by Doc Quantum
Uncle Sam sat slumped on a wooden chair, his hands tied behind it with rope. He looked disheveled and haggard. It was apparent that the last few nights had taken their toll on him.
The Red Torpedo sneered down at him. For the famed leader of the Freedom Fighters and the symbol not only of America herself, but of freedom the world over, he certainly hadn’t been much of a challenge to this member of the SS Ubermenschen. The Torpedo thought this understandable, certainly, taking into account his experiences since being brought to the home of the Third Reich, but he was so hoping for a little bit of sport when taking his captive in.
And he’d brought the American directly back to Headquarters. His comrades could handle the others easily enough — it was what they had been born and bred to do. Josef Mengele had done good work, very good work, indeed.
The Torpedo had been the only member of the SS Ubermenschen who had no special powers of his own. Rather, he was a member of the SS who had been hand-picked by Mengele to operate a new, modified version of the famed Red Torpedo submarine, which had been owned by one of the deceased members of the original Freedom Fighters back in 1941. Red Torpedo the man was an exceptionally intelligent and capable individual who possessed a creative intellect and was gifted in electronics. He would have been the natural leader of the SS Ubermenschen if not for the presence of the Manhunter from Mars, who had insisted upon his joining the Nazi cause that he be the leader of the SS Ubermenschen in return for the use of his alien technology.
He was not sure, however, about the truth of this story. Certainly the Manhunter appeared to be alien, with that chalk-white skin, but he was too intelligent to take for granted that everything he was told was truth. He obeyed orders without question, of course, but was too shrewd not to inwardly consider other possibilities.
A knock at the door announced the presence of Count Helmut von Stauffen, the Black Knight.
The Torpedo proudly opened the door and led the Black Knight in.
Von Stauffen grinned as he saw his captive returned to him. He placed one hand on his shoulder and said to Uncle Sam, “What made you think that you would be able to escape us? You have already been defeated, my weak friend.” Turning to the Red Torpedo, he asked, “Where are the others?”
“I’m sure my partners will be bringing the other Freedom Fighters in shortly,” the Torpedo said, still smirking over his victory.
“Very good,” said the smiling von Stauffen. “Very good. You know, Herr Torpedo, I may be able to pull some strings for you. I have friends in high places, you know. Friends who could help out a resourceful individual like yourself.”
“You honor me, Count,” the Torpedo said proudly.
“Nonsense, nonsense,” he replied. “Ah, but we can talk about this later. I must report to Hitler on the status of our little prisoner, here. He’s going to be with us a very long time.” He laughed dryly at this and left the room.
The Fuhrer of Nazi Germany proudly marched through a crowd in the streets of Nuremberg, receiving acclaim and adoration from the masses of followers in the German people who had been subjected to mind-control experiments on a planetary scale over a decade earlier. The citizenry were now experiencing the delayed effects of it, as they seemed to throw off all of their previous resolve and began following Adolf Hitler blindly once more. It had been said that Nazi Germany could never rise again, that the world had learned its lesson, but they had not reckoned with the plans of the Nazi brain trust decades ago. For they had perfected in their hideous experiments a method of mind-control that had now made their re-conquest of a large part of the globe a simple thing, indeed.
Hands reached out to him all along the parade route, hoping for the barest touch. And every once in a while, the now-sturdy Fuhrer would reach out and shake their hand, sometimes signing their copy of Mein Kampf, which had been recently revised and re-released with a new forward.
One figure in the crowd was not smiling, however. He was almost sweating bullets as he thought about what he had to do. It was up to him to rid the world of this — this monster in human flesh. Never again would he have the power to murder millions of people at a whim. This man’s mother was Jewish, and he was one of the last few Jews left alive in Europe.
