PART III: GUTEN TAG
The skies were black, thunder boomed in the distance and waves lapped the sides of the USS George E. Badger, the ship had been called back from its journey to the Pacific and back to the Channel to help with security operations there.
Timothy frowned quietly; leaning against the railing he watched the water lap into the sea. He was waiting for his assistant who had helped him with the situation before; he found the boy's name was Jamie A. Isaac, the West Point graduate. His rank was a lieutenant.
He heard paper rustling behind him, turning Howard saw the young man, tucked under his arm was several tubes which held the maps they had taken from the bunker that was their headquarters back on the beaches of Omaha.
"Got what you requested, Colonel." The boy shifted uneasily. "The General has just gotten aboard, he's in the bridge." He gave another uneasy shift, trying to get a better grip with the maps.
"Thank you, lieutenant." He moved away from the railing, looking at the young man's crop of red hair and anxious emerald eyes. The boy almost looked like Howard when he came out of West Point, but then again, when he came out of West Point he was fighting the Huns.
Shaking his head, and I'm doing it again.
He turned, preparing to move inside the hull of the massive ship, and he gave one final glance at the sky. In clouds close by, they moved slowly to them, they were dark. It was strange, since he couldn't see the sheets of rain coming down from them. "Lieutenant, do you know what the forecast for the channel is?"
Isaac shook his head. "No…" He steadied the maps. "Sir, all I know that we've been getting frequent storms." He looked at the sky as well. "But that is a bit strange."
He nodded, moving through the bulkhead door. "Yes, lieutenant, I would have to agree."
The lieutenant followed, green eyes giving a lasting glance at the darkening skies.
"So… Colonel, what you're telling me is that these beings are here to exterminate the allies and axis?" He was a man whom made a speech just a few weeks before, he inspired a group of nations that caused them to rally and push the kraut bastards back. He went commonly by the nickname Ike. But Howard would always refer to him as the General. He damn well deserved the honor.
"This was the conclusion my assistant and I came up with. It seems these creatures have no preferences on whom or what they are killing. They forced the Nazis from Paris, harshly. We walked into Paris before they fired on us. They racked on most of the casualties for the twenty-eighth infantry division and elements of the first infantry division before causing the largest massacre, in what we could say, in world history."
The General was a balding man, but he still rubbed his hand through his bare scalp and sighed. He looked down at the table that dominated the interior of the Destroyer's Bridge. Usually it would be crowded, packed with people but today it was partially empty, not even the General's staff were there attending. Only key members of the crew, including the ship's commander were in the bridge.
The ship crew was reminded this was classified information and that if any leaks were to occur the whole bridge crew would be detained and would be charged with treason. He also reminded them that they would most likely be in front of the firing squad for their actions. The crew did their best to try and ignore the three men.
This was just between Howard, Isaac and the Supreme Allied Commander.
"So what do you suggest we do? I can't give up Normandy, Colonel. You know that, our Generals know that and Roosevelt knows that. We sacrificed too much to give it all up."
"Sir, we need to find out why they're here. We need to meet with their leaders, or communicate somehow between them. Then we could settle for some… ceasefire or maybe even an alliance." Howard leaned forward onto the table, looking at his maps, glaring at them harshly as if he wanted to burn a hole in them.
"I doubt they would want to talk, Colonel. I want Paris back, and I want to know what the Germans are up to. We haven't had much contact with them ever since Paris."
"I'll get right on it."
"Find out where Montgomery is; get him back to London as soon as possible. I have a feeling, a bad feeling that this new enemy is doing something, that I pray they aren't."
"What are they doing, General?"
"You don't want to know, Colonel. Because if I'm right… May God help us."
There was a long and awkward silence.
The lieutenant looked up from the map; wanting to speak, but something caught his eye. A dark shadow that swooped low at the ship, there were no patrols in this area. It wasn't theirs.
The Colonel saw it, moved toward the window.
He shifted his low, letting him be able to look further up into the sky. The dark clouds were right above them, and beneath them swarmed small tear shape craft.
"What the hell?"
The squad was slumped against the side of Panther tank, their hands weren't bound, but their weapons were gone.
Standing over them were two squads of Nazi soldiers and the Benedict Arnold. The traitor didn't have a weapon; he stood there, slumped shoulders, eyes looking intently on the ground.
What would happen now? His mind questioned. Prison camps? Execution?
Jackson found the former more convincing, they wouldn't trudge a group of prisoners out of there. But for the lack of other vehicles, most likely this group of Germans were as far from their lines as they were. Maybe farther.
