs. An old couch sat against the opposite battleship grey wall next to a door that from the sign on it led to the toilets. Everything was tainted with a fine layer of dust.
Three other doors led out of the room. The air was redolent with sweat and febrile exhaustion, terrible foreboding and despair.
They made their way to the door at the far end of the room. Bane put his ear to the door, listening for any sound from beyond. All seemed quiet.
“I don’t get this,” Trotsky said, “There was supposed to be a fair few people down here.”
“Koenig’s changed that I think,” Bane replied.
Bane grabbed the doors handle, and cracked it open an inch. Peering through, he saw another long low ceilinged room, illuminated by a bare bulb. Appearing to be some kind of conference room with a long table piled high with files and maps. He saw a man in an SS uniform having a heated conversation on a telephone at the far end of the room. He had his back to Bane. He also appeared unarmed.
Bane pulled open the door. With his weapon aimed at the man, he silently moved towards him. The others followed behind.
Bane jammed the muzzle of his gun into the mans neck. He froze, and slowly replaced the handset.
“Sprechen Sie Englisch?”
“I do, a little.”
“What’s your name?”
“I’m SS Untersturmführer Franz Schädle.”
The name was one that Bane was familiar with, he was the commander of Adolf Hitler's personal bodyguard, the SS-Begleitkommando des Führers, and one of the men who opted for suicide down in the Fuhrer Bunker, rather than surrender. The situation he found himself in was surreal indeed. Here he was face to face with history. And now it was living, moving, and breathing.
“Okay, Franz, slowly turn around, no sudden moves.”
Bane moved back a few paces, as the Untersturmführer turned to face them. His eyes widened at the sight before him.
“Who are you? Americans, Russians?”
“That does not matter, where are the men who came before us?”
“They left, twenty minutes ago, with the Fuhrer, and his private secretary, Herr Borman.”
So, Koenig had already changed history. Or had he, as the professor had pointed out in his earlier lengthy diatribe, anything a time traveller does in the past must have been part of history all along. He hoped this was true. The last thing Bane wanted, if they managed to return to their own time, was a massive change, a world he did not recognise.
“Where have they gone to?” He asked.
“There’s a converted Junkers waiting in the Tiergarten, they are going to Jonas Valley in Poland.”
Bane knew he was referring to the large inner city park close to the Reichstag, although most of the trees would be gone, it was a perfect place to set down a plane.
“You do know the war is lost now?” Trotsky asked.
He looked over Banes shoulder.
He glared at Trotsky, his eyes filled with hate.
“We’ve known for a while we are going to lose, I don’t need reminding by a filthy Juden,” Schädle almost spat the last word.
Bane was filled with revulsion, in that last word was all the horror and hatred perpetrated by the Third Reich. And also the arrogance of a race believing they were above all other races on the planet.
Without thinking, Bane’s finger twitched on the trigger of his gun. The SS man was hit in the face, and knocked over onto the table. Blood from the exit wound sprayed the wall behind him.
A door to his left swung open, and a man armed with a Luger stepped out. Bane swivelled. The man raised his weapon, but Bane was quicker. His bullet caught the man in the chin, taking away half his face and propelling him back through the door.
Bane knew in this time and place it was kill or be killed, like it or not they were in a war zone. Even though his first kill had been a knee jerk reaction, he knew he could not leave the man alive. Questions of morality had to be dispensed with.
“That’s how you do it, you have no time for thought here, it’s kill or be killed,” Bane told them all.
He looked at Trotsky who nodded.
“Right, lets see if we can get to this plane, maybe we can persuade them to take us with them.”
Without a backward glance he headed for the door at the end of the room. A long time ago, Bane had seen the floor plans for the bunker. He knew the door would take them up into the small garden to the rear of the Reich Chancellery. From there, a brisk walk while evading the bullets of the ring of steel surrounding the Chancellery, would take them to the park, and that would be the easy part.
Barry Goldwater was having trouble processing what he had observed on the screen. One minute he was viewing Area 51 from the camera positioned high above in the Jumbled Hills. Next there was a bright flash and the feed died.
He took the phone from his desk, and dialled out to Captain Jefferson who was in charge of the ring of steel placed around the base.
“What the fuck just happened? ” He said when Jefferson answered.
“I don’t know sir,” came the reply, “some kind of explosion, I can see a massive mushroom cloud rising above the mountains, and the ground shook like we had an earthquake.”
Before Goldwater could say another word, he heard a roaring sound then the line went dead.
Kammler spoke for over an hour and a half. Both were aware of the fact that if what he told them were true, then indeed the whole world was in dire straights. Die glocke was an experiment, carried out by Third Reich scientists working for the SS in a German facility known as Der Riese, “The Giant”, near the Wenceslaus mine and close to the Czech border. Under orders from the Fuhrer they were tasked to build the ultimate weapon, one so devastating the allies would have no choice but to surrender to the might of the Reich. The Bell was a metallic object, approximately 9 ft. in diameter and 12-15 ft. Tall. It was comprised of two counter-rotating cylinders, rotating a purplish liquid-metallic looking substance code-named "Xerum 525" by the Germans. At high speeds. "Xerum 525" was apparently highly radioactive, being purple in colour, and housed in cylinders with lead lining 3cm (12 in.) thick. During use, it could only be run for approximately one to two minutes, as it apparently gave off strong radiation and or other electromagnetic or unknown field effects. Several scientists died on its first operation. Subsequent tests included various plants and animals. All of which decomposed into a blackish goo and without normal putrefaction, within a matter of a few minutes or hours after exposure to its field effects when in operation. Technicians near the Bell during these experiments reported metallic tastes in their mouths after being exposed to it. The chamber in which the Bell was tested was lined with ceramic bricks and rubber mats, and had to have its rubber matting removed and burned after each test, and it was subsequently washed down with brine by inmates from nearby concentration camps.
The time travel properties were an accidental discovery, during one test, after several power adjustments, a technician, who moved too close to the energy field generated by Die Glocke, vanished. When they reversed the process, he reappeared with a fantastic tale to be shared. He had been in a city with tall buildings the likes of which he had never seen before, and people garbed in unfamiliar clothes.
They set out to replicate the experiment, placing a team in the field this time. They had figured that what he saw was the future. The team was transported to the year 1974, upon their return they brought back the news that Germany lost the war.
The Fuhrer was apoplectic at the news delivered to him. He said this could not be permitted to happen. Kammler was tasked to carry on with the work with his ultimate solution weapon, and they would burn the planet before allowing defeat. His actual words were, ‘Time cannot stop the might of the Third Reich.’
The weapon in development was a form of phased MASER weapon. MASER is an acronym for, Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The weapon was powered by six Die Glocke devices. The weapon had the capability of destroying the Earth’s atmosphere, or it could be reversed, and fired directly into the molten core of the planet, and rip the whole world apart.
Webb stared at Kammler when he had finished speaking.
“Was the device destroyed? Or are Staat correct in thinking it still exists? ” She asked.
“I have no idea if it still exists, I know where it is, or where it was when I made my journey from 1945.”
“And I suppose you're not going tell us, no matter what we do to you?”
“On the contrary, Miss Webb, I have no wish for the planet to be destroyed, or a continuation of the dreams of madmen.”
“I seem to remember you were one of those madmen,” Rogan said.
“I was, perhaps, I won’t use the cliche I was only following orders. I was doing the job I was given, with the resources presented to me. As terrible as that may seem to you. They were different times, I was different.”
He took off his glasses, and pulled a soft cloth from a pocket of his trousers to clean them. When he had finished, he put them back on, and looked at them.
“The device is in the Jonas Valley, deep in the old complex. Buried now, after the entrances were sealed.”
What he said next sent a chill down Rogan and Webbs spines.
“Once activated it cannot be shut off, it is after all a doomsday weapon, even if you are able to blow it up, the resulting energy release will take out half the planet.”
Reaching the top of a stone staircase, they came to a half open metal door. Bane's nose twitched at the smell that greeted them. Amidst the aromas of sulpher, burnt wood, and scorched earth was the cloying stench of death.
Behind him he heard Jennifer gag.
“Ugh, what’s that smell?”
“Death, ” Bane turned to face them, “Remember, this is a war zone, you’re gonna be seeing sights that will turn your stomach. You’re gonna have to put it out of your mind. Keep thinking on why we are here.”
Both the professor and Jennifer nodded. He had spoken for their benefit. Trotsky would know what they would see out in the streets of Berlin.
They went out into what was once a garden area, flanked on all sides by the Reich Chancellery. This quasi-cinematic monument to conspicuous power now looked tawdry in its bombed out, half-wrecked state. Yet it remained deeply sinister.
