Disclaimer: Hellsing belongs to Kouta Hirano.
Author's Notes: This was written before I read chapter # 70, Castlevania, therefore Major's hinted involvement in the East Front aren't included. I thank my editor, Lyanna Kane.
The desert was a quiet site in the middle of a magnificent world war. The blue sky was cloudless and the sun would hit merciless upon all those who dared to wander amidst the seemingly endless beige dunes.
The Major sat within the sanctuary of the fresh shadows of the Great Sphinx, sipping his cocoa and trying not to end up consuming any of the sand carried by the wind. He was dressed in his Waffen-SS uniform and the high temperatures of Egypt made him sweat, but he did not complain; it had been his suggestion to the Führer, whilst requesting financing for this campaign, the starting of his project. Joseph Goebbels had listened fascinated to his speeches, enamoured by the idea and, soon, he had agreed to arrange a private appointment conducted by Hitler himself. Major's waiting had been short as soon as Erwin Rommel had started a march against Cairo; Max had decided it was high time to join the journey.
He did not bother to follow Rommel's plans and visions, nor the Führer's goals concerning the world. As much as Max loved war, he could not simply play the part of a musician in another's orchestra, for he dreamed to compose and direct his own symphony. The Giza Necropolis' ancient stillness was a good ambiance wherein to search for his inspiration.
And of course, there are always the interruptions and practices, Max thought to himself, lowering the empty cup on a white table so small that it barely kept from flying off at the touch of the insistent breeze.
"Heil Sturmbannführer!" the First Lieutenant raised his right arm in salute.
"Obersturmführer Alhambra," Max greeted , lounging further into the chair. "How is the atmosphere in Cairo?"
Tubalcaine Alhambra was one of the few soldiers that had remained unaffected by the climate. There were no drops of sweat on his uniform, nothing to taint his aspect. He originated from Egypt; though his mother was a loose daughter of a high ranked member of the SS, and in spite of personal competence, his darker skin and non-Aryan traits did not qualify him for orthodox missions. Max had not cared for his origin when he had chosen Alhambra as their guide, nor had he taken into account his fixation with poker. He had wanted someone who knew the locals and was cunning enough to mould into the population and conceal their location.
"Turbulent," Alhambra replied in a smooth tone, his moustache twitching. "The British fools don't suspect our whereabouts, however. They think they've squashed all of the Reich's troops and the resistance residing in the local area."
"Good work! Good work!" Max clapped appraisingly, pleased with the news. He did not need noise when he was composing. "Was it difficult to create our curtain of deception?"
"I had to offer some of the small treasures we found in our excavations," the first Lieutenant replied. "We have the government on our side. This game is yours, Sturmscharführer." He grimaced in sudden concern. Max studied the man carefully: he was not above deceiving a superior. "If the Untersturmführer Reifsneider and his supporters don't carry on with their plans." Tubalcaine glanced towards him and waited his answer with expectant brown eyes.
Max smiled serenely and said nothing, his silence confusing the officer. He continued, regardlessly: "There are some of our men who have plotted to leave the digging and find their own glory in Cairo - to beat that Montgomery fellow while he is still celebrating."
"Ah, I see, I see," he stopped his explanation with a disappointed sigh. There were always musicians who denied to truly perfecting their art, in favour of the simpler pursuit of an imperfect melody. "And what about you? Do you share that view, Obersturmführer?"
The First Lieutenant shook his head. "I have already placed my bets on what you are searching. Win or lose, I'll continue with this hand, Sir."
"What I am searching for…" Max trailed off with a wistful voice. He stood and circled his table restlessly. "Do you know what I am searching for? Of course not, not even I know with certainty. We'll know when we've found Her."
"Her? A woman?"
"She came in my dreams, in a vision of sands and endless times: my beautiful heroine. She sang through sewed lips, starting a tune that will last forever. We need only unravel this mystery in order to take over eternity!" Max laughed, spreading his arms widely, eyes closed. She was here, nearby, calling for him to rescue Her from the darkness. Only he could listen to the echo of her wondrous cantata.
Captain emerged from behind Tubalcaine, much the bearer of an unreadable expression, quiet and secretive as the desert itself. The First Lieutenant moved aside the other officer to let him pass. He stood in front of Max, his Major barely containing his excitement.
Captain nodded and gestured to the latest satellite edifices whose revision they had commenced, one of the small "queens' pyramids" that were rarely held in much esteem, at a loss of grace because of the greater constructions that loomed over them. Sometimes, the greatest treasures were in unexpected places.
His blue eyes gleamed at the Captain's insistent waving. He was pleased with the werewolf: his sensitive nose had often managed to spare him valuable time throughout his quest.
"Success! We have found her!" Max exclaimed with mirth, ushering both men towards the small edifices. Most of the military and labour subordinates had gathered around the entrance and they now parted ways for him to pass.
"There is a sealed door, Sturmbannführer. There are hieroglyphs encrypted upon it, the writing older than what we have found in the remaining temples. The workers are nervous about opening the gates, they keep blurting superstitious garbage."
"Return with them, Untersturmführer Maurer," Major ordered and turned to the crowd, his gaze falling onto a middle aged, thin man whose features had taken to a sneer "Untersturmführer," he began with an innocuous voice. "Take your men and remove the stone from the entrance." The Second Lieutenant nodded and saluted before ordering his troops to follow down. The Warrant Officer Maurer led the workers and the hired archaeologist outside before the other soldiers disappeared down the same path.
"Sturmbannführer?" Alhambra asked, leaning with daring confidence. He was fairly impatient and could not stop playing with the ace of spades held tightly in his right hand. The Captain stance at Max's right was fiercely rigid. "What we should do now?"
"Now? Now we wait," Max answered with a gleeful expression, rubbing his hands in pure satisfaction. Not even after a banquet, would he have felt such an overwhelming joy. Major hummed, tapping his feet against the sand. He vaguely noticed the sound of the stone door blowing in pieces and the dust coming towards them; his attention was enraptured seconds after, as soul shattering screams broke the pleasant silence of the desert.
Those were the right notes! That was the inspiration he needed! Major extended his hands as most of his soldiers ran away from the place, waving to a non-existent orchestra and forming the accompany to follow his movement, his vision. The future was before him with such clarity, but all geniuses had had their interruptions. She called him with a needy shriek and Max reluctantly left his dreamland.
Turning to his right, he looked up at Captain, the sole soldier still beside him. "That was the overture," Max announced, ushering the werewolf to escort him to retrieve Her. "Soon the curtains will rise for us."