In the sky above the park, a wormhole opened. Rembrandt Brown was the first to land, followed by Wade Welles, Professor Maximillian Arturo, Ted Knight, and Quinn Mallory. As abruptly as it opened, the vortex vanished.
The professor brushed his jacket off and looked around. This Earth seemed very much like their homeworld. The park was relatively the same, though there did not appear to be any people about. “How much time do we have here, Mr. Mallory?”
Quinn pulled the timer from his jacket pocket and touched the control pad. “Looks like we’ve got about a week here, Professor. I don’t know about you, but after what we went through on the last world, I could use a little R-and-R.”
The group started walking through the park.
“I know what you mean, Q-Ball,” Remmy remarked. “All those vampires and demons — that was too much, though I did like that little girl that helped us, the Slayer.”
“Or was it the fact that on her world, you were her Watcher? I saw how she looked at you,” Quinn said as he gave a knowing look to Remmy.
“It’s strange — we’ve been to so many different worlds, and we’ve encountered duplicates of everyone except me,” Ted added as the group made its way to the center of the park. “Odd. There doesn’t seem to be anyone about…”
Wade took hold of Ted’s arm. “That is kind of weird, Ted, but considering some of the duplicates we’ve met, you should be glad.”
“Um, guys, I think I know why we aren’t seeing anyone out and about…” Quinn pointed to the statue that on their world was of Abraham Lincoln. Ted Knight’s face turned white as he saw who the statue was.
“Dear God! Adolf Hitler!”
Ted Knight stared up at the statue of Hitler in disbelief. A thousand emotions stirred in him at once. How could Hitler have won on any world? Was there truly a thousand-year Reich here?
Remmy looked around the park nervously. There was still no one in sight, but if their luck was true to form, someone would be by soon. “Q-Ball, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I really think we ought to get out of here. I don’t feel like seeing any Nazis come crawlin’ out of the bushes.”
Quinn exchanged glances with the professor. They both nodded. “You’re right Remmy,” said Quinn. “Let’s head on to the Dominion. We’ll treat this just like any other slide, except we’ll lock ourselves in our hotel room and order room service.” Quinn took Wade’s hand, and they headed on, with Remmy following quickly behind.
The professor was about to join them when he noticed that Ted was still staring at the statue. “Come along, Mr. Knight. We had best make haste to the Dominion before the SS finds us here.”
Ted stared a moment longer, then turned to face the professor. “What? Oh, yes, of course, Max. Let’s get out of here.”
The five Sliders, as they called their group, made their way out of the park toward the hotel. They passed a few people on the way, but no one spoke, and no one made eye contact. Up ahead, Wade saw a man take a paper from the newspaper box, so she stopped to do the same. The headline on the paper threw her for a loop.
REAGAN EXECUTED FOR CRIMES AGAINST AMERIKA
“Quinn, take a look at this — ‘Today in Washington, D.C., Ronald Reagan, leader of the Amerikaner resistance, was executed for crimes against the United States of Amerika and Germany. Also executed were two other resistance leaders, Norman Schwarzkopf and Martin Luther King.’ And look at this, we’re at war with Australia! And this–”
“Halt! Hold your hands up! Do not move!”
The group was suddenly confronted by a group of Nazi soldiers holding submachine guns.
“Let me see your papers. What are you doing with this mongrel?” the Nazi leader asked Quinn, pointing at Remmy.
Quinn’s eyes blazed at the insult thrown at his friend. “Now, wait just a minute…”
“Silence! Or I will kill you where you…”
The Nazi’s face turned pale, and he gulped as thought he had seen a ghost. “Herr Knight! Professor Arturo! Please forgive me — I did not see you!”
Taking advantage of the moment, Professor Arturo stepped forward and approached the Nazi leader. “Yes, indeed, you should be sorry. Herr Knight and I have important business here in San Francisco, you blistering idiot!”
The young Nazi started to sweat and lowered his gun. “My apologies, Professor. High Command did not inform us of your arrival. Should you not be accompanied by your guard unit?”
Snatching the gun away from the young soldier, the professor tossed it aside. “Are you questioning me again, young man? We are on a top secret mission. The idea was not to draw attention upon ourselves by keeping the guards out of sight, but now you have succeeded in doing quite the opposite. Now go away before I have you hauled away. Do I make myself clear?”
With that, the Nazi guards made tracks, leaving the five Sliders breathing a little easier.
“Damn, Professor, you even had me convinced! I was about to run, too!” Remmy said, smiling and patting Arturo on the back.