The boom and crack of artillery and tank fire, punctuated by screaming salvo's of katyushas shook the ground, and turning Berlin into the Reich's funeral pyre. For the moment, though, they were in luck, as the shells were landing nowhere near them.
Raised voices, speaking in German, could be heard from the building at the far side.
Bane knew they had to avoid contact at all costs. So he led his team into the rubble of what was possibly a greenhouse. Scrambling over the twisted pieces of metal, and concrete they emerged into an open area. Pock marked with shell holes, more twisted metal, and lumps of busted brick work. Tiergarten park was a large sprawl off to their left, across what in present times would be Ebertstrasse, but in 1945 was called Herman Goering Strasse. A road running on a roughly north-south line from the Brandenburg Gate to Potsdamer Platz in the centre of the city. On 31 July 1947, after World War II, the street was renamed back to Ebertstraße. From 1961 to 1989 the Berlin Wall ran along most of its length. Now it was unrecognisable because of the constant shelling from the encroaching Russian forces.
What they could see of the Tiergarten was also unrecognisable, stripped of most of its trees, and bombed back into the dark ages. Visibility was hindered by clouds of ash and smoke from explosions and burning buildings.
Keeping low, Bane and his little team made their way towards the road, weaving between the piles of rubble. A half destroyed pill-box appeared out of the smoke. Bane froze, and hunkered down. The others copied him.
Standing next to the ruin were six armed men, all in the black uniform of SS commandos.
Bane looked around for an alternate route past them. He was about to signal to the others to move back when one of the men spotted them. He said something to the others then they all looked over. Bane braced himself for the bullets he knew would soon be winging their way towards them. But then the strangest thing happened.
The men all dropped their weapons and put their hands in the air.
“Gott sei Dank, Amerikaner, wir kapitulieren!”
They were quickly surrounded by the SS men, who were shaking their hands and hugging them. Up close, Bane could see these were just boys. Barely out of their teens, and scared, their faces empty, signs of deep exhaustion in their eyes.
Bane realised that to these men they would look bizarre, and so they would mistake them for members of the present day American armed forces. In the closing days of the war, the battle for Berlin was fought out of fear of the Russians, not out of survival of the Reich, or because of orders from the Reich High Command. Stories were rife about what the Russians were doing to the Germans. Rape and wholesale slaughter was the order of the day. All as an act of revenge for German atrocities in Stalingrad. At the end, they wanted to surrender to American forces, rather than fall into the hands of the Russians. Also one of the wild rumours flying around was American forces had joined with the Germans to fight the Russians.
Bane looked at Trotsky, a tick in his jaw muscle and the way he was gripping his weapon revealed the mans tension.
“Stay calm, Trot,” he whispered to the man.
Jennifer and the professor had taken a step back from the crowd of SS men, their eyes wide with fear.
Bane spoke to them in German.
“We are an advance party, sent in to Berlin to meet with the Fuhrer.”
The man who had first spoken looked at Bane.
“You have just missed him, he’s being ferried out of Berlin, a rat leaving a sinking ship,” he spat on the ground.
It was clear these men no longer held any loyalty towards their leader.
“Which way did they go?”
The man pointed across the road.
“That way, there’s a makeshift runway set up at the other side of those trees.”
Bane looked in the indicated direction. They would need to be quick if they were to catch them before the plane took off.
He looked back at their spokesman.
“You men need to find somewhere to hide for now, and well away from the Reich Chancellery. Others will follow behind us. This will all be over soon.”
Part of him hated lying to them, and he also knew they would more than likely be dead in the next few hours. These were not the hardened SS troops, they were probably members of the Hitler Youth, more than likely someone recently put them in uniform, handed them a gun and told them to fight. They had a job to do though, so he could not afford to have such feelings.
The men looked crestfallen. They shook hands with them again before traipsing off. Merging with the fog of battle to become ghosts of the past.
Bane turned around to look towards the park. For a brief moment, a wind kicked up. It parted the smoky air before them. Time appeared to stand still as, for the first time they all got a view of the chaos before them. Stunted and blackened trees stretched away across the park. The ground is covered with shell holes, railway sleepers, pieces of wire and trenches. The German defenders had dug a network of defences all round the Reichstag.
In the distance, they could just see the pointing finger of the four tier Siegessäule, or victory statue. Built to commemorate the Prussian victory in the Danish-Prussian War, now it was a witness to the death of the thousand year Reich. Beyond they saw, before the fog closed in again, bombed and shattered buildings that seemed to stretch out forever. A devastated, Hieronymus Bosch landscape.
They were shaken from their individual thoughts by the whistle and boom of a shell exploding behind them.
Bane took off across the street. The others bringing up his rear. Shells were now exploding all around them. Lumps of concrete and other debris showered down. They hit the edge of the park, and Bane dived head first into a shell hole. The others slid in alongside him.
“Fuck, what now? ” Trotsky said.
“Keep our heads down, and hope it’ll soon pass,” Bane said.
He looked to Jennifer and the professor.
“How are you two holding up?”
As soon as he had said it, he thought what a stupid question. It was written all over both their faces, and in the glassy stare of their eyes.
Jennifer looked at him, white faced, her body trembling. She was hugging herself as if trying to hold in her fear and panic. Bane could tell she was on the brink of losing it. The professor, while in a similar condition, he seemed the calmer of the two.
“We’re gonna die, aren't we?” She stuttered.
Bane held her, somehow knowing she needed human contact.
“No, we’re going to get out of this, one way or another, I promise.”
He knew it was probably an empty promise, but also it was something she needed to hear. It seemed to work. She gave him a thin smile, and despite the hell all around them, she seemed to relax.
The shelling seemed to have ceased.
“C’mon let’s move.”
Bane scrambled up the side of the hole. Trotsky helped the professor before holding out his hand for Jennifer.
“Where do you think the plane is? ” Trotsky asked.
Before Bane could answer, they heard the sound of a twin prop engine firing up in the distance.
Bane took off. Once again, the others ran behind him.
The going was slow. They had to swerve around holes, and tree, and scramble over rubble.
As they neared the victory statue, which sat at a large intersection on the city axis that leads from the Berliner Stadtschloss, Berlin City Palace, through the Brandenburg Gate to the western parts of the city, they saw the road was the makeshift runway. A group of six black clad troops stood off to one side watching a four engined Junkers Ju 390 transport plane take to the air.
Bane realised they were already too late.
They hunkered down in the shadow of a bombed out building.
“That’s it we’re screwed,” Trotsky spat dust out of his mouth.
“Jonas Valley is about five hundred miles from Berlin,” the professor added, “There’s no way we can make it in time.”
“We have to get out of Berlin now, we still make our destination Jonas, and hope we make it before the allies blow the whole place up, otherwise we’re stuck here,” Bane said as he stuck his head around the wall.
The Germans were still standing around as if they waited for something.
“I don’t get it,” Jennifer said, “I thought this place would be crawling with defenders, yet we’ve hardly seen anyone.”
“The Russians at the time said the Berliners put up a ferocious defence, but there is a school of thought that says they made up the numbers they faced,” Bane said.
“Or the defenders around the Reich Chancellery have fled when they saw Hitler leave with Koenig,” Professor Guyler added.
“It would help if we knew the exact date,” Trotsky said.
The sound of an approaching aircraft came to them through the smoky air. Bane saw the soldiers all turn to look in the same direction.
“We may not be out of the race yet,” Bane said.
As he looked on, he saw another Junkers break through the smog, angling for a landing.
“I have a plan, but we’re going to need some uniforms.”
The large iron gates swung open in front of
The large iron gates swung open in front of Goldwaters vehicle. He drove his Audi through onto a long sweeping gravel drive. Earlier he had been contacted by Majestic’s operations officer, and asked to attend a meeting at Dr Garton Hunsaker’s Virginian mansion. The English Palladian-style home sat in the middle of a sprawling 4,500 acres estate sat on the banks of the James river near Richmond, and had been in the Hunsaker family since the days of the Civil War.
He felt a tightening in his stomach as he approached the three storey red bricked building. Goldwater had been to the home on only three other occasions, all social. This was the first time he had been ordered to an official meeting here. As he pulled up in front of the pillared entrance he noted the numerous armed guards strolling around the grounds.
Taking off his mirrored driving glasses, he climbed out of the car. The front door opened, and a man in a black suit waited to greet him.
He was ushered into the airy hallway dominated by green painted elaborate 18th-century wood panelling and handsomely carved ornamentals. Pictures of hunting scenes decorated the walls. To his left a wooden staircase wound up to the upper levels.