They were well north of Paris and the Germans pulled out to the south and west. Why did the Germans capture them? It made no sense.
One German, he didn't wear the traditional helmet that the others wore but wore a cap. Dangling from his hat was a pair of tanker's goggles. Kneeling down, the goggled German cocked his head to the side. His voice was heavily accented. "Guten Tag, American."
Now he knew why they sent Arnold first, they could never pass for Americans or any of the allies for that matter. The man looked into Jackson's face, waiting for a reply. "What? Nothing to say, well I can't see you speaking any way. You're African tongue can't… materialize words as well us."
A smile formed on his face. "You remind me of the Rhineland bastards I had known in my youth. Unintelligent and moronic fools, much like yourself."
"Go to hell, you kraut son of a bitch."
It was Jackson but the voice of Lewis who spoke up.
"That's why it was a bunch of us you routed your bastards back in Paris." Lewis was near the edge of the tank, his voice echoed over the plains. Or in Jackson's head it did. Turning his head to the right Jackson could see a few Germans taking a step toward the Private.
The German commander held up hand and they backed off. Jackson took a moment to comment. "You've got your dogs whipped."
The two Germans who moved Lewis turned and one shouted something in German, raising his MP-40. The German commander spoke something in their native tongue, and the German with the machine gun smiled. He then turned, locking eyes with Wilshire and raised his weapon.
Jackson saw what was about to happen. And so did Wilshire.
Private Ingram Wilshire shuffled his body angling just as a burst of rounds hit the tank behind him. He moved moments before the German had pulled the trigger. But he was fast enough for the second burst that raked across his leg. The young private howled in pain, he reached down, crimson liquid seeping through the pink holes in his right thigh.
"You son a…" He bit back and looked over Greene. "Patch him up."
The Germans raised their weapons as Greene moved from the other end of the tank and walked over Wilshire but the commander barked something again. He took off his pack and knelt down beside him. At least they were still bound somewhat to the Geneva Convention.
The Nazi commander spoke to Jackson. "Look… Sergeant. You're men are not in a… position to be insulting. I insist you think with that low intelligence mind of yours, before you sputter." The German raised a hand and gave a brotherly tap to Jackson's face, twice. Then in a quick motion, he gave a third, but this time his hand was balled into a fist.
Jackson's face exploded with pain, he hit the ground and cursed quietly. He saw the German out of the corner of his eye stand, and walk back into the squad. The German who shot Wilshire watched over them, his blue eyes like a hawk's.
McKenzie reached the edge of the forest; he saw the last spot he was in, a burned out hole. No trees, no grass. He just saw a shiny material which almost looked like glass. He moved closer, it was glass.
Looks like he and Parker dodged a hell of a bullet with that one or whatever the vehicle launched at them. Crouching down he cautiously moved forward to the edge of the forest, seeing the plains below he saw wreckage, and he saw bodies.
Two of them, well one of the bodies as bent in an awkward angle; it seemed as if one of the poor souls was bent in half. The other was a few meters away, but seemed in a much more natural position.
He then looked to his right, more plains but then his eyes caught something to his left. McKenzie almost shouted as he saw the panzer tank, looming on the hill. Around the massive vehicle was about maybe a dozen krauts. He didn't see his squad anywhere.
Jesus, no. Lowering the bazooka, he set it aside. No, they had to be alive. He hadn't heard any gun-
There was clatter of an automatic weapon and a scream. Damn it.
Shaking his head, he felt a stinging sensation in his eyes; he had been with those men since basic. They were all the family he had left. His pack with the ammo left his shoulders and he found himself moving down the hill, slinking through the long grass quietly. He didn't want to attract any attention.
The wreckage of the two vehicles were now near, massive purple vehicles that were still threatening even destroyed. The innards of the craft were spread all over the field, but he ignored them, the technology was way more advanced than his comprehension. He wasn't going to try and hypothesize what each part was used for.
Moving silently, his M1 Thompson sweeping the area in front of him, he came upon the body that was bloodied. He knew it was Abrams, even though he couldn't recognize the face, around his neck he saw the eastern orthodox pendant the man always wore.
The body of Abrams was basically folded like a piece of paper; his spine was completely snapped in two. His face was tucked near is knees. His M1 Garand was near by; it –like his spine- was snapped in two.
He continued on, another KIA for the boys back home.
McKenzie moved around the tank and out a few meters he saw the other body. This one was intact, perfectly. He quickly moved toward it, and saw it was Private Poles. Kneeling down the man he slung his Thompson over his shoulder and roughly grabbed the private by his shoulders and began to shake.
"Poles wake up."