Before Hitler had managed to take the rest of Europe, he had virtually decimated the entire population of Jews in Europe in what became known as the Holocaust. It wasn’t until Nazi Germany began expanding to a worldwide scope that cooler heads actually managed to prevail. It was Albert Speer who had argued against the complete extermination of the Jewish race worldwide. Amazingly enough, and through a series of incidents not unlike those that happened to the Egyptians during the days of Moses, the Jewish race was spared and resettled in the land of Palestine, which as their homeland they renamed Israel, with heavy restrictions against intermixing with other races.
Nobody knows what had changed Hitler’s mind, for he was dead-set on exterminating the Jews entirely from the earth, but one fateful day he was reported to have woken up with a face as pale as snow, and his resolve shaken. That day, he postponed his Final Solution, and he kept finding reasons to postpone it until 1968, when the Nazi leadership was replaced by robotic doubles by its own artificial intelligence, which was interested only in order and control over the populace. Pseudo-scientific concepts of Eugenics and bigoted views based on Anti-Semitism and admonitions against race-mixing were set aside in favor of complete domination using mind-control satellites. The status quo remained for five years, until the AI’s control over the Earth was broken in 1973. The end of the Final Solution was one of the few true miracles of the long world war, but it was one which those who lived by faith clung to.
And now this young Jewish man was determined that Hitler would not be given a second chance to murder the rest of the Jews. He knew he would die from the attempt, but he had to kill him. It was necessary. And he convinced himself with every step Hitler took toward his place in the crowd.
A sudden fear clenched his heart, and the young man had a vision he would fail. No! I must not fail! he thought fervently, jumping out of the crowd and leaping toward Hitler, while opening up his jacket to reveal plastique explosives strapped all over his body.
A woman screamed. The crowd hushed, trying to figure out what was going on.
And the man exploded, merely a few feet away from Hitler.
Several hours later, the death toll was counted as being at ninety-three casualties.
The Nazis proclaimed this day to be a miracle, for Adolf Hitler himself was the only one to survive the blast within its radius. In fact, while at first it appeared that he was indeed dead, Hitler soon rose, and his wounds actually seemed to knit themselves.
The rally at Nuremberg was called off that day, but the Fuhrer appeared the next morning, healthy and in as good a shape as ever, and another impromptu rally was held right then. The propaganda sheets proclaimed Hitler to be a true superman of the Aryan race, and his life was widely held to be protected by God himself. The truth, known only to a few, was far more insidious.
The Black Knight sat in his desk, on the telephone with Dr. Ulla Minerva. She had been Hitler’s constant companion since he had somehow become the much younger and more virile man he was now. If Count von Stauffen thought anything was amiss there, he didn’t let on.
He finished listening to the woman’s account of Hitler’s survival of the bombing that morning. She left out any scientific explanation whatsoever of what could have happened, preferring very uncharacteristically to maintain that he was saved by Divine Intervention. The Black Knight thought this highly unlikely and noted that her avoiding the issue was proof that she knew the truth about it and most likely was behind it herself.
“It is truly a miracle, yes,” said the Black Knight. “Today will be remembered as a momentous day for the Third Reich. First the miracle at Nuremberg, and now the capture of the leader of the American Freedom Fighters and soon the rest of the team itself. I expect news from the SS Ubermenschen on their capture any minute now. Yes? What was that? Oh, I would be honored!” Hitler himself was then put on the telephone.
“Fuhrer! It is such an honor to hear from you, sir! Yes, yes… Good news, sir! Uncle Sam had escaped briefly, but has been recaptured. Not only that, but the rest of the Freedom Fighters have been captured as well! Yes, my Fuhrer, I will.”
“Sir!” interrupted a young soldier.
Von Stauffen turned on his heels and scowled at the man, “I am talking with Der Fuhrer himself, dumbkopf!”
“Er, but… sir,” the soldier began, holding out a folded note, with the name Count von Stauffen written on it.
The Black Knight continued to listen to Hitler on the telephone as he angrily snatched the note from the soldier’s hands and read it.
He dropped the telephone receiver a moment later, while Hitler was in mid-speech.
And then he bolted for the door, running through the hallway.
He ran into the room where Uncle Sam was kept. The Red Torpedo was nowhere to be found.