“Please wait here while I go announce your arrival,” the man said before disappearing through a door at the far end of the hallway. Goldwater knew this led to the dining room.
His heart was beating hard in his chest, and a cold sweat had broken out on his brow. Although he had followed Majestic’s orders, and unleashed the dogs on Omega and Charlotte Charlotte, he had also leaked the sequence of events into the pipeline that would end on the desk of the President. He had no choice but to go along with them, if he hadn’t he was finished. But he also had strong morals and could not reconcile the orders with his belief in himself and country.
Now he was thinking that Majestic knew, and that was why he had been summoned.
Goldwater took a handkerchief from his trouser pocket and mopped his brow. The black suited man appeared at the doorway.
“This way, Director Goldwater.”
He was led into the blue painted panelled dining room. Two large arched windows at the far end let in the Virginian sunlight. All the members of Majestic were seated around the long polished oak dining table which dominated the room.
“Ah, good of you to come, Director, have a seat,” Hunsaker said, as he indicated the empty chair at the opposite end of the table from him.
Goldwater sat in the offered chair, and asked, “What’s this all about?”
“The base has been completely destroyed, which is a shame, but as we see it, it is the end of the matter, the threat is over,” Hunsaker said, “Now is the time for damage limitation, the President is demanding a full report on the whole affair, so we need to be sure we are all singing the same song, do you understand me, Director?”
“Yes sir, I do.”
“Good, you’ll stay here over the next couple of days while we work on the report. How is the ongoing operation against Miss Charlotte and the rest of Omega’s infrastructure going?”
“Miss Charlotte and the Colonel seem to have gone off the grid, but we have managed to shut down many of their subsidiary offices.”
Hunsaker nodded, took a sip from the glass of water before him.
“That’s not good, make Miss Charlotte and the colonel a priority, and as you know accidents happen, they both need to disappear. We don’t want any contradictions to the report we are going to write.”
As Hunsaker was speaking, he noticed six black dots through the window behind the man. As they drew nearer he could tell they were helicopters.
There was a knock at the door. The black suited man entered the room.
“What is it, Grayson?” Hunsaker said, obviously irritated at the disturbance.
Goldwater could now hear the sound of the choppers. Through the window he could see two landing on the lawn at the front of the house. While Hunsaker remained immobile, the others around the table were looking towards the window.
“All the security detail are leaving, sir.”
Finally, Hunsaker swivelled in his seat to look out the window. There were murmurs of brief conversation from the members of Majestic before Hunsaker silenced them with a wave of his hand.
“Don’t worry my friends, whatever this is about, we are covered by Presidential decree, we say nothing.”
The sound of boots on wooden flooring could be heard through the doorway. Six armed men in black uniforms with no insignia burst into the room.
Hunsaker stood up, the legs of his chair scraping on the floor as he pushed it backwards.
“What is the meaning of all this, you have no jurisdiction here!”
“Do we look like we give a shit,” one of the man said before weapons were raised, and they opened fire.
They touched down at Berlin Schönefeld Airport at seven o’clock in the morning. After their visit with Kammler, Rogan thought it wise to get Charlotte out of the country. Not any easy prospect with federal agents after them. After they paid a visit to a an all night supermarket for hair dye, and a pair of scissors he was able to transform her into a different person. Next they went to one of his safety deposit boxes where he stashed a dozen or so passports. All he had to do was add her new image to the passport and they were good to go.
An hour after they landed, Rogan and Charlotte were in a hire car heading south on Flughafen. They had over three hours driving ahead of them, and not much else to do but talk, or watch the sights fly by.
“I still can’t see the point in coming all this way, seems like a wild goose chase to me,” Charlotte said as she popped a sweet in her mouth from the bag on her lap. She offered one to Rogan who shook his head.
“As I said earlier, the main point is to get you out of the country. The second point is Kammler gave me a possible entry point to where this ultimate weapon is housed.”
She sat up straighter upon hearing this.
“What do you mean?”
“After you went outside, and I was about to leave he called me back.” He paused while concentrating on taking exit 46-Erfurt-West toward Erfurt-Molsdorf and Eischleben. Traffic was fairly heavy for that time of day, mostly lorries and trucks.
After turning right onto the L3004, and settling into a comfortable speed, Rogan went on to explain.
The whole project was transferred from the mine to the Jonas Valley Industrial Complex. The facility was much bigger and they would have access to a larger workforce and more power. The valley is situated in the Ilm-Kreis district in Germany between Crawinkel and Arnstadt and near to the town of Ohrdruf, Thousands of prisoners from the Buchenwald concentration camp under the command of Kammler were forced to dig 25 tunnels and huge work shops into the surrounding mountain and the whole operation was performed under the strictest secrecy. Ohrdruf, its forced labour camp and the nearby Jonas Valley were captured by American troops on April 4, 1945, by the 4th Armoured Division, and the 89th Infantry Division. The camp was the first Nazi concentration camp liberated by the U.S. Army.
At the end of the war, the Soviet army, which took over the site from the Americans, immediately classified it as a restricted zone and then used it as a military training ground. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the site was taken over by the German armed forces who continue to use the area to this day. Jonastal itself remains within a military training area and entry was strictly prohibited but that’s eased off.
Searches carried out by the Russians and Americans at the end of the war did not uncover any signs of this device. In the end, the tunnels were all sealed, except for one which has since been turned into a museum.
“How are we going to get into the area if it’s under military control?”
“People still manage to get in, and as I said the military have loosened their control over the area. We’ll know more when we arrive and have a scout round.”
“You said, Kammler said there may be a way in?”
“Yeah, in the former Ohrdruf Truppenübungsplatz, or milatery training ground there is a bunker. The entrance above is disguised as a chalet. Below this is a two floor deep shelter, given the code “AMT 10”. The purpose of the installations was to house the High Command after it was bombed out of Berlin. He believes it may still be accessible. A tunnel leads from this bunker to the Jonas valley comp;ex and the room where the weapon is housed.”
“After all these years do you think it’s still there?”
“Well, we’ll soon find out.”
After outlining the plan, Bane set off at a
After outlining the plan, Bane set off at a crouch. Weaving his way amongst the piles of rubble, and shell holes. He knew Trotsky would be making his way to the other side of the road. The smoke and noise from the Russian guns would hide their movements.
Jennifer and the professor would make their way to within six feet of the soldiers before hurling flashbangs into their midst. In the confusion, Bane and Trotsky would take them out.
As he moved around a pile of rubble he saw the Junkers touch down, wheeling past the men to be swallowed up by the smoke along the road.
Bane was closing in on the position he had chosen. There was a sudden lull in the constant barrage. At the same time, Bane caught his foot on a piece of tangled wire. This dislodged a pile of bricks. In the silence the noise was louder than a gun shot.
The men spun as one, raising their weapons. Bane was silhouetted against the ruined backdrop. He dived towards a shell hole as the rattle of automatic gunfire sent bullets winging through the spot he had vacated.
He scrabbled out of the hole. Coming up in a crouch, he returned fire. Two men went down under his more powerful weapon.
A blinding double flash, and loud whump tore through them. The flashbangs. The sound of Trotsky’s weapon came to him. Bane added his weapons voice.
In seconds it was over. They had to move fast now. They dragged a couple of bodies into the ruins alongside the road before quickly changing into the German uniforms. Bane had picked an SS Oberst uniform. It made him feel sick, not because of the blood, but because of what the uniform represented. By their faces, especially Trotsky, they felt the same. Jennifer and the professor had also armed themselves with the dead soldiers machine guns.
By the time they assembled at the side of the road, the Junkers was taxing back to them.
“Let me do the talking,” Bane said.
They all nodded in agreement.
The Junkers rolled to a stop, and moments later the side door opened. A man in the uniform of a Luftwaffe officer appeared in the doorway.
“Where is Oberst Kliner and his men?” He asked in German.
Bane stepped forward, and said, “They were killed moments ago by the Russian assault, we are all that is left of his platoon.”
“Never mind, we are the last transport. Quickly, get on board.”
He quickly scrambled aboard. His nose twitched as the sour aroma of oil mixed in with the smell of sweat and fear assaulted his nostrils. Glancing around he felt a sudden thrill of horror run through him. The plane was packed with SS soldiers. Some obviously wounded, others battle weary. All with the hard eyed look of combat veterans.
Luckily, no one looked their way as they walked down the plane to a clear spot near the tail. He could feel Jennifer trembling next to him as they sat on the hard floor of the craft. He squeezed her elbow in reassurance.
Even before the officer had closed the door, they felt the plane roll along the road. All they could do for now is keep to themselves, and hope no one checked them out too closely.
