by Doc Quantum
The Black Knight shouted into his cellular phone, “Well, get those men out there right away! I don’t care how many men it’ll take, I want Uncle Sam found now!”
Unknown to Count Helmut von Stauffen, an uninvited guest was listening to every word he said, completely unseen by all. In the German language, he was called Der Unsichtbar Kapuze, which, translated into English meant the Invisible Hood. And he was one of the five members of the SS Ubermenschen created by the Nazis as a counterpoint to the Allies’ Freedom Fighters.
He left that place after hearing all that he needed to hear and was soon reunited with three of his teammates.
“The Black Knight has let Uncle Sam escape,” he said to his teammates, startling them, as he was still invisible and they did not hear him approaching.
“Dammit, man!” shouted Magno as his teammate phased into visibility. “Give us some warning next time!”
“Let’s hear it,” said the ever-calm Red Torpedo. “Is there any word on our foes’ involvement?”
“None yet,” replied the Hood, who, though now partially visible, still had his face obscured from view, as always. “So far none of them have been reported to have come out of hiding yet. We should, however, be prepared for that occurrence,” he said, running his finger up and down a knife he unsheathed from his belt.
“Just give me a chance,” said Neon der Unbekannt, or Neon the Unknown, who was arrogantly laying back on the top bunk with one leg dangling over. “I can take them. I’ll pick them off, one by one.”
“Brilliant as ever, Neon,” drolled the Torpedo. “However, even you cannot take them all down at once.”
Magno, meanwhile, had gotten back to his weight-lifting, and now stopped and spoke up. “So are we heading out? Or what?”
“Is the Manhunter back from the Eastern Front?” asked the Hood.
“No,” replied the Torpedo. “And he’s better off there, anyway. In battle, he’s a crazed madman, slaughtering men left and right with only the power of his muscles. They say he has the strength of a thousand men.”
“I don’t trust the man,” said the Hood. “He’s terribly unstable. The only reason he was put in charge of the Ubermenschen is because of his relationship with Josef Mengele. We’d be better off without a madman like him in charge of this team.”
“He is pretty strong, though,” said Magno. “We can use sheer power like that on our side, so we can destroy those damned Freedom Fighters once and for all.”
“I was not asking your opinion,” replied the Hood.
“And so you see, Delilah–”
“Please. Call me Dee.”
“OK, Dee,” said a smiling Happy Terrill. “Well, Dee, the most important thing right now is to get Uncle Sam out of Germany and back to America. If he’s lost to the Nazis, it could cause morale to sink to an all-time low, which could be fatal in this war. We’re not exactly giving Hitler much of a challenge right now. At least not yet. Besides, Sam’s a good man and a close friend of mine, as well as a hero. And I’ve seen too many heroes and friends die in my lifetime to want to see this happen to another.”
“Hmm…” Dee Tyler frowned in concentration, and after a pause she replied, “We’ve been doing our part in the hastily-devised Resistance that’s already begun to form here in France — somehow, the people just knew the spectre of the Nazis would return someday — but I’ve personally felt entirely ineffectual here. All I’ve been doing, really, is keeping this place safe from prying eyes. So far the Nazis are unaware of this school’s true purpose, and we hope to keep it that way. I have special abilities, as Mother Genevieve calls them, and I was chosen to enroll in this school in order to develop them further, as well as learn some tricks I could never have learned anywhere else.”
“A real spy school for girls, huh?” laughed Happy Terrill.
“Hm. Yes,” she replied flatly. “Anyway, I have been itching for a more direct means of fighting these Nazi bastards ever since this whole conflict began. And you say my father sent you? Well, I suppose if my father trusts you with his life, I should be able to as well. The trick is — how the hell are we going to get into Nazi Germany in the first place?”
“You’re the Ian Fleming wanna-be — why don’t you tell me?”
“Cute. Very cute,” she said, rolling her eyes. “However, I think I may have an idea.”
“I don’t like this idea,” said Happy Terrill sometime later, a decidedly unhappy look on his usually cheerful face.
“Just shut up and keep walking,” whispered Dee Tyler without turning around to face him.
The couple walked right up to two German soldiers, and before either could say anything, Dee addressed them authoritatively, saying in perfect German, “I have some vital information for your superiors.”
German soldiers were accustomed, unfortunately, to native informants providing them with all kinds of information. Part of the long-term effects of the Nazi regime’s mind-control ray across the world was to cause several people of the younger generations to turn traitor, as they had been born into and had grown up during the days the Nazis controlled the world. It was this that explained why the Nazis had a vast network in place that allowed them to take so much ground in such an extremely short time, and why they had managed to keep it since.