“There will be time later for congratulations, Mr. Brown. Our best course of action now is to head to the Dominion Hotel and get out of harm’s way.”
Looking at Ted, Wade touched his arm lightly. “Ted, are you OK?”
“No, Wade, I’m not. If those men recognized me and Max, that can only mean one thing — on this world, we’re Nazis.”
Once registered at the Dominion, the five Sliders locked themselves away in their room. Ted and Arturo’s counterparts had apparently stayed there before, as the desk clerk recognized them and asked if they would like the usual sent up to their room. The usual turned out to be a sumptuous feast, several bottles of champagne, the latest Amerikan newspapers, and two notebook computers. The last bit had surprised Quinn and Wade, who hadn’t expected such technological sophistication in this world. Now, a few hours later, the professor was paying more attention to the food than anything else, while Remmy was luxuriating in the bathtub. Ted, meanwhile, was sitting in a chair, staring out the window.
“A deutsche mark for your thoughts?”
Ted looked back to see Arturo take the chair across from him. “Very funny, Max. I take it the food was excellent?”
“Indeed. I’m not sure what our counterparts do on this world, but rank apparently does have its privileges.”
“Doesn’t it bother you at all that we’re in a Nazi-occupied America, and…” A light bulb suddenly went off in Ted’s head. “Of course — I know where we are!” He bolted out of the chair and knelt down beside Wade at her computer. “Wade, check the Internet for mention of a group called the Freedom Fighters.”
Without breaking her concentration, Wade’s fingers deftly entered the search. “Hmm. There’s some information here on resistance groups and how they’ve failed, but nothing about any Freedom Fighters. Why?”
“Damn. I was hoping for a minute that we might be on Earth-X. Back in 1942, a group of mystery-men traveled to that Earth to help the Allies defeat the Nazis. They failed, unfortunately, but managed to keep up a strong resistance. In my shock at seeing that statue of Hitler, I had almost forgotten about them.”
“How about I see what I can dig up on you and the professor?” Wade asked, closing the Amerika Online search window and starting another.
The computer hummed and clicked for a moment, then over two-hundred entries came up. Wade clicked on the first, which was a biography of Ted Knight.
None of the Sliders could believe their eyes as the watched the information load on to the screen.
Ted Knight, Deputy Führer of the Fatherland. In 1945, Herr Knight was instrumental in foiling a plot by U.S. scientists that could have resulted in a crushing defeat for Deutschland. The Almighty, however, had greater plans for the Third Reich.
On Dec. 7, 1945, four years to the day that the U.S. had entered the war, President Harry S. Truman was attacked in the White House and forced to surrender.The Führer appointed Herr Knight as Chancellor of the newly christened Amerika. He swiftly acted to remove the undesirables from the newly Deutsch soil. Negroes were returned to the slavery from which they had wrongly been freed. Amerikan Jews were rounded up and quarantined on Long Island.
Within ten years, Amerika was the land that Der Führer had promised it would be, thanks in large part to the efforts of Herr Knight. In 1975, he was promoted to Deputy Führer and has been running the day-to-day operations of the Fatherland. He has a wife, Doris, and two sons, David and Jack. He is one of only two people who has had access to Der Führer since 1981, when Der Führer went into seclusion. The other is Professor Maximillian Arturo (see related article).
Ted’s throat went dry, but he remained silent.
“Well, Professor,” Quinn said, looking at his mentor with an amused smirk, “care to see who you are here?”
The professor raised his eyebrow at Quinn. “Proceed, Miss Welles.”
Professor Maximillian Arturo, the foremost scientist of the Third Reich. He was discovered by Der Führer in 1978 at the University of Kalifornia. His theories about space/time and interdimensional travel caught Herr Hitler’s attention. He was brought to Berlin in 1981, just a few months before the Führer went into seclusion. It would be six years before he would be seen again, but even then, only brief glimpses. It has been reported, but unconfirmed, that he has developed a method to travel to other dimensions in order to further the glory of the Third Reich.
The professor stood up and harrumphed. “Well, it seems that I am much the same on this world.”
“Well, I suppose if you consider working for the Nazis–”
The door suddenly flew open, and a squad of Nazi soldiers entered the room. “Freeze!”
Hoping to cow them as he had done to the soldiers earlier, the professor stepped forward, shouting, “What in the name of Adolf Hitler are you doing? Don’t you know who I am? I am Maximillian Arturo!”
“No, you’re not…” A figure entered the room, dressed in the uniform of an SS colonel. “…and you are not Ted Knight, either. I should know, because I am…”
As he took off his hat, Ted was absolutely floored. “David!”