Bane felt like a lamb in a lions cage, and the lion had not been fed for a long time.
They arrived in Arnstadt as morning ticked over to afternoon. Rogan pulled over next to a church, and purchased a map and guide book of the area from a shop across the road.
Arnstadt was the oldest town in Thuringia, and sitting on the banks of the River Gerba. It bears the nickname, Das Tor zum Thüringer Wald “The Gateway to the Thuringian Forest” because of its location on the northern edge of that forest. Arnstadt has a population of some 25,000 people, and Charlotte thought every single one of them were unaware they lived in close proximity to a doomsday weapon.
“What’s the plan then?” She asked as they pulled away from the kerbside.
“We need to find a camping store, we’ll need supplies, ropes, torches etc, then a hotel where I plan to sleep until night, then we go find this Amt 10 building.”
“It’s not gonna be as simple as taking a trip to the mall you know, needle in a haystack comes to mind.”
“Yeah, I know, that’s why we’re going to get you a lap top and you can do what you do best, Miss Charlotte.”
An hour later they arrived at a small hotel near the the western edge of the town on Schonbrunn Strasse after purchasing the equipment they would need for their little expedition into the dark past of the area.
Their room on the second floor was at best functional, the hotel certainly would not be appearing on Travel.com with any favourable reviews, but for their needs it was adequate.
Rogan dropped the bags he was carrying by the window before turning to Charlotte, “Get some sleep, we’re both going to need a couple of hours.”
“Maybe later, I’m too hyped up, I’ll do a bit of research first, see if I can’t find the exact location of Amt 10.”
Rogan took off his jacket and hung it on the back of a wooden chair next to the cheap looking dressing table. He climbed on the bed, and within seconds was snoring softly.
She shrugged. Sitting on the chair she took out the lap top from its bag. She fired it up and first accessed her secure e-mail account.
Amongst the usual crap she was surprised to see an email from Colonel Montgomery. She opened it and began to read.
Your situation has been rectified. Presidential intervention. You can return with impunity and without prejudice. The witch hunt has been shut down. Please, either you or Rogan contact me ASAP.
She sat back. Was this a scam by those who were after her? Or was it for real?
She hunched over the lap top, and fired off a quick message, asking the sender a question that if they really were the colonel, the sender would know the answer.
Charlotte did not have long to wait for a reply. The sender had answered correctly, it was the colonel. She fired off another message outlining what they were about to do, and what they had found out from Kammler.
Seconds later, another message appeared in her in-box.
Area 51 has been destroyed, some kind of thermo nuclear detonation. No survivors. Prime objective now is to get to the doomsday device if it still exists. We don’t know if Gehieme managed to get a message out to others. We are not trusting outsiders on this so I am sending a unit of Army Rangers to rendevue with yourselves. Captain Bob Lee Jensen will be the C/O on this. Stay put until he makes contact. He should be with you sometime in the next four hours.
Charlotte felt a great wave of relief wash over her, despite her shock at the news about Area 51. Ever since the attack in the car park she felt as if fear had suddenly become her only emotion. Now she could relax a little, the cavalry was coming. The thought of heading out to Amt 10, even with Rogan, had filled her with dread. And the fact they would be descending into the heart of darkness did not bear thinking about.
She gazed over to Rogan, and briefly thought about waking him, then thought against it. Turning back to the computer she set about hunting down Amt 10.
Bane gazed over the top of his knees at the other
Bane gazed over the top of his knees at the other occupants. So far they had been ignored. Jennifer was leaning against him, softly snoring. He could not believe in the midst of all what was going on how she was able to sleep.
The escape from Berlin airspace, though rough, had been uneventful. He had to give who ever was piloting the craft his due. He had used the fog of battle to hide their flight, staying hidden within the smoky twilight until the last moment.
An hour and a half had passed, and now he sensed the Junkers begin to descend. He knew they had taken a huge risk in getting on the plane, and hoping that it’s destination would be the same as Koenig and his cronies. Soon they would know if it had paid off.
He looked across to Trotsky. He was dozing with his head resting on his knees. Bane nudged him.
“Look sharp, we’re coming in to land.”
Trotsky rubbed at his eyes before nudging the professor who had also fallen into a doze.
The officer who had earlier opened the door to them appeared from the cockpit, and once again positioned himself by the door.
Bane woke Jennifer but implored her to remain silent. Her eyes showed the fear she must have been feeling inside.
The plane shuddered as it bumped down on the ground. A few moments later it rolled to a stop, and the officer opened the door. The planes passengers were on the move. Some helping their wounded comrades while others were able to debus unaided.
The sight which greeted them when they emerged from the plane was one of panicked chaos. Troops were throwing papers onto huge bonfires. Others were loading equipment or what looked like art work onto covered trucks. Many were dashing about on unknown tasks. They had landed on a makeshift airstrip outside a barbed wire corralled compound. About three hundred yards long, a hundred yards wide, three guard towers to a side, two men in each. A mounted machine gun in each tower. Each man armed with a submachine gun. Inside the compound was a partially constructed chalet. Wooden planks and other building material were piled up next to the construction. A couple of smaller huts were the only other buildings within.
Scrub-land surrounded the compound with deep forest bordering. Beyond the compound and half a mile distant, the land rose into a series of hills and small mountains.
He pulled Trotsky to him, and whispered in his ear.
“I need you to keep it together, I have a feeling we may come across things here that will not be nice.”
As if to punctuate Banes point a group of gaunt men in black and white striped uniforms, their heads shaved, were led out of the chalet. Their guards steered them towards the rear of the building.
“Bane, I’m sorry if I’ve appeared a bit flaky, I’m okay now, boss, you can count on me.”
“Good man,” he patted Trotsky on the back.
The passengers from the plane were milling around waiting for someone to give them orders. Bane knew it would not be long before someone did, they could not be here when that happened. He pulled them all close so he could speak without being overheard.
“I think this place is where Koenig has come to, and I have a hunch the device will be located underground. The entrance I believe is in that building.”
“That’s a lot of guess work, Bane,” Jennifer said.
“I know, but it’s all we have left now, by the looks of the activity around here the allied forces are close, they’re packing up and moving out. I think Koenig may activate the weapon here and now, we have to get to him before he has a chance.”
“Banes right,” the professor said, “Also, I think Koenig will not wait to do it in our own time, that’s why he’s snatched Hitler. He’s going to change the outcome of the war.”
“This is the plan such as it is, we stroll over to that building looking to all the world as if we belong, c’mon let’s go.”
They set off, weaving their way through the crowd of bodies next to the plane. No one paid them any attention, all were lost in their own thoughts of survival. They were nearing the entrance to the compound when the sound of a vehicle engine made Bane glance to his right. A staff car was approaching fast.
The driver braked, and the vehicle stopped two yards from them. A man in the uniform of an SS colonel stood up in the rear of the vehicle and barked out an order to several soldiers who were loading a lorry.
“No more time, everyone get out now, the Americans are just down the road.”
He turned and looked at Bane.
“Oberst, go down and warn Kammler he needs to get out now, there are too many of the devils coming our way.”
He tossed a leather satchel down to Bane who caught it one handed.
“All the details of the U-boat pick-up are in there, tell him if he’s not there we will not wait for him.”
“Ya mine colonel!” Bane clicked his heels at the man, and gave a half salute. Inside he was smiling, they had been given a reason to enter the facility.
The man sat down. Tapped his driver on the shoulder and they took off. Here it seemed it was everyman for himself now. The soldier who had first been spoken to was passing the word amongst those still working. The plane was being loaded with troops again. A fuel waggon had turned up. Two men were busy refuelling the junkers.
Bane and Trotsky set off at a trot, Jennifer and the professor trailed behind them.
Rogan had awoke at eight o’ clock. Charlotte had filled him in on the conversation with Montague. He agreed they did not have time to wait for the Rangers to arrive, nor did he want to as he did not fully trust it had been the colonel at the other end.
Half an hour later they were crouched in a stand of trees looking across scrub-land at Amt 10. Night had brought with it a heavy clouds obscuring the moon. The building had the appearance of a holiday chalet which was incongruous with it’s desolate surroundings.
Charlottes research had located Amt 10 on land at the northern side of the Jonas Valley. The Germans had disguised the entrance, making it look like a normal building. For what ever reason, the building had been preserved, there was no information if the access to the vast underground areas had also been preserved. They would soon find out.
“What are we waiting for?”
“We need to be sure no one is around before we go in,” Rogan said.
Charlotte adjusted one of her rucksack straps. They were both wearing packs containing their earlier purchases, ropes, torches and spare battery’s. Rogan also had a hunting knife in a holster on his hip. Both were wearing dark coloured clothing, their faces blackened.