One of the soldiers, a plain-looking woman with dull eyes, retrieved a notepad and pen as the other looked on, disinterested. “What is it?” the female soldier demanded as she clicked her pen.
Dee furtively glanced around and motioned the soldier closer. She whispered, “Adolf Hitler wears pantyhose,” and swung a well-practiced arm around and down, chopping her on the back of her neck. At the same time, Happy punched the male soldier and knocked him unconscious. They dragged the two to a nearby shed.
A couple of minutes later, Dee Tyler and Happy Terrill emerged from the shed, clad in the unforms of the German Army.
“I still don’t think this is a good idea,” said Happy.
“Trust me,” said Dee. “I know exactly what I’m doing.”
Right, thought the Ray. A twenty-one year old female student at a spy school for girls with no field experience whatsoever is telling me she knows what she’s doing. Mr. Terrill, we’re in big trouble.
The bloodcurdling scream served to scare the wits out of the Russian soldiers that surrounded the Manhunter on all sides. The chalk-skinned Martian had merely become dormant in order to lure the soldiers all around him, to investigate his still form there in the trench where they had presumed him to have been shot and killed. It was the last mistake they would ever make. The hulking Nazi from Mars quickly rose and reached out to the nearest soldier, a young Ukrainian boy no older than sixteen, and crushed his head, helmet and all, between his palms. The other soldiers in the cramped trench were horrified as droplets of blood splattered onto their faces. They dropped their guns and scrambled, hands and feet clawing, to get out of the trench to safety.
There was no safety for them.
The Manhunter pulled two soldiers back into the trench by their feet, and like a madman ripped one boy’s throat out, while punching his fingers into the other’s heart in a millisecond.
Seconds later, he was out of the trench and on the heels of the next soldier, whom he bent over his knee, instantly breaking his spine.
He pivoted and turned on the next nearest soldier, who by this time was making a high-pitching squealing sound. The Manhunter impaled him with his own bayonet.
And so it went — the Manhunter swiftly tracking down each Russian soldier one by one with an inhuman strength and speed, until an entire infantry platoon was decimated.
It had only taken five minutes.
The Manhunter, now covered in the blood of Russian soldiers, cried another inhuman scream, as if the savagery had not been enough, as if it had only been a mere taste of what he craved.
A German corporal hesitantly approached the Manhunter, who, upon smelling the man’s sweat, turned on him with screaming eyes. The blood drained from the corporal’s face, and he lost his voice as he tried to speak.
In an instant, the Manhunter could have taken him as well. He already had a reputation for causing a few casualties on his own side, and it was usually because of interruptions like this.
This was the corporal’s lucky day, however. The beast’s rage and bloodlust ever so slowly began to cool off. In moments, the Manhunter from Mars was once again the composed creature seen over television propaganda footage.
“What is it?” the Manhunter demanded.
“Uh, s-sir,” said the corporal, the stammer he thought he had gotten rid of when he was ten years old suddenly returning en masse, “A-Adam Hitler s-sent me a m-m-message. He requires y-you t-to go to Bucharest, the-the-there t-to ass-s-sist the d-dismantling of th-the R-Resistance there…”
The Manhunter stared into the corporal’s frightened eyes for several moments. Then:
“Tell him I tire of this. Tell him I need a challenge. Soon. Tell him I must be sent to California. I want to feel the bones of the American Freedom Fighters crush between my fingers. I will be delayed no longer.”
“A-aye, s-sir!” the corporal replied, nervously saluting the Martian.
The young corporal turned back, again scared out of his wits.
“Never. Never interrupt me.”
The corporal gulped and was dismissed.
“Yes. I understand. Goodbye.”
The man hung up the phone. It had been several days since he was smuggled into Germany, and he still had no idea why. As soon as U.S. Army Intelligence discovered his identity, they had kept him in seclusion, away from any outside sources. All he knew was that the military needed him for a mission against the Nazis, and that he would be brought home as soon as it was over. It would likely be little more than a diversion, while the real mission was going on elsewhere. He could figure out that much. He just didn’t like the secrecy surrounding it all, and he was tired of being so isolated for so long.
Roy Lincoln looked down at the scrap of paper upon which he had scrawled the directions he needed in a few hours. He then took a lit match with his gloved hands and destroyed it.
All he could do now was wait.