Nothing, just a shallow breathing.
"Damn it, Poles. Wake up." Reeling back with his hand, it came down fast and hard.
It was abruptly stopped.
"What the hell?" It was almost like reflex, Poles eyes were barely open, and he coughed quietly. "You don't have to slap me to wake me."
"Right, sleeping beauty. Get up, we're in trouble."
Poles groaned. "Do you have to speak so loud? It feels like I spent a day drinking at Murphy's bar and the hangover just started." Grabbing his head, McKenzie inspected the man, everything outwardly seemed fine. A slight concussion, and since Poles wasn't screaming, he had no broken bones.
A better situation than he would've expected.
"Where are we?" Poles asked.
"Normandy. France. The Sarge and the squad are captured." I hope. "We've got to save them."
Poles felt the events of that day flood back into his mind. He remembered tumbling through the air and hitting the grass after an explosion. "Okay… Okay… Where are they?"
Glancing around, making sure they were still in the clear; McKenzie wiped sweat from his forehead. "We've got to move. We're not safe out here in the open."
"Thank you for stating the obvious." Poles replied, he rolled onto his side, then his stomach and slowly began to push up onto his knees. He saw his M1 Garand just a few inches away. He grabbed it and checked his pouches to make sure he had ammo. Five clips. Good enough.
"Let's…" His head throbbed. "Let's get going."
He bit urge to throw up. Inhaling sharply, he looked over to McKenzie who was crawling quickly back to the tree line. Inhaling sharply, Poles followed.
"Captain, get me communications with the RAF, I want you to see if they can scramble their fighters." The Captain heard the order, and yelled at one of his crew members to get it done. You didn't make the Allied Supreme Commander wait.
The radio man given the job turned from his post and said. "Sir, we're being jammed."
"I would assume it would be the enemy, sir." The radioman gave a nervous reply back.
The Captain turned to his executive officer. "Battle stations!"
"General, we need to get you off this ship." Colonel Howard said. "Captain, I would suggest you head for a port. We cannot risk the General's life."
"You make that sound easy." Klaxons sounded. "The ports are full. The evacuations are still going on, Colonel. We're heading to open water, if we can get to the Atlantic…" His voice trailed off.
Howards took a step forward. "Are you nuts, Captain? That's U-Boat central, and I'm not jeopardizing the General's life on a run like that. Especially when the fleet doesn't know the General is on this ship."
"So what do you expect me to do, head towards Strait of Dover? Last time I checked the krauts-"
"Enough." The voice was unusually calm. Their eyes spun to the man named Ike.
"Gentlemen. We're heading towards the Atlantic. Tell the fleet that they have orders to head to open water. If they are at a port, evacuate all ships. I don't know what these bastards are up to, but I will not let them kill more of our boys. Am I clear?"
"Yes sir, but the radios are still jammed…" The radioman said. His eyes focused intently on the console. He then paused, the static faded and the radioman's eyes widened. "Uh sir… I think you should come and hear this…"
Ike moved forward, he dropped down next to the radio man, the radio man slipped off his head set and Ike slipped it on his own. A voice… deep voice but almost in human, but the ways the words came it; it also seemed almost inhuman at the same time.
But, the message was all the same.
"Your destruction is by the will of Gods. And we are their instruments."
American patrols weren't uncommon now; the Royal Air Force had been in unending combat to the north with the new bastards with their advanced technology. They sure as hell were piss poor fliers however; his squadron was in the lead with kills.
Not much, but considering their losses were way less than expected from an force that could burn cities using beams that could split clouds from its heat and descended from the sky –it was damn good.
There was only seven in the small squadron; they flew in a V-Formation heading towards the channel. He was at point, a small frown holding on his face as he stared out the bubble canopy of his cockpit.
Outside was far from peaceful, there were dozens of speeding little tear shaped fighters zigzagging through the skies, resembling a swarm of bees, they weren't attacking the fleet but it seemed like they were waiting for something.
Looking off to the west, he some dark clouds but ignored them, a storm rolling off the Atlantic. An English summer. He spoke into his headset; they were all flying in P-51 mustangs, the nimble fighters could hold their own for a short time. After all this was a distraction, just so the fleet could get away.
"Okay boys, I want you to keep it close. Tighten up, stay with your partner and you'll get through this. No heroics, we're just gonna tie them up until our-" There was a burst of static over his head.
A voice shouted over the radio. "Bandits! Up high!"
"Calm down. Break formation…" Pushing forward on the yoke, the fighter accelerated, around him his squadron broke into pairs and he was left alone. Yes, he was a damn hypocrite but he's the one who scored one of the two skills his squadron had.