“Come on there’s no one gonna be out here at this time of night.”
As she finished speaking they both saw the brief flare of a cigarette. Someone was standing next to the building.
Rogan looked at her, “You were saying?”
He set off, keeping low, the hunting knife appeared in his hand. Charlotte followed him. She reached into her pocket and retrieved her only weapon, the kubotan on her keyring.
Moving cautiously they arrived at the deeper shadows to the rear of the building. Charlotte copied Rogan. Flattening herself against the rough stone wall.
They edged along until they reached the corner. Rogan peered around, then turned back to her. He put a finger to his mouth. Indicated for her to stay where she was. He disappeared around the corner of the building.
Sounds of a brief struggle came to her.
The pressure of a gun barrel in the small of her back made her freeze. A voice in German told her to turn around. And turn around she did. She spun to her left. The outside edge of her left arm knock the mans gun arm away from her. With the Kubotan in her right hand she slammed it into the nerve cluster on the side of his neck. The man dropped with out a sound. Charlotte crouched. Retrieved his weapon, a Glock, before checking through the mans pockets. She came up with a wallet, and a couple of spare clips for the gun. Taking a pinlight torch from her pocket she shone it on the id card she found.
Konrad Horst was his name, and he was a police officer from Berlin. She frownd at this discovery. Rogan reappeared.
He looked down at the comatose man then at Charlotte.
“He’s a police officer,” she told him.
“So was his friend, from Berlin, whatever they were doing all the way out here, it has nothing to do with law and order.”
“What shall we do with him?”
“You go check the front of the building, I’ll deal with him.”
She was about to say something about not killing him, but thought better of it. She knew if the tables were turned these men would have killed them. Charlotte nodded. Walked around to the front of the building.
A dark coloured Mercedes was parked across from the building, no other vehicles were in sight. After checking it over she looked at the front of the chalet. It appeared to be like any other holiday home in the area. Except it was slap bang in the middle of an old military training area.
She walked over to the door. It had been secured with a brand new padlock.
Rogan appeared at her side.
“Locked, and I found no keys on the one I dealt with.”
She saw Rogan grin in the light being cast off by the full moon which had emerged from behind the heavy cloud cover. He held up a silver key.
“Maybe this will do the job. My man had it on him.”
He held the gun he had taken from the first man in one hand, and with the other unlocked the padlock.
Rogan pushed open the door. The hinges creaked as the door swung back to crack against the wall. Inside was a deep darkness.
He took off his back pack and retrieved a powerful torch before before swinging it back into place.
He looked at Charlotte, “Ready to step back in time?”
No interference was forthcoming as they descended
No interference was forthcoming as they descended into the bowls of the Amt 10 bunker. The soldiers inside the chalet were more concerned with destroying documents or heading out side to join the evacuation. Access was via a single door in the cellar under the chalet. The bunker consisted of two floors. Both floors had a central corridor about 3 metres wide with rooms either side. Men and women some in SS uniforms, others in civilian clothing were busy removing or destroying files. They located the entrance to the tunnels on the second level. A switchback series of ramps led them deeper under the ground. Bane estimated they had descended 50 feet when they reached a hall way at the foot of the ramp, and the first sign of real security. Two armed SS troopers stood either side of a submarine type doorway.
“Halt, who are you and what are you doing down here?”
The one who had spoke levelled his schemisher machine gun at them. The other eyed them with suspicion.
“What kind of operation is this?” Bane growled in German, “that you don’t salute an officer. Who do you think we are the American president and his entourage on a tour?”
The man wavered. He lowered his weapon and both men raised their arms in salute.
“Pardon my ignorance Herr Oberst, we have orders not to let anyone through.”
“You have done your duty to Germany, but I’m afraid all is lost, the Americans are only a couple of miles away. Time for you to get away if you can.”
“Our orders come from the Fuhrer himself, we are to defend this doorway until death.”
“Then who am I to prevent you from carrying out the Fuhrers orders. We have orders of our own,” Bane held up the leather case, “We have to get this to General Kammler. Do you know where he is?”
“He’s over at the Jonas complex, you’ll need to take one of the trucks, it’s quite a walk otherwise.”
The man turned and opened the door for them. Bane thanked him with a nod of his head. They stepped through into what appeared to be a large staging area for vehicles. Several army trucks were parked on one side, jeeps and staff waggons on the other. What looked like machine shops were dug into the wall to the left of the area. There was no sign of any soldiers here. Two large arched roofed tunnels glided away into the distance. Both large enough to take two of the trucks travelling side by side. The tunnels were lit by lights strung on cable along the walls.
“You do an excellent impression of a German officer, Bane,” Trotsky slapped him on the back.
“You had me believing,” Jennifer added as her gaze nervously passed around the large chamber.
“Let’s not hang around here, our lucks held out so far, but how long will that last?”
Bane looked at the professor. It was the first time he had spoken in a while, Bane was worried their predicament would break the man but he appeared to be holding up well.
“You’re right professor, and while we take a ride I want to pick your brains, what you know of this device seeing as you worked on it,” he turned to Trotsky, “get us a vehicle, and you’re driving.”
Less than a minute later they were sat in a staff waggon, Bane and the professor in the rear, Jennifer up front with Trotsky.
“Which tunnel you reckon?” Trotsky asked.
“Take the right hand one, that seems to curve towards the valley,” Jennifer said.
Trotsky was unfamiliar with the vehicle so they made a jerky start. He soon gained better control and the ride was smooth if a little bumpy on the rough road.
For a few moments Bane was lost in his own thoughts. On their way down he had caught sight of a calendar on a desk, if it was to be believed then todays date was April 25th 1945. He remembered the report he had uncovered by Captain Hardesty of the 8th Army. Today was the day the men went into the tunnels and were killed when Kammler travelled into the future. These men had been part of 30 Advance Unit, part of T-Force. Britain alone sent in five thousand soldiers and civilians, under the code name T-Force. Technology Force. Their stated goal was to locate and preserve German technology from looting and robbery, when in fact looting and robbery was their true goal, competing against American, French, and Russian counterparts.
He told the others what he had just been thinking.
“Do you know who was the founder of the British T-Force?”
“Who was their leader?” Jennifer asked.
“A gentleman named Commander Ian Fleming.”
Jennifer made a dismissive snort. “The writer who created James Bond?”
“The same. It was said he patterned his character on some of the men on his team. That gives you some idea of the roughshod and cavalier exuberance of these plunderers.”
“To the victor go the spoils of war,” the professor quoted with a shrug.
“Professor, tell me what you know of the bell device,” Bane said. “And how could they have discovered time travel.”
“You have to remember,” the professor said, “the Nazis were light-years ahead of other nations in certain technologies. That was why there was such fervent scientific piracy after the war. But let me backtrack. During the early part of the century, two theoretical systems were in competition: the theory of relativity and quantum theory. And while they didn’t necessarily contradict each other, even Einstein, the father of relativity, spoke of the two theories as incompatible. The theories split the scientific community into two camps. And we know very well on which side most of the Western world concentrated.”
Professor Guyler nodded. “Which led to splitting the atom, bombs, and nuclear energy. The entire world became the Manhattan Project. All based on Einstein’s work. The Nazis went a different route, but with no less fervour. They had their own equivalent of the Manhattan Project, but one based on the other theoretical camp. Quantum theory.”
“Why go that route?” Jennifer asked.
“For a simple reason.” Trotsky turned to her. “Because Einstein was a Jew, right professor?”
“Correct Mr Trotsky.”
“Remember the context of the time. Einstein was a Jew. In the Nazis’ eyes, that assigned lesser value to his discoveries. Instead, the Nazis took to heart the physical discoveries of pure German scientists, considering their works more valid and important. The Nazis based their Manhattan Project on the work of scientists like Werner Heisenberg and Erwin Schrodinger, and most importantly Max Planck, the father of quantum theory. All had solid roots in the Fatherland. So the Nazis proceeded on a course of practical applications based on quantum mechanics, work that even today is considered groundbreaking. The Nazi scientists believed a power source could be tapped based on experiments with quantum models. Something that is only being realised today. Modern science calls this power zero point energy.”
“Zero point?” Jennifer glanced to Bane.
He nodded, well familiar with the scientific concept, from his days at university, “When something is chilled to absolute zero—almost three hundred degrees below zero Centigrade—all atomic motion stops. A complete standstill. The zero point of nature. Yet even then, energy persists. A background radiation that shouldn’t be there. The energy’s presence could not be adequately explained by traditional theories.”
“But quantum theory does,” the professor said firmly. “It allows for movement even when matter is frozen to an absolute standstill.”