A creeping fear clutched at his heart just then, and he turned Uncle Sam’s head up to look closely at him. He certainly seemed to look right, but there was a tiny piece of flesh at the corner of his scalp, which looked like a fold. The Black Knight peered more closely.
He placed his fingers on the fold of flesh and gently tugged at it.
And Uncle Sam’s face peeled off.
It peeled off to reveal the features of the Red Torpedo.
Count von Stauffen’s face went as white as a ghost as the blood drained away from it. His knees began to shake as the full realization of what had happened sunk in.
He shouted at the soldiers to apprehend the man who looked like the Red Torpedo, but he knew it was already far too late for that.
As the strength left his body, he dropped the note he had been clutching in his fingers, and it fell to the ground at the feet of the unconscious Red Torpedo, made up to look like Uncle Sam.
The note said, in English, and dripping with sarcasm:
“I always knew your trusting nature would get the best of you someday. –U.S.”
The Black Knight knew that the initials U.S. stood not only for Uncle Sam, but also the Unknown Soldier. He sunk to his knees and wept like a baby, wondering to himself, What will I tell Mein Fuhrer now?
On a jet headed westward over the Atlantic, Sandra Knight gently swabbed Uncle Sam’s forehead with a wet cloth while sipping a cup of truly horrid coffee, which nevertheless was the best cup of coffee she had ever had. Uncle Sam was sleeping, but every once in a while he murmured in his sleep. And he was thin, so very thin.
Darrel Dane and Tom Wright were also asleep as well, Tom sitting upright and Darrel in his six-inch form snoozing heavily in the folds of a cotton T-shirt. Sandra would have been asleep herself if not for her promise to herself to watch over Sam until they returned to America. They were all exhausted right now. The events of the last few weeks, and especially the last few days, had left them in a state of pent-up energy, which only now was able to be released. The effects of adrenaline had taken their toll as well on the four Freedom Fighters.
But they were free, truly free now. And they were together again. Well, almost. There was still the matter of Roy Lincoln and Happy Terrill. But their pilot, Johnny Cloud, assured them that it had already been taken care of. The last thing she wanted to do was to go back there and find them, so she was glad for that, at least.
They all owed their lives to the Unknown Soldier. It had been his plan to act as a decoy Uncle Sam and let himself be captured in order to throw attention away from the real Uncle Sam, who stayed back and was picked up by members of the German Resistance who delivered him to the rendezvous point in time. They hadn’t been able to thank him, but he didn’t seem the type to go for much adulation, anyway.
Sandra Knight closed her eyes as she let the rays of morning sunlight bask through the windows. It had been dark for far too long.
As the plane carrying Happy Terrill, Delilah Tyler, and Roy Lincoln passed out of sight of the British Isles, stealthily heading toward America, the three of them played cards as a way to relax. Roy wore his protective suit once again, just in case.
“I don’t like this,” said Happy.
“It’s your turn, pal,” said Roy, looking at the cards. “Don’t like what?”
Happy put the Queen of Spades down and said, “The thought of that fake impostor of me running around England, goose-stepping to Hitler and tormenting the people there, and using my face to do it.”
“‘Fake impostor,’ huh?” said Dee. “Wouldn’t that make him you?”
“Huh?” said Happy, too dazed to understand what she was getting at.
“Well, it’s a double negative. If your impostor is fake, then he can’t be a real impostor. Therefore, he must be the real thing.”
Happy just stared blankly at her, while Roy was quietly cracking up. The attempt at humor was more of a release than anything
“What has that got to do with anything?” Happy said loudly.
“Just saying, is all,” said Dee. “Oh, look, I win.”
Happy looked at his cards, realizing he hadn’t been paying much attention earlier. “I don’t feel like playing anymore.”
“Spoilsport,” said Dee. “Roy, want to play Crazy Eights?”
“Sure,” said Roy.
Happy Terrill laid his head against the window and wondered what new atrocities his doppelganger was executing in London, England, at this very moment.