The fighter accelerated toward the ground, at twenty thousand feet he saw the ground rush toward him. He eased back on the stick, and he was a mere five hundred feet above the channel. He looked up, the swarm of bogeys had organized, they had formed into their own flights and he saw the one that was meant to take him out.
Four fighters, all a hell of lot bigger than his accelerating toward him from above, they weren't going extreme speeds, just enough so they could pull up just before they smashed into the channel.
The Captain pulled up on the stick, giving a few hundred more feet, and felt his hand quiver. A slight fear tingled over him; the sensation of thousands of ants marching over his skin was felt. A beat of sweat rolled down his forehead.
The first of the enemy bolts flew over his wings, the large spheres of light narrowly missed the aluminum plating of his fighter. The small amount of bolts increased until it was hail, he made his fighter shift left to right, presenting a smaller target.
Yanking up on the stick, he pushed himself into the sky, knowing that he had to do something. Having one fighter of your ass was bad, but four was unbearable.
Pulling up into the sky, he was at a forty five degree angle, accelerating towards the horde above, which had dispatched another flight of fighters after him. He had only been flying of eight minutes and he was already outgunned.
This new flight had taken position right up ahead of him, closing fast. They unleashed a wave of ordinance. He saw the blobs splash against his right wing, it burned like tissue paper. The inner workings of the fighter were exposed.
His finger pulled down hard on the trigger, the six machine guns on the mustang's wings erupted into flame, rounds tore through the air at the incoming fighters. He scored hits, but the rounds had simply bumped off the invisible shield that each one of those things had.
Evans narrowed his eyes into slits, slammed his feet on the left pedal, and the plane groaned as it gave a high speed roll to the right, letting a second salvo of enemy ordinance slam into the flight behind him, while narrowly grazing his left wing.
Looking over his left shoulder, he saw the wave hit the pursuing fighters and two exploded, their invisible shielding must've overloaded and the two lead fighters took the brunt of the attack, and just boiled away under the force.
Captain Evans smiled. "Yeah…" He whispered.
It was short lived victory, because as he pulled back on the stick, leveling out of his fighter, the group that had been destroyed and the group that was in front of him joined into one and pursued after him with new intensity.
He hoped that this little sacrifice for the fleet was bloody well worth it.
His fighter shuttered and he looked at his right wing. The inner workings had been hit, the metal glowed a pale red. His eyes widened, headed south toward France.
A voice squeaked over the radio again. "Sir, where are you going?"
"Trying to get these bandits off of me-"
"I got him-"
"Like hell you do, do not engage. I repeat, do not engage." He said. It would be fruitless anyway, their weapons were ineffective, and the only way they were able to counter the fighter attacks was by using trick maneuvers. The creatures were so damned brash that they didn't learn, they repeatedly had fallen for the same tricks over and over again.
Good for them, but it only worked for a short period of time, and after the dumb little freaks were out of commission it only left the smart ones to handle.
And they didn't go down as easy.
Pushing the throttle forward, he dropped his altitude down to one thousand feet and pushed his plane to its limits. He gave a glance at his right wing, the wing was still intact but the craft gave an uneasy shutter that he didn't like. He eyed the innards of the wing, and was brought back to focus when white hot strobes flashed over his left wing.
The bastards were still pursuing, he didn't have a prayer in the world. The P51 Mustang was a hell of a bird but it couldn't hold its own against these bad boys.
Normandy came into view; he could see evacuation ships still getting troops off the coast. He increased his altitude to two thousand feet, leveled out and shook his head for the plan that was formulating inside his skull. He must be nuts. Hell if he committed to the plan, he would be on the ranks of the insane.
Evans frowned, he better be made a Major for this. He yanked hard on the stick, the fighter strained under the stresses as he pulled upward, and then continued to peel back until he was completely upside down and heading straight for one of his attackers, who must've been surprised to see the lone fighter come straight back at them.
Holding down on the trigger, he unleashed a torrent of rounds in their direction, the rounds bounced off the invisible shields the enemy fighter craft had. Narrowing his gaze, the distance between them closed, and upside down, the blood continued to rush to his skull.
He reached a hand up, unlocking and popping open the canopy, wind rushed in and he narrowed his eyes into slits.
One hundred feet away, and Evans unbuckled his harness and checked his parachute.
Fifty feet away, he steadied the stick and gave a quick prayer.
At point blank his fighter continued forward. Just as the enemy craft began to peel away, it was bit to late for that.
The two crafts met.
An explosion shook the skies.