“How is that possible?” Trotsky asked.
“At absolute zero, particles might not move up, down, right, or left, but according to quantum mechanics, they could flash into and out of existence, producing energy. What is called zero point energy.”
“Into and out of existence?” Jennifer seemed little convinced.
Bane took the reins. “Quantum physics gets a bit weird. But while the concept seems crazy, the energy is real. Recorded in labs. Around the world, scientists are seeking ways to tap into this energy at the core of all existence. It offers a source of infinite, limitless power.”
Trotsky nodded. “And the Nazis were experimenting with this energy with all the fervour of the Manhattan Project.”
Jennifer’s eyes grew wide. “An unlimited source of power. If they had discovered it, it would have changed the course of the war.”
The professor lifted one hand, correcting her. “Who is to say they didn’t discover it? It is documented that in the last months of the war, the Nazis had achieved remarkable breakthroughs. Projects with the name Feuerball and Kugelblitz. Details of which can be found among the unclassified records of the British T-Force. But the discoveries came too late. Facilities were bombed, scientists killed, research stolen. Whatever was left disappeared into the deep black projects of various nations.”
“But not the Bell,” Bane said, drawing the discussion back to its original point. His would not let the conversation stray too far afield.
“Not the Bell,” the professor agreed. “Kammler managed to escape with the heart of the Chronos Project, born of research into zero point energy. The project was given a new name by Kammler. Schwarze Sonne”
“Black Sun,” Bane translated.
“Sehr gut.” Professor Guyler added.
“But what about this Bell?” Bane said. “What did they originally want it to do?”
“Die Glocke started out, putting it most simply, the Nazi Bell was in fact a heavy particle accelerator used as an artificial neutron source to breed Protactinium 233 from Thorium 232. Protactinium would naturally degrade after 27 days into pure bomb grade Uranium 233.”
“It was a device to speed up their Uranium program then,” Trotsky said.
“Yes, but after a couple of accidents they uncovered the devices true potential.”
“For a time travel device and a doomsday weapon, as well as the zero-point energy emitter.” Bane said.
They were approaching a sharp right hand turn in the tunnel. Trotsky slowed down the vehicle.
“Exactly, how they came to this is not totally clear, even Kammler was unsure, or unwilling to tell.”
Trotsky took them around the corner, and they saw in the distance a barricade of vehicles across the road. Several black clad men manned the barricade. Koenig’s men.
The chalet was a dark shell full of empty rooms,
The chalet was a dark shell full of empty rooms, over two floors with not a scrap of furniture anywhere. It smelled of mildew and age.
“Well if there’s an entrance in here they must have sealed it up along time ago,” Charlotte said when they arrived back in the hallway.
“There’s got to be one here somewhere, I have a feeling those men were here guarding the building.”
She leaned against the stairs to retie her boot-lace. A crack of splintering wood rent the silent air of the chalet. She pitched back into empty space, then found herself plunging head over feet down a wooden flight of stairs into darkness.
Charlotte shook herself. She felt bruised but unhurt. Rogan’s torch beam stabbed down the stairs before her.
“You okay, Charlie?”
“Yeah, I’m fine, feeling stupid, but fine.”
He was next to her, handing Charlotte her torch which she had dropped in the fall.
“You seem to have a knack for uncovering secrets,” Rogan said, as he helped her to her feet.
They were in a low ceilinged cellar. Rogan shone his torch around the room. The floor was relatively clear of dust and rubbish as if it had recently been swept. A few boxes were stacked along the far wall. He tracked the beam across to the wall behind the staircase. The light revealed a short ramp going down to a double set of stout looking wooden doors. A danger sign with German writing on it was pinned to the doors which were secured with another brand new padlock.
Rogan tried the key. This time it failed to open. He took a small crowbar from his back pack and popped the lock.
“Are you ready?”
He spoke in a whisper.
Charlotte nodded, but in her mind a thousand thoughts were whirling. The presence of the warning sign did not fill her with good cheer.
Rogan must have seen the signs of stress on her face. He placed his hands on her shoulders.
“If it becomes to dangerous we’ll come back up, and wait for the rangers, same goes if we find the device. Stay close to me, and don’t touch anything, or go wandering off.”
She nodded, and he opened the door.
As the door opened wider an odour of damp and old brickwork spilled out. The beam of the torch revealed a short flight of concrete steps going down to a small hallway. Leading off this was another concrete staircase disappearing down into Stygian gloom.
She followed Rogan through the door.
“Hey, look at this.”
He shone his torch across to the wall which had been hidden to them. A petrol powered generator sat against the wall. Cables connected to the machine ran into the floor.
“This is new, someone has been down here recently.”
He fired it up. A bare light bulb burst into life above their heads.
“Well at least we can see where we’re going easier,” Charlotte said, as she switched off her torch. Rogan did the same.
They started down the staircase, even though they did not think anyone else would be down in the bunker with them they held on to their procured Glocks.
At the foot of the staircase Rogan and Charlotte found themselves in a long narrow corridor. Bulbs had been strung along the ceiling to provide illumination. The only sound was the rattle of the generator above them. There were numerous openings on both sides of the corridor, all either without doors at all or with doors that were standing wide open. Some of the rooms had clearly been used as offices, equipped with desks and chairs, and each time they looked into a room and saw anything in it, they stepped inside to investigate. In several rooms the chairs had toppled over, evidence of a hasty departure . In some, dust-covered paper littered the floor and covered the desks, but Rogan scarcely gave it more than a cursory glance. The edges of some were chewed, evidence of rats or mice, or maybe even insect activity. It all had the impression of departure happening only a few days ago and not years.
‘Isn’t it worth checking some of these documents?’ She asked.
Rogan shook his head. ‘If I was a German-speaking historian specialising in the Second World War, it might be , but my guess is that most of this stuff will just be routine administration, orders for food or fuel or equipment, that kind of thing. Anything that was important to the project would have been taken away or destroyed.”
Someone had been down in the bunker recently. This was evident from bootprints left behind in the dust. They were all heading in one direction, a metal door at the opposite end of the corridor.
“Do you think whoever made them could still be down here?”
Charlotte stared uneasily at the prints.
“I’m not sure, there are no prints of the same kind returning. But the door was padlocked and the generator was cold so it hadn’t been used for some time.”
“Maybe those guys upstairs locked them in, and they used torches to negotiate the way.”
“Good point, we need to be very careful from now on.”
Rogan pushed open the metal door, his weapon raised. They stepped through into a similar hallway to the one upstairs. Another flight of steps brought them to the second level which was a twin of the one above. All but a couple of the rooms were secured. In the ones they had access to they found bits and pieces of unidentifiable equipment, one door had the universal sign for radiation.
“I wonder what’s in there?”
She turned and looked at Rogan.
“I don’t know, c’mon let’s find the entrance to the tunnels.”
The far end of the corridor swung left. They walked into a short passage which terminated at a wall which had a six foot hole. At one time there must have been a door but at sometime in the dim past it had been sealed. Someone had broken through.
Beyond the hole was darkness.
Rogan flicked on his torch and poked his head through.
“Wow, this is gonna be fun, I hope you don’t mind heights.”
“What do you see?”
“At one time a ramp led down from this door, part of it’s collapsed. We have about a twenty five foot drop to negotiate.”
“Great, I’ll get the ropes ready.”
If it was one thing she hated it was heights, she had no idea where the fear had come from as it had always seemed to be with her. She even got tense riding in an elevator.
“No need, someone has left us a rope ladder. I’ll go down first, you shine your torch down below and cover me, just in case.”
As Rogan started down the ladder she did as he asked. The light from her torch revealed piles of rubble on the ramps below but little else.
She watched as he negotiated the ladder with practised ease. It took him less than a minute to reach the pile of rubble.
“Now your turn,” he called up to her, “I’ll cover you from down here, just take it nice and easy and you’ll be fine.”
Easy for you to say, she thought as she began her journey down. In the end it was easier than she thought it would be. The ladder was sturdy and did not sway much.
She reached the bottom and pulled out her torch. Rogan was already scrambling over the rubble to where the ramp continued. She followed him and they continued their descent down-wards. They were in some kind of shaft, the ramp switched back and forth with flat landings every few feet.
Because they only had torch-light to light their way the ramp seemed to go on for ever. After twenty minutes they reached the bottom of the shaft.
“Surely there must have been an easier way down,” Charlotte said as she played the beam of her torch around what appeared to be a small hallway.
“Possibly but this entrance may have been some kind of emergency exit. A lot of our underground bases have them.”
Her torch illuminated a sub-marine style door set in the wall across from them, a rusted looking locking wheel in its centre.
Rogan grasped it and after a bit of a struggle managed to turn it. The hinges shrieked with lack of use as he pushed the door open. He ducked through, Charlotte followed behind him.
They found themselves in a massive open area. The beams of their torches picked out two huge tunnels leading away. It was colder here, and they could here the ploick, ploick sound of dripping water from up ahead.
Rogan’s more powerful torch swept to the left side of the room. Both gasped at what they saw.
“Keep driving,” Bane said, “Remember we belong
“Keep driving,” Bane said, “Remember we belong here.”
Bane took Trotsky’s weapon, and hid it alongside his own in the gap under his seat. If anything would give them away to Koenig’s men it would be modern weaponry.
“What if someone speaks to me and the professor? We don’t know any German.”
“Better hope I can bluff our way through again.”
As they approached the barrier a man stepped out holding up his hand. He was one of Koenig’s men.
“No one is allowed past here,” he said.
“I have orders to take paperwork to General Kammler, it is vital he gets it.”
Bane counted ten men behind the barricade, if a firefight broke out here they would be slaughtered.
“What ever it is is of no importance now, the war is lost, go back the way you came, and try to escape.”
Bane was thinking fast, they had to get through. A thought came to him.
“It is about, Die Glocke, new findings. If they attempt to operate it with the settings and levels they have now, they will cause a quantum leak into the Hertzog field which will in turn cause a null return to the fluctuation capacitors, in other words there will be a massive explosion, everyone will die.”
Bane raised the leather case, “These are the new settings to make it work, without them all is lost.”
The man stared at Bane his eyes blank, and for a moment he thought his ploy had failed.
“Alright, I will call through to the others to let you pass, Kammler is in the offices in the valley, or he was. Be quick, they will be setting it off soon.”
He signalled to his men who moved vehicles out of the way. Trotsky drove through the gap, and when they had gone a sufficient distance they all breathed a sigh.
Jennifer stared at him, a corner of her mouth turned up in a smile.
Bane shrugged, “I was betting on him being all muscle and no brain, I was right.”
The section of tunnel they were travelling through had smaller tunnels branching off. Dug into the walls were “galleries,” each between 100 and 200 meters long. Many appeared to be manufacturing facilities where prisoners from the nearby Ohdurf and Buchenwald camps would work. Now all were deserted.
Bane briefly glimpsed the body of a large rocket of some kind within one of the galleries. They passed a few covered lorries being loaded with equipment by prisoners. These were watched over by steely eyed men in the now familiar uniform of the SS.
Thirty minutes after they had departed the barricade they arrived at a twin of the area where they began their journey through the tunnels. Smaller tunnels branched off left and right. A large metal door was set into the the wall to their right between two of the smaller branches. Instead of a single door in the far wall to allow access, a rough hewn tunnel was the only exit. A red and white barrier barred their way.
Two more of Koenig’s men were manning a machine gun emplacement. One jumped up and raised the barrier, waving them through. Obviously news of their arrival had been passed along to these men.
Trotsky was about to drive through when a large group of soldiers and civilians appeared in the tunnel. Like a stampede of wild animals they rushed towards them.
Bane grabbed a man as he dashed by.
“The Americans have broken through, we have been told to get out of the valley,” he pulled his arm away, fear etched his face, and disappeared into the crush of bodies.
“Trotsky boot it, we don’t have much time.” Bane said.
Rogan’s torchlight played over 20 vintage World War II vehicles. Trucks and smaller cars. In the midst of these was the hulking form of a Tiger tank.
“Do you think any of ‘em still work?”
“I doubt it, but it won’t hurt to check them out,” Rogan said as he walked over.
Many of the vehicles were without tyres, the rubber having long since rotted away. They came to the row nearest the two tunnels and found a canvas covered truck with its wheels in good condition. Rogan climbed into the cab while Charlotte checked inside one of the workshop galleries.
“This one’s still got the keys in it.”
He turned the key, the engine clicked over gave a cough then nothing. He climbed out of the cab and lifted the bonnet.
“I don’t think the truck has any fuel in it, engine seems okay.”
He was surprised to discover a modern battery rigged into the engine. A closer inspection of the tyres revealed they were modern also.
“Rogan! Over here, I’ve got some modern fuel barrels.”
Alongside the barrels was a funnel as well as a few tools, spades, pick axes and the like. Someone had stocked this place for some kind of excavation work recently. Fresh dirt was still present on the tools.
They soon had the truck fuelled, and this time when Rogan turned the key, the engine burst into life. The trucks headlights stabbed away the dark.
They could see now that the left hand tunnel had collapsed, the right hand one was clear and seemed to wind in the direction of the Jonas Valley.
The tunnel ran on for about a mile before bending to the right. They came upon more vehicles which seemed to have been formed into a barrier. A space in the middle allowed them to glide through.
“What do you suppose that was all about?”
“A last ditch defencive line perhaps, to slow down the allies allowing their comrades to escape,” Rogan answered.
The tunnel wound on, with other smaller tunnels branching off. Darkened galleries and opened doors were glimpsed set into the walls of the tunnel.
Charlotte estimated they had travelled 4 miles when they ran out of tunnel. They had arrived at an almost identical area to the one they had found upon entering the tunnel system. Before them was the beginnings of a smaller tunnel, but this was blocked by a cave in.
Rogan stopped the truck and they climbed out.
“A dead end,” Charlotte said, “What do we do now?”
Rogan shone his torch around the wide space.
Moments later, the beam of his torch fell on a door that was closed. In fact, it wasn’t just closed, it was bolted shut . Two large bolts, the steel almost an inch in diameter, had been driven home into sockets set into the rock around the door. A tunnel on either side led off deeper into the complex.
“That’s different,” he said, pointing. “Let’s look inside if we can before checking down one of the smaller tunnels.”
Up to now, the only doors they had seen had hung open. One securely bolted must be hiding something.
Rogan and Charlotte strode across to the door.
He seized the top bolt and tugged at it, but it didn’t move.
“I think it’s pretty much rusted in place,” he said, handing his torch to Charlotte and changing his grip.
With both his hands tugging on the bolt, it did move. Not easily, and not far, but Rogan knew it was only a matter of time. He wiggled it back and forth, each movement freeing it a little more , until after a minute or so, with a final defiant squeal, it slammed back as his efforts at last pulled it free of the socket.
“One down,” he muttered, and grabbed the second bolt. For some reason, that was easier to move, and in a few seconds Rogan was able to grab the edge of the door and swing it open. Charlotte sniffed as the door swung open, and an unexpectedly familiar scent wafted out of the closed room.
“It smells almost like a church,” she said. “Old stones. Old stones and something else.”
The beam of Rogan’s torch, a circle of brilliant white light in the blackness of the room, played over the walls and then dropped down to the floor. At first, Charlotte couldn’t make out what she was seeing: the floor was covered with what looked like ragged, frayed and torn clothing interspersed by a confused tangle of white and brown shapes. Then she caught her breath as she realised what she was staring at. The floor was carpeted with old corpses. A mass of rotten clothing from which skulls and bones, some showing white, others with brown and mummified skin and flesh still adhering to them, projected. She’d seen bones and bodies before. But this was a sight she knew she would never forget.
“Oh, dear God,” she murmured, her voice choked with emotion. “So the reports were right. They couldn’t take all the scientists with them, so they massacred them to make sure they kept their mouths shut.”
She closed her eyes for a moment, then looked again at the scene in front of her.
“There must be at least twenty or thirty bodies here.”
“Old stones – and old bones,” Rogan agreed.
The white light of the torch flickered again over
The white light of the torch flickered again over the confused tangle of bones and flesh and clothing.
“Most of them look as if they were shot in the head,” Rogan suggested, “so maybe the SS just locked them in here and then sent in a couple of men with pistols to do the job. No—” he broke off.
“I’m wrong. See that piece of wood over there?”
He pointed to a spot near the centre of the room, and Charlotte nodded.
“I’m pretty sure that’s the handle of a German stick grenade, what our boys used to call a potato masher. They must have made them all wait in here, then lobbed in a hand grenade or two, waited for the bang and then gone back in to finish them off.”
“Callous bastards,” Charlotte muttered, as she recovered her composure.
“These people were almost certainly Germans, German scientists, working for the Third Reich and most of them probably even supporting Hitler. And this is the payoff they got for their loyalty and dedication. I can’t even begin to comprehend the mindset of the kind of people who would do this.”
“In the end,” Rogan said, “it might have just been a case of simple logistics. They might have only had enough space on the aircraft for a dozen or so people, plus equipment. And they were probably desperate to prevent any documentation or – worse – any of the people involved in the project from being captured by the Russians or any of the other Allied forces. The fastest, easiest, cheapest, most efficient, and above all the most certain, way to ensure that that couldn’t possibly happen was to kill them all.” He paused and ran the beam of his torch around the room.
“It’s difficult to tell how many bodies are in here,” he said, “but I think it’s more than twenty. My guess is that there are at least thirty, maybe forty of them. I suppose you could say that it’s just another example of Nazi efficiency. When you link that to their total disregard for human life, you get a pretty frightening combination. The only good thing is that we now definitely know that we’re in the right place.” Rogan pushed the door closed on the silent room and its long-dead occupants and slid home one of the bolts to secure it.
“Can you imagine what those poor souls must have felt like,” Charlotte said, her voice quiet and subdued, “locked in that room and probably knowing that they had just minutes to live? Wondering if they would be shot or bayoneted or simply left there to die of thirst and starvation.”
“At least it was quick,” Rogan muttered, “but they probably died screaming in terror. Those that survived the blast of that grenade would have been begging for death. The explosion in that confined space would have done terrible things to their bodies. So I hope their souls found some peace.”
Charlotte dabbed at her eyes with a tissue and glanced over at his dark shape as they headed off together down the smaller tunnel next to the door, heading further into the complex.
“That’s very deep for you, almost religious,” she said. “You feeling all right?”
“Yeah. It’s just that it’s one thing to read in a history book that the Nazis killed God knows how many millions of people, and you completely understand that on an intellectual level, but it’s just facts, you know, just numbers. But then, when you actually see the bodies – or rather the bones – it brings it home to you. I’ve never seen hard and unarguable evidence of a Nazi atrocity before. It just makes everything so much more real.”
“Yes. And those poor souls wouldn’t even have been listed among the dead. That was a secret atrocity, if you like , one nobody was ever supposed to know about. It makes you wonder how many other piles of bones are still out there somewhere, in some underground chamber or wherever, waiting patiently to be found so that another unfinished chapter about that war can finally be completed.”
Their lights danced ahead of them as they walked steadily down the tunnel, the beams illuminating the bare stone walls and the concrete floor. They passed numerous chambers, all of them, with the exception of the charnel house they’d investigated, with their doors standing wide open. They looked in every one, but saw only a virtual repeat of the first few offices they’d checked in the Amt bunker: papers scattered everywhere, chairs and desks displaying signs of a hasty departure. The only rooms that were different were a canteen or dining room, the chairs and tables thick with dust, a serving counter at one end , and a couple of washrooms – male and female – equipped with sinks and toilet stalls. Then Charlotte spotted another closed door – in fact, a pair of double doors – though these weren’t bolted, just pushed shut. Rogan pulled them open, and they found themselves looking down a separate wide passageway that led off the tunnel they’d been following. At the far end , facing them, was a further pair of double doors, standing slightly ajar. On the left-hand side of the passageway were two more doors, and another one was set into the right-hand wall.
“What’s behind door no 1,” Charlotte said, but was not eager to find out after what they had just discovered.
Rogan and Charlotte strode down the passage and he pushed open the double doors. they stepped into a long low ceilinged room with rows of tables stretching away, the kind you would find in a morticians theatre. Each table had a lamp hanging from the ceiling above.
Charlotte aimed her torch at one of the tables. A patina of what looked like rust covered the surface.
“Is that...” She could not finish the sentence.
“Don’t look at it, c’mon, we’re wasting time with all this sightseeing. We need to find a way into the main complex.”
Trotsky gear shifted, then slowly moved the
Trotsky gear shifted, then slowly moved the vehicle forward. The stream of bodies had dwindled. They had moved only a couple of yards when another crowd of people appeared in the tunnel.
They disappeared in a cloud of rocks and dust as the explosion ripped through the tunnel.
Bane pulled the professor down into the foot-well. A cloud of choking dust and debris enveloped the vehicle. The shock wave hit next, rocking them like a rowing boat on a stormy sea.
Bane’s ears rung from the explosive force. When the chaos seemed to have calmed, he sat up again. The tunnel was completely blocked. Koenig’s men had been killed by flying rocks, their bodies ripped asunder by the force of the blast. Bane realised if they had been any closer they would have bought the farm as well.
“Shit, what do we do now?” Trotsky said as he sat up.
Bane retrieved their weapons from the gap under his seat, and handed Trotsky his.
“Everybody out, there has to be another way up,” Bane said, as he climbed out.
They had walked halfway across the intervening space between the car and the side passage when the noise of people approaching made them stop. A group of men in white lab coats being led by an SS sergeant emerged from the passage to the left of the metal door. Trailing behind were four glum looking privates armed with machine guns.
The lab coats were separated into two groups. One was ushered onto the waiting lorries, the second group were herded through the now open door.
Two of the privates moved to cover the room.
Bane walked over to the sergeant.
“We’re trying to get to General Kammler, but they’ve blown the tunnel. We are not familiar with this complex, is there another way?”
The man indicated the passage he had emerged from.
“Sir, you must be mad going up there now, the Americans will soon be swarming all over us. Head through the medical room, you will find a lift in the corridor beyond.”
Bane thanked the man and returned to Trotsky, Jennifer and the professor.
“You’ll have to be quick though, they will be blowing that soon,” the man called out.
Bane waved a hand in thanks.
“Keep moving, follow me, this is nothing to do with us.”
As they entered the passage, Bane saw the two privates open the door and toss two grenades into the room.
They all heard the dull whump followed by muffled screams.
Bane noticed a small smile play across Trotsky’s lips.
“What’s tickled you?”
“I don’t mind when it’s Germans killing Germans. I gotta say though, I’m having a hard time stopping my trigger finger from twitching.”
“Well, try and keep a hold on it for now. We don’t know if what we do here will affect our future.”
They entered a short passage with a pair of doors at the far end. Bane pushed them open. They stepped into a low ceilinged room filled with row upon row upon row of metal tables. Bane estimated there was at least fifty tables. Some had bodies on them in various stages of autopsy. The coppery smell of blood and death was all pervading.
“What is this place?”
Jennifer put her hand over her nose and mouth.
“I think medical experiments may have been carried out down here, this is where the check out there effects,” the professor said.
“Lets not linger in here,” Bane said as he headed for a set of doors at the far end of the room.
Beyond the doors was another short corridor, the lift was halfway along.
The doors rattled open as they approached. Four men dressed in modern black combat gear stepped out. They saw the weapons Bane and Trotsky held and immediately raised their weapons.
Rogan pushed open the set of double doors, and stepped through into a short passage. Charlotte trailed behind him, trying not to think of the horrors the room behind her had witnessed.
He played his torch over the walls, revealing a multitude of bullet holes.
“At one time there was a hell of a gunfight in here,” Rogan said.
Charlotte’s boot kicked something across the floor. It tinkled as it rolled away. She shone her own torch around her. The light picked out a hand full of spent shells. She crouched, picking one up, she examined it under her torchlight.
“This is a 5.56 NATO round, but by the look of it it’s been down here for a long time, long before they came into being.”
“They probably came from some kind of training down here, how else would they come to be here?”
She found another metal shell casing.
“This one’s a 19mm Parabellum for a Heckler and Koch. In the research I did on the area, all the training took place above ground. Down here was deemed too dangerous.”
He took the shell from her. A frown spread across his face as he studied it.
“It certainly appears to be old, I’m no expert so I couldn't say,” he tossed the shell away and moved to a door halfway along the corridor.
“What if they made it?”
Rogan turned to look at her.
“What do you mean? What if who made it?”
“Morgan and the Omega team, what if Koenig went back, and they followed him?”
She stood looking at him, a quizzical look upon her face.
“You don’t believe all that time travel bull shit do you?”
“Koenig certainly did, he risked it big time, and Kammler's here now in our time, and younger than he should be.”
“Hmm, this is all supposition, and let’s say they did go back, they’d be stuck, and this place, if these bullets are from back then, this is where they could have died.”
“But what if they haven't died, Koenig had a plan to come back, and I do believe it is to this complex he will come. From what I’ve learned of Omega, they are resourceful, I think we need to move on the premise that they will come back. If they do, they’ll need our help, I think.”
Rogan nodded, and was about to turn away when a noise from further up the corridor froze him in place. Somebody had sneezed.
It came from behind a door at the far end.
They moved as one to the door.
Rogan put his ear to the door.
“Someone’s coming,” he whispered.
They extinguished their torches, and moved back into the darkness.
Texte: Andrew Scorah
Bildmaterialien: Andrew Scorah
Tag der Veröffentlichung: 19.05.